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Cosamin DS Joint Health Supplement, 108 Capsules EXP 2020+

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Cosamin DS Joint Health Supplement, 108 Capsules EXP 2020+

Price : 19.19

Ends on : 3 weeks

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25 Best Workout Songs of 2017

Whew. It’s been a year, huh? And while we’ll probably all take a moment before the end of 2017 to sit back and recount the highs and lows (and just insane parts), here on FBG, we want to recognize the jams that powered our workouts this year. The songs that took our workouts to higher — […]


Whew. It’s been a year, huh? And while we’ll probably all take a moment before the end of 2017 to sit back and recount the highs and lows (and just insane parts), here on FBG, we want to recognize the jams that powered our workouts this year. The songs that took our workouts to higher — and more fun — places. The tracks that made us run faster, lift heavier and just feel awesome.

Because that’s what it’s really all about. Feeling good.

via GIPHY

So, without further ado, here are the 25 best workout songs of 2017 — and you know we’ve got the Spotify playlist ready for you at the bottom.

Best Workout Songs of 2017

  1. Thunder, Imagine Dragons
  2. What About Us, P!nk
  3. Always Ascending, Franz Ferdinand
  4. The Man, The Killers
  5. Look What You Made Me Do, Taylor Swift
  6. Feel It Still, Portugal. The Man
  7. Long Live the Chief, Jidenna
  8. Mi Gente, J Balvin & Willy William, featuring Beyonce
  9. Despacito – Remix, Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee, featuring Justin Bieber
  10. Shape Of You, Ed Sheeran
  11. There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back, Shawn Mendes
  12. 24K Magic, Bruno Mars
  13. Logic, America, featuring Black Thought, Chuck D, Big Lenbo, No I.D.
  14. High, Sir Sly
  15. 1986, Compass: Mexican Institute of Sound + Toy Selectah featuring MC Lyte
  16. Up All Night, Beck
  17. Creature Comfort, Arcade Fire
  18. Doing It for the Money, Foster the People
  19. Get Up, Young Fathers
  20. Smile More, Deap Vally
  21. Wild Horses, Bishop Briggs
  22. Swalla, Jason Derulo, featuring Nicki Minaj, Ty Dolla $ign
  23. Home, Machine Gun Kelly, featuring X Ambassadors, Bebe Rexha
  24. What Lovers Do, Maroon 5, featuring SZA
  25. American Girl, Tom Petty (sneaking that one in, because, RIP Tom💙)

Best Workout Songs of 2017 Playlist on Spotify

What’s on your best workout songs of 2017 playlist? —Jenn



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10-Minute Zen Barre Workout (No Equipment Needed!)

Have you guys heard of Zen Barre yet? We mentioned in this post how Kristen and I are getting certified in it, and today we’re sharing a bit more of what a Zen Barre workout is like with this 10-minute routine you can do at home! Instructor Kasey put this 10-minute Zen Barre workout together […]


Have you guys heard of Zen Barre yet? We mentioned in this post how Kristen and I are getting certified in it, and today we’re sharing a bit more of what a Zen Barre workout is like with this 10-minute routine you can do at home!

Instructor Kasey put this 10-minute Zen Barre workout together just for FBG readers to give you all a taste of what you can expect in a class. As you’ll see, it’s a hybrid class featuring the best of barre, yoga and Pilates. And, the best part is, for this one you don’t need any props or equipment — just yourself. Try it!

10-Minute Zen Barre Workout

Okay, what did you think? Did you feel the mindful burn like we did? Be sure to check out where you can take a full Zen Barre class live here. And, if you want to get certified like we are, be sure to use the code “fitbottomedgirls” for 20% vff! Jenn



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3 Reasons And 3 Ways To Eat Healthy Chocolate

Forrest Gump famously stated, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.” Well, in fact, research shows that what you get from chocolate are nutrients that can help keep your heart beating strong; improve your insulin sensitivity, blood cholesterol, and inflammation; help in the battle against type 2 […]


Forrest Gump famously stated, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.” Well, in fact, research shows that what you get from chocolate are nutrients that can help keep your heart beating strong; improve your insulin sensitivity, blood cholesterol, and inflammation; help in the battle against type 2 diabetes; and maybe even boost your VO2 max.[1-3]*

But, plowing through a bag of sugar-coated chocolate candies won’t do your health or waistline any favors. Instead, here are three healthy, antioxidant-rich ways to get your chocolate fix—and a recipe to put each one to deliciously good use.

1. Dark Chocolate Bar

Chocolate bars are essentially a blend of ground up cocoa bean (referred to as chocolate liquor or cocoa mass), cocoa butter, and sugar. The higher the cocoa percentage of a bar, the less sugar and generally the larger dose of antioxidants it will contain. Since many antioxidants have a bitter taste, dark chocolate can be an acquired taste. While dark chocolate contains a fair amount of saturated fat, the majority of this comes in the form of stearic acid, which appears to have a neutral impact on heart health.[4]

Even with all the health benefits dark chocolate provides, you still need to practice portion control. A good rule of thumb is to snack on about 1 ounce daily, equal to 140-170 calories.

2. Cocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is made when fatty cocoa butter is pressed out of cocoa beans, leaving behind a cakey substance that is then dried and pulverized into cocoa powder. Not only does this remove much of the fatty calories, it also concentrates the flavor as well nutrients and antioxidants. And unlike chocolate bars, low-calorie cocoa powder won’t increase the amount of added sugar in your diet.

Cocoa Powder

When possible, choose lighter-colored, stronger-flavored “natural” or “raw” cocoa powder, which is also sold as “cacao powder.” Dutch-processed cocoa is treated with alkali, which mellows the flavor but also destroys most of the beneficial antioxidants.[5,6]

Use cocoa powder to add chocolate essence to oatmeal, protein shakes, pancake or waffle batter, and, of course, any number of baked goods. You can also add it to homemade energy foods like bars and balls, and to chili to deepen its flavor.

3. Cacao Nibs

Take raw or roasted whole cacao beans, smash them to bits, and you end up with crunchy, intensely flavored cacao nibs. (Nibs are commonly referred to “cacao nibs” rather than “cocoa nibs.”) Think of these nibs as chocolate in its most rudimentary form—kind of like Mother Nature’s chocolate chips.

Cacao Nibs

The least processed form of chocolate, nibs are made of 100-percent cacao. This pure form retains a treasure trove of nutrition, including significant amounts of dietary fiber (up to 8 grams in a 1-ounce serving), antioxidants, and magnesium. They also contain caffeine, so don’t eat them late at night.

Sprinkle cacao nibs on oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese, fruit salads, smoothie bowls, and ice-cream. They’re also a surprisingly great addition to green salads. Or add them to muffin or pancake batter for a bit of crunch. You can even grind them with coffee beans to perk up your java.

*Chocolate is not a substitute for medical prescriptions and should not be treated as such.

1. Chocolate Bar: Chocolate Oatmeal with Cherry Sauce

Chocolate infused oatmeal. Can there be any better way to start the day? Soak the oats overnight to cut down on their cooking time. You can also prepare the cherry sauce in advance and heat it up again at breakfast. If you want to bump up the protein numbers, stir some protein powder into the oats as you heat them up on the stovetop.

Chocolate Oatmeal with Cherry Sauce

Click Here For The Recipe

2. Cocoa Powder: Cocoa Bean Veggie Tacos

With the stealth addition of cocoa and chipotle chili, this bean filling is so rich and smoky tasting that you won’t miss the meat on taco night.

Cocoa Bean Veggie Tacos

Click Here For The Recipe

3. Chocolate Nibs: Chicken Strawberry Salad with Cacao Nib Dressing

Meaty chicken, sweet strawberries, velvety goat cheese—teamed up with the bitter crunch of cacao nibs to deliver a festival of flavors and textures. Gently poaching the chicken in water keeps the meat deliciously moist.

Chicken Strawberry Salad with Cacao Nib Dressing

Click Here For The Recipe

References
  1. Lin, X., Zhang, I., Li, A., Manson, J. E., Sesso, H. D., Wang, L., & Liu, S. (2016). Cocoa flavanol intake and biomarkers for cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The Journal of Nutrition, 146(11), 2325-2333. 
  2. Rowley IV, T. J., Bitner, B. F., Ray, J. D., Lathen, D. R., Smithson, A. T., Dallon, B. W., … & Goodrich, K. M. (2017). Monomeric cocoa catechins enhance β-cell function by increasing mitochondrial respiration. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 49, 30-41. 
  3. Patel, R. K., Brouner, J., & Spendiff, O. (2015). Dark chocolate supplementation reduces the oxygen cost of moderate intensity cycling. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 47. 
  4. Steinberg, F. M., Bearden, M. M., & Keen, C. L. (2003). Cocoa and chocolate flavonoids: implications for cardiovascular health. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 103(2), 215-223. 
  5. Payne, M. J., Hurst, W. J., Miller, K. B., Rank, C., & Stuart, D. A. (2010). Impact of fermentation, drying, roasting, and Dutch processing on epicatechin and catechin content of cacao beans and cocoa ingredients. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58(19), 10518-10527.
  6. Miller, K. B., Hurst, W. J., Payne, M. J., Stuart, D. A., Apgar, J., Sweigart, D. S., & Ou, B. (2008). Impact of alkalization on the antioxidant and flavanol content of commercial cocoa powders. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 56(18), 8527-8533.



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The DIY Yogurt Recipe You Didn't Know You Needed

2017 was all about the gut—and not just shedding extra belly flab. Everybody was talking about the health of the billions of connected neurons in your digestive tract that help with everything from inflammation to colds. And when you’re talking about the gut and your diet, the conversation always starts with yogurt. Yogurt has made […]


2017 was all about the gut—and not just shedding extra belly flab. Everybody was talking about the health of the billions of connected neurons in your digestive tract that help with everything from inflammation to colds. And when you’re talking about the gut and your diet, the conversation always starts with yogurt.

Yogurt has made a name for itself in the fitness community as an excellent source of protein for repairing and building muscle after a workout. It also contains live cultures called probiotics, the microscopic “good” bacteria that keep your gut in working order.

Yogurt has the added benefit of being customizable in both flavor and texture. The easiest way to tap into its versatility? Make your own. All you need to get started are half a gallon (8 cups) of whole milk, half a cup of plain yogurt with live cultures (be sure to check the label), a slow cooker, a couple of beach towels, and a lazy afternoon.

Once you perfect your yogurt recipe, you won’t need to buy the yogurt as a starter, so you’ll save a few bucks. Store-bought yogurt isn’t cheap, with a single 6-ounce individual-serving cup of Greek yogurt averaging about $1.05. Make it yourself, and you’ll pay about 40 cents.

Using the recipe below as a guide, experiment with the amount of time you let your yogurt sit to adjust the thickness and tang to your taste. Like a thinner consistency and mellow taste? Let your yogurt set for eight hours. Want thick yogurt with plenty of body, like Icelandic skyr? Leave it alone for eight hours, then strain it a couple of times through cheesecloth set over a bowl. Greek yogurt more your style? Twelve hours plus straining gives it a nice kick.

If you like sweet yogurt, add a swirl of honey and the freshest fruit you can find at your farmers’ market, either whole or pureed and mixed in. Or dip into the savory yogurt trend and make a thick, tangy creation to use as a topping in a grain bowl with quinoa, roasted cauliflower, and butternut squash.

Let’s say you don’t get the hang of making your own yogurt right away, and accidentally let the milk and yogurt mixture get too warm, killing off the yogurt cultures (this happens at around 130 degrees F). Adopt a zero-waste mentality, and resist the urge to throw it out and start over. Separate the white solids from the yellow whey with a strainer or cheesecloth, and use the former to replace milk in baking and the latter to create a sourdough flavor in homemade bread. Your tastebuds—and tummy—will thank you.

Easy DIY Yogurt Recipe

Whether you want to save a little cash, make just the right kind of yogurt for your taste buds, or have large quantities of a great protein source on hand, this simple recipe tells you all you need to know so you can do it yourself!

DIY Yogurt Recipe

Click Here For The Recipe



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Bodybuilding.com's Top 17 Articles Of 2017

Each year, Bodybuilding.com’s readers send us a loud-and-clear message without typing a single word. You simply click on what you want, and let the numbers show us what’s fueling your fitness fire. So what’s the theme of 2017? Pretty clearly, you don’t want to waste your time. With over 7 million collective visits, these articles […]


Each year, Bodybuilding.com’s readers send us a loud-and-clear message without typing a single word. You simply click on what you want, and let the numbers show us what’s fueling your fitness fire.

So what’s the theme of 2017? Pretty clearly, you don’t want to waste your time.

With over 7 million collective visits, these articles show you to be lifters aren’t just interested in looking and feeling amazing. You’re looking for the biggest bang-for-the-buck exercises they’re not doing, and ways to make the classics better. You’re looking for efficient programming for every body part. You want ways to take the time-intensive, complicated parts of the fit life and trim away everything unnecessary. And we’re happy to give you all those things!

Sit back, pop a shaker bottle, and enjoy Bodybuilding.com’s top 17 articles from 2017!

1. Get Big And Ripped Twice As Fast

This comprehensive guide shows you how to engineer every aspect of your nutrition, training, and recovery for maximum effectiveness and minimum time expenditure. Get precise about getting ripped!

2. Build Better Abs Faster With These 5 Super-Efficient Routines

Build Better Abs Faster with these 5 Super-Efficient Routines

With individual workouts dedicated to muscular separation, upper and lower abs, endurance and definition, and beginner-level strength, this is the abdominal motherlode!

3. The Chest Workout Even The Pros Fear

The Chest Workout Even The Pros Fear

It’s just four moves—how hard could this workout be? Elite strength and bodybuilding coach Josh Bryant invites you to earn your gains the hard way, using rest-pause, contrast reps, band work, and the infamous Juarez Valley Method dip protocol.

4. Triple Threat 4-Week Fitness Plan Main Page

Triple Threat 4-week Fitness Plan Main Page

Why choose between muscle building, strength, and conditioning when you can have them all? Our readers loved this intense, varied program created by RSP athletes Keion Dorsey, the electric Hannah Eden, and the late Curtis Bartlett.

5. The Plateau-Proof Chest-Building Plan

The Plateau-Proof Chest-Building Plan

This innovative program, designed in an elite lab by exercise scientist Christopher Barakat, has it all: A comprehensive shoulder-saving warm-up, solid benching, and enough accessory and pump work to ensure you add size, strength, and leave the gym feeling amazing.

6. Dwayne Johnson’s Rock Solid Body Plan

Dwayne Johnson's Rock Solid Body Plan

It’s the Rock. Need we say more? Every time Dwayne Jonson publishes a glimpse of his training, from how he benches to how he warms up for leg day, the entire fitness world takes note. Looking for a test this year? Try his high-volume split, if you dare!

7. Kris Gethin’s 3 Best Insider Tips For Bigger Biceps

Kris Gethin's 3 Best Insider Tips for Bigger Biceps

Think curls are just curls? Then you’re probably not rocking the arms you want. This is the granular stuff: What to do with your wrist, your hand position, and even your pinkie. Build your biceps like fine art!

8. The 6 Grittiest Biceps Exercises You’re Not Doing

The 6 Grittiest Biceps Exercises You're Not Doing

Strength coach Nick Tumminello, the mind behind the popular True Muscle: 9 Weeks to Elite Fitness Program, shares a half-dozen game-changing arms moves using dumbbbells, cables, and even machines. Think you know it all? You definitely don’t.

9. The 6 Grittiest Chest Exercises You’re Not Doing

The 6 Grittiest Chest Exercises You're Not Doing

Tumminello’s chest treatise isn’t about inventing weird exercises. It’s about taking classics like heavy dumbbell presses, cable flyes, and push-ups, and reinvigorating them with elite programming and technique tips.

10. Stop Going Heavy On These 3 Exercises!

Stop Going Heavy on These 3 Exercises

There’s a time to grind through a heavy single or double, and a time to lighten it up and go for metabolic stress and a terrifying pump. Do you have your priorities right? Let John Rusin, PhD show you the right way to gain.

11. Kris Gethin’s 8-Week Hardcore Daily Video Trainer Main Page

Kris Gethin's 8-Week Hardcore Daily Video Trainer

It took serious guts for Kris Gethin to take one of the most iconic programs in the history of Bodybuilding.com, the 12-Week Hardcore Daily Trainer and promise he could make it better. But our readers have let us know that 8-Week Hardcore is every bit the equal of the original—and in four weeks less time.

12. How The Abs That Won The Arnold Were Built

How the Abs that Won the Arnold Were Built

2017 was the year that Ryan Terry took the big step up from up-and-coming IFBB pro to Arnold Classic Men’s Physique champ. These are the moves that helped him build unreal abdominal definition, and how to program them for your own six-pack quest!

13. Strategic Arm Training For Massive Gains

Strategic Arm Training For Massive Gains

Looking to buld the biggest guns in town? This is the ultimate catalog of how to boost time under tension, muscle damage, and even how the right way to cheat!

14. Are You Getting The Most Out Of Your BCAA Supplement?

Are You Getting The Most out of Your BCAA Supplement

Despite the popularity of the question, maybe “Do BCAAs work?” isn’t the right question to be asking. Krissy Kendall, PhD looks over all the research and gives you a quick, easy to swallow overview of how to use this popular supplement for maximum effectiveness!

15. The Gethin-Approved Way To Finish Your Biceps Workout

The Gethin-Approved Way to Finish Your Biceps Workout

This one-move, high-rep finisher can be performed on any cable stack or even the Smith machine. The move it utilizes is one you’ve probably forgotten about, but which will be burned into your memory from now on!

16. The 7 Biggest Lateral Raise Mistakes

The 7 Biggest Lateral Raise Mistakes

Think it’s just as simple as grab a weight, raise it, and put it down? You might be leaving shoulder gains un-gained and letting injuries sneak up on you. Check out these seven form cues and them wade into the comments for debate!

17. Scott Mathison’s Full-Body Superset Workout

Scott Mathison's Full-Body Superset Workout

Scott Mathison’s combination of high-flying acrobatics and serious gains have earned him hundreds of thousands of followers in social media, but he’s also an innovative exercise programmer committed to making every rep count. Keep this nine-move (three supersets, one triset) gauntlet in your back pocket for a change of pace, or rock it on its own for a few weeks. You’ll feel it from trap to calf!



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Not-So-EZ-Bar Arm Workout

Working out in tandem with fellow Optimum Nutrition-sponsored athlete Leon Williams, Shaun Stafford’s got a full-on workout that’s going to help you gain some gleaming new guns! From his grab bag of exercises, Stafford has put together a nice assortment of sets and reps, a few new movement patterns, and some sensational supersets. Make sure […]


Working out in tandem with fellow Optimum Nutrition-sponsored athlete Leon Williams, Shaun Stafford’s got a full-on workout that’s going to help you gain some gleaming new guns! From his grab bag of exercises, Stafford has put together a nice assortment of sets and reps, a few new movement patterns, and some sensational supersets.

Make sure that your body and mind are tuned in, switched on, and ready to go before your first EZ-bar rep!

Shaun Stafford’s Not-So-EZ-Bar Arm Workout

1

5 sets, 5 reps (rest 90 sec. between sets)


2

Superset


Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl

4 sets, 6-8 reps (rest 60 sec. between supersets)


3

Reverse Barbell Curl

Perform with EZ-Bar.

2 sets, 25 reps (rest 90 sec. between sets)


4

5 sets, 5 reps (rest 90 sec. between sets)


5

Superset


4 sets, 6-8 reps (rest 60 sec. between supersets)


6

Cable Rope Overhead Triceps Extension

2 sets, 25 reps (rest 90 sec. between sets)


Technique Tips

EZ-Bar Curl

EZ-Bar Curl

Stafford wants you to take a hip-width grip on the bar, palms facing up. Keep your core locked and your elbows in to your sides, forcing your biceps to handle the lion’s share of the work. The goal is to isolate the biceps and minimize the impact of surrounding stabilizing and assisting muscles.  

Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Stafford says to keep your thumbs extended as you would when actually holding a hammer. Keep your elbows at your sides. Make sure your core is stable and that you’re not putting any strain on your lower back.

Alternate Hammer Curl

Alternate Hammer Curl

This is really a standing alternating curl, but with a twist that allows you to hit the brachialis on the way down, and the major biceps brachii muscle on the way up. When you follow the correct technique, Stafford says, only your elbow joint will be moving. Keep your core locked and your chest up.

Barbell Reverse Curl

This movement enables you to isolate the biceps muscles so you can get those muscle fibers working hard. You’ll do 25 reps in total per set, but using “rest-pause.” After every 5 reps, don’t end the set but take a 10-second recovery period that should enable you to keep lifting at a high intensity throughout the set.

As you go through this movement, keep your arms facing down and your wrists strong. Use the brachioradialis muscle to squeeze the bar up so your forearm touches your biceps, then slowly lower the bar back down.

EZ-Bar Skullcrusher

EZ-Bar Skullcrusher

After all those reverse curl reps, Stafford takes you back to heavier reps with 5×5 skull crushers. The extra rest time between sets should allow you to recharge your energy and lift a heavier weight through a full range of motion. The only joint you want moving during your set is the elbow.

Dip

Stafford cranks it up with your second superset, of which dips are the first move. Watch his form closely in the accompanying video and follow suit. He’s doing these in a way that focuses the work on his triceps rather than his chest.

Push-Up

Push-Up

Staffordsays to keep your elbows tight to your sides so that your triceps are isolated as much as possible. Tempo-wise, slowly control the rep on the way down, pause at the bottom, then explode up, squeezing your triceps at the top.

Rope Extension

You’ve done two supersets, and now it’s time for your second straight set using rest-pauses. Again, fix your elbows at your sides so your triceps work to their maximum ability. That means taking the elbow all the way up to your chest, then exploding down as you squeeze the triceps to get maximum contraction.

This is an advanced training technique, perfect for the end of a session when you want maximum burnout to get maximum results. Use either a rope or a straight bar for this exercise.



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Packing for Workouts When You Travel

Deciding what to wear for a workout when I’m at home isn’t hard. I have types of clothes I prefer for different types of workouts, and I know what undergarments work with various fitness tops and bottoms, and I can pick which shoes I want to wear based on activity or distance. But when I’m […]


Deciding what to wear for a workout when I’m at home isn’t hard. I have types of clothes I prefer for different types of workouts, and I know what undergarments work with various fitness tops and bottoms, and I can pick which shoes I want to wear based on activity or distance.

But when I’m traveling on a plane and space is at a premium?

via GIPHY

Different story.

But I’ve gotten pretty decent at it over the years, so I thought I’d share my top tips for ensuring that I’m never without workout-appropriate gear … and still have space to pack my snorkel. (And, reminder, some of the links below are affiliate ones, so if you decide to purchase them, you’re helping to keep this site going — thanks!)

Do double duty.

Instead of a sheer tank, I might opt for a top  (like this) that would also work under a cardigan for a casual day early in my trip — or even on the flight. Solid leggings can be worn for loads of non-workout situations if they’re nice quality, fully opaque, and you pair them with a tunic, long sweater, or go with a full athleisure look. One note on leggings, however — if you have a possibility of being upgraded on your flight or are flying on an employee’s buddy pass, you might want to stick to true street clothes depending on the airline’s rules.

I avoid bringing more than one pair of sneakers when at all possible, so I’ll often choose a pair that also looks good with a cotton dress or jeans and will work for workouts. (I wore an older pair of gray Brooks PureFlows all over London and Italy while walking, cycling, and running, and I think the Revel is pretty much made for just what I’m talking about.)

Ditch accessories.

Running shorts might be less versatile than leggings, but they don’t take up much space and probably don’t require you to pack undies for them. Plus, in most cases, they’re pretty quick drying, so you can easily give them a rinse during your post-workout shower and hang them to dry so you can wear them again for your next workout. Tanks with built-in bras can be great options for lower-impact activities like yoga, but I would recommend having at least one sports bra with your usual support on hand for just about anything else. A mile into a 10k isn’t the time you want to realize that your top wasn’t made for this.

Strip down.

Even if you’re not comfortable running in just a sports bra at home, doing so when you’re in a new location might be different. You’re not seeing people you see all the time, and, if you’re visiting a beachy area, chances are good that you’re getting sweaty surrounded by loads of people wearing far less. Being able to leave a few tops at home can free up quite a bit of space — especially if you’re able to rinse and dry your sports bra every day or so to rewear it!

Wash up.

Maybe you aren’t comfortable with just a basic rinse of your clothes after a killer workout. I get it — I’ve been there. In that case, if space is truly an issue, it might be worth inquiring ahead of time about laundry facilities wherever you’re staying. If we’re talking about a long trip with many clothes that require serious washing, you might want to check out the Scrubba Wash Bag. I used one the first time I went to Hawaii and it saved my socks after some incredibly muddy hikes.

Bag it.

I am obsessed with my space-saving travel bags. There are all sorts of options out there (travel cubes, vacuum sealed bags, etc.), but the ones I got don’t require any additional tools, seal tightly, and are small enough to serve as organizational tools, too. I use one for workout clothes, one for socks and undies, and one or two for my other clothes. As I work (i.e. sweat) through what I’ve packed, I switch one to a dirty clothes bag so I can easily keep things separated without sacrificing space. Plus, because they seal, if you’ve gotten a few items real stinky, you can keep them from smelling up your clean clothes, easy peasy!

Got any other hot tips for packing light? Whatever I pack for sleeping also doubles as workout wear, just in case I happen to run short. Kristen



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Your Blueprint For Building A Bigger Chest!

When it comes to the behavior of mammals—including men—the chest seems to have symbolic importance beyond its mere function. Male sage grouse puff up their chests to appear more menacing and attract mates. Silverback gorillas pound their chests to warn off would-be trespassers. It’s no wonder we present-day humans equate a powerful set of pecs […]


When it comes to the behavior of mammals—including men—the chest seems to have symbolic importance beyond its mere function. Male sage grouse puff up their chests to appear more menacing and attract mates. Silverback gorillas pound their chests to warn off would-be trespassers. It’s no wonder we present-day humans equate a powerful set of pecs with virility and rugged masculinity.

In my companion article, “Your Blueprint for Building Bigger Arms,” I showed you how to add inches to your biceps and triceps. Now it’s time we took care of your chest!

Make Chest Training Your Job

The best way to improve a specific muscle group is to give it priority in your training for a limited time. I’ve found that 10 weeks is long enough to produce gains, yet not so long that you risk overtraining.

The following weekly split is designed so you can train your chest twice a week, while hitting all the other muscle groups once. This approach can really grow your pecs as long as you use it for a limited amount of time. Do it too long, and you risk overtraining and the persistent fatigue and soreness that comes with it.

Chest Prioritization Split

  • Day 1: Chest (Heavy, free weights)
  • Day 2: Back and Biceps
  • Day 3: Shoulders and Triceps
  • Day 4: Legs
  • Day 5: Rest
  • Day 6: Chest (Pumping, machines and cables)
  • Day 7: Rest

The first chest workout of the week follows a complete day of rest. Be sure to eat plenty of quality food on your rest day, including a healthy amount of carbohydrates. And for this program, take the name “rest day” to heart; make sure to get plenty of rest to prepare you for the day ahead.

The first chest session of the week is a heavier workout composed of straight sets of 8-10 reps, so the damage done to the muscle fibers isn’t too severe. We save the real damage for the second chest workout, made up of higher reps, dropsets, and supersets. This second session is the more demanding workout in terms of demands placed on both the muscles and the central nervous system, which is why it’s sandwiched between complete rest days.

We also use more machines on the second workout to give you a chance to get through the intensity techniques you’ll be doing. Give these workouts 100 percent of your effort, and your work will pay off.

1

Leverage Incline Chest Press

2 sets, 15 reps (warm-up)

4 sets, 8 reps (with increasing weight)


2

4 sets, 8-10 reps (with increasing weight)


3

4 sets, 10 reps (with increasing weight)


4


5

3 sets, 15 reps (to failure)


Okay, you’ve had a rest day before today, and you’ll have one after, so don’t be afraid to hit this workout hard!

1

Smith Machine Bench Press

2 sets, 15 reps (warm-up)

4 sets, 8-10 reps (with increasing weight)


2

Smith Machine Incline Bench Press

3 sets, 10 reps (last set is a dropset)


3

Superset


4 sets, 15 reps (to failure)


4

Superset


Machine Bench Press

Perform 10 reps at normal speed with a slight pause to contract the pecs at the top of each rep. Then, reduce the weight by about a third and do 10 more reps quickly with no pause at any point in the rep.

4 sets, 10 reps plus 10


Chest-Building Tips

1. It’s Not About “How Much Ya Bench”

If I had to identify one reason most guys don’t get the chests they want, it’s the relentless obsession with high reps on the flat barbell bench press. The only way lots of reps help you build size is if you keep the target muscle under tension long enough to stimulate a growth response.

For most people, the 8-12 rep is the ideal range to build size. People who are more into strength load up and live in the 3-5 range, with a few 1RM attempts thrown in. Yes, you’ll move some big weights, but you aren’t going to build your chest to its maximum dimensions. If you want to get big up top, train more like a bodybuilder and less like a powerlifter.

2. Learn to Press With Your Pectorals

You can do a complete chest workout without engaging your pectorals very much. Some lifters rely on their triceps and front delts to push the weight, then wonder why their chests don’t grow. You have to learn how to press with your chest—how to engage your pecs. This isn’t hard to learn. It’s all about setting yourself up with the correct body mechanics.

To begin, pinch together your shoulder blades. Next, roll your shoulders down and back toward your waist as you put a small arch in your lower back. Your chest should now be “popped up” off the bench and ready to do the work.

Your Blueprint For Building A Bigger Chest

You should be able to feel your pecs contracting every inch of the way as you press up the weight, and then stretching as you lower it back down. If you notice that the load shifts from your chest to your triceps when you lock out fully, stop an inch or two short of full extension to maintain that precious tension on your pecs. That’s what makes them grow!

3. Lift the Weight Yourself

Forced reps are the most overused and abused of all the intensity techniques. Who among us hasn’t relied on generous help from a spotter to hoist up a weight we had no business using, and which we were hardly capable of budging with our own power? We’re all guilty.

When the weight is that heavy, there’s no way you’re going to achieve any type of meaningful contraction in the target muscle: You’re too busy struggling, by any means necessary, to move that bar. And, if your spotter is taking a large portion of the load, how will you track your own progress? Spotters are a good thing to have for safety purposes, and to help you with a forced rep every now and then. But don’t allow them to do your work.

4. Train With Intensity and Focus

As you progress through these 10 weeks, stay on task and train hard. Put your phone away until you finish each session so you won’t be distracted by texts, Snaps, and Facebook updates. Take this program seriously and put your heart into it. If you do, you’re guaranteed to see a bigger chest when you finish the program.

Your Blueprint For Building A Bigger Chest

Ten weeks with two chest workouts a week means you’re only doing 20 workouts, so every set and every rep matters. Take that attitude and apply yourself, and you’ll be very pleased with the results.

Nutrition Notes

To get the most out of any demanding workout program, your nutrition must be on point. Give your body everything it needs to fuel up before your workouts and then to recover, repair, and grow damaged muscle tissue between workouts. Every 2-3 hours of your waking day, eat a solid meal that includes a high-protein source such as chicken, eggs, turkey, red meat, or fish; as well as a complex carbohydrate such as rice, potatoes, or oatmeal.

Several key supplements can help you make it through this grueling 10-week schedule. These include a pre-workout formula that includes a stimulant along with nitric oxide (NO) boosters to enhance energy, focus, and the pump. Right after your workout, you should also immediately drink a post-workout shake that contains whey protein isolate and a fast-acting carb source like cyclic dextrin. If you can’t always get in your scheduled meals, protein or meal replacement shakes can be a lifesaver.

Finally, be sure to drink plenty of water every day, and especially before and during your workouts. Our muscles are made up mostly of water, so being properly hydrated is essential for optimal performance.



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8 Tips For Getting Crazy Ripped

It’s like the turning of the seasons: You bulk up by building muscle, then lean down to let those muscles shine through. It seems like a simple cycle, but if you do it wrong, you can lose a big chunk of those hard-earned gains while leaning out. Getting ripped involves much more than cutting calories […]


It’s like the turning of the seasons: You bulk up by building muscle, then lean down to let those muscles shine through. It seems like a simple cycle, but if you do it wrong, you can lose a big chunk of those hard-earned gains while leaning out.

Getting ripped involves much more than cutting calories like a maniac and adding a few hours of cardio to your week. Lots of people take that approach, only to lose mass in the process.

So let’s do it the smart way. Here are eight tips to help you get ripped and stay muscular.

1. Supplement With L-Carnitine

Regularly consuming L-carnitine can increase your body’s use of fat, instead of glucose, for fuel when you exercise. It can also improve your exercise performance.[1] And, according to studies out of the University of Connecticut, 2 grams per day of L-carnitine can reduce muscle soreness and other biological markers of recovery, as well as increase the amount of androgen receptors present within muscle cells.[2]

2. Dump the Junk for Real

Whenever you want to cut body fat, look for ways to eliminate or cut way back on processed food items, which are usually loaded with refined sugars and other unhealthy ingredients. Don’t do this by abstaining from protein, fat, or carbohydrates. Instead, choose healthy, whole-food sources, most of which include healthy combinations of the three macronutrients.

Focus on lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables that are saturated in color, both on the outside and inside, like sweet potatoes, purple yams, black rice, and avocados. Limiting your food choices to naturally occurring items such as these can create a greater feeling of fullness, making it easier to refrain from snacking.

It’s much easier to meet your body’s needs when you choose unprocessed foods because they’re so rich in vitamins and minerals. When you’re dieting, you’re consuming fewer calories, so you have fewer opportunities to meet those nutritional needs. Focus on high-quality foods during this time to make sure you take in all the nutrients you need.

3. Plan Ahead or Fall Behind

Successful weight loss requires a game plan, one that includes stress management. If you’re worrying all day about losing weight, you’re probably also experiencing elevated levels of cortisol. When chronically elevated, this hormone can wreak havoc on muscle tissue and your immune system.

You can eat all the right foods, take all the right supplements, and have killer workouts, but if you’re stressed out the whole time, you’re undercutting your gains—and perhaps losing hard-earned muscle.

Effective meal planning starts with knowing how many calories to consume, and how much of each macronutrient group you need. A TDEE calculator can help you figure out how many calories you typically burn each day. You can also use calculators to determine your lean body mass, fat mass, basal metabolic rate, and resting metabolic rate.

4. Good Sleep Is The Key

Many people think that fat burning takes place in the gym, but that’s only part of the equation. If you’re chronically sleep deprived, you can end up with a reduced metabolic rate and poor insulin sensitivity, and become prone to obesity.[3]

Good Sleep Is The Key

When you sleep well, you have better control over your food choices and are less likely to binge eat at night. You also have more energy to devote to your workouts.

5. Consume More, Not Less, Protein

If there is one macronutrient you’ll want to eat more of to get leaner, it’s protein. Adding more protein to your diet plan can help reduce hunger, stabilize blood glucose levels, and rev your metabolism. All of those things are important for fat loss.

Protein-rich foods require more energy to break down and digest compared to carbohydrates or dietary fats. So each time you eat a protein-rich meal, you’ll want to give yourself time to digest it and drink enough extra water to facilitate the increase in metabolic demand.

Many people make the mistake of thinking their protein needs will decrease during a diet. On the contrary; you might even want to consume a little more protein when you’re shredding. Deprived of other sources of energy, your body may use more protein for fuel, leaving less protein available for muscle maintenance.

6. Squeeze Intervals Into Your Workouts

If you haven’t tried interval training, what are you waiting for? As noted in a study in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, interval training is superior to steady-state training when it comes to fat loss, even when total calories burned between both types of training is the same.[4]

This doesn’t mean you have to perform interval sprint sessions on the treadmill or bike four days a week. Integrate interval training into your workout routine by doing timed sets for a major compound lift, or by performing a few sets of burpees between your major weightlifting sets.

Squeeze Intervals Into Your Workouts

Get creative and see how you can add some high-intensity moves to your usual workout routine.

7. Don’t Overdo the Liquid Calories—Even Protein Shakes

Drinking a protein shake after a workout is perfectly fine. Hell, we highly recommend it! But drinking calorie-containing beverages at other times during the day is not.

The problem with liquid calories is that they don’t fill you up like solid food calories do, so they won’t do much to reduce your appetite between meals. If you down 300-400 liquid calories a day and don’t account for this with your food intake, it won’t be long before those pounds start to come back.

Ideally, you should only drink water, black coffee, green or herbal tea, sugar-free sparkling water, and your pre-workout while trying to get ripped.

8. Shredding Can Be A Bumpy Ride: Hang On

Finally, the last tip to getting ripped is to be realistic with your expected results. Remember that fat loss will slow down the leaner you get. If you have 20 pounds to lose right now, the first 5 pounds should come off without too much of an issue if you’ve been training for a while. If you’re brand new to exercise and dieting, your body will try to work against you as you retrain it to release the stored-up fat it became accustomed to hoarding away. Be patient and stay consistent. After your body learns that you’re going to continue using more calories that you consume, it’ll become more efficient at using fat for fuel.

After those first 5, the next 5 pounds may take a bit more grunt work, but you’ll still manage to shed them without too much trouble. But the final 10 pounds? That’s going to take some work. Be realistic when thinking about how much effort it’ll take to reach your goal.

Fat loss is never linear; some weeks will be better than others. As you experience these fluctuations, keep pushing onward and know you’re still winning—even when you’re not seeing the results you’re looking for. Eventually, you’ll get there!

References
  1. Wall, B. T., Stephens, F. B., Constantin‐Teodosiu, D., Marimuthu, K., Macdonald, I. A., & Greenhaff, P. L. (2011). Chronic oral ingestion of l‐carnitine and carbohydrate increases muscle carnitine content and alters muscle fuel metabolism during exercise in humans. The Journal of Physiology, 589(4), 963-973.
  2. Ho, J. Y., Kraemer, W. J., Volek, J. S., Fragala, M. S., Thomas, G. A., Dunn-Lewis, C., … & Maresh, C. M. (2010). l-Carnitine l-tartrate supplementation favorably affects biochemical markers of recovery from physical exertion in middle-aged men and women. Metabolism, 59(8), 1190-1199.
  3. Knutson, K. L., Spiegel, K., Penev, P., & Van Cauter, E. (2007). The metabolic consequences of sleep deprivation. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 11(3), 163-178.
  4. Higgins, S., Fedewa, M. V., Hathaway, E. D., Schmidt, M. D., & Evans, E. M. (2016). Sprint interval and moderate-intensity cycling training differentially affect adiposity and aerobic capacity in overweight young-adult women. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 41(11), 1177-1183.



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Build Massive Deltoids And Horseshoe Triceps

Bodybuilding is nothing if not a game of balance—a quest to achieve a physique in which all muscle groups are developed to their fullest. Alas, this balance can be hard to achieve. Every bodybuilder I’ve even known—myself included—knows that it’s easy to get muscle growth in some areas but frustratingly hard in others. To achieve […]


Bodybuilding is nothing if not a game of balance—a quest to achieve a physique in which all muscle groups are developed to their fullest. Alas, this balance can be hard to achieve. Every bodybuilder I’ve even known—myself included—knows that it’s easy to get muscle growth in some areas but frustratingly hard in others. To achieve a balanced physique, you have to constantly ask yourself whether your goals are being met and, if not, adjust training frequency, volume, and intensity accordingly.

That might mean combining body parts into the same workout, or training a lagging body part more often. Shoulder-and-triceps training serves as a great example of how we can combine body parts for less time in the gym, but better development.

Target Multiple Body Parts In One Workout

There is no right or wrong when it comes to training: There is only what works and what doesn’t. But multiple body-part training seems to work for just about everyone. You just can’t overdo it.

When we first begin training, most of us set out with a plan to train everything every day. We quickly realize you must break things up if you want to maximize the effort you dedicate to each body part—without spending three hours in the gym. The most logical approach, in my opinion, is to schedule training around the largest muscle groups of the body—the chest, back, and legs—while being careful not to combine them on the same day.

Most people don’t need to dedicate an entire training day to shoulders and triceps, because both muscle groups are engaged when you do chest and back. Back training also places a great deal of stress on the rear delts, while chest training hits the front and medial delts and the triceps. You also hit triceps when you’re shoulder pressing for delts.

Why Combine Shoulder And Triceps Training?

Pairing shoulder and triceps training has several advantages. If you’ve been training arms and shoulders on two separate days, you can now do shoulder and triceps one day, then add biceps to your chest or back training the next. This frees up an entire day you can use to rest, train a lagging body part, or pay more attention to your legs.

I firmly believe it makes more sense to split up leg training and give hamstrings and calves their own day, rather than trying to train your entire lower body at once.

Train Lagging Body Parts Less Often

In bodybuilding, as in the rest of life, less is often more. If you were to give both triceps and shoulders their own training days, you’d be in the gym seven days a week. That’s a bad idea. Not giving your body time to rest won’t lead to (and may take you further from) a balanced physique.

Most people with lagging body parts think the answer is to train them more frequently. Increasing intensity almost always helps develop large muscle groups such as legs or back. For most people, though, training these big muscles takes so much energy that it’s hard to maintain intensity in the long run. Instead, people tend to intensely train smaller muscle groups, such as their arms and delts, mostly because it doesn’t take as much energy to train them.

When I suggest continuing to train arms and shoulders, but to do it with less volume and more intensity, people often worry this approach will cause their muscles to shrink. But, as I mentioned earlier, these body parts get put through their paces as part of other exercises and so don’t require as much direct training.

Build Massive Deltoids and Horseshoe Triceps

Too Much is…Too Much

People typically try to improve lagging muscles by doing more in training through greater frequency or volume. Based on firsthand experience, though, I find this approach rarely works. Since these smaller muscle groups like arms and shoulders are subjected to quite a bit of stress when training back and chest, giving them each an entire day harms instead of helps them.

Get more efficient with your training by combining shoulders and triceps, add biceps training to your back or chest day, and use your suddenly free day to give your body some extra rest. Or, you can use that extra day to hit neglected parts of your body, like maybe your hamstrings and calves. Give first priority to body parts that usually get the leftover scraps from a hard and heavy quad training session, and they’ll repay your attention with growth.

Evan Centopani’s Deltoids-and-Shoulders Workout

3

Smith Machine Overhead Shoulder Press

3 sets, 6-12 reps




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The Perfect 15-Minute Ab Workout

Here’s the situation. You have a lot going on today and time isn’t on your side. You need to get in a good ab workout and get on with the rest of your day. If you can spare just 15 minutes, then this workout will help you get the job done. This program is based […]


Here’s the situation. You have a lot going on today and time isn’t on your side. You need to get in a good ab workout and get on with the rest of your day. If you can spare just 15 minutes, then this workout will help you get the job done.

This program is based on EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute) training. At the top of every minute, start your set. Once you finish, whatever is left of that minute is your rest time. The next minute is the start of your next set. You’ll do five exercises and rotate through them for three complete sets of each within the quarter-hour.

The Perfect 15-Minute Ab Workout

1

6-8 reps (during min. 1, 6, 11)


2

Flat Bench Lying Leg Raise

10-12 reps (during min. 2, 7, 12)


3

30 seconds (during min. 3, 8, 13)


4

15 reps (during min. 4, 9, 14)


5

20 seconds per side (during min. 5, 10, 15)


Ab Roller

This exercise looks simple enough, but don’t let that fool you—the ab roller is intense! And don’t even think about trying to cheat. You won’t get nearly the same ab-sculpting results.

Ab Roller

Holding the handles of the wheel, roll out as far as you can on each rep without touching the floor. Stretch out your arms in front of you and imagine you’re going to touch your nose to the floor. Contract your abs and use your core to pull yourself back.

If you can’t keep your back straight, or you’re struggling to hold yourself up for the last few reps, take a few seconds of rest and try again, or just hold the plank. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll begin to feel the results for yourself. One set should take 20-25 seconds to complete.

Lying Leg Raise

Perform leg raises on the floor or on a bench, and even add weight if you want to. Keep your hands under your butt and lift your legs straight up without bending them. If you have a weak or injured back, it’s okay to bend your knees to reduce the intensity until you build more strength in your core.

For an extra-intense abdominal contraction, lift your hips up at the top of the movement and pull your abs in toward your spine. Control your legs as you lower them back down, using your abs and not your hip flexors. One set should take 30-40 seconds to complete.

Bicycle

Because you’re maintaining an isometric contraction while twisting back and forth, your six-pack will feel this exercise from every angle.

Resist the temptation speed up this exercise during your timed interval. It’s natural to want to get as many reps in as possible, but with only 15 minutes, we’re looking for quality over quantity. Slow down and focus on the muscles working to reap better ab-building results.

You’re locked into 30 seconds, so you know you get at least 30 seconds of rest before your next exercise. Dig deep. Make every rep count.

Crunch

Crunches are basic, but can be highly effective when done right. When you’re doing your crunches, don’t think of rolling up your shoulders. Instead, focus on contracting your abs and let that movement naturally lift your upper body. By the time you bring your shoulders off the ground, you should feel an intense contraction in your abs.

Crunch

Remember to protect your neck by keeping it in as neutral a position as possible. Do not lock your fingers behind your head. Cross your arms across your chest or place your hands on the sides of your head, fingertips behind your ears. All 15 crunches should take 20-30 seconds to complete.

Side Plank

Regular planks are awesome, but side planks bring your ab game to a whole new level. They force you to work your transverse abdominis, the muscle that wraps around your waist like a girdle. Working this muscle can help tighten and define your midsection, so if you haven’t been doing side planks, now is the time to start.

Lie on your side and position your bottom elbow under your shoulder. Exhale as you lift your hips off the ground until your body is in a plank position balanced on the one elbow and your feet. Keep breathing as you hold this position without letting your hips drop. Once 20 seconds pass, switch to the other side and repeat. By the time this is over, you’ll have only 10-15 seconds to recover before the circuit starts again.



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The 25-Minute Holiday Damage Control Workout

Unless you have ridiculous discipline, you’re going to give in and consume a few unwanted calories over the holidays. I do it myself when I’m not hyper-focused on a specific training or performance goal. The good news is that you can burn off these extra calories nearly as quickly as you’ve consumed them. And you […]


Unless you have ridiculous discipline, you’re going to give in and consume a few unwanted calories over the holidays. I do it myself when I’m not hyper-focused on a specific training or performance goal. The good news is that you can burn off these extra calories nearly as quickly as you’ve consumed them. And you can do it anywhere when you follow my favorite holiday damage-control workout.

Here’s my philosophy: If you’re going to splurge over the holidays, then you need to burn to pay for your sins. The good news is that my Tabata-style circuit workout takes only 25 minutes. The catch: It’s 25 minutes of hell.

Most of the exercises in my program emphasize lower body. They’ll jack up your heart rate and encourage your body to burn stored fat, helping you get in shape or maintain your conditioning if you’ve succumbed to the temptations of the holiday season.

Kris Gethin’s Holiday Damage-Control Workout

You’ll perform eight bodyweight moves that take no equipment, allowing you to perform this workout wherever you happen to be over the holidays—in a hotel room, at a relatives’ home, in a gym or outdoors. Below, I’ll give you a short description about how to perform each exercise.

Go through the workout circuit style. You’ll perform one set of each of these eight moves one after the other, and then you’ll go back and perform four more circuits of eight for a total of five circuits. So you’ll perform a total of 40 sets.

These aren’t sets of a specific number of reps, though. You’ll perform each set for only 20 seconds. During every set, you’ll crank out as many reps as you can in the allotted time with good form. Then you’ll rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. You’ll maintain this rhythm of 20 seconds for each exercise with 10 seconds of rest throughout the circuit of eight moves.

Each full circuit will take you about four minutes. Then you’ll rest for up to one minute before beginning your next circuit. That means you’ll be able to complete the full five circuits in 25 minutes or less. You’ll be winded, but you’ll know you’ve completed a pile of hard work that supports your goals.

Kris Gethin’s Holiday Damage-Control Workout

Technique Keys

Split Squat

Placing one leg about four feet in front of the other. Lower your body smoothly and quickly until the upper thigh of your lead leg is parallel to the ground, and then press up through the heel of the front foot. Perform 10 seconds of reps with the first leg, and then switch to the other leg for 10 seconds before you rest for 10 seconds. Aim for about 10 reps for each leg, per set.

Squat Jump

Stand with your legs spread about two feet apart, or around shoulder-width. Lower your hands to the floor before each jump. You should reach a nearly vertical position as you leave the floor with about six inches or so between your feet and the ground. Aim to perform about 12-15 reps in 20 seconds.

Sumo Squat Pulse

Widen your stance from squat jumps to about three feet, or just outside shoulder-width, and clasp your hands at chest level. Squat only through the middle range of the motion, not quite as low as parallel or all the way to a full upright stance. The goal is to “pulse” in the mid-range and complete as many reps as possible in 20 seconds. Aim for at least 20, if not more.

Alternating Plyo Lunges

Start in the same position as the split squat, but now jump off the ground, moving your trailing leg forward while moving your forward leg back. Do this without traveling forward, switching legs with every jump. Make sure to leap high enough to perform a full proper lunge, with your upper and lower legs at a right angle at the bottom of the move. Aim to complete about 20 reps in total during each set.

Mountain Climbers

You’re going to get onto the floor resting on your forearms and toes in the “pillar” position (similar to push-up, but on your forearms rather than hands). Keeping your body in the plank or push-up position, bring one knee up toward the same-side elbow without raising your butt. Then do the same on the other side and continue alternating. Perform about 10 reps for each side in 20 seconds.

Pillars-To-Plank

Pillars-To-Plank

For this move, you engage your core and work your upper body. Begin at the top of the push-up position, and lower onto one forearm and then the other (the “pillar” position). Now press back up to lockout, alternating sides from one rep to the next. Aim to complete about 15 full reps in each set.

V-Up

Lie on your backside, making sure you exhale before each V-up so you can contract your abs more deeply. Raise your hands above your head so they’re near the ground at the start position. With knees bent, raise both your lower and upper body, bringing your arms forward and hands close to your knees. Aim to knock out 20 reps in each set.

High-Knee Raise

You’ll finish off each circuit with this move. With straight arms, place your hands out at about waist level. Bring up one knee to that side’s hand. Then lower that leg as you simultaneously bring up your other leg to that side’s hand. Go back and forth with a pace like you’re jumping rope. Aim to perform about 40 reps, or 20 per side, in 20 seconds.



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4Pcs/Set Elastic Resistance Loop Bands Exercise Yoga Fitness Gym Training Tube

4Pcs/Set Elastic Resistance Loop Bands Exercise Yoga Fitness Gym Training Tube Price : 6.99 Ends on : View on eBay


4Pcs/Set Elastic Resistance Loop Bands Exercise Yoga Fitness Gym Training Tube

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Podcast Ep 60: Relationship Expert Terri Cole

Are you ready to set some boundaries that will not only make your life happier but also way more productive? Well, wait until you get a listen to this uber empowering episode with psychotherapist, relationship expert and Founder of the Real Love Revolution & Boundary Bootcamp Terri Cole. If you have trouble saying “no” and […]


Are you ready to set some boundaries that will not only make your life happier but also way more productive? Well, wait until you get a listen to this uber empowering episode with psychotherapist, relationship expert and Founder of the Real Love Revolution & Boundary Bootcamp Terri Cole. If you have trouble saying “no” and making time for yourself, you are about to learn the best tricks to stay sane and centered. (Score!)

All of us have experienced relationships in which our identities have become hazy (or fully disappeared) — and that all has to do with setting (or not setting) boundaries. Cole is the woman to see about that. Also, she offers her best advice on how to handle difficult conversations with ease, as well as tips for letting your intentions be known in a way that’s clear to others but also comfortable for you. If you are looking to be more mindful and conscious of your choices, get ready to let her rock your world!

Once again, this podcast episode is sponsored by VARIDESK. When it comes to making your workspace as healthy as the rest of your life, well, they’ve got it going on. See all the cool goodies they offer here.

Here are a few of our favorite quotes from this episode …

Podcast Episode 60 Highlights with Terri Cole

  • The downside to being a high-functioning “good girl”
  • Creating a “Proactive Boundary Success Plan”
  • The magic phrase that can help you set boundaries
  • The Facebook Live chat she had with past guest Danielle LaPorte about boundary setting
  • Uncovering the unconscious patterns that may be inhibiting your progress
  • The dark side of not taking the time to care for yourself
  • The three questions you need to ask when dealing with underlying B.S.
  • Identifying “repeating realities” and how to overcome tiring relationship patterns
  • The definition of a “core wound reaction” and how it interferes with current happiness
  • Allowing loved ones to really learn their own lessons and not take responsibility for another person’s journey
  • Plus, we discuss our own strategies for establishing boundaries

Get the episode with Terri Cole here or below!

Get more info on our podcast here and be sure to subscribe on iTunes so that you never miss an episode!

What social situations do you have troubles setting boundaries for? —Margo

Want to sponsor the show? Yay! Drop us a note at advertising@fitbottomedgirls.com and let’s make the world a healthier place together!



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Ultimate ABS Simulator EMS Training Body Abdominal Muscle Exerciser AB

Ultimate ABS Simulator EMS Training Body Abdominal Muscle Exerciser AB Price : 45.99 Ends on : View on eBay


Ultimate ABS Simulator EMS Training Body Abdominal Muscle Exerciser AB

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How To Party Through The Holidays Without Getting Fat

The radio’s playing wall-to-wall Christmas carols, the lights are going up in the neighborhood, and the holiday party invitations are in the mail. Maybe you’ve been working hard to lose weight—or maybe you just want to avoid packing on an extra 10-15 pounds between now and New Year’s Eve. Have no fear: With the right […]


The radio’s playing wall-to-wall Christmas carols, the lights are going up in the neighborhood, and the holiday party invitations are in the mail. Maybe you’ve been working hard to lose weight—or maybe you just want to avoid packing on an extra 10-15 pounds between now and New Year’s Eve. Have no fear: With the right frame of mind, you won’t have to avoid the fun to avoid the fat!

To help you achieve this lofty goal, I’ve created a Holiday Party Survival Guide for you! These seven tips are my gift to you to help you mingle with your friends and family without having to purchase a new wardrobe.

1. Drink Up and Be Merry!

That’s right, get ready to do some drinking, because if you want to keep yourself from gaining weight this holiday season, you’re going to drink…about a gallon of water every day. Not the kind of drinking you had in mind? Trust me, with all the stress and junk foods coming your way, holiday hydration is key.

Water is vital to all your bodily functions. It also keeps you feeling full. As a rule, most people don’t tend to drink enough water, so when they get the urge to snack, chances are they’re actually thirsty, not hungry. And since your body doesn’t retain water like it does Christmas cookies, pies, egg nog, and everything else you’ll soon be tempted by, staying hydrated over the holidays may even help you lose weight. How cool would that be?

2. Get on the Right Side of the Scale

How do you expect to prevent getting fat if you don’t know what you weigh? When you’re entering into the season of overindulgence, your scale can be your first line of defense against weight gain.

Start weighing yourself every morning after you use the bathroom. That way, you can begin each day, enter every sweater party, and attend every cookie-tasting party knowing exactly where you stand. With a good scale on your side, you can know at the first pound instead of the tenth that you’re going overboard.

3. Eat Well Before and Avoid the Snack

You know how they say you should never go food shopping when you’re hungry, because you’ll buy all kinds of crap? The same is true with going to holiday parties. If you know you’re going to be entering the Valley of Junk Food, then cut those empty calories off at the pass and eat before you go.

Soups

Whether it’s a hearty lunch earlier in the day or a quick dinner after work, don’t go to these events with an empty stomach. Otherwise, if the liquor doesn’t get you, the food will. It’s much easier to say no to cookies, pies, and pastries when you’re full of wholesome food and, of course, lots of water.

4. Dress to Kill…Your Appetite

You’ve been sticking to your workout program. You’re looking better than you have in years. So, show it off! Choose some new party clothes that make you feel sexy. Maybe even splurge on a new outfit that bolsters your newfound confidence even further.

If your clothes fit and you like what you see in the mirror, you’re less likely to gorge yourself and ruin the look. Show up fabulous, stay fabulous, and enjoy the party!

5. Remember: BYOWF!

If the party you’re attending is a potluck, Bring Your Own Wholesome Food. Skip the Jello molds and bring something that’s good and good for you. Here are a few suggestions for healthy, easy-to-make party food:

  • Meatballs: It doesn’t get much easier than these, guys. Pre-cook in the oven, spice them however you like, and avoid sugary sauces. Finger foods shouldn’t be messy anyway.
  • Chicken wings: Either grilled or baked, chicken wings are a great source of fat and protein, and you’ll look like a boss bringing your own from home.
  • Lettuce sliders: Think squashed meatballs wrapped in lettuce. They take a little more work, but sliders are trendy—and making them out of lettuce will put you in the vanguard of good eating.
  • Mixed nuts: Bring them in-shell and have a whole cracking station, or roast your own in spices and bring them warm. There are plenty of options, and they’re all healthy choices. Just don’t sugarcoat them.
  • Sliced veggies and dip: There’s no bad dipping vegetables, so bring whatever you like. You can make your own dips, with sour cream and spices, or buy them premade. Just check the labels to avoid added sugar. When in doubt, salsa, hummus, and guacamole make tasty dips for veggies, too.
mixed nuts

6. Moderation in All Things (Including Moderation)

So, at this point you’re thinking, “Cristy. It’s a party, not a fitness class! What if I want a cocktail or a piece of cake?” Hey, you can have whatever you want. I won’t be there to stop you.

However, I will say that you need to know what you really want before you step into your next holiday fete.

Do you want to keep the weight off? If so, skip the cake. If you’ve just got to have the cake, then have it, and eat it, too. But stop at one piece and avoid the other junk food. If you’re weighing yourself regularly and drinking a gallon of water every day, one piece of cake, no matter how delicious, isn’t going to cancel out a whole month of clean foods and water consumption.

7. Give Your Body the Best Gift of All!

After the last holiday sweater is judged, be sure you get a good night’s sleep. Make time for yourself this season to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night—no matter what else is going on.

You’ve worked hard to get where you are and to look as good as you do. Don’t ruin all that by retaining more weight because you’re starving your body of sleep. Treat your body well and you’ll begin the New Year looking and feeling your best.



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Your Ultimate Guide To Iron Supplements

Your body needs the right amount of iron to work correctly. It’s especially crucial for athletes, but not everybody gets enough. Should you take an iron supplement? Here’s everything you need to know. What Is Iron and What Does It Do? Iron is a trace mineral that helps the body transport oxygen through the blood […]


Your body needs the right amount of iron to work correctly. It’s especially crucial for athletes, but not everybody gets enough. Should you take an iron supplement? Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is Iron and What Does It Do?

Iron is a trace mineral that helps the body transport oxygen through the blood and muscles, create red blood cells, and release energy from cells. 

It’s the heme in hemoglobin, a compound in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.[1] Iron is also in myoglobin, which moves oxygen into your muscles.

So, having high enough levels of iron is necessary to deliver oxygen to your whole body for energy.

How Much Iron Do You Need?

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adult men (19-50 years old) is 8 milligrams. The RDA for adult women is 18 milligrams per day.[2] This difference is primarily due to monthly blood loss through menstruation in women. For this reason, the RDA for postmenopausal women is reduced to 8 milligrams.

Most people can hit their daily iron requirement by eating a healthy diet full of whole, unprocessed foods.

What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Iron?

Not having enough iron can result in iron-deficiency anemia, which means you have insufficient or damaged red blood cells.

Since iron helps transport oxygen, symptoms of anemia include low energy levels, bad exercise performance, intolerance to cold temperatures, and even a pale, sickly look.

If women don’t get enough iron during pregnancy, it can also be dangerous for both the mom and baby.[3,4] Fortunately, doctors are very aware of this and will typically monitor and adjust iron levels throughout pregnancy.

Who Is at Risk for Iron Deficiency?

Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the United States, particularly among women.[5,6]

Additionally, heme iron (from meat) is more readily absorbed and utilized than nonheme iron (from plants). So vegans, vegetarians, and others who consume little meat products are also at risk for iron deficiency.

Interestingly, the action of the foot striking the ground is a major cause of damage to or loss of red blood cells.[7] This means that distance runners are also at a high risk for iron deficiency.

Hard physical training in general can increase your number of red blood cells, meaning you need more iron to build them. Iron is also lost through sweat, so the more an athlete sweats, the more they may be at risk for deficiency (although this can be highly variable).

Bodybuilders who are approaching shows often dramatically drop calories while trying to maintain or increase their training volume. Unfortunately, a lot of bodybuilders rely excessively on the staples of chicken, rice, and broccoli.

Aside from the staleness of eating the same thing six times a day, leaving out red meat, coupled with extra training (people often add in cardio), can result in the loss of essential micronutrients, such as iron, from the diet. All athletes and gym-goers need to make sure to get enough iron.

Your Ultimate Guide To Iron Supplements

How Can Supplementing Help You—Or Hurt You?

If your iron levels are low, supplementing to bring them up to adequate levels can help protect your health, energy levels, and physical performance. Athletes who are iron deficient will likely see big improvements via supplementation.[8]

But, if you’re already consuming enough iron and hoping to get an extra boost from supplements, you’re out of luck. The benefits of extra iron intake are only really seen in those who are deficient. If you’re already getting enough, you probably won’t see a difference.

It doesn’t take much excess iron to make you sick, so it is strongly recommended that you consult your doctor to get your levels checked to see if you actually need to supplement iron.[8]

What Are the Side Effects of Iron Supplements?

The upper limit for iron has been set at 45 milligrams a day.[2] Consuming amounts above this (usually through excessive and inappropriate supplementation) can cause toxicity, involving symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and vomiting.

Are There Any Dietary Forms of This Ingredient?

Iron is most readily found in red meat (about 8 milligrams in an 8-ounce serving of steak) and certain seafood such as clams (24 milligrams in a 3-ounce serving) and oysters (10 milligrams in a 3-ounce serving).

Nonheme iron is in plant foods such as legumes, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables. While the bioavailability (how much your body can absorb) of nonheme iron is lower than heme iron, eating both kinds of iron with vitamin C can help you absorb more of it. Think orange juice with your oatmeal, tomatoes in a salad, or a squeeze of lemon on oysters.[9]

If you eat lots of red meat, fish, legumes, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables, you probably get enough iron. Vegetarians have to work a little harder, but it’s possible to get adequate levels by eating plant-based iron sources combined with vitamin C.

What Are the Available Forms for This Ingredient?

Most people can fulfill their iron requirement with food. But if a doctor recommends supplementation, you can get it in many multivitamins or on its own as a gel or capsule (both forms are fine). Taking iron on an empty stomach may be best for absorption.

The dose of supplement will be determined based on how deficient you are, your energy needs (how much you’re working out), and how much iron you’re already getting through your diet.

What Are the Possible Interactions with Iron Supplementation?

Coffee

Coffee may reduce the absorption of iron when you drink it during, or up to an hour after a meal. But, iron absorption is not affected if coffee is consumed one hour before a meal.[8] Have your cup of joe well before your steak dinner to make sure you’re in good spirits and iron levels are high!

Your Ultimate Guide To Iron Supplements

Dialysis

Erythropoietin, the hormone that signals the production of red blood cells, is made in the kidneys. Those who are on dialysis often have a reduction in kidney function, with anemia being a side effect. Plus, the diets prescribed for dialysis patients, along with some of the related medications, may affect iron absorption, warranting higher intakes.

Medications

There are a lot of medications that affect iron absorption. Some common culprits are:

  • Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (high blood pressure)
  • Prilosec, Zantac (ulcers, heartburn, gastrointestinal distress)
  • Antibiotics such as Tetracyclines (Vibramycin, Minocin, and Sumycin) or Quinolones (Cipro, Noroxin, and Levaquin)

Wrap Up

Getting enough iron is non-negotiable for health and athletic performance. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to supplement. Getting too much can be just as bad.

Your Ultimate Guide To Iron Supplements

Eating plenty of leafy greens, meat, fish, legumes, and whole grains should give you enough iron. If you have symptoms of deficiency or are in a high-risk category, see your doctor to get your blood tested for iron.

References
  1. Beard, J. L., Dawson, H., & Piñero, D. J. (1996). Iron metabolism: a comprehensive review. Nutrition Reviews, 54(10), 295-317.
  2. Trumbo, P., Yates, A. A., Schlicker, S., & Poos, M. (2001). Dietary reference intakes: Vitamin A, vitamin K, arsenic, boron, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 101(3), 294.
  3. Allen, L. H. (2000). Anemia and iron deficiency: effects on pregnancy outcome. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71(5), 1280s-1284s.
  4. Drukker, L., Hants, Y., Farkash, R., Ruchlemer, R., Samueloff, A., & Grisaru‐Granovsky, S. (2015). Iron deficiency anemia at admission for labor and delivery is associated with an increased risk for Cesarean section and adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes. Transfusion, 55(12), 2799-2806.
  5. Miller, J. L. (2013). Iron deficiency anemia: a common and curable disease. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, 3(7), a011866.
  6. Percy, L., Mansour, D., & Fraser, I. (2017). Iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia in women. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 40, 55-67.
  7. Telford, R. D., Sly, G. J., Hahn, A. G., Cunningham, R. B., Bryant, C., & Smith, J. A. (2003). Footstrike is the major cause of hemolysis during running. Journal of Applied Physiology, 94(1), 38-42.
  8. Zoller, H., & Vogel, W. (2004). Iron supplementation in athletes—first do no harm. Nutrition, 20(7), 615-619.
  9. Collings, R., Harvey, L. J., Hooper, L., Hurst, R., Brown, T. J., Ansett, J., … & Fairweather-Tait, S. J. (2013). The absorption of iron from whole diets: a systematic review. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ajcn-050609.



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Shawn Perine, 1966 – 2017

Shawn Perine, an influential bodybuilding writer and editor, has died at age 51. He was diagnosed with lung cancer two-and-a-half months earlier, in September. At the time of his passing, Shawn was editor-in-chief of Muscle & Fitness magazine, as well as holding a vice president title at American Media, Inc., in New York City. He […]


Shawn Perine, an influential bodybuilding writer and editor, has died at age 51. He was diagnosed with lung cancer two-and-a-half months earlier, in September.

At the time of his passing, Shawn was editor-in-chief of Muscle & Fitness magazine, as well as holding a vice president title at American Media, Inc., in New York City. He was also editorial director of Muscle & Fitness Hers, FLEX, Men’s Fitness, and Men’s Journal magazines.

Shawn was one of the most prominent editors in fitness publishing, but career success never changed him. When I met Shawn in early 2003, we were both junior-level staffers at Weider Publications in Woodland Hills, California—Shawn at FLEX, me at Muscle & Fitness. We became friends immediately. Eight years later, when he was named editor-in-chief, he became my boss, but our friendship never changed.

photo via www.shawnperine.com

Everyone who knew Shawn knew what he was about. On the surface, you could see that he was passionate about fitness and took incredible care of himself physically. He grew up on Long Island, New York, idolizing classic bodybuilding physiques, reading muscle magazines cover to cover, and living the fitness lifestyle full-bore from a young age.

A Poster Child for the Fitness Lifestyle

Shawn being diagnosed with cancer, and an especially lethal kind (lung, stage IV), in his early 50s seemed like a particularly unfair twist of fate. He trained in the gym religiously, didn’t eat junk food, never smoked, never used drugs, and partook of alcohol only sparingly. He was a poster child for fitness as an all-encompassing way of life, and he looked the part. He was the leanest all-natural 50-year-old I knew, by far.

Shawn knew that healthy lifestyle choices can only shift probabilities in one’s favor—although clearly, nothing is guaranteed to anyone. Nevertheless, he devoted his career to helping others do as much as possible to live long and healthy lives.

Shawn Perine

photo via www.shawnperine.com

In 2002, Shawn parlayed his passion for fitness and bodybuilding into a career by first creating IronAge.us, a website devoted to the classic physiques of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva, Dave Draper, Frank Zane, and other iconic bodybuilders of the 1960s and 70s. His talents for both writing and graphic design caught the eye of FLEX staff writer Greg Merritt and then editor-in-chief Peter McGough, and in 2003 Shawn moved to Southern California for his dream job at Weider Publications. He started as a FLEX staff writer and worked his way up from there.

As his friend and former FLEX colleague Jim Schmaltz likes to say, Shawn was “one of the good ones.” He was friendly, kind, and compassionate without exception. So friendly, in fact, that leaving a Mr. Olympia or Arnold Classic Expo with him was a lengthy process; he seemingly knew everyone, and you couldn’t peel him away from a conversation. Long before Shawn was at the top of any masthead, he had formed strong relationships with many bodybuilding legends: Joe Weider, Schwarzenegger, Zane, and Oliva, to name a few. This wasn’t because he wanted something from them, but because Shawn valued personal relationships above all else, and invested a lot of time building them.

Shawn Perine

photo via www.shawnperine.com

On the day of Shawn’s passing, Schwarzenegger tweeted this:

Shawn Perine

photo via www.shawnperine.com

Personally, I’ll remember Shawn the same way many other people will: as a great friend and a wonderful, caring guy. I’ll remember the three-plus years we worked together at Weider headquarters in Woodlands Hills, going to lunch at Pomodoro restaurant around the corner. I’ll remember his quirkiness and his dry sense of humor. I’ll remember someone who always remained genuine and down-to-earth, regardless of what station he occupied in his career at a given moment.

Since his passing—it’s only been a few hours as of this writing—the prevailing sentiment about Shawn from those I’ve heard from can be summed up in two words: “great guy.”

Shawn Perine was one of the good ones, and he will be missed.



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This Montana Town Gave Its Children A Fighting Chance Through Strength

It was a sad day when the last train rolled through Livingston, Montana, in 1985. The Northern Pacific Railroad had pretty much built the entire town to its liking back in the early 1880s. A hundred years later, the railroad industry was on its heels, closing the repair yards, shrinking the local workforce, and sending […]


It was a sad day when the last train rolled through Livingston, Montana, in 1985. The Northern Pacific Railroad had pretty much built the entire town to its liking back in the early 1880s. A hundred years later, the railroad industry was on its heels, closing the repair yards, shrinking the local workforce, and sending the tiny, windswept town of Livingston into a decade-long funk.

The town, and its schools, might still be in that funk today were it not for tourism, the savior of so many once-fading rural towns. But even as the town rose from its ashes, the students of Livingston’s lone high school, Park High, have battled against an inferiority complex. Why? Part of it was likely due to generational poverty and substance abuse in the community that remained after the railroad left. As the town’s residents are all too aware, Livingston is the seat of the county with the highest suicide rate in Montana—the state with the nation’s highest rate.

“We’ve been fighting a second-class mentality for a long time,” says the school’s strength coach, Ben Hahn.

The school’s training facility reflected this fact. While the rest of Park High had been completely renovated, the weight room was still stuck in the 90s, or earlier.

The one part of the school designed to help students grow healthy and strong was old and decrepit—exercise bikes with no pedals, cracked weight plates, loose bolts on the weight machines.

It was time for someone to invest in these students, their health, and their potential. The Lift Life Foundation, a non-profit organization powered by Bodybuilding.com, did just that.

The Strength to Transform

In 2017, Park High became one of many high schools across the United States competing for a Lift Life weight room makeover. Lift Life looks for schools that stand out from the rest because of the benefit a new gym would bring to the community. In recent years, the foundation engineered renovations of gyms in Firth, Idaho; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Anderson, Indiana.

In 2017, Park High became one of many high schools across the United States competing for a Lift Life weight room makeover.

For Park High, the benefit would be to help students take pride in their school, in their athletic programs, and in their lives. Park High won the prize, and the renovation began.

Within a matter of weeks, the Lift Life crew and its partners, including Arsenal Strength of Knoxville, Tennessee, had designed a new weight room, torn down a wall, replaced lighting, and brought in and installed hundreds of thousands of pounds of strength training equipment. The walls and the weights were festooned with the school’s name and the image of its mascot, the Ranger, and a gold ribbon was stretched across the closed door to the gym.

When the “reveal” day came in October and Park High administrators, teachers, coaches, and students streamed into the new space, what they saw caused mouths to gape and tears to fall. This was a place that would make any Livingstonian proud.

The project sent a loud and clear message to the student body that their town believed in them. They had control over their health, their strength, and their future.

If giving young athletes a head start in life is as exciting for you as it is for us, you can donate to the Lift Life Foundation or nominate a school to be considered for a future renovation.



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5 Ways to Keep Your Energy Up When an Injury Keeps You From Exercise

If you’re committed to a regular workouts to keep both your mood and energy up, you may be in for a rude awakening when an injury slows you down. Aside from the frustration of not being able to do your workout, you may sink into a state of lethargy from not frequently moving your body. […]


If you’re committed to a regular workouts to keep both your mood and energy up, you may be in for a rude awakening when an injury slows you down.

Aside from the frustration of not being able to do your workout, you may sink into a state of lethargy from not frequently moving your body.

To keep that lethargy from becoming your new normal, it’s wise to engage in other activities that feed your mind, body and spirit the same way that your exercise routine does, but without aggravating your injury.

Here are five ways to keep your energy up when an injury has got you down.

1. Play Music

Put on a song, but not just any song. Choose something that speaks to you directly so it will impact your mood. Studies have shown that listening to music releases a mood-enhancing chemical in the brain, so you may experience something similar to a  runner’s high when you pop on your favorite Stevie Wonder tune. Add a little movement while you listen, and you just may find yourself dancing — another excellent way to keep your energy up.

2. Eat Clean

If you’re unable to work out regularly, sticking to a healthy eating plan will help you feel better. Eating junk will not only make you susceptible to weight gain, it will also trigger mood swings and energy crashes. While you don’t have to restrict yourself to the point of dissatisfaction every time you eat, you do want to make healthy choices most of the time so that your meals provide nourishment and energy.

3. Meditate

Although it doesn’t look like much from the outside, sitting still in meditation allows your mind and body to relax, which restores your well-being. By focusing on your breath and allowing your thoughts to calm, your nervous system resets in a way that is similar to taking a nap. And don’t worry if your thoughts never calm; the act of simply sitting will still boost your energy.

4. Take a Walk

While sneaking in a walk by parking far from your destination or taking the stairs instead of the elevator is always a good idea, you’ll experience even more benefits when you make walking a part of your routine. You may notice that by strolling outside you inspire more creativity in your life as it provides the space you need to clear your head. And now with temperatures dropping, the brisk air will serve as a major wake-up.

5. Exercise

Depending on where you’re injured, you may still be able to participate in a modified workout by focusing on the areas that aren’t hurt. This means if you’re suffering from a twisted ankle, try an activity that you can do seated or lying down (like Pilates) so there’s no pressure on your ankle. You could also do upper-body weight training (like this workout). The point is to keep your blood flowing and to move your body regularly because this ultimately will keep your energy up.

How do you keep your energy up when you can’t do your regular workout? —Elysha



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Core Exercises Missing From Your Training Routine

There are perhaps more exercises for the core than any other body part. But, sometimes more can be less. With so many movements to choose from, it’s easy to miss exercises, or even entire categories of core training, that could exponentially increase your strength and definition. Despite all the choices out there, the two most […]


There are perhaps more exercises for the core than any other body part. But, sometimes more can be less. With so many movements to choose from, it’s easy to miss exercises, or even entire categories of core training, that could exponentially increase your strength and definition.

Despite all the choices out there, the two most common components of core training these days seem to be the crunch and the plank. I’m not going to tell you that crunches and planks are useless or dangerous—both are great tools to have your arsenal—they’re just not enough on their own!

In my experience, it’s more helpful to think of core training in terms of attributes you’re trying to build, rather than muscles. In particular, I recommend you have each of the following elements in your core training:

  • Stability
  • Compression
  • Endurance

Here are my favorite movements in each of those categories, along with guidelines on how to program them. You can either include one from each category in your training at a time, or move through them in successive phases, but make sure you’ve got these essentials in the mix somewhere!

Abdominal Stability

Static holds can be trained frequently because they require little equipment and are relatively accessible. Adding a hollow hold and arch hold into your static hold work, like the forearm plank, will target the traverse abdominis (basically the weight belt of the core), as well as the spinal erectors (the small muscles the run along the spine).

Hollow Hold

  1. Start on your back with your legs extended out in front and your arms overhead.
  2. Lift your legs up toward the ceiling as you pull your belly button and lower back flat on the floor. Lower your legs only as far as you can while keeping your lower back pinned down to the ground.
  3. Round your upper back and look at your toes. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat eight times.

Forearm Plank

Forearm plank
  1. Prop yourself up on your forearms with your feet close together and your elbows directly underneath your shoulders.
  2. Press down firmly with your forearms as you squeeze your butt and inner thighs together.
  3. Pull your belly button up toward your spine, and try to drag your elbows back toward your hips. Hold for 45 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. Repeat for 5 rounds.

Arch Hold

Arch Hold
  1. Lie on your belly with your arms extended out in front and your legs straight behind you.
  2. Keep your legs together and your biceps by your ears. Lift your chest and your legs off the ground.
  3. Squeeze your inner thighs and butt together as you send your tailbone toward your heels. Hold this position for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat eight times.

Abdominal Compression

When we think about core compression, the first thing that may come to mind is doing a few high-rep sets of crunches. But, when we talk about core strength in terms of building strength and athleticism, we need to work the core through its full range of motion. That means working the smaller muscles of the core, lower abdominals, and pelvic floor, along with the larger muscles of the hip flexors and quads, to create compression of the torso to the thighs.

V-up

V-Up
  1. Lie on your back with your legs extended and arms overhead.
  2. Keep your belly hugging in toward your spine, then aggressively compress your thighs to your chest as you lift yourself onto your sit bones.
  3. Lie back down and repeat a total of 50 times in sets of 5 or 10 reps.

Pike Press with Sliders

Pike Press
  1. Begin at the top position of a push-up with your feet on sliders or a towel.
  2. Press firmly into the floor with your palms as you slide your feet, with your legs straight, as close to your palms as possible.
  3. Continue to pull your belly button toward your spine as you try to compress your thighs to your chest. Then, slide your feet back out to the top of a push-up. Repeat 20-25 times, or build up to that amount over time. These are tough!

Hanging Knee or Leg Raises

  1. Hang on a pull-up bar with your legs together and your core tight.
  2. Pull your shoulder blades down to engage your shoulders.
  3. Pull down on the bar as you lift your knees to your elbows, or your toes to the bar. Focus on compressing your thighs to your chest as you pull in your belly button. Aim for 5 sets of 5-7 reps.

Abdominal Endurance

Unlike static holds, increasing core endurance means teaching our core muscles to stabilize the spine during functional movements over a long period of time. This helps improve not only short lifting sets, but it also helps with form and positioning during longer, heavier workouts and all kinds of athletics.

If you don’t have a sandbag, movements like farmer’s carries, racked dumbbell or kettlebell carries, or medicine ball bear-hug walks or runs on a treadmill are great to train this skill, too.

Weighted Sandbag Run

  1. Grab a reasonably sized sandbag. You are running for a total of 1000 meters, so it’s best to stay on the lighter side.
  2. Place the sandbag either over both shoulders, over just one, or in a bear-hug position. All are difficult, so feel free to alternate. Run 5 sets of 200 meters, and be prepared to be sore the next day!



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The 5 Best Machines To Maximize Arm Growth

The gyms with the greatest variety of equipment are always on everyone’s “best gyms” list. What separates them from the rest of the pack? It’s the availability of different options so lifters like you can challenge your muscles and achieve better gains. Arms are traditionally thought of as a free-weight body part, but it’s time […]


The gyms with the greatest variety of equipment are always on everyone’s “best gyms” list. What separates them from the rest of the pack? It’s the availability of different options so lifters like you can challenge your muscles and achieve better gains.

Arms are traditionally thought of as a free-weight body part, but it’s time to think beyond the barbell and dumbbell. Certain machine moves offer new stimuli for your arms and can stoke new gains, too.

1. Preacher Curl Machine

The preacher curl machine helps you isolate the biceps in two ways. First, it restricts you to a set path of travel, forcing your biceps to do the work. Second, your upper arms are braced against the pad, so cheating isn’t an option. This will help you achieve bigger and stronger biceps.

Pro Tip: Sit at the machine at an angle and use only one arm at a time. This turns the movement into a concentration curl. Perform 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps per arm. Rest 45 seconds between sets.

2. Triceps Dip Machine

The traditional bodyweight dip is a compound movement targeting the shoulders, chest, and triceps, but using the dip machine helps isolate the triceps as much as possible.

This is a good exercise for going heavy and focusing on power. You don’t need to think about finesse here. Strap into the seat, load up your weight, and go.

Pro Tip: Don’t use this one as a finisher. Put it early in the workout so you can go heavy. Do 3 sets of 8 reps with a rest-pause to take each set to failure. Ninety seconds of rest between sets will get you charged up for the next set.

3. Seated Row Machine

Some of you are thinking “Um, that’s a back machine, bro.” You’re right, but the seated row can be very effective for training biceps, too. Use a straight handle with an underhand grip and lie back on the bench you would normally sit on. This converts the seated row into a lying cable curl, which is an amazing movement for isolating the biceps by eliminating momentum.

Seated Row Machine

Pro Tip: Perform 3 sets of 10 reps and do 4-second negatives to increase the time under tension. This means each set will last nearly a minute. Rest 60 seconds between sets.

4. Triceps Extension Machine

The triceps extension machine is for the triceps what the preacher curl machine is for the biceps. The upper arm is braced against a pad and, in most cases, the handles are vertical so you can emphasize the triceps. As with the preacher curl machine, isolate each arm at a time if you like. This machine can be a tremendous finisher, torching the triceps at the end of your arm workout.

Pro Tip: While it is possible to go heavy on this machine, low reps may not serve you as you’d like. Shoot for 3 sets of 12 reps with 60 seconds between sets. You can do this with both arms together or each arm individually.

5. Smith Machine

The Smith machine is an all-in-one machine, but I’m including it here because it probably never occurred to you to use it for arms. For biceps, the Smith is perfect for drag curls, an old-school and largely forgotten biceps builder. For triceps, the Smith works for close-grip bench presses and lying triceps extensions.

Smith Machine

All of these Smith machine variations are very effective for building the front and back of the arms. You could even set the stoppers to restrict your range of motion if you want to change it up.

Pro Tip: Take advantage of the all-in-one Smith setup and do a superset. Perform 10 reps of the drag curl and immediately get on the bench so you can do the same number of lying extensions. Four supersets here will fill the entire upper arm with blood. Rest 60 seconds between supersets.



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