Blog Posts by FITNESS Magazine

  • 5 Steps to a Good Night's Sleep

    Ned Frisk/Jupiter ImagesBy the editors of FITNESS Magazine

    We'll keep this short because we know you're exhausted. According to a recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of women say they get a good night's sleep just a few days a week or less, and nearly half admit they're so beat that it interferes with daily activities. "We live in a 24-7 society with a huge amount of pressure and commitments," says Helene A. Emsellem, MD, medical director of the Center for Sleep & Wake Disorders in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and author of Snooze...Or Lose! "It's very easy to sacrifice sleep time for other things we think are more important."

    Then there are all those nights we can't nod off, no matter how hard we try. Research shows that women's sleep tends to be disrupted during menstruation, pregnancy, and perimenopause. Women are also more likely than men to suffer from insomnia (about 7 out of 10 women reported having it in a recent poll). Given all this, it's no wonder that the amount of money we spend

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  • 8 Ways to Burn More Fat, Faster

    Denise Crew/Fitness MagazineDenise Crew/Fitness MagazineBy Caroline Hwang

    News flash: You don't have to overhaul your life to work off mega calories. Here are our eight simple rules for squeezing the most out of your everyday routine to score the silhouette you've been sweating for.

    Related: Get a Firmer Butt in 30 Minutes

    Rule #1: Be an early bird to get the workout.
    Lace up first thing and you'll increase your odds of exercising today threefold. A study of 500 people at the Mollen Clinic, a preventive medicine and wellness center in Scottsdale, Arizona, found that 75 percent of those who worked out in the morning did so regularly, compared with just half the afternoon exercisers and a quarter of the post-work crowd. "At the beginning of the day, you have the fewest excuses for skipping exercise," says clinic founder Arthur Mollen, DO. Not waking up early enough, of course, is the main one. "Limit using the snooze button to only five minutes so that you don't fall into a deep sleep again," Dr. Mollen advises. Bonus! You'll go to work

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  • 5 Ways to Fast-Track Your Strength Training

    Ericka McConnell/Fitness MagazineEricka McConnell/Fitness MagazineBy Ethan Boldt

    If you've stopped getting results from your strength-training routine, it's time to shake things up. Pick any of these five simple strategies to wake up your muscles.

    Related: 5 Exercises for Stronger Arms Fast

    1. Move Quickly from Upper to Lower Body
    Alternate upper- and lower-body exercises without rest in between to up your caloric burn exponentially, says celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson, whose clients include Jennifer Lopez. Moving quickly from biceps curls to squats, for example, can raise your heart rate by forcing blood to shunt from your arms to your legs. Work this technique into your routine once a week.

    2. Drop the Weight

    Squeeze every ounce of effort out of your muscles with drop sets, says Mark Jenkins, owner of International Fitness in New York City. This technique recruits more muscle fibers for faster results. Start with a weight heavy enough to fatigue muscles in 10 reps. Use a slightly lighter weight for a second set. Then go even lighter for a

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  • 6 Ways to Solve Common Fitness Woes

    Laura Doss/Fitness MagazineLaura Doss/Fitness MagazineBy Melissa Daly

    Expert solutions for nagging fitness obstacles so you can finally get fitter, faster, stronger.

    Related: How to Do a Yoga Headstand, a Pull-Up and More

    How to Choose and Anchor a Resistance Band
    A piece of stretchy rubber seems like simple enough equipment. But then, how stretchy is too stretchy? And where in your house are you supposed to tie the thing? Kit Rich, a Los Angeles-based celebrity Pilates instructor, clears up the confusion: If you're new to exercise, choose the lightest band to start, usually the equivalent of a three-pound dumbbell. If you already work out, go with the next level, five to seven pounds of resistance. (Bands are typically color coded. Try the GoFit Power Loops kit to get three levels of resistance; $15, gofit.com.) "To increase the resistance of any band, just shorten it, by holding it closer to where it's anchored," Rich adds. Depending on the exercise, you can anchor the band under your feet or tie it around a doorknob, a sofa leg, or a

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  • What Really Happens to Your Body After Baby

    Laura Doss/Fitness MagazineLaura Doss/Fitness MagazineBy Ayren Jackson-Cannady

    With celebrity moms showing off shockingly svelte bodies just weeks after giving birth, it's no wonder new mothers are so confused about what to really expect after delivery. Here, we separate fact from fiction.

    Related: Lose the Baby Weight: Get a Better Body After Baby Workout

    You'll Instantly Lose 10 Pounds

    True. Take one seven- to eight-pound baby, plus about two pounds of blood and amniotic fluid, and you're pretty much assured a 10-pound weight loss in the hospital after you deliver. "In the first week you will probably lose another three to five pounds of water weight. However, it will take time until you return to your pre-pregnancy weight," says Lisa Druxman, a San Diego-based fitness trainer and author of Lean Mommy. "It took nine months for you to put the weight on, so you should give yourself at least that to take it off."

    Your Hair Will Start to Shed
    True. Up to 50 percent of women experience an increased shedding period after giving birth. "It's

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  • Get Sweetener Savvy: The Need-to-Know Facts

    iStockPhotoiStockPhotoBy Rebecca Brown

    If you're making the switch from table sugar to a low-cal artificial sweetener, the bevy of options can be overwhelming and totally misleading. We got the scoop on what's really in those little packets, as well as some common misconceptions. (Hint: They don't all help you lose weight!)

    Related: 9 Shocking Sugar Facts

    Aspartame
    Sold under names like NutraSweet® and Equal®, aspartame is one of the more controversial and studied sweeteners on the market. In fact, "by 1994, 75 percent of all non-drug complaints to the FDA were in response to aspartame," says Cynthia Pasquella, clinical nutritionist and holistic practitioner. Those gripes ranged from vomiting and headaches, to abdominal pain and even cancer.

    The Scoop:
    Aspartame has zero calories and is often used for baking, it contains a broth of unfamiliar ingredients, such as phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol. "The methanol from aspartame breaks down in the body to become formaldehyde, which

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  • Go Green or Bust? when to Buy Organic

    Lisa Shin/Fitness MagazineLisa Shin/Fitness MagazineBy Leslie Goldman

    Pesticides, parabens, phthalates, oh my! You know you should go green, but living eco-friendly 24/7 can be pretty rough on your wallet. (Little known fact: "Organic" is Latin for "expensive.") The truth is, while there are a few arenas in life where you should shell out for the greenest label possible (spinach, we're looking at you!), there are also products you can safely skip. Read on and let us navigate you through the eco-green waters.

    Related: 8 Easy Ways to Green Your Fitness Routine

    Unpeelable Produce
    Verdict: Go green
    Fruits and veggies that can't be peeled (or where you usually eat the skin) are typically coated with insect repellants -- the USDA has found 28 pesticides on conventionally grown potatoes, 39 on strawberries, and 48 on grapes and apples. Unfortunately, the substances that keep bugs off your berries have been linked to cancer, lung disease, birth defects, reproductive problems, and more, so opt organic when purchasing leafy greens, apples,

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  • 5 Tricks to Eat Healthier at Home

    Laura Doss/Fitness MagazineLaura Doss/Fitness MagazineBy Meghan Reid

    Eating out can often be a diet weakness, but what if yours is just the opposite? At home, there are endless choices of desserts, calorie-packed dinners, and leftovers to last you a lifetime. Here, experts share their tricks on how to organize your fridge to help you make a healthy eating choice every time you open it.

    Related: Easy Ways to Decode Food Labels

    Tip #1: Go the Cheap Route

    Fill your fridge with actual ingredients, not pre-packaged foods. "It's easier than you think to cook from scratch, not to mention much cheaper," says Carole Carson fitness expert and author of From Fat to Fit. "You'll only use three to four ingredients, and the end result is much healthier than something that is frozen or processed."

    Tip #2: Get Ready to Reorganize
    You alone have control of your cupboards, yet with a family to please along with a sweet tooth that just won't budge you may find your shelves are often filled with more calorie bombs than flat-belly eats. To keep everyone

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  • 20-Minute Workout: Burn Fat Before Breakfast!

    Jay Sullivan/Fitness MagazineJay Sullivan/Fitness MagazineBy the editors of FITNESS

    Six exercises to burn fat and tone your body in less time than it takes to sip a morning latte with this total-body workout from Sarah Slattery, a trainer at Equinox Fitness in New York City.

    Related: The Metabolism-Boosting Superset Workout


    1. Windmill

    Targets: Abs

    • Stand tall with arms extended out to sides, abs engaged.
    • Bending from waist, reach right arm toward left toes; repeat on left.
    • Do 25 reps, alternating sides.
    2. Pulsing Lunge

    Targets: Butt and legs

    • Lunge forward with right leg; hold for 4 seconds, then pulse up and down 5 times.
    • Repeat on left.
    • Do 2 reps.

    Related: 9 Exercises for Strong, Sculpted Arms

    3. Triceps Kickback

    Targets: Triceps

    • Hold dumbbell in right hand.
    • Bend at hips until almost parallel to floor.
    • Bring elbow to ribs, straighten forearm back, and return.
    • Do 15 reps on each arm.
    4. Plank/Push-Up

    Targets: Chest and core

    • Start in plank position (palms on floor, hands below
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  • 9 Tips to Have More Energy for Your Workout

    Denise Crew/Fitness MagazineDenise Crew/Fitness MagazineBy Marisa Cohen

    Stop falling off the workout wagon. Our 9 simple strategies will help you outsmart your inner slacker and harness more mojo to get up and go.

    Related: Upgrade Your Workout: Extreme Sports to Try

    3 Tips to Get Going
    Get mojo from your mini-me.
    "When I used to swim, it was always for external goals, like scholarships or world records," ex­plains Janet Evans, who, as a 40-year-old mother of two, came back to the games after 16 years, hoping to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. "Now it's more personal. I remind myself that I'm showing my 5-year-old daughter that if you set a goal and work hard for it, you can achieve anything. Yesterday she said to me, 'Mommy, you smell like chlorine.' And I said, 'Get used to it, girl!'"

    Go for instant gratification.

    Sure, working out can help lower your risk for cancer, heart disease, and a slew of other scary illnesses. But those long-term benefits seem awfully abstract when you're trying to tear yourself away from New Girl to go

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