Fitness Friday: The Power of Twist or Rotational Moves

I do a lot of twisting when I do abdominal workouts and strength training, but I don’t think I truly understood the power of “twisting exercises” and why rotational exercises are so valuable until now. “Twisting or throwing exercises engage more muscles, improve your balance, and build functional, real-world strength,” says Tony Gentilcore, a strength coach at Cressey Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts. “Plus, the rotation comes from the core, so you’ll gain power and carve flat abs while you’re at it.” That’s a pretty awesome bonus. Check out these moves below and do them as a circuit, going from one to the next without taking a break. Then rest 60 seconds. Do the circuit four times. These, and a few more, can be found and are courtesy of Women’s Health Magazine. Photo credit by Jeff Lipsky.

Move 1

Medicine-Ball Reverse Lunge and Shot Put

Stand 10 feet from a wall, holding a medicine ball at your chest. Step your right leg back and lower into a lunge, rotating your torso and bringing the ball to your right shoulder. Throw the ball at the wall, then push yourself back to start, catching the ball on the rebound. That’s one rep. Do five, then switch sides.

Move 2

Barbell Twist

lace a barbell on the floor in the corner of a room, and hold one end with both hands at eye level, feet hip-width apart. Rotate your hips, torso, and feet to the right and bend your knees to lower the bar, without bending your arms. Return to start. That’s one rep. Do five on each side.

Move 3

Rotational Cable Row

Adjust the cable station to its lowest setting and stand to the right of it (or use a resistance band), handle in your right hand, feet slightly more than hip-width apart. Pivot to the left, bending both knees and extending your right arm toward the pulley. Pull the handle across to your right hip as you rotate into a standing position. That’s one rep. Do 10, then switch sides.

What are Your Diet Pitfalls?

If you are trying to lose weight, whether it be ten pounds or one hundred pounds, it is not uncommon to backslide into unhealthy eating and exercise habits. In March 2011, CNN identified “The Moments That Make us Fat” from dinner at a buffet restaurant to resisting dessert at a swanky cocktail party. According to James Hill, executive of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, it can be dangerous to rely solely on willpower to sustain your diet in challenging situations. “Willpower is not inexhaustible, ” Hill told CNN.com. You only have a certain amount of it, and it’s gone.” Instead of relying on willpower, Hill suggests planning ahead. Identify the situations that tempt you to veer away from your healthy habits and plan strategies to keep yourself on track.

Diet Pitfall: Vacation

When you’re on vacation, sipping cocktails by the pool and indulging in new regional cuisine might be appealing but it will quickly result in weight gain if you aren’t careful. When on vacation, enjoy local food and beverages in moderation. Try to get plenty of exercise on vacation to offset indulgences.

Diet Pitfall: After a break-up

Instead of seeking comfort in your favorite flavor of ice cream or a deep-dish pizza, opt for exercise. The endorphins released during a sweat session will improve your mood. If you’re ready to get back out there and mingle, choose a group activity, like training for a 5K, which will help you socialize and meet new people.

Diet Pitfall: A party with fabulous food

Parties can be an easy place to fall off the diet wagon, especially when there is a spread of delicious food and drink. Before you head to your next affair, eat a small, healthy snack and limit alcohol consumption to avoid overindulging.

Diet Pitfall: Watching TV

When you settle in to watch a night of prime time TV, it can be tempting to pair your favorite shows with an unhealthy snack. Instead of eating junk food when you aren’t even hungry, beat mindless eating by becoming more aware of your own hunger cues. If you need to eat a snack, opt for fresh fruit, veggies or low-fat yogurt.

Diet Pitfall: A Buffet

Whether you’re dining out or enjoying a meal in someone’s home, buffets offer endless temptation.  Limit yourself to one plate of food and fill half of it with fruits and vegetables. If a second helping tempts you, drink a glass of water and wait twenty minutes before eating again to decide if you’re actually hungry. The cute diet journal (above) can be found at Cafe Press.  Thanks to Diets in Review and author, Maris Callahan, for sharing this post.

10 Reasons Why to Love Yoga

I have been taking yoga classes for about 10 years, and I’m a fan. Bikram yoga is my yoga of choice. Bikram yoga was designed by Bikram Choudhury, who learned yoga at the age of 3, and after a crippling accident, he found that 26 certain postures restored his health. All 26 postures are done in the same exact order every class in a heated room up to 105 degrees, and they are said to work every part of the body. The heat improves and enhances flexibility, flushes the toxins from the body, improves your overall fitness and increases your immune system (not to mentions helps to reduce your weight). Many forms of yoga exist, and you have to find what is right for you. Whichever type you choose, here is why you should love yoga:


1. It gives you energy-Hatha yoga is one of the only types of exercise that actually increases your energy levels. It works the body from the inside out and strengthens the organs getting everything to function normally. One specific pose in Bikram yoga is said to be equivalent to 8 hours of sleep. I don’t know if I believe this, but I do know that I have more energy after a class. On the nights I do yoga, I have this incredible energy buzz, and I always wake up early feeling extra rested.

2. It takes your mind off everything. Yoga is meditative. It also enhances concentration and focus while teaching you how to stay in the present moment.

3. It puts me in a better mood. Yoga increases oxygen to the brain which makes you feel better and is said by medical experts to even help fight depression.

4. Yoga gives you strength. Yoga helps elongate muscles and creates great looking tone to the muscles in the body.

5. It relieves stress. It helps me be mindful of breathing so when I am in stressful situations, I can deal with them even better. It truly gives me peace.

6. Increases balance, clears the mind and the soul. Balance postures really help you strengthen your body such as standing on one leg.

7. Improves your posture.

8. Yoga reduces your risk of sports injury-Yoga is a great way to gain flexibility which helps reduce risks of injury from other sports.

9. Yoga strengthens your back. When I first started doing yoga, a few friends asked me what type of strength training I was doing for my back. Yoga is the answer.

10. It’s a a great workout. I love doing yoga because it’s a wonderful workout. I honestly feel like I have worked every bone and muscle in my body. I think it only enhances my other sport activities and also enhances my work, my relationships and mood.

Note: The yoga tank above is from 59 Splits.

 

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.