The Biggest Loser The Workout Review: Exercise At Home With Personal Trainer Bob Harper
March 26, 2017
The Biggest Loser television show takes the old school approach to losing weight by getting back to the basics of diet and intense exercise. There is no quick fix to lose weight, no magic pill. This review will make it clear if the DVD can help viewers get the same results as the successful contestants on the show.
The workout is set up to be used as a 6 week workout plan, alternating between four workouts. It can be customized to add or drop the warm up, cool down, and any of the four main workouts. Bob Harper is the trainer throughout the DVD.
The warm up is the same for each workout. It is about four minutes long and takes place outside, led by six of the Biggest Loser contestants who also are the background exercisers throughout the DVD. There is just enough instruction for each exercise, not too much talking. During the warm up a different person demonstrates each part of the warm up, this is distracting and doesn’t flow as well as if the group were shown in its entirety.
Stretch and Cool Down
The stretch and cool down is held outside after each workout for 10 minutes with all contestants involved. There are basic stretches and yoga moves that are appropriate for all fitness levels. The contestants are on rocks, which is a bit odd and seems like it could be a safety hazard.
Workout One Low Intensity Cardio
The cardio workout takes place inside, with Bob leading the workout and four of the contestants as his background exercises. One of them demonstrates a no-impact, lower intensity version of the exercises. The workout is basic and easy to follow.
Workout Two High Intensity Cardio
The high intensity cardio workout is made appropriate for those new to exercise by the modifications that Bob gives when appropriate. The intensity in the workout is created by doing bursts of fast exercise drills and sprints such as jumping jacks and simulating jump rope.
Workout Three Strength and Sculpt
This strength and sculpt workout covers each muscle group fairly well. Bob has his exercisers use the same weight of dumbbells for every exercise. The problem with this is that the legs are a much stronger muscle group than the shoulders or arms. For a beginner this is fine, but after a few weeks using heavier weights for the lower body will help the user achieve faster results.
Workout Four Boot Camp
The boot camp workout can be done with or without weights. It starts with upper body then alternates between intervals of strength training and cardiovascular strengthening sessions.
The Biggest Loser The Workout will be good for beginner exercisers to have in their home workout collection, maybe doing the easier workouts before graduating to the more challenging. Bob does a great job of interacting with the camera and encouraging the viewers.
Major weight loss requires sticking to a healthy, lower calorie diet. There is no mention of this at all in the DVD and that is a failure on the part of the production team. For the average user, information on eating and diet is always helpful. Including details of the diet used on the show would make an informative and welcome “extra”.
The Magic Circle for Effective Pilates Workouts: A Guide to Pilates’ Magic Circle, Fitness Circle, or Flex-Ring Toner
March 26, 2017
The Magic Circle, also known as the Pilates ring or fitness circle, is small, light, portable, readily available, and very effective. It can be used to intensify or assist Pilates mat exercises, as well as having a small repertoire of its own exercises. It’s fantastic for strengthening the muscles of the inner thighs, bottom, and shoulder girdle.
Joseph Pilates’ original design was made of sprung steel and came in three levels of resistance: two-, three-, and four-band. It had two handles attached to the outsides of the circle. More modern designs have added handles on the insides of the circle, lighter resistance, and more comfortable padding. Like most Pilates equipment, the Magic Circle is a spring, but it uses compression rather than extension to provide resistance.
Balanced Body sells a replica of Joseph Pilates’ original design as well as updated versions like the Flex-Ring Toner. There are many other versions available – look for comfortable handles that are securely attached. Some circles come with an instructional DVD or workout sheet.
Adding the Magic Circle to Pilates mat work is generally considered to be a more advanced challenge, so proceed with caution. Always hold the circle between the heels of your hands (not fingertips, and avoid gripping the circle with your fingers), above the ankle bones, or above the knees (never directly on the joints).
Try these variations: during the Hundred, hold the circle above the ankles and squeeze it steadily. Feel your thighs “wrapping” outward, engaging your low gluteal muscles, and press your inner thighs toward each other. Keep your feet and ankles relaxed – the work should come from the center.
During the Roll Up, hold the circle between the heels of the hands. Pull your shoulder blades back and down to feel a long neck, relaxed shoulders, and a gentle pressure on the circle. The work shouldn’t be created by gripping the wrist or chest muscles, so be gentle and focus your attention on your shoulder blades and upper back.
During the Single Leg Circles, hold one of the handles of the circle with both hands, raise one straight leg toward the ceiling, and hook the other handle of the circle over your foot. Gently pull on the circle to give your leg an extra stretch.
The Magic Circle can be held between the ankles for the Double Leg Stretch, Double Straight Leg Stretch, Open Leg Rocker, Corkscrew, and Teaser, between the hands for Rolling Like a Ball, Single Leg Stretch, Single Straight Leg Stretch, Criss-Cross, Spine Stretch Forward, and Teaser. It can be placed upright on the mat and pressed down with both hands to simulate the Wunda chair pedal in Spine Stretch Forward, and used in various ways in the Side Kick Series.
Try this exercise, developed specifically for the Magic Circle: Stand on the floor with the circle held between the ankles. Turn out your legs slightly from the hip and hold your arms out to your sides, with soft, lifted elbows and relaxed shoulders. Lift one foot off the floor, keeping the body as lifted and balanced as possible, and press the lifted leg into the circle smoothly ten times. To change sides, keep squeezing the circle, shift to the other leg, and repeat.
Easy Workout Tips for Mothers: Quick and Simple Exercises for Busy Moms
March 26, 2017
Many busy mothers grumble about having little or no time for gym workouts, but all hope is not lost. These simple exercises can be factored into the routine of any busy mom. Better yet, they don’t require any fancy exercise equipment. A variety of objects found in the lives of many mothers can help turn daily chores into daily workouts.
Exercise while Completing Household Chores
Speed Walk around the Store – The term mall walkers has become so popular in recent years that many malls offer Mall Walking programs or clubs. Inclement weather is no longer a no-exercise excuse when you take your walking indoors where you’re already performing the common motherhood task of shopping. Yet malls are not the only place where a walking workout is comfortable and easy. Any large store will do. Take the opportunity to push your full cart quickly around the interior of any warehouse sized store. Be sure to swivel your hips and tighten your abdomen muscles as you walk to give your waist a workout along with your legs. Wear a pedometer to measure your mileage.
Lift the laundry basket – Doing laundry doesn’t need to be a dreaded chore. Make it into a fun workout and laundry duty will be done in no time. As you carry your laundry basket to the washing machine, take advantage of the time to perform various arm exercises. While holding the basket, place one hand on each side of the basket holding your arms out straight and then curl the basket close to your body. Be sure to use only your arm muscles and not to put any strain on your back. When it’s time to fold the laundry, lay the towels flat on the floor and then lean forward, tightening your stomach muscles while reaching for the far edge.
Push the garbage cans- Stuck with garbage duty? No problem. The heavier the garbage cans, the more equivalent to bar weights, offering an extra strenuous workout. Just push and pull the cans on your way to the curb, tightening your abdomen muscles as you go.
Lift the grocery bags- Instead of grunting and groaning while taking in the groceries, use the time as an opportunity to strengthen your arms. Take as many bags as you can handle without putting strain on your back, lifting and lowering them on your way into the house.
No Equipment? No Problem!
Use items that are already around the house instead of using your lack of exercise equipment at home as a justification not to exercise. For example, gallon milk jugs make suitable hand weights. Pulling up a dining room chair to use as a push-up bench is another excellent substitution for costly exercise equipment. Additionally, many mothers have found that carrying a baby around gets tiring, but it is also a great way to firm up un-toned arm muscles.
While pushing the shopping cart is not the same as walking on a treadmill and lifting milk jugs are not exactly lifting dumb bells, these workouts are what you make them. When time or finances are lacking, but the desire to get in shape is present, there is always a way to get into shape. Most importantly, with each exercise be sure to focus your attention on, and work, your target muscle group.
Perfect Workouts to Keep You in Skiing Shape
March 26, 2017
Are you like Marcia on The Brady Bunch, who would rather ski than eat? Do you dream of the perfect skiing weather and snow conditions, while your neighbors grumble about having to shovel all of that white stuff off their driveways and sidewalks? Do you salivate over pictures of ski resorts, or are you glued to the television whenever a ski race is on? If any of the above apply to you (or if perhaps you’ve named your children Bode and Picabo) then you are officially a ski addict.
As a ski addict (not a bum, skiers are definitely not lazy!) you want to be better on the slopes, learning new techniques every chance you get. You look for ways to enjoy your ski trips no matter what the the snow (or ice) conditions are, and want to be able to handle anything the mountain throws at you. But did you know that many off-snow sports and activities can help you up your game on skis? Let’s explore some of the ways that other regular fitness practices can improve your skiing.
Roller and Ice Skating
Since learning balance is a major component of skiing, other sports that force you to practice your balance will help you when you get on the slopes. Skating also simulates the feel of gliding along as you would over the powder, so practice going both faster and slower at the rink to help your muscles have better control when you ski. Work on your turns while you skate as well, further training your muscles in the proper way for a day of skiing. If there is not enough snow to go skiing, this is a fun way to get a workout while you strengthen your legs and core.
Practice Yoga For Better Skiing
Yoga also helps you learn to maintain balance and strengthens your body. There is one yoga workout in particular, developed by Billy Asad, which targets the specific muscles you use in skiing and improves your lower body endurance so you can enjoy a full day on the slopes. Also included in the Sports Yoga workout are stretches that will loosen you up before you ski and help you relax after your day on the mountain.
Skier’s Edge – Ski Conditioning Machine
Made for skiers of all levels from beginner to advanced, Skier’s Edge is a lateral machine that simulates the movements of downhill skiing and conditions you for the sport. It is a non-impact activity which will save wear and tear on your knees while still strengthening them, unlike running which is high-impact. If you have been given medical advice to limit your running, this is the perfect way for you to stay in skiing shape. Skier’s Edge supplies machines to the United States Ski Team and other teams around the world.
Other Ski-Related Exercises
Both Ski Magazine and Skiing Magazine feature specific exercises that help you strengthen and improve while also assisting in injury prevention. You can view the various lunge, squat, and other workouts in their newsstand issues or check them out at their sister websites.
It’s important to do what is best for your body no matter what activities you choose. Ski conditioning is essential for getting the most skill and enjoyment out of the sport, and leads to a healthier lifestyle as well. Hope to see you on the slopes!
The Six Move Workout for Summer: This Efficient Program can be Done When Pressed for Time
March 26, 2017
Consult your physician before engaging in any exercise program to make sure you have the okay to start.
Do not force, do not strain. The moves should be executed with a smooth flow with your breath. Start using one or two pound weights for each exercise even if they feel “too light.” For shaping and toning, high repetitions are best. When you feel the weights are too light after three to four sets of fifteen repetitions of each exercise, then go on to the next poundage in weight. Execute ten repetitions of each exercise, then repeat the “set of ten” again to start off with if you are a beginner.
The Basic Squat
Shapes and tones the hips, buttocks and thighs. Stand with your feet apart about shoulder width, arms at your sides. Inhale and bend your knees, letting your buttocks stick out, keeping your back straight but on a 45 degree incline. Let your arms reach forward as you squat. Think of sitting down on a chair but do not quite touch it. Look down and see your toes, then keep your eyes looking at a 45 degree angle at the floor. As you exhale, rise back up to the starting position and squeeze your buttock muscles as you rise.
The Shoulder Press
Shapes the shoulders. Hold one or two pound weights in each hand. Take the standing position as mentioned above. Hold the dumbbells slightly above your shoulders and do not let them tilt. Inhale and as you exhale, lift the weights slowly with control straight over your head. Inhale and bring them back to the starting position.
Trims the “flabby underarm area.” Stand with your knees slightly bent. Bend at the waist, keeping the back straight and inclined at a 45 degree angle. Raise your elbows slightly above your back. Inhale and as you exhale, extend your elbows back as if you are “skiing.” Inhale and bend the elbows back in the return position. Keep your elbows in a fixed position above your back, don’t let them move up and down above your back.
Firms biceps. From the starting position hold dumbbells, palms up and close to the waist. Keep your back straight and gently pull your belly muscles, also known as your “core”, in. Inhale and on the exhale, slowly lift the dumbbells and curl them close to your shoulders. Squeeze gently at the top of this motion to give your biceps that great rounded shape. Inhale and slowly lower the weights to the starting position. do not “fling” the weights, as this means you are using momentum and not the true bicep action.
Firms and tones the back. From the starting positioning, with your knees slightly bent, bend forward at the waist with your back straight at a 45 degree incline. Do not try to arch your head up. Pull your core in.
You are holding the weights as if in a circle. Inhale and on the exhale, raise the weights slowly like a bird lifting it’s wing in flight. Inhale and return your arms to the circle.
Lie on your back with your knees bent. With your hands gently behind your head, inhale and on the exhale lift your upper body off the floor. Inhale and return your upper body on the floor. When you lift your upper body, do not pull on your neck, look at the ceiling.