November 8, 2013 at 10:54 am , by Maggie Niemiec
Need some motivation to get to the gym? Look no further than these fashionable fitness clothes! Click through for our fave workout tops and bottoms in every price range.
Cory Vines Essential Long Sleeve
January 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm , by Amelia Harnish
It’s not yet the end of January, which means you’re probably still on track for reaching your healthy resolutions. But maybe you’re starting to get really, really bored with the elliptical? We normally eschew trendy exercise routines, but trying something new (and maybe a little outside your comfort zone) every once in a while is a great way to keep things interesting. Here are a few fun fitness trends you might want to check out.
1. Spin for the Soul
Spinning classes have always been popular at gyms, but cycling seems to be taking over. You may have heard about the almost cult-like classes at SoulCycle, described recently as “part dance party, part therapy, part communal high,” or the rival Flywheel Sports, which bills classes as an “amazing escape.” If you need a new obsession, you might start there. Or you could try spinning for good at Cycle for Survival, a series of fundraising events at Equinox Fitness Clubs across the country. Participants spend the day cycling to raise money for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s rare cancer research, a sadly underfunded cause. Anyone can sign up! Learn more here.
2. Unwind with Self-Massage
The MELT method is a series of gentle exercises and self-massage techniques using balls and foam rollers. Sue Hitzmann, a manual therapist and exercise instructor who developed the technique, opens her new book by explaining how she learned to manipulate natural “vibrations” to “restore balance in the body.” Sounds wacky, I know. But I decided to try one of her classes here in New York City recently because I’ve heard foam rollers can work wonders on achy muscles, and I wanted to learn more. Hitzmann showed us simple exercises for massaging our feet and hands using rubber balls, along with some breathing techniques. It felt pretty good, but it wasn’t until we moved on to massaging our spines using a soft foam roller that I converted. I sit at my computer constantly, which is murder for the neck and shoulders. I’ve tried everything from yoga to chair massages, but nothing has released the tension in my upper back as quickly as Hitzmann’s techniques. You can buy supplies and how-to DVDs at Hitzmann’s web site or look up a MELT class near you.
3. Play Like A Kid
Gyms can be expensive or intimidating, which is why we love the idea of “natural movement” fitness. If harsh lighting and communal locker rooms just don’t sound appealing, something like MovNat might be right for you. Instead of training by lifting weights or running on a treadmill, natural movement systems like MovNat focus on the ways you played as a kid: running, jumping, climbing and so on. Erwan Le Corre, who created MovNat in 2008, recently described it this way to Time HealthLand: “This isn’t about the elite fitness of winning gold medals. It is about doing the movements that make us humans, and acquiring a physical competence that we can maintain for a lifetime.”
January 9, 2013 at 11:38 am , by Amelia Harnish
‘Tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions, which means all over the country people are renewing their vows to get fit and lose that weight. Are you working on your own health goal? We figured you might be.
It’s a sad truth that most women who resolve to get their butts in gear in January are back to their old habits by springtime. That’s why we asked Carla Birnberg, the personal trainer behind MizFitOnline.com and a member of our brand new blogger network, to give us some novel tips for sticking with it.
Do less than you think you can do.
Yes, you read that right. Do less. It’s not helpful to push yourself as hard as you can when you’re first getting started, Birnberg says. That’s just going to lead to burnout. Instead, jog fewer miles at a slower pace than you think you can do, or better yet, start by simply going for an evening walk and build from there.
Play instead of work.
Instead of thinking about exercise as another chore, turn your workouts into a game. One of Birnberg’s favorite things is playing hopscotch with her daughter. The hopping around works your balance, core strength and it gets your heart pumping. It’s fun, calorie-torching perfection, she says. (That’s Birnberg above during one of her recent “playouts” with her daughter.)
Break your big goal into smaller goals.
So you want to lose 20 pounds? That takes a long-term commitment, which can easily wane when you don’t see any payoff right away. Instead, try breaking it down into a bunch of smaller goals. For example: “This week I’ll go for a jog three times,” or even, “Today, I will eat five servings of vegetables.” Not only does this way give you more chances to succeed and gain confidence, it also forces you to recommit to your big goal every day.
November 28, 2012 at 9:54 am , by jbrown
‘Tis the season when your “I’m too busy to exercise” excuse seems 110% legit. You’ve added parties, Christmas shopping, travel planning, holiday card-addressing and about 50 other things to your already packed schedule, so how are you supposed to find time to work out too? Don’t sweat it! We found plenty of quickie at-home workouts you can easily sneak into your day.
* Got 5 minutes?
No matter what your fitness level, Jim Parker of Muffins to Marathons (how great is that name?) has a cardio blast that’s perfect for you. The beginner, intermediate and advanced versions are all on YouTube.
* Got 7 minutes?
That’s just enough time to target every muscle in your butt. Bonus: The moves are pretty TV-friendly so you don’t even have to tear yourself away from Elf to work on your rear view.
* Got 8 minutes?
A fast core workout that doesn’t involve crunches? It’s a Christmas miracle! All you need is a towel and a mat and you’re good to go.
* Got 10 minutes?
The best things about trainer Andrea Orbeck’s full-body circuit workout: 1) It doesn’t require equipment, and 2) There’s no complicated footwork, so even hopelessly uncoordinated people like me won’t get lost.
* Got 12 minutes?
* Got 15 minutes?
Image via Shutterstock.
September 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm , by jbrown
This week is heaven for TV lovers. Several new shows debut (Animal Practice, The Neighbors, Elementary, etc.) and a slew of favorites return (Modern Family, CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, and so on…you can see the full schedule here.) What’s not so heavenly is how much time you’ll spend on your butt watching all this entertainment goodness. Studies show that the more hours you log in front of the tube, the more likely you are to develop serious health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
So what’s a health-conscious TV fan to do, other than be very picky about what you watch? Make your tube time less sedentary. It’s a great opportunity to fit in strength training—something most women skip. These six exercises allow you to keep your eyes on the screen while you tone your trouble spots.
Couch push-ups If doing push-ups on your knees feels too easy but you’re not quite ready to do them on your toes, incline push-ups like this one are the perfect happy medium.
Side plank This targets your obliques, aka the muscles under the love handles. (I hate using “love handles” but it’s slightly less loathsome than “muffin top.”)
Wide-leg wall sit with calf raises Proof that sitting isn’t always bad for you! This variation on the classic wall sit works your butt, thighs and calves.
Flamingo dip Think you’ve mastered triceps dips? Give this one-legged version a try—it tightens your triceps and your thighs.
Bridge kick You don’t even have to get off the couch to do this butt- and thigh-toner. Seriously. (See images 3 and 4.)
Hammer curl shoulder press Firm your biceps and shoulders while you ogle McDreamy. How’s that for a multitasking move?
August 1, 2012 at 9:06 am , by jbrown
Let’s take a quick break from the sitting-will-kill-us-all stories* and deal with the fact that spending most of the day on your butt is just plain uncomfortable. It’s brutal on your lower back, which you’ve probably already learned the hard way. But that’s not the only body part that suffers when you’re sedentary. Here’s how to soothe some of the achiest areas.
Sore spot #1: Your hip flexors and hamstrings
Sitting creates tension in your hips and the back of your thighs (ouch), which can pull your back out of alignment (mega-ouch.)
Sore Spot #2: Your (entire) back
Unless you’re one of the rare people with flawless posture, you probably hunch over your desk while you work. The result: a weak, overstretched back that’s practically begging for an injury. To protect yourself, focus on strengthening your upper and lower back.
Sore spot #3: Your chest
The other consequence of serial slouching? Tight pecs and rounded shoulders, which give you that not at all coveted “hunchback” look (technical term: kyphosis.)
* Why is too much sitting dangerous to your health? This piece sums it up.
May 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm , by jbrown
“What’s the secret to great abs?” When people find out I’m a personal trainer, this is always the first question they ask me. My answer? Variety. It’s not really a secret, and it’s definitely not the lone fix for a flabby midsection; obviously you need to do cardio and eat healthfully too. But when it comes to ab workouts, variety is often what’s missing. If you always do the same moves, your muscles get just as bored as you will—and you’ll stop seeing improvement.
To make it as easy as humanly possible for you to get out of your rut, I’ve rounded up 15 of my favorite ab exercises you can do anywhere—no gym or fancy equipment required. And these moves don’t just target the typically overtrained rectus abdominus (the most superficial of the ab muscles.) By working your core from all angles, you’ll get firm, flat and strong abs you’ve always wanted.
1. Side plank with bent knees
This move works your internal and external obliques, which run along the sides of your midsection. It also targets the often-neglected transverse abdominus (TVA), a deep layer of muscle that wraps around your torso like a corset. A strong TVA makes your abs look flatter, improves your posture and prevents lower back pain. If this move feels too easy, make it tougher by extending your knees straight and stacking one foot on top of the other.
2. Side plank with rotation
If you’re already a master of the side plank, add a twist.
3. Leg lift and lower
Another great exercise for your transverse abdominus. Don’t be fooled by how simple it looks!
5. Cheek to cheek
Target your obliques by adding hip dips to your plank.