Fitness Friday: Top 10 Get-Fit Shortcuts

Looking for new, fresh advice on getting fit? I have 10 awesome fitness shortcuts that will help you get fit and lean even faster.

1. Jump to it

Rather than plod through a slow warm-up jog, kick off your routine with 20 jumping jacks, says trainer Larysa DiDio, founder of PFX Fitness in Pleasantville, New York. In less than a minute, these simple but explosive old-school moves activate your upper-and lower-body muscles and quickly raise your heart rate and body temperature to prime you for your workout. Another reason to keep it short: A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that lengthy warm-ups can fatigue you, compromising your true workout.

2. Start Strong
People who pushed themselves in the first half of a workout and eased up during the second half burned 23 percent more fat than those who did the opposite, according to a study from the College of New Jersey. The study also found that a period of moderate-intensity exercise prior to a milder one can elicit greater fat oxidation while making the overall workout feel less stressful. One more reason to get the hard part out of the way.

3. Hit the Right Notes
Music moves you to burn more calories in less time by spurring you to crank up—and keep up—the effort. But not just any playlist will do (sorry, Adele). To increase workout intensity, listen to songs with a tempo of 125 to 140 beats per minute and lively lyrics, says Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., author of Inside Sport Psychology, who has studied music’s impact on exercise for 20 years. His picks: “Moves Like Jagger,” by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera (128 bpm), “The Time (Dirty Bit),” by The Black Eyed Peas (128 bpm), and “Jai Ho (You Are My Destiny),” by A. R. Rahman & The Pussycat Dolls featuring Nicole Scherzinger (137 bpm).

4. Defy Gravity

Sculpting a perkier posterior may be as simple as hoisting heavier weights. The challenge to your muscles builds lean muscle faster, which is the secret to a tighter, lifted backside, says trainer Rachel Cosgrove, WH fitness contributor and author of The Female Body Breakthrough. Plus, it’s a stellar metabolism booster: Research shows you can burn nearly twice as many calories in the two hours after lifting heavier weights.

5. Join the Workout of the Month Club
When you stop seeing results, your first instinct may be to stay on the treadmill or elliptical longer. But tacking on extra minutes won’t rescue you from a plateau. What will: switching up your routine every 28 days—before you have a chance to stagnate. “It takes four to six weeks for your body to adapt to a workout,” says Cosgrove. “Once it becomes efficient at it, you use less energy and burn fewer calories and fat.” The good news is, you don’t need to completely overhaul your fitness routine every month, says Cosgrove. Even simple tweaks—say, adding a few hills to your daily run—can make the difference.

6. Lose your Balance
Multitasking is a useful skill at work—and during a workout. “Do upper-body strength training—biceps curls, overhead presses—on an unstable surface, such as a BOSU, a balance board, or even a couch cushion at home,” says DiDio. “You’ll use your core to stabilize yourself and keep from falling, so you’ll strengthen and tone your midsection while you work other muscle groups.”

7. Intensity Your Cardio

Slow and steady doesn’t win the race to hotness. Women who did 20 minutes of cycling sprint intervals lost three times as much fat in 15 weeks as those who cycled for twice as long at an even pace, according to research from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), in which you alternate between short bursts of intense exercise and recovery breaks, is one of the best—and most time-saving—ways to turn your body into a fat-burning machine, says Cosgrove.

8. Speed Lift

Do reps to a count of one second up, one second down. Researchers at Anderson and Ball State universities found that exercisers who performed a weight-lifting workout at a quick, explosive pace expended 70 more calories, on average, than those who did the workout at a normal pace.

9. Inch Up Your Incline
All it takes to torch 15 percent more calories on the treadmill? Adding a little incline, about 6 percent, to your usually flat run or walk, says DiDio. The higher the ramp, the more calories burned at any speed—without tacking a single minute on to your workout.

10. Make a Smartswap
Trade one of your weekly cardio workouts for a strength-training session to see more waist-whittling results. In a study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, one group of dieters lifted three times a week and another did aerobic exercise for the same amount of time. Both groups consumed the same number of calories, and both shed the same amount of weight (26 pounds). But those who pumped iron dropped 100 percent fat, whereas the cardio group lost 92 percent fat and 8 percent muscle. Why this matters: Muscle incinerates calories even when you’re not working out. If you replace 10 pounds of fat with 10 pounds of lean muscle, you’ll burn an extra 25 to 50 calories a day even when you don’t break a sweat.

Want more? See this link at Women’s Health Magazine

Photo credit by Munetaka Tokuyama

 

10 Reasons to Start Strength Training

Several years ago, my older sister, Julie, told me I need to start doing strength training. She is eight years older than I and always has good advice. She stressed the importance of this type of workout for strength, osteoporosis, and of course, a great looking figure as you get older. So, I gave it a whirl. When I began, I told my trainer, “Please don’t make me bulky.” He (Jeff Green at Icon Performance) continues to laugh about it to this day. I am so thankful I listened to my sister, so I thought I would share 10 great reasons to start weight training (you will be so glad you did).

1. It really does make you look lean- I can honestly now see real definition in my legs and arms without the bulk.

2. It prevents injury-I am a runner, and I cycle a lot. Strength training keeps my muscles strong to help prevent injury. Before I started weight-training, I used to be constantly sore. Now, I feel great.

3. Increased metabolism-Strength training can boost metabolism up to 15 % more, and it increases your metabolic rate for hours after training.

4. Increased strength and balance-the stronger I have become, the more my muscles work together properly in balance. I can carry my groceries inside with ease, and I see a difference in performance in my other sports.

5. It increases flexibility-By working my muscles though a full range of motion, my flexibility has increased. This really helps ward off back pain that I used to have.

6. Increased posture-Since my muscles have become stronger, I see a difference when I’m sitting and standing.

7. Stress relief-Weight training can really take your mind off stress and problems of the day. If you work out in a group of people, the time really flies by.

8. Increased Energy Levels-I normally leave the gym energized. Strength training elevates your level of endorphins which make you feel great and boost your mood. It is also said to help ward off depression.

9. Burn more calories-Your body burns calories during and after strength training. More calories are used to make muscle than fat.

10. Help fight diseases-Strength training is great to help prevent and fight arthritis, post menopause and even diabetes.

 

“The five S’s of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit.” – Ken Doherty

How to Get Lean?

Everyone wants to have a lean body, but how do we achieve it? I did some research to figure out what I am personally doing right and wrong, and here’s what I’ve found. If you have any other tips to offer, please share in the comment area below.

1. Strength Training-Adding strength training to your exercise program will help build lean muscles. Whether you use free weights, machines, body weight, or resistance bands, you will increase lean muscle, reduce body fat and burn more calories efficiently.

2. Eat more protein-Eating protein will help create lean muscle. Create your meals around protein. Identify what protein you are going to have and work your meals around that.

3. Do more yoga-In yoga, muscles are strengthened and elongated so you will not bulk up as much, but get a tone and flexible body.

4. Front-load your carbohydrates-Reduce the number of carbohydrates you eat as the day goes on. Studies show that your body’s ability to metabolize carbs drops as the day goes on, so more can end up stored as fat. My trainer, Jeff Green, from Icon Performance, says “Cut out all carbs after 3 p.m.” Wow is that hard, but if you can do it, you will see a difference.

5. Limit sugar, white flour and alcohol-These foods are quickly digested which causes blood sugar to rise. This stimulates the release of the hormone insulin, which signals your body to stop burning fat (and storing it instead).

6. Eat more frequently and eat smart-Nutritionist and Fitness Expert Sandra Koulourides, of “Fuel Plus Fitness”, suggests eating lean protein, good fat, veggies and fruit. Also, eating more frequent smaller meals with help curb cravings and splurging

7. Drink more water-Staying hydrated with water will help your body stay energized as well as help you cut down on soft drinks and caffeine.

8. Cardio and Interval Training-Do at least 30 minutes of cardio at least 5 days a week and stay consistent. Mix this with interval training, and you’ll rev up your metabolism even more.

9. Get more sleep-Refueling and resting your body often helps muscles rebuild. Get at least 8 hours of sleep (and 9 if possible) and take a day or two off a week.

10. Read labels-Don’t just look at protein and carbs, but take note at fiber, sodium, fat and how much sugar is in what you’re eating.