Stew Smith's Tips for Breathing Technique During Exercise

Learning to breathe during exercise has benefits such as preventing dizziness during activity, improving athletic performance, and increasing fat burning.


What is proper breathing while running?

Many experts will say that to fully oxygenate the muscles and clear the body of carbon dioxide you should breathe a 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio; full inhales and full exhales. This means you inhale on the LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes and exhale fully on the RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes. This pattern is not that hard to turn into a habit, but it may require you to slow your pace down for a few runs to master the technique. You will notice a lower heart rate as you are able to get more oxygen in and more importantly push all the carbon dioxide out of your body. You may notice that you naturally drop to a 2:1 ratio when you are really pushing it to the finish. That is OK.  But realize it is difficult to maintain a pace that requires you to breathe at a 2:1 ratio. The carbon dioxide in your body will increase if your breathing patterns are short and hurried. This will increase your heart rate and lactic acid production, and decrease your endurance in any cardiovascular event (running, swimming, biking, etc.)


What about breathing and training/lifting?

Proper breathing during exercises where you exert yourself — such as lifting, pushing, or pulling — is much easier to remember and control than the 3:2 ratio during running long distance. To put it simply: always exhale on exertion. For example, when you are pushing a bench press off your chest, you exhale on the push and inhale as you bring it slowly to your chest. When you are doing a pullup, you exhale on the pulling up motion and inhale on the way down. Breathing during exertion is important in preventing internal injury such as hernia, blood vessel strain, and high blood pressure. Because weight lifting and and other types of training can be potentially harmful when done incorrectly, it is advised to get clearance from a doctor before performing too much – too soon. To decrease that pressure, focus on breathing deep all the time — during workouts and in your daily activities.


How does more oxygen help to burn more fat?

Oxygen + Water = Fat burn


Basically, the body needs water and increased oxygen to burn fat as an energy source. The water intake should be anywhere from a half gallon for women and up to one gallon a day for men. The increased oxygen consumption will assist with the other part of the equation.

As you add more water and oxygen to your system, your body will be able to use the retained water for excretion, prompting almost immediate weight loss of retained water and toxins. This is not the same as sitting in a sauna and sweating which actually dehydrates you. Adding water will re-hydrate you and enable the body to burn more fat (as long as you increase your oxygen intake by doing some form of exercise). Walking, swimming, biking, jogging, calisthenics, and even yard work can help with working your cardiovascular system.

Try the deep breathing rhythm during running or working out and see for yourself how you will perform at a lower heart rate and have more energy for a strong finish.


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.

Spiced Toasted Almonds


1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1/4 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper, or to taste

2 teaspoons canola oil

2 cups whole, unblanched almonds

Canola oil spray, as needed



Preheat oven to 400°F. IN large, shallow bowl, combine thyme, salt, pepper, and oil. Set aside.

Place nuts in medium bowl. While tossing with fork, lightly spray with canola oil so all surfaces are coated. Lightly coat baking sheet with canola oil spray. Turn nuts onto sheet and spread evenly across surface. Place baking sheet in center of the oven. Toast until nuts are lightly browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Occasionally, shake pan to shift nuts and prevent scorching (be careful not to let nuts get too dark or they’ll taste burned). Remove from oven and immediately add hot nuts to spice mixture. Stir for a few minutes to coat the nuts thoroughly. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve warm or at room temperature. Nuts can be sealed and stored for up to two weeks. Reheat in a hot oven.


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.


The Four-Minute Workout: Quick Facts about Tabata Training

Is it possible to get a real workout in only 4 minutes? What’s all the Tabata craze about? Here’s a quick rundown on the facts about Tabata training to help you decide whether or not it’s a good fit for you.

Tabata, a high intensity training technique founded by physiologist Dr. Izumi Tabata in Tokyo, is designed to give the body maximum benefits in a short period of time. The basic structure of the Tabata training method incorporates a complete workout into an intense 4 minutes! Here’s how it looks:

20 seconds of intense training (go full force for every single second)

10 seconds of rest (stop exercising, catch your breath and get ready to go again)

Repeat, rest, repeat for a total of 8 sessions or rounds

Tabata training can be done with weights, body weight exercises, or a combination of them. Examples of exercise often used are squats, dead-lifts, pushups, chin ups, jumping jacks, situps, rowing, stationary bicycle, and sprints. The key is to use exercises and weights that are challenging enough to give a true workout but light enough to allow you to complete the full 4-minute session. Four minutes seems like a short time period but will not when you are working full force.


What Are the Pros of Tabata Training?

You will burn fat! The intense workout will raise your metabolism and increase your aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Adding as few as two Tabata workouts per week to your routine can help you shed body fat.

It is very fast! Even the busiest people can squeeze 4 minutes into the day. You get the benefits of long workout session in a shorter time.

The workout is flexible! Tabata can be done with a variety of exercise routines. You have the option of changing it up as much as you want (add heavy weightlifting, more aerobics, etc.). Plus, it’s so quick you never get the chance to get bored with it!

It works! The Tabata technique has been researched extensively. The reason it’s becoming so popular is because people are seeing the results.


Are There Cons to Tabata Training?

It is intense! Tabata requires you to operate at a high intensity so it may be dangerous for individuals who are prone to strokes and heart attacks. If you have a history of strokes and heart attacks or have high blood pressure, consult with a physician to determine if Tabata training is a wise choice for you.

Injuries happen! Of course, injuries can always happen when you’re working out but the fast pace may make it easier to hurt yourself if you’re not cautious. A weight may slip from your hands or your technique may suffer when you’re performing exercises quickly, so pay close attention to maintaining proper form even when working at this fast pace.


Here are a few tips to keep in mind before trying your hand at Tabata:

1. Be prepared for your Tabata workout by deciding in advance what exercises you want to include, arranging the order of them, and making sure you have the proper equipment set out for them.

2. Alternate exercises in each session to get a workout that hits a variety of muscle areas. For example, one session may be squats, another pushups, another deadifts, another jumping jacks, etc.

3. Tabata can be hard on your body due to the high intensity of the training. You will be sore the next day, so give your body time to rest and recover in between workouts. Also, remember to give your body proper nutrition and stretching before and after your Tabata routines.

4. Use a timer to keep track of your sessions instead of trying to count in your head. This workout technique will keep your mind and body busy enough without having to keep track of the seconds as you go. Try this free online Tabata timer if you don’t own a stopwatch or timer.


So, what do you say? Do you have 4 minutes to spare to build a stronger, healthier body? With Tabata training, the old “I don’t have enough time to workout” excuse just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Here are a few great Tabata video workouts from Fitness by to get you started:



JO BRIELYN is an author and contributing writer for Get Fit Now and has currently completed 16 nonfiction books about health and wellness. Jo is the founder, writer, and editor of Creative Kids Ideas, a resource website that supplies parents, teachers, and family members with the tips and fun ideas to help build stronger, happier, and more creative kids. She is also the writer behind Jo is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a former youth leader. Jo is the co-author of Combat Fat for Kids.










Sculpt Strong Sexy Glutes with this Video

WATCH this video to learn how to do dumbbell squats to build great glutes 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 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 Mind Over Muscle as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women and Combat Fat for Kids.

A Healthy Egg Roll Recipe...Yes, It's Possible!

Love Chinese food but hate the calories? Take a look at this delicious recipe for Egg Rolls, tweaked for those looking for healthier approaches to eating!

Healthy Chinese Egg Rolls


2 teaspoons minced ginger

1 pound ground pork

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 pound bok choy (Chinese or Napa cabbage), sliced thinly, 1 inch lengthwise

1/2 pound fresh bean sprouts

2 green onions (scallions), chopped

2 teaspoons rice cooking wine

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons oyster sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

1 package egg roll wrappers (about 25 wrappers)

Oil, for frying

Salt and white pepper, to taste



Heat the wok. Add ginger and ground pork. Brown pork with ginger. Add onion, mushrooms, bok choy, bean sprouts, and green onions to pork mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add rice wine, soy sauce, pepper, sugar, sesame oil, and oyster sauce. Dissolve cornstarch with water. Mix well. Add it to the pork mixture until it thickens; remove to a bowl and let cool.

Put a heaping tablespoon of filling mixture on each egg roll, moisten the edges with water, and roll into the shape of an egg roll (start rolling from one corner, stop in the middle, fold over the edges, and continue rolling). Add oil in a wok or frying pan and heat to medium. Put egg rolls in until they turn golden brown. Turn and cook other side until golden brown. Put finished egg rolls on paper towel to drain oil.


Reprinted with permission from Cooking Well: Healthy Chinese. ISBN: 978-1-57826-428-5 $12.50 (paperback). From Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.


Take Your Workout on the Road: Eating Right by Hugo Rivera

Dieting and eating healthy during travel is by far the most challenging part of traveling and staying fit. The steps below will help assure that meals are not missed and that smart choices are available to you.


1. Make sure that prior to selecting the hotel, you choose one that has a refrigerator in the room and that provides access to a microwave.

2. Find out where the grocery stores are at so that as soon as you settle down you can go grocery shopping. Ensure that you get plenty of Ziploc bags while you are there.

3. The day that you jump on the plane, carry with you a small bag full of chicken sealed in individual Ziploc bags. For carbohydrates you can have bags of brown rice ready as well. In addition, bring with you some Tupperware containers, Meal Replacement Packets (MRPs) and/or Ready-to-Drink (RTD) Shakes. This will guarantee that you do not miss meals on the day that you are heading to your destination. As far as water, since now you cannot carry those in the planes, drink as much as you can before the checkpoints and then drink some more during the flight.

4. Invest on a small George Foreman grill so that you can take it to the hotels with you. This makes it easy to grill your own chicken even without a kitchen in the room.

5. Wake up early each day to get your meals ready in individual bags or tupperware containers and carry them with you in your book bag.

6. For good fats, get some almonds and have a serving or two of these per day.


Are Fast Food Restaurants Recommended?

The best way to do things is to use grocery food but if you find yourself for whatever reason without food during the day and there is a fast food restaurant around, here is what you need to do:


1. If it is not your cheat meal day, refrain from fatty choices such as french fries.

2. Drink between 8-16 ounces of water before you get there and then drink an additional 8-16 ounces more while you are eating. This will prevent you from feeling hungry and falling to temptation. If temptation is strong remember two things:

* There is nothing better than being in shape.

* You control everything that goes into your mouth. Food does not and should not control you!

3. Always combine a serving of low fat protein (in the case of fast food restaurants, this is either skinless chicken or turkey) with a small serving of carbs. Remember that if you are eating a chicken or turkey sandwich the bread will count as the carbs.

4. Salads in addition to a serving of protein and a serving of starchy carbs are always good since they provide fiber and they fill you up. However, avoid using high fat/high sugar dressings.

5. Refrain from using high carbohydrate sauces or mayo.

6. In traditional restaurants, combine a low fat protein like chicken with a good carbohydrate such as a baked potato and have a salad to go with it. You may also opt for Wild Alaskan salmon which gives you your daily source of Essential Fats. And remember, drink plenty of water!


As you can see, even though it will take more effort to get or stay in shape if you travel, it is not impossible. If you are determined enough to make things happen, everything is possible!

Also read Travel and Your Fitness Program: Planning Ahead and Travel and Your Fitness Program: A Traveling Training Routine.


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 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.

Take Your Workout on the Road: A Travel Fitness Routine by Hugo Rivera

Take this exercise band and body weight traveling training routine on the road with you!

Below is a description of the exercise and training part of the routine. You will perform this routine every day in your room by alternating between Workout (A) one day and Workout (B) the next day, using 5 sets of as many reps as possible in each exercise. You may ask if one day in between would be enough for the muscles to recover. The answer to this question is yes due to the fact that you are not lifting heavy weights.


Workout (A) – Upper Body

Tri-set #1


Rows with the bands



Tri-set #2

Lateral raises with the bands

Curls with the bands

Close grip push-ups


Workout (B) – Lower Body/Abs

Tri-set #1

Squats (Close Stance) with no weights

Squats (Medium Stance) with no weights

Squats (Wide Stance) with no weights


Tri-set #2

Lunges (Pressing w/ heels) with no weights

One legged calf raises with no weights

Leg raises


There are two tri-sets in each workout, which are three exercises performed one after the other with no rest in between sets. After all three exercises have been performed, you can take a 1 minute rest and start over, or, for a more pronounced cardiovascular effect, and a quicker paced workout, you can continue performing the exercises in circuit fashion up until all 5 sets have been done. Once you are finished with tri-set #1, then you can move on to tri-set #2. You can rest 60 seconds between the time you finish tri-set #1 and start #2 or you can simply start the second one with no rest.

If you perform the routines in circuit fashion without rest, you can get away without doing additional cardiovascular exercise. However, for those of you who would like to still perform your traditional cardio, a quick power walk for 20-30 minutes after the workout or first thing in the morning if you rather do the resistance portion at night.

Also read Travel and Your Fitness Program: Planning Ahead and Travel and Your Fitness Program: Maintaining Proper Diet.


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 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.


Take Your Workout on the Road: Make a Plan by Hugo Rivera

Planning and Preparation are key to your success!

The key to keeping up with your natural training and dieting while traveling, provided you are determined enough to do so, is planning and preparation. If you do not plan ahead and fail to prepare in advance it may be nearly impossible for you to keep a healthy and fit lifestyle as you travel. The steps below will make the process of planning and preparation simpler.

Training During Travel

Before you go on your next trip, ensure that you have a place to work out. The following steps will aid you with your planning:

1. Find out if the hotel that you are going to stay in has a small fitness facility or at least a set of dumbbells. Call the hotel and see what they have available as far as fitness equipment. Gather as much information as possible. Most of the time however most hotels are just equipped with some stationary bikes and a “universal type” weight machine at best.

2. If the hotel does not have a suitable fitness facility, then find out the location of the closest gym and plan to work out there. The Internet is a great way of finding out what is nearby the hotel you will be staying at or you can even ask the customer service person from the hotel over the phone to lead you in the right direction.Once you look at the list of gyms – unless it is a well known chain – call and ask for daily rates, times of operation and type of equipment. If you are staying over 5 days, also ask if they have a special rate for just one week as opposed to paying for a daily pass each day. This may save you some money.

3. If there are no fitness facilities in the area, then take with you some exercise bands, which is better than nothing. If this is the case, you can do a maintenance type of routine like this exercise band and body weight traveling training routine.

Also read Travel and Your Fitness Program: Maintaining Proper Diet.


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 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.


Try this Fruit and Yogurt Treat for Breakfast or Dessert

Yogurt-Granola Parfait


1 3/4 cups plain or vanilla yogurt

6 tablespoons honey

8 ounces fresh berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and/or strawberries)

2 Cameo apples

2 1/2 cups granola



Stir together the yogurt and 4 tablespoons of the honey in a small bowl. Pick over the berries to remove any stems or leaves and halve or quarter larger berries. Put the berries in a medium bowl. Quarter and core the apples and cut them into 1/4-inch dices. Stir the apples and the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey into the berries. Spoon a few tablespoons of the granola into the bottom of each sundae dish or wine glass. Top the granola with a few tablespoons of yogurt, then add a generous spoonful of the apple-berry mixture. Repeat the layering 1 more time, drizzling any remaining juice from the fruit over the top.


Reprinted with permission from Farmstand Favorites: Apples. ISBN: 978-1-57826-358-5 $5.95 (paperback). From Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.


Nutrition Strategies for Optimal Fitness Results by Stew Smith

When to eat and what to eat are constant questions that affect your fitness and health goals as well as your weight loss desires. The answer will vary depending on your goal, but understanding the After, Before, During (ABD’s) of workout nutrition will better help all groups (performance athletes, weight losers, general health clients) reach their personal goals.

This understanding of what foods and drinks work best for fat loss and health gains requires a constant search for the individual. Here are some suggestions that will help you figure out what to eat and when to eat it.


For the Health and Fitness / Body Fat Reduction Goal:

If you are trying to drop some unwanted pounds and get healthy, proper nutrition and a well arranged workout plan are vital to you achieving that goal. You have to experiment with the types of exercise that will create a good caloric burn, as well as find sources of lower calorie foods that work best for your energy level. Keep track of how you feel during workouts whether they are higher intensity resistance training or lower intensity cardio since it will typically measure if you are eating enough quality foods. If you have significant weight (40+ lbs) to lose, try some non impact cardio options like biking, elliptical gliders, swimming, aqua-jogging, rowing etc.


The Fat Burning Workout:

If your goal is to burn fat, your workout should get you into a fat burning zone by the time you are finished exercising for the day.  The arrangement of your workout should be calisthenics or weights first followed by steady, aerobic cardio of your choice. Basically, go hard the first half of your workout and burn your blood sugar (anaerobic activity burns glycogen) as your prime energy source first. This can take about 15-20 minutes of intense workout depending on the amount of food you have eaten before the workout of the day. Once you are feeling burned out from that section of anaerobic activity, it is now time to go aerobic and get into fat burning mode.


When is the best fat burning time? —- The ideal time is immediately after waking and before having any food.

AFTER WORKOUT: Here is where you can stay in fat burning mode a little longer. If you delay eating carbs immediately after your workout for another 30-60 minutes you will be fine and actually still be using fat as your primary energy source. Throughout the next several hours of the day your metabolism will be higher thus burning more calories than having NOT exercised that morning. After a while, you will need to eat good carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables) and a protein serving to recover from the workout. Limit the carbohydrates in a day and try to eliminate sugar. Find what carbs and proteins work best for you and your energy requirements for the day (work, home, kids, etc). For a quick fix and in replacement of food in a pinch, you may choose to have some whey protein powder in milk. You still need to prepare for the next workout session by eating something even though you are trying to lose weight.

BEFORE WORKOUT: If you are working out to lose weight and get healthier, depending on your workout intensity, you may not need to have a pre-workout meal. (If your goal is to get into fat burning mode, the fewer carbs you eat prior to workout will decrease the amount of time and effort required to get into that fat burning and low glycogen mode). If you like to work out immediately after you wake up, you are at your lowest in blood sugar for the day. Now is the time to take a short burst of intense exercise then follow it with what is called conversational paced cardio. If you can talk and be a little winded you are in prime fat burning zone.

DURING WORKOUT: Unless you are working out for extended periods of time to get used to 8-10 hours of some sort of specialized training, food intake during normal hour long (or shorter) workouts is not needed. Just drink water to stay hydrated and if you are sweating profusely in the humid, summer heat you should follow with a serving or two of electrolytes to replace what you lose while sweating.


Here are some great ideas for protein, carbs, and fats:

Carbohydrate Options: Multi grain breads and pastas, brown rice, cereals, good carbs like vegetables (romaine lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, carrots), and fruits, (tomatoes, strawberries, apples, berries, oranges, grapes, and bananas ) make great carbohydrates for energy. Stay away from white breads, pastas, rice and any flour baked products. Sugar is your killer – eliminate or at the minimum reduce sugary drinks and replace them with water and unsweetened drinks.

Protein Options: Meats, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, almonds, beans, milk, milk shakes with additional whey protein powder (optional), peanut butter.Try eating boiled eggs and salads in between meals during snack time, or have a few servings with a main course of meat or fish for a good balance of plant and animal protein.

Fat Options: Fish, nuts, olive oils, omega 3 fortified products (milk, margarine, peanut butter).



Anyone who works out needs to hydrate during workouts to stay cool and avoid over-heating and/or dehydration especially during excessively sweaty workouts, but you also need to add electrolytes (sodium potassium, magnesium, calcium as well.) Foods rich in many of these elements are essential to your recovery from significant water and electrolyte loss. Read How to Recover Fast from Hazy, Hot and Humid Workouts for tips on staying hydrated.


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.