lady exercise motivation Countless women resolve each year to stick to an exercise program that will not only improve their looks but also boost their overall well-being. 

But a good fraction of them never make it to the end of the first month for a lot of reasons, be they valid or not!

 
Although exercising is definitely enjoyable, it’s easy to slack off after a few days, especially when our muscles start aching or there’s nothing to look forward to but the same old repetitive steps day in and day out.

 

But life is too short to keep putting off something as important as fitness. Don’t despair – there are several ways to make exercising more exciting and fun to ensure that you’ll reach your goal within your target period:
 

  1. Get an exercise partner.

    Forget about keeping your efforts a secret from your family and friends unless you have very strong willpower to see your project through.

    More often than not, it’s the sense of community that keeps gym rats going and is primarily the reason why tons of exercise equipment gather dust at home. Invite your spouse, best friend, neighbor, or even sex partner – it might even spice up your sex life!

 

  1. Exercise to the music of your choice.

    The advent of iPods has made it easier for us to take our favorite music wherever we go. You can program these little gizmos to play a different set of tunes each day for weeks.

    If your cardio is walking, for instance, you could find music with specific beats per minute online, or you could combine your own.

    Beginning walkers could listen to music at 118 steps per minute; intermediate at 126; and advanced at a brisk 134 steps per minute. Baby Boomers enjoy the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s music; the younger generations have their own genres. There’s even cool-down music to plant your feet back on the ground after a cardio high.

  1. Hang photos of yourself on the wall.

    And I don’t mean just any kind – I mean one “before” image – which is how you look now; and an “after” image, which is what you’ll look like after the timeframe you set.

    So how do you do this?

    Get yourself “morphed” on a computer by a graphic artist. Attach your face on the body of a goddess or a voluptuous celebrity. You’ll be surprised how visuals can positively affect your drive.

  1. Maintain a journal of accomplishments.

    You have most likely set a goal for yourself before starting your exercise regimen. Regardless of how insubstantial it may seem to you, it helps to write about your little achievements and your feelings about keeping fit.

    Track your daily progress by writing down the exercises you’ve done and the reps you have made. Aim for the next level if you feel you’re up to it, and keep raising the bar each time.

  1. Occasionally do something you like.

    The word “occasionally” is there because to accomplish something we can be proud of, we need to sacrifice a little – which means there can really be some things that aren’t palatable to us, such as doing “X” number of reps or doing an exercise for “X” number of minutes. 

    However, no one said we can’t alternate these workouts with activities we enjoy doing most, such as roller blading or bike riding.

 

  1. Hire a personal trainer or coach.

    If you’re the type of person who needs someone breathing down her neck in order to accomplish something, so be it.

    Hire someone so obsessed with keeping fit that he’ll make you feel extremely guilty about missing a session. In addition, his or her physique will always be in front of you, which is a fantastic motivator any time.

 

  1. Listen to motivational tapes.

    Your “background music” doesn’t always have to be something you can dance to. It can be a charismatic speaker talking about how you can be the master of your body or how you can do whatever it takes to achieve something you’ve set your mind on.

 

  1. Divide your exercises.

    Doing your favorite aero or cardio doesn’t have to be done in a single, uninterrupted session a day. You can wake up half an hour earlier than usual, split the workout into a 30-minute session in the morning and another during your lunch hour or early evening.

 

  1. Reward yourself.

    For every little accomplishment, such as a few pounds lost in two weeks, half an inch off your waistline, or an improved heart rate – treat yourself to non-food perks like a foot massage or new Victoria’s Secret underwear.

 

  1. Read, read, read.

    Check out books, magazines, and websites that teach you about the latest trends in the exercise world. Learning about like-minded individuals makes for great motivation to continue what you have started.

    Join online forums on fitness as well. You’ll find that for every 1 member on the verge of calling it quits, there’ll be 9 others encouraging her to see her program through!

To your success,

M. Jamal

cardio for busy women

I have appointments the whole day. I might injure myself. I have more important chores to take care of.

These are but a few of the reasons we give whenever the idea of exercising comes up in conversation.

Unfortunately, very few women see the real benefits that they can get from exercise – it gives them more energy to accomplish more things and it keeps their organs functioning at their peak.

The good news is that there are workouts that even the busiest women can do! Below are some suggestions:

1- Not all types of cardio are structured routines. If you really need to pass on your morning or afternoon workout schedule, make up for it by walking several blocks to a restaurant on your lunch hour or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you do these “alternatives” regularly, you’ll find that they could add up to about three hours of cardio each week.

2- Before going to work, do an imaginary jump-rope routine in the comforts of your own bedroom. Turn on your favorite music or watch the morning show while twirling your wrists as if they’re grasping a real jumping rope. You can work up a sweat just by doing 10-15 minutes of this.

3- Make use of a good ol’ exercise relic from the Flashdance era – a mini-trampoline! Yep, this inexpensive contraption can substitute for a high-energy aerobic exercise without the risk of knee injury. Also called a “rebounder,” it can easily be stored under your bed or in a closet when not in use.

4- March in place while watching TV, but make sure you do it continuously from one commercial segment to another (normally, that would take about 15 minutes). To keep from getting bored, alternate two minutes of marching with thirty seconds of skipping. As you become more fit, you can lengthen the skipping intervals.

5- Do your treadmills or elliptical trainers while watching your favorite DVD movies or listening to an audio book.

6- If you’re a frequent flier and flight schedules often get in the way of your exercise routine, make the airport your personal gym (don’t be too embarrassed; people come and go at the airport and the staff would hardly remember that you’re the exercise freak). If you have some time before your flight or if it has been delayed, do some power-walking with your backpack and walk the length of the airport several times. You can even do some squats, lunges, and wall push-ups if you like.

7- Combine your cardio workout with something you love to do. If you’re nuts about dancing, then take a ballroom dancing, hip-hop, or flamenco class.

8- Set power workouts instead of power lunches. Instead of meeting your friends over coffee and sandwiches, set an exercise date such as a brisk group stroll. In the winter, you can all go skating or sledding while you catch up on each other’s lives.

Now you’ve got some exercise options to experiment with on those busy days ‘-)

M. Jamal

P.S. Out of the 8 workouts… what’s your favorite? Which one you plan on trying next week? Let us know how it works out for you

lady fitness swim London, September of 1991…

One man undergoes 6 brain operations and spends 40 days in a comma. This man was an elite athlete… yet shortly after he left the hospital half paralyzed and unable to walk. 12 years later (2003) he walks the second largest marathon in the world (the London marathon) completing the 26.2 miles in 6 days.

Such spirit and iron determination belongs to former British boxer Michael Watson. (You can see his message here).

 

Days ago… on the other side of the Atlantic — Peru

A 52 year old Slovenian man braves crocodiles, flesh eating piranhas, small fish that can creep into your body and cause all kinds of damage… (plus some more)… to become the first man to swim the entire length of the Amazon! That’s a whopping 3,375 miles (5,400km) marathon swim from Peru to Brazil.

This incredible man is marathon swimmer Martin Strel. (You can learn more about this incredible challenge here, and check out this video).

Whether you like boxing or you don’t… whether you’re into swimming or not… I hope these real-world examples of courage, elite fitness and exceptional-determination can inspire you to put you’re excuses (and setbacks) aside and fuel your motivation to achieve your goals (yep, that includes your dream figure and leading a healthy life).


To your success,

M. Jamal

P.S. Is there a particular event or real world storey that truly inspires you to get off the couch and blast into your fitness routine?

Celebrity lady fitness

Have you ever wondered how the most gorgeous celebrities maintain their to-die-for shapes?

Yes, there are a handful who take the “easy (but not exactly safe) way out” with surgical procedures, but a great majority of them actually work on their bodies. Here is a peek at some of these famous women’s cardio routines:

 

Jessica Simpson and Heidi Klum. Both beauties
performed intensive cardio and strength training.

Jessica worked her way to a more shapely butt which she needed in the filming of “Dukes of Hazzard” while supermodel Heidi had to shed off the fat she gained after giving birth so that she could show off her curves for a Victoria’s Secret modeling stint.

Angelina Jolie. Before the filming of “Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life,” where she performed a lot of stunts herself, Angelina took on a specially-designed regimen that included kickboxing, wall climbing, bungee ballet, and scuba diving.

Thalia Sodi. This voluptuous Mexican singer/actress wall-climbs to achieve a firm gluteus. This activity is very demanding and firms up unsightly flabs in your limbs. She also does yoga.

Oprah Winfrey. We’ve seen her weight yo-yo through the years – from unhealthy-looking obesity to an alarming thinness. Today she has found her middle ground, and certainly looks like the millions of dollars she’s actually worth! Oprah follows a strict diet and exercise regimen: six days of cardio and six days of strength training, plus outdoor activities on Sundays.

“Friends” co-stars Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston. These charming gals practice a mix of martial arts and yoga to achieve those enviable bodies we see on TV.

Jessica Alba. One of the “most searched” on the Internet and currently also a top-grosser in poster sales, this star of the blockbuster movie “The Fantastic Four” used to have big self-image issues, coming from a heavily overweight family.

She has admitted to having an eating disorder years back, but is now on the right track with a daily 45-60 minute workout routine. She starts out by working the elliptical machine or the treadmill for 10 to 15 minutes until her heart rate goes up to about 180 bpm. This is followed by 50 crunches and lunges, before she returns to the machine for an additional 10 minutes.

Meg Ryan, Julianne Moore, and Reese Witherspoon. They all follow a strict diet plus a combination of 6 days of cardio and 5 days of weight training.

Jennifer Lopez. Aside from a clean lifestyle (she neither smokes nor drinks), this sultry singer/actress maintains her “legendary backside” with this routine: On a power treadmill, reach the speed you regularly work with after a brief warm-up.

Next, begin to increase the incline one grade at a time until you reach that point where you feel uncomfortable. Afterwards, do the reverse and start descending one grade at a time. Devote about 20 minutes for an entire cycle to tone your muscles and burn a considerable amount of calories.

Although they do their cardio year-round, celebrities work doubly hard in the weeks leading up to a special event, such as the Oscars, as it’s the most anticipated season of “showing the world what you’ve got.”

You, too, can use their techniques if you’re gearing up for a wedding, an awards night, or a class reunion! Simply follow these steps:

  1. About 2 weeks prior to the event, increase your exercise duration (add about 15 minutes per session), intensity (go up the levels when using machines), and frequency (do your cardio at least 5-6 times a week).
  2. One week before the event, pay special attention to your diet. Cut down on alcohol, salt, and sugar to help you look and feel lean. Doing so will also provide you with that much-needed energy for your more intensive workouts.
  3. The day before the event, take in only complex carbs and lean protein. Don’t consume too much fruit and vegetables to keep from feeling gassy and bloated.
  4. On the day itself, it won’t hurt to take a brisk walk for about 30-45 minutes. It would be better to walk along a hilly trail to tighten your legs and burn more calories.

When you do your cardio daily, having a celebrity body will only be icing on the cake. The most important thing is that as your heart, lungs, and muscles improve their performance, you’ll inevitably feel good about yourself.


M. Jamal

P.S. Are there any particular celebrities you admire… draw inspiration from… or just wish to teal their voluptuous figures? Go on let us know…

 

lady aerobics on beach

Today there is no dearth of cardio routines to
choose from and it has become much easier to
choose one that suits you best.

There are two basic types of exercise –
aerobic and anaerobic.

Aerobic literally means “in the presence of
oxygen,”
and has evolved to refer to endurance
exercises in which your body first burns stored
sugars (glycogen) before it burns fat stores for energy.

Aerobic exercises usually increase your heartbeat to 65% of its maximum rate for long stretches – averaging about 20 minutes or so. Examples of these are brisk walking, running, or bike riding from a medium to a quick pace.

Anaerobic activities, on the other hand, are done in short and quick bursts such as calisthenics, weightlifting, or sprinting. In these types of exercises, your body uses glycogens for as long as it can and improves muscle strength, tone, and agility.


If you are a novice, trainers would normally suggest that you emphasize the former type to promote overall fitness and maintain your heart’s health.

However, to refine your aerobic skills, anaerobic activity is recommended. For instance, a runner who can constantly do 5-6 miles at the same pace each day has clearly demonstrated above-average endurance. Thus, she could take her workout to the next level and do strength training or sprints to shock her muscles and complement her cardio targets.

And then there’s flexibility training, which many of us often forget. You need to work in exercises that would constantly stretch the same muscles you’re working on during aerobic and anaerobic workouts.

 

Now that you know the types of exercises, you need to first get professional advice on the state of your health. Although cardio is for people of all ages, women over 40 generally need to consult their doctors’ advice first before joining a group of women in their prime, especially if they have been sedentary for quite a long time.

In the same vein, if your family has a history of coronary artery disease, your cardio would be limited in intensity, frequency, and duration. Moreover, if you have no idea about what your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels are, the more reason for you to first check with your doctor if your planned exercise regimen is manageable.

Lastly, don’t instantly jump into a routine if you have experienced any of the following in the past: chest pains; dizziness; pain while walking; joint or bone problems; very slow or fast; irregular heartbeats; wounds or cuts on the feet that don’t heal; and unexplained rapid weight loss.

 

Once you’re given the go signal, you can then choose which cardio can both increase your heart rate (within safe limits, of course) and is enjoyable for you at the same time. As you engage in regular cardio, your lungs, heart, and muscles all increase their efficiency in their use of oxygen.

  The capacity of your lungs increases, your heart pumps more blood for every stroke, and your muscle fibers extract oxygen from the blood more efficiently.

This is quite obvious when you compare a well-trained athlete with a sedentary individual. The former will have a lower resting heart rate – perhaps even 50 beats per minute (bpm) – while the person who has rarely moved away from her desk may have a resting rate of 80 bpm.

As you begin your cardio sessions, you will find that your heart rate increases rapidly during the duration of the session. However, the longer you are into the program, your heart rate won’t rise nearly as much.

Once you’ve chosen the program (or “programs” – it’s a good idea to cross-train to keep from feeling bored) that you feel you’re going to enjoy for quite some time, always keep in mind that you can’t immediately see results!

Practice gradual progression to avoid the risk of injuries.

The instant effect you’ll experience, though, comes by way of a reduction of “stress hormones” such as cortisol and an increase in the production of endorphins, or the so-called “feel-good hormones”. Now, who doesn’t want that?

 

M. Jamal

P.S. So what’s your favorite cardio activity? Running, swimming, stair climbing… ?

outer-space-lady-run

Last August Reader’s Digest reported a gravity-
defying space trip (well a modified airplane)
that could set you back $3,750 to experience
what it’s like to be free from gravity
for a
few minutes (under 5 minutes). Today, one lady
is attempting a marathon run in outer space…

Just pose and think about it for a moment: you’re
floating around in outer space… the usual dumbbells
and weight lifting machines won’t mean much (no
gravity)… and running on a treadmill means being strapped down to keep you from floating off the thing!

Well, a New Scientist article (see here) reports that one lady is determined to run 26 miles from outer space. US astronaut Sunita Williams will actually join the Boston Marathon from outer space!

It’s quite the challenge… especially when you consider that astronauts lose cardio fitness, bone mass and muscle tone due to absence of earth’s gravity!

But here’s the thing…

When I thought of an outer space marathon run… I was thinking Sunita could enjoy an exquisite view of the galaxy while jogging on the treadmill. I guess NOT. It’s reported that she’ll be watching a movie on a laptop instead!

I guess the first option is out of question due to those intense UV rays in outer space (and a couple of other complexities). And hay, who’d want to run a marathon in one of those astronaut suites?!

OK, let’s put reality aside for a moment…

Imagine you’re on some space shuttle with nothing but glass walls. You put on your favorite training clothes… your trainers… and blast your favorite music through the deluxe speakers. You could really take a glance at the stars, moon and planets as you rotate around earth. Now, you’ve got a stationery bike, a treadmill or an elliptical trainer. Which would you choose?

Go on, let us know.

M. Jamal

   Parks filled with rowdy kids? Gym too far from your home or office? Then perhaps it’s time to look at stadiums and tall buildings.

You’ve got it right – staircases. They’re the cheap alternatives to steppers (in fact, they don’t cost anything), and the best thing about them is you can do your cardio any time of the day.

Athletes have been performing stadium bleacher runs since time immemorial. It improves their cardiovascular stamina and promotes their muscular endurance – two things that are necessary for competitive games that last for hours.

For your part, stairclimbing gives nearly the same benefits, but on a scale that’s just right for you.

The benefits of stairclimbing

This activity is low-impact and safe for as long as you strictly observe the safety rules outlined below. It uses the muscles of the buttocks and the quadriceps (front of the thigh) muscles. It also gives your heart a super workout because you’re literally carrying your weight as you work against gravity.

Stair climbing is time efficient as it burns an unbelievable 300 calories in 30 minutes, depending on your pace and body weight.

This could be just the answer to our many alibis to keep from doing routines, such as “dogs chase me at the park,” or “the smog outside is just terrible”!

When is the best time to stairclimb?

If you’re using your office stairs, it’s better to do this activity after work as you’ll be all sweaty and exhausted. However, if you’re utilizing your apartment building staircase, early in the morning would be great!

Warming up and cooling down

Walk around your apartment or office for about five minutes prior to tackling the stairs. You should also stretch your calves, quads, and hamstrings to avoid tearing.

On the first week, do the following for 10-15 minutes: Climb 2 flights and then march in place or walk around the entire floor for a couple of minutes to avoid “burning” thigh muscles or shortness of breath. Add five minutes every week to this routine until you’re finally able to climb the entire flight without needing to march in place or walk around the floor to catch your breath.

Safety precautions for stair climbing

  • Wear shoes with good support – the best ones are aerobic or cross-training shoes. Running shoes are not recommended because they don’t give enough lateral support.
  • Make sure that the stairwell is well-lit and well-ventilated.
  • Drink enough water before, during, and after the workout.
  • Discontinue the session as soon as you feel any of the following: nausea, dizziness, heart palpitation, and disorentiation, among others.
  • Alternate this activity with other forms of cardio so as to prevent overuse injury (caused by impacting the same bones and muscles over and over again).
  • Contrary to popular belief, your knees are more stressed coming down than they are going up because of your reflex of “putting on the brakes,” just as the downhill part of mountaining climbing is more dangerous. You may want to take the elevator on the way back if you’re just beginning.
  • Assume the proper stance: Lean forward a bit from the hips and keep your back straight. Never slouch while stairclimbing.
  • Don’t climb with heels hanging off the edge of the step as you’ll risk injuring your Achilles tendon. Instead, place your entire foot on each step.
  • Never climb a totally desolate area of the building! In the unlikely event of an accident, make sure that you can be heard if you cry out for help.

According to the New Zealand government website, www.nhc.govt.nz,  stairclimbing as an exercise can hold its own against the more established routines such as running and bicycling. A study has concluded that stairclimbing is better than these two when considering “the most vigorous exercise in the shortest period possible”.

M. Jamal

P.S. Some years back… during my college days… I climbed a flight of stairs fast and furious. I went from ground Zero to my room on the 9th in a matter of minutes! Woof, you should’ve seen how I was strolling around trying to catch my breath after that.

Even if you’re fit this can be a challenge. But hay don’t go from no stair climbing to doing 9 floors overnight (guess I had to figure that out the hard way ‘-)

Go ahead… let us know what you think about stair climbing… Love it? Have it?
Thinking of trying it at office break-time next week? Hit “Comment” at the top and let’s find out…