Want to make sure you’re not wasting your time at the gym? Keep these tips in mind to maximize calorie burn and help you get in and out.
- Have caffeine before: A little bit of caffeine can help improve your stamina, strength, and speed, studies show. Go for one milligram of caffeine per kilo of body weight (for example, a 130-pound woman should consume 59 milligrams of caffeine, or about five ounces of coffee) to reap the benefits.
- Make sure you warm up: You want to get in and get out, but if you want to maximize what your body can do during your workout, you’ve got to take a few minutes to ease into your session. Start with a five-minute jog or these dynamic stretches in order to help make sure your workout is a good one.
- Do intervals or supersets: Who wouldn’t want to burn more calories in less time? High-intensity intervals or strength-training supersets (doing a pair of exercises in quick succession) rev up your metabolism and burn more calories faster than a slower, steadier workout.
- Go in the morning: Research has shown that morning exercisers burn more calories, possibly because that’s when your body’s energy is at its peak. If, however, you don’t feel like you’re better before dawn, go when you feel your most energetic.
- Work out with a fit friend: A recent study found that those who exercised with a fit friend ended up performing better in their workouts than people who exercised more. If you can’t sync up with a workout buddy, find a studio or gym class so you can challenge
- Go for five more minutes: You’ve done the hard part, so why not go for a little bit longer for even more calorie burn? You can even end up burning 50 extra calories. Pushing yourself to go a little bit longer every few sessions can help challenge your body so you continue to see results.
- Eat a post-workout snack: Want to burn more calories even after your workout is done? Feed those overworked muscles. Having a carb- and protein-rich snack within two hours of your workout will help repair muscles to make them stronger - and bigger muscles means higher metabolism. These post-workout snacks under 150 calories will help you feed your body before your next meal.
- Stay hydrated: Dehydration can cause fatigue, so make sure you keep energy levels up by staying hydrated throughout your workout. Six ounces every 15 minutes should do the trick, or just make sure you bring along a water bottle and sip when you’re thirsty.
- Multitask: Don’t just stand there doing bicep curls – work multiple parts of your body at once for a more-effective sweat session. That means pick up weights when you squat and incorporate total-body moves like planks and burpees into your sets. Check out this video of three of our favorite total-body moves for ideas.
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Hollywood is full of stars who inspire us to hit the gym, but how do they get their flawless physiques? Shape shares the fitness secrets behind your favorite stars’ amazing bodies.
Let’s face it: there are some pretty amazing bodies in Tinseltown. But you don’t have to be a star to look (and feel) like one. If you want legs like Jessica Simpson‘s, arms like Jordana Brewster‘s, and abs like Megan Fox‘s, who better to consult than the fierce fitness guru who whips them all into such sexy, stunning shape? Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak is the man when it comes to sculpting countless A-listers – including Halle Berry, Maria Menounos, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Jennifer Hudson – so we couldn’t resist stealing some of his secrets for a Hollywood-worthy bod.
The nutrition pro and bestselling author lives by a simple five-factor philosophy: 25-minute workouts, five days a week. But make no mistake – this doesn’t mean he’ll let you off easy. His sessions are super tough, but the results are (clearly) worth it!
If having abs of steel is your dream, then “stop crunching!” he says. “We focus way too much on the front of our midsection, which in the process, overstrengthens and draws the torso forward, so you end up with shorter-looking abs. Focus on lengthening by working your lower back instead. This will give your midsection a full overhaul.”
When it comes to legs, Pasternak applies similar advice. “If you want great legs, you need to train them all around, not just the front of the thighs. Use multiple joints whenever possible. And running stairs is one of the best things you can possibly do. It has little to no impact on your joints, and you’re working your glutes, hamstrings, and quads all at the same time.”
And of course, a fit figure wouldn’t be complete without amazing arms, to which Pasternak stresses the importance of focusing on the triceps – not the biceps. “When the biceps become too strong, it brings the shoulders forward and makes for a gorilla-like posture. Another mistake women make is using too light of weights. You won’t get big muscles with big weights!”
Lucky for us, Pasternak shared some of his favorite no-fail moves. Click here to tone your arms, abs, and legs.
The beach isn’t only made for lying out – these stay-put swimsuits are proof that being active is a smart way to have fun in the sun. So are these fit-minded, stylish beach picks. Go ahead, run, dive, and cartwheel your way to a fun way to work out – these 10 beachwear ideas are made for being on the go.
Source: Thinkstock / Pixland
The next time you head to the gym for a strength-training session, be sure to keep this tip in mind. No matter what your circuit or how heavy your weights, your goal for each session is to feel that shaky, uncomfortable burn. Why? Because each session should be challenging your muscles; that uncomfortable feeling means that you’re building up those important muscle fibers. Since more muscle equals faster metabolism, don’t shy away from feeling the burn – embrace it! Pin or print this poster to help you remember to push yourself.
Front Page Image Source: Thinkstock / Ammentorp Photography
Whether you’re an omnivore or herbivore, you need protein in your diet. Here’s why you should take a look at the amount of protein on your plate.
Muscle building: Of course, the most well-known reason for eating protein involves building a strong, lean body. Protein is the key to repairing and renewing muscles, making them stronger in the long run. That’s why it’s so important to eat a protein- and carb-filled snack after exercise (like these low-calorie post-workout snack ideas).
Weight loss: More muscles, more metabolism; not only will eating more protein help you stay fuller, longer, but upping your protein intake has been shown to help your body burn more fat, not muscle. Just keep in mind, however, that a diet too high in protein, especially if it is made of animal meat that is high in saturated fats, can increase health risks.
Lower stroke risk: While a diet high in red meat can increase the risk of heart disease, a diet high in other types of lean protein (like fish) can actually lower your risk of stroke. A recent meta-analysis found that the risk of stroke was lower by 26 percent for every 20-gram increase in protein intake.
Bone health: Protein isn’t just for healthy muscles; those essential amino acids may help your bones stay strong later in life as well. A recent study in elderly Japanese women found that those who ate more protein were less frail than those who ate the least amounts of protein. This particular study showed no difference whether the protein was plant- or animal-based, so take to heart that these vegan protein sources are just as beneficial to your body as lean meats.