Walk Up Hills To triple the number of calories you burn, go for a walk up hills. Walking on hills can burn tons of calories and fat, so you'll work that stomach pooch off faster than you would on flat terrain. Uphill walks are great for strengthening and shaping your lower half -- plus, you'll feel stronger and go faster on level ground. How to do it: Start by changing your walking routine: Twice a week, replace 25 percent of your flat route with short or gradual hills. (New to walking? Start with 20-minute walks that include five minutes of hills.) After two weeks, seek out longer or steeper hills, and add 10 percent more climbing each week. On the days when your not working out with your favorite trainer, (me) go for hilly walk. It is an excellent way to kick things up a notch.
Live in a flat area? Do it on a treadmill: After a 10-minute warm-up, gradually increase the incline from 0 to 2 percent for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, gradually decrease the incline for the same amount of time, finishing with 5 to 10 minutes of flat walking. Each week or two, increase the incline by 1 percent until you can incline it to 10 or 15 percent. Wow! By that time you will see a nice change in your rear view. Don't forget your water bottle and have fun!
FIT TIP #2
Try compound movements this week to save time and burn more fat and tone up faster. Compound movements are workouts that work two parts of the body at the same time or upper body movements combined with lower body movements. For example; alternating lunges combined with side arm raises. OK lets try one!
Step forward with your right foot, bend your knee until your thigh is parallel with the floor, keep your knee behind your toes. Knee and ankle should form a vertical line between each other so that the knee does not go over the toe. Bend your left knee toward the floor without touching the knee to the floor. With small dumbbells (3lbs to 5lbs for beginners) in either hand, raise both arms straight out to the side, keeping arms about shoulder height. Then lower arms down to your side and push off the right front heel coming back up to the starting position. Now lunge forward on the left leg doing the same movements as you did on the right leg. Do 10 to 12 repetitions, 2 to 3 sets and make sure your back is straight, abs are drawn in and you are breathing properly. This is a great exercise for toning the legs,hips, thighs and shoulders. Make this a part of your 30 minute walk up hills and your legs will be unstoppable by next summer.
FIT TIP #3
Last week's fitness tip was about Compound Movements, where we exercise two body parts at the same time. Upper and lower body movements. This weeks example is side to side squats with bicep curls. OK, ready to try it? Stand with your feet hip width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Arms are straight down by your side with palms facing forward. With your right leg, step wide directly to the side and squat down keeping your thighs parallel to the floor and your knees behind your toes. At the same time with palms facing forward, curl both weights up (keeping elbows by your sides) and stop about 3 inches in front of your shoulders. Now driving the weight through your heels stand back up in the starting position and lower the dumbbells to their starting position. Now repeat the same movement with the left side. Continue alternating right side to left side. Do 2 to 3 sets, 10 to 15 reps (depending on your fitness level). For beginners use weights you can lift easily but not so easy that you do not feel some resistance towards the last few reps. Keep your back straight, abs drawn in and breathe correctly. (refer to blog on proper breathing)
This exercise is great for toning your hips, buns, thighs and arms. Add this to the other weekly fit tip exercises and your on your way to a leaner, healthier and happier body.
FIT TIP #4
Push ups folks, yes I said push ups. The basic push up is one of the greatest and most common total body exercises ever and one of the oldest. Not only are push ups great for strengthening the chest, they are great for defining the triceps, back, shoulders and abs. OK, drop and give me 20! I know some of you can do 20 push ups or more, but you would be the minority. If you are new to push ups or have not done them in a while, start with 5 to 10 push ups and you can also keep your knees on the floor until you develop more strength.
Lie prone on the floor, place arms slightly wider than shoulder width. Extend your arms and push your body up off the floor keeping your legs straight, (your body should be in a straight line from your feet to your head). Now, bend your elbows and lower your body towards the floor, keeping your abs drawn in and your body in a straight line. Keeping the abs drawn in will also help to support the lower back and hold that straight body line, (do not stick your butt in the air). Then extend arms again and push your body up. Don't forget your proper breathing. You may not be able to go very low at first, but that is OK, keep working on it and you will improve. If that is still to challenging, remember, you can keep your knees on the floor. If that is still to difficult, you can stand up and do push ups on a wall or on stairs.
Do 3 sets of as many reps as you can with perfect form. Do push ups every week as part of your workout routine and you will start to see a difference in your body in a few weeks.
FIT TIP #5
Since cardio is one of this weeks new blogs, may I suggest Kickboxing or Cardio Kickboxing as it is also referred to. It is an exercise that is not only very popular these days but is truly a great and effective cardio workout. Whether you work out with a trainer, go to a Cardio Kick class or simply put in a DVD and punch it out at home in front of the TV, you will most definitely feel this workout. If you are new to Kickboxing always start with a beginners class or DVD. If you are looking for a high intensity workout that will increase your strength and flexibility while burning fat, then Cardio Kickboxing may be for you. As with any new exercise, take it easy until your body adapts to a new type of move. Also it is OK not to finish a class or DVD until you become stronger. Classes are typically 60 minutes and that is a long time to stay in that much intensity, so remember to pace yourself and have fun with it.
FIT TIP #6
Along with your regular cardio and strength training workouts, maintaining a strong core and good balance must be included. A strong core is the foundation for everything you do in your everyday life including exercise. Without a strong core and good balance as we age, the tendency to fall becomes greater with each passing year. Here is an excellent balance exercise where you have to maintain a strong core in order to complete each rep. It is called a Single Leg Dead-lift Squat. Let's do it together. Stand with you feet hip width apart and pointed straight ahead, lift chest, retract shoulders and place your hands on your hips. Draw in your abs and tighten the glutes, lift one foot just off the floor keeping that foot flexed and parallel to the floor, now slowly bring the raised foot back and bend over from the waist and with both hands touch the floor on either side of the standing foot still keeping the raised foot from touching the floor. Then stand back up straight on the standing leg still keeping the raised foot off the floor. Repeat that 5 to 10 times on each leg. If you lose your balance, tap the raised foot on the floor for a quick second to regain your balance then continue on.
This is a great strengthening exercise for the hips, buns, thighs and the core and it's fun too.
FIT TIP #7
Bones and muscles respond to the stresses placed upon them. So as you strengthen your muscles with exercise, you'll strengthen your bones too.
Weight-bearing, resistance, and balance exercises are just a few of the activities you can do to build and maintain strong healthy bones that are less prone to osteoporosis-related fractures. The earlier you begin a regular exercise program, the better. If you build strong bones early on in life and maintain them as an adult, the less likely you are to have bones that break. If you are new to weight-bearing exercise I have one you can do easily at home with a chair or bench. The exercise is called a Chair Squat. Stand in front of the chair as you would prior to sitting in it. With your feet hip width apart bend your knees and sit on the chair, only for a second, then stand back up keeping your feet stationary and facing straight ahead. Keep your back straight, chest out and breathe. Now repeat for 12 to 15 reps. You will need to use your leg and glute muscles to do this exercise effectively. Try not to move your feet inward or outward upon standing up from the sitting position. Most people find keeping their feet from moving can be the most challenging part of this exercise. Once you have mastered it then try regular squats without a chair. Make sure your trainer instructs you on how to do a proper squat so that you do not injure your knees. Squats done properly are an awesome leg and glute strengthening and toning exercise.
FIT TIP #8
Plyometric exercises are not only fun but great for building strength and power. Athletes from a wide range of sports use plyometric training to help them reach peak physical condition. Let's start with a basic plyometric exercise called a Box Jump.
If you use a step, begin with the platform at it's lowest level (progress by adding risers). Stand in front of the step, brace your abs, bend your knees and jump onto the step with both feet. Stabilize the landing for 2 to 3 seconds, keep knees slightly bent, then step back down and repeat for 10 seconds to 1 minute.
You can also use a staircase. Simply hop up the stairs, landing with both feet on each step. Each time you leap, brace your abs, bend your knees and use your arms to help you keep your balance.
If you can't land with both feet simultaneously, stagger your landing and work your way up to both feet.
This plyometric exercise is very good for building strong sexy legs and buns, so make it a part of your lower body exercise routine like walking up hills and doing squats and lunges.
As with any exercise do not forget to warm up your body before starting.
FIT TIP #9
The Incline Push-up is a great way to start doing push-ups if you are new to the exercise or have not done them for a long time. Ready, lets try a few together! Assume the push-up position, but place your hands on a raised surface such as a box, bench, ottoman, or one of the steps of your stairs instead of the floor. Place your hands about shoulder width apart. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Keeping your abs drawn in and glutes tight, lower your body towards the surface your working on. Pause, and then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as possible. (The higher the surface on which you place your hands, the easier the exercise becomes.) If the incline push-up is too easy, do it the old-fashioned way, with your hands on the floor. Do 12 to 15 repetitions. Incline Push-ups strengthen the chest, shoulders, upper back, triceps and abs.
FIT TIP #10
Want to work your abs? I have just the thing for that. BICYCLES! No, not the kind you ride. These bicycles can be done on the floor in your living room.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and lifted above your hips at a 90 degree angle. Position your fingertips just behind your ears and lift your head off the floor. Extend your left leg out keeping your heels 6 to 12 inches off the floor. Bring your left knee in toward your chest, raise your right shoulder off the floor and twist at your waist so your right elbow touches your left knee. Hold, and repeat with the opposite knee and shoulder. Keep your elbows stable and focus on initiating the twist at your waist. Press your lower back into the floor and draw your bellybutton in toward your spine. Do not hold your breath, you must coordinate your breathing with the movement.
This is a very effective ab exercise. Do as many reps as you can, rest then repeat. Try to ad more reps as your abs become stronger.
One very important point to remember, eat healthy foods in the right portions at the right times and you will eventually be able to see the results of your hard work towards that set of six pack abs.
FIT TIP #11
This week lets do one of my favorite exercises, PLANKS. I love this one because the plank (or hover) is an isolation move used in pilates and Yoga and works the abs, back, arms and legs. The plank also targets your internal abdominal muscles.
OK ,lets do it: Lie face down on a mat with elbows resting on floor next to chest. Push your body off the floor in a push-up position with body resting on elbows or a straight arm plank resting on hands. Contract the abs and keep the body in a straight line from head to toes. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat as many times as you can. For beginners, do this move on your knees and gradually work your way up to balancing on your toes. Remember to draw your bellybutton back toward you spine and keep those abs tight! If you want to kick it up a notch, start on your elbows and push yourself (one arm at a time) up into the straight arm plank. Repeat that 10, 12 or 15 times and get in a full body workout too.
FIT TIP #12
Let's do some strength training exercises for this week. One of my favorites are dumbbell squat presses. They are unique since they are both muscle building and cardiovascular. Doing them increases power and strength in multiple areas of your body including all the muscles in your legs, hips, lower back, abdomen, shoulders and arms. Proper form ensures maximum benefit and avoidance of injury. Use dumbbells that equal about 10 percent of your body weight if you train with weights regularly. Start with 5 percent of your body weight or less if you are a beginner. A barbell of the same weight can also be used. The weight should be challenging without compromising form. 1. Begin with your back straight and feet shoulder-width apart. 2. Hold the dumbbells in front of you comfortably at about the height of your shoulders with a slight bicep and chest flex to keep them in place. 3. Concentrate your weight on the back of your heels but don't lift up your toes during the movement. 4. Squat down to a 90 degree angle (thighs parallel with the floor) while keeping your back erect. 5. Keep your abdominal muscles tight, look straight ahead and slightly up with your eyes. 6. Rise out of the squat with a slight explosion while maintaining form and control. Exhale on the exertion. 7. Simultaneously press or push the dumbbells up and over your head. 8. End the movement by bringing the dumbbells back into the shoulder position. Repeat the exercise for three sets. After you have mastered it, increase weight gradually or use a barbell with weight. Never increase the weight so much that you can't control the movement. Practice the movement without any weight at first if you're having trouble getting the movements.
FIT TIP #13
- Plank Dumbbell Rows
- Front Squat with Barbell
- Mountain Climbers
These types of exercises combined with a healthy lean diet will give you the abs you want, so stay focused, keep your eyes on the goal and you will get there, guaranteed.