WATCH this video presentation on how to do a proper lying leg raise from the authors of The Body Sculpting Bible for Men and The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, Hugo Rivera and James Villepigue.

HUGO RIVERA is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, engineer and international best selling fitness author with over 20 years of bodybuilding experience. He is also the New York Times About.com Guide to Bodybuilding and continues to educate others on how to use bodybuilding in order to achieve their goals. Hugo is the author of Hardgainers’ Bodybuilding Handbook as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women.

JAMES VILLEPIGUE is a bestselling fitness author of 23 books and has over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. as a nationally certified personal trainer with National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), with their prestigious Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential, The American Council on Exercise and The International Sports Science Association. He has received degrees from Hofstra University, the New York College of Health Professions, and the Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching. He now lives in East North Port, New York. He is the author of Combat Fat for Kids and Mind Over Muscle as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women.

A Beginner Running Plan by Stew Smith

Running injury free requires near perfect technique, great shoes, possibly the addition of orthotics/insoles, and a gradual build-up after long periods of no running or beginning a running plan.

To avoid or deal with running injuries, remember this saying. “If it hurts to run, stop running. If it hurts to walk, do not run. If it hurts doing nothing/walking, go to a doctor.”

Below is a Beginner Running Chart for people seeking to start an exercise plan and need to lose 20+ lbs: (always start your run workout with a quick 5:00 walk and light leg stretch). The RUN / WALK method is highly recommended as you are learning to run.

 

 Each Run Workout is to be done THREE times a week

 

Week 1

Walk 20-30 minutes / stretching entire body daily  (monitor weight loss*)

Week 2

Run 1:00 / Walk 1-2:00 for 20-30 minutes

Week 3

Run 1:00 / Walk 1:00 for 30 minutes (listen body as injuries occur this week**)

Week 4

3 Sets of Run 1:30 / Walk 1:30 | 3 Sets of Run 2:00 / Walk 1:00

Week 5

3 Sets of Run 2:30 / Walk 1:00 | 3 Sets of Run 2:00 / Walk 30 seconds

Week 6

4 Sets of Run 3:00 / Walk 1:30

Week 7

Run 1 mile / try non-stop / walk 1 mile fast

Week 8

Run / walk combo 2.5 miles  (from weeks 8-10 – try to run as much as you can)

Week 9

Run / walk combo 2.75 miles

Week10

Run / walk combo 3 miles

 

 

  • * – if you are losing 2-3 lbs this week by simply adding walking / stretching and more water to your life – keep it up until weight loss slows to under 1 lb per week.

 

  • ** – Typically injuries occur during running programs the 3rd week IF too aggressive with initial training

 

Running When Overweight – The human body is built for survival and is quite resilient to most of the stresses we can throw at it; however, the knee is not designed to take too much excess weight even through a pain free running program. Usually meniscus and articular cartilage will wear away exposing bone on bone and premature arthritis. This takes years though. So, if you are over 40 lbs overweight replace walking/running everyday with some days of non-impact aerobics like biking, swimming, rowing or elliptical gliding.

Read more about proper running techniques to prevent injuries and get the most out of your running workout.

 

STUART FISCHER, M.D., a graduate of Yale University, completed his residency at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, and served as an Attending Physician at Cabrini Medical Center in New York City. He also worked with the late Dr. Robert Atkins as the Associate Medical Director of the Atkins Center. His expertise in alternative medicine, nutrition, and weight loss, is complemented by his strong traditional, hospital-based education. He is the author of The Little Book of Big Medical Emergencies and The Park Avenue Diet.

Great Advice for Proper Running Technique by Stew Smith

Everyday you can usually spot someone who chooses running as their source of daily exercise. So many times people pass by, running in pain and obviously not enjoying the popular cardiovascular activity. Improper technique is the main culprit for less enjoyment and injury among runners. Maybe they would enjoy running a little more if they knew the proper techniques. Here are a few tips to help you pick up your pace and stay injury free:

Breathing – Take big, deep inhalations and exhalations similar to the way you yawn. This will help you receive the oxygen your body needs. Too many people breathe too shallow when they run, causing a hyperventilation effect. Slow down the running pace if you need to, but concentrate on your breathing.

Stride and Foot Contact – When jogging, open your stride but lean slightly forward to a point where you will land closer to the middle of your foot – not the back of your heel but the middle of your foot – and roll across your foot, pushing off the ground with your toes. But not flat footed! Many people run flat footed, back of heel strike, or on their toes causing stress on their feet, lower back, hips, knees and ankles. You can eliminate this by following the simple audio test. If you can hear your feet hitting the ground when you run, then you are running wrong. It should sound like your shoes are rolling on the ground quietly. Comfortable running shoes will also aid in prevention of injuries. Truly – it depends on if you are sprinting or jogging. If you are sprinting you will run more on your toes and when jogging you want a roll of the foot off the mid foot / top of heel (not bottom of heel).

Arm Swing – You should have a relaxed arm swing but very pronounced. Swing your hands from about chest high to just past your hips. The term “hip to lip” is a good way to remember this when you are running. Your arms should be slightly bent but not flexed. Run limp wristed. It is impossible to flex your arms with a limp wrist.

Relaxed Upper Body – You should relax your fists, arms, shoulders, and face. Too many people clench their fists and grit their teeth when they run. This causes the oxygenated blood that you need to go to your legs to also go to your upper body. The only things that need to be working when you are running are your “lungs and your legs.”

Start slowly and warm up – Do not stretch your legs until you have warmed up your body by jogging or biking slowly for about 5-10 minutes. Run every other day if you are just beginning and only add mileage to your run as you feel comfortable.

Running is statistically one of the most potentially dangerous exercises you can do, but it does not have to be as long as you remember to do everything in moderation and follow these running tips. So, do not be one of 50% of runners nationwide who injure themselves this year by running too often and incorrectly. Good luck and enjoy probably one of the best weight loss plans known to man.

Especially if you are overweight by 20-30+ lbs – running can be downright dangerous for long distances / even sprints. So pick a non impact aerobic activity as you lose weight to avoid the extra impact on your hips, knees, shins, feet, lower back. All of which are susceptible to impact injuries even if not over weight.

See this Beginner Running Plan that will slowly take you from walking to running.

 

STUART FISCHER, M.D., a graduate of Yale University, completed his residency at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, and served as an Attending Physician at Cabrini Medical Center in New York City. He also worked with the late Dr. Robert Atkins as the Associate Medical Director of the Atkins Center. His expertise in alternative medicine, nutrition, and weight loss, is complemented by his strong traditional, hospital-based education. He is the author of The Little Book of Big Medical Emergencies and The Park Avenue Diet.

Achieve Natural Beauty with this Soothing Facial Recipe

Floral Healing Facial by Elizabeth TenHouten

Calendula is a beautiful flower that is closely connected with skin health. It’s commonly used as a homeopathic remedy for several skin ailments, including relief of skin inflammation, bruising, slow healing wounds, and eczema. Calendula also has anti-fungal properties and is widely known to be antimicrobial and an excellent skin purifier. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, known for supporting acne-prone skin. Sweet almond oil is a wonderful natural moisturizer. Because calendula is antimicrobial, it’s an excellent skin purifier.

In her new book, Natural Beauty, beauty expert Elizabeth TenHouten lays out a philosophy of beauty that encompasses physical, mental and spiritual well-being, an integrated approach that addresses the whole person. Natural Beauty includes a wide variety of all-natural beauty tips and tricks drawing on everyday ingredients with amazing healthful properties. The Floral Healing Facial recipe below is just one of many excellent ones found in the book:

Ingredients:

3 cups water

3 carrots

4 tablespoons organic honey

2 tablespoons sweet almond oil

2 tablespoons dried calendula flowers

 

Preparation and Application:

Cut carrots into chunks with the skin on (the nutrients are in the skins, so no need to peel, just wash well). Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Throw in carrots. Boil until the carrots are soft, about 15 minutes. Mash them in a bowl. Add the organic honey and almond oil. Add calendula flowers. Mix until you have a smooth orange paste. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to cool. It’s a good idea to use a tongue depressor for application to avoid depositing the oil and germs from your fingertips onto your skin. Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse with cool water to seal the pores.

 

Reprinted with permission from Natural Beauty: Homemade Recipes for Radiant Skin & Hair. ISBN: 978-1-57826-446-9, $20.00 (hardcover). New from Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.

 

Four Gentle Yoga Moves for Back Pain

Is back pain getting to you? Give yoga a try!

Strong and flexible muscles boost the strength of the bones they surround and offer them added protection. Yoga provides a way to strengthen muscles and build flexibility in the back and abdominal muscles that support the spine. Strengthening your muscles also helps improve your posture. Good posture relieves some of the pressure off the spine and reduces back pain. Not only does yoga help you strengthen back muscles, it helps to stretch those muscles gradually. Proper stretching of the muscles is important, especially for lower back pain sufferers, because it decreases the stress placed on the lower back.

The book Gentle Yoga for Back Pain shows how to incorporate low-impact yoga moves – complete with suggested modifications to meet your own needs and abilities – into your exercise routine so you can safely and effectively reap the benefits of yoga.

Try these four yoga moves from Gentle Yoga for Back Pain:

1. Warrior II

Start with your feet together. Take a wide-legged stance and, on the exhale, turn your left foot out 90 degrees, keeping your hips and shoulders facing forward. On the exhale, bend your left knee over your ankle. Your weight should be on the outside of your right foot as you pull up in your inner right thigh. Your focal point will be at the fingertips of your left hand. Hold for five breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Modification: For the chair variation, sit on a chair and come to a straddle position. Bend your left knee and turn your left foot out 90 degrees. Extend your right leg out straight. On the inhale, raise your arms up and hold for five breaths. Repeat on right side.

2. Reverse Warrior

Start in Warrior II pose, facing to the left (your legs will not move throughout this sequence). Position your arms in a “T” position. On the inhale, drop your right hand down to your right leg as you raise your left arm straight up. Exhale and bend your left arm over your head as you bend your torso back, stretching the left side of your body up and back. Hold for five breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Modification: For the chair variation, start by sitting on a chair. Straddle the chair, bending your left knee as you turn your left foot out 90 degrees. Extend your right leg out straight and then follow the arm directions. Repeat on the right side.

3. Bridge

Start on your back with your knees bent. Bring your heels as close to your buttocks as possible. On the inhale, raise your hips up, keeping your legs and feet parallel (you may place a block at a height that is comfortable for you and position it as the top of your buttocks, or use your hands to help hold your body up.)

Work up to five full breaths. Once this becomes easy, you can try bringing your hands together under your body and interlock your fingers with your arms straight and lower your chin to your chest.

Modification: If you are unable to lift your hips all the way, you can lift them halfway or as far as is comfortable for you.

4. Sphinx

Lie on your stomach and bring your forehead to the floor. With your legs and feet together, bring your arms up and position your elbows under your shoulders, keeping your forearms stretched out in front of your torso. On the inhale, rise up on to your elbows and hold for five breaths or more. Come down, take a breath or two, and then rise back up for another five breaths.

Note: As always, use caution and be sure to listen to your body– if the pose becomes to difficult, stop or switch to a more gentle variation.

 

Reprinted with permission from Gentle Yoga for Back Pain ISBN: 978-1-57826-390-5, $12.50 (paperback). New from Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.

 

Refreshing Red Berry Cooler Recipe

Here’s a perfect refreshing drink, just in time for summer berry season!

Fresh Red Berry Cooler

Ingredients:

2 cups cranberries

2 cups raspberries

1 cup 100% cran-raspberry juice

1 cup fat-free raspberry yogurt

2 cups ice

 

Directions:

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

 

Reprinted with permission from Farmstand Favorites: Berries. ISBN: 978-1-57826-375-2 $9.50 (paperback). From Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.
Delicious and Easy Strawberry Salsa Recipe

This fabulous salsa recipe is ideal to combine with fish or chicken…and great for the grill!

Strawberry Salsa

Ingredients:

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

3 medium sweet red peppers, seeded, diced

2 medium green bell peppers, seeded, diced

2 medium tomatoes, fresh, diced

1 large Anaheim pepper, seeded, chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon crushed dried red chili pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients; mix well. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts.

Suggestion: Serve 2 ounces of Strawberry Salsa on grilled swordfish, poached halibut, blackened fish, or grilled chicken.

 

Reprinted with permission from Farmstand Favorites: Berries ISBN: 978-1-57826-375-2 $9.50 (paperback). From Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.
15-Minute Workout from Stew Smith

Here are some ideas for those of you who only have a few minutes a day to exercise. Regardless of the hours you keep, here are some options for you to get in quick workouts that are both affective and will wake you up whether it is done in the AM or PM after dinner.

Wake up with Crunches – Here is an exercise that is JUST a little harder than sleeping and it WILL wake you up by doing simple movements:

Do a complete crunch cycle complete with the following:

Regular Crunch – 10-20 reps – Just lift shoulder blades off the floor

Reverse Crunch – 10-20 reps – Lift hips off the floor

Double Crunch – 10-20 reps – Lift BOTH hips / shoulders off the floor simultaneously

Left Crunches – 10-20 reps – Take right elbow to the left knee

Right Crunches -10-20 reps – Take left elbow to right knee

Bicycle Crunches – 10-20 reps – Take right/left elbow to left/right knee by bicycling the legs

Plank pose – 30-60 seconds

Stomach stretch – 30 seconds

This takes about 3-4 minutes to complete. Refer to this Lower Back Plan PDF provided by Stew Smith for detailed explanations of these exercises.

Jumping jacks / Pushups – Do 10 jumping jacks / 10 pushups and repeat the non-stop cycle 5-10 times, depending on your fitness level.

This takes 3-5 minutes if you push all 10 sets.

Jumping jacks/ Squats – If you want to add in a leg workout, try replacing pushups in option #2 with squats.

Multi-Joint Dumbbells (MJDBs) Exercises – With a set of dumbbells, mix in a few exercises into one movement:

Bicep curl, military press, tricep extensions – do 10-15 reps

Squats, bicep curl, military press, tricep extension – do 10-15 reps

Squat thrust, pushup x 5, stand up, bicep curl military press, tricep extension – 5-10 reps

If you select one of these to do, it only takes about 30 seconds per set. Mix in a few sets of each exercise and you have completed a challenging and effective full-body workout cycle. Visit Stew Smith’s website for detailed photos of how to perform these MJDB exercises.

Cardio option – You can skip all the above and just run, bike, walk, elliptical glide, or row for 15-20 minutes or you can add in a quick burst of cardio for the remaining time you have.

 

STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout. Stew has trained thousands of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, SWAT, FBI, ERT, and many other military, law enforcement, and fire fighter professions. He is currently the Special Ops Team Coach at the US Naval Academy that prepares future candidates for SEAL, EOD, and MARSOC training and runs a non-profit called Heroes of Tomorrow where he trains people seeking tactical professions for free.

Dining Out Smarter

When you’re planning meals for your family at home it is much easier to adhere to a healthy eating plan and monitor how well everyone is eating. Eating out at restaurants presents a new set of challenges, but it can still be done!

The book Combat Fat for Kids is the ultimate guide to building a healthy lifestyle for the whole family and fighting childhood obesity. Below are some helpful suggestions the authors offer to help you and the whole family make healthy eating choices while dining out:

1. Start the meal by ordering salads that are packed with vegetables for the whole family. It will help control hunger and help your family feel satisfied sooner.

2. If entrees are big, ask for an extra plate and split them with another family member. Remember, it’s not always necessary for your child to clean his plate as long as he has eaten a balanced and filling meal. It’s also fine to ask your waiter to box up some of the meal and take leftovers home with you.

3. Ask your waiter how the foods are prepared so that your family can make wise selections from the menu. There is nothing wrong with asking questions about whether or not the meal is deep-fried, grilled, or baked. Try to stick with meals that are blackened, grilled, broiled, baked, boiled, or stir-fried.

4. Understand that it’s acceptable to ask for sauce, gravy, and spreads to be left off from meals or placed on the side so that the amount can be monitored. The same principle applies when ordering salads. Asking for dressings or sauces on the side makes it easier to control portions. A little can go a long way with fatty or calorie-laden toppings.

5. Order menu items instead of the all-you-can-eat buffet. There is a much greater chance of overeating and losing sight of portion control when family members are loading their plates at the buffet and can make multiple trips to refill.

6. If your family splurges for dessert when dining out, try to order a fruit-based dessert or split the dessert into smaller portions. It’s not necessary to ban all desserts. Instead, simply reduce how often and how much of them your kids eats.

Reprinted with permission from Combat Fat for Kids. ISBN: 978-1-57826-458-2, $9.99 (ebook). ISBN: 978-1-57826-396-7, $15.00 (paperback). New from Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.

Important Tips for Storing Berries

Berries are among the most popular, healthful, and versatile of all fruits found at local farmers markets. Whether enjoyed in their simplest form or incorporated into recipes, they provide delicious and nutritional benefits. The book Farmstand Favorites: Berries offers over 75 easy-to-prepare recipes to use with a variety of berries, as well as general information about their types, benefits, and suggestions for preserving and storing them.

Here are a few tips on how to store berries so you can enjoy them longer:

— Do not store berries in their original container. Instead, remove and sort out any moldy or overripe ones. Then place the remaining berries in a loosely covered container.

— Do not wash berries until right before using them.

— Do not allow berries to sit in the sun or heat. Store them in a refrigerator set a 32°-40°F.

— For long-term storage, berries can be frozen in an airtight container. Those prepared without sugar should be used within 3 months. Berries prepared with sugar or any other sweetener can be kept for close to a year.

— Berries can also be pickled or preserved into a variety of jellies, jams, salsas, and chutneys.

 

Reprinted with permission from Farmstand Favorites: Berries. ISBN: 978-1-57826-375-2, $9.50 (paperback). New from Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.