Bodyweight Workout

How To Get The Most Out Of Bodyweight Workout Progressions



So, you’ve decided to get your body into optimum condition. You not only want to shed those excess pounds but you are interested in toning up those muscles and showing off a lean physique. Getting fit is one of the biggest challenges that many people face today. With so many programs out there to choose from it is difficult to pin down a routine that will work well for you.


You’ll find lots of diets, aerobics, cardiovascular, and strength building exercises that can appeal to everyone. But when it comes to getting the whole package many have found that using bodyweight workout progressions offer the key to ultimate success.


What Are Bodyweight Workout Progressions?


We’ve all had the experience of purchasing an exercise DVD or program and finding the routine challenging in the beginning. But after a week or two of the same routine, muscle memory kicks in and the exercises won’t produce the same results as they did before. This is a common problem when you’re working with weights. However, bodyweight progressions is a method of making the exercises progressively challenging as you go along.  As they explain at,


“One of the biggest problems with body weight exercises is that it’s difficult to make the exercise more challenging. When you use weights you can simply grab a heavier weight. When you use your own body weight most people just do more reps. Yet, in order to get bigger muscles we need to do low reps.”


The trick is to learn how to make the progressions so that you don’t defeat your purpose by doing routines that work against your goals.


The Progression Guide


The best way to accomplish this is to use a Progression Guide. There are several steps to this process. First, you must determine your current exercise level. If you’re already following a bodybuilding program then test out each of the exercises from each category and assign yourself points. For example, if you’re doing chest exercises, then count the number of reps you can complete in each exercise or the number of seconds you can maintain a static hold. You’re looking for your current level of ability.


The next step is to total the number of points you have together and complete a listing of all the exercises from each category and your starting points. Then follow the chart to gradually increase the difficulty level until you have reached the maximum. As they point out at,


“The principles of calisthenics involve gradual strength gain by increasing your capability to do exercises of increasing difficulty. … This involves beginning with constant repetition of relatively easy exercises which will increase in difficulty as your strength and bodily capabilities progress.”


Once you’ve completed all of your progressions your body will be in peak physical condition.


Benefits of Progressive Training


There are many benefits from using progressive training strategies that go beyond what you might have imagined. We can all see that as we do this we naturally become stronger and we feel healthier at the same time. According to weight lifting expert Steve Pavlina,


“The major benefit to progressive training is that you increase the challenge, what once seemed heavy to you will begin to feel much lighter. Maybe that 20-lb dumbbell feels heavy now, but once you’ve progressed to 40-lb dumbbells, that 20-pounder feels light. It still weighs the same … but your capacity has grown.”


As your body becomes stronger you’ll be able to do a lot more than you could before. This benefit extends far beyond what you do at the gym and can be very helpful in your everyday life.






What Is High Intensity Interval Training And How Do You Use It?



There are many reasons why so many have found success with high intensity interval training (HIIT). Not only are the intensive workout sessions extremely effective but the program can easily be adapted to a busy lifestyle. So, whether you’re interested in building up endurance, weight loss, or toning your muscles, you’ll be surprised at how productive you can be with this type of physical training. As they explain at Shape Magazine,


“You can achieve more progress in a mere 15 minutes of interval training (done three times a week) than a girl jogging on the treadmill for an hour…. According to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just 2 weeks of high-intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training.”


And aside from the fact that HIIT is an ideal way to improve your health without spending hours in a gym, there are even more benefits to be gained from this type of workout.


What Is HIIT?


Before you decide if this is the program for you, it’s best to understand exactly what HIIT is. The program uses low to moderate intensity workout periods with bursts of high intensity training spread throughout each session. It can be applied to a variety of different exercise programs including running, exercises, and squatting. Because of the high intensity periods it is considered to be much more effective than a regular cardio routine because it gives your body the ability to increase the aerobic and anaerobic endurance and burn more fat all at the same time. According to comments made at,


“In research, HIIT has been shown to burn adipose tissue more effectively than low-intensity exercise – up to 50% more efficiently. It has also been shown to speed up your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day.”


A regular HIIT routine can help you to not only lose weight by burning off fat but also increase your cardiovascular endurance along with your physical endurance at the same time. There are several different ways you can apply HIIT into your regular routine.




One of the first things you should consider before starting any HIIT workout are the basic guidelines needed to make your routine effective.


Warm-up: Never start a full scale HIIT workout without doing at least a 5-10 minute warm-up session. The warm up should include dynamic stretching, light movement in the exercises you plan to use along with a few accelerations. The goal is to gradually increase your speed in performance and to not jump into high-intensity all at once. So if your HIIT session will be sprints, you should start with a light jog first. Warming up prepares the body for the work that is coming. Skipping your warm up could make you vulnerable to injury.


Timing: It is also important to start easy with the timing. Ideally, for beginners the HIIT routine should include high intensity exercises for sixty seconds and then a break for 1-2 minutes. As your body becomes accustomed to the routines, you can adjust your work to rest ratio as needed. Ideally, you want to eventually get to the point where work and rest times are equal.


There are many benefits to this type of training. As explained at Muscle and Fitness Magazine,


“With this type of training, the benefits are plentiful, including increased metabolic rate, optimal muscle building and muscle retention coupled with fat loss and increased calorie burn during and after the workout.”


If you’re someone who is serious about improving their health, shedding excess weight, and building up muscle on a busy schedule then consider doing a HIIT workout program. You’ll find amazing results and spend less time at the gym for it.





Secrets of Dieting

The Secrets To Successful Weight Loss Through Dieting



Losing weight has proven to be one of the biggest challenges facing the majority of people today. Not only do they have to fight off a plethora of poor nutrition choices but they also need to overcome the challenges of leading a more sedentary life than their parents had. It seems that the odds are not in our favor in this new era of weight loss. To be successful in such an endeavor, one needs to do more than eat right. It should be a balance of several different factors to be able to melt the pounds away. Consider the comments made in Shape Magazine and see if you don’t agree with them,


“According to Jessica Bartfield, MD, who specializes in nutrition and weight management at the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care, diets fail for four reasons: 1. Understanding calories consumed, 2. Overestimating activity and the calories burned, 3. Poor timing of meals, 4. Inadequate sleep.”


If you’re one of those who want to find the secret to weight loss and be able to keep it off, then changing your dieting strategy alone will not do the trick.


Underestimating Calories


One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to weight loss is thinking that it is about food. They feel that if they drastically cut back on the calories they take in they can lose weight. But experts have learned that failing to eat when your body needs food can actually do more harm than good. The secret is to go for healthier food options that will help you to feel full longer and avoid those foods that offer only a quick pick-me-up when you begin to feel sluggish. Eating regularly with foods that offer a variety of proteins, carbs, and fats and avoiding junk food can do more for your weight loss than any other kind of dieting ever could.


Calories in vs. Calories Burned


Another trick to successful weight loss is being able to estimate just how many calories you burn during a workout. Many people tend to believe that they are burning far more calories than they really are. The result is that they assume they can eat more because they are burning more. If you’re eating all the right things and working out regularly but there is hardly any weight loss, chances are that your workouts are not burning enough calories for you to see results. Once you learn how to successfully calculate how many calories you’re burning, you’ll begin to see results.


Knowing the Right Time to Eat


You hear many dieting strategies telling you to don’t eat this but eat that. It can be really confusing when you’re trying to tap into the secret to weight loss. Each individual is different so the secret is to find the right balance for you. According to,


“Your body needs fuel to exercise, and the source of that fuel is food. That’s why some people report feeling hungrier when they start to work out. If you’re trying to lose weight, this could be counterproductive – unless you find the right balance of healthy, filling foods.”


The key is to find balance in your choice of foods. You need foods that will give you energy, metabolize quickly, and stay with you for longer.


If you’re looking for the secret to getting the weight off and keeping it off then you need to rethink the traditional dieting plan. As the Diet Doctor explains,


“The sad truth is that conventional ideas – eat less, run more – do not work long term. Counting calories, exercising for hours every day and trying to ignore your hunger? That’s needless suffering and it wastes your time and precious will power.”


Whatever program you choose, make sure it covers the key elements needed for weight loss and you’re sure to find success for all your hard work.




Core Elements of Fitness

The Core Elements Of Fitness



When it comes to good health people have different ideas. Terms are often used interchangeably, which only adds to the confusion. So when you hear the term “fitness”, the thoughts that come into your mind may be totally different from someone else’s. Some may say it only applies to the top athletes in sports, others may consider it to be the healthy condition of the body, and still others may feel it is a program or a regimen of activities and practices that can help you to be healthy. To understand this thought a little better, it may help to consider the comments made in A Healthy Philosophy,


“Physical fitness refers to a set of attributes which enable an individual to be physically active. Being physically active enables you to more easily, meet the physical demands of everyday living and respond positively to increased physical demands under stressful conditions.”


While that may be a rather lengthy definition, it can be made much simpler. It is a program of activities associated with health and well-being designed to improve your overall physical condition. Because fitness is not one thing, it will be beneficial to take a closer look at some of the elements necessary to achieve physical fitness.


The Five Elements of Fitness


There are five basic components related to achieving physical fitness. By understanding each of these components you can easily set up a progressive fitness program that will give you the type of condition one needs to be declared fit.


Muscular Strength: When you increase your muscular strength your body will have the power necessary to lift and carry heavy weights. This does not necessarily have to apply to weight lifting but you’ll find shopping and carrying heavy bags, lifting small children, and even going about your daily chores will require a certain level of muscular strength to perform well.


Muscular Endurance: Muscular endurance allows you to perform those tasks not just once or twice but for an extended period of time. Instead of being able to lift something for a few seconds (as in weight lifting) a fit person will be able to lift and carry it for several minutes or longer.


Cardiovascular Endurance: Fitness also requires the ability to sustain longer duration exercises like running, jogging, dancing, or cycling. These exercises force your heart, lungs, and blood vessels to work for an extended period of time. When these organs are all functioning properly, they give your body the oxygen needed to push it through the tasks you have to do each day.


Flexibility: When the body is flexible, your muscles and joints will be able to move easily with whatever function you’re performing. The more flexible you are the less stiff and limited your movements will be. According to,


“To test your flexibility, lean forward and try to touch your toes. Those with good flexibility will usually be able to touch their toes, while those with limited flexibility will not.”


With regular flexibility training you can be confident that your body will be able to perform an entire range of motions without any painful sensations to endure.


Body Fat Composition: The final element of physical fitness is maintaining a lower body fat composition. This is the percentage of your total body that is made up of fat. To qualify as physically fit, men should have a composition that is below 17% and women should have a composition that is below 24%.


While all of this is basic information there are still variations within even these definitions. Fitness will mean one thing to a body builder and something else to a dancer.  As they explain in the CrossFit Journal,


“It will come as no surprise to most of you that our view of fitness is a contrarian view. The general public both in opinion and in media holds endurance athletes as exemplars of fitness. We do not.”


So, whatever your fitness goals may be, just make sure that it is one that you can live with and will help you to achieve the type of physical conditioning you have in your mind.

How to Know…

How To Know If A Weight Loss Program Is Right For You



One of the most frustrating experiences people have is going on a weight loss diet. With so many to choose from some might even wonder if it’s really possible to lose weight. Considering the fact that the majority of people in weight loss programs fail to achieve their goals and the majority of those who do fail to maintain it afterwards, it’s easy to see why so many get discouraged by the whole process. The reality, however, is that failure is not always the fault of the dieter but instead, is more than likely caused by the diet itself. As they explain at the Mayo Clinic,


“Magazines, books and websites all promise that they’ve discovered the key to losing weight for good – from diets that eliminate fat or carbohydrates to those that tout superfoods or special supplements. With so much conflicting advice and so many weight-loss options, how do you know which diet might work for you?”


So, if your goal is to shed a little excess weight, here are a few tips on choosing a diet that will work best for you and give you the results you need.


Talk to Your Doctor


Many people choose a diet because a friend or relative has recommended it. If it worked for them, then they feel they will be successful too. However, one of the most important people to talk with before choosing your program is your doctor. When you consider the fact that your physician is most familiar with your unique medical needs and challenges, he or she is in a much better position to give you an insight into the kind of weight loss program that will work for you.


Accommodate Your Unique Needs


There’s no specific diet that will work for everyone. This is because everyone’s physical make up is different. Your personal preferences, lifestyle, and goals all have to come into play. Choosing a diet is not just about how much weight you want to lose but should be about how you shed that weight. Look for diets that can be tailored to your lifestyle, your financial limitations, and health conditions.


Look for Balance


Next, you want a diet that will provide a sense of balance in your life. Losing weight too fast can bring undue stress to the body leading to other health problems. Weight loss that is slow and steady can be much more effective. Diets that can help you shed between one and two pounds a week are often much more efficient and can help you to keep the weight off in the end.  WebMD explains,


“It is much easier to lose weight and firm up when the diet plan you choose fits your lifestyle and personality. Hate to cook? You won’t last long on a diet plan better suited to budding gourmets. Living in a house full of kids and big eaters… A weight loss plan for you will have to face the problems of snacking head on.”


A diet that incorporates flexibility, balance, likeability, activity, and personal preferences will help you to stick to the program until you reach your goal. If you’re always pulling against the wind, chances are discouragement will take hold and you’ll give up before you get the rewards for your efforts.


It also helps to understand your body to make sure the diet you choose is addressing the right issues. You need to know why you’re overweight in the first place. Are you overweight because of overeating or is it because of lack of exercise? Knowing the answer to this question will keep you from choosing a program that will be of no benefit to you.  As it says in,


“There may be many reasons for your weight problem. Weight problems often run in families, or you may be overeating to comfort yourself when you are sad, stressed or lonely. Sometimes a low metabolism (the rate at which you burn the calories you eat) or a problem with hormone levels may be the cause.”


No doubt, the biggest challenge to choosing the right diet is learning what type of diet you need.





Diet survival


That four letter word haunts ours dreams and yet we feel it is somewhat of a necessary evil. Most of us strive daily to control our animal urges, but fail miserably at the site of a doughnut (yes Krispy Kreme, you magnificent seductress, I am speaking of you) or whatever your particular poison is that day. And make no mistake, the day you truly make up your mind that you will not succumb to the whims of your tummy and you will devote yourself to a diet is the day that everyone around you is eating absurdly awesome food or some person you have probably never seen before will buy your entire office the exact thing that gives you the most trouble. Such is life. But you… you have chosen a different path. A path less traveled. You have chosen to stay true to your goals and master your destiny and diet. With the enemy at your door, I give you some techniques that can help you stay the course.


If you are in the midst of a diet temptation, one of the best things you can do is run! This can be literal or metaphorical. If that food is calling your name from the fridge or counter, don’t stick around to hear it. Step outside and go for a run. At the very least, go someplace it is not. If the cheesecake is in the conference room, you go to the car. If it is in the kitchen, make a beeline to the other end of the house.


Find something that will get your mind off the temptation. If you can, try to make it something healthy. Some people will workout and that is great. Others might have to resort to video games (there are plenty of dancing games out there…invest), reading (beware of teenage supernatural romance novels, you may very well forget to eat for a few days), or even go so far as to spend quality time with your loved ones.

Drown it

When you are not able to run or distract, drown the feeling with a large cup of water. Sometimes we are thirsty and mistake it for hunger. It may or may not work, but it is indeed worth a shot. Most people don’t get enough water in their diets to stay properly hydrated so this option can help you with both issues.


If the cravings are starting to ramp up as it gets near bedtime, go ahead and go to sleep. Most likely you won’t miss anything awesome happening anyway and you will be one step closer to your goal. Who knew you could use sleep to help achieve your weight loss goals?

Fitness, Weight Loss and Health

How Fitness And Weight Loss Are Related To Overall Health

We know that weight and fitness are both strongly related to good health. This is something that is highlighted again and again by health professionals, educational programs, and more. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that millions of Americans could benefit from increasing their level of fitness. It seems they aren’t wrong when you consider that some 60 million people in this country are overweight, 50 million have high blood pressure, 13.5 million suffer from some form of heart disease, and 8 million are in the early stages of type 2 diabetes.

Fitness and diet aren’t just important to make sure you stay healthy. It is also important for those who are already unhealthy, as it can help them heal their body. Yet, some 60% of adults in this country do not exercise enough. In fact, 25% don’t exercise at all. This is everybody’s problem, because complacency is placing a huge strain on society’s resources. Did you know, for instance, that the cost on medical bills for obese people in this country is around $147 billion per year? Considering that rates also continue to rise, and that it is believed that 43% of people will be obese by 2025, these expenses will continue to be a huge financial burden. In fact, it is estimated that they will stand at $344 billion per year by 2018, or 21% of all spending on health care in this country.

Something clearly needs to be done. One element of that is to return to the basics: understanding what good health is, what fitness is, what an ideal weight is, and how those are related. Let’s take a look.

Young Woman Doing Push-Ups workout fitness posture body building exercise exercising on studio

What Is Good Health?

Good health is about more than not having a disease. It is a holistic state that involves your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Achieving good health is also not something someone else can do for you, but rather something you must actively participate in. Most people only consider health to be related to physical well being, which is the absence of discomfort and disease. Mental well-being is equally important, however, and is about people being happy with themselves. In addition, spiritual well-being is often overlooked, but is no less important. It is about feeling at peace, and feeling like you belong somewhere.

You have certain responsibilities when it comes to achieving and/or maintaining good health. These include eating a healthy, nutritious, and balanced diet; getting and staying active; ensuring your weight is right for you as an individual; thinking about what you put into your body; getting enough sleep; avoiding stress; spending time with people who matter to you; nurturing your spirit; being registered with a physician; and looking after any chronic illnesses that you have.

Weight Loss

Not everybody needs to lose weight, but around 60% of us do. This also means that you need to know what your ideal weight. While most people focus on the body mass index (BMI) for this, which is a general calculation that applies to anyone, the reality is that the ideal weight is somewhat more complex. In fact, you need to think about your age, your gender, your muscle to fat ratio, your bone density, and your height.


The BMI is certainly a very good guideline in terms of calculating how much you should weigh. It has significant flaws, however, and a recent study has literally changed the way we look at things. This study suggested that those who were classed as overweight according to the BMI range actually had a lower mortality rate than people who were classed as being of normal weight under the BMI range.

The BMI calculates the ratio between your height and your weight. It is generally agreed that an 18.5 or lower BMI means someone is underweight. Anything between 18.5 and 25 is considered ideal. If a BMI reaches between 25 and 30, the person is classed as overweight. A BMI over 30 is considered obese. Additional factors such as morbidly obese have now been added to this. Other countries state that anyone who has a BMI under 20 is considered underweight.

Waist-Hip Ratio

Another method for calculating ideal weight is the waist-hip ratio, or WHR. The WHR is popular because it recognizes the differences between the genders. For women, if the ratio is below 0.8, they have a low risk of heart problems. Between 0.8 and 0.89, their risk is moderate. Anything above 0.9 is classed as high risk. For men, the low risk is for a ratio below 0.9. Between 0.9 and 0.99 is classed as moderate risk. High risk of heart disease exists at 1 or higher. One of the important issues with the WHR is that it is also linked to fertility in women. Women with a lower WHR tend to be more fertile. They are also more likely to avoid cardiovascular disease, most forms of cancer, and diabetes. The same applies to men. Frighteningly, it is believed that if the BMI were replaced with the WHR, the statistics on how many people are overweight in this country would be significantly higher.

Waist to Height Ratio

The next option is the waist to height ratio. A 2012 study found that this measurement was better able to predict the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease than the BMI. According to this study, if you have a waist circumference that is at less than half of your height, then life expectancy can be greatly increased. One of the reasons why this method is better than the BMI is because the latter does not look at how fat is distributed on the body. It is visceral fat, along the abdomen, that is particularly dangerous for organ damage, so this is something in which the BMI is significantly lacking.

Image of muscular young woman wearing sports jacket. Getting ready for workout on black background

Body Fat Percentage

The next method is that of body fat percentage. This provides measurements on both storage fat and essential fat. Essential fat is the good fat, which is required for our overall survival. Women should have 10% to 13% of essential fat, whereas men should only have around 2% to 5%. Storage fat, by contrast, is usually the bad fat. There is some point to it, as it does protect the organs in our abdomen and chest, but this is the type of fat that people should try to get rid of. According to this type of measurement, you can be classed as an athlete, non-athlete who is otherwise fit, acceptable, overweight, or obese.

It is quite widely agreed that calculating body fat percentage is the most accurate method of measuring someone’s health. This is because it is not possible for a couch potato and a world athlete to have the same results, as they can with the BMI. However, calculating body fat percentage has to be done by a medical professional in order for it to be truly accurate. As a result, it is not widely used, in part also due to cost considerations.

What Is Fitness?

Besides maintaining an appropriate weight, we also have to make sure we maintain adequate levels of fitness in order to get and remain healthy. But what is fitness, and what does it mean to be physically fit? It is a term that is used in many conversations, but few actually think about its real meaning. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, being physically fit means having attributes that enable you to perform a certain physical activity. This is quite a vague description and doesn’t help many people. Fitness is more than being able to run for miles, or being able to deadlift in the gym. It is more than simply being able to list a number of activities. Rather, there are five elements to physical fitness. These are flexibility, body composition, muscular endurance, muscular strength, and cardiorespiratory fitness.

How Are Fitness and Health Related?

We need to be empowered to understand that we are in control of our personal health, weight, and well being. Fitness and weight are inextricably linked to overall health, and these are things that you can take control of. Fitness and wellness, however, are not one and the same thing. You can achieve tremendous wellness without being physically fit, although this does require a lot of work. Rather, you need to see it as a holistic continuum. If you strive for weight loss to reach an acceptable weight, you will instantly be healthier. If you increase your fitness, you will also instantly be healthier. Combine these two, and add in health eating, and you will truly be able to achieve optimum health.

Everybody gets sick every once in a while. However, if you ensure your weight is on target, you eat well, and you exercise plenty, these instances should be few and far between. As stated earlier, you do have to be registered with a physician in case something is wrong, but if you have your health and fitness in check, you will find that the need for a doctor will be rare.

Please feel free to visit our resources page if you could use some direction on how to start the journey to becoming the vibrant and healthy.

Make a decision, change your life!