Blog Posts by The Editors of WOMEN'S HEALTH

  • 4 Killer workout moves you can take to the park

    You probably don't know that simply by taking your running routine out of the gym you increases calorie burn by about 5 percent, thanks to wind and varied terrain. Or that the work your body does to keep its thermostat steady while outside helps you torch calories by yet another 7 percent. Between that and the stress-reducing bennies of being in nature, it's enough to make us ditch the fluorescents for the sun.

    Why the park for your workout? It has fantastic fitness tools, like swings, benches, and monkey bars. We asked exercise physiologist Tom Holland, a personal trainer in Darien, Connecticut, to put a new spin on some of his favorite moves of all time-squats, lunges, and chinups.

    Do these moves shown below as a circuit-­going immediately from one move to the next. That's one set. Rest for two minutes, then repeat for a total of three sets. Nice work. You've earned a trip to the Good Humor truck.

    BENCH JUMP Works core, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and heart

    Begin by

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  • What you’re doing wrong at the gym

    If you've been going to the gym regularly and not seeing great results, it may be because you're unknowingly mangling your moves (no offense). The truth is, most people make tiny but key errors in their techniques, and these mistakes prevent them from building muscle and burning more calories. We selected four basic moves that have a tendency to trip women up, and asked top trainers for form fixes. Apply their tips to upgrade your routine and your body.


    LUNGES: WHAT YOU DO WRONG
    You lean forward, causing your front heel to rise.

    LUNGES: FIX YOUR FORM
    1. "Narrow your starting stance," says Gray Cook, author of Athletic Body in Balance. The closer your feet are, the harder your core has to work to stabilize your body.

    2. "As you do the lunge, focus on moving your torso only up and down, not pushing it forward," says Craig Rasmussen, a fitness coach at Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. This keeps your weight balanced evenly through your front foot,

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  • 85 Pounds down, she says “I've never felt this confident!"

    BEFORE: 211 lbs
    (scroll down to see photo)

    AFTER: 126 lbs

    For most of her adult life, Jennifer Martin hovered around 200 pounds, and it weighed on more than just the scale. Her difficulty finding clothes that fit made her feel uncomfortable and self-conscious, and the stay-at-home mom from Collegeville, Pennsylvania, hated that she never had energy to play with her two kids. In 2009, the scale hit a high of 211 pounds, and Jennifer, who is 5'2", realized she weighed as much as her foot-taller husband. Curbing her sweet tooth and lacing up her running shoes helped the 31-year-old shed 85 pounds and get into the best shape of her life.


    THE CHANGE
    In early November 2009, while bingeing on her kids' leftover Halloween candy, Jennifer was suddenly flooded with guilt. "I saw my out-of-control habits through their eyes and knew I needed to change," she says. She put down a handful of chocolate and vowed to stop her chaotic eating.

    6 Ways to Stop Mindless

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  • Get Pilates abs: 8 perfect at-home moves (with video)

    You've probably read about celebs extolling the virtues of Pilates (lean legs, a supertaut tummy!), or maybe even heard the hype from mat-class-obsessed friends. If you're still skeptical, keep reading: "Pilates puts your muscles-especially the smaller, stabilizing ones-under constant tension over a large range of motion to create that enviable long, lean look," says Lauren Piskin, owner of Physicalmind Studio in New York City.

    What's more, one study found that women who swapped their usual routines for two 60-minute Pilates sessions a week saw significant increases in abdominal endurance, hamstring flexibility, and upper-body muscular endurance.

    One Secret to Being Fit for Life? Muscle Memory

    The thing is, these Pilates perks often come with a hefty price tag: A few sessions a week (typically using a bed-size contraption called a Reformer) can set you back hundreds of dollars. So Piskin created this at-home total-body workout, which gives your abs some extra love

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  • 5 Fitness rules you should break

    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 five stale fitness approaches and sifted through the latest research to come up with surprising updates that will land you a scorching body ASAP.

    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 overall tone.

    Get Sleek, Sexy Arms with This

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  • “My old clothes fall off my body!” One bride's weight-loss success story

    BEFORE: 180 lbs
    (scroll down to see photo)

    AFTER: 130 lbs

    As a teen growing up in Silver Spring, Maryland, Kristen Collins Eccleston regularly dined on greasy fast food with her friends. After college she met her now husband, Bryan, and got into the habit of splitting extra-large pizzas with him and ordering buffalo wings for Sunday-night football. Their junk-food feasts caused Kristen to tip the scale at 180 pounds. When Bryan proposed in 2009, it was a wake-up call for the 25-year-old special-ed teacher, who vowed to shed weight from her 5'6" frame before getting hitched.


    5 Ways to Keep Yourself From Gaining Love Chub


    THE CHANGE While shopping for size-16 wedding gowns in February 2010, Kristen's mom sensed her daughter's misery. She sent Kristen an encouraging note, pledging her support and offering to buy her a new smaller-size outfit for the rehearsal dinner. "My mom wanted to see me happy, so she motivated me to do something about my weight," says

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  • Want flat abs? 4 reasons to stop doing crunches

    For years, you've curled, crunched, and twisted, but for some reason your pooch hasn't shrunk. Want to know why? To reveal that sexy, sculpted middle, you have to target more than the small section of abs that crunches hit, say Alwyn Cosgrove and Lou Schuler in their book The New Rules of Lifting for Abs. You need to work your entire core by encouraging it to do the job it's meant to do: stabilize your spine.

    For a whittled middle, Cosgrove and Schuler told us, you need to commit these four rules to memory.

    1. Your spine is already flexed-don't make it worse
    If your day is spent hunched over a computer or a steering wheel, your spine is in a constantly flexed position, leading to poor posture and a weak core. So why would you worsen the problem with spine-flexing exercises like crunches? You need to do moves that help prevent or correct misaligned posture.

    8 Innovative Moves to Polish Your Posture and Slim Your Stomach

    2. The terms "core" and "abs" are not

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  • 5 No-brainer ways to motivate your metabolism

    Losing weight isn't about eating less, it's about eating more-more nutrition-dense food, to crowd out the empty calories and keep you full all day. That's important, because restricting food will kill your metabolism. It sends a signal to your body that says, "I'm starving here!" And your body responds by slowing your metabolic rate in order to hold onto existing energy stores. What's worse, if the food shortage (meaning, your crash diet) continues, you'll begin burning muscle tissue, which just gives your enemy, visceral fat, a greater advantage. Your metabolism drops even more, and fat goes on to claim even more territory. Here are some no-brainer ways to motivate your metabolism to burn more fat.


    1. GO TO BED EARLIER
    A study in Finland looked at sets of identical twins and discovered that of each set of siblings, the twin who slept less and was under more stress had more visceral fat.

    10 Myths About Getting Your Vitamin Zzzzs

    2. EAT MORE PROTEIN Your body needs

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  • The 3 health questions every woman should ask her mom

    She gave you your first haircut and your ostrich toes. Wanna know what else you got from your mom? Asking her these questions could clue you in to your possible future--and help you give unhealthy inherited risks the boot.

    ASK HER: "Are you as tall now as you were at 21?"
    If your mom has lost an inch or two since her sorority days, it could be a sign of osteoporosis or the less-severe osteopenia, says Isador H. Lieberman, M.D., a professor of surgery and an orthopedic and spinal surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Weston, Florida. And if she has osteoporosis, there's a 50 percent chance you'll develop it too. On the flip side, if your mom still has the frame of a 35-year-old, you're not as likely to be hobbling around with a hunchback or hip fractures later in life.

    RELATED: How to Flatter the Shape You Inherited

    Escape the parent trap To keep your skeleton well-steeled, get at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day from low-fat dairy and take a multi

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  • "I traded stress eating for exercising--and lost 41 pounds!"

    BEFORE 191 lbs
    (scroll down to see photo)

    AFTER 150 lbs

    Heather Mursch, now a 401(k) administrator in Lakewood, Ohio, put on 20 pounds in college and gained more weight when she moved in with a friend after graduation. "We'd eat dinner before going to a bar, and then stop for pizza or gyros on our way home," says Heather, 34. Workouts became less frequent, until she quit exercising altogether. And when Heather got married in 2000, she wore a size-16 gown.

    Are your friends a fat influence? The world health organization thinks maybe, yeah


    THE CHANGE
    Four years later, Heather's marriage was over, and her clothes were tighter than ever as she turned to food to cope. "One night, to deal with the stress, I went for a run," she says. It was her first workout in four years, and she only made it one block, but it was enough. "I felt so much better," she says.


    THE LIFESTYLE
    Heather began running every night, as far as she could push herself. In

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