Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Full Length Melissa Bender Home Workout: 25 Minutes

Hi Everyone,

This workout is from last summer, but I am re-sharing it because it's a good one. I haven't had a chance to film the last few days because Jesse and I are finishing packing for our big move! I am going to post a workout schedule for the next few days, and if I have time to film I will share the new workouts. :) 

I think you guys are going to like the new workout location! 


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

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Got Sweat? Full Body Fat Burning Body Weight Workout

Hi Everyone!

This was my workout last night. The video and breakdown are below. I am getting this posted later than normal because my sister's cat is missing. :( I tried to help her find him, but so far we haven't had any luck. 

This workout was intense. It took me 23 minutes, and I was struggling at the end. I pushed through and completed the workout. :) I felt fantastic afterward. 

I hope you all enjoy this workout. It's a major fat burner, with plenty of body sculpting moves. You should feel it everywhere!


Beginner: 10 reps, 2 Burpees between exercises
Intermediate: 15 reps, 3 Burpees
Advanced: 20 reps, 5 Burpees
*High Knees or Cardio of Choice can be substituted for Burpees

1. Walking Push Ups
2. Warrior Reach (right)
3. Warrior Reach (left)
4. Side Lunge Lift (alternating)
5. Frog Hop
6. Reverse Plank Step Out (right)
7. Reverse Plank Step Out (left)
8. Leg Lift Arm Pulse
9. Single Leg Boat Pulse (right)
10. Single Leg Boat Pulse (left)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Healthy Protein Blended Chocolate Coffee Frappucino (Also delicious without the Coffee!)

Hi Everyone!

There will be a new workout posted tonight. In the mean time I wanted to share my healthy "Frappucino" recipe. 

This drink is delicious, easy to make in the morning (or anytime!), and keeps me full. It's also helped me satisfy my sweet tooth during my 1 Month No Sweets Challenge (day 27! Woohoo!)

Feel free to experiment with your own additions, or substitute your favorite milk product. 

-1 tall glass of coffee poured over ice (alternatively you can freeze an ice cube tray full of coffee, and use the frozen cubes)
-1 cup vanilla coconut milk (almond milk, soy milk, etc-look for unsweetened)
-1 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder (I use Nutracore Lean Active 7-Chocolate Cake from Total Nutrition Mansfield)
-1/2 Banana (I usually pre-freeze my banana, but it's good fresh too)

Combine all of the ingredients in the blender and enjoy! Maybe it's because I haven't been eating sweets for 4 weeks, but it tastes like a milkshake if you leave out the coffee, and a delicious frozen coffee milkshake with the coffee. :)


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

10 Minute HIIT Interval Bikini Body Toning Workout

Hi Everyone!

Do you have 10 minutes to get a stronger, healthier, more toned body? :) 

One round of this workout takes only 10 minutes, but it should get you sweating. If you have time you can repeat the workout, or even break it up and go through it a couple of times throughout the day. 

We are all busy, but it's important to take time for your own health. I read today that consistent exercise adds an average of 7 quality years onto your life. That's a pretty major statistic. 

:) Enjoy the workout!

PS I used dumbbells in this workout. If you don't have any you can complete the exercises with body weight only, with canned soup/veggies, or even a water bottle or milk jugs. 

Beginner: 30 seconds max reps, 15 seconds rest
Intermediate: 45 seconds max reps, 10 seconds rest
Advanced: 50 seconds max reps, 10 seconds rest

1. Frogger Row
2. Twisting Dumbbell Hop
3. Romanian Warrior
4. Weighted Toe Touch Abs
5. Goblet Squat
6. Weighted Toe Tap or Weighted High Knees
7. Alternating Side Plank
8. Squat and Press
9. Temple Tap Abs
10. Down Dog Weight Drag

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Legs and Abs Express: Quick Home Workout

Hi Everyone!

This was my workout last night (the video is posted below!) I took a long nap, so I ended up doing a late workout. This is a quick workout. If you want to amp up the intensity pair it with some cardio! You can do 30 minutes of cardio of choice (running, power walking, jump rope) or try one of my Cardio Workouts. It's also a great workout on it's own. :)

I had a long day yesterday, so I stuck to the workout and skipped the cardio. Today I am doing a running cardio workout which I will post about later. 

This is a great workout to help tone and strengthen your thighs and abs. The movements selected are challenging, and work your muscles from every angle. I always find the Extended Bridge movement tough as it really isolates my glutes and hamstrings. 

I am going strong with the no sweets challenge. I started incorporating a healthy version of a Frappucino into my morning routine, and I think it's helping to satisfy my sweet tooth. Also, the longer I go without sweets the easier it is. 

Enjoy the workout!

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

Repeat 1-3X

1. Toe Touch Situp
2. Extended Bridge (right)
3. Extended Bridge (left)
4. Bicycle
5. Deep Squat Lunge
6. Plie Heel Lift
7. Ab Clap
8. Forearm Plank Press

Toe Touch Situp

Toe Touch Situp

Extended Bridge

Plie Heel Pulse

Forearm Plank Lift

Sunday, July 21, 2013

National Ice Cream Day and the No Sweets Ab Challenge: Day 21

Hi Everyone!

This is an update on my no sweets/food log challenge. 

The good news is that the no sweets challenge has been going wonderfully! I have been sweets free for 21 days. Today was harder, as I went to a baby shower with an Ice Cream Sundae bar. Very fitting for National Ice Cream day. End result? I passed on the ice cream, and various other sugary cookies and candies. 

Ice cream is one of my favorite sweets, which is unfortunate because it gives me a terrible stomach ache every time I eat more than a half cup (which is technically one serving). Pain should be an incentive to avoid certain foods, but it's funny how we sometimes crave things that are not good for us. 

I read a peer reviewed article which stated that will power is like a muscle. The more often you have to use it over the course of one day, the more likely you are to wear out the muscle and eventually give in. However, like your other muscles, through slow building it gets stronger. 

I have had a lot of opportunities to break my challenge. Check out the picture of my sister holding brownies in my face while I pout (and Jesse chows down on a brownie in the background!) 

Don't get me wrong, it's okay to indulge in sweets. It's also okay to turn them down sometimes. You might want to challenge yourself to go sweets free for a day, a week, or even a whole month. Pay attention to how often you actually want sweets, vs. how often you just want to eat them because someone offers them to you, or it's convenient. 

You may be surprised to realize you don't "crave" sweets as often as you think. Instead of getting harder, saying no to sweets is getting easier. Physically I feel better. :) Maybe my will power muscles have gotten stronger. 

If you're still with me on this challenge I want to know how you're doing!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

10 Minute Lower Body Cardio HIIT: Thigh Burning No Equipment Home Workout

Hi Everyone!

Get ready to sweat! One round of tonight's workout only takes 10 minutes, but by the end of it you should be dripping. My thighs were quivering and I didn't think I was going to make it through a second round (but I did). The video is below. 

I mixed things up a bit and reversed the workout for round 2. It was tough, and I felt fantastic afterwards! 

This is a fat burning, muscle toning workout. You can do one round, repeat rounds, or even break up your workout and do your rounds at different times during the day. If you put in the work you will get results. You will grow stronger, healthier and more confident in what your body is capable of. 

I firmly believe that working through HIIT workouts also trains your mental determination. It teaches you that you are capable of more than you think you are. When you first start it doesn't matter if you begin with 10 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. Find your starting place, and go from there. Build up and keep challenging yourself. Don't forget to warm up before you start!

Post Workout: Sweat!

1. High Knees
2. Jump Squat
3. Pop Up
4. Russians
5. Lunge Hop (right)
6. Lunge Hop (left)
7. Cross Jack
8. Pendulum Hop
9. Surfer Burpee
10. Mountain Climbers

Repeat 1-3X

Pop Up Part 1
Pop Up Part 2
Cross Jack Part 1
Cross Jack Part 2
Lunge Hop

10 Minute Interval Core Workout

 Hi Everyone!

This is a 10 Minute Interval Core Workout. By the end of this one my abs were burning! I love core workouts, and this one was no exception. It's quick, but it can be repeated or combined with a quick interval cardio workout like the Cardio 15 Minute High Intensity Workout8 Minute Cardio Fat Stripper or a Treadmill Workout

Having a strong core will assist you with everything you do. It provides you with a strong foundation for all movement, and helps you maintain proper form during exercise. Plus, toned abs look good. :)

Enjoy the workout! I am filming a new one tonight!

PS You should warm up before all workouts, but it's especially important to warm up before interval workouts to maximize the burn and keep your muscles safe. Try jump rope, jumping jacks or jogging in place. 

Max Reps during each 50 second interval, 10 seconds of rest
(Beginners may shorten working interval to 30 seconds, Intermediate: 40 seconds)

Repeat 1-3X

1. Spiderman Pushup
2. Bicycle
3. Crunch Tap
4. Side Plank Hip Lift with Elbow (right)
5. Side Plank Hip Lift with Elbow (left)
6. Leg/Hip Lift
7. Windshield Wiper Plank
8. Temple Tap Abs
9. V-Up
10. Plank Crunch


Plank Crunch

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Abs and Legs Home Workout

Hi Everyone!

I am finally posting the breakdown for this workout! I went out of town for the weekend, and it's been super busy. I apologize for the delay!

This workout focuses on the abs and legs. It's quick: one round took me about 11 minutes. It can be repeated up to 3X. This is a low impact workout, but you will definitely feel it. :) 

There will be a new workout posted tomorrow! :) 

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

1. Lunge Kick (right)
2. Lunge Kick (left)
3. Leg/Hip Lift
4. Runners Lunge Lift (right)
5. Runners Lunge Lift (left)
6. Knee Drop Plank
7. Side Kick (right)
8. Side Kick (left)
9. Superman
10. Goddess Crunch

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Quick Standing Workout Routine: Thighs and Butt

Hi Everyone!

This was my workout last night. It's a quick one, but I definitely felt it in my thighs and glutes. This workout is done in standing, so all you need is your body and a wall. It can be repeated up to 3X. 

I have still been sticking with my "no sweets" challenge. Eleven days and going strong. :) Overall I feel much better. Logging my food hasn't been nearly as successful. I just haven't been making the time to fit it into my day. I am going to get back on track with that aspect of the challenge and continue sharing it here. 

Enjoy the workout!

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

1. Wall Sit Leg Lift (right)
2. Wall Sit Leg Lift (left)
3. Side Step Squat
4. Leg Extension (right)
5. Leg Extension (left)
6. Bicycle Squat
7. Wall Sit Shoulder Press
8. Forward Fold Lift
9. Plie Step

Repeat 1-3X

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bikini Ready Core Workout

Hi Everyone!

Today's workout is all about the core! I went through this workout twice, but it can be repeated up to 3X. This was also Jesse's ab challenge workout for the day. I have been sticking to my "no sweets" challenge.

The past few days there have been sweets everywhere I go! I did notice that the only time I am truly tempted is when I am already hungry. As long as I stick to eating every few hours saying no isn't as challenging as it is when I am hungry and someone offers me a cupcake. :) 

I am going to finish up my workout tonight with some light walking on the treadmill. I have a new book downloaded on my kindle, and I love to read while I walk. I am still sore from the Power Yoga Sun Salutation workout, and I want to get some of that lactic acid out of my body. 

Enjoy the workout!

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

Repeat 1-3X

1. Extended Scissor Kicks
2. Side Scissor
3. Temple Tap
4. Hip Drop (right)
5. Hip Drop (left)
6. Angel Abs
7. Kick Ups
8. Camel Circle
9. V-Up
10. Burpee

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Power Yoga Sun Salutation: Yoga Fitness Fusion

Hi Everyone!

This workout was short, but I definitely maxed out my endurance during it! One round of my Power Yoga Sun Salutations and my arms were quivering so much I didn't think I was going to be able to make it through the chatarunga push ups! 

This yoga flow combines Sun Salutations with traditional fitness movements (lunges, rows, romanian deadlifts). I used two twenty pound dumbbells, but you can select any weight you would like, or complete the exercises with body weight only. For traditional sun salutations check out this link: http://www.benderfitness.com/2011/10/fitness-bender-sun-salutations.html

After completing this workout Jesse did his ab challenge and we headed out for a run. We ran 5.28 miles at a comfortable talking pace. 

Enjoy the workout!

PS You can also find me on FacebookInstagram or Twitter

Day 4 and 5 Food Log (Late Entry! Whoops!)

Hi Everyone,

The last two days have been busy, so this is a late entry for my food log/no sweets challenge. 

Thursday was the 4th of July, and yesterday we celebrated my nephew's birthday. Today I am excited to really get back on track with some clean eating. This is my Thursday and Friday food log. 

I am starting to get a lot of comments that I eat like a normal person. :) I am definitely a normal person. I enjoy fruits, and vegetables, but I also don't believe in cutting out necessary nutrients or food groups. I am active and athletic and I need to fuel my body. I am not a perfect eater, but I try to select primarily healthy foods. 

The past three days I have been offered a plethora of desserts, and I turned them all down (even Jesse's grandmother's homemade fudge). I am actually enjoying this no sweets challenge because I feel physically better. 

Today is Saturday, and I am excited to eat all foods that I make at home. Plus I am planning an awesome workout! With two birthday parties, and one holiday over the past three days I don't feel like my choices have been as "clean" as normal, but these events are part of life. 

Thursday July 4th: Day 4

Egg White Sandwich on Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread with Spinach and Light Spreadable cheese wedge. 
Coffee with coconut milk. 

AM Snack:
Granny Smith Apple

Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt with Celery
Fresh Spinach and Cherry Tomato salad
1 small slice cheese pizza
Buffalo Chicken dip with tortilla chips (leftovers from the work party)

After work snack:
Banana, Peach and Spinach Smoothie

Cheese Ravioli
Tomato Basil Sauce with Fresh Spinach

Calories: 1865
Carbs: 258 g. 
Fat: 50 g. 
Protein: 99 g.
Fiber: 32 g. 

Friday July 5th: Day 5

Egg White Sandwich on Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread
Fresh Spinach
1/3 Spreadable cheese wedge
Coffee with Sugar Free French Vanilla Creamer

AM Snack:
Granny Smith Apple

Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt with Celery
Spinach, Cherry Tomato, and Tuna salad
Baked Tortilla Chips (no salt added)

Dinner: (At my nephew's birthday party)
Homemade Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Homemade Baked Beans
Fresh Fruit Salad (Watermelon, Strawberries, grapes, and blueberries)
Mini Crab Cakes (3)
Baked Pineapple with Ritz Crackers

Totals: (Estimated: may vary depending on how some of the food was prepared). 
Calories: 1833
Carbs: 257 g. 
Fat: 44 g.
Protein: 121 g. 
Fiber: 26 g. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Full Body Sculpt

Hi Everyone,

This was my workout last night! I was a sweaty mess, but it was a fun workout with some new moves. 

This full body routine will help tone your legs, thighs, butt, core, shoulders and arms. These movements also promote increased flexibility. Always remember to go at your own pace, and during any movements that require a stretch don't bounce. Stretch as far as you comfortably can. 

Enjoy the workout!

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

1. Up/Down Dog Flow
2. 3 Part Abs (Extend, In, Up)
3. 1 Leg Stand (right)
4. 1 Leg Stand (left)
5. Boat Abductions
6. Warrior III to Crane (right, half reps)
7. Warrior III to Crane (left, half reps)
8. Spiderman Cross Plank
9. Head to Knee (right, half reps)
10. Head to Knee (left, half reps)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bender Ab Challenge and Food Log Day 3

Hi Everyone!

The video above is Jesse's ab challenge. The exercises using the dip station were from his ab challenge yesterday, and the bicycle and cheek to cheek plank were from his workout today. He also added to the challenge by doing all of the ab moves from my workout tonight. That one is still uploading, but I will share the link when it's ready. 

Today is day 3 of my no sweets challenge. It was a lot harder today because we had a birthday party at work! That meant someone brought in a giant cookie cake, and chocolate thumbprint cookies. We also had all kinds of dips (which I did partake in) and I brought the salad. I tend to bring something healthy to all events so that everyone has options. Also, even when you are indulging it's good to fill yourself up with a something healthy so you don't over do it on the unhealthy items. 

So here is my food log, and today's workout will be posted as soon as it's done uploading!

Udi's Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread (2 slices)
Egg Whites
1/3 Aldi Light Spreadable Cheese Wedge
Coffee with Coconut Milk

Baked Tilapia with shrimp, corn and tomatoes (left overs from dinner last night)
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Flatbread Crackers
Tortilla Chips

After Work Snacks: 
Spinach, Banana and Peach Smoothie (with a bit of coffee thrown in)
Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt

Pre-Workout Snack:
Udi Whole Grain Gluten Free Bread (1 slice)
1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter

Whole Wheat Penne Pasta (1 cup cooked)
1/2 cup tomato basil sauce
3 artichoke hearts
3 kalamatta olives

Calories: 1996
Carbs: 191 grams
Fat: 74 grams
Protein: 127 grams
Fiber: 27 grams

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 2: Abs Are Made in the Kitchen Food Log

Hi Everyone!

Today is Day 2 of my food logging/no sweets challenge. It's been a good day! My energy is so much better. I didn't even need my afternoon cup of coffee. :) 

No sweets cravings today. I am feeling great physically and mentally. 

Jesse is meeting one of our friends for a workout tonight. He is going to show me the core workout moves he does when he gets home. Our friend is a former Marine, and current police officer, and he said he has some great moves to share with us. 

Thank you to those of you who shared recipes today! Team Bender member, Haley, inspired my dinner when she shared her photo/recipe. (Thanks Haley!) I love cooking, and finding fun and healthy recipes to try out. I have also pinned a ton of recipes lately on my pinterest page: www.pinterest.com/BenderFitness.

So here is my food log. My first two meals were almost identical to yesterday. 

(Egg Sandwich, Coffee with Unsweetened Coconut Milk)
1 Egg
Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin
1/3 25 calorie cheese spread

AM Snack:
Snuck into my lunch and had a few celery stalks dipped in PB Greek Yogurt. 

Fresh Baby Spinach Leaf salad with cherry tomatoes
1/2 Avocado with egg, spinach and cherry tomatoes
Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt
2-3 Stalks Celery
Fresh Cut Pineapple (about 1 cup)

Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt, and freshly cut Pineapple

After Work Snack:
Aldi Chicken Salad Kit (1 serving crackers and chicken salad)
1 Slice Udi's Gluten Free Whole Wheat Bread
1 tablespoon natural PB

Baked Tilapia and Shrimp with lemon juice and Old Bay
Sliced Roma Tomatoes
Corn (I used sodium free, canned. Fresh would be even better)
Tortilla Chips
(*Jesse ate his as a soft taco with spinach leaves and Greek yogurt)
Baked Tilapia, Shrimp, Tomatoes and Corn in lemon juice and old Bay. 

After Dinner Snack:
Spinach, Peach and Banana Smoothie

Calories: 2129
Carbs: 201 grams
Protein: 162 grams
Fat: 82 grams
Fiber: 30 grams

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Baked Egg and Avocado Recipe

Hi Everyone!

This little gem of a recipe made it back onto my food log today. I tried it yesterday and it was fantastic so I saved the second one for lunch, and scooped it onto my fresh spinach salad. 

Many of you have been asking for the recipe so here it is! Feel free to experiment with toppings of your choice. 

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut and avocado in half and remove the pit. Use a spoon to scoop out a bit of extra avocado to make the pocket slightly larger. 

2. Squeeze a bit of fresh lime (lemon works too) over the avocado. Tear spinach leaves (or veggie of choice) into smaller pieces. Top each half with one egg. Optional: Fresh cracked pepper or roasted red pepper would be delicious. 

3. Top the egg with sliced cherry tomatoes. Place on a cookie sheet or baking pan. Bake for 12-16 minutes depending on how well you want the eggs to be done. 

4. Remove from oven and enjoy! I ate the first one right out of the shell, and the second one over a bed of fresh spinach and Roma tomatoes. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Day 1: 1 Month Tighten Up Diet Challenge

Hi Everyone!

Today is the first day of my 1 Month Tighten Up Diet Challenge

I was successful in my first day without sweets. I wasn't craving anything so today wasn't very difficult. I had a lot of fruit and vegetables in my today. I am trying to avoid refined sugars as much as possible. There were still some refined sugars, but overall I felt that it was a good day. 

I eat throughout the day. I am hungry every few hours, so I listen to my body and eat. It's a Meatless Monday so it was also a vegetarian day for me. 

Jesse and I both started the Ab challenge with a bang. It was a tough workout! Check out the breakdown here: Ab Fat Torcher: Interval Abs

Overall it was a successful day! Jesse loves the fact that he didn't make any excuses to skip his core workout today. "A step in the right direction, is worth more than 10 steps in the wrong direction." I feel great. My energy and mood have been good all day. 

Here is my meal breakdown:

(Egg Sandwich)
Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin
Egg Whites
1/3 Aldi Happy Farms Spreadable Cheese Wedge
Coffee with Unsweetened Coconut Milk

AM Snack:
Granny Smith Apple

Fresh Baby Spinach
Cherry Tomatoes (about 8)
Sliced Cucumber
Fresh Cut Pineapple (about 1 cup)
2 Stalks of Celery
Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt (I used Natural PB instead of Jif)

After Work Snack:
Frosted Shredded Wheat Cereal
Coconut Milk
Coffee with 1/2 cup Silk Iced Coffee mixed in
1/2 Banana with 1 tablespoon natural PB
Mixed Nuts

Pre-Workout Meal:
1/2 Avocado
1 Egg
2 Cherry Tomatoes (sliced)
Shredded Baby Spinach
Baked Avocado and Egg with Tomatoes and Spinach

Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
Marinara Sauce
Artichoke Hearts (3)

Pasta served on a salad plate so the portion seems larger. 

Between 8-10 8oz glasses

Alkalinity Fuel

Calories: 2088
Carbs: 325 grams
Fat: 63 grams
Protein: 95 grams
Fiber: 54 grams

*The totals are approximate, as measured on MyFitnessPal.com I did not officially measure portion sizes, but I made my estimates based on serving sizes.