Tag Archives: cardio

Are Exercising Mortals Ready for CrossFit Domination in 2014?

High intensity workouts like CrossFit, Insanity and P90X were a phenomenon this past year and now, according to the American College of Medicine’s Sports Fitness Journal, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), is expected to be the top calorie-burning trend of 2014. While the popularity has increased, so have subsequent injuries.

Danger of HIIT Exercises

The HIIT workout is one that centers around high intensity exercises immediately followed by a short period of rest or limited activity. For example: A one-minute sprint on the treadmill followed by a 90-second recovery period or jump rope for three minutes followed by a 45-second walking lunge with alternating hand-to-hand kettlebell exchange. Repeat!! Some HIIT workouts can be completed in as little as 20 minutes.

While the variety of exercises and short time commitment can be tempting to those seeking something besides the boring treadmill routine, these workouts aren’t for everyone.  We asked certified personal trainer, Jessica Smith, to give her thoughts on the CrossFit craze. “A good, safe fitness program should be scalable to meet the participants’ fitness levels,” she said. “I’ve seen some programs that do that, and others that really can’t adequately offer modifications that meet all participants needs.”


Fire Up Your Glutes with an Incline Interval Workout for the Treadmill

Out of all of the cardio machines that I have to choose from at the gym, the treadmill is usually the last one that I would choose. It’s not that I dislike walking or running – I actually kind of like it – but to me, walking or running indoors can get extremely boring. There’s something about the other machines (like the elliptical and stairmill) that just seem to hold my interest more and make my workout more enjoyable. That being said, I know that running on a treadmill can provide a great cardiovascular workout.

I almost always run outdoors and my surface of choice is definitely dirt. Unfortunately, because of weather and other factors, that’s not always possible. Recently, I decided to give the treadmill another chance, with a different approach this time.


I’m an avid hiker and walking up an incline is often a big part of my hikes. Hiking can be a great cardiovascular and fat-burning workout because it tones your lower body and (depending on the trail) can alternate between high and low intensity.

I tried utilizing the treadmill to get the same benefits of a hike by adjusting the incline and speed during a thirty minute period, which would offer the same type of interval training that I naturally get while hiking. Walking at an incline burns more calories than walking on a level surface because your body has to work much harder to push itself uphill. You’ll definitely feel your heart pumping faster as the incline percentage increases, and it will drop as you come back down to level ground. (more…)

Jump in to a Les Mills Bodypump Class to Reshape Your Body

When I initially decided to join a gym about ten years ago I pretty much only ever stayed in one very small area of the building: the cardio section. I would walk in, jump on the treadmill or elliptical trainer for about 45 minutes and leave. I wasn’t really sure what to do in the weight room and found it to be pretty intimidating, so I steered clear of it altogether. But then I got bored. I decided that I wanted to start doing exercise in the form of strength training to build some muscles! And then one day, as if by fate, I noticed a flyer for a new class that the gym was offering: Les Mills Bodypump.

Les Mills Bodypump

Bodypump is described as the original Les Mills barbell class and will sculpt, tone and strengthen your entire body, fast! The classes use a specific formula of resistance training that is referred to as “The Rep Effect.” This essentially means that the classes focus on using low weight loads and high repetition movements for effective fat burning and production of lean muscle tissue. (Or, in my own words – it’s an hour of strength training combined with cardio moves that will kick your butt and re-shape your body.)

Nervously, I decided to give Bodypump a try, and I loved it! Even though the class was nearly an hour long, it went by super quickly and I enjoyed every heart-pumping minute. I immediately became hooked and found myself faithfully attending the class three times a week. I loved it so much in fact that I eventually decided to become a certified Les Mills Bodypump instructor! (more…)

Cardio Doesn’t Have to Make You Weak in the Knees: 5 Gentler Approaches to Cardio Exercise

When we think of cardio, running is often the first thing that comes to mind. Running is a great form of exercise, however, it isn’t the right solution for everyone. From beginners who haven’t built a base of strength yet to those with arthritis, high impact movements like running aren’t a good fit.

Cardio, by definition, actually means “from the heart.” Therefore, from an exercise perspective, it is anything that gets your heart rate up. This means there are plenty of low- or no-impact activities you can do to accomplish this goal. Make cardio easier on your knees while still benefiting your heart with these five moves.

kettlebell woman

Walking is a great form of cardio that we already know how to do, but you have to do it briskly or find a way to push yourself. The heart is a muscle and, like your biceps, gets stronger only with challenge. Make your walk more challenging by increasing the incline on the treadmill or wearing a weighted vest on your outdoor walks.

Dance lets you sweat and de-stress. Have you seen the transformations on Dancing with the Stars? If ballroom isn’t your thing, try a hip-hop or swing class. You can always crank up your favorite tunes and get crazy in your living room. (more…)

3 Ways to Get a Better Workout and Burn More Calories

By Bob Greene of TheBestLife.com

Did you hit up a Spin class, get in a run, or head out on a hike today? Good job!

Now, did you take some time to warm up, stretch and cool down? These three elements, which would set you back only about 20 minutes, are nearly as important as the workout itself. That’s because they can prepare you for your workout and may also help prevent injuries.

I know what you’re thinking: I just don’t have the time. I’m lucky enough to squeeze in a quick workout let alone all these extras. But I urge you to find time. Doing so will help you get a better workout and burn more calories. In other words, it’s worth the effort. Still not convinced? Take a look at how little time each element will cost and how big the rewards are.


Warm up

What it is: Light cardio aerobic activity done before a workout

Why you need it: It helps get your muscles ready for exercise. A warm up can be anything from a quick walk or slow jog to jumping jacks or jumping rope.

Time Investment: 5 minutes (more…)

Try Dolvett’s 10-8-6 Workout for a Total Body Sweat Sesh in Just 48 Minutes

Looking to put in a little bit of effort and get maximum results? Yeah, you and everyone else!

This very subject came up on our recent G+ Hangout event with Dolvett Quince, superstar trainer on Biggest Loser, which premiered its 15th season last night.

dolvett biggest loser

His motto is, “Hard work. Dedication,” so we aren’t even sure minimum is in his vocabulary. But he does understand that we’ve all got kids, and jobs, and maybe we’re just building up to work out at the maximum. Either way, he’s got a solution for those who can’t give 110 percent everyday. And honestly, it’s still no easy walk at the park and sure to work you out the way you need to be.

When you have 48 minutes, at home or the gym, to dedicate to a sweat-inducing workout, give Dolvett’s 10-8-6 Workout a try! He explains in this video.


Dolvett’s 10-8-6 Workout
Do this four days per week. (more…)

“I’m Here, Alive and Well and Thriving.” A Breast Cancer Survivor Used Exercise and CrossFit to Aid Her Recovery

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my breast cancer journey, so I thought that since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it would be an appropriate time to check in.

First and foremost, I’m doing awesome! This past July marked my two-year survivor anniversary. In the past two years, I’ve been through five major surgeries, countless “minor procedures,” six rounds of chemotherapy, and am now on hormone therapy for the next 3 ½ years. If it seems like a lot to read, imagine going through it. But…I’m here, alive and well and thriving.

Although I’ve been through a lot, I attribute my success and ability to cope to three things:

  • My Faith in God and His awesome power
  • My husband, Alvin; my family, friends and followers standing by me all the way and pushing me to keep fighting
  • Exercise

Without these three elements firmly entrenched in my life, I shudder to think what kind of shape (physical, emotional and mental) that I would be in right now.

Faith and family, I’m sure you can relate to how important these are to you when you need them most; but exercise?

Let me explain. This is not just any old type of exercise, but serious, vigorous, out-of-breath, leaves you crawling exercise. I first heard about how important exercise is to cancer recovery from a guest on my radio show. She was diagnosed with Stage IV Lymphoma and survived. While on the show she said that she attributed her success to vigorous exercise. This point stuck in my mind and when I was faced with a similar situation, I put my plan in motion. (more…)

Retro Workout Circuit: Total Body Trampoline Workout at Home

Remember that old mini trampoline that was in your house growing up? It’s time to dust it off for a fun, heart-pumping cardio workout! I love to use mini trampolines with clients that I train- especially for those with bad knees. Unlike jumping on the ground, trampolines offer a soft, flexible impact that’s gentler on the joints. I also like that a trampoline is easily portable and can be moved to wherever you want your workout to be whether it’s inside, outside, or even right in front of your television.

mini trampoline

Here’s a super simple trampoline workout that works muscle groups throughout the entire body. These five simple moves will work your quadriceps, glutes, abdominal muscles, triceps and shoulders – just to name a few. Start with a 3-5 minute warm-up of basic bouncing at an easy pace and then move on to the circuit below. Perform each exercise for 30-60 seconds with a quick break for rest before moving on to the next exercise. Repeat the circuit 3-5 times and cool down with 3 minutes of basic bouncing, followed by stretching.

1. Low Bounce – Stand on your trampoline with your feet a little wider than your hips and toes slightly turned out. Lower yourself into a squat position (keep your knees aligned with your toes) and bounce quickly. Bring your feet closer together for more intensity.

lowbounce1 lowbounce2


Americans Like Their Workouts Solo and Seldom. New Research Finds Only 20 Percent are Exercising

Seventy percent of Americans prefer to workout alone, and they usually only get around to that about once a week. Quick and solo was the general consensus.

That’s the finding in a new study, in which a group of 1,200 adults aged 24 to 44 were asked about exercise habits. Some strong truths were revealed.

woman fit time clock

“We know that among the general population about 20 percent exercise regularly, not say they do but do, and about, 80 percent don’t exercise,” said Dr. Walter Thompson, who studies exercise trends for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), in the published findings at Reuters. The doctor noted that many people exaggerate in their responses and the reality is that the amount of people getting exercise is extremely low.

So low as only 20 percent? That’s the stark reality of this survey. The ACSM recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise each week. And despite what those being surveyed answered, a tiny fraction are actually getting the work done. (more…)

How I Changed My Outlook on Running and Actually Grew to Like it

Growing up, the word running was synonymous with a few different words. Among them were torture, punishment, pain, and dread. I remember trying to fake being sick on those dreaded few days each school year when we had to run the mile in gym class. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to run – it just seemed so awful to me.

Fast forward to the year 2003 and I’ve decided to get in shape and join a gym. After a year or two of solely sticking to the elliptical trainer and the occasional group exercise class, I decided to take up running. For some reason, I always had it in my head that you weren’t a real athlete unless you were a runner. I wasn’t even really sure how one becomes a runner, but gave it my best shot. I can still clearly remember going for those first few outdoor runs.


I started off by walking for a minute, running the next, and so on. Then my runs got longer, I could run for one mile without stopping, then two, three and so on. In 2005, a friend and I decided to sign up for a 5k race. It was my first race ever and I was nervous! I set a goal for myself to finish in 30 minutes or less. I finished in 28:30 and felt great! I registered for a number of 5k, 8k and 10k races over the next few years.

I started increasing my mileage and started thinking about running a half marathon; it seemed like a really great challenge and realistic goal considering where I was at, so I took the plunge and registered for the Baltimore Half Marathon. I trained for it by running 8-10 mile runs 2-3 times a week (and shorter runs one other day). I felt good and strong and prepared for race day. On race day, my goal was to finish in two hours. The course was pretty tough with a lot of big hills. It was also great because there were spectators along the entire 13.1 miles cheering us on. I got a sharp pain in my I.T. band around mile 7, but just kept running, and my finish time was 1 hour and 58 minutes. (more…)