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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