How to Get Fit

What can I do to get more fit?

Any type of regular, physical activity can improve your fitness and your health. The most important thing is that you keep moving!

Exercise should be a regular part of your day, like brushing your teeth, eating, and sleeping. It can be in gym class, joining a sports team, or working out on your own. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Stay positive and have fun. A good mental attitude is important. Find an activity that you think is fun. You are more likely to keep with it if you choose something you like. A lot of people find it’s more fun to exercise with someone else, so see if you can find a friend or family member to be active with you.
  • Take it one step at a time. Small changes can add up to better fitness. For example, walk or ride your bike to school or to a friend’s house instead of getting a ride. Get on or off the bus several blocks away and walk the rest of the way. Use the stairs instead

Making Fitness a Way of Life

Some school-aged children can’t wait to get home from school, stake out a place on the couch, and spend the rest of the afternoon and evening watching TV. Physical activity is just not on their radar screens, at least not by choice.

Stopping the Slippery Slope of Childhood Obesity:

Not surprisingly, children who fit this profile may be on a slippery slope to a life of obesity. There are a lot of them. Several years ago, when a group of children 6 to 12 years old participated in programs of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, only 50% of girls and 64% of boys could walk or run a mile in less than 10 minutes. If that same study were conducted today, when the obesity epidemic seems to be gaining momentum, those statistics might be even more troubling.

Making Exercise Into a Lifelong Habit:

During your child’s school-age years, your goal should be not only to get your child moving, but to turn exercise into a lifelong habit. There are plenty of opportunities for your child to keep active.

Getting Involved in Organized Sports:

4 Week: Burn Fat, Build Muscle, 30 or 50 Minutes a Day

Welcome to Fitness Blender’s 4 Week FBsweat Program! This program is unlike any that we have done so far; each day you get to pick and customize the length of your workout depending on your own schedule & energy levels. If you’re pressed for time, complete the main workout, which includes everything you need for a great workout in roughly 30 minutes (similar to FB30). If you’ve got the extra time and energy, tackle the workout video under the “Extra Credit Challenge” for a total workout length of 45-60 minutes (similar to FBfit).

With FB Sweat, YOU get to pick the length of your workout session each day.

Save time & stress by taking the guesswork out of your fitness with this detailed, day-by-day plan that has everything you need for a smart, effective workout program. This detailed, day-by-day program uses Fitness Blender’s online workout videos to challenge & change your body fast with HIIT, strength training, circuit training, supersets, cardio, plyometrics, Pilates, and yoga. There are NO repeat workouts in this program – you’ll be doing a different workout video every single day. All you need is dumbbells.

What’s the Best Butt Exercise?

Studies that have been done on electrical activity (EMG) of muscles in the butt show that two different exercises cause your glutes to grunt the hardest:

  1. Prone bent leg hip extension against manual resistance. Yep, that’s a mouthful. Basically, the move involves getting into a crawl position with hands and feet on the ground and then kicking out behind you with one leg – against a partner who is manually resisting your kicking force. Of course, you could also do this exercise against resistance such an elastic band, as I describe in the episode How to Tone Your Butt, but it’s not quite as effective as having a partner resist your kicking force.
  2. Standing butt squeezes with a wide stance and feet turned out. This one is a bit hard to describe, but I’m going to give you the description from one of my favorite butt-experts, Bret Contreras, who says:

“From a standing position, take a moderate to wide stance and flare the feet out slightly. Now squeeze the glutes as hard as possible for 30 seconds. Make ‘fists’ to increase the neural drive through irradiation. Just do this one time.”

10 Days to Melt Your Winter Waistline

Despite what you’ve probably been led to believe, churning away like a rat on a treadmill during the holiday season (or any other time of year for that matter) is really not the best way to burn fat. In fact, it can actually backfire and lead to the common cortisol and catabolic hormone release that accompanies excessive aerobic exercise – which winds up making you fatter!.

This can result in hormonal imbalances, fluid retention, overtraining, and injury. It’s why the folks who approach New Year’s fat loss by simply trying to stay on a mind-numbingly boring cardio machine for as long as possible are usually the folks who fail (and the ones you probably stop seeing at the gym by mid February).

But the good news is that you can embark on a 30-day rapid fat loss journey without sacrificing your health, body, or performance for the rest of the holiday season. And with the safe, healthy, and effective guide in this episode, you can melt your holiday belly in a fraction of the time it takes your over-exercising friends. Feel free to start this workout now, or save it for your official New

New Fat Burning Exercises

In the episode Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight, I describe the SAID principle of exercise. SAID stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands – and this means that our bodies eventually adapt to the demands we place upon them.

So if you’re doing the same workout routine or the same exercises week after week, or month after month, your body becomes very efficient at those exercises or that routine, and you no longer burn as many calories or get as good a fitness response from your efforts..

This is why I personally change up my routine every week and I recommend you introduce new fitness moves or change up your workouts at least once a month to get the biggest bang for your workout buck.

In today’s episode, you’ll get 5 brand new exercises that will burn fat fast, challenge your metabolism, and keep your workouts exciting.

You can view most of these exercises in my New Fat Burning Exercises video. Let’s jump right in!

New Fat Burning Exercise #1: ManMaker

The ManMaker (sorry ladies, I didn’t invent the title) is the only exercise in this episode that actually

The Hidden Ab Muscle That Will Get You a Six-Pack

As you learned in the episode 10 Flat Stomach Alternatives to Crunches, I’m not a huge fan of crunches. Not only do crunches burn a miniscule amount of calories and fat, but because they involve lying on your back and repeatedly bending and extending at the spine, they’re a big culprit when it comes to placing excessive strain directly on the portion of the low back that has the most nerves and is most susceptible to injury and fatigue..

So how can you maintain six-pack abs without doing crunches? One of the keys is a hidden ab muscle that you tend to hear very little about. In today’s episode, you’re going to learn exactly what that ab muscle is.

The Hidden Ab Muscle That Will Get You a Six-Pack

There is a muscle called the Transverse Abdominus that acts as a stabilizer to the middle part of your body. This muscle is actually located right behind your abdominal muscles.  If you’re not familiar with this muscle, you may want to sign up for the military, because military drill sergeants are very aware of how to make the Transverse Abdominus sore.  The reason drill sergeants love exercises

How to Get Rid of Muscle Soreness Fast

So what does a fitness guru do to bounce back as fast as possible from soreness (especially when he wants to enjoy a few good days on the Hawaiian beaches)? Here are the most effective methods I’ve been using lately (and here’s how to know whether you should actually feel sore after your workout):

  1. Hot-Cold Contrast Showers: These increase blood flow and help to shuttle inflammation out of muscle. Just take a 5 minute shower, and alternate between 20 seconds cold and 10 second hot. See also How to Use Cold Weather to Lose Weight.
  2. Curcumin: In high doses, this tasty ancient Indian spice is actually a potent anti-inflammatory. I take over a gram a day for several days after a really hard workout. I use a capsule, since using that much curry on food would be a bit much! And I definitely avoid ibuprofen – here’s why.
  3. Massage: Since it can be time consuming and expensive, I rarely go out of my way to hunt down a long sports massage. But after a very hard workout or race, I make an exception. Just one good massage can make an enormous difference, and is far more effective than

Best Full Body Exercises

In the episodes How To Lose Fat Quickly and How To Build Muscle, we learn that there is one distinct similarity between both fat-burning and muscle-building goals: They each require the use of full body, multiple-joint exercises that activate many muscles at the same time.

When it comes to full body exercises, some are more effective than others, so in this article, you’ll learn the 5 full body exercises that get you the most results in the shortest period of time. (Each exercise below links to a video demonstration of the movement.).

The Best Full Body Exercises

Full Body Exercise #1: Turkish Get-Up

I may be a fitness buff, but my history and geography skills aren’t quite up-to-par, so I’m not quite sure how of why this exercise is “Turkish.” But the “Get-Up” part is easy to understand once you’ve tried this move.

To complete a Turkish Get-Up, you lie on your side, with a dumbbell in one hand. The dumbbell should be held out at arm’s length. From this position, you simply stand, while keeping the dumbbell overhead at an arm’s length. This means you only have one arm and two legs to help you both

New Equipment: Fitness Pro Favorites

Fitness professionals like their equipment—from “tried-and-true” to “oh, so new.” And equipment companies like to fill convention halls with fresh gear to help trainers and clients hit their goals. Of course, fitness pros also enjoy new gadgets for the pure thrill of them—and will sometimes go for equipment that targets a fun goal over a hypertrophy goal, for example.

We talk to trainers about their favorite tools and techniques and profile some of the most fascinating fitness products hitting the market this year.

All About the Wearables

Past years have seen breakout fitness equipment stars such as the Nintendo® Wii™, the Step®, the Pilates reformer, the TRX® Suspension Trainer™, the slide board and even the Shake Weight®. This year the star seems to be a category—wearable technology. While fitness trackers, pedometers, heart rate monitors and smartphones have been around for a while, the diversity of features and capabilities in this group is exploding.

Wrist-worn smartwatches and trackers have evolved into distinct “wearable” categories. And CNET now divides its favorite tracking devices into four discrete headings: best fitness tracker, best smartwatch, most stylish fitness watch and best GPS running watch (Stein & Graziano 2017).

It’s

Exercise Types Affect the Brain Differently

Plenty of research has determined that regular exercise benefits brain health. A recent large review got more specific and looked into how different types of exercise affect the brain.

In this review, published in British Journal of Sports Medicine (2017; doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096587), the researchers assessed results from 39 studies. The scientists focused on five forms of physical activity—aerobic training, resistance exercise, “multicomponent training” (combination aerobic and resistance), tai chi and yoga—and studied how those modalities affected brain capacity, attention, executive function, memory and working memory. They also evaluated exercise session duration.

To be included in the review, studies had to have included participants aged 50 and over who exercised in supervised training sessions for more than 4 weeks. There were no baseline requirements for cognitive ability; however, studies were excluded if the participants presented with a neurologic disorder or mental illness.

What did the researchers find?

Aerobic exercise, resistance training and multicomponent training were all associated with gains in cognitive function when exercise intensity was moderate or vigorous, and gains were also seen with tai chi. Optimal session duration was 45–60 minutes. “When exercise mode was examined as a moderator, all modes of exercise produced significant

Exercise Has Significant Impact?

Researchers have recently shed light on how exercise benefits the body on a cellular level. What’s more, they’ve determined a type of exercise that’s best for boosting cell health.

Published in Cell Metabolism (2017; 25 [3], 581–92), the study included 36 men and 36 women categorized as “young” (aged 18–30) or “older” (aged 65–80). Each participant was assigned to one of three training programs for 12 weeks: high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on an indoor bike; strength training with weights; or a combination of the two. Study leaders took muscle biopsies from the volunteers—who also underwent lean-mass and insulin-sensitivity tests—and then compared the results with those from a sedentary control group.

Data showed that the exercise groups experienced improvements in cellular function and in the ability of mitochondria to generate energy; this adds further evidence that exercise does in fact slow the aging process at a cellular level. Muscle mass and insulin sensitivity improved with all three training protocols. However, outcomes did vary.

“HIIT revealed a more robust increase in gene transcripts than other exercise modalities, particularly in older adults,” the authors explained. Specifically, HIIT increased mitochondrial capacity by 49% in the “young” group and 69% in the “older” group.

Does Rolling Increase Blood Foam Flow?

One claim about the benefits of foam rolling is that it initiates an increase in blood flow to the treated area. But do those claims hold water? A study published in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2017; 31 [4], 893–900) aimed to find out.

Researchers recruited 21 adults aged 23–27 who were instructed to foam-roll the lateral surface of their thighs. Each subject underwent lateral-thigh arterial blood flow measures via spectral Doppler and power Doppler ultrasound on three occasions: before rolling, immediately after rolling and then again 30 minutes later.

According to the findings, claims of increased blood flow are correct. The researchers determined that arterial blood flow was significantly higher immediately after foam rolling than at baseline and was still elevated 30 minutes later.

“An increase of arterial blood flow suggests a role for the acute phase after foam rolling,” the researchers said. “Our data may contribute to the understanding of local physiological reactions of self-myofascial release. The advantages of enhanced blood flow might be important for warm up and recovery, and our data support the implementation of foam rolling in sports if tissue circulation is required.”

Latest Research on Cancer and Exercise

Cancer can be deadly. However, research is showing promising data on how physical activityhelps the body and mind heal—and prevent—this disease. A paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Moore et al. 2016) indicates that physical activity lowers the risk of 13 types of cancer.

There’s more positive news about exercise and cancer. A report from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center states, “Multiple studies show that regular physical activity is linked to increased life expectancy after a diagnosis of cancer, in many cases by decreasing the risk of cancer recurrence” (Grisham 2014). The American Cancer Society, World Cancer Research Fund, American Institute for Cancer Research, American College of Sports Medicine, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are just some of the organizations that advocate physical activity for cancer patients and survivors (Grisham 2014). Thus, it is not a question of whether exercise helps, but rather of how much works—based on dosage, quality, conditioning and cancer type.

There are three ways to look at battling cancer. For those who don’t have it, lowering risk is the primary goal. For those who’ve had it, successfully recovering and of course reducing the chances of recurrence are of utmost importance.

Your Best Stretching Program?

In nearly 40 years as a fitness educator, I have never been sidelined by a significant injury, in spite of decades of high-impact classes, rigorous weight training, participation in competitive aerobics, and group exercise schedules that sometimes exceeded 25 hours per week. I attribute my longevity in this grueling business to one thing—cross-training all aspects of fitness, including flexibility.

We place great emphasis on cross-training cardiovascular and resistance conditioning, but flexibility is still an afterthought on many schedules. Although most facilities provide some kind of flexibility-oriented programming, options are often limited. Yoga is popular, and participants enjoy various degrees of flexibility while practicing it. However, while yoga improves range of motion and some aspects of flexibility, cross-training this aspect of fitness would lead to greater gains.

Today’s workouts are dominated by high-intensity, physically challenging movements. The rise of these programs has led to more injuries. A more effective stretching regime could help to minimize damage from overuse. On the other end of the spectrum, sedentary people may be dealing with muscle dysfunction and atrophy, along with limited ROM in some areas of the body. A varied stretching routine may remedy many of their difficulties. Regardless of fitness level, flexibility training is vital. Fascia makes

U.S. Yoga Injuries Increasing

Yoga injuries in the United States are on the rise, particularly among older adults, according to data from hospital emergency rooms nationwide. Researchers from the Center for Injury Sciences at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB), Alabama, examined data from 2001 to 2014 to establish the injury risk involved in yoga participation.

Data analysis revealed that the injury rate overall among adult participants increased from 10 for every 100,000 yoga practitioners in 2001 to 17 per 100,000 practitioners in 2014. However, when looking at specific age groups, the data told a more varied story. Among those aged 18–44, the injury rate rose from 10 per 100,000 to 12. For those 45–64, the rate jumped from 10 to 18. But for those aged 65 and older, the injury rate increased 8 times—from 7 per 100,000 in 2001 to 58 in 2014.

These figures do not capture all injuries. The data included only emergency- room incidents reported as yoga-related and did not count those classified under “sport or recreational activity not listed elsewhere.” Additionally, many other injuries may have been resolved by doctors or self-treated by individuals.

During the time frame examined, an estimated 29,590 yoga-related

Don’t Give Frozen Foods the Cold Shoulder

People tend to frown on frozen vegetables and fruits, but fresh isn’t always best. In a paper published in the June 2017 issue of the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, researchers measured the nutritional content (vitamin C, vitamin A and folate) of three types of produce—fresh, frozen and fresh-stored (purchased fresh and then refrigerated for 5 days)—over a 2-year span. Items examined were broccoli, green beans, blueberries and strawberries.

In the majority of cases, vitamin content did not vary among the three categories, but when there were significant differences, frozen fruits and veggies bested fresh-stored versions more often than not. While fresh produce is typically most nutrient-dense at harvest, nutrients degrade during shipping, while foods sit on store shelves and until we retrieve the items from our refrigerators. On the flipside, the frozen counterparts are flash-frozen almost immediately after harvest, which locks in nutrients and keeps them from degrading.

The takeaway? Buying fresh fruits and veggies from local sources and eating them pronto is probably still best, but convenient and budget-friendly subzero produce is a nutritious fallback. Besides, people who work subzero fruits and veggies into their diets have been shown to benefit from higher produce intakes overall than

Strengthen the Program With Rotational Movement Training Methods

As the fitness industry continues to evolve, so must the equipment used by trainers and group fitness instructors. Many popular fitness classes and small-group training sessions feature traditional cardiovascular and weight training principles integrated with functional and flexibility training techniques. The growth and popularity of quick and efficient HIIT and total-body workouts have created a growing demand for innovative products that inspire new functional exercises and movement patterns.

The Rotational Movement Training® method can improve strength, rotation and ambidexterity, because it’s designed to be used on both the dominant and nondominant sides of the body. The RMT® Club is the perfect device to introduce RMT into a functional training program.

The RMT Club’s unique design not only makes it extremely versatile but also allows everyone, from fitness enthusiasts to recreational athletes, to use it in a wide range of exercises—from mobility to strength and conditioning. The RMT Club is portable, adaptable and extremely versatile, like other functional training favorites (kettlebells, battle ropes and resistance bands). But these additional features put the RMT Club a step above:

    • Flexible, durable club head. Built to absorb maximum impact when the user is training on padded surfaces. Also reduces the chance

Is It Better to Exercise on an Empty Stomach?

It turns out there may be something to the gym floor “bro science” of exercising on an empty stomach to fire up that coveted fat-burning metabolism. Research published in the March 2017 edition of the American Journal of Physiology–Endocrinology and Metabolism shows that eating versus fasting before a workout can affect gene expression in adipose tissue (your fat stores) in response to exercise.

In the study, British scientists had a small group of overweight men walk at 60% of their maximum oxygen intake for 60 minutes in the morning either in a fasted or a fed state (a carb-rich meal 2 hours before exercise). The research team collected adipose tissue samples before exercise and again 1 hour afterward.

It turned out that adipose gene expression differed between the two trials. In the fasted state, an uptick in genes (specifically two called PDK4 and HSL) indicated an increase in the use of stored fat to fuel metabolism. When subjects exercised after eating, these genes decreased, which could indicate less fat-burning.

After eating, the researchers suggested, our adipose tissue is affected by the food and will not respond in the same way. The upshot is that for people who

Ways to Target the Core from Different Angles

Essentially, any exercise that uses the anterior and/or posterior muscles to stabilize the spine—and is performed in a coordinated fashion—works the core. It’s important to include some kind of core moves in all classes, particularly those in which core training might not be emphasized. Try the following exercises in one of your next classes; the moves are appropriate in a range of settings and will be effective with various pieces of equipment. The best part: You can modify these movements to create more or less challenge with a simple body-position adjustment or equipment change. This vests attendees with options to help them flourish.

Note: Choose sets and reps based on the time allotted and preference. Switch sides on unilateral exercises.

Double-Tap Twist Crunch

  • Lie supine, hips and knees flexed, one foot on floor, other foot placed across opposite thigh (figure-four position).
  • Place fingertips lightly behind head, elbows pointing toward corners of room.
  • Flex spine, then rotate inside elbow to touch inside, then outside, of supported knee.
  • Rotate back to center, and lower to floor.
  • Progression: Lift foot off floor.

Side Plank With Rotation

  • From side-lying position, place flexed elbow directly beneath shoulder, with forearm and wrist extended, hand making a