On our quest to find the most unique classes around, we discovered the class for type As: Yoga Bootcamp. This variety includes a mix of flowing poses and muscle-building strength moves performed at a heart-pumping pace. In our class, a top 40 playlist kept the pace moving at a fast clip…until the final five minutes. Then, the instructor (and triathlete) Lindsey Opp of PowHer Fitness, says, “The most difficult part of the class begins.” In other words, the time you lie still in corpse pose and clear your brain to focus on your breath might be even more of a challenge than the super-sculpting moves. Yup, there is a yoga class for us all…even those who have slowing down.
Try this style yourself at home with two moves from the bootcamp:
- Start in plank position, with abs tight, body in a straight diagonal line from shoulders to heels and hands under shoulders.
- Slowly lower down in a triceps push-up, keeping elbows near ribcage. As you lower, bring right knee out to the side and forward to meet right elbow (see picture).
- Push back up to starting position and place right leg back behind to meet left.
- Switch sides and repeat. Try to complete 5 reps per side.
- Begin with feet about two feet in front of an empty wall. Bend down and place hands at shoulder-width, about one foot on front of toes (A).
- Place most of body weight on hands and carefully place one foot low on the wall while the other remains on the floor.
- Step other foot up on the wall and alternate stepping legs higher, until legs are fully extended (B).
- Hold handstand position for five seconds, then walk feet back down the wall until you can step back to the starting position.
- Repeat, stepping first with the opposite leg.
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- We get it, you’re busy during the holidays. So try this no-equipment-necessary workout that’s doable in your home—or hotel room! — Blogilates
- An indulgent holiday flavor in a protein-packed snack? Yes, please! We’re hoping this Gingerbread Cookie Protein Shake tastes as amazing as it looks. — Dashing Dish
- Find out which diets were most popular in 2012. — Diets in Review
- And as we’re looking back, click for a digest of the year’s fitness news you can’t miss, from metabolism-boosters to the dangers of your desk chair. — Fit Sugar
- Kids on a sugar high? Teach them that they don’t need frosting to have fun! We love these seven healthy ideas to help them celebrate the season. — 100 Days of Real Food
- There’s no autocorrect for dangerous, high-traffic intersections, so remember to pause your texting while walking across the street! — NPR
We’ve all been there: It’s an “off” day at the gym. Your workout feels more challenging than usual and the clock can’t move fast enough. Then the right song comes pumping through your earbuds (cue Kanye West with “Stronger”) and everything falls into place. Your feet start stepping to the beat, you forget about your worries and are finally happy to be exercising.
Matt Basso, president of Iron Lotus Personal Training, is a strong believer that the right playlist can transform a sweat session. So much so that he’s produced all of the music for each of the workouts in his new DBX3 program so that the pace lines up perfectly with the routines for an extra motivation boost. Read on for his dance and pop music picks, and a workout tailor-made for this Music Monday mix.
- “Too Long/Steam Machine” The consistent pulse builds, and since it’s live, “it’s like they’re cheering you to get started,” says Basso.
- “Don’t Wake Me Up” The intro allows you enough time to grab a kettlebell and swing along to the driving beat, Basso suggests.
- “Cry (Just a Little)” Do jumping jacks during this tune with 120 beats per minute (BPMs), the ideal tempo for cardio and dance.
- “The Way You Make Me Feel” “Do I even need to explain how hard Michael Jackson grooves? This song is ideal for some seated rows and push-ups,” Basso says.
- “The Night Out (Madeon Remix)” Get inspired by the 17-year-old DJ who created this remix (“he could make you happy doing the hardest exercises,” Basso says) and knock out burpees for as long as you can for the duration of this 120 BPM song.
- “Electric Feel (Justice Remix)” The tempo slows a bit, so pick the kettlebell back up and swing again.
- “Right Round” and “Da Funk” Freestyle! Try something new or your favorite moves from above through the hip-hop and dance beats.
Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern
August’s Top Workout DVD: Essentrics Class of 2012
Best for: Anyone who wants to get long and lean muscles and just can’t seem to find their yoga sweet spot.
Why it’s a star: Essentrics is a workout that combines ballet-inspired moves with toning exercises to challenge your body in a unique way. It’s named for the eccentric movement in exercise where you are lengthening and strengthening each muscle. Co-creator and Essentrics expert Sahra Esmonde-White says these movements help slenderize your figure while building strength–what more could you ask for?
Though skeptical at first, wondering how difficult stretching and sashaying could really be. I popped in the DVD on a weeknight after work thinking it’d be a calming workout, but it definitely wasn’t easy. Sahra isolates every muscle, focusing on stretching it out and toning it up. If you like the challenge of power yoga or Pilates, Essentrics is a fun way to mix it up and test your body in new ways. The next morning, my abs were sore, along with my buns and my triceps. Talk about a full-body workout!
You don’t have to don a tutu, but the workout does require a certain degree of grace and coordination. Sometimes I’d be balancing on one leg while reaching forward, getting in touch with my inner ballerina, when all of a sudden I’d lose my footing and snap back to reality. That’s the best part about working out at home–no judgment! Plus, the only equipment you need is a chair. No dumbbells, no stability ball, just your body weight. A mat is helpful if you’ve got hard floors during the ab workout, but a towel would work in a pinch.
Where to get it: essentrics.com, $19.95
Did you know that trampolining is a recently added sport to the Olympic roster? It sprung (pun intended) on to the scene during the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, featuring displays of acrobatic stunts with athletes jumping as high at 32 feet in the air.
This year, the trampoline event at the Olympics will start Friday, August 3 through Saturday, August 4. To get a head start on the competition, Springfree Trampoline has created a full body-sculpting workout that you can do on your own trampoline. Try doing two reps of each circuit, with warm-up and cool-down jumps for each set. Bounce a little, burn a lot!
1. Straight Jump: In the center of the trampoline, with knees slightly bent jump straight up with arms also straight, biceps touching ears. Land softly on two feet. Try doing 20 reps in 30 seconds, with 30 seconds active rest.
Eight years ago Samantha Clayton was lacing up her track spikes during her final preparations for the Sydney Olympic Games. Four kids, multiple careers and countless personal training clients later, she is helping you get fitter than ever with her BeFit in 90 program.
“I decided to hang up my racing shoes after I had my son, since I didn’t want to travel so much with him. My hairdresser asked me to teach her what I knew about fitness in exchange for free haircuts,” Clayton says. Realizing that she had a strong knowledge base in fitness already, Clayton made it official by getting certified as a trainer and her following quickly grew. Soon, she was hosting workout DVDs and helping “clients” across the globe.
Her latest project is the free, YouTube-based BeFit in 90 program, which Clayton describes as “a match made in heaven with my athletic background.” You won’t need to bring too much coordination or any dance skills, but will need a towel. “The Fat-Burning Cardio Workout is my personal favorite since it requires no equipment and includes track moves like lateral jumps and high knees,” Clayton says. “But the most fun thing about the program is that there is so much variety so you shock your body and never get bored.”
Today, Clayton is keeping her own routine from getting stale by gearing for her first triathlon. “All of my running before was very sprint-based and I never ran more than a lap [quarter mile] at a time before I started training for this race. I did my first 10-mile run a few weeks ago and I thought I was going to die for the next three or four days! It’s all about building up endurance slowly,” Clayton says.
So with the Olympics coming up on her home turf in London, who does Clayton (who is also a coach for the women’s track team at Pepperdine University) expect to make waves? Record breaker Usain Bolt, her friend Joice Maduaka and American sprinter Alyson Felix.
May’s Top Workout DVD: Jillian Michaels Kickbox FastFix
Best for: Intermediate exercisers looking to sweat away stress
Why it’s a star: Having one of those days when you always seem to switch lanes in traffic as the other lane starts to move? Or perhaps you forgot your sports bra at home when you were planning a lunchtime gym run? Punch out your frustrations with kick-butt trainer Jillian Michaels, who leads you through three quick yet effective martial arts workouts that focus on upper-body, lower-body and abs, respectively. Jump from jab-cross-kick combos to lunge kicks to sit-ups to keep your heart rate high while sculpting from head to toe. As you know, Michaels doesn’t tolerate excuses, and there really aren’t any during this workout—you can even complete one while dinner is cooking!
Where to get it: $13, amazon.com
Find more new, calorie-burning kickboxing picks on page 22 of our June issue—on newsstands May 15!
If you’re ever wanted to work out with a celebrity trainer, now is your chance! Trainer to the stars, Gunnar Peterson, whose hot bodies he’s helped whip into shape include Vanessa Lachey, Jennifer Lopez and Sophia Vergara (just to name a few), is offering a FREE teaser workout tomorrow on his new website, gunnarchallenge.com. The workout is sure to be no joke, even from the comfort of your home, Gunnar will push you to new limits. If you like what you see—more importantly how you feel after a session with this pro—sign up for his exclusive 8-week program that he promises will get you ready to hit the beach with confidence. What a special treat! Give Gunnar eight weeks of your time and devotion and you can look and feel like one of his A-listers too? Sign me up please!
If you sign up for the Gunnar Challenge, which runs from May 21 to July 14, you’ll be working out in real time with online buddies doing the same thing—the group workout experience, minus the group…plus the benefits of exercising with other people. In the challenge you can chat with other members, watch demo videos of Gunnar’s daily workouts and get nutrition advice too. Find out if you’re meeting your daily caloric intake by logging your meals (if you indulged in a bag of potato chips, your program will tell you how long it will take you to burn it off—I love this part!), check out nutritional info of all your favorite foods (the app will keep you on track when you’re not at your desk) and get healthy cooking ideas for more than 1,000 recipes (the program even suggests things to cook for dinner that night..takes the thinking out of the endless “what’s for dinner?” battle). In addition to Gunnar’s daily workouts, a “surprise” session will pop into your inbox Saturday morning—since you won’t know what to expect, the suspense of doing something new and unknown at the start of your weekend will be a motivational treat. Workouts can be printed out and taken to the gym, done outdoors on a hot sunny day or inside in your living room with your music blasting. All the tricks for losing weight are thought out and planned for you—you just have to follow along and you’ll reach the weight-loss goals you want to hit.
The Gunnar Challenge is your chance to have that personal trainer on hand whenever you need him. It makes working out and eating right a no-brainer. Plus, weekly motivational videos from Gunnar himself will keep you pumped up along the way. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a celebrity trainer give so much of his recipe for success for so little cost (the 8-week program costs only $99).
If you’re thinking this program is for you, try Gunnar’s kickoff workout tomorrow from 10 to 11 a.m. EST. Then get ready to get moving with Gunnar on May 21 when you sign up!
Share your results with us after July 14th and we’ll post your before and after pictures on this blog!
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
April’s Top Workout DVD: Canyon Ranch Strong & Sculpted
Best for: Beginner to intermediate exercisers who are looking for a good strength and stretch session.
Why it’s a star: No fancy dance skills or high-impact cardio moves are necessary during this DVD to challenge your muscles and get a great sweat going! During two of the three 20-minute segments, you’ll perform fluid multi-muscle group exercises with a pair of medium-weight dumbbells (like an alternating side lunge with a lateral raise). The payoff: You’ll keep your heart rate elevated to burn calories and add strength in a short amount of time. For the last segment, grab a mat for a relaxing yoga cooldown.
Where to get it: $17, acacialifestyle.com
More from FITNESS: Having trouble finding a workout DVD you love? Create your own with this free FITNESS tool!
Unless you are a personal trainer (oh, you lucky folks who get to work out all day!) squeezing in a gym session can get tricky on a time crunch. We’ve all pulled out a living room plank once or twice and were probably pretty surprised with how effective on-the-go moves like this can be. So we’re curious– if you only had five minutes to exercise, how would you do it? Read below to see what our Twitter followers said and get the most sweat for your seconds!
@anji_rae: Burpees! As long as I have time to clean up after since I’ll be sweaty!
@conformistdiary: Mountain climbers!
@Jensosinfull: Jumping jacks, and lots of them! Maybe some jump rope, too.
@caityrogo: Planks are always a good way to go. A 5-minute plank would hit multiple parts of your body.
@_ChaCha_love: Spiderman push-ups and crunches.
@FITNESSkarla: Can I have five? One minute each of jumping jacks, jumping lunges, burpees (as hard as they are), push-ups and a plank hold!
@Stina_NY: If I only had five minutes I would do squats and lunges!
@stacysbootcamp: Jump squats, burpees, side-to-side push-ups, high knees and pull-ups. Ouch!