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motivation tips

Announcing: The Skinny Pins Contest!

Written on May 1, 2012 at 6:00 am , by

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Show us your go-to moves, recipes, inspiration and gear, and you could win a $100 American Express gift card!

Fitness Pin

When it comes to staying in shape, one great way to keep your eye on the prize is through visual reminders. That’s why we’re obsessed with Pinterest, the free social-networking site that lets you create your own virtual inspiration boards, instantly.

But it’s also fun to share what works for you! So in the spirit of good health, we’re inviting you to pin the stuff that keeps you strong and healthy: The exercise moves, recipes, motivating quotes, fitness gear, and more. A panel of FITNESS judges will check out the submitted boards and five winners will score a $100 American Express gift card.

Here’s How to Enter:

  1. Follow FitnessMagazine on Pinterest.
  2. Create a new Pinterest board entitled “The Skinny Pins Contest – Fitness Mag.”
  3. Fill that board with at least 10 pins. Of those 10 pins, at least 5 of them must be items (recipes, exercises, etc.) pinned from FitnessMagazine.com.
  4. Each pin’s description must explain why or how the pinned content keeps you in shape. Are tricep kickbacks your never-miss move at the gym? Do you keep the weight off with Greek yogurt? Tell us! This step is very important with the judging.
  5. Once your pinboard is complete, enter the contest by submitting the board’s exact url here.

Pinboards will be judged on effectiveness and believability of the pinned content, originality, adherence to the contest rules, and understanding of the FITNESS lifestyle and voice. The contest is open from May 1 through May 31.

Disclaimer: You must be a member of Pinterest.com to enter and you must follow Fitness Magazine on Pinterest. If you do not have a Pinterest account, you can sign up here.

Official Rules

Don’t Ditch Those New Year’s Resolutions: More Ways to Ramp Up Your Motivation

Written on January 25, 2012 at 2:57 pm , by

Working Out Sucks helps beginners ditch the excuses. (Photo courtesy of Anytime Fitness)

Written by Kate Branciforte, editorial intern

It’s almost February, which means many people have ditched their new year’s resolutions. Are you one of them? Was 2012 the year you decided to get healthy, but realized that there’s a lot of work that goes into that goal? You’re not alone. Chuck Runyon, CEO of Anytime Fitness, recently released Working Out Sucks (and Why it Doesn’t Have To) for fitness newbies looking to make a lifestyle change or workout veterans who may have fallen off course.

The book is based on the idea that it takes 21 days to learn a new habit and 66 days for it to become ingrained in the brain. So, if you started your new year off on the right foot and are still going strong, you’re well on your way to a new, healthy lifestyle! For those of you who may be a little late to the race, this book provides a great guideline to help you get started.

The book is divided into four parts:

  1. Working Out Sucks, But…
  2. Changing Behavior Sucks Too, But…
  3. Nutrition Sucks Too, But…
  4. Fitness Sucks Too, But…

Each section breaks down any excuse that may be bouncing around in your head and teaches you how to cut out the mental clutter. Runyon, along with co-authors Brian Zehetner and Rebecca Derossett, explain why living an unhealthy lifestyle actually sucks more than working out and eating right. The book offers multiple tips on how to get on track (and stay there!) for the long haul, no matter how much you may think it sucks at first. We promise, it gets better.

Working Out Sucks also comes with a 21-day nutrition and fitness plan for that extra burst of motivation. The meal plan focuses on whole foods and steers clear of the processed, prepackaged stuff. And if you’re on the go but want to access your workout of the day, you can head to anytimehealth.com and find all of the moves there.

More from FITNESS:

3 QuickieChick Tricks for Resolution Rehab

Written on January 11, 2012 at 11:09 am , by

QuickieChick will be offering even more bites of advice in her new book.(Photo courtesy of Laurel House)

So you ate a cookie for dessert last night after swearing off sweets. Or you bought a latte on the way to work this morning after vowing to save cash my making your own java. It’s OK! Dust off the disappointment and think of now as a fresh start. It’s never to early (or too late) to make a healthy choice.

Laurel House, aka QuickieChick, says we should refresh our new year’s plans and set wellness “intentions,” which feel less daunting and offer a little more leniency, rather than “resolutions,” which she claims are often too rigid to last. Here are three tips from House, who has a book coming out this May that offers advice to “fast-paced chicks” to stay positive and motivated.

  1. Create an intention board. “Make a collage of images and words cut from magazines that illustrate the energy behind your intentions for the year,” House says. Then, each morning, spend five minutes looking over your board and remembering why the values included are important to you. This will keep you focused on your end goal.
  2. Invest in your health. “Deposit a dollar into your ‘Fit Bank’ every time you really don’t want to work out, but do anyway, or every time you so badly want a brownie but make a cup of tea instead,” House recommends. When it begins to add up, splurge on something that will remind you of how hard you’ve worked each time you see, use or wear them (a new pair of heels, a cute manicure or workout DVD you’ve been wanting to try).
  3. Box away bad feelings. Having a downer kind of day? Sneak away to an empty office or find a chair in your home and take a seat. Quickly and forcefully punch the air in front of you. “Imagine that you are literally punching out negativity and pulling in positivity,” House says. “Punch out negative words cluttering your head, like ‘sadness,’ ‘anger,’ ‘resentment,’ or ‘deadlines.’ And while you’re pulling your arms back, fill your head with words that represent what you want more of in your life, like ‘balance,’ ‘passion,’ ‘success,’ or ‘kindness.’” This will get your blood pumping while getting your mindset focused on your blessing and goals, rather than your burdens. (See House demonstrate here.)

Now tell us: How long do your resolutions usually last? And what have you found helps you stick with them?

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

6 Motivation and Exercise Tricks from Fila’s Fitness Ambassadors

Written on November 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm , by

The gorgeous Fila Ambassadors vogue at their photo shoot. (Photo courtesy of Fila)

Here at FITNESS, we’re big fans of non-traditional models getting the opportunity to do a little modeling (see here)! So Fila caught our eye with their new campaign involving women from across the country as their Body Toning System Ambassadors, who also modeled the apparel for ads for the brand. The six fit females are all unique, but all are extremely dedicated to taking care of their bodies and staying healthy.

We asked each of the ladies to share their choice workout move, top tip for staying motivated or favorite trick for sneaking in a workout when time is tight.

  • Get creative. “Try chair triceps dips in the kitchen while preparing food or do soup kitchen biceps curls in the grocery store.” — Carla Birnberg, wife, mother, entrepreneur and blogger at MizFitOnline.com
  • Frame fitness right. “I see exercise almost like a 401(k) plan. If you invest in it, you will reap the rewards at retirement! I desire to be the best me, and exercise helps to ensure that I can fulfill that on the health front.” — Qiana Martin, international soccer athlete, global soccer ambassador and owner of EatSoccer.com
  • Think twice. “If you feel like a snack, try doing lunges on your way to the kitchen so that you have time to think twice about what you are about to eat.” — Kristy Petrillo, wife, entrepreneur and real estate agent
  • Look long-term. “When a workout gets tough, I imagine what it will feel like when done. I think about the way I will look and feel and think about the changes I’m making. When things get painful or tiring, I think of my body as a machine being pushed forward.” — Laura Brumund, single mom, social worker, family counselor and fitness trainer
  • Find a soundtrack. “I’m always looking out for new music everywhere—my D.J. Spinning instructor, the radio, friends, music postings on Facebook and YouTube! And I recently discovered the music site Spotify.” — Mariana Santos, wife, mother and aspiring lifestyle media professional
  • Boost your balance. “My favorite move is the one-leg stand. Try it by balancing on your left foot and lifting your right knee up. Bring your left elbow to your right knee, then switch sides. Hold your foot in the air longer to max out the workout.” — Phyllis Spencer, single mom, New York City police officer and fitness teacher

Now tell us: Who would you most like to see get a modeling gig next?

Motivation Makeovers: Mind Games You Must Stop Playing

Written on October 20, 2011 at 12:37 pm , by

Food temptation and mind games

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

Motivation is like cold hard cash: You can never have too much! And when you’re trying to lose weight, it’s nice to have a wealth of motivational strategies. But, with so many motivational tips and tricks to sift through, why do we lose our motivation rather than reap the rewards? It could be because the mind game you’re playing with yourself won’t always work in the long run…

Mind Game:  Starting Out Super Strong
It’s Sunday evening and you realize that you spent the weekend indulging on brews, barbeques, and binges. A twinge of guilt has you psyched to start speeding down the road to wellness first thing Monday and you figure that going full throttle is the way to reach your weight-loss goals as quickly as possible. You’re excited for it! But pretty soon, your muscles are too sore to roll out of bed, you’re sick of salads, and you’re already thinking about throwing in the towel.

     Motivation Makeover: Maintaining motivation is like running a marathon. Instead of starting at full speed and running out of steam, it is better to focus on simply putting one foot in front of the other. Set small, achievable goals so that you can build momentum and feel successful in the beginning, and pat yourself on the back when you conquer each one.

Mind Game:  Being Inspired by “As Seen on TV”
There will always be a new diet or exercise program that promises fast progress and fantastic results. Reading about the latest food fad or watching a perky personal trainer push sweat-drenched clients through an infomercial workout can definitely spark your motivation. But trying every new fad that comes on the market may leave you broke and brokenhearted…

     Motivation Makeover: If you want a plan that works long term, stick with the tried and true. Keep your eating close to the earth with whole fruits, veggies, grains and lean meats. Get up and moving with whatever activity suits your style and schedule. Remind yourself that following through with real nutrition and fitness habits is a process: It takes the proper planning and commitment that can’t be found in a book, a box or a bottle.

Mind Game:  Flying Under the Radar
You’re already feeling self-conscious about losing weight, so you certainly don’t want your friends and family making more of a fuss. Besides, you’re confident that you can do this all on your own! Going it alone may seem like a good idea, but it is actually counterproductive. Soon enough, you’ll be feeling lonely and left out of social merriment.

     Motivation Makeover: Call in the recruits! Whether it’s a neighbor down the street, a fellow play group parent or a Facebook friend, get someone to join you on your weight-loss journey. Studies in behavior science show that changes that you make in the public eye have a much better chance of sticking in the real world.

Continued: Should you look at that scale?

More from SparkPeople:

25 Ways to Get Back on Track

Goals That Help vs. Goals That Hurt

Get a Free Fitness and Weight-Loss Plan

Move It or Lose it! How to Motivate a Lazy Friend to Exercise

Written on September 27, 2011 at 7:00 am , by

It's true—team work makes the dream work! (Photo courtesy of Jay Sullivan)

You’ve found yourself a workout buddy; maybe you even joined a fitness meet-up group. The problem is your workout partner would rather lift a pint of ice cream than a set of dumbbells. Before you give up on her completely, try these tips to help spur her into action. After all, one of the biggest selling points of having an exercise buddy is to keep each other motivated!

  • A compliment goes a long way: Keep a friend motivated by acknowledging the hard work she’s putting into her fitness regimen. Let her know that she rocked it in class that evening; if she’s losing weight or has more energy in her step, make sure to tell her that she looks great; if she’s sticking to a new diet regimen, acknowledge that you’re proud that she’s sticking to her goals. These small compliments make a world of difference and can be the extra little step that keeps her from throwing in the towel.
  • Create an incentive program: All work and no play can be a real drag, so make sure to reward each other for your hard work. Together, set goals with your friend; once you meet them, make sure to celebrate in some small way. Your goal can be about weight loss, hitting the gym for a certain amount of days in a month, or being able to run an 8-minute mile for 30 minutes. Whether it’s celebrating with a healthy happy hour, pedicure, or those new pair of lululemon capris, give yourself an end prize for hitting the mark!
  • Be persistent and consistent: If you’ve got a friend teetering on always choosing a session on the couch over one on the treadmill, you are going to have to be the one to wear the pants in the relationship. While it may be a little annoying to do, persistence pays off for a lot of people. Be the one to initiate plans to work out together and keep it consistent — momentum is a driving force in maintaining any good fitness routine. While your friend may be ready to slack off for the day, a little push from you might be all she needs to grab her gym bag and go.

Read on for more tips to motivate your workout buddy.

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