5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Workouts

fitness, Uncategorized

Few things are more frustrating than seeing little progress after starting a workout routine—and sticking to it—no matter how many gym sessions you log or sweaty laundry loads you do. It’s so frustrating, in fact, that it might even tempt you to quit.

But before you start slacking, know the simple mistakes that could be sabotaging your results—and that you can fix them!

Below are six of the most common workout mistakes people make—and the expert advice you need to get your motivation and progress back on track.

1. Your Goals Are Unrealistic

Set the bar too high and you’re sure to fail. Whether it’s scoring a six-pack in a month or vowing to hit the gym every single day of the week, setting unrealistic goals is probably the number-one way people sabotage themselves, says trainer, yoga teacher, and nutrition coach Kendra Coppey Fitzgerald, C.P.T. When you can’t achieve these unrealistic goals, you’re bound to feel discouraged, which might lead you to give up on your exercise routine altogether.

The Fix: Check in with yourself to make sure your goals are realistic, and adjust if and as needed. Choose a goal you think you can accomplish and then commit to reaching it. So while scoring a six-pack in a month may not be feasible, goals like sticking to a regular workout routine or losing half a pound or so per week are attainable, says trainer and author Jeremy Scott, C.P.T., C.N.S.

Step one is creating a workout schedule that fits your lifestyle. You’re more likely to stay motivated when you have a schedule in place you can really commit to—even if that means squeezing in a quick 15-minute HIIT workout instead of spending an hour at the gym some days.

Then, adding mini fitness goals to your daily routine— such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work—can be really motivating, says Fitzgerald. This way, you’ll be more active—and feel more accomplished—every single day.

2. Your Pre-Workout Snack Game Is Off

What you eat (or don’t eat) before you get your sweat on can make the difference between having a killer workout and feeling like a sloth. Most people make one of two opposite mistakes: either eating too much too close to a workout or not eating enough.

Eat too much and your body doesn’t have time to digest and absorb the nutrients in your food, and you might feel sick to your stomach during your workout, says Fitzgerald. If you don’t eat enough, though, you could feel lightheaded and tired, and be more prone to muscle cramps, adds McCall. Your body relies heavily on glycogen (carbs stored in your muscles) during harder workouts, so if you don’t have enough available your body will turn to other less-ideal energy sources—like protein—and your performance will take a hit.

Another overlooked fuel issue: Not drinking enough water in the hours before a workout. Water comprises the majority of our muscle tissue, so you want to be well-hydrated before you exercise, says Pete McCall, M.S., C.S.C.S., C.P.T., master trainer for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Dehydration can make your body temperature and heart rate rise, which both put extra stress on your body during exercise—so much so that poor pre-workout hydration can actually cut your ability to do high intensity exercise almost in half, according to Sport Nutrition, Second Addition.

The Fix: If you work out first thing in the morning, don’t worry about eating much (if anything) beforehand, since your body still has fuel stashed away from your food you ate the night before, says Fitzgerald. If you’re saving your gym session for later in the day, though, and haven’t had a meal in a few hours, eat something that contains some protein and carbs about an hour beforehand, so you have time to digest. Some of our favorites are toast or a banana with nut butter, a serving of edamame, or Greek yogurt with berries. The carbs will cover your energy needs while the protein will keep your body stocked on the amino acids it needs to support your muscles, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

As for hydration, McCall recommends drinking 16 ounces of water an hour before working out.

And don’t forget to refuel after you work out, too! Nosh on something high in protein and carbs within an hour after you exercise, Fitzgerald recommends. The carbs will restock those energy stores while the protein will help your muscles repair and grow stronger. Fitzgerald’s go-to post-workout snack? Chocolate milk—because it provides protein, carbs and fats.

3. Your Workouts Are Too Repetitive

Yep, there is a such thing as too much routine. Mindlessly run through the same workouts day after day—whether it’s a spin class, weight-lifting session, or any old cardio—and your body will adapt and, eventually, you’ll stop seeing results, according to Fitzgerald. “If your body isn’t being stressed enough, or you’re not putting enough intensity into a workout, your body gets used to it,” Fitzgerald says.

Think of it this way: If a runner jogs at the same pace all the time, they’re not going to get any faster, she says. Bottom line: No matter how much you love a particular workout, it can’t be the only thing you do. And you definitely shouldn’t do it at the same speed or intensity every time.

Plus, doing only cardio—or only strength training—prevents you from developing well-rounded fitness. Cardio helps your heart pump blood (and oxygen and nutrients) throughout your body more efficiently, and helps you ward off cardiovascular issues and chronic conditions like diabetes, according to The Mayo ClinicStrength training, on the other hand, helps your muscle fibers work more efficiently and grow, boosts your metabolism, supports strong bones, and improves your balance.

Women especially may get stuck in a rut of repetitive cardio-only workouts and miss out on the benefits of strength training because they’re afraid of bulking up, says Scott. But without a balance of cardio and strength training, you’ll likely sabotage your metabolism and even gain fat.

The Fix: Switch up your routine throughout the week to include a balance of cardio, strength training, and stretching (such as yoga), so that you challenge your body in multiple ways, says Fitzgerald.

To keep your cardio and resistance training effective, try alternating between high and low-intensity workouts. This will stimulate your muscles in different ways and give your body time to recover between tough workouts, says McCall. Think track or treadmill sprints versus a nice steady jog, or lifting heavy for just a few reps versus lifting moderate weight for a dozen reps.

From there, switch up the tempo, intensity, or order of your strength-training exercises to keep your workouts challenging, adds Fitzgerald. For example, if you usually do squats before lunges, try swapping them, adding more weight to your squats, or turning bodyweight squats into jump squats. You can also mix up your cardio workouts by cross-training and swapping a run for a spin class or a swim. This will help keep your muscles from plateauing and prevent overuse injuries from doing the same repetitive movements all the time, Fitzgerald says.

4. You Skimp On Warmups And Cooldowns

Your workouts are key to making continuous fitness gains—but what you do before and after them matters, too. Let’s start with warming up: If you jump right into a high-intensity workout without prepping your body, you put yourself at greater risk for injuries like pulled and strained muscles, according to Scott. And the same goes if you run out of the gym before properly cooling down, says McCall. During a hard workout, your muscles produce waste your body needs to clear out of its system—and your cooldown and post-workout stretch give it the opportunity to do so, he says. Skimping on that cooldown can delay your recovery process and leave you sore.

The Fix: Spend at least 10 minutes warming up before a workout, Scott recommends. Perform simple moves like lunges, arm circles, toe touches, and hip swings, which get your whole body moving and start to boost your heartrate.

Then, spend about 10 minutes stretching and foam rolling after nailing your sweat session. Stretch all of your major muscle groups for 30 seconds each, and pay special attention to your hip flexors, calves, and hamstrings, McCall recommends. Using a foam roller to massage out your muscles can also help relieve tension and boost recovery, says Fitzgerald. In fact, a review published in Current Sports Medicine Reports found that foam rolling after strength training decreased participants’ soreness later on.

5. You Don’t Take Rest Days

This one might come as a bit of a surprise, but to see results from your workouts you have to rest. Remember that glycogen we talked about earlier? Your body needs time to replenish the stores it used up during your workout, says McCall. If you continue to push yourself on an empty tank, you’ll just feel fatigued and under-perform.

Without solid glycogen stores, your body may turn to protein for fuel—and that’s the opposite of what you want! Your body needs protein to repair damaged muscle tissue and help your muscles continue to grow, so running off protein leaves you more prone to soreness and injury, he says. If necessary, your body will even pull that protein from your muscle tissue and your workouts can actually break down some muscle instead of build it up. And because muscle supports your strength and burns a lot of calories, this is bad news for your overall fitness and your metabolism.

The Fix: Fitzgerald suggests taking a rest day after two or three workout days—especially if any of those workouts were high-intensity (which puts extra stress on your body). Make the most of rest days by foam rolling and stretching to help sore muscles recover, she says.

It’s normal for soreness from a workout to last a day or so, but if you’re still feeling it after a few days, consider it a sign that you’re overdoing it on exercise and putting yourself at risk for injury, McCall says.

Source: by Kate Magill

Motivation Monday: Hate the Gym? Try These 9 Calorie-Burning Alternatives

fitness, Motivation, Inspiration and Encouragement, Uncategorized

Hate the Gym? Try These 9 Calorie-Burning Alternatives

Hate the Gym? Try These 9 Calorie-Burning Alternatives

If you don’t like the gym, can’t stand running and never took to cycling, well … that’s still no excuse to sit on the couch all day. There are plenty of ways to exercise beyond traditional methods. In fact, we can count at least nine.

Take a gander below for unique workouts — plus their estimated calorie burns — that are guaranteed to get your heart racing and might even put a smile on your face.


READ MORE > 6 WAYS TO BURN 300 CALORIES IN 30 MINUTES OR LESS


Sure, it could elicit some odd looks if you’re hula-hooping while not concurrently 8 years old and on a playground. But who cares? It’s a fun way to burn calories — and easily something you can do in the privacy of your own home. It’s a great core workout and will have you breaking a sweat in no time. Want more of a challenge? Try a weighted hoop.

Spinning underwater isn’t just some nautical fantasy — it’s a real thing that was developed mostly for rehab reasons due to its low-impact nature. But find a gym near you that offers it, and you’ll be pedaling through water. The pace is much slower, obviously, but due to the added resistance, you’ll be working hard from start to finish.

The gravity-defying art of trapeze is for more than just circus performers. Local training centers and ropes courses offer classes, where you can fly high to test your strength, flexibility and mental fortitude — all while getting a great workout.

Bike polo is exactly what it sounds like, assuming you think it sounds like playing polo — a sport typically reliant on horses — atop a bicycle. Look online for leagues, clubs or friendly pickup games nearby, and you’ll soon be knocking balls into a net using a wooden mallet while balancing on two wheels.

This highly-Instagramable activity is serious exercise, requiring participants to move between a series of poses while suspended from the ceiling by a fabric hammock. It’s a total body workout that promotes core strength and flexibility and is a fun take on traditional yoga classes.

More than just a fun backyard activity for kids, trampolining is an official Olympic sport. But you don’t have to be a kid nor an Olympian to partake. Check your city for local trampoline gyms, and go bounce around for awhile. The more comfortable you get, the more you’ll be able to incorporate flips, tricks and other cardio-friendly moves into your repertoire.

Once relegated to the outdoors, the proliferation of this sport — thanks in part to “American Ninja Warrior” — has spawned dedicated gyms all over. Break a sweat while jumping, rolling, swinging and climbing on natural or man-made obstacles like you’re the star of your own action movie.

The fast-moving game of Ultimate Frisbee is a fun way to get some cardio. Join a league, or just gather a few friends in the park. The short sprints and near constant movement mimics soccer and will have you gasping for breath.

If you like some friendly competition and don’t mind getting dirty, try a mud run. They’ll take you over, under and through obstacles across a variety of distances. And with events like Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Savage Race and others scheduled in cities across the country, there’s no shortage of options for the aspiring mud runner.

by Kevin Gray

What Exercise Machines Burn Calories Most Efficiently?

fitness, Fitness on a Budget, Music & Motivation to Boost your Workout, Uncategorized, Workout Wednesday
What Exercise Machines Burn Calories Most Efficiently?

Exercise machines help you burn calories, build muscle and improve your endurance. Certain machines deliver a more intense cardiovascular workout than others, meaning you burn calories at a faster rate. The way you use cardiovascular exercise equipment also affects how efficiently you burn fat. Use the machines’ settings and additional tools to maximize your workout’s aerobic and strengthening benefits.

Burn Calories on a Treadmill

Of all the equipment in your gym or club, the cardiovascular exercise machines deliver the workout that burns the most calories. Running on a treadmill burns more calories than any other machine-centered workout. Before you begin, check the settings and select an intense pace to burn more calories. If you weigh between 125 and 185 pounds and jog at 5 mph for one hour, you burn between 480 and 710 or more calories, depending upon your fitness level and weight. Pick up your pace to 7.5 mph and you burn between 750 and 1,110 calories, which means you can lose up to 2.5 pounds per week running six of the days. Rather than running faster, you can also intensify the workout and burn extra calories by setting the treadmill at an incline, so you’re running “uphill.”

Use an Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical trainer can offer you an excellent aerobic workout. However, because you power the pace of an elliptical trainer, it is easy to slip into coasting when you get tired. To maximize its calorie-burning benefits, work out at high speed and use a machine that has movable handles so you work your arms as well. An added benefit of exercising on an elliptical trainer is that your feet never leave the pedals, making it a low-impact aerobic workout. An hour on the elliptical can burn 540 to 800 calories or more. You can also adjust the resistance and incline on an elliptical trainer to burn extra calories.

Other Cardiovascular Exercise Machines

Other machines that make you raise your heart rate also burn calories efficiently. For example, climbing a stair treadmill burns between 360 and 532 calories in one hour. The workout is lower-impact, so it will not stress your joints, muscles and tendons as much as running high speed on a treadmill. Stair-climbing also provides a strengthening workout for your gluteal, thigh and calf muscles. However, avoid leaning on or holding onto the machine; it reduces the number of calories burned. Using a stationary rowing machines provides a total body-strengthening and aerobic workout, burning between 310 and 754 calories in one hour. Doing indoor cycling at a vigorous rate burns 630 and 932 calories per hour.

Interval Training on Exercise Machines

Most exercise machines feature settings that allow you to make the workout more intense, thus burning more calories. If your machine has an interval setting, using it will dramatically boost your calories burned. This setting varies your pace, usually starting with a warm-up, moving to a vigorous pace then adding in some sprints. The sprints boost your heart rate higher and keep it there, even when you slow down to a recovery pace. You can program your own intervals on an exercise machine by increasing the pace or changing the incline every few minutes and sustaining the sprint or climb for at least 30 seconds. Consult your doctor before beginning interval training or any other new exercise regimen.

Source: NINA MAKOFSKY

20 Ways to Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine

fitness, Fitness on a Budget, Uncategorized
From workouts to gear (time for new kicks?), how to recharge your body

It’s that time of year again—the snow’s melting, the sun’s shining, and those thick sweaters in the closet are about to go into storage. It’s the perfect time to reignite your motivation by breaking away from your boring gym routine and embracing the great outdoors. Kick off spring with a healthy start by getting the right gear, revamping your routine, and doing some “spring cleaning” in your pantry. Here are 20 simple tips to get you started.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Book a Physical
Believe it or not, only about 20 percent of Americans get an annual check-up. Be one of them! While you might look and feel just fine (or really hate needles), it’s important to keep tabs on things like blood pressure, cholesterol, and vitamin deficiencies before designing your workout program.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Set a Schedule… but Be Realistic
If you haven’t been working out much this winter, don’t write down that you’ll do outdoor cardio exercises for 30 minutes a day, six days a week. You’ll only find yourself getting frustrated and will be more likely to give up on your workout program. Post your exercise plan in places you’ll look frequently, like the calendar app on your smartphone or at your desk at work.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Team Up
You’re more likely to stick with your plan if you’ve got a partner in crime. Choose someone who has similar goals who’s schedule fits with your own. Your best bet: Get together at the same time four days a week, whether it’s before work or just before dinner.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Buy New Running Shoes
If you’ve been hitting the gym (and the treadmill) all winter, chances are, you’re due for a new pair. Most running shoes last somewhere between 300 and 400 miles—but if you use them to walk around or do other parts of your gym routine, that wear and tear counts, too. Go to a running specialty store to get fitted, and have them look at your gait/pronation to find the best shoe for you.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Clean Out Your Pantry
Still have that tin of popcorn from the holidays or a box of chocolates from Valentine’s Day? Get rid of them. And while you’re at it, throw away other foods low in nutritional value, like chips, pretzels, sugary cereals, white bread and, yes, even those 100 calorie snack packs (a cookies still a cookie, even if you squash it flat and drop five in a bag).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Protect Your Skin
Now that it’s warming up, you’ll be heading outside again. This means more sunshine (and vitamin D, which is a good thing), but it also means that your skin is exposed to harmful UV rays. Rub waterproof lotion with at least SPF 15 or more over all exposed areas of your body. Don’t forget easy-to-miss areas like behind your ears, the back of your neck and the crease near your underarms.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Pump Up Your Playlist
Still listening to the same tracks from December? Do some iPod “spring cleaning” by downloading a fresh workout playlist to get you going.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Jump Rope
Heading outside and doing this favorite childhood “workout” can burn about 208 calories in just 20 minutes. Add other outdoor cardio exercises like walking lunges, short sprints, and jumping jacks, and you’ve got yourself a circuit program you can do right in your backyard.

RELATED: 20-Minute, Fat-Blasting Jump Rope Workout

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Update Your Workout Wardrobe
Still sweating it out in cotton T-shirts? Throw away worn-out workout duds and replace them with shorts, tanks and tees in breathable, wick fabrics. While you’re at it, update your sports bras, too (a typical bra has a lifespan of about six months, although hand-washing can make them last longer).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Stretch Out
The best way to prevent injury is to stretch before and after your workouts. Here’s how it’s done: Warm up with 10 minutes of light outdoor cardio exercises, then do dynamic stretching—as in, stretching while moving. This includes lunges, touching your toes and walking your hands forward, swinging your legs while standing and twisting from side to side. After your workout, complete “static” stretches—a.k.a. your typical “touch and hold” routine. Yoga, Pilates, and dance classes are also great ways to stay flexible.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Stay Hydrated
Avoid muscle cramping and fatigue by drinking about two liters of water a day, and 17 ounces about two hours before exercising. Another general rule of thumb: The more you sweat, the more fluids you need to replace, so drink up after a vigorous workout. Use stainless steel bottles to avoid some of the chemicals associated with certain plastic varieties (such as Bisphenol A, or BPA).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Plan a Trip
Outdoor exercises are great, but if the weather’s still cool where you live, take a “health” vacation to a resort with hiking, biking and other activities (plus warm weather), or sign up for a yoga retreat.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Get Sporty
Break up your routine with outdoor exercises like tennis or golf, or team up with friends for an afternoon of ultimate Frisbee. Even kickball will get your heart going—and you don’t have to be athletically gifted to play!

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Hit the Farmers Market
Soak up some of that spring sunshine while you shop for fresh fruits and veggies. Other items worth picking up include fish, dried fruits, and nuts.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Change Your Thinking
Instead of designing goals based purely on weight loss, concentrate on how you feel. If counting calories has you down, think in terms of portions instead. Constantly checking the clock during your workout? Chances are you need to find a sport or activity you actually enjoy.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Step Off the Scale
Muscle weighs more than fat, so although you may look more toned, there’s a chance you might not be shedding pounds at the rate you’d expect. To get an accurate measure of your progress, use measuring tape once every two weeks to see where you’re trimming inches from your waist, hips, and other target areas.

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Jump On the Twitter Train
Get vocal about your fitness routine and goals and make friends with other women looking to get motivated this spring with a Twitter feed. Give updates on your progress, post links to your favorite fitness articles and products, and cheer on others (they’ll do the same for you).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Tie On Weights
Tone up arms and legs by doing your regular routine—whether it’s walking to the store, cleaning your house or walking the dog—while using wrist and/or ankle weights. The resistance will help strengthen muscles (and get your body that much more ready for bikini season).

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Sign Up for a Race
Adding positive goals to your fitness routine will make you feel better and also give a purpose to your training other than losing weight or fitting into those skinny jeans. Look into local road races—the 5K distance is perfect for beginners—and sign up with your training partner. It’s also a great way to get involved in your local fitness community!

Spring Training Fitness Tip: Reward Yourself
Don’t forget to take care of your hard-worked body! A sports massage is the perfect way to pamper yourself, while alleviating toxins and speeding up muscle recovery. We love Just Calm Down Spa in New York City; even if you can’t get there, you can still get your hands on the muscle-soothing cream their therapists swear by: Topricin. Rub this fast-absorbing topical pain reliever on after a tough workout and your muscles will thank you.

Source:

%d bloggers like this: