Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lady Lump Workout - Melissa Bender Fitness

I am starting a water challenge today. The challenge is to drink at least 8 8 oz. glasses of water every day during the month of December. Contrary to popular belief, the typical adult actually needs more water than that! According to the Mayo Clinic, the average female should be consuming 9 cups (2.2 liters) of water per day. The average male should consume 3 liters or 13 cups of water per day. That’s before working out! If you do a short workout you should add an additional 1.5 to 2.5 cups of water.
The most common symptom of dehydration is tiredness. This can occur even with mild dehydration. In addition, staying properly hydrated helps prevent over-eating, and even decreases your chances of getting the flu or other illnesses. Have I convinced you how important water is yet? I hope you join me in this challenge!
 Today’s workout is going to work every part of your legs, butt and thighs. J Enjoy it, and feel free to comment below to let me know what you think!

Lady Lump Workout
Warm-up/Cardio Burst: Jump Rope or high knees
Beginner: 5 minutes
Intermediate: 7 minutes
Advanced: 10 minutes
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
1.       Twisting Warrior
2.       Right Twist Kick
3.       Left Twist Kick
4.       Split Squat (right)
5.       Split Squat (left)
6.       Squat Jacks
7.       Down Dog Leg Lifts
8.       Side Plank Drop (right)
9.       Side Plank Drop (left)
10.   Burpees
Cardio Burst: repeat your warm up
Be sure to stretch after your workout! A round of Sun Salutations is a great cool down.
The rep portion of this workout took me 20 minutes and 21 seconds.

Don't have a Fitness Stall!

Hi Everyone,
I have been thinking a lot about things that derail people from their fitness goals. Maybe it’s the holiday season and all of the rich foods, and obligations that take up free time. Maybe it’s the winter weather. It just seems easier to workout when it’s nice outside. It could be school (finals, papers and presentations are looming for me too!) Kids, work, and life in general takes a lot of time. Sometimes it feels like there’s no time left over for you to do anything, much less make time for a workout.
First of all, fitness is more than just exercise. It’s a way of life. You need to find a balance for all of your occupations (by that I mean anything you occupy your time with). Even if you only have 15 minutes a day to dedicate to exercise it will be to your benefit. It may sound crazy, but you deserve a little bit of that time that you are dedicating to everyone and everything else. The time is yours, so decide to spare a little bit of it for taking care of yourself.
The workouts I share right now are intense, shorter workouts so you don’t have to spend hours in the gym or on a treadmill. They are designed to fit into my own incredibly busy schedule. Investing a little bit of time into your health now can help you have a longer, higher quality of life in the future.
Something that motivates me is going to a 5K race (or even just looking up the results online) and seeing people double to triple my age running the race, sometimes with great times! As I get older I want to have the energy, strength and endurance to keep doing that. So find your motivation and devote some time to your health.
There will be a new workout up tonight.
PS I am going to be sharing a sample of a healthy daily diet. The sample I created is being reviewed by a nutritionist right now. I want to make sure I am sharing high quailty (correct!) information with everyone. Be sure to check back!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Manic Monday Melissa Bender Fitness

Hi Everyone,
Just because it’s a manic Monday doesn’t mean that’s an excuse not to work out! Starting out with a tough workout is a great way to get your week on the right track.
This workout is designed to give you high calorie burning, and body shaping at the same time. Your legs hold plenty of muscle. Muscle=calorie burn. So working those legs is going to give you a great shape while burning fat. Today’s workout also focuses on tightening your core. It’s rare to meet someone who doesn’t want better abs.
I read an article yesterday that said mountain climbers, pushups, and planks are some of the top exercises you can do if you want great abs. This workout includes all of those.
As always, modify this workout to your level. Pushups, or the plank kicks can be done from your knees. Also, during the plank kicks keep your back flat. I said you could drop your back a bit in the video because I want you to focus on using your muscles and keeping them supple. However, you always want to have good form. Go for controlled movements over speed.
Enjoy the workout,

Manic Monday Fitness Bender Workout
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
1.       Burpees
2.       3 Part Abs
3.       Mountain Climbers
Beginner: 50 jumps
Intermediate: 75 jumps
Advanced: 100 jumps
4.       Jump Lunge
5.       High Knees
Beginner: 50 jumps
Intermediate: 75 jumps
Advanced: 100 jumps
6.       Elbow Tap Rolling Pushups
7.       Squat
8.       Burpee
9.       Angel Abs
10.   Plank Kicks
11.   Lunge Kicks (right)
12.   Lunge Kicks (left)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Partner Workout Melissa Bender Fitness

Hi Everyone,
Grab a friend because today we have a partner workout! Research has shown that people are more likely to stick to their workout routine if they workout with a pal. So find a friend and try out some of these moves. If you don’t have anyone to workout with don’t be afraid to modify the workout so you can do it on your own.
This workout is a lot of fun, and works out your entire body. Don’t be afraid to have a good time with it! Thanks to Jillian for the great idea. I really enjoyed trying a different type of workout. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think!

Partner Workout
Unless otherwise noted reps are as follows
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps (and you can go through the routine twice if you are up to it!)
1.       Hand-slap planks (to make it harder you can do pushups in between each hand slap)
2.       Leg Throws (partner 1)
3.       Leg Throws (partner 2)
4.       Seesaw Hold
5.       Stand-up sit-ups (partner 1)-you can also do reaching sit-ups if standing is too hard
6.       Stand-up sit-ups (partner 2)
7.       Windmill Push-ups
8.       Moving Toe touch sit-ups (partner 1)
9.       Moving Toe Touch sit-ups (partner 2)
10.   Leap Frog Squat (partner 1)
11.   Leap Frog Squat (partner 2)
12.   Wheel Barrel or Handstand Pushups (partner 1)
13.   Wheel Barrel Pushups (partner 2)
14.   Plank Jump Overs (partner 1)
15.   Plank Jump Overs (partner 2)
16.   Chair Pose/High Knees (your partner has to hold chair pose until you finish your high knees!)
Beginner: 50 high knees
Intermediate: 75 high knees
Advanced: 100 high knees
17.   Chair Pose/High Knees (partner 2)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Great Shape Workout

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday! I had many things to be thankful about this year. J Plus plenty of delicious food, with lots of vegetables!
I started out today’s workout with 15 minutes of cardio. I ran 2 miles on my treadmill (although it was about 60 degrees so I probably should have enjoyed the weather outside!) For me that was a comfortable running pace, nothing too hard because I knew I was doing the actual workout right after. If you are running just go out at a comfortable pace for 15 minutes. Focus on engaging in cardio for that amount of time, not the distance. Other alternatives are: jump roping, high knees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and burpees. You can even mix and match as long as you are working hard enough to sweat for 15 minutes.
I believe the issue with comments is now fixed, so feel free to comment below! Tomorrow I am going to have a fun partner workout, so get ready to grab a friend!
Have fun,

Warm-up: 15 minutes of Cardio.
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
1.       Boat Kick (2 kicks=1 rep)
2.       Side Lunge Reach (right)
3.       Side Lunge Reach (left)
4.       Mountain Climber pushups (4 mountain climbers/1 pushup=1 rep)
5.       Temple Abs (2 taps= 1 rep)
6.       Side plank leg lift (right)
7.       Side Plank leg lift (left)
8.       Reverse Situps
9.       Superman Plank
10.   Jump Squat
Cool Down: Sun Salutation

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Burpee Challenge/Ab workout

Hi Everyone!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! I hope you didn't think I was going to skimp on my workout just because it's a holiday!

I did a bit of a workout mash-up tonight. I started out with a Burpee challenge. I wanted to see how quickly I could do 60 Burpees. After that I did an ab workout on my dip station. Jesse wasn’t home so I didn’t film it, but I will be sure to share it with you guys this week. A great alternative would be to do the 10 Minute Ab Workout video. I finished my workout with two full sun salutations.

I will be back with a new video for you tomorrow. Have a great night.


Here is the Sun Salutation Video:

Part 1: The workout starts with doing 60 Burpees. You don't have to do them all at once. I did three sets of 20, with short breaks in between. You can split up your reps however you want to complete them. (I did my first 20 in 2 minutes 15 seconds, second 20 2:04, third 20 2:27).

Part 2:
Next do the 10 minute ab workout.

Part 3:
Do two full sun salutations to stretch and strengthen your entire body.

You're done! Have a great night. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkey Gobbler Fat Burn Melissa Bender Fitness Workout

Hi Everyone,
I just finished today’s workout. I have some new exercises mixed in for you. For today’s workout make sure you focus on form. Don’t forget, it’s better to do pushups from your knees with a flat back and good form, than to do a full pushup with a sway back.
Also, for the pendulum ab exercise, keep both shoulders on the floor as you rotate your legs. If this means you can’t drop your legs all the way to the floor that’s fine. J You will still be working your core, and back.
I finished today’s workout with 15 minutes of jump roping, and 2 full sun salutations to stretch everything out. If you don’t know how to do a sun salutation check out my very first blog post/youtube video for instructions.
The workout today took me exactly 16 minutes to complete the advanced version of reps. If it takes you longer (or shorter!) don’t worry about it. As long as you are using proper form and pushing yourself you are getting a great full body, fat burning workout.
I just read an article that said the average Thanksgiving meal is over 3000 calories! So if you are in the USA be sure to amp up your workout intensity this week, and try to make healthy choices (say yes to those vegetables!)
Enjoy the workout, and have a happy holiday!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
Warm Up: 2 minute Cardio Burst (high knees, jump rope, or 2 full sun salutations)
1.       Sumo pushups
2.       PliĆ© jumps
3.       Rock the boat twist
4.       Double Mountain Climber
5.       Bridge Series (right)
6.       Bridge Series (left)
7.       Surfer Jump
8.       Side plank ab twist (right)
9.       Side plank ab twist (left)
10.   Jesse’s squat jumps
11.   Pendulum Abs
12.   Donkey Kicks
Beginner: 5 minute cardio burst
Intermediate: 10 minute cardio burst
Advanced: 15 minute cardio burst

Monday, November 21, 2011

Burn Fat Fast Workout

Cydney is back with us again today (Can you believe it’s been another week already?) I need to take a minute and sing her praises. Not only did she run 2 miles this morning. Today she bumped up from doing Beginner reps, to Intermediate! She is improving by leaps and bounds!
Again, many people are intimidated by these workouts, but you can do it! Even if you can’t start with 10 reps work your way up to it! You will improve if you make the commitment and stick to it.
More is at stake here than fitting into your skinny jeans (although that is a great goal too!) I am talking about improving your life. Making changes to live a fit lifestyle will help keep you healthy to enjoy whatever it is you love. Maybe that’s your kids, grandkids, playing hockey, reading books, or any hobbies you have. Keeping yourself healthy will help you to do those things for the rest of your life. Diabetes rates are rising at alarming rates. A common symptom of diabetes is vision problems. So yes, even your ability to read is impacted by your health.
The good news is you’re here reading this! So maybe you already started your fitness bender, or maybe you are just about to embark on your journey. I hope you’re here to stay. Your life is worth it.


Burn Fat Fast Workout 
Beginner: 10 reps of each exercise
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
1.       Popup Punch
2.       Jump Kick (right knee up)
3.       Surfer ½ Burpee
4.       Jump Kick (left knee up)
5.       Rocking Monkey
6.       Squat Knee Slaps
7.       Kick Backs (right)
8.       Kick Backs (left)
9.       Get Ups (switching feet)
10.   Back/Side lunge (right)
11.   Back/Side Lunge (left)

Health Benefits of Jumping Rope

If you are going to invest in one piece of equipment for your exercise program I highly recommend getting a jump rope.

Jump roping is a great cardiovascular, strength building exercise. U.S. Olympic Wrestler, Buddy Lee, has cited research saying that 10 minutes of jumping rope can be as effective as 30 minutes of jogging for improving cardiovascular health. It is a wonderful cross-training exercise that can be beneficial in a variety of sports.

It is also versatile. You can do normal jump roping, skipping, high knees, or low jack jump roping.

Jumping rope doesn't just burn calories and improve the functioning of your cardiovascular system. It also helps with: hand/eye coordination, balance, strength, and bone density. It does all this while working your legs, ankles, calves, glutes, thighs, back, arms, abs, shoulders and chest. 

If you are buying a jump rope you want to measure it by stepping on the center of the rope, and lifting it until the handles reach your shoulders. Also, use proper form when jumping. Your arms should go out from your body at a 45 degree angle, and you should turn the rope with your wrists. Take breaks as needed, and slowly work your way up to longer periods of endurance. 

I think jump roping makes a wonderful warm-up and cool down. It can be done almost anywhere. I like it as an extra cardiovascular activity to add to running. I love that I can do it in my house, so the weather never impacts my decision to workout.  

If you feel inspired you can add some jump roping before or after any of my workouts. So enjoy!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

10 Minute Awesome Ab Workout

Hi Everyone,
Today’s workout is super short (only 10 minutes!) but it’s very intense. It consists of 10 different ab exercises. The trick is that you have a certain amount of time to hit your maximum number of reps. You get a 10 second break, and then you move to the next exercise. Keeping the breaks this short is what keeps the intensity of the workout so high.
If you enjoy this, you can use it 2-3 times per week to really amp up your core work. If you’re going to do this I suggest having a paper and pencil next to you to write down your number of reps during the 10 second rest period. This way you can compare and see your strength increasing every time you do it.
Also, this video is full length for the advanced version of the workout. So you can always play the video and go along with the exercises.

10 Minute Awesome Abs Workout
Beginner: 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest
Intermediate: 40 seconds work, 10 seconds rest
Advanced: 50 seconds work, 10 second rest per exercise
1.       Bicycle
2.       Leg raise heel taps
3.       Side twist
4.       Side plank drop (right)
5.       Side plank drop (left)
6.       Bridge leg circle (right)
7.       Bridge leg circle (left)
8.       Tricep plank leg lifts
9.       Hip lift
10.   Mountain climber push ups

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why the number on the scale isn't everything...

Everyone always says "muscle weighs more than fat." Well, 5 pounds=5 pounds no matter what. However, as you can see by the picture above 5 pounds of muscle takes up a LOT less space than 5 pounds of fat. This means two people can be the same height and weight, but look entirely different based on how much muscle they have.

If you read my post yesterday you also know how many more calories you burn throughout the day for each pound of muscle you add to your body. So if you're working out and "gaining" weight chances are that you are actually gaining muscle. This is good, because for each pound of muscle you gain you are burning more calories throughout the day and decreasing your dimensions.

Some people drop weight dramatically as soon as they start working out. If you're not one of those people I suggest recording your inches (waist, hips, thighs, arms) and tracking your progress that way. Working out and seeing no change in the scale can be disheartening, but it doesn't mean you aren't making progress. Just look at the picture above and remember why you want that tight lean muscle to tone your entire body.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Super Sweet Sixteen workout Melissa Bender Fitness

Hi Everyone,
It’s been a super productive day for us here in the Bender household. Jesse created today’s workout, and he did a great job! He put together a full body routine that will make you sweat, get your heart rate up, and burn body fat. It’s also a lot of fun!
If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen that I posted the following statistic: According to a study done by Tufts University for every additional pound of lean muscle mass on your body, you will burn about 35 to 50 additional calories per day. So if you know someone who is built a lot like you but seems to be able to eat a heck of a lot more without gaining weight you may have just figured out their secret.
The videos I post have exercises that are designed to build muscle while also stripping fat. These workouts will amp up your metabolism and keeps it going at a higher level throughout the day. Also, for each pound of muscle that you add you are burning all those extra calories. 3 pounds of muscle can equal up to 150 calories burned during the day while your body is at rest! Add to that the fact that you also burn even more during your workouts because muscles use more energy than fat, and you are seriously increasing your calorie burn.
Enjoy the workout, and try out some of the healthy recipes I posted!
PS for a great vegetarian version of beef stew check out:

Super Sweet Sixteen Workout
1.       Burpee Uppercut (10 reps)
2.       Temple Tab Abs (tap right, tap left=1 rep)
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
3.       Side Plank L-Lifts (left)
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
4.       Side Plank L-Lifts (right)
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
5.       Burpee Uppercut (10 reps)
6.       Slow rolling abs
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
7.       Alternating Leg lifts (right)
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
8.       Alternating Leg Lifts (left)
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
9.       Power Knee Ups (right)
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
10.   Power Knee Ups (left)
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
11.   Burpee Uppercuts (10 reps)
12.   V-Leg/hip lift
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
13.   Superman Crunch with Twist
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
14.   3 Kick Series (front kick, table kick, roundhouse=1 rep) (left)
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
15.   3 Kick Series (right)
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps
16.   Burpee Uppercut (10 reps)

Healthy Tartlet Recipe: Dessert, Appetizer, Delicious!

Tartlets Make a Delicious and Healthy Snack!

Thanksgiving can be a hard time to make healthy choices! The celebration can cause anyone to err on the side of excess. This is one example of a healthy appetizer or dessert option. Instead of having a slice of every type of pie, why not make Tartlets so you can try several things without going overboard?

To make the shell you cut a refridgerated pie crust in 3-inch rounds. Loosely place the circles into mini muffin cups. Back at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Allow shells to cool before filling. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

You can fill these with anything that you want. In the picture above I filled some with Hummus and raw broccoli. Other appetizer options include:
1. A cherry tomato, fresh spinach, and and a light olive oil dressing.
2. Guacamole with fresh diced tomatos.
3. Shrimp with a dab of cocktail sauce.
4. Sliced red grapes, and diced baked chicken. (feta cheese also makes a nice addition).
5. Mix and match some of your favorite diced/sliced veggies.
6. Hummus and fresh veggies of your choice.

Dessert (or appetizer) options:
1. Plain or lowfat vanilla yogurt topped with fruit. In the picture above I used fresh sliced raspberries, diced green apples baked with cinnamon, and sliced red grapes. My husband prefered the vanilla yogurt, I liked the tartness the plain yogurt adds. I added sliced almonds to some of the tartlets as well.
2. Chocolate pudding topped with the fruit of your choice. (Each cup gets less than a teaspoon of chocolate pudding).
3. Lowfat cinnamon honey nut cream cheese with fresh sliced red grapes.
4. Sliced pear and pear preserves.
5. Mixed fresh fruit.
6. Take whatever large pie fillings you normally use, and offer bite sized versions of your holiday favorites. This can allow people to sample without going overboard.

I got this idea from Better Homes and Garden's magazine, and modified it with some of my own ideas. If you have any recipes to share be sure to leave a comment below!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Seated Office Yoga to Sustain Health

Hi Everyone,
The video I am sharing today is a seated yoga routine that is great to use at the office. I created this video for a project at school, because it is something people from any walk of life can benefit from. My group’s project was called “Fit to Engage in Occupation.” What this means is staying fit throughout your life so you can continue to do all the things you want and need to do. Yoga and exercise are two great preventative tools. They prevent you from getting a lot of injuries and illnesses that result from unhealthy lifestyles.
If you’ve already suffered health problems it’s even more important to take steps to improve your health.
This routine is great for your back, neck and shoulders. It will help your posture, alignment, blood flow, and even assist in preventing tension headaches. It is a great tool to help relieve back pain. Enjoy, and remember, there is a lot more to fitness than just exercise. The healthy choices you make throughout your day, whether they be nutrition, using good body mechanics, or taking time to de-stress will all help create the healthy lifestyle we are seeking.
Good luck,

Hard Body Home workout Melissa Bender Fitness

Hi Everyone,
I was exhausted today, but I pushed myself to get in a good workout. It’s been one of those weeks where it feels like the world is conspiring against all of my plans. We are one day closer to the weekend now, and I have been pushing through it. So, please excuse my tired appearance in the video.
Someone shared a delicious, healthy recipe for cheesecake with me. I am going to try it out to make sure it’s tasty before I share it with you guys. J
As the holiday’s approach I think it’s especially important to have healthy items that seem indulgent. I make healthy tartlets that are a great alternative to sugar laden pies and desserts. I made some last night so later today I will take pictures, and share the recipe.
Also, this weekend we will be ramping up the cardio aspect of my workouts. So if you’re following along be prepared! Let’s work together to prevent any holiday weight gain before it even starts!

Hard Body Home Workout
Warm up: 5 minutes jumping rope, high knees, burpees, sun salutations or mountain climbers. You can even mix and match if you want. Make sure you get your heart pumping and your metabolism revved up before you get into the workout. This will maximize your calorie burn throughout.
Reps: This applies to all, except the one legged squat/pistol, which is listed below.
Beginner: 15 reps
Intermediate: 20 reps
Advanced: 25 reps
1.       Jump Lunge
2.       Up/Down Dog
3.       Squatting Warrior III
4.       Pistol/One leg squat (right)
Beginner: 2 reps per leg
Intermediate: 5 reps per leg
Advanced: 10 reps per leg
5.       Pistol/One leg squat (left)
6.       Jumping Push-ups
7.       Side Plank Drop (right)
8.       Side Plank Drop (left)
9.       Hopping Lunges (right)
10.   Hopping Lunges (left)
11.   Full Boat Pose
12.   Scissor Abs
13.   Superman Lift
14.   Plank Walks