The fit list: Take your tone-up from tired to #trending
Time for a new workout? Um, not so fast. While switching up your sweat sesh is a smart idea (you’ll boost your metabolism, power through plateaus and prevent injury), you don’t have to go *completely* out with the old. Like, maybe don’t swap your swim sessions for a trendy napercise class (yes, that’s really a thing—the class consists of gentle stretching followed by hardcore napping…and we want to do it right now). Instead, fab up your fave fitness with these upgrades—no fancy gym membership required.
Photo Courtesy of Fin Fun Mermaid Tail
For the swimmer...frolic in fins
Meet the under-the-sea trend that Ariel would totally approve of. Known as mermaid fitness, the workout—which involves swimming laps and doing different strength moves in the pool, all while flaunting a fin—is a more intense version of your regular routine. Not only does the fin (get one at finfunmermaid.com) add 5 to 10 pounds of resistance, it engages every part of your bod, especially your abs. “Swimming with a fin requires a lot more core strength,” explains Jessica Ewers, head fitness instructor at Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. “And moving your whole body in unison utilizes different muscles, particularly
in your hips and glutes.”
TRAINING TIPS: The key to mastering the mermaid-esque moves is the dolphin kick (you can mimic this sans fin by keeping your legs tightly together). “Lead with your chest to swim down, then let your hips and the fin follow in an undulating motion,” says Jessica. End your laps with a little extra ab work. Jessica’s fave exercise is the in-and-out: Sit on the edge of the pool and, with your hands resting on the side, pull your knees into your chest. Then slowly push them back out and repeat for 3 sets of 15 reps.
For the boxer...punch and plié
Thanks to our fave celebs (hello, Gigi!), we know boxing is a killer cardio workout, ultra empowering and an amazing arm sculptor. And this year is taking boxing to the next level by mixing in moves from other genres. Our fave? Boxerina, a blend of boxing and barre. This perfect pairing strengthens and lengthens all of your major muscle groups.
TRAINING TIPS: For a fab fight-flow fusion, do the two workouts back-to-back. Start with a 15-minute shadowboxing sequence, then go right into a 15-minute barre routine (find our faves here). You’ll tone your triceps and get your heart rate up throwing punches, then cool down with the low intensity of stem-strengthening plié pulses. If you’re ready for extra intensity, work weights into your routine. Hold 3- to 5-pound dumbbells in your fists during jabs and uppercuts, or add a weighted medicine ball to your barre movements for goal-worthy glute gains. Now go float like a dancer and sting (er, swing) like a boxer.
For the runner...transition to the trails
Logging the same route (again and again...and again) can get old, even for the most passionate pavement-pounder. Break out of your running rut by hitting the trails. The
uneven terrain means you’ll be jumping over rocks, dodging tree branches and climbing hills—which builds your agility, balance and endurance.
TRAINING TIPS: Before you head to the trails, get your legs used to running hills. Hit a steeper section of your neighborhood or up the incline on the treadmill. Pro tip: When running uphill, keep your elbows behind you while pumping your arms to conserve energy and aim for quick, short strides on your toes. To pick the perfect path, use an app like AllTrails (available on iTunes and Google Play), which shows you nearby routes and even filters them by difficulty. And always remember, safety first: Never run in an unknown area alone and make sure someone, like your mom or dad, knows where you are at all times.
For the weight lifter...rotate in rowing
There’s a reason #GirlsWhoLift is a popular hashtag—but every barbell-loving babe also knows balance is key. And the best cardio for cross-training? Rowing. “It’s great not only for cardiovascular endurance, but also for strengthening your legs, abs and arms, too,” says Maggie Simpson, manager of RowClub in San Francisco and an NCAA rowing champ.
TRAINING TIPS: Add a 10-minute sesh on the rowing machine after your weights (or days you aren’t lifting). And focus on form: “Sit with legs straight, body leaning back about 15 degrees and the handle right under your chest. Then push your arms away, swing your body over your legs like you are reaching for your toes and bend your knees to roll up. Then push your legs down, swing your body open, and pull your arms to the top of your abs,” says Maggie. No machine? Maggie recommends alternating between reps of squats (try sets of 25 to 50) and one-minute planks. Set a timer for 15 minutes and complete as many rounds as possible.