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The Hardest Easy Workout You'll Ever Do!
By InboxFitness
12/31/2013 11:35:00 AM  
The Hardest Easy Workout You'll Ever Do!

It's January 1st, and everyone wants a new exercise program. One that will help you get into fantastic shape, but that you can stick with rather than falling off the workout wagon a week after getting on. The following advice has worked for beginners and advanced athletes alike, and I have personally used this method on six occasions with great results — but more on that later.

Success Tips for this Program

  1. Don't do more than required. One of the ways this regimen helps to instill discipline is by establishing an exact number of push-ups to do — and your job is to stick to it. Quite often, bridling your enthusiasm is harder than cranking out the reps. It's like eating just one potato chip — I dare ya!
  2. Use good form, but vary your hand positions to stress different muscle groups if you like. Try placing your hands wide or narrow. Elbows in. Elbows out. Rotate your palms so that your fingers point inward or outward. There are lots of different ways to perform this powerhouse upper body/core exercise.
  3. If something interrupts your training for the day, don't panic. Just add two push-ups to your tally on the following day and pick up where you should be on the calendar.
  4. If you hit a point where you can't go on, try this technique. Let's say you can do 60 push-ups but you just can't get 61. After your 60th rep, pause for 30 seconds, then do your last rep. The next day, do 50 push-ups followed by a 30 second pause, and then try to do 12 more push-ups. Continue this way for one week — each time adding one rep after the pause — and then try to do as many push-ups as you can before pausing if necessary. Whenever you hit that type of impasse, just subtract ten push-ups from the maximum you can complete, take 30 second pause and then finish with your remaining reps.
  5. If you start to think you are undertaking an impossible task, consider that the world record for non-stop push-ups is 10,507, set by Minoru Yoshida in 1980. Keep in mind this program is not about breaking records, but about forging discipline and improving fitness. The thing that truly matters is this: Did you push yourself further than you thought you could go? Did find yourself applying your newfound willpower to other areas of your life? ...Not bad for one simple push-up.

This article falls somewhere between workout plan and motivational tip. It spans the gap between novel idea and ancient concept, and simultaneously it's ridiculously easy and excruciatingly hard.

Virtually anyone can begin, and complete, this workout within the next ten seconds ...and yet a person who finishes the regimen to the end of its cycle is truly at an elite level of physical fitness and strength.

Alright, that's the set-up... now here's the program: Do one push-up. That's not a typo. Let me explain.

In the same way that 6th-century BC Greek athlete, Milo of Croton, purportedly built his legendary strength by lifting a newborn calf every day until it had grown to maturity, this program is going to start you off with one push-up, and add one more every day until you can't do any more — or until you can do 365 of 'em!

This is one exercise plan that really is as simple as it sounds. Today you'll do exactly one push-up; tomorrow you do two; the next day, three. Wash, rinse, repeat. If you start on January 1st you'll pass certain milestones as you progress throughout the year. On Valentine's Day you'll be banging out 45 push-ups before your big date. Come the 4th of July you'll be rocking 185. Make it to Halloween and the frightful number you'll be hitting is 304. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, you'll be doing 331 push-ups — and you'll be able to eat as much pumpkin pie as you like without feeling an ounce of guilt.

If you attempt this challenge, an interesting thing happens along the way. Sure it's really easy at first, and very very difficult at the end, but somewhere around week six you get to look back and realize that you just exercised every day for nearly two months — and this is probably the biggest payoff for people who have had prior difficulty sticking to an exercise plan. Being able to drop and do 50 push-ups any time you want isn't too shabby either.

"Today you'll do exactly one push-up; tomorrow you do two; the next day, three. Wash, rinse, repeat."

A lot readers might be saying, "Hold on. I can do more push-ups than that right now." Great — we know that too. The first time I tried this, I was in pretty good condition. I could eke out 100 push-ups with a bit of effort. I was in the gym four days a week. If I went for a swim I wasn't embarrassed to take my shirt off. BUT, as I progressed through this regimen I started to notice I became more disciplined than ever before. Somehow, being a few hours away from having to do my push-ups, or having just done them, made it easier to pass up the junk food that seemed to be everywhere I turned. It became easier to remember to get in that extra protein meal. Those early-morning jogs seemed less arduous — in fact, even just getting up early became easier.

Now this program doesn't replace the need for other types of exercise, and if you're a competitive powerlifter this is probably not a regimen that you want want to follow, at least for very long. However, if you're looking for a challenge that will kickstart your willpower as much as your body, try out this plan starting right now. Drop and give me... ONE!


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5 Things to do on National Family Fitness Day
By Marta Staniszewski
9/24/2013 4:34:00 PM  
10 Things to do on National Family Fitness Day

Take the opportunity to show your kids and family how to do something healthy and positive. On Saturday September, 28th comes the 17th annual National Family Health & Fitness Day!

Get your family excited about fitness and show them how it's done! Family-related health and fitness events will be held all over the country, whether in local parks, YMCA's, malls, health clubs and/or community centers, you can find an activity near you.

If you're looking for something more adventurous, here's our list of ideas for a fun-filled National Family Health & Fitness Day:

  1. Get some good, clean fun in a mud run! Mud runs for families and kids are becoming increasingly popular. Sign up for a muddy obstacle race that will get your whole family excited about running, climbing, and crawling on and through muddy obstacles. Check out our list of the top 3 family fun mud runs:

    1. Spartan Race or Spartan Kids
    2. The Dirty Dash or Piglet Run for kids
    3. Great Amazing Race
  2. Enjoy a fall day of fun, laugh as a family and learn about agriculture, all in a full day's worth of corn maze adventures — with over 2000 corn mazes across the country, you'll be sure to get your fill of family fitness fun.

  3. Kite racing — race your own homemade "bird in flight" by building your own Benjamin Franklin kite!

  4. How about some healthy eating and yummy good-for-you food education at your local farmers market? Go for a walk through your local market and talk to the local farmers who harvest and grow all the amazing, organic & delicious foods in season. The farmers will have lots of insight on how to pick the best tomatoes and how to check if an avocado is ripe.

  5. How about a good ol' bike ride? Grab the kids and go on a cycling adventure! If you or anyone in your family doesn't have a bike, you can rent one for the day at a reasonable price. If you have little ones who can't pedal just yet, use a bike trailer. Ask your local bike shop to help you pick (or rent) the right bicycle trailer for your ride. For the kids who can pedal but may have a hard time keeping up, consider a lift trailer that attaches to the back of your bike but allows your little one to pedal behind you as if he/she was cycling all on their own. For more bike trail ideas in your state check out 'the 50 best trails in America'.


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Five Ways To Motivate Now
By Michael Berg, NSCA-CPT
7/24/2013 11:44:00 AM  

Shift your mindset from "want-to-do" to "can-do" with these motivational strategies.

Five Ways To Motivate Now
"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow."

That Mark Twain quote is pithy, a perfect representation of the topic of procrastination. It's also proof positive that I dawdled way too long in writing this article. After all, just do a quick Google search for procrastination quotes and it'll pop up right near the very top of the list. It's a cheap shortcut, an old writer's trick that no good editor would fall for.

And it's a perfect metaphor, showing why you need to quit delaying your fitness pursuits, before you end up in a very similar situation — scrambling last-minute to make up for all that time you wasted.

Truth be told, writing a few hundred words is a heck of a lot easier than sculpting an athletic, rock-hard physique. The former takes hours, while the latter takes months, often years of dedicated effort. In other words, waiting costs you, and unlike my writing conundrum, no quick search on the internet can instantly restore your lost opportunity.

What we can offer you, however, is help. So, without another second of delay, here are five key tips you can use to stop stalling and start accomplishing today.

  1. Check your diet

    Can your procrastination stem from low blood sugar? At least one study suggests it's possible. According to research out of Florida State University published in 2007, "self-control failures are more likely when (blood) glucose (levels are) low or cannot be mobilized effectively to the brain, i.e. when insulin is low or insensitive." The self-control behaviors include the ability to maintain attention, regulate emotions and cope with stress. Or, with just a slight extrapolation, your ability to avoid temptation in your diet and stay the course when it comes time to train.

    If your hunger is strong, blunt it with a quality snack, anything from egg whites to veggies to a piece of fruit. Also strive to have a small meal every two to three hours throughout the day, avoiding long stretches of starvation, which tends to prompt fat storage while wreaking havoc on your hormones.

  2. Spell out your goals and a specific plan to get there

    Of course, this advice is obvious — those who have a destination in mind are more apt to arrive in a timely manner with a specific roadmap in hand. Knowing what to eat, when to eat it, and what exactly you'll be doing in the gym every day is critical to success. (Keeping a log of your diet and training, and reviewing it often to note what's working and what doesn't, will also pay off, by the way.)

    But there's more to the idea of putting your program on autopilot. You see, research has shown that, when we're faced with lots of choices and decisions, our self-control takes a hit. So, if we're constantly deciding on what we need to do next as far as eating and exercise — instead of having a detailed plan in place — it "depletes the same resource used for self-control and active responding," according to a 2008 study out of the University of Minnesota published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

    Specifically, the study cited diminished physical stamina, reduced persistence in the face of failure, and more procrastination among those asked to make choices (in the study participant's case, among college courses and consumer goods). Sure, we can't avoid decision-making altogether, but we can certainly make it easier by plotting out our actions in advance.

  3. Avoid negative distractions

    Most missteps in fitness regimens are situational in nature — in other words, those who made a bad decision had put themselves in jeopardy. After all, you're the one who brought the cookies in the house (or didn't toss them when cleaning out the cupboards). You put off the trip to the club instead of carving out an adequate amount of time for training during the day. And you chose the friends who are heckling you to go out for a few drinks instead of heading home to your waiting chicken breast and broccoli dinner.

    Don't give temptation an invitation. Take evasive actions ahead of time. When it comes to your meals and your hour of dedicated gym time, schedule them on your calendar as if it was a work meeting or dentist appointment. You wouldn't consider simply skipping out on your dental cleaning or a face-to-face with your boss at the last minute — so why would you not give the same priority to something so important to you as your fitness aims?

  4. Start early

    By the end of the day, our energy flags. The stress compounds as our duties and obligations pile ever higher. At a certain point, you may just feel like shrugging off the gym and promising yourself to attack the weights "twice as hard" tomorrow.

    If that's a typical scenario, you may want to take a page out of a motivational expert's playbook, and tackle your most important tasks at sunrise. In other words, hit the gym first thing in the morning, before the stress of the day has a chance to derail you.

    By the way, this advice holds true for anything important you need to get done — by knocking off the hardest, most vital tasks first, you begin with a sense of accomplishment instead of letting your "to-do" list grow unwieldy and overwhelming. In other words, "Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small," in the words of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.

  5. Small steps add up

    The Great Pyramid of Giza is composed of 2.3 million blocks of limestone and granite, each one set by hand, one by one (that is, unless you're into the "space alien" theory). The lesson resonates across the centuries — you can't build anything of value and substance in one fell swoop, but one brick at a time.

    When it comes to your physique, that means changing one part of your diet at a time if it's too intimidating to do a full turnaround immediately. Small steps could mean first cutting back on sugar, then making sure each day you begin with a high-protein low-fat breakfast. Next, you could start splitting your food into six or seven meals throughout the day. Introduce healthy foods to your diet one at a time. Make a pact to have a lean protein and veggie at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Same goes for your training. If you're not ready for full workouts, start each morning with sets of push-ups and crunches. Institute a slow-paced 10-minute jog, and up it by a minute each time out. Over the months, before you know it, you'll be well on your way to building an inspiring edifice of your own.

Sources
Gailliot MT, Baumeister RF. "The physiology of willpower: linking blood glucose to self-control." Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2007 Nov;11(4):303-27.
Vohs KD, Baumeister RF, Schmeichel BJ, Twenge JM, Nelson NM, Tice DM.
"Making choices impairs subsequent self-control: a limited-resource account of decision making, self-regulation, and active initiative. "J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 May;94(5):883-98.


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