BIKINI BODIES PT 2 – Hips & Butt!

13 04 2009

Welcome back to BIKINI BODIES 2009!  Part 2 will cover your butt and hips…another trouble zone for ladies especially.  These particular moves have a great track record, helping some of my best clients shave 2-3 inches off their hips and thighs in under 3 months!  So let’s talk about our hips!
The goal here is to target all sides of your hips and butt , from the inner hip flexors to the glutes and everywhere in between.  To do that, we need a variety of exercises with different stances to target each muscle group from a variety of angles and directions.  I have tried to include exercises that require no equipment so you have no excuses!  You can hop off the couch and get in a full set or two of an exercise during commercials.  SO, let’s get started!

Hips:  Most of these exercises do double duty and will work both your hips as well as your butt, so get moving and see those inches start melting off!  Keep your chest high and your weight on your heels.
1. Plies! – This is also called a squat, but what makes it a plie instead of a squat is CONTROL!  Move slowly but with purpose.  Imagine the weight of your body as your load and imagine pressing your feet into the floor to lift your body away from the ground as you straighten your legs.  Never lock or pop your knees, slow and steady is the name of the game.
Complete 10-20 repetitions of each plie type, repeated for 3-4 sets is perfect!
Try different leg and foot positions such as;
Regular squat -Slightly wider than hip width apart, toes facing forwards)
Sumo squats – Super wide stance, knees tracking over your toes, back straight
Turned out – Feet a little wider than hip width but toes and knees turned out.
1st position – Heels together, toes apart.  This will be a shallower squat than others, but will help target your butt, especially those charming little half-moons of jiggle that we all try to cram back into our bathing suits…;)
1 Legged squats – Can be done against a wall for support of without a wall to force your stabilizer muscles to work as well.
* Check back soon for some squat videos where I’ll show proper position and technique as well as some other types of plies/squats that are difficult to explain, but very effective!*

2. My Richard Simmons Series;  Richard really had a few things right back in the day.  I have borrowed some inspiration from him and created something I call ’The Richard Simmons Series’
To start, lie on your side, supporting your head with your hand and your feet stacked on top of each other.
Straight lift – simply lift the top leg up to a 45 degree angle and lower with control.  Keeping your abs engaged and the rest of your body still.
Pulse –  Same idea as the straight lift, simply lift as you would, but instead of lowering the leg completely, lower it about an inch before lifting again.  Repeat.
Soccer kicks – Same starting position but kick up and out like a soccer ball is coming at you ( a video will be coming to help with these…)
Circles – Imagine drawing a small circle with your toes and use your abs to keep everything above the hips still.  Always do an equal number of circles in each direction.
* Complete 10-12 of each type of lift 3-4 times and you’ll feel the burn!*

3. Inner Thigh Lifts – Same set up as the Straight lifts above, but cross the top leg over the bottom leg and rest the inside of the top foot on the ground.  Now you are using the bottom leg lifting, the inner thigh and hip are doing the work.
Lifts – Just lift and lower the inner leg concentrating on controlling the movement.
Pulses and circles are the same, just using the inner leg.

NOTE: You can make any of the above leg exercises more challenging by adding ankle weights….

4. Leg Pulses – These are hard to explain, I will shoot a video shortly, stay tuned for updates.   Be glad this isn’t here yet, it’s a tough one…. 😉

Butt! – Whether you want to minimize your jiggle or increase your lady lumps, the answer is to work out those gluteal muscles!
Squats work well as do these;

1. Kneeling series!  3 exercises you can do at one time from all fours.
Turned out lifts – Cross one ankle over the other from all fours and lift that top leg up as far as your hips will comfortably allow, keeping the knee slightly bent.  Make sure you keep your core engaged to support your lower back.
Donkey Kicks – Kick straight back with force as though you were kicking some toilet paper off the bottom of your shoe…make sure no person or thing is directly behind you 😉
Fire Hydrant Extensions – Lift your leg with your knee bent to the side, like a dog at a fire hydrant.  Then extend the knee and kick out to the side before lowering to starting position again.
Complete 10 reps of each of these three exercises on each leg for 3 sets, you’ll have a booty worthy of celeb envy in no time!

2. Standing back kicks – Same concept as the Donkey Kicks from above, simply standing.  You can generate more force when you are standing and it will force your abdominals to work harder to keep you balanced.  We always love exercises that do double duty!

3. Hip and Butt opener – Lying on your side, bend both knees to about a 45 degree angle.  Using your hands to create some gentle resistance, simply open the top knee as far as you are comfortable with while keeping your bottom knee stable on the ground.  Keep your heels glued together and increase or decrease the resistance from your hand according to your current ability.  10/side 3-4 times should be fine.

SO, there are our Hips and Butt exercises, keep checking back for the next installment of BIKINI BODIES, THIGHS & HAMSTRINGS!!!!

Keep working hard and you’ll have a banging beach body before you know it!

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Bikini Bodies! PT 1

7 04 2009

I realize this article isn’t well timed as the snow is still swirling outside my window, but, technically it is Spring now so we all need to be thinking about squeezing into those short shorts, bikinis and swim trunks for you guys.  Does anyone else find it odd that although we always know that the summer will inevitably follow the winter, that we still go through the motions of last minute panic as swimsuit season inches closer?  I do!

If that is you, if you are worried about a little bit of extra jiggle this year, then read on and have no fear!

Let’s talk about DANGER ZONES!  Pt 1 will talk about your core, for more body parts, check back frequently.

1. Core or Tummy! – This encompasses everything from the sagging gut, the muffin top, love handles and just plain old jiggly belly!  A rampant myth about abdominal strength and six-pack abs is that crunches will solve all your problems.  This is just not true!  The most superficial muscles, the rectus abdominus, is actually one of the weakest muscles in the core, but since it is the muscle that shows the best 6-pack definition, many people train it exclusively, leaving the rest of their core weak and soft.

The solution to this problem is to train all areas of your core from your center abs (the rectus abdominus), your lower abs (the baby bump area for ladies), the love handles/muffin top or the oblique abs and your lower back (quadratus lumborum)  which helps support your tight, toned abs as well as keeping free of debilitating lower back pain.  You need to work equally on each of these sections of your core to build a tight and sexy midriff as well as to ensure lower back health and heart health.  One of the most dangerous places to carry extra weight is your middle as the fat coats and surrounds your organs and heart.  This not only creates more potential for health problems and complications, it also makes any kind of surgery (from heart bypass surgery to an appendectomy) more difficult for doctors and more risky for you.

So, let’s hit it!

1. Center Abs (rectus abdominus) – Yes, crunches are useful here, but ensure first that you are not pulling on your neck or straining your lower back.  A great way to help both those issues is to do your crunches on a Swiss ball instead of on the floor.  The Swiss ball supports your lower back and allows you to get a broader range of motion.

Some other great exercises for your middle core;

Plank (with many variations such as weight transfer, dynamic plank etc)

Pilates roll downs on the ground

Pike crunches (a little tougher so don’t try alone for the first time)

Many others, check back to The Body Temple blog frequently and we’ll be posting new ways to blast your core!

2. Obliques! – I call these the ‘corset’ muscles because they give you the great hourglass figure, whittle your waist down, help support your lower back and cut into that muffin top!  These are the unsung heroes of the abs, but at The Body Temple, we give them the respect they deserve.  Here are some great ways to work your obliques;

Side planks

Bicycle crunches

Russian Twists

Heel reaches

Side extensions

Salsa Steps (check out the professional females on Dancing with the Stars, they have sick obliques!)

3. Lower Abs – This is one of the hardest places for women especially to lose weight and inches.  We are biologically engineered to retain padding there for our future offspring, so we have to work extra hard to lose that little paunch.  Here are some great ways to start;

Reverse crunches

Partnered Leg tosses

Windshield wipers

Knee lifts from hanging

Slow leg raises from prone position

4. Lower Back – This portion of your core may have been carrying the extra load for your weak abdominals, which means you may be one of those people with chronic lower back pain.  Many of our clients have complained initially of lower back pain and within a few weeks of training and strengthening their core, the lower back pain has all but vanished!  Try these to help your lower back;

Back extensions

Cobras and Upward Dogs

Rows

Russian Twists

Grounded backstrokes

I realize that many of the exercises above may sound complicated or strange, but we at The Body Temple, are going to create some short videos for you this week demonstrating all of the techniques I have mentioned above.

Remember that to lose weight, strength training is not enough, at the very least you need to be completing 25 minutes of cardio 1-2 times each week to burn fat and lose weight.  These exercises will help burn fat but, for the most part, will build up your core strength and endurance.

SO, remember to check back soon for the video to go with this article and the next installment of

BIKINI BODIES!

Start today and look like a million bucks on the beach this summer!





Getting Creative with Elastics!

5 04 2009

Here at The Body Temple, we love us some elastics. We have them in the various lengths, strengths, and sizes. We’ve got some shaped like cuffs and some shaped like bows. Then we’ve got these fellas, the Iron Woody bands. These are essentially super strong elastics that you can use for everything from a pull up/dip assistant to what you see here: a bad ass harness rig! Check it out:

This exercise will help cultivate great punching power (make sure that the harness is right around your hips), and will just generally exhaust you. It also helps reinforce the need to ‘sit down’ on your punches. I used to see a lot of people hitting the heavy bag leaning way forward into the bag, to the point that their rear foot was often off the floor (or barely touching it). I understand where that instinct comes from. You want to lean into your punches in a attempt to get more reach and power. Trust me, sitting down on those punches will allow you to hit  much harder and, most importantly, it will keep you in balance. As we’ve already talked about, with boxing/striking, balance is everything.

What’s that you say? You don’t have any Iron Woody bands but would love to try this out because it looks like so much fun? Well then come on in to The Body Temple and we will be more than happy to hook you into this or any of our other harness set-ups and make you sweat!





Why Are You Losing It?

3 04 2009

Good question right?

Why are you losing weight?

I am asking not to put you on the spot, but to challenge you to figure out the real reason YOU are losing weight, toning up, or any other form of getting fit.  We all hear lots of statistics about obesity rates and heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  We are also inundated daily with images of ridiculously fit stars and celebrities who seem to be able to work full time at keeping their six packs.  So where do you fit in?

Don’t get me wrong, frankly I am pumped for anyone to be making the choice to lose weight (when necessary) and get healthy, but to really make sustainable changes, you need to understand why you want to change.  All the best intentions from friends, family, doctors and colleagues don’t a fit body make, so ask yourself why you want to change.  The answer to that question will be what keeps you sweating through another hour of circuit training, turning away that extra slice of cake or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

So, whether you want to look hot in a pair of jeans and a white T-shirt, want to run a half-marathon, rock the beach in a hot new swimsuit, or simply get rid of the guilt when you do have a couple glasses of wine, find your answer.  My answer is my children (no, none yet, so I have many years of maintaining ahead of me).  I want to be able to dance at my childrens’ wedding and maybe even my grandchildrens’.  My mother was unhealthy my whole life and 4 years ago, I lost her.  She missed my wedding and she is the reason I want to stay fit and healthy, so my children won’t be writing about me, they can talk to me!  So take a second, right now, and ask yourself;

WHY ARE YOU LOSING IT?

The answer may surprise you, but one thing I can guarantee you, it will motivate you like nothing else !





5.5 Inches in 5 Weeks!

2 04 2009

Who’s afraid of big bad bathing suits this year?

If you raised your hand, then this entry is for you (or you should get that nervous twitch checked out…)!

All of our clients at The Body Temple are hard working and dedicated in their own way, but let me tell you, I recently had a huge success with a client and I always love sharing successes!

A regular client who has been training twice a week for about 3 months now was re-inspired about 6 weeks ago to really cut the crap and work hard.  We increased the intensity of her training, tackled her tough snacking habits and started an accountability program for any work she does outside of her time with me.  Anytime she exercised beyond our two sessions, she sent me an email with the activity, duration and how she felt afterwards.  By simply having someone to be accountable to, she almost instantly doubled the number of independent workouts she completed each week.

We also took body measurements and weight on day one,  pulling out the dreaded scale every other week to check progress.  We set a very attainable weight loss goal of  2lbs/wk and decided to simply observe the measurement changes.

5 weeks later, we bust out the measuring tape and scale again, and guess what;

Down 5.5 inches and 6 lbs in 5 weeks!

I won’t go into too much detail, but she lost 2 inches in her hips, one of the hardest places to lose weight on ladies!  She is looking better each and every week, telling me stories of friends and family commenting on the changes in her body.

I posted this story not to discourage you if you have not reached your goals yet, but to encourage you to keep working and trying different things until you find what works for your body and your brain.  It wasn’t until we added the additional accountability, set measurable goals,  and added in small rewards along the way that she broke through her personal wall and started her transformation.  Keep pushing yourself and remember to ask yourself why YOU are doing this.  Not why you think you should be slimmer, or why your family wants you to lose weight, but why YOU want to.  Remember, it’s really only you that you have to answer to in the end.

You can do it!