Also known as static strength training, isometric training involves intense static positions in which there is no shortening or lengthening of the muscle and its associated joints. Isometric exercise is great for beginners and seasoned fitness buffs because it is safe on joints and can build strength and create tone.

Isometric exercises build strength by holding the muscle contraction against resistance, using only body weight or you can add extra weight once the body only weight becomes less challenging. Isometrics are also great for improving body awareness, posture and movement.

I have for you, a leg burning challenge to try in the gym or at home this week. This set of four isometric lower body exercises will focus on boosting muscle endurance and strength. Make sure to start and end the workout with a decent warm-up and cool-down.

This one is ideal for strengthening the outer most muscle that defines the size and shape of the calves.
Stand upright on the edge of a step or bench with your feet shoulder width apart and knees straight. Rise up onto the toes and try to balance your body weight on the balls of your feet. Hold that position for 10 seconds, or longer depending on your fitness level, then slowly lower you heels down until you feel a stretching in the calve muscle. Repeat the exercise. Aim for 3 sets of 5 reps.

This one focuses on the quads and glutes to promote muscle and strength gains.
Step forward into a lunge position and make sure all toes are pointing straight ahead. Now sink down until legs are at 90 degrees and hold that position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Push back up to starting position and change sides. Aim for 3 sets on each side.

This is a challenging exercise that targets the entire lower body. It's ideal for increasing strength and endurance in the calves, glutes and quadriceps.
Start by standing with your upper back and back of head pressed against a wall, with your feet placed about 2 feet out from the wall. Holding your arms across your chest, slowly lower down the wall by bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute before returning to the start position. Rest for 10 seconds and repeat for a total of 3 sets. If you need this to be more challenging, lift one heel for a few seconds and then the other.

This targets the quadriceps at the front of the thigh and hip flexors. Performing this exercise correctly requires a strong static contraction of the core and good range of motion in the hamstrings.
Start by sitting with your tailbone firmly against the back of a firm chair with hands resting on the chair at your sides. Both feet flat on the floor and looking straight ahead, slowly extend your right leg out in front and contract the quadriceps muscle by flexing your foot and toes back toward your shins as much as possible. Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds before lowering your leg to the starting position. Aim for 3 sets of 8 reps per leg.


Exercise during pregnancy can provide a host of benefits. One of the benefits that I think you will find very interesting, was a recent study done by researchers at the University of Montreal. Their overall data showed that newborns with active mothers possessed a greater mental maturity than those with inactive moms. The researchers plan to retest the children once they reach the age of 1 to see if there are any long term effects. Their research was presented at the Neuroscience 2013 annual meeting in San Diego.

My advice on exercise during pregnancy and how I approach it with my pregnant clients is to be consistent with your exercise routine. Inconsistency isn't good for you or the baby. I recommend exercising most, if not all, days of the week.

Feel comfortable continuing your past fitness routine if there are no contraindications and you have clearance from your physician. However, with extreme workouts that incorporate high intensity interval training or Cross Fit type exercises, use caution and always follow your doctors recommendations.

I train my pregnant clients with exercises that target the changes that take place in the body during pregnancy. We focus on core, glute, leg and back exercises. Your back will become weak and your chest and hip flexor muscles will shorten, so modify your routine to counter balance these changes. I like to focus quite a bit on squats and other lower body exercises to prepare for labor. Each of my moms have told me that their labor was easier than their previous labors due to their current fitness routine.

Flexibility during pregnancy is also important, but be careful not to over stretch. There is a hormone that is produced during pregnancy called Relaxin. Relaxin helps your whole body become physically looser to prepare for the changes in the whole body, it even relaxes your arteries to aid in the increase in blood flow.  The tendency to over stretch can occur because now you feel like you can go farther with a stretch than you could prior to your pregnancy, but over stretching can cause injury to the joints so use caution when stretching. I recommend having your trainer show you appropriate stretches for each stage of your pregnancy.
Best to start an exercise program prior to becoming pregnant.


Compound Exercises
Ever feel the incredible abdominal engagement that chin-ups create? Chin-ups, pullups, deadlifts, squats, overhead presses and pushups will thoroughly engage the abdominal muscles. They will not only work these muscles and harden them up, but these exercises will promote lots of fat burning due to their compound nature. The less fat, of course, the more visible the abs will be. So ditch the endless crunches on the mat or crunch machine and replace it with compound movements.

High intensity interval training is a powerful tool for bringing out a six pack because this type of exercise burns a lot of fat. Ever notice that competitive athletes whose sport demands a lot of fast burst of running, always have great abs? Not just track sprinters, but check out the abs of those who compete in basketball, soccer, and tennis. Athletes whose sports require a lot of explosive, fast movement also have great abs, like boxers, martial artists, swimmers and dancers. HIIT can be in the form of box jumping, hill dashing, treadmill high incline walk (no holding on), striking a heavy bag, cycling, sled pushing and staircase dashing.

Like I've always said, “abs are made in the kitchen”! To get the abs to show, you must have a low enough body fat percentage. This is best accomplished with intense strength training, HIIT workouts, and eating in a way that keeps your body fat percentage low. 



The importance of building a strong back extends beyond bodybuilder aesthetics. The muscles in your back serve many functions in everyday movements, from maintaining good posture to carrying heavy objects. Training your back properly will also help reduce back pain, improve overall strength, and help you maintain proper form during your workouts.

Because of your back's complexity, training it properly can be a bit confusing, especially if you're a physique athlete trying to isolate each muscle. Also, because your biceps play a big part in most back exercises, it's easy to depend upon them to do the work instead of your back muscles. If you're not getting results from your back training, it's probably because you're missing out on some key aspects.

The human back is an intricate system of muscles. Each muscle group has its own unique function, yet they must all work together to protect your spine and prevent injury. If you're not sure about the key players back there, check the anatomy chart below.

The most important aspect of back training is to learn how to activate the major muscles and use them appropriately during all lifts. In contrast, untrained lifters can sometimes over-utilize the erector spinae and under-utilize their lats, traps, and rhomboids.

I see a lot of people, mostly guys, working on their bench press to build up their chest, but not giving their back training equal time. It is just as important to train the back as it is every other part of the body. One won't work well without the other!


The all-star supplement in my opinion, and a supplement I feel as though everyone should be adding to their diet. Fish oil is a staple for many people, whether they are in fitness or not. Fish oil has an insane amount of benefits. Some off the top of my head: Lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, reduces total triglycerides, increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind), reduces cognitive decline as we age, helps our brains function properly, and can help increase fat tissue oxidation. Obviously that’s a lot of benefits from one supplement, and many also report a decrease in joint pain when supplementing with fish oil. Two of my favorite reasons for taking a fish oil supplement is it helps me keep my percentage of body fat where I want it and keeps dry skin away.
I have always recommended eating wild caught fish twice a week to get those healthy fats in, but that is not always possible for most people, so taking a high quality fish oil supplement daily is a great option.
The dosage should be a minimum of 250mg daily, but the inflammation reducing effects is seen at 6g daily. I take 6g daily, sometimes doing up to 9g daily.

Fish oil saves my joints and allows me to train as hard as I want to!