Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shaking up a fitness routine will add a spring to your step

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For most of us, working out and staying in shape is a healthy pastime that takes up a few hours of our time, maybe a couple days. Imagine what it would be like to play football for the Green Bay Packers or Pittsburgh Steelers? For them, fitness is a year-round thing, which explains why professional athletes work with dietician and fitness experts like Leslie Bonci. 

Someone has to shake things up and keep the training fresh. 

However, knowing that weekend warriors can grow tired of the same old fitness routine too, Bonci put together the following tips to help working moms, dads, students, all of us, stay on top of our game.

Groove it: Get moving to a new beat
Consider adding a little jazz, pop, rock or country music to your workout, and if you already have an exercise playlist, try out some new tunes. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has found that the faster the beat of the music, the higher the intensity of the workout. "Your body naturally moves to whatever beat its listening to, so speeding up the beat can help you get more from your workout," according to Bonci. "The ACE research also showed that a faster tempo makes intense exercise seem less stressful."

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Change it: Add some spice to your routine
As with anything, doing the same kind of exercises all the time is boring, which ultimately leads to quitting. Bonci recommends shaking things up. Dare yourself to get moving in a new way. Ever considered trying a dance-based workout such as Zumba, kickboxing, ballroom dancing, a spinning class or circuit training? Getting married? Try something more intense like a bridal boot camp? Ask your bridal party to come along for the ride. Bonci said many gyms and fitness centers have low-cost, short-term, try-it options that allow you to sample a class before committing to a long-term contract. Some clubs also have options that include working with a personal trainer a few times for free.

Log it: Start a food journal
Why work out if you plan on making poor food choices. It's hypocritical. Bonci said keeping a food journal can help you take an honest look at your eating habits so that you can make healthy changes. Journal tips: Immediately jot down what you eat/drink; describe what you were doing at the time (watching TV, working on the computer, etc.) and describe your feelings while you ate? Why? Because understanding the emotions behind your food choices will help you make the changes you need to make. For those of you who prefer a digital log the Lance Armstrong Foundation has a free online program where you can input what you've eaten for the day and keep track of workouts at Livestrong.com

Treat your palette: try something new
Incorporating plant-based proteins into a daily diet can help maximize overall health. "Soybeans in their whole, natural state are the only plant-based source of complete protein. A reasonable goal should be to consume two servings of whole soy a day (15-20 g).
Where can you get it?
I'm sure you can buy soybeans in bulk, but they’ve got to be nasty. Consider trying a soy snack such as Soyjoy nutrition bars instead. They come in several flavors including strawberry, blueberry and the best one, mango coconut. Each bar is made with whole soy, real fruit, and about 130 calories.They are sold individually or by the box.

Today's muse
I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel.  At just the right moment, I light the match -- Mia Hamm 

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