Unleash your inner athlete






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Publication: Girls' Life
Author: Abbondanza, Katie
Date published: February 1, 2011

The reasons you should go full-out fierce on your next workout are stacking up: Killer confidence, amped strength and an optimistic outlook are all possible when you push your limits. Here, we reveal the secrets of the very sporty. Get ready to maze yourself.

GETTING ALL-AROUND STRONG

Today's successful sportsters are strong across the board thanks to strengthtraining seshes. "Weight lifting helps you develop more muscle density and raises your metabolism," says Elizabeth Burwell of High Performance NYC, a personal training studio in New York. That means you'll torch calories faster and up your fit factor. She also suggests interval training to boost results. "Set a stopwatch for 10 minutes. Then, pick 10 exercises and try going from one to the next, doing as many reps as you can for one minute straight." Head to girlslife.com for a routine inspired by amazing personal trainers from across the country.

POWER ON AND OFF THE FILED

It might sound a li'l crazy, but tackling big-time feats on the field and in the gym is excellent for your ego. Those tiny lifts - scoring a goal, setting a personal best in the mile run - affect every area of your life. "By pushing yourself harder than you thought possible, you will gain much more than strength," Elizabeth tells us. Bottom line? The new you will be buff - and bursting with confidence.

MAKING THAT EXTRA EFFORT

To get to the top, you've got to reach high, right? Excellent athletes have the ability to exert that extra effort to get to their goals, no matter how lofty they seem. Take a cue and come up with a challenge you'd like to master - say, a sprint triathlon this summer or perfecting your backhand in tennis - then come up with a plan to make it happen. "When facing a challenge, set a goal to overcome that challenge, and then follow through with your own actions to achieve it," says Robert Parr, director of coaching for Arkansas Soccer. And don't shy away from big dreams. You'll just have to put in even more effort along the way to make 'em come true. Set your sights and get going, stat.

PUSHING PAST ANY PROBS

Even the all-stars fall into a fitness funk sometimes and, sigh, it'll prob happen to you, too. You might have a basketball game where you brick every shot or simply can't get the groove in spin class. Rather than replaying flubs in your head, Coach Parr suggests simply moving on. Remind yourself of your strengths and use them to light those motivational fires for your meet, class or challenge. If you're really having trouble following through on your fitness plan, take a sec to reassess. Swap that tired run for jumping rope or a cardio kickboxing class. Or pick a more attainable goal, but don't just quit altogether. Truth is, if you give your sweat sessions your best effort, you'll ultimately feel fab. "When a player walks off the field knowing she gave absolutely everything she could, she can take pride in her contributions whether she won or lost," Coach Parr reminds us. Same goes for the gym, pool or wherever you're pouring your heart (and sweat) out.

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