Are you reaching your goals? Here are 4 ways to do it.

I was talking with someone recently about tracking activity and calories.  After explaining what would need to happen to get the desired results, this was the response:

“I’m not going to do that. I’m fine and that’s just not going to happen”.

OK.  That’s your choice, but you’re going to have to accept the reality that it will take longer to reach your goals.  My old boss used to say, “you get what you measure”.  If you don’t have a way to measure your progress, you’ll never know when or how long it will take to get where you’re going.  You’re just guessing.

On the summit of Long's Peak
I had this picture in my mind every day while training for the climb

Information gives you a realistic picture of how much weight you can expect to lose and how long it will take to accomplish the goal.  Here are four ways you can stay on track toward your goals.

1. Be clear. Before you begin tracking the progress toward your goal, you’ve got to have a good goal.  Your goal must be crystal clear. You should be able to create a picture of what your goal looks like. A goal like “lose weight” is junk. It’s meaningless.  Think differently. How will your life be different when you’ve lost 10, 20, or whatever number of pounds you want to lose? What will you do with your life that you aren’t able to do today? If you really want it, find a picture of your goal and post it on your bathroom mirror. Each day when you brush your teeth you’ll see your goal.

2. Know how much you need to eat and keep track of what you eat. Everything, no exceptions. Yes, it’s boring and a pain in the butt. But you’ll have a much better idea of what you eat, when you eat, and why you eat.  These are important things to know. Without this info, everything else is just a guess. You’ll probably be surprised at the number of calories you’re taking in, as long as you’re being truthful with yourself. You’ll also find that you eat certain foods in certain situations. If you’re a data geek like me, you can use a device like a BodyMedia FIT to take control and achieve your weight loss goals by knowing how much you burn.  If you’re a member of LifeStyles Fitness Center, you have access to a great tool called DotFIT that can help you with this part of the process.

3. Get a heart rate monitor. This little device will tell you if you’re really working or if you’re just kidding yourself.  I use mine religiously.  There are times when I might think I’m working hard and I’ll check my monitor, only to realize that I’ve got a long ways to go.  Here’s an article I wrote about how to select a heart rate monitor.

4. Have someone you’re accountable to.  That’s where a good trainer can help you.  We’ll ask questions, observe, develop plans, and push you to try things you might not do on your own.  Ultimately, our goal is to help you reach your goal.

Put these four things in place and you’ll be on your way to reaching your own goals.

Product Review: Kamagon Ball

I have a new fitness toy to share with you today from the folks at Kamagon Fitness.

The Kamagon Ball looks like an oversized medicine ball, or an undersized stability ball, with ears.  What’s really different about the Kamagon Ball is that you fill it with water.

The ball has a port on one side that you pour water in to create either 15, 30, or 45 pounds of fluid resistance.  Adding water to the ball introduces a concept they refer to as Hydro Inertia.  Basically that means that the water inside the ball is constantly in motion and you’re body has to work a bit harder to stabilize that unstable source of resistance. 

That added resistance has been shown through research to recruit more muscle fibers than similar static weighted exercises.  Further, the added stabilization required to overcome the water resistance helps protect against injury by forcing you to concentrate more on form and strengthen connective tissue. 

You can use the Kamagon Ball just like you would use a medicine ball or a kettlebell and the variety of exercises is limited only by your imagination.  I’ve been incorporating the Kamagon Ball into different workouts with clients and it’s been a popular addition.  I’ve been using it quite a bit in my own workouts and I’ve come to prefer it over kettlebells and medicine balls. 

When you receive your Kamagon Ball, it includes a brief instruction manual and DVD showing various exercises.  If I have one criticism, I’d say that these two can use some work.  They’re a decent starting point and your challenge from there is to think outside the box and find creative ways to use the Kamagon Ball.

In addition to individual use, the folks at Kamagon Ball have created a series of group fitness programs called Kamagon Kore and Kamagon Sculpt to extend it’s use to group fitness settings. 

Watch the video review below to see a few examples and then watch for a series of videos in the near future highlighting different combinations with the Kamagon Ball.

Using Furniture Sliders for a Workout

I was watching TV the other day and I saw a commercial for furniture sliders and it got me thinking about using them for exercise. So, I picked up a set and was pretty surprised at the variety of exercises you can do with them.

I showed them to one of the trainers at LifeStyles and she came up with several more right on the spot. I think we’re on to something here. Maybe I’ll have to do a whole series of workouts called “How to exercise with goofy things around your house”.

Try these 12 exercises as a quick circuit and you’ll find yourself working up a sweat pretty fast. I’ve also included a short video of the exercises below. Pick up a set of sliders, try it out, and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

1. Slide outs
2. Alternating slides
3. Pike
4. Mountain climbers
5. Oblique mountain climbers
6. Jacknife
7. Atomic push up
8. Army crawl
9. Hamstring curls
10. Single leg hamstring curls
11. Reverse lunges
12. Lateral lunges

As seen on TV, the most ridiculous leg machine ever!

I just saw this thing on TV called “3 Minute Legs“.

Of all the crazy “as seen on TV” contraptions, this one takes the grand prize. For only four easy payments of $33 each, you can have your very own “3 Minute Legs”. For your hard earned cash, you’ll receive a spring loaded seat that you can straddle and push to the floor while doing bodyweight squats or lunges.

Seriously?

Squats and lunges are fantastic exercises and should be a part of almost any program. Why you would need this thing to do them is beyond me. Have we really been dumbed down so much that we need this thing when we could just do squats and lunges without it? Not sure about the right form? Watch this video to see the right way to do bodyweight squats and save yourself $122.

Their website claims that this thing “even works your core so it flattens your abs as it’s firming your legs.” Other than your core having to hold your body in an upright position, which it does when you’re just walking down the street, I can’t figure out how this thing “works your core”. Can someone please explain this one for me?

But, it’s all OK because, according to their website, “3 MINUTE LEGS is so remarkable, it was awarded the prestigious Seal of Approval by the National Health and Wellness Club”. Ever hear of this club? I didn’t think so. Neither have I. Go ahead, check them out on Google. You’ll be taken to a site that has some regurgitated content from other sources and “reviews” of products, several of them coincidentally are from the same company producing this product.

While we’re on the topic, three minutes isn’t going to do anything for you with any workout. The only thing you’ll lose on this thing in three minutes is $122.

P.S. By the way, Thane USA, your website has a context error. When referring to the supposed science behind this device you say “it uses a principal called unloading”. In this context, it’s a “principle”.

Core 500 with the TRX Suspension Trainer

Try the TRX Core 500
Try the TRX Core 500
The core. That’s where it all begins. All movement begins at the core. If you’re looking to improve your daily function, your endurance, your strength, your athletic performance, train the core and you’ll make incredible gains.

There are misconceptions about the core, so let’s take a minute to straighten that out first. Many people hear “core” and immediately think of their abs. While the abs are part of the core, there’s more. The core is defined as the lumbo-pelvic hip complex and the muscles that attach to it. It’s the rectus and transversus abdominis, obliques, hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, and latissimus dorsi. It’s basically the torso with exception of the extremities. Get a strong core and you’ll be able to do more.

There are many ways to train the core, but few are as efficient, as fun, as unique, and as portable as the TRX Suspension Trainer. Fitness Anywhere is always issuing new challenges to their followers, so I thought I’d put together my own challenge. I’m calling it the Core 500.

The workout is simple in terms of the number of exercises and the complexity of those exercises. There are just five exercises in this complex designed to challenge your anterior and posterior chain and engage your core throughout the workout. You’ll do all of the reps for each exercise before moving on to the next exercise. Your goal is to do the prescribed number of reps in as few sets as possible.

Here goes:

  • 100 Atomic Push Ups
  • 100 Low Rows (deep angle with feet under the anchor point)
  • 100 TRX Chest Presses (feet under the anchor point)
  • 100 TRX Power Pulls (50 per side)
  • 100 TRX Rollouts

Here’s a video demonstrating the exercises in this TRX workout.

Time yourself and leave a comment below to let me know how much time it takes you to complete the workout. If you don’t have a TRX of your own yet, get one here.