Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Time Saving Tips

Fitting in your daily workout isn't always so easy when work, family, friends — and, yes, your beloved television shows — are vying for your precious time. With these Midtown Fitness time-saving secrets, you can carve out extra minutes for exercise in your jam-packed schedule without sacrificing the things you love most.

Here are various ways to make the most of your all-too-fleeting minutes so you can fit in those reps.

1. Stop wasting time on hold with automated phone systems. Log on to gethuman.com, a database of secret phone numbers and codes that will immediately lead you to an actual, live person on the line for customer service at nearly 1,000 major companies.
TIME SAVED: 15 minutes
2. Download your favorite TV shows to your iPod. That way you can watch them while waiting at the grocery store or subway stop, or while on the treadmill or stationary bike. You'll be less tempted to skip the gym in favor of the latest live episode.
TIME SAVED: Up to 1 hour
3. Minimize your morning reading. Instead of slowly fumbling through all of your daily newspapers, save time and go to assignmenteditor.com, where you'll find major global, national and local papers in one place.
TIME SAVED: 20 minutes
4. Avoid long lines at the mall. Go to shopittome.com, and select your favorite apparel brands and sizes. The site will scour the Websites of leading retailers and send you a daily or weekly e-mail summary when items in your size go on sale.
TIME SAVED: 15 minutes

5. Finally, sign up for online billing. You'll spend less time sorting through (and shredding) the paper that clogs your mailbox. Plus you won't spend all that time — time you could be spending on the treadmill — signing checks and looking for stamps.
TIME SAVED: 10 minutes

Think you need to put in a full hour to see results? Think again. "You can squeeze in a comprehensive, total-body workout in just 20 to 30 minutes. Here are four speedy steps.
1. Devote four to five minutes of your workout to your normal warm-up routine. Do some basic stretches followed by cardio: Try jumping jacks, jogging in place or a few minutes on your favorite cardio machine.
2. Set aside 10 minutes for weight training. "You get more out of a workout by focusing on building muscle first. "Zone in on three pieces of equipment, and do two to three sets of eight to 12 reps on each machine, with a 45-second break between reps. Ideally, you want a mix of machines so you'll work a variety of muscle groups."

3. Find your cardio equipment of choice — be it the stationary bike, treadmill, elliptical or step machine. "Then, knock out 10 to 12 high-intensity minutes of cardio on the machine, whether that means doing sprints or upping the incline or resistance,".
4. Cool down for a few minutes with a quick, comprehensive total body stretch, focusing on all major muscle groups.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Secret to Flat Abs (Hint: Not Sit-Ups)

Curls and sit-ups can definitely help tone your abs, but a new study suggests something else might work better.

Seems counterintuitive, but working your upper body may be the quickest path to a really sculpted middle.

Above-the-Belt Action
In a study, women did isometric exercises for their stomach, back, shoulders, and arms while researchers measured muscle activity. The results? Shoulder extensions made middle-body muscles contract most -- apparently they work extra hard to stabilize your trunk when your wings are flapping. (Watch this strength-training video to learn how building 5 extra pounds of muscle could burn 26 pounds of fat in a year.)

Full-Body Fitness
Some more ways to get your midsection -- and whole body -- into mint condition:

* Roll out the ball. For strong core muscles and better balance, do tummy and back toners on an exercise ball. Follow these simple steps.
* Add resistance. Use weights or resistance bands for extra burn. Use this tool to create a 20-minute workout with or without equipment.