1. Resolve to make 2011 your healthiest year yet. Whether you are a beginner trying to get in shape this year or simply need to kick your workouts into high gear, these top 10 workout tips will help you achieve your dreams of a healthy body.

    1. Make a schedule and stick to it! No matter how hard you workout at the gym or how committed you are, you will only succeed in building up strength and flexibility by following a consistent and logical schedule. Plan out which days you will exercise each week and how long you plan to exercise. Make sure prioritize exercise in your schedule and follow through. Consistency is the most important factor in becoming healthy and workout plans are the only way to make sure this happens.

    2. Change up your routine. One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to get in shape is to do the same routine over and over. Not only does this put you at risk of getting bored with your workout and increase the chance that you will give up, but it also makes your workouts less effective. Your body gets used to exercise and challenging it by trying a new routine will give you the results you desire.

    3. Fuel your body. What you put into your body before and after a workout is just as important as the time you spend exercise. Combining diet tips with your workout plan will speed up your results. Eat complex carbohydrates like whole grain toast before going to the gym to give your body stamina and endurance. Consider drinking coffee or green tea a half an hour before your workout. The caffeine will help you workout longer, giving you faster results. After a workout make sure to properly hydrate your body. Milk is very hydrating and works better than water. Also, eat protein after you workout to give your muscles the fuel they need to rebuild and repair muscles.

    4. Stretch before and after your routine. Flexibility is a critical component of any workout routine. Stretching helps prevent injuries and makes your workout more effective. Make sure to get warmed up with a few jumping jacks or push-ups first to get your muscles warmed up. Then, stretch the major muscle groups you plan to use in your workout. Make sure to allow 15-30 seconds for each stretch to allow your muscles to fully relax. Stretching after your workout is just as important and has been shown to help speed up the development of muscles.

    5. Do interval training. If you are short on time, consider doing interval training. Interval training is performed by changing up the speed and intensity during your workout. No matter what type of cardio you are doing, you can do interval training. If you were running, you would sprint for 30 seconds then walk for 60 seconds. This would be repeated throughout the workout. Intervals keep your heart rate up and burn calories faster than working out at one pace. This is effective even if you only have 10-15 minutes to workout.

    6. Incorporate strength training. Many people are so focused on weight-loss that they think working out is all about the cardio. Strength training actually aids in weight-loss because the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns per minute. Women especially need to incorporate weight-lifting into their routines. Try something as simple as 3 sets of 10 push-ups 2 days a week. Over time increase the number of reps you do in each set. Also consider doing 3 sets of 15 lunges on each leg 2 days a week. Even small amounts of strength training can make a big difference in building muscle mass.

    7. Find a workout buddy. People are much more likely to continue working out if they have a strong support system backing them up. Consider making a plan with a friend to work out together. If this isn’t a possibility for you, join a free website online and create a support network for yourself. Positive reinforcement from friends will help you stick with your plan.

    8. Get a heart-rate monitor. It is important to know what your heart rate is when you are working out and the monitors on exercise machines can be off target. Consider getting a personal monitor that will tell you what your heart rate is so you are working out within your safe zone and aren’t pushing yourself too hard or not hard enough.

    9. Discuss your workout routine with your doctor. Before anyone starts an exercise routine they should discuss their health with their doctor. Your doctor will be able to tell you what level of intensity is safe for you and how you can accomodate health issue (bad knees, stiff joints, etc,) into your workout routine.

    10. Give your body time to rest. If you push yourself too hard in the beginning your body will burn out and you may develop injuries. Make sure to schedule in days when you allow your body rest. Your body needs time to rebuild between intense workouts. Resting and getting enough sleep will allow you to build muscles faster and keep your body healthy.

    These exercise tips are sure to help you achieve the results you want. With dedication and perserverance, you can make this the year that you turn your life around and become the healthy self you always wanted to be.

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