Fitness Friday: How to Get Toned, Sexy Arms for Summer

Summer is here, and that means breaking out summer clothes such as sundresses, tank tops, and bathing suits. If your arms aren’t ready yet, New York City personal trainer, Hannah Davis, has a plan that will get you toned and tight in plenty of time. “The trick is that most women focus on single-joint exercises, like biceps curls, which work primarily one muscle. Doing complex moves recruits more muscle fibers and works your upper body to total fatigue, says Davis. That means you’ll burn more calories and shed arm fat faster, so your arms, shoulders, and upper back will be sleek in time for their big reveal.” See more for an easy great looking arm workout at Women’s Health.

Fitness Friday: How Does Giada Do It All?

Food Network Star and mom, Giada De Laurentiis, is an amazing example of a woman who can balance it all. She films three cooking shows (Giada at HomeThe Next Food Network Star, and Giada in Paradise), writes cookbooks (six total, and five of those are New York Times best-sellers), designs a cookware line for Target, and is a regular Today Show contributor.

With a career in food, how do you stay so fit?

“I do yoga three times a week from 5:20 to 6:30 a.m. Yoga has trimmed my body in a way that the gym never could. I used to be a gym rat, but I switched to yoga and am now almost 10 pounds lighter. One important thing I’ve gotten from yoga is breathing. When I’m cooking, the top part of my body collapses down. It cuts off my diaphragm. Doing yoga in the morning expands my breath and oxygen capacity, and I carry that throughout my day. At night, I feel less run-down. I used to be able to come home from a long day and crawl into bed. Not anymore—I have to give 100 percent to my daughter and husband.”

What do you usually eat?
“For breakfast, I’ll have brown-rice bread smeared with almond butter and topped with blueberries, and a cup of juice. Hard-boiled eggs are a fabulous high-protein snack. Lunch is usually a salad with avocado, tomato, and protein—chicken or grilled salmon or tuna.

At night, I’ll have something like turkey meatloaf with sun-dried tomatoes and feta. I’ll also create themes for dinner, like Meatless Mondays or Breakfast for Dinner. My favorite treat is toast drizzled with melted chocolate and olive oil—mmm!”

Read more at Women’s Health

Fitness Friday: Burn More Calories Trail Running

Need some new ways to blast calories? Since it’s warmer outside, head to the trails. Try some of these three fun, fast-paced trail routines designed by Vindum and Nikki Kimball, three-time winner of the prestigious Western States 100-mile endurance race. I love all of three trail running suggestions.

1. Circuit Play
Why: Mixing walking, running, sprinting, and strength work transforms a hike into a full-body workout.

How: As you move along the trail, vary your pace: Go easy for two minutes, pick it up a bit for five, then sprint or speed-walk hard for 15 to 60 seconds. Recover at a slow pace until your breathing returns to normal. Then launch into a strength move (pushups and triceps dips on a log, calf raises on a rock, squats with one foot propped up on a rock) for 60 to 90 seconds. That’s one cycle. Do four to six cycles, switching up the strength moves and your speeds throughout your workout.

2. Cardio Hill Blast
Why: Running and hiking uphill increases your leg strength and improves your cardiovascular fitness while also torching fat—win, win, win! For each degree of incline, count on at least a 10 percent increase in calories burned, according to New York City nutrition and metabolism expert Jana Klauer, M.D., author of The Park Avenue Nutritionist’s Plan: The No-Fail Prescription for Energy, Vitality & Weight Loss. So running up a 5 percent grade (a gentle hill) will burn 50 percent more calories than running on a totally flat surface for the same amount of time.

How: Run up gradual hills at a strong but comfortable pace (you’re breathing hard, but you can still say a few words). Keep your chest lifted and your shoulders relaxed and down. On steep grades, switch to a quick walk, using medium to long strides. If the route you take has only one or two hills, do repeats: Run or walk the hill, jog back down, then take the climb again. Aim for four to eight total hill climbs.

3. Power Up, Race Down
Why: When you do squats, lunges, and other strength moves uphill, and then run downhill, you’ll get a balanced lower-body workout. The uphill exercises target the glutes, calves, and inner and outer thighs, while downhill running works your quads. Bonus: Doing strength moves on an incline requires more energy, so you’ll burn more calories, and managing uneven ground as you descend improves balance and coordination.

How: When you get to a hill, work in a few strength moves. Then run down the other side (or the same side). If the climb is long enough, perform 20 reps of each exercise on the way up.

Read more of this story at Women’s Health

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

 

Fitness Friday: The Power of Twist or Rotational Moves

I do a lot of twisting when I do abdominal workouts and strength training, but I don’t think I truly understood the power of “twisting exercises” and why rotational exercises are so valuable until now. “Twisting or throwing exercises engage more muscles, improve your balance, and build functional, real-world strength,” says Tony Gentilcore, a strength coach at Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts. “Plus, the rotation comes from the core, so you’ll gain power and carve flat abs while you’re at it.” That’s a pretty awesome bonus. Check out these moves below and do them as a circuit, going from one to the next without taking a break. Then rest 60 seconds. Do the circuit four times. These, and a few more, can be found and are courtesy of Women’s Health Magazine. Photo credit by Jeff Lipsky.

Move 1

Medicine-Ball Reverse Lunge and Shot Put

Stand 10 feet from a wall, holding a medicine ball at your chest. Step your right leg back and lower into a lunge, rotating your torso and bringing the ball to your right shoulder. Throw the ball at the wall, then push yourself back to start, catching the ball on the rebound. That’s one rep. Do five, then switch sides.

Move 2

Barbell Twist

lace a barbell on the floor in the corner of a room, and hold one end with both hands at eye level, feet hip-width apart. Rotate your hips, torso, and feet to the right and bend your knees to lower the bar, without bending your arms. Return to start. That’s one rep. Do five on each side.

Move 3

Rotational Cable Row

Adjust the cable station to its lowest setting and stand to the right of it (or use a resistance band), handle in your right hand, feet slightly more than hip-width apart. Pivot to the left, bending both knees and extending your right arm toward the pulley. Pull the handle across to your right hip as you rotate into a standing position. That’s one rep. Do 10, then switch sides.

Fitness Friday: Hot 2012 Yoga Trends

Welcome to my new Friday column, “Fashion Friday” where I’ll be sharing the latest and greatest information and tips to inspire, help and share my passion for fitness. To kick off this Friday, here are some Top Yoga Trends:

1. Paddleboard Yoga-This outdoor yoga class has peaked my eyes for a while. It looks like an incredible workout in general and awesome for the abs. If there’s a way to find balance and be outdoors at the same time, I am in.

2. Yoga-Spinning-Often called, “Zen on Wheels, ” I can’t think of two more fun exercises that are more fun complement each other. A 30 minute spin class followed by a 30 minute yoga class sounds like a great calorie burning and great combination that I am ready to try.

3. Hot Yoga/Bikram-Although I am a longtime fan for over 8 years, hot yoga is getting even “hotter” every day. Ninety minutes in a heated room will change your body and your life. I am thrilled Bikram Yoga Birmingham has come to Birmingham, and the more I go, the better I feel. Anyone can do this. Just try it, and be patient.

4. Yoga and Weight Lifting-Featured in this month’s Women’s Health Magazine, this routine, created by a New York instructor, combines upper-body strength exercises into a fast-paced circuit with yoga breathing. I think we are going to be seeing a lot more of these combined exercises.

Photo via Pinterest