June 18, 2024

Are you new to exercise? By Sarah Johnson

Creating a Habit for Beginner Exercisers

New to exercise?  Fantastic!  First of all, congratulations on making the decision to become healthier!

I’ve met many Brand-New-to-Exercise members during my years at the gym, and the most common mistake they make is overdoing it at the beginning.  To avoid that pitfall, which can lead to injury, disappointment or even quitting, beginner exercisers can start with some simple cardio.  Cardiovascular exercise strengthens your heart, builds endurance and burns calories.  It’s a great way to create the habit of increasing the amount of activity in your life.

First, choose an exercise that you enjoy doing.  The good news is that there are so many different types of cardio to choose from!  Walking indoors or outside, cycling, hiking and swimming are all great low-impact activities that will raise your heart rate.

Next, make a plan to do your chosen activity 2-3 days a week.  Look at your schedule or calendar, and write it down or create a reminder.  If it’s in your planner, just like any other important appointment, you are more likely to stick to it.

When doing the activity for the first time, make sure you warm up at a slower pace for 5-10 minutes before increasing the pace.  Plan on moving for 20 minutes at a time, including the warm-up.  Remember, we don’t want to overdo it the first time!

After you’ve succeeded in fitting in 3 cardio workouts in one week, it’s time to increase the duration.  Add 5 minutes to each workout the following week, for a total of 25 minutes.  Once you’ve achieved 3 workouts in a week at 25 minutes, add another 5 for a total of 30 minutes.

Don’t worry about distance or speed just yet; as a beginner, your main focus is fitting exercise in regularly and making the habit stick.  Once you’ve been regularly exercising, mix it up by trying a new activity or increasing the intensity.  And at this point, you’re no longer a beginner!  You’ve made being active a normal part of your life!

Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJChicago

Sprint Your Way to Fitness by Tera Busker

FINALLY! Winter is over and we are enjoying warm weather, sun and beautiful days. If you spend all day indoors working, why would you want to spend more time inside working out? Take your workout outdoors with one of my favorite workouts – sprint intervals or also known as shotguns!

What is a Sprint/Exercise Interval Workout?

A sprint interval workout or shotgun is a type of workout where you establish a distance that you can sprint and at each end of the distance you perform an exercise. Choose the number of exercises and reps for each exercise you want to do and complete the sprint and exercises for time. Run back and forth from the “start line” to the “finish line” and do an exercise at each “line”. Each time your run the sprint/shotgun, try to improve your best time. Always consult your physician before beginning a workout. Perform exercises at your own risk.

Example Workout:
What you will need: a stop watch and a set of weights or a resistance band.

10 pushups
Sprint 30 yards

10 squats
Sprint 30 yards back to start

10 plank up downs
Sprint 30 yards

10 shoulder presses
Sprint 30 yards back to start

10 reverse lunges each leg
Sprint 30 yards

10 alternating bicep curls
Sprint 30 yards back to start

10 spiderman planks on each side

Rest for 2-3 minutes and repeat 2-5 times.

Tera Busker is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Fitness To Go, an exclusive In Home & Private Studio Personal Training Service based out of Roberts, WI. www.fitnesstogo.net

Get Moving!

Get Fit Quick Tip

Circuit train! Adding cardiovascular intervals in between strength training sets is a great method to an efficient time-saving workout. Simply alternate 1 weight-set, immediately followed by a cardio interval, until all sets are complete. Be sure to include a warm-up and cool-down.


Make our Get Fit Quick column your daily go-to for motivation and inspiration to live healthy!

Healthy Weight Loss Tips by Angelena Riggs

One of the questions I get most frequently is…

“Why am I not losing weight?  I am doing everything right!”  There are many factors that go into the process of losing weight, in addition to exercising regularly. There are some things that you may be or not be doing that is affecting your weight loss progress. Remember that every person is different and will react to nutrition and exercise differently.

Here are the top reasons that you may not be losing weight:
1) Sleep.  Sleep is so important and you should aim to get at least 7 hours each night.  Try to wind down about an hour before your head hits the pillow, turn off all your electronic devices and do some reading or light yoga.

2) Stress.  When you are constantly stressed out your body produces the hormone cortisol which leads to belly fat gains, not exactly what you what.  Take some time each day to relax and recharge.  Try to free up your schedule and ask for help from family and friends.

3) You’re not eating enough or you’re eating too much.  It is important to know how many calories you should be consuming when you are trying to lose weight. Consult a nutrition Professional to help determine how many calories you need to reach your goals.

4) You’re eating too many processed “foods.” All calories are not created equal.  Ditch the processed foods for whole, real nutrient dense foods.  Make it a habit to eat these kinds of foods and you will love the way you look and feel!

All good things take time and hard work.  Remember that your weight loss is a journey and you are learning how to live healthy for the rest of your life.  Stay positive and you will get there!

Angelena is a mom, healthy living blogger at On Fire Fitness Healthy Living  (www.OnFireFitnesspt.com), a NASM Certified Personal trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist.  Her goal is to inspire others to take the steps to living a healthy lifestyle. Visit Angelena on her blog, and via Facebook (www.facebook.com/Angelenasonfirefitness) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/OnFireFitnesspt)

How to Boost your Metabolism by Helen Agresti, RD


Boost your metabolism with these easy tips:

1.  Say good morning to your body. Drink at least 8 oz. of water when you wake up.  Water purifies the body and makes for a more favorable environment for nutrients to be absorbed.

2.  Eat a well-balanced breakfast. Your first meal of the day should include protein, carbohydrate, and fiber. Keep variety and timing a priority. We don’t eat the same thing for dinner every night. Why do we eat the same thing for breakfast everyday?  Give your metabolism a boost by eating within an hour and a half of waking up.

3.  Make time for lunch. Fueling our engines every 3-4 hrs with real food is essential to our metabolism. We’d never allow our cars to run on the wrong type of gas or on empty. Avoid convenience foods and map out your healthy meals and snacks.

4.  Distribute your calories evenly throughout the day. Waiting until the evening hours to consume the majority of your calorie needs increases insulin levels, promotes fat storage, and results in weight gain. By the end of the day, our metabolism slows down and doesn’t burn calories as efficiently.

5.  Add some spice. Cayenne pepper, ginger, and dark mustard are just a few of the many spices that kick the metabolism into high gear. Their thermogenic effect naturally raises the metabolism and can burn up to 50 calories per meal.

6.  Increase your lean body mass. We have the ability to increase our lean body mass.  Incorporate weight or resistance training into your workout routine 2-3 times per week. The more LBM you have the higher your metabolism is at rest.

7.  Sleep well. Not getting enough sleep will slow down our metabolism. It can lead to a ravenous cycle of overeating. When we’re tired we don’t want to cook which leads to poor food choices. Try to sleep 7-8 hours a night. In turn, this will increase your leptin hormone level which communicates with the brain when you’re appetite is satisfied.


Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC.  She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children.  For more Nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti and on the web www.pronutritionconsulting.com.

Circuit Workout by Tera Busker

Are you looking for a fast, efficient and equipment free workout that will challenge your entire body? The 30 x 3 Workout is perfect for beginners – it can be done in a gym, in the privacy of your home or at the park while your kids play. Ready for a challenge?

30 seconds WORK, 30 Seconds REST, 30 Minutes (thus the 30 x 3) and you’re done. Complete this circuit 6 times for a great, heart pounding workout. As always, consult your physician before performing the following exercises.

30 Seconds: Squat Jump
30 seconds: Rest

30 Seconds: Mountain Climbers
30 seconds: Rest

30 Seconds: Jumping Switch Lunge
30 seconds: Rest

30 Seconds: Jumping Jacks
30 seconds: Rest

30 Seconds: Burpees
30 seconds: Rest

Repeat for a total of 6 circuits

30/20/10 Workout
Need a little more of a push? Try the 30/20/10 Advanced Circuit

30 seconds Strength, 20 seconds Cardio and 10 Seconds REST = 30 Minutes and you’re done. Complete this circuit 6 times for a great, advanced full body workout.

30 Seconds: Squat
20 Seconds: Squat Jump
10 Seconds: Rest

30 Seconds: Pushup
20 Seconds: Mountain Climbers
10 Seconds: Rest

30 Seconds: Alternating Reverse Lunge
20 Seconds: Jumping Switch Lunge
10 Seconds: Rest

30 Seconds: Bench Dips on a Chair
20 Seconds: Jumping Jacks
10 Seconds: Rest

30 Seconds: Plank with Shoulder Tap
20 Seconds: Burpees
10 Seconds: Rest

Repeat for a total of 6 circuits

Tera Busker is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Fitness To Go, an exclusive In Home & Private Studio Personal Training Service based out of Roberts, WI. www.fitnesstogo.net

Fat Loss Questions, Answered! By Mary Miriani

We all know that exercise is good for us and generally why (helps us lose and maintain weight, keep our heart healthy, beats stress and feels good). But what happens inside the body that makes exercise so healthy?  

Why do I have to work hard enough to breathe heavy in order to lose weight?

Respiration (breathing) obtains oxygen which the body uses to release energy from the food you eat and moves gaseous wastes (carbon dioxide) from the body. Exercise that feels like an effort helps you increase the amount of oxygen that your lungs can hold and use (called VO2max.)  The more oxygen you get in, the more efficiently you will use the energy (calories) in the food you eat and release energy in the food you have stored (in your muscles and fat.)

What is the right amount of time to work out in order to lose weight?

The answer depends on how hard you are willing and able to work. The latest guidelines suggest that people exercise for 150 minutes (2.5 hours) per week at moderate intensity(able to talk but not converse.) There are many ways to accumulate 150 minutes of exercise each week –all 150 minutes at once on one day (not recommended for most), 2 days of 60 minutes and 1 of 30 minutes, 5 days of 30 minutes each, etc. However, for weight loss you need to work a little harder and/or longer. You must do enough exercise, not only to burn calories, but to burn off the excess calories stored in fat. What that means is that you must perform cardiovascular exercise where you are breathing hard (but can still say a phrase or two) a minimum of 5 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes each time. If you are just starting out or have any medical issues, fitness professionals recommend obtaining a doctor’s clearance before beginning. Also, consider opting for exercising for 45 to 60 minutes 5 days a week at a lower intensity. Choose activities that you enjoy and varying the exercise from time to time, such as walking one day and maybe biking another. Keep in mind, that whatever you choose, different activities will burn different amounts of calories in the same time frame.

How does my body actually lose weight?

It is easy and correct to say that weight loss is the result of eating fewer calories than you burn, however for most of us trying to lose weight, it does not feel that simple. Be clear if you want to lose weight or lose a size in clothing. It is possible to lose a size and not lose any weight at all, or even gain some weight. Muscle takes up less space in the body for the same weight than fat does. The body actually burns only calories when you exercise. Where it gets those calories from depends how much you eat.  If you ate a lot of calories, then it will burn the calories contained in blood glucose, and glycogen (stored glucose in the muscles.) Our bodies are efficient and will get energy in the easiest way possible using the metabolic path with the least amount of steps to turn calories into energy first.  After approximately 20 minutes of exercise, the body will start to burn calories stored in fat.  However, if you overeat, those fat cells will not shrink when the calories stored in them are burned. They will store the new excess calories. That is why you must control the amount of calories you consume. Think about portion control, and normal portions are generally 3 to 4 times smaller than seen on an American plate. Use small plates!

By Mary Miriani; BA Exercise Science; ACSM Health/Fitness Specialist. Contact her via email, mary@miriani.com.