Put one song on repeat and eventually you tune it out, even if it's your fave. Your body does the same thing with your go-to moves: If you work out the same way all the time, your muscles adapt and stop progressing, and you risk overuse injuries.
So we asked Rachel Cosgrove, author of The Female Body Breakthrough, to tweak the not-so-complicated strength moves we all love so that they target different muscle groups. Alternate between the traditional move and the variation every two weeks and watch your fitness level skyrocket.
Abs Diet Recipes to Jumpstart Your Results
1. BENCH PRESS
The Traditional: Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie faceup on a weight bench with your feet flat on the floor. Position your hands wider than shoulder-width apart, elbows flared out. Straighten your arms and lift the weights over your chest. Lower the dumbbells until they nearly touch your chest, then press back up. That's one rep. Do three sets of 10 to 12.
The Tweak (at left) : Position
Blog Posts by The Editors of WOMEN'S HEALTH
Put one song on repeat and eventually you tune it out, even if it's your fave. Your body does the same thing with your go-to moves: If you work out the same way all the time, your muscles adapt and stop progressing, and you risk overuse injuries.Read More »from Amp up your workout results: 4 easy do-now tweaks
With all the weighing, measuring, and calorie totaling, dropping a few pounds can seem as mind-bending as high school calculus. But it doesn't have to be. "Of course calories count," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, "but there are plenty of ways to cut them without a math Ph.D." In fact, some simple lifestyle changes are often more effective for weight-loss success than obsessive number crunching. Follow these four strategies and the only figure you'll be thinking about is the smokin' one in the mirror.Read More »from Easier Ways To Lose Weight
Instead of Counting Calories. . .
Try Joining a Club. Here's why: Keeping a running total is a little like guessing how many jelly beans are in a Mason jar. According to a 2006 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Americans--even those who are at a healthy weight--consistently lowball the number of calories in large fast-food meals by up to 38 percent.
For portion control without the decimal points, sign up for a
Before 175 lbsRead More »from "I never thought I'd be skinny."
(Scroll down to see photo)
After 132 lbs
THE CHANGE In January 2008, a blood test revealed Mechelle was prediabetic. Determined to dodge the disease, she began eating more veggies, cutting out sugary drinks, and not snacking after dinner. She dropped 15 pounds from her 5'8" frame by July, but it wasn't until her friend Jennie lost 30 pounds through diet and exercise that she kicked her weight loss into high gear. "When Jennie lost that much, I realized I could do it too," she says. On July 31, 2008, at 157 pounds, she wrote a pledge to push the scale below 150. "I hung it next to the bathroom mirror so I'd see it every day."
When Mechelle Wingle married her college sweetheart in 1994, she weighed 140 pounds. But over the next 11 years, she had four children, and as a stay-at-home mom in Layton, Utah, she was never able to lose the baby weight. In 2006, after the birth of her last child, Mechelle peaked at 175 pounds.
"I'd eat 10 chocolate-chip cookies after dinner and
It's the cruelest of weight-loss conundrums: The closer you get to your ideal weight, the tougher it is to reach it, says L.A.-based celebrity trainer Holly Perkins. The reason: Your body defends its weight and holds on to pounds to maintain its natural balance. The more weight you lose, the harder your body works to hold on to it. But revving up your total-body workouts can counteract this and prevent your body from getting comfy-cozy at your plus-five weight.Read More »from The fastest way to lose 5 pounds
A surefire solution: plyometrics. These explosive moves are great muscle builders, get your heart rate up, and work multiple muscles at a time-all of which leads to an extreme calorie burn. That's what makes this megawatt routine the final piece of your weight-loss puzzle: It'll shed that last layer of fat to show off the sculpted, lean physique you've been building all along.
A Body Cleanse That Isn't Crazy
What to Expect When Doing This Workout: You will complete three to five circuits of the exercises to the right, doing
- The Editors of WOMEN'S HEALTH | Healthy Living – Wed, Sep 14, 2011 4:47 PM EDT
Read More »from No gym? No problem! [Video: Total-body workout to do anywhere]
All you really need to get super-fit is your own body; it provides enough resistance to sculpt a lean, sexy physique. The secret? Engage as many muscles as possible while quickly moving from one exercise to the next to keep your heart rate high. In this body-weight circuit created by Raphael Verela, owner of the Circuit Works studios in Venice and Brentwood, California, you'll do a resistance exercise followed immediately by a high-energy cardio move that works the same muscle group.
"We call it the zigzag method," he says. "It effectively increases lean muscle mass and decreases body fat by engaging more muscle fibers and burning tons of calories in a short amount of time."
These no-gym-required fat burners--paired in supersets (two moves done back-to-back without resting in between)--will get you into killer condition fast.
Cardio vs. Weight Training: Is One Better Than the Other?
What to expect Start with the first move and do as many reps as you can in 60 seconds. Then go
- The Editors of WOMEN'S HEALTH | Healthy Living – Wed, Sep 7, 2011 11:14 PM EDT
BEFORE: 345 lbs(Scroll down to see photo)Read More »from 200 Pounds lighter and "a 180-degree turn for the better!"
AFTER: 145 lbs
When Mary Renwick moved with her husband, Tim, who was in the Navy, from Monroe, Michigan, to a military base in Sicily in 1999, her six-foot frame was lean and willowy. But while Tim worked odd hours at his new job, Mary filled her lonely days with food. "I ate for comfort and indulged in the local cuisine--oily pasta, buttered bread, lots of cannoli," she says. By the time Tim was discharged and they returned to Monroe in 2002, she was 90 pounds heavier and depressed. In the next seven years, Mary gave birth to two boys, which improved her spirits but not her weight.
THE CHANGE In December 2009, Mary reached down to pick up her youngest son, Parker, then 5 months old, and felt a stab in her back. A visit to the doctor revealed two bulging disks and a pinched nerve. "When I learned my weight was the main factor in my injury, I decided I could not, would not, live like that anymore," she says.
6 Comfort Food Recipe Makeovers
Who doesn't want stellar stems and a firmer backside? Nothing complements a hiked-up hemline quite like a pair of gorgeous gams. And getting them is easier than you may think. This workout, created by Marcela Ceselka, a personal trainer at Club H Fitness in New York City, targets every inch of your lower body--glutes, quads, hamstrings, hips, inner thighs, and calves--to build lean muscle in your bottom half and boost your metabolism, while also improving your core strength and balance.Read More »from 4 Ways to get lean legs and a tight tush
What to expect: Three days a week, do two or three sets of this routine, resting for 60 seconds between each exercise. Shorten your break time (or get rid of it completely!) to increase the challenge even more. Here are the four moves and how to do them with great form:
1. STEP UP WITH LEG LIFT
Place your right foot on a step or bench and put your hands on your hips (a). Push yourself up until your right leg is straight and you're standing on the bench. Squeeze your glute to raise your left leg as far
Any woman who's ever reached for a glass of wine on a date only to reveal the soaked underarms of her outfit has probably wished she could remove her sweat glands. But long before pit stains became a social obstacle, perspiring was crucial to survival. "Sweat cooled off our ancestors in the grasslands of Africa," says anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph.D. "It allowed them to hunt and forage without sweltering."Read More »from 3 Funky things you didn’t know about sweat
But a hot climate isn't the only thing that makes us sweat. Nerve-racking situations (e.g., a big job interview) can prompt the brain to trigger the release of stress hormones that raise your body's temperature enough to warrant a cooldown.
Here, three funky facts from the science of sweat.
Q: If sweat is just water and salt, why does it reek?
Sweat itself is odorless. But our armpits host special sweat filters called apocrine glands, which secrete an oily substance that, when mixed with bacteria on our skin, begins to smell, says David Pariser, M.D., a
- The Editors of WOMEN'S HEALTH | Work + Money – Thu, Aug 18, 2011 10:26 PM EDT
BEFORE: 205 lbs. (Scroll down to see photo)Read More »from Down 65 pounds and 5 sizes, “My old clothes fall off me now!”
AFTER: 140 lbs.
Working in the kitchen of an assisted-living community, Sherise Campbell spent eight hours a day, five days a week surrounded by fries, pizza, pasta, and soda. Ten years into her job, this 5'4" former "skinny girl with no curves" was a size 16. It didn't help that her chef husband, Tafari, worked the late shift and brought home fried chicken or tacos at 10 p.m. that Sherise would share despite having eaten earlier. She ignored her doctor's advice to lose weight until she hit an all-time high of 205 pounds in the summer of 2009.
5 Tips for Preventing Love Chub
THE CHANGE Because her weight gain was so gradual, Sherise didn't realize just how many pounds she'd tacked on. That is, until she flipped through a photo album from her wedding-anniversary cruise in the Bahamas and spotted a shot of herself in a red halter dress. "Curves are good, but I didn't like the way those curves looked," she says.
How to Stop Mindless Eating
- The Editors of WOMEN'S HEALTH | Healthy Living – Wed, Aug 3, 2011 5:52 PM EDT
Do you marvel at your best friend, who can take two spoonfuls of Chubby Hubby and promptly return the carton to the freezer? Or at your husband, who updates his resume every three months just in case opportunity knocks? Well, you, too, can acquire both of these types of willpower--the kind of self-control you need when you're trying to avoid something (such as treats) and the version you need when you're trying not to avoid something (like professional responsibility). Read on to learn how to cultivate inner discipline.Read More »from Instant willpower? "Yes!" says the science of self discipline
Got True Grit? More on Fortitude and Reaching Your Goals
When You Want to Avoid Temptation…
Doughnuts, bad boys, and second (and third) cocktails--just a few of the things that put our willpower to the test. It can also be hard to resist nonmaterial pleasures, like compulsively checking your eBay auction when you should be working. How to start:
Ditch the D Word Making willpower a form of deprivation can set you up for backsliding. "You have to be motivated to exert