Cardiovascular Exercise

I think many people don’t even consider any other form of exercise for various reasons. They think of exercise as something which has to make you hot, sweaty and panting, which cardio workouts done properly certainly do. Also, they experience the best feel good factor from the release of endorphins after good cardio workouts.

This is excellent news if you want to improve your cardiovascular system, that is the mechanism by which our heart and lungs work together to deliver oxygen to our bodies. This is ultimately what CV exercise is all about. Working the cardiovascular system to improve and maintain its maximum efficiency is a vital part of any fitness program.

However, as a personal trainer I see many people in my gym every day working away on the CV equipment and just not getting the best out of their gym workouts.

One of the main reasons why many people never see any improvement is because they consistently do their CV work at the same level of intensity without ever increasing the workload or challenging themselves. Then of course they get bored, so bored that they end up trying to do it while listening to music, watching TV, or even reading the paper!

Believe me , this is such a waste of time! There are techniques to getting the best out of your cardio workouts, and if you’re paying attention to them you certainly won’t have time to get bored and you’ll get much better results.

There are two main ways of working your CV system. They are both important and should be combined in your program for the best results.

Interval Training

This is a method by which you alternate between a comfortable pace and short periods at a more challenging or training pace. Short periods of overloading your heart and lungs encourage them to get stronger as they respond. The result is better cardiovascular capacity.

Fixed Pace Training

This is a method by which you do a longer training session at a fixed comfortable pace. This method used over time will enable you to sustain CV activity for longer. The result is better cardiovascular endurance.

The best way to determine your comfortable pace and your training pace is first to work out your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. So, a 30 year old will have a maximum heart rate of 190 beats per minute.

Your comfortable pace should be between 65% and 75% of your maximum heart rate. In the case of the 30 year old that would be between 123.5 and 142.5 beats per minute. Your training pace should be between 80% and 85% of your maximum heart rate. So for our 30 year old that would be between 152 and 161 beats per minute.

A simple heart monitor will tell you your heart rate throughout your workout. This will enable you to moderate your workload by altering the pace, incline or resistance of the particular piece of equipment you are using.

As your heart and lungs adapt to the work you are demanding of them, you will have to increase the workload to maintain the same heart rate. So if, initially you reached 65% of your maximum heart rate by running at 5 mph and you need to maintain this heart rate you will eventually need to increase the speed at which you are running or perhaps increase the incline. If you work constantly at the same workload you won’t improve!

One of the other reasons people opt only for CV exercise is because equipment such as treadmills, steppers, rowers, elliptical trainers etc often tell you how many calories you are using. Many people associate burning calories with burning fat and assume that these are the machines that are going to help them lose weight.

However, this is only true to a small extent. The important thing to remember is that CV work is only fuelled in part by body fat and only when done at the correct intensity and duration.

During CV exercise your body will burn a much greater percentage of sugars or glycogen, which is the energy derived from the food you eat.

So if weight loss is what you are trying to achieve, you’ll have to get off the treadmill and do something else as well!

It’s all about raising your metabolic rate. That is the rate at which your body turns the food you eat into useable energy. Well toned, active muscles demand far more of our calorific intake than stored body fat does. So the greater percentage of lean muscle we have, the higher our metabolic rate.

When we work our muscles they grow to meet the demands we put on them. If we work them regularly and keep them toned and active we can not only increase our metabolic rate but maintain it at that improved rate.

So if you want to lose weight, don’t rely on CV exercise alone. Try to alternate it with a program of weight training to isolate each muscle group to strengthen and tone them. This is best done with a program based on the use of hand held or free weights sometimes known as dumbells.

Combine this with a healthy eating program and you have a recipe for effective weight loss.

And, if you want better CV function as well, take off the headphones, stop watching the TV and get a good, challenging program!

Summer Workout Planning

Hydration needs to be understood by everyone as the body has a terrific capability to exert itself with very little warm up and fluid intake (hydration). However, this can lead to severe muscle cramp and dehydration problems early in your fitness routine. The more aerobic the exercise and the more severe the temperature range you are performing in then the likelihood for becoming faint or even passing out during your exercise is much greater.

Summer workout schedules should be thought of around the weather patterns as much as possible. Early morning is a great time to beat the heat in most areas. Sorry, east coast but having just been there I know how humid the mornings can be. But, even with the humidity factor the mornings are best when it comes to overall impact to the body’s natural cooling ability, sweat.

One of the most important planning and execution items prior to your workout is hydration or applying more water to your body’s thirsty engine. If you know that you are going to be in an aerobic routine on known cycles then a good rule of thumb is to hydrate (drink water) the night before. The amount of water intake should be 64 ounces. It takes the body several hours to properly absorb and replenish the water “spent” from previous events or workouts. So, by adding water to your daily meal plan in advance you will create an optimum replenishment process for overall hydration.

In addition to the night before, you should also plan on having onsite bottles of water to maintain periodic replenishment during the summer workout. Summer is by far the most draining of your liquid assets although every season should follow the patterns noted here for proper hydration. The old rule of thumb is you can never have too much water. But, caution to the wind on that one, the timing of the intake is very important as we stated above it should be done the night before in no less than sixty four ounces of water.

There are many supplemental products available on the market today as well. The most famous and probably most tested is clearly Gatorade. The original development of Gatorade was by the University of Florida to find a solution to their football team’s energy levels dropping during their grueling summer workout plans with the football team. The Gators, as they are known, had a team of researchers develop the product which today is named after the school’s mascot, Gatorade. We also believe that proper nutrition and natural supplements like the acai berry juice from Mona Vie International [] is an excellent choice for daily health and wellness management.

Flatten Your Abs Without Sit-ups

  • The first exercise you can do is called V-ups. These are done by lying flat on the floor with your hands over your head touching the ground. When you have achieved this position, raise your torso and legs in a simultaneous motion while keeping your legs straight. Reach your hands towards your feet making them touch if possible. Hold this position for a few seconds, and then return to the flat position that you first began with. Repeat this as much as you’d like, and you are sure to flatten your abs.
  • The second exercise you can do is called the lunge Chop. This is done by taking medicine ball in both hands and holding it over one of your shoulders. Step forward with the leg that is opposite to the shoulder over which the ball is being held until the knee is t a ninety degree angle. When you have achieved this position, swing the ball down in a chopping motion. Do this eight times and then switch to the other shoulder. This, too, is another way in which you can flatten your abs.
  • The last exercise is sort of fun, and it is called the Barbell Rollout. This is done by gripping a barbell over handedly while kneeling on the floor. When this position has been achieved, roll the barbell s far out way from you as possible with your hand still gripping, and then roll it back in towards you. In order for this exercise to be effective, these must be done in sets of ten.

Have fun flattening your abs and getting the stomach of your dreams. NO more will you ever have to go through so much trouble getting rid of the fat.

Stomach Exercises

One thing we forget is that, whatever shape we find our body in presently did not get there over night. It took years for the body to get there. So the first thing we have to do is have a realistic goal and know that it will take time and determination. Our mindset should be exercising the whole body to get flatter abs because just common crunches without cardio will not cut it. Begin your quest with cardio exercises. This will increase your heart rate and increase your metabolism. Do a good fast pace walk 3 times a week. This burns calories and gives you a strong heart. Fast brisk walk mixed with interval of fast pace running is a good exercise for your cardio.

Exercise without healthy diet is meaningless. A combination walking and/or jogging and a healthy diet is one of the best stomach exercises you can perform because it raises your metabolism enough to burn unwanted calories all over your body.

To get the killer abs you are looking for

  • You need to commit to it.
  • Get off your but and start walking or running 3 times a week.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Have realistic goals.
  • Reward yourself when you achieve a milestone.
  • Finally make it fun and have fun doing it.

No Gym, No Problem

A few things that I have found to be very useful in working out in my apartment are resistance bands, a pull up bar and a punching bag of any weight. The resistance bands offer incredible versatility because you can use them as nearly any piece of gym equipment. For instance you stand on them and curl or wrap your back in them and do push ups with added resistance. You can use them in almost any way and get a good work out going.

The pull-up bar is used of course for pull ups but you can take the punching bag, hang it from your pull up bar and do some light kicks and punches. I used to have a punching bag stand with a 100 pound bag and I loved punching it and kicking it. It was one of the best workouts I have ever done and I was very disappointed when I got rid of the bag and stand. The punching bag can be used as other things too. You can bench it or squat with it. Almost anything you do with weights or without weights can be done with this punching bag. It is a little cumbersome even if it is a light weight bag. You can train your auxiliary muscles this way too. Due to the awkward nature of working with the bag your body needs to stay straight and stable with.

These options have really made it easier to work out at home and It is a very affordable option, the bag was just about $35, you can get a pull up bar for $10-15 and the resistance bands cost me about $18 on amazon. So it is a very viable option if you don’t want to spend the money on a pricey gym membership or if you just don’t like working out in public settings.

Ways to Gain Muscle Mass

  • Varying your set and reps will help you bust your plateaus. Say, you have been working your chest and you are using four sets with declining repetitions. I.E. 15,12,8,5. Instead of that type of repetitions, you could go with heavier weights and lift 12,10,5, 3. Using heavier weights with lower repetitions should help you gain muscle mass.
  • Lift to failure on your last rep. In order to gain muscle mass you need to fatigue your muscle groups to failure. It’s always best to have someone lifting with you so they can help you complete your last set.
  • Train with a partner who has similar goals. When two people who are like minded begin sharing ideas and techniques, it will both help the reach their goals and bust through plateaus.
  • You can pretend that you are eating properly, or you can actually eat properly. A big problem with trying to bust through plateaus and gain muscle mass is skipping carbohydrates immediately after a session. You need to replenish the carbs you lost during your weightlifting session. But, the repletion process must begin immediate after your session, not two hours. The hour after your last session is the optimal time to put the lost nutrients back into the body. It will aid in muscle development and muscle healing.
  • Ditch the cardio. I know you like to get that ripped look that the opposite sex really digs. But, when you are busting plateaus and you want to gain muscle mass, you need to skip cardio. Cardio can be a deterrent when you are trying to gain muscle mass and bust plateaus. It’s especially true when you are trying to build legs.

Lose Fat in Your Face

To lose weight your diet should be one low in calories and low in fats. Find the number of calories you need per day according to your height and age. And then subtract 500 calories from fat. This is how many calories you need per day to lose weight. Divide this number of calories in half and you have the number of calories you should have each day. Fifty percent of your daily calories should come from complex carbohydrates, 30% from lean meats poultry and fish with the remainder derived from unsaturated fats.

Aerobic exercise is necessary for losing weigh. You can lose weight without exercise but you will lose weight more quickly and be healthier if you include exercise in your weight loss plan. Aerobic exercise three to four times a week for at least half an hour a session will burn calories and fat and raise your metabolism so that you burn calories and fat even while you are resting. Anaerobic exercise, such as resistance weight training and strengthening Pilates exercises will make your muscles stronger and aid in removing fat from them.

Here are some exercises reputed to help lose fat from your face and to strengthen your facial muscles. It is best to use a mirror when doing most of these exercises to ensure that you were doing them correctly.

For the areas around your eyes, relax and close your eyes, look down and then look up as far as possible. Repeat this ten times. Next, again with your eyes closed, lift your eyebrows and stretch your eyelids down as far as possible. Holds this for five counts, relax and repeat this five times. With your eyes open, look up and then down while keeping your head still, repeats this ten times, then looked left and then right, and repeat ten times.

Frown as much as possible and try to bring your eyebrows over your eyes while pulling the eyebrows toward one another. Then lift your eyebrows as far as possible while opening your eyes as far as possible as well. Repeat this five times. Lie on your back on a bed, hanging your head over the edge. Raise your eyebrows as high as possible, and open your eyes very wide. Relax and repeat ten times. Sit upright and while bringing your eyebrows down over your eyelids, wrinkle your nose as far up as possible while flaring your nostrils. Keep for a count of ten. Relax and repeat five times.

Stick out the tip of your tongue and pull in your cheeks. Hold for just a couple of seconds and relax. Raise your lower lip over your upper lip and try to touch it to your nose. Smiling as widely as you can, try to touch the tip of your tongue to your nose.

Losing weight and fat takes time so be patient with yourself and your body, stick to it and you will soon have the look you want without plastic surgery or liposuction.

Neurobic Exercises

  • Try other neural building and strengthening exercises with everyday movements. Use your opposite hand to brush your teeth, dial the phone or operate the TV remote.
  • Changing the usual smell you wake up to in the morning, i.e. coffee or tea with a different smell or freshly baked bread will activate new neural pathways.
  • Use your non-dominant hand to brush teeth, eat food, brush hair or write.
  • To use the side of your brain you don’t normally use close your eyes to wash, dress, open the front door, find your keys. This will help you strengthen your sense of touch.
  • * To force you to use your other senses wear ear plugs when completing simple tasks.
  • * If you use the lift at work on a regular basis learn Braille for the numbers.
  • If you have photographs or pictures on or around your workstation then turn them upside down.
  • To sample new aromas and surroundings shop at different places
  • As social deprivation can impair brain functions engage in communication with a shop assistant or at the bus stop.
  • To help revitalize your brain instead of having a cup of tea in your break time go for a brisk walk.
  • If you normally write with a pen try writing with a pencil.
  • Travel to work using a different transport or a different route.
  • To use more than one of your senses in a different way try listening to a piece of music and smell a certain aroma at the same time.

Midsection Perfection

Simply stated, men and women need to hang on to a little bit of body fat to help make sure our heart pumps, skin stays smooth and hair stays shiny. Regardless of how fit we are or how diligently we watch what we eat, women will always need to carry more essential body fat than men. The reason being is mostly for reproductive reasons. That said, if we were just left with essential body fat, we’d look mighty lean. It’s the unnecessary body fat, the stuff that gives a Jello-like feel around the belly, butt, thighs, that we need to watch out for. Exactly where body fat distributes itself plays a huge role in our overall health.

While women may carry more body fat, they typically store it in the hips and thighs. Even though the pear-shaped figure may not be the most desirable body for women who are concerned about a skirt that’s suddenly tighter throughout their lower body, it’s a lot healthier than an ever-expanding waistline. When men gain weight, they tend to put in on in the midsection of their body. Excessive fat through the midsection has been associated with high blood pressure, high levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. According to a recent Harvard study, 427 healthy men between 17 and 90 found that in each decade of adult life, the body fat of sedentary men increased 17 percent and the waist circumference 2 percent; regular exercise, though, reduced fat accumulation to just 3 percent per decade and held the mid-body bulge to just 1 percent per decade.

So what works and does not work when it comes to minimizing abdominal fat?

  • Does NOT Work: Sit ups and other abdominal strengthening exercises. Yes, these exercises do help strengthen the muscles that are lying under the layers of fat, but it won’t reduce the stuff that rests on top.
  • Does Work: Consistent regular exercise several times each week (anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes) has a positive impact on reducing not only abdominal body fat, but high blood pressure and cholesterol, too! Make sure you combine strength training with cardiovascular activity.
  • Does NOT Work: Store bought fat burners. While the jury is still out about how effective over-the-counter fat-burning concoctions really are, they certainly can’t help you spot reduce and abs-only region. Use common sense here – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And of course, before reaching for a quick fix remedy from your drug store’s shelf, talk to your doctor.
  • Does Work: Diet. Many of us simply eat too much, and responsibly cutting calories alone could make a big difference. Along with proper caloric intake, eating a balanced diet of protein, fat and carbs has a much greater impact on overall health.
  • Does NOT Work: Fat-free diets. If you’re on a fat-free or minimal fat diet now, STOP! You will only gain body fat. Sounds counter-intuitive, I know, but you can’t food your body. At least 15% of the calories we consume should be from fat. Try to get it from a whole food source, like nuts, instead of a processed form, like and energy bar.
  • Does Work: Healthy fats. Reassess where you’re getting your calories. If you’re still of the belief that low fat is the only way to eat, then you’re probably eating too many carbohydrates. Fats are an essential part of our diet and should be consumed regularly with every meal. Healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil and fish oils (as a supplement) are an important component to staving off hunger and regulating blood sugar levels. The longer you feel satisfied, the less likely you are to go for the sweet stuff.

Get Toned Arms

Now what must be kept in mind is that the technique to doing this is very different to getting ripped or packing on a lot of muscle. Getting toned arms requires a different form of workout. It is much more focused on actual strength. Now when I say strength I do not mean how many stacks of weights you can lift. I mean how fast and far you can run, how many push ups you can pump out and so on.

You may have noticed that a lot of athletes are in fact extremely toned. They have toned arms and very lean muscular bodies. They achieve this through their actual training. Take sprinters for example. Their main focus of training is simply to run as fast as they can. You won’t find them in the gym doing bicep curls with a dumbbell.

So if you are looking to get toned arms, you have to train your arms in this way. Like an athlete.

Ever heard of HIIT training? What it basically means is that first you do an exercise such as running at a fast pace for a short time. Then you slow the speed down for roughly a minute then pick it up again. This is repeated for a good 10 minutes at least. This type of workout is similar to a sprinters workout. It burns fat quickly and in fact it actually burns fat after the actual workout.

Push ups are another form of toning exercise that can be done. You can get amazingly toned arms just by pumping push ups every day and mixing it with a sprinting cardio routine. Another example would be break-dancers. Their arms are as toned as you can get. This is because of their pure strength and ability to lift their body weight for long periods of time.