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Get the biceps and back muscles you've always wanted.
Go from scrawny to brawny: This bent-over dumbbell row will give you the sculpted back and biceps of your dreams. 1) Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, stand with your left foot about two feet in front of your right, and bend your knees slightly. Place your left hand on your left thigh for stability and contract your abdominal muscles. 2) Bend your right elbow and pull the weight upward toward your rib cage using your upper back muscles. At the top of the movement squeeze your shoulder blades together, then slowly return to the start position. Complete 12 reps and switch to other side, making one set. For more of a challenge, increase the intensity by performing the exercise standing on the front leg only. This adds balance and core strength to the exercise without increasing the weight.
Four simple fixes for taking off the weight
If the scale doesn't seem to move and you've been putting in overtime at the gym, try following my favorite fix-it tips. They'll get you looking slim and trim in no time flat.
1. Early to Bed, Early to Rise: Experts say people getting less than seven hours of sleep are more likely to succumb to late-night snacking and gain substantial weight. When you wake up, your glycogen and blood sugar levels are depleted, so have a small protein shake before your morning workout.
2. Slow Supersize Sets: When lifting heavy weights, slowly count to three on the way both up and down for each rep. This will make the set more difficult and will increase the breakdown of muscle tissue. After your workout the body begins to repair itself (building muscle), and your metabolism will continue to burn at a higher rate for another 48 hours.
3. Go Green: Switch from coffee to green tea, which contains a potent fat-burning antioxidant--a catechin called ECGC. A study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who consumed three to five cups of catechins from green tea a day decreased their body weight.
4. Split Shift: To shed the extra pounds, cardio should be done for 30 to 60 minutes five times a week. If time is tight, break that 30 to 60 minutes into a series of 10- to 15-minute sessions throughout the day. It's as effective as one continuous session.
Holiday Gift Guide: JC Predator Bands
A fitness-related gift will motivate your loved one to stay healthy past the first week of January. These tough resistance bands generate a gradual tension within every movement, building muscle fiber and incinerating fat cells. With the adjustable three-set tube design, users can vary the level of difficulty in dozens of exercises. Resistance is not futile. $50 PerformBetter.com