Wait! Don’t just skim down to see which exercise I’ve labeled as the best, get the whole story…
I’m often approached and asked to pin down a single exercise as the one that will help lose the most fat and tone the quickest. That’s not an easy question to answer.
You see, I’m very aware of the fact that though an exercise may be perfect for Cindy, it may not be the best choice for Bob—hence my hesitation to label any exercise as the universal best.
That being said, some exercises are definitely better than others. And, yes, there are even a few that I would call the best.
What makes an exercise the best?
When you decide which exercises to include in your routine, it is important to consider the type of movement involved. The simpler the movement, the fewer calories you’ll burn and the fewer muscles you will strengthen. On the other hand, the more complex the movement, the more calories you will burn and the more muscles you will strengthen.
To put it simply, exercises that use complex movements will deliver better results than exercises that use only simple movements. Complex movements recruit multiple muscles, some to stabilize and others to perform the movement. This process keeps your heart rate higher than a simple exercise would, giving you a more intense workout.
What is a complex movement?
A complex movement is a multi-joint movement that recruits large portions of the body to complete the exercise. Let’s compare a simple movement leg exercise with a complex movement leg exercise:
The leg extension machine uses a simple, isolated movement to work the quadriceps. You’re in a seated position moving only your knee joint. There isn’t much involvement, if any, from other muscles and it doesn’t burn very many calories.
Now let’s look at a free weight walking lunge. You start by standing with your feet together and a dumbbell in each hand at your sides (or a barbell across your shoulders, or a medicine ball held at your chest, or even with no weight at all). You take a large step forward and lower your back knee, keeping your front knee at a 90 degree angle. Now you push off your front foot and pull your back leg forward, repeating the movement.
How many muscles did you utilize while performing the lunge? Probably too many to count.
You certainly worked your quadriceps, gluteus, hamstrings, calves, abdominals, supporting muscles in your shoulders, arms and back—just to name a few. You also raised your heart rate and really kicked your metabolism into high gear. That’s what I call a great exercise.
Other ways to increase intensity
Using complex movements are just one of many ways to kick your workout intensity up a notch. Try incorporating a Super Set into your routine. To do so simply perform two or more exercises in a row and then take a short rest.
Or how about a Compound Set? Perform one exercise, rest, then perform an exercise with opposing body parts. To find exercises that compliment one another, choose ones that have similar but opposite motions such as a chest press and a row.
The key to finding the best exercise is to find the ones that bring your workout intensity to a whole new level.
I’d be shortchanging you if I named any exercise as the best. The fact of the matter is that it is a combination of changing your workouts up, using interval training, and even some good old cardio that will ultimately see you to your goal.
These methods will help you to burn more calories, increase your metabolic rate, and will stimulate the production of more fat burning and muscle toning hormones. Of course, there is more involved to achieving your fitness goals.
You need to incorporate fat burning into your routine.
You need to consistently challenge yourself during workouts.
You need to take control of your eating habits and to get your diet dialed in.
So what’s the best exercise for you? Find out—call 320.217.8480 or email me today to schedule your no obligation fitness consultation.
You’re In Charge
While there are many things in life that you do not have direct control over, what ends up in your mouth is not one of them! You control what you eat. Instead of eating extra large portions, chose wisely and your body and waistline will thank you for it. Couple this with a regular fitness routine and you will find that reaching and maintaining your goal weight is easier than ever.
Sesame Chopped Salad
Here’s a new salad that’s refreshing and packed with healthy fiber to help you achieve your fitness goals. Chopped salads are a fun departure from ordinary salads, and are quite simple to make. Always add a side of lean protein for a perfect meal.
Here’s what you need…
• 1 cup cabbage
• 1 carrot
• 1 green onion
• 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro
• 1 Tablespoon sliced almonds
• 2 teaspoons sesame low fat dressing
• ½ cup cooked chicken breast
1. Chop the cabbage, carrot, onion and cilantro into very small pieces. Add the almonds and toss with dressing.
2. Top with chopped chicken breast.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 276.5 calories, 7.5g fat, 468mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, and 26g protein.
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It’s hard to find a dinner more satisfying than a steaming plate of flavorful pasta, but by now you’re well aware of just how fattening that is. Let’s not give up on our favorite pasta dishes…let’s make these dishes lighter, healthier and just as delicious by using noodles made from vegetables, rather than traditional, carb-laden pasta.
If you’re new to cooking with veggie noodles, have no fear! It’s simple and satisfying to create comforting guilt-free pasta dinners, and I’m going to show you how…
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #1: Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is the easiest of all the veggie noodles to prepare since the noodles are already formed in nature. Cut a spaghetti squash in half and you’ll find a mess of seeds and stings in the center of thick, firm, yellow flesh. The seeds and strings are discarded, and that thick, firm, yellow flesh is cooked until tender and scraped off the skin, into a neat pile of soft spaghetti-like noodles. Pretty cool, right?!
Make Spaghetti Squash Noodles:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Rub the inside of each spaghetti squash half with coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Place, cut side down, on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until tender.
- Serve with your favorite spaghetti sauce and meatballs. Enjoy!
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #2: Zucchini
Zucchini is such a tender squash that it really doesn’t require cooking, and in fact cooking zucchini noodles quickly turns them to mush. I’ve found that pouring hot spaghetti sauce over a pile of zucchini noodles is all that it needs to heat it up without causing it to get mushy. You’ll need a spiral slicer –a little kitchen contraption that spirals zucchini through grating holes to create long, spaghetti-like noodles.
Make Zucchini Noodles:
- Wash the zucchini and remove the green skin with a veggie peeler. Run the peeled zucchini through a spiral slicer to create long, thin noodles.
- Top with warm spaghetti sauce and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #3: Butternut Squash
While zucchini and spaghetti squash noodles are light and soft, noodles made from butternut squash are a bit heartier. Not only does this translate into a more filling meal, it also means that need to be cooked on their own, before applying the spaghetti sauce, in order to achieve a tender consistency.
Now there’s a little bit of technique involved with cutting your butternut squash in the best way to run it through a spiral slicer. I’ve found that the narrow part of the squash, that’s completely solid, is the piece that works really well with a spiral slicer. Slice off the skin and then simply run it through the slicer. The part of the squash that’s hollow in the middle is trickier to use with the spiral slicer, since those pieces are pretty thin. A quick option is to simply chop those pieces thinly and use that along with the long noodle strands.
Make Butternut Squash Noodles:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the narrow part of both squash off and peel off the skin. You should have 2 nice solid pieces of squash (no hollow section). Run this through a spiral slicer to create long, thin noodles.
- Toss the noodles with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread over a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until tender.
- Serve immediately with the spaghetti sauce of your choosing. Enjoy!
Guilt-Free Pasta Recipe #4: Asparagus
Talk about truly guilt-free pasta – one made from asparagus spears! Rather than serve this one with traditional spaghetti sauce (although you could) I’ve included a dressing to toss the noodles with and I’d recommend serving it with meatballs for some added protein.
Make Asparagus Noodles:
- Wash one bunch of asparagus spears. Resist the urge to chop off the tough stalks, these are your handles! Cut off the asparagus tips and save. Hold onto the tough stalks and use a vegetable peeler to peel long asparagus noodle strands into a large bowl. Mix in a Tablespoon of fresh dill.
- In a small bowl combine 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon honey and a dash of sea salt and black pepper.
- Heat a Tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the asparagus noodles. Sauté for 2 minutes then remove from heat. If you’d like, sauté the asparagus heads by throwing them in the pan after 1 minute. Toss with the dressing.
- Serve the noodles warm and garnish with fresh dill. Enjoy! Eating healthy, low carb meals like these are what it takes to have that lean, sexy body that you want. But don’t forget that a fit body also requires a consistent, challenging exercise program! Call or email me today and get you started on the fitness plan that’s custom designed for you. Let’s do this!
Here’s another guilt-free pasta recipe for you! You won’t need a spiral slicer for this one, simply use a regular veggie peeler – like the kind you would use to peel the skin from a potato – to create long, flat zucchini noodles. This recipe has a scrumptious, nutty flavor that will make you forget all about traditional noodles. Feel free to serve with some sliced chicken breast, sliced hard-boiled eggs or steak for added protein. Enjoy!
Here’s what you need…
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tablespoon almond flour
- 4 large zucchinis, peeled with a veggie peeler
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon minced parsley
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, about two minutes. Add the coconut oil, and once it’s melted, add the almond flour and a pinch of salt.
- Stir often with a wooden spoon, until it’s toasty brown, about two minutes. Remove crumbs from the pan and save for garnish.
- In the same skillet, add the peeled zucchini noodles. Sauté them until just tender, about one to two minutes. Turn heat to low.
- In a new pan on low heat, combine olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes, stirring with a spoon until fragrant, about 20 seconds.
- Transfer the zucchini noodles to garlic and oil mixture. Toss and stir until they’re coated.
- Turn off the heat and add parsley, salt, and black pepper. Sprinkle with almond flour crumbs before serving. Enjoy!
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 165 calories, 12g fat, 72mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 6g protein