Friday, 27 February 2015

Metabolic Training: The Workout

Metabolic training is about getting the “biggest bang for your buck,” but is often misinterpreted as “work out until you puke.” The true definition of metabolic training is doing exercises that are geared toward improving the capacity of certain energy systems—in other words, almost anything! But metabolic training, in the traditional sense, is likened to interval training—bouts of harder work followed by important rest intervals. Metabolic training not only has the benefit of being fun and taking less time out of your day, but this type of training also increases one’s capacity for high-intensity exercise, offers a longer “after burn” (burn more calories AFTER your workout is finished), increases production of testosterone or growth hormone (helps maintain muscle mass while still burning calories), and enhances the ability to move more functionally.
So what should be one’s overall goal with metabolic training? Safely completing a large amount of work in a short amount of time.

The Workout
The exercises below use many muscle groups and can be very high intensity. To ensure safety, regressions are listed for each exercise. Be sure to respect the rest intervals so that the anaerobic energy systems are always challenged!
Warm-up: 30 seconds of each at an easy-to-moderate intensity:
-Body-weight Squats: Warm-up those hips by challenging your range of motion while squatting.
-Alternate Leg Runners Stretch With Opening: Open up your hip flexors and rotational muscles by placing both hands on the inside of your front leg in a deep lunge. Reach the outside hand toward the sky, trying to create as much distance from one hand to another, while continuing to hold the runner’s stretch.
-Arm Swings (Forward and Backward): Loosen up your shoulders for the pressing and pulling movements to come.
-Lateral Lunges: Begin in a wide stance with toes pointed forward. Place one hand directly on top of the other in front of your body to brace your core, and sink your hips side to side.
Workout: Perform each exercise for 30 seconds at the highest intensity you can safely maintain. Follow the exercise with a 30-second rest and then move onto the next movement. After your warm-up, the metabolic training workout will take 10 minutes. For more advanced levels this workout can be repeated twice after a five-minute rest break.
Squat Jump
Squat Jump
While maintaining perfect squat posture, explode off of the ground with both feet, making sure your knees are bent upon landing. (Regression: speed squats with no jump)
Kettlebell or Dumbbell Renegade Row
Kettlebell Renegade Row
Maintain a solid plank position (no saggy hips!) and create a wide base of support with your feet. Alternate rows from one side to another with minimal rotation. (Regression: perform a hand plank with arm and leg raises)
Lunge Switch Jumps
Lunge Switch Jumps
Lower down into a stable lunge with both knees bent to 90 degrees. Squeeze your glutes and explode off of the ground, landing in the opposite lunge position. Use your arms for added height and intensity. (Regression: alternating leg step-back lunges)
Kettlebell Single-arm Squat Push Press
Kettlebell Single-arm Squat Push Press
Begin with kettlebell in racked position. Sink your hips down and back and then stand with intensity while thrusting the kettlebell straight up to the ceiling. Repeat on the other side after 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest. (Regression: single-arm kettlebell or dumbbell press)
Kettlebell Hard Swings
Kettlebell Hard Swings
Select a challenging yet safe weight and initiate your swing with the hips. Brace the core and squeeze the glutes on the top of the swing and maintain a good hip hinge on the bottom. (Regression: dumbbell straight-leg deadlift)
Medicine Ball Wood Chops
Medicine Ball Wood Chops
While lowering down to your squat, lower the medicine ball to the outside on your left knee. As you extend at the knees and hips, drive the medicine ball up to the right, bracing the core and squeezing the glutes on top to avoid an arched back. After 30 seconds on this side, rest for 30 and repeat on the other side. (Regression: seated medicine ball twists)
Skater Leaps
Skater Leaps
Push laterally off of the left foot and land on the right with a soft knee bend. If possible touch the floor with your left hand. Instantly explode off of the right foot onto the left with an immediate knee bend, touching the floor with the right hand. (Regression: side-step touches)
Battling Ropes Side Slams
Battling Ropes Side Slams
Hold the battling ropes in an overhand grip, beginning on the left side of the body. Lift the ropes up and over an imaginary fence in front of you and slam them down on the right side of your body. Repeat in the other direction while maintaining a solid hip hinge.


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Blast fat with a Super Combo Fat Loss Workout

super-combo-fat-loss-workoutI love working out but sometimes I don’t have a lot of time. I don’t want to blow off my workout, but often I have less than 45 minutes to get in and out of the gym. So what’s a busy personal trainer to do? Instead of skipping my workout altogether, I perform a 30 minute intense workout using exercise combos.
It’s actually pretty simple: I flow seamlessly from one exercise to the next without resting or changing the weight.
Because I don’t take a rest between one move and the next, these combo’s deliver an awesome strength AND cardiovascular workout. They have a little high-intensity interval training component built right into them.
Not only do I get my workout done faster, but I also burn some major calories. And, I don’t just do this when I’m short on time. This workout can be a fully-functional 60 minute program just by increasing the weight, reps and sets.
I want to point out that I DO NOT use this workout to replace my regular strength training workouts. Since I don’t change the weight in the middle of a combo, I don’t hit some muscles as hard as I can. However, this super combo fat loss workout is so intense, I found it quickly leans me out.
I usually do one (1) super combo fat loss workout a week along with 3 weight training workouts and one day of interval cardio. Combine that with my 2 rest days, some good clean eating and I’ve got myself a recipe for amazing results.

Add this super combo fat loss workout to your weekly routine and shed some serious fat!

3 SETS  X  12-15 REPS
Dumbbell Squat to Lateral Raise
Stability Ball / Dumbbell Press to Oblique Core Roll
Dumbbell Bicep Curls to Overhead Press
Dumbbell Lunge to Back Row
Medicine Ball Lunge to Chop
Stability Ball/Front Raises to Overhead Tricep Press
Dumbbell Press-Dumbbell Fly Combo with Hip Bridges

Medicine Ball Super Crunch
Stability Ball Plank Roll Outs


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

3 Effective Belly Exercises For Women

In this article I want to share 3 highly effective belly exercises for women. These exercises can help you to strengthen and tone your stomach. If done while pursuing a healthy and sensible diet, these exercises can help you to flatten your abs.

Here are the exercises:
Flutter kicks
  This is an awesome lower belly exercise that can be quite intensive. I love flutter kicks as you can feel the effort in your abs very quickly. To do this exercise you need to first lie down on the floor with your body stretched out and your hands at your side. Raise both legs about 5 inches off the ground with your feet pointing away. Start moving your feet up and down very quickly in small motions no more than 4-5 inches in length. All the while, keep your lower back and upper body firmly on the floor. It won't take long until you feel your abs "screaming" for mercy. Try it. It's an awesome exercise.

Reverse crunches
I love reverse crunches because it's a highly effecive stomach exercise for women (and men too) and is much easier on the lower back than many other exercises. To do reverse crunches you need to lie on the floor with both knees bent. Lift both feet a few inches off the floor. By crunching your abs, bring both knees in the direction of your chest. Make sure to really crunch your stomach muscles at the end of the movement. Lift your butt off the floor a bit during the motion to give you an addition range of motion. On the return movement, make sure to not let your feet touch the floor and to not let your lower back rise from the ground.

The Plank
The plank is an awesome static abdominal workout that really strains the muscles. To do the plank, you need to go into a position that looks like that of a push up with one small difference: you shouldn't rest on your palms but on your forearms. Make sure your back and neck and head are straight and form one line. Keep your eyes firmly on the floor and hold this position for as long as you can. Make sure to be stable and not allow yourself to sway. Hold your abs in tightly and breathe normally. You'll find that the plan is a truly challenging exercise that can help you flatten your abs.

Monday, 23 February 2015

3 Keys To Build Your Lean, Fit And Sexy Body!

In order to build your lean, fit and sexy body requires the person to come full circle with a constructive plan related to his complete lifestyle. The plan should clearly lay out which exercises would be done on which days, what kind of diet would be consumed and so on. The advantages of building muscles fast include reduction of excess fat in the body, increase in bone density over time and good sound sleep.
That's means, to build your lean, fit and sexy body are:
• A clearly layout plan of exercise
• Rest - a good sleep
• A bodybuilding diet plan
Exercising is an integral part of any muscle growing program. You can choose your own technique and method for exercising that suits your needs. You can either go for the traditional forms of exercise or the modern forms like going to a gym. Traditional forms of exercise include brisk walk, jogging, running, cycling, yoga etc.
Irrespective of the method you select, you need to remember that you are targeting for exhaustion. Your muscle should be completely exhausted by the time you finish your exercise routine. Personally, I like to mix the traditional exercises during my exercise routine. After a short warm-up, I take a short walk for about fifteen minutes. This is to make the muscles flexible for the forthcoming stress. After a break of about couple of minutes, I run around my building park for thirty minutes. By now my muscles, start feeling stressed.
This is what you need to achieve. For the entire duration of your exercise, your muscles should feel stressed. That is why it is important to switch exercises or change routines. If you wish to run on a treadmill, you'd do better to perform in intervals. For instance, running as fast as you can for a minute and then switching to a light jog for two minutes. Repeat this for about an hour every day.
If you are doing traditional exercises, you need to ensure that you stretch your muscles as much as you can endure. You need to gradually increase your reps, which will help in building up your endurance and give your muscles a change of pace. If your target is to get a body like wrestlers, then lifting weights is recommended. You'll get the best results from your workout by training the whole body in a single workout. If you do not wish to do so, try concentrating only on the upper body in one session and the lower body in the other.
Monitoring what you eat is crucial when you are planning to build your muscle. Concentrate on complex carbohydrates and proteins such as egg whites and low fat yogurt. Try to stay away from sugary white processed foods. Instead of having bulk amount of food in one meal, try dividing your meals into small ones. At the same time, try sticking to around six small meals per day. This will ensure steady supply of energy to build muscles.
Eat whole foods most of the time. Include lots of proteins like meat, eggs, fish, milk and carbohydrates like rice, oats, pasta etc in your regular diet. Like any other diet plan, don's ignore the veggies and fruits. Have a good dietary timing as it helps greatly in anabolic metabolism. This is a big factor in building your muscle mass quickly.
It might come being a surprise to some, though the food together with the highest biological content is the humble egg! Some other food rich in biological content include raw milk, organ meats (heart, liver, kidneys and sweetbreads), steak, lamb, chicken and fish. Beans, legumes and a few other veggies also are very good types of protein, and so it's really important to include these in what you eat as well.
In summary, a good body building diet plan need to be focused on protein, fats, good carbs and also fiber. The break down should be 24% protein, 40% natural carbohydrates (no refined starches or sugars) and the balance in fats and fiber.
While focusing on the building your lean, fit and sexy body, remember to keep track of your progress. Keep a note of your weight increment and body fat percentage. These will reflect your progress and inspire you to keep improving.


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Weight Loss: How to Stay Motivated

Weight Loss and Motivation

weight loss
Motivation is a factor often overlooked when it comes to weight loss endeavors because you feel strong and determined when first embarking on a weight loss plan. You’re positive you’ll never lose sight of your goals. But, what happens when you lose your focus and motivation takes a serious dive? Can you ever regain your fierce determination and get back on track?

Do you need weight loss motivation?
Are you ready to stop fighting against your own success? Are you ready to break free of your limitations? Think for a moment about your desire to lose fat and get it. Know that if you would attempt it, you would without a doubt, achieve your goal. Think carefully about it. Now, reach out and touch that highest vision.
The day you begin your weight loss plan you have just started to make your goal a reality. You’ve set your mind on the best you can imagine for yourself, and you’re on your way. You’ll most certainly get there. There will be effort involved in reaching it. But that’s okay, because you can do it. In fact, you’ll enjoy making that effort because you’ll know where it’s leading.
stop giving up
Have you ever seen someone who seems to be able to attract success easily and naturally? You’ve just become that person. The goal you desire will come to you, easily and naturally, because you’ve focused yourself on achieving it.

The efforts involved may be things you once considered difficult or uncomfortable, yet now they won’t bother you because you’ll know precisely where they’re taking you. You’re on your way. Keep going, and delight in the wonderful rewards you’ve already started to create for yourself, including feeling better and living longer!
For many people, change is more threatening than challenging. They see it as the destroyer of what is familiar and comfortable rather than the creator of what is new and exciting.

Anyone can achieve weight loss. The trick is to LOSE FAT and keep it off!
People who stay slim have usually experienced an attitude shift. It’s as if a switch flips in their head. They come to a point in life, for one reason or another, where it becomes clear that the benefits of keeping the fat off exceed the costs. “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.”


Saturday, 21 February 2015

How Much Protein Do We Actually Need?

proteinNutrients in food are critical for building and repairing body tissues and for regulating digestion, energy production and muscle contraction. The human body needs fuel in the form of calories from all three macronutrients—protein, carbohydrates and fat. Each macro plays an important role in the body and has specific functions. With all the hype around macros, and how much or little we really need of each, it seems that following a higher-protein, lower-carbohydrate diet is the way to go. Or is it? Should we be eating more protein than carbohydrates or fat? What are the best sources of protein—animal or plant based? Let’s break it down.
What does protein do for the body?
Protein is made up of amino acids, some of which your body can make (called “nonessential” amino acids), and some which you must obtain from food (called “essential” amino acids). Protein is the principal component of every cell in the body and is needed to build and repair tissues. It provides the building blocks for important hormones and digestive enzymes. Your body uses protein to carry oxygen in the blood and is needed for a healthy immune system. Protein is also important for blood sugar control and keeping you feeling fuller for longer periods of time. That’s why we recommend that every meal and snack contain some form of protein.
How much protein does the body need?
There's a lot of conflicting information about how much protein your body needs. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) states that you need 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. So, a 145-pound person (65.9 kg) would need 52.7 grams of protein a day. It has been argued that this is the minimum to prevent deficiency, and nitrogen balance studies have shown that there is a higher need for athletes, regardless of their sport. The joint American College of Sports Medicine and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics position statement calls for 1.2 to 1.7 g/kg for strength athletes and 1.2 to 1.4 g/kg for endurance athletes.
While the body has the capacity to store carbohydrate and fat, there is no such storage for protein, which is why it must be consumed daily. When too much protein is consumed, it is either used as an inefficient source of energy or converted to fat. Excessive protein consumption, whether from food sources or by liquid or powder supplements, may cause dehydration, as well as negatively impact the kidneys and bones. When protein is consumed in the range of 1.4 to 2.0 g/kg, there does not appear to be any negative effect on the kidneys and bones.
Some people don’t want to do the math and calculate their protein needs based on body weight. Instead, you can calculate your protein needs based on a percentage of your total calorie intake. We recommend protein to comprise 15 to 35 percent of your total calorie intake. That’s a pretty big range and there are a few factors that determine your requirements, including:
1. Activity level (sedentary, athlete, recreational athlete, etc.)
2. Weight
3. Goals (maintain muscle mass, build muscle mass, lose weight, etc.)
4. Age

Special Considerations
Children and Teens
For most adults, protein plays a role in performance, recovery and injury prevention. For children and teens, a healthy, balanced diet is important for the same reasons, as well as to provide for proper growth. Most children don’t prefer protein-rich foods, opting instead for carbohydrates in the form of cereal, chips, bread and pasta. It’s important that adults (parents and caregivers) provide a wide array of protein foods and encourage their inclusion at every meal and snack. Although protein bars and powders are popular with young athletes, children and teens should be encouraged to reach for real food, including yogurt, cheese, nuts, nut butters, turkey and soybeans. 
According to the Institute of Medicine, the protein needs of vegetarian athletes are no different than that of an omnivore, provided they consume a varied diet that includes complementary proteins. Because most plant-based foods are incomplete proteins (they are missing one essential amino acid), it is recommended that vegetarians consume a blend of protein-rich foods during the course of the day to provide all the essential amino acids. Some researchers and professional groups put the protein needs of vegetarian and vegan athletes higher due to the digestibility of plant-based proteins. Vegan athletes, whose primary sources of protein are nuts, seeds, soy and legumes, should aim for an additional 12 grams of protein each day.
Best Types of Protein
As mentioned earlier, protein is made up of amino acids, some of which are considered “essential” because our bodies cannot make them and must be obtained from food. However, that doesn’t mean that all of our protein choices must come from foods that have all of the essential amino acids. Instead, be aware of what foods contain protein and choose a variety of them each day.
Animal–derived Proteins
Animal protein foods include fish, chicken, turkey, meat (from cow, lamb, pig or goat), milk, yogurt, cheese and eggs. These are considered high-quality proteins because they contain all of the essential amino acids.
Plant-based Proteins
Most plant-based proteins are missing at least one essential amino acid and are therefore considered “incomplete” proteins. Exceptions include soy, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat, which contain all of the essential amino acids. Other plant-based proteins, including vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, are incomplete but when eaten during the same day (i.e., beans and rice) all the essential amino acids are available to the body.
Protein-rich Meals
Every meal should contain a protein, a healthy carb, vegetables and a healthy fat. Here are some of our favorite combinations that are easy to prepare and delicious!
-2/3 cup cooked black beans served over 1/2 cup cooked quinoa and topped with salsa and guacamole
-4 to 5 oz. wild Alaskan salmon, sautéed asparagus and wild rice, topped with slivered almonds
-2 poached eggs served on top of 2 slices whole-grain bread and 1/2 smashed avocado
-8 oz. plain Greek yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup berries, 1 Tbsp. each of chia, hemp and ground flax seeds
-1 banana spread with 2 Tbsp. all-natural almond butter and topped with 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
-4 turkey meatballs served over whole-grain pasta or spaghetti squash with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese


Thursday, 19 February 2015

3 TRX Flows That Will Increase Your Flexibility, Strength and Mobility

Flow is a concept commonly associated with yoga, but have you ever tried sequencing non-yoga-based strength, balance and flexibility moves all together, without any breaks or pauses? The following flow routine featuring the TRX Suspension Trainer is a great way to harness the benefits of flow, with its balance challenges and constant movement, while also targeting flexibility, strength and mobility. Each of these movements is relatively simple, but when performed slowly and with control, they combine to create a unique and challenging workout that your clients and class participants are sure to love.
Note: Each of these sequences requires thoughtful movement and great body awareness. Help your participants focus on what is happening to their bodies as they work through the flow. Does their core want to disengage because the strength of a single leg movement is too tough? Are they compensating a lift of the leg because of mobility and flexibility challenges? These types of questions will help your clients begin to notice how their bodies cheat movement. Until they feel it, they can’t make the appropriate adjustments. These flows can assist in exposing the areas where the body compensates for imbalances or weaknesses.
1. Core Flow
TRX Flow

TRX Flow

TRX Flow

This sequence uses eccentric loading of the side body, core stabilization, rotation, thoracic opening, single-leg balance and strength.
Adjust the TRX Suspension Trainer to mid-length; stand sideways on the left side of the anchor. Stand in an off-set position, hip in line to anchor. Put the handles in single-handle mode and hold in front of the sternum. Maintain good posture, with shoulders down, ribs in, body in a straight line and eyes at the horizon. Lower to your edge and raise back up. Press the handle straight out from the sternum, maintaining tension on the straps and keeping the arms straight. Bring the arms toward the anchor, being sure to keep the body in plank position without any sagging. As you reach the center, release the right arm and reach toward the floor, opening the chest and maintaining strong hips and legs. Raise back up, grab the handle and pull the body into a row position, bringing the handles back to the sternum. Rotate back to sideways, extend the right leg in front and lower to a squat. Raise back up, holding on one leg with the right leg extended and straight, before lowering the leg back to the starting position. Repeat the entire sequence on the other side.
2. Crossing Lunge Flow
TRX Flow

TRX Flow

TRX Flow

TRX Flow

TRX Flow

This flow challenges upper- and lower-body strength and mobility.
Adjust the TRX Suspension Trainer to mid-length. Stand facing the anchor point, holding the handles with palms facing each other and the elbows under the shoulders. Center the right leg to the anchor point and lift the left leg with the knee bent. Lower the tailbone toward the floor into a single-leg lunge position. Drive the knee behind the right leg, keeping a 90-degree bend in the knee. Extend the leg from this position and circle it behind the body and toward the left side of the body. Keep the leg straight and abducted, with the foot flexed and the toes and knee facing strength ahead. Extend the right leg to stand as you bring the left leg to the front. Be sure to keep the torso lifted and the core strong, being careful not to lean to the side or the back. Bring the arms up, elbows in line with the shoulders, and the palms facing away from your face. Extend the arms and curl back to the starting position.
3. Lunge to Stand Flow 
TRX Flow

TRX Flow

TRX Flow

TRX Flow

TRX Flow

TRX Flow

This sequence challenges flexibility, mobility and strength through hips, legs, ankles and thoracic spine. 
Adjust the TRX Suspension Trainer to mid-calf. Face away from the anchor and place the left foot in the foot cradle and assume a runner’s lunge position. Keep the chest lifted, spine tall and the left glute engaged. Hinge the hips back, keeping the right leg straight and the spine long. Using your right leg, pull forward and then press up to stand. Maintain tension on the straps by keeping the left leg weighted in the straps. As you come to stand, extend the arms out from the chest to about shoulder-width apart. Keep the shoulders down and the ribs in while maintaining strong arms and core. Keep the right arm straight as you begin to move the left arm toward the back wall, rotating toward the left and following your arm with your eyes. Your arms should be in a T formation. Bring the left arm back to the front and extend the left leg behind you. With the spine tall, lower the knee toward the floor. Once you reach 90 degrees, reach the arms toward the floor to extend the back. Keep the right heel in place as you continue pressing the body back until both legs are straight in a split. Pull the body forward, using fingertips, if needed. Lift the right foot and pivot the body, while bending the knee to face the left side of the anchor. Extend arms overhead and reach toward the anchor and bring the torso back to an upright position. Repeat on the other side.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Get Toned Thighs With These Inner Thigh Exercises

So You Want to Tone Your Inner Thighs
Which of the inner thigh exercises it the best? This a question I hear so frequently from my female clients and if there is one thing I have learned is that the waist, hips, and thigh region of women are the areas that want to improve the most. As this is the problem area for most women they all want to find the quick fast solution to solve the problem and want it yesterday. With these exercises and a few weeks you will have better looking thighs then you thought you could.

Seated Butterfly
The seated butterfly is a inner thigh exercise that requires you to start by sitting on an exercise mat with your back in an upright position. What you need to then do is bring the bottom of your feet together and make them come as close to your body as possible. Let both of your hands rest on your feet and apply a little pressure on your thighs. You will need to hold this position from 30-45 seconds and if you push on your knees gently using your hands the exercise will be the most effective.

Standing Leg Adduction With Fitness Bands
Start with a fitness band attached to a secure place like a door and attach the other end to your right ankle. With the support of a rail or chair and the weight on your other leg, move the right leg past the left leg until your feel a contraction in the leg and then slowly and carefully return the leg back to the starting position. Do 20 repetitions for your right leg then repeat the same for your left leg.
Side Lunges
Stand with your feet parallel and hip-width apart and make sure you place your hands behind your head. Tighten up your stomach muscles to brace yourself while keeping your head forward and weight on your heels. Lunge to the right while keeping the weight of your body over your heels and your left leg straight. Sit back on the heel of the lunging leg and hold the tension in the side leg, then while exhaling raise your body straight up and return to starting position.

Single Leg Circle
Begin by lying on your back on a mat with your arms on the mat by your sides with your palms down. Point your left foot up so that your legs and toes are reaching towards the ceiling and trace a circle on the ceiling with your leg. Make sure that you are moving your whole leg while your hips are still without coming off of the floor. Trace the circle 5 to 10 times in a clockwise direction then again in the counter clockwise direction.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

How to Squat Without Back and Knee Pain

A very common occurrence I see with aspiring bodybuilders is to avoid difficult exercises or exercises at which they aren't particularly strong. It may be a case of insecurity. You may think that everyone in the gym is watching how much weight you are lifting on a particular exercise but they aren't.
The basic exercises like Bench Press, Squats, and Deadlifts are difficult for a reason. They build muscle. Don't avoid them because you're embarrassed about the poundage you're using. You will severely limit your gains. It may look good to put tons of plates on the Leg Press and do 20 partial reps, but you really aren't building any muscle.
When people tell me their legs won't grow, the first question I always ask them is, "Are you doing squats?" The answer is almost always, "No. I can't. They hurt my knees... They hurt my back... I had knee surgery and my doctor recommends against them". I then ask what they are doing. Most commonly they are doing smith machine squats. Then I watch their exercise performance and 99% of them all do the same thing. They only go down about 1/4 the way to parallel. Even with injuries or surgery you can still squat to parallel safely if you are squatting with the proper technique and starting with a weight you can handle.
Build the core of your training program around the big basic lifts and work to improve your technique and strength. This is how you'll add some quality muscle to your physique.
I do know some people who have problems with their back when they squat. Every time they squat with a weight that stimulates their legs, they injure their back. This would cause them to miss workouts for all body parts. Barbell back squats aren't an option for them. They may not be an option for you either.
Please keep in mind the following: Exercises that cause you pain and cause you to miss or limit future workouts are impeding your gains dramatically. You need to avoid such exercises and find substitutes for them.
However, you need to be honest with yourself. Are they really causing you pain or do you just not want to do them? Heavy, basic exercises like squats are difficult for one reason - THEY BUILD MUSCLE!

However, if performing such exercises truly is a problem for you, find an adequate substitute.
There are other exercises and machines that can go a long way toward replacing squats in your workout. At least you can still make some nice gains in your legs.
  • 45 Degree Angled Leg Presses - These plate loaded presses are my favorite replacement exercise for squats. I honestly feel that you can make similar progress in leg development if you train them with the same intensity but, you must go to parallel.
  • Front Squats - With this type of squat you can't use as much weight and are also forced to remain in a more upright position which might alleviate some of the pressure on the back.

Dance Fitness Anytime Anywhere Workout Amazing Benefits

Dance and music are not only forms of art, but they are your way to good health and happiness.
There are various kinds of dance forms, but you need to find out what amuses you and which form of dance interests you the most, and you fill find developing a passion towards it.

You can dance at your convenience, while bathing, while changing your clothes or while just cleaning your room.

 Listed below are the primary benefits of dancing:
1. Dropping calories and toning down your body
As you dance with vigor, you are exercising the parts of your body, and this helps you to burn calories and drop a few pounds. Let's just say dance is the best workout.
It is imperative to hydrate yourself time and again, and keep drinking water as you perspire from the vigorous dancing.
Make it your passion, and dance regularly, and you will be surprised to see how many pounds you have actually dropped!
2. Movement Skills & Coordination
Dancing is nothing but grooving and moving in co-ordination with the music. Hence while dancing you begin to develop and nurture movement skills as well as good co-ordination. More often than not models, actors and people in the glamour industry incorporate dance forms in their workout routine because this helps them on screen as well as on the runway. Dancing makes you more agile, flexible and more graceful as well.
3. The perfect stress buster
Dancing is the perfect stress buster because when you are dancing, it is just your body and the music and you can shut the world out. You don't need to go out of the way, you can just put on some beats and dance while vacuum cleaning or in the shower after a long stressful day of work and you will feel fresh and vibrant after that.
4. Helps our Brain
Various dance forms require a lot of co-ordination and attentiveness which have various benefits for the brain. It does not only improve memory by attempting to memorize the steps, but also keeps the brain alert and attentive.
5. Toughens up & Tones our Body
The majority of muscles in our body are forced to work during dance. Consequently, they tighten up with continuous dancing and help in giving you a perfect toned body. However, keep in mind that muscles which aren't used waste away. Hence make sure to get the volume high and dance for minimum of half an hour before hitting the bed.
6. Confidence booster
People can be shy, have stage fright and may have persisting self-doubt and hence will never be able to perform in front of an audience. Dance and repeated dance practices will be a confidence booster because you will ace your dance moves. If you are scared or apprehensive, you can take private lessons and perform during small gatherings or family functions.
7. A great platform to connect with others
Dancing helps in connecting with new likeminded individuals who have equal passion for music, which helps in making new friends. Besides this, happiness toughens up the immune system for a better health.
8. A good Hobby
If you don't have a hobby and you are lethargic and bored, you tend to eat a lot of carbs and sugar, or even go into depression so in your free time, you can just dance at home as a hobby. You don't even need to be alone, you can find people with similar interests and call them over and dance together. You can even do this with your spouse and dance on slow music.
9. Keeps you healthy
Helps in Preventing Diseases & Medical Conditions
Dancing increases your heart rate and increases blood circulation which prevents diseases and medical conditions in your body.

Dance does not only increase heart rate but also helps eliminate toxins from your body and it de-stresses you. Hence, keeping you healthy- physically as well as emotionally!
Just make sure that you don't have any medical condition which will aggravate with dancing.


Monday, 16 February 2015

Best Cardio For Fat Loss: 9 Amazing Exercises That Actually Work!

best cardio for fat lossThere is now such a massive quantity of exercise regimes, routines, and fads out there, it can often be overwhelming trying to identify which exercises are actually the best ones to help you lose weight. To help you negotiate the head-spinning world of weight-loss exercise, this mini-guide will cut through the nonsense and the jargon, providing you with 9 exercises guaranteed to help you cut the pounds. In addition to the best cardio for fat loss, you can boost your results with changing what you eat.

One of the easiest exercises to do, requiring no equipment and no gym is running. It provides a steady, low-intensity form of cardiovascular training. Some people suggest running on an empty stomach. This can be perfect for losing weight because your body will begin to tap into all your stored body fat. Your body looks for the energy it needs to drive it forward (please be aware that running on an empty stomach should only be undertaken with the correct precautions – consult your doctor – and never sprint on an empty stomach). Tailor your running regime to suit your general fitness. Start with 5 to 10 minute runs, 3-4 times a week. This is about right for a beginner, but remember to increase the duration of your runs as you progress to get the full benefits.

Skip / Jump Rope
Another simple exercise that can be performed at home is skipping / jumping rope. This is a cardio exercise that works muscles all over the body and thus will help you to tone-up from top to bottom. It also improves your coordination and balance if you are seeking good, well-rounded fitness. Your goal is to get amazing results, isn’t it?

Although tremendously difficult, this high-intensity exercise is one of the best for burning calories fast. If you can manage it, 10 minutes or so will help you burn at least 100 calories. To perform burpees, begin by squatting on the floor, with your hands placed centrally on the floor in front of you. Jump your feet backwards so that your body forms the plank position, before jumping them back in and standing up. Repeat these movements as many times as you can handle. Be careful though. You know you have gone too far if you feel the need to throw up!

Another high-intensity exercise that offers a similar calorie burn ratio as burpees is kickboxing, which also has the added advantage of providing an outlet to let out some pent-up aggression! You’ll need to learn some simple kicks and moves, so look up a tutorial video on the web, or find a local kickboxing class to teach you the basics.

Squat Jumps
Squat jumps are a plyometric exercise – a jumping based exercise that focuses on intensity – which will raise your heart rate sufficiently to burn off a large amount of calories. To perform a squat jump, begin by squatting down to the floor before jumping as high as you can and landing back down into a squat position. Repeat 10 times, and then take a break.

Push Ups
The best fat-burning routines combine both cardio and weight lifting exercises to maximize your body’s calorie consumption. A classic, well-honed exercise like push-ups will help consolidate the weight loss achieved through cardio-based exercises. To perform a push-up, lie down in the plank position with your hands flat on the floor beside your head. Keep them at the width of your shoulders and push up, extending your arms fully, before lowering back to the floor and repeating. Once you have started losing fat, the objective is to keep it off.
Cute brunette working out at a gym

Get on your Bike!
Cycling provides an excellent cardio workout, and it uses muscles throughout the legs and lower half of your body. This leads to weight loss from the thighs and other areas in which fat is traditionally hard to burn. Either take to the roads for real, or begin a routine at the gym involving an exercise bike.

Engage in Additional Cardio Activities or Sports
Cardio for fat loss does not need to be boring. Compliment your normal routine by getting active on the weekend. You could play your favorite sport (tennis, soccer and basketball are just some that provide a great cardio workout), or involve yourself in a dynamic activity such as kayaking or hiking.

Interval Training
Interval training can be deployed using many of the exercises already discussed to ensure you gain maximum results from your exercise routine. Interval training focuses on using short, sharp bursts of intensive activity followed by a brief recovery period. Interval training proves more effective at burning calories than traditional aerobic training, because it utilizes both the aerobic and the anaerobic capacities of the body simultaneously.
It also taps into fat stores when performing lower intensity forms of exercise. To begin interval training, engage in a short but highly concerted burst of a single activity, before having a brief two minute rest. After that, move quickly onto the next exercise, which should also be performed extremely energetically. Aim to make your routines last for about 30 minutes each initially. On the other hand, working out can get boring sometimes. Get that energy back with some of these fired up workout songs.

Any and all of these activities and exercises will help you shed the pounds, as long as you can maintain the willpower to stick to your routine. Remember, everyone is different, so tailor your routine with exercises that you feel are best suited to your body and ability. However, make sure to push yourself out of your comfort zone; otherwise you won’t get the substantial fat-burning results you’re wanting. Moreover, always make sure you drink plenty of fluids while exercising. Do not forget to consult your doctor before engaging in high-intensity workouts if you have, or have ever experienced, heart problems. Other than that, let’s get moving!


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Tips for the First Time Competitor and the Very First Competition…

To assist other first time NPC Bikini Division athletes, I am sharing tips and advice so that you might be one step ahead of me when the day of your very first competition arrives.
The key to remember is you need to avoid any additional stress added to your psyche.  Stress produces cortisol and prolonged high levels of cortisol produce a number of negative side effects one of which happens to be the production of abdominal fat, so that alone should encourage you to eliminate as much stress from your life as possible.  Obviously that is not going to happen from one day of stress, but it is good information to help give you one more reason to eliminate unnecessary stress from your life.  :-)
Plan well so when your competition day arrives it will truly be an enjoyable experience despite the fact that it will be some what overwhelming.
Remember that every step of the way will be foreign to you.  Just know the day will be some what overwhelming, but look at each new thing as something cool and fun, not something worthy of stressing or freaking out over…have fun!

Entry forms
Most will allow you to enter the day of the event.  I recommend you send you entry form in advance and not wait until the last   minute.
Sending the form in early:
Gives you one more reason to NOT talk yourself out of participating in the event.
Helps reduce any unnecessary stress the day of the event, which is hugely important.
May provide you with a treat you would not get if you entered the day of the event.
For example, at the Bev Francis, because I   registered early, I received a metal for participation.  That was kind of cool.
Travel 2 days prior to your event.  The further out you travel, the less stressful the travel will be and it will allow you time should something happen during your trip.
Drive if you can.
If you will be flying….see Meals section

  1. Stick to your meal plan, but be prepared to add additional “trigger foods” shoud you warrante the need.
    a.  For me, the extra food was complex carbs to help fill out my physique and reduce the vascularity.  The complex  carbs I ate extra were additional sweet potatoes in between my regularly scheduled meals.
  2.  Some people retain water so they will eat extra asparagus which is a great natural diuretic. (No comment about the other thing asparagus is known for doing.)
  3. Speaking of “trigger” foods, it is important for you to be very aware of your body and how it responds to different foods.  This will come over time by default, but now that you know, go ahead and keep a journal.  For example, I know that eating anything sweet will make me very vascular.  Countering that by eating complex carbs will help eliminate the pronounced veins.
  4. In addition to traveling with all your food for the weekend, bring a smaller cooler for the day of the event so you do not have
    to lug around a giant cooler.  In your small cooler, you should include:
    a.  All the meals you will need for when you are away from where you are staying, plus one more just to be safe.  There will be delays so do not find yourself short a meal.
    b.  Your extra “trigger” foods.
    c.  For after Finals:
1.  WATER!  Because you will reduce the amount of water you consume leading up to the competition, by the end of Finals, you will be peeling your tongue off the roof of your mouth.  By the time I made it to Finals, all I could think about were the coolers station around the athletes’ holding area and backstage. As soon as I finished I drank a cup of water right in the stage wings!  I was
not waiting one more second.
2.  A treat!  You deserve if for all the hard work and focus you accomplished just to get to the competition.  My team mates
brought a variety of treats and were very sweet to share.  India made her own trail mix which I thought was a great idea.  Carrie made insanely delicious Oreo truffle balls.  Good night!  They were just stupid good!  My mouth is watering again just thinking
about them.  I am using this opportunity to bake, which I LOVE to do.  I am reseaching more about clean eating options to bake.
3.  Water! This is not a typo….seriously, bring at  least a liter.   You will thank me later.
5.  After the event, plan to treat yourself to a reward meal, but keep in mind your future competition plans if applicable.  I personally did not want to go hog wild because I was only 5 weeks out from my next competition so I stuck with my typical reward meal and added a little ice cream afterwards.  I love my ice cream and had not had a bite of it since March.  I have every intention
of eating ice cream as a treat after each competition.


Consider being sprayed if you can afford the expense. I did opt to use the services of Jan Tana and was very pleased with the results.
Do not under estimate the need to be dark. As crazy as you look off stage, the darker you are the better you will look on stage.
The lights are extremely harsh and will wash you out completely if your skin is not dark. All the hard work you accomplished in the gym will become invisible if you go on the stage without tanning.
Steps for Tanning:

a. Prep your skin. Do not underestimate the value of this step or you could end up green….yep…green! It is one thing to smell like asparagus, but I am pretty sure you do not want to look like asparagus.

b. Jan Tana recommends you use their exfoliator scrub and lotion in order to ensure the pH of your skin will be able to accept the spray tan positively. Prep a week in advance with exfoliation and slathering lotion on your body.

c. The day you are scheduled to tan, exfoliate, but do not use any lotion or deodorant so that you can avoid turning green.

d. Shave the hair off of your body, even if it is fine, blond hair. It all has to go otherwise, when the spray the tan it will get caught up in the hair on your body and not on your skin.

e. Start this process a week ahead of time to ensure you do not have razor burn.

f. Be prepared to be surprised to find that you just might have a lot more body hair than you realized since it is so fine and blond.

g. Don’t worry; when it grows back it will still be fine and blond.

4. Schedule your tanning session the day before your event.

5. Before you leave for you appointment, prep your hotel room.

a. Replace the bed sheets with dark sheets you bring with you.

b. Replace the towels with dark towels you bring with you.

1. Consider buying in expense , thin, dark towels

2. The thinner the towel the better they pack.

3. Wash the towels before you pack them to ensure you do not have a bunch of cotton rubbing off on you.

c. Remove the bath mat from the bathroom.

6. Arrive wearing very loose fitting, dark clothes. We have a team warm up with is a black and not fitted. After tanning you will not put anything fitted on until Sat when you put on your suit. Do not put your under wear or bra back on after they spray you.

7. Bring a shower cap with you to cover your hair.

8. Be prepared to tan completely naked in a room with other girls who are also being tanned. We had 2 girls tanning, while one stood in front of a fan drying. Modesty goes out the window.

a. We had girls tanning us, but India told me not to be surprised if a guy tans you. Get over it.

b. It’s his job and there is nothing appealing to him about you standing there wearing nothing but a shower cap. It’s their job and nothing more.

9. The day of the event you will tan again, but will wear your suit. Jan Tana was at the event to tan those of us who they sprayed on Friday. They provided touch ups before Finals too.

a. In addition to the 2nd coat of tan, they will also glaze you.

b. Be sure you are not too oily after they spray and wipe you down.

10. Know that while you can shower after the event and some of the tan will come off, you will be scrubbing for days afterwards.

What to bring to the event:
  1. See Meals…
  2. A small rolling suitcase with a combination lock
a.  I brought my gym bag.  I won’t do this next time.
b.  Fortunately I was with my team, but do not assume someone will be nice enough to watch your things when you need to walk away from them either to go to the bathroom or go on the stage.  Unfortunately some girls who compete are not very nice.
I was told that others have witnessed shoes or makeup mysteriously going  MIA.  Just be aware of the potential.  My personal experience was a good one though.
3.  Shoes
a.  Flip flops to wear with you warm up.  You can wear those to the event.
b.  Posing shoes and a second pair just to be  safe.  If something happens to your  primary pair, e.g., broken heal, MIA, you will be covered if you have a backup  pair.
4.  Your suit.  You should wear your warm up there and change into your suit.  You will leave your suit on for the remainder
of the day after this point.
5.  Glue.  I  used a product called Bikini Bite. I purchased it from  Amazon carries it too.  This is important to keep you suit covering  you correctly.  Also know it might hurt  when you finally try to take your suit off at the end of the night.  I also think I finally got the last of the  glue off my fanny about a week later!
6.  Make-up and Hair items for touch ups.
7.  A mirror
8.  Something to wear after finals.  We have a fun team dress that is a black tank dress that says Bombshell in stones down one side.  Be sure to stick with dark colors for the next few days.  Your “tan” will transfer  to your clothes.