Category Archives: Exercise Tips

Easy Ways To Get Fit In Half The Time

If you don’t have time for the gym these days, you’re certainly not alone. Not having enough time is the #1 reason for not going to the gym and working out. Yes, it has a ton of benefits such as reduced stress and enhanced mood as well as a greater sex drive, not to mention better weight maintenance to start. However, time can be a real workout killer. So here are ways that you can get fit in half the time.

  1. Superset Exercises

    Supersets are used and then used again and again, because simply put, they work. You can get more done in less time, and you get more out of the back to back exercises alternating between the upper and lower body. You always have one part in recovery and one part in work mode.

  2. Time your rest periods

    It’s hard to maintain focus and stay on task when it comes to your rest periods. You can get caught up on your phone, talking with friends, and look that 1 minute break just turned into 5. Bring a timer with you and start the timer every time you take a rest to make sure that you stay on task.

  3. Just Keep Moving

    I know, it seems pretty simple, and that’s probably because it is. When you keep moving rather than sitting idly, say turning the TV channels, you are actually burning calories and getting things done. Crazy stuff right there. Don’t be afraid to get out there and move.

  4. HIT (High Intensity Training)

    HIT has become all the rage lately in health and exercise news. Exercises like Tabata routines get you working out in short little doses, but yet you are getting incredibly effective results in being able to burn more fat and lose more weight.

  5. Have a backup plan

    It’s easy to have a plan, get to the gym, and find out that the machines you planned to use are all taken. Don’t let this be you. Especially if you are going to the gym during busy hours, make sure that you have a backup plan just in case this very type of thing happens.

The Best Lunge For A Firmer Butt

Simply changing the angle of your torso can help you activate different areas of your lower body, according to Nick Tumminello, owner of Performance University International and author of Strength Training for Fat Loss. So you’re telling me we’ve worked only limited parts of our bodies with exercise, and a simple change of the angle of your torso could change all that?

A traditional lunge in particular involves an upright torso, and it puts the majority of your weight on the front of your thighs, or your quads. Most people’s quads are already pretty strong though. So why are we putting all the work there instead of evening out other muscles?

So what do you do? Tumminello suggests, For an all-around lower-body exercise, I recommend hinging at the hips to angle the torso forward about 45 degrees. By shifting your center of gravity, you end up working your glutes and the back of your thighs more effectively. Tumminello also mentions that it puts less stress on your knees.

You can move around the world, step back instead of forward, or even do lunges to the side for better results. It’s all about simply mixing it up and giving your body angles and approaches it may not be as used to.

Moderate Exercise Is Not As Hard As You Think

Working out doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. Moderate exercise specifically isn’t as hardcore as many have imagined, leaving them intimidated out of trying in some cases. A study from the University of Manitoba specifically looked at this and its effect on your likelihood to exercise. 80% of inactive adults tested couldn’t tell what was moderate exercise when asked.

Researchers recently brought together 51 regularly active adults from the university’s fitness facility. Each subject ran or walked on a treadmill at a level that they felt was a moderate intensity. The participants were able to adjust the treadmill’s incline and speed to fit their own needs, and they had to go steady for 5 minutes.

80% of the subjects tested were exercising at a vigorous level when asked to set their own intensity. Study author Danielle Bouchard PhD says, This is great news because people are doing more than what’s needed. And it’s also great because we know that vigorous intensity exercise has more health related benefits than working out at a moderate intensity.

When people overestimate what is moderate exercise, they end up avoiding what they think is too hard.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week for adults. You can combine the two of course. Vigorous activity has additional benefits. So it might be something to consider, strengthening your heart more efficiently.

Other research has shown just the opposite, that people actually overestimate how hard they work. A study by PLOS One asked people to walk or jog at light, moderate, and vigorous exercise levels. Subjects didn’t work hard enough in this study to achieve moderate or vigorous exercise. However, the differences seem to show up from person to person.

Exercise physiologist Tom Holland, author of Swim, Bike, Run, Eat says, I think people are all over the map is the short of it. People are just confused about what’s moderate and what’s hard. Weekend warrior types tend to train in that gray area, so it’s not really easy, it’s not really hard, and they could get much more out of it.

It depends on how fit you are of course as to what it takes to get your heart rate up, but many find that a brisk walk can get their heart rate up to a moderate rate.

If you want to find the right workout intensity, the easiest way to tell is by measuring your heart rate. You can easily buy a cheap heart rate monitor, and if you stay within 50 to 70% of your maximum heart rate, you are in moderate activity. If you go up to 70 to 80%, you will get the benefits of vigorous workouts.

If you want to find your maximum heart rate, go to a steep hill and warm up for 10 minutes. Then run up hill for 30 seconds and get your heart rate. Walk slowly down the hill. Then do that 3 times and record the highest number you get as your maximum heart rate. Unfortunately, the old one size fits all calculations generally don’t fit most.

Should You Drop Your Running Music?

I depend on music. It keeps me going, gives me a basic idea of how long I’ve gone, and it’s way more entertaining than a podcast even. I know, I’ve been told that some people like podcasts, because they like to be educated during their runs. I’m not one of those people. There are some dogs that are more motivating, because they have that beat or that jam. They may give you that extra push, and research actually backs it up. Research aha shown that music can directly influence our ability to perform. But if you can’t force yourself on your own, or if music is making you run further, could it actually be harmful?

Jonathan Cane, exercise physiologist and coach at City Coach and JackRabbit Sports says, I see on social media, ‘I couldn’t finish my workout because my iPhone died,’ and I’m thinking, ‘You can!’ So in effect, for these people, having that music to keep them going is actually holding them back in the event that our technology fails to holdup. Our muscles can function just as well with or without music, but we get this idea in our head that it’s different.

This seems pretty simple, but it’s not that simple. 78% of runners report enjoying listening to music for its motivational purposes, and music has become an integral part of what a lot of us depend on. It’s simple life. If your music can help you to push past that point where we normally want to give up or slow down, that can be good, and for many runners, a faster beat in our music can actually motivate us to run faster. Professor Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in London is a leading expert on the psychology of workout music, and he calls music a legal performance-enhancing drug.

The truth is that you naturally want to keep up with the beat, and it becomes motivation also with cycling. A study of cycling specifically shows that those who timed their cycling to the music used 7% less oxygen than others who did not have music to synchronize to. Other research has suggested that music actually reduces your perception of your body’s pain or other indications of your body’s limits.

The problem is that you can dissociate yourself from the pain, and you can go too far. In addition, you have the problem of not being able to do the same thing when you don’t have music. The more complex your workout, the more focus you need to put on the workout too, and you will find that’s a lot harder to do when you are listening to and focusing on music.

Experts believe that there are good and bad things about using so much music. It’s not a matter of completely eliminating it and going cold turkey necessarily. It’s a matter of understanding your limits, understanding what music is doing for you, and pushing yourself even without it. It’s harder to do these things when you aren’t conscious of them. Don’t depend on your music to set the beat for you, and every once in a while, go without.

Never Do A Crunch Again

Crunches are bad for you. Yes, they’re the old go to when it comes to ab workouts, but they hurt your back, and they are extremely inefficient. You need a good ab workout though to stabilize the rest of your body believe it or not.

Brynn Jinnette, founder of the Refine Method explains it saying, It’s your center pillar, the powerhouse of your body. Strengthening it will enable you to work harder in your exercise classes and move more safely throughout your day. If you’ve ever dreaded those back breaking crunches every day, you will be relieved to find out there are other options, better options.

  1. Sliding Pike

    You can start in the plank position with your feet on sliding discs. You can use a dish towel, slippery socks, and various other things that you have in the comfort of your own home for this. Use your core to slowly slide your feet in and pull your gluts up to the ceiling. Then use your abs to let them slide back out.

  2. Plank With Open-and-Close Legs

    Start in the plank position and slide your feet out wide and back. Keep your back flat during this time and your core activated. Your legs should be the only things moving.

  3. Sliding Forearm Plank

    Put the sliding discs of your choice under your forearms and start with a forearm plank. Keep your back flat, and then slide each forearms out and back one at a time. Switch off between the two.

  4. Kettlebell Stand-and-Kneel

    Hold a kettlebell at home over your heard and stand with your feet hip width apart. Tighten your core and then lower one knee and then the other. Stand back up the same way.

  5. Resistance Band Raise

    Attach a resistance band between a door and a hook on a wall or another secure anchor of some kind. Keep your feet wider than your hips, with the band to one side. Hold onto the band with your hands together and then extend your arms straight in front of you. You activate your abs this whole time. Ben your elbows and move your firsts towards your chest. Then raise your firsts above your head. You can then lower yourself back to the starting position.

Exercise Less With Faster Results

With today’s busy world, we need to get the best results in the shortest amount of time possible. We don’t have time to just sit around. We don’t have time to workout 8 hours a day. We’re not all Olympic athletes, and the determination needed to build up to longer workouts is amazing as well. The question is what is the minimum amount of time you can exercise and get good results, and what do you need to do?

Let’s be practical here. None of those 5 minute abs, 10 minute cardio, or other super short workouts that you buy on DVD are going to work for you. They may burn some calories, but not enough to really lose weight or maintain your healthy and fit body. The first thing to focus on naturally is cardio.

The first study on this that really struck a chord with me was in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research called High-Intensity Interval Training Every Second Week Maintains VO2max in Soccer Players During Off Season.

This study looked at 2 separate frequencies of interval training sessions over 6 weeks. They had 1 HIT session every 2 weeks or 1 HIT session every week. The HIT sessions were standard, including 4 minutes of high intensity treadmill time and full recovery between the treadmill.

The results aren’t what you would expect. The group completing this program once a week did no better than the group who completed this interval every 2 weeks. So yes, you could do it every week, and it wouldn’t hurt, but as far as maintaining positive results, you can do less.

They also found that the duration of repetitions made no significant difference in muscle gains. What matters is the amount of muscle tension that you have during the workout. In other words, 1 set of 5 heavy repetitions is better than 5 sets of 10 light repetitions.

The rest intervals really don’t affect your results on your strength or muscle gains when you control for total exercise volume.

Endurance training won’t screw up muscular strength or limit hypertrophy. This is even if you do it during the workout. You don’t have to actually go to the gym or workout twice daily. So yes, daily exercise works to burn fat, but you can get away with once every 2 weeks for many results.

Coffee Could Make Your Workout Routine More Fun

Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee. That has become a famous phrase for more than one person out there. I know I’m not alone. That cup of Joe in the morning can really make all the difference in the way you feel and how you can interact with others. And no, it’s not the same as a good dose of sugar.

Everybody knows that caffeine gives you a boost of energy. When it comes to working out though, not everybody is quite as knowledgeable about caffeine’s benefits. A small study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology has found that if you want a better workout, you should brew up a pot. If for nothing else, it could actually make your workout more fun.

The researchers wanted their subjects to get the same effects as if they were to drink a cup of coffee, go to the gym, eat their breakfast with another cup, and then eat lunch. Subsequently, they gave 14 subjects an active dose of caffeine or a placebo 90 minutes before a moderate workout on a stationary bike. They based the dose on body weight to be about 8oz of coffee or 4 cups of black tea per 150 pounds. The subjects were asked to report how hard the ride felt every 15 minutes.

Those subjects who were caffeinated felt it was easier, and they continued to pedal along more easily compared to those without caffeine. They also enjoyed the workout more once it was over. Matthew Schubert said, There is some evidence that caffeine can influence ‘happy chemicals’ like dopamine and serotonin. It wasn’t just the idea of being caffeinated.

Schubert and his team continued to watch the subjects to see how it would influence people who ate later in the day. They offered the subjects a sandwich buffet and tracked the calories. They ate a 400 calorie lunch when they took the placebo, but what we found very interesting was that they ate about 72 fewer calories in the caffeine trial.

Another clear win for caffeine in my book.