12 Secrets of Being Super Fit

The Life of the Fit: Whether your goal is to become insanely fit, where complete strangers stop and take notice or just fit enough for your clothes to feel better, you may be wondering where to start. Fit people live a certain way and they’ll gladly share those tips with you if you ask. It all starts with the moto: “fitness is a…

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Jumpstart Your Day with the Perfect Workout

Total Gym Morning Jumpstart workout

The Ultimate Morning Workout

As a trainer and group exercise instructor who teaches both morning and evening classes, I have often been asked which is better: to exercise in the morning or to work out in the evening? People also question whether they should eat before or after a workout.

The Best Time to Workout: Morning Grind or Afternoon Burn?

The answer is not straightforward. It depends on your lifestyle, your exercise goals and your own body’s metabolism; that being said, if you had to choose one ideal time of day to exercise, choose the morning. It starts the day on a positive health note and influences the choices you make the rest of the day. As an added benefit, oxygen consumption after your workout is stimulated which boosts the metabolism and allows you to burn more calories for the remainder of the day while you are active or at rest.

Exercise by Choice

Once you’ve decided to make time in the morning to exercise, you must figure out what you want to do and why. Is weight loss your goal? Is strength training or body building what you’d like to focus upon? Do you want to improve your balance and increase core strength?

Studies have shown that high intensity interval training (HIIT) and functional training exercises benefit people the most in the shortest amount of time. Short bursts of intense activity burn lots of calories without taxing the joints. And functional exercises use multiple joints at once, recruiting more muscle fibers and burning more calories. Plus functional exercises may be movements that you use in your sport of choice and in activities of daily living. Activating more muscles also releases specific hormones, which are key in building muscle—it’s a very efficient cycle. If you decide to only use HIIT, there are literally hundreds of combinations you can create to tailor your morning burn into something you enjoy, including dancing, biking, swimming, or pumping iron.

To Eat or Not To Eat: Food for Fuel vs. Running on Empty

Finally, what should you do about fuel for your body? If you’re rolling out of bed and hitting the gym, do you also need to make time for a healthy breakfast?

Research has shown that people can exercise on an empty stomach without harmful effects as long as they hydrate. Doctors recommend hydrating 10 minutes before you start your workout with 8-10 ounces of water. For every pound of body weight lost during exercise, drink 16-20 ounces of water.

If exercising for an hour (or less) on a full stomach makes you nauseous, don’t worry about eating until you’re done. In fact, your body will burn stored fat during exercise while performing fasted cardio. This may be particularly appealing if you want to lose weight. Just remember to eat right after you’re finished exercising. For building muscle, however, try to ingest some calories before working out and then afterwards too. There are many resources for healthy, activity-specific breakfast suggestions online, from thermogenic shakes to protein-packed pancakes.

Exercise with Purpose

Now that you’ve got the time nailed down and the breakfast question answered, it’s time to choose some effective exercises. Since most people don’t have a lot of time in the morning, the following workout suggestions are circuit-type, high intensity exercises to maximize the benefits of exercise in a short period.

Make sure to include a warm-up and don’t forget to stretch at the end. The stretch cool down can be a time to meditate on healthful intentions for the day. Yoga stretches may be used. After all, flexibility and the mind-body connection are an important part of being physically fit.

The shortest workout is Tabata, which is only four minutes long and consists of 20-second bursts of extremely intense work, and 10-second breaks. You can do the same exercise eight times or use a different exercise for each 20-second burst, depending on how creative you’re feeling. You can even extend the sets to fill up 30 minutes or a whole hour, if you have the time. Don’t worry about counting the number of reps of each exercise. Just remember, complete as many reps as you can safely perform in 20 seconds, then take 10 seconds off. There are Tabata timer apps that help keep you on track. Or you can use a stopwatch.

The Total Gym may be used for cardiovascular and plyometric movements and it’s very versatile in creating multi-muscle exercise routines using body weight and gravity to sculpt muscles. But you can put in dance, kickboxing or whatever movements make you happy. Don’t, however, choose exercises that demand a lot of equipment or lengthy set-up, since you only have 10 seconds to change over.

Workout I

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Powerful Back and Leg Workouts with the Total Gym Wing Attachment

Total Gym Wing Attachment Spotlight

How to Use the Total Gym Wing Attachment

The Total Gym Wing Attachment is a multi-use accessory for targeting muscles in the back, shoulders, legs and abdomen. It’s great for simple or compound moves and comes in two options: the single unit option and the two-piece option. Both have padded foot and handle bars for comfort. The two-piece unit offers greater range of motion, especially for people with wider shoulders. Both are easy to install and quite versatile.

When connected at the top of the gliderails, the Wing Attachment is used for pulling exercises in both the upper and lower extremities. If the Wing Attachment is positioned at the bottom of the rails, it can be used in pushing exercises to build the shoulders, chest and arms. In either position, the Wing Attachment provides a great ab workout. And, when combined with the pulley cable, you get an effective Total Gym workout that’s efficient if you’re short on time.


Vary Your Grip to Activate Different Muscles

Studies show that varying your grip in pulling exercises recruits different muscles in the arms. The biceps are recruited more during underhand grip chin-ups, whereas the triceps are used more during the overhand grip pull up. Other muscles targeted in chin-ups and pull-ups include the lats, traps, pecs and abdominals, including the spinal stabilizers.


Five Moves Using The Wing Attachment to Get You Started



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12 Core Crushing, Leg Slaying Pilates Moves on the Total Gym

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Using the Total Gym Toe Bar Attachment To Do Pilates At Home

Joseph Pilates – a gymnast, circus performer, martial artist and boxer – originally created an exercise regimen to help rehabilitate World War I soldiers. Not long after the war, he moved to New York and evolved his exercises and his “reformer machine” for the rehabilitation of injured dancers. Almost 100 years later, Pilates is still popular because it helps develop long and lean muscles; improves the flexibility of the back, shoulders, and hips; and builds a very strong core with low impact moves.

The Total Gym can be transformed into a reformer machine with a Pilates Toe Bar attachment, which allows you to perform upper and lower body Pilates movements. The design makes it possible to drop the heels to stretch the Achilles tendons while articulating through each joint of the foot. Compared with another Total Gym accessory, the Padded Squat Stand, the Pilates Toe Bar extends further than the squat stand allowing a greater range of motion in the knees and ankles and encourages proper alignment. If you want to get a full Pilates workout on your Total Gym, then the Pilates Toe Bar is the accessory that you should go with.

12 Pilates Movements To Perform On The Total Gym


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