The 20-Minute, Glute-Sculpting Treadmill Routine

I found this fantastic, butt-burner on fitnessmagazine.com and have since shared with two friends, who agree it's a calorie-burning success. In just 20 minutes, you can burn 150 calories while WALKING (crazy, right?). I usually don't opt for workouts that have walking, but for someone who isn't a runner, I thought I would try it out...and I like it! For the first 5 minutes you start out at a speed of 4 at a 3-3.5 incline; follow the chart below and adjust the incline to best fit your level. Beginners should start with a speed of 3 or 3.5 mph; advanced treadmill users can go up to 5.

Minutes Speed (mph) Incline (%)
0:00-5:00 4 3-3.5
5:00-7:00 4 8-10
7:00-8:00 4 4-6
8:00-10:00 4 10
10:00-11:00 4 5-7
11:00-13:00 4 12
13:00-14:00 4 10
14:00-15:00 4 12
15:00-20:00 4 2-4

Bosu Squats

bosu1 Bosu. What the heck is that? It’s that blue half-ball thingy that you see at the gym and don’t really know what its purpose is. Guess what? It’s got a lot going on! Today I’m going to discuss all the fun you can have using it to do squats. Bosu means Both Sides Up or Both Sides Utilized. Today, we’re talking about the round, bubble side, not the black, flat side with the handles (if you remember a while back, I talked about how to do a push-up on this side: click to see). Fun stuff!

For beginners, first try doing regular squats on the Bosu. Stand in front of a mirror so that you can get the positioning down, and if you’re up to it, grab yourself some light weights (5-10 for beginners). Squats by themselves are a great workout, so don’t be discouraged if you start out weightless or with 3-pounders – your legs will be sore either way. ☺

I was working out with my friend Jodi and was forced to use 17.5-pound weights, but if you’re balance-challenged or just starting out with the Bosu, go weightless and move up as you begin to feel more comfortable. (I would have been happy with some 10-pound weights, and my legs not shaking like an earthquake the whole time, but anyway.)

The Squat Step on the bubble side of the Bosu with feet shoulder width apart, toes slightly pointed outward. You can use wall/mirror to stable yourself or if you’re with a friend grab onto their arm. Contract your core to stabilize the body. While keeping your body weight centered on the Bosu, slowly lower your bottom to the Bosu by bending the knees just like a regular squat. Don’t let your knees go beyond your toes while squatting and push through your heels to isolate the glute. Without pausing, slowly exhale as you raise your body by straightening the legs – don’t spend more than 2 seconds at the top or bottom of your squat. Do this exercise with a fluid movement and try to keep the top of the Bosu stable, which will also work your core. Do three sets of 10-20 reps and move the weight and reps up as you master this move.

Muscles Worked

leg-calf-hamstring-quadricep-muscle-anatomy2I usually do this routine with some lunges or step-ups (just step up and down on a bench, switching legs) and you’ve got yourself a nice little leg workout! Don’t mind the creepy photos below – I needed to find two that matched and this was the best Google could do for me. ☺

Step-up

Lunge

Travel Fitness: Hong Kong & Malaysia

stairs The two most difficult times to stay in shape (for me) are traveling and holidays. Do you agree? I just got back from a two-week trip to Hong Kong and Malaysia and man, it’s really hard to maintain a routine while exploring new horizons!

Many hotels have an in-house gym, but when you’re in another country, do you really want to spend an hour indoors, confined to a treadmill? Usually the answer is no. Now, for me, I was lucky enough to stay with my friend’s family, which meant early mornings of eating, followed by long days of sightseeing and more EATING (and no gym included). I couldn’t turn down the delicious food and I also couldn’t skip off to the gym.

Lucky for me, Asia is filled with a lot of stairs and hills, which make for a nice fitness playground. Have you ever seen an amusement park in America with huge hills, escalators and stairs…on top of mountain? Well, Hong Kong is filled with settings of this nature, so I couldn’t get away from a little bit of exercise each day (translation: eat more wonderful food!). I've found that the easiest and most effective travel exercises are lunges, walking and push-ups. Also, abs, but with hardwood floors, this wasn’t attainable for me on this trip.

Stair Lunges For a great workout to strengthen your quads, glutes and hamstrings, try using stairs outdoors (or indoors, if your hotel has more than four floors)! I found a great hill near the apartment complex I stayed at and started with three stairs at a time for around 75 stairs. Remember, walking lunges, in addition to the incline, are more difficult and require more stability than a typical lunge. Perfect!

Execution Start at the bottom. Take a step up with your right foot to your destination stair (start with two stairs). Then complete the lunge. While keeping your balance (tighten your core!), take your left foot and go up another two stairs to complete the left side. Keep switching off until you reach the top! You can do this on the subway stairs, hotel stairs, bleachers, or really anywhere that has a long flight of stairs. And always remember to refuel with water, especially in hot and humid climates. Once you master two stairs, try for three (three is the max for me, given my height!) Remember! Maintain good posture throughout movement Contract back glute during stretch Do not let front knee slide past foot Do not let back foot touch the ground as you step into next lunge Keep chest up as you step

When you incorporate a quick and effective workout into your sightseeing, you can be unexpectedly sore. Even though I was walking around 3-7 miles per day,  I was definitely sore from my lunges - I consulted my fellow traveler and her buns weren’t sore, so yay for stair lunges!  I also did around 20 push-ups every two or three days and upon my return to the States, I didn’t feel as though I skimped out on my workouts! Try incorporating a workout into your next travels and let me know your stories!

2010 = New Fitness Goals!

It's a new year, friends. Happy days at the gym begin right about now...when everyone joins and vows they're going to starting working out and staying in shape. We have all been in this predicament with one excuse or another, and it's important to have goals in the fitness world. However, staying healthy should be a life goal, not just one of those new year's resolutions that is top of mind on January 1st and is nowhere to be found come March 1st. Don't let this be you! Power through all year long with reasonable goals. The new year is about starting fresh, so don't give yourself unreasonable goals, e.g., work out every day (after never working out at all). Start with one or two days a week and get yourself into a routine - you can even mix it up with some outdoor activities with friends (sports team, dance class, yoga, cycling), weather permitting. If your a novice, start off slow and if your seasoned "professional" just start by adding in something new; work with a trainer, Pilates, jumping rope instead of the stair climber, etc.

My first change to my fitness regimen in 2010 is adding Boot Camp to the mix. For six weeks at The Sporting Club, I will be doing Boot Camp every Tuesday or Thursday night. I will be sharing some exercises that I learn and hopefully you will try them at home...but be sure to report back with feedback!

A Happy and Healthy 2010 to all of you!

PS. I did 48 push-ups...in a row. My goal for January is 50!

Realize Your Goals

I Did 100 Push-Ups

pushup1 After attempting the whole one hundred push-up challenge, I decided that I would take things into my own hands. Well, this isn't entirely true. My friend Jodi, who has recently become a fitness maven, told me that she did 5 sets of 20 push-ups and I started to feel a bit of push-up envy. Then envy buried itself inside my brain and turned into a competitive fire.

Over Thanksgiving in Vegas (with my dad and my new twin brothers), I made an amazing pumkin cheesecake for my family and after watching 4, 8 ounce cubes of cream cheese, 2 cups of sugar and all that other really "healthy" stuff, I started to think about the push-ups. I think the first thing that comes to mind when someone is overeating is cardio, but no, I was too distracted by the fact that Jodi could do the push-ups and I couldn't (or so I thought).

If you think you can't do 100 push-ups, you probably can; just start by doing sets of 10, until you can do 15-20 with ease. I finished my 100 by doing a set of 15, 20, 20, 20, 10 and 15. See. not so bad! :)

If you have five minutes of spare time, do some push-ups!

Upper Body by Matthew McConaughey

I’m back! It has been almost a month since my last post about fitness, which funny enough, was about motivation. For me, the summer is my season to relax and enjoy the weather (especially being in NYC) and thus, I don’t make it to the gym more than 2-3 times per week. I do ride my bike, run along the Hudson, and walk a lot from place to place, but I don’t do a lot of weight training and heavy workouts until the fall rolls around. Except for the most obvious reason of wanting to be outside, I haven’t put my finger on really why the summer isn’t my prime time, but c'est la vie. Realizing my slacker tendencies with the warm weather, I have kicked myself in the ass and out of my rut. Yay! I recently went to the gym with a guy friend of mine who wanted to do an arm workout. I quickly said, okay, but really, I don’t know a good arm workout for men?! I got on the computer to do some research on men’s fitness and came upon workouts by Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon and Jason Statham. I went with Matthew McConaughey for now, but I will try the other two one of these days. Apparently it was a good arm workout...my friend was sufficiently sore. Try it for yourself!

Complete each exercise below with 3 sets of 12-15 reps. The weight you choose should be difficult to lift toward your last rep.

Lat Pulldowns For: Back & biceps Tip: Make sure legs are secure under the padded bar

latpulldown2

Bench press Works: Triceps, deltoids & pectorals Tip: Always use a spotter for traditional bench press

abs_benchpress_300x300

Biceps Curl Works: Biceps, elbow flexors Tip: Keep your elbows against your body in lift in a controlled motion with palms facing up

bicepcurl2

Incline Dumbbell Press Works: Pectoralis major & clavicular Tip: Press dumbbells up with elbows until arms are extended – you want to feel a slight stretch

inclinedumb

Triceps Rope Pushdown Works: Triceps Tip: Keep arms bent 90 degrees at both start and finish of each rep

tricep-pushdown1

Dumbbell press Works: Pectorals, deltoids, triceps and biceps Tip: Keep palms facing your feet, don’t click the dumbbells and finish the exercise with dumbbells directly over your shoulders.

dumbbellpress1

After you try this workout, let me know the results or one of your favorite workouts! Matthew has a few more workouts that I have to try, so stay tuned for more!

What is Your Motivation?

couchslug It’s sometimes hard to find the motivation to engage in physical fitness…I think this is a problem for most people I know at one time or another. I will go for weeks where I’m pumped up and excited about working out, but there are other times, however, where I just would rather do anything else. I like to associate my unmotivated times to that of a lumaca (slug in Italian…it sounds better to me).

My gym is a three-minute walk from my office and a six-minute walk from my apartment and sometimes, that is just too far. This is a prime example of being unmotivated and I sometimes wonder, what the heck is wrong with me?! To top it off, in my apartment, I have a yoga mat, workout videos, inline skates, a jump rope and a bike in my apartment. You would think that when I don’t’ want to hit the gym, I could entertain the thought of actually using my home gym, but when I’m unmotivated, no thanks, I’ll just hang out in Lumacaland.

When I’m unmotivated, my excuses and complaints run the gamut: bloated, tired, want to be home, want to grab a drink, want to do nothing, etc. Anything will work really, as long as I can abstain from exercise. Sometimes the best thing to do when I’m feeling like this is to NOT go to the gym because if I go, I won’t accomplish much. My other option is to take a class; at least someone would TELL me what to do.

Last night, I made the decision to go to the gym after all...my subconscious forced it on, I tell ya. On Tuesdays, my all-time favorite class is taught (intenSati, taught by world-renowned instructor, Patricia Moreno), but I really just was not in the mood...at all. At about 8am, I it had full intention in going, but at 6pm, it was a whole new ball game…I was tired and hungry and grumpy...the list goes on.

Once I changed my clothes, I made the decision to man-up and not be such a loser—I went to intenSati. I had indeed made the correct decision; her class is so good to me. I always leave the class with sweat seeping through my clothing, jello legs and a positive attitude. The latter is essential to working out; you always want to feel good about yourself after any type of exercise or what’s the point?

My obsession with intenSati started when I joined Equinox five years ago, and it's still my favorite class. For over a year, I religiously attended every Tuesday night for 30 minutes of abdominals followed by an hour of intense cardio, yoga and lower body work. I’ve always had a difficult time explaining her class to people, but it’s sort like old school aerobics on crack, mixed with some intense lower body work at the end of each class. If you want to try her class out, ask me for a guest pass!

With a background in fitness, life coaching and yoga, Patricia incorporates inspirational and spiritual ideas into her classes. At the beginning of each class, she uses real-life examples and ideas to encourage and motivate the students to make positive changes in their lives. I’m usually not one for life couching or spirituality during my workout, but last night (and on many other occasions), her thoughts really rang true with me and my sluggish attitude. Patricia reminded me that it’s only me who can make positive changes in my life. And sometimes you just need to push yourself to engage in physical activity…I promise it will pay off more than you know.

A quote from class: There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way!

I Can't do 100 Push-ups!

onehundred125x125 About a year ago, with three of my friends, I attempted the six-week 100 push-up program. Yes, 100 seemed a bit ambitious, but I thought, if the website says it’s possible, then it must be? Wrong. Well, maybe not wrong, but I didn’t stick around long enough to make the 100 – I only got to 31.

Over my long birthday weekend (June 21), my best friend, Jodi, was visiting and she was doing push-ups and stretches each morning. She reminded of my failed attempt at the 100 push-up program and being the obsessive person I can be, I couldn’t just sit there and watch, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon. I mean, I couldn’t have her being all active and fit without me, now could I?

On day 2 of her visit, she finished 20 push-ups, so I had to see if I could match her…or beat her. And guess what? I did. I accomplished 25 push-ups before falling on my face. (Pat on the back. Hoorah!) This only reminded me that when I’m at home or watching TV, all I need is 10 minutes to get in a quality workout session. Try it!

How it works (if you’re up for the challenge). First off, you need to see just how many proper-form push-ups you can do. By the way, my mom couldn’t do one push-up when she started, but after doing the girly, on-your-knee push-ups to start, she is now able to do 5 regular push-ups – anyone can do it! Very important: Don’t stop until you are shaking and can’t possibly do one more…you’ll kind of want to fall on the floor. 

After the initial test has been accomplished, you will place into one of three levels. After your level has been determined, you move on to the actual program – this means 3 days of your week will be spent doing push-ups. Even if you don’t finish the six weeks, you are guaranteed to increase the amount of push-ups with strong arms to boot!

With a total of 21 push-ups, I fell into level three, but I had to actually do the program in level one because it became too difficult to complete each week.

LEVEL 3: Week 1

Day 1 (rest 60 seconds in between each set) Set 1: 10 push-ups Set 2: 12 push-ups Set 3: 7 push-ups Set 4: 7 push-ups Set 5: max (at least 9)

Day 2 (rest 90 seconds in between each set) Set 1: 10 push-ups Set 2: 12 push-ups Set 3: 8 push-ups Set 4: 8 push-ups Set 5: max (at least 12)

Day 3 (rest 120 seconds in between each set) Set 1: 11 push-ups Set 2: 15 push-ups Set 3: 9 push-ups Set 4: 9 push-ups Set 5: max (at least 13)

As you can see, the days get progressively harder and thus, why I had to switch levels. If at any point it becomes too difficult, just repeat whichever week you are struggling with until it becomes easy. I highly recommend this program to friends because even if you don’t finish, you are guaranteed to increase the amount of push-ups you can do with strong arms to boot!

To view the program in its entirety, visit One Hundred Push-Ups.

The Bosu Push-Up

2.17.2009 I am a huge fan of traditional forms of exercise, e.g. the good ol’ push-up. Truly a glorious strength-training move, the push-up can be performed anywhere at any time, gym or no gym, outside or inside. Muscles worked are the pectorales, deltoids and to a lesser degree your triceps, forearms and also the latissimus dorsi. There were times (1998 & 2008) when I could do 31 of these suckers (yes, off my knees), but now I can only do about 10 in a row without shaking (which is good though it means you're doing it right and gaining results). :(

muscles1

The Bosu (Both Sides Utilized or Both Sides Up) push-up works similar muscles but adds in the element of balance, which increases abdominal and arm strength making it an excellent posture-enhancing move.

How to do a Traditional Push-Up

Kneel down on the floor and place your hands flat on the floor slightly wider than shoulder width apart. With your shoulders directly over your hands, straighten your arms in plank position. Move your feet back, placing your toes on the floor, so that your knees are off the floor and your legs are straight (if you cannot do a regular push-up, place your knees on the floor until you work up to the regular version).

At this point, your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles—your body should remain straight throughout this exercise. Keep your head and neck in line with your body so that you’re looking down toward the floor. Now you’re in the starting position. In a controlled fashion, lower your body down toward the floor, bending your elbows, until your body is nearly touching the floor. Now, push your body up away from the floor, straightening your arms, until you have returned to the starting position.

img000222

How to do a Bosu Push-Up

With the bubble side of the Bosu down, place your hands on the outer edges of the flat platform, making sure they are directly under your shoulders. Always maintain a flat back and tight abs throughout this exercise. Descend until your chest is very close to the platform, and then slowly push back up.

I do about 3 sets of 8-10 reps, but if you’re just starting out, try doing 2 or 3 sets of 2-3 and work your way up! If you can’t do a regular push-up yet, do 3 sets of 5 “girl” push-ups until you’ve worked your way up to the straight-legged version. I know it works because my mom went from doing 0 push-ups to 7 in the course of 3 months—go mom!

And don't forget the most important part: keep breathing at all times; this may sound silly, but sometimes we forget