9 Ways To Melt More Fat Off

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It gets horribly frustrating when you work really hard at something and the results don’t meet or get even close to your expectations. This applies to many things in life but in particular weight loss and fitness regimens. I’ve been in situation many times before where I go weeks without seeing any inches or weight coming off, no matter how hard I work. I struggle with those weeks as much as any other woman.

But, step in Mike Reinz, a personal trainer, fitness blogger and author of the best selling Fit To Fitter, he says that there are several mistakes that many women make when trying to get out of a plateau – there is no one fixed method but a combination of different methods. Here are 9 ways he suggest we mix it up in and out of the gym to help us get past that plateau.

1. Lift heavier weights
The theory that lifting light and furiously fast burns more fat than heavy weights is harder to kill than a cockroach. Here’s why it’s hogwash: fewer reps with heavier weights equals a metabolic boost that outlives the increase from high rep, light weight workouts according to the Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education. To maximise the calories burned long after you and your gym bag have left the change room, shoot for three to seven reps.

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2. Mix it up
Don’t put your light weights out for hard rubbish. While lifting low and heavy burns more energy later, lighter weights may burn more calories during your session, according to researchers from the College of New Jersey. Hedge your bets by splicing heavy and light routines – three to seven reps with heavy weights one day, 10 to 20 with light weights the next. If you want to get tricky, do both in one session: two sets light, two sets heavy.

3. Cut rest time

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Sleep is critical; research consistently shows that skipping your kip can undermine intensity. But your workout isn’t the time to be loafing. You’ll torch 50 per cent more calories if you cut rests between sets from three minutes to 30 seconds, a College of New Jersey study found.

4. Control speed
Yes, you need slow, controlled reps. But don’t ditch the fast moves. Instead, make your reps rapid and explosive and reap the calorie burn rewards. The fast twitch muscle fibres engaged during fast lifts are less energy efficient than their slower cousins, meaning they chew through more fuel, according to Ball State University researchers. You’ll need a weight about 30 per cent of your one-rep max (1RM), which means being able to lift it for 15 to 35 reps per exercise. Aim for four to five sets comprising two fast sets of three to eight reps, and two to three at normal pace.

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5. Listen to your favorite tunes
Cranking the tunes before you hit the treadmill is a free hit in the fat-loss stakes, with listening to your favorite playlist linked to greater intensity and fat loss according to a study presented to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. The headphone set registered significantly more reps than those listening to the purr of the treadmill engine.

6. Put resistance training before cardio

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Burning more fat is as simple as switching the order of your workout components according to Japanese researchers. By putting your resistance training before your cardio workout, you can seriously boost your fat burn. The better news is that the fat burn was highest in the first 15 minutes of cardio, so say goodbye to hours on the elliptical and set your stopwatch for quarter of an hour.

7. HIIT
To burn fat with cardio, you can’t go past intervals. Commonly shortened to HIIT, high intensity interval training demands intervals at 90 per cent of your maximum heart rate (MHR) interspersed with bouts at walking pace. For the record, most steady-state cardio hangs around the 60 to 70 MHR mark. A good rule of thumb for HIIT is 20 seconds/10 seconds (sprint for 20, walk or jog for 10).

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8. Try intermittent cardio
In the vein of HIIT, intermittent cardio burns more fat than continuous movement. A study pitting subjects doing steady cardio for 30 minutes against those doing three 10-minute bursts broken by 20-minute rests, found the staggered group burned more fat, with the bonus of greater calorie burn after the fact.

9. Exercise after work

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Good news for night owls – exercising after work raises your metabolic rate more than morning sessions. Subjects who cycled for 30 minutes between 5 and 7pm got a greater spike in post-workout calorie burn than their early-rising counterparts, said University of Wisconsin researchers. The after-work window also trumped lunchtime workouts for efficiency.

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9 Most Celebrated Moves To A Sexy Flat Belly

Wonderful belly

A recent research used ultrasound to measure changes in abdominal muscle tone when test subjects (who were mainly women) performed six abdominal exercises. The side plank (or side-bridge) and the abdominal crunch both resulted in the greatest increase in muscle tone in the transverse abdominis and internal oblique muscles of the women.

Based on the findings, the research concluded that side-bridges and crunches contract the muscles more than any other abs exercises. So leave the rest alone and follow these 9 variations of the side plank and crunch that will get your abs rocking hard. Be warned though, these exercises will make your abs sore for days (but the good kind of sore):

1. Crunches On Floor:
Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor. Place your hands across your chest. Contract your rectus abdominis (front abdominal muscle), drawing your breastbone downward. Try not to lift your neck or shoulders; let the abs do the work. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.

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2. Crunches (with feet on a bench):
Lie on your back perpendicular to a bench. Place both feet flat on the surface of the bench and your hands across your chest. Contract your rectus abdominis, drawing your breastbone downward. Try not to lift your neck or shoulders; let the abs do the work. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.

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3. Bicycles:

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Lie flat on the floor on your lower back with your hands beside your head. Bring your knees toward your chest to about a 45-degree angle and make a bicycle pedaling motion with your legs, touching your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.

4. Crunches on Exercise Ball:
Lie on the ball on your back and bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands across your chest. Contract your front abdominal muscles, drawing your breastbone downward. Try not to lift your neck or shoulders; let the abs do the work. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.

5. Reverse Crunches on Bench:
Lie on a bench and stabilize your body by grabbing the bench above your head. Lift your legs so your feet are pointed at the ceiling and bend your knees slightly. Contract your lower abdominal muscles and lift your tailbone off the bench by pushing your feet towards the ceiling and pushing your lower back into the bench. Return to the starting position. Begin with one set of 10 repetitions. Increase the number of sets and reps as fitness increases.

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6. Side-Bridges:

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Lie on your side and support your body between your forearm and knees. As you increase fitness, first move your non-support arm across your body as you hold the side-bridge; later, support your weight between your forearm and feet. Do this exercise on your left and right sides and try to hold your spine in a neutral position (normal curves)—avoid letting it sag during the exercise. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Rest. Repeat as fitness increases.

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7. Front-Bridges (plank):
In a prone position, support your weight between your forearms and toes. Keep your back straight and head in a neutral position. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Rest. Repeat as fitness increases.

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8. Supermans:

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Lie on a stability ball at chest level with your legs extended to the rear. Extend your arms and place both hands in front of you as though you were flying like Superman. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Rest. Repeat as fitness increases.

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9. Bird-Dogs:

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Balance on your hands and knees. Lift your right leg and left arm and extend your leg to the rear and reach to the front with your arm. Don’t arch your back during this exercise. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Rest. Repeat as fitness increases.

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8 Single-Leg Exercises That Tone The Entire Body

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Working out both legs or arms together can keep you in the dark as to your real strength. Most people have a dominant side, so when you do a squat or leg press, the stronger leg naturally takes the lead. It’s very telling when you instead do a one-legged exercise like lunges. The weaker leg will struggle harder to complete the same number of repetitions.

So one-legged moves can go far to balance out the right and left sides of the lower body. They keep you honest. To prevent injury, go easy in the beginning, start with one set and gradually work your way up to three sets. To maximize benefits, complete all sets on one leg or arm and then go on to the other. Also, start your one-legged exercises on the weaker leg, and then work your stronger leg.

In addition to balancing out both sides of the body, single-leg (unilateral) exercises work the deep lateral stabilizers of the hip and core (i.e., gluteus medius and quadratus lumborum) in ways we can’t duplicate with bilateral moves. There’s also more carryover to normal ground-based movements like walking, skipping and running than you have with bilateral exercise. Try adding a few of the following exercises into your regular weight-training regimen for better balance and greater strength and for an overall body toning.

1. Step-Ups
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Step-ups target the glutes and hamstrings as well as the quadriceps.

HOW TO DO THEM:

  • Stand with a 12- to 18-inch plyo box or bench at your right side and your right foot on the box.
  • Step up onto the box with your left foot while straightening the hip and the knee of your right leg. Root through your right heel to lift the rest of your body and raise the left knee until both your left hip and knee reach a 90-degree angle.
  • Step down with the left leg by bending the hip and knee of the right leg.
  • Repeat with the right leg for 10 to 15 repetitions, and then turn to face the opposite direction and perform the entire routine with the left leg.

2. Bulgarian Split Squat

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This one-legged squat resembles a lunge, except the non-working leg is propped up on a bench for balance. It works the quadriceps and glutes.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Start by standing about two to three feet in front of a flat bench with your back to the bench. Reach one foot back so that your toes rest on the bench.
  • Your other foot should be planted in front of you.
  • Keep your head up, back straight and chest out while performing this exercise.
  • As you inhale, slowly lower your back knee until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. At this point, your knee should be directly over your toes.
  • Lift your knee back to the starting position as you exhale.
  • Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions. Switch legs and repeat the movement.

3. Single-Leg Glute Bridge

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This exercise may be done either with your feet flat on the floor or up on a bench. It primarily works the glutes and hamstrings.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Lie on the floor with your feet flat and knees bent. R
  • aise one leg off the ground, pulling your knee to your chest.
  • Push through your heel, raising your hips off the ground and extending them upward.
  • Extend as far as possible and pause at the top, then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions. Switch legs and repeat the movement.

4. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
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A unilateral version of a traditional stiff-legged deadlift, this move requires balance and core stability and works the glutes, hamstrings and spinal erectors (muscles that support and stabilize the spine).

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Stand on your right leg while holding a dumbbell at your side in your right hand.
  • Keeping the right knee slightly bent, perform a stiff-legged deadlift by bending at the hip, extending your free leg behind you for balance or resting the top of your foot on a bench.
  • Continue lowering the dumbbell until your upper body is parallel to the ground, and then return to the upright position.
  • Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions. Switch legs and hands and repeat the movement.

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5. Single-Leg Hip Pops
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This challenging exercise primarily targets the hamstrings of the supporting leg. It is a great hamstring exercise both bilaterally and unilaterally, with the additional benefit in the single-legged movement of hip rotators and stabilizers.

HOW TO DO THEM:

  • Start seated on the ground with your legs extended in front of you and your feet flexed.
  • Place your hands on the ground next to your hips with your fingers pointed toward your feet. Raise and hold your left leg just a few inches off the ground.
  • Then push your right heel into the ground, and with the arms extended and supporting your weight on your hands, lift your hips as high as possible in a straight-body position (ankle to knee to hip to shoulder).
  • Lower your hips back to the starting seated position, then quickly and explosively pop them back up.
  • Strive for 10 to 12 reps each side.

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6. One-Armed Lateral Raise
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The lateral raise works the deltoid (shoulders) and trapezius (upper-back) muscles. The single-arm version also requires core stability for balance. Be sure the naturally weaker side does all the work on its own. Over time, you’ll soon see and feel a better strength balance between the two sides of your body.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell with a neutral grip (palm facing toward the body).
  • Move the dumbbell to the front of your thigh, keeping your elbow slightly bent, a position you want to hold throughout the exercise.
  • Raise the dumbbell up and out to the side, elbow and upper arms rising together ahead of the forearm, hand and dumbbell. Do not jerk or swing the dumbbell upward. Bring the dumbbell up so that it’s nearly level with shoulders.
  • Return slowly to the starting position and repeat for 10 to 15 reps before switching sides.

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7. Overhead Unilateral Press
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This shoulder move mainly recruits the deltoids and trapezius as well as some triceps. As with any single-arm movement, it requires more core stability than the two-armed version to hold yourself upright.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Sit on a bench or stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight.
  • Hold a dumbbell at shoulder level with your arm at a right angle, palm facing forward, thumb pointing toward your ear.
  • Bring the dumbbell up over your head by extending your elbow and straightening your arm.
  • Slowly return to the starting position and repeat 10 to 15 times.
  • Switch arms and repeat.

8. One-Armed Dumbbell Row
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This one-sided back exercise targets the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids and forearm flexors, including the biceps muscles. Keep your core engaged throughout the movement to stabilize and support your back.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • Grab a dumbbell with your palm facing the side of your body. Place the other hand and knee on a bench; keep your back flat throughout the move.
  • Start the movement by lifting the elbow as high as possible next to the body with the elbow bent.
  • Maximize contraction by rotating your torso slightly at the end of the row.
  • Perform 10 to 15 rows, then switch arms.

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7 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Workout

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I was recently watching a TED talk given by Dan Gilbert called “The Surprising Science of Happiness,” where Mr. Gilbert points out that too many options actually lower our level of contentment about any given thing. One of the greatest kettlebell trainers of our time, Pavel Tsatsouline, mentioned how in Russia, there are two choices for coffee, with or without milk. When a Russian then enters a Starbucks with a full menu of coffee derived beverages, overwhelmed, he leaves with nothing.

Exercise is the same way for many people: spoiled for choice with no real direction, they often choose to do nothing.

If you’d like to see your body function like it used to or prevent it from losing ability to perform activities you enjoy, you’ll need to develop a good physical practice. Many training modalities pushed by professionals and machine-based exercises at the gym may actually make your body feel worse than before you started.

This can be for a variety of reasons, but is often a result of a cookie cutter approach to what should be a highly personalized practice. You may have goals that differ from another person, and you certainly have a different starting point. This means you’ll have to learn to listen to your body in a whole new way in order to see real, lasting change.

These are a few general concepts to help you know the exercises that’ll give you the most benefit with the least amount of risk and time. Use this guide to help you separate the good from the bad when it comes to gym equipment and exercise advice.

1. Learn some basic yoga.
Some people love yoga, but for others it just isn’t their thing. Regardless of where you find yourself on this scale, it’s highly beneficial to develop and maintain an ability for some of the basics. Contracting your own muscles to lengthen others is an ancient technique, and is about as pure and natural as any form of exercise.

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2. Lift with your legs.
The deadlift is the most important human movement for lifting anything off the ground. Learn to do it properly and practice weekly. It really doesn’t matter how much weight you use — especially at first. Just make sure you get the technique exact. You can advance to heavier weights when your body tells you it’s time.

Another way to lift with your legs is the squat, an excellent move overall flexibility and teaching you to keep anything held at the shoulder feeling as light as possible. Lunges are also a way to use your legs and are great for your hips, create good range of motion and work balance, coordination and core strength.

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3. Push and pull.
Use your upper body muscles to push and pull weights, or your own bodyweight (a push up or pull up, for example). Learn to pull and push in many directions, and how to engage your shoulders and move safely and most effectively. There are many ways to make body weighted exercises easier.

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4. Think of every rep an opportunity.
Bad technique is pointless. Remember that if you aren’t improving your body, you’re probably hurting it. Pay attention to your feet: keep them flat on the ground, toes pointing forward. Align your kinetic chain from the bottom up through your knees, hips shoulders and head.

5. Keep off the machines.
Most machinery provides limited results and isn’t what’s in sync with human movement. Try not to sit or lie down when you weight train — doing so eliminates the engagement of your pelvic floor (you’ll need that strength if you ever use those muscles in the real world). The same goes for cardio and weight training machines, too. Free weights and bodyweight exercises are all you need for functionality.

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6. Combine cardio and strength.
Not only is interval training proven to give you better results, it’s also safer than endurance training. Using power phase weight training (such as the kettlebell swing) and plyometrics will ensure you get the cardiovascular benefits you need from your physical practice. Use circuits to your advantage or use the tabata protocol for ways to change things up.

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7. Invest in some basics.
You can use kettlebells, dumbells, swiss balls and resistance bands in small places. They don’t take much space to store, but they will give you a bang for your buck.

With all this in mind, remember that flexibility is the key to strength and injury prevention. Always be extremely mindful and develop flexibility through your strength training by using excellent technique. I also encourage you to practice what you enjoy: your physical practice should be enjoyable and something you look forward to.

 

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7 Signs You’re Working Out Too Much

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When it comes to healthy habits, you can have too much of a good thing. Fiber is good for you, but too much fiber is a major diet no-no (if you’ve done it, you know what I’m talking about). Even too much sleep can backfire and hurt your health. And exercise is no exception.

In fact, trading evenings on the couch for marathon calorie-burning or muscle-pumping workouts day after day–without adequate rest–is a surefire way to burn out, hurt your performance and even get yourself injured. While everyone is different and no certain amount of exercise is automatically ”too much,” it’s recommended that you take one to two rest days a week, especially if you’re working out at a really high intensity or with heavy weights. In general, exercising for up to 90 minutes (at a moderate intensity), most days of the week is reasonable and healthy, but you should take into account your fitness level, health status and how your body responds.

You might already be aware of some of the common signs of overtraining, but sometimes the body sends more subtle signs that you’re working out too much. These signs can sometimes be so sneaky that you may not realize your workouts are causing them.

We’ve gathered seven of the unique and misdiagnosed symptoms of overtraining. While none of these is guaranteed to be caused by overtraining (always talk to your doctor), it’s possible that if you’ve been putting in lots of hours at the gym lately, your heavier workouts could be causing these less-than-healthy results.

1. Exercise leaves you exhausted instead of energized.

Exercise should make you feel good and give you an energy boost. Yes, you might feel tired or fatigued right after a tough workout, but if you leave the gym exhausted, tired or generally feeling like you could go home and take a nap, it might be a sign that you’re overdoing it. If you’re not getting that feel-good endorphin rush that’s one of the awesome by-products of being active, it’s time to take a look at your training and see what your body may be telling you!

2. You get sick easily (or it takes forever to get over a cold).

When you exercise regularly, your body is constantly spending energy and working to repair those muscles. This means that when you come in contact with a bacteria or a virus, your immune system isn’t able to give 100 percent to fighting off that cold or flu. So you get sick and can stay sick longer if you don’t give your body the time off it needs to take care of itself. Remember, your body is an amazing machine that does much more than just power your workouts!

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3. You have the blues.

Do the workouts you used to love feel more like a chore than anything else? Or do you generally feel down and unmotivated? It may seem counterintuitive since exercise has been shown to boost feel-good endorphins, but overtraining has been linked to a decrease in energy and mood. So if you have the blues, letting your muscles recover for a few days and getting really good sleep might be just what your body really needs. Of course, if you are severely depressed, see your doctor.

4. You’re unable to sleep or you can’t seem to get enough sleep.

How are you sleeping lately? Is your mind racing when your head hits the pillow? Are you unable to fall asleep no matter how many sheep you count or how tired you feel? Are you on the other end of spectrum where no matter how many hours of sleep you clock, you still feel tired? Both of these can be caused by overtraining. When you exercise too much, your body can interpret it as a stressor, sending out stress hormones like cortisol that can make going to sleep difficult. On the flip side, overtraining can actually make some people more tired than normal. Sleep is a time when the body and brain recovers, and if you’re pushing it too hard, your body might be telling you that it needs more rest that you’re giving it.

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5. You have ”heavy” legs.

You used to go out for a walk or a jog with a spring in your step! But these days? It seems as if your legs have been traded out for heavy lead; it takes a lot more effort to get going and stay going. Sound familiar? If so, overtraining may be wreaking havoc on your body. Heavy, tired and overly fatigued legs (or arms) can be caused by muscles that just haven’t had enough time to fully recharge and repair.

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6. You have a short fuse.

If the smallest things set you off or if you’re feeling more irritable than normal, it could be due to over-exercising. When we’re tired and worn down, it’s far easier to let the little stuff get to us than it would if we were well rested. Think of exercise like spending too many hours at work on a big project for weeks at a time. Sometimes you just need a vacation and a break for some rest and relaxation!

7. You’re regularly sore for days at a time.

If you have any of these signs, it’s probably worth cutting back on the intensity, frequency and/or duration of your workouts. Swap an hour run for 30 minutes of easy yoga or trade that high-intensity boot camp for a long walk with your dog. While it might seem like you’re taking time off from your fitness and weight-loss goals, you’re actually doing the opposite: You’re making yourself stronger by giving your body the rest that it’s (subtly) asking for.

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7 Moves To A Terrifically Toned Back

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A strong and toned back isn’t just a must-have accessory when you’re rocking a backless dress—it can be one of your body’s most valuable assets.

Your back is involved in everything you do, from running to lugging groceries to picking up your baby, so strengthening it is crucial to improving fitness and preventing injury.

It’s also the key to better posture, which gives you a confident look no matter what you’re wearing or what you’re doing. What’s more, working the muscles from your shoulders to hips can help ease (or stave off) back pain – A study found that adults with chronic backaches felt significantly less pain after a 16-week strength-training program.

The following workout targets your entire upper and lower back, core, hips, and glutes. Do it two or three times a week, on non-consecutive days (three sets of each exercise, working up to 12 reps per set) to improve your posture, prevent aches and pains, and achieve a strong, defined rear view. Get Going. Good Luck.

1. Pull-up

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Find a pull-up bar and assume an overhand shoulder width grip. Bracing through your core, lift yourself up until your chin is over the bar, trying to get as high as possible. Cue yourself to pull your chest to the bar to ensure full height. Descend all the way to full extension as this will engage more of the shoulder stabilizers and muscle mass of the back – this will help in maintaining health in the shoulder girdle.

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Note: Do not swing your body up to the bar. It will change the movement pattern and should functionally be considered a different exercise. While useful in other contexts – swing and momentum are inappropriate here.

2. Dumbbell Pushup Row

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Grab a pair of weights and get in push-up plank position with your hands grasping the handles of the weights. Lower your body to the floor, pause, then push yourself back up. Once you’re back in the starting plank position, pull the weight in your right hand upward, bending at the elbow. Try to graze your right side when you “row” the dumbbell up, keeping your elbow straight. Pause, then lower the dumbbell back down, and repeat the same movement with your left arm. That’s one repetition. Repeat as many times as possible for 60 seconds.

3. Superman

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Start by lying face down and extending your arms out in front of you. Press your shoulder blades together and lift your arms, chest, and legs off the floor. Hold position for 60 seconds, keeping your head up and your arms extended out in front of you.

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4. Reverse Fly

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Bend your knees and waist again, then spread those wings, extending your arms and squeezing your shoulder blades together. This move is great for your posture as well as your arms, so always make sure your back stays straight.

5. Basic Forearm Plank

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Lie face down on floor resting on your forearms. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows. Keep your back flat, contracting your abdominal muscles while you hold your body in a straight line from head to toe. Don’t let your butt sag or stick up in the air. Hold in this position for 60 seconds.

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6. Single Leg Deadlift

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Stand on your right leg with your back straight, chest up and hand against your sides. Place your left foot back so you are balancing on the ball of your foot. Slightly bend your right leg, lifting your left leg straight and your right arm reaching to the ground. Hold, return to the starting position and repeat.

7. Swimmers

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Lie on your stomach with the legs and arms extended. Engage your abdominals so you feel your transverse abdominis contract. Lift your arms and legs off the floor and keep your nose in a hover above the mat. Flutter your arms and legs, moving from the hips and shoulders (not the knees and elbows). Like your swimming. Move in opposite arm/leg pattern. Breath in a pattern as such: inhale-2-3-4, exhale-2-3-4.

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6 Simple Ways To Get Addicted To Exercise

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You’re glued to the TV, can’t be separated from your smartphone and constantly checking social media. But what about being addicted to exercise?

You’ll be surprised what a few lifestyle tweaks and a little motivation can do to transform your fitness habits. Here’s how to get addicted to exercise.

1. Pay For A Gym Membership
Signing up to a long-term contract and committing to a membership is a risky business, especially if you’re forking out hundreds to join. However, knowing that a chunk of your pay packet is going to those smiling faces at the gym is a huge incentive to get down there and make the most of your membership.

Once you’ve signed the dotted line, frame it. Seeing your goals in writing can be hugely motivating – a little reminder of what you want to achieve. Dr. Gail Matthews of the Dominican University in California conducted a ‘goal-setting’ study of 267 participants in which she discovered that you are ‘42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.’ It creates purpose and direction – no more excuses!

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2. Give It 56 Days
56 days seems like a long time, but it’s realistic. Many have spurts of fitness motivation, which is soon quashed when they don’t see the results they hoped for. This is because a) it’s too short a time to witness progress b) they aren’t in the habit of exercising regularly yet.

Dispel the myth that it takes 21 days to form a new habit – it doesn’t. The University College Londonlooked into the phenomenon of habit building with the help of 96 participants who were asked to choose an ‘everyday habit’ that they’d like to establish, and record their progress over the course of 84 days; including their success in completing the task and feelings towards it.

From the study, researchers found considerable variation according to what habit the person was practising, their health and willpower. But on average, the results suggested that it takes 56 days to form a habit, with exercise proving the most difficult to get into.

The key here is not to get disheartened; persist even when you’re not in the mood. It’s the repetitive nature of the habit that you need to master. Soon enough you’ll hate missing gym sessions and will do anything you can to catch up.

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3. Take Small Steps
Throwing yourself in at the deep end won’t work. Not only will it leave you disheartened, but it also makes you more prone to injury. If you’re a complete beginner, take small steps, focusing on the key areas you want to work on. Once you start to get frustrated by how easy your initial training is, you’ll naturally want to challenge and push yourself; but again, don’t overdo it.

To begin with, avoid high impact workouts that put excessive strain on the joints, such as running – there’s no such thing as ‘no pain, no gain.’ Instead, concentrate on exercises that are less intense, like swimming or yoga to improve flexibility.

There are thousands of training plans and guides available on the web, designed to help fitness-newbies get off on the right foot.

Turn Your Body Into A Fat Burning Machine

4. Exercise First Thing In The Morning
Many argue that they haven’t got the time to exercise, and a way to overcome this obstacle is by embracing morning workouts. Set an earlier alarm and don’t hit snooze; in fact, don’t think at all. Just jump out of bed, don your gym gear and get moving.

Early morning workouts come with a plenitude of benefits. Not only does setting your alarm an hour earlier free up the rest of your day; it sharpens your focus, boosts your metabolic rate and improves your mood.

And to top it off, research made by the University of New South Wales also found that early exercisers are also ‘more likely to stick with a fitness regime than those who leave it until later in the day.’ If you want your fitness habit to stick, be an early bird.

Drop up to 20 lbs off your belly in only 3 weeks using this weird trick.

5. Go Digital and Social
Turn your social media addiction into a love for exercise. If you’re constantly posting, tweeting or checking-in, use it to your advantage by keeping friends and followers updated with your fitness progress. For some, knowing that all eyes are on them is the perfect incentive to get off the couch and on the treadmill.

If social networking isn’t your thing and you hate the thought of sharing before and after pics, make fitness apps your new gym buddy. Nike Training Club and the like are a great source of new workouts and motivation, not to mention a useful way to track your progress.

Lose 20 pounds in 3 weeks? Is it really possible?

6. Do It For Charity
If you’re stuck for a reason to drag yourself out of bed and lace up your running shoes, give purpose to your workouts by doing it for charity. Set sky-high goals and achieve the impossible, whilst raising hundreds of pounds for a cause that’s close to your heart.

There’s one danger of getting addicted to exercise, and that’s doing it for the wrong reasons. Sure you’ll look amazing, but don’t let the physical benefits drive you to workout more and more. Exercising for a charity makes it not about personal gain, but the greater good – a really empowering and fulfilling way to gain perspective and get fit in one.

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5 Reasons To Intensify Your Workout

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A regular workout routine is important for your body—but not if it’s keeping you from seeing results.

“Your body eventually adapts to the training requirements and demands placed on it,” says John Locke, owner of Fast and Fitness training facility in New York City.

Wondering if you’re suffering from workout fatigue? Locke shares some signs that it’s time to start mixing things up—starting right now.

1. You’re breezing through reps without putting in much effort.
“If a client is continuously training at the same level, your brain already prepares the body for that load,” says Locke. Therefore, your muscles won’t be as stressed, and you’ll hit a veritable plateau when it comes to improvement.

By changing things up (grabbing heavier weights, playing with tempo, doing a more challenging variation of a move), you’ll keep that stress load constant and will continue to see changes.

3 Ways To Eliminate Stubborn Female Body Fat

2. You’re still running 3 miles in 30 minutes (or whatever your pace may be).
Are you generally running at a consistent intensity, distance or frequency without increasing or changing one of those variables? It’s time to kick things into high gear, says Locke. That could mean it’s time to start adding in speed drills or just ramping up your mileage a few days a week.

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3. Your legs feel strong—but your arms feel weak
That 7 a.m. Spin class is doing wonders for your butt and legs, but you’re still struggling to do a regular push-up. If that sounds like you, you need to add more variety and cross-training sessions to your workout regime.

Look at a week’s worth of your workouts and ask yourself: are you hitting every muscle group and are you logging cardiovascular, strength, agility and flexibility sessions? If you are that Spin junkie, think about trying a yoga or CrossFit class once a week to target your arms, chest and shoulders, too.

Lose 20 pounds in 3 weeks? Is it really possible?

4. You no longer feel breathless during your usual high-intensity interval training workout.
Once your body is used to the same routine, “it doesn’t need to expend as much energy anymore, so it conserves energy,” making you less tired, says Locke.

You’ll notice less post-workout fatigue or soreness, too, which means you’re not gonna see change. And you won’t burn as many calories—part of why you’re doing a high-intensity workout in the first place, right?

3 Ways To Eliminate Stubborn Female Body Fat

5. You can sing along to all the words of your favorite song while working out.
No, we’re not talking about belting out some Taylor Swift in your head.

“If you can sing out loud while exercising, you’re only working out at a moderate-intensity level, max,” explains Locke. So push yourself and pick up the pace or cut the length of your recovery intervals during your next sweat session. You’ll be feeling the burn again soon.

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5 Moves That Work Your Abs Hard

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You don’t need crunches to get solid abs. Here are some simple unconventional ways to achieve strong functional abs without having to spend hours at the gym. They can be done after your regular gym session or integrated with you workout. The great thing about these training methods is that they will get you results and they can all be done easily with minimal equipment. Doing a 5 minute circuit of all the exercises after finishing a workout in the gym is ideal. Start feeling the burn.

1. Negative Chinups
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These are definitely a favorite ab exercise for many women. They are done simply by:

  • Jumping up the the chin-up position on a bar
  • Lowering yourself slowly (10 seconds)
  • Repeat for 8-12 reps

As you get stronger with these start hanging weight but do not sacrifice your form or how slow you lower yourself. I guarantee you a set or two of these will get your abs burning, as well as your back and biceps.

3 Ways To Eliminate Stubborn Female Body Fat

2. Stomach Vacuum
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Your Abs and lower back are made to stabilize your body, not much else. So when you suck in your stomach like I did as a kid on the beach your whole midsection starts to activate its stabilization instincts. Vacuums are especially important if you suffer from lower back pain as it activates the transversus abdominis which is the deepest of your abdominal muscles.

Here’s how to do it:

  • “Lying on the floor, exhale completely, forcing all the air out of the lungs/ diaphragm with your abdominal muscles. Next, instead of inhaling, suck in your gut, pulling it in so far that you can imagine your abs actually touching your spine. Since there’s no air in your lungs, you should be able to suck your stomach way in, which will contract your transversus abdominis.
  • Practice holding this vacuum for longer and longer periods of time. Eventually, your waist will get smaller, providing you don’t stuff yourself at meals and bloat with massive amounts of liquids between meals.
  • After you have achieved a sense of control in the lying position, next practice the standing position. Initially, it will be easier to achieve the vacuum if you press your palms against your upper thighs after exhaling and sucking in your gut.
  • The final step in doing the ultimate vacuum is to start practicing with your hands behind your neck.This particular vacuum is not easy, but keep at it.
  • I like to do this after workouts when my abs are already weak, usually holding the vacuum for around 20 seconds and then taking a break before repeating.

Turn Your Body Into A Fat Burning Machine

3. Hold something heavy over your head
2013 Open workout descriptions with Julie Foucher

This is one of my favorite’s but it requires a gym or a heavy barbell.

  • Push Press a heavy weight over your head (not too heavy, be sensible)
  • Hyper extend your arms and contract your midsection and stand
  • After about 10 seconds you should start to feel your midsection weaken and shake, this means your abs are working full-out to stabilize your body
  • Repeat for 2-3 sets of 20 seconds

Drop up to 20 lbs off your belly in only 3 weeks using this weird trick.

4. Throw something heavy
2013 Open workout descriptions with Julie Foucher

This is another great one but requires a heavy medicine ball but a big rock will do if you want to go primal.

  • Head out to a park or playing field with a medicine ball
  • Throw the thing as far as you can
  • Run towards it and repeat
  • When you feel your abs weaken, your work is done

5 Veggies That KILL Stomach Fat?

5. Dumbell Pullovers
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This actually makes your abs sore, and it’s not just for your lats. A favorite of many women bodybuilders. This is a great exercise and should be part of everyone’s full body training regime, its old school but it works!

You Want Streamline Functional Abs
Remember, function is what we should ultimately strive for. Forget the crunches and conventional abdominal training, the only way to build abs for real is to do real exercises that will benefit your bodies functionality in the real world. I guarantee you a combination of these technique’s will get your mid-section sore and feeling deeply worked out.

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5 Best Moves To A Flat Belly

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If you’re overweight and looking to get flat abs, it’s going to be a must that you’re paying attention to the exercises that you’re including in your workout program. However, exercise selection alone is not enough.

The biggest must-do if you want to achieve flat abs is to focus on cardiovascular exercise and eating a calorie reduced diet. If you aren’t eating a lower calorie diet, fat loss will be virtually impossible and this will mean your abdominal appearance will stay as-is even if you perform abdominal exercises daily. In combination with diet, cardio is also a necessity if you’re trying to burn fat from your waist.

Once you’ve got your diet in order, here are five great abdominal exercises that you should consider including in your workout routine. These are what I consider to be five of the most effective abdominal exercises for women. Not an end all list, but a great place to start.

1. Lying Leg Raises
leg-raises-1Lying leg raises are the first exercise to be performing. This exercise is perfect for working the lower abdominal muscles and for firming the tummy quickly. When doing lying leg raises, you’ll want to ensure that you keep the back pressed flat into the floor at all times, never letting it lift upwards as your legs rise up to the 90 degree point.

Also be sure that your legs never drop down to the ground either, as that’ll take all the stress off the lower ab muscles altogether.

3 Ways To Eliminate Stubborn Female Body Fat

2. The Bicycle
bicycle_crunch-2The bicycle is the next exercise to add to firm the abs. This one is great for strengthening the oblique muscles, so will help you reduce the appearance of love handles that so many people despise so much.

The bicycle is also good for strengthening the entire abdominal section as the legs will stay elevated off the floor the entire time.

Perform it in a slow and controlled manner for best results.

Science PROVES it is possible to get skinny in JUST 6 Minutes a day

3. Decline Sit-Ups
decline-situp-b-female-3Decline sit-ups are the next exercise that you should be doing in your workout program. These are great because they’re going to place far more strain on the abdominal muscles as you move along the decline and against additional resistance.

If you want to intensify this exercise, add a twist to the movement so that you call the obliques into play as well. This movement can cause the hip flexors to tense up, so just make sure that you do perform some stretching exercises after it’s completed.

Turn Your Body Into A Fat Burning Machine

4. The Plank
bootcamp-plank-4The fourth exercise that’s a must to firm up your core is the plank exercise. The plank is going to help build muscular endurance very well and is an isometric movement, unlike all the rest.

This exercise can be done incorporating a leg raise into the picture or done with the hands or feet up on an exercise ball as well.

Make sure that at no point do you allow the hips to rise up or fall back down as you perform it as this would instantly take the stress off the core muscles and put you at risk for additional pain.

Lose 20 pounds in 3 weeks? Is it really possible?

5. Prone Ball Roll Ins
jackknife-5Finally, the last exercise that you should be performing in your workout program is the prone ball roll-in. Prone ball roll-ins are going to be great for firming up not only the core, but the shoulders as well.

As you do this exercise, make sure that you focus on tensing up the abdominal muscles to bring the ball into your core rather than performing it with the hip flexor muscles instead.

The Bottom Line
So there you have it, five great core/abdominal exercises that are must-haves in your workout routine. Choose two or three of these to perform each workout and you’ll be happy with the results. Just remember though, these exercises alone are not enough to get a defined six pack. Don’t forget that these exercises will need to be utilized in conjunction with a balanced healthy diet. You’ll also want to make sure you mix in cardiovascular exercise if you’re looking to achieve optimal results, especially if you currently have a high body fat percentage. These 3 (weight training, cardiovascular exercise, and nutrition) components coupled together will have you seeing results in no time.

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