3 Questions to Help You Find the Perfect Workout

Happy new year, folks! Looking at the calendar we are now seven days into 2016 and your proclamation to get fit. Since Thanksgiving you’ve exhausted your bad eating habits with deep fried appetizers, hearty meals and platters of desserts. Heck, you were on such a roll that you even had two slices of holiday fruitcake that was meant purely for decoration.

Regardless of how out of control the last seven weeks have been, you’re ready to turn over a new leaf (likely in the form of lettuce. Lots and lots of lettuce) and build your best body ever. With this newfound commitment to health, it’s important to set yourself up for success by asking yourself (and answering) these basic questions:

 

What is my fitness goal?
What workout(s) would suit me best?
How can I stay motivated?

 

Let's go ahead and target each of these questions below...

 

 

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WHAT IS MY FITNESS GOAL?

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle, increase endurance and flexibility or improve heart health, deciphering what you want to get out of exercising is a big first step. Instead of just putting it in your mind what you want done, write your goals down on paper. This makes your objectives appear more tangible and within reach than just a thought in your head.  Next, take a deep breath and get after it in the steps to follow.

 

WHAT WORKOUT(S) WOULD SUIT ME BEST? 

Depending on your answer above, you’ll want to cater your workout to target your specific goal. For example, if it’s important for you to put on 10 pounds of muscle, climbing the StairMaster isn’t going to build up your arms and pectorals in time for the summer cabin.

 

 

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According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, resistance training is the key to getting buff. Kettlebell exercises and training programs such as CrossFit will help you achieve this look more quickly and efficiently than, say, Zumba, spin class or kickboxing. Although the latter won’t get you ripped, it will help you lose weight, lean out and increase your endurance. 

To help move the needle on your flexibility, balance and core strength, barre is another great go-to. Barre classes use a combination of postures inspired by ballet, yoga and Pilates, focusing on isometric strength training combined with high reps of small range-of-motion movements. Oh, and there’s more: barre can also improve posture, reduce stress and is perfect for pregnant women due to its low impact workout.

 

 

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HOW CAN I STAY MOTIVATED? 

This is a big one. In fact, it very well could define your success or failure. Throughout the tenure of your resolution, take into account these five ways to stay committed to regular exercise:

1. Shift your thinking

Adjust your perspective from being a couch potato to an athlete. Remember, any form of exercise is better than none, whether it’s a 15-minute power walk or a 15-mile bike ride.

2. Schedule a regular workout time

Stay consistent when you exercise. Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, make it a habit to work out at the same time every day for the first few weeks. Soon enough, you’ll feel bad if life gets in the way and you do miss your daily dose of cardio.  

3. Keep it fun with variety

Humans by nature despise redundancy over and over and over (OK, I’ll stop). Focus on body toning one week and cardio the next. Not only is it a nice change of pace, but you get to target more trouble areas than just your hips.

4. Get an accounta-buddy

You’re more likely to succeed if you have someone to exercise with. Having another person by your side to motivate, encourage and vent to can be therapeutic, especially if you begin to hit the wall seeing results. 

 

According to a recent Forbes Magazine article, 92 percent of people do not achieve the resolutions they set out for themselves, whether it’s fitness related or otherwise. This year, be a part of the other eight percent and crush your fitness goals by educating yourself, believing in yourself and never giving up. Godspeed ahead!

 

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Yoga Flow: A Beginner's Guide to Stretching

A few year’s ago a friend approached me and asked if I’d be interested in trying out a hot yoga class with her. It was a new studio that had opened not far from where we had worked, and I was told I’d have a good time. Despite weighing my options for the evening, it didn't take much convincing for me to accept her invitation. After all, I was newly single, so I had a lot of free time on my hands, the class price was reduced due to a promotional period, and I thought it’d be fun to scope out and try something new.

 

 

 

 

I consider myself not extremely flexible, which seemed to be a deterrent going in. However, as I soon realized, none of the instructors have the expectation of someone walking into class as loosely disjointed as Gumby. “The ability to elongate your spine and touch your toes will come in time,” I was told. Nonetheless, I was a little freaked out upon entering the humid, 100-degree heat of the studio only to see others loosening up with their bodies contorted like a misshapen pretzel. Despite the intimidation, I forged on.

 

 

 

 

Throughout the 90-minute session, I put my body in positions that I never knew were possible. The stretching of the spine, hips and shoulders felt so painfully good that, at moments, my eyes had watered like a leaky bathroom faucet. Pairing that aspect with the excessive heat meant I stumbled out of the room not only sopping wet but also physically and emotionally exhausted. Despite the self-inflicted torture, I craved more.

Fast forward to today and I’m still a practicing yogi four times a week. With that said, I feel better and more alive than ever before. And bonus, I’m now able to stretch my hands beyond my toes, flat to the ground.

If yoga has got you apprehensive, do yourself a favor and research its benefits. Upon a quick search it’s not hard to find the impact it has on one’s health. From improved flexibility, muscle strength and posture to lowering your blood pressure, blood sugar and boosting immunity, the ongoing lists and positive case studies will have you reading for days.

 

 

 

 

Although there are significant differences in climate between hot yoga and more traditional forms, such as power yoga, the poses themselves are vastly similar. If you’re thinking of becoming a yogi, but aren’t quite ready to test it out in a instructor-led class, here are a few beginner poses to help you get on your way to revival:

 

MOUNTAIN POSE With your eyes closed, stand tall and still with your chest open and broad and your hands at your side. Keep your feet together, perhaps with your big toes touching, and feel the floor and the sensations in your legs and back. If you’re stiff, separate your feet slightly. Let your arms rest at your sides, with fingers together. 

DOWNWARD-FACING DOG In the downward-facing dog, your body forms an inverted V-shape. With feet hip-width apart, hinge forward at the waist and press your flat palms into the ground, hips in the air. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart, slightly in front of your shoulders, and the arms, shoulders and back should line up in a straight, diagonal line. At any time, you can take a break by resting in child’s pose, and then come back into down dog again. 

CHILD’S POSE From downward-facing dog, simply bend your knees and lower your butt to your heels as you bring your chest toward the floor over your knees. With your knees apart, rest your belly and chest between the legs. Lower your shoulders and head to the floor and stretch the arms out in front of you.

PIGEON POSE From all fours, move your right knee forward between your hands. As though you were doing a lunge, slowly straighten your left leg behind you, keeping the knee and top of the foot on the floor. Now rotate the right knee toward the right wrist and bring it down to the floor with your right calf flat on the floor and your right foot resting under your left groin. Lower your upper body over the bent leg, either all the way to the floor or resting on your elbows. Inhale slowly.

 

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Under Armour: Power in Pink

Celebrate the brave women who are fighting breast cancer with the utmost strength along with survivors who possess an unwavering commitment to staying fit and healthy with Under Armour’s Power in Pink™.

Proudly wear pink in October (and beyond) as you reach those fitness goals one day at a time—and remember that strength is beauty!

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SHOP ALL PINK UNDER ARMOUR >>

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Now Available: ZN January Issue

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It’s that time again! The January issue of ZN is now available for FREE on iTunes for the iPad. For this latest issue, we’re sharing tons of fit and fabulous ideas to get your new year started off right.

Check it out and tell us what you think! We love to hear all your feedback and ideas. Follow us on Twitter: @Zappos_ZN

Click HERE to see a short video of ZN in action.

*Stay tuned for the February issue—it’s going to be a very glamorous one!

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Get in Shape with Spanx Active!

We love Spanx for all the obvious reasons, but now we have one more reason to adore this wardrobe-saving brand! Spanx Active is a new line of workout clothing that features all the figure-flattering features that Spanx is famous for.

Moisture-wicking fabrics with superior stretch add to the comfort of Spanx Active. Each piece in this collection keeps your curves in check, giving you a boost of confidence at the gym or while running those errands.

After all, why shouldn’t you look good while burning calories?

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Break Your Workout Rut!

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We’re deep into pool and beach season, and working out tends to jump up on our priority list during the summertime. But sometimes, we all fall into a workout rut, doing the same boring routine day after day.

Studies have shown that varying your workouts (in reps, intensity, weights and type) will yield faster and better results overtime. Whether it’s taking your workouts outside the gym, or taking that hot new fitness class you’ve been hearing about, keeping yourself constantly challenged is the key to noticeable results as well as beating the workout doldrums.

Getting cute new workout outfits can also do wonders in renewing your enthusiasm towards your workout routine. Wear a fresh and cute gym ensemble to that new barre class or that fun Zumba® class with your girlfriends! The key is to have fun and continually challenge your mind and body.

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Tackle Your Upcoming Triathlon In Orca Merino

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Orca is a creator and developer of cutting edge sports apparel, born out of our success in the grueling and technically advanced sport of triathlon. For over 15 years, Orca has been leading the pack with innovation and design. 

Now Orca wants to offer customers products that will enable them to perform anytime, from the pre-dawn jog to running the gauntlet within the workplace. The chosen fabric for this new collection is premium New Zealand performance Merino wool – one of nature’s true superfibres. They’ve selected Merino because it is naturally thermo-neutral, meaning that the fabric responds to changes in the micro-climate around your body. Because Merino can absorb and release moisture, the garments cool when you sweat and warm when the temperature drops. It is also antibacterial so it won’t smell. And because Merino fibres are so fine, the fabric feels great next to your skin. Cross the finish line in Orca from Zappos.com.

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Do Yourself And The Environment A Favor With prAna Clothing

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With deep roots in rock climbing and yoga, prAna designs performance and lifestyle apparel and accessories for men and women. prAna is truly unique in its ability to blend purposeful fabrics and features with contemporary style, creating a genuine versatility that has forever been the signature of prAna design. 

At prAna, fit and performance are of utmost importance. Their designs are not only easy-to-wear, but built to fit real people. The Amaya Top is an active top that will keep up with you, no matter how far you go. Guided by nature since the very beginning, prAna is able to draw from nature’s endless amounts of inspiration to make clothing that may be well worn and lived in. Available in three colors, the Amaya Top channels the elements with vibrant hues and earthy tones.

Always looking for new ways to incorporate sustainable materials and practices into their product lines, prAna continues to work on reducing their impact on soils, water supplies and other natural resources. As part of the Organic Trade Association, prAna continues to increase their use of organic cotton, in addition to using other natural fibers and innovative recycled/upcycled materials.