Tag Archives: Fitness

The Best Pre- and Post- Workout Snacks

Food is fuel. Skimping before workouts is not the path to success. It only increases the lack of energy and promotes the loss of muscle mass.
Since basic exercise does not burn all that many calories, the purpose is to build muscle mass to aid in muscle-caloric burn. High intensity interval workouts are recommended for best results.
Although some studies differ on the effectiveness of the timing of your workouts (AM vs. PM in relation to an empty stomach vs daily caloric ingestion), you should eat something before your workout.  In turn, allow enough time for digestion and aim for 1.5-2 hours prior to your workout. Higher fat content meals can increase digestion time and an Increased intensity of your workout can interfere with the blood needed to provide nutrients to muscles during a workout.


  • Eat 1.5 – 2 hours before your workout to allow for digestion.
  • An ideal pre-workout meal should consist of : 10-35% protein; 45-65% carbohydrates; 20-35% fat.
  • Examples: Yogurt, Oatmeal.



  • Eat within an hour of intense workout in order to refuel the body’s cells which aids in proper recovery and lean muscle build-up.
  • An ideal meal consists of 4:1 carbs:protein.
  • Examples: Chocolate Milk, Hummus on Whole Wheat Pita.





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10 Signs You’re Out of Shape

10. You have a low level of appetite.

If you aren’t eating enough throughout the day because your appetite level is low, this could make it difficult to meet key nutritional requirements to maximize your health. Physical exercise regulates your appetite, so if you’re never hungry, this is likely a sign that you aren’t active enough as well.

9. You struggle to maintain good posture.

Maintaining good posture is not only important to help you feel more confident, but also to help ensure that you don’t experience back pain down the road or use improper form as you go about your exercises. If you struggle to maintain good posture throughout the day, this indicates that the postural muscles are not as strong as they should be, so that’s something you’ll need to work on.

8. You don’t sweat quickly upon intense workout.

You might think that sweating is an indication of not being in good physical conditioning, but this is completely untrue. The fitter you are, the better your cooling system will be, therefore the better your body will be able to regulate itself. If you start sweating almost as soon as you boost the intensity of your exercise program, that’s a great sign you’re in good physical shape.

7. Your body aches more than it used to.

If you find that you when you do exercise you’re sore for days after your workout session, this is yet another sign that you’re not active enough. Many people believe that working out too frequently is what makes you sore, and while this may be the case if you really overdo it, working out not often enough can cause greater soreness as well. Frequent sessions minimize this because your body will stay accustomed to the movement pattern.

6. Your weight is steadily increasing.

If you’ve noticed your weight is creeping up over time and you do make an effort to eat healthy, the reason is likely your activity level. Regular physical activity will not only maintain your lean muscle mass, which is important for keeping your metabolism strong, but it will also help to boost your metabolism after a workout. This also helps give you a little more leeway with your diet so you’ll see a decreased risk of gaining body fat.

5. You can’t perform push-ups.

A good standard to aim for when it comes to muscular strength for most men is the ability to perform 30 push-ups in a row, and 20 for women. If you find that you start to falter in form beforehand, you need to work on improving your overall strength capacity.

4. You have unstable blood sugar levels.

One of the best benefits of regular physical activity is that it will deplete your muscle glycogen levels so that you maintain a higher degree of insulin sensitivity. This means when you do include carbs in your diet, you’re less likely to shuttle them off to body-fat stores or have them sitting around in your blood stream causing problems. They’ll quickly move straight into the muscle cells where they’re stored as muscle glycogen. For anyone looking to fend off diabetes, regular exercise is a must.

 3. You’re very fatigued at the end of the day.

While some people will believe that intense exercise is going to cause greater fatigue at the end of the day, the opposite tends to be true. If you’re always dragging as your day wraps up and feel more like lying on the couch rather than doing something active, your fitness level could use a jumpstart. A good workout program should leave you feeling energized almost all the time so fatigue isn’t a factor in your week.

 2. It takes your heart rate a long time to return to normal.

Those who are in good physical condition will notice that their heart rate increases and decreases quite quickly with ease to accommodate the intensity of exercise being performed. If you feel very winded for 5 to 10 minutes after you perform a sprint or other exercise that requires physical exertion, this could be a sign you need to spend more time in being active.

1. You’re highly stressed out.

If you’re suffering from chronic stress, there’s a good chance that you aren’t getting enough movement in your day. Physical activity will cause a release of endorphins in the body, which will help put you in a feel-good state and help calm down your stress level. Even if you can’t do intense physical activity, even a brisk walk a few times a day can help.


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400 Calorie-Burning Interval Treadmill Workout

Running burns an insane amount of calories and it also targets your tush and legs, so it’s the perfect workout if you’re trying to slim down and tone up below the waist. Add hills to your workout and you’ll tone your lower body even faster and more effectively.

Set the treadmill incline to zero, and after warming up begin this workout. For each three-minute brisk walking interval, you’ll need to raise the incline to 15 percent (or as high as it’ll go), and for each 60-second sprinting interval, you’ll need to lower it to zero. Adjust the speed as necessary if either the walking or sprinting pace seems too slow or fast.

Time Pace (mph) Incline % Calories Burned*
00:00-05:00 4.0 (15 min/mile) 0 20
05:00-8:00 4.0 (15 min/mile) 15 36
8:00-9:00 7.0 (8.5 min/mile) 0 11
9:00-12:00 4.0 15 36
12:00-13:00 7.0 0 11
13:00-16:00 4.0 15 36
16:00-17:00 7.0 0 11
17:00-20:00 4.0 15 36
20:00-21:00 7.0 0 11
21:00-24:00 4.0 15 36
24:00-25:00 7.0 0 11
25:00-28:00 4.0 15 36
28:00-29:00 7.0 0 11
29:00-32:00 4.0 15 36
32:00-33:00 7.0 0 11
33:00-36:00 4.0 15 36
36:00-37:00 7.0 0 11
37:00-42:00 4.0 0 20

Total calories burned: 416

*Calories burned calculations are based on a 130-pound woman





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Workouts For Your Body Type

You’re stick straight with very few curves. Add more shape to your waist and sculpt your glutes with this workout plan for straight body types.

Best Workout for a Boyish Body


You have broad shoulders and narrow hips. Tighten your core, and add some shape to your butt and thighs with this athletic-body-type workout.

Best Workout for an Athletic Body


Your bust and hips are larger compared to your waist. Add full-body muscle tone and shape up those arms and legs with this curves-a-licious workout.

Best Workout for an Hourglass Body


You’re a bit wider on the bottom than you are on top. Tone your arms and shoulders, and get tighter all over with our pear-friendly workout.

Best Workout for a Pear Shaped Body




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How to Exercise in 30 Minutes or Less

Leonard Bernstein



World renowned composer and director Leonard Bernstein said, “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” How true! Fitness is no exception — without a plan, it is all too easy to let your exercise program slip right through the cracks. But if you can squeeze just 30 minutes out of your day, you can fit in a great workout. Here are some tips to turn your plan into a “great thing” for your body:

  • Schedule it. Don’t wait for extra time to show up in your day—because it won’t. Mark off 30 minutes for exercise, just as you would schedule a doctor’s appointment, and then make it a priority.
  • Don’t worry about the “right time” to exercise. It matters little if it’s morning, noon or night. Choosing a time that works within your schedule will help you establish a permanent routine and keep other obligations from undermining your plan.
  • Recruit a workout buddy. For many people, an exercise partner is the glue that helps you stick to your commitment. Choose someone with compatible fitness level and goals so that you can each progress comfortably together and feel successful.
  • Start slowly. If you are not accustomed to exercise, don’t try to do too much, too soon. Walking is a great way to begin an exercise program. It’s simple—you already know how to do it! It requires no special equipment other than a good pair of walking shoes, and best of all, you can do it anywhere.
  • Make working out fun. Consistency is a key ingredient for any successful fitness regime, so seek out activities that you like doing. It doesn’t matter what the latest craze is that’s “guaranteed” to burn thousands of calories per workout. If you don’t enjoy doing it, you will never keep it up. Choose activities that add joy, not dread, to your day.
  • Mix it up. You need cardio, strength training and flexibility-based activities for a well-rounded exercise program. Rather than walking the same route every day, mix things up by doing some strength training a couple of days per week. Try this awesome 30 minute strength training program that requires no equipment.
  • Break it up when you must. On some busy days, 30 minutes straight is just not happening. On those days, three sessions of 10 minutes of exercise is better than writing it off completely. Do some body squats at your desk, take 10 to run the stairs, or find a quiet place to stretch. You will feel better and be more productive when you get back to your daily tasks.
  • When (not if) you have to miss a day, you are not a failure. You cannot fail unless you quit. Redouble your efforts for the next day, and keep your good habit going. Don’t let a missed day turn into a missed week and a missed opportunity for success.

Source:  By Leigh Crews


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Muscle Building Quiz

Myth or Fact:

weight training

For a muscle to get stronger, it has to get bigger.

Myth:  The amount of force a muscle can generate depends not just on the size of the muscle fibers but also on the number of fibers that can be activated and used. Each time you challenge your muscles to do more than they usually do, they learn to use more of your existing muscle fibers. Muscle fibers won’t start getting bigger until after you reach the point where you’re activating most of them–and you can gain a lot of strength before you get to that point.

The best way to tone your muscles without bulking up is to perform many repetitions with lighter weights.

Myth:  There is no such thing as “toning” a muscle. You can strengthen a muscle by “overloading” it during strength training, and you can build its endurance with cardio exercise. Simply moving a muscle against resistance 25 or 50 times without fatiguing it doesn’t accomplish either goal.

If you do circuit training, then you don’t need to do cardio separately.

Myth:  Circuit training involves moving quickly from one strength exercise to the next, with very little rest in between, to keep your heart rate elevated. But circuit training alone can’t be your sole means of “cardio,” which requires you to use large muscles in a rhythmic movement for an extended period of time. Strength training doesn’t provide all of the same benefits as cardio, even if your heart rate is up.

Aerobic In The City

Doing cardio exercise can prevent you from building muscle mass.

Fact: Doing too much cardio exercise can make it harder to build muscle mass, but the right amount of the right kind of cardio can help your efforts. Moderate to high intensity cardio exercise that goes on for more than 45-60 minutes can force your body to break down more muscle tissue to get fuel for your exercise. So, doing over 45 minutes of cardio and strength training during the same workout session can potentially cancel out the benefits of your strength training. However, it’s fine to combine strength training with short (15-20 minute) bouts of very high intensity cardio, especially high intensity interval training, which can help enhance your muscle building efforts. Save your longer cardio sessions for days when you don’t do strength training.

It’s better to squeeze out one more repetition, even with bad form, to really fatigue your muscles.

Myth: Bad form is never a good idea. The only thing this will accomplish is increasing your risk of injury. Your goal should be to stop after the last repetition you can do in good form–that means without using

momentum or body contortions to move the weight. A little muscle trembling or shakiness is OK, but don’t go beyond that.

Collage of several of Gray's muscle pictures, ...

It’s best to start your workout with exercises for larger muscles and then work on your smaller muscles.

Fact: If you work out the smaller muscles first, they’ll be too tired to help out when you’re lifting heavier weights to train your larger muscles. So do the “heavy lifting” first, and finish off with the smaller muscles.

The best way to improve functional fitness (your ability to do things in everyday life) is to use free weights.

Myth: This is a trick question! While using free weights can be more challenging and better mimic real-life

movements, just any free weight exercise won’t do if your goal is to maximize functional fitness. Many strength training exercises (with machines or free weights) tend to train a single muscle group, while many real-life movements involve multiple muscle groups and joints moving at the same time. The best way to improve your functional fitness is to duplicate those movement patterns during your training, using added resistance and/or multiple repetitions, regardless of where that resistance comes from (be it bands, dumbbells, body weight, machines or a combination). A mix of many different exercises is usually the best idea.

Using machines allows you to lift more weight and target the larger muscles involved in a particular movement–but the machine supports you so that you don’t have to use your smaller supporting muscles. On the other hand, free weights can add to your strength training program because you also have to use your smaller muscles to maintain balance and stability without the help or support of a machine.

Lifting wFree weightseights is the best way to make your muscles more visible and get that “buff” look.

Myth: Looking “buff” (having muscle definition) actually has more to do with how much body fat is sitting on top of your muscles than the size or shape of the muscles themselves. Most people (men and women alike) don’t have the ideal body chemistry or genetics to build really large muscles or to drop their body fat to the very low levels seen in cover models and body builders. But almost everyone can lose much of their excess body fat and look more fit and conditioned. Lifting weights is an important part of the formula, but losing body fat by monitoring your calorie intake and increasing cardio exercise and regular daily activity is crucial.

Special techniques like drop sets and supersets are good training methods for regular people interested in basic fitness.

Fact: Both drop sets and supersets are handy for average exercisers and body builders alike. You’ll like both of these techniques if you want to do more than one exercise for each muscle group; minimize the downtime in your workout; and/or boost your calorie burn.

To perform drop sets, do 10-12 reps with the highest weight you can handle, and then immediately drop the weight by 20% or so and try to

do as many more repetitions as you can without resting. This technique is a great way to make sure that you’re working a muscle to fatigue in one set.

For supersets do a set of exercises for one muscle and immediately do a set for the opposing muscle without resting–for example biceps then triceps, or chest then back. This is a good way to get more exercises done in the same amount of time.

Eating extra protein is crucial to building large muscles because that’s what makes up muscle.

Myth: Eating protein does not build muscles–strength training does. Bodybuilders and athletes do need more protein than more sedentary individuals but usually not more than the maximum amount recommended for all adults. With proper timing of meals and snacks, a diet that provides 30-35% of total calories from protein should be adequate for muscle building.

You should increase the amount of weight you lift every time you workout.

Myth: Progressively overloading your muscles is the key to effective strength training. But increasing the weight you use too rapidly can lead to burnout, chronic soreness, and overuse injuries. A better approach for most people is to increase the weight (by about 10%) when you can reliably do the higher number of reps each time in good form.

Chapultepec Zoo

Doing2-3 sets of one exercise for each muscle group is the best approach for building strength.

Myth: To maximize muscle performance, it’s important to work muscles from various angles and in various movement patterns during strength training. Your muscles respond to exercise by getting better at exactly what you make them do. If all you do is bench presses, you’ll get better at bench presses, but not necessarily at other motion patterns or angles.

When you think of your muscles in terms of body areas, like your “chest” or “back” or “shoulders,” it’s important to remember that there are almost always multiple muscles involved in each area. Your back, for example, includes your trapezius, rhomboids, lattisimus dorsi, and spinatus muscles. While they often work together, different exercises will emphasize each of them. A good back workout would include lat pulldowns, seated rows, reverse flys, shrugs, and back extensions. You don’t have to do them all each time you workout, but if time is short, you may be better off doing one set of each of three different exercises than three sets of the same exercise.



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The 30-30 Workout

Use this lightning fast total-body workout to strip away fat and send your heart rate soaring. The routine, created by Men’s Health fitness adviser Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., combines high-intensity cardio and strength training for a gust-busting combo that you can do almost anywhere.

Directions: You’ll need a stopwatch to perform this workout. The routine is simple: Start the clock and do first exercise for 30 seconds at a moderate pace: 1 second up, 1 second down, and a 1-second pause in the middle. (That’ll be 10 reps.) Then rest. Start the next exercise when the clock hits 1 minute. (So you’ll rest for 30 seconds.) Repeat this process, moving to a new exercise at the top of every minute, until you’ve completed all five exercises. That’s one circuit. Do a total of four circuits.

1. Y squat
Stand tall and raise your arms straight above you so they form a Y with your body. Pull your shoulder blades together, and lower your body as deep as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Push yourself back to the starting position and repeat.

2. Pushup
Assume a pushup position with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart and your arms straight. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels. Lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor. Push yourself back to the starting position and repeat.

3. Right-leg reverse lunge
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Step back with your left leg and lower your body until your right leg is bent at least 90 degrees and your left knee almost touches the floor. Push back to the starting position. That’s 1 rep.

4. Pushup position row
Assume a pushup position (your arms straight), but with your hands grasping a pair of hex dumbbells. Without allowing your torso to rotate, row the dumbbell in your right hand to the side of your chest. Lower and repeat with your left hand. That’s 1 rep.

5. Left-leg reverse lunge
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Step back with your right leg and lower your body until your left leg is bent at least 90 degrees and your right knee almost touches the floor. Push back to the starting position. That’s 1 rep.




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