By Shae Blevins for DietsInReview.com
Since we first featured Josh Steele’s 250-pound true weight loss story, he has continued to make tremendous strides forward. Josh has lost another 55 pounds, had skin removal surgery, and even became a personal trainer. It’s the kind of story that deserves being told once… twice… as many times as we can!
“Losing more than 300 pounds is crazy!” he told DietsInReview.com.
“I went from [being] the unhappy, depressed, lonely person to someone full of energy and hope for the future,” he said. “Some days I am just blown away by how far I came in just two and half years.”
That’s right! Less than three years and more than 300 pounds later, Josh is a new man! (more…)
Each year the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveys its membership of fitness professionals (myself included) to identify the top trends in fitness. The 2015 list was recently published with, in my opinion, only a few surprises.
What did surprise me on this list? Outdoor activities are #12! I see and hear a lot about running in fitness circles, but not much else. Most popular classes and activities take place in some sort of gym, be it a commercial one or the budget home gym you created in the spare bedroom. I would love to see more people get off the spin bike and on the bike path. Hiking is a new love of mine and, unlike the treadmill, it does wonders for your body and soul. Boot camps are last on the ACSM list at #20. They are still very popular in the Midwest so I am curious what group fitness trend will be taking their place. What are you seeing where you live?
Agree or disagree, here are five “big” fitness trends you can look forward to in the coming year.
1. Body weight training and High Intensity Interval Training came in #1 and #2, respectively, on the ACSM list. This worries me for two reasons. One, the high rate of injury that goes along with beginners starting at too high of intensity as well as over-training, and two, the level of burnout that often follows. I think body weight exercises are great. They can be some of the most challenging exercises you can do, but if proper form isn’t developed before adding the explosive intensity of popular programs like Insanity or P90X you may be asking for trouble.
Trend tip: Perfect your form on squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises slowly before adding weight or plyometrics.
For those of you looking to get off the diet roller coaster, get back to the basics, and develop a balanced and sustainable lifestyle to get you feeling your best, health coach and personal trainer Pamela Hernandez has released an ebook just for you: The 4 Keys to Real Fitness.
Pamela Hernandez is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ACE Certified Health Coach (who is also a long-time partner of DietsInReview.com) with a thriving practice in Springfield, MO, where she is the owner of Thrive Personal Fitness. We spoke with her about her no-frills, easy-to-follow guidelines to a healthier, happier life, and how her personal life experiences support her clients.
“I’ve always wanted to help empower women,” says Hernandez. “Fitness gave me the strength and confidence to pursue my dreams. I want other women to feel strong and capable of doing anything they wish.”
No matter the age or experience level, Pamela has found four essential components to fitness success, which she describes in her new e-book. These elements aren’t groundbreaking, “but when they are applied with the right mindset they work every time.” (more…)
Ray Allen knows how important it is to have the right mindset when you want to lose serious weight. After dropping almost 60 pounds during a company sponsored weight loss contest, he slowly gained almost all of it back. Now, 50 pounds lighter, Ray says his biggest obstacle was getting out of his own way.
More from Ray in his own words –
My weight struggle began after the Army when poor food choices and not exercising over the course of a few years got the best of me.
In Feb 2012 I realized I needed to make some permanent changes to my lifestyle. My father died of heart disease at age 44 from a massive heart attack. He didn’t take care of himself and one of the contributing factors was his weight. Getting closer to that age, I decided I wasn’t going to let that happen to me.
I lost 50 pounds in 5 months and now I’m slowly gaining weight in the form of muscle instead of fat.
How did you lose the weight? I knew I needed to eat less so I tracked my calories on the website (caloriecount.about.com) This was an invaluable tool. I kept my calories below 1500, but I knew that what I ate was just as important so I gave up sugar, besides what I put in my coffee, and then eliminated anything sweet including cake, donuts, pastries, etc. I also gave up bread, butter, peanut butter (I went through withdrawals) and cheese.
The key to keeping up with an exercise routine for so many of us is having variety in our workouts. Doing the same workout routine every single day can get pretty boring and cause us to throw in the towel all together. I love to mix up my workouts. Changing things up constantly ensures that I work a variety of muscle groups and that I keep those muscles confused. Doing the same workout day in and day out will cause your body to adapt and you’ll eventually stop seeing progress. I also find that I actually look forward to my workouts when they vary from day to day.
I’m also a big fan of go anywhere/do anywhere types of exercises. These are the types of workouts that you can do in your living room just as easily as you would in the gym. They’re also great for traveling, as you can perform the exercises right in your hotel room! You can get a killer workout without using any equipment at all—just relying on your body’s own weight.
To satisfy both of these criteria I just created a new mobile workout actually does require some equipment—but it’s small enough to fit in your pocket. All your need are one or two dice!
(Don’t have dice to roll? No problem—here’s a virtual dice roller that you can use!)
By Cindy Whitmarsh, a certified personal trainer, nutritionist and fitness correspondent for Good Morning San Diego.
The popularity of High Intensity Interval Training (“HIIT”) has surged, and if you haven’t tried it yet now is the time. I just released three new DVDs based on HITT, which I call my Ultra Focused Interval Training (UFIT) program.
What exactly is HIIT? It’s a workout that is meant to push speed, endurance, and strength to the next level. You perform activities at a VERY high intensity for short bursts, or intervals, and you complete multiple sets of these intervals with minimal rest between them. This drives your heart rate up, forcing your body to adapt and accommodate.
Just what do I mean by “adapt”? With HIIT, you’ll burn calories in the moment but you will also increase your excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (“EPOC”) which basically means that you’ll continue to burn more calories even long after your workout is over. This can will lead to significant changes in muscle tone and strength, along with a reduction in body fat.
Exercise trends typically come and go but some fitness fads have real staying power. Here are some of the most popular fitness trends from 2013 and a look at what trends we expect to see more of in 2014:
The Best of 2013
1. CrossFit: There’s little doubt that CrossFit dominated the fitness scene in 2013. The number of CrossFit gyms continued to grow exponentially and the numbers of participants registering for that CrossFit Games more than doubled. I predict that CrossFit’s popularity will continue to rise in 2014, despite its (many) critics.
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.
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.”
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.
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…)
When I first heard the name “Orangetheory Fitness,” my mind immediately conjured up images of some kind of old school punk band playing a set in someone’s basement. Boy was I wrong! As it turns out, it’s a rapidly expanding fitness sensation (locations in more than 15 states and 2 Canadian territories) that is taking the continent by storm!
I ventured over to the Naperville, IL location (as I am now a Chicagoland resident) to try out a class to see what it was all about. When I entered I was greeted by a very friendly staff who explained the workings of what was to transpire in class. I was given my own heart rate monitor to wear for the workout to see how hard I’d actually be working.
The workout starts with interval training (which I am a HUGE fan of). The first part consisted of Indo Row machines (rowers with water in them for a real rowing effect) and then switching to the box area where we did various strength training moves. This persisted for about a half hour. At first, I was like “Easy Peasy!,” but by the third time around, I was sweating profusely and was feeling the burn!
The second half of the class had us on the treadmills. We did various lengths of intervals, running and jogging, mixed with recovery walks in between. I felt as though I could run a lot harder and faster because we were doing shorter sprints, rather than long drawn out runs. By the end of the second half, I had clocked more than two miles in sprints! (more…)