A Dozen New Ways to Optimize Your Next Workout

We hear all the time to get more out of our workouts, but what does that mean exactly? Doing more with less. To optimize your workout means getting more from each minute you’re sweating than you ordinarily would. The HIIT workout trend of a couple of years ago was the definitive optimized workout — really hammer through some key movements in a short period of time. You get the full-body, calorie-torching workout on a schedule you can keep!

A dozen new ways to optimize your next workout

And recently we introduced the idea of a BPM — or beats per minute — workout, in which you move to the beat of songs at a tempo of 120 to 140 beats per minute, this optimal zone matches your heart rate during the ideal cardio workout.

For as many ways as there are to workout, there are ways to optimize that time.

Here are ten more ideas you may not have tried:

1. Follow a Plan. You won’t be left fumbling between moves or machines if you walk in to your workout knowing what A to Z looks like. “Organize your workout in to super sets or circuits,” suggests Chris Cooper, an NSCA-certified trainer. With this approach, you can immediately move on to what’s next without wasting time.

2. Cross Train. Introduce some versatility to your workouts, suggest the folks at Plyoga, because your body needs more than just yoga or just running. This approach trains different parts of the body on different days giving you a well-rounded fitness regimen that will yield greater results in strength, endurance, and appearance.

3. Slow Down. Sounds counterintuitive, but this slow weight lifting regimen is a novel way to work your muscles. “I’ll pick a weight that’s half what I normally lift for a 10-12 repetition set of a certain move and do an upper-body exercise (think shoulder presses or bicep curls) and go through the move very slowly,” prescribes Petrina Hamm, CPT. She takes 15-20 seconds to lift the weight, holding for another 15-30 seconds, and then taking another 15-20 seconds before bringing the weight back down. You put the muscle through constant stress through an entire range of motion, getting more out of that extended rep.

4. Use More Muscles. “The more muscles you use, the more calories you burn,” advises Maureen Kemeny, a certified fitness trainer. She suggests choosing exercises that involve as many muscle groups as possible.

5. Hard and Heavy. For the more advanced gym rat, this hard and heavy approach pushes your body to the limits without wasting any time. William Ferullo, a fitness and nutrition coach, uses this approach for compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, or overhead presses. He chooses the heaviest weight he can for 3-5 reps in 5 sets. Between each set he does as many pull-ups, dips, or other body weight exercises as possible. He never stops moving and quickly advances to the next action.

6. Mind Over Matter. “You can manipulate your own mind to get far more out of a workout,” says Jon Rhodes, a clinical hypnotherapist. He says that when you’re at the gym, imagine a crowd of people watching or cheering you on. Once your mind is there, the intensity and speed of your workout will increase as you try to, more or less, show-off for your adoring fans!

7. Set a Timer. If you’ve got a full 60 minutes at the gym, pool, or track, then fitness trainer Clint Fuqua says only give yourself 45 minutes. Set the timer and work to beat the buzzer! If you’re new to this approach, start by shaving 5 minutes off your time and work up from there.

8. Hire a Trainer. Nothing can keep you more focused on a well-organized workout than a trainer. They’ll make the most of the time you have available within the limitations of your body all while working toward an ultimate goal — being weight loss, a race, or overall better fitness.

9. Bike/Jog to the Gym. Get the cardio out of the way before you even enter the gym! Vivian Eisenstadt, MAPT says, “This way you get your cardio [without] feeling like a gerbil on the treadmill.” You save time by not driving around looking for a parking space, and you can get out of the gym sooner by not waiting in line for over-booked machines.

10. Ditch Distractions. There is a locker room for a reason, and that’s where you should leave your cell phone or magazines. Take a post-workout selfie if it’s that important, but don’t eat up time on the gym floor. Choose machines away from the TVs if the entertainment is too distracting. And workout alone to avoid gabbing with friends, which can slow the intensity and focus of a workout.


Vote for HOPE Charity

We are currently searching for organizations to donate a portion of HOPE proceeds for 2014. From October 1-14, customers nominated their favorite breast cancer-related organizations. Voting is NOW OPEN for all eligible nominated organizations. Voting open from October 15, 2014 to October 31, 2014. The top 3 vote-getters will receive a combined donation of 10% of proceeds from all HOPE bra sales between 12/1/13-11/30/14. First place receives 50%, second place receives 30%, third place receives 20%. Donations will be made by 12/11/14.

Voting closes on October 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST. Maximum 1 vote per Facebook account during the contest duration.

To learn more about this campaign, visit our Support in a Big Way page.

hope-vote

More about these nominated charities:

  • FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered: Mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Wings of Hope: Wings of Hope Cancer Support Center assists those with cancer at all stages of their illness and helps families and friends cope with cancer in their lives. They provide emotional support and guidance for people with cancer, family members and health professionals.  All donations go directly towards helping another person dealing with cancer in the eastern NE/western IA area.
  • Livingston Chicks n’ Chaps: They help raise awareness by putting on a rodeo demonstration and raising funds to help those who can not afford it gain access to breast exams and treatment. In two years they have already collected over $130,000.00.
  • Markey Cancer Center: To provide state-of-the-art cancer care through facilities including the comprehensive breast care center. All-in-one services allow women to make a one-day visit for mammography, ultrasound, and even biopsy services. This is a great help to women from rural areas who may have to travel far to access high-tech mammography and screening via Tomosynthesis.
  • Halt Cancer at X: The goal of this organization is to Halt Breast Cancer. Rebecca Farms in Kalispell, MT created it in memory of a very special woman.
  • Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF): The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), founded in 1993 by the late Evelyn H. Lauder, works to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime by providing critical funding for innovative clinical and translational research at leading medical centers worldwide, and increasing public awareness about good breast health. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised over $500 million to support research at medical institutions across the globe conducting the most advanced and promising breast cancer research that will help lead to prevention and a cure.
  • Look Good, Feel Better: Look Good Feel Better is a non-medical, brand-neutral public service program that teaches beauty techniques to cancer patients to help them manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Look Good Feel Better group programs are open to all women with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or other forms of treatment. In the United States alone, more than 900,000 women have participated in the program, which now offers 15,400 group workshops nationwide in more than 2,500 locations.
  • American Cancer Society: The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.
  • 26.2 with DONNA: 26.2 with DONNA is a private non-profit organization in Northeast Florida producing the only marathon in the U.S. dedicated to breast cancer research and care. Its mission is to passionately produce world class events to raise funds for ground breaking breast cancer research and empower women living with breast cancer.

Remember Betty was also nominated, however it did not meet our requirements of being an active 501(c)(3) organization. Still a worthy mission, but is not in consideration for this years funds.

Vote and help us spread the word! We want you to tell us where to donate these funds. To learn more about this campaign, or to vote, visit our Support in a Big Way page.


12 DIY Halloween Costumes to Make with a Sports Bra

When it comes to DIY Halloween costumes on the cheap, there’s at least one prop that you’re probably overlooking. The sports bra can come in pretty handy for pulling together some fun, easy, no-nonsense costume ideas.

12 DIY Halloween Costumes to Make with a Sports Bra

We’re not talking about the sex kitten trend that has completely overtaken women’s costume creativity the past decade or so. In fact, none of these costume ideas require a lot of sexing up, unless you want them to. But if the plan is to emulate a few famous ladies, celebrate in a sporty fashion, or show even a little skin, the pile of sports bras you already own will save you a trip to the costume store.

12 Sports Bra Halloween Costume Ideas

Wonder Woman: The red and gold brassiere is a focal point of Wonder Woman’s ensemble, and one you can pull off with a high-shine red sports bra. Use paint or stickers to add the gold embellishments, or just rock out the red. No one’s going to question this super lady’s decision!

Mud / Color Runner: Have some fun with your runner persona, either as a down and dirty mud runner or a bright and cheerful color runner. Either way, your sports bra will be an essential part of the costume.

Mermaid: Can’t figure out how to make the seashell bra work? Glue a couple of large shells from the craft store to a purple, blue, or pink sports bra you don’t really need any more.

Hula Dancer: Similar to the mermaid conundrum, but now you’ve got to figure out how the girls can safely hold up a set of coconuts all night long. Sports bra and hot glue to the rescue!

boxing

Boxer: Be your own champion or model Lalia Ali, but either way you’ll need a strong sports bra to pull off this heavy weight look.

Flash Dancer: Whether you’re a welder turned erotic dancer or just chasing that 80’s fitness dream, the slouchy shirt and heels will really come together with a sports bra underneath it all.

clueless-tennis

Clueless: Cher’s tennis lesson look is classic and won’t require any buggin’ to get ready for. All you need is a pair of short black gym shorts, a white T-shirt with a black sports bra over it, and a loose ponytail. AS IF you’d spend any more time than that!

Gym Rat: You know who you are, you eat, breathe, and sweat the gym. Your scary addiction to the fitness center shows when you deck out with every accessory, like a sports bra, tracker watch, ponytail AND a headband, sweatbands, water bottle, protein bar, latest neon gym pants, the works!

Cheerleader: A team-colored sports bra can help you pull off this look, especially if you’re supporting a team like the Dallas Cowboys whose outfits predominantly use a “bra” top.

Katy Perry: If you plan on dressing up in one of her famous costumes — like the cupcakes, film reels, or fireworks — you’re gonna need something to hold up those props! A sports bra is the perfect accessory to pull off these Top 40 hits.

sporty-spice

Sporty Spice: Throw it back to the 90’s as the sportiest Spice Girl of them all. A brightly colored sports bra will complement those classic white tennies, scrunchy, and cropped black gym attire.

Aaliyah: If you’re flexin’ your 90’s throwback skills, this Aaliyah costume is the way to go. Write FLEXIN’ across a soon-to-retire white sports bra and pair it with Converse, baggy jeans, a varsity jacket, hoop earrings, and some headphones.

What other costumes could you make with a sports bra?

Addendum: This one was submitted by ENELL Account Manager Kristen – her friend and husband had a great couples costume:

Halloween Couples Costume


Busting 5 Big Breast Cancer Rumors

If you really want to save the tatas, we all need to better understand them. This October, really focus on the awarness part of breast cancer awareness month. There’s a lot of misinformation floating around that causes undue stress and panic in women. Protect yourself with information as you strive for a long, healthy life for both you and the ladies.

Busting 5 Big Breast Cancer Rumors

1. Rumor: Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women.

Fact: It’s certainly no friend to women, but it’s not the biggest killer. Heart disease has that unfortunate title, “and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined,” according to the American Heart Association. In fact, breast cancer comes in sixth behind heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and Alzheimer’s.

In this infographic that illustrates Where We Donate vs. Disease That Kill Us, breast cancer is at the top of the heap, pulling in some four times as many funds as heart disease.

2. Rumor: Underwires / tight clothing cause breast cancer.

Fact: This isn’t true at all. BreastCancer.org affirms that “Underwire bras do not cause breast cancer,” and that “There is no scientific evidence to support…this rumor.” It’s thought that the compression from a bra’s underwire, or even tight bras and clothing, don’t allow the lymph nodes to “breathe” which can lead to toxins and cause cancer, but it just isn’t the case.

3. Rumor: Small breasts can’t get cancer.

Fact: Cancer doesn’t discriminate, not even against smaller breasts. While obesity is a risk factor for breast cancer, and those overweight women tend to have larger breasts, the correlation does not exist that the less chest you have the less cancer you’ll have.

4. Rumor: Mammograms don’t save lives.

Fact: The truth is, early detection in all its forms — self breast exams, clinical breast exam, mammogram, ultrasound and CT — is the first line of defense. The earlier a cancer is caught, the more options and better outlook the patient has. Last year a controversial study published in the British Medical Journal found that mammograms may do more harm than good. The medical community, almost at large, is refuting and even calling for additional research before current recommendations and standards for mammographies change.

5. Rumor: You can prevent breast cancer.

Fact: Ultimately, no. There’s a lot you can do reduce your risk — largely through healthy lifestyle — but breast cancer is a mean ‘ole bit… witch… who backs down for no one. Health.com cites that “70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors, meaning that the disease occurs largely by chance and according to as-yet-unexplained factors.”


“Girl in a Country Song” Puts Your Whole Heart into a Workout

Looking for a new jam to wake-up your workout playlist that’s got some major oomph in the motivation and female-empowerment departments? Then get your download on! Maddie and Tae’s “Girl in a Country Song” is the tune we just can’t get enough of right now.

Well I wish I had some shoes on my two bare feet
And it’s gettin’ kinda cold in these painted on cut off jeans
I hate the way this bikini top chafes
Do I really have to wear it all day?

With fast-paced twangy lyrics served with a side of sweet-as-tea sass, these two talented women tell the country music misogynists more or less where they can stick their shaky moneymakers. Asking “how in the world did it go so wrong” to be the girl in a country song, Maddie & Tae declare how under-dressed and disrespected the heart and soul of country music has become. Pointing out that “Conway and George Strait, never did it this way,” they sharply remind these presumed southern gentlemen to treat a lady like a lady.

Half way through the song you’ll be be shouting “Yeah!” and pumping your fists. But that’s not all that will be pumping. This is a seriously legitimate, sweat-pouring workout song. Science says so!

Costas Karageorghis, an associate professor of sport psychology at Brunel University in England, has been researching music’s effect on fitness for the past two decades and explained to the New York Times how a song’s tempo is the most important aspect. A song with 120 to 140 beats per minute, or BPM, is considered ideal for a cardio workout, as it reflects a person’s heart rate during a typical session. This could be 20 minutes on an elliptical or a power walker at a 4.5 mph pace.

Hold on to your cowboy hats because you’re going to move with “Girl in a Country Song,” this feminist anthem isn’t for the faint of heart. SongBPM.com clocks this 3:41 hit at 160bpm! According to Costas’ research, that’s a typical range for a serious runner. This is also the zone where you’d really start to dig in at an indoor cycling class. Power walkers, scootch over.

“You can peddle along to music as fast as 220 BPMs!” notes Margo Donohue, indoor cycling and group fitness instructor, and fitness blogger at BrooklynFitChick.com. “When I have [my class] do sprints, my music is pretty fast. Think Firestarter by Prodigy.”

Plan this song for the mid-point of your next workout, and when your energy starts to flail your body won’t be able to ignore the raging tempo. Your heart won’t be able to ignore how good it is to be a woman who gets a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T, either!