How to do a Perfect Lunge – Guaranteed!

Perfect Form Lunges – “The Paper Plate Technique”

Lunges. We hate them. We love them. We do them wrong the vast majority of the time.

To really nail that lunge, there are three things you’ll have to check-off the “lunge perfection” list. If you can do all three actions when in the down phase of the lunge (not while you’re standing with legs straight- that’s cheating!), I’d bet my bottom dollar that your form is simply fantastic.

  1. You can lift up your toes.
    1. All of your weight should be in the heel of your front foot, not your toes or back foot. You get the most out of the exercise because it really targets your hamstring (back of the leg) and glute (the booty) muscles. If you’re going to do the exercise, make sure you are truly working those muscles! So, if all the weight is in the front heel, you should be able to lift your front toes. Test it. If you can’t, push your hips towards the back of the room, causing more weight to be transferred into the heel. This takes some practice to really get a feel for it, but you WILL be able to do it.
  2. You can see the tip of your shoe.
    1. When doing a lunge, the knee should not extend beyond your front foot. Too much weight is being pushed forwards instead of transferred evenly and then targeted in the front heel. Ideally, if you have a mirror, look and make sure the knee is over the ankle. This protects your joint by alleviating pressure. Your knee shouldn’t be doing all of the work. That’s what causes injuries. Now, there is a lot of debate about whether you should be able to see your shoelaces or the tip of your shoe. I personally have found that if I can see my shoelaces, I’m leaning my torso forward too far, which puts pressure on my back. But, for those people who are very tall or have a long torso, looking for those shoelaces could be the way to go. My best advice is to do what feels comfortable for you and look at the side view of your lunge in the mirror to make sure the knee isn’t our over your toes.
  3. You can see both feet in the mirror.
    1. Don’t want one foot directly behind the other. You want a stable base so that you can lift your toes and see your shoelaces. Without a stable base, these can be compromised because you are putting too much weight into the front foot to try and balance/prevent from tipping. I tell people to pretend they are standing on railroad tracks with one foot on each side of the track.

Special secret tip: The Paper Plate Technique

Watch my video below where I explain each of the three key components of a perfect lunge and how to effectively use the paper plate technique!

A great way to practice perfect lunges is by using a paper plate. I know it sounds odd; but let me explain. Take a paper plate and put 2 pieces of duct tape, gorilla tape, or athletic tape right in the middle to make a “+” sign. With one leg, step onto the plate with the ball of your foot. The heel should be off the plate. From a standing position, push the plate back. It’s just as if you were stepping back into a lunge, except you’re sliding instead of stepping. Feet are still on railroad tracks. Keep pushing the plate back until you can see the tip of your forward shoe (or shoelaces if you’re tall), but making sure you’re not leaning over and throwing weight into your back. All of your weight is in the forward HEEL. Keep your core tight! If you’ve pushed the plate far enough back, can see the tip of your shoe, and feel that all of your weight is in your forward heel, lift up your toes. Can you lift them off the floor without losing balance? If you can, then you know your weight is distributed correctly and that your knee is over your ankle at a 90 degree angle. Using the plate technique is so great for practicing form, but it also optimizes your workout by targeting those key muscle groups, the glutes and hamstrings. These muscles really work hard because the plate forces them to!

Click on the video to watch me demonstrate and teach all three key components of a perfect lunge and how to do the paper plate technique TODAY, right in your family room! Get to workin’ it!

Yours in health & resiliency,

~Dana

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5 Most Effective Ways to Transform into a “Morning Workout Person”

How many times have you heard (or asked) the question:

“When is the best time to workout?”

 

Typically, the answer is when you make time, whether that’s in the morning, after work, after dinner, or on your lunch break. In our hectic world, it is better to workout at some point in the day than not workout at all. But, working out in the morning has some serious benefits that will make building a sweat worth getting out of bed:

–  You are much more productive throughout the day.

–  You are much more likely to make healthy food choices.

–  You are less stressed knowing you already worked out and don’t have to worry about finding time later in the day.

–  You are better able to cope with unexpected tasks or decisions.

–  Early morning endorphins boost your mood for the rest of the day.

–  You will actually have MORE energy after a great workout, not less.

 

1.     Be Ready to Workout—the Night Before

Just thinking about rushing around trying to find workout clothes when you’re half asleep will make you want to curl back up in bed. So, why not get ready the night before? Put your workout clothes on your nightstand or next to your bed.

When you get up, grab them, change, and off you go! No rushing around like a crazy person! Bonus: You’ll cut about 15 minutes off your morning routine~ one less reason to pull the covers over your head.

 

2.    The Old Buddy System- “Virtual Style”

It’s all about accountability. Have a friend type a post on Facebook or Twitter that says something like “Can’t wait to see you tomorrow at 6:30 am!” ~ and then tag you or several people meeting at the gym to workout or for a class. Now everyone knows where you should be at 6:30 the next morning! You just got called out- to become healthier! Knowing that you are getting to see positive people that are caring and supportive will also help you get out of bed. Friends are looking out for you and cheering you on!

 

3.    Put Mints in Your Nightstand

Really? That’s what I thought too. I read this tip from Brett Hoebel, fitness trainer and founder of Hoebel Fitness. He suggested that the sugar in the mint will wake up your brain and trigger your taste buds into thinking that food is on its way. Plus, no morning breath! I tried this for a week (thinking there’s no way it’s is going to help) and it actually worked. I could get out of bed and get ready for my workout so much more easily than without the mint. Weird? Yes, Worth trying? Absolutely.

 

4.   Put Your Alarm Clock Across the Room

That alarm clock is blaring from the other side of the room, refusing to let you sleep. You can’t just turn over and hit the snooze button. To shut that annoying sound off, you have to physically get out of bed, walk across the room, and turn it off. Since you’re already up and out of bed, you’ve just made it through the hardest step! I know that bed might be calling your name, beckoning you to return and cuddle, but it will have to wait for later that night.

 

5. Use the IFTTT App

The what?? I learned about this at the SMART Success Academy; and it is just too cool. It stands for “If This, Then That.” You create “recipes” using your phone and/or all channels of social media. For a morning workout, you can make a recipe that basically states: “If the time is 6:00 am, then I need to get up and out of bed. That means I need a wake-up call on my phone, just like at a hotel.” The recipe can be whatever works for you. You can have the app call your phone and when you pick up, you hear an actual recording of your own voice saying something like “OK; you’re up! It’s a new day, time to do that workout! Think about how amazing you are going to feel after!” Go to www.IFTTT.com to learn the in’s and out’s and how to make your own recipe. It can be used in so many ways; you’ll love it!

 

Working out in the morning is no easy task. (I am nowhere near perfect at this, trust me) If it was, everyone would be exercising at 6:00 am! Time, patience, and practice is what it takes. You can learn a new habit in just 21 days. Commit to this new habit. You won’t regret it.

 

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Halftime HIIT Workout

Why sit around during halftime when you can fit in a great workout?
Weekends in the fall= lots of football!! Here is a fun HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout to fit right into those 15 minutes of halftime you have to kill

Now you can work-off all the brats, chips, and game day food! Bam! 🙂

#resiliencyfitness #football #collegefootball #collegegameday #HIIT #tailgating #NFL#workout #weekend #exercise #fall

#fitness #quickworkouts #challenge #getfit #workoutideas

The Biggest Loser~ The Secret Behind The Weekly Weigh-In

Each time I watched the Biggest Loser, I remember thinking to myself: How is it possible for someone to lose 15 pounds in one week? Well, I was recently given an article that answered my question: “They aren’t.”  Recently, one of the contestants, Andrew “Cosi” Costello came forward with some shocking truths about the secrets behind this astonishing weight-loss. He said the “weekly weigh-in” was never filmed after just one week. In reality, there was up to a 25 day gap between weigh-ins. There’s a big difference between 1 week and 3 1/2.  He said exactly what I was thinking: People get inspired to get off the couch, get moving, and eat healthy, But, in the real world, when people work all week and don’t lose that kind of weight, some people feel like they’ve failed and give up. That, right there, is the problem. This misconception isn’t just caused by The Biggest Loser, but by society as a whole. I want to change that.

The reason I’m sharing this has nothing to do with creating drama or whistle-blowing. I am sharing this because of the effect I think it has on people who are trying to lose weight and get into shape in real-life. I can sense the frustration of those watching this show, witnessing people lose 10-20 pounds, while they may have lost 1 after working out and eating healthy all week. If it was me, I’d be wondering what I was doing wrong, why I wasn’t losing weight that quickly. I’d become discouraged too. That’s when the frustration leads to setbacks and eventually, giving up. It makes me really upset because it gives the world a completely distorted perception of what is possible and not possible when trying to lose weight and become more healthy. Everyone is different and everyone will lose weight at a different pace. However, for people to think that they should be able to lose 10 pounds per week or they “aren’t doing enough” just isn’t right. So, I need you to understand the implications of this so that you aren’t so incredibly hard on yourself over something that isn’t even comparable. There’s a big difference between the progress someone is able to make in 7 days vs. 25 days. Plus, the people on the show workout for an unreasonable amount of hours per day and, as it said in the article, were also extremely dehydrated before the weigh-in.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think this show is great because it motivates and inspires others to live a healthy and happy lifestyle. It shows people that everyone can get out there, workout, and lose weight. Just keep it realistic when comparing it to your own life. You do you! Work hard, eat healthy, love life. That’s what you need to do to change your life. The inches will come off, so please, please don’t quit. You can do this…. keep it in perspective, and don’t be defined by the scale.

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Gain Muscle to Lose Fat~ Become a Leaner You!

You need to gain if you want to lose…. Talk about an oxymoron!  When someone asks me, “What is the most effective way to lose weight and get into shape?” My answer is not what you might be thinking. It’s not by doing three hours of intense cardio everyday, but by lifting weights and strength training. That lovely yellow mass in the picture above is fat. It’s 5 pounds of fat, to be exact, and is about the same size as 2 footballs! Think about this, if a person is 50 pounds overweight, multiply that fat mass by 10. 20 footballs! In the battle of muscle vs. fat, it’s the density, not the weight that matters. 5 pounds is 5 pounds. BUT, because muscle is so much more dense, about 18% more, than fat, it takes up less space in your body. The more muscle, the smaller/leaner the person! I’m not talking about lifting light weights, but weights that will challenge your muscles. That is how you BUILD muscle. So, despite hesitation and hype and rumors, if you can lift heavier weight, go for it! You’ll be stronger, less prone to injury, and have a leaner body by dropping inches!

A woman who weighs 160 pounds and has 35% body fat will be larger (in inches measured) than a person who weighs exactly the same, but only has 20% body fat. How crazy amazing is that? So, those two women may wear different sized clothing, yet weigh the same! This is why STRENGTH training is so incredibly important. I can’t say it enough. The more muscle, the leaner you become (with proper nutrition and exercise). This is exactly why lifting weights will NOT make you bulkier or bigger. In fact, it will not only cut inches, it will help your body burn more fat. Muscles use/need more energy and burn more calories, even when you’re not working out. Talk about boosting your metabolism! That is something a 3-digit number on the scale won’t tell you. Throw the scale away and go lift some weights. 😉

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The First “No-Time” Factor: Aiming Too High

The first factor that contributes to the “no time” excuse is aiming too high. What I mean is that people often set unrealistic weight loss goals or attempt a rigorous exercise regiment when they haven’t worked out for months or maybe even years. Now, I’m sure you’ve heard the quote: “shoot for the moon and if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” However, in this case, say you shoot for the moon (the moon being your fitness and weight loss goals), and don’t reach it. Based on human behavior and thinking, you’re going to land right back on earth where you started (gain the weight right back, return to living a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition) and add guilt and self-doubt on top of it. This is known as an “all-or-nothing” negative thinking distortion, meaning, you view a situation in two ways: win or fail. There is no in-between or positive reinforcement of small successes. It’s go big or go home. I’m about to challenge that distortion, because this is not the Super Bowl, this is life. start to finish

Should you set high expectations of yourself? Yes. Should you create goals that pretty much set you up for failure? Absolutely not. You are completely capable of reaching your goals! The key is to create specific, realistic, measurable, and attainable goals within a set period of time (aka SMART goals). I’ll call those unattainable, unrealistic goals the “aim-too-high’ goals, or ATH goals. Let’s look at the difference between the two, as well as the thinking patterns commonly associated with both outcomes.

Susie Q is a 38 year-old female who weighs 165 pounds. Her height is 5’3” and she generally leads a sedentary lifestyle. She hasn’t stuck to a consistent exercise or healthy eating regimen since her early 20’s.

ATH goal: Susie says she wants to run 5 miles 5 days a week and do strength training for an hour 2 days a week. She wants to lose 20 pounds in two weeks because she’s going on vacation. She states that she will eat only fruits and vegetables in order to reach her goal.

That’s a very ambitious (and nearly impossible) goal! The likelihood of losing 20 pounds in two weeks is extremely low, unless she runs ten miles a day and doesn’t eat. That’s impractical and dangerous. (and don’t even THINK about doing it) Why isn’t this goal going to lead her towards success? For one, people typically can’t go from a sedentary lifestyle to one of rigorous physical activity. It takes a toll on your body. That’s a tough regimen, even for people who exercise regularly. To lose a pound, you must have a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories. That can’t happen in a day. If Susie cut out 500 calories per day from her diet, including calories burned from exercise, she’d lose one pound per week (7 x 500= 3,500). Thus, she has set her goal of losing that amount of weight way out of the realm of reality.

So what would a realistic goal look like? Using the SMART model, Susie’s goal would look more like this: download

SMART goal: Susie will start to become physically active again by walking 3 times a week for 30 minutes and doing light strength training 1-2 times per week for 30 minutes. Susie will, over the course of one month, lose 1-2 (2 is ambitious) pounds per week, totaling about 4-6 pounds. Susie will incorporate at least one fruit or vegetable into every meal and choose low-fat dairy options daily. Susie will keep track of her workouts through weekly checklists and her food through a food journal. Each week she will weigh-in and if she has lost more than 0.5 pounds, will reward herself by going to see a movie, buying some new nail polish, or going to get her hair done. Each success should be positively rewarded.

Now, this goal is specific, can be measured using workout checklists and a food journal, is attainable and realistic (physiologically, psychologically, can easily be woven into her day, and healthy eating is slowly incorporated instead of making huge diet changes), and time-oriented (weekly and monthly). When Susie sees small successes, she also needs to be reminded that reaching those little goals really add up to a huge change. It may take longer than she had hoped, but she has a much better chance of truly changing her lifestyle. Have patience and be kind to yourself. Be resilient. You can get through and do anything. I know because I’ve been there. Don’t think of a setback as defeat; see it as your chance to make a comeback.

*** If you need help making SMART goals, just send me a message (here or Facebook) or an email. This is my passion, and I here to help others, not myself. There is no judgment, just teaching and learning. Set yourself up for victory, because you deserve to live the life you want. ***

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You can do anything for 60 seconds…. ANYTHING

One of the reasons I love HIIT workouts is because they are empowering. Your body is so much more powerful than what your mind might tell you. Your mind isn’t working out for 60 seconds, your BODY is. So, tell that inner voice to mind its own business because you have work to do. Then do it.

Where there is a time limit, there’s a goal. There’s a starting point and an ending point. Knowing that you only have to go hard to go home for 60 seconds, you feel more focused, confident, and motivated. The interesting part is, during the high intensity interval, time is the last thing you think about. All of your thinking goes into pushing your body to the max. After, the brain seems to knock some sense into that negative voice and you hear yourself thinking “Wow, I really can do this!”

By proving your inner voice wrong each time you hit that 60 second mark, it reinforces a powerful mantra and internal belief that says “60 seconds is nothing. Bring it on, I’ve got this.”~ That is power. That is strength. Developing that mantra will get you through anything in life. Embodying this strengthens an inner faith in knowing that you are destined for greatness. Within you is the capacity to do anything, regardless of how long it takes. It all just starts with 60 seconds. You are who you believe yourself to be. #domore

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