Whether you want to drop a few pounds, tone up and get svelte for Spring, or even train for the Big Sur Marathon, featured here are 10 must-read fitness secrets from Samantha Clayton, a former Olympian Sprinter and currently the Senior Fitness Director at .
From easy ways to stay motivated to simple tricks to breaking past your fitness plateau, Samatha’s fitness secrets give you the tips you need to get fit, stay in shape, and create the body of your dreams.
Fitness Secrets from Samantha Clayton
1. To get things started on Samantha’s ultimate fitness secrets, featured below is her 4-step approach to getting fit:
* Perform simple stretches to ensure you’re moving your muscles and joints through their full range of motion each day.
* Increase your daily activity level by taking the stairs, parking in the furthest space from the store, gardening, dancing or playing with your children. Just get moving!
* Start adding regular walks to your day. You can slowly increase your time until 30-minutes feels comfortable. Then, increase your intensity level by walking faster. Start including varied terrain such as hills, then progress to a jogging or running pace.
* Perform body weight resistance exercises such as simple squats, lunges, push-ups and then progress to using weights.
2. How much exercise do you need?
“There are several sources that recommend 150 minutes of exercise per week (about 30 minutes, five times a week) for weight-loss and general health. This is classified by moderate to vigorous physical activity. However, let’s say your goal is to run a marathon. In this case, you’ll need to train for a lot longer than 30 minutes at a time. If your goal is simply to lose weight or improve you overall fitness level, 30 minutes may be all you need.. Striving to achieve the minimum recommended amount of activity is important for everyone. When you think about it, 30 minutes is a relatively short time commitment and an achievable goal for most people. I believe that although a workout time of 30 minutes is adequate for achieving the health benefits associated with exercise, you should attempt to schedule a longer workout.”
3. What should you eat before a workout?
“Eating a snack that contains carbs and protein before a workout can provide you with energy, keep you focused and give your body what it needs to build muscle once the workout is over.”
4. What is the best exercise for getting a flat tummy?
“There are so many great exercises that target the tummy area, but your diet is the most important factor for weight loss. Two of my favorite ab exercises that I add to my weekly workouts are:
* Forearm Plank (60 seconds)
Place your forearms on your exercise mat in line with your shoulders. Plant your toes into the ground so that you are using your core strength to hold your forearm plank. Take deep breaths and be sure not to put too much pressure on your neck or back. Your abs should be working to hold you up.
* Pike Roll with an Exercise Ball (30 seconds)
Start by holding a push-up position, only this time place your feet on an exercise ball. You can adjust the difficulty of this exercise by placing the ball closer to your abs. The closer to your feet, the more challenging it will be. Keeping your abs tight, press your hips up towards the ceiling. Then come back to your original straight position. Keep your back flat throughout this exercise.”
5. What is the biggest mistake people make at the gym?
“The biggest mistake people make at the gym is improper use of equipment. They perform exercises incorrectly and end up injuring themselves. So don’t be afraid to ask a trainer how to use the equipment.”
6. What type of exercise should I do when I travel?
“Getting out for a walk or run is always a great option if you are travelling. So is using a hotel gym. If you are in a hotel without a gym, you can use resistance bands, which are light and easy to travel wit. The amount of resistance varies with different bands so as you get stronger, you can use a higher resistance to challenge yourself.”
7. What do you recommend for a quick 20-minute workout?
“When you only have 20 minutes to squeeze in a workout, try to do 10 minutes of cardio. This can be a mix of jumping rope, burpees, jumping jacks and high knees running. Spend another 10 minutes focused on functional, strength-based exercises, such as squats, lunges, push-ups and planks. If you work at a high intensity and take short active rest periods, 20 minutes can feel like an hour.”
8. If I’m short on time, what can I do at work to burn calories?
“If you’re able, do squats or other exercises that involve using the large muscle groups, such as legs and glutes. You can hold onto your chair and try squats or leg lifts, or you can sit at your desk, squeeze your glutes and kick your leg out for a quad extension. Walking around the office or using your lunch break to do a 20-minute fitness routine would be a great way to keep from being sedentary.”
9. How will I know if my fitness is improving?
“Keeping track of how you feel is one of the best ways to monitor how well your fitness plan is working. If you feel happy and are committed to your plan, that’s a good sign. However, for a more accurate measure of your progress, you can monitor changes in body composition and fitness level in many ways. You can successfully keep track of your weight loss and body fat percentage using a scale and take various circumference measurements around your body using a tape measure. You can also take a fitness test.
A fitness test does not have to be complicated. You can do one that is specific to your personal hobby, such as a running test. For general fitness, you can measure several components of fitness such as flexibility, strength and cardiovascular fitness. There are several standard fitness tests that you try, but I recommend that you design one that’s personalized to you. Measure at 6-8 week intervals to get an accurate picture of your progress.”
10. I feel so tired after work. Should I still workout?
“It’s okay to workout if you are a little tired. Powering through exercise can actually help to energize you. Exercising regularly has numerous benefits. It can improve your muscle strength, boost your endurance and deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues to help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily tasks.”
Now that you’ve learned Samantha’s must-read fitness secrets, below is one of her electrifying exercise videos that will give you a major dose of fitspiration.
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[Image credit: Herbalife. Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post.]