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How to Get Toned Up for the Spring Semester!

It’s a brand new year, which inevitably means a brand new you. Of all of the New Year’s resolutions that are made, health and wealth are two that show up most often. While it is a bit more out of one’s control to achieve their goal of scoring a raise or becoming assistant manager, you can control your health status. And since spring break is only a mere two months away, it’s time to hit the gym, the nature trail, or even stay in the dorm to ensure that your body is fine tuned.  

Every women’s magazine has a picture of some fit celebrity with a headline screaming about the latest diet and exercise fad.  While the exercises themselves may be beneficial, it is hard to pick out the one’s that are not about to sculpt a six pack no matter how many reps you do.  So it’s time to start with the basics.  It is known to all trainers, exercise fanatics, and sports science majors that there are three basic stages to a workout plan: core stabilization, strength, and power.  In order to ensure a healthy upward climb on the fitness charts, one must first develop a strong core.  Some famous core exercises are planks, Russian Twists, cable rotations, and ball crunches.  But don’t speed through the core exercises–they are designed to be slow and controlled to build up strength in the core of the body. Plus, the more serious you take core exercises, the quicker that six-pack will show up.

The next stage of exercise involves strength — that is, strength throughout the entire body.  These exercises will create lean muscle mass and burn fat better than intense cardio will.  So hop off the elliptical and onto the leg press because weighted machines are optimal for building strength in every muscle.  Not around a machine? Grab some free weights and do wall squats.  My personal favorite is the exercise ball push up.  The idea is to elevate your shins on an exercise ball while in the push up position.  To begin, just hold the position, but later on you can attempt to do pushups for an all around strength exercise.

At this point, you should already be toned and looking as fit as ever.  But to continue to the final stage of  a training program involves power exercises.  These exercises are done as fast as possible.  The latest discussion from celebrity trainers is of something called high intensity interval training (HIIT).  With short bursts of fast exercises, these move carve–and they really kick your butt into shape.  Exercises such as the medicine ball slam, jumping lunges, and weighted jump ropes in quick bursts and multiple repetitions will ensure that you break a sweat and feel the morning after burn.  As you begin to get stronger, add weights and attempt to speed up.  

If there’s one thing to not forget, though, it’s that you don’t have to do the monotonous exercises that you think you have to do to get a sculpted body. Classes such as Zumba and cycling all offer the opportunity to burn off the winter pounds or just tone up what got lost under all the layers of warm clothes. But whether or not you make it to the gym, there are always tone-up exercises to be done.



1. Sifferlin, A. (2013, December 30). Here Are the New Year’s Resolutions You Will Keep, and the Ones That You Will Break. Time. Retrieved from http://healthland.time.com/2013/12/30/here-are-the-new-years-resolutions-you-will-keep-and-the-ones-that-you-will-break/

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Chapel Hill

I am obsessed with leading a healthy lifestyle--so I tend to cook a lot of healthy recipes as well as exercise in fun, new ways. I plan on majoring in nutrition but hope to go pre-med and become a pediatrician.
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