Get the Body You’ve Always Wanted
In the fitness world, certain truths are held to be self-evident: Big lifts produce big gains, greater intensity fuels greater results, and less rest equals less fat and more strength. But science is now finding that many of these hard-and-fast muscle rules are not as immutable as we once thought. “We’re a lot smarter than we were even 5 years ago,” says Bill Hartman, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training. “Researchers and trainers are all starting to agree on what works and what doesn’t.”
The guessing game, in other words, is finally coming to an end. Read on to discover how the nation’s top fitness coaches are incorporating lab-tested strength secrets into their workout plans, and how you can do the same to lift more weight, build more muscle, and lose those 10 extra pounds you’ve been complaining about since college. The path to the body you’ve always wanted starts here.
Old Way: Stretch for Strength
NEW WAY: Warm up with jumps
There’s a reason why sprinters hop a few times before stepping into the starting blocks: Jumping kick-starts the central nervous system, helping to activate more muscle fibers. “The name for this neuromuscular priming is postactivation potentiation (PAP),” says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts. “And it’s a key to greater strength both in and out of the gym.” Consider this: Separate studies published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research show that inducing PAP through jumps can help you leap more than 7 percent higher and squat nearly 18 more pounds.
APPLY IT: For an immediate boost prior to a lower-body exercise, do three quick countermovement jumps: Push your hips back, bend your knees, and leap vertically. For upper-body moves, Gentilcore recommends a single, extra-heavy rep at the beginning of an exercise. “It fires up your nervous system and makes the subsequent reps feel significantly lighter.” Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for category CARDIO
Save time at the gym with this 10-minute cardio/sculpt session: Hop on a treadmill holding a three- to five-pound dumbbell in each hand, and set the speed to a brisk walk. Do a one-minute set each of shoulder presses, biceps curls, triceps extensions, Read the rest of this entry »
IF IT WEREN’T FOR MIRRORS AND WOMEN, MANY men wouldn’t bother building muscle. But for all their bench presses and biceps curls, few guys see consistent results. The reason: all those bench presses and biceps curls. To stimulate new growth, you need to mix things up every 4 to 6 weeks. You don’t always have to radically alter your routine—the fix can be as simple as altering your grip or tempo—but if you’ve been doing the same moves for months, it’s time for a bigger change. Hit the refresh button with these five fast muscle moves.
1. Dumbbell Sumo Squat and Hold
MUSCLES WORKED: QUADS, CALVES
Hold a heavy dumbbell by its ends in front of your waist and stand with your feet twice shoulder-width apart. Now lower your body until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Pause for 30 to 45 seconds, and then return to the starting position. That’s 1 set; do 3 or 4. Holding the bottom position increases the intensity, leading to greater gains in power, strength, and stamina.
2. Crab Roll
MUSCLES WORKED: CORE
Sit with your palms and feet on the floor. Raise your hips; this is the starting position. Lift your left foot and right hand and flip over to your left, placing your right hand back on the floor and kicking your left leg out behind you. (Keep it elevated.) Flip back to the start. That’s 1 rep. Do 3 sets of Read the rest of this entry »
Did you know that climbing stairs are really taking steps to fitness? Taking the stairs is one way to be more physically active. You can take the stairs at home or at work. Choosing the stairs instead of the elevator is a quick way for people to add physical activity to their day; it also saves Read the rest of this entry »
In prehistoric times, you would have emerged from a cave to survey the landscape for food. For survival, your brain would have urged devouring anything you could kill or uproot. Yet, when you weren’t out hunting sloths, you would have become one for similar reasons. “When we didn’t need to get food, we saved energy,” says Paul M. Thompson, M.D., director of the preventive-cardiology program and of cardiovascular research at Hartford Hospital, in Connecticut. “That was how you survived—you didn’t waste energy.”
See how that survival hardwiring would be a one-way ticket to a blubber belly today? Whether you’re in a supermarket or a restaurant, your brain still tells you to eat whatever you can lay your hands on. Once you’ve filled your stomach, it still seduces you into kicking back, a decision made easier by Barcaloungers and big-screen TVs. So in the deepest recesses of your noggin, dieting and burning off pounds will need to override 40,000 years of evolutionary programming.
What will your brain do when you ask it to betray itself? Here are the six dieting traps most likely to trip you—and ways to avoid them.
“Our patients talk about people pressuring them to eat because they think they’re not enjoying themselves,” says Martin Binks, Ph.D., director of behavioral health at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. Plus, men are expected to eat up, having been raised to equate manhood with a big appetite, adds Lisa Dorfman, Ph.D., R.D., a licensed psychotherapist and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
How to avoid it: Have your comeback ready: “I can’t eat because I had a big meal an hour or so before I got here.” Or, “After I leave here, I have a date with an amazing woman I just met, so I don’t want to fill up here first.”
Bonus tip: Nibble on appetizers like you’d sip a cocktail. Others will see that you’re holding something, derailing the “Why aren’t you eating?” issue. Plus, you’ll feel fuller.
Your Wife or Girlfriend, Husband or Boyfriend
When you shape up, your better half suddenly has a choice: undertake a transformation of her own, or inadvertently sabotage yours. Many times she or he will choose the latter, often subconsciously. After all, the better you look, the more other women or man will be checking you out. Read the rest of this entry »