Active Recovery for Exercise

The body needs a break and rest from our routines. When we change the routines, we are allowing our bodies to rest and recover properly. For example, a runner might need to rest from an injury. The water can be a great source of active recovery for people who exercise and athletes. Using a pool to do a light workout can be one way to change our routines. The key is allowing the muscles to recover by doing something completely different and less intense for our bodies. Stretching and using a foam roller are commonly used for active recovery techniques since it may help prevent injury. Stretching is often overlooked but is a great idea for active recovery since everyone needs flexibility.

Active recovery is not to be confused with cross-training. Both are different but the main difference is the activities for cross-training might still be intense. The activities for active recovery would most likely be less intense. This is only because the muscles need rest and recovery. Someone doing cross-training might run and swim with the same intensity on different days. A person should try to do less on off days and remember they are recovering from the main activity they are focusing on. This is why I strongly feel the exercise should be lighter and not as challenging.

Six Pack Abs Workout

The simple truth is that crunches and sit-ups are alright when you start working on your abdominals, but soon you’ll need to do hundreds of crunches in order to feel any sort of effort and you’ll see little improvement, if any.

The reason is that crunches and sit-ups are low intensity ab exercises. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that crunches are not good exercises, but they don’t give you the kind of abs workout that you’re looking for.

If you want to get six pack abs, you will need to do much more complicated and difficult exercises.

What many people don’t know and what keeps them from getting the abs they long for is that in order to get perfect abs you should invest more of your time in full body workouts than in abs exercises alone.

The reason for this is two-fold:

  • You need to reduce your overall body fat and this won’t be done by abs exercises.
  • The abs serve as supporting muscle for nearly any strength building exercise you do, regardless of the muscle group you’re focusing on. You see, while you’re working your pecs, biceps or triceps, your abs are taking part of the effort.

The key to developing your abs is performing high intensity exercises as part of a full body workout. Let go of the crunches and make sure to give your body a full workout each time you’re in the gym and you’ll see results.

30 Minute Energy Infusion

It’s not only on the football field when fatigue limits us. Fatigue clouds our life vision, robs us of our greatness. When we tire easily everyday tasks are harder and take longer to perform. Our ability to concentrate is compromised. Even driving a car is more difficult and dangerous. It can even become obvious to our superiors at work. It AFFECTS every area of our lives.

Fatigue is amplified by unhealthy habits. Energy is increased and created by positive habits. If you are constantly running low on energy at work in the afternoon be aware that you can change this. Try all of the following suggestions for 30 minutes at see what happens.

  • Walk briskly for 10 minutes outside in the sun
  • Drink 16 ounces of fresh non-tap water
  • Do 50 jumping jacks
  • Eat 2 servings of whole unprocessed food
  • Take 20 deep , slow breaths
  • Do 5 different stretches
  • Meditate deeply for 5 minutes

This routine should take you no more than 30 minutes. Perform it at mid-day break or lunch. Do it INTENSELY. The energy infusion will last for 3-4 hours.

Have fun and prosper !!

How Jump Higher

Plyometrics Exercises – increase your explosive power

Every athlete wants to add those few inches to their jump. Plyometrics exercises have been especially designed for any sports that involves jumping. This type of exercise helps develop the ‘explosive’ ability in the athletes, which helps them to sprint faster and take big leaps as they jump, as for example a basketball player would do. The easiest way that you could do Plyometric exercise at home is to get a strong looking sturdy bench, or any kind of step. What you need to do is to jump on top of the step with as much power as you can gather, and then immediately jump back down. If it is too easy for you, you would need to increase the height of the step and by that make the exercise more effective for your purposes. This exercise is one of the very basic Plyometrics exercises, but has proven to be very effective in providing power build-up for jumping higher.

Improving Your Jumping Technique and keeping track of it

Taking the example of a basketball player, many of these players do not have a proper jumping skill, though they can dunk or jump over volleyball net. Exercises, pertaining to strengthening of leg muscles, provide notable improvement to your jumping, and you can add 1 to 4 inches to your vertical jump – and this could be achieved in one week. While you undergo the exercise training, you could start by recording your jump before initiation of the work-out, and mark your progress during and after you complete the training session. As you go ahead with the exercises, you will notice an improvement in your capability to jump higher.

Stretching The Right Muscles

There are many muscles in your body which go to work as soon as you take a leap with the intent of jumping as high as you possibly can. It becomes necessary that you’ll be as limber as possible, as otherwise you may end up with having a pulled muscle in your quadriceps. For this reason it is absolutely necessary for you to be in good shape, in terms of flexibility, too. In order to have a smooth jumping leap, without any strain coming to your muscles, you should always stretch your back and legs to maintain the muscles in a proper condition for you to jump higher.

Lose Stomach Fat

You’ll be glad to know that in the last few years there has been some great breakthroughs when it comes down to rapid fat loss – & great arguments such as, is cardio actually good for you. Also such statements as ab exercises will not burn of of!

Well I personally have some some extensive research on these topics and will say that firstly ab exercises will not get rid of your stomach fat, what they will do though is build the abdominal muscle.

If you still have a fair bit of fat on your stomach it does not matter how big your stomach muscles are as they are still going to be hidden under a layer of fat. So your core focus should be on getting rid of the fat as you already have abs, believe me they are there. There just hidden under your fat!

OK so how do you get rid of this fat you ask?

I highly recommend a mix of interval training and resistance training & correct eating. If you set yourself up with a game plan to involve all three into your life you will experience some massive results in short period of time.

Interval training – consists of doing a exercise with different levels of intensity to shock the body, as our body does not benefit from having to endure i activity over long stretches of time. If you hop onto some sort of cardio machine i would always suggest selecting random instead of traditional settings.

I highly recommend you get yourself educated in methods for interval and resistance training + learn as much as possible about natural methods to boost your metabolism.

Fibromyalgia

An additionally important concept related to exercise is your “baseline.” Each person has a different one. A “baseline” is the level of exercise that you can maintain over a period of time. This simply means that the pain you get while exercising with Fibromyaglia doesn’t interfere with your lifestyle. You also must remember that there will always be good days and bad days. You shouldn’t quit or reduce your exercising because of a bad day. (Keep in mind you may want to moderate it a bit if you have a bad flare-up that lasts days or weeks.)

You should always begin exercise training with stretching weather you have Fibromyalgia or not. Stretching helps lubricate ligaments and joints, reduces stiffness and keeps ligaments and tendons from shortening over time. Stretching must be a gentle process and it should feel good to warm up with stretching.

Mild aerobic activity, such as walking, for a few minutes before stretching is a good way to warm up before you get started with your personalized exercise routine. Low-impact, easy aerobic exercise that should be done daily is the next step. Aerobic exercise has many benefits to your health. It specifically helps reduce Fibromyalgia pain symptoms because it greatly improves flexibility, helps your body to release endorphins and reduces stress.

For excellent Low Impact Exercise you could try Walking or Bicycling. You should start at a level suitable to you current physical status and increase your level of exercise gradually. If you get tired after a few minutes of walking, start at that point and increase your time by a minute or two every few days or each week.

Water aerobics and swimming are especially good activities for people with Fibromyalgia. The buoyancy of you body in the water helps to supports your sore muscles and gives you the ability to exercise with less pain. A double benefit of swimming is the gentle stretching along with aerobic exercise.

The following exercise programs emphasize slow, gentle movements that are ideal for people with Fibromyalgia. They are: Tai Chi and Qi Gong and Yoga. All three of these exercises programs include breathing and focusing, which helps to decrease stress. These programs also make you more aware of your body and you’ll learn to recognize signs of stress more easily.

Pilates works well and is another exercise system where you work with your body through stretching and toning. Pilates is a gentle way to tone your body and is great for people with Fibromyalgia because it is a non-weight bearing exercise, like chair aerobics.

Those with Fibromyalgia can add strength training slowly as they build up their tolerance to exercise. Resistance bands give plenty of strength training for a beginner. It is important to note that Strength training should be undertaken carefully and gently. It is recommended to get help from an exercise professional before adding it to your exercise routine. There are a bunch of benefits to strength training. I can be a very beneficial addition to your exercise, especially when you are on the feeling side of life.

No matter if we are talking about exercise or sleep, pacing yourself and staying in a routine are a must if you have Fibromyalgia. A regular bedtime schedule or going to bed and getting up at the same time every day helps with sleep. Exercising is the same way . . . doing it at the same time every day helps with exercise. Your body begins to respond to the routines you put in place.

You must be pace your exercise too. This means starting at a low level, increasing slowly, and incorporating rest periods into your exercise program. You should exercise, then rest, then exercise some more and over time, you can shorten the rest periods and/or lengthen the exercise periods. Keeping rhythm and pacing make a big difference in how much exercise you can tolerate.

Intelligent Training

Yet the neurological aspects of exercise are much more important than the muscles themselves, for it is the nervous system that activates and coordinates them.

With that in mind, it is extremely important to be aware of the neurological demands of an exercise.

Certain exercises are neurologically demanding so it is essential that you don’t put more of them in one workout than your nervous system can handle.

This fact is crucial. The high-energy demands of such exercises mean your chances of training with poor form increase much faster than with conventional bodybuilding or machine-based exercises.

So being conscious of the neurological load of an exercise means that you are better able to avoid degeneration of form. Your body learns to move by performing the exercise. This is particularly the case with neurologically demanding exercises.

Failure to end your workout before form deteriorates will result in faulty programming. This is where the saying “training to failure equals training to fail” comes from.

By training to the point your form fails, you not only risk injury, but you train your body to remember the improper form.

Always Sequence Exercises in Descending Complexity

In essence, you should always order your workout in such a way that the most challenging exercises are done highest in the order of execution.

This does not mean, however, everyone will have the same ordering of exercises for their workout. What may be a tough exercise for one may prove an easy exercise for another.

One’s own motor skills will dictate the best order. This is another principle that is generally lost on fitness professionals today.

There has been a huge influence on resistance training by exercise equipment manufacturers. Their fixed axis machinery tricks you into thinking you are training well, but the reality is that the number of muscles being used and the necessity of balancing your own body and the load being lifted is no longer an issue. Thus, the neurological complexity/demand of the exercises is dramatically reduced.

An additional caveat for those of you wanting to burn fat is to remember that how your metabolism responds after a workout is very much hormonally driven.

Research in strength training now shows that short intense workouts of 30-40 minutes are far more effective at stimulating natural growth hormone and testosterone release than the typical long torturous workouts many people do in the gym today.

Many of my clients are surprised at the results when they stop talking to their friends in the gym, time their rest periods with a stopwatch and get serious!

On the hand, if your goal is to get stronger, your workout should be shaped by different principles. For improved strength, you should not let any set last longer than 60 seconds. For example, if you do a set of squats, from the time you start the set to the time you rack the bar should be no longer than 60 seconds. Going longer will develop endurance, not strength!

You will also need to increase the number of sets of the key exercises that make you strong in your pattern(s) of choice.

EG if you want to have a big squat, do lots of squatting. If you want a big bench press, you better do lots of bench pressing. Finally, my own observations reflect that most people can only train hard for two to three weeks before the body produces a stress response.

The stress response is marked by elevated stress hormone (glucocorticoids) levels. After some experimentation with your body, you will find every third or fourth week should be what I call a “volume week.” During these times, the intensity stays the same, but the volume is cut in half as a form of active rest. This can dramatically increase strength gains!

Many people diligently trying to lose fat or build muscle over-train. The result is excess production of stress hormones, which are catabolic (tissue-destructive).

Whenever excessive stress hormones are produced, you are likely to lose as much or more muscles as fat. This is a disaster since muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in the body and is vital to keep your fat-burning metabolism elevated.

Always remember this simple rule: If you can’t improve your performance by 1-3 percent each time you come to the gym, you are not rested and should stretch, meditate or get a massage. In other words, do some relaxing instead of training.

When you mix weight training with other methods of exercise, such as aerobic classes, biking, spin bike classes or martial arts, you must again apply the most to least complex rule and prioritize what is most important to you.

The body can only handle so much volume. Some people do other forms of exercise on what should be rest days.

Then, they can’t figure out why they are always tired! Finally, the most important thing to remember when designing your own exercise schedule is that the under-trained athlete will always out-perform the over-trained athlete!

When you are out of gas, you are out of gas!

It is a lot easier and safer to come to the conclusion that you can handle more than it is to find you’ve over-trained and are now injured as a result.

Or, worse yet, you’ve exhausted your adrenal glands and are now chronically sick in the name of fitness!

I am forever instilling in my clients that exercise is as much about relaxation/regeneration as getting fitter.

In other words, exercise should leave you feeling invigorated and refreshed – not even more tired and exhausted than you already were!

Get Fit On A Budget

You do not have to believe all those commercials that say you need to have the latest fitness equipment in order to get fit and lose weight. Those machines not only cost money but nine out of ten times they do not live up to their promises and wind up collecting dust under your bed. Save your money and instead try taking a brisk walk everyday. You can walk through your neighborhood, local parks or even around a high school football field during the summer when it’s not being used. If it is raining, take a ride to your town mall and do laps around the mall. Not only will you get a great workout, you can also check out the latest deals. Other quick and free things you can do is to take the stairs whenever possible and park further away at stores.

You can also get a great workout by cleaning. Working out in the garden can burn up to 400 calories in an hour which is almost the same as you can get from walking your dog. Shoveling Snow can burn almost 500 calories in an hour! Virtually every household chore can be turned into some form of exercise from scrubbing your floors to vacuuming your carpet. The key is to increase your heart rate while doing them.

Your kids are also excellent workout tools. Have you ever spent a day chasing after a toddler? It is exhausting and take it from me, they can leave you breathless. They have an unbelievable amount of energy and you can work up a good sweat just trying to keep up with them. Another activity toddlers love is dancing. Put on some music and boogey down with your tot. Not only are you spending more time with your little one, you are getting a good workout. If you have older kids also, take them outside and play with them. Play kickball, or tag your it. Take them to the park and run around with them. All of these fitness ideas will cost you nothing at all and but for once you will be gaining something in return,.

If you have the room in budget there are some inexpensive fitness items you can invest in. Free weights or dumbbells are usually very inexpensive and can help strengthen you upper and even lower body. You may pay more money for them at a sporting store but Target and Wal-Mart sell them for only a few dollars. Jump ropes are also a excellent and inexpensive way to get a good cardio work out.

Worse comes to worse and you have no room in your budget for any of those items, chances are you have a every workout tool you might need already in your pantry. A bag of flour weights the same as a stomach ball and you can fill empty milk jugs to act as weights.

Pole Dancing for Exercise

The Pole Dancing Academy in Dorset was set up by Steph Bates who has years of experience in both gymnastics and dancing. Steph runs individual lessons to people of all ages and with varying degrees of fitness.

Pole dancing requires a lot of body strength and a 30 minute sessions will feel like a 60 minute session the next day!

Muscles in your arms, legs and abdomen will be working harder than they’ve worked before giving you that well toned look you’ve always been after. Each session is approached as an exercise session, with warming up and cooling down stretches. Most people coming to Pole dancing sessions will find they have muscles they didn’t know they had so it’s important to warm them up before using them.

If you can hold your own body weight on your arms you’ll have a great advantage but this strength will come after practise.

Some people worry that they’ll have to dance in their underwear but at the Pole Dancing Academy all dancers must wear at least shorts and an exercise top – similar to that worn for aerobic exercise and if you’re worried about showing your legs you can wear leggings or jogging bottoms and just roll them up when you need to have skin contact with the pole. This contact prevents you from slipping down the pole!

It’s also very important not to put any creams or lotions on your skin as this will also make you slip off the pole and can be very dangerous.

The traditional image of a pole dancer is a lady with high heel shoes but bare feet or trainers can be used just as successfully – you’ll more than likely be aching from the exercise so why have to worry about blisters on your feet as well?

When you look for pole dancing lessons it might be a good idea to ask what type of pole the dance school uses. There are two types of pole – a static pole and a spinning pole. It’s easier to use a spinning pole but most teachers prefer to teach on a static pole as although it’s slightly more difficult you are then able to dance using both types. Some teachers will have a pole that can be changed from static to spinning by releasing a bolt.

Obviously, if you’re a bit of an extrovert and find you have a natural talent for pole dancing you can always get a job as a professional pole dancer and every year there’s a national UK competition with regional heats for both amateur and professional pole dancers.

Please remember that this form of exercise is ideal for both men and women.

If all this sounds like hard work don’t worry it isn’t, Pole dancing is done to great music and everyone has a fantastic time.

Pole dancing really is a great way to lose weight and tone up!

Body Sculpting Routine for Men

The first portion of a complete body sculpting routine for men is the upper body routine. Because many men are already comfortable with exercise for this area of the body, it’s generally the part of the body that’s well-defined and toned. Here are some simple exercises that can be used for the upper body:

  • Pushups – targets the entire upper body and upper back
  • Military presses – take a barbell or dumbbells in each hand to lift the hands above the shoulders, pressing towards the ceiling. You can also alternate one arm at a time to help protect your low back.
  • Bench presses – lying on a weight bench, you will push the weights up from the shoulders
  • Bicep curls – take a weight in one hand and lift into a curl position to the shoulder
  • Tricep dips – on a weight bench, place your palms behind your body, slowly lower the upper body down

But many men forget that a complete body sculpting routine for men should include lower body exercises as well. This will help the body be balanced in its tone and symmetry – no sense in having great arms if your legs are skinny and underdeveloped. Here are some exercises that will work well for a complete body sculpting routine for men:

  • Squats – either with weights in the hand or with squat machine
  • Calf raises – standing up on your toes as far as you can, hold and slowly lower again
  • Quad extensions – on a weight machine, sit and then extend your leg until straight
  • Hamstring curls – using a machine or simply standing, bend your leg towards your buttocks