- Work larger muscle groups first. Larger muscle groups utilize more energy to train, so exercise those muscle groups first before you get tired.
- Save the abdominals for the end or your workout. Tiring your core in the beginning of the workout may lead you to compromise your forms when training other muscle groups.
- Schedule a regular time throughout the week for physical activity. Putting a workout time in your daily calendar helps avoid “I’ll do it later” syndrome.
- Start a daily fitness log! A log should record your workouts, both cardiovascular and strength training. Not only will it motivate you but it also tracks your progress over time.
- Start your own home gym for under $75. Simple things will get you results! Start with a set of free weights, a fitness ball, a mat and a good pair of sneakers.
- Pack a lunch! It will save you hundreds of calories!
- Park and walk. Park as far as you can from the entrance of the mall or grocery store. All those minutes of walking will add up at the end of the day.
- Start slow. Most beginners make the mistake of doing too much too soon. If you haven’t exercised in a while, start with a walking program for your cardiovascular activity and use light weights when strength training.
- If you don’t have 45 minutes to workout, break it down into three fifteen-minute sessions.
- Don’t forget the water! At least 8 glasses a day!
- Change up your cardio workouts, especially if you live with seasons. In the spring and summer, swim and bike. During the fall and winter, try jogging, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating. Cross training is the most effective way to burn calories.
- “No pain, no gain” is a myth. If you are in pain while exercising, STOP! Make sure your form is correct and you’re not using too much weight.
- You can’t spot reduce! Doing 500 crunches a day will not get you those six-pack abs. Great abs are a product of genetics and losing the layer of fat that covers them. Cardiovascular exercise is the best way to burn those unwanted fat cells away.
- Exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight. Regular physical activity and a balanced diet are the most important factors for successful long-term weight management.
- Don’t forget the goal! Tape a picture of your wedding dress on the refrigerator. This will help motivate you when you just don’t feel like working out.
- Close the door and use your office as a gym. Get in a quick workout with triceps dips (using your chair), incline push-ups (use your desk), lunges, water bottle biceps curls and a few sets of crunches.
- Sign up for a run/walk event. There are some great ones for charity.
- Regular walking, house work and gardening for an hour a week has been shown to reduce heart disease and burn calories.
- Genetics plays a huge role in how your body responds to exercise. People don’t react to exercise the same way. Throw out those celebrity magazines and those picture-perfect bods!
- Exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight loss. However, studies have shown regular exercise is the key to long-term weight management.
- You cannot “bulk up” from strength training. Women do not produce enough testosterone for this to happen. Strength training helps decrease your body fat percentage and maintain muscle mass.
- Make sure you take 10,000 steps everyday. The average sedentary person only takes 3,000 steps each day. Invest in a pedometer.
- Any activity is better that none!
- Keep your remote next to the television. Force yourself to get up to change the channel.
- Exercising 3-4 times a week will help relieve premenstrual cramps. Regular exercise will help strengthen the muscles in your lower back and abdominals area where cramping occurs.
- Be careful with sports drinks. They often contain high levels of sugar and salt. Water is great and has 0 calories!
- Hate a particular exercise? Don’t do it! Because you’ll only do what you enjoy, and in the end sabotage your workout.
- The best stress release? EXERCISE! Not only does exercise keep your anxiety down, it also raises your self esteem.
- Want to stop smoking? Exercise can help! When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. They lift your mood and help keep depression away.
- Give yourself some rewards. You lost 5 pounds? Great! Go treat yourself to a new sweater. 10 pounds? Wow! Now is the time to pick up those earrings you’ve been eying!
- Strengthen your core. Sit-ups and crunches will increase core strength.
- Buy shoes that fit. Shop for shoes at night or late in the day, as your feet expand over the course of the day.
- Don’t exercise when you are sick. Your body needs to heal itself. Don’t use those resources for a workout.
- When riding a stationary bike, practice riding one-legged. This forces you to ride more efficiently by concentrating on pulling up at the bottom of the stroke.
- Pay for personal training sessions up front. This ensures that you will not cancel sessions (as there usually is a cancellation policy).
- Stretch between sets. Research indicates it improves strength.
- Work out opposing muscle groups, i.e. quadriceps and hamstrings. You’ll get a faster workout with less time to rest.
- When you run, breath so that your belly rises as you inhale. This makes sure that your lungs are inflating with oxygen.
- If you’re a runner, shoes last about 500 miles. Record your weekly averages to determine how long your shoes will last.
- Start exercising today. Don’t wait until Monday!
- Enroll in a wellness program at work. Take advantage of anything your job provides.
- Bike to work and use the cash you save on gas to buy a new outfit!
- Need motivation? Take “before” photos of yourself and place them somewhere you look at every day.
- Try video games such as Nintendo Wii for a different kind of workout.
- There’s no such thing as a “magic pill.” Weight loss comes from exercise and a proper diet. Period!
- Change up your running route. Doing the same thing leads to boredom, which leads to doing nothing. Run in a new
neighbourhood, run on the beach, jog with a friend.
- Get inspired by reading about others who have been successful. There are tons of web sites and blogs that follow these stories.
- Make over your running routine. Add sprints and interval training into your run for efficient calorie burning.
- Keep your abs contracted while doing crunches. Most people lower their bodies to the ground while crunching. That’s doing half a crunch. Only lower your body 3-4 inches away from your bent knees.
- Hit the dance floor! Dancing is a great calorie burner and helps build cardiovascular endurance.
- Find a few great fitness DVDs. On a rainy day, you’ll have no excuse not to get a fun workout in!
- Get a dog. Yes, walking the dog 3-4 times a day is a great form of exercise!
These ab and thigh exercises will have you getaway ready in no time!
Exercise 1: Side Lunge with Row
Targets: Quadriceps and upper back
Equipment: Set of dumbbells
Weight: Beginner: 5 lbs; Intermediate/Advanced: 5–8 lbs.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms straight and palms facing inward. Lunge to the right, keeping your right knee over your toes. Bring the dumbbells to each side of your right foot. Lift your right dumbbell upward, keeping your elbow close to your body. Your elbow should be pointing towards ceiling. Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side.
Equipment: Stability ball
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart facing away from a wall. Place a stability ball between your back and the wall, then walk your feet about one foot forward. Slowly squat down, rolling the ball with you, abs contracted by pulling your navel to your spine and back straight, until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Pause, then stand up.
Beginner: 1–2 sets, 12 reps; Intermediate/Advanced: 2–3 sets, 12 reps
Exercise 3: Hamstring Curls with Fitness Ball
Targets: Hamstrings and core (abdominals and lower back)
Equipment: Stability ball and exercise mat
Lie face up on the mat with the stability ball under your heels, legs extended, arms by your sides. Pull your navel to your spine and slowly lift your hips off the floor, forming a diagonal line from shoulders to feet. Keeping your body still, pull the ball closer to you with your heels, then roll it back to the starting position.
Beginning: 1–2 sets, 12 reps; Intermediate/Advanced: 2–3 sets, 12 reps