Thursday, July 28, 2016

[Video] Outdoor Workout - No Equipment Required

Walking, jogging, or running are all great ways to work out outdoors, but there are plenty of other exercises you can do outside as well. If you have access to a playground or park, you can often use equipment there (benches, monkey bars, etc.) as workout equipment - use it as your own outdoor gym!

But if not, there are lots of other things you can do without any equipment at all. Yoga and Tai Chi are great relaxing workouts to do in the great outdoors.

Or you can do a number of free form exercises like those in the video below, including lunges, pushups, and more.

This workout does include a short warmup and cool down, and requires no equipment at all, so you really can do it anywhere - even on the beach during summer vacation - so you have no excuse not to work out!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Why You Should Consider Exercising Outdoors

Exercising outdoors brings with it a whole host of advantages, along with some disadvantages. Depending on where you live, exercising outdoors may not be an option during some parts of the year. In the Northern Plains and Northeast of the United States, you have bitter cold and snow in the winter that prevents you from exercising outdoors. In the desert Southwest, the extreme heat in the summer has the same effect.

However if you walk or run, you’ll get a better workout if you exercise outside because:
  • Your ankles flex differently due to the varied surface, so you use more and different muscles.
  • You use different muscles going downhill, something you can’t do on a treadmill.
  • You’ll burn more calories due to air resistance. Expect a 2% to 10% increase in the amount of effort expended. 
  • Your frame of mind will be better.
Image courtesy of nenetus at
While the first three are physical advantages, the last one is psychological. Virtually every study performed has shown that those who exercise outside scored higher on tests that measured vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after walking outside when compared to groups walking indoors. Plus on a sunny day, you get your Vitamin D!

Known as the sunshine vitamin, health benefits derived from getting Vitamin D naturally include:
  • Preventing cancer – recent research suggests Vitamin D slows the growth and progression of cancer cells.
  • Reducing hormonal problems – Vitamin D influences how certain hormones, such as insulin, rennin, serotonin and estrogen react thus improving blood pressure, diabetes, depression and sleep, while reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.  
  • Combating obesity – Vitamin D deficiency can interfere with the hormone leptin, which is what tells the brain you are full and should stop eating. People deficient in Vitamin D are twice as likely to be overweight.
  • Reducing inflammation – Vitamin D strengthens your autoimmune system, thus reducing the risk of the body attacking itself as it does with diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
And you can save money by exercising outdoors! You don’t need a gym membership which initially saves you money, but that is only the beginning – you save even more money by not burning fuel in your car to get to and from the gym.

You can exercise anywhere. There are very few places where you can’t walk or run, making it the almost perfect exercise when traveling for business or pleasure. Just be sure to pack a pair of walking, running or cross trainer shoes and your workout clothes.

With the availability of sidewalk, trails and paths, plus the obvious health benefits and savings, you have no excuse to not exercise outside. Just lace up your shoes and get going!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

[Video] Plateau-Busting Strength Training Workout

This tough, intense workout is designed for those who have hit a fitness plateau, and need some help busting through it to their next level of fitness. This is a challenging workout, so be sure you are in good enough shape to attempt it!

You will need to add a warmup and cool down on your own, and you will need some equipment for this workout, although it doesn't have to be expensive. You will need some hand weights or kettle bells of different weight levels, an equalizer, bars or a couple of sturdy chairs, and a step.

The format of this workout is a little bit different, as you will always be one exercise behind the instructor. Each exercise is done for 40 seconds, with 10 seconds in between, for just 12 minutes total - but you sure will feel like you worked out for an hour!

Now, let's bust that plateau!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

6 Subtle Signs That Your Fitness Is Improving

Sometimes it can be tough to stay motivated and on track with your workout plans. You see the perfect bodies at the gym. In the checkout line at the supermarket the fitness magazines show impossibly toned and ripped cover men and women. You look in the mirror and don't see much, if any, results of all your hard work. So it's understandable if once in a while you think about throwing in the towel and giving up on getting in shape.

But guess what?
(Image courtesy of nenetus at

You may be stronger and more fit than you think! Changes taking place inside you may be paying off your exercise efforts. The outward results might just be subtle, instead of noticeable.

Did you know that when you hit a "plateau" in your fitness efforts, your body is actually resetting itself to a new, fitter version of "normal"? If you just push through it and keep going, you will begin seeing improvements soon!

The following are not-so-obvious signs that your workouts are working, and that visual proof of a stronger, leaner, fitter you is just around the corner!

1. You Are Sleeping Better

Weird, huh? Most people do not connect better sleep habits with being fit. The truth is when you build muscle and burn fat, you sleep better. So if your sleep has improved, you are probably on the right physical fitness track.

2. You Don't Need Your Usual Cup(s) of Coffee in the Morning

This is connected to the healthy sleep cycle that fitness creates. When you work out during the day, your body repairs at night. You sleep better and wake refreshed, not always needing the usual amount of morning java.

3. You Can Stand without Having to Shift Your Weight
Here's an interesting one... Can you stand through a short meeting without switching your weight from one foot to the other? Do you effortlessly stand in line at the grocer or DMV? These are subtle signs that you have improved your functional strength and flexibility.

4. You Can Keep up With Your Kids

Kids seem to have endless energy. A lot of parents start exercising to be able to spend more time with their children. If you notice you can keep up with your kids better than before, that's a sign your hard work is paying off.

5. Your Friends Notice Health Improvements

"Have you been working out?" When you hear this, it means the improvements are noticeable. You stand a little taller. Your posture improves, along with your self-confidence. You walk with a lighter step. You may not notice gradual but positive changes that come as a result of exercising, but your friends, family and co-workers will let you know.

6. You Find That You Are Mentally Sharper

Exercise fires off "feel good" endorphins and other chemicals in your brain. Physical exertion also makes your mind clearer and more focused. Have you noticed you are mentally more capable than usual? Exercise could be the cause.

If you're noticing any of the above signs, this means you're on the right track! Don't give up! Stick with your fitness plan, and you will soon be seeing more obvious results of all your hard work.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

[Video] Fun Family Workout With Little Kids

These workout ideas are great for families with little kids - the kids will have a ton of fun crawling, running, jumping, and balancing, while you get a great workout!

It doesn't need to take long - just a few simple exercises will have you burning when you add the weight of the kids to the equation, as shown in this video. This mom and dad do a great job of showing how fun it can be to get fit while enjoying your kids!

It's also a great way to set a good example for your kids by teaching them that exercise can be fun and enjoyable.

If you're a busy parent with small children, you will definitely want to check this one out!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How to Achieve Physical Fitness for the Whole Family

When your entire family is working together towards a common goal, no matter what it is, your chance of success improves dramatically. The old joke asks, "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer is, "One bite at a time." When your family is also focused on helping you eat the elephant, a seemingly impossible task gets accomplished in a much shorter time.

While eating an elephant is certainly an unenviable and impossible sounding chore, it is often times just as difficult for a family in today's society to remain active, stay fit and keep healthy. Processed and fast foods are everywhere, teens and adults are more sedentary than at any other time in humankind's history, and mobile Internet technology has everyone's face stuck in a smartphone or PC display.

That is why it is more important than ever to take certain proven steps towards becoming a more physically fit family. And actually, in many ways, the family dynamic can make physical fitness and better health easier to achieve as a team than it is on the individual level. Children are already conditioned to receiving direction from their parents, and parents are consistently and consciously striving to set the best example. This creates some easy-to-follow steps towards family physical fitness which will increase your overall chance of success.

Assign a Coach

All teams need a coach or manager who leads the actions of the group. Someone in your family needs to direct the physical fitness activities of your "team". This works most effectively when it is mom or dad, and remember that the coach should set realistic but challenging goals. The family fitness coach should hand out schedules, provide input and motivation, and then follow-up on performances.

Schedule Family Fitness Outings

(Image courtesy of nenetus at
The different ages and fitness levels of your family members will dictate that not everyone can lift the same weight, run the same distance or swim the same length. However, team activities like hiking are excellent for overall body health, hiking is doable by everyone, and it also allows the family to bond. Schedule family fitness outings which get you and your children away from computers and fast food, and you will find your family growing closer together while also becoming more physically fit.

Incorporate Nutrition As Well As Exercise

It is well known that exercise and nutrition form the two most important components for physical fitness and health. Exercise is great, and as little as 30 minutes per day can deliver a significant health benefit. But correct diet and nutrition is important as well, meaning more fruits and vegetables, less fried and fast foods, more preparing your own meals and enjoying them as a family, and less artificial drinks and sodas.

Hold An Accountability & Rewards Night

To help achieve your family's physical fitness goals, schedule one night a week where all members of the family enjoy a "rewards meal", openly discuss their successes and failures of the previous week, and motivate each other for the week to come.

Especially with the children in a family, hard work delivering an enjoyable reward like pizza night and positive affirmations from other family members will go a long way to guaranteeing compliance in future fitness activities.

These are just a few of the simple and inexpensive ways even the busiest family can create a physical fitness attitude that is looked upon positively by all family members.

Try to schedule exercising and workouts at the same time and on the same days whenever you can, to instill a sense of order and repetition. Always reward yourself, your spouse and your children with positive input when it is earned, remember that everyone falls and stumbles from time to time, and the chance of success for your family's physical fitness plan will improve dramatically.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

[Video] Belly Fat Burning High Intensity Interval Training Workout

If you want to burn belly fat fast, forget about crunches. What you need is high-intensity interval training, which will help your body burn fat faster and more efficiently, revealing those abs that you've worked so hard on!

This short workout only takes 15 minutes of your time, yet it will help kick your fat-burning metabolism into high gear, burning more fat even when your workout is done.

This is a pure bodyweight workout, so it requires no equipment, and can be done just about anywhere. The workout consists of 3 sets of each exercise, and each exercise is done for 20 seconds at a time, with 10 seconds of active rest between each exercise, so you can't get bored, and you will be done before you know it!

Please note that this workout does not include a warmup or a cool-down, so you will need to add those on your own.

Ready to get those abs show-off-worthy? Let's work out!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The 2 Real Ways to Lose Belly Fat

While many “diet and exercise programs” would lead you to believe you can reduce belly fat by doing sit-ups, the cold hard truth is that you can’t. Reducing fat in just the abdominal area is touted as spot reducing, but the body does not work that way. The only way to lose belly fat is to reduce your overall body fat. In the process, a certain amount of fat lost will come from your abdominal area.

Body fat is your body’s “rainy day account”. During the good times when food is plentiful, we store fat so we have an excess supply to use as energy during the lean times. Unfortunately in many people, the belly is one of the first places fat gets stored.

The Value of Abdominal Exercises

As noted, doing sit-ups does no good as far as losing belly fat, but core and abdominal exercises do have benefits. A strong core means better posture and less potential for back problems. A strength training routine performed a couple times a week will greatly improve your ab strength and define your abs. After all, you want your “six-pack” to shine through once you lose your belly fat, right?

We know that to lose a pound of weight per week, you have to burn more calories than you consume - 3,500 to be exact. We also know there are really only two ways to have a calorie deficit, working out and eating foods lower in calories (or a combination of both which actually works the best).

1. Working Out
(Image courtesy of stockimages at

To burn the maximum amount of fat, two things have to happen. One, you have to increase your heart rate by performing a warm-up routine so your muscles are getting the maximum amount of oxygen. Two, you have to exercise your body as hard as possible (while monitoring your target heart rate) by doing intense workouts, preferably of varying length. Short, intense workouts should be alternated with rest periods. This type of "interval cardio" workout will achieve maximum calorie burn, and boost your metabolism for ongoing fat loss. Be sure to vary the type and tempo of exercise that you do as well, to avoid the dreaded "plateau" effect.

(Image courtesy of KEK064 at
2. Eating Fewer Calories

Not all calories are created equal. Your focus should be on eating food low in processed fats, sugar, and carbohydrates, but high in fiber and quality protein. Such broad choices include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, seafood, beans and grass-fed meats to name a few.  And don’t forget to add in some of the good fats - the poly and monounsaturated fats. These come from olive oil, fatty fish such as tuna and salmon, nuts and avocados. 

By lowering your overall body fat percentage, some of your loss will be belly fat. Keep it up, and you will be well on your way to that coveted "six-pack"!