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video link (How to do the Plank exercise)…….Plank exercise

One of my favorite exercises is The plank. It’s a great exercise for people who have trouble doing situps because of back problems. It’s a great exercise that engages the muscles and works the core.  It builds endurance in both the abs and back . It also helps with balance. You may be feel unsteady, or shake when you do it at first. But that just means it’s working 🙂 Try it!

How to:

  1. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
  2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.
  3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.
  4. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.
  5. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.
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There are two major types of fats: saturated fat and unsaturated fat. Only unsaturated fats can become trans fats but once they turn into trans fats they are very bad for you.Trans fats increase the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your bloodstream. Increased LDL in your system clogs arteries and leads to increased risk of coronary heart disease and obesity (among other diseases).
Here are The Top 10 “Trans Fat” Foods: (bad kind of fat)

1. Spreads. Margarine, for example, contains both trans fats and saturated fats, both of which can lead to heart disease. Other non-butter spreads and shortening also contain large amounts of trans fat and saturated fat.

2. Packaged Foods. Favorites such as cake mixes and Bisquick contain generally have several grams of trans fat per serving.

3. Soups. For example, ramen noodles and soup cups contain very high levels of trans fat.

4. Fast Food. Those beloved fries and other crunchy foods are deep-fried in partially hydrogenated oil.

5. Frozen Food. From frozen pies to pot pies to breaded fish sticks, frozen foods generally contain trans fat. Even if the label says the product is low-fat, it can contain trans fat.

6. Baked Goods. Commercially baked products contain more trans fats than any other foods. Examples include doughnuts, cookies and cakes.

7. Chips and Crackers. That crispy texture comes from shortening. Even reduced fat brands may contain trans fat.

8. Breakfast Food. Cereals and energy bars often contain trans fats, even if the labels claim to be “healthy.”

9. Cookies and Candy. Check the labels for the fat content. For example, a chocolate bar probably will contain more trans fat than gummy bears.

10. Toppings and Dips. Flavored coffees, nondairy creamers, whipped toppings, gravy mixes and salad dressings typically contain trans fat.

Fats perform a variety of necessary functions and Unsaturated fats are good for your body in moderation.

20 minute workout

Even short durations of exercise can be beneficial. If you are consistent with your workouts and put all your effort into each session, you don’t need hours of working out to see results. Here is a 20 minute workout you can do. It doesn’t require a lot of equipment or time. Just get up and get moving!

One-Minute Cardio Interval

Beginner

March in place, pumping your arms vigorously and lifting your knees to waist level.

Intermediate

Step up and down on your step. Be sure to pump your arms and plant your entire foot firmly on the step platform. Lead with your right foot half the time, and with your left foot for the other half.

Advanced

Step on the platform with left foot, then lift right knee to waist level. Pump arms, left arm forward, right arm back. Step down with right foot, then with left. Next, step up with right foot, and lift left knee; right arm forward, left arm back. Continue alternating.

A note about intensity: Whichever cardio level you choose, give it your best effort. You should feel slightly breathy and sweaty by the end of each minute. Your heart should be thumping, but you shouldn’t be so out of breath that you can’t talk or have to take a break before moving on to the next exercise.

 Body-Sculpting Move 1

The ultimate butt move: side squat and arm raise. Also works outer thighs, inner thighs, front of thighs and shoulders.

1. Stand tall with feet hip width apart, arms at sides with palms facing in and elbows slightly bent. Hold a weight in each hand.

2. Step right foot out about a foot and a half to the side and bend knees until thighs are parallel to the floor. As you do so, lift arms up and out to the side until hands are at shoulder level. Push off the right foot to return to the start.

Sequence: 15 reps to right side; one-minute cardio interval; 15 reps to left side.

Body-Sculpting Move 2

The ultimate back-of-thigh shaper: double curl. Also works front of arms.

1. Leaning forward slightly, stand with feet as shown, left foot forward. Bend left knee slightly and lift right heel off the floor. Hold arms at sides with palms forward, clasping a weight in each hand.

2. Simultaneously bend right knee so that right heel moves toward buttocks, and bend elbows to bring hands toward shoulders.

Sequence: 15 reps with right leg lifted; one-minute cardio interval; 15 reps with left leg.

Body-Sculpting Move 3

The ultimate upper-back toner: row and extension. Also works shoulders, arms.

1. Holding a weight in each hand, stand with feet hip width apart. Keeping your back flat and abs tight, bend knees, lean forward from hips and let arms hang down, palms facing in toward each other.

2. Bend elbows and raise weights to chest level then straighten elbows and press the weights behind you. Bend elbows again and lower arms to start.

Sequence: One set of 15 reps; one-minute cardio interval; second set of 15 reps.

Body-Sculpting Move 4

The ultimate chest firmer: step push-up. Also works shoulders, arms.

1. Place a mat or towel underneath your knees and lie on stomach in front of an aerobic step placed lengthwise. Bend knees and cross ankles. Place hands shoulder width apart on edge of aerobic step and straighten arms so that you’re balanced on palms and thighs, just above knees as shown. Tighten abs.

2. Bend elbows until upper arms are parallel to floor. Push back up.

Sequence: One set of 15 reps; one-minute cardio interval; second set of 15 reps

Body-Sculpting Move 5

The ultimate ab sculptor: hover. Also works lower back, arms.

Don’t be fooled — this simple exercise is a total ab and lower-back move.

1. Kneel on the floor; then lean forward. Bend elbows and balance upper body on forearms; stretch out legs and balance weight on toes. Clasp hands together and tuck chin toward chest. Tighten abs so that back is straight; make sure lower back does not sag downward and don’t raise your butt above the rest of your body.

2. Hold this position for 5 to 10 slow counts. Keep torso straight the entire time. Do two reps per set. To rest between reps, sit back on heels and stretch upper body forward.

Sequence: One set of two reps; one-minute cardio interval; second set of two reps.

6 Low-Cost Work…

6 Low-Cost Workouts

(some info. Taken from everydayhealth.com)

Even if your financial resources are slim, you need to exercise. For the options on this list, all you really need is a little motivation.

1.Walk for weight management

The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days a week. To meet this recommendation, you have to get your heart pumping and your breathing rate up, which is easy enough on a brisk walk. If you can’t walk for 30 minutes straight, break it up in to 10-minute sessions, and slowly add time as you get in to better shape. The best part? To start walking more, all you need to invest in is a good pair of walking shoes and some socks.

2.Dance for Aerobic Exercise

It costs nothing to plug in your iPod and dance from room to room. If you want to take your dancing skills out on the town, grab some pals and head to the local salsa club (many offer free lessons on certain nights of the week), or find another dance group that suits your tastes and abilities.

3.Weight Train

When you build muscle, your body doesn’t have to use as much insulin, and your blood sugar is easier to keep in check. To strength train at home, invest in free weights (such as a pair of dumbbells and ankle weights), plastic tubing, or resistance bands. If you want to improve both strength and flexibility, try a stability ball for ab and stretching exercises. If you’re not ready to make the investment, you can start by doing upper-body exercises while holding a can of soup or jug of water in each hand. You can also try body-weight moves, such as lunges, squats, and push-ups.

4. Jump Rope to Burn Calories

If you want to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels and lose weightas well, you need high calorie-burning exercise. One of the cheapest and most effective options is simply jumping rope. A 150-pound person can torch 750 calories with just one hour of jumping, and the good news is, you can break that hour up throughout your day and still see the same benefit.

5.Try Exercise DVDs at Home

Whether you love Zumba, yoga, Pilates, or calisthenics, there are hundreds of at-home exercise DVDs you can try — and there are probably a wide variety to choose from at your local library. For a completely free exercise program, try the online resources available.

6.Stream Free Online Videos

If you don’t want to invest in DVDs, free home fitness programs are readily available online. For example, the American Diabetes Association has an excellent video you can watch online that gives a good introduction to at-home exercise. The American Heart Association also offers a free 12-week online fitness and nutrition course. There are also a variety of fitness videos available for free on YouTube

Have a sweet tooth?

Too much sugar is a major contributor to obesity. Drinks loaded with sugar can cause a major problem for children and adults. According to choosehealthla.com…

  • A 20-ounce soda can contain 65 grams of sugar. That’s approximately 22 packets of sugar in just one bottle. All that added sugar can have serious health consequences. The extra calories in sugar-loaded drinks can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
  • A typical adult has to walk briskly for 46 minutes to burn the calories in a 20-ounce soda.
  • A typical 10-year-old has to bike vigorously for 30 minutes to burn the calories in a 12-ounce soda.

Your best bet is to limit or eliminate sweetened beverages from your diet. Try replacing them with water low-fat or non-fat milk and other non-sweetened beverages.

Tips for Healthy Drink Choices:

  • Choose water or low-calorie drinks instead of sugar-loaded drinks.
  • Keep water stocked in your refrigerator and readily available for when you’re thirsty. Carry a bottle with you and refill it throughout the day.
  • Make water more exciting by adding slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon, or drink sparkling water.
  • Add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.
  • When you do opt for a sugar-loaded drink, choose a smaller beverage size. An 8-oz. soda contains about 100 calories.

Know your ABC’s

A healthy diet is essential to your well being. There are certain things you have to keep in mindwhen eating and choosing foods. If you “cheat” or eat something unhealthy, don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on the right track.  Find your balance between food and physical activity, daily!

Here are the ABC’s of a basic healthy diet.

A=Adequacy

B= Balance

C= Calorie Control

M=Moderation

V= Variety

According to the USDA you should eat Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Milk, Meats& Beans (lean protein) daily.

30z of whole-grain every day

2 1/2 cups of Vegetables every day

2 cups of fruit every day

3 cups of milk every day

5 1/2 oz of Meat & Beans every day

Standing Abs!

Core-strength exercises strengthen your core muscles, including your abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis. Strong core muscles make it easier to do many physical activities. You can do core-strength exercises standing, on a carpeted floor or mat. Breathe freely and deeply during each core-strength exercise. Here are some standing exercises. Ab exercises should be done 2-3 times per week.

 

STANDING AB EXERCISES

 

3 sets

8-15 reps each

rest 10-15 seconds between each

 

Dumbbell Side Bends

Side bends target the obliques and the rectus abdominis muscles. Stand with the legs slightly apart. Hold a dumbbell in one hand and place the other hand behind your head. Bend your torso to the side opposite the dumbbell, “crunching” the obliques. With control, return to the initial position. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions on one side before switching the dumbbell to the other side. Complete three sets total.

Standing Knee Crunches

Knee crunches primarily work the rectus abdominis and the transverse abdominis. Stand in a

split-stance position with your hands clasped together above your head. Contract your core and with control, drive the back knee up and bring the hands down so that they meet at waist level. Return to starting position. Perform three sets of 15 repetitions on each side.

 

Side Knee Crunch

Side knee crunches are another great exercise to target the obliques and help banish the love handles. Stand with feet hip width apart, with your weight balanced on the left leg. Place your left hand on your hips and your right arm straight up in the air. Your right foot should be pointing outward, and your leg should have a slight bend in it. Contract your core and slowly raise your right knee up the side of your body while at the same time bringing your right elbow downward so that they meet at waist level. Hold for a count of one; then slowly lower back down. Be sure not to push off the floor with your foot. Perform 15 repetitions; then switch sides. Complete a total of three sets per side.

Standing Sumo Crunch

The sumo crunch is a great exercise for the oblique muscles. Stand with feet wider than shoulder width apart, with your toes pointed outward. Lower down until your thighs are parallel with the floor and clasp your hands behind your head. With control, lower your right elbow as far as you can toward your right thigh. Return to the starting position; then lower to the left side. Complete three sets of 20 crunches on each side.

Standing Pike Crunch

Standing pike crunches engage all of the ab muscles. Stand with your feet hip width apart, arms pointing straight above your head. Contract your core and simultaneously raise your right leg and lower your arms so that your hands and foot meet at about waist level. Return to starting position and repeat the movement with the left leg. Allow your torso to flex with the lowering of your arms and keep your moving leg as straight as possible. Perform three sets of 20 repetitions with each leg.

Eat healthy, be healthy!

 

Exercise alone will not get you results if  you want to lose weight. If you’re happy with your weight but your focus is to live a healthy lifestyle, you have to eat right and exercise, in order to do that successfully. Here are some daily menus based on a 1200 or 1400 daily calorie intake.  These are all things that I would eat and like to eat. The source I took them from had many different menus but I wouldn’t share any that I would not eat myself 🙂 Remember, in order to successfully be healthy and/or lose weight, it is 80% diet and 20% exercise that will get you there!!

 

 

 

Quick workout moves!

Don’t have a lot of time but still want to get in your workout for the day? If you put your all into a short workout, you don’t need a lot of time to see and feel results. Here are some high intensity moves you can do within 20-25 minutes.

Do as many reps as you can within the time frame for each exercise. If you can’t do the exercises with the jumps you can do a modified version without the jump and still feel the benefit. NO EXCUSES! 🙂

  • Jump Squats for 30 seconds – At the lowest point in your squat, explode up by leaping off the ground.
  • Squat Reach Jumps for 30 seconds – Squat, touching the floor with your fingertips, and explode up into a jump with your hands reaching up as high as possible.
  • Leapfrog Squats for 30 seconds – Wide leg squats and jumps.
  • Gap Jumps for 30 seconds – Leap forward as far as possible, and then leaping back.
  • Squat Jacks for 30 seconds – Jumping jacks, only landing in a squat position instead of with straight legs.
  • Swing Kicks for 60 seconds – Kick each leg up over and across a stool for one minute.
  • Military Marches for 60 seconds – This is intended as a break — you march in place slowly, lifting your legs until they’re perpendicular to your body.

Start from the  top and Repeat exercises consecutively for the amount of time you plan to work out.

Become what you think!

“What we think, we become.”
~ Buddha“

As the New Year approaches, many of you may be setting health and fitness resolutions. The best way to set goals and achieve them is by writing them down. Here is an exercise to keep you on track.

1. Write down three SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realstic,Timely) goals for 2012.

2.   Under each goal, write specific steps on how you’re going to achieve those goals.

3.   Write  positive  affirmations for  the  goal.

Example …(note:this is one of my personal fitness goals for 2012)

1.Goal: I will register for and run a 5k and/or a 10k before September of 2012.

2.Steps:I will research and find upcoming races in my area between May and June. I will continue to make running part of my workout routine. I will decide on a race and register, no later than April 2012.

3.Affirmations: I believe I will be ready physically and emotionally to achieve this goal. I believe I can be consistent with my workouts. I believe I can follow a balanced diet.

You should keep your affirmations in a place where you will see them often. Keep focusing on your fitness goals. Find ways to take steps toward the end result you’re seeking and you will be successful!

(some info. taken from FitnessRX)