Before we move on to a new year, let's look back at the best workout tips from 2017.
What the Best Athletes Do Every Day: Treat Their Bodies Like Temples1 of 16
Earlier this year, we talked to Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brice Butler about his daily routines because we wanted to find out what the real differences are between the best athletes in the world and your average Joe.
Butler had tons of tips, but one of his most striking was how he views his body as an athlete. "My body is my number one priority, because my body does my job for me," he says. "If I don't treat it right then I know I won't be able to get my job done. Your body has to be able to recover properly after practices and games, so you have to treat it as best as you can."
How to Add Exercise to Your Workday: Take Hourly Standing Breaks2 of 16
It doesn't matter if fitness is one of the top items on your priority list; sometimes, there just aren't enough hours in the day to fit in a full workout, and that's why moving during your workday matters.
They say sitting is the new smoking, so getting up from your desk chair at least once an hour is one of the simplest things you can do to add some activity to your day. Use your stand breaks to go to the bathroom, get some water, tea or coffee or to catch up with a coworker across the office.
The Golden Rules of Fitness: Hit the Weights3 of 16
When it comes to living a fit life, there are 10 rules that always apply—regardless of your ultimate goal—and one of them is to get to the weight room ASAP. Despite the myths, strength training won't make you overly bulky. In fact, it can help you slim down by increasing calorie burn while simultaneously enhancing muscle mass.
How does strength training boost your metabolism? Lifting weights stresses muscle and breaks down tissues. The harder your muscles work, the more post-workout rebuilding they have to do. According to the American Council on Exercise , one pound of muscle burns seven to ten calories per day, while one pound of fat burns only two to three calories. Lifting weights is good for your bones, too. It helps protect bone health and even reverses bone loss.
Secrets of People Who Actually Love to Workout: Music4 of 16
You've seen them at the gym or running through your neighborhood. They're fit and happy, projecting endless positivity as they nail that new PR or finish off a round of weighted squats. They're the people that simply love to work out. So what's their secret? They love music.
Research has shown that listening to music can help distract you from how much exertion (and pain) you're putting your body through. "Music has powerful effects on our mind," says exercise scientist and psychologist Andy Lane, PhD. "Music can inspire, raise arousal and evoke powerful and positive emotions. Powerful lyrics can even create a feeling of invincibility."
Use music to inspire and motivate yourself in the gym by carefully selecting songs that will generate the emotions you need to get the job done. Other research also suggests aiming for songs with 120 to 140 beats per minute.
How to Lose Weight Permanently: Set Up an Anchor5 of 16
Though permanent weight loss can be a challenge, it's by no means impossible. One of the best tools is an "anchor."
An anchor is something that continually reminds you how far you have come. There are several options from which to choose, but we like the paper clip chain because you can make several to hang on your refrigerator, in your closet, in your food pantry and even in your car to remind you to make good choices when on the run.
If you lose five pounds, clip five colored paper clips together, and so forth. Watching your chain grow is fun and inspiring and will help you keep going.
Getting in Shape Faster: Turn to HIIT Workouts6 of 16
While there are no shortcuts to long-lasting fitness—and nothing worth having comes easy—there are a few tips you can implement to help push the process along.
Instead of doing steady-state walks on the treadmill at a slower pace, opt for high intensity interval training (HIIT). By alternating between bursts of all-out activity and periods of rest--say 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off--you'll burn more calories at a faster rate. Plus, since it takes up less time, there's no excuse not to fit in a workout, which increases the likelihood you'll get in a sweat session.
The best part? Even after your workout's complete, your calorie burn will hold strong. HIIT is the most effective way to stimulate post-exercise oxygen consumption, which means your body's metabolism will continue to burn more calories even when at complete rest.
Worst Fitness Tips We've Ever Heard: Scales Always Measure Progress7 of 16
Not all advice is good advice, which is why it's important to also know what workout tips to ignore.
When it comes measuring your weight loss progress, don't solely rely on the fickle scale. Basing your definition of progress on slight fluctuations in numbers isn't necessarily accurate. Why? Your weight doesn't tell the whole story.
Changes in body composition—your fat to muscle ratio—aren't accounted for by the scale. You might weigh more, but you might have a lower body fat percentage and be sporting more muscle, and the scale won't reflect that. Other, more effective, ways to measure your progress include progress photos (which can better show how small, daily changes add up), tape measurements, testing the fit of old clothing and aiming to out-do your old gym PRs.
Workout Milestones You Should Reach: Someone Asking YOU for Advice8 of 16
While staying motivated and committed to fitness can be tough, celebrating milestones along the way will keep you inspired—and few milestones are better than someone asking YOU for gym advice.
When you first start working out, you have tons of questions: What's the best way to burn fat? How does this machine work? What the heck is a foam roller? You may feel like you are constantly bugging the personal trainers or fellow gym-goers for help navigating this new world of fitness. But the day when someone comes to you for advice marks a turning point in your fitness journey. You get to impart your hard-earned fitness wisdom to another. Smile, give them your best advice followed by a high-five and get back to crushing your workout.
Tips that Helped Me Lose 75 Pounds: Find the Right App9 of 16
While getting fit is a journey unique to each of us, it sure doesn't hurt to get a little bit of inspiration and advice from someone who's "been there, done that!" This writer lost 75 pounds and wanted to share her top strategies for how she made it happen, including mobile apps.
"Finding the best fitness apps out there isn't as easy as it may sound," she says. "There are hundreds of apps designed for fitness and anything else that might need tracking, and I ended up trying dozens of them. Here are the four I stuck with in my quest to lose 75 pounds: Sworkit, Couch to 5K, Runkeeper and, most recently, I have fallen in love with the Tabata training app, ACTIVEx."
How Working Out in the Morning Will Change Your Life: Better Muscle10 of 16
Did you know research shows early-morning exercise can change our lives in astounding ways? One small way is through increasing muscle mass.
Testosterone, the hormone in your body that encourages muscle growth, is actually at its peak first thing in the morning. Capitalize on your body's natural rhythms by moving your strength training to the morning hours so you can see even better gains.
Signs It's Time to Quit the Gym: You Can Get Fit for Free11 of 16
No matter how many times you've told yourself you'll go more often, you might need to heed the signs and finally realize the gym isn't working out.
With free fitness tribes, YouTube videos, workout apps and, of course, the great outdoors, there are plenty of options to stay fit outside of the gym. Experiment with one of these more cost-efficient methods, find something that works for you and kiss that expensive membership goodbye.
How to Actually Stick to Your Workout: Sign Up for a Race12 of 16
Even the most devoted among us fall off the fitness wagon from time to time. So how do you get back on track after a fitness hiatus and actually make your motivation go the distance?
Take a cue from devoted runners, and sign up for numerous races months in advance (hello, discounts). Space them out throughout the year to make sure you're staying active every season. It can be a mud run, a half marathon, a neighborhood 5K—whatever gets you moving.
Best Fitness Hacks: Commit Only to 10 Minutes13 of 16
It seems like there's always an excuse not to exercise. It's boring, you don't have the time, you can't afford a gym membership—the list goes on and on. But we believe working out should be fun, easy and inexpensive. And that's where this innovative fitness hack comes in.
If you're not in the mood to workout today, no problem, just do 10 minutes. That's right...just 10 minutes. If you've done this trick before then you already know it's extremely likely that once you get going, you'll keep going. But even if you don't, 10 minutes is better than nothing.
Proven Ways to Burn More Calories: Do a Circuit14 of 16
Want to make every minute of your workout count? Start incorporating circuits into your gym routine.
Next time you hit the weight room, instead of performing two or three sets of a single exercise before moving on, complete just one set and then quickly move to the next exercise, repeating that circuit two or three times.
Researchers have found circuit training results in nearly double the post-workout calorie burn of standard-style lifting.
How to Work Out Better Every Day: Use Social Media15 of 16
Vocalizing your goals and making them public can actually help you stick with them. In fact, a 2013 research study published in Translational Behavioral Medicine found that people who posted their weight loss progress on Twitter lost more weight than those who kept their progress to themselves.
So go ahead, post that selfie, map your run and document your journey for all to see. Not only will you benefit, but you might even inspire others along the way.