Healthy Byte: Fitness Secrets From the World’s Best Trainers

Get fitness secrets from the experts. (Photo: iStock/pixdeluxe)

In fitness (and in life) arming yourself with the best information available can help you conquer any goal – often in less time and with even better results than you imagined. And there’s no better resource for that advice than the health and fitness pros whose careers depend on getting people results. To help you reach your potential, we asked top experts to share the very best tips, mantras and motivation secrets they’ve learned along the way.

1. Forget About the “Fat-Burning Zone.”
“Stop worrying about the exact percentage of fat you burn during exercise (i.e. staying in the ‘fat burning’ zone), and instead focus on the total calories burned from fat (which include the calories you burn after an intense strength session). To burn more fat over a 24-hour period (and not to mention, get in great shape), go as hard as you can, as long as you can.” – JC Santana, owner of the Institute of Human Performance (IHP) in Boca Raton, Florida.

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2. Exercise in the Morning.
“Has your busy schedule taken over your workout routine? Fit in fitness first thing. Research shows that people who work out first thing in the morning work out more often. Why? Because you’re less likely to make excuses when you get it done before something else can get in your way.” – Elizabeth Burwell Hendrix, co-owner of High Performance NYC training facility in Manhattan.

(Photo: iStock/Eva Katalin Kondoros)

3. Set a Hard Deadline.
“Parkinson’s Law states that the perceived complexity of a task expands to fill the time you allot it. So if you don’t set hard deadlines and timelines, you’re not going to be as focused or productive as you could be. Instead of wasting time at the gym, create hard deadlines for your workouts: Estimate how long your session should take and enforce that you finish in that amount of time or less. Create a negative consequence for not sticking to it. Once you begin to create and enforce deadlines, the BS gets toned down and the results increase dramatically.” – John Romaniello, a New York City based coach, writer, and owner of Roman Fitness System.

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4. Begin With the End in Mind.
“Start with the end point of your specific goal in mind, and then work backwards to plan out your training program. That way, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to reach your goal, keeping you motivated and moving forward. For example, if you want to be able to run a marathon in 16 weeks, then in eight weeks your training program should build up to doing a half marathon, and in four weeks you should be able to do a 10K.” – Rachel Cosgrove, author of “The Female Body Breakthrough” and co-owner of Results Fitness.

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5. Kick Up the Intensity.
“A lot of people put the time into their workouts but completely fail when it comes to their intensity. Bottom line: If it doesn’t feel hard, it isn’t. Learning this drastically changed my fitness level and my ability to coach my students to new levels.” – Amy Dixon, an exercise physiologist in Los Angeles and star of “Breathless Body 2: The Edge” DVD.

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6. Stick With the “Two-Day Rule.”
“Since I travel so much for work, I am sympathetic to how hotels and crazy schedules can foil your workouts. That’s why I stick to the two day rule: Never go more than two days in a row without a workout. It’s a game I play with myself, and I can’t lose. I have to do something, whether it’s getting outside for a run, using the hotel gym (no matter how gross), or doing a bodyweight workout in my hotel room – I just do it. And I haven’t broken the rule in as long as I can remember.” – Chris Freytag, a health and fitness expert for Prevention magazine, author, and national speaker.

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7. Aim High But Stay Realistic.
“One thing my Olympic track coach used to say to me whenever I would hit a plateau was, ‘Rome was not built in a day.’ I find that even the most competitive and knowledgeable athletes set expectations that are often too high, and it’s natural to get disappointed when you set an expectation and fail. It’s good to have goals, just make sure those goals are smart, achievable ones.” – Samantha Clayton, former Olympic athlete, personal trainer, and corporate fitness consultant in Malibu, California.

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8. Make an Emotional Connection.
“Most people don’t truly enjoy exercise, but studies show that when you connect with something you like – whether it’s a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, fitness video, or piece of equipment- you make a positive emotional connection and are significantly more inclined to stick with that exercise routine. Find a way to create a positive emotional connection [to your workouts] to stay engaged and wanting to come back again and again.” – Linda LaRue, RN MEd, ATC, creator of the Core Transformer workout program.

(Photo: iStock/Photolyric)

9. Pump More Iron.
“One of the best tips I can give to anyone who wants to change the shape of their body is to lift weights. Specifically, lift heavy weights and perform multi-joint exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and push presses. If your goal is to look toned and lose belly fat, combine 20 minutes of high-intensity cardio and 20 minutes of strength training for your workout – you’ll be finished in just 40 minutes and be in the best shape of your life.” – Marta Montenegro, an exercise physiologist and adjunct professor of exercise and sports sciences at Florida International University.

(Photo: iStock/Pixdeluxe)

10. Make Time to Meditate.
“Learn how to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, no matter how brief. So much of our suffering, pain, insecurities, and struggles are caused by a disconnection with ourselves and our source. Meditation costs nothing, requires nothing, and can be done anywhere. In order to change your body, you need to change your mind and the way it is hardwired.” – Jennifer Galardi, owner of LivWhole in New York City.

(Photo: iStock/Joachim Leroy)

11. Do What You Love.
“If you try something and it doesn’t work, try something else. If you’re injured, switch gears and focus on another aspect of your fitness until you heal. Never stop searching for the right workout and schedule until you create exactly what works for you. When you find it, don’t be swayed by fads, the opinion of others or even the experts. Doing what you love is the surest way to ensure you will be fit for life.” – Liz Neporent, a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise and author of Fitness for Dummies, 4th edition.

(Photo: iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund)

12. Work More Muscles in Less Time.
“When it comes to exercise selection, focus on compound moves, not isolation exercises. A compound movement is something that engages every muscle in your body – such as pull-ups, pushups, or planks- whereas isolation exercises focus only on one muscle group. Compound movements will make you stronger, more explosive, and more toned than anything else.” – Tamal Dodge, an international yoga instructor and star of the “Element Yoga” DVD.

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13. You Can’t Out-Train a Poor Diet.
“I am always amazed at how people sabotage all their incredible efforts in the gym by overeating junk and under-eating nutrient-rich foods. If you commit to a diet of clean food -mainly all colors of plants, lean quality proteins, good healthy fats, and grains like quinoa and amaranth – and limit processed food, fast food, sugar, super starchy grains, and trans fats, you can see tremendous results in your body.” – Suzanne Bowen, owner of Barre Amped in Nashville, TN.

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Man Boobs

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Man boobs can creep up on anyone. Although usually a direct result of carrying excess body fat, they can also happen when your testosterone levels dip too low and your estrogen levels get too high, a medical condition called gynecomastia. That’s why even lean guys can get big breasts. In most cases, though, these two causes aren’t mutually exclusive. “Excess adipose fat produces aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to the female hormone estradiol, which can cause man boobs to form,” says Pete McCall, a personal trainer and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise.

Regardless of why you have man boobs, the best way to get rid of them is through exercise and other lifestyle changes — not with Low-T drugs. “One reason we see so many ads for testosterone-replacement gels and creams is it’s much easier to use one of these products than to do the work,” says McCall. But given all of the negative health effects linked to Low T drugs — namely increased risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke — try these eight natural solutions instead.

Get moving.

If you’re not currently getting intense cardiovascular exercise at least three days a week, that’s the very first thing you must change. Once you’ve committed to regular running, cycling, or any other type of cardio, McCall says you should start losing flab all over, which will also help shrink your doughy chest.

Ramp up your workouts.

If you’re already hitting the gym yet you’re still sporting boobs, crank up the intensity of your workouts. “So many guys get too busy and only go to the gym just a few days a week, doing the same routine every time without really pushing themselves,” McCall says. “You need to go hard — to the point of fatigue, to where you’re out of breath. That will signal to your body that it needs to produce more testosterone to help repair muscles.” Generating more testosterone, in turn, will get your hormonal balance back where it should be to help zap those man boobs. McCall recommends interval training such as alternating sprinting and jogging on the treadmill or taking a challenging cycling class.

Hit the pool.

Any kind of intense cardio can help, but swimming can be particularly good for guys with man boobs because it’s more of a total-body workout than, say, using the StairMaster. “Any time you can get all of your muscle mass involved with an exercise, the total amount of energy you burn goes way up,” McCall explains. He says the breast stroke and freestyle can be especially effective.

Lift more, lift longer.

McCall says strength training also generates testosterone to help with your boob situation. If you already lift, chances are you’re not hoisting heavy enough weights or going until you can’t possibly do one more rep. “Break out of your normal routine by increasing the amount of weight you lift each time and not stopping until you’re fatigued,” McCall says. “This will cause more damage to your muscles and tell your body it needs more testosterone to help with repair.”

Get off the bench.

Rather than bench presses or other lifting exercises for which you lay or sit down, McCall recommends standing workouts with heavier weights, such as barbell squats, deadlifts, and bent-over barbell rows. When you stand, you recruit more muscles throughout your body to help hold you up, which will produce more testosterone. McCall says this is the main reason why CrossFit devotees are so ripped.

Do pushups.

McCall also suggests push-ups for whittling away man boobs because they too involve many muscles and require you to support your own body weight. He says using a TRX or other suspension device to do these will engage even more chest muscles than doing push-ups on the floor. Change up your grip pattern — a wider grip will target more of your chest fibers while a narrower grip will hit the triceps and shoulders.

Try a standing cable fly.

This exercise targets the pectoral muscles specifically. Stretch out your arms to either side, grab the stirrups or handles on a cable, bend forward slightly, and squeeze your hands together toward the middle of your chest. You can also try an alternate-arm cable fly. “Hold your right arm straight out in front of you and slowly draw your left arm out to the side and back to the middle, then switch arms,” says McCall. “Be sure to go slow with each movement because that’ll keep the muscle under tension for longer and signal more repair to that site.”

Get more sleep.

“We produce testosterone when we sleep, so if you’re consistently stressed out and getting only five hours, like many men do, your body won’t make enough testosterone,” McCall says. Make sure you’re taking time to de-stress in the evenings, minding your booze intake, and laying off the caffeine after noon so you can get ample good-quality slumber.

Originally Posted HERE

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