OK, ladies, it's time to get serious. If you're planning on losing a few pounds before you hit the beach this Memorial Day, you've got two weeks to plan. Read on: we've got some no-fail tips for you to tone up and lose weight in two weeks.
The infamous lower-belly "pooch" plagues plenty of women, but finding the right moves to target this problematic area is easy. Whether you're a barre buff, yoga star, or gym rat, there's an exercise on this list to suit your taste.
For anyone who grew up dancing, you'll be well acquainted with the ab scissors that rock your lower abs while lifting your booty:
- Lie flat on your back. Extend your arms so they're against the sides of your body with your palms pressing into the floor, or bend your elbows and place your palms under the back of your head. Bend your knees and draw them into your ribs. This will make it easier to pull your navel in toward your spine and actively press your lower back flat on the ground.
- Lift both legs straight up toward the ceiling, continuing to engage your abs and pressing your lower back into the ground. Keeping your core strong, slowly lower your right leg down toward the ground until it is a few inches above. Then slowly scissor your legs, lifting your right leg back up as you lower your left leg down toward the ground.
- You may not feel this until you do it for a while, so repeat this move for a total of 20 to 30 times on each leg (or more if you're still not feeling it).
Beauties who love a good ballet barre workout will love the high curl:
- Sitting up, place an exercise ball between your upper thighs. Pull behind your knees with your fingertips as you inch your heels closer to your seat.
- Then roll your lower back down toward the floor, and use your abs to lift your chest closer to the ball.
- Complete 15 to 20 reps.
Boat Pose (Navasana)
For all the yoginis out there, a few rounds of Boat Pose will challenge your strong core and tighten up those lower abs:
- Begin sitting on your mat. Bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor, balancing on your tush. Keep the spine long and straighten the legs as much as you can without rounding the back. If this is too hard, then keep the knees bent — you're still working your core.
- Perform six rounds of Navasana, holding the pose for five breaths each. Or challenge yourself and try to hold for 30 seconds to one minute without a break!
Keep reading for one more all-ab exercise.
Hitting the open road has many benefits over running on a treadmill — fresh air and sunshine, gorgeous scenery to prevent boredom, and you can also run with your four-legged fitness buddy. You also have more freedom of movement to incorporate muscle-toning moves into your runs, and here's how.
- Run baby run: While running in general will tone your legs and booty, adding sprinting intervals is even more effective. Incorporate 30- to 60-second bursts throughout your workout and you're sure to feel your lower body working. Since you're outside, you can use landmarks to motivate you such as sprint to the stop sign or until you see five red cars, or if you're on a track, sprint the straights.
- Walk this way: Sprints aren't the only type of interval you can include. When you need to catch your breath after a sprint, throw in a few sets of walking lunges to target your glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
- Head for the hills: Find a steep hill in your neighborhood or in the woods and do hill repeats. Run up the hill then back down to target all the muscles in your lower body. If you need some motivation, try this hill repeat workout to build muscle and endurance.
Keep reading to learn three more ways to build muscle on outdoor runs.
If you're bored with basic squats and lunges, here are some new moves for working your backside before hitting the seaside this Summer. To start targeting your glutes, grab an exercise ball, weights, and a resistance band — your backside will be in tip-top shape in no time!
Tank-top and bikini season is on its way, and sexy, toned arms are always in season. Each of these triceps-toning exercises will help combat the notorious arm jiggle.
- Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a secured bench or other stable surface.
- Move your butt in front of the bench with your legs bent and feet placed about hip-width apart on the floor.
- Straighten out your arms, and keep a little bend in your elbows in order to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints.
- Now slowly bend at your elbows and lower your upper body down toward the floor until your arms are at about a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your back close to the bench.
- Once you reach the bottom of the movement, slowly press off with your hands and push yourself straight back up to the starting position.
- Repeat for one minute.
Side Arm Push-Ups
Another alternative for your standard push-up routine is the side arm push-up. It tones your triceps, deltoids, and the outside of your chest.
- Lie on your right side with your knees and hip bent to 45 degrees. Wrap your left arm around your waist, and place your left hand in front of your right shoulder with your fingertips parallel to your body. Keep your waist lifted with energy shooting out of the top of your head.
- On an exhale, press your left hand into the ground and push yourself up, straightening the left elbow. Inhale, and slowly lower yourself back to starting position.
- Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Keep reading for two more exercises that tone your triceps.
Starting a day with 20 minutes of Sun Salutations makes a big difference in how you look at the world around you. If your morning yoga practice is feeling a little tired — or, like me, you've literally fallen asleep on your mat — then try out these tunes to see if something new will work.
If you need a refresher, then find out how to do a Sun Salutation A sequence here or a Sun Salutation B here. Once you've got the basics down, subscribe to our Spotify playlist, then keep reading to see all 10 tracks.
There's nothing better than being at the gym or out on a run when an old Jock Jams song comes on the shuffle. It always manages to pump me up and help me push through with a big smile on my face. If you share this sentiment, you're in luck! I've pulled 90 eclectic tunes from the '90s that can give an old-school lift to your a workout routine. Before downloading our '90s Spotify playlist, make sure you check out each of the music videos in the slideshow to get your '90s goodness — and have a solid laugh to boot! Time to grab your scrunchies and bust a move.
You will need to download the free Spotify software or app to listen to our playlist.
Affirmations. Vision Boards. Mantras. Crazy talk, right? Or so I thought before an especially grueling cycling class. Midway through class, our Equinox instructor started chanting, "Stronger. Faster. Better," over and over again into her mic. I instantly found myself annoyed at her repetitive chanting, but as the intense intervals kept coming my way, I started to really hear what she was saying and found myself pushing through the proverbial wall like never before.
Fitness motivation isn't an easy commodity to come by, especially on days when the mind is riled by negative thoughts. Goals suddenly take a backseat, and before you know it, you've cut your workout short, slowed your run to a walk, or maybe stopped yourself from even leaving the locker room. In moments like this, be your own life coach and give yourself an internal mantra to help move past any obstacles. Picture yourself crossing the finish line, or repeat one of these motivational fitness quotes to yourself until you actually start to believe it. Quieting negative talk with a more upbeat soundbite might be all it takes to get you moving again.
How have you pushed through negativity when working out?
Staying fit isn't always about sweating it out. Show your hardworking muscles some TLC with a foam roller massage. An essential fitness tool, the foam roller is perfect for warming up and cooling down. Watch this video to learn five massaging moves to bring length to tight muscles and prevent overuse injuries so you can keep working out all year long!