4 Minute Ab Assault - Sick Home Ab Workout


Know your core. Then, use these tips to make it stable, secure and strong enough to handle whatever you can throw at it

It’s not just about abs, people. Proper core training improves foundational strength that carries over to every other exercise, decreases low back pain, fortifies you against injury and aids in functional movements. The easiest way to think about what exactly constitutes the core is to place a finger at the top of your abdomen near the sternum, and another at the bottom of your glutes. Include all the muscles between those two points, deep and superficial, and you have your core muscles. If you are just looking to build a stunning sixer, take a closer look at your diet. Here are five ways you can better construct a solid core, in the truest sense of the word.

1. Do Get-Ups

The most common core training mistake: too many crunches and sit-ups. People like to feel that abdominal burn, thinking the fat will disappear from their stomachs and that their core will become strong. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Crunches and sit-ups just can’t reach those “deep” core muscles – in this case, the transverse abdominis – that need to be strengthened.

One great alternative to sit-ups and crunches is the Turkish get-up. The Turkish get-up is a perfect blend of mobility, stability, functional movement, proprioception and core strength. The abundance of moving parts in this exercise provides a great stimulus for the core, as well as other strength and movement benefits. If you want to feel your abs burn, do some heavy get-ups with a weight that is heavy enough to activate the deep muscles of your core.

2. Add Rollouts

Do you remember those good old abdominal exercise wheels that you always saw in people’s basements next to all of their workout gear? Well, don’t throw it away just yet – as it turns out, they are amazing core-builders. Those new to the rollout, on a first go, will either fail before full extension, or experience some low back pain. That is because that type of movement really hits those deep abdominals muscles of the anterior core. You want to avoid extension in the back, and need to engage your anterior core in order to do so. Can’t quite complete a full-ROM rep with the wheel? Try a stability ball instead. This version is easier because of the inherently shorter range of motion, which is better on the back. Other variations include the Ab Dolly, dumbbells, barbells, or even a slide board.

3. Stabilize Your Lumbar  

Lumbar pain is a common complaint for hard-training athletes – but it doesn’t have to be. You can fortify yourself against this kind of pain, among other methods, by increasing lumbar stability. In order to do this, you need to fire some deep core stabilizers by not moving your hips when in certain positions. Two good approaches: 1) Avoiding too much rotation of the lower back area 2) doing various types of plank exercises. Loaded carries and planks prevent rotation and increase strength of the muscles that stabilize the lumbar spine. The farmer’s carry, suitcase carry, planks and side planks are all great options.

4. Include Anti-Rotation

The core muscles are stabilizers first. That is why bridges and planks are so crucial for core strength. But, if you look at the anatomy of the core muscles and their actions, about 70 percent or so involve rotating but not at the expense of rotating at the lumbar spine or lower back. So, you should include anti-rotation exercises where you rotate from the waist up, but not at the lumbar spine. The core musculature is then forced to stabilize against an aggressive or fast rotational force or collision, whether it is in sport or in life. Exercises such as half kneeling cable pressouts and goblet squats with pressout are both great choices.

5. Focus on Compound Movements

You will notice that some of the people with the strongest core muscles don’t even do any core work. That is because they are focusing on multi-joint lifts (working more than one muscle group at a time) instead of single joint lifts (one muscle group at a time, such as biceps curl). When it comes to multi-joint moves, you have plenty to choose from: deadlifts, squat variations, lunges, kettlebell exercises, rows, medicine ball throws, Olympic lifts and powerlifts all stimulate a lot of muscle at one time. The core has no choice but to work hard to stabilize the spine as you perform these types of exercises. Certain machines allow you to work multiple muscle groups at once but they don’t have the kind of core demand that you’re looking for because of the fixed range of motion, meaning that less contribution is required of your core musculature. So instead of doing so many, triceps pushdowns, cardio and machine moves, stick to the basics.

5 core construction fixes - abs workout

Source: http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/abs-exercises/5-core-construction-fixes


Build strong abs in six weeks with this radical program that attacks the belly of the beast.

The Power Abs Program's focus is to not only streamline your waist by getting rid of the flab but also etch in deep abdominal muscle - so whenever you take off your shirt, your six-pack will be clearly visible. The keys to such a look is a low-fat diet (that, you knew) and training your abs with weights - which you may not have known. And here's more:

Powerlifters and strongmen have great abs. Sure, they're buried under layers of bodyfat, but deep under that flab are an incredibly developed rectus abdominis, external obliques, and the deeper internal obliques and transverse abdominis. Those guys need to have super-strong and well-developed ab muscles to lift the massive amounts of resistance required by their sports.

Like a powerlifter, you want strong abs. Without a well-developed midsection, you would bend like a twig when doing everyday tasks like lifting a toddler or carrying groceries. And a stronger midsection means more strength on all your other exercises, since that's your core. Unlike a powerlifter, however, you want a chiseled six-pack. But ripped, powerful abs seems like an oxymoron, right? Not with the Power Abs Program.

Unlike most trainees, powerlifters don't do endless reps of crunches. Quite the contrary: They perform weighted ab exercises and manipulate their reps and sets to work on strength and endurance. When you want to build bigger bi's or develop a chiseled chest, you cycle exercises, weight and reps. For some reason, though, you probably train abs differently, mindlessly crunching your way to nowhere. But make no mistake - the abs respond like any other muscle group. They require variety in exercises, reps, rest periods and use of weights. That last part is how the Power Abs Program differs from most conventional midsection philosophies.

Each two-week phase of the six-week program has one core, one oblique, and one upper- and lower-ab exercise to attack your midsection from every angle. With this plan in hand, you'll develop abs worthy of both a powerlifter and a bodybuilder.

six week power abs routine - abs workout

Source: http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/abs-exercises/six-week-power-abs-routine

Muscle Definition Workout: Cutting Phase Tips

Learning the Essentials to Build Muscle Definition

There are a lot of fad diets and workout routines out on the market these days and many do claim to have the secret to how to build muscle definition. In fact, there is only one way to build and to keep this definition and it has nothing to do with a fad that will be gone a year from now. The only tried and true lasting technique to building and keeping muscle definition is not done overnight so get ready for a long road, but one that will take you to your destination.

The first key to success in learning about how to build muscle definition is aforementioned. It does not happen overnight. No matter how hard you work in one setting at the gym, it will not have lasting results. Sure, the immediate build up of the lactic acid in your muscles may give you the desired look for the time being, but wake up the next day and you will have to start all over again for that desired affect. That is of course, if you were lean to begin with and the instant workout will add any definition to your body at all. To build muscle definition you need consistency rather then a few short bursts.

Now you know you need to keep at it. You need to train your muscles to how you want them to respond. You have to keep in mind then also that this will not happen while you are watching yourself work out in the mirror. What is the saying about a watched pot never boils. To get the results you need adequate working of the muscles but you also need a favorable amount of rest to get the desired results. You muscles need oxygen and rest to be able to recover and do what you are training them for over the long haul.

Lastly you know it will take awhile and you have to work consistently to get the desired results but you also must know a little something about the foods that you are eating to build muscle definition. If you are getting your adequate workouts on a consistent basis but are not taking the time to feed your muscles adequately then you may be, to use another saying, cutting off your nose to spite your face. Don't cheat your muscles by not giving the protein and fiber that they need to survive.

Learning the Essentials to Build Muscle Definition

Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2799301

Building Muscle Definition - A Handful of Tips For Beginners

Building muscle definition does not require slogging it out day in and day out at the gym. However, it does require discipline and dedication. Beginners, or individuals who are just starting their foray into body building, should learn first what exactly muscle definition is before they can move to choosing the proper regimen for themselves.

What do "defined muscles" mean?

A person has muscle definition if he or she has visible muscles. This means that those biceps and "six-pack" should be gloriously visible for all to see and not hidden in layers of fat. Getting bulky does not necessarily mean that you have good muscle definition. A person might be slim or slight, but if his or her muscles are there for all to see, then that person does have well-defined muscles.

Things that beginners should know

Individuals who are just starting to build muscles or achieve muscle definition should know that exercising is not enough to build well-defined muscles. Workout programs should be accompanied by good diet and healthy living. The basic philosophy behind building muscle definition is to increase the size of muscles and make them prominent enough. And this, of course, can be done by eliminating the layers of fat that can keep them hidden.

The first step to having defined muscles is to burn excess body fat that can hide muscles under their layers. Meaning - eat right. Vegetables, lean meat, fruits and natural foods are the best way to go to prevent excess fats from forming in the body. When it comes to exercise, fat-burning workouts are the best options. These include jogging, using the treadmill and cycling.

Burning excess fat is just one side of the program, though; beginners should accompany the fat-burning activities with efforts designed to increase the size of their muscles and make them more prominent. The most basic way of doing this is increasing muscle overload. This can be done by increasing the amount of work, as opposed to extending the range of reps or the number of activity repetition. In short, if the aim is to build muscle definition, one needs to go for heavier workload in shorter times rather than longer periods of exercise using lighter load.

Building muscle definition requires discipline and a willingness to take in heavier workout loads. For beginners, the ticket is to start slowly and gradually move to heavier workouts. It is also important to adjust daily habits and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Working out will not be enough; a positive change to overall lifestyle should be done to accomplish one's dream of having ripped muscles.

Building Muscle Definition - A Handful of Tips For Beginners

Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2906292

Mum turns to Muay Thai to lose weight

The Numerous Benefits of Taking Up Muay Thai Classes

Muay Thai is without a doubt one of the most popular forms of martial arts practiced all over the world today. It is a very popular ring sport similar to that of boxing. The only difference is that unlike boxing, Muay Thai fighters are allowed to use any part of their legs as well as their arms to strike their opponent. Being a highly physical sport, you may be surprised to know that even women are into this highly combative sport. Well, it's really not that surprising because Muay Thai offers a lot of benefits to both the mind and the body. This combative sport provides a holistic development of oneself and many more that's why more and more people are practicing the sport. So if you're thinking of trying it out, let me share to you some of the numerous ways on how you can benefit from learning and practicing Muay Thai.

1. Increased physical fitness and weight loss.

A lot of people learn and practice this ancient martial art because of the physical benefits that it offers. Being a highly physical sport, constant practice can help one lose weight, strengthen muscles and tone the body.

2. Enhances flexibility, strength and agility.

Regular practice can help condition your body and put it in good shape. As you get used to the routines on a regular basis, all that repetitive motions on your arms and legs, all that kicking and punching will make them gain more strength and power. Your body will eventually adapt to this kind of conditioning and in effect you'll get stronger and more resilient over time.

3. It instills discipline and focus.

It will teach you various strategies so that you can become more aware of attacks. This will make your mind much sharper and focused. This kind of discipline will prevent you from giving in to impulsive decisions and actions.

4. It makes you emotionally stable.

If you're having a hard time controlling your temper and emotional outbursts, then this sport is definitely for you. Muay Thai can help you be more patient and confident so when certain situations try to test your temper then you can deal such situations with a clear mind and calm disposition.

Always remember that physical intensive activities such as Muay Thai aren't gender exclusive. Whether you are young or old, male or female, you can greatly benefit from taking up this ancient art. It is definitely a great way to stay in shape while improving your whole being at the same time.

Benefits of Taking Up Muay Thai Classes

Source: http://EzineArticles.com/8036559

How Effective Is Kickboxing for Weight Loss?

Weight loss is a growing concern for many people today, but choosing a good method can be difficult. Kickboxing is gaining popularity as a fun and effective weight loss method.

"Muscle and Fitness Magazine" has given cardio kickboxing the distinction of being top fat burning workout available. While results vary, kickboxing burns an average of one thousand calories an hour, and many kickboxers have reported losing as much as ten pounds per month. Combining a kickboxing regimen with a healthy diet can help anyone shed unwanted pounds while getting in the best shape possible.

Muay Thai is a specific form of kickboxing from Thailand, and is offered at most martial arts gyms. In general, a martial arts gym is a better place to sign up for kickboxing workouts since their trainers are usually specialists in the field. Normal gyms may offer some form of a cardio kickboxing regimen, but it will most likely pale in comparison to the benefits a martial arts gym can provide.

In addition to the weight loss benefits, kickboxing and Muay Thai can help your general fitness level in many ways. Your cardiovascular strength, for instance, will greatly improve after following a regimen, giving you more energy and helping your heart. You'll also notice improved flexibility and stamina. Muay Thai and cardio kickboxing are also some of the best ways to work on your core.

If you're looking to get in great shape and lose weight quickly, kickboxing is one fitness activity well worth looking into.

Kickboxing for Weight Loss

Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5845624

30 Min Beginner Full Body No Gear Workout

What Are The Benefits Of A Full Body Workout?

All it takes is one hour two or three times a week. Full body workouts are as popular as ever. The reason is that they are truly a fast way to get into shape. The workout routines are designed to work regardless of your experience level or strength. They are well known for their ability to burn fat fast.

From beginner to experienced pro a full body workout routine will be a great asset to the exercise schedule. Below you will find several benefits of switching to a full body workout.

  1. You hear it all the time about having a lean and sexy core. This statement is all about how you look. The objective of having a strong core should be about function and health as well. The core muscles control just about every movement you make and this alone should be reason enough to want a strong core. People with lean and strong cores experience less low back strain as well.
  2. You spend less time in the gym if you do a full body workout.
  3. It's all about your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). The full body work outs increases your metabolism. This is how your body burns calories and fat, even while you're resting. If your exercise goal is to drop sizes, burn fat, build lean & sleek muscle, lose weight, and tone up, then increasing your Resting Metabolic Rate is what your workout objective should be. The harder you push your body the more you increase your RMR. You should concentrate on working hard for short, powerful bursts that is the key to increasing this rate.
  4. A full body workout can be customized to work certain areas more, while maintaining an overall training regimen for each of your body parts.
  5. By working out all of the muscle groups you will have better symmetry. You see it all the time the people who only work the arms or legs or middle they look a bit out of proportion.
  6. A full body workout reduces the risk of incurring muscle imbalances in the smaller stabilizer muscle groups.
  7. When you use the compound exercises you burn a lot more calories than if you use a split routine.

The full body workout moves more muscle mass for each exercise performed. This is much better than working one isolated group and the body will respond by burning more stored energy when it is at rest.

That brings us to one other important thing about working out in general. The muscles need to recover before retraining. By utilizing a full body workout you can let your body rest more often. Short intense workouts for all the muscle groups allow you to be able to give the body 48 hours or more to rest before hitting the gym again.

full body workout

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5948225

Full Body Workouts That Keep You Fit

Full body workouts are workouts that are meant to target all parts of your body. These workouts are beneficial for those who cannot devote enough time in gym to complete training split or isolation exercises. If you are looking for a proper workout routine that can help you to increase strength of all your muscle groups of your upper and lower body while you do not have enough time to spend in gym, a full or total body workout will be best exercise schedule for you.

Advantages of Full Body Workout over Isolation exercises

One should choose for a workout routine according to his goals. It would be wrong to say that a particular workout routine is better than the other. However, if your goals are definite, then a particular set of exercises can surely prove to be more efficient and less time consuming then other set of different exercises to achieve same goal.

Isolation exercises can help you if you are looking forward to increase mass and strength of a particular muscle group such as your biceps, triceps, calf muscles and others. If you want to improve the strength of each part and muscle group of your body, you will have to schedule such a training split program that will include exercises for both upper body and lower body while targeting specific muscle groups. This will take much more time and a lot more energy to complete all sets of specific isolation exercises.

All full body workouts including body weight exercises, circuit training and kickboxing will give you the required results of higher growth of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and it will also push you to limits to gain as much mass in your muscles as you can. The biggest advantage of full body workout is that you can achieve required results while spending lesser time in gym. In general, people prefer to opt for total body workout based on compound lifts to gain muscle mass as fast as possible. Once they reach a desired level, they may opt for exercises meant to improve specific body parts.

Full or Total body workout is to train your complete body as a single set. This certainly helps in attaining maximum functional strength. However, isolation exercises or training split workout helps in concentrating over a particular part of your body.

Essentials of a Full Body Workout

An efficient total body workout will include multi joint and multi planar movements while concentrating more on body balance, stamina, strength and power of muscles, agility of body parts and proper coordination. A full body workout with all these essentials will help you to develop a strong body that will help you in future when you will grow old. Normal isolate exercises may fail to stress on all of the aforementioned parts and that leaves you with a poor workout. Training split exercises compels the body to stress on strengthening particular body part such as chest, triceps or biceps. In most of the cases, isolation exercises makes strong muscles become stronger but the weak parts of your body remain unattended and may go weaker. This neglect of some body parts may result in total failure of your workout program. A total body workout includes proper balance to offer extensive training to each and every muscle group of your body and that is why it is often considered as the better choice.

Not all workouts are effective, in fact many people wait hours in the gym from simply not knowing how to exercise, there are many secrets and tips everybody who exercises needs to know. For free detailed printable workouts, be sure to visit our website!

Upper Workouts is a company dedicated to sharing helpful techniques on working out your upper body. Our articles will have workout secrets and unknown tips to help you conquer your upper body fitness goals.

full body workout

Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5626639

Many Different Ab Exercises

Finding the Perfect Abs Workout

There are many abs workouts that can be followed to get washboard abs. however it is not possible to state the best abs workout as all workouts are effective as long as you follow them with the right determination and dedication with a healthy diet.

It is possible to get 6 pack abs if you build muscle not only in your abdominals, but all over the body. You also have to strengthen your core muscles and most important, work at losing any excess fat. This is because with fat in your body, no matter what abs workout you follow, or whatever abdominal exercises you do, your 6 pack abs will not be visible under this fat.
The abs workout should comprise of various exercises

It is only if you have 10 or less than 10% body fat that your abs become prominent. To get great abs, your abs workout should not actually concentrate on isolation exercises like crunches and leg raises. Instead, it should include different exercises like a dumbbell workout as it places emphasis on the core muscles of the body.

The perfect abs workout should be one with not only abdominal exercises, but also cardio exercises that help eradicate any belly fat you have. The abs workout should helps build muscle, helps in strengthening the core and at the same time, is effective in burning fat.
A gym instructor will be able to advise you

The best person to approach for the right abs workout to get 6 pack abs is your gym instructor. According to your body type, the amount of fat you have in your body and your medical condition, you will be given the right workout that will not only give you perfect abs, but also help in eliminating any fat you have in your body and give you a healthy body.

You can also get ideas for a good abs workout on the internet as there are many sites offering information regarding this. Use search engines to reach these sites and to learn whatever the sites have to offer.

Whatever the final abs workout you reach at to get those six pack abs you always wanted, it is important that you work out regularly on these workouts. Occasional workouts, junk food and insufficient sleep will get you nowhere, even with the best abs workout. Dedication, hard work and the goal of a flat stomach is what motivates you into getting your perfect abs.

Finding the Perfect Abs Workout

Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1578429

3 Abs Workout Mistakes

I have logged thousands of personal training sessions over my career and everybody wants to know more about abs workouts and abs exercises.

My clients want to know how to lose stomach fat and get a six-pack, or at the very least they just want to lose stomach fat so they have a firm abs that look good in their clothes (and naked).

I can't blame them. Who doesn't want a nice looking midsection? Who doesn't want to get firm abs or get lean enough they can say they have a six-pack.

The problem is that 99% of them all have the same misconceptions about abs workouts and abs exercises and how to really lose stomach fat and get firm abs.

I've narrowed down the mistakes, myths and misconceptions surrounding abs workouts and abs exercises to my top 3.

These 3 abs workout mistakes are made by just about everyone I've ever trained, designed a program for, or consulted.

Are you making these same mistakes?

1. Spending too much time doing crunches. 

I'm just going to come right out and say it...you don't need to do crunches to get six pack abs and you sure as heck don't need to do crunches to lose stomach fat or even get a firm abs.

Crunches simply don't work enough muscle and don't burn enough fat calories to be thought of as a worthwhile exercise in order to lose stomach fat, let alone get firm abs or a six-pack.

Spending 20 minutes a day doing hundreds (or thousands) of crunches is like electing Big Bird or Elmo president.

Sure they may sound good and have all the answers, but it just doesn't make much sense electing a puppet to such a high office (sorry, that was my attempt at a joke).

Doing hundreds, or even thousands, of crunches will strengthen your abdomen, that's for sure, but what does it matter if you still have a layer of flabby goo covering up all the hard work?

Instead you need to focus on full body workouts and full body abs exercises in order to lose stomach fat fast and get the firm, toned stomach or six pack abs you're after.

Take for instance this abs workout, using only full body abs exercises, I designed for a client. Do this mini-circuit before your regular workout, when you're still fresh, so you can really hit your abs hard.

  1. Dumbbell Overhead Squat - 10 reps 
  2. Mountain Climbers - 30 seconds 
  3. Reverse Plank - 30 seconds

Do that in a circuit format, resting 20 seconds after the final exercise before repeating it again 2 or 3 times. Do that for a few week and you'll definitely see a difference in your abs and you will lose stomach fat.

2. Throwing all your hard work out the door by eating poorly. 

What good does it do to work so hard in your fat loss workouts only to come home, or leave your home gym, and eat junk?

What sense does it make that after all your hard work, you ruin it with poor eating habits on a daily basis? This is quite possibly one of the dumbest things you could do. I don't mean to be rude, I'm just trying to put it bluntly.

If you want to lose stomach fat and get firm abs, or even six-pack abs, you need to clean up your diet and stop eating so poorly. You need to quit eating processed junk found in boxes and bags like crackers and chips, stop eating things like bagels and processed breads and start eating more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, legumes and healthy fats.

You also need to start eating multiple times throughout the day, and this especially means eating breakfast. It also means cutting out the late night snacking and cutting down on alcohol.

You know what to cut out, so do it.

Remember what your goals are. You want to lose stomach fat and you want to get firm abs. Eat like it!

3. Not actively flexing, or bracing, your abs in every exercise. 

It's sad that I have to say this, but all too often, people don't actively flex their abs while doing an abs exercise.

I don't know why. You'd think that because you're doing an abs exercise that you'd be flexing your abs hard every repetition, but too many people just go through the motions and to way too fast.

You need to slow down and actively flex your abs when you're doing an abs exercise. And for every exercise that's not an abs exercise, you need to brace them like somebody is about to punch you in the stomach.

Doing so will ensure that you learn to "control" your abs and make sure that when you do lose stomach fat that you'll have a defined and toned midsection worthy of praise.

I also want you to think of it this way...every exercise should be an abs exercise. If you brace your abs during every single exercise in your fat loss workout, you'll essentially turn every single exercise into an abs exercise. Doing a chest press, brace your abs. Doing a lunge, brace your abs. Every single exercise you do, whether you're working your abs specifically or not, should be turned into an abs exercise.

If you stop making these vital abs workout and abs exercise mistakes, and start doing full body workouts with full body abs exercises, I guarantee that you'll begin to lose stomach fat and get firm abs (and maybe even that sought after six-pack) in no time.

abs workout mistakes

Source: http://EzineArticles.com/1351514

30 Min Circuit Training Workout for the Gym

The Benefits of Circuit Training

Nowadays, most people don't have time for lengthy, grueling 2-hour workouts, be it with work and family demands or simply the search of free time. Well, what if there was a way to be in and out of the gym in less than 1 hour and still feel absolutely worked? What if you could combine your cardio and weights so that you wouldn't have to spend hours on either? Well, I'm going to let you in on a little secret - it's called Circuit Training - and it is the most effective and time efficient means of exercise for those looking to lose weight and tone.


Circuit Training involves completing several resistance exercises in a continual sequence. For instance, a circuit may be comprised of 8 exercises (push-ups, plank, lunges, etc...) with each one being performed for any length of time (30 sec, 45 sec, etc...) or number of repetitions. Between each exercise is a rest period of a certain length. Note that circuits that have lower rest periods will be more challenging and provide more aerobic benefit. An example of a typical circuit is 8 exercises each 30 seconds in length with 30 seconds to recover between each. This is only one example of 1000s of possible circuit combinations. There are many factors involved in determining the effectiveness of a given circuit including: number and types of exercises, load, tempo, duration of work bout, duration of rest bout. Basically, the more intense you make the circuit, the more challenging, yet effective, it becomes.


Studies have found that aerobic benefits related to circuit training are mainly determined by the duration of the exercise (work bout) and by the amount and type of rest given between exercises. For instance, a meta-analysis done on circuits showed that a 10-exercise circuit (using weights) using a 30 seconds for both work and recovery, performed 3 times per week over 8-12 weeks improved VO2max (measure of aerobic capacity) by 5%. Compare that to continuous running, cycling or rowing at around 75% of max heart rate for 20-30 minutes, three times a week for 8-12 weeks which boosts V02max by around 20%. Obviously, this 30s work: 30s rest protocol is not optimal for yielding staggering aerobic improvements. However, other studies have shown that by shortening the rest period to 15 seconds or jogging during a 30 second recovery bout improved VO2max by 12% and 18%, respectively.

Further, some research has even shown that Circuit Training can be just as effective at maintaining previous aerobic gains as following a strictly aerobic conditioning regime.

Incorporating more compound movements (several different muscle groups involved) into your circuits will make it more challenging for both your muscles and aerobic system. This is because as you use more muscle mass, more oxygen is required to supply the working muscles. As a result, you begin breather heavier and your heart rate increases to provide the muscles with the oxygen they need. This technique makes circuits much more challenging and effective. As an example, perform lunge walks with a shoulder press, instead of either one separately.

Here is an example of a 7.5-minute aerobic based circuit:

  1. Lunge Walks with Biceps Curls- 30 sec 
  2. Jogging on spot - 1 min 
  3. Stability Ball Chest Press - 30 sec 
  4. Jogging on spot - 1 min 
  5. Plank - 30 sec 
  6. Jogging on spot - 1 min 
  7. Back Rows - 30 sec 
  8. Jogging on spot - 1 min 
  9. Squat Presses - 30 sec 
  10. Jogging on spot - 1 min


Circuit Training has been shown to decrease body fat by 3%. Research also shows that lean body mass is either maintained or increased alongside the decrease in body fat. This is a major benefit for those who want to get in better shape, lose weight, and tone. With traditional aerobic training, a decrease in relative fat mass leads to a decrease in total weight with little change in lean body mass. The resistance work involved in the circuits encourages muscle-mass development, and thus any fat loss is replaced equally by muscle gain. This makes it easier to maintain the lower body fat or reduce body fat even further because the increase in lean body mass pushes up basal metabolic rate and overall calorie expenditure.

It has also been estimated that calorie expenditure during a bout of circuit training is approximately 5 - 6 kcal per minute for women and 8 - 9 kcal per minute for men (this may vary depending on body weight). Thus, if a man were to perform 30 of circuit training he would burn upwards of 180 calories.


Because of the duration of each exercise many people claim that strength may be compromised as a result of working at a lower percent of 1RM (maximum weight you can lift once). This is definitely true in most cases and thus, I would not recommend circuit training for those looking to improve strength. However, some studies have shown that circuit training increases muscular strength anywhere from 7% to 32%.1 Achieving such strength gains requires working at a much higher percent of 1RM (>80%) and thus the duration of the work bouts would need to be much lower

circuit training benefits

Source: http://EzineArticles.com/243776

Circuit Training For Sports And Fitness

To achieve true fitness any exercise programme should include these three essential components - namely, strength training, endurance and stamina training and flexibility training. What is endurance and stamina? The two words usually mean the same thing and a simple definition would be this: "The ability to undergo a prolonged period of physical exertion without undue stress or exhaustion." Endurance and stamina can be achieved by two very popular training methods, namely Circuit training and Interval training. What exactly is circuit training?

Circuit training is a method of physical training in which a series of exercises are performed continuously (preferably without rest) in a "circuit" fashion. It is usually a whole body exercise programme, meaning that a series of different exercises are selected and which target all the different muscle groups of the human body. The exercises are spread out over the entire body and each muscle group is exercised only once in quick (albeit good form) succession in a circuit style. Circuit training can be performed using one's own bodyweight as the resistance or with hand-held weights such as barbells, dumbells or machines.

Why is it that the exercises should be performed continuously without rest during circuit training? 

The answer is this: "The purpose of circuit training is to improve not only our muscular endurance and stamina but also our cardio-respiratory fitness."

What is cardio-respiratory fitness? 

The word "cardio" comes from the word "cardiac" which means "heart" and the word "respiratory" comes from the word "respiration" which means "breathing" or "lungs". Thus cardio-respiratory fitness can simply be defined as the ability of the heart and lungs to supply blood and oxygen efficiently to skeletal muscles during prolonged physical exercise without undue stress or exhaustion. So while you are in the midst of a circuit training session, you should be panting for breath and your heart should be beating vigorously pumping blood and oxygen throughout the whole body. You are not doing your circuit training correctly if you do not experience this. The benefits of circuit training are increased muscular endurance and stamina, faster fat loss and stronger and more efficient heart and lungs.

A simple test of your cardio-respiratory fitness can be this:

Climb up a flight of stairs. If you feel unduly tired and out of breath when you reach the top of the stairs, this means that your heart and lungs are not in superb working condition.

A wholebody bodyweight circuit training programme:

  1. Push ups - 12 repetitions (for the pectoral and tricep muscles)
  2. Chin ups - 12 repetitions (for the latissimmus dorsi and bicep muscles)
  3. Squat jumps - 12 repetitions (for the thigh and calf muscles)
  4. Handstand Push ups - 12 repetitions (for the deltoid and tricep muscles)
  5. Sit ups and leg raises - 12 repetitions each (for the upper and lower abdominal muscles)

This is how the above bodyweight circuit is done:

First do 12 repetitions of push ups. Without pause, do 12 repetitions of chin ups. Without pause again, do 12 repetitions of squat jumps followed by 12 repetitions of handstand push ups and lastly 12 repetitions each of sit ups and leg raises. Notice that in this circuit you are doing a fixed number of repetitions per exercise, namely 12. There is another method of circuit training which is based on a fixed amount of time spent on doing each exercise. Below is an example of this other method.

A timed bodyweight circuit training programme:

  1. Push ups - 2 minutes (do as many repetitions as possible within this 2 minutes) 
  2. Chin ups - 2 minutes (do as many repetitions as possible within this 2 minutes) 
  3. Squat jumps - 2 minutes (do as many repetitions as possible within this 2 minutes) 
  4. Handstand Push ups - 2 minutes (do as many repetitions as possible within this 2 minutes) 
  5. Sit ups and leg raises - 2 minutes each (do as many repetitions as possible within this 4 minutes)

Total time required for this circuit = 12 minutes

A wholebody barbell or dumbell circuit training programme:

  1. Bench press (for the pectoral and tricep muscles) 
  2. Bent over row (for the latissimmus dorsi and bicep muscles). 
  3. Squat (for the thigh muscles) 
  4. Military press or Press behind neck (for the deltoid and tricep muscles) 
  5. Leg curls (for the hamstring muscles) 
  6. French press (for the tricep muscles) 
  7. Bicep curls (for the bicep muscles) 
  8. Calf raises (for the calf muscles) 
  9. Inclined sit ups and hanging leg raises (for the upper and lower abdominal muscles)

Here again you can either do a fixed repetition circuit or a timed circuit.

How many circuits should you do in a training session? This is up to the individual but for best results, 2 bodyweight and 2 hand-held weight circuits should be sufficient. Can muscular strength be achieved from circuit training? Yes it can and this is how it is achieved:

1. When doing bodyweight circuit training, alter the exercises slightly so that they become harder to perform. For example, instead of doing two-armed push ups, try doing one-arm or two fingers push ups.

2. To increase your strength when circuit training with weights all you have to do is to increase the poundage used.

Circuit Training is suitable for all sports that are of long duration such as soccer, basketball, wrestling, judo, taekwondo, MMA (mixed martial arts), jiu jitsu and tennis.

circuit training

Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4816733

Best Superfoods - Diet Tips

4 Superfood Swaps to Switch Up Your Favorite Recipes

You probably already know that superfoods should take a starring role on your plate whenever possible. But eating the same thing over and over can get a little, well, dull. If you're looking to change up your healthy go-tos, try these simple swaps that our nutrition director, Jaclyn London, R.D., recommends.

If you like salmon, try arctic char. 

Key benefits: This eco-friendly fish is rich in vitamin D and brain-boosting omega-3's.

Make it: Brush four filets with one tablespoon each olive oil and lemon juice; top with 1/2 cup sliced almonds; bake at 425°F 12 to 15 minutes. Season to taste. Serves 4.

superfood swaps - diet tips

If you like kale, try mustard greens. 

Key benefits: This peppery veggie has phytonutrients and heart-healthy vitamin E.

Make it: Sauté one pound chopped greens, one tablespoon each olive oil and minced garlic, and two tablespoons water. Add 1/4 cup dried tart cherries; cook until fragrant. Serves 4.

superfood swaps - diet tips

If you like quinoa, try teff. 

Key benefits: A nutty, gluten-free Ethiopian grain, teff is chock-full of iron, fiber, protein, and calcium.

Make it: Toast in a dry skillet until fragrant; sprinkle on soups or salads. Or, replace wheat flour with teff flour in a pancake recipe.

superfood swaps - diet tips

If you like sweet potato, try pumpkin. 

Key benefits: Fresh or canned, pumpkin is a foolproof side this season. It's loaded with fiber and vitamin A. And it's also a surprising potassium source, which helps stabilize blood pressure.

Make it: In saucepan, cook one medium onion, grated, in two tablespoons olive oil on medium-high heat for three minutes, or until soft. Stir in one 29-ounce can pure pumpkin, four cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup cream, two tablespoons pumpkin pie spice, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to simmer, stirring every three minutes. Divide among bowls. Serves 4.

superfood swaps - diet tips

Source: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/nutrition/superfood-swaps

10 Nutrient-Packed Nut Butters

Branch out from your standard peanut butter spread and give one of these other nutrient- packed nut butters a try.

Peanut butter is one of America's great culinary contributions to the world (in our opinion). And America agrees: In the United States, we consume over 1.5 billion pounds of peanut butter and peanut products every year. That comes out to nearly $800 million in sales annually. Mr. Peanut is making it rain!

But the staple PB&J sandwiches so many of us grew up with are becoming almost retro. Rising rates of peanut allergies and salmonella scares have challenged peanut butter's dominance, making way for a slew of alternative nut butters. Leading the charge is almond butter, but also jockeying for position are cashew, sunflower seed, walnut, soy nut, and sesame seed butter, to name a few.


Despite its seriousness and the rising rates of peanut allergies, only about one percent of Americans suffer from one, and the chance of catching salmonella from a jar of Skippy is miniscule. There was some concern that peanuts were a host for aflatoxins, a certain type of carcinogen mold. But crops are tested regularly for aflatoxins, so those concerns were inflated.

Then why stray from tried-and-true peanut butter? There are plenty of reasons to branch out and explore the varied world of nut butters. To start, consider the nutritional benefits of the alternatives. Almond butter packs three more grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat per serving than peanut butter. And walnuts are one of the most omega-3 fatty-acid-rich foods that don't swim in the ocean. (Vegans and vegetarian, holla!) But another compelling reason is that all of these nut butters are delicious in their own right. Sure, they lack the nostalgia of good ol' peanut butter, but each brings something new to the table.

Now, before you decide to go cartwheeling down the nut butter aisle, keep a couple of things in mind. For starters, nut butters are just that: butters. They should be treated as such. No one would eat five or six pats of dairy butter as a "snack." Yet it's tempting to toss the lid off the nut butter jar like an old college Frisbee and idly nom down spoonful after spoonful. Yes, it's good fat, but there's a limit to how much your body needs before it turns into, well, body fat.

Another thing to remember: Always keep it pure. Look for nut butters with as few ingredients as possible. Ideally, the ingredient list on your almond butter reads, "Almonds." End of story. Maybe, "Almonds, salt." But if you see something more along the lines of "Almonds, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils, salt, mono and diglycerides, multisyllable-chemical-oil-slick," then put down the jar and look for a product that didn't require people in lab coats to produce it.

Ready to sample the full spectrum of nut butters? Let's take a look at some of the alternatives popping up in markets around the country.

nutrient packed nut butters - diet tips

Source: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/10-nutrient-packed-nut-butters.html

Yoga For Beginners - How To Improve Muscle Tone

Muscle Tone

It's not uncommon to overhear the occasional person engaged in resistance training state that their goal is to develop muscle tone, rather than muscle size or muscle strength. And, more often than not, it is a woman striving to achieve muscle tone rather than a man, given our conventions of what is considered to be a desirable body type for women. For the most part, women "don't want to get big," they "just want to get toned." But what is muscle tone? Can you achieve muscle tone without getting big muscles? Keep reading to learn the honest truth about muscle tone.

What is Muscle Tone?

There are really two definitions for muscle tone. There is the actual true, physiological definition, and the popular, conventional definition.

muscle tone

The Actual Definition of Muscle Tone

Muscle tone, also known as muscle tonus or residual muscle tension, is an unconscious low level contraction of your muscles while they are at rest. Essentially, muscle tone is what makes your muscles still feel somewhat firm while you are resting and not intentionally tensing them. You know how your muscles feel much firmer when you intentionally tense them? And how you feel a decrease in firmness the less you tense (i.e. contract) them? Well, that small remaining amount of firmness that you feel in your muscles when they are completely relaxed, with no intentional tensing, is your muscle tone.

The Popular Definition of Muscle Tone

In its more conventional use, the term "muscle tone" refers to muscles that are visually clearly defined and have a firm appearance. It's what we mean when we say that someone is "toned." In this usage muscle tone is desirable simply because it looks good.

What is the Purpose of Muscle Tone?

The primary purpose of muscle tone (as per its real definition) is to keep your muscles primed and ready for action. The always activated state of partial contraction maintains balance and posture, and it also functions as a safety mechanism that allows for a quick, unconscious muscle reflex reaction to any sudden muscle fiber stretch. Think about how your head automatically jerks up straight when you are falling asleep in a sitting position. That is an unconscious reflex reaction that is made possible by the presence of muscle tone. Muscle tone also generates heat and keeps your muscles healthy. If the nerve to a particular muscle is damaged, it may no longer be able to stimulate the muscle contractions necessary to maintain muscle tone and the muscle will become flaccid and eventually it will deteriorate.

How to Get Toned

Here we'll assume here that, by "get toned," you mean that you would like to achieve the popular, conventional definition of muscle tone, rather than the actual definition. To be more specific, you would like your muscles to be clearly defined and to have a firm appearance. And, if you are female, you also probably want to ensure that your muscles "don't get too big."

There are two things that can and should be done to acquire muscle tone. They are as follows:

  1. The first thing that you must to do acquire the popular definition of muscle tone, and this is an absolute requirement, is reduce your overall body fat. Reducing body fat thins out the subcutaneous fat layer under your skin, bringing it closer to, and pulling it tight around the contours of your muscles. After completing just this one fat reduction step, some people will find that they've achieved the muscle tone that they desire, because they already have a well developed musculature hiding beneath their fat. The vast majority of people, however, will find that they aren't entirely happy with the appearance of their muscles once they have reduced their body fat, and so step number 2 below becomes necessary.
  2. The second thing that can be done to develop muscle tone is strength training. For a lucky few people this step might not be required, from a purely aesthetic perspective, because they already have well proportioned muscles under the fat layer removed in step 1 above. But for most people a strength training program, in addition to body fat reduction, is necessary to develop muscle tone. The optimal training program for developing muscle tone must focus on improving muscle strength, as opposed to muscle size or muscle endurance. This type of training requires that you lift heavier weights for fewer repetitions. You can review the specific recommended lifting guidelines for building muscle strength here.

For Women - Getting Muscle Tone Without Getting Big

Unfortunately, most women incorrectly believe that the best way to "get muscle tone without getting too big" is to lift light weights for a high number of repetitions. This is not the right approach. Your fears of getting too big are unfounded and without substance. Lifting light weights for a high number of repetitions builds muscle endurance, not strength, and very limited improvement in muscle tone, if any at all, can be achieved through muscular endurance training. You must increase muscle strength to develop muscle tone.

The solution is to lift heavier weights for fewer repetitions and don't worry about getting too big. It simply won't happen because women are not physiologically disposed toward putting on muscle mass. Blood testosterone levels for women are typically between 15 to 70 nanograms per deciliter. Compare this to men, who have, on average, 300 to 1,000 ng/dL of testosterone in their blood (reference for blood testosterone levels). Testosterone is the key steroid hormone responsible for muscle growth, and women have very little of it. Increasing muscle strength does increase muscle size, there's no doubt about it, but even with a massive testosterone advantage it takes most men enormous amounts of time and dedication to acquire the noticeable levels of muscle mass that so many women are afraid of. For a woman, it's true that lifting heavier weights for fewer repetitions will increase your muscle size, but the increase will happen very slowly, and the gains in size will be very small. In fact, the low testosterone levels of women create ideal circumstances for developing the muscle tone that you are looking for. It allows you to gradually put on small amounts of muscle until you have the toned appearance, without too much size, that you desire, at which point you can modify your strength training program to simply maintain the small amount of muscle mass that you have gained. There is absolutely no need to fear that you will "get too big," because the size increases happen so slowly that you will be able to halt progress at any size you are happy with, without going too far.

If you are a woman and your are still not convinced, just try it anyways. Look at yourself in the mirror every day to monitor your muscle tone and size. The worst thing that can happen is that your fears come true, and you are the one woman on the planet that gets huge muscles after a couple of strength building workouts. If we suppose that this does come to pass (it won't), then all you'll need to do is stop lifting weights. You will lose all of your size gains in a very short period of time and your muscles will return to their original size (unless, of course, you also happen to be the only person on the planet that does not experience loss of training adaptations after cessation of training). Anyway, you get the point, just try it, you'll be happy with the results.

Source: http://www.shapesense.com/fitness-exercise/articles/muscle-tone.aspx

How to Gain Muscle Definition

muscle definition

Get ready to incorporate regular trips to the gym if you’re looking to improve muscle definition. For muscles to be visible, you've got to build muscle tone while simultaneously reducing your body fat percentage. Therefore, participate in a weight-training program designed to build muscles, incorporate regular bouts of cardio exercise to burn calories and follow a healthy nutritional plan so that you're properly fueling the muscle-building process.

Building Muscle Tone

Step 1

Schedule three weight-training workouts throughout the week on non-consecutive days. Your muscles need 48 hours of rest between each weight-training session.

Step 2

Complete a workout that targets all of the major muscle groups, which include the chest, shoulders, back, biceps, triceps, legs and core. Select one to two exercises per muscle group. Exercises that work your chest include bench presses, dumbbell chest presses, chest flys and pushups. Work your shoulders with shoulder presses, upright rows, lateral raises and front raises. Hit your triceps with dips, lying triceps extensions and overhead triceps extensions. Develop your back with lat pulldowns, seated rows, kneeling rows and bent-over rows. For your biceps, incorporate dumbbell and barbell curls. Work your legs by including squats, lunges, deadlifts and leg presses. To work your core, incorporate an array of crunches, bridges and planks.

Step 3

Complete all compound exercises before moving onto isolation exercises. Compound exercises require movement around multiple joints, such as bench presses, which involve movement at your shoulders and elbows. According to the American Council on Exercise, compound exercises are more effective for building muscle.

Step 4

Perform at least three sets of each exercise, with each set consisting of six to 12 reps. Georgia State University’s Department of Kinesiology and Health recommends this volume for building muscle. Rest about three minutes in between each set.

Step 5

Use a weight that’s appropriate for each exercise. For your muscle tissue to become overloaded, completing each set should be challenging. The weight you’re using should allow you to do at least six reps, but not more than 12.

Lowering Body Fat Percentage

Step 1

Get in at least five cardio workouts every week. Cardio exercises, such as jogging, swimming and riding a bike, are efficient at burning a high number of calories, leading to fat loss. Each session should last at least 30 minutes. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 150 to 200 minutes of cardio every week for those looking to lower body fat.

Step 2

Increase the intensity of your cardio workouts gradually as your fitness improves. According to the American Council on Exercise, high-intensity sessions burn a greater calories than those done at a low intensity, and also cause your metabolic rate to be elevated after you're done with your session.

Step 3

Follow a healthy eating plan to limit your calorie intake while still adequately providing your body with nutrients and fuel. The American Council on Exercise notes that you can support a healthy body fat percentage by eating primarily whole grains, non or low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and reducing your meal portion sizes by 10 to 15 -percent


See a doctor for a physical to ensure it’s safe for you to begin a new workout program.


Take five to 15 minutes to warm up before each weight training and cardio workout. Begin with low-intensity cardio and then incorporate dynamic stretches that target the muscles you’ll be working. When lifting, consider working out with a partner, who will not only help with training motivation, but will also provide you with a spotter to stand by when you’re performing exercises that involve holding weights over your head.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/73902-gain-muscle-definition/

Full Meal Plan to Lose Weight

Alkaline diet

Slim down in just 3 days with this alkalising diet

Lacking in energy? Need a quick pick-me-up? This super-fast detox might be exactly what you're after! As well as giving a much-needed boost to energy levels, it'll kick-start your weight loss too. Did we mention that it only takes three days? Yep, really. And, as if that wasn't enough, you'll feel lighter, your skin will be clearer and you'll be much more focused. What are you waiting for?

Happy tum

An effective digestive system is the key to a slim and trim bod. But sometimes this vital system needs a bit of a nudge to boost its performance. If you can't shift the pounds, or you're feeling bloated or lacking energy, it's time to give your system a break. When you eat, your gut breaks down food, separating nutrients from waste and eliminating leftovers via your bowel. It sounds simple but this fine-tuned process is actually pretty complex. And there are a whole host of ways you could be preventing this system from working at its full capacity. Gulping down food quickly, making poor meal choices and overdoing the alcohol can put a strain on digestion, making it harder to supply your body with the goodies it needs.

But never fear! This is where our three-day alkalising juice detox can help, offering fabulous weight-loss gains safely in a short space of time. Results vary from person to person, of course, but you can expect to lose around three pounds on the diet. Skipping solids in favour of a short-term liquid diet can help to reduce the digestive burden, and boost your nutrient intake. Nutrients you get from juices and smoothies are great as they're already in a pre-digested form, so they can be shuttled directly into cells where they can do their work efficiently. Giving your hard-working gut a well-earned rest!

‘When you detox you free up digestive energy and allow the body the time to repair tissues and process toxins that are stored in the liver and the body’s fat cells,’ explains Geeta Sidhu-Robb, nutritionist and founder of Nosh Detox (noshdetox.com). Juicing is also a fabulous way to break any bad habits and get started on the path to inner and outer vitality. Try Geeta’s three-day alkalising detox here.

Early riser

Blitz the following ingredients:
3 freshly squeezed oranges
5 large strawberries
½ a banana
2tbsp linseeds
1tbsp oats
1 cup water

Clean and green smoothie

Blitz the following ingredients:
½ avocado
1 cup wilted kale (blanch in boiling water so that the leaves are tender)
1 large piece of broccoli
1 cup spinach
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 orange
400ml water

Tropical beach

Blitz the following ingredients:
1 cup coconut water
1 handful pineapple chunks
1 handful mango chunks

Glowy you

Blitz the following ingredients:
Palm full of almonds
Handful of watercress
Handful of lettuce
Chunks of melon
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Handful of strawberries

Green goddess

Blitz the following ingredients:
½ avocado
1 handful spinach
1 handful watercress
1 chunk cucumber
Pinch sea salt
Sprinkle cayenne pepper

Evening beauty

Blitz the following ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1tbsp chia seeds
2 handfuls of raspberries
½ apple (peeled)
½ avocado
½ cup water

The detox plan
Day 1

On rising: Warm water with lemon
Breakfast: Early Riser
Morning: Green and Clean
Lunch: Glowy You
Afternoon: Cup of miso soup
Dinner: Evening beauty

Day 2

On rising: Warm water with lemon
Breakfast: Early Riser
Morning: Green Goddess
Lunch: Tropical Beach
Afternoon: Cup of miso soup
Dinner: Evening Beauty

Day 3

On rising: Warm water with lemon
Breakfast: Early Riser
Morning: Green & Clean
Lunch: Glowy You
Afternoon: Cup of miso soup
Dinner: Evening Beauty

alkaline diet

Source: http://www.womensfitness.co.uk/diet-plans/802/alkaline-diet

Eating and exercise: 5 tips to maximize your workouts

Knowing when and what to eat can make a difference in your workouts. Understand the connection between eating and exercise.

Eating and exercise go hand in hand. When and what you eat can be important to how you feel when you exercise, whether it's a casual workout or training for a competition. Consider these eating and exercise tips.

1. Eat a healthy breakfast

If you exercise in the morning, get up early enough to finish breakfast at least one hour before your workout. Most of the energy you got from dinner the previous night is used up by morning, and your blood sugar might be low. If you don't eat, you might feel sluggish or lightheaded when you exercise.

If you plan to exercise within an hour after breakfast, eat a light breakfast or drink something to raise your blood sugar, such as a sports drink. Emphasize carbohydrates for maximum energy.

Good breakfast options include:

  • Whole-grain cereals or bread
  • Low-fat milk
  • Juice
  • Bananas
  • Yogurt
  • A waffle or pancake

And remember, if you normally have coffee in the mornings, a cup before your workout is probably OK. Also know that anytime you try a food or drink for the first time before a workout, you risk an upset stomach.

2. Size matters

Be careful not to overdo it when it comes to how much you eat before exercise. The general guideline:

  • Large meals. Eat these at least three to four hours before exercising.
  • Small meals. Eat these two to three hours before exercising.
  • Small snacks. Eat these an hour before exercising.

Eating too much before you exercise can leave you feeling sluggish. Eating too little might not give you the energy to keep you feeling strong throughout your workout.

3. Snack well

Most people can eat small snacks right before and during exercise. The key is how you feel. Do what works best for you. Snacks eaten soon before exercise probably won't give you added energy, but they can help keep up your blood sugar and prevent distracting hunger pangs. Good snack options include:

  • Energy bars
  • Bananas or other fresh fruit
  • Yogurt
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Whole-grain bagel or crackers
  • Low-fat granola bars
  • Peanut butter sandwiches

A healthy snack is especially important if you plan a workout several hours after a meal.

4. Eat after you exercise

To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores, eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your exercise session if possible. Good post-workout food choices include:

  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Peanut butter sandwich
  • Low-fat chocolate milk and pretzels
  • Pasta with meatballs
  • Chicken with brown rice

5. Drink up

Don't forget to drink fluids. You need adequate fluids before, during and after exercise to help prevent dehydration.

To stay well-hydrated for exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you:

  • Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (473 to 710 milliliters) of water during the two to three hours before your workout.
  • Drink about 1/2 to 1 cup (118 to 237 milliliters) of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout. Adjust amounts related to your body size and the weather.
  • Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (473 to 710 milliliters) of water after your workout for every pound (0.5 kilogram) of weight you lose during the workout.
  • Water is generally the best way to replace lost fluids. But if you're exercising for more than 60 minutes, use a sports drink. Sports drinks can help maintain your body's electrolyte balance and give you a bit more energy because they contain carbohydrates.

Let experience be your guide

Keep in mind that the duration and intensity of your activity will dictate how often and what you should eat and drink. For example, you'll need more energy from food to run a marathon than to walk around the block.

When it comes to eating and exercise, everyone is different. So pay attention to how you feel during your workout and to your overall performance. Let your experience guide you on which pre- and post-exercise eating habits work best for you. Consider keeping a journal to monitor how your body reacts to meals and snacks so that you can tweak your diet for optimal performance.

diet tips

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20045506

5 Ways to Stay Motivated to Exercise Regularly

If losing pounds is as easy as journaling about what you put in your mouth, can you use the same technique to help you stick to a fitness routine?

Dieters who keep a food diary lose twice as much weight as those who kept no records, according to a recent study by Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research. But while keeping a journal holds you more accountable for how you treat your body, sticking to a fitness routine is different from sticking to a healthy eating routine. Personal trainers we talked to recommend these tactics to keep you motivated and inspired to work out.

1. Change your perspective

Shift your thinking from couch potato mentality to thinking like an athlete. This may sound like a big challenge, but it’s not as big a leap as you think. Essex, Massachusetts mom April Bowling, 33, stopped using her busy life as an excuse not to exercise. After the birth of her children (now ages 5 and 3), Bowling started viewing exercise as a way to set a strong example for her kids.

“At first I looked at it as time away from them, but I realized kids do what they see you doing,” she says. “Now both kids are very physically active.”

Bowling started thinking about her workouts at odd hours as a blessing rather than a sacrifice. She also found inspiration in others—looking outward for extra motivation. “Take inspiration from everyone you meet—even people who can’t be physically active,” she says. “It reinforces why I’m lucky.” Whether you need to hang an “I’m lucky” sticky note on the mirror, or you can see the power of health in your children’s eyes, committing to a fitness routine begins in your head.

2. Set a goal

There’s nothing more motivating — sometimes even scary — than that first 5K looming in bold letters on the calendar. Register early and commit to an exercise program that will get you in shape by race day.

“Set realistic goals that include clear milestones, and as you progress toward your goal, you’ll find a ripple effect occurs and things fall into place in your work, home life and health,” says Stacy Fowler, a Denver-based personal trainer and life coach.

The goal doesn’t even have to be an organized race. Maybe it’s a mission to fit into that bikini by the annual beach vacation or that old pair of jeans buried in your closet. Whatever it is is, define it, write it down and revisit it daily.

Make sure it’s realistic and you can actually adapt your life around meeting the goal, says Philip Haberstro, executive director of the National Association for Health and Fitness in Buffalo, N.Y. Otherwise you’re setting yourself up for failure. Bowling started with a mini triathlon in 2006 (250 yard swim, 10 mile bike ride and 3.5 mile run). This year she completed Ironman Wisconsin (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run).

3. Schedule a regular workout time

Some of the most committed exercisers do it every day before the sun comes up or late at night when the kids are in bed. Sit down with your weekly schedule and try to build in an hour each day to be good to your body.

Tamira Cole, 24, a graduate student in Clarksville,Tenn., was motivated to exercise regularly by the energy boost it brought to her day. “It’s easy to stay in bed. But you have to set an alarm and take the extra initiative,” she says. “Then you’ll find you have more energy and can be more efficient throughout the day.”

If you convince yourself you’ll fit in a workout some time after that last meeting, once the kids go down for a nap or when your spouse arrives home on time, failure is certain. Chances are a last-minute invitation will come along; weather will foil a bike ride; or the kids won’t nap. Write your workout on your calendar, set up daycare, and rearrange things around this one hour as if were any other important appointment you have to keep. Or use technology like daily e-mail reminders, workout journaling websites or iPhone applications to keep you on task, says Haberstro.

4. Think fun and variety

By nature, humans need change and variety to stay motivated. We also need to have fun — even while we’re working hard. Do both!

Whether it’s a toning and sculpting class that changes choreography every week or a trail run that changes scenery every season, design your exercise routine around a variety of exercise methods. Make sure you include activities you truly enjoy and look forward to doing. Think movement that's more like recreation and makes you forget you're working out — like dancing, hula hooping or playing sports with family and friends.

Listen to your inner voice when choosing the best workout for you, says Fowler. Cole found a hip-hop class that satisfied her passion for dance. “I had more energy from dancing than I did from running,” she says.

Workout variety also challenges your body in unique ways, which may introduce you to new muscle groups you didn’t even know you had. Consider disciplines that give you more bang for your buck, suggests Haberstro. Ta’i chi and yoga, for example, serve dual purposes as mental therapy and physical activity. Or try a workout DVD to help you shake up your routine.)

5. Reach out to others for support

In America, some tend to have trouble asking for help, says Bowling. Yet in order to stick to a fitness program, we need buy-in and encouragement from other people.

“Exercising is built into our family life," Bowling adds. “We view it as a necessity. Sometimes it takes the place of watching TV together.”

For others, it’s finding a friend with a shared zest for running, and planning scheduled workouts together. It’s easy to hit the snooze button when it’s just you, but much harder to leave a friend waiting at the track.

Consider joining a social networking site or online community with fitness trainers and nutrition experts — and support from other people trying to lose weight and maintain healthy eating and exercise routines. People who get this kind of online support are proven to lose three times more weight than people going it alone.

Lobbying your workplace to offer on-site fitness, yoga or Pilates classes will also support your mission for a healthy lifestyle, Haberstro points out.

So start thinking of yourself as an athlete, and not a spectator. Set a goal, enlist a friend, mark it on your calendar and have some fun. You’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of better health, more happiness, and more energy for everything else in your life.

exercise motivation

Source: http://life.gaiam.com/article/5-ways-stay-motivated-exercise-regularly

10 Ways to Boost Your Exercise Motivation

You know exercise is good for you. Doing it, though, is another thing.

To stick with an exercise routine, you need to get out there when that little voice inside you says, "I'll do that tomorrow. Or the day after -- maybe."

Motivation does that, and it's not about just powering through.

1. Lighten Up Your Goals

Your fitness goal may be too big for you right now, especially if you're new to exercise.

Beginners "want to go for maximal goals, but they tend to get overwhelmed," says Gerald Endress, exercise physiologist at Duke Center for Living in North Carolina.

So don’t start off trying to work out an hour every day. Instead, set more reasonable, achievable goals, like exercising 20 to 30 minutes two or three times a week.

2. Track Your Progress

Chart your workouts, whether you do it online or in an old-school fitness journal. Seeing improvements, whether running faster, doing more reps, or working out more often, makes you want to keep going.

3. Delete Guilt

Get real. You're going to miss a day or two. If you accept that there will be some side steps on your fitness journey, you’ll be better prepared mentally to deal with setbacks, Endress says.

Don’t let a misstep be an excuse for giving up.

4. Focus Only On Yourself

There will always be someone fitter, faster, or more flexible than you.

Don’t compare yourself to them, Endress says. Forget about them. Do not let them deter you from your goal. Your workout time is for you, and about you.

5. Get a Cheering Squad

Find people -- friends, family, co-workers, neighbors -- who will encourage you to stay on track. Ask them to do exactly that.

"The person should be in support, but not say, 'Why can’t you? It’s so easy,'" says Carla Sottovia of Cooper Aerobics in Dallas. If helpful reassurance turns into criticism, gently remind your pal that you don’t need nagging.

6. Find the Fun in It

If you can't get motivated, maybe you're doing the wrong activity. Or you used to like it, and now it's gotten stale. Pick activities you like the most, and they become something to look forward to. Remember, exercise does not have to happen in a gym. Maybe you'd rather go hiking or horseback riding, do a charity run or walk, or dance.

7. Break It Up

Talk yourself into exercising for a few minutes. You may want to keep going. If not, you can do a couple more mini-sessions during the day, instead of one long workout.

8. Make It Convenient

When you're busy, don't spend 30 minutes driving to a gym. Use online exercise videos instead. If you're too tired to work out at the end of the day, set your alarm a little earlier and exercise in the morning.

9. Forget the Past

So maybe you weren’t the most athletic kid in high school and were the last chosen for class games. That was years ago. Your goal now is not to win a letter jacket or make the cheerleading squad. You want to exercise to stay healthy and enjoy your life.

10. Reward Yourself

Treat yourself for working out.

Choose rewards like a new outfit, a massage, new tunes, a ball game -- whatever you enjoy.

exercise motivation

Source: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercise-motivation

Trick Yourself into Finding Motivation to Exercise - By Using Psychology

Cardio Exercise Benefits

If you want exercise that improves your life, look no further than cardio. This type of exercise creates a host of benefits for you, inside and out. Over time, you will see gains in not just your physical health, but your mental health as well.

Long Runs for Long Gains

The benefits of cardio exercise are almost too many to name. According to Dr. Michael Olpin of Weber State University, cardio produces benefits for your mind, body and heart. A walk or a run improves your concentration and mood, reducing tension and releasing endorphins, your brain's "feel good" hormones. This type of exercise also reduces your appetite and helps your body use fat for energy, which leads to weight loss over time. Cardio enhances your heart health by decreasing blood pressure and strengthening your heart, leading to a reduced risk of heart issues in the future. When doing cardio, shoot for either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

cardio exercise

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/76314-cardio-exercise-benefits/

4 Fat-blasting Cardio Workouts

Cardio doesn't have to be a snooze fest. Crank up the intensity and revitalize your training with these fun workouts.

When someone mentions cardio, you may think "necessary evil," but take a step back and withhold judgment for just a moment. As reluctant as you might be to hop on that treadmill—worried it'll be boring or that it'll zap your gains—give cardio a chance. When properly paired with weight training, a good cardio plan will lead you to an ideal world of fat loss and help you carve a great, shapely figure—which, of course, includes great glutes.

The trick is figuring out which movements will put you on the fast path to meeting your goals. Hint: You can kiss mind-numbingly slow walks on the treadmill goodbye. I've found four effective movements that will work wonders for your cardio routine. They're my favorites because they pump some much-needed variety into your workout plan and produce results you'll love.


The stairmaster is my first and favorite cardio choice for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it targets your glutes and thighs and it's guaranteed to make you sweat. Think about it: When's the last time you saw somebody not covered in sweat after ten minutes of climbing?

The stairmaster's also great for fat loss. In fact, if you get into a really aggressive mindset, you can almost feel the fat melting off you. The key is intensity. Don't treat your time on the stepper as you would a typical jaunt on the treadmill or stroll in the park. Crank up the intensity a bit, and get to work.

I usually do 20-30 minutes of stairmaster two to three times per week. I love how versatile it is. You can do both high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and low-intensity steady-state cardio (LISS). Both styles deliver great results.

One effective method is to alternate styles throughout the week so your glutes and thighs—as well as the rest of your body—get the best of both worlds. Be prepared to be challenged, no matter which version you pick. Always push your limits. During my LISS cardio, I also like to incorporate glute kickbacks to really target my rear. It's a superb way to bring out your bum during your cardio routine. You'll definitely be pleased with the results.


In my experience, plyometrics are on the opposite end of the spectrum from your standard, bored-to-tears cardio workout. Plyometrics are challenging: They get your heart pumping and require a go-getter's mentality.

Plyometrics are also easily adaptable. If you're new to the movements, you can get away with fairly basic body-weight-only exercises like jumping jacks. They're convenient and portable, so you have no excuses. Quick: Dive into one of my favorite plyometric exercises—the "Jumping Jack Attack!"

It's like my twist on Tabata—you do as many jumping jacks as you can in 20 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Here's the kicker: When you repeat the process, increase the time to 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds. Then move on to 40 seconds. Repeat this cycle three times for a quick and effective cardio workout!


This may not be a glamorous choice, but running outdoors has always been a favorite of mine—even if I do occasionally have to hop on the treadmill during the winter months. Running is obviously a key cardiovascular exercise, but I've always found it to be a great stress reliever, too. If you lead a busy lifestyle, a good run may be exactly what you need to relax. Put your headphones in, throw on some music, and start running toward your own personal Zen zone. Before you know it, you'll have hit the reset button on your stress levels, leaving you recharged and back on track.

Running's also a great tool for fat burning, especially when utilized with these other movements. When I'm on the treadmill, I set it to a high incline and do 15-second sprints with 45 seconds of rest for 12 rounds. This is a surefire way to elevate your heart rate and speed up the fat-loss process.


For added variety, I like to throw a jump rope into my workout. Sometimes I'll even make it a stand-alone workout. It's great if you're pressed on time and need to work up a sweat quickly. You can use a variety of speeds, frequencies, and rest periods to put together a unique program each time. Plus, it's convenient and can be done just about anywhere—all you need is a rope.

When I incorporate my jump rope cardio session into my workout routine, I like to jump for a prescribed number of jumps or amount of time between exercises. I do 50-100 jumps or jump for 30-60 seconds between exercises. It's a fantastic way to keep my heart rate up while I'm working out. An increased heart rate speeds up fat loss, keeps things interesting, and gives you one heck of a workout in the process.

cardio workout

Source: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/4-fat-blasting-cardio-workouts.html

30-Minute Cardio Exercise

My Five Basic Diet Tips! | A Model Recommends

Dumbbell Workout Program - The Fast Way To Transform Your Body

My answer to the burning question on many men's and women's minds is... a dumbbell workout program!

So, what's the question? "What do I do when I want to transform my body fast?"

It's no secret, men and women all over the world exercise because they want to CHANGE the way they look. One day, they take a good, hard look at themselves in the mirror, and don't like the person staring back at them. And, not only do they want to change their appearance, but they want to change it fast!

That's when they ask, "What do I do when I want to transform my body fast?" And that's when I answer, "A dumbbell workout program. "Then they look at me funny! I'm about to explain why I believe a dumbbell workout program is best for body transformation. And by the time you finish reading this, I think you'll agree.

But, before I tell you why I believe a proper dumbbell workout program is the best workout program to change the way your body looks, I want to clarify something.

"Fast" is a relative term.

You see, you've spent months (if not years) getting your body to look the way it does. That lack of muscle tone and flab hanging around your middle didn't appear overnight. Making a drastic change in the way you look does take time. There is no miracle workout (or diet) that changes you overnight. But, there are some methods faster than others.

Here are the top 3 reasons a dumbbell workout program is excellent for fast body transformation.

-A Dumbbell Workout Program Is Accessible

Dumbbells are a popular piece of exercise equipment. Most gyms have a wide selection of dumbbells in weights ranging from extremely light to super heavy. Plus, most people have a set of dumbbell they can use in their house, or can easily and cheaply get a pair. There are very few legitimate excuses for not being able to find a pair of dumbbells for your workout. As we all know, a workout you actually DO is more effective than one you don't!

- A Dumbbell Workout Program BUILDS A Muscular Body

When people want to change the way they look, most immediately think "cardio". Their first mistake is thinking they'll look great by ONLY losing weight (becoming smaller). Their second mistake is thinking cardio is the best way to transform their body. The fact is, most people need to simultaneously BUILD a muscular body and lose fat. Doing both is the fastest way to total body transformation, and a proper dumbbell workout program builds muscles in all the right places.

-A Dumbbell Workout Program Burns Fat

Stripping of the fat covering your best, muscular body is essential for a noticeable change in your body. Rhythmic dumbbell exercise like swings and snatches simultaneously build muscle, improve heart and lung power and burn off fat. Plus, they create so much metabolic disturbance your body keeps burning fat long after the workout is over. And longer fat burning means more fat GONE!

But performing a workout program on a consistent basis, building muscle and burning fat are not the most important reasons a dumbbell workout program is superior for total body transformation. After all, you could say that about any type of resistance and cardio training program.

Here are the top 5 reasons a dumbbell workout program is superior for total body transformation...

- Dumbbell training takes advantage of the "bilateral deficit" where you can lift more weight with one limb because your body recruits more muscles. And more weight lifted and more muscles used means bigger, stronger muscles.

- Unilateral training, where you first do the repetitions with one limb and then the other, doubles the length of each set. This means you expend more energy and burn more fat.

- Every dumbbell exercise recruits the core muscles to stabilize the body and allow the limbs to exert force. This means EVERY exercise in the dumbbell workout program is a six-pack abdominal exercise.

- A properly structured dumbbell workout program is a simultaneous muscle building and cardiorespiratory endurance workout. You can get a great full body workout in less time.

- A dumbbell workout program not only helps you achieve your appearance goals as fast as possible, but improves performance as well. So, you'll not only look great, but you'll develop the physical abilities necessary to meet the challenges of work, sport and life with excellence.

So, you want to change the way your body looks as fast as possible? Do a dumbbell workout program!

But don't get mislead into performing a bodybuilding type dumbbell workout program where you use light dumbbells to target small muscle groups. Do a full body dumbbell workout program that SIMULTANEOUSLY builds more, stronger muscle, burns more fat, strengthens your abdominal muscles, builds your heart and lung power and prepares you for life's challenges. You'll start seeing and feeling positive changes in your body you can use before you know it!

dumbbell workout

Source: http://EzineArticles.com/851688