Reverse crunches do a body good (lower abs especially)
Nothing better than a well executed triceps dip combined with a verticle ab crunch. You can do this anywhere (even between two counters in the kitchen)!
It’s all about having a healthy ratio of lean muscle tissue and healthy levels of fat. You can be skinny looking and still have too much body fat. Get healthy not skinny!
Eat for Your Body, Not for a Fad.
There have always been food fads that large masses of people subscribe to for short periods of time until they find it too difficult to maintain a strict “diet” especially when the reasons for following that diet do not apply to them. First there was the Zone and South Beach diets – where carbs became taboo. Speaking for most trainers, we hated these fads as our clients would be passed out on the floor from hypoglycemia during our workouts because they didn’t have enough carbs. Making matters worse was that most of these people were not even close to obese and therefore, the idea of cutting out carbs wasn’t as necessary as someone who needs to jump start their metabolism after years of eating massive quantities of processed carbs.
Currently the big rage in nutritional avoidance food is GLUTEN. Nine out of ten restaurants now include a Gluten-Free Menu. Even more interesting is all the products in the grocery store that put the words “gluten free” on foods that you normally would not worry about, like tater tots. Come on people, the potato is by nature gluten free!
Gluten is the proteins found in all wheat products, rye, barley, etc. Anything you make bread or pasta from, and any time you use flours as a binding base. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. While foods like potatoes do not inherently have gluten in them, depending upon how they’re processed and if there is gluten contamination from other items in the kitchen they can have gluten in their presentation. But does that mean you have to avoid them?
The reason gluten-intolerance is on the rise is because of a few factors. First, our wheat and other gluten substances have changed over the years due to the genetic modification of seeds, said forced changes leaving our bodies less able to process the final product. Second, our portion quantities have dramatically increased while our food quality has decreased. Give those factors a couple of generations and the result is more people having digestive and autoimmune issues.
Here’s what really bothers me – a large majority of us do NOT have food allergies, autoimmune disorders, or digestive issues so we do not need to avoid gluten (same applies if you have no lactose issues, then you can keep eating non-fat organic dairy products). If there is no reason for you to avoid eating something you enjoy, then why do it? Moderation, as always is the key.
Before you yell at the computer screen that gluten is bad for every body, understand this. Too much of anything is bad for you, so if you eat pounds of pasta daily then okay maybe you should lighten your gluten and glycemic index load. But if you follow a reasonably healthy nutrition plan, and are not obese or diagnosed gluten-intolerant by a doctor, then you can eat just about anything, again in moderation.
The real problem is that if you stop eating any one thing altogether (in this instance gluten foods) just because everyone thinks it’s the key to health and fat loss, when you finally succumb to that great smelling fresh baked sourdough bread with a touch of butter on it (my weakness), your gut will reject it and you’ll be in pain hours! All because you followed a trend that didn’t apply to you.
Truly a valuable tool! Read it and get it through your head — portions are always smaller than you think.
An even better way to tone your bum and legs is to do this resting your lower back against a balance ball!
July 1, 2014
Just Roll With It.
Raise your hand if you have tight ham strings, low back pain, constantly sore shoulders and traps, chronic headaches, sciatic pain radiating down your legs or all of the above. You are not alone. With more of our lives spent at a desk, hunkered over a computer, or long commutes stuck in the same curved spinal posture it’s prevalent that most adults suffer from one or more of these painful muscular issues. Postural distortions are rampant (see my article “What About Posture“) and those of us that make fitness a priority, often unintentionally add to the tension in those muscle groups.
So what can you do to easily, quickly, and affordably get relief. Just roll with it!
When passing through your gym or local sporting goods store (or even Target) you may have seen an innocuous looking white round foam roll – this is known as a foam roller, or it’s official name, SMR Roller. SMR stands for Self-Myofascial Release. May sound kinky, but it’s a $25 massage and chiropractic appointment all bundled into a space saving 36″ chunk of foam.
In simple terms, foam rolling is a stretching technique that increases flexibility by decreasing muscle tightness. It’s positive effects can be felt within minutes, and almost everyone regardless of their physical condition can use a foam roller. Benefits range from relief of muscle soreness, improvement of joint range of motion and posture, and a significant decrease in tension and pain from neck, shoulders, back, butt, and legs.
So how do you Roll?
Start by lying on your back on top of the roller vertically (above photo), or placing it under your glutes or shoulders horizontally (below photo), then slowly roll back and forth over the targeted area until the most tender spot is found. Then hold gentle but firm and consistent pressure on that spot for about 30-90 seconds. Now resume slowly rolling back and forth or progressing down from that tender spot until no more muscle tenderness is felt.
For the glutes and legs sit on the roller, then supporting yourself with your hands on the floor behind you, lean back, and begin a slow roll from the top of your hips/glutes all the way through your hamstrings. You can separately roll out your calf muscles if they are tight too.
It might sound cumbersome, but it’s really very easy and almost natural once you give it a try. I am happy to conduct a skype conference call if you would like a demonstration, and clearly there are many photos and videos on the internet that demonstrate as well.
I cannot recommend this affordable essential tool in helping you have a happy, health, fit body. So get rolling!