When we drag ourselves out of bed for a workout, there’s one goal we all have in common: Get the most out of it. Unfortunately, research shows we’re not great at judging how hard we’re pushing ourselves during our sweat sessions. In fact, when left to our own devices, scientists discovered that we seriously underestimate just how hard we’re working. (Apparently that puddle of sweat you left behind isn’t always the best indicator!) So instead of continuing the guessing game, we went to the pros to get some surefire ways to determine if your workout is too easy. Follow their tricks so you’ll know when it’s time to step up your game.
Everything’s a trade-off. So, while the shoulder joint enjoys its title as the most mobile joint in the human body, it’s unfortunately also the least stable, and most easily injured, joint in the human body.
You’ve heard it before: Some things are better together. Studies show working out with a partner has more benefits than hitting the weight rack or treadmill solo. Doing a workout with a friend, coworker, or significant other can increase accountability, keep spirits high, and even spur better results. (Bonus: It can also rev libido. ) With that in mind, here are 29 creative exercises that prove teamwork can make your workouts a lot more fun.
Strengthen your abs and your bond at the same time with this toner: All you need is a medicine ball (you can use any similar-sized ball if you don’t have one). Kneel on the floor back-to-back, and slowly twist to one side to hand the ball off to your partner (who should be turning toward you). Then twist to the other side as they turn to hand the ball back to you. Continue passing the ball in that direction for 60-90 seconds, and then repeat the exercise in reverse.
7 Lower Ab Exercises to Strengthen Your Core
Perform these seven moves in a row, with little to no the rest time in between. At the end of the circuit, take a 90-second break, then repeat two more times.
Forget going to the gym alone—she may be the best workout partner you’ll ever have
The first time I joined a gym, I was 24 and scrawny. The jacked guy at the front desk said all new members received a T-shirt and asked me for my size. Small, I said. He threw me a muumuu.
“This is a large,” he replied. “It’s all we have. Once you start lifting, you’ll fill it out.”
Sex life a little slugglish lately? You don’t need to experiment with crazy sex positions or bizarro foreplay—a simple diet change could go a long way.
No one thinks fast food is healthy. Whether it’s for convenience or cravings, though, sometimes the drive-thru is unavoidable. You can definitely hit Micky D’s without wrecking your six pack, but most of the mouth-watering options your eyes (and stomach) gravitate toward will set you back a few days. And even some of the healthier options at most places are packed with sodium which can add to water retention and bloating, points out New York-based nutritionist Jessica Cording, R.D.
Timothy Noakes, M.D., is an emeritus professor in the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town. While his name may not ring a bell here in the U.S., he’s a full-blown celebrity in his native South Africa and one of the most accomplished exercise physiologists on the planet. You can’t walk by a restaurant in Cape Town that doesn’t offer a “Noakes option”—say, an avocado stuffed with breakfast sausage and eggs, or a double cheeseburger with lettuce sans bun—and evidence of his teachings seems to be everywhere, mostly in the form of the nation’s best-known athletes, including ageless golfing legend Gary Player and eight-time Ironman World Champion Paula Newby-Fraser. In fact, Noakes’ celebrity these days is such that he’s even been pulled into South African presidential politics: To echo the country’s papers of record, “Is President Jacob Zuma’s and his wife’s dramatic weight loss a result of the Noakes Diet?” No one is sure about the president, but his wife, definitely: She’s lost 66 pounds following the Noakes plan.
To high-performing athletes, Noakes preaches that the bedrock tenet of endurance athletic nutrition—that winning performance is best fueled by eating lots of carbohydrates—is simply wrong. Instead, he believes athletes can alter their bodies so that their metabolism burns fat as a primary fuel source, a physiological process known as ketosis, either from stored body fat or from the foods they eat every day. For non-athletes and anyone trying to lose weight or keep it off, Noakes’ advice is that eating a high-fat diet, with few if any refined carbs and as little sugar as possible, will switch on the same fat-burning system and keep your body lean and your weight stable without making you hungry. According to Noakes and a growing number of nutritionists, physiologists, and biohackers, when you’re in a state of ketosis—best attained through a strict “ketogenic diet”—good things happen.