When you want to lose weight, blast excess body fat and feel amazing in your clothes, there’s no magic pill that can give you the body you crave. You get the body you deserve by the work you put into it, and no one gets a truly healthy body without the grunts and sweat of high-intensity workouts.
Consider your favorite excuse not to work out as a thing of the past, and say hello to the new you – the you who goes the extra mile (literally) to burn an extra hundred calories per day, who seeks new challenges by regularly upping the intensity, and who never says no to an opportunity to be active.
This is the new you, and the new you works out as if your life depends on it. No matter whether you have 5 minutes or 50 minutes a day to increase your activity level, this guide has all that you need to know to customize a head-to-toe workout that generates results.
- Eat frequent, small meals throughout your day. Small but frequent meals during the day won’t just give you the energy to work out longer and harder. It will provide you protein to rebuild muscle mass so that the heavy lifting you did in the weight room doesn’t go unnoticed.
- Start your morning with a high-intensity workout. There’s no activity like cardio to boost your mood, brainpower and productivity.
Start your morning with a yoga flow or that funky dance or Zumba class you’ve wanted to try, and watch as the rest of your day comes together seamlessly.
- Try a fun, new cardio class in your community. Cardio classes, including fitness boot camps, are a great way to burn lots of calories and challenge endurance. You can also meet friends and form a supportive weight-loss community.
From Zumba to kickboxing, Pilates to Tai Chi fusion, the right cardio class is waiting for you! There are enough options out there these days to find one that will be fun and helps you reach your goals.
Not only will a kickboxing class give you a chance to tackle stress, but it has the potential to burn up to 1,000 calories. Yoga’s typically slower pace offers students of all levels the opportunity to build strength, balance and flexibility.
When you engage in different classes to jazz up your workout, you don’t just benefit from variety by staving off boredom. You also avoid the dreaded weight-loss plateau, which can demotivate you from continuing to work out and eat right.
- Rotate lower and upper body workouts with a day of rest in between. When it comes to getting in shape, moderation is key. You don’t want to take it too easy on your body, but you don’t want to burn yourself out of your workouts either. That can lead to ongoing fatigue as well as repetitive stress injuries.
When you want to lose weight, only one thing matters: the amount of calories you take in versus the amount you burn. If you burn more calories than you eat, you start losing weight! These 30-minute workouts will help you to lose fat all over, one interval at a time.
- Step on the treadmill at least three times a week. If you don’t have a gym membership or a treadmill, you can use the great outdoors. Running is an easy way to get in your cardio, but alternatively you can apply these techniques to biking or swimming.
Warm up for five minutes by walking at a brisk pace. Run for two minutes at a light jog, and for the next minute, sprint all out. For the next ten minutes, jog at a challenging pace that allows you to sweat, and then for three minutes, crank it into high gear by sprinting again.
Intervals work because you are always upping the endurance required and challenging both the agility and strength of your muscles.
- Erase body fat through circuit training. Circuit training is the best way to erase fat in the least amount of time. Perfect for workaholics, or parents too busy to spend hours at the gym, this total-body workout uses quick but controlled reps.
- Move quickly from set to set. To lose one pound of fat, you must burn an extra 3,500 calories. Think you can’t do it in record time? Think again! Many people make the mistake of resting for up to 10 minutes in between each set, which slows heart rate. Don’t stop for so long that your body cools down (no more than 3 minutes), and keep at it for 7 to 10 sets of different exercises.
- Bicycle crunches. Sit down, legs bent, feet flat on the floor. Interlace your hands behind your head. Lean back about 45 degrees, trying to press your lower back flat on the ground, and pick your legs up at an angle. As you engage your core to remain steady, move your feet in a circular motion as if pedaling a bike. For bonus points, twist your torso so your elbow touches the opposite knee as it comes toward your chest.
- Slow-motion squats. If you’re powering through exercises as fast as possible, your muscles are skipping past a lot of the hard work. Slow down your squats to ensure you’re working toward the toned thighs and sculpted rear you envision. Standing upright, hold your arms straight out in front of you, or place your hands on your hips. As you lower down, bending at the knees until they’re at a 90-degree angle, keep your torso stable with a slight arch in your lower back. Try to lower to a count of five, and then come back up to a count of five. Repeat 10–15 times, rest for 30 seconds, and do another set.
- Use a medicine ball to work out your upper body. A medicine ball is more versatile than free weights, and you only need one to get a comprehensive workout. Plus, a lot of moves that are good for your arms will do double duty by targeting your core.
For a super simple move you’ll be feeling in no time, hold the medicine ball with both hands, spread your feet shoulder-width apart, and keep your arms straight. Move the ball up and to the right, then circle it around and down across your body, and raise it diagonally back up to complete a figure eight. Repeat 15–20 times, and switch directions. Perform two sets.
- Challenge your push-ups with variations. Doing several sets of push-ups will always help you blast fat, but incorporating a more advanced push-up will accelerate the calories you burn and build more dynamic strength. Squat down to the floor, and then jump into a plank position. Move down slow and controlled through a full push-up. Then, jump back into the squat position, and repeat 5–7 times.
Another way to challenge yourself is to move your hands. Bring them wider apart to target the chest, or closer together to target your triceps. Or, in a standard push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders, keep your elbows tucked next to the body as your lower down and come back up.
- Become a champion jump rope expert! Jumping rope may have felt like a game in your childhood, but if you pick it up again as an adult you’ll quickly find it’s actually a pretty intense aerobic activity. Your heart will be beating faster in a minute or two, tops!
If you’re just beginning a workout routine, aim for jumping rope for five minutes without stopping. If you can’t make it that long, go for three minutes. No matter where you start, each week try to up the amount by five-minute increments. A simple jump rope is a great way to add variety to your circuit routine, and it makes a great addition to your cardio on days when you have energy to spare.
There are virtually no limits as to what you and your body can achieve, so work hard, sweat more than you ever have before, and commit your focus on the moment – even if those moments push you past your comfort zone. That’s the only way to take your body to the next level.
Why Cellulite Isn’t Here to Stay
Cellulite can be one of the most stubborn problems people face, particularly in the butt, thigh, and abdominal regions. Have you recently discovered cellulite on your body and wondered what it is, how you could have prevented it, and what caused it in the first place?
Cellulite occurs in most people but is more common for women. While men do have cellulite to overcome, women are at an unfortunate disadvantage due to growth and pregnancy hormones as well as a higher percentage of body fat.
Are you one of the 90 percent of women who suffer from its unsightly appearance? If you smoke, eat fatty foods, are a heavy drinker or have poor blood circulation, this can put you at a bigger risk for the onset of cellulite – regardless of your gender.
The first thing to understand about cellulite is what it is. Unless you are lucky enough to have precious little fat on your body, cellulite develops due to fat deposits underneath the skin’s surface, which end up looking like dimples on the skin.
Unfortunately, it has the ability to show up anywhere at any time, although most people see it on the buttocks, abdomen or thighs. But you can change your lifestyle, including what you eat, to fight back against cellulite. For example, if you work at an office that requires you to work sitting down, take a short break once per hour to walk around. Studies have found that sedentary lifestyles contribute to a fattier frame, and where there is fat, there most likely is cellulite seen on the surface.
Here are some things you can do to take back the control of this common skin dilemma:
- Commit to a good diet and exercise plan. When you lose weight through healthy eating and exercise, you lose fat – and when that happens, you lose those stubborn dimples that we call cellulite.
Cellulite creams (which are very expensive) don’t offer long-term results, and while they may be tempting to try, visible results are far from guaranteed. In the long run, what works is high-intensity cardio, which will help you to blast the fat off of your body, in combination with a positive mindset and the right foods to nourish your muscles, joints and bones.
- Treat yourself to an anti-cellulite massage. The creams and pills to erase cellulite don’t work, but what does is hiring a professional to tackle the deep fat tissue where your cellulite lies.
Don’t be fooled, though. Although massage therapy is a great addition to your weekly workout, it’s not the stuff of miracles. So, try out regular massages from a licensed professional in addition to exercise and a diet of moderate portions of lean protein, fiber, fruits and vegetables.
Here’s what to know about a cellulite-specific massage therapy session: It combats the deep fat tissue deposits in a way that exercise alone cannot.
The kneading increases the blood flow, improving the circulation surrounding the deposits, thus offering the body a chance to restore itself from the fatty areas that resulted from pressure and stress.
- Workout your lower body. Most people complain about cellulite that has formed on their lower body – the glutes, outer thigh or back of their thighs. If this is a common problem with you, focus on exercises such as lunges, squats, and leg extensions to kill two birds with one stone!
You can start simply by incorporating a higher amount and variation of lunges into your existing workout. Begin by standing up with your feet firmly on the ground about shoulder-width apart. Step your right foot forward, and bring it at least two feet ahead, until your left heel has come off of the ground. In a lunge, your front leg should be bent at a 90-degree angle with your knee right over the ankle. If you’re new to this, you may be challenged with balancing correctly. It’s ok to wobble, and in fact that means you’re strengthening your thigh and calf muscles!
To perform walking lunges, you’ll then bring your left leg forward to meet your right, standing upright again. Now lunge forward with your left leg in a slow and controlled motion until your right heel comes off the ground. Use your front leg to push your body weight up, bringing your right foot forward to meet the left. Repeat for 10–15 lunges.
You can’t target fat loss in one region of the body – no matter how hard you try. But a cellulite-specific exercise plan will help you build more lean muscle mass in those trouble areas, creating more definition and minimizing the look of cellulite.
- Exercise your upper body. If you have cellulite problems in your upper arm, add some bicep curl reps to your workout plan.
You’ll want to start this exercise by picking up two dumbbells (one for each hand) of a weight that is comfortable enough to move up and down without it being too much struggle. If you’re tired after picking it up just once or twice, it’s too heavy.
Put a dumbbell in each hand with your arms down at your sides, palms facing out. Slowly lift the weight up to your shoulder, keeping your elbows in close. Lower them down, slow and controlled, and repeat for 10–12 sets.
- Target your abs. Who wouldn’t want a smooth, toned stomach? Do this exercise twice weekly, and you’ll feel more confident about your core!
Start this exercise by relaxing on your back on the floor. Your legs should be up, crossed at the knees, shins parallel to the floor. Extend your arms over your head, and if you want an extra challenge, grasp a dumbbell.
The goal here is to lift your head and torso off the floor by using your abdominal muscles to get you there. Don’t put strain on your neck; if you’re feeling pain there, lay back flat on the ground, and move your neck in all directions, shaking your head yes and no until the muscles relax. Keep your neck loose as you contract your abs while trying again.
Focus on the feeling in your core; don’t worry about how much you’re moving up and down. You’ll know you’ve crunched far enough once the bottom tips of your shoulder blades have risen from the floor. Hold in this position for three seconds, and come back down slowly.