Written on February 26, 2015 at 10:38 am , by Mallory Creveling
Remember that goal you set a little over a month ago? The one about losing weight or exercising more? According to data from Gold’s Gym, that motivation you had on January 1st is probably waning right now. In fact, February 24th (deemed the “fitness cliff”) is the day that check-in numbers drop and never rebound. But we want you to defy those odds and get pumped about getting in shape again. So we asked Jeff Na, vice president of fitness for Gold’s Gym, to reveal his top tips for boosting your enthusiasm for health. “The only difference between January 1st and February 24th is prioritization,” he says. Make exercise a must-do again, reevaluate what you wanted to achieve and why, and adopt these ideas to get back on track.
Focus on the details
“The clients who see the best results come in not just with a goal in mind but with the steps for how to get there,” says Na. So if you made a general target of dropping 10 pounds, figure out a realistic time frame for getting there (probably about five weeks), how often you’ll exercise and healthy meal options. Then put each workout and kitchen prep day on your calendar so you can plan ahead. If want to remove the guesswork, sign up for a program like Gold’s Gym 12-Week Transformation Plan or Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation.
Find something exciting
Even before you start feeling bored with your usual routine, you should have an idea of how to switch things up and keep your regimen fresh. Otherwise, when your workout starts feeling too bland, it’ll fall to your B-list of priorities. Look at your local health club’s schedule to see if one of the classes seems enticing, or chat with a fitness-loving friend for a suggestion. “Group classes are great for workout newbies because they give you a sense of community and some professional instruction,” says Na. You may find that Pilates or Spinning naturally keeps you coming back for more. If you can’t get to a class, try a new walking route or fitness DVD. Adding variety to your schedule keeps you interested mentally and challenges your muscles physically so you don’t hit a plateau.
Reduce injury risk
Many people skip a proper warm-up and cool-down, but going from no movement to intense exercise or stopping immediately afterward increases your risk of strained ligaments or other overuse issues—which puts you off the workout wagon longer. Just take an easy stroll for about five minutes to up your heart rate and lightly stretch any tight muscles. When you’re done sweating it out, take another five minutes for deeper stretches.
Get back to basics
“Your body is your best machine,” says Na. “That’s why fitness professionals often recommend body-weight-only exercises—they translate to the movements you do in everyday life and make them easier.” So squeeze in some squats, lunges, push-ups and rows whenever you can. And when your body gets sick of those moves, add resistance with dumbbells or bands.
Make it a family affair
You shouldn’t be the only one at home who’s moving more often. Get the kids involved in your physical plans by doing a yoga DVD together or taking a walk outside (just bundle up!). Try organizing a quick team workout by doing jumping jacks before dinner or running in place during the commercials of your favorite show. It gives you time to bond with your kids and get everyone healthier, plus you’ll set an active trend for your teens and tweens to mimic when they’re older.
Don’t forget food
If you haven’t seen any results, it may be because you haven’t paid enough attention to your diet. Keep a journal for one week, writing down everything you eat, and then figure out what you need to cut back on. It’s best to munch on more foods that are close to their original source (read: no pre-packaged meals) and to create a realistic diet plan. For instance, if you aim to cut out all sweets, you’ll probably want to revert to your overeating habits in a few days. Instead, make portion sizes smaller.
Written on February 10, 2015 at 11:39 am , by Mallory Creveling
If you’ve started sweating to our March fitness story but want to turn up the burn, these intensified moves will do it. Follow the 5-, 10- or 15-minute plan in the magazine, but swap out the modified versions in print for the exercises below. (Most of them include explosive jumps to increase the cardio and fat-melting effects.) Also, each time you perform a routine, aim to increase the number of reps you do in 30 seconds and eliminate any breaks you may have needed between each move. These simple switches will help you torch even more calories on the way to a trim, toned new you!
Instead of Modified Tuck Jumps…
Do Leaping Tuck Jumps
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms bent, elbows up to form a T at your chest with your fingers stacked. Press the hips back into a squat and instead of just lifting one leg at a time, immediately jump upward as high as you can, driving the knees toward your arms. Land softly on the mid-foot, rolling back to the heels and pushing the hips back to absorb the impact of the landing. Repeat.
Instead of 3-Point Plankers…
Do 3-Point Plank Jumps
Start in push-up position. With your hands flat on the floor and wrists under your shoulders, jump (don’t step!) the feet as close as you can to the outside of the left hand. Return to start. Jump feet as close as you can to the outside of your right hand. Return to start. Jump feet between hands. Return to start. Continue switching between left, right and middle as fast as possible.
Instead of Standing Mountain Climbers…
Do Sprinting Mountain Climbers
Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands in front of shoulders with palms facing forward. Instead of just lifting your knees, add more power as you jump and raise your left knee to hip height and your right fingertips to the sky. Jump to switch sides, shooting your left fingertips to the sky as you raise your right knee to hip height. Continue alternating.
Instead of Tap-Ups…
Do Tougher Tap-Ups
Start in regular push-up position, with your knees off the floor and your body in a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Tap your left shoulder with your right fingertips. Return to start. Tap your right shoulder with your left fingertips. Return to start. Then perform a regular push-up, lowering down as close to the floor as possible. Return to start and repeat.
Instead of Star Bursts…
Do Explosive Star Bursts
Stand with feet together. Bend the knees and push your hips back into a low squat, engaging your core and drawing your arms into the center of your body. Pause briefly, then jump up as high as you can, extending your arms and both legs out to form an X. Land softly on your feet, absorbing the jump by bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Repeat.
Instead of Power Thrusts…
Do Hardcore Power Thrusts
Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart. Squat down, placing your hands on the floor, wrists under your shoulders. Jump your feet back so you’re at the top of a push-up position. Immediately return both feet to the squat position. Explosively jump up off the floor, shooting your fingertips to the sky and bringing your knees up toward your chest. Land softly on the mid-foot, rolling back to the heels and pushing your hips back to absorb the impact. Repeat.
Instead of Pencil Squats…
Do Hopping Pencil Squats
Stand with your feet together, arms raised overhead at shoulder width. Hop the feet apart to drop down into a low squat and touch the floor just between your ankles. Jump to return to the starting position.
Written on December 12, 2014 at 11:51 am , by Mallory Creveling
Dessert trays, cocktail parties, big family meals—it’s the perfect combo for a happy holiday, but for a trim waistline? Not so much. Of course, occasional indulging is okay, but to stop you from overdoing it, we pinged Amanda Butler, a trainer at NYC’s BFX studio, a boutique gym that offers classes like barre, group cycling and circuit workouts. She gave her top exercising and eating tips for keeping the number on the scale steady throughout the season.
1. Take Four for Fitness
Making time to break a sweat will torch some of those calories from pie and cake. To quickly maximize the burn, try a Tabata routine—a type of high-intensity interval training that requires you to push yourself as hard as you can for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds and repeat for eight rounds. That’s just four minutes of work!
The move Amanda says works best to sculpt from head to toe: burpees. To tackle this exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Squat down and place your hands on the floor, then jump your feet behind you so you’re in a push-up position. Perform one push-up. Next, jump your feet forward toward your arms, then stand and jump straight up, clapping your hands over your head. You’ll burn approximately 75 calories in just four minutes with this move—that’s about one chocolate chip cookie. For similar results without the full-on burpee, alternate jump squats and push-ups (you can put your knees on the floor to modify it) for your 20-second intervals.
2. Keep Moving
While you’re waiting to take the ham or casserole out of the oven, do a few quick moves, such as triceps dips or step-ups with the kitchen chair. It always helps to take the stairs and walk more too, so park farther from the mall entrance or grocery store to get more steps.
3. Grab and Go
At the dessert table, put the two treats you love the most on your plate and walk away. Enjoy each bite and then start a conversation with someone at a spot located away from the sweets so you’re not tempted to snag more.
4. Graze at a Slow Pace
When you’re having a group dinner, eat slowly and put your utensils down every now and then to help you do so. Savor the flavors and pay attention to how you feel. If you let out a big sigh from being so full, it’s definitely time to stop nibbling.
5. Plan for Celebrations
Don’t show up to your company’s or friend’s bash on an empty stomach. Have a snack, like an apple, before you go so you’re not feeling ravenous and ready to scarf down whatever you see first. Also, sip water between cocktails and swap the sugar- and fat-filled choices, such as eggnog or a flavored martini, for lighter beverages, like a vodka soda with lime or red wine.
6. Mentally (and Socially) Prepare
Give yourself a little pep talk before a full day of dining so you’re ready to turn down the second (or third) helping. And let others know you’re trying to watch your weight so they don’t peer pressure you into having more food and drinks.
Written on September 5, 2014 at 4:50 pm , by Family Circle
By Syden Abrenica
When it comes to exercising, I’m not diligent when going it alone. It’s easy to simply skip a workout, especially after a long day at the office. After a few months of sporadic exercise and no results, I decided to make a big change and join a boot camp.
Enter Parsippany Adventure Boot Camp, located in New Jersey.
Two trainers head the four-week programs: Jessica Federici, a NESTA Personal Fitness Trainer and Mad Dog Spin Instructor and Tracy Seland, an HKC Kettleball Instructor and NESTA Personal Fitness Trainer.
The programs are based on circuit training, so every daily workout is different. Circuit training focuses on building your strength and muscular endurance, so think bursts of heart-pumping cardio, squat jumps, burpees and more. Each session runs 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the exercises.
Not only is your body reaping the benefits of daily workouts, the trainers are also in constant communication with you (along with your fellow campers). They share healthy recipes, provide tips on working out at home, and try to inspire and motivate you to become a healthy version of yourself. There’s no intimidation here–both Jessica and Tracy foster an encouraging and supportive environment.
After two monthlong programs, I’ve lost inches all around. But my biggest success is in how I now view exercising and dieting. I’ve stopped overthinking and simply plan out my weeks.
Written on May 12, 2014 at 4:14 pm , by Family Circle
By Maria Masters
You don’t have to trek to the gym to attend a boot camp or yoga lesson—all you need is an Internet connection. The newest way to exercise is by viewing a session via your TV, laptop, tablet or smartphone. With these three fun (and affordable) sites, there’s never a reason to cut class.