Diets in Review - Find the Right Diet for You

Pamela Hernandez



Saturday Morning Drills: 5 Medicine Ball Exercises

When I first started as a personal trainer I didn’t have a studio. I worked in my clients’ homes. I had many clients with rather impressive selections of exercise equipment. However, they needed me to hold them accountable to actually use the equipment.

Others had nothing. I brought with me any tools we might need. I quickly learned how to design programs using body weight, bands and other simple pieces of equipment. One of my favorites was the medicine ball.

A medicine ball can be used in many exercises like a dumbbell, but also provides a new level of versatility because of their shape and their ability to be thrown or bounced. You can use them for strength or cardio. Check out my favorite medicine ball exercises to see what I mean.
Read Full Post >



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.
Read Full Post >



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.
Read Full Post >



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.


Read Full Post >



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.

Read Full Post >