Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review: Valeo Medicine Ball

A medicine ball is a classic tool for improving strength and coordination, and the Valeo Medicine Ball is a wonderful update on this classic. This ball looks sleek and modern and comes in a wide variety of weights to meet your needs.

Some medicine balls are actually soft. While this works for some exercise routines, many people find that a harder ball is better and provides for more flexibility. Especially if you’re doing a home workout such as P90X, you’ll want a firm ball.

This medicine ball comes in five different weights ranging from 2 pounds to 10 pounds. Each weight is brightly colored in a different shade so that you can quickly tell them apart when you’re working out. The 2 pound ball is yellow, the 4 pound ball is purple, the 6 pound ball is aqua, the 8 pound ball is pink, and the 10 pound ball is black. All of the colors are bright and easy to differentiate.

The finish of the ball is textured so that it’s easy to grip when you toss it and catch it. The ball is made from rubber so it can actually bounce off of hard surfaces rather than banging into them and causing damage. The bounce also allows you to keep momentum going from exercises that require tossing.

Medicine balls are particularly good for helping to improve core strength. You can use them for a wide variety of activities including lunges, squats, deadlift, jumping, push-ups, chest toss, and shoulder press. But if you need some help determining what to do with the ball, you’ll be happy with the included exercise chart. This wall chart helps you to know what you can do with the ball to enhance your routine.

If you’re ready to improve your strength, particularly your core strength, increase your flexibility, and improve your coordination these medicine balls are a must-have for your home gym.

Some customers have noted that the balls have a strong chemical smell when they come out of the package. What you’re smelling there is the rubber, but the smell will fade after a day or two outside of a box. But customers who have purchased these balls also rave about the easy grip and the high quality. They particularly like that these medicine balls can bounce, increasing the range of possible exercises that can be performed.

 If you want to improve your core strength, the Valeo Medicine Ball is a great choice for your home gym.

Buy Valeo Medicine Balls on Amazon.com:
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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Video: Beginner's Toning Kettlebell Workout

This 30-minute video gives a great workout for those just starting out with kettlebells. It does include a warmup, but you will also want to do some stretches afterwards to prevent soreness and increase flexibility.

This workout challenges your back, shoulders, arms, and legs, and is great for building upper body strength, and toning your entire body.

The moves are fairly basic, but be sure to follow the instructions provided for proper form to avoid injury. If you have not used kettlebells before, you should start with a lighter weight.

* Note: Kettlebells, like any weights, must be handled with care, and proper technique should be used to stay safe. Be sure to consult with a physician before beginning to be sure you are fit enough to do this routine.

Fitness Blender's Beginner Kettlebell Workout - Kell's Kettlebells Routine for Total Body Toning
Find out how many calories this burns @ http://bit.ly/GTFi7M

More Kettlebell Workouts for Beginners: 
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Basic Concepts of Kettlebell Training

The use of kettlebells can be dated back to the end of the 19th century but it wasn't popularized in the United States until the late '90s. The first US-made Russian style kettlebell was made in 2001. Kettlebells are used like other weights to improve one's physique and fitness level.

What sets this cast iron weight apart from other exercise tools is its unusual design- like a cannonball with a handle. Some are filled with water, sand or steel shot. Unlike regular dumbbells where the weight is evenly distributed on each side, the kettlebell’s center of mass goes away from the hand.

Because of its design, the user can swing the weight to improve core strength. Each time you swing the weight, you are not just fighting the weight but the centripetal force as well. Using a kettlebell is no doubt more challenging than working out with a dumbbell of the same weight.

English: Three commonly used kettlebells (Drag...
Kettlebells (Dragon Door Brand) of various sizes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The ballistic and swinging movements combine cardio, strength and flexibility movements. These exercises can build strength and endurance specifically in the lower back, shoulders, butt and legs. Basic moves like swing, snatch and the clean and jerk work different muscle groups at once.

Kettlebell exercises are holistic in nature, working many different muscle groups all over the body at the same time. Compared to exercises done with dumbbells, kettlebell training often requires a larger number of repetitions. Another important aspect of the kettlebell is the caution that needs to be practiced when using it.

One of the most common mistakes that beginners make is they bend at the waist and pull with their arms to move the weight. You need to use your hips and not your arms to move the kettlebell. Doing the exercises correctly will allow you to burn more calories and prevent injuries.

If you are a beginner, it will be best to try different weights and exercises until you find one that that will give you a challenging but functional workout. Learn the basics before you venture out to more advanced techniques. The basic core moves that you have to master are how to swing, clean and snatch.

You can't be an advanced kettlebell user unless you practice the basic exercises first. But another great thing about working out with kettlebells is that since the exercises involved in kettlebell training use the same type of movements you might use in daily physical chores such as chopping wood and shoveling, you are able to develop functional strength that can benefit you in your everyday life.

The weight itself does not look complicated, but mastering the moves is a little difficult. There are certain techniques that are critical to preventing injuries. If you are planning to workout with a kettlebell, it's best to enroll in a class or purchase a DVD so you can practice the moves at home, and learn the basics first to stay safe.

A Few Good Kettlebell Workout DVDs for Beginners:

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Video: 8-Minute Daily Tai Chi Exercise Series

This short video demonstrates some basic Tai Chi movements that stretch and strengthen, improve balance, and stimulate brain and heart function. They are very gentle and flowing movements, and are great for seniors, stress relief, or just loosening up tight muscles after a long day of work, or to increase energy throughout the body to start off the day. His instruction is clear and simple, helping you understand exactly how to perform each movement.

Obviously this is different from most of our hard-hitting weekly workouts, but it is equally helpful to include this type of movement into your daily exercise routine! Tai Chi helps build holistic health throughout the whole body.

Note: If the video does not appear below, click the link to view.

Daily Tai Chi - join in this 8-minute exercise
TaiChiHealthProducts.org presents an 8-minute "Easy Tai Chi" to do daily. Join in with Don Fiore and see how you feel afterwards. Great for a senior fitness routine and home workout. Helps with balance, coordination, circulation, and strengthening bones and muscles. The movements come from our "Easy TaiChi-Qigong" DVD that can be ordered on TaiChiHealthProducts.org - a website for Holistic Health Tips and Exercises.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

3 Mind-Body Exercises That Benefit Your Heart

One of the best ways to ensure good heart health is to engage in exercises that focus on the mind and the body. Most of us think that a good physical health is the only indicator of a healthy heart. However, research shows that our mood, stress levels and general outlook in life have major effects not only on the body but the heart as well. Simply put, preventing heart disease requires you to exercise regularly, make smarter food choices and engage in activities that reduce stress.

Here are 3 mind-body exercises that can improve heart health:

Yoga (Photo credit: natalielucier)
1.) Yoga- Hollywood celebs like Jennifer Aniston, Adam Levine and Michelle Williams are all hooked on yoga for a good reason. This practice relaxes the mind and body by using different disciplines, poses and breathing techniques. One of the key goals of yoga is to help a person achieve a state of peacefulness. Practicing yoga regularly can help you manage stress and anxiety effectively.

People who lived in the ancient times used yoga to improve their tranquility and spiritual insight. Today, people are also seeing its other benefits to one's health. According to some studies, yoga can help lower blood pressure, increase lung capacity, promote blood circulation and improve respiratory function and heart health.

Pilates Class at PHV Activity Center
Pilates Class (Photo credit: heraldpost)
2.) Pilates- this form of exercise was developed by Joseph Pilates. His desire to overcome physical limitations through physical fitness gave birth to the concept of Pilates- leave the body invigorated rather than drained of energy. The main objective of this discipline is to balance flexibility and strength. It focuses on uniting the mind, body and spirit through natural movements.

Unlike traditional cardiac rehabilitation programs, the exercises involved in Pilates significantly improve functional capacity in patients with heart failure according to some studies. A 16-week study was conducted to prove the effectiveness of Pilates in improving heart health. Patients with heart failure did Pilates in combination with 30 minutes of aerobic exercises. The result was lowered resting heart rate and improved oxygen levels in the blood.

Tai Chi (Photo credit: Nney)
3.) Tai Chi- this exercise is also known as moving meditation. It combines slow, controlled movements with mental concentration to help you focus. Tai Chi challenges the body and it improves life energy flow. Research suggests that this form of exercise can improve heart function. It can also lower blood pressure and stress levels.

Tai Chi is perfect for those who are looking for a low-impact exercise that do not put a lot of stress to the muscles and joints. It is generally safe for all ages and fitness levels. You do not need any equipment to practice Tai Chi and you can be indoors or outdoors.

These three types of exercise provide great benefits for both the mind and the body - both of which promote overall health and a strong, healthy heart. Plus they are a lot of fun, and make you feel great!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Video: 30-Minute High-Intensity Interval Workout

This intense interval-training cardio workout works the whole body while improving cardiovascular capacity and boosting metabolism. It does include a warm up, but not a cool-down, so you will want to be sure to cool down and stretch after the workout.

As usual, he gives great form instructions along with the demo, and there is a helpful inset to show what the next exercise is so you can get ready to switch. There is also a meter showing approximate calorie burn throughout the workout, which is nice.

There three rounds of a variety of exercises included, which work all the different major muscle groups of the body.

For the first round, you will do five sets of each exercise, with 15 seconds of rest in between each one. The first set is 50 seconds long, and each set drops by 10 seconds, with the last one at 10 seconds, so as you get tired, your sets are shorter, which helps!

The second round is a "pyramid round," so you start at 10 seconds for the first set, and work your way up to 40 seconds, then back down again. 

The third round gives you a total of 11 different exercises, each for two sets of 20 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between.

No equipment is required, as this workout uses your own bodyweight to give you a great workout and burn around 500 calories in just half an hour!

Note: This is a high-intensity workout! Be sure to consult your physician to make sure you are in good enough shape to do this workout before you begin.

HIIT the Ground Running - 33 Min High Intensity Interval Training for Endurance & Total Body Toning
Full routine info for this Fitness Blender HIIT Workout @ http://bit.ly/UYOjXj Lose 16-24 lbs in 8 weeks with our 8 Week Fat Loss Programs

For Our Favorite Interval-Training Program, Check Out Pace Express - The 12-Minute Fitness Revolution: 
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Does Running Burn Fat?

Today we have a special guest article from running coach and fitness expert, Yuri Elkaim:

Have you ever wondered whether running is useful for burning fat?  How about whether low intensity, long duration (ie. exercising in your fat burning zone) running (or cardio) is better than higher intensity interval running (ie. your cardio zone)?

Well, we’re about to answer those questions.

Running To Burn Fat

Depending on the duration and intensity of your run, your body will rely on carbohydrates (stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver) and fat for its fuel.

Your body chooses different fuels during different situations. Because fats yield more calories and are slower burning as they are metabolized, they tend to be used over longer durations when compared to carbohydrates.

However, your body’s first priority is to conserve its blood glucose and glycogen stores. As you become fitter your body will become more efficient at using fats for fuel while sparing your vital carbohydrate reserves.

Someone who is totally unfit will obviously fatigue sooner, one of the reasons being that their carbohydrate stores are more quickly dissolved and utilized. Fitter individuals can run for much longer because they have developed the ability to use the slow burning fats as fuel, and therefore conserve their energy better.

As the intensity of exercise increases, there is more reliance on carbohydrates for fuel. Typically, intensities greater than 70% of VO2 max (or maximum heart rate for our purposes) will use carbohydrates as the dominant fuel source.

However, this doesn’t mean that working at high intensities doesn’t burn fat.

This is where most people get confused. Many people believe that, for instance, since running at a lower intensity implies more reliance on fat as fuel, they feel the need to run at this low-intensity to burn fat. Nothing could be further from the truth!

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated that, compared with a control group 8 months of either low amount/moderate intensity, low amount/high intensity or high amount/high intensity exercise all led to positive changes in overall lipoprotein (one type of blood fat) profile in overweight subjects. The latter group (high amount/high intensity) also gained the best training, fat loss, and blood lipid effect!

The other part of the fat burning question is that the longer you run (or exercise), the greater the reliance on fat as a fuel. Once again, this feeds the myth that running (or doing cardio) for long periods of time is necessary to burn fat. I call this the “marathoner mentality”.

The first thing that is critical to understand is this:

A calorie is a calorie and 1 pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories.

Since burning fat ultimately boils down to creating a negative energy balance (ie. more calories expended than consumed) the goal is choose a method of running training that will elicit the maximum number of calories expended – not just during the activity but afterwards as well!

Working at higher intensities promotes a greater total calorie loss (even after you’re finished exercising) and that’s what really matters if you’re looking to lose weight and burn fat.

As we’ve already described, fat is the major contributor to muscle energy during low-intensity exercise. Therefore, most people intuitively believe that low intensity training must therefore induce an increased muscle fat burning effect (known as lipolytic activity).

The enzyme, HSL (hormone sensitive lipase), is required to catalyze the hydrolysis (breakdown) of stored triglycerides (fats) in skeletal muscle as it does in adipose (fat) tissue. Furthermore, several studies have indicated that HSL is probably the main lipase responsible for triglyceride hydrolysis during exercise.

However, a remarkable study investigating the effects of exercise of extreme duration at low-intensity on body fat profile had subjects complete a 32-day crossing of the Greenland ice cap on cross-country skis. After this incredible crossing, the researchers discovered that HSL activity was NOT influenced by the prolonged low-intensity physical activity in either arm or leg muscle. This is consistent with results from similar investigations.

So, if you have time to run for 2 to 3 hours at a low intensity then be my guest. You will achieve some degree of fat loss but studies have shown that you will need to perform a tremendous amount of exercise to gain the benefits you desire.

Furthermore, several studies have demonstrated that your aerobic endurance will either decline or remain unchanged by exercising at low intensities for long periods of time!

So why not save time, dramatically improve your aerobic fitness, and burn more fat by upping the intensity of your running workouts?  The choice is yours!


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 http://www.cartville.com/app/?Clk=5125331 and learn more about the best running workouts to get you fitter and running faster than ever before!


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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Video: Bikini Body Pilates Workout

Get that body bikini-ready just in time for summer with this great Pilates workout from FitnessBlender! This one hits abs, thighs, and glutes, for a flat tummy, and firm legs and booty to show off on the beach this year - all in under 30 minutes. Do this one a couple of times a week for the next couple of months, and you'll have long, toned muscles by summer! 

There is no warmup or cool-down included in this workout, so you will want to add this on your own - especially a cool-down, as the workout starts off fairly gentle so you can ease into it gradually. As with all FitnessBlender workouts, this one offers great verbal instructions on form and breathing, along with the demonstration.

Bikini Body Pilates - 27 Minute Abs, Butt and Thighs Pilates Workout by FitnessBlender.com
Full routine info @ http://bit.ly/144J2Vo

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: FitFlop Women's Toning Flip Flop: Do They Really Work?

First came the toning sneakers, now come the toning flip flops for summer! And the FitFlop brand are taking the world by storm right now. But how does the FitFlop Women's Toning Flip Flop really "shape up" when you look at the evidence?

What To Look For In Toning Flip Flops

1) Style: The premise behind the FitFlop is that you will benefit more from everyday activities like walking. This doesn't mean you want to look like you're kitted out to go to the gym all day every day, though, so you want your toning flip flops to look stylish.

2) Comfort: Next, your toning flip flops have to be comfortable. If not, you're not going to wear them, and you're not going to benefit!

3) Fitness Benefits: The main point of these flip flops is that they need to be well designed to help you improve your fitness.

Features Of The FitFlop Women's Toning Flip Flop

* Styles: FitFlops come in a huge number of styles including metallic leather, sequins, suede and rhinestones.
* Color: Each style can be purchased in a variety of different colors.
* Sizes: FitFlops are available in US sizes 5-11.
* Design: They are made with EVA foam to create a "destabilizing effect".
* Benefits: They can help to improve leg, calf and gluteal muscle activity and posture.

What Customers Are Saying About The FitFlop Women's Toning Flip Flop

FitFlops have been some of the best selling shoes for months now. Customers aren't just buying them to improve their fitness and lose weight, they're buying them because they're extremely comfortable and stylish at the same time. Reviews are generally very positive!

Any Complaints?

Unfortunately, FitFlop Women's Toning Flip Flops are only being sold in whole sizes. If you usually wear a half size then the manufacturers recommend that you choose the smaller of the two sizes. Aside from this, customers have noticed that some styles of the shoe are a little narrow and may not be suitable for those with wide feet. And, due to the height of the FitFlop, they're not suitable for all terrain walking.

fitflop (Photo credit: Leo Reynolds)
Can Toning Flip Flops Really Work?

If you're looking for a shoe to help you tone up and lose weight, this this is the big question and probably the biggest consideration for your purchase. Like other brands of toning footwear, the FitFlop Women's Toning Flip Flops is made using EVA foam that creates a "destabilizing effect" as you walk. In other words, they won't work miracles, but they will rock back and forth while you're wearing them to help keep your muscles more active as you walk, helping you to tone up quicker than you would normally.

The experts are firmly divided when it comes to toning footwear, with many arguing that it's simply the extra walking you're doing that makes the difference in your fitness efforts. However, many happy customers have reported feeling extra tired and achey after using these shoes with their normal workouts. The design of the shoe can help you walk the "right way" i.e. the most effective way for making the most of those muscles!

It really is up to you whether you think it's worth giving the FitFlop Women's Toning Flip Flop a try. Many happy women swear by these shoes, but you'll only see results if you put some effort in!

Get Your FitFlops Here:

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