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Get a Grip: How to Beat Stress and Take Control of Your Life

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Goal #1: Get My Body Back

Ever since I developed tendinitis in my left knee a year ago, I haven't been able to take three or four long jogs every week, like I used to. As a result, I gained weight -- despite the fact that I was Spinning and strength-training every day.

"Is there a way to work out smarter?" I asked FITNESS advisory board member Joe Dowdell, a physical trainer and the owner of Peak Performance Gym in New York City.

"Your body needs rest in order to be able to repair itself," he told me. "Training every day can lead to overuse injuries and burnout." My habit of doing 40 minutes of cardio before hitting the weight machines wasn't so smart after all. Dowdell's fix: Full-body workouts with weights on three alternating days. "Go back and forth between lower- and upper-body exercises," he advised.

"That way, one group of muscles will be recovering as you're working the other half, which means you'll do more work in a shorter period of time." Dowdell also suggested I try some high-intensity interval training on a Spinning bike, a rowing machine, or a stairclimber at the end of my weight-training routine to boost my metabolism and torch even more fat. "Warm up for three minutes at low to moderate intensity, then crank up the resistance," he said. "Go really hard for 30 seconds, then lower the resistance and work out moderately for 60 seconds. Repeat the cycle six to eight times."

I tried his plan, and I've cut my gym time by about five hours a week -- plus I've dropped five pounds so far! My body feels a lot stronger, especially my knees. I'm seriously thrilled.

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