Some days you just can't face it. One more session on the bike, treadmill, or stair machine feels like it will kill you. When cardio dread hits you, just break it up into smaller parts. For example, do ten minutes of cardio in the beginning of your work out, train a body part, do ten more minutes, train another body part, and finish up with a final ten minutes on your cardio machine of choice. It's easy to skip it when you aren't feeling it, but by knocking it out even when you don't want to will get you over the cardio blues.
It's something that you already know, but let's go over it again. You can lose weight and rev up your metabolism simply by walking. You can also elevate your mood and in many cases, crack the code to overcoming the cravings that often come at the end of each day. By taking a walk after dinner, every night, you are going to become a believer. I'm not talking about some arduous pilgrimage through rough terrain or walking the local shopping mall. I'm talking about getting up from your meal, passing on dessert, and walking in your neighborhood for even just two tiny miles. In a month, even if you only walk four days a week, you will cover forty miles, and burn 4000 calories. Those are results that everyone has time for.
It Fixes More Than You Think
When you keep this appointment with yourself, the benefits really go beyond what exercise offers. I do my walk without my phone. Don't be scared. You can do it. Just leave it at home, and walk out the door. The freedom you get may surprise you. Not only that, but in the absence of your phone, you may understand how reliant you are on this technology - which is not always a good thing. Simply be present in your walk, and see what 40 minutes can do. A tech diet is good for everyone. You really won't miss a thing.
Killing The Cravings
It can take 20 minutes for the signal to go from the receptors in your stomach to your brain that tell you to stop eating. By eating a sensible dinner, and getting up and heading out, you give time for that process to occur. I have never come home after a walk and been hungry. I find that the method of "Eat and Walk" will also completely erase my desire for something sweet. I don't know how. It just does.
Sticking With It
When I return from my walk, I make a little note on my calendar (yes - my paper one) so I can see how far I've gone in a "week by week" and "month by month" basis. It makes it more fun, and if something isn't fun, chances are, you won't stick with it. I keep it fresh by walking different routes and exploring streets I haven't been down. I like seeing the different landscaping designs and color schemes that people use on their homes. It gives me something to look forward to, and I use a very simple "20 minutes is a mile" method to track my distances. It's not exactly accurate, but for this, it's close enough.
You Have The Time
I had friend tell me a long time ago, that no matter what you do, the time will pass. So this summer, get out there and walk after dinner. I bet by August, many of you have gone beyond 100 miles. That is real. So, as the summer passes, you can get out and be a part of it and cover the distance of a few marathons, or you can have that second helping everyday and complain that your bathing suit must have shrunk. Totally up to you.......
Ladies, we all need to up our calf game. There is no better time than the legging covered winter to work on the body part that gets all the attention when you throw on your favorite heels. Carving out a nice set of calves takes persistence. But all that constant work means nothing if you aren't doing things the right way to get the look you want.
In knowing how to build and shape the calf muscle, we need to first understand what we are dealing with. The calves are constantly working and always under load from everything we do all day long. As a result, the muscles in the calf are very dense, and are a unique combination of both slow and fast twitch muscle. Additionally, the calves can be a couple of degrees colder than the more central muscle groups, so getting them to respond takes strategy.
Hollywood legend Steve Reeves was known to spend his mornings on his tiptoes. He felt that immediately stimulating the calves after lying down all night was a good way to force them to grow. He also had an amazing body at a point in time when no one had an amazing body - so he may have known what he was doing. Want to give it a shot? Just try standing on your toes when you brush your teeth. Even small, incremental stimulation can push your muscles to change.
Three Ways To Get Them Going:
The Seated Calf Raise : This is a staple to build lower calf strength. I like to do these as a starting exercise to really get my achilles stretched out as I get the blood flowing. I keep the weight light and move slowly through the movement like a ballet dancer getting up on her toes. Bouncing is not the way. Keep control - and keep your weight low and your reps high. I feel that overloading on this exercise can create a thickness in the lower calf area that doesn't benefit the desired shape.
Leg Press Calf Raises : Here is where I add the weight. I put just enough to make 20 reps challenging. If you load it right and get a full range of movement, 20 will be more than enough. I also change my foot position here during my three sets. I go from inline, to slightly outward , to slightly inward. If you start bouncing, you are going too heavy. Lighten up and do it right. Think about how you would press if you were trying to look over a wall. Pay attention not to shock load your knees here as well. A slight bend is all it takes - just keep them from being locked out - but don't let the quads sneak in to help you either. That's called cheating.
Standing Calf Raise : I have a love/hate relationship with this one. I love the feeling of the deep muscle stretch it gives me, but I hate the marks it can leave on my shoulders. To combat this, I use a lighter weight, and really relax at the bottom of the movement to get the full benefit of that elongation. When you feel it, you will know you are in the right spot.
If you don't want to risk the shoulder marks from the standing calf raise, try the standing dumbbell calf raise. Flex hard at the top and relax the muscle as you lower back to the floor. It's not exactly the same, but if you don't enjoy your workout, you aren't going to stick with it, so alternatives are always a good thing. Using a couple of weight plates under your toes can give you an additional range of movement that you wont get from just being on the floor.
Simple But Effective
To get good calves, you have to plan your work, and then work your plan. Accessory muscles can be overlooked. Don't do that. Training your calves regularly will not only give your legs an overall better shape, but will give you more balance and confidence in every move you make. Brush your teeth on your toes, don't bounce in the gym, keep them stretched out, and the next time you put on your favorite heels, you're going to steal the show.
When you need a cardio and a glute workout but don't have a lot of time, consider using a lateral elliptical. It's a great option. I like to focus on activating the glutes and outer thighs. I run through intervals that go like this:
Set Up - Select the wide width with a medium level of resistance. On my machine it's about an 8 ( you should be able to breathe easily yet maintain a fair amount of resistance).
1. Begin upright for one minute
2. Drop back in to a seated position for 30 sec
3. Shift your weight to the left leg for 15 sec
4. Shift your weight to the right leg for 15 sec
5. Back to seated position for 30 sec
6. Back up right for a minute
Total time 30 min.
Buiilding and shaping my calves has always been a challenge and something I have to work at. As of late this is my favorite calf exercise is the standing stability ball calf raise. You can get a really good lift, so nice range of motion, and I get better results than with more traditional weighted raises. I typically do fairy high reps about 20 in each of the three directions, straight, v position and inward. Take your time and I promise you will feel them!
I am often asked what my preferred exercises are for various body parts. So I thought I would provide video clips of the ones I have found to be the most effective. Today's body part is outer thigh and the exercise is the FlyBarre Knee Taps . You can use a ballet bar, or the back of a chair would work too, and a small mini band. Bands can be purchased for a couple of bucks at any sporting goods store. Here is the setup:
glu·te·us ɡlo͞otēəs/ noun
Though they are the largest muscle in the body, it is easy to forget about them. After all they are behind you! But a drooping bottom is not a great look. Below are some of my favorite butt raising exercises that can be done in the gym or at home. They are very effective and much cheaper than a surgical butt lift or enhancement.
My preference is to do a focused glute workout two times a week and incorporate ongoing work through other exercises. Step mill is a great cardio option for glutes. I will often add a glute-focused exercise on my leg day and some Smith bar squats to warm up on other days.
If you have been working out for a while, use a weight that allows you to complete the exercise but feels like you are working hard. You can use dumbbells, weighted straight bars and plates. If you are new to working out, or its the first time you have done these exercises or balance is an issue, do them first with no weight until you feel confident. Slowly add weight to make the exercise more challenging. I also mix up my exercises choosing a few that I perform with a heavy weight (3 -5 sets of 8 - 10 reps) and others with a lighter weight (5 sets at 20 reps).
Final words: Focus on great form with a challenging weight and/or reps and vary the exercises. Even switching exercise order can often change the intensity.
The following require some equipment or should be done at a gym
Single Leg Deadlifts
Smith Machine Squat primary muscle is quadriceps but glutes are secondary and its one of my favorites because I can go deep with the weight without stressing my lower back.
Stiff Legged Deadlift
Ball Leg Lift for Glutes
Inverted Leg Press
Butt Blaster (Butt blasters vary depending on manufacturer. Be sure to review instruction on the equipment.)
Minimal equipment needed, can be done almost anywhere
Step Ups (Beginners should do without any weight first)
Lateral Band Squat Walk
Leg Fire Hydrants
Squat with Side Leg Lift
Weighted Curtsy Lunge (I like to alternate legs. The video here shows one leg at a time.)
Forward/ Back Lunge ( Add weight as you advance.)
Plie Squats with Calf Raise (Add a barbell across upper back to increase difficulty.)
Fit In a Peanut Butter World is a blog created to provide information as it relates to skin, body and food health.