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16 Health Benefits of Pilates, According to Science

In the 1920’s, a man by the name of Joseph Pilates observed people doing yoga, and animals moving how they naturally do at the zoo and came up with a series of movements that allow a human to stretch and build muscle that he called pilates.

Pilates is considered to be a “low-impact, big result” workout regimen. It was intended to be a workout for dancers with injuries.

Knowing it’s intended purpose it should come as no surprise that the series of movement works out the entire body but also tends to focus more on the core muscles and balance. (1)

Pilates is series of movements that are slow, methodical, require a lot of focus and accuracy coupled with controlled breathing.

Because it is not considered cardio, yet it is considered exercise and because it is so adaptable, pilates is perfect for those just starting out in the exercise world or those coming back from an injury.

Pilates is very much like yoga, but it is stepped up a notch.

Pilates is more balance, more muscle toning, more stretching, more flexibility, more mind/body connection. (2)

Pilates can be done as a stand alone exercise if it is challenging enough in itself but many do pilates on their “day off” from a stringent workout routine.

Regardless of why you choose to do pilates, the health benefits are amazing.

Here are 16 amazing health benefits of pilates and 10 tips for beginners.

  1. Pilates improves flexibility
  2. Pilates increases strength
  3. Pilates increases core strength
  4. Pilates is safe for rehabilitation
  5. Pilates increases circulation
  6. Pilates increases lung health
  7. Pilates improves concentration
  8. Pilates increases coordination
  9. Pilates improves balance
  10. Pilates improves posture
  11. Pilates lowers stress
  12. Pilates can bring increased self-awareness
  13. Pilates can prevent injury
  14. Pilates can improve your brain health
  15. Pilates fights insomnia

To read more in-depth into each of these benefits of pilates, and for 10 tips for beginners, check out this post, courtesy of Jen Reviews.

Make Running a Habit

There is nothing like a good run on an early Monday morning to get your juices flowing so you can kick-start a productive day. The refreshing feel of cool morning wind on your face, the sound of motivating music in your ears through your earphones and a gorgeous scenery to keep you in awe: all but a few of the bountiful rewards that come with a morning run. It is the perfect way to start your day and fill your day with positive energy.

The benefits of running are numerous. From weight loss to stress relief to overall fitness to disease prevention – the list is infinite. However, realizing these benefits is no walk in the park. Though running is no rocket science, it will take you a whole lot more than just an alarm clock to pry you out of bed in the morning. Yes, you may pull it off once or twice. But without changing your paradigms and values, that snooze button will continue to feel like a plague your very existence.

So, here’s are five quick no-brainers to make running your number one habit.

  1. It’s All About the Big Picture

All actions in your life should contribute to your one goal in life – the big picture. With running, it’s no different. You have to find that reason inside you to wake up in the morning and partake in this activity.

Maybe you want to get a cute guy’s attention at the park. Or you want to get in shape for your wedding dress. Or, perhaps, the morning run is an effective way for you to jumpstart your day. Whatever reason it is, it should be the last thing you think about when you go to sleep at night and the first thing when you wake up in the morning. Revolve your entire life around it.

  1. Psych Yourself Out of Bed

We all know what it’s like. Waking up early on a cold morning, cozily wrapped up in a warm fluffy blanket. Getting out of bed in such conditions is a task that could shake the willpower of the most dedicated of running souls. This is because willpower is like a charged battery and it tends to run low when you wake up in the morning. This explains why the first thing you did this morning was probably pushing that snooze button. Needless to say, willpower cannot help you out here.

This, however, is where the 5-second rule comes in handy. All you need to do is to trick your brain into forgetting all those things holding you back. At the same time, it will help you focus on that big picture. This will remind you why you need to spring out of bed.

How do you do it? Just count backward from 5 to 1 and like a rocket taking off from its pad, launch yourself out of bed. Don’t overthink it, don’t second guess it, just do it. The more you think about it, the higher your chances of going back to bed again.

  1. Consistency is an Ingenious Policy

Yes, it takes discipline to get out of bed early for every morning of the rest of your life. However, discipline gets old and boring at some point. You will, eventually, grow tired of it and rebel from your own routine. So, though it is a good idea to rely on your discipline, keep this temporary. At least until, for you, waking up for that early run becomes a habit.

According to the experts, this will take approximately 66 days. This is exactly what you need to do to break that destructive, snooze-button-pushing, loop of a behavior.

  1. Watch Your Night Time Adornment

The intimidating, cool morning temperature beyond the blanket is one of the main reasons why most of us find it difficult to get out of bed. This is especially true for those of us who wear nothing more than a pair of undies to bed. The thought of revealing warm skin to the dreadful cold is just unthinkable.

So what’s the solution? Yes, you guessed it right: put some clothes on. It doesn’t have to be heavy clothing. Anything to keep your skin from being bare in the morning will suffice. At least this way, you can keep your favorite blanky while you’re at it.

  1. Get Someone Else to Push You

The dynamics are pretty different when you share a bed with a better half, though. Some nights get a bit more physical than others (if you know what I mean) and reaching for your clothes afterward is just not an option.

However, having a partner beside you can actually be a good thing. He/she can act as your coach and help you get out of bed for that morning workout. This can even apply if you sleep alone. Just get a friend to call in the morning to have you get out of bed.

Well, there you go. A quick five step guide to getting out of your bed for an early morning run, every morning. We do highly recommend wearing ankle support for running to prevent injuries though. Just in case you haven’t had a run in a while.

Regardless, you can apply these tools to absolutely anything in your life. From improving your career to overcoming addictions to eating healthy – the uses are countless. You owe it to yourself to try this out. Remember, there is greatness within every one of us. Even at our lowest points when we feel beaten down with nothing more to give.

3 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Training at Home

Home workout routines are easy and beneficial in many ways. Without an expensive instructor, it’s also easy to make mistakes. Fitness is about developing good habits to improve your health and life in many ways. Get the most out of your routine by avoiding these common mistakes.

Imbalanced Routine

Unless you’re training for a marathon or sports, 30 minutes of light to moderate cardio in a day is enough. Save the extra calories for strength training. Cardio and strength training are both important to a routine. Aerobic exercises like running or walking burn readily available calories and improves blood flow. Strength training builds and tones muscle, which burns fat to maintain.

Too much cardio can cause muscle loss, while too much strength training can increase appetite. Include a focus of bone strengthening exercises to round out your workout. Yoga, jumping jacks, or even weight training on a Body Solid Home Gym can double for both bone strength and either cardio or strength training. Expensive trainers often provide a balanced routine for you, but you can create your own plan using a few simple guidelines.

  • 20-40 minutes of cardio
  • 30-50 minutes strength training
  • Include bone strengthening exercises

For losing weight, your total daily routine should stay under 90 minutes. Once you’ve hit your target, the ideal is 60 minutes a day for long term health. For long term programs, try an every other day approach; 90 minute sessions three times a week and 60 minutes the other four. Alternatively, stagger your focus on either cardio or strength in the same way.

Improper Challenge

When just starting out, it’s tempting to push too hard during the routine. Strain and exhaustion counteract benefits of your workout. Instead, start with 15 minutes and work your way up. Even light exercise for 15 minutes a day can improve your health dramatically.

For the first month, increase the duration of your routine without adding new exercises. Make sure to balance cardio, strength and bone exercises as you do this. After a month or two, slowly add in more complex exercises one at a time. Give an alteration at least a week to monitor the effect it has on your workout.

Too little challenge is also a common mistake of home routines. Set the standard to push yourself regularly, but take care to set reasonable goals. Changing the routine too often increases the risk of overworking your body. Know your body’s limits and lightly nudge once in a while to avoid plateaus.

Recovery

One of the biggest mistakes of any routine is underestimating the importance of recovery times. Proper recovery time helps you get the full results from your hard work. There are three areas of recovery to keep in mind:

  • Between sets
  • Daily activities
  • Rest

Between Sets

Resting between sets is an overlooked aspect of a home routine. At home, you don’t have the benefit of an instructor to guide you through an appropriate time of recovery. This is easily solved by formulating a plan for adequate rest between sets. However long your set took, rest for twice that time. Doing so allows your muscles to catch back up so you can start fresh the next round.

Daily Activities

Your daily activities will use calories, too. Recovering from each day’s stress on the body improves performance and prevents strain. Activities outside the routine also affect recovery. Some activities in everyday life can count as part of your workout regimen as well. Unplanned activities can affect your fitness plan. If extra recovery time between sessions isn’t an option, dial down the next session to compensate.

Rest

To fully recover from each session, your body has specific needs. This includes getting enough sleep, when the body does most of the healing, and diet. Without the proper nutrition, exercise can decrease muscle and bone density. Even if your diet includes the necessary protein and calories, many other nutrients and vitamins may have taken a back seat. Look for recipes that meet all your nutritional needs.

In Conclusion

Committing to a workout is only the first step in a total fitness plan. Home routines don’t have the benefit of an instructor to guide you through each session. However, you can become your own coach to avoid the pitfalls along the way to a healthier body.

Six Mistakes You Need to Avoid for a Productive Treadmill Workout

<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt; color: black;”>Treadmill running may seem like a simple workout but did you know that it is still possible to do it wrong? Yes, there are actually some treadmill mistakes that most people commit which prevent them from having a productive and effective workout.</span></p>
If you love doing treadmill workouts, there is a chance that you have unknowingly committed these mistakes at some point too. To help you out, we have highlighted some of these common treadmill running mistakes below.
<h2><span lang=”EN-PH”>1.)</span> <span lang=”EN-PH”>You are running too close to the front of the treadmill.</span></h2>
<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt; color: black;”>Oftentimes, you will see people at the gym running too close to the front of the treadmill and gripping the front bar too hard as if their lives depend on them. I know it can be scary to let go of the bar as you may come close to the edge and fly off if you do so. However, running too close to the bar will not give your legs enough room, and it can prevent you from practicing proper stride and posture.</span></p>
<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt; color: black;”>Another consequence is that you may accidentally push the controls and cause the equipment to stop which may cause you injuries.</span></p>
<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt;”> </span></p>

<h2><span lang=”EN-PH”>2.) You throw your arms all over the place.</span></h2>
<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt; color: black;”>Admit it; you have done this at some point. When you swing your arms out to the sides, you tend to use up energy, and it may prevent you from working out for longer. If that is the case, where should you put your arms?</span></p>
<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt; color: black;”>According to experts, keep your arms to the side of your body when you are at a slow pace. Once you are already jogging, try to keep the arms bent at a parallel position to one another, creating a 90-degree angle.</span></p>
<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt;”> </span></p>

<h2><span lang=”EN-PH”>3.)</span> <span lang=”EN-PH”>You take too long strides.</span></h2>
<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt; color: black;”>Yes, doing so can help you to cover more ground. However, it will cause you to lose form and efficiency. There are many reasons why you should avoid this. For one, you are using up lots of extra energy which prevents you from enjoying a long workout. In addition to that, it will increase your chances of hitting the front part of the treadmill which may cause you to fall. Experts claim that your target should be to run three steps per second instead of aiming for longer strides.</span></p>
<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt;”> </span></p>

<h2><span lang=”EN-PH”>4.)</span> <span lang=”EN-PH”>You look down.</span></h2>
<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt; color: black;”>When you look down instead of looking up, there’s a chance that you will lose your balance. In addition to this, it can also put a strain on the back of your neck and may cause your hips to pole out which may place stress on your knees, hips, and spine. When running, make sure that you keep your gaze ahead. You should also keep chest open and shoulders level. The rest of your body will follow.</span></p>

<h2><span lang=”EN-PH”>5.)</span> <span lang=”EN-PH”>You prioritize style over function (with your shoes!).</span></h2>
<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt; color: black;”>With so many cute styles out there, how can you resist, right? Well, keep in mind that you are working out and not walking down the runway so your priority should be the comfort and function of your shoes above all else.</span></p>
<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt; color: black;”>When choosing shoes for the treadmill, it is recommended that you opt for ones that have extra padding in the soles. This simple feature will help to protect the bones in your feet and heels from the impact created by each stride that you take. If you plan to run uphill and put the treadmill on an incline, look for shoes that have outer soles with moderate height.</span></p>

<h2><span lang=”EN-PH”>6.)</span> <span lang=”EN-PH”>You land on your heels.</span></h2>
<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt; color: black;”>Don’t get me wrong. Landing flat-footed is okay if you are just walking or jogging but it is not advised if you are running at high speeds. For the latter, it is recommended that you land on your forefoot so you can lessen the impact of each stride and the stress that back and hips will receive.</span></p>
<p style=”margin: 0in; margin-bottom: .0001pt;”><span style=”font-size: 13.0pt; color: black;”>Even if you are just running on <a href=”http://bodyshape101.com/best-treadmill-under-1000/”>a treadmill</a>, it is a must that practice proper form, wear the right gear, use the right equipment and avoid the mistakes that we have mentioned above. In this way, you can be able to make the most out of your running sessions. </span></p>

If You Want A Stronger Core, Fix Your Shoulders & Hips!

Everyone wants a “stronger core”. In fact, I want a stronger core! But the core is a contentious topic. So I will try to keep it simple. The core is not just your abdominal muscles. Your core is a dynamic complex of all muscles that work to stabilize your body during movement. So when you think about it this way, your shoulders, your back muscles, your hip flexors, and your glutes are all a part of your core. Even your feet!

In fact, when I tell someone during a session that they should “feel it in their core”, what I really am saying is, “You should feel all your muscles working together as one unit right now to stabilize you, beginning from your center and radiating outward”. I don’t mean that they should be “squeezing their abs in”.

You can flex & squeeze your abs all you want, but there are other more effective ways to ensure that you are actually strengthening your “core”. Plus, this excessive tensing can actually be counterproductive and trick your body into thinking you are in danger, which actually results in the creation of pain, particularly when dealing with back pain.

A strong core is a powerful asset because it keeps us balanced, enables us to produce force & control it, it prevents injury, and so on. I’d like to think the core is really just a concise way of referring to the entirety of your body, working as one efficient machine. If you have a strong core, you have a well-rounded, balanced body. And this is what gets rid of and prevents back pain!

It has nothing to do with abs or six-packs. In fact, when i had my most well-defined abs, my body was actually beginning to fall apart on me – because I wasn’t taking care of my hips or shoulders!

So, in order to strengthen this innocuous complex of our body, we have to fix the primary issues we tend to see in our bodies today. We tend to see similar issues, because most people tend to live a similar, sedentary lifestyle, lacking certain, critical movements. fortunately, there are some really simple ways to resolve these issues!

Let’s first examine what’s going on in our bodies, and then introduce 4 fundamental exercises which will help to restore balance in your body. [Please note – there are of course deviations from this, but these are the most commonly seen issues]

THE ISSUES:

Tight hips, underactive glutes, shifted pelvis, excessive arching in low back, rounded shoulders.

Let’s break it down further.

Most of us have extremely tight hip flexor muscles, as a result of sitting. These muscles become stuck in a shortened position, which makes them tight.

Then, this shortened position of the hip flexors causes an anterior pelvic shift (think of sticking your butt out – that’s what this looks like).

This shortened position of the hip flexors also makes it difficult for us to activate our glutes (this is because the primary function of the major glute muscle is hip extension, which is the opposite of hip flexion. so too much hip flexion = too little hip extension = sleepy, underactive glutes). I know, that was a mouthful.

The anterior pelvic shift then typically correlates with an excessively arched low back.

And on top of all of this, our shoulders become stuck in a forward, rounded position due to all this sitting.

This may not always be the sequence of events, but once you have acquired one of these issues, the others will naturally occur. This is because the body is one kinetic chain, so if one thing is out of place, something else will naturally shift out of place as well. When this happens, our “core” is definitely not working optimally to keep us stable, balanced & powerful! Everything is out of alignment and out of whack, which makes any movement much more difficult.

The good news is, there are really simple, really powerful exercises you can do for about 3-5 minutes a day that will enable you to maintain a strong core, and a balanced body for the rest of your life!

The exercises are below – they are links to YouTube videos and under the video in the “Description” there are specific instructions on how to perform each exercise.

EXERCISES TO FIX HIPS & SHOULDERS FOR A STRONGER CORE:

THE MORAL OF THE STORY:

The moment I stopped excessively doing sit-ups and other “core exercises”, and started actually taking a look at what was going on in the entirety of my body, at the joint level, my “core” began to regain it’s strength. I felt so much more enabled to do any movement I wanted with ease. We must take care of every part of our body. Again, because everything is connected, we must take care of everything in order to have a truly strong, functioning core. The good news is, all it takes are a couple of well-executed, simple movements to begin to restore your strength!

Give these a try and let me know if you start feeling more balanced, more powerful & more capable of doing any crazy movement/exercise/activity you want! I would love to hear from you!


To learn more about Melanie Daly and her personal training, please visit her website: http://www.backpainpersonaltrainer.com/

Is Your Core Stability Actually Hurting You?

Core, core, core. Core stability. Core strength. Brace your core. Hold your abs in. Squeeze your abs.

Where did this come from? No truly, where did this idea come from?

Because when you ask the top physical therapists who are on the cutting edge of pain science, they can’t seem to find ANY literature that suggests core stability and bracing your core is actually proven to be beneficial for your back and your back pain.

Now, let me get one thing straight before you throw something at me out of anger and confusion.

CORE STRENGTH IS GOOD. Yes, having a strong core is, of course, important. Strengthening muscles and improving our ability to move with mobility, strength, power & balance is always helpful.

However, when you ask Peter O’Sullivan, a world renowned physiotherapist from Australia (see video above), he will tell you that we have taken this concept WAY overboard. Basically, we are now treating our body as if we are doing planks all day long. Planks are great, but, is it great if we are doing them all day?

Let me give you an example. Let’s say I told you to hold a bicep curl all day long, every day. No rest. Your muscle will be under tension and under load the entire day. Do you think that this will get you stronger? Or is it possible that you will actually, at some point, become weakened and tight due to overusing that muscle?

The same goes for our core. Exercises that strengthen this innocuous complex of muscles we like to call the core are incredibly powerful. But does that mean we should be doing them all day? Yet this is what we are essentially doing, unknowingly, all day, every day.

A large majority of the population who experiences either chronic back pain (that has resulted from no particular injury) or recurrent, random back pain tends to brace themselves into these positions and movements that are “tensing their core”. We don’t even realize it! But as a result of being told that core stability is great and will protect our spine, and that we should stay as upright as possible, we are actually increasing the amount of compressive load in our spine and leaving it more vulnerable to seemingly random pains and strains.

Here is another analogy to help clarify. Think about your car. If you were to go on a road trip and you knew the road was going to be pretty bumpy, would you over-inflate your tire to give you more protection from all those forces? Or would you actually allow for a little bit of give in the tires to protect you from those forces? Which situation would subject you to more force? I’m pretty sure an over-inflated tire would actually make the car quite stiff and unable to absorb those forces. The same goes for our spine when we “squeeze our abs”, or “brace our core”. We come rigid, stiff, and vulnerable to external forces.

Again, strengthening your core during your workouts is great, but if you start doing it all day, that’s when you start to actually put your back at more risk.

So, what do you do now? Well, start paying attention to your resting postures and your movements. Feel your stomach with your hands. Are those muscles contracting? It will take some practice to understand whether or not they are, as at first, you may think that’s just what those muscles are supposed to feel like all day long.

Try this for me – try to be as loosey goosey as possible in your stomach. That’s right. Try to be as flabby and sloppy in your core as possible. You don’t hear that often do you? Ha! But truly. Just let it go. Incorporate some relaxed, diaphragmatic breathing to try to let those core muscles go. Let your entire body just relax. Let your shoulders and spine round and slump forward. Just let everything go and let gravity do its job.

I bet if you are experiencing some back pain, or even sciatic pain, that if you start to relax and let this muscular tension go, you will pretty soon start to feel those muscles relax, and your pain subside. Let me know how it goes. And as always, if you have any questions, or even if you want to jump on a quick video chat to ask me if you’re doing it correctly, do not hesitate to reach out! I love to help as many people as I can.

Good luck!

-Melanie, your Back Pain Personal Trainer


To learn more about Melanie Daly and her personal training, please visit her website: http://www.backpainpersonaltrainer.com/

How to Form Healthy Habits after a Diabetes Diagnosis

When someone gets a diagnosis of diabetes, the first question often is, “What can I do?” Patients want to know what changes they can make to better manage their diabetes. Often, the answer is that you can make lifestyle changes, like exercising more and improving your diet. These changes, however, can often be easier said than done.

Breaking the Habits of a Lifetime

To make lifestyle changes, you have to change your habits. This can be challenging, because you may have built up some of these habits over a lifetime, but it’s not impossible.

The first step is to understand how habits form. There are three steps. Step one is a cue that tells your brain to do something. The second step is the behavior itself. The third step is the reward you get from performing the behavior.

If you want to form a healthy habit, you’ll need to determine what your cue will be. You know what the behavior is – that’s the healthy habit you’re trying to instill. Then, you’ll need a reward.

Putting Your Plan Into Action

Here’s an example. One of the key habits you want to develop if you’ve recently gotten a diabetes diagnosis is to get more exercise. Let’s decide you’ll walk for half an hour to start. You’ll need a cue to lace up those sneakers and get on the treadmill.

If you are used to watching the local news for half an hour every day at 6:00, set up your treadmill so you can see the TV from it, and take your walk while you’re watching the news. Your cue to start walking is the beginning of the news.

Just as the news begins, get on your treadmill and start walking. Keep going until the news is over. Time spent on a treadmill can get a little boring, so watching the news at the same time can be a nice distraction.

Developing an Appropriate Reward System

Now you need to reward yourself for taking your walk. This part can get a little tricky because, for many people, the idea of a reward is synonymous with food. But you’re also trying to watch what you eat, so you’ll have to come up with another reward. Perhaps you can keep track of the number of days you accomplished your new habit, and when you’ve reached a certain number of days, treat yourself to a shopping trip or a movie.

After a month or two, you will have gotten into the habit of walking for half an hour a day. Next, you can develop healthier eating habits, another change you’ll want to make if you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes. Use the same three steps – cue, behavior, reward.

To increase your chances of succeeding at making this new behavior a habit, here are some tips.

Focus on one habit at a time. You may be trying to get more exercise and eat healthier at the same time, but focus on one goal first to make it a habit. Once it’s second nature, move to the other goal.

Be positive. Your new habits will make you a stronger, healthier person, so focus on that. Don’t think of it as depriving yourself of your favorite foods or forcing yourself to exercise.

Forming new habits like daily exercise and healthy eating will help you better manage your diabetes or another chronic disease.

How To Properly Plank

Planks are a great yoga pose. There are two types of planks- a high plank and an elbow plank. Do you know the difference? Check out the why and the how for each plank below:

High plank

Why?
Strengthens wrists, arms, back, and abdominal muscles

How?

  1. Start in table top.
  2. Keep shoulders and hands as they are.
  3. Step feet back so you’re up on the balls of your feet.
  4. Balance your weight evenly between both hands and feet. Imagine you are in mountain pose. Suck belly button in and up to elongate and straighten your spine.
  5. Feel as if your lower back is pressing up.
  6. Make sure shoulders don’t pass wrists.
  7. Breathe here.

Check your position in a mirror if possible, or ask a buddy to watch. If your low back is swaying, you have several options:

  1. Pike your hips to decrease the curve in your spine.
  2. Bring knees down if necessary, but be sure to keep your abdominal muscles engaged.

Or, if you’re not ready for a high plank, start with your knees on the floor, so there is a straight line from the crown of the head to the knees.

If you’re unable to exercise with a mirror or a buddy, or can’t tell where your body is in space, time your planks (from your feet or knees) in 10-second increments, then return back to a table top position.

Note: A plank is about trying to equally distribute body weight. Our bodies feel and work differently daily, so doing a plank might feel differently day to day.


Forearm plank

Why?
Strengthens wrists, arms, back, and abdominal muscles

How?

  1. Start in table top position.
  2. Bring your forearms to the ground.
  3. Align your shoulders over elbows. Your hips will naturally shift backwards.

    You have 3 options – place palm face down on the ground, bring each hand into a fist, or bring both hands together and interlace your fingers.

  4. Press your hands down into the ground.Step your feet straight back so the balls of your feet on the ground.
  5. Balance your weight evenly between both forearms and feet. Imagine you are in mountain pose. Suck belly button in and up to elongate and straighten your spine.
  6. Feel as if your lower back is pressing up.
  7. Make sure shoulders don’t pass elbows.
  8. Distribute weight in forearms and hands/fists and not on your elbows.
  9. Breathe here.

Once again, if you’re unable to exercise with a mirror or a buddy to see if your low back is swaying, time your planks in 10-second increments, then return back to a table top position.

 

 

 

 

3 Stretches To Help Your Posture

I get this question a lot, so I figured I should probably share the answer with you as well.

“How do I improve my posture?”

“I feel like my shoulders are slouched forward – is there anything I can do to fix this?”

You can absolutely fix this, even if you have been sitting at a desk for most of your life and feel like it’s a lost cause. It’s never too late – the body is “plastic” and adapts to exactly what we do.

This goes both ways. This is why our body gets so good at being in a slouched position. But this is also why we can re-train our body to shift back to a more optimal alignment.

The truth is that you have a bit more work a hard of you if you have been “stuck” in this posture for a longer time. However, this just means it requires a bit more consistency on your behalf. It is completely doable.

I would suggest taking 3-5 minutes to do these stretches, 3 times a day – once in the morning, once mid-day/afternoon and once in the evening before bed. Here is my challenge to you – give it a try for 3 weeks, 3 times a day. I assure you that you will look AND feel different.

These stretches are designed to restore proper function to your upper body joints & muscles. This will restore muscular balance and enable you to maintain a more optimal alignment during static postures (sitting) & dynamic movements (any activities of daily life). As a result, you will be enabled to alleviate tension in your neck and/or back.

Try it out now and be sure to comment with your progress! If you’re having difficulty and want to set up a free 30-minute consultation with me, email me now and I’d love to help!

Lying Chest Opener Stretch

Shoulder Drivers

Child’s Pose Reach

The Best Abdominal and Core Exercises

Toned, washboard abs will keep your partner happy and boost your self-confidence with every outfit you put on. So get ready to pull those tight pants out of your dresser, this is the abs workout guide to six-pack abs and a flat, toned core!

<strong>Bulking</strong>

Many women can become too concerned with the number they see on their bathroom scale. You might think if that number is getting higher, something is wrong. A proper bulking regimen may add a couple of pounds to your scale, but the results in your mirror will tell a different story.

The basic concept of bulking is to consume more calories than you are burning off in your workout. If you are looking for some clean foods to add to your bulking diet, try chicken, turkey, rice, pasta, fish, eggs, peanut butter, steak, and yogurt. Usually, exercises that work out your abs are done in sets of about 20 repetitions.

During bulking, pick three abs exercises per day that involve some weights or added resistance. Do reps of 10-12 for three sets each to increase the size of your abs. Some of the ab exercise options to chose from are cable crunches, Russian twists, hanging leg raises, decline crunches and abdominal machines. I’ve outlined these exercises in detail below.

<strong>Cutting</strong>

One excellent way to prepare for summer or a vacation where you’ll be in a bathing suit is to implement a cutting routine before your trip. Typically, cutting takes place in the months after you finish bulking. The majority of food choices for your cutting diet can remain the same as your bulking diet if you just eat less of them; these are all healthy foods.

Make sure to drink plenty of water while you are cutting. Don’t think that cutting means you have to starve yourself! You should still be eating three meals per day, with a snack or two mixed in if need be. Continue to eat foods that are high in protein, but cut out some of the carbs like bread and pasta.

<strong>Cardio</strong>

An important aspect of both bulking and cutting is cardiovascular workouts. During the bulking phase, skipping cardio can cause you to gain fat from the excess calories instead of gaining clean muscle. When you are cutting, cardio exercises help ensure that fat gained from your bulking phase get burned off.

Running, biking, and swimming are all cardio exercises that you can pair with abs workouts. Other exercises focused on abs can double as a cardio workout if you do them at a fast pace, 60 seconds or longer. Some of these exercises include wall push-ups, hot potato squats, mogul jumps, and kettlebell juggling, which are all outlined in detail below.

<strong>Abs Exercises</strong>

Unlike other body parts, you can train your abdominal muscles every day. You can do many of these exercises with little to no equipment, in the comfort of your home. These exercises should be done in 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps, or 2-3 sets of 60-second intervals. Rest between sets should be between 30-60 seconds. Here I’ve selected some of my favorite exercises you can do at home without equipment!

<strong>The Bird Dog Exercise</strong>

<strong>The bird dog can be used as a warm-up exercise in addition to an abdominal workout.</strong>
<ul>
<li>You can do 5 to 15 reps per side in a set. Three sets is a sufficient workout.</li>
<li>Start with a strong base of your hands under your shoulders and knees directly beneath your hips.</li>
<li>Point your toe when your leg is fully extended, but make sure to keep it straight.</li>
<li>After full arm and leg extension, touch your knee to your opposite elbow for a more difficult variation.
<strong>Single-Arm Wall Push Up</strong></li>
</ul>

<strong>If the name weren’t obvious enough, you’d need a wall to perform this exercise. So, unfortunately, this can’t be done in an open field.</strong>
<ul>
<li>The wall should be an arm’s length away from your starting position to maintain proper form.</li>
<li>Keep your feet wide for a strong base.</li>
<li>Mix in a push-up rep in-between walk up reps to make this more challenging.</li>
<li>Clench your core and abdominals for the duration of each movement.</li>
</ul>
<strong>Mogul Jumps</strong>


<ul>
<li>Start on your hands and knees, and then slightly lift your knees off the ground using your toes and hands as support.</li>
<li>Rotate your belly button, hips, and chest to one direction as you hop your legs to that side.</li>
<li>Keep your spine in a straight line with the rest of your body.</li>
<li>With your legs already to one side, hop directly to the opposite side instead of going back to the starting position first.</li>
</ul>
<strong>Figure 8 Pelvic Tilt</strong>

<strong>The figure 8 pelvic tilts primarily focus hamstrings, glutes, and pelvic hip muscles.</strong>
<ul>
<li>To remove your quads from the workout, lift your toe on the foot that is planted on the ground.</li>
<li>Squeezing your glutes the whole time will maximize your results.</li>
<li>Make sure to get a full hip extension at the top of the motion.</li>
<li>Thrust upwards as soon as your butt touches the ground at the bottom of the motion.
<strong>Rotating Side Plank</strong></li>
</ul>

<strong>Rotating side planks are a variation that you can mix into your regular plank routine.</strong>
<ul>
<li>Lift one arm off the mat, pointing it straight up in the air while opening your body and turning to that side.</li>
<li>Hold that position for 30-60 seconds or even longer if you can.</li>
<li>If you are unable to hold that position for extended periods of time, just hold it briefly, before returning to a regular plank quickly alternating sides.</li>
<li>Rotating side planks build strong abdominals, oblique muscles, and lower back.</li>
</ul>
For more workouts like these, including abdominal and core exercises that implement equipment, please visit <a href=”https://homefitnesslife.com”>Home Fitness Life</a>.

 

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