As most people head into the gym, their minds are focused on the day’s workout—not on MRSA, norovirus, influenza and other scary germs that may be floating around or lurking on the equipment. While disinfectant sprays and hand sanitizers are available in some facilities, you might be lucky to get a paper towel in others. But you don’t have to become a germophobe—or worse, avoid working out at the gym altogether—to avoid getting sick. Just use common sense and keep these tips in mind to protect yourself.
What exactly does it mean to recover after a workout? Whether you’re strength training, running, spinning or dancing, your body needs time to repair and re-energize after exercise. During strenuous physical activity, muscle tissue breaks down, fluid is lost and energy stores are depleted. Recovery allows the body to repair damaged muscle tissues (ultimately leading to the creation of bigger muscle fibers, or building strength) and to replenish energy stores.
Working out solo has its benefits: you stay focused, you choose the activities and no one has to see (or smell) you sweat. But if your partner is health-minded, like you, exercising together every once in a while has its perks, too. For starters, pairing up in the gym is known to help people stick with their goals. Your sex life might also get a boost (think of all those endorphins flowing!).
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I often hear the complaint: “I’m working out almost every day, but my weight won’t budge.” What many people don’t realize is that exercise is the easy part. Learning to eat right–and sticking with a healthy-eating plan–is a much bigger challenge when it comes to shedding extra pounds and changing the shape of your body. You can kill yourself in the gym, sweating through an hour or more of cardio daily and lifting weights until you drop. But the results aren’t going to show if there’s a layer of fat sticking around due to a poor diet.
Hit the gym, then hit the kitchen. You’ll score triple the post-workout nutrition and triple the flavor with this punched up, three-berry smoothie. Berries can’t be beat when it comes to antioxidant power—they’re packed with the protective nutrients you need after exercise unleashes a flurry of free radicals to hammer your healthy cells. Blended with flax, strawberry protein power and a bit of milk, they make a smooth, refreshing recovery drink that blows boring chocolate and vanilla versions away.
Repeat after me, ladies: strength training, lifting dumbbells and entering the free-weight area of the gym are not going to make me look like a man.While it seems like a logical progression—lift weights, build muscle, turn into a bodybuilder—the truth is, you’re not going to bulk up like the guys you see slamming plates at the gym, or even like the women on the pages of muscle magazines. It takes intense training (and testosterone levels we simply don’t have), to build bulging biceps, chiseled chests and rock-hard rear ends.
Whether you’ll be sitting starry eyed with your sweetie at a romantic restaurant or venturing out solo in search of true love, Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to show off your sizzlin’ hot shape. With just four weeks to go, now’s the time to start ramping up your fitness routine and cleaning up your diet so you can slide—not squeeze—into that sexy red dress. Here are 10 ways to make it happen.
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