Thursday, February 28, 2013

Not Your Typical Ab Exercises...

Check out this article by one of our favorite fitness experts, Mike Geary, on the 3 best ab exercises - this unique ab workout contains no situps or crunches - it's not only not boring, but it's actually pretty fun - and gets great results!

3 Best Ab Exercises:

Instead of the typical ab routines that we see so often with crunches, situps, leg lifts, etc... I like to give my readers better options for metabolism-boosting high intensity workouts that work their entire body while also working their abs... thus building rock hard abs & core, but also creating a much better fat-burning workout than a typical ab workout.

I'm going to show you an example today of one of my favorite "ab workouts" that doesn't include any direct "ab exercises" at all. This is actually a full body workout that works your abs pretty hard indirectly, and stimulates a good metabolism boost!  It's in a tri-set format (similar to a super-set but alternating between 3 exercises instead of 2).

Here they are:

1a. Renegade Dumbbell Rows
1b. Front Squats with Barbell
1c. Mountain Climbers on Floor

Click Here for Exercise Descriptions & Pics...

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why You Can't "Spot Reduce"

Most people have so-called "problem areas." Even people who have achieved their ideal body weight may still have parts of their body that they're not so happy with. It could be love handles, flabby arms, sagging skin or those unflatteringly named "saddle bags" around the hips. That's why you can find stores and websites offering all sorts of products designed to tackle these areas, from creams and applications that claim to get rid of the fat, to gadgets and machines to tone the arms, thighs or the abs.

However, there is one reality check you have to make. You cannot spot reduce. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that's just a fact.

The marketplace often misinforms the public of the benefits that can be expected from their so-called revolutionary products when in fact there really is no magic pill that's going to "fix" a certain part of your body that you don't like. It all comes back to a few important truths - which I'm sure you've heard before, but we humans tend to always want to look for that one silver bullet solution to our problems!

1. Healthy Diet Is Important

Body mass index showing that typical Okinawans...
Body mass index showing that typical Okinawans at 18 or 22 are under or normal weight (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Diet is one of the most important elements in get rid of undesirable body fat. The foods that you eat have calories and fats that get stored in your body, often amassing on those problem areas of yours (where those are depends on your body type). The diet is the main culprit for the presence of fats in the body, and eating a modern diet heavy in grains and sugars (particularly high-fructose corn syrup) is really going to pack on the pounds over the years.

So no matter how many gadgets you try, you won't see much of a difference in your body weight if you keep indulging in sweets, fried fatty foods full of carbs, or junk foods.

2. Spot Reduction Is a Mere Myth

The "magical" products you see on TV that supposedly require nothing but to merely attach or apply them on the problem areas are ignoring a very important point: your body functions as a whole system. What about your other body parts? What about the other requirements of the body?

In any healthy endeavor, you must be on the top of your physiology. You should know what it takes to achieve a goal. For example, if you want six-pack abs, you have to know what it takes to get them. (Note: The link here will take you to one of our favorite websites for fitness and nutrition - although they do share some great tips for getting flatter abs, their philosophy is one of overall health and fitness, which is why we are a fan.)

Some people out there would claim that if you want to improve the look of your stomach, you simply have to concentrate on abdominal exercises or use the gadgets that will do certain exercises for you. Again, you cannot spot reduce. You cannot achieve the goal with simply doing that one abdominal exercise.

The fat can not just come off on its own by just using a gadget. Genetics is a part of it it. Diet is a part of it. Lifestyle is a part of it.

The truth is, even if you have six-pack abs, you will have to take away the overlying fat first or you won't be able to see them!

Doing 500 crunches a day will exhaust you - but it will not get rid of the fat. Your body will not burn the fats stored in that spot you are targeting. However, there are comprehensive workouts that can actually address this. You have to have an overall workout with the ultimate goal of burning fat throughout the entire body.

In most cases you will also want to gain some muscle mass, as this will help raise your metabolism and burn calories even when you are at rest. A healthy diet and a varied workout including interval cardio, weight-bearing exercise or resistance training, and stretching exercises such as yoga will help you gain overall strength and tone while shedding fat - so that eventually you will be able to see those six-pack abs! And then if you want to throw some ab-targeted exercises in there along with your regular routine, that's great.

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...
Fresh vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
3. There Are No Shortcuts

Miracle diets, pills and potions will only lead you to a dead end. If a healthy body is what you're after, you have to work for it. You have to earn it, and learn to work with your body and recognize what it needs.

We truly are living in a fast-paced world with the advancement of technology, but your body is still more or less the same as our bodies have been for thousands of years - with the same needs and requirements for health. Thus, for true health, you still need to be grounded in what is naturally required by the body - meaning a healthy diet and proper nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate rest. There's no pill or potion that can give you that.

4. True Health and Fitness Require Commitment

Your dedication to the health of your body is a lifelong commitment. Even if you achieve a good-looking body now, it will not remain so forever if you abuse it via diet and lifestyle. Your body needs to be loved and taken care of, regularly and on an ongoing basis.

That is why if you rely on all those spot reduction claims, it will really get you nowhere. If you really want a fit and healthy body, you'll need to find an exercise program that works for you, and probably make some changes to your diet. And doing these things well and consistently can have many positive results in your life. Approaching your physical needs in a holistic manner will improve not only the body, but your outlook in life as well.

Do It the Proper Way

The bottom line is that nothing comes for free. And anything worth doing in life is going to take some time and effort. This doesn't mean you can't enjoy the journey, but it does mean that no gadget or cream or pill is going to give you the body you desire. Love the body you have, and take care of it in ways that improve and maintain its overall health, and you'll reap the benefits of a healthy body, and a long and healthy life. And that, as they say, is priceless.

Check out our website for some fun and effective ways of incorporating exercise into your lifestyle, as well as finding and cooking healthy and tasty foods!

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Video - When Can Children Start Lifting Weights?

This short video addresses the subject of weight training for kids - in reality, children are "weight training" from the time they are able to lift themselves up off their bellies. We just don't usually think of it that way. This quick video explains when and why kids might be ready (or not) to add external weight to their activities. (Always consult your child's doctor before starting any new weight-bearing exercise.)

Kid's Fitness - When Can Children Start Lifting Weights? David Kittner, a Youth Conditioning Specialist with Athletic Foundations in Brampton, discusses a concern parents have with their young kids lifting weights. This presentation was part of the St. Andrew's Catholic School Just For Par...

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weight Training for Children - Important Things to Consider

It's great if your child loves to exercise, but what if you have a younger child of 6 to 8 years old that wants to participate in more adult activities, such as lifting weights?  While some think it is perfectly fine for children to lift weights, there are others that think differently.

English: Osgood-Schlatter disease. Lateral rad...
Osgood-Schlatter disease. Lateral radiograph of the knee demonstrating fragmentation of the tibial tubercle (see inset) with overlying soft tissue swelling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The long and short of it is that while it can be very beneficial for your child to partake in a weight training regimen, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

No matter how you look at it, children aren't miniature adults and therefore you can't use the same methods with growing children that you can use with adults, as children are different from adults emotionally, anatomically, and physiologically.

All children have immature skeletons, as their bones don't mature until somewhere between 14 - 22 years of age.  With girls, exercise (or the lack of it) during childhood can have very critical effects on bone health that can last for their entire lives.

Children are often times vulnerable to growth related overuse injuries such as Osgood Schlatter disease.  Children also have immature temperature regulation systems due to their having a large surface area compared to their muscle mass which will cause them to be more susceptible to injury when they aren't properly warmed up.

Children don't sweat as much as adults do, so they will be more susceptible to heat exhaustion as well as a heat stroke and dehydration.  Due to their low muscle mass and immature hormone system, it makes it harder for them to develop strength and speed. Their breathing and heart response during exercise are also different from an adult's, which will affect their capacity for exercise.

On the other hand, young boys and girls can drastically improve their strength with weight training although opposed to adults, neurological factors instead of muscle growth factors are mostly responsible.

When you consider weight training programs for children, first and foremost you should obtain a medical clearance from your child's pediatrician.  The first approach to designing a program is to establish a repetition range of 8 - 12 and keep the work load appropriate for the range, as well as the age, size, and strength of your child.

The weight stack from a cable machine: each pl...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You should ensure that workouts are spread out enough to have at least 1 - 2 full days of rest between sessions. The main focus when working out should be on the form of every exercise performed, and not on the amount of weight being lifted. Proper technique is important for everyone when working out, but especially children, whose smaller growing frames can be especially adversely affected by injury. Teaching the importance of proper form and technique while young will also carry over into adulthood, and give them a sense of responsibility and control over their own bodies.

Before weight training, be sure your child does a proper warmup including stretching to avoid injury.  Start your child off with light loads and then make adjustments accordingly.  No more than 3 non-consecutive weight sessions should be done in a week.  You should also see to it that they drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.  Getting enough water is very important with exercise, as it is often very easy to get dehydrated - especially with children who have smaller bodies that hold less water.

If you follow these important tips, your child can definitely benefit from incorporating some weight training into their activities. It can help them build strong bones for life, balance out their musculature, and promote increased self esteem and independence - all these are great benefits that will help them grow into healthy adulthood.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

6 Fun Ways to Add Exercise to Your Child’s Day

Childhood obesity is becoming a growing problem in many countries - ours is one of the worst.  Things are getting so bad that more and more children are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a disease that used to be isolated to older, overweight adults.  As parents, it is our responsibility to help keep our child’s weight and health in check.  A great way to do this is by getting your children to exercise more often.  This can help them to lose weight and simply be more healthy - and it will instill in them healthy habits that can benefit them throughout their adult lives.. 

Here are a few tips to help you get your child up and moving - and enjoying it:

Happy Children Playing Kids
(Photo credit:
1.  Sign them up for group sports.  These are not only a great way to get a workout, they also promote socialization and self esteem.  Plus, most kids think sports are fun - not work.  If you find a sport your child really likes, they’ll want to practice all the time and get more and more exercise.  Try to enroll your child in a sport that promotes aerobic activity, and that they really enjoy. 

2. Don’t rely completely on sports.  Some kids just don’t like sports.  If this is the case, you need to make adjustments to the plan.  If they really don’t enjoy it, they won't stick with it or reap as many benefits, so find something else for them to do.  Many fitness centers offer a variety of classes for children including martial arts, dance, and even yoga. 

3. Work out together.  Children learn a lot of their behavior from their family.  That means, if you sit around all day and don’t work out, that’s probably what they’re going to do.  Setting a good example for your child by getting regular exercise is healthy for both you and them!  A great way for you to both get a workout is to find something you both enjoy and do it together.   

4. Make it fun.  You may enjoy the quiet time you get on a running on a treadmill, but your child is probably going to complain. So put yourself in their place - just running in place is pretty boring for a kid. Instead of doing normal adult workout routines, make up games, play tag, play sports, or dance.  It doesn’t really matter what it is, just make sure it’s fun and entertaining for your child.  Be creative, and see what fun active games you can come up with.

Dance Dance Revolution (Game Boy Color video g...
Dance Dance Revolution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
5. Cut back on T.V. and video games.  The best way to keep your child from playing too many video games is to stop the problem before it starts.  If you allow your child to veg in front of the T.V. for hours at a time and then cut back, they’re going to be angry.  It’s best to limit times of inactivity from a young age.  If you’re having trouble getting your kids to give up the games, buy games that require physical activity like Dance Revolution or various active games available on the Nintendo Wii.  This is a great compromise where you both win - and you may even find yourself playing along!

6. Fit it in where you can.  Today's children often have almost as busy schedules as adults do.  If you don’t have a large open chunk of time for your kids to get exercise, you can squeeze in small activities when you do have a few minutes free.  Try a "5 minute jump rope break" in between homework sessions, or a 15 minute game of tag outside before dinner. This is more natural for kids anyway - they don't naturally schedule an hour to work out if you think about it - if you let kids run around and play how they want, they will exercise via bursts of activity.

These are just a few ways to get your kid up and active.  They may be resistant at first, but keep trying.  Starting good exercise habits when your child is young is a vital part of a healthy adult lifestyle. 

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Video - Yoga Meltdown Workout

I'm really excited I found this for you today for our workout of the week - this is one of my favorite yoga workouts ever! Don't let Jillian Michaels scare you - she's pretty intense, but even if you're a total beginner, you can still do this video - this was actually my first yoga DVD! Just follow the beginner model (in orange) for the modified versions of the poses if you're just starting out. This is such a great workout because it incorporates a lot of motion into the poses for some cardiovascular benefits (it really does make you sweat), but it also offers the benefits of static poses at the end of each series for additional toning and strength building.

Check it out, and have some fun while getting that tight and toned bod!  (If you want the DVD version it's available below for the price of a large latte, and also includes Level 2.)

Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown Level 1
Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown Level 1 is designed to sculpt muscle, burn fat, and tone your entire body fast! Begin with a gentle vinyasa, then kick up the intensity with a series of yoga poses combined with Jillian's signature exercises that focus...

Grab the DVD Here:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How To Get The Most From Your Yoga Workout

Yoga is an ancient art that has been refined and modified by many great teachers across the ages.  It now can be found in many different styles and techniques, and different people may find different versions of Yoga more suitable for them.  This is because Yoga is a very personal exercise routine with strong emphasis on looking within oneself in order to achieve personal balance and wellbeing.  Regardless of which individual version of Yoga you practice there are a number of things that apply to Yoga universally rather than to individual branches of the discipline.  If you want to get the most from your Yoga sessions it will help to understand these things and integrate them into your Yoga routine.

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, Galleria d...
Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, Galleria dell' Accademia, Venice (1485-90) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. You will find that much of your time performing Yoga is spent in a sitting or lying position, however the beginning of a Yoga session is usually a standard standing pose.  The standing pose is the most natural position for a human to find themselves in, yet we spend remarkably little time practicing standing correctly.  If you begin your Yoga session with a standing pose you are free from the stress of having to take on an unaccustomed position and this allows you to focus on other fundamentals of the Yoga Discipline.  For instance you can concentrate on regulating your breathing and feeling the full healing benefits of each breath.   The standing pose is so natural to us that we don't need to pay it any conscious thought and can focus on our breath entering the body and flowing through us.  The standing pose is also beneficial to bringing the body into alignment and centering ourselves both physically and spiritually.  Leonardo Da Vinci produced a famous diagram showing the perfect symmetry of the human body when it is in it's natural standing pose and this position has always been the most natural for us to find our center and balance.

2. The bulk of a Yoga session is spent in placing our body in positions or poses that stretch and activate the body.  These poses are entered into gently and gradually so there is no risk of injury.  Many poses have a number of different levels so we can get more and more benefits from them as our body becomes more used to them.  This is perhaps best demonstrated by a simple forward stretch.  When a gym teacher tells a pupil to touch their toes the pupil is performing the same exercise whether they can reach forward and touch the floor or whether the stretch only goes as far as their knees.  The only difference is the level of incline. 

The forward stretch is also a perfect example of how the natural movements of Yoga are used outside of a Yoga class or session - in this case in stretching and warming up before sports or other physical activities.  Most children whose coaches take them through a stretching routine before a game of football have no idea that many of the poses are borrowed directly from a Yoga session.

3. The key to enjoying and benefiting from this main phase of the Yoga session is to pace it to your level.  As with the child who can only forward stretch to knee level, you do not need to perform the exercise at the highest level from the first time you experience it.  Find your comfort zone and then move a fraction beyond it.  Then each new session try and maintain that level and push a little further if possible. 

4. The end of a Yoga session is also an important stage.  This stage usually consists of a group of restoration and restorative poses and positions that are designed to allow the energy to flow back through your body.  A good Yoga session releases pent up energy in your body, and allowing this energy to flow freely to all parts of the body is a critical part of gaining the maximum benefits from Yoga.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

4 Common Misunderstandings About Yoga

Yoga is a very popular form of exercise and spiritual balancing, but it is also very often misunderstood by a lot of people.  This is almost inevitable when you consider the incredible popularity of Yoga as a discipline and the many different strands that Yoga has.  Quite often people have experience with one type of Yoga but not another, and as such they will base their overall impression of Yoga on what they have seen.  It is like people basing their impression on Germans on the most famous German they know - Adolf Hitler, or more recently the portrayal of George Bush internationally as the only example of an American anyone knows.  The truth is that Yoga can be very different depending on who you learn it from and how they perceive Yoga.  This article looks at some of the common misconceptions.

Misconception Number One:  Yoga Is a Form of Exercise.

Well yes it is, but so is walking.  I can walk from my couch to my table and I can hardly claim to have done my exercise for the day.  The truth is that exercise is just the beginning of what yoga is.  It's closer to a combination of exercise, physiotherapy, psychology and spirituality all rolled into one.  As you come to master Yoga you will need to become more and more mentally strong, and most importantly disciplined.  If you can discipline yourself to do regular Yoga sessions, and maintain your discipline to do each pose for the prescribed time, and do it properly, then you will naturally become a more disciplined and organized person.  For some people this transcends to a spiritual level because they are so efficient at clearing their thoughts while meditating.

Misconception Number Two:  Yoga is for Hippies.

As previously mentioned Yoga can be a very spiritual experience if you become good enough at clearing your thoughts and concentrating whilst performing the exercises.  But you certainly do not have to begin with any certain type of spiritual belief.  Yoga is about aligning the body and the mind and the spirit through achieving inner balance. What that means to you is probably going to depend entirely on what your beliefs already are.  For some people it will be a spiritually freeing experience, for others it will be an effective way of de-stressing and achieving a level of calmness of thought.  Still others will claim that these things are one and the same.

Misconception Number Three:  Yoga is a Fad.
Recently there have been some very hyped up Yoga courses making big claims about what Yoga can achieve.  These are easy to associate with other 'fad' exercise crazes.  However Yoga is not something new and is based on principles that are hundreds of years old which describe exercises and poses that were probably being performed for generations before that.  An individual style of Yoga may come and go, but as long as people are still stretching before a game of football then Yoga is still being used.

Misconception Number Four:  Yoga Is Too Slow to Help Me Lose Weight/Gain Tone etc.

This one is way off the mark, but we have been somewhat trained by the weight-loss industry that weight loss, and toning our body is all about hours in the gym and fast high-impact exercise.  That's simply not true.  Yoga can help with weight loss and in particularly toning for a number of reasons.  Firstly the exercises, while low impact and performed either statically or slowly - are still exercises.  While you use them you are using your muscles, and in many cases you are using muscles and muscle groups that regular exercise programs ignore. Building these muscles will gradually increase your metabolism, so that you are actually burning more fat even while you're not working out.

The second way that Yoga can be of benefit in a weight loss program is that it will increase your mental strength and allow you to be more disciplined with your food consumption.  When it comes down to it, pure and simple, as probably everyone knows, excess weight is a result of excess eating and not enough physical exercise to burn off the intake of calories.  Have you ever noticed how some people can eat donut after donut and not put on any weight at all?  It seems unfair, but it's a natural result of the state of their body.  Usually these people will be quite 'sinewy' and this muscle allows them the metabolize food faster.  That's the third benefit of Yoga in weight loss - as your muscles develop your body will actually become more efficient at consuming foods and processing them into nutrients and waste.

Hopefully we have now done away with the various myths associated with Yoga.  Bottom Line: Yoga is pretty much what you make of it, and it can have a myriad of benefits for both body and mind.
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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Video - Resistance Training Workout for Fat Loss

This is a great 30-minute resistance training workout with weights that will really help with your weight loss goals. Designed to strengthen and tone the muscles, increase metabolism, and burn fat, this is a great workout to add to your weekly routine a couple of times a week - it really can get you looking great in time for beach season!

These exercises will work your entire body, using both body weight and hand weights for resistance. Some of the exercises are pretty unique, and they really hit all the different muscles in both upper and lower body. You'll get toned arms, shoulders, abs, thighs, butt and more, all in one workout! The instruction and demonstration is very clear and focuses on proper technique and form for maximum results while avoiding strain or injury.

If you are just starting out, you may want to try this workout first without weights. You'll get a good feel for the proper technique, and will still get benefits as you start to build up your fitness level. As you get stronger, you can add very small weights, and gradually increase as your function and strength improves.

This is the full workout - you will do 3 sets of each exercise. If you can't do all the repetitions to start with, that's fine. Start with 8 or 10 of each, or whatever you can do, but do all 3 sets. And as he notes in the beginning, you should do a light warmup and some stretches first before beginning the series, as this video does not include those.

Check it out, and get ready to get toned!

Weight Training Workout for Weight Loss - Fat Burning Functional Strength Training Workout
Find out how many calories this burns @ Find out when our newest videos go live by following us @ Check out our 8 Week Fat Loss Program to Lose Weight & Tone Up Fast that uses our free workout videos @ The clothing you see in t...

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Importance of Resistance Training For Women

More and more women these days are recognizing the benefits of resistance training. Resistance training is beneficial to just about anyone of any age, but it is especially important for women, who are at higher risk of bone problems as we age. Resistance training promotes physical activity and helps maintain a healthy body as we get older.

Lying dumbbell triceps extension
Lying dumbbell triceps extension (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But before you start lifting weights, you should know the proper way to execute the exercises. Many women may experience injuries when they incorrectly lift weights, especially if it's a new activity that hasn't been tried before. Seek the assistance of a qualified personal trainer if you are new to resistance training. If you are overweight, you'll probably want to add in some cardio exercise such as walking or interval training or jogging, as this is just as important to your overall fitness, but resistance training will help you achieve your optimal weight more quickly, and will assist in your other weight loss efforts.

Women usually do not have the natural muscle structure that most men have. They may not also have the same strength to carry heavy loads or the same resistance that men have. This discrepancy can get worse as you get older. Your body may no longer have the same strength as when you were young. Often this is simply a result of lifestyle changes. When it comes to muscle tone and function, "move it or lose it" was never more true!

You can benefit in many ways when you get into resistance training. Even if you are not an athlete or a body-building enthusiast, you can get a lot out of a good resistance training program. Having an active body and well-toned muscles can provide you more strength and endurance to perform the tasks of your daily life, as well as to participate in fun recreational activities that keep you active and fit.  

Before starting your resistance training exercises, you may want to do some stretching and warm up exercises to allow the blood nutrients go to the muscles and joints of your body. Muscle stretching also helps in lessening the risks of injuries and muscle pain after the work out. Muscles tend to get sore, and also can be strained, if you are not well warmed-up before the workout. In addition, muscle stretching improves your flexibility. You will be able to execute the exercises more comfortably and effectively.

Using the diagonal sled-type leg press machine.
Leg press machine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When you are ready to lift weights, you should first work on your larger muscles, then the smaller ones. You may then finally go to the muscles that are isolated. For example, push-ups can enhance the upper muscles of the body, but before going there, you should first focus on the larger muscle groups such as those in your quads, thighs and butt. Exercises for these areas include such movements as squats, box step-ups, and lunges. You may also use the leg extension machine and the leg press machine to exercise these areas.

It is important to always remember to also work the opposing muscles. Muscles can get imbalanced if the exercises you do are not equally distributed, and this can lead to injury. For example, when performing triceps extension exercises, it is advised that you also do bicep exercises to balance it out. If you work out on the chest and the stomach area with crunches or other similar exercises, it is important that you also do back extension exercises to keep things in balance and prevent injury.

Always take a rest and do a few stretches after your resistance training workout. Drink plenty of water, and allow your muscles to cool gradually by moving around a bit. This can help prevent muscle soreness. Once you've been participating in resistance training for a while, you will find that you are more ready and physically fit for many kinds of sports and other fun activities that can enhance your life.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Reaping the Benefits of Resistance Training

Do you want to have a stronger and more lean and toned body? One of the best things you can do to achieve this is to add resistance training to your workout routine.

What Is Resistance Training?

Resistance training involves activities that use weights, machines and even body weight to exercise the muscles. It is also known as strength training or weight training. This can be very helpful in achieving a healthier and leaner body.

This kind of training is usually associated with athletes who are seeking to build strength. Some people might think that resistance training will increase the size of the muscles, but in actuality this isn't necessarily true. Resistance training is simply about increasing the strength of the body, not its size.

This form of exercise can be practiced by anyone who wishes to build and tone their muscles to give the body a better look. Even the elderly can reap significant benefits through resistance training, which can help prevent atrophy and disfunction as we age, and may even reduce the incidence of osteoporosis. (See benefits below for more on this.)

How Does Resistance Training Work?     

English: PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 22, 2010) Joshua ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A resistance training program will often include the use of various exercise equipment and machines like the bench press, dumbbell or barbell. Resistance bands or straps may also be used. When the equipment is used, the muscles of the body will be pitted against the weight. The cells of the body will then adapt to the extra weight. This will then result in the enlarging and increasing of the nerve cells to help in the muscle contraction.

Before doing any resistance training, it is best to consult first with your personal physician and also a qualified trainer. This goes especially for people who have medical conditions or are overweight.  If using equipment, you also will need training on which equipment is best for the needs of your body, and how to properly use the equipment to avoid injury or muscle strain.

Resistance training can also be done without using equipment. Doing push-ups is one good example. You can do it just about anywhere where there is enough space for you to move. This time it is your own body weight that your muscles will work against. Other types of calisthenics, as well as yoga, Pilates, and a number of other exercise forms also include resistance exercise without equipment or machines.

What Are the Benefits of Resistance Training?

1. Increase Bone Mineral Density
Bones are constantly remodeling, meaning the tissues break down at the same time they build up. The peak of remodeling takes place during puberty. However, as a person ages, they may experience problems with bone mineral density as the remodeling may not be as active anymore. This is especially a problem for post-menopausal women.

Bone mineral density is usually supported by hormones. To address the problem of not having the hormones to maintain the bone mineral density, physical activity is the next best option. Resistance training is one physical activity that can address this - and it can be done at any age.

2. Increase Strength
Strong bones and strong muscles are one of the major benefits of a resistance training program. As your muscles work against the weight, they pull against the bones, which creates additional bone strength and density.

English: an exercise of upperarms and forearms
Resistance exercise of upper arms and forearms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
3. Increase Range of Activities
When your body is strong enough to carry a considerable weight, then you will also be capable of doing more strenuous activities. When you can do more, not only will you have a sense of accomplishment, but studies show you will gain higher self-esteem and more interest in life, and you can live a more active and enjoyable lifestyle.

4. Reduce Body Fat
Stronger and more active muscles increase metabolism, which helps burn fat even when you're not working out. Resistance training will also improve the tone of your body, so that it will look leaner and trimmer.

5. Improve Health & Function for the Elderly
For the elderly, undergoing a resistance training program will help improve their health and decrease many of the risks brought about by aging. They can be more independent, without needing to rely on other people for doing simple things. It also decreases the risk of injury, and promotes longevity.

6. Improve Heart Condition
Regularly doing resistance training can result in lowered heart rate and lowered blood pressure, especially after exercise. The risk of heart disease is also reduced to a considerable extent.

Resistance training however must be done properly. It requires commitment and consistency. It needs to be done in a regular basis, following a schedule that the doctor or the physical trainer recommends. If done incorrectly, the benefits you'll receive may be much reduced, and some exercises may even cause injury if overdone, or if your body is not ready for them.

The key here is to simply take your time. Do the exercises one step at a time, and do them correctly. As your body condition improves, you can move on to more challenging tasks. As your strength increases, so will your overall muscle tone and condition, and your general health.
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Video - Interval Running for Beginners

This helpful video from one of our favorite health and fitness experts, Yuri Elkaim, gives a nice overview of interval running and how to do it properly to get the best health and weight loss benefits. This is great for those new to running, unused to strenuous exercise, or those starting at a low fitness level, and he explains how to ramp up your workouts as you become fitter, so you can run faster and longer and achieve even more benefits. In terms of weight loss, using the interval method can burn more than twice as many calories, in 1/4 of the time.

Feel free to visit Yuri's site below if you would like to learn more about this method of fun fitness and weight loss.

Interval Training Workouts for Beginners - Interval training for beginners is the easiest way to get into running. So if you're just starting out and need help with your interval training workouts, then this video will give you the help you need.

Click Here to Learn More About MyTreadmillTrainer Workouts...

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