The Technique To Burn Fat and Build Muscle Fast!

If you’ve hit a plateau with weight loss or are just bored as heck with your workouts and need something to light things up, you should give cardio accelerations a try!

What is cardio acceleration?

Cardio acceleration is when you combine high-intensity cardio with strength training.  Instead of taking a typical rest break between your lifts, you do some type of cardio, all out, for one minute.   I prefer to jump rope, however, you could do any type exercise for your cardio acceleration.  Here are some examples: running in place next to the bench, jumping jacks, squat thrusts, skaters, dumbbell cleans, step-ups, etc.

fullsizerender-1Jumping rope is hands down my favorite tool for keeping my body conditioned and agile.  Read more about the benefits for jumping rope along with training tips here: https://healthyjustice.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/jump-in-lean-out-with-jump-rope-training/

What is the benefit?

I got turned on to this training technique when I did Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut To Shred program.  His program did get me shredded.  Another benefit is that there is no hem hawing around waiting for the next set, which is perfect for my adult ADD;) LOL.

My hubby always teases me because if I’m not doing cardio intervals between sets, I’m stretching;)  This was him poking fun of me yesterday when I was stretching between my bench presses.  LOL

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One thing I REALLY love about this technique is that it fills in for my 20-30 minutes of cardio on the step mill or treadmill!

  • Check this out, 20-30 minutes of these high-intensity intervals burns more fat than spending that amount of time on a treadmill. Trust me, your metabolic rate will be up the entire workout and that means you are burning a lot of calories during and after your workout!

I now cycle through this program twice a year, and lately, I’ve been throwing in cardio accelerations with my leg day once a week.

After doing a set of squats, I do 100-200 revolutions jumping rope.  (BTW, I’ve been performing squats recently with a box to make sure I’m nailing my form and getting good and low).

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If you’re worried that the cardio could take away from the strength of your lifts, here is research that Stoppani shares from his Shortcut To Shred Training Overview:

A University of California, Santa Cruz, study found that when subjects did cardio between weightlifting sets, they were able to recover better because of increased blood flow. Cardio acceleration elevates your heart rate, which means more blood pumps to your working muscles throughout your workout.

Ready to HIIT it now?  Let’s go!!

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Jump In! Lean Out With Jump Rope Training

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Get lean in 2017 with jump rope training!  Jumping rope is hands down one of the best tools to help you torch fat and lean out faster than ever.  It is estimated that jumping rope for 10 minutes (at 120 turns per minute) is equivalent to jogging for 30 minutes.

If you are someone that dreads cardio then this option is one to jump at!  Block out any concerns about looking silly or what people will think.  Attempting this activity, even if you stumble and trip trying, is worth it.  I’m sure people in the gym might think I’m a maniac when I break out my jump rope in between sets, but I’m there to get my best workout.  What people think of me is none of my business.

Ease yourself into it by practicing jumping with an invisible jump rope.  It might seem ridiculous but this will help you get the rhythm.

sad-elephant-jumping-ropeJumping rope is not only a calorie-burner but it’s also incredibly efficient, convenient and a great workout.

  • You can effectively burn calories and work your entire body in half the time by jumping rope.  I love how it works, not only my legs but my core, arms and shoulders!
  • It’s also a great workout tool for when you are traveling.  I always have my jump rope packed for any type of trip.  All you need is some space to get to whipping.
  • If done properly it’s a lower-impact activity than jogging.  Rope jumping strengthens muscles that support the tendons and ligaments of the knees, feet, and ankles.

Jump Rope Checklist For Correct Form:

  1. Keep torso relaxed, head lifted, and gaze ahead for balance.
  2. Maintain your weight on the balls of your feet.
  3. Jump only high enough to clear the rope.
  4. Land lightly on the balls of your feet.
  5. Keep your elbows near your sides.
  6. Make small circles with wrists while turning the rope.
  7. Do not sacrifice good form for speed.

Jump Rope Checklist For Getting Started:

  1. Wear cross trainers.
  2. Jump on a wood floor, rubber surface or a mat made for exercise.
  3. Adjust the height of your jump rope by placing one foot on the center of the rope and pull the handles up the sides of your body.  It should be at armpit level.

Beginner plan:

-Set a number goal.  For example, 20 total jumps.  When you reach your goal rest and repeat for 5-10 minutes.

Intermediate plan:

-Set a time goal.  For example, jump for 30 seconds and rest for 1 minute.  Repeat this for 10-15 minutes.

Advanced plan:

-Set a goal to jump 3-5 minutes without stopping.  Take a short break and repeat these endurance blocks 4-5 times.

For more training ideas be sure to check back for my next blog where I will be sharing my jump rope circuit training routine.  This is my personal preferred way of jump roping that will get you shredded.

 

 

4 Exercises to Target Your Lower Abs

You can keep your abs toned through the holidays with this in-home routine.  If you hate going out in the cold, then this routine will be perfect for you.

Tightening up those pesky lower abs is challenging.  Most of the exercises that target that region involve using the hip flexors, so if they are weak then you may not feel the movement.

Engaging the transverse abdominal muscles that will tighten up your core. To hit this area I’ve put together some unconventional exercises that all build upon a plank.

You will need:

  • 2 hand towels
  • mat
  • smooth surface
  • a rock solid focus

*Make sure you can master a standard plank hold before you progress to these exercises.

Plank Row

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Get into plank position with your towels under your feet.  (The naval is pulled toward the spine and your body is streamlined.) Push yourself back as far as you can while you are pressing into the towels.  Then pull your body back to the starting position.  It’s a small movement.  Keep your body tight and straight the entire time.  Perform 8-12 reps or go for 30 seconds.

Bear

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Get into a push up position with arms extended and hands under your shoulders.  Press down into your towels and pull your feet toward you.  Then, push back to the starting position.  This can also be done by bending your knees and pulling them toward your chest.  Perform 8-12 reps or go for 30+seconds.

Mountain Climber

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Holding the extended plank position, pull your right knee in toward your chest then press back while pulling your left leg in toward your chest.  Perform 16-20 reps (right & left leg is a full rep) or go for 30+ seconds.

Army Crawl

*video on Facebook page, click icon @ http://www.totalbodyandmind.net*

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Get into plank position and tighten up your abs and butt.  Crawl forward on your forearms until you hit the edge of your mat, then crawl back.  4-8 reps (one forward and back is a full rep).

Bodyweight HIIT Cardio Intervals

Want to get in a quality cardio session without spending 45 minutes to and hour on a treadmill?  You can optimize your time and get better results with this 20-minute high-intensity interval workout.   This fat burning cardio session will tone your entire body and leave you feeling energized!  You can do this in your office, home or in the gym.

What you need:

  1. a couple of hand towels
  2. a mat
  3. a stopwatch or tabata timer
  4. your willingness to give your best effort.  You can do this workout in your office, home, outside or in the gym.

The Plan:

  • Get a stopwatch or download an interval/tabata timer on your phone.  There are many free apps available that are good.
  • You will exercise for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds, and repeat 8 times.
  • Perform circuit 1 rest 1 minute, move into circuit 2 and then repeat the whole sequence again.  At the end of the workout, you will have done each circuit 2 times.

This will make better sense once you get into the workout. Be warned, it starts off feeling easy but the short rest breaks will challenge you!

Start with a 5-10 minute warm-up to make sure your muscles are loose and you are mentally focused.

Let’s get started! (photos of the exercises below the workout)

Circuit 1
1) Low Jacks:  20 seconds/rest 10 seconds
2) Plank Jacks: 20 seconds/rest 10 seconds
3) Squat Jumps: 20 seconds/rest 10 seconds
4) Push-up to knee tucks: 20 seconds/rest 10 seconds

-repeat circuit 1 again until you’ve completed 8 cycles which will take you exactly 4 minutes.

After the 4 minute circuit, rest 1 minute then move on to the next circuit.

Circuit 2 (follow the 20 on/10 off sequence)
1) Burpees
2) Army Crawls
3) Side to side jump squats
4) Squat thrusts

-repeat circuit 2 again until you’ve completed 8 cycles which will take you exactly 4 minutes.

After the 4 minute circuit, rest 1 minute then repeat the entire workout again.

Circuit 1:

low jacks– stay low the entire time.

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Plank jacks– in a push-up position, jump your legs out wide and together.

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Squat Jumps– no photo for this one, just squat and jump as high as you can.

Push-up to knee tuck– put a wash cloth under each foot.  Using your abs, pull your knees into your chest and the push them back.

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Circuit 2

Burpees– no photos for this one either.  You will squat, jump your feet back to push up position, jump your feet back in and immediately do a squat jump.

Army crawls– on your forearms and toes, keep your hips steady as possible as your crawl forward to the end of your mat and then crawl backward.

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Side to side jump squats– roll your mat up or pick a spot to tap down with your hands.  Squat to one side, bring your feet together in the center and jump out to the other side.  You want this to be fast and fluid.

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Squat thrusts– squat down, jump your feet back, back in and stand.

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Candy Crusher Halloween Workout

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Did you eat too much candy this weekend?  Let’s crush those calories and have fun doing it!

 

 

 

This is a Halloween-themed workout I put together for my morning bootcamp class.  It is a total body workout that will burn some serious calories!

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Repeat each circuit three times.

Exercise descriptions provided at the bottom of the blog.

Circuit 1

  • Run a couple of laps or run for 2 minutes at a fast pace.
  • Next, take it into the BOOty blast exercises.  Perform each exercise for 45 sec.

Circuit 2

  • Thriller shuffle reaction drill– Get into a squat position (pretend like you are playing defense in a basketball game).  For 45 seconds randomly shuffle right to left.  If you have a partner, have them randomly call out ‘right’ or ‘left’ commands.
  • Killer arm exercises.  Perform each exercise for 45 sec.

Circuit 3

Exercise descriptions:

Wall squat– Stand with your back against a wall, placing your feet about two feet out in front of you. Feet should be hip-distance apart. Bending your knees, slide your back down the wall until your knees are at 90 degree angles. Adjust your body position so that your knee joints don’t go over your ankle joints.

Sumo pulse– Get into a wide stance toes slightly turned out and squat low.  Stay at the bottom end of the movement as you do tiny pulses.

Bridges– Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips of the floor so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause at the top then slowly lower your body back to the floor.

Spider pushups– Place your hands on the floor underneath your shoulders and get into a push-up position.
Move your left hand forward and bend your elbow while simultaneously stepping forward with your left foot and draw your knee to the elbow.

Bicep curl to an Arnold press– http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/arnold-dumbbell-press

Witches cauldron– Perform a plank with your arms on a stability ball.  Make tiny circles toward the right for 10 seconds then repeat on the left.

Reverse crunch with medicine ball– Place a medicine ball or towel between your knees.  Pull your knees in toward your chest and do a small hip lift.

Scissors–  Lying on your back with your legs extended off the floor, alternate crossing your legs.

Wall sit twist- Get into your wall squat position with a medicine ball.  Alternate tapping the medicine ball to the right and left.

 

Beginner Gym Workout

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If you have made a decision to get in shape and have recently joined a gym, congratulations!  In case you’re feeling intimidated by all the equipment and the anxiety that everyone will be staring at you, relax.  You don’t have to be an expert.

First off, most people are there to better themselves, and they are glad to see you in there working on your physical fitness.  Secondly, the gym is full of people of all shapes and sizes so don’t feel like you have to be in shape before you can go to a gym.

Let’s get you going with a workout guide and plan to help make your gym time a more positive experience.

Getting Started

  1. Most of the exercises in this program are on machines.   Machines, for the most part, help you maintain good form and this helps you to keep your focus on the body part you are working.
  2. Perform 1-2 sets of 12 repetitions.  A set is when you complete your designated repetitions.  Rest 30sec. to 1 minute if you are going to do a second set.
  3. Tips for setting a weight:  Select a weight that will make you have to work really hard for the last two reps.  You shouldn’t be able to do 15 reps and if you can, the next time you perform the exercise, increase your weight.
  4. Take one day of rest between each of your total body workouts sessions.  On those off days you can do cardio but always listen to your body.

This total body workout includes machine-based exercises and will take you 20 minutes or less.

Warm up for 5 minutes.

If you choose to use the treadmill be sure to adjust the incline to a 2 incline.  This simulates walking outdoors and gives you some ‘ground’ under your feet.

Leg Press- 2 sets of 12 reps (rest 30 sec.-1 min)

Position your feet shoulder width apart in the middle of the platform.  My feet a bit lower on the platform because I’m a shorty and if I put them higher I would not have much range of motion on the exercise;)  lol  💡Extend your legs completely but don’t lock out the knees.

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Chest Fly- 2 sets of 12 reps (rest 30 sec.-1 min)

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On a lot of chest fly machines, you can adjust the range of motion.  Look at the top and you will see holes like this one for both arms on the machine:

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Set it to where you feel a gentle stretch when seated. 💡Bring the arms together like you are hugging a tree.

Lat Pulldown- 2 sets of 12 reps (rest 30 sec.-1 min)

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Grip the bar where the indentations are or just slightly outside of the curves in the bar.  Set the pad on top of your knees. 💡Lean back about 10 degrees and pull the bar to your upper chest.

Rear Fly- 2 sets of 12 reps (rest 30 sec.-1 min)

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The rear fly machine is the same machine in my gym as the chest fly.  By adjusting the arms of the machine to be completely closed, it becomes the rear fly.  Sit facing INTO the machine.  Grab the handles so that your palms face down.  Pull back until your arms make a ‘T”, hold for a brief second, then control the arms coming back to start.💡You might sense your shoulders creeping up to your ears.  Mentally focus on keeping your shoulders down and neck relaxed.

Tricep Pushdowns- 2 sets of 12 reps (rest 30 sec.-1 min)

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Adjust the cable to a high setting and attach a rope.  Bend at your elbow and then extend down.  Pause to squeeze the back of the arm.

Bicep Curls- 2 sets of 12 reps (rest 30 sec.-1 min)

Lower the cable to the bottom and attach a straight bar to the hook.

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Bring the bar just in front of your shoulder and extend all the way down.💡Keep your abs and lower back tight while you pull equally with both arms.  In other words, don’t swing:)

Ab machine- 2 sets of 12 reps (rest 30 sec.-1 min)

In most gyms you will find some type of ab machine or two.  This is the one we have in our gym.

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Adjust the seat to accommodate your height and allow you good range of motion. 💡Exhale as you crunch forward to deepen the contraction.

 

 

 

 

Pool Workout: Stay Cool While Torching Calories

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I don’t mind the Summer heat until I try to get in an outdoor workout.  The salty sweat getting in my eyes and humidity zapping my ‘umph’ has me settling for indoor cardio.  After weeks of staring at the time on the stairmaster, I’m ready for another solution.

I designed this water workout to burn tons of calories and feel like play. This is my solution to stay cool while being out in the open skies.

What you need:

kickboard
towel
Motown music (my favorite for this workout)

Circuit 1: repeat 3 times

(if you have a small pool select the time option instead of laps)

  1. Free Style Swim:  6 laps or swim for 4 minutes non-stop
  2. Water Jog:  2 laps or 2 minute
  3. Flutter kicks: 2 laps or 1 minute
  4. Push up on wall:  10-15 reps

Water Jog:  

Jog around the sides of the pool.  When you get to the deep end, tread water and keep going!

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Flutter Kicks

Using your kickboard, keep your legs straight and kick with force.

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Wall Push Up

Use your upper body to lift yourself up out of the water with just a small amount of help from your legs.  Slowly lower yourself down.

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Circuit 2:  repeat 3 times

  1. Ab crunch:  10-15 reps
  2. Double leg lift:  10-15 reps
  3. Tread water:  1 minute
  4. Otter Roll:  30 seconds

Ab Crunch

I like to put my leg on my towel so they don’t get scratched.  It’s not a big movement unless you choose to go underwater with it;)

Here are a few modifications to choose from:

option 1

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option 2

*arms in front

*OR arms in front, hold your nose and go under

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Double Leg Lifts

This is challenging for the abs because you are getting resistance from the water.

A modification is to alternate leg lifts.

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Treading Water

Vigorously treading water can torch around 10 calories a minute, same as a six-mile-per-hour run.

Pretend like you are running.  Use your upper body to help you stay afloat and make circular motions with your legs.

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Otter Roll

Hugging a kickboard or a beach ball to chest, float on back, legs extended, feet together.
Roll toward the right by using the entire body — shoulders, hips, core, legs —to rock from side to side with head above water.  (like an otter spinning in the water)
Continue for 30 seconds, alternating direction of roll.

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I’m still working on perfecting this move;)  It definitely got my heart rate up and I felt my abs!

You’re breaking a sweat even though you might not realize it so make sure to drink water. Have fun torching those calories!