The benefits of working out are innumerable, including lowering your risk of chronic disease, improving sleep and energy levels, and reducing stress, but we’re willing to bet your true motivation behind your fitness New Years Resolution is a little more superficial: to lean out and sculpt your physique so you can wear that swimsuit or your skinny jeans with confidence. There’s no shame in wanting to look good! Whether you are new to the gym and working out or already have established the habit and are looking to take your fitness to the next level, we have all the resources you need to get there.
We’ve all lost motivation from time to time. We’ve all hit the wall. We’ve all wanted to stop mid-mountain climber and lay down on the cool gym floor.
But then THAT SONG comes up on our playlist and somehow we find the strength to push on. That song has become known as the POWER SONG.
Perhaps it’s a line that brings back a memory of a past struggle overcome. Maybe the message in the lyrics helps you remember what you’re really working for. It may be nothing more than a driving beat. Something about our Power Song makes us push on, push forward and push over the top. We know we can count on it to drag us through the last mile or help us get through the last set of deadlifts.
I’ve got a couple Power Songs I keep on my iPhone for just such occasions. I’m sure you do too. But are you curious what the most “powerful” Power Songs are? I’ve done a little research to find the top Power Songs from around the fitness world.
1. Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. At the FuelBand launch at SXSW in 2012 one of the Nike executives challenged the audience with a trivia question: What is the top Power Song on Nike+? This was the answer (and the winner was rewarded with a FuelBand)
2. Welcome to the Jungle by Guns and Roses. The team at Muscle and Fitness named this 80s anthem the Top Power Song of All Time. I wonder what Axl Rose would think of that? (more…)
We all know that working with a personal trainer can provide so many benefits. If you’re just starting out, a personal trainer is a great resource to learn how to exercise properly and regular appointments make you a lot more likely to show up at the gym. Of course, trainers often charge between $40 and $80 per session, or more. Luckily, there’s a great way to get the benefits of having a personal trainer for only a fraction of the cost: Online training. We sat down with Paige, an ACE certified personal trainer with years of experience training clients both in-person and online to find out a bit more about online personal training works.
1. What exactly is online training? How does it work?
Online training is a lot like in-person training, but all training is done virtually. After an initial assessment and consultation, I design a customized workout program for that client. However, instead of being there in-person for their “sessions” they refer to my online exercise video library, pictures, demonstrations, and detailed descriptions for the exercises. Depending on the tier of training they choose, my involvement can be a coaching them and providing feedback 3 to 5 times a week or as little as once a week.
2. What types of people (typically) sign up for online training?
The same as those who come to me in the gym—those who want to better their lives in some way through fitness. The only differences would be that often, those who come to me for online training have crazy hard-to-plan-around schedules. Also, online training is much more affordable than paying $70 an hour for in-the-gym training. Some of my online clients came to me looking for a more affordable way to have a personal trainer. (more…)
We’ve made it through the long winter and spring is finally here and in full swing! ‘Tis the season for baseball, sunny days, green things growing and everyone’s favorite activity: spring cleaning! Since free time is something that most of us don’t have an abundance of, it’s good to know that you can easily multitask while engaging in your spring cleaning chores. According to My Fitness Pal heavy cleaning can burn up to 250 calories per hour, making it a worthwhile fitness activity. And, by adding in just a few simple moves to your cleaning routine, you can burn even more!
Here’s six ways to fire up your heart rate, engage your muscles and get a calorie-blasting workout while you get your spring cleaning on:
1. Blast your favorite heart-pumping tunes
Before you start cleaning, make a playlist of music that gets you pumped. Think about songs that you listen to when going for a run or doing a cardio workout at the gym. Music with an upbeat rhythm is more likely to make you not only clean faster, but help you have fun while doing it. Go ahead and blast that music and dance around with that mop or duster (and burn a ton of calories while doing it!). You’ll discover a whole new appreciation for cleaning.
We all know that swimming is a great, low-impact, full-body workout. But it’s not the only way to get in shape in the water. Over the last few years, traditional strength training, cardio workouts, and even yoga have taken to the water to deliver a form of exercise that is easy on the joints and effective at toning and strengthening the muscles. Sure, there’s water aerobics. But there are also a handful of other fitness styles that have taken the plunge into the pool, creating an entirely new experience for some of your favorite group exercises classes.
Here’s an introduction to five popular group fitness classes that you wouldn’t expect to take place in a pool:
Aqua Zumba adds a fun challenge to one of the most popular group exercise classes in the world. The concept and moves are the same as in a traditional Zumba class, but the extra resistance created by pushing against the water adds a great strength-training element to the workout. The class is held in shallow water (about chest height for the average participant) and the instructor is positioned near the ledge of the pool (so that everyone can see her movements and follow instruction). Aqua Zumba is described as a fun pool party- where you don’t even realize that you get a great workout.
By Sara Haley, creator of The Daily Sweat
Happy Valentine’s Day! I love holidays because they always inspire me to be creative with my workouts. This year I used some of my favorite sayings from Valentine Conversation Hearts to create a full body workout. (And, since everyone always asks me how I fit in my workouts, now that I’m a mom, I thought I’d share with you what really goes on at my house when I work out at home—see the video below!)
Below is a list of the exercises in the circuit, including how many reps to do. The whole thing should take you around 10 minutes. Put on some of your favorite songs—”Call Me Maybe”, anyone?—and do the moves back to back. Most of all, have fun while you’re doing it—you may even be able to recruit your hubby or kiddos to help you out!
Sara Haley’s Crazy Conversation Heart’s Circuit
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions that people strive to stick to each year is to exercise more. It’s also the one that most people tend to give up on before January is even over, often saying, “I just don’t have enough time.” The truth is, you have time for anything that you make a priority. Our lives are super busy with work, school, kids, etc., but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find at least a few minutes each day to focus on improving your fitness level. After all, any of exercise is better than nothing.
Here’s a list of the best bang for your buck in the amount of time that you have to exercise:
Got 4 minutes?
Try a Tabata workout. The idea behind the Tabata method is to work at your maximum level for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. This pattern is repeated continuously eight times for a total of four minutes of training. If you’re doing more than one Tababta drill, take one minute to rest between exercises. I would recommend doing a total of no more than six sets total, since you’ll be working at such a high level of intensity. If you only have time for one Tabata, consider doing an exercise like burpees, which is more demanding and works muscles throughout the entire body.
The key to keeping up with an exercise routine for so many of us is having variety in our workouts. Doing the same workout routine every single day can get pretty boring and cause us to throw in the towel all together. I love to mix up my workouts. Changing things up constantly ensures that I work a variety of muscle groups and that I keep those muscles confused. Doing the same workout day in and day out will cause your body to adapt and you’ll eventually stop seeing progress. I also find that I actually look forward to my workouts when they vary from day to day.
I’m also a big fan of go anywhere/do anywhere types of exercises. These are the types of workouts that you can do in your living room just as easily as you would in the gym. They’re also great for traveling, as you can perform the exercises right in your hotel room! You can get a killer workout without using any equipment at all—just relying on your body’s own weight.
To satisfy both of these criteria I just created a new mobile workout actually does require some equipment—but it’s small enough to fit in your pocket. All your need are one or two dice!
(Don’t have dice to roll? No problem—here’s a virtual dice roller that you can use!)
If you’ve decided that working out on your old elliptical machine while re-watching Breaking Bad episodes on Netflix isn’t helping you achieve maximum weight loss results, maybe it’s time to get out of the basement and join a gym. While some fitness centers offer bare-bones equipment for an affordable price, others offer a wide variety of amenities, but you’ll definitely pay to play.
Before you get out your wallet, decide what’s important to you in a fitness center and what you’re willing to pay for, then choose a gym accordingly. Below is a brief overview to help you make your decision. From Mild-Mannered to Big and Fancy, what do you need for your workout experience in 2014?
Mild Mannered $ – Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Curves, Blink
- Low membership fees and no-hassle contracts mean you can get in shape without taking out a 2nd mortgage
- Often cater to first-time gym members by discouraging intimidating behavior like grunting, growling and gun-showing in the weight room
- Easy-to-use cardio and strength equipment, so you actually spend your time working out, not punching buttons and reading the user’s guide
- No children allowed and no child care. Is that necessarily a bad thing, though? Time away from the kids is OK, especially if you’re getting healthy
- No high-end amenities like juice bars, tanning beds, steam rooms, or swimming pools (more…)
by Bob Greene for TheBestLife.com
Six No-Cost Workout Items
Think you need a pricey gym membership or fancy gear or gadgets to get a good workout? Think again. You can work your muscles and challenge your cardio using things you already have around your home or office. Check out these six household, office or everyday items that can double as workout equipment:
1. Stapler/Tape Dispenser
Use these office staples as weights to do arm exercises, including a lat raise: Stand straight up and let your arms hang at your sides. Slowly lift your arms up and straight out from your sides, stopping when your hands reach shoulder height (your arms will form a “T” with your body). Slowly lower your arms back down and repeat 10 to 15 times.
2. A Kitchen Drawer
Strengthen arms with a cabinet curl, a move similar to a bicep curl, using an open (and sturdy) kitchen drawer. To learn how, click here.
3. Your Desk
Lean against it to perform a standing pushup. To do it, put your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of the desk so your thumb is under the desk and your fingers are on top. Walk your feet back away from the desk about two feet to form a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Keep your core tight and your head in a neutral position. Lower your body toward the desk, then push back up to start. You can do it every time you stand up from your desk, or do a set of 10.
There seems to be a great chasm between those who workout and those who do not. But does anyone really know why that is?
Often surrounded by people who don’t love working out as much as I do (admittedly, I’m an enthusiast), I’ve asked myself this question many times but to no avail. It seems that the path to fitness is narrow and few find it, but I wish that wasn’t so as exercise is such an essential part of a long, healthy life. Not to mention it can be a blast once you find your groove!
Perhaps there are some insider secrets that ‘insiders’ wrongly assume ‘outsiders’ already know. This slideshow is my humble attempt to “crack the code” and unveil those tips, tricks and secrets so that everyone can find their way to fitness and establish a routine that truly sticks.