Chest exercises aren't just for men. Women can benefit from a solid upper body routine, too. The workouts below can help improve your posture and build upper-body strength. Plus, it can help tone and shape your body, which gives you an extra boost of confidence.
Give these five workouts a try for a smoother, firmer bust:
Add this simple but effective exercise to your routine to kick things off. Push-ups are awesome for building upper-body strength and arm muscles.
Keep in mind that push-ups alone won't be enough to tone and strengthen your upper body. You'll also want to work in some weight resistance exercises to work other muscle groups.
Medicine Ball Throw
Medicine balls are a great tool for building upper body strength, and using them is easy. Pick up a ball and lift it over your head with both hands. Then, throw it straight down onto the floor as hard as possible. Repeat 20 times for a full set.
You'll see results in your shoulders, arms, and chest. Throw the ball as hard as you can for the most impact. The harder you throw, the more the exercise will work for you.
Standing Y Raise
Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand. Hold the weights in front of you then raise them up into a Y position and bring them back down. Keep your core strong throughout the move and feel the movement in your shoulder blades. You can also do this move using TRX.
Rear Lateral Raise
Again, start with feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. This time, bend your knees and fold your torso until you're almost parallel with the surface you're standing on. Starting with your arms in front of you, raise your arms out the sides. Hold at shoulder height, then lower. You should do this exercise in 30-second intervals with 15 seconds rest in between.
Bench Press On A Stability Ball
Lie with your back on the ball and feet flat on the floor with knees at a 90 degree angle. With a weight in each hand, hands facing forward, start from the armpit and slowly push the weight up and above the chest. Lower your arms back down. The bench press on a stability ball works out your chest, triceps, and core all at the same time.
Build Strength, Build Confidence
Including chest exercises in your routine can help you work out trouble spots and gain upper body strength. Add some variety to your weekly routine to keep things interest and focus on an area you may be neglecting. To learn more about building a personalized plan for your fitness, give me a call today.
Speaking of TRX, you can get a full-body slim-down with these seven go-to TRX moves. Download my free workout to get started.
*This post has been updated and republished for accuracy & freshness.
Most people think eating healthy is enough to keep their weight down and tone muscles. But, often, they're not eating as healthy as they believe they are.
In fact, plenty of "healthy foods" can actually make you gain weight. And these five so-called health foods are probably the worst culprits.
1. Whole Wheat Bread
If you think you're doing your body a favor by swapping sugar-filled white bread with whole wheat, you're only half-right.
Though most experts agree whole wheat bread is healthier than white bread, eating whole wheat carbs for every meal actually has the potential to make you gain weight.
This is because carbohydrates (even the complex version found in whole grains) are readily converted into glucose. Eating lots of carbs creates excess glycogen (glucose stores), which leads to fat buildup.
While whole wheat fibers are clearly a better choice than processed white flour, they should still be consumed in moderation. You can get the minerals and fiber found in whole wheat bread from much healthier sources. It's always a safer bet to skip the bread altogether.
2. Real Nut Butter
Natural nut butters are loaded with protein. But they're also chock-full of fat. If you want to avoid packing on extra pounds, decrease your consumption of real nut butters. A single tablespoon of raw almond butter is 100 calories. Although almond butter contains good amounts of fiber, protein, calcium and vitamin E, its high-calorie count can add up fast.
Instead of spooning out nut butters, try eating a handful of whole nuts. These contain the health benefits of nut butter but are lower in calories.
Avocados are nutritional powerhouses. You have probably heard they have the good monounsaturated fat that's awesome for heart health. Experts also claim that avocados are great for eye health, bone health, digestion, cancer prevention and natural detoxification.
So how can such a healthy fruit (yep, it's a fruit) make you gain weight? It all comes down to moderation. When eaten in moderation, avocados are a great superfood for your diet. However, when eaten in excess, they can potentially cause weight gain.
Avocados are high in calories and high in fat. This can cause you to feel tired after eating them, which can lead to overeating and weight gain.
4. Tropical Fruit
We can all agree: tropical fruit tastes amazing. Plus, fruits like pineapple, mangos, papayas and bananas are full of vitamins and antioxidants. Unfortunately, eating a bunch of these fruits could cause weight gain.
These fruits are loaded with natural sugar. Although natural sugars are easier for your body to process than processed sugars, they can still contribute to weight gain. Don't be afraid to grab a banana every once-in-a-while. But, if you find yourself craving fruit for your everyday snack, choose fruits lower in sugar like green apples, berries or pomegranates.
5. Natural Granola
Athletes who want to increase muscle mass usually go for granola. Granola is usually made with rolled oats, sugar and a combination of healthy fats like coconut oil and nuts. Some people stir in dried fruit for extra nutrients and flavor.
That being said, most store-bought granolas are high in sugar, which could potentially cause you to gain weight. Some brands are bigger culprits than others. If you're a granola addict, try to make your own granola instead of buying it at grocery stores. You can choose the toppings you like and sugars with a lower glycemic index like coconut sugar, honey, stevia and xylitol.
Eating healthy is the key to losing weight. But if you aren’t careful, what you eat can do just the opposite. Try to limit how much of these five foods you eat to help prevent gaining extra pounds.
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Aerobic and anaerobic exercises sound like the same thing, but they each have different pros and cons. So which is better for losing weight? And which should you add to your workout routine?
Here's a breakdown of the benefits of both aerobic and anaerobic exercises, and which is better for losing weight.
Aerobic is best described as exercise that makes use of oxygen to generate energy. These exercises are meant to boost the efficiency of the cardiovascular system to absorb and transport oxygen.
Aerobic exercise usually lasts a minimum of 20 minutes. Anytime you workout on a bicycle, treadmill, elliptical machine, running track, or stepper, you're doing aerobic exercise.
Aerobic Exercise Pros
The benefits of aerobic exercise include weight loss, improved circulation, enhanced cardiovascular health, and a boosted immune system. Aerobic exercise also reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and specific types of cancer.
Aerobic Exercise Cons
Aerobic exercises are great for burning fat, but they don't build much muscle. Add in the fact that some people can't handle exercising for 20 minutes or longer and it is easy to see why many prefer anaerobic exercises.
Those who have chest pains or any sort of discomfort in the chest should avoid intense aerobic exercise. This style of exercise will also prove unsuitable for those who often experience breathlessness when working out. Those who take medications for a heart condition, high blood pressure or stroke should go easy on these exercises.
This style of exercise involves physical activity without relying on oxygen to produce energy. Instead, the body generates energy that stems from glycogen, also known as carbohydrates.
Examples of anaerobic exercise include high-intensity interval training, resistance training and weightlifting. These exercises typically last a couple of minutes at most.
TRY IT: 30 Minutes Anaerobic Workout
Anaerobic Exercise Pros
The benefits of anaerobic exercises range from muscle development to improved bone density, improved cardiovascular health and the reduction of body fat. Every workout routine should include some sort of anaerobic exercise to help tone your body.
Anaerobic Exercise Cons
With anaerobic exercise, the focus is primarily on building muscle rather than improving endurance. If you're looking to boost your stamina, burn lots of fat and get in shape for something like a marathon or a team sport, anaerobic workouts won't help you reach your fitness goals.
One of the most important disadvantages to this style of exercise is that it causes the accumulation of lactate within the blood. These ions irritate muscle tissue and contractions. They also create a burning sensation within the muscles that causes muscle fatigue and, in some instances, muscle failure.
Which Is Better For Weight Loss?
In terms of overall fitness, neither of these forms of exercise is superior to the other. Aerobic exercise is best for immediate weight loss. If you have a lot of excess fat, you'll want to incorporate cardio-boosting aerobics into your workout regimen. However, you'll also need anaerobic workouts for toning and to prevent those pounds from coming back.
Aerobic and anaerobic exercises ultimately work best if done together. If you want to lose weight and tone your muscles, the best way to do that is with a balanced workout with both.
Though you don't have to perform aerobic and anaerobic exercises every single time you work out, you shouldn't just do one or the other. Instead, try alternating the two. Do thirty-minute aerobic exercises every other day and thirty-minute strenuous anaerobic exercises on the day in-between.
Work with your personal trainer to find the right mix for your fitness goals.
Build up your tolerance of higher impact exercises. Try my 30-Day Toned Arm Challenge below for free.
Meditation has become part of mainstream Western culture like never before. That's no surprise when you consider its many benefits – from improved concentration to overall peace of mind.
But does meditation also help you lose weight? While researchers are still conducting studies on the topic, some research shows there is a connection between meditation and weight loss. Here are a few of the reasons why:
1. Meditation Reduces Stress
Stress has long been shown to trigger weight gain while hindering efforts to lose weight. Meditation may lower levels of cortisol – a stress hormone that has a huge impact on metabolism and insulin insensitivity. Cortisol helps you be more aware of what you're eating and why. Moreover, stress hormones tell the body to store extra weight while leading to physical problems that result in weight gain.
A study by Carnegie Mellon University showed that 25 minutes of daily meditation for three days significantly reduced stress. Another study showed that meditation prompts brain waves to shift into a relaxed state that's similar to sleep. This relaxation lowers your body's amount of stress hormones, which can decrease overeating and weight gain.
2. Meditation Improves Self-Control
Other studies show that meditation affects the parts of the brain that aid with self-control. Improved self-control helps you be more mindful of what you're eating and how much, and makes it easier to pass on unhealthy foods when you're feeling down or distressed.
3. Meditation Helps You Become More Mindful
Daily meditation practice helps you let go of the past and excessively thinking about the future. Your past may include previous attempts at weight loss that failed or faded away when results were slow in coming. You may also experience anxiety about the future, including whether or not you can consistently practice habits such as healthy eating and exercise.
Being present helps you keep your head on straight. It can also help you pay attention to how your mind and body feel as you eat.
4. Meditation Leads To Strong Intention
It's no secret that the power of intention can have a tremendous influence on our lives. By meditating on losing weight, you're putting in the positive energy and intent to accomplish it. You're also leaving yourself open to what the world can provide you. This dedication is crucial for helping you stay on track with your weight loss goals.
5. Meditation Creates A Sense Of Purpose
Meditation not only reduces stress and creates feelings of peace within you, but it also helps you to develop a sense of purpose. Lowered stress eases the fight-or-flight syndrome that can cause hormones to become out of balance.
Although there is still a lot of ongoing research out there about meditation and weight loss, there does seem to be a relationship between the two. Meditation can help lower stress hormones like cortisol, which stops you from overeating. It also improves your frame of mind, decreasing anxiety and improving your self-control, mindfulness and sense of purpose.
If you're trying to kick off those extra pounds, you can get the basics for medication, HERE. Or, to really start shredding the pounds, give my 2 Weeks Of At-Home Workouts a try!
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