2015 Post Holiday Heated Workout Week 4: “Cardio Pilates With A Kick”

Cardio and Pilates Workout Series

Now that the holidays have come and gone, you may still have some stress, an abundance of chores, plus a few extra pounds. So, how do you cope and what steps can you take to get back on track?

Finding the motivation to get our lives back in order after the holidays isn’t always an easy task, but if you set your goal(s), devise a plan, and prioritize your time, anything you put your energy and heart into can be accomplished.

This is the final week of my Post-Holiday Cardio Kick It Off workout series. It was created to help get your mind and body back into the game of life. The workout consists of Pilates strengthening exercises combined with cardio kickboxing drills to sweat off toxins and burn calories.

*NOTE: Refer to Week-1’s blog/video if you want to start this 4-week series from the beginning. It is never too late!

In previous weeks, I’ve provided many tips on how to get started, ways to plan and be proactive, and motivation to change old habits into healthy alternatives. I’d like to leave you with clarity, confidence, and simple thoughts to make the most of this kickstart fitness program and to make 2015 a success!

Recap: Tips for a Productive Start to the New Year


1. Set your goals
2. Create a realistic plan to accomplish the goal
3. Choose healthy ‘real’ foods daily and stay away from foods in boxes or cans! (If it tastes too good, it probably isn’t the best for you!)
4. Plan ahead & prioritize
5. Schedule time for yourself… and stick to it!
6. Rest & hydrate
7. Reevaluate & reassess your goals often
8. ALWAYS HAVE FUN!

Now let’s get into Week 4’s Workout Plan!

The Cardio & Pilates Movement Plan


Let’s start the New Year off right with a fat blasting, energizing, sweat defying fitness routine with a killer combination of Pilates and cardio kickboxing drills. This is the perfect combination to sweat off the unwanted weight from the holidays and build some lean, toned muscles in the process!

If you have been following along for all 3 weeks so far, CONGRATS! I hope you have found this workout series to be motivating. Getting you back on track is never easy and feeling the results! Keep up the good work!

*NOTE: If you are just joining in now, please refer to Week-1’s blog/video to start from the beginning when it’s convenient for you. It’s never to late to start this program!

Week 4 Workout:

Here’s how the 4-week series works.
• Each week, I provide you with a new set of exercises that are performed on your Total Gym as well as some kickboxing movements done on the floor.
• You will be given two different workouts per week with the option to add a third day by choosing the exercises that were provided from days 1 and 2.
• These exercises will be performed in circuit format, and then repeated a few sets through.

Each week builds upon the previous week so that at the end of the 4-week series, you will have many exercises to add to you routine!

* NOTE: Refer to the calendar provided below and watch the accompanying video to see how each exercise is performed!

Week 4 Calendar:

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This 4-week series has come to its end… but it does not mean it has to be over! I suggest repeating the series again to get the most out of the exercises and the plan. You can always intensify the workouts by adding a greater incline, increase your reps, or speed with the drills! You will know the routine better and be able to flow through the circuit with greater ease second time around!

Good luck with this week’s final workout program. I hope this Cardio Kick and Pilates series has gotten you back on track with your fitness goals and feeling great within your body.

Keep up the hard work!

Best,
Maria

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Health, Fitness & Happiness Blogs You Should Be Reading in 2015

Health, Fitness & Happiness Blogs For The New Year

Happiness Blogs

Making changes is what New Year’s resolutions are all about, whether it’s a decision to eat differently, run faster, eliminate clutter or decrease stress in your life. But sometimes you need a little guidance to help kick things off.

The bloggers on this list are successful in their fields, widely read and they recognize the importance of mental health along with physical health. These blogs are personal and positive. Whether you are looking for inspirational quotes, motivation to make an impactful change, or simply a place to connect with positive people, these blogs can provide it all plus more. Let this year be the one where you make good health and deep happiness yours.
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Total Gym Shoulder Strengthening Exercises, Phase II

Shoulder Strengthening Exercises Phase II

Shoulder Strengthening Phase 2

The first post in this series demonstrates some great Total Gym exercises that aim to increase your strength and awareness of your shoulder muscles. If you’ve been doing these exercises regularly and can feel your shoulders getting stronger, you’re ready to up the intensity. You can do this by increasing the resistance and/or changing the exercises. This post demonstrates some new exercises that you can add to your routine. Feel free to incorporate the Phase 1 strengthening exercises from the first post as a warm up to the new routine.

The Phase 2 routine focuses on the upper body. It can be a standalone program or incorporated into a lower body routine for a total body approach. Aim to do these exercises at least 2 – 4 times per week. This routine focuses on muscular endurance and strength.
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How To Practice Mindful Meditation Part II

More Methods To Make Meditation A Habit

Hey Total Gym Team! After receiving popular results and positive feedback from the last meditation blog, I would like to expand on some more benefits and ways to build your own practice until it becomes a healthy, peaceful, daily habit.

To start, you should probably review my short meditation blog and accompanying video. In this post I will build on the methods of mindful mediation from in Part 1.

I have been meditating for over twenty years and teaching for more than seven. In this post I would like to address the top five questions that I’ve been asked by the thousands of students I have taught over the years:
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2015 Post Holiday Heated Workout Week 3: “Cardio Pilates With A Kick”

Power Pilates And Killer Cardio Kickboxing Drills

*NOTE: If you are just joining in now, please refer to Week-1’s blog/video to start from the beginning when it’s convenient for you. It’s never to late to start this program!

The holiday’s of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, and New Years’ have come and gone and now is the time to get your diet and workout routine back in shape!

One of the biggest joys of the holiday season is all the delicious food you may only have once a year. These flavorful assortments of cookies, rich appetizers, eggnog and other festive drinks taste so good going down, but can be so difficult to burn off. It’s wonderful to indulge during this time, however now that it’s over, how do you pick up where you left off?
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The Best Way To Hit Your Core On The Total Gym

Why the AbCrunch is More Effective Than Traditional Crunches and Ab Machines

Hey Total Gym team! This video demonstrates my favorite accessory to get a flatter stomach, a stronger core, and six-pack abs: the AbCrunch for the Total Gym.

As you will see, it easily attaches to your Total Gym, high on the rails, near the tower so that your forearms rest on the AbCrunch and your knees or toes will be secured on the glide board. From this position there are a variety of options to get a great abdominal workout for all fitness levels. It will not only strengthen and tone your abs, but it’s a great workout for your entire core.

A Definition of the Core

The best definition I have heard to describe the core is from my physical therapy and Pilates colleagues. Your core is every muscle that stabilizes, protects and moves the spine. Picture a big rectangle from the top of your shoulders to the middle of you pelvis, but not only the muscles you can see in the mirror. The muscles in the back of this rectangle that support your spin are equally if not more important.

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2015 Post-Holiday Heated Workout Week 2: Cardio Pilates With A Kick

Post Holiday Weight Loss Workout: Cardio and Pilates with the Total Gym

Start the New Year off with a new set of goals, focused ambition, and a great workout to get you started! This is the perfect time to realign your thoughts and put your energy towards a specific goal, a new achievement, or positive change for yourself.

Let’s kick-start your fitness routine with this killer combination of Pilates and cardio kickboxing drills. This is the perfect combination to burn off those extra calories from the holidays and build lean, toned muscles in the process! Continue Reading >>

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What’s Causing Your Cravings?

The Meaning Behind Food Cravings

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What Do Your Cravings Mean?

  • Craving sweet foods may mean you need more sweetness in your life or that you do not feel sweet enough.
  • Craving smooth or creamy foods could mean that you are feeling like life is very rough and turbulent or there is an area in your life that you wish was easier.
  • Craving crunchy, salty foods may mean that you are angry or frustrated at something or someone. Kind of like the “stew and chew.”
  • Craving warm foods could mean you are longing for some emotional warmth from someone.
  • Craving spicy foods may mean you want more excitement in your life.

The Science Behind Food Cravings

Three regions of the brain – the hippocampus, insula, and caudate – appear to be activated during food-craving episodes, according to new research from the Monell Chemical Senses Center. Their brain tests suggest that memory areas of the brain (which are responsible for associating a specific food with a reward) are actually more important to food cravings than the brain’s reward center.
Further, blocking the opiate receptors in the brain (the pleasure sensors) can blunt a person’s desire to eat foods rich in fat and sugar, according to new research by Adam Drewnowski, PhD of the University of Washington, whose research includes issues of taste and food preferences.

How Stress Leads to Cravings

Beyond the physiological reasons, food cravings often have something to do with emotion and desire. “Food cravings arise to satisfy emotional needs, such as calming stress and reducing anxiety,” says Drewnowski. For many of us, our cravings peak and become hard to control when we are stressed or anxious. Research suggests that carbohydrates boost our levels of the hormone serotonin, and it appears that the combination of fat and sugar may also have a calming effect.
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Christie Brinkley Shows Off Her Incredible Bikini Body at 60!

Christie Brinkley Shows Off Her Incredible Bikini Body at 60!

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Only getting better with age!

Christie Brinkley rang in the 2015 New Year alongside her three children on the islands of Turks and Caicos. And family time turned into a photo shoot—one that produced this incredible shot of the supermodel!

Just one month away from turning 61, a grinning Brinkley took a dip in the crystal clear Atlantic Ocean clad in a teeny, triangle-top bikini—a moment she captured and shared via her Instagram account on Sunday, Jan. 4. The fun photo showcased Billy Joel’s ex’s incredible physique, still svelte nearly 40 years into her career as one of the world’s biggest models.

“Heaven, I’m in Heaven,” Brinkley captioned the image, punctuating the words to the 1935 hit, “Cheek to Cheek,” with music notes.

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Beginners Guide To Muscle Anatomy for Strength Training

Beginners Guide To Muscle Anatomy for Strength Training

muscles, bones, and how they come into play with your strength training

Ever hear your training instructor say,“Today let’s work the quadriceps, lats, and pecs?” And you think: I have no idea what they are even talking about!

Often exercises are named according to the body part worked, but sometimes they are ambiguous leading you to wonder as to what muscle group you are working. Learning basic anatomy for strength training can enhance your results because you will know what and where you are working and identify correctly when you may be compensating. Visualization has been shown to increase physical gains, so if you can picture the muscles you are working, you may enhance your results.
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