Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

Big Things Can Come in Small Packages

The Little Things Add Up To a Lot of Weight

When people try to lose weight, they often steer clear of the obvious things like greasy, fried, and overly sweet foods.  While this is a great first step, they often overlook some of the littler things in their diet that are causing them to either lose weight slower than they normally would, or not lose weight at all.  There’s nothing worse than putting in serious effort in the gym only to make no progress because of a poor diet.

Often times, people don’t even realize that the little things they eat on a regular basis add up over the course of a week, month, or year.  When you put a lot of little things together, you get big things.  Big things are what you want to avoid when trying to lose weight.  A scoop of ice cream here or there isn’t going to affect your progress, but pounds of sugar consumed each month or year, certainly will.

Sugar is one of the things in our diet that we want to be very mindful of.  Sugar is a simple carb which causes the body to release insulin upon ingestion.  Insulin results in retained fat and makes it much harder to lose the weight we desperately want to get rid of.  Take a look at some of the foods below that many of us eat on a daily basis.  After doing a little math, you will see the consequences of these diet killers.

*Calories and pounds are from sugar alone. 1 pound = 3,500 calories.

  • Daily cup of coffee with two packets of sugar = 8 grams of sugar. 1 cup x 365 days = 11,680 calories.  11,680 calories adds up to 3.3lbs of body fat a year.
  • Slice of bread = 6 grams of sugar.  Three sandwiches a week x 52 weeks = 1,872 calories.  1,872 calories = .53 lbs of body fat a year.
  • 3 Tablespoons of an average salad dressing = 13 grams of sugar.  13 grams of sugar x 3 salads a week = 2, 028 calories.  2,028 calories = .58 pounds of body fat a year.
  • 1 can of soda = 39 grams of sugar.  4 cans a week x 52 weeks = 8,112 calories.  8,112 calories = 2.31 pounds of body fat a year.
  • Dannon fruit at the bottom yogurt = 26 grams of sugar.  2 cups a week x 52 weeks = 2,704 calories.  2,704 calories = .77 pounds of body fat a year.
  • Weight Watches Ice Cream Cup = 22 grams of sugar.  2 six-ounce cups a week x 52 weeks = 2,288 calories.  2,288 calories =  .65 pounds of body fat a year.
  • Mott’s Original Applesauce (4 oz.) = 25 grams of sugar.  2 cups a week x 52 weeks = 2,600 calories.  2,600 calories = .74 pounds of body fat a year.
  • Quaker Instant Oatmeal = 12 grams of sugar.  3 bowls a week x 52 weeks = 1,872 calories. 1,872 calories = .53 pounds of body fat a year.
  • Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars = 12 grams of sugar.  3 bars a week x 52 weeks = 1,872 calories. 1,872 calories = .53 pounds of body fat a year.
  • Generic “Organic” store brand fruit juice with no sugar added = 25 grams of sugar. 2 glass a week x 52 weeks = 10,400 calories.  10,400 calories = 2.97 pounds of body fat.

You may have noticed a lot of these foods with hidden sugar are marketed as healthy, or supposed to be healthy.  Always read nutrition labels and look for sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or other derivatives of sugar, i.e. syrups, honey, sugar cane juice, etc. 

As you can see, the sugar content ALONE in the above-mentioned foods contribute to over 13 pounds of body fat that must then be burned off.  If it isn’t being burned off it’s being stored on your stomach, hips, legs, back, etc.  Make it easier on yourself and just avoid this stuff to begin with.  There is no point in taking one step forward and one step back; you end up going nowhere.  Instead of working out to burn off the extra calories you’re taking in, eliminate the extra calories, continue working out, and burn off fat that is already there.  You do that, and you will unlock the key to weight loss.

The Problem With “Celebrity Trainers”

The fit skinny Tracy Anderson walking with celebrity client, Madonna.  The “best exercise genius of all time” lacks muscle tone, but makes up for it in the skin-and-bones department.

Have you ever wondered what makes one trainer better than another?  Why is Jillian Michaels so popular right now?  Is it because she is so much better than everyone else out there?  Why do trainers to the stars command a higher hourly rate than most doctors and lawyers do?  Are they really that good and worth the $400/hr price tag?  Common sense, says no.

Plenty of websites tout their stable of celebrity trainers; Exercise TV comes to mind.  They are hoping to sell you on the big names and pretty faces, NOT on the quality of the workout.  Having 20 different famous fitness trainers is all well and good, but are you really getting a better workout?  Does the fact your trainer has their face on 5 different magazines this week mean the squats she/he is having you do are burning more calories or building more muscle?  Of course not.

Lets take a look at trainer to the stars, Tracy Anderson.  She works closely with Gwyneth Paltrow, among others, to help her maintain her Hollywood figure.  Paltrow stated about Anderson, “she’s a pint-sized miracle and the exercise genius of all time”.  Now, with these quotes splashed across US weekly and the like, millions of impressionable readers start thinking that Tracy Anderson and her workouts are the real deal.

The problem is, these workouts from these so-called fitness experts are designed to make you lose weight fast and in a very unhealthy manner.  When ordinary people try to go on these workout programs, they sacrifice far too much in the name of weight loss.  Take for example the following excerpts from an article written by the very average, size-12, Rebecca Wilcox:

“So I bought into the Tracy Anderson Method, got hold of her DVDs and books, and ordered her latest boxed set Metamorphosis: A Complete Body Transforming System, a 90-day programme you graduate to after completing the 30-Day method, and which is available only from Tracy’s website”

“I have to say, Gwyneth made it look rather too easy. On the 30-Day Method you have to do to three hours of exercise a day, which decreases to one hour on the 90-day plan.”

“It basically involves doing jazzy leaps, star jumps and aerobic moves in my living room.  Tracy is totally against other forms of cardio, such as running, where you repeat your movements over and over. That, she says, will bulk muscles. Along with the aerobics you must do a series of 40 toning Pilates-style moves, which change every ten days. It is gruelling and also mind-numbingly boring. I find myself staring at pictures of Gwyneth in her bikini for ‘thinspiration’.”

“On the downside I feel woozy and find it difficult to concentrate. At first I had loads of energy but now I’m always tired and am told I’m horribly grouchy to boot.  My skin is terrible and my nails are flaking and weak. And  –  how can I put this  –  my system has become, shall we say, somewhat sluggish. Normally I’m as regular as clockwork. Not any more.”

For the full story check out the link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1367879/Gwyneth-Paltrows-personal-trainer-Tracy-Andersons-diet-plan-gave-blackouts.html

So, as the story illustrates, these type of workouts and trainers aren’t always the best.  Of course this is only one individual experience, and it doesn’t “prove” anything.  It does however, hopefully begin to open peoples’ eyes to the unhealthy and risky workout and diet plans these celebrity trainers are feeding us.  Further, these workouts aren’t even engaging.  If some Joe on the corner told you to do calisthenics for 3 hours a day and eat little to no carbs, you’d better believe you’d lose weight.  Does that make Joe a great trainer?

A great trainer and/or training website is one that seamlessly makes fitness a part of your life and something you can incorporate into your lifestyle for a significant period of time.  Crash diets and insane workout plans may work a bit faster, but will leave you miserable while you are on them and crushed when the weight comes back as soon as you go off their strict schedules.

The problem with celebrity trainers is the fact they are themselves a business.  Their goal is to make money, and I’m not going to fault them for that.  However, you need to be aware that they are in this to make money.  If these trainers had a solid plan for losing weight, why are they coming out with a new way to burn fat every few months?  Answer: because they know people will buy whatever they are selling.  Be smarter than this and don’t buy into their junk.

Something else to keep in mind; a large proportion of these “expert” celebrity trainers have no educational background in fitness.  Many have never seen the inside of a college classroom.  A trainer with advanced kinesiology degrees and 10 years practical experience is going to be better qualified and more knowledgeable than any trainer on the cover of some magazine.

This is what Share It Fitness was built on.  We’ve spent (and still are) a great deal of time trying to find the best of the best to create video workouts for us. Our instructors’ workouts are built on practical experience in a gym and educational backgrounds that have provided our trainers the depth of knowledge required to create effective workout routines that you will actually stick with.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t intense, it just means they know how to incorporate their training methods quite seamlessly into your everyday life.  Remember, anyone can tell you to workout three hours a day and starve yourself, and you will undoubtedly lose weight.  That doesn’t make them a good trainer.  Good trainers work with you and figure out the best way to attack your specific goals.  Nothing is uniform at Share It Fitness; our workout plans are different for each individual that visits our site. Next time you see some brand new celebrity workout that you are considering, remember this: generic workout plans from these so-called “experts” are seldom the answer to lifelong health and fitness.

Instant Motivation

Check out this video of ASU’s Anthony Robles.  Anthony won the 125-pound NCAA wrestling championship by defeating Matt McDonough 7-1.  What makes this feat so amazing is the fact that Anthony was born with only 1 leg.  Watch a true competitor overcome adversity and reach his goals.  Let this motivate you and encourage you to stick with your goals, no matter how hard achieving them may seem to be.  Mind almost always takes precedence over matter.

Eat GREEN!

Great article below from Healthy Eats.  Today (and everyday!) be sure to pair your green beer with some delicious green nutritious foods!!

With both St. Patty’s Day and spring just around the corner, what better color to focus on than green?

What Green Foods Have To Offer
Chlorophyll, a green pigment found in the leaves of plants, gives foods their green hue. Green colored fruits and veggies contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals — plant compounds that help fight disease. Make these 10 a part of your healthy diet.

Artichokes


This ancient symbol of fertility is packed with vitamin C, folate and potassium. According to the USDA’s top 100 antioxidant-filled foods, cooked artichokes ranked seventh!
Recipe: Stuffed Artichokes

Asparagus


This green veggie is an excellent source folate and thiamin and a good source of fiber, iron, vitamin C and beta-carotene . It also contains the plant compound asparagine which has a diuretic effect and causes that funky odor in urine after you eat asparagus.
Recipe:
Smoked Turkey-Wrapped Asparagus

Avocados


This fruit is packed with heart-loving monounsaturated fat. It also contains a plethora of other healthy stuff including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium and the antioxidant lutein. Keep calories under control by limiting serving size to about one-fifth of an avocado, or about 50 calories.
Recipe: Crab and Avocado Salad

Broccoli


This veggie is part of the cruciferous (cabbage) family and a close relative to cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens and Brussels sprouts. Veggies from this family contain plant compounds that have been shown to help fight cancer.
Recipe: Orange-Scented Broccoli and Cauliflower

Brussels Sprouts


Also part of the cruciferous vegetable family, this veggie is a great source of vitamins A and C and has a fair amount of iron.
Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Honeydew Melon


This sweet and juicy melon is perfect in smoothies, soups and salads. It’s a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C, which helps with healthy skin and hair.
Recipe: Melon Smoothies

Kale


Also part of the cabbage family, kale is one of our favorite winter veggies here at Healthy Eats. It’s packed with vitamins A and C along with folic acid, iron and calcium and can be substituted for spinach in practically any recipe.
Recipe: Potato-Kale Soup

Kiwi


Also known as the Chinese gooseberry, this bright green gem contains more vitamin C than any other fruit. They’re also high in fiber, potassium and vitamin E and various phytochemical such as lutein and anthocyanin. (links)
Recipe: Radiance Fruit Salad

Limes


More acidic and tart than lemons, these babies are packed with antioxidants including flavonol glycosides shown to help prevent hardening of the arteries and help fight cancer.
Recipe: Limeade

Peas


Good things come in small packages—especially when you’re talking about green peas. A quarter-cup of cooked peas contains 130 calories, 10 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. They contain some iron and zinc and are a good source of heart healthy potassium and folate.
Recipe: Split Pea Burgers

What is YOUR favorite green food?

Shop the Borders

No, you aren’t shopping for some new illegal immigrants.  What I mean is, take a look at your local grocery store the next time you are in there.  Where is most of the healthy/fresh food located?  Almost exclusively around the borders of the store.  Fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, fresh meats and seafood, eggs and egg whites; you get the idea. 

The lay out of the store has the healthy stuff on the outside (not to say you can’t find unhealthy stuff on the border, i.e. 20% fat ground beef anyone?) and the fat, simple carbs, and sugar on the inside.  Keep yourself on the border for the majority of your time spent in the store, and you’ll be less likely to walk out with those impulse purchases of high-fat, high-sugar snacks.

A great strategy to follow; make a lap around the outside of the store first.  Studies show that a person is more inclined to purchase things not on their grocery list within the first 10 minutes of entering a grocery store.  With this in mind, keep yourself in the area where impulse purchases are likely to be healthy purchases.  After completing your lap, then go into the middle aisles to grab what you need.

Be aware that the middle aisles are largely filled with junk as you make your rounds.  In this area of the store in particular, always be sure to check nutrition labels.  There should be certain areas of the store that you should skip impulsively.  Avoid the frozen food aisles.  Unless you know you absolutely need something from this section, there’s no reason to browse.  High-fat, high-sodium, high-sugar, and yet, somehow tasteless options can be found here.  Who really wants a part of that?

You may also want to avoid the cereal aisle.  Cereals are effective in luring you in with their colorful boxes and advertising.  I must admit, my Achilles heel is a giant bowl of Cookie Crisp cereal right before bed.  But, if I don’t have it in the house, I don’t consume 40+ grams of sugar and even more simple carbs right before I lay down for the night.  Now, I’m not saying NEVER go down the cereal aisle.  Just be aware of how often you find yourself browsing this aisle and purchasing something you know you really don’t need. 

It comes down to the simple idea of, don’t put yourself in situations where you might slip up, and you’ll slip up less.  Be aware of the lay out of your grocery store and do your best to keep yourself in those safer border regions.

Body Diversity Training: The Key to Lifelong Health and Well-Being

First off, this is not another article where I rant and rave about the benefits of muscle confusion.  For those of you that may not follow this blog religiously, I often preach the importance of confusing your muscles during any long-term weight training program.  The reasoning behind this is muscle confusion is a sure-fire way to keep your muscles on their toes, and helps you avoid the dreaded plateaus. 

Body diversity, which does draw on some ideas of the muscle confusion theory,  is so much more than that.  Simply changing up weights, exercises, and the manner in which we lift weights is great for individuals trying to continue gaining strength and adding muscle mass.  Adding muscle mass is great because it will help speed up your metabolism, but unlocking total body health and wellness is about more than just adding muscle and increasing your metabolism.

While working as a personal trainer several years ago I would regularly come across three different type of clients.  Client A was the person who simply wanted to hit the weights and pack on muscle.  Client B was the person who wanted to lose weight and thought doing as much running as possible was the best way to achieve that goal. Client C was the person who did a little bit of everything; weight training, yoga, biking, bootcamp classes, pilates, etc.  Client C lifted less often than Client A and did less overall cardio than Client B, but you know what?  Client C was by FAR the most fit of the bunch.   

Now, I already know what most of you are thinking.  ‘First, how do I have time to bike, take cardio classes, take yoga classes, do pilates, AND lift weights?  Second, how do I afford to take all these classes?  Achieving a fit lifestyle must only be for the well off.’  My goal, and the reason I started Share It Fitness was to show that reaching your fitness goals wasn’t about spending massive amounts of time or money in gyms and studios.

Body Diversity Training is the foundation that Share It Fitness was built.  We wanted to create a database of full-length exercise and fitness classes that was bigger and more robust than anything that could be found on the internet.  Imagine being able to wake up on Monday and take a yoga class focusing on cardio training  from your living room, then hit the gym after work for some weight training with a workout specifically designed for you by one of our live professionals.  Tuesday, maybe you are taking a cardio based class with light dumbbells from home.  Wednesday you do a plyometric class in your backyard while following along with the instructor leading the class.  Thursday, you’re back in the gym, but your taking a 60 second interval training class  instead of doing the same boring routine you’ve always done.  Friday, you decide to take an early morning relaxation yoga class to start your day.  That evening, you decide you want to get some mat pilates in, so you fire up a class and get your workout in right in front of the TV in your living room.  You get the idea.

This is Body Diversity Training.  By incorporating many different disciplines of fitness into your life, you are hitting your muscles, cardiovascular system, and mind in a way it has never experienced before.  This ever-changing fitness lifestyle throws your body into disarray.  You are going to force your body to grow, build, and become stronger.  Your mental well-being should also improve as a result.  We are going for the total body make-over, not just the physical aspect.  Not only will you look better from the outside, your internal organs are going to function better, and you will likely receive the mental benefits that come with gaining and maintaining a lean body and a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Our muscles stand to benefit by being hit from various angles, in different formats, and with varying weights.  Our cardiovascular system stands to benefit by the varying amounts and intensities of cardio we are doing.  By combining different types of cardio into your lifestyle, you will exponentially increase your CV ability and strength.  Doing the same running routine over and over not only gets old, but loses its effectiveness over time.  Keep things fresh by trying lots of different classes that keep you moving and sweating.  Classes on Share It Fitness were systematically designed for individuals of all levels.  What this means is that you can progressively take harder and harder classes as your fitness levels progress.  We have workouts designed by, and for, professional athletes that are down right HARD.  We have workouts geared towards absolute beginners.  Progressively up the difficult in your routines, and you will experience the full benefits of Body Diversity Training. 

With the concerns I know many of you have in mind, we created our website to eliminate the most common excuses.  Time: Our classes range from 10-90 minutes in length.  Find something that works for you, and do it.  Something else to keep in mind, many of these classes can be done at home.  Save time by not driving to and from the gym.  This is fitness on your own time schedule.  Price: taking 7 different fitness classes a week could add up to almost a thousand dollars a month if you were to do this in studios, gyms, etc.  Share It Fitness has brought the studio, gym, etc. to you.  For the price of a large iced coffee at Starbucks, you have access to hundreds and hundreds of full-length health and fitness classes.  That yoga studio, pilates studio, personal training gym, etc. is now at your fingertips, wherever you may be.

The Secret to Eating Healthier Unlocked

Lets get one huge point out of the way first; your diet is more important than the time you spend in the gym.  Even the strictest gym routine can be killed by a diet filled with fast food runs, skipped meals, and sugar overload.  You will not lose the fat.  You will not maximize your muscle growth.  You will still feel slow and sluggish. It has been said that achieving a lean, fit body is 60% diet and 40% physical exercise.  We need to first recognize the significant part that your diet plays in your overall health and well-being. 

Having gotten that out of the way, two of the biggest reasons people can’t or won’t stick to a healthy diet is because they a) don’t know what a healthy diet entails and/or b) have become so conditioned to sugar, salt, fat, etc. that anything lacking high-levels of these compounds comes across as tasteless, boring, and bland.  Just because that stick of celery doesn’t satisfy you like that fried fish stick does, doesn’t mean it never will.  The key to healthy eating comes from deriving satisfaction from the (healthy) things you eat.  It is simply a matter of conditioning your body and mind to feel satisfied when you eat healthy.

This isn’t about convincing yourself that you love the taste of tea without any sugar added.  It’s about taking a much more calculated approach than that.  For instance, lets take green tea for example.  Green tea is filled with tons of great anti-oxidants that help contain free radicals and do a bunch of other great things inside your body.  Maybe you are already a green tea drinker.  Odds are you load that cup of tea up with a lot of sugar.  Despite creating optimal conditions in your body for cancer cells to grow (they thrive on sugar), you are also ingesting many more empty calories that are only going to lead to excess body fat.

You need to condition your brain and taste buds to enjoy that cup of green tea without all the added sugar.  Just like a drug addict, you need to ween yourself off that sugar satisfaction high your brain gets.  Instead of two teaspoons of sugar, bring it down to one for a month or so.  Slowly go down to half a teaspoon for another month.  Ultimately, get yourself to the point where you are adding no sugar and drinking straight tea.  At first, you will think this will never be possible.  You will never be able to enjoy your tea without an added sweetener you may be telling yourself.  Trust the physiology of your brain and the power to re-wire how you think and taste.  Three to four months out, that sugar-less green tea is going to be just as satisfying to your brain as the sugar-laden one once was.

This is the ultimate key to discovering a lifetime of healthy eating habits.  By progressively re-wiring your brain to receive satisfaction from healthier foods you will no longer view “healthy” foods in an unfavorable light.  Don’t like Brussel sprouts?  Slowly work them into your diet.  If you are determined, continue to eat them even when your brain may be telling you that you don’t like them.  Over a period of just a few months, you will no longer dislike them.  By introducing new foods to your diet, you will start phasing out foods that are less than ideal for your health and fitness goals.

This phenomenon has a reverse effect as well.  Try abstaining from making that Taco Bell run for a few months.  While you may experience serious cravings for quite a while, they will subside with time.  If you ever do make it back to Taco Bell, you’ll likely be able to tell by taste alone, just how cheap and unhealthy their menu items really are.  Most likely, you will be turned off to whatever it was you used to crave.  By making healthy substitutes at home, you will further cement in your brain that the stuff from Taco Bell is just fattening junk that should be avoided.

Eating healthy isn’t a huge mystery that so many “experts” make it out to be.  The process of re-wiring your brain to turn on to healthy foods and off to unhealthy foods is a slow and steady approach to developing lasting eating habits.  Anyone can jump on a diet for a month or two at a time.  Unfortunately, 90% of those who go on diets are right back where they started from after going off the diet.  Anyone can force themselves to eat healthy or not eat unhealthy.  The problem is, we are all human and no one can force that upon themselves forever.  The key is to teaching our brain to receive satisfaction from the foods we know we should be eating.  You do this, and that whole diet thing just got a lot easier.

How to Fuel Your Workout

Another guest post from my buddy Casey over at www.ckfitnotes.com

Thanks again to Cait from PA for bringing up the question of what foods are best to energize yourself before a workout. As with most fitness topics there are many opinions out there regarding how long before your workout you should eat and what is ideal for maximizing your workout.

I recommend eating a complete meal rich in quality carbs (oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa) and roughly 15-30g of protein about 2 hours prior to working out. Personally I go with an egg white omelette and oatmeal with berries roughly an hour and thirty minutes before. I’ll also use one of the following snacks as some fast fuel 20-30 minutes before I get going, so to answer your question Cait here are some pre-workout/afternoon pick me ups:

1. 1/4 cup raisins or 4-6 prunes and a handful of almonds
2. 2-3 hard-boiled egg whites and an orange/apple/tangerine
3. Apple slices with natural PB or almond butter or almonds

A general rule of thumb is to get some type of fruit for quick energy from simple sugar carbs along with a little protein. Some people argue that healthy fat isn’t a good idea but I feel like the peanut/almond butter or nuts keep me full and fueled and it’s worked great for me. It may take a little trial and error but do some experimenting and figure out what timing leaves you feeling content but not stuffed and keeps you energized throughout.

 

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about eating for both sexes and how that differs as well as calorie counting so I’ll be addressing these topics soon…….get your votes in for workout tip of the week and I’ll have that up this weekend. Finish of the week strong everyone!

Turning a Boring Push-up into a Serious Challenge

The push-up is probably the first introduction the majority of us have had to exercise.  It is a standard bodyweight press, which targets the chest and tricep muscles.  Along with the sit-up and pull-up, the push-up makes up the core group of exercises we probably all began as children.  Growing up, P.E. classes often conducted physical fitness tests which involved, among other things like the mile, and shuttle run; push-ups.

It’s no wonder that less and less people do push-ups in their exercise routine.  Even the freshest moves you hear about lose their appeal after a few months.  Push-ups have been a part of our routine for almost our entire lives.  Most assume they are too standard and elementary to serve any real purpose in a chest routine.

The key is to turn the standard, hands chest-width apart-back straight-all the way down, push-up into something that not only adds a bit of variety to your routine, but becomes MUCH more effective in hitting your muscle fibers which result in better gains in the gym.

The following exercises can be done with nothing more than your own bodyweight and an exercise ball.  In some instances, a simple park bench or raised surface can substitute.  Keep in mind, many things can be made even harder for more advanced individuals by placing a weighted plate on your mid-back.  If you have any back problems however, you should avoid doing this.

This is a good introduction to increasing the difficulty of your push-up.  By elevating your feet, you increase the pressure felt on your chest, triceps, and deltoid (shoulder) muscles.  Lower yourself slowly until your shoulders are just about 3 inches off the floor as not to overly increase the torque on your shoulder joints, and then following the same pace, raise yourself back up while keeping a straight and steady back.  If you were incorporating this into an entire push-up routine, this would be a good place to start to adequately warm those muscles up.

Side-squeeze push-ups are a way to add even more variety into your routine.  Squeeze the ball at about 10 and 2 with a great deal of strength.  Like a regular push-up, lower yourself slowly with a straight back and then follow the same path up.  To increase the difficulty, you can try elevating your feet like in the previous exercise.

Moving down the list and getting progressively harder, we have the two ball push-up.  In this exercise you assume the elevated upper-body position.  It’s made even harder by placing each hand on an individual exercise ball.  Doing push-ups on an unstable surface, like an exercise ball is awesome because it targets so many stabilizing muscles and muscle fibers in your chest that would have otherwise gone ignored or under trained.  Hitting 15 of these in a row is serious work if you aren’t in at least decent shape.

To really increase the difficulty give this move a try.  Here, everything is off the ground.  Between your ankles you are pressing your legs together with enough force that the smaller ball in between is staying in place.  Your hands are on the larger ball, with a grip at about 11 and 1.  The grip can obviously be changed up to suit you best however.  This exercise will hit almost every muscle group in your body.  Really tighten your core muscles for added stability and a great way to hit that group while you do push-ups.  Two birds, one stone.

By building a push-up routine using these 4 exercises, you can supplement your standard chest routine.  Either try to work them in on lighter chest days, or do them completely on their own day for extra chest work.  You do need to be careful not to  over train however.  Give yourself the proper rest before re-targeting your chest and triceps. For an insane workout try this:

Exercise 1: set 1-15 reps, rest 30 seconds, set 2-15 reps

Exercise 2-4: repeat.

Repeat this cycle for a total of 3 times.

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