Motivation Tip

By | Aug 8, 2009

There are times when I, just as you, don’t feel like putting in a lot of time at the gym. To make sure that I get my workout in, I strap on my headphones and start the chrono timer on my watch. I tell myself that I need to do just 20 minutes of weights. It is absolutely amazing how quickly those 20 minutes pass by. I generally focus on one muscle group (i.e. back or shoulders or triceps, etc.) and move quickly from exercise to exercise. The next time I look down at my watch, I have usually exceeding the 20 minute commitment.

A Great “Saddlebag” Burner

By | Aug 6, 2009

Here is a great move for working on those stubborn outer hips, aka your saddlebags. Lying on your left side, propped up on your left arm with your left leg bent and right leg extended, lift and lower the right leg. Do not lock your right knee, but keep your leg straight. Do this 16x, finishing off the move with 8 pulses at the top. Staying on your side, swing the right leg in front of your body, and perform the same movement. WOW! You will feel the burn! Flip it over to your right side and repeat.
To add a bit more difficulty, hold a light handweight on the working leg.
This move kills my classes, but my students continue to request it!

Targeting the Top of the Shoulder

By | Aug 5, 2009

To target the top of the shoulder, you can do a variation of the standard lateral raise. In the lateral raise, one’s palms typically face down at the ground. To target the top of the shoulder, take your palms and face them towards the body. Perform the lateral raise as usual, but really feel that muscle burn at the tip top of your shoulder.
I recommend using light hand weights when starting this exercise. It burns so good, but I find that I have to use lighter weights than I use for my regular lateral raises.

Is It True That You Cannot Spot-Train?

By | Jul 25, 2009

I know that studies and experts say that it is impossible to simply spot train a particular trouble area. While I do agree that doing 500 leg lifts a day will not get you the lean legs that you seek, I don’t find this statement 100% accurate. I will go ahead and say, NO, I do not think that you can spot train, HOWEVER, I do think that you can “hone tone.” We have already established the Big Three that you need for peak physical training: cardio, diet and weights. So, if you are currently working within the guidelines of the Big Three and there is a particular area of your body that needs a little more attention than others, it is possible to focus in on that “problem” area. I, personally, have the biggest problem area with my rear. It is both a blessing and a curse to look like the Sir Mix-A-Lot song. I spend more time working on my backside than I do, say, my chest. I have to work harder and “hone tone” this area of my body.

*Please note that I do not recommend that you neglect any part of your body. I am simply saying that you can focus more on your trouble areas to get the results that you want.


By | Jul 24, 2009

Although I am sure that you are familiar with the keys to healthy living, I always feel that it is important to reinforce what I call the Big Three: cardiovascular training, healthy diet and weight training. To be in peak condition, both mentally and physically, it is crucial that you practice all three of these elements.

I know what you’re thinking: “If I do two of these, won’t that be enough?” Believe me, I wish that the answer was yes. Unfortunately, for you and me both, three is the magic number. I come from a Southern family, so we like to eat. No, wait, we love to eat; and I am not talking about celery sticks and rice cakes either. Good, greasy, fried, chocolately, cakey, syrupy, delicious Southern cooking. If you can’t tell, this is the area that I have to really concentrate on. But because I want to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle, I make an effort to curb my cravings and obey the food guide pyramid. Because being healthy is a lifestyle, it is imperative to practice the Big Three daily.

Why Diet AND Exercise Are Necessary for “Waist Loss”

By | Jul 23, 2009

Have you been doing crunch after crunch and twist after twist without seeing any results in your middle section? Or have you been dieting and eating a healthy diet but still not seeing a defined mid-section? There is a very good reason for that…one without the other won’t get you the results that you seek.

In my classes, I often find myself comforting students who are so frustrated with their abdominals and the fact that they are not seeing the “six pack” abs that they desire. My first inclination is to ask what they are doing to work the mid-section. For the most part, I get the usual answer: crunches. I then ask, “Are you combining those crunches with cardiovascular exercise and a balanced, healthy diet?” AHA! This is where the problem lies. Doing crunches and other abdominal exercises does work the muscles in your mid section. However, if you are carrying around a spare tire, the exercises that you are performing will build up the muscles underneath the fat. The end result will be an even larger waistline! Why? As you build up the abdominal muscles, they will push the fat out even farther. You need to combine your outstanding abdominal efforts with cardiovascular exercise so that you burn the fat surrounding your middle. You can’t whittle your middle without removing the fat, and fat is removed primarily with cardio exercise

Do Anywhere Shoulder Exercises

By | Jul 22, 2009

How long has it been since you have done arm circles? For a do anywhere exercise, arm circles are the way to go. If you do enough reps, your shoulders will feel like they are on fire. Here is a set that I like to do with my classes.

Perform each movement 25 times. Arms at a T (shoulder height, out at sides) do small arm circles forward followed by small arm circles backwards. Without lowering your arms, flip your palms up and “pat” the ceiling. Again, without lowering your arms, turn your palms towards the ground and “pat” the floor. If your shoulders are already burning, shake them out a few times. If you aren’t “on fire” yet, take your arms directly in front of you, shoulder level. Do small arm circles, moving inward. Now, you guessed it, do the small arm circles in an outward motion. Turn your palms in facing each other, and do a clapping motion. Last but not least, turn your palms away from each other, and do small outer presses. Now that your shoulders and arms are burning, shake them out and get ready to repeat. This is great for your Aerobics-Workout

Jumping Jacks

By | Jul 21, 2009

One of the very first exercises that you learned in grade school Physical Education class is also one of the best all-over body toners: the jumping jack. The jumping jack is great because you have to engage and use your entire body to do the movement correctly. To get the maximum benefit from a jumping jack, make sure that you are doing the movement 100%. When you raise your arms over your head, crisscross your wrists at the top. When you bring your arms back down in front of your abdomen, crisscross your wrists again. Doing this full movement uses your back, shoulders and arms. If you’re going to do the move, shouldn’t you get the most out of it?

Correct squatting form

By | Jul 20, 2009

So many times in my classes and in the gym, I see exercisers performing squats incorrectly. This is very dangerous, as doing squats with poor form can be murder on your knees. To perfect your form, I recommend that you work on it without any weights. Once you get the form perfected, feel free to add in weights for an extra challenge.

Standing with feet slightly farther than shoulder width apart, sit down like you are taking a seat on a low bench. Hold your hands wherever they feel comfortable. I like to hold my arms in front of me at shoulder height; hands or fingers clasped. Really stick your rear end out. Trust me, you won’t fall down backwards. Take a look at your knees and feet. Your knees should not extend past your toes. This is where I see the most errors. Extending your knees beyond your toes puts extra pressure and stress on your knees.

Performing squats incorrectly over an extended period of time will lead to knee problems and joint damage.
To reinforce this tip, sometimes in my classes, I will have a “contest” with my students to see who can stick their butts out the farthest. Keeping your posterior poked out will help to ensure that you maintain proper form.

More Glutes!

By | Jul 19, 2009

After I do the glute bridge combo, I like to follow up with leg lifts. Flip over from the glute bridge position, on your hands and knees. Pull the right knee slightly into the chest and then lift that leg towards the ceiling. Repeat 10 times and then do the same on with the left leg. Repeat for 3 sets. This exercise, preceded by the glute bridge will leave you saying OUCH! But trust me…it’s a good ouch.

© 2009