Admit it, you've broken more New Year's Resolutions than you care to admit. And, likely, many of those resolutions have had to do with fitness, whether it involved getting stronger or losing those last 10 (or 20, or 30) pounds.

But this year is the year you're going to set a goal and stick with it until you achieve it, right?

What if I told you that you could do it with three hours in the gym a week? And no, this isn't a fad, nor something so revolutionary that it's worthy of a 2 a.m. informercial on Lifetime.

It's common sense.

"Some people are convinced that if they're going to do something, they have to do it every day. But when it comes to strength training, you accomplish more with less. If you're working as hard as you should to get the results you want, your body needs a full day in between workouts to recover,” says Lou Schuler, co-author of The New Rules of Lifting: Supercharged, the fifth book in The New Rules of Lifting Series.

That's easy enough to stick to right? By now, you're probably asking what the catch is. There is no catch, unless you consider working out smarter to be a catch.

"Over time, the combination of increased strength and muscle fatigue help you build more muscle tissue, which over even more time should increase your resting metabolic rate, which means you'll get longer-lasting results from every single workout you do."

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to read them first!

Sounds pretty enticing, doesn't it?

Pause for a second and think of the ways you move around and accomplish tasks in your daily life. You don't pick things up from the floor and put things on shelves while seated, do you? Now think of the last time you were in a gym. See all the people sitting down on all the machines? Given how we move in our regular lives, how does that make sense?

Training the ways that our bodies naturally move may seem uncommon in many gyms, but not only will you feel better, you'll look better too than if you worked strictly via machines. And besides, does anyone really care how much weight you can awkwardly hoist on the leg press? (Hint: The answer is no.)

In the New Rules of Lifting Series, the workouts focus on training our bodies to push, pull, squat and hip hinge, four of the major movements that our bodies are designed to do. Training these movements not only helps our bodies feel better, but also get stronger and burn more fat. And all it requires is a belief that you can do it -- a belief much like the one required to keep a New Year's Resolution.

"New Rule #1 in Supercharged says, "It's great to be good.” It's based on research showing that belief in your competence is directly related to your motivation to do more of the thing you do well,” Schuler says.

"So if you think you're a good lifter, you're more likely to pursue it. On the flip side, if you think you suck at lifting, you won't lift. The best way to develop that belief is to make it true -- to actually become good at lifting. This is another process goal -- develop skill rather than worrying about how much weight you can lift, or how many sets and reps you do."

Every single person in the gym was just starting out at some point. Maybe it was five or 10 years ago. Maybe it was yesterday. Or maybe yesterday was the fifth or 10th starting point. You don't have to be that person. With a little gym common sense and some sweat equity in just a few hours a week, your New Year's Resolution has never been more achievable.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Full Story >>


Let me apologize on behalf of an entire country full of fitness gurus, diet-book authors, trendy nutritionists, weight-loss clinics, unemployed actors working in gyms, and people who scream at chunky people on TV for a living. Almost all of us have been feeding you a line of bull. And we've been feeding it to you for breakfast.

Why is this so important to me? In my new book, The 8-Hour Diet, I'm proposing something that may sound a little radical: Skipping breakfast may be the key to skipping a lot of things -- excess weight, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and premature death, among them. How are you going to do all that, simply by pushing away from the breakfast buffet? By engaging an amazing process called "hormesis." Scientists tell us that if you challenge your body, the way you do with a 16-hour fast, it responds by preferentially burning fat, sharpening your mind, tuning up your heart, and turning on the human growth hormone jets. Cool, right?

Which leads me back to breakfast, and why it's important to skip it.

Of course, I'm a big believer in science. But sometimes science gets it wrong. Like back in the early 1990s, when we were told by the US government that we could eat whatever we wanted, as long as it was "low fat." So we all chowed down on bagels, bread, pasta and fat-free cookies. Except, that "fat-free" stuff wasn't free at all; by shocking our bodies with big doses of carbohydrates, the fat-free craze just increased our risk of obesity and diabetes. (Not to say that all carbs are "bad" -- make the right choices with our grocery guide to the Best Breads and Grains.)

Turns out, the same is true of the expert advice to eat a big, hearty breakfast. We've all seen the "facts": People who regularly skip breakfast are 450 percent more likely to be obese. People who go for a period without eating lose muscle, not fat. People who eat a big breakfast "jump-start" their metabolism and burn more calories.

Except it's simply not true.

Consider a study published in Nutrition Journal in 2011. Researchers followed the eating habits of 100 normal-weight and 280 obese participants during a two-week period. They found that in both groups, the more calories they ate at breakfast, the more total calories they ate for the rest of the day. And when they ate a smaller breakfast, or none at all, their total calorie intake was less.

Conclusion: Overweight people should "consider the reduction of breakfast calories as a simple option" to lose weight.

In fact, more and more research is proving that not avoiding calories in the morning is the way to stay not only slim, but also strong in both body and mind. In fact, this strategy can completely erase the damage of an otherwise "bad" diet.

In a 2010 study in the Journal of Physiology, researchers fed a group of active men an unhealthy diet composed of 50 percent fat and 30 percent more calories than they normally consumed. They then divided the men into three subgroups: One group didn't exercise at all, another group exercised four times a week after eating breakfast, and the third group exercised four times a week before eating their first meal of the day. The no-exercise group gained six pounds, developed insulin resistance, and began storing extra fat in their muscle cells. The group that exercised after eating breakfast gained about six pounds and also showed signs of insulin resistance and greater fat storage. But the participants who exercised before eating their first meal gained almost no weight and showed no signs of insulin resistance.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to read them first!

So why have we been lectured to about "the most important meal of the day" for all these years? "There are a lot of forces in our society pushing against" skipping breakfast, says Mark Mattson, PhD, chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging. "Those forces are driven by money. They include the food industry obviously, and in some respects the pharmaceutical industry.” Breakfast cereals alone are an $11 billion a year industry, and that's before you get into eggs and bacon, bagels and lox, pancakes and syrup.

There are a lot of different businesses relying on your morning meal to make their budgets. So before we all go hog wild on bacon and do the chicken dance over eggs, let's take a second look at the research. The new book, The 8-Hour Diet, does just that -- and it will change everything about how you view breakfast.

And the good news: Skip breakfast, and you can set your alarm clock just a few minutes later! And more importantly, you can delay the rigors of aging and weight gain at the same time. Pick up your copy of The 8-Hour Diet to discover how controlling when you eat can help you lose 10, 20, 30 pounds or more.

Full Story >>

Want to build total-body strength and power? Try this superhero superset called the Spider Shredder. "Combine the rotational Spider-Man jump and the Spider-Man push-up to improve overall athleticism and condition your muscles from head to toe," says BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S., metabolic training expert and creator of the 82-day Speed Shred DVD series.

The Supersero Superset is part of the Men's Health Train For Life challenge series:
Click here for more awesome Train For Life challenges!

Perform the rotational Spider-Man squat jump for 6 reps, and then immediately perform the Spider-Man push-up for 6 reps. That’s 1 set. Do as many sets as you can in 2 minutes. Rest whenever you want, but keep the clock running the whole time. If the Spider-Man push-up is too difficult, try the modified version by removing the push-up.

Rotational Spider-Man Jump

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your right palm rests on the ground just in front of your feet. Your left hand should reach behind you. Explosively swing both arms into the air and jump up as high as you can, turning 180 degrees in the air. When you land, you should be facing the opposite direction with your left hand on the floor. That's one rep. Do six.

Spider-Man Push-Up

Assume a standard push-up position. As you lower your body to the floor, swing your right leg out to touch your right knee to your right elbow. Return to the starting position. That's one rep. Alternate sides for six reps. (Check out these 8 International Push-Up Variations for more awesome ways to upgrade the standard push-up.)

Ready to give it a shot? Watch the video above to see BJ and Jill perform the Spider Shredder Train For Life Challenge. In two minutes, BJ completed six sets and Jill finished six modified sets. What was your score? Let us know if you beat them in the comments below.

If you liked this workout, don't miss the follow-along DVD series:
Speed Shred,
the intense metabolic fat-loss program created by BJ Gaddour and the experts at Men's Health.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to read them first!

Full Story >>

New research suggests that reaching the Olympic medal stand is not only a validation of an athlete's status as one of the top competitors in the world, it might mean that athlete has longer to live.

Two studies published in the British Medical Journal verify that the world's top athletes tend to have longer lifespans than their non-athlete contemporaries.

One study sampled 15,174 Olympians across the nine most successful medal-earning countries ( the U.S., Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, etc.), and compared athletes who had won a medal to the overall public. The researchers found that regardless of what color the medal was, these Olympians tended to live 2.8 years longer than the general public in eight of the nine countries surveyed.

"To put this survival advantage into some perspective, it is almost as large as the difference in life expectancy between men and women," says lead study author Philip Clarke of the University of Melbourne in Australia. "So male Olympic medalists can expect to live almost as long as the average woman in the general population."

The cause of Olympians' increased longevity is likely a combination of factors. Genetics may play a part, but athletes' intense training and robust diet also helps. Moreover, athletes' wealth allows them to live more healthful lives and take advantage of new diets and fitness regimens.

The results of the first study held true for athletes across all sports, but it isn't clear if training level has any effect on longevity. The researchers of the second study found that the intensity of an athlete's training did not correlate to how long they lived.

The second study examined nearly 10,000 deceased athletes who competed in the Olympics between 1896 and 1936. Those who participated in low intensity sports like cricket had similar mortality rates to those who competed in high intensity sports like cycling or moderate intensity sports like gymnastics.

The second study also found that athletes from certain sports, like boxing and ice hockey, did not necessarily have higher longevity. That's likely the result of increased damage to the body from these contact sports.

"People tend to think about sports as 'the more the better," says Frouke Engelaer of the Leyden Academy of Vitality and Aging in Leiden, Netherlands, lead author of the second study. "We have shown that within a great population of athletes, this does not (hold). You don't have to take the effort to do intensive rowing. Playing golf is just as good for your survival."

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to read them first!

Full Story >>


If you live in the city and like to run outside, you may want to reconsider your exercise options.

A recent study by Belgian researchers found that people who jogged outside in urban areas had higher blood levels of inflammation markers and missed out on some of the cognitive benefits that exercise normally provides.

Researchers split participants in the study into two groups. Every participant alternated between walking and running three times a week for 12 weeks between noon and 1 p.m. One group worked out in an urban area, whilethe other was in a rural setting.

After 12 weeks, the researchers tested the response time and attention span of the participants. They found that the pollution consumed by the urban runners prevented them from gaining some of the cognitive benefits that the exercise provided the rural group. For example, the urban runners had a lower ability to absorb new information and generally demonstrated decreased brain plasticity.

Higher inflammation markers in the blood have been associated with mental illness. The Daily Mail reported that air pollution in towns and cities has been shown to expedite brain aging.

The good news for people who prefer to run outside in urban areas is that there are ways to avoid pollution, said the study's lead researcher, Romain Meeusen. If you can bear harsh weather, it is better for the body to run during windy or rainy days because these climates can blow away certain harmful particles. Running in parks and avoiding rush hour are also good ways to circumvent pollution.

(H/T to Barstool Sports)

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to read them first!

Full Story >>


For many people, sprinting through dangling wires with 10,000 volts of electricity and then crawling through a pit of mud would be an absolute nightmare.

For a small but significant group of fitness enthusiasts, these tasks are par for the obstacle course in a growing number of "Tough Mudder" races.

Started in 2010 by a Harvard Business School student named Will Dean, these extreme races have exploded in popularity recently. In 2012 there were 36 Tough Mudder across the United States and Canada. In 2013, there will be 52 races.

"I was surrounded by supercompetitive alpha males at Harvard," Dean recently told the New York Times. "I thought if I could bring that to fitness, I’d be successful."

The races have been enormously profitable. Ben Kaplan of the National Post writes that Tough Mudder started with a $20 advertisement on Facebook. Now it is a $70 million company.

Some of the most passionate participants are Wall Street types who are looking for outlets to let go of some pent-up energy.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to read them first!

"Finance people are in a weird juxtaposition,” Dean told the Times. "They may make 100 times more than their fathers, but their hands are soft. We designed Tough Mudder to fill that void."

The architect behind the 10-to-12 mile courses is Nolan Kombol. The 27-year-old Kombol told the National Post that he and his team spend up to six weeks designing a course, and for their design they draw on training programs used in the military. The courses test physical as well as mental ruggedness.

In this way, Tough Mudder offers a sort of cross-fit that the traditional marathon or even triathalon lacks.

"People say I must be some sort of masochist, but all I want to do is push people through new experiences," Kombol told the National Post. "You can run into some guy in a bar and find out you both did one of these and it’s like a badge of honour — it’s not running 10 miles or doing a bunch of push-ups and pull-ups, but using your mental grit."

Dean got the idea for the races from a series of similar competitions in Europe. Dean wasn't the first to bring this style across the pond, and two other major obstacle course companies exist: Warrior Dash and the Spartan Race series. Warrior Dash had the most events (49) in 2012, but Tough Mudder made the most money ($70 million). The fiery competition between the three companies was profiled in a recent feature in Outside magazine.

While sometimes overlooked in fitness, the team-building nature of these competitions has added significantly to the lore of the obstacle courses. Men and women complete the courses in groups, and they are reliant on their teammates in order to finish certain tasks.

"A part of me always wanted to join the army, but I never did," Evan Lotzof, a New Yorker who participated in a race in October, told the New York Times. "Tough Mudder gives me a sense of band of brothers."

Full Story >>

Middle school may have been a helluva lot easier if you had spent a little more time in the pool. New research out of Australia says that children who are taught to swim at an early age hit certain physical and developmental milestones faster than kids who learn later in life.

Over the span of three years, researchers surveyed the parents of more than 7,000 children age 5 and under and found that the age kids learned to swim correlated with when they began accomplishing certain skills.

In pre-school, early swimmers had better visual-motor skills (like cutting paper and drawing lines and shapes), but also fared better as they got older (i.e. understanding directions, math, and writing and reading skills).

Sharpen your memory, boost your creativity, and slay stress with
27 Ways to Power Up Your Brain.

Turns out, some of what you learn in the classroom (or in your day-to-day experiences) is similar to what you learn in a pool, says lead study author Robyn Jorgensen, Ph.D., a professor and senior fellow at the Griffith Institute for Educational Research. There's a strong synergy between language and action with swimming that's essential for many cognitive and motor skills, she adds. Kids learn at an early age to hear language and make connections with their bodies (for example, counting to 10 while kicking).

And it doesn't take long to see the effects, either: When researchers observed swimming lessons, they found that the kids' eyes blinked in preparation for the ready cue -- "one, two, three, go! " -- a clear sign that young kids can understand language and react accordingly even if they can't communicate everything clearly.

Your move: Sign your kids up for lessons -- and keep 'em going. In Jorgensen's study, the earlier the child started and the longer they remained in the swimming lessons, the greater the gains, she says.

And it wouldn't hurt to jump in the pool yourself: Besides the added benefit of challenging yourself through switching up your workout, water is about 1,000 times denser than air, so a swim workout can be tougher on you. You'll burn almost the same amount of calories each minute as you would biking -- but you can kiss dodging traffic or worrying about your joints goodbye.

Build a body like Phelps and learn how to Swim Your Way to a 6-Pack.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to read them first!

Full Story >>