“Get Fit in the Gym. Lose Weight in the Kitchen.” (Part II)

Today’s post is the second part to “Get Fit in the Gym. Lose Weight in the Kitchen”, originally posted in July. As a conclusion to that post, I will show you how to regulate your metabolism, show you how it’s possible to eat 4-6 meals per day and finally I will give you some homework to do!

Regulating your metabolism plays a tremendous role in losing weight and becoming fit. Your body craves regularity and order. If you don’t feed it properly and at regular intervals it will enter into “starvation” mode. Once here, any food that you eat will be used as storage (fat, yuck!). This is because your body doesn’t know when it will be fed again. To avoid this, make sure you eat every 3 hours (4 is stretching it). In most cases, you only need to eat a small meal consisting of the three basic macronutrients/components that I’ve previously shared with you (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat).

I know that we all have hectic schedules and sometimes it’s work just to get in one good meal a day, let alone 4-6. But you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to really make an effort here so that you’ll be healthy and look great! There are many options for quick meals including a variety of snacks and MRP (Meal Replacement Products) on the market. I’ll be happy to point you in the direction of great quick alternatives for the busy person. To sum it up though, I really want to express the importance of eating quality food every 3-4 hours. If you absolutely cannot do this then remember this great quote: “Eat like a king (or queen) in the morning and like a pauper at night”. This means that you should eat the heaviest meals early in the day and taper off your calories the later it gets. By your last meal you want to eat smaller portions and avoid lots of carbohydrates and fats. Your body tends to go into storage mode at night and will retain more of each and convert it into fat.

So, you have the keys to nutrition in your arsenal. Let’s use them by doing some “homework”. I’m going to simply ask you to read labels of the food you eat and make some mental notes. That’s it. Read & learn! If you’re anything like me then the first time you will read the labels of your favorite foods now that you know what’s good and bad for you, you will be shocked. Especially at the amount of certain substances that food has. The important items to pay attention to are:

1.Carbohydrates. The higher the number (especially in the SUGAR category) generally the more it will negatively impact your waistline. If you find that the food that you are choosing has most of its carbohydrates coming from sugar, pause and think about whether it’s worth it.

2. Fat: Just like carbs, too much fat (especially Saturated) is bad for you. Fat is extremely dense, hard to burn off and has the additional problem of contributing to diabetes and high blood pressure. A way to greatly reduce the fat you eat is to prepare your food with minimal oil, trim the fat off of beef and pork and try to eat skinless chicken as much as possible.

The last thing I want you to look for is found in the ingredients: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Most processed food contains this sneaky additive. It was originally added as a cheap way to preserve and boost the caloric value of food. Beware of HFCS and what it can do to you. I’ll leave it up to you to Google it and learn about what it does.

Once again, knowledge is power! Now that you know how what you eat impacts your body, you also have a greater understanding of what to put into your body and at what time. Good luck on your journey to becoming more healthy and fit and reaching your goals!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

*This ratio is subject to change, however depending on specific fitness goals/programs. 

Music Matters: The Dragon’s Top 20 Workout Songs!

This week’s post is all about the workout playlist.  Whether it’s called, “Gym Mix”, “Workout Power Mix”, “ Kick Ass Feel Good Mix” or whatever clever name you might give it, your workout music can be extremely important. In fact, it can be just as important as the food you eat prior to workout or the clothes and shoes you wear. You should think of your playlist as your best friend and training partner. Use it to help you through the toughest parts of your training.

I was inspired to write this post after recent conversations I had about how to stay motivated when working out alone. One of those conversations was about my favorite training songs. Well, without further adieu, here they are:

 

The Dragon’s Top 20 Workout Songs:

  1. Stronger – Kanye West
  2. ‘Till I Collapse – Eminem feat. Nate Dogg
  3. Click Click Boom – Saliva
  4. Good Feeling – Flo Rida
  5. 99 Problems – Jay Z
  6. Welcome to The Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
  7. Intergalactic – Beastie Boys
  8. Ante Up – MOP
  9. Technologic – Daft Punk
  10. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  11. War – Vince DiCola (Rocky IV Soundtrack)
  12. Touch The Sky – Kanye West feat. Lupe Fiasco
  13. We No Speak Americano – Yolanda Be Cool & DCup
  14. Kernkraft 400 <Sports Chant Mix> – Zombie Nation
  15. Enter Sandman – Metallica
  16. Get Up – “Q” feat. Steve-O
  17. I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
  18. Jump Around – House of Pain
  19. It Takes Two – Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock
  20. Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin

These songs are in no particular order. They are from a cross section of different genres and represent all of my various playlists. I’ve even included a very special song on the list and I’ll let you figure out which one it is <hint: it’s in the bottom half of the list>. I suggest that as you progress, you make multiple workout playlists with different themes. I have Rock oriented lists as well as Hip Hop, High Energy (Techno/Dub-Step) and even 70s and 80s lists. They help me mix things up when my training begins to get too monotonous.

Feel free to comment on this post with some of your favorite songs. Train hard, have fun and remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Making a good workout playlist can really help you take your training to the next level. These 20 songs are sure to get you moving!

The Dragon’s “Fab Five”. 5 Powerful Exercises You Can Do Right At Home!

What is the number one reason that you’re not going to the gym? Not having enough money for gym memberships? Not a fan of the crowds? Or is it not having enough time? Well, no matter what the reason, I’m going to give you the five best exercises you can do at home. These exercises are proven to work multiple muscle groups at once and almost all can be done without equipment! I won’t spend time discussing how to do these exercises (except for the last) because most are self-explanatory.

The Dragon’s “Fab Five” Home Exercises:

1. Push-ups:

This is the “granddaddy of them all”. Push-ups may be the greatest calisthenic exercise known to man. They work multiple parts of the upper body and can be done in many variations (i.e. the “diamond” push-up, wide push-up, one hand push-up, clapping push-up, etc.). Doing 3 sets of 10 – 20 push-ups will really work your chest, shoulders, and triceps. It will also strengthen your core. Start low and work to higher numbers.

2. Sit-ups / Crunches:

This is probably the second most popularly used exercise. Just like push-ups, sit-ups have a variety of ways that they can be done. The traditional sit-up starts with your back on the floor, has you fully contract your stomach and finally return your back to the floor. A “crunch” is similar except after contracting you lower but never return to the floor. In addition you can also do a “Reverse Sit-up” by keeping your back on the ground and bringing your bent knees toward your forehead, finally finishing by returning to the original position.

3. Pull-ups:

This is the second most difficult exercise of the five and the only one that requires equipment. You can find a standard pull-up par / bar combo for a low price at almost store these days. You can order slightly higher quality bars online (like the ones found at the Team Beachbody Shop: http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/ReggieGooden# ). Pull-ups work the ENTIRE middle and upper back as well as the biceps and forearms. Trying to do a pull-up for the first time is a humbling experience to say the least. But if you keep at it you’ll notice that in no time you’ll be a pro with a lean, sleek back to show off.

4. Lunges:

Lunges are a great exercise to strengthen and tone your lower body. Just 3 sets of 10 – 20 of these will give you a nice burn. They can be done with or without dumbbells. Simply step forward from a standing position, drop your knee until it’s parallel with (but not touching) the floor and stand back up. Then do the same thing with the other leg. After you do 3 sets of 20 send me a message and let me know how your thighs, hamstrings and butt feel. Good Luck!

5. Squat-Thrusts AKA “Burpees”:

If push-ups are the “granddaddy” of all exercises then Squat-Thrusts are the “MOTHER” of all exercises! Also known as “Burpees”, these exercises are the most difficult to perform. They work both the upper and lower body. They are a combination of four separate exercises: Squats, Leg Thrusts, Push-ups and Vertical Jumps. Squat-Thrusts are extra difficult because they will also tax your cardiovascular endurance. Because of their complexity I’ve included a description of how to perform them. At the end of this post, you’ll find a diagram.

The Squat-Thrust (AKA “Burpee”)

  • Begin in a standing position.
  • Squat down and touch your hands to the ground.
  • Extend your feet back in one quick motion into a “plank” position.
  • Perform a “Pushup” *advanced
  • Return to the squat position in one quick motion.
  • Return to the standing position ; Or upon standing, jump! *advanced

Well, there you have it. The Dragon’s “Fab Five” home exercises can be done anytime, anywhere. Mix and match these exercises to get a nice full body workout or if you’re really brave, try all of them together. As always, be smart and be safe when trying these!

Finally, if you’re in the market for a more comprehensive home workout program, I’ll be happy to build one for you.

Contact me for details!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

– Begin in a standing position.
– Squat down and touch your hands to the ground.
– Extend your feet back in one quick motion into a “plank” position.
– Perform a Push-up *advanced
– Return to the squat position in one quick motion.
– Return to the standing position
– Or upon standing, jump!

;

Learning How To Breathe…The Right Way!!!

Hello and welcome back! I’ve been on a slight hiatus as I’ve been in the midst of moving and also planning a video workout series designed to help all of you. I’m back now, just in time for fall, with a post that is not only about fitness but about your general wellness!

Question: Do you want to know how to improve your alertness, reduce stress and help your cardiovascular fitness by doing “almost nothing”?

Answer: Of course you do! I’m going to show you how, with a technique called Diaphragmatic Breathing.

Diaphragmatic Breathing (AKA Deep Breathing or “Belly Breathing”) is a method of drawing in the breath to reduce stress, relax and give yourself greater energy. It’s a technique that has been used for decades in the professional athletic community and for thousands of years in eastern spiritual in religious circles. I can tell you personally that I’ve used deep breathing in tons of different scenarios (from martial arts competition to studying and test taking to easing stress on the job) always to great effect.

Question: So how is it done?

Answer: Doing Diaphragmatic Breathing is simple:

  1. Sit up straight, back erect.
  2. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
  3. Slowly inhale through your nose for a count of 10. As you inhale, push your stomach out, making your hand go outward. Imagine breathing fresh oxygen in from your nose and sending it down “into your feet.”
  4. Slowly exhale through your nose. Feel your stomach contract and your hand go inward.
  5. Return to resting position.

Repeat this cycle 5-10 times and notice any changes in your body. If you notice any shortness of breath and/or light-headedness please discontinue this practice.

The more you practice this technique the more you will begin to notice that Diaphragmatic breathing will replace your regular breathing. It will result in more mental alertness, reduced stress and a greater sense of ease. You will also that you are less fatigued during your workouts. This is because of the greater oxygen capacity your lungs now have!

Give Diaphragmatic Breathing a try and remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit

Diaphragmatic Breathing has a variety of benefits including increased mental alertness, a boost in energy and decreased stress.
(picture courtesy of: Knowcopd.com)

Beyond The “90” in P90X: How to continue to make the program work for you!

You can thank U.S. Representative and VP Candidate, Paul Ryan for this week’s post. Whether or not you agree with his political views, you should applaud his commitment to fitness. At 42 years old, and with an extremely difficult schedule, he finds time to exercise regularly. His workout program of choice is the insanely popular (and insanely effective) P90X series. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 years then you might not be familiar with P90X. Most likely though, you’ve seen the infomercials.

P90X is a 90 day cross training DVD workout program devised by fitness guru, Tony Horton. It has awesome segments that include: Yoga X, X Stretch, Kenpo X, Ab Ripper X, etc. They all function together, along with the nutrition plan included, to take the user from flab to fit in 90 days.

I highly recommend this program. I incorporated it heavily in my training when I first began my journey to fitness over 4 years ago. The purpose of this post is not to review the program but to give you 3 ways to use it after you’ve completed the first 90 days.

1.    Use individual discs/program as your primary workouts.

A great example of this is the Ab Ripper X program. Ab Ripper X is not for the faint of heart. It will, however, help you carve out a 6 pack in no time. Even after I completed the P90X program, I continued to use Ab Ripper X as my primary ab workout. I started by doing it once a week (because that’s all my stomach could handle). After I got used to the intensity I started doing it twice per week!

Another example is X Stretch. I’ve covered the importance of stretching in previous posts. This is a great way to get in your daily stretching. Pop in the DVD and loosen up before the day begins. This program is close to 1 hour so even if you don’t have time to complete it, you can focus on loosing up the body parts that need it most by going to that particular section of the routine.

2.    Use the cardio programs to mix things up when you’re getting bored of your regular routine.

Once you’ve been working out for a while you will get tired of doing the same routine. There are only so many steps you can do on the elliptical machine or so many miles you can walk on the treadmill before you’ll start to lose motivation for cardio. Using Kenpo X and Cardio X as alternatives is a great way to keep things fresh! Occasionally, I’ll even use them just to get my heart rate up on my days away from the gym. If you’re doing regular cardio elsewhere you don’t even need to finish the disc. Just go until you work up a nice sweat.

3.      Use the nutrition plan included with the program as a dietary guide.

After you’ve completed the 90 day program you may be tempted to go back to business as usual. This means no more workouts and engaging in old eating habits. This is the ABSOLUTE WORSE thing that you can do! Your body is now adjusted to burning more calories and it also now requires more quality calories.

Use Tony Horton’s nutrition plan as a base for what you should be eating. You don’t have to follow the plan to a “T” but the recommended requirements for protein, carbs and fat are spot on to maintain fitness. Make a grocery list based on the requirements and stick to it. You’ve worked hard for the body, now do what you can to maintain it!

Here is a Team Beachbody link where you can find P90X and all other Team Beachbody Products:

http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/ReggieGooden

It is a phenomenal program, as are many of the other products that Team Beachbody offers (like Shaun T’s “Insanity” series, Turbo Fire, and Shakeology).

As you can see, it holds its value far beyond the first 90 days and because of that, RG “The Dragon” definitely approves!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

P90X is a popular home training system proven to deliver serious results!

Girl Power! – Part Two: Your first month’s strength training program

Today’s post is a conclusion to last week’s: “Girl Power! Exposing the three biggest myths about women and strength training” article. This post is an introductory workout for women just getting started strength training. I will give you a circuit training routine to get you through your first month in the gym. Are you ready? Good! Let’s begin…

 

The Dragon’s “Girl Power! Beginners 4 Week Strength Training Circuit”

Directions: After your cardio warm-up , perform 8-10 repetitions of each exercise in a row. Choose a weight that is somewhat difficult but not impossible (i.e. 10 lbs. for lunges and squats and 5-10 lbs. for the curling & pressing movements).

Try to take rest no longer than 2 minutes between exercises. Perform the entire circuit 3 times.

  •  Warm-up: 3 to 5 Minutes of cardio on your favorite machine (treadmill, elliptical, or “jumping jacks (if at home)”
  •  Exercises (complete as a circuit) 3 rounds:
  1. Lunges: Each Leg x 10 reps
  2. Ballet Squat: 10 reps
  3. Dumbbell Chest Press: 10 reps
  4. Dumbbell Curl & Overhead Press: 10 reps
  5. Crunches: 20 reps
  6. “Plank” Position: Hold as long as possible.
  • Cool Down: 10 Minutes of moderately paced cardio on your favorite machine.

* Post Workout Stretch: The post workout stretch is extremely important to keep blood flowing to those muscles and to help you from getting too sore! Make sure you stretch after each workout. Refer to my recent post on stretching for instructions. It can be found here:

http://dragongatefitness.com/2012/07/23/stretc/ 

Stretches:

  1. Full body stretch
  2. Quad stretch
  3. Cross Arm Stretch
  4. Pec Stretch

Well there you have it. Do this workout 2-3 times per week, eat right and within 1 month you’ll notice a significant change in your body. Just look in the mirror and you’ll see everything get tighter and curvier! Stay motivated and remember...

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Girl Power! Exposing the three biggest myths about women and strength training.

It’s a common scene in any gym or fitness club. Most of the guys spend their entire workout time in the weight room. Most of the ladies spend their entire workouts on the treadmill, elliptical machine or exercise bike. But occasionally, there is an anomaly…The fit and very toned woman who confidently “crosses over” into the world of weights. Armed only with a bottle of water, workout gloves and a towel, she is almost always focused and seems to happily ignore the common myths of women and weight training.

During this post, I will uncover three of the most common myths about women and weight training. After it’s over, you will see why you too should ignore them and be that woman!

  1.  Strength training will make me bulky and look masculine.

This is the greatest, oldest and most inaccurate myth about women and strength training. The main factor in the size and level of muscle development is the amount of certain hormones (specifically Testosterone) that each person has. I will say this again in a different way just for emphasis. TESTOSTERONE is the main factor in determining the amount of muscle mass that each person can develop. So, as a woman, YOU CAN TRAIN WITH WEIGHTS AND NOT BECOME “BULKY”. What you can become is TONED! Strength training will help everything get “tighter” and leaner and help shape those curves.

 2.  I should stick to only very light weight and do only high repetitions to tone up.

I choose this as a common myth for women but can really be applied to men too. The only way to strengthen and tone those muscles is to challenge them! By challenge, I mean performing weight training exercises that become difficult after about 8 reps. You don’t need to attempt anything that feels impossible. You should to seek a nice burn at around 8 reps. Don’t stop there, though. GO FOR 10! And try to do this for at least 3 sets. Don’t worry if you can’t make it at first. The key is that you’re placing stress on your muscles that will make them grow stronger and look better.

  3.  If I do all this working out and stop, then my muscle will turn into fat.

This is another oldie but goodie and my favorite myth to debunk. Muscle tissue will not magically transform into fatty tissue after a person stops working out. They are two different types of body tissue. This myth is probably so popular because when a relatively fit person stops working out, their diet often changes as well. They will begin to appear softer as a result of bad eating habits and lost muscle. After all, you will either “use it or lose it”. So make sure you “use it”!

Ladies (and Gents) don’t be afraid of strength training. The weights won’t hurt you. In fact, they will help you tremendously with your transformation goals. Any well designed, comprehensive program should include strength training. If you would like a plan designed for you, contact me for help!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Weight training will increase your strength and tone your muscles. Not make you bulky!

“V” is for Victory: How to get the coveted V shaped abdominal muscles

This very quick post comes from a gym conversation I overheard the other day. It’s about the “V” shape formed by the lower abdominal muscles that goes from the lower stomach to the groin. Also known as the “Adonis Belt”, this muscle group has apparently been driving women crazy since the days of the early Greeks. It is synonymous with fitness, virility and has become a coveted feature of entertainers and professional athletes (see below).

Often times this muscle group will become more prominent as you reduce your body-fat. But I will give you a workout routine that you can do to strengthen your “V” and bring it out.

RG “The Dragon”’s Adonis Belt Workout

  • Leg Raises: 4 sets X 20 reps
  • Scissor Kicks: 3 sets x count to 30 each time
  • Bent knee ups (while on a “dip stand”) or reverse crunches: 4 sets x 20 reps
  • Plank Position: Hold for 3 times until you reach failure each time
  • 10-15 minute HIIT Cardio session

Do this routine 2 x 3 times a week and as you lean out you will begin to see your “V”. Good luck and remember…

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Entertainer “Usher” is often considered to have one of the best “V” shapes in the business.

A Personal Trainer’s Daily Meals (AKA “A day in the life”)

One of my most favorite questions from family, friends and clients is:

What do you eat, exactly? Can you break it down for me?

I usually tell people that I eat relatively the same thing every day, with minor adjustments. I save space for my cheat meal on the weekend but I find that a consistent diet of the same foods keeps me on track. It also reduces my chances of eating things that are bad for me. Besides, if you hate to cook, like I do, you can make large portions of some of these things and have them ready to simply warm up and eat!

In this post I will give you a typical day’s worth of meals and show you that to be fit, you don’t need a lot of time and money.

Breakfast: Egg white omelette, turkey bacon and instant oats

  • 1 cup liquid egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • 4 chopped asparagus spears
  • 1 chopped mushroom
  • ¼ cup chopped peppers
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 slice organic turkey bacon
  • ½ to 1 cup of plain instant oats

Pour egg whites and whole egg into a bowl. Stir. Chop asparagus, mushroom and peppers. Pour egg whites and egg into skillet. Put asparagus, mushroom, peppers and shredded cheese in egg whites. Fold into omelette. Serve with turkey bacon and oats.

Snack: Greek yogurt, chopped fruit and almonds

  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • ¼ cup roasted almonds
  • ¼ cup fruit of your choice (I prefer bananas)

Simply pour 1 cup of Greek Yogurt into a bowl, mix with almonds and fruit. Then eat. Or, eat yogurt in container mixed with almonds and fruit separately.

Lunch/Pre-workout meal: Chicken breast, broccoli & brown rice

  • 1 Chicken breast
  • ½ cup broccoli
  • ½ to 1 cup brown rice

I like to cook several chicken breasts at once. This way, I’ll have them available for several days. I also prefer frozen vegetables and rice so I can microwave the entire meal at once.

Post-Workout Meal: Protein shake

  • 1 packet Shakeology
  • ½ to 1 cup of whole milk    or
  • 2 scoops of Protein Powder of your choice
  • Fruit of your choice
  • ½ to 1 cup milk

Currently I am using Shakeology as my post-workout shake

http://myshakeology.com/ReggieGooden

I find that it has all of the natural ingredients that I need to quickly flood my body with nutrients after a workout. I use milk and add one scoop of BCAA’s (Branch Chain Amino Acids) because my weightlifting workouts can be intense. The average person won’t need to do that. Just make sure you get a fair amount of protein and carbohydrates in your system immediately after exercise.

Dinner: Ground turkey, sweet potato, mixed veggies

  • 6 oz. ground turkey
  • 1 sweet potato
  • Mixed vegetables

As with the chicken breasts, I will also cook an entire package of ground turkey so that I will have multiple servings already prepared. Once cooked, poke holes in the sweet potato and microwave it. Also microwave frozen mixed vegetables.

Bedtime Snack: Chopped almonds and dark chocolate

  • ½ cup chopped almonds
  • 1 square dark chocolate

Technically this is not a meal but a bedtime snack. Since I live with a “choco-holic”, our house is usually never without the stuff. If you are also a “choco-holic “, then rejoice! Dark chocolate actually has many benefits when eaten in small quantities. It has antioxidants, can regulate blood sugar, lower blood pressure and is pretty rich in minerals. I’ll eat one square with a hand full of chopped almonds just so I can “slow” my metabolism slightly through the night.  If you don’t like chocolate (or fear having it around), then try a small portion (1/4 to ½ cup) of organic trail mix.

This is a typical day’s worth of food for me. It’s gotten me great results and I know that it can do the same for you! I am offering custom meal plans and training programs available for the rate of 2 personal training sessions. Contact me for details!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Reduce your back and joint pain simply by stretching!

Question: Can stretching help with my back and joint pain?

Answer: Absolutely! Regular stretching can reduce back and joint pain by 30% or more.

Did you feel any aches, pains or stiffness when you got out of bed this morning? How about when you’ve been sitting in one position too long? This most likely happens because your muscles and surrounding tissue have become tight, rigid and stagnant. This tightness can cause throbbing, aching and pain.

Stretching at least once per day (preferably in the morning) reduces pain by increasing blood flow throughout your body. It also makes you more flexible and limber, which creates more looseness in your muscles and joints. Health studies show that even the lingering pain from certain injuries and degenerative conditions (i.e. arthritis, scoliosis, injuries do to accidents and exercise) can be reduced by 25-30% or more by incorporating a daily stretching routine into your life.

Sample Stretch Routine

This is a sample 5 to 10 minute stretch routine that will help you loosen the major areas of your body. You should do this routine when you wake up in the morning and before you go to sleep at night.

  1. Back Stretch (AKA “Cat Stretch”): Get down on your hands and knees in a solid base. With your hands shoulder width apart and knees hip width apart, round your back toward the ceiling. Imagine that there is a string attached to your mid back pulling you upward. Hold the position for 15 seconds. Then, drop your stomach down and arch your back. Imagine that same string pulling your stomach toward the ground. Hold the position for 15 seconds. Finally, return to a rest position. Do this 3 times.
  2. Full Body Stretch: Stand tall, with your feet slightly less than shoulder width apart. Place your hands over your head and reach upward as if you were trying to touch the ceiling. Do this for 15 seconds. Next, maintaining the natural curve in your lower back, bend forward at your hips and reach for your toes. Make sure to bend slowly and try to keep your knees as straight as possible. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. Hold for 15 seconds and then return to the starting position. Do this entire cycle 3 times.
  3. Quad Stretch: Stand tall, with your feet about shoulder width apart. Reach back and grab your left foot with your left hand. Slowly pull your left leg back as if you were trying to touch your foot to your buttocks. Pull until you feel a good stretch (if it becomes uncomfortable, stop!) and hold for 15 seconds. Then return your left leg to its original position. Hold on to a chair or wall for balance if necessary. Do this 2 times and Repeat on opposite side.
  4. Cross-Body Stretch (AKA Shoulder Stretch): Stand tall, with your feet shoulder width apart. Reach your left arm across your body, bringing it as close to your chest as possible. Next, lock your right arm underneath your left at the elbow (Your arms will look like a “cross” in this position). Gently hold and slightly increase pressure for 15 seconds. Then return your arm to the side. Do this 2 times and repeat on opposite side.
  5. Neck Stretch: Stand tall and keep your shoulders relaxed. Move your head downward toward the right (as if you were touching your ear to your shoulder). Hold for 15 seconds. Next, slowly “roll” your head down and forward (as if to touch your chin to your chest). Hold for 15 seconds. Next, slowly “roll” your head toward the left (just like you did toward the left) and hold for 15 seconds. Finally, slowly “roll” your head back (as if you were touching the back of your head to your upper back). Hold for 15 seconds. Then return to your starting position.

Things to remember while stretching:

  • Stretching should be, AT MOST, mildly uncomfortable. Not painful! If you experience any pain then stop immediately.
  • Move your body into each position gently and slowly.
  • When stretching, hold each position without rocking or “bouncing”. Jerky movements may lead to muscle and connective tissue damage.
  • If you are engaging in any workout routine, be sure to stretch before and after sessions to keep your body loose, help with muscle soreness and to prevent injury.

The above routine should give you noticeable results in the amount of flexibility and the reduction of back and joint pain. However, if you suffer from chronic or severe conditions, make sure you visit your doctor and alternative health providers (chiropractors, massage therapists and acupuncturists) along with doing your daily stretches!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

The “Cross-Body” Stretch (AKA Shoulder Stretch)