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5 Fitness Musts for 2013

January 4, 2013

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As 2012 came to a close, did you find yourself in a fitness rut? Looking back on the year, were you able to accomplish and maintain all of your fitness goals? For the New Year, I suggest adding some new zest to your workout routines. Each of these exercises will help lean, lengthen and tone your body to keep you feeling strong and sexy.

Row, row, row your back:Nothing says sexy like a strong back on any man or woman. Age has a way of showing when your shoulders sag forward and your upper back becomes round. A simple solution to this is tightening up the muscles in the upper back, specifically your rhomboids, lats, and posterior deltoids. Sounds complicated? Don’t fret. Incorporating rowing exercises into your routine will help strengthen your back, shape the back of your shoulders and take years of your appearance. Use a heavy weight and do 2 sets of about 15 reps. Do this at least twice a week.

Jump SquatsWere you kind to your booty in 2012? Did you give it the whipping it deserved? If not, you may find a few extra dimples of cellulite, in this New Year. If so, do not fear. Adding jump squats to your routine will be sure to tighten and tone it by the second quarter of 2013.

Squat down low and sink your weight into your heels to activate your gluteus maximus and not mostly your quads. Be sure that your knees track over the toes and as you jump back up, press into the balls of your feet. Land softly with slightly bended knees hitting the balls of your feet first. If you have bad knees, take the jump out and just do regular squats. Do at least 50 reps (you can break them up into two sets of 25), three times per week.

PlankingTrying to build a strong body without doing core work is like trying to build a house without a foundation. Your core includes all of the muscles that surround the spine in your midsection, starting with your transverse abdominus (TVA) as the innermost muscle that acts like a girdle. If your TVA is weak, you risk injury to the rest of your body while doing any other strenuous activity.

To strengthen your core, begin by drawing in your belly button back towards your spine. Then go into your plank exercises, which can include:

  • High plank – A push up position
  • Low plank – The same position except you are holding yourself up on your forearms vs. your hands
  • Alternate between high and low plank and work your way up to holding plank for a minute or longer. Do your core work at least three times per week.

Sprint it outEveryone knows that we need cardio in our workout routines. Depending on where you are in your fitness journey you may be training for a half marathon, or you may start by walking for thirty minutes every day. Either way, it’s a great move to include short bouts of intense cardiovascular exercise by increasing your speed and getting your heart rate out of its comfort zone. Sprint for at least 30 seconds at a time, at least 10 times throughout your workout.

Every Body Deserves a Good StretchA must to any fitness routine is a good stretch to help elongate tight muscles and reduce chance of injury. Stretching keeps your body agile and helps you maintain a youthful, sexy appearance. There are many ways to incorporate stretching into your routine.

Try a yoga class just once a week to concentrate on opening up tight hip flexors, chest and shoulders. If Om’ing in public isn’t your thing then be sure to stretch after your cardio workouts and if you need help, invest in a good stretching video.

Get ready for a strong and sexy 2013!Jennifer Cassetta is nutrition, fitness and self-defense expert. Graduating from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2005, she became a certified health coach. Her clients include celebrities, royalty, corporations, and CEOs. She’s consulted for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Beachbody. Jennifer and her Stilettos and Self Defense DVD’s have made appearances on NPR, E! TV, The Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda, and the Bethenny Frankel talk show.  She has been featured in the NY Post, Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, and Fitness.