Tag Archives: Physical exercise

Goodbye love handles. Hello Sexy Abs!

Are you sick of muffin tops and love handles, or are you comfortable with the roll of flab that pops over the waistband of your jeans and ruins the sleek line of fitness clothes, clingy sweaters, and tailored shirts.

A lot of people think that they can get rid of this annoying bump with daily sit ups. While crunches do tone muscles this exercise alone will not get rid of love handles. Do you know why? Well it’s because love handles aren’t muscle. They’re fat, and to burn fat you need a healthy diet and a rigorous cardiovascular program.
A good overall plan for 30 to 45 minutes of cardio three to four times a week, strength training (including the exercises below) two to three times a week, and a day of rest every week so your body can rebuild muscle. Spice up your workouts with a variety of cardio approaches will be the most effective — don’t just stick to only the elliptical or just a few spinning classes. Getting stuck in a cardio routine can lead to a plateau. Instead, you want to keep challenging different muscle groups. My personal favorite high-intensity interval training to burn fat is TurboFire. You get results quicker instead of working at the same steady pace throughout your workout.
Your initial goals will be weight loss and trimming down the fat. Once you’ve done that — or at least made significant headway — you can start to tone the muscles underneath your love handles. As you burn fat and increase your metabolism through building muscle, that extra padding will eventually go away.

Ab Workout: Kiss Love Handles Goodbye

Make these five exercises part of your plan to tone waist and hips:
1. Bicycle Crunches: “This exercise will work your internal and external obliques as well as the rectus abdominis [the largest ab muscle],” Keigher says.
Lie on your back, knees bent.
Place hands behind your head without interlacing your fingers. Lift your head slightly.
Twist so that your left elbow goes toward your right knee while you extend your left leg.
Pull your leg back in and extend the other leg, twisting so that your right elbow goes toward your left knee.
Build up to 3 sets of 25 reps each.

2. Standing Trunk Twists
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
Keep hips and legs facing forward as you twist to the right, extending your left arm out (like a punch) to the right.
Twist in the opposite direction (left), extending your right arm out in a punch to the left.
Aim for 100 repetitions.

3. Lying Leg Twist
Lie on your back with your arms stretched out to the sides, hands flat on your mat.
Lift legs and bend knees so that your calves are parallel to the floor and your thighs form a 90-degree angle with your torso.
Lower both legs together to one side so that your outer right thigh touches the ground on the right side, maintaining the 90-degree angle.
Return them to center and then lower to the other side so that your outer left thigh touches the ground.
Build up to 3 sets of 25 reps each.

4. Side Planks: “This exercise strengthens your core, in the front and the back,” Nasser explains.
Lie down on your right side, leaning on your elbow.
Extend your legs out straight, with your feet stacked. The edge of your right foot should be on the floor.
Use your core to hold your body up in a straight line (you can modify it by putting your right knee down on the floor if you need support). Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, or longer if you can.
Lower yourself fully to the floor and switch sides.
For added challenge, lift the top leg and hold it up so that it is not touching the bottom leg.
Holding each side for about 30 seconds, do four or five reps, and increase as you get stronger.

5. Seated Russian Twists
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat.
Hold your arms out in front of you, hands pressed together.
Lean back about 45 degrees. With a slow, controlled movement, twist to your left side. Return to center, and twist to your right. That’s one rep.
One full rep should take about 20 seconds. Take a breath and repeat. Start with four to five reps, adding more reps as you get stronger.
For an added challenge, lift your feet off the floor as you do this exercise.
If you eat a healthy, low fat diet and burn more calories than you take in, and enjoy a good mix of cardio and ab workout time, you’ll watch your love handles start to melt away within a few weeks.

Resource: Healthy living from everyday health.

Sleep: How much to you need?

sleep debt

sleep debt (Photo credit: appratt)

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...

Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See Wikipedia:Sleep deprivation). Model: Mikael Häggström. To discuss image, please see Template talk:Häggström diagrams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love to sleep and it is funny to see how much less sleep I need in my 30’s to feel rested.  When I was in my 20’s I felt like I needed so much more, but I think it was not the same quality of sleep that I get now, since I am not getting up several times a night with kids.  This made me wonder more about what the research actually says.  I found out that there is “no magic number” for the amount of time we need to sleep. However, there are two different factors that researchers are learning about: a person’s basal sleep need – the amount of sleep our bodies need on a regular basis for optimal performance – and sleep debt, the accumulated sleep that is lost to poor sleep habits, sickness, awakenings due to environmental factors or other causes.

Sleep Debt:

The amount of sleep a person needs also increases if he or she has been deprived of sleep in previous days. Getting too little sleep creates a “sleep debt,” which is much like being overdrawn at a bank. Eventually, your body will demand that the debt be repaid. We don’t seem to adapt to getting less sleep than we need, while we may get used to a sleep-depriving schedule, our judgment, reaction time, and other functions are still impaired.

Consequences of Too Little Sleep

  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • A weakening of your immune system, increasing your chance of becoming sick
  • Increase in perception of pain

If you are having trouble getting a good night’s sleep then check out these tips:

  • Establish consistent sleep and wake times, even on weekends
  • Start a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music – begin an hour or more before the time you expect to fall asleep
  • Make sure your room is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool
  • Get a good, comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex (keep “sleep stealers” out of the bedroom – avoid watching TV, using a computer or reading in bed)
  • Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime
  • Exercise regularly during the day or at least a few hours before bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol products close to bedtime and give up smoking

Newborns need 12-18 hours of sleep and this decreases with age.  Ultimately, the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night.


Do you want smokin’ HOT abs?

Abdominal Crunch with Oblique Twist 1

Abdominal Crunch with Oblique Twist 1 (Photo credit: Scott & White Healthcare)

Muscles of the trunk

Muscles of the trunk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The world seems to have an endless array of workout equipment to get smokin’ hot abs, but most people still don’t do enough activities each day to actually get the results they want. Back & abdominal muscles are referred to as your core muscle group.  This is an area that will weaken as we age if they are not targeted routinely with exercise.

What is a strong core really good for?

  • A strong core reduces back pain
  • A strong core improves athletic performance
  • A strong core improves postural imbalances
  • Core muscles add strength and stability to the spine, arms and legs.

The muscles of the core run the length of the trunk and torso.

The list below names the most common and generally accepted group of core muscles.

It is hard to target the core muscle group during regular daily activities.  You need to pay specific attention to them with targeted exercises. Exercises that Build Core Strength The most effective core strengthening exercises are when the torso works as a solid unit & the front & back muscles contract at the same time, multi joint movements are performed & the spine is stabilized. Abdominal bracing is an important basic technique used during core exercise training. To correctly brace, you should attempt to pull your navel back in toward your spine or pretend that someone is about to drop a heavy weight on her abdomen and you need to tighten up. This action primarily recruits transverse abdominus. You should be able to breathe evenly while bracing and no hold your breath. Some of the best core exercises are simple bodyweight exercises. What Are the Best Core Exercises?

  1. Bicycle Crunch is the #1 ab exercise if done right.
  2. Ab Crunch on an exercise ball.  Dust off that exercise ball and put it to work.
  3. Single leg bridge exercise. The best unknown exercise for the core.
  4. Vertical leg crunch. Killer!
  5. Long arm crunch. This will get amazing results and I LOVE it!
  6. Reverse crunch. Keep torso steady and lift up the feet.
  7. Plank (Hover)
  8. Side plank. Add extra oomph by crunching your top leg up in this position.
  9. Basic crunch
  10. Crossover crunch
  11. Seated oblique twists on a medicine ball
  12. Oblique Crunch
  13. Plank on a balance ball
  14. Alternating superman
  15. V-Sit exercise
  16. The basic push-up. You heard me right. The push up is great for abs.
  17. Hip lift
  18. Back bridge

Perform several (3-5) abdominal exercises 3-5 times a week. Start with exercises and repetitions that are comfortable for your fitness level and as you improve increase the number of repetitions. You do not need to do all the exercises; simply select those that work well for you and vary your routine over the months.  To get an extra bang for your buck add a form of resistance to your workout. This can be done by using resistance bands or adding a weight to your moves. For example, place a light weight on your upper abdomen, creating some resistance. Another option is wrapping a resistance band around your feet and holding the handles while you perform your exercises.

Fitness tips to get the MOST out of your workouts

weight training

weight training (Photo credit: midwestnerd)

English: Exercise work zones (Fox and Haskell ...

English: Exercise work zones (Fox and Haskell formula between 20 and 70-year-old): red zone (VO2Max), anaerobic, aerobic, weight control and warming up. Français : Zones d’exercice de travail (selon la formule de Fox et Haskell entre 20 ans et 70 ans) : zone rouge (VO2Max), anaérobie, aérobie, perte de poids et échauffement. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1.     Get comfortable. Make sure that you have the right clothing and shoes to perform your exercise routine.

2.     Buy a heart rate monitor with a calorie counter to help motivate you and keep your heart rate at 80-85% of your maximum heart rate while working out.

3.     Set goals so that you can measure achievement and make a contract with yourself that is posted someplace you see daily. This will serve as a reminder to keep you on track.

4.     Schedule your daily workouts and stick to it.  This is non-negotiable! If you are asked to do something at your scheduled workout time, say, “Thanks for thinking of me, but I already have something scheduled then. Can we do it another time?” If there is no getting out of it, then find another time that day to workout.  Morning workouts are the easiest to stick to and make sure they are at least 30 minutes long.

5.     Have a support system of like-minded people that will motivate and encourage you. That’s why my challenge groups have been so successful.

6.     Mix up cardio and resistance training

7.     Ramp up the music. You will move faster and burn more calories.

8.     Make sure you are well hydrated before working out so you don’t get a muscle cramp.  If you don’t like to drink water before your workout make sure you get at least 80 ounces through the day.

9.     Eat a mix of protein and carbs for energy and record your nutritional intake in a log. I love myfitnesspal.com.

10.    Exercise needs to be a daily habit. No excuses.  Vary your workouts to keep your body guessing and keep your mind engaged. Find workouts that are fun for you to do and log them. Beachbody has a great system to keep track of these.

11.    Have some caffeine 40-45 minutes before working out.  I like energy and endurance because there is less than 200mg of caffeine in it. This can help stabilize your blood sugar, mobilize fat stores and heat up your metabolism.

12.    Find a way to reward yourself when you reach a goal. But, skip unhealthy rewards that may get you off track, such as junk food.

For more helpful information, tools, programs or motivation check out http://www.homefitnessjunky.com or Facebook me at http://www.facebook.com/homefitnessjunky

Don’t let summer binging wreck your hard work!

By: portions why Jillian Michaels.

Don’t let summer get togethers and picnics destroy your new diet and fitness goals. Here are a some tips to help keep you on track and you’ll feel better, too!

It’s Memorial Day weekend and summer is kicking off, even though we had snow in my neck of the woods yesterday. That means, summer foods, drinks, outfits – and challenges. Summer can throw people off their game plan because it seems fun to join in with the crowd, but it doesn’t have to.

Alright, so let’s break down the biggest issue — food. I’m not going to call names, but some of you are planning on hitting a barbecue on the weekends. Am I right? I can envision the usual spread. Burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, corn on the cob, potato salad, chips, cookies, chips, snack foods — the whole nine yards. Anyone thinking they’ll have a run in with an ice cream cone, icy, or a fruity, syrupy frozen drink too? Yeah, I thought so.

Let’s keep it simple. You can’t expect the world to be on the same page as you when it comes to your nutrition plan and goals. You also can’t expect to find a bounty of healthy, organic, and nutrient-packed foods at your friend’s cookout, your neighborhood block party, or along the beach boardwalk. You will need to plan what you’ll eat or what you’ll bring, and how you’ll respond to tempting situations before you face them.

You can bring healthy dishes to the cook out, snacks in your cooler for the beach and you can make smart decisions to skip the mayo-heavy potato salad. Preparation is the only way to know you’ll stay in control and won’t undo the good work you’ve started. Got it? It’s been said that “Discipline is about choosing between what you want now and what you want most!” This weekend, it’s all on you. What kind of summer will you have? One of regret and disappointment in yourself — or one that keeps you moving you towards your ultimate healthy goals? I know all of my rockstars will make the right decisions.

What fun summer plans do you have lined up? What’s your strategy to have a blast while staying on-track? Here are a few summery dishes to keep in mind this weekend.

5 Ways Hydrating Can Keep You from Hurting

By: Howard Shapiro


You’re all set for your 3:00 workout. Pre-workout snack? Check. Exercise clothes? Check. But just when you thought it was safe to Push Play on your P90X® DVD, you realize there’s one important thing missing: your water bottle!

Water Bottles and Dumbbells

That little 12-ounce bottle is truly a fitness enthusiast’s best friend. After all, adequate fluid intake during a workout is essential for comfort, performance, and safety. And the longer and more intensely you exercise, the more important it is to drink the right kind of fluids.

Here are 5 important things to know about hydration and exercise:

  1. Woman with Sports Bottle Water works wonders. Did you know that in 1 hour of exercise, your body can lose a quart or more of water? (If you did, give yourself a big pat on the back.) It’s a fact: Water helps replenish your body because of the amount you sweat during a typical workout.

    Drinking water throughout your workout has a variety of other benefits too. Your muscles can start to cramp if you don’t drink enough. This is because water aids in the removal of lactic acid, which is the primary cause of muscle soreness.

    It also helps prevent the dreaded “D” word: dehydration.

    Becoming dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic performance, slowing you down and making you feel sluggish. But in extreme cases, it can also cause dizziness, heatstroke, or even death. Last time I checked, none of these seemed like appealing options.

    Want to make a preemptive strike against dehydration? Don’t wait until you begin your workout to get water into your system. So when should you start, you ask? Great question.

  2. Man Drinking Bottled WaterDrink water before, during, and after your workout. Many people tend to forget about drinking before exercise, which can be another major reason for dehydration. None of the water you drink when you start working out makes it into your system quickly enough to help your body. This is why you need to drink about 15 to 20 ounces 2 to 3 hours before you work out in order to hydrate properly. (Sorry, this doesn’t include alcoholic beverages.)

    It’s also vital to stay hydrated while you exercise. Remember to drink 8 to 10 ounces of water approximately every 10 to 15 minutes while you work out, not just when you’re thirsty. And once you finish working out? Since your body needs to replenish the electrolytes it lost during exercise, a good sports drink will do the trick quite nicely.

  3. The skinny on sports drinks. Sports drinks are perfect for athletes, or those exercising at a high intensity for 60 minutes or more. These drinks contain fluids that supply the needed calories required for continuous performance.

    Be careful though, as most of these drinks add extra calories from sugar, which can wind up hurting your diet if you drink too much. How’s that for a catch-22?

    The bottom line is there’s nothing wrong with sipping on a sports drink throughout your workout, and afterwards to replace essential electrolytes.

  4. Woman Drinking Water After WorkoutKnow the signs of dehydration. The first sign is thirst. I know this sounds painfully obvious, but it’s true. When the body is dehydrated, it sends a message to the brain that fluids are needed.

    The next sign is the ever-annoying muscle cramp. When you sweat, you lose sodium, which causes cramping of large muscle groups. People sweat at different rates, and those who sweat more are at greater risk for cramping.

    Next, it’s time for a little bathroom break. No, not now—during your workout.

    Basically, if your urine is the color of lemonade, you’re doing well. If by chance it’s leaning toward the color of apple juice, you need to reach for another glass of fluid. Other symptoms of dehydration include headache, poor concentration, fatigue, constipation, disorientation, and light-headedness.

  5. Woman with Bottled Water During WorkoutTips for “wetting” your appetite. Here are a few helpful reminders to ensure that you don’t find yourself on the verge of dehydration:
    • Carry a bottle. Many people find it useful to fill up a big plastic drinking bottle. If you carry it with you all day, you won’t find yourself without water when it’s time to work out. Plus everyone else is doing it, so you’ll look really trendy!
    • Set a reminder. Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour, or set a periodic computer reminder so you don’t forget to drink.
    • Track your progress. Keep a log of how much you drink. This will help increase awareness and help ensure you’re staying on track.
    • Little by little. Whatever you drink during your workout, take it in frequent small amounts. This proven strategy guarantees that your body will absorb fluids more rapidly and effectively—leaving you energized and well hydrated.

In truth, the dangers of dehydration are real and often overlooked. However, staying hydrated before, during, and after exercise will keep your body’s engine running smoothly. You’ll be protecting your internal organs and preventing your muscles from getting damaged. I’ll drink to that!

Don’t Stop Believin’

By Denis Faye

Hold on to that sweaty feeling! We know it’s hard! We know it’s easier just to sit on the couch. And sometimes, we know you’re just not getting the results as fast as you’d like. But things are happening, honestly! Muscles are toning, fat’s melting. You just need to keep at it.

Here are five quick tips to help you do just that.

    1. Enlist a buddy. Misery loves company, right? Grab your wife, husband, sister, brother, mailman, whoever—anyone who can join you on your quest to get fit. If there’s no one in the immediate vicinity, log on to the Beachbody Message Boards. Tons of folks log on every day looking for a workout buddy. Once you find that pal, you can use tools like WOWY® to keep each other honest.


    1. Pick the right program. Far too many people pick the program they think they need without accounting for their personal tastes. Into pumping iron? Then don’t do Turbo Jam or Yoga Booty Ballet. Instead, hit it hard with Power 90® or P90X®! Have a look around, talk to a few people, and pick something that looks fun. That’ll keep you motivated. Even if another program might fit your goals a little better, there’s no point if you’re not going to finish.


    1. Baby steps. About three days into P90X, another 87 workouts seems like a lot. Try to get out of this mind-set. Think weekly. If you get to Sunday, to your rest day, you’ll have accomplished a week of hard work. You can assess the next week later.


    1. Along these same lines, consider a lesser goal. Fifty pounds in eight weeks is rather daunting. Start by losing ten pounds. Once you’re there, reassess and set another small goal.


    1. WOWY®. This is our free online gym (stands for “Work Out With You”). It’s a feature that allows people to alert others as to what workout they’re doing, when they’re doing it, and how it’s going. Even if you don’t have a workout buddy (as suggested in the first tip), it’s still a great way to be held accountable and be inspired by any others on the same quest for fitness as you.


    1. Nude up. Okay, this one is a bit out there, but try to spend as much time with your clothes off as possible. If you still have a long way to go, it’ll serve as a reminder of the things you’re striving to change. If you’re well on your way, it’ll remind you of all you’ve accomplished, especially when you walk by a mirror and think, “Who’s that hottie?” Sometimes a little narcissism is a good thing. That said, you might want to strap a few of your bits down when actually working out.

The whole package!

Sailors work out to prepare for upcoming physi...

Sailors work out to prepare for upcoming physical fitness assessment. (Photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery)


I have met several people who want to change a part of their health and fitness, recently.  Many of these people have reached a point of desperation and want the quick fix weight loss pill.  Can I tell you that a quick fix does not exist?  You cannot drink just a protein shake, or just take a pill, starve yourself, or exercise non-stop and be truly fit.  It takes a decision to change your lifestyle, a plan on how you want to reach your goals, support from others to help you on your journey, healthy nutrition and a regular fitness program.  This is the total package that will help make lasting changes in your life.  You can do it and trust me, the results are worth it.  So, where are you on this journey? Have you decided to change a part of your life and need help figuring out what the next step is?  Reach out, there are people who are available and willing to give you some extra motivation to reach the goals you want.

You are NOT too busy or too tired!

English: At sea aboard USS Bataan (LHD 5) Sept...


There are 2 common excuses people use to not exercise.  They are: 1) I don’t have enough time and 2) I’m just too tired to do it.  Guess what, if you plan out your day and get your exercise done in the morning the rest of your day will be better.  I am not a morning person.  I HATE mornings and would treat myself to sleeping in past 9am most Saturday’s.  But, I have been able to successfully change my routine and make early morning (5am) exercise part of my day 6 days a week.  Surprisingly, I don’t miss sleeping in and find myself out of bed before 8 am on Saturday. 

Do you know what successful people have in common?  They tend to exercise before the go to work.  Exercise can help you think more clearly, become more productive and improve your energy.  Ahhhhh….did you catch that? You will have more energy if you exercise.  That leads me to excuse #2 “I’m too tired.”  That excuse doesn’t hold any water and is just plain bologna.  There’s a ton of research out there that supports the fact that exercise will improve your energy and fitness level, make you look younger, increase your self confidence level, a better sex life, longer life span, improve your overall quality of life, help you lose those extra pounds you’re concerned about and make you more productive.

How do you keep the motivation going?


English: YOKOSUKA, Japan (Jan. 31, 2011) Tony ...

Image via Wikipedia

You have decided to exercise and hit it at full speed, but now the enthusiasm is dwindling and now its work to keep your energy going. 

Let me start off by saying, “Don’t quit! You have made good choices and there are tricks to help.”

  1. Set realistic goals.  Don’t start a program when you’re new to fitness thinking that you’ll run a marathon in 3 months.
  2. Vary your workout program.  There are some workouts that have 15-20 min options (HIIT routines). These are short for days when it is hard to fit everything in.
  3. Visualize how you want to look when you have reached your goal.
  4. Schedule the workout.  Make this non-negotiable and stick to it.
  5. Find your “soul-mate” workout.  It’s one that you love and can fall back on when you don’t feel like doing anything.
  6. Allow yourself some rest breaks.  It really is ok to take one or two days off. This may actually refuel the engine and help you get back on track. The key is not going off the deep end nutritionally and getting back into the groove after your rest break.
  7. Find out why you’re not interested in working out.  Are you bored? Do you need some support or friends to work out with? Reach out to people who have the same goals and support each other.
  8. Limit distractions—do not work on your ipad while trying to do P90X.  You’ll lose focus and not give your best effort. Find a time of day when the kids aren’t running in and out of the room for things so that you can give your full attention to your workouts. This will help keep you focused and get you results.


If you need help with finding your “soul mate” workout or other tricks I’m here to help. Just send me a comment.

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