Saturday, December 22, 2012

Video - 30-Minute Essential Pilates Mat Workout

This 30-minute Pilates mat workout offers a great challenge for your core and your entire body. The instructor demonstrates and describes correct technique and breathing for each movement, and keeps a good pace throughout. This is a fairly challenging intermediate-level workout, but is also a good refresher for those more advanced students, and may be appropriate for beginners as well if you are already in pretty good shape.

Check it out, and enjoy this fun Pilates mat workout over and over - after a few weeks, you should really see a difference in your core strength!

We'll be taking next week off to spend the holidays with our families, but be sure to check back for the New Year to start 2013 off right with some new fun ways to exercise! Have a wonderful, safe, and fit holiday season.

Pilates Essentials, FULL 30 Minute exercise video - eFit30
Full 30 minute Pilates routine. Try this after the beginners routine. There are more free workouts here on our channel for your help! Kilocalorie...

Like this video? Check out more Pilates workouts and other fun ways to exercise at

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Getting Started Using Pilates at Home

Once upon a time, a person had to travel to a higher end studio or health club to get a good Pilates workout.  The equipment was expensive and too big and bulky to bring home.

But thanks to new innovations from Pilates instructors, now Pilates lovers around the world are able to get a great workout in their own homes. The newer mat workouts allow you to benefit from Pilates principles, without the inconvenience of having to store a bunch of equipment in your house.

Curso de Instructor de Pilates
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This gives you the flexibility to work out at home whenever you like, which is great for both working moms, and those needing to fit in their workout around a busy schedule. For best results, you'll still want to practice Pilates at least three times per week, but if you don't have to fit your workouts to a specified class schedule at a gym, for most people this should be fairly easy to do.

However, before you start a Pilates program at home you should consider taking a couple of classes with a qualified instructor so that you can get familiar with the Pilates exercises, as well as proper form and breathing. This will help you get the most out of your workouts, and make sure that you are working at the proper level to avoid injury or strain.

You will also want to pick up a floor mat to do your exercises on. Any good yoga mat should work fine, and unlike Pilates machines, they are not very expensive, and they don't take up much space to store.

Once you've got your mat and checked out a couple of classes, it's time to grab a couple of good Pilates videos and start your practice at home! You will notice that there are quite a few Pilates videos and DVD’s to choose from. Many of them will have different styles that will accommodate beginners as well as more advanced students, and some are targeted specifically to a certain level of student.

For most workouts you'll only need a mat, but some videos may include exercises that use small inexpensive items like roller and rings.  This is going to add fun and variety to your workouts and keep you motivated, so don't be afraid to try adding these things in as you progress.

See below for a couple of good videos, or check out for more helpful ideas for doing Pilates at home!

Good Mat Pilates DVDs to Use At Home:

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Strengthen Your Core & Reduce Back Pain with Pilates

Do you suffer from chronic back pain?  Are you afraid to see a specialist because you don’t want to just pop a few pills every time there’s a problem?  Have you tried other exercises, but the pain just keeps coming back?  Well, Pilates might just be the answer to your problems. 

Pilates Exercise Video class
Pilates "Hundred" exercise (Photo credit: myyogaonline)
Pilates is an exercise program based on improving and strengthening the core muscles; however it stresses movements while holding positions.  Staying in certain poses and moving only your extremities requires you to work your stabilizing muscles.  This gives you a full body workout while paying particular attention to your abs and lower back.  Pilates is not only a fantastic way to get in shape; it can help stretch and strengthen key muscles which will allow you to function with less back pain. 

A majority of back pain is caused by improper posture.  Sitting incorrectly at a desk all day can put undue stress on our backs, causing pain.  Pilates is a great way to promote proper posture.  Not only do all the exercises require correct posture and align the spine when done correctly, but they also help you maintain that posture even when you’re not working out.  Pilates strengthens the “core” muscles of the abdomen and back that support your body and keep it in a proper upright position.  When these muscles are toned, you’re more likely to maintain a good posture and reduce the amount of back pain you experience. 

Curso de Instructor de Pilates
Pilates (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Along with promoting good posture, Pilates also helps work the muscles and improve flexibility of the entire body.  If your back pain is due to a muscle injury, improved flexibility can relieve some of the pain you may experience.  Even more so, it can prevent you from injuring the area in the future by strengthening the muscles and maintaining correct posture and position of the various bones of the body.  Simply by working the muscle, you will improve blood flow to the muscle and relieve pain. 

If you are looking for relief from minor back pain, you can find appropriate exercises from a book or video tape to help.  If you are suffering from more severe pain, you should consider taking a class, getting a private lesson from a personal trainer, or using Pilates machines.  By having help, you will be sure you’re performing the exercises correctly and getting maximum benefit from them.  If you have a personal trainer, you will know that the exercises you’re performing are designed to help with your specific problems.

Note: While Pilates can be helpful for relieving back pain for many people, you should talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. 
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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Video - 10-Minute Core Abdominal Workout

This is a 10-minute all-out workout for your abs and core muscles, working all of the core muscles from several different angles to be sure nothing gets missed. Remember you don't have to do 15 reps for each exercise. If you can only do 5, that's fine - do 5 reps and rest until the next exercise. You'll be able to work your way up as you get stronger. Also be sure to be careful of your lower back, especially if you have back problems. During the sit-ups, just come half-way up in a crunch if you need to - you'll still get a great workout for your abs, and with less stress on your back. Most of the rest of these shouldn't be too hard on your back though.

As with any new exercise routine, be sure to check with your trainer or fitness professional before trying these.

Do this twice a week for 10 minutes, and enjoy your flat, toned mid-section!

Fitness - 10 Minute ab workout
Visit my Fitness Website: Try my standing up AB Video and Kettle Bell abs to for a variety.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Flat Tummy Tip: Exercises For The Transverse Abdominals

A group of muscles that often gets neglected in stomach exercise routines are the transverse abdominals, the core muscles that lie below the rectus abdominus. Most abdominal exercises target the rectus abdominus and the vertical abdominals, ignoring the transverse abdominals. Even crunches, the staple of most abdominal workouts, do nothing for the transverse abdominals. These muscles are actually the most important to target, however, as they connect to both the lower back muscles and the rectus abdominus and for a girdle for the entire abdomen. Any routine aimed at flattening the stomach should include the transverse abdominals as a focus. Using the following exercises, you can work out your transverse abdominals and really make progress on that flat tummy - as well as helping stabilize your torso and spine, improve your posture, and avoid injury. As with any workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.
Transversus abdominis muscule
Transversus abdominis muscle (in red) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pelvic Tilts
This stomach exercise requires lying on your back on a flat surface, such as the floor or a bench. Use a mat or towel to cushion your spine. Bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. Raise your pelvis (and only your pelvis) off the floor, hold momentarily, and then lower it back down. Repeat for an entire set of 15-20 repetitions. Maintaining a controlled movement is crucial to this exercise. This will allow you to use your abdominal muscles, rather than your body's momentum, to do the work on the exercise. Also, be sure to keep your upper body on the floor throughout.
Crunchless Crunch
This exercise is fairly simple but can also be fairly difficult. Essentially, it involves trying to pull the belly button in towards the spine. This can be tricky, as it involves using muscles which you may not be used to activating. To start, either lie or on your stomach or kneel. You might want to try both ways and see which helps you feel the exercise better. Relax your body as much as possible, then try to use only the lower abdominals to move your belly button toward your spine. Hold for ten seconds. If holding for ten seconds feels easy, hold for a longer period. The goal is to hold the contraction until you either cannot feel it, or you feel other muscles working harder than the transverse abdominus. When you feel this, let the contraction out.

Scissor Kicks
This stomach exercise also requires lying on the floor. Position your hands under your butt, keeping your back pressed against the floor. Slowly raise one leg to a height of about ten inches, then slowly lower it back to the floor. As your lower one leg, raise the other. Repeat this motion for an entire set. Maintaining control throughout is important, not allowing momentum to get the better of you. Your upper body should remain on the floor through the entire move.
There are plenty of other exercises targeting the transverse abdominals, but these three ought to be enough to get you started. Stomach exercises like these are key to any tummy-flattening plan, and they are especially good for pregnant and post-partum women.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Importance of Working Your Core Muscles

The term "core muscles" usually pertains to the muscles found at the obliques, abdominals, lower back, and the glutes. These four areas of the body are the ones that usually define a person's posture, and consequently a good posture generally reflects good condition in these muscle groups.

Collage of varius Gray's muscle pictures by Mi...
The core muscles include the rectus abdominis, abdominal external obliques, and several muscles in the back and buttocks.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What many people do not realize is that the core muscles are actually the “core” or the central driver for the strength that is needed to carry out many different physical activities. This means that if an individual’s core muscles are physically powerful, they will help maintain equilibrium and balance in the body and provide support and stability pretty much whenever you move in any direction.

Strengthening Core Muscles

The main responsibility of the core muscles is to provide enough power to the body to enable it to cope with the dynamic challenges of every physical activity that a person encounters.

For this reason, many health and fitness experts have realized that it is relatively more important to strengthen the core muscles than almost any other muscle group in the body. Through various experiments and research, they have found that having a stronger core can lessen a lot of health problems related to posture.

For instance, a well-conditioned core can improve the endurance of the muscles of the back and promote proper spinal alignment, preventing or relieving chronic back pain.

Why? Because muscles that are included in the group of core muscles are actually the ones that initiate the proper stabilization of the whole upper and lower torso.

So, for those who wish to know and understand why it is so important to strengthen the core muscles, here is a list of some of the benefits that you can use as references:

1. Strengthening core muscles will improve posture and prevent low back pain of muscular origin.
This means that as you incorporate stretching exercises in your routine, taking a particular focus on the muscles of the upper and front part of the trunk, and including the abdominal and trunk muscles, the activity has the tendency to strengthen the muscles of the back that extend to the spine.

2. It will help tone the muscles, thereby avoiding further back injury

Exercising your core muscles will strengthen and tones your lower back muscles and buttocks while stretching the hip flexors and the muscles on the front of the thighs.

This can not only help relieve back pain from previous injuries, but it can also help prevent future injury to the lower back.

Muscles not from Brussels
(Photo credit: tajai)
3. Improves physical performance

Exercising the core muscles with slow, static stretching is quite effective in relieving stiffness and enhances flexibility. Once the flexibility of a person has improved, it follows that he will be able to perform his physical activities with more ease and comfort.

4. Lengthens muscles and helps improve balance

Core muscle exercises strengthen the center of the body and improve balance and function, two areas which can decline as we age. Building and maintaining a strong core can keep you active and mobile throughout your senior years.

Many health and fitness experts recommend adding core strengthening exercises into your workout routine at least twice a week. Don't think you need to do hundreds of situps either - 10-15 minutes or so spent on the core muscle groups is usually enough. Be sure to choose workouts that work all the various muscles of the core, and not just one or two. Pilates or Yoga are both great forms of exercise which do engage all of your core muscles and promote balance and fitness throughout the body.

Gaining a strong core is important for balance, posture, and avoiding injury, so core exercises are definitely essential to include in your fitness routine.
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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Video - What is PACE Express? How & Why It Works for Fat Loss

This video gives an in-depth look at the PACE workout system and the philosophy behind it, with creator Dr. Al Sears. Dr. Sears explains why PACE works so well for health, fitness, and fat loss, and how it is different from other workout programs. He also explains the importance of distinguishing between weight loss and FAT loss, which is a very important difference to understand for the sake of your health.

Personally, I love PACE for two main reasons: 1. It only takes 15 minutes a day, and 2. It's FUN!  I've been doing the PACE Express workout for a couple of weeks now, and am very happy with it so far - I'll post a detailed review of my own soon. In the meantime, learn more about this fun new way to exercise in the video below.

What is PACE?
Dr. Al Sears, founder of PACE Express, explains PACE and how it is a completely new way to exercise and get fit.

Try PACE Express For Yourself:

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reaping the Benefits of Cardio Training

Your body is the most valuable asset you could have in your lifetime. Thus it is important that you take good care of it. Give it the proper attention it needs - feed it healthy and nutritious foods, give it plenty of rest and water, and most of all, keep it moving!

When it comes to ensuring and maintaining the health of your body, cardio training is an important factor.

What Is Cardio Training?

Cardio training involves any activity that requires the use of the large muscle groups of the body in a regular and uninterrupted manner. It elevates the heart rate to between 60 and 85 percent of the fastest heart rate possible for you.

Aerobithon - U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, Sou...
 (Photo credit: USAG-Humphreys)
Some of the usual cardio training activities are walking, jogging, running, aerobics, cycling, tae bo, swimming and rowing. Cardio training is considered an aerobic exercise as one is required to move from one exercise to another rather quickly, while keeping the heart rate high for a certain period of time.

What Are the Benefits of Cardio Training?

1. Gives Energy to the Body

You can expect more energy and higher endurance with regular cardio training.

2. Prevents Diseases

Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even high cholesterol can be prevented or moderated with regular cardio training. A good cardiovascular training program strengthens the heart and the lungs.

3. Controls Your Weight

With cardio training, you are able to burn more calories and lose weight. For those who already achieved their ideal body mass, cardio training will make it easier to control and maintain your proper weight.

Cardio training helps burn calories. However this generally depends on your current weight and the kind of cardio training you are undergoing. Before beginning any new exercise program, be sure to consult with your physician or trainer to determine the proper type of training for your needs.

4. Lose Body Fat

Some people do not have a problem with their weight overall, but may have more body fat than they would like. Cardio training will help in getting rid of excess fat and building lean muscle, which will in turn increase your metabolism so that you burn more fat even when at rest. Most cardio activities involve the movements of large muscle groups. Regularly doing this kind of training will make you leaner over time.

English: Exercise work zones (Fox and Haskell ...
Exercise work zones (Fox and Haskell formula between 20 and 70-year-old): red zone (VO2Max), anaerobic, aerobic, weight control and warming up. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
5. Fight Boredom

Cardio training is fun. It pumps up your system. You will feel more energized and your mood will improve. (See below for my favorite cardio training program - it's so much fun I do it almost every day, and never get bored - and it only takes 15 minutes a day!)

A Few Recommendations to Better Enjoy the Benefits of Cardio Training

Cardio training is essential when you need to make health improvements. For starters, it is best to do between 10 and 30 minutes of cardio exercise, 3 to 5 days a week. If you are aiming for weight loss, the training should be done 5 days a week. The more frequently you do it; the more likely it is that you will lose weight. However, avoid exhausting yourself too much - this can be hard on the body and you may get tired of it or experience burn out. Avoid going beyond 45 minutes - in fact 30 is probably more than enough if it's the right type of training. Remember, it has to be done in a regular basis.

1. Start now. Walk or ride the bike around the neighborhood now. Follow that aerobics video you purchased. Set a goal and follow that goal. At the same time, modify your diet too. Eat healthy whole foods with plenty of vitamins and fiber. Avoid processed foods and sugar.

2. As you increase your fitness level, the intensity of the training should also increase, and you should be sure to vary your activity so that different parts of your body get exercised daily. You can easily implement this by intensifying some parts of the training. If you are into jogging or running, increase your speed every 5 minutes for a minute or two, then slow back down. This will give your body a challenge, and keep you from hitting a plateau in your weight loss goals.

3. You should also avoid doing cardio exercises before bedtime. You will have a difficult time sleeping if you do so as the energy level of the body will stay high for some time.

4. If you are undergoing weight training too, do the cardio exercises right after your weight session, not before.

Aerobic exercise
(Photo credit: sisterbeer)
5. It is best to have a snack about 30 minutes before doing cardio exercises. Do not start with training on an empty stomach. This will not help in achieving the proper momentum when you train. At the same time, avoid indulging in large meals too before exercise. Have plenty of water on hand - you'll need it!

6. If possible, it is great to do cardio exercises outdoors. This way you can easily interact with nature and breathe fresh air, and it keeps things interesting.

Most of all, be consistent and stick with your cardio training once you have started it. This is the only way that cardio training will benefit your body and your health in the long run.

Fun & Effective Cardio Training Workout: 

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Exercise & Type 2 Diabetes: Why You Should Care

One of the most logical and doable ways to lower blood sugar, eliminate the dangers of “cardiovascular disease,” and improve your health and welfare in general is exercise.

In spite of that, in today’s inactive world where almost every task can be carried out online, from the ergonomic chair in front of a computer, or even via text messaging, getting people to exercise more can be a hard argument to win.

The Weight of Exercise

English: Prevalence of diabetes worldwide in 2...
Prevalence of diabetes worldwide in 2000 (per 1000 inhabitants). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Everyone should exercise, yet the health experts tell us that only 30% of the United States population gets the recommended thirty minutes of daily physical activity, and 25% are not active at all. In fact, inactivity is thought to be one of the key reasons for the surge of type 2 diabetes in the U.S., because inactivity and obesity promote insulin resistance.

The good news is that it is never too late to get moving, and exercise is one of the easiest ways to start controlling your diabetes. For people with type 2 diabetes in particular, exercise can improve insulin sensitivity, lower the risk of heart disease, and promote weight loss.

Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is on the rise. The number of people diagnosed with diabetes every year increased by 48% between 1980 and 1994. Nearly all the new cases are Type 2 Diabetes, or adult-onset, the kind that moves in around middle age. Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes include increased thirst, appetite, and need to urinate; feeling tired, edgy, or sick to the stomach; blurred vision; tingling or loss of feeling in the hands.

The causes of type 2 diabetes are complex and not completely understood, although research is uncovering new clues at a rapid pace.

However, it has already been proven that one of the reasons for the boom in type 2 diabetes is the widening of waistbands and the trend toward a more deskbound and inactive lifestyle in the United States and other developed countries. In America, the shift has been striking; in the 1990s alone, obesity increased by 61% and diagnosed diabetes by 49%.

For this reason, health experts encourage those who already have type 2 diabetes, or have precursors to diabetes, to start gaining the benefits of regular exercise and see what it can do for them. Without exercise, people have the tendency to become obese. Once they are obese, they have a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that over 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are clinically overweight. Therefore, it is high time that people, whether inflicted with type 2 diabetes or not, should get started on a physical exercise routine as soon as possible.

Getting Started

The first order of business with any exercise plan, especially if you are a “dyed-in-the-wool” couch potato, is to consult with your health care provider. If you have cardiac risk factors, your health care provider may want to perform a stress test to establish a safe level of exercise for you.

Certain diabetic complications will also dictate what type of exercise program you can take on. Activities like weightlifting, jogging, or high-impact aerobics can possibly pose a risk for people with diabetic retinopathy due to the risk for further blood vessel damage and possible retinal detachment.

If you are already active in sports or work out regularly, it will still benefit you to discuss your regular routine with your doctor. If you are taking insulin, you may need to take special precautions to prevent hypoglycemia during your workout.

Health (Photo credit: Tax Credits)
Start Slow

For those who have type 2 diabetes, your exercise routine can be as simple as a brisk nightly neighborhood walk. If you have not been very active before now, start slowly and work your way up. Walk the dog or get out in the yard and rake. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park in the back of the lot and walk. Every little bit does work, in fact, it really helps a lot.

As little as 15 to 30 minutes of daily, heart-pumping exercise can make a big difference in your blood glucose control and your risk of developing diabetic complications. One of the easiest and least expensive ways of getting moving is to start a walking program. All you need is a good pair of well-fitting, supportive shoes and a direction to head in.

Indeed, you do not have to waste too many expenses on costly “health club memberships,” or the most up-to-date health device to start pumping those fats out. What you need is the willingness and the determination to start exercising to a healthier, type 2 diabetes-free life.

The results will be the best reward possible - a longer, healthier, and happier life.

For ideas for fun ways to exercise that will keep you in shape with a minimal time commitment, be sure to keep an eye on this blog - or visit

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Video - Advanced 15-Minute Cardio Workout

This short video demonstrates an interval workout designed to boost your metabolism and speed fat-burning in only 15 minutes. This type of workout is great for keeping motivated in your fitness routine, because it's short and intense, so even if it seems challenging, you don't have to do it for very long at one time, and you still feel like you got a great workout in. Also, due to the intense nature and short duration of the exercise, your body will continue burning fat much longer after the workout is over than it would if doing a longer, lower-intensity workout. This workout is similar to the PACE Express program, which I LOVE, and really never get tired of (but couldn't find any free videos of today - sorry! I'll see if I can find one for you later, but this one is fairly similar except it does require some basic equipment, which PACE doesn't).

Advanced 15 Minute Express Workout B
CLICK HERE FOR A FREE WORKOUT! This is workout B from the Advanced TT 15 Minute Express workout. In this circuit, you will do 5 exercises in a circuit format for 12 minutes and finish with 3 minutes of interval training at ...

Stay Motivated & Lose Weight With The PACE Express Workout:
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Re-Energize Your Motivation With a Crisp, Autumn Stroll

For most, the season for long summer days and sweltering heat has passed. The days are becoming shorter and the temperatures are dropping. As you wind down from a busy summer you almost instantly have to gear up for the holidays. It can be exhausting!  A crisp, autumn stroll is a great ways to catch your breath and re-energize, and refocus on your health goals.

English: Hiking trail to Chimney Rock in White...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Perhaps you live in a part of the country where the summer temperatures were oppressive. You’re looking forward to the cooler breezes that arrive with autumn. You may also be eager to see the beautiful changes in the foliage and the knowledge that soon the holidays will be here.

Now is the perfect time to get back on track with your health goals that were set aside for the warmer months. You’re back to a routine now that school has started back, isn’t it time to get back outdoors and take care of you without waiting for the New Year? You can do that now by enjoying reinvigorating walks in the crisp, autumn breeze.

Take advantage of the new season by making new goals that can have a huge impact on the remainder of your year. Recommit, re-energize and refocus with the following steps:

• Make a decision to spend time outdoors this fall. Get the family together at least once a week to go for a stroll at a local park. You can also look for hiking trails which will enable you to get more of a workout than simply walking. Don’t let excuses get in your way. Make a commitment to spend time exercising out in nature and stick to it.
A man and a woman hike the Gabrieleno Trail in...
(Photo credit: Neon Tommy)

• Begin now to set in motion specific habits that can carry you through the holidays. If you start walking now, you can also start being more careful about what you eat. And, even though the holidays are almost here, you can be strong and choose healthy foods for your holiday meals.

• Enjoy your time in nature. Cooler temperatures make it easier to enjoy yourself. Kick up the leaves and listen to them crunch under your feet. Feel the crisp, cool air that can make you feel more alive and energized than you may have felt in a while, and motivate you to keep up with your exercise goals through the end of the year.

• Take a camera along with you to take pictures as you stroll through the park. The scenery in the fall is breathtaking with the leaves turning from green to gold, orange and red. Of course, the weather in the fall is unpredictable so it is best to be prepared.

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, the fall months are the perfect time to get out of it. Not only will you feel refreshed, you can greatly influence the rest of your year. Make the choice to spend as much time outdoors as you can. Find a park to stroll through or hiking paths that will be more challenging. Enjoy your time outdoors and recommit yourself to keeping in shape throughout the holidays.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

6 Tips for Staying Motivated to Exercise

Exercise is always a do-it-yourself venture. No other person and no machine can do it for you. Hence, it is important to have motivating factors so that you will stick with it.

This is what people who are overweight should learn to understand. However, although this sounds simple, in actuality it's not at easy as it sounds for the almost 55% of Americans who are overweight.

Of course, once we are overweight, we usually want to trim down for a whole lot of reasons, some related to physical condition and fitness, while others want to enhance their physique and appearance. And the truth is it is never too late to be fit.

The “weigh” he was Camp America commandant los...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the past 50 to 75 years, physical activity has become the exception rather than the rule, both at home and on the job. People tend to drive where others once walked. People tend to flick a switch and machines do the hauling, lifting, pushing, and pulling for them.

While many do try to lose weight, instead, as many health experts have seen, people tend to lose their way, especially when it comes to dieting. They tend to go back to their old eating habits even after learning about healthier eating. They tend to return to sedentary ways even though they enjoy exercising.

But despite the momentum toward weight gain, you can stop it from happening, experts say. And there are plenty of good reasons to avoid excess pounds, reasons that go beyond vanity or social appearance. There are many reasons in order to keep you motivated to exercise and stay healthy for the rest of your life.

6 Ways to Help You Stay Motivated To Lose Big
#1. Have an explicit goal

A simple statement like, “I want to lose some weight,” is an ambiguous and an indefinite statement. It will not  motivate you to start doing exercises right away.

What is important is to be precise on your goals. It would be better if you set a specific number of pounds that you really want to lose. Envisage what you will look like after reaching your desired weight. Doing this will inspire you to lose weight. In fact, maybe even more than what you had planned. The idea is to use that figure to assist you to remain resilient and dedicated.

#2. Develop a strategy

Strength of will does not work alone! To lose weight and stay with it, your strategy must comprise of both exercise and diet, and not just one of the two.

Try to start motivating yourself by throwing away your clothes that have bigger sizes. This will put you in a situation where you only have your sexy clothes and that you have to make a choice by staying motivated to exercise or not wear any clothes at all. Which do you prefer?

#3. Make little, calculable measures

Put into practice actions that will suit your lifestyle. This means you have to implement moves that you and you alone will benefit from it and not somebody else.

The idea here is to opt for a more positive and attainable goal and not get defeated by a goal that is too large. Reward yourself (in non-food related ways) for attaining each small goal on the way to your larger one.

#4. Monitor your results with a partner

It would be better to have somebody willing to take note of your progress or development. This will inspire you to keep on doing what you have started. Having somebody to listen to your achievements is definitely a better prize than just achieving your goal alone.

Besides, having an extra hand to support you and cheer for you when things start to fall short will help you keep going through the tough spots. Simply hearing somebody believing in you is one of the greatest motivations to keep you exercising.

English: Exercising outdoors is healthier than...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
#5. Construct a vigorous, but sensible timeline

What do you plan to achieve in a year? Try to suit your objectives to the longer term, and do not expect to see drastic results overnight. Having a long-term plan will help keep you from giving up on your goals quickly. Remember that the idea isn't to lose x amount of pounds and put them all back on next year. The goal should be ever-increasing long-term health, and that includes achieving and maintaining a healthy weight - for the rest of your life.


Finding new, fun ways to exercise that you enjoy and like to do often is an essential key to staying motivated. If you hate your exercise program, no amount of goal setting, tracking, or rewards is going to make you stick with it for the long haul. At some point, you're going to give up and go back to your old habits. Making new habits means finding healthy things that you enjoy and incorporating them into your life - both with diet and exercise. We provide a variety of ideas for fun ways to exercise on this blog and on our website. Not everyone likes the same activity, so we try to share a wide variety of ideas and suggestions. Check back often for more, try out some new ones, and find some activities that you like and will stick with, and you will meet with success.

The bottom line is that staying motivated to exercise entails a lot of hard work, which is contrary to what most people want to believe. But only through changing your lifestyle by making these habits permanent will you see the lasting health benefits - and keep that weight off...for good.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Why You Need to Stretch

The body is flexible. Or, it is supposed to be flexible. You must be able to bend and reach that something you dropped on the floor. You need to be able to zip the back of your favorite dress on your own. You must be able to reach that book you need off the top shelf.

These are simple activities. Nothing grand about them, you merely stretched out a bit. However, if there are difficulties in doing such simple motions, then you have a problem, and it's time for a stretching program.

English: An elderly at stretching exercises in gym
An elderly man at stretching exercises in gym (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What Is Stretching?

Stretching is simply the act of extending to full length the body or a part of it. This activity involves straightening or stretching the structure or the limbs.

How Does One Properly Do Stretching?

Stretching is fairly easy. As mentioned in the introduction, it is involved in many normal daily activities. It can be done by any people, regardless of age.

However the extent of stretching and flexing differs. The muscles tighten as a person ages. The range of joint movements can be minimized. This can very well obstruct an on-the-go lifestyle. That is why as the person grows older, bending or flexing becomes more limited. This is why stretching regularly as part of a routine is very important.

Simple stretches can be done every day. They can be easily incorporated in your lifestyle and daily activities, and don't have to require a lot of time.

Stretching exercises can also be done while training or working out. Actually, stretching is an essential part of any training or sport. It must be done first before anything else. Stretching the body and the limbs is a good preparation for a more rigorous activity - and also should be done after a workout as well.

There is actually an ideal length of time in stretching. It is best to do your stretching routine for about 10 minutes. This will give the body enough opportunity to move and flex all of the muscles, thus preparing it for more complicated and strenuous movements. Experts however would frown upon going much beyond 10 minutes. Stretching for 30 minutes or more can wear out the body and even over-stretch some muscles, causing soreness and tightness later - the exact opposite of what you want. (Forms of exercise that incorporate stretching, such as yoga, are exceptions - they provide alternating muscle contractions and stretches, which can be a great way to gain flexibility and strength at the same time.)

What Are the Benefits of Stretching?

1. Increase the Range of Movement
As one constantly does stretching exercises, the length of the muscles and the tendons are increased. This will help in increasing the range of your movement. Thus, the limbs and joints will be able to move easily, way before an injury can take place. Range of movement is very important for overall physical fitness.

2. Increased Ability to Perform Skills
When you have a wide range of movement, you will be able to do more things. For example, you can jump high without feeling any pain when you land back on the floor. This will also help you start a new sport or improve if you are already participating in one. Stretching in this aspect also allows you to have a more active lifestyle, which gives you a better chance of living a longer and healthier life.

US Navy 080813-N-8546L-254 Master Chief Miguel...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
3. Injury Prevention
One can prevent injury to joints, tendons and muscles with stretching. When the muscles and tendons are well-flexed, they are considered in good working order. This will help in a faster recovery and decreased soreness. The muscles of the body will be able to take more exhausting and rigorous movements with less probability of being injured.

4. Reduce Muscle Tension
If the muscles are given regular exercise and stretching, it is less likely that they will contract painfully, and can help loosen sore spots or knots. This can definitely help relieve you of any muscle pain or problems.

5. Enhance Energy
Being able to move more will also give you more energy. Stretching will also help enhance your self-awareness, like knowing that you have a body that is capable of doing many things. As such, you are going to be more driven to move and stay active.

6. Reduces Cholesterol
Research also shows that doing prolonged stretching exercises, like yoga, will help reduce the cholesterol in the body. This of course must be done hand-in-hand with a healthy diet. This could prevent and even reverse the hardening of the arteries, allowing you to avoid coronary diseases.

Incorporate stretching in your everyday lifestyle. It has benefits you can not say no to. It also does not require much. It can be your usual activities, bending and flexing every now and then. After all, your fitness is everything so do what it takes to keep your body healthy and flexible. See below for some helpful stretching exercise resources.

Stretching Guidance:
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Video - 30-Minute Cardio Kickboxing Workout

Happy Thanksgiving!  I figured you probably won't be doing much working out today - other than your jaw muscles! :-)   But you'll probably want to work off some of those extra calories tomorrow, so this fun and challenging kickboxing workout will challenge your muscles, ramp up that heart-rate, and tone your body from head to toe. Be sure to pay attention to his tips on technique and form at the beginning to stay safe and prevent injury.

So go enjoy the turkey today, and jump on this 30-minute workout in the morning to get that great calorie burn and keep from packing on the holiday pounds!

BEST 30 Minute Cardio Kickboxing Workout - Aerobic Cardiovascular Exercises - HASfit Cardio Training
Let Coach Kozak motivate and push you for 30 Minutes of Cardio Training at Home. Cardio kickboxing workouts are among the best cardiovascular exercises and aerobic workouts known to man. Visit or for the aerobicworkout's instruc...

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Boxing Training for Fun & Fitness

If you're looking to try a new fun way of getting in shape, you may want to try boxing training. Many people see numerous positive results from boxing. You may build stronger and more defined arms and legs, and increased endurance and muscle and lung power. These programs and classes can also help you to gain a sense of inner strength and emotional balance.

Boxing training classes entered the mainstream of physical fitness training a few years back. Many have seen the benefits on the cardiovascular system and toning of the muscles through these boxing training workouts. Tae bo workout videos also popularized boxing and kickboxing exercises.

Personal Training at a Gym - Boxing Category:F...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cardio boxing training classes include innovative variations of sparring jabs, power punches, defense, and fitness, blended together to give you a great aerobic workout. You will learn the proper execution of punch and kick combinations for a more intensive workout that can help you become stronger and more confident.

The combinations of blocks, jabs, and kicks you perform are typically executed on an imagined opponent. You may see classes where participants throw punches and kicks in the air. You will also find training camps that have quality equipment such as punching bags and you may also have the option of getting a partner that has padded hands.

You may also enjoy more benefits aside from the physical strength-building aspects of boxing training. Cardio kick-boxing workouts allow you to burn 350 to 500 calories per hour. Moreover, these boxing training classes improve your speed, resistance, and strength. Flexibility and muscle reflexes are also enhanced. The movements require you to develop balance and coordination in order to keep your body stable and maintain a good form.

English: Naples, Italy (Mar. 29, 2004) - Lt. D...
Students enjoy a kickboxing workout. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
These physical benefits you gain from boxing and kickboxing are just a few of the many benefits that they can provide. You will be able to learn more about defense skills, which you may use in case of unwanted instances. Kicking and punching are also great movements in terms of relieving stress, which is one of the biggest contributors to health problems including obesity. After a kickboxing workout, you may feel a sense of lightness in your body and peace of mind as well.

Many aerobic and fitness experts recommend that you start out with boxing training lessons for beginners. These allow you to work out at your desired pace and body condition. More advanced boxing classes will let you push yourself to the limit as long as you are safe and well conditioned.

Positive results await you with boxing training. You will most likely lose weight, and get in better shape so that you can enjoy a physically fit body, as well as cardiovascular benefits and stress relief. If you're looking for a new fun way to work out, check out a boxing or kickboxing class today! Or check out some of the resources below that you can do in your own home.

Try Boxing & Kickboxing At Home:

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Video - The Kettlebell Swing - Proper Form & Technique

In this short video, Yuri Elkaim, one of our favorite health & fitness instructors, demonstrates the proper form for performing the Kettlebell Swing exercise. This is probably the most common kettlebell exercise, and it has a lot of great benefits, but if performed incorrectly it can lead to injury and back or shoulder pain, so you'll want to make sure you are doing it right. As always, be sure to consult a qualified medical practitioner, as well as a certified fitness instructor, before beginning any new exercise of this intensity.

Kettlebell Swing - The Proper Form
The kettlebell swing - deconstructed and explained in this video. The kettllebell swing is easily one of the best exercises that you can do for improving your posture, strengthening your glutes and legs, developing more power, and burning fat. Watch ...

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Intense Kettlebell Workout Produces Superior Results

Russian Kettlebells are a great new workout trend. These kettlebell workouts may be an excellent alternative to maintaining a full home gym or having an expensive club membership. With Russian kettlebells you can develop superior gains over traditional workout methods and save lots of space in your home.

One of the top instructors of Russian Kettlebell training is Pavel Tsatsouline. He is a former Spetznaz trainer. For those who may not know, Spetznaz is the Russian equivalent of the CIA or special forces.

English: Three commonly used kettlebells (Drag...
Three commonly used kettlebells (Dragon Door Brand) of various sizes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After studying some of Pavel's books you can definitely find out how to have explosive instant power ready at all times - very handy for a special agent. But, not everyone is a spy; in fact very few of us are. So what benefits does kettlebell training have for the average woman or man?

Kettlebell training can be a great way to lose weight, tone up the body, and stay in shape once you get it there, along with the added benefits mentioned above.

And not only that, kettlebell workouts may be better for you than regular traditional weights. In one of his books, Pavel mentions some of the fitness tests that were used to compare kettlebell training to traditional workouts. The kettlebell trainers seemed to be in much better shape according to Pavel. And Pavel would know - You can see a picture of Pavel on his web site as well as his books and DVDs. The guy is well muscled and toned for someone that avoids traditional "weight training" like the plague.

Speaking of muscle and tone, check out the incredible ab muscles that Pavel can show you how to develop. Pavel, being an expert in physical training combined with his unique experience and insight is fully qualified to show you all about physical fitness. Whether you are male or female, Pavel can show you the way to fitness.

Another thing that is fun about Pavel and his work is that he brings his colorful and interesting Russian personality into play. For example, just think of the title of one of his books, "Power to the People!"

Power by Pavel
Power by Pavel (Photo credit: wu_135)
Me? I find that title humorous, but if I had to explain why I think it's funny, I'm not sure that I could. It might be the underlying but subtle notion that liberation is in order for someone. Come to think of it, I guess liberation is in order. Pavel wants to show us a better way to fitness and free us from our need to spend an inordinate amount of time in the gym and spend it more wisely and effectively, so that we can have great physical fitness and time to enjoy it as well.

As you can see by glancing at his pictures, Pavel not only knows how to develop an amazing physique but he also knows how to keep himself flexible at the same time. He also has several books and DVDs on building flexibility through stretching.

Maybe now you can understand why I think this man has some answers to fitness that we might not be able to find anywhere else, nor all in one convenient location either. For more on his kettlebell workouts for strength and fitness, see resources below.

As always, consult a primary care physician before embarking on any fitness regimen. This article is for informational purposes only and is not to treat, prevent or diagnose any physical condition.

 Kettlebell Workouts with Pavel:
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why Weight Training Is Good for Body & Mind

We all could use a boost to the old self-image every now and then. When you look good, you feel good. A confident person is noticed by others. One way to achieve this “new attitude” is through training with weights. Weight-bearing exercise is essential for every man and woman to maintain good health well into later life. And weight training is not necessarily about bulk but tone. Everybody doesn’t want to be Mr. or Ms. Olympia. Most people just want a well-proportioned figure that they can be proud of.

Wrist straps allow lifting heavier without hav...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The challenges of weight training help to improve the mind’s ability to focus. To perform the exercises properly takes concentration. You have to visualize each part of the movement. See what the muscle is doing when the weight is raised and when the weight is lowered. Focus keeps the body from injury. Proper technique brings the results you want in less time.

Weight training teaches discipline. The mind learns to associate a daily regimen with the achievement of your desired goals. Without a goal in mind, weight training becomes just another activity without purpose. We do enough of that already. Seeing the results of your daily effort will help reinforce the discipline. Discipline learned here will spill over into other areas of your life: your job, marriage, and child rearing.

Weight training also teaches optimism. When people walk around with a pessimistic attitude, the whole world looks half empty. Weight training can take the body you have now, whatever shape you are in, and transform it into the vision you have for yourself. But, you must believe that it is possible. The mind is the key. As the definition of the muscle starts to show, you gain a more positive outlook.

weight training
weight training (Photo credit: midwestnerd)
Humility can also develop with weight training. You’ll have good days and bad days just like with any other exercise. To get started, someone will need to show you what to do. If you are having trouble with a new technique, you will have to ask for help. Trainers in a gym are there to help. No one can do it alone. When working with heavy weights, everyone needs a spotter for safety. Needing help is not a weakness. Weight training shows that humility keeps us grounded and out of trouble.

One thing we all benefit from is higher self-esteem. Your newly fit and shapely body will definitely make you look good. When people notice, your attitude towards yourself changes. Negative thoughts of the past will be replaced with self-affirming ones. Who can argue with all these benefits? Your mind is a powerful tool. Changing how it thinks takes effort. Weight training offers a way to begin that change and make it permanent.

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Video - Cardio Dance Workout from Dirty Dancing

This fast-paced cardio dance workout is based on the movie Dirty Dancing. It's a lot of fun, but for the un-coordinated like me it may be a bit challenging at first. Just follow along at your own pace a couple of times, and once you pick it up you can really get into it - when you get to do the whole routine at the end it's so much fun! This will really get you moving and get that heart rate up - and you'll feel pretty awesome when you can dance like Baby!  :-)

Check it out, and have fun!

Dirty Dancing "Yes" Workout
Dirty Dancing "Yes" Workout is a fat-burning, dance-inspired cardio exercise that uses official dance steps and music from the hit movie, Dirty Dancing. Sculpt a lean dancer's body and melt away the extra pounds as you learn to move like Baby and Joh...

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dancing = Fun + Great Exercise!

Are you getting bored with your traditional workout?  Is going to the gym just too bothersome?  Well then why don’t you get your next great workout at the local dance hall?  Dancing is not only fun to do; it’s great exercise too!

Ballroom dance lesson
Ballroom dance lesson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There’s nothing that gets your heart pumping like dancing.  You don’t have to be good; you just have to move around.  The simple act of moving your arms and legs around is enough to get you a great cardio workout. In fact, some recent studies have shown that ballroom dancing is almost as effective at working your heart as common workouts such as running.  It also doesn’t matter much what kind of dancing you’re doing, whether it’s ballroom, country line dancing, or even belly dancing.  You can even just dance around your living room to the radio (also a great way to work out with the kids!)

Dancing works all the different muscle groups.  Activities like jogging and swimming feature repetitive movements that work the same muscles over and over.  That’s why it’s easy to tell a runner from a swimmer, just by looking at what muscles on their body are developed.  Unless you do the same dance over and over, you’re going to be doing lots of various movements.  This allows you to work all your different muscle groups giving you a great total body workout you’ll be able to see in a mirror.  This is also a great motivation to take classes and try new styles of dance.

Sometimes workouts can be a bit boring, and boredom is actually one of the most common reasons for quitting an exercise program.  With dance, not only do you get to listen to music that is fun and entertaining, but dancing can also have the benefit of being a social event.  If you are there with a group, you can enjoy the conversation and excitement, and you’ll probably completely forget you’re working out!  Try getting a group of friends to go dancing once a week with you.  You can even use the fact that it’s a great workout as a selling point to convince them to join you.  (Just be careful - depending on the venue, you may be encouraged to drink.  Don’t burn off all your calories just to add them back with alcohol.) 

Young couple dancing cha-cha-cha at a junior L...
Young couple dancing cha-cha-cha at a junior Latin dance competition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dancing can also make a great family activity.  You can use it as a time to bond with your spouse or your children.  Remember, they need to get regular exercise too!  If you want to have more special romantic time with your spouse, sign up for some lessons you can take together.  And while you can’t take kids out to a lot of dance clubs, you can get a kids dancing tape, teach them to dance at home, or just play around to the music on the radio.  It’s a great way to exercise while stimulating their creativity.  Some kids also really enjoy dance classes, and a lot of dance studios now offer classes for kids.

So what are you waiting for?  Why not change a boring workout this week into a fun dance event? has a large searchable directory of studios, classes, and dance events so you can find a venue near you and get started!
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