Expert Advice: You’re Only As Strong As Your Weakest Muscle Group

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If you’re a regular gym goer, it’s easy to get stuck in the habit of thinking about each muscle in isolation, and working them that way. But this approach causes muscle imbalances: When demands placed on one muscle are too heavy to bear, another less suitable muscle will take over to support the weight. In some situations, the opposing muscle compensates and becomes stronger than its counterpart, meanwhile your weaker muscles remain weak.

One way to prevent muscle imbalances — and get better results when you work out while also preventing long-term injury — is to think of the body as a system with complementary muscle groups. And complementary muscles are often involved in the same movements so it makes sense to work them together.

But before you try that, it’s important to know the muscle groups that are often weaker. These are some of the most common areas of muscle weakness. Check them out, and take note. After all, you’re only as strong as your weakest muscle group.

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How to Convince Yourself to Work Out When You Really (Really!) Don’t Want to

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Finding the motivation to exercise isn’t always easy. Of course, everyone wants to look good, but sometimes the promise of a tighter behind or flatter stomach isn’t enough to get you out the door. When external factors aren’t pulling their weight to keep you moving, call on a few of these other benefits of regular exercise.

A study published in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity showed that many of these health-related outcomes were major motivating factors for those who were successful with sticking to an exercise program.

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6 Realistic Things to Expect When You’re Trying to Lose Weight

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Warning: You are not going to find a six-step plan for losing weight and getting in shape in this post. There are plenty of other articles online that tackle these topics. (You should feel free to read them, but remember to absorb some of the information with caution: Consider the source and take any blanket, one-size-fits-all statements with a grain of salt.)

I’m here to tell you that weight loss is not all about what foods you eat or what exercises you do. Understanding the mental and physical hurdles you’re going to face during your weight-loss journey can be critical to the success of your program. So without going into too much detail about how to lose weight, we’re going to discuss what you should realistically expect while you’re on your weight-loss journey.

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Why Your Desk Job Is Causing You So Much Pain (And How to Fix It)

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It’s a fact that most of us sit at a computer for our jobs. In fact, I’m willing to bet most (if not all) of you reading this article are sitting right now. And as we all know by now, studies overwhelmingly show that sitting all day at a desk isn’t good for you. Not only is sitting all day responsible for things like high blood pressure and heart disease, it’s also responsible for a lot of the pain you may be experiencing.

These pains are most likely due to muscular imbalances in your body. Muscle imbalances are very common and are a big cause of daily aches and pains and overuse injuries. Common symptoms are muscle tightness, limited range of motion, low back aches and knee pain. Sitting all day can cause tight hamstrings, pectoral muscles and hip flexors, which is a recipe for back pain and bad posture.

Here’s why.

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4 Reasons You Should Exercise First Thing in the Morning (And How to Get It Done)

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Imagine this: It’s 5:15 p.m. and you’re getting psyched to leave work, hit the gym and tackle a good workout. You’re about to walk out of the office when you hear your name called. It’s your boss, he needs to have a quick meeting right now. Before you know it, it’s 6 p.m. and you’re supposed to help with dinner tonight, plus there’s traffic to deal with. Maybe today will be your off day (just like yesterday, and the day before).

Here’s a thought: If you’d worked out in the morning, this wouldn’t be your third off day in a row. But how do you become one of those crazy-dedicated people who heads to the gym before the sun comes up? It’s really not as hard as you might think. Here are four reasons you should be exercising first thing in the morning and a few ways to accomplish it.

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5 Ways to Be Less Intimidated at the Gym

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You’re at the gym on the chest press machine and the bodybuilder across the room is staring at you as he grunts his way through his set of bicep curls. And he’s not the only one staring—everyone else seems to be wondering what on earth you’re doing. Are you doing this exercise all wrong? What are you doing at the gym, anyway? I don’t belong!, you tell yourself.

This is how most people would describe an intimidating gym experience, but I’m here to tell you some really good news: It doesn’t have to be this way. You can increase your  gym confidence and deal with everything that intimidates you with these five smart strategies.

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Say Goodbye to These 5 Bad Excuses for Skipping Your Workout

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Humans are a funny bunch. We are the first ones to assign an internal reason to our successes: “I worked really hard and that’s why I got an A on that test.” But when we fail, we tend to look outward: “I got an F on that test because the teacher told us to study the wrong section of the book and there was too much noise in the room.”

An excuse is a natural way that we externalize our failures. We’ll place the blame on anything but ourselves when we don’t succeed. Why do we do this? So we can justify what we did (or didn’t do) and move on with our day without feeling guilty. But deep down, everyone wishes they could succeed at every task. What if we could eliminate all of the external excuses for all things we fail to do?

Let’s start with exercise. By eliminating these excuses, we put the onus on ourselves to become more active, and by doing that, we’ll be more likely to take responsibility and get moving. Here, five excuses you’ll never be able to use again.

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Why You Shouldn’t Hire a Personal Trainer

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Don’t get me wrong, I believe a personal trainer can be a tremendous asset in whatever fitness goal you may have. Trainers can serve as a motivator, an educator and a source of accountability. They can be the difference between failure and success, and can help their clients learn lifestyle changes that can improve their health for the rest of their lives.

However, there are a few reasons NOT to hire a personal trainer. I should know—I am a personal trainer.

Here are four reasons you shouldn’t hire a personal trainer.

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5 Tips for Making a New Year’s Resolution You Can Actually Keep

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Happy New Year, Be Wellers! Are you ready to get 2014 started on the right foot?

For many, the New Year means a fresh start, a new beginning, a clean slate.  It also means a new resolve to finally (finally!) lose some weight. The sober truth is that while many will vow to take better care of their bodies, the vast majority will fail miserably within the first 60 days. (Womp, wommmmp.)

Now for the good news: You don’t have to be one of those people who fail. No, really. Keep reading, because I’m about to give you five simple rules for making (and keeping) your New Year’s lose weight, get fit resolution.

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5 Smart Exercise Variations for Injury-Prone Bodies

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Like it or not, injuries are a part of life. Sometimes they happen during an intense workout; sometimes they happen when you bend over to pick up a child’s toy.  Regardless of how they happen, the important thing is to understand how to manage the injury, whether it’s an acute injury or a chronic injury you’ve had for years.

The worst thing you can do, which I see all too often as a personal trainer, is avoiding working those muscles all together. When muscle groups are ignored, they atrophy and increase your risk of more injury. An injury leads to another injury, and before you know it, you’ve completely fallen apart. Having a proper knowledge of alternate exercises that work the same muscle groups is key to working around injuries and improving your fitness.

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