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Abs Are Made In The Kitchen

Abs Are Made In The Kitchen

Abs are made in the kitchen. That’s what I tell clients in Fairfax and Sterling who want that sculpted 6-pack. You can do sit-ups galore and leg-lifts until your face turns blue, but it won’t make any difference. Nobody will see all the work you’ve put into building muscle if you have a layer of fat covering your abs. That’s why what you eat is so important and the reason I say that abs are created in the kitchen.

Eat foods that build muscle tissue and help you lose fat.

Eating food that promotes muscle mass, while lowering the amount of empty calories and foods that pack on the fat is the goal. Choose a diet that is high in quality protein. It has a higher thermogenic effect. That means more calories are required to digest it. You also need fiber, complex carbs and healthy fat.

Change your workout.

To build great abs, add more core exercises to your workout. If they aren’t part of your present workout, change your workout to include them. Core exercises are complex exercises that not only work more muscle groups, burn more calories. Crunches will work the abs, but you need the strong foundation that comes from core training, too. When you do core exercises, like rollouts, mountain climbers and planks, you’ll get the same benefits you get with crunches, while working other muscles in the process.

Eat healthy, lose weight and tone those abs.

Building a six pack all starts in the kitchen and moves on to the gym. A healthy diet is the top priority for building a six pack. Make sure you include foods with healthy fat like nuts and avocados. Lean meat, lentils, chicken and cheese are good sources of protein and a must for your diet. Add food like blueberries, grapefruit and apples to your diet. Not only do they provide valuable nutrients, they also boost your metabolism, prevent new fat or help burn fat to give you that ripped, shredded appearance.

  • While getting the six pack look starts in the kitchen, doing the right type of exercises helps. Don’t turn to running to burn off fat. Running burns both fat and lean muscle tissue for fuel. Strength building exercise are better.
  • Herbs and spices can help you shed those extra pounds. For instance, cinnamon lowers the insulin response that leads to fat storage.
  • The amount of protein you need is based on your body weight. For every pound you weight, eat approximately one to one and a half grams of protein each day.
  • Cut back or eliminate refined foods, sugar and carbs entirely. Not only will you lose weight faster, refined grains can cause fat to accumulate on the abdomen.

Change Your Life, Not Just Your Weight

Change Your Life, Not Just Your Weight

I’m not overstating that at our gym in Fairfax, VA, the ultimate goal is to change your life, not just your weight. We aren’t here to give you a diet, but to help you make lifestyle changes, which include eating healthier. Changing your weight is a short term goal. It may or may not be permanent. However, when you learn to eat healthier, it helps you keep weight off permanently. Unlike a diet that always ends, either in success or failure, eating healthier is a lifelong habit.

It’s life’s habits that make a difference.

You can lose weight by eating fewer calories, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be healthier when you’ve finished the diet. It’s one reason we focus so hard on eating healthy. Not only do you get the benefit of shedding extra pounds, you also have a healthy diet that provides all the nutrients your body needs. A healthy diet helps keep you healthier and lowers the risk of serious conditions.

Working out isn’t just for losing weight.

There are huge benefits to exercise that last a lifetime. It keeps you younger looking and feeling, while maintaining overall good health. Exercise can help protect you from a number of serious conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Osteoporosis is also kept at bay by weight bearing exercise. You’ll stay mentally sharper longer, since studies show that working out not only can help protect you from Alzheimer’s and dementia, it also boosts cognitive power.

When you change your weight, you’ll change your attitude toward yourself.

No matter how out of shape you are or overweight you are, you should always love and respect yourself. To do otherwise is counterproductive. However, that’s not always the reaction of people who have fitness problems. Once they get into shape, they realize how wrong they were and how they deserve to give their body the best care and love.

  • You’ll walk taller and have more confidence when you workout. Exercise improves your posture so you’ll look more confident and the more you wear the look, the more confident you become.
  • Getting adequate sleep is extremely important and an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Adequate sleep is more than just heart healthy, it also helps prevent weight gain.
  • Water will become far more popular when you start living the healthy lifestyle. You’ll realize that sugary drinks, like soda not only add empty calories, they can increase your waistline with unhealthy visceral fat, even diet sodas.
  • Most of all, living a healthy lifestyle will help keep depression at bay. Exercise is part of the reason, but a good social life and smiling more is also part of it.

Try Our 21-Day Test Drive

Try Our 21-Day Test Drive

What can you do in just three short weeks. You could read a few books, learn how to cook a few gourmet dishes or you could be on the path to a healthier life. Of course, that’s only if you take advantage of our 21-day fitness test drive. We offer this because we know that people are often skeptical. They’ve tried to get into shape before and were disappointed. It seemed like an endless road that was too hard to travel. That’s why we’ve kept it at 21 days.

What can you do in 21 days?

You’ll see and feel an amazing difference in your body, your energy and your strength. You’ll work hard and have to commit, but it’s so worth it when you see the results you get. It’s more than just a workout, it’s nutritional training, too. It’s a chance to start eating healthier, which can help you lose those extra pounds. It’s not a diet, but making smarter choices when it comes to food.

Why such a short commitment?

It just makes sense, especially if you’re new to fitness and aren’t sure where to start. It’s short enough to keep you focused, yet long enough to see amazing results. If you’ve never worked out previously, you’ll learn to do all the exercises correctly. That’s extremely important, since doing an exercise incorrectly can cause injury or simply not provide as much benefit. You’ll have enough time to learn a wealth of exercises and how to track your progress and increase the effort when necessary.

What do you have to lose except weight?

You could start the new year right and become the person you’ve always known was there. Whether you want to get that buff, sculpted look or just drop a few pounds, the 21-day test drive will help you get a good start. It could be the year that you finally follow through on your New Year’s resolution. Consider this an invitation to have a healthier happier year.

  • Getting a good start on your fitness program can help you stick with the program. Not only do you have the services of a personal trainer and a team to help you, you have a program designed specifically for your needs.
  • When you start a program of healthy eating and exercise, you’re doing more than just sculpting your body and shedding pounds, you’re improving your overall health. You’ll also blow off the stress of the day when you workout.
  • We get many people that come with friends. They decide to switch out their after work drinks or boy’s night’s out and focus on fitness for a few weeks. We find that many enjoy it so much, they decide to continue.
  • There’s no better time than today to start getting fitter, healthier and enjoying life more. When you workout regularly, you’ll have the energy to do all the fun things, even after a full day of work.

The Benefits Of Jumping Rope

The Benefits Of Jumping Rope

If you’ve ever been in one of our classes in Fairfax and Sterling, VA, you know that many different types of equipment can help you get into shape. In fact, something as simple as a child’s jump rope can boost your overall fitness. There are a great many benefits of jumping rope, so adding it to your workout program can be a big benefit. Best of all, if you have children, you can do this exercise with them to get them more involved with fitness. Just like hula hoops, shooting hoops and playing tag can provide a workout, jumping rope does too.

Want to shed those extra pounds?

If you’ve ever jumped rope for a few minutes and aren’t in shape, you know what a workout it can be. Even for fit people, jumping rope is tough, which is one reason boxers use it in their training. It’s a big calorie burner, even if you’re not going at top speed. Even a relatively moderate rate will have you burning up to 16 calories every minute. If you’re having trouble fitting a workout into your schedule, carry a jump rope with you and do three ten minute sessions for a total calorie burn of up to 480 calories.

It boosts your health and your brain power.

When you exercise, both your body and your mind benefit from it. However, things, like jumping rope or dancing give the two a bigger boost. It demands both be at peak performance to do the task right. Anything that involves rhythm, strategy or coordination affect your thinking power more than just plain exercise does. It’s also a great way to clear the mind, since you’ll focusing more on jumping rope than the problems of the day.

Back to that rope jumping boxer again, this time because of the agility rope jumping offers.

Boxers not only have to have good cardio, they need to be quick and maneuverable. Muhammad Ali was known for his great agility in the ring and one of the reasons his face was so “pretty.” It trains both your body and your mind when you’re jumping on the balls of your feet and helps the brain make adjustments to keep you from falling. It makes you quicker, more coordinated and improves your balance.

  • Jump ropes are relatively inexpensive and don’t take up much space to store. They’re the perfect addition to an at home gym or the start of one.
  • You’ll never get bored with jumping rope if you do it with a twist. Try learning tricks and adding them to your jump rope workouts.
  • If you want to maintain or even build bone density, consider jumping rope. Since both feet land when you’re in downward position, it has less impact on each foot, making it easier on the joints than running.
  • If you travel, you can take your gym with you. A jump rope, resistance bands and a plan may be all you need for a full workout.

Are Kettlebells A Cardio Workout

Are Kettlebells A Cardio Workout

I like to look at all types of workouts and different equipment. One that has always intrigued me are the use of kettlebells. Not only are kettlebells quite simple, they provide great strength training, a good flexibility workout, while also providing an exceptional cardio workout. Kettlebells provide a unique benefit because of their shape. They’re off center with a continual change in the center of gravity and force you to work your muscles more like they’d work in day-to-day activities. They’ve been around for a long time in the Russia, but have achieved popularity more recently in America.

Kettlebells provide a great cardio workout.

You’ll be swinging the kettlebell overhead using muscles that you use to help when you breathe. That means they can help you breathe when they’re in that position. The muscles specifically used for breathing will have to do more work and improve for better cardio-vascular fitness. Because of the imbalance of the kettlebell, it also does more for functional fitness. While you might think you’re in shape unless you’ve carried an unwieldy package with no handles or an awkward bundle of items while running to the car on a rainy day or to catch a train, you won’t understand just how much help it can be. Life’s grueling tasks aren’t often replicated in the gym, but kettlebell workouts prove different.

Kettlebell workouts are good for flexibility, while improving endurance and strength.

You don’t have to look any further for exercises and equipment to help improve your flexibility—range of motion. Kettlebells do that during a typical workout. You’re swinging the kettlebell and it not only adds to joint strength and flexibility in the upper body, it can also stretch your hamstrings. Simple kettlebell exercises can put your shoulders through a huge range of motion. For improving range of motion, starting with a lighter weight kettlebell is best to ensure you have the right form. It’s not the weight that improves flexibility, but the off-center nature of the kettlebell.

If a total body workout isn’t enough, consider how the kettlebell workout can burn loads of calories.

Just like strength training with weights is great for burning calories and building muscle density that also boosts your metabolism, working out with a kettlebell does the same. Because it is off-center, it also works the core muscles, to add to the workout and calorie burning benefits. It’s a whole-body complex exercise, so it stimulates the creation of HGH—human growth hormone.

  • Kettlebell workouts are fun. It may not seem like you’re working as hard, but you’ll get loads of benefits even with lighter weight kettlebells.
  • A workout with a kettlebell is safe for people of all ages and fitness level. You do have to make sure you have proper form and don’t smack yourself with the kettlebell while doing the workout.
  • Since your body is constantly adjusting to a changing center of gravity, working with a kettlebell can improve your balance.
  • A kettlebell workout builds more than muscles, it builds strength. It was created expressly for that.

How To Kick Soda For Good

How To Kick Soda For Good

You finally decided that one easy way to save calories is to stop drinking soft drinks, but found it was tougher than you thought. While I’ve never been a fan of soft drinks, some of my clients in Fairfax and Sterling, Va. Have. They provided a lot of suggestions on how to kick soda for good. It’s not easy, since soft drinks provide a quick sugar rush and sugar is super addictive. It’s the accepted drink when you’re munching on fast food and is associated with friends and good times. It’s more than just bad because of the sugar, the phosphorus in soft drinks plays a role, too. Too much soda is linked with tooth decay, diabetes and even may be bad for your bones.

Try taking it slow.

If the sugar in the soft drink doesn’t get you addicted, then the caffeine might! Rather than going cold turkey, wean yourself from the drink slowly. Depending on the amount you drink each day, how you go about it will vary. If you drink several bottles or cans each day, try splitting one can into two different servings to cut out one can a day at first. Split the second can into two servings and then replace one serving with water, instead of soda. Eventually work to one a day, then one every other day and finally, give it up entirely. Go as slowly as you need to make the change a habit.

Track the calories from soft drinks.

It will amaze you the number of calories you drink, when it comes to soda. Start tracking those calories every day. The exercise will make you more aware of just how many cans or bottles you drink. You also can equate it with other foods. If you’re drinking five cans a day, that’s at least 500 calories. Think of the amount of exercise it takes to burn those calories. By giving up soda, you could lose a pound a week with no additional effort. That should be incentive.

Find an unsweetened drink you like.

Maybe you’re not a coffee fan, perhaps tea is more your style. Green tea is especially healthy for you. Herbal tea comes in a variety of flavors and one of those might suit your taste, too. Search for an alternative that’s healthy and one you like that contains no sugar. I love water. In fact, I’m quite a connoisseur. Water from different sources offers different flavors. City water with chlorine or fluoride isn’t on my list! Try various bottled water to find one you like.

  • Diet soda may not have the sugar content, but studies show that drinking it can increase the size of your waist and may not even help you shed any weight.
  • You don’t have to switch entirely to water. Just keep a bottle of water handy. Drink the water first, then see if you want the soda. If you’re in a restaurant, don’t order soda, but ask for water. You can always order it later.
  • Switch to flavored water, then to plain water. Flavored water still provides a sugar boost and flavor, but not the carbonation.
  • Avoid the places that you normally drink soda. If it’s at a fast food restaurant, don’t go there while you’re giving up soda. Even if you’re eating a healthy salad, the soft drink will do you kill your healthy eating.

Exercise That Requires No Equipment

Exercise That Requires No Equipment

If you’re like most people, sometimes life gets in the way of your best laid plans to exercise. You may be working on a project around the house and all the hassle of getting dressed for the gym, driving there and home again would swallow up valuable time. Maybe a child is sick and you don’t want to leave them. There are many reasons this can happen, but it doesn’t have to stop you from working out. Choose exercise that requires no equipment and do it at home.

The good news about exercising at home is that you can break it up in sessions.

While it’s not always the best solution, you’ll still get a good workout even if you break it up into ten to fifteen minute sessions. That way you can work in between tasks or do the workout when you’re child is resting or you have a break. Bodyweight exercises are great exercises to do at home. You can work every muscle in your body and the only equipment you’ll need is you!

Some bodyweight exercises are better than others are.

Squats are probably the best lower body exercise that works your core, helps build endurance, burns fat and builds lower body strength. Squats are known as a functional fitness exercise, which means it helps get you fit for the tasks of life and help prevent injury. There are a number of different types of squats you can do and when combined with glute bridges first, gives a super workout for the lower body.

Work your core with planks and push-ups.

Planks may look simple, but they really aren’t. This tough exercise can be done almost anywhere and build core muscles while working all parts of the body. Planking helps build back muscles and reduces back pain by improving posture. Push-ups provide upper body workouts, a cardio workout, builds core strength and like all the other exercises mentioned, can be modified for difficulty and to work specific areas of the body.

  • Exercises where you hold a pose, such as a chair pose, tree pose or any that require balancing not only build strength in core muscles, they help flexibility and also improve posture.
  • Add lunges to your repertoire of lower body exercises. Like squats, lunges can be done a number of ways to work more muscles in the lower body. Think yoga poses and you’ll know what balancing poses are.
  • Bodyweight exercises do build strength, but if you want to do curls or other types of strength training, there’s no need for weights. Fill a milk jug with enough water to achieve the weight you want. Milk jugs with water have a similar imbalance to kettlebells, which also provide a great abdominal workout.
  • Want an endurance exercise? Put on fast music and dance. You can adjust the pace so you’re creating a musical version of HIIT.

Why Working Out Relieves Stress

Why Working Out Relieves Stress

If you already have an appointment with exercise, you know working out relieves stress. Most people go to the gym or start an exercise program to lose weight, get fitter and just stay younger and healthier. After a few sessions, they start to realize that all the problems and hassles of the day that were pent up inside don’t bother them nearly as much. That gnawing feeling in the pit of their stomach no longer was there. That’s because the workout left them feeling more relaxed and helped eliminate the side effects of stress.

The fight or flight response makes changes in the system.

When you’re under stress, your body is equipped to survive. Originally, the stress for caveman came from the danger of being attacked by a wild animal or enemy, so the response was suitable. Hormones like adrenaline, were released. Those made the heart beat faster, the flow of blood changed and went from the body surface to the muscles, brain, legs and arms, muscles tensed and pupils dialated to improve vision. Caveman was ready to take on whatever scared him or run like the wind. Today, the response isn’t appropriate for either action. Punching an angry boss is no more appropriate than running from a crying baby, so the hormones of stress are never burnt off and you remain in the constant state of arousal.

Burning off those stress hormones is important.

Here’s where exercise plays an important role. Since running or fighting was what the response prepared humans for, it only seems right that going to the gym, running on your favorite path in the park or getting any type of rigorous exercise should solve the problem. It does that and even more.

Exercise also stimulates the body to create happy hormones.

If you’re running from a foe, a really big one, you don’t want to stop because your leg aches or you’ve twisted your ankle. Mother Nature had that handled, too. There’s no need to stop. In fact, even if the adrenaline wears off, you might not feel that pain. Exercise produces hormones like dopamine and endorphins that act similar to drugs like codeine and morphine, interacting with the opiate receptors in the brain. Not only does it reduce the awareness of pain, the hormones created by exercise also leave you with a feeling of well being.

  • Even though the effects of the endorphins from exercise last about 20 to 30 minutes, you sleep better at night and a good night’s sleep can help you cope with the next day’s stresses.
  • Exercise also is used as part of the therapy for depression, anxiety and phobias because of the feeling of well being that occurs.
  • The effects of exercise are so powerful, exercise is also part of drug and alcohol addiction recovery. It’s been shown to reduce relapse rates, improved mood, boosted the immune system and helped recovering addicts sleep better.
  • Exercise is a far better treatment for mild depression and stress than any medication. The only side effects it has is a great looking body and good health.

Are Fitness Trackers Worth Having

Are Fitness Trackers Worth Having

There are a number of different fitness trackers available to people who live in Sterling, VA. Some are simple apps for cell phones, while others are more intricate devices. Depending on the tracker and your situation, each one has value. If you aren’t sure what a fitness tracker is, it’s a device you wear that sends a message to your computer or cell phone app recording information, like heart rate, calories burned or steps taken.

You have to use them to get results.

If fitness trackers only played a victory song and shot out money like a slot machine when you hit your goal—the big one—maybe they’d get a warmer reception. But they don’t. They count your steps, record your heartbeat and most of the time, remain on your dresser. Studies show that if you purchase a fitness tracker, you’ll use it six months or less if you’re like a third of the people who buy them and forget you own them after six months if you’re like half the people that own them.

If you can tune out your doctor, your spouse and the results on the scales, there’s no reason a tracker should get your attention.

Yep, it’s true, people tend to ignore the trackers, even when they were excited to own them. A study published in The Lancet, under “Diabetes & Endocrinology” showed that after using a clip-on tracker for a year, there was no difference, good or bad in the test groups health or fitness. Part of the study group was even offered financial incentives to do well, but failed miserably when it came to improving. When that incentive was removed, however, their results went downhill. Another study showed that people who wore fitness trackers actually lost eight pounds more than the control group who didn’t.

It’s not all bad news.

Not all trackers are meant just to get you to the gym or keep you running and moving. Some have medical uses. People with coronary problems will find some trackers beneficial. They offer tools that can provide valuable information and keep the owner safer. Some have heart rate monitors or track blood pressure. Others monitor sleep. If you have a medical condition, they can be great tools to help you stay healthier and may even be lifesaving.

  • While the average person may not fully appreciate the benefits of a fitness tracker, people dedicated to fitness or athletes will find the tools beneficial.
  • Until tracking your health and activity becomes more of a game, trackers haven’t caught the hearts of the public yet.
  • Are trackers beneficial. Anything that helps you get healthy is beneficial. However, they really don’t make you accountable unless someone—another human—sees and reviews the results.
  • Just like gym memberships, trackers are only good if you use them.

The Truth About Static Stretching

The Truth About Static Stretching

If you’ve spent much time working out, you’re bound to hear some discussion on static stretching. Just what is static stretching? First, let me identify why you stretch. You need to get your muscles ready for vigorous activity by getting the blood flowing to the extremities. Trainers often use two types of exercises to do that. One is static stretching and the other is dynamic stretching or active warm-ups. Static stretching is becoming out of favor for a number of reasons.

Static stretching before performing may date you.

Most of us remember the PE classes where we sat on you bottoms with legs outstretched and reached for our toes. That’s a static stretch. It helps release the muscles and make them more flexible, so you don’t have as much potential for strains or pulls. Dynamic stretching is different. Dynamic stretching is an attempt to mirror the types of activities you’re about to do and moves your body will make, but in a controlled way. It works to warm up the body for constant flowing use, unlike static stretches, can be personalized for the activity and muscle groups used, aids with coordination and is a time for mental preparation.

New studies show that static stretching may actually damage muscle tissues.

A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that doing static stretching before doing squats actually impeded performances by reducing stability and strength in the lower body. Various other studies showed the same thing. In fact, one mega study concluded that avoiding static stretching before a workout is important because it can hamper explosive performance, impede strength and power. So if you don’t do static stretching before a workout, what do you do? Going in cold is not an option.

Muscle tightness occurs because of muscle weakness.

When you have a muscle or group of muscles that aren’t ready for the challenge, other muscles compensate and work harder to complete the task. If all your muscles are performing at peak, the problem with injury is far less. As long as there’s no injury or short muscles, range of motion should be unlimited. The stretching doesn’t elongate the muscles, but helps to release the tension that keeps them contracted. Dynamic stretching helps warms the whole body by boosting joint flexibility, increasing elasticity and increasing body temperature.

  • Holding static stretches for less than 30 seconds does not have the same effect as holding the position longer. It does no harm.
  • Use dynamic stretches like squats, calf-raises and knee hugs to move the body like you’d move it when you’re working out.
  • Warming up first with a ten minute aerobic workout before doing dynamic stretches is important.
  • Static stretches can prove beneficial after the workout. They help with muscle relaxation, while decreasing muscle tension.