Lie on left side with ball beneath lower ribs, left forearm on floor with elbow directly under shoulder, and knees bent, stacked, and in line with left hip. Engage core to keep pelvis stable. Lift right leg to hip height and extend right arm alongside body (a). This is your starting position. Extend right leg behind you as you reach right arm forward and then past head, rotating through core (b). Pull right knee toward chest and sweep right arm behind you at shoulder height (c) to complete 1 rep. Do 12 reps on each side, keeping top leg and arm lifted throughout set. To modify, lie flat on your side and eliminate the ball.
Lie on left side with ball beneath lower ribs, left forearm on floor with elbow directly under shoulder, and knees bent, stacked, and in line with left hip. Engage core to keep pelvis stable and place right hand on right hip. Keeping left knee on floor, lift feet a few inches, big toes touching. Hinge at right hip to raise right knee toward ceiling, creating a diamond shape with legs (a). This is your starting position. Keeping big toes connected, lower right knee halfway down (b) and then lift toward ceiling again to complete 1 rep. Do 20 reps on each side.
Lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on floor, arms resting at sides. Lift pelvis and place ball under tailbone. Engage core and then slowly lift legs, one at a time, directly over hips, toes pointing out slightly (a). This is your starting position. Bending right knee, draw right toe down inside of left leg toward left knee, simultaneously lowering left leg a few inches toward floor (b). Reverse the move, straightening right leg and raising left leg over hips to complete 1 rep. Do 20 reps, alternating legs with each rep.
Stand against barre or wall and place ball behind lower back. Bending knees, slide torso down barre or wall, as though about to sit in an imaginary chair, until thighs are nearly parallel to floor and ball is between shoulder blades. Extend arms in front of body (a). This is your starting position. Bend left elbow and pull it toward wall, twisting torso slightly to the left (b). Return to center to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps on each side.
Start in a pilé squat with knees bent, feet more than hip-width apart, toes turned out, and arms extended at shoulder height (a). This is your starting position. Straighten legs and come to standing, simultaneously sliding left toes across floor toward right foot and a few feet in front of body. Lift left knee toward belly button as you twist torso to left, bringing right hand above left knee and extending let arm behind you at shoulder height, gazing over left shoulder (b). Reverse to complete 1 rep. Do 20 reps, alternating legs with each rep.
Start on all fours, hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Extend right leg behind you at hip height, toes pointed. Engage core to find balance, and then extend left arm in front of you (a). This is your starting position. Keeping hips level and back flat, pull left arm and right knee to meet under torso and scoop through belly (b). Return to start to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps on each side.
Lie on back with knees bent and feet on top of ball, feet and knees parallel and pressed together (a). Slowly lift hips off floor a few inches (b) and hold 1 minute, keeping core engaged and heels pressing together and down into ball.
Holding ball, start in a squat, knees bent and feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart (a). Keeping chest lifted and weight in heels, reach ball toward floor (b).
We love working out as much as you do, but also like you, we want results. To get there, you have to push yourself, which is easy when your favorite fitness instructor is spurring you on. When it’s just you and your iPod, not so much. But now there’s a new trick for breaking through the brain barrier—and it delivers the full benefit in half the time, whether you’re walking, running, swimming, or cycling.
Triple-interval training is a technique that can help you go harder and incinerate calories quickly. Here’s how it works: Instead of alternating between two intervals—fast and slow, as you would during an HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout—you alternate between 30-, 20-, and 10-second bouts, building your burn from slow to fast to max.
So what gives this method an edge? It pushes you harder without your even realizing it. Even when you think you’re in high gear, you probably have the capacity to push a little bit more. Here, the last interval forces you to dig down and find whatever you have left to burn, and because you know it’ll be brief (you can do anything for 10 seconds), you’re less likely to slack off, says Jens Bangsbo, ScD, professor of exercise physiology at the University of Copenhagen. Those last seconds spike metabolism, endurance, and speed.
Danish runners tried it and proved the theory: They shaved seconds off their times and lowered their blood pressure, all while cutting their mileage in half. When we tested it on walkers, they lost up to 11 pounds and more than 12 inches in 8 weeks. Try it with whichever activity you like best to supercharge your burn; throw in some lower-body toning moves; and then, since balance is everything, try our chill-out plan to calm your mind, too. (Toned body, tamed brain, anyone?)
The basic 30-20-10 Core Set is a total of 6 minutes: 5 rounds of 30-20-10 intervals followed by a 1-minute recovery. After starting with a 4-minute warm-up of your activity of choice, repeat the 30-20-10 Core Set a few times before ending with a 2-minute cool-down. We recommend 2 sets in week 1, 3 sets in week 2, and 4 sets in weeks 3 through 8. Swimming laps without a stopwatch? Stick to a moderate pace for 1 length, rev it up for two-thirds length, and kick it into high gear for the last third. Do this routine 3 times a week to fast-track results.
Strengthen your lower body to go faster and feel stronger.
Stand with resistance band looped and tied around calves, feet slightly apart. Step 12 to 18 inches out to the side with your right foot. Bend hips and knees and lower into a squat. Stand up again, stepping in toward the right with your left foot. Do 5 squats stepping to the right. Repeat to the left. Continue for recommended number of reps.
Loop resistance band around railing at about waist level and hold 1 end in each hand. Stand facing band with your right foot 2 to 3 feet in front of left foot. Bend knees and lower into a lunge, keeping front knee over the ankle. Bend elbows and pull hands toward rib cage, keeping elbows close to body and pointing behind you. Hold 1 second, then slowly extend arms. Holding lunge, repeat row for half the recommended number of reps. Switch legs, lunging with left leg forward, and complete set.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat, resistance band under upper back. Hold 1 end of the band in each hand by your chest, elbows pointing out. Contract abs and press into heels to lift butt off the floor until the body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees. Extend arms, pressing hands straight up. Hold 1 second, then slowly lower hands back to chest. Keeping hips lifted, repeat chest press for recommended number of reps.
This workout is designed to be a doable challenge—your face should be flushed and your back drizzled with sweat by the time you hit the shower. Use the chart below to determine if you’re working out at the appropriate level. The better in shape you are, the harder you’ll have to push. So if you’re a longtime runner, you’ll probably need to break into a sprint for your high-intensity bursts. But if you’re easing into a regular routine, you may only need to pick up the pace of your walk or cycling cadence. Just make sure that by the time you hit your 10-second supersprint, you’re at your maximum blur—the Flash has nothing on you!
Balance your 30-20-10 interval workouts with 2 or 3 moving meditations each week that can help you focus and tune in to how good it feels to move. Start with 15 minutes, and increase to a minimum of 20 minutes over the next 4 weeks.
“You can treat movement as a meditation practice,” says Tibetan lama and marathon runner Sakyong Mipham, the spiritual leader of Shambhala (a global community of meditation retreat centers) and the author of Running with the Mind of Meditation. “Instead of just letting your mind flow from one thought to the next during your workout, be fully present with your activity.” As you move at a comfortable pace, pay attention to your body and your surroundings. Be mindful of your breathing, your feet landing on the ground, or your hands cutting through the water. Notice the sounds of birds or rustling leaves or take in the colors in the sky. If your mind wanders, simply shift gears back to the present moment. “When you synchronize your mind and body, your movement becomes more fluid and efficient,” says Sakyong Mipham. “This skill not only helps you become a better athlete, but your entire life begins to exude balance and strength.”
If you’re stopping at the java drive-thru for a mocha-frappe calorie bomb or munching on corn chips at 3 PM more often than you’d care to admit, recommitting to a clean diet will energize your body and slim your belly. But you don’t need to forsake your favorite guilty pleasures. Simply focus on hitting these healthy guidelines to automatically elbow out some of the junk.
30: The number of grams of fiber you should eat each day. Fiber keeps you feeling full longer, so you eat fewer calories overall. The best sources of fiber are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
20: The average number of grams of lean protein you should eat at each meal. Like fiber, protein can help you avoid overeating. It’s also the building block of metabolism-revving muscle mass.
10: The combined number of fruits and vegetables you should eat daily. Fruits and veggies are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and lots of hydrating H2O, which is why you probably need to eat more of them. Enjoy as many low-cal veggies—such as leafy greens, celery, cucumbers, radishes, and peppers—as you please. If you’re trying to lose weight, watch your servings of starchier options (such as bananas, mangoes, potatoes, peas, and corn).
Tomato and feta omelet (2 lg eggs, 1/4 tsp canola oil, 1/2 c baby spinach, 1 diced plum tomato, and 1 oz feta); 1 c fat-free milk; 1 pear
429 cal, 26 g pro, 45 g carb, 7 g fiber, 33 g sugars, 17 g fat, 7.5 g sat fat, 585 mg sodium
Open-faced tuna salad sandwich (2 oz drained canned water-packed light tuna mixed with 1 Tbsp reduced-fat mayonnaise and spread on 1 slice whole grain bread) and side salad (1 1/2 c lettuce; 1/2 c chopped red bell pepper; 1/2 carrot, sliced; 1/4 cucumber, sliced) with balsamic vinaigrette (1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil whisked into 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar); 1 c grapes
491 cal, 20 g pro, 56 g carb, 7 g fiber, 36 g sugars, 21.5 g fat, 3.5 g sat fat, 510 mg sodium
3 oz broiled or grilled chicken breast with 1/2 c peas and rice pilaf (3/4 c cooked brown rice, 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 oz dried currants, 1 Tbsp chopped onion, 1/2 oz slivered almonds, and salt to taste)
580 cal, 37 g pro, 68 g carb, 9 g fiber, 24 g sugars, 18 g fat, 2.5 g sat fat, 144 mg sodium
3 oz fat-free plain Greek-style yogurt; 1 c blueberries
129 cal, 9 g pro, 25 g carb, 4 g fiber, 18 g sugars, 0.5 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 33 mg sodium
12 baby carrots; 1/4 c hummus
136 cal, 6 g pro, 17 g carb, 6 g fiber, 4 g sugars, 6 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 309 mg sodium
Daily total: 1,765 cal, 98 g pro, 211 g carb, 33 g fiber, 115 g sugars, 63 g fat, 14.5 g sat fat, 1,581 mg sodium
Daily total fruits and veggies: 13
If the idea of biking to work—and also burning calories and cutting down on gas costs—sounds great, but things like riding in traffic, showing up to the office sweaty, or even the length of your commute is holding you back, it’s time to reconsider. Truth is, there’s no reason these excuses should keep you car-bound. Here, our sister publication Bicycling magazine shares secrets to overcoming these “obstacles” for a healthy, stress-free ride to work.
Two simple principles greatly improve your safety: ride predictably and ride visibly. How? On wide roads, ride just to the right of the traffic lane; on narrow roads, stay just inside the traffic lane so vehicles must partly cross the middle line to pass. (This removes the temptation to try to squeeze by you.)
For making turns, work your way into the proper lane 150 feet early; if you can’t get there 40 to 50 feet before the turn, go straight and double back. And stay at least a foot away from curbs—passing autos push debris to the curb, creating a littered path.
Studies by groups such as New York City’s Transportation Alternatives have shown that trips of less than 3 miles are often quicker by bike, and urban trips of 5 to 7 miles usually take about the same time. Plus, you can use your ride to work as an extra cardio workout. The average American drives 29 miles per day. If you substitute one day’s worth of driving with riding per week, in a year you’ll burn enough calories to lose 19 pounds. You’ll also reduce auto emissions by 1,248 pounds of CO2, and save more than $800 on gas and maintenance.
If your office has showers, drive once or twice a week, carrying a few days’ worth of clothes you can store there. Or, you could shower at your gym if it’s near your office. If neither of those is an option, wear a sweat-wicking jersey and bike shorts on your ride in. After arriving, wait 10 to 20 minutes for your body to stop sweating, then wipe off with baby wipes (especially your pits, crotch, face and feet). If you showered that morning, you should be suitably fresh.
To lock your bike safely out on the street, use two different types of locks, such as a U-lock plus a chain-and-padlock. (That forces thieves to carry several tools—which means they’ll look for easier prey than your bike.)
Can’t commit to 15 miles or more each way? Cut the mileage in half: The first day, drive to work with your bike, then ride home that night. Ride to work the next morning, then drive home. Repeat euphorically.
Drive your kids to school and ride the rest of the way to work. Or, organize a car pool in your neighborhood. Or best of all, ride with your kids to school. If you carry them in a trailer or a trail-a-bike, you can often arrange to leave it at the school until you return.
Supporting your Tree Pose, propelling you along the path while you jog—your feet take a daily beating in the name of keeping you fit. Give them the TLC they deserve with our four new favorite post-workout recovery tools.
Designed to fit under the arch of your foot, it’s covered in raised dots that knead out pain. Warm the roller in hot water to massage muscle cramps, or stick it in the freezer and use it cold to reduce inflammation.
It’s hard not to get excited when you finally make the decision to get in shape. And who wouldn’t be tempted to speed things up with an extra workout here, eliminating certain foods there? Understandable, sure, but definitely not wise: Overdoing exercise, especially after a hiatus, can cause serious injuries, and drastically cutting calories can make you irritable, forgetful, and may even age you.
Why it’s bad: Your skin, hair, and nails will suffer—and so will your mood.
When you cut calories, you deprive yourself of certain nutrients that promote healthy cell division, cell regeneration, and overall skin tone and texture, explains David E. Bank, MD, FAAD, director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, NY. “The skin also requires essential fatty acids—which the body can’t produce on its own—to maintain hydration. A diet that’s too low in fat could cause dry skin, hair loss, and brittle nails.”
Other key youth-boosting nutrients include vitamins A, C, and E. Being deficient in A, for example, can cause acne, dry hair and skin, hyperkeratosis (thickening and roughness of skin), and broken fingernails. A lack of vitamin C can affect collagen synthesis (the “glue” that binds our ligaments, bones, blood vessels, and skin), and low levels of vitamin E can cause chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis to flare up. (Check out the perfect diet for glowing skin.)
Fat is also an essential building block for brain cell membranes, explains Susan M. Kleiner, PhD, RD, author of The Good Mood Diet. Different types of fats play different roles in the brain, but DHA, which we get primarily from fish oil in our diets, is linked to cognitive function, memory, and mood. If your diet contains less than 25% total fat, everyday coping skills may diminish, and you may feel increased anxiety, frustration, and stress.