Fitness Friday: What is Horizontal Conditioning?

Have you heard of Horizontal Conditioning? My friend, Sandra Koulourides, is the creator of this challenging, body defining workout. She teaches in Birmingham, Alabama, but she has 8 workout DVDS and a monthly Horizontal Club where members get a new workout every month. Check Sandra out and my interview with her below:

1. What is Horizontal Conditioning?

Horizontal Conditioning is a core intense total body workout that uses body weight for resistance.  It builds muscular strength and endurance from head to toe, especially in the core.  It targets the abdominal area like no other workout.    Horizontal Conditioning gives you lean and defined muscles, not bulky ones.

2. Why do you think this type of exercise is so beneficial?

Horizontal works so well because you are holding your body weight up against gravity.  This causes the deepest abdominal muscles to become activated, so that you truly are toning your body from the inside out.  It pushes you outside of your comfort zone, which is why it works.   The results you get from Horizontal are like wearing a corset or “SPANX” all day long.  It constricts your middle like nothing else.

3. Can anyone do this exercise?

Horizontal Conditioning is a challenging workout no matter what your fitness level.   Beginners need to start with the Getting Started DVD and do it on their knees.  As they get stronger, they can progress to their toes and try one of the more advanced dvds.  They key is to just take that first step and start.  It is hard, and you will feel it, but that is why it works!  Keep doing it!

5. What is the best tip to get started?

Horizontal needs to be done 3 times per week for a minimum of 10-20 minutes.  The Getting Started series of dvds are all 10-20 minute workouts.  Within 5-6 weeks you will see changes in your body, especially your abdominals.

6. What are you best fitness tips?

*Be consistent – you will not see changes if you are not consistent

*Don’t be scared of a challenge – that is how your body changes. You can do so much more than you think you can

*Don’t be a cardio junkie – You gotta have muscle.  Muscle gives your body shape and definition.  Muscle turns on your metabolism

Holiday Fitness Gift Ideas for “Her”

Okay. I am a fitness fanatic. I admit it. I want everything fitness related for my holiday gifts so here is a list of some of my favorites. To start, is this great workout bag called the “Triumphant Tote” from Lululemon. Not only does it fit a 15-inch laptop, but it’s so roomy, cool-looking, has a waterproof outer layer, and an exterior pocket with removable bag for grubby gear (perfect for my cycle shoes and sweaty clothes). $118. I want this in black if anyone is listening…Here are some of my other favorites:

For the Runner: How about this Roga Short for Oiselle. It combines the flattering waist of a yoga short with the technical function of a great running short with a rear zip pocket and moisture protection. $44

For Anyone: The “Energy Bra” by Lululemon, is my newest favorite workout bra. It fits perfectly, is so comfortable and it’s great for any sport as well as hot yoga. I just splurged on this pink one!  $42

For the Runner: I just bought these running tights from Saucony, and they are comfortable, have a reflective stripe for maximum visibility (if you are running early in the morning or late in the day), have a roomy pocket and ankle zippers. $65

For a Challenge: How about a great workout DVD? If you’re looking for a great overall workout that is tough and will tone you up, try my friend, Sandra’s,  Horizontal Conditioning or Boot Camp DVD. $19.99

For Tennis: I love this new Nike Rival Tennis Skirt, part of the Sharapova holiday Dry-fit collection. The fit is awesome. $60

For Yoga: This Burn Out V-Neck from Yoga Fit is so soft and the perfect fit for yoga, running or just lounging at home. I love that their collection is made in in the USA. The yoga posture illustrations on the shirt are too cute.

Get Balanced, Get Lean: “Fuel + Fitness the Total Package” Book Giveaway

My friend, Sandra Koulourides, is the most fit woman I know. I am honored to call her a close friend as she is such an inspiration. I am excited to introduce her brand new book to you, “Fuel + Fitness The Total Package”.  Sandra, a Registered Dietician and Fitness Expert has been counseling people for years on how to eat right and get lean. Sandra’s company, Fuel + Fitness, started with her infamous (and tough) workout called “Horizontal Conditioning”. It has become quite the rage, and she has released a total of 8 DVD’s as well as a DVD club where you get a new workout DVD each month. Sandra says her method is “not a diet but a lifestyle. It’s about balancing food, fitness and life.” She honestly offers a simple, practical, real-food, and real-life approach to eating, and her book provides so many tips, advice and much more. I am giving away one copy of her fantastic book to one of you.

How to Enter:

1. Please leave a comment telling me why you would like a copy of this book. This is only open to U.S residents. To earn additional entries, leave a comment for the steps below:

2. Tweet this on twitter: Check out @alisonlewis Fuel + Fitness Total Package Giveaway http://su.pr/30cH2g

3. Follow @alisonlewis on twitter

4. Become a fan of Ingredients, Inc on Facebook

5. Follow @FuelplusFitness on Twitter

6. Join the Fuel + Fitness Facebook page

6. Stumble this post and follow me on Stumble Upon

7. Winner will be selected Thursday

How to Get Lean?

Everyone wants to have a lean body, but how do we achieve it? I did some research to figure out what I am personally doing right and wrong, and here’s what I’ve found. If you have any other tips to offer, please share in the comment area below.

1. Strength Training-Adding strength training to your exercise program will help build lean muscles. Whether you use free weights, machines, body weight, or resistance bands, you will increase lean muscle, reduce body fat and burn more calories efficiently.

2. Eat more protein-Eating protein will help create lean muscle. Create your meals around protein. Identify what protein you are going to have and work your meals around that.

3. Do more yoga-In yoga, muscles are strengthened and elongated so you will not bulk up as much, but get a tone and flexible body.

4. Front-load your carbohydrates-Reduce the number of carbohydrates you eat as the day goes on. Studies show that your body’s ability to metabolize carbs drops as the day goes on, so more can end up stored as fat. My trainer, Jeff Green, from Icon Performance, says “Cut out all carbs after 3 p.m.” Wow is that hard, but if you can do it, you will see a difference.

5. Limit sugar, white flour and alcohol-These foods are quickly digested which causes blood sugar to rise. This stimulates the release of the hormone insulin, which signals your body to stop burning fat (and storing it instead).

6. Eat more frequently and eat smart-Nutritionist and Fitness Expert Sandra Koulourides, of “Fuel Plus Fitness”, suggests eating lean protein, good fat, veggies and fruit. Also, eating more frequent smaller meals with help curb cravings and splurging

7. Drink more water-Staying hydrated with water will help your body stay energized as well as help you cut down on soft drinks and caffeine.

8. Cardio and Interval Training-Do at least 30 minutes of cardio at least 5 days a week and stay consistent. Mix this with interval training, and you’ll rev up your metabolism even more.

9. Get more sleep-Refueling and resting your body often helps muscles rebuild. Get at least 8 hours of sleep (and 9 if possible) and take a day or two off a week.

10. Read labels-Don’t just look at protein and carbs, but take note at fiber, sodium, fat and how much sugar is in what you’re eating.

Top Fitness Trends of 2011

I’m so excited to introduce a new addition to my site called “Lifestyle”. In this section, I will be writing about fitness, healthy living, health, nutrition and more. I am so excited about this opportunity as I will be taking my passion for a healthy lifestyle to a new level. This week my “Lifestyle” post is about fitness trends. I have been researching and talking to many fitness professionals to determine what I think are going to be the Top 10 Fitness Trends of 2011. Please let me know if you have some ideas of your own.


1. Yoga-Different styles of yoga are becoming mainstream, and more people are catching on to the physical and mental benefits of yoga. I personally love “Bikram” (hot yoga). See information on corporate yoga (below).

2. Strength Training-More and more data explains the importance of strength training. There’s a strong trend of sports specific training for kids, teens and adults. Group training is also even becoming more popular because of the reductions of personal training costs.

3. Core Workouts-Workouts focusing on the core are trending with ball workouts, plank workouts, water core workouts and horizontal workouts.

4. Spin Cycling classes-Indoor cycling classes are really taking off. You can ride at your own level, get a great workout and sweat, and do it even if it’s dark or rough weather. Warning, it really revs up the appetite.

5. Bootcamp Workouts-Personal trainers, as well as, gyms are having more group style mix-it-up workout classes that are tough challenges to the body.

6. Interval Training-High interval training classes (HIT) are becoming very popular this year as well as interval training in all sports such as running, cycling and swimming. You can burn a lot of fat in a short amount of time with this type of workout.

8. Yoga Spinning-This combines yoga and spinning in one workout. I’ve haven’t tried this, but I hear the two go together like a “yin and yang” combining stretching and strengthening all in one. It sounds fun to cycle to new age music.

9. Piloxing-This new celebrity craze combines the power, speed and agility of boxing with the sculpting of pilates. I can’t wait to try this.

10. Body Weight Workouts-Workouts using your body weight are becoming hot. My friend, Sandra, Owner of “Fuel Plus Fitness”, specializes and is the founder of “Horizontal Conditioning”. This is a challenging workout that creates a lean sculpted body. She has DVD’s of her workouts as well as ball videos.

Note: The photo above was taken by Joseph DeSciose of my friend, Jennifer Berman, Owner of Jennifer Berman Corporate Yoga. Jennifer travels around with her mat in tow to business offices such as law firms and corporations. She brings a yoga mind and strong workout to the corporate world.