March 11, 2010It’s early into the New Year; did you make a resolution to stay fit? How you are you doing with that resolution? If you’ve quit already, you’re not alone. Maybe people have great intentions, but abandon their exercise program before it really picks up steam. I have good news for you. You don’t need to run out and join a health club to stay fit. I have five exercises you can do at home with minimal equipment. Number One-Legs One of my favorite exercises for the legs is the squat. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, bend the knees and lower yourself toward the floor. You will have to bend slightly at the hips to maintain your balance. Try to keep your shoulders back and your chest out to prevent placing pressure on the lower back. I like to use a fit ball behind my back to improve posture and take the strain off my knees. Try to start with 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps. Number Two-Chest For this I like the dumbbell chest press. Using a bench or a fit ball lay down so your head and back are supported. Grasp the dumbbells so they are slightly wider than shoulder width. Your upper arm should be almost perpendicular to your body. Extend the arms and press the weights straight towards the ceiling. Stop just short of locking your elbows. Lower the weights at a controlled pace and repeat for 10-15 repetitions. This exercise is great for the chest, the triceps and the front of the shoulder. For variety, you can set the bench to a flat, incline or decline position. Number Three-Back A dumbbell row is great for the back. Position yourself so your left knee and left hand are on the bench. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand with your right foot on the floor to keep you stable, position yourself so your shoulders are back and squared to the floor. If you are using a fit ball, put your left hand on the ball and spread your feet so you have a solid base. Lower the weight towards the floor, while keeping your shoulders square. Raise the weight back to the starting position while squeezing the shoulder blades together. Switch to the right hand and knee on the bench to work the left side. This is great for the upper back, rear shoulders and biceps. Number Four-Bicep Dynaband curls are great for the Bicep. Grasp the handles shoulder width apart with your palms facing up. Stand on the band to provide resistance and perform a bicep curl. To increase intensity you can use heavier tubing. Do 10-15 reps. Number Five-Tricep Dynaband kickback. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Bending forward at the waist; hold the handles and raise your elbows so your upper arm is close to parallel to the floor. Extend your lower arm so the handle rises towards the ceiling. Do 10-15 reps. Now the key to any fitness program is to combine resistance training, which includes the five exercises I just explained to you along with cardiovascular exercise long with nutrition. I know, cardio exercise can be boring, monotonous and time consuming, but it’s critical for overall fitness and weight control. Very simply cardio burns calories and strengthens the most important muscle in the body, your heart. To be most effective, you should try to work in a target heart rate range. To find yours take 220 – your age. Multiply this number by 75%. That will give you a good number to shoot for. Try to do 30 minutes a day, three to five days each week. Quite possibly the most important component in your exercise plan is nutrition. It can also be the hardest one to get right. Who do you believe? Low carb or low fat? High protein or vegetarian? There is probably no industry where opinions vary so widely as they do when it comes to eating. There is a lot of misinformation out there and a lot of fad diets that just don’t work long term. Many diets can help you lose 5, 10 even 20 pounds. The more important thing is did you keep the weight off? Most plans fail because they only deal with the quick fix and not the lifestyle needed to maintain the weight loss. Carbohydrates for example are not the enemy. In fact, they are the best source of useable energy for the body. The key, like anything else, is that too much of a good thing can be bad. Our body can only use so many calories in any given period of time. If we take in too many, we gain weight. Try to eat a diet based on lean protein like chicken, turkey and fish. Get your carbs in moderation from fruits and whole grains along with plenty of vegetables. Use olive oil and nuts in small quantities for fats. When I create a meal plan for one of my clients, I like to use the term moderation not deprivation. Do it right as much as you can and allow yourself the occasional “cheat day.” Just remember, the closer you stay to your plan, the better your results will be. I hope these tips will help make 2009 the year that you reach all of your health and fitness goals. For more health, fitness and nutrition tips check out Peter’s nationally syndicated health and fitness show Peter’s Principles. For more information on Peter’s show or his products go to www.petersprinciples.com
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