Saturday, June 30, 2012

Standing Workout Thighs, Hamstrings, and Glutes (Real Time)

Hi Everyone,

This was my second workout today! First was: 10 Minute Standing Ab Workout

This workout really focuses on your thighs, hamstrings, and glutes. It helps keep everything tight, toned, and gives your butt a nice round shape. You can see in the picture at the bottom of the page (and in the video) that I got super sweaty during this workout! It's quick but it's tough. 

You can pair this workout with any of my other videos, or repeat it several times if you want it to be your only workout of the day. I would recommend adding one of the cardio videos if you are looking for a longer, full rounded workout today. 

It's going to be a fun week so be sure to check back for plenty of new posts, and workouts!


Max reps during each 50 second interval, 10 seconds of rest in between each exercise. 

Repeat 1-3X. 

1. Paw Backs (right)
2. Paw Backs (left)
3. Sit to Stand (right)
4. Sit to Stand (left)
5. Heel Raise (right)
6. Heel Raise (left)
7. Chair Squat to Traditional Squat
8. Butt Kick with Resistance Band (right)
9. Butt Kick with Resistance Band (left)
10. Seated Toe Taps

Standing 10 Minute Ab Workout Real Time: Melissa Bender

Hi Everyone,

I filmed two new workouts today. The first workout is a 10 minute standing ab routine. The video is below. This is a nice workout that doesn't require you to get on the floor, and has no traditional crunches. It will get you really sweaty, and workout your entire core without straining your neck. 

The second workout I am uploading is a 10 minute hamstring, thigh, and butt workout. These tend to be the major areas people worry about as summer approaches. Both of these workouts still hit all of the major areas of your body, but they focus on strengthening and toning the muscles in the areas I specified. 

I got to wear my new workout pants from bodyrock sport today! They are aptly called the "Melissa" pants. They are really comfortable, and very cute! 

I hope you enjoy today's workout!

10 seconds of rest, 50 seconds max reps

Repeat 1-3X.

1. Squat Twist
2. Oblique Drop (right)
3. Oblique Drop (left)
4. Rotating Lunge (right)
5. Rotating Lunge (left)
6. Side Angle Reach (right)
7. Side Angle Reach (left)
8. Dancing Goddess Pose
9. Standing Leg Lift (right)
10. Standing Leg Lift (left)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Vitality Salad: Rose's Healthy Recipe

Hi Everyone,

This delicious recipe comes from Rose, on the West Coast of the USA. She call's it a Vitality Salad, and she sent me an amazing breakdown of the health benefits of each of the ingredients. Rose is on a fitness, lifestyle and health bender. She is changing her life for the better, and will soon be documenting that in her very own blog. Currently you can follow her at: Blossoming Rose 

Rose credits meals like this for her glowing skin, and youthful appearance. When you check out her picture below I think you'll agree there is something to what she is saying! 

Rose recommends her favorite dressing below. If you're up for trying something new, try squeezing a bit of fresh lemon juice over your salad. It's delicious and refreshing! I'm also a big fan of plain balsamic vinegar. Often I eat salads "plain" I put so many delicious things in my salad that dressing becomes unnecessary. 

The recipe is below!

PS Beets are one of the only vegetables that I don't like. I would replace that ingredient with some red grapes, or possibly some mushrooms. However, if you're a fan of beets they do have some really great health benefits you will read about below! 


What you will need:

Spinach is extremely healthy and high in Potassium and Vitamin A among other minerals and vitamins. The high amount of vitamin A helps promote healthy skin by allowing proper moisture retention to the skin  and even helps fight wrinkles. The vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium present in spinach all serve as powerful antioxidants that combat the onset of osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.

Packed with protein,calcium, potassium, fiber, B vitamins, omega 3's, and more vitamin C  than an orange. I eat Romaine daily. 

Loaded with potassium, vitamin C,vitamin E, vitamin A. An anti-inflammatory food with carotenoids and bioflavonoids. Vegetables with beta carotene help add the natural glow to your skin as well as keeping your body healthy from the inside out.

Red onions have a higher concentration of flavonoids in the outer layers, which, according to a Cornell study, can help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Red onions also contain the brain-boosting flavonol quercetin, keeping your memory in tact.

Protein, soluble and insoluble fiber,manganese,folate, iron. Need I say more?  

Beets are one of the most highly nutritious and “heart health” friendly root vegetables. Certain unique pigment antioxidants present in root as well as top greens have found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke, lower cholesterol levels in the body and have anti-aging effects.
*Keep  in mind in you have gallbladder or kidney problems you may wish to speak to your doctor before making beets an integral part of your diet. Beets (notably beet greens) are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems.

Very high fiber, potassium, 18 essential amino acids, cartenoids, omega 3's. Helps reduce the bad cholesterol in your blood. Do not avoid this gem of a fruit, or is it a vegetable? Either way it is a nutrition grand slam.
Whatever protein you like, my husband adds grilled chicken to his salad. You may add grilled salmon, tuna or soy. The options are endless.


A good all natural balsamic dressing, I prefer Trader Joe's

Balsamic Vinegar

Sliced almonds

You can always indulge with just a hint of high quality cheese. I love gorgonzola cheese or feta in small amounts. Keep in mind the portion control with cheese if you decide to add it in. A little goes a long way and cheese is high fat/sodium.


This salad is very simple. Just take equal parts spinach and romaine and toss in a large salad bowl. Add the diced roma tomatoes and red onions to the salad. Then add a full can of the garbanzo beans, or less if you prefer.  At this point I take the balsamic dressing and dilute half of it with balsamic vinegar. This reduces the fat and the sodium content. You can also make your own with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar if you like. I just love the flavor of Trader Joe's  Balsamic Dressing so that is my choice. Then I add the sliced almonds and toss again. I do not add the avocado or beets until the very end. Beets are delicious but will overpower the salad if you toss them in. At the very end you may add your choice of protein and cheese. My husband loves this salad. Sometimes I roast a few red or purple potatoes and toss them in as well.  Warm some whole grain pita and you have a well rounded meal.

They say to have natural glowing skin you should eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. I believe this works, and I think my skin is a prime example of health. I eat about 9 servings of produce a day. Don't forget to drink tons of water. I also love to drink a natural coconut water after yoga class, so refreshing.

Buon Appetito! ;)
Rose Bruno Bailey

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bikini Butt and Leg Workout

Hi Everyone,

This was my workout for the day! As soon as we were done filming Jesse did a hard run, and I did an easy 35 minute run. It was hot outside! Be sure to stay hydrated with your workouts, especially if you are outdoors. 

There were gorgeous butterflies, and a big family of geese to keep us company. I recently read that going outside decreases your body fat percentage. Initial studies indicated that it may be linked to a decrease in stress that occurs when you spend time in nature. 

You should feel the burn in your butt, thighs, and legs with this workout. I know I did! Working the muscles in your lower body is important for a variety of reasons. Your lower body houses many large muscles, so working this area increases your calorie burn. Also, it helps stabilize your entire body, while working your lower abs. Being truly fit and healthy should mean finding balance in your body. 

I posted a new recipe for grilled eggplant. It's delicious! So be sure to check that out under the recipes tab above. 

I have yoga class tonight, so it's been a busy and active day for me! 

I hope you enjoy the workout!

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

Repeat 1-3X. 

1. Long Jump Burpees
2. Side Leg Lift (right)
3. Side Leg Lift (left)
4. Squat Kickback (right)
5. Squat Kickback (left)
6. Leg Series (right)
7. Leg Series (left)
8. Runners Lunge Kick (right)
9. Runners Lunge Kick (left)
10. Squat Kick (alternating)
11. Cheek to Cheek Plank
12. Plie Jump
13. Scissor Abs
14. Heel Pulse Squat

Grilled Eggplant Sandwich Recipe

Hi Everyone!

Last night Jesse and I had a delicious dinner! We had grilled eggplant sandwiches. It was delicious, healthy, and easy to make (my favorite combination!) 

I am sharing the recipe below. This is also delicious on it's own, if you're not a sandwich fan. If you don't have a grill you can make this on a george foreman grill, or even bake it in the oven. 


1 Eggplant
Hummus 2-4 tablespoons
bread of your choice
fresh baby spinach leaves
Grapes (optional side item)

Mix Ingredients:
1 1/2 Tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1-2 mashed garlic cloves
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Step 1: Slice eggplant into approximately 1/2 inch rounds, and peel of strips of the skin (to make it easier to eat). Place sliced eggplant onto paper towels and lightly salt. Let sit about 15 minutes to get out excess water. Pat and dry both sides of the eggplant before moving onto the next step. 

Note: I have skipped this step before, but this step is supposed to release some bitterness in the eggplant. I didn't really notice much of a difference and thought it was good either way. 

Step 2: Combine all of the other ingredients in a bowl and mix together. 

Step 3: Dip the eggplant slices into the mixture, being sure to lightly coat both sides. 

Step 4: I placed all of the coated slices into a container until we were ready to grill, and poured the extra mixture over the top. We let it sit for about an hour, but this step isn't necessary. 

Step 5: While Jesse started the grill I got the bread ready. I used a whole wheat sandwich thin, Jesse had his on a thicker whole wheat bun. I lightly spread both sides of the bun with traditional hummus, added some fresh spinach leaves, and put red grapes on the side. 

Step 6: Place the eggplant on the grill over medium heat. Cook about 3 minutes, flip, and cook about 2 more minutes. We put down tinfoil to keep it moist, and make clean up easy. 

Step 7: Place cooked eggplant on a dish. 

Step 8: Pour any remaining mixture over top (you can skip this step if you like it dry). 

Step 9: Put eggplant on your sandwich and enjoy! The one in the picture above is mine. The one below is Jesse's. 

We both thought it was delicious! I hope you do to!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Intense Full Body Workout Real Time

Hi Everyone,

This is the compiled video of my entire workout today. As I mentioned earlier, I posted the individual parts of this workout as well to make it easy for anyone using these videos at home to mix and match, or fit in quick workouts as needed. If you want to do the entire workout with me than this video puts it all together. :) 

I will be sharing my grilled eggplant recipe tonight, so check back for that. I just haven't decided how I want to eat it yet! I can have it on it's own, or as a sandwich. Either way it should be delicious. 

Anyway, enjoy the workout. If you do both 8 minute segments, and the pushup challenge you will definitely be getting in a full body workout today!


Max reps during each 50 second interval, 10 seconds of rest in between exercises. This portion of the workout will take 16 minutes. 

Plus, the 45 pushup challenge (9 different variations of pushups). (time will vary)

1. Heel Touch Squat Jump
2. High Knees
3. Forward Lunge Lift (right)
4. Mountain Climber
5. Forward Lunge Lift (left)
6. Lunge Pulse (right)
7. Russian Kick Up
8. Lunge Pulse (left)
9. Jumping Jack Plank
10. Heel Tap Abs
11. Toe Touch Situps
12. Hip Twist
13. Frogger
14. Side Plank with Elbow Twist (right)
15. Side Plank with Elbow Twist (left)
16. Pendulum Abs

Pushup Challenge: 5 reps of each style of pushup

1. Spiderman
2. Walking
3. Chatarunga
4. Leg Lift (right)
5. Leg Lift (left)
6. Jumping Jack
7. Rolling
8. Decline
9. Supergirl

Intense 8 Minute Ab Workout Real Time

Hi Everyone!

This is part 2 of today's workout. It's 8 Minutes of Ab and core focused exercise. This one will help work on burning any fat that might be covering your abs, while strengthening and shaping those muscles for nice firm, definition. This workout really hits all sections of the abs including: love handles, lower belly (the tummy pouch area), and your entire mid section. 

You probably already know that just strengthening your muscles doesn't give you a six pack, you also need to be burning fat. Interval style workouts are huge fat burners, plus I incorporated some cardio based ab moves. You should be sweating by the end of this workout! 


PS Don't forget to do part 1! Cardio Fat Stripper and if you're feeling brave try the Pushup Challenge

1. Jumping Jack Plank
2. Heel Tap Abs
3. Toe Touch Situps
4. Hip Twist
5. Frogger
6. Side Plank with Elbow Twist (right)
7. Side Plank with Elbow Twist (left)
8. Pendulum Abs

Intense 8 Minute Cardio Fat Stripper Real Time

Hi Everyone,

This is the first part of my workout today. It's the second part if you count the pushup challenge that I did before this. 

This section of the workout is only 8 minutes long, but it's very intense! I did it interval style, so maximum reps during each 50 second interval, with 10 seconds of rest between exercises. I found the pulsing lunge jump to be especially challenging today. My thighs burned like crazy! 

I am posting each section of this workout separately to make it easy to mix and match with other workouts, or for when you're in a hurry and need a quickie. I will also upload a full length version of this workout. 

Good luck!

1. Heel Touch Squat Jump
2. High Knees
3. Forward Lunge Lift (right)
4. Mountain Climber
5. Forward Lunge Lift (left)
6. Lunge Pulse (right)
7. Russian Kick Up
8. Lunge Pulse (left)

Pushup Challenge: 9 pushup variations

Hi Everyone,

This video is in response to a challenge I posted on facebook. The result of the challenge was that I had to do 45 pushups. You know me, I had to keep it interesting so I did 9 different variations of pushups during the challenge. I also gave a shout out to each of my followers on facebook that I was doing pushups for!

Melissa Bender on Facebook Click that link if you want to "like" my facebook page. :)


I did 5 pushups of each style listed below:

1. Spiderman pushup
2. Walking pushup
3. Chatarunga pushup
4. Right Leg Lift pushup
5. Left Leg Lift pushup
6. Jumping Jack pushup
7. Rolling pushup
8. Decline Pushup
9. Supergirl Pushup

Monday, June 25, 2012

Shape and Tone Full Body: Melissa Bender

Hi Everyone,

This was my workout tonight. I also did a 3 mile run earlier this morning with Jesse. I did this workout interval style the first time through, and repetitions the second time. 

I also created a post about what I eat/my typical diet: My Diet so check that out if you're interested. 

There will be a new workout tomorrow. I am off to sit outside by the fire pit, and spend some time with friends. Have a great evening!


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

Repeat 2-3X

or you can do the workout interval style: Max reps during each 50 second interval, with 10 seconds of rest in between. 

1. Single Leg Lunge Jump (right)
2. Single Leg Lunge Jump (left)
3. Mountain Climber Pushups
4. 3 Way Lunge (right)
5. 3 Way Lunge (left)
6. Oblique Drop Side Plank (right)
7. Oblique Drop Side Plank (left)
8. V-Up
9. Heel Press (right)
10. Heel Press (left)
11. Chair Pulse
12. Bicycle
13. Hip Lift
14. Weighted Oblique Drop (right)
15. Weighted Oblique Drop (left)
16. Burpees

Melissa Bender Diet

Hi Everyone,

Many people have been asking about my diet. I am going to share some pictures to give you an idea of what I eat, and list some foods that I might have on a typical day. 

Any of the recipes that I share on my blog are things that I would normally eat. 


A very typical breakfast for me is 1-2 eggs, fresh spinach leaves, and a whole wheat sandwich thin with a little bit of cream cheese. I also have a cup of coffee (a big cup!) with french vanilla creamer. In this picture I had steal cut pumpkin oatmeal. If I am really hungry I might have Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt (but I generally save that for lunch). I also have about 16 ounces of water. 

At lunch I generally have a salad. The one in the picture above is pretty typical, but I might have chicken or tuna instead of salmon. Obviously I really like fresh baby spinach, I put in some red grapes, and sun dried tomatoes. Sometimes I add sliced strawberries, and some sliced almonds or sesame seeds. I also have a small green apple, and a cup of yogurt. Sometimes I have vanilla yogurt with some fresh fruit and granola. Other times I have the Peanut Butter Greek yogurt (1 cup) in the recipe link above. 

I also bring some nuts or a granola bar, and an extra apple or banana with me for a snack. I am usually hungry before lunch, and on my way home from work, so I make sure I have snacks. I also have another 16 ounces of water, and have generally had a bottle of water with lunch, and another throughout the day. If I am still hungry when I get home from work I have a slice of whole wheat bread with some peanut butter, or a small bowl of cereal. 

This is a picture of a dinner I had recently. In this picture I am having salmon and mixed vegetables. We also had some egg rolls with dinner this night. Normally I wouldn't have salmon for both lunch and dinner. One would be chicken. Some type of whole wheat pasta, or brown rice would be typical additions to our evening meal. Another typical dinner would be whole wheat penne with tomato basil sauce, spinach leaves, and mushrooms. I will also have more water with dinner. 

If I am still hungry in the evening I have some more veggies, cereal, yogurt, or frozen banana "ice cream." I may make that tonight to share some pictures and the recipe. It's not uncommon for me to snack on some Triscuits or wheat thins at some point during the day. 

That's a pretty typical day for me. I will try to take some more photos of my meals. I listen to my body, and eat when I am hungry. I eat many times throughout the day, and I drink water all day long. 

Hopefully this gives you an idea of my diet. I try to eat many veggies, and whole foods. I also like to prepare extra salmon, chicken, or pasta (whatever we have for dinner) so I have some to bring with me to work the next day. Eggplant is another common dinner item at my house. 

If you guys have any questions let me know!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Body Weight Full Length Workout: Melissa Bender

Hi Everyone!

It's beautiful outside today! Right before this workout I did about 40 minutes of walk/running with my friend Amanda, while Jesse was doing a hard tempo run. 

I decided it was the perfect day to do my entire workout outside! 

So here it is! Enjoy the weather!

1. Twisting Sumo Squat (right)
2. Twisting Sumo Squat (left)
3. Spiderman Pushups
4. Heel Tap/Hip Lift Abs
5. Sit-up Pushups
6. Low Jacks
7. Alternating Hip Drop
8. Speed Skater
9. Forward Fold Jump

Repeat 1-3X

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Full Body Tight and Toned Home Workout

Hi Everyone!

Tonight's workout was fun! I especially liked the 1 leg Tricep Squat pictured above. It was a nice way to work my lower abs, arms, glutes and hamstrings all at the same time. Notice in the picture above that even when I lower down my knee stays above my ankle, and never moves forward past my toes. This is key to really working your butt and hamstrings. These areas often get neglected, and you can accidentally create muscle imbalances in your body. 

As soon as I was done with this workout I went out for a run. I did 3.6 miles, and it took 30 minutes. It was 94 degrees outside so I made sure to cool down and drink plenty of water afterwards. 

I did the same running loop yesterday morning. I hope you're all enjoying some sunshine wherever you are!


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

OR: Interval Style 10 seconds of rest, 50 seconds max reps 

Repeat 1-2X + 15-30 minutes of cardio (jump rope, run, walk, or one of the cardio workouts on my blog.)

1. Lunge Jump
2. Dive Bomber/Up-Down Dog
3. Squat Lift
4. Oblique V-Up (right)
5. Oblique V-Up (left)
6. 1 Leg Tricep Squat (right)
7. 1 Leg Tricep Squat (left)
8. Plank Side Jump
9. Plie Jump
10. Plank to Toe Walk

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

5 Minute Cardio Butt Blast: Melissa Bender Fitness

Hi Everyone,

This is the cardio portion (part 1) of my 20 Minute Full Body Interval Workout. Click the link if you want to do the entire workout! I broke up the videos so you could mix it up, or break up the workout to suit your needs. With workouts as short as 5 minutes who can't find the time?

Enjoy the workout! There will be a new one up today!


All Levels: Max reps during each 50 second interval

1. In/Out Squat Jump
2. Step Up (right)
3. Step Up (left)
4. Warrior 3 Touch Down
5. Jump Up

Note: You do not have to jump or step onto something this high. Just make sure whatever you are stepping on is sturdy and secured. Safety should always come first. 

5 Minute Butt/Leg Workout: Melissa Bender Fitness

Hi Everyone,

This is part 4 of my 20 Minute Full Body Interval Workout from yesterday. Feel free to mix up the order or match this with other workouts! If you're in a hurry you can do this on it's own. 

Interval workouts are high intensity, so be sure to push yourself while also listening to your body. 


All Levels: Max reps during each 50 second interval, 10 seconds of rest between each exercise

1. Side Lunge Lift (right)
2. Side Lunge Lift (left)
3. Superman
4. Back Lunge (right)
5. Back Lunge (left)

5 Minute Arm Workout: Melissa Bender Fitness

Hi Everyone, 

This is the arm portion (part 3) of my 20 Minute Full Body Interval Workout If you want to do the entire workout click on the link. Otherwise, feel free to mix and match, or break up your workout. Whatever works for you! 

I am a big fan of interval workouts. You get great results, quickly. 

Check back later for a new workout!

Max reps during each 50 second interval, 10 seconds of rest between each exercise

1. Rolling Pushup
2. Warrior Row (right)
3. Down Dog Pushup
4. Warrior Row (left)
5. Tricep Dip

5 Minute Ab Workout (interval): Melissa Bender Fitness

Hi Everyone,

This video is part of the 20 Minute Full Body HIIT Workout I am uploading each 5 minute segment separately to make it easy to mix and match workouts. You can add this to any of the cardio workouts, or another ab workout. Or you can do the entire workout at the link above. :)

Try it out! There will be a new workout later. 


10 seconds of rest, 50 seconds max reps

1. 1/2 Get Up (crab reach) with 10 pound kettle bell
2. Plank Heel Touch
3. Pendulum Plank (right)
4. Pendulum Plank (left)
5. V-Up

Monday, June 18, 2012

20 Minute Full Body HIIT (full length video): Melissa Bender Fitness

Hi Everyone,

Here is the compiled video of my workout today! I am also uploading each 5 minute segment to youtube, for easy mixing/matching for future workouts. 

This is a full body, interval workout. There is a cardio section, abs, arms, and butt. I was sweating like crazy! As with all of my interval workouts the point is to do as many reps as you can in each 50 second interval. You get 10 seconds of rest between each exercise. 

As always, listen to your body during this, and all workouts. This is a full length video so you can see the number of reps I do. I use a 10 pound kettle bell at one point in the workout, and two 10 pound free weights. 

Also, be sure to check out some of the changes I have made to the page. Don't forget to start using to get here. It will be the permanent domain name soon. 

See you tomorrow!

Click the link to get your own Gymboss Interval Timer

All Levels: Max reps during each 50 second interval, with 10 seconds of rest in between. 

Round 1: Cardio

1. In/Out Squat Jump
2. Step-up (right)
3. Step-up (left)
4. Warrior 3 Touch Down
5. Jump Up

Round 2: Abs

1. Half Get up/Crab Reach (with 10 lb kettle bell)
2. Plank Heel Touch
3. Pendulum Plank (right)
4. Pendulum Plank (left)
5. V-up

Round 3: Arms

1. Rolling Pushups
2. Warrior Row (right)
3. Down Dog Pushup
4. Warrior Row (left)
5. Tricep Dip

Round 4: Legs/Butt

1. Side Lunge Lift (right)
2. Side Lunge Lift (left)
3. Superman
4. Back Lunge (right)
5. Back Lunge (left)

Healthy Lunch in under 7 Minutes

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to take a minute to share my lunch with you. Last night I had this as an after dinner snack because I was still hungry. This is a super healthy, quick option. When I bring it to work with me for lunch I usually toss it with some whole wheat pasta, or add some grilled chicken strips or salmon. I am home today so I can eat smaller meals throughout the day. This only has 140 calories. It's delicious, and it keeps me full. 

Plus, look at all those delicious and healthy colors on that plate! 


1 Bag Valley Fresh Stemers Market Blend
1-2 cups fresh spinach
5 sun dried tomato halves (I used Bella St Luci)

Stick the steamer bag in the microwave for about 6 minutes. 
While that is heating up put your spinach and sun dried tomatoes on a plate. 
I always drain the excess olive oil out of the veggies before emptying the bag over the spinach. You can heat the plate in the microwave for an extra 20-30 seconds if you want your spinach and sun dried tomatoes warm. If you are using chicken, fish or pasta mix it all together and heat it up. 

It's delicious, fast and easy! 

Carla is on a Bender! Before and After.

Hi Everyone,

Meet Carla! She has been following my workouts for quite some time now, and she was nice enough to send me some pictures of her results! She has also shared a delicious recipe: Organic Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

Carla has been getting some phenomenal results! The best part is that her results aren't just physical. She looks great, but she has also embraced the fit lifestyle. 

  • Carla: " first, working out was my strive to look good and healthy again but now it's taken a whole different level. It's almost like a spiritual growth because when I fall or can't do an exercise, I just push myself to do it again and again until I get it. I really needed to teach myself that kind of attitude, and it's the one thing that no one can teach you or do for you. It has to come from within. Now if i don't workout one day, I feel incomplete. Sort of like that movie Jerry Mcguire, I say: burpees! you complete me! ... and the burpees reply: Carla you had me at 20 reps ! hahahahahaha! ... but seriously, exercise is a continuous effort. It should never be stopped."

    " The hardest thing is to keep the discipline every day, especially because i have 2 very physical jobs besides my singing career. I have my own dog walking business which makes me walk up to 9 hours straight out there and i'm a superintendent in a building here in Toronto. But I always, always, always make time for my workouts. No matter what or how tired i am, i always do them and even when i'm really exhausted i will find myself one that isn't too too challenging but I still do them."

    Carla is a singer. You can hear her music at: Lords of Hera Be sure to check her out!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pre-Run Workout: Melissa Bender Fitness

Hi Everyone,

This is the workout I did last night before my run. My run was about 3.5 miles. It took 29.01 minutes, at a comfortable pace. 

It has been very hectic for me over the last few weeks. The place that I worked had a major fire last weekend. There was structural damage to the building so it will be several months until they can re-open. In better news I am almost done with fieldwork! 

I am off for the next few days, so expect several new workouts! Things should start settling back into a more normal place. I did take photos of some of my meals to share with everyone. I will create a post about it sometime this weekend. 

Enjoy the workout! 

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

1. Burpee
2. Hip Raise/Heel Tap
3. Bridge Reach (right)
4. Bridge Reach (left)
5. Alternating Runners Lunge

Repeat 1-2 times if you are running or doing a cardio workout today. 
Repeat 3-4 times if this is your entire workout for the day. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Couch Potato Crunch Time: Melissa Bender Fitness Workout

Hi Everyone, 

I am an avid reader, but I also hate to stay still. Movement helps me to focus. While I read I find myself constantly moving, and doing impromptu exercise moves. Why shouldn't I relax, and still be fit? With that inspiration I decided to create a couch workout that can be done on commercial breaks, or when you are just loafing around at home. 

So here it is. :)


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

You can do this as a commercial interval workout, doing 1 exercise as many times as you can during each commercial if you are watching television. 

1. Squat
2. Bridge Pulse
3. Leg Lift (right)
4. Leg Lift (left)
5. V-Up
6. 1 Leg Squat (right)
7. 1 Leg Squat (left)
8. Toe Taps
9. Reverse Plank Tricep Dip
10. Decline Pushups
11. Leg Circles (right)
12. Leg Circles (left)
13. Lateral Leg Press (right)
14. Lateral Leg Press (left)

Bonus: Supported Lean

Monday, June 11, 2012

Yoga Body Burn: Melissa Bender Workout

Hi Everyone,

Tonight I did a yoga workout, as you will see in the video below. I intended on doing a much longer yoga flow, and sharing it with everyone. However, my camera battery decided to give up! So, it's a short yoga flow, but hopefully you will enjoy it anyway. It still manages to target your entire body in only 16 minutes. It will work your entire body. If you feel like it wasn't a hard enough workout, feel free to double up! 

I lose my balance a few times in the workout. I make sure I leave moments like that in my videos because these are my actual workouts. I don't do them because they are easy. I do them to challenge myself and so I can get better. I want to grow into a stronger, more balanced, and healthier person. 

I hope you enjoy the yoga flow. :) Don't forget to try out the eggplant recipe I posted earlier. I am going to try out a crockpot version of pumpkin steel cut oats. If it turns out well I will share the recipe. :) 

See you tomorrow!

Baked Eggplant Recipe: 116 calories per serving

Hi Everyone, 

Tomorrow I am planning on sharing a video/pictures following all of my meals for the day. In the mean time, here is a recipe that I love. Baked Eggplant. Yummmm! Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. Before I started graduate school I had a vegetable garden, so I had fresh a delicious eggplant as often as I wanted it. I miss those days! Now I have to buy it at the local farmers market, or the grocery store. 

If you haven't tried eggplant you are missing out. Eggplant helps promote weight loss, helps prevent cancer, and is loaded with antioxidants that keep your brain, heart, and skin healthy. It's very high in fiber and only has 35 calories for one cup. Don't forget, if you fry it, and cover it in cheese you are losing a lot of the health benefits. This baked eggplant recipe is a healthier version of eggplant parmigiana. 

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as Jesse and I did!



1 Eggplant
1 Egg (slightly beaten)
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup tomato sauce (I used tomato basil sauce)
1-2 cups fresh baby spinach

Pre-heat over to 400 degrees F.

1. Wash your eggplant. 
2. Slice eggplant cross wise (aprox 1/2 inch slices). You can peel the eggplant if you desire. 
3. Combine egg and water. 
4. Dip eggplant slices into the egg mixture, the lightly coat both sides with flour. 
5. Place eggplant slices in a layer in a baking dish. 
6. Lightly cover with sauce. 
7. Place a layer of spinach over the sauce.
8. Lightly cover spinach with more sauce. 
9. Bake, uncovered for 10-12 minutes, or until heated through. 

Baking time is based on having one layer of eggplant in the bottom of your dish. If you decide to stack layers increase baking time as needed, and layer slices of eggplant on top of each other. 


This entire recipe only has 464 calories. It makes 4 servings, at 116 calories per serving. Each serving has 20 g carbs, 3 g fat, 6 g protein, 7 g fiber. 

Cardio/Jiggle Proof Thighs: Melissa Bender Fitness

Hi Everyone!

Yesterday my workout was a run. I uploaded an older video for anyone who doesn't want to run today. I really liked this workout. It's a tough one, and I really want to repeat it. I will be filming a new workout tonight, so be sure to check back. Also, I mentioned a new recipe in my video, and I will be sharing that this evening as well. 

See you soon,

Jiggle Proof Thighs and Butt
Beginner: 10 reps, 30 seconds for timed exercises
Intermediate: 15 reps, 45 seconds
Advanced: 20 reps, 60 seconds
Note: I used my interval timer for both cardio burst portions of the workout. I did 50 seconds of each timed exercise, with 10 seconds of rest in between. If you don’t have one use a stopwatch, over timer, cell phone timer, or you can guesstimate. I am putting the number of reps I fit in for each timed portion below). You can time your entire workout so you can see improvement as you repeat this one over time.
My total time: 36:40
Starter: Burpees
1. High Knees (timed)
2. Lunge Jump (timed)(I did 25 in 50 seconds)
3. High Knees (timed)
4. Plie Jumps (timed) (25 in 50 seconds)
5. High Knees (timed)
6. Runners Lunge to Balance (Warrior 3)(right)
7. Runners Lunge to Balance (Warrior 3) (left)
8. Side Plank Series (right)
9. Side Plank Series (left)
10. Diagonal Lunge Reach (alternate sides)
11. Standing Leg Lift (right)
12. Standing Leg Lift (left)
13. Prone Hamstring Curl (keep your knees up the whole time!)
14. High Knees (timed)
15. Jump Squat (timed) (I did 27 in 50 seconds)
16. Russian Kicks (timed)(I did 30. Right/Left=1)
17. Pendulum Squat (I did 20)
18. Jumping Jacks (I did 50)
Amp it Up Ending: Burpees!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Basic Body Shaping Home Workout: Melissa Bender Fitness

Hi Everyone,

I did another tough, full body workout today. I mixed up the style a little bit to make it more challenging. I completed half of my reps quickly, and half slowly while focusing on form. It added a whole new type of challenge to the workout. 

I have been getting lots of questions about my nutrition/diet choices lately so I am planning to take pictures of a day in my food life to share with everyone. :)

Enjoy the workout!

PS A lot of people have been commenting on my youtube video that they love this workout outfit. I got it from Body Rock Sport: They have some great products so check them out!

Beginner: 10 reps
Intermediate: 16 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

Half of the reps should be done quickly, half should be done slowly. 

1. Pushups
2. Right Lunge
3. Left Lunge
4. Warrior Squat
5. Up/Down Dog (Dive Bombers)
6. 3 Level Situps
7. Right Tricep Leg Lift
8. Left Tricep Leg Lift
9. Side Plank Lift (right)
10. Side Plank Lift (left)
11. Romanian Deadlift (Do all of these slowly, focusing on form)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Full Length Melissa Bender Home Workout

Hi Everyone,

Today's workout is finally uploaded! Be sure to warm up before this one (jump roping or sun salutations are both great warm-ups). I didn't warm up, and I was regretting it when I started out with those burpees! 

It took me 27 minutes to get through this workout. I was dripping sweat everywhere, but I felt like I got a tough and complete full body workout. It was a great challenge. You can watch me struggle through it, because this is a full length workout video. 

Gambit is usually the one who wants to make an appearance in my videos, but as you can see from the picture below Buffy decided she wanted some camera time. :)

Have a good night, and feel free to comment and let me know how you did!

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

1. Burpee
2. Side Plank Drop with Leg Lift (right)
3. Side Plank Drop with Leg Lift (left)
4. Bicycle (timed)
5. Walking Pushups
6. Table Kick (right)
7. Table Kick (left)
8. Jump Squat
9. Down Dog Step (right)
10. Down Dog Step (left)
11. High Knees (timed)
12. Lunge Kick (right)
13. Lunge Kick (left)
14. 3 Part Abs
15. Knee Plank