Run smarter, avoid injury, burn more calories, and claim a bigger body payoff with this “aha!” advice from top fitness pros. More
24 Morning Workout Tips That Are Actually Helpful
by: HANNAH NEWMAN
We know not everyone is a morning person. (And even fewer of us are eager to wake up and hit the gym.) But getting up and moving can actually be an amazing way to start your day. More
With the weather cooling down for fall, there’s never been a better time to try out a new outdoor workout, like running outside! If you need a companion to keep you accountable, look no further than fido. With the right preparation and gear, dogs can make great running partners, not to mention it will benefit you both! If you’re both new to the sport, here are our tips to getting started. More
15 Former Couch Potatoes Share Their Best Tips For Getting In Shape – Carolyn Kylstra – BuzzFeed
So you want to eat healthier and get in shape? That’s great! Learn from some people who’ve definitely been there.
Getting into shape and living a healthier lifestyle can be seriously daunting.
That’s why BuzzFeed Life reached out to people who’ve been there to ask them to share their advice. For one guy, that meant learning a way to trick himself into using the spin bike more often. For another woman, that meant transforming her eating and fitness habits, losing over 150 pounds, and getting her diabetes and blood pressure under control.
Whether you’re looking to make a big change in your life or a few small ones, you can probably use some of the tips these former couch potatoes shared. And if you’ve made a healthy living change in your own life, share it with everyone in the comments!
1. Make it easy for yourself to workout in the mornings.
“I never exercised. Very rarely. I knew I needed to because I needed the outlet for stress, and I wasn’t sleeping well. But I also didn’t want to exercise after work, because I’d always want to go out with friends, or come home and relax and just watch TV. So I knew I needed to try morning exercises if I was going to fit it into my day.
Here’s how I do it: When I get home from work I lay out my exercise clothes. I fill a bottle of water and put it in the fridge. I pack the outfit I’m going to wear to work the next day. I pack everything — makeup, shoes, outfit — have it all ready to go, and then set my alarm for the next morning. I do everything I need to do before I start to unwind. This forces me to just get up and do it, and not have to take the time to find everything or make excuses for why I can’t.”
—Cat Fuentes, 28
2. Master the art of portion control.
“It hasn’t happened overnight, but in the past seven years or so I’ve lost over 70 pounds. I’m about to run in the New York City Marathon on Sunday — it’ll be my second marathon. Back 70 pounds ago, I never could’ve dreamed that.
Tricks for myself, in terms of weight loss: Portion control is huge when you’re trying to lose weight. I’ve never been someone who wants to cut something out completely, so I had to figure out a way to allow myself little indulgences. I still go to restaurants, but now I’m all about tapas-style dining, which allows me to try a little of everything. It’s something I’ve gotten myself into that allows me to eat better without sacrificing my lifestyle.
Another tip: I snack throughout the day to keep up my energy, so I keep healthy things by my desk. My trick is making sure the snacks are in reasonable portion sizes, so I’m not just mindlessly munching on them all day.”
—Emily Abbate, 26
Emily Abbate is an editor at Fitbie, where she writes about health and fitness. She’s also been actively training for the 2014 New York City Marathon, and has beendocumenting her progress in a video series on Fitbie.
3. Get enough sleep.
“I had a breast reduction a couple months after I graduated high school, and then moved to Chicago to start college. Once I was out on my own, I had to learn to cook, which is typically healthier than dining out. And because of my class schedule, I had a lot of time on my hands to workout. Now that I no longer had HUGE BOOBS, working out was easier/more fun.
My number one tip for living healthier is to get enough sleep every night. You cannot eat healthy or stay motivated if you’re really tired. Sleep is legitimately the basis of all my healthy decisions. I just set a bedtime and stuck to it. Also, setting the alarm on your phone is really good for creating a new bedtime routine. Like if you need to be in bed sleeping at 11 p.m., set an alarm for 10:15 to remind you to like… stop checking Facebook and go wash your face. And sort of related: Unplug before bed. I put my phone in airplane mode to sleep better.”
—Rachel Miller, 29
4. Don’t aim for perfection.
“In 2007 I lost about 80 pounds, and then in 2012 gained most of it back. I wanted to get back in shape, so I decided to try running every day. And I was maybe running half a mile, maybe a mile at the most — I wasn’t good at it. I gave up about three times, saying, “It’s not working out, I’m not good at it,” and just went back to doing nothing.
I had a friend who lost 100 pounds running. And she helped to hold me accountable to get in shape. She would send me texts and Facebook messages saying, “You don’t have to be good at working out, you just have to do it.” That became my motto. Every time I didn’t want to get up: “You don’t have to be good at working out, you just have to do it.” So I started running every day.
I run probably three times a week now, I go to a simulated surfboard class three to four times a week, and I swim three to four times a week. And I’m so happy I do — I feel great.”
—Laura Prescott, 30
5. Find a workout you love — that way it doesn’t feel like a chore, and it’s something you’re excited to do.
“I was never active or in shape… at all. I had years of failed attempts at fitness that mostly included running on the treadmill and failing at the gym. After a doctor ordered me to quit drinking, I needed an outlet to keep me sober. I looked into hip-hop dancing but felt out of place and hated it.
I used to pass a Krav Maga school every day on the way to work. One day, I stopped in for a trial class and signed up for membership that day. Feeling empowered and excited, I went four times a week. I was hooked. Not long after I started, they invited me to join the instructor program. After weeks of grueling training, I completed it — an accomplishment my 220 pounds, 20-year-old self would never have imagined.”
—Ben Ronne, 34
6. Try to do some form of exercise for 30 minutes (or three miles) every day.
“I suffer from body dysmorphia, and consequently I really abused my body like crazy. Whether it was overeating, eating the wrong things, or eating to stuff my emotions down. I was also drinking a lot. Those habits didn’t go away when I became a trainer, and I felt like a humongous hypocrite. As time went on, I realized that I had a responsibility to my clients to walk the walk and talk the talk. I needed to make changes.
My big tip is consistency is key to getting in shape. The rule I set for myself (and that I set for my clients) is Thirty by Three: 30 minutes a day of some sort of exercise, whether that’s walking for 30 minutes, or five exercises that last about five minutes each with some breaks in between. OR you do three miles of something — three miles on a treadmill, elliptical, hiking. Sometimes an hour feels like just way too much, but 30 minutes always feels attainable.
For the past eight years, since I began focusing on my health, I’ve remained consistent — my body has stayed the same weight, I’m healthy, I’m a normal weight, I’m fit, and I’ve maintained it, and that’s what matters to me.”
—Kit Rich, 31
Kit Rich, an NASM certified personal trainer, is a Los Angeles-based celebrity pilates trainer. She’s been featured in Vogue, SHAPE, SELF, Women’s Health, Real Simple, US Weekly, and Pilates Style. She’s also made appearances on Access Hollywood, Access Hollywood LIVE!, E! News, E!Online, EXTRA, and The Today Show. She blogs regularly for Beautylish.com.
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3 Signs You Need a New Pair of Running Shoes
The relationship you have with your running shoes isn’t meant to last forever. Here’s how to know when to buy a new pair to prevent injury and prolong an enjoyable running experience.
A comfortable and supportive pair of shoes are a runner’s best friend, but even the best aren’t built to last forever. Avid runners know working out in worn-out sneakers can cause unwanted running injuries like shin splints or runner’s knee. But how do you know it’s time to trash your sneaks and invest in a new set? Here, two running experts share the signs that cue a much-needed trip to your local shoe store.
You’re racking up miles
“As a rule it’s best to update your running shoes every 300 to 400 miles,” says Nikhil Jain, senior footwear product line manager at Brooks Running. Since wear and tear on the shoe itself isn’t always obvious, this method ensures you get new shoes before your worn ones cause pain or an injury.
You can easily track your runs with apps such as Strava, MapMyRun, or Wahoo, or with a fitness tracker. You could also opt for an old-school approach and hand write your runs in a journal. If you’re looking to eyeball your mileage based on time, take advice from a pro: New York City-based running coach John Henwood says he replaces his own shoes every two months.
You feel aches and pains
“As soon as one of my runners feels a shin splint, the first thing I do is ask them how long they’ve had their shoes for,” says Henwood. Knee pain and shin splints, which cause pain in the lower part of the leg, could both signal you need new shoes, especially if you haven’t changed up your running routine at all.
Not ready to part with your precious sneakers? Jain suggests keeping them around for leisurely walks or running errands. “While they may no longer be in good condition to run in, it’s likely that you won’t need as much cushion and support in your other activities,” he says.
Your shoes look shabby
According to Henwood, there are three areas on the shoe itself that signal it’s time for a replacement: the sole, the tread, and the exterior fabric.
“The cushioning in your shoe will be the first thing to break down because midsoles are designed to absorb shock and protect the body,” says Jain. “The tricky part is that this wear isn’t easily visible.” If the soles are shot, the shoe may appear lopsided from putting more pressure on one part of your foot than the others.
The tread of the shoe will be the next area to wear out, so if the bottom of the shoe appears flat and smooth, chances are your soles have lost their support and cushioning. Any holes that appear in the shoe’s exterior fabric provide a third red light that they’ve deteriorated.
To prevent your shoes from wearing out before you hit 300 to 400 miles, Henwood suggests using them exclusively for your runs. “If you’ve got running shoes, don’t walk around in them,” he says. “Have your running shoes for running and other shoes for walking because how you use them changes how they last.”
Jain also suggests rotating between two pairs of running shoes to prolong each pair’s life. “In addition, having more than one running shoe in your rotation helps you work a slightly different set of muscles in your feet, helping you strengthen them,” he says.
Last week, we caught up with DJ Monopoli – a Fit Radio DJ favorite and creator of his wildly popular workout cycling mixes on our ‘Spin’ workout station. But how exactly does he craft these perfect spinning mixes? He broke it all down for us here:
Q: How do you choose your music?
A: I tend to gravitate toward tracks that build into a really intense drop, but also have a very melodic breakdown. I also love digging for unique remixes of classic tracks.
Q: How does your mix formula help during Spin classes?
A: Every instructor likes to do things a little bit differently. The general formula consists of a warm up track (something relaxed that allows everyone to get their mind right as they begin to pedal and get warm), followed by something that’s very high energy to get everyone going. After that, I tend to mix it up. I love to use a variety of different genres and tempos to really keep people engaged. More focus on the music = less focus on how bad your legs are burning! And then I always try to end with a feel good track that leaves everyone in a positive state of mind.
Q: What do you think about when you put a spin mix together?
A: I really try to visualize myself being a part of the class so that I can determine which tracks will provide the boost riders need to keep pushing forward.
Q: What is most important element in a Spin mix?
A: ENERGY! Every track has to play its part in fueling the riders to keep going. A track’s energy can single-handedly provide that little extra push even when someone thinks they have nothing left. But with that, there must also be balance. People can’t cycle at full speed forever, so the music needs to provide that balance.
Q: What feature do you love about Fit Radio?
A: I LOVE having the ability to set my intervals and rest periods. I’m in the gym listening to Fit Radio daily, so setting my intervals really keeps me working at the pace I want to.
Q: What are the benefits being a Fit Radio DJ?
A: I really enjoy having the ability to interact with my listeners. Everyday I have new listeners reaching out via Twitter to let me know how much they enjoyed my mixes. That’s what it’s all about and Fit Radio provides that platform.
Learn more about DJ Monopoli and listen to his latest mixes here.
Q: Of all your pet-peeves, which is the strangest?
A: Wasteful people. I.e. the ones at the gym that use about 4 towels per person or run through half of a paper towel roll to wipe something small down.
Q: What is your favorite animal? Why?
A: Cats. They are clean and do not need much attention. (Like everything else in this world.) Also, most cats have a spontaneous/random/energetic, but innocent personality.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Q: What would you do with one million dollars?
A: First, I would just cash it and pile it in my living room to stare at it for a small period of time. Then, invest most of it.
Q: Would you rather have money or love? Why?
A: LOVE. Because if we were able to materialize LOVE, than it would be worth much more than MONEY.
Q: Are you a good dancer?
A: Rusty now, but yes. I used to break-dance back in the day.
Q: What is the best feature about Fit Radio for our users?
A: It’s a mobile app. Anyone can access at anytime and anywhere.
Q: What are the perks being a Fit Radio DJ?
A: Other than a good resume builder and exposure, it challenges me as a DJ to come up with new and creative ways to supply high energy mixes in different genres. It steers me away from the generic and overplayed songs.
Do I Need Sports Drinks?
By Jen A. Miller
Author, “Running: A Love Story”
Do you need a fitness drink when you run? Or is water good enough? To answer these questions, Anahad O’Connor, a NY Times Well reporter, spoke with a few experts on the need for hydration during exercise. Here’s what he learned:
If you’re running for less than an hour, then water is just fine. But for longer sessions – or a marathon – you should consume some kind of carbohydrate-based sports drink, says Dr. Jordan Metzl, a marathoner, endurance athlete and sports medicine doctor at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
“After an hour you start depleting muscle glycogen stores to the point where it becomes difficult to keep the level of energy expenditure,” he says.
That being said, you should also be careful not to overdo it on sports drinks. A little goes a long way.
“If you just drink sports drinks, you’ll be taking in a lot of sugar and your stomach won’t be able to handle it, said Dr. Laura Goldberg, a sports medicine expert from The Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Metzl said he prefers sports drinks with higher levels of sodium because they help to prevent muscle cramping, especially on hot and humid days. His go-to in that category is “Gatorade Endurance,” which has double the sodium (300 milligrams) and triple the potassium (140 milligrams) of original Gatorade. “I’m increasingly a fan of the double-sodium sports drinks,” Dr. Metzl said.
Be sure to stay hydrated on your runs this week. And there is some good news you should keep in mind as you head out for a run this month – training in the heat will help you perform better once it’s cooler.
Don’t forget to check out our top tips to stay cool during your Summer workout too.
I love the Fit Radio app. I downloaded it because, in November, I will be running the NYC Marathon in support of the 75th Army Rangers Lead The Way Fund — a charity established to support the families of wounded and fallen Army Rangers— one of the Army’s most elite fighting forces. I’ve personally served 6 years in the US Army and was deployed overseas for 4 years. I’ve lost many friends in the process so they will be running with me in spirit on that day.
If anyone would like to donate to the wives and children of these soldiers, please click here. I would never advocate for a charity I didn’t full-heartedly believe in. This one is a fantastic cause.
Got a Minute? Let’s Work Out
According to a lovely new study, a single minute of intense exercise, embedded within an otherwise easy 10-minute workout, can improve fitness and health.
Just one minute.
This is good news for busy people who have tried, unsuccessfully, to fit even short workouts into their schedules. The overall time commitment for interval-training sessions is not quite as slight as many of us might wish. Consider, for instance, an interval session in which someone rides a stationary bike as hard as possible for 30 seconds, followed by four minutes or so of easy pedaling. If that person completes four of these intervals, with two or three minutes of warm-up and cool-down added at the beginning and end of the workout, the entire session lasts for almost 25 minutes, a time commitment that some people might consider unsustainable.
These concerns reached the laboratory of Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario. He and his colleagues have conducted many of the most influential recent studies of high-intensity interval training, and many of the scientists there regularly exercise with interval training.
They, too, had noticed that interval-training sessions were not quite as truncated as some people hoped and had begun to wonder if it might be possible to lower the overall time commitment.
But if so, they wondered, how low could someone go in terms of time and still gain health and fitness benefits?
To find out, the McMaster researchers recruited a group of 14 sedentary and overweight but otherwise healthy men and women. They focused on these volunteers, because sedentary, overweight people often are on the cusp of serious health issues such as diabetes, which might be kept at bay with exercise, but sedentary people also often cite a lack of time as their reason for not exercising.
They invited the volunteers to the lab, where researchers took muscle biopsies and measured their aerobic endurance, blood pressures and blood sugar levels.
Then they asked the volunteers to complete a truly time-efficient, interval-training program using computerized stationary bicycles. Each session consisted of three 20-second “all-out” intervals, during which riders pushed the pedals absolutely as hard as they could manage, followed by two minutes of slow, easy pedaling. The riders also warmed up for two minutes and cooled down for three, for a grand total of 10 minutes of total exercise time, with one minute of that being the intense interval training.
The volunteers completed three of these sessions per week, leading to 30 minutes of weekly exercise, for six weeks.
Then they returned to the lab to be retested.
Their bodies were, it turned out, quite different now. The men and women had increased their endurance capacity by an average of 12 percent, a significant improvement. They also, as a group, had healthier blood pressures and higher levels within their muscles of certain biochemical substances that increase the number and activity of mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of cells, so more mitochondria mean better endurance and fitness.
Interestingly, the male volunteers also had significantly improved their blood-sugar control, but the female volunteers had not. The researchers suspect that fundamental differences in how the genders burn sugar or fat to fuel exercise might affect how each responds to some aspects of interval training. But more research is needed with both men and women before scientists will be able to understand the import of this difference, Dr. Gibala said.
In the meantime, the message from the study that most of us will grasp at is, of course, that one minute of exercise is all you need. But Dr. Gibala would like people to remember that 10 minutes of overall exercise time is involved for a total of 30 minutes per week.
He also suspects that, with this study, scientists are plumbing the lowest limits of worthwhile exercise time. “We’ve dropped from 30-second all-out intervals to 20-second intervals,” he said, “because for many people those last 10 seconds were excruciating.” Most of us, however, can complete 20-second all-out efforts without wishing to cry, he said.
Halving the intervals again, however, to 10-second efforts, probably would mot provide the same benefits, Dr. Gibala said, although “maybe if you did more of them, it might work.” He and his colleagues are studying these and other questions related to interval training.
For now, relying on one minute of hard exercise to ease you through the holidays with your health intact seems feasible, he said. And the exercise does not need to be cycling. Sprint up stairs in 20-second bursts, he said, or even run hard in place. The point is that time constraints shouldn’t keep anyone from exercise. In the time it took to read this column, you could be done with your workout.