Unique Fitness Blog ::

10 Body Weight Exercises to Improve Your Workout ::

Posted in ab workout, abdominal exercises, back excercises, back routine, Bodyweight exercises, core muscles, core strengthening, core training, exercise and health, exercise benefits, fitness routine, fitness routines, fitness tips, Fitness Trends, hamstings, hamstring exercise, pull-ups, push-ups, quads, working out, workout, workout guide, workout tips | Posted on 26 March 2015

More and more people have been recognizing the benefits of body weight exercise. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine ranked it as the number one fitness trend for 2015. Although it topped the list of trends, it’s certainly not new and it will continue to have a place in the fitness world. Not only is it an effective form of training, it’s easy to do anywhere.

Here is a guide to 10 of the best body weight exercises that will work the entire body at once or focus specifically on your core and upper or lower body.

Squat – This exercise is perfect for working muscles in the lower body including glutes, quads, and hamstrings. It even works the core. Pull your shoulders back and engage your abs while you lower your body as if you were sitting in a chair. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, raise yourself back to the starting position.

Lunge – This is another triple threat move for working the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. With your upper body straight and your shoulders back, step forward with one leg. Lower your hips until both knees form a 90-degree angle, without allowing the back knee to touch the floor. Push back to the starting position while keeping the weight in your heels.

Push-up – This will work your upper body and abs and strengthen your chest and back. Tuck your elbows to your sides and align your wrists with your shoulders for the best form. Lower your hips and chest as much as possible without touching the floor.

Pull-up – This is one of the best upper body exercises that will work your shoulders, back, and arms, while strengthening your core. There are a variety of ways to do it, but one of the most popular is to keep your palms facing away from you on the bar as you raise yourself up so that your chin is higher than the bar. You’ll know you’re ready for more reps when you are able to lower yourself with control. If you’re unable to do this exercise now, almost anyone can get it with practice, so don’t give up.

Burpee – This is an excellent total body exercise that will keep you conditioned. It combines squats and push-ups from earlier on in the list. Start in a standing position and move into a squat with your hands on the floor in front of you. You then transition into a push-up as you kick your feet back and lower your body. Tuck your feet back under you and then jump up to start all over again. They may sound a bit complicated but they are definitely worth it.

Bicycle – This can be a more effective way of focusing on the core than the standard crunch. While lying on the floor with your hands behind your head, bring your knees towards your chest. Move your left elbow to your right knee as you straighten the other leg. Continue to alternate sides in a pedaling motion.

Mountain Climber – This is another move to work out your entire body at one time. Start by getting down on your hands and knees. Bring one leg forward under your chest as you straighten the other leg. Jump to switch leg positions while tightening your core and keeping your hands to the ground.

Plank – This move will also give you a full body workout. Lie face down on the floor, supported by your forearms and clasped hands. Your legs should be extended behind you as you rise up on your toes. Engage your core and tighten your back to hold your position for about 30 – 60 seconds. If you’re more advanced, you can extend your arms straight out beneath you instead of resting on your forearms.

Bridge – This will work the hamstrings and glutes, while strengthening the inner thighs, abs, and back. Lie on your back with your arms at your side and knees bent while hip-width apart. Keeping your head, shoulders, arms, and feet to the floor, raise your hips and then slowly lower them down.

Side Lunge – It’s a lower body move that’s friendlier on the knees and challenges your body in more than just a forward and backward motion. While standing with your feet together, take a step to the side and lunge toward the floor while keeping the other leg straight. Push back up to return to your starting position.

While all these moves can be done with little or no equipment, exercise mats can provide added comfort, especially with the ones that you have you working on the floor. All you need is your own body weight but weighted fitness balls, kettlebells or dumbbells can be added to most of these moves to take them to the next level and continue to challenge you. Plus, there are numerous variations to keep your routine fresh!

Debunking 4 Muscle Myths ::

Posted in muscle building, myths, strength gains, strength training, weight lifting, weight training | Posted on 26 February 2015

If you’re looking to build muscle, gain strength or simply get the most out of your workout, you don’t want popular misconceptions holding you back. So, we’re tackling four muscle myths to give you the information needed to make the appropriate adjustments to your routine to help you achieve greater success.


Myth #1 – Stretching before you exercise will prevent injuries.


Reality - Stretching has its benefits, but many people often confuse warming up with stretching. The key to preventing injuries is with a warm up period. It gives your muscles the chance to prepare for your workout by gradually increasing the bloodflow. It’s a valuable step that you won’t want to skip. Instead of starting out with stretches, save them for after you’re already warmed up.


Myth #2 – Sore muscles mean you should forget your workout that day.


Reality – Sore muscles can be a good indicator that you need a break but it doesn’t always signal that. It depends on the type of pain. If it’s impacting your full range of motion or it feels sore to the touch, then a recovery day is best. Otherwise, light activity at the gym can be tolerated, and even help alleviate some of the soreness by stimulating the bloodflow through the muscles and encouraging the healing process.


Myth #3 Free weights are all you need.


Reality – Machines are just as valuable. They can isolate muscles when recovering from an injury. They also help beginners build up the strength needed to perform exercises with free weights. They even provide novice lifters with similar results that machines yield. It’s not until a lifter becomes more advanced that free weights should receive more attention. While free weights are better for gaining muscle mass, machines still have their place, especially with those who are just starting to lift.


Myth #4 – Slow lifting produces better results.


Reality – Slow lifting will only prolong your workouts. The speed of the up phase does not need to be as slow as some believe. Lifting the weights can be done fairly rapid, while it’s more important to go slow with the down phase. In addition, lifting with focus and control is what really matters in gaining strength and preventing injuries.


Benefits of Agility Training ::

Posted in agility training, athletes, athletic performance, fitness challenge, fitness drills, injury prevention, SARQ | Posted on 19 February 2015

Not that long ago, top athletes were the only people who were concerned with agility training. It’s been an effective way of improving athletic performance. However, it also provides numerous benefits for non-athletes. Personal trainers and group fitness classes have started to incorporate this style of training in order to create different experiences for their clients.

But what exactly is agility? It involves possessing sufficient strength, power, balance, and control to move and change direction or body position. A tennis player, for example, displays agility every time they have to stop quickly, turn or get a burst of speed to run across the court. Agility is a requirement for any sport, but it’s also necessary for daily living.

One of the benefits is that it improves coordination and body awareness. This can come in handy for maintaining balance or walking on uneven surfaces. Everyday tasks, such as handling children or working in the yard, become easier with increased agility. Other benefits include aiding in injury prevention, increasing blood flow throughout the body, and developing the mind-body connection to increase focus.

Adding agility exercises to your fitness plan is an excellent way to enjoy the benefits and spice up a routine that may be growing old. Cone drills, hurdle drills, or the use of an agility ladder are several options for your training.

So, the next time you hear someone talking about these activities, you don’t have to think they’re just for athletes. They’re great for almost anyone, so why not give them a try? Our speed, agility, and conditioning section has everything you need to get started!


Small Changes That Make a Big Difference in Your Exercise Routine ::

Posted in bodybuilding, exercise, fitness, fitness routine, healthy living, strength training, weight training, weightlifting, working out, workout | Posted on 21 January 2015

Tired of not seeing the desired results from your current workout routine? Making some small tweaks to certain exercises will make all the difference!

1. Squats

Squats are very simple in practice but are often done so with many errors; the most common is simply not going low enough! You must squat all the way down to the ground to achieve maximum results. Squats are great as they not only work multiple muscle groups at once, but boost your heart rate and improve balance. Squating as low as possible requires greater glute activation and gives you that round curved backside. Additionally, squats are a very intensive exercise; therefore, it is crucial they are performed with good form. That means standing shoulder-width apart from heel to heel, toes out 30 degrees, and squating pushing your knees out and hips back. Practice makes perfect!


2. Abdominal Crunches

Being the most common core exercise, crunches are most often performed incorrectly. Traditionally this exercise was composed of simply moving the stomach from the ground to one’s knees repeatedly. First off, you should only go up to about a 45 degree angle, any further than that and you are resting your core. To get the most out of this exercise, you want your abs constantly working. You need to engage your core by squeezing your abs and staying focused. You should never put your hands on the back of your head as it strains your neck. Instead, but your hands out to the sides or across your chest. That being said, do not swing yourself up during this exercise. It is important to make your abs do all the work. Remember it is quality not the speed in which you complete this.


3. Push-Ups

Lastly, the basic push-up. Just like the squats, it is important not to cut this exercise short. Your chest should be just inches from touching the ground to gain maximum muscular strength. Also arm placement is very important yet commonly overlooked. Your arms should be directly under your shoulder blades, not placed out by your head. Push-ups, like sit-ups, should be performed slowly and consciously. Lower down for three counts, pause at the bottom for one count, and slowly press up for two counts. Going fast will just put excess stress on your shoulder and elbow joints from bouncing up and down. Also consider breathing out as you go down and inhaling as you push up.





Why You Should be Doing Yoga ::

Posted in exercise, fitness, fitness routine, healthy living, strength training, working out, workout | Posted on 15 January 2015

Many often overlook Yoga when trying to put together a fitness program. Practicing Yoga has many benefits and can be done almost anywhere! The only equipment it requires is a yoga mat.

Some benefits from Yoga include:

  • Increased flexibility.
  • Increased muscle strength and tone.
  • Improved respiration, energy and vitality.
  • The maintenance of a balanced metabolism.
  • Weight reduction.
  • Cardio and circulatory health.
  • Improved athletic performance.
  • Protection from injury.

Try attending a local yoga class or follow a video online from home! Yoga can be done in a variety ways–some practice relaxing poses while others make it more challenging by doing “hot yoga”. Whichever works for you, practicing Yoga is a great way to relieve stress and switch up your everyday fitness routine! 

Try these other products to enhance your yoga session:

Top Fitness Trends for 2015 ::

Posted in activity tracker, Bodyweight exercises, fitness routines, fitness tips, Fitness Trends, high-intensity interval training, HIIT | Posted on 8 January 2015

Are you wondering what will be the next big thing in the fitness world? Take a look at the top trends for 2015.

Bodyweight Training

This year, HIIT has been knocked off the top spot by bodyweight training. While bodyweight training is certainly not new, more people are seeing the benefits of adding it to their routines. This style of training is considered to be all the basics that use your own body weight. Push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, squats, and burpees are some examples. The best thing about this training is that it’s not a crazy fad that will be gone tomorrow. They’re tried and true exercises that are worth mastering.


Even though bodyweight training surpassed HIIT in popularity, High Intensity Interval Training isn’t far behind on the list. People have noticed that it’s an effective way to train and they’re sticking with it. Alternating short bursts of intense activity with rest remains popular because of its ability to provide results in shorter sessions. Twenty or thirty minutes are all you need in the gym. Plus, it eliminates boredom because it can be done with a variety of equipment, from cardio machines to kettle bells and everything in between. You can even do it with bodyweight exercises.


As more intense workouts have gained popularity, people are recognizing a greater need for recovery. If we’re going to push ourselves to the limits, we have to make sure we take care of our bodies. Self Myofascial Release (SMR) methods with massage balls and foam rollers are widely used to alleviate sore muscles. Classes like Restorative Yoga are designed to be relaxing, while still providing a workout.


Electronic devices like activity trackers are on the rise. There are numerous wristbands and apps to help track your progress. Not only does it give you a wealth of personalized information at your fingertips, it offers motivation and encouragement. Struggling to stay motivated throughout the year is why most people give up on their New Year’s resolutions, so these tools can be very helpful for those who are aiming to stay committed.

If you’re looking for a few ways to stay fit this year, why not give these a try and see why they’re so popular?


Set SMART Goals for 2015 ::

Posted in exerc ise, exercise and health, fitness, fitness goals, fitness tips, new year's, New Year's Resolution | Posted on 31 December 2014


Have you ever made a fitness resolution for the New Year and then fell short within a few weeks or months? It’s a common problem that many people have seen. The best way to make your resolutions last throughout the entire year is to set SMART goals, which stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.


If your resolution is simply to work out more, that is not enough. It needs to be more clear and easier to understand. Instead, decide how much you want to work out each week, and make that your goal. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to stick to it.


You know your goal is measurable if you can tell whether or not you will be able to achieve it. Making it measurable will help you track your progress and give you a greater chance of success.


The reason that most people fall short with their resolutions is because they are unattainable. Don’t set yourself up for a goal that is unhealthy or unreasonable. When you decide, for example, how much you are going to work out, make sure that it is something you can do. Instead of vowing to work out every day when your schedule won’t allow it, try for three or four days a week.


Make sure your resolution is something that matters to you. If you set out to achieve something because others around you want you to, it will be hard to follow through. You’ll be more dedicated and put in all the hard work if it’s important to you.


Finally, your goal needs to have a specific time frame for completion. Not setting a time frame makes it too easy to put off until tomorrow. When you know that your goal needs to be met by a certain date, it will give you the motivation you need to keep moving.

So, be SMART with your resolutions and get ready for success! We wish you a very happy and healthy 2015!

5 Exercises for Beginners ::

Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18 December 2014

With an approaching new year, many people are thinking of getting a gym membership or starting a fitness routine at home. If you find yourself in that group, you may be wondering where to begin. Some exercises programs are targeted at those with more experience. But there are still plenty of options. Here are five types of exercises that are great for anyone who is ready to make a commitment.

1. Walking– One of the best exercises that you can start out with, no matter what kind of shape you’re in, is walking or jogging. Hitting the pavement may take a little getting used to but it’s essentially worry-free because of the low impact, which greatly reduces the risk of injuries. This is provided you take it slowly. Eventually, you can work your way up to running to get in even better shape.

2. Strength Training – Despite what you may think, beginners shouldn’t shy away from lifting weights. Aside from those with special concerns, it’s recommended for anyone, regardless of age or fitness level. The most important requirement is having the willingness to learn.

3. Swimming – For an excellent total body workout, getting in the water is a great option. Even if it’s the winter, you can still consider it since many gyms offer an indoor pool as part of the membership. It’s worth looking into if you’re thinking about joining a gym because swimming is another low-impact exercise that minimizes the risk of injuries.

4. Martial Arts – If you need a little more structure to follow through on a routine, martial arts might be the answer. Having a teacher who will instruct you on doing it the right way is one of the benefits. Your instructor will guide you and help you progress at your own pace.

5. Boot Camp – Since many of these are designed for beginners, boot camps are a great way to transition into regular workouts. They’re tough and will definitely leave you feeling exhausted, but you’ll learn what you’re capable of and how to push your limits. If you can power through a boot camp, then you may have greater success at sticking to a regular routine once you’ve finished it. It will get you through that difficult beginning stage when you need someone pushing you to keep at it for those moments you may want to quit.

Now that you have some ideas on where to start, there are a few things you’ll want to stay away from until you’re able to progress. Programs, such as CrossFit, HIIT, or P90X are better for those who aren’t new to regular exercise. You can still keep them as a goal to do, but it’s best to build up your strength and endurance before jumping right in to them.

Whatever way you choose to get started, the most important thing is that you’ve made that choice and are ready to commit!




Holiday Gift Guide ::

Posted in holidays | Posted on 11 December 2014

Looking for the right gift to give this holiday season? There is still time and we have something for every budget. Here are a few ideas to help make this busy time a little easier.
If you’re in need of a few stocking stuffers, jump ropes or athletic socks are great for the active people on your list. Since proper hydration is essential for everyone, water bottles are another option. All these items come in an array of colors to make it more fun and match any personality.
When looking for something to wrap up, yoga mats, balance balls, or hand weights can be appreciated by any fitness enthusiast. DVDs also make a nice gift because it helps make exercise easier from the home. Massage tools make another great gift. Everyone has sore muscles at times and could appreciate something that would provide relief from that. All these items work well with anyone’s budget.
If you’re looking for something a little more special, or want to stay up on the latest gadgets, activity trackers or fitness watches are something you’d want to consider.
For a higher end gift, weight sets or cardio machines like rowers, treadmills, or exercise bikes are excellent options. They can make a perfect gift for the whole family. And they’re more than just gifts, they’re an investment in health.
Staying healthy is always the goal and we wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season!

Healthy Breakfast Smoothies ::

Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 4 December 2014

Drinking these healthy smoothies in the morning will not only contribute to weight loss but are super delicious!

Metabolism Boosting Smoothie
1. Greek Yogurt
2. Almonds
3. Broccoli
4. Strawberries
5. Cinnamon

Sweet Spinach Smoothie
1. Spinach
2. Pear
3. Green or Red Grapes
4. Greek Yogurt
5. Avocado
6. Lime Juice

Mango Smoothie
1. Mango
2. Avocado (provides healthy fats)
3. Skim Milk
4. Honey

Raspberry- Beet Smoothie
1. Greek Yogurt
2. Raspberries
3. Cooked Beet Roots
4. Cranberry juice

Tomato Smoothie
1. Low-fat Plain Yogurt
2. Large Ripe Tomatoes
3. Dried Basil
4. Salt Cherry Tomatoes
1. Whole Flaxseeds
2. Orange Juice
3. Nonfat Vanilla Yogurt
4. Blueberries
5. Banana

Berry-Flaxseed Smoothie

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