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Got a friend and a mat?

That's all you need for some great exercises as demonstrated in the video below.







To those of you who get easily discouraged and who are intimidated by the sacrifices required to achieve fitness, Bree Boyce, Miss South Carolina, offers her story as recounted by the Huffington Post.

Read it carefully and consider your options.



Bootcamp in the city

It's the summer, we are in New York City. What's a better alternative than exercising in Central Park? Here is a brief video of how people adapt their exercise routine to the outdoors.






Duration of weight training sessions

There really is no limit on the duration of a weight lifting session, considering that one can handle lifting weights for a limited amount of time.  This varies from person to person and depends on the person's strength. The idea behind an effective workout is to push oneself beyond the stage where one feels tired and give it an extra set. The goal of weight lifting is to weaken the muscles so that they can rebuild.

Duration also depends on what you're trying to accomplish with your weights.  If you plan to hit all the major muscle groups in one day (not recommended) the sessions will be longer. If you alternate muscle groups on consecutive days, your workouts can become shorter.  If you lift twice a week, hour-long weight training is necessary. If you lift every day concentrating on different muscle groups, then 20 to 30 minutes are plenty for efficiency.

Circuit training requires a longer session, of about an hour.  Remember that weightlifting will only give you what you put in.  If you want to reap the benefits, don't just go through the motions.



Strength training 101

When beginning a training program, one should seek out expert knowledge. Here is an informative article on what the correct steps are in strength training. And to directly quote from the source:

"Strength training in children and adolescents can promote healthy habits and improve performance by improving coordination and motor skills. Self image, self esteem and bone health may be improved with strength training. Children and adolescents who participate in a strength training program should be supervised at all times. Prior to starting a program for a child or adolescent a health care professional such as a pediatrician should be consulted. (Visit"




Are gym trainers like gym shoes?

We already discussed a few of the most important questions to ask a trainer before hiring her. Nevertheless, a question remains in many people's minds: what is the value added a trainer brings to my work out?

Trainers offer you yet another tool to work out correctly and efficiently. Think of them as gym shoes! Would you ever work out in anything other than gym shoes? The answer is a resounding no. Similarly, a trainer provides the creativity, stability, and methodological expertise you need to maximize your time at the gym and to work out while avoiding injuries. 

Having said that, remember that the tools offered by your trainer are to put in use even when you are not paying her to work with you. This means that a trainer's work (a good trainer's work) continues even after the package of training sessions has run out. In other words, if the fit between you and your trainer is a good one, you will gain expertise that you will utilize even when working out on your own. The fit between you and your trainer is as important as the fit between you and your gym shoes.



Hiring a trainer

Ideally, you would hire a trainer through your gym (if you belong to one). This is because trainers who work at an established gym are insured and certified. This means that the chances of you getting injured are minimized since certification guarantees depth of knowledge on fitness and physical exercise issues.

If you are looking for a trainer to work with you privately, there are several issues to consider and a few questions to ask before you agree on the terms of hire. You would like to know what the trainer's certifications are, whether she/he is fully insured, how long has she/he been in the business, how is she/he going to measure your progress and results, and what are her/his rates and terms.

Even when you get all the right answers, don't forget to consider whether there is a good match between the two of you in terms of personality and attitude. Most importantly, don't forget to set concrete goals at the beginning of the collaboration so that both of you are accountable.




Jumping jacks

The most convenient and really effective cardio exercise is jumping jacks. Alternate these with the rest of your routine and see great results quickly.




Improve your swimming performance

The secret to a better performance in the pool seems to be more stretching outside the water rather than more laps in the water. Watch the video below to learn how elongated muscles have helped top athletes break the record.