You’ve Got Abs! Let’s Work ‘Em!

 On a recent post about abs workouts, this Google+ comment by Paul Miskinis cracked me up: “I hope after all this crap going on outside you can enjoy your new perfect physique! It’s overkill for vacuuming and dusting!” It’s no secret I kick ass in the house-cleaning department – and the yard-tending and the clutter-sorting and the garage-cleaning departments. (BOOM.) And while my physique is nowhere near perfect, am I building strong abs for cleaning house or for vainer reasons like showing off my six-pack this summer? If I had a six-pack that is. (I do, but it’s the drinkable sort.) I tell you to be your own kind of fit, because there are so many reasons to take good care of our health – practical reasons, functional reasons, performance enhancement, and yes, cosmetic reasons. I don’t care why you want to get fit, other than knowing so I can better help you get there. But my strong abs do help me vacuum and dust! Feeling strong and capable help me do all the daily tasks I must tend. And it erases any dread I might otherwise feel at completing demanding physical tasks. (Shut up. Dusting can be demanding.) On the idea of six-packs, that’s never been my goal – to see my six-pack abs. That said, would I feel bad-ass if that happens? Hell yes. And it does happen on occasion. When my diet is dialed in, my hydration is right, my hormones are balanced, the stars are aligned, Mercury is not in retrograde, and the sages have foretold of its coming, I get a wee glimpse of my...

Got Balance?

Balance is defined as the ability to control the body’s position, or distribute your weight to stay upright and steady. Balance is important for fall-prevention, but it’s also important to be in tune with your body so that rather than leaving balance to chance, you’ll know how to activate the right muscles while completing exercises or daily tasks requiring balance. People often say, “I don’t have good balance,” as if balance cannot be improved. It can! Balance is about equilibrium, but it’s also about utilizing, and strengthening, the muscles used for stabilizing and joint support. Balance exercises are especially important for seniors, but why wait? Why not meet that challenge early on and head-on, by incorporating balance exercises into your training? Here are exercise ideas to develop your balance, from easiest to more difficult: ~ Balance on one leg. ~ Balance on one leg while moving the opposite leg in various ways. ~ Balance on one leg while circling the arms, throwing and catching a ball, or passing a weight from hand to hand. ~ Walk heel to toe, forward and backward. ~ Sit on a stability ball and lift and hold one leg. ~ Practice balance exercises while barefoot. ~ Balance on one leg and close your eyes. ~ Balance on one leg on a pillow, BOSU, wobble board or other unstable surface. ~ Perform upper body exercises while standing on one foot or with feet staggered in “tightrope” position. ~ Hop in place and land on one foot. ~ Hop forward and back or side to side, landing on one foot. ~ Balance on one leg and reach...

HiiT Essentials – and Why You Should Be Doing It

What is HiiT? HiiT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and involves alternating periods of high-intensity exercise with periods of rest and recovery. For example, in my HiiT Quickie Workouts we do 3 rounds of 5 exercises for 50 seconds on, 10 seconds rest. HiiT workouts are designed to improve cardiovascular capacity and conditioning, which in turn improves glucose metabolism (how your body produces energy) and fat burning. Research also shows that short HiiT workouts can be just as or more effective than longer, steady-state cardio because of the EPOC effect. What is EPOC? Also known as the afterburn effect, EPOC stands for Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. Simply put, this is the amount of oxygen your body requires after exercise to return to its resting state and adapt to the work you just did. EPOC matters because it means you’ve pushed your body to the point of having an oxygen debt.  If you sprint up a steep hill as fast as you can, it will be quite difficult to catch your breath afterward, right? That is EPOC in action. Your body is now forced to work harder to return to normal, and all the while you’re expending more energy. The good news – that means you’re burning calories even after you’ve stopped exercising! Brilliant! Interestingly enough, you may burn fewer calories during a HiiT workout (as compared to a steady-state workout like jogging), but you’ll burn far more calories after the workout. According to one study, for up to 38 hours afterward! Most forms of exercise will generate an afterburn effect to some degree, but not all forms are equal.  After...

New Workout! HiiT It Hard!

I’m snowed in again, and that just irritates me to no end. So we’re going to get right to the point. This week’s workout hiits legs and arms and a lot of abs! You’ll need two light Sandbells and your Dual-Grip Medicine Ball! Learn the exercises plus proper form and modifications in the Workout Preview Video: Now do the workout in Real Time!...

Rock This Workout!

We’re battening down the hatches, throwing wood on the fire, stocking up on food, doing 25 jumping jacks approximately every 3 minutes, and randomly screaming things like HOLYEFFINGSH*TBALLZISITCOLD in defense against – and reaction to – the wicked cold that has descended upon the Midwest. I’m not sure I’ve felt cold like this ever. And it makes me wonder about the sanity of those who live in northern regions. No seriously, what’s the matter with you people. I’m always cold, and I hate it. If I’m moving around I’m not too cold, but if I’m doing work at my computer, I can wear three layers, a scarf, and a blanket wrapped around me like a toga and still be cold. IT’S SO ANNOYING. But I’ve discovered two things that truly warm me to the core: a hot hot hot shower, and exercise. And that, my friends, is my motivation to keep up with my workouts even on days when it sounds more reasonable to burrow under down comforters and never come out. In fact, I just HiiT last week’s workout, In Your FACE, and topped it off with some specialized strength training sets (push-ups, front-weighted step-ups, push presses, and so on), and for the first time all day, I’m warm. I’m warm!  I’M WARM! I mean, I’m hot. RAWR. So I know you feel like holing up with a non-stop supply of carbs, but buck up little camper. It’s time to hiit this workout. No, wait – it’s time to ROCK this workout. Cuz that’s how we roll. For this week’s workout, you’ll need two light Sandbells, one heavy...