Stages of a Proper Workout Session

  • Start with a warm up.
    Warm-up is not stretching, as what we have been taught in schools. Start with light cardio work to warm up those muscles. Take about 5 to 10 min of lighter workout at the bike or treadmill.
    When you stretch when your muscles are cold, you may end up spraining it.
    After the warm up cardio, you may stretch if you wish.
  • Actual Workout
    You may now start with more intensive cardio workout. You should not do intensive cardio for more than an hour as it will deplete the critical glycogen storage in your muscles. After cardio, you may perform a bit of weight training.
  • Cool-down- (light cardio)
    When you do intensive cardio or weight lifting, lactic acid may accumulate in your muscles. The only way to get rid of it from your muscles- is by movement & circulation- so, just like your warm-up, you do light cardio for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stretching
    Experience sore muscles or stiffness after your workout? Or having to endure sore muscles for few days after workout? I strongly recommend that you incorporate stretching in your post workout. Do not underestimate the power of stretching. Incorporate stretching after your workout and you will feel great- you’ll walk easier and it will lessen your muscle sprain or injury. I speak from my personal experience- this really works. For a good cool down, spend about at least 10 minutes.

Weight Training Routines

Weight training can also improve overall health. You’ll gain strength, which can help you avoid injuries. A weight training routine also increases bone density, which helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Finally, weight training is and excellent exercise routine for older folks. As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass. The only way to even maintain the muscle you currently have is weight training. Also, people who train with weights tend to have fewer falls and better overall balance. And of course, older women should pay special attention to the paragraph above about osteoporosis.

You may ask, what type of is right for me? The simple answer is just about any routine that provides resistance against muscles. Heck you can even begin your weight training routine right now (you don’t even really need weights). Try this – bend your left arm at the elbow so that your forearm is parallel to the floor with your hand facing the ceiling. Now put your right hand on top of your left. Try to touch your left hand to your shoulder (pivoting only your elbow) while pressing down with your right hand.

Congratulations! You’ve just begun your first weight training routine.

Why do women tend to shy away from weight training routines? Look in just about any gym and you’ll see mostly women in the aerobics classes and mostly men pumping the free weights. Maybe its the idea that if women do weight training they will become muscle bound freaks.

Well ladies, if you want a drop dead figure then weight training is for you! Trust me, you will not look like a muscle bound freak, just very toned and totally sexy. You’ll look and feel better. And, as you age, you’ll be much less susceptible to problems like osteoporosis and bone fractures.

I know it can be a bit intimidating going to the gym and walking over the free weight area (not to mention the cat calls). You can easily get started with dumb bells, weight machines, and even body weight exercises (like pushups). The key is to start your weight training routine as soon as possible.

There are a few great weight training resources for women, but here’s a hint – you can use any of the one’s listed above. Just don’t tell you boyfriend, brother, or husband, because pretty soon you’ll be able to bench press more than they can.

Critical Leg Squat Steps

Simplistic and easy to perform, the leg squat will be done engaging in other activities as well. Standing in front of the stove cooking, talking on your cell phone or having a conversation with your children are prime times to perform leg squat bodybuilding moves. You must be careful how your technique is performed.

Many exercises in bodybuilding lend themselves to mult-tasking.

When performing leg squats, comfort is critical. Not being in the mood, tired and overstressed is no excuse for not performing the squats. If done incorrectly, it can be dangerous with pulled muscles and ongoing pain. It is better to do nothing than experience the damage of the muscle.

These are the steps to a successful set of leg squats:

  • First, stand with your legs apart. The width of your shoulders is the key to the proper width of your leg placement. Loosen up your body with stretches and bends.
  • Breathing deeply during each set should be done from the stomach instead of the chest area. Many successions of deep breathing should follow.
  • Remember to relax and concentrate on the way your body feels. This will gauge how well your body is able to take the exercise. So go slow and think and feel.
  • When beginning the leg squat, gradually lower your body while gently bending down at your knees. Remember to exhale when you are going down and inhale when you are going up.
  • When you reach the lowest point, stop and hold on at this point for a few seconds. This is the most important part in the exercise as a whole. Again, inhale when you raise your body from the squat position.

Over time, your leg muscles will tighten. This bodybuilding exercise is incredibly beneficial. It is also an easy exercise to perform.

Do not start with a large number of repetitions at first. This could cause damage in over working the muscles. The number of reps will increase as you gain strength and endurance. As you progress, slowly increase the number of reps. You will soon realize the simplicity of the exercise. Even though it is simple, the muscles are being taxed quite a bit and therefore will grow bigger going forward.

After beginning with leg squats, the use of small weights and advanced work out routines will mean shoulder and arms will follow. The legs love to be worked out and will respond by getting much bigger and stronger over time.

Key Optimal Health

Physical Health

So much has been written about the subject of physical health in the categories of health and wellness, diet and weight loss, fitness and bodybuilding etc. In this article I will primarily deal with physical health in its internal aspect which includes building a healthy immune system, detoxifying the body, healthy and quick elimination, and nourishing the cells with proper nutrition. Aging itself can be slowed down by keeping the internal aspect of our physical health up to par. Wouldn’t you love to have a healthy, youthful, energetic, strong, lean body which is free of disease, sickness and pain well into adulthood beyond the age of 40? It all narrows down to what type of food we put into our bodies – either food filled with toxins and poisons, or healthy, living, vital food.

Mark and Patti Virkler, in their inspiring book “Eden’s Health Plan – Go Natural” write:

“Food is intended to furnish the body with all the live elements needed for the regeneration of its cells and tissues. If the body fails to be healthy, the lack or deficiency of regenerative elements in the food is the cause of, and the responsibility for, whatever ailment, sickness or disease overtakes it. Our bodies seek homeostasis, equilibrium, balance. This equals health. When given the right building blocks to work with, the body maintains itself in health.”

These building blocks can be found in whole, unbleached, organic grains, rice (wild rice, brown rice etc.), beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, various seeds and herbs etc. Large portions of these building blocks can be found in the “super-food” family in such foods as Spirulina and Barley Grass. (A super-food is extremely rich in a large variety of vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and amino acids, and can be assimilated by our bodies very easily. Spirulina is a complete protein and is known to be very healthy.) Look in your local health food store for super green foods in powdered form. I personally sometimes use Garden of Life Perfect Food Super Green Formula.

Super-foods are known to:

  • Deter Aging
  • Massively Boost Your Immune System
  • Aid Weight Loss
  • Lower Your Cholesterol
  • Radically Improve Your Energy
  • Enhance Your Mental & Emotional Well-being
  • Boost Your Libido
  • Alkalize Your System
  • Protect against Toxins and Pollutants
  • Beautify Your Skin
  • Cleanse and Fortify Your Blood
  • Nourish and Revitalize your Systems

Fight and Protect against numerous diseases including Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart Disease, Stroke, Cancer, Arthritis, Cataracts, Osteoporosis, Acne, Obesity, High cholesterol, Age-Related Blindness…And Much More!

Again I quote Mark and Patti Virkler:

“By taking just a bit of a super-food (in capsule or powered drink form) as a supplement to your diet, you will find many wonderful things happen to your body. Essentially, the nourishment will give your body the needed resources to rebuild any broken or damaged parts and improve your body’s chances of returning to homeostasis. Testimonies of its power range from improved eyesight, to relief from back pain, to better scores in sports by world champion competitive athletes. Generally, one will experience feelings of increased energy and vitality; reduction and alleviation of stress, anxiety and depression; relief from the discomforting symptoms of fatigue, hypoglycemia, some allergies, poor digestion and sluggishness; and improved memory and mental clarity. People also experience elimination of mood swings, toxin elimination, better sleep, reduced cravings for food and sweets, lower blood pressure and many other health benefits. Then there are many specialized health problems which have disappeared as people’s bodies receive adequate nutrition through super-foods. Prostate problems have been normalized, as well as triglycerides, arthritis and diabetes, and many other severe and degenerative diseases. Basically, any and every disease will be fought off by your body, if it has the right tools to fight with. Super-foods give it the right tools. You just need to try it for thirty days and see what it may do for you. I recommend taking a product that includes several kinds of super foods, as they work together in a synergy that can have a profound effect on your health and vitality. If your body needs detoxifying first, you may experience a bit of a “tissue cleansing” during the first few days or weeks of taking the super-food as your body cleanses itself.”

Basically if we put the wrong food (and drink) into our body it weakens the immune system and opens the door for us to be susceptible to health problems of whatever sort (whether it be frequents colds and sicknesses, flues, aches and pains, sores and ulcers, weakness, sluggishness, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, heart problems, diabetes, cancer or psychological disorders such as malaise, apathy or memory problems etc., etc., etc.) Looking on the bright side a healthy immune system that is not swamped with toxins can fight off diseases successfully!

It is preferable to never be unhealthy to begin with and to eat nothing but healthy food from day one. Unfortunately it is not this way. Many have been conditioned to eat unhealthy, fattening, artery clogging foods from childhood to the grave. Many of us think it is a normal part of the aging process to start getting weaker, fatter, having more pain etc. after age 30 and onward. In many cases (definitely not all) premature aging and bodily weakening is the result of years of poor eating habits from childhood to adulthood. Due to many years of wrong eating habits it may be best to detoxify.

In the process of nourishing our cells with foods high in fiber such as vegetables, fruits, super-foods, and whole grains our body naturally detoxifies itself in the process, which in turn strengthens our immune system and slows, or in some cases, reverses the aging process. The key to optimal health as far as the physical aspect of our health goes, is to:

Eat plenty of Grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, super-foods, herbs, being sure to get plenty of exercise, pure water and clean air, excreting waste from the intestines quickly (which is a byproduct of eating plenty of fruits, fiber and vegetables). There are also natural supplements you can take such as Vitamin C, vitamins and minerals, and various antioxidants unless you are getting plenty of these from your regular diet.

I left out other important factors which contribute to overall optimal health. They included, but are not limited to, being healed of emotional traumas, maintaining a calm mental attitude, living in a spirit of prayer, faith, hope and love towards others in general, and towards God, Spirit, Higher Power in particular.

Next, I hope to share a little about the three remaining categories of health – mental, emotional and spiritual.

Mental and Emotional Health

Mental and emotional health are so closely related it is hard to separate the two. Having a healthy mind is not limited to having a keen intellect and an excellent memory. Someone can excel at this level of mental health but still be an emotional wreck, not to mention being spiritually ignorant at the same time.

Negative mental attitudes or emotions can have a direct effect on our physical health even if we are eating healthy food. Emotional traumas, anger, rage, hate, stress etc., when persisted in day in and day out, weaken the immune system and manifest in ill physical health. A negative mind, over time, often erases all the good that healthy food does for us.

Some forms of sickness, disease, and illness, as well as bad habits like smoking, drinking, drugs etc., are often external symptoms of something deeper. They are effects of a deeper cause. And until that cause is addressed and healed the symptoms will keep coming back like fruit on a tree whether in the form of ill health, disease, anxiety, bad habits of one sort or another, or in the worse case scenario cancer. Luckily there are warning signs when all is not well within.

The subconscious part of our mind is the storehouse of our emotions and memories and it is here where we need healing as far as our mental and emotional life are concerned. Sometimes negative or uneasy dreams (some of which originate from the sub conscious) are manifestations of our own fears and internal wounds. Some dreams are also messages, clothed with images we can comprehend, from our highest level of mind – the super conscious level – warning us when we are making wrong decisions, or heading in a wrong direction. In those rare cases where we are susceptible to the healing energies of the super conscious level of mind we can experience internal healing quicker than we ever imagined. More about this in a minute when I get to the spiritual aspect of health.

Along with a healthy diet it is important to think positive thoughts and maintain a positive attitude, avoiding anger and bitterness towards others. But, thinking positive thoughts and making an effort to be happy, loving, and optimistic, are only part of what is involved when it comes to the healing of our emotional life. We can only go so far by exercising will power alone, as important as it is to use our own efforts when attempting to make a change in our emotional life for the better. All our ethical standards, our rules and regulations for leading an acceptable moral life, all our positive thinking formula are a means to an end, the end being the opening and revelation of the spiritual aspect or our mind – the super conscious level of mind. This brings me to the last category of health, the spiritual category.

Spiritual Health

I have written about this subject elsewhere and will be repeating some of the information here. Keep in mind when reading this that being spiritual is not to be confused with being religious. Someone who is religious can be operating from a physical, emotional, and mental level only, but be void as far as being spiritual goes. A pseudo religious life (not to be confused with a genuine religious life) that is lived in pride, elitism, self righteousness and egoism is completely opposite of spiritual life. In context of this article being spiritual means living your life from the level of your super conscious mind, and living a harmonious life naturally from that level. This is easier said than done because our pride and ego often get in the way and cause us untold pain and suffering. But by living in harmony with the super-conscious level of our mind, and accessing the spiritual grace and energy which flow through (from God and Spirit) that same level of mind, our mental and emotional health, as well as our physical health, all fall into place and are balanced.

All our moral, ethical, religious or merely human efforts at trying to be a more loving, positive, optimistic person are a feeble way of (often unconsciously) aligning, or attempting to align, ourselves with that ever present flow of energy, light, grace, and Spirit permeating throughout all creation.

This ever present, but often unperceived and untapped, spiritual energy upholding all creation is the source of a truly happy life even when we find ourselves in the midst of negative external circumstances. It is the ultimate key to optimal health. Some call this ever present energy cosmic consciousness, super-consciousness, Christ consciousness, God, Spirit, a Higher Power etc. Some people personalize it and clothe it with a human form and then worship the person it manifests through. Ancient writings say the heavens and earth were made by the word of God and by the breath of his mouth. This is a human way of trying to accommodate a spiritual truth to the limited understanding of the human brain, using analogies, parables, particular genders, and concepts that can be understood by the rational brain. This often results in misunderstandings and even war and bloodshed in the name of religion.

The naked truth is intuitively perceived by the higher aspect of human consciousness called super consciousness. And it is this level of consciousness (Christ consciousness) that wells up from within to “save,” change, deliver, and heal us when the thick layer of ego, all the emotional blockages, wounded memories, and wrong thinking, are thinned out enough by our own efforts at self improvement. This is the truth of the “Messiah” or Savior figure often mentioned in ancient writings. Eventually we have to let go of our own strivings and let God take over.

Or, we can continue to resist the inner pull and instead live an unnatural life with the end result of disharmony on all levels physical, mental and emotional. (This is the truth about the so called wrath of God. It has nothing to do God or Spirit being angry at us. But it has everything to do with us bringing suffering upon ourselves by choosing to go our own way, not heeding the whispers and impressions of the super conscious mind either within ourselves, or speaking through dreams, visions, other people, or even through writing, art, and so on.)

Once we tap into the spiritual flow of grace then a truly changed person is the result, from the inside out. Children are closer to this level of being than adults who have been conditioned and brainwashed throughout life via peer pressure, upbringing, culture and so on. Humility is key, not pride and ego. Attaining to the spiritual level of healing consciousness is the end of all religions.

Safely Do the Reverse Crunch

The reverse crunch is an easy to do exercise which doesn’t require any equipment. Just find a carpet or mat to lie on and you can do this exercise perfectly. The reverse crunch is not a difficult exercise but it’s a good place to start your quest to a flat stomach.

Here is how you should perform the reverse crunch:

  • Start Position: Lie on the floor with both legs folded, but keep your feet slightly off the floor. Both legs should be relaxed. Keep both hands palm down at both sides of your body close to your pelvis.
  • Movement: Contract your lower abs by bringing your folded knees tight to your stomach. Slowly separate your knees from your stomach but keep them slightly off the floor. Repeat.

Tips:

  1. Keep your lower back flat on the floor at all time to avoid exerting pressure on your back
  2. Close your eyes and focus on your abs
  3. If you want to create an extra intensity in this exercise, strap some leg weights to your ankles and perform the exercise.

The reverse crunch can be highly effective if done correctly. I suggest that you incorporate it into your regular abs routine.

Pre and Post Workout Protein

After analyzing my clients’ food logs, the next step is to have each client start to learn how to eat smaller portions throughout the day and make an effort to eat the right amounts during those times. This process will increase the body’s ability to burn the food as fuel rather than store the food as fat.

If you read my articles regularly you know I endorse a circuit training or interval training type mentality. I firmly believe that this style of training increases the body’s ability to burn fat, it makes working out more fun, less monotonous and it challenges your body and mind without overwhelming it.

When you start to get into the 30-45 second intervals you learn that if you really push yourself for short bursts of time, you feel more energetic, you get stronger and you see changes on your body you used to only dream about. To get the most out of any training, but specifically circuit and interval training you need to pay attention to what you put into your body before and after your workouts.

There have been so many studies about this topic that all you really need to do is type in ‘pre workout or post workout nutrition’ into a search engine and you will see tons of information pop up. But sifting through all that information is sometimes the hard part.

If I wanted to be a smart-alec I would simply type in…. eat/drink a protein supplement before and after your workout. I could stop the article right there and be done with it. But I know you like more information, so here you go.

I recently read of a study conducted over a 14 week period using the following parameters:

  • Participants were physically active but did not utilize resistance training frequently.
  • They were instructed to consume nothing but a protein shake and water within the two hours before and after their training sessions, and eat healthy and regularly the rest of the day.
  • Participants ingested 25 grams of protein in a shake pre and post workout.

It should come as no shock to you that the participants they chose had less than ideal fitness levels. For example, they didn’t frequently utilize resistance training. That already puts you ahead of the game because if you follow any of my programs you already workout with weights. What might shock you is that the group achieved significant gains in muscle fiber size, overall body fat reduction, and increased strength by doing the limited number of exercises they were asked to perform.

WIN, WIN, WIN- A result we always like to have.

Food logs often show me that until I start to review my clients’ eating habits, most do not get nearly enough protein in their diet. This is an easy and efficient way to get those much wanted supplements.

Many experts agree that a well trained male athlete should ingest 1 gram of protein for every pound they want to weigh and for women ½ to ¾ of a gram of protein for every pound they want to weight. So let’s say a woman wants to weigh 120 lean lbs, which means she should ingest 60 – 90 grams of protein per day. And a male who wants to weigh 180 lean lbs would need to ingest 180 grams of protein a day. This is very hard to do on food alone. That is what makes the shake such a delicious addition. I also recommend (whether you have issues with milk or not) using just water as the liquid. It seems to blend better and does not cause any side effects like bloating or stomach discomfort.

Protein shakes can be really tasty too. There are so many flavors out there – Chocolate, Vanilla, Orange Crème, Cappuccino, etc. You can also add things like strawberries, bananas, oranges, etc. to your shake to add fiber and extra vitamins. Most of the companies put out a reasonably good product and I am not one to endorse many things.

Most powders also come with some sample shake recipe books for you to change things up a bit. For now try to get a good shake in your diet before and after your workouts. It will satisfy your hunger, help you work out more efficiently, and give your body the proper fuel to get the most out of your day. And they can be pretty darn tasty!

Water Exercises

If nice firm and toned arms have always been something that you wanted, here is an exercise that can help you accomplish this. Begin by standing up straight in the water with your arms extended. Place a ball in front of you and push it downward in a figure eight with your hands while breathing rhythmically. This is a great workout that will provide great results. Everyone has done jumping jacks at some point. These can also be done as a water exercise as well. The water provides a resistance when performing this exercise that gives you a great workout.

Stretching exercises are great anytime for strengthening your muscles and making them more flexible. They should be done before you do any other type of exercise to prevent damage to your body, even when you are performing water exercises. Doing stretch exercises in water can help to improve your overall condition and help to improve your strength and flexibility. Always breathe in when you are extending your arms outward and breathe out when you bring them back in. Wall exercises are another one that you can do in water to help strengthen your muscles. The water helps to prevent injuries caused by straining while giving your muscles a great workout.

It is a recommended that you talk to your doctor before you begin any exercise routine. This is for your own safety and once the doctor tells you it is safe for you to begin, then you can start enjoying the benefits associated with water exercises. Studies have shown that combining swimming with regular exercises is one of the best ways to get in shape. It is also a lot of fun which makes it easier for you to continue a routine on a regular basis. If you want to stay in the best shape possible, then you should give water exercises a try. You may be surprised at all the benefits you can receive.

Weight Lifting Gloves For Pull Ups

  • If you’re deciding on which gloves to buy think of what else you’re going to be using them for because this makes a difference! You likely aren’t heading to the gym to spend an hour doing only pullups. You’re bouncing on the cardio machines, running the track, doing bodyweight exercises and pumping iron in the weight room. If you can’t use your new grips for everything else you do in the gym then they’re not very versatile. Look for a glove that gives you finger dexterity by either only having a half finger length or no finger. Trying to use a fingerless pad or grip is only going to get annoying, and it’s just not efficient.
  • Now this may seem silly because it’s not a tip about hand protection but rather a tip about proper form for pull ups. Too many people in the gym or CrossFit box THINK they know how to do a pull up properly. After all, it’s just grabbing a pull ups bar and yanking yourself up to it right? Wrong!

Facts About Cellulite

Figuring things out later on in life is ok, at least you figured it out, but having the ability to figure some things about earlier on in your life, will definitely be something that works out much better. Get your life in order. Sit down and try to write down a list of things that you hate about yourself, then take the time out to write down a list of things that you like/love about yourself. Look at that list really closely for a moment or two and spend the rest of your day just trying to take it all in, so that you can start figuring some things out for yourself sooner rather than later. Cellulite is not a medical condition that is going to kill you, it is not a disease, it is really nothing for you to be overly concerned about.

Yes, if something makes you unhappy you should make every attempt to correct the issue, if there is something that you can do about it. For the things that are completely out of your control, leave it alone, forget about it for awhile, start focusing on the things in your life that you can possibly make some changes to, including your health, both mental and physical and if curing yourself from your cellulite problem brings you enormous happiness, then I suppose you are doing nothing wrong. If it gives you a good feeling and is not harming anyone else along the way, just continue going for it because obviously there is nothing wrong with what you are attempting to do to make changes in your life.

Get the facts straight before determining whether or not something is bad or good, right or wrong, ugly or pretty. Know what you are talking about before you say it or even think it for that matter. If cellulite is preventing you from going places with your friends or family members, then you should start talking to your doctor about coming up with some type of plan that can help you to get rid of your cellulite once and for all. Not everyone wants to tell people about their concerns, especially if they feel that it is over something silly. They do not want to be judged in any way. Do it on your own, you are more than capable. Read up about the facts on cellulite and the different methods that actually do work, so that you can start focusing on making the changes that will bring you happiness.

Washboard Abs

Quick washboard abs must necessarily start with a change to your diet. Any foods with high fat content, low or inefficient protein structures and not enough fiber can be devastating to your abs. Eating a high protein diet is not enough, and you need to balance that protein with a lot of fruit and as little fat as you can. If you eat protein and fat together, your body would much rather use the fat for fuel than the protein, and you will not be able to make use of all of that protein you are eating.

The key to getting quick washboard abs is to eat a high-protein, low-carb meal at least two hours before you exercise. A piece or two of fruit should accompany this, to give you enough energy and sugar to want to exercise in the first place! A protein shake made of whey protein is an excellent way to prep for your workout, but make sure you eat nothing for an hour before you hit the gym. Your after meal workout is also essential, because your body has used up a lot of its fuel breaking down your muscles, and needs more protein to build them up and sugar to keep your blood glucose levels where they should be. Remember that maintaining healthy eating is absolutely essential when you want to build muscle or burn fat – without the right nutrition your efforts will be wasted.

Quick washboard abs are all about the exercises you do, and a lot of people misunderstand the exercises they need to perform to develop muscles quickly and keep them. Begin your workout with ten minutes on a treadmill or bicycle – this will speed up your respiration and metabolism, making it easier for your muscles to get the fuel they need to bulk up. Forget about sit ups and crunches – do slow, heavy resistance exercises with long time intervals. Your stomach is one of the few areas that can handle a very long time interval, and doing fewer reps can greatly reduce the damage you do to your hips, neck and back.

Experiment with different exercises to avoid sit ups and crunches. These will work, but they will definitely not get you quick washboard abs. Use leg lifts, vertical bicycle kicks and water aerobics to get the most out of your time at gym. One new exercise that is helping a lot of people develop washboard abs is based on a push-up, believe it or not. Get two dumbbells with round weights, place them on the floor and take up the push up position, leaning on the dumbbells. Now roll one forward without moving your other hand, stretching your body at an angle. Roll back, and roll the other side forward, using your still arm as an anchor.

After only two reps you should start to feel a massive burn in your sides and lower abdominals. Do three sets with low reps and long time intervals, and you should develop quick washboard abs in no time at all! The best part about this exercise is that it puts almost no strain on any part of your body besides your stomach.