November 2010

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By: Scott Quill

Watching those makeover shows on TV, you might think the only way to change your body is to recruit a pack of plastic surgeons and line up a camera crew to record it for prime time.

With all due respect to the geniuses who produce network TV, we heartily disagree. When it comes to building muscle, a few tweaks to your diet and fitness routine may be all you need to unleash your potential.

But, just to be safe, we’ll spot you a forty. Use them, and you may want to call that camera crew after all.

Bigger Arms

1. Pinch to Grow an Inch
To strengthen your grip, try this plate pinch from Strongman competitor C.J. Murphy: Place a pair of 5- or 10-pound plates together, smooth sides out. Pinch the plates between your thumbs and forefingers. Try holding the weights for 30 seconds. Add plates as you gain strength. And watch your toes.

2. Change Grips
It can help you do more reps. Try a set of barbell curls with a narrow grip. When you begin to fail, slide your hands out farther. “You’ll get more out of your biceps,” says celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson, C.S.C.S.

3. Do Chinups at a Dip Station
Using the parallel bars of a dip station simulates a chinup without lifting all your body weight. Besides your back muscles, you also strengthen your forearms. Grab the bars from underneath and place your feet on the floor. Keeping your body straight, pull yourself up, pause, then lower yourself.

4. Use a Mirror
“It promotes better technique and helps prevent injury,” says Chris Jordan, C.S.C.S., of LGE Performance Systems in Orlando.

5. Add Extra Tension to Any Move
At the end of your arm workout, wrap one end of a resistance band around the handle of a dumbbell and place the other end under your foot. Now do a set of biceps curls and overhead triceps extensions to fatigue your arms, says Tim Kuebler, C.S.C.S.

6. Pick Up Drop Sets
Doing five reps or fewer per set with a weight you can lift only five times trains your muscles to grow bigger and stronger, says Mark Peterson, an exercise and sport scientist at Arizona State University. Do three to five sets without rest, reducing the weight by 10 percent to 25 percent each set.

A Harder Core

1. Hit the Upper Abs First
By doing 20 to 30 crunches, you’ll limit the upper abs’ assistance when you move on to the lower portion, says Gunnar Peterson. This can help define the inguinal crease—the lines that run from hip to groin.

2. Tighten Your Belt
One-legged lifts contract your transverse abdominis—a belt of muscle surrounding your abdomen—says Jon Crosby, C.S.C.S., of Velocity Sports Performance in Baltimore. Grab a pair of dumbbells and raise your left thigh until it’s parallel to the floor and your left knee is bent at 90 degrees. Bend your right knee slightly and do a set of shoulder presses, biceps curls, or lateral raises.

3. Squeeze a Tennis Ball While You Do Crunches
“Squeezing your hands as hard as you can causes radiational tension, which allows you to contract other muscles harder,” says Murphy.

4. After You Bench-Press, Do 25 Crunches on the Bench
You’ll be less likely to skip them than if you have to go find an exercise mat.

5. Make a Bet
Pick a date 8 weeks away and set a goal: You and your buddies wager over squatting your body weight, for instance, or decreasing your body fat below 15 percent. Add a dollar to the pot whenever you work out. Winner takes all.

Powerful Legs

1. Start with Leg Curls
Most guys’ quads are overly dominant, says Dave DiFabio, C.S.C.S. So practice the preexhaustion principle. Do a few sets of leg curls at the start of your leg workout to build your hamstrings before you squat. Then use the squats to push the hamstrings even further. This will help them keep up with your quads and also help prevent injury.

2. Move the Weight to the Front During Squats
It’s easier to keep your back upright—and avoid injury—if you hold the weight across your chest, not behind your neck. This position also generates more power.

3. Stagger Your Squat Stance Every Third Workout
“It will prevent your dominant leg from doing more than its share,” says Gunnar Peterson. Simply move one foot a few inches ahead of the other.

4. Make Like a One-Legged Romanian
Single-leg Romanian deadlifts strengthen the hamstrings and create more flexibility, says Carter Hays, C.S.C.S. Stand holding a light dumbbell in your right hand. Lift your left leg off the floor and keep it close to your right leg. Bend forward at the hips to lower the weight to your right shin. Slowly stand up. Do two or three sets of 15 reps on each leg.

5. Squeeze Your Knees
This move works your hamstrings and glutes, and will aid in preventing groin pulls, says Larry Brun, C.S.C.S. Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor. Place a squeeze ball between your knees. Lift your hips until only your heels, upper back, and head touch the floor. Pause, then lower your hips toward the floor without touching it, and repeat.

6. Finish with Walking Lunges
“They’re a greater challenge at the end of your leg workouts,” says Shawn Arent, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., of Rutgers University. Take large steps forward until the thigh of the front leg is parallel to the floor and the knee is over (not past) your toes.

7. Pedal Your Stationary Bike with One Leg
“This targets your hamstrings. You have to pull the pedal up to complete each rotation,” says German mountain biker Lado Fumic. Pedal with one leg for 60 seconds, then switch. Then spin easily using both legs for 30 seconds. Repeat this six to eight times.

8. Warm Up Actively
Take your joints through a full range of motion to prepare for challenging workouts, says Crosby. Place your right hand on a doorjamb, and swing your right leg forward (through the open door), then backward (bring your heel to your butt). This loosens your quads and hamstrings. Then swing your leg from side to side with your toes pointed down to stretch your thighs. Repeat with your left leg.

9. Change Your Center of Gravity
Make balancing during a single-leg squat even harder by using your arms: Stand with your right foot slightly off the floor (don’t move it behind you) and your right arm straight above you. Bend both knees to lower your body, then bend forward and reach for your left foot with your right hand. Return to the starting position, finish a set, and repeat on the other side.

10. Split Your Cardio in Thirds
Do three 10-minute bouts on three different machines. “You’ll work more muscle mass and burn more calories,” says Jordan.

A Broader Back

1. Embrace Depression
Before a set of lat pulldowns, grab the bar with an overhand grip and your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Squeeze your lats to pull your shoulder blades down (it’s called scapular depression), lowering the bar just a bit. Hold for a second, then let the bar rise back up. “This helps focus the move on your lats,” says Murphy, who owns Total Performance Sports in Everett, Massachusetts. Do 10 to 12 depressions, then begin your lat-pulldown routine using the same technique to begin each repetition.

2. Issue a Retraction
After you depress your shoulder blades to begin a lat pulldown, focus on retracting, or pulling your shoulder blades together.

3. Stand at the Seated Row
This on-your-feet row will train your back muscles and rear deltoids in a more functional, athletic-stance position, says Brun. Attach a parallel-grip bar to the low pulley and pull it toward your midsection. (Keep your abs drawn in.) Pause, then slowly let your arms extend back out in front of you.

4. Row with One Hand
Working your middle trapezius—a tough muscle to target—can add bulk to the region between your shoulder blades and improve your posture, says Brun. Attach a single handle to the low pulley on the seated row and grab it with your right hand, palm facing down. As you pull the handle, twist your upper body so the handle moves toward your right hip. When your elbow is behind you, squeeze your shoulder blade in toward the midline of your back. Pause when the handle reaches your hip, then return to the starting position. Repeat the move with your left arm.

5. Roll Away Back Pain
Using a foam roll can help your core muscles recover faster and with less pain. Lie on the floor, place a roll under your lower back, and move back and forth over it. Buy two (go to MensHealth.com/foam) and use the second one for the next tip.

6. Roll in Strength Gains
Build your core and back stabilizers with this move from Rankin. Get down on all fours and place one foam roll under your left hand and one under your right knee. Lift your right arm and left leg at the same time (straighten your leg). Maintain a flat back and a tight core. Pause, then return to the starting position. Move the rolls under the opposite hand and knee, and repeat the movement.

Bolder Shoulders

1. Change Your Front Raises
Use a weight plate instead of dumbbells—it takes a great deal of stress off the rotator cuffs, says Murphy. Also, raise the plate to eye level, instead of stopping when your arms are parallel to the floor.

2. Add a Shrug
Instead of lowering the weight at the top of a standing shoulder press, lock your elbows, pause, and shrug as if you were trying to touch your shoulders to your ears. Your trapezius and deltoids will benefit.

3. Switch Gears
Varying the tempo of your lifts can jumpstart muscle growth, says Jim Liston, C.S.C.S. Use a tempo of 4 seconds up, 4 down for eight weight-lifting sessions, then adopt a 2-seconds-up, 2-seconds-down tempo for your next eight.

4. Shrug at the Calf-Raise Machine
Doing a move for your lower body immediately followed by one for your upper body (or vice versa) forces your circulatory system to work harder. “You’ll be more challenged and burn more calories,” says Gunnar Peterson.

5. Work Your Weaknesses
“Strengthening what’s already strong doesn’t lead to tremendous gains,” says DiFabio. “You can produce more results by working a weakness.” Rear deltoids and hamstrings are often underdeveloped in comparison to biceps, pecs, and abs.

6. Use Your Legs for Shoulder Presses
Just a slight dip of the knees as you start each shoulder press will help you push more weight over your head, says Kuebler. Your legs won’t help you lower the load, so your shoulders reap the rewards.

7. Swim Out of Water
Isolate your rear deltoids with this move from Kuebler. Lie chest down on a bench. Hold a 5-pound plate in each hand, arms straight in front of you. Keep one arm still and swing the other arm as if you were swimming freestyle. Alternate sets of six to 10 reps with each arm.

A Stronger Chest

1. Pull the Bar Apart
When you lower the bar as you bench-press, imagine you’re spreading your hands as if you were trying to pull the bar apart. As you push it overhead, imagine pushing the bar back together. “This helps stabilize your shoulders, which helps you lift more weight,” says Hays.

2. Bench with Your Back
It’s not just about heaving weight up into the heavens with your chest and arms. You’ll find that you are able to lift more weight if you press your back and butt into the bench and drive your feet into the floor as you raise the bar, according to Hays.

3. Beat the Clock
Perform as many reps as you can in a minute. “Your type-2 muscle fibers are required to move a heavy weight, but as they fatigue, your type-1 fibers will kick in to keep you going,” says Murphy.

4. Never Wait for a Piece of Exercise Equipment
Your body is the best fitness tool you have, says Jordan. Next time a bench is bustling, add a set of pushups to your chest routine.

5. Stretch After Your Last Set
“While your heart rate is up, blood is pumped through the working muscles,” says Crosby. By stretching those areas at the end of a workout, you keep your muscles long and strong—instead of short and injury-prone.

6. Twist Your Torso for Power
Rotational exercises can strengthen your core and help you build a powerful chest, says Tyler Wallace, C.P.T., of the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Try this move: Hold a medicine ball in front of your chest. Rotate your upper body and right foot to the left as you toss the ball against a wall 10 feet from you at your right side. After a set, switch sides and repeat for a total of three to five sets of eight to 10 reps.

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Moving Windmills will share William’s inspiring story with his fellow Africans, sparking initiatives to improve their difficult circumstances. William inspired his village to change the way it sees itself, and now because of William, many Malawians are building windmills, digging wells and harnessing their imagination.

What if a whole nation, a whole continent—the whole world—were exposed to his dramatic accomplishments? Through William’s story, the Moving Windmills documentary aims to ignite a new era in Africa, inspired by one boy who overcame a desperate situation.

As with all great stories, William’s is quickly growing to engage and and involve people the world over. Although William’s story is rooted in Africa and the problems facing his local community, the film looks at issues that affect us all: clean water, food production, nutrition, HIV, unemployment, energy, education and natural resources.

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Get more for your core with this cutting-edge exercise

Have you heard the buzzword for the trendiest new way to train your abs? It’s called “dynamic stabilization.” That sounds complicated, but it’s really just a fancy way of describing an exercise that requires you to hold your core stiff while moving other parts of your body. Think of the plank: In this exercise, you basically get into pushup position, tighten your core–as if you’re about to be punched in the gut–and hold for 30 to 60 seconds. That’s a “stabilization” exercise. Now if you lift one of your feet off the floor and raise your knee to your chest–while maintaining that plank position-you’ve just made it “dynamic” as well. Which brings us to this week’s exercise: It’s called the single-leg jackknife, and it’s one of the toughest dynamic stabilization exercises you can do. Watch the video (left) to learn how to do this hard-core ab move. You might just find it’s the best exercise you aren’t doing.

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By: Travis Stork, M.D.

How did they do it? That’s the first question anyone asks when they see a friend or colleague who’s lost a lot of weight, or remade their body into a healthier, leaner version. How did they do it?

Well, it’s no mystery. In fact, one of the most important and intriguing studies ever conducted was put together by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) back in 2006. This is our tax dollars at work, and I’d say we got our money’s worth.

The pages of the study—its catchy title is “Dietary and Physical Activity Behaviors Among Adults Successful at Weight Loss Maintenance”—take all the world’s weight-loss theories and compare them to what works for real people in the real world. It looked at people who won the fat war by losing at least 30 pounds and then keeping the weight off using strategies that will work for you, too.

Keep in mind: It wasn’t a 100 percent success story. The CDC studied 2,124 people, and only 587 of them actually lost the weight and kept it off. But those who succeeded used many of the same strategies, the strategies outlined here.

And for even more ways to revolutionize your diet and get lean for good, check out The Lean Belly Prescription by Dr. Travis Stork. It’s filled with simple strategies that will help you lose weight the same way you gained it: By making easy lifestyle choices that will transform your life—for the better. 

Lean-Belly Strategy #1

Pay Attention to What You Eat
Mindless eating is excessive eating. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts discovered that people who watched TV while they ate consumed nearly 300 more calories than those who dined without an eye on the tube. You need to pay attention to the messages your stomach is sending to your brain; if the TV is blaring, you won’t see the “slow” and “stop” signs.

Lean-Belly Strategy #2

Slow Down
Fast eaters become fat people. If you consciously stop to take a breath between bites, you can cut your food (and calorie) intake by 10 percent, according to researchers at the University of Rhode Island. Special bonus: You can do this in social situations—Thanksgiving dinner at Aunt Marge’s—and nobody will even notice. That is, until you show up next year minus 20 pounds of flab.

Lean-Belly Strategy #3

I Said Slow Down!
It takes 20 minutes for the news that you’ve had enough to eat to travel from your gut to your brain. The reason: Hormones that trigger the “I’m full—stop!” sensation are at the end of your digestive tract, and it takes a while for digested food to reach there. If your mouth is filled with conversation, it won’t be so full of food. Talk more between bites, and weigh less when the conversation/meal is over.

Lean-Belly Strategy #4

Beware the “Healthy” Menu
If you order the stuff that’s supposed to be good for you, you’re likely to underestimate a meal’s calorie total by more than a third, according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. The restaurants know that; now you do, too. So be especially aware when ordering “healthy,” and make sure you have a “to go” box handy to carry leftovers home.

Lean-Belly Strategy #5

Beware the Community Chest
Always serve snacks in a bowl or dish, and put away the packages. Never eat from the bag or container. That way you won’t ever eat an entire bag of something in a single sitting.

Lean-Belly Strategy #6

Beat Hunger with Your Mind
Have a craving even though you ate just an hour ago? Before you indulge your mystery hunger, here’s how to test whether your appetite is real or not: Imagine sitting down to a large, sizzling steak. If you’re truly hungry, the steak will sound good, and you should eat. If the steak isn’t appetizing, it means your body isn’t actually hungry. You might be bored, or thirsty, or just tempted by something you don’t need. Try a change of scenery: Researchers at Flanders University in Australia found that visual distractions can help curb cravings.

Lean-Belly Strategy #7

Redecorate, Repack, Remember
If you don’t have a countertop fruit bowl, buy one so you can grab a peach, banana, pear, or other piece of fruit on your way out the door in the morning, to munch on during your commute. (Plus, it’s fun to throw the core out the window.) Plan a 10 a.m. apple-a-day break. Toss an orange in your briefcase to help you past the mid-afternoon lull (otherwise known as Temptation Time). Make fruit part of your entourage, and it will beat up lesser foods.

Lean-Belly Strategy #8

If You Can’t Bear to Eat Vegetables, Drink Them Instead
That’s right, you could have had a V8—as long as it was the low-sodium variety. It has pureed tomatoes, beets, carrots, celery, spinach, lettuce, parsley, and watercress, and 8 ounces supplies two of your five recommended daily servings of vegetables. It also heats up nicely as a base for soups.

Lean-Belly Strategy #9

If You Can’t Bear to Eat Vegetables, Hide Them in Your Pasta Sauce
And no, neither you nor the kids will notice. Using a fine grater on your food processor, grate 2 cups total of onions, garlic, carrots, beets, and zucchini (or any combo thereof), then sauté the microscopic vegetable bits in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add 4 cups of basic marinara sauce and simmer to an anonymous tomato flavor.

Lean-Belly Strategy #10

If You’re Not Yet Drinking Smoothies, Why Not?
Have you read the label of your fruit juice? Lots of sugar (however “natural” it is) and not much fiber, which means it’s a carb bomb when it hits your bloodstream. Not so with a blended smoothie, because ingredient number one is whole fruit, making the sugar content drop and the fiber climb.

Two tips: Use frozen fruit; buy it by the bag in your store’s freezer section. And buy a wand mixer and a small pitcher so you can mix your smoothie in the same container you drink it from; it’s much easier than washing out a blender. Almost any fruit-and-berry combo will do, but you can start with this recipe: 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 banana (peeled ones freeze well), 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 2 tablespoons whey powder (it’s in the supplements aisle in the grocery store), 1 cup 2% milk, and 1 cup water.

Lean-Belly Strategy #11

Buy Smaller Dishes
According to the food scientists at Cornell University, people tend to eat as much food as will fit on their plates. That’s where “duh!” overlaps with dangerous. Over the past 100 years, our plates have grown, decade by decade. And we also know that the nation’s obesity rates have grown exponentially in that time as well. No, it’s not a coincidence. If you dine off of smaller plates, you’ll grow smaller, too. Shoot for 9 inches in diameter, and you’ll be on your way.

Lean-Belly Strategy #12

Drink out of Skinny Glasses
As have gone dinner plates, so have gone drinking glasses. And if you fill the newly cavernous ones with any kind of sweetened beverage, you’ll overindulge in calories. But here’s a smart tip: We tend to gauge our drink sizes by how tall, not how stout, our drinking glasses are. So if you buy tall, skinny ones, you’ll think you’re drinking more even though you’re drinking less.

Lean-Belly Strategy #13

Never Eat from the Box, Carton, or Bag
Those same clever food scientists at Cornell did an experiment in which they gave one set of moviegoers giant boxes of stale popcorn and another set smaller boxes of stale popcorn. The big-box people ate more than the small-box people. The theory: You gauge the amount that’s “reasonable” to eat by the size of the container it’s in. Put two cookies on a plate, put a scoop of ice cream in a bowl, or lay out a small handful of potato chips on your plate, then put the container away; you’ll eat far less of the treat.

Lean-Belly Strategy #14

Limit the Fried Stuff
Fun fact: Fast-food burgers and chicken from KFC and McDonald’s are the most frequently requested meals on death row. It kinda makes sense. The inmates won’t be around to suffer the aftermath. Fried foods are packed with calories and salt, and that crunchy, oily coating beats down any nutritional qualities that whatever is entombed inside might have.

That said, eating one piece of fried chicken won’t be, um, a death sentence, if it’s surrounded on the plate by generous helpings of vegetables and you follow with fruit—not more fat—for dessert. What’s more, the fat in the chicken will help you absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the veggies.

Lean-Belly Strategy #15

Eat the Good Stuff
Make sure your diet is filled with healthy fats in the forms of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines), fatty fruits (avocados), extra-virgin olive oil, eggs (among the healthiest foods known to humankind), and healthy-fat snacks (nuts are nutritional powerhouses and keep you feeling full). I even give bacon in moderation a green light; at only 70 calories per strip, it carries big flavor and belly-filling capabilities.

Lean-Belly Strategy #16

Wear Your Milk Mustache with Pride
Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheeses all contain slow-to-digest protein and healthy fat, so they can be excellent belly fillers. And studies have suggested that the calcium in dairy products may aid weight loss. Make them part of your diet and you’ll find the cow elbowing aside lesser members of the food kingdom.

Lean-Belly Strategy #17

Eliminate Sweetened Beverages
If you’re going to follow only one piece of advice in this article, make it this one. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Drinks with added sugar account for nearly 450 calories per day in the average American’s diet. That’s more than twice as much as we were drinking 30 years ago. If you’re looking for a way to cut unnecessary daily calories to help you lose a pound a week, wean yourself from the overload of sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages.

No, artificially sweetened sodas are not okay. Even if they have few calories or no calories, they maintain or increase your taste for highly sweetened foods, so you seek out the calorie payload elsewhere. Worse yet, they crowd out the healthy beverages. My prescription: Out with the bad, in with the great—in taste and nutrition.

Lean-Belly Strategy #19

Reduce Your Intake of Food Prepared Away From Home
When you let somebody else prepare your food—especially if it’s a teenager in a paper hat—you lose control over what you eat. And the fast-food companies, being what they are, encourage all of your worst eating habits by stuffing their products with crave-inducing ingredients like unhealthy fats, sugar, and salt. If you can stay out of the drive-thru, you can shrink your calorie intake every day.

Lean-Belly Strategy #20

Keep a Food Diary
Clearly, this weight-loss technique isn’t for everybody. It’s a hassle to write down every little thing you eat, day after day. But it’s strikingly effective for those who do it. My advice: Try it for a week so you can get a handle on how many sodas you drink and under what circumstances, when you’re most likely to veg out with a bowl of chips in front of the TV, and when your dessert cravings strike. That will help you identify your dietary danger zones and lead you to strategies that save pounds.

But it wasn’t just dietary changes that helped all those folks lose all that weight. Becoming active was another enormous factor in leading the successful losers into the promised land of the lean (but not hungry): exercising for 30 or more minutes per day, and adding physical activity to daily routines. Clearly, these are Lean Belly Prescription kind of people. And that provides a great segue to talking about the activities that these “successful losers” used to shed fat and keep it off .

Here’s why it’s so important to keep both healthy eating and exercise going as your one-two punch against belly fat. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology reported that when people chose healthier foods and combined that benefi t with exercise, they torched 98 percent of their weight directly from their fat stores. People who changed their diets alone were much more likely to break down muscle for fuel, and that’s a big problem. Muscle is one of your prime metabolism boosters, so it will help you burn fat for up to 24 hours after a workout. So let’s tackle the activity list, and give you strategies to make the most of it.

Lean-Belly Strategy #21

Walk for Exercise
I consider that great news. Is there a simpler exercise than walking? Is there a better way to incorporate talking with friends and loved ones into your fitness plan? Is there anything else that gets you out among your neighbors at a pace that lets you say hello? And is there anything that makes your dog happier than your saying the magic word walk?

A study from the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada (a lovely place for a walk, mind you) found that largely sedentary people who wore a pedometer for 12 weeks increased their total steps by 3,451 a day, to about 10,500. By walking more, they also lowered their resting heart rates, BMIs, and waist measurements. Once you start paying attention to footsteps, you’ll find ways to bank the extra strides. Thirty here, 300 there, 1,000 after dinner, and suddenly you’re walking away from your old weight. Why not start right now? The closer you pay attention, the more you’ll walk. And the more you walk, the greater the temptation will be to mix in an even bigger calorie burner: running.

Lean-Belly Strategy #22

Lift Weights
I suspect that for 81 percent of you, the picture that just flashed in your mind was of a no-neck Bulgarian weight lifter straining as he hoisted a steel beam over his head in the last Olympics. I know that isn’t you.

But you should still be taking advantage of the weight lifter’s advantage: Muscle is the all-night convenience store of fat burning—it never shuts down. Not only do you burn a ton of calories while you’re actually exercising, but there’s also a big afterburn effect that kicks in. Your body has to expend energy to cool you down and repair the small tears in muscle fibers that happen when you lift. (Don’t freak out. If you lift reasonable-size weights, you won’t tear muscles, you’ll just push the muscle fibers hard enough to make them grow.)

Lean-Belly Strategy #23

Exercise Regularly
Believe it or not, “none of the above” is a legitimate option when it comes to physical activity, because there’s nothing magical about running or weight lifting or even walking. They’re just the most common activities people choose in order to add more activity to their days. The only one that’s important to you is one that a) you enjoy, b) fits into your life well enough that you can do it most days, and c) allows you to up your energy expenditure.

You can do that by adding three 15-minute walks to your day or by scheduling 2-hour bike rides on weekends. Or simply by walking more, standing more, lifting more, and sitting less.

Just look at your whole day as an opportunity to make the smart choices that will help you lose weight and feel better. Achieve that, and where might you be next month? Or next year? Some place far better than where you are today!

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No joke: This might be the best core move yet

Want killer abs? Then check out this amazing new core exercise called the body saw. We guarantee it’ll work every muscle in your midsection like never before. All you need is a pair of Valslides (foam-topped plastic sliders) or a couple of hand towels and a slippery floor (read: hardwood, tile, or linoleum). Now click the video to see celebrity trainer Valerie Waters show you how to do the body saw with perfect form. You might just find it’s the best exercise you aren’t doing.

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By: Greg Presto

Muscles are funny things. They respond to just about any type of training, as long as it’s hard and as long as it’s not the same damn thing you’ve always done. That’s the beauty of density training: It’s a whole lot of stuff you haven’t tried yet. And best of all, it’ll hit your major muscles in a fraction of the time. Instead of counting reps and sets, you’ll focus on the total amount of work you can accomplish in a fixed amount of time. As you progress, you’ll naturally increase your sets and reps, be able to use more weight, and perform exercises that are more challenging. Try this plan, created by David Jack, director of Teamworks Fitness in Acton, Massachusetts, to increase the intensity of your workouts. In only 4 weeks, you’ll create a lean physique that looks like the product of hours at the gym.

Click on for the entire workout, or skip ahead to your skill level:
Basic
Advanced
Expert

Choose Your Workout
Perform each workout as a circuit, completing one exercise after another and resting as indicated.

Do three workouts a week, with at least 1 day off in between.

Weeks 1 and 2
Do 5 reps of each exercise, going from move to move without any rest. For weighted exercises, select a weight that you can lift 10 times. Keep repeating all four exercises until the workout time is up.

Basic: Workout 1
Perform for 10 minutes.
Basic: Workout 2
Perform for 15 minutes.

Advanced: Workout 3
Perform for 10 minutes.
Advanced: Workout 4
Perform for 15 minutes.

Expert: Workout 5
Perform for 10 minutes.
Expert: Workout 6
Perform for 15 minutes.

Week 3
Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, and rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set.

Basic: Workout 7
Perform 2 sets. Rest for 1 minute. That’s one cycle. Complete two more cycles.

Advanced: Workout 8
Perform 2 sets. Rest for 1 minute. That’s one cycle. Complete two more cycles.

Expert: Workout 9
Perform 2 sets. Rest for 1 minute. That’s one cycle. Complete two more cycles.

Week 4
Perform each exercise for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 set. Complete 4 sets, rest 1 to 2 minutes, then move on to the next exercise. Advance to the more difficult versions after you can complete at least 8 reps of each exercise in 20 seconds.

Basic: Workout 10
Advanced: Workout 11
Expert: Workout 12

Pushup

Basic

Pushup
Assume a pushup position, with your hands slightly beyond shoulder-width apart, feet together, and body in a straight line from head to ankles. Lower your chest until it’s an inch above the floor, and then push back up. That’s 1 rep.

Reverse Lunge and 1-Arm Press

Basic

Reverse lunge and 1-arm press
Stand holding a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders. Step back with your right leg (as shown). Then press the dumbbell in your right hand straight above your shoulder. Lower it, and stand back up. Now repeat with your left side. That’s 1 rep.

Inverted Row

Basic

Inverted row
Lie underneath a secured bar. Grab the bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip, your arms and body completely straight, and heels on the floor. Pull your body up (as shown), and return to the starting position.

Prisoner Squat

Basic

Prisoner squat
Place your fingers on the back of your head, pull your elbows and shoulders back, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as far as you can (as shown). Pause, and return to the starting position.

Explosive Pushup

Advanced

Explosive pushup
Perform a basic pushup. After lowering your body, push back up with enough force that your hands leave the floor.

Reverse Lunge with 1-Arm Press

Advanced

Reverse lunge with 1-arm press
Perform a reverse lunge with your right leg as you simultaneously press the dumbbell in your right hand straight above your shoulder. Stand, and then lower the weight. Repeat the move with your left side. That’s 1 rep.

Elevated-Feet Inverted Row

Advanced

Elevated-feet inverted row
Perform an inverted row, but first place your feet on a box or bench.

Goblet Squat

Advanced

Goblet squat
Hold a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest, cupping one end of the dumbbell with both hands. Keep your elbows pointed down toward the floor, and perform a squat. Then push back up.

Isometric Explosive Pushup

Expert

Isometric explosive pushup
Perform a pushup, but hold your body in the down position for 3 seconds and then push your body back up explosively.

Isometric Reverse Lunge and Press

Expert

Isometric reverse lunge and press
Do a reverse lunge, but after you lower your body, pause for 3 seconds. Then press both dumbbells above your shoulders. Lower them and return to a standing position, and repeat with your other leg. That’s 1 rep.

Isometric Elevated-Feet Inverted Row

Expert

Isometric elevated-feet inverted row
Perform an elevated-feet inverted row. But after you pull your chest to the bar, pause for 3 seconds at the highest point. Lower your body and repeat.

Isometric Goblet Squat

Expert

Isometric goblet squat
Perform a goblet squat, but pause for 3 seconds at the lowest point of your squat. Then push back up to the starting position and repeat.

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Dr. Robyn Silverman, child/adolescent dev specialist, body image expert, founder/creator of Powerful Words Character System, & author of, “Good Girls Don’t Get Fat” w/ the Nov 2010 Powerful Word — Patience!

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bench_1.jpg

Here’s the key to building tremendous strength in little time: Perform exercises that work a single set of muscles while allowing others to recover, even when rest periods are short, says Mark Philippi, C.S.C.S., the owner of Philippi Sports Institute.

First, perform 1 set of each of the four exercises.
Next, do 1 set of deadlifts, followed by 1 set of bench presses. Rest 60 seconds between sets; do this combo a total of 3 times.
Last, perform 1 set of reverse lunges and 1 set of diagonal lifts/presses. Rest 30 seconds between sets; do this combo a total of 3 times.

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Deadlift

Bend at your hips and knees and grab the bar overhand, your hands about shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, pull your torso back and up, thrust your hips forward, and stand up with the bar. Then lower it, keeping it close to your body. Do 3 to 5 reps.

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Bench Press

Grab a barbell with an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder width. Hold the bar straight above your sternum. Lower it, pause, and press back up. Keep your elbows tucked in so that your upper arms form a 45-degree angle in the down position. Do 3 to 5 reps.

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Barbell Reverse Lunge

Hold a bar across your upper back with an overhand grip. Step backward with your right leg and lower yourself until your right knee nearly touches the floor. Pause, and quickly push back to the starting position. Do 8 reps; switch legs and repeat.

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Diagonal Lift and Press

Hold a weight plate in front of your thighs. With your feet shoulder-width apart, squat and rotate your torso (and the plate) to the right. Then stand and rotate left while lifting the plate up and across your chest until it’s over your left shoulder and your arms are locked. Lower the weight. Do 5 reps, and then switch sides.

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