Monday, December 31, 2012

No More Knee Pain Work Out

No-Pain Knees
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, or runner’s knee, can often be resolved by strengthening the core and glutes. 

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), also known as anterior knee pain or runner’s knee, is the single most common form of knee pain, yet it remains the most inexplicable.

Unlike other injuries, it doesn’t involve obvious structural damage to the knee joint. The pain itself, which can range from mild to stabbing, is the condition. This chronic irritation of the nerves under the kneecap is a result of a complex interaction between anatomical and training factors, explains Margarita Sevilla, MD, a sports medicine physician for the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. “Overuse is often a factor, as is misalignment of the patella in relation to the hips, muscle imbalances and trauma.” Running style may also be a factor; heel strikers have a higher incidence of PFPS.

While you can’t control biomechanical factors that contribute to symptoms, there’s plenty you can do from a training perspective. “In my experience, one of the two main causes of PFPS is excessive use of shoe orthotics,” says Sevilla. “I analyze my runners’ gaits and help them find the right running shoes. And for bikers, it’s very important to have a good bike fit and make sure to use the right pedals. Everyone has different needs.”

The other common cause she points to is weak core and glute muscles. Sevilla recommends seeing a physician to rule out other sources of knee pain, such as meniscus damage or osteoarthritis, but for PFPS, she suggests doing the following exercises four to five times per week to see improvement.

-Monster Walks

Stretch a mini band around your knees.
Bending both knees slightly, take small, lateral steps.
Continue for one minute, switching directions at the 30-second mark. Do three sets.

-Assisted Single-Leg Squats

Face a waist-high railing, grasping it with both hands. (You can also use a suspension trainer.)
Shift your weight onto your left foot.
Keeping your right foot off the ground in front of you, push your butt backward and perform a deep squat on your left leg.
Keeping your torso upright, drive through your left heel to bring your body back to the starting position.
Do three sets of 12 to 15 slow, controlled repetitions.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Real Way To Train Your Core

Every muscle relies on your abs, hips, and lower back, a.k.a. your core. It's your base—and your center of attraction. Here's everything you need to sculpt a rock-solid midsection

1. You can strengthen your core without moving a muscle. Whereas most muscles propel you, your core resists movement—for instance, to protect your spine when you twist your torso. So don't be surprised by how hard it is to stay still in this core workout. You're conditioning your core to do its job more effectively.

2. Slouching sabotages your six-pack. Training your core helps correct poor posture. But an hour a week of core work can't compensate for the 50 hours spent slumped over your keyboard. The fix: Stay tall through your hips and keep your head up and shoulder blades back and down all day long.

3. Core muscles contract first in every exercise. All the energy you exert originates in your torso, before being transferred to your arms and legs. So a weak core reduces the amount of force you're able to apply to a barbell. When you hit a plateau in presses, squats, or any other strength move, ask yourself if you're training your core as hard as you can. 

Side Bridge
Lie on your side with your forearm on the floor under your shoulder to prop you up, and your feet stacked. Contract your core and press your forearm against the floor to raise your hips until your body is straight from ankles to shoulders. Hold for 15 to 45 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Contract your abs and butt muscles forcefully to keep your body straight.

Plank with Diagonal Arm Lift
Assume a modified pushup position with your feet shoulder-width apart, forearms on the floor. Keeping your torso steady, raise your right arm for-ward and to the right, so that it points to 2 o'clock. Hold for 2 seconds, then lower and repeat with your left arm, raising it to 10 o'clock. That's one rep. Your elbows should be bent 90 degrees and directly under your shoulders.

Single-Leg Lowering
Lie on your back with your legs extended straight up. Keeping your legs straight, lower your left leg until your foot is 2 to 3 inches off the floor. Return to the starting position, then repeat with your right leg; that's one repetition. Think about pushing the bottom of your heel away from your hip as you lower your leg. Don't point your toes; keep your foot flexed toward you. Lead with your heel.

Swiss-Ball Knee Tuck
Assume the pushup position with your shins resting on a Swiss ball, hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your abs tight, draw your knees toward your chest until your toes are on top of the ball. Slowly straighten your legs so the ball rolls back to the starting position. Lift your hips as you bring your knees toward you so your shins rise off the ball.

Cable Kneeling Chop
At a high-pulley cable, grab an end of rope with each hand. Go down on your right knee, with your left knee pointing toward the weight stack; this is the starting position. Rotate your torso away from the stack as you pull your hands to your chest, then down and away from you. Reverse to the start. Keep your torso upright as you extend your arms away from your body.


Glute-Bridge March
Lie with your knees bent and your arms and heels on the floor. Push down through your heels and squeeze your glutes to raise your body into a straight line from knees to shoulders. Next, bring a knee toward your chest. Reverse the move, then repeat with your other leg. That's one rep. Don't allow your hips to sag at any time during the movement.

Pick Your Plan
3 routines for the results you want. 

-The Fast-Muscle Sequence
Beginning your workout with core exercises reinforces proper posture. That means you'll use better technique to lift more weight in every exercise, which translates to bigger muscles all over. The best part: It takes just 3 minutes.

How It Works: Perform the side bridge [1], followed by the plank with diagonal arm lift [2]. Hold the side bridge for 15 to 45 seconds on each side, then do four to 12 repetitions of the plank with diagonal arm lift. Do this routine at the start of every weight-training session.

-The Painproof Circuit
Have a creaky back? Then this is the workout for you. It improves the endurance of your core muscles, which removes excess strain from your back and distributes weight more evenly throughout your body.

How It Works: Do the glute-bridge march [6], plank with diagonal arm lift [2], cable kneeling chop [5], and side bridge [1] in a circuit. That is, perform one exercise after another without rest. Complete six to 12 repetitions of the glute-bridge march, four to 12 reps of the plank with diagonal arm lift, and six to 10 reps of the cable kneeling chop, and hold the side bridge for 15 to 45 seconds on each side. Rest for 60 seconds, then repeat the circuit once or twice. Perform this routine 2 or 3 days a week at the end of your workout.

-The Peak-Performance Workout
When your core starts to give out, so does your game--no matter what sport you play. But use this five-exercise circuit and you'll move faster, with more power and greater ease. All told, you'll perform better in any sport--and in the weight room.

How It Works: Do the plank with diagonal arm lift [2], glute-bridge march [6], Swiss-ball knee tuck [4], cable kneeling chop [5], side bridge [1], and single-leg lowering [3] in a circuit. That is, do one exercise after another without rest. Complete four to 12 repetitions of the plank with diagonal arm lift, six to 12 reps of the glute-bridge march, six to 12 reps of the Swiss-ball knee tuck, and six to 10 reps of the cable kneeling chop. Hold the side bridge for 15 to 45 seconds and perform six to 12 reps of the single-leg lowering. Rest for 60 seconds, then repeat the circuit. Try this at the end of your training, 2 or 3 days a week.

------Hard Move, Harder Muscle------
Squats train your midsection harder than many ab or lower-back moves. Single-leg exercises pose an even greater core challenge. Try this at the end of your workout.

Cable Single-Leg Squat To Row
Grab a mid-pulley handle with your right hand, with your arm straight and your palm facing left. Bend your left leg slightly and straighten your right leg behind you so it's just off the floor. This is the starting position. Row the handle toward your side as you straighten your torso and draw your right knee toward your chest. Do two or three sets of 10 to 12 reps with each leg.

Pull the handle to your side, so your elbow passes your torso.


Workout by Craig Friedman, M.S., A.T.C., C.S.C.S., By Myatt Murphy, Photographs by Scott McDermott, Workout Photography by Beth Bischoff, Posted Date: March 7, 2007


Thursday, December 27, 2012

How To Make A Weight Loss Resolution… And Stick With It!

Every December, just like clockwork… the health and fitness industry starts pouring money into their advertising and marketing campaigns. From discounted memberships at the local gyms, to coupons, and special promotions for the latest fad diets, it’s impossible to not see that this is big business by the time January roles around.
Most everyone knows that the month of January is always the largest month for new gym memberships… hands down. It’s this predictable cycle we see every year that causes the gym owners and diet peddlers to jockey and position themselves for their slice of the New Year Resolution pie.

In the third and fourth weeks of January, most aerobic classes are packed with fresh faces. But by the end of February, most of the crowd has thinned and by March… things are pretty much back to normal. A few of those new faces do manage to stick around though, and before you know it, they’re no longer considered new. Somehow, they managed to beat the odds… and when you look at their progress it really shows because they’re energetic and they look great.

So, as we begin another new year of life on this beautiful blue planet… what can be done to help make us become one of the few that actually stick to their New Year’s resolution? In this article, I’m going to share with you some of the common traits that I saw and heard from many of my students as to what they did differently and why it worked for them.

They Were Serious This Time: To be successful in reaching your fitness goals you have to be genuinely ready to stick with it no matter what. Winning at the weight loss game requires a commitment to changing your lifestyle. These changes require time and a new sense of resolve that the old ways are no more. Try to prepare yourself by being ready emotionally to make your health and weight loss the priority in your life. You’ll know when you are ready…

They Planned Everything Out: Resolutions never seem to work if they are done on a whim. Any impulsive decision is doomed to failure because it simply cannot withstand the test of time. By definition, a resolution is a commitment to change, and a New Year’s resolution usually means that this change needs to last at least for year… right? Take the time to plan out every aspect of your weight loss program from your diet, to nutritional supplements, to how and when you will exercise.This is why using a professional formulated program like our recommended 30 day cleansing program is a great idea, because it provides you with a simple system to follow and tells you what to take each day. Studies show people following a program get better results than dieting alone and the Isagenix 30 day cleanse would be a fantastic way to kick start your new year.
Be Clear And Specific: If you go into this with vague general ideas of how you are going to lose some weight, you’ll never last through February. By not being specific you invite confusion and way too much wiggle room. This goes hand in hand with having a good plan. Be very specific about how much weight you are going to lose. Know beforehand what your eating routine will consist of, and when you will exercise each day. Being detailed and specific with what you want and how you intend to get there will cut through the occasional fog and give you clarity when you need it.
Be Realistic With Your Plan: Forget turning this into some rapid, super fast plan of attack. Being unrealistic or overly optimistic can cause disappointment and discouragement.  Being discouraged is the number one reason for giving up. Make your planned weight loss something that you can live with and is realistic… don’t set yourself up for failure by being too aggressive.
Have Some Fun And Enjoy: This last tip is, in my opinion very important because no one can last very long if everything we do to get healthy is a drudgery. You have to look forward to some of the things in your weight loss journey or the idea of lifestyle change will never happen. These things are different for everyone, but maybe it means that you will take dance classes twice a week, or begin studying yoga. Often times it can mean simply joining a new gym to meet new friends or have a change of environment. Whatever it is… give this some thought and put into your weekly routine some healthy activities that you know you’ll look forward to.
Will You Make It Into March?

We all know that New Year Resolutions are an annual tradition that most people kind of laugh about and don’t really take too seriously. And honestly… that’s fine because we normally expect in a light hearted way for most people to fail. What’s unfortunate though, is that a lot of people go into their resolutions with high hopes, only to give up in no time at all. By following the suggestions I’ve outlined in this article, you can give yourself a much better chance for success… and be one of the chosen few that we still see committed in March.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bend Your Way To A Better Mood

Ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed and allow a bad mood to spoil your day? If you’re nodding yes as you read this, you’re probably not doing enough yoga. (Or maybe you’re not having enough sex…in which case yoga for couples may help you connect with your partner.)

Yoga can help you power through your moodiest moments and leave you feeling empowered, playful, and upbeat. Backbends, in particular, can lead to a release of endorphins, those feel-good neurotransmitters produced by your body to create a feeling of well-being. Here’s a sun salutation that incorporates two lovely backbends to keep you feeling, flexible, upbeat, and full of happiness.

How To Avoid Over Training

The easiest way to meet any wellness goal is to turn effective behaviors into habits by repeating them every day. However, while it may be perfectly safe to eat the right foods every day or get enough sleep every night, daily workouts can be a whole other story. In fact, working out too frequently may actually deter you from reaching your fitness goals.

Why Your Body Needs a Break
One of the biggest workout mistakes is not giving yourself at least one day off a week. “Your ability to move is dictated by your flexibility, alignment, mobility, strength, and your ability to control and coordinate these factors,” says Amy Wunsch, MSPT, head physical therapist at Results Fitness in Newhall, California. Working out too frequently can prevent your muscles from functioning at their full potential.

And when your muscles aren’t functioning at 100%, your metabolism isn’t, either. Because your muscles are largely responsible for burning calories while your body is at rest, tired muscles end up burning fewer calories and less body fat.

Alternating between hard and easy days of training and taking one day off a week is the most effective way to prevent symptoms of overtraining, such as fatigue and fitness plateaus, according to a classic study of endurance athletes that was published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. But based on my experience working with athletes of all fitness levels, I’ve found that most people really need to take a break from working out even more frequently than one day a week. Because it takes your muscles 24 to 48 hours to repair themselves after an intense workout, I recommend taking a day off after two days of consecutive workouts.

So what should you do every third day if you’re motivated enough to want to hit the gym daily? I’m not about to advise you to go home and sit on the couch! There’s another solution that will help you maintain your gym-going habit while putting little demand on your body: the rest day tune-up.

This fitness routine features stretches to work out tight muscles or knots and strengthening exercises to rev up your stabilizer muscles, the smaller muscles in your shoulders, back, hips, and knees that are vital for good posture. Tune-ups ultimately help your body recover and set you up for a better performance during your next hard-core workout so you can meet your fitness goals faster—all by taking a “break”.

On the day after working out for two consecutive days: start by foam rolling your entire body by sitting on a foam roller and moving it back and forth over each muscle. Then perform two circuits of the following 10 exercises. In addition to the following, you can also get outside for an easy walk.

The Rest-Day Tune-Up

1. Side-Lying Thoracic Rotation (10 reps on each side)
To loosen the muscles of your middle and upper back: Lie on your left side on the floor, with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees. Straighten both arms in front of you at shoulder height, palms pressed together. Your arm and shoulder should touch the floor. Keeping your left arm and both legs in position, rotate your right arm up and over your body and rotate your torso to the right, until your right hand and upper back are flat on the floor. Hold for 2 seconds, then bring your right arm back to the starting position.Complete the prescribed number of reps, then turn over and do the same number for your other side.

2. Reach, Roll, and Lift (10 reps on each side)
To enhance the mobility of your shoulders and upper back: Kneel down and place your elbows on the floor, allowing your back to round. Your elbows should be bent 90 degrees. Your palms should be flat on the floor. Slide your right hand forward until your arm is straight. Rotate your right palm so that it’s facing up. Raise your right arm as high as you can. Do all your reps, then repeat with your left arm.

3. Half-Kneeling Rotational Chop (10 reps on each side)
Attach a rope handle to the high pulley of a cable station. Kneel down so that your left side faces the weight stack and your right knee is on the floor but your left knee is bent 90 degrees with your left foot flat on the floor. Keep your core braced and pull the rope past your right hip. Bend your left arm and straighten your right arm as you pull the rope down.

4. Standing Hamstring Stretch (60 seconds on each side)
To stretch your hamstrings from both your hip and your knee: Place your right foot on a bench or secure chair. Your right leg should be completely straight; your left leg should be slightly bent. Stand tall with your back naturally arched and place your hands on your hips. Without rounding your lower back, bend at the hips and lower your torso until you feel a comfortable stretch, and hold that position for the prescribed amount of time. Bending your knee more increases the stretch near your hip; keeping it straight increases the stretch at your knee.

5. Sumo Squat to Stand (10 reps)
To loosen your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, groin, and lower back: Stand tall with your legs straight and your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your legs straight, bend over and grab your toes. (If you need to bend your knees you can, but bend them only as much as necessary.) Without letting go of your toes, lower your body into a squat as you raise your chest and shoulders up. Staying in the squat position, raise your right arm up high and wide. Then raise your left arm. Now stand up.

6. Inchworm (5 reps)
To loosen your thigh, hip, and oblique muscles: Stand tall with your legs straight and bend over and touch the floor. Keeping your legs straight and your core braced, walk your hands forward. Then take tiny steps to walk your feet back to your hands. That’s one repetition. If you can’t reach the floor with your legs straight, bend your knees just enough so you can. As your flexibility improves, try to straighten them a little more.

7. Prone Hip Internal Rotation (10 reps)
To loosen your deep hip muscles: Lie facedown on the floor with your knees together and bent 90 degrees. Without allowing your hips to rise off the floor, lower your feet straight out to the sides as far as you comfortably can. Hold for 1 or 2 seconds, then return to the starting position.

8. Supine Hip Internal Rotation (10 reps)
To loosen the muscles of your inner thighs and hips: Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent 90 degrees. Your feet should be flat on the floor and about twice shoulder-width apart. Without allowing your feet to move, lower your knees inward as far as you comfortably can. Hold for 1 or 2 seconds, then return to the starting position.

9. Lying Glute Stretch (60 seconds each side)
To loosen your glutes and reduce your likelihood of experiencing lower back pain: Lie faceup on the floor with your knees and hips bent. Cross your left leg over your right so that your left ankle sits across your right thigh. Grab your left knee with both hands and pull it toward the middle of your chest until you feel a comfortable stretch in your glutes.

10. Wall Slide (10 reps)
To enhance the function of your shoulder blades, which can help improve posture and shoulder health: Lean your head, upper back, and butt against the wall. Place your hands and arms against the wall in the “high-five” position, your elbows bent 90 degrees and your upper arms at shoulder height. Keeping your elbows, wrists, and hands pressed into the wall, slide your elbows down toward your sides as far as you can. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for 1 second. Slide your arms back up the wall as high as you can while keeping your hands in contact with the wall. Lower and repeat.

Sunday, December 2, 2012




When it comes to exercise, many of us are creatures of habit. We head for the same class at the gym, log the same workout on the elliptical trainer, and run the same route every single time we lace up our sneakers. Sure, regular exercise is good for you, but it’s also important to vary your fitness routine. Your body—and brain—will reap benefits when you try new activities. “There are numerous benefits to mixing up your workout routine,” says Arnold Lee, MD, a physician at One Medical Group in San Francisco. “It’s the key to stimulating different muscle groups and preventing boredom.”

There’s no shortage of different types of exercise to try. If you tend to gravitate toward more traditional activities—like running, biking, or swimming—look for ways to change up your workout. For instance, instead of running on the treadmill or the road, head for a wooded trail or local park. Not only will you experience an enjoyable change of scenery, but you’ll work your body in a different way that can enhance your overall fitness level. Here are seven benefits to tweaking your exercise routine.

1. Break Through a Weight-Loss Plateau
“When you do the same activity all the time, your body gets used it and becomes very efficient,” explains Lee. “Eventually, that adaptation will mean that you burn fewer calories even when you’re doing the same amount of exercise.” The solution: Challenge you body in a way that it’s not used to. Your body will have to work harder as it adjusts to the new activity, which means that you’ll burn more calories when you work out. And don’t forget to eat sensibly; regular exercise and a healthy diet are both important for weight loss.

2. Prevent Overuse Injuries
There’s a reason why you get hurt when you put your body through the same motions over and over again. “It’s called a repetitive strain injury,” says Lee. This type of injury often occurs from doing lots of repetitive motions, such as running, hitting a tennis ball, kicking (in kickboxing or martial arts classes), or performing the same swimming stroke. By mixing up your activities, you give those overused muscles, joints, and ligaments a chance to rest and recover before putting them into action again. And if you do get injured, performing a different activity that doesn’t strain the same part of the body will allow you to stay in shape and heal at the same time.

3. Build New Muscles
Ever notice how you can quickly identify a professional swimmer by his powerful arms and shoulders and a long-distance runner by her chiseled legs? That’s because professional athletes focus almost exclusively on one sport—and that sport builds very specific muscles. But for recreational exercisers, the best approach is to do a little of everything. That way you’ll build a strong heart (for endurance), muscular legs and a powerful upper body. You’ll look great and be physically ready to take on a variety of sports and activities.

4. Beat Workout Boredom
If you find yourself literally counting down the seconds left in your elliptical workout or can hardly stand the sight of the same streets as you run down them, it’s time to switch up your routine. Keep your workouts from getting stale by constantly trying new things. Venture into a Zumba class for a total change of pace, or just try tweaking your usual activity. For instance, instead of running the same distance at your customary pace, add some speed intervals. After you’ve warmed up, do a series of 30-second sprints followed by two minutes of slower jogging to recover. Keep repeating that, and you’ll reach the end of your run feeling invigorated.

5. Help Keep Your Brain Healthy
Exercise is essential for keeping your brain sharp and helping to prevent memory loss. And learning new skills also helps keep your neurons firing better. So learning a new exercise activity is a double-whammy when it comes to brain health. Ballroom dancing and other activities that require some skill and memorization are a good option. The key is to choose activities that keep you engaged; don’t pick things that you can do on autopilot. You don’t need to overly exert yourself to reap the benefits of exercise for your brain and memory, but you should exercise regularly. Research shows that active individuals have a lower risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), and stroke, which can affect memory.

6. Meet New Workout Partners
One of the best ways to stay engaged with exercise—and committed to a regular schedule of activity—is to find people you want to work out with. And what better way to find someone than to try a new activity? Join a running group to find a partner to meet for jogs, try a spin class and find someone you can go for bike ride with, or strike up a conversation while doing partner stretches in a yoga class. Or ask a friend to join you in trying a new activity.

7. Get Excited About Exercise Again
When too many days in a row go by that you’d rather hit the snooze button than hit the gym, it’s definitely time to make a change. It may take a little trial and error before you find a new workout you enjoy, but stick with it until you do. Then, change up your routine so that you include several types of activity every week. You’ll see better results and have a lot more fun doing it.

Handy Portion Control

Eating the right portion sizes pays off, say Pennsylvania State University scientists, who found out how easily big servings lead to a calories overload. 

On 2 consecutive days in each of 3 weeks, 32 subjects chose as many food portions as they wanted. But the serving portion sizes changed: Regular size portions during week one became 50% larger the second week and doubled during week three. 

Compared with the first week, total daily calories jumped by 335 calories per day for women and 504 calories for men during the second week, and by an astonishing 530 calories for women and 812 calories for men in the last week. 

To make controlling portion sizes super easy, print out this guide and carry it with you until you've committed it to memory.  

Monday, November 19, 2012



*BONUS Sweat*

-Turn up the burn and ab flattening of this workout with the following five-minute quickie after each resistance-band circuit. Or try it on its own during commercials.

-Jump rope, do step-ups on the couch or coffee table, or run up and down the stairs in your house.

-Hold a plank pose, balancing on floor on forearms and feet.

-Do jumping jacks.

-Do bicycle crunches, bringing opposite elbow and knee together. (Every fourth crunch, hold the position for five seconds before resuming.)

Repeat jumping rope, step-ups, or running up and down stairs.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Superset Chest Bodyweight & Dumbbells!

Dumb-bell flies/ Tricep pushup superset
Lie on a flat bench and hold a dumb-bell in each hand. Open your arms to the side, then bring them back to the start. Do 12 reps. Get into a push-up position, with two towels over elbows. Lower your chest to the floor, squeeze towel between elbows and the side of your body. Aim for 12 reps. That’s one superset. Rest for 60 seconds. Do two more supersets.

Incline bench/decline push-up superset
Raise the bench to an angle of 45 degrees. Lying on it, grab two dumb-bells as before, and push upwards, with elbows tucked in. Do 12 reps, then immediately do 20 push-ups, this time with your feet resting on the bench and your hands on the floor. That’s one superset. Rest for 60 seconds. Do two more supersets.

Push-up/bench press superset
Do 20 push-ups as a warm up. Then, lie on a bench with two dumb-bells held by your chest. Keep your elbows tucked in and push upwards until your arms straighten, before lowering to the start position. Do 12 reps, then immediately do 20 press-ups. That’s one superset. Rest for 60 seconds. Do two more supersets. Note the agreeable burning sensation across your chest.