Break the rules! We dare you.Unlike wine, cheese, and Clive Owen, workout strategies don't get better with age. That's because each year, fitness researchers release thousands of studies that challenge conventional thinking--or at least shed light on ways to tweak it.
We've ID'd nine stale fitness approaches and sifted through the latest research to come up with surprising updates that will help you get lean and land you a scorching body ASAP.
PLUS: 10 Exercise Machines to Avoid
1. Position your hands shoulder-width apart
You often see this in instructions for upper-body moves like bench presses and lat pulldowns. Why? Because it gives you a stable starting point. But that doesn't mean you need to stay there set after set.
"Spreading your hands a few inches farther out stresses more of the inner portion of your biceps; bringing your hands in a few inches builds more of the outer part," says New York City personal trainer Steve Lischin, M.S. Switch up your position after every set for balanced strength and
Blog Posts by The Editors of WOMEN'S HEALTH
Break the rules! We dare you.Unlike wine, cheese, and Clive Owen, workout strategies don't get better with age. That's because each year, fitness researchers release thousands of studies that challenge conventional thinking--or at least shed light on ways to tweak it.Read More »from 9 Fitness Rules You Should Break
How to dress your changing body before you're ready to spill the beans
By Vera Sizensky, Women's HealthHow To Dress In Your First Trimester
Dressing for Two
If your tummy's popping before you're ready to share the baby news, use these styling tips from Women's Health senior fashion editor Thea Palad to keep your pregnancy secret a little longer. Bonus: They'll be just as cute on you post-pregnancy as they are now.
Mirror Your Bump
Rock This Trend: Mirrored prints
"Reflecting a print along your vertical axis is instantly slimming and can help hide any weight gain," says Palad.
Color Block Your Bump
Rock This Trend: Color blocks
"Make sure the darker colors are strategically placed over your tummy and any other parts you want to shrink visually," says Palad. Disappearing panels and ombre designs also have the same effect, so the darker portion will helpRead More »from 8 Clever Ways to Hide a Baby Bump
Sunscreens following the FDA's stricter labeling regulations are hitting shelves, so the EWG has endorsed a new crop of productsHave you made your first drugstore run of the season to stock up on sunscreen? If not, you're in for a surprise: All products claiming to shield your skin from the sun--lotions, sprays, makeup, even lip balms--must now follow new labeling rules mandated by the FDA. Banned are fuzzy buzzwords such as "sunblock" and "sweatproof" in favor of more accurate, research-backed terms that give consumers a clear sense of how well the product protects against UV-induced skin damage and skin cancer.
RELATED: 7 Ways to Protect Yourself From CancerRead More »from The New Sunscreen Guidelines You Need to Know
On the heels of the new rules comes an annual report from the Environmental Working Group that lists the top sunscreens of 2013. Released last week by the advocacy organization, the report recommends more than 100 products out of thousands currently available on store shelves. To get the EWG's seal of approval, sunscreens had to offer solid sun protection not exceeding SPF values above "50+" (which the FDA warns can give a false sense of security
Just because it's fun doesn't mean it doesn't work up a sweat!Tossing a Frisbee. Hitting the dance floor. Crushing your friend in Wii tennis. They're all great ways to pass the time and let off some steam, but it turns out that some of your favorite hobbies might qualify as actual exercise too.Read More »from 8 Ways to Burn Calories Outside the Gym
Even light physical activities--things you view as more fun and leisurely than "fitness"-can reduce stress, punch up your metabolism, and add years to your life. They can also help speed up recovery from traditional workouts and ease sore muscles.
Now, don't go canceling your trainer just yet: Eighteen holes of mini golf or tug-of-war with your pooch doesn't necessarily match the muscle-building, fat-blasting potential of a 20-minute strength workout. But there may be ways to turn these fun exercises into a genuine sweat session.
RELATED: 15 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism
FUN. Let's be real: Your activity consists of walking 10 feet with a (maybe) 10-pound ball, and then sitting back down.
Game Changer: You could use the ball as a free
- The Editors of WOMEN'S HEALTH | Beauty – Thu, May 23, 2013 3:15 PM EDT
Whether you're looking for something sporty or feminine, these styles offer the right cut and coverage for your body.
You can rock any style of sunnies (aviator, oversize, wayfarer, cat-eye) so long as you pick a pair with the right details for your face shape
Shop your closet for a whole new lookRead More »from One Piece, 3 Ways: T-Shirt Dress
By Susan Rinkunas, Women's Health Senior Online Editor
There's no denying that a new outfit can transform how you feel and act-but shopaholic tendencies are bad news for both your bank account AND the environment.
A smarter way to revamp your look? Switching up the way you wear your staple (or statement) pieces. We're thrilled to introduce a new feature: "One Piece, 3 Ways," where the Women's Health fashion team will serve up outfit inspiration based on one key item. (Bonus: You might already have it in your closet!)
Spring Fashion to Refresh Your Look
Here, Women's Health contributing accessories editor Jennifer Yoo suggests three chic ways to wear a loose dress.
Staple Piece: A breezy silk dress that will never go into storage
Petiole T-Shirt Dress, $460, petioleny.com
Look 1: Summer
The perfect beach shift to slink in and out of-and still look chic for that sunset cocktail.
Caracas Sisal Basket Tote, $109,
Trying to shimmy into your skinny jeans? Beware the habits that are sabotaging your progressThe countdown to bikini season has begun. But even if you're busting your butt at the gym and following a nutrition plan down to the peas and carrots, you've got to get your head in the game in order to reach your fitness goals, says Rachel Cosgrove, trainer and author of Drop Two Sizes. "If you're not in a success mindset, a positive mindset, then it's going to be really hard to overcome that," she says. So no more easy outs! Be your biggest champion by ditching these damaging habits:Read More »from 3 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes You're Making
RELATED: 15 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism
Mistake No. 1: You use the word but
One of the biggest challenges many women face: ending negative thoughts and excuses. Any time you use the word but, you completely discount whatever comes before it. For example: "I am going to cook at home this week, but I don't know if that will work because I have a really busy week." Try substituting it for the word and. "I am going to cook at home this week, and I have a really busy week." Now those two things can
You have one week until your beach vacay--here's one tweak you can do every day to look lighter and feel firmer Tank tops, shorts, and swimsuits… oh my! It's almost the end of May, which means you'll have to peel off your winter clothes soon. While only you know what you've been hiding underneath all those layers, you're not the only one who feels insecure this time of year.
"Going hungry isn't good for anyone. Eventually, you'll end up breaking down and overeating," says nutritionist Carrie Wiatt. With a week until Memorial Day, here's one tweak you can do every day to look lighter and feel firmer.Related: Rev Your Metabolism in 8 Minutes
Eliminate Processed Foods
They're easy to get sucked into, yet unsatisfying. "They make you crave more food than your body needs," says Wiatt. If you can't pronounce the ingredients, the food is off-limits. Or hit the produce aisle for foods with no label at all.
Lay Off The Sauce
Not only are alcoholic drinks dehydrating and high in calories, they also make resisting unnecessary nibbles incredibly difficult. (No shocker here: Studies Read More »from Get Swimsuit-Ready in 7 Days
Ditch the excuses--these tactics can keep you strong the next time you get the urge to bailAs awesome as a great workout can feel, it's hard to magic up the motivation to make it happen some days. But new research suggests you should power through, even if you're not 100 percent feeling it.Read More »from 5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Work Out
Even "forced" exercise can help protect against anxiety and stress, according to a study from the University of Colorado at Boulder. So essentially, dragging yourself to the gym is just as beneficial to your Zen levels as going voluntarily. "Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and push yourself to work out, even if you're feeling less than inspired," says Wendy Larkin, master trainer at Crunch San Francisco. "I have to force myself to go on a run every Sunday, but after I do, I feel better, my mood is better and I sleep better."
Need a little help getting off the couch? These tactics can keep you strong the next time you get the urge to bail.
Schedule sessions with a trainer
If this seems like a duh, that's because it is. Think about it: You commit a) weeks in advance to b) actual