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Bob Harper’s Push-Ups

We all know that the single most effective exercise that can be performed anywhere is the push-up. The benefits that derive from this exercise are numerous and include stronger arms and chest, tight abs, and balance increase to name just a few.

I am posting a video in which Bob Harper, famous trainer who has become a household name thanks to popular TV series "Biggest Looser," explains how to perform a push-up correctly.


 

 

(Post by Thomai Serdari)

Group Fitness continued

As I am researching group fitness in New York City, I realize that classes change depending not only on the gym name and location or the availability of fitness instructors but also because of trends in fitness and change of seasons.

Seasonal classes are usually based on a variation of a fitness routine that the instructor has developed previously. The routine is tweaked to incorporate new movements that work a particular group of muscles, such as the glutes–muscles that get everyone's attention in the summer season.

The advantage of trying several "seasonal" classes is that you add variety to your workout. This beats both boredom and fitness plateaus, a stage that everyone would like to avoid. Check your gym's calendar for new classes that appear as the weather seems to be improving. Without thinking too much about it, give it a try. If the class ends up not to your liking, move on to something else.

 

(Post by Thomai Serdari)

Carrie Underwood: From American Idol to Total Fitness

Celebrities seem to have everything under control. They also look beautiful and healthy. Have you ever wondered how much work it takes for them to reach that state? After all, they are mere humans exactly like the rest of us.

 

Here is an interesting article on fitness with valuable advice by American Idol Carrie Underwood. Enjoy!

 

 

(Post by Thomai Serdari)

Training for Equestrians

Every sport requires the use of particular muscles and demands movement patterns that are different from other sports. Involvement in one sport only is not enough to improve a person’s fitness. The opposite is true as well: if one is not fit and does not improve her cardiovascular condition and muscular strength she has difficulty excelling in a sport. Remember that excessive repetition of a certain type of movement wears down our muscles (resulting in strains) and leads to other imbalances as well.

Take horseback riding for example. We all know that balance is a key factor in enhancing the collaboration between the horse and the rider. But is that all?

Most fitness programs for equestrians include strengthening of the core muscles because they are responsible for your posture and alignment. They also protect your lower back by absorbing the impact and generating your power. This reminds us of the discussions we had about the Pilates method. Also, as an equestrian you need strong legs and thighs because these muscles control your lowering and lifting on the horse as well as your controlling the change of direction for you and the horse.

As with other sports we have discussed here, training off field improves:

  • Balance and physical stamina
  • Better alignment and more correct posture
  • Decreased risk of back, muscle and joint strain and fatigue
  • More energy, self-confidence and focus
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved body awareness and neuro-muscular control for better response to sudden demand, and independent aids

 

Send us a comment with the sport you like and we will discuss which fitness training program would be great for you.

 

(Post by Thomai Serdari)

Capoeira

Let's say you are 15 years old and life is not particularly easy for you. You have a lot of friends but it seems that everyone in town belongs to this one or other particular group of friends and that the groups do not get along together. Sounds familiar?

Oh, I forgot to mention that it is probably sometime in the 1700s and you are in Brazil. The only means you have to defend yourself is your agility, cleverness, and strength. Weapons are not allowed. You have also figured out that there is more satisfaction to proving your prowess in physical strength than demonstrating force in any other way.

What do you do then? You practice Capoeira. The more  you practice the better you become. Also, with time and practice you get to like it more as do all the others who practice with you, either within the same group or the rival one.

Fast forward to 2011: Capoeira is a great form of physical exercise, of bonding, and of getting to know yourself.  Have you tried it yet?



 

 

(Post by Thomai Serdari)

Valentine’s Day Workout and Beyond

We have discussed it before. It is fun to workout with a buddy. This could be your boyfriend/girlfriend or simply your best friend. Not only time goes faster, but a partner provides motivation, accountability, and support (literally) for complicated moves and routine programs. 

 


 

 

(Post by Thomai Serdari)

3-2-1 Work Out

The days are longer and the weather seems to be turning warmer… At least, within a couple of weeks the first signs of spring should be here. Isn't this enough to inspire a renewed commitment to fitness?

I have been reading several studies on the relationship between incentives to exercise and commitment to exercise. This means how strong your incentives are to make you commit to your fitness routine. It also means that both the quality and quantity of your exercise program are factors that will influence your commitment to fitness.  Finally, how fast will the results show and what is their quality in order for a novice to commit to exercise?

The answers to the aforementioned points seem to derive from one single approach: more cardio at a higher intensity. The trick is "devising a cranked-up routine that's also accessible and interesting." This method is the foundation of a work out called the 3-2-1.
 
In the program, one mixes 3-minute bouts of cardio with 2 minutes of strength training and 1 minute of ab drills–no breaks allowed. When the intensity increases the number of calories burned increases as well. In addition, one benefits from the intervals of strength training in between and the short bursts of ab work, a time short enough not to lead to neck injuries–a common complaint of those who perform ab exercises regularly. Finally, the constant switching makes time go faster. Everyone likes that! Especially when the illusion of a "shorter" time spent at the gym can produce more substantial results. Try it.

 

 

(Post by Thomai Serdari)

What’s for dinner?

Are your friends pressuring you into tasting that delicious burger again? Remember that it's not just the calories that may harm you and derail you from your good efforts to become fit. It is the type of food you consume. So why not accept the invitation tonight and go out with them? You can after all order a delicious omelette with a side of fresh salad. Eggs are high in filling protein, and contrary to popular belief, they won't raise your cholesterol as much as meat. The best part is that you will be with your friends, enjoy their company, and your healthy and delicious dinner.

 

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(Post by Thomai Serdari)

Group Fitness: What Not To Do

The problem with group fitness classes is that they come and go. In their effort to shake things up (literally and figuratively speaking), fitness instructors create new routines constantly. The trends go viral and soon every single gym offers the same group fitness class.

Rather than focusing on whom these classes are really targeting, instructors actively seek to create a buzz around the newest and trendiest offerings. This leads to overcrowded classes. It also leaves gym goers confused because they cannot differentiate between the benefits of one class versus another. Instead of taking the one that would benefit them personally, gym goers end up going to the one that is most popular at the time.

Could gyms provide a new service to advise people on what would be good for them? Or is this too much to ask? Whichever the case, what we would recommend is:

1.    Do your research and speak with the instructor who is giving the class. Find out which muscle groups will be hard at work during the workout.

2.    Be innovative: If you know which areas you would like to improve, go to two different classes per week, rather than the same one twice a week. This way your body will get a more rounded workout.

3.    Take advantage of your talents: do you love to dance? Or do you prefer weight lifting? Is your favorite thing jumping around while listening to loud music? There is a class for every taste. If you take the one that really pleases you, it will help you stick to your exercise routine.

4.    Spend some time interviewing other gym goers about their preferences and the reasons behind their decision to register for a specific class or another.

5.     Have fun! Group fitness is the best opportunity offered at gym clubs everywhere. Usually, group fitness is free and already included in the price of your gym membership.

 

(Post by Thomai Serdari)

Get Ballin’

A stability ball is the least expensive and most versatile exercise tool. It is easy to order online or to buy at any major fitness store. Make sure to choose the correct size. Some people are much taller than others. You need to make sure you are buying the stability ball that is right for your size (especially height since you will be sitting on it but also gait since you will be lifting it with your legs).

In addition, a stability ball is:

Adaptable to every fitness level. For beginners,  push ups become easier with a stability ball. Bridges and lunges are two other sets of exercise performed with the stability ball.

Great for your back. In fact, physical therapists agree that it strengthens the deep muscles of the spine. One recent study found that subjects who used the ball regularly improved muscular endurance (the number of consecutive reps you can do) by 57 percent in 10 weeks.

Fun. Because of the challenges it presents, a stability ball makes the workout routine go faster. It also adds some interest to it because sometimes it is hard to keep a straight face while trying to balance on the ball.

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(Post by Thomai Serdari)