The New Fitness Power Moves

CORE – BALANCE – STRENGTH.  These are 3 things that you need in order to master the new fitness power moves that are inspired by some pilates, yoga, martial arts, core balance exercises and strength.  In order to be a part of this new fitness movement, according to Details Magazine, one must increase their strength and balance and combine strength and skill in order to accomplish these incredible movements and exercises.  Requiring more than muscle to master, it’s all about leverage, core strength and balance.  Here are the new fitness power moves.  Are you able to master these?


The Eight-Angle Pose Power Move

Sit with legs in diamond shape in front of you, soles of feet together. Lift and cradle right calf in front of chest with both arms, elbows bent, palms facing body, foot flexed. Grab right heel with right hand, left hand under right calf, and lift and hook right leg over right shoulder. Place left palm on floor outside of left leg and press into floor to lift butt slightly, then place right palm on floor in front of you. Lift left leg and cross left ankle over right, feet flexed. Use abs to lift butt and torso slightly forward, straightening legs out to right side.


And if you are not ready to do the Eight Angle Pose right now, you can get your arm balance ready by practising these following 3 moves.


Bicycle Crunch

Lie face-up, right leg extended about 3 inches off floor, left knee bent 90 degrees, hands behind head, right elbow touching left knee. Moving slowly and with control, switch sides, rotating torso to right, extending left leg out in front of you and bending right leg 90 degrees, touching left elbow to right knee for 1 rep. Do 10 reps slowly. Repeat 3 times.



Start in downward-facing dog, then lower forearms to floor, elbows directly under shoulders, and walk feet in a few inches toward head, pressing heels toward floor. Hold for 3 breaths, then lower knees to floor to relax. Repeat 3 times.


Single Knee Plank

Start in downward-facing dog, then lift right leg to ceiling (three-legged dog), keeping hips facing forward. Shift forward to plank pose, bringing right knee into chest, back slightly rounded, palms pressing body away from floor, abs engaged, toes pointed. Hold for 3 breaths, then press back into three-legged dog. Repeat 5 times.


This article was originally published in Details Magazine in the June/July 2013 issue.  All images are courtesy of Details Magazine and cannot be reproduced!  Thank you.

12 MENTAL Health Benefits of EXERCISE


Some of the overlooked benefits of exercise include the mental health benefits that accompany a healthy and active lifestyle.  Whether you run, walk, exercise, train, weight lift or play sports, the mental health benefits of being active are well documented.

The Fast Company recently published an article called: “3 Reasons Exercise Makes You Smarter” and explains that your brain is a part of your body. Your body works better with exercise–and, research suggests, so does your brain.  Scientific American’s Justin Rhodes (assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois) reports: “A growing body of evidence suggests we think and learn better when we walk, jog, or otherwise workout”.  According to these recent studies, exercise boosts your cognitive functioning and improves your memory.  The keys include blood flow, your hippocampus (memory and learning elements in your brain) and creative habit.


According to the Scientific American study:


“The results were, in certain aspects, a surprise. As expected, many of the volunteers who’d been exercising for the past month significantly improved their scores on the memory and mood tests. But not all of them did. In general, those volunteers who had exercised for the past month and who worked out on the day of retesting performed the best on the memory exam. They also tended to report less anxiety than other volunteers.


Those who had exercised during the preceding month but not on the day of testing generally did better on the memory test than those who had been sedentary, but did not perform nearly as well as those who had worked out that morning.”


12 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise Infographic


We’ve tried to summarize the top 12 mental health benefits of exercise in this infographic.  Enjoy!


Exercise Will Make You Feel Better!

Exercising released endorphins, making you feel happy and positive about yourself.  Don’t we all want that?


Exercise is an Overall Mood Booster!

Exercising regularly will release tension.  This translates into solved problems with depression and stress.


Exercise Leads to Increased Confidence

When you exercise and relieve that tension while taking care of yourself, you can’t help but be proud of your accomplishments.  You feel like a brand new you, and you know you look good doing so.


Exercise Helps Your Body Increase Pain Tolerance

Exercise can make you sore many times.  At first it might be horrible, but after it happens a few times you learn to deal with it.  This leads to an overall increase in your pain threshold.


Exercising Works To Improve Your Brain Power!

Exercise causes your body to create more brain cells and connections.  This means your brain becomes more powerful and has a greater capacity for learning regardless of your age.


Exercise Improves Your Character

Sticking to an exercise routine will help you develop the qualities of discipline, dedication and determination.


Exercise Teaches Self Discipline

It also helps you develop the skills of compliance and adherence.  These absolutely necessary life skills will have a positive effect in all areas of your life.


Exercise Can Help With Addiction Recovery

As mentioned above, exercise can help you to developer discipline.  Overcoming addictions can become a lot easier when a workout routine is in place.


Exercise Also Combats Depression

Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain.  Exercises induce “happy chemicals” to be produced more abundantly.


Fitness Reduces Anxiety

Using your energy in an effective way helps you to relax better.


Exercise Gives You ‘Runner’s High’

That’s right!  Vigorous exercise can make you feel great!


Exercise Improves Concentration

Exercise can help boost your concentration and mental awareness.

The Ultimate SUPERFOOD for Exercise & Training!

If you are looking for a great training superfood, look no further than a common ingredient in smoothies and healthy dishes. GINGER is a great superfood for exercise and training, whether you are in the quest for a winning triathlon or increasing your strength. Often, ginger is the forgotten superfood but here is why you should add ginger to your nutritional diet when embarking on any cardio or weight training routine.


CLICK HERE for the Just Add Good Stuff GINGER Infographic with ginger health benefits, interesting facts and nutritional value.


The ginger root is actually native to South Asia, but it’s a popular flavor in drinks and foods all across the world. No doubt, ginger is a superfood. But, as an athlete or a fitness addict, you may wonder what the true benefits of ginger are to your health and exercise routine. The ginger root contains many powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that are commonly referred to as gingerols. These anti-inflammatory gingerols in the ginger superfood have been proven to reduce the formation of free radicals including nitric oxide during training and rest periods. So what does that mean to you? The evidence supports that gingerols and other anti-inflammatory agents actually not only prevent inflammation, but also inhibit the production of inflammatory compounds in your body.




As a result of the gingerol ginger superfood properties, athletes and trainers feel less pain when working out. Therefore, the ginger root actually serves as a natural pain reliever through it’s anti-inflammatory agents. This is especially good when considering traditional pain relievers such as Aspirin and Tylenol come with a host of negative side effects. According to Jim White, R.D. and the Journal of Pain, the ginger superfood also delays the onset of muscle soreness during a training period as well as at rest state, thereby promoting better health and results. The latest studies also show that the maximum effect of these gingerols in the ginger superfood occurs about 24 hours AFTER ginger consumption, which is very interesting.

In 2012, the Metabolism Journal which is published at Columbia University also discovered that the ginger superfood can help in weight loss or weight maintenance too. During this study by notable research scientists, people who consumed 2 grams of powdered ginger reported that they felt MORE FULL 3 hours later than those that did not consumer the ginger root. By feeling fuller, those who consumed this amount of ginger superfood were able to maintain their weight better and in some cases, even lose weight during the process.


CLICK HERE for the Just Add Good Stuff GINGER Infographic with ginger health benefits, interesting facts and nutritional value.


As mentioned above, ginger is native to South Asia (which many people don’t know). However, luckily for all of us, ginger root is available year round throughout the world. Most ginger varieties have a brown skin and yellow flesh, but you can also buy local ginger root with white or red meat. Whatever you choose, the best option is non-GMO organic ginger superfood. This will give you the best and most nutrients. The recommended daily intake is 2-4 grams per day. According to the USDA, one serving of ginger contains only 5 calories and no fat.

FITNESS > Cross-Body Hammer Bicep Curl – Great Forearm & Bicep Workout

Is your forearm and bicep work-out too boring? Are you doing the same forearm and bicep workouts every day? Do you feel that your bicep strength has peaked out or that your forearms seem to give way when doing too many arm exercises in a single work-out?

If you’ve answered ‘YES’ to any of the above questions, you need to hit your biceps and forearms with an exciting new exercise! And that routine can include the CROSS-BODY HAMMER BICEP CURL. Essentially, it’s like a hammer curl for your bicep routine, but instead of just ‘curling’ the weight, you curl the free weight across your body to create a new movement and better motion for building your bicep muscles. Not only that, but the cross-body hammer curl is also a great workout for your forearms, which aid in many other arm, chest, shoulder and back exercise routines.

The cross body hammer curl trains your brachialis which is a set of muscles that separates the biceps from the triceps. By doing the cross body hammer curls, you will not only be shocking your arms, but you will also increase the definition between your biceps and triceps (largest muscle in your arms), making your upper arms look bigger!

Here’s the breakdown of the exciting Cross-Body Hammer Bicep Curl that should be integrated into every other bicep workout routine:

Cross Body Hammer Bicep Curl

* picture from Men’s Fitness | Photography by: D Snipes


Cross-Body Hammer Bicep Curl Exercise in a Nutshell (shown above)


Muscles shocked: biceps, forearms and core
Sets: 3 to 4
Reps: 10 to 12 per arm
Rest period: 30 to 45 seconds

How to:
Get a dumbbell (free weight) that is about 80 to 90% the weight that you usually use for a bicep curl exercise. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms set against your side.

Curl the right hand dumbbell/free weight across your body so that it ends up under your left shoulder and against your chest. This is why it is called the “Cross-Body Hammer Bicep Curl” because you are essentially curling the free weight across your body. At this point, your palm should be facing and kept as close as possible to your chest. Go back to the rest state as slowly as possible and in the same but reverse motion.

Then, curl the left hand dumbbell/free weight across your body so that it ends up under your right shoulder. Again, keep your palm facing your chest (and as close to your chest). Again, this ‘cross-body hammer curl’ motion should be smooth without any jerking motion to lift the weight.

Alternate your cross body curls until you’ve done 10 to 12 per arm (that’s a total of 20 to 24 cross body curls). Repeat the cross body curls until you’ve done at least 3 sets. If you can manage to do 4 sets with the weight, go for it!

You will feel the 3 core areas being worked during your Cross Body Hammer Curl. You should feel the intense throb in your forearms during the upward motion of the cross body bicep curl, as well as during the return back to the original state. In addition, you will feel the cross body hammer curl work your bicep muscles, giving it a great pump both up and down. Last but not least, in order to keep your shoulders back and your body in a relaxed non-motionless state, you will feel the Cross Body Hammer Bicep Curl work your core muscles as well.

Therefore, we consider the cross body curl a 3 in 1 exercise that is great in working out your forearms, biceps and core.

Tips for the Cross Body Hammer Curl for Biceps and Foreman Workouts

Make sure that you have your feet, body and arms positioned correctly (see above in the ‘how to’ section) to avoid any injuries to your arms and back. When you are at the rest state, make sure that your feet are shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent. When you raise your arm for the cross body hammer curl, make sure that you are not using your leg strength, your lower back or your shoulders to do the bicep hammer curl. The entire exercise should be working your entire arm including your forearms, biceps and your core. Make sure that the motion up, across your body and back down, is slow and fluid. Each cross body bicep hammer curl should take at least 2 seconds to go up and another 2 seconds to return to your rest state. Therefore, each repetition should take 4 seconds in total. Try to keep everything but your arms stationary throughout the exercise to achieve maximum gains.


The SUPER Cross Body Bicep Curl for Core Training

For elite athletes and hard core trainers who are seeking some extra core training exercises, the Super Cross Body Bicep Curl is ideal for your core training needs.  Essentially, it is exactly the same as the above cross body hammer curl, but it works your core muscles even more!  Here are 2 variations for the super cross body bicep curl that can be done by itself, or in combination with other bicep, forearm and core exercises.  Please note that the tips are the same: fluid motion, keeping everything stationary except your arms and the 4 second rule still applies!  So NEVER cheap yourself out of the perfect core exercise!


Variation 1 for the Cross Body Core Training Exercise

The first variation for the above exercise is to do exactly the same motions but on one leg.  Before you do your first curl, raise one of your legs until your lower foot is perpendicular to the ground.  Make sure your knees are touching.  Again, curl the right hand dumbbell across your body so that it ends up under your left shoulder and against your chest.  Repeat with your left hand across your right shoulder.

You should try using 60% of your usual bicep curl free weight for this exercise.  The most important tip is to make sure that you are balanced before starting your cross body core training exercise.  Secondly, make sure that you are not compensating and making it easier by jerking the free weight or by using your back or shoulders or legs to raise the dumbbell.  The entire motion should be working only your core and your arms.


Variation 2 for the Cross Body Core Training Work Out

If the first variation is too easy for you or if you want to shock your core with an even more difficult core training work out, then Variation 2 would be ideal for you!  In this variation, get a square balance board.  If you are familiar with balancing on this square balance board, then you can head right into the exercise.  If not, please make sure you get used to the balance of the board before you start.

In order to start the exercise, grab the free weight and get on the square balance board.  Once you have maintained a perfect balance for at least 5 seconds, you can start with cross body hammer curl to work out your core.  This core training exercise is the most difficult of the three variations mentioned on this blog post as you are not only working out your forearms and biceps, but you are also balancing and working out your core on the square balance board.

Repeat the repetitions for each arm (again, try doing at least 10 to 12 reps per arm for each set).  The ongoing tip again is to maintain your balance without compromising your body form.  Core training is all about slow and fluid motion without any jerkiness or use of body parts that you aren’t suppose to use.

So if you cheat, you are cheating nobody but yourself!

FITNESS > Single Arm Floor Press > Chest & Triceps Workout

Sick and tired of your regular chest workout?  Do you fall into the bench press syndrome?  Cable exercises and push-ups not working anymore?

Here’s a new and improved workout for your chest and triceps (called the Single Arm Floor Press) that not only work out both of these muscle groups, but can also be used for: muscle toning, muscle building and core training.

In other words, it’s a 3 in 1 exercise that allows you to change your routine and blast your muscles.


* picture from Men’s Fitness | Photography by: D Snipes


Single-Arm Floor Press (shown above)


Muscles shocked: chest, triceps, core

Sets: 3 to 4

Reps: 10 to 12 per arm

Rest period: 30 to 45 seconds

How to:

Hold a dumbbell in one hand as you lie on your back on the floor or mat.  Then, you should tuck your elbow to your side and turn your palm so it faces inward (may feel a bit awkward at first).  Make sure that your triceps are resting on the floor. Lastly, press the weight over your chest, and return to the first position.  Repeat until you’ve completed the reps.

Tips for the Single Arm Floor Press

Make sure that you have the positioning correct (see above for ‘how to’). When laying on the floor, make sure that your back is comfortably pressed against the floor. When pressing the weight over your chest, do it in a fluid and slow manner. Each rep should take at least 2 seconds for the press and 2 seconds to return back to the original position (4 sec reps). Try to keep all other body parts stationary.