bookmark_borderMusic To Fuel Workouts

I’ve always believed in the power of music. Music is a very powerful tool that can change the state of our mind almost instantly. Think of the time when you heard an old song that would instantly bring you down memory lane. Or imagine a really dramatic scene in a movie like “Lord of the Rings” when Aragorn gives his amazing speech before his army goes into battle. Or imagine watching Rambo finally getting his revenge with the enemy – Now imagine those scenes without the background music – I guarantee you that it will not have the same power!

Listening to intense music before and during workouts can take your intensity level up a few notches and give you a much more productive and explosive workout. If you’ve even been to a Bodypump, Bodyjam, Body Combat or RPM class, notice how they use music to form the ‘structure’ of the class, and they also change the songs often so that you don’t get sick of it. So, are you convinced now?

Of course, it is essential that you listen to music that works for you. Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” WILL NOT help you curl that 40lb dumbbell!

To help you get an idea, some of the songs that work for me are the following:

  • Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
  • Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone (Top Gun soundtrack)
  • Bonnie Tyler – Holding out for a Hero (Short Circuit 2 soundtrack)
  • Aaliyah – Try Again (Romeo Must Die soundtrack)

You can easily carry your favourite songs with you with a portable MP3 player. And since you’ll be using it for your workout, you’ll want one that can be strapped firmly onto your arm with an armband (the ones that hang around your neck and swing all over can be hazardous when you’re working with weights & machines).

With this being said – I’m actually off right now to the MidValley shopping centre to get myself a suitable MP3 player right now . Stay tuned people!

bookmark_borderExercise Fun

  • Choose activities you enjoy. (example: swimming, walking, dancing or aerobics classes)
  • Exercise with a friend, it is always more fun to have an exercise buddy.
  • Vary the activities. Walk one day and swim the next, it will help eliminate the boredom.
  • Make regular exercise fun by listening to music or even singing out loud.

Exercise comes in many forms. Dancing is a wonderful way to exercise. Tangos, waltzes, and foxtrots are all good forms of exercise and will help burn calories.

Take your children for a walk through the zoo or learn to play tennis. Take swimming classes or just go shopping with a friend. These are all good forms of exercise and will help get you moving. Remember the best exercise is something that you will continue to do.

You don’t have to go to the gym and workout to get exercise. And don’t think of exercise as boring and inconvenient. Enjoy fun activities and reap the benefits of a regular exercise routine.

Close your eyes and picture yourself looking great. Just knowing that exercise makes you feel better physically, emotionally and mentally should help to keep you motivated.

Exercise usually has a perpetual position at the bottom of your to-do list. You know you should do it and you would be better off if you did it but some of us just hate to exercise.

Next time you find yourself in this position, turn things around and think of it as a fun way to look and feel healthier. Exercise fun is all a state of mind so smile, relax and reap the rewards.

bookmark_borderBetter Spring Break Body

Problem Areas Solved

To help fine-tune specific body parts, your workouts are going to have to be more frequent. The best way to get this done is to break your day into two halves. In the morning, perform a quick 15-20 minute workout involving weights done in a circuit. By circuit I mean doing one exercise after another without any rest. In the afternoon, get into classes such as kickboxing and spinning, which Campus Activities provide for all students.

Carbohydrates: Friend or Foe

Carbohydrates are not the enemy, but when you are looking to get leaner quickly,they can be. The best suggestions are that all your carbs should come from veggies such as broccoli, celery, spinach, lettuce, and cucumbers. Stay away from juices, candies, breads, and pastries.

Protein is your friend

Make sure every single time you are eating, you have protein on your plate. Protein can be egg whites, peanuts, chicken, fish, turkey, or low salt ham. Whenever you are eating, make sure that you have one of those things in your plate. Also make sure you are consuming five to six small meals as well.

Drinking

If you are not drinking, you are not losing. It is important that you are drinking all day long, and I do not mean liquor. You should be drinking water all the time. A good way to measure if you are is by looking at the color of your urine. If your urine is not crystal clear then get your Poland Spring on!Drinking water helps in shedding weight, which is why if you are not drinking, then you are not losing.

bookmark_borderSummer Ready Abs

“What do I need to do to get a six pack?”. I usually then reply by saying all you need to do is some cardio and probably change up your diet. Then they respond by saying “I do all those ab workouts why don’t I see a difference?” then I proceed to explain why they do not notice a change in their appearance.

No matter how many ab blasters or ab crunches you do, you will never see your abs unless you eliminate the abdominal fat covering them. Ab workouts are crucial to do, as a matter of fact I do them every day. Doing these abdominal workouts, strengthen and largen the abdominal muscles. Which is great if you have a low body fat percentage.

Now there are two things you must do to reduce body fat percentage. Cardio is the first part I am going to discuss. Doing cardio burns calories which leads to a lower body fat percentage. Take about 20 minutes at the end of your workout and dedicate it to cardio. You will notice some changes in your appearance if you consistently do cardio.

Okay so that was the first part, the second half has to do with diet. If you eat right people will see that you eat right. Get on a diet that limits you to a certain amount of calories per day.

So do some cardio, stick with a good diet, and throw in some ab workouts and you will be ready for the summer!

bookmark_borderExercises For Cellulite Reduction

Squats

  • Start with your legs a little wider than shoulder width apart. Keep your gaze forward, lift your shoulders up back and around and stick your chest out. Your abdominal muscles should be gently contracted into your straight spine.
  • Bend your knees and lower your body, as if sitting down in a chair on a slow count of four. Do not allow your knees to go past your toes. Keep your weight on your heels and stick your backside out.
  • Return to the starting position on a slow count of four.
    (variation: When you return to the starting position, slowly lift your leg straight in back of you. Lower the leg back down and when your foot hits the floor, immediately begin your squat again.)

Lunges

  • Take a large step back so that your feet are staggered. Plant your front foot and lift your back heel so that your weight is pressed into the ball of the back foot.
  • On a slow count of 4, gently let both knees bend, being careful not to let your front knee go past your toes.
  • On a slow count of 4, raise back up to the starting position and contract the muscles in your backside and hamstrings.

tip: Keep your torso straight up and down. Don’t pitch forward as you lunge.

Isometric Exercise For Cellulite

Isometric exercise means that the muscle contracts but doesn’t go through a range of motion.

Here’s how you can do an anti-cellulite Isometric exercise.

While standing, contract the areas of your body that have cellulite, namely your backside hips and thighs. You should have your pelvis shifted slightly forward with your abdominals tightened in towards your lower back. Hold in this position for 30 seconds while breathing through your nose. Next, shift your pelvis back, sticking your backside out and contract all of the above muscles and hold for 30 seconds while breathing through your nose.

Finally, bring your legs shoulders width apart and lower your body as if you’re about to sit down. Stay in this position and contract your muscles for 30 seconds while breathing through your nose.

bookmark_borderPutting Exercise In Perspective

I used to teach people to drive trucks. You know, the 18-wheelers. Stick a 53 foot trailer behind a Peterbilt, Kenworth, or Freightliner, and you have a vehicle nearly 70 feet long, 8 1/2 feet wide, 13′ 6″ high, and weighing anywhere from about 34,000 lbs to 84,000 lbs…or more if you’re pulling certain oversize loads.

Now, when you take someone off the street who has maybe never even touched a big truck before and put them behind the wheel for the first few times, THEY ARE SCARED! I have seen ex-cops and soldiers who have been in gunfights and battles quit because they were in fear of the pure mass and size of the truck. I knew an ex-bounty hunter who came through our school who was terrified of the truck.

Getting past that fear is often just a matter of putting things in perspective.

When Gina first got in the truck, she was one of those with no previous experience, and she was scared. Her background was wife, mother, and occasional Wal-Mart clerk.

On the first day with a student, I showed them around the truck without a trailer (bobtail) and gave them a little driving and shifting practice (how’s YOUR double clutching?) in a secluded training area. In fact, we had what we called the “shift track” where we could teach students to go through some of the 10 gears and to turn corners. The shift track was a little bit smaller than a football field, with stop signs at two opposing corners so that students could learn to start from a stop and take the truck around the corner. At the other two corners they could practice downshifting and making the turn on the move. If they seemed to be in control on the track, I took them to a nearby industrial park which had very wide corners and very little traffic and let them practice their skills.

On the second day with a student, I took them back to the shift track, only this time we got there AFTER I showed them how to safely couple to a trailer and did a “demo” drive around a few streets in the area. Then I put them in the driver’s seat, with that big ol’ trailer hanging behind them, and talked them around the track a few times.

Gina was up first.

As she pulled up to the first stop, I told her that I was going to talk her through a left turn (which is actually generally easier than the right turn). As she sat there, she looked at the turning area and shook her head emphatically, and said, “There is NO WAY this truck will fit into that space!”

I had her pull forward, and she was obviously distressed because she was SO CERTAIN that it was impossible to make that 70 foot vehicle negotiate that turn. However, as she followed my instructions while the truck moved forward at the idle, we went through the process of the turn from picking the starting point, bringing the trailer around, and closing out the turn.

Now, I won’t take you step by step through the rest of her training or even the rest of the day, but for a while, she shook her head at every turn, still finding it hard to believe that it was possible to put that big truck into such a small space.

That was the perspective she had based on the lack of experience she had with the process.

It seemed impossible.

A little over a week later, Gina had been driving a big truck all over the Dallas area, even taking it downtown, crossing the spot where President Kennedy had been shot, and had cruised the Interstate and several tricky little courses I liked to use. It was now graduation day, and Gina and I had just returned from her last ride around the area.

As we pulled through the gate, she asked, “Can we go over to the shift track for a second?”

I agreed, not knowing what was up.

Gina pulled the truck up to the first stop sign where I had showed her how to make a turn. She sat there for a moment, staring at the turn, and then she began to shake her head slowly, almost the same way she had that first day.

For a moment, I was afraid that Gina, who had definitely had a hard time in the training, had gone back to day one and was thinking that this was all just too much.

However, after a moment she turned to me, and in almost exactly the same tones she had used previously when she was convinced the turn was impossible, she said, “There is SO MUCH SPACE out there! That area is HUGE! I cannot believe it ever seemed so small!”

Gina was not the first to have those same reactions. I saw that many times. As a noncommissioned officer in the U. S. Army, I often had to show younger, less experienced soldiers things that they did not think would work, or that they would not be able to do. A few weeks later, they were usually showing other, newer soldiers the same things as if they had been doing them all their lives.

BACK TO THE SUBJECT OF EXERCISE AND FITNESS

Exercise is really just another set of skills used to achieve fitness. Like any skill, at first it seems difficult, perhaps even impossible to those who have not been doing it. Like any skill, the person learning has to start small and perhaps take baby steps…steps that might not look anything like what the pros are doing, and steps that will not immediately produce the results that we see in accomplished and experienced bodybuilders or other fitness professionals who have been at this for a while.

Like any other skill, progress will be based on the opportunity to practice, the willingness to commit to the program, and, in the case of exercise and fitness, the genetic makeup of the individual. Just like there are good musicians and great musicians or good truck drivers and great truck drivers, it will be a combination of these and other factors which will determine the ultimate outcome.

Not every exerciser, no matter how dedicated, will become an Arnold Schwarzenegger or Cory Everson, but every dedicated exerciser WILL experience the benefits of better health, reduced risk of many major and minor health conditions, and increased ability to enjoy life to the fullest if they DO commit themselves to a lifestyle of regular moderate exercise and healthy eating habits.

Nobody feels surprised when they start a new job and feel like a “newbie”. However, we all know that after a period of training, experience, and mistakes we will eventually reach a point where we look and feel like an old pro. Fitness is no exception.

Put exercise in perspective and begin the path to fitness and health today.

bookmark_borderWalking to Slimness

If you’re looking to lose weight then you’ll need a good surface to travel on. You’ll also need to have some reliable shoes, and a reasonable distance of walking area.

By taking on an exercise program for fitness, the pounds will melt away. Remember though people lose weight in different amounts, and at different places on their body. Check out these tips on how to walk for your exercise fitness routine.

  • Burn calories by slow walking. Walking slow for an exercise fitness plan causes your body to drag because of gravity. The dragging affect helps you lose weight.
  • After you lose, the desired weight that you want you can maintain it, or graduate to a fast high intensity walk. Muscle mass will take the place of the saggy skin through toning. You’ll begin to see the affects of what fitness through exercise can do.
  • By making yourself participate in an exercise fitness course daily, and drinking lots of water your kidneys will flush out any bacteria. Also the heart will pump at a more efficient rate.
  • Circulation to the lower leg extremities and feet with an exercise plan for fitness will improve. Whether you do a slow calorie burn walk, or one that has a quick upbeat walk. This benefit is really crucial especially for those with any disease that affects the feet.
  • Skin tone will benefit with weight loss through your fitness exercise course of attack for a healthy lifestyle.

Learning to stick with a routine is probably the hardest part. It takes a lot of commitment to learn a new lifestyle of fitness.

bookmark_borderGet Good Posture and a Six-Pack

The following exercises should be done a minimum of three times per week and although you will not see and feel significant results for approximately 6-8 weeks, you will start to feel the developing muscles encouraging you to sit and stand straighter, almost immediately.

  • Pelvic tilt – Lie on the floor with your knees bent. Your feet should be parallel and arms to the side. Tighten your lower abdominal muscles, pulling your navel and lower back towards the floor. You should do this without using your buttocks or leg muscles to help you. Do this five times, holding for five seconds each time.
  • Trunk Curls – Lie on your back on the floor, with knees bent. Place your hands lightly behind your head. Using your upper abdominal muscles, raise your trunk off the floor to about 20 degrees and hold for 5 seconds. Then lie down again slowly. Do not put any strain on the neck or lead with your head. Try to imagine touching the ceiling with your chest. Repeat five times.
  • Arm / Leg raises – Lie face-down on the floor, keeping your neck straight, with your legs extended and arms straight overhead. Then slowly raise your left arm and right leg about six inches off the ground. Hold for five seconds and lower. Repeat with the right arm and left leg. Repeat five times on each side.

bookmark_borderAbout Fitness Over 40

People who do a minimum amount of physical exercise and smoke or have high blood pressure have a lower death rate then people who do nothing. That’s right, as you get older, the less physical activity you do the greater your chances of having serious health issues and dying at a younger are. The more fit you are as you age the greater the benefit to your overall health and longevity.

Why is fitness when you are over 40 so important? Because research has shown that people who do not exercise are more at risk for heart disease. In fact, not exercising ranks right up there with smoking, high blood pressure and bad cholesterol as a major cause of heart disease. Going for a walk every day or even 3-4 times a week will significantly decrease your chances of heart disease. The important thing is that you get out and do some form of exercise. It doesn’t have to be a workout that lasts for hours either. Studies have shown how many exercise frequency is more important than how long you exercise.

As we age we begin to lose muscle mass, bone density, and strength. Exercise in general and resistance exercises, such as weight bearing exercise, in particular are great for slowing these loses.

Of particular importance is osteoporosis or loss of bone density, in women over the age of 40 because their estrogen levels are lower as they approach menopause. Although women are more susceptible to osteoporosis, men also need to be aware of its affects and take the proper preventative measures and nothing is better at preventing the loss of bone density than exercise.

So being fit and over 40 is like the fountain of youth. We all know that exercise is good for us, but the hard part for a lot of people is actually getting into that mindset and doing some sort of exercise program. We can come up with all the excuses in the world why not to exercise but the fact remains that following some sort of exercise program as we age can slow down that process and allow us to live longer and healthier lives. So join the fitness over 40 crowd and see how much younger you can feel.

bookmark_borderDifferent Exercise Routines For Men And Women

Although a few women can achieve the upper body strength of some of even the fittest men, the vast majority of men have a natural physical advantage in this area. This advantage is reinforced by male aesthetic values and many men will favor their upper body when it comes to putting together an exercise routine.

Women, by contrast, will focus their attention more on exercises aimed at the legs and buttocks, possibly in part out of a desire to look more attractive. In this case women again have an advantage as a woman’s pelvis is tilted at a slightly different angle from that of a man. This means, for example, that women can gain greater benefit from exercises such as squats by tilting their feet outward with their legs further apart, and do not need to squat as low.

Although women have additional layers of muscle in the stomach, on average, most women have less muscle mass than men and a greater percentage of body fat. This means that a well designed female exercise routine will focus less on bulking up and more on toning and achieving flexibility.

Men are also somewhat less flexible than women as a result of natural differences in their joints and also a difference in attitude. This difference in attitude often results in men tending to skimp on their warm-up routines, including essential stretching exercises.

Of course to some extent these differences are very much a matter of degree and some convergence is possible and both men and women can benefit by adapting some aspects of the routines of the opposite sex.

Women are more often open to trying out something new or different, such as yoga or pilates, which focus on an awareness of different parts of the body in order to maximize flexibility and raise overall fitness. Such practices focus very little on achieving strength, although increased strength often results a good yoga or pilates routine.

For example, a number of yoga routines focus on balance and balance is at its greatest when all the body’s muscles are supporting the joints and skeleton correctly and dynamically. This is both the cause and consequence of improved strength in the muscles that help achieve that balance.

Pilates, especially, is a coordinated system aimed at achieving better strength and posture and breathing by using one to assist the other. Once again, it concentrates more on controlling muscle groups rather than building them up.

While men will undoubtedly continue to focus their attention on upper body strength and women to concentrating on flexibility and toning in their legs, both can undoubtedly benefit from taking a look over the fence and seeing how the other half lives.