Saturday, March 31, 2012

Video - Belly Dance Workout

Here is a 10-minute segment of a belly dance workout. This is an example of a belly dance class you may find fun, and you can also find belly dance workout videos which you can do at home. This will give you an idea of some of the moves you may encounter in an actual introductory class or full-length workout (keep in mind that the first 5 minutes or so is just a warm-up, so the moves here will seem very elementary, but it gets a little more challenging as it goes).

Check it out - get loosened up, and have some fun!

Belly Dance Workout - Part 1 of 3

More Belly Dancing Workouts:
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Belly Dance For Beginners - Fun Abdominal Fat Burning Options

Are you looking for a fun way to burn belly fat? Consider belly dancing. It’s a fun, fast way to burn belly fat and get into great shape.

Why Burn Belly Fat?

Belly fat is the most common cause of weight gain. Men and women alike both struggle with abdominal fat. Unfortunately, abdominal fat is also incredibly dangerous. Abdominal fat has been linked to serious conditions including diabetes, cancer, weakened immune system, heart disease and much more.

Burning belly fat not only helps you look great, it also helps you get and stay healthy. And when you have strong abdominal muscles they support better posture. Strong abs also help you maintain good posture. They support a strong back too which leads to fewer injuries and less back pain.

Your core is the foundation for the rest of your body. Strengthen your core and your abdominal muscles and you’ll improve your entire body from head to toe. It all begins with burning that belly fat. Then you can reveal the muscles underneath.

Belly Dance and Burn Fat

If you love dancing consider belly dancing for fat burning. Dancing is a great way to burn fat and calories. It’s also superior for your heart and lungs. On top of it all, you can dance anywhere, including the comfort of your own home. And it’s tremendously fun!

One great workout called Belly Dance For Beginners is taught by a world renowned Egyptian belly dancer – Leila. The full 240 minute DVD includes three sessions. The first session is a beginner introduction to the basics. You’ll learn the belly dancing moves you’ve always wanted to learn. Leila offers easy to follow instruction which means even if you have no idea how to shimmy you’ll be an expert in no time. The second session adds more steps and movements into your knowledge base.

Finally, in the third session you enjoy several energizing and calorie burning belly dance routines. The routines and the sections vary in length from ten minutes to thirty minutes. This variety means you can also find time in your hectic day to dance and lose weight!

In addition to having a ton of fun you’ll burn fat, tone muscles and improve your flexibility. All you need is a DVD and a few minutes each day to belly dance your way to great health.

Get rid of your muffin top and increase your confidence and overall health. From the comfort of your own living room you can add Belly Dance for Beginners to your health and fitness plan. There’s no reason you can’t have fun and lose weight at the same time.

Where to Buy:

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fun Fitness Tip: Dance Your Way to Fitness

Dancing is once again a hot new fitness trend. While some people may only think of fitness focused dance classes as something similar to the Jazzercise and Jane Fonda aerobics classes of the 1980s, the truth is that the range of offerings now is quite surprising, and has taken on a much more exciting flavor.

Maria Moline, instructor, coaches her Zumba cl...Maria Moline, instructor, coaches her Zumba class through the dance choreography in the Patch Fitness Center in U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)In fact, there are enough different styles of dance and music to suit just about every taste. Some of the most popular dance fitness styles include Zumba (which uses freestyle movements to salsa and merengue music), SoulSweat (based on Soul music), Cardio Funk (using Funk music) and even Bollywood (using the high tempo music that’s found in Indian “Bollywood” movies). You can even find more typically "specialized" styles of dancing, such as ballroom, and belly dance, to be excellent forms of exercise. If there’s a style of music that you hear on the radio that makes you want to get up and move to the beat, then chances are there’s a fitness class built around it.

There are many different benefits of dancing for fitness. You’ll get the aerobic and muscle strengthening benefits, of course. But dance fitness classes can also be a lot of fun. Keep in mind that many people who begin a new exercise program will end up giving up on their fitness goals because they get bored with treadmills and weightlifting machines. That isn’t likely to happen with a dance class. Going to a dance class will also get you socializing with the other class members, which can make it much easier to motivate yourself for each future class.

But don’t be fooled, fitness dance classes are a seriously good workout. The movements may not involve any weights or balls or steps, but they can be extremely challenging. Fitness dancing often requires participants to move in ways that they’re not used to; side to side or diagonally, perhaps, while moving their arms in different ways at the same time. There’s a good chance that you’ll be a little sore (but in a good way) after your first class!

Andrea Knight, Zumba instructor, leads her cla...Andrea Knight, Zumba instructor, leads her class through 'salty Latin moves' while helping them maintain good fitness. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Getting started with a dance fitness class is easy enough. It’s likely that a local health club or community center offers at least one type of these classes. Call the facilities in your area to find out the various options that fit within your schedule. Dance fitness classes are even becoming so popular that fitness studios focusing on these types of classes are popping up all over the country.

Even though these classes almost always provide a positive and supportive environment, some people prefer to do their exercising at home on their own. It’s certainly possible to do any of the dance fitness routines at home. The easiest and least expensive way to begin, or to see what style is best for you, is to go online and do a search on YouTube. You’ll find numerous videos of the dance moves, and even some choreographed classes that you can follow along with.

Once you’re more serious about working out with dance, you can rent or buy professionally made DVDs for quite cheaply - often about the cost of a quick dinner for one. Your local library may also have dance workout DVDs for you to check out and use at home, which gives you a chance to try out a DVD and see if you like the instructor's style and pace before you buy it.

However you choose to begin, start slow and give yourself a little time to learn the moves. Once you do, you’ll probably be hooked!

A Few Of Our Favorite Dance Workouts:

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Video - Outdoor Fitness Training

If you think you might benefit from working with a personal trainer, but the phrase "personal trainer" makes you think of hours spent trapped in a gym struggling with weight machines while being yelled at by some buff sweaty guy, well you're probably not alone. But keep in mind that there are lots of different personal trainers who use different techniques, and many offer outdoor workouts so you can get fit with the benefit of an experienced trainer, and still get outside and enjoy this beautiful spring weather at the same time!

This video shows just a quick example of a group personal training class which does specialize in outdoor workouts, but there are many others available, depending on your needs, so check with some local gyms and YMCAs in your area, and ask around to see what may work for you.

Outdoor Training | Fitness Training | Personal Training Services Specializes in Mountain biking fitness, Kayaking fitness, Hiking fitness, Road biking fitness, Golfing fitness, Trekking, Backpacking, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Snowboarding, Canoeing, Rock climbing, Stand-up paddle boarding, Persona...

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

What About Group Personal Training?

An increasing trend of in the world of fitness is individuals using personal training and group personal training services to help them achieve their health and fitness goals. Personal training is probably already familiar to many exercisers; it involves working with an experienced fitness professional who ensures that you’re using proper form and challenging yourself throughout the course of your selected workout.

Group Personal Training at a Gym Category:Fitn...Image via WikipediaGroup personal training, on the other hand, takes the core concept of individual personal training – an instructor who focuses on the individual participants and adapts where necessary, rather than leading a group and focusing on pre-choreographed moves and exercises – and extends it to a small group of participants. As you consider whether group personal training is right for you, keep in mind the following pros and cons.

Pro: Atmosphere.
The atmosphere of a group personal training session is much more supportive than a typical group exercise class. Because the groups are small, and the focus is on interaction with the instructor, there’s a greater connection to the instructor and the other participants, which some exercisers find to be much more enjoyable.

Pro: Accountability.
When you have a greater connection to your group personal trainer (and even your fellow classmates) you’ll feel more accountable to show up to the sessions you’ve scheduled. This is a common – and effective – motivational technique for sticking to an exercise program; making yourself accountable to others can help you reach your goals.

Pro: Affordability.
Unfortunately, one-on-one personal training is simply too expensive for some individuals to afford. Group personal training sessions are much more affordable, and most exercisers will be able to afford making them a regular part of their workout routine.

Con: The Class Progresses as a Whole.
Even though the group may be small, it’s still a group. So even though the participants may develop and improve at different rates, the class will move forward as a group. If your level of comfort or fitness is significantly higher or lower than the other participants, then group personal training might not be a good fit for you.

Personal Training at a Gym - Boxing Category:F...Image via WikipediaCon: You May Not Get the Attention you Need.
Whereas one-on-one personal training allows the instructor to focus exclusively on the form and movement of their single client, group personal training requires that the instructor to divide their time amongst all participants. Even in a group personal training class you might not get the attention you need.

Con: The Competition Effect.
Even though the idea behind group personal training is to provide all the participants with an opportunity to grow and improve, there might occasionally be someone in your group who wants to turn every class into a competition. If you’re a competitive type, you might find these situations tough to ignore, and potentially a distraction that could derail your fitness goals. (On the other hand, some personality types will find this motivating.)

The best way to decide whether a group personal training class is right for you is simply to identify the options that are available to you locally, and sign up to participate and try it out for a period of time.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Should You Hire A Personal Trainer?

Many fitness experts and enthusiasts predict that 2012 will be the year of the personal trainer. As the health of our country becomes a greater and greater issue, more and more people are trying to lose weight and get in shape. A trained expert can help you reach your fitness goals. Additionally, personal trainers can specialize to help specific groups of people reach their goals. If you’re striving to lose weight, get in shape, and improve your life then it may be time for a personal trainer.

Personal trainer assisting and correcting a cl...Image via WikipediaReasons to Hire a Personal Trainer
There are many benefits to hiring a personal trainer. They can help motivate you. They may have specialized knowledge or they may be able to help you reach specific goals. Additionally, a personal trainer may be able to help you focus in on proper form and technique. This helps you prevent injury and get the most benefit from any exercise or movement.

Specialty Needs
If you have specialty needs then a personal trainer is an exceptional idea. For example, children and senior citizens both benefit from specialty fitness knowledge. Pregnant women do too. But you don’t have to be going through a life stage to have a specialty need.

For example, if you’re training for a competitive event or milestone a personal trainer can help you maximize your workouts for maximum benefit.

Optimal Weight Loss
A personal trainer can provide you with the instruction and guidance you need to achieve your weight loss goals more quickly. Instead of guessing about what to do and how to workout, a trainer can tell you. You skip the mistakes and get right to the success. Additionally, many personal trainers are also certified nutritionists. They know how to fuel your body properly.

Motivation Galore
If you’ve reached a plateau then a personal trainer can help you push beyond it. And if you’re just not feeling it, and everyone goes through those periods, then a personal trainer can help you feel recharged and reinvigorated. Of course the right personal trainer makes all the difference.

How to Find The Right Trainer for Your Needs
Many gyms offer personal trainers on an hourly basis. You can also find specialty trainers in your area simply by doing a quick online search. Ask friends and family members too.

Spend time searching for someone you trust. Make sure they have the proper certification and are CPR certified. Give them a “test run” to make sure you’re compatible. Personal trainers are people too. They have their own ideas, methods, and personalities. Find one that fits your needs and personality for the best results.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Seane Corn Vinayasa Flow Yoga Review

Yoga has become extremely popular over the past few years. So popular that fitness experts are creating new yoga styles and formats to keep people interested and to draw customers to their studio. Most recently you might have heard of aerial yoga – yoga performed on low hanging trapeze bars!

This may sound intriguing, but if you’re new to yoga, or simply want to learn the basics before you hang upside down, consider Vinyasa Flow Yoga.

Vinyasa Flow yoga is an ancient from of Hatha yoga. It flows from one pose to the next. Your movements and transitions into the next pose are based on your breath. You exhale and inhale depending on the instructor’s guidance. It’s an excellent form of yoga because it provides all of the benefits of yoga including:

* Strength training
* Endurance
* Fat burning/cardio benefits

However, it also provides mindfulness, stress reduction and mental clarity. The awareness of the breath and the flow of the poses keep you in the moment and focused.

Seane Corn is a world renowned yoga teacher and expert. She’s in demand all around the world. Speaking at conferences and teaching yoga classes to teachers and students combined. Her first DVD series is called Vinyasa Flow Yoga Sessions, and it consists of two DVDs.

The first DVD is for beginners, and is subtitled “Uniting Movement and Breath.” It’s an excellent program if you’re new to yoga and want to learn the foundational movements. It’s a full 60 minute program.

The second DVD in the series, “The Body and Beyond” helps you move deeper into a yoga practice. Both are recorded live so you get the one-on-one feeling that Seane is there with you in your living room providing fitness, yoga and spiritual guidance.

Yoga is a superior way to get in touch with your body. It helps you burn fat and calories – if you're overweight, you will lose weight on a regular yoga fitness program. And yoga also helps sculpt your muscles and build strength. It’s a combined fitness approach. However, yoga also offers something more than a traditional fitness program. It provides mindfulness and mental clarity. You feel good both physically and mentally when you’ve completed a yoga workout!

If you’re new to yoga, there’s no better place to start than with a basic yoga form like Vinayasa Flow. And there’s no better teacher to start with than Seane Corn. The DVD set retails for around $35. There’s no other required equipment. However you may find that a yoga mat makes you more comfortable.

Enjoy the benefits of yoga in the comfort of your own home. You can perform your workout in the morning when you first wake for an energized and stress free day. Or you can complete the program in the evening after work, or before you go to bed. Either way, you’ll be on your way to better health and fitness.

You can find the series easily online at See below for some handy links.

Seane Corn's Vinyasa Flow Yoga Series:
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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yoga Poses: Purpose and Benefits

Yoga has been described as a science which seeks to achieve the harmonious and balanced development of the body, mind and soul. It is a system which allows us to bring culture, balance and happiness to ourselves. It works via a need for strong mental discipline, and the ancient theories which it is based on regarding the interconnection between the mind and body are now supported by modern scientific theory. Yoga consists of a number of different exercises or poses.

Examples of these poses are the Cat and Cow poses. Both are connected and begin with you on all fours on the floor. Arching the back upwards like a cornered cat places you in the cat pose and the reverse, lowering the back puts you into the cow pose.

English: yoga posture forward bend variation. ...Image via WikipediaAnother common yoga pose is the forward bend, which will help in the stretching of the lower back and hamstring muscles. There are a number of other advantages to forward bends: They release tension in the back neck and shoulder as well as increasing the flexibility of the spine. Forward bends can be uncomfortable if you have any injuries in the neck or back area, but regularly and gently performing these at your own pace and fitness level will help assist in the recovery of these injuries and even strengthen the area against future damage.

The counterpart of a forward bend is a back bend - such as Camel pose. These open up the chest, hips and rib cage area. As well as strengthening the arms, they also provide increased strength and flexibility to the shoulders. This type of exercise is fantastic at increasing the stability of the spine, but is also useful for relieving built up tension along the front of the body and the hips. The relationship between back and forward bends is a perfect example of the importance of the body's balance in Yoga.

Hatha Yoga poses were developed in India during the fifteenth century. They are designed as an aid to relaxation and healing and are usually introduced with a concept of "the contemplation of one reality". The result of using these exercises properly and in conjunction with suitable breathing exercises and meditation is an increase in vitality, physical health and a stronger mental health. Hatha Yoga exercises have become a part of numerous different Yoga disciplines over the years and it's quite common to see exercises such as the Half Moon posture, the Bow posture, or the Salutation posture - even if it is not Hatha Yoga you are practicing. This is because the principles of Yoga and the movements and balances required are fairly consistent from one discipline to another.

English: Ardha Candrāsana-half-moon yoga postureImage via WikipediaAnother simple Yoga exercise is a Twist. Twists will strengthen and stretch your back or abdominal muscles and help to increase the flexibility of your spine. They also aid in increasing your bodies circulation that brings oxygen supplies to your cells. This fresh blood and oxygen supply that is released as you twist will improve the functioning of your bodies internal organs.

A yoga session will often begin with a standing pose - such as Mountain pose. This is a very good low impact, low stress starting point for a Yoga session. Standing poses benefit the legs and hips and help provide a sense of centering, balance and of course strength to the legs themselves. The end of a Yoga session is usually marked by a group of poses known as Relaxation and Restorative Poses. This group of exercises is designed to give the positive energies and forces released by the Yoga session to move throughout your body and benefit you in the longer term.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Yoga For Weight Loss

In today's society carrying excess weight is becoming the norm rather than the exception.  Lifestyles are increasingly sedentary, diets are becoming increasingly processed and fatty, and food contains more and more calories, additives and preservatives.  Children prefer television over playing with their friends (which is perhaps a direct reflection on parents who prefer television over socializing or even making time for their children).  This only scratches the surface of the social move towards a sedentary and unhealthy society which is making more and more people fat. 

Instructor de Kundalini yoga practicando PranayamaImage via WikipediaYoga is a discipline designed to make the body strong and flexible and enhance the overall health of the digestive system as well as the hormonal and circulatory systems.  It also assists us in controlling mental stress and achieving peace and clarity of mind.  Yoga also has strong spiritual benefits which will see you becoming more content with yourself and more comfortable with who you are, all aspects which will lead to emotional stability.  This mental component is often neglected in a physical approach to weight loss, but it is critical and should not be overlooked.  So called "Comfort food" is a frequent problem for people who yo-yo diet (rapidly lose and gain weight) and the ability to be happy with your health and who you are reduces the need for this.

Yoga is based on deep and controlled breathing which is a method for enhancing our oxygen intake.  This allows oxygen to travel to the fat cells in our body and assist in their processing.  One has to ask given the benefits why more people don't practice Yoga?

One reason is that many people think of Yoga as a passive or mystical discipline - something for hippies - not them.  This is a shame as Yoga improves the physical body as well as our mental health.  While it is practiced by a great many people in Eastern Populations only about 2% of the population in the United States has clicked on to the many benefits of yoga.

English: Vrksasana, the tree position, a Yoga ...Image via WikipediaYoga considers all the aspects that contribute to obesity - not just the physical but also the mental and spiritual reasons behind them. Yoga is not only relaxing but brings the body back towards its ideal weight, and at the same time enhances strength, flexibility and stamina.  Yoga nuts tend to end up slim, agile and flexible, and what's more, yoga is suitable for people of all ages.

A more active form of Yoga, Kundalini, was introduced to America in 1969 by Yogi Bhajan.  It is a more active form of Yoga combining different methods of breathing, meditation and movement to compensate for the fact the American population has been conditioned to see exercise as requiring sweating.

Yoga can also be used to resist the temptation of snacking between meals.  Techniques learned from yoga can be used to suppress impulses such as that we think of as hunger between meals (if you eat proper meals you cannot be hungry between them - merely bored or restless). 

Yoga is not just a method of losing weight, it is actually a method which restores a natural balance to our body and moves us towards our natural state.  This has an interesting consequence with weight.  It we are overweight then yes, doing regular Yoga will cause us to lose weight.  However if we are at our ideal weight we will not drop weight, and if we weigh too little we will gain weight until we are at our biologically natural size. This is thought to result from the balancing effect that Yoga has on all of our bodily systems.
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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Video - 8-Minute Ab Workout

This quick and fun ab workout works all the various muscles in your abdominal region, while sparing your back and neck any stress. 9 different moves (45 seconds each) give you a great workout for flat, strong, toned abs without getting bored or burnt out. The music is kind of loud and annoying, but the variety of moves and the emphasis on safety made it worth posting.

Check it out, and maybe just watch and note down the moves the first time through, and then you can do the sequence whenever you have a few minutes.

Aerobic - 8 minute Abs (workout fitness)
Aerobic - 8 minute Abs(workout fitness)

Click Here For Another Great Ab Workout You Can Do At Home

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Exercises to Shrink Your Tummy

The midsection is a problem area for many people, and those who want to shrink the size of their belly are numerous. A balanced diet is a good place to start, but there are also some great stomach exercises to help along the process. The exercises discussed below meet this description, as they are specifically designed to help tone and tighten the midsection, helping you to gain a flatter tummy. These particular exercises are targeted at beginners, so give them a try if you are just starting out. Once you have mastered these, feel free to advance to something more challenging (keep an eye on this blog for some more advanced suggestions). When doing these exercises, it is important to move slowly so as to maintain control and not allow momentum to take over. As with any new workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.
Vertical Leg Crunch
Performing the crunchImage via WikipediaThis is a variation on the traditional crunch that focuses more specifically on reducing stomach fat. To begin this stomach exercise, first lie on your back on a flat surface, such as the floor. Use a mat or towel to cushion your spine. Put your hands behind your head, with elbows out far enough that they are out of sight. Now lift your legs straight up into the air, crossing your ankles and bending your knees slightly. Contract your abdominals and lift your shoulders, head and upper back up to about a thirty degree angle. Be aware of not lifting with your hands or leading with your head.

Long Arm Crunch
For this stomach exercise, remain on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Lie back and extend your arms straight back on the floor as though you are reaching above your head. Contract your abs and slowly lift your arms, head and shoulders off the floor to about a thirty degree angle. Hold it, then slowly lower your shoulders back to the floor. Repeat for an entire set. Be careful not to lead with your arms, keeping them straight and alongside your head.

Reverse Crunch
You will need to stay on your back for this stomach exercise. Use a mat or towel to cushion your spine. Put your arms at your sides with palms facing up to the ceiling. Put your legs in the air so that your knees are bent at ninety degree angles and your hips make about a ninety degree angle with your torso. Keep your knees unbent and as straight as possible. Now, contract your ab muscles so that it feels like your belly button is being pulled toward your spine, while at the same time gently lifting your hips off the floor. Raise your hips to height of a few inches, keeping your legs extended straight upward. Hold this position, then slowly lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat for an entire set. This is a gentle form of the crunch, which puts less stress on your back and neck, while really working those lower abdominal muscles to help shrink your tummy.
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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Why Do Stomach Exercises?

Exercises for the stomach muscles are among the most popular type of exercise done among people wanting to build a better body. When anyone plans a workout program to build and strengthen muscles, abdominal workouts are always included in the routine. Why is this? Why are more people concerned with their stomach muscles then any other part of their body?
Water Polo player at the USC campus pool circa...Image via WikipediaThere are several reasons for this. The first reason should be for health reasons. It has been documented that people carrying around a lot of extra fat around their stomachs are at a greater risk of certain health conditions then people that may be carrying the weight in other areas of their body. This reason alone is enough to entice many people to exercise their stomach muscles, and a major reason why doctors suggest doing exercises for the stomach. 
The stomach is the core of the person's body, when the stomach is strong; it helps make the rest of the body look and feel stronger. This is another reason to do exercises for the stomach. Most people want to feel strong and be strong, whether it is so they can do their jobs, play with their children or just to feel better about themselves. Also, when the stomach is strong, it helps to take away pressure from several muscles in the back. Considering that back problems are a big problem with many people, this is another good reason to keep the stomach muscles strong by exercising them.   
The next reason, and usually the biggest reason for many, is looks. People tend to think that a flat, sexy stomach equals an overall good looking body. There are not too many people that find a bulging stomach attractive. When people look in the mirror, or someone passes by them that they want to impress, usually a natural reaction is to suck in their stomach.
Women that have just had a baby are usually extra concerned with their stomach muscles, and find themselves wanting to do exercises for the stomach as soon as they are able to. This is not only for appearance sake but also for health reasons since their stomach muscles really need to be strengthened after their bodies have been put through childbirth.
Swimsuit of Binibining Pilipinas 2008Image via WikipediaHealth and looks are the primary reasons to do exercises for the stomach, but people have many different reasons motivating them to actually do exercises for the stomach. Perhaps swimsuit season is coming up, which is usually the time most people really get interested in doing exercises for the stomach and they just want to look their best. Maybe a high school reunion is coming up and a person wants to look extra good, or a person is getting married which is another very popular time for wanting to tone up stomach muscles. Maybe their doctor has told them they need to or maybe it is just to have more self confidence in them. No matter what the reason may be, as long as the person is motivated enough to continue their program until they see results then the reason is a good one.

Be sure to check out other articles on this blog, and check back later this week for some great stomach exercises and a fun and effective ab workout!

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Video - Functional Fitness Workout Sample

Here is a short video demonstrating some exercises that may be done in a functional fitness workout. As you can see, these exercises work many different muscle groups at once - even the "pushup" exercise is utilizing the entire back and core muscles, as well as shoulders, upper back, arms, and chest. Keep in mind this is a more advanced video, so don't try these if you don't have a good level of fitness already! (Be sure to consult with your doctor before beginning any new fitness program, especially if you have a low fitness level or are out of shape.)

Strength Training | Functional Fitness Workout Try this strength training and functional fitness workout if you want to get in great shape. Get new athletic workouts every single month at - FREE TRIAL!

Want more? Try FitterU Fitness - Click Here for Your 30-Day Free Trial!

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Is Functional Fitness?

Functional fitness may be the buzz word for 2012. According to many fitness experts it is the burgeoning trend in fitness. But what exactly is functional fitness and how do you do it?

English: SAN DIEGO (Sept. 3, 2009) Fred Fusili...Image via WikipediaFunctional Fitness Defined

Functional fitness is about training your muscles to work together to perform every day functions. For example, a standard push up works a muscle group but it isolates the muscles. Shoveling snow on the other hand uses all of your upper body muscles.

In the real world you’re more likely to shovel snow than to need the muscles required for a push up. Functional fitness is about teaching your muscles to work together optimally rather than to function independently, thus keeping your muscles conditioned to handle the tasks you need them for, when you need them, and help avoid injury.

Functional fitness can be done in the gym with a personal trainer. It can also be done at home with basic dumbbells or kettle bells. There are even books and DVDs that walk you through the exercises.

What Does a Typical Training Session Look Like?

A functional fitness class or training session is performed primarily while standing upright. This is because that’s how we perform most of the day’s functions. You don’t shovel snow sitting or laying down!

Initially, most experts recommend using your body weight for the exercises. For example, can you do a one legged squat without falling over using only your body weight? Most people cannot. In addition to working without weights, at least initially, you’ll first focus on control and balance. Once you’ve mastered control over your body you’ll then begin to add weights.

Personal Training Overlooking Melbourne Catego...Image via WikipediaWho is Functional Fitness For?

Functional fitness is exceptional because it helps achieve several goals at once. It does offer the weight loss and fitness benefits of a traditional strength and flexibility program. It also helps strengthen your body so you have proper form when you perform everyday activities. This prevents injury, and prevents or even relieves chronic pain in some cases.

How to Find a Functional Fitness Program

Most gyms today now offer functional fitness trainers and programs. If you’re interested, you should easily be able to find a qualified trainer. You can also find top quality books and functional fitness DVDs available online and at fitness stores. Because there really isn’t any special equipment required, at least not in the beginning, you can start a program at home and transition to the gym when you’re ready to advance.

Want to try a functional fitness exercise? Here's a quick example: Stand up straight. Bend one leg so you’re standing fully on the other. Now bend your standing leg as if you were sitting down and do a one legged squat (keep your weight towards the heel, and if you have poor balance, start close to a wall so you can lightly touch it with your hand if needed, but won't cheat and push yourself up with your hand). That’s a functional fitness exercise. Want more? See below for some resources.

Functional Fitness Resources:

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