Total-Body Toning Workouts

Toning your whole body doesn’t mean you have to spend hours each week in the gym pumping iron or running for miles every day. Good toning exercise routines work multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

Bodyweight Exercises

You can design bodyweight routines to work your whole body. Combine individual exercises to work your upper body, core and lower body. Select 3 exercises for each muscle group and then do 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. After a brief, 10-minute warm-up consisting of aerobic exercise, such as jogging in place, do 3 each of squats, lunges and standing calf raises to work your lower body. Work your core by doing crunches, planks and push-ups. Push-ups are a total body exercise because you work your arms, back, core, glutes and legs. Finish your whole body, bodyweight routine by doing pull-ups followed by bodyweight rows. Do bodyweight rows by lying on your back underneath a barbell bar. Grasp the bar and lift your upper body off the floor toward the bar. Repeat the entire circuit 2 to 3 times once you increase your strength.

Swimming

Swimming is a genuine total body toning exercise. It’s easy to do but gives you a vigorous workout in a short amount of time. Swimming strokes, such as the freestyle, back stroke and butterfly, work most every muscle in your body when performed correctly. Water provides not only support for your whole body, but also provides additional resistance you can’t get when you exercise on dry land. You can firm and tone your whole body in a swimming pool, even if you don’t know how to swim. Walk or run back and forth across the pool in waist-deep water to tone your lower body and core. Use hand paddles to push and pull water as you walk or run to tone your upper body at the same time.

High-Intensity Cardio

High-intensity cardio burns calories and tones your entire body. Running, jogging and brisk walking firm and tone your legs, thighs, buttocks and core. Tone your arms by vigorously pumping your arms as you run or jog while holding a couple of 2- to 5-pound dumbbells. Turn your walking, running or jogging workout into a high-intensity interval workout by sprinting at top speed for 30 seconds followed by 2 minutes of running, jogging or walking at a slower pace. Step aerobics while holding dumbbells also works your whole body, firming your arms, chest, core, buttocks and legs. Cardio exercises, including jumping jacks, jumping rope and squat jumps can be incorporated into any high-intensity cardio routine to firm and tone.

Toning Supersets

Toning supersets work your whole body in one exercise session. These exercises are easy to do and effective for full body toning. After your warm-up by doing some light aerobic exercise and stretches, do 3 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise. Rest for 30 seconds between exercises. Repeat each set 2 to 3 times. Tone your upper body, core and thighs by doing crunches on a stability ball while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Follow crunches with 10 scissors to firm and tone your thighs, buttocks and core. Do lunges on each side, 10 repetitions leading with your right leg and another set of 10 repetitions leading with your left leg. If you have access to a leg press machine, start with 20 pounds of weight and do 10 repetitions on the machine. Rest for 30 seconds and do the entire set again.

 

5 Key Components of a Full Body Transformation

When you begin a new diet and exercise routine, your goal is to see a full body transformation. However, for most people, this just isn’t the reality. They find themselves unable to reach their goals, and then they end up giving up and reverting to their old habits.

The reason that so many people struggle to reach their goals is that they are missing one of the five key components to reaching a full body transformation. Read on to find what the five key components are and how you can make them work best for you.

Diet

Perhaps the most important part of any body transformation is the diet that you are eating. A simple internet search is going to find you a wide range of options. Ultimately, you are going to want to select a diet that doesn’t cut anything out of your diet completely.

When you cut something out in its entirety, you are more likely to cheat because you are going to miss that food. Instead, focus on getting a healthy number of calories and ensure that those calories are coming from healthy food sources.

Find out what number of calories you are going to need to consume on a daily basis to meet your goals and work out where you are going to get those calories from. Remember to consider how much sugar, carbohydrates, fibers, and protein you are getting from your dietary choices, as well as the rest of your vitamins and nutrients.

Exercise

Like with diet, you are going to be able to find a wide variety of exercise routines and options by doing a little bit of research. Choose an exercise plan that you are going to be able to stick to. Start with small changes and work your way up.

If you aren’t exercising at all, walking for even fifteen minutes a day is going to help you to see results. Try to choose exercises that are going to work your entire body in a rotation, focusing on different muscle groups on different days of the week.

It is also important that you don’t forget about your cardio exercises. Remember to make exercising fun. Look for classes that appeal to you to make it easier to stick to.

Mindset

Your mindset is going to make the biggest impact on whether you are successful with your body transformation. If you are of the mindset that you aren’t going to be able to reach your goals, then you aren’t going to reach them. Telling yourself things like “I don’t have time to work out” or “I don’t know how to eat healthy” are going to sabotage your chances of success.

Instead, tell yourself that you are important enough to make time for and that you can learn how to make healthier food options. Then, follow through and prove to yourself that you can do it.

Motivation

What is your motivation to transform your body? Perhaps you are going on a trip, and you want to drop some extra weight, or maybe someone close to you was just diagnosed with a health disorder, and you don’t want to be next.

Your motivation is personal to you, and there is no right or wrong to what can motivate you to want to be healthier. Whatever your motivation is, remind yourself of it on a regular basis. Put up motivational pictures where you are going to see them or use motivational quotes.

If you can find someone who understands your motivation, that is a great person to rely on for support and to remind you of that motivation.

Support

You aren’t going to be successful if you don’t have some form of support during your journey to a body transformation. Changing your diet and exercise routines takes a lot of work, and it is easy to get discouraged. You might not have anyone who you know personally that would be a good support for you, but that is okay.

You don’t need to have someone who is physically present to support you. There are many online forums that are full of people who are taking the same journey as you and are going to be more than willing to support you.

When you have a bad day and eat something that you shouldn’t, and a day that you don’t work out the way that you meant to, having a support person to encourage you and help you through the bad days is going to be the difference between your success and failure.

Reaching your goal of a full body transformation isn’t going to be easy. However, there are some key components to ensuring that you are successful.

With a good diet and exercise plan in place, as well as good motivation and support, you are going to ensure that you are in the right mindset to achieve your goals and do everything necessary to meet them.

Dancing is a Fun and Exciting Way to Lose Weight

Lose weight dancing!

Lose weight dancing! Doesn’t it sound fun? Dancing is beneficial for many more reasons than one. It’s not only a fast way to lose weight, but it’s fun and allows you to learn a new skill that will simply catapult your social quotient. Dancing as a form of exercise is also much less monotonous than boring gym routines.

Dance is not just a seductive movement of the body aimed to charm a room full of people, or merely an art form designed to express oneself. Dance is so much more; it’s a way of life, and a way of attaining perfection in the body and the soul.

 

Benefits of Dancing for Weight Loss

There are many ways in which dancing promotes weight loss. Here are a few of them:

  • A lot of people stop exercising because it becomes monotonous and boring. With dancing, that does not really happen and many people are able to stay on track and achieve their weight loss goals.
  • While we lose weight dancing, we also acquire a new skill that helps us to gain greater self-confidence and self-worth.
  • Some people may find traditional workouts like sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups strenuous and hard on the muscles. Dancing, on the other hand, is relaxing and helps burn a lot of calories.
  • Apart from losing weight, dancing also helps develop concentration, patience and relieves stress.

Types of Dance Workouts

These popular dance workouts can be done at home with videos or taken with a group of friends at a fitness class.

  • Fusion dance is for those who are not biased to any particular form of dance. This dance form takes the good parts of many other dance forms, along with their own innovative steps and makes your workout time worthwhile. Highly recommended for people who get bored quickly.
  • Piloxing is a blend of Pilates, boxing and dance. Ideal for those looking to burn calories fast, as well as build and tone muscles. Recommended for the sporty individual.
  • Ballet is an art and fitness routine fused together. Apart from sculpting a svelte figure, it increases flexibility like no other forms of exercise. It also helps in personality development by promoting gracefulness.
  • Zumba is a high energetic Latin inspired dance routine that includes cardio workouts in its routine.

The benefits of dancing for weight loss are endless. Most gyms nowadays offer variety of packages to help you lose weight dancing. Research the form of dance that you like and select a package accordingly, or you can simply tune into the home dance videos and dance your calories away.

 

Can a 10 Minute Workout Be Effective?

Many people find it very difficult to find time to work out, especially for 30 to 60 minutes or more. If this describes you, then you will be pleased to know that you can break up your exercise sessions into 10-minute segments and still receive the same or even greater health benefits than a longer, moderate session.

To achieve optimal results from a shorter workout, you need to increase your exercise intensity. Many studies have shown that shorter, higher intensity workouts are actually better than long, slow endurance exercises at the gym because you can burn more total calories in less time, according to the American Council on Exercise. However, shorter exercise sessions of 20 minutes or less are only more effective than longer workouts when the intensity is high enough. Meaning, your maximum heart rate is equal to or greater than 70 percent during high intensity exercise.

Ideally, you should try to squeeze in at least two to three 10 minute workouts every day. For example, you could workout 10 minutes before work, one on your lunch break and one after work. Or, you might be able to take 10 minutes off to do your routine during your work day and possibly squeeze in two separate sessions or more if time permits.

Your 10-minute workouts should be based on your health goals. Some people may start with one or two cardio-based workouts, such as jogging for 10 minutes in the middle of the day for a mental boost and then maybe do a 10-minute invisible jump rope session in your office in the afternoon when you are running low on energy.

To burn even more calories in less time, add in some interval training. A 10 minute interval workout might look something like this: jog for one minute, push-ups for one minute, jump rope for one minute, squats for one minute, plank for one minute, burpees for one minute, alternating lunges for one minute, chair dips for one minute, jumping jacks for one minute, and then finish with bicycle crunches for one minute. Above all, make sure you do a thorough warm-up and cool-down to avoid injury and improve flexibility.

Now if your health goal is to develop firmer abs or to tone up your whole body, then starting with one or two sessions of muscle toning work would be ideal. You may choose to use an exercise band or do simple, yet challenging body weight exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, planks, squats, lunges and tricep dips. Throwing in your favorite 10 to 20 minute workout video is another good option. The key is to keep your workouts intense and fun to eliminate boredom and get better results.

The only way to know for sure if working out for 10 minutes, up to three times a day, will work for you is to try it for 30 days consistently and see how it affects you. You should also keep a journal and write down how you feel, as well as your eating habits and how your body is changing. For instance, make a note of how you feel mentally, emotionally and energetically after roughly two weeks of doing these workouts. Also, keep track of how fast you get out of breath. Do you find that you can push yourself further over time? Do you feel like you’re getting healthier, and are your clothes fitting better? After 30 days, check your weight to see what these 10 minute workouts have done for you. More than likely, you’ll find that it was a success.

4 Benefits of Adding Yoga and Pilates to Your Workout Routine

Photo credit: Ms Sarah Welch (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

So, you already have a workout routine that is working pretty well for you. You are getting in your cardio and your weight training, but you would like to focus more on full body flexibility, balance, and alleviate some posture issues. Or, maybe you need to find better ways to manage stress and increase your overall sense of well-being. One way to achieve these goals is to add yoga and Pilates to your workout routine. If you aren’t sure this will work for you, consider these benefits.

1. Leaner Muscle

If you are looking for the fastest path to long, lean muscles, then adding Pilates and yoga elements to your overall workout routine is a great choice. Both disciplines involve long periods of sustained stretching, which open up those muscle fibers and help your muscles achieve their maximum natural length, in addition to enhancing your strength, agility, range of motion, and flexibility.

2. Increased Flexibility

One of the obvious benefits of an effective yoga stretching routine is increased flexibility. Regular stretching can improve circulation, prevent injury, and increase range of motion in your ligaments and muscles. Poor posture is also a big problem for many people, which is usually caused by tight lower back muscles. The best approach is to combine both yoga and Pilates to correct those imbalances. Both disciplines are very effective for developing core strength, teaching proper alignment, improving posture awareness, and increasing range of motion.

3. Body Awareness

Body awareness is an integral part of yoga and Pilates. You learn how to be more mindful and aware of your body. You gain a better sense of the position of different body parts and how those parts work together, which is called proprioception. Touching your nose with your index fingers while closing your eyes is one example. Your mind knows where certain body parts are so you don’t always need your eyes to find them. For example, being able to walk in complete darkness without losing your balance. So, as you continue to develop this ability, your relationship with each individual body part and where they exist in space will be enhanced. Some additional benefits include better sleep, less stress and anxiety, and a greater sense of peace.

4. Meditation

Yoga and Pilates also brings in meditation to your daily workout and workout plan, which can help you maintain a state of calm and centered in times of stress. Practicing meditation on a daily basis can also help you work through problems and issues that you normally would not think of during your normal workout. Overall, this can be a huge benefit if you are overly stressed and concerned about your stress levels during your day.

By keeping these benefits in mind, you can begin to look through the large number of yoga and Pilates styles to find the ones that work best for you and your lifestyle. Remember, there are many styles like Barre that combine yoga and Pilates to maximize your time and effort.

 

 

Everyday Fitness Tips to Help You Lead a Better Life

Fitness is very important for all age groups, especially today. It plays a big role in helping people lead a healthy life by practicing healthy habits. Getting exercise every day and eating a balanced diet are the keys to staying fit, irrespective of how old you are. There are some simple everyday fitness tips that anyone can remember and try out to enable you and your family to make healthy choices in context with your diet and exercise routines.

Notes on How to Balance Your Life

Balance is an integral aspect of anything, be it your emotional well-being, your body’s BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), or the rate at which the body burns fat while at rest. In the same way, balance is integral when it comes to organizing your calorie intake and output. Some easy fitness tips for achieving this balance include keeping a food journal, which will help you to eat within your recommended calorie structure and will further enable you to burn more than what you have consumed in order to maintain or lose weight. It is also important for you exercise for at least 30 minutes per day or take 10,000 steps to help maintain your body’s BMR. This does not mean that you have to go to the gym, however. There are easy ways to add more activity into your daily routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking further away from the store or your home to get in a few more short walks throughout the day.

Get the Most Out of Your Gym Workout

Popular fitness tips to help you achieve maximum benefits from your gym workout include learning how to adapt to high-intensity interval workouts, which involve performing maximum repetitions of an exercise for 20 seconds, resting for 10 seconds, and then switching to a new exercise and following the same pattern for a period of time to ensure optimum fat burning. Explore workouts involving short, intense bouts of activity instead of wasting time at the gym in trying to achieve the same results using outdated workout methods.

Boosting Your Fitness Levels

The age old rule of warming up and cooling down before and after a workout are still applicable to the more modern, time-intensive workout plans of the modern age, and should be followed strictly to avoid injury and strain to your joints. It is also a good idea to maximize protein and vegetable intake, while restricting the consumption of refined carbohydrates as much as possible. Popular diets such as Paleo are prevalent among diehard fitness enthusiasts, thanks to their ability to promote muscle development along with faster fat burn. For the best everyday fitness tips, consult with a personal trainer and/or nutritionist.

Walk the Walk with Family Trails

Next time you’re thinking about what to do on the weekend, consider taking the family out on the trails. Family trails in your local or state parks are an ideal way to get fit together and get some fresh air and nature while you’re at it.

Healthy Fitness for People at All Levels

Walking is a very effective way for people of all ages and all fitness levels to get healthy exercise, because it strengthens the heart and lungs and burns calories. In addition, walking is good for your bones, improves your circulation, can help tone muscles and increase your metabolism. Walking also improves the body’s cardiovascular system. In fact, many medical experts agree that regular walking is better for the body than running because it puts less stress on the body.

Trails are for Everyone

Family trails are suitable for people of all ages – from toddlers to grandparents. Many trails designated for family hikes are less strenuous, with fewer hills, and a smoother path cleared of rocks, roots or other obstacles. Some are even paved in boardwalk or have stairs or bridges that aren’t available on other trails. They may be stroller friendly and pet friendly as well. Check at the informational booth, kiosk or welcome center for maps and signposts to find family-friendly trails. You can find additional hiking information on sites like trails.com, Americanhiking.org, or backpacker.com.

Explore Nature

Family trails are a way for families to get out of the house and explore nature and learn about your area. Whether you’re walking through a colorful foliage tour or hiking through the crisp white snow, enjoying spring flowers, or seeking a bit of forest shade in the summer, trail walking can be done year round.

See Wildlife

Family trails are a great opportunity to witness area wildlife first hand. Whether you’re interested in bird watching, butterflies, deer or on a hunt for the infamous jack-a-lope, there are lots of opportunities to see wildlife once you’re on the trail. Be sure to check signs for potential dangerous animals and what to do in case you meet up with one. In some trails, you might be encouraged to bring a bear bell, pepper spray or walking sticks to deter critters.

Get Fit and Work Up to More Strenuous Trails

Once you and your family have gotten into the swing of trail walking, you can work your way up to more strenuous trails. Whether they involve a gradually steepening incline, longer walks, or more off-road oriented hikes, you’ll be rewarded with the ability to explore new territory and the opportunity to increase your fitness levels.

Take to the Roads

Do you feel like you’ve explored all of the trails and hikes and parks in your area? Consider branching out. Your local hikes can help you and your family work up to a trip to Mammoth Cave, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, the redwood forests of California, the Appalachian trail or volcano tours of Hawaii. Feel like going further? Consider the centuries old pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago from the Pyrenees of France across northern Spain and ending in Santiago de Compostela. Your family will have a trip to remember and if they make the whole trek, they’ll receive a special certificate at the end of the line.

Whether you’re trekking through the woods of your backyard or across the Appalachian trail, a family walk will do your family good. It’s good exercise, fresh air and time exposed to nature. Consider taking a family walk with your loved ones – you’ll have happy trails together.