Focus ~ Food ~ Fitness


Exercise Tips

Improve Cardio

We recommend you begin a regular regimen of cardiovascular exercise. Here are some tips on how to get started: 
  • Try walking to start—even just 5 minutes a day is good to begin with. 
  • Experiment with different forms of exercise: walking, swimming, aerobics, jogging, in-line skating, jumping rope, rowing, cycling, spinning, exercise machines, cross-country skiing, skating, kickboxing, dancing, rebounding on a mini trampoline, hiking a mountain, or anything else that grabs you. 
  • Try to exercise in the fresh air if possible. 
  • Be sure to increase your level of exertion as your fitness level improves. If you stay at that same speed and incline on the treadmill for years without increasing your effort, your benefits will go downhill. 
  • Build up slowly to 30 minutes a day of vigorous cardiovascular exercise. 

Build Muscle

To obtain a maximum level of fitness, you also need to incorporate a strength-training  regimen with your aerobic exercises. I recommend you begin a gradual strength-training program to build muscle and stamina. Just 20 minutes of strength training three times a week can be enough to stop the otherwise inevitable muscle loss of 10 ounces a year that affects most people over 40. It can also prevent "the skinny fat syndrome" — where you are the same weight at 60 as you were at 20 but are twice as fat. When this happens, your muscle has been replaced by fat, with all the related dangerous consequences, but you still can fit into the same clothes. This is more insidious than getting fat but no less dangerous. 

Building muscle and strength training are important. The question is how to do it.  Here are some ideas that should help you: 
  • Start slowly with proper supervision. It is easy to hurt yourself. Sometimes your muscles are not strong enough to protect your joints, ligaments, and tendons from injury—you will need to build up slowly. 
  • Be sure to use proper form. This is where guidance in the beginning can be critical. Not only will you miss the benefit of weight training if you do it improperly, but you can harm yourself. 
  • Build up to 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each of the four major muscle groups (chest and shoulders, upper back, upper legs, and abdominals). 
Do this three times a week. It should take you about 20 minutes for each session, or about an hour a week. 

Improve Flexibility

Flexibility is critical to healthy ageing. We get stiff and unable to move as we get older, and it is never too late to get flexible. Much exercise shortens muscle fibers and contracts muscles. Stretching balances that  out, prevents injury, and reduces pain overall. So we suggest you start a daily practice or stretching routine. You should combine stretching with breathing, which gives you a much more powerful overall effect. It can also reduce stress and calm the nervous system. If you are interested in starting a stretching routine, here's what to do: 
  • Find a stretching class, or get a DVD, or video. There are all sorts of styles and levels. Find one to suit you. 
  • Remember to breathe through each posture as you do the exercises. This is a key component of the practice. 
  • Move into the postures slowly and with awareness; how you do it is as  important as what you do. 
  • Don't force your body to do what it doesn't want to. If it hurts ease up a bit. You will get further by breathing and relaxing into a pose than forcing yourself into it. 
  • As an alternative you can also simply try some basic routines. -Try Pilates. It is good for both flexibility and strength. 

Six Exercises You Should Avoid

Here are the 6 exercises you should avoid if you want to ignite your body's own fat-burning furnace and get lean and strong in less time:

Mistake #1:
Doing Isolated Exercises

Doing isolated exercises like bicep curls and tricep kick-backs will NOT get you any significant results. These one-muscle-at-a-time moves simply don't stimulate enough muscle fibers to build lean muscle or expend enough energy to maximise your calorie burn. If you want to build lean muscle while burning fat so you can get serious definition, you need to perform exercises that stimulate as many muscles and expend as much energy as possible at the same time. 

Mistake #2:
Working Out With Machines

Fancy machines may make the gym look high-end, but truthfully, about the only thing they're good for is for sitting down while you tie your shoes or catch your breath! The problem is this: Machines alter the way your body naturally moves and restrict your range of motion. This severely limits your ability to fully activate all of your muscles fibers -- that means less fat burning and less muscle definition. Worse yet, machines can cause excessive strain on your joints, leading to nagging injuries down the road. If you want fast results, it's critical that you incorporate exercises that allow your body to move naturally with full range of motion so you can skyrocket your metabolism and tone your entire physique. 

Mistake #3:
Doing Long Bouts of Cardio

Look, you need to do cardio if you want to lose weight and burn fat... BUT there's a right way and a wrong way to do your cardio workouts. If you've been pounding the pavement or the treadmill with nothing to show for it (except sore joints and a pair of stinky worn out sneakers), you already know it takes a lot of effort to get minimal results.

Mistake #4:
Doing Crunches & Sit-Ups To Get 6-Pack Abs
If you want washboard abs, doing traditional ab exercises like crunches and sit-ups WILL NOT get you a six pack. In fact, doing any exercises that target your abs won't get you a six pack either! These so-called "ab" exercises are a complete waste of time. They don't make your abs get any more defined and they definitely don't burn any fat. The key to getting sculpted abs is to burn off that stubborn layer of belly fat that's hiding them! 

Mistake #5:
Repeating The Same Workouts Over & Over

Repeating the same workouts over and over is a surefire way to STOP getting results. We're creatures of habit and we tend to stick to things we're familiar with and good at. But when it comes to your workouts, if you want to keep making progress and keep seeing changes in your body, you've got to start switching things up. You see, your body has an amazingly ability to adapt quickly and when it does, that's when you hit the dreaded plateau and you stop making progress. 

Mistake #6:
Doing Long Workouts

Longer workouts do NOT equal better or faster results. If you've been slaving away at the gym and your body isn't visibly changing, you can't do more of the same thing and expect a different result. When it comes to getting lean and fit, your body responds to quality over quantity. 

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