Saturday, December 24, 2011

Video - The Truth About Energy Bars

Merry Christmas Eve! We will not be posting next week due to the holidays, and holiday-related travel. We hope you all have a very happy holiday, with lots of fun, friends, and family. Be sure to check back in the New Year, for tips on keeping those new resolutions, and sticking to your exercise program in the year ahead - and of course - having fun! We look forward to sharing more great stuff with you in 2012!

We don't have a workout video for you this week - instead we have a quick video about energy bars. Being healthy and in shape is about more than exercise - it's also about what you put into your body. Most people think of energy bars as a healthy and quick meal-replacement, great for those on the go who want to live a healthy lifestyle. However, in many cases this is far from the truth.

The video below tells you how to pick the good bars from the bad, and also mentions what he calls the best bar - which we totally agree with!  Lara Bars are awesome - they have ONLY whole natural food ingredients, and they don't have that nasty cardboardy taste that many energy or protein bars do - they actually taste totally yummy - even kids like them!

The Truth About Energy Bars - Energy bars can be deceiving. Clever packaging can make you think you're eating something healthy when in reality you're just pounding back empty calories and poor quality nutrients. Watch this video to discover the truth abo...

Find more great info like this at

You can find Lara Bars in many health food grocery stores, and even online. Here are a few examples of some of my favorites:

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fun Stuff - Dance with Julianne: Cardio Ballroom

One of the most common reasons people don’t attain weight loss success is because they don't find exercise fun. This is a darn shame when there are so many fun ways to exercise and get in shape. Imagine how much easier it would be if you could do something you love to do while getting in shape at the same time.

Why is it Important to Have Fun While Exercising?

A young girl dancing Cha-cha-cha. The girl mov...Image via WikipediaThink back to a time when you were a child playing with friends. You were laughing. You were having fun and you were completely engaged in your activity. It was easy to lose track of time, right? Even if you were running, jumping and playing hard you didn’t notice how exhausted you were. Sweating, grinning, and out of breath -- you were exercising and having fun.

The same experience can be obtained as an adult. When you’re having fun while exercising you:
* Forget you’re working out
* Put more energy and attention into the movements and exercise
* Make time for exercise even when you’re busy and stressed.

What Makes Exercise Fun?

Exercise is fun when you’re doing something you enjoy. When you feel like a child again. What do you enjoy? What activities make you feel great? Perhaps you enjoy ice skating? Maybe you enjoy boxing or riding your bike. Many people love to dance. Dancing brings out the inner child in all of us. Whether you enjoy country line dancing or hip hop there are fitness programs designed to embrace the “Fun factor” and still help you lose weight.

Dance with Julianne: Cardio Ballroom

English: Logo for Dancing with the Stars TV showImage via WikipediaBallroom dancing has never been so popular. The “Dancing with the Stars” television program has really brought attention to it. Men and women alike enjoy ballroom dancing. Now you can embrace your inner dancer and lose weight too.

Julianne Hough of Dancing with The Stars Fame, has created a workout DVD. Designed for ballroom beginners, Cardio Ballroom centers around several fun and basic ballroom styles including the cha-cha and the jive.

Hough offers expert instruction that makes even the most awkward feel confident and capable. She provides expert step by step instruction. The basics are then integrated into a 55-minute workout. The workout includes a warm-up and stretching session. You’ll burn calories and fat as well as tone your hips and waist. (The hips and waist are the two primary target areas for many individuals.)

If you love dancing, why not have some fun while you get a great workout? Dance with the Stars and learn basic ballroom techniques. The DVD retails for $14.98 (or less) and requires nothing except a willingness to exercise and have fun.

Get Cardio Ballroom and Other Fun Dance Workouts Here:

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Great Bodyweight Workout for Beginners

Here is an excellent article by fitness expert Yuri Elkaim - we love Yuri's direct approach, and emphasis on the body as a whole, which provides a more natural and effective workout. Yuri is a leading resource in health and fitness, and living a cleaner, healthier life.

Bodyweight Workout for Beginners
Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN

English: Fighting Fitness is the ultimate 30 m...Image via Wikipedia
If you ever find yourself at a loss for workout ideas, don't feel like using weights or machines, or traveling, or looking for some great workouts to enjoy at home then you'll be happy to know that you've already got everything you need.

What I mean is that by simply using your bodyweight you can enjoy incredible workouts that will not only help you burn fat but sculpt and tone your body as well.

Bodyweight workouts are not only great for beginners - they can even by used by the fittest people. To this day, some of my most challenging and calorie-crunching workouts revolve around nothing more than push-up and pull-up variations, some full body cardio movements, and some great core and abdominal exercises.

I'd like to share one such workout with you. So if you're sick and tired of going to the gym and would like to try something new and fresh at home (or even while you travel) then give this bodyweight workout a shot. 

Believe me, it might be tougher than it looks so pace yourself.

Please note that this workout is designed for beginners so stay tuned for more advanced variations.

Bodyweight Workout Structure:

After your warm-up you will be performing a 6 exercise bodyweight circuit where you will perform as many reps as possible (where applicable) in 30 seconds. You will then rest 30 seconds before moving onto the next exercise. Repeat this circuit 2-3 times.

WARM-UP - Jogging on spot, jumping jacks (3-5 minutes)

CIRCUIT WORKOUT (30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest)
1. Y Squats
2. Plank
3. Standing Lunges
4. Side Plank
5. Hip Bridge with Leg Extension
6. Push-ups

Enjoy, and let us know how you liked this article below!

About the Author
Yuri Elkaim is a world-renowned fitness, nutrition, and weight loss expert. He is the creator of Fitter U and Treadmill Trainer, author of Eating for Energy, and the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for men's soccer program at the University of Toronto. His trademarked 12-week Fitter U iPod workout program has been helping thousands of people around the world get in shape and lose weight fast without the cost and inconvenience of hiring a trainer. Go to now to get your FREE Fitter U workout and "How to Get Fit and Lose Weight Fast" report!
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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Video - 5 Minute Abs

Want great abs in just 5 minutes a day? Check out this free video below. These 4 exercises are designed to target all of the different muscle groups in your abdominal region. Doing all 4 only takes 5 minutes, and if you do these every other day, you will begin to tone and strengthen your core, and improve the look of your abs. Want more? Check out the link below the video for a great resource to help you get six-pack abs.

Be sure to consult with your doctor or chiropractor to make sure you are in good enough shape before beginning any new fitness routine to avoid injury.

5 Minute Tone Body, Abs Workout, Fitness Training w/ Tammy
MySpace Friend Me 5 Minute Tone Body, Abs Workout Fitness Training w/ Tammy Five min exercise routine to tone your abs for a great bikini body. Related Videos 5 Minute Tone Body, Butt Workout, Fitness Training w/ Tammy

Learn the Truth About How to Get Great Abs Here...
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why Physical Fitness Is A Must For A Healthy Life

Whether you’re over 40, a yuppie in your mid-20s or a teenager in college, loving your body and engaging in a regular exercise plan is always a fool-proof way to a healthier you. Physical fitness is your body’s ability to easily and effectively do tasks and leisure activities. It is your body’s capacity to withstand stress, endure and perform certain tasks under certain circumstances.

English: An elderly improves his torso perform...Image via WikipediaPhysical fitness talks about an over-all focus on the body – the heart, the lungs, the muscles, and the other organs of the body. Your body’s fitness is dependent on your physical limitations and capacities as well as your lifestyle – the food you eat and your daily habits.

Here’s a backgrounder on the different components of physical fitness. There’s endurance, the body’s ability to sustain oxygen and nutrients to tissues over a sustained period of time. Strength, on the other hand, is the ability of the muscle to exert force for a period of time. Flexibility is the ability to move joints and use muscles in a wide range of activities and movements. Swimming, running and jogging are some of the activities that can build endurance while pushups and weight lifting are good for building muscle strength.

Your workout should include activities that should develop these components. Remember to have a warm-up before starting your work-out. A warm-up conditions and prepares the muscles for the more rigorous activities of your work-out plan. At the same time, it should end with a cool down, a few minutes designed to bring down the heart rate and cool the body, wherein the muscles are given time to relax after a heavy work-out session. Remember not to overdo your exercise. A daily walk may sound good, but a daily session of pushups may do more harm than good to your muscles. Space your physical activities in such a way that your body is introduced gradually to a variety of physical activities, ranging from the simple to the more complex, from cardiovascular exercises to strength exercises. Two to three work-out sessions a week is a good way to start. As you progress in your activities, you can now increase the frequency or duration of your exercises.

A US Marine Doing Pull-ups.Image via WikipediaTake note of your diet. If you’re exercising because you want to lose weight at the same time as build up your fitness, then lower calorie intake can greatly benefit you. Cycling can burn 240-410 calories while jogging can burn 740-920 calories. In general, avoid salty food and sweets. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. Lessen your intake of sugar, processed grains, and man-made fats, and be sure to drink lots of water.

Of course, keeping fit and staying fit means listening to your body. Allow your body to adjust with each change in routine and exercises. If you’re experiencing cramps, dizziness or prolonged weakness, stop your work-out and consult a doctor. And most of all, never be discouraged. Take note, achieving the body you want is not an overnight miracle.

A physically fit body does not only spell great abs and a flab-free stomach. It also means lesser chances of acquiring lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes and heart disease, as well as a more active and alert mind, improved ability to cope with stress, and more reserved energy for your daily activities. And let’s not forget a more confident YOU!

For some fun ways to exercise and improve your physical fitness, visit
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Am I Lazy?

Is the reason that there has been an increase in obesity due to the fact that adults in today’s society are lazy? Are we all just a bunch of lethargic couch potatoes that don’t do anything but sit around and eat all the time? I say no. Instead we are a product of our revolutionary, technological society. I am not saying we can blame technology, rather I am saying that as with our youth, we adults are also a reflection of the society that surrounds us. It isn’t an excuse, but it is a thought I have often pondered based on my own typical day.

Palm TXImage via WikipediaMany of us stumble out of bed to the sound of our alarms, and head to the shower, after which you may hear your coffee being made on the coffee maker that is set to make a cup every morning without you having to do a thing. Then you simply push a button on your key ring that starts your car and gets it nice and warm before you even get to it. You can then take a leisurely stroll to your car, get in, and have a nice peaceful drive to work.

Once at work you may take out your PDA and see what is on your agenda for the day. No more flipping through pages of your pocket calendar or scheduler. I know for me, my work day is often simple and sedentary - instead of having to run back and forth through the office to get messages to everyone, I can now simply send an interoffice email with the push of a button. When it is time to leave, I get in my car and drive home.

Many folks these days arrive home from work and put in a microwave dinner that doesn’t have to be chopped up, cut up, stirred, blended, kneaded, poked, or even prodded. Push a few buttons and five minutes later you are sitting in front of the TV watching the shows you recorded on your digital recorder and eating your five minute, nuked meal. (To me this is plain disgusting, so at least I have a from-scratch home-cooked meal every evening.) For many, this is pretty much the norm. 

However, this is really quite a big change from even 15-20 years ago. Gone are the days when people would come home, cook dinner, eat with the family, and go do something like yard work, clean the house, play with the kids, whatever, just something else to occupy the time.

Family watching television, c. 1958Image via WikipediaFinally, your day is coming to an end and instead of doing something really constructive before you go to bed, you can’t resist the opportunity to surf the Internet for a little while, maybe chat with some friends or relatives on Facebook, and check your email. Now your lazy or technologically dysfunctional day is complete.

This whole story brings me back to my question that started the whole thing. Are we lazy or are we just a product of our environment? I think you could probably say we are both. Years ago, even the simple things like making the dinner would be a LITTLE bit of exercise, but now it is too easy because it is done for you in a box. Everything today is easy and done for you, and most adults are on the heavy side, because things are easier and don’t take as much energy. That doesn’t necessarily mean we as a society are lazy, but it does mean we don’t have to exert ourselves as much to accomplish the everyday routines that are needed to complete the day.

However, we could always stop by the gym on our way home, or go for a walk after dinner, so many of us are also lazy too. Today's technological world just makes it way too easy for us to indulge the lazy side of our nature. Which means that in order to stay healthy, we really have to make more of an effort than we've ever needed to in the past. Stay tuned for some fun ways to do this, and keep fit and active even throughout the winter months.

And in the meantime, you can always visit for some great ideas for making exercise fun!

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Video - 10 Minute Kettlebell Workout

Here is a quick kettlebell workout you can do in just a few minutes. This one actually looks pretty safe (unlike some of the other videos out there that make me cringe just to watch - they are just asking for injury unless your form is PERFECT!);  however, you will still want to consult with your doctor or chiropractor before trying a new workout like this - especially with a heavy weight like a kettlebell. But some of these moves provide great strengthening and toning, without putting too much stress on your joints.

It's fast, effective, and pretty fun as long as you don't overdo it.

Weight Loss KettleBell Workout for Women

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More Fun Kettlebell Workouts:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kettlenetics - Weight Training With a Fun Twist

Have you heard of Kettle Balls? Also called kettlebells they’re the latest and greatest addition to a home gym or fitness center workout. The equipment is taking the country by storm and you can get in on the benefits right in your own home.

kettlebellImage via WikipediaWhat are Kettle Balls or Kettlebells?

Kettle Balls or kettlebells are actually Russian weights. They’re made of cast iron which makes them extremely heavy. They range in size from four pounds to almost 200 pounds. They’re popular because they’re easy to use. A kettlebell is a round weight with a handle on it. The handle gives you more control over the movement. It also means you can easily hold one weight in each hand.

The Benefits of Kettlebells

Kettlebells are compact. Instead of requiring a full dumbbell set for strength training you can grab a kettlebell kit for your home gym and store it in a corner. They’re also much easier to use than a basic dumbbell. Traditionally, women have avoided dumbbells and weight lifting.

However, kettlebells make strength training with weights more accessible. And due to their growing popularity many manufacturers offer attractive and colorfully painted kettlebells. No more drab cast iron and steel. You can now have pink, purple, yellow and red weights! It’s motivating and cheerful.

Additionally, strength training with kettlebells is also something you can fit into a few minutes. If you have ten minutes you can pick up your weights and focus on a muscle group. You don’t need to do a full sixty minute workout to start seeing results.

Kettlenetics with Michelle Khai

Michelle Khai is a master fitness instructor known worldwide. She’s developed a Kettleball fitness program that is both inexpensive and extremely effective. You can purchase her Slim and Tone Kit which comes with three workouts on two DVDs and your required four pound kettlebell. Or you can purchase the DVD workouts “Kettlenetics” which includes four DVDs. You’ll need to purchase the four pound kettlebell separately.

The four DVDs include:

* KB Elements – an instructional kettlebell movement DVD. Learn the basics before you begin the workouts so you gain maximum benefit. It’s also important to make sure you have good form when working with a kettlebell. Injury is possible without good form.

* FlowMotion Basics – This is a twenty minute workout that includes both standing and floor exercises. It’s great for sculpting your muscles.

* Cardio Balanced – this is a forty minute fat burning workout that will really kick up your metabolism and burn calories.

* KB Target Toning – provides five ten-minute workouts so you can focus on your problem areas one at a time.

The combined Kettlenetics program provides you with a complete workout system. And all you need is a single four pound kettlebell! If you want an incredibly inexpensive yet comprehensive fitness program consider Kettlenetics. You’ll burn fat, lose weight and tone your muscles with one program.

The Kettlenetics Workout Program:
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Building Muscle: Comparison of Exercise Machines With Free Weights

Strength training is excellent for developing different muscle groups, and there are plenty of machines that will aid you in your fitness regimen. Free weights also have their benefits, so it can be helpful to compare exercise machines and free weights when choosing a workout routine. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and the purpose of comparing is to weigh which one meets your fitness needs the best.

The weight stack from a cable machine: each pl...Image via WikipediaFree weights are widely available in the form of barbells and dumbbells. Many dumbbells are single weight, one-piece items. Some are designed similarly with barbells. It has a bar on the center and the weights are removable. Thus, it gives you the option to change weights. This is less expensive, however time consuming, since you need to replace weights for every exercise.

Weigh stack machines generally have two types, single exercise (created for one movement) and multiple exercise machines (adjustable for performing various exercises).

Free weights are beneficial for strengthening the entire body. Oftentimes this is more effective. Exercises on free weights are done easily. When holding free weights, your entire body is supporting and balancing the weight  - that is why more muscles are engaged during the exercise. This also supports bone mineralization, which is significant in avoiding osteoporosis in the future. As you lift the free weights, weight stabilization also takes place, keeping your body steady. This promotes additional muscle strength. 

The major advantage of training machines over free weights is safety and easy usage. These machines are equipped with control and guides to direct the resistance paths. Thus it is less dangerous and prevents the user from being pinched, injured, or trapped. In case you failed to control the weights, the stacks will never hit you. A spotter's assistance is not needed as much when exercising with machines. Heavier weights are more comfortable to lift, increasing your muscle mass. Adjustments on the machines can be easily made - that is why machines are very popular in many fitness centers and gyms.

French press exercise for tricepsImage via WikipediaThe major disadvantage of free weights is safety. If you perform a bench press using a barbell, being trapped is possible especially if you fail to complete a certain repetition. It is advisable to do your exercise with a spotter or a friend to assist you. Keep in mind that greater amounts of control are needed when stabilizing your muscles. Total control is needed when lifting to prevent joints and muscle injuries. Therefore you may not want to lift as much weight as you would with a machine. Usage and technique must be properly applied when utilizing free weights.

Many manufacturers have created resistance machines with different qualities and designs. Most often these machines are for "typical" users with typical heights, limb lengths, and weights. The motions of the exercises are guided by these machines. So, sometimes the motion cannot be the perfect motion for the limb length and size of your body. This forces your body to adapt such motion which is not good - sometimes making your exercise ineffective, and in some cases actually harmful to your body. Be sure to consult with a trainer if you are new to weight machines, and make any available adjustments to accommodate your body size and type. 

The choice depends on you and your fitness goals. To summarize, free weights can be better for achieving full stabilization of the muscles and freedom of motion, while machines provide safety and easy usage. Consider your fitness goals and choose accordingly.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Video - Interval Training Workout

Here is a quick example of what an interval training workout you could do at a gym might consist of. We feel interval training is one of the best ways to burn fat quickly, increase your metabolism and cardiovascular capacity, and most importantly, have fun without getting bored with your workouts!

Check out this quick video, and for some more great info on interval training exercises, see the articles below:

Fat Blasting Interval Workout - Part I
Fat Blasting Interval Workout, on your vacation, holiday, or any day. *Sponsor: Lose More in Less Time - This exercise video shows you how to blast fat in just 30 min...

More Info on Interval Training:

Do You Really Need Cardio?
Good Workouts For Maximum Muscle and Minimum Fat Incorporate Both Variability and Consistency
Could You be Doing Your Cardio Workouts All Wrong?
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Importance of Varying Intensity in Cardio Exercise

Your Cardio Workouts may NOT be helping you unless you incorporate a high range of heart rate shifts in your training

By Mike Geary – Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist
Author of best-seller: The Truth About Six Pack Abs

Are you a cardio junkie? Everyone seems to think that "cardio" is the best way to get in shape and lose body fat. I'm going to show you with this article why I disagree!

Marine of the United States Marine Corps runs ...Image via WikipediaIt is quite common to hear fitness pros, doctors, and other health professionals prescribe low to moderate intensity aerobic training (cardio) to people who are trying to prevent heart disease or lose weight. Most often, the recommendations go something like this:

"Perform 30-60 minutes of steady pace cardio 3-5 times/week maintaining your heart rate at a moderate level"

Before you just give in to this popular belief and become the “hamster on the wheel” doing endless hours of boring cardio exercise, I’d like you to consider some recent scientific research that indicates that steady pace endurance cardio work may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

First, realize that our bodies are designed to perform physical activity in bursts of exertion followed by recovery, or stop-and-go movement instead of steady state movement. Recent research is suggesting that "physical variability" is one of THE most important aspects to consider in your training.

This tendency can be seen throughout nature as most animals tend to demonstrate "stop-and-go" motion instead of steady state motion. In fact, humans are the only creatures in nature that attempt to do “endurance” type physical activities such as running long distances at the exact same speed the whole time.

Most competitive sports (with the exception of endurance running or cycling) are also based on stop-and-go movement or short bursts of exertion followed by recovery.

To examine an example of the different effects of endurance or steady state training versus stop-and-go training, consider the physiques of marathoners versus sprinters. Most sprinters carry a physique that is very lean, muscular, and powerful looking, while the typical dedicated marathoner is more often emaciated and sickly looking. Now which would you rather resemble?

Photo of a strapless heart rate monitorImage via Wikipedia
Another factor to keep in mind regarding the benefits of physical variability is the internal effect of various forms of exercise on our body. Scientists have known that excessive steady state endurance exercise (different for everyone, but sometimes defined as greater than 60 minutes per session most days of the week) increases free radical production in the body, can degenerate joints, reduces immune function, causes muscle wasting, and can cause a pro-inflammatory response in the body that can potentially lead to chronic diseases.

Highly Variable Cyclic Training

On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training has been linked to increased antioxidant production in the body and an anti-inflammatory response, a more efficient nitric oxide response (which can encourage a healthy cardiovascular system), and an increased metabolic rate response (which can assist with weight loss). Furthermore, steady state endurance training only trains the heart at one specific heart rate range and doesn’t train it to respond to various every day stressors.

On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training teaches the heart to respond to and recover from a variety of demands making it less likely to fail when you need it. Think about it this way... Exercise that trains your heart to rapidly increase and rapidly decrease will make your heart more capable of handling everyday stress. Stress can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to increase rapidly. Steady state jogging and other endurance training does not train your heart to be able to handle rapid changes in heart rate or blood pressure.

The important aspect of variable cyclic training that makes it superior over steady-state cardio exercise is the recovery period in between bursts of exertion. That recovery period is crucially important for the body to elicit a healthy response to an exercise stimulus. Another benefit of variable cyclic training is that it is much more interesting and has lower drop-out rates than long boring steady state cardio programs.

To summarize, some of the potential benefits of variable cyclic training compared to steady state endurance training are as follows: improved cardiovascular health, increased anti-oxidant protection, improved immune function, reduced risk for joint wear and tear, increased muscularity (versus decreased muscularity with endurance training), increased residual metabolic rate following exercise, and an increased capacity for the heart to handle life’s every day stressors.

Sports Workouts and Sprinting

Fox and Haskell formula showing the split betw...Image via WikipediaThere are many ways you can reap the benefits of stop-and-go or variable intensity physical training. Most competitive sports such as football, basketball, volleyball, racquetball, tennis, hockey, baseball, etc. are naturally comprised of highly variable stop-and-go motion which trains the heart through a MUCH wider heart rate range compared to just steady walking or jogging.

Doing swimming workouts in a variable intensity fashion may also be more beneficial than just swimming for a long duration at the same speed. Same goes for bicycling -- that is why mountain biking, which involves extreme ups and downs at various intensity levels may also be more beneficial than just a long flat steady pace bike ride.

One of the absolute most effective forms of variable intensity training to really reduce body fat and bring out serious muscular definition is performing wind sprints. Wind sprints can be done by sprinting at near max speed for 10-30 seconds, and then taking 60 seconds to walk for recovery before your next sprint. 6-12 total sprint intervals is usually a very challenging workout for most people.

In addition, weight training naturally incorporates short bursts of exertion followed by recovery periods. High intensity interval training (varying between high and low intensity intervals on any piece of cardio equipment) is yet another training method that utilizes exertion and recovery periods. For example, an interval training session on the treadmill could look something like this:

Warm-up for 3-4 minutes at a fast walk or light jog

Interval 1 - run at 8.0 mi/hr for 1 minute
Interval 2 - walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes
Interval 3 - run at 10.0 mi/hr for 1 minute
Interval 4 - walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes

Repeat those 4 intervals 4 times for a very intense 20-minute workout.

Also, don't overlook other great ways to incorporate variable intensity cardio training by using a jump rope, a rowing machine, stairs running, or even outdoor hill sprints.

The take-away message from this article is to try to train your body at highly variable intensity rates for the majority of your workouts to get the most beneficial response in terms of heart health, fat loss, and muscle maintenance.

Full-body strategically-designed resistance training programs along with high intensity cardiovascular training programs guaranteed to strip off body fat when combined with a healthy diet are included in Mike's book The Truth About Six Pack Abs. If you’re serious about getting lean for good, this book is a must-read. 
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Introduction to Bikram (Hot) Yoga

Most people have at least a passing knowledge of what Yoga is these days.  But until you have tried Yoga it is impossible to know whether or not it is for you.  Yoga, quite simply can be a life changing experience and the discipline and mental strength that result from it can completely change your perspective and world view.

Bikram Choudhury at a book signing in New York...Image via WikipediaOne method of Yoga which is currently very popular is know as Bikram Yoga.  Bikram Yoga, often referred to as "hot yoga" follows the Bikram Yoga Method.  As with all Yoga it has multiple goals - to build your inner strength as well as your outer physical strength.  A vital component of Bikram Yoga is the flexibility and balance required to perform the exercises and it is believed that this comes from mental strength as much as physical practice.  The roots of Bikram (and most other yoga forms) are in Hatha Yoga, which is a healing form of Yoga that strengthens both body and mind.

The founder of Bikram Yoga was Bikram Choudhury, a yoga practitioner and innovator.  After a weightlifting accident Bikram Choudhury was determined to recover and set about investigating the healing ability of practicing certain types of exercise.  The result was Bikram Yoga, which so many people found to be an effective method of healing that it's tenants were recorded and passed on as a new form of Yoga.  Those who practise Bikram Yoga purely for it's healing benefits are plentiful, but there is also a strong holistic component, which is a key reason behind using Bikram Yoga for many of those who are regular users.

They key to success with Bikram Yoga is to develop the mental strength required to discipline yourself in it's use.  If you can master this side of the Yoga then the physical benefits will be forthcoming.  They have been proven by scientists including a group from the Tokyo University Hospital.  The medical benefits are beyond question and have been shown to improve chronic ailments as well as greatly assist in the treatment and recovery of tissue injuries.

Emily Bikram Yoga 19Image by OpeningMinds via FlickrAt the 1972 International Medical Conference the findings were presented and it was concluded that Bikram Yoga had the ability to assist in the recovery of internal tissue.  The explanation given was that the positions practised by Bikram Yoga replenish cells and assist in the lymphatic system flushing toxins from the body.  In addition to the toxin drain the cells are assisted by higher oxygen flows during and after exercise. Bikram Yoga is typically done in a heated room, and the heat is believed to increase flexibility and improve circulation.

Bikram showed that to get the best benefits from the exercise a healthy and well balanced body was important.  Where the body is weak Bikram Yoga will have less affect in the healing process, which relies on correct balance and circulation. 

Bikram demonstrated 26 exercises and recommended a regime, which was to be practised every single day in order to best treat the body.  Each posture exercise was developed based on a background of both Eastern and Western Yoga disciplines.  They all focus on the movement and pressure on muscles, nerves, ligaments glands and organs.  The exercises are meant to be performed together and in sequence, because they are all inter-related to each other.

Bikram Yoga is low impact and can be performed by people of all different ages.  The important component is the discipline required to perform the posture exercises every day for maximum benefit.

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Bikram Yoga Resources:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Video - Proper Crunch Technique

Here is a really quick video on the proper way to do a crunch to get strong abs. It's only about a minute long, but will help you see how to do a crunch without straining your back or causing injury.

Home ab workout: crunch exercise for 6-pack abs
Don't let the TV ads convince you to buy some bulky contraption that will gather dust in your closet, crunches are safe and effective! This video clip shows how to do crunches with varying degrees of difficulty based on your ability. Remember that ab...

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Worst Ab Exercise - Avoid This if You Actually Want Sexy Six Pack Abs

The truth about ineffective abdominal exercises and "ab machines"
by Mike Geary, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist
lean stomach and six pack abs 
I was at a poker party up in North Jersey over the weekend at a friend's house.  My friend had moved into this beautiful new home about a year ago, but I had never made it up for a visit until this weekend.

Well, as they were giving us a tour of the house, we took a peek into one of their spare rooms which wasn't being used for anything. The only thing they had in this room was one of those infomercial "ab loungers" covered in dust... you know, the ab-chair looking thingy that they hawk on the infomercials as being the end-all solution to a flabby stomach... telling you that you can get a flat stomach and perfect abs just by sitting on this thing and rocking a little bit while you lazily watch tv.

The cleverly marketed infomercials for these products lure you in by showing you the ripped sexy abs of the male and female fitness models that they hired for the show (who have never actually used these gadgets themselves...they actually got their toned near-perfection bodies through following REAL workouts and strict nutrition!)

Ab LoungerImage by sparr0 via FlickrWell, since this "ab lounger" was sitting in this vacant room getting dusty, obviously it wasn't actually being used, so it was really a waste of their money that they spent on it.
Regardless, even if it was being used regularly, it would never have given my friends the results they were looking for, because these infomercial ab gadget machines (and all ab exercises for that matter), don't accomplish the most important aspect of truly achieving flat six pack abs...


And worse yet, just for kicks, I jumped on this "ab lounger" and gave it a try... I have to say, I've never done any abs exercise where I felt it LESS in my abs... As a matter of fact, this piece of crap lounger didn't even feel like it was making my abs work at all! 

It felt more like a lounge chair I should be using to relax with a beer at a barbeque.

My point of this story is that there are still thousands of people every day that fall for these gimmicks and waste their hard-earned money on every ab-gimmick that comes out next.

So what does it REALLY take to get flat sexy six pack abs?

Check out the rest of the article here and find out....

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

How to Make Exercise Fun Again

It seems that most people that keep giving up on exercise are often the ones that don't enjoy it. From my perspective, I don't understand this problem as I love almost any form of exercise and get true enjoyment out of it.

This goes beyond just your typical weight lifting and cardio routines also. You really do need to find forms of exercise you enjoy and that are fun for you if you're really going to stick with them for the long term.

Check out this great article for a lot of fun ideas to get back on track with your workouts.... 

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Video - Shiva Rea Flow Yoga for Beginners

Here is a 10-minute segment of a great yoga workout. This type of yoga is called Vinyasa - or "Flow" yoga. Shiva Rea is one of the leading teachers of this style of yoga. It focuses on continuous flowing movements, and of course breathing. This is just a sample of Vinyasa yoga so you can get a feel for what it is like, and it is at an easy beginner level. Other Shiva Rea videos can be found below.

Enjoy, and feel free to share your comments below!

Flow Yoga for Beginners - Shiva Rea - 1/7

More Shiva Rea Yoga Videos:
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Fat Loss Workouts for Those Short On Time

This week we have a helpful guest article by a well-known fitness expert. Enjoy!

Unique Lean-Body Workouts for Time-Crunched People:  Super-Fast "Multi-Workouts" to do at Home or the Office
by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer
Author - The Truth About Six Pack Abs

Warning: this style of workout is WAY different than anything you've ever tried before and may result in a dramatically leaner, stronger body so that your friends no longer recognize you in a matter of weeks!

Picture of person taking Heart Rate on MIO watchImage via WikipediaAlright, I exaggerated about your friends recognizing you, but this workout is still great for busy people that always use the excuse that they don't have time to go to the gym, or even for the normal gym rat to try out for a few weeks to break out of a plateau.

Please keep an open-mind and don't worry so much about what other people think, because this is quite different and you may get some funny looks, but you'll get the last laugh with your new rock hard body! To be honest, most people are too self conscious to try something like this. If that's the case for you, then that's your loss.

Here's how it works (these workouts can be done at home or even in your office):
Instead of doing your traditional workouts of going to the gym 3-4 times a week and doing your normal weight training and cardio routines for 45-60 minutes at a shot... with this program, you will be working out for just a couple minutes at a time, several times throughout each day, 5 days/week.

The program will consist of only bodyweight exercises done for about 2-3 minutes, 6-8 times per day, throughout each day. Now obviously if you work a normal office job, you are going to have to not be shy about doing a few exercises in your office and having your cube-mates watch you. Actually, I've found that some people that have tried this have actually gotten their co-workers to join them!

If you have a private office, then you don't have to worry about anybody watching you. If you work from home, or are a stay at home mom, there's no reason you can't fit these in throughout the day while at home. If you end up having a busy day with meetings and so forth, and can only fit a couple of these 2-minute workouts in, then so be it, but try to get as many done each day as you can.

If you're on a normal 9-5 office schedule, I recommend doing your 2-minute workouts every hour, on the hour, with the exception of lunch. For example, you could try 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, and 4 pm.

Some of the bodyweight exercises that are the best to focus on are:
  • bodyweight squats (and variations)
  • pushups (and variations)
  • forward, reverse, or walking lunges
  • up & down a staircase if one is available
  • floor planks (holding the plank position from forearms and feet)
  • floor abs exercises such as lying leg thrusts, ab bicycles, etc.
  • one-legged bodyweight Romanian deadlifts
This list is not fully comprehensive, but I wanted to keep it relatively simple. If you know other good bodyweight exercises, you can add those to your routine also. If you want to keep it real simple and don't want to get down on the floor for anything, you can stick to squats, lunges, and pushups and still get great results.

The good thing about these workouts is that you do enough in 2-3 minutes to get your blood pumping, heart rate up a bit, a large portion of your body's muscles worked, and body temperature raised. However, it's usually not enough to break a sweat in only 2 or 3 minutes, so you don't have to worry about sweating in the office or where ever you may be. At most, you might just get a little moist on the skin.

Here's an example workout routine at home or the office (adjust the reps up or down based on your capabilities):

Mon/Wed/Fri9 am - 10 pushups/15 bodyweight squats, repeat 1X for 2 sets
10 am - plank holds (hold the planks as long as you can taking short rest breaks for a total of 3 minutes)
11 am - 5 pushups/10 bodyweight squats, repeat for 4 sets
1 pm - plank holds (hold as long as possible in 3 minutes)
2 pm - 8 pushups/12 bodyweight squats, repeat for 3 sets
3 pm - plank holds (hold as long as possible in 3 minutes)
4 pm - max pushups/max bodyweight squats in one set (no repeat)

9 am - 6 fwd lunges each leg/6 rev lunges, repeat 1X for 2 sets
10 am - one legged bw Romanian deadlifts (RDL) 6 each leg/floor abs for 20 sec, repeat 1X for 2 sets
11 am - 3 fwd lunges each leg/3 rev lunges, repeat for 4 sets
1 pm - one legged bw RDL 3 each leg/floor abs for 20 sec, repeat for 4 sets
2 pm - 5 fwd lunges each leg/5 rev lunges, repeat for 3 sets
3 pm - one legged bw RDL 10 each leg/floor abs for 30 sec (no repeat)
4 pm - max fwd lunges each leg/max rev lunges in one set (no repeat)

In order to progress on these workouts, you could either add 1 or 2 reps to each set per week, or you could progress to more difficult versions of each exercise each week (for example, close grip pushups, one leg raised pushups, squats with arms raised straight over head, etc.).

QT interval corrected by heart rate.Image via WikipediaThe above routines are just a couple examples of how you can use this very unique style of training. Use your creativity and come up with your own. Think about what you've accomplished with these "mini" workouts completed throughout each day... You've increased your heart rate and pumped up your muscles 6-8 different times throughout each day, burning a lot of extra calories and stimulating your metabolism.

Even though each "mini" workout was a very short duration, you've accumulated lots of repetitions for almost every muscle throughout your entire body, and you didn't even have to break a sweat during any of the "mini" workouts. And there's hardly any excuse for not being able to take a 2-minute break once per hour and do a couple of exercises.

Another benefit of this style of training is that now you don't have to devote any time before or after work to going to the gym because you already got your workouts little by little throughout the day. You've now got some extra free time on your hands!

Try this type of time-efficient workout routine out for 3-4 weeks and then go back to your normal gym routines. I think you'll find that it was a great way to break out of a plateau and stimulate new results in your body. You can try mixing in a cycle of these "mini" workouts every couple of months to keep things fresh.
Keep in mind that this is only one method of training and doesn't mean that you should only stick to this method for eternity. You will hit a plateau on any given training method, so I'd recommend just rotating it into your arsenal of various training methods. And by all means, don't worry so much about what other people think...have the courage to try something a little different. In the end, you'll be the one laughing back at all of the "blubber-bellies" at your office that are giving you funny looks while they eat their donuts!

Feel free to email this link on to any friends or coworkers that you think would like to try these types of unique quick daily workouts.  Heck, try to get your co-workers to do these with you if you can!

If you liked these training ideas, Mike's internationally best-selling ebook The Truth about Six Pack Abs contains hundreds of more innovative training and nutrition ideas to lose stubborn body fat and carve out a rock hard set of abs and a flat stomach.
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