The Best Butt Exercises —No Knee Pain

Want a bodacious booty, but can’t squat or lunge because you have cranky knees? No fear, we are here to get your booty burning with zero knee pain.

If you have knee pain, it can be frustrating to find exercises that don’t hurt but will still target and tone your booty. We’ve got you covered with three of the best butt exercises—that are still totally doable if you have bad knees. Yep, that means no squats or lunges! Even if your knees are A-OK, these alternative glute moves are great for switching up your go-to routine.

Romanian Deadlift

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart, dumbbells in front of the hips, palms facing in.
B. Hinge at the hips to lower dumbbells in front of shins. Make sure to keep core engaged and back straight throughout the movement.
C. Lift torso to return to standing.

Single-Leg Deadlift

A. Stand with feet together, dumbbells in hands by sides. Shift weight into right foot, balancing on left toe.
B. Hinge forward at the hip, lifting straight left leg backward and reaching dumbbells toward right foot.
C. Keeping core tight, engage right glute to raise torso and return to starting position.
D. For a challenge, after doing 16 reps, hold the extended position (left foot lifted and torso parallel to the ground) and add a dumbbell row, drawing dumbbells up next to ribs, elbows in tight. Do 8 reps.

Do 16 reps per side. 

Butt Burner Toe Tap

A. Stand with feet together and sit back into a quarter squat.
B. Shift weight into left foot and tap the right foot backward, then back to center, then out to the side, then back to center, while keeping left leg bent and pumping arms as if running.

Do 16 to 20 reps per side.

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How Mindfulness Can Help You Get a Better Workout

The Benefits of Staying in the Moment

There’s a flow that happens when we pay attention to what we’re doing in the current moment, one that we may be missing out on with those distractions.

Mindfulness during exercise can bring you:

  • A stronger connection to your body: When you focus on each exercise, the muscles you’re working, and what you’re actually accomplishing, you get more out of each exercise and each workout.

  • Better results: When you focus on your what you’re doing, you improve the quality of your movement and, as a result, the quality of your overall workout.
  • More satisfaction: When you know exactly what you’re working, how each exercise feels and whether you’re getting the most out of each exercise, you can end your workout knowing you did your best.

Focus Your Eyes on a Set Target

Keeping your eyes focused on a target in the distance while walking makes you walk faster and makes the distance seem shorter, according to research published in Motivation and Emotion.

“People are less interested in exercise if physical activity seems daunting, which can happen when distances to be walked appear quite long … These findings indicate that narrowly focusing visual attention on a specific target, like a building a few blocks ahead, rather than looking around your surroundings, makes that distance appear shorter, helps you walk faster and also makes exercising seem easier.”

Exercise in Front of a Mirror

The simple act of watching yourself exercise in a mirror will make your workout more efficient, as people have a tendency to adopt a step pattern that is similar to people around them. By watching yourself in a mirror, it may encourage you to stabilize your movement pattern for a more efficient workout. Study authors explained, “Visual information influences treadmill locomotion and associated measures of stability even when there is no intention to coordinate with external stimuli.”

Use Positive Affirmations

When you’re tempted to quit, stay positive by reminding yourself you can do it. Positive affirmations like “I am strong” and “I’m full of energy” work well here, and research suggests they can also boost performance. Nick Galli, an assistant professor of sport psychology: “Positive self-talk reinforces your confidence and boosts your energy so you won’t quit when you feel tired or challenged.”

Listen to Music

When exercisers were able to listen to their favorite songs during a session of sprint interval training, their perceived enjoyment increased and was consistently higher than those performing the interval training without music. Past research has also shown that music can significantly boost your exertion level during a workout.

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The Hottest Fitness Trends of 2018

Fitness never stands still. Find out the new ways you’re going to get fit and healthy as the weather warms. 

It’s time to shake up old routines, switch sleep-deprived schedules with a little self-love and swap boring workouts for some seriously fresh fitness. With a major turn towards mindfulness and time-efficient training, the fitness industry has changed on a global scale. Here’s what you need to know to stay cool while you sweat.

1. Returning to Play: While push-ups and squats are definitely effective, certified eating psychology coach Jenny Eden Berk believes that returning to a childlike state of play will be all the rage in 2018. “There is a growing movement of… classes that focus on games that get people moving [while] totally having fun,” Berk says. “When I moved from hard-core running and spin classes to a more fun, playful, and mindful approach to movement, it changed my whole life. I look forward to exercise now and burn crazy amounts of calories. Mark my words: Play and mindful movement is the new SoulCycle.”

Fitness routines that require little equipment, such as yoga and high-intensity interval training, are predicted to be more popular in 2018.

2. Live-Streaming Classes: While live-streaming classes aren’t new, certified personal trainer and kinesiologist Dr. Carrie Burrows believes that 2018 will be the year that live-streaming group classes will finally gain momentum. “People are protective of their time, and being efficient by working out at home will see another surge in the online space,” Burrow says.

3. Exercising With Pets: Whether it’s going for a run with Fido or doing a session at a cat yogastudio, certified personal trainer Trinity S. Perkins predicts that exercising with animals will be a 2018 fitness staple. “Being able to combine your two loves — exercise and your fur baby — is a great market, and it’s good for both the people and the animals,” Perkins says.

4. Boxing: 2017 has been a huge year for boxing, and Katie Dunlop of Love Sweat Fitnesspredicts that our love affair with the kick-butt sport is far from over. “There is something about being able to punch a bag that just makes you feel so fierce,” Dunlop says. “I think there will be a huge trend toward boxing in 2018… and not your big box gym cardio kickboxing. Whether at home, in a private gym, or in group fitness classes, there are going to be tons more women learning to bob and weave and throw a one-two punch next [year].”

5. DNA Testing for Peak Fitness Performance: From heritage tracking to allergy tests, DNA testing has become more popular than ever over the past year. “In 2018, I believe more and more people will begin to take their health and wellness insights to the next level with their genetic data,” says CEO and Founder of EverlyWell Julia Cheek. “The promise of genetic testing is that it can tell you more about the way you’re built, so that you can tailor your lifestyle to fit your biology — and ultimately change up your fitness routine to get great results.”

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Christmas Recipes Packed With Flavor—Not Calories

Thanks to this easy and delicious recipe, you can enjoy the best flavors and dishes of the holiday season without packing on the pounds.

Every year I struggle with finding the right balance of sharing fun holiday treats, but also keeping them mostly healthy.  I know we all fight the battle of having ten million un-healthy options around us everyday, but it is especially hard this time of year.  The cookie trays, hot chocolate and chocolate is everywhere.  And while there is a time and place for all of those it’s also nice to have some healthy options up your sleeve.

Ingredients
  • ½ cup cup raw almonds
  • ⅓ cup pitted medjool dates (about 6)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon mini dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup crushed peppermint
Instructions
  1. Put almonds in a food processor and chop.
  2. Add the dates and blend well.
  3. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract. peppermint extract, and coconut oil. Blend for several minutes until starting to combine. Add a couple drops of water if necessary to help it move.
  4. Add the chocolate chips and pulse a few final times to combine well. You don’t want to pulverize the chocolate though.
  5. Take a heaping teaspoon of the mixture in your hand and roll into a ball. The coconut oil will soften and it will be very messy. The warmth of your hand will allow the coconut oil to help bind the bite. You will end up pushing it more together than actually rolling it. While it is still warm press into the peppermint.
  6. Allow the finished bites to set in the fridge for 30 minutes to re-solidify the coconut oil.

SPINACH BALLS – EASY AND HEALTHY APPETIZER

  • Spinach – fresh or frozen
  • Eggs
  • Grated cheese of your choice – I probably tried 10 different sorts of hard grated cheese and all goes well. My favorite is emmental, cheddar and mozzarella
  • Panko crumbs – gluten free or not as you like
  •  Fresh herbs – parsley or coriander are my favorites
  • Garlic salt – or fresh garlic and salt but I am lazy sometime and both result in a delicious spinach ball

This is a NO FAIL recipe. If you have got a large mixing bowl and you are not scared to get your hands a bit dirty, here you go! You are a few minutes away of making the most delicious spinach balls for your next party.

Those spinach balls are way better HOT and dipped into the sauce ! 

Vegan Tzatziki Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250 ml )dairy free coconut yogurt (if not vegan use low-fat greek yogurt)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 large cucumber, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Slice the cucumber in half and scrape out the seeds. This part has to be removed to avoid water into the dip.
  2. Grate the remaining cucumber part. Squeeze out the extra liquid with your hands. Discard the liquid.
  3. Place the grated cucumber into a small bowl.
  4. In another bowl combine olive oil, crushed garlic clove, finely chopped mint, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  5. Stir into the grated cucumber and finally stir in the dairy-free coconut yogurt until it forms a thick dip.
  6. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for at least 2 hours to let the flavor blend.

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Hatha Yoga

What Hatha Yoga Means

Hatha yoga is sometimes called a “dual” type of yoga because it includes a duality between two opposites: the sun (in Hinda, “ha”) and the moon (“tha”). Some who practice Hatha yoga call it a “yoking” yoga as it joins these two opposites together. This main established principle for Hatha yoga leads to specific structured poses and other activities that help with body and mind “purification” through principles like asana (postures), pranayama (subtle energy control) and more.

 In Hatha yoga, we aim to balance ida and pingala, the left and right energy channels (nadis) of our body to awaken the shushumna nadi, the main and central energy channel. The asana practice in hatha yoga is very gentle and soft. By describing it as soft, we don’t mean “easy”.

The postures can be very challenging, however, the approach to master them comes step by step. In the Hatha practise, we always begin with a good warm up to prepare our body for the more advanced poses and prevent injuries and overstretching. A good warm-up is 10-15 min long and smoothens all joins, muscles, and tendons.

After the warm-up, a class often begins with sun salutations and then goes over to 4-7 asanas with modifications. In the Hatha practice, the postures are often held over longer periods to improve the flexibility and adjust the body in the various asanas. A posture can be held for approximately 1-3 minutes. This does not only help to get into the posture but also aims to focus the mind, make it more steady. Asana means “steady posture”. At the end of a class, you will be laying in shavasana for 10 minutes, flat on your back with eyes closed. During shavasana, your body gets time to fully relax, let go of any tension and fully sink into the ground. Overall, we can say that Hatha Yoga is the most effective, smoothest and most balancing type of yoga.

Most forms of yoga in the West can be classified as Hatha Yoga. Hatha simply refers to the practice of physical yoga postures, meaning your Ashtanga, vinyasa, Iyengar and Power Yoga classes are all Hatha Yoga. The word “hatha” can be translated two ways: as “willful” or “forceful,” or the yoga of activity, and as “sun” (ha) and “moon” (tha), the yoga of balance. Hatha practices are designed to align and calm your body, mind, and spirit in preparation for meditation.

Benefits of Hatha YogaThose who take the time to study this ancient yoga art understand that there are some specific benefits of becoming adept at practicing Hatha yoga style. One of the main ones stems from one of the pillars of the Hatha style: breathing. Controlling breath can help improve oxygenation of the body and alleviate stress in some forms. Other elements of Hatha yoga also help with relaxing the body and fighting the stresses of the modern world. As a historical preparation for intensive meditation, Hatha yoga has a lot to offer a modern Western audience.

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Best Workout Tips of All Time

Want to know the secrets to getting a toned, trim body in record time? We did too, so we went straight to the top personal trainers, exercise physiologists and fitness instructors for the ultimate moves and motivation tricks to kick a fitness routine into high gear. Put a few of these tips into action each week and you’re guaranteed to see faster results!

  1. Tone Up on the Treadmill
    “Save time at the gym with this 10-minute cardio/sculpt session: Hop on a treadmill holding a three- to five-pound dumbbell in each hand, and set the speed to a brisk walk. Do a one-minute set each of shoulder presses, biceps curls, triceps extensions, side laterals, front laterals and standing triceps kickbacks one after another as you walk. It’s an amazing upper-body challenge that also gets your heart pumping. Do this series two or three times each week. As you improve, work up to doing four-minute sets.”
  2. Power Up Your Runs
    “Adding wall sits to the end of every run will strengthen your quads, hamstrings and glutes, improving your speed and endurance. Lean against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart, then squat until your knees are bent at 45 degrees. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds; work up to doing 10 sets. Add a challenge by including heel raises: Lift your left heel, then the right, then lift both together twice.”
    —Mindy Solkin, owner and head coach of the Running Center, New York City
  3. Chart Your Progress
    “Stay motivated using a fitness report card. Jot down these subjects: Cardio, Muscle Conditioning, Flexibility and Attitude. Set goals (for example, doing 10 “boy” push-ups) and grade yourself A through F at least four times a year. When you see how much you improve, you’ll want to stay in great shape.”
    —Ken Alan, Los Angeles—based personal trainer
  4. Try This All-in-One Toner
    “A side-step squat with wood chop works your arms, torso, abs, back, legs, inner thighs and butt. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a three- to four-pound medicine ball in your hands. Bend your arms up so that the ball is at eye level over your right shoulder. As you bring the ball toward your left knee, step out with your left leg and bend it no further than 90 degrees, keeping your right leg straight. Return to the starting position. Do 10 to 15 reps and repeat on the other leg.”
    —David Kirsch, trainer and author of The Ultimate New York Body Plan 
  5. Be Happy

    Be sure to pick an activity you actually enjoy doing, suggests Los Angeles celebrity trainer Sebastien Lagree.

    “If you hate weights, don’t go to the gym. You can lose weight and get in shape with any type of training or activity,” he says.

    And choose something that is convenient. Rock climbing may be a great workout, but if you live in a city, it’s not something you’ll be doing every day.

  6.  Watch the Clock

    Your body clock, that is. Try to work out at the time you have the most energy, suggests Jason Theodosakis, MD, exercise physiologist at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. If you’re a morning person, schedule your fitness activities early in the day; if you perk up as the day goes along, plan your activities in the afternoon or evening.

    “Working out while you have the most energy will yield the best results,” Theodosakis says.

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Victoria’s Secret Show Workout

The reputation of the models’ workouts precedes them as the “body of an Angel” is put on a pedestal as the most sculpted physique in fashion. With the countdown to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2017 well and truly on, rumors begin to swirl about how many training sessions the catwalk stars complete in a day during the run-up to the catwalk extravaganza. To put the record straight, Vogue quizzed Angels Adriana Lima, Lily Aldridge, Martha Hunt and Sara Sampaio on exercise regimes, diet plans and how they plan to let loose in Shanghai afterwards.

Adriana Lima: Each year, I try to be physically and mentally prepared for the show. People say that we train like Olympic athletes and I think although obviously it’s a much different goal, we do work very hard to achieve how we want to look and feel as we walk down the runway for millions of people.
Lily Aldridge: I work out with Ballet Beautiful founder Mary Helen Bowers six times a week, sometimes twice a day leading up to the show.
Martha Hunt: I also do Ballet Beautiful, as it’s great for my mental state and strengthening my body. Barre helps to tone and sculpt my glutes, legs and core without overdoing it, and ballet helps with graceful transitions between poses. I also work out with a trainer to incorporate weights and cardio.
Sara Sampaio: I work out with my trainer Justin Gelband, and do Pilates at Flex Studios in New York around five times a week, depending on how my body feels and my schedule. Resting is as important as working out. With Justin, we do a lot of resistance training, some cardio and a lot of butt work with ankle weights.

When did you start training for Shanghai?

AL: As a model, I always have to be ready, but during the few months leading up to the show I try to eat very lean and green, drink lots of water and work out almost every day. I train all year long, but I kick it up a little bit leading up to the show.
LA: I work out all year long, I love to be in shape and feel good. We just ramp up the workouts closer to the show.
MH: Ditto.
SS: I started after fashion week, so around two months before the show. For me, the most important part is maintaining a balanced diet, which is a challenge because I love bread, pasta and all Mediterranean foods. I try to eat cleaner with lots of protein, veggies and fruit.

If you already get inspired, you can try the Last Workout Before the Victoria’sSecret Fashion Show from  Karlie Kloss.

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Mediterranean Salad Bowls w/ Lebanese BBQ Meatballs

Do you know one of those meals that you just keep going back to, time and time again? The ones that don’t really require specific quantities, have amazing flavors and taste great no matter what? That’s this Mediterranean Quinoa Salad Bowl for me. Friends, add this bowl to your weekly rotation. Let’s have a build-a-bowl party.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup chopped cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup chopped olives
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons red onion
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons hummus
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil + salt + black pepper
  • Lime wedges to serve

Instructions

Cook the quinoa according to package directions and as desired: see here how to cook quinoa

Per Bowl

Split the ingredients in half and add to each quinoa bowl as desired. Spoon hummus on top and mix all the ingredients together if desired. Drizzle olive oil, and grind salt and black pepper over each quinoa bowl. Serve with a lime wedge to squeeze over olives, cheese, tomatoes and red onions. Enjoy!

Lebanese BBQ Meatballs

  1. Mediterranean Salad Bowls w/ Lebanese BBQ Meatballs! This gluten-free recipe makes for an easy, healthy weeknight dinner. Also perfect for having people over!

Ingredients

Salad:

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion

Meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 lbs lean organic, grass-fed beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 4 tsp mint
  • 4 tsp parsley
  • 3 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • salt/pepper
  • Mediterranean Salad Bowls w/ Lebanese BBQ Meatballs! This gluten-free recipe makes for an easy, healthy weeknight dinner. Also perfect for having people over!

Create the meatballs by mixing the meat, all of the spices, and red onion together. Roll the meat into 1″ balls and place on skewers that have been soaked in water.

Place each skewer on a lightly oiled baking pan.

Broil at 500 degrees (keeping the oven door open about 2″) for 5-7 minutes, then rotate each skewer and continue broiling for another 5-7 minutes. Ensure that beef is fully cooked.

While the meatballs are cooking, cook the quinoa according to directions.

Slice the cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, and avocado.

Toss the vegetables, quinoa, and feta together in a large bowl to create the salad.

Serve each bowl by adding 1/4th of the salad and topping with meatballs. Enjoy!

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Mountain biking – Sedona

 Mountain biking is picking up across the country. The adventurous sport, especially in Sedona, is a must-do for any buccaneer. Several hot-spot single track locations for bikers also offer amazing outdoors vistas.

Best of all, most of the climbs are relatively short and the descents have fantastic flow and features. The marked and mapped trails are super fun, but if you are lucky a local rider might let you in on some secret trails that are typically much more challenging that what you can find on the maps.

Voyaging through the region’s red rocks on a mountain bike is a bucket list item for many eager riders across the globe. Sedona holds something special for every type of rider, with killer trails nestled among striking scenery.

The mountain biking season arrives right on time for the exciting Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, beginning on March 3rd-5th. The following recommendations are from festival co-director Mike Raney. They range from beginner roads to the most advanced of single track.

The trails are perfect for riding through the fresh mountain air, getting some dirt on your spokes, and experiencing some of the best mountain biking in the country.

Newcomer – Bell Rock Pathway

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With a tightly buckled helmet and a firm grip on the handle bars, beginner riders should head out to Sedona’s Bell Rock pathway. This combination hiking/biking trail is tidy and clean, but still winds through the high desert mountain landscape. This trail is top of the to-do list for first time riders, and has been pegged as the best place in Sedona to work on building mountain biking skills.

Mediocre – The Mescal Trail

To the gutsier of riders, be sure to take on a few of these intermediate paths. The Mescal trail traverses across the Mescal Mountain, a known vortex in the area. Not only is this a less technical trail, but the stunning views make it an absolute must-do.

The Chuck Wagon trial is a newer trail, known for its variety of desert landscapes. Lastly, located near Over The Edgebike shop is a group of Soldiers Wash Trails that are all mid-level, and include Javalina trail, Adobe Jack, Coyote, Grand Central, and Soldiers Pass Trail. If you’re stoked on trying a variety of unique trails, be sure to check these out.

Avant-Garde – The Hiline Trail

TripAdvisor

Experience and a bit of nerve are required for these next few trails, but don’t let the challenge daunt you. These rides are breathtaking, but with windy backroads and unexpected delights, these are rides for the most veteran of bikers. The Hiline trail has plenty of steady climbs, abundant views, and stacked red rock walls. Be cautious, some sections of the roads are labeled black diamond.

Broken Arrow – Chicken Point has also been tagged as a true classic of Sedona mountain biking. It crosses paths with the popular Jeep tour, has tons of slick rock, and includes stunning views all around. Finally, check out the Slim Shady trail, a quick and flowy downhill trail you’ll want to hit over and over.

Supreme – The Hangover Trail

YouTube

One more, and a true thriller, is the Hangover trail. Known to advanced riders and the mecca of Sedona mountain biking, this course hosts jaw-dropping views and steep drops. This epic trail is reminiscent of the White Line trail that showcases spine-tingling adventure for the bravest of adrenaline junkies.

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What Is Functional Training and How Can It Benefit You?

Functional Training has been used as a buzz word for many years now.

The idea behind functional training is that each exercise should be more natural and carry over into daily life. Functional training exercises tend to activate more muscles and therefore consume more energy. These multidimensional exercises also tend to improve your natural movement skills and enhance your general mobility.

Functional training helps provide you with the strength, stability, and mobility you need to thrive in your life and sports. You use basic functional movement patterns like pushing, pulling, hinging, squatting, rotating, carrying and gait patterns—walking and running—every day. Functional training utilizes exercises that improve your movement proficiency in these primary patterns to give you an edge so you can achieve your goals safely and with good health. Seems smart, right?

Fitness professionals typically recommend functional training to pregnant women or clients recovering from injuries or illness as a replacement for standard endurance or strength training. The reasoning is that it’s best not to push a person’s body to engage in exercise that it can’t currently handle.

# 1 – Dumbbell Reverse Lunge with Rotation

The Reverse lunge with Rotation combines a lot of movement changes and challenges your balance, mobility and core stability all at the same time. It is important to ensure that the rotation comes from the midsection of the body rather than the shoulders. The back knee should not rest on the floor during the rotational part of the movement. Ensure that this functional training exercise is divided into 3 parts: the Reverse Lunge, then the Rotation back and forth, and finally the step back to the stating position.

Workout Example: 10 repetitions each side, rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 3-5 sets.

 

# 2 – Hip and Thoracic Openers

This hip opening exercise can be used as part of your warm up or as part of your main functional training program. Due to most peoples sedentary lifestyles the hips can become very stiff with limited mobility. Tight hips will cause lower back issues and general movement compensations. This functional training exercise not only opens the hips but also strengthens the core muscles and improves mobility in the upper spine too, another common area that lacks mobility due to too much sitting. Breathing is a key part to this exercise so ensure that you breathe out as you sink your hips down into the movement.

Workout Example: Try 20 alternating repetitions with controlled breathing

# 3 – Single Leg Dumbbell Row

Rowing exercises are very important because not only do they counteract all the sitting that we do but they also target a huge amount of neglected muscle mass on the back. As soon as you start standing on one leg and performing a row lots of great things start to happen. Standing on one leg improves hip stability which is essential because most people have weak external rotation which affects gait. The one legged stance also encourages greater core activation in order to deal with rotational forces placed on the body during the one arm row. A flat back is vital throughout this functional training exercise to keep the spine protected. Try to work on the mid back muscles by rowing towards the hips rather than shrugging the shoulders.

Workout Example: Try 8 repetitions each side, rest 60 seconds and repeat for 3-4 sets.

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Rage Yoga – Vent out your anger

There is a new exercise trend taking over the world, and it’s completely blowing our minds.

For those among us who want to reap the benefits of the spiritual exercise – but fail to get adequate stress relief from wobbling along in silence – Rage Yoga could be for you.

What is Rage Yoga?

A yoga practice that started as a way to become fit and vent out the anger and pain of a failed broken relationship has today become a movement with many people actually being a part of it. Lindsay was going through a bad break up and while doing yoga, she used to get angry.

So, in Rage Yoga sessions, you vent out your anger, frustration and emotions by stretching, cursing and making rude gestures (like showing middle finger), while heavy rock music plays in the background. The Rage Yoga classes are being conducted since January, on Monday and Wednesday nights.

Ok – so it’s pretty different.

Rage yoga is for those who love yoga but do not fit into conventional classes’, explained Lindsay-Marie Istace: the inventor of this new approach to Zen. ‘On and off the mat, Rage Yoga is an attitude. Centered, confident and giving zero fu*ks.’

Detox Retox! 😂😂😂 #rageyoga #smilesformiles #yogaeveryday lol had a blast tonight with yall

A post shared by Clara (@clarabrown6) on

Now, the Rage Yoga Guru is the proud creator of the newest trend, helping those like herself who want to improve their balance, flexibility and posture, but do not feel comfortable in conventional classes – or for those who just have a little bit more aggression. As it stands, it’s only available in Canada – but we reckon it’ll take off here before long!

The Best Rainy-Day Workouts

It seems the autumn is leaving outdoor junkies disappointed and dying to get outside. While some may see the wet weather as a damper on their fitness plans, others see it as a blessing. However you choose to look at it, here are a few ways to work around the weather and stay on track with your goals.
Lap Pool

If the rain is keeping you from an outdoor swim at the beach or neighborhood lake, head to a nearby pool for your water workout. While swimming indoors might not give you the same challenges or unexpected obstacles as being in the open water, challenge yourself by doing  swimming interval workout.

Indoor Cycling Class

Nothing beats biking when the weather’s right, but cycling in the rain makes things risky when it comes to falls, visibility, and traction. Hitting the stationary bike can be a good alternative to a leisurely ride, but turn things up by taking an indoor cycling class. Designed to mimic a challenging outdoor ride, you’ll be sprinting and climbing hills while jumping in and out of the saddle.

Hit the Treadmill

If it’s raining outside, but you’re craving a run around the park or a trek up a mountain, the treadmill can easily become your best friend. Forgot what you thought about mindlessly running at the same speed on the same incline — there’s a treadmill workout for almost any outdoor trek you can think of, from running up and down hills to ascending a mountain!

PRO TIP 

Make a summer playlist.

 Nothing can improve the mood of a workout like music selection; pick a few of your favorite summer beats to get your mind off the cloudy weather. OAR, Shwayze and Jimmy Buffet are a few of our unconventional favorites. What are some of yours

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Exercises That Will Show Your Lower Belly Who’s Boss

For most guys, starting from the bottom and working upward is a great strategy when training abs, because your lower abs tend to be more stubborn than the upper portion in terms of strength and definition. The idea, then, is to develop a routine that works every muscle group in your abs in tandem in order to provide the balance you need.

6-pack abs are considered the hallmarks of a perfect physique nowadays. Even though they are a great goal to aim for, It’s at the same time one of the hardest. Getting your lower abs shredded comes as a combination of a good diet and specific exercises. In this article we’ll show you the exercises.

Leg raise variations are a little-known movement for getting ripped abs!

There’s no movement that will help you create an amazingly flat stomach like leg raises. The most common ab exercises are crunches and yet they don’t even come close to leg raises. It’s strange that leg raises got neglected by fitness enthusiasts when it comes to ab training, however, it needs to be a staple, in your ab workouts. This is not just the best way to get awesome lower abs. It’s the best method to get incredibly strong contractions in your midsection, which is the prime indicator that you’re blasting your abs.

1. Lying leg raises 5 sets x 20 reps.

Lay on the floor on your back and lift the legs in a way that your feet are positioned directly above the hips. Lower the legs slowly so that the feet nearly touch the ground. Raise them back up to above the hips and then repeat the movement. Strive for 4 sets of 20 full reps. If that’s too difficult, do the movement with the knees bent at a 90-degree angle first and then work up to performing the movement with straight legs. The lower abs will be absolutely trashed by the time you get to set 4 or 5, regardless of how strong you get at the movement.

2. Hanging knee-ups: 4 sets x 15 reps.

 

Hang on a bar and raise the knees slowly until the upper legs go at a 90-degree angle. Then lower them back down. This might seem hard at first since the hip flexors will be the weak point. It’s also possible that your grip may be weak too. Avoid using wrist straps, since you want to strengthen your grip as well and also build strong and muscular forearms.

3. Hanging leg raises 4 sets x 20 reps.

Hang yourself from a bar, keep the legs straight or your knees bent slightly and then start raising them until you reach a 90-degree angle with your torso and legs. If the hamstrings feel tight, stretch them good before doing the exercise. It is important that you do this movement in a slow and controlled way.

It’s likely that you won’t be able to do a lot of these at first, but don’t worry. Maybe less than one percent of the people training in the gym posses abs that are strong enough to do them. If this proves to be too hard for you, you can first try to master the movement by doing it with your legs bent. The straighter the legs are the harder the movement.

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Stronger From Head To Toe – Plank Challenge

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Planks challenge your arms, legs, chest, shoulders, and butt, not to mention make your abs quiver like an earthquake when done properly. Best of all, you can do them anywhere and tweak them to suit your ability. The more you plank, the stronger and more stable you get, and the longer your muscles can endure a plank hold. That’s the intention of our Week plank challenge. (Got 10 minutes? Then you’ve got time to lose the weight for good with Prevention’s new 10-minute workouts.

Your performance will improve if you take active recoveries (or continue moving) between plank holds. This plan uses back extensions as an active recovery exercise because they strengthen the lower back, which is the opposing muscle group to the abs you’re strengthening in plank.

Day 1 Plank Challenge: Forearm Plank (Low Plank)

  • Place elbows directly beneath your shoulders, legs extended.
  • Press through your heels so calves are lengthened. Draw your navel toward your spine and engage your glutes.
  • Hold for 45 seconds; do three sets.

Day 2 Plank Challenge: Forearm Side Plank

  • Start in basic low plank.
  • Make fists with both hands and rotate your right fist into your left elbow to transition into a right side plank.
  • Extend your left arm to the ceiling.
  • Hold the right side plank for 45 seconds then pass through basic plank and rotate your left fist into your right elbow to transition into a left side plank.
  • Hold a left side plank for 45 seconds; do three sets (one set constitutes both sides).

Form Tip: Remember to keep your glutes engaged and navel toward your spine. Drive your hips toward the ceiling and stack your feet to keep your hips square.

Day 3 Plank Challenge: Extended Arm Plank (High Plank)

  • Place your wrists directly under your shoulders, using the same form tips as a low plank.
  • Hold for 45 seconds; do three sets.

Day 4 Plank Challenge: High Side Plank

  • Start in basic high plank.
  • Walk your right hand to the midline of your body and roll onto the outside edge of your right foot.
  • Stack your feet, drive your hips to the ceiling and extend your left arm to the ceiling.
  • Hold for 45 seconds, then pass through basic high plank and repeat of the left side.
  • Do three sets (one set constitutes both sides).

Day 5 Plank Challenge: Low Plank with Knee Taps

  • Assume low plank position.
  • Alternate knee taps to the floor, focusing more on your low abdomen.
  • Continue alternating for 45 seconds; do three sets.

Day 6 Plank Challenge: High Plank Shoulder Taps

  • Assume a high plank position.
  • Keeping your hips square, working hard not to let them sway side to side, lift your right hand to tap your left shoulder, then your left hand to tap your right shoulder.
  • Continue alternating for 45 seconds; do three sets.

Day 7 Plank Challenge: Nail the Basics

  • Start in a forearm plank.
  • Do two knee taps, one with each knee.
  • Transition to a high plank.
  • Tap each hand to its opposite shoulder.
  • Return to forearm plank.
  • Repeat for 45 seconds; do three sets.

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5 Creative Ways to Move More Every Day

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The researchers assessed 6,000 Americans’ physical activity and health risk factors. To their surprise, people who were active throughout the day–even for just one or two minutes here and there–were nearly as healthy as the people who crammed a full day’s worth of exercise into a single session. In fact, 43 percent of the people who didn’t purposefully exercise met the physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes of daily exercise, anyway.

 The bottom line: Moving more takes very little effort but adds up throughout the day. And while short bouts of activity won’t necessarily help you lose weight or keep it off, everyone can benefit from a little more movement—especially when you can’t squeeze in a proper workout. That said, there are plenty of super-simple ways to be more active without screwing up your whole schedule.

1.  Develop a “move more” mindset.

Carving out a specific hour of a day for a workout is great (and we will get to that in a little bit) but first, start each day with the mindset to move more. By reminding your body to get more movement throughout the day, you will be more likely to do it. So sit less and stand more. Take more steps and stairs. Walk to talk with a coworker instead of emailing them.Stretch in your chair, squat to pick something up, park far away from stores so you will walk more, stand up when you talk on the phone and do some exercises while you watch TV. There are numerous ways you can sneak more movement into your day. Begin each day with a move more mindset and you will find them.

2.  Commit to regular activity.

Take a short walk. Walk at a leisurely pace at first if exercise is new to you. You can build up to a power walk. If that’s not your thing, take a fitness class, swim laps or sign up for dance classes. Whatever exercise you start, build up slowly so you don’t overwhelm yourself and give up. If your body isn’t accustomed to regular exercise, build up slowly day by day so you don’t get too sore and throw in the towel altogether.

3.  Find your favorite exercise.

A fitness dance group class at the gym

I know people who commit to a form of exercise and hate it. How long do you think they will keep that up? We aren’t inclined to dive in or stick to things we despise. Out of all the forms of exercise out there, find one you just love. Get really specific. Don’t just say, “yoga” discover what form of yoga is your favorite. If swimming is your thing, do you prefer swimming laps or water aerobics? Or maybe you’d dread a step class but you can’t get enough of Pilates.

4.  Focus on health and strength and what it means to you, and not on numbers on a scale.

Many people can get easily discouraged and give up when there’s too much emphasis on weight loss. Rather than an exclusive focus on weight loss, focus on the joys of exercise and movement instead. Take pride in your body getting stronger or your new ability to able to exercise longer, even if it’s just in baby steps. Think about the great way your body feels after exercise and the exhilaration you feel. Taking the time to consider what really connects you to exercise on an emotional level, is powerful because you can use those thoughts to motivate you.

Most likely what motivates you runs much deeper than getting skinnier or being a specific set of three numbers on a scale. Identify what it is for you. Maybe you want to have more energy for your children or grandchildren or you want to be in more control of your health—whatever is your core motivation—connect to it.

5.  Put yourself first.

Stressful situations can take your focus away from properly caring for yourself. If you neglect yourself for the sake of external problems, you will be creating more problems than you are solving. Make sure you consider what you need and do something—however small—for yourself each day. Even if you only have 15 minutes, just commit to 15 minutes. It all goes back to the oxygen philosophy you hear about on planes flight attendants advice: “Put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others.” Put the mask on you first and then your children. You aren’t able to effectively take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first. Keep that in mind.

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Yoga Poses to Do Every Day

Home practice is hard. It’s only human to go through phases where you get distracted by the shiny, next, new challenge pose in your practice—or on the opposite end of the spectrum simply get stuck on your favorite feel-good sequence. And while you definitely don’t want to lose sight of goals or the sweet sensations that keep you coming back to your mat, it’s a good idea to take a critical eye to your practice now and then and look for the areas where you could strive for greater balance.

That’s what yoga is all about after all, and practitioners of every level can benefit from going back to basics regularly to reexamine the actions and alignment of foundational standing poses, backbends, forward bends, and inversions.

1. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations)

Sun-Salutation-Sequence

There are several variations to this sequence of postures known as salute to the sun. They’re traditionally practiced as the sun is rising, and whichever version of Surya Namaskar you practice, they’re a great way to warm up and start to sync movement of the body with the flow of the breath.

As they work all of the 7 major chakras, they’ll help you light up energetically and the rhythmic movement can help create a sense of inner calm.

2. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

It’s most commonly called Chair Pose, which kinda suggests something comfortable and relaxing. Personally, I think it’s more appropriate to use one Utkatasana’s other translations, Thunderbolt, Fierce Pose or Awkward Pose.

Call it what you will, Utkatasana is an amazing way to generate heat in the body and quickly build energy. It activates the core and the legs and challenges your mind to stay present and positive, all great benefits for a morning practice.

3. Parivrtta Utkatasana (Revolved Chair Pose)

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I mean, if you’re going to go to all the trouble of sitting down in your not-so-comfy Chair, you might as well get the twisting benefits of the revolved variation right?! Twisting poses have a squeeze and release effect on your digestive system and internal organs so they help promote detoxification. And on that note, I’d hold off on breakfast until after your practice if you plan on getting twisty…

4. Downward Dog

Stretch the entire backside of your body: your back, hamstrings, calves and Achilles.

Try one of these 10 yoga poses every day.

A) Begin in a kneeling position on your mat with hands directly under shoulders, fingers spread wide.

B) Tuck your toes under and engage your abdominals as you push your body up off the mat so only your hands and feet are on the mat.

C) Press through your hands, moving your chest gently toward your thighs and your heels gently toward the floor.

5. Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

I’ve got a problematic psoas muscle that likes to grip and shorten any chance it can get, so Anjaneyasana is like a bubble bath for my hip flexors. You get that lovely open stretchy feeling through the hips, arms and torso, and it also builds strength in the legs.

A really nice morning variation is to interlace the fingers behind the lower back and gently drawing the hands away to open the chest and heart space.

7. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Leg Forward Fold)

I prefer this wide-legged forward fold to Uttanasana in the morning because it seems to feel better in my body, but of course both are great options. You’ve got glorious lengthening in the spine,a stretch through the hamstrings, and the effects of the inversion help you face the day with calmness and clarity. There are 3 variations of Prasarita Padottanasana, you could do all, or pick one that works best for your body.

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Seven Habits of Healthy People

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How is it that some people seem to avoid sickness while you and your family are in and out of the doctor every other week? Is there something you don’t know? When generally healthy people are compared to those who get sick more often, several lifestyle differences clearly stand out.

So if you want to stay healthy, you may want to adopt the seven habits healthy people typically follow.

1. LEAD AN ACTIVE LIFE

It comes as no surprise that exercise is good for your physical and mental health. Regular physical activity is proven to lessen your likelihood of disease and reduce stress. Healthy people make exercise a regular part of their everyday routines. Besides getting 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, they lead active lifestyles by walking more, moving more, and sitting less.

Cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises are all a part of a balanced fitness program. Find an exercise you enjoy, skip the ones you don’t, and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.

2. GET QUALITY SLEEP

Your body takes advantage of the time you’re asleep to repair and renew your mind and body for the day ahead. A lack of sleep impairs your immune system and ability to maintain a healthy weight. Without enough sleep, you’re likely to be irritable and clumsy, increasing your risk of accidents. Adults should aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Kids and teenagers need even more.

3.  VEG OUT

The average American eats only two to three servings of fruits and vegetables per day, even though research suggests that eating seven to nine servings of these anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-packed foods can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease by 50 percent, according to a recent study.

Vegetables typically have more fiber than most fruits, but both are an important part of your diet. Consume a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables using the 4-3-2-1 method:

  • Four servings at breakfast: Two-egg, spinach and tomato omelet, a banana and glass of orange juice (four servings)

4. KEEP AN OPTIMISTIC OUTLOOK

Healthy people are known to be more optimistic about the future, and rightly so! Life isn’t all gloom and doom and constant complaining shouldn’t be the name of the game. There’s good to be found, things to be thankful for, and hope for what’s to come every single day. A positive, optimistic outlook helps reduce stress, which helps build your immune system, protects your mind from falling into depression, and keeps you focused on healthy habits.

5. THE EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM.

People who work out first thing in the morning are more likely to continue with a regular exercise program than those who work out at any other time of the day. Making exercise a daily ritual is key, but you don’t have to go to a gym to get a workout. A morning walk, jog or yoga practice for at least 30 minutes can help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and even type 2 diabetes. Strength training has considerable benefits, especially after the age of 40, including keeping bones strong and boosting metabolism for a leaner body. However, whether you work out in the morning or any other time of day, the key is to do at least 30 minutes at moderate intensity. If you work out at a lower intensity, you’ll need to increase the length of your workouts to achieve the same benefits.

6. MAKE HEALTHY EATING THE NORM

Diets may help get you on track, but they aren’t permanent. Healthy people realize that the path to health is healthy eating today, tomorrow, and always. It’s not about eliminating food groups, slashing calories, or doing juice cleanses every other month. Rather, it’s about eating a balanced, nutritious diet, correct portion sizes, and a few indulgences thrown in here and there. This means planning ahead, time spent at the grocery store, and time spent in the kitchen.

7. HAVE STRONG SOCIAL TIES

A support system of family and friends goes a long way in keeping you healthy. Surround yourself with people who have similar health goals, encourage you to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and are there for you during the ups and downs in life. Social connections may not seem attached to good health, but spend some time with family and friends you love and you’ll see how much better you feel!

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How to Design the Perfect Circuit

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Circuit training has long been known in the fitness industry as a great way to maximize your workout efficiency. There are countless exercises that could be a part of a great circuit, and several different ways in which those exercises could be programed. So how do you sift through all of that information to create the best circuit for your clients’ needs?

While this style of training has a lot to recommend it, figuring out how to set up an effective circuit workout can be intimidating at first. That’s why we pulled together six easy steps to help you build your perfect circuit.

Step 1: A work-to-rest ratio

Circuits are made up of work (exercise) for a determined period of time, followed directly by rest or active recovery. If you are new to exercise, using an aerobic circuit is a safe introduction to this type of workout. A work-to-rest ratio of 1:1 is appropriate for an aerobic circuit. This means that the work and recovery times are equal and somewhat steady state (as opposed to high intensity or vigorous). This could mean doing a particular exercise for two minutes, and then doing active recovery for two minutes. Active recovery could be anything from pacing slowly back and forth, slowing down the exercise you are doing, or changing to a different activity that will stabilize your heart rate. Compared to higher-intensity circuits, exercising for a longer interval (usually one minute or more in an aerobic circuit), the intensity of the exercise decreases and the heart rate should stay lower.
(The shorter the workout, the harder you should be pushing!) Anywhere from 10-45 minutes is ideal.

Example: Five stations of 1-minute each repeated for six circuits adds up to a 30-minute workout.

Step 2: Pick an upper-body exercise.
The trick with circuit training is to use whatever you have handy. If you’re at the gym, you have a wide range of options, but all you really need is your body. You can choose a different upper-body move each time through the circuit or simply repeat the same exercise every time if you want to keep things simple.

Example:
Circuit 1: Shoulder presses
Circuit 2: Bent-over rows
Circuit 3: Standing dumbbell curls
Circuit 4: Triceps dips
Circuit 5: Pushups
Circuit 6: Russian ab twists

Step 3:  Pick a lower-body exercise.
Just like you did with the upper body, choose exercises that will work each part of your lower body. You can change up the moves each time through the circuit or keep them the same.

Example:
Circuit 1: Walking lunges
Circuit 2: Sumo squats
Circuit 3: Calf raises
Circuit 4: Hamstring curls on a Swiss ball
Circuit 5: Deadlifts
Circuit 6: Supermans

Step 4: Pick a compound exercise.
Weight training is an excellent workout, but you’ll really get your heartrate up by adding in some total-body movements.

Example:
Circuit 1: Jumping lunges
Circuit 2: Mountain climbers
Circuit 3: Thrusters (squat to shoulder press)
Circuit 4: Cleans
Circuit 5:  Bench hop-overs
Circuit 6: Single-arm swing

Step 5: Choose a sprint for 1 minute.


Research shows that short, fast sprints are the most effective way to torch fat—especially around your midsection. Pick any type of cardio you like and go all out for 1 minute.

Example:
Circuit 1: Running
Circuit 2: Jumping rope
Circuit 3: Rowing
Circuit 4: Cycling
Circuit 5:  Up-hill jogging
Circuit 6: Stair climbing

Step 6: Rest for 1 minute.
You’ve earned it! Let your heartrate come down and then go back through the circuit as many times as you’d like!

Example: Get a drink and make sure your music is all set for the next round. We don’t recommend collapsing in a sweaty heap on the gym floor; we care too much to let you roll in grime.

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Trendy New York Workout

In New York City, fitness studios are like restaurants: you have your go-tos, the top-reviewed places you’re willing to spend your dollars on, the hidden gems, the spots your friends drag you to, and the trending scenes where you can’t get a primetime reservation for the first year. Even if you’re not a foodie, surely you understand the comparison.
Why take a class? From the motivating, upbeat playlists to mashup formats that test your physical limits, group fitness classes offer tons of physical and mental health benefits that your home gym simply cannot.
Studies show that doing something new can keep you interested in exercise and make you more inclined to repeat that activity again.
What is trendy in New York?
1. High Intensity Interval Training

Also known as HIIT, this fitness trend suddenly burst into the fitness world in 2015, and has stayed at the top of the trends list. This type of workout usually entails short, extreme periods of exercise followed by rest.

 

 It’s known as being incredibly effective for burning fat while shaping and toning the body, and with the right playlist your workout can pass in seemingly minutes, rather than a full hour. Just be sure to workout with a highly experienced trainer, as injury is possible in the hands of the wrong trainer

2. Exhale – Core Fusion Extreme

Locations: Central Park South, Flatiron, Gramercy, Meatpacking, SoHo, Upper East Side

What To Expect: 
Following an active warm up, the class is divided into smaller groups that rotate to five different stations, each with a unique piece of equipment. Usually included: TRX suspenders, medicine balls, gliders, heavy dumbbells, and a plyo box. And the routine is changed up each month. You’ll perform two sets of exercises per station, and visit each station twice.

Moving so quickly can be a bit exhausting, but every time you feel depleted, a motivating instructor counts down and pushes you to finish. The class finishes with a thorough abdominal session and stretch. No muscle goes left untouched, and you feel totally complete.

3. Body Weight Training (no equipment)

Body Weight Training has been a major trend in the fitness scene, and with good reason. By using your own weight, there’s no reason to rely on bulky, expensive equipment, giving you a safer, quicker, and equally effective workout. We’re not talking about old school body weight training, like push-ups, but rather, the new and innovative methods that fitness experts have developed.

 

Innovative workout classes, like the new Primal Movement class developed by expert trainers Jeff Bell and Carlos Leon, are prime examples of how you can take your workout to the next level using nothing but your own body. Primal Movement is inspired by the animals in the wild (imagine a lion preparing to pounce) and engages over 600 muscles focusing on flexibility, mobility and balance. If you’re looking to burn fat, strengthen, and tone your body, this is definitely the solution.

305 Fitness – Cardio/Dance/HIIT

305 Fitness

Best For: Dance junkies looking for a healthy alternative (or addition) to clubbing.

What To Expect: Get sweaty shaking your money-maker with this high-energy, Miami nightclub-inspired dance class that feels more like a party — seriously, there’s even a live DJ. Don’t expect 55 minutes of hip-hop choreography, though, as each class fuses high-intensity exercises, sports drills, and strength training with dance-cardio routines for a total-body experience. While the heart-pounding class is definitely cardio-heavy, you’ll reap muscle-strengthening benefits from the toning component. No prior dance experience required, only an open mind. As a notoriously clumsy dancer with a total lack of coordination, I find I get the best workout by letting go and forgetting all about form.

5. Boutique Fitness Studios

Small boutique-style fitness studios have exploded in popularity all over New York City. The draw for people is the intimacy and community feel that these gyms offer which many of the large gym chains such as Equinox can’t. In a big and busy city like NYC, finding a friendly, like-minded home  to pursue your fitness aspirations can be very appealing, empowering and rewarding.

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7 Benefits of Morning Exercise and How to Do It

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There are many reasons why getting up and moving your body first thing in the morning is a must.

If you’re not a morning person then I just ask that you read this with an open mind. Maybe it sounds impossible for you to become a morning exerciser, but I once thought that too and now I can’t imagine life any other way. For me, switching from being a night owl to an early riser (and yes, it is possible) has been a godsend. It has helped me in so many ways that I’d never go back.

Here are just a few:

  1. Greet the day. I love being able to get up, and greet a wonderful new day. I suggest creating a morning ritual that includes saying thanks for your blessings. I’m inspired by the Dalai Lama, who said, ” Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.’ “

2 Amazing start. I used to start my day by jumping out of bed, late as usual, and rushing to get myself and the kids ready, and rushing to drop them to school and come in to work late. I would walk into work, looking rumpled and barely awake, grumpy and behind everyone else. Not a great start to your day. Now, I have a renewing morning ritual, I’ve gotten so much done before 8 a.m., my kids are early and so am I, and by the time everyone else gets in to work, I’ve already gotten a head start. There is no better way to start off your day than to wake early, in my experience.

3 Quietude. No kids yelling, no babies crying, no soccer balls, no cars, no television noise. The early morning hours are so peaceful, so quiet. It’s my favorite time of day. I truly enjoy that time of peace, that time to myself, when I can think, when I can read, when I can breathe.

4. Sunrise. People who wake late miss one of the greatest feats of nature, repeated in full stereovision each and every day — the rise of the sun. I love how the day slowly gets brighter, when the midnight blue turns to lighter blue, when the brilliant colors start to seep into the sky, when nature is painted in incredible colors. I like doing my early morning run during this time, and I look up at the sky as I run and say to the world, “What a glorious day!” Really. I really do that. Corny, I know.

5. Breakfast. Rise early and you actually have time for breakfast. I’m told it’s one of the most important meals of the day. Without breakfast, your body is running on fumes until you are so hungry at lunchtime that you eat whatever unhealthy thing you can find. The fattier and sugarier, the betterier. But eat breakfast, and you are sated until later. Plus, eating breakfast while reading my book and drinking my coffee in the quiet of the morning is eminently more enjoyable than scarfing something down on the way to work, or at your desk.

6. Reach Your Fitness Goals

As mentioned earlier, waking up early in the morning to exercise places a high priority on physical fitness. Whether you are aware of it or not, committing to something (in this case morning exercise) that requires sacrifice (in this case sleeping in) creates a compelling argument in your mind that says, “it better be worth it!”

Nobody wants to wake up early every morning to exercise if they aren’t going to see results. The sacrifice required will subconsciously prompt you to work harder, look for other ways to support your exercise results, and help you commit to the process over a longer period of time (hopefully for life!). A goal-oriented mindset is fostered by the sacrificial habit of morning exercise.

7. Love Your Life

Do I even need to argue this one? You have created a strong habit of morning exercise, your metabolism is flowing, your body is looking and feeling better, you’re sleeping well at night, and your mind is as sharp as ever. Are you enjoying your new life yet?

Exercise has been touted as a cure for just about anything that ails you. Frequent colds? Exercise. Poor digestion? Exercise. Feel depressed? Exercise.

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Improve your Fitness with Bodyweight Training

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Getting fit doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple bodyweight exercises can be a great choice for achieving gains in strength, flexibility, and overall health. Best of all, they don’t cost a thing and you can usually do them just about anywhere. Still not convinced? We’ve got a few reasons why bodyweight exercises should be a key component to your workout regime.

High output, low investment

The main benefit of bodyweight training is to build strength without investing hours of time a week. A short, full body routine that includes sets of exercises like lunges, squats, and crunches, with short breaks in between, can build muscle very effectively.

Better balance and flexibility

Relying on only your body to workout also improves balance and flexibility. A full body routine engages your core muscles and improves strength in your limbs. Classes like Virgin Active’s Barre 180 combine bodyweight training with yoga and dance-inspired moves to build alignment and posture.

 Control and variety

Many strength training or cardio routines can get monotonous but with bodyweight training, you’re completely in control of your routine. You can change it up to include more challenging sets on some days, exclude them on recovery days, or simply switch the order to keep it fun. 

Anywhere anytime

Bodyweight training requires no special equipment or training gear, which means that you can do it anywhere and it’s accessible for anyone. If you can’t make it to your health club, you can do it at home or outdoors.

 Keeping it lean

The short bursts of exercise that make up a bodyweight routine have been proven to help with weight loss more effectively than long cardio sessions. And the focus of many strength training routines which involve weights or other equipment is to bulk up but with effective bodyweight exercise, the result should be a lean, strong body.

The Best Exercises for Lower Abs

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If you’re like us, there’s probably one area you feel like you can’t work enough: your abs. More specifically, your lower abs. It seems like no matter how much training you do, they just stay the same. Well there’s a reason for that and you’re not alone.

“Lower abs are very difficult to strengthen because that is where our body stores most of its excess fat,” says Butler. “And for women, the hormone estrogen naturally wants to hold onto fat in this area.”

 Still, women (and men!) are constantly searching for exercises that will help eliminate that dreaded lower-belly pooch. (We got your attention, right?) And now the search is over!

90-Degree Static Press

This is a great way to wake up your core at the beginning of your workout or as a stand-alone exercise any time you want to squeeze in some extra abs work.

How to do it: Lie faceup with your knees and hips bent 90 degrees, feet flexed. Extend your arms and press both palms on top of your thighs. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, brace your abs in tight, pressing your lower back against the floor as you push your thighs into your hands, pushing back against them (note: your legs should not move). Hold for 1 count and then release. Do up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions in a row.

Make it harder: As you exhale, lift your head and shoulders off the floor as you press your thighs and palms together. Lower your upper body back down to the floor as you inhale.

Mind your muscle tip: During the contraction, imagine you are ‘zipping’ your muscles from your pelvic floor up to your belly button (drawing them in tight as if trying to squeeze into a pair of low-rise skinny jeans).

Resisted Single-Leg Stretch

This Pilates-inspired move uses the same pressing action as the static press to deepen the engagement of your abdominals. The weight of your extended leg makes it more challenging.

How to do it: Lie on your back and bend both knees into your chest, feet flexed. Interlace your fingers on top of your right thigh and extend your left leg out parallel to the floor. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor, curling up over the top of your ribcage and looking at your legs. Press your palms against your right thigh while tipping your pelvis to bring your right knee in towards your chest (your hands should add resistance to your leg). Switch legs and press your palms against the left thigh as your right leg extends parallel to the floor. That’s one rep. Do up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions in a row.

Make it harder: Keep both legs straight, pressing against the top of your thigh as one leg pulls in, and then perform a scissoring action to switch sides.

Mind your muscle tip: As you push against your thigh, imagine you are pulling your leg into your chest with your abs. Focus on feeling the extra resistance in the abs, not your thighs or hip flexors.

U-Boat

This may be a small movement, but it works your lower abdominals in a big way!

How to do it: Sit with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground. Lean back to prop your upper body up on your elbows (your back should remain lifted), palms facing down. Brace your abs in tight and lift your legs into a 90-degree angle (knees should be touching), toes pointed. Slowly bring your legs over to the left (both hips should remain on the ground). Keeping the 90-degree angle with your legs, lower your legs and then lift them up to the right, as if you were tracing a letter ‘U’ with your knees. That’s one rep. Do 20 reps total, alternating sides each time.

Make it harder: The longer the lever, the harder this gets, so if you want more of a challenge, try extending your legs out further (even straightening them completely).

Mind your muscle tip: Use your breathing to help deepen the abs work: inhale as you sweep your legs over to one side and down, and then as you come up to the other side, exhale and visualize your belly button pressing all the way back to your spine.

Reverse Plank Hover

This is another move that’s much harder than it looks. You’ll engage your abs and just about every other muscle in your body!

How to do it: Sit with your legs extended, feet flexed, hands just outside your hips with your fingertips facing your forward. Brace your abs in tight and press down through your arms to lift your hips a few inches off of the floor. Bend your knees slightly, keeping your heels on the ground. Inhale and scoop your abs in deeper towards your back, and as you exhale, fully extend your legs and try to push your hips slightly behind your shoulders. Hold for 1 count. Bend your knees and return hips under your shoulders to gently lower to the floor. That’s one rep. Repeat up to 3 sets of 10 reps.

Make it harder: Instead of lowering your hips back down to the ground in between reps, try to keep them lifted off the floor the entire set.

Mind your muscle tip: Focus on lifting and moving your hips with your abs, only using your arms and legs for assistance.

Criss-Cross Lift and Switch

This two-for-one Pilates move doubles your flat-belly results.

How to do it: Lie on your back with your arms by your sides. Extend both legs straight up to the ceiling, crossing your right leg over your left, toes pointed. Brace your abs in tight, inhale, and lower your legs about 45 degrees. As you exhale, bring your legs back into your body and lift your legs overhead on an angle (as if aiming to where the wall meets the ceiling behind you), lifting your hips and back off the floor, pressing down with your arms for support. Pause for 1 count, and then slowly roll through your spine to lower your hips and bring your legs back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Make it easier: This move is tough, so if you can’t lift your hips all the way off the floor, take your time to get stronger before attempting. Start by practicing drawing your legs up and over, and see if you can lift just a few inches off the mat and then immediately lower.

Mind your muscle tip: Your abs should remain constantly pulled in towards your back during the entire exercise. Use the visual of ‘zipping’ your muscles in from your pelvis up to your belly button as you lift your legs overhead.

Inching Elbow Plank

You’ll feel every inch of this plank in your abs (along with your arms and shoulders too).

How to do it: Begin in an elbow plank position, hands clasped, with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Step your left foot towards your hands as you begin to lift your hips up slightly, quickly taking another step in with your right foot, lifting hips a little more. Step the left foot in again, lifting your hips higher and then again with the right, so that your hips end lifted high in a pike position. Slowly inch back out, reversing the way you walked in, until you return to the starting plank pose. That’s one rep. Do up to 3 sets of 5 reps.

Make it harder: Take larger steps in to raise your hips even higher in the pike position, and increase the number of reps per set from 5 to 10.

Mind your muscle tip: Your abs should be drawn in during this entire exercise. As you step your foot in, think of bracing your abs in deeper with each step.

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Ideal Warmer Workouts for Autumn and Winter

As I write this it’s getting towards the end of October and the clocks are due to move backward very soon, plunging us into ever decreasing hours of daylight and colder, more wintery weather!

It’s that time of year when it gets harder to spring out of bed and the outdoor workouts become fewer and fewer. But, with a bit of forward planning your training doesn’t have to stop! You can keep moving and sweating and progressing with our Winter Warmer Home Workouts.

 

We offer five easy ways to make the most of your winter workout time:

1. Treadmill hills

Instead of the usual treadmill warm-up, turn up the incline and try getting your heart rate up with hill sprints. Try doing 8 sets of 20 second sprints with a 10 second rest in between each.

2. Squats with ‘bells

For those determinedly using the winter months to work on summer bodies, squats are one of the easiest and most effective exercises. You can add a kettlebell or barbell for an extra challenge. Work to a 40 second on, 20 second off ratio and try to do 3 sets.

3. Push-up challenge

With a continuously running clock, do one push up on the first minute, two on the second minute, three on the third and so on, for as long as possible. Try this push-up challenge with a workout buddy to keep each other motivated as the rest periods get shorter.

4. Big burpees

Burpees have a bad reputation for being tough, but they offer a quick, full-body workout. If you need a break between sets of the traditional move (stand, squat, push-up, jumping jack), try an easier version in-between by eliminating the push-up. And if you’re looking for an extra challenge, try switching the jumping jack to a high-knee jump.

5. Bike music

If lower intensity is what you’re looking for, then an hour on the bike will give you a workout that’s less demanding. To keep your energy up while cycling, refresh your workout playlists with some upbeat songs that fight off the winter woes.

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Pre And Post Workout Protein Cookies

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After coming home from a sweaty gym sesh, you know you probably should mix up a smoothie or refuel with a healthy, protein-packed meal. Let’s be honest, though. Your blood sugar is feeling low and all you really want is a cookie (or five) — stat.

Well, get ready to indulge in some chocolaty or peanut buttery goodness without feeling bad about it! Instead of another lumpy shake, replenish your energy after exercising with a protein-packed cookie, made from ingredients like protein powder, oatmeal, and almond butter.

High Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

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It doesn’t get much better than peanut butter or chocolate — unless you combine them into one delicious cookie. These are made with chocolate protein powder and cocoa powder for an extra rich flavor.

Whey protein, which is a great source of amino acids to aid recovery and repair after exercise. Alternatively, you can munch on a biscuit or two to fuel your body prior to working out. They also contain ground flax seeds, which is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, and fibre, which improves insulin sensitivity and helps beat cravings.

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 cup of apple sauce
- you can also use apple sauce as a substitute for butter in most protein bar recipes.
  • 1⁄4 cup of honey
  • 1⁄4 cup organic peanut butter
  • 1⁄4 cup water
  • 1 whole egg
  • Cinnamon
  • 4 scoops of whey protein powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp of baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1⁄2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1⁄4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 1⁄2 cups of oats
  • 1 cup of high fibre cereal
  • 1⁄2 cup raisins
  • 1⁄2 tsp of vanilla extract

Method:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Spoon mixture onto non-stick cooking sheet spaced 3 cm apart. 
If you feel the consistency of the mixture is too runny, add more oats to the mix.
  • Bake at 180°C for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Allow to cool before removing from the baking tray.

MORE IDEAS :

Coconut Oatmeal Protein Cookies

Oatmeal is secretly full of protein, so it’ll be well worth it to add some to your baking ingredient arsenal. Plus, the coconut in these will transport you to the tropics. Did we mention there’s only eight ingredients? You’ll be doing less cooking and more eating. Get the recipe.

Lemon Chia Seed Protein Cookies

You might think a lemon and chia seed combo would be reserved for breakfast, but you’re going to want to enjoy these zesty cookies with healthy chia seeds throughout the day.

Chocolate Avocado Cookies

If protein powder isn’t your favorite, you can still get its benefits from this power-packed cookie. Avocados contain 2 grams of protein each. But you’d never know from the taste that an avo was hiding in this chewy choco-licious cookie.

Low GI carbohydrates and quality protein makes these babies the perfect choice to maximise recovery.

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Secrets For Making The Most Of Your Gym Workout

You don’t want to spend long hours at the gym, but you want to get stronger, fitter, leaner, and just plain look good. It’s possible that you’re not getting the most out of your workout time.
GO EARLY
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Hitting the gym during the first half of your day has multiple benefits, according to Jimmy Minardi, founder of NYC- and Hamptons-based Minardi Training. He says to get your workout in before 1:00 pm, so conflicts are less likely to edge out your gym time and your energy is at peak levels. “Working out in the morning can boost energy for the rest of the day, giving your metabolism a jumpstart,” says Minardi. “And the thermic effect of exercise lasts at least four hours after a workout, so you’ll experience an increase in calorie expenditure throughout the day.”

TAKE A FRIEND, BUT ZIP YOUR LIPS
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It’s great to have a workout buddy, but make sure you’re there to motivate each other rather than get distracted by catching up. “Too much chatting between sets can take the momentum out of your workout,” says Minardi. “It’s good to rest enough between a high-intensity set to allow your muscles a chance to recover, but anything beyond a few minutes might make you lose your focus.”

PRACTICE PROPER POSTURE
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If you have a bad habit of tilting your body forward on the elliptical or stair-climber, stand up straighter next time around, says Joan Pagano, a certified trainer in New York City and author of Strength Training Exercises for Women. “Leaning on the handlebars reduces the effectiveness of your work by removing the emphasis from your lower body muscles,” she says. “You’re also stressing your shoulders, back and arms—so if you can’t avoid leaning, then ease up on the intensity.”

BEAR WEIGHT (SOMETIMES)
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Weight-bearing exercise has gotten a bad rap, but Minardi says you shouldn’t be afraid to step off that elliptical sometimes. “People spend too much energy on non-weight-bearing exercises like elliptical training, spinning and flat treadmill running,” he says. “This is good for people who may be recovering from injury, but not for those looking to improve overall health.” (It’s one of the 10 Things You’re Not Doing at the Gym (But Should Be).)

 Weight-bearing exercises (like yoga, dancing, or agility moves) strengthen bones and muscles, improving balance, coordination, and flexibility, says Minardi, so don’t fear a little pounding. “Any exercise where you bear your weight—even a brisk walk—has a greater overall payoff than a seated exercise.”
GET INNOVATIVE WITH MACHINES
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You don’t necessarily have to use every machine in the gym exactly as intended, or for just one exercise, says Pagano. “Use creatively,” she suggests. “With the leg press, for example, do a set using both legs, then lighten the weight and do it with one leg at a time. Keeping your feet on the platform with your legs fully extended, work your ankles by first pushing the platform away with the balls of your feet and then pushing it away with the heels of your feet, lifting your forefoot.” Pagano says this move will work your calves and lower legs better than ever. (Try the gym machines used in Kristin Cavallari’s Favorite Total-Body Gym Routine, too.)

Eat Smart and Stay Healthy and Fit

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Do you know why you eat desserts when you’re stressed? Because stressed spelt backwards is desserts! Buuuut…you’re not 12 anymore. You also know that a hot dog or two is fine every now and then, and that you can’t make them, or any other processed meats, a regular part of your daily diet.

And you’re probably also aware that daily consumption of whole grains—like oatmeal, wild and brown rice, wheat, and barley—can drop risk factors for developing a bunch of nasty conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Those two food categories—processed meats and whole grains—are closely tied to risk of colorectal cancer, or cancer of the colon or rectum, according to a recent report from the American Institute for Cancer Research that analyzed 99 studies and health stats on more than 29 million people. Foods like hot dogs and bacon significantly upped the risk, while eating three servings, or about 90g, of whole grains each day can drop the chance by 17%.

Chow down on whole grains and avoid processed meats to lessen your cancer risk

Other factors that increase risk include eating more than 500g of red meat a week, being overweight, and drinking two or more alcoholic beverages a day. To help slash risk, eat whole grains and also exercise regularly, and eat foods high in vitamin C like strawberries and spinach.

“Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers, yet this report demonstrates there is a lot people can do to dramatically lower their risk,” said lead author Edward L. Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D., professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. “The findings from this comprehensive report are robust and clear: Diet and lifestyle have a major role in colorectal cancer.”

Here are some different ideas for adding a variety of whole grains to your diet:

  • Make a cooked porridge out of oatmeal or other grains.
  • Sprinkle toasted buckwheat groats on cereal or yogurt.
  • Snack on popcorn.
  • Make polenta out of whole grain cornmeal.
  • Swap out white rice for brown rice, or for a different whole grain, like quinoa or farro.
  • Add barley to vegetable soups.
  • If you bake, try using whole grain flours, such as whole-wheat pastry flour.
  • Use stone-ground corn tortillas, rather than white tortillas, in tacos.

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What’s The Right Amount Of Cardio?

Cardio training is a must in every weightlifting and fitness routine. You can still burn fat by following a good diet, but cardio will get you there a lot faster and make things a lot easier. There is no need to even mention the overall health impact that cardiovascular training has on your organism. However, you need to use the right amount of cardio exercise in order to burn fat while still gaining muscle or holding on to your hard earned muscle.

Lifters usually avoid cardio because of two reasons:

– They are afraid that they’ll lose size. This can only happen if you overdo it and follow a very low calorie diet. After all, during mass phases all the mass you carry is not all muscle mass, but you also carry a percent of fat and water. So it’s a normal thing to lose some size when cutting body fat.

– They are bored with it.  When was the last time that you got excited about doing some cardio? Doing traditional forms of cardio such as riding an exercise bike or running on a treadmill are about as exciting as watching a movie on the family channel. Imagine how boring a cardio session looks like to hardcore liter who squats, deadlifts and pushes hundreds of pounds during his workouts. But hey, you steel need some cardio for general health and if you want to cut body fat.

The idea is to burn your fat “supplies” and build muscle at the same time (also known as body recomposition), or at least hold on to your muscle if you are in a cutting phase. If you overdo it you’ll lose muscle mass, and this is a situation you absolutely want to avoid, but at the same time you certainly don’t want to under do cardio and not use its fat-burning benefits.

So what is the trick?

Either do longer but less intense cardio sessions, like 30-45 minutes of high pace walking or 30 minutes of riding a bike at a slower pace 3 to 4 times a week, or you can do short (15-20 minute), intense interval workouts –HIIT, tabata or fartlek training– 2-3 times a week on non-weightlifting days. Just make it fun!

Good indicators that you are doing the right amount of cardio are your looks and strength. If you look sharper and more defined after some period of time but you have kept or increased your strength despite loosing some weight, then you are on the right track. If you can’t see any results, tune your cardio and also pay attention to your diet.

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According to Scientists, This is The Best Breakfast For Athletes

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Researchers at the university of Erlangen-Nuremburg in Germany discovered that it’s better to to eat a pure protein meal first thing in the morning than a breakfast that contains protein, carbohydrates and fat. By eating pure protein breakfast, your body produces more anabolic hormones like growth hormone and insulin and also inhibits the production of cortisol.

The participants in the research were men aged 18 to 40 years.They consumed a mixture of 24 g of amino acids dissolved in a glass of water in the morning. The mixture contained  the following amino acids:

– Valine,
– Leucine,
– Isoleucine,
– Phenylalanine ,
– Tyrosine ,
– Tryptophan,
– Lysine,
– Methionine,
– Cysteine ,
– Threonine and
– Histidine

 

as well as well as vitamins and minerals. There were three groups of participants in the research: a fasting control group (they ate nothing), a group (iso control group) that had carbohydrates with milk protein (same calories as the amino acid shake) and the group that had the amino acid mixture.

The Results

The pure protein breakfast (amino acids mixture group) resulted in a very high HGH peak: the concentration rose on average by a factor 21, and remained high for about an hour and half in most subjects. Another effect that was observed was the declining in cortisol levels by almost 50% in the AA mixture group, while cortisol declined by 10% in the other group (iso control group).

Athletes and people who care about health and well being in general would benefit by having a breakfast as high in proteins as possible. Doing so will result in a peak production of HGH  as well as an increase IGF-1. A pure protein breakfast first thing in the morning is the best option.

So keep your breakfast (or the first meal after the fast) to pure protein and you can expect to see great, long term results.

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Carb Cycling For A Lean Physique

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Carb cycling is a method used by a large number of bodybuilders and fitness athletes to prepare for contests and shows. Some athletes even use it as a maintenance diet or even a body re-composition diet. So what exactly is carb cycling ? In simple words it’s nothing more than varying your day-to-day carbohydrate intake.



Why should we cycle carbs and not just keep a low carb diet, you may ask. The key to successful fat burning is to keep your metabolism running. A low(er) carb diet may be a good solution for someone that has too much excess body fat and is initially starting to lose fat. But in time, a low carb diet will do just the opposite – it will slow down your metabolism.

Leptin, a hormone that is responsible for reporting your nutritional status to your brain, can drop up to 50% in just one week of low carb dieting. The drop of leptin slows down the metabolism and creates a hormonal environment responsible for fat gain. Carb cycling is the solution of the problem as it keeps your metabolism from slowing down and makes dieting mentally easier.

How does Carb Cycling work ?

Carbohydrate cycling is the practice of lowering carbohydrates for a period of time, (three days is often used) and then bringing your carbs back up for a day. This is done as opposed to just keeping your carbohydrate ratios the same day in, day out.

For the sake of simplicity we’ll assume that we need 3000 calories a day for maintenance at a weight of 200 lbs. If we want to lose fat, we obviously should create a calorie deficit. A deficit of 500 to 800 calories a day would be a good start.

For maintaining muscle mass it’s recommended to keep our protein intake high or 1.3 to 2 grams of protein per pound. This means that we should consume 260 to 400 grams of protein a day.

We will place our high and moderate  carb days on workout days, “no carb” days on rest and cardio days.

– Using an upper/lower split the carb cyclyng method would look like this:

1.Monday – Upper body (moderate carb day)

2.Tuesday – rest/cardio  (“no carb” day)

3.Wednesday – Lower body (moderate carb day)

4.Thursday – rest/cardio   (“no carb” day)

5.Friday – Upper body (high carb day – refeed)

6.Saturday – rest/cardio  (moderate carb day)

7.Sunday – rest (“no carb” day)
Low carb day:

Protein 270 g  (1080 calories)
Carbs    50 g    (200 calories)
Fat       80 g     (630 calories)
total:               2000 calories

Moderate carb day

Protein 270 g  (1080 calories)
Carbs   200 g   (800 calories)
Fat      70 g     (630 calories)
total:               2510 calories

High carb day – refeed day

Protein 270 g  (1080 calories)
Carbs   450 g  (1800 calories)
Fat      70 g     (630 calories)
total:               3510 calories

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ABS : The Secret Revealed Review – by Lazar Angelov

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His name is Lazar Angelov – an athlete, a top fitness model and an inspiration to millions of people around the world. He is also known as the man with the most impressive six-pack in the world.

But his road was far from smooth, and strangely enough, his fitness success happened because of a mishap… He was in the beginning of his professional basketball career and had big dreams of becoming one of the best in that sport, but one day he sustained a serious knee injury. It was a nightmare and the end of his career.

What changed?

Strength training made him believe in himself and his new vision of the future again. He dedicated his whole life to building the perfect body and learning the science behind it – everything about dieting, nutrition, workout routines. He has been working as a personal trainer for over 10 years now and has been featured in many TV shows, commercials and world famous magazines, including Muscle & Fitness and Men’s Health.

 

abs

abs : the secret revealed

Phase1 : DETOX

This is the phase that needs to prepare your body for the diet and exercise to come. It’s a period of time where you clear your body out of toxins, excess water and you are getting used to eating foods that are going to improve your health and appearance in the long run.

Phase2 : METABOLIC START

This is a low carb phase where the initial fat loss starts. The bookwill provide you with detailed macronutrient breakdown, meal plans as well as recipes for preparing your meals.

Phase3 : REVOLUTION

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The alternation of three different days – high carb day, moderate carb day, and low carb day will advance the fat burning process. Lazar has made very good nutrition plans for every one of those days, as well as some alternatives to the basic foods you are going to be eating.

Phase4 : TRANSFORMATION

The phase where most of the energy you will need comes from fats instead of stored carbs. It’s during this phase that you will see the greatest results. It’s also one of the hardest phases which you will go through, but definitely worth it.

Phase5 : MAINTENANCE

The maintenance phase is created to consolidate the loss of extra hypodermic fat and enjoy some of your favorite foods, which can be added from time to time.

After you have gone through these 5 phases your metabolism will be increased significantly so you can go back to a more “softer” way of dieting and, occasionally, enjoy some of the foods you like.

 

EXERCISES

In order to sculpt an ideal six pack you need to develop the core muscles responsible for how your abs look – the rectus abdominis and external obliques as well as the deep muscles such as transverse abdominis and internal obliques which serve as a spinal support and give your core stability.

 

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10 Minutes With CrossFit Star Brooke Wells

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She’s 21 and your typical college student at Mizzou. Except she’s not. She just landed a major deal with Cellucor and is one of the hottest uprising stars in CrossFit. We mean, how many college students can legit say that they’re the sixth fittest person on the planet? Um, yeah. Say hello to Brooke Wells!

A two-time individual CrossFit Games athlete, Wells won the 2015 Central Regional at age 19 in her first appearance. A year later, she took third in her region, but vaulted to the top of the Games with six top-five finishes and one event win. And today, we’re sharing our convo with her!

Can you tell us a little about your nutrition plan and how/if it differs when you’re competing?

I follow macros! I eat mostly paleo (or, in other words, just real foods) I guess, with the exception of rice and oatmeal. I’m thankful to get my meals all from Paleo Power Meals. In competition, my carbohydrates just increase.

In your first Open, you finished in 1,232nd place. Last year, you finished ninth. How did you do that?! What changed?

I would say just many small changes over the year. I think each year I dial something in and all the little things just add up! This year, I have started working with a new coach, Ben Bergeron, which has significantly benefited my performance — best change yet! I also have started working with Working Against Gravity to dial in my nutrition. I am also much more focused and mentally prepared than any year before.

How do the other students at Mizzou treat you? Any funny stories there with getting recognized or people just realizing you’re a badass?

I just get treated normally — haha. It’s nothing like CrossFit events where everyone knows who I am. It’s actually always super random when I get “noticed.” Most of the time it’s not even students on campus; it will be places like the Mizzou Football games or events like that! But I have had multiple students in class say “Are you Brooke Wells?” Haha.

What’s your major and what are you plans after school?

Business, but I plan to train and continue my CrossFit career, just focusing on CrossFit, for as long as I can. Then I will use the business degree as backup, haha.

Do you have a manta or phrase that motivates you?

I’ve held on to “Stay focused.” Just because, to me, it means no matter what’s going on around you, what your friends are doing on the weekends, whether you feel exhausted and don’t want to train that day … stay focused on the end goal, which is the Games.

Credit: Preston Smith

What’s one thing most people don’t realize about you?

Some people still don’t realize I have a twin, haha! I’ll post a picture with her and always get comments like “there’s two of you?!” Yes! Also, I am a FULL-TIME student. Not just taking a couple classes. It is very challenging and difficult to balance at some times. Especially with as much travel as I do. I’ll come back from a trip and my friends will literally say “Are you still enrolled?!” Haha, yes! I just make it work, and no, teachers are not helpful in the least bit.

Any advice for women who are reluctant to pick up the heavy weights at the gym?

Haha, don’t be intimidated! All my friends think they could never even lift a barbell but everyone starts somewhere!

Credit: Preston Smith

No doubt that we’ll be watching and cheering for Brooke as this year’s CrossFit Games. What about you?

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The Split Long Run: Is It As Effective?

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Sunday – 4:00AM
AKA – Zero dark o’clock and time to get up for a marathon training run

What if I just sleep a few more minutes?
And an hour later…oh man I don’t have time for all 18 miles.

It happens to the best of us at some point in training, we just can’t figure out how to squeeze an extra hour out of our day or maybe for you that’s every single long run. Which often leads to the question: can I split my long run in two or is it less effective?

What is a split long run?

Instead of doing all 20 miles on your weekly long run in one shot, you might split it in to 12 in the morning followed by 8 that evening…or any other variation where your math correctly adds back up to 20/2.

Is the benefit the same as a single long run?

No. Well fine, then why not?

Oh let me count the ways that long runs force you to learn about your brain and your body…

  1. Extended time running forces you to learn the mental tricks you need to keep going when you’re ready to stop
  2. Extended time running helps you learn how to pace for a longer distance
  3. Longer runs teach you what kind of fuel your body can handle and what it needs to avoid hitting the wall
  4. Long runs are where your muscles breakdown, repair and adapt to the SPECIFIC stress of longer distances

Why it's ok to split your long run

Does it still have value?

Yes! There are actually a number of reasons you might employ this a few times during a training cycle. One of the main reasons is for someone who finds themselves chronically injured or returning to higher mileage, it can help early in the training cycle to split up that run.

A good coach will know your strengths and weaknesses, so if you often run too hard on long runs or get injured, they may opt to split your long run occasionally throughout training to provide some different benefits.

  • Entirely over scheduled week
  • Runner returning from overuse injury
  • Runner who often gets injured during marathon training
  • Managing extreme outdoor temps if you can’t stomach the treadmill
  • Using the split to get in more miles at goal race pace
  • Option to cover more miles in the day than the single long run

 

How to Maximize the Split Long Run?

How to enjoy your long run

If you are going to split your long run, then make the most of it!

  • Ideally your first run will be at least a few miles longer than your second run.
  • If the second run is half as long, try running it at a faster pace than the morning run.
  • Remember time between the runs isn’t meant for hiking, biking and other crazy activities.
  • Use the second run to really focus on good form while running on tired legs.
  • Use both runs to test out pre-run foods that sit well on your stomach and give you enough energy.
  • Remember to hydrate consistently all day so you aren’t at a deficient going in to the second run.

The short and sweet of this my friends is that while it sounds divine to split it up, sleep in, not endure the brain games that start happening around mile 17 you really need to do it. You’re a runner and a marathoner and thus…you’re willing to do the hard things.

Now the next step is finding ways to enjoy the long run!

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6 Unexpected Truths About Your First SoulCycle Class

Interested in taking a SoulCycle class? Amy Williams has all the deets on what you can expect. As an attorney and freelance writer who’s curiously exploring ways to make healthy living more entertaining, Amy blogs at Bibsandblisters.com and Tweets from @aymer22. Be sure to check out her post on what to expect training for your first half marathon, too, here!

Preparing for your first SoulCycle class can feel a little intimidating, even for the most fitness-savvy gym rats. From rented shoes to dark rooms and candles, SoulCycle is an experience far beyond the typical group exercise class. Before you reserve a bike and commit to your first class, get up to speed on these unexpected truths about that first class.

1. You will sweat.

This may not seem like an unexpected truth; obviously you will sweat during a 45-minute cycling class. It’s actually the amount that you will sweat that is unexpected. Even after you wipe your face on the towel draped across the bike’s bars, you will feel the sweat running out of your pores. It’s a tight room, filled with others also gushing sweat, so leave your self-consciousness at the door. Just don’t plan to immediately head to brunch when class is over.

2. You may feel an urge to cry, shout or smile.

Even if you expect the physical workout to be a challenge, you may feel unprepared for the emotional workout. The SoulCycle instructors have a unique way of pulling you inside yourself in almost an aggressive meditation. Between cues to increase speed or resistance, the instructors also call out positive affirmations or challenge you to create something in this particular moment. Between bouts of utter physical exhaustion, there’s an emotional release that you might not expect, but don’t want to miss.

3. You feel like a member of the “pack.”

If you’ve tried group exercise before, you already know there’s a certain magic to the shared endorphin rush of a hard group exercise class, but this is different. After one visit to a SoulCycle class, I felt like I became part of the “pack.” From the instructors to the experienced participants to the friendly staff, newbies aren’t just welcomed, but are initiated and applauded. The round of applause at the end of class for the new members was a great pick-me-up after a challenging workout.

4. You don’t have to push yourself; the music does.

Don’t worry about being able to keep up with the pack during the class — the music has a way of forcing you to keep up. Once you click those rented shoes into the bike’s pedals, the beat of the music will be the push you need to go faster or push harder. Follow the music and don’t worry too much about pushing yourself.

5. Your arms will burn, too.

Obviously, you expect your legs and buns to burn after a SoulCycle class, but the added arm workout is an unexpected benefit. Don’t scoff at the two-pound weights on the back of each bike because it’s actuallu the number of reps — not the amount of the weight — that leaves your arms burning.

6. There’s no room for personal space.

The bikes are packed very tightly into an already small studio. If you’re at all claustrophobic, try to reserve a bike nearest the door and toward the back. Once the class gets going, you will probably be too busy to care that 45 strangers are packed around you — all sweating and cycling to the beat — but when you’re climbing over bikes to find yours, it can feel a little intense. Arrive early, find your bike and take advantage of the staff’s willingness to help you find just the right position for your body.

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And really, they don’t get the kind of respect and attention they deserve, ya know?

Well, we’re doing our part to right that wrong today by not only giving them a virtual high-five, but also by sharing this speed and agility workout from Luis Badillo Jr. — AKA the man with the fastest feet in the world — and courtesy of Reebok. He developed these five drills to help ballpeople practice their speed and agility and learn the most crucial skills for hard courts, but it’ll also help any non tennis ninjas improve their overall quickness.

Speed Drill 1: Getting Off the Line Quickly

Set up a standard agility ladder and run through it with high knees, focusing on pulling your knees to your chest.

“Exaggerated movements like high knees help you practice technique so you’re ready for the real situation when it comes,” says Badillo. “In this case, it teaches you to stay light on your toes while moving fast, which is crucial to developing speed starting from a crouched position.”

Speed Drill 2: Picking Strays Up on the Fly

Set up two cones about eight feet apart. Run by them, staying low enough to tap the top of the cones with your hand as you pass them.

“Staying low is important so you can pick up balls without breaking your stride,” says Badillo. “Don’t waste time running upright and then having to bend down to pick up the balls.”

Speed Drill 3: Sprinting Across the Court

Set up hurdles a few feet apart across the length of the court and sprint over them as fast as you can.

“The hurdle is for explosiveness, or how fast you can get your feet off the ground,” he says. “This drill teaches you to achieve maximum speed over a short distance.”

Speed Drill 4: Stopping on a Dime

Set up two cones about four feet apart. Run two ovals around them then continue your run across the length of the court.

“Ballpeople have to be comfortable changing direction quickly,” says Badillo. “Lean forward and keep your center of gravity low so you can take sharp turns without falling down.”

Speed Drill 5: Picking Up Multiple Balls at Once

Set up a ladder and place two tennis balls on either side, evenly spaced apart. Run through the ladder with two feet in each box and then two feet out, picking up the balls as you pass them.

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Insanely Effective Workouts For Weight Loss

1. Interval Training

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The number one training method the experts turn to again and again for weight loss: interval training. What’s that? “Any form of exercise where your heart rate spikes and then comes down repeatedly,” says Rilinger. This type of training keeps your heart rate elevated, which in turn keeps your metabolism humming. When that’s happening, you burn more calories.

One of the many styles of interval training is indoor cycling, though this workout leans heavily toward cardio over strength training, Rilinger explains. She also notes that cycling requires you to use various muscles in your body—quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core, for starters—which once again translates to weight loss. “The more muscles you have to incorporate, the more calories you’re going to burn because those muscles all require energy in order to work,” she says. “And the more energy you use, the higher those calorie-burning numbers climb. It’s all a cycle.”

Try it:  If you’re more of a treadmill person, this 20-minute treadmill interval workout will kick your butt in the best way.

2. Weight Training

"Do you even lift?" "You mean chocolate dumbbells, right?" #regram from @evachen212

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Consider weight training “the mother of all weight-loss techniques, the highest in the workout food chain, the top of the totem pole,” says Rilinger. Resistance training, whether it’s with your bodyweight alone or with added weights, is an effective method to help you drop pounds, if that’s your goal. Lifting weights has been shown to increase your resting metabolic rate, which means you’ll continue to burn calories even after you finish working out. It’s called the “afterburn effect,” .Rilinger suggests adding weight training to your routine at least three times a week. And since your body adjusts to workouts after being exposed to the same moves at the same intensity, becoming less effective over time, she says to mix it up about every three weeks to keep your body guessing.

Try it: First, if you’ve never done it before, be sure to read these strength training tips for beginners before you get started. And check out this primer on how to choose the right weights for your workout.

If you’re going to use kettlebells and barbells in your strength workout routine, be sure to work with a personal trainer to make sure you’re using proper form. You’ve got this!

3. Boot Camp

GET YERRRR SWEAT ON🌴☀️💪🏽💪🏽 —————————————— #getoutthere and dominate this workout me and My sister @forrilinger did this morning. #noequipmentneeded #palmtreesoptional #beach —————————————— 45 second rounds / 15 second recovery ———>high knees ———>burpees ———>partner glute bridge / tricep dips ** ———>squats / squat jumps ———>Push ups (not shown- we did them!) ———>flex into the camera 3 ROUNDS‼️‼️ (2 if you don't feel like winning ) **no partner? No problem/ do as 2 separate exercises. #hollylife #holidayworkout #WorkOut #bravo #bravotv @bravotv @nikewomen @flywheelsports #transition #sister #wealmostonlydidtworounds #theamountoftimeittooktogetthespacingonthispostrightwaslongerthantheworkout

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For a workout that’s going to keep your metabolism elevated all day, turn to boot camp, as these classes (think Barry’s Bootcamp) combine two of the most effective styles of training: interval and resistance. “You’ll perform exercises, some more cardio-focused and others strength-focused, full-out for short bursts of time, coupled with short periods of rest,” says Adam Rosante, certified personal trainer and author of The 30-Second Body. But if it’s your first time giving it a go, speak up. He says a good instructor will help you determine when you need to crank up the weight or intensity (tip: if you can cruise through 10 reps without any trouble, it’s too easy), keep your form on par, and can always provide a modification for any move that might be too tough or irritates an injury. If you can’t make it to a studio, though, you can virtually sweat it out with Rosante in his 20-minute C9 Challenge, or try this bodyweight-only 16-minute routine.

4. Boxing

@fizzle_28

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“At its essence, boxing is really another form of interval training,” explains Rosante. But it also makes you feel insanely badass. Here’s the trick to remember: it’s a common mistake for beginners to punch using only their arm strength, but the majority of your power is going to come from your core and you’ll use muscles that are typically ignored in other workouts (hey there, obliques).

It’s best to log this type of workout in a class, as Rosante says it’s crucial for beginners to learn proper form from an instructor who can help keep your intensity level high.

5. Running

 

All you need is a pair of sneakers before you head out the door. But if weight loss is the name of your game, the lackadaisical head-out-for-a-light-jog style of running isn’t the way to go. Instead, find a hill you can sprint up, or crank the incline on that treadmill. “Running up hills forces you to work your glutes and legs—two of your body’s biggest muscle groups—even more, which requires smaller muscle recruitment and more energy expenditure,” explains Rosante. As noted earlier, the more energy you’re using, the brighter that calorie-burning fire burns. But proper form here is key. “Lean into the hill, and drive your knees as high as you can, striking the ball of each foot down directly under your body,” he says. “Keep your hands open and arms bent at 90 degrees, and drive your arms straight forward up to face level, then backward to the top of your back pocket.” And try not to let your arms cross over your body—that’ll just waste the precious energy your muscles need. If you’re training indoors, here are a few fat-burning treadmill routines to get you started.

Try it: You can do these 4 fat-burning workouts on a treadmill. Or you can take them outside if you’d like—for incline work, just fine a good hill.

6. CrossFit

 

There’s a reason CrossFit has become such a booming part of the workout industry—it works, so long as you don’t overdo it. Workouts are varied—you may be doing anything from kettlebell swings to rope climbs and box jumps to front squats—and the routines are designed to be short and intense. The most important thing to find when looking for the box (CrossFit slang for “gym”) that fits you best: a well-informed coach who can explain and modify the moves, and make sure that you don’t push yourself to the point of injury.

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Get Fit Like U.S. Special Forces

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Soldiers don’t graduate from Special Forces training as much as they survive it. Army Ranger School loses a fourth of its class in the first four days. More than 75 percent of Navy SEAL candidates never make it to the finish line.

According to Craig Weller, owner of Rogue Performance in Denver and a veteran of the elite Naval Special Warfare SWCC team, the candidates who do survive Special Forces training usually aren’t the strongest, fastest or even the toughest. Instead, they’re the ones who master perfect mechanics, so even when their bodies break down, they’re able to keep moving without getting hurt.

Get Fit Like U.S. Special Forces

“It doesn’t matter how much you lift on rep one,” Weller says. “What will you do 20,000 reps from now?”

Weller, who helps soldiers prepare for Special Forces training, focuses on basic exercises that teach solid mechanics under stress. Make these battle-tested exercise swaps in your in-season training plan to build a body that will stay strong well into the playoffs, when your team needs you most.

Instead of Olympic Lifts (like Jerks, Cleans and Snatches), Do Prowler Pushes, Drags

Prowler Push

Weller says: “If you’re training hip extension (the driving force of most lower-body movements), there’s no better place to start than Prowler Pushes and Drags, since these exercises are almost impossible to do incorrectly. Olympic lifts, on the other hand, are very easy to get wrong. Once you start performing Olympic lifts badly, you establish movement patterns that might look OK most of the time, but fall apart when you start to get fatigued.”

Instead of Back Squats, Do Goblet Squats

Goblet Squat

Weller says: “Most people Squat less than their body weight because their form is wrong. The only way you’re going to Squat double or triple your weight is by first learning perfect form through an exercise like the Goblet Squat, which trains your body to move the right way.”

Instead of Bicep Curls, Do Pull-Ups

Pull-Up

Weller says: “If you get good at Pull-Ups, your biceps will grow just as fast as they would if you were doing Curls. But you’ll also build a stronger upper body, since you’re engaging more muscles, and you’ll avoid joint issues that come with exercises like Curls. Work up to 20 good Pull-Ups in a row.”

Instead of Bench Presses, Do Push-Ups

Push-Up

Weller says: “Push-Ups teach your body to move as one coordinated unit much better than Bench Presses do. You don’t need to do much Bench Pressing; just make your Push-Ups more difficult by adding a weight vest and bands.”

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7 Tips For Perfect Abs – How To Get Perfect Abs

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Doing hundreds of sit-ups each day won’t work your core in the same way a combination of different abs exercises can. Getting six pack abs seems to be one of the hardest areas. It is not as easy as someone may think it is. Determination, hard work and perseverance are all those things that will help you to get the desired abs.

Ditch traditional sit-ups and try our excellent, really working tips and exercises for that sculpted six-pack abs.Score amazing abs with our excellent workouts.

Here’s how to tone your abs fast:

  1. Diet
    Diet to get absDo you think if you work hard in a gym you get abs? Think again. No matter how many sit-ups and crunches a day you do, without a proper diet you will not achieve good results. Those who work hard trying to get ripped must eat 3 standard-sized meals and a snack between each. Include carbohydrates into your diet. It doesn’t mean you must eat French-fries, pizza, pasta, cookies or bagels. Eating 1 serving of complex carbs – like whole-grain bread, oatmeal, brown rice – for your breakfast, lunch and dinner is what can bring you “abs” success. Snack on foods that are rich in protein such as cashews, almonds, peanut-butter, low-fat yogurt and walnuts.
    Are you in search of the best diet plan to get ripped the sooner the better?
  2. CardioCardio to get ripped absAnother essential factor for those who want to shed extra pounds and uncover the abs beneath is weight loss. You can do it in a fast way if you involve cardiovascular exercises in your workout routine.Swim, run, bike at least three times a week for thirty minutes and stay active 5 days a week. Take benefits of interval training for that sculpted body.
    Actual
    To get abs you must first lose your fat that is hiding your abs. It doesn’t mean you should run long distances on the treadmill. 30-minute high intensity interval training done two to three times per week is the best way to get ripped abs. Heavy compound exercises – like deadlifts, shoulder presses and squats – work you abs far harder than crunches or sit-ups.
  3. Core strength training
    Core activation exercisesStrength training is the best way to get six packs and the final stage in achieving that sculpted abs. Crunches work best on upper abs. But you also need to strengthen lower abs and oblique. This could be done with leg-lifts. Lie on a bench or a mat with your feet on the ground. Extend the legs and lift them until they are parallel with your body. Raise your legs – do it slowly – then lower the legs to the starting position. Do five sets of twenty lifts each day.Perform these exercises:

    • The dumbbell crunch exerciseThe dumbbell crunch: lie with your back on the floor or a mat with knees bent. Hold a lightweight dumbbell with both hands, arms extended straight above your shoulders. Exhale and slowly curl your head and upper body off the mat reaching the dumbbell – higher than your feet – toward the ceiling.
      Getting abs requires a mixture of muscle toning and fat removal
    • Low mount reverse crunches with bandLow mount reverse crunches with band: To perform this exercise you need a resistance band which should be attached to a low wall mount or wrapped around a bench. Place the band over your toes. Then lie on your back. Exhale and bend your knees toward your shoulders. Inhale and slowly lower to the starting position.
    • Clamshell crunch with ballClamshell crunch with ball: Place a stability ball between your legs. Lie back on the floor. Keep your feet just off the ground, knees bent. Place the hands behind your ears in a crunch position. To perform a double crunch, lift your shoulders off the ground and your knees into your chest. Inhale and return to start.

7. Excellent workout to get abs in 30 days (in a month)

Ripped abs workoutBoost and tone up your core muscles with this excellent abs in 30 days workout. Perform the routine three times weekly over the next month. You can do it on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Remember abs require variety in reps, rest periods, exercises and use of weights.

You are to perform:

  • Leg lifts for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest;
  • Scissor kicks for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest;
  • Flutter kick for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest;
  • Plank for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest;
  • Reverse Crunch for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest;
  • Mason Twist for 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest.

Perform four circuits of the routine. Take ten seconds between exercises.

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4 Treadmill Workouts To Beat Boredom

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How Intervals Help Maximize Your Treadmill Workouts

Many people automatically assume that the treadmill equals steady state cardio alone. First of all, there’s nothing wrong with steady-state cardio. Walking or running at a brisk pace is great for your heart. But if you want to lose weight, you do need to incorporate higher intensity intervals in order to jumpstart your weight loss. Intervals require you to up your intensity for short bursts of time in order to get your heart pumping and fat burning, before returning to a lower intensity and repeating the cycle again.

Close up of woman's feet on treadmill

With a treadmill, you can create intervals by adjusting both the speed of the machine and the incline. You can really get your heart pumping when you up your speed and force yourself to work harder than simply going at a comfortable pace. Plus, when you adjust the incline it not only helps you burn more calories but it can help you target different muscles—your glutes and thighs in particular get targeted when you work at an incline. Toning your legs and glutes while you get your cardio on? Yes please!

Alright, now that you’re hopefully abandoning your preconceived notions about what a treadmill can do, let’s get down to the fun part! These four treadmill workouts were designed to help you bust through a workout rut, challenge you, and help you burn more fat in less time. Whether you’re a walker, jogger, or a runner, these four treadmill workouts will all work for you. Do one of them a few times and then move to the next or mix and match throughout the week to keep your body guessing. Either way, you’ll be glad you did!

PS: We made all of the workouts printable! You can get them by clicking the button below. Just print and take it with you to the gym or your home machine.

20-Minute Speed Intervals Treadmill Workout

This quick workout focuses on changing up your speed, which will give you more of a calorie burn than working on the treadmill at a moderate pace for an hour. You’ll do 4 speed intervals at 1 minute each, with 2 minutes of lighter work in between. You’ll bookend your workout with a 5 minute warm-up and cool down. Your incline will not change, so you don’t have to worry about that in this one.

The “feeling” column is helpful in identifying how hard you should feel you’re working, or your “perceived exertion.” This workout is great for anyone looking to up their calorie burn, or runners who are looking for a little speed work. Hit your stride and have some fun!

Here are four boredom busting treadmill workouts to keep your fitness routine fresh, fun, and burning fat!

30-Minute Hill Climber Treadmill Workout

Get ready to work with inclines in this 30-minute hill-climber workout! This workout provides a 5-minute warm-up and then takes you on a series of speed and incline changes that give you the feeling of hiking on a mountain. Your speed will vary a little in this workout, but the focus is primarily on raising your incline.

The varying heart rate and aerobic/anaerobic combination will torch calories and fat and really increase your fitness level! Not to mention, anytime you raise the incline on your treadmill you target different muscle groups to mix things up and give your glutes and thighs a run for their money. Consider it the next best thing to hiking an exotic mountain somewhere—no plane ticket required.

Here are four boredom busting treadmill workouts to keep your fitness routine fresh, fun, and burning fat!

30-Minute Interval Treadmill Workout

This workout is all about getting a solid 30-minute interval run. It provides you with a fairly steady jog/run combination so you’ll alternate between jogging at a lighter pace and running a little more intensely. This 30-minute workout is great for anyone looking to prepare for a 5k or those of us who want to get some nice cardio exercise in that can help us lose weight. Your incline will stay the same throughout this workout, it’s just the speed that will vary.

The Walker’s Butt-Burner Treadmill Workout

For all of you walkers who want to lose weight, this 15-minute workout takes your typical walk in the park and upgrade it to a calorie burning, butt-building workout. Not only will getting your heart rate up help burn up extra fat, but the incline challenges are a great way to shape up your glutes. You’ll start with a 5 minute warm-up and then walk a steady pace, changing the incline and speed throughout. Remember to use your arms and keep your abs tight as the hill increases; you can even engage your glutes too to boost the toning effects of this workout.

Sparking Success

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Despite the changes I go through in life, one thing remains the same: my workout routine. The work ethic and dedication I apply to my personal health and fitness has transferred to other areas of my life. Fitness has been one of the primary driving forces behind my accomplishments outside of the gym. I am working as the VP of Operations at Team G-FIT, one of Canada’s largest Fitness Coaching companies, KPMG as a Senior Accountant, and studying to complete my CPA designation. While these may not seem so similar to my fitness routine, using many of the same strategies in the gym has helped improve my overall success. So let’s cut to the chase, how has working out contributed to my accomplishments thus far?

  1. COMPETITIVENESS / GOAL SETTING:

    • When working out, you are constantly pushing to improve your performance. Whether it’s setting a goal for running marathon or increasing your max bench, the work ethic and drive required remains the same. What happens when you achieve a goal in the gym? You often set a higher goal and immediately start working towards it. This is exactly what is required to achieve success in the workplace – working towards numerous smaller milestones until you’ve eventually accomplished something material. Success doesn’t happen overnight, so practicing this type of discipline and consistency is key.
  2. TIME MANAGEMENT:

    • Maintaining a consistent workout regimen requires serious time management skills. Many parts of your life occupy your limited time, such as family, friends, significant other, and work and leisure. Throw a committed workout routine into the mix and it suddenly becomes more difficult to manage your daily tasks. This leads to something though – naturally, we become better planners and organize our days in a more efficient manner. We begin preparing our meals for the day, making sure we have gym clothes packed, and visiting the gym on our way to or from work. The additional pressure on your schedule leads to an overall increase in organization and productivity.
  3. STRESS RELIEF:

    • Let’s face it, with success comes stress. If there was no stress or difficulty involved, everyone would be successful. I’ve always had stress from many different aspects in my life, but the gym has consistently been my go-to remedy. The late night solo workouts: music blasting, heavy weights, endorphins roaring – there is NO better treatment. Physical activity boosts happiness levels, boosts energy, improves memory, and increases self-confidence. So if success is something you’re interested, I would definitely use the gym has an outlet for stress relief and improving overall health as stress in the workplace can sometimes become overwhelming.
  4. CONFIDENCE:

    • I was a bit overweight while growing up. I hated taking my shirt off, clothes did not fit me properly, and girls wouldn’t really give me attention. Slowly as the years went on, I lost around 30 pounds of fat and put on quality muscle. This not only changed the way people looked at me, but also how I looked at myself. I had more self-respect, knowing my worth as an individual, never letting people walk over me. The ability to be confident and respect yourself will go a long way, both in your personal relationships and career.
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5 Ways to Preserve Your Summer Body

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Summer is here and most of us have been grinding hard in the gym all winter preparing for swimsuit season. Yet as soon as that hot sun hits our faces it’s all too easy to lay back at the beach while losing motivation to train or get activity in. Do not let the summer heat take over and get the best of you! Too often YEARS of hard work are completely erased in just a couple months of the summer lifestyle change. Try these 5 simple tricks to help with damage control and making sure you are reaping the benefits of your hard work while still balancing training, clean eating, and social events.

1. Plan ahead, and get your workouts in early in the day. Setting a routine early in the warm season and writing it down will make you more likely to stay consistent in the whirlwind of summer events. Schedule a time for yourself 3-4 times a week that will be dedicated to your workouts. Think of this schedule like a job or a business meeting to ensure you always have time for it and that way, you’ll never let yourself down. Also, if you plan to get it done in the mornings, you will have the free time to spend your evenings and weekends relaxing in the summer sun.


2. Mix up your fitness routine and utilize the great weather outdoors. Keeping things interesting will help make your work outs feel less like working out and more like a summer activity. Take the kids swimming, try biking in the park, go rollerblading on the boardwalk or even something as simple as a jog or walk through your neighborhood are all great ways to get your heart rate up while enjoying the weather. Some other fun ideas to try with your friends could be signing up for an outdoor boot camp, finally attending that yoga practice in the park, or better yet, take turns create your own circuit using resistance bands, a couple free weights and your own bodyweight. The main goal is to give yourself some variety that will keep the workouts fun and feeling less like a chore — leaving you something to look forward to.


3. Keep your diet as clean as possible when you go through your regular day to day activities. Just because the weather changed does not mean what is in our everyday meals no longer counts! Plan ahead for your week and prepare the majority your food to help yourself stay on track when temptation hits. Convenient snacks will be around every corner, so staying prepared will help prevent those unnecessary calories. This way when all those summer weddings, birthday parties, or even the typical neighborhood block party does come up, you will be able to indulge a little and enjoy the event without the guilt of ruining all your hard work. Remember – what we eat in private we wear in public!


4. Keep your meals interesting and don’t be afraid to add some variety. Take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fresh summer favorites will be a nice change when added to your usual snacks, salads, and dinners. Try heading to your local farmer’s market to get the freshest produce. This can be a fun, weekly family activity which also helps gets you out and active! Make these trips into an exciting challenge by picking out something different and creating a new, healthy dish each week! And don’t forget, BBQ season is not only for hotdogs and hamburgers, try grilling your fruits and vegetables for a nice smoky flavor you can’t get in winter by using the stove!


5. Having trouble with social pressure to drink? Warm weather brings all sorts of invitations for patio drinks or backyard BBQs but you do not have to go heavy on the alcohol to stay social in summer months! Try drinking alternatives such as sparkling water with fruit (put it in a wine glass for added effect) and you have a fun, healthy ‘mocktail’ without all the added sugars and calories! Of course, there is nothing wrong with having a couple alcoholic drinks during your summer vacation. If you do happen to have a few cold ones you can save yourself the calories, and the headache, by staying clear of the sugar-filled, slushy drinks that come from a machine. Try making a fresh, low-calorie sangria by mixing your favorite red or white wine, soda water, your choice of Mio, fresh fruit, add in some ice and voila!

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How to Exercise the Right Way

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To get the results you want from a workout, holding your body in a proper position is just as important as the workout itself. Doing exercises correctly will help you:

  • Burn fat
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve health
  • Decrease your waist size

And you can do it all without bulking up to the size of a Miami condo.

No matter what moves you’re doing, from a push-up to a lunge, try to follow these 10 form guidelines. (If possible, use a full-length mirror to check the position of your body.)

  1. Look out at eye level or above to spare your neck and keep you from rolling your shoulders forward.
  2. Keep your face relaxed and tension free.
  3. Relax your shoulders and lift up your chest.
  4. Pretend the top of your head is being pulled up by a string to elongate your spine and keep you from rolling forward.
  5. Count the reps for each exercise out loud; counting helps you remember to breathe continuously. (Many people hold their breath while doing strength training.)
  6. Keep your abs tight to support your lower back. (Practice sucking in every time you enter a car, bus, train, plane, elevator, escalator, everywhere — that way, it becomes automatic.)
  7. Keep your knees slightly bent, so you don’t lock them.
  8. Make sure you can (if you want to) always see your hands when doing shoulder exercises.
  9. Keep moving in between exercises to keep your heart rate up, or move directly to the next exercise. If you can’t hold a conversation, you’re exercising too hard. If you can talk a blue streak, you may not be going hard enough.
  10. As you get fitter, go longer rather than harder with cardio exercises, and stronger with weight exercises — that is, do more repetitions. But it’s more important to follow perfect form and do fewer reps than to do a lot of repetitions with form that’s sloppier than spaghetti in a high chair. Source

Fitness Blogger Shares Food Comparisons To Change The Way You Think About Food – Do You Agree With Her?

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British fitness blogger Lucy Mountain wants to change the way you think about calorie counting, and she’s using handy visual food comparisons to prove her point.

As Mountain explains in a series of photos juxtaposing supposedly ‘healthy’ snacks with ‘junk,’ you can treat yourself in small portions and still stay within your daily limit. You can also go overboard with certain ‘healthy’ foods, especially when they contain additives, and quickly exceed your limit.

This is Lucy Mountain, a fitness blogger who’s sending an important message about calorie counting

A hand full of almonds vs. a packet of fruit pastils

“Many would choose the almonds for the nutritional value or the flavour – which is totally fine. Many would choose the almonds because even though they’d prefer Fruit Pastels, almonds would make them feel more ‘on track’ mentally – which again, is totally fine… When the majority of my diet has consisted of well-balanced food that’s full of micronutrients, I have no issue eating something that’s less so just because I love the taste of it. This is just a personal choice…  ‘Healthy’ to me is exactly what I make it. And Fruit Pastels (in moderation) make me happy which I believe contributes largely to my overall health.”

Salt and vinegar crisps vs. vegetable crisps

“Although the difference in calories is pretty minuscule, you’d expect the vegetable crisps to be considerably less calories right? This is just another little reminder that often there’s not much difference between the product marketed as the ‘healthy alternative’ and the real thing. So go for the thing you actually WANT to eat.”

Water and water

“These ‘Touch of Fruit’ guys totally got me a couple of months ago when I was focusing on trying to get a little bit leaner. I just didn’t expect my water to have calories, I felt so betrayed lol.”

What Twix consider one serving vs. real life

“If you’re being more mindful of your calories, this is a prime example of why it’s important to read the labels properly and not just what it says in large font on the front. I mean OF COURSE you’re going to eat the whole god damn thing, but it’s just good to know exactly what that equates to.”

White americano vs. flat white

“It’s often surprising how many calories are in coffees and hot drinks – a large Starbucks Flat White is 290 calories and a latte is 300. If weight-loss is your goal, a simple swap like ordering a white Americano instead will save you 250 calories.”

Solero ice cream vs. magnum ice cream

“If your goal is weight loss, the Solero could be a good swap for the ole classic Magnum (if it helps you stick to stay in a calorie deficit). And equally – if your goal is weight loss, the Magnum could be a good choice regardless (if it helps you stick to stay in a calorie deficit).”

‘Healthy breakfast’ vs. ‘naughty snack’

“They’re practically the same calories and macros, with the digestive biscuits being a fraction higher in protein and lower in sugar than Belvitas. Yes, Belvita has an extra few micronutrients but only the equivalent to approximately 150g of spinach…”

 Fatloss food vs. fattening food

“No single food will cause weight-gain. Eating more calories than you’re expending constantly over a period of time will do this. Equally, no single food will cause weight-loss. Eating less calories than you’re expending constantly over a period of time will do this.”

100g milk chocolate vs. 100g gluten-free, wheat-free, milk-free chocolate

“There’s an association that ‘Free From = Healthy = Weight-loss.’ And it’s just simply not the case. Just because something doesn’t contain gluten or milk doesn’t means it’s any less calories or more conducive to your fitness goal.”

Toast and butter vs. toast and butter

“As you know from my recent posts, I’m about enjoying ALL ze food and there is nothing I cut out of my diet that I like the taste of – no matter my goal. Learning how to manage portion sizes has allowed me to achieve this!”

100g milk chocolate vs. 100g 85% dark chocolate

“For those of who genuinely love dark chocolate, keep doing you. However, if you PREFER the taste of milk, but force yourself to eat dark because you’ve read it’s ‘healthier’, just have the milk chocolate and enjoy it. In terms of weight-loss from a calorie perspective, it’s actually more beneficial and will raise happiness levels by 938% (unproven stat).”

Both are the same size, both come with avocado, cheese, croutons and dressing

“… Salads are a fantastic way to pack in lots of lovely micros but not all salads are the same. Being aware of the individual components of the meal you’re eating AND how it sits in context to the rest of your day will massively help if weight-loss/weight-gain is your goal.”

100 calories of strawberries vs. 100 calories of strawberries

“Don’t get me wrong; dried fruit is waaaay easier to eat when you’re on the go (ain’t nobody got time to whip out a punnet of strawberries lol). So they could be a good option if convenience is the priority. But when fat loss is the goal, 300g of fresh strawberries is likely to be more satiating.”

Someone who tracks their calories vs. someone who doesn’t

“That’s right, there is no difference. There’s no difference because the method you choose (if any) does not solely dictate the food you consume. It starts with you… Does counting a calorie stress you out? If so, don’t do it. It’s simply one of many methods.”

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Moves to Shrink Your Belly, Butt and Thighs

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More often than not when I ask clients what their fitness goals are, they answer in the form of gesturing at a range on their bodies from about mid-thigh to mid-stomach. Well, I hear ya, girl! This is what I refer to as “The Zone” — that tricky area that has most people puzzling over how to tighten and shrink it. Personally, I have what you call a “pear shape,” so my inner and outer thighs, booty and lower abs have always been where I focus my efforts.

Keep in mind: Your body rocks no matter what shape you are. Having curves is beautiful, and I don’t think anyone should ever feel like they have to thin out their body to look sexy. That being said, there are some great exercises that are fan-frickin’-tastic for these particular body parts, so read on to see what I incorporate into my own workouts as well as my clients’ to tighten and tone “The Zone.”

Target Your Abdominals

This move will crush your core — in a good way.

Crossover Reaches (5 pulses per side, 5 sets)

Setup: Lie on your back with your legs stretched straight up to the ceiling and hands stacked palm over palm behind your head.

Action: Lower one leg down to a 45-degree angle and reach across your body toward the pinky toe with the opposite arm. Pulse your body up five times. Repeat on the other side.

TIP: Pull your abdominals in and really twist your body to get the lower abs and obliques working.

Single-Leg Teaser (8 reps per leg)

Give your back a break and make the abs do the work.

Setup: Lie flat on your back and extend one leg up and out to 45 degrees. Bend your other leg at a 90-degree angle. Keep your knees together.

Action: Curl head and chest up, reaching arms toward toes. Curl all the way up, coming to a seated position. Round slowly down only to the bottom tip of shoulder blades, then come right back up. Switch legs.

TIP: Consciously engage the abdominals to make sure they are doing all the work. If you feel your lower back taking over, hold on gently behind your thighs instead of reaching for the toes.

Lower Lift (10 reps)

Keep the focus on your abs.

Setup: Lie flat on your back and extend your legs up toward the ceiling.

Action: First, curl your head and chest up, with your hands stacked palm over palm behind your head. Then lower your legs to 45 degrees. Tighten your abdominals and lift legs straight back up to 90 degrees. Repeat 10 times.

TIP: Focus on keeping a wrinkle in your shirt right at your sternum or bra strap. That will help you keep your abs engaged and maintain proper form.

Target Your Butt

These moves will sculpt a better butt.

Bridge (10 reps per side)

Setup: Lie flat on your back, arms long by your sides. Your knees are bent and the feet are hip-distance apart. Your heels should almost touch your fingertips.

Action 1: Curl the hips up toward the ceiling, keeping your pelvis tucked under and your glutes engaged. Extend one leg toward the ceiling. Lower and lift your hips in little pulses and keep the hips even. Repeat 10 times. Switch sides and repeat.

Activate your glutes AND your abs in one move.

Action 2: Cross one heel over your thigh, knee out to the side. Lift and lower the hips (engaging the glutes). Repeat 10 times. Switch legs.

Visualize a tighter booty.

TIP: Activate your backside and visualize your glutes doing the work here. Thinking about these muscles working does kick them on. Keep your abdominals engaged as well to prevent the lower back from arching or taking over.

Grasshopper Lifts (3 sets of 10 reps)

Use your glutes to lift your legs, not your back.

Setup: Lie flat on your stomach, hands stacked palm over palm under your forehead like a pillow.

Action: Separate legs as wide as your mat. Bend knees and bring toes together, keeping your knees apart. Lift your thighs up off the mat, engaging your glutes. Pulse your legs up toward the ceiling, without letting thighs touch the mat. Repeat 10 times. Take a quick breather between sets. Finish in an active rest pose or child’s pose to round out your back.

TIP: It’s not about arching up into this pose, so keep your abdominals pulled in toward your navel and the glutes actively squeezing to lift your legs.

Target Your Thighs

This move will target your inner thighs.

Inner-Thigh Tightener (20 reps)

Setup: Lie on your side with the legs slightly extended in front of your body. Your head should be resting in one hand with the other hand anchored in front of the abdominals.

Action 1: Lift the top leg just above hip height. Lift bottom leg up and lower back down. Repeat 20 times.

Step up the burn and keep your legs together.

Action 2: Lift both legs up, keeping them tightly squeezed together. Lower both legs down. Repeat 20 times.

TIP: Try to get your leg up as high as possible, and take your time. It’s not about speed, it’s about form. This will not only tighten the inner thighs, but cinch the waist as well.

Outer-Thigh Sculpter (20 reps)

Jump up, jump up and get down!

Setup: Stand with feet just wider than hip-distance apart with your hands on your hips.

Action 1: Bend the knees and jump high, landing in a deep plié squat. Repeat 20 times.

Keep your back tall and straight.

Action 2: Hold deep plié squat and pulse down 20 times.

TIP: Stand tall as if your back is against a wall. Engaging the abdominals is key to maintaining this length in the body and spine.

Incorporate these moves into your daily fitness routine at least three times a week. Remember, consistency is key! Committing to these moves will make a difference in your physical goals and help tighten this target zone.

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7 Fitness Bucket List Goals to Start Training For

Pondering a bucket list can be fun, but it also makes it more likely that you’ll actually climb that mountain, jump out of that airplane or swim with the dolphins in the time you have left on the Earth. Why not prioritize your exercise goals in the same way? We’ve put together a collection of physical feats that are incredibly tough yet totally doable with training and practice. See how many you can check off your fitness bucket list.

1. Conquer the Pull-Up

1 CONQUER THE PULL-UP

This upper-body exercise involves pulling yourself up — palms facing away from you — while hanging from a stationary bar. Pull-ups primarily work the muscles of the back and biceps. “Pull-ups are one of the most effective ways to increase size and strengthen your back muscles and core,” says Lisa Kinder, star of the “10-Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training” DVD. Focus on the grip first, Kinder says. Hold the hang on the pull-up bar for as long as you can, then work on squeezing your shoulder blades together. Use a bungee or assisted pull-up machine (common in most gyms) if needed. Women should strive for four to eight repetitions and men for six to 12.

2. Finish a 10K

2 FINISH A 10K

Marathons may be daunting for new runners, but a 10K (6.2 miles) seems universally doable. They’re popular with beginners, especially those who have done a 5K, race but don’t feel they’re quite ready to take on the half-marathon, Lisa Kinder says. “There’s nothing like having the goal of competing in a race to focus the mind,” says Kinder, who recommends running three times a week at a minimum to get fit and prepare for a 10K. Do two 30-minute runs on Tuesday and Thursday and a long run on the weekend. When possible, add an additional 20-minute easy run to your schedule to increase total time.

3. Hold a Forearm Plank for Three Minutes

3 HOLD A FOREARM PLANK FOR THREE MINUTES

A perfect plank — no hiking up your hips or allowing them to sag — is one of the best exercises for increasing core strength. “Holding a stationary plank involves stability of the whole body,” which helps prevent injury, ease motion and build strength, says Jacque Crockford, exercise physiologist and education specialist at the American Council on Exercise (ACE). If new to the forearm plank, work up to it by holding a plank on the elbows and knees for 10 to 15 seconds. Rest and repeat for two to three sets. Add time gradually until you are able to hold a plank on the knees for 30 seconds, then lift the knees and hold the plank on the elbows and feet for 20 seconds. Repeat for two to three sets and continue to add time until you reach that three-minute goal.

4. Do 20 Perfect Push-Ups

4 DO 20 PERFECT PUSH-UPS

Push-ups require upper-body strength and full-body stability. “When performing a push-up correctly (with a straight line from head to heels, elbows bending to 90 degrees), you engage the major upper-body muscle groups like the pectorals and deltoids,” says Jacque Crockford, exercise physiologist and education specialist at the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “You’re also engaging your trunk and leg musculature to maintain proper body position” — the same muscles used everyday for toting groceries or carrying children. Work up to your goal by doing two to three sets of eight to 12 reps every two to three days during strength training. “If you’re not able to do one full push-up yet, start by doing push-ups on the wall, against a low bench or with the knees on the ground,” Crockford says. “Then progress to five full-body push-ups at a time.”

5. Master an Olympic Lift

5 MASTER AN OLYMPIC LIFT

Popularized by CrossFit, Olympic lifts include complex, full-body exercises designed to increase power and strength and are often used to train for sports. The clean and jerk, for example, is a composite of power, strength, speed, coordination and stabilization of nearly every joint, says Irv Rubenstein, Ph.D., founder of S.T.E.P.S., a science-based fitness facility in Nashville, Tennessee. “For athletes, the clean and jerk is a fundamental power-training exercise demanding vertical power production of the lower extremities and upper body, with substantial core (abs, hips, low back) strength and stability requirements, to transfer energy from the ground up.” Though it’s similar to lifting an object from the ground or a slight elevation and putting it overhead onto a shelf, you may want to consult a strength coach for proper instruction.

6. Do a Long-Distance Bike Tour

6 DO A LONG-DISTANCE BIKE TOUR

Combine a travel bucket list item with a fitness one and plan a bike trip through a beautiful area like Napa Valley. A fitness endeavor combined with wine includes both work and play, which isn’t a bad thing. “Fine wine and food is always a pleasant reward for those so inclined to consume it,” Rubenstein says. “Plus, a bike tour — even interspersed by visits to local wineries and vineyards — is an aerobic event, made more challenging by taking the gentle slopes faster or simply going longer distances throughout the day.” Be sure to buy a good bike and get it fitted to your body properly. Don’t skimp on the appropriate cycling equipment, and learn basic skills to repair your bike should you get a flat or mess up the chain, Rubenstein says.

7. Complete a Strenuous Hike

7 COMPLETE A STRENUOUS HIKE

Hiking the Grand Canyon, for instance, requires physical strength as well as mental toughness, making it a good bucket-list item, Rubenstein says. Plus, it will be a truly memorable experience. “You’re not only going to see some amazing vistas and natural formations, but you’re going to have to be physically very strong — heart and legs and core. And, yes, you carry your own water and backpack,” he says. “It’s a total-body event with amazing rewards along the way.” Train for it by doing basic cardio, such as walking on hills, running and stair climbing, preferably on real stairs. The elliptical machine also works, as does squats, lunges and step-ups using weights in your hand or on your body (like a weighted vest, which develops the legs). Rubenstein suggests you vary the stair height and focus on core work.

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How to lose fat

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Want to up your fat-burn potential? Try these top tips…

If you’re ready to get serious about fat loss, do yourself a favour and steer clear of fad diets and calorie restricting. Instead, try these super-easy tips and tricks to help you become the best version of you!

Refuelling hazard

Ever felt ravenous after a workout? Make sure you come prepared – bring a protein shake or healthy snack to consume post-workout. I’ll save you from making decisions that will hamper your results.

Ditch the boyfriend

Don’t panic – it’s only for the workout. Men usually burn more calories than women in the same workout due to being heavier, in addition to which Mother Nature acts to protect women’s role as child bearer, which means we maintain adequate body fat for nourishing healthy babies. Doing your partner’s workout, then, might end up with him shedding pounds but you only shedding tears. Go solo, girl!

Turn on the afterburners

Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is the term given to the body’s attempts to recharge and restore itself immediately after a workout, a process that results in additional calorie burn. Research has shown that high-intensity interval training leads to greater EPOC than steady cardio workouts, so turn up the dial with alternate bouts of maximum effort and rest for serious results. Try the Tabata format – eight periods of 20 secs full-out work followed by 10 secs recovery.

Muscle up to slim down

Building lean muscle mass will speed up your metabolic rate and promote fat burn – so get strength training. Compound exercises that use bigger muscle groups will be most effective – like squats, deadlifts and kettlebell swings.

Running on empty

Exercising in the morning before your first meal is a great way to shed fat. Research shows that fasting (which is essentially what happens overnight as we sleep) leads to increased adrenaline and reduced insulin levels, creating an environment that is more conductive to the breakdown of fat for energy. If you’re not used to this, though, ease yourself in and remember to stay hydrated.

Team tactics

When it comes to fitness, it’s easy to fall into a rut by doing the same workouts over and over – especially if you’re partial to studio classes. So give your fat-loss hopes a sporting chance by joining a football, hockey or tennis club. Not only will variation keep you motivated, these sports incorporate the need for repeated bursts of effort (interval training) that we know burns fat.

Up and down

Alternating your exercises between upper and lower body in a circuit format results in an extra calorie burn because your cardiovascular system has to work harder. Peripheral Heart Action training, as this is known, challenges the heart to keep pushing blood from one part of the body to another, in order to deliver oxygen to fuel the muscles. A routine like this also allows you to move straight from one exercise to the next, as muscle groups get a chance to rest, so you can get your workout done quicker.

Explode the fat

Also known as jump training, plyometric exercises involve stretching the muscles prior to explosively contracting them. Think burpees, box jumps and jumping lunges; all of which result in high calorie expenditure, making them a valuable weapon in your fat-loss armoury.

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10 Must-Know Fitness Tips to Score Your Best Body

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Say hello to your checklist for a hotter you. Follow these fun, practical strategies, and the results you’ve been after are in the bag!

Stick to It for 2 Weeks

If motivation is your hang-up, change your exercise routine every 14 days. A University of Florida study discovered that people who modified their workouts twice a month were more likely than to stick to their plans compared to those who changed their regimens whenever they wanted to. Boredom didn’t appear to be a factor; it seems people simply enjoyed the variety more.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Bring Up Your Rear

For a strong backside that will turn heads wherever you go, Marta Montenegro, a Miami-based exercise physiologist and strength and conditioning coach, recommends completing 100 kettlebell swings nonstop with a moderate weight at the end of a legs workout. If you can’t access a kettlebell, do deadlifts and hip-thrusters instead. “Women tend to overemphasize the quadriceps even when they think they are working the butt. With these two exercises, you’ll have no problem engaging the glutes and posterior muscles of the legs,” Montenegro says.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

Never Skip the Most Important Meal

For once we’re not talking about breakfast but rather the recovery meal after your workout. “So many women skip post-exercise nutrition because they don’t want to ‘undo the calories they just burned,’” says Amanda Carlson-Phillips, vice president of nutrition and research for Athletes’ Performance and Core Performance. “But getting a combination of 10 to 15 grams of protein and 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrates within 30 minutes of your workout will help to refuel your body, promote muscle recovery, amp up your energy, and build a leaner physique.”

Mind Your Muscle

It’s easy to get lost in a killer playlist or Friends rerun on the TV attached to the elliptical, but mindless exercise makes all your hard work forgettable—and you can forget about seeing results too. “There is a huge difference between going through the motions of an exercise and truly thinking, feeling, and engaging the key muscles,” says Kira Stokes, master instructor at the New York City location of indoor cycling studio Revolve. “Be conscious of and enjoy the sensation of your muscles contracting and the feelings of growing stronger and more powerful with each rep.”

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

Be Less Specific

Just like trying to find a guy who meets certain exact standards, trying to reach an exact weight is a lofty—and often unattainable—goal. Having a range, such as losing five to 10 pounds, may lead to a more successful outcome than if you aim to lose precisely 8 pounds in four weeks, according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research. Flexible goals seem more feasible, which in turn boosts your sense of accomplishment, encouraging you to stay driven, the study authors say.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

Step It Up

Instinct may tell you to slow down when running in wintery conditions, but the secret to not slipping is actually to speed up and shorten your stride. Aim to have each foot strike the ground 90 times per minute, says Terry Chiplin, owner of Active at Altitude, a Colorado-based facility for endurance athletes. This high cadence helps ensure that each foot lands beneath the center of your weight rather than ahead of it, which can throw off your balance on slick terrain.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Hang Tight

Not being able to do a pull-up doesn’t mean you shouldn’t step up to the bar. Simply hanging on for as long as possible can improve your upper-body strength, Montenegro says. Concentrate on keeping your body as still as possible, and you’ll naturally recruit your abs, hips, and lower back in addition to your arms, she explains, or slowly move your legs in circles or up and down to further engage your abs. (And while you’re at it, follow this pull-up progression plan to master the classic move.)

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

Not So Fast

Before you start a juice cleanse diet, know that drastically restricting your caloric intake to drop pounds may backfire: In a 2010 study, women placed on a 1,200-calorie diet for three weeks had elevated levels of cortisol, our primary stress hormone. Chronic stress has been associated with an increased risk of weight gain as well as coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and impaired immune functioning.

Bust Out Your Bikini

Packing your two-piece away for winter means you won’t think about how you’ll look in it until about April. Avoid any potential “how did my butt get this big?!” panics come spring by keeping your swimsuit handy and putting it on every so often to make sure you like what you see, says Tanya Becker, co-founder of the Physique 57 barre program. You can also toss it on when you’re tempted to overindulge, she adds. “There’s no better way to keep yourself from having that after-dinner cookie or slice of cake.”

Pep Up Your Run

Sweet chili peppers may not be a winter food, but continue eating them in your burritos, stir-fries, and soups, and you may burn more fat during your outdoor cold-weather runs. These not-hot veggies contain chemicals called capsinoids, which are similar to the capsaicin found in hot peppers. Combine capsinoids with 63-degree or cooler temps, and you increase the amount and activity of brown fat cells—those that burn energy—and give your metabolism an extra boost, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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3 Must-Try Beach Workouts From Top Fitness Influencers

Now that summer is here, is there any better place to break a sweat than the beach? Aside from all the energizing benefits of your workout, you’ll get an extra boost just from being near the water. Research suggests the simple act of taking in an ocean vista is enough to improve your mental health. And best of all, you can cool down by diving under the waves.

 Lucky for us, some of our favorite fitness influencers feel the same way about training by the sea. Keep scrolling for made-for-sand moves to steal on your next beach day or vacay.

Ebonny Fowler

@ebonny_fowler

 This personal trainer is all about making fitness fun, and her most recent Insta post is no exception. Yesterday she shared a Pilates flow performed at the edge of lapping waves on a beach in Jamaica, set to Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” We can’t get enough of her killer core moves.

Katie Austin

@katieaustin

Want to focus on your abs and arms? Check out this workout by Katie Austin. All you need is a set of dumbbells, and enough space on the sand to fit a yoga mat.

@beachyogagirl

https://www.instagram.com/pBTvAmJ7j7a4/?taken-by=beachyogagirl&hl=en

Tomorrow Day 6 of #mayibeginwithten is Bakasana! This is the first arm balance that most students will learn. The reason it is in this "beginner" challenge is because over the last 15 years I have taught yoga, this pose is one of the most exciting and rewarding accomplishments for students. I have seen countless beginners try this pose and be able to do it with the right instruction. If you can do one push-up or chaturanga, you can do this pose. Anyone can begin to work this posture – you don't have to take your feet off the ground to benefit. I feel that sometimes we can get caught up in the "I can't" rather than just working towards "I can". In this video, I show the progression to the full expression of the pose. With the right technique, effort and attitude, I believe you can achieve this pose! _ Tips: 1. Start in a low squat and squeeze the knees to the outside of the triceps. 2. Lean forward using your inner thighs to hug the arms. 3. If you are able to hold here, great! If you want to keep leaning forward, the toes might lift! 4. If flexibility allows, try placing the knees on the back of the arms close to the armpits. 5. Bend the arms and let the knees rest on their "shelf". 6. Stuck in your core and lean forward pressing firmly into the ground. 7. When the feet become light, lift them or just one at a time. 8. Once you can balance with bent arms, super glue your thighs to your chest (strong core) and lean forward as you straighten the arms.💪🏻 _ Remember this is a journey, there is no destination. Enjoy the time you spend learning the process.🙏🏻 _ Practice the full 10 min class with me on Omstars.com (link in bio). Use the code 101010 and your first month is $10. 😊 TAG a friend! #bakasana

A post shared by Kerri Verna (@beachyogagirl) on

 Kerri Verna, better known as Beach Yoga Girl to her one million followers, has been teaching yoga for more than 16 years. Her perfect Crow Pose in the clip above is serious fitness goals, with or without a gorgeous backdrop. “I feel that sometimes we can get caught up in the ‘I can’t’ rather than just working towards ‘I can,'” Verna wrote in the caption to the post, which shows the full progression of Crow in stages.

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Why It’s Important to Always Run With a Purpose

As a therapist and prior running coach, all too often I’ve heard people say, “I don’t really enjoy running, I’m glad when it’s over.” That in and of itself makes it difficult to stay consistent. Who wants to work out when they aren’t enjoying their stride?

One way to make the experience more enjoyable is to focus on a specific goal, whether it’s to lose weight, clear your head, accomplish a certain distance, or set a new personal record. Having clear goals—a scheduled outline-creating purpose—means you’re more likely to feel a sense of accomplishment throughout the journey. Take these tips and run with them:

Make a running journal. Sit down on Sunday night and write out your daily runs for the week. Get as specific as you can, listing when you’re going to go, how far, where, and how fast you plan to go (or what type of running workout you want to do). At the end of the week, record any barriers you experienced—things like heat or physical ailments—along with any areas of strength you noticed, like how calm, focused, and strong you felt. Reviewing your progress can provide a sense of growth and success, as you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come. And that will encourage you to go farther!

Take a break. Not taking any rest days—or simply running too many days in a row—is a recipe for burnout. If you find yourself not enjoying your runs, throw in some cross-training workouts, like Spinning, yoga, or swimming. It’s no use pounding the pavement just because without positive gain. Junk miles just aren’t worth it.

Appreciate the smaller milestones. After years of training, I took a sabbatical from running because I was pretty busy having four children. It was an accomplishment to complete 30 minutes of any type of exercise a couple times a week—I considered it a victory if I got in some squats and push-ups during nap time. Don’t beat yourself up for fitting in what you can.

Change things up. I used to run solo with no music. I enjoyed my alone time and the opportunity to push myself to the limit in preparation for races. Now that I’m running again, I don’t take myself too seriously. I make a playlist of songs that motivate me and I invite my kids to ride their bikes next to me. Sometimes changing your routine is just the refresher you need, and knowing I’m providing an example for my kids gets me on the road regularly.

Create a goal you’ll want to work toward. My short-term goal is to have FUN with each run as I train for the Chicago Marathon in October. My long-term goal is for a cause bigger than myself: raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Maybe your goal is to get up early and move your body. Set an intention before you take that first step, and then remember to thank yourself for doing it.

Run mindfully. Listening to your breath, relaxing your shoulders, and feeling your heart rate increase can set the foundation for being present throughout your day. Enjoy the environment you’re running in—notice your surroundings and awaken your senses. Pay attention to how the breeze feels on your face, take note of things you’ve never seen before, and listen to your breath as you establish a steady pace.

Make a positive mantra. As a cognitive behavioral therapist, I’m a firm believer in our internal dialogue positively or negatively affecting mood and productivity. The minute you tell yourself you can’t, you won’t. Your body will shut down. Tell yourself you’re doing great even if you feel like you’re lying to yourself. Acknowledge the discomfort and let it go. Running isn’t easy—it’s not always going to feel good. But don’t let the feeling discourage you. It’ll pass.

What Might Happen If You Walk 30 Minutes a Day

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Think About It

Be honest: You easily spend 30 minutes a day on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. (It’s OK, we do, too.) Well, put down your phone and use that time to take a walk around the neighborhood. There are eight amazing things that might happen if you do.

You’ll Burn About 150 Calories

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Depending on your weight and the speed you’re walking, you’re likely to burn about 150 calories whenever you take a half-hour stroll. So don’t worry about eating that extra cookie after lunch—you got this.

PHOTO: THOMAS NORTHCUT/GETTY IMAGES

You’ll Feel Calmer

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The act of walking can be relaxing, even if you’re exploring a busy city street and not a quiet meadow. For an even deeper experience, download the meditation app OMG I Can Meditate and listen to a guided walking meditation.

PHOTO: TWENTY20

Your Legs Will Become More Toned

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Just 30 minutes a day can strengthen and tone the muscles in your thighs and calves. Pair your walks with strength-training exercises twice a week (lunges, squats, etc.) and you’ll notice even better results.

PHOTO: TWENTY20

And You Might Reduce Varicose Veins

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Walking regularly has been proven to help reduce the appearance and pain of varicose veins, according to the Cleveland Clinic. (Just make sure you change into sneaks before you start to prevent injury and increase circulation.)

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You’ll Improve Your Digestion

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After eating a heavy meal, don’t flop down on the couch in front of the TV. A 30-minute walk will help get things moving in your digestive tract and keep your blood sugar levels more stable, notes The New York Times.

PHOTO: TWENTY20

And You’ll Feel More Creative

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You know what won’t get your creative juices flowing? Watching Friends reruns. (We still love you, Chandler.) When you go for a walk, bring a notebook with you. You’ll be surprised how easily creative ideas pop up when you’re on the move and clearing your head.

PHOTO: TWENTY20

You’ll Get Errands Done On-the-Go

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Something else you can take on that walk: your phone. Use the time to catch up with long-distance friends and family. Or, hell, make that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off for weeks.

PHOTO: TWENTY20

You Might Be Inspired to Exercise Even More

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After a few weeks of making this routine, your half-hour walk will become a piece of cake. You might even be inspired to take it to the next level and try a 30-minute run or bike ride. The possibilities are endless, people.

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So, This Is How Nicole Scherzinger Gets Those Abs

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Get Nicole Scherzinger’s Moves

 She may be sitting at a judge’s table a lot of the time instead of dancing on stage, but Nicole Scherzinger hasn’t used that as an excuse to take it easy at the gym. She works out four times a week, doing a mix of strength moves and cardio with Adam Ernster, her Beverly Hills–based trainer. Nicole loves wearing slinky, strapless dresses that show off her buff upper body, so Ernster created these toners to sculpt the abs, shoulders, arms, and back—in as little as 10 minutes. Follow this plan for a month and your body will get top billing too!

Getting Started

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How it works:

Three times a week, do 2 or 3 sets of each move in order without resting in between.

You’ll need:

A 4- to 8-pound weighted ball, two valslides or small towels, and a resistance tube.

Reverse Chop

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WORKS: CORE

Hold a weighted ball with both hands in front of hips, and stand with feet wider than shoulders, knees slightly bent. Rotate shoulders to the left, bringing ball outside left hip [A].

Twist torso to the right as you raise ball up at a diagonal to the right [B]. Return to starting position. Do 12 to 15 reps, then switch sides to complete set.

Slide out

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WORKS CORE AND SHOULDERS

Get in plank position with hands on Valslides or towels. Press left hand down as you slowly slide it forward [shown]. Return to starting position and repeat on right side to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps. (If this move is too challenging, try it with your knees on the ground.)

Triple threat

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WORKS: ABS

Lie faceup with legs extended toward ceiling, feet flexed and arms at sides. Raise hips [A]; lower to starting position. Do 10 reps.

Next, place hands behind head and bend knees 90 degrees. Curl knees toward chest [B]; lower to starting position. Do 10 reps. Last, place feet on floor and extend arms straight up from chest.

Raise head and shoulders [c]; lower. Do 10 reps.

High curl

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WORKS: BICPES AND CORE

Anchor a resistance tube around a high object (or in a doorjamb with the door closed) and stand facing it with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold a handle in each hand at shoulder height in front of you, palms facing up (tube should be taut). Bend elbows, curling hands toward head [shown], then extend arms to starting position. Do 12 to 15 reps.

Leaning Extension

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WORKS: TRICEPS AND CORE

Stand facing away from the resistance tube with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a handle in each hand outside ears, elbows bent and palms facing up. Lean forward slightly (band should be taut). Extend arms [shown], then bend elbows again. Do 12 to 15 reps.

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WATCH: HIIT Workout with Lucy Mecklenburgh

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We’re celebrating the new OnDemand programme from Results with Lucy with an exclusive video from the pro herself

If you haven’t heard of Results with Lucy then where have you been? Like, seriously! The online fitness platform boasts a series of HIIT workouts for all abilities and to suit even the most hectic of lifestyles. Want to know the best part? It’s right at your fingertips meaning you can get fit anytime, anywhere.

And to celebrate the launch of the new OnDemand programme, we’ve got an exclusive three minute video for you to try from the comfort of your own home… or office – we’re not judging. Promising to work your legs, bum and core, it will soon get your heart rate pumping and your muscles burning.

“I am so excited to introduce my OnDemand programme to Results with Lucy. I hear from so many girls that they don’t have the time to work out, or can’t be bothered to drive to the gym and I wanted to create something to combat that. With OnDemand you can make time and I am so proud to be able help everyone to workout, no matter what their schedule!”

WATCH: HIIT Workout with Lucy Mecklenburgh
The new OnDemand programme offers more than 400 workouts, 350 plus recipes and you can train with fitness guru Lucy Mecklenburgh, her PT Cecilia Harris and their team of fitness professionals in a range of exciting videos. It’s simple to use too. Log on, work out and feel good.

WATCH: HIIT Workout with Lucy Mecklenburgh
Stream from your laptop, tablet or ever your smartphone, Results with Lucy puts you in charge of your workout. Prices start from £14 a month.

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This App Pays You to Work Out (Yes, This Is Real Life)

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If you’ve ever lacked the motivation to work out, we may have found exactly what you need—if you’re in the UK, at least. Meet the new fitness app Sweatcoin, which literally pays you to exercise. Specifically, Sweatcoin tracks how many steps you take, which can then be traded in for money or rewards, according to a report in Reuters. The new app rewards users one coin of virtual currency (that’s bitcoin, guys, and it’s going to be a currency soon whether we like it or not) for every 1,000 steps.

While we’ve heard of fitness apps that will reward you for your workout challenges, Sweatcoin is the first of its kind in that it doesn’t heavily rely on the users self-reporting their own exercise. Translation: you can’t cheat. And Sweatcoin isn’t just looking to be a cool app or to disrupt the fitness scene, as Silicon Valley would say—they’re looking to change the health of the citizens in the UK.

“This whole business is pegged to making movement valuable,” founder Oleg Fomenko said in the release. “Eventually, Sweatcoin is going to have a rate of exchange tied to the British pound.”

 What’s more, companies are integrating Sweatcoin perks into their wellness programs. Four London-based startups will offer Sweatcoin to employees as part of a rewards at work program, with sweet deals like extra days off from work, subsidized healthy meals, or free massages in exchange for coins collected throughout their physical activity.

While there’s no info yet on whether the iPhone-only app is going to roll out in the States yet, we’re eager to try it.

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Benefits of Swimming: 10 Reasons Every Woman Should Get in the Water

Benefits of Swimming: It Counts as Both Cardio and Strength Training

In swimming, if you aren’t moving constantly, you’re sinking. (Forced cardio!) Plus, water is about 800 times denser than air, says swimming and triathlon coach Earl Walton, owner of Tailwind Endurance in New York City, so your muscles are under constant resistance. Finally, no more trying to decide if today is going to be a strength or cardio day. (We suggest this pool workout for every skill level.)

Benefits of Swimming: It’s Easy on the Impact

Yes, the low impact means swimming is a great workout for injured athletes, who need to take it easy on their joints. But it may also mean more results: “You can swim at higher intensities on a regular basis without feeling wear and tear on your body,” Walton says. You could have a super-hard workout one day and still be in the pool the next, he says. Bonus: Research in the International Journal of Sports Medicine shows swimming is better than straight-up rest for exercise recovery, for when you want to take it easy.

Benefits of Swimming: It’s Great for Your Lungs

When your face is under water, oxygen is at a premium. In turn, your body adapts to use oxygen more efficiently, Walton says. Plus, it learns to take in more fresh air with every breath, and expel more carbon dioxide with every exhalation. A study in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology even found that swimmers had better tidal volume (the amount of air that moves in and out of the lungs during relaxed breathing) compared to runners. This results in lower resting heart rates, lower blood pressure, and, as you’ll see next, better running performance.

Benefits of Swimming: It Makes You a Better Runner

By increasing your ability to take in and effectively use oxygen, swimming increases your endurance capacity like crazy, Walton says. That’s great news if you’re hoping to complete your first half-marathon this year. It also means you can run faster mile after mile without getting winded. In a 2013 Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports study, swimmers who followed a controlled breathing technique (taking two breaths per pool length) improved their running economy by 6 percent after just 12 swim sessions. Air-fueled benefits aside, swimming trains your glutes and hamstrings, your core, and your shoulders—all of which are needed for improved running form and performances, Walton says.

Benefits of Swimming: Anyone Can Do It

Whether you’re recovering from an injury, pregnant (Walton has trained women in the pool on their due dates), a new mom, or an Ironman competitor, swimming can give you a great workout (um, as long as you—you know—know how to swim). You control the pace, intensity, and what you get out of every session, he says.

Benefits of Swimming: It Slashes Major Stress

While exercise-induced endorphins will do wonders for your stress levels, getting in the water for your workout may have its own special brand of mood-boosting benefits, Walton says. Being submerged in water dulls the amount of sensory information that bombards your body, helping to bring on feelings of calm, according to a study published in Pain Research & Management. Researchers found that regular flotation tank sessions were effective at relieving symptoms in patients suffering from conditions related to chronic stress. No wonder you love soaking in the bathtub.

Benefits of Swimming: It Turns Back the Clock

Regular swimmers are biologically 20 years younger than their driver’s licenses say they are, according to research from Indiana University. Scientists say that, even up until your 70th birthday, swimming affects blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cardiovascular performance, central nervous system health, cognitive functioning, muscle mass, and blood chemistry to be much more similar to that of your younger self. Who needs night cream?

Benefits of Swimming: It Hits Otherwise Underworked Muscles

“You don’t sit at your desk with your arms over your head,” Walton says. But when you’re in the pool, your arms are all over the place, meaning you need to work your often-neglected lats, deltoids, and traps, he says. And we know you aren’t targeting those when you’re on a bike or pounding the pavement. Plus, since so much of swimming is about staying balanced and level in the water (while both your arms and legs are moving, mind you), swimming helps you develop the deep stabilizing muscles in your core and lower back that women often miss.

Benefits of Swimming: It Makes You Smarter

Blood flow to the brain increased by up to 14 percent when men submerged themselves in water up to their hearts, according to a Journal of Physiology study. Researchers believe water’s pressure on the chest cavity may have something to do with it, and they are now studying whether water-based workouts improve blood flow to the brain better than do land-based ones. Stay tuned.

Benefits of Swimming: It Opens You Up to Awesome Experiences

Want to hop off the back of a boat? Swim across the San Francisco Bay? Go snorkeling in the Bahamas? Win every game of Marco Polo? Mastering swimming will help you do all that, Walton says. “Swimming’s a life skill. It opens the doors to a lot of fun stuff.”

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7 moves to lose 7lbs in 21 days

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The rules

Start by warming up your entire body, gradually increasing the heart rate and your circulation. This will loosen the joints and boost the blood flow to your muscles to help prevent injury. Begin the seven-move circuit resting for 20 seconds between each exercise. Finish with a thorough cool down, stretching the muscles to reduce stiffness and cramping.

7 moves to lose 7lbs in 21 days

Want to turn your fitness routine up a gear? We’ve got just the thing. We caught up with Tally Rye and Victoria Spence, two thirds of the founding members behind the #GirlGains movement which aims to inspire women to get fitter, healthier and happier, to find out how we can drop half a stone in three weeks. The outcome? A simple workout which when combined with a healthy diet and other forms of regular exercise five times per week will enable you to drop seven pounds in just 21 days. Say goodbye to over indulgence from your waistline for good!

180 degree squat jumps 

Adding a half turn to the jump squat is not only fun, but it also requires extra coordination and provides more core work. Do as many reps as you can in 40 seconds.
1 Start in a deep squat with your legs slightly wider than your hip-width and your toes slightly turned outward. Twist your torso to the right, reaching your right hand to the ceiling and your left hand toward the floor. Keep your chest up.
2 Jump, spinning to the left 180 degrees (halfway around), bringing both hands overhead. Land softly, bending the knees into a deep squat, twisting your torso to the left, with the left hand reaching toward the ceiling and the right hand toward the floor.
3 Repeat for 40 seconds, reversing directions so you jump spinning to the right and go back the way you came.

Press ups with T-twist
Breathe some life into the standard push up and build additional strength in the chest, shoulders, arms and core in one fluid movement.
1 Perform a standard push up (in a plank position).
2 At the top of the exercise lift one arm from the floor and raise towards the ceiling whilst rotating your torso to the side. Roll onto the sides of your feet (side-plank)and keep your body straight at all times.
3 Lower the arm back down and return to the starting position.
4 Repeat, but this time raise the opposite arm. Alternate arms to complete the set. Repeat 10 times.

Mountain climbers


Not just great for toning your lower body and abs, this explosive bodyweight workout is also a form of cardio.
1 Begin in a high press up position with your weight in your toes and arms.
2 Keeping your back straight, draw your right knee towards your chest in one smooth motion. Extend the leg back to the starting position.
3 Repeat with the left leg. Alternate between legs for 40 seconds, before resting for 20 seconds. Repeat four times.

Plank with arm and leg raises
Work your obliques, quadriceps and hamstrings with this dynamic plank variation.
1 Begin in plank position resting on your hands, with your core engaged and your back straight.
2 Raise your right leg, knee extended, until your foot is above hip height, while raising the opposite arm, elbow fully extended with hand above shoulder height.
3 Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the left leg and right arm and hold for 30 seconds.

Curtsey lunges
Seriously activate your glutes with this ladylike lunge.
1 Start standing with your feet hip width apart and then step your right leg behind you and to the right so your thighs cross, bending your knees as if you were curtsying.
2 Ensure that your front knee is aligned with your front ankle.
3 Return to standing then switch sides. Repeat for 40 seconds.

Ski jump
You don’t have to brave the cold for this high-impact lower body move.
1 Start in a squat position with your feet together and your knees bent.
2 Pushing up through your heels, launch your body up and sideways, landing to the right of your starting position.
3 Land softly and return to the squat position.
4 Repeat the jump to the left side.
5 Without pausing, continue to jump right and left for 40 seconds, before resting for 20 seconds. Repeat four times.

Plyometric lunge into squat jump
Team quick legs with deep lunges and squats to feel the burn and watch those pounds drop away.
1 Begin by standing upright. Step your right foot forward.
2 Lower your body down into a lunge, until your right thigh is parallel to the ground and your left knee is almost touching the ground.
3 Explode back up and scissor your legs in the air so that they exchange positions. As you land drop back into the lunge and then explode back up and scissor again, returning your legs to their original lunge position.
4 Return to a standing position before dropping down into a squat, then engage your core and jump upwards. Land gently and lower your body back into the squat position, then return to a standing position to move into the lunge again.
5 Alternate both exercises for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat four times.

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The Secret to Getting Lean – Get Strong First

One of the mostly popularly undervalued and frequently overlooked values of exercise, especially by the female population seeking to get lean, is strength development.

By Lil Bianchi, strength and conditioning coach and founder of OTG Athletic

Strength is the legendary precious mirror of the realm of weight loss, health and fitness. As is often the case, I come across women who view strength training as a “system” designed for mane, physique and muscle. A common perspective shared by a vast majority of women is that this type of “exercise” is intended for top-level buffalo wrestling and is usually considered to be superfluous in the realm of weight loss and general wellbeing.

This mentality that surrounds us implies that I have women who come into my Fitness Centre with some apprehension, harboring reservations that adhering to my methods and techniques when it comes to exercise will cause the seams of their tank tops to come apart. The truth is that to effectively achieve one’s objectives, regardless of whether they be fitness, weight loss, or enhanced sports performance, your training basis must be rooted in strength. Yes, for you to be fit, agile, lean, and fast or simply be able to comfortable wear skinny jeans, strength is a key requirement.

Find your weak, train it hard, overcome your shortfalls, own your failures and leave no weakness

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Strength is the foundation of physical exercise.

A strong base in strength will yield more favorable results, regardless of your physical objective. To build the framework of a viable and effective “machine” that gets rid of fat at an increased speed and further enhance your capacity to intensive training, you have to create a substructure. As such, the performance capability of the human body is based on your strength and power productivity. The higher the force you can apply, the better your body can perform an action. According to past journals, strength is seen as a skill and how often you practice your skill, will decide how far you will come to mastering it.

2017 Goals: Get fuck strong

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Cyclists, marathon runners, surfers, sprinters, wrestlers, canoeists, boxers, swimmers, and every other form of sportsperson will increase their chances to be better by being strong. As Mark Reifkind, a senior Russian Kettlebell Instructor and top athlete expresses it: “Strength fixes everything”. This however does not imply that every sportsperson has to build immense strength, but to put it plains, regardless of your personal and physical objective, strength is a significant factor. With a specific aim of pushing ahead and building fitness, endurance, power, and speed, you need a specific measure of toning and sinew. There are a few basic guidelines I live and mentor by when including an effective strength program into the schedules of my athletes, weekend fighters and regular housewives. Although I won’t go into details on planning, nor discuss rep figures, intensity and sets, I will give you this guidance:

Keep to the following basic principles and gain more life improvements.

Rule #1: Don’t make your workout routine too complex.

Keep it basic as this is what works. Adhere to the essentials. Avoid the techy devices to the amateurs in neon headbands doing sit-ups on the mat. At OTG we believe in a slogan we embraced from Eric Bach, a famous fitness coach: “Success lies in the ruthless execution of the basics”.

Rule #2: Pick workouts that favor compound movements over isolation workouts.

While exercising you need to transfer power through not just one joint. This won’t just develop strong muscle, but additionally strengthens tendons and joints while reinforcing connective tissue and increasing strength through various planes. This builds general strength over size.

Rule #3: Improve on flaws to develop new strengths.

Be certain your workout regimen is intensive and concentrate on your shortcomings. Focus on the aspects where you “suck”.

We run on caffeine, sarcasm, lifting weights and copious amounts of insults. It genuinely gets us through our 25 hour days.

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Rule #4: Get specific.

Regardless of your sport, so long as you are an athlete, you have to concentrate on training that focus on your movements and simulate your flow. The strength of a fighter rises from the ground up – a punch is pulled from the ground and delivered from the hips. It is therefore advisable for athletes to concentrate on movements instead of muscles.

Rule #5: “overtraining” does not exist.

There is just under-recovery. Set aside time for recuperation or set aside time for failing. That’s all!

Rule #6: Observe what every other person is doing and do the exact opposite.

There are lots of different “experts” in the world today and not sufficient expertise.

Rule #7: Get strong first

A decent workout regimen has a strong basis, a solid foundation and a sturdy substructure. Try not to let your self-esteem meddle with your procedure. Do what is needed to attain success and keep on pushing the advancement of the human shape. Strengthen your body and it will strengthen your mind.

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Yoga Tips for Beginners

Yoga is a mind-body exercise that can be beneficial to your physical and mental health in many ways. Joëlle Sleebos helps you get started with a few yoga tips for beginners.

Top yoga tips for beginners, to help you get started

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The health and fitness benefits of yoga are too rewarding not to try. If yoga has always intrigued you but you’re not sure it’s the right fit for your fitness regime, Joëlle Sleebos, personal training, group fitness and yoga instructor, is about to inform you on just how easy it is to get into a yoga rhythm. Joëlle left her corporate career in Economics to follow her passion for yoga and has since been teaching at different yoga studios in Cape Town and hosts regular yoga retreats and events. Here are Joëlle’s top ten tips for getting into the swing of things.

  • You do not need to be flexible to do yoga

The perception that you have to be flexible to do yoga is false. Getting your body into a rhythm and allowing your muscles to stretch takes time and you will become more flexible with practice. Anyone can do and will benefit from practicing yoga no matter your flexibility level, gender or age.

  • Focus on your breath

One thing beginners tend to forget is to focus on their breath. Conscious breathing allows you to fully focus on what you’re doing and to be present in the moment. It also allows you to connect to your energy from within and allows the movement of the body to follow the rhythm of the breath. It’s a form of stress relief as you let go of the past and focus on the now. It’s a simple but important practice in yoga.

  • Alignment

While alignment is important, there is no one perfect way to do a pose, just your way that suits your body. Everyone’s flexibility levels vary and body diver, so it’s important to listen to your body and reach the flexibility level that you are comfortable with.

  • Listen to your body

Some days you have lots of energy and you feel great, while other days you just may not have the energy or strength. Yoga provides so many options to fit in with how you’re feeling on the day. Some days your practice will be strong, while other days you might want to take it a little easier – that’s perfectly fine as long as you’re listening to your body. The more you listen to the body the more the subtle messages your body is trying to give you, you will notice.

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  • Variation is key

Incorporating different poses and different variations of poses into your yoga practice and mixing things up a bit allows you to explore your body and find out what works for your body at that moment in time.

  • Practice on an empty stomach

Like most workouts, it’s not comfortable to exercise after eating a big meal. Yoga is the same. If you are hungry, eat a light snack an hour or two before your yoga class. Also, always make sure you drink lots of water after a class to stay well hydrated.

  • Meditation before and after a class     

Meditation and yoga go hand in hand. It quietens your mind, allows you to be still, restores balance and calms your nervous system. Learning to meditate before and after a yoga class ensures you take in the full benefits of yoga and stay present.

  • Wear comfortable clothes

It’s important to feel comfortable in your workout clothes because of all the bending and stretching you do. Also, it’s not something you want to be worried about during your workout.

  • Have an open & positive mind

Yoga is all about good energy so stepping onto your mat at the beginning of a class with an open and positive mind is essential and sets the tone for your workout.

  • Have Fun!

While it’s good to take your yoga practice seriously, it’s just as important to have fun and enjoy yourself. Be present in the moment and enjoy the journey.

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