Thursday, October 31, 2013

Video: Jillian Michaels Banish Fat Boost Metabolism Complete Workout

Jillian Michaels' workouts are not for wusses - and this workout is no exception!  This full-length workout includes a warmup and cool down, complete with 45-minute workout that will blast fat and kick your metabolism into high gear, while toning your entire body. Use your own body weight to get a great workout at home without any equipment. This one isn't really for beginners, but she does include some beginner modifications for you to follow if you're not that fit yet. If you are a beginner, follow the beginner examples of the exercises where available, and you don't have to do the whole thing - even if you can only do the first 15 minutes that's a start!

Take it easy, be sure to warm up and stretch, and listen to your body. Now let's get ready to move!

(Note: Be sure to consult with your trainer or healthcare professional before starting any new workout, especially if you are at a low fitness level.)

Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat Boost Metabolism Complete Workout
Jillian Michaels: Banish Fat Boost Metabolism Complete Workout is an intense calorie-blasting, total body-sculpting exercise series that is made up of 7 card...

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If You Liked This Workout, Check These Out:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Making Nutritional Programs a Part of Your Weight-Loss Plan

So you have decided to make a concerted effort to lose some excess weight, and you realize that in order to be successful, you need to develop a weight-loss plan.

This plan will involve 2 primary components:

1. An increase in physical activity
2. A nutritional program that promotes weight loss

weight loss tracker week 2
weight loss tracker (Photo credit: The Shed1)
The first point is important, because increased physical activity will promote muscle growth that, in turn, increases metabolism and burns more calories.  A personal trainer would be very helpful in creating a plan that works for you.

The second point is also crucial, because any weight-loss plan must include healthy eating, not just simply less eating.  Although people wanting to lose weight would love to lose it all very quickly, when it comes to weight loss, slow and steady wins the race.

How much weight loss is reasonable over the course of a month?  

A reasonable weight-loss plan would see you shed one to two pounds per week, or an average of four to eights pounds per month.  Excessive weight loss at the start of extreme dieting programs is usually due to fluid loss, not fat.  Just remember that you did not put on the extra weight in one week, so do not expect it to come off in one week either!

Burn more calories than you eat

Regardless of what path you choose to lose a few pounds, a basic truth exists – if you want to lose weight, the amount of calories you eat must be less than the number of calories you burn.  This is why physical activity is a vital part of any weight-loss plan.  (See our recent blog post on this important topic:

Every pound of fat equals approximately 3500 calories.  Therefore, a simple rule of thumb is that in order to lose a pound of fat per week, you must consume 3500 less calories than you burn for that week.

How many calories should you eat and drink in a day?

The number of calories you should consume in a day will depend on several factors such as gender, height, age, etc., so consult with your physician to determine what is right for you.

However, once you know what that number is, that is your maximum daily amount.

Therefore, getting the calories from the correct food sources becomes important.

Eat less do more
Eat less do more (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Here are few tips for doing this:

1. Keep a journal of what you have eaten

This can be tedious but, if done properly, it can monitor whether or not you are achieving your goal.  It can be easy to overeat without even realizing it.  A journal will help to keep you honest with yourself.

2. Make a meal plan

Knowing what you will eat and when you will eat that day, reduces the chances of eating unhealthy, processed foods when you just do not know what to make for dinner.  It is like going shopping without a grocery list – you will probably pick up things you do not need.  The same applies here – without a meal plan, you will eat things you do not need.

3. Eat sensible foods

What does this mean?  You have probably heard the terms, "protein," "high carbs," and "low carbs."  What's what?  Carbs (carbohydrates) have come under attack in recent years.  The truth is that they are a good source of energy, if you consume the correct types of carbs.

Processed foods contain simple carbohydrates with a high glycemic index.  This means that when they are consumed, your blood sugar rises quickly, but then drops quickly as the rush passes.  As your blood sugar drops, hunger ensues again and this is when people overeat.

On the other hand, eating complex carbohydrates with a lower glycemic index such as oatmeal, whole grain bread, and fresh fruit, will give you energy and keep you feeling satisfied for a longer time.

Combining this with other high-protein foods such as nuts and lean meats, will provide you with a nutritious long-lasting energy source.

In summary, when it comes to losing weight and nutrition, take a common-sense approach.  Burn more calories than you take in, feed your body high-quality foods, and you will begin to see the rewards over time.

Check out recent posts on our health blog for more tips on eating well and exercising smart:

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Video: Flexibility & Range of Motion - Beginner Yoga Set

This short video gives you a great flexibility workout in under 10 minutes. It is suitable for beginners, but also a great way to stretch and increase your range of motion for any level of fitness, especially if you are not very flexible. Focus on breathing into the stretch to oxygenate your muscles and increase your joint flexibility gradually. She moves fairly quickly, but the moves are quite simple, so shouldn't be too challenging. Remember don't push yourself too far - flexibility is developed slowly - not all at once.

Do this short routine daily and watch your flexibility increase dramatically in just a few weeks! This is also a great way to warm up and stretch for a few minutes before a more strenuous workout.

Flexibility and Range of Motion | Beginner Yoga With Tara Stiles
Today I'm going to show you basic moves to get you started opening ...

Find More Flexibility Yoga Workouts Here:
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

4 Benefits of Flexibility Exercises

If you were to walk into a gym today and observe the daily routines of its patrons, you would likely notice a common theme:  people's desire to get their workouts done, and to carry on with their busy lives. 

As a result, many people have done away with making flexibility exercises a part of their workouts.  However, several benefits can be achieved by putting a focus back on flexibility exercises. 

1. Decreased chance of injury through reduced joint stress

Stretching (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* The old adage is true – "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."  If you are about to put your body, and especially your joints, through a rigorous workout, it makes sense to take those joints through their full ranges of motion first. 

* A joint that is flexible will not only have a great range of motion, but it is also less likely to get injured than a cold or tight joint.  Having said this, most experts agree that stretching a joint should only be performed once the body and muscles have been warmed up.  As a result, it is now advisable to do a few minutes of light cardio activity to get the blood flowing before beginning a stretching program. (If your workout or flexibility program consists of some type of yoga, just ease into it by not stretching as far at the beginning - see #2 below.)

2. Increased range of motion

* It has been shown that for some weight lifting exercises, the fuller the range of motion is, the more beneficial the exercise can be to muscle building.  It would then be in your best interest to achieve that goal. 

* Increasing your range of motion is most easily performed by doing a dynamic stretch of the body part that you plan to target in your workout routine.  Dynamic stretching, as opposed to static stretching, involves putting a targeted body part's muscles and joints through a series of progressively wider ranges of motion until they are fully stretched - a yoga routine is a good example of this.

Gymnos, 3 - Picture by Giovanni Dall'Orto, Aug...
A gymnast stretching exercise. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
3. Increased balance

* Imagine if you dropped something on the floor, and you were about to pick it up.  But just before you do this, you are told you cannot bend your knees or bend at the hips.  Picking up that object now seems next to impossible without falling flat on your face! 

* This is an extreme example, which illustrates a simple concept.  Flexible joints allow a body to keep its balance.  A body is most balanced when the head, shoulders, and hips are in perfect alignment, and flexible joints allow for this alignment to happen whether you are working out or just going about your daily activities.

4. Improved posture and muscle relaxation

* Muscle tightness, due to lack of flexibility in one area of the body, can cause problems in other areas.  As an example, tight hamstrings often lead to increased tension and fatigue in the muscles of the lower back.  As a result, low back pain then leads to poor posture as your body tries to protect itself from the pain it is enduring - remember - everything in the body is connected and affects the other parts!  The best way to prevent some forms of low back pain is to ensure that leg and torso muscles are subjected to a variety of flexibility exercises. This is why relief for chronic pain can often be found through specific exercises.

To conclude, whether the stretches you incorporate into your daily routine are static or dynamic, are performed at home or at the gym, are probably not the most important factors.  The most important factor is that you do make flexibility exercises a part of your workout so that you can get the most out of your training - and achieve a healthier, stronger, and pain-free body.
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Video: 20-Minute High-Intensity Interval Training Workout for Fat Loss

This excellent workout uses the interval training model to burn fat and help you lose weight quickly by revving up your metabolism. The workout consists of a 5 minute warmup segment to get your blood moving and your muscles warmed up, a 10-minute high-intensity interval workout (with a 2-minute active rest in the middle) to challenge your heart, lungs, and muscles, and 5 minutes of cool down.

The workout challenges all of your different muscle groups with two challenging exercises, with two sets of 20 seconds each for each exercise, with a 10-second rest between each set. It may not sound like much, but the exercises are intense enough that you will be burning even after 20 seconds! Add this into your fitness program a few times a week, and watch your body slim down fast.

We recommend watching it through once while following along at your own pace, and once you get it down, put on your favorite workout music, and get moving!*

* Note: Be sure to consult with your physician to be sure you are healthy enough for a high-intensity workout before beginning this or any similar exercise program.

 HIIT Workout for Fat Loss -'s At Home HIIT Workout Program for Weight Loss


For a Fun, Effective, 6-Week Fitness Program, check out Pace Express: The 12-minute Fitness Revolution:

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Choosing the Right Fitness Program for You

Many people today are becoming more and more concerned about their health. And who wouldn’t be? With the alarming increase in heart-related diseases and diabetes, and the United States having been nicknamed as the fattest country in the world, you have every right to be concerned about your body. You have to consider that your body plays a major role in how you live your daily life - and vice versa, your daily life plays a major role in the fitness level of your body.

A Marine of the United States Marine Corps run...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By having a healthy body, you will be able to enjoy life more. You also need to consider that having diabetes and heart-related diseases will also affect your family's life. So, if you want a healthy body, you have to turn off your TV, get off your comfortable recliner and start exercising. You also need to consider that you have to have a proper diet in order to maintain your body's health and prevent disease. (Check out our Cooking From Scratch blog to learn more about cooking wholesome and healthy foods for your family.)

Today, there are thousands of gyms located all over the United States, so it's easy to find a place to work out. Or you can choose to work out at home, or hire a personal trainer. Either way you choose to go, by exercising, you will not only have a healthy body and a healthy heart, but you will also have a great looking body that you can proudly show off.

However, what if you don’t know how to start exercising or what if you don’t know what kind of exercises you need for your body? You need to find the right fitness program for you. Gyms today have professional fitness experts or fitness trainers that can give you guidance and help you find a program that will help you meet your fitness goals. If you just want to maintain a healthy heart and have a well-toned body, the right fitness program for you will concentrate more on cardiovascular exercises plus a diet program that will help you maintain your heart's health.

English: Richard Hoke (from left), Clair Oja, ...
Working up a sweat during a Sunrise Cycling class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
However, if you want to have stronger muscles, you have to consider that weight training plus intensive cardiovascular exercises are required in your fitness program. You also need to consider that there are different fitness programs for different kinds of people. Fitness programs for children and young adults are quite different from those for the elderly - but people of all ages need to take charge of their fitness.

Your fitness program will depend on the current state your body is in. If you are overweight, you will first enter a weight loss fitness program. After you finish your weight loss fitness program and have reached your desired weight, you will now enter a different and more advanced fitness program that will concentrate on strength and endurance training.

As you can see, there are many different kinds of fitness programs available today. The right fitness program for you will depend on your current health status and the shape your body is in.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Video: 10-Minute Stability Ball Full-Body Workout

This 10 minute workout gives you a full body workout - it's quick and fun, and works all your muscles to promote strength and balance throughout your whole body.* And you only do each exercise for 45 seconds, so no boredom here!  All you need is a ball, a mat, and a wall - no weights or expensive equipment required.

Check this out today, and work your abs, arms, hamstrings, glutes, back, shoulders, and more - all in 10 minutes!

And for more fun and interesting balance ball workouts, see resources below the video.

* Note: Be sure to consult with your physician before starting any new exercise routine. You may also wish to consult with a personal trainer to make sure you are using proper form to avoid injury.

Total Body Exercise Ball Workout Video - Express 10 Minute Physioball Workout Routine

More Fun Ways to Work Out With The Ball:

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Benefits of Using a Stability Ball in Your Training

If there is one piece of equipment you can use in almost any form of exercise, it is the stability ball. The stability ball, or exercise ball, is extremely versatile and can be used for everything from strengthening and toning, to flexibility, to pain relief and posture improvement. It can be used in yoga, Pilates, weight lifting, cardio, and more. It's a great tool to have on hand, no matter what form of exercise you prefer.

What Is a Stability Ball?

An exercise ball allows a wide range of exerci...
An exercise ball allows a wide range of exercises to be performed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is a large and inflatable ball used as exercise equipment. Despite being air-filled, it is generally heavy-duty and often able to hold 600 to 700 pounds of weight. It is comfortable and gives good support, and it's fun and bouncy!

This exercise tool is also sometimes called as the physioball or the Swiss Ball.

The good thing about using the stability ball is it reduces the perception of ‘working’ in training, especially for beginners. It gives some element of ‘play’, and it adds some fun and excitement as you move on to more advanced movements and techniques.

Another good point about the ball is that it can be used by anybody. No particular fitness level is required. It is very portable and light weight, easy to bring along even when traveling - you can pack it up, then just inflate it when you get to your destination. It is also rather inexpensive compared to other exercise equipment and it may last for a very long time if you take good care of it.

How Stability Balls Came About

The use of the stability balls for training can be traced to rehabilitation. As early as the 1900’s, physical therapists have been using balls in addressing the neurological disorders of their patients.

Then, in the early 1960’s, Aquilino Cosani, an Italian toy maker, made a stability ball and sold it as equipment, known then as the ‘Gymnastik.’ Two decades later, Cosani started a company called Gymnic and became the major supplier of the stability ball to most rehabilitation programs and centers.

The ball then shifted from the rehabilitation to the athletic arena in the 90’s. It was used by professional athletes to condition the body. From then on, the ball became very prominent in the fitness community.

At present, medical specialists and fitness professionals often recommend the use of the stability ball. Not only does regular use of the ball help prevent many physical problems, it also helps prevent them from occurring in the first place.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Stability Ball?

The stability ball is a great tool to improve the strength of the abs and the lower back. It also improves the functional strength, balance and flexibility of the body, as seen below.

1. Proper Alignment & Posture
Using the ball during training will test the body to make use of the different muscle groups to maintain proper balance. The dynamic movements used during exercise will improve the natural motor reflexes of the body as different muscles are utilized in movement, especially the ones that are not usually used. The challenge posed by the ball is to maintain balance. As one strives to maintain proper balance on the ball, the alignment of body parts is also improved.

English: an exercise of abs
An ab exercise on the ball. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
2. Great Abs
For people working out to achieve great abs, use of the ball can definitely target the abdominal area. The abs and the back muscles are simultaneously moved as you work on your balance, and all of the different abdominal muscles work together to maintain balance, which means you're hitting all of the important muscles at once.

3. Muscle Strength and Endurance
The stability ball can help in alleviating any back pain and preventing it in the future. As all the major muscle groups are exercised, muscle tone, strength and endurance are also improved. Thus it gives the body flexibility, stability and strength.

4. Core Stability
The core muscles are the major muscles that help stabilize and support all of the body's daily movements. The core is made up of back and the deep abdominal muscles. With the ball, no matter how ‘deep’ or ‘into the core’ these muscles are, they are still exercised because of the number of different muscles that are challenged to maintain balance. Even just sitting on the ball while working on the computer can tone your abs and strengthen your core muscles!

5. Stretching
The ball is a good companion during stretching exercises. It helps you easily move into and move out of different stretching positions, without putting too much pressure on joints.

6. Losing Weight
Of course, with all the good benefits of using the ball, you will not miss out on the aspect of losing weight. With a number of regular exercises that can be done with the stability ball, using this ball in everything from cardio to muscle toning helps with weight loss.

Health is definitely your most important asset. Getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet are some of the most important things you can do for your health. But you can also have fun doing these things, and the stability ball is a great tool to have some fun with while getting fit.

Grab A Stability Ball and Work Out:
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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Video - Busting the Cardio Myth

Since we shared 3 workouts in Tuesday's post, today's video is more informational. Fitness expert Yuri Elkaim explains the cardio myth, and why interval running for a short period of time is much more effective for weight loss and fat burning than long duration lower intensity exercise. It's also better for your body, and a lot more fun! Instead of exhausting yourself with an hour on the treadmill, try his combination of sprints and jogs for 20 minutes, and feel great and energized - and rev up your fat-burning for up to 36 hours afterwards.

Find out why here, and for more on Yuri's fitness programs, visit

Interval Running for Weight Loss? - Interval running workouts for weight loss? That's the question that I answer in this video. You see, there's a lot of con...

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Three Interval Training Workouts for Beginners

Today we have a guest post by one of our favorite fitness experts and coaches - Yuri Elkaim! In this post, he gives you three simple workouts that will help you burn fat quickly and get in shape - and they only take between 20 and 30 minutes to do.

Three Interval Training Workouts for Beginners:

Today, I’d like to give you 3 interval training workouts for beginners.  You can choose to do these on the treadmill or outdoors – it really doesn’t matter.  These running workouts will help you run longer, get in better shape, and burn more calories - even after you're finished with your workout.

English: Jogging with dog at Carcavelos Beach ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
These cardio workouts involve interval training which means that you have a bout of higher intensity (i.e. running) followed by a bout of lower intensity (i.e. walking). Depending on the duration of the workout, this sequence will be repeated a number of times, which allows you to spend more time at faster speeds because we space them out with "recovery" intervals.

So let's get to it.

Beginner Interval Running Workout #1:

1 minute jogging @ 75% max speed : 4 minutes walking x 5 = 25 minutes

In this workout, you will jog at 75% of your maximum running speed for 1 minute and then reduce the speed to a decent pace walk for 4 minutes. This is then 5 times for a total of 25 minutes. This interval program means that you'll be spending a total of 5 minutes running and 20 minutes walking.

Beginner Interval Running Workout #2:

2 minutes jogging @ 75% max speed : 4 minutes walking x 5 = 30 minutes

Notice how this workout is almost identical to the first one, except for one little difference? In this treadmill workout, you'll be jogging twice as long while recovering for the same amount of time (4 minutes) you did in the first workout. The fact that your work to rest ratio is now 1:2 instead of 1:4 makes this workout more challenging because you are spending more of this workout at a higher speed. This workout allows you to run for 10 minutes and walk for 20 minutes.

Beginner Interval Running Workout #3:

2 minutes jogging @ 75% max speed : 2 minutes walking x 5 = 20 minutes

This treadmill running workout is more challenging because you now have the same amount of work as you do recovery (i.e. a 1:1 ratio). You won't have as much time to recover between work bouts and therefore we have reduced the overall time of this workout to 20 minutes, during which you'll have 10 minutes of running and 10 minutes of walking.

These are just a few running workouts for beginners out of thousands of possible interval running plans. Start with these and you’ll notice a significant improvement in your ability to run - and in the progress you make towards your fitness and weight loss goals.

Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s leading fitness and sports conditioning experts. You can take his Treadmill Trainer interval training running programs for a free test spin by visiting his website. Just click here to learn more about the best running workouts to get you fitter and running faster than ever before!

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