Putting the Fun in Fitness

August 22, 2008

One thing I always tell my class members is: “If staying fit was easy, everyone would be fit. You wouldn’t see any fat people anywhere”. And it’s true. You could say the same thing about being rich. If it was easy to get rich, you’d be tripping over billionaires every time you walked down the street. There’d be no poor. But it’s not so easy, is it? Both things require diligent, hard work. But just because the work is hard, that doesn’t mean you can’t also be having some fun along the way.
When it comes to fitness, fun, in my opinion, should definitely be a part of the mix. Because if it’s not enjoyable in some way, you’re not going to look forward to doing it. It becomes a task, a chore, something that you have to get through. If that begins to be the way you view your workouts, you’re going to be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to staying in shape. Then you will eventually want to quit.

So here are a few good ways to get and keep the “F factor”, Fun, alive in your fitness regimen.
First of all…

– Choose activities that you already like.

Think about the games you used to play as a kid or the sports you participated in in school. If you can find adult leagues and organizations that offer those or similar activities, join up. You can also just add elements of those particular activities into your workouts. If dancing is something you enjoy, try adding dance based classes and workouts to your weekly lineup. Whatever your favorite physical activity is, you can be sure that there is someplace you can go and join in. Find it and get involved!

– Create your own perfect exercise environment

The right setting, the right music and sometimes also the right people can make a difference. Like the outdoors? Start doing your workouts at a park so you can enjoy the fresh air. Prefer a calm, quiet place where you can focus without any distractions? Find the least used space in your gym or park and set up camp right there. Inspired by being around other exercisers? Then the gym or any active place where you can be around such folks is where you need to go.

– Roll with the beats

Music is emotionally motivating and is a perfect, easy way of adding in the F factor. Choose music that you really like and use it every time you do your routines. You’ll find yourself more pumped up and enthusiastic, and whatever you’re doing, you’ll probably go at it longer and with more energy. Also, you will look forward to workouts, knowing that you’ll get to listen to your favorite “pump me up” tunes whenever that time rolls around.

– Feed off the positive energy that can be found in a group

Working out alone kind of dull? Then join a group of like minded people to work out with. Not only will it be more fun, but you’ll have camaraderie, more energy to feed off of, and also extra support from those around you. That will really keep you motivated and looking forward to the next time. Each workout will be like one big party! The more, the merrier!

– Let the gym be your stage

Are you a natural show off? Well, if that’s the case, you can turn work out time into your own little show time. Don your hottest exercise threads, get in there, and flex to impress with the best of them! You know you’re going to have a captive audience, so step up front and center and show ’em how it’s done! Knowing that you’re being checked out, you thrive on rising to the occasion and giving a high caliber performance. Whether you’re the fierce diva in the aerobics class, or top stud in the weight room, take your rightful place, show ’em what you’re working with, and let your talent shine! No shy wall flower are you! Make that work for you, and pump it for everything it’s worth! Your fans await!

And finally…

– Tell your trainer that he/she is boring

Well, not quite like that! What I mean is don’t be afraid to tell your trainer that you’re getting bored with the workouts. Those of you working with trainers know that sometimes confronting your trainer with any suggestions can be scary. We sometimes put our personal trainers on such a pedestal that we are intimidated or reluctant to question or suggest anything other than what the trainer is already doing with us. But remember, while your trainer is certainly a knowledgeable and motivating force, he or she doesn’t know you as well as you know yourself when it comes to your likes and dislikes. Also, sometimes trainers can get locked into a certain mindset and particular way of training that focuses only on achieving the result. You can have the results and a little more fun here and there if it’s done right. If you want a more fun workout, don’t be afraid to let your trainer know. Challenge her/him to make your workouts both fierce AND fun! Remember, it’s YOUR dime, and if you don’t let your trainer know that you want something different in your workouts, you’ll never get it.

The bottom line is, working out does not have to be this torturous, monotonous chore or trial that you have to drag yourself to, suffer through, and hope to soon be over with. With the right elements in place, you can turn your workout into some good, quality “me” time; a bright, shiny spot in your day that you look forward to and can’t wait to be a part of. Add in the F factor, and soon you’ll find yourself speeding through your work and knocking every obstacle that pops up out of your way so you can get to that happy time where it’s all about you, you body and some serious fun and sweat! Now get to it!

: article by Yvonne Bridges [ Yvonne Bridges is a top fitness instructor residing and teaching in New York City. In the fitness business for over 12 years, she is an accomplished boxer, kick boxer, writer and musician, among other things. You can get more weight loss and fitness tips by Yvonne Bridges at http://thefitnessdiva.blogspot.com ]

In this article I’m going to touch on 5 common sense, easy tips to help you burn fat fast, which in turn will help you lose weight. But I’ve got to warn you, these tips and strategies alone are not a magic pill that will cut pounds off your body. To do that you need a holistic approach of healthy eating and exercise.These are just a few of the strategies I’ve found to help live a healthier lifestyle and to keep my weight under control.

1 – Too many eggs can spoil the party. Try not to eat too many eggs; egg yolks are very high in fat, approximately 10% (10 grams of fat in 100), of which 27% is saturated fat, which clearly has implications for people at risk from high cholesterol or people who may be susceptible to high cholesterol. Try not to eat too many, less than 4 a week if possible.

2 – Break bad habits! If you have a habit of scoffing chocolates after your meal or as a snack, stop. Make them a luxury and an occasional treat, not a regular routine. Chocolates shouldn’t really be part of your diet at all, your body DOESN’T need chocolate, so don’t over do it, if you do have some. Make it a luxury you look forward to, maybe once a week to keep yourself sane and to reward yourself for your hard work during the rest of the week.

3 – Don’t just eat foods from one particular food group. To maintain a healthy diet you need to eat foods from every food group, every day. Fad diets where you just eat one food group are just that, fads, they don’t work long term because it’s not a healthy way to live. By avoiding or cutting out certain food groups, you are making yourself more susceptible to deficiencies and potential illness. Vary your diet on a day to day basis to keep yourself sane and stop you from getting bored of healthy eating – with the right recipes, healthy eating is fun!

4 – Don’t drink alcohol. This is a tough one for many people. But the simple fact of the matter is that alcohol is not good for you and has a very high calorie content. Not only is alcohol very fattening, it also lowers you inhibitions, and the diet that you’ve stuck to so well, will disappear into thin air after a few drinks, and the kebab or pizza shop/takeaway will start calling you.

5 – Get up and eat. Make sure that you eat within at least an hour of getting out of bed. You need to food to break the fast, to kick your metabolism back up a gear and charge up your body for a hard days work. Don’t wait around getting hungry, you need that food in your system, breakfast is far and away the most important meal of the day, miss it and you miss out. It doesn’t need to be big, but it needs to be healthy.

Right there are 5 simple tips you can put to use in your life immediately, to help get you on to the fast track to a leaner, healthier body. As I like to say, it’s not rocket science, you just the right direction, plenty of determination and commitment, and you’ll be hitting those goals quicker than you could imagine. Just remember to incorporate both healthy eating and exercise into your life if you want to reap the rewards and burn fat fast.

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Green tea has emerged as a healthy route to improve the metabolism and also has provided a way to bring about reduction of weight. The constituents of green tea have the ability to maintain a healthy metabolic rate providing the necessary amount of vigor and vitality day after day.Consuming green tea has helped many a person improve their metabolic rate and maintain a healthy living style. But, certain tips need to be borne in mind while purchasing “green tea” as every brand that is available in the market may not be completely natural in terms of its ingredients.

A doubt that frequently comes to many a person’s mind when reading up on diet and consulting diet charts is to understand the proportion of a ‘serving’. More information and advice about servings and their proportions can be found by conducting an online search on Google and accessing the National Institutes of Health ( 1998 ) and the American Diabetic Association Exchange Lists.

For this reason, it is best to go with a brand that is renowned and time-tested. Also, it is best to check the constituents before purchasing it. You can even have a look at where the tea is coming from to give an idea about whether the ingredients are totally natural. The ingredients have to be looked at because there are many brands available that claim to be green tea but are actually not.

“Organic green tea” is one such ingredient to look out for. If a brand is organic it will be mentioned so on the packing as many people prefer this ingredient while buying green tea.

One vital point to bear in mind before you rush off to including green tea within your daily schedule is that one ingredient of any green tea is caffeine. If you are one who is very conscious about the amount of caffeine intake daily, then green tea is not your cup of tea. But, one good thing is that the amount of caffeine is significantly lesser in comparison to the amounts found in coffee or in the energy drinks that have now swarmed the markets. There are of late some products that claim to be free of caffeine. So, if you are caffeine conscious, you can try one of these.

Green tea has demonstrated the ability to improve the metabolic rate and improve the oxidation of fats. These two important properties have helped many an individual keep their weight in check and for many to help in losing excess weight. So, green tea is an excellent way to not only improve the metabolic rate but also to perk up the way you look.

Advanced trials have now made it known that along with these properties of green tea, it is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants are a great way to keep your heart healthy and to avoid life threatening conditions like cancer or stroke.

So, green tea is a great way to go to improve metabolism, keep your weight in check and to give your body a regular dose of antioxidants to keep you healthy for a long time to come. Make it a habit to drink a cup or two of green tea starting today. After all, it pays to go the Green way.

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INTRO
Out of all competing strategies for losing weight exercise remains the best. When it is attuned to your body type as recommended by a trainer and is vigorous it has many benefits. It raises metabolism for several days after the workout. Calories are burned at a higher rate in a smooth, natural way. Fat is converted into muscle mass which in turn raises metabolism in the long term. And, of course, you will feel great. This will reflect on how others see you and will up the level of your self-esteem even if you are confident. You will be more successful if your approach is structured.

Step1
Take a look in your kitchen and assess the volume of unhealthy and fattening food in stock. Estimate how long it’s going to take you to consume it all. Mark the following day in your calendar as the start date of your exercise program. Tell your friends how you commit yourself to the plan and ask them to cheer you. Replace the old food with healthy food.

Step2
Decide how many pounds you want to lose. Make sure it’s a realistic number. In the first week, aim for the nearest round number. So if you weigh 165 pounds, try getting to 160. Your next week’s goal can be bigger.

Step3
Start the exercise routine and repeat it each morning for 21 days. 21 days is the magic habit building number. Experts say that by the 22nd day whatever you practiced will have become a habit that you do more roboticaly. Imagine how proud you’ll feel when the exercise habit replaces whatever other bad habit you were doing before the exercise.

Step4
Stay motivated. Although exercise might become a habit for you it doesn’t mean you can’t slack off. Keep your mind fixed to a vision. If it’s winter, think of the beach. If it’s summer, think of the new outfit you always wanted for Christmas. Whatever you imagine, make sure it’s powerful enough to help you stay motivated.

Step5
Complement your efforts with a membership at a health club. You will have access to better equipment. You’ll be able to work harder. You will be in a supportive environment with others around you doing the same thing you are doing. Extra services like spas will add value to your experience.

Step6
Hire a personal trainer. A trainer understands your body type and can make recommendations about what exercises you need to emphasize. Muscle groups that were weak will become stronger. More blood will circulate in areas that were neglected. Chronic tension you might have not been aware of will leave certain areas of your body. You may decide to complement your workouts with therapeutic massage.

Step7
Monitor your progress diary. Record parameters such as type of exercise, workout duration, food eaten and weight lost. Soon, patterns will emerge and you will know what works best for you.

Step8
Invest in a spinning bike with a 40 pound flywheel. It has many benefits. If you can’t get to the gym because of a flat tire or bad weather you can still do quality exercise in the comfort of your home. It works the legs and waist which are the areas most frequently afflicted by the office life-style. It helps prevent back problems. It forces you to burn lots of calories. Modern bikes are safe, comfortable, adjustable, have timers and come with pre programmed workouts.

Step9
Don’t forget to have fun!

: article by Jeff Rudgers ( Jeff Rudgers is a techie, an avid cyclist and a fan of Electronic Music who lives in Toronto, Canada. He was once broke, and has spent several years investigating business models for making money online. He has concluded that http://www.onlinewealthfordummies.com is the most sensible entry point into the world of Internet Marketing, for anyone. )
The best way to lose weight is by raising your metabolism to an extremely high level. When you have a high metabolism you can eat as much food as you want and you body will just burn through it all. Here are some proven methods for getting your metabolism to it’s optimum level.Firstly, increase the frequency of your meals. Eat 6 small meals a day, with 3 hours between each meal. 3 hours is the optimum time to leave between meals. By only allowing your body to be without food for a maximum of 3 hours it won’t need to slow down your metabolism, it will always have the food it needs. If you don’t eat every 3 hours your body will slow down your metabolism and start to store extra fat. This is because your body will think you are starving.

Increase you protein intake to at least 1 gram per pound of body weight. Protein is used by your body to repair and build muscle. The more muscle you have the higher you metabolism will go. You will need to eat high quality protein with each meal, such as chicken, eggs and fish. Protein digests in 3 hours and after it has digested your body can no longer use it. When your body runs out of protein it will start to break down your muscle and slow down your metabolism. So make sure you eat protein every 3 hours, or metabolism will start to slow down.

Lift weights to build up muscle. Tone and strengthen your muscles through weight training to really boost your metabolism. A single weight lifting workout can raise your metabolism for up to 48 hours after the workout, this is called an after burn effect. This is a great way to easily raise your metabolism for a few days with no additional effort needed. Workout 3 times a week, and gradually increase the weight each week, this will force your muscles to strengthen.

Spice up your meals. If you eat spicy meals they can raise your metabolism by 50% for up to 3 hours after the meal. However, don’t over do it. Try to eat the healthiest spicy food, don’t order some junk food from the local takeaway. All you need to do is eat some fresh chilli with your some of your meals. This is an easy way to increase you metabolism whenever you feel a bit sluggish.

Have cold showers in the morning. Becoming very cold can increase you metabolism by up to 20%. When you are cold you body must work to try and keep you as warm as possible. To keep you warm your body will contract and relax your muscles, this will happen automatically and will be like a mini workout. Do this every morning and you will be burning more calories and raising your metabolism effortlessly

Follow these tips and your metabolism will raise significantly. Your will start to lose weight quickly and easily. Your will have much higher energy levels and feel great.

: article by Benjamin Pickering-Watson

You’re not greedy. You’re not asking for a six pack. You’d settle for a slightly flatter look and a bit more tone. But no matter how many crunches you do, it seems impossible to firm and define those elusive abdominal muscles.Given our obsession with abs, you’d think we’d have figured it out by now. But many of us are still frustrated by a lack of results. What are we doing wrong? Should we be doing different exercises?

To clear the air, here is an abdominal program touted as the best six abdominal busters by bodybuilders, athletes and many week-end athletes.

Do this workout 3 times a week, with a day off between sessions. Begin all workouts with moves 1 and 2, then choose 2 of the remaining 4 moves. Vary the moves throughout the week to keep your abdominals challenged.

Whatever your fitness level, begin with 1 set of each move, resting 45 – 60 seconds after each set. For best results, pay special attention to your form so that you fatigue your target muscles by the end of each workout. When this is no longer challenging, add a second set of each move, or don’t rest between exercises.

Roll Up

Lie face up on the floor with your legs extended, feet together. Extend arms above your chest, palms facing forward, fingers pointing towards the ceiling. Drop shoulder blades down away from your ears. Inhale, tucking your chin to look at your navel as you begin to roll your upper body up, keeping your spine rounded. Exhale, pulling your navel towards your spine as you continue rolling up, slowly raising your upper body to a full seated position. Slowly roll back down to starting position, keeping your arms raised, and repeat for all reps. Begin with 4 roll ups, gradually building to 6. Targets rectus abdominis.

Forearm Plank

Begin on your knees and forearms, elbows aligned with shoulders, fingers interlaced. Draw shoulder blades down and contract abs to stabilize your torso. Extend your right leg behind you, toes turned under, weight on ball of foot, keeping hips square and pelvis stable. Extend left leg, feet together, so you’re supported on forearms and balls of feet. Hold for 20 seconds; relax. Do 3 reps. Begin with a 20 second hold; gradually build to 30 seconds, then 1 minute. Targets obliques.

Bridge with Leg Extension

Lie face up with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor; hip width apart. Relax arms by your sides, palm facing down. Contract abdominals, pulling your naval towards your spine. Inhale; then exhale as you lift your tailbone. Lift your back until only your shoulder blades touch the floor, your body forming a straight line from shoulders to knees. Hold for 30 seconds. Maintaining the bridge position, extend your left leg in front of you at hip height. Hold. Return foot to floor; then repeat with your right leg, keeping hips elevated throughout. Continue alternating legs for all reps without letting your hips or torso drop. Do 8 alternating leg extensions (4, with each leg); gradually build to 16 (8 with each leg). Targets rectus abdominis; obliques and erector spinae (lower back muscles).

Ball Oblique Twist

Sit on stability ball, knees bent, feet on floor. Walk your feet out and lie back; put right hand on ball, left hand behind head. Use glutes to tilt pelvis up. Maintain this position throughout. Contract abs (pull naval towards spine) as you roll your torso up, bringing ribs towards hips; then rotate left elbow towards right knee. Keeping hips square and lifted, slowly lower. Do reps on the left side, then right. Begin with 8 -12 reps per side; gradually build to 16. Targets rectus abdominis and obliques.

Bent Knee Crunch

Lie face up on the floor; knees bent and in line with hips, calves parallel to floor; feet together. Rest unclasped fingertips behind head, elbows pointing out to the sides. Contract abs, pulling your naval in towards your spine. Maintain leg position as you use abs to pull ribs in towards hips, lifting head, neck, then shoulder blades off the floor. Begin with 8 – 12 reps, gradually build to 16 – 20 reps. Targets rectus abdominis and obliques.

Reverse Curl

Lie face up, knees bent, heels close to your buttocks and fingertips behind head. Without changing knee angle, contract abs to curl your tailbone a few centimeters off the floor, knees rolling towards chest. Avoid moving thighs to lift higher; keep heels towards buttocks. Slowly lower to floor; repeat for all reps. Begin with 8 – 12 reps; gradually build to 16 – 20 reps. Targets rectus abdominis and obliques.

: article by Sandra Prior