Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Exercise of the Week: Burpees

Image Courtesy of Fitness Generator

Beginning Position
Begin in standing position, with feet hip width apart.

1. Jump up and land down on your feet with your hands on the ground.
2. Kick your feet back to push up position
3. Jump back up to previous position with knees to elbow and stand back up.
4. Repeat for prescribed number of reps.

Safety Points

  1. Keep spine in neutral during movement, specifically in pushup position.
  2. For beginners movement can be done slowly or modified by placing hands on bench during the floor portion of the exercise.
This is a great total body exercise, challenging the core musculature, lower body, and upper body. In addition it challenges your muscular endurance and cardiovascular system.

Take your workout program to the next level by adding this challenging exercise. Let us know how you did. Leave a comment.

Be Well.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Everyone Already Has a "Six-Pack"...

By Ron McDonald Jr. - ISSA-CPT, WITS-CPT

News flash! Every one already has a “six-pack”. No matter how many infomercials you see or 7 minute abs videos you watch that is where the rubber meets the road. Doing countless numbers of crunches or technically speaking truck flexion exercises do not create six-pack abs, because they already exist. No special equipment or magic pills will create what already exists.

I learned along time ago that in order to see the sidewalk you have to shovel the snow. This simple concept applies in the same fashion when it comes to uncovering your six-pack abs. I say uncover because what is really stopping you from seeing your six-pack or the person your trying to hypnotize with yours abs is that layer of fat sitting on top of the muscle. So, what are we going to do about it?

Well, the way to properly see your six-pack is to reduce your body fat. By reducing your body fat your are essentially making your body less fat and more muscle. The best way to reduce your body fat is with intense cardio exercise, proper strength training and a healthy, and low-calorie nutritiously dense diet. The goal is to burn more calories daily than you consume, which will result in a lower body fat. Incorporating intense cardio, resistance training, and proper nutrition are the recipe to melt that snow (fat) from the top of your abs.

Now don't get me wrong abdominal exercises do serve a purpose in building strong abdominal muscles which have the responsibility of supporting your spine and protecting your back. Keep in mind that your abdominal workout is just one small part of a exercise program when it comes to getting a six-pack. The truth is most exercises work your abs.

So don't waste your time crunching endlessly expecting to create a six-pack. Where you should focus your efforts is improving your eating habits by eating lean protein, veggies, fruits, and whole grains at every meal and burning more calories daily. Slowly but surely you will begin to see what lies beneath.

What changes will you make in order to "shovel the snow"?

Be Well.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Stop Wasting Time...


"Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it" ~ Jim Rohn

When it comes to working out most people in gym give off the impression that they have a endless amount of time. I see people sitting starring into the mirror endlessly, having long chit chats, or even worst talking on the cell phone while doing cardio - the elliptical machine at that. All I know is you can't be working out hard if you can hold a conversation, because hard work is usually followed by "heavy breathing".

When you come to the gym unless you absolutely have to keep it with you, leave the cell phone the car or in the locker room. Another problem I am a witness to is the guys working only on the "mirror muscles" using isolated movements. To be more efficient in your work outs don’t waste time working small muscles with isolated movements. The body is a system and that system is not meant to be isolated. Compound exercises (exercise that involve multiple muscle groups) require you to use your entire body and muscles all together. Isolated exercises simply won’t give you the biggest bang for your buck, because they don’t require or recruit that many muscle fibers. When you recruit more muscle fibers, the result is more calories burned, more muscle fibers stressed, and better results in less time. If you goal is to lose weight (fat) or improve your overall fitness level then working your entire body collectively will give you better results. In reality or the real world you use your entire body together lifting groceries, furniture, babies, doing yard work, and other activities of daily living. So why would you focus on one muscle at a time. The body has over 600 muscles, that makes for a pretty long workout.

When you are doing cardio you should increase your intensity to elevate your heart rate. So instead of for example running on the treadmill or elliptical at the same speed for 30 minutes to 1 hour, you will achieve better results by doing a interval program where the speed and intensity of the exercise is changing throughout the 15 - 30 minutes. By doing your cardio this way you will have possibly cut your workout time in half and increased the total amount of calories burned in a shorter period of time. I'm sorry but I assume we all have lives, families, and other things we'd like to be doing rather than hanging out in a sweaty gym. Please let me know if actually like hanging out at the gym all day - you may qualify to be a crazy Personal Trainer like me.

So use your time effectively and efficiently by doing total body exercises working multiple muscle groups together , cardio in a interval program, and limiting rest periods. The bottom line is that you can accomplish more with less time. You will be burning more calories in your workout session and achieve greater results. Sounds like a win - win to me. I thought that's what we all wanted, right? How do you save time in your workouts?

Be Well.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Exercise of the Week: Diagonal Ball Chop

Image courtesy of Fitness Generator
Beginning Position
Start with your arms extended holding the medicine ball up and to your right


  1. Bring medicine ball down in a wood chopping motion towards your left foot
  2. During this motion your feet stay stationary and you rotate at your trunk.
  3. Repeat this motion for the prescribed (15-20) repetitions and then repeat in the opposite direction.

Safety Points

  1. Keep spine in neutral during movement, do not hunch back in chopping phase.
  2. Draw in abdominals and keep drawn in throughout entire movement.
  3. For beginners movement can be done slowly, then progress to faster movement as abilities increase.

This is a great total body exercise, challenging the core, lower body, and upper body. In addition challenges the muscular endurance and cardiovascular system .

Add this exercise to your workout program this week. Let us know how you did.

Be Well.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

7 Pitfalls in Weight Loss


Most people I talk to all desire that same thing to lose weight and fast. Unfortunately, things don't work that way everyone's body is different and the body can be somewhat stubborn sometimes. In addition to the fact that losing something "fast" isn't in your best interest. Speeds kills. This is especially true for someone who has been sedentary for whole life or quite some time. Just like any thing worth having its takes careful planning, structure, and dedication to finish the task despite the guaranteed pitfalls and rewards along the way. Unfortunately the mainstream media promotes rapid results and once people realize the flaws in a fad diet or quick fix, they become frustrated and back right where they started or often times much worst. Below are 7 commons pitfalls that are at the root of the problem:

1. Unrealistic expectations
—Don't get consumed with instant gratification. Set realistic goals for 1-2 pounds per week. Expect that every week will not be that same. Be patient and work hard. The body changes from the inside out.

2. Scale obsession
—How many of you get on the scale everyday? Your weight will fluctuate by 1-3 pounds at times based on water retention, dehydration, and overeating. Truthfully the scale isn't really telling you much. What matters is your body composition. Your body fat% is what really matters and determines if you at risk for preventable diseases.

3. Skipping breakfast
—I know you've all heard it but now it's time to listen. "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day". It jump-starts your metabolism, provides fuel for activity, and also reduces the urge to eat unhealthy snacks before lunch.

4. Not packing a lunch
—I truly believe that packing a healthy lunch regularly will help avoid weight gain. You will less likely to grab fast food or other unhealthy choices. If you don't have your own plan, chances are you will fall into someone else's. Guess what they have planed for you!

5. Not eating frequently—eating every 2-3 hours will prevent significant hunger pangs and eating binges. Most importantly, it speeds metabolism and caloric burning throughout the day. Going long periods without food will force your body to slow down your metabolism over time.

6. Poor grocery shopping—Never go grocery shopping when hungry. Also stay away from the processed foods. The rule is to try to eat as close to nature as possible. Ask yourself "Did this food come out of the ground or off the tree/plant this way" If the answer is yes, then its' natural and grade A food. All the fresh food is on the perimeter - most of the processed food is in the aisles.

7. Not drinking enough water—Drinking water helps our muscle maintain cellular volume and flushes out the waste in our system.
Read the "Truth About Water" blog.

Overcoming or being aware of these common pitfalls will prepare you and send you on your way to several positive lifestyle changes that you can stick with to help manage your weight for the long haul.

Be Well.


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