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Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, place your left hand on a bench in front of you, and assume a staggered stance, left foot forward. Hold your elbow in as you row the wight to the side of your torso. Do 10 reps, switch arms and leg positions, and repeat the movement.

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Grab a pair of dumbbells, bend your knees and lean forward so your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Tuck your upper arms next to your sides, bend your elbows, and hold your forearms about parallel to the floor, palms facing up. Simultaneously extend your arms straight back and rotate the weight so your palms end up facing each other. Return to the starting position. Do 15 reps.

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Dumbbell Hammer Curl and Press

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a pair of dumbbells at arm's length by your sides, palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, curl the weights to your shoulders, and then press them overhead until your arms are straight. Reverse the move to return to the starting position. Do 10 reps.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Adult Ballet Classes

Ballet is one of the most commonly known forms of dance. It evolved from seventeenth century court dances in France. The world's first ballet school, Paris Opera Ballet was established in 1700 and French is still the language of ballet today. Many people dream of being able to dance this beautiful and graceful dance. Even those who did not take ballet lessons as a child can enroll in adult beginner ballet classes at a later stage. It combines physical exercise with artistic expression, making it one of the most gratifying and challenging forms of exercise around.

Benefits of Learning Ballet as an Adult

adult ballet

Ballet gives a good cardiovascular work out and will burn off excess fat. It provides a great all round body toning. Ballet strengthens the core muscles, builds support for the spine and can help alleviate back pain. The stomach and leg muscles in particular will tone up quickly.

Ballet is fantastic for posture. Basic ballet positions teach students to stand straight and lengthen from the pelvis, with both hip bones parallel. Poise will be much improved as ballet instruction seeps into everyday life.

Rather than bulking out the body, ballet training lengthen the muscles, giving them a long, graceful appearance. People who practice regularly will see a "ballet line" develop in their physique.

What Gear is Needed for Adult Ballet Lessons

It is a good idea to buy a pair of leather or canvas ballet slippers before attending a ballet class. These will provide proper support and grip for the feet. Ballet clothes are very alluring - pink tights, leg warmers, tutus, wrap around tops - but there is no need to get extensively kitted out as a beginner (unless Fame fantasies are itching to be fulfilled).

Classic ballet wear (pink tights and black leotard) is designed to let the teacher see whether or not the muscles are working properly. Beginners can wear any form fitting work out clothes that show the line of the body (for example, leggings and a close fitting top).

Bring a water bottle and stay hydrated during class.

General Tips for Adult Beginners Ballet

  • Try and stretch before ballet class begins. Ballet is more difficult for those with stiff muscles. Arrive early and stretch out on the barre for 10 - 15 minutes. The good news is that flexibility greatly improves with continued ballet practice.
  • Don't be intimidated by more advanced students. There is inevitably one sickeningly flexible person at class who can elevate her legs four times higher than everyone else. Luckily, adult ballet classes are fun and non-competitive. Learn to laugh off mistakes and overcome self consciousness of dancing in front of others - both of which are totally natural challenges faced by any ballet beginner.
  • Invest in a ballet workout DVD which can be used for practicing at home. Any extra practice at home will greatly improve progress in the dance studio.
Adult ballet classes are a fun, sociable way to exercise. Any form of dance is a great stress buster and a challenging way to get fit.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Weight Lifting for Women

Today more and more women are going to their local gym, YMCA, or fitness studio, with the goal of losing weight and getting into shape. They take aerobics classes, spinning classes, tae-bo, cardio kickboxing, and may even be found on some resistance machines, but one area of the gym that most women still avoid is the free weight area. This area of the gym, where dumbbells line the wall, and men are usually busy grunting and yelling as they push up barbells, can be a bit intimidating for women, and comes with a host of misconceptions. The free weight area, however, can be a girl's best friend.

women weight training

Prevent Osteoporosis with Weight Lifting
A concern of many women, especially those who are middle age or older, is being diagnosed with osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation in their article "Osteoporosis: a debilitating disease that can be prevented and treated," osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. These broken bones, also known as fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine, and wrist.

Osteoporosis is a painful disease which carries great risk with it as people age. A broken hip from a fall can be fatal to a senior with osteoporosis. The key is prevention in the younger years to ward off the disease occurring in the later years. Along with a proper diet that includes plenty of vitamin D and calcium, regular exercise using weight bearing and muscle building exercise is key to preventing the effects of osteoporosis.

Building Bone Density

Weight bearing exercises such as running, jumping rope, climbing stairs, or calisthenics cause the bones to support the weight of the body while moving against gravity. For older people or those who cannot perform high impact movements, exercises such as walking or use of cardio machines like the elliptical machine, stair climber, or treadmill will work as well.

Muscle building exercises are movements such as weight lifting, using weight machines, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises which place stress on the bones while strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments which surround them.

Bone is living tissue, and when these exercises are performed on a regular basis, the bone will become stronger and more dense to respond to the impact it receives during exercise. The increased density of the bone wards off the development of osteoporosis and helps treat it as well.

Benefits of Weight Training

Those women who include weight training or resistance training in their fitness program will notice many positive changes in the way they look and feel. Weight training increases metabolism, causing the body to burn calories more efficiently. Lean body mass is increased, which is the amount of muscle tissue that makes up your body.

A gain of one pound in lean muscle will burn 35 to 40 more calories per day, even while at rest. The strengthening of the muscles in the body will increase the body's balance, athletic performance, and make daily activities easier. Stronger bones ward off osteoporosis and stronger tendons and ligaments help to avoid arthritis. The benefits of weight training are many, and far outweigh any negatives or myths that can be found.

Weight Training Tips

When beginning a weight training program, there are guidelines that one should follow to ensure the exercises are done safely and without injury. These guidelines are as follows:
  • Always consult a physician prior to beginning a program.
  • When selecting a weight to begin with, choose a weight that will allow eight to 10 repetitions with proper form. The 10th repetition should be difficult but not impossible. If 10 repetitions cannot be performed, lighten the weight. If it is too easy, use a heavier weight.
  • Those who suffer from osteoporosis or are frail should use a lighter weight and perform repetitions in the 12 to 15 range.
  • Start by performing exercises which work each of the major muscle groups (legs, chest, back, shoulders). The smaller muscle groups such as arms, calves, forearms, and abdominals are worked while exercising the larger groups.
  • Perform two sets of eight to 10 repetitions for each exercise.
  • Breathe in when the weight is being lowered, and exhale when pushing the weight or moving it through the range of the exercise.
  • Rest 30 seconds to one minute between sets, longer if necessary.
  • Always use proper form and never sacrifice form to lift heavier weight.
Following these guidelines will reduce the risk of injury and ensure that the benefits of weight training are achieved.

While the fountain of youth has never been found and most likely does not exist, the closest thing there is to living a long, independent, youthful life, while maintaining a fit, toned body, is weight training. Women should include weight training in their fitness program and start visiting the free weight areas in their gym. It's not just for men anymore.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Best Chest Pumping Exercises

The chest is probably the one area, for most men, that rarely gets neglected, receiving more than its fair share of the workload during most workouts. This is okay if, your major goal is to have a huge chest, weak core muscles and skinny legs! On the other hand, if your goal is to create a healthy, well-proportioned body, you’ll want to incorporate some of the best exercises for each body part (muscle groups) into your workouts.

chest exercises

I’m not suggesting that you neglect your pecs, (after all this is an article about the best pec exercises); I’m merely reminding you to maintain balanced while selecting which body parts you work to ensure symmetry.

Lets take a look at my recommendations for best chest exercises:

The Push-up:

  1. With body straight from head to toes, arms straight and hands flat on the floor
  2. Slowly lower body (keep perfectly straight from head to toes) until your chest is one inch from the floor.
  3. Push body away from the floor until arms are straight again. You have just completed one full push-up.
  4. Repeat for desired number of repetions.
There are many variations of the push-up that allow you to vary the intensity of this dynamic move.
Push-ups also work the core, shoulders and triceps.

The Bench Press:

  1. Position yourself face up on a bench.
  2. Grab bar from rack with at least a shoulder width grip.
  3. Lower bar to middle of chest, pause then press bar up until arms are straight.
  4. Repeat for desired number of repetitions.
Bench press can also be done from an incline or decline position.


  1. Dips are done from a set of parallel bars. Place one hand on each bar; arms should be straight.
  2. Lower body by bending arms until elbows are at 90° angle.
  3. Push body back up until arms are straight again.
  4. Repeat for desired number of repetitions.
Legs can be straight or bent at knees depending on how much clearance you have.


Flys can be executed from a standing, seated or lying position using dumb-bells or a cable-cross.
  1. Whether standing, seated or lying down; position hand at shoulder height, palms facing each other and touching.
  2. Keeping elbows slightly bent, slowly separate hands until hands are at sides.
  3. Bring hands back together until touching together.
  4. Repeat for desired number of repetitions.
Let me reiterate the significance of incorporating movements for all major muscle groups, not just your favorite body parts, to formulate a balanced workout. In addition to symmetry a balanced workout is also a precursor for injury prevention.

There are of course a number of chest exercises that can be performed. These are some the most effective exercise for targeting all muscles of the chest. I do recommend adding other chest exercises to your routine from time to time to keep your routine fresh and interesting.

“When we are unable to find tranquility within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.”La Rochefoucauld

Friday, December 4, 2015

Weight Training for Beginners

Weight training can be a demanding activity and if done incorrectly could cause injury or pain, so it’s best to first consult a GP before undertaking any form of training program. If given the all-clear going about devising a weight training program is the next step. There are a number of things to be mindful of long before getting near to a gym, let alone a set of dumbbells, and key pieces of jargon to be aware of.

Talking the Weight Training Talk

It’s always good to know what certain words or phrases mean in order to avoid looking like a complete novice. Training lingo or jargon is pretty easy to pick up.

Weight training equipment works by using resistance, an opposing force, upon the muscles at work. Resistance training is a just another way of saying weight training. By the same token we can refer to dumbbells as free weights. These are pieces of equipment that aren’t nailed to walls or flooring and can be manipulated by the user in a number of different ways with additional pieces of equipment.
What is a super-set? A super-set is when two or more muscle groups are worked on without any breaks in between. There is a specific number of repetitions and sets dictated by the individual or personal trainer, if that luxury is available at the gym, and working out in this way can speed up a strength training routine considerably.

Isolation training is quite common for beginners and especially good for working on individual muscles to achieve optimal muscle growth. Isolation is good for getting cut. To cut or cutting up, as it’s sometimes referred to, is when a person trains to lose excess fat and achieve maximum muscle definition, usually undertaken by competing bodybuilders.

Weight Training Keywords

There are a multitude of keywords and keyword phrases to digest when thinking about weight training. Here are some useful ones worth remembering, along with a brief explanation of what they are:
  • Exercise – physical exertion, or a set of movements, tasks
  • Routine – encompasses a set of exercises that make up a training program
  • Circuit Training – when an individual moves from one exercise to another, with as minimal rest as possible, often achieving "the burn" (see below)
  • The Burn – a sensation in the muscles caused by lactic acid build up due to working muscles to the point of failure
  • Reps/Repetition – a singular movement within an exercise. For example, squatting with a barbell on the shoulders, and then standing up straight
  • Set – simply a set number of repetitions of one exercise, often between 10 and 12 repetitions

How is Weight Training Beneficial?

Having a good workout routine can help control weight. Weight training on its own will not keep the weight off for long. Mixing a weight training schedule with aerobic exercise, like walking, jogging or cycling will help aid weight loss. There is an upside and a downside to most things and that too applies here.

Losing weight through aerobic exercise and dieting alone results in losing fat along with muscle. Muscles help regulate a body’s metabolism, so when muscle is lost it slows down. Adding weight training maintains muscles or increases it, in turn, maintain or boosting ones metabolism.
Energy and strength are also increased when a good fitness training regime, including weight training, is undertaken.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Best Deltoid Exercises

As with most body parts, there are a plethora of movements you can utilize to target the desired muscle or group of muscles. Although small the deltoid muscles can be worked from many angles with various movements to achieve varied results. Here are a number of effective exercises for this of muscle group.

The Shoulder Press or Military Press is a staple delt exercise and can be executed from a seated or standing position.
  1. Sit or stand with back erect.
  2. Holding a bar shoulder width at neck level in front of you, press the bar straight overhead keeping back straight.
  3. Slowly lower bar to starting position.
  4. Repeat for desired number of repetitions.
This exercise can also be done using dumb-bells.

Bent-over Reverse Flys

  1. Stand with feet wider than shoulders.
  2. With a set of dumb-bells in hand, bend at the waist keeping back straight and shoulders slightly higher than hips.
  3. Allow arms to hang straight down with palms facing each other.
  4. With arm slightly bent at elbow begin to separate hands until arm are at your sides with palms facing floor.
  5. Squeeze shoulder blades together before slowly lowering hands with weights to starting position.
  6. Repeat for desired number of repetitions.

Big “O’s”

  1. With feet wider than shoulders, knees slightly bent and back straight, take a weight plate holding it with both hands (hold it with one hand at the 9 o’clock position and the other hand at the 3 o’clock position like a steering wheel).
  2. Moving the weight to eye level at the highest point and waist level at the lowest point, begin to make a big circle with the weight.
  3. As you lower weight to right side turn hip slightly to right . As weight passes waist begin lifting weight on left side as you turn hips slightly to the left .
  4. One complete revolution of the weight should resemble a big “O”.
  5. Continue making big “O’s” for desired numbers of repetitions.
  6. Repeat the movement in the opposite direction for desired numbers of repetitions.
  7. Make sure you use an appropriate weight (not too heavy).

Front/Lateral Raises

  1. Standing, holding a dumbbell in each hand and elbows slightly bent.
  2. Raise both arms to the front simultaneously until parallel with floor, palms should be facing the floor.
  3. Lower to starting position and raise both arms to the side simultaneously until parallel with floor, palms should be facing the floor.
  4. Lower to starting position and repeat sequence for desired numbers of repetitions.
To prevent injury when training the shoulders, it is important to use proper form and technique. The shoulder joint, similar to the hip joint in that they are both ball and socket joints, has the ability to move in all planes. It’s that same mobility that makes this joint less stable than other joints. However with good form and technique, you can develop strong and stable deltoid muscles.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." –Aristotle-

Friday, November 27, 2015

Achieve Results in Fitness and Life

When it comes to getting results there is nothing as important as being consistent. And being consistent requires using the word "no" – a lot!

fitness results

Success at anything is the result of sustained effort over a long period of time. It is a pattern of behavior that favors consistency and not flexibility. If you find yourself constantly changing appointments, workouts, and schedules, to accommodate everything that comes up in your life, then chances are the results you seek are hard to come by.

Set a Schedule and Stick to it

Let's say your goal is to lose weight, and you have committed to working out three times per week at the gym, and going for a walk four days per week. Write down exactly what times you are committed to and put a big star next to them. Now, whatever comes up, don't change or move your workouts. Not unless it is a serious emergency.

Learn to Say No!

Being rude isn't necessary, but being firm is. If a friend just flew into town unexpectedly and wants to get together on Wednesday at eleven for coffee, but that is when you go for your walk, you can simply say, "Why don't you come for a walk with me?" If your friend doesn't want to, then arrange to do something at another time. The reason that this is so important is because breeches of schedule can begin to mount up and by the end of a year, you're right back where you started. Remember, it is the net result of consistent effort that leads to success. Break the chain a few too many times and you won't see results.

Moderate Effort is Best When it Comes to Exercise - or Anything in Life

Go too hard and you'll burn out or get injured. Go to easy and no changes take place. The body must be challenged to force adaptation to take place, but if the body is challenged beyond what it can absorb then it won't be able to keep up with the pace. The result is either injury, burnout, or both. The effort must be sustainable over a long period of time if it is going to lead to success. This is true in all aspects of life. Look for too much passion in a marriage and the expectations will never be met. Try to learn too much too fast in school, and the brain won't absorb the material. The best it can do is to memorize it in the short term and then lose the information.

Don't Chase Opportunity

The next opportunity that pops up is not better than whatever it is you already have scheduled. Unfortunately, for most people, there is a notion that when something comes along that is perceived as a real opportunity they drop everything for it. Or, at the very least, they juggle their schedule to try to accommodate it. This is a big mistake and rarely leads to any meaningful success.

The only outcome that is guaranteed is the one you are consistent in pursuing. And the only way to achieve results is to make your next commitment, including your workout, the most important one.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Abdominal Training

Creatively cuing you to achieve proper posture and to engage your core is your instructor’s top priority. Without correct alignment and spinal support, it is impossible to safely achieve the results you seek in class or session. Understanding how to get there, however, can be a difficult task. Here are the steps that will get you there!

Zip It Up

"Pull in your navel, suck in your belly, engage your abs!" These are the cues you likely hear a when standing to achieve a core that is prepared for work. What your instructor is seeking is the narrowing of your body’s depth. When standing with feet hip distance apart, tail bone "tucked", place one hand on your belly and the other in the small of your back. Now, bring your hands closer together through the action of your abdominal wall.

By zipping “it” (your core) up in this way, you have effectively engaged the abdominus rectus which runs the length of your torso from sternum to pubis. All exercise is abdominal exercise if/when you properly engage. Training this area perpetually is the key to more than flat abs. It is essential to exercise longevity. This is how you “zip it up”.

Lock It Down

“Locking it down” is slightly more complex. Move your hands to your natural waist. Now, while breathing normally draw your hands toward one another, without pressing, narrowing your waist. This causes the transverse and oblique muscles to brace the abs and fully recruit the “core” muscles. No other maneuver is more important to your low back than this tightening. It is critical for posture maintenance in vertical (standing) exercise. Know that when your instructor is using a variety of clever terms to get you to “turn on your abs”, this is what they are talking about!

Supporting Cast

Your abdominal wall (abs) and your core are similar, but not the same. The internal and external intercostal muscles support the diaphragm and breathing function. Training these muscles has an impact on both the width and vertical dimensions of the thoracic cavity. Effectively incorporating the intercostals into training will serve the functional purpose of improving the capacity and efficiency of each breath and the aesthetic purpose of a more defined V shape from shoulder to naval.

Sometimes known as the “boxer’s muscle”, the serratus anterior allows the shoulder, specifically the scapula, to move around the rib cage when throwing a punch or pitch. It supports posture, upper body mobility, and stabilization. Training this muscle will improve the ability of all the surrounding muscles to function properly. Since it works in opposition to the rhomboids and complements the core, this muscle also serves to further “pull in” the abdominal wall and improve posture which, of course, makes one look taller and thinner.


The internal and external obliques function to rotate and flex the torso. The muscles in the obliques are larger at the top of the thoracic region and naturally and gradually decrease in size. The superior muscles attach near the serratus anterior and the lower ones connect into the large muscles of the back known as the lattisimus dorsi or lats”. The very nature of the muscle is to provide the classic, desirable V shape to the torso as a whole and to support posture and deep breathing. Additionally, as a cooperative unit, the intercostals, serratus, and obliques permit overhead lifting by providing strength and stability in the torso.

Abdominal muscles never work alone. Every flexion, extension, rotation, and stabilization is the result of intense cooperation between muscles. In fact, most muscles in the body require that the abs engage, support, or initiate movement before they can effectively move. The abdominus rectus is not typically a “primary mover”. Meaning, in daily life, it is rare that a move requiring only this muscle action occurs.

Far more often, we need to lift a heavy object which requires the abdominus rectus to tighten, the transverse to stabilize, the serratus to release so the shoulder can move into position, the hips can then release and move into a lifting position and the remaining musculature of the core to react and support the entire movement. Your instructor/trainer is trying to communicate all of this in a few short words shouted between directions.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to Avoid Overtraining

Overtraining is one of the most common terms in the training world. It is touted as the ultimate training evil and something to be avoided at all costs. But what exactly is overtraining and how can it be avoided? Is there even a danger of undertraining in an attempt stay away from this problem?

avoid overtraining

What is Overtraining?

Simply put, overtraining is chronic systemic fatigue from too much stress, principally from training. This seems fairly obvious. Too much training is bad for the body. However, drawing the line between too much and not enough can be somewhat delicate. Knowing the difference between a lack of motivation or laziness and a real overtraining situation is the key to continued progress.

Perhaps the most important element when considering tolerance to work, is that the body doesn't always differentiate between stress from training and that resulting from life. Doing a program when a single 20-year old with no job or financial worries is a far different proposition from doing the same routine at 35 with young children, relationship issues and a job that involves long hours. It is essential to take into account these external factors when designing a training program. That said, here are some of the signs of overtraining.
  • fatigue
  • mood swings
  • sleeping badly
  • decreased appetite
  • fat gain
  • lack of desire to train
  • depression
  • frequent injuries and minor illnesses
Of course, having one or more of these symptoms doesn't necessarily mean that a person is overtrained. However, they are warning signs that something might not be quite right.

Overtraining as an Excuse

Although a very real problem, overtraining is unfortunately used as an excuse not to train hard by many. Productive training should be hard work. Feeling tired after a hard squat session is not a symptom of overtraining. Overtraining is a chronic condition. This means that it is the result of cumulative bouts of exercise. For most people, it is simply a question of building tolerance to exercise.

It is highly unlikely that somebody doing three to five hours a week of exercise is overtrained. Jumping straight into this amount of work might be a problem, but working up to five, six, eight or even 10 hours of work a week is well within the grasp of most people, as long as it is part of an intelligently planned program. Before claiming overtraining, it is worth considering that work capacity might simply be too low.

How to Prevent Overtraining

The ideal situation then, is to train hard without ever crossing into the territory of overtraining. There are several ways to ensure that this is the case. The fist thing any trainer needs to learn to do, is to know himself. If he or she feels run down, it isn't necessarily problematic. Energy levels vary considerably over the course of a week or even on a daily basis. However, a continued downward trend is a warning signal. Likewise, a training diary is a useful self-assessment tool.

For an intermediate or advanced trainee, it is impossible to break a record every session. However, tracking performance over time will show whether the trend is globally up or down and if there has been a sudden downturn for example. Decreasing performance over four to five consecutive workouts is definitely a sign of problems.

When these symptoms are noticed, it is essential to back off both in the gym and out of it. Obviously, taking a week or two off training is fairly straightforward. However, it is out of the gym that the biggest difference can be made. Is diet up to par? Eating quality food regularly is essential. Is sleep sufficient? It has been said that one hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after, and sticking to this will certainly improve recovery.

Deloading to Prevent Overtraining

Perhaps the easiest way to stay on the right side of overtraining is by cycling intensity. A common method here is to use a deloading week. The frequency of this deload is personal, but every 4-8 weeks is about right for most people. A 4 week training block might look like this for example.
  1. Week 1: 90 percent
  2. Week 2: 97.5 percent
  3. Week 3: 102.5 percent (new personal bests)
  4. Week 4: 60 percent (delaod week)
Obviously, the exact percentages are only a guideline. It is also perfectly possible to increase volume over four to six weeks and then cut it in half for a deload week before starting again. Using any sensible periodisation model should allow a trainer to push his limits and improve regularly without overtraining.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Dance Your Way To Fitness

Dance Is Fun, Fabulous and Helps You Stay In Shape!

If you are new to fitness, there are beginning levels for the lessons listed here. If you are an experienced exerciser, try something different just for the fun of it and to put something unexpected in your routine. You just have to do a little leg work to find something you like.

fitness dance

Bellydancing--- Actually called "Oriental Dance", belly dancing's origins were that of a folk dancing nature to celebrate weddings, births and other social occasions. Today, women and some men, adorn themselves with colorful practice scarves that add to the flow of the moves. There is a lot of emphasis on moving the hips so the core and the back are strengthened. Belly dancing is done to beautiful Mid-Eastern music and you can get quite a work-out.

Ballet--- Ballet is not just for children and you do not have to be a professional dancer to enjoy the benefits of balletic dance.In beginner's, you will learn how to stretch and build a strong posture for your back. Performed to classical music, you will gain a sense of "musicality" and grace. Ballet is a great confidence builder because of some challenging jumps and turns. You will move in a group and sometimes students move one at a time across the floor. Many professional athletes, like the great football player Lyn Swann took ballet lessons to improve his coordination, reflexes and timing.

African Dance--- A great work-out for those who really want to move! Often the Instructor will drum to the moves he or she will teach you in the class.The rythymic beats are driving and infectious and the moves are easy for anyone to learn, harder if you wish to pursue mastery. The drumming that accompanies African dance is simply transcendent, better than any disco!

Ballroom Dancing--- Ballroom dancing is taking off like wildfire because of the hit tv show "Dancing with the Stars"! You don't need a partner, there a lessons for singles all over the country. If you are looking for a social atmosphere, ballroom dancing is for you. Often studios will have week-end parties so you can practice your dance and social skills. Other forms of dance to try are jazz, modern, tap, and other forms of ethnic folk dancing. Look in your yellow pages and take a trial lesson until you find something that resonates with you.

In closing, don't be afraid to look in the yellow pages and try beginner lessons at anything that strikes your fancy. The staff at genuinely professional studios should always makes you feel welcome because they, like you, were once beginners.

If you still haven't found anything that you like, you can always push away the coffee table, turn on your favorite music and dance to your heart's content!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Self-Guided Dieting

Take Matters Into Your Own Hands

Protein in vegetable foods (such as grains, fruits, and vegetables) are either low, incomplete protein or lack one of the essential amino acids. These food sources are considered incomplete proteins. Plant proteins can be combined to include all of the essential amino acids and form a complete protein.

Examples of combined, complete plant proteins are rice and beans, milk and wheat cereal, and corn and beans. Protein is the main component of muscles, organs, and glands. The cells of muscles, tendons, and ligaments are maintained with protein.

A healthy weight loss diet should include a wide variety of foods from all the food groups. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines from 2005 suggest placing emphasis on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain and low-fat dairy products and reducing your intake of meats, poultry, fish and beans since the typical American diet contain plenty of these protein rich foods.

A general guideline to follow is approximately 1800 calories for women and 2200 for men per day. This number can vary depending on factors such as age, fitness goals, health status and activity level.
When determining a serving consider:
  • ½ cup of cut fruit or vegetable constitutes one serving
  • ½ cup of juice constitutes one serving
  • 1 cup of leafy vegetables constitutes one serving
  • ½ cup cooked rice or pasta constitutes one serving
  • 1 slice of bread constitutes one serving
  • 1 cup of cereal constitutes one serving
  • 1oz. muffin constitutes one serving
  • 1 oz. dry rice or pasta constitutes one serving
  • 1 cup of milk constitutes one serving
  • 1½ oz of cheese constitutes one serving
  • 3 ounces of meat, fish, or poultry constitutes one serving
  • 1 egg constitutes one serving
  • ¼ cup dry beans constitutes one serving
  • ½ oz. nuts constitutes one serving
  • 1 table spoon on peanut butter constitutes one serving
  • 1 teaspoon soft margarine
  • 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons light salad dressing
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
If you consume alcohol those calories must be accounted for as well:
  • beer 12ozs. 144 calories
  • light beer 12ozs. 108 calories
  • white wine 5ozs 100 calories
  • red wine 5ozs. 105 calories
  • sweet wine 5ozs. 235 calories
  • 80 proof spirits 1.5 ozs. 96 calories
No weight loss plan can be a success if you don’t have all the tools necessary to succeed. Stocking your home with healthy foods to assist you with your weight loss goals and healthy lifestyle may be all the help you’ll need.
  • Before going shopping make a list of all foods necessary to prepare meals for one week including (healthy) snacks
  • Don’t go to the store hungry; you’re more likely to buy high-calorie junk foods
  • Don’t take children with you, most junk food is at eye level for children, you don’t need the temptation
  • Select a store that stocks healthy food selections, if you don’t see what you’re looking for, ask the manager to order it for you
  • Use food label to determine serving size, calories, and fat per serving this will come in handy when calculating daily caloric needs and intake
  • Shop once per week, this will save valuable time
Building your own nutritional plan will give you a sense of accomplishment, commitment and control that will allow you to pursue your weight-loss goals confidently.

"The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail." -Napoleon Hill-

Monday, November 9, 2015

Negative Calroies Food

negative calroies food

Foods said to burns calories, fact or fiction. Find out now!

There’s an avalanche of information about obesity, diseases associated with obesity, healthy eating habits and weight loss (with good reason, 65% of Americans are overweight and flirting with various diseases) so I’d like to look at something I think you may find interesting; negative calorie foods.

Ok all foods do have some calorie content but these are foods that actually require more calories to breakdown and digest than the actual food contains.

Vegetables: Asparagus, beets , broccoli, cabbage (green), carrots, cauliflower, celery , chicory chili peppers, cucumbers, endive, garlic, lettuce , onions, spinach, turnip, zucchini

Fruit: Apples, cranberries, grapes, lemons, mangos, oranges, papayas, pinapples, raspberries Strawberries, tangerines

One theory surrounding negative calorie foods states that they produce more than enough enzymes for digestion and that the excess enzymes are may be used to help accelerate the metabolic processes thus enhancing the body’s ability to burn calories.

According to a recent study performed by Dr. Dean Ornish, M.D., of the University of California, at San Francisco, a vegetarian diet consisting mostly of fruits and vegetables, was adhered to by research subjects as an experimental study on the reversal of heart disease. As a result each of the research subjects (all suffering from heart disease), lost an average of 20 pounds without cutting calories or limiting serving sizes.

In light of the fact that these subjects were 40 years and older (with relatively slowed metabolisms) and the research performed involved no prescribed exercise program, this constitutes a dramatic weight loss that could only be attributed to the consumption of various fruits & vegetables. Even though this information is theory we do know that a diet high in fruits and vegetables can benefit us on many levels:
  • most fruits function as natural laxatives
  • fruit regulates your body's digestive process
  • fruit provides roughage and fiber that is important in helping your body get rid of wastes
  • fruit contains important vitamins
  • fruits contain important anti-oxidants protecting your body from the damage caused by free radicals
  • vegetables are natural foods and contain different vitamins, minerals and thousands of other plant chemicals
  • vegetables can help control weight
  • vegetables are low in fat and calories, a good source of dietary fiber and provide us with extra energy
So whether you believe the negative calorie theory or not it just makes good sense to keep plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables on hand to nourish your body daily.

"Everything in nature contains all the power of nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff". - Ralph Waldo Emerson-

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Postpartum Weight-Loss

Losing Extra Weight After Baby Can Be Natural

You just had a baby, but during your pregnancy you gained a few extra pounds, pounds you are now ready to relinquish. But wait, they don’t seem to be co-operating. What can you do? Women generally gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy and of course lose between 12 and 15 pounds after giving birth. You can help yourself lose the additional weight postpartum. The secret is to breast-feed your child.

Research indicates that women who breast-feed their child all or most meals lose more weight in the first six months after giving birth than do women who feed their child formula.

The reason is that it requires work from the body to produce the milk you feed your child. As much as 500 calories are required each day for the body to manufacture milk. If you do the math, that’s 3,500 calories, or one pound lost, per week. Coupled with an exercise program and a healthy diet, a mother can lose all the weight she gained during pregnancy postpartum, usually in nine to eleven months.

Some addition facts to consider:
  • You may have to eat more during breast feeding, but if you minimize the intake of fatty foods, sweets and junk foods, you can expect to continue to lose weight even with the additional caloric intake.
  • Exercise is key. While some mothers have concerns about milk production or the taste of their milk due to exercise, experts agrees that moderate exercise (between 30 and 60 minutes per day) will not harm milk production or taste.
  • Mothers can expect to lose even more weight during baby’s growth spurts (usually at 7 days, 14 days, 28 days, 3 months, 6 months and 9 months) due to the fact that baby will be consuming milk almost around the clock during these growth spurts, and the body will be forced to burn even more calories to produce this additional milk.
  • It becomes even more important to consume a balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, grains and whole wheat, since the foods you eat will be eventually become the milk your baby drinks. This also reduces the intake of the unhealthy foods that can lead to unwanted calories.
  • Ease up on food intake when baby’s needs for milk diminish. As this happens, you will require fewer calories. Women have reported gaining 10 to 15 pounds back after losing weight because they didn’t reduce caloric intake as baby’s needs for milk lessened.
  • Remember to take your time with your weight loss; you spent close to a year growing into your current size and it will take some time to get back to your old size. Most health experts agree that losing one to two pounds per week is both safe and healthy.
Be patient. If you follow these guidelines, you can expect to get back to you desired weight within a year.

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” – James Baldwin

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Don't Diet

Dieting Rarely Stabilizes Body Composition

Dieting remains a popular choice for the uninformed when attempting to lose weight quickly. It’s obvious, we as Americans are in the mist of a serious health dilemma. Being overweight or obese describes close to 70% of the American population; disturbing to say the least.
don't diet

Why are Americans so overweight?

The answer to this question varies only slightly depending upon whom you query. But all agree there is a problem. Dr. Susan Finn, former president of the American Council on Nutrition and Exercise says, “it's a combination of two things - lack of exercise and overeating - plus our constant search for the quick fix, which makes fad diets so appealing. We are not necessarily eating the wrong things; we’re just eating too much.”

How many calories are too many?

Caloric needs are determined by the following factors:
Therefore this number is specific to the individual. It is helpful to know how many calories your body requires to maintain a healthy body weight. There are many BMI calculators available on line, find one and input the pertinent information to obtain your daily caloric needs.

Why can’t I just go on a diet?

  • Most people who select dieting as their vehicle for weight loss end up quitting within two months to a year
  • Dieter usually regain all lost weight within 3 to 5 years
  • Due to the caloric restrictions of dieting, metabolism generally slows down, impeding weight loss
  • Diets do not promote the lifestyle changes necessary for maintaining a healthy body composition
  • Most diets do not promote exercise as a necessary component for weight loss
  • Diets too low in caloric intake may force the body into a catabolic state (burning lean muscle tissue instead of fat)

What is the proper way to reach and sustain my ideal body composition?

If you have made the decision to improve your health through weight reduction, congratulations, you will applaud your decision shortly. The benefits gained from weight loss are generally realized within weeks of beginning. Some will be noticed even faster. The initial benefits involve how one feels physically and emotionally.

First and foremost understand you are embarking upon a new lifestyle. Secondly, understand this is not something you have to achieve in one day, one week or even one month; gradually adjust eating and activity habits. For some, this will mean incorporating physical activity where none previously existed, for others it will mean increasing current activity levels.

Begin to include more healthy foods into your daily menu. Fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grain breads and pastas and mono and poly-unsaturated fats should make up the bulk of your nutrient intake, while reducing or eliminate processed foods from your diet. Eat more frequently, 4 to 6 times per day including snacks. Raisins, nuts, yogurt, fruit or veggies, smoothies, whole grain crackers, whole grain chips, and cheese are options you may consider. Don’t over eat when snacking; the goal here is to keep your metabolism up throughout the day.

Develop a support system including family, friends and co-workers to help keep you on track. Set short-term, realistic goals. Allow yourself foods you like, to avoid feeling deprived, but remember moderation is the key. Take it one day at a time and you’ll do well. Remember, each day that passes is one day you can either move closer to an improved quality of life or further away, the choice is always yours!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hooping Your Way to Better Health

Weighted Hula Hoops Offer a Fun Workout

Hula hoops are probably best remembered as a popular children’s toy in the 1950’s. But hoops have recently made a comeback for people looking to shake up their exercise routines.
hula hoop

What is Hooping?

Hooping is a form of exercise and recreation in which users hula hoop, dance, and perform tricks with personalized hula hoops.

Not just any old plastic hula hoop can be used for hooping. Customized hula hoops that are larger than traditional hula hoops are weighted with tape. The larger hoops move more slowly and easily around the body than traditional hoops, and are easier to use. Even people who have never been able to use a regular hula hoop enjoy the customized hoops for exercise and dance.

What are the Benefits of Hooping?

Hooping tones the core muscles, arms, glutes, and thighs, increases flexibility, and provides an excellent cardiovascular workout. In fact, hooping can burn over 100 calories in 8 minutes—equal to running a mile in the same time period!

According to Steve Jordan, an educator with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, "[With hooping,] you're building the body from the inside out with gyrating and core-stabilizing movements," (The New York Daily News, 7/21/04).

Some say hooping has helped improve their sense of rhythm. Others say the mental focus required when hooping relaxes them and even leads to a state of bliss.

Most important, hooping, like the hula hooping you remember as a child, is fun. And the more you enjoy a workout, the more likely you are to stick with it.

How Can I Start Hooping?

If you want to try hooping, look for a class in your area. Hooping classes are popping up at gyms throughout the country, and are attended by many age groups, from teenagers through seniors. In hooping classes, the teachers provide the hoops and guide attendees through the basics, eventually incorporating dance steps and tricks into the classes.

If you can’t find a hooping class nearby, join a “hoop group.” Magazine provides an online directory of hoop groups in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
If you prefer to hoop at home, there are many hoop fitness and hoop dance DVDs available, and hoops can be purchased online. It’s important to buy a hoop that’s the right size for you—standard children’s hoops aren’t appropriate for hooping.

Finally, you can also make your own personalized hoop following the instructions of hooper Jason Strauss.

If you’re bored with your workout and want to try something fun and different, hooping may just be the new spin you’ve been looking for.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Vibration Training

Efficient and Effective Workouts

The website claims the training method traces its’ roots back about 40 years to Russian cosmonauts. Scientists of the Soviet Space Program discovered that lack of gravity caused cosmonauts to experience significant losses in bone density and muscle mass. Russian scientists began incorporating vibration technology into their cosmonauts training and tracked an increase in bone density and muscle strength. After the success Russians experienced with the cosmonauts, Russian coaches began introducing vibration technology into the training regimens of various athletes and ballet dancers. After the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, NASA learned of vibration training and assimilated into astronaut training.
vibration training

What is Vibration training?

Vibration training involves a machine with a platform that vibrates between 25 and 50 times per second in three directions. The three directions cause instability that activates both voluntary and involuntary muscles. As the platform vibrates, the vibrations transfer to the muscles in contact with the platform. These muscles activate at the same speed as the platform enabling the muscles to recruit up to 95 percent of muscle fibers, compared to conventional resistance training which only recruits approximately 40 to 60 percent of muscle fibers. Physical conditioning improves by using vertical vibrations and various movements and exercises.

Strength and Conditioning Benefits

According to a recent article posted on, many athletes began integrating vibration training into workouts, as it enhances conventional strength and plyometrics training methods. It can also help with speed recovery and regeneration times. Athletes, coaches, and therapists using vibration training include the following.
  • Nike Oregon Project
  • RBS Six Nations Tournament

Health Benefits

As researchers continues: fits of vibration training, the commercial market became interested in adding vibration training to their workout routines. Pilates studios and health clubs offer vibration training in the form of 30-minute personal training sessions and group exercise classes. Power Plate (whole vibration machine manufacturer) finds many individuals prefer vibration training to other forms of training as a 30-minute session is the equivalent of a 90-minute workout. Further, there is little impact on joints and ligaments. The health benefits of vibration training are as follows.

  • Health and Safety Considerations Vibration training is safe for most individuals; however, individuals should always check with their physician before beginning any exercise program, including vibration training. Experts advise pregnant women and those with low-back pain not to use vibration training. Further safety considerations include overuse, improper poses/exercises, and frequencies that are too high. Vibration training is offered at some Pilates studios, vibration training studios, fitness centers, rehabilitation clinics; individuals also may train at home. For more information on vibration training and whole body vibration machines, please visit the American Vibration Fitness Trainers Association at

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Yoga Booty Ballet - Fitness Trend

A Yoga Student's Opinion About the Swerve Studio Fitness Craze

Physical trainers often recommend dance classes as a great way to change up your workout routine and still get your cardio in for the day. Dancing builds strength, endurance, balance and agility while you learn a few new moves.

Ever-increasing in popularity, the Yoga Booty Ballet workout was featured on MTVnews with Lillix, and is the subject of several “as seen on TV” style infomercials. A workout video series produced by “Beachbody” and hosted by teachers Teigh McDonough and Gillian Marloth, the co-founders of the Los Angeles studio “Swerve”.
yoga booty ballet
Teigh and Gillian are a great team, seamlessly swapping control of the class from one instructor to the other, with different enough styles to be able to demonstrate modifications to the more difficult movements.

The rest of the students featured in the background of the video are real students (i.e. these people are not Barbie-dolls!) which is heartening and encouraging to newcomers.

One thing that leaves room for doubt, however, is title of the series!

Where’s the “Yoga”?

They use the sanskrit words and the shapes and sounds of yoga, but they don’t penetrate to the heart of it – the spirit is missing.

Though Gillian is a trained Yoga instructor, and the Swerve studio offers Anusara Yoga classes and boasts of a close relationship with Anusara’s founder John Friend, it seems to be scratching the surface. They seem to be going through the motions of a workout routine that looks Yoga-ish at best.
For dancers, it’s amazing how gracelessly they move through vinyasa flows that should be slow and fluid with long, extended inhales and exhales. These, instead looked like they were doing jumping jacks while sitting on the floor.

Stretches that need to be held for several breaths in order to be truly beneficial are barely bounced into. They know all the new are words to say, but they are in such a hurry to get warmed up and start dancing that the yoga loses all of its meaning and benefit.

Anyone who thinks they are gaining familiarity with Yoga through the YBB series would be sorely mistaken.

Plenty of “Booty”, but obviously meant for dancers

The core of the workout is a peppy dance routine that builds incrementally like a Jazz class would. The addition and complication of each move one onto the next, the repetition of phrases of the routine, and the assumption that audience members already know the names of dance steps can be daunting.

To the uninitiated, this workout could be more frustrating than fun. To someone who has taken a few dance classes, this is a fantastic cardio workout that moves quick and keeps it interesting.

What about the “Ballet”?

Though there were a few of the French Ballet terms sprinkled through some of the body-sculpting portion, relatively little of the workout could be considered “Ballet”.

Those familiar with Pilates will recognize much of the emphasis on building core strength and the vast majority of the moves. Of course, the overlap of Ballet technique and Pilates movements extends back to the earlier part of the twentieth century when Joseph Pilates collaborated with many of New York City’s finest dancers to refine his own movements. The dancers, in turn, incorporated many of his techniques into their repertoires.

More Body than Mind

The key to Mind-Body workouts is a connection between movement and breath. The benefit is the presence of mind and the awareness of the moment.

The YBB workout is a great cardio routine, but it does not serve the purpose or meet the goals of a mind-body exercise.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the same result any “Fusion” routine has when it tries to incorporate Yoga as a warm-up and cool-down for another style of workout. It deprives the student of the benefits of really stretching muscles, and of getting to the quiet place on the mat, where we reach the soul of Yoga.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Kettlebells Swing Their Way Into Fitness

Fitter For The Future With Methods Of The Past

Kettlebells are not a new invention. They have a history with the Russian Military and sports people of the past and present. Kettlebells are so old that no single nation can lay claim to inventing them.
A kettlebell is like a cannon ball with a handle and can be found in a selection of weights - from 4kg-48kg.

Karls Ernst, born in Berlin 1846, was one of the first kettlebell lifters known by name. During the 1870s as a strong man, he appeared throughout Germany, Estonia and Russia. He became a father-figure for many famous personalities in the world of strength.

The Nature of a Kettlebell

Kettlebells are different from other forms of resistance equipment. Any weight will fight the gravitational pull of the earth, but with the kettlebell weight being suspended below the handle, this increases the pull away from the body - resulting in the lifter constantly fighting to control the kettlebell, as opposed to a barbell or dumbbell that can be "balanced" during an exercise. This makes the kettlebell unique, since your body's muscles are always working in order to simply control it.

When you swing the kettlebell you need strength, speed and co-ordination. At the bottom of a kettlebell swing it has been estimated that you would be pulling between four and seven times its actual weight.

Benefits of a Kettlebell

As well as improving strength and power, kettlebells can benefit rehabilitation, flexibility, fitness and even weight loss.

Increasing lean muscle mass is crucial if you want to burn the maximum calories possible in one workout and kettlebell training is a powerful tool to use in the pursuit of that goal. Kettlebell workouts are famous for burning fat away due to some of the total-body ballistic movements you can do - swings, snatches and cleans are some of the more popular base moves. As well as the big calorie burning moves, you can also strengthen your centre and get a rock-hard stomach with some of the core moves - seated russian twists, windmill and turkish get-ups are popular.

"I love kettlebells - I use them with all of my clients. The wide range of functional moves means I can find exercises to suit any of my clients, no matter their goal." - G. Kells. (Personal Trainer)
Kettlebell training takes skill and practice, but remember, anyone who decides to mix kettlebell training into their fitness routine should start with a light kettlebell until the technique is perfected - techique is essential.

Kettlebells can actually confirm that if we look to our fitness past , we might actually find the answers to get the results in the future.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Full Body Fitness

The only Exercise and Nutritional Program You Need

Visit the exercise/nutritional section of any bookstore or fitness related portal on the web and there will be a multitude of manuals, books, e-books, magazines, e-zines, video and audio items on the topic.

Selecting a fitness system

Some programs are designed by experts and supported with scientific findings. Others are created by individuals with deep pockets who have organized their data through experiences. With all the claims floating around, some creditable and others deserving further debate, deciding which exercise/nutritional system to follow becomes confusing to many trainees.
In addition to confusion, programs can become expensive. It is easy to spend hundreds of dollars on exercise/nutritional solutions that fail or lose appeal when newer products are marketed.

That is not to say that no system works. Some can produce magnificent results. But which one is best? Does one exist for everyone? The answer is a resounding yes! There is an exercise/nutritional system that works for every trainee who tries it.

Understanding fitness processes

To uncover this ultimate exercise/nutritional experience, trainees should become familiar with the Principle of Individual Differences. While any exercise/nutritional stimulus can produce similar adaptations for trainees, the rate and magnitude of change differs according to genetic predisposition. In other words, individuals working within the same system will achieve different results based upon their genetic blueprints.

Realizing individual differences exist in response to an exercise/nutritional stimulus should not be discouraging. There are numerous physical and physiological benefits for most anyone who exercises regularly and eats sensibly. However, genetic differences are a reality and the average trainee must realize that he or she may never become an elite athlete, bodybuilder, fitness competitor or brain surgeon regardless of the system followed.


Therefore, when searching for the ultimate exercise/nutritional solution it pays to be SMART. The acronym, applicable to goal setting, generally means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time sensitive. Readers interested in acquiring a hot New Year's physique applying SMART principles should read New Years Resolution Time. SMART can also be applied to exercise/nutritional solutions.

Specific refers to pinpointing one's goals. The trainee should ask whether a program is specific to his or her short and long term objectives. Just because a fitness superstar endorses a particular exercise/nutritional system does not mean that system is best suited to everyone's defined goals.
Next, does the system offer benefits that are Measurable in terms of change throughout progress cycles? The inability to measure or note change discourages some individuals from continuing onward before positive results occur.

Is the promised benefit from the exercise/nutritional system Achievable? For example, a trainee becomes sold on the idea of purchasing an expensive in-home training system using a high interest credit near its spending limit while the mortgage is three months late because his favorite millionaire athlete/actor endorses the product.

Can he or she really afford to buy the machine when the possibility of debt collection calls and foreclosure lurks so near? Maybe, if that individual thrives on extreme risk-taking, but a purchase under such conditions might be unachievable for most people.

Moreover, many exercise/nutritional systems simply are not Realistic for everybody. Take fad diets for example. Even though some fad-diet programs stretch logic, many people religiously adhere to such programs year after year. Weight loss is a process that is best achievable in small increments through sensible meal planning. Loose weight too quickly and there might be a bigger price to pay in terms of nutrient deficiencies, nutrient imbalances, illness and disease, loss of lean body tissue and more weight gain! Although some fad diet programs offer bites of credibility, many are unsafe and others are downright dangerous.

Finally, trainees should have Time objectives in mind when considering one exercise/nutritional system over another. Results should be obtainable within a reasonable time-frame. Any system without a basic time objective causes some trainees to develop beliefs that nothing works and eventually they quit fitness programs altogether.

The best fitness system

Then what is the exercise/nutritional system that works for every trainee who tries it? Well, the system that works for everyone is the one that gets results, meets goals over a reasonable time period, motivates, inspires, excites (at least somewhat), fits into lifestyles, increases confidence, improves health, is safe, realistic, adhered to and is most often backed by scientific data.

Thus, trainees stressing over which exercise/nutritional system to choose should remember there is no one size fits all system that works exactly the same for everyone all the time, but through education and some research, trainees can find a balanced system that works best for their unique body.
Always consult with your medical professional before starting an exercise/nutritional program.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Power Up With Plyometrics

System for explosive new performance in your favorite sport

Plyometrics is the method of training which enhances explosive physical reaction through powerful muscular contractions resulting from rapid eccentric contractions. These muscular contractions are achieved mainly through a variety of jumping, bounding and hopping exercises. This training relies on basic equipment such as steps, hurdles, medicine balls and jump ropes.
Whatever plyometric exercise you utilize, the underlying mechanism becomes the sretch shortening cycle: in each exercise, the muscle is rapidly stretched (or "loaded") before it is contracted. So plyometrics essentially builds elastic strength: a concentric contraction (muscle shortening) needs to occur immediately following an eccentric contraction (muscle lengthening) in order to achieve the desired dramatic increase in force. When muscle stretches in this manner, its elastic components store some of the energy and make it available during a rapid subsequent contraction.

Personal trainers often favor plyometrics to boost strength and speed, along with the balance, coordination and stability of their client's athletic performance. Notes Arizona based trainer Mark Francis: “I like to use the physio ball instead of regular machines and freeweight benches to incorporate stability in the trunk." Plyometrics requires having a good existing strength base and should not be done more than twice a week for a period of six weeks or less. With this in mind, some specific suggestions he outlines for the tennis player, for instance, run as follows:
  • The X-box jump. - difficult but effective. Similar to regular side box jumps, this exercise also requires an individual to jump off the front and back of the box in addition to the sides.
  • Do not attempt the X-box jump until totally comfortable with regular side box jumps.
  • The square cone drill. The athlete navigates four cones placed approximately 10 yards apart in a square with exercises such as side shuffles, backpedal and high knee runs, continuing for a set number of reps or a time period. Speed and agility should be the emphasis of this exercise.
Even if you have only recently begun a regular exercise program, you can include some plyometric movements. “A tennis player, for example, could add side box jumps to his leg workout, which should emphasize lateral motion and stabilization,” Mark points out. This basically involves an athlete jumping laterally on and then off a 10 to 12 inch high box. Again, the emphasis should be on control and decreased foot-to-ground contact time. Athletes from within the same sport can use the same plyometric movements no matter what their level in that sport: “What would change dramatically would be the intensity based on the individual's existing physical ability,” he observes. “
Generall “do’s and don’ts” for anyone getting into plyometrics:
  • Any session should take place a surface such as the grass in the outdoors or rubberized flooring indoors. Avoid concrete and wood.
  • Before any session, warm up--a five minute walk, calisthenics or low intensity hopping and jumping to elevate your core body temperature.
  • Perform the more complex plyometrics first since these require more energy, muscle synergy and concentration. “I always advise beginners to take their time and concentrate on form, not intensity,” Mark concludes: “It’s almost like learning to walk again, it can be very awkward doing some of these exercises, but the body soon adapts."

Monday, October 5, 2015

Boot Camps Boost Fitness, Burn Fat

Veteran Army trainer Guy Perreault of Seacoast Boot Camp Tells why

Fitness boot camps are a phenomenon. Health clubs have pre-programmed machines with built-in heart monitors, yet old-school options like flipping tires or squat-thrusting at 6 AM has impacted our fitness-frenzied culture like a medicine ball slammed on a mat-another boot camp staple.

For 20 years, Guy Perreault was Master Trainer of the First 179th FA Battalion of the US Army, responsible for the fitness of 400 soldiers. He brought the same techniques--straight from the Army's Physical Fitness Field Manual-to Seacoast Boot Camp, which he launched in 2006 in Portsmouth, NH.

His philosophy, "Hit it hard, hit it fast, be intense-make every workout count."
boot camp fitness

Perreault's program runs six weeks with four 45-minute sessions per week. "Enlistees" run, lift, do calisthenics, and use isometrics and offbeat exercises (e.g. swinging kettle bell weights) to work each muscle group, simultaneously building endurance. Repetitions without rest raise metabolism, which burns calories long after each workout.

TpxMuscle: What makes fitness boot camps so popular?

G.P. It's the toughness, the intensity. When you leave here, you feel like you've done something; it's 7:30 in the morning and you've done more of a workout than you've probably ever done before.

TpxMuscle: Why does this stuff work?

G.P. When you're working out, and you're hitting it hard for 45 minutes, running, using heavy weights, staying, that's going to increase your metabolism. You'll burn several hundred calories during you workout, and, more importantly, continue to burn them for the next 12 to 48 hours.

TpxMuscle: Do you see a similar cohesion in your fitness boot camps that you saw in the Army?

G.P. I really do. In the military, you get to know people a lot better because you're with them longer. But what I find in fitness boot camp is that everybody works out with everybody, they get to know one another, and no one wants to fail. They want to pass; they want to complete the workout and the course, and they want you to complete it, too.

TpxMuscle: What's the biggest misconception people have about boot camp?

G.P. A big misconception is that one must be in shape to attend, but you can come to boot camp at any fitness level. Another problem is unrealistic expectations. There's so much bad information out there, diets, infomercials, videos. People think they're going to look great in two weeks.

TpxMuscle: Do you think there's an information and gadget glut that distracts people from consistent exercise?

G.P. Even for me! The fitness community gets smarter all the time. I'll start reading or looking at something, get caught up and think, maybe that will be really good! But then I stop and say, think about what we're doing here. Often we get hung up on terminology and stop there. Someone will say, "I belong to a gym." I'll say that's great, but a gym is a building, a location. What matters is what you do when you work out.

TpxMuscle: Have you changed your program at all?

G.P. That's a challenge. I do a lot of tinkering with it. If I just ran a six-week program with new people all the time, I could use the same program, but I have so many repeats that I have to keep changing it. The program is always evolving, but we're still sticking with the basics, the manual, but what I change is the parameters such as time, how much running, what circuits I'll use.

TpxMuscle: Are you surprised by how many repeat customers you have?

G.P. Not anymore, but at first, yes. I just figured people wouldn't stay and stay and stay. I asked myself what keeps them coming back? I'm sure it's the intensity.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Who is the World's Best Personal Trainer?

personal trainer

If you are looking to build muscle, lose fat or just feel a little better physically, it seems like a fairly obvious step to search on the internet for information. Unfortunately, this is where the problems occur. Differentiating between some of the best trainers in the world and the 140-pound "trainer" with a great publicist but no real training experience is not easy. Following advice from the former is a great way to get set for consistent progress for years, whilst the latter will lead to frustration and stagnation. Here are three coaches who can be relied upon for great training advice.

Keeping it Simple with Dan John

Exercise can occasionally become a horribly complicated affair. Which one, how many, what tempo, concentric contractions, eccentric contractions, life is not easy for the trainee. Dan John has the gift of making it simple and communicating his ideas with humour. If you were to follow the advice of just one person for the rest of your training career, Dan John would be a perfect choice. He has written about everything from improving highland games performance to fat loss and his advice is easy to follow and produces results.

Losing Fat With Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is a coach based in Toronto, Canada. He is more of a specialist than Dan John in that his Turbulence Training protocol is based on losing body fat. He is also fairly heavily promoted all over the internet, which can be somewhat off-putting, but the fact of the matter is that he offers very good advice for those interested in losing body fat in the most efficient manner possible. Craig recommends a healthy diet based on whole foods rather than supplements (although he is not anti-supplements as such). His workouts are based on combining weight training and intervals to really rev up the body's metabolism and keep burning fat as fuel.

High Threshold Hypertrophy With Christian Thibaudeau

Christian Thibaudeau is a French Canadian coach who is currently one of the leading lights in hypertrophy training. His methods are extremely innovative, and probably not for the beginner. He associates various training methods with a particular peri-workout nutritional protocol. The supplements he recommends can be expensive, but are by no means necessary to profit from the training advice than Christian offers. He is also regularly present in his own section of the t-nation forum, so it is possible to ask him questions directly.

These three coaches are by no means the only choices available. Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 is a great programme, as is Doggcrapp. However, Dan John, Craig Ballantyne and Christian Thibaudeau offer solid advice which covers all areas of fitness.

Ultimate 30's Workout

Increase the amount of testosterone and growth hormone your body produces by working multiple muscle groups and keeping rest periods short. For cardio, your lactate threshold can still be increased throughout your thirties, so intervals are king to counter any loss of lung power.

Ultimate 40's Workout

Short, sharp shocks are the way to fire up your body in your middle years - which means you can forget long-winded weights workouts. Vary exercises, intensity and timings to keep your muscles guessing.

Ultimate 50's Workout

You may not be able to lift the heaviest weight, but that's okay. Instead, stretching and yoga should be part of your training, and body-weight moves can replace heavy workouts. Do three sets of 10 reps of the following exercises to protect your joints and maintain muscle mass and testosterone.