Fitness Tip Of The Week: Increase Upper Body Strength With This One Move

Most people don’t use the muscles in their arms, chest and back nearly as much as they should.

If you go for a brisk walk or a quick run that’s great for your heart and will help keep the legs strong, but these common workouts only use the muscle groups in one half of your body.

Unless you’re doing specific strength exercises to prevent muscle loss, the upper body gets weak.  The muscles begin to atrophy and day-to-day activities become more of a challenge.  Eventually you’ll find that you look more frail and aren’t able to stand up as straight as you’d like.  This is the result of both muscle and bone loss.

Push-Up

Flickr photo by mewall82

You can turn that upper body muscle and bone loss around with one simple exercise. The push-up. When you do a push-up you’re working your shoulders, chest, triceps, biceps, and core.

How To Do A Basic Push-Up 

There are a number of ways to execute a push-up (we’ll talk more about that in a minute) but the same, basic rules apply to all of them.

1. Get down on the floor on your hands and toes. Position the arms so that they are wider than your shoulders.

2.  Slowly lower your upper body down to the floor. Make sure you keep your back flat and your core muscles tight. It’s important that the body stays in a straight line throughout the exercise.  If you’re able to check out your form in a mirror, that’s a good way to make sure you’re doing it right.

3.  Once your nose is almost down to the floor, slowly push back up to starting position.

4.  Try to be aware of your breathing so that you’re inhaling on the way down to the floor, and exhaling on the way up.

Push-Up Tips

If you haven’t done push-ups for a while just one will get you started.  Rest and then do one more.  Do as many as you can each day and don’t get discouraged if you can’t do many at one time.

You get the same benefits if you break up your sets and do them at different times of the day. For example, rather than trying to do 20 push-ups at a time, do 10 in the morning and 10 in the afternoon.  Make it a goal to increase the number of push-ups that you do each week.

As you progress you can add some variety to your push-ups by placing your hands in a staggered position on the floor, decrease or increase the distance between your hands, or put your feet on a box or bench that is slight higher than your hands for a decline push-up (pictured below).

Decline Push Up

Decline push up (flickr photo by shawnbrowntraining)

At first push-ups might seem hard  but in no time your upper body strength will increase and you’ll be able to handle the workload without resting.

The increase in muscle mass that you’ll gain from doing push-ups and squats every day is crucial to maintaining precious muscle and bone mass and will help keep those extra pounds away.  Plus adding muscle to your frame will improve your body composition so you’ll look and feel better.

Still Need Convincing?

New research from the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests that people that have more muscle mass live longer. One of the doctors associated with the project said that instead of worrying about weight or body mass index we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.

What’s your favorite upper body strengthening exercise?

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Fitness Tip Of The Week: 100 Squats A Day. Everyday.

You can get big results from doing 100 Squats A Day. Everyday.

Sometimes just doing one simple thing can make a big difference.  It’s easy to get into the habit of thinking that if you’ don’t have at least 30 minutes to work out you might as well forget it.

No true.

A lot of days I’m busy too but I’ve decided that I am going to add 100 squats a day to whatever it is I’m already doing.

There are a lot of reasons to add 100 squats a day.  The main one is to look better in jeans and a swim suit. Bikini season will be here before you know and, I don’t know about you, but my body isn’t ready.

Plus, doing 100 squats a day is easy.  It only takes a few minutes, you don’t need any special equipment or a gym membership.  You can do them in your bathroom while you’re brushing your teeth in the morning, in the evening while you’re preparing dinner, or in front of the TV at night.

It doesn’t matter where or when.  Just get them done!

There are many ways to squat but to get results the basic squat will do:

Squat

Add some weights to your squats (as in dumbbells, a weighted bar or medicine ball):

Squats with weight

Or do a plyo squat by adding a jump at the end:

 

Plyo squat

However you decide to do your squats, make sure that you’re in good form. You want your hips to drop behind your knees and over your heels.  Be careful not to push your weight out over your knees. The best way to make sure you’re doing the perfect squat is to pretend you’re sitting down in a chair that someone is pulling away from you.  You have to stick your booty way to the back to reach it.

The baby in this picture (from Pinterest) has the 411 on squats. (You don’t have to go quite that low though.):

Baby Squatting

Within 10 days you’ll start to see the results of your squats. Your hips and thighs will begin to feel stronger and leaner.  Your winter body will be closer to being bikini ready.

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Strength Training: The Secret to Looking Younger and Better

Walking, running, swimming, biking, or getting on the elliptical for 30 minutes are the most popular forms of exercise and typically what people turn to when they want to lose weight.

If this is how you spend your time at the gym or outdoors, the heart health benefits are undeniable. But, unless you’re pushing around some weights a couple of times a week, you’re missing out on one of the most important components of physical fitness. The one that will make you look younger and better.

Weights

Save Your Muscles

As you age you lose muscle. People that are inactive lose about three to five percent of their muscle mass per decade after the age of 30. That means, by the time you’re 50 you will have lost up to 15 percent. Physically active people also experience age-related muscle loss although not quite as drastically.

The loss of muscle tissue can generate a variety of inflictions including sarcopenia, osteoporosis, weight gain, loss of balance and decreased energy. It is the primary reason why people begin to look frail and weak as they age and many take on a stooped appearance.

Adding a couple of strength training workouts to your cardio routine a couple of times a week can turn these conditions around or prevent them from occurring in the first place. Strength training is the key to looking and feeling younger than your age.

You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment to do some basic exercises that will help you save your muscles.  I’ve picked seven exercises that target the larger muscle groups so you get the best results for your time spent.

If you have time left over and want to work on biceps, triceps and calves – what I call vanity muscles – go for it. But focus first on working the larger muscle groups to prevent overall muscle loss and stimulate muscle gain.

1. Chest Press – Lie on your back on a bench or exercise ball with a dumbbell in each hand. Slowly press your hands to the ceiling and then back down so that the elbows drop slightly below the ball.  Repeat 12 times. Do two sets.

Chest Press

2.  Upper Back or Rear Deltoid Fly – Still holding the weights, stand and bend over so your hands are down by your knees. Lift your arms out to the side as though you’re getting ready to take off and fly.  Release slowly to starting position. Focus on pulling the shoulder blades together in the back.

Rear Deltoid Fly

3.  Clean and Press – This is a multi-purpose exercise.  It works the large muscle groups in the legs as well as shoulders. Holding the dumbbells down by your sides, squat down slowly. As you come up, push weights overhead to a shoulder press.  Release the weights back down and repeat.

Clean and press

4.  Dead Lift – This exercise works the hamstrings.  Start by holding a weight, weighted ball or kettle bell in front.  Slowly bend over lowering the weight down to the floor.  Try to keep your knees straight as you bend over. Slowly come back up to starting position.

Dead Lift

 

5.  Side Leg Raise – Having strong abductors (outer thighs) will help you maintain balance. In a standing position or laying on your side on the floor, slowly lift one leg away from the body and back in 12 times.  Repeat on the other leg. Using a resistance tube will make this exercise more challenging.

Side Leg Raise

6.  Push-Ups – On your knees or with toes on the floor, place hands under your shoulders and lower your chest down to the floor. Come back to starting position and repeat.

Push Up

7.  Plank – With your elbows and toes on the floor, tighten your tummy and hold your body in a straight line for 10 seconds.  Work up to holding the position for 30 seconds and eventually a minute.

Elbow Plank

There are numerous variations to these moves, but if you want to get started with some basic exercises that don’t take a lot of time or equipment these should do the trick.

Try to do two sets of 12 of each exercise two to three times a week.  When they start to feel easy to you keep challenging yourself by increasing the weight or adding a weight bar or other equipment such as kettle bells. You should notice some noticeable changes within three to four weeks.

Strength training will save your muscle and your bones. Did I mention that these basic strength training exercises will make you look better?

(Pics are from Pinterest. Click on the picture to see the source.)

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The Downside of Extreme Workouts You Might Not Know About

You might be a CrossFit or HIIT junkie.  If you’re not, you probably know someone who is.

High Intensity Interval Training, CrossFit and Sparten workouts are some of the most popular fitness programs of the decade.  These killer workouts turn couch potatoes into lean, mean machines in a few weeks and challenge even the most athletic individuals to train outside of their comfort zone.

CrossFit

CrossFit Workout   (Flickr photo by Julianne)

Doctors are now urging participants to approach these extreme workouts with caution due to an increase in a condition known as rhabdomyolysis that has become more common with their rise in popularity.

What is Rhabdomyolysis (rhabdo)

Rhabdomyolysis takes place when muscle fibers break down and release their contents into the bloodstream which, in severe cases, can lead to kidney failure.  There are many causes of rhabdo.  The most common are extreme muscle strain from exercise, a crush injury that occurs from a car or other crash, and the use of both legal and illegal drugs.

A quick Google search will lead you to numerous stories about people who went to a fitness class, pushed themselves to the limits and wound up in the hospital the next day. Jay Armitage, who was interviewed by Global News, says she came down with rhabdo after attending her first Spartan workout class.

She describes the workout as being like nothing she had ever done before.  “We’re talking kettle bells, we’re talking burpees, endless amounts of using your own body weight to do sumo squats, push-ups and it just went on . . . .,” Armitage said.

The next day she was in such agony she couldn’t move her arms to do her hair or dress herself. She was in incredible pain and she noticed her arms were swollen. Armitage was diagnosed with rhabdo and hospitalized.  In the hospital she was hooked up to IV fluids to flush the muscle tissue out of the blood and was closely monitored for kidney and liver failure.  A nurse that was treating Armitage said her Creatine Kinase (CK) levels were hovering around 95,000.

A CK test measures the amount of the protein, creatine kinase, in your blood.  Normal levels are between 120 and 150. Levels outside of the normal range can end up damaging the kidneys.  Sometimes that damage is irreversible.

Symptoms of Rhabdo

The symptoms are very similar to those experienced by Armitage:

  • Painful, swollen, bruised or tender areas of the body
  • Muscle weakness or trouble moving arms and legs
  • General feeling of illness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion, dehydration, fever, or lack of consciousness
  • Dark-colored urine, reduced or no urine output.
  •  
    Early diagnosis of rhabdo can lead to good outcomes. Outside of spending a couple of unpleasant days in the hospital, most people with rhabdo can expect to have a full recovery although there are personal stories on the internet that tell a grimmer tale of people with extreme cases that have long term muscle and kidney damage.

    Rhabdo doesn’t just occur after an intense CrossFit, Sparten or boot camp workout.  Runners, weight lifters and athletes can also suffer from muscle tissue melt down.  In 2011 the University of Iowa had 13 of their football players hospitalized early in the training season after an extreme strengthening workout.

    Experts agree physically fit people don’t have to worry about rhabdo as much as the weekend warrior or a person just starting into a fitness program does.  However, the effects of rhabdo can be even more dangerous for an athlete because there is more muscle available that can break down, therefore more tissue available to get into the bloodstream.

    They also agree that it is up to fitness trainers and instructors to warn their participants of the risks of over doing it and coach them to start slow and work up to their goal.

    What This Means For You

    This article wasn’t written to condemn CrossFit, HIIT or boot camp workouts.  I’m a big fan of all three and admit that I find myself in the no-pain-no-gain category when it comes to exercise.  But, after researching this sometimes fatal condition, I plan to do a better job of checking myself when I find I want to push someone too far or tell them that they can do something that they may not be ready for. I think I owe that to them.

    As a participant, you owe it to yourself to stay in tune with what you can and cannot do and not cross that line because of peer pressure or an overzealous fitness instructor.

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Tired, Bored and Lazy? What You Need Is A Fitness Challenge.

I’m over winter!

How many times have you heard someone say that the past three months?

The snow and freezing cold temps have been relentless this winter.  An outdoor thermometer with a -10 reading and a new winter weather alert every three days can obliterate your motivation to do anything.  Especially go to the gym or do a workout at home.

Maybe what you need is a challenge; one that you don’t have to leave the warmth of your own home to participate in.

Below are six to web sites that offer  a variety of health and wellness challenges that will keep you moving and buoy your motivation until warm weather.

1.  Skinnyo .com is the ultimate on-line challenge site.  At Skinnyo you can start or join a challenge and get support from the other Skinnyo groupies.  The challenges range from sexy legs and arms to wedding weight loss.  Join the site for free, update your profile and get started.

Skinnyo

 

2.  30 Day Challenges.com – If you have a little black dress you’d like to get into or want to look good at the beach this summer, 30 Day Challenges.com will make sure you’re ready.  Beyond challenges, the site  has a how-to page that shows the proper way to do the challenge exercises, a healthy recipe tab, and a forum where you can interact with other participants.  It’s free and easy to navigate.

30 Day Fitness Challenge

 

3.  Eat. Drink. Be Skinny!.com – There are 12 challenges that you can join at Eat, Drink and Be Skinny.  What’s interesting about this site is they are not all fitness challenges.  There is a nutrition and juicing challenge that will help you put the exercise and eating together for big results.  The site belongs to Teresa Marie Howes, who holds a certification from the American Council on Exercise in personal training and has a background in nutrition.

Eat Drink and Be Skinny

 

4. 21 Day Fitness Challenge.com – There are four unique challenges at 21 Day Fitness.com.  A Health and Fitness Challenge, More Energy Now Challenge, Fight Type 2 Diabetes Challenge and a Faith and Family Challenge.  Each challenge incorporates a variety of activities specific to the goals. Once you register, there is a daily dash board that you can log into to record your progress.  Plus, you’ll receive daily e-mail reminders to keep you on track.

21 Day Challenge

 

5.  SkinnyMs. Fitness com – Train like a Navy Seal, ramp up your cardio with a Tabata challenge or sign up for a 7-day strength and stamina workout.  There’s plenty of motivation at Skinny Ms Fitness.  The site has short videos that provide exercise demos so you can make sure you’re doing the exercises correctly.  Not all of the challenges are based on exercise goals.  For example, if you want to tackle your sugar problem, join The Sweetest Challenge and kick your sugar addiction to the curb.

Skinny Ms

 

6.  Challenge Loop.com – There is challenge here for everybody.  Weight loss, no dessert, run a marathon, and walk the dog can all be found at Challenge Loop. What’s fun about this web site is you get to post pictures that reflect your personal experiences.  For example, at the Home Cooking challenge people are posting pics of the stuff they are fixing in their own kitchens.  There are even ways to win prizes at the loop and, unless I’m missing some fine print, they are all free of charge.

Challenge Lop

The variety of challenges found at these six web sites is amazing.  Add to that that they are all free and there’s no excuse not to sign up! Get your friends and co-workers to join with you and make it even more fun.

Do you have a favorite on-line challenge?

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What You Can Learn From Star Trainer Michelle Bridges: Just Friggin Do It!

“Success is all down to how badly you want it.  Nothing will ever be handed to you, and if it is you never appreciate it anyway. Successful people are hard workers.  Period!”
– Michelle Bridges

There’s a lot you can learn from Michelle Bridges. Not just in relation to reaching your health and fitness goals, but about life in general.

Michelle has been a trainer on the Australian version of The Biggest Loser since 2007. She is the author of eight bestselling books including Crunch Time: Lose Weight Fast and Keep It Off, and Losing the Last 5 Kilos: Your Kick-Arse Guide to Looking and Feeling Fantastic.

Michelle Bridges

She started the on-line 12 Week Body Transformation program in 2012 and has helped people around the world lose over a million pounds.

Michelle has been a go-getter since she was 14 when she began teaching fitness to the other teenagers at her school.  At the age of 26 she realized that it was time to take her fitness career to the next level and moved to Sydney, Australia where, with $275 in the bank, she began her own personal training business, became a freelance group fitness instructor and a trainer for Les Mills.

The business that she began with $275 is now a multi-million fitness empire that reaches people across the globe.

Her enthusiasm for health and fitness is infectious and engages millions of people around the world. Much of her inspiration comes from her “don’t overthink it, just friggin do it” mantra.

Besides, “just friggin do it”, here are five things that you can learn from Michelle:

1.  Motivation Is Like A Bad Boyfriend – Michelle is shocked by the obesity epidemic that is facing many countries and says that people are eating their way to the grave.  She believes part of the problem is that people are hung up on motivation and if you’re waiting around for it, it may never come. Losing weight isn’t about motivation.  “No way.  Motivation is a crock, you see.  I’m in the motivation business; but motivation is like a bad boyfriend.  He’s never there when you need him.”  Michelle says being healthy is about forming good habits and practices.”

2.  No Matter What Exercise You’re Doing, Go Hard In the End – Michelle calls this the Final Blast and says it’s what you have to do at the end of every workout.  “Leave it all on the field.  Hold nothing back.  Go all in.”  Whatever you’re doing, whether it’s running, doing ab crunches or squatting, the final push at the end will help your fitness go up and your weight go down.

3.  Don’t Let Low Temps Keep You From Training – Michelle answers the age old question, “How do you stay motivated to exercise in the winter?” She says she likes to look at winter exercise as “a time of careful preparation for the coming spring and summer.” If you’re not sure how to approach exercise during the winter months, consult with a personal trainer who can help you put a plan in place. Whatever you do, don’t use the winter months as an excuse not to exercise.

4.  Unless You Change Your Mind Set Your Weight Loss Endeavors Will Fail – One of the biggest challenge Michelle faces in helping people achieve their weight loss goals is getting them to overcome the victim mentality and the blame game.  They say “It’s not my fault, it’s my children’s fault.” Or, “It my husband’s fault. When the truth is staring back at them from the fridge.” Her advice is to ditch the victim mentality and start accepting responsibility for absolutely everything you do. Everything.

5.  Accept Your Body For The Things It Can and Cannot Do – Comparing ourselves with others isn’t just bad.  It’s disastrous. You probably heard your parents tell you when you were young that there will always be someone better looking, smarter, and more athletic than you.  Michelle agrees.  “Put the work into your emotional self to get to a state of truly accepting your body as the gift that it is – the way it looks, and the things it can and can’t do.” It’s okay to be you.

Globe Trotter

Last year Michelle came to the United States to launch her 12 Week Body Transformation and is quickly becoming a fitness celebrity here too.  She is in the business of changing lives and works to help people conquer their mental barriers about weight loss, food and exercise.

According to Michelle, “The whole yo-yo—up-down, off-on, in-out is far more damaging than being overweight will ever be because that stuff messes with your head.  It’s almost like psychological obesity.  Then I come in with a sledgehammer and go, “Right. Let’s get real!”

For more information about the 12 Week Body Transformation, click here.

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Eight Amazing At-Home Workout Channels For Free On YouTube

We’re in the dog days of winter if there is such a thing.  Snow and ice combined with bitter cold temps mean low motivation to pack clothes and go to the gym, work up a sweat, and then head back out into the cold.

If you’re not getting to the gym or outdoors to walk or run as often as you’d like, there are some amazing workouts to be found on-line.  Most of these workouts require minimal equipment.  All you need to do is carve out a space for yourself at home and get to work.

Pop Sugar's Fit Sugar channel has a variety of workouts for all fitness levels.

Pop Sugar’s Fit Sugar channel has a variety of workouts for all fitness levels.

Since the death of Exercise TV (may it rest in peace) in 2011 there have been tons of people looking for an alternative. I know this because the majority of hits on this web site have been the result of search engine traffic generated as a result of a “What Happened To Exercise TV?” post that I published on December 13, 2011.

There is no shortage of at-home workouts on YouTube which leaves no excuses for not getting your sweat on even if it’s zero outside. Below are eight of the best (that I’ve found) workout channels on YouTube.  If you know of one I haven’t mentioned, please share, share, share by leaving a comment in the box below.

Thanks!

1.  Fitappy – The creator of Fitappy claims she’s a regular girl that likes to workout.  She’s a martial artist that competes in traditional Japanese Karate and in her bio she says “exercising is her top priority”.  She has created a variety of workouts that include cardio, tabata, strength and flexibility and she offers them to you for free on her You Tube channel Fitappy.

2.  Christine Salus – Christine offers full body workouts  and many require no equipment. Many of the workouts are intense and probably wouldn’t be labeled for beginners.  But if you’re looking for a quick ten or twenty minute workout that gets the job done, check out Christine here.

3.  Bryan Jones – Bryan is everything yoga.  I stumbled across his channel when I was searching for ball exercise ideas for a class that I was subbing this week.  Bryan is incredibly strong and has a wide variety of yoga methods for you to try. If you like to do ab exercises with a ball check out his “100 Exercises On The Ball” video. You can find all of his yoga and ball workouts here.

Bryan Jones Collage

Bryan’s 100 Ab Exercises On The Ball video.

4. Melissa Bender – I mentioned Melissa in my Link Love post last Friday because I had just found her on YouTube and was amazed by the number and quality of workouts that she posts.  She has both full body workouts and workouts that are specific to certain muscle groups.  For example, the Exercise Tummy Tuck (no surgery required) is an 18 minute program that focuses on – you guessed it – core. Check out Melissa Bender here.

5.  HASFit – Coach Kozak has an endless supply of energy that he channels to you via YouTube workouts.  From a 12 minute 6-Pack Workout to a 25 minute beginner cardio program, there’s something here for everyone. I’ve followed HASFit for several years and the workout videos never end.  The coach is knowledgeable and motivating and will help you beat the winter blahs.  Check HASFit out here.

6. XHit – As Jillian Michaels would say, this isn’t your mother’s workout.  XHit offers a little higher intensity, but has some fun stuff too. XHit has the Full Body Twerkout, Beyonce Butt Workout, How To Get Legs Like Jennifer Lawrence and a variety of celebrity workouts.  They can all be found here.

Celebrity workouts from XFit.

Celebrity workouts from XFit.

7. Pop Sugar - Pop Sugar’s Fit Sugar is one of the more popular and well-known places to go for at-home workouts but I thought it was still worth mentioning. There is a lot of variety in these workouts and anyone could adapt them to their fitness level. They are moderate intensity and perfect for an at-home workout. You can find the workouts here.

8. Jessica Smith TV – It would be impossible not to love Jessica Smith and her workouts. I love that she uses music in the background.  So far, she is the only one that moves to the beat. Jessica also has a web site where she posts her workouts, weight loss tips, healthy how-tos’ and a blog that she updates regularly.  Catch Jessica’s workout channel here.

Jessica's Core Floor workout.

Jessica’s Core Floor workout.

Exercise TV may be long gone but, there are so many quality workouts on YouTube, we need to no longer mourn its passing.

Do you have a go to site for at-home workouts?

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Summer Arm Challenge, Fitstagrammies, and Free At-Home Workouts. It’s Friday. I’m In [Link] Love.

I ran across a few health and fitness links this week that I couldn’t resist sharing. Winter can be a tough time of year to stay on top of of your fitness goals, but the links below will help.

Happy Friday to everyone! It’s Friday and I’m in [link] love!

Link-Love2

Summer Arm Challenge from SkinnyMs.com – It’s not too soon to think about how your arms will look in tank tops, spaghetti straps and even strapless summer wear.  This seven day challenge will get you started on toning and strengthening your arms so that they look great in anything you wear. Of course once you’ve completed the challenge, you’ll need to keep doing the exercises on a regular basis.  Better yet, add some weight and extra reps and you’ll be really summer ready! Check it out here.

The Fitstagrammies: 25 from Life by Daily Burn.com – There are a lot of motivational and inspirational pictures being shared and re-shared on Instagram.  The Daily Burn picked their 25 favorite accounts with links so you can easily find them.  One question.  How in the world does Camille Brown @camille4wildcat do that? The Daily Burn pics are here.

Your Problem Isn’t Motivation by Peter Bregman – A co-worker that I’ve been working with to help her find an exercise program that she enjoys and will stick with sent me this article. Peter Bergman has some good points about how efforts at self-motivation can backfire and have the opposite result along with some tips to help.  If you find the energy and inspiration you had on New Year’s Day has already started to dim, this article can help.

Football Food Makeovers – You don’t have to eat foods that are loaded with bad fats, sodium and sugar on Super Bowl Sunday.  Whether you’re having a party, or need a dish to take to where you’re going, here are 36 healthy ideas for you from Whole Living.com.  And, they all look delicious. You’ll find the recipes here.

Melissa Bender Workouts on YouTube –  I seem to always be scouring YouTube for new workout programs and ideas so I have no clue why it took me this long to discover Melissa Bender.  Melissa Bender is an occupational therapist that that has a passion for fitness.  Melissa is a runner, yoga instructor and the creator of numerous workouts that you can find on her YouTube channel.  I grabbed a screen shot (below) of the one of the core moves from one of Melissa’s Full Body Cardio workouts. I tried it out on my class on Wednesday. It was crazy hard.  The goal was to do 12 reps per side.  I think I made it to 10.

Melissa Bender

The side plank oblique crunch from Melissa. Very challenging!

Six Apps That Will Help You Beat The Treadmill Blues – This is a link back to an article I wrote last year at this time when I realized that many people were having to give up outdoor running for what many of us refer to as ‘dreadmill’ workouts.  These apps will help you survive – and maybe even enjoy – treadmill workouts and you’ll be able to stick with your training program until the snow melts and you can get outside again. Check out the apps here.

That’s my link share for this week.  If you have a link you’d like to share leave it in the comment box below.

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What You Can Learn From Tony Horton

“Do NOT say you “can’t”! You can say, “I don’t want to”. You can say, “I’m not willing to put forth the effort”. But DO NOT say you CAN’T!” – Tony Horton

Tony Horton, one of my favorite fitness icons has released another workout DVD, P90X3, just in time for the holidays.  P90X3 is a series of 30-minute high intensity interval training workouts that promise to get you lean and mean in 90 days. You can watch the clip below to see it’s not your mother’s workout (whatever that means) but can be modified so that it is doable for almost everyone.

I do love Tony Horton’s workouts.  I was a big fan of the 10 Minute Trainer series that he launched in 2007.  From the 10 Minute Trainer evolved the revolutionary concept that we don’t have to work out for an hour everyday to see results. The radical suggestion that people can get fit in 10 minutes a day is now a mainstream belief in the world of fitness training.

Most of all I love Tony for the infectious enthusiasm he has for life, the quirky Tonyisms that he delivers throughout all of the workouts, and the way he projects the notion that if he can do all of these things, so can you and I. Tony is an althletic trainer, leader, mentor, and coach and there’s a lot we can learn from him.

About Tony

Tony was born on July 2, 1958 and raised in Trumbull, Connecticut where he attended the University of Rhode Island.  By 1980 he had left his home state and moved to Los Angeles with the dream of becoming an actor.

While in LA he started working out at the World Gym in Venice, California where he collaborated with former-triathlete and Ironman competitor Mark Sisson who introduced him to interval training.

Tony became a personal trainer and started his own business, ASH Fitness, in Santa Monica, CA where he became the trainer for the stars.  Some of his clients included Billy Joel, Tom Petty, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and Bruce Springsteen.

In the early 2000’s Beachbody recruited Tony to help them develop a workout video in-home boot camp program called Power 90.  In 2004 Tony developed the first P90X series which took the Power 90 program to the next level. In the P90X program, Tony introduced the theory of muscle confusion that has been proven to help participants achieve maximum results and shatter a plateau.

The P90X2 series was launched in 2011 and now, the most recent program,P90X3, is on the market in time for the holidays.  Tony’s home workout series has reached $500 million in sales and he continues to inspire people to get fit without leaving their home.

Tony’s World

There is plenty you can learn from Tony by visiting his web site Tony Horton’s World.com.  He has a question/answer style blog and a ‘Bring It’ sound clip where you can listen to Tony answer fan’s questions about fitness and nutrition.

You can learn the most about Tony by doing his workouts where you can benefit from his persistently intense energy, his ‘no excuses’ outlook, and the Tonyisms that he disburses frequently throughout the program. Here’s a few of my favorites Tony Horton quotes:

  • Don’t let your ego get in the way of your success.
  • Focus on the present moment. Stay in the moment.
  • If you need a break, take a break.  Look at me.  I’m taking a break.  I’m the leader. I can do whatever I want.  But when you’re back, you’re back with a vengeance!
  • Hamburger bad. Fries bad. Coca-cola bad. There I said it. Drink your water people.
  • Do your best and forget the rest.
  • Feel free to laugh, because these are all really funny jokes.
  • Don’t just kinda do it!
  • Clear your mind of all bad things.
  • Yes, I know it’s hard.  It’s supposed to be.
  • Happiness is right here.

Is P90X3 on your holiday wish list?

If you like this article, you might also like What You Can Learn From Diana Nyad and What You Can Learn From Chris Cardell, J.D. Meier, and Pink.

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Burn Calories and Tone Your Tush With the 30 Day Burpee Challenge

I love burpees

Need a way to burn off some of those extra holiday calories?  One of the 30 day burpee challenges may be just what you need.

The standard burpee – like we did in grade school P.E. class – gets your heart rate up and works every muscle in the body.  Burpees are back in vogue now that body-weight exercise programs and HIIT and Tabata workouts are trending.  If you’re like me you have a love-hate relationship with burpees.  I’ve decided to suck up the hate part and have committeed to doing a couple of sets every time I work out.

There are several different burpee challenges circulating on the internet so you have a few to choose from. Pick your poison and get started on one of the challenges below.

But first, in case you’ve forgotten what an actual burpee looks like, here’s a picture:

Burpee

Pinterest photo

1.  Spartan Race 30-Day Burpee Challenge – This challenge is pretty simple.  You do 30 burpees every day for 30 days.  You can break them up into sets of five, 10, 20 and so on.  Whatever works for you.  This challenge has a Facebook page that you can illicit support from.   Click here to join the challenge:  Spartan Race Facebook Page

2.  30 Day Fitness.com  – This 30 day burpee challenge starts out a little slower than the Spartan Race challenge but you really have to up your game by day nine.  Each day you do five more burpees than you did the day before so by the end of the challenge you’re doing 100 (ouch!).  I like this challenge because it breaks you in a little slower, but doing 100 burpees is huge for most of us I’m guessing.  The 30 Day Fitness.com challenge starts here.

3. He and She Eat Clean Bikini Body Burpee Challenge – It’s never too early to start working on your bikini body.  It may seem like you have plenty of time if you live here in Illinois with me, but why mess around and not be ready when the sun finally does make it’s appearance?  This challenge takes it to the next level by adding pushups to the burpees.  And Tiffany of He and She Eat Clean says you can add a set of three to five pound dumbbells if you are looking for even more of a challenge.  Thanks, Tiffany.  I think the no-weight challenge will sufficiently kick my you-know-what.  Check out the bikini challenge here.

4.  Forward From The Heart Burpee Challenge – This one is probably the most doable.  By day 30 of the challenge you’re doing 30 burpees which doesn’t sound too bad after looking at some of the other programs.  You even get some rest days throughout the month.  The goal with the Forward From The Heart challenge is, by the end, to be able to do 30 in a row. Click here for The Heart Burpee Challenge.

Not excited about the burpee challenge just yet?  Here’s a burpee challenge trifecta for you:

5.  Shrinkingjeans.net Gold Medal Ass Challenge – As if the burpee, or the bupree plus pushup challenges weren’t  bad enough, the Shrinkingjeans have created a squat + burpee + wall sit workout.  By day 31 you will be doing 100 squats, two minutes of burpees, and a two minute wall sit.  The good news is you can set your own goals for the two minute burpee blast. Thankfully, Sunday is a day of rest in this challenge because you’re going to need it. The Shrinkingjeans challenge is here.

All of these challenges can be done at home without any equipment.  They will help you bash the winter blues and head off the cold weather weight gain that happens at this time of year.

Do you have a favorite burpee or squat challenge?  Drop a link to it in the comment box below.

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