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Friday Fitness: The “A”-Fit Workout – Get Smart!

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Just like in grade school, we study to become smarter. The smarter we are, the more we can accomplish. Why not apply that frame of mind when working out? Today’s Friday Fitness will help us get smarter about our workouts! Read the simple tips below:

(Keep in mind not all suggestions may apply to you – in the end it’s most important to listen to your body)

Try plyometrics. Plyometrics are high-impact, athletic type moments that generally target your fast-twitch muscle fibers. Plyo’s incorporate coordination and agility, thus you truly train your body in an entirely new and challenging way. Challenging workouts almost always equal results as well as increased caloric burn. Plyometric’s involve explosive types of movement; jumping, bounding, hopping, etc. Some examples of plyometric exercises are: box jumps, squat jumps, split squat jumps, burpees, and up downs. *Because using proper form is essential when doing these advanced moves, you may consider working with a personal trainer. You could also come to H3 and allow me re-energize your inner athlete!

Use your whole body. Most cardio exercises focus on our largest muscle group – low body – using repetitive movements like biking, walking, elliptical, stair climbing, etc. If you want to burn more calories, one easy way is just to incorporate more upper body. Pump your arms hard and high when running and walking; be sure to grab those handles the next time you are on the elliptical. Possibly even consider adding a more full-body machine to your cardio mix, i.e. the rowing machine. The more muscles you move, the smarter your workout is!
 
Focus. We talk a lot about the importance of the mind-body connection and fitness. Although cardio isn’t as Zen-like as yoga, cardio can still benefit from a strong sense of awareness. The next time you do cardio; why not try it without your trusty iPod?  Focus on the movements and breathe. Exhale on concentric (contraction) phase, inhale on eccentric (lengthening). By engaging your mind, you can actually better engage your muscles. This mindful method will allow you to complete the exercise more comfortably, and efficiently.

Don’t work too hard. We all know how important rest and recovery is to any workout plan, however we must also think about our workout affects us daily. If you spend an hour at the gym sprinting and doing lunges, you might burn 600 calories in a short amount of time, but if that intense workout completely wipes you out for the rest of the day (leaving you sedentary), the extra calorie burn might not be worth it. Be honest with yourself, your mind, and your body. Definitely push yourself, but not so hard that it gets in the way of other daily activities. After all the holistic goal of fitness is to enhance and improve your quality of life!

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