Friday, October 30, 2009

Jump Your Way Fit in Less than 15 Minutes

Jumping rope is an incredible cardiovascular exercise. It's one of the foundations of a boxer's conditioning program, and you have to be in phenomenal shape to box. The tennis champ Jimmy Connors used to skip rope as part of his conditioning routine.

My advice is to wear supportive cross-trainers, tennis or basketball shoes while skipping rope. This is a great workout that doesn’t require a gym membership, a lot of space, or great weather. It can be done when you are crunched for time, don’t feel like spending a long time exercising or while traveling when you still want to keep up your fitness regimen or get into better shape.

Jumping rope is such a strenuous activity it will be hard to maintain for a long period of time. In fact you can get an INTENSE WORKOUT in much LESS TIME due to the level of exertion needed. Below is an example of a high calorie blasting and fat burning workout you can do anywhere.

· Skip rope for three minutes. (A round in boxing is three minutes long.)
· Take a minute off, and do as many crunches as you can.
· Skip rope for one minute.
· During the next minute between rounds, do as many push-ups as you can.
· Back to skipping for one minute.
· Do wall squats for another minute (back against the wall and squat down until your bent with your legs at a 90 degree angle, hold each squat for 5 full seconds)
· Skip 2 minutes (20 seconds normal skip, 5 seconds on one leg, 5 seconds on other leg, repeat 3 more times until you reach 2 min)
· Hold a plank for one minute (push-up position with elbows bent and forearms on the ground – if you want to make it more challenging try holding one leg up, then the other)
· Skipping jumping jacks for one minute. With one turn of the rope, land with your feet together; then on the next turn, land with your feet far apart--as if you're doing jumping jacks.
· High-knee march (30 seconds): Put your rope to the side for this cool-down interval. As you march in place, bring your knees up until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep your elbows bent, and swing your arms with each step.
· Entire workout is less than 15 minutes, but it’s an intense 15 minutes. You can get more out of this workout than a steady paced easy 30-40 minutes on the treadmill.
· If you want to build up, or have extra time, you can repeat this series, either right after or at a different time of day.

You might not be able to do more than a few intervals of some of the suggested ‘in-between-skipping’ exercises. Use any exercise you want during the minute between rounds. Try doing squats and lunges (with or without weights) to give your larger leg muscles added work. Do upper-body exercises with dumbbells during that minute. (Use proper form. Don't rush.) One more thing: skipping rope emphasizes your calves, so be diligent about stretching them.
Another advantage to skipping rope is that you can take one anywhere. And they only cost between $6 and $20; you can order them from,, or

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to Fit Exercise into Your Busy Schedule

Here's how to fit exercise into a busy schedule. If you're like me, you're busy, a little stressed out, have many things pulling at you in many directions, and on top of that you need to find time to work out. For many people, it usually doesn't happen. Exercising becomes just another problem for you (as does your expanding waistline). Read this article if you're looking for a solution to being able to get your workouts in.

Top 6 Tips for Fitting Exercise into your Life

1. Exercise early in the morning

For most people who lead busy lives, trying to exercise at the health club after work is nearly impossible. Not only are you worn down from working all day, you also have things you need to do with the family, friends etc.

One good solution is to get up an hour earlier and get in your exercise in the morning. Even if it's only a walking program. As hard as it is to drag yourself out of bed, sacrificing just one hour of sleep a couple times a week will actually give you MORE energy throughout the day than that extra hour of sleep you’ll be giving up.

2. Get a Few Pieces of Equipment and Exercise at Home.

If it's possible, buy a treadmill or stationary bike. You'll avoid having to take the time to drive or walk to the health club, and you can do it on your schedule.

However, if you live in a place like NYC, chances are you don’t have the space (or money) for this, when I started out in New York, I invested in a jump rope, resistance band and set of dumbbells. With this equipment you can literally get a full body workout (cardio and strength training), and you don’t even have to leave your bedroom or living room.

Not sure what to do with your new equipment? You can find a wide variety of fitness DVDs to guide you. Total Fitness DVDs has just about anything you need. You can search by workout type and see a brief description of the workout. You can see what equipment is used, the exercise level, and the length of the workout. You can even see a short preview of the workouts. If you’re really time crunched, try the 10 Minute Solution DVDs. Each DVD contains five 10 minute segments. You can do one, two, or all five depending on how much time you have. Or if decide to invest in that treadmill and want to jazz up your workout a bit, you could give Tracey Staehle’s Walking Strong a try. You can see a preview here by clicking on the DVD cover.

3. Multitask while Exercising

Use the time while you're exercising to better schedule your day. You'd be surprised at what you can do on a treadmill. It's easy to read a book or report while walking. You can eventalk on the phone if you need to. You can exercise during commercials, as soon as you wake up, on your lunch break, or right before bed. Just be sure not to do anything too exhilarating at bedtime. You want to be able to fall asleep.

These are 4 times where you can sneak in 2-3 minutes of exercise. Done multiple times each day, THAT ADDS UP to a good amount of working out. A great thing about this is that you don't sweat... usually. Also, it's been PROVEN that these types of mini-workouts are much better for increasing your metabolism... as compared to the normal 30-60 minute steady-paced workouts once a day.

Don't think this is hard either. You can do jumping jacks, jump rope, jump on a mini-trampoline, or do some pushups. Whatever gets your heart rate up and puts an extra boost in your step.

4. Do hard, fast-paced exercises in 5 minutes

You can do something like fast bodyweight squats. Do as many as you can in 5 minutes. Trust me; this will get your legs burning and your heart-rate up. Running up some stairs for 5 minutes non-stop is also great. These are intense. That's why you can get away with doing just 5 minutes of them in a day. You don't need much of these exercises to get great weight loss results.

5. Exercise on the Weekends/Days Off

This is becoming a more popular concept as people try to find more time for exercise. Weekends/Days Off offer you extra time to fit an easy one hour workout into your schedule.
I also know many ‘weekend warriors’ who use their days off to fit in extra long workouts, since it’s hard for them to do this during the week.

6. Find Additional Ways to Exercise During your Work Day

It's easy to find ways to exercise at work throughout the day. For example, take the steps instead of the elevator. Walk to co-worker's desks instead of sending emails. Take a walk during your lunch hour. You could even try this desk workout. These are just a few examples of how you can find other ways to exercise while on the job.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pre and Post Workout Fuel for Maximizing Metabolism and Results!

Whether you are starting a new exercise program, or already an old pro, it is important to pay more attention to your nutritional intake. When you are eating proper foods, you will see exponential results from your program as nutrition can actually account for up to 90% of the progress you see.

Two of the most critical times for taking in proper nutrition are right before your workout session and immediately afterwards.

Why Do I Need these Pre and Post-Workout Meals?

The pre-exercise meal/snack will help provide your muscles with the fuel they need to perform vigorous exercise as well as help offset any muscle loss that may occur during the workout since weight lifting is a catabolic (breakdown process) in itself. Plus it will keep you from feeling weak and lightheaded.

The meal after the workout serves to supply your body with new energy that it will use to either refill its muscle glycogen stores or to repair the damaged muscle tissues. In addition, a small meal before and after a workout greatly revs up your metabolism. If you skip this important meal you will drastically jeopardize the results you could see from your workout.

The Pre-Workout Meal

The main purpose of the pre-workout meal is to fuel the muscles for the upcoming activity. What you choose to consume during this meal is largely dependant upon the time of the day that you work out.

For the morning workout a liquid meal is often the best option as you won’t have a lot of time to digest the food before you hit the gym. Some people may simply have a hard time tolerating solid food first thing in the morning, thus they do better with a meal replacement shake. Another great idea if you don’t like shakes is a piece of fruit or some bread and jam or peanut butter.
If you exercise in the afternoon or evening, you can follow pretty much the same guidelines. However, since you have more time to play with a true meal 60-90 min before the workout is sufficient.

Try to take in this snack 15-20 minutes before your workout.
Example Snacks:
Protein Shake
Banana with scoop of peanut butter
Yogurt (not the diet or light kind) – this is actually one of my favorites.
Banana and granola bar
Piece of toast or bread with peanut butter or jam
Dry cereal with fruit

Post-Workout Meal

As I said above, the post-workout meal serves to replenish muscular glycogen stores as well as to help provide the amino acids your muscles need to repair and rebuild themselves after being broken down through strength training activities. Contrary to popular belief, this meal will actually help your body burn more calories as it keeps your metabolism at peak performance. Your body burns more knowing it is not going into starvation mode.

It is always best for you to try and consume this meal as soon as possible after your workout as there is a critical window of opportunity when the muscles are more receptive to taking in the nutrients.

Many people choose to also consume a shake for this meal as it is easily transported to the gym so you can have it on your way out.

In this meal a higher carbohydrate amount is recommended .This not only replaces the energy you just expended but also provides your body with the energy required to synthesize new muscle tissue. Shorting yourself at this point will be very detrimental to your results so it is of utmost importance that you don't skimp on carbohydrates during this meal. If you are one of the individuals who tends to fear carbohydrates, thinking they will be stored as body fat, you can rest assured that eating them immediately after a workout is the one time of the day when they will not be stored as body fat. Furthermore, if you often find yourself craving sweets or simple grains such as candy, cereal or bagels, now is the time to eat them because you actually want the carbohydrates to be released into the blood stream rapidly.

To sum up, you should consume a lean protein source, from meat or from protein powder depending on your needs and preferences and then a simple carbohydrate source.

Try incorporating pre and post workout meals into your next workout. It may take some time to get used to it, but I am confident you will reap impressive results in no time. These meals are just about as important as the actual work you do in the gym in terms of the progress you are going to see – the nutritional portion is not something to take lightly.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Monday, October 12, 2009

For Fast Results Try HIIT

If you want fast results and to step up your workout, give high intensity interval training (HIIT) a try. This workout is great for runners, as it will make them faster, stronger and fitter, but it can also be used by anyone who really wants to blast calories, drop weight, and tone up fast. Just keep in mind that you will get from the workout what you put into it. Higher intensity is the key here.

The best part about this workout is that if you really work it you can get more out of 30 minutes, than you would by working out at an easy steady state for over an hour!

This workout can be done running, spinning on an elliptical, or on a stationary bike.

The interval efforts should be at a pace that is hard (8 out of 10 on a perceived scale of exertion), something you can sustain for the duration of the workout. I gauge my level of effort by my ability to talk. For example you should be able to get a word out here and there but a full sentence would be very difficult. By the end of the interval you should be breathless.

Warm Up - 1 mile or approx. 10 min

1 min Interval
1 min recovery (walk or jog)

2 min Interval
2 min recovery

3 min Interval
3 min recovery

2 min Interval
2 min recovery

1 min Interval
1 min Recovery

Cool Down - 5-10 min

***I know it is hard to push yourself into such an uncomfortable zone, but this is what will set you apart from others. You need to push yourself beyond comfort to achieve superior results.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Aerobic Base Building

Why build an aerobic base?

Want to hear something ironic? One of the best ways to increase your running speed is to slow down. You’ve probably heard that cardio intervals are the best way to train quickly and boost your performance. It’s true. But before you can shock your body with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) you need to build an aerobic base.

I know it takes discipline to train in your aerobic zone when you’re dying to see how hard you can push yourself. Low intensity workouts can seem useless. Hang in there. You’ll see huge benefits down the road. Aerobic means “with oxygen.” The more work you can perform aerobically, the more efficient you will become.

How do you build an aerobic base?

Begin by finding your maximum heart rate.

• Subtract your age from 180
• Now select which category you fall into
o If you don’t already work out regularly or you’re recovering from an illness or injury, subtract 10
o If you only exercise occasionally, subtract 5
o If you have worked out regularly for the past year, leave the number where it is

This is the number you’ll work with. To build an aerobic base, you need to keep you heart rate at or below this number during your next 6-12 weeks of training.

Here’s the easy part: wear your heart rate monitor and do whatever exercise you prefer. You can jog, cycle, workout on the treadmill or elliptical trainer. Have fun with your workouts. You’ll be ready for intervals in no time!