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Does Muscle Soreness Mean You Had a Good Workout?

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The question: I went to the gym yesterday and now I have sore muscles. That means I had a great workout, right?The expert: Josh Feldman, a certified personal trainer and fitness manager at Crunch Fitness in New York CityThe answer: Not really. While working your muscles until they’re achy means you technically did tax your muscles, which helps them get stronger, it’s actually not beneficial work in the long run.The reason? Pushing it to the max one day means you’re going to be too sore to hit the gym the next day, or the day after that. And that’s a serious issue, because consistency is the ultimate goal here. “It’s way more important to be able to exercise every day or every other day than to just kill it one day and not be able to move for four or five days after that,” explains Feldman.In other words, it all comes down to the basic fact that moving more often is better for you than going all gung-ho for a bit, and then proceeding to kick it on the couch while muttering all sorts of…

Formulas for Your Calorie Calculator

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There's no getting around this fundamental truth: You can't have weight-loss success unless your calories burned are more than your calories in. Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., a sports nutritionist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, recommends these formulas for figuring out how many calories your nutrition plan should include. Everyone is different, but it will give you a basic idea.

Lazy-Day Calorie Goal
(use on days when you're taking it easy/not exercising): 
A. Your weight, in pounds: ____
B. A x 15 = _____
C. B - 500 = _____

Busy-Day Calorie Goal
(use on days when you're active/exercising):
A. Your weight, in pounds: ____
B. A x 18 = ____
C. B - 500 = ____
PUBLISHED: DECEMBER 14, 2007 Women's Health Magazine

10 Things That Slow Your Metabolism

Need another reason to love your body? It burns calories all by itself—as long as you don't get in the way. See, every cell in your body plays a role in energy metabolism—the process of turning the food you eat into energy that keeps your heart beating, lungs pumping, and muscles moving. The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn. And just like there are ways to speed it up—by working out, for instance—certain habits can hit the brakes on your natural calorie-churning engine.Here are 10 things to avoid in order to keep your metabolism humming.
A Weird Eating ScheduleIn a 2012 Hebrew University study, mice fed high fat foods sporadically gained more weight than mice that ate a similar diet on a regular schedule. Researchers suspect that eating at the same times every day trains the body to burn more calories between meals.The fix: Learn the best times to eat—and stick with them.
Pesticide in ProduceOrganochlorines (chemicals in pesticides) can interfere with your body'…

Can Hot Yoga Hurt You?

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How does Kate Hudson stay so fit even with a crazy schedule and two children? In the December issue of Harper's Bazaar, the 34-year-old actress revealed that hot yoga, SoulCycle, and dance are all part of her fitness routine.Hot yoga—also known as Bikram yoga—involves a series of 26 postures, or asanas, performed in a studio heated between 90 and 105 degrees at 40 percent humidity. If getting bendy in a steamy room sounds super challenging, that’s because it is: A new Duke University review of 76 yoga-related injuries found that Bikram was commonly linked to injuries, along with Pranayama (a style focused on breathing control) and Hatha (an umbrella term for physical yoga practices).Hot practice in general wasn't necessarily to blame. The study suggests that these specific postures could be the culprits, since they were associated with the most injuries: headstands, shoulder stands, and lotus position. The most common injuries were musculoskeletal, including fractures, ligamen…

6 Fun Ways to Stay Fit This Winter

The thought of doing every exercise sesh over the next few months inside a sweaty gym doesn’t exactly get you pumped for winter workouts. So head outdoors—really!  These creative ways to stay fit in the cold are WAY more enjoyable than another trip up the StairMaster. Take Up a Winter SportJust because you can’t play beach volleyball right now doesn’t mean you can’t get sporty in the winter. Trysnowboarding or skiing (the downhill or the cross-country variety). And don’t forget your helmet!Have a Snowball FightCould there ever be a more fun way to break a sweat in the wintertime? Nope. While pelting snowballs isn’t necessarily the most hardcore outdoor workout ever, "snow is heavy for your feet, so the muscles on your legs are getting worked just running around trying to dodge a snowball," saysMonica Nelson, American Council on Exercise-certified fitness expert.Go RunningDon’t let the chilly temps stop you from logging miles outside! As long as you follow these 5 tips and wea…

The Waist-Cinching Workout for Toned Abs and Obliques

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Give your workout routine a new twist—literally. These six moves hit all of your major muscle groups with extra emphasis on your obliques to whittle your middle. Move from one exercise to the next without resting, then repeat this four-minute circuit three times with a 1-minute break in between sets. In less than 15 minutes, you’ll be on your way to defining your waist. All you’ll need: a 6- to 10-pound medicine ball or dumbbell.—Amy Roberts, NASM-CPT MOVE 1Criss-Cross Jacks Jen Weaver Get your heart rate pumping with this variation to the standard jumping jack. Jump out to widen your feet and send your arms into a T position (A), then jump in, crossing your legs and your arms (B). Repeat, alternating the cross of your hands and feet. Do 20 reps. MOVE 2Squat To Twisting Overhead Press Jen Weaver Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell goblet-style in front of your chest (A). Sit back into your squat (weight in your heels, sending your butt back) (B). As you stand, press your arms straight up while…

The Easiest Way to Burn 600 EXTRA Calories a Week

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iStock/Thinkstock What if you could work off that slice of pizza without doing a single squat? Good news: You can. You can burn more than 40 calories per hour just by standing, according to a new study at the University of Chester in the U.K.In a small study of 10 office workers, researchers asked the volunteers to stand up while working for at least three hours each day for a week. They found that standing raised their heart rates just enough that they burned an extra 0.7 calories per minute, or 42 calories per hour. It might not seem like much, but standing for three extra hours a day during the work week adds up to 630 calories burned!So aside from hiding your chair, how can you log more standing hours? First, ask your company if they’ll allow you to buy or build a standing desk. If not, you can always try these simple tweaks to get off your butt for at least three hours every day and stand up for your health:Stand up while watching your favorite fall show. It’s more suspenseful tha…

3 Ways to Train Harder on a Treadmill

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iStock/Thinkstock It might be best known as a warm-up, a cool down, or a last resort when all of the ellipticals are taken, but thetreadmill is making a comeback: In fact, the machines account for nearly 60 percent of annual home fitness equipment sales, according to the most recent data from the National Sporting Goods Association. And a few trendy gyms are getting in on the action with group treadmill classes like Tread and Shred at Equinox and Tread Bootcamp at Crunch Gyms.Here’s why you might want to give this throwback another go: Treadmills allow you to customize your workout, speed, and terrain in a way that just isn’t possible on a trail, says Jessica Matthews, M.S. an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise (ACE). With a few buttons you can switch it up and challenge your body in new ways—which makes it an essential tool for staying fit. What's more, treadmills tend to calculate the number of calories you burn with more precision than other machines lik…

8 Ways to Stick to Your Workout

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1. Just Show Up
On low-energy days, head to the gym with the promise that you can leave after you finish your warmup. "Tell yourself you'll just do the Dynamic Warmup," says Rachel Cosgrove, author of The Female Body Breakthrough and creator of the Look Better Naked fitness program. "Once you get to the gym and get your blood pumping, chances are you'll finish your full workout. Ninety percent of the time, my clients do."2. Play the Percentages
Have your body-fat level measured early in the program and then toward the end to gauge your fitness progress. "You'll actually have numbers that you can shoot for, and something that you can definitely measure, as opposed to, 'I just want my abs to look better,'" says Tim Kuebler, a certified trainer in Kansas City, Missouri. A body-fat percentage from the high teens to the mid-20s is considered healthy for most women (ranges vary by age), according to the American College of Sports Medicine. A t…

The 15-Minute Anytime, Anywhere Workout

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You don't need a pricey new fitness class to shake up your routine. Work out any time, in any place, with this total-body plan—which uses nothing but a household hand towel—created by Melissa Paris, a New York City–based personal trainer. "The key to seeing continued results and avoiding plateaus is to keep challenging your body in different ways, whether that's with new moves, a new environment, or new equipment," says Paris. "Incorporating a towel into your routine is a no-cost and efficient way to take your workout to the next level."That's because with every exercise, the towel provides either friction (as in the lateral lunge) or tension (as in the seated oblique twist) to help engage muscles that would otherwise be missing the action.So rather than using the towel to dry off, use it to break a sweat. Complete the exercises as instructed, moving from one to the next with little or no rest in between. Stop for 30 to 60 seconds at the end (if needed)…