Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Standing Lower Body Low Impact Workout

Hi Everyone!

Today starts a brand new month, with brand new workouts!

I hope you all enjoyed by September Diet Bet Challenge (you can find the full 30 Day Workout List HERE)

As you may already know I was rear ended in a car accident at the end of August. I had some lingering neck pain which required time to heal. I did this workout during the healing process. It's a low impact, lower body workout. 

I love plyometric movements, but you can get in a fantastic workout without jumping. You can even still work up a sweat! 

Also, I filmed this workout a while ago (I waited to share it until after the 30 Day Challenge ended). As an injury update, I am feeling much better now. I think I am (finally!) fully healed. 

I hope you enjoy this workout! I have another new workout for you tomorrow. 

1. Squat
2. Wall Sit Leg Lift (right)
3. Wall Sit Leg Lift (left)
4. Around the World Lunge (right)
5. Around the World Lunge (left)
6. Step-Up (right)
7. Step-Up (left)
8. Split Squat (right)
9. Split Squat (left)
10. Sit to Stand (right)
11. Sit to Stand (left)
12. Side Step Up Lift (right)
13. Side Step Up Lift (left)
14. Goddess Squat Reach (right)
15. Goddess Squat Reach (left)

Diet Bet Challenge: Day 30: Cardio Smash and Stretch

Hi Everyone!

Today is the Final Day (Day 30!) of the Diet Bet Workout Challenge! Good job sticking with it! I can't wait to see your results in photos and at weight in over the next two days!

Tonight's workout combines a 10 Minute HIIT Cardio Blast with a stretch. 

The Cardio Blast Workout is focused on the large muscles of the lower body, which leads to major calorie/fat torching. It was a fun, and challenging 10 minute workout. 

I warmed up with a 1 mile run on the treadmill, and followed this workout with 2.1 miles. I stuck to a comfortable pace. You can do the cardio or repeat the workout 3X. 

I also included a Stretching Routine below. I can't stress enough how important it is to maintain your flexibility. It will help keep you injury free, maximize the benefits of your workouts, and protect the biomechanical integrity of your body. 

I hope you all enjoy the workout and stretch. Weight-ins take place over the next two days! I can't wait to see your progress pictures and results!


FacebookInstagram or Twitter

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

Warm up: 1 mile run, or 10 minutes jump rope or cardio of choice

1. Frog Hopper
2. Jump Squat Turn
3. 3 Way Plank
4. Right Leg Hop Press
5. Left Leg Hop Press
6. Single Leg Frogger Pushup
7. Squat Jacks
8. Single Leg Hip Thrust
9. High Knees
10. Burpee

Cardio: 2 mile run, or 15-20 minutes cardio of choice

1. Side Plank Hip Stretch (right)
2. Side Plank Hip Stretch (left)
3. Pigeon (right)
4. Pigeon (left)
5. 1 Leg Forward Fold (right)
6. 1 Leg Forward Fold (left)
7. Down Dog
8. King Arthur Pose (right)
9. King Arthur Pose (left)
10. Hip Opener
11. Runners Lunge (flexed to extended knee) (right)
12. Runners Lunge (left)
13. Back Stretch
14. Back Twist (right)
15. Back Twist (left)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Diet Bet Challenge: Day 29: 15 Minute Plyo HIIT Workout: Burn Fat Fast

Hi Everyone!

We are down to the last two workouts of the Diet Bet challenge! Today is Day 29. Hopefully you have seen changes in more than just your weight, and are feeling healthier, stronger, more endurance, and more fit overall. 

I hope you're ready to sweat with today's workout! This workout utilizes a lot of fun and challenging plyometric movements. Plyometric exercises have been shown to improve your speed, muscle power, endurance, and have a high caloric burn. 

This is a great workout for burning fat, and improving strength, overall athleticism, and power of movement. As always, focus on form throughout the routine. You can repeat this workout up to 3X or pair it with 30 minutes cardio of choice. 

I hope you all enjoy tonight's workout!


Check in on FacebookInstagram or Twitter to let me know how you're doing with your goal!

PS My sports bra is the Spider Back from Affitnity.  I'm an Ambassador for Affitnity so you can get 15% off at checkout by using the code BenderFitness. :)

Equipment: Gymboss Interval Timer set for 15 rounds of 10/50. 

1. Jump Rope (or Ropeless Jumping)
2. Squat Jump
3. Tuck Jump Burpee
4. Bridge Hopper (right)
5. Bridge Hopper (left)
6. Frogger
7. Warrior Lunge Jump
8. Speed Skater
9. Mountain Hopper
10. Tap & Punch Squat Jump
11. High Knees Burpee
12. Down Dog Hop
13. Wide Leg Frogger
14. Lunge Jump
15. Russian Kicks

Repeat 1-3X

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Diet Bet Challenge: Day 28: Active Rest Day

Hi Everyone!

It's another Active Rest Day! Just two more days of workout before  final weigh-in time for the Diet Bet Challenge. 

How has this month been for you? Did you Give Up, Give In, or Give It All You've Got? Hopefully the last one applies to you!

No matter where you are in relation to your goal I want you to take a moment and appreciate yourself for all of the hard work that you have put in this month. Sticking with this challenge and your workouts is a huge accomplishment in it's self. 

That said, I am really looking forward to seeing everyone's progress photos and hearing about how you feel at the conclusion of this workout program. 

Enjoy your day off. Try to get moving a little bit to get out any soreness, but keep it easy and restful. Two more days of workouts, and then you have two days for final weigh-in and to submit your photos. 


PS Special Shoutout to my brother, Matt! Today is his birthday! 
PPS Check in on FacebookInstagram or Twitter  to let me know how you're doing with your goal!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Diet Bet Challenge: Day 27: Swimsuit Ready Arms and Abs

Hi Everyone!

We are nearing the end of the Diet Bet Challenge! Today is Day 27. 

Tonight's workout is all about Arms and Abs. This workout targets the key muscle groups from a variety of angles to maximize the benefits. I am often asked for workouts targeting the arms and abs. It's never to early to get started, there is no reason to wait for warm weather to work on your mid-section. 

How are you doing with sticking to a healthy diet plan? For many people diet is the hardest part of the equation, but it can result in huge benefits to your fitness, your aesthetic and your health. 

Have fun today!

See you tomorrow!

PS Don't for get to check in on FacebookInstagram or Twitter  to let me know how you're doing with your goal! I can't wait to see all of the progress pictures!

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

1. One Minute Plank
2. Tricep Dip with Leg Lift (right)
3. Pump Handle Abs
4. Tricep Dip with Leg Lift
5. Superman Heel Tap
6. Side Plank Hip Lift Reach (right)
7. Side Plank Hip Lift Reach (left)
8. Bicep Curl (right)
9. Bicep Curl (left)
10. Slow Leg Extension Circles
11. Plank Extensions
12. Full Extension Burpee

Friday, September 26, 2014

Diet Bet Challenge: Day 26: Sun Salutation Fitness Fusion: Power Yoga

Hi Everyone!

How are you feeling? It is Day 26 of the Diet Bet Workout Challenge! How close are you to achieving your goal? 

Studies have shown that stretching during your workout improves your bodies ability to build muscle. Flexibility also helps prevent injury. 

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 

You can use this variation if you need an easier recovery day. I can't stress enough how important it is to listen to your body during workouts. You want to challenge yourself to an appropriate level. 

Enjoy the workout!

PS Don't forget to check in for the challenge on FacebookInstagram or Twitter!

Repeat 1-4X

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Diet Bet Challenge: Day 25: Jump Rope and Butt Sculpt

Hi Everyone!

Today is Day 25 of the Diet Bet Challenge!

I hope you're ready to sweat and bring that jump rope out again today (an invisible jump rope is fine too)! Today's workout is a great fat burner that targets the lower body. This routine incorporates some of my favorite butt-lift moves. If you wanter a rounder, perkier derriere you will like this workout. 

In this workout I used two 20 pound dumbbells, a jump rope and a chair. If you aren't ready to add weight you can do this exercises with body weight only. If you want to add weight, but don't own any you can get creative and use a milk jug or other household items. If you are getting creative, just beware that the weight distribution will be different so it may be more challenging. 

For those of you without a jump rope you can do rope-less jumping, high knees or mountain climbers. Pick an exercise that will keep your heart rate going, and have you working up a sweat. 

I hope you enjoy today's workout! 

PS You can find me on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest. Jesse has also been posting sneak peek workouts moves/tutorials on his Instagram page.  

Click the link to get your own Gymboss Interval Timer!

Set your Interval Timer for 15 rounds of 10/50.  

1. Jump Rope
2. Burpee
3. Jump Rope
4. Warrior Deadlift (right)
5. Jump Rope
6. Warrior Deadlift (left)
7. Jump Rope
8. Bulgarian Split Squat (right)
9. Jump Rope
10. Bulgarian Split Squat (left)
11. Jump Rope
12. Single Leg Sit to Stand (right)
13. Jump Rope
14. Single Leg Sit to Stand (left)
15. Jump Rope

Repeat 1-4X

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

DietBet Challenge: Day 24: Plank and Burn


Hi Everyone!

Good job sticking with the Diet Bet Challenge! You're on Day 24 so we are almost at the end of the challenge. 

This workout alternates jump roping and 15 different plank variations to work the entire mid-section and back. Being able to do the plank with proper form results in more than just stronger abs, it also improves the strength and resilience of your low back. This helps prevent injury, and relieve low back pain. 

If you aren't sure if you have proper form ask someone, look at yourself in a mirror or have someone take your picture while you hold plank. 

Although this is an incredibly effective exercise, it is often performed inaccurately. 

During Leg Lift Plank don't allow the back to arch.
Maintain a strong core throughout the movement to support the low back
and activate the glutes. 
I hope you all enjoy this workout. Remember, if you don't have a jump rope you can substitute high knees or mountain climbers in between planks. 

Have fun!

PS Check in on FacebookInstagram or Twitter to let me know how you're doing with your goal!

Click the link to get your own Gymboss Interval Timer!

*Plank 50 seconds per exercise, Jump Rope 30 seconds between each exercise. 
The entire routine takes 20 minutes. 

1. Forearm Plank
-Jump Rope
2. Right Side Plank
-Jump Rope
3. Left Side Plank
-Jump Rope
4. Chatarunga Plank
-Jump Rope
5. Rotating Plank (on the forearm)
-Jump Rope
6. Knee Drop Plank
-Jump Rope
7. Plank Jack
-Jump Rope
8. Elbow Tap Plank (right)
-Jump Rope
9. Elbow Tap Plank (left)
-Jump Rope
10. Leg Lift Plank
-Jump Rope
11. Plank Crunch
-Jump Rope
12. Side Plank Hip Lift (right)
-Jump Rope
13. Walk the Plank 
-Jump Rope
14. Side Plank Hip Lift (left)
-Jump Rope
15. Plank Step
-Jump Rope

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

DietBet Challenge: Day 23: Strengthen Sweat and Run (or Jump)

Hi Everyone!

I hope you're ready to sweat for Day 23 of the DietBet Challenge!

I alternated cardio rounds in between each workout set. I ran on my treadmill, but the other option is to complete the jump rope workout video at the bottom of this post (1 round=6 minutes), or do another form of cardio of choice. The goal is to get your heart rate up, and work up a sweat. 

My cardio of choice today was mile repeats. I ran a total of 4 miles during this workout. 

Remember to always work to your level, and adjust the challenge to your needs. :)

Enjoy the workout!

PS Today is my sister, Kristen's, birthday! She's joined us for several workouts. Happy Birthday Kristen!

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


1. Surfer
2. Single Leg Step-Up (right)
3. Single Leg Step-Up (left)
4. Curtsy Lunge (right)
5. Curtsy Lunge (left)


1. Knee Drop Plank
2. Side Plank Elbow Tap (right)
3. Side Plank Elbow Tap (left)
4. Leg/Hip Lift
5. Bicycle


1. Twisted (Oblique) Push-up
2. Dips
3. Rowing Shrug
4. Tricep Push-up (right)
5. Tricep Push-up (left)


Monday, September 22, 2014

Diet Bet Challenge: Day 22: 20 Minute Fat Burn HIIT

Hi Everyone!

Today is Day 22 of the DietBet Challenge. 

This workout is an intense 20 minute interval workout. I broke the workout up into four 5-minute rounds. Keep rest minimal between rounds, but be sure to listen to you body. It helps to have some water handy. I was dripping sweat like crazy during this workout!

This is a really great full body routine, with lots of compound movements to maximize fat burning and body sculpting all at one time.  

Now I am off to bed. Sleep is imperative to maximizing your health and fitness. Don't skimp! :) I will definitely see you tomorrow with a new workout!


If you are joining me for the Diet Bet challenge don't forget to check in on FacebookInstagram or Twitter. The check in posts are a great way to stay motivated and on track. :)

PS My sports bra is from Affitnity. If you like it, you can find it here: Fit Me Sports Bra Top. Don't forget to use BenderFitness as your coupon code for an extra 15% off at check out. 

Click the link to get your own Gymboss Interval Timer!

10 Seconds of Rest, 50 Seconds Max Reps
*5 Minutes Per Round
*Total Time: 20 Minutes

Round 1: Cardio Blast

1. Cross Jacks
2. Frogger
3. Russian Kicks
4. Lunge Jumps
5. High Knees

Round 2: Sculpted Arms, Shoulders and Back

1. Reverse Push-up
2. Dips
3. Plank Rows (with or without push-up)
4. Chair Curl
5. Decline Spiderman Push-up

Round 3: Toned Glutes and Legs

1. Squat Jump
2. Hip Thrust (right)
3. Hip Thrust (left)
4. Box Jump
5. Burpee

Round 4: Tighter Core

1. Russian Twist
2. Hip Lift
3. Mountain Climbers
4. Temple Tap Abs
5. Knee Tap Plank Jacks

Repeat 1-3X

*Be Sure to Cool Down

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Everything You Need to Know About Protein Supplementation

Everything You Need to Know About Protein Supplementation
Written by: Jon Shoop

Hello Melissa Bender’s fans and followers! 

My name is Jon Shoop, I am a sports nutritionist and own some nutrition stores in the United States. Melissa and I have been working together for a couple of years with vitamins and supplements for her personal health and fitness. 

As many of you know, she really has enjoyed and benefitted from the supplements I’ve sent her and my recommendations on what to take and at what time of her daily schedule. I have been in the supplement industry for over three years with countless client success stories and thousands of people’s feedback on different supplements. With so many different opinions and thoughts on what to take and when, it can be extremely confusing and eventually can become frustrating. 

Melissa has asked me to start writing about some different topics for her blog to hopefully benefit all of you out there who may not know all that much about the numerous supplements on the market. This is my first blog post for her and I am excited about it! 

Sidenote: I am not a doctor, consult with your physician before starting any exercise or supplement regimen, especially if you have pre-existing conditions.

The first topic we wanted to cover is protein supplementation:

Protein is the main building block of muscle tissue. 

A complete protein source has all 20 amino acids in it. Protein can come from animal sources such as beef, milk, chicken, eggs, most protein powders, and every other animal you can eat. It can also come from plant sources such as peas, brown rice, and quinoa. All animal sourced protein has all 20 amino acids while the various different plant proteins contain some, but not all 20 amino acids. If you are looking for a complete protein source go with an animal sourced protein such as whey, casein, egg, milk, or beef. Or you will need to find a plant based protein that has a blend of different plants so as to combine their different amino acid profiles, such as a protein that contains both pea and brown rice will give you all 20 amino acids when combining those two plant sources.

Different people have different protein needs and requirements. 

Generally speaking, someone who is active and works out 3+ times a week typically needs a higher protein content throughout the day. Also, diet and goals play a big role in quantity of protein needed. 

For example, someone who is trying to lose weight would be sufficient at getting 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Let me illustrate further: a 200 lb man is trying to lose weight. He would be fine at getting 0.8 X 200 = 160g. So a 200lb man getting 160g of protein per day is a fine amount. 

For someone trying to gain weight, they should shoot for 1-1.2g of protein per pound of body weight. For example a 200 pound man would be good with: 1-1.2 X 200 = 200-240g of protein needed. You can use those numbers to find out your protein requirements. 

Another good rule of thumb I like to use is 1 gram of protein per pound of DESIRED body weight. For example, a 200 lb man wants to lose 50 lbs and get down to 150lbs, so he starts by making sure he gets 150g of protein daily.

I also have a few recommendations on when and what types of proteins to take. 

Proteins breakdown at different rates in our body’s digestive system. This is due to certain proteins being comprised of shorter or longer chains of amino molecules. A fast digesting protein for example is whey protein. A longer and slower time releasing protein source is casein.

Typically I am faced with two different scenarios of people who supplement protein:

The first of which is the person who just takes a protein shake after workouts and at no other time of the day. For this person, a whey protein isolate is a very good choice. The reason why this is a good choice for this individual who just has a shake after workouts is because after workouts we have a critical time frame to help our body’s recover and repair from what we just put it through for maximum uptake. To accentuate this time frame of recovery, a whey isolate protein is the best option. Whey isolate protein is very fast digesting and absorbs quickly into the bloodstream so this is why specifically whey isolate protein is best for this type of person.

The second scenario is of the person who has a protein shake for snack or meal replacement and/or after workouts. For this scenario I would recommend a blended (multi-sourced) protein. The first and main ingredient of the compound being a whey isolate protein, blended with some egg and casein protein in it as well. I call these blended proteins, “dual use” types because they are going to be good after workouts because of whey isolate as it’s main ingredient. The second aspect of this type of protein is its versatile function throughout the day when used as a meal replacement or snack. 

You as the consumer would want something more whole-food like that takes longer to breakdown and digest, keeping you more full for longer, as a normal meal would. Milk, egg, casein, and some plant proteins are all going to be slower digesting proteins than whey isolate. The slower the digesting the longer it will keep you full. So when a blended protein has whey isolate, egg, milk, and/or casein proteins in it, it makes a good option for someone who just wants one protein that is a good fit for all their uses.

I hope this was informative and helped clear up any questions you amazing people have in regards to your protein supplementation! The next topic will be up to you guys so ask away and I will pick one or more questions or topics to discuss in each article.

Thank you for your time, if you have any more questions feel free to reach out! Stay tuned for more articles.

Jon Shoop

If you liked this article you might also enjoy:

You can read more about Jon and his background in Nutrition, Health, Fitness and Competition Training at: 

If you would like to place an order or get more information please message him at: www.facebook.com/tnmansfield

If you have questions for Jon post them in the comments below, or on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MelissaBenderFitness

Diet Bet Challenge: Day 21: Active Rest Day

Hi Everyone!

Today is another well earned Active Rest Day.

Have you been pushing yourself and challenging yourself throughout the challenge? You still have another week to hit your goal in the DietBet Challenge. Are you struggling or are you right where you want to be? 

Today is a good day to take stock of your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your diet. Make sure you are getting enough rest. I can't emphasize enough how much being well rested will impact your progress. 

Are you ready for that final push to see yourself through to the end and make sure you get the results you were looking for?

You can do this!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

DietBet Challenge: Day 20: Slim and Sculpted Arms Workout

Hi Everyone!

Today is Day 20 of the DietBet Challenge! Tomorrow is a rest day, and then one more week to go! I am so excited about everyone's results. :)

Are you ready to work your arms? 

This workout is tough! My arms were trembling at the end of it! The video is below. :)

I used two 20 lb dumbbells in this workout. Choose a weight that is appropriate for you. How do you know when it's time to upgrade your weights?

8-10 reps: Body Building
10-15 reps: Strength
15-20 reps: Strength and Endurance
20-25 reps: Endurance

So, if you are doing more than 20 reps with ease it's time to upgrade your weights. I'm an Occupational Therapist so my focus is always on what's most functional. For me, that means I want to build strength and endurance at the same time. For muscular balance and optimal benefits you need to have both. This is why I typically structure my workouts for 15-20 reps, with beginners starting at 10 reps. When you are starting out you need to build strength. Once you have a base you are able to start working on strength and endurance, and progress your fitness and health upward from that point. 

You can do this workout 1X through alone, or pair it with 30-40 minutes of cardio of choice. 

How close are you to hitting your DietBet goal? 

Full steam ahead! Enjoy the workout. :)

Check in on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to let me know how you're doing with your goal!

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

*If you max out during the workout (can not do any more of the exercise with proper form) that's okay. You will see that I max out a few times during this workout. It's a great way to build strength, and to monitor your strength gains when you repeat the workout. 

1. Row Lunge (right)
2. Row Lunge (left)
3. Tricep Drop
4. Mountain Pushup
5. Curl (right)
6. Curl (left)
7. Chest Press
8. Tricep Extension (right)
9. Tricep Extension (left)
10. Decline Pushup

Friday, September 19, 2014

Diet Bet Challenge: Day 19: 30 Minute Yoga Flow

Hi Everyone,

Today is Day 19 of the DietBet Challenge. Are you ready to stretch out all of that hard work you have done this week? 

Your body is going to love this yoga flow! I worked up a great sweat, and challenged the muscles throughout my body. 

I incorporated movements with a lot of positive health benefits. The twisting movements enhance intestinal/digestive healthy and spinal suppleness/flexibility. Increased flexibility of the spine, and alignment means that your brain is able to transmit signals to your body more accurately. 

I also incorporated Plow pose which is linked to thyroid health and reduction of cellulite. It also improves drainage of the lymphatic system. 

Those are just a few of the benefits of this particular yoga flow. :) 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Gambit makes a guest appearance in the end of the video. 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

DietBet Challenge: Day 18: Improve Your Rear View Workout

Hi Everyone, 

Day 18 of the DietBet Workout Program is focused on working the glutes. 

This workout incorporates exercises that were scientifically proven to be most effective at activating all of the muscles that make up your butt. The number one, BEST, exercise for your butt is the one legged squat. It's tough, but I show some variations in the video. 

This workout was actually harder than I thought it was going to be. I planned on going through it 3 times, but I only went through twice (at 20 reps per exercise). This workout is my new favorite butt workout. :) It will help lift, and shape your bum and thighs. 

I hope you guys enjoy the workout!

PS You can find me on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest. Let me know how you are doing with the challenge. Are you seeing results? 

Jesse has also been posting sneak peek workouts moves/tutorials on his Instagram page. 

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

1. 1 Leg Squat (right)
2. 1 Leg Squat (left)
3. Plie Squat (with or without weight)
4. Step Up (right)
5. Step Up (left)
6. Plie Jump (with or without weight)
7. Warrior 3 Crunch
8. Heel Press/Extension (right)
9. Heel Press/Extension (left)
10. Pendulum Squat
11. Romanian Deadlift
12. Weighted Squat

Repeat 2X