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Where to begin with Pilates? It is not an easy method to master and yet the benefits to your core and upper-body muscular endurance will be noticeable once you begin a Pilates routine.

A very good place with tutorials on correct posture and a variety of exercises is Shape Magazine's Pilates page. Our advice: Learn two moves every day. Soon, you will have a whole repertory of beneficial Pilates moves.

Resting and circuit training

No one has time for longer workout sessions, especially now that schools are about to open. Homework, social activities, and family time are equally important. How can you optimize the time you spend at the gym?

Instead of taking a minute to rest between sets of strength training, do some cardio. You have plenty of options, such as jogging in place, doing step-ups, or jumping rope. Do this "flash" cardio for a minute between sets and then move on to the next strength training exercise. 

The outcome: You will burn more calories during and after your workout.




Flex time

We are not talking about flexible schedules but rather about time dedicated to stretching to increase your flexibility. 

While most of us stretch before and after cardio, we often forget to do so when training with weights. Stretching on weight training days is equally essential because it increases the temporary trauma to your muscles and forces them to work harder to rebuild. Ultimately, you are building strength.








Yoga session with Kristin McGee

Mark your calendars! On September 21st, Kristin will teach a free yoga class at Paragon. Remember to register in order to attend. Information below:






The importance of resting

Now that you have finally committed to a regular exercise schedule, you hesitate taking a break from it. You should remember though that resting is important for two reasons: 

1. If you do primarily cardio, you are depleting your muscles. You probably feel tired and need a little motivation to get to the gym. This is because your muscles need some rest.

2. If you do weight training, you are tearing muscle tissue. If you want to build up muscle you need to give your muscles time to recover. 

How much should one rest? You should probably do cardio only 5 out of the 7 days. As for weight training, you should work out different muscle groups each time so that you give them time to recover in between training sessions.

Bonus: Take a day off from working out during the week. This will feel like a real treat, especially if you tend to stress out about school, homework, work or other engagements. Choose which day is the most difficult for you, and allow your body to rest. You can work out a little extra hard during the weekend!



Gym ball exercises

Do you have a gym ball and no idea how to use it? Take a look at the pictures below for some inspiration.




Muscle confusion

Muscle confusion is key in weight training. It will result to more muscle build-up more quickly. To achieve that type of result you will need to train the same group of muscles from different angles so that what you ask your muscles to perform each time is new.

For example, let's say you are working on your chest muscles and you have chosen to do that with chest presses. Take a look at the images that follow to realize how many different ways there are for you to perform a chest press. In fact, you should alternate between different types even on the same day. Remember that both quality and quantity are responsible for great results.


Type One



Type Two


Type Three


Type Four




The new crunch

What is the new crunch? Not very different from the old crunch, except you perform your crunches on the ball.


Why is this better? Because it supports your back and isolates your abdominal muscles. In other words, it helps you get better at working them out.




Boot Camp for beginners


Courtesy of Shape Magazine


There is nothing more inspiring than a fitness Boot Camp. Most people get to join a group with the illusion that the drills are easy. The truth is that they look relatively easy because we are used to watching people in the movies doing things that require advanced levels of fitness. Also, the lack of gym equipment tricks one into thinking that the exercises should feel natural to everyone. Perhaps they should. But the truth is that Boot Camp is tough. It is also highly rewarding. Make sure you read Shape Magazine's article to get good advice on what to do to turn your Boot Camp experience into a positive and much gratifying one.


Triceps Dip on a Ball

Triceps Dip on Ball
Courtesy of Shape Magazine


Shape Magazine regularly features new tweaks on old exercises to get you going and have you constantly challenged. This is the way to see results after all.

Body Parts: Core, Triceps       Equipment: Balance Ball


Sit on a stability ball with knees bent, feet fl at, and hands resting on ball next to hips. Straighten elbows to lift hips, shift forward slightly, and move feet farther away from ball (the straighter your legs, the harder the move).


Bend elbows and lower hips toward ground. Press up and repeat.