Achieving 6-pack abs is pretty much the holy grail of physical fitness and strength, even though much of your abdominal appearance is decided by genetics, not effort. But whether you have 7% body fat or a layer of “insulation” over your abdominal muscles it’s extremely important to keep those muscles strong. Working the muscles that make up your core strong (the abdominals, obliques, and mid- to lower-back) will make your entire body feel stronger, give you better posture, and improve your balance. However, the question remains—what’s the best technique to building and managing core strength?
We’ve been presented with so many different options for strengthening the abdominal muscles that it’s hard to know what works best. Should we be lying on our backs, balancing on our hands and toes, standing up, squatting, or using a contraption like the ab flyer or ab rocket?
Luckily, a group of fitness experts commissioned by the American Council on Exercise recently conducted the research to answer that very question. ACE reached out to experts at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse to conduct research determining the effectiveness of the most popular equipment and exercises compared to the traditional crunch. The team incorporated several different varieties of popular equipment including the Ab Circle Pro, Ab Roller, and others, as well as exercises including yoga’s boat pose, the stability ball crunch, decline bench curl-ups, the captain’s chair crunch, the bicycle crunch, the side plank, and a standard plank. (more…)
More and more, when I talk to people about the one food they could never give up the answer is cheese. I don’t know if this is generation, geographical, or what, but the hard-to-break habit keeps coming up in conversation. People like their cheese, and I’m no different. I like a gooey triple cream brie on apple slices, a chunk of cheddar on crackers, and a thick dusting of parmesan on most pasta dishes. But mostly I like cheese with wine.
In the past I tabulated a Work it Off: Wine edition. Since we know exactly what it takes to burn off a couple of glasses (and 250 calories) I’m going to turn my attention to cheese. The cheese plate, to be exact, such as the two I helped take down this past week while sipping wine in the sun with various groups of friends. (This isn’t typical for me: The weather turned warm right as my birthday week hit, which led to a little extra indulgence!)
The cheese on a typical cheese plate adds up to around 481 calories, which no doubt explains why it tastes so good and goes down so easily.
How, exactly, could I have burned off these 481 extra calories? (more…)
We all know that working with a personal trainer can provide so many benefits. If you’re just starting out, a personal trainer is a great resource to learn how to exercise properly and regular appointments make you a lot more likely to show up at the gym. Of course, trainers often charge between $40 and $80 per session, or more. Luckily, there’s a great way to get the benefits of having a personal trainer for only a fraction of the cost: Online training. We sat down with Paige, an ACE certified personal trainer with years of experience training clients both in-person and online to find out a bit more about online personal training works.
1. What exactly is online training? How does it work?
Online training is a lot like in-person training, but all training is done virtually. After an initial assessment and consultation, I design a customized workout program for that client. However, instead of being there in-person for their “sessions” they refer to my online exercise video library, pictures, demonstrations, and detailed descriptions for the exercises. Depending on the tier of training they choose, my involvement can be a coaching them and providing feedback 3 to 5 times a week or as little as once a week.
2. What types of people (typically) sign up for online training?
The same as those who come to me in the gym—those who want to better their lives in some way through fitness. The only differences would be that often, those who come to me for online training have crazy hard-to-plan-around schedules. Also, online training is much more affordable than paying $70 an hour for in-the-gym training. Some of my online clients came to me looking for a more affordable way to have a personal trainer. (more…)
Walking is one of the easiest options for shedding pounds, and it can improve your health in a number of other ways, too: Taking a stroll boosts your spirits, adds additional exercise to your life, and apparently, it can spark your creative side.
Multiple studies have proven that exercise helps memory and decisiveness, but the New York Times recently reported on a study from Stanford University that took things a step further: The researchers found that stepping away from your desk, even to walk around the office, can do wonders for your the creativity portion of your mind. (more…)
It may be obvious, but Guacamole is probably my favorite food, one of the three things I would want with me on a desert island. A few years ago I even had a “guac off” for my birthday party, asking guests to bring different versions of the classic green condiment/first-course which we of course then taste-tested and voted on. Versions included one with cranberries, one with chipotle chilis, and one with bacon. All were delicious, no surprise.
The good new is, guacamole is made of all sorts of good for you stuff: the avocados are full of heart healthy omega 3s and the onions, cilantro, jalepeno, and so forth provide a ton of nutrients. But moderation is not something I have an easy time practicing with guacamole, and I know I’m not alone: nutrition sites suggest a serving size of 1 oz., or about 2 Tablespoons. But as anyone who’s ever planted themselves next to the guac bowl at a party, it’s hard to stop there. I’ve easily eaten 2/3 of a cup on my own, which contains more like 244 calories. (Let’s not even get into the calories from the chips, which shoot this number way way up!)