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Cardio

Music Monday: Nelly’s In-Shape “M.O.”

Written on October 28, 2013 at 10:59 am , by

Nelly’s latest album? Perfect for long runs. (Photo courtesy of Universal Records)

Nelly was one of the first rappers I listened to. Although I consider myself more of a country girl (um, his collab with Florida Georgia Line in this summer’s smash hit “Cruise (Remix)” was the soundtrack to my windows-down car rides…), back in my early teens my friends and I would “Ride Wit” him en route to field hockey games, sporting Band-Aids on our cheeks and all—just like he did. Yes, it was a trend that lasted a few weeks in my preppy shoreline town. Don’t ask.

I’ve followed Nelly’s career ever since, and when his seventh album, M.O., was released last month, I couldn’t pop it into my running playlist fast enough. “There’s a bunch of good workout songs on it,” Nelly told me when we recently chatted. “From top to bottom, I think you’ll find there’s a lot of great music on there to do your thing.” He called me “sweetheart” at the end of our conversation, I might add, but I digress.

Featuring Nicki Minaj, Pharrell, Nelly Fertado, T.I. and others, Nelly’s newest pace-pushing beats are sure to get your rear in gear as you take your runs indoors. And if you’re anything like Nelly, maybe that athlete mentality will translate into your career. “The competitiveness, the will not to quit and basically being in attack mode definitely helped me,” he says, explaining that the new album’s title not only stands for his home state of Missouri, but also “Method of Operation.”

So what is the workaholic’s method of staying in shape? I mean, don’t mess with those biceps! “The majority of the men in my family are super duper skinny, so the hardest part is putting the weight on,” he admits. “If I’m working, I probably get to the gym three times a week. I’m not going as heavy, just trying to maintain.” And when it comes to cardio, you won’t find the singer on the treadmill, but on the court. “I think basketball is the best cardio in the world, especially with all of the movements—the stops, jumps, the agility part of it and just the constant running.”

When I asked the former vegetarian about his diet, Nelly couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of watching what you eat. To keep his pumped-up physique, the artist tries to take in a lot of protein and loves turkey burgers. “When I started filming The Longest Yard—they wanted me to play a running back—I started eating chicken and turkey again because I only had two months to get as big as possible.” Another staple in Nelly’s daily eats? Oatmeal. “I eat a whole lot of oatmeal with cinnamon. I’ll chop up some bananas and put some raisins in it.” Whoa, Nelly! We’re impressed!

In honor of his new album, here’s a Nelly-fied playlist (a nice mix of old and new) to “Shake Ya Tailfeather” to. Sporting a Band-Aid? Optional, but strongly encouraged.

Music Monday: A Playlist to Pace Your Home Workout

Written on October 22, 2012 at 9:35 am , by

Listen up! (Photo courtesy of Bryan McCay)

We’ve all been there: It’s an “off” day at the gym. Your workout feels more challenging than usual and the clock can’t move fast enough. Then the right song comes pumping through your earbuds (cue Kanye West with “Stronger”) and everything falls into place. Your feet start stepping to the beat, you forget about your worries and are finally happy to be exercising.

Matt Basso, president of Iron Lotus Personal Training, is a strong believer that the right playlist can transform a sweat session. So much so that he’s produced all of the music for each of the workouts in his new DBX3 program so that the pace lines up perfectly with the routines for an extra motivation boost. Read on for his dance and pop music picks, and a workout tailor-made for this Music Monday mix.

  • “Too Long/Steam Machine” The consistent pulse builds, and since it’s live, “it’s like they’re cheering you to get started,” says Basso.
  • “Don’t Wake Me Up” The intro allows you enough time to grab a kettlebell and swing along to the driving beat, Basso suggests.
  • “Cry (Just a Little)” Do jumping jacks during this tune with 120 beats per minute (BPMs), the ideal tempo for cardio and dance.
  • “The Way You Make Me Feel” “Do I even need to explain how hard Michael Jackson grooves? This song is ideal for some seated rows and push-ups,” Basso says.
  • “The Night Out (Madeon Remix)” Get inspired by the 17-year-old DJ who created this remix (“he could make you happy doing the hardest exercises,” Basso says) and knock out burpees for as long as you can for the duration of this 120 BPM song.
  • “Electric Feel (Justice Remix)” The tempo slows a bit, so pick the kettlebell back up and swing again.
  • “Right Round” and “Da Funk” Freestyle! Try something new or your favorite moves from above through the hip-hop and dance beats.

3 Easy Ways to Break Out of Your Cardio Rut

Written on December 9, 2011 at 8:30 am , by

 

tired girl on stability ball

Photo courtesy of Spark People

By Jennipher Walters, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor, SparkPeople.com

Are you bored with your cardio workout? Are you already dreading the stair stepper workout that you have scheduled for tomorrow morning? When you’re in a rut, it’s easy to fall off the fitness wagon because motivation and excitement are G-O-N-E.

So how do you get your aerobic mojo back? You shake things up! Here are a few super-simple ways:

1. Change Your Soundtrack.

New tunes: Downloading news song is a fast way to bust out of your cardio rut and get you happily moving. When you have your headphones on, no one else knows what tunes you’re playing, so play whatever you want! Studies have shown that music is motivating, but if you’re bored at the gym, it may be time to shake that playlist up.

OR…Try no tunes: If new music isn’t doing it for you, try doing your workout sans tunes. Listening to your own breathing and the sounds and sights around you can be an incredibly meditative experience that can turn your cardio from boring to darn near spiritual. And if quiet isn’t your thing, try downloading a podcast or an audio book. You can get through your to-read list and get in shape. Now that’s multitasking.

2. Change Your Location.

Avoid the gym: If you’re a gym rat and pretty sick of the first half of that nickname, maybe it’s time for a change of scenery! Move your workout outdoors or create your own home gym. Even a new DVD or two can mix things up!

OR…Go to the gym: If you always hit the great outdoors for your cardio or always walk on the treadmill while catching up on TV, moving your cardio sessions to a facility with other exercisers and a fitness-centered environment may be just what you need to re-spark the love of your workouts. Sure, a health club membership costs money, but if it comes down to not working out or paying a monthly fee, wouldn’t you rather cut a few costs in your budget and stay motivated?

3. Change Your Intensity.

Try a longer, less intense workout: If you can usually only set aside 10 to 20 minutes for exercise, make those minutes intense, switch it up by setting aside extra time to make your workout longer and less intense. By doing a longer, less intense workout, you’ll give yourself time to really enjoy the activity without rushing or trying to burn as many calories you can in a short amount of time. Pick an activity that you love—dancing, walking, hiking—and enjoy it!

OR…Try a shorter, more intense workout: If you’re the type of exerciser who would rather walk for an hour than run for 5 minutes, then maybe it’s time for you to swap your low-intensity sweat sessions for shorter, more intense workouts. This is an especially good trick if you spend most of your mental energy watching the clock wishing your long workout was over.

Get 3 More Ideas for Breaking Out of Your Cardio Rut!

 

More from SparkPeople:

Sneak It In and Tone It Up

Blast More Fat with These Workout Tweaks

Get a Free Fitness and Weight-Loss Plan

Xbox 360 Kinect Review: Getting Fit with Video Games

Written on March 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm , by

Looking for a fun way to burn extra calories? Check out the latest video game craze: Xbox 360 Kinect puts a spin on gaming by eliminating the need to hold a controller to play—you simply stand in front of the device as it scans you, and then YOU become the controller. Since there are no wires or wands to manage, you can just focus on the game—as you move to play, your hand, arm and leg movements are copied on screen.

Image from Amazon.com

Microsoft recently invited me to test out Kinect’s new get-fit titles and sweat alongside trainer and fitness DVD star Jennifer Galardi. On offer: The Biggest Loser: Ultimate Workout (Bob and Jillian guide you through the routines!), Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, EA Sports Active 2, and my fave: Kinect Sports.

Jennifer kicks her way towards a GOAL!

Jennifer and I chose to battle it out in a boxing match, jabbing our way to a KO—after 3 rounds, I barely inched past and won—the surprise? My biceps and triceps actually felt a burn, and I had started working up a sweat! Though there are other similar titles out there on competitor’s game systems, playing without holding a controller takes the experience to the next level by getting your entire body in on the calorie-burning action. In addition to boxing, Kinect Sports lets you choose from soccer (“kick” the ball and see it fly!), beach volleyball, bowling, table tennis and track and field. If you’re looking for a more tailored workout with personalized training, check out the other fitness titles above—each one delivers results while making it fun.

Check out Xbox.com for more info—if you already have an Xbox 360, you can easily upgrade to Kinect by purchasing the sensor only and hooking it up to your game console.

So, tell us: what’s your favorite active video game? Do you feel the burn when you play?

February DVD Review: Aerobarre

Written on February 15, 2011 at 10:20 am , by

Try something new this month with a boxing/ballet fusion workout! (Photo courtesy of Amazon.com)

Try something new this month with a boxing/ballet fusion workout! (Photo courtesy of Amazon.com)

February’s Top Workout DVD: Aerobarre

Best for: Wannabe boxers inspired by The Fighter or Million Dollar Baby that aren’t afraid to be light on their feet.

Why it’s a star: This knockout of a workout will tone you up from head to toe with a routine that fuses ballet and boxing. Each “round,” 11 in total, will keep your heart pumping with moves like punches with light dumbbells and graceful ballet jumps. Plus, having the DVD split into so many short bits makes time fly! It takes a try or two to keep up with the quick-moving choreography, but once you nail it, the workout only gets more fun.

Where to get it: aerospacenyc.com, $20

More from FITNESS: Our testers chose this as one of the Top 10 Workout DVDs of 2011! Pick up a copy of our March issue—on newsstands today!—to see what else made our list and enter here for a chance to win all 10 of our favorites!

January DVD Review: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn

Written on January 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm , by

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Torch calories with this new DVD! (Photo courtesy of Amazon.com)

Jenna and I, your fearless fitness crew here at The Fit Stop, will be sampling the latest workout DVDs and highlighting our top picks here each month. Want to sweat along with us? We’ll also give you the lowdown about what equipment you’ll need and where you can pick up the DVD yourself!

January’s Top Workout DVD: Michelle Dozois’ Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn

Best for: Those with short attention spans, cardio cravers.

Why it’s a star: Dozois keeps you moving constantly during this hour-long workout, progressing through “Basecamp,” “Ascent,” “Climb” and the heart-pumping 30-second “Peak” category. The speedometer-like timer at the bottom of the screen keeps you motivated (“I’m already halfway through the climb!”). During the five, 10-minute circuits, Dozois builds the choreography in a natural way from start to finish. Bonus: No equipment needed…Well, except a towel to mop up your sweat!

Where to get it: Peak 10 Cardio Interval Burn ($19.99, getpeak10.com)