November 29, 2020

Fast Fitness: Get Results from your Exercise by Gen Levrant

No time this holiday season? Here’s what you can do for exercise in TEN MINUTES!

Check out this YouTube Video for a demonstration of the workout. (Always consult a physician before beginning a workout. Perform exercises at your own risk.)

Even though, for most of us the Holiday Season means a well-deserved couple weeks break, exercising may STILL end up taking a back seat.

What with that extra free time soon getting filled with seeing relatives, organising trips, entertaining little ones, watching TV, buying and cooking large quantities of food (not to mention eating it and drinking more than usual) before we know it, we’re back to work starting the New Year with some newly acquired holiday flab.

Thousands of gyms and health clubs DEPEND on this behaviour so come January, we jump on the New Year resolution “get fit lose weight” bandwagon cliché, more often than not broken in a matter of weeks.

So how can we avoid being a New Year cliché for another year running? Luckily the solution is pretty simple: look at your calendar and PLAN your time.

The “most wonderful time of the year” can, unfortunately for many also be the most stressful. Planning reduces the chance of getting “caught out.” Yes, sometimes unexpected things happen, which means we need to be flexible with changes, but knowing roughly what to expect each day affords a luxury that can reduce a great deal of stress.

The other most effective stress-buster? Yep, short bursts of intense exercise. Not only will this make you feel amazing, but it’ll allow the fog in your head to clear, giving you greater ability to stay centred if things end up being more stressful than you were expecting.

Gen Levrant is an Advanced Personal Trainer and weight-loss specialist. She runs a private functional training studio in Southampton UK helping people get safe and permanent results. For more info, email Follow her on Twitter @PTGen or via Facebook.

Put enthusiasm back in your exercise! By Nicole Bryan

If your workout routine has become boring and you’re body is no longer changing, you may be on a fitness plateau.  A plateau simply means your body has adapted to your current exercise routine.  It is time to shake up your workout and make your body learn something new.

Performing a new exercise means the mind must develop a new muscle/memory pattern.  In other words, a new neurological pathway will give your body a stimulus to adapt to, and therefore you’ll continue to get stronger, more fit, etc.

Try the following ideas to energize your workout routine and break through the plateau.    


Change the order of your exercises.  While we usually work larger muscles to smaller muscles, changing the order of similar muscle groups will be just enough unaccustomed exercise to prompt change again.

Change the angle at which you are working a specific muscle.  Pick an entirely different exercise or machine to work a particular muscle group.

Change the number of sets and repetitions. While the basic number of sets and repetitions is determined by your goal, try supersets or giant sets for a more challenging workout.  Supersets involve exercising opposing muscle groups back to back without a rest period.  Performing giant sets involve choosing three exercises done in a circuit format.

Cross train. Choose a completely different mode of exercise.  For example, join a spin class or try the rowing machine at the gym.

Circuit train.  Alternate one set of a resistance exercise with one minute of cardiovascular work.  Repeat until all exercises/sets are completed.

It is a good idea to change a component of your routine once every six weeks.  You will increase your chance of reaching your goal, and decrease your chance of injury and boredom.

Considering a Treadmill? By Kristie Cranford

As shorter days and colder weather approach, are you considering purchasing a treadmill? Treadmills offer an anywhere, anytime, controllable workout-atmosphere.

A treadmill is an investment.  Prices range from $500 to over $3000.

Before you buy one, ask yourself some questions first:


What is your budget?  Set a budget.  This will tell you how much treadmill you can purchase.

Where is it going to go?  Measure the area where it will be placed for use.

When not in use, do you need a folding version or will a flat deck fit?  Do not find out it doesn’t fit, when you bring it home.

How often will you use it and what for? Will it be used few minutes for general exercise, or hours training for a marathon?  The amount and type of use may depend on if a basic or higher end commercial model is best for you.

What features do you want?  Incline?  iPod doc?  Built in fan?  Some treadmills have programs where you can run simulated actual routes.  Example:  the Boston Marathon, complete with heartbreak hill.

How much maintenance are you willing to do yourself and/or pay for?  Deck lube, belt maintenance, etc.

Other points worth considering:  

Direct Current (DC) motors are quieter- if close to living spaces, noise may be a factor.
Buy the warranty.  Ask anyone in treadmill sales, warranties do not generate income, they typically generate a loss.  It is worth it.
The motor should be a minimum 1.5 horsepower.  Typical range is 1.5-2.5hp.  Look for a “continuous-duty” motor rating.  This rates the horse power literally, for continuous duty over a 24 hour period.  Be wary of other descriptions like “treadmill duty.”

Try it out wearing the clothes and shoes you would wear while on a treadmill.  Make sure the length fits your stride, handles are sturdy and far enough away not to interfere with your arms, and you can reach the display easily.  Make sure motion is smooth, never jerky.

Write out a checklist with budget at the top followed by needs, then wants. Take the list with you shopping.  You may have to cross off some wants to meet the needs, but in the end, you’ll have the best treadmill for you.

This article is written by Kristie Cranford, CPT. A wife, mother, multiple cancer survivor and competitive athlete, Kristie is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer as well as a Certified Running/Triathlon Coach for PRS FIT. Living in Las Vegas, she is 2012 Coolibar sponsored athlete, 2013 Training Peaks Ambassador and Raw Elements Sunscreen Ambassador. Contact information: Email:, or

3 Core Mistakes by Chanda Fetter

Having worked in the fitness industry for over twenty years, one of the biggest deficiencies I’ve seen in people’s training is working the Core. Most neglect it all together, others just do the exercises improperly.  Either way it leads to bad posture, low back pain and countless other problems, all which could be eliminated. Remember your core essentially makes up all the muscles between your hips and your ribs both front and back!

Keep the following  in mind the next time you’re working your core:

Core is MORE than just Abs – The language I use with my clients is “front core” and “back core.” Owning a Pilates studio I see people with back problems all the time, I hear the same mistake over and over again. There is a misconception that working your Abs is working your Core.  If you neglect to work your spinal muscles but continue to work only your abs, there will be a drastic muscle imbalance created thus resulting in more back pain, tight hip flexors and even tension to the neck.  So evaluate your workouts and make sure to include “back core” exercises into your routine!

Slow Down – It pains me to walk through the training room and see people rapidly moving through their sit ups. If it hurts more than it helps, don’t do it! Moving too quickly through your motion adds stress to the spine, recruits too much hip flexor and tends to skip over the deeper abdominal muscles.  So just slow down a little and let your muscles define your range, not your momentum.

Be nice to your neck – Neck pain should not be felt during abdominal work. What most people neglect to address is the Lats. Often times when doing crunches people round the head forward too far and pull on it, or when in a plant the weight of the head sinks and adds stress to the neck. By simply pulling your shoulder blades down and engaging your Lats, the tension is pulled out of your neck and shoulders and allows for a much more enjoyable experience with core work.

Chanda Fetter
IMX Pilates Studio & Fitness Center, Owner
IMX Pilates Master Trainer

Running: How much is too much? By Charlene Ragsdale

As we begin running, we are faced with the choice when/if/how to increase our mileage. While it may seem to be an easy choice, it isn’t. The choice to increase mileage should not be done carelessly. Safety first! Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned athlete, start with two thoughts:
1. Your current fitness level
2.  Define your goals

Accessing your current fitness level is critical. A newbie runner cannot and should not attempt to run a 10 mile run, in their first week. However, a seasoned athlete may be able to do so. Running should be goal focused. You may want to lose weight, gain fitness or train for a race. Speak with those of whom you value their time and experience to find out more about what it takes to achieve your goals.

When the time comes to increase your mileage:

There is a general rule of thumb: Increase your mileage per week by 10% and train at that distance for 3-4 weeks.  Then, increase it some more. Overdoing the mileage can and often will lead to fatigue, burn out and even injury. Know your body limitations!

When increasing your mileage, know why you are doing so. Again, keep your eye on the goal. Increasing your weekly mileage by 5 miles can be mentally exhausting. Focus on the long term goal and when the times get tough, remember that goal. As you increase your mileage, be sure to pay attention to how your body (and mind) are adjusting. If you are becoming overtly fatigued or drained, back down on the miles.

Above all else, have fun. Increasing your mileage should be a great gauge for your training and will provide inspiration to keep running.

Charlene Ragsdale is a RRCA Certified Running Coach, IFA Certified Sports Nutritionist and member of the USATF Master’s All-American Team. She can often be seen at on the podium as a frequent Age Division & Overall Winner in several distances. She lives with her Chef husband, two sons and two dogs in Las Vegas, NV. You can follow her at her blog:

Creative Exercising by Gen Levrant

Training your body safely, effectively and functionally at home with no need for equipment is a great way of giving it a fat-burning blast and making you feel fantastic. Here are five ways of utilising your best training tool in no time at all, whatever your fitness level. As always, consult your physician before beginning exercise.



1) Clock lunge pattern
Imagine a clock face and lunge one leg forward to each number. It doesn’t have to be in numerical order, clockwise or anticlockwise ‐ this will warm up the joints and muscles of your lower body in every direction.
Make it harder: turn it into a hop to each number!

2) 3D press ups
Stagger your hands one in front of the other, then swap them over. Change your hands to as wide as you can for a wide press up and then put them together in front of you for a narrow press up. This will tone your pectoral muscles hitting them in every direction.
Make it harder: clap in‐between each rep!

3) Curtsey jumps
Step one foot behind the other in a curtsey and then switch legs to turn it into a continuous hop. This strengthens the hip and glute muscles and provides a cardio workout if you go fast enough!
Make it harder: do a tuck jump between reps!

4) Narrow to wide squats
Starting with your feet together, perform a squat lowering your bottom so it is level with your knees. Return to the start position and step your left foot out to the side as wide as you can. Perform another squat in this position before stepping the left foot back to the start. Squat narrow again and repeat with the right foot.
This engages and tones all the muscles of the thighs and glutes.
Make it harder: jump the feet narrow and wide instead of stepping!

5) Prone knee to chest
Starting in a press up position, pull one knee at a time towards your opposite shoulder. Alternate these with pulling each knee in to the side of the body as far as you can.
Make it harder: do a burpee after pulling in each knee!

Watch a demonstration of each move on Gen’s YouTube Channel HERE!


Gen Levrant is an Advanced Personal Trainer and fat-loss specialist operating out of a private functional training studio in Southampton UK. For fitness tips, updates and further info: email Gen via Follow her on Twitter @PTGen, and Facebook

Pushups and Pull-ups: Worthwhile Exercises? By Derek Peruo, CSCS.

There are so many options when it comes to fitness. You can attend classes, lift weights, use resistance machines or go running, just to name a few. With all these choices, how do you pick the best, most beneficial exercise?

At times like this, it’s a good idea to return to the basics. And nothing is more basic than body weight exercises!

Body weight exercises are some of the most beneficial exercises you can do. Ask a gymnast if you don’t believe me. Gymnasts spend their entire workout pulling, pushing, and lifting their body weight against gravity, and they are some of the most fit athletes around.

Incorporating body weight exercises like pushups and pull-ups into your routine will help you get stronger, faster and leaner in a very short amount of time, regardless of your current fitness level.

Here are my top 3 reasons why pushups and pull-ups are so beneficial:

They’re Portable
Very little equipment is need to do pushups and pull-ups. All you need is the ground and a secure bar. This makes them amazingly portable. You can do them in the park, at your hotel, or anywhere else. Such portability means you never worry about missing a workout because you lack the proper equipment.

They’re Adjustable
With hundreds of variations, pushups and pull-ups can be made super easy or extremely hard depending on your needs. As you become stronger and more fit, you can adjust these exercises accordingly so you never plateau.

They’re Efficient
No one likes spending hours in the gym training each muscle individually. Pushups and pull-ups allow you to condense your workouts by hitting all the muscle groups simultaneously, reducing the time it takes for you to complete your workout.

Proper technique for pushups and pull-ups are very important to prevent injury, and I recommend consulting a certified fitness professional for guidance. But once you learn the techniques, you’ll know it for a lifetime and will feel empowered to exercise no matter where you are.

Derek Peruo, CSCS, is considered “one of the rising stars in the fitness industry,” and specializes in training high-stress clients. Derek writes and consults for magazines like Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness. For more information, check out

Exercise Tips for New Moms by Tatum Rebelle

5 Essential Exercise Tips for New Moms

Get back to the basics:
Before resuming your exercise program post-delivery, always seek medical clearance from your doctor! It seems like there is always a new fitness trend promising quick and easy results. Do not fall for the marketing gimmicks! Stick to the fundamentals that have been proven to work.

For example, by exercising larger muscle groups you will burn more calories. Doing intervals is a great way to add intensity for even faster results. Walking each day is great exercise for both the mind and body.

Work smarter not harder:
Finding time to exercise as a new mom can be tough! Your daily workouts can be included in the activities that you’re already doing by learning exercises that include your baby.

Squats are tough on your thighs, and soothing for your baby. They can be done as you hold him or her against your chest and benefit you both. Exercises like pushups, plank, cat-cow, and bird-dog can be performed with your baby is lying underneath while giving them kisses and smiles. It’s a fun way to enjoy time together while also doing something good for you.

Invest in inexpensive equipment for your home like a stability ball and resistance band. That way there is no excuse not workout when you can’t get to the gym.

Walk before you run:
Build slowly back to your pre-pregnancy fitness routine. Do not simply jump right back in to what you were doing before.

It is necessary to repair the deeper ab muscles that have been stretched first. Do not start with crunches. You can begin to rehab your abs with deep breathing exercises, plank, bridge, and pelvic tilt.

If you were a runner then start with walking and jogging before returning to running. If you lifted heavy weights, start lighter and do high repetitions.

Simply going back to your old routine will do your body a disservice if you end up injured and can’t do anything at all.

Don’t compare:
Be patient and nice to yourself. Don’t compare your body or weight loss to celebrities. It is not fair to measure yourself next to someone who probably has a full-time trainer and chef, and whose profession possibly requires them to be a size 2.

Remember that it took 9 months to put the weight on, and to drop it overnight is not healthy or realistic. Steady, consistent exercise and weight loss is the best way to decrease fat and keep it off permanently.

Do them! I can’t stress this enough. Keeping your pelvic muscles strong is often overlooked, but so important.

Tatum Rebelle is a pregnancy and new mom fitness and nutrition expert. She founded of Total Mommy Fitness in 2005 after seeing an unnecessary tread of women opting out of exercise once the became pregnant and had young children. Find more  at and twitter @tatumrebelle.

How-to Love Your Exercise by Mary Miriani

As a trainer, I encounter my share of people who say they hate to exercise, but know they have to do it.   I usually respond by telling them that they just have not learned to love their exercise yet.  Here are three ways to love your exercise:

Choose an exercise that you like and is appropriate for your current fitness level.

So many people focus only on burning calories.  (“I hate to run, but running burns the most calories!”)  That is a recipe for disaster, because you end up hating exercise and not doing it.  Pick something you like to do, so you can stick with it over the long run.  Equally important, make sure you are doing something that is right for your fitness level.  If you spent the last 20 years sitting, it is not possible to jump right into vigorous activity without injury.  It is better to be slow and steady than quick and quit.

Vary your exercise routine.

The best exercise is the one you will do often.  Do whatever activity makes you feel good inside and out!  Have a couple of activities to choose from.  As they say, “Variety is the spice of life!”

Settle in and enjoy the process.

It is good to have goals, but loving exercise is all about loving to move your body.  Focus on enjoying what you are doing instead of “I have to do this to reach my goal.”  You will reach your goal simply because you will love moving.  A long journey doesn’t seem long when the scenery is pleasant!

If you keep these simple things in mind, soon you will love moving and be surprised at how fun exercise can be!

Mary Miriani earned a BA in Exercise Science after she learned to love exercise at age 40 and stopped worrying so much about weight loss.  (Yes, she lost weight and has kept it off over 12 years!).  She is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Health/Fitness Specialist and trains clients in Naperville, Illinois.

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