Monday, April 30, 2012

Build Your Upper Body and Your Abs

Can one exercise improve your upper body strength as well as the abdominal? The answer is yes. The name of the move is the plank and you can perform a variety of versions to accommodate most every fitness level.

What you want to picture in your mind is a plank of wood. The easiest and most effective version is to hold the up position of a mans pushup and start counting. Get on the ground and act like you are going to do a pushup. Don’t go down like regular pushups just hold at the top. You can start with 15-20 seconds and work up from there. 
Most men can do this with little effort in the beginning. They’re even happy they don’t have to go up and down. After 30-45 seconds the arms start to shake and you get why this is also a core or stomach exercise.

I have several women in their late 70’s do this. They are really exceptional for their age group and started with only 20 seconds. An easier way to start for beginners is to hold the pushup position on an incline angle. Push a chair or bench up against a wall and act like you are going to do pushup. Hold it at the top and count. You can also lie on your belly. Bend you arms so your fists are by your armpits. Go up on your toes and up on your forearms. This is easy on the wrist and not as tough on the upper body.

If you are advanced and want a challenge, raise your toes on a box. You want to be in a position so your feet and shoulders are level. The guys in good shape can hold this for one to two minutes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Break That Weight Loss Plateau

If you are really making an effort to lose weight and have hit a sticking point, this info is for you. There are two kinds of people, the one’s who wish they were smaller and the one’s who do something about getting better. The frustrating thing is to make a real effort and still fail to make progress. The following tips may help.

Don’t eat past 8:00 PM if possible. Our bodies burn calories at different rates during the day. We burn food more rapidly the earlier we eat. This is a good reason to eat a big breakfast, medium lunch and smaller dinner.

The previous fact leads nicely into my advice on snacking. Pay careful attention to the time and amount of calories in our snacks. Avoid trail mix, dried fruit and nuts. They all are calorie dense. Try instead low calorie popcorn or cut up veggies. If you snack while you watch TV, keep it around a hundred calories per night.

Drink more water that you think is possible. No matter how much you drink, drink more. This is the biggest no-brainer on the list. There are so many reasons it really deserves a blog entry all to itself. Trust me, I heard one authority say shoot for a gallon a day.

Skipping breakfast or skipping meals in general is a real way to stall your weight loss progress. You may thing you’re saving calories by skipping, but statistics prove otherwise. The bump you get in your metabolism from a small healthy meal out weighs what you save by avoiding your meal in the first place.

Finally, you probably need to move more. Unfortunately our metabolism is our own worst enemy. As we age it continues to decline. If we don’t plan in advance to walk or do some resistance training it probably won’t happen. When you look at your week on Sunday set two or three day’s aside. If you wait until the end of a busy cay to decide you know what the answer will be.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easy Changes for Permanent Weight Loss

If you want to lose weight you may be making a few mistakes that are pretty easy to avoid. First make sure you have breakfast. So many people are in a hurry and feel that the calories they save by skipping breakfast will help their weigh loss efforts. The opposite is true. You should eat a smart breakfast (visit my website for examples) within the first hour of waking. This will jump start your metabolism and give you the energy to get through your busy day.

 Another thing to avoid is constant weighing. People who start a weight loss program are often discouraged by the lack of quick results. Our weight fluctuates one to three lbs. a day and progress in weight loss is often offset by muscle gain. I would weigh no more than once a week and try to be patient. If you begin to eat better and move more, you already have something to be proud of.

Drinking water is probably the easiest way to make progress with the battle of the bulge. If you did everything the same and drank eight to ten glasses of water (not coffee or soda), you would lose weight. Most people need only change from soda or coffee to water to start the scale moving in the right direction.

Use your thoughts to help you not hurt you. If you have a past history or failing at losing weight you need a new mindset. It may sound funny but try visualization for a few mins. before you fall asleep at night. See yourself as you once were or as you want to be. There are several authors who have made a lot of money saying this for an entire book. (Maxwell Maltz- Psycho Cybernetics.) It works, try it!

Finally stop putting off what you know you should be doing. If you’re not exercising and easting healthy on a routine basis you know you should be. I could give you a dozen reasons why you should but they wouldn’t be as personal as the ones you already know.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Imporve Your Balance And Tone Your Butt

One of the most common requests for every personal trainer is: “How can I firm up my butt?” There are over 20 good exercises, some require equipment this one does not. All you need is a little instruction and then some perseverance.

The first thing to do is stand up straight with your arms by your side. Lift your right leg up slightly as if you were taking a step up. Bend over and touch your left foot with your right hand. Most people won’t get all the way down, that’s OK. The first thing you’ll notice is how hard it is to balance. You may need to put down the right foot occasionally or even hold on to something stationary. Repeat this move ten times and then start on the other side.

A few things to remember never do anything that hurts the knees. When you bend forward to touch the right foot you can put the left leg back in the air to help your balance and avoid knee pain. As you bend down if you keep the legs straight you shouldn’t have any knee issues. Some people will only get as far as the knee and may need to hang onto a chair for stability. This move may seem easy to some but do a few sets of ten and
wait a day or two.

Another by product of this exercise is leg strength and improved balance. When you perform ten reps. you may feel it working in the upper leg and hip as well as the butt. Give this one a try because in a few minutes a week you can improve your balance while you strengthen your hips and gluteus maximus.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Get More Energy And Lose Weight

If you want to lose weight you may be cutting calories. Restricting calories can often make us tired and less likely to do the things we want to do. The following are some tricks that will give us all the energy we want and need.

The first suggestion is to take a short walk first thing in the morning. Walking for as little as 20 minutes can jump start your metabolism. The second thing to do is have a smart breakfast with at least 20 grams of protein. I like Greek yogurt with berries. It has twice the protein of regular yogurt.

When it comes to eating, you want more small meals instead of the way most of us eat. Too many people are stuck in the pattern of a small or no breakfast at all, a little lunch and a big dinner. If we make a point to eat medium sized meals throughout the day we will have more energy and actually lose weight more easily. Having small mini meals also keeps our blood sugar stable and provides us with constant energy.     

Here are some additional tips: Make sure you get enough sleep, reduce you sugar intake
(you experience lows after short initial highs), eat more unprocessed food like fruits and veggies, avoid alcohol during the week, take a power nap for 10-20 minutes and manage stress by meditating ( or just close you eyes and think of happy thoughts a few times a