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The Importance of Periodization Training

It’s important to understand that the body has a very cool and effective ability to adapt to anything. At the same time, when it comes to increasing physical enhancement, our bodies need a change of stimulus; we have to alter patterns of movement and increase the amount of resistance placed upon the body. The body will only respond when it has a demand placed upon it that it has never dealt with before; this is referred to as the maximum overload principle.

Understanding How the Body Responds to Physical Stimuli

By alternating stimuli and forcing the body to work to adapt, we increase the number of muscle fibers that are broken down and we write new neurological patterns in the brain. This ultimately makes us stronger, faster, and more efficient. It will also increase proprioceptive awareness, help with weight loss, increase lean muscle, and enhance cognitive function.

Periodization Training – What You Need to Know

The key to achieving all this is periodization training. Periodization training is a type of program that has set goals which are divided into a series of cycles. A periodization training program can be set up differently for everyone; it’s only dictated by the individual’s personal goals. Again, the focus of each cycle is personalized to the client’s unique fitness goals or training goals. Any protocol can be altered according to the individual’s specific goals, but your body needs a chance to adapt to one before moving into another phase. It will typically take about 4-16 workouts for an athlete or fitness client to adapt to their workout plan, and this is the ideal point when exercises should be altered or changed.

Customize Your Periodization Training Program

Here are a few examples of how simple it is to alter or customize your training program in order to maximize the benefits: (your trainer can guide you in customizing your program effectively)

  • Increase or decrease the number of repetitions per set, or the number of sets of each exercise (depending on your goal)
  • Increase the amount of resistance
  • Shorten the rest period between sets, exercises or training sessions
  • Change the order of the exercises, or the types of exercises
  • Increase the speed at which you complete each exercise

Supporting Evidence: Periodization Training Gets Results

The most cited study conducted on the enhanced benefits of periodization training (as compared to non periodization training) was done at the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University. It shows that a periodized strength-training program can produce better results than a non-periodized program.

Don’t Expect Results from Repetition Alone

I cannot emphasize enough just how important periodization training is any to anyone looking to increase and improve their strength, speed, endurance, stability, or any other fitness goal they’ve set. Following the same program month after month will leave you stuck in the mud, expecting results that you are not going to get from sticking with the same routine repeatedly. Einstein said it best – his definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So, get on it! Start periodizing your routines, meeting your goals, and enjoying the results that you deserve to have.

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Explode Through Your Bodybuilding Plateaus with Anabolic Priming

Have you ever heard a bodybuilder say, “You need to work your legs to build your arms”? While there is in fact quite a lot of truth to this advice, it also hints at a solution to break through training plateaus and pack on muscle when you’re a hard gainer. This article explains how to use exercise to anabolically “prime” your body to boost workout gains and offer a natural alternative to the use of dangerous and illegal steroids.

Exercise and adaptation responses

Most serious bodybuilders and exercisers will have experienced the frustration of training plateaus – that is the more they work out, the harder it is to make gains in muscle size and strength. Why is this? To put it very simply, the reason is that the once wide window of adaptation when beginning a workout routine for the first time has now shrunk several fold.

Weights and exercise intensities that used to stimulate muscle size and strength no longer have the same effect. Under natural (non-steroid/drug enhanced) development conditions, the human body places restrictions on adaptation to ensure survival and balance or homeostasis.

It would appear that the solution to this problem would be to increase the body’s anabolic hormone response to allow for further adapation however, the “natural regulation” process frustrates many bodybuilders and causes many to look to steroids for a solution.

Exercise and the anabolic hormone response

In an earlier article on our website we discussed the interaction of bodybuilding-type exercises and the hormonal responses associated with them. Anabolic steroids we explained are responsible not only for “building up” and enlarging various types of tissue such as muscle and bone but also for directly increasing strength, which indirectly leads to further gains in muscle size. In the same article, we mentioned that anabolic hormone response can be manipulated with exercise.

According to the NSCA – the world’s leading authority on strength and conditioning, manipulating one or a combination of the following factors can naturally boost testosterone levels:

· Exercises that use large muscle groups

· Exercises that use heavy resistance (85-95% 1RM)

· Moderate to high exercise volume (multiple exercises/sets)

· Short rest periods between exercises (How does this type of exercise create a more anabolic environment in the body?

The following are some of the suspected mechanisms leading to the increased anabolic state:

· Since control of anabolic hormone release is directly dependent on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (the link between the hypothalamus and pituitary gland), it is possible that intense physical exercise/stress itself may stimulate increased concentrations either directly or indirectly

· Fluid shifts from the blood into the cells during intense exercise may concentrate hormone levels with no actual increase in secretion levels

· Venous pooling of blood (muscle “pump”) in the exercised muscle may increase hormone concentrations by reducing clearance and degradation in organs like the liver. It is also suspected that retention of blood in the veins of the exercised muscle may increase the time of exposure and the likelihood of the hormone binding with its specific receptor in muscle tissue

· Sarcolemmas (membranes surrounding muscles) of involved muscles are mechanically sensitized (stretched) from force generation stress and made more permeable to available anabolic hormones and growth factors

What is the suggested protocol for using exercise as an anabolic primer?

A good way for a bodybuilder to take advantage of the body’s natural anabolic priming system is to perform a combined upper and lower body routine. In other words, upper and lower body exercises are performed in the same workout session.

This type of routine can, for example be performed 2 – 3 times per week to separate any upper/lower body split programs. On the split days, you can still choose to perform just the “priming exercises” before exercising the arms and back for example.

The hormone “spike ” induced from the exercising of the large muscles of the legs early in the routine creates a greatly boosted anabolic environment for exercising the smaller, less powerful muscles of the upper body like the chest and arms. Increases in testosterone will also boost strength levels via increased motor nerve activity which will in turn, allow for more exercise-induced muscle damage and muscle growth (ideal for “hard arm size gainers”).

So to anabolically prime your body, try performing the following:

Begin your weightlifting session with 3 – 4 sets of deadlifts or squats at 85 – 95% of your 1 RM (if you don’t know your 1 RM, aim for 2 – 6 repetitions)

· Rest no longer than 60 seconds between sets

· Perform your traditional combined upper body/lower body routine or split routine as normal

· Drink a carbohydrate and protein mix drink during and after your routine as this has shown to boost IGF-I levels

In closing, this article has briefly explained the concept of “anabolic priming” using exercise. It is suggested that you experiment with other exercises that will have the same effect as squats and deadlifts to avoid boredom and ensure a varied training stimulus and sufficient anabolic response.

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Should I Do Full Body Workouts Or Body Part Splits?

This is a question that many people in a fitness program ask themselves and it is a very valid question. If you Google this topic, you will likely see a variety of answers for both sides as to which is better. Truth is, the real answer is … IT DEPENDS !!! Both are very valid strategies and both have their pros and cons. I have also gotten results with clients using both strategies but how to decide which to do can be a tough proposition. Here is a breakdown that can help guide you to your decision:

You should do a full body workout if:

You are brand new to working out

For those who are new to working out or are starting back after a very long break, full body is best. Your muscular endurance is low and needs to be built back up. Most people will see plenty of results in the first 2-4 weeks with just 1-2 exercises per muscle group.

You are inconsistent in following workout plans

The last you want to do when doing any sort of fitness program is to create muscle imbalances due to inconsistent training. If you start out with body part splits (Chest / Triceps one day, Legs next, etc …) and you start missing workouts, you put yourself at risk of developing muscular imbalances since not all of your muscle groups are being trained the same . For example, if you train your chest every week but forget to train your back, you are likely to develop postural issues which can lead to stagnation in progress and even injury.

Looking for a simple, quick way to work your full body each time you workout

Most people like the feeling of being efficient with their time when in the gym as they have busy lives and workout times are at a premium. There are many ways to do full body workouts and provides plenty of variety for most people.

Only have 2-3 days per week to commit to resistance training

Similar to above if you only have 2 to 3 days per week to commit to resistance training then full body is best. While it is possible to do body part splits in 3 days, it is more beneficial to work your whole body 3 times over the course of a week instead of just once per week.

You should do body part splits if:

You want to resistance train 3-5 times per week

If you are like me, you enjoy lifting weight and like to do so most days of the week. Body part splits are a great way to break up muscle groups over the course of 3-5 days and really focus on 1 or 2 muscle groups at a time.

You want to focus on only a few muscle groups each workout

Once you have been working out for a while, you may decide that your muscle groups need more attention that just 1 exercise per workout. In body part split workouts, you will do 2-6 exercises per muscle group depending on what muscle group or groups you are working.

You have been working out consistently and have stuck to a plan for longer than 3 months

If you have been consistent enough for 3 months (consistent meaning working out at least 4-5 days / week every week) then you most likely have the discipline to start doing body part split workouts. It is extremely important that you possess this discipline because if you do not, then you are at greater risk of developing muscular imbalances from missed workouts.

As you can see, there is no right or wrong with these styles, it's a matter of which fits you best. Some people jump back and forth between full body workouts and body part splits, which can be a great way to really switch up your fitness program and jumpstart your results.

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Compound Exercises Without Weights – Let Me Show You How to Succeed Without a Gym

COMPOUND EXERCISES WITHOUT WEIGHTS – IT CAN WORK FOR YOU

Do you want to use a proven method that's guaranteed to add quality muscle mass to your frame while bulking you up safely, without the strength imbalances that can sabotage carelessly-constructed strength training programs?

Of course you do. You want to use compound exercises.

If you eat enough food to gain weight while using compound movements, you will build muscle and create a spectacular, powerful body that's operating at peak efficiency.

COMPOUND EXERCISES WITHOUT WEIGHTS – NO GYM REQUIRED

No well-equipped gym? No problem.

Every good strength training program uses three main types of exercises: push , pull , and squat . You can easily get the benefits of these proven exercise variations without any equipment.

Push exercises are those in which you push away from your body. Movements like push-ups (press-ups), overhead presses, and dips are all pushing movements.

Pulling exercises are those which force you to pull toward your body. Pull-ups, rowing moves, and their variations are all pulling movements.

Squats comprise many movements which all have as their unifying concept the act of straightening a bent leg against resistance. The normal 2-legged squat is the most obvious example, but lunges and step-ups also fit into the squat category.

So, if you pick two exercises from each group – squat, pull , and push , you can get a full-body compound workout that strengthens your body as a unit.

COMPOUND EXERCISES WITHOUT WEIGHTS – SAMPLE FULL-BODY WORKOUT

You always want to start with squats, since they require the most energy. Then alternate a push movement and a pull movement. After completing each category of movement, repeat the squat, push, pull group again, using a different, easier set of exercises.

1 Lunges
2 Chin-ups
3 Divebomber Push-Ups
4 Squats
5 Jumping Pull-Ups
6 Regular Push-Ups

There you have it! A full-body compound workout without any weights required. Some of you are probably shouting " Wait! What about arms? " That's the beauty of compound movements: you can work your "small" body parts while also hitting the more massive parts like chest and back. Without you work your body as a single unit, you will never develop the sort of size that's possible with a full-body compound workout.

Of course, if you add a set of dumbbells, you can add many more movements to your full-body workout. You'll find it easier to perform overhead presses and rows, but it is not necessary for beginners or anyone who wants to keep in shape to use weights. Bodyweight exercises are great, especially compared to doing nothing!

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Bodylastics Workout – 3 Crucial Elements to Get Muscle Building Results Fast

I find it very funny when a person thinks that they can’t get results from a Bodylastics workout. I’ve seen and read a few comments from people, such as… “Oh Those Resistance Bands Won’t Get Me Any Muscle Building Results, Only Free Weights or a Home Gym Will.”

These type of statements are false and misleading. It seems that these individuals have been brainwashed or are acting just like robots. They will only do what they’re told and won’t try anything new. All the hype on the Internet and on TV saying, “This home gym will give you amazing results in as little as 3 days.”

People here this and they say well, it must be true they’re saying it. They pitch it as though their product is the only way to achieve bodybuilding results. It’s a dirty shame.

The truth is, no matter how you exercise, you will get results. There are certain things that you must do though, in order to make sure that you get the proper results you want from your workouts. To achieve proper muscle growth, you must follow these key principles.

Key Elements to a Bodylastics Workout Or Any Muscle Building Program

Proper Rest:

Your muscles don’t grow while you’re working out you’re actually tearing muscle fiber. Muscle grows while you are asleep; the body releases “growth hormone”, which aids in the growth of muscle. This is why it is extremely important to get at least eight hours of sleep every night especially if you’re following an intense workout program.

Progressive Resistance:

All that this means is that each time you workout, you add a little more weight than last time. This is one of the main issues with exercises such as push-ups; backspace. In this type of body weight workout, you’re only using your own body’s weight as resistance. Consequently, the more push-ups you perform the less you are impacting the strength building and muscle building properties of your body.

High repetition bodyweight exercises are great for building muscular endurance however; they do nothing to increase muscular size or greater strength.

Proper Nutrition:

In addition to getting adequate rest, you must feed your body in order for it to grow. I love it when I see on TV, you can still diet and become muscular and lean at the same time. It’s an oxymoron.

So that’s what I was originally talking about, “Can a Bodylastics Workout Get You Results.”

It seems so silly to me that this is even discussed. The answer is, of course you can. How big you get is based on how much you workout, how many calories you consume and if you get proper rest.

You can grow muscle with resistance bands workouts just as well as free weights, Bowflex or any other home gym. In fact, there are some exercises that are done better with resistance bands; however, we will discuss that at a later date.

If you are currently using free weights, dumbbells or even the P90X workout you may want to incorporate some of the tips that you have read about in this article into your exercise routine. If you are using resistance bands, then take the ideas presented in this Bodylastics workout article and you’ll quickly see the difference in muscle size, strength and lean muscle mass.

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Build Your Glamor Muscles With These Bicep Exercises

When talking about fitness big arms or the glamor muscles are put in the conversation very easily. Are you pleased with the size or definition of your biceps? If not try these bicep exercises to get them looking nice.

1. EZ-Bar Bicep Curl – One of the most common curl exercises. This one lives up to it's name. Using an ez-bar to do curls makes life easier. It makes it easier to do the exercise.

When doing these make sure to not rock the weight for momentum or allow elbows to move forward. If you can avoid these two common mistakes you will get the most out of your bicep workout.

2. Resistance Band Curl -Using resistance bands are a great way to attack any muscle group if weights are not an option for you.

Stand on resistance band with feet a little wider than should width apart to do the curls.

3. Concentration Curl – While sitting on a bench with feet on the ground. Bend over and grab a dumbbell with palms up. While doing curl your elbow should be touching the inside of your thigh. Switch arms since you will be doing curls with one arm at a time.

4. Hammer Curl – Stand shoulder width apart with dumbbells at your side with palms facing in. Curl dumbbells one at a time. When you get to the top squeeze bicep, pause briefly and return back to starting position.

5. Standing Dumbbell Curl – Similar to hammer curls with the starting position. The only difference is when you lift the weight. When lifting the weight you want to turn your wrists and the dumbbells toward your body.

6. Kettlebell Bottoms up Clean – With 1 kettlebell on your side swing it back and then curl it up. The bottom of the kettlebell should be facing towards the ceiling. Not only will this build strength in the biceps it will also build forearm strength.

7. Seated Dumbbell Curl – Same as standing dumbbell curls but you are sitting down on a bench. It is just a different option. Maybe you are feeling a little fatigued and want to sit down and work your biceps.

8. Kettlebell Towel Curl – Put a towel through the dumbbell (obviously by the name). Perform a curl. Make sure the towel end toward the kettlebell is facing the outside of your hand with your thumb facing forward. Do this one right and you will torch your biceps.

Whether its spring, summer, fall, or winter you can have your glamor muscles looking awesome if you add these bicep exercises into your workout routine.

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My Top 15 Non-Traditional, Muscle Building, Fat Scorching Workouts

If you have been a subscriber to my newsletter for some time, you know that I’m always trying to give you ways to make your workouts more interesting and fun, while also stimulating big-time results. Don’t you agree that your training should be fun? This is what separates the people who jump on and off the “fitness bandwagon” a couple times every year without ever making any real progress from the people that actually adopt a true fitness lifestyle and finally achieve the body they have always wanted. Make it interesting, make it fun, and make your fitness a priority, and you’ll have the body that you want.

What I have noticed over the years is that many people will train regularly for a few months and then will either get bored with the same old weight training and cardio routines, or will get discouraged because their progress comes to a grinding halt after a while. In my opinion, I don’t think your workouts ever need to get boring or stale. You just need to have an open mind to the huge world of various training styles and techniques that are out there. Seriously, there are so many different and fun training styles out there, that there is no reason you should ever get bored with your workouts and give up on that lean ripped body that you’ve been looking for. Also, mixing in various training styles builds stronger joints by reducing repetitive movement pattern overload and varying your training stressors.

Now before I start with some of my favorite non-traditional training styles, I will state that I think one of the best ways to achieve a lean, muscular and healthy body is through a consistent weight training routine with free weights. You can choose to integrate some of these alternative training techniques with your weight training routines on the same day, as alternative workouts on separate days of the week, or even as separate training cycles where you try some of these techniques for several weeks at a time before cycling back to a traditional weight training workout. Try some of these training styles out and you’ll be on your way to never being bored again with your workouts…and your body will thank you with muscles popping out that you never knew existed!

Alright, here are some of my favorite non-traditional training techniques:

1. Staircase Workouts – This is great because stairs are everywhere. You can go to a football field and do stadium stairs, any building that has stairs like a hotel (most people take the elevator, so you will not even have many people looking at you while you’re working out), or even the stairs in your own home. For an awesome full body workout, try mixing stairs sprints with an upper body exercise like pushups or pull-ups. If done with a high enough intensity, stairs workouts help to create changes throughout your entire body due to the muscle building and fat burning hormonal response and metabolism increase that you get through working the biggest muscle groups in your entire body. If you thought that going up and down the stairs was the only way to get a good stairs workout…think again. My fellow trainer and friend, Virgil Aponte, has developed a website that focuses on creative stairs workouts using all kinds of exercises you never would have thought of before. You can find out more info on stairs exercises workouts at my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

2. Wind Sprints and Hill Sprints – Find any open field in a park or athletic field and try 50, 75, and 100-yard all-out wind sprints. After each sprint, rest long enough to catch your breath before the next one (generally 1-2 minutes). Try workouts of anywhere from 6 to 20 wind sprints for a great “cutting” workout. Also, if you have a hill nearby, hill sprints are also great workouts. Sprint up the hill as fast as you can and walk down for your rest interval. Repeat until you’re whooped (a 20-30 minute hill workout is plenty). These sprint workouts are so amazingly effective at changing your entire body for the same reason as stairs exercises…by powerfully working the biggest muscle groups in your entire body, you greatly stimulate your metabolism while simultaneously increasing your fat burning and muscle building hormones.

Just look at any world class 100-meter sprinters and notice how ripped-to-shreds those guys are. Now compare that to the emaciated weakling physiques of many marathoners, and you’ll see that sprinting is where the action is at for a healthy, ripped, powerful body! Now I don’t want to upset all of you distance runners out there. Hey, if distance running is something you enjoy, then go right ahead. But don’t say you’re doing it for the health benefits, because I might just have to disagree. You can read my full story on why I believe variable intensity training is far superior to steady-state endurance training in one of my other ezinearticles.com articles at Cardio-Enthusiasts: Discover a More Effective Training Method for Fat Loss and Heart Health!

3. Kettlebell Training – If you’ve been reading my articles for some time, you’ve probably heard me praise kettlebell training many times before, but I will have to reiterate that it has been one of the best training methods that I’ve ever tried and has taken my physical capabilities to a whole new level. Kettlebells are an alternative type of free-weight training instead of barbells and dumbbells. Their unique construction and weight distribution (basically a cannonball with a handle) allows for a whole different realm of exercises that’s available compared to dumbbells and barbells. Kettlebells have been typically used for training hard-core athletes, military units, martial arts competitors, and other tough individuals, but there is no reason that anybody looking to get stronger, bigger, or more cut can’t learn the exercises and benefit from them.

It’s been a little over a year now since I’ve incorporated kettlebell training into my routines, and I’ll admit that I’m hooked for life! At between $100-$150 per kettlebell, they are definitely not cheap, but they are well worth the money. Just one or two kettlebells and you’ve literally got yourself an entire home gym that you can use for the rest of your life…worth every penny in my book! If you want to give these body-hardening kettlebells a try, you can find more info at my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

4. Bodyweight Workouts – For a change of pace, try adding to your routine one or two workouts a week at home with just bodyweight based exercises. These can be great because you can get a high intensity workout done in only 15-30 minutes without having to go to the gym on days that you might not have time for a trip to the gym. Try alternating bodyweight squats, pushups variations, lunges, and floor abs exercises continuously for 15-30 minutes. Try to take very short rest periods or none at all to really amp up the intensity since this will be a brief workout. If you’re more advanced, you can even incorporate more challenging exercises like handstand pushups, one-arm pushups, and one-legged squats into your bodyweight training routines.

5. Ring Training – This type of training basically uses portable gymnastic rings that you can take anywhere with you. You throw the straps up over any high bar like a pullup bar, the top of a power rack, or even over a football field goal crossbar. Then you can quickly adjust the rings to do exercises like ring dips, ring pushups, ring pull-ups, hanging leg raises, horizontal body rows, L-sits, and more. Dips and pushups on the rings are my favorites and the rings really make them a hell of a lot more difficult, while also incorporating your stabilizer muscles to a much greater degree. The rings allow your joints to move in a more natural pattern and can help you prevent or even recover from shoulder injuries. Personally, when I try dips on a normal dip stand, it hurts my shoulders. However, dips on the training rings feel perfect, and also give me a much better muscle pump. The training rings are one of the best training devices I’ve ever bought. Give them a try…I think you’ll like them if you’re up for a challenge. I found my rings, which you can hang up easily on a power rack, pullup bars, or at a park, at ringtraining.com.

6. Swimming – A great full body workout that stresses the muscles and joints in a much different way than most resistance training. Incorporating swimming workouts once or twice a week into your normal training routines can really enhance your physique. I recommend trying a “sprint” style swimming workout, which will help more for building muscle compared with endurance long distance swimming. For sprint style, swim as hard as you can to the other side of a 25-meter or 50-meter pool (or sprint swim similar distances in a lake or the ocean if you like to swim outdoors). Rest enough to catch your breath between sprint swims (about 20-40 seconds). Try to keep the rest intervals fairly short with swim sprints. You can also mix different strokes (crawl, breaststroke, sidestroke, backstroke, butterfly) on each swim sprint. I’ve found that sprint swimming gives me a great muscle pump (especially in the upper body), without any soreness the next day as is typical with weight training. This is because swimming has no eccentric movement (the negative portion of a lift), which is what causes muscle soreness. Keep in mind that even though swimming works your muscles well and is a nice alternative workout to mix in once or twice a week, it does not strengthen your bones. You still need to do regular weight training to do that.

7. Sandbag Training – This form of training is a nice variation to mix in with your strength training. It works your body with an unstable object, which makes muscles that might normally be neglected get in on the action to perform the movements. I’ve been mixing some sandbag training into my routines for over a year now, and I’ve found it is a very intense method of training that works your muscles in a different way and gets you huffing and puffing like crazy. You can make your own sandbags to train with by filling various sized duffle bags with sand, or you can use those construction type sandbags that come in several shapes. Sandbag exercises can be done as squats, cleans, presses, lunges, shouldering, throws or heaves, carrying up hills, etc. Make no mistake, training intensely with sandbags will get you ripped in no time flat! I’ve actually found an entire book devoted to sandbag training, which gave me some great ideas for doing sandbag based workouts. If you’re interested in this type of training, you can find more info at my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

8. Mountain Biking – As you may have figured by now, I’m not a proponent of steady pace endurance exercise, but rather, highly variable intensity exercise that works with bursts of exertion followed by recovery intervals. Well, mountain biking fits this bill perfectly. You get the leg pumping exertion during the uphill climbs, while also getting the adrenaline rush of the downhill acting as your recovery intervals. Mix it all together and you get a super-fun, high-intensity, leg burning workout that will melt fat off of your entire body and build awesome legs at the same time. The climbs can be tough and will challenge you both physically and mentally as you pump away trying to make it up steep hills without having to resort to getting off of the bike. Then after you make it up the challenging climbs, you get rewarded with the adrenaline rush of flying down steep hills while jumping off of boulders and logs and trying not to stumble or fall off the bike. It’s such an addicting thrill…I love it! See, who says that working out has to be boring!

9. Indoor (or outdoor) Rock Climbing – This is yet another fun way to get in a great workout that will also challenge you both physically and mentally. Indoor rock climbing gyms have starting popping up all over the place in recent years and will be more accessible than outdoor rock climbing to most people. Rock climbing is a great workout for your legs, arms, shoulders, and your entire back. It also really works your grip strength and forearms like crazy. Whenever I go indoor rock climbing (which is only on occasion), my forearms are sore for about 2-3 days afterwards. Give it a try if you’ve never done it…it may be just what you’re looking for to spice up your fitness routine.

10. Stick Wrestling – This is a killer full body workout and can also be a great competition between you and your friends. This is probably more of a guy thing for most people. You could even come up with your own “fight club” and have stick wrestling competitions with your buddies to see who is toughest. There are actually sticks designed specifically for stick wresting, but you can even just use a strong broomstick cut down to about 30-36 inches long and taped up with some athletic tape to prevent splinters. For your stick wrestling workout, stand on a soft mat or carpeted area (or grass if outdoors), match up with a friend or foe. You’ll both grab the same stick toward the ends with your hands on the outsides of your partner’s hands, on the inside, or staggered. Then you simply push, pull, jerk, and thrash your opponent around trying to knock them off balance until they either fall or lose their grip of the stick…and you win that round! Be careful not to get the stick up high and knock each other in the face. Use common sense. You can do this in 1-2 minute rounds or just keep going until someone gives up. Be creative and keep going until you’ve gotten a killer workout. Your forearms and legs will be screaming!

11. Strongman Training – This type of training is a little more hard-core, but it’s a blast for those who are into trying something different. The premise is based on the types of exercises competitors perform in the “worlds strongest man” competitions. If you have a yard, you can even set up some of these exercises in your yard and do some outdoor workouts to have a little fun. Your neighbors will probably give you some funny looks, but it’s fun, so who cares! You can get one of those giant tractor tires and do tire flips (which is basically a deadlift followed by a push-press). You can also try your hand at log lifts, boulder lifts and carries, keg lifts and tosses, weighted sled dragging…anything that involves pulling, pushing, lifting, or heaving any types of odd objects. You don’t need to be a monster to enjoy this type of training…just handle whatever size objects are challenging for your individual strength. Strongman training works your entire body in a very intense fashion and could easily spark some new results. If you’re interested in finding out more ideas for strongman training, check out my ‘fitness products’ page at truthaboutabs.com at the link below.

12. Rope Climbing – This goes back to the old high school days of climbing the rope in gym class. Seriously, if you have access to a rope, either at a gym or somewhere outdoors, rope climbing builds a powerful and ripped upper body like no other exercise. A great way to incorporate rope climbing into intense workouts is to do a climb up, then lower yourself back down. Then while your upper body is recovering for the next climb, you can do a lower body exercise like squats or lunges, or go up and down stairs. Keep alternating the upper body rope climbs with the lower body exercises in between and you’ll get one hell of a full body workout.

13. Bag Boxing – You can use a heavy bag, a speed bag, or even one of those rebound bags to get a great workout. Among the three, the heavy bag is the best all around full body workout, while the speed bag will test your rhythm and timing and give you a great upper body workout. If available at your gym or if you have a bag at home, try mixing these in as a good warm-up or as an intense finish to your strength routine.

14. Rope Skipping – You can’t beat rope jumping as a great full body exercise. I like to use it as a warm-up for my weight training workouts. I prefer to use the really cheap “speed” ropes with a plastic rope instead of a fabric rope. Once you get good, you can jump rope much faster with the plastic ropes than the fabric ones, which will allow you to get a more intense workout. And don’t mess with the weighted handle ropes…they’ll just slow you down. Your goal is speed when rope skipping. Try mixing together two legged jumps, one-legged jumps, arm crossovers, double jumps (rope passes under feet twice for each jump) to keep things interesting and increase the intensity. Also, try alternating 15-20 second high intensity bursts where you jump as fast as you possibly can, followed by 15-20 second recovery intervals where you jump slowly to get ready for your next burst. Keep repeating until you’re whooped, which might happen pretty quick!

15. Jumping exercises – squat jumps, box jumps, lunge jumps, and broad jumps are some of the best ways to incorporate explosive jumping exercises into your routines. The explosive and powerful nature of jumping exercises works your leg muscles in an entirely different way than most normal slow grinding strength training moves. I’ve even seen a university study cited once that found squat jumps to elicit the greatest testosterone response of all exercises studied. That means more muscle and less fat on your entire body, not just your legs. Try super-setting jumping exercises with upper body exercises for some really intense workouts.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed all of these ideas for ways to really shake up your workouts and make them fun again. I know some of them may seem a little “out there”, but open your mind to the possibilities and you’ll never be bored again…and your body will respond with new found results!

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The Medicine Called Zumba

The music is progressively styled for users to alternate from slow to fast workout movements. This alternating exposes the body to different heart rates thus delivering a good cardio exercise. The Zumba fitness uses body’s own resistance to shape and tone the body. Zumba fitness classes are performed in group to keep individuals motivated and socialize as well. This 45 minutes exercise regime burns a load of calories without the user recognizing it. Zumba as a term means nothing it is just a catch phrase which has gripped the global market.

This Latin inspired zumba performance classes get’s its root & style from different music styles like cumbia, salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, chachacha, reggaeton, soca, samba, hip hop music, axĂ© music and tango. Music is core to the resources required necessary to perform zumba. This is more a performance class then fitness class; so it keeps the interest of the user occupied and thus achieves the objective of wellness and better health. The fitness classes are designed to address all age groups from the young ones to up to the old ones. Zumba is all about building balance and coordination. The workout intensity it provides targets the upper body and lower body strength. Maintaining body postures while performing zumba is critical such that the entire body gets exposure to the movements and intensive workout.

Zumba fitness was started in 1990’s by Colombian fitness trainer Alberto “Beto” Perez. Since then it has taken the fitness market by storm. Today it is made available in almost every country and is being offered as a special feature by most of the fitness centers. There are a nine different type of classes to address the different age groups and cohorts. Zumba gold is very elementary and progressively styled fitness session which targets the beginners and the older people; it begins with easy workout steps till the body gets used to its rhythm and then explodes. Zumba step targets the lower body and the workout involves routines and step aerobics performed over Latin music. Zumba toning is a workout performed with toning sticks and targets abs, thighs, arms and other muscle throughout the body.

All it demands is an hour long commitment and commitment towards a healthy & clean meal plan. Zumba fitness classes are also available online and on digital media like DVDs; this is for those who prefer to workout at home. A load of people subscribe to digital classes and operate from their respective homes at ease and convenience. Although it is difficult to stick to schedule when operating from home; however it depends on the individual to make a decision. The fitness class objective usually revolves around improving one’s coordination, mobility, agility, and posture and muscle strength. More than just being an exercise zumba is promoted as being a lifestyle. With number of instructors increasing the spread of zumba fitness classes is becoming more evident and a success.

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Tunturi Recumbent Exercise Bike Reviews

Recumbent exercise bikes are becoming ever more popular. Many prefer them because they are more comfortable for someone who is overweight or has lower back problems. One of the brand leaders in exercise bikes is Tunturi. But, how does its recumbent models compare? Are they good value for money?

Tunturi recumbent bikes don’t come cheap; you’ll be paying between $800 and $1,000 for one. There are currently two models being made the E40R and the E60R. The first thing you notice about either machine is how well made they are, combining aesthetics with solid construction. The seat adjustment is a breeze; you can slide it away or nearer the console, raise the height and adjust its incline. The consoles on both machines are identical and are large and easy to read.

Here’s what you get and what you don’t get for each of these machines.

The E40R comes with magnetic resistance of 10 levels, 3 numerical LCD displays and heart rate, effort and resistance controlled programs for motivating and efficient training. The E40R also comes with T-Pulse that allows you to adjust a heart rate controlled workout even when you’re cycling. The T-Scale function means you can edit and adjust the 8 pre-set profiles; again even when cycling. The bike has a weight capacity of 300 lbs and is powered by mains current.

The E60R has all the same features of the E40R but in addition you get to set and save your own workout programs. A Polar wireless heart monitor also comes as standard rather than as an optional extra. The construction is also slightly more robust and has a weight capacity of 330 lbs. It’s claimed that the E60R is for both domestic and light commercial use.

The warranty offered on both models is excellent. Both come with 2 years parts and labor which is extended to 3 if registered with Tunturi. You’ll be hard pushed to find a better warranty on any other bike.

For all but the most serious of users, the E40R is the better choice of the two; most won’t really need the stronger construction or the user programmable workout functions.

Are there any negative points with either machine? Well, like everything in life nothing is perfect. Although both come with magnetic resistance of 10 levels it would be better if there were more. For comparison, the Lifecycle R1 bike retails for around $1,200 or $1,500 depending on the console that comes with it, but comes with 20 levels of magnetic resistance.

Apart from that, I can’t really fault either the E40R or E40R; besides, the styling of these is much nicer than any of the recumbent exercise bikes by Lifecycle.

A Tunturi exercise bike is for those who take cycling seriously. Even if you prefer upright machines, you should definitely take a look at its upright models. When looking for reviews and ratings you’ll be hard pushed to found many negative comments; Tunturi recumbent bikes are among the best you can buy and most who own one appreciate that.

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The Next Level Zumba

Zumba is a dance form related to movements of body such that it gets toned up. Dejure it defines the body movements to intercept the right muscles. In contrast to the conventional exercises it appreciates the music with coordinated body movements and posture. A dance form signifies the eternity and thus refreshes the mood of a person indulging into this form of exercise. Using your own body weight you would experience balance, tone, endurance and definition. It is quite similar to aerobic yet different; it incorporates aerobic movements into one single dance form on exceptional music like salsa, hip hop, mambo, flamenco, tango and others.

Zumba workout leaves you energized for the whole day. Once you get used to it, it becomes a routine and one gets used to the music and exercise form. It acts like a mood alleviator. The body movements inspired by latin dance forms integrate music and exercise such that it doesn’t feel like a workout. It also has meditative qualities associated with the dance cum exercise form. Started in 1990s by Colombian fitness instructor Beto Perez it has spread like a wild fire across the globe. Zumba the word actually means nothing but it has become a catch phrase.

The workout typically lasts for about 30 to 45 minutes, in which you alternate your body to slow and fast paced rhythms such that it burns your calories up and tones up your body. This form of exercise is more upbeat approach towards working out. Various level of zumba has been designed keeping in mind the adults, kids, and the youth. The workout is such that it uses your body’s own resistance to tone and sculpt the muscles.

Traditional work out methods for building strength are more rigid in nature; however they have evolved into more new concepts like zumba which add more flexibility to the body while maintaining the strength. Zumba with toning sticks is a one up level after you complete the initial level. Toning sticks are 2.5 pounds in weight which are used while zumba workout. These toning sticks help you buy more weight resistance to your workout along with your body weight resistance.

“The focus of zumba classes is on all aspects of fitness like cardio-vascular, balance, flexibility, muscular conditioning and coordination. Designed for older adults & kids the zumba classes develop key elements such as leadership, team work, confidence, self-esteem, memory, creativity, coordination, balance, cultural awareness & respect” zumba.com.

Zumba teaches body to flow to the music teaches mind to concentrate and meditate; it takes you to the next level of fitness where body and mind both work in ultimate coordination. The next level zumba programs you to achieve the high levels of fitness and experience great strength and vigour.

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