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Tricep Toner: Side Lying Tricep Lift

Lie on your right side with both legs bent and together and your left arm bent in front of your chest, left palm pressing into the floor in front of your right shoulder.
Bend your right arm under your left armpit and grab the outside of your left shoulder with your right hand. Tighten your abs, and exhale, pressing away from the floor, lifting your upper body off the ground with your left arm.
Bend your left elbow and lower your body back to the floor, but only until your right shoulder lightly touches the ground. Press back up. That’s one rep.
Do 10 reps with the left arm, 10 with the right.

Form tip: Don’t ‘rest’ on the floor when you lower back down. Focus on pressing up with the back of your left arm and keep your abdominals engaged the entire time.
Via Shape

Tricep Toner: Side Lying Tricep Lift

Lie on your right side with both legs bent and together and your left arm bent in front of your chest, left palm pressing into the floor in front of your right shoulder.
Bend your right arm under your left armpit and grab the outside of your left shoulder with your right hand. Tighten your abs, and exhale, pressing away from the floor, lifting your upper body off the ground with your left arm.
Bend your left elbow and lower your body back to the floor, but only until your right shoulder lightly touches the ground. Press back up. That’s one rep.
Do 10 reps with the left arm, 10 with the right.

Form tip: Don’t ‘rest’ on the floor when you lower back down. Focus on pressing up with the back of your left arm and keep your abdominals engaged the entire time.

Via Shape

Superbowl Sunday is here! Woot!

I love the Superbowl, even if I’m not the biggest football fan out there (I’m a Habs girl. What can I say?). I didn’t even know who was playing until a few hours ago. Honestly, I watch because of the tights they wear, the man piles (they really just seem to love throwing themselves on top of each other don’t they?), the sweaty aggression and I really like when they tap each other on the bum. I’m also watching for the halftime show (I’m a Madonna and M.I.A mega fan) and have my fingers crossed for a streaker. :) Should be fun!

Despite all this, I have a STELLAR record when it comes to picking Superbowl winners. My secret? I pick the team with the better booties. And I’ve been right 90% of the time! I haven’t seen the team tushies (yet), but I’ll post my thoughts here before kick off! I’m not kidding, it works! Using my logic, better glutes make better players. Plus, it’s kinda fun to check out the man candy: football boys have fabulous buns. Do they ever.

Other stuff I’m up to today…

1. I’ll be doing the Miss Representation challenge during commercials (though I’m not sure if I’ll get the American commercials here. Oh, Canada). If it becomes clear that I’m not seeing the same stuff, I’ll post my worst offenders when I catch them on YouTube tomorrow. Tweet me @fitvillains if you see any I should mention!

2. I’ll be doing a modified Dirty Dozen workout before kickoff! (6 reps each instead of 12 - same amount of time, but moving quicker raises the heart rate and gives me some bonus cardio. Each 6 rep circuit counts for 1/2 a round instead of a full one. If you want to use it as a strength challenge workout, you can also double your reps to 24 each and count each round as 2). Join me if you want to get a little sweat in before kickoff!

3. I’ll be making the Tone It Up guacamole & attempting to make my own tortilla chips. Should be interesting, but I’m not planning on eating a lot (I’m oddly sensitive to avocados, and I’d prefer to watch the halftime show from the living room and NOT the bathroom). We’re doing healthy quesidillas for dinner, and have tons of chopped veggies and black bean hummus ready to go.

If you haven’t planned what you’re eating for the game today, here are a few fab reading suggestions that can help you out! Superbowl Sunday is the second biggest eating day of the year. You can still have a great yummy time, but offset some of the damage by making a few tasty & healthy swaps.

6 Simple And Heathy Super Bowl Snacks via Blisstree

Superbowl Food Shockers via Shape

Healthy Game Day Swaps via Women’s Health

Soooo… who are you rooting for? Patriots or Giants?

I’m not a scale fan: I don’t own one & don’t weigh myself more than a few times a year. It’s not a tool I recommend people keep around/out or use more than once every couple of weeks, especially those of you close to your goal (in some cases that “goal” might not be realistic and the number on the scale does nothing but keep you disappointed). In fact, unless you have a serious amount of weight to lose (30+lbs), it is not a tool you should rely on to track your progress or define your results on its own

I know women who weigh themselves daily, and who’s mood’s & choices are dictated by whether or not the scale goes up (bad) or down (good). I know it feels normal after awhile, but it’s crazy, CRAZY behavior. In a given day, without changing your routine and without eating too much or too little, it’s common & possible for your weight to fluctuate (up to 10lbs!), for any number of reasons. Those who are working out and lifting weights (yay you!), can change their body composition (the way you look, your body fat percentage and general leanness) without the scale budging OR EVEN WITH IT MOVING UP. For those of you freaking out, let me put it more plainly: you can get smaller, get the body you want, lose fat and look amazing without the scale moving or without getting to the ‘goal’ weight you’ve set for yourself. This is especially true of those of you who might be in the "I think I have 5-15lb left-to-lose" zone.

If you’re doing everything right, are noticing changes in your body that you like and feel that what you see does not match what you think should see - you NEED to re-evaluate your relationship with the scale.

When it comes to scales, what you see isn’t necessarily what you get. :)

Click on the link above for more reasons why you might want to ditch (or shelf) the scale to get closer to your goal!

One bowl of this decadent dessert is only 60 calories!

via Shape Magazine

Peppermint Cream Pudding

Low-cal ingredients come together in a minty cool creation that tastes like light whipped cream. Every mouthful of this holiday pudding is sinfully sweet without upsetting your daily calorie intake. To add a festive surge of antioxidants, garnish your 60-calorie bowl with ruby-colored pomegranate seeds.

Ingredients:
Sweetener of choice
1/16 tsp. salt
Scant 2 1/2 tbsp. water
1/2 serving agar base
3 drops coconut extract (optional, but highly recommended)
5 drops pure peppermint extract

Directions:
First, make up the agar base (follow this blogger’s recipe here). When it’s cooled, put half of it in a blender with all the other ingredients and blend away. Whip very well. Place in the freezer for a few minutes prior to eating, if you prefer yours cold. Optional: add fruit, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, or other add-ins.

Makes 1.5 cups.

Click here to see 9 more recipes for healthy, holiday puddin’s!

For those of you who need a little something extra to look forward too! Follow @JessicaSmithTV on Twitter & Facebook for updates!

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These are awesome lower body moves, and a few I’ve never seen before! Thanks Shape Magazine!

While they suggest an uber expensive bar to get the most out of your workout, you can also use a broomstick for balance.

Add a few sets of these into your workout this week!

Wow Bow


Stand with feet staggered, left foot in front, arms extended behind you. Bring hands to a catcher’s position as you bend knees and crouch, touching right thigh to outside of left calf and resting chest on left thigh, back slightly arched (as shown). Return to start. Do reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Break Out


Crouch with feet hip-width apart, chest lifted, to start. Reach right hand to outside of right foot and mimic picking up an imaginary stick, then push off right heel and explode up, “breaking” the stick over bent right knee (as shown). Return to start; repeat on opposite side for 1 rep.

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Vote on your favorites from the last 30 years! Or don’t… but click anyways to see some of the HILARIOUS outfits. Not ALL of them are from the 80’s either.

Oh Mary Hart. You’re amazing. :)

The better option: Marinara

Ditch the cream- and butter-heavy Alfredo sauce for sweet and tangy marinara, and you could save as many as 200 calories in one meal!

Read more: Change One Word, Lose Weight Faster

The better option: English

Bran may sound like a healthy choice—after all, it does come with a couple grams of fiber. But no amount of fiber can make up for a starchy breakfast food that’s packed with sugars and up to 400 calories. Start your day with an English muffin to save about 200 calories.

Read more: Change One Word, Lose Weight Faster

The better option: Mustard

Mustard is packed with flavor for less than 20 calories and no fat—the same amount of mayonnaise could cost you 100 calories and 10 grams of fat.

Read more: Change One Word, Lose Weight Faster

The better option: Tandoori

Masala sauce is like a thick, creamy type of gravy, so when eating Indian go for the Tandoori dishes, which are grilled so they contain a lot less calories.

Read more: Change One Word, Lose Weight Faster

1. Engage Your Pelvic Floor
You’ve probably heard of Kegels before, right? By engaging your pelvic floor (act as though you’re trying to stop your urine midstream) before and during any abs exercise you perform, you better engage your transverse abdominals, which act as a girdle for your entire core. This helps give you a tighter midsection-quite literally-all the way around!

2. Focus on the Burn
Many times we completely zone out while working out. We’re watching TV, thinking of our to-do list, or even wishing the workout was over instead of paying attention to what we’re doing. By focusing on the exercise at hand, you not only are less prone to injury (no distractions so that you can listen to your body), but you also engage the mind-body connection which helps to recruit more muscle fibers, thereby improving your results.

3. Close Your Rib Cage
In your average sit-up you probably come up and down and don’t think much more about the movement, right? Well, when you lower down from a sit-up, pay close attention and keep your rib cage closed. This helps to “crunch” your abs more, engage your transverse abdominals, and keep your back safely supported.

4. Don’t Hold Your Breath
Your core muscles need oxygen to work at full capacity, so be sure that you keep breathing. As a general rule, you want to inhale on the easiest part of the move (on the way down from a crunch) and exhale when you have to exert the most force (on the way up on a crunch).

5. Work in All Dimensions
Your body doesn’t just work in one plane of movement, so why should your abs? Instead of always doing crunches, include abs exercises that rotate, twist and turn your body like you do in real life. Functional fitness moves such as this Side Lunge Wood Chop or this Stability Ball Chop and Twist are both great exercises to build a truly strong core.

6. Start Small
Just like you wouldn’t jump in the deep end of the pool before you know how to swim, you shouldn’t tackle a complicated or advanced core move on your first try. Start small by working in a smaller range of motion (holding a plank for 15-20 seconds), and then as your core strength improves and you master proper form, make the movement to larger and more difficult exercises.

7. Add a Weight
Dumbbells aren’t just for bicep curls! Like any other muscle, abs need to be challenged to get stronger. So if regular sit-ups aren’t doing it any more (or if you have to do more than 20 to feel the burn), throw someweight into the mix and watch your results multiply.

8. Always Warm Up Properly
A warmed up core is a happy core. Because your abs are tied in to your lower back, it’s extremely important to start any workout with a proper warm up to prevent injury. Warm those muscles up with some light marching in place and gentle standing rotation of your midsection.

9. Walk the Plank
Training your abs is not all about sit-ups and crunches. While those do work your abs, the plank is a more complete core move that works all the different parts of your abs and your upper-body. But instead of just holding the plank in a static position, engage even more of your ab strength by performing this challengingPlank Walk-Up. It’s tough, but your abs will thank you for it!

10. Picture a Grapefruit
One of the biggest mistakes people make when doing mat work for their abs is that they keep their head down. This puts unnecessary strain on your neck and takes the focus off of your abs to perform the move. Every time you’re doing abs exercises on the floor, imagine a grapefruit is lodged between your chin and your chest. For best results, don’t let your chin lower to your chest!

11.Do Squats
As exercise physiologists study and better understand the core, more and more are recommending that we think of our core not just as the stomach and lower-back area, but also as our entire pillar (meaning everything except our legs, arms, and head). To really strengthen your core, fitness professionals recommend strengthening the muscles that tie in to your pillar like your glutes. And what’s one of the best ways to fire those glutes? Deep squats, baby!

12. Train Your Lower Back
True muscle strength is all about balance. Many of us focus on toning our abs (the muscles we can see) and totally neglect our lower backs. This strength imbalance can lead to lower-back injury and pain. Here’s a good rule to remember: For every core exercise you do that only targets your abs (read: isn’t twisting, a plank, or involves standing—which all involve the back), you should do a specific low-back exercise as well like this Swan Dive. Working your lower back makes for a more complete abs workout!

13. Try Balance Work
Really want stronger abs? Incorporate balance work into your routine. Whether it’s with a Bosu, a stability ball, a balance board, or simply just standing on one leg, exercises that test your balance cause you to fire your core deeply, thereby giving you a more effective ab workout!

14. Go Slow
Think speeding through your ab workout will speed up your results? Think again. To really feel the burn, try slowing down. By changing the speed of your abs exercises, you’ll work your abs in a more targeted way that boosts strength and results!

15. Tweak Your Diet
It doesn’t matter how many hours you spend in the gym each week. If your diet isn’t on point, you’re not going to see that 6-pack. To show off those toned abs, eat a diet with plenty of lean protein, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also, follow these tips to beat belly bloat (which might be hiding your fabulous abs!)

16. Give Yourself Adequate Rest
Just like other muscles, your abs need rest. Don’t directly work your abs two days in a row. Take a recovery day in between. Rest helps give you muscles time to repair and get stronger!

17. Change It Up
Are you guilty of doing the same ab workout day after day? If so, it’s time to switch it up. In fact, for best results, you should change up your entire workout-including abs!-every four to six weeks.

18. Maintain Constant Tension
If you’re short on time, here’s an easy trick to get more for your ab-workout buck: Flex your abs and keep them that way throughout your entire core workout. Whether you’re doing crunches, planks, or balance work, squeeze those abs as if you’re preparing for someone to punch you in the gut to get even more out of your usual moves.

19. Work Your Upper Abs Last
Many traditional abs exercises target the top of your abs. Problem is, they neglect your lower abs and obliques. Try starting your workout with lower-ab moves like this Double-Leg Lower Lift and this Bicycle Maneuver, which both work multiple areas of your abs. Then, if you have time, end your training session with upper-ab work.

20. Take Yoga or Pilates
Many yoga poses and Pilates exercises are extremely good for building core strength. If you’re sick of tacking ab workouts on to the end of your cardio or strength session, trade your usual moves in for a yoga or Pilates class. Besides building core strength, these mind-body exercises can also increase your flexibility and reduce stress. Bonus!

By Jennipher Walters on Shape.com

(via reaching-thin-deactivated201110)

Love it!

I’m pretty sure that most of you are aware of how much photo-shopping goes into these covers (yes, especially fitness magazine covers). However, it’s rare that the models behind these super-fit shots come right out and let you know that they DON’T look that way in real life, or that their flaws were hidden through creative angles, cropping, airbrushing and lighting.

Kudos to Jillian! Here’s her quote from her facebook page (although I think it’s the Shape photo team who should take credit for the creative concealing).

Ok my May Shape cover is out! I have to tell you this cover shoot was utterly mortifying. I have NEVER shot in a bikini and hated every second of it. Fortunately due to angling I have still managed to conceal the cellulite on the back of my ass.


- Jillian Michaels on her Shape Magazine Cover

Some other tidbits? She eats about 2000 calories a day, gives herself treats once in awhile & hates (yes HATES) working out!

See behind the scene footage of her shoot (and some great details about how she got into shape & learned to love her bod) after the jump!

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A lot of people underestimate how workout clothes can affect their mood, their workouts & their body image. It’s true, you don’t need expensive clothes or the latest technology to get a good workout in. But there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck and a more bangin’ body image.

Great tips from Shape Magazine! See the slideshow here.

1. Shop for Your Body Type. Find what works for you and shows off the assets you love. Are you short? Tall? Broad shoulders? Killer legs? Don’t pine for clothes that fit HER body type. Find clothes that make YOU look fab.

2. Buy Clothing Designed for Your Activity. Yoga? Running? No need to drown yourself in baggy clothes (actually works against you). Find clothes that fit, breathe and move with you.

3. Do a Few Jumping Jacks in the Dressing Room. This is especially important for sports bras. Make sure your clothes move properly before investing.

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The DVD: Shape: Long, Lean and Strong

The PROMISE: Re-charge your yoga practice with Shape’s: Long, Lean and Strong program, a strength-building, muscle-defining total body yoga workout.

For years I avoided yoga. For me, it was boring, too slow and much too spiritual to take seriously as a workout. I’m high energy and my favorite workouts are intense, bring my heart rate WAY up and leave me super sweaty. Yoga did NOT fit that description, and the few classes I did take were almost painful to endure. I just wasn’t into it and besides feeling like I got a good stretch, it wasn’t my go-to workout.

Last year, I started doing P90X and did Yoga X as part of the program. Holy shiz, it was CRAZY. Not only was I dripping sweat, but it was the first time I truly felt the benefits of yoga and saw the changes in my body. It kicked my ass, but gave me a new appreciation for the craft. Having put aside my yoga-hate, I started embracing classes again and the benefits were amazing (Yoga X is truly on the more intense side of yoga, and I found benefits in all kinds of different styles & types of classes. They didn’t need to be as intense for me to see the benefits). Yoga has been part of my weekly routine ever since, and has been a lifesaver since I started being too ill to fit in my normal cardio in the last few months.

I’m a big fan of Shape magazine and their website is FULL of fabulous resources, workout tips & information. They’ve been releasing workout DVD’s for years and I have a few that I’ve grown fond of over the years. I bought this DVD second hand on Craigslist (great place to look for second hand fitness gear & DVD’s!) and hadn’t had a chance to take it out. At this point, I wouldn’t call myself a yogi, but I’m familiar with the basics and know when I’m getting a good yoga workout. Let’s see how this one faired.

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