Fitness Blog

Please Move More, Even Just a Little Bit, Say New Physical Activity Guidelines


Health experts now say that small bursts of exercise, even a minute or two at a time, should count toward weekly totals. 

This Man’s Breakup Letter to Planet Fitness Is Our New Favorite Way to Cancel a Membership


"I still love you, but more like a friend at this point."

5 Signs You Should Cancel Your Gym Membership



By Leta Shy, FitSugar

I love my gym for many reasons: it adds structure to my workouts and motivates me, the class selection is amazing, and the people — both trainers and members — can be very inspiring. But I know that many times a gym membership isn't the most cost-effective solution for getting fit, and going isn't for everyone. Are you wasting your money? Here are five signs it may be time to cancel your gym membership.

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  1. You'd rather be outdoors: The thought of being cooped up indoors has you dreading — and then skipping — your workout, but you continue to hold onto that gym membership "just in case." Some people find gym workouts boring, so if you're one of them, start getting creative outdoors. Even if you're not a runner, you can still have an effective workout outside; find an open space where you can do your circuit workout, invest in a bike, or grab your yoga mat and seek out an inspiring place to stretch.

  3. You only use one piece of equipment: Take a look at your gym workout. Do you just make a beeline for the treadmill and leave? If you're not utilizing your gym's classes or equipment or asking trainers for help, you may be wasting your money. Instead of paying $50 a month just to use a treadmill, save the money to buy a piece of gym equipment for your home or just go for a run or walk outside.

  5. You waste time once you get there: The hardest part about going to the gym may be getting there, but that shouldn't be the part of your workout that burns the most calories. Whether you find the gym uninspiring or whether you use it as social hour to catch up with friends, if you're not dedicated to your workout once you're there, you're wasting your money along with your time. Take a look at your gym workouts; if you can't find any type of exercise at the gym that inspires you, try something else.

  7. You also belong to a studio: Having a favorite yoga, Pilates, or barre studio that you also shell out big bucks for — on top of your gym membership — can mean sinking hundreds or thousands of dollars on fitness fees in a year. If you're a studio rat but haven't been as enthusiastic about your gym in awhile, it may be time to drop your membership. Instead of feeling obligated to go to the gym, find creative ways to supplement your studio-going with these tips on how to exercise for cheap.

  9. You've already got the equipment: At-home essentials can be cheap, and once you have just a few basics, you'll be ready to work out no matter what time of day. Of course, working out at home depends on a variety of factors, like whether you'll stick with it or whether you'll wake up your whole apartment complex, but if you have what you need at home, why waste all that money on a gym membership?


Of course, the biggest sign that you should cancel your gym membership is if you never go! Have you canceled a gym membership for any of these reasons?

Additional Links:
Spring Weather Forecast: Weight Gain?
5 Signs You're Wasting Time at the Gym
Sweaty Etiquette: Where Do You Draw the Line?

9 Signs It's Time to Break Up With Your Gym


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This Woman's Essay Is Going Viral After Her Friends Were Told They Couldn't Run in Sports Bras—Because It Distracted Football Players


Rowan University has since reversed its policy on female athletes' clothing, but some still say the cross-country team is being treated unfairly. 

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How to Work Out at Lunch


With my early-morning workouts getting depressingly darker as the year draws to a close, I'm starting to wonder if I should try to squeeze in some of my sweat sessions at lunch. The "sweat" part is what gets me, though: How do I do my exercise, stop sweating, clean up, make my hair presentable again, and fix my makeup—all in just one measly hour? In need of some woman-to-woman advice (because, let's face it, guys have it way easier in the cleanup department), I turned to my four favorite trainers (and great gals to boot)—Ramona Braganza, Amy Dixon, Kristin McGee, and Michele Olson. They responded with a bunch of savvy tips that have left me thinking, Yes, I could do that! Allow me to share them with you.

Choose strength
You'll sweat a lot less while doing resistance training than you will during cardio, says Braganza, a Los Angeles-based celebrity trainer who counts Jessica Alba and Halle Berry among her clients. If you can, save the cardio sessions for when you have more time to clean up and shower.


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Stay cool
If you do choose cardio, keep sweat to a minimum by drying off with a cold towel, suggests Amy Dixon, a trainer and exercise physiologist based in Santa Monica, Calif. Freeze it overnight at home and pop it in the fridge at work (or keep it in an insulated bag with a cold block) until you need it. So refreshing! To halt sweat faster post-workout, drink very cold water (keep that in the fridge too) to reduce your core body temperature faster, says Michele Olson, PhD, a trainer and professor of exercise science at Auburn University, in Auburn, Ala.

Skip the shower
Clean off with body wipes instead. Or, if you don't have an issue with dry skin, try ordinary sanitized wipes—the  alcohol in them will help cool your skin more quickly, Olson says.

Rescue your hair
New York City–based trainer Kristin McGee (Health magazine's own yoga columnist) solves the limp post-workout hair conundrum with dry shampoo (her favorite: Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk)—you just spray it on and brush it through. Got long tresses? Both McGee and Dixon suggest putting your hair up in a bun or ponytail to keep it as sweat-free as possible.

Prep your face
Think ahead and go light on the makeup in the morning—and definitely choose waterproof mascara, Dixon says. Then, just before your workout, spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly under each eye, McGee says. That way, if your mascara smudges while you sweat, you can just rub it off with a cotton swab or tissue. Touch up makeup as needed and voilà, you’re good to go!


Exercise Isn't Torture; Fitness Can Be Fun


By Tina Haupert

Growing up, it was easy for me to be active. I started ballet classes when I was 3 years old, and by the time I was 8, I was playing soccer. All through middle school and high school, I participated in team sports—soccer, tennis, basketball, and track and field. I loved being active, so fitting exercise into my life was easy. I never saw it as a way to burn calories or to maintain my weight; exercise was just plain fun!

Fast forward to my post-college days. I started working 40 hours a week, which meant sitting behind a desk, working late nights at the office, and spending too many overindulgent happy hours with co-workers (hello, beer and nachos!). In just a few months, I gained 20 pounds.

At first, I didn't realize that I was putting on weight. But when I had to buy a whole new wardrobe (true story!), I knew that something needed to change. I cleaned up my diet and started going to the gym more regularly. Eventually though, that new get-in-shape motivation wore off, and spending hours at the gym each week began to feel like torture. It was nothing like playing soccer after school or taking a hip-hop dance class with my friends each week.

So instead of giving up on exercise altogether, I had to find ways to incorporate it into my life and even try to make it (gasp!) fun. Here's what I did:

I make it a priority
I no longer “squeeze in” a workout. Exercise is one of the most important items on my to-do list. I try to make some sort of activity happen every single day, no matter what it is. If I have an especially busy day, I'll incorporate fitness into my chores. For instance, walking my dog for 45 minutes or doing an hour or two of yard work kills two birds with one stone!


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I have a flexible definition of the word "exercise"
Taking a Body Pump class or going for a 5-mile run are a couple of my favorite ways to exercise, but not all of my workouts are this "traditional." The word "exercise" is a loose term for me. It fits a lot of activities in my life, including hiking in the mountains, taking a bike ride, playing an impromptu game of tennis with my husband, walking to the grocery store and back, or even helping friends move into a new house!

I don't focus on the number on the scale
When it comes to exercising, I don't let the bathroom scale dictate my workouts. My goal isn't to fit into size zero skinny jeans, but to maintain my weight and feel good about myself. To me, being in good shape means feeling healthy and being active. Plus, the extra activity lets me enjoy dessert without guilt every day!

I remind myself that exercise is fun
It's not always easy to psyche myself up for a workout. Just like everyone else, I am not motivated on some days and don't feel like doing anything except sit on the couch, catching up with my DVR. Even though I've committed myself to fitness, I still struggle with these feelings. But now I've found different ways to motivate myself to exercise. I remind myself of the simple pleasures I receive from fitness. A run on the treadmill might sound boring, but to me it's a time to myself, a time to let my mind wander. Similarly, strength training with free weights may not sound like fun. However, the anticipation of listening to the great workout playlist that I made for lifting weights makes me look forward to my session. It all comes down to making exercise fun!

Read Tina’s daily food and fitness blog, Carrots ‘N’ Cake.




Stick to Your Fitness Resolutions: How Do You Get Motivated to Exercise?


By Tina Haupert

At the beginning of a new year, my motivation to exercise is at its peak. I'm ready to shape up and tackle my fitness goals for the year. But as the weeks pass and the winter begins to wear on me, my desire to exercise lessens.

When my drive to break a sweat is at an all-time low, I use a simple trick to motivate myself: I remind myself how I feel after a workout. And to further motivate myself, I remind myself how I feel when I skip a workout. Sometimes it's that second reminder that really lights a fire!

In a perfect world, I would exercise regularly simply because I like it. OK, I really do like to exercise—I mean, the "runner's high" alone keeps me coming back for more—but there are days (even weeks) that the thought of exerting extra energy to exercise is totally unappealing.

Motivation is personal for everyone. Each of us has a different reason for exercising. For me, it's maintaining a healthy body, which includes staying at my Feel Great Weight. Training for an event (like my first marathon) also helps me stick to a regular workout schedule. I like to think of myself as an athlete in training!

When it comes down to it, finding what I really enjoy is what keeps me motivated on the fitness front. Over the years I've tried many different forms of exercise, from spinning to kettlebells to Bikram yoga to power walking. If I spend my workout hours doing what I enjoy, I'm more likely to stick to my sweat session, no matter what.

I've found that Body Pump classes are easy to stick to because I really enjoy them. I wasn’t great about strength-training on my own (I found it really boring), so the camaraderie and support of a class setting helped me stick with my fitness goals. Taking regular classes has totally changed my outlook, and now I strength-train all the time! Actually liking my workouts makes it that much easier to stick to it.

What's your motivation to exercise?

4 Ways the Keto Diet Can Affect Your Workouts


Here's what gym-goers and athletes who are on the ketogenic diet need to know.

Vigorous Exercise May Help Prevent "Silent" Strokes


By Matt McMillen


WEDNESDAY, June 8, 2011 ( — Small strokes that cause no outward symptoms yet have potentially serious long-term consequences may be kept at bay by vigorous exercise such as jogging and cycling, a new study in the journal Neurology suggests.

Walking and other light exercise, by contrast, appears to offer no protection against these so-called silent strokes, which cause small brain lesions and have been linked to an increased risk of falling, memory problems, dementia, and full-blown strokes.

"The more reasons we can tell our geriatric patients to exercise, the better," says the lead author of the study, Joshua Z. Willey, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, in New York City. "Not only does [exercise] prevent stroke and heart disease, it also prevents these markers that are linked to other diseases, including dementia, and overall mortality."

The study included 1,238 men and women in northern Manhattan who are part of a larger, ongoing study of stroke risk factors funded by the federal government. The participants ranged in age from about 60 to 80 and had no known history of stroke. Just under two-thirds were Hispanic, and the remainder were roughly evenly split between blacks and whites.



Each of the participants answered survey questions about their exercise habits, including which activities they took part in, how often, and for how long. Forty-three percent of the participants did not exercise at all; 36% engaged in light workouts such as walking, playing golf, or bowling; and 21% reported getting regular, moderate-to-vigorous exercise from bicycling, swimming, racquetball, and similarly intense activities.

Roughly six years later, the participants each underwent an MRI to look for signs of silent strokes, also known as subclinical brain infarcts. Roughly 1 in 6 had lesions consistent with silent stroke.

The odds of having a silent stroke were 40% lower in the heavy exercise group than in the sedentary group. However, the light exercisers were just as likely to have lesions as those who did not exercise at all, even when the researchers took other risk factors (such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and diabetes) into account.

This doesn't mean that low-intensity exercise has no value. As Dr. Willey and his coauthors are quick to point out, light physical activity has other health benefits. It's also possible that, with a larger study population, they might have found a subtle yet measurable relationship between low-intensity exercise and a lower risk of silent stroke.

"Maybe it was simply that they could not measure a difference," says Helmi Lutsep, MD, a stroke expert and vice chair of neurology at Oregon Health and Science University, in Portland.

But the findings do echo similar research on exercise and (non-silent) strokes. Previous studies, including one from Dr. Willey's team, which includes researchers at Columbia and the University of Miami, have consistently linked vigorous exercise—but not mild exercise—to a lower risk of stroke.

Dr. Lutsep, who was not involved in the study, says that some of her elderly patients have difficulty sticking to a regular regimen of intense exercise. She often advises these people to include short bursts of intense activity in their exercise routine.

"Even if they can't maintain an intense level of activity, they can often make their exercise a little more vigorous for a short time, for, say, 10 minutes," she says.

One of the study findings surprised Dr. Willey: Uninsured participants, as well as those with Medicaid, saw no reduction in silent-stroke risk no matter how vigorously they exercised. While he's unable to explain why, he suspects that it's because those participants have underlying medical problems that are not being adequately treated.

Dr. Lutsep agrees. "If we have a patient who is uninsured, it's likely he's not taking blood-pressure medications that help prevent strokes," she says. "The risks are magnified."


10 At-Home Workouts You Can Do in Just 60 Seconds


We get it: life gets hectic, you're busy, and it's not always easy to squeeze in a workout. Worry not! Fitness influencer Katie Austin offers a series of one-minute workouts that will tone, tighten, and sculpt your body.

Katie Austin’s Total-Body Workout Only Requires 2 Dish Towels


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This Gym Makes It Hard to Breathe for a Better Workout—So I Tried It


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5 Reasons Mornings Are the Best Time to Work Out


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A Doctor Told This Woman She Was ‘Too Fat To Run’—Here’s How She Proved Him Wrong


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High Vitamin D Levels Are Linked to Better Exercise Capacity


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