Are you ignoring ground workouts?

Nowadays, the average gym junkie never works out on the floor. Foam roaming is the furthest they will go to the ground. With all the fancy and sophisticated machines around, you may be wondering what the point is. However, experts in fitness field have argued that doing groundwork at the gym comes with a lot of benefits. Here are a few reasons why you should start to incorporate bodyweight exercises into your workouts.

Training on the floor reduces fall-related injuries.

This advantage is most overlooked. Every year, a large number of people die from falls. By doing groundwork, you reduce your chances of being seriously injured from a fall because you improve your ability to break the fall.

Gets the heart pumping.

Going down and getting up from the floor gets your heart pumping. You can also increase your pulse by adding a set of bird dogs. A combination of push-ups and kettle bell swings do improve the heart beat rate.

It keeps you youthful.

Research has shown that people with difficulties in lowering their bodies to the floor and rising back up are far more likely to die within the next 6 years than those who are able to do so comfortably. The ability to stand up with ease and without pain from the floor surface is a good indication of how physical fit one is. Physical strength, flexibility and coordination for all ages are good tests for physical fitness according to researchers.

Increase flexibility.

By working out using just the ground and your bodyweight, you naturally use a full range of motion. This ensures that your joints are moving freely, leading to improved postured and again reducing the risk of getting injured.

Keep thing fun and fresh

It’s really easy to get stuck doing the same workout routine of bench presses, squats, sit ups, lat pulls over and over again. That’s why groundwork can be extremely refreshing. Not only are there variations of exercises you can do, it gives your body a new challenge, working out different muscles that may be ignored. Moreover, it can help break the common gym plateau – and stops you from becoming bored.

Increase athleticism

Due to the use of compound movement’s i.e numerous joints and muscles are engaged in each move, bodyweight exercises can give you amazing results. For instance, doing compound exercises such as lunges and push-ups have been proven to increase performance and strength. Furthermore research shows that improved core strength gained through bodyweight exercises also increases your strength throughout the entire body

So next time you go to the gym, think twice about skipping groundwork. Give it a try and you see the fantastic results that come with doing groundwork!

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Re-start your Resolutions Today!

It is common for people to make New Year’s resolutions year in, year out. But the hard part is seeing those resolutions through. Hitting the gym or eating right is usually number two or three on the list right after quitting a bad habit or looking for a better career.

As the clock counts down to the New Year, each individual’s heart is filled with enthusiasm of starting a fresh and fulfilling the list that’s meant to impact their lives one way or another. But shortly after into the year, the days begin to turn into weeks, weeks into months and before you know it, another new year is fast approaching; the list is long forgotten.

You soon realize that nothing ever changes in your life. The great thing is that it is never too late to re-start those resolutions, no matter what time of year it is. So don’t thing about cancelling that gym membership or abandoning your diet plan just yet. They say that our worst enemy is ourselves. We agree to defeat even before the war has begun and become the first to beat on ourselves when something goes wrong.

Exercising and maintaining a diet plan has never been easy and the results don’t just occur overnight. Therefore, before you go so hard on yourself, first add ‘never give up no-matter what!’ to your list. Exercising and maintaining a healthy diet requires a lot of commitment, time and persistence from self.
Before you think of backing out, here are some pointers that will help you keep on track to achieving your resolutions.

1.Staying positive
Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial to obtaining the results you want. Telling yourself that ‘I am going to make it’ and believing exactly that is a great motivator to remaining focused on your regime. But don’t go rewarding yourself with a big slice of cake the moment you notice you’ve lost 2 pounds. Instead, keep at it to reap more fruit.

Designate a specified time for your gym sessions and also make a food timetable so that you ensure your diet is balanced or so that no food group is omitted in your diet.

3.Great company
Surround yourself with people who have the same aspirations as you. You’ll be able to motivate each other and also make sure you don’t miss any gym workout.

It is vital to remain fit and healthy for an extended healthy life. And once you start following through on your exercises and diet, the rest will fall in line. Picture this, when you’re healthy, you feel more confident and great about yourself, meaning that you are able to work more efficiently in your workplace hence more productivity, more income. It is like killing two birds with one stone.

No-one expects you to be an expert with the first try. Therefore, you need to start slow and start small. If it’s sit-ups and squats, start with 10-15 counts, then progress to 20-30 with time. The reason why most people give up the moment they’ve just begun is because they commence at a higher level than they should.

The more you exercise and diet, the easier it becomes with time and before you know it, it becomes a part of you. So if losing weight or becoming healthy is part of your resolution and has been for a while now, it is never too late to jump start on it. Start today!

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Strong Foundation

The ankle is a physically active part of the body. The ankle consists of several ligaments that connect the bones and are required for proper function. There are also many muscles that also help support the ankle during activity. Building strength and proprioception, or special awareness, in these muscles helps to prevent injury and improve performance. Often, the most neglected body part in exercise is the ankle. There is no single sport that doesn’t involve the ankle in some way. It is important that we don’t forget about this joint and make sure we do what we can to make it strong and sturdy. A major benefit with strong ankles is that you can help reduce the risk of injury.

It is important to keep the ankle strong. When an athlete performs any type of movement, running, jumping, etc., the ankle and surrounding muscles are put under a great deal of stress. If the ankle musculature is strong, the athlete can withstand greater force – limiting the chance of injury. It will also help strengthen the lower leg muscles and aid in preventing chronic conditions such as shin splints and Achilles tendonitis. Proprioception is the body’s ability to realize its place in space. For example, if an athlete is moving into a position that could sprain his or her ankle, increased proprioception can decrease the risk by alerting the athlete to the danger. Proprioception can also increase an athlete’s performance by giving the athlete better balance and awareness and giving them the ability to control their body more effectively. Proprioception training is done with balance exercises.

Try some of these exercises to increase the balance and strength in your ankles:

  1. Standing on one leg. Hold for 30 seconds, working up to one minute per leg.
  2. Balance and catch. Standing on one leg, catch and throw a ball with a partner. Make sure you throw the ball to all directions, left, right, high and low. Do 3 sets of 30.
  3. One leg mini squats. On one leg do a half squat with the opposite leg out front for 10 reps, out to the side for 10 reps and behind for 10 reps. Repeat 3 times.
  4. Standing on unstable surface and balancing. You can use a pile of towels or clothing, sand, air mattresses to give you the uneven/unstable surface. Stand and balance on one leg and hold for as long as you can.

The ankle can be strengthened in several ways. The best way is to use a thera-band (ask your trainer or visit a medical supply store). The thera- band will give the resistance needed to strengthen your ankle. By placing the thera-band around the bottom of your foot, near the balls of your foot, you can pull on the band for resistance with your foot in the flexed position. From here, stretch your toes to a point and then slowly return it to the starting flex position. It is important to work the ankle in all four directions. To work the ligaments and muscles in the other directions, affix the band to a stationary object and then loop the other end over your toes. You can move your body in different directions to allow you to flex your foot, turn your ankle in, or turn your ankle out. Use the thera-band to feel the pull. Make sure you do about 20 reps of each of these exercises on each foot.

These exercises may look and be simple to do, but they are so important to maintain or even build strong, sturdy ankle while also preventing injury from occurring. Ankles are often not at the forefront of our mind when exercising, but they are extremely important in everything we do from walking, running, jumping to sports. Take care of them and strengthen them, you’ll see and feel the benefit.

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Fit Tools

Sometimes we get into a slump and just need someone, or even something to get us going to get our exercise in. Getting into shape, losing weight, and moving more each day are all really tough to do. An activity tracker can help. Technology these days can be just that thing. Many people are now sporting a new fit tool, usually a Fitbit or pedometer tool that is strapped onto the wrist. There are also many fitness applications that you can download onto your smartphone. It can be a great way to keep you accountable to what you are doing during the day. It may just be that push you need. At the very least, it will make you more mindful of your present activity level, which is a good step to getting fit.

Fitness tracking gadgets are a newer kind of activity tracking device. They can be synced to your computer or smartphone or be part of your smartphone or computer. There are many gadgets out there; the most popular one is the Fitbit. But there is a list of many that can do just as much or more. They can be worn like a watch, or clipped on like a keychain. They will track your steps, the number of calories you’ve burned and the distance you have travelled. The more costly ones will also calculate the number of stairs you travelled, how you slept and how many hours you were asleep for. Additionally, through the link to your computer or smartphone, you can also track your food consumed and your weight.

Fitness tracking devices will show you what you are actually doing, not what you would like to be doing, or what you wish you were doing. That information can be powerful at encouraging you to get off the couch and hit the gym, go for a run or even head out for a walk. It is known that keeping a food log actually makes us more conscious about what we eat because we are paying attention. It allows us to stop, think, and make better choices.

Steps to Make the Most of Your Fitness Tracking Gadget or App:

  • Get your friends involved. Get a friend or family member on the same device and they can help motivate you.
  • Make your tracking gadget or App part of a bigger package. Choose tools that work together to give you the best and most information for you. Some packages will even give you expert advice based on your data.
  • Use your gadget or App in conjunction with your current exercise program. Don’t purchase the tracking gadget or App as your exercise program – use it to help keep you motivated and doing your current sessions.

Some of the top gadgets to try:

  • Basis Peak
  • Garmin Forerunner 15
  • Mio Fuse
  • Fitbit
  • Garmin Vivosmart
  • Jawbone UP24
  • Runtastic Orbit
  • Microsoft Band
  • Misfit Flash

Whether your health goals are modest or you’re hoping for a full fitness transformation, using a personal fitness tracking device can go a long way in helping you understand if the exercise and health habits you keep are contributing to the new you.

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Workout, Rest, Repeat

Athletes know that getting enough rest after exercise is essential to high level performance. Although you may feel guilty when you take a day off from exercising, it is important to help the body with repairs. A rest day will also help strengthen your body in the time between workouts. Continuous training can actually weaken even the strongest athletes.

Rest days are critical to sports performance for many reasons. Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen. For recreational athletes, building in rest days will help maintain a better balance between home, work and fitness goals.

Building recovery time into any training program is important because this is the time that the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effects takes place. Recovery allows the body to replenish energy store and repair damaged tissues. Exercise and physical work causes changes in the body. Muscle tissue will breakdown and the depletion of energy stores as well as fluid loss will occur. Recovery time, or a rest day will allow the stores to be replenished and allows tissue repair to occur. Without sufficient time to repair and replenish, the body will continue to breakdown from intensive exercise. The result, is overtraining and symptoms such as, feeling a general malaise, staleness, depression, decreased sports performance and an increased risk of injury.

Short-Term Recovery
Also called active recovery, short-term recovery occurs in the hours immediately after intense exercise. Active recovery refers to engaging in low-intensity exercise after workouts during the cool-down phase immediately after a hard effort or workout as well as during the days following the workout. These types of recovery are helpful with performance. Getting quality sleep is also an important part of short-term recovery, especially if you are doing a hard training regime.

Long-Term Recovery
Long-term recovery refers to those that are built into a seasonal training program such as professional athletes will have for during the season vs. off season workouts. Recovery time will be days and even weeks, depending on the demand that their body faces.

It is important to adapt your recovery time to your workout. The higher level of training intensity, the greater the need for planned recovery time. With monitoring your workouts in a training log and paying attention to your body and how it feels, you’ll be able to plan in your rest days. Talk to your trainer- get them to help you plan out the best workout – rest routine that suits you and your body’s needs. Remember how important it is to let your body rest and recover – rest for success.

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Things to Try in 2015

Kick start the New Year by getting on the right track to keeping your resolutions. Most people choose to get healthier and a great way to start out right is to try something new for 2015. Stay motivated by doing different exercises to reach your goals, or to stay focused on your fitness. Doing the same thing day after day can lead to boredom and even giving up on your routine all together.

Try some of these fitness trends for 2015.

  1. Body weight training. With tight budgets, body weight training can be the way to go. Because it does not require a lot of equipment, body weight training can be an inexpensive way to whip yourself into shape.
  2. High-intensity interval training. A workout that calls for short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short recovery time. It is very efficient in burning calories and building muscles.
  3. Strength training. Strength training includes body weight, resistance tubing, free weights and weight machines. Everyone can benefit from building stronger muscles and bones while controlling their weight and increasing their energy levels.
  4. Personal training. A personal trainer will help design a custom fit plan tailored to your wants and needs as well as being your personal cheering section when you achieve your steps and goals.
  5. Exercise and weight loss. Joining programs that combine exercise and weight loss might be a good option for you if you are trying to lose inches off your waist as well as tone your body. Look for programs that emphasize the important balance between healthy eating and exercise.
  6. Yoga. Yoga continues to be a favorite in the fitness community. There are so many different options to try with all the different versions available.
  7. Group Personal Training. Training two or three people at the same time in a small group is becoming a more popular solution when looking for more individualized attention then you get in a class, but without the higher cost of one on one session with a personal trainer.
  8. Outdoor activities. Getting outside for some exercise will bring more benefits. Get outside for hiking, skiing, running, skating, the possibilities are endless.
  9. Circuit training. A group of 6 to 10 exercises that are completed in a sequence is circuit training. It is similar to high-intensity training, but is performed at a lower level of intensity.
  10. Core training. This type of training focuses on strengthening the muscles of the abdomen, thorax, and back by exercising the hips, lower back, and abdomen. You can use equipment such as exercise balls, BOSU balls, wobble boards, and foam rollers.
  11. Boot camp. More and more men and women are favoring this military style training that will include cardiovascular, strength, endurance and flexibility drills. This is great if you like intense, highly-structured workouts.

Try all or some of these 2015 fitness trends to get you on your exercise goals for the New Year. You can even refer back to this list as the year goes on to try something new when you feel you need to change things up to keep you motivated. Happy New Year!

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Rock and Roller

The Foam Roller can be a life saver when it comes to stretching and helping with minor injuries. Rolling your body over foam cylinders can improve flexibility, reduce post-workout soreness, prevent sports injuries and even alleviate chronic pain.The foam roller is a great tool for lengthening and elongating muscles and is especially helpful for runners who often suffer from tight and fatigued muscles. The foam roller will also massage the muscles intensely, similar to what a massage therapist will do without the cost to visit one.

Foam roller therapy is also often called self-myofascial release. It has been shown to improve range of motion in the knee and hip, and to ease muscle soreness after exercise. Myofascial release comes from a theory that pressure from the rollers breaks up tight spots in muscles and the connective tissue that surrounds them, the fascia. In combination with regular stretching, using a foam roller can be more effective in improving flexibility.

The foam roller should not replace proper stretching, warming up and cooling down, but it can be used as a tool to limit soreness and tightness through increased blood flow and flexibility. By using the roller, you can help to also avoid injuries. The iliotibial band (IT band), the band that runs on the outside of the leg from the hip to just below the knee is one of the areas in the body that can be prone to injury. By rolling the foam roller on the side of the leg (slowly back and forth) towards the top of the leg, specifically where the quad where it meets the IT band it will help to increase blood flow and circulation, aiding in healing and preventing injury.

Here are 4 Foam Roller Stretches to try:

Lower Back Pain
Looser hamstrings will help with back pain. Sit on a foam roller with your legs stretched out. Support yourself with your hands on the floor behind you. Position yourself so that the roller is directly under your hamstrings. Slowly roll forwards and back from the base of your glutes to the bend in your knee for approximately 30 seconds.

Runner’s Knee
Roll your iliotibial band (the muscle on the outside of your leg from your hip to your knee). Lie on your side and slip the roller under your thigh. Cross your other foot over and put it on the floor. Roll back and forth for 30 seconds from the bottom of your hip to just above your knee.

Tight quads can tug on your patellar tendons, causing pain around your knees. Lie on your stomach with the roller placed under your thighs. Holding the body straight, roll yourself back and forth from hip to mid-thigh for 30 seconds.

Upper Back Pain
Lie on your back and place the foam roller beneath your neck, near your shoulder blades. Your feet and backside should be on the ground and your hands behind your head. Brace your abs and slowly work the roller for 30 seconds up and down from your shoulder blades to your middle back (not your lower back).

If you add the foam roller in combination with static stretching you will notice results. Massage your own muscles and boost your performance with a foam roller. Have your trainer work it into your warm up and post workout.

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Office Fitness

Sitting all day at a desk can ruin what you’ve worked so hard for at the gym. What can you do to keep fit and healthy at work? There are many ways to exercise while working at your desk in the office each day. Don’t let your hard work go down the drain.

Take the Stairs
If your building is equipped with an elevator, make the choice to take the stairs. Choose the stairs every time, and you’ll find it a good way to stay active and fit at work. You can even take it one step further and do a stair workout during your lunch or break. Do two stairs at a time, or increase your pace and burn off some extra calories from your lunch.

Legs and Bum Exercises
Exercises that you usually do in a gym setting can also be done at work. Take a break from sitting and typing and get off your chair and stretch. Do some squats beside your chair or lunge walk down the hall. You can even find an empty spot on the wall and do some wall sits. These are great ways to take a break from work and get the muscles working instead. There are many other leg exercises and stretches that can be done beside your desk such as leg lifts, leg curls, and leg kicks.

The arms are another muscle group that can easily get a good workout during a break from working at your desk. Tricep dips are a great example of a simple workout that you can do at your desk. Leave the keyboard behind for a bit and use a sturdy desk for support. Try doing some arm curls. Find something lying around that you can use as a weight and curl and work your biceps. Even doing some simple arm movements like pulsing the arms backwards while they are at your side or holding your arms out straight from your shoulder for as long as possible.

Neck and Shoulders
Rolling and stretching your shoulders is great for staying fit and helping with posture and relieving the stress and pressure from sitting at a computer all day. Press your shoulder blades back and hold that position for several seconds. Also try the shoulder shrug. Raise both shoulders up to the ears and hold for 5 seconds, then relax. These will also help get the kinks out and get you more comfortable to get back to work. Stretch your neck muscles by tilting your head (ear towards the shoulder) and holding. Do one each side. Don’t forget to put your chin to your chest and tilt your head up too. Hold each spot for a couple of seconds to feel the stretch.

A fun way to keep your core fit while at work is using your swivel chair to work out your oblique’s. Keep your feet flat on the floor and grasp the edge of the desk with your hands, sitting upright, use your core to swivel the chair side to side. Just simply by keeping good posture, you can work your core muscles. Keep feet flat on the floor, back up straight and arms at 90-degree angles to the floor for the entire day you are at your desk, you are working those core muscles. Try the sitting crunch. With elbows on the thighs, try to curl the chest in towards the legs while resisting the movement with the arms. Hold for 10 seconds.

Not only are you maintaining a healthy work-fitness balance, you are helping with better posture and probably even your work productivity. You don’t need to stay sedentary while working all day at your desk. Add some desk exercises and you’ll feel a whole lot better.

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Men vs Women – Weight Loss Styles

Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. There is a lot of differences between men and women; let it be in physical appearance or in the functioning of the body’s organs. Do men lose weight faster?The simple truth is that men are larger and have more muscle than women due to the hormone testosterone. They are genetically designed to have a higher percentage of muscle and less fat, which works in favor of keeping them fit and allowing them to eat more calories.

Women are predisposed to store and retain fat. It’s in the genes. Women have higher levels of estrogen, a hormone that works to keep the fat on a woman’s body so it’s easier for her to get pregnant. That means women have to work harder to lose weight at the same rate as men. Women also have a smaller lung capacity than men, which can make women feel as though they are working harder than men even if the women are working at the same level. This can also make exercise feel harder in the heat or high humidity.

There is a difference in body composition. Every pound of lean body mass you have burns about 14 calories a day, while every pound of fat you have only burns about 2 calories. So, the more muscle you carry (and the less fat) the greater your daily calorie burn. There’s the benefit for men, not only are their bodies bigger, they tend to carry more muscle than women do too.

So what it boils down to is, the number of calories it takes for the average man to maintain his weight is higher than it is for the average woman. And that can be a big advantage to men when it comes to weight loss. A heavy-set guy who maintains his weight on 2500 calories a day can cut out 1000 calories or so from his daily intake, still have a reasonable 1500 calories to spend on his meals and snacks, and drop a couple of pounds a week. While, on the other hand a woman struggling to maintain her weight might be maintaining on only 1600 calories or so. To lose weight safely, she shouldn’t cut her intake to less than 1200 calories a day – cutting only 400 calories.

For either male or female, here are some weight loss tips that will help:

  1. Eliminate sugar. If you need to sweeten things up, try using honey.
  2. Exercise a ½ hour each day for 5 days out of the week.
  3. Eat more vegetables.
  4. Stop eating unhealthy snacks and living a sedentary life.
  5. Avoid high calorie and high cholesterol foods (no deep fried, creamy, breaded options).

Men and women are different beings, different compositions – it requires different work to get to the healthy weight you want. Eat healthy, have a good workout routine and patience. You’ll reach your goals with hard work and determination. Speak to your Doctor or fitness trainer to get more tips on weight loss and healthy eating.

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Train Your Brain

Exercise is not only important for a healthy body, but also for a healthy mind.The incidence of getting Alzheimer’s Disease is about 4% at the age of 65 and increases to 50% at the age of 85. Some believe that everyone has Alzheimer’s Disease and it’s just a question of the degree. We have a blood-brain barrier that is intact when we are healthy. Its purpose is to contain things in our blood. When those vessels travel through the brain, they make sure that nothing leaks out into the brain that shouldn’t. As we get older, we experience aging associated changes in our blood vessels, including the integrity of the blood-brain barrier. You begin to spring leaks in your brain, and they wreak havoc on the ability of the brain to function. It is found that those with Alzheimer’s Disease have a material called amyloid that characteristically accumulates in their brains. Amyloid is found all over your body but not in your brain. When your brain-blood barrier breaks down, amyloid now begins to flood out in the brain. The accumulation of amyloid is one of the hallmark characteristics of the disease.

Exercise seems to be a helpful tool to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. It is found by researchers that exercise alone can decrease the risk by 50% and 40% risk can be cut down by following proper diet. Blood flow is reduced and our cardiovascular system becomes weak when there is little or no exercise. When blood flow reduces, tissues can get damaged and the cells will begin to die. Both the heart and the brain is kept healthy by doing regular exercise as blood flows more strongly through exercise. Certain neuroprotective substances in the body are created and boosted by exercising regularly. When there is more physical activity, the brain automatically becomes active as both are interrelated.

It is also important to keep up mental stimulation. Individuals that continue to stimulate themselves mentally are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease. There are many ways to keep your brain sharp and working hard. Try learning something new (foreign language, musical instrument, tweek an existing habit like using the opposite hand to brush your teeth), play some strategy games (Sudoku, scrabble or online Brain Builder, Luminosity).

Try some of these ideas to keep your brain stimulated and sharp:

  • Read a book
  • Play an instrument
  • Play challenging games
  • Memorize famous passages
  • Learn poetry
  • Do the crossword puzzle
  • Do Sudoku puzzles
  • Solve word or math problems

With a healthy diet and including exercise for your body and your brain, you can help reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease in the future.

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