foam rolling
(Oprea Personal Fitness)

At the end of every workout session I always recommend stretching. Loosening up your tight muscle tissue is essential for keeping soreness at bay and creates a great way to come down off your workout high. I let my mind and body know that it is done for the time being and allow it to relax before heading on with my day. Traditional stretches, even the ones you learned in high school, can be perfect for this. Reaching for your toes and pulling your heel to your bum can get your legs nice and stretched, but have you ever tried rolling your body on a foam cylinder?

 

need a reason to exercise
(iStock)

I recommend to all my clients that they train with weights at least three days a week, whether they are with me or not. I also tell them to incorporate at least two other days of cardio. This really brings a great mix into your workouts, keeping them fresh and getting your body to a healthy, stable level. Every once in a while, after I issue the cardio recommendation, I will get the reply–usually instantly and with great emphasis–”I hate running and I just can’t do it!”  I just smile, because there are a great many ways to get your cardio in,  and I’m going to lay out bunch of them in nice, neat bullet points just for you. You lucky soul!

 

tired

So, I had a checkup with my doctor because cancer is scary as all get out and I (along with everyone else) have people around me that are very sick with it. This drove me to get some peace of mind with my primary care physician. To my surprise I found out that I am extremely deficient in iron. So let me list what iron does for you and how it can affect you. It may just be worth getting your own physical over!

 

  • - Iron carries oxygen to your cells and carbon dioxide away from them. Low iron can lead to lower energy levels!

The key to my success in the kitchen and in my workouts is summed up in that one word: Substitution.  There are endless ways to cook meals and there are a bewildering number of exercises to be performed to create a good workout.  My kids make fun of the way I use technology because when they’re looking up “fail” videos, soccer games and new ways to play their video games, I only use it for looking up recipes and exercises. Honestly, other than buying workout clothes, what else is the internet truly for? Here is the catch though: not everything works for how I want to live my life, so I take the good ideas and tweak, bend, add and substitute until I’m happy with the results. This is how we all become the individuals we are and how we all should look at experimenting in the kitchen and in the workout room.

 

(Istock)

 

I travel home to home for my training business, bringing the gym in the back of my car.  Wherever you want to meet, we go there and no extra equipment is needed.  Now, I have a pretty big trunk, and there’s plenty of junk in there, but not enough space to include all the weights a gym would have.  And you know what? To get a good workout, you don’t necessarily need it all!  This is not to say anything bad about gyms! Only that to get a great workout without access to a lot of expensive equipment is completely possible if you pay attention to how you perform each maneuver.  When you do this, fewer weights are needed as the exercise gets focused on the muscles you want to target.

I want to take a close look at just one exercise to make a point.  When people perform a bicep curl, they often arch their back to get the weights up or use momentum to get the weights started in the right direction.  In my professional opinion, this is not the best way to curl weights.  Next time you grab dumb bells, start by standing with great posture, shoulders square and pulled back with your abs engaged.  Now start with your arms hanging at your sides, elbows pinned to your ribs.  This is the stance you will hold for the entire curl! Do the maneuver only moving your forearms as you curl the weights upward and slowly return them down to a complete stop.  This will, I guarantee, be harder! Plus, it will be focusing your exercise on your biceps, the real reason you’re doing curls in the first place.

 

 

There’s one idea in fitness that almost everyone wishes was true: the idea that doing certain exercises can reduce the fat in specific areas.  The underarm wiggle, the back fat, the saddle bags and the spare tire–wouldn’t it be nice if you could just do tricep extensions, rows, lunges and sit-ups to get rid of these? With0ut a doubt, if you stick to a workout regimen that includes those moves you will see a reduction in how much fat your body holds onto. However, you know just as well as I do that you can’t target fat reduction. So… let’s look at the good news!

Your body stores fat as a future energy source.  What you see as too much here and too much there, your body sees as potential energy to be used soon! It’s just waiting there. Give it a reason to break down. Plenty of shows and articles can tell you that fat doesn’t melt away or excrete into a receptacle. (Trying to keep it professional, always hard.) Fat breaks down and you actually, eventually, breath it out as CO2. That in itself is incredible. Get out there and start breathing hard. Jump, push and climb! Just like trying to look at food as fuel for your body, it is also hard to see fat as a good thing. You need fat on your body to be healthy, but if you want less in certain spots, take this as another motivation to get out there and train.

You’re on track, you’re working out, but here’s the kicker to truly losing the excess fat. Your eating habits now have to change. Your body stored the fat for future use and now you’re using it! However, you fuel up every day, and the food that you just ate is a whole lot easier for your body to convert to energy than your previously-stored fat is. So stop the extra fuel deposits! This is not a recommendation to stop eating, please. By consuming an ordinary amount of food at specific times of day–a large breakfast, medium lunch, small dinner–you can kick start your body into a healthy cycle and find the natural balance of where your weight, and fat, should be.

So the only “spots” you need to really hit are the gym and kitchen. What those places will really do is increase your muscle tone and increase your satisfaction. Those ideas are absolutely spot on!


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