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Health & Fitness: Slow Down and Enjoy Your Workout

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Everywhere you turn, people are screaming at you to get up, get active and get in shape. Of course, the media does not relent, bombarding up with books, self-help programs, fitness gadgets and infomercials. Ugh. It’s enough to make you want to not work out.

Meanwhile, the masses continue to struggle to prevent weight gain, often wondering how to squeeze more into an already-overstuffed schedule.

So here’s some training advice you may be surprised to hear from a personal trainer. Don’t look at working out like its work — look at it as a chance to catch your breath. Take the opportunity to focus on form, feel your muscles respond as you move the weights and tone down your pace. Don’t feel that you need to finish every set, and every exercise. Provide your body with enough stimulation to prompt positive results in your physical appearance, but not so much as to overwhelm your body’s ability to recover. Take some time to enjoy the process of working out.

Too often, we hit the gym full throttle, furiously goal-setting and training too hard for our bodies to properly recover. I have seen too many folks wind up injured and done with exercising altogether.

Everyone can benefit from re-evaluating their routine and making sure its components are sound. The focus for a beginner, as well as the experienced lifters, should be on incorporating a warm-up of low to moderate-intensity cardio work or lifting with light resistance to prepare the muscles for the session.

Draw on a variety of exercises that target all major muscle groups; use good technique, including maintaining proper spinal alignment, and workout through a full range of motion for each exercise while always staying in control. Also, allow for sufficient recovery time between training bouts. And, let’s not forget — enjoy your workout!

Remember, you are not working out because you hate your body; you are working out because you love your body!

Squeeze in a quickie!

Strapped for time? Combine the following exercises to create an easy, fast circuit that will burn calories any time, anywhere.

Choose a total of three moves and perform two to three sets of 10-12 repetitions of each. Repeat as a circuit.

Body Weight Moves:

  Push up

  Planks

  Triceps dips

  Lunges

  Calf raises

  Leg lift

  Crunches

  Jumping jacks

Dumbbell moves:

  Bicep curls

  Triceps kickback

  Shoulder press

  Front/side raise

  Rows

  Squats

Training tip:

Small and large steps make a big difference in your lunges. By taking smaller steps, you’re isolating the quads, whereas larger steps work the hamstrings and glutes.

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