You may think that trainers talk like aliens sometimes -- plyo-whats? -- but Martin Rooney, C.S.C.S., took the idea to the extreme during a recent presentation.

Rooney, wearing an alien mask and speaking in an "alien dialect" that sounded like Matthew McConaughey's Texas drawl, gave his talk from the perspective of an advanced being studying our planet.

It wasn't just a gimmick. By shifting our perspective to that of an outsider, we can make a more honest assessment of the facts, says Rooney, whose book Warrior Cardio will be released in April.

The aliens' conclusion, according to Rooney? "Humans are the only species that doesn't sleep or wake when they are supposed to, and eats what it knows is not good for them. The human species is currently physically lazy and mentally bored. Species outlook: Not promising."

One reason for our bulging waistlines is that "the hunt has become too easy," Rooney says. We don't even have to get out of our cars to inhale 1,500 calories or more.

This convenience is killing us. Eating only one meal away from home per week leads to an extra 2 pounds per year on average, U.S. Department of Agriculture research shows. However, that's a low estimate of the true impact of fast food, since Americans eat more than half of our meals outside of our homes. (Follow these 5 Lean Belly Restaurant Rules to dine out without pigging out.)

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A month ago, 666 people (seriously) put themselves through their own form of hell by taking the long way to the top of one the tallest buildings in the world when they scaled the Empire State Building from its stairwell. That's 1,576 steps and 86 flights of hamstring- and gluteal-writhing agony all the way to the building’s glowing observation deck.

Runners ranged from guys like Thomas Dold -- a German who won in a time of 10:38 for his seventh consecutive year -- to firefighters (in full gear) walking up for charity.

Obviously we aren't about to recommend trying something like this unless you have a bizarre running bucket list, but the good news is you don't have to slog up 86 flights to reap benefits from working out on stairs.

In a British Journal of Sports Medicine study, sedentary people who walked a 199-step staircase for 8 weeks at least twice a day 5 days a week -- a daily total of about 10 minutes of climbing -- increased their VO2max (a measure of aerobic fitness) by 17 percent compared to a control group.

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By Jon Luman

For a lot of guys, working out is a necessary evil. It keeps us from looking like human veal, which women tend to appreciate. But it can also be mind-numbingly boring -- and that can sap your will to hit the gym. Which means you start looking like human veal, which means you need to get motivated.

Yes, you can make a high-energy playlist, hire a personal trainer (if you can afford one), and pick a cardio machine that's near a TV. But we've got a list of things that can be even more helpful in keeping you motivated -- and that can make your workouts far more effective.

Tip 1: Change Your Workouts Regularly/Invite Peer Pressure
Switch your workouts around every few weeks or whenever you feel like you're no longer seeing results (muscleheads refer to that as plateauing). Mix up the exercises, sets, reps, rest periods, level of intensity, length of time and number of days you train; it's called the muscle-confusion principle. (Yes, even your muscles can get confused.)

And you can do this automatically by signing up for the Muscle & Fitness Trainer. It's free, and depending on what you want to do -- build muscle, lose weight, get bigger guns than Mr. Olympia -- it'll build you personal workouts. If you don't check in and train when you're scheduled to, the M&F Trainer will send a message to your friends and family to let them know. You might not feel guilty for eating Funyons and watching Netflix instead of going to the gym, but you'll definitely feel annoyed when you're bombarded with Facebook posts from people busting your chops for bring a loafer.

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Should you step away from that Swiss ball? Unstable surface training can build balance and stability -- but squatting, lunging, and curling on wobble boards and BOSUs actually may be doing the rest of your workout a disservice, according to new research in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

The study found that performing half of the exercises in a training program on a BOSU ball not only didn't offer a group of Division II soccer players any fitness advantage in terms of speed or agility, it actually decreased their jumping ability. (If you've been sidelined by aches and pains, pick up The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies for 1,001 doctor-approved fixes for every sports ailment.)

The new findings back up research first done by Eric Cressey, president of Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts, and the author of The Truth About Unstable Surface Training. In his study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2007, Cressey found that adding unstable surface training -- even when it took up just 2 percent of a strength and conditioning program -- curbed overall speed and agility gains. On a 40-yard sprint, for example, the regular training group improved their times by 3.9 percent, while the unstable group improved by only 1.8 percent.

But you don't need to deflate your Swiss ball -- just understand how to use it. (For a quick workout that will target every area of your core, check out The Best Abs Workout You’ve Never Done.)

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If you're tired of the massive crowds in your local 5K, getting kicked in the face during the swim leg of a packed triathlon, or if you can't bear to plunk down $100 (or more) just to run in the woods, a new trend in racing is emerging that might be just what you're looking for.

It's called bandit racing -- a grassroots training group that allows you to run, bike, kayak -- essentially, choose your adventure -- with others, but with a slight competitive lean. It's not exactly a race because the events aren't timed, though there's sometimes a small prize -- like a six-pack -- for the top finisher. There's usually a set course, and the goal is to simply finish or test your mojo. (Our pick for the No. 2 running trend? Minimalist or barefoot-style shoes. Read our story Should You Run Barefoot? to learn if it’s right for you.)

The other differences between bandit races and sanctioned events: No entrance fees, no insurance, no amenities like water stands or medical care, and usually, no permits -- the main issue that puts these "unofficial training sessions" under the radar.

Why bandit races? There are some places where it's impossible to go in a sanctioned way due to difficult land-use regulations, says San Francisco-based bandit organizer and mountain bike coach, Blanco, whose name has been anonymized at his request. "The permitting process can be burdensome."

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In the sports world, it's never a good thing to encourage cheating. Beyond that, the old saying that "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying," probably never had this connotation.

Reebok quickly pulled advertisement displays in Germany that declared "Cheat on your girlfriend, not on your workout," after being barraged by an outraged public on Twitter., a site devoted to calling out infidelity, was particularly outraged.

"This form of advertising shows a dishonest and disrespectful attitude towards women," James McGibney, founder of Cheaterville, said in a statement. "Your company should be ashamed to have even placed this ad."

Reebok has been quick to apologize.

"We regret that some offensive Reebok materials were recently printed," spokesman Dan Sarro said on Tuesday. "The signs were removed as soon as we were made aware of them. I can assure you that Reebok does not condone this message or cheating in any way. We apologize for the offensive nature of these materials, and are disappointed that they appeared at all."

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Joshua Mullins had endured a lot already: Trudging through mud, swimming through ice water, dragging a large rock on a rope.

Now, he was alternating hauling sandbags and five gallon buckets of rocks up a steep hill, "a giant mountain of a hill, for Texas at least." And he was doing it in the cold, driving rain.

He kept thinking to himself, "I've carried heavier things," recalling the massive drum cases he'd carry for his musician wife in and out of her gigs. The Bag of Doom, he called them.

Still, this was different. He'd signed a death waiver to do this.

Mullins, a 29-year-old recruiter in the Texas oil and gas industry, wasn't being punished. He wasn't in military training. He actually paid to haul those sandbags and buckets, part of an extreme adventure course called Super Spartan. It's just one of many extreme adventure courses in a booming industry that just doesn't seem to know the meaning of "enough is enough."

The Ironman Triathlon might be insanely long, but hey, no one's getting electrocuted during that 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and full marathon run. There's the Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, Spartan Sprint, Spartan Beast, GORUCK, Mud on the Mountain, Survivor Mud Run, Obstacle Apocalypse, Hero Rush, Urban Dare and yes, the Spartan Death Race.

Many require signing a death waiver, and mud is the common denominator, along with a disdain toward the buttoned-up, vanilla marathon (or half-marathon, or any other traditional race). Discomfort, rather than time, is of the essence. Who wants to run on the concrete for two hours only to be greeted by a banana and an ugly T-shirt when you could crawl through barbed wire, get electrocuted, chop wood and finish it all off with a cold beer and live music?

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So much for the saying nothing good happens after midnight,

With JaVale McGee and Nick Young traded, the Washington Wizards lost much of their charm. However they still have Andray Blatche around.

The mercurial big man has been shutdown by coach Randy Wittman until he gets his body in shape.

“We thought we could maybe try to play him into shape once he got back,” [Randy] Wittman told the Washington Post. “After looking at it, it’s unfair for me to put him in that position. and I think what we’re going to do, we’re going to probably not play him for a while, get him on a program here, where he can really go after it from a conditioning standpoint to get himself back into shape. It’s not fair for me to do that to the kid.”

Wizards fans have taken out much of their frustration on Blatche, the team is just 2-11 with him as a starter. In spite of what has often been called half-hearted play, he has increased his scoring average in each of his first six professional seasons.

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Whenever my campers or clients hear that burpees are on the agenda for a given workout, they take a deep breath, a heavy gulp, and seemingly pray for the courage to get through the punishment coming their way.

The burpee is the baddest exercise on the planet and an incredible whole body muscle-builder, fat-burner and metabolism-booster that will also make you more athletic for sport. The movement finds its roots through the work of American physiologist Royal H. Burpee in the 1930's, who developed the burpee test as a quick and easy way to assess total body fitness. The exercise continued to gain popularity through widespread military use and of course as the calisthenic of choice in gym classes and athletic practices worldwide.

The burpee basically describes a series of smooth and fluid movements that have you going from a full stand to a push-up position and back. It’s no wonder this whole body up and down movement is a metabolic nightmare involving nearly every muscle from head to toe. But, it's also the most bastardized exercise on the planet that can implode your knees and back like a stiff and solid Mike Tyson uppercut.

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Hoops is a game of attrition, a fact that becomes painfully clear every March. The strongest, healthiest, and best-conditioned teams are the last ones standing. So to help you elevate your game, we recruited 16 of the NCAA's top strength and conditioning coaches, whose teams often play long after everyone else has gone home. Use their favorite training tricks and tips to pick up your performance. But the real reward is this: These routines blast fat and build muscle. Who says your best days on the court -- and in front of the mirror -- are behind you?

1. Break Fast
The Team:
University of North Carolina
The Expert: Jonas Sahratian, C.S.C.S.

To make sure his players are the first ones down the court on a fast break, Sahratian has his Tar Heels do resisted sprints: One player runs as hard as he possibly can while a partner stands behind him and slows him down using a special harness. (To buy your own, search for "resistance trainers" at But you can also build a winning physique by trying out Sahratian’s Medball 400 Workout, the same ab-blasting core routine he uses with the Tar Heels basketball team. It's a fat-blasting, six-pack sculpting regimen that requires only an 8-pound medicine ball.

2. Crash the Boards

The Team:
University of Kentucky

The Expert: Mike Malone, C.S.C.S.
The Wildcats dominate the boards because of the band overhead squat, a warm-up move that adds spring to their steps. Grab a half-inch-wide resistance band, with your hands shoulder-width apart. Stand on the band and spread your feet slightly beyond shoulder width. Press the band overhead and hold it there with your arms straight; this is the starting position. Push your hips back and squat until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. (Keep your torso upright and your back naturally arched.) Explosively spring back to the starting position. Do 2 or 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps before any game or workout.

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