Elevate Your Exercise: 11 Tips for a Better, Brisker Walk To Help You Lose Weight

Walking is one of the best exercises for bone strength, cardiovascular health, and weight loss, plus it’s easy and convenient to do. But walking can get boring day in and day out, especially if you follow the same routine. That doesn’t mean you have to switch to a new form of exercise. There are many ways to boost your walking routine so you’ll be energized every day to hit the pavement–and endure. Try these 10 tips, and see how easy it is to give your step more pep:

Alter Your Route

If you stick to the same walking path every day, you’re bound to get bored. Try alternating your route for a more inspiring walk that will get you moving at a quick clip rather than a tired saunter. Find a new trail that’s scenic and diverse, or explore a different roadway or sidewalk. Always keep safety first, though. Avoid busy streets as well as dangerously isolated paths.

Hydrate Well

Sometimes a tiresome walk is simply the result of not being well hydrated. Water does more than satiate thirst; it provides energy and a clear mind to help prepare you for exercise. Hydrate before you head out the door, but also take a water bottle along to sip on while walking. Be sure to empty your bladder before you begin to exercise to avoid discomfort and disruption.

Bring a Peppy but Quiet Partner

Enlisting a walking partner can be a great way to improve your walk, as long as the partner inspires you to exercise at your best. Optimal exercise partners are those who don’t chatter and who share similar fitness goals. Walking with someone who’s even more fit than you can motivate you to work harder. Dogs in good physical shape make excellent walking partners, too.

Invest in a Good Walking Shoe

If your feet aren’t comfortable, walking can be tedious, painful, and unproductive. Don’t let your shoes downgrade your walk. Investing in a good pair of walking shoes is well worth the cost. You’ll keep your feet be happy, be able to move at a faster pace, and endure longer on your walk. For the best results, get fitted for a walking shoe with an athletic shoe specialist.



Get Plugged In

Listening to music has many benefits, including energizing you. Put together a tape of your favorite songs and get some comfortable ear buds for a walk that will lift your spirits and hasten your gait. When listening to music outdoors, be sure to keep the volume at a level that allows you to hear noises on the street. Playing music too loud can harm your ears and threaten safety.

Incorporate Other Movement

All you may need to do to get more bounce in your step is to change it or add a few new steps. Incorporating movement into your walk can increase the intensity of your routine. Try skipping, hopping, or even dancing while you walk. Include arm extensions or circles for variety. Changing the way you move will work other muscles and turn your walk into a workout.

Pick the Morning

Mornings are generally the coolest time of the day, which is important for outdoor walkers because you’ll have more energy exercising in cool weather than the hot sun. But mornings can be the best time to walk indoors, too, since your mind and body are refreshed after a night of sleep. Avoid walking within a few hours of bed; late night exercise can contribute to insomnia.

Satiate Hunger First

Some people prefer to go walking as soon as they get out of bed. But doing any kind of exercise on an empty stomach can be draining and cut your routine short. You don’t need to eat a full meal to get the energy you need for an invigorating walk. In fact, eating a small protein snack like a handful of nuts, cup of yogurt, or banana, is best before beginning exercise.

Dress the Part

All-over comfort has a big impact on how fast you walk. If you’re too cold, too warm, itchy, or painfully aware of your clothing, it will affect the speed and quality of your walk. Wear layers that can be peeled off, choose clothing in comfortable fabrics, and make sure your walking wear is loose fitting and unnoticeable. Dress the part for a brisk, energizing walk, and your chances of getting one will improve.

Choose a Walker-Friendly Surface

Whether you prefer the treadmill, a sidewalk, or a hiking path, make sure the surface is walker friendly. Walking surfaces can make your gait lively or sluggish, depending on the ground condition. Choose terrain that is easy on your feet, while still giving you a challenging walk. Inclines are fine and help boost exercise; just make sure there are no hazards in the way, like rocks or branches.

Use  a Walking Pole

You don’t have to be disabled or have an injury to use a walking pole. There are plenty of walking poles on the market that you can use to in your walkout for safety and for fitness. Some of the benefits of using a walking pole are increase calorie burn due to arm movement while using the pole, increase posture and back strength.

Walking is an ideal form of exercise, but don’t just walk the walk. Follow the above tips, and you’ll feel inspired and energized to hoof it as briskly as your feet can go.

What’s the Difference Between Running and Jogging?


Healthy group of people jogging on track in park. Happy couple enjoying friend time at jogging park while running. Mature friends running

Do you head outdoors and pound your heels against the pavement to get a workout? You’re in good company! You might describe what you’re doing as running or you might call it jogging. People sometimes use these words interchangeably without understanding what they mean and how they differ. In general, running is more intense than jogging. Jogging, for a fit person, is a somewhat relaxing activity that affords the chance to get outdoors and breathe in fresh air while burning calories and getting cardiovascular benefits. In other words, jogging is a bit “lower key” than running. But there are other differences. Let’s see what distinguishes running from jogging.

Is there a set speed you have to attain to switch from jogging to running? Although there isn’t a standard definition of what constitutes running, most sources say you’re running if you reach a speed of at least six miles per hour. Jogging corresponds to a slower speed of five miles per hour or less. If you run at six miles per hour, you’re running a 10-minute mile. Depending upon your fitness level, this can be a rather leisurely pace or a somewhat challenging one. Both will give you a decent workout.

Running vs. Jogging: Do the Health and Fitness Benefits Differ?

Both running and jogging offer health benefits, particularly for your heart. Yet, in general, research suggests more intense exercise boosts cardiovascular fitness more than a light jog. Cardiovascular fitness is measured in terms of aerobic capacity, the maximal amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise. More intense exercise, like running, improves aerobic capacity faster and to a greater degree than jogging or brisk walking. Why is this important? When you have a higher aerobic capacity, you have more stamina and endurance. In other words, you can maintain sub-maximal exercise longer than someone with a lower aerobic capacity. Research also links greater aerobic capacity with a reduction in mortality.

Both jogging and running burn calories, but running burns more calories per minute than jogging. That’s because you expend more energy for each minute you exercise when you pick up the pace. Running and jogging are also high-impact exercises that help preserve bone density. High impact exercise is movement where both feet leave the ground at the same time. Jogging and running are better for preserving bone than walking since walking involves less impact on the bones.

To burn the same number of calories, you have to jog longer than if you run. So, if you’re trying to get leaner, running is a better choice. The disadvantage of jogging is doing it frequently or for longer periods of time can lead to repetitive stress injuries, including Achilles tendonitis, inflammation of the tendons in the lower legs. These issues are a common problem for joggers and runners, especially those that put in too many miles. Picking up the pace by running offers some advantages, as you can get similar calorie-burning benefits in a shorter period of time.

Running in Intervals

One way to get the benefits of running, if don’t want to run for sustained periods is to do an interval running workout. Interval training is where you exercise at a high intensity, like running, for a specified period of time and then recover by doing a low-intensity movement for a set time period. For example, you might run for 30 seconds and walk or do a light jog for 30 seconds to recover. Then, keep repeating this structure for the length of your workout.

If you pick up the intensity during the active intervals, you can get the cardiovascular and calorie-burning benefits of a 40-minute jog in as little as 20 minutes with interval running. The high-intensity nature of running for short periods taps into anaerobic energy pathways that cause your body to burn more calories once your workout is over. The after-burn effect, as it is called, is a well-described phenomenon. Your body becomes overheated and energy is depleted during the running intervals. Due to the extra stress running places on every system in your body, it has to expend more calories for hours after a running session is over to recover. You don’t get the same degree of after-burn after jogging.

Both Running and Jogging Have Health and Fitness Benefits

Both running and jogging can positively impact your cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and by having a favorable impact on blood lipids. Some studies show regular running or jogging raise HDL-cholesterol, the form of cholesterol linked with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. But you’ll improve your aerobic fitness faster and to a greater degree if you pick up the pace. That’s where interval running comes in. You get the benefits that running offers without having to sustain it.

Jogging has benefits too. A gentle jog outdoors is an excellent stress reliever. Studies show running and jogging boost the release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins. It’s these chemicals may be responsible for the well-known runner’s high. Why not do both? Twice a week, do high-intensity interval running, but reserve a day or two each week for a relaxing jog You’ll get the best of both worlds!


Time Health. “Is Running Bad for Your Knees?”

On Fitness. September/October 2011. page 15.

​​ Does Heat or Ice Work Best for Sore Muscles?


Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

When you first begin a new exercise routine, it’s quite common to experience a type of muscle soreness known as delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. This is a common phenomenon that isn’t serious but makes your muscles feel stiff and sore for a few days.

Delayed onset muscle soreness happens because you work your muscles in a manner they’re unaccustomed to. If you just started exercising, every movement you do is unfamiliar, so DOMS is almost a given. As you progress in your training, you typically won’t experience muscle soreness unless you increase the resistance or volume of your routine or add new exercises. This is due to the “repeated bout effect,” muscles adapt to repeated stress placed on them so they’re more resistant to injury.

Delayed onset muscle soreness is more pronounced after workouts that emphasize eccentric contractions, contractions where the muscle lengthens against resistance. An example is when you bring the weights back down to the starting position during a biceps curl. You’re lengthening the muscle in a controlled manner with weight in your hands.

In most cases, the muscle soreness associated with DOMS comes 24 to 48 hours after a workout your muscles are unaccustomed to. When delayed onset muscle soreness strikes, your muscles feel stiff and movement causes discomfort, especially when you first get out of bed in the morning. However, the soreness often eases a bit when you move and the muscles warm up a bit. That’s why it’s best to do a light workout when you have DOMS rather than skipping exercise entirely. The soreness and stiffness usually last from four to seven days, but during that time, it feels uncomfortable. That’s when some people whip out a cold or hot pad to get relief. You might wonder whether it’s best to apply heat or ice to those sore muscles. What does science say?

It’s not clear what causes DOMS, but research suggests that tiny tears in muscle fibers may play a role. According to some studies, the tears create an inflammatory response that triggers muscle soreness. The inflammation is most pronounced in the first 24 to 48 hours after a DOMS-inducing workout. That’s when the application of cold is most effective. Why does cold work? Ice or a cold pack constricts the blood vessels. This constriction reduces the number of inflammatory cells that reach the injured areas. This diminishes the release of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines that cause swelling and soreness.

Does science support the use of cold for delayed onset muscle soreness? A review of 17 studies published in the Cochrane Database, an esteemed site built around evidence-based medicine, found immersion in cold water reduced muscle soreness at one day, two days, three days, and four days after exercise that induced delayed-onset muscle soreness. However, they point out that the quality of the studies wasn’t high.

Another Variation on Cold – Cryotherapy

Another “cold” approach, whole body cryotherapy also may also reduce delayed onset muscle soreness, although studies are limited. The evidence, thus far, isn’t strong enough to recommend it. Cryotherapy consists of repeated exposure to very cold, dry air in a special chamber for a few minutes at a time. Athletes sometimes use this approach, but it’s not practical for the average person. However, you may get benefits from using ice packs or taking cold baths the first 48 hours after a workout that causes muscle soreness. If you don’t have an ice pack, grab a bag of frozen vegetables from the freezer!

What about Heat?

After 48 hours or so, there’s evidence that heat may help muscle soreness. Most studies suggest that moist heat works better than dry heat as it penetrates the tissues better. Why does it work? Applying heat opens up the blood vessels to the muscle so that nutrients and oxygen can reach the tissue. Plus, it helps to relax and relieve muscle spasms.

What’s the best way to apply heat? A heating pad, a hot water bottle, or a special pad you heat in the microwave are options. Sitting in a warm sauna, if you have access to one, or a hot bath can be beneficial as well.


Depending on the timing, cold or heat can modestly make sore muscles due to DOMS feel better. Be careful though. Avoid using temperature extremes that can damage your skin. Also, if you have certain medical conditions like peripheral artery disease, Raynaud syndrome, or diabetes, don’t use hot or cold packs without talking to your physician.

Fortunately, whether you use a hot or cold pad or just wait it out, DOMS is self-limited. It’ll subside in less than a week. But don’t be surprised if it shows up again the next time you do a challenging strength-training workout.


Cochrane Database. “Cold-water immersion for preventing and treating muscle soreness after exercise”

J Clin Med Res. 2013 Dec; 5(6): 416-425.

Medical News Today. “Heat and cold treatment: Which is best?”



5 Signs You’re Overreaching and Training Too Hard

Fitness gains come from placing more stress on your body than it’s accustomed to. In response to that stress, muscles adapt. The way they adapt depends on the type of exercise you’re doing. Muscle fibers increase in size in response to strength training. In reaction to aerobic exercise, they become more efficient energy producers. But there is a point of diminishing returns. If you stress your body repeatedly without giving it time to recover between training sessions, your body may rebel. Pushing your body too hard is sometimes referred to as overreaching. Unlike overtraining, a more serious and sustained type of excess training, overreaching can usually be corrected quickly if you know the signs and take action. Here are some signs that you’re pushing too hard and not allowing your body enough recovery time between workouts.

Your Mood and Motivation Are Down

No one feels energetic and motivated every time they work out. We all have days where a workout feels more difficult than it should, or you have a hard time getting started. But repeated days where you can’t muster up the motivation to exercise or your performance is sub-par, can be a warning sign that your ratio of exercise to recovery is too high. Overreaching can manifest as anxiety or feelings of sadness too. When you push your body too hard, the two components of the nervous system, the sympathetic and parasympathetic, are out of balance. That can lead to mood changes. Longer term, overreaching can elevate levels of the stress hormone cortisol. That can dampen your mood and have other undesirable effects as well.

Your Heart Rate Has Changed

One of the best indicators of overreaching or over training is an elevated early morning heart rate. In fact, coaches often tell athletes to monitor their heart rate in the morning and you should too. Check your resting heart rate a few mornings in a row before getting out of bed and record the number of beats per minute.

First, establish a baseline morning heart rate. Then, monitor your heart each morning when you wake up. If you notice a rise in heart rate of more than 7 beats per minute for a few mornings, you are probably pushing too hard when you train. Early morning heart rate is a good indicator of whether your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system is balanced. Overreaching can also manifest as a rise in blood pressure due to over activity of the sympathetic nervous system.

More Soreness or Recurrent Injuries

Muscle soreness is a sign that you’ve worked your muscles harder than they’re accustomed too. That can lead to muscle adaptations and growth. But you shouldn’t feel sore every time you work out. If you’re always feeling sore or repeatedly nursing an injury, you’re not giving your body enough rest and recovery time. You may also not be doing a balanced workout. Every workout shouldn’t be a high-intensity one. It’s best to limit high-intensity exercise to a few times per week and give yourself at least 2 days to recover in between hard training sessions.

You’re Catching More Colds

Are you getting the sniffles more frequently? Overreaching and over training can suppress your immune system, thanks to the immune-suppressing effects of the stress hormone cortisol. The rate of colds and upper respiratory viruses goes up in runners after a marathon due to the stress of the race and the training beforehand. The same can happen if you train hard and don’t give your body enough rest and recovery time between sessions.

Changes in Sleep Patterns

Overreaching can also trigger sleep problems, including insomnia, early morning awakenings, and poor quality sleep. In fact, changes in sleep patterns, particularly early morning awakenings can be the first sign of overreaching. Just as you monitor your heart rate, keep a sleep journal and write down how many hours you sleep, the time you went to bed, and the time you woke up. Note any awakenings during the night. Also, document whether you feel rested. Reflecting back on this information can help you see whether you need to modify your training.


Listen to your body. If your motivation and mental outlook have changed and you’re experiencing physiological symptoms of overreaching, like a change in heart rate, poor sleep, or more colds, scale back your training. Even better, take a few days off and let your body recover. Then, alter your routine to include some low-intensity exercise to balance out the high-intensity training you do. On some days, take a break entirely and go for a walk outdoors. A dose of nature will help get your nervous system back into sync. Also, make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of quality sleep per night and eating a balanced diet that contains sufficient protein and calories to support your training.


J Athl Train. 2015 Feb; 50(2): 217-223.

Research Methods in Physical Activity. Jerry R. Thomas, Jack K. Nelson, Stephen J. Silverman. Seventh Edition.

​​ Are There Additional Fitness Benefits to Doing Cardio in the Morning?

What’s the best time to do cardio? You may find it more convenient to fit a cardio workout in first thing in the morning as soon as you wake up. The activity will wake you up and get the blood pumping. Plus, some research suggests that people who work out in the morning are more likely to do it consistently. If you wait until later in the day, other things can come up that interfere with your plans to get leaner and healthier. Beyond convenience, you might wonder whether there are physiological advantages to doing cardio in the morning and whether you should do it before or after breakfast?

The Pros and Cons of Fasted Cardio

Fasted cardio is where you do a cardiovascular workout without eating first. In other words, you hop out of bed, hydrate, warm up, and launch into your workout. Some research suggests that fasted cardio, in the morning before breakfast, can work in your favor if you’re trying to get lean. After an overnight fast, carb levels are low, and your body must tap into fat as its primary fuel source. Therefore, you burn more fat if you do cardio before eating breakfast after an overnight fast.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? Your body is carb depleted and has to access fat stores to fuel exercise. In support of this, one study discussed on Science Daily found subjects who ran on a treadmill at a moderate pace burned 20 percent more fat when they skipped breakfast before their workout. They also didn’t eat more later in the day. Sounds like a winner, doesn’t it?

If you’re trying to maximize fat loss, doing cardio before breakfast may give you a slight edge but this approach works best for moderate-intensity cardio. If your morning cardio is a high-intensity interval session, exercising in a fasted state may work against you. During high-intensity exercise, your body is more dependent on carbohydrates as a fuel source than it is during low and moderate-intensity exercise. Launching into a high-intensity session in a carb-depleted state can limit your performance. You may not be able to exercise at the same intensity you would if you had eaten a pre-workout snack.

Fatigue can also be a factor and some people experience lightheadedness or a headache when they take on an intense workout without eating beforehand. It depends on how well adapted your body is to using fat as fuel. People who regularly consume a low-carb diet are “fat adapted “and may have an easier time doing fasted cardio than people who eat a higher carbohydrate diet.

Another concern is about muscle preservation. When you wake up in the morning, your cortisol level is usually at its peak relative to other times of the day. Eating something with carbohydrates tends to bring cortisol down. When you exercise in a fasted state, cortisol stays up. Why is this bad? Higher cortisol can lead to the breakdown of muscle tissue. This is mostly a concern if you do long-duration cardio, like running five or more miles.

Cardio Before Breakfast?

Whether you do cardiovascular exercise first thing in the morning on an empty stomach depends on your goals. If you’re trying to lean down and your cardio for the day is a brisk walk or other moderate-intensity exercise, fasted cardio may give you a slight fat loss advantage. Moderate-intensity exercise is exercise where you can still speak in complete sentences when you train. If you’re huffing and puffing so hard, you can only get out a few words, you’re working out at a high intensity.

If your go-to cardio is high-intensity interval training, it’s best to have a pre-workout snack to maximize your performance during an interval routine, unless your workout is very short. High-intensity exercise or exercise of long duration in a carb-depleted state can lead to muscle loss due to the impact of cortisol. Also, if you have certain medical conditions or take some medications, it may not be safe to work out in a carb-depleted state. Talk to your physician if you fall into this category.

Fat Loss Differences Are Likely Small

Don’t expect that fasted cardio will have a dramatic impact on fat loss. A 2014 study found that subjects who adopted a low-calorie diet and did cardiovascular exercise in a fasted state and non-fasted state experienced similar degrees of fat loss. So, you may not need to fast before a workout to get leaner.


Know your goals. Are you trying to lose body fat or are you most concerned about maximizing muscle gains? Fasted cardio works better for the former. If you’re trying to work as hard as possible during a high-intensity session, you’ll perform better if you don’t do it in a fasted state.


Metabolism. 1999 Sep;48(9):1152-6.

J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2014; 11: 54.

Science Daily. “Lose Fat Faster Before Breakfast”


​​ How to Do a Bodyweight HIIT Workout at Home

Home is where the fitness action is, and HIIT training is a way to get a home workout quickly. If you’re not familiar with the concept, HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training. What’s so special about it? A high-intensity interval workout is one of the best ways to get a full-body workout without equipment or much space. It’s versatile too. HIIT training enhances both aerobic and anaerobic fitness due to the intense nature of this workout. It helps with fat loss too since vigorous exercise creates an after-burn that promotes fat burning for hours after the workout is over.

Research even suggests high-intensity training is more effective for reducing unhealthy visceral fat, the kind that accumulates around your waistline and tummy and is strongly linked with health problems, like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

What do you need to get started? Very little. An exercise mat will some of the exercises more comfortable. It’s also helpful to have a few sturdy benches or risers for certain exercises, although these aren’t necessary when you first start out. Be sure you’re wearing a good, supportive pair of exercise shoes!

With HIIT training, you’ll work out at an intensity that makes it difficult to talk in complete sentences. If you can speak easily when you carry out these exercises, you’re not working hard enough. High-intensity interval training trades duration for intensity.

To structure a bodyweight HIIT workout, choose two exercises from the list below. These are cardio exercises designed to boost your heart rate. You’ll alternate these exercises with bodyweight exercises that build strength and muscle endurance in a back-and-forth sequence:

Cardio Movements


•Mountain climbers

•Jump rope or shadow jump rope

•Squat jumps or box jumps

•Jumping jacks

•Lateral jumps

Decide whether you want to do an upper or lower body HIIT routine. For an upper body HIIT workout, choose two exercises from the upper body bodyweight exercises below:

Upper Body Exercises

•Push-ups or push-up variations


•Triceps dips

For low body HIIT, select two exercises from the lower body column. For abs, two from the abdominal exercises listed:

Lower Body Exercises

•Bodyweight squats

•Bodyweight lunges

•Glute Bridges

•Hip thrusts

•Calf raises

•Step-ups onto a platform

For an ab and back HIIT workout, choose two from the list below:

Abdominal and Back Exercises

•Planks and plank variations

•Abdominal crunches and variations

•Hanging knee raises

•Leg lifts

•Prone back extensions

After selecting your exercises, warm up for 5 minutes by doing dynamic movements, like leg and arm swings, high knees, butt kickers, jogging in place, and arm punches. No static stretching at this stage.

Then use the sequence below to structure your workout. Do the exercises in order, only resting long enough to set up for the next exercise:

•First cardio exercise for 30 seconds

•First bodyweight exercise for 1 minute. You made need to rest briefly if you can’t do a minute without stopping.

•Second cardio movement for 30 seconds

•Second bodyweight exercise for 1 minute

Then, rest for a minute and repeat 5 times. Don’t forget to do a 5 to 10-minute cool down beforehand. During the cool down, do a light version of the exercises you performed during the warm-up. Conclude the work-up with gentle static stretches to lengthen the muscles you just worked.

The whole HIIT routine will only take around 20 to 30 minutes. Yet, it’s challenging due to the lack of rest between exercises. If one minute of a bodyweight exercise is too challenging, start with 30 seconds and gradually work your way up to a full minute. As you get stronger, do more advanced variations of the exercises listed. For example, there are lots of push-up variations that are more challenging than a standard push-up. Tackle some of these once you’re ready.

If you’d like to focus exclusively on cardio-inspired exercise, select four exercises from the cardio list and cycle through the exercises in the same manner.

HIIT Training Is Customizable

As you can see, you can easily design your own HIIT workout that targets the upper body, lower body, abs, or works mainly cardio using the workout structure above. Change the exercises regularly for variety and do different variations of the basic exercises as you advance your training and become stronger and develop greater aerobic fitness.

Don’t Do HIIT Workouts Every Day

High-intensity interval training isn’t meant to be done every day. If you’re doing them correctly, they should be exhausting enough that you don’t feel like doing them more than two to three times per week. You need a minimum of 24 hours of rest between sessions and if you did a particularly intense session 48 hours or more. So, give yourself a rest day or a low-intensity day between HIIT sessions.


High-intensity interval training is one of the most time-efficient ways to improve your fitness level and build greater muscle strength and endurance. Plus, they’re relatively quick and never boring. Take advantage of what this type of workout offers!


Metabolic Effects of HIIT Training. Len Kravitz, Ph.D.

HIIT vs Continuous Endurance Training: Battle of the Aerobic Titans. Micah Zuhl, Ph.D. and Len Kravitz, Ph.D.

Sports Med 2002; 32 (1): 53-73. 0112-1642/02/0001-0053

How to Gain Muscle Fast without Weights

It may have been ingrained in your head that you need weights to build muscle. Not the case! You can build muscle size with little or no equipment in the comfort of your home. The key is to do body weight exercises. In fact, body weight exercises have benefits you don’t get from working with weights. They work your body in a natural way so that they improve the way your muscles function as a unit. Body weight exercises are ideal for building functional strength greater functionality while boosting the size of your muscles. Here are six tips to build muscle fast without weights.

Do Mostly Compound Body weight Exercises

Building muscle is easiest when you focus on compound exercises, those that work more than one muscle group at a time. These movements also involve the coordinated motion of more than one joint simultaneously. Bodyweight exercises that do this include push-ups, pull-ups, triceps dips, lunges, and squats. Doing these exercises works almost every muscle group in a time-efficient manner.

To focus on your core and glutes, add a few isometric exercises, like planks, glute bridges, and hip thrusts. With these exercises, you’ll get a well-rounded workout that will, over time, hypertrophy your muscles and help you build muscle fast without weights.

Do Harder Variations of Certain Exercises

When you first start training, get the basic movements down. It’s challenging to do exercises like triceps dips and squats with good form when you first start out. Once you’ve mastered the basic moves, modify the exercises to make them harder. Depending on the exercise you can do this in various ways.

For triceps dips, elevate your feet when you do the exercise. You can also elevate your feet when you perform push-ups to force your muscles to work harder. Do wide push-ups where you place your hands further than shoulder-width apart. Also, add narrow-grip push-ups where your hands are close together when you do the exercise. Both variations are more challenging than a standard push-up. Wide push-ups work the chest more than a standard push-up while a narrow-grip places more emphasis on the triceps. Then try staggered push-ups. These will prepare you to do an ultra-hard variation, one-armed push-ups.

With challenge comes change! Muscles grow in response to progressive overload, gradually increasing the stress you place on the muscles in a controlled manner. Doing harder variations challenges your muscles by forcing them to adapt to new movement patterns. Controlled change is what leads to continued muscle growth.

Vary the Tempo

If you always work your muscles the same way every time you train, muscle growth will eventually plateau. One way to promote greater muscle hypertrophy and build more strength is to vary the tempo of the exercises. Do some sets with a fast, explosive tempo. When you pick up the speed, you recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers right away, the ones designed for strength and power.

At the other end of the spectrum, you can slow the tempo down for exercises like push-ups and dips. Slowing the tempo increases the time the muscles are under tension. Studies suggest that more time under tension is a stimulus for muscle protein synthesis. Take advantage of it!

If you normally take two seconds to raise your body during a push-up, double the time to four seconds. Pause for a second at the top and take five or six seconds to lower your body back down. You should quickly feel the burn in your muscles. Try to increase the time even more as you get stronger. Some super-fit people do super-slow push-ups where they take 10 seconds to raise their body and 10 seconds to lower it!

Don’t Stop until Your Muscles Are Exhausted

To maximize muscle gains, do enough reps to thoroughly exhaust the muscles you’re working. Muscle failure is where you do enough repetitions that you’re unable to do another one with without your form falling apart. You don’t need to train to muscle failure every time you work out. In fact, that can be detrimental to muscle gains. But, take at least a few sets to near muscle failure each week to “shock” your muscles. During other sessions, stop a few reps short of muscle failure.

Add Some Power Moves

Moves that use explosive power activate fast-twitch muscle fibers too. They also get your heart rate up for cardiovascular benefits. Start with a basic plyometric move like squat jumps and do a set between your other exercises to keep your heart rate up. Once you’ve mastered basic squat jumps, increase the challenge by doing box jumps, an exercise where you jump on and off a sturdy bench or platform. Start with a low platform, as the risk of injury is higher.

Focus on Nutrition

Don’t neglect nutrition if you’re trying to gain muscle fast. Make sure you’re getting enough protein. Sports dietitians recommend 1 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight if you’re highly active. Don’t skimp on calories either. You need a slight calorie surplus to maximize muscle hypertrophy gains. If you get those calories from whole, unprocessed foods and are consistent with exercise, you’ll gain more muscle than you will body fat.


You don’t need a gym membership to build muscle fast. You have your own body weight to work against and you can do it at home. Use these tips to maximize your muscle gains.


“The Mystery of Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy” Richard Joshua Hernandez, B.S. and Len Kravitz, Ph.D.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Protein and the Athlete — How Much Do You Need?”

J Physiol. 2012 Jan 15; 590(Pt 2): 351-362.

DIY Gym-Free Workouts for a Ripped Physique

Overweight couple doing exercises at home


So you want a great body, but you don’t have the time or money for that gym membership? Or may you don’t like the night club like vibe of the gym. No problem! If you use your resources at home , you can find several ways of adapting existing exercises to your individual needs. Here are some innovative DIY workouts that will get you ripped without setting foot in a gym or touching a dumbbell. In fact, you can do most of them with equipment you’ve probably have lying around the house anyway, such as a backpack, some water bottles and liquid detergent bottles. Here’s how.

Push-Up Variations

The push-up is one of the best body weight exercises around, even in its simplest form. The only problem, however, is that once you reach a certain level of fitness or musculature, it will stop being much of a challenge. Progressive overload is key if you want to keep making gains, but you don’t need to hit the gym to add some resistance. If you can do 40 or 50 push-ups, it’s time to change things up to ensure you continue to see results. All you need is a backpack and some bottles of water. Fill up as many bottles as desired, put them in your bag, and put it on. Voila! You’ve just added some weight and helped stress your pectoral muscles without spending anything. If that becomes too easy, just keep adding more bottles. If you don’t have enough bottles to hand, any other reasonably heavy object should suffice (just make sure it’s not breakable).

Squat with a Friend (or Use One Leg)

There are several upper-body exercises you can do without specialist equipment, but it’s important not to neglect your lower body if you want a balanced physique. A bodyweight squat doesn’t require much effort for most adults, and it certainly won’t help pack on any muscle. If you want to add resistance but don’t have any weights handy, see if you can recruit a friend or significant other to sit on your shoulders. The uneven distribution of weight compared to a barbell makes this more challenging than you’d think, and also ensures your core is working extra hard to stabilize you.

If you’re on your own, then try the pistol squat. Essentially a one-legged squat, it’s surprisingly difficult even for the fittest and most active people. Descend slowly while sticking one leg out in front of you, using the opposite leg for balance at the bottom, before exploding back up. If these become too easy, you can always hold something heavy in your hands or use the water bottle/backpack trick mentioned earlier.

Inverted Rows and Adapted Pull-Ups

Regular pull-ups are a great exercise in their own right, and if you have a pull-up bar handy (or any safe surface you can suspend yourself from), then you can perform this effective back exercise. For more advanced lifters who can do several reps without a problem, adding weight is a brilliant way of ensuring progressive overload. Again, if you have anything heavy you can hold between your legs (or put in a backpack), then you can increase the difficulty and keep making gains without making the trip to the gym.

Of course, even a regular pull-up is relatively difficult, especially if you’re doing many reps over the course of many sets. You still need a pulling exercise to balance out pushing ones such as pull-ups though. In this case, the inverted row is an excellent alternative that will work your back muscles. You’re essentially doing the same movement you would with a dumbbell or barbell row, only you’re hanging onto a bar or other surface above and working against gravity to pull yourself back upright. You can do these at a park, with a TRX suspension trainer, or at home if you have something suitable from which to hang. If you need to increase the difficulty, then grab that backpack again.

Use What’s Available

Obviously, there are limits to what you can achieve in muscle building if you never go to the gym, but with these innovative exercises, you can certainly make significant progress and save money at the same time. With a few simple pieces of equipment you probably already own, you can make these exercises even more effective and challenging, so you’re essentially only limited by your imagination! For people who lead busy lives, or simply don’t want to pay costly membership fees, these DIY workouts can deliver significant results.

How to Make Triceps Dips Harder When You Train at Home


Here is another exercise that you can do with just your bodyweight. This can be done at home, in the park or in a hotel room.  Pretty much anywhere.

Triceps dips target your triceps, but this movement also work other muscle groups in your upper body, including the pectoral muscles in your chest. Plus, the anterior deltoids in the front of your shoulders, help with dips. The joint effort of several muscles makes triceps dips a compound, multi-joint exercise. Compound exercises should make up the bulk of your training exercises as they work more than one muscle simultaneously. This improves functionality and how the muscles work together as a unit.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hc7XrAmqfo8[/embedyt]

How to To Do  A Tricep Dip

Ready to add dips to your routine? To do dips at home, all you need is a sturdy chair or bench to put your hands on.

Place your hands about shoulder width apart. Stretch your legs out in front of you with your heels on the floor. If you’re starting out and haven’t built up enough strength yet, bend your knees to make the exercise easier. Use your upper body to lower your body until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. Then, slowly straighten your arms as you raise your body back to the starting position. Pause briefly and repeat.

At first, it might be challenging, but your muscles will quickly adapt to the stress the exercise places on them and become stronger.

Congratulations! You’ve mastered the first hurdle, a standard triceps dip. But muscles need progressive overload to continue to gain strength and size.

One way to apply progressive overload is to do more repetitions of triceps dips. But, after a while, you may discover your triceps need more stimulation to continue to adapt and change. Once you can do 3 sets of 10 standard dips, your muscles need more stimulation. How can you make triceps harder besides increasing the number of reps?

Adjust Your Hand Position When You Dip

With a standard dip, your hands are shoulder width apart. But you can make the exercise harder by moving your hands closer together on the bench. The closer your hands are on the bench, the harder your triceps have to work to lower and raise your body.

Slow the Tempo

The slower the tempo with which you do a triceps dip, the more time you keep your triceps are under tension. Some research equates more muscle tension with greater muscle hypertrophy. A standard tempo for triceps dips is 2 seconds up, 1-second pause, and 2 seconds down. However, you can take an additional 2 seconds during the up and down phase to slow the movement. This increases the time the triceps are under tension and can help boost hypertrophy gains.

Pause Longer at the Top

Another way to increase the force on your triceps is to pause longer at the top of the movement. This is called an isometric hold. Always keep your elbows in and don’t lock them at the top. Try to hold for an additional second or two before lowering your body back to the starting position. Again, this increases time under tension. Pausing also takes momentum out of the movement and forces your triceps, chest, and shoulders to do all the work.

Elevate Your Feet When You Dip

You can also change where you place your feet. Grab another bench or sturdy chair and place your feet on them when you dip. Elevating your feet places more emphasis on the triceps and shoulders and makes the exercise a bit harder. Be careful not to shrug your shoulders when you do this or any other triceps dip exercise to avoid a shoulder injury.

Add More Resistance

You can also place a weight, such as weight plates, on your upper thighs as you dip or wear a weighted vest. This will add more resistance and overload the triceps muscles. If you don’t have weight plates, you can use a large sandbag. Make sure you’ve mastered the form for standard dips before adding extra weight. Your form should be perfect, or you risk injury.

Place Your Feet on an Stability Ball

Once you’ve mastered standard triceps dips and their variations, add a balance challenge. Place your feet on a stability ball and your hands on a bench to dip. Not only is this variation more challenging, but it’ll also develop your proprioceptive skills, the ability to know where your body is in space.

Good Form is Critical

Triceps dips is an exercise that carries a higher risk of injury. That’s because this exercise places stress on the front portion of the shoulder, and the shoulder joint is one of the least stable joints in your body. The reason? It’s a highly mobile joint, and with mobility comes less stability. Make sure you’re doing the exercise properly, preferably by watching your form in a mirror, before increasing the intensity or difficulty of the exercise.


Triceps dips is a pushing exercise since the triceps contract when you push weight away from your body. Be sure to work the opposing pulling muscle, the biceps, to avoid strength imbalances that can lead to injury or muscle imbalances.


American Council on Exercise. “ACE-sponsored Research: Best Triceps Exercises”

Keep Fit with a Pedometer

Keep Fit with a Pedometer

Are you as fit as you should be? Do you exercise regularly, to a reasonable degree? If not, you need to start now. Lack of exercise can lead to heart disease and other serious health conditions, especially when combined with overeating and a poor diet.

Patients with heart problems are often prescribed a pedometer. This little gadget will count their daily steps, showing how much exercise they’re getting and how much more they need to take. But why wait until you reach this sorry state, when you can start counting steps and building fitness right now, and avoid such health risks? Of course, you can exercise without a pedometer, but a pedometer provides an ideal guide and incentive. There’s a range of styles to choose from, with various features and accessories, but a simple, low-cost one will do fine.

Here are some handy tips for getting the most out of your pedometer. Share them with friends and colleagues and stride out together for extra fitness fun. Ready?

Wear your pedometer daily

Make a habit of wearing your pedometer all day, every day, to monitor how much exercise you’re getting. Note your step count at different times, to assess which periods are the least active, and find ways to fit more activity into these slots.  Refer to your pedometer’s guide book or check online to see what your minimum step count should be, or for a more personal assessment, consult your doctor. Then focus on reaching that target and keeping to it. If you’re already achieving your recommended minimum count, see how you can improve on it.

Arrange your day around your exercise

If you spend a lot of your day sitting down, you’ll need to change that habit. Even if you need to sit at a desk in order to do your work, it won’t hurt your workload to take a few minutes out every hour for a brief march around the premises. If you’re really pressed for time, just stand up a minute and do some jumps and stretches, and when you visit the restroom, make a detour on the way back. Whether you’re working or idling, you’ll need a break at some point, so use it to get moving.

Set targets

Counting steps can soon become irksome, if you let it, so get some fun into the process. Turn your fitness drive into an absorbing and rewarding game by setting yourself little challenges each day. Tell yourself you’re going to do so many steps before lunch, or a certain number in half an hour, then see if you can beat your target next day. How many miles can you walk in a week? When you find yourself counting in miles, you’ll know you’re doing well. What’s more, as your muscles tone up and your heart grows stronger, you’ll approach those challenges with new drive and energy, and enjoy them even more.

More ways to make your steps enjoyable

Many people walk for sheer pleasure, and you’ll find it much easier to build your step count if you enjoy the exercise for its own sake, as well as for its challenges. Start by selecting an attractive environment, such as a riverside or park. Now choose an entertaining item to take with you, like a kite to fly or a ball to kick about. If you have a personal stereo, step to the beat of your favourite music. Make different arrangements through the week, such as meeting a friend or browsing around the shops. You might like to swap your walk for a bike ride or swim now and again. The pedometer may not be made for multi-sports, but you are.

The more exercise you take, the more fit and healthy you’ll be. You’ll feel good in yourself too, and will even concentrate better on your work. As for the pedometer, you can put it away once you get into the exercise habit — or give it to someone who needs it.

​Page 1 of 1