Category Archives: Exercise & Training

3 Cardio Workouts to Beat Boredom

boring cardioAccording to the Physical Activity Guideline for Americans, you should do 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly. Even if you do the minimum, which means you should do 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity five days a week. This could easily get very boring over time!!

Today, on Answers.com, I wrote on ways to make your cardio more interesting and more effective. I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss these 3 workout ideas I shared with Answers:

1. The 3-Way Split
2. The 30-Minute Cardio and Core Workout
3. The 30-Minute Full Body Cardio and Conditioning Workout

CLICK HERE to get all three workouts on Answers.com!

Top 20 Exercises You Love to Hate, and Hate to Love

Fitness requires going out of your comfort zone. This means you will have a love/hate relationship with some exercises. You will hate to do them, but you will love what they do for you! 

choresSome Exercises Are Really A Chore

Seriously, I’d be lying if I told you I love every exercise. People need to be realistic. You may like a clean home, but that doesn’t mean you enjoy cleaning toilets. While you might not mind wiping down the counters, there will be some things you don’t like to do – but you sure are glad when they are done. In the same way, everyone has that exercise they really would prefer to skip, but you don’t want to skip the results.

No! Anything but THAT!

For most of us, it’s the exercise that takes the most work we hate the most. If only we could spray ourselves down with bleach to melt the fat away. Nope, it’s going to take some elbow grease I’m afraid! The fact is, if it’s an easy exercise, it probably isn’t as effective as the tougher ones.

box jumpsIf you want an effective exercise, you will probably need the exercise that works you where you need it most (normally working your weakest areas). It will be that dreaded exercise that gets your heart pounding out of your chest to the point you think your heart is going to explode. Or, maybe it’s the exercise that burns so much you are convinced your muscles are going to spontaneously bust out in flames. You probably are already thinking of a few exercises that fit this category. It’s OK, we all have a secret list of most-hated exercises. We don’t have to love every exercise we do. We can just love the results!

The Eight I Hate

wall sitsPersonally, my most hated exercises are Big Ax Jacks and Stomps. Oh yeah, I almost forgot wall sits, all yoga and push ups. Oh wait, and there are pull ups and Mary Catherines. OK, maybe I could make my own top 20 list, because I have enough hated exercises to fill up the list on my own. However, if I’m honest (and you know I am) I have to admit most of these most hated exercises are exercises that works my body in ways I need it worked the most. So what does that tell me? I need to do those exercises even MORE. Ughhhhh. The truth stinks!! But you know what they say, the will set you free! :)

As I pondered the most hated (and secretly loved) exercises, I decided to set out and find what other people HATE to do, but LOVE the results. Since we all have different strengths and weaknesses, I fully expected different opinions. At the same time, I also knew there would be a few top picks that almost everyone would agree on. The comments were awesome!

Top 20 Most-Hated Exercises That Work

Below, are the top 20 responses – from awful to worst (I wonder what THAT could be! lol The Hint is in the screen shot from facebook below. haha)!  TIP: Click on the link to view video instruction.

burpees suck20. Thrusters
19. Jump Squats
18. Rope Climb
17. Manmakers
16. Double Unders
15. Pistol Squat (Single Leg Squat)
14. Wall Ups
13. The Gauntlet (Step Mill)
12. Tuck Jumps
11. Wall Sits
10. Pull Ups
9. Stomps
8. Mary Catherines (Plyo split lunges)
7. Push Ups
6. Planks & Side Planks
5. Running
4. Lunges (all types of lunges!)
3. Big Ax Jacks (minus the football stomps in the video)
2. Mountain Climbers
1. Burpees

Add Your Most-Dreaded to the List!

What is your nemesis? What exercise do YOU hate to do, but love the results? Comment below!

live exerciseJoin us on LiveExercise and learn how to incorporate these exercises in your workout. Steve and I lead a cross training workout show each week where we use some of the most hated (and loved) exercises to get you the results you want. We’d love to have you!! Click on the LIVE logo and get workout with us for 2 weeks free! We have 32 LiveXFit workouts you can do, plus over 2,000 other workouts to try too including kickboxing, yoga, chiseled bands, chiseled cardio, dumbbells, toning and more!

Full Body Blasting Circuit

full body circuitAnother awesome blitz from our LiveXFit show on Live Exercise!

This workout is made up of 30 seconds of cardio followed by 10+ heavy reps of resistance exercise. The workout is designed for you to go up in weight each round and stay with 10 reps OR go up 5 reps each round if you stay at the same weight. You probably won’t be able to go super heavy because of the cardio and no rest. So heavy for this circuit will be light compared to traditional weight lifting. For instance, I squat 95-185lbs when I’m just squatting (and resting in between sets). There is NO rest during this circuit, so it’s everything I have to just keep going!

This workout is about burning fat AND toning muscle at the same time – a perfect workout for people on the go who don’t have time to sit around between sets and get extra cardio too!!

Here’s a snap shot of all the exercises:

GET READY TO SWEAT:

Tools: Dumbbells, Kettlebells, bands or barbell – even 2 gallons of water will do!

30 sec squat jumps
10 shoulder presses

30 sec jump rope
10 dips (I added weight to my lap)

30 sec mountain climbers
10 squats

X 3-5 rounds – NO rest between exercises

Check out our LiveXFit show on Live Exercise!

Sweat & Tone! Awesome Shoulder Workout

Shoulder WorkoutThis was my workout yesterday. This is not a bodybuilder workout where you isolate muscles and rest in between exercises. Prepare to SWEAT! I was dripping wet and out of breath practically the whole time. I’m sharing the weight I did so you can get a feel for the right resistance for you. :) Have fun!

Click on the links to see video instruction if you are unfamiliar with an exercise.

#1 SET (5 Sets)
10-12 Heavy Push Presses and Split Jerks
#1: 45lb Bar Standing Military Press
#2: 55lbs Push Press
#3: 65lb Push Press
#4: 75lb Split Jerk
#5 85lb Split Jerk
TIP: Rest between sets so you can lift heavy. Not TOO much rest though. :)

#2 SUPER SET
10 25lb Snatches (10 Left & 10 Right)
10 Alternating Shoulder Press (ladders) with 8-10lb dumbbells (10 each arm/20 total)
TIP: no rest between exercise. Rest AFTER both exercises are complete back to back.

#3 SUPER SET
10 45lb Bar Moderate Military or Push Press
10 8lb Dumbbell Alternating Shoulder Press (Fast ladder press – 10 each arm/20 total)
10 5lb Dumbbell Lateral Raises
TIP: On ladders, one hand should be going down WHILE the other is going up to keep BOTH arms moving. Otherwise one arm gets rest while the other arm works. This super set is about wearing them out.) NO REST until all 3 exercises are complete. Short rest between super sets.

#4 SUPER SET
12 Face Pulls with Rope
12 Rear Delt Raises

Let me know how you do!! :)

5 Ways to Squat

Did you know you can target different parts of your legs by changing the positioning of you feet and where you place your weight? Here is a video explaining how your footing matters.

1. Weight on toes: Works more quadricep
2. Weight on heels: Works more hamstring and glutes
3. Wide stance (Plie Squat): Works more inner thigh.
4. Regular stance: Works neutral (all areas equally)
5. Narrow stance (Sissy Squat): Works more outer thigh.

For a complete leg workout using squats do the following exercises. Can be done with or without weight.

WEIGHT ON HEELS
20 Plie Squats
20 Regular Squats
20 Sissy Squats

WEIGHT ON TOES
20 Plie Squats
20 Regular Squats
20 Sissy Squats

X 2-3 Sets

squatting with wood under toes Tip #1: Wear flat shoes (like Reebok’s CrossFit Nanos) for leg day so you don’t shift your weight on your toes accidentally.

Tip #2: You can add a piece of wood, or small weights under your heels or toes to help you shift your weight where you want it.

Tip #3: Muscle needs to be broken down to repair and get stronger. Too much rest time can be counterproductive.

Tip #4: It’s better to go light, and go DEEP (as long as your knees can handle it) than it is to go heavy and squat shallow. Besides, if you are weaker the deeper you go, that just means THAT is where you need strengthening the most! If you avoid going deep, you are not strengthening the muscles required for deep squats.

 

4 Insane Treadmill Workouts

Steve Pfiester designed 4 KILLER workouts you can do on a treadmill to work your entire body. There are 4 VIDEOS: Upper Body, Lower Body, Conditioning & Cardio. Each video is normally $9.99 (for standard definition, $12.99 for high-def), but NOW they are Only $2.99!!
Use this Discount Code 7OFFNOW
to get $7 OFF any video on our site.

Here’s a video on the workout series:

Download your videos right now!

BCx Treadz Treadmill Workout

Bikini Leg & Back Workout

steve and bonnie pfiesterHere’s one of the leg and back workouts for our Bikini Boot Campers. BCx Bikini Boot Camp is a program we are running for bikini competitors and women just wanting to look fit on the beach. The girls are getting insane results!

For example, Ashley dropped from 23.9% body fat to 16.9% body fat by increasing muscle and decreasing fat in just 4 weeks. Lauren lost 15lbs in 4 weeks without losing one pound of muscle!! SO many success stories! The program incorporates diet, weights, classes and cardio homework. Some of them are competing and some are just going through the training and diet to get in the best shape they can.

Here is a pic of just a few of our girls. We have about 40 in Bikini Boot Camp and 15-20 competing. Congrats girls! You guys are totally rocking!

bikini training

Our bikini boot campers do 3 group workouts a week, plus are given extra cardio and weights homework to do on their own. Here’s a taste of one of our “homework” assignments. (Learn more about our programs at Max Fitness.)

Hamstrings:

hamstring curl NOTE: Click on the exercise to watch video instructions

Prone Hamstring Curl
SETS:                         5
REPS:                         20,18,15,12,10
RESISTANCE:            35,45,50,55,60
REST:                        30-45 seconds max rest time.

Try to keep resistance high but it is more important to hit the rep range goal.  Every set alternate feet position from wide (8”apart) to close (touching)

Alternating Standing Hamstring Curl
SETS:                         5
REPS:                         15
RESISTANCE:            20 (Increase each set as possible)
REST:                        20-30 seconds max rest time.

Keep upper supporting leg (femur) against the pad. Complete 5 sets on both legs.  No rest when switching left and right.

Quadriceps:

Leg Press
SETS:                         5
REPS:                         25,20,15,15,15
RESISTANCE:            2plates, 3plates, 4plates, 5plates, 6plates
REST:                        45-60 seconds max rest time  maintain shoulder width foot position.

Keep seat back in the lowest position to allow for increased ROM. Push with your heals with no pauses, (continuous motion). Try to keep resistance high but it is more important to
hit the rep range goal.

dumbbell walking lungeHeavy Walking Lunges
SETS:                         3
REPS:                         20 (40 total-20 each leg)
RESISTANCE:            15, 20, 25 (2 dumbbells each hand)
REST:                        45-60 seconds max rest time  weight the front foot.

No pause, use continuos motion. Grip strength may become an issue.  Short steps with depth, almost touching the back knee to the ground.

Leg Extension
SETS:                         5
REPS:                         25,20,15,15,15
RESISTANCE:            40,45,50,60,60
REST:                        45-60 seconds max rest time change leg position randomly across all five sets.

Make sure to get full ROM by allowing your legs to go all the way down and all the way up.  NO PAUSING (use continuous motion)

BACK

Wide Grip Pull Down  

SETS:                         5
REPS:                         15
RESISTANCE:            50,60,70,?,?
REST:                        45 seconds max rest time, superset each set with 10 push ups.

Remember when pulling down to imagine pushing DOWN with your elbows instead of pulling down with your hands.  Stay extended through your thorax (bow your chest up) towards the bottom end of the range as you try to touch your clavicle (collar bone) with the bar.

Close Grip Pull Down  

SETS:                         5
REPS:                         15
RESISTANCE:            50,60,70,?,?
REST:                        45 seconds max rest time, superset each set with 20 (each side) bicycle crunches.

Remember when pulling down to imagine pushing DOWN with your elbows instead of pulling down with your hands.  Stay extended through your thorax (bow your chest up) towards the bottom end of the range as you try to touch your chest with the close grip handles keeping your elbows in close. Remember to keep your elbows out wide and rotate your body to touch your elbow to your knee (instead of pointing your elbows forward to reach your knee). Focus on rotation through the waist.

bicycle crunches

Seated wide Grip Row  

SETS:                         4
REPS:                         15
RESISTANCE:            50,60,70,?,?
REST:                        45 seconds max rest time, superset each set with 20 side plank pulses .

Remember when pulling back low into your waist try to imagine pushing BACK with your elbows instead of pulling BACK with your hands.  Stay extended through your thorax (bow your chest up) towards the end of the range as you try to touch your navel with the bar (USE LONG PULL DOWN BAR AND GRIP ON THE OUTSIDE ANGLE.

Leg Workout Graphic:

BIKINI LEG WORKOUT

Peddle Yourself Fit: How to Get the Most Out of a Stationary Bike

exercise bikeI run into a lot of people nursing injuries, or limited by joint issues. Unfortunately, as soon as someone is injured they often quit exercising altogether – but there is hope! It’s called a stationary bike.

If you have ever been to a rehabilitation center, you know physical therapist rely heavily on Stationary Bikes. It gets the patient’s joints moving without extra weight on the joint, it’s safe (less chance of falling off a bike than a treadmill) and it exercises the heart and lunges.

If you are unable to do weight bearing exercise (like walking, running or doing the elliptical), using a stationary bike is a great alternative – IF you use it right.

Here are 4 ways to peddle your way to fitness success.

big boy on small bike1. Learn proper set-up. Have you ever seen a big person on a little bike. It looks ridiculous doesn’t it? Well, it’s not just silly looking, it’s dangerous. Before you begin your workout, adjust the seat where your legs comfortably stretch out to reach the peddles. When your leg is stretched out all the way, your leg should only have a slight bend without locking the knee out at full extension. If you are bike shopping, don’t cut corners just to save money. Cheap bikes often are tipsy and not as comfortable. Your health is worth the investment. Look for a wide base, comfortable seat, heart rate monitor, built-in workout programs and sturdy framing to make your workout more enjoyable.

sleeping on exercise bike

2. No coasting. Many people get on a bike like they are going out for some kind of joy ride instead of actually working out. They peddle slowly, as if that is going to do something miraculous. Maybe it’s because they are comfortable. With recumbent bikes these days, bikes have nice cushy backs on the seat and even arm rests, so no wonder you may start yawning! You can’t coast your way to success. Ride like you are going somewhere.

3. Peddle with purpose. I see some people hop on the bike and mentally leave the planet into some far off land. If you want your bike exercise to change your body, and your health, you need to have a gang plan. Many bikes, like the NordicTrac GX 3.4, have built in workout programs. The GX 3 actually has 23 programs to choose from, so you could practically have a fresh new workout every time you ride throughout each month! If your bike has programs, USE THEM! Don’t just peddle at your own pace, use the programs to train and challenge you.

4. Track your heart rate. Your heart rate is the most accurate way to determine how hard you are working. First, find out your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age). Then, multiple that number by your desired target heart rate. 60-70% for beginners, 70-80% for intermediate training and 80-90% for advanced training. Interval workouts are even more effective for fat burning and conditioning. Interval workouts are when you exercise at a high peak of 80-90% of your maximum heart rate, followed by a recovery period at a lower heart rate. For example, 1 minute at 80-90%, followed by 2 minutes at 70-80% for a high intensity workout, or 2 minutes at 70-80% of your maximum heart rate followed by 3 minutes at 60-70% for a moderate intensity workout.

target-heart-rate-table1

Fit Legs: Leg Workout

sexy legsHere’s a new Leg Workout designed for women by Bikini Coach and personal trainer, Steve Pfiester, created for the gym. Let us know how you like it!

Rest Time:
45 SECONDS max rest time between sets
2 minutes between exercises

Hack squats: 4 sets/15 reps each
suggested: start with 1-25lb plate on only one side.

Try to increase each set,  BUT it is more important to get 15 reps than go heavier and stop early

Single leg leg press: 4 sets/20 reps each
suggested: start with 1-25lb plate on only one side.

Try to increase each set,  BUT it is more important to get 20 reps than go heavier and stop early

hamstring curls

Ham string curls: 5sets > #1 20 reps, #2 18 reps, #3 15 reps, #4 15 reps, #5 12 reps
Suggested: Start at 35lbs and go heavier by 5-10lbs every set.  Please maintain your reps

Leg Extension: 5 sets/ 15 reps
Suggested: Start at 40lbs and go up.  But keep you reps up

Fat Burning Bikini Workout

snatch overhead lunge

This workout is a fat-burning workout with an emphasis on toning the lower body, shoulders and abs. Weight and rest is SUPER important. Weight should be challenging and rest should not go one second over the prescribed rest time. Each round should take 15 minutes, making this workout a killer 45 minute workout. Click on the exercise to see video demonstration.

#1 COUPLET 
40 Seconds Box Jump
20 Seconds Rest
40 Seconds Thrusters (35LB OR 45LB)
60 Seconds Rest

#2 COUPLET
40 Seconds Snatch to Overhead Lunge (10, 12, or 15LB DBS – pictured above)
20 Seconds Rest
40 Seconds Tuck Jumps
60 Seconds Rest

#3 COUPLET
40 Seconds Jump Rope
20 Seconds Rest
40 Seconds Assisted Pull-up (use bands to assist or do HEAVY pull downs)
60 Seconds

#4 COUPLET
40 Seconds Diagonal Elbow to Knee Plank Crunch
20 Seconds Rest
40 Seconds Bicycle Crunch
60 Seconds Rest

#5 COUPLET
40 Seconds Kettlebell Swing (HEAVY!!)
20 Seconds Rest
40 Seconds Step Back Lunge (with 10, 15, 20 OR 25LB DBS   or PLATES)
60 Seconds Rest

Complete 3 Rounds

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