Back To Basics: Best Leg Exercise

Squats, Squats and Squats.

Ready to get those legs into better shape than they’ve ever been in? Then you’re going to have to give up some of your treadmill time and trade it in for some squat-tastic exercises.

Purpose

At the core of squats is strengthening your leg muscles. Specifically, squats strengthen your quadriceps and your hamstrings. By giving these muscles an extra helping of strength, you strengthen the muscles that support your knees, ultimately helping your knees avoid injury. Strong knees help you avoid injury during your daily routine, as well as on the athletic field. As squats also require you to maintain good balance, you’ll also give your core a bit of a workout, while increasing your flexibility at the same time. Because of all these benefits, many consider squats to be one of the most useful and necessary pieces of any weight-lifting puzzle.

Technique

For maximum effectiveness, you’ll need to practice proper posture with each and every repetition. When beginning your squats, stand upright with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. With your toes facing directly forward, slowly and carefully bend at the knees, hips, and ankles, as your back remains in a neutral position that hovers over your thighs. If you’re not using weights, allow your arms to extend out in front of you for balance. Once your thighs are approximately parallel to the ground, push up with your hips and knees until you return to the starting position. Repeat and prepare for incredible results.

Going to use weights as you squat? You’ll want to start with proper technique when removing the weight from the rack. To take the weight off the rack, set the barbell on the rack at a height that is approximately as high as the middle of your chest. Place your feet under the bar and squat under the bar as you place the bar on your back. Tighten your entire body and push up to remove the bar from the rack. From this position, take one step backwards with your right foot and then one with your left. You’re now ready to squat.

How Much Weight?

Just getting started with squatting? You’ll probably be squatting more than you weigh soon. But until you get good technique and become comfortable with the movements, keep it light and safe. Do it right for a while and you may wind up squatting more than two times your weight. Do it wrong right away and you’ll be in a world of pain.

Variation

Since many people who do squats do them with weights, it’s good to know some different ways to approach squats in the weight room.

Bar Position: For a differing squat routine, hold the barbell at different places on your body. Whereas most squats are performed with the weight resting on the back of your shoulders, holding the barbell in front of your body and directly above your collarbone gives your body a different workout that will help further strengthen your legs.

Body Position: Though most squats begin the same way, where you go from there can make a difference in your body’s response. For something new, try an Olympic squat by lowering your buttocks closer to the ground than normal, while keeping your body more upright than usual. Or go with a power squat by leaning forward farther than usual, as you shift your weight backward.

Leg Position: Instead of having your legs approximately shoulder-width apart, spread them out a bit more and turn your feet outward. This hits the inside of your thighs more than your quads, helping you work even more muscles with the same movement. You’ll need a pretty wide grip on the bar for this one, and you probably won’t be able to get down as far as you can with other squats. Also, if you find it too hard to balance as you squat in this position, don’t turn your feet out as far. The last thing you want is to fall over during a squat.

Split Position: With the barbell resting on the back of your shoulders, place your left leg on a weight bench behind your body, allowing all your weight to balance on your right leg. Slowly bend your right knee until it is approximately parallel to the ground and return to the starting position.

Back on the Ball

8  exercises to strengthen your body while on an exercise ball.

Why Use an Exercise Ball? It’s a way to constantly strengthen your core, which makes it possible to further the rest of your exercise routine and be better prepared for life in general.

So, you’ve been spending time on an exercise ball for some time and you’re looking for something new. But don’t walk away from the exercise ball just yet. Instead, look through the exercises below and slip them into your ball-centric routine.

Bended-Knee Bridges: Start this exercise lying on the ground on your back, with your calves and heels on top of an exercise ball. Place your arms straight out to your sides and lift your back and buttocks off the ground. As you do this, tighten your gluteus maximus and raise your hips toward the ceiling. When you reach the top of the movement, hold the position for a moment and slowly return to the starting position.

Bridge and Dig: For this one, do everything you did in the bended-knee bridges. But when you raise your buttocks and hips as high as they’ll go in the air, use your feet to pull the ball toward your body. Then dig your feet into the ball to maintain balance hold. Return to the starting position slowly and repeat.

Rolling for Abs: Start by getting in the sit-up position (lying on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor). Hold the exercise ball right below your knees, your hands sitting on top of the ball. Slowly lift your back and shoulder blades off the floor, as if performing a normal sit-up. As you make this motion, roll the ball to the top of your knees, without allowing it to roll over so far that you lose the ball. Hold this position for a moment and slowly return to the starting position.

Reach and Kick: This one looks a bit silly, but it is effective if done properly. Begin by placing the ball on the floor and getting on your hands and knees over the ball. Then raise your right arm up and out to the side. At the same time, kick out your left leg. Hold both in the air for two seconds, return the starting position, and repeat using the opposite leg and arm. Once you learn the exercise, move your arm and leg into positions that make it more difficult to balance.

Stand and Split: With your feet together, stand a foot or so behind an exercise ball. Put your hands on the ball by bending at your hips and keeping your legs straight. Next, raise your right leg directly behind your body until it is parallel to the floor. While keeping your lifted foot flexed and inner thigh pointed at the ground, rotate your torso to the right as you extend your right arm toward the sky and turn your head to look at your lifted right hand. Hold for a few seconds, slowly return to the starting position, and repeat using your left leg and arm.

Walk It Out: Lying facedown on the exercise ball with your stomach on the ball, allow your hands and feet to rest on the floor. From this position, use your hands to walk away from the exercise ball. As you do this, your feet will lift off the ground and onto the exercise ball. Walk your way away from the ball until your body is in the plank position (straight and almost parallel to the ground). Hold this position for a second or two and slowly make your way back on top of the ball the same way you left.

Side Lifts: For this one, you’ll need to get on the ground on your left side. Place your arms on the ground in front of your body for balance. (You’ll want your left arm directly underneath your body, with your elbow helping to lift your upper body off the ground.) Hold the exercise ball between your calf muscles and slowly lift your legs straight up. At the top of the lift, hold the position, and return to the starting position. After your desired number of repetitions, switch to your right side and repeat.

Pass It On: Start out flat on your back, with an exercise ball in your hands. Raise your legs and torso at the same time until your shins are approximately parallel to the ground. At the peak of your movement, place the ball between your feet. Return to the starting position and repeat. This time, when you raise up, remove the ball from between your feet. Return again to the starting position and repeat.

Exercise – It’s Good for Your Brain!

Understanding the brain-tastic benefits of exercise.

Your chest gets bigger. Your heart works more efficiently. You feel better and enjoy improved confidence. But working at the gym doesn’t just offer benefits to your physique. According to various sources around the globe, physical exercise offers some pretty impressive benefits for what is arguably one of your most important organs: your brain. In fact, some insist that the real benefits of exercise are how it affects your brain’s ability to work – not the improved appearance of efficiency of your body.

What can a little exercise do for your noggin? Read on to find out.

Boost Your Brain Energy

Unless you’re a superhuman, you’ve probably had some of those days during which your brain simply doesn’t want to work. Did you know you can probably exercise your way out of these brain-dead moments? That’s right. By getting the blood pumping in your body, you increase the blood flow in your brain, which helps it function better, ultimately getting your brain back on track to do all the thinking your life requires. Next time you feel your brain slowing down, skip the energy drink and do a few jumping jacks or push-ups.

Minimal Effort. Only want to do the minimum required to boost your brain’s abilities? Go to the gym for 30 minutes three days a week. And make sure you sweat while you’re there.

Jump the Funk

Ever been in a mental funk that keeps getting you down? Next time that happens, ask yourself when you last worked out. More than likely, it’s been a while. Get your brain into happy gear and get out of your mental funk by hitting the gym. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting for a good attitude to make its way to you. With a hard workout, you can essentially force your body to start producing happy vibes to your brain. So stop moping around and hit the gym. Your brain will appreciate the good vibes you send its way, and your overall demeanor will improve as a result.

Stop Being Anxious

When you have a lot going on and little time to take care of it, it’s a natural response to be anxious. Unfortunately, anxiety does very little to help you get your to-do list completed. So why not kick the anxiety altogether with a trip to the gym? You may think you don’t have time to run a mile or two on the treadmill, but doing so has the potential to get rid of your anxiety, which will ultimately help you complete your list of tasks with greater poise and skill than would have otherwise been possible.

Improve Concentration

It’s not always easy to stay on task. With the many rabbit holes afforded by the Internet, your coworker who always has another joke to tell you, and your family wanting your attention for anything and everything, it can seem impossible to stay focused on a task until it is completed. With exercise, your brain is given the gift of focus. With each repetition in the gym, you have to constantly pay attention to form and technique, which translates to improved focusing ability elsewhere. Exercise also helps you get over the need to go do something, which is another way to improve your focus.

Grow Your Brain

Want to stimulate your brain to grow its processing abilities? Better build some exercise into your daily routine. While it is unclear exactly how it happens, researchers have found that exercise creates neurons in the brain.

Responsible for transferring information through your brain, neurons are most useful in large numbers. Therefore, growing more neurons via exercise gives your brain more ability to transmit and process information, giving you the upper hand when faced with tough questions or dilemmas that require right thinking.

Clash of the Titans: Cardio Vs. Strength Training


When and how hard you should push yourself on both of these vital aspects for your overall good health.

More than likely, you know people who are nuts about cardiovascular exercise. They love running on the treadmill and riding the stationary bikes. Lifting weight? No thanks. And if you know many people, you likely know a few weight lifting folks who would rather be stranded on a desert island than have to spend time doing cardio.

But not you. You’re wise to the ways of overall good health. You know the benefits that are offered through a well-rounded exercise routine that incorporates cardiovascular exercise as well as strength training. You’re just unsure how much to get of each and when each is appropriate.
That’s about to change.

Understanding Your Body

Before going any further in this article, there is something you should know. Everything from this point forward requires you to know what is best for your body. To have this knowledge, you need to spend time in the gym, trying out different routines and intensities to have an idea of how your body responds to certain exercises and how well you like certain exercises. If you’re already armed with this knowledge of your body, you are clear to continue reading.

Order of Operations

One of the biggest questions about strength training and cardiovascular exercise is which should go first in a routine. Ask certain people, and you’ll learn that getting your cardio in upfront helps you burn more calories during your strength training. Ask others, and you’ll hear the exact opposite. And ask a few others, and they’ll say you’ll burn the same amount of calories regardless.

While there is no consensus on which should go first, you need to make sure you get in strength training and cardiovascular exercise on a regular basis. And to make sure you don’t suffer injury during either, spend a few minutes warming up and stretching before each. Warming up is as simple as jogging lightly or performing a few repetitions lifting very light weights. Once the warm-up is over, gently stretch the muscles you plan to work out during your routine.

Separate But Equal

While some advocate performing cardio and strength training in the same routine, others claim separating them is the secret to health and strength. With this, you’re not stuck trying to figure out whether to go with cardio or strength training first or last. Rather, you do nothing but strength training on one day, while you save the cardio for another day. The upside to this is being able to focus all your energies to one pursuit each day. The downside? If you really only like strength training or cardiovascular exercises, spending an entire workout doing what you don’t prefer can seem like torture, and you may wind up skipping those days that are filled with exercises you don’t care for.

Intensity Defined

Once you figure out when you are going to lift weights and when you’re going to head to aerobics class, you’re still stuck with a question: How hard do you work out? A question that can be exceptionally difficult to answer and depends largely on your goals and how you go about your routine.

Doing both cardio and strength training on the same day? You’ll want to push yourself on whatever you choose to do first, but don’t push so hard that you won’t be able to push yourself during the second half of your routine. This may mean you give 80 to 90 percent in your first half so you’ll have the energy to give about that much during the second half.

Planning to split up your cardio and weight lifting on different days? Then you give yourself the opportunity to push your body to its full abilities on both. Choose this path and go ahead and push yourself as hard as you can. With a good night’s rest, you should be ready for the next day’s routine.

Post-Pregnancy Workouts

Why, when, and how to get moving after giving birth.

You just made it through all 40 weeks of pregnancy. During the past nine months, you’ve felt nauseated at times, emotional at others, and dog tired at yet others. Sometimes, you felt all three at once. But when you welcomed your new bundle of joy into the world, all of the sacrifice and suffering was worth it.

Now, it’s time to get back to life as lady who is not pregnant. That means it’s time to return to your exercise routine! If you have questions about your triumphant return to the gym, read on for answers.

Why

The reasons to exercise after being pregnant are deep and wide. First and foremost on many new mothers’ minds is getting back in pre-pregnancy shape. In order to do this, you’ll have to begin exercising in some shape or fashion. But the perks of post-pregnancy exercising don’t stop with regaining your previous svelte physique.

It’ll also help bring your mind and body to a better place. Being a new parent can be exceptionally stressful. With a little exercise, you can work out your stress and be better able to handle your newfound responsibilities. You’ll also get a big boost of energy and be better able to sleep. Since your new routine involves being awake any time baby is awake, making the most of your sleep time and having the energy you need to care for your baby are essential.

When

Unless your physician says otherwise, you can begin your exercise routine as soon as you feel ready. In the event you go through an uncomplicated pregnancy with no issues during vaginal birth, this may mean you’re able to exercise again a few days after your child is born. On the other hand, if you had complications anywhere along the way or had your child via Caesarean section, you’ll need to wait until your doctor gives you the okay.

When you start, be careful not to overwork your body. Even with the smoothest pregnancies and deliveries, you ought to remember that your body has just been through a bit of trauma. If you feel yourself getting worn down, take a break. You ought to also be particularly careful to avoid dehydration and to seek immediate medical attention if you experience any strange effects after exercising.

How

After pregnancy, you’re free to do just about any exercise you so desire—as long as it’s not too strenuous. However, some exercises are better tolerated than others. One of the easiest ways to ease back into the exercise after birthing a child is walking. Place your baby in the stroller and head off down the street. The first time you go out, plan on going a short distance and turn around. Otherwise, you may find yourself far from home without the energy necessary to make it back.

Other good exercises to try out after having a child include the following:

Kegels: Tighten the muscles needed to stop the flow of your urine. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and release. Repeat 10 times a few times a day. This may not seem too strenuous, but it helps maintain the integrity of your bladder and vagina, which is particularly important after childbirth.

Bridges: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your back in a neutral, relaxed position. As you tighten your abdominal muscles, raise your hips from the floor until your hips are in a straight line with your knees and shoulders. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat.

Lying Slides: Start flat on your back with your knees bent slightly. Slowly inhale, allowing your right leg to slide flat on the floor in the process. As you exhale, bring your leg back to the starting position, and repeat with your left leg.

29 Simple Ways to Be Fit

Far too often fitness is presented as complicated and confusing.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Being fit comes from living the following simple everyday practices:

  1. Throw out your big dinner plates. Using small plates at home effortlessly reduces calorie intake and promotes weight loss.
  2. Make exercise a regular part of your life. Create a network of accountability with workout partners or by working with me, your local fitness expert.
  3. Know what you want to accomplish. Visualize the end result of your hard work.
  4. Believe in you. I know that you CAN accomplish your goals.
  5. Don’t be a wimp. Keep the intensity high during your workouts. Remember that you don’t want to kill time; you want to burn calories and strengthen your body through intense exercise.
  6. Drink water all day long.
  7. Know when to ask for help.
  8. Incorporate High Intensity Interval Training into your routine by doing bursts of high intensity rather than exercising at a single steady pace.
  9. Maintain your metabolism by eating a healthy snack or meal every three hours. This food should be unprocessed, low in fat and high in fiber.
  10. Forget will-power; it’s about WANT-power. How badly do you want it.
  11. Never eat processed foods. These items are high in empty calories and contain a plethora of chemicals that are harmful to your health.
  12. Fat contains twice the caloric density of carbohydrates and protein, so limit the amount of it that you eat. Fill your diet with lean protein and carbohydrates from leafy plants and whole grains.
  13. It’s OK to be a skeptic. Watch out for products that are labeled as ‘health food’. Always read the nutrition labels and make your own informed opinion.
  14. Talk is cheap. Act now and get the job done.
  15. Exercise with people that are in better shape than you. This will encourage you to push your limits.
  16. Never indulge in negative self-talk.
  17. Don’t drink calories.
  18. Pay attention to everything that you eat.
  19. Keep consistent. Exercise at least three or four times each week.
  20. Expect more from yourself.
  21. Never eat High Fructose Corn Syrup. It spikes your blood sugar levels and encourages your body to store fat.
  22. Eat plenty of whole plant foods. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains are filled with fiber and antioxidants, great for good health and weight loss.
  23. Do your cardiovascular exercise after weight training to encourage more fat burn. Your stored sugars will be depleted during the weight training then your body will rely on fat stores to get you through the cardio workout.
  24. Breakfast should be a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat to get your metabolism going strong.
  25. If you know that you deserve better…then go get it.
  26. Challenge yourself during each workout. Try something new and exciting.
  27. Set specific, measurable goals and track your progress.
  28. Even if they are whole grain, eat carbohydrates sparingly. Carbohydrates are quickly stored as fat.
  29. Put an end to your struggle to get and stay fit. Call or email me today to get started on a proven fitness program that will change your life and body forever.

Print this list and place it somewhere that you’ll see every day.

7 Exercises to Build the Ultimate Chest

So you’ve mastered the bench press, eh? Congrats! You have figured out how to approach your pectoral muscles from one point of view. Unfortunately, if you want your pecs to be the best they can be, you can’t be content with a single approach to growing your chest.

To beef up your chest and help it develop more fully, you’ll need a nice variety that takes on your pecs from all sorts of angles. What kind of exercises should you be doing? Try these on for size, and expect more size from your chest soon.

Regular Bench Press

Okay, you’ve got to start somewhere, and if you’ve not done any bench pressing in the past, it’s time to get started. Lying on your back on the bench, grab the barbell a little wider than shoulder width apart. Lift the bar up and slowly lower the bar to your chest. When it reaches your chest, hold for a moment and slowly push the bar back up. After 8-12 repetitions, return the bar to the rack.

Declined Bench Press

Slowly lie down on a declined bench and place your feet under the pad at the top of the bench. Raise the barbell from the rack and hold it overhead. With your arms straight over your body and perpendicular to the floor, slowly lower the bar to your chest. As with the regular bench press, push the bar back up slowly and repeat for 8-12 repetitions.

Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Inclined Bench Press

Lie down on an inclined bench and lift the barbell directly overhead. From this position, slowly lower the bar until it gently touches your chest. Raise the bar back up, careful to maintain control throughout the movement. Repeat 8-12 times and return the bar to the rack.

Dumbbell Fly

Start by lying down on your back on a flat bench. Hold a dumbbell in both hands. Extend your arms toward the ceiling and place your hands near one another, palms facing one another, directly over your chest. Keeping your elbows bent throughout the movement, separate your arms until they are parallel with your chest or below your body. Lift the weights back to the starting position and repeat.

Explosive Push-Ups

Get in push-up position, with your hands more than shoulder-width apart, and a thick book or weight plate beside each hand. Go down. When you push yourself up, do it quickly and move your hands on top of the book or weight plate. Go back down for another push-up. This time, when you push back up, do it quickly and return your hands to your starting position on the floor. Don’t have a good book or weight plates to use? Then clap your hands while in midair and land in your starting position.

Chest Dips

It may not look too exciting, but chest dips are fantastic for your chest. All you need is a dip station and determination. Start by placing your hands on the dip bars and holding all your weight with your arms. Bend your knees to keep from touching the floor with your feet. Then, bend your elbows and lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor, careful to lean forward throughout the repetition. Push back up to the starting position and repeat. For added difficulty, put on a weighted belt and add all the weight you can handle.

Bent Barbell Pullover

Though not primarily designed to work your pectorals, this exercise targets your chest in a unique way. To perform the exercise, lie on a flat bench, holding a barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows and lower the barbell behind your head until can feel the stretch in your pecs. Return to the starting position and repeat. For maximum efficiency, keep your elbows bent throughout the motion.

HardCORE Workouts

Want to strengthen your core? You’re going to have to get hardCORE!

In the exercise and fitness world, your core is the beginning of all things. Without a strong core, you will be unable to maintain proper form as you perform other exercises, stay on your feet as you age, or maintain optimal performance on the athletic field. To help your core stay its strongest, mix these exercises into your regular routine.

Ball-Based Reaching Crunch

Start with your back parallel to the floor as it rests on an exercise ball, your feet placed on the floor approximately shoulder-width apart. Straighten your arms and point them straight up toward the ceiling or sky. Raise your torso as you tighten your abdominal muscles as if you were performing a typical crunch or sit-up. Reach for the ceiling in this position for three seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat for 10 repetitions.

One-Legged Deadlift

Place a kettlebell on the ground in front of you and stand upright. When ready to begin, bend at your knees and waist as you pick up the kettlebell with both hands. Return to the upright position. Then, bend at the waist and allow your hands and the kettlebell to go toward the ground, while lifting your left leg behind you. Try to keep your leg and back in a straight line. Once the kettlebell touches the ground, return slowly to the starting position. Repeat 5 times. Swap legs and repeat.

Overhead Squat

Grab a barbell and hold it overhead with your arms straight and your legs spread approximately shoulder-width apart. Bend at the hips, squatting back and down. Once the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor, return to the starting position by pushing up with your hips. Repeat 10-15 times. Rest and repeat. And in case you think you can perform this without having a stable core, try it and you’ll wind up on your backside before you get to the second repetition.

Russian Twist

Sit on a declined bench and place your feet under the supplied pads at the top of the bench. Lean back until your thighs and torso are at a 90-degree angle to one another. Next, put your hands together and reach out your arms straight in front of you, allowing a semi-circle shape to form between your arms. With your arms forming a 90-degree angle with your torso, move your body as far to the right as possible and then to the left. Move quickly, but do not get sloppy. Perform this as long as possible, with the goal of continuous movement for a minute.

Side Bridges

Put your feet and legs together as you lie on your right side. Place your right arm under your body and lift your upper body so that your right elbow is directly under your shoulder. Your left hand should be resting on your left hip. From this position, slowly raise your hips from the ground until a straight line is formed from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold the position for a moment, slowly return to the starting position, and repeat. Change sides and repeat for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Superman

Lying facedown with your legs straight behind you and your arms straight overhead, place a pillow under your hips. Tighten your abdominal muscles as you lift your left arm straight up. Hold the position for three seconds and repeat with your right arm. Next, lift your left leg for three seconds, and repeat for your right leg.

Get Fit this Spring with a Free Week of Maplewood Boot Camp

Our winter camps have officially ended and we are gearing up for our official spring season kick off, March 19- April 15.

To help you get a headstart with your fitness this spring we are offering a FREE BONUS Week.  Everyone is welcome to attend; the curious that have never tried Maplewood Boot Camps, inactive campers wanting a kickstart and active campers who just can’t get enough.

The more the merrier so please come on down, invite your friends and lets have some fun while we get fit outdoors.

FREE BONUS Week Schedule March 12th through March 18th

Sat & Sun Memorial Park Maplewood
8am-8:45am

Monday, Wednesday & Friday Memorial Park Maplewood
6am-6:45am

Tuesday and Thursday South Orange Batting Cages
9:30-10:30am

If you are new to Maplewood Boot Camps or just haven’t been to camp in a while and want to participate shoot me an email at carlos@maplewoodbootcamp.com and I will send you a confirmation.

Kick Cramps to the Curb

Exercise-induced cramps keeping you from giving it your all in the gym or on the court? Not any more.

There you are, in the middle of an intense workout that is sure to give your abs, gluteus maximus, chest, thighs, and biceps an unforgettable toning. Then it comes. A cramp that leaves you unable to move your body, an arm, or a leg. And with that, your routine is finished before you could even get deep into it.

Is there a way to avoid these show-stopping cramps? Actually, there are a few of them.

Way 1: Keep Your Body Hydrated

As you know, drinking plenty of fluids is essential to keep your body from overheating when you’re working out. But fluids do more than keep you from sweating your way to dehydration and passing out as a result. They also help you avoid muscle cramps that are brought on by a lack of fluids. Keep your muscles from cramping up by drinking fluids throughout the day. The best option is water, but other fluids can lend a hand as well. Also, if you are suffering cramps and are exercising in warm weather, take warning. It may be a sign of an impeding heat stroke.

Way 2: Stay Full of Minerals

There’s a reason sports drinks are so popular. In addition to coming in a variety of great flavors, sports drinks are also chock-full of vitamins and minerals that make their way out of your body with great speed when you exercise. To replace these missing links to your good health, increase your vitamin or mineral intake. Just be careful that you don’t drink too many sports drinks when you’re not pushing your body, as they can result in adding extra calories to your diet. Some of the most commonly lacking minerals and vitamins that result in cramps include potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

Way 3: Stretch First, Exercise Second

Want to get muscle cramps on the quick? Toss on your tennis shoes and start working out full force without any time to warm up or stretch. Want to keep your muscles from cramping up? Then you’re going to have to take some time warming up and stretching. While you may find yourself getting antsy for the hard work you’re planning on putting in under the barbell, spending a few minutes stretching will help you make the most out of your workout time and keep you under the barbell longer. In addition to keeping you from cramps, stretching will allow you to work out more of your muscle to ensure a stronger and healthier you.

Way 4: Note Your Limits

Everybody wants to do the impossible. Unfortunately, if you try to do this in the gym, you’re going to wind up with muscle cramps. Instead of pushing yourself to the level of cramping, get to know your body’s abilities, and keep your workout within those limits. Otherwise, you better plan on having some painful cramping in whatever part of your body you decide to push too far.

Curing a Cramp

Getting a cramp during exercise is sure to happen on occasion. But you don’t have to take the pain lying down. When a cramp hits any of your body parts from your feet to your neck, take the following steps to do away with your exercise-induced cramp:

  • stop what you’re doing and rest
  • massage the affected area
  • use a heating pad on the area immediately after the cramp begins, and switch to an ice bag soon after the pain diminishes
  • grab a glass of water and start drinking
  • take an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
  • try to slowly stretch the affected muscle or ligament