By Steve Calechman
Life is full of mysteries, but between holding down a job and keeping track of who Kim Kardashian may (or may not) be dating this week, you don't have a lot of free time to devote to mastering important, albeit elusive, life skills. That's why we've nailed down some common "How do I do that?" situations and asked the pros for advice -- so you can be an automatic expert.
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1. How to Tie a Neck Tie
The Four-Step Knot
Maybe he's nervous and has temporarily lost his fine motor skills. Maybe you like putting on the finishing touches. Regardless, the best knot is the simple four-in-hand -- especially with button-down collars.
- Facing him, place the tie's wide end around the right side of his neck, letting it hang about 12 inches lower than the narrow end in front.
- Cross the wide end over the narrow end and throw the long piece (still the wide end) underneath, around, and over.
- Pull the wide end up through the loop at his neck and then bring it down through the knot in front.
- Slide the knot upward to adjust length.
Bonus Tip: Every knot can use a dimple. Squeeze the tie just below the knot and allow a crease to form in the center. Then slide the knot upward and tighten.
Source: Arthur Jordan, a wardrobe consultant at LouisBoston, an upscale clothing store in Boston2. How to Run Downhill
When running down a steep grade, the tendency of most people is to lean back and overstride, landing hard on the feet -- and risking injury.
Instead, assume a mini squat position:
- Drop your hips two inches, bend your knees slightly, and lean forward a bit from the waist.
- Raise your elbows just a little wider and higher than normal for more stability.
Bonus Tip: Tucking your chin in toward your chest will keep you from tightening your abs, which can help prevent side stitches. And don't lock your knees.
Source: Roy Benson, a private running coach in Atlanta
Related: Smart Workout Pain Solutions3. How to Monitor Your Heart Rate
You know that monitoring your heart will give you the best cardio and fat-burning benefits. But tackling those percentages can turn off all but the most die-hard athlete. If you absolutely don't want to deal with the math, you can buy a monitor that automatically calculates your best heart-rate zones using a simple formula based on your age.
However, you'll end up with a more accurate number if you follow this 20-minute cardio workout:
- Start out slow and easy and increase your pace every two minutes, checking the monitor regularly to make sure that your heart rate is increasing in a steady line.
- During the last two minutes of the routine, push yourself as hard as you can, looking at the monitor every 20 seconds to check your peak, or highest, number.
- You might have to round off, but essentially that's your maximum heart rate.
Bonus Tip: To prevent overtraining and possible injury, never exercise at more than 95 percent of your maximum heart rate (60-85 percent is a good range).
Source: Roy Benson
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4. How to Get Served in a Crowded Bar
Forget about flirting. When it's busy, all a bartender cares about is turnover. Smile and stand patiently with your money out -- one fold only; crumpled bills bog everything down. Don't snap your fingers, wave, or yell, "Hey!" The bartender knows you're there. Once you've been served, stay on your barkeep's good side by tipping at least $1 a drink.
Bonus Tip: There's no magic place to stand, but there are places to avoid: The corner of the bar closest to the door is often busiest, and the service bar at the end is for the waiters and waitresses.
Source: Tom Sisson, manager, New York Bartending School'
5. How to Get Off the Phone Easily
You bought an iPhone so you could look cool talking on it, not let every call go to voice mail. So the next time your gossipy neighbor calls, resist the screening urge. Instead, answer with "I'm glad you caught me. But I only have a few minutes." That way there'll be no surprise a few minutes later when you interrupt her to say, "Oh no, I'm late! I really have to go. I'll talk to you soon."
If you can't set a time limit at the beginning of the conversation, say her name, which makes people pause. Then jump in with "Oops, forgot to tell you, I have to run. It was great talking to you. We'll talk again." You're home free, and there are usually no hard feelings.
Bonus Tip: After you say goodbye, add "And thanks for calling!" for extra damage control.
Source: Barbara Pachter, etiquette expert and author of When the Little Things Count...And They Always Count (Marlowe & Company, 2001)
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