Do These 8 Underrated Exercises

They may not be fancy, but these exercises do the body good. So why are you ignoring them?

You go the gym, do the same routine day in and day out, and go home But is your routine pushing your body to be its best or are you sticking by a certain set of exercises just because you’re comfortable with them? Read on to find eight exercises that you – along with half the people in your gym – may be neglecting.

Bridges

They seem so basic, because they are. Resting on your forearms and toes, you hold your stomach tight in order to cause your body to levitate a few inches off the ground, keeping your back straight. Thanks to these stripped down, basic exercises, your body gets the basic results you want – a stronger, more supportive core.

Deadlifts

Though pictures of competitive body builders may leap in your head when thinking of deadlifts, you may be surprised that the average Joe or Jo should also be performing this underrated exercise. Why? Because you perform it one way or another almost every day. Whether picking up your child during playtime, grabbing a bag of 35-pound dog food from the bottom shelf, dead lifts are part of life. Getting better at them at the gym only makes sense.

Horizontal Pull-Ups

This one may be neglected because it’s not as available as others. Or at least it doesn’t seem to be available. To perform this, you have to find a bar relatively close to the ground. Hanging underneath it with your body extended out and feet resting on the floor, pull yourself up to the bar repeatedly. While essentially the same motion as push-ups or bench pressing, horizontal pull-ups push your body in slightly different ways and more closely mimic movements necessary for climbing and other activities.

Push-Ups

Always the underdog, push-ups are the essence of basic exercise, working out the chest, biceps, and triceps. In fact, if performed correctly, you’ll be forced to tighten your core muscles during each repetition, which adds to the shape and strength of your six-pack abdominal muscles.

Running

You probably don’t see a lot of body builders on the treadmill. That’s because they run at home. One of the most vital pieces to a complete workout regimen, running consistently improves your cardiovascular health, increases your stamina, and helps tone and shape your muscles.

Squats

Toss some weight on a rack and bend at the knees until you lower yourself toward the ground as far as possible. Return to your starting position and repeat – but do it all with precision and proper mechanics. You’ll feel the burn in your legs, but squats actually work quite a few other muscles and should therefore not be neglected in your routine.

Stretches

Often overlooked as an unnecessary part of working out, stretching is anything but unnecessary. In fact, if you want to get bigger and stronger and maintain your range of motion, the only way to do it is through stretching whatever body part you’re planning to exercise. There are stretches for every muscle, from the thighs to the calves to the biceps to the neck. With a little stretching, you give your body a chance to warm up and prevent yourself from potential injury.

Swimming

It offers a full-body workout that tests your stamina and strength. You’ve known it for years, but you still don’t take advantage of it. What kind of swimming should you get started with? Any kind of swimming will work, and swimming freestyle laps at a moderate pace is a great way to break your body into swimming shape.

And the Downside

Now that you know what exercises deserves a spot in your routine, you may be curious about some of the exercises out there that get too much credit.

The following are a few of the most overrated exercises that you may be doing with a little too much frequency:

  • lunges: they’re great in moderation, but it’s not uncommon to overdo lunges and wind up with knee problems down the road
  • bench press: very useful in defining the chest and arms, the bench press belongs in your routine; just be careful not to start and end every routine with it
  • sit-ups: yes, they strengthen your abdominal muscles, but you’ll never have a six-pack unless you eat right and get enough cardio to burn off the layer of fat covering up you abs
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Banish Flabby Arms

Think it’s impossible to turn your saggy underarms into sleek, toned arms? Time to change your thinking and tone up your triceps!

Do you dread wearing sleeveless evening gowns? Wish your swimsuit covered your arms down to your elbow? Fear waving to family and friends when they’re leaving town? Then it’s time for you to get rid of those flabby underarms! To make it happen, you’ve got to do five things.

Number One: Know the Muscle

The muscles that are causing your underarm sag are your triceps. So while doing exercises that strengthen other parts of the arm are helpful for your overall health, they aren’t going to give your underarm the upper lift you seek. Rather, you’re going to have to go after the muscle that is causing the sag – your triceps. But before you do that, you’ve got to consider something else that is more basic than overcoming flabby arms.

Muscles come and go; flab lasts
Bill Vaughan

Number Two: Remember Your Body Is the Spot

When you have fat stored in your arms, you can’t simply make it disappear with a few magic exercises. You’re going to have to tone up the rest of your body as well. Along with triceps-specific exercises, get plenty of cardio in your routine. This will get you sweating and help you burn fat from your head to your toes.

Without this full-body burn, your spot-specific exercises will reap very little visible benefit for your triceps. So before you spend hours in the gym, working out your underarms, you should spend half an hour on the treadmill or the Stairmaster.

Number Three: Feel the Burn

If you stop working out when you start to sweat or begin to feel a little fatigued, you aren’t giving your triceps the full workout they need. In order to push your triceps to the position and shape you want, you’re going to have to work them harder than ever. That doesn’t mean you should work your body to exhaustion every day. Like every other body part, your triceps need some days off between being worked out.

Good exercises that are tailored specifically for your triceps include the following:

  • push-ups with your hands close together or touching
  • bench press with your hands close together
  • overhead cable extensions
  • weighted dips
  • dumbbell triceps presses

Number Four: Go under the Knife

For some people, reducing the sag under the arms isn’t as easy as hitting the gym. After losing lots of weight, some people are left with excess skin on various parts of their bodies – including the under arm. In the event you find yourself with skin hanging off your underarms that isn’t covering fat and won’t go away, you may need to have the extra skin surgically removed. This is a relatively fast and easy procedure that helps you show off the new body you worked so hard for through your weight loss efforts. But don’t use surgery as an easy way to trim your arms. Surgery should only be used when medically necessary and there is no other way to trim up your triceps. And once you undergo surgery, you have to be careful to avoid regaining the flabby arms you have removed.

Number Five: Never Give Up

It may take some time to cut away the flab under your arm, but if you keep yourself focused and really want sleek arms, it’s worth the effort. So know what you want, push yourself to reach it, and never give up. With perseverance and plenty of hard work, you’ll have the arms you’ve always wanted!

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Booty Building Secrets

Seems like everyone has been asking how to shape up their behind lately, so I’ve decided to let you in on a few of my closely-guarded booty-building secrets.

Most of my clients have one of the following things to say about their bum: 1) Help! My bum is too big; 2) Help! My bum is too saggy; or 3) Help! My bum is too flat.

Now let’s tackle each of these challenges with solutions that will give you the best booty ever!

I. Help! My bum is too big.
If you are suffering from an over sized behind then do the following 3 fat-blasting workouts to reduce, tighten and shape your bum.

Fat-Blaster #1: Run

Running is a great way to burn off extra body fat while developing strong glutes. Follow these 4 tips to target your glutes while running:

  1. To target your glutes focus on extending your hips and keeping your chest lifted.
  2. Roll all the way forward onto your toes with each step, in order to engage more of your glutes.
  3. Run up hills, stairs, or on the treadmill at an incline.
  4. Run on a sandy beach or gravel path – the uneven surface forces you to work harder to stabilize your lower body.

Fat-Blaster #2: Elliptical

The elliptical works well for streamlining your behind – but only when used properly. Follow these 4 tips to get the most from your elliptical workout:

  1. Posture matters. Don’t drape your upper body over the front of the elliptical machine – this will bring the focus to your quads and lower back instead of your glutes. Instead keep your back straight and posture good.
  2. Put the incline of your machine higher than seven percent. This will ensure that the emphasis is on your glutes instead of your quads.
  3. Push down with your heels with each stride. Also sink down into a squat for 30 second intervals while striding.
  4. Let go of the handles. This will force your core to stabilize you.

Fat-Blaster #3: Swim

Swimming laps is a sure way to burn tons of calories. Follow these 4 tips to get the most from your time in the pool:

  1. Start each lap with an explosive push from the wall. Place the soles of your feet flat against the side of the pool, bend your knees and explode forward with your legs.
  2. Use flippers. Sounds silly, but try a few laps with a kickboard and flippers and you’ll quickly feel the intense emphasis on your glutes.
  3. Vary your kick. Go from flutter to froggy kicks to target all of your glutes.
  4. Try some in-water squat jumps: stand in chest-level water with feet shoulder width apart, toes turned out. Bend your knees and lower your hips down then explode upward, pushing through your heels.

II. Help! My bum is too saggy.
The solution to a saggy bottom is to target your glutes. Try the following 3 bum-lifting exercises at home – these require no equipment.

Bum-Lifting Exercise #1: Hyperextension with leg curl
Lie facedown on the floor with your arms extended above your head and knees together. Bend your knees and curl your heels toward your glutes, contracting your glutes. Lower your feet back toward the floor, raise your chest and shoulders up and hold for one count before returning to the start position. Do 15 repetitions.

Bum-Lifting Exercise #2: Plank pull
Get into a plank position with hands directly under your shoulders and feet spaced shoulder width apart. Contract your core, lift your left leg with flexed foot, then raise your heel up in a quick motion for 15 reps. Keep your core contracted throughout the exercise and back flat. Repeat with right leg.

Bum-Lifting Exercise #3: Side-lying bicycle
Lie on your right side with your elbow directly under your shoulder and legs stacked on top of each other. Bend your right knee back slightly. Lift your left leg about 6 inches into the air, then draw if forward to a 90 degree angle, keeping your foot flexed. Swing your leg back, pointing your toe and extending your lower back. Do 15 repetitions and then repeat with right leg.

III. Help! My bum is too flat.
In order to build a shapely behind you’ll need to head to the gym. The following 3 booty-building exercises will give your bum a serious shape-changing workout.

Booty-Building Exercise #1: Dumbbell Squat
Place your feet wider than shoulder width apart, and turn toes out. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Inhale as you squat down, keeping your back straight and tummy pulled in. Exhale as you press up through your heels and return to a standing position. Do 15 repetitions.

Booty-Building Exercise #2: Dumbbell Lunge
Stand with feet together and a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Inhale as you lunge forward, keeping your lunging knee directly over your ankle. Exhale as you push off with your lunging heel, and return to the starting position. Do 15 repetitions and repeat on the other leg.

Booty-Building Exercise #3: Straight-legged Deadlift
Stand with feet shoulder width apart, a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing your thighs. Inhale as you bend forward at the hips, keeping your back flat. Lower the dumbbells down until you feel a pull in your hamstrings. Keep the dumbbells close to your legs as you exhale and straighten your legs, focusing on contracting your glutes. Do 15 repetitions.

Want to get your best booty as quickly as possible? Call or email me now to get started on a unique fitness program that will get you on the fast track to your best booty ever.

Kissing (or Kicking) Unwanted Pounds Goodbye

Got some extra pounds hanging around? With the right steps, you can get rid of them and get on with a thinner, fitter life.

Pounds, pounds, go away, come again another day! If only losing weight were as easy as singing this simple rhyme over and over. Though shedding unwanted pounds is a good deal harder than that, you can do it. Do the following four action items and you’ll get rid of those unwanted and unsightly pounds faster than you can say fad diet.

Don’t Binge

You’ve had a rough day and the only thing that could possibly help you feel better is a tub of ice cream. Or so you think. In actuality, gorging yourself on super double chocolate chip ice cream isn’t going to do you any good right now or in the future. If you want to get rid of weight, you’re going to have to learn self-control. When you’re by yourself and feel hungry for something unhealthy, find something else to do. Pick up a good book, call a friend, or drink a glass of water. If you’re especially intent on losing weight (which you must be if you’re reading this article), follow the next tip.

Be Exercise Minded

In the comfort of your own home, it’s easy to eat whatever you want whenever you want. Learn to identify what causes you to want to eat unhealthy foods or unhealthy amounts of food. Then, begin to modify your behavior when you come face to face with the trigger. If coming home from work is usually followed by an hour on the couch, bonbons in hand, redesign your post-work routine around exercise. When you first get home, don’t hit the couch. Hit the closet for a change of clothes, and then get to the gym or go for a walk around the neighborhood. Changing your mindset takes time and dedication, but putting exercise first on your to-do list is vital to taking off excess pounds.

Deny the Treats

Many dieters feel they’re obliged to a cake or cookie now and then to celebrate their small victories. Unfortunately, this good idea can often become a trap, as the treats become more and more common. Just remember that every time you’re offered a special treat, you have the option of accepting or denying the offer. Force yourself to say “No” 10 times more often than you say “Yes,” and the special treat will actually be a special treat instead of an everyday necessity. By doing this, you’ll also watch your weight slowly and steadily decrease.

Sweat It Off

For the best chance at losing weight, you’re going to have to sweat. While a quick set of push-ups during lunch break will help your body a little bit, you’re not going to get the results you seek without making yourself sweat. No matter if you choose to walk or run for miles on end, participate in a local spin class, join a kickboxing class, or work out with free weights or elliptical machines, you need to sweat. If your workout leaves you dry, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough to lose weight. Increase your workout intensity and prepare to become the thinner, healthier you that you’ve always wanted to be.

Something Extra Needed

If you’ve been working to stay fit and eat healthily but you just can’t seem to get rid of extra pounds, it may be time to stop going at it alone. Instead, contact your physician, dietitian, and personal trainer to find out what specific steps you can take to begin dropping unwanted extra pounds from your body.

In the event you’ve never interacted with a personal trainer, be ready for the shock of your exercising lifetime! It is your personal trainer’s job to make sure you work harder than you’ve ever worked in the gym. Follow your personal trainer’s rigorous recommendations to the letter, and you’ll be utterly exhausted. Of course, you’ll also be on your way to losing the extra pounds you’ve picked up over the years, and shedding pounds is well worth a little sweat and soreness – right?

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Totally Thin Thighs

A leggy tutorial on what it takes to get firm, shapely thighs.

Every celebrity has them, and you want it for yourself. Fortunately, shapely thighs are not a pipedream or reserved for those who can afford to have their pictures tossed in magazines and touched up beyond recognition. In fact, even little old you can get the sleek, sexy thighs your heart desires. But you can’t keep doing what you’re doing right now if you want to reach your goal. You’ve got to make some life changes, so get to work!

Don’t Eat Late

It may be a hard adjustment, but to keep your thighs thin and shapely, you’re going to need to cut back on late-night snacks. A good rule of thumb is to stop eating after 7 p.m. Otherwise, your body may fill up on calories right before bedtime, and if you’re not awake to work them off, those calories will go wherever they want. And yes, this includes going to your thighs. If you must eat something late, make it something light, such as a salad. Before giving in and eating something late in the night, grab your discipline and go to bed.

I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them. – Joan Rivers

Go Cardio Crazy

Okay, so you don’t want to go completely psycho over your cardiovascular routine, but you’ll probably need to pump up the amount of cardio you subject yourself to on a regular basis. How much cardio should you be getting each day? Shoot for an hour, but get at least 30 minutes. While you may want to push yourself to your limit the entire time, doing this may add bulk to your legs. If you prefer thin, shapely legs, you’ll get the best shape if you stick with a low or moderate intensity for your routine.

Work Your Entire Thigh

Though your thighs are often thought of as a single muscle, they’re made up of a number of muscles: adductors (inner thighs), quadriceps and hip flexors (front of thighs), abductors (outer thighs), and hamstrings (back of thighs). If you don’t know whether you’re working the entire thigh, listen to your legs. If the pain is all concentrated on the front, back, or side of your thighs, then you need to get some new thigh-trimming exercises in your repertoire. If, on the other hand, your entire thigh is screaming in agony after a workout, you’re doing a good job.

Always Exercise

The great thing about your thighs is that they can be exercised with relative ease, whether or not you’re in the gym. A good exercise to begin thinning your thighs is wall sits. With your feet about a foot from the base of a wall, push your back against the wall and slide down the wall to a sitting position, stopping when your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold as long as possible. Another smart way to keep your thighs in shape is to skip the elevator and escalator and go for the stairs when shopping or making your way through an airport. A good third exercise is to begin sitting in a chair, only to stop in midair right before landing in the chair. Hold for as long as possible, plop down in the chair, and smile knowing your thighs are getting stronger and thinner as a result of a few small steps. For an added thigh-thinning boost, slowly raise yourself back to your standing position, or hold a couple notebooks full of paper for added pressure on your thighs.

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Incorporating Kids into Your Exercise Routine

…without going out of your mind.

If you’ve got young kids, you may find it challenging to set an exercise routine and stick to it. You can’t leave the house without them and if you don’t have a sitter to watch your kids or you try exercising at home, then they run underfoot, begging for your attention.

If this sounds like you, you need some ideas on how to incorporate your kids into your daily exercises – rain or shine. After all, what better way is there to spend time with your children than teaching them the importance of good health?

On the Outside

When the weather permits, there are great ways to exercise with your kids outdoors. The most convenient might be to take a walk or run outside. For parents with toddlers, grab the stroller and head around the block a few times. Some strollers are made for running and kids love to feel the breeze and see the scenery fly by. If you have an infant, they usually love to be outdoors snuggling close in a baby carrier, while you go walking or hiking on a nearby trail.

Another great outdoor activity to do together is bike riding. This is something you can do with young or old kids. With young children, a wonderful piece of equipment for any family is a bike trailer. You can ride your bike at any speed and your children sit in the trailer enjoying the breeze. If your kids are old enough, you can each ride your own bike, developing your child’s confidence and well-being at the same time.

Some of the best exercise is child’s play!

During the hot summer months, if you have access to a swimming pool, take advantage! Water gives you a great chance for exercise also. Swimming is one of the best exercises for all shapes and sizes. If you don’t like to swim around, just chasing your kids around the water or walking in shallow water are better than nothing.

If you have older kids, take a trip to the neighborhood park for a game of basketball or tennis. Or get a group of kids and parents together and play a round or two of soccer or football. Besides being great exercise opportunities for everyone, these create great memories and bonding experiences for everyone involved.

Keep It In

When the weather is cold or rainy, you shouldn’t count exercise out. Instead, either get to the gym for some complimentary babysitting while you get your own workout time or try the following at home:

  • Dancing. One thing both kids and parents enjoy together is dancing. Turn up your favorite dance tunes and get moving! Enjoy yourself and let loose, and don’t worry about looking silly, because no one is watching! If you can’t really dance, then just do some repetitive aerobic moves in sync to the music.
  • Lifting. If you have toddlers, a great strength-building exercise is lifting. Lift your child up in the air as many times as you can. They love it and your body says “Thank you” with each lift. Then get on your back on the floor and place your child on your legs and lift your legs as high as you can. Repeat these moves a few times and you’ll start to feel the burn.
  • Watching. These days you can buy workout videos for you and your kids to do together. What kid doesn’t like watching a movie? Now you can get them off the sofa and start moving to the workout together.
  • Playing. An entertaining new workout for all ages is using the wii video games to get moving. With the wii system, you can play all kinds of sports, from tennis to baseball to bowling, in the comfort of your living room.

With these indoor and outdoor exercise ideas, your kids are no longer a good excuse to not work out. Now that your excuses are gone, how will you get fit?

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Dance as Exercise

It may just be creative movement to you, but to your body, dancing is a great workout.

When you take to the dance floor, you transform into a machine. Nothing matters except the next move, and every one is made with the ultimate precision. Or maybe your dancing style looks more like someone suffering a seizure, and you dread the thought of anyone ever seeing you bust a move. No matter what level of a dancer you are, your body can still reap many of the same benefits.

Starting with the Legs

Unless you’re dancing in a chair, your legs are going to get a fantastic work out when you’re dancing. Practically every move in the world of dance involves moving your legs, and the longer and more intense your dance is, the better work out you’ll give your thighs and calves.

As you move, pay attention to what makes your legs feel the burn best. Deep dips, high jumps, and powerful sprints across the floor will turn an average dance into an excellent addition to your exercise routine.

Moving into the Arms

While your legs are kicking and swaying, your arms should be doing much the same – and then some. Whether you’re dancing with your toddler, spouse, a complete stranger, or all by your lonesome, your arms should be working continuously. From tossing your partner in the air to creating poetic motion in the air, your arms have an opportunity to experience a unique test of endurance.

Don’t think dance is getting your arms in shape? Strap light weights to your wrists and keep dancing. You’ll definitely feel the burn after the next time you burn up the dance floor, and your arms will look great as a result!

Burn, Baby, Burn!

Now that you know dancing can help tone your body, there’s something else you may be interested to learn. Busting a move burns a lot of calories. How many calories can you expect to lose during a three-day dance-a-thon? There’s no telling. But you can find out how many calories you can get rid of in a 30- or 60-minute dancing extravaganza!

15 Minutes 30 Minutes 60 Minutes
Slow Dance
175 pound male
60 120 241
Fast Dance
175 pound male
110 220 441
Slow Dance
120 pound female
41 82 165
Fast Dance
120 pound female
75 151 302

Don’t Forget the Core

Without a strong core, your legs won’t move and your arms can’t flail about as you dance. Fortunately, your core can get a good bit of exercise as you enjoy an evening at the club, showing off your newest moves.
To dance your way to a strong core in an exotic way, try belly dancing. It may seem scary, but belly dancing is a safe and effective way for people of all shapes and sizes to get some fun movement into their day and wind up with a stronger core, which will help in all aspects of life.

Dance Safely

Because dancing can work out your entire body, you should treat the dance floor like the gym. That means starting slow, stretching out your entire body, and not getting out of control and putting yourself in harm’s way.
You should also maintain your body’s hydration by drinking plenty during your dance routine. And don’t rely on alcohol to keep you well hydrated. To stay properly hydrated, be sure to get adequate water before, during, and after hitting the dance floor.

How Many Can You Count?

Think you know your dance steps? Close your eyes and name off as many dances as you can think of, and have a friend check your list against the one below. If you name them all, you are Lord of the Dance!

  • Ballet
  • Ballroom
  • Belly
  • Break
  • Cha Cha
  • Disco
  • Foxtrot
  • Hustle
  • Jazz
  • Jitterbug
  • Line
  • Mambo
  • Menengue
  • Salsa
  • Square
  • Swing
  • Tango
  • Tap
  • Twist
  • Waltz
  • Slow
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Exercise for Big Bodies

How you can begin living a healthy life with a few simple exercises.

Whether you inherited your weight problem, suffered a life-altering injury that caused you to be immobile for a long period or time, or have just made bad dietary choices, there is no time for self-pity if you’re going to overcome a weight issue. What can you do when your weight prevents you from fitting on an exercise machine; causes knee, joint or heart problems; or makes you feel too embarrassed to wear a bathing suit? Swallow your pride and get to work. And it is very hard work.

If you think you’ve got the resolve to do what it takes to shave some pounds off, read on to find out how you can get started.

The place to start is your doctor’s office. Have your physician check on any current health conditions that are affecting you. Also, going to the doctor will allow you to get a baseline on your heart rate and overall health, which will make it easier to work with your physician to monitor your progress along the way. The key to any weight-loss routine is to find an exercise you can enjoy doing and to start out slowly. Ask your physician for recommendations of good exercises, and give them a shot. If you find them too repetitive and boring or a little more difficult than you expected, try something different. Gradually, smartly increase the time you spend at it as well as the intensity of your exercise.

For those who may be severely obese, the exercises to get you on your way would be simple leg lifts, arm raises, or bending and leaning over, which can be done while sitting. These movements provide the muscle strength necessary for future exercises and will minimize your risk of injury. As you go through each day, look for ways to add more movement and exercise. Make it a part of your daily life.

A great form of exercise for anyone is walking. The more steps you take, the better you’ll feel. Even walking from one end of the house to the other is helpful. When walking, start off slow and only go short distances. Each day try to go a little farther but do not overdo it. If needed, take frequent breaks and don’t walk so far that it will be hard to make it back to your starting point. No matter where you’re walking, be sure to wear good walking shoes and drink enough water along the way. Doing these easy steps will keep your body ready for the next walk around the block.

For those who are able to wear a bathing suit and have access to a body of water, swimming is a wonderful form of exercise if you’re obese. As the water supports your body and therefore does not put the usual strain on your bones and joints, swimming makes it possible to move your body with greater ease, which increases your strength, stamina, flexibility, and range of motion. With these improvements in tact, performing other exercises on the ground will become easier as well.

No matter how much you weigh, what you may need most is accountability and encouragement along the way. If possible, a personal trainer is a great way to stay on track and stay safe along the way. A close friend can also help keep you accountable or tag along for your regular workouts. Joining a support group may be a good option for some. With any exercise program, remember that the gym isn’t the only step to losing weight. You should also eat a healthy diet. Not only will healthy, low fat foods help you lose weight, but they will also give you the energy you need to do the exercises that do the body good.

Understanding Obesity

As the weight of the average American has been increasing during the past decades, health professionals have claimed America to be suffering an “obesity epidemic.” How do you know if you’re overweight or obese? First, you have to calculate your body mass index (BMI).

To do this, multiply your weight in pounds times 703. Next, figure out how tall you are in inches, and square this number. Finally, divide the first number by the second. The answer is your BMI.

A BMI below 18.5 means you’re underweight, between 18.5 and 24.9 is a healthy weight, 25-29.9 is overweight, and 30 and above is obese.

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Eat Less, Feel Fuller

What can you do to slim down your ever-growing waistline?

DietNothing drives people crazier than trying to lose weight. Television commercials, radio shows, and advertisements in the newspaper and your favorite magazine make it seem that losing weight is as easy as picking a fad diet out of the air. But if you’ve ever tried losing weight by eating only cabbage or swallowing everything you can in an hour, you probably realize that those diets only last for so long.

If you want to obtain and maintain a healthy weight, you’re going to have to figure out how to eat less. Sound impossible? Prepare to do the impossible in three easy steps!

Step 1: Determine if You Need to Lose Weight

Believe it or not, you may not need to lose weight. Each year, countless Americans take on the world of dieting without consulting anyone or anything except a mirror. However, the mirror doesn’t always tell the truth. And neither does the media, which insists that excessively skinny is the norm.

Before getting on a diet, ask your physician if you are at a healthy weight. If your weight isn’t a problem but you don’t feel confident with your body, you may need to change your exercise routine. Work with a personal trainer to formulate a regiment that will help you meet your personal goals – whether they involve weight loss, body toning, or both. If your health would benefit from losing weight, you should learn to eat less.

Step 2: Take Your Time at the Table

A common mistake made by many people is to eat everything on their plate. Doing this may indicate good manners, but it results in bad eating habits and a larger-than-desired belly. Fortunately, this problem is easily remedied. All you have to do is slow down.

Instead of shoving bite after bite of food into your mouth, take a deep breath and relax during mealtime. After each bite, set your fork down, chew, and swallow. Before taking another bite, say something to a family member or friend who is eating with you. By slowing down your eating process, you allow your brain time to figure out your stomach is full. Otherwise, you may end up eating for up to 15 minutes after your stomach is filled to capacity. Yes, that’s why you occasionally feel uncomfortably stuffed beyond your limits.

Step 3: Force Yourself to Eat Less

If slowing down your eating isn’t enough to help you eat less food, your best weapon is self-control. Determine how much food you are going to eat, put it on your plate, and don’t go back for seconds. When first starting to reduce the amount you eat, cut back your eating by two or three bites. Keep reducing the amount you eat by a bite or two until you find a healthy amount that leaves you feeling content and not hurting due to excessive fullness.

Gradually, as you learn to eat less, your stomach will shrink and will have less room for food. As a result, you feel fuller faster and won’t feel the need to eat the final bites of your meal just because it happens to be on your plate.

Staying Balanced

Often, people who are trying to lose weight cut something out of their diet. From carbohydrates to proteins to milk products, diets are available that promise great results if you’ll just give up one food product.

Before you go with the food flow, give thought to your body’s nutritional needs. Carbohydrates, fats, and practically everything else present in food is actually needed for your body to function properly. When you deprive your body of one or more of these essentials, your body is unable to perform at its peak. As a result, you feel weak and tired and have a hard time concentrating.

Instead of cutting a single nutrient out of your diet, reduce the total amount of food you eat on a daily basis, and include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Doing this will help you maintain a healthy weight and feel much better than any of the deprivation diets on the market.

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Losing your Love Handles

Because as you know, they’re not nearly as cute as their name implies

They sit naturally on your hips and turn your otherwise picture-perfect physique into something of a pear. So what can you do to kick those love handles to the curve? You may be surprised to learn that all it takes is a couple exercises you’re probably already doing and a few others.

Crunches. They’re nothing new to your exercise routine, and they shouldn’t be forgotten when you’re in the gym next. In addition to straight-forward crunches, twist to the left and the right to work out the entire abdominal area and to help your body ward off love handles that show up on both sides.

Standing Trunk Twists. As effective as the name is fun to say, standing trunk twists do what any good love-handle-battling exercise should do: firms up the love handles and gets you sweating. To perform this exercise, stand with your feet a foot or so apart and your knees relaxed and slightly bent. Next, twist your body’s trunk to the left, while attempting to keep your hips and legs still. During your trunk twist, swing your right arm across the front of your body, as if you were punching someone. Immediately twist to the right, bringing your left arm across your body in a punching motion. Repeat up to 100 times.

Leg Flutters. You may feel awkward with this exercise, but the end results are worth it. To get started, lie flat on your stomach with your arms down by your side. Lift your head off the ground and look straight ahead. Finally, lift your feet and knees off the floor, kick (flutter) your legs back and forth for 20 seconds, stop, and repeat for another 20 seconds.

Love Language

As you suspect, love handles aren’t always called love handles. In the medical and muscle community, they’re known as the oblique muscles. So when you find yourself face to face with a personal trainer or physician, you’ll know what that big word means!

Side Bends. One of the best exercises for targeting those troublesome love handles, side bends are relatively easy to perform. Standing straight, feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in your left hand, bend to the left as far as possible. Once you hit the lowest part of your bend, raise back to the standing position. Repeat 15 or 20 times, switch the dumbbell to your right hand and bend to the right for 15 or 20 repetitions.

Knee Kicks. Want to get a little tougher while you kiss your sweet little love handles goodbye? Go find a punching bag and put both hands flat on the bag, with one hand approximately two feet above the other. Next, lift your back leg and knee the bag as hard as possible. Return to your starting position and repeat 20 times. Change your position and repeat with the other knee. By the time you’re done, your love handles will be burning their way into nothingness, and your self-esteem will be shooting through the roof.

Now that you know what exercises will tone up your midsection, there’s something else you should know. You can’t get rid of your love handles just by doing crunches and knee kicks. Those exercises will help tone your muscles, but they won’t force those little areas of fat known as love handles to disappear. To do that, you’re going to have to burn more calories than you eat each day. The easiest way to do this is to get plenty of aerobic exercise and to eat low-calorie meals filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. With these steps, you’ll be prepared to show off the hips and abdominals you’ve worked so hard to tighten up!

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