Live Right Live Well: Health & Fitness
Work Out Like the Pros
By Stacey Colino for Live Right Live Well
For fitness experts, working out is a way of life and work. So how do they exercise when they’re off-duty and no one is watching? Here, five fitness gurus reveal their favorite ways to work out. Take a lesson from them, and you might just infuse some fun and freshness into your own sporting life.
Get Out and Play!
When Tamilee Webb works out, she makes it a social occasion by playing tennis two to three times per week. Says the star of The Best of Tamilee: Buns, Abs & Arms exercise DVD: “I love being outdoors, and with tennis, before I know it two hours have gone by because I’m so immersed in the game and I’m having a good time because it’s social.” She adds, “Tennis is also great for the whole body because it involves lots of upper body explosions and starting, going and stopping, which is really good for my hips and thighs.”
Try It Find a sport you enjoy -- whether it’s tennis, soccer, volleyball, kickball or flying disc -- and join a league. “Play is movement,” Webb says, “and if you find a way to play that you really enjoy, you’ll be motivated to do it again and again.”
Meditate While You Move
For Richard Cotton, exercise physiologist and national director of certification for the American College of Sports Medicine, meditative running or walking is the workout of choice. While in motion, “I observe my breathing and the rhythm of the movement of my body. It’s an incredibly powerful way to unplug, clear my mind and better manage the stresses of work or life,” explains Cotton. “If I do this the whole workout, it’s like taking a vacation in Hawaii in the middle of the workday.”
Try It While walking, jogging, biking or doing any repetitive movement, focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. “Become aware of your thoughts as they come in but let them float by,” says Cotton. “Instead, try to focus on the rhythm of your movement and the breathing.” It’s the ultimate mind-body tuneup!
Go Off Road
Keli Roberts, a strength-and-conditioning instructor at Equinox in Pasadena, Calif., is hooked on cyclo-cross, a form of racing that involves cycling, running with the bike and doing an obstacle course on varied terrain. “It’s this incredibly great workout that takes a lot of skill because you’re using every muscle in your body and you’re running and jumping on and off the bike,” explains Roberts. “But it’s also very, very fun because you can ride on any surface -- on the road, on the dirt, over a curb, in the mud. You really feel like a champion at the end of a race.”
Try It To learn more about cyclo-cross, check out USA Cycling’s Web site. Too intense? You can still get an invigorating off-road workout with mountain biking or hiking. “They’re both great for cardiovascular conditioning and strength training,” Roberts says, “because going up and downhill requires balance, strength and endurance.”
Wayne Wescott, Ph.D., is often pressed for time and wants to get the maximum bang for his exercise buck. So the fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Mass., says he opts for “fairly brief, high-intensity workouts.” For cardio, this means 20 minutes of interval training, alternating bouts of sprinting with jogging. For strength, he circuit trains, moving quickly from one weight machine to another to work different muscle groups without resting between sets. “When I’m working out, I want to feel like I’m really pushing my body,” adds the author of Get Stronger, Feel Younger (Rodale). With interval and circuit training, “I’m huffing and puffing the entire workout.”
Try It With interval training, push yourself hard for three minutes while jogging or cycling, then slow to a more comfortable pace for three minutes. Continue this pattern for 20 minutes, ending with a three-minute cooldown. For circuit training, perform one set of eight to 12 repetitions on ten different weight machines, moving quickly from one machine to another. Use different muscle groups on adjacent machines.
Nothing compares to a fusion dance class for Bethany Lyons, yoga instructor and group fitness regional manager for New York Crunch. “For me, it’s a great creative outlet, a way to express myself,” she says. “And it’s one of the only places I can totally lose myself and get a total cardio workout, hitting that high target heart rate and getting my whole body involved. Afterwards, I leave on my own personal emotional high.”
Try It Take an exercise class that involves expressive movement, such as dance (like belly dancing or hip-hop) or a martial art (like karate or tai chi). If you can find an activity that’s an art form, a creative outlet and a type of exercise all rolled in one, you’ll take your workouts to a new dimension.
Stacey Colino has written for The Washington Post's health section and many national magazines, including Newsweek, Woman's Day, SELF, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Parenting, Sports Illustrated and Ladies' Home Journal. Stacey is a frequent contributor to Live Right Live Well.
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