Archive for: cardio

Sports Nutrition — A Game Changer

(Photo by Lance Cpl. Sarah Wolff-Diaz)

As summer winds down, I’m noticing an interesting trend that has developed over the past few months — my pension for all things water-​​related.  From swimming to kayaking to paddle boarding, I’ve been on a mission to stay on or in the water as much as possible.  I now officially have the SUP (stand up paddle board) addiction!  Put me on the water with a paddle in my hand and I’m content for hours.  If you haven’t checked it out, SUP-​​ing is an awesome full body workout engaging your core for balance, increasing flexibility, upper & lower body strength and decreasing stress…seriously, is there anything more calming than dipping your paddle into a clear, tranquil lake or the invigorating rush of catching the surf?  My newly discovered passion has made me even more aware of how to tweak my nutrition to keep me on the water as long as possible this year. 

Creator of the Military Wife Workout Releases New Video and App!

nikki-fitness-slimnastics-dvd-cover

The Slimnastics Stability Ball Workout with NikkiFitness is Available Now

Big Ball, Little Belly…

If you want to really work your entire body this summer, while your mind gets a mini vacation, gazing at a Caribbean beach, this is for you.

The Slimnastics Stability Ball workout with NikkiFitness provides a way to challenge your abs while working your arms, legs, chest, glutes and back. The key is instability! A stability ball will put you off balance to add an extra level of core toning to each full-​​range-​​of-​​motion Slimnastics move. With a mat and free weights, you work biceps and abs, triceps with abs, booty with the belly, and so much more. Summer beach bodies are made in the winter, so this is the perfect way to start a resolution and get the beach body you crave, quick.

Improve The Move — Treadmill Edition

nikki-treadmill

Sometimes winter is just too cold to workout outside, so instead of skipping it, sweat in the warmth– inside on the treadmill!

Too boring, you say? I have the antidode: “Improve the Move” with action on the machine. Print out this “running map,” and follow along. The bonus: changing it up makes the time fly and the calories fly away!

Have a Heart

Heart Health Hand

Living in a rural state like Maine, it’s easy to get spoiled by the solitude.  With no traffic to speak of, nights are still and silent which makes for a perfect sleeping environment.  It also makes it easier to get startled when an errant noise jolts you out of bed with your pounding heart leading the way.  Isn’t it amazing how much we don’t think about our hard-​​working hearts until they remind us in a big way?  Since February is a month in which we celebrate the decadence of Valentine’s Day along with the prudence of heart health month, let’s find a happy medium to enjoy both!

Improve the Mood: The Winter Workout for Seasonal Affective Disorder

nikki-seasonal-affective-disorder

This never-​​ending winter bringing you down? The slush, snow, ice and frigid temps make it tough to continue New Year Resolutions, and might even be an energy drain. If you are feeling tired, depressed, lazy and have the Winter Blues, I have the antidote!

Improve the Move: Burpees and Push-​​ups

nikki-burpee

If I had to pick just one cardio move as my favorite for all its benefits, it would be the burpee. If I had to pick one muscle sculpting move, it would be the push-​​up. If you love these moves, but want to give them a multitasking makeover, read on!

Improve the Move: StairMaster Workouts!

Improve the Move: StairMaster Workouts

Love climbing the stairway to a heavenly butt? Want to go from the couch to Kilimanjaro?

Here’s the deal…The StairMaster is a gym gem. When the resolution gym-​​goers are clogging up the ellipticals and treadmills, don’t fret, you can get a kick booty workout with this instead!! It’s been the toughest machine in the gym for 30 years and now you can try the at-​​home smaller version– the SM3 now! It’s great for getting in a quiet cardio workout (rather than pounding on the treadmill) if you have a sleeping child or neighbors nearby.

Whether you are just trying it for the firsts time, or have used it before, here are some ways to improve the move while doing a stair climbing workout:StairMaster dos and don’ts.

What Are You Doing This Year? 2014

What Are You Doing This Year? 2014

Every year — it never fails — many engage to correct all of their wrong-​​doings, unhealthful habits, and other self-​​helping notions in the form of New Year RESOLUTIONS.  “Resolution” is one of the most over-​​used words during the end of December and January each year, but by February it is gone usually along with our energy to better ourselves. So, I recommend instead of making a resolution, set four quarterly goals to help you reach where you want to be next year at this time.  Take a look back at 365 days ago.  Seems like yesterday right?  Why not create a logical goal setting formula that will work for you with a little bit of effort and some good habit building skills?  Where people fail with their resolutions is that they try to fix too much at one time.  Stopping smoking, starting an exercise program, eating healthy foods in an effort to lose weight can be too much to take on all at once.  Try another approach to success.

10 Fitness Habits to Kick for a Kick Butt Workout

10 Fitness Habits to Kick for a Kick Butt Workout

I see lots of no-​​nos around the gym and hear about them with my personal training clients and twitter followers. Sometime, you don’t realize you might be getting in your own way. Reach your fitness goals faster by ditching these not-​​so-​​good moves:

1 — My biggest thing– if you can read, your workout isn’t hard enough. Ditch that magazine or book and sweat like crazy to your favorite tunes. If you love a story, get an audiobook. Don’t dilly dally. Kill it. Sweat is fat crying. Work “Harder, better, faster, stronger” -(my favorite fitness song.)

2 — Shorter and more intense. People looking to lose weight or maintain a fitness routine sometimes rely on long runs/​bikes/​eliptical machines at a  steady state. Cardio is great but you’ll burn more if you add intense intervals and shorten your time. Better yet, multitask your cardio workouts but doing plyometrics, cardio sculpt classes and videos, and do weight training circuits with your cardio.

Improve the Move

Improve the Move

Do you have a favorite fitness move? Something you add to almost every workout?

Lots of people love squat, lunges, plies, planks, crunches, jumping jacks and burpees and do them almost automatically, without much consideration of how to improve the move, and reach past their fitness plateaus.

Recently, I went on Fox & Friends to give your favorite fitness move a “Multitasking Makeover” by adding arms/​abs/​balance challenges/​weights or cardio plyometrics. Check out the video or follow the instructions below. For more moves, follow me on twitter and facebook @NikkiFitness where I update with an #ImproveTheMove #Moveoftheday each day. My Improve The Move book and DVD will launch in 2014.

How Hugh Jackman’s Got So Jacked for “Wolverine”

hugh-jackman-wolverine-body-thumb-200xauto-61757

So you want to know how Hugh Jackman got so ripped for his movie Wolverine? Well, you have two options: hire his extremely expensive fitness trainer Mike Ryan, or you build your own workout program based on his advice. If you are interested in the latter, read on.

New Training Device — The CrossRope (Elite Jump Rope System)

New Training Device — The CrossRope (Elite Jump Rope System)

If you have been a user of my workouts for any of the past 15 years, you will notice I do not do jump roping as part of my written programming.  It does not mean I disapprove of jumping rope, in fact, I have many years of jumping rope when I wrestled and played football in high school and played rugby in college. We also used jump ropes while on deployments when visiting on submarines or boats when in the SEAL Teams.  I just never pushed jump roping as a training option when the focus of my writing has been mainly running, rucking, swimming as a cardio foundation.

However, after learning about this new jump rope called the Crossrope (www​.crossrope​.com) at the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Tactical Strength and Conditioning Conference, I actually have added jump roping to my training programs.

One Mile Ocean Swims in Military Training

One Mile Ocean Swims in Military Training

There are many military training programs that you would assume you have to pass a mile swim as one of the regular fitness tests.  For instance, Navy SEALs, Air Force PJ, Navy Divers /​ EOD, Navy SWCC, Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer, Navy SAR Swimmer, Marine RECON, Army Combat Divers, and I am sure there are others who have to endure the one or more mile swim test.  But a doctor recently asked about a one mile swim test he is training for when he goes to Navy Flight Surgeon school.  Guess what?  They have to pass a one mile swim test wearing their flight suit!  I guess you learn something everyday.

Here is his email:  Stew, I’m a family physician in the navy. I’m applying for the flight surgeon course and one of the requirements is a one mile swim test in flight suit.  I’m a decent swimmer but I don’t have a good plan to prep for this. Would you have any suggestions?

Women’s Health Slimnastics Travel Workout

Women's Health Slimnastics Travel Workout

Summer can be a nice break from every-​​day life, but that also means traveling, which can hurt your workout. I recently did a sample routine for the June issue (on stands now, pg 72) of Women’s Health Magazine. It’s a “No-​​equipment-​​needed 15 Minute Body-​​Weight-​​Shape-​​Up” for when you are staying in a hotel, flying through airports, sitting in traffic, and trying to stay on track with your fitness routine this summer. Summer fitness is especially important with beach season and bathing suits that show so much skin!

Editor Caitlin Carlson wrote about my book and DVD called The Slimnastics Workout , “This equipment-​​free body-​​weight routine, created by Glor, combines plyometric and cardio moves (think jumping and kicking) with ones that improve your balance. You’ll burn calories while building strength, flexibility and stamina.”

Tactical Athletes and Nutrition

Tactical Athlete

Here is an article from a friend of mine after having this discussion at a conference a few weeks ago on nutrition for military, police, fire fighters — our tactical athletes.  The need for more carbs for highly active people but it goes deeper than that:

Nutrition and the Tactical Athlete

As a firefighter understands fire, the warrior must understand war. Maintaining combat effectiveness via proper training and nutrition is a big part of this.

Nutrition is the one factor affecting each person multiple times per day and therefore has the greatest impact on a person’s overall health and fitness level. Scientists agree that 70+% of diseases known to man are caused by lifestyle factors and many can be treated via lifestyle changes. Nutrition being the number one approach.

For the tactical /​ endurance athlete this fact does not change. Being fit does not mean being healthy and the level of proper nutrition should address both of these factors.

The level of combat readiness literally translates into life and death. This fact makes the tactical athlete an extreme endurance athlete. Long hours of high stress from limited sleep, MRE’s and massive physical demands provide very unique nutritional demands.

Combat is high stress. The modern day tactical athlete often operates night and day for months without rest. This massive amount of stress not only results in mental breakdown leading to PTSD but also physical breakdown leading to physical injury and less combat effectiveness. This high stress results in elevated cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol causes 3 main problems in the warrior. One, lowered immune functions thus making the warrior more susceptible to illness, two, protein breakdown from muscle to keep blood sugar steady which leads weakness and to number three, increased body fat.

The three issues can be offset with proper nutrition in the field. For years ultra-​​endurance athletes have developed techniques and products for maintaining endurance days on end during a race. Polysaccharide gels, powders and liquids aimed at keeping blood sugar levels steady along with hydration and electrolyte balance are the key. A tactical athlete must maintain steady blood sugar, water and electrolyte balance. MRE’s do not do this and often have the reverse effect of maintaining combat readiness.

How does a tactical athlete maintain steady blood sugar? First, start by figuring your personal caloric needs. Google is full of BMR calculators. Second, plan to eat 65–70% of your diet from a polysaccharide source. (whole grains, sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans). Third, calculate your caloric intake of starchy carbs. 1 gram of carbs is 4 calories. Finally, use an online resource to calculate the carbohydrate intake from your food.

Example: BMR = 2000cals per day. Add 600 calories per day for moderate activity levels = 2600 calories per day consumed. 2600 x .65% of carbohydrate = 1690 calories from starchy sources. Each gram is 4 calories, 1690 /​ 4 = 423 grams of carbohydrate consumed per day. Finally to calculate how much carbohydrate is in the food you eat I suggest the online resource myfitnesspal​.com.

There is much more to understand regarding nutrition. But, much like a firefighter studies and understands fire those whom wish to become or are tactical athletes must study and understand nutrition. We will further expand on this topic in the next edition.

Dr. Stephen Erle is the training director for the civilian BUD/​s program, SEAL Training Adventures, as well as the Strength and Conditioning Coach and team physician for a Virginia University. In addition Dr. Erle instructs tactical athletics, sports medicine, sports nutrition and tactical combat casualty care medicine (TCCC). He can be reached for comment at Steve@​SEALTrainingAdventures.​com.

Running Tips for “Spring” in Your Step

Running Tips for “Spring” in Your Step

If you’ve been busting your butt on the treadmill over the last few months and need a change of scenery, it’s time to head outdoors and hit the pavement running! Here are a few tips that’ll prep you for the differences and help ease the transition.

Upgrade your running shoes. You don’t want to run on a road in worn out shoes and end up hurting from shin splints. Upgrade your shoes by going to a store where they watch you run. One of my favorites is Fleet Feet. I first discovered them at their Syracuse location and still go back on my trips from NYC. They just suited me up in the new Boost shoe by Adidas. My run feels lighter, which is critical when going from the treadmill to tougher outdoor routes where you deal with different types of terrain and weather patterns.

Train first. Because jogging outdoors is generally more intense than the belt assisted forward motion of the treadmill, you need to train your body to adapt. Instead of jogging 6 miles per hour at an incline of zero, you should reduce your speed and increase your incline. When you bring your speed down to 5.5 and run with an incline of 2–3, it will simulate running outdoors where you’re the one who pushes the ground away under your feet, not the machine.

Take Your Winter Workout Outside for Spring

Take Your Winter Workout Outdoors for Spring

Warmer weather is here, and if you’ve been hiding inside the gym on machines all winter, here are some ways to get outside without crashing your workout.

1) Treadmill to Running Outside: When you run keep the incline at 3 on the treadmill to simulate outdoor track where the ground doesn’t automatically move away from your feet. Add hills and inclines to 10 height for about 60 seconds, then back down to 3. If you like doing intervals on your treadmill, you can buy a timer. I like GymBoss​.com. Its smaller than a beeper and made for fitness interval timing.

2) Spin to Biking: Make sure you do those “hills” in spin class or if you do stationary bike alone, be sure to add hills where you have to stand up on your pedals. Outfit yourself in reflective, warm and breathable clothing. Like to read a magazine or book on the bike? Try MacMillan Audiobooks. They have a “Listen while you work out campaign” where the books like Family Pictures have timed chapter tracks so you can figure out how many calories you burn per chapter!

M-​​100s — Insane 3 Minute Home Cardio Workout

Effective Bodyweight ExercisesThere is one key component to reaching your fitness goals, regardless of your current fitness levels. Consistency.

That may sound oversimplified but that doesn’t make it any less truthful. However, most people have lives that make this one component very difficult to obtain.

If you’re serious about your fitness goals, if you’d like to transform your body from the state it is in now to that of a modern day Spartan on the inside and out than what I’m about to share with you can help you achieve your goals.

Chunky to Hunky

Marines Magazine

Growing up I never had a nickname.  It was always Chris or Chris Anne and, of course, the occasional “Christine!” when I was in big trouble.  When my brother was born he got the nickname Tiger which I thought was a really awesome name because he sounded so tough.  Guys always have the coolest nicknames like The Duke, Maverick, Indiana, and even The Babe.  Occasionally they can be less flattering especially if you find that a certain protruding part of your anatomy is becoming name-​​worthy in it’s own right.   If so, it may be time to banish that belly.

A Workout Customized for Your Blood Type!

A Workout Customized for Your Blood Type!

Imagine if your doctor, nutritionist and personal trainer all got together with a plan to help you lose weight and de-​​stress.… this dream come true is a brand new workout system just launched that is a customized for your DNA, and it has never been done before.

The blood type is a powerful genetic fingerprint, and there is a chemical reaction to food you eat, workouts and your blood.

The Blood Type Workout (www​.bloodtypeworkout​.com) has just launched this month. The kit contains a blood type test, stability ball, sand weights, exercise bands, and at least 3 DVDs for each type A, B, AB, O, and advice from doctors and nutritionists, Dr Joseph Christiano and Dina Khadar who wrote the Blood Type Diet.

I had the pleasure of creating an original workout video for one of the types, I did a walking-​​based cardio workout for one of the type AB DVDs. Here is a segment from Fox & Friends showing some of the moves.