“What’s the best way to track my calorie burn?”
For starters, don’t trust the treadmill. “Equipment doesn’t take into account your gender, height or body composition,” says strength and conditioning specialist Aaron Sparks, a biomechanist with the Human Performance Center at the University of California, San Francisco. “If you have two women of equal weight, but one has 20 per cent body fat and the other 30 per cent, the one with less fat will burn more calories because she has more muscle.”
Your best bet is a tracker that measures heart rate. Beyond getting your age, weight and gender, as well as keeping tabs on steps, a heart rate monitor gauges intensity. “The heart rate is a direct measure of your physiology, so it gives the most information about how hard you’re working,” Aaron says. Chest-strapped trackers are 85 to 95 per cent accurate; wristband styles are about 60 to 70 per cent accurate (the wrist moves more), he says. Take any calorie burn reading you get as an estimate and not a pass to eat a cheat meal of equal caloric value.
<b>JACLYN EMERICK</b> IS A CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER, SPINNING INSTRUCTOR, KETTLEBELL INSTRUCTOR, AND SPORTS AND EXERCISE NUTRITION COACH.
“How can I make my spandex last?”
Air-dry clothes before shoving them into the hamper. Otherwise you’ll trap sweat and intensify odours, says Mary Johnson, a fabric-care principal scientist for Procter & Gamble. Also turn gear inside out as you pop it into the wash to whisk grit better.
“The inside of your clothes gets the dirtiest as it’s up against your skin,” she says. That will also preserve the look of spandex, since the outside doesn’t rub against the washer and other clothes. Use laundry products that remove odour, and wash in cold water, because elastane ﬁbres are prone to heat damage. (Warm water can also shrink and fade your clothes, Mary says.) And skip the dryer – most spandex is fast-drying anyway.
REPEAT AFTER ME “The work doesn’t begin until you get tired. When you’re exhausted mid-workout, dig deep, because that’s when you’re primed to make a great leap forward.”
<b>MASTER MOTIVATOR SHAUN T</b>, THE CREATOR OF THE INSANITY WORKOUT — AIMS TO TRAIN YOU ABOVE THE NECK TOO WITH HIS NEW BOOK, T IS FOR TRANSFORMATION. “IT’S A LOT ABOUT MENTAL FITNESS,” HE SAYS. “WHATEVER YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE, YOU HAVE TO UTILISE STRENGTH TO GET THROUGH THE TOUGH STUFF.” ($26, AMAZON.COM)
“How do I not let the number on the scale get to me?”
This strategy always works for me.
I ask myself: “What have my habits been this week?” If I’ve been moving my body consistently, eating well, and taking care of myself, then I smile and ignore it, because I know my body is exactly where it’s supposed to be, and clearly I’m just being silly and too hard on myself. But if I haven’t been doing those things, I know there are clear actions that will result in a small shift downwards on the scale. Either way, no need to get upset or dwell – just use the information.
“What’s more important for staying ﬁt: doing cardio or weights?”
Don’t choose one! Together, cardio and resistance training can quickly change your body, so you should do a combination routine. Instead of doing all your weights at once and then all your cardio, do three sets of your ﬁrst weighted movement and then a two-minute dash on cardio equipment of your choosing. Then move on to your next weighted exercise, and repeat this pattern.
<b>JEN WIDERSTROM</b> IS A TRAINER (UNDEFEATED!) ON NBC’S THE BIGGEST LOSER, THE FACE OF WOMEN’S FITNESS FOR REEBOK, AND THE AUTHOR OF DIET RIGHT FOR YOUR PERSONALITY TYPE.
Let your intuition guide you
Recently, I was on my way to the gym feeling somewhat detached from the workout ahead of me because, frankly, it’s one I always do: I make the weight heavy, the pace fast. But I’m inspired to push harder and train more joyfully when I let myself exercise the way I feel that day. Sometimes, you have to permit yourself to discover your workout rather than do your go-to. Remove the boundaries of what your daily sweat has to be in order to count, and you’ll end up moving more. Before you lace up, ﬁrst consider what you feel like doing – this ﬂow chart can help you decide.