Category Archives: Workout Tips

Tips for Greasy Hair

For some, having freshly washed hair is a valid excuse reason to skip a gym day because they want to avoid making their hair greasy. Whether they’re running late for a meeting or they have a lengthy hair regimen, many just don’t have the time to wash, dry and style their locks every time it gets a little oily. In result, many will push their sweaty workouts aside to preserve their fresh, clean, look.

So do you ever feel like you’re left having to choose either one or the other… Having nice hair, or having no cellulite?

Well there’s no reason that beauty should interfere with your workout schedule, so if you break a sweat at the gym and can’t shampoo the hair, then don’t! But shh… Nobody needs to know!

 My secret tip for greasy hair: Baby powder

Using baby powder is a great home remedy to get rid of greasy hair. It’s a cheap alternative to pricey beauty products, such as dry shampoos or buildup removers.

Before: Working out can leave you with greasy, wet-looking hair…

HINK HINK HINK!

Fix:  …But baby powder will absorb the oil…

Part the hair and shake baby powder onto the roots  and gently massage it onto the scalp. After rubbing in that certain area, part another section of the hair and apply some more powder. Make sure not to go overboard with the powder, you only need 2-3 shakes per part.
To make sure you don’t apply too much, try shaking the powder onto your finger tips first, and then rub it onto the scalp.

After: … And  now your sweaty dirty hair looks clean!

TADA!

To sweat or not to sweat? Psht.. That’s not the question…. that’s just the excuse.

Warning: Applying too much powder can make your hair noticeably smell like a baby.

A Celebrity Butt Workout

Let’s face it… we all aren’t blessed with a plump JLo rear or a luscious Kardashian bottom, but even though our backsides aren’t featured in the tabloids everyday, it doesn’t mean we can’t have celebrity-looking bums that are magazine-worthy. So I sat down with a Hollywood personal trainer, Steve Zim, at his Los Angeles fitness studio, A Tighter U, to see how we can make our natural gifts resemble those of the stars he trains.

So act like the paparazzi are chasing you and flaunt your superstar bum by adding this quick and easy butt workout to your routine, no weights required.

Steve Zim’s Celebrity Butt Workout: Bridges

Step 1: Set up the exercise. “The most important thing before you start any exercise is [setting] up the exercise,” says Zim.

Here’s what he says to do:  Lie on your back. Take a deep breath and hold in the belly button by sucking in your stomach as much as you can. Then breathe out while still making sure the abs are flexed. Remember, the tighter the stomach, the better, “because if your stomach is loose, that makes your back really susceptible to injury,” he says.

Step 2: Place your hands to your sides with both palms on the mat and your feet shoulder-width apart. Now “hold the belly button in, drive up, hold, and come down,” says Zim.

Make sure the abs are tight and lift up the pelvis as high as you can.

Your feet and shoulder blades should remain on the mat. Do 3 sets of 20.

Step 3: Too easy? Then make it more challenging by making them one-legged bridges. “Now pick one foot up in the air, drive through your heel and go all the way up,” says Zim. “Hold the glut, squeeze the glut, and now let it down slow on a 2 count. One, two, stop, breath out and drive up.”

Keep the feet shoulder-width apart.

Do 3 sets of 20.

 *Before attempting any workout, consult your doctor to make sure it’s the right one for you. 

Make a Playlist, Be a Diva

FACT: A workout without a pump-up playlist is like a club without a DJ spinning… boring and awkward. When it comes to working out, music is the biggest motivator because it’s sure to get the feet moving and the mind dreaming, and the best way to rock your workout is by rocking to a beat. Whether I’m walking, jogging or lying on a yoga mat working on my abs, the moment my girl Beyoncé belts out a tune, I swear my running shoes are heels and the gym is my stage.  So make a playlist, and be a diva… because divas always look good.

Need some songs to get you goin’? Here’s my favorite Pump-Up Playlist for some music ideas:

Q&A: How these two celebrities stay in shape

BREAKING NEWS! This just in, Johansson is in fact human, according to this tabloid!

I have no shame to admit that celebrity gossip is my guilty pleasure, but sometimes, flipping through the magazines can be a little bit of an emotional roller coaster. First I catch myself envious, muttering under my breath, “Damn you Cameron Diaz, it’s impossible to look like that when your 40!” Then I think, “Aw… I’m fat,” after that awkward moment when Scarlet Johansson’s bum on the Worst Celebrity Beach Bodies page looks better than mine in a bikini.

I don’t know about you guys, but I just don’t consider celebrities as real human beings. How are they so perfect? They have the best bodies, best hair, best clothes, best everything, and I want to be them. And then that’s when I experience another total emotional volta and think, “Hey, celebrities are just like us, but they’re just a little bit cooler. I could maybe look like them one day too.” Suddenly, I feel  inspired to get in shape and look the best I possibly can be.

So on behalf of all of us who wish they could look like a celebrity,  I sat down with two stars and got the skinny on their perfect-body secrets.

A Q&A with an American Idol Singer and a How I Met Your Mother Star.

Pia Toscano

You’ve seen her sing in front of  Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler on the American Idol stage, and you’ve heard her on the radio with her single “This Time.” Pia Toscano, 23, tells me what it’s like to always be under the lime light and how she stays fit for it. 

Q: After being on season 10 of American Idol, what was it like to go from a regular girl from New York to being a LA star getting her photo taken all the time? Is there a lot of pressure to stay thin?

A: I try not to let the pressure of this business get to me. I feel like if you are confident in yourself that shows a lot, but you know… when you’re in this business, you always want to feel and look your best, so I just take care of myself, that’s all.

I snapped this photo, thank you very much

Q: How do you stay in shape for photo shoots or special events?

I’ve been really busy lately, but I always try to get some cardio in, whether it’s just walking with my girlfriend or something. I do Barry’s Bootcamp and I just try to keep myself active because I feel like when I feel better about myself, my whole mind frame is different, my whole lifestyle is different. But I’m very conscious of my diet.

Q: What does your diet look like?

A: I basically eat really clean, I eat gluten-free. I’m a pescaterian, so I eat fish, but I don’t eat meat. I try to limit my carbs, and you know, I’m very health conscious because I’m a very curvy girl.

Q: One last question, what’s your favorite vegetable?

A: I love broccolini and I love asparagus. [They're] my favorite.

_______________________________________________________

Charlene Amoia

 

Most commonly known for her role as Wendy on ‘How I met Your Mother’, actress Charlene Amoia, who has also been on shows such as Glee, Castle and Days of Our Lives, let’s us in on how she stays fit under the public eye.

Q: How I Met Your Mother is a really popular show and it has a lot of viewers. Do you feel pressure to stay in shape with so many eyes on you?

A:  I don’t feel any pressure- I haven’t had any kind of attention in that direction, I know other women have. I stay in shape just because I feel better, like mentally and altogether if I’m working out a lot. I just feel better if I’m doing it.

Q: What kind of workouts do you like to do to stay fit?

A: I [alternate] between boxing and yoga and just running. Actually, my girlfriend and I are just about to start that stripping class.

Q: Stripping class? What made you get into that?

We were looking for all the promotions and deals that all these studios offer, like they offer a free week or a free month, and we found this one that’s pole dancing, so we’re going for a week at the S Factor on Wilshire. I heard it’s a really good workout.

Q: What’s a good getting-in-shape tip for people who want to look like a celebrity?

A: For me, I just have to keep switching it so I don’t get bored because if I do one thing long enough, I quit because I’m bored of it. And that’s part of the inspiration for us going around to all the free weeks of classes- to try and see what we like. I do some boxing to get the energy out and some yoga for relaxation, but I kinda just see what mood I’m in that day.

… Couples Therapy: Tips to switch up your cardio routine

…The Break Up Continued

Therapist: So what’s going on between the two of you?

Me: Well, Treadmill and I used to have a healthy relationship and we were really happy. He used to make me completely out of breath, drench me in sweat and made me burn a lot of calories. But now after being with him for so long, I just don’t feel like he’s doing much for me anymore and I’m not getting a good workout.

Therapist: Well, it looks like you just need to switch up your workout routine. It’s not that you’re over Treadmill, you’re over running. So my advice for you is to take it slow and start walking.

Me: Ha! That’s funny. I’m not going to waste my time walking. I don’t sweat when I walk, therefore, I’m not getting a good workout.

Therapist: Well, Gi, that’s where you have it all wrong… When it comes to burning fat, cardio is important because it increases your heart rate. It’s not how much you’re sweating or even how winded you are after you workout, it’s having an increased heart rate that you should be worrying about.

An increase in heart rate means that your heart is demanding more oxygen so it can pump blood to the rest of the body efficiently, and yes, running will do this for you because you are pushing the body really hard and the body needs more oxygen to keep up. But walking can do the same thing too.

When you’re running on Treadmill, you’re heart rate increases to between 150-180 (which is, by the way, the number you need in order to slim down), and walking, although you are not pushing yourself as hard, can still make you maintain this heart rate. All you need to do is play with the inclination levels. This way, you’re not just walking because your body is requiring more oxygen to push yourself uphill, which raises the heart rate, resulting in burning unwanted fat.

So don’t worry about the amount of sweat you’re wiping off your forehead, focus on your heart and what it needs.

Here’s what you guys should do to get your healthy relationship back:

  1. Set the treadmill between 3.5-3.8 speed.
  2. Start off with zero percent incline and start walking.
  3. For each minute that passes, increase the inclination by one percent. So at five minutes, you should have 5 percent incline, and by 10 minutes, you should have 10 percent incline.
  4. Keep adding inclination to your steady speed until you are at 15 percent incline after 15 minutes of walking.
  5. Now, for every minute past 15, decrease the inclination one percent. So at 16 minutes you should be at 14 percent incline, and at 25 minutes you’re at 5 percent incline.
  6. Do this until you’ve reached 30 minutes and you’re inclination level is back at zero.
  7. Make sure you are NOT holding on to the treadmill! That defeats the purpose of making your body work hard to push yourself uphill.

Now get back to me in a few weeks and tell me if you guys are still together ;) Who knows? Maybe you’ll sweat just as much as the first time you guys met.

 

Be Scary In Shape This Halloween

Today’s August 31 and you know what the means… it’s exactly two months before Halloween!

Okay, I know it’s kind of early to start thinking about what costumes you’re going to be wearing, but the holiday will be here as soon as you know it, and if you want to win the best body costume award at the Halloween party you’ll be attending this year, you need to start preparing for it, well, today.

So ladies, do you think you want to go the sexy nurse route showin’ off some leg? And gentlemen, are you going to show off those abs in a revealing caveman outfit? Whatever it is, if you’re planning on showing some skin this Halloween, you need to start preparing for it NOW to have that fit body you’ll be confident to reveal on the big day, according to Juli Stockstill, a certified personal trainer at Private Fitness/ The Pilates & Yoga Room in Anahiem Hills, Calif. She says that two months is the perfect amount of time to get the body scary in shape for the Halloween season.

“It will take your body 3-4 weeks to reset your metabolism- almost conditioning yourself to see really great results,” says Stockstill who has been in the weight-loss business for 19 years. “You don’t lose much weight [the first month] because the body is adjusting to a healthy lifestyle and it takes your body some time to condition yourself to really get at that point where you’re really dipping into those stored fat cells for energy during exercise.”

But don’t give up if you’re not happy with what you see in the mirror by September 31! She promises that you will start seeing results by the month of October.

“The next four weeks you’re really going to see some good results,” she says. “You’re body is already in full swing of what you’re doing as far as working out and have been, you know, consistent with what types of foods you’re eating.”

Many people start thinking about how they’re going to lose weight or get in shape for Halloween a week or two or even days before the actual date, and it often results in them finding desperate ways to quickly shed some pounds, like crash dieting. Although it may be a quick fix, research shows that fast weight-loss by crash dieting can severely harm your long-term health, and Stockstill is not for it.

“I don’t like crash dieting because if you do it too often throughout your lifetime, you’re definitely going to compromise your metabolism long-term,” she says. “What will happen is- your body is used to burning a certain amount of calories every day and having a certain amount of calories to burn… then all of a sudden you restrict those calories… and your body will end up going in, what they say, starvation or storage mode because whatever you do end up eating, your body feels that it doesn’t want to burn through those calories that it is getting, and so your body starts becoming very conservative with what it will burn.”

Stockstill says crash dieting does make you skinner, but the ultimate result is making you fatter (Yep, just dropped the F bomb, please excuse my language).

“If your metabolism has been constantly comprised through your early 20s, when you start to get into your late 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond, your metabolism had a toll taken on it, so you tend to gain weight easier,” she says.

So crash dieting is just a big no-no. Plus the weight that disappears during crash-dieting is not the fat you want to lose (because the body is trying to store it to function), but rather muscle that is melting away- the stuff that makes you look good.

“Fat does not have shape, but muscle does, so when people say they want to sculpt their body, that can only come by gaining more muscle. And the way that you do that is through weight training or some type of resistance training,” not crash dieting, she says.

So the best way to get in shape this Halloween is not yo-yo dieting, but by working out and consistently fueling your body by eating right.

Here’s what she recommends:

Working out-

  • For people who haven’t seen the inside of a gym for quite some time now, she says you should be doing 45-60 minutess of cardio to get in shape. “For a person who needs weight-loss, they need to do longer 
  • cardio at a lower intensity,” she says. “For weight-loss, they say to keep your heart rate at a lower level, but to workout longer. It’s better for long term weight-loss.” She also says to add a little bit of strength training workouts. Do this at least 3 times a week.
  • For people who have been keeping up with the gym, she says you should be doing 20-30 minutes cardio at a high intensity and one hour strength training. “When you’re more fit, you can push yourself to do more.” Do this at least 3 times a week.
  • TIP: Intensity levels are very unique to each person’s fitness level. The goal is to push yourself and for some, that may mean running at 4.0 speed on the treadmill, and for others, it’s a 8.0 speed. Stockstill recommends using the “talking test” to figure out how hard you need to push yourself.
  • Talking Test: For lower intensity cardio, “you should be able to carry a conversation, but not be able to sing.” And for higher intensity cardio, “you should feel like it’s challenging to talk.” Another reason to workout with a friend! You’ll have someone to talk to.

Meal Plan-

Remember, calorie-intake varies for each person. “It depends on age, weight, height, and other things,” says Stockstill. She says keeping a clean diet with  low sugar and carbohydrates with high fibers, such as brown rice and yams, is best for anyone who is trying to get fit for Halloween. And here’s a plan, that she says, everyone can follow:

  • Breakfast- One egg with extra egg whites, a slice of whole grain/ high-fiber toast or a low-carb tortilla, and 1/4 of an avocado.
  • Lunch- One chicken breast, 1/4 cup of brown rice or half a sweet potatoe, and steamed veggies.
  • Dinner- 4 oz of protein (preferably fish), salad with mixed veggies (carrots, brocolli, cucumbers, etc.) with low-fat dressing, and crewtons for some crunch.
  • Snack- Greek yogurt with the highest amount of protien and berries.

So there ya go! Look and feel good this Halloween… the right way. Who knows, maybe this will become a routine and you’ll have a scary-in-shape body all year around.

“It’s all about clean eating,” says Stockstill, “and getting in a routine you can sustain long-term.”

The Dens Workout Plan

It’s the end of August and summer is just about over, and for some people, that means it’s back-to-school time. So watch out upcoming freshman! Avoid gaining the “Freshman 15″ like I did my first year in college with The Dens Workout Plan.

Step aside all you sweaty, buff, smelly boys… Girls can go in the weight room too!

As you guys know from  last week’s post, it was around this time of the year a couple of years ago that I started becoming a regular at the gym. Initially, Dens taught me this workout so I wouldn’t pack on the pounds, but now I’m still using it to stay in shape.

So don’t think this post is just for the freshies goin’ off to college… this workout is meant for anybody who is avoiding any type of “15″ weight-gain and for those who are trying to keep a tight figure.

So all you freshman, work out beginners,  gym-goers who need a new routine, and people who feel lost in the weight room… DRUM ROLL PLEASE!

Dun…dun…dun…dun…dun…dun…dun…dun…

Behold… The Dens Workout Plan!

Step 1: Warm up

Your warm up session should be about 10 minutes. You can choose any of the cardio machines because any of them will do the trick (treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc.).

Make sure to always  warm up before your workouts with a good cardio session. It may be obvious, but  here’s why according to Dens, our go-to friend trainer:

  • Your muscles will be warmed up and ready to go when you start exercising
  • You’ll increase your body temperature, which allows proper oxygen supply to the body
  • Your muscles will be able to contract and relax more quickly during your workouts because using cardio to warm up helps increase blood flow to the muscles
  • It boosts your exercise performance

STEP 2: ARMS

1. Curls: When doing curls, make sure to keep your back straight and reframe from arching or hunching the back. Separate your feet shoulder-length apart and keep your elbows as close to your sides as possible. Then bring the weights up to your neck and extend your arms back down. Do these slowly to burn fat.
What does it do?: “It primarily works out the biceps. It’s good for toning the arms.”- Dens

For beginners, I recommend using 7.5 lbs. That’s what I did when I first started, but now I’ve bumped it up to 10-12.5 lbs. Use higher weights only when the workout has become too easy for you.

For beginners, do about 10-12 curls. It may seem like a small number but your going to do this three times. Once you have become more advanced, bump it to 12-15 curls. I’m currently doing 15. Do 3 sets of these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. These Things: Again, make sure your feet are shoulder-length apart. Grab a weight, bring it over your head, and drop your forearms to bring the weight in between your shoulder blades. Make sure to keep your elbows in the same place throughout the whole exercise above your head. Nothing but you forearms should move. Then lift the weight straight up in the air and drop it back down to the center of your back. Do these slowly to burn fat.

What does it do?: “These are good to shape the outside of your arms and it works the triceps. This helps the flabby underarm fat we all hate.” – Dens

If you are new to the workout, start out with 10 lbs, then when your body has gotten used to it and you’re able to increase the weight, start using 12.5-15 lbs.

Just like with curls, I suggest that if you’re new to working out, do “these things” 10 times. Then when your more advanced, bump it up to 12-15 times. Usually I do 12, but on a good day I do 15 :) Do 3 sets of these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FYI- In college, every time Dens, Maggie and I were going over what we were going to do at the gym, we’d never know what to call this workout so we’d say, “Ok, we’ll start off with running, then curls, then these things,” while moving our arms up and down to show what we meant. That’s where it got its name.

3. Cheerleaders: Grab your weights and hold your elbows straight out  in front of you with the dumbbells straight up in the air . Then spread your arms to the side like your flexing for the gun show. Make sure your arms only go to the side and don’t bring your elbows/arms behind your back. Be sure NOT to drop your elbows as well. Then push the weights straight up in the air above your head. Do these slowly to burn fat. Then repeat.

What does it do?: “Cheerleaders are good for chest and shoulders and keeping that area toned.” – Dens

Beginners should use 7.5 lbs. When you are more advanced, start using 10 lbs.

First start out doing 10 reps of these, then when it’s time, bump it up to 12-15 reps. That’s what I do now. Do 3 sets of these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Success!

STEP 2.5: LEGS  (Switch off arm and leg days. Don’t work on both in one workout session.)

1. Lunges OR Squats (I like to mix it up. Don’t do both in one day.)

When doing lunges, make sure you leave enough room between your legs so when you do the lunge, your knee doesn’t go forward past your ankles. As you lower your body, make sure both legs come to a 90-degree angle. Inhale as you go into the lunge and exhale when you come back up. Make sure to switch off legs. Do these slowly to burn fat.

What does it do?: “They work a ton of muscles, mainly the butt, the hamstrings, and your quads. With these, you can say good-bye to your flabby thighs.” – Dens

Beginners start off with 7.5 lbs. and when you are able to, start using 10-12.5 lbs. Personally, I think 12.5 lbs. is too heavy, so I use 10 lbs. If you are a beginner, do 5-8 lunges on each leg. If you are more advanced, do between 8-10 on each. Do 3 sets of these.

1.5. Squats

Keep your legs shoulder-length apart. DO NOT let your knees go forward past your feet! That can do damage to them. You want to keep most of your weight in the back of your heals for balance and pretend you are sitting in an imaginary chair. That’s how far you should go. And make sure to keep your upper body tall and your back straight when squatting. When you go down, stick your bum out as far as you can too. Do these slowly to burn fat.

What does it do?: “Squats are a great exercise for definition in your entire legs. It works all the muscles from your feet to your butt.” – Dens

Beginners start off with 10-15 lbs. When you are at a more advanced level, pump it up to 20-25 lbs. Currently, I am doing 20 lbs.

Whether you’re a beginner or not, you should be doing 3 sets of 8 with these. No more or no less.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Calves

Grab a weight and hold it on one side. Let’s just say you hold it with your left hand to your left side. Stand on your toes on your right foot and go up and down. Your toes never leave the floor, you simply just stand on your tippy toes and go back down. Do the same with the other side.

What does it do?: “It gives great definition to the calves.”- Dens

Beginners use 15-20 lbs and do 20 reps. When you’re more advanced, start using 20-25 lbs. and do between 20-30 reps. That’s what I’m doing now. Do 3 sets of these.

3. Good Girls, Bad Girls

For the record, I did not come up with this name. I’ve heard personal trainers use it all the time and you’ll know why with these pictures. But these leg workouts are pretty straight forward since they are on a machine, so take a seat and spread your legs. There are two of these machines though so make sure you do both. One you push your legs out and the other you push them in. Do these slowly to burn fat.

What does it do?: “These work your adductors and abductors- that’s like your inner thigh and your outside of the hips to your butt.” – Dens

This one you push out. Beginners, you should use 30-50 lbs, and if you are more advanced, you should do 50 lbs or higher. I currently do 60 lbs.

This one you push in. Beginners should do about 10-12 of these, and more advanced people should do between 15-20. Do these 3 times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Umm… does this good girl, bad girl machine belong in the gym… or delivery room?

STEP 3: ABS

1. Side-To-Sides

Grab a weight and keep your feet shoulder-length apart. Then do not move your legs, but tilt your upper body to the side (like you’re doing crunches but on the side) bringing the weight lower down your leg. Then bring yourself straight back up. Make sure to keep abs tight while doing this and do them slowly to burn fat.

What does it do?: “These work your oblique muscles for your abs. These help get rid of the love handles.” – Dens

Beginners should use 12.5-15 lbs. Advanced people should bump it up to 15-20 lbs.

Beginners do 15 on each side and advanced people do 15-20 each. Do each side 3 times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Leg-Lifts

Grab a yoga mat and lay flat on the floor facing upward. Place hands under your bum with your palms on the floor, fingers toward your feet. Extend your legs up and bring them to the floor. The closer your feet get to the floor the better it is for the abs. And don’t worry about keeping your legs completely straight when you bring them up because they can be slightly bent.

What does it do?: “Its primary function is to work the inner core, but it also defines the legs.” – Dens

Beginners try doing 10-15 of these. Then when your more advanced do between 20-25 of them.

Do 3 sets of these.

3. Crunches

There are two kinds that I do. The first one are normal crunches where your legs are up in the air at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands behind your head, and with your abs, bring yourself up forward as much as you can.

What does it do?: “When your knees are up, your working your top abs.”- Dens

Start off doing 40 of these, then add more when you feel you are able too. Currently I do 50. Do 3 sets of these.

The second kinds are laying-down crunches. It’s the same concept as the regular crunches, but instead of keeping your legs at a 90-degree angle, you lay them flat on the floor with your toes pointing up.

What does it do?: “When your feet are on the floor, you are working your lower abs.” – Dens

Same with the other crunches, start out with 40 and then boost it up. I am currently doing 60 of these. Do 3 sets of these.

STEP 4: CARDIO

As you remember in my last post, finish off your workout with a cardio session at the end, because like I said, cardio post-workout burns more fat than pre-workout. And just like with the warm up, choose any cardio machine because any of them work. For me, I like to do 20 minutes on the bike and 10 minutes on the treadmill (total of 30 mins).

FINAL TIPS:

  • Do this work out 3-5 times a week (I do 4-5)
  • Switch off arm and leg days. Don’t do both in one day.
  • When doing arms I go in this order: curls, these things, then cheerleaders. Then I start over and do them two more times instead of doing curls 3x, these things 3x, and cheerleaders 3x. Same goes for leg and ab workouts.
  • Make sure your you do everything SLOWLY to burn fat
  • Make sure to break a sweat! If you don’t, boost it up by doing more or adding more. REMEMBER, using less amount of weight with more reps is better than more weight and less reps.
  • If this workout causes you pain (not soreness), don’t do it.

*All photos were taken by photographer Richard Urwin Wheeler.

Learn how to burn fat quicker at the gym

Typically, when I go to the gym, I like to start my workouts with a 20-30-minute cardio session, move on to abs, then finish the workout with weights. But lately, I feel like my usual routine hasn’t been doing much for me, so I figured I’d switch it up… or pump it up.

In the past few weeks I’ve started doing cardio for an extra 20 minutes along with my typical weightlifting, and damn do I sweat! You know what they say, when the body’s sweating, the fat is crying :) . But even though I was a human version of the Niagara Falls, I found out that my extra cardio wasn’t actually burning the fat like I thought it was doing. These tears meant nothing!

A friend of mine and a 24 Hour Fitness trainer who works at the gym I go to in Orange, Brady McManus,  stopped  me while I was ahead and gave me a helpful tip. Boosting up my cardio was the right idea, but he told me to keep doing what I was doing. It turns out, I didn’t need to add any minutes on the treadmill at all.

His tip: Just flip the routine.

Start off weightlifting AND THEN do your cardio session. (He recommends to stretch and do warm up cardio for 10 minutes before lifting though to warm up the body).

Here’s why according Brady:

“The best way for the body to burn fat while doing cardio is to have your body depicted of carbohydrates. As you intake carbs, your body stores the glycogen in the liver, then your body waits to use that as fuel. When you are walking or running or doing any form of cardio, your body can use either the stored glycogen or fat stored. The only problem is your body won’t use any fat store until glycogen is all burned up. But when your body does weight lifting first, you burn the glycogen, then when you do cardio or anabolic exercise, there is no glycogen to continue the burn and you will burn fat.”

-Brady

Let me translate this science lecture for you.

Basically in order to burn fat stored in the body, you have to burn glycogen first. If you start your workout with cardio, you will start burning glycogen NOT fat.

I know what you’re thinking… “Wouldn’t weightlifting burn the fat then since I just burned the glycogen running?” Well, it doesn’t quite work that way.

“It takes longer to burn glycogen during running,” so you won’t burn enough doing that. Then when you lift weights, you’ll continue to burn glycogen, not fat, he says. “Glycogen burns faster during weightlifting. It [allows] to burn the fat when doing cardio after.”

Glycogen come from carbs – pasta, bread, potatoes, cookies… you know all the good stuff. So the first thing I thought when Brady told me all this was, “Great I’ll eat no carbs  so I don’t have any glycogen! Then I can cut right to the chase and burn the fat!”

But nope. It doesn’t work that way either.

“Glycogen you can think as fuel to your tank. If you don’t eat carbs you aren’t fueling your tank. You can do low carbs but no carbs isn’t the answer.”

So there ya go. If you’re anything like me and your sick of seeing no results, burn fat quicker by doing this. I just started and you should too!

One is the loneliest number… Work out with a friend!

The first time I met Dens she was wearing running shoes, Nike workout shorts, a sweaty baggy T, and a bun on top of her head. We were in the Northeastern gift shop and like typical freshman, Maggie (my best friend from high school and college roommate) and I were lost and had no idea where our classes were. Frustrated that I was missing the first half of class, I spotted Dens  with a map in hand and I frantically jumped out in front of her, “Hey can I borrow that map?” She thought I was ridiculous. Here she was in her workout clothes, and I was of course wearing something high maintenance because it was my first day of classes, YET I was sweating more than her because I was so flustered. At that point, I was late, whatever, so I made small talk with her while checking out the map. “Oh so what sports do you play here?” I mean obviously she’s an athlete and just got done with practice… who would be walking around in that outfit on their first day!? “I don’t play anything… I just worked out at the Marino Center [school fitness center]. You should try it sometime.”  Before parting ways, we took down Dens’ number and started off our friendship with a trip to the gym that week.

Thank God we were lost that day because little did we know that we were about to meet one of our new best friends and personal trainer.

Maggie, me, and Dens our first weekend in college together. Look how in shape we were ;) Oh and if you guys were wondering, Dens is short for Danielle!

From two different sides of the country, Southern California and Connecticut, Dens and Maggie and I were completely different species people but we all had one common interest… getting skinny. Looking back it’s funny because we were freshman, probably weighing in at 115 pounds and obviously didn’t need to lose weight. It was more the idea of staying in shape and not gaining the “Freshman 15″ that bonded us three. Dens grew up playing all different kinds of sports and always went to the gym in high school. Maggie and I weren’t really gym-goers back in the day- I played volleyball and she played basketball  (her position was the bench). Now that we were in college and were no longer in sports, we needed workout tips pronoto, especially after spending an entire summer laying out and eating crap all the time. We were as dumb as the dumbbells we were using (Workout joke! Dun Dun Che!)

That’s where Dens came through. She taught us all we know when it comes to working out. She taught us what weights to use and how to use them, cardio routines, stretches, everything! She even tried being our nutritionist but I was too picky to eat anything she’d suggest. It was us three against Marino Center, 4 times a week, every week, all throughout college. Anyway, we stuck with the Dens Workout Plan and ‘til this day we still use them, and I use them even when I’m not with my best friends. Now that we’re working in different parts of the country, I may be doing my workouts alone, but it was the friendship that got me started.

Here are my reasons why you should work out with a friend:

  1. You’ll be more motivated to actually go to the gym
    1. Let’s face it, if we don’t absolutely have to go to the gym, we won’t. Excuses are everywhere. I slept in too late, I had a long day of work, I have to be somewhere soon… yeah yeah yada yada. Having a gym partner can eliminate your temptation to come up with an excuse to skip the gym. Why? Because someone is relying on you to go with them and cancelling plans on other people is annoying and embarrassing.
  2. Workouts are more fun
    1. Workouts become more fun when you’re with a friend. In my case, none of us had classes together. Dens was in

      Walking to the gym with a friend was always part of the fun too. One time on the way to Marino, my umbrella completely went inside out and the wind was literally blowing us away. We were traumatized when we got into the gym but it was hilarious at the time.

      physical therapy, Maggie was in psychology, and I was a journalist, so the gym was our social hour – a time to share stories from our day. I hate to say it but the gym was our number one spot for us to catch up on the latest gossip and drama. But don’t think we were those girls just laying on the yoga mats not really working out and just socializing… no no, we always broke a sweat. We never spoke during cardio, that was quality time with the iPod, but in between lifting, crunches, and stretching, we’d always share a laugh or two. Plus the time goes by quicker when you’re having fun.

  3. Competitiveness
    1. If Dens bumps up the weight five more pounds, I’m going to bump up the weight. If Maggie is going to run an extra ten minutes, I’m going to run more too. Working out with a friend can push you to work harder and not slack off. You don’t want to look like a weakling or fatty next to your fit friend do you? That’s what I thought.
  4. You’ll have a spotter
    1. If you’re one to bench press and use bars for weightlifting, a regular partner at the gym is a necessity to spot your workout and to keep you safe. Your’re friend will always get your back! For me, I needed a spotter in a different way. I always felt uncomfortable in the weight room mainly because it’s just sweaty guys making weird noises. Plus they’re pigs (ok not all guys are pigs). So when I’d do squats in there, I always had Maggie or Dens stand right behind so no pig can check this thing out.
  5. You’ll get a more efficient workout
    1. Unless your friend is just as lazy as you, you won’t slack at the gym when it comes to technique. You always have a friend to correct what you’re doing and you’ll also have a friend to remind you to keep running for five more minutes instead of jumping off the treadmill early.

That’s Courtney! 

Not everyone is a good workout partner and sometimes your best friends aren’t the best ones. One time I went to the gym with another good friend of mine, Courtney, and we couldn’t agree on what workout to do because we had different opinions. We settled on biking together and we were only there for 20 minutes and left to go eat. Love her, but we don’t work out good together.

Here’s what to look for in a workout friend:

  1. Similar schedules
    1. Make sure you find a friend that can work out at the same times as you. It’s also good to find someone who is flexible too.
  2. Someone with similar goals
    1. For me and my friends, it’s just staying in shape and getting toned, but I know for my boyfriend, his goals are to bulk up. Working out with him as a gym partner is miserable. We don’t do the same workouts, he doesn’t take as long as me, and he doesn’t even like cardio! Make sure you’re friend can do the same workouts as you too.
  3. Positivity
    1. You want a friend who has a positive attitude at the gym. None of that ugh-I-wish-we-weren’t-here crap. You want someone who wants to workout and most importantly, wants to workout with you!

So save a few calories and go to the gym with a friend instead of catching up over coffee or cocktails. It’s fun!