10 Things Trainers Wish You Knew About Your Workout

1. You Need to Switch Up Your Workouts

After doing the same cardio or strength routine three to six times, your body adapts and you burn fewer calories, says Michael Sokol, the owner of One-on-One Fitness Personal Training Services, in Chicago and Scottsdale, Arizona. Eventually your resultsweight loss, muscle definitionwill slow down. Also, repeatedly placing stress on the same muscles and joints could lead to an overuse injury.

Action plan: Once a month, change one thing about your cardio and weight-training regimens: Take a Zumba class in lieu of your Saturday walk, for instance, or use a resistance band instead of dumbbells. Bonus: Mixing things up may help you stick with exercise. A 2001 study conducted at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, found that people who varied their routines enjoyed their workouts moreand exercised more regularlythan did people who went with the same thing every day.

2. Cardio Isnt the Magic Bullet for Weight Loss

While biking, running, and walking are great for your heart, research suggests that its difficult to lose fat when you do only cardiovascular activity, says Jeff Halevy, a celebrity trainer and the CEO of Halevy Life, a health and fitness service company in New York City. Although aerobic exercise will burn calories, it doesnt really change your metabolism. 

What does: lean muscle mass. Muscle helps you burn more calories even after your workout is over, says Halevy. The more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate (the baseline amount of calories you burn in a day), says Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., the director of fitness research at Quincy College, in Quincy, Massachusetts. Women tend to lose five to seven pounds of muscle in each decade of adulthoodone reason why the pounds creep on as we get older. Westcotts research has found that if you do strength training three times a week, you can add an average of three pounds of muscle in about three months, increasing your metabolism by 6 to 7 percent.

Action plan: Keep doing cardio three times a week, but add two or three strength-training workouts. Aim to work all the major muscles over the week; complete one to two sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. To get started, check out the website of the American Council on Exercise for an extensive library of weight-training moves.

3. Wimpy Weights Will Get You Nowhere

According to the overload principle, for muscles to become stronger, they have to be challenged with a load thats heavier than what theyre used to. (Think about the weight of your handbagdinky three-pound dumbbells just dont compare.) Without challenging your muscles, you cant substantially strengthen or tone them, says Halevy.

Action plan: Choose a weight that you can lift for only 10 to 15 repetitions before losing good formtrainers call this working to failure. (That doesnt mean your arms should feel like noodles when youre done, or that you cant bang out a second set after a minute or two of rest.) Dont worry: You wont bulk up. Womens bodies have a biological limit on how much muscle mass they can build, says Halevy. Its hard for women to get big without using steroids.

4. Muscles Come in Pairs; Train Them that Way

Most of us focus on what trainers call the mirror musclesthe ones you see when you look in the mirror (biceps, quadriceps). But just as every action has an equal and opposite reaction, every muscle has a mate that works in the opposite way. For example, you use your triceps to extend your arm and your biceps to bend it. To avoid imbalances that can lead to injury, its essential to train both equally.

Action plan: Consider doing weight training in whats known as a split. Work, say, your biceps and hamstrings one day, then your triceps and quadriceps the next. This way, youll hit every muscle pair over the course of a week. One exception: the back muscles. Many women have weak back muscles from working at a computer all day, says Carly Pizzani, a New York Citybased personal trainer. If youre deskbound from nine to five, follow a two-to-one ratio when working your back and chest. That is, for every exercise you do for the chest, do two for the back.

5. Crunches Arent Crucial for Strong Abdominals

Theyre not the best exercise choice, because they strengthen only a few of the muscles in your core, says Pizzani. Whats more, if your abs are weak, doing crunches could cause a strain on your neck, since youll probably be pulling on it in an effort to lift your torso.

Action plan: Although you dont have to eliminate crunches from your repertoire, youll get more bang for your buck with moves that work the entire core area. The plank is a good one: Lie facedown on the floor with palms down and forearms under your shoulders. Tuck your toes under and tighten your abs to lift your torso. Keep your body in one line from head to feet. Hold for 30 seconds.

6. A Workout Doesnt Merit a Post-Gym Pig-Out

When youre feeling virtuous after youve exercised, its easy to eat back all the calories you just burned (and then some). If youre looking to lose weight, that wont help you toward your goal, says Molly Morgan, a registered dietitian and a board-certified sports nutritionist in Vestal, New York. (Its not OK to collapse on the couch afterward, either: In a 2009 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, long periods of sitting were associated with an increased risk of death, even for exercisers.)

Action plan: To stave off grazing after exercising, have a healthy snack an hour or two after your workout. And stay mobile as much as possible. Take the stairs, do a loop around the office, or pace while youre on a conference call.

7. Bad Form Is Bad News When Youre Strength-Training

When I see someone lifting weights with improper form, I get concerned, says Sokol. Not only can it diminish results but it can also lead to injury.

Action plan: Even if youve been weight-training for a while, its a good idea to brush up on form. You can find videos that illustrate good lifting form on ExRx.net. Or, even better, invest in a session with a personal trainer. A few general tips: Count one one-thousand, two one-thousand as you lift the weight, says Sokol, and one one-thousand, two one-thousand as you lower it. If you lift too fast, you let momentum, not your muscles, do the work, he says. When doing upper-body exercises, keep your wrists straight; when doing squats and lunges, align your knees and ankles; and when bending over for an exercise (like a dumbbell row), keep your back flat. Always keep your neck aligned with the rest of your body.


4 Balancing Exercises for a More Muscular Middle[1]

How to Keep Things in Moderation[2]

24 Nutritious (and Tasty) Snacks[3] ______________________________________________________________________

8. Working Out on an Empty Stomach Wont Burn More Fat

A common belief is that if you exercise before you eat, your body will turn to its fat reserves for energy instead of the food in your stomach. In fact, its just the opposite: In a 2011 study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, people experienced a bigger boost in metabolismmeaning, burned more fatwhen they exercised after eating breakfast than when they did the same workout on an empty stomach. The authors of the study theorize that when you eat before exercising, your body uses more oxygen, resulting in a metabolism spike and an improvement in fat burning.

Action plan: Eat already! Even a small snack with carbohydrates, protein, and a little fat, eaten a half hour before, will power your workout, says Morgan. Good choices: low-fat yogurt and a banana, whole-grain cereal and low-fat milk, or oatmeal and fruit. Or make it really easy and choose a fruit-and-nut bar, such as a Lrabar ($28 for 16, larabar.com).

9. A Death Grip on the Cardio Machine Strains Your Body and Burns Fewer Calories

When you hold the treadmill or stair-climber handles so tightly that your knuckles turn white (because you cant keep up with the speed, perhaps), your body is forced into an uncomfortable position, which can put strain on your muscles. And because your legs dont have to work as hard when you lean on the machine, the number of calories you burn plummets, says Deborah McConnell Plitt, a trainer for the Life Fitness Academy, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Action plan: Maintain proper form. On the treadmill, you should be able to stand tall and pump your arms. On the stair-climber, keep your body centered over the pedals, with your head up and shoulders relaxed. Its OK to hold the handrails lightly, as long as your posture is correct.

10. The Fat-Burning Zone Isnt Really a Fat-Burning Zone

If youve ever played around with the controls on a cardio machine, you may have experienced the fat burning program, in which you exercise at a low, steady intensity. The idea is that low intensity is better for weight loss than more vigorous effort, because you can sustain it longer. But studies show that even in a shorter workout, boosting your intensity can burn as many, if not more, calories than long, steady-state cardio. And when it comes to losing or maintaining weight, its the total number of calories that counts, says Halevy. Plus, by working harder, you can get out of the gym faster.

Action plan: Slow, steady workouts are a good place to begin if youre just starting a cardio routine. But as you get more fit, bump up the intensity. Try interval training once or twice a week on nonconsecutive days: Work at a high intensity for a short spurt (say, 30 seconds), lower the intensity to recover (for 90 seconds), and repeat for 20 to 30 minutes.


  1. ^ 4 Balancing Exercises for a More Muscular Middle (www.realsimple.com)
  2. ^ How to Keep Things in Moderation (www.realsimple.com)
  3. ^ 24 Nutritious (and Tasty) Snacks (www.realsimple.com)

Original Story Here


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    • Cwa
    • July 7, 2012

    Workout Tips? I need some workout tips to help me gain some strengh. I am 18 and planning on being a cop i just like tonight wreashled with my dad he weights about 250 and man i had a hard time . so i gonna need some tips on work out. anyone with some ideas and tips please throw them my way
    also i weigfht 150 and i am 6’2′ very tall and skinny guy!

      • HealthNut
      • July 7, 2012

      Keep it clean and simple. You need to dedicate about 4 days a week to your work out routine and about 2 hours for each work out. Each work out should start with a warm up that gets your body streched out and loosened up. This is best with cardio as that helps to build stamina (a cop needs to chase the robber). Get on the tread mill and do about a 30 min jog. Better yet, use a elipitical as this is better for your joints and helps to build “core strength” by woukingout your core muscle group.

      Next, you need to have a balanced work out that includes free weights, machines and others basics.

      Do 5 sets of 30 crunches – Bump this to 5 sets of 50 as you get better.

      Do push ups in the same # as above.

      Free weight dumb bells 5 sets of 20
      Bench press 5 sets of 10
      Use the butterfly machine and a few other machines (I forget each name)

      At the end of your workout, do another 15 mins of cardio or better yet, swiming.

      As well, you need to start eating smart. Without trying to diet, eat what you normally eat but try not to eat processed foods (hot dogs, junk foods, NO BEER).

      Good luck

    • J
    • July 7, 2012

    Workout Tips? I need some tips on how to maximize my workout. I’m 15, stand 6ft 1in, and weigh 172. I’ve got a curlbar, 60 lbs worth of weight in 10 lb ingriments, 2 15 lb dumbells, 1 35 lb dumbell, and a machine that supposedly goes up to 200 lbs to work with. What should I eat, what supplements should I drink (I’m on some whey protein that you pick up at vitamin shoppe), what execises should I do to maximize results and gain muscle and lose some weight. I’m pretty active, especially at running and weightlifting, so I’m not a beginning exerciser. I’d just like to see some better abs, bulkier biceps/triceps, a nicer back and shoulders, and most of all, a good looking chest. I really need to work on my chest and abs. It’s hard for me to get good results in those areas. So if you don’t mind, give a little help. By the way, is it okay to weightlift every week day, or should I switch between running and weightlifting daily? Been wandering about that.

      • HealthNut
      • July 7, 2012

      Alternate between running and weightlifting everyday. It’ll help your muscles and give your workout some variety. For your chest and shoulders: benchpress, benchpress, benchpress.

      Squats. Hold your arms in front of you and put your hands together. Squat down, back straight and keep your feet shoulder width apart. Start with 2 sets of 20.

      Crunches. Do 3 sets of 33 and a different kind of crunch for every set. Start by laying on the floor and propping your legs up on the mattress (cross your ankles). Do a set of 33 crunches that way. Scoot back and hold up your legs in the same position as before. Do a set of 33 that way. Now do bicycle crunches (a set of 33).

  1. Reply

    Workout Tips? Want to get abs asap, need workout tips

      • HealthNut
      • July 7, 2012

      Best video ever made for abs. Shows every ab workout and it’s quick.


  2. Reply

    Can You Give Me Some Workout Tips On Buns? I have a big butt and I don’t know how to lose the waight. Can someone help me out? Can you name some workout tips that might work for me?

      • HealthNut
      • July 7, 2012

      Squats….work a treat, trust me!

  3. Reply

    Allover Workout Tips For 17 Year Old Female? I want to flatten my stomach and tone up my arms. Does anyone have any good tips or links to simple workout routines?

      • HealthNut
      • July 7, 2012

      Try having fun while doing a workout, and incorporate both toning and cardio. watch tv or listen to music while doing sit ups or push ups. or just find random things around your house that are heavish for you and lift while watching tv or smoething. dance, or find workout videos on youtube. it helps:) good luck!
      this is one that i tried out…
      also watch what you eat!

    • XP
    • July 7, 2012

    Can I Have Some Good Workout Tips? Hey could I get some good workout tips. I’m medium built but i want to be lean and fit. I also want to tone and shape my legs a lot. Please tell me if you have any good tips!

      • HealthNut
      • July 7, 2012

      Yes,visit the following sites for fitness.You may not need a full-fledged diet right now, but you can still incorporate some slim-down strategies into your daily life.

      Eat breakfast. Studies show that eating breakfast is associated with keeping weight off once you’ve lost it.

      Fill up on low-cal foods. Start every meal with the items on your plate that are lowest in calories. By the time you get to the other foods, you won’t be so hungry, possibly decreasing your total intake.

      Begin with soup. Starting lunch or dinner with a broth-based, vegetable-filled soup will curb hunger so you’ll be less tempted to eat higher-calorie foods.

      Arrive fashionably late. Without as much time near the buffet table at parties, you’ll eat less.

      Divide your lunch. Afternoon snacker? Cut your lunch in half: have part at mealtime and the other half later in the afternoon.

      Swap mustard for mayo. A tablespoon of mayonnaise has 100 calories, compared with 10 calories for a tablespoon of yellow mustard.

      Duration of Exercise
      You may not be exercising long enough. The rule of thumb is cardio for 30 minutes, three times per week. If you really want to reach your goal, try five 45-minute cardio workouts per week. That sounds like a lot of exercise, but remember this is in order to meet your goal, not necessarily maintain it.

  4. Reply

    Can You Guys Suggest Me Some Workout Tips? I dont want bulky. Just a skinny type. With chest, arms and abs. Please suggest some diet tips and workout as well. I am 20 years old 66 kg hight 5ft 6inch.

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