Workout Like an Olympian

Want to work out like an Olympian? Thanks Huffington Post for this great article of signature workout moves from the best of the best. Enjoy! 
The following text is courtesy of Huffington Post. 

Work Out Like an Olympian

This February, the world will look on as the opening ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympics commence. As top notch athletes give it their all and compete for the chance of a lifetime, it’s practically impossible not to be motivated as we cheer them on. So, channel that feeling, and go for the gold with these Olympian-inspired workout moves that will sculpt your legs, abs, arms and shoulders.

Drop Lunges:

Ask any pro skier about a drop lunge and they’ll know what you’re talking about. To prepare for steep and unwieldy terrain, every athlete needs to have good balance and flexibility. By integrating drop lunges into your exercise regimen, you will improve your balance and flexibility through increased hip mobility and also reduce the chance of injury to your knees and lower back. It’s a movement that is performed in nearly every sport so is very functional and core to any training!

To perform a drop lunge, stand with feet at shoulder width. Step with the right leg behind the left leg and drop into a squat position. You will only lunge as far across with your right leg as your legs and hip mobility will allow. The heels will be off the ground and will force you to come up onto the balls of your feet. Keep your torso tall and your abs engaged while performing the movement. Return to start and repeat on the other side.

Lateral Ski Jumps:

Just like the name sounds, lateral ski jumps are a great way to get you one step closer to the gold. Lateral ski jumps blend heart pumping cardio with a functional leg workout that will get you ready for any terrain or athletic pursuit. By combining explosive movements with leg strengthening activities, this is one move you should not miss!

To perform lateral ski jumps, stand with feet shoulder width apart and have toes facing forward. Bend your arms slightly at the elbow and then hold your elbows near the sides of your body. Have top of head aligned with your spine and focus on a point directly in front of you. Bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat, hinging forward slightly from the hips while maintaining a straight spine. Engage your core and push off from both feet equally. Jump laterally to the right, landing on both feet with knees bent. Push off again immediately and jump to your left. Pump your arms upward with every lift off and lower them as you land. Continue to repeat for three to five minutes.

Standing Splits:

Whether you have dreams of pirouetting on the ice or getting big air, you need to have incredible balance. One of our favorite ways to train like an Olympian is to incorporate balance poses like the standing splits into your routine. Standing splits will not only challenge your balance but also help lengthen and tone your legs and help activate your core muscles. To perform standing splits, inhale and bend forward at your hips. Place your hands on the floor just in front you. Keep your knees slightly bent. Shift your weight into your left leg and hold your left calf with your left hand. Keep your right palm on the floor just in front of you. Inhale and lift your right leg up as high as you can on the wall. Keep your leg as straight and active as possible. Hold and repeat on the other side.

Russian Twist:

Every Olympic sport requires strong abs. For a great twist on getting those abs of steel, try a Russian twist. It not only targets your abdominals but also your obliques and back for an all over core workout. To perform the Russian twist, sit on the ground with your knees bent and heels about a foot from your butt. Lean slightly back without rounding your spine at all. Whatever you do, don’t let your back curve! Place your arms straight out in front of you with your hands one on top of the other. Hands should be level with bottom of rib cage. Pull your navel to your spine and twist slowly to the left. The movement should not be large and mainly comes from the ribs rotations, not your arms swinging. Inhale through center and rotate to the right. Repeat.

Side Plank with Crunch:

Side planks with crunches not only target your abdominals and obliques but also tone your shoulders and back. Plus they help you get ready for your best performance by increasing your balance. To perform a side plank with crunch, lie on your left side with your left hand on the floor beneath your left shoulder; let the inside of your right foot rest on the floor in front of your left foot. Engage your core and then push into your left hand to lift your body so it forms a diagonal line from head to heels. Crunch forward and down, bringing right elbow to left elbow and then return to starting position. Repeat at least 10 times; switch sides and repeat.

Dumbbell Alternating Shoulder Press & Twist:

If you want strong, lean and powerful arms, try dumbbell alternating shoulder press and twist. This movement is great because it provides core strengthening and toning in one! To perform dumbbell alternating shoulder press & twist, stand holding a pair of dumbbells just outside your shoulders, with your elbows bent and palms facing each other. Rotate your torso to the right as you press the dumbbell up in your left hand above your shoulder. Reverse the movement back to the starting position, rotate to your left and then press the dumbbell in your right hand upward. Repeat.

Incline Push-Up:

Incline push-ups will strengthen the chest, triceps and shoulders for longer, leaner and meaner arms. This move is great for sculpting arms, working on core strength and increasing stamina. To perform an incline push-up, place your hands on a box, bench, step — or anything else sturdy and steady above the floor to give yourself a natural lift. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the bench. Pause at the bottom and then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as possible. Repeat at least 10 times. For extra challenge, you can add in a hop after you come back to start each time (like a modified burpee).

Follow Jamie Walker on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jamiewalker19

Secrets Of The Extremely Fit

Take a look at this for some pretty helpful ideas on bettering your lifestyle and improving your health! Some of these seem obvious, but are you actually incorporating them into your lifestyle? This is written for men in mind, but this applies to you as well ladies! Enjoy! 

The following text and pictures are courtesy of Huffpost Healthy Living. See the article in its entirety here

Secrets Of The Extremely Fit

fitness secrets
By Andrew Heffernan, C.S.C.S. for Men’s Health

There’s no way around it: To gain muscle and lose flab, you have to pay the iron price. And sweat buckets. And rethink your grocery list. But the ultimate cost (in time, especially) depends on what you know. In our never-ending quest to help you get in the best shape of your life, we tapped the country’s top fitness minds and combed through cutting-edge research to find the 25 most effective ways to reveal the stronger, leaner person inside you. In short, we’re about to fast-track your fitness.

More From Men’s Health:
The Men’s Health Workout Center
The Fitness Rules Winners Follow
20 Ways to Stick to Your Workout

1. Rethink Your Nutrient Intake
The traditional food pyramid — which the White House unveiled as a plate-shaped pie chart in 2011 — is heavy on refined carbs and light on protein and fats. So it doesn’t meet the nutritional needs of active men who want to build muscle and burn fat, saysMen’s Health nutrition advisor Alan Aragon, M.S. That’s why he created the “food tower” — it provides the ideal balance of muscle-building foods and flab-defying nutrients. Use it as the basis for your daily diet.

2. Load Up On Green Energy
green vegetables“When athletes start eating more vegetables, they don’t fatigue as easily,” says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., cofounder of Cressey Performance in Massachusetts. “It’s common to see them setting personal records in the weight room within a few weeks.” His favorite trick: Throw a handful of spinach into a blender and combine with 2 cups almond milk, some frozen berries, rolled oats, chia seeds or flaxseeds, and a scoop of protein powder. You won’t even taste the greens.

3. Get More Vitamin D
A dearth of D can lead to impaired athletic performance, according to a recent review published in the journal Nutrients. Other research shows that men with higher levels of vitamin D tend to have stronger muscles than those with low levels. Odds are that you fall into the latter group; in fact, no less than 77 percent of people in the United States are deficient in vitamin D, according to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Your goal: 600 IU a day.

4. Spread Out Your Protein
This much is obvious from the food tower: To build muscle, you need more protein. But men who divide their daily protein among six smaller meals instead of three larger ones build muscle faster, say scientists at Skidmore College. “Try to eat 100 grams [more than half of your recommended intake] by lunch,” says Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., owner of Results Fitness in California. Three eggs for breakfast, a midmorning shake, and grilled chicken and Greek yogurt for lunch will do the trick.

5. Find Your Whey 
whey protein shakeDifferent types of protein work better at different times. In the morning, go with whey, which can help control cravings all day, report scientists in the Journal of Nutrition. “Whey is also best pre-workout because it digests quickly,” says Nick Tumminello, C.P.T., owner of Performance University. Postworkout, use casein, which burns slowly to provide a steady stream of protein. Forty grams before bed can also boost overnight muscle growth by 23 percent, say Dutch researchers.

6. Work Your Entire Body, Every Time
When it comes to building strength, how often you work a muscle is just as important as how hard you work it, according to research in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. “You need about 10 to 15 sets per muscle group per week to see results,” Tumminello says. Shoot for three total-body workouts a week; during each one, complete 3 to 5 sets per muscle group.

7. Lift Something Weird
Most of the objects you lift in everyday life — shopping bags, overstuffed suitcases, toddlers — aren’t as conveniently sized as dumbbells and barbells. To build strength that translates beyond the gym, incorporate sandbags, kettlebells, fat-grip barbells, and other odd-shaped training tools into your workouts, says Anthony DiLuglio, founder of artofstrength.com. Can’t find such oddities in your gym? Wrap towels around a chinup bar to make it tougher to grip.

8. Master The Pullup
pullup“The pullup targets more muscles than any other upper-body exercise,” says MMA strength coach Chad Waterbury, M.S. And because it’s typically done with body weight, it’s also an indicator of relative strength (how strong you are for your height and weight). “The benchmark is 15 in a row,” Waterbury says. If you can’t do that many, work your way up. “Do 1 set of max pullups each morning and evening for three days; take the fourth day off,” he says. “Repeat the sequence until you hit 15 reps.”

9. Move More Weight (Right Now)

  • Bend the Bar: When you bench-press, try to bend the ends of the bar away from you as you press it up. “You’ll fire more muscles in your upper back, creating a more stable platform on the bench,” says Wil Fleming, C.S.C.S., owner of Force Fitness and Performance.
  • Spread the Floor: As you squat, press outward against the floor with your feet (but don’t actually move them). “You’ll feel your glutes activate, which will boost your power,” says Fleming.

10. Train Your Core The Right Way
Ditch crunches and situps. “Moves like those create motion around your spine — precisely what your core is designed to resist,” says Waterbury To build a chiseled,functional six-pack, do anti-rotation exercises like the single-arm wall push. Assume a pushup position facing a wall with your hands 2 feet from the baseboard. Place your right hand on the wall and push for a slow 3-count. Repeat with your left hand. Do 10 reps per side. Too easy? Do a pushup between reps.

Head over to Men’s Health for the full list.

Scarlett Johansson’s Superhero Bod

I’m not one to believe in one hit wonders, especially when it comes to a workout plan, but this move does make a big difference. Doing it alone won’t be very effective, but adding it to your workout will show some incredible results. The following article and pictures are courtesy of Self. 

Get Scarlett Johansson’s Superhero Bod in One Move

ScarJo Superhero

Scarlett Johansson rocks that magic combo of curves, confidence and fitness that somehow inspires a we-can’t-help-it obsession in us all. I mean, girl is gorgeous. As femme fatale Black Widow in The Avengers — which is in the running for an MTV Movie Award this weekend! — she looks so damn comfortable in that skintight body suit (not to mention this to-die-for burgundy gown), she got us jonesing get a bodacious superhero body, too.

To the rescue: L.A.-based trainers Bobby and Alicia Strom, who worked with Johansson while she was prepping for the role. “She really puts 100% into getting ready for whatever role she needs to play,” says Bobby. “When she was going to be in The Avengers, she wanted to be more athletic and toned.”

So, what’s the first thing you learn in Action Star 101? You need to get a core hovering in that “rock solid” zone. “She was being shot around in a harness, doing kicks and jumps,” says Bobby. “She [needed] to be strong enough not to get hurt doing stunts.”

The trainer had Johansson strengthening her core with a tough super move that combines the Inchworm with knee tucks. Check out this totally homemade but insanely awesome how-to video featuring Alicia Strom (who’s sporting super-chic Victoria’s Secret VSX Sport Line, btw). Once we nail this move like Scarlett did — watch out world, cat suit here we come!

Inchworm with Knee Tuck

See video here.

Standing straight up, bend to touch your toes, keeping knees straight. Crawling out with your hands, keeping your knees stiff, so that you’re stretching glutes and hamstrings. Walk your hands out to a plank position. Do a knee tuck by crossing your right knee toward your left shoulder. Do one knee tuck with each leg, then walk your hands back slowly, stand up and stretch toward the sky. Do the entire move 10 times for some fat-blasting results!

Fitness Coach Session

About three weeks ago I received a phone call congratulating me on winning an hour session with a fitness coach and a free shake at my gym. Awesome! I love fun little surprises like this. Being so busy with finals and work at the time, I did not book it till this morning.

These sessions consist of going over health and body goals with the trainer as he assists with a nutrition plan, workout plan and overall schedule to achieve those goals. This is perfect and just what I needed to get back on track at the gym.

Going into this, I was pretty set in my nutritional foundations (I knew they were going to push me on eating lean meats- Hell No), but I lack experience with the gym equipment. I tend to stick with classes for strength training and just run on the treadmill and do some free weights, core yoga moves and push ups to cover everything else.

What I Learned: 

The Trainer: Ken, a handsome young guy with an incredible body, true stud, introduced himself with a huge smile. Very warm and friendly.

Nutrition: We started chatting in his office about past injuries, goals, etc. before moving on to the nutritional aspect of the session. We discussed my pushing into veganism. His first concern was vitamin B12. I have actually been researching supplements. I’ll do a post about B12 in the future. I also eat raw honey which contains B12 as well as nutritional yeast. He then moved on to complete proteins. His ideal diet is Paleo, an excellent way of life that I am going to help my boyfriend shift into upon his return to the states as well as something I’m working on converting my family to. Paleo is quite simple. All grass-fed, free-roam meats, lots of veggies, fruit, nothing processed, no grains. In regards to complete proteins for vegans, quinoa is a complete source of protein, but it is a grain and I intend on avoiding grains. A combination of various vegetables will provide you with a complete range of omega 3-6-9s. This can be done with spirulina and a range of root vegetables.

Workout: My gym has been promoting cross fitness and circuit workouts. This workout encompassed both and did not require the use of a single machine. Totally my style. This is also something I can do outside! Here is what we did:

Dynamic Warm-Up

10 Jumping jacks, Walking high knees, 10 Jumping jacks, Walking high knees

10 Wideouts, Frankensteins, 10 Jumping jacks, Walking high knees

10 Seal jacks, Walking lunges, 10 Seal jacks, Walking lunges

5 Pushups, Walking lunge with twist, 5 Pushups, Walking lunge with twist

5 Burpees, Cariocas, 5 Burpees, Cariocas

Strength (3 sets of 10 reps)

KB Swings

KB Press (left and right)

KB High pull

KB Rows (left and right)

KB Goblet squat

KB Alternating lunges

KB Deadlift

Metabolic Crusher (30 seconds on, 15 seconds off; these should be done super fast, as many reps as possible)

Jumping jacks

Push ups

High knees

Jump rope (no rope)

Burpees

This workout was awesome! It took about 30 minutes and felt incredible! It was a full body workout that is fast, easy and effective. I found the most difficult part to be the Metabolic Crusher. My muscles were beginning to get tired after the strength training. The push ups and burpees during the last phase were very difficult to get through, especially with the pressure to do as many reps as possible.

Definitely give this a try! So much fun and you can do it in your living room.

Workout Recovery Shake

After hitting the gym for an intense workout, many run to a powdered protein shake packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, but also loaded with fillers, sweeteners and artificial flavors. Some of these shakes are made from quality ingredients, but most are junk food in disguise.

A raw, natural and delicious remedy to your workout recovery is a shake I have been making for a while now and came across through the Renegade Health Show. I provided some links to their store, but all of these powders can be found on Amazon. Here is Kevin Gianni recipe:

After Workout Recovery Shake: 

  • 1 Mango
  • 2 Bananas
  • Water of 2 coconuts
  • 1-2 tablespoons of ground chia seed (I grind the seeds fresh in a mortar and pestle due to the instability of the natural oils)
  • 2 tablespoons chlorella 
  • 2 tablespoons plant protein (spirulina, Warrior Food, or Sun Warrior)
  • 1 tablespoon vitamin C
  • 1/2 teaspoon kelp powder

Blend and enjoy!!

Super Quick and Easy Core Workout

I’ve been slacking on the gym these past few weeks. Been trying to balance it out by doing a lot of walking/running with my dog. With the new raw lifestyle I’m trying to incorporate, I still feel great and look great despite the lack in exercise. Though I intend on incorporating more into my daily life.

On Thursday evenings I usually attend a Yogalates class at my gym. The instructor is amazing! She has to be in her 50s if not 60s and is in incredible shape. All long, lean muscle.

She incorporated a core workout this past Thursday and was fast and simple with an incredible result.

Begin in in the yoga position Plank. This is a push up position.

Plank- yogajournal.com

From here touch your right knee to your right elbow without lifting your hips or twisting your body. Alternate between right knee to right elbow and left knee to left elbow for as long as you can. I do about twenty before I feel like I need to collapse. Make sure you stay in the Plank position and don’t shoot your hips up into a midway point between Plank and Downward Facing Dog. Move from this position to Child’s Pose and really stretch it out for a few moments.

Child’s Pose- aumaromas.com

Back up to Plank. Now its the same thing but crossover. So right knee to left elbow, left knee to right elbow. Again, go for as long as you can. I also do about 20 of these. Finish with a stretch in Child’s Pose.

This is an awesome workout for the entire core. It does the abdomen, both sides, as well as your back, shoulders and legs. I love it! I try and do this every morning and evening. Takes no more than 5 minutes. Try it out!