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workout tips

Find Your Soul Mate Workout With Chalene Johnson

Written on February 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm , by

Johnson can help you find the workout that's your perfect match. (Photo courtesy of Chalene Johnson)

Fifteen years ago, fitness and lifestyle coach Chalene Johnson enjoyed exercise but couldn’t find a workout that she loved so much she wouldn’t skip. So she created it! Turbokick, which is a mix of martial arts and hip-hop dancing, makes Johnson look forward to each sweat session. She says everyone can find the workout they love—and look forward to! It’s as easy as taking her “soul mate workout” inventory, which she shares in her new book Push, to find your perfect match.

“Just like finding your love soul mate is rewarding, discovering your workout soul mate changes your perspective on taking care of yourself,” Johnson told us. Rather than being a must-do, fitness will be a want-to-do!

Do you prefer exercise that is…

  • Indoors or outdoors?
  • Group or solo?
  • Dance or athletic?
  • Competitive or noncompetitive?
  • High-impact, low-impact or nonimpact?
  • With a soundtrack or set to silence?

Brainstorm activities that best fit your preferred criteria selected above. Then “date” these workouts by trying one new activity every week until you’ve given them all a shot. Don’t stress out about this, Johnson advises. “Even the worst dates teach you something about yourself,” she says. “And mistakes burn calories, too!” You should be able to find at least one new type of exercise that you enjoy. But if not, just expand the search and keep trying. (Need some inspiration? Here are 10 unique and fun options!)

Now tell us: What workouts do you look forward to the most?

Why You Shouldn’t Always Be Sore After a Workout

Written on November 8, 2011 at 7:00 am , by

Listen to your muscles, they're trying to tell you something!

“No pain, no gain” may be a common mantra in the fitness world, but it shouldn’t always be that way. Sure, delayed muscle soreness (DOMS) means that you’re building muscles that you may not be using regularly (a good thing), but it’s not always ideal to feel sore after a workout. Here’s why:

It could be an injury: While you may be used to that dull ache after an intense workout, make sure you understand whether or not the pain you’re experiencing is normal DOMS and not an injury. Usually you can tell by whether or not pain is sharp or happens during your workout, since it can take 24 to 48 hours for normal DOMS to set in, or whether it’s happening only on one side — if only your right shoulder hurts after lifting weights, for example, it could mean you’ve injured yourself.

Maintenance is important: Regularly exercising your muscles builds and strengthens them, which means that the same exercises that made it once painful to walk won’t have the same effect after you’ve been at it for months. But just because you’re no longer sore doesn’t mean that you should abandon your routine. Whether you always attend a favorite class or do the same interval training on the treadmill twice a week, you’ll be maintaining the muscle strength you’ve already gained by sticking to a normal routine (you should, however, supplement with new workouts or exercises regularly).

You shouldn’t always be in recovery mode: Muscle soreness can delay your progress if it makes it too painful to actually work out. Even though being sore is sometimes a good thing for your muscles, if it keeps hindering you from meeting your workout goals, alternate intense days with lighter workouts. Do take these precautions for when you do exercise with DOMS.

Read on for more reasons you shouldn’t always be sore after a workout.

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Steal Volleyball Stars’ Get-Fit Tricks

Written on September 21, 2011 at 10:34 am , by

Whitney Pavlik slams a shot past a defender as Jenny Kropp cheers her on. (Photo by Jim Heath/IMG)

You may have retired your bikini for the season, but certain athletes have to stay two piece-ready all year! Beach volleyball pros play hard, lunge and jump—all while donning one of the skimpiest outfits in sports. So how do they keep their confidence up? By training hard! “What gets me to the gym even when I’m not motivated is that fact that our uniform is a bikini,” says Whitney Pavlik, 2008 Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Rookie of the Year.

We caught up with Pavlik and three other top players from the AVP before this weekend’s Hermosa Beach Open to learn more about how they got their start in the sport, how they stay motivated and how they train to top the competition.

  • Jenny Kropp and Whitney Pavlik, partners and winners of the Manhattan Beach Open in August

How did you first get interested in volleyball?
Kropp: “My mom was a P.E. teacher, so she borrowed nets from the school during the summer and we set them up in our backyard.”

How do you get pumped up before big matches?
Kropp: “We listen to ‘Lighters’ by Eminem on Bruno Mars until we get to the beach.”

What is your favorite way to cross train?
Kropp: “I love to work out with TRX Suspension Training. Single leg squats, lunges, abs, even jumping jacks can be integrated into the workout.”

What are your goals for the future?
Pavlik: “We’re taking each year at a time, but the 2016 Olympics is the ultimate end goal.”

Read on for more from two other volleyball stars rocking the beaches!

Read more

Weekend-Proof Your Workout

Written on July 28, 2011 at 11:30 am , by

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

Follow the seven tips below to make exercise a priority all week long—not just during the work week!

7  Tips for Fitting in Weekend Workouts

  1. Turn workout time into play time. Think working out on the weekend has to be at the gym? Think again! The weekend is the perfect time to take your workout outdoors for a hike, a bootcamp at the park, or a bike ride at a nearby trail. If the weather in your area is less than ideal, gather some buds for an indoor basketball game, a workout DVD or even a visit to that indoor rock climbing wall.
  2. Schedule some “me” time. The best part about weekdays is that our schedule is consistent and more or less on autopilot. Make your weekend more like a weekday by setting a schedule for Saturday and Sunday. Not every second has to be laid out (where’s the fun in that?), but schedule an hour or two that’s just for you. Use the time to be active doing something you really enjoy like Zumba, running or Spinning class, followed by some relaxation time.
  3. Make housework a workout. Most of us have to do at least a few chores over the weekend, so if you’re short on time, transform your housework into a workout! Put on some tunes and see how quickly you can do more physical chores like vacuuming, scrubbing the bathtub, mopping the floors, mowing the grass or washing the windows.
  4. Try something new. Take advantage of your more flexible two-day schedule by trying something new or going somewhere different for your usual workouts. Whether it’s a new group fitness class , running at a new park or even joining a game of softball with some pals from work, trying something new can work your muscles and brain in new ways.
  5. Set a goal (or two). The best way to achieve any goal starts with setting one! If you really want to be more active on the weekends, set a goal to do so. It can be as simple as saying you want to walk every Saturday for a month. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you succeed.
  6. Grab a buddy. We all know how important it is to have support when trying to lose weight and get healthy. So be sure to include your friends and loved ones in your weekend workout plans. Ask a bud to try that new trail with you or turn your usual movie date night into something more active like bowling. Not only will you be burning calories, you’ll be making way more memories than just sitting around watching television.
  7. Fuel your body right. It’s hard to want to work out if you’re not fueling your body for success. Studies show that people tend to make poorer food choices—and eat more—on the weekends. Sure, the occasional late night out, cocktail or order of chicken wings won’t really hurt you, but if these weekend habits become the norm—or turn into a weekend splurge-fest—they could get in the way of your fitness goals. Who really feels like working out after eating too much, sleeping too little or drinking one too many? Make it a priority to get adequate sleep, drink plenty of water and eat healthy meals and snacks.

More from SparkPeople:

10 Tips for a Healthier Weekend

Surviving the Weekend

The Web’s Best Free Weight-Loss Plan