1. Go barefoot for whole-body health
If you refuse to wear shoes in the summer, you may enjoy better blood circulation, a happier mood, stronger bones and better posture.
According to Barefoot in Toronto, a group that promotes a barefoot lifestyle, barefoot walking increases skin health, reduces foot calluses, builds arch strength and enhances sensory stimulation. Going barefoot also creates healthier toenails and reduces foot odour.
2. To burn fat, don’t sweat it
Sweat signals a rising body temperature, not necessarily an increased calorie burn (although most of us will sweat as we work harder). “In the sauna you’ll sweat buckets but you aren’t burning fat,” says Brad Schoenfeld, author of 28 Day Body Shapeover.
“The best indicator of calorie burn is either heart rate or a rating of perceived exertion (RPE).” RPE is a self-report scale that ranges from one (complete rest) to 10 (maximum effort). High intensity equals increased heart rate, which equals more fat burn.
3. Yell to increase fitness levels and self-confidence
IntenSati is “active meditation”— a fitness program that uses the voice and mind to intensify physical workouts. Participants say or shout empowering affirmations while kicking, jumping or lunging. For example, while punching, they yell, “I. Am. Strong. Now!” These motivational phrases boost confidence and distract participants from feeling fatigued, which increases the workout benefits.
If you can’t join the program, you may want to try this one in the privacy of your home gym.
4. Choose interval training for best results
“You can do too much cardio,” says fitness lifestylist Susie Shina, author of 60 Second Circuits: 1000 Ways to Get Your Body Back. “To burn fat effectively, one-minute sprint/recover repeats (interval training) on any cardio machine for a total of 20 minutes can be more beneficial than exercising at a steady rate.” Or tackle your intervals outside by walking, running, biking or skipping.
5. Bond to increase motivation and focus
“It’s not necessarily resistance training, cardio or core work that keeps you fit,” says Florida-based John Kent, owner of Adventure Boot Camp for Women. “It’s meeting with others.”
Healthy bonding moments — such as running hills or attending Pilates classes in a group setting — keep you motivated and focused on your fitness goals. (Learn about how one reader found motivation in a cycling fundraiser, and in group spin classes.)
6. Take celebrity fitness advice with a grain of salt
“Don’t believe everything you read about how the stars stay fit,” says Los Angeles-based fitness instructor Torri Shack. “Many celebrities work out four to six days a week for up to 90 minutes each time, have professional trainers and eat a clean, very calorie-restrictive diet. They don’t ‘just’ do Pilates or yoga twice a week.” When you compare yourself to a svelte movie star, remember that it’s her job to stay beautiful.