5 Ways to Be Less Intimidated at the Gym

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Shutterstock

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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Shutterstock

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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How Protein Benefits Your Workout

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Got protein? If you workout and want to build muscle, you should get familiar with protein, one of the most essential nutrients for the human body and what should be a staple in any diet. Proteins are chains of amino acids that act as the building blocks of tissue and muscle and provide an important source of fuel for the body. They’re getting more attention lately because of the popularity in high-protein diets for weight loss. All the exercise in the world won’t build muscle if you’re not getting enough protein.

High protein diets tend to work for three main reasons. First, protein is dense so it keeps the body feeling fuller for longer periods of time after eating. Protein also keeps blood sugar stable to stave off the crashes associated with cravings and hunger pangs. And here’s something you might really like: The body works harder to digest protein so it burns more calories.

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How Sleep (and Lack Thereof) Affects Your Workout

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Veer

Everyone wants to get more done in a day, and with our hectic lives, sleep is usually the first activity to be sacrificed. The Better Sleep Council estimates that 70 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep—a scary fact considering that too little sleep has been linked to everything from memory loss and other serious cognitive issues to an increased risk for osteoporosis and cancer. But the truth of the matter is that sleep is free, so you should take all you can get. More importantly, it’s an essential part of fitness and exercise, yet it’s very often overlooked.

It’s true: While training and nutrition can help create a fit physique, so can sleep. Here’s how.

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When to Take a Rest Day from Exercise and Training

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Veer

Whether you’re just starting a training program or have been a fitness fanatic for years, you’ve probably experienced an “exercise high,” the feeling of exhilaration a lot of people experience during or after exercise. It’s brought on by the release of hormones called endorphins that serve as natural pain relievers in the brain. It’s those same endorphins that can make exercise feel addictive, sometimes making it difficult to take a much-needed break.

Exercise activates the pleasure centers in the brain by releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter. When experiencing an endorphin high, also called runner’s high, the intense exercise activates the endorphins, which signal the release of dopamine. Yes, repeated activation of dopamine has some risk of addiction, but that’s not to suggest exercise isn’t good for you. In addition to its long list of health benefits, exercise can also serve as a natural anti-depressant. But as with most things, too much of a good thing can be bad, so it’s important to recognize if you may be over-exercising, the risks of doing so and when to take a day off.

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Why You Should Do a H.I.I.T. Workout Today

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Most fitness experts would agree that expecting to get fit fast from a diet or even exercise isn’t a responsible way to approach weight loss. Losing weight and staying fit takes dedication and consistency. But science may have proven otherwise.

Recent studies are finding that quick fat loss—in some cases, in as little as two weeks—may be possible with high intensity interval training, also known as H.I.I.T., short bursts of challenging activity like sprints followed by periods of rest or lower intensity work in between. The highly effective workouts are gaining popularity for the lean physiques they create and revved-up metabolisms that keep its fanatics burning fat long after the workout is over.

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6 Ways to Avoid Constant Hunger After Tough Workouts

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If you’ve been exercising consistently or recently increased the duration or intensity of your workouts, you may have noticed your appetite has a mind of its own. Hunger may strike at inopportune times or you may even feel ravenous all day long. The solution is to make meals and snacks good nutritional investments so you can increase satiety without filling up on empty calories.

Follow these rules to avoid an empty stomach and ensure you’ll have plenty of energy throughout the day.

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