5 Reasons Why You Should Be Keeping an Exercise Journal

Think that you don’t need to keep track of your exercise and exercise routines?  That keeping an “exercise diary” or journal isn’t for you.
Then may you should rethink your exercise action plan.

Conventional wisdom states that you can improve on what you don’t track – if you are not tracking your exercise in an exercise diary, then how can you improve it?

Exercise has multiple benefits from increased muscle strength, decreased weight, and improved health.  But who stays on a program for more than a week?

Research shows that if you can maintain an activity for 30 days you’ll be more likely to stick with it.  And, if you can maintain an activity for 60 days it will be harder to stop the habit than to continue.

This is one reason an exercise diary can be critical to your success.  You may think that an exercise diary only includes the workout that was done but there is so much more that can be recorded.

Recording exercise helps you to notice trends in your performance.  If you rate your performance through both objective and subjective criteria you’ll notice differences between your actual performance and how you felt that you performed.

Diaries can be retrospective (historical) and prospective (future).  In other words you can use the diary to record a plan for your workout and then record the actual routine.  Using this strategy people new to an exercise routine have a greater chance of continuing the program.

The diary acts somewhat like an accountability partner.  The routine is written down and if you neglect to start or complete it you must also record your results.  Using the diary to maintain your focus increases your chances of success.

Exercise diaries also help to highlight weaknesses in both your program and your abilities.  Keeping track of your performance in different activities will indicate your abilities.  And that same information will show you how quickly or slowly you are progressing.

Motivation is a problem for many people who are exercising or new to an exercise routine.  Doing the same thing day after day can be monotonous.  Recording your objective data and watching the changes can often times increase your desire to continue.  You can also change your routines and be assured that you have a record of what really worked and what doesn’t.

Exercise diaries should include objective data such as heart rate before, during and after; the amount of time you spent exercising, any resistance (weights) you may be using, time of day you are exercising and measurements of your arms, thighs, waist and hips over time.

Subjective data should include how you feel before, during and after exercise.  You can use a numeric rating system to be able to compare your ‘feelings’ over time.  Now you can evaluate when your top times to exercise are based on your rating system.

Exercise diaries give you the edge to improve your program, increase your motivation, determine your best workouts and times, track your progress and begin a life changing habit.

Remember that keeping an exercise diary only takes 2-3 minutes per entry, yet you can gain so much in return.
They say that those who keep an exercise diary compared to those that don’t reach their goals more quickly and also keep with their fitness workouts much longer.

If you don’t want to call it an exercise diary – call it an exercise log. It doesn’t matter what you call it. Just remember to do it.

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10 Effective Exercises For Rock Hard Six-Pack Abs

10 Effective Exercises For Rock Hard Six-Pack Abs

Now that you have lost the extra fat around your middle you are looking to tone up and firm up your mid-section.
Here you will find the top 10 exercises to get those rock hard abs that you have been waiting for. Just remember that before you start any exercise routine you should check with your medical adviser to make sure that you are healthy enough for fitness. And also remember that exercise should not hurt. You muscles should get tired and a bit achy but if you feel pain you are completing an exercise incorrectly – stop immediately.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE), an organization that claims to be America’s authority on fitness, conducted a study of various exercises for the abdominal muscles. This study revealed the ten most effective ways of developing the abs.  One of the criteria is the extent with which the exercise can strengthen the target muscles, such as the rectus abdominis and the obliques. So here is the scoop on the best abs exercises and how they should be done.
1. Pedal Exercise (also called the bicycle)  – the top of the list of best abs exercises
•    Lie flat on your back with the hands behind the head; fingers interlocking.
•    Pull and bend the knees towards the upper body and raise the shoulders off the floor. The neck should not be pulled.
•    Stretch out the left leg but keep it at a 45-degree angle from the floor. At the same time, turn the upper body to face the right. The left elbow should almost touch the right knee.
•    The above step should be done again but using the other side of the body. The right leg is straight while the right elbow touches the left knee.
•    The above two steps are done alternately, with the legs resembling the pedaling motion of riding a bike.

2. Gym’s Captain’s Chair – the second best abs exercise which is popular in gyms.
•    While standing on the chair, the back is pressed towards the pad. Be sure to grab the handholds to prevent falling off.
•    By using force from the abdominal area, raise the legs and bring the knees towards the upper body. Breathe deeply and keep the back pressed to the pad.
•    Go back to the original position and repeat the above step.

3. Exercise Ball Crunch – the third best abs exercise using the exercise ball
•    Bring the ball under the mid to lower back area and lie on it. Make sure that the ball is stable and will not roll off.
•    With hands behind the head, lift the upper body off the ball by contracting the muscles in the abdomen.
•    Lower the body to have the torso lie again on the ball. Repeat the previous step.

4. Upright Leg Crunch – the fourth best abs exercise with nothing needed but the good old floor
•    While lying on the floor, bring the legs straight up into the air making right angles to the body. The hands are resting on the sides.
•    Cross the knees and lift the upper body with the chest moving towards the general direction of the feet. Maintain the position of the legs.
•    Lift as high as possible and then lower the shoulders. Repeat the above step.

5. Torso Track – the fifth best abs exercise but the toughest to accomplish. It can injure the back if not done right.
•    Firmly hold the Torso Track handles and, while inhaling, pull in the abs.
•    Slowly exhale as you move smoothly forward. Do not collapse for this will hurt the back
•    Go back to the first position while slowly contracting the abs. Repeat all three steps.

6. Long Arm Crunch – the sixth best abs exercise that focused on the upper abdominal muscles
•    While lying on your back, stretch out the arms beyond the hand and lace together the fingers. The upper arms should be near the ears.
•    Using the abs, lift the upper body, especially the shoulders, off the floor.
•    Hold and then go back to the first position.

7. Reverse Crunch – the seventh best abs exercise that works out the whole abdominal area
•    While lying on the floor with hands lying flat on the sides and ankles crossed, lift the knees and legs and move them towards the chest. The upper leg and the lower leg should form a right angle.
•    Then, using the abs, lift the hips and bring the legs straight up.
•    Lower the hips and legs and then repeat the lifting the above steps. Avoid swinging the legs.

8. Full Vertical Crunch – the eighth best abs exercise that engages the whole body
•    While lying on your back, lift the legs straight up.
•    Using the hands to support the head, lift the upper body off the floor. Keep the legs in its position. And the whole body would resemble a letter “J”
•    Release and lower the shoulders and leg. Then repeat the above steps.

9. Ab Rocker – the ninth best abs exercise that targets the six pack muscles
•    Sit comfortably on the Ab Rocker and firmly hold the bars or handles.
•    Move forward, making sure that the force is being supplied by the abdomen. Concentrate on the abdominal muscles and not the arms.
•    Slowly release and repeat the above steps.

10. Plank on Elbows and Toes – this tenth best abs exercise is also great in developing endurance.
•    While lying on the floor, face down and hands close to the body, spread out the hands against the floor.
•    Raise the upper body by pushing against the floor. Raise the toes and then rest on the elbows. The upper arm and the lower arm should create a right angle, with the lower arm parallel to the floor.
•    Contract the abs by keeping the line of the back straight from head to ankles. If needed, adjust the position of the pelvis downwards to achieve this straight line.
•    Hold the above position for at least 20 seconds and then slowly go back to the original position
All these abs exercises cannot guarantee the appearance of the six pack muscles. But these muscles will be developed, even though hidden by layers of fat. The key thing to remember is to keep working out to achieve the desired results.

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Do You Know Your Fitness Level?

Today we have a guest author and I know that you will enjoy his information.

In my practice I have never advocated to a patient that his goal in fitness should be to satisfy the people who have devised any given set of capabilities. This is not because I do not strongly advocate participation in any and all forms of physical recreation. All types of therapy, be they pill or scalpel, must be predicated on the needs of and advantages to the individual. This is also true of exercise.

My own practice ranges from athletes on the United States Olympic Team to patients who are bedridden with a variety of serious ailments. But many of my bedridden patients are in as good shape for them and their potentialities as are the Olympic athletes.

Physical fitness is judged on a sliding scale. One patient in particular has a flair for zestful, vigorous living. As an indirect result of his participation in World War I, he eventually required bilateral amputations of his legs above the thighs. But when he came to our summer cottage, this handicap as always was of secondary importance. Having divested himself of his artificial limbs, he would be carried by a couple of the younger men to the end of the dock and unceremoniously dumped. After the initial horrendous splash, he would bob to the surface, sputter a bit, and then make off for deep water.

Your own base line or yardstick is you at this moment. From now on you improve, you deteriorate, or you hold the line. This is where you start. And a medically sound beginning it is.

Consciously or unconsciously each sportsman has devised his own fitness testing. It may be formal (one more push-up, lopping two seconds off his hundred-yard swimming time, or returning to normal pulse less than three minutes after exercise) or informal (“it sure was easier to climb Mount Yahoo this year!”)—but it is there.

The most currently inept fitness enthusiast can outline his own testing program by using the following rules:

1. Measure areas relevant to your own recreational activity.

If you bicycle, time yourself once in a while over the same route. Do not think that a certain number of deep knee bends will greatly improve your ability to pitch a pup tent.

2. Always test yourself under the same conditions. Time of day, mood, weather, recent sleeping habits, and many other factors should be as similar as possible.

3. Measure for greater endurance. If you are now able to dog-paddle for 21 minutes, see if you can up this to 22 minutes. Or if you are weight-lifting 20 pounds ten times, see if you can press eleven times.

4. Measure for greater strength. If you are now completing six laps of the pool in 21 minutes, how about six and a half laps in the same time? If you are now pressing 20 pounds ten times, how about 25 pounds ten times?

5. Measure your own improvement. Fitness tests should not compare one sportsman with another or be used on a one-shot basis. Repeated evaluations are the key to good fitness tests. They should be used as a guide for the individual sportsman in his evaluation of self-improvement. In fact, most sportsmen know their general condition without ever resorting to formal testing.

6. If you are seeking general fitness, then devise over-all tests. Fitness should be total and not restricted to one area of the body. It makes little sense to work the legs hard without paying some attention to the arms. In testing yourself, test arms, trunk, and legs.

7. Make the goals simple enough to accomplish in a few weeks—or you will go stale and lose interest. A fifty-year-old executive who has been sedentary for twenty years may find a single push-up impossible. And it might take him six discouraging months to be able to do two. Obviously he should be doing “modified push-ups” rather than regular push-ups

If the above suggestions are incorporated into your own program of fitness evaluation, more technically scientific methods are unnecessary. However, properly understood, these tests do have value. Perhaps you may wish to adapt portions of them for yourself.

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Weighted Bench Dips Help Increase Upper Body Strength

Weighted Bench Dips

Your body will definitely benefit from doing weighted bench dips as  it is going to help build up the strength in your triceps along with working many other body parts as well. Along the front and back of your body the shoulders, chest, middle back, neck, lats and traps are all going to get worked out along with your triceps. Not only will the exercise build strength but, it will help burn off the fat quickly.
Also by increasing your upper body strength and size your midsection will appear more whittled, so you are creating an illusion of sculpting while you are also burning fat.

If you do not have a lot of upper body strength yet, the weighted bench dips will help build it quickly. This exercise is going to require two benches. There will be one placed in front of you and one behind you. Squat down a little and place your hands on the bench behind you. Place your hands so they are aligned with your shoulders. Straighten your arms out and carefully lift your feet up on the bench in front of you. With your feet on the bench you now want to cross your ankles. Your bottom foot will be resting on the heel of your shoe.

The feet crossed at the ankles and your arms fully extended straight up and down are known as the starting position. Slowly start bending your elbows and lowering your body toward the floor. Make sure while you are lowering your body you are inhaling. You do not want to lower your body to far down. Your elbows will be pointing at the wall behind you. When your elbows are pointing you will have your arms in a little less then a 90 degree angle.

Now you are going to exhale and start lifting your body back up. Lift up until your arms are straight up and down again. You will continue doing these motions until you have completed the recommended repetitions.

After some time of doing the weighted bench dips your strength is going to build up. At some point it will fell like your body weight is just not enough of a challenge to you anymore. You are now ready to go a step farther with this exercise.

You will need a partner to help you out with this step. When you are in the starting position have your partner get a flat weight. They are going to place the weight on your lap. Once the weight is in place you are now ready to start doing your weighted bench dips. Do not put more weight on your lap then you can comfortable handle at once. If the weight starts to slide do not panic. Your partner will see it moving and will put the weight back in your lap.

Although this exercise is mainly performed by men, the women would also gain from performing this exercise. Just use lighter weights. You’ll notice that it will help to sculpt your upper body, work on the fat that you may have along your back, workout your “bat wing” arms and more.

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What Are The Myths Surrounding 6 Pack Abs and Are You Falling For Them?

Are you falling for all the myths about 6 pack abs?

Since we all want to have those elusive 6 pack abs it seems as though we will fall for anything that we hear.

If someone says to buy this ab gadget or that ab gadget and then we think that by way of a miracle we can sit on the couch while our ab gadget goes to work and in a few weeks we will have rock hard abs. Well we all know that this is a bunch of crap yet, we fall for it since we want to believe that it really is that easy.

I’m sorry to have reality hit i you in the face but it isn’t that easy. Getting a 6 pack is going to be hard work.  Yes, you will actually have to work at it. However, if you avoid listening to all the myths and just follow advice that it true & honest you won’t waste your time or money in your quest for a nice six or eight pack.

Right below is one of my favorite videos ( and no I don’t get anything for saying that or showing you this video – I have no relationship at all with the video creator I just happen to really like it) that discusses the myths surrounding six-pack abs. What I particularly like is that as you go through the myths you learn the correct information and understand why the myth is false information. Some videos just tell you the myths but don’t explain why it is a myth and if you don’t understand the underlying information you’ll be apt to fall for similar half-truths or totally incorrect information.

I know that you will enjoy this video and that you will get a lot from it.

Now wasn’t that well worth you time & I know that you got a bit more insight into what it really takes to get six-pack abs. Now that you know more about it, you’ll be less likely to be tempted by gadgets and poor information. Now when someone asks you how to get six-pack abs you can tell them both the right information and which six-pack ab myths to stay away from.

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Reducing Lower Ab Fat

How to Reduce Lower Ab Fat

While men don’t often have this issue, most women have a tendency to collect fat in the lower ab area. Many times you will see it called a “pooch” and reducing lower ab fat is often challenging.

 The first step in reducing this lower ab fat is to go on a healthy diet.
Besides reducing calorie intake and balancing food groups, lower ab bulge can be reduced by flushing the system. Most people have undigested food in their intestines. Adding fiber and drinking water can serve to flush the system, thus reducing the size of the lower belly.  Now this will reduce the size of the belly area due to a swelling or filling up of the intestines but flushing doesn’t actually get rid of the fat, However you can often see a 2-3 inch difference after a flush or 3 day detox diet.

Always remember that in order to reduce fat anywhere on the body you will need to take in less calories than your body uses, so if you use a 2 pronged attack by lowering your calorie intake and then adding exercise to your day you will begin to burn off the low ab fat.

While exercise can help you burn more calories it can also help to tone and tighten muscles.  Now you may have heard that “spot toning” exercises can’t help you lose weight from a particular area of your body and that is true but remember that you will be watching what you eat so in addition to tightening your lower ab area you will also be burning off the fat.  So exercise is an important part of reducing your lower ab fat  – pooch.

Many gyms have machines suited for the lower abdomen, particularly if the gym is specific to women’s fitness needs. However, there are two simple exercises that can be done at home or in combination with a specific fitness program.

Lower Ab Crunches

  • Lie on the back. The exercise surface should be firm so as to support the spine. Place the hands under the buttocks, palms facing down.

  • Lift the legs so as to form an L shape with the body.

  • Tightening the stomach muscles gently lift the buttocks with the stomach muscles. The hands should only serve as a support for the lower back, whose majority should remain on the ground. The legs should remain straightened.

  • Continue the exercise as many times as needed, but for no longer than thirty seconds before the next round. The next round should take place after a thirty second break.

Lower Ab Leg Lift

  • Lie on the back. The surface should be firm as to support the spine. Place the hands palms down underneath the buttocks. These are not meant to help in the exercise. The hands are only meant to support the lower back.

  • Tightening the stomach muscles, lift the legs in a folding motion toward the ceiling. Keep the legs straight.

  • Return the legs back to the ground.

  • Continue the exercise as many times as needed, but for no longer than thirty seconds. Take a thirty second break before the next round.

Alongside a healthy diet, these two exercises can play a huge part in reducing lower ab fat.

Here is an excellent video that will walk you through lower ab exercises.  It has over 7 million views and is very popular ( and effective). Sometimes when you watch a video you get a better idea on how to do an exercise correctly.

Now that you have had a chance to see a few of the lower ab exercises, it’s your turn.
Just remember that before you start any new exercise program you check with your doctor to make sure that you are fit enough to exercise. Also remember, that if any time you feel any pain in your back – stop immediately.  You should never feel any pain.
Your muscles will get tired but you should not feel any pain.

In closing – remember to watch what you eat so that you can start burning off the fat, and then add in lower ab exercises to tighten and firm. In just a few short weeks you should see a big difference in the way that your pants feel and your lower ab looks.

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Breakfast Recipes for Great Abs

Breakfast Recipes for the Abs

Acquiring a fabulous six pack is not just about exercising. Healthier and stronger abs also calls for a good diet. The exercise plan to have great looking abs must be complemented with a healthy diet plan. The best diet will vary from one person to another, depending on height, weight, and age. There are diets for people with diabetes and there are diets for people who are involved in strenuous activities, such as the athletes. And then there are also abs diet recipes, which are geared towards having well developed abs.

To collect and stack abs diet recipes, the place to start is breakfast. Of all meals that a person must take, breakfast is the most crucial. This is essentially the first meal after many hours of fasting … while sleeping, of course. Therefore, whatever is taken by the body will have considerable effects. For great abs, here are recommended recipes to fire up the body’s metabolism.

Eggs, Oatmeal, Blueberries, and Milk

A person may cook or order the combination of 3 eggs, ½ cup oatmeal, 1 cup blueberries, and 1 cup fat-free milk. Together with a multivitamin, this power breakfast can provide enough energy to take on the whole day. The eggs and the milk provide the best proteins for body building. The oatmeal provides energy and fiber.  And the blueberries provide antioxidants that help the body repair the damages it sustained from pollution and stress. If eggs don’t attract the palate, low-fat turkey sausages or cottage cheese can be good substitutes. And if the oatmeal and blueberries are unattractive as well, they can be replaced by cereal with raisins and one orange fruit.

Banana Split Smoothie

On weekends when the day is slow, a more elaborate breakfast can be prepared. The needed ingredients are the following: one ripe banana, ½ cup vanilla flavored yoghurt (low fat, of course), 1/8 cup orange juice concentrate (originally frozen), ½ cup milk (1% fat only), 2 teaspoons of whey powder, and 6 pieces of crushed ice cubes.

To prepare this special treat for the taste buds and the abs, the procedure is simple. Just place all ingredients in a blender and switch on. Make a really smooth blend before serving these to friends.

Breakfast Bacon Burger

If bananas and smoothies is not really the breakfast style, then perhaps the bacon burger recipe will be more attractive. The ingredients needed are the following: 1 pack of English Muffin, ½ teaspoon of margarine (make sure that there is no trans-fat), 1 egg, 1 slice of American cheese (low fat), 1 slice of Canadian bacon, and vegetable that might be added.

To prepare this bacon burger, the muffin must first be split into two and then toasted. Spread the margarine on the insides and set aside. Break open the egg and place it in a microwavable dish. Prick the yolk so that it will slowly spill out. Cover the dish and microwave the egg at the highest power level for 30 seconds. Let it cool down for another 30 seconds before placing it in the muffin. Add the cheese and bacon to the muffin and then microwave again for 20 seconds. Garnish with vegetables and prepare to eat this breakfast.

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