Rest Periods Between important factor that can make or break you!!

Rest periods between sets is an integral and often overlooked contributor to the success of any strength training program. Chances are, you are not optimizing this crucial variable.
So what is the trick to get the most out of your rest? Well, it depends on your training goals and level of conditioning. Optimal rest periods between sets can vary from 30 seconds or less up to 5 minutes!
We know that it takes 2.5 to 3 minutes for the phosphagen (Creatine Phosphate / ATP) stores to fully recover from a set of intense exercise1.

Contrary to what you might think, resting for this time period to allow complete phosphagen recovery is not optimal for all athletes. Let's take a look at some of the facts about rest intervals. I have grouped the information by training goals in order to make it more reader-friendly.

Absolute Strength Athletes
First, let's define who you are. You are training for explosive, low repetition activities of short duration. Muscle hypertrophy and endurance are not your primary concerns. Weightlifters, powerlifterssprintersfootball playerssprint cyclists and any other athletes in a sport emphasizing high intensity/short duration activities, this is you!
 Optimal Rest Period
    Your optimal rest period range between sets is 3 to 5 minutes.
    Phosphagen Recovery
      One reason for this longer rest is to allow full phosphagen recovery before you begin the next set. Full recovery allows you to produce the greatest muscular force possible for each set performed, and thus receive the greatest absolute strength gains from your training.
    Higher Testosterone Levels
      Another good reason for this rest interval is that when combined with heavy training loads, it appears to produce greater testosterone levels in experienced strength athletes incorporating large muscle group exercises in their training2. A higher testosterone level equates to greater gains in strength.

Hypertrophy & Endurance Athletes
Who are you? You are an athlete training for muscular size and/or to increase your ability to apply near maximal muscular force over a time period. Bodybuilders, fitness buffs, long-sprint runners/swimmers/cyclistswrestlerssoccer players, and sports similar in intensity, this is you!

    Your optimal rest period range is 30 to 60 seconds.
    Another way to look at this is to shoot for a work-rest ratio of 1:1. This means that you spend the same amount of time resting as it took you to complete the previous set. Athletes whose sport demands 1 to 3 minutes of all out effort with little or no rest may benefit from a work-rest ratio of 1:1 or slightly higher.
    This means that you spend the same or less time resting than you do performing each set of exercise1. In either case, the principles behind the practice are the same.
    Higher Lactate Levels
      Using this rest interval between sets creates high lactate levels in the exercising muscles3. This forces the body to improve its ability to buffer the accumulating lactate, thereby improving your ability to sustain moderate, near maximal or maximal contractions over a given time period.
    Increased Growth Hormones
      High volume, short rest period training has also been found to increase human growth hormone levels when compared to training with longer rest periods 2.
    Maximized Hypertrophy
      In addition, muscular hypertrophy (growth in size) will be maximized using the 1:1 work-rest ratio in conjunction with high training volume and a weight load between your 8 and 12 repetition maximum. 1.
  • Keep in mind that whatever you are training for, beginners need more rest between sets then the seasoned veterans. If you are just starting out, stay in the conservative end of your range.
    If you are experienced you will benefit more from a shorter rest period. In addition, athletes coming back from periods of detraining due to injury or otherwise should increase the amount of rest between sets until you are back in your normal physical condition.

    Circuit Training
    Traditional circuit training incorporates a rest period of typically less than 30 seconds, or a work-rest interval a fair margin greater than 1:1. So where does this fit into an athlete's training? One has to understand that circuit training is designed to provide a happy medium between strength and aerobic training.
    Due to the short rest interval between sets, strength gains are less than optimal with circuit training (30 to 50% less) when compared to traditional strength training1. However, modest gains in aerobic capacity can be achieved.

    In Conclusion
    So who benefits from circuit training? Athletes that require a balance of both strength and cardiovascular endurance for their sport, athletes and fitness buffs with limited time and anyone wishing to add variety to their training would all benefit from circuit training.No matter what your sport or fitness passion may be, understanding the science of rest between sets will put you in the driver's seat on the road to your training goals.
    As you can see, not all athletes benefit from waiting the full three minutes for complete phosphagen recovery. Different periods of rest can produce very specific results. It is up to you as the athlete to decide which approach will be of greatest benefit to you.


Overtraining Calisthenics - Vegan Athletes smashing it up!!!

Sports Injury - Tendinitis and the Classic R.I.C.E steps...

If you're training hard Tendinitis is often an uncomfortable symptom that you are more than likely to come across as you put your body through the paces. Don't fret as the painful symptoms do subside with time, however, as always there are steps that you can take to alleviate the symptoms and speed up recovery.....
To treat tendinitis at home, R.I.C.E. is the acronym to remember — rest, ice, compression and elevation. This treatment can help speed your recovery and help prevent further problems.
  • Rest. Avoid activities that increase the pain or swelling. Don't try to work or play through the pain. Rest is essential to tissue healing. But it doesn't mean complete bed rest. You can do other activities and exercises that don't stress the injured tendon. Swimming and water exercise may be well tolerated.
  • Ice. To decrease pain, muscle spasm and swelling, apply ice to the injured area for up to 20 minutes, several times a day. Ice packs, ice massage or slush baths with ice and water all can help. For an ice massage, freeze a plastic foam cup full of water so that you can hold the cup while applying the ice directly to the skin. For more chronic tendon conditions, heat can be helpful in increasing blood flow to the muscle and tendon. This includes deep heat, from a therapy such as ultrasound.
  • Compression. Because swelling can result in loss of motion in an injured joint, compress the area until the swelling has ceased. Wraps or compressive elastic bandages are best.
  • Elevation. If tendinitis affects your knee, raise the affected leg above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.
Although rest is a key part of treating tendinitis, prolonged inactivity can cause stiffness in your joints. After a few days of completely resting the injured area, gently move it through its full range of motion to maintain joint flexibility.
You can also try over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), in an attempt to reduce the discomfort associated with tendinitis.

Creatine......Fact and Fiction!!

I don't usually like to write whole articles about supplements because I believe diet and training to be far more important than any combination of supplements. However there are a few supplements that work, creatine being the most notable of all of them. It is the best selling supplement ever, period. Creatine sales totaled over 100 million dollars in last year alone! These sales were to everyone from middle scholars to the elderly. With this recent rush of creatine madness there has also been a wave of misinformation. I cannot believe the things I hear people say about creatine's effectiveness, about how it works, and about it's safety. There is some information floating around out there that is just untrue, well never fear, I am here to combat misinformation so here it goes.

What Is It?

Creating is a combination of three different amino acids, glycine, arginine, and methionine. That's it, it is nothing more than a combination of amino acids. I don't know how many people I hear talk about creatine and call it a steroid! I almost flip my lid when I hear it. Steroid? If that were the case it there would be a lot more 200+ pound people out there.
No creatine is not a steroid, it is totally different and works in a different manner. Creatine is also produced by the body and found in high protein sources of meat such as fish and red meat. It is NOT a lab synthesized compound, it is natural.

How Does It Work?

After creatine enters the body (or after it is produced by the body) it firsts binds with a phosphate molecule to form Creatine phosphate. Now here is where I'm going to lay a bit of biochemistry on you so I'll do my best to keep it simple. ATP (Adenine Tri-Phosphate) IS the body's energy source. When your body oxidizes carbs, protein, or fat it is doing this process in order to produce ATP. ATP is responsible for driving almost every body process there is. Hell ATP is even involved in creating ATP. ATP works like this... Energy is needed to drive bodily process. ATP provides this energy by hydrolyzing a phosphate group.
When a phosphate group is hydrolyzed, energy in the form of heat is given off and this energy is used to drive whatever process is being performed, for example muscle contraction. Because one phosphate has been lost from the ATP it is now called ADP (adenine Di-phosphate). The reaction is as follows ATP (hydrolysis)=ADP + Energy. Now you have free ADP as a product from the ATP hydrolysis. ADP is pretty much useless in the body unless it is converted back into ATP. Now this is where creatine comes into play. The phosphate bound creatine donates it's phosphate group to the ADP to re-form ATP! I assume you see where this is going now. By allowing you to return ADP to ATP creatine will increase your ATP stores, thus allowing you to train harder and longer.Creatine is a combination of three different amino acids, glycine, arginine, and methionine.
Another benefit of creatine is that creatine itself is a fuel source. In fact your body's first choice of energy when performing anaerobic activity (such as weightlifting) is your creatine phosphate stores. By supplementing with creatine phosphate you will increase these stores, thus giving you more energy for your workouts. There is another anabolic property that creatine holds and this is it's ability to hydrate muscle cells.1 When muscle cells are hydrated a few things happen. The most notable being an increase in protein synthesis. The second being an increase of ions into the cell. Since the cell is holding more water, it can also hold more ions since the ions will follow water into the cell in order to keep the concentration the same. When more ions are present in muscle cells (the most important being nitrogen) muscle protein synthesis also increases.

How Safe Is Creatine?

Since creatine has only been recently introduced to the market it is hard to determine whether or not there will be long term health effects from it's use. However it must be noted that to date there is not one, I repeat not one reputable study that shows creatine has any dangerous side-effects. 2 After eight years with no severe side effects I believe that one can begin to assume that creatine is relatively safe. I find it funny that most people I meet that are concerned about creatine's safety are also people who like to go out and drink and smoke on weekends...try to find the irony in that.

Is It Necessary To Load On Creatine?

No it is not necessary to load but it can help you see results faster. You see to get the full benefit of creating you must saturate your muscle cells with it. Using a small dose (5g), this will take up to thirty days depending on the individual's lean body mass. However using a loading dosage of 15-25g per day for 5 days, one can quickly saturate the muscle cells in this time period and then use a maintenance dosage (3-5g) for the remainder of their time taking creatine.

Is It Necessary To Cycle Creatine?

Once again it is not necessary to do so but it can help. Your body has an internal equilibrium which you can swing in your favor for a duration of time, but over time that equilibrium will eventually swing back.
Meaning taking excess creatine for a short period of time (4-8 weeks) may temporarily increase your creatine phosphate stores but after awhile your body's feedback mechanisms will likely place some time of control on creatine phosphate storage to bring the levels back down to normal. This mechanism may be to decrease your body's own production of creatine or to downgrade the number receptors that admit creatine into the cell. Taking time off from creatine can help bring your body's equilibrium back into a state where in taking excess creatine will be beneficial again. I would like to make clear at this point that I know of no studies to back this theory up with, it could be right or wrong, I am just merely applying my knowledge of biochemistry to a frequently asked question to which there is no good answer to yet.

What Is The Best Time To Take Creatine?

There has been much discussion on this but I believe taking creatine post workout is the most beneficial time for several reasons.
  1. Insulin helps drive more creatine into muscle cells, if you are a smart bodybuilder then in your post workout meal you should be eating foods that help spike your insulin, if this is the case, then taking creatine with this meal will help it's uptake into muscle cells.
  2. The body absorbs many nutrients better after a workout.
  3. Creatine will help refuel your body's low creatine phosphate stores.

Will Taking Creatine Before A Workout Give Me More Energy?

No, not exactly. Once again for creatine to work your muscle cells must be saturated with it. This takes at least a week to do, so doing it once before a workout will not make a difference. Now if your cells are already saturated with creatine then it will still not make a difference if you take it before you workout. Your body must process it first and that takes time. The creatine your body will use in the upcoming workout will come from the creatine phosphate stores already in the cells, not from the creatine you just ingested.

Does Liquid Creatine Work?

Most certainly not. Creatine degrades over time in water into it's waste product creatinine which is useless in the body and will simply be excreted. Companies who claim that they have stabilized creatine in a liquid are flat out lying to you. One of these companies (I believe Muscle Marketing USA) had a lab assay done on their liquid creatine and the assay found that it only contained 15% of the creatine on the label claim. I would like to further de-credify these companies by noting that one of the reasons they claim their product is so good is because their creatine does not make your retain water. WHAT? As I have stated earlier, this is one of the biggest benefits of creatine, this clearly shows their eagerness to prey upon the ignorance of the public.

What Is The Best Type Of Creatine?

Well if you want the most bang for your buck do not buy the creatine transports! These are enormously overpriced and you can make them yourself at half the price by buying your own dextrose online! A little tip... a mix of 50g whey protein and 50g dextrose has been shown to elicit the same insulin spike as a serving of Cell-Tech, and it is much cheaper I might add.


  1. 1. Stoll B, Gerok W, Lang F., Haussings. Liver Cell Damage and Protein Synthesis. Biochemical Journal 287 (Pt 1) 217-222, 1992.
  2. 2. Kreider et. al. Perceived Fatigue Associated With Creatine Supplementation During the Fall Collegiate Baseball Series of Division I Players. Journal of Athletic Training. April-June 2001 v31 i2 pS 83.

Metabolism Boosting Foods to promote Fat Burn and increase Muscle Definition

As amazing as it may seem, it is possible to boost your metabolism with metabolism foods. Since  metabolism is basically how fast and efficiently your body burns the calories you eat every day, the idea is to eat only what your body needs for optimal cell function on a daily basis. That means choosing foods low in caloric value, but high in nutritional value. In addition, some of the foods found in nature can speed up your metabolism and help with fat burning.

9 foods that boost metabolism are:

1- Water  

Water is a natural appetite suppressant that will help increase your body's metabolism by 30% after drinking just 17 oz of it. Your can stay hydrated for your workouts and keep your metabolism high by drinking 6 glasses (8 oz.) a day.

2- Grapefruit

Grapefruit has unique chemical properties that, for the last 30 years of studies have shown, promotes weight loss.  This citrus fruit, that is full of vitamin C, will reduce insulin levels which ultimately promotes weight loss. One thing to remember is that grapefruit can interact with medications. So check with your doctor before adding it to your diet.

3- Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great fat-soluble fiber that fills you up quickly, gives you lots of energy for working out, lowers cholesterol and is high in nutrients.

4- Broccoli

Broccoli is high in the vitamin C our bodies need to effectively absorb the calcium we eat. And studies indicate that calcium aids in weight loss. Plus, broccoli also has phytochemicals that boost immunity and protect against disease--all while being very low in calories!

5- Green Tea

Studies show that green tea boosts metabolism, has great antioxidants and may help prevent some forms of cancer. It's also famous for being a mood enhancer, which is great for helping you get in the mood for that fat-burning workout.

6- Hot Peppers 

Hot peppers speed up your metabolism and cause you to burn more calories by releasing the chemical Capsaicin (found in cayenne and jalapeno peppers) into your system. In response, the body temporarily releases stress hormones that speed up your metabolism. So you burn more calories as  your body copes with the spicy, tasty food.

7- Low-fat Dairy

Low fat dairy is high in the essential calcium needed for fat burning and weight loss. In addition, it is high in nutrients and great for a healthy digestive tract.

8- Lean Meats

Lean Meats are great sources of protein, and they take longer to digest than fruits and vegetables. They also give you more energy for exercise, so you get twice the metabolism benefit from one food.

9. High Fiber Foods

High fiber foods, like beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, keep your insulin levels steady, which helps your body prevent fat storage that leads to weight gain. 
    Some metabolism supplements will speed up your metabolism, but aren't as healthy as the metabolism boosting foods found right in nature. They can contain animal thyroid that can have unhealthy side effects like nervousness, diarrhea, increased heart rate, tremors, excessive sweating and bulging eyes. Never take a supplement or diet pill without first consulting your physician.

    Most experts agree that a diet high in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, accompanied by healthy exercise, will help stablize the metabolism. However, if you have difficulty either gaining weight or losing weight, and you currently lead an active lifestyle that includes healthy eating and exercise, it could be a sign of metabolism issues. Consult your personal physician to discuss medical testing that will eliminate those possibilities before making significant changes to your diet or exercise program.


    Cardiovascular Fitness / Fat Burn Workout - Interval Training

    Getting Up to Speed

    They say that slow and steady wins the race. But the cardiovascular key to fat burning is using interval training workouts - workouts that alternate high-intensity levels with lower-intensity effort. As I mentioned earlier, that formula keeps your body burning calories long after you've stopped working out.

    Interval training mimics sports - start-and-stop motions with periods of sprinting or close-to-sprinting speeds followed by light jogging or rest. You can use interval training workouts any way you want - running, cycling, swimming, on elliptical trainers, even walking if you alternate a speed walk and slow walk.

    You can also vary the intensity levels in different combinations. To start, here are three options for setting your workout. (If you use exercise machines, don't choose the interval workout; choose the manual one, and create your own intensities by adjusting it yourself. It'll give you greater control over the speeds and will help you burn fat faster.) You'll derive benefits in as little as a 20-minute interval workout. As you build up endurance and strength, you can add time to your workout.

    Interval Variation I: Standard

    The following is a typical interval workout. You alternate the same period of low intensity with the same period of higher intensity.

    1. 3 - 5 minutes warmup (light jog, low intensity, gradually increasing at the end of the warmup period)

    2. 1 minute moderate or high intensity followed by 1 minute low intensity (repeat 6 - 8 times)

    3. 3 - 5 minutes cooldown (light jog, low intensity, gradually decreasing by the end of the cooldown period)

    Interval Variation II: Pyramid

    This pyramid structure allows you to start with short bursts of speed, and then you'll peak at the longest surge of energy in the middle of your workout before coming back down.

    1. 3 - 5 minutes warmup

    2. 30 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity

    3. 45 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity

    4. 60 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity

    5. 90 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity

    6. 60 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity

    7. 45 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low intensity

    8. 30 seconds high intensity

    9. 3 - 5 minutes cooldown

    Interval Variation III: Sports Conditioning

    Sports are unpredictable. This interval simulates some of that unpredictability by having you doing different times and different intensities. You can mix and match the orders and repetitions as much as you want. Rest longer after the periods in which you use the most energy.

    1. 3 - 5 minutes warmup

    2. 2 minutes moderate or high intensity followed by 2 minutes low intensity (repeat once

    3. 30 seconds high intensity followed by 30 seconds low intensity (repeat four times)

    4. 60-yard sprints (or 10 seconds if not running) followed by 90 seconds rest (repeat 6 - 10 times)


    3 Great Boxing Workouts

    Don't just pummel the bag. "A great boxer has to have focus, coordination, power, speed, and endurance," says Michael Olajide Jr., a former championship middleweight boxer. To help you hone your skills, we've tapped the country's top fighters to act as your cornermen. Hit these workouts to improve your staying power. 

    The Workouts 

    1. UFC Power Punches
    Your coach: Frank Mir,
     Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight

    Whether you're facing Wanderlei Silva in a cage match or a 75-pound bag in your basement, the same rules apply: "Once you're warmed up, you should be throwing each punch at full blast," says Mir, a former UFC heavyweight champ. He uses this demanding six-round routine to build mental and physical tenacity.

    Grow your intensity:
      Clock each round at 3 minutes, resting 1 minute between rounds. With each round, you'll add one punch to your sequence.
    Punches per round:
    1. Warmup. Strike the bag at 50 percent with a variety of punches
    2. Up your power to full strength and launch jabs
    3. Jab, throw a cross, and repeat
    4. Jab, cross, hook, repeat
    5. Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, repeat
    6. Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, body punch, repeat

      LAPD Precision Punch
    Your coach: Tim Collins,
     trainer, Los Angeles Police Dept. Arrest and Control
    The perfect pop is built on posture and bone alignment, not fist strength. Use this routine to refine your form.

    Set the stance:
      Leading with your nondominant leg, position your feet shoulder-width apart, with the toe of your dominant foot in line with the heel of your nondominant foot. Your head extends over your shoulders, and your shoulders over your hips. Your knees are slightly bent.

    Throw the blow:
      Step forward with your lead foot and extend your nondominant arm so that your shoulder, elbow, wrist, and front two knuckles are in alignment. Your punch and your foot should land at the same time. Follow up with a cross, regaining with your rear foot the distance you took in your first step. Then come back to your original stance.

    Connect the punches:
      Repeat the sequence, shadowboxing for 3 minutes. Then do another 3-minute round of the same sequence, this time on a heavy bag. That's 1 set. Complete 3 sets, building speed each time. "When you master the strike, it should feel like you're snapping your target with a wet towel," says Collins. Rest 1 minute between each exercise.

      Middleweight Lightning Hands
    Your coach: Michael Olajide Jr.

    Shadowboxing allows you to rack up high reps without the resistance of a bag to slow your punches. "You'll tone your shoulders, back, and core, which will help you throw faster punches," Olajide says.
    Hit on beat  Play five songs that have strong rhythms and last 3 to 4 minutes each. On every fourth beat (count out loud to keep yourself on track), unleash one of the punch combinations below, and then bring your hands back to your starting stance before the next beat. The shifting tempo of some tracks may require you to punch continuously until the song slows.

    Combos for each song:

    1. Left jab, left jab, right cross
    2. Right cross, left jab, right uppercut
    3. Left body punch, right body punch, left uppercut
    4. Right uppercut, right cross, left hook
    5. Right cross, left hook, right hook

    Link :

    15 Great Workout Tips

    Want to know the secrets to getting a toned, trim body in record time? We did too, so we went straight to the top personal trainers, exercise physiologists and fitness instructors for the ultimate moves and motivation tricks to kick a fitness routine into high gear. Put a few of these tips into action each week and you're guaranteed to see faster results!
    1. Tone Up on the Treadmill"Save time at the gym with this 10-minute cardio/sculpt session: Hop on a treadmill holding a three- to five-pound dumbbell in each hand, and set the speed to a brisk walk. Do a one-minute set each of shoulder presses, biceps curls, triceps extensions, side laterals, front laterals and standing triceps kickbacks one after another as you walk. I's an amazing upper-body challenge that also gets your heart pumping. Do this series two or three times each week. As you improve, work up to doing four-minute sets."
      --Michael George, trainer and owner of Integrated Motivational Fitness in Los Angeles
    2. Power Up Your Runs"Adding wall sits to the end of every run will strengthen your quads, hamstrings and glutes, improving your speed and endurance. Lean against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart, then squat until your knees are bent at 45 degrees. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds; work up to doing 10 sets. Add a challenge by including heel raises: Lift your left heel, then the right, then lift both together twice."
      --Mindy Solkin, owner and head coach of the Running Center, New York City
    3. Chart Your Progress"Stay motivated using a fitness report card. Jot down these subjects: Cardio, Muscle Conditioning, Flexibility and Attitude. Set goals (for example, doing 10 "boy" push-ups) and grade yourself A through F at least four times a year. When you see how much you improve, you'll want to stay in great shape."
      --Ken Alan, Los Angeles--based personal trainer
    4. Try This All-in-One Toner"A side-step squat with wood chop works your arms, torso, abs, back, legs, inner thighs and butt. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a three- to four-pound medicine ball in your hands. Bend your arms up so that the ball is at eye level over your right shoulder. As you bring the ball toward your left knee, step out with your left leg and bend it no further than 90 degrees, keeping your right leg straight. Return to the starting position. Do 10 to 15 reps and repeat on the other leg."
      --David Kirsch, trainer and author of The Ultimate New York Body Plan (McGraw-Hill, 2004)
    5. Break Out the Shovel"Why pay someone to clear snow from your driveway? Besides burning nearly 400 calories per hour, shoveling snow develops muscular endurance and power. But be safe: Minimize the amount of snow on each shovelful, and bend from your knees and hips, not your back."
      --Tom Seabourne, Ph.D., exercise physiologist and sports psychologist at Northeast Texas Community College in Mount Pleasant, Texas
    6. Work Out During Your Workday"Sit on a stability ball to strengthen your core, and keep dumbbells or exercise tubing at your desk. Squeeze in 12 to 15 reps of exercises like dumbbell curls, overhead presses and ab crunches; aim for two or three sets of each. This gives you more free time to fit in fun workouts like biking or tennis."
      --Gregory Florez, personal trainer and CEO of Salt Lake City -- based
    7. Take This Jump-Rope Challenge"The best cardio workout is the jump-rope double-turn maneuver. It's intense: You'll burn about 26 calories per minute! Do a basic jump for five minutes, then jump twice as high and turn the rope twice as fast so it passes under your feet twice before you land. This takes timing, patience and power. But you'll get in great shape just by working at it."
      --Michael Olajide Jr., former number one world middleweight contender and cofounder/trainer at Aerospace High Performance Center in New York City
    8. Give Yourself a Break"You don't have to be a fitness saint to get results. Follow the 80/20 plan: Eighty percent of the year, you'll exercise regularly and eat well. Know that you'll slip 20 percent of the time due to holidays and work deadlines. When you accept that fitness isn't an all-or-nothing proposition, you're more likely to stick with it for life."
      --Maureen Wilson, owner/personal trainer/instructor, Sweat Co. Studios, Vancouver, B.C.
    9. Get a Jump on Weight Loss"Add plyometric box jumps to your workout to improve your cardiovascular stamina and leg strength -- you'll really sculpt your hamstrings, quads and glutes. Find a sturdy box that';s at least one foot high [like a Plyo Box, $139.95; 888-556-7464;]. Starting from a standing position, explosively jump to the middle of the box, then jump back down. Repeat 20 times."
      --Michael George
    10. Don't Skimp on Carbs"Your body needs them to fuel a workout, so reach for fruit or high-fiber crackers an hour beforehand. If you'e exercising for 90 minutes or longer, include some protein so that the carbs break down more slowly, giving you longer-lasting energy. Your best bets: low-fat cheese and crackers, trail mix or half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."
      --Cindy Sherwin, R.D., personal trainer at the Gym in New York City
    11. Maximize Your Crunches"Don't relax your abs as you lower your chest away from your knees during a crunch -- you get only half the ab-toning benefit! To get the firmest abs possible, you need to sustain the contraction on the way down."
      --Steve Ilg, founder of Wholistic Fitness Personal Training and author of Total Body Transformation (Hyperion, 2004)
    12. Intensify Your Push-Up"Squat-thrust push-ups get you in great shape because they work your upper body, core and lower body and improve agility, strength and endurance all at once. From a standing position, bend down, put your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart, and jump your feet back into plank position. If you're strong, cross your ankles; otherwise, jump your feet wide apart. Do a push-up, then jump your feet together or uncross your ankles. Jump your feet back to your hands and stand up. Do eight reps total, rest for one minute, and repeat."
      --Keli Roberts, Los Angeles -- based trainer
    13. Paddle Your Way to Flatter Abs"Go kayaking to get a taut stomach -- it's ideal because much of your rowing power comes from your core. Mimic the motion and resistance of the water at home by looping an exercise band around the bottom of a table leg or other fixed object. Sit on the floor with legs extended, knees slightly bent; grasp one end of the band in each hand. Rotate your torso to one side as you bring the elbow back slightly, then switch sides. Do three sets of one to three minutes each."
      --Barbara Bushman, Ph.D., associate professor of health, physical education and recreation at Southwest Missouri State University
    14. Make Over Your Running Routine"Unless you're training for a marathon, skip long, slow, distance running -- sprinting builds more muscle. Add a few 10- to 60-second sprints to your run, slowing down just long enough to catch your breath between them."

      --Stephen Holt, 2003 ACE Personal Trainer of the Year
    15. Super-Sculpt Your Butt"Get great glutes by targeting the muscles and connective tissues buried deep in your body. To hit them, do high-intensity squats, such as jump squats. Then, blast off butt flab with cross-country skiing, bleacher running and stair climbing."
      --Steve Ilg