Friday, May 31, 2013

Ground Up Workout

Hi Everyone!
This is a great full body workout. It was challenging, and I really felt it in my core. This workout will help tone your arms, legs, thighs, stomach and back. It also implements cardio bursts to increase the fat burn and keep your heart rate up throughout the workout. 

I'm sorry it took me a few days to get the breakdown for this workout posted. Jesse and I have been house hunting, and it's very time consuming. 

Expect some fun workouts this weekend!

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

*Cardio options: high knees, jump rope, jumping jacks, mountain climbers

1. 60 seconds cardio
2. Bicycle
3. Sumo Push-ups
4. Warrior Switch
5. 60 seconds cardio
6. Rotating Scissor taps
7. Switching Ab Reach Through
8. Plie Pulse/Jump
9. 60 seconds cardio
10. V-Ab Reach Through
11. Monkey Push-ups
12. Lunge Jumps
13. 60 seconds cardio

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

30 Minute Dumbbell Workout

Hi Everyone!

This is a much more traditional workout than you are probably used to from me. :) It's a dumbbell workout that can be done in a gym or at home. I don't belong to a gym, so I modified my workout room a little bit. 

If you don't have the equipment I used for this workout, don't worry. I have some suggestions. 

In this workout I used: dumbbells, jump rope, and dip station.

If you don't have dumbbells you can use soup cans or milk jugs. No jump rope? Substitute high knees or jumping jacks. No dip station? You can use a pull up bar or substitute wide armed decline push-ups (feet up on something, hands on the ground). Remember, no gym? No excuses! I haven't belonged to a gym in years, and do all of my workouts at home. 

This workout can be done alone, or in addition to a run. If you are training for racing and increasing your race pace this workout is most effective when sandwiched by runs. For example: 1-2 Mile Run (depending on level of ability), workout, 1-2 Mile Run Cool Down. 

If you are training for fitness or weight loss: warm up, complete the workout, and complete with a 1-3 mile run. Don't forget, this workout is effective on it's own as well. Listen to your body and work at your current ability level. 

I also have a delicious veggie pasta recipe to share with you all, so be sure to check back!

Enjoy the workout!

Upper Body Exercises: 8-12 reps
Lower Body Exercises: 15-20 reps

30 Seconds of Jump Rope or High Knees between each exercise. *To increase the challenge you can increase this time to 45 or 60 seconds, which will also extend the length of the workout.*

1. Bench Press
30 second Cardio Burst

2. Dumbbell Flies
30 second Cardio Burst

3. Reverse Push-up or Pull-up
30 second Cardio Burst

4. Dumbbell Row (right)
5. Dumbbell Row (left)
30 second Cardio Burst

6. Chair Pose Pulse (30 seconds)
30 second Cardio Burst

7. Leg Curls
30 second Cardio Burst

8. Dumbbell Press
30 second Cardio Burst

9. Lateral Raises
30 second Cardio Burst

10. Shrugs
30 second Cardio Burst

11. Tricep Drop or Dips
30 second Cardio Burst

12. Bicep Curl (right)
Bicep Curl (left)
30 second Cardio Burst

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tighter Tummy Workout

Hi Everyone!

Today's workout was fun and challenging. I incorporated a few new workout moves. I did this workout immediately after a 5 mile run, so I only went through it one time. 

You can repeat this workout up to 3X. As always, focus on using proper form. Although this is a timed workout, and you are going for maximum number of reps in a set interval, never sacrifice form for speed. Without proper form you aren't getting the full benefits of the exercise. 

I hope you enjoy the workout!

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

1. Mountain Climbers
2. Temple Tap Abs
3. Side Jump Abs
4. Oblique Reach (right)
5. Oblique Reach (left)
6. Speed Skater Jump
7. Windshield Wiper Plank
8. Extended Arm Pulse
9. Plank Jack
10. Downward Dog Cross Pushup

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Stability Ball Exercise Routine

Hi Everyone!

Today's workout is fun! This is a full body workout, using a stability (or exercise) ball. The balance required with a stability ball, adds an extra element of challenge to this workout. 

If you find it difficult to maintain your balance it's okay. With practice your core strength will increase, and you will find the different positions easier to maintain. 

For me the biggest challenge was holding the balance during mountain climbers on the ball. You can start by holding a plank, and work your way up to the mountain climbers. 

As always, focus on form, and utilizing the movement's full range of motion. 

Enjoy the workout!

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

Repeat 1-3X

1. Mountain Climber
2. Butt/Hamstring Pull
3. Back Extension
4. Front Leg Lift
5. Back Leg Lift
6. Knee Pull
7. Bridge Press
8. Squat and Reach
9. Pike
10. Ball Pass

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Packing Lunch for Healthy Success

Hi Everyone,

I am giving you a sneak peek into my lunch box for tomorrow. This meal took less than 5 minutes to put together (the chicken was left over from dinner last night). 

Planning your lunch, and putting it together the night before can help you successfully make healthy choices even when you are on the go. You are ensuring that you have something healthy that will give you energy for the day, and prevent mindless snacking, or poor meal choices. 

For lunch tomorrow I am having Avocado Curry Chicken Salad, fresh spinach, mini cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and a whole wheat sandwich thin. I will also bring an apple, and plenty of fresh water. You can click on the link above for the recipe. If you're not a fan of spices, leave out the curry. 

A little bit of preparation will save me time and stress tomorrow morning when I am heading out to work. Plus, I know that I have a healthy and delicious meal that will give me energy during the day. 

I would love to see what you are packing in your lunch! Post a picture on my facebook page:

See you tomorrow with a new workout!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weighted Weekday Workout

Hi Everyone!

Tonight's workout is a full body workout. I used two 20 lb dumbbells, but all of the exercises can also be performed with body weight, or the weight of your choice. It is important to work at your own level. Select a weight that is challenging for you, but allows you to maintain proper form throughout each exercise. 

Jesse and I followed this workout with a 3.5 mile run. We took it at a slower pace than normal, because we wanted it to be a recovery run. Tomorrow I am planning a higher intensity workout day and Jesse is doing another trail run. 

If you haven't tried yesterday's yoga workout yet you can find it here: Yoga Flow Workout: Lean Stretch Fat Burn

See you tomorrow!

This workout can be repeated 1-3X. 

1. Man Maker
2. Single Leg Squat (right)
3. Single Leg Squat (left)
4. Down Dog Drag
5. Weighted Crunch
6. Weighted Surfer Burpee
7. Heel Press (right)
8. Heel Press (left)
9. Leg Circle Press (right)
10. Leg Circle Press (left)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Yoga Flow Workout: Lean Stretch Fat Burn


Hi Everyone!

I asked on my facebook page what everyone wanted to see more of, and many people requested more yoga videos. Jesse and I teach fitness classes, yoga and boot camp, at a college near us, but we are off for the summer. I have missed teaching yoga flows, and it felt great to do a nice flow. 

This flow is short, about 20 minutes, but it can be repeated. Yoga is all about balance, so this workout helps tone and strengthen your entire body. Maintaining flexibility in your muscles and joints helps relieve pain and prevent injury. 

I am a firm believer in the benefits of yoga. I have presented (with three other talented researchers) at the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association conference on the use of yoga to improve self regulation skills in children. Our presentation was also accepted to be presented at the American Occupational Therapy Association conference. I have also presented on the use of yoga to prevent falls, and improve balance in the elderly. Yoga has benefits across the lifespan. 

In addition to this yoga flow Jesse and I had a very active day. We went to a trampoline birthday party. We spent an hour jumping on trampolines and playing dodge ball. We finished up our day with a 6.22 mile trail run. 

I am planning a new workout for tomorrow, so enjoy the yoga flow and I will see you soon!


Training and Supplementation: Choosing the Right Supplements

Hi Everyone,

Lately I have received a lot of questions about supplements. Anytime I have a supplement questions I turn to Jon Shoop from Total Nutrition Mansfield. I am a Total Nutrition sponsored athlete. You can check out my bio on their page: Melissa Bender Sponsored Athlete. Total Nutrition sent me a fabulous care package. 

These are the supplements that Jon recommended for me: BCAAs, Protein and a multi-vitamin. 

The protein is Lean Active 7. It has 30 grams of protein from 7 protein sources (Whey Isolate, Whey Concentrate, Whey Peptides, Egg Protein, Casein Protein (calcium and potassium), and Milk Protein. It also has 3 grams of dietary fiber. The flavors are Chocolate Cake and Vanilla, and they are both delicious. It's great mixed with water, mixed in Greek yogurt, and in smoothies.

Amnio Core BCAAs. Branched Chain Amino Acids help preserve lean muscle, improve muscle endurance, and improve muscle recovery and protein synthesis. This is a pre-workout supplement. Alternately, you can take it during very long workouts to maintain your energy. As an added bonus, the BCAAs have electrolytes to enhance hydration. 

Multi-Vitamin: Alkalinity Fuel. This is a water soluble vitamin, that has never been de-natured by the heating process. It is instantly absorbed by your body, and helps improve your energy and immune system. Personally I love this vitamin because I have a sensitive stomach. Most vitamins in pill form make me feel instantly nauseous, but I haven't had that problem with Alkalinity Fuel. 

You should always support any training program with healthy eating and whole foods. Don't forget that it is possible to meet all of your dietary needs without the use of supplementation by eating a balanced diet. If you chose to use supplementation it should support a healthy lifestyle, not substitute for un-healthy decisions and meal choices. 

If you have questions about the right supplementation for your goals send Jon a message on Total Nutrition's facebook page: He is always willing to help, and he has the education and knowledge to support his recommendations. If you have a disease such as: ALS, kidney problems, high blood pressure, or thyroid conditions among others, use of supplements is something you should discuss with a nutritionist. Tell them any illnesses or concerns that you may have so they can help you make an educated decision regarding whether or not a supplementation program is appropriate for you. 

Have a great day! I will see you tonight with a new workout!

If you enjoyed this post, other posts you make like:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dancer Body Workout

Hi Everyone!

Have you ever wondered what dancers do to get such beautifully sculpted muscles? This workout utilizes ballet inspired moves, and adds weights. This workout combines balance, core strength and full body movements. The addition of weights will help speed up the toning results of the workout. Of course, all of the moves can also be performed with body weight only.

The weights I used in this workout varied between 12-20 pounds. It's important to find a weight that is challenging to you. The focus shouldn't be on the number of pounds, it should be on finding out what is challenging for you, but still allows you to maintain proper form throughout the movement. 

I danced all through high school, and was captain of a dance team until 2007. I did everything from ballet, jazz, and tap, to swing dancing. It was fun incorporating a different type of movement into today's workout. It's a very basic combination of ballet and fitness moves. I hope you enjoy it!


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

Repeat 1-3X

1. Front Lift and Press (right)
2. Front Lift and Press (left)
3. 2nd Position Plie Pulse
4. Super Girl Row (right)
5. Super Girl Row (left)
6. 1st Position Plie Pulse
7. Right Leg Lift (basic Arabesque movement)
8. Left Leg Lift
9. Side Lift Pulse (right)
10. Side Lift Pulse (left)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Belly Fat Burn Workout

Hi Everyone!

As you can tell from the picture above I definitely got a good workout today! This workout is focused on toning all of the muscles of your stomach/core, while burning fat at the same time. 

Let's uncover those strong ab muscles so we can see all the results of the hard work we're putting in. :) The combination of strengthening moves, and cardio intervals will help maximize fat burning, while maintaining lean muscle. This results in a boosted metabolism, and increased firmness and tone throughout your body. 

I alternated every other exercise with jump roping. You could also substitute high knees, froggers or mountain climbers if you don't have a jump rope. I was planning on also doing a run, but as I am just recovering from being sick yesterday I decided not to push it. Instead, Jesse and I went on a short leisurely walk, about 1.5 miles. 

I hope you all enjoy the workout! See you tomorrow. 

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

*Timed Cardio Burst between each exercise

1. Situp Crunch
2. Sumo Pushup
3. Heel Tap Leg Lift
4. Side Plank Hip Lift (right)
5. Side Plank Hip Lift (left)
6. Prone Heel Lift
7. Leg/Hip Lift
8. Knee Drop Plank
9. Bicycle
10. Clockwork Plank

Sunday, May 12, 2013

23 Minute High Intensity Interval Workout: Full Body Cardio HIIT

 Hi Everyone!

This workout kicked my butt! Make sure you warm up (jog in place, do some walking or jump rope) to get your body ready to work hard. Warming up increases your ability to maximize the effort put out during the workout, and improves the calorie burn. 

This is an intense workout. The breakdown is similar to the breakdown I use in my Boot Camp classes. If you are just starting to build up your endurance and strength, or find that this is to intense you can substitute rest or marching for the high knees between rounds. You can also shorten the intervals. 

I have mentioned before, HIIT workouts are one of the best ways you can burn fat while maintaining your lean muscle mass. This allows you to keep your shape and strength, while improving your metabolism. 

Enjoy the workout! It made it into my new favorites list!

Max Reps During Each 60 second interval, 30 seconds of High Knees between exercises. 

*Beginners start with 30 seconds of max reps, 15 seconds of rest (or high knees) between exercises. 
*HIIT workouts are very intense. Push yourself, but also listen to your body. 

1. Decline Pushups
2. Double Squat Jump
3. Burpee
4. Reverse Hook Crunch
5. Spiderman Plank
6. Frogger
7. Lunge Jump
8. Surfer
9. Single Leg Frogger
10. Temple Tap Abs
11. Frog Hopper
12. Curtsy Lunge Kick (right)
13. Curtsy Lunge Kick (left)
14. Rotating Side Plank Crunch
15. Squat Twist

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Top 10 Bender Fitness Workout Videos

Hi Everyone!

I love hearing from people and finding out what their favorite Bender Workout is. 

I have compiled the 10 ten most popular Bender Fitness Workout videos from youtube. They are all below, with links to each workout breakdown. I was happy to see that this list includes a great variety of workouts, so there is plenty to chose from. 

I will also be posting an article about the "Fan Favorites." So if you have a favorite Bender Fitness workout post the link below or leave a comment on my facebook page: 

Enjoy the workouts!

1. Cardio: 15 Minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Cardio 15 Minute HIIT Breakdown

2. Exercise Tummy Tuck
Exercise Tummy Tuck Workout Breakdown

3. 15 Minute High Intensity Home Cardio Workout
15 Minute High Intensity Home Cardio Workout Breakdown

4. Full Body Fitness
Full Body Fitness Workout Breakdown

5. Hard Body Home Workout
Hard Body Workout Breakdown

6. Tabata Interval Training: Burn, Baby, Burn
Tabata Interval Workout Breakdown

7. Standing Yoga Flow for Butt, Thighs, Legs and Back

Standing Yoga Flow

8. Standing 10 Minute Ab Workout: Real Time
Standing 10 Minute Ab Workout

9. Basic Body Shaping Home Workout
Basic Body Shaping Home Workout Breakdown

10. Butt Kicker Workout

Butt Kicker Workout Breakdown

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Quick Workout

Hi Everyone!

I had big plans for my workout schedule this week, but allergies got the best of me! As soon as I got home from work yesterday I went to sleep, woke up long enough to have some chicken soup (home cooked by my mom!) and then went back to sleep. 

I am feeling a lot better today, but still congested, with lots of sinus pressure. I took a few days off, and although I don't feel 100% I felt well enough to get in a workout. 

I did a 3.5 mile run outside at a comfortable pace, and followed it with this quick workout. This workout is great for runners because it helps strengthen and stabilize the muscles that support running. 

I am planning a good workout for tomorrow. :)


Begginer: 10 reps
Intermediate: 15 reps
Advanced: 20 reps

1. Heel Tap Abs
2. Slow Pushups
3. Oblique Hip Drop, Elbow Tap (right)
4. Oblique Hip Drop, Elbow Tap (left)
5. Step Up (right)
6. Step Up (left)

Repeat 1-3X

Monday, May 6, 2013

At Home Body Tone

Hi Everyone!

I did this workout last night, but it's been another busy day so this is the first chance I have had to post the breakdown!

Along with this workout Jesse and I did a long run. We went to a local park and did a 10 mile run. It felt great, and I couldn't help but think back to when I first started running and I could barely go two blocks without stopping. I have said this before, but I think it's really important to take time to appreciate how far you have come. This is especially true if you feel like you have plateaued, or you aren't getting results as quickly as you want to. Instead of being frustrated and unhappy, take a moment to give yourself credit for what you have accomplished so far. 

Today I took it easy with my workout. I ran a mile, and walked 2 miles. Tomorrow there will be a new workout. :) 

See you tomorrow!

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

1. Plank Squat
2. Slow Mountain Climber
3. Side Sit-up Twist (right)
4. Side Sit-up Twist (left)
5. Warrior Lunge Lift (right)
6. Warrior Lunge Lift (left)
7. Starfish Can-Can
8. Prone Heel Press
9. Leg Series (right)
10. Leg Series (left)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

ABs-olutely Swimsuit Ready Core Workout

Hi Everyone!

Tonight's workout is focused on the core. This is a tough 10 minute interval workout. 

I love core workouts because a strong core helps you in everything you do. It improves your balance, posture, and helps protect you from injury. 

This routine works every aspect of the core. It's challenging and quick, but if you have more time you can repeat it. 

I combined this workout with a 3.5 mile run outside. The weather is in the mid 70s, and the skies were pure blue, so I answered the call of the road and put in some miles. I just can't resist the sunshine! I did it prior to filming, so if I look a bit wind blown in the video that's why. :)

I am getting the racing bug again. Last summer one of my goals was to improve my 5K time (which I did! Yay!) This year I would like to improve my time again, and start training for a half marathon. Eventually I would like to train for a full marathon, but I am worried that between working and blogging I wouldn't have enough time to dedicate to the training. Either way I will be sharing my journey with you here. 


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

1. Right Plank Step
2. Left Plank Step
3. Up Dog/Down Dog
4. Bicycle Abs
5. Toe Tap Situp
6. Cross Plank (right)
7. Cross Plank (left)
8. Bicycle Boat
9. Temple Tap Abs
10. Knee Tap Plank Crunch