Archive for the ‘Work Out Tips’ Category

JWOWW’s Fitness Goals



In my previous post, I talked about how the holiday season is often a time to slack on our workout routines.  Often, our fitness goals take a backseat to the holiday’s events.  The easiest way to overcome this is to set some new short term goals that will help you stay on track toward your ultimate goal.

I find that it’s easier for me to focus on the amount of workouts you complete rather than the type of workouts.  If you usually work out five times a week for an hour and a half, set a goal to get five workouts in during the holiday weeks.  Whether those are at the gym or at home, long or short, the point is to stay moving.  You’re also less likely to “pig-out” before or after a workout.  For a little motivation, reward yourself at the end of the week if you hit your goal.  Maybe have a few drinks or a couple extra cookies.  Remember, most people gain weight during the holiday’s, so simply maintaining your weight is a success in itself.

Again, try to focus on just getting a workout in when you normally would.  You may not have time for your normal workout, but I’m sure you can set aside even just 20 minutes to get a quick one in.

In-Home Workout

This simple body weight circuit only takes about 15 minutes.  Perform each exercise for 30 seconds with 15 seconds of rest in between.  Complete the circuit 3-4 times.

– 2 Point Plank – Start in a plank position, extend your right arm off the ground and lift up your opposite leg.  Alternate sides.  Focus on control, not speed.  Keep your hips from turning.

– Pushup Rotation – Perform a normal pushup followed by rotating and reaching one hand to the ceiling.  Alternate sides.

– Squat Thrusts/Burpees

– Squat Jumps

– V-Sit Ups

– Lunge Jumps

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By Rachel Sturtz

Dance is hot! More than 24 million people tune in weekly to shows like Dancing with the Stars. Zumba, a Latin-inspired dance workout, attracts 10 million-plus participants weekly. Last year, even Congress got into the act, officially recognizing July 31 as National Dance Day.

All the attention isn’t surprising when you consider that a good beat can get just about everyone tapping their feet or swinging their hips. Moving to the music subtracts stress and adds joy. You’re not counting reps or watching the clock. You’re out meeting people; it’s entertainment.

But dance is also a total-body workout that has all the benefits of a long run or a session on the elliptical–and then some. In a 1-hour class, you can burn as many as 400 calories. Do that 3 times a week and you could drop nearly 20 pounds in a year without dieting. You’ll also tone nearly every muscle in your body, improve balance, and boost brainpower.

You’ve seen what dance can do–some DWTS contestants have lost more than 40 pounds, all while having a great time (See our interview with DWTS judge Carrie Ann Inaba ). You can do it too, even if you have two left feet or achy joints. Most adult beginner classes are gentler than ones for traditional types of exercise. You just need to find the right dance style for you, says Deborah Vogel, dancer and director of the dance education Web site The Body Series. Here, our guide to help you shimmy into your best body ever.


Learning curve
4 out of 5

* The level of difficulty is based on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, with 1 equivalent to slow dancing at the high school prom and 5 a Cirque du Soleil routine.

The dance at a glance
While ballet is so graceful and fluid it appears almost effortless, it actually requires tremendous power and control. Though it doesn’t have to entirely consume you as it did Nina in Black Swan, ballet does demand a good deal of commitment.

You’ll love it if…
You dressed up in tutus as a child or prefer methodical exercise, like Pilates. Ballet requires more discipline than any other dance, and the steps call for total-body precision, including how you position your fingers, toes, and head. If you like rules, then this style is for you.

Why it’s healthy
Ballet increases flexibility from head to toe more than other dance styles. And the focus on posture will have you standing taller and moving more gracefully even off the dance floor. A study from England showed that ballet dancers outscored swimmers on 7 out of 10 fitness tests such as strength.

Do-at-home DVD
New York City Ballet Workouts ($19; collagevideo.com)


Learning curve
3 out of 5

The dance at a glance
Quick, sharp steps, lots of hip action, and a fiery attitude set Latin dances like salsa, merengue, and cha-cha apart from the rest. Most require a partner, but there are solo options like Zumba.

Why it’s healthy
Abs–from transverse to obliques–and the muscles that support your spine get a 360-degree workout from the twisting, pulling, and constant back-and-forth movement. A stronger core improves posture and helps prevent lower-back pain.

You’ll love it if?
You have a sexy wiggle in your walk and aren’t afraid to use it. Latin dances are set to a fast beat (160 to 210 beats per minute) ensuring a higher-than-average calorie burn and plenty of body heat between partners.

Do-at-home DVD
Partner Dancing 101: The Latin Dances ($15; gaiam.com)
Dance Off the Inches: Sizzling Salsa ($9; collage video.com)

Masala Bhangra

Learning curve
2.5 out of 5

The dance at a glance
The Masala Bhangra is India’s Electric Slide–it’s the dance American audiences loved in Slumdog Millionaire. But no need to don a sari to partake. In Masala Bhangra, your arms do a lot of the dancing–one move has your arms in a U shape while you turn your wrists like you’re screwing in lightbulbs–making it ideal for any level of exerciser.

You’ll love it if?
Your tastes run to the exotic and you love to swing your hips. Because the style isn’t as rigid as other types of dance, it’s a low-pressure workout to try solo or with girlfriends.

Why it’s healthy
All the upper-body action shapes sexy shoulders, arms, and back. It also strengthens the small, easily injured rotator cuff muscles in your shoulders.

Note: All the over-head action raises your heart rate. If it feels too intense or your arms ache, simply lower your hands below your heart while still dancing.

Do-at-home DVD
Hemalayaa: Bollywood Dance Blast ($15; acacialifestyle.com)


Learning curve
3 out of 5

The dance at a glance
If Latin is hot, then jazz is cool. Moves are a blend of sharp kicks and sultry slides, all performed with a “look at me now” attitude–think Catherine Zeta-Jones in Chicago. The goal is to create a striking silhouette.

You’ll love it if…
You’re a Broadway-musical fan and have a big personality. Form is important, but so is self-expression. Classes are typically high-energy affairs involving large, dynamic moves that use the entire body.

Why it’s healthy
The fat-blasting combo of cardio, strength, and power moves boosts your metabolism for faster weight loss. It improves agility and gait for better balance, studies show. And all the torso bending and rotating help tone your midsection.

Do-at-home DVD
Musical Theatre Dance ($40; bobrizzo.com)


Learning curve
2 out of 5

The dance at a glance
In tap, you wear shoes that have metal plates attached to the heel and forefoot; these make a percussive sound when you rhythmically touch or stomp on the floor. Compared with other dance styles, there’s less coordination between your arms and legs and only a little hip action, so tap dancing is actually easier than it looks.

You’ll love it if…
You’re the finger-snapping, rhythm-keeping type. And being clumsy’s okay, because the style hides a lack of grace.

Why it’s healthy
Even in a beginner’s class, you’ll be doing enough small hops and jumps to strengthen bones. And, according to a study in the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, tap dancing has less impact than running, making it a joint-friendly activity. Tap also increases the foot’s range of motion and strengthens fast-twitch muscles (the ones required for actions such as jumping). Off the dance floor, these improvements help you to be surer on your feet and protect you from injuries like ankle sprains.

Do-at-home DVD
Tap Dance Made Easy, Vol. 1 ($25; bobrizzo.com)

Good luck, healthy girl!

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OK, so you’re getting sick of your workout routine, and so is your body.  When you started exercising, you lost 5 pounds no problem.  Then nothing.  Hmph.

Our bodies, thanks to evolution, adjust to new patterns of behavior pretty quickly, which can lead to less than desired results with the same amount of effort.  Love to run?  Good for you – but maybe jogging on a treadmill for 20 minutes just isn’t doing the trick anymore.

It’s always a good idea to switch up your workout – add new types of cardio like swimming, biking, trail running, jump roping, dance, or kick boxing.  But maybe you don’t have the luxury of a full athletic center or a ton of time – we hear you!

An easy way to bust out of that weight loss plateau and fitness funk is to crank it up – the treadmill, that is.  Running at an incline is obviously much more difficult but requires little more than a push of a button.  You can still sweat for the same amount of time, run the same speed, and get a much harder workout without having to switch equipment.

It’s easy to understand why: Running on an incline is harder, even though your pace is slower than on a flat surface. But that extra effort is the driving force of a more efficient workout. Researchers at the University of Georgia found that uphill running activates 9 percent more muscle each stride compared with exercising at the same relative intensity on level ground.

Other benefits of using the incline:

  • By increasing the incline level on the treadmill, you will increase the number of calories burned during your workouts.
  • Incline training works the leg muscles differently and more efficiently than training on a level surface.
  • Incline training provides a great cardiovascular workout without having to increase speed.
  • The lower impact workouts on a treadmill decrease the likelihood of injury or strain to knees, hips, back, and ankles.
  • Incline workouts on a treadmill really stretch the calves and help you build long, lean calf muscles.
  • The incline feature allows for variation and helps prevent boredom during exercise sessions.

Start by warming up walking at an incline, such as a speed of 3.5 on an incline of 6.  Do that for 3 minutes.  Lower the treadmill to an incline of 1 and pick up your pace to a jog, between 4.5 – 5.5.  Stay there for 30 seconds and slowly increase your incline every 30 seconds until you’re jogging at an incline of 6.  Bring it back down and start over, only this time increase your speed to 6-7 and take it up to an incline of 10.  Stay up at a 10 incline for 30 seconds, then come back down in 30 second 1 incline increments.  You’ll be sweating in no time!

Good luck, healthy girl!

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Mix and match the workouts below for a total of five to six cardio sessions a week. The mix of routines will help your body burn fat more efficiently and build endurance. Combined with our strength workout, you’ll see pounds melt away!

In each cardio workout, you want to move among four zones that represent how much effort you’re putting in. Here’s how to tell which zone you’re in.

Zone 1 = Easy
Zone 2 = Challenging but comfortable (you’re breathing
hard but could still hold a conversation)
Zone 3 = Challenging and uncomfortable (you’re breathing hard, difficult to hold a conversation)
Zone 4 = Breathless, really hard!

New-mom modification: If you’re a new mom (or are very out of shape), keep your intensity easy to moderate. Avoid Zone 4 until you’re three to four months postpartum.

Intense Interval Bursts (30 minutes)
Do this while walking outside on a long, steep hill or on the stairs, treadmill, or elliptical trainer.
1. Warm up with 2 minutes in Zone 1, then 3 minutes in Zone 2
2. Uphill, 1 minute in Zone 4
3. Downhill, 1 minute in Zone 2
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 nine more times
5. Cool down with 5 minutes in Zone 1

Middle-Ground Mix-It-Up (40 minutes)
Do it as a walk or run outdoors or on the treadmill, bike, stairs, or elliptical trainer.
1. Warm up for 5 minutes in Zone 1
2. Spend 8 minutes in Zone 3
3. Do 2 minutes in Zone 2
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 two more times
5. Cool down with 5 minutes in Zone 1

Long, Strong, and Steady (60 minutes)
Bike, hike, walk, or skate outside, or mix it up at the gym by choosing three cardio machines and doing 20 minutes on each.
1. Warm up for 5 minutes in Zone 1
2. Work out 45–50 minutes in Zone 2
3. Cool down for 5 minutes in Zone 1

Good luck, healthy girl!

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From Prevention.com

If you bypass yoga because you’re more interested in firming your body than raising your consciousness, here’s a mind-body routine your muscles will love.

This fat-blasting yoga-inspired workout, designed by Beth Shaw, owner of YogaFit in Redondo Beach, CA, turns up the burn with multiple repetitions of each pose. In this yoga workout to lose fat, once you complete one pose, you flow directly to the next, with no resting between sequences. Yoga, when practiced in this vigorous style, works just as well as strength-training for shedding fat. The yoga workout to lose fat also makes your heart stronger and boosts cardiovascular fitness, found a study from the University of California, Davis. Practice regularly to stay slim, fit, and serene.

Workout Basics

Reps and sequences Start by quickly inhaling and exhaling through your nose for 20 breaths. Then perform each sequence the specified number of times before moving on to the next without a rest. Aim for 4 or 5 workouts a week. Each should take about 30 minutes.

Equipment A sticky yoga mat (available at most sporting goods stores for about $20).

Technique To oxygenate muscles and relieve stress, do one movement per inhalation or exhalation.

Cooldown Relax by lying on your back with hands on abdomen, legs extended, for 15 breaths.

Results You should feel stronger and look slimmer in 2 to 4 weeks.

Sequence 1Chair Flow Tones thighs and glutes


Stand with feet hip-width apart. Extend arms straight out in front. Lower body (don’t let thighs go lower than parallel to floor). Straighten legs and raise arms overhead, palms facing forward. Return to start. Do 10 to 15 reps.

Sequence 2

Moon Flowers Tones thighs, glutes, and core (abdominal, side, and back muscles)

A. Stand in a wide straddle, toes pointed out slightly. Extend arms straight up.

B. Lower until tailbone is almost level with knees (keep knees behind toes) and pull elbows down toward ribs. Return to start. Do 15 to 20 reps.

Sequence 3

Cat to Cow Tones core and upper-body muscles

A. Get on hands and knees. Pull navel toward spine and round back, dropping chin to chest and tucking buttocks.

B. Lift head, chest, and tailbone. Allow belly to lower toward floor and arch back. Return to start. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Sequence 4

Downward Facing Dog, Warrior I, Plank Push-Up Tones and shapes all major muscles and improves balance

A. From Cat position, move into Downward Dog by tucking toes, pressing palms into floor, and lifting hips. Straighten legs and press heels down. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths.

B. From there, step forward with right foot (keeping palms on the floor, left leg extended) and bend right knee (knee should be directly over ankle). Come up and extend arms overhead to perform Warrior I (see image). Go back into Downward Dog by bending at hips, planting hands on floor at each side of right foot, stepping right foot back, and lifting hips.

C. Shift into a modified Plank pose by dropping knees onto floor. Body should form straight line from head to knees, and hands should be directly beneath shoulders.

D. Do a Plank Push-Up by bending elbows back, close to ribs. Slowly lower chest toward floor. Press back up to Plank position. Lift hips back into Dog. Repeat sequence, this time stepping left foot forward into Warrior I. Repeat sequence 10 times per side.

Sequence 5
Boat Angles Tones core and abdominals

A. From Downward Dog, lower knees to floor, sit back, and raise torso. Shift butt to floor and bring legs around to sit with knees bent and feet flat on floor. Grasp lightly behind thighs.

B. Pull navel toward spine and, keeping back straight and feet on floor, lean back to a 45-degree angle. Hold for 2 to 5 breaths. Straighten back up. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

Sequence 6Boat Lifts Tones core and thighs

From the start position for Boat Angles, contract left quad and lift and extend left leg. Lower leg to start. Repeat with right leg. Repeat 5 to 10 times on each side, alternating legs.

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It’s enough to drive you batty: A guy will grab his gut, announce it’s got to go, and—presto!—a month later, he’s a slim Jim. What is it about a man’s approach that’s so successful? We found out! Steal their strategies and you’ll get firm in a flash, too. Watch out, boys!

Have a one-track mind

Whether it’s for sex, sports or slimming, men tend to have laserlike focus. “They’re wired to concentrate on a single thing, whereas the female brain evolved to approach tasks from a wide perspective,” says Helen Fisher, Ph.D., a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University at New Brunswick, New Jersey. So a guy might decide to cut out beer or run sprints—that’s his big plan. Most women, however, try to multitask, vowing to nix dessert, go vegan, ban soda, halve portions, hit the gym at dawn…. No wonder we fail; it’s a chore reading that list! Instead, pick your worst diet habit (bingeing on bread?) and a challenging fitness goal (regular Spin classes?) and attack only those for four weeks. Already seems doable, right?

Act oblivious

It’s no shocker: Men worry less than we do about what random Joe Schmoes think of their body (aka social physique anxiety). You can’t simply decide to adopt a dude’s lack of self-consciousness, but flattering workout clothes can nudge your confidence enough that—like the XYs—you’re able to focus more on you: taking the class, lifting the weights or playing the sport that will get you fit.

Grunt, groan and sweat

Those Neanderthal noises you hear from the guy one treadmill over? They signal intensity, and he’s on to something: You burn more fat and tone muscles in less time with gasp-inducing cardio intervals—short, go-all-out stints interspersed with stretches at a slower pace—than with a steady-as-she-goes approach. Researchers at McMaster University noted that cyclists who did 15 minutes of interval training three times a week were as fit as those who biked at a moderate speed for an hour five days a week. Imagine how trim you’d be doing 30 minutes of intervals! See for yourself: Pepper your cardio with 30-second sprints, or sign up at Self.com/goal for access to fun plans. How do you know you’re pushing full-throttle? If you can talk, you’re not going hard enough; if you’re grunting, you’re there!

Feed your ego

We are just as competitive as guys, but our ego isn’t as tied to how fast we run or what we bench-press. Maybe it should be! Ego is a powerful motivator. The next time you have an amazing workout, brag—even if to yourself. Or work out with a superfit friend and don’t let her out-exercise you.

Ditch the dinner drama

A guy sees pizza and thinks, Yum, pizza for dinner. We think, Uh-oh, pizza is my weakness, or, Ah, pizza will make me feel better, says Heidi Skolnik, former team nutritionist for the New York Giants. One study found that women binge eat more than men do. And when emotions, not your stomach or brain, drive choices, it’s a diet disaster. Treat food as fuel. Take bites because you’re hungry or need energy, not because of stress or boredom. Think about what your choices will do for your health and let yourself indulge occasionally, holding the guilt. (Pizza? Yum! Period.)

Pump iron

Start thinking of your gym’s weight room as the lose-weight room. Strength training, which only about 17 percent of women do, revs metabolism, torches calories and sculpts sexy muscles. It’s so effective, in fact, that you should put cardio on the back burner and make strength training 60 percent of your routine—no joke, says Holly Perkins, an ExerciseTV trainer in Los Angeles. Another dude to-do: Spend less time on machines and embrace free weights, especially barbells, which work more muscles. (Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to use them on the next page.) Remember that the muscle you’re gaining weighs more than the fat you’re losing; you may not drop pounds, but you’ll be smaller and firmer. You’ll also—yes, there’s more!—get a hit of self-esteem. Strength training increases body satisfaction, a study from the University of Houston reports.

Don’t (over)think—do

Remember Rocky? The Italian Stallion didn’t worry about when or where he’d train or whether he’d win; he began boxing sides of beef. “Most men throw themselves into an exercise program without much planning; most women ask a lot of questions and overthink things, which can create excuses and lead you to put off starting,” says Tracie Rogers, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Arizona School of Health Sciences. Skip right to the action—and results! Why not lace up and go for a quick jog right now? Curious about CrossFit? Sign up for a class right now, and pay so you can’t talk your way out of it later. Your new mantra: Here today, pounds gone tomorrow!

Eat real food

Guys don’t usually munch on things like 100-calorie snack packs; research shows men are less likely to eat goods labeled diet or low-cal. And that’s fine because you get more nutrients and avoid sneaky saturated fat by fueling up on whole foods, which are also more psychologically filling, Skolnik says. Hungry? Reach for snacks such as nuts, turkey, cheese sticks, fruit and vegetables.

Care about your stats

Like us, a guy might use a celebrity’s ripped body as motivation to get to the gym. But what men tend to do, which many women don’t, is supplement their look-better goals with performance-based ones, Perkins says. In other words, although Roger Federer’s physique may be a long-term target, a guy will also set out to do 10 more squats than last week. Approaching a workout this way—naming specific performance goals rather than seeing your session only as a means to a tighter rear end—makes you more successful, says Mark Anshel, Ph.D., a professor of health and human performance at Middle Tennessee State University. Why? You are engaged and have something achievable to strive for during each workout. And because goals constantly change, you get to revel in mini-successes over and over, versus waiting and waiting for the scale to budge. These benchmarks also push you to try harder in the moment, which translates to a harder body later. “When I move a woman’s mind-set away from the scale and challenge her to drop a minute from her mile time, she trains better,” says Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise. Put it into practice: Set a new goal before every workout, whether it’s raising the treadmill incline or knocking out an extra set. Outside the gym, find activities you’re passionate about mastering, like yoga. (Tomorrow, ace Crow pose!) This tactic can even work for your diet. Each A.M., choose an eating goal (an extra serving of veggies, water instead of soda), then make it happen.

Be a bit studly

Whether they are driven by ego or healthy self-esteem, guys believe they’re doing great and rarely doubt their ability to succeed, even in the face of setbacks, says Robert Pennino, president of Terrier Tri coaching in New York City. “My female athletes become distraught or beat themselves up if they don’t notice results right away.” Ban that thinking! Keep telling yourself that not every day will be a winner but that you will win at weight loss. A chocolate overdose or skipped jog doesn’t mean failure—your next meal or sweat session is another chance to keep at it. We promise you’ll love your results at the finish line!

Good luck, healthy girl!

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Fake nails are a bitch to remove.  So are the five pounds you put on multi-tasking the buffet at your BFF’s Jersey Shore party.

But before you hit the gym this week, we want you to think about food again. Food that doesn’t come in a neon-colored wrapper. Why? Because eating the right foods before and after a sweat session can make all the difference Snooki.

No matter if you are vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian, your body requires the correct amount and balance of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) for optimum performance. What most people don’t realize is that not eating enough calories, or the right foods for the type and intensity of workout, can be detrimental. In fact, the body will start to break down its own fat, followed by muscle. Talk about being counterproductive.

So What Should You Eat?

There is much confusion over how much protein an individual needs, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. In the U.S., the average adult gets about 15 percent of their calories from protein. But all proteins are not alike. Vegetable sources of protein such as beans, nuts and whole grains do not contain all the essential amino acids needed to build new proteins, so it’s essential for vegans to eat a wide variety of food sources including:shake

  • Legumes
  • Soy
  • Quinoa
  • Almond butter
  • Hemp protein powder (makes a yummy shake)
  • Rice protein powder (good in smoothies)

Protein Is Not The Whole Story

According to Lisa Austin, elite trainer at The Pinnacle, a unique desert wellness retreat focusing on personalized fitness and nutrition plans, both the timing and the type of food consumed can impact the benefits of exercise. Here’s Lisa’s Pre- and Post- Workout Food Guide:


Glucose, the main type of sugar in the blood created by the breakdown of carbohydrates, is the preferred energy source for most exercise. So a good pre-workout meal should include foods that are high in carbohydrates. We’re not talking highly processed carbs, but nutrient-dense complex carbs. So if you only have about 15 minutes before hitting the gym, the best bet would be a high glycemic carbohydrate such as a brown rice cake, paired with an easily digestible source of protein like a slice of soy cheese.

On the other hand, if you have a few hours before working out, and want to make sure you’ll have enough energy to make it through all the Asanas, a combo of protein, carbs and fat will do the trick.  Some ideas include:

  • A handful of walnuts, a pear and a glass of almond milk
  • 20 grams of hemp protein mixed with 10 oz of orange juice
  • Almond or favorite nut butter with apple or grapes
  • Nut and seed mix with coconut shred and dried fruit
  • Kale salad with avocado and green peas


The best time to replace and replenish your energy stores is within 30-45 minutes after ending your workout. Ideally, your post-workout snack should come from a high glycemic starch coupled with a protein like:

•    A yam and some quinoa
•    Butternut squash soup with roasted brussels sprouts and pecans
•    Roasted parsnips with black beans
•    Spinach and arugula salad with sweet potato and alfalfa sprouts
•    Any legume fits the bill since legumes contain both protein and carbohydrate

The key to healthy eating while working out is to focus on consuming a wide range of plant-based foods, grains, nuts and legumes.

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