Tag Archives: Pamela Hernandez

Fit in Five: 5 Off-the-Ground Core Exercises

By Pamela Hernandez

Recently I had a client do bicycle crunches. Her teammate looked at me and said, “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen you ask anyone to do crunches.”

She’s right; crunches are not a big part of my ab repertoire. Much like running isn’t always appropriate, I think crunches are something you have to work up to. Many clients come to me with challenges that make crunches a poor place to start for developing core strength. For some, the act of getting on the ground for core exercises, like planks and cobras, can be off limits initially. I often need off-the-ground core strengthening and stabilizing exercises to help my clients achieve their fitness goals.

Here are my top 5 core exercises that don’t require a mat or getting off your feet.

Wood chops: I like these best with a cable machine but they are just as effective with resistance bands, a medicine ball or a dumbbell. Start high and chop by pulling diagonally across the body. The hips should not flex but instead stay straight and the body tall. (more…)

Fit in 5: Top 5 Fat Burning Exercises

By Pamela Hernandez

When we say weight loss what we really mean is fat loss. We want to workout and eat, in most cases, to get lean and carve lovely muscular curves. Many try to slog it out on the treadmill or elliptical trainer for hours on end to burn fat. I believe there are much more efficient, and entertaining, ways to burn calories and create a lean physique.

Ready to break out of your cardio machine routine? Try one of my favorite (and highly effective) fat burning workouts.

Squats: Weight training will always top my list of fat burners. Your resting metabolism can stay elevated for up to 48 hours after strength training, meaning more calories burned while you sleep or sit at your desk. Squats are at the top of my list because they use all of the big muscles of the legs and there are endless variations to keep you from getting bored. My favorite is the overhead squat, engaging muscles from top to bottom.

Boxing: I have no desire to hit someone but when I want to work up a sweat I love hitting the bag or putting on my Tae-Bo video. Your core and legs (remember big muscles burn more calories) provide power to your punches while increasing your heart rate more quickly than the treadmill. If you really want to sculpt tank top ready shoulders and arms, trying shadow boxing with weighted gloves or light dumbbells in hand. (more…)

Fit in 5: Five Ways To Measure Fat Loss Without the Scale

Pamela Hernandez owns Thrive Personal Fitness in Springfield, MO where she focuses on weight training for weight loss. She writes a blog for her web site, www.thrivepersonalfitness.com, sharing vegetarian recipes from her kitchen, exercise strategies, lifestyle tips and stories from her own journey. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter @ThriveFit or pick up more tips on Facebook, www.facebook.com/thrivepersonalfitness.

I am currently one of the sponsors of a local weight loss contest. The second round of weigh ins occurred in March and, as they started to roll in, I noticed a distinct change in the tone from that of the prior weigh in.

Instead of jubilance over pounds lost, there was a lot of distress and worry about the number on the scale. Some were feeling that they had gone off track. Others bemoaned the number on the scale because it hadn’t budged or they had dropped “just” a pound or two.

My response? The scale doesn’t define you or your success on a fitness journey.

That seems to be the hardest thing for people (especially women) to learn when starting to get healthy and fit. It doesn’t seem to matter how good you may feel, how many push ups you can do or how far you can run; if the scale doesn’t move, or if it doesn’t move enough, then it doesn’t mean anything.

I secretly hate the scale. I use it with my own clients because it’s a quick and easy measurement. But it’s not the only measurement we take and we don’t take it often. There are other (dare I say better?) measures of success when it comes to fitness and fat loss.

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Fit in 5: Five Barriers to Exercise and How to Avoid Them

Pamela Hernandez owns Thrive Personal Fitness in Springfield, MO where she focuses on weight training for weight loss. She writes a blog for her web site, www.thrivepersonalfitness.com, sharing vegetarian recipes from her kitchen, exercise strategies, lifestyle tips and stories from her own journey. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter @ThriveFit or pick up more tips on Facebook, www.facebook.com/thrivepersonalfitness.

I’ve probably heard every excuse there is for not exercising. Some of them are more valid than others, for example being sidelined with an injury. Others are not, like not having time to exercise. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, we just choose to allocate them differently.

Many reasons not to exercise are actually traced back to some other issue, like lack of time management skills or past negative experiences with exercise (bad boot camp, anyone?). The top 5 barriers to exercise I get from clients actually have some simple solutions that can be easily implemented if you know what’s really causing them.

I don’t have time for exercise: This is the number one and, frankly, the easiest one to deal with. I find it comes from the misguided notion that, when it comes to exercise, the more the better. So not true! The first step is being realistic about the time you do have. Can you spare 10 minutes in the morning, at lunch or after dinner? Then you get an effective workout. Break it down into bursts of activity that you can manage. Take 5 minutes and climb stairs on your lunch break or take 10 minutes in the evening for intervals of kettlebell swings. Also look for time wasters in your day like too much TV or Internet time. Eliminate them and give that time back to yourself.
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Fit in 5: Best 5 Stability Ball Exercises

Pamela Hernandez owns Thrive Personal Fitness in Springfield, MO where she focuses on weight training for weight loss. She writes a blog for her web site, www.thrivepersonalfitness.com, sharing vegetarian recipes from her kitchen, exercise strategies, lifestyle tips and stories from her own journey. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter @ThriveFit or pick up more tips on Facebook, www.facebook.com/thrivepersonalfitness.

Want to know my favorite piece of exercise equipment? I’ll give you a few hints.

It’s bouncy.
It’s round.
It’s filled with air.

You guessed it-the stability ball!

Sometimes called a fitness ball or a Swiss ball, a stability ball is an extremely versatile and inexpensive piece of exercise equipment. It can allow you to do a variety of exercises by subbing for a weight bench, by keeping you off the ground and your back if that causes you discomfort or by adding a new challenge to an old exercise by engaging more core and stabilizer muscles.

Most people are actually intimidated by the stability ball. That comes from not knowing what to do with it or seeing people doing really dumb things with it on YouTube. But most stability ball exercises are easy to learn. If you workout at home and your budget is limited, the stability ball should be the first piece of equipment you purchase. You will be able to get a great workout with just your own body and the ball. Add a pair of dumbbells and the possibilities are endless.

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Fit in 5: 5 Protein Powders You May be Missing

Pamela Hernandez owns Thrive Personal Fitness in Springfield, MO where she focuses on weight training for weight loss. She writes a blog for her web site, www.thrivepersonalfitness.com, sharing vegetarian recipes from her kitchen, exercise strategies, lifestyle tips and stories from her own journey. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter @ThriveFit or pick up more tips on Facebook, www.facebook.com/thrivepersonalfitness.

In the fitness world whey protein is king. Everyone’s post-workout shake is whey. Everyone’s pre-workout shake is whey. Everyone is cooking and baking with whey. You would think it was the only kind of protein powder out there.
While whey protein is the most popular, it isn’t the only protein powder on the block. In fact, you may be missing the boat if you aren’t including some other protein powders in your nutritional arsenal. Depending on your lifestyle and goals, there may be a better fit for your nutritional plan.

Soy: A non-animal derived protein powder that is also a complete protein. Soy may be a better fit if you’re a vegetarian or avoiding dairy. A 2004 study at the University of Ohio indicated that soy could be better at protecting against oxidative stress than whey, making this easily digestible protein an alternative for your post workout shake.

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Fit in 5: Five Tips for Avoiding Workout Burnout

Pamela Hernandez owns Thrive Personal Fitness in Springfield, MO where she focuses on weight training for weight loss. She writes a blog for her web site, www.thrivepersonalfitness.com, sharing vegetarian recipes from her kitchen, exercise strategies, lifestyle tips and stories from her own journey. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter @ThriveFit or pick up more tips on Facebook, www.facebook.com/thrivepersonalfitness.

They say variety is the spice of life.

I say it’s the main ingredient to a successful fitness plan.

To stay on the road to health and fitness you need to stay excited about your workouts. They need to stay challenging and engaging. The problem is your body and brain adapt quickly. When your body adapts you stop seeing results which leads to the dreaded weight loss plateau. Or even worse, you use the lack of results as an excuse to abandon your workouts all together!

When your brain adapts, just going through the motions of a workout without thinking, you get bored. Boredom makes it harder to get to the gym when motivation is waning. Having a workout that you actually want to do and feels challenging makes it a lot easier to get out of bed on a cold, dark morning.

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Fit in 5: Your 5 Minute Core Workout

Pamela Hernandez owns Thrive Personal Fitness in Springfield, MO where she focuses on weight training for weight loss. She writes a blog for her web site, www.thrivepersonalfitness.com, sharing vegetarian recipes from her kitchen, exercise strategies, lifestyle tips and stories from her own journey. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter @ThriveFit or pick up more tips on Facebook, www.facebook.com/thrivepersonalfitness.

A client commented to me the other day about the lack of crunches in our workouts. She had worked at a health club many years ago and still had memories of endless crunches during the abs section of her aerobics class.

I told her that while crunches can have a place in a fitness routine, they are not the best exercises for overall core strength. A lot has changed in our world since Abs of Steel was in everyone’s VCR. We sit more during the day for longer periods of time and have less opportunity to be physically active at workplaces and schools. Bodies have gotten weaker. I see a constant stream of tight hamstrings, weak backs and hunched over shoulders. For the majority of my clients, it’s not about having a six pack. It’s about being able to pick up the kids and get up out of a chair without pain.

If this sounds familiar, and sit ups and crunches aren’t the answer, you may be asking what should you be doing?

First, remember the core is involved in pretty much every exercise we do in a standing or upright position. Get in touch with it by pulling your belly button into your spine during exercises like overhead squats and standing shoulder presses or while using cardio equipment like the elliptical trainer.

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Fit in 5: Do-Anywhere Body Weight Exercises

Pamela Hernandez owns Thrive Personal Fitness in Springfield, MO where she focuses on weight training for weight loss. She writes a blog for her web site, www.thrivepersonalfitness.com, sharing vegetarian recipes from her kitchen, exercise strategies, lifestyle tips and stories from her own journey. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter @ThriveFit or pick up more tips on Facebook, www.facebook.com/thrivepersonalfitness.

If your main excuse for not exercising is lack of money for a gym membership or at home equipment, get ready to put it behind you. You don’t need a gym to get an effective and challenging workout. You don’t need weights or infomercial gadgets. You already have the only equipment you need – your own body.

Body weight exercises are some of the most effective (if you can’t move your own body weight how do expect to lift heavy dumbbells?) and they can be done anywhere (fitting well into a busy schedule at home or on the road.)

I have 5 essential body weight exercises for you. If you do these exercises you will hit all your major muscle groups; doing them circuit style will get your heart rate up at the same time for an extra cardio boost.

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5 Favorite Fit Tech Tools to Help You Reach Your Goals

Pamela Hernandez owns Thrive Personal Fitness in Springfield, MO where she focuses on weight training for weight loss. She writes a blog for her web site, www.thrivepersonalfitness.com, sharing vegetarian recipes from her kitchen, exercise strategies, lifestyle tips and stories from her own journey. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter @ThriveFit or pick up more tips on Facebook, www.facebook.com/thrivepersonalfitness.

Some days I feel really lucky to live in the day and age we do. Can you image trying to figure out how many calories are in your lunch or keep yourself entertained while running without modern technology?

I love the fact that I can check out nutritional information online before heading out for a meal or go to YouTube for a quick and easy demo of a new exercise. Technology certainly makes the journey to health and fitness a lot easier.

Of course the problem is deciding which technology to use. There are almost as many apps and online fitness tools as there are diets. You could spend hours exploring each and every one, trying to decide which one has the features you need. Or you could get so overwhelmed with choices that you don’t do anything at all.

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