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12:50 pm - Posted by Gregg

Although the weather outside is getting colder, wetter — or both — there’s no excuse for not staying dedicated to your workout routines…especially during the holiday season when we’re all likely eating a little more than usual! And that means continuing your exercise program during winter months. Thankfully, the onset of winter doesn’t have to mean giving up the healthy habits you developed during warmer months. Here are a few ideas to keep you moving:

Like walking around the park? When winter hits, try walking around the mall instead. And this doesn’t mean while shopping. This means proper posture, arms pumping, heart pounding and you walking steadily past your favorite shops – rounding the first, second and even third floors – then starting all over again. And bonus for you if you take stairs to the different floors of the mall, rather than the escalators. Call your local mall to find out if they offer “Walkers hours” (meaning you’re able to access the interior of the mall before the stores even open up).

Like riding your bike? Consider investing in an indoor stationary bicycle (or perhaps asking Santa for one). Indoor exercise bikes can be a great investment and offer a great way to watch TV (but again, mind your posture and your pace to keep burning those calories). But beware of “The Curse of the Indoor Bike,” which often results in them becoming ‘clothes hangers’ or ‘towel dryers’ rather than exercise machines.

Like your lunchtime workouts? Try walking the halls of your office building during lunch – all of them. Or perhaps walk up and down your building’s stairways – adding more and more reps as the winter months progress. By the time warmer weather rolls around, you just might be ready for a marathon.

Like running errands? All movement is good. This means vacuuming your house can burn a few calories. As can doing sit-ups during commercials or shoveling snow after a big meal.Any exercise is good exercise – even if you just have 10 minutes to spare. In other words: stay active!

The beauty of exercise (indoor or out) is that it not only turns us into super hot things of beauty, it also reduces our risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, diabetes and even osteoporosis. So remember: There’s no excuse for not working out – no matter what the thermometer says.

For more information, check out these helpful links:

30-Minute Indoor Workout: Click Here

Winter Exercise Tips: Click Here

Exercise Bike Product Reviews: Click Here

Photo Source: Fit With Denise

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9:33 am - Posted by Gregg

As many of you faithful readers know, I’m up at the crack of dawn and at the gym before 5am (7 days a week, 365 days a year – yes, really). Going to the gym is an important part of my health regimen (both physical and mental). And although I’m not a happy camper when the alarm rings around 4:30 in the morning, I can’t imagine starting my day without visiting the gym. And because of this, I know how important it is to choose the right gym. After all, I don’t need any excuses to not go.

Thinking about adding a gym membership to your own routine? If so, consider these suggestions before making any decisions. This way, you’ll find the right atmosphere for achieving all of your health and exercise goals (as opposed to so many others who join a gym only to go a couple times and then never set foot in it again).

Location, Location, Location

Choose a gym that’s within close proximity of your home or office – depending on what time of day you’ll be using it. You want one that’s close by, easily accessible and with easy (and cheap or free) parking. Studies show that if people have to travel too far to their gym, they stop going pretty quickly. Don’t become part of that statistic by choosing a gym that’s easy to get to.

Atmosphere

You want to choose a gym that’s accommodating to all fitness levels. Sure, it might be fun to workout amidst models and actors (good ‘eye candy’ while on the treadmill). But this could also result in your self-esteem taking a dive. Choose a facility that caters to people of all ages and sizes. It’s about community – and feeling comfortable wherever you’re crunching, bench pressing, or cardio-ing .

Try Out Any Freebies

Taking advantage of any “free workouts” or trial memberships is an important step in deciding on a gym because you truly do need to get a feel for what it’s like to workout there, atmosphere wise – and crowd wise. Be sure to test out the gym at the time of day you’ll most likely be using it. In other words, if you’ll be working out in the mornings, don’t take advantage of your free workout or visit during afternoon hours. You want to experience the conditions that will be going on at the time of day you normally workout.

Well Equipped

Training equipment should not only be plentiful (you shouldn’t have to wait too long to use certain equipment), but should also be well maintained and clean. Equipment should also accommodate people of all skill levels. Look for posted charts and graphs that can help you through your workout.

Friendly Advice

What is the gym’s staff like? This is important to note, as it says a lot about the facility. Do you see people on staff readily helping other members? Are they on-hand to offer advice or solve problems? And what’s their attitude like? You want to workout at a place where you’re not afraid to ask questions. Also, you don’t want to feel like a sales statistic. If someone on staff comes on too strong to make the sale, make it clear you’re there to get information and won’t be making your decision during the initial visit. However they respond to this will tell you a lot about the atmosphere and attitude at that particular facility.

Lone Star

It might be tempting to join a gym with a friend or coworker, but don’t make that your sole reason to join. Sure, it’s fun to have someone to go with on a regular basis. But ask yourself, will you keep going even if your friend doesn’t? Whichever gym you decide on needs to feel comfortable to you even if you’ll be there by yourself.

Getting Personal

Be careful in regard to the possibility of getting talked into hiring a personal trainer. This can be a very expensive endeavor that isn’t always beneficial unless you can afford personal training more than once per week. Most gyms come with a complimentary training session when you join. Definitely take advantage of this, but be wary of signing up for more intensive (and expensive) training unless your budget and schedule can afford it. After all, you are a supermodel who is becoming more informed about achieving overall health and can find training info elsewhere.

A Touch of Class

If you’re able to “test” the gym for free, try taking one of their classes. See what the instructors are like, how information is related to students and if instruction is easy to follow. Also take a look at the schedule and ask how often it changes. You want a variety of classes to be available. Bonus points go to gyms that offer yoga, Pilates and stretching classes. These types of classes can be as important to your fitness routine as sweating (and variety is the spice of life).

Lastly, if there are a few different gyms for you to choose from, take time to visit and try out each of them. That way you end up at the place that’s right for you – and your fitness goals – from the get go!

Do you have any tips of your own? Or gym-related war stories to share? Information you wish you had checked into before joining a gym? If so, don’t hold back! Please comment below, as I’m all ears. As opposed to all biceps (but I’m working on that).

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April 23, 2014

Walking tall

11:20 am - Posted by Gregg

People keep asking… So I keep telling… In my humble opinion, one of the best exercises for every fitness level is also one of the easiest to do: Walking. Even those at beginning fitness levels can walk just 10 minutes a day to begin their routine and then build up to longer time periods at quicker paces.

All of us can walk around our neighborhoods (while keeping moving when in place, waiting for cross walk signals, etc.) or drive to a local park, hiking trail or even a nearby mall (if it’s raining or snowing). No gym membership required. Which means no excuses. These kind of easy choices allow us all to get moving – with friends or with our MP3 or iPod Players (see below for music ideas). And don’t forget to warm-up first (just as you would for any physical activity).

For tips on picking out safe walking shoes with a great fit: Click Here

For hints on warming up before a Power Walk: Click Here

Now that you’re warmed up, you’re ready to get moving. By following the checklist below, you’ll be off and running (well, walking) in no time at all:

__ Never forget the importance of posture. Hold your head high and keep your neck properly aligned.

__ Look forward and keep eyes focused ahead of you (while watching out for any traffic, bikes or other obstacles).

__ While facing forward, keep your chin parallel to the ground.

__ Pump your arms back and forth in a natural motion (coordinating with your legs) as you walk briskly.

__ Suck in that tummy while you walk. This is very important for overall toning and conditioning. For more tips and reason to “Suck it in”: Click Here

__ While sucking in your tummy, tuck your pelvis under/forward to maintain proper spine alignment.

__ Be careful not to tense up while exerting energy. Make sure your shoulders move naturally and freely.

__ Keep feet parallel to each other (while walking) and keep them approximately shoulder-length apart.

Let the music play (Introducing the Just Stop! Power Walking Playlist)

Since this playlist is so eclectic, you might own a lot of these songs already. If not, visit iTunes, Amazon or another site that sells individual MP3s to add these motivating tracks to you Power Walking Playlist. And, of course, you can feel free to add or substitute your own favorites – the key is picking music that’s uplifting, quick-paced and geared to get you moving.

Warm-Up:
New Day for You / Basia

First Steps:
Sweet Thing / Keith Urban

Power Plays:
Tonight Tonight / Hot Chelle Rae
So What / Pink
I Want You Back / Jackson 5
Part of Me / Katy Perry
Don’t Stop the Music / Rihanna
She’s My Man / Scissor Sisters
Since You Been Gone / Kelly Clarkson
Banjo / Rascal Flatts
You Can’t Fight Fate / Taylor Dayne
S.O.S. / Jordin Sparks

Cool Down:
So Magical / Martina McBride

Bonus (Ab Workout):
Slave 4 U / Britney Spears

Do you have a favorite song or playlist that you power walk to? Or walking tips of your own? I’d love for you to share them with me here. Until then? Keep on keepin’ on!

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November 25, 2013

Feel the burn

5:04 pm - Posted by Gregg

Ever wondered just how much exercise is required to thwart the calories we “gain” from Thanksgiving dinner? Well, the folks at Daily Burn have compiled a handy chart that’s featured below.

Now, of course, the trick is to not get too bogged down by the details of what equates to just one meal. Can it be one extreme meal for many of us? Sure. And we have a choice to cut back during the gobble-gobble fest, or to just enjoy and get back on the horse (or the scale as it were) right after said meal.

But still, the chart below sheds some light on the situation (if not some pounds):

 

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October 23, 2013

Hot mom or big bully?

4:32 pm - Posted by Gregg

Recently a lot of hullabaloo has been made over the Sacramento, California-based mom who, in an effort to promote her fitness business with a provocative ad featuring her barely clad, post-pregnancy body (along with her 3 children), challenged other moms with the headline “What’s your excuse?”

Given the nature of the ad and the tone of the headline, a lot of those moms that Maria Kang was trying to reach have interpreted her message as one of bullying rather than inspiration. As you might have seen on the news (both local and national), many people are accusing Ms. Kang of shaming people rather than inspiring.

According to The Huffington Post, Ms. Kang recently posted a sort-of apology via her facebook account which addressed her “haters”:

“I’ve been getting an influx of new followers, emails and comments (on my profile pic) recently. Some saying I’m a bully, I’m fat-shaming and I need to apologize for the hurt I’ve caused women. I get it. SO here’s my First and Final Apology:

I’m sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way. I won’t go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two business’, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer. I won’t even mention how I didn’t give into cravings for ice cream, french fries or chocolate while pregnant or use my growing belly as an excuse to be inactive.

What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It’s Yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn’t create them. You created them. So if you want to continue ‘hating’ this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life. You can either blame, complain or obtain a new level of thought by challenging the negative words that come out of your own brain.

With that said, obesity and those who struggle with health-related diseases is literally a ‘bigger’ issue than this photo. Maybe it’s time we stop tip-toeing around people’s feelings and get to the point. So What’s Your Excuse? – Maria Kang”

Personally, I’m all for an “in your face” approach when it comes to getting people motivated to workout, eat right and get fit. As people with a dieter’s mentality, it can be easy to fall into the trap of “It’s just sooooo hard,” etc., etc. While many may not agree with Ms. Kang’s approach (and I’m not saying that I do), I don’t necessarily understand the firestorm that’s broken out regarding this story. Unless, of course, it was the intention from the start in order to generate some publicity. After all, we’re all talking (and blogging!) about it, aren’t we?

According to Hollywood Life, Ms. Kang claims she just wanted to inspire others with what some are calling a racy photo (given that her 3 children also appear in the shot), saying ““I have always been open, I’ve had a blog since 2007,” she told HollywoodLife.com. “I’m vulnerable and very transparent I don’t feel like I want to hide anything, to me it’s important to be real with yourself, and be real with others because maybe you are inspiring others.”

So what do you think? Is Ms. Kang a bully that’s attempting to shame other moms? Someone who really yearns to inspire others? Or someone who hoped this media storm would do just what’s happening — jumpstart her notoriety?

Photo Source: Mike Byerly Photography

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