25-Minute Butt Lift Workout

25-Minute Butt Lift Workout

25-Minute Butt Lift Workout

A short, yet sweet, glute, hips and thighs workout. 

Your butt.

It’s an area us trainer’s like to see you work because a strong posterior equals a powerful core, a stable low back and knees that should be tracking where they should be (as opposed to that knock-kneed squat pattern that makes me cringe when I see people do it).

In fact, most physios will test a person’s glute and hip strength when someone comes in complaining of knee pain.

knock kneed squats

You see, when you squat your knees should be tracking with your second toe (see “Good” squat above).

Instead, what we see a lot of are knees tracking in towards each other (see “Bad” squat above).

This happens more with women then men too.

Because our hips tend to be wider (what is called our Q-angle, the angle from our knees to our hips bone) this creates havoc on our ability to keep our knees nice, neat and in line with our second toes.

Train the glutes

However, if we train our glutes, and in particular our outer hip area (our gluteus medius), we can help correct this from happening.

This 25-minute workout focusses on the glute med, as well as the glutes themselves, and the hamstrings and thighs.

If you have sore knees you might want to sit this one out, though. Because of the different lunge patterns we do in thew workout your knees might not like it. I suggest you do this workout instead.

4 other benefits of training your butt

1/ Better posture.

A lot of us suffer from poor posture due to sitting. All this sitting we do in a day (such as in front of the computer, in our car, on the couch) creates short and tight hip flexors (the big muscles in the front of our hips), and weak, over-stretch hip extensors (our butt muscles).

This, in turn, will cause a swayback, as well as lumbar lordosis.

Neither are really sexy-looking postures, are they?

Fix this by training your glutes, with moves like bridges and deadlifts found in today’s workout, and you will strengthen the hip extensors and turn on your sexy-looking posture.

2/ Improved performance.

Your glutes are capable of generating a lot of power, especially when it comes to running, speed, acceleration and endurance.

3/ Increased bone density.

When we hit perimenopause and leading into the years after menopause we can lose between 5-10% of our bone density. This loss can lead to osteoporosis, a progressive bone disease.

Exercises that place a load on the bones, like squats, deadlifts and lunges help to postpone this loss and even reverse it.

4/ Weight loss and weight maintenance.

To lose weight you have to burn calories, and nothing burns more calories than a leg workout.

Because the glutes and hamstrings are two of the largest muscles in the body, metabolically they will eat up way more calories when trained.

The deets

Tools needed: Beginners: nothing     Intermediate/Advanced: a pair of moderate dumbbells

Where to do: home or gym

Best suited for: beginner to advanced

The full workout

 

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15-Min Better Posture Workout

15-Min Better Posture Workout

15-Minute Better Posture Workout

This 15-minute posture workout is perfect for anyone who sits in front of a computer for most of their day, or behind the wheel of a car, or for those who are finding their shoulders are rolling forward with age.

My 15-minute better posture workout is a go-to for anyone who sits at a desk.

You see, when we sit and stare at a screen we tend to poke our chin forward (the pros call this forward head posture), roll our pelvis’s forward and slouch our upper backs.

Not cool for the neck, shoulders, hips, back and spine.

bad-desk-posutre

Even those of us with the best intentions will roll into the this bad-boy posture at least a dozen times throughout the day.

And, then there’s those of us who drive.

The car is one place a lot of people don’t think about their posture in.

However if you drive everyday, even if it’s only to the store and back, over the course of a year this will add up to a lot of chronic stress to the neck, shoulders, back and hips.

bad-posture-driving-car

And finally, bad posture can also pop up into our lives when we are innocently out and about walking.

In fact I see this type of posture a lot.

People walking around and leading with their chin, while rounding their upper back.

When I see this I have to forcibly restrain myself from going to that person and physically pulling their shoulders back.

bad-posture-walking

Whatever camp you are a part of this little better posture workout will help straighten you out.

15-Minute Better Posture Workout

 

  • Keep your ears in line with your shoulders
  • Uncross those legs and, instead, place both feet on the ground when seated
  • Pull back your shoulder blades, but not too strict. You don’t want to be too rigid.
  • If you have a hard time maintaining good posture when seated try using a lumbar support pillow.
  • If seated for long periods, get up and move every 20-minutes.
  • Sneak in exercise where ever and whenever you can. Immobility is the worse thing you can do for your posture.

 

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The Most Useless Exercise Ever

The Most Useless Exercise Ever

The Most Useless Exercise Ever

Einstein is quoted as having said that the definition of insanity “is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

This quote leads me to beg the question then, why do people still continue to do abdominal crunches and expect a 6-pak and a functional midsection in return?

If crunches were the answer to a toned tummy all of us would have them.

But alas we don’t, do we? Canada is currently sitting at a 54% overweight and obesity rate (Stats Can 2014) – with a lot of that fat around our bellies.

Something is clearly not working with all these crunches that we have been doing.

woman-with-belly-fat

Crunches – why they don’t work

First off, let’s review why abdominal crunches don’t work and are the most useless exercise ever.

Number one: you can’t spot train.

This simply means that you cannot take a certain section of your body, like your abs, and perform repetitions isolating that muscle group in hopes of decreasing the size of that body part.

You can try all you want.

Heck you can even stare at your belly while you are doing your crunches and yell at it – but it still won’t work.

Why?

Well, basic physiology tells us that fat is utilized as a fuel source, and when we need that fuel we start burning it from various locations throughout the body. Not from one certain location.

You cannot burn fat from one particular area.

Instead, you gotta keep working at training your whole body and slowly the fat in the area you want reduced will start to go away (that is, of course, if you are eating properly too).

Number two: flexing forward is kind of a dumb move.

One of the functions of the abdominals is to flex the spine forward. That flexing activity (which is essentially what we do when we perform a crunch or a curl-up) is not functional at all though.

Think about it. How often do you actually roll the spine while on your back, on a day-to-day basis?

I can think of one time and one time only – to get out of bed in the morning.

And, while the thought of perfecting that movement is great, it’s not really what I think a lot of us have in mind when we go to the gym.

The abdominals are actually used (during our waking hours) as stabilizers to the spine.

Now, please I understand that I am being very general here.

What the heck do our abs do?

The abs are also used throughout the day for twisting, bending, assistance on breathing as well as flexing.

But, if you were to break it down percentage wise what the abdominal muscles did during most of their waking hours the clear winner would be stabilizing and assisting our spine and our posture.

Taking that into consideration you can now see why an abdominal crunch will not help us out in daily living and provide even less help in sport.

More preferable exercises are ones that lengthen the body and then use the abdominals to hold that position, such as:

Planks

Push-ups

Boat pose

Mountain climbers

We also need exercises that ask the abdominals to assist in stabilizing the spine such as:

Squats

Deadlifts

Lunges

Pull-ups

Power cleans

And finally, we need exercises in our routine that also engage the rotational and twisting ability of our midsection. These include:

Reverse woodchops

Anti-rotational movements with tubing or the Rip Trainer

Russian twists with the medicine ball – careful with form though!

Med ball throw downs

Side plank tempo drills

wall-climber-2

If want to perform a crunch

If you want to perform the odd crunches in your routine then I recommend the following.

The following ab exercises were tested and rated by the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

They sponsored a study to see which ab exercise fired up the rectus abdominus (the long, flat muscle muscle extending the front of the body), and the obliques (our waist muscles) the best.

For strengthening the rectus abdominus, the 13 exercises were ranked most to least effective:

1. Bicycle maneuver
2. Captain’s chair
3. Crunches on exercise ball
4. Vertical leg crunch
5. Torso Track
6. Long arm crunch
7. Reverse crunch
8. Crunch with heel push
9. Ab Roller
10. Hover
11. Traditional crunch
12. Exercise tubing pull
13. Ab Rocker

For strengthening the obliques, the 13 exercises were ranked most to least effective:

1. Captain’s chair
2. Bicycle maneuver
3. Reverse crunch
4. Hover
5. Vertical leg crunch
6. Crunch on exercise ball
7. Torso Track
8. Crunch with heel push
9. Long arm crunch
10. Ab Roller
11. Traditional crunch
12. Exercise tubing pull
13. Ab Rocker

Why You Shouldn’t Do Abdominal Crunches:

  • Because you curl your upper body forward they reinforce the slumped sitting posture
  • They compress the (lower) lumbar segments
  • Crunches can actually weaken the pelvic floor
  • Because of the forward flexion movement they restrict the excursion of the diaphragm and hamper breathing
  • Can cause shearing strains across the high lumbar segments
  • Crunches, especially legs supported full sit-ups, over use the hip flexor muscles
  • Ab crunches tend to also over use the rectus abdominis muscle at the expense of the obliques and TA (your deep abdominal muscle)

Final thoughts

And last, but not least, if getting rid of that fat is what you really want, then you need to take a long hard look at what you are eating.

Great abs are actually cooked in the kitchen first and then trained hard in the gym second.

 

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30-Minute Full Body BOSU Ball Workout

30-Minute Full Body BOSU Ball Workout

30-Minute Full-Body BOSU Ball Workout

A 30-minute full body workout using the BOSU ball, bodyweight and dumbbells.

Due to popular demand I am releasing a full body BOSU ball workout.

I try not to release workouts that require special tools, however my other two BOSU ball workouts  have a lot of views.

Collectively over 20,000 views.

Which is a lot for a channel like mine!

BOSU ball, it’s not a fad

With that many hits this tells me that A) the BOSU ball is a popular workout tool on ol’ YouTube, and B) not a lot of trainers are designing YouTube workouts with the BOSU ball.

Case in point my Strength & Cardio HIIT Workout I released a few weeks ago. This workout, in my opinion, is one of the best and funniest workouts to date. However, it only has 1,444 views.

So, why would one of my better videos have such low views?

Because EVERY fitness channel does a workout like that.

You will always find strength, cardio and bodyweight workouts on any YouTube fitness channel.

And with that much noise on YouTube it is harder to get heard when you’re a smaller channel.

I’m saving myself

Loving husband joined me this workout and I have to give him credit. He did pretty good considering the last time he was on a BOSU ball was about 12-15 years ago.

There were a few spastic moves, which will make you fall in love with him more, and some really bad looking lunges in the warm-up section.

He had an excuse though. He claims he was saving himself for the workout to come.

Uh uh.

About the BOSU ball

BOSU is pronounced “Bo,” like the boy’s name, and “Sue,” like the girl’s name. It was developed by athletic trainer David Weck in 2000.

The name BOSU started out from the acronym “Both Sides Up”, with it changing in the last few years to “Both Sides Utilized”.

I, personally, received a BOSU Ball certification in 2002 and have been working with it ever since.

While I don’t think you HAVE to one to achieve better fitness, it does offer a different element to a lot of exercises, and is kinda fun to use.

Click here to visit BOSU’s website.

 

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9 Anti-Aging Tips to Keep Your Brain Young

9 Anti-Aging Tips to Keep Your Brain Young

9 Anti-Aging Tips to Keep Your Brain Young

“Of all things I ever lost I miss my mind the most.”

I used to get a good chuckle over that quote, until I got a little older and started the “where did I put that” game.

You know that game.

Where, you wonder inwardly, did I put my keys? Where did I put my phone? Where did I put my glasses? Where did I put my husband?

It starts in your mid-thirties and seems to get worse as you age.

You chalk up to being menopausal, or middle-aged, or perhaps it’s because to lack of sleep, or because of kids, or to stress.

But, what is really happening is that our brain is aging.

Science tells us how well our brain ages is 25% due to genes, while the other three-quarters is dependent on our lifestyle choices.

You can become a better fat burning machineon Fat Burner course page

Menopause and Our Brain

Research shows that the female sex hormone, estrogen, plays a key role in brain function.

An article in the journal Neurology describes estrogen as “a key element in the work of the brain [that] helps direct blood to parts of the brain that are more active.”

Since that hormone declines during menopause, one would think so would our brain function.

However, according to a six-year study of women who were still menstruating, perimenopausal, or postmenopausal, most of the women improved their test scores of brain function over time.

That is, even women with declining estrogen were able to improve brain function.

Should you have memory slips or difficulty concentrating, research suggests a variety of potential underlying causes.

These include disturbed sleep, extra stress, or depression.

For instance, if you’re awakened by night sweats several times during the night, that’s often enough to interfere with your ability to concentrate or remember what tool you were trying to find in the garage the next day.

9 Anti-Aging Tips to Keep Your Brain Young

1/Exercise

One of the best tips to keep your brain young is to exercise. A combination of aerobic and strength spurs the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between brain cells.

This, in turn, slows down our mental decline.

TIP: Aim for 3-4 times of aerobic work a week, with 2-3 sessions of weight training.

2/Stress less

Stress is bad for your brain (as well as your waistline, your heart and your relationships).

In a paper released on stress and the brain, Jeansok Kim of the University of Washington found that stress can “disturb cognitive processes such as learning and memory, and consequently limit the quality of human life”.

TIP: Try meditation, yoga, or 5-minutes of daily deep breathing (come on – we all have 5-minutes we can spare for our l’ brain).

3/ Break your routine

Do something outside of your comfort level. Challenge your brain with new activities.

Your brain is similar to your other muscles. For example, if you were to do the same exercise program, day-in-day-out, you would stop seeing results after a period of time.

This is because your muscles have become accustomed to those exercises.

The same goes for the brain.

TIP: Put the crossword puzzle away (if that’s what you do everyday), and instead, learn how to use a new app on your phone (or for some, how to use your phone).

funny-getting-older-quote-Fitness-with-PJ

4/ Get some sleep

Sleep is the only time the brain has to re-boot itself. It’s when we consolidate new memories and restore and recover from what has happened to us during the day.

TIP: Boost your sleep by turning off your electronics in the evening, performing yin yoga, meditating, and getting outside during the day so your circadian rhythm is activated.

5/ Hang out with friends

We are social animals and spending time with others is important for our brain health.

In a 2012 Dutch study it was shown that loneliness increased the risk of dementia by 65%. Some doctors even believe that loneliness is worse for your health than smoking, being an alcoholic and being obese.

TIP: Volunteer, join a group, plan activities in advance with friends and family.

West Coast Trail Love

6/ Work

If you are near retirement you might want to re-think that. People who continuously get mental stimulation build their brains up faster and keep them built up.

TIP: If you are retired, consider going back to work again, but this time doing something that you have always wanted to do. Not only will you be stimulating yourself mentally, you will also build that social network that is so important for brain health too.

7/ Improve your blood pressure

High blood pressure in your midlife increases your risk of cognitive decline in your later years.

TIP: Use medication, if prescribed, as well as lifestyle changes such as controlling your weight, your stress, getting plenty of exercise and eating right.

fresh broccoli in heart shape on table

8/ Eat better

You are what you eat, so don’t be cheap, easy or fake.

TIP: Eat foods on a daily basis that are rich in antioxidants, good fats, vitamins and minerals.

9/ Improve your blood sugars

Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and other types of dementia because cardiovascular problems associated with diabetes are also associated with dementia.

TIP: Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamin D, folate, B6 and B12 vitamins, as well as exercise regularly.

Workouts can also balance your blood sugar levels.

 

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