Monthly Archives: June 2014

How to Perform the Best Plank

Plank is an isometric strength exercise that requires maintaining engagement of the core muscles for an extended period of time. The most common plank is the front plank which is held in a push-up position with the body’s weight distributed onto the arms, legs and toes. Amanda Rose, from Amanda Rose Wellness reminds us that form is key.

plank 1

Why do I plank?

  1. It requires complete concentration and focus.
  2. It strengthens the lower back, rectus abdominis (your eight-pack) and the transverse abdominis (the corset of muscles that hug your middle).
  3. It builds strength in the stabilizer muscles of the back (traps, rhomboids, rotator cuffs), all three parts of the shoulders, chest muscles, biceps, triceps, butt, quadriceps and calves.
  4. It doesn’t require any fancy or expensive equipment.
  5. It promotes good posture and prevents back injuries by teaching your core to stay contracted in a regular standing position.

There are so many variations of plank that you can always try modifications to challenge yourself. Such examples include side plank, single leg plank, single arm plank, TRX plank and revolving plank.

plank 2

Did you know? The longest time in abdominal plank position is 1 hour 20 minutes and 05.01 seconds and was achieved by George Hood in Naperville, IL, USA on December 3, 2011.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to perform the plank at home:

  1. Come into a narrow push-up position with your shoulders directly over your elbows and your elbows directly over your wrists. Arms are perpendicular to the floor and torso is parallel to the floor.
  2. Spread your fingers and press the bases of your index finger deeply into the floor.
  3. Squeeze the muscles of the biceps and triceps. Press your outer arms inward.
  4. Firm your shoulder blades against your back and spread your collarbones away from the sternum.
  5. Press your quadriceps or front thighs towards the ceiling. Activate the shin and calf muscles. Push into the ground to help lift the body up.
  6. Keep your spine in a neutral position and your back flat. Picture your body as a long straight board or plank. Get it?
  7. Tuck the tailbone down and lift the pubic bone up. Keep the navel in. Contract the abs towards your spine.
  8. Lift your head away from your neck and gaze down towards the floor.
  9. Breathe. Smile 🙂
  10. Hold as long as you can. Aim for 20-30 seconds in the beginning and work your way up to one minute or longer as you get stronger. Repeat two to three times.

Eager to try the plank? Check out ZaxFit Extreme Core Challenge!

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

Amanda Rose, creator of Warrior Fight Club, shares her insight into the benefits of HIIT or high intensity interval training.

“Although my first love is yoga, I have been incorporating more cardio into my workouts,” says Amanda. “With a history of cardiovascular disease in my family, I understand and respect the need for a healthy heart.”

Considering that the #1 excuse people use for not exercising is lack of time, intervals are a perfect solution. It is quick, effective and to the point.

Interval training incorporates the body’s two energy systems: the aerobic and anaerobic. The aerobic system uses oxygen to convert carbohydrates into energy. When you run or walk for several miles, you are tapping into this system. The anaerobic system draws energy from fuel stored as glycogen in the muscles for short bursts of energy, such as sprinting. This system doesn’t utilize oxygen and cannot provide enough energy for a sustained effort.

sweat abs

Because intervals require both systems, interval training has lots of benefits:

1. Increase calorie burn: The more vigorously you exercise, the more calories you burn! But interval training can also cause an “afterburn effect,” where the body burns more calories anywhere from 24 to 48 hours post-workout. So when you are relaxing on the couch, the furnace is still cooking. In addition, it boosts metabolism and builds lean muscle.

2. Improve cardio function: Intervals cause your heart and lungs to become bigger, stronger and able to adjust to sudden intense challenges (like running to catch a bus). Plus, it allows you to exercise longer and with more intensity, which improves your overall athletic performance.

3. Focus on fun: Because intervals are short you’re less likely to become bored. Intervals add a nice variety to traditional workouts, especially since you can vary the intensity level, length of work, rest intervals and number of reps. You can even opt to change the type of exercise by riding a bike, running on a treadmill or even jumping rope. The great thing about interval training is that there is no one way of doing it. Different lengths of work and recovery bring different benefits and challenges, all of which are good.

4. Lessen your time commitment: As I previously mentioned, you can do intervals in a short amount of time. My workouts average 20 to 23 minutes and I am completely spent! I have no excuse to not get it done and neither will you. AsOne’s Deck of Cards and Basic Circuit are particularly good and short as they are under 20 minutes each!

5. Improve your health: Interval training can improve insulin sensitivity, optimize cholesterol levels and decrease blood pressure.

DISCLAIMER: Interval training is tough, so if you’re just starting to work out, spend at least one month working on your stamina with steady intensity cardio workouts before incorporating intervals into your routine.  Add these intervals in slowly and avoid repeating them on consecutive days. Intervals are hard on the body so give yourself ample rest and be sure to practice yoga too!

Booya features some amazing interval training workouts—check out our Bootcamps for guidance from the best trainers in the industry!

Booking a Hotel with Fitness in Mind

hotel bed

If you want to plan a vacation but don’t want to stray away from your health it’s easier thank you think to getaway and stay active. The first step in any trip planning (other than the destination) is choosing accommodations. Plenty of hotels make exercising and eating healthy an integral part of their business model. In addition, most booking sites have filters to narrow down your preferences to those hotels with gyms, pools or workout programs.

Here are some things to look for when booking your hotel with fitness in mind:

1) Gym

It seems obvious but many people overlook this detail when making reservations. The majority of hotels offer fitness centers for their guests but there are a few that don’t. Other hotels may not have a gym on site but partner with local fitness centers to offer guests complimentary access to their facilities. Take your laptop to the gym with you to Booya or if gym access is unavailable, Booya in your hotel room.

2) Pool

Swimming is a great exercise that is easy on the joints and gets your heart pumping. Go for more than just a dip to keep that bikini body! If you’re heading to a warm destination, swim laps in an outdoor pool or in the ocean. Many hotels also have indoor pools so be sure to choose the one that’s best for the season you’re travelling in.

3) Healthy Food

Is there a breakfast-buffet where you’re staying? Head towards protein, vegetables and fruit to avoid the decadent pastries. Most hotels offer a variety of healthy food options but if they’re lacking in variety, pick up your own healthy snacks and keep in the mini fridge.  Storing fruits and other healthy snacks in your room means you always have a good option to reach for.

4) Spa

Bump up the relaxation with a massage or trip to the sauna. It’s important to treat your body as well as your mind when on vacation. Spas are great for promoting muscle recovery as well.

Links to additional posts HERE