Summer Fitness Reboot

It’s summertime. And that means more outdoor activity, less restrictive clothing, and quite simply, more of a visible you. Hollis Lance Liebman, author of Complete Physique has the following tips for anyone who wants to look feel and look their best hitting the beach this summer. It’s a great time to reset your fitness at every level.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE
With the inviting sun and fun weather, it can sometimes be difficult to get to the gym for the usual routine. You can renew your mental and physical spirits by getting back to basics by simply taking it outside. Pushups and bodyweight squats, along with running or biking can all be performed amongst the elements. Additionally, bands, Swiss Balls and other portable peripherals can add variety and fun to a sometimes stale and stagnant workout.

 

WORK YOUR ENTIRE BODY
Sure the chest and arm muscles receive a lot of attention, but keep your workouts in balance. A flawless upper body that sits upon stilts is not a good look, nor is it optimal for total body fitness. The often neglected muscles such as the calves, forearms, posterior deltoids, hamstrings and even your core, will definitely detract from you being all that you can be. You’ll not only look more balanced, you will actually be more balanced in your daily performance in life.

 

EAT SMART FOR MUSCLE TONE
Many fat-loss programs require drastic caloric restrictions and extreme amounts of cardiovascular exercise. The problem is that most also do a pretty good job of wasting away your muscle mass at the same time. Regardless of what your fat loss goals might be, losing muscle tissue is never a good idea–it slows your metabolism to a crawl. Instead of following a low-calorie diet, follow a dietary plan that will enhance your ability to both build and preserve muscle, and rev up your metabolism in the process.

 

STRETCHING IS ESSENTIAL, BUT DON’T GO BALLISTIC
Have you heard of ballistic stretching? It’s a kind of stretch in which you move into a position and then bounce to stretch the muscle. An example would be bending to touch your toes and then bouncing to reach them. Ballistic stretching can do a lot more harm than good, tightening the muscle and leading to injury. During and after your workout are ample times to stretch as your muscles and warm and pliable, unlike at the onset of your routine when your muscles are cold and restrictive.

 

PLAN TO LOOK GREAT…AND FEEL EVEN BETTER!
The desire to  look great in your swimsuit may be what’s inspiring you to get in shape, but remember that the results will be more than just cosmetic. As you build muscle and stamina, you’ll be able to excel at classic summer sports like beach volleyball, swimming, and surfing. The active habits that you form this summer will inspire you to stay fit year-round!

 

HOLLIS LANCE LIEBMAN has been a fitness magazine editor, national bodybuilding champion, and author. He is a published physique photographer and has served as a bodybuilding and fitness competition judge. Hollis has worked with some of Hollywood’s elite, earning rave reviews. Visit his web site, www.holliswashere.com, for fitness tips and complete training programs.

Fresh and Toasty Summer Bruschetta Bites Recipe

Providing healthy, vegan alternatives to the sorts of delicious comfort foods that everyone craves, Dirty Vegan by Catherine Gill makes it easier than ever to live the vegan lifestyle. Self-styled as “vegan junk food”–healthy vegan food that doesn’t skimp on taste–Dirty Vegan is a celebration of all the amazing tastes and dishes available to those on vegan diets. Enjoy this wonderful recipe from the book perfect for the upcoming summer. Continue reading

Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Avocado Salad Recipe

Tacos are versatile, easy to make, and everyone loves them! Our brand new cookbook Taco! Taco! Taco! by Sara Haas contains so many delicious recipes and we’re sharing two of them with you today! Just in time for your summer celebrations including the upcoming 4th of July.

Spicy meets sweet in this delicious taco riff. Don’t cringe at that marinade ingredient list—I know it’s long, but you likely have some of the ingredients already on hand. I recommend doubling this recipe, because you’ll want this again tomorrow night! Continue reading

Stairs: A Great Workout

Nationally recognized fitness expert, Michael Wood, CSCS, author of the new book TBC30: 6 Steps to a Stronger, Healthier You published by Wicked Whale Publishing, talks about one of the best and easiest workouts you, and anyone, can do.

 

Running, walking or bounding up the cement stairs at Harvard University stadium for many people, including myself, never seems to get old. All you need to do is to visit the city with the world famous zip code (02138). On any given morning, especially the weekend, you’ll see all types of people, male and female, athlete non-athlete, young and old, moving through their workout routines at the nations second oldest stadium built-in 1903. The oldest stadium, by the way, can be found on the campus at the University of Pennsylvania, built-in 1895. Continue reading

Top 10 Reasons to Use Dumbbells for Weight Loss

The Dumbbell Workout Handbook: Weight Loss is an all-new collection of dumbbell workouts, providing a complete fitness program using dumbbells to lose weight while improving total body fitness. With beginner and advanced workout circuits perfect for every fitness level, The Dumbbell Workout Handbook: Weight Loss is the complete guide to burning fat with dumbbells.


Developed by best-selling fitness author and strength and conditioning expert Mike Volkmar, this collection of dumbbell workouts will challenge you by promoting total body fitness while burning away unwanted fat. Below are the top 10 reasons to love dumbbells for weight loss according to Mike Volkmar. Continue reading

Cumin Chickpea Tacos Recipe

Do you love tacos? Who doesn’t? New cookbook Taco! Taco! Taco! by Sara Haas features 100 taco recipes, each providing delicious and fun ideas for your next meal, including the one below for Cumin Chickpea Tacos. Enjoy!

Beans are the best! They’re inexpensive, satisfying, and delicious! And I love these tacos because chickpeas just happen to be my favorite bean and cumin just happens to be my favorite spice. You’ll never miss the meat in these tacos because of all of the flavor! Continue reading

Love Match: The Four Types of Intimacy

Falling in love can seem easy at first, but what about staying in love? If you haven’t found your perfect match yet, you are probably wondering what it takes to find “the one” that will last. In this article, we will take a peek into the guidance you can find in my new book Love Match: The Art and Science of Finding Your Ideal Partner.

So, what does it take to find your perfect match? Let’s dig in a little to find out more about the essential building blocks of a lasting romantic relationship. Continue reading

Advice From an Older Athlete To Young Folks: 7 Tips To Set Up Your Life

I am first a grandfather, second a husband, third a father of five great kids that are in their late twenties and thirties, and lastly a healthy life-long fitness guy. I have coached and mentored for a living for approximately 30 years now. Here are some truths I’ve observed over the years. They pertain to athletes, fitness people, and others as well.

 

1. Choices

As a younger person or athlete you need to be reminded that you have choices and that your life is the culmination of your choices.

Show me your friends, show me your checkbook or credit card statement, and show me where you spend your spare time. Then I will show you your future.

Life isn’t rocket science. You can choose a healthy lifestyle and be fit or you can choose to be unhealthy and probably unfit. It is your choice. We all have 24 hours in a day and we all shop and eat.

I work out at my 24 Hour Fitness for my general cardio work. There is a power-lifter-type guy there who likes his big arms and chest. Problem is the doctor has told him he is obese at 5’7” and 260lbs. We talk often as I get ready to shower.

He said he wants to be like me—leaner and thinner. I told him he can but he must want it badly enough to change the way he eats. For three or four years, I used to ask him what he ate, but I stopped because I already know. He is Hispanic and love his chips, rice, tortillas, beans—way too many carbs.

I challenged him to eat small portions of fruits, nuts, oatmeal, protein, and fats for breakfast and lunch. Then enjoy a dinner he likes by 6pm. I also encouraged him to have smaller portions…and no ice cream at 10pm before bed. When he tries this approach, he loses weight, and actually his 260 lbs is down 20 lbs from 280.

Yesterday, I said, “Hey, you look bigger again.” He said “Yep. Can’t control my beans and rice and ice cream.”

Really?

Question: Do you make daily good choices or are you just lazy and a slave to your addictions?

 

2. Patterns

We all set patterns in our life. We have lots of them from how we brush our teeth to how we comb or brush our hair.

When you’re younger, you start setting patterns that affect you later on in life. Some young people choose to exercise and workout as a priority. Others, just flow with life.
It is easier to build a new house than it is to undertake a remodel. Remodels have lots of unforeseen problems.

You don’t want to be a continual remodel in life. It is too hard.

If you set good patterns when you are younger, you will attract healthier people into your life and you’ll also learn to feel good. But if you live unhealthy mentally, physically and emotionally, you will forget that you could live better and you will be a constant “remodel project.”

Story: At 44, my father’s back went out. He was a non-exerciser. He was an academic, smart, but non-athletic Superior Court judge.

The doctor gave him a choice: go buy a hospital bed, because he was going to be immobile for a while, or go have surgery. He wasn’t going back to work anytime soon. He bought the bed and it was put in my room. When I’d come home from college, he’d be laying in his bed frustrated and hurting.

About the fourth months in bed, he said to me “Son, are you learning anything from this?” “Yeah,” I said. “Don’t mess up your back!”

He said “No. Work on your stomach muscles and make them strong. They wrap around your stomach and back and make your back stronger. A weak stomach makes for a vulnerable and weak back.”

We call it “the core” today. The doctor persuaded him do isometric exercises while in bed. The Doctor wanted him to start strengthening his stomach and back.

He finally strengthened his back to the point he could walk to the toilet rather than crawl. And one day he went back to work.

My Father did sit-ups and core work from age 44 until he was 96 years old—everyday! Never missed it. He said he was never going to throw out his back again. He later started golfing, playing tennis and stretching. Life got better. And he felt better. He became happier.

How do you learn—by pain or by knowledge? Show me your patterns now and I will predict part of your future.

 

3. Priorities

Smart people set priorities in their lives. Then they schedule them in. Non-smart people just live and hope for the best.

What are the top five priorities in your life?

What are your daily priorities? Do you have any? Can you be talked out of them? Do they include being healthy and fit?

Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder.

 

4. Disciplines

Nike’s “Just Do It” was a tremendously successful campaign. Why? Because it is so hard to do.

Discipline is hard, by and large, because you have to say “no” to something, or many things, so that you can say “yes” to other things. We don’t like to tell ourselves “no.” But successful people have learned to say “no” to many unhealthy and good things to be able to enjoy the great “yes” things.

Have you learned to be disciplined in many areas? When you do, life gets better.

Exercise is a way of mastering yourself. It takes discipline and work. It is challenging. You must be consistent. You must often challenge and overcome your feelings. You must say “no” to certain ways of eating, drinking, sleeping and other lifestyle choices in order to be successful. It brings up the issue of slavery: are you in charge of your life or are you a slave to your stuff?

We admire successful people. but we can be successful too. Just work on disciplining yourself. There is no victory without a battle! There isn’t any overcoming without overcoming something!

Exercising and becoming fit is a battle you need to win.

 

5. Feelings

I love different types of feelings. I love being in love. I love feeling good. I love accomplishing something challenging. However, I don’t love feelings of fear, vulnerability, embarrassment, shame and sickness.

A young person needs to conquer the habit of being led by their feelings. Certainly, feelings can be helpful and protective but following them, unchecked, can bring terrible results.

Exercise is a challenge. It takes discipline and consistency. If I lived by my feelings, I wouldn’t exercise a lot of the time. I wouldn’t get out of bed. I wouldn’t think about my physical goals. I wouldn’t think about how fat I was getting or how out of breath I am when climbing the stairs.

Either you learn to rule your feelings in many different areas or they’ll rule and dominate you! Feelings can steal that better future that’s in front of you.

Exercise reminds you to challenge and overcome your feelings.

 

6. Consistency

Are you a pro or a weekend hacker? Anybody can hit a golf ball well once in a while. But can you do it consistently and even under pressure?

Why do people seem impressed that some graduated from college or were in the military? Because it shows that they were able to persist through the good times and the bad for four or five years. They didn’t give up or quit. Is that a big deal? Yes, because quitters never win at much of anything, nor are they happy people.

Consistency is a huge attribute. It means you exercise when you feel like it and are “inspired” to do it, but also when you don’t feel inspired.

Why do you do it? Because it is right and it is good for you. And you know you will feel better after you do it! Developing consistency in your life is huge. And if you marry someone who isn’t consistent, they will drive you crazy.

It is a character trait that reveals so much about you.

At 63, I wanted to do something that most 30-year-olds would never try. But for me to pull it off, I’d have to be consistent in changing my body for at least two years. So I made my plan. But half way through, I tore up my right shoulder. It set me back a year. It took me six months to rehab the shoulder. Then I had to start over.

In all, it took me three years of consistency on my goal to accomplish it. Most people thought it was impossible and too big of a goal. Now they admire me. Let people admire you too! Just find a goal and learn to become consistent.

 

7. Money

Show me where you spend your money and I will show you what is of most value to you.

If you want to become more fit, stay fit, or become healthier, it may cost you some money or maybe not. (With all the exercise apps that are available today, many of my friends workout and train from home at no cost.). But if you’d rather eat crappy food or drink your money away, then knock yourself out. A smart person will include health and fitness in their budget before throwing money away on “stuff.”

 


Robert Hamilton Owens has completed 12 Ironman Triathlons, the 238-mile “300 of Sparta Endurance Race,” the SEALFIT’s Kokoro 50-Hour Challenge, and the World Marathon Challenge: 7 Marathons 7 Continents 7 Days, to name but a few. For more information on Robert, please visit: www.roberthamiltonowens.com