Thursday, November 29, 2012

12 Minute Body Weight Interval Fat Burn

Hi Everyone!

Today's workout is quick and easy to fit into your schedule. I repeated it, but another option would be to fit it in a couple different times during the day (surely you can find 12 minutes somewhere!)

It's an interval workout and utilizes cardio bursts in between each exercise. For round 1 I jump roped, for round 2 I did high knees. 

Interval workouts are a great way to get your heart rate up, and optimize your fat burn. This style of workout actually leads to increased fat/calorie burn for hours after your workout. 

The breakdown is below the video. :) Have a great night! Also, if you're on facebook please vote for me in Fitness Magazine's Face of Fitness contest. I am one of 10 finalists for the Reader's Choice Award, and the winner is automatically one of 5 grand prize finalists. Vote Here and be sure to like my facebook page while you're at it! Melissa Bender Fitness


All Levels: max reps during each 50 second interval, 10 seconds of rest. 
*I am writing jump rope, but you can also choose to march in place, do high knees, or even mountain climbers. 

1. Jump Rope/High Knees/March in Place (depending on current level of fitness)
2. Side Lunge Jump
3. Jump Rope
4. Mountain Jumper
5. Jump Rope
6. Squat Jump
7. Jump Rope
8. Prone Heel Lift
9. Jump Rope
10. Low V-Up
11. Jump Rope
12. Plie Pulse

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

5 by 5 Workout

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Repeat 1-5X

1. Burpee V-Up
2. Warrior 3 Squat
3. Scissor Reach
4. Squat, Reach, Twist
5. Temple Tap Abs

Hi Everyone!

Getting motivated to workout today was a major challenge for me. I was exhausted, and didn't feel like working out. Mentally I knew I would feel better once I got started, but getting to that point was difficult. 

My body has been adjusting to my new work schedule, which means leaving my house by 5:30 a.m. So how did I get motivated today? I mentally reminded myself how much better I would feel after I worked out, I created a "shorter" workout, I thought about how important it is to keep fitness at the forefront of my life (because I truly love it), and I had a small cup of coffee to give me a bit more energy. Oh yeah, I also brushed my teeth. Someone on facebook said that gets them energized for a workout, and interestingly enough I normally do that before working out anyway. I never really though about why before, but I thought I would share that tidbit in case it helps anyone else! 

I hope you enjoy the workout. I made sure to include plenty of full body exercises, but I also focused on twists today. Twists help detoxify your body, and if you have any food allergies or sensitivities, it can help relieve some of the symptoms. 

Tomorrow I am planning an interval workout, so be ready for a good one!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Have You Out-Run Your Running Shoes?

One of the greatest things about running, is that you don't need a lot of equipment to get started. You need your body, and a pair of shoes. If you're a female a great sports bra is another must have, but I will save the details of the best running sports bras to a future post. 

Shoes provide the foundation that you run upon, so it's very important to be able to recognize when you are running on worn out shoes. What are the signs? 

1. Mileage: If you track your mileage, you can generally expect to replace your shoes every 300-400 miles. This varies depending on body weight, and the type of terrain you are running on. If you are pounding the pavement, you will need to replace your shoes sooner than if you primarily stay on the treadmill. 
2. Aches and Pains: You're feeling new pains, aches, possibly even shin splints. It may be a sign that your shoes have lost their cushioning. If you feel more muscle fatigue than usual, or bilateral pain (pain on both sides of your body) it could be another symptom of running on shoes that are no longer providing support. 

3. Your Shoes Show Wear and Tear: I'm not just talking about dirt, that's a part of running in the great outdoors. I haven't known any runners who have managed to keep their shoes sparkling and new once they start putting mileage on their shoes. The pictures below show some different shoes, and what you can look for with your wear pattern. Recognizing your wear pattern, can actually tell you a lot about your running style, and foot strike pattern. 

-Examine the soles of your shoe to see if there is any visible wear. Is the tread still visible on your shoe, or is it visibly worn down? This is a picture of the bottom of my running shoe. They still have quite a few miles left on them. I chose a sturdy shoe that can take a lot of wear and tear, as well as withstanding many miles.  

Compare this picture to the last one, and you should instantly recognize a major difference. These shoes are worn down, and need to be replaced. The wear pattern on the forefoot is immediately obvious. You can also tell from this picture that the runner has a mid to forefoot foot strike while running. The heel shoes virtually no wear. 
The heel isn't the only place to look for wear and tear. Examine the side portion of the base of your shoe. You may notice tiny fine lines, and wrinkles in the cushion of your shoe. If there is significant wrinkling it is a sign that your shoes aren't as supportive as they once were. 

It is also helpful to examine more than one pair of your old running shoes, if you are trying to determine your individual needs in a running shoe. Someone with a heel strike has different shoe needs than someone with a mid-sole strike. Also, you may pronate or supinate when you run. If you aren't sure bring a pair of your worn down running shoes to your local shoe store and have them examine your wear pattern. They can perform a stride analysis, and recommend an appropriate shoe. You may want to stick some air fresheners in your shoe before handing them over. As a courtesy. ;) 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Quick Sexy Stomach Workout

Beginner: 10 reps, 30 seconds
Intermediate: 15 reps, 45 seconds
Advanced: 20 reps, 60 seconds

Repeat 1-3X

1. Extended Leg Cross (timed, with or without weight)
2. Russian Twist (with or without weight)
3. Crossed Leg Extension (right)
4. Crossed Leg Extension (left)
5. Windshield Wiper Tap (right)
6. Windshield Wiper Tap (left)
7. Leg/Hip Lift
8. Reverse Cheek to Cheek
9. Side Reach (right)
10. Side Reach Left

Hi Everyone! 

Today's workout is all about getting a sexy, toned, strong core/tummy. I had a lot of fun with this one, because I got to try out some new moves. I liked switching things up, so expect to see some of these moves again in future workouts!

Fitness Magazine's Face of Fitness contest voting started again today. If you are on facebook, please take a minute to vote for me. I am a finalist, and winning the Reader's Choice Award would make me eligible to win the grand prize. Vote Here. You can only vote from computers, not mobile devices. :) BIG Thank You to anyone who takes the time to vote! If you don't follow me on facebook yet you can like my page here: Melissa's Facebook

Before my workout today, I went for a run with Jesse. We did 3.5 miles at an easy pace. Even though it's cold, it's nice to get outside and run in the fresh air. Also, the varying terrain increases the challenge of the run. 

Have a great night!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Full Body Home Fat Burn

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Repeat 1-3X

1. Side Step Up (right)
2. Side Step Up (left)
3. Plank Jack
4. Ball Pull Abs/Floor Pull
5. Ball Pull Butt/Floor Pull
6. Criss Cross Mountain Climber
7. Lunge Kick (right)
8. Lunge Kick (left)
9. Seated Leg Lift (right)
10. Seated Leg Lift (left)
11. Knee Tap Squat Jump
12. Bicycle Abs

Hi Everyone! 

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving, and for those of you outside of the USA I hope you had a great Thursday!

If you follow me on facebook you already know that to start of Thanksgiving my sister and I did a 4.5 mile Turkey Trot run. We had a lot of fun, and I was incredibly proud of my sister. She ran that distance 5 minutes faster than she ever has before. That is a huge time drop! Afterwards, Jesse and I were blessed to be able to celebrate and have two Thanksgiving dinners. We had one with his family, and one with mine. I had a lot of delicious food. This is a picture of my (second) dinner. I had some turkey breast, my mom's special recipe for lima beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, sweet potato, asparagus, green bean casserole, and a little bit of stuffing and mashed potatos. It was delicious! 

I hope no one is stressing out too much over the calories they consumed. If fitness is your lifestyle one day isn't going to make or break your results. Just eat healthy and return to your normal lifestyle. Today's workout is a full body fat burner. Jesse and I followed it up with a 3.5 mile run outside. I repeated the workout twice. I will go through it one more time this evening. 

I hope you enjoy the workout!
Ready for a run outside in the cold!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tone Your Tush: Home Workout

Hi Everyone,

Tonight's workout is focused on the tush, and legs. I found the first exercise (Lunge Hops) to be especially challenging. I think I am still a bit tired from last night's workout. I was going to go for a run today as well, but I think my body would benefit more from some rest. I went through this workout twice. 

Having strong glutes is more important than just having a nice and shapely backside. Your glutes help maintain your pelvic and postural alignment. So having a toned tush benefits more than just the fit of your jeans! Your glutes are the largest and strongest muscles of your body. That means that having a muscular lower body can help increase your metabolism. It will also help you make gains in your strength and athleticism. Strong legs provide support for your knees, and ankles, increasing stability, and decreasing your risk of falls and injury as you age. Are you ready to workout your butt, and reap the benefits? Did I mention that a strong, round butt, also looks great? ;) 

The breakdown is listed below. I hope you enjoy the workout!


Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Repeat 1-3X

1. Lunge Hop (right)
2. Lunge Hop (left)
3. Squat Jump
4. Hip Thrust
5. Side Plank Hip Drop (right)
6. Side Plank Hip Drop (left)
7. Side Frog Mountain Climber
8. Leg Series (right)
9. Leg Series (left)
10. Bird Dog Heel Press

Monday, November 19, 2012

Kick Away Calories!

Hi Everyone!

Tonight's workout was fun, and challenging. I already went through it twice, and I want to go through it one more time. It's a full body workout, with plenty of cardio moves built in. It had me pretty sweaty! 

Yesterday I did a 6.91 mile run with Jesse. We were doing an easy run, and I was happy to check out my stats from the running watch after my run and see that the last 4 miles were between 7:25 and 7:52 pace. It felt comfortable, and we were talking a lot so I was expecting my pace to be slower. 

With the holiday's it's important to stay on track with your workouts as much as possible, especially leading up to those days when you know you are going to be very busy. My sister, Kristen, invited me to do a 4.4 mile Turkey Trot with her Thanksgiving morning, so I think that's how I am going to start my day. Average calorie consumption on Thanksgiving averages around 4500 calories. Most of it comes from snacking throughout the day, and not the actual sit down dinner. 

Are you doing anything active to stay fit and healthy this holiday season? 

I hope you guys enjoy the workout!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

1. Burpee
2. Sumo Squat
3. Back Kick (right)
4. Back Kick (left)
5. Russian Kick
6. Cheek to Cheek Plank
7. Boat Kick
8. Walking Pushups
9. Prone Heel Taps
10. Side Plank Jumps

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Shape and Cardio Workout: Real Time

Hi Everyone!

I hope you're having a fantastic weekend. The holiday season is just getting started, and that can be quiet a challenge to your exercise routine and diet. For those of us in the USA, that challenge starts on Thursday with Thanksgiving. 

On my facebook page I asked the question, do you have goals from now until the end of the year, or have you put your goals on hold until after the holiday? 

I was very happy to hear that most people are sticking to their goals! Remember, fitness and healthy are lifestyles. You should still be able to enjoy your holidays, but be sure to keep health and exercise a priority. Exercise can be the perfect antidote to the stress that often accompanies the holidays. What are you going to do to take care of yourself this holiday season? I would love to hear in the comments below. 

Enjoy the workout!

Beginner: 10 reps, 30 seconds timed exercises
Intermediate: 15 reps, 45 seconds
Advanced: 20 reps, 60 seconds

Repeat 1-3X

1. Jump Rope (timed)
2. Sumo Pushups
3. Leg/Hip Lift
4. Plie Jump
5. High Knees (timed)
6. Frogger
7. Butterfly Situps
8. Lunge Jumps
9. Surfer Jump
10. Tricep Dips
11. Bicycle Situps
12. Elevated 1 Leg Bridge (right)
13. Elevated 1 Leg Bridge (left)
14. Jump Rope (This wasn't in the video, but I did an additional 5 minutes of jump roping)

Friday, November 16, 2012

10 Minute Core Strengthening Workout

Hi Everyone!

Today I did the core strengthening workout in the video below. I also ran 6.5 miles. I did a 3.5 mile run in the morning with Jesse, and a 3 mile run in the evening with Marie. If you don't know who Marie is check out: Beginner: Full Body Toning to see her Before and After shots. Today is Marie's birthday, and there was no way I was going to turn down the birthday girls request to go for a run. :) 

With all of my ab exercises I aim to work the entire core. So this workout will help tone your abdominal muscles, obliques (love handles), back, and transverse abs. I did the workout interval style, so it only took 10 minutes to complete one round. The other option is to complete it for repetitions. Try to move quickly from one exercise to the next. 

If you find these exercises difficult, it is important to remember that these movements work a lot of different muscles. Do what you can, and aim to increase the number of reps you are able to do each time. 

Tomorrow I will be sharing a more intense workout, so be sure to check back for that. Have a good night!

Max reps during each 50 second interval, or:

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

1. Knee Drop Plank
2. Heel Tap Abs
3. Heel Tap Prone
4. Temple Tap Abs
5. Side Plank Twist (right)
6. Side Plank Twist (left)
7. Reverse Situp
8. Leg extensions
9. Crescent Plank (right)
10. Crescent Plank (left)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

10 Minute Fat Burn: Body Weight Home Workout

Hi Everyone,

Today's workout was intense! I went through the workout three times, and ran 1 mile after each round. As always, the video, and breakdown of the workout are below. I feel great now, but it was a tough one! 
My workout today will work your entire body, and incorporates cardio throughout. I completed the rounds interval style, doing the maximum number of reps that I could during each 50 second interval, with a 10 second break in between exercises. This workout can also be completed by focusing on reps, instead of intervals. I ran 1 mile on the treadmill between rounds, but other cardio options include jump roping, or one of my cardio workouts. By the time I finished all three rounds I was covered in sweat, and knew I put in some great work! 

Sweaty After the Workout

All Levels: Maximum number of reps during each 50 second interval
Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

1. High Knees
2. Heel Lift Squat
3. Burpee
4. Superman
5. Lunge Jump
6. Tricep Leg Lift
7. Mountain Climber
8. V-Up
9. Bicycle Abs
10. Windshield Wiper Plank

After each round complete 1 round of Cardio or running. 

Repeat 1-3X. 

My Cardio Today:
Mile 1: 6 Minutes, 59 seconds
Mile 2: 6:41
Mile 3: 6:47

Monday, November 12, 2012

Fit Butt, Tight Abs: Home Workout

Hi Everyone!

Today it was really tough for me to get motivated to do my workout. I felt tired, and I really wanted to take a nap, or lay down on the couch and finish the book I am reading. Mentally I knew that if I could just get started I would feel better, and re-gain my motivation. 

So I got up and went through this workout. Once I started moving I felt rejuvenated, and I wanted to keep going. As you can see by the goofy picture of me to the right I ended up having fun once I got myself going. I went through the workout three times, and then walked for 4 miles on the treadmill (while reading my book). 

I feel very blessed that I have learned to understand how much better exercise makes me feel. It has an immediate physical, and mental impact on me. If you are able to find out what it is that motivates you, it makes it much easier to stick to your workouts. For me, exercise is inherently rewarding because I feel happy and energized after workouts. I feel stronger, and more capable of handling anything that might come my way. For you it may be the same, or your motivation might come from something different. It's so important to find what works for you. 

Today's workout is challenging. It focuses on lower body (butt, thighs, legs), and core (abs, obliques, back). I use some weights, but this workout can also be done with body weight only. As always focus on form. 

I hope you guys enjoy the workout, and find your motivation!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Repeat 1-3X 

1. Squat Thrust Deadlift
2. Elbow Strike Cross Punch
3. 1 Leg Squat Press (right)
4. 1 Leg Squat Press (left)
5. Butt Lift
6. Jump Rope (60 seconds, or 100 jumps)
7. Pop Squat
8. Leg Lift Abs
9. Bicycle Abs
10. Spiderman Plank
11. Chest Press Situp

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fit Friday: Toned Tush Fat Burner (16 Minute Home Workout, Real Time)

Hi Everyone! 

My workout for today was a nice challenge. I went through it twice, it took about 16 minutes per round. I also did some running today. I attempted to do a 5K time trial with one of the girls from the cross country team, but I got a really bad side stitch and had to stop. Jesse, and some of the guys from the team kept running with her, and she hit a new PR! 

I am going to do another outdoor running 5K time trial outside next week. I think the combination of my workout this morning, and my run from yesterday contributed to my side stitch. Or it could have been, the bottle of water I had right before running. Either way, I am going to repeat today's run, and I will let you guys know how it goes. It's important to remember that one bad day does not define your ability or your workout. It's just motivation to push that much harder the next time! 

Yesterday I didn't get to post a workout, but I got in a run on the treadmill. I alternated 5 minutes with no incline at an easy pace, with 5 minutes at varying levels of incline. The total workout took 30 minutes, and I did 3.69 miles. 

I hope you guys enjoy today's workout. It's a great fat burner, with plenty of glute sculpting exercises. :) Have fun, and a Happy Fit Friday!


Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Repeat 1-3X

1. Jump Squat
2. Weighted Curtsy Lunge (right)
3. Weighted Curtsy Lunge (left)
4. Tricep Leg Lift
5. High Knees
6. 1 Leg Hip Press (right)
7. 1 Leg Hip Press (left)
8. Burpee
9. Angel Abs
10. Frogger

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Push It Home Workout

Good Morning Everyone!

This was my workout from last night. I am planning a new workout for later this afternoon, so be sure to check back for that. 

For today's workout I wanted to mix up the challenge to my body, so I used very light weights (3 pounds) and completed a high number of reps for each exercise. I really believe in the importance of challenging your muscles in various ways to optimize your training. In the video I still did the standard 20 reps per exercise, but the first time I went through I did 60 reps per exercise. For the 1 Leg Stand and Press I split it up, 30 per leg. 

It was a nice challenge, and fun to do something a little bit different. As always, the exercises can also be performed with body weight. You can use hand weights, soup cans or anything else you have handy if you want to use a weight. 

My mom, sisters, and I went to the Madonna concert on Tuesday (election night). Seeing Madonna, and the shape that she is in was a huge inspiration to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. She looked amazing, had great energy, and was able to do dance moves that required strength and flexibility. We all loved the show. 

I hope you guys have a great day! Enjoy the workout!
At the Madonna concert
Dinner before Madonna's concert

Beginner: 10-25 reps
Intermediate: 15-40 reps
Advanced: 25-60 reps

1. Up/Down Dog
2. Plank Elbow Hold Right (up to 60 seconds)
3. Plank Elbow Hold Left
4. Superman Flies
5. Weighted Leg Lift
6. Cat/Cow
7. Plank Rows
8. 1 Leg Stand and Press (right) (half reps right, half left)
9. 1 Leg Stand and Press (left)
10. Butt Lift
11. Heel Tap Prone (I did 100 of these)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Quick Full Body Tune Up: Home Workout

Hi Everyone,

Today was a great workout day for me. I ran, and I went through the workout that I have posted in the video below. 

Today I ran a total of 8.1 miles. I did a 5K (3.1 miles) on the treadmill in 22 minutes and 28 seconds, and then I ran 5 more miles, which took an additional 40 minutes. I like to get longer runs in on Sundays. Typically I go outside and run, but I just couldn't make myself go out into the cold today. On day's like this owning a treadmill is very useful. 

I also did pull-ups today. I did a set of 3, 2, 1, and 5. On the first three sets I focused on lowering myself slowly in order to build additional strength for pull-ups. It is easier to lower your body, than it is to lift it, so using this technique can help you increase your strength. I also did Australian pull-ups. My pull-up bar can drop down so you can hold onto it in a reverse plank, and then lift your chest to the bar. I have done this exercise in a few videos with my dip station (also called a reverse push-up), but I will be sure to film a new workout soon that incorporates this exercise. 

I went through the workout below twice. If you aren't able to get in a run, you can choose one of my cardio workouts, jump rope, or go for a walk. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful evening. See you tomorrow with a new workout!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Repeat 1-4X

1. Side Plank Hip Drop (right)
2. Side Plank Hip Drop (left)
3. Plank Heel Press
4. Cheek to Cheek Plank
5. Heel Tap Abs
6. Hip Lift
7. Runners Lunge
8. L-Leg Lift (right)
9. L-Leg Lift (left)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bottoms Up Workout

Hi Everyone!

Today's workout is a repeat of one I did last month. I will be doing this workout later tonight, so I will update my reps. The reps listed below are from the first time I went through this workout. 

Tomorrow we have the WPIAL Cross Country State Championship Race, and our team has three kids that qualified. So today I will also be doing some running with the kids, when we jog the course to make sure everyone knows where they are going. 

If you don't feel like repeating this workout, pic another one. :) There are over 250 different workouts to choose from so you should be able to find one that suits your mood. Have a great day!


Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 20 reps
Advanced: 25 reps
Maximum number of reps during each 60 second interval, with 10 seconds of rest in between exercises. My reps are in parenthesis next to each exercise. 

*Note: The length of time for high knees varies during each round.

1. Squat Jumps (41)
2. Superman (51)
3. Burpees (12)
4. High Knees (1 minute)
5. Right Lunge Kick (25)
6. Right Oblique V-Up (78)
7. Walking Pushups (20)
8. High Knees (90 seconds)
9. Left Lunge Kick (28)
10. Left Oblique V-Up (83)
11. Monkey Pushups (27)
12. High Knees (2 minutes)
13. Plie Jumps (41)
14. Twisting Taps (52)
15. Tricep Dips (26)
16. High Knees (2 minutes, 15 seconds)

Push yourself, but always listen to your body!