Written on August 8, 2012 at 11:05 am , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern
August’s Top Workout DVD: Essentrics Class of 2012
Best for: Anyone who wants to get long and lean muscles and just can’t seem to find their yoga sweet spot.
Why it’s a star: Essentrics is a workout that combines ballet-inspired moves with toning exercises to challenge your body in a unique way. It’s named for the eccentric movement in exercise where you are lengthening and strengthening each muscle. Co-creator and Essentrics expert Sahra Esmonde-White says these movements help slenderize your figure while building strength–what more could you ask for?
Though skeptical at first, wondering how difficult stretching and sashaying could really be. I popped in the DVD on a weeknight after work thinking it’d be a calming workout, but it definitely wasn’t easy. Sahra isolates every muscle, focusing on stretching it out and toning it up. If you like the challenge of power yoga or Pilates, Essentrics is a fun way to mix it up and test your body in new ways. The next morning, my abs were sore, along with my buns and my triceps. Talk about a full-body workout!
You don’t have to don a tutu, but the workout does require a certain degree of grace and coordination. Sometimes I’d be balancing on one leg while reaching forward, getting in touch with my inner ballerina, when all of a sudden I’d lose my footing and snap back to reality. That’s the best part about working out at home–no judgment! Plus, the only equipment you need is a chair. No dumbbells, no stability ball, just your body weight. A mat is helpful if you’ve got hard floors during the ab workout, but a towel would work in a pinch.
Where to get it: essentrics.com, $19.95
Written on July 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern
Let’s be honest –working out can be a challenge.
Sometimes, we have to remind ourselves why we love to sweat, and we’re all motivated by different things. For some, it’s that feeling you get when you’ve put in hard work or when you notice you’re getting stronger. For others, it might be the desire to get Brooke Burke-style abs or more energy during the day.
According a recent poll conducted by Eventbrite, 30 percent of women that participate in endurance events are motivated by weight loss. Even more (34 percent) do it for charity. But we’re not all saints! A quarter of women believe that training for a marathon would make them better in bed, and 40 percent believe they’d be more attractive. As for mental benefits, over half of respondents think that running is more effective than therapy.
We posed the question to our Twitter followers to see what brings them to the gym or the track, day in day out. What motivates you?
@LinzFredetPtrsn: Setting a good example for my kids and having the energy to keep up with them!
@jellingson: Honoring my mom’s love to run!
@aliciabordonaro: It’s that feeling you get after a workout…a huge sense of #accomplishment and #satisfaction.
@Trishquit: To be healthy and keep my blood pressure in check!
Written on July 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm , by Colleen Moody
There’s no denying it–Kerri Walsh hates to lose. And though she has been pretty successful on the sand in the past, she’s not taking any chances at the Olympics in London later this week.
Below, Walsh teamed up with 24 Hour Fitness to share her favorite exercises that work everyone, whether you’re an athlete or a busy mom. And she would know–she’s both! Try these moves this week in your routine to get a gold medal body of your very own.
In this workout you’ll find:
- Dead Leg Lifts: For lower body stabilization and endurance.
- Side Planks: For core and shoulder stability.
- Trunk Rotations: For abs and obliques.
More from FITNESS: Your Complete Guide to the Olympics
Written on July 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm , by Colleen Moody
You don’t have to be in the Athlete’s Village to exercise like the Olympians this summer; you can get the same results right in your own gym! Last week we got the chance to chat with trainer Josh Holland, who will be traveling to London as the only American trainer on behalf of TechnoGym, which will be supplying all the Olympic workout facilities with gym equipment.
Though Holland won’t be training individual athletes (as they have their own personal trainers), he’ll be on site showing them how to use the TechnoGym equipment to get the most out of it for their sport. Below, Holland demonstrates three exercises you can do on the Kinesis Personal system. Try these on your own with your gym’s cable cross machine to improve your form in running, swimming and basketball.
More from FITNESS Magazine: Make the Most of the Weight Machines at Your Gym
Written on July 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern
Want to know the secret to staying long and lean in Hollywood? It’s not tons of cardio, it’s Pilates. Celebs like Emma Stone, Mila Kunis and Reese Witherspoon credit the method as a way to sculpt muscles and improve flexibility.
Most of us, however, don’t have the luxury of daily sessions, so we turned to Pilates guru Brooke Siler to see how we could modify some of the core Pilates moves into at-home versions. Siler, a certified Pilates instructor and owner of NYC’s re:AB Pilates studio, shows us how to tone the entire body while using items you can find around the house.
Just make sure to follow these three rules to really reap the better body benefits:
1. Abs remain drawn inward and upward (like zipping up tight jeans) throughout all movements.
2. Inhale on exertion, exhale on release (abs remain ‘hollow’ throughout).
3. Make movements as long as possible, as if stretching further with each move, so that the focus is on the eccentric muscular contraction.
Read on to get Siler’s at-home Pilates routine.
Written on July 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm , by Colleen Moody
Ever since Kate Middleton was snapped mid-race with her rowing team last August (which she reportedly did to get in wedding shape), rowing has started to pick up speed on the fitness front. And with gyms stocking up on indoor machines, including Equinox’s new class Shockwave, you don’t have to be near open water to get in a good rowing workout.
Interested in trading in the treadmill a few days and testing this total body cardio instead? Start with these tips from Olympic rower Esther Lofgren, who will be competing in London this summer.
1. To start, sit with your legs extended and relaxed, chest up, shoulders down and core muscles engaged. Draw the handle to your sports bra line. This is the finish position of the rowing stroke. From there, extend your arms and squeeze your bellybutton forward while keeping your chest up so that your shoulders are in front of your hips. Relax your knees and let your butt come up the slide rail towards your feet. When your shins are vertical, make sure your core is high and your shoulders are relaxed. Push off the footplate with your hips, it should feel similar to pushing off a wall in a swimming pool. Once your legs are fully extended, keep the motion going by swinging your body back a few inches as you draw your arms in and pull the handle to your sports bra line. That’s a full rowing stroke. Just remember: On the “drive” (the pull stroke) you use legs, then body, and then arms. On the “recovery” do the opposite–arms, body, then legs.
Written on May 15, 2012 at 11:42 am , by Colleen Moody
Last night’s Smash finale had viewers on the edge of their seats waiting to see who would finally be crowned Marilyn. Don’t worry if it’s still on your DVR, we’re not giving any spoilers! While we were anxious to see how the performance would play out, Katharine McPhee is already focusing on her next performance in the Big Apple with her partnership with Tide to kick off the Olympic Games. We caught up with the star to hear about the campaign and snag a few fitness tips of hers.
Tell us about the partnership you’re doing with Tide for the Olympics!
To gear up for the Games, Tide is launching a project called My Story. Our Flag. We are asking people to go to the Tide Facebook page to share their personal stories of what the flag means to them. On July 3 I’ll be performing in Bryant Park to unveil a huge artistic rendition of the American flag. The stories that people have shared will be printed on swatches of fabric that will be sewn together to make the flag.
Like the Olympic hopefuls, the road to landing your dream career came with a lot of hard work. What’s one piece of advice you would tell someone with huge goals to help them stay motivated?
I have always loved the Olympics, and I was actually a competitive swimmer in middle school and high school. I remember how grueling the training was then, which is nothing compared to how these athletes train. Being an actress and a singer I understand how important it is to take care of your body. My advice would be to practice persistence and lots of discipline, much like these athletes do.
Written on May 7, 2012 at 7:00 am , by fitsugar
Indoor cycling classes are an amazing cardio workout, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll walk away frustrated, or, even worse — injured. Compared to other group fitness classes, indoor cardio cycling is also a little harder to pick up on when trying it for the first time. After getting the lowdown on what to expect from your first class, follow these rules on things you should never do in an indoor cycling class.
- Arrive to class late: As a rule, be on time for any fitness class, but more so if you plan on riding. Since there is a cap on the amount of bikes in a class, most gyms require students to register ahead of time (either online or using a sign-up sheet). A few minutes before or after class starts, instructors often release unclaimed bikes to those on the waiting list. Show up late, and chances are the bike you registered for will be taken, or, if you didn’t sign up at all, the class will be full.
- Hop on the bike as-is: This is definitely not a one-size-fits-all scenario — the person who was on the bike previously may have a good 10 inches on you. To avoid injury and ensure a comfortable ride, adjust the bike to suit your body. You’ll also want to make sure the handlebars and seat are firmly secure to avoid any wobbling during class. Watch this video to learn the proper way to set up an indoor cycling bike.
Keep reading to find out three more things you should never do during an indoor cycling class.
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Written on May 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm , by Colleen Moody
In our May issue (on newsstands now!) cover girl Elle Macpherson told us she starts every day with some sort of physical activity, and running has come to be her moving meditation. We couldn’t agree more–between the endorphins, body benefits and stress-relieving perks, heading out for a jog is the perfect way to get centered. But it’s not the only way. See what our Twitter followers lean to for their moving meditation.
@nanderson61: Running. No better way to connect with my body than with a great run!
@LynetteNicole07: Running, spin and yoga. My favorites!
@ReNewedMe: Running is great! But swimming would be my moving meditation. It’s the only workout I do without music, so it’s me and my thoughts.
@makeupbylay: My favorite way to sweat is kickboxing and hot yoga! Then a nice shower and massage after.
Now tell us: What’s your moving meditation?
More from FITNESS: Elle Macpherson’s Body Rules
Written on April 24, 2012 at 7:00 am , by fitsugar
Muscle building is an important component of any exercise routine, but are you strength training the right way? Here are five common myths about muscles, and why they aren’t true.
1. Heavy weights make you bulk up: It’s a common belief: lifting heavy weights will have you looking more bodybuilder than long and lean. But in reality, your muscles won’t get Ms. Olympia-sized from lifting a 20-pound kettlebell; the size of your muscles is related to your genes and strength-training routine, not the size of your weights. Using heavier weights actually saves you time — studies show that you will get the same results when lifting heavier weights for fewer reps as you do with lifting lighter weights for longer. But no matter what size weight you use, make sure you choose one that is challenging your body the right way. The American Council on Exercise recommends that you choose a weight that fatigues your muscles within 90 seconds (aka makes you unable to perform another rep correctly), since that’s within the limit of your muscles’ supply of anaerobic energy.
2. Soreness comes from lactic acid buildup: It’s an often-quoted principle that the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) you feel in the days after your workout is from lactic acid in your body. In fact, DOMS is a symptom of micro tears in the muscles that happen when you work out. Lactic acid does play a part in your workout, however, since it is the cause of that burning sensation you feel when working your muscles. It actually fuels muscles to help you work out longer, so pushing past that burning sensation will help you increase your strength and endurance.
3. If you stop exercising, your muscle turns into fat: Once you’ve got your workout routine down, you’ll be surprised at how toned you feel. But something like a vacation or sickness can set your regimen back, sometimes leading to weight gain. While many people believe the weight gain is from muscles turning into fat, both tissues are completely different and can’t convert from one to the other (similarly, there’s no way to make muscles leaner, since they are already fat-free). Instead, building muscle helps burn fat, so when you have less of it, your metabolism rate will be lower.
Keep reading for two more muscle myths.
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