Fitness Tips

You Should Master These 6 Exercises Before the New Year (And Here's How)

The new year is almost upon you, and it's time to refine your foundational movements. Here are 6 exercises you need to perfect (and how) before you reinvent your routine on January 1st:

Personal Trainer Exercise: Squat Over Bench or Chair

Prompt: Feet straight and hip width, screw in the feet, draw in the belly button, hinge at the hips, tuck the chin (to create neutral spine)
Progression (15-20 reps):
-Knees in line with hips
-Knees in line with hips while holding 5 lb dumbbells
-Knees in line with hips while holding 10 lb dumbbells
-Knees in line with hips...away from the seat
-Knees in line with hips...away from the seat while holding 5 lb dumbbells
-Knees in line with hips...away from the seat while holding 10 lb dumbbells

Personal Trainer Exercise: Walking Lunge

Prompt: Feet straight and hip width, draw in the belly button, plant the front foot, screw in the foot, slight hinge at the hips, tuck the chin (to create neutral spine), feet together
Progression (15-20 reps):
-Drop 1 inch
-Drop 2 inches
-Drop 3 inches

Personal Trainer Exercise: Step Up

Prompt: Screw in one foot on the step (heel under the knee), draw in the belly button, slight hinge at the hips, tuck the chin (to create neutral spine), bring opposite knee forward
Progression (15-20 reps):
-6-inch step
-9-inch step
-12-inch step
-15-inch step
-18-inch step

Personal Trainer Exercise: Stairclimber

Prompt: Draw in the belly button, slight hinge at the hips, tuck the chin (to create neutral spine)
Progression (time):
-Increase your time by 30 seconds each week/1 minute higher level and then 1 minute lower level....alternate

Personal Trainer Exercise: Pulldown

Prompt: Feet straight with heels under knees, screw in the feet, shoulders above your hips, draw in the belly button, keep the bar straight across
Progression (15-20 reps):
-45 lbs
-52 lbs
-60 lbs

Personal Trainer Exercise: Dumbbell Curl (1 Arm at a Time)

Prompt: Feet straight and hip width, screw in the feet, draw in the belly button, hips under your shoulders, elbow tucked to your side
Progression (15-20 reps):
-8 lbs
-10 lbs
-12 lbs
-15 lbs

Photo Credit:–Are they properly performing a squat?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness
You Should Master These 6 Exercises Before the New Year (And Here's How)
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

"Are Hot Workouts Healthier?" Review

If you intend to take (or currently attend) anything from Bikram yoga to heated spin classes, you'll want to read the truth behind these "hot" workouts...they may not have the health benefits you think (from the article Are Hot Workouts Healthier?)!

From Bikram yoga to heated spin classes, fitness gyms are turning up the heat. What to know before you go.

Latosha Lovell is always willing to try something once. "That's sort of my philosophy about life," says the 45-year-old interior designer in Pasadena, California. So when a friend invited her to check out The Sweat Shoppe, a new heated spin studio in North Hollywood, last March, she saddled up. The workout, she thought, could be the perfect cardio substitution for her regular treadmill sessions that had begun to wear on her knees.

That first class was a fog. "I was totally exhausted and a little confused" afterward, Lovell recalls. But the prevailing memory is a positive one: "I felt completely amazing." She soon began taking up to five classes at The Sweat Shoppe each week and now credits the studio with her 8-pound weight loss, strong lower body and core, reduced environmental allergies and mental grit. "It's greatly improved my quality of life on the health level," she says.

While The Sweat Shoppe is the country's first heated spin studio, it's not the only place taking a cue from Bikram yoga – a style of hot yoga that took off in the 1970s. Plenty of studios are turning up the heat during exercise classes, a practice that owners claim intensifies workouts, among other benefits. Gym-goers are eating it up: The Sweat Shoppe, for one, opened with both heated and non-heated classes, but switched to exclusively offering hot classes to keep up with the demand, says Mimi Benz, who founded the studio with her spin instructor husband in 2011 after a broken air conditioner in a spin class spurred the idea.

"People were really into the heated thing," she says. The studio has since relocated to a larger space and has seen a relatively consistent 30 percent growth in revenue year over year, Benz says. The heated classes at CorePower Yoga, a studio chain that fuses the mindfulness of yoga with the intensity of other workouts, meanwhile, are the most popular and widely offered, says Heather Peterson, the company's chief yoga officer. The chain opened its first studio in 2002 and now has 150. "A lot of people just love a really good sweat," she says.

Hot and Beneficial or Hot and Bothered?

Burn more calories and lose weight by working harder; cleanse the body by sweating more; reduce risk of injury by loosening the muscles – there are plenty of theories as to why heated fitness classes may be healthier than their cooler counterparts, but most raise eyebrows among exercise professionals.

"The only benefits [are] if you're an endurance athlete and you're trying to train for a race and you're trying to acclimatize your body and mind toward exercise in the heat," says Diana Zotos Florio, a physical therapist and yoga teacher in the New York City area. "Otherwise, all of the proposed benefits … aren't true. There's no point; there's more risk than anything else. We're just not designed for it."

Still, most experts agree that people who are in good shape and lack certain medical conditions can benefit from heated workouts, as they would from any exercise. "I certainly advocate and promote exercise – you just have to have the preparation and the tolerance level for what you're about to undertake, and then it can be a fun thing and probably pretty good for you," says Michael Bergeron, senior vice president of development and applications in the Center for Advanced Analytics in Sport & Health at Game Changer Analytics. "I just don't think there's anything particularly special about it."

Tempted to turn up the temperature on your workout? Heed these expert tips first:

1. Know the risks.

Some people – namely those with heart or lung problems – should avoid heated workouts. Pregnant women and those taking medications that affect body temperature should consult with their doctors before taking a hot class. And everyone else should be aware of the very real risks of dehydration and overheating, says Dr. Jason Zaremski, an assistant professor in the University of Florida College of Medicine's department of orthopedics and rehabilitation.

"The major concern is that your body's core temperature will begin to rise and you put your internal organs and central nervous system at risk," he says. Another issue: Getting too tired too soon can affect your posture and alter your ability to control your muscles and movements, boosting your risk for injury, Bergeron adds. As Zotos puts it, "people tend to stretch deeper [in heated classes,] but they're not ready for it," she says. "That's where you tend to get injuries to your tendons or ligaments."

2. Do your research.

"Hot" varies from class to class – some may hover around 80 degrees; a Bikram yoga class will be close to 105 degrees. Humidity and ventilation differ, too. All make a big difference in your ability to handle – and benefit from – heated classes, experts say. Benz recommends talking to the studio ahead of time about the room's environment; The Sweat Shoppe, which keeps its classes at 80 to 84 degrees, for example, has cooler "microclimates" in the room where newbies can sit.

3. Manage expectations.

If you're a fitness enthusiast looking for a new challenge or an elite athlete personal training for a race, a heated class could be a good fit. But if you're trying to burn more calories while doing less work, trim fat or "detox," keep in mind the support for such benefits is thin at best. "Hotter workouts are harder than performing the exact same workout at a lower temperature; thus, you will burn more calories," Zaremski concedes. "But if you cannot maintain the same level of intensity and exertion in a heated environment … this defeats the purpose."

Looking to lose fat? Stick to an air-conditioned gym, Bergeron advises. "As your body heats up, you favor burning carbohydrate versus fat," he says. "So, even though you may feel you are getting a 'better' workout, if burning body fat is your goal, exercise in cool conditions."

And while it's true that exercising in hotter conditions can increase plasma volume, reduce resting heart rate, improve cardiovascular efficiency and enhance your sweat mechanism, “these adaptations vary and are dependent on multiple factors,” such as how hard, long and often you work out in those conditions, Zaremski points out. Simply exercising, Zotos says, is the safer way to reap the benefits of an elevated heart rate.

And the idea that sweating profusely purges your body of toxins? Hogwash, experts say. "What you're sweating out is just sodium and calcium and potassium, and those are nutrients your body needs," Zotos says. "The only way you detoxify is by having a fully functioning liver and kidneys." Even The Sweat Shoppe's Benz agrees that the research isn't there to support heat's cleansing effect on the body. "We don't really do it for the detoxing thing," she says, "even though I know people were drawn to that word."

4. Listen to your body – and your buddy.

The Sweat Shoppe instructors are trained to recognize signs of fatigue, teach modifications and encourage people to sit, stop or slow down if they start feeling lightheaded, Benz says. "We don't push people." That's important, experts say, since the heated environment can actually reduce your capability to recognize your limits. "Overheating can affect your brain and cognitive function; thus, you are often not the best person to assess your own status and stop," says Bergeron, who recommends the buddy system for heated classes.

5.Drink lots – lots – of water.

The morning after Ali Hines' first Bikram yoga class, she threw up. "It wasn't the class," says the 31-year-old in District of Columbia, whose next heated classes went smoother. "I just didn't prepare or I didn't drink enough water." Indeed, drinking enough water is the No. 1 priority before heading to a hot workout, pros say. And in heated classes, "enough" probably means more than you think. "Make sure you're well-hydrated well in advance of getting there," says Chris Fluck, a Bikram yoga instructor in Philadelphia, who also recommends adding a pinch of salt to your water after class to replenish minerals lost through sweat.

6. Believe in yourself.

When Lovell feels like she can't push any harder during a fitness class, she draws on the energy of the riders around her and reminds herself that getting through the workout will only make her stronger. It works. "When you're in there and you're subject to that level of heat, you have to get out of your head, and it takes a lot of mental strength to get through that," she says. "It's helped me in other areas of my life."

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

Is a "hot" workout the right approach for you? What other dangers or cautions have you identified?

Are you having trouble losing weight? You may need to change your morning routine. Read 30 Best Breakfast Habits to Drop 5 Pounds.

Picture Credit:© Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images-Do you need to sweat to lose weight or achieve your best shape?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article " Are Hot Workouts Healthier? " on
"Are Hot Workouts Healthier?" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.
Transform your life with Michael's s elf-help book Redefine Yourself here !

Transform your life with Michael's self-help book Redefine Yourself here!


"15 Reasons You're Not Getting Results In The Gym" Review

It's 2 months after NYE and you're probably frustrated with your results in the gym (or lack of). Besides hiring a personal trainer in Chicago :) to amp up your fitness sessions, you may want to take a look at these 9 reasons why and reshape your approach to exercise (from the article "15 Reasons You're Not Getting Results In The Gym"). Create the best you in 2016-It's still early!


You're not even there in spirit. You might show up and execute all sets and reps, but you're doing it without any attempt to improve since your last workout.


You choose your favorite muscle groups and then fail to do the ones you don't enjoy doing, usually by procrastinating them into Sunday. And then you say, "Oh well, I'll start fresh on Monday." But on Monday you don't start with the muscle groups you neglected, and work your favorite ones again, resulting in complete lack of stimulation of your weak spots for weeks.


You go work out at the happy hour time when everyone else is working out. You do this subconsciously so you have an excuse to avoid the compound moves since everyone is doing them, and the racks where you perform those compound moves are busy.


You don't time yourself between sets, so they end up being 5-minutes long and you're not a powerlifter trying to max out on singles. Then at 45-minutes into your workout, you've got to go, and you've only done 10 sets.


You allow yourself to exercise only when you're in the mood for it, but sadly you're not in the mood that often.


You get wasted on cardio when you're trying to lean up the meat on those wheels.


How do you know it's too light? You're not worried that if you lose focus you'll get hurt. If you're not getting hurt when you lose focus it's not a heavy enough weight.


You're doing half reps, and fail to do more than two reps when the set is supposed to be hypertrophic around 10. But your ego says, "Keep trying and some day you'll make 10." Yes, but in the meantime, pick a pair of bells you can actually handle!


You are convinced that all buff physiques are a result of excellent genetics. This translates to a perfect reason for you to not try and make the best out of what you've got, and hence you're completely missing out on maximizing your potential.

What do you think are the reasons for your lack of success in the gym?

Picture Credit: - When was the last time you looked at your fitness approach? Are you napping on the cardio equipment too?

Article Credit:
Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article "15 Reasons You're Not Getting Results In The Gym" on
"15 Reasons You're Not Getting Results In The Gym" Review
Learn how to lose weight from a personal trainer in Chicago.

7 Healthy Habits All Truly Fit People Follow

You’ve heard that being fit is all about "the lifestyle," and not the quick fix, so today I’d like to give you a glimpse into the habits that fit people follow on a regular basis.

These seven habits are held by people who are successfully fit. In other words, the people who have learned to maintain their fitness and good health for the long run.

1. They See Each Day with Perspective

Fail to meet your fitness goals today? Move on. Tomorrow is another day to make smarter decisions. When you wake up, rededicate yourself to your fitness goals without beating yourself about whatever mistakes you made in the past. After all, you can’t change what you did yesterday. All you can control is right now, so get to it!

2. They Know Their Bodies

When you finish a workout, you should feel good. If you don’t, then something needs to change. Either your weight loss diet or routine is throwing you off. Fit people know how everything they do affects their body and they take steps to avoid the things that don’t allow them to feel and perform their best. Learn how your body responds and care for it accordingly.

3. They Find Ways Around the Reasons

If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t quite get fit, it may be your proclivity for caving to pressure. And that pressure may be self-induced. Fit people do not give into excuses for why they shouldn’t exercise. Quite the contrary — they are continually finding reasons why they should hit the gym and find pockets of time to do it, even if the trip to the gym is shorter than usual.

4. They Eat and Sleep Well

Study after study has shown the benefit of eating whole, unprocessed foods. It provides energy and strength, helps you feel full throughout the day, and makes your time in the gym as fruitful as possible. Getting good sleep is equally as important, as it keeps all your bodily systems in rhythm. Put these two fit activities together and you’re well on your way to optimal fitness.

5. They Track Progress

For some, keeping tabs on health progress is about as exciting as watching paint dry. Once you get into the routine, however, you will become a believer in the power of tracking your progress. Tracking serves to both reward and motivate you, as you see that the countless hours in the gym and smart food choices lead to a healthier weight and greater strength — aka, better overall fitness and health.

6. They Think During Exercise

It can be easy to mindlessly run on a treadmill at the gym if you’re not careful. Just remember that fit people don’t usually do this. They’re very intentional about everything they do at the gym. This means if you want to be fit, you should put some brainpower into what you include in your workout and how you perform each repetition. This allows you to get maximum benefit from your gym time and reduces the risk of injury.

7. They Lean on a Personal Trainer (or Another Trusted Health Professional)

The final thing fit people do is rely on someone with lots of know-how in the realm of fitness. This is why my personal training clients have such a high success rate in achieving their goals — because I make sure that they stick with it! I have a sincere interest in their overall health and well-being and know how to help them reach goals that can seem so far away when you’re trying to achieve them on your own.

Picture Credit:

Article Credit:
Author: Jesse Jackson from The Active Times
7 Healthy Habits All Truly Fit People Follow
Healthy diet and fitness habits personal training clients should follow.

3 Things Guaranteed to Lead to Workout Injuries

Are you dealing with any injuries while going to the gym or meeting with a personal trainer in Chicago? You may want to make the following changes during your next fitness session.



No one likes to be sidelined by injury. Not just because of the pain and discomfort but also because you may not be able to work. It is a double whammy that can sometimes be very harmful to your health. It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced lifter or new to lifting, we are all subjected to possible injuries. So how can we avoid injury during a workout? Make sure to pay attention to these five things that can lead to injury during a workout, train smart and listen to your body.


This by far is the number one reason why people get injured. Trying to perform an exercise that you are not proficient in or using too much weight is commonly seen in the weight room. Many of us may think we are strong enough, fit enough and smart enough to know we have the right technique but oftentimes I see people trying to move ahead to fast. The “I want it now” and “I am ready to push it too the limits” attitude has it’s pitfalls.

If you are performing an advanced exercise, say the deadlift or power clean, make sure you are using proper form and move up in weight slowly. You also may need to use a regressed movement pattern in order to master that exercise before you even do it. Also watch the volume of your workout. Quality will always trump quantity.


A warm-up serves two crucial purposes; it enhances performance and prevents injury. An active warm-up that includes dynamic stretching and muscle activation exercises increases body heat and blood flow. An increase in blood flow means that your muscles will be receiving more oxygen, and increased body temperature helps your muscles contract and relax more rapidly, making them more pliable and increases range of motion. Your range of motion directly relates to you performing a movement more efficiently and safely. Make sure to warm-up before every workout to reduce the risk of injury.


During a workout your body goes through tremendous stress. Without proper recovery methods such as proper nutrition, sleep and rest days, you run the risk of overtraining – which can lead to injury. If you are working out and are feeling sluggish, tired, weak and maybe even a little under the weather, this is a recipe for a pulled muscle and terrible workout. If you are feeling pain during a workout that is more injury related and not workout related (example: your muscles burring or lung gasping for air), you may need to call it quits and go home to avoid injury.

Picture Credit:

Article Credit:
Author: Justin Grinnell from Muscle and Fitness
3 Things Guaranteed to Lead to Workout Injuries (Adapted from the article 5 Things Guaranteed to Lead to Workout Injuries)
Avoid these workout mistakes while meeting with a personal trainer in Chicago.