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Slim-Down Lowdown

"Maximizing The Space You Have "

5 Quick Tips for Working Out in Small Spaces

Former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali once said he could train in a phone booth.  His point was that commitment and determination are more important to reaching fitness goals than fancy equipment or spacious facilities.

I thought about that when I lived in Manhattan and worked out in a place not much bigger than a storage unit - it was called a "studio apartment".

For tips on how to maximize your workout when you've got minimal home-gym space, consider these options:

Opt for fitness-friendly furnishings.  Whether you live in a tiny one-room apartment or a palace crammed with wall-to-wall furniture, to get a decent workout, you need enough unobstructed space to do a push-up and take two or three steps without crashing into something. S o if that's a problem, reconsider your priorities.

If your living-room area doubles as your home gym, think about investing in space-saving or easy-to-move furniture: ceiling-to-floor bookshelves maximize vertical space; rollaway hinged-top ottomans provide extra storage; and most chairs, sofas, and end tables can be fitted with casters, making furniture easier to move out of the way when it's time to Push Play.  Once you have enough space to roll out your mat, you're good to go.

Do it longer if you can't go farther.  P90X® trainer Tony Horton loves those traveling lunges where you take a giant step into a lunge three or four times in one direction before turning around and giant-step lunging back.  I can barely do two of those in my narrow little living room before I crash into the wall or my couch.  So instead of trying to keep up perfectly with Tony and Dreya - I'd get too dizzy - I pause the video at that point and just giant-step-lunge twice and then turn around and giant-step-lunge back at a speed that doesn't scramble my brains.  You can do the same with most multiple-step moves. Just make them shorter but do them longer.

Gear up.  You can also modify moves that call for more floor space than you've got by shortening your steps and increasing the move's intensity.  Grab lightweight dumbbells when you're lunging and baby-step squatting side to side.  And do your crunches and chest presses and even push-ups with a balance ball.  You'll use more muscles to stabilize your core trying to balance on the thing, resulting in a more efficient ab workout.

The ball can also serve as a chair when you're watching TV, helping to improve your posture and making it easier to keep your fitness goals in mind.  Trust me, you'll find yourself doing bicep curls and crunches instead of munching on snacks in front of the tube.  Or give Fast 10® a try—you'll get a total-body workout using resistance bands, and the moves don't require much space at all.

Substitute no-can-do cardio.  If you're bruising your shins against the corner of the couch on a few of those Turbo Jam® kicks or you simply do not have enough room to do justice to some of the dance moves in Yoga Booty Ballet™LIVE, it's okay to jog in place for a few seconds or do jumping jacks to stay in your heart-rate zone.  You can rejoin the action when it's safer to do so.  The last thing you want to do is injure yourself and have an excuse to lay off exercising for a while.

Just Press Pause.  For the most part, Beachbody fitness programs require minimal workout space.  Some moves, though, call for a wider area - or a way to compensate for not having it. When you're lying on your back with one leg straight up in the air, for example, and you're supposed to bend it slowly to the right and then over to the left - all the while keeping your leg straight and your shoulder blades flat on the ground - you may need to press Pause, turn around, or shift positions a couple of times to be sure you stretch both sides equally.

I'm always pausing the video, turning, and readjusting my mat during the yoga and stretching workouts so I can watch the trainer and do all the moves to full extension.  That's what makes video workouts so convenient - you have control over the pace of the action. And it sure beats jump-roping in a phone booth!

Source:  Jude Buglewicz