The 6 Best Time-Tested Remodeling Projects — and the Worst

Although kitchens and bathrooms always steal the spotlight in a home remodel, they aren’t necessarily the ones that have the highest return on investment when you sell your home.

Since 2002, trade magazine for contractors and builders “Remodeling” has been tracking how much it costs to do common home improvement projects — and then calculating how much of that cost is recovered when the home sells.

But this year, we decided to focus not just on the new data, but how projects have performed since 2002.

So, what’d we find?

Well, you may want to reconsider turning that spare room into a full-fledged office. A home office remodel had the worst overall ROI of 52.6%. The project’s been declining since it was added to the study in 2005 with an ROI of 72.8%.

The biggest jump we’ve seen? Backup generators, which had some of the lowest ROI rates over the years — as low as 47.5% in 2011 — leapt to 52.7% in 2012 and then took an almost 15 point jump to 67.5% in 2013, thanks to Hurricane Sandy and extreme weather.

When weather and the demand for generators calmed last year, ROI dropped to 59.9%. Overall, backup power generators come in second-to-last in our check on the history of the “Cost vs. Value Report.”

But the real gems are those projects that don’t have such highs and lows — the ones with consistent ROI.

We’re not saying these steady and reliable projects are the ‘right’ ones for you. If a home office will improve your quality of life and help you enjoy your home more, then it makes sense. We just think knowing what’s going to happen with your remodeling dollars makes sense, too.

So, which ones are the long-term winners? The projects that share these four characteristics:

  • Low-maintenance
  • Good — but not necessarily the highest — quality
  • Energy-efficient
  • Not too costly

1. The Highest ROI: Replacing Your Front Door

Year in and year out, no single project has provided such a healthy return on your home improvement dollar as a new front door. A replacement steel door averaged a 98% return on investment — by far the highest return in our historical look at the “Cost vs. Value Report.”

It’s also the lowest-cost project in the annual report at $1,230. It’s an energy upgrade that has great curb appeal and needs virtually no maintenance.

“It gives you the best bang for your buck in terms of transforming the look and feel of your home,” says Brandon Erdmann, president of the remodeling firm HomeSealed Exteriors in Milwaukee. “Plus, old exterior doors can be a huge source of energy loss. So you’re improving the look of your house, improving energy efficiency, and you’re able to do it without breaking the bank.”

2. New Siding

No other feature has as much impact on curb appeal as siding. Clean, well-cared-for siding signals home improvement mastery. Old, worn siding can contribute to a loss of up to 10% of your home’s value.

That’s one reason new siding has such a high ROI. In fact, of the top 10 long-term averages from the “Cost vs. Value Report,” three of them are replacement siding projects.
The Top 10 Projects for Long-Term ROI

Project Long-Term ROI
Entry door replacement (steel) 98.0%
Siding replacement (fiber-cement) 83.9%
Minor kitchen remodel (midrange) 81.8%
Siding replacement (vinyl – midrange) 81.5%
Garage door replacement (midrange) 80.7%
Deck addition (wood) 80.6%
Siding replacement (foam-backed vinyl) 79.5%
Attic bedroom remodel 79.3%
Window replacement (vinyl – midrange) 78.6%
Bathroom remodel (midrange) 77.1%

Vinyl siding is low-cost, durable, and easy to install, hitting all the right notes when it comes to getting a good return on your home improvement dollar. Best of all: It’s a low-maintenance feature that frees up your time. In a 2013 survey of homebuyer preferences from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), respondents voted low-maintenance products the most popular characteristic of home design — a preference that’s trending up from previous AIA surveys.

Today’s vinyl siding includes fade-resistant finishes and transferrable lifetime warranties that are much more confidence-inspiring than the 10-year guarantees of just two decades ago. Over time, midrange vinyl siding replacement projects have returned 81.5% on the initial investment.

Fiber-cement siding also shows a strong ROI, with the second-best return of any project in our long-term look at the “Cost vs. Value Report” — 83.9%. Although it’s more expensive than vinyl, it has one thing vinyl still lacks — the perception of quality.

That’s important to homeowners and homebuyers. In a survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), “quality” was the one of the most important traits that homebuyers focused on when shopping for a house.

Foam-backed vinyl is another winning project, with an average long-term return of just under 80% and a cost that’s slightly more than fiber-cement. But foam-backed vinyl has a trick other sidings don’t — it’s an energy-efficient upgrade, with an R-value of R-2 to R-3.

During a research project on residential energy efficiency conducted by the technical analysis firm Newport Ventures, homes clad with foam-backed vinyl siding showed an average energy savings of 5.5% over a two-year period.

That’s music to any homeowner’s ears. According to the AIA, energy-efficiency is the second most popular characteristic of home design — a feature that helps you save money for years to come.

3. Minor Kitchen Remodel

We’re not talking about the dream kitchen remodels that are plastered on Pinterest and Houzz. Those types of remodels took a big hit on ROI during the recent recession. But a minor kitchen remodel weathered the economic bumps with an average return of 81.8% over the years, helped by a relatively modest financial commitment — the 2015 “Cost vs. Value Report” pegs the cost at $19,226 (that includes labor and new cabinet doors and drawer fronts, countertops, flooring, and appliances).

Recession or not, a minor kitchen remodel beat out a higher-end kitchen remodel every single year, with its highest recorded ROI at 98.5% in 2005.

“People are always willing to update their kitchens,” says Dale Contant, secretary of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and owner of Atlanta Build and Design. “It’s the hub of the home.”

That’s underscored by stats from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies that show that over the last 10 years, homeowners have spent more on kitchen remodeling than any other home improvement category.

That indicates homeowners don’t seem to be as concerned about the ROI on a kitchen remodel as they are about how the kitchen works for them personally, and maybe a bit about injecting their own personalities into the hub of the home. A 2013 survey from NAR found that 53% of buyers undertook a remodeling project within three months of purchase, and of those, 47% dug right in and remodeled their kitchen.

4. Wood Deck Addition

Deck additions have been popular projects with a high ROI but, like a lot of investments, decks fell off during the recession.

“When the economy soured, deck-building soured,” says remodeling contractor Lino Carosella of Haverton, Pa. “Decks are a bit of a luxury, and homeowners tended to spend on necessities, such as upgrading their kitchens and baths. But now decks are coming back.”

Indeed they are, in they past two years vaulting over bathrooms and other improvements on our list of long-term winners with an average ROI of 80.6%. Although homeowners annually build about twice as many patios as decks, both outdoor projects benefit from our ever-increasing love of outdoor living, a trend that looks to continue for the foreseeable future.

One big reason is that decks and patios are a sweet way to expand living space at a low cost of $8 to $30 per square foot — a bargain compared to the $150 to $300-per-square-foot cost of a new home addition.

5. Attic Bedroom Remodel

Attic bedroom remodels join our list of smart investments with an overall ROI of 79.3%. Attic conversions were especially popular during the recession, when homeowners put off buying move-up houses and instead turned to increasing the living space they already owned. Makes sense with the rise of multi-generational households over the past few years.

Converting an attic to a bedroom increases living space without increasing your home’s footprint — the walls, floor, and ceiling already exist — which helps keep remodeling costs under control.

6. Garage Door Replacement


Image: Clopay Building Products

No surprise that a garage door replacement project made it onto our list of all-time winners — a new garage door provides a big boost for your home’s curb appeal. In fact, of our top 10 long-term champs, most are exterior projects that ramp up your home’s good looks and enhance marketability.

A project that replaces an older, two-car door with embossed steel door has a current cost of about $1,600. Over the years, midrange garage door replacement projects have returned a healthy 80.7% of a homeowner’s investment.

A Note on Projects That Are Trending Downward

Why aren’t home office remodels as popular as they were 10 years ago? Probably because we’ve come to rely less on dedicated office space and more on mobile hardware that lets us conduct business from any room in the house. Cloud storage puts documents a click away — not in a file cabinet — and our smartphones keep us connected 24/7, not just when we’re in the office.

That sensibility frees up spare rooms for other uses, especially bedrooms, bathrooms, and storage.

Another project, sunroom additions, appears to have gone the way of sunken living rooms and parlors. They used to be fashionable, but today we know sunroom additions are difficult to heat and cool, and, at $300 to $400 per square foot, they’re expensive to construct.

You’ll get almost the same benefits — and more fresh air — with a much cheaper to build deck or patio.

The Bottom Line

It’s true: A rising tide lifts all boats. Over the past couple of years the stabilizing economy has helped produce better returns on most remodeling projects.

That’s good news for homeowners, who can be assured that their remodeling dollars are garnering better returns when it comes time to sell, and generating more enjoyment of their homes in the meantime.

Happy remodeling!

John_RihaJohn Rihahas written seven books on home improvement and hundreds of articles on home-related topics. He’s been a residential builder, the editorial director of the Black & Decker Home Improvement Library, and the executive editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

18 Best Cardio Exercises for Weight Loss: Easy & Effective

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Women lifting weights

Searching for the best cardio exercises for weight loss? Use the following easy workouts to start planning your exercise regime so you could get a healthy weight easily and quickly. Read up from!

18 Best Cardio Exercises For Weight Loss – Easy And Quick Workouts

Initially, you need to consider some precautions for cardio workouts before you start huffing and puffing. It is important for you to not overdo cardio exercises, particularly the long duration and slow kind. Cardio training comes with a lot of benefits, yet overdoing it, which is very common, could result in issues, like muscle loss, aching knees, slower metabolism, and so on. Generally, about 10 to 20 minutes of intense cardio, and about 25 to 45 minutes of low intensity cardio might work best without leading to any injuries.

1. HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

Those HIIT sessions are just 20 minutes long if you minimize the warming up and down session. In order to get the best result, you had better join in HIIT training every 2-3 days. It is because whenever you practice reps, you do them with such a greater intensity. However, you should not fool yourself into trimming down and performing this workout each day because this workout is well known to burn off energy and calories of your system which might take at least one day to rest as well as recover.

2. Kettlebell

The fundamental exercises done with a Kettlebell are considered as the entire body exercises. That means those exercises make your own body work hard and also burn more calories than those basic isolation exercises such as curls, crunches, and so on do. Moreover, because those basic exercises can burn a lot more calories with every rep, so these workouts might be rarely super long. Mostly, a basic 30-45 minute workout will bring about good results.TATIONARY BIKE

3. Circuit Training

Simply put, circuit training contains a series of aerobic exercises which are mixed up with the resistance training to offer such a high intensity workout. Actually, this type of exercises is performed one after the other – in a circuit – with the minimal rest in-between. Fact is, circuit training gets involved withand anaerobic and aerobic exercises, yet is so flexible, so you could customize to create your own routine in just a few minutes with some researches on the Internet.

4. Plyometrics

When it comes to best cardio exercises for weight loss, plyometrics are one of the most effective. Plyometric contractions – also known as the stretch shortening cycle – comes with a process whereby your muscle will undergo a period of quick lengthening movement, and followed by such a rapid transition time in which there will be no change in your muscle length, followed by the explosive shortening move that in turn will enable those related muscles to manufacture maximum force while not necessarily enhancing maximum strength.

5. Stair Training

Stair exercises can help you enhance your own cardiovascular stamina. Also, these simple exercises will tone the lower body parts effectively. It may be tiring at the first when doing the stair training, yet if you are persistent enough, soon you will notice that you could do other tasks with gusto and promote the performance of your day. On the other hand, staircase exercise is super simple, without the need of any special equipment of cardio training. Besides, you could also incorporate the stair exercise into your circuit training and interval training routines.

6. Swimming

If you do swimming, freestyle for about 30 minutes, you could burn up to 350 calories. Nevertheless, this type of exercise is with respect to the rigorous swimming that can burn up to 200-250 calories each 30-minute period. Doing this for about 1 hour, you will be able to burn up to 400-700 per hour, which is rather good.

7. Outdoor Cycling

In comparison with indoor static cycling, the outdoor forms could bring about many benefits for your overall fitness levels because it challenges you with a lot of different terrains as well as hard routes. In reality, the amount of burnt calories in cycling often depends on the speed as well as resistance of route used. In detail, on an average, just cycling for about 10mph could burn merely 372 calories, and at the moderate levels from 12 to 13.9 mph can help in burning up to 745 calories and above 20 mph approximately 1117 calories. Though this form of exercise does not benefit you so much when it comes to upper body workout, it could be a good method for you to tone the lower limb muscles.

8. Jumping Ropes Or Skipping Rope

Among the list of best cardio exercises for weight loss, this is really an effective yet simple one. Jumping rope just for several minutes could bring about many benefits for your own body weight. Furthermore, it can work up your whole body and help you gain the hand-eye coordination. If you can master the basics of jumping rope, you could challenge yourself by making use of different patterns such as side steps, cross mode and speed steps. Those people with moderate levels could lose about 931 calories by doing this activity just for 1 hour.

9. Jogging

It is a common way to work all parts of your own body and burn off lots of calories. To gain the best possible calorie-burning results, you should try working no less than 8 mph. Also, you could offer resistance to motion using rough, rugged terrains plus with hilly inclined regions.

10. Tennis

Not only will playing tennis be fun for players, it also helps them lose weight effectively. This sport supplies people with a good chance to burn calories whilst enhancing your strength, speed, and reaction time. The continual exercise of tennis for about 1 hour can help you burn up to 600 to 900 calories of your body fat.

11. Hiking

This is a great recreational activity, yet it could keep you active as well as make you become sweating. Also, hiking helps you reduce depression, promote muscular fitness, maintain a healthy weight and lubricate your overall joints efficiently.

12. Zumba

Truth is, Zumba can offer a large calorie burnt through the high-tempo aerobic activity along with interval training. The results gained are based on different aspects like body weight, fitness level, gender, and many other physical factors, you could burn about 400-600 calories each hour.

13. CrossFit

According to a recent study, crossfit is a functional movement, which is varied and performed at high intensity. If you want to improve your strength and speed, you should not overlook crossfit. Also, it helps in losing a lot of weight if you are persistent enough. It prepares your overall physical skills and works up all parts of your own body.

14. Body Combat Workout

Body combat is an empowering cardio workout, which is fiercely energetic and is inspired by martial arts. It can draw from a lot of disciplines like boxing, karate, tai chi, taekwondo, and muay thai. With the help of music, you strike, punch, then kick your way through calories in such an enjoyable cardio fitness workout.

15. Kickboxing

This type of cardio exercises for weight loss is basically known for growing great cardiovascular fitness, and unlike cycling and running, and many other common cardio activities, kickboxing can work up your overall body whilst hitting your core muscles hard too! On the other hand, in term of calorie burning, it is much more helpful than regular jogging or walking workout, while being more fun. Thus, do not skip this if you want to lose weight quickly while still having fun.

16. Basketball

Playing basketball is an effective and easy manner to enhance your flexibility, cardio-respiratory health, and endurance level. Actually, the running plus with the quick alteration in directions of this game can help you tone muscles and drop a few extra calories. Normally, you will lose from 600 to 900 calories when playing basketball for about 1 hour.

17. Core Power Yoga

Yoga is always good for the human overall health, in general, and weight loss, in particular. Core power yoga is executed in the heated room and the postures might surround those cardiovascular exercises. Yet, it has to be performed at such a fast pace. This exercise will strengthen your abdomen and back and burn your belly fat quickly. It often involves muscle toning poses, helping strengthen the hip as well as pelvis. You could expect to enhance strength, endurance, stamina, promote concentration and decrease stress.

18. Belly Dancing

Belly dancing is for everyone, both men and women. It is both a fun and sexy way to help people get in shape and maintain a healthy weight. Also, belly dancing can help you feel sexy about yourself while still improving your own body posture, supporting in weight loss and burning huget amount of and calories and fat.

These are top 18 best cardio exercises for weight loss that you can take advantage of right instantly. These workouts do not require any special preparation and equipment so you could do right at your own home. If you want to comment on any aspect of this article, drop your words below the post. We will feedback soon.

10 Attics That Prove You Are Wasting An Entire Room In Your Home

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Posted: 02/14/2015 7:00 am EST Updated: 02/14/2015 7:00 am EST

Stop storing all your junk in your attic and start using it as a room. It may be a small space, but it has so much more to offer than burial grounds for all the stuff you can’t bear to part with. You could turn it into a beautiful bedroom, an office or even a personal home theater.

If you’re having trouble visualizing your attic’s potential, here’s some information to help you along. But warning: These 10 attics might put yours to shame.

1. This bedroom attic has a swing and that just makes it even more fun.


2. This attic is the perfect spot for a cozy home office (with just enough space for a mini bar).


3. This attic was transformed it into a personal movie theater.

Credit: Imgur user

4. This tented attic makes for a relaxing lounge area.

Credit: Imgur user

5. This bedroom attic is basically a whole apartment in itself.

Credit: Imgur user

6. This attic and sofa couldn’t be a cuter pair.


7. This attic kept it minimal for a really striking effect.

Credit: Paul Massey

8. This attic bedroom is like sleeping in a cozy tunnel.

Credit: Imgur user

9. This attic proves to be the perfect place for a man cave.

Credit: Imgur user

10. And just check out the view an attic bedroom has the potential to give you.

Credit: Imgur user


How to Lose Weight Safely and Permanently: 10 Best Exercises for Weight Loss

FEBRUARY 3, 2015



juliana paes lingerie 600x400 Foto legenda 09.02.09

There’s no getting around the fact that in order to lose weight safely and permanently, you need to eat healthy food and get plenty of exercise.

Exercising burns calories and builds muscle, which is essential for increasing your metabolism so that you can burn even more calories and lose more weight.

So dust off those workout clothes and pick one of these nine best exercises for weight loss to get started today on your path to a slimmer, healthier you.

1. Walking

Walking is an ideal exercise for weight loss: It doesn’t require any equipment, other than a decent pair of walking shoes, and you don’t need a gym membership to do it.

It’s a low-impact exercise, which means it won’t blow out your knees or cause other stress injuries that can leave you on the sidelines for weeks or even months.

For those with certain health issues, including obesity and heart disease, walking is an effective, low-intensity weight-loss activity that can lead to better overall health, as well as better mental wellbeing.

Depending on how much you weigh, walking at a pace of four miles per hour will burn between 5 and 8 calories every minute, or between 225 and 360 calories for a 45-minute walk.

At this pace, walking 45 minutes a day most days, you can lose up to a pound a week without changing any other habits.

So put on your walking shoes, turn on your iPod and go for a brisk stroll through the neighborhood. If you live close to where you work or shop, make walking your primary mode of transportation most days, and watch the pounds melt away. When the weather is bad, take to the local track or indoor mall, or hop on the treadmill.

2. Kettlebell

Kettlebells are cast iron balls fitted with a single handle. Unlike traditional handheld weights, the weight of the kettlebell isn’t evenly distributed, which means that your body has to work to stabilize you and counterbalance the weight of the ball.

Kettlebells provide for a hard-core workout that not only burns up to 400 calories in a mere 20 minutes, but also strengthens your core, improves balance and posture and targets all of the major muscle groups, as well as the stabilizing muscles.

Because kettlebell exercises involve the whole body, a kettlebell workout will rev up your metabolism to help your body burn fat faster, and it’ll get your heart pumping so that you get an aerobic workout as well. In fact, 20-minute kettlebell workout is similar to a six-mile run in terms of cardiovascular benefits and calories burned.

However, working successfully with kettlebells requires proper form to avoid injury and get the most benefit out of your workout. If you’re new to kettlebells, taking a class at your local gym will provide you with initial instruction about proper form and the safety guidelines you should follow when exercising with these heavy weights.

3. Swimming

Vigorous swimming can burn anywhere from 400 to 700 calories an hour. All types of swimming are effective for helping you shed pounds, from a front crawl to a breast stroke or even the dog paddle.

Swimming is a highly effective exercise for weight loss and toning. It’s one of the lowest-impact exercises out there, and it strengthens, tones and conditions your whole body.

It’s particularly ideal for women in their last trimester of pregnancy and individuals who battle with arthritis, obesity, and musculoskeletal conditions.

It’s also great for those who suffer from exercise-induced asthma, because the warm, moist air around the water helps keep the airways clear.

Many athletes use the pool as a cross-training tool, as well as to stay fit while rehabilitating an injury. When you’re neck-deep in water, your body is only bearing ten percent of its weight, and yet the water provides 12 times the resistance of air, making it ideal for strengthening and toning your muscles.

Swimming engages all of the major muscle groups, from your abdominals and back muscles to your arms, legs, hips and glutes. It effectively compliments other exercises, like running and walking, or it can be your sole form of fitness.

Don’t know how to swim? Not a problem. If you can propel yourself through the water from one end of the pool to the other, you can swim well enough to lose weight doing it.

4. Cycling

Bicycling is another low-impact, high-rewards activity for losing weight.

Cycling can burn anywhere from 372 to over 1,100 calories per hour, depending on your weight, your speed and the terrain you’re biking across.

Unlike running, cycling is easy on the joints, and even the most out-of-shape beginner can hop on a bicycle and ride several miles without feeling like they’ve just been through the wringer.

Outdoor cycling is best, because the varied terrain enables you to get a well-rounded workout that includes strengthening your lower body and getting a good cardiovascular workout.

If you live within biking distance of your job, cycling to work can stimulate endorphins and boost your metabolism for the day, as well as save you money on gas. If outdoor cycling is difficult or dangerous in your area, consider spinning.

Offered at most gyms, this group cycling activity is one of the lowest-impact classes offered, and yet it’s one of the most effective for burning calories and revving up your metabolism.

Even seasoned runners or bikers will likely find themselves challenged by the spinning instructor. An hour-long spinning class covers about 20 miles and challenges participants to reach speeds that they may find impossible when riding an actual bike.

5. Elliptical Trainer

The elliptical trainer at home or at the gym enables you to get a low-impact, full body workout.

Easier on the joints than a treadmill, the elliptical trainer also has movable handles that enable you to get a good upper-body workout in addition to working your lower body.

Elliptical machines let you choose the intensity level, and by raising and lowering the ramp and going backwards, you can target different muscle groups in your legs, both front and back.

The average person using an elliptical trainer can burn about 600 calories per hour. The elliptical trainer mimics the action of running while eliminating impact, saving knees and other joints from wear. For those who suffer from arthritis, musculoskeletal conditions and obesity, the elliptical trainer is a great way to exercise without risking impact injuries.

When you’re using the elliptical trainer, hold on to the movable handles rather than the static ones to increase the number of calories you burn and to help tone your arms.

Don’t rely on the calorie counters on elliptical machines to give you an accurate readout of calories burned. Instead, maximize your workout by striving to keep your heart rate at 85 percent and upping the resistance when it feels too easy.

6. Running

If you’re one of the many people who love to run, you’re in luck.

Running burns about 600 calories per hour, helps build strong bones and connective tissue and gets your heart pumping at a healthy rate to help prevent heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.

The only equipment running requires is a good pair of shoes to protect your joints and, if it helps you keep the pace and maintain motivation, an iPod with your favorite tunes.

Interval training can bump up the calories you burn on your daily run. Also called speed work, interval training involves short spurts, usually between 30 seconds and two minutes, of running at top speed.

Intervals burn a large number of calories in a short amount of time, improve your resting metabolism to help you burn more calories during the day, and increase your muscle mass.

Experts now recommend that you don’t stretch before you run. Instead, warm up by marching in place, bringing your knees up high, or walking for five minutes before beginning your run.

Because running is a high-impact exercise that can damage your joints, it’s always best to have a professional fit you with the right running shoes, based on your gait.

7. Tennis

A good game of tennis can burn up to 600 calories in an hour.

If you’re the type who prefers to exercise with a partner, tennis is an ideal way to get active. It’s also perfect for those who don’t particularly like to exercise, but who love a good competition.

You don’t have to be a great tennis player to lose weight doing it. After all, running after the balls is still a form of exercise.

The nature of tennis makes it a great whole-body workout, and playing it can help you improve your flexibility, balance and posture, as well as let off some steam to reduce stress.

Throughout the game, especially every time you hit the ball, your arm, abdominal and leg muscles are engaged, building strength and burning calories. But that’s not all that’s engaged. Your brain gets a good workout every time you play tennis, from thinking quickly and creatively to planning ahead.

Games like tennis boost the brain’s function to improve memory and the ability to learn new things. It also helps increase your peak bone mass; in fact, the National Institute of Health lists tennis as one of the activities that promotes bone health.

8. High intensity interval training

This is one of the most effective weight loss exercise options available.

You only need to engage in this form of exercise for about 20 minutes, three times a week, to get incredible benefits that include burning a large number of calories and ramping up your metabolism in the wake of the afterburn.

High intensity interval workouts can be done with many forms of exercise, and consist of short but intense bursts of activity followed by a lower-intensity period or a period of complete rest.

Those who are new to exercising shouldn’t perform interval training until they’ve been exercising regularly for a couple of months.

A standard interval workout for biking, swimming, running, lifting weights or even walking is 20 minutes long, but burns far more calories than 20 minutes of steady exercise.

Start out by warming up for five minutes. For the sixth minute, push yourself as hard and fast as you can. The seventh minute is all about catching your breath. Repeat the fast/slow cycle (minus the warm up) five times, and cool down for three minutes.

High intensity interval training, or HIIT, offers amazing benefits. Not only will you progress much faster to your desired fitness level, you will also improve your aerobic capacity. In fact, after only two weeks of HIIT, your aerobic capacity will be stronger than if you had completed eight weeks of steady-state endurance exercise, such as running.

9. CrossFit

CrossFit, like high intensity training, is only suitable for individuals who have been exercising on a somewhat regular basis for a couple of months.

Originally designed to train first responders and Special Forces, CrossFit is a workout regimen that involves weight lifting, endurance exercises, plyometrics, strength and speed training and kettlebell exercise routines, among other activities.

One thing you won’t lose with CrossFit is interest. Unlike other routines that involve doing one exercise for a specified amount of time, CrossFit incorporates many activities into one intense, fat-burning workout.

It’s designed to target all of the major components of physical fitness, including endurance, flexibility, speed, power and cardiorespiratory fitness.

No two days are alike when you’re doing CrossFit. An example of a CrossFit routine is five repetitions of 20 pull-ups, 30 push-ups, 40 sit-ups and 50 squats, all performed one after the other, with a three-minute rest between repetitions.

While definitely not for the faint-of-heart, CrossFit routines are highly effective at burning calories and fat, improving physical stamina and endurance, and increasing metabolism.

To get the most benefit out of CrossFit, you should perform a different routine at least three days a week, but ideally five days a week. The good news is that the routines are short, lasting only 15 to 20 minutes when done properly.

10. Cross Country Skiing

If you enjoy nature, like the cold and love a good snow, cross country skiing might just become your favorite exercise.

Cross country skiing is a tough workout that works every major muscle group in your body as you glide along, providing both pushing and pulling movements for your muscles. It’s great for improving balance and coordination.

Cross country skiing is a combination of resistance training and cardio activity that’ll burn between 500 and 650 calories per hour, depending on how much you weight and the intensity of the workout.

While you’re skiing, your muscles are working hard. However, since they’re all working together and you’re getting moments of rest on the glide, the lack of muscle exhaustion enables you to sustain the activity for long periods of time. Likewise, your heart rate will be elevated throughout the workout, but won’t be so high that you have to stop to rest.

Make sure you have the right gear for safety and comfort during your workout. You don’t need to spend a bundle, but you’ll need warm clothes that are designed to insulate and breathe. Make sure your ski boots are comfortable and warm.

The right form is critical when cross country skiing. Beginners should start slowly, propelling forward with long, slow strokes until rhythm and form become natural. The moves should feel coordinated and be executed with smooth, fluid motions.

Once you’ve got the form and rhythm down, let the skis take you on a tour of the winter wonderland around you. Allow your mind to wander while your body does the work so that you’re relaxed and renewed by the end of the workout.

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