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“I always think about the cupcakes I’m going to eat at this moment”

April 14th, 2014 No Comments

It’s true…and I actually say that in the video…

My latest video for the SELF magazine #Burn100 series: a total body workout circuit without equipment.

It’s funny, the other day I was telling my friend that during my recent travels I have yet to do one of these workouts. Even though I plead with you to stay focused while you’re away from your routine. She then reminded me I also encourage you to rest your body when your muscles are tired. After 10 SoulCycle classes this week, tired is a bit of an understatement.

This circuit is probably the hardiest to complete but the easiest to execute because you know most of the moves. You just refuse to do them. (Burpees, ehem.)  The challenge is to maintain your form when you get winded, as you will see I am for most of the video.

See my other favorite SELF workouts here.  All are great to do alone or incorporate into your normal workout routine.

P.S. I’m back on the blog this week.  Apologies for being MIA.

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Stop crunching! Try this 1 minute KILLER Ab Workout.

October 21st, 2013 No Comments

Besides Manhattan Beach being a great escape from Los Angeles, it’s also home to one of my favorite trainers: Meredith Miller.  She owns Level 10 Fitness, an awesome little gym on Highland where she holds one hour circuit training classes for professional athletes and her die-hard clients.  These people are some of the strongest, most capable people I’ve ever met.

What I love about her workouts is that she uses exercises I would never dream of or do on my own.  The ab circuit you see here I’ve used several times at the gym because I get so bored doing crunches.  Plus, it’s a great upper body workout as well.  You’ll see right away she’s going to use a TRX, so, she’ll review set up before we get started with the torture, I mean, routine.

Please excuse the production value.  We were at the gym before anyone else so I had to make do with a bench as my DP :)

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Change is a good thing!

April 22nd, 2013 1 Comment

Mary Rambin workout weights

Last week I wrote about my workout routines.  Routines are comforting because we know what lies ahead and we can anticipate any discomfort.  For our minds and bodies, that’s not necessarily a good thing when it comes to our workout.  You need to challenge yourself to make them stronger.  Keep your body on its toes!

This week, I encourage you to take your workouts to the next level simply by changing one little thing.  Add on weight, resistance, an incline, just something so you FEEL a difference in your muscles when you do a movement.

For example, here’s what I do to turn up the intensity:

  • Add 2 pounds when using light weights (so go from 3 to 5 lbs)
  • Add 5 pounds when using heavy weights
  • Start my treadmill workout at a 3.o incline instead of 0
  • Jog and run 0.5 faster
  • Add 2 pushups in my chaturangas
  • Put an extra turn/gear on my resistance while spinning
  • Do 30 crunches instead of 20

You get the idea.

Just make sure you aren’t compromising your form to carry the extra intensity.  If that’s the case, back off.  Form is truly the key to being successful, no mater what your goal.  You can also decrease your reps by 2-5.  Just see how you feel.

 

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The ultimate push up – you can do it!

May 29th, 2012 No Comments

Now that you’ve given your body a nice long rest over the holiday, you can actually work HARDER when you get back to the gym. Cardio will be challenging, but lifting should feel remarkably easier.

Sometime this week, take on the double boss push up. If I can do it, you can too! The only thing you need is core strength. If you’re not sure if your abs are strong, this is a great test. If you know you’re not at this level yet, try the pushup with just one bosu under your feet and then add the ones under your hands later.

This is a tough one, which means the satisfaction of doing it will be worth the effort!

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This week’s challenge: Add instability to your lifting exercises

April 30th, 2012 No Comments

There are several benefits to adding an element of instability to your workout.  You are:

  1. Forced to keep your core engaged, which you should be doing while lifting anyway.
  2. Strengthening your abs.
  3. Working on your balance.
  4. Improving your posture.

By implementing a ball, bosu, or disk, you are throwing off your center of gravity and therefore working on both stability and strength.  Women tend to have better balance, but men can be stronger in their core, as you’ll see below.

 

I find using disks more challenging than standing on a bosu ball.  Start off with two discs, placing your feet in the center.  When you find that becomes easy after several workouts, try balancing on one.  You will be able to lift more weight on two discs.  Your whole body will work harder with lighter weight and one disc.  Decide what your goal is and then implement the discs and weight.

Using a full ball is REALLY hard, in my opinion.  I can barely balance here!  You really have to squeeze with your knees and inner thigh, tighten your core, and pull your shoulders back.  Try it without weights first and see if you can hold it for 1 minute.  Marco saw me doing this and decided he needed to show me up.  Using the handles, he found his positioning on the ball and was able to stay up for a while.  Very impressive!

Instead of using a bench, you can also substitute a ball.  Place the ball under your shoulders, squeeze your glutes, and press through your heels to create a table top.  As you press, you’ll find your core engages more to keep you on top of the ball.

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A new favorite ab exercise just in time for bikini season

April 16th, 2012 No Comments


After incorporating this exercise twice a week, my obliques are stronger and firmer than they have every been!

I’ve seen tons of people doing this in the gym, but I’ve always been hesitant to try it.  Any twisting movement demands proper form, and I’ve never had this cross-body ab exercise explained to me, so I’ve left it alone.  Until 2 weeks ago when my Atlanta trainer, Jeff Toney, owner of Eclipse 1 on 1 gym and Stellar Bodies, included it in our workout. (Poor Jeff isn’t used to his new blogger client shooting videos, lol. Well, right back at ya man.  You killed me on the Stellar Bodies reformer yesterday. I can barely walk!)

With moderate to heavy weight on the stack, your obliques have no choice but to fire up and stay engaged for the duration of the exercise, about 20 reps.  Do at least 2 sets in your workout.

For for more of my favorite ab exercises, click here.  Also try boxing which I do twice a month for cardio, arm toning, and core strength.

BTW, you can also see I’m wearing my heart rate monitor (orange watch) in this video.  I burned 510 calories during my lifting workout.  To get the extra 70 to reach my daily goal, I hopped on the treadmill after lifting.  The watch is really helping to keep me on track!

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The crunch that kept my tummy tight on vacation

February 27th, 2012 No Comments

First of all, I’d be lying if I said the only thing that kept me lean on the beach was this crunch.  But it was a factor, and I did it every other day.  As for my other little secret, I’ll disclose that one in due time :)

This crunch is one of Cederick (my trainer’s) favorites and has become one of mine too. The movement works your lower and upper abs as well as your lats and triceps.

The best case scenario for this exercise is that you have a weighted medicine ball with sand available to you.  If you don’t, opt for a dumbbell that you can squeeze your legs between the weights and rest on top of your legs.  A plate works too.  You need something you can balance easily. I can’t do this with a regular medicine ball.

Honestly, you really don’t need a weight at all if you’re a beginner or your core is weak.  I use a 10 lb sand ball, a 8 lb weight, or a 5 lb plate.

Weighted Table Top Crunch

The Set Up:

  • Laying on the ground, bring your legs up to a 90 degree table top.
  • Flex your feet.
  • Place the weight as close to your feet as possible.
  • Inhale deeply, and pull your core in flattening your back as you exhale.  Don’t let it go.
  • Squeeze your knees together.

Beginners:

  • Place your hands behind your head and crunch up and down.
  • Keep your elbows wide and shoulder blades pulled together.
  • 20-30 reps.

Advanced:

  • Straighten your hands behind your head and come up to grab the ball.
  • Rounding your back, Lower down one vertebrae at a time with the ball straight over your head.
  • Crunch up and place weight back on your feet.
  • 10-20 reps.  Then leave the weight on your legs and do ten more leaving the ball in place.

**Using a dumbbell or plate, do the beginner movement.

Make sure to keep your naval pulled in, your lower back flat, and don’t forget to breath :)

 

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This trainer speaks the truth

January 30th, 2012 No Comments

It’s funny, abs weren’t an ingredient in the new lemon cookie recipe from Bon Appetit I made this weekend….haha.

Another angles and reps exercise coming later today!

(via Kathy who trains at my gym)

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