Fitness Tips

I am a HUGE fan of Special K, especially the original. I found these great Fitness Tips on their site, and thought you might find them interesting.

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  1. Mix it up. Every little bit counts! Missed your daily workout? Don’t worry, you can still fit something in. Watch one of your favorite TV shows and do strength training moves during the commercial breaks: lunges, squats, crunches—mix it up. Giving yourself mini, achievable health goals can go a loooong way.
  2. Lift weights & your spirits. Studies show that even a little bit of exercise can affect the mood-controlling parts of your brain. Try a bicep curl by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your arms at your side and slowly bend your arm, bringing the weight up toward your face. Do 12 reps each and the next time you have a rough day remember to reach for a dumbbell instead of junk food.
  3. Change your scenery. Workouts getting a little boring? Trade the treadmill for some new terrain and explore a great path in your neighborhood. Tired of running? Go for a long hike or a swim. A new environment can breathe some fresh air into your routine.
  4. Be a team player. Join a recreational team at work or organize a day for you and your friends to play a game of kickball. Don’t worry about not being a great athlete—you burn calories whether you make contact with the ball or not.
  5. Leave the magazine on the coffee table. It might seem like a great way to keep yourself entertained during a workout, but if you can read captions in a gossip magazine, chances are you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. If you’re really into reading material, try downloading a podcast or listening to an audio book.
  6. Check your bags. Not your goals. Traveling these days will definitely get your heart rate up, but not in a good way. Take your gym clothes on your next trip and take advantage of hotel gyms and swimming pools. The equipment might not be state of the art, but there’s never a shortage of towels. Hotel with no gym? Try push-ups and lunges in your room.
  7. Make prime time your prime time. Instead of taking a seat on the sofa, find a spot on the floor and concentrate on strength training during the half-hour episode. Side crunches and leg lifts will help tone your core without blocking your view of the tube. At a commercial, take your heart rate up a notch with sets of jumping jacks, lunges and push-ups. You’ll stay caught up on your favorite shows and your fitness routine.
  8. Defy your desk job. More and more occupations require workers to sit in front of a computer for 6 or more hours. And that lack of movement can take a toll on your body. Make a point to move every hour, whether it’s to physically deliver a message or just to circle the office. It will break up the monotony of your workday, help you get to know your coworkers and restore some fitness to your 9-to-5.
  9. Take a class. Signing up for a spin or aerobics class at your local gym is obviously a great way to get into shape. But classes also come with more incentives to work out. The fact that you pay for it will push you to get your money’s worth and the energy from everyone in the room will help improve yours. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the steps at first—think of what a big step you’re making for yourself.
  10. Optimize your playlist. Music has an amazing power to pump us up and get us going. Rather than relying on shuffle to get you through a workout, organize your songs carefully. Put your favorite songs at the beginning, middle and toward the end of the time you’ll be working out to motivate you. Change it up every week by adding new songs or switching Mp3 players with a friend.
  11. Get your glutes in gear. Get on the floor on your hands and knees. Extend one leg and bend it to a 90-degree angle, raising it so that your toe points toward the ceiling. Bring the leg back down and repeat for 12 repetitions, then switch to the other leg. To maximize results, make sure you squeeze your glutes tight as you do it. Keep it up and pretty soon you’ll be working that backside into a smaller pair of jeans.
  12. Buddy up. Working out with a friend is a great way to stick with a fitness routine. Meet each other for a run in the morning or take an aerobics class after work. Just make sure you partner up with a pal you can count on to push you and help you reach your goals.
  13. Dress for success. Before you start any kind of exercise routine make sure that your body is well supported. This means comfortable shoes, a strong sports bra (or two), breathable fabrics, and even a cute little headband. The less you have to fuss with during your workout (i.e. tugging at your shorts, pushing hair out of your eyes) the more you can focus on achieving better results.
  14. Hop to it. Boxers aren’t born lean and mean. It takes dedication and a little help from an 8-foot piece of rope. Jumping rope provides such a great full body workout that an average sized woman (5’4”, 140 lbs.) can burn more than 100 calories in just 10 minutes. So, next time that gym membership starts to pinch your pennies, pick up a rope and start hopping.
  15. Be fear free. One of the main reasons people avoid the gym is they’re afraid of being judged by other people. The truth is, the majority of people at the gym are there to focus on their own bodies, not yours. The sooner you overcome that insecurity the sooner you can focus on your fitness performance.
  16. Every minute counts. Don’t eliminate your exercise for the day just because you have a full schedule. If you’re crunched for time, then crunch your routine. Simply decrease the frequency or duration to accommodate your workout. You’ll feel better knowing you did something rather than nothing.
  17. Feel the burn. As hard as it may be to believe, that achy feeling the day after a workout is actually a great sign. It means that your muscles are activated and responding to your activity. So, don’t mistake a little soreness as a cue to stop. Instead, use it as proof that your body is already changing.
  18. Exercise before you eat. Instead of heading to the kitchen when you get home from work, set aside a half hour to an hour to get your workout in. Not only will it help you let off steam from your job, but you’ll be less likely to overdo it with extra helpings and desserts at dinnertime.
  19. Get a good base. When you’re doing a standing exercise, make sure that your legs are a good width apart. Having a stronger balance will help you perform a move easier and help you get more results.
  20. Burn big calories. Work the big stuff STAT! You burn more calories when you work many large muscle groups simultaneously. The next time you hit the gym, try running, jumping rope, skipping, even jumping jacks!
  21. Use your weight. YOU are all you need! Your own body weight can provide a great workout and build strong, sexy muscles. Try sets of lunges, crunches, squats and push-ups to get yourself going when you can’t make it to the gym.
  22. Move it. Something is ALWAYS better than nothing. Missed your workout? Get in at least 10 minutes. Pop in a DVD and get in a quickie, turn up your favorite tunes and dance around, re-create something from your favorite exercise class, climb the stairs or take a quick trip around the block.
  23. Change it up. Get that metabolism going! Change up your workouts with a little high-intensity strength training. Increase the weight, reps and/or sets you lift (and decrease the amount you rest in between) and you’ll start to see some sculpted, lean muscles (and you’ll keep your metabolism humming post-workout!)
  24. Break it up. Hate doing abs? Break up the monotony by putting a set of abs in between each set of your weight-training routine. Since you never have a chance to sit still and cool off, you’ll keep your heart rate up and burn more calories and body fat. Hooray!
  25. Give me 10. Ten minutes are better than ZERO. Can’t stand the idea of working out? We all have those low energy days. When you’re feeling ho-hum, head to the gym or workout anyway and promise yourself you can quit after 10 minutes.
  26. Go for the burn. Squat your way to a better you! The squat is one of the best lower-body exercises to hit your glutes, hamstrings and quads. Try using a stability ball the next time you’re at the gym for an extra burn. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and put the stability ball between your lower back and the wall. Bend your knees 90 degrees—making sure your knees don’t go past your toes. Put your hands on your hips or hold hand weights if you really want to work.
  27. Use weights. Pick up those weights! Muscle burns fat, so the better your weight training sessions are, the less cardio you’ll actually have to do.
  28. Step it up. Wanna burn about 15 calories a minute? Jump on the stair climber (the machine that looks like an escalator) the next time you’re at the gym. It’ll help you blast the biggest muscles in your body: booty, hips, thighs and calves. Just make sure you stand up straight (no leaning, ladies) and use the handlebars for balance only (NOT to support your body weight).
  29. Skip the gym. Yep, you heard that right. It’s good to give yourself a change of pace…shock those muscles and make the most out of your workouts. Head to a hill with a friend and take turns running up (and down) it—see who’s “king of the hill”. Take a dance class. Play tennis. Play tag. Find a workout that reenergizes you and gets you excited about exercising again.