Tag Archive | exercise

#ABXDVD Was not For Me

As per the FTC’s “Clear and Conspicuous Requirement” I received a copy of this DVD per a blogging review site. I was not compensated in any way other than the free DVD for this review.

I have been in the fitness industry for over a decade, run a successful Chicago area fitness studio and have been a paid presenter in the fitness industry. During this time I have blogged about fitness, health and wellness, reviewed DVDs and other fitness items, always honestly and without abash. I have read some of the reviews that were in the 1-2 star range for this product and was dismayed to see that the company took a negative stance against people honestly giving their feedback about a product; growth comes from honest critique not glowing praise even if your company’s philosophy is self-acceptance – probably more so because you shouldn’t need bloggers to affirm you.

Having put off this review so long that I keep receiving contact from the company I can no longer shirk the duty. The short and sweet, so as to not get into a debate with anyone representing ABX is, I personally did not like the DVD. I personally did not connect to the video. I personally did not like the routine. I personally did not like the video staging including the personalities. I would not personally recommend the DVD to any client I can think of; however, I personally believe that the DVD might have an appeal, as another reviewer on Amazon aptly pointed out, to males for viewing pleasure.

Better Body Workouts For Women

image Dean Hodgkin and Caroline Pearce team up to bring Better Body Workouts for Women to the market.  This book is chock full of material and that is quite honestly its downfall.  As a fitness professional even I found it hard to read, it was laid out almost like a text book though the charts and text did give way to photos and descriptions of exercises, but you would have to jump around a lot to build a workout plan.  From my experience the average fitness consumer would prefer something boxed and packaged, ready for use.  There is great information in here, but more than the average individual needs to be successful, however; if you are within the fitness profession, grabbing a copy of this book could not hurt.  It is written as well, if not better than a lot of those produced by certifying agencies.

In line with the review of this book I have been provided a great little article from another source, hopefully it steers readers down the right course:

Five Exercises to Avoid

From professional athletes to green gym goers, thousands of people find themselves injured each year when exercising.  To maximize your workout both safely and effectively, Dan Geraci M.S., Head Strength Coach at Hard Pressed, debunks the myths surrounding injury-prone practices.

“Incorrect form when lifting weights is one of the top contributors to sports-related injuries,” says Geraci.  “To prevent pulled muscles and other ailments, it is important to take age and fitness level into account as well as any neck, back or spinal issues you may have.”

Below are five exercises to avoid as well as alternative methods for a safer workout:

  1. Box Jumps:  A compound movement that works the musculature of the hip and knee joints, this method also places excessive pressure on the Achilles Tendon which can lead to a rupture or tear.  Missing the box with an uncoordinated misstep can result in a twisted ankle or scraped shins while the repeated jumps on a hard surface can cause knee pain.
    •  Alternative:  The leg press works these same muscle groups but can create stronger muscles without the negative impact of box jumps.  “The leg press targets the muscles around these joints as well,” says Geraci.  “This produces more explosive and higher jumps, often the reason many turn to box jumps in the first place.”

  1. Dumbbell Chest Fly:  Without a spotter or when using heavier weights, dumbbells can be difficult to control properly which can potentially lead to catastrophic muscle tears.  Furthermore, most individuals use a shortened range of motion (ROM) for chest flys, which misses the mark for the most effective portion of the exercise.
    •  Alternative:  Machine Chest Fly and cables can be much more effective and safe as these alternatives place you in the proper positioning to utilize a full ROM without leaving your muscles and joints vulnerable to free weight errors.

  1. Walking Lunges:  Improper form is the main problem with walking lunges as the majority of people perform them incorrectly.  “Bad form leads to increased stress on the knee and places it in a vulnerable position,” says Geraci.  “Putting excessive force on structural components of the knee such as the Patella Tendon and the Meniscus can lead to injury.”
    • Alternative:  Doing stationary lunges (and having a spotter) will keep the knee in the proper position and allow you to maintain proper form while reaping all the benefits of lunges.

  1. Upright Rows:  This exercise puts the rotator cuff muscles in an extremely pinched space (referred to as the sub-acromial space).  In many individuals the Acromion Muscle is hooked or slightly hooked which leads to increased impingement.
    • Alternative:  To work your traps in a similar method, use the Shrug and Pull technique.  This allows you to target the same muscles while moving the joint in a much more natural way, thus decreasing the chance of injury.

  1. BOSU/ Stability Balls:  The extremely instable platform these balls provide can lead to a myriad of injuries.  They put you in a vulnerable state while performing movements that often times lead to injury when in completely stable environments.  Contrary to popular belief, doing exercises on these balls has no functional purpose outside of training the body to better perform these exercises while on a stability ball.
    •  Alternative:  Perform the exercises in a stable environment rather than on the ball.  You will better target the primary muscles (i.e. chest for chest press) while not leaving your joints, muscles and tendons susceptible to injury.  Then, exercise your core muscles and abdominals separately.  “Working your chest with a chest press movement on a stability ball is a poor attempt at a two-for-one type of deal,” says Geraci.  “While killing two birds with one stone sounds good in theory, if it leads to injury you are worse off than when you started.”

Is Your New Fitness Culture Killing You? Five Exercises to Avoid

I recently read a wonderful article entitled, CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret, a 7 minute read that is well worth your while and honestly brings forth many of the questions that others in the fitness industry have been asking about the knowledge of the staff, background, role and safety provided to members. As with any industry, yoga included, when there is little regulation and a lot of opportunity for cash flow, people come out of the wood work with new systems and overnight trainings that really jeopardize the well being of the average person looking to get in shape. Not swayed? Well, take a look at these suggestions for what to cut out from those intense and extreme workouts….

Five Exercises to Avoid

Hard Pressed Strength Coach Emphasizes the Importance of Working Out Safely

From professional athletes to green gym goers, thousands of people find themselves injured each year when exercising.  To maximize your workout both safely and effectively, Dan Geraci M.S., Head Strength Coach at Hard Pressed, debunks the myths surrounding injury-prone practices.

“Incorrect form when lifting weights is one of the top contributors to sports-related injuries,” says Geraci.  “To prevent pulled muscles and other ailments, it is important to take age and fitness level into account as well as any neck, back or spinal issues you may have.”

Below are five exercises to avoid as well as alternative methods for a safer workout:

  1. Box Jumps:  A compound movement that works the musculature of the hip and knee joints, this method also places excessive pressure on the Achilles Tendon which can lead to a rupture or tear.  Missing the box with an uncoordinated misstep can result in a twisted ankle or scraped shins while the repeated jumps on a hard surface can cause knee pain.

o Alternative:  The leg press works these same muscle groups but can create stronger muscles without the negative impact of box jumps.  “The leg press targets the muscles around these joints as well,” says Geraci.  “This produces more explosive and higher jumps, often the reason many turn to box jumps in the first place.”

  1. Dumbbell Chest Fly:  Without a spotter or when using heavier weights, dumbbells can be difficult to control properly which can potentially lead to catastrophic muscle tears.  Furthermore, most individuals use a shortened range of motion (ROM) for chest flys, which misses the mark for the most effective portion of the exercise.

o Alternative:  Machine Chest Fly and cables can be much more effective and safe as these alternatives place you in the proper positioning to utilize a full ROM without leaving your muscles and joints vulnerable to free weight errors.

  1. Walking Lunges:  Improper form is the main problem with walking lunges as the majority of people perform them incorrectly.  “Bad form leads to increased stress on the knee and places it in a vulnerable position,” says Geraci.  “Putting excessive force on structural components of the knee such as the Patella Tendon and the Meniscus can lead to injury.”

o Alternative:  Doing stationary lunges (and having a spotter) will keep the knee in the proper position and allow you to maintain proper form while reaping all the benefits of lunges.

  1. Upright Rows:  This exercise puts the rotator cuff muscles in an extremely pinched space (referred to as the sub-acromial space).  In many individuals the Acromion Muscle is hooked or slightly hooked which leads to increased impingement.

o Alternative:  To work your traps in a similar method, use the Shrug and Pull technique.  This allows you to target the same muscles while moving the joint in a much more natural way, thus decreasing the chance of injury.

  1. BOSU/ Stability Balls:  The extremely instable platform these balls provide can lead to a myriad of injuries.  They put you in a vulnerable state while performing movements that often times lead to injury when in completely stable environments.  Contrary to popular belief, doing exercises on these balls has no functional purpose outside of training the body to better perform these exercises while on a stability ball.

o Alternative:  Perform the exercises in a stable environment rather than on the ball.  You will better target the primary muscles (i.e. chest for chest press) while not leaving your joints, muscles and tendons susceptible to injury.  Then, exercise your core muscles and abdominals separately.  “Working your chest with a chest press movement on a stability ball is a poor attempt at a two-for-one type of deal,” says Geraci.  “While killing two birds with one stone sounds good in theory, if it leads to injury you are worse off than when you started.”

About Hard Pressed:

Hard Pressed is Chicago’s premier Strength Training facility with a focus on full-body strength training.  Inspired by the collegiate-style weight rooms Head Strength Coaches Dan Geraci M.S. (University of Michigan) and Ron Israel (University of Florida) experienced at their respective NCAA athletic programs, Hard Pressed offers a streamlined workout that is effective and efficient.  The 30 minute workout is coaching intensive, consisting of a strength training regimen that combines a mix of free weights and state-of-the-art weight machines for maximum intensity and effectiveness.  With a strong concentration on training safely, the program offers a high-intensity workout that maximizes results in a safe and effective manner.  Hard Pressed is located at 219 W. Chicago Suite 600, Chicago IL 60654.  For more information, please visit us at http://hardpressed.me/ or like us on Facebook at “Hard Pressed High Intensity Workouts.”

Win A Copy of PrayFit 33 Day Toning System DVD-CONTEST ENDED

image I’m going to try and help as many people as I can get fit this year.  Since gyms can be costly I will be hosting Giveaways to help you get in shape in your home or office!

Let’s start with PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System

From Jimmy Peña, founder of Prayfit, best-selling author and faith-based exercise physiologist whose clients have included Tyler Perry, Mario Lopez and LL Cool J., comes Prayfit 33-Day Body Toning System, arriving on DVD, Digital Download and On Demand from Lionsgate Home Entertainment this December.  Prayfit 33-Day Body Toning System is a complete workout and motivational system designed to tone, tighten and sculpt your legs, shoulders, chest, back, arms and abs. Bolster your faith and reshape your entire body in 33 minutes a day for 33 days. The DVD includes the popular “Prayfit Minutes,” weekly devotionals to inspire and encourage you to improve your life by giving your best effort. Prayfit 33-Day Body Toning System DVD is available December 4th for the suggested retail price of $14.98.

Jimmy leads you through a workout that builds lean muscle with targeted exercises and blasts through body fat with several bouts of high-intensity cardio, so you will see results faster than you would by doing cardio alone. Ideal for any fitness level, your goal is to improve steadily each day, building your fitness and your faith.

You can win a brand new copy free by entering the Rafflecopter Giveaway, US Residents only.  Winner will be notified via Twitter / Email and should reply with mailing address within 3 days.

Can’t wait to win to get started? Hop on over and pick a copy of the DVD up at Amazon.com
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Coregeous With Jill Miller Baby Belly Gone

Ever wondered why you would want to rip or shred your body.  How did the idea of violent verbs come into describing physical fitness, peak health and exercise?

I was contacted to review Jill Miller’s DVD Coregeous, I received no compensation and the opinions are my own.

Jill definitely knows the core, and as someone who loves to learn I found the DVD very informative regarding the muscles; however, the average purchaser probably does not need as much dialogue about the individual muscles.  The video is very verbose, there are only a few instances during breath work when Jill even uses a voiceover, otherwise she is always talking.  It is a far cry from the average abdominal DVD – I think in a good way but I’m not so certain that people looking for a sweaty, wear you out workout would respond the same.

I liked the exercises and the large amount of detailed directions.  This DVD is perfect for older individuals especially since there are not many “Sit-ups” or “Neck pulling” exercises until you get to Coreganization. 

The use of trademarked words such as Corseo and Coregeous does get a little tiring but as a professional I understand the need to brand, brand, brand!

I also love that Jill has a regular looking belly, I’m pretty sure by the way it looks she has had children – she looks like a woman with a healthy core and spine – not some airbrushed idea of what fit looks like.

I highly recommend this DVD for people looking to strength their core, but I do caution, this DVD is not exciting. It is 105 minutes of slow moving, talking through precise movements – just like physical therapy.

I received no compensation for this review, the opinions expressed are my own.

Tracey Mallet Fuse Dance Cardio Lean DVD Feel the Burn

Having been a fitness professional for the last 10 years I have seen a lot of DVDs and fitness fads come and go. I was intrigued by Fuse Dance Cardio Lean as it promises a blend of jazz, ballet and pilates.  This is not a new concept in the fitness field, everyone is looking to fuse pilates with a variety of other formats – in fact there are other ballet, pilates, yoga fusions on the market.

What I liked most about these DVDs over others I have watched is the energy that Tracey brings to the material, the quality of the production and the upbeat tempo of the music. Music and setting can make or break a workout DVD and this one has what you need to get your grooving.

I would have enjoyed Erica, the participant doing modifications, to have been closer to the camera, and maybe some other modifications shown.  There also was not a lot of direction given on how to protect the body from some of the moves, especially for some of the core type movements that were a bit fast paced.

This video was definitely a challenge, but it went by quickly and the burn was noticeable next day – similar to the Ballet Bootcamp class I run – I didn’t notice the intensity until I tried to walk the next day. I also caution that I had to shorten my range of motion a great deal, my joints could not keep up with the bouncing and rapid movements through some of the repetitions, especially on the curtsies.

The floor work was also challenging and may not be accessible to everyone, but those looking for a new challenge will love it. Again, Erica would have been better closer to the camera, in the second row and many times was not modifying. Tracey is a very warm instructor, quite authentic and not over bearing, her smile seems truly genuine and it was a pleasure watching her.

Her FuseDance Cardio Melt DVD picks up where the Cardio Lean left off, starting with salsa moves and sexier style. Again, funky upbeat music is a big attraction of this DVD too. Fifteen minutes in, third circuit, there is a re-introduction to the long, lean ballet inspired moves and some bouncy floor work that might be too much for those with sensitive joints.

Fourth Circuit plays with a little burlesque and hip-hop inspired moves, truly the DVD spans many genres but all in a fitness inspired manner.  There is not difficult choreography to follow, instead Tracey brings repetition and slow building combinations so participants never feel like they need to stop and figure out what is going on.

The second workout starts with free weights and kickboxing, I’m not sure how much weight the ladies are working with, but I’d say it looks like 5lbs, which seems a little high for the moves they are doing.  Swinging iron weights does come with inherent risks of muscle tears, and strain. For those in excellent condition, this may be a nice challenge, for those starting with free weights they may want to attempt to learn correct lifting form in a stationary format first.

Check Tracey out online at http://traceymallett.com

“I am thrilled to announce the release of my new DVD series,” says Mallett.  “FuseDance ™ Cardio Melt and FuseDance™ Cardio Lean incorporate all of the fun, high-energy dance moves my workouts are known for while being low impact on your joints, making them great for people looking to work up a sweat at any fitness level.”

Best known for her dancing and choreography skills, Mallett has created workout programs perfect for everyone, from the time-crunched individual to the postnatal mother.  Having sold over 1 million copies of her best-selling DVDs, Mallett has revolutionized the modern workout making it suitable for everyone.  She is a growing media presence in the United States and abroad, and recently led First Lady Michelle Obama, Ellen DeGeneres and a group of eager school children through a fun, blood-pumping workout on Ellen.

ABOUT TRACEY MALLETT

Tracey currently owns her own studio in Los Angeles, and spends her time certifying others worldwide in The Booty Barre® technique. Other certifications she holds include: group fitness instructor through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), certified sports nutritionist with the National Association of Sports Nutrition (NASN), BASI Certified Pilates Instructor, Pilates Method Alliance, and Level 1 Gyrotonic Instructor. She is a fitness contributor for the Los Angeles Times and appears regularly in publications including Prevention, Shape, Fitness, Women’s Health and more, and on television on programs including Good Morning New York, Access Hollywood, and more.

I was contacted to review two new exercise DVDs by Tracey Mallett, I received no compensation and the opinions given are my own.

FitBit My New Favorite Tool for Healthy Living

I used to be an user of the competition, the product used on the Loser programs that tracks your burn via contact pads on your arm.  Me and other clients had noticed burns and itching appearing to go along with the high price tag of the unit and the need to continually pay for the online tracking portions which made it a big #FAIL! There we loads of other technical problems I experienced but lets talk about the positives of the FitBit.

  • Super discreet it clips to clothing, pants, bras even!
  • Free online program to track your food
  • Free tracking of heart rate and weight, plus it integrated with my Withings scale to automatically update my weight – now they just need to integrate the Withings Blood Pressure cuff too!
  • Integration with other awesome sites to motivate you such as Earndit – where you can win gift cards for being active!
  • Free Smartphone Apps that are ACTUALLY smart and easy to use on the go.
  • Night time sleeve to track your sleep patterns
  • Digital Display

The best bit? It only costs $99 shipped to your house with a wireless charging base for updating (it does require USB connection but if your FitBit is within 15 feet it auto updates).

I absolutely love the FitBit and recommend that clients grab one and gain insight into their daily activity:

Fitbit makes every step you take a step toward better fitness, even on your busiest days. Fitbit Ultra’s super sensitive 3-D motion sensor tracks your day down to details a pedometer can’t catch, showing your exact steps taken, calories burned, and distance traveled. The new altimeter tracks floors climbed (new) so you can monitor this heart-healthy activity, encouraging you to take the stairs at home or work, or climb a little further on your next hike.

FitBit’s site has thousands of foods already listed, but even if you can’t find your meal – you can add it into the system with absolute ease – even on the go with the smartphone app – I seriously have a crush on the FitBit – so does my 11 year old son.  What a great way to get kids moving.  We compete to see who takes more steps, who climbs more stairs, who walks more miles and even who’s flower has grown the largest (a FitBit visual to let you know if you are active). There is an option to find your friends and compete with them and of course post your progress to all of your social sites.  Also there is a choice between pink or blue accented FitBits.

There is a Premium program that you have to purchase, but I am not sure exactly what that is or the benefits so I have copied their information.  For $49.99 a year here is the deal

Get More Active or Lose Weight with Fitbit Trainer

  • Trainer 1 Getting motivated just got easier. The Fitbit digital trainer studies your exercise and activity data to give you an unbiased, objective measure of your activity level.
  • Trainer 2 The Fitbit digital trainer uses your data to create a personalized plan that leads you through 12 weeks of steadily increasing activity goals.
  • Trainer 3 Throughout the week, you can monitor your progress toward your goal right on your dashboard. The Fitbit digital trainer will let you know if you’re beating your goal or falling behind.
  • Trainer 4 You can always check your overall progress along the 12 week plan so that you know where you’re going every week.
  • Trainer 5 At the end of each week, the Fitbit digital trainer evaluates your efforts and summarizes them in a report. At the very end of the plan, the Fitbit digital trainer will show you how much progress you made over the last 12 weeks. Then you can create another plan to keep getting more fit!

Looking to increase your daily activity level? Reach your movement goals more quickly and see results faster with Fitbit Trainer!

How it works: Fitbit Trainer reviews your current activity level and creates a personalized 12 week fitness plan that pushes you to gradually increase your movement.

See In-Depth Analysis of YOUR Data

  • Report 1 Personal food reports provide an easy-to-read analysis of your food and what it means to you: expected weight change, macronutrient balance, your distribution of calorie intake throughout the day, and more.
  • Report 2 How active are you? How has your activity level changed? You can find out with your personalized activity reports. They show your activity levels, break down your caloric burn over your favorite activities, and show your historical trends to make it easier for you to understand your data.
  • Report 3 Get the most out of your sleep logging with personalized sleep reports. They provide insight into your sleep with interesting sleep stats and historical trends and make it simple to highlight changes in your sleep patterns.
  • Report 4 Your reports also give you a convenient journal of your foods and activities so that you can see everything at a glance.

Are you working towards goals for better health, or looking for trends in your lifestyle? Access your personal reports to quickly identify changes for a healthier you. Reports provide in-depth analysis of your historical trends for sleep, food and activity!

How it works: Personalized reports give you easy-to-read analyses of your week’s data and recommend targets for the following week.

Rank Yourself Against Your Peers

Benchmark 1 Are you ahead of the curve? Find out how you stand up against your peers with the Fitbit Benchmark. This interactive tool lets you compare yourself to the entire Fitbit community of users, or specific demographic groups within Fitbit. Increase your motivation and set new fitness goals by comparing your activity with others.

  • Benchmark 2 Do you have less energy than your friends? You might not be getting enough sleep! The Fitbit Benchmark allows you to quickly see how you sleep relative to others and where you are compared to recommended sleep guidelines.
  • Benchmark 3 The Fitbit Benchmark also lets you see how your weight compares to the average person in your demographic and where you are relative to your recommended weight.
  • Benchmark 4 The Fitbit Benchmark is a fun interactive tool for exploring the entire Fitbit database. Putting the Fitbit Benchmark into All Demographics mode allows you to see every demographic group at once so that you can find interesting trends related to gender, age, and body type. Check it out if you’ve ever been curious about how sleep, activity, and weight vary across different people populations.

Are you curious about how your personal stats compare to the Fitbit community? Increase your motivation and set new wellness goals by comparing your weight, activity and sleep with others.

How it works: Premium benchmarking is an interactive tool that lets you explore the Fitbit database to see how you stand up against your peers. Are you curious about how your personal stats compare to the Fitbit community? Increase your motivation and set new wellness goals by comparing your weight, activity and sleep with others.

Track Multiple Facets of Your Life

  • Custom 1 Want to remember how many times you cheated on that diet? Need to keep track of a specific fitness goal? Custom trackers allow you to keep tabs on anything that your heart desires. Creating a new custom tracker is a breeze!
  • Custom 2 After you’ve created your custom tracker, you can log your data every day and see convenient historical graphs to chart your trends.
  • Custom 3 With a premium membership, you can create an unlimited number of custom trackers to capture every data point in your lifestyle.

Do you have a specific goal as part of a healthier lifestyle? Perhaps you want to quit smoking, be able to do 20 pushups, or reduce caffeine levels? Custom trackers let you track anything that your heart desires – and tracking is the first step to changing your lifestyle!

How it works: Set up a custom tracker to easily identify and monitor areas you’d like to improve. Track your commute time or how many times you eat dessert each week to see the effect on your behavior. You get unlimited use of one customizable tracker for free, but to add more you’ll need to be a premium member.

Are you getting the minimum 10,000 steps in a day? You will be surprised how inactive you can be in a day.  Get up, get moving – and get visual with FitBit – its by far my favorite piece of fitness equipment yet.  If I didn’t already own one I would want one for Mother’s Day!

I have never been approached by the FitBit company to review their product but I love it so much I want to share it with everyone!!