Hack Your Way To Better/Cheaper/Smarter Workouts

Losing the love handles, auntie arms, muffin top or cankles doesn't have to be so hard. Make the most of your workouts with these tips.

Breathe more efficiently while running Think you know how to breathe? THINK AGAIN. For some people, simply breathing in and out isn’t good enough. There's a technique to getting the most out of your lungs and it's known as the 3:2 inhale-exhale ratio:

Many experts will say that to fully oxygenate the muscles and clear the body of carbon dioxide you should breathe a 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio; full inhales and full exhales. This means you INHALE on the LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes and EXHALE fully on the RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes. This pattern is not that hard to turn into a habit, but it may require you to slow your pace down for a few runs to master the technique. You will notice a lower heart rate as you are able to get more oxygen in and more importantly push all the carbon dioxide out of your body. You may notice that you naturally drop to a 2:1 ratio when you are really pushing it to the finish. That is OK. But realize it is difficult to maintain a pace that requires you to breathe at a 2:1 ratio.

The extremely fit-looking dude in the video above has more tips on how to breathe. [Complete Running Network via Lifehacker]

Boost your performance with coffee Caffeine is a stimulant that offsets fatigue, increases stamina and elevates blood pressure, which in turn, can enhance performance. And it's perfectly legal. You don't even need to drink a lot of it. If you're already a coffee drinker, why not time your daily fix so that you reap the benefits during your workout schedule? Just don't overdo it. [Lifehacker]

Lack of space is not an excuse The “burpee” is an oldie, but a goodie. See? You don't need to spend money to get a decent workout.

Video podcasts are the new exercise DVDs If you’re the type who needs visual cues when exercising, and you want to watch Z-list celebrities pumping it on your computer screen rather than on your TV, jump onto iTunes. For a listing of all fitness-related video podcasts, go to “Power Search” on the right-hand side of the home page, select “Podcasts” from the drop-down menu, tick the box that says “Search only for Video Podcasts”, and use “fitness” as your search term. There’s a good variety of instructional podcasts for your fitness pleasure. [Unclutterer]

Less is more It's OK if the thought of doing a marathon or any endurance-based sports makes you nervous. You can turn your weakness into a benefit with interval training, according to Lucy Danziger of Yahoo! Health:

Study subjects who spent just 20 minutes mixing sprints with jogging lost three times the fat off their legs and butt in 15 weeks, compared to those who jogged steadily for 40 minutes, research from the University of New South Wales in Sydney finds. Intervals may spark fat-mobilizing hormones, and they amp your cardio capacity so your future runs will actually feel easier.

This is also great news for people with crappy time-management skills.

It's in the tempo Dr Costas Karageorghis, an associate professor of sport psychology at Brunel University in England, has studied the effects of music on physical performance for 20 years. So I believe him when he says the right music can improve results, both as a motivator and as a distraction from fatigue. The most effective music, according to Dr Karageorghis, has a tempo of between 120 and 140 beats per minute (which most dance and rock songs beat to). You can calculate the BPM of your tracks using a free program like MixMeister (Windows and Mac). [NYT]

Track your (poor) progress Measuring your success—or lack thereof—is a fundamental part of any exercise routine, whether it be through a measuring tape, scales or free tools like these. If instant gratification is your motivation, Garmin's got a range of gadgets that will tell you what you want to know: heart rate, calories burnt, time, distance, pace and a whole heap of features to help you compare and improve on your results. It doesn't come cheap though. [Link]

Multitask while exercising Exercising for your internet The Biggest Loser-style might be a bit extreme, but combining your workout with another task may improve your odds of staying on that treadmill for longer than five minutes, especially if you find exercising on machines extremely boring. With the PC-Sport, you can do a step workout while you play that game — in fact, if you stop stepping, you won't be able to type or use your mouse. How's that for motivation! For a DIY solution, try making your own handlebar book stand so that you can read while you pedal away on your stationary bike. [Link to review]

And if all else fails and you want to simply look the part, you could always get yourself one of these. If you've got anything to add, please do so in the comments.

Playing with balls is Gizmodo AU’s week-long look at the technology behind the sports we love, from the jerseys to the balls and everything in between. Go the 'boks!

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