Shake it, Baby!

8 09 2009

There are a lot of pre and post workout shakes out there that are absolutely disgusting. They look gross, they smell gross, and they taste gross. I am a firm believer that getting fit, healthy and has to be as enjoyable as possible if it’s to be sustainable. To that end, I’ve come up with some delicious, healthy shakes that actually taste good! Here’s what I’m drinking after this morning’s workout:

Add some frozen berries to your blender; I opted to blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. The antioxidants in these berries will stave off that muscle soreness that crops up after a hard workout. I add a little warm water on top of the berries and let it sit for a few minutes to soften them up. You can also use tea for this. Green or white are always a good bet. When you’re ready, blend the berries up with a few pulses. Then, we’ll add either OJ or cranberry juice – not too much, otherwise this thing will just be sickly sweet. Any other liquid you need in your shake can come from fresh, filtered water.

Next, add a couple of spoons of vanilla yogurt, some high quality vanilla whey protein powder. At this stage I add a dropper or two of marine phytoplankton, but that’s completely optional. Finally, I add a few tablespoons of hemp seeds.

Blend that whole sucker up and enjoy the deliciousness! If you can’t quite finish it, refrigerate the remains and use it as a base for your next shake.

Try it. You’ll love it!

Advertisements




The Advantages of Working Out With a Partner

18 08 2009

Let’s face it, the thing keeping many of us from reaching our health and fitness goals is motivation (or a lack thereof). It can be tough, at the end of a long day, to force yourself into the gym to train, so you need to do whatever you can to stack the odds in your favour. One of the best ways to do that is to find a workout partner.

Your partner needs to be someone that will motivate you, maybe even get you fired up and competitive. It should not be someone with whom you can’t stop talking for 2 minutes, and it definitely shouldn’t be someone who will help you make excuses!

You guys will work together to be accountable and to make sure that you’re both sticking to your plan. It’s easy to bail on the gym if there’s no one waiting for you, but when you’ve got a friend who’s dragged their tired self over there in the evening it is a LOT tougher to justify not going.

The other thing working with a partner affords you is the opportunity to try partner exercises that you simply wouldn’t be able to do on your own. And, in the case of partner training at The Body Temple, bringing a partner means that you get top quality training (which is essentially still personal training) at a lower price. More fun, different challenges, less expensive – you can see why partner training is so popular at our gym.

So what can you and your friend do, right now, to workout together? Grab a large towel (like a beach or bath towel) and then roll it up so that it resembles a rope. The partners each grab an end of the towel and face off. From here, you’re going to perform squats together while pulling on the towel. The idea is to find that point of balance and move in unison. The towel will force your forearms, biceps, and upper back to work, while the squats will work your entire lower body and even your core. Perform 10 repetitions, slowly. Look at your partner and make sure that your movements match. If 4 sets of 10 reps isn’t enough for you, try for 4 sets of 20 reps. This will really get your whole body going, even your heart and lungs (provided you don’t take too much rest in between sets).

So, if getting yourself into the gym hasn’t been working for you lately, grab a friend! And if you’re at a loss for what to do, come in and train with us and see what all the fuss is about!





Reader Question: What Can I do in a small space to burn fat?

21 05 2009

I received a reader question this week, looking for advice on fat burning exercises you can do in the privacy of your home with no equipment (well, maybe a skipping rope or video) and little to no space.  I thought I would share the info with the rest of you as well!

Check it out!!

So, anything that gets your heart pumping and you all sweaty (including all those good things I know you are giggling about) will burn fat, it’s about finding an activity you can sustain long enough to start burning stored fat and not energy reserves. You need to be working consistently hard for a minimum of 15 minutes to start burning the stored fat, or work in intervals, but if you want more info on intervals, message me. That being said, here are some great sustainable options in a small space, you can always use any combo of the below suggestions or other suggestions, as long as you are working hard you can mix it up all you like!

1. skipping -lots of options to mix it up with pace, footwork and large vs small jumps

2. Salsa dancing – any kind of dance is good, but salsa and hip hop can be done in little to no space

3. Burpies, jumping jacks, mountain climbers and all those other great calisthenics that our gym teacher used to make us do…they are all still very effective

4. Shadow boxing ( tae bo) – just punching hard and moving your feet. Take a boxing cardio class to get the basics (or rent Billy Blanks and enjoy a giggle at the same time) and feel like a bad ass at the same time! Or, call us at THE BODY TEMPLE and get a boxing coaching session under your belt and turn your cardio time into FISTS OF FURY! 😉

5. Barre work – from a ballet, jazz or modern class. If you have no dance experience, The New York City Ballet Workout is fantastic and you can get the video or the book. Dancers have killer bodies and trust me, an hour of barre work may look easy, but it will kick your butt! 20 years of dance experience behind me….;)

6. Private dance party – this is what I suggest to my clients that get bored easily (I’m a trainer), just make a playlist of about 40 minutes that includes all of your fav dance songs that make you want to get up and play air guitar. Put it on and just boogie around your place until your playlist ends…. it’s a great mood booster too!

Hope this helps all of you out there.  Remember, summer is a great time to just get outside and play!  A game of pickup ultimate frisbee, frolf, a jog/walk through a park or just play in the playground for awhile.  Bikes and rollerblades are also back, so take advantage of the beautiful weather and feel good about yourself at the same time!





2 New Videos for BIKINI BODIES Pt 2

13 05 2009

Hey Ladies,

Sorry for the delay in the next installment, things have been hectic at THE BODY TEMPLE!

Check out these two videos, one is a basic exercise that anyone can do and the speed skater lunges are a little more advanced.

Start today and look great in your bikini this summer!





BIKINI BODIES PT 2 – VIDEO!

30 04 2009

Check out turned out squats (or 1st position plies) and 1-legged squats from the Hips and Butt portion of the BIKINI BODIES series.

Hit me up if you have any questions, suggestions or requests.

Sit tight for leg pulses from the same series…..





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!





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!