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Women: Shape Up For Summer With Freestyle Fitness!

Your bikini hasn't seen the light of day since Labor Day weekend. That can cause fear in the heart of any vacationer. Find out what exercises and workout program to do now! Plus: A whole lot of motivation.

By: Sherry Gideons

Those few weeks on a warm tropical beach makes that shape up summer plan well worth it and tolerable.

After several months of possible limited physical activity due to the winter months, individuals tend to gain extra body fat. These factors coupled with the fact that your bikini hasn't seen the light of day since Labor Day weekend can cause fear in the heart of any vacationer.

Here's a little secret: By working the large lower body muscles, you help the body to burn fat everywhere, not just the area you are working. This means that by concentrating on the glutes, quads and hamstrings you will actually improve the look of your arms, back and stomach as well.

This is a fix-it guide to getting your legs; butt, abs and hamstrings in shape as quickly as possible in as short a period of time as possible. This no-nonsense shape-up targets the entire thigh area including the hard-to-tone inner thighs. This System is Freestyle Fitness System. This workout can be done by performing lunges with dumbbells or using the Freestyle Lunging poles.

I myself focus on what I call "time efficiency" training, which has become a buzz phrase in the industry this past year. Time efficiency training entails using multiple muscle groups simultaneously, primarily the lower body for women. In fact, the biggest excuse I hear daily is not enough time! Previously, people would work on one muscle group at a time, using, say, the hamstring machine, and then the quads machine, etc. The workout industry has realized that people have to get the most of their workouts in a limited amount of time; so, working the area that women find their biggest issue, the women will receive faster results, and is more efficient. The following is Sherry's routine. You will need small hand weights and lunge-master poles, or a stick or chair to hold on too.

For the leg portion of this workout, you will first set out to pre-fatigue the legs before going into the slow and focused sets of lunges, The queen of lower body movements. You will begin the exercises you select but rather HOW you perform them. Get ready to get FOCUSED!!

The Right Way to Exercise

How to Exercise to Lose Body Fat

Any form of exercise, which requires you to use your muscles, will cause your body to burn fat and benefit from all the positive changes associated with exercise. There are, however, several guidelines you should follow to help you maximize becoming fit and less fat:

TYPE OF ACTIVITY: This refers to the type of exercise you do. The best exercises for burning fat are those which can be done continuously and involve the most muscle groups (especially the large muscles of the hips and legs). Although some exercises are more efficient for burning fat than others, there is no one "best" exercise for burning fat; anyone who says there is, is probably trying to sell you something.

In the simplest terms, exercise simply means increased activity. For beginners, that may mean something as simple as mowing the lawn or vacuuming the house - they both burn calories. The Key Movement To burn fat! You have to use your muscles; and to use your muscles you have to move. In fact, the landmark Framingham Heart Study that monitored 5,000 people for 25 years found that the best results from exercise occurred when people just started moving. Just remember that any exercise is good for you. But, the more muscles you use and the more continuous you use them, the more fat you'll burn.

Duration: This refers to how long you exercise. Twenty minutes is generally considered the minimum amount of time you need to exercise for adequate fat-burning benefit and to increase the growth of fat burning enzymes in your muscles. While it's true that the longer you exercise, the more fat you'll burn, keep in mind that exercise which uses more muscle takes less time to burn the same amount of fat as exercise which uses fewer muscles. Don't worry about the distance you travel while exercising; the time you exercise is what's important, not the distance. This is why Freestyle is so powerful! The entire workout can be done in 30-40 minutes.

Intensity: This refers to your level of exertion or "pace" during exercise. Although some people still believe that if an exercise doesn't hurt, it isn't doing them any good, the "no pain, no gain" theory doesn't apply to fat burning. Remember to think longer as opposed to harder when exercising to lose body fat.

The correct exercise intensity for burning fat is whatever is a moderate, comfortable pace for you. Although monitoring your heart rate (pulse) is a common method of checking to see if you're at the right pace, a simpler method is the "talk test". This involves exercising at a pace where you can carry on a limited conversation without gasping for air at every word. Another method is to simply ask yourself "Can I keep exercising at this intensity for at least 20 minutes?" If the answer is "no," slow down to a point where you can continue the pace for at least 20 minutes. Remember that as you become less fat and fit, you will need to exercise at a faster pace to continue to reach the right intensity level. This is a result of your body getting "in shape". For you to continue to progress, your exercise needs to progress also.

Frequency: This refers to how often you exercise. With the Freestyle System - 6 days a week on the lower body is suggested. Shoot for at least 4-5 lower body with two days upper body. If you want to exercise more frequently and have something special to attend, by all means do it; but this depends on how fit you are. It may be just as effective for you to increase your intensity slightly or your duration on the days you do exercise rather than to add another day. These guidelines should always be used at a level that's right for you. Ideally, you should try to vary the type of activity, duration, intensity, and frequency of your exercise to add some variety and prevent boredom. This will also help you work different muscles in different ways which will increase your overall progress and prevent your body from becoming accustomed to the same activity each time.

How does exercise help you lose body fat?

  • Regulates appetite: Although some people mistakenly think that exercise increases appetite to the point that extra food eaten will negate the number of calories burned, this is not the case. Exercise actually regulates your appetite helping you eat fewer calories.
  • Increases metabolism: Also untrue is the belief that exercise is not worth the effort because of the relatively small number of calories used. For example, walking burns about five calories a minute. Since there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, it would seem that you would have to walk 11 1/2 hours to lose a pound. The truth is that even moderate exercise creates an 8-fold increase in your metabolic rate (calorie burning) for hours after the exercise. This residual effect, not the exercise itself, is its greatest benefit of exercise for burning calories.
  • Maintains Muscle: The movement involved with exercise requires you to use your muscles which causes the necessary physiological changes for muscle to maintain (or even increase) its size and strength. Since every pound of muscle requires 50-100 calories per day to sustain itself and since fat is burned almost exclusively in your muscles, maintaining your muscle is crucial to losing body fat. Without exercise, you'll lose muscle and reduce your ability to burn fat. When it comes to your muscle, you either "use it or lose it."
  • Increases Fat-Burning Enzymes: Muscles have very specific enzymes, which burn only fat. Research has shown that people who exercise regularly have far more fat-burning enzymes in their muscles than people who don't exercise. In other words, exercise causes your body to "beef up" its ability to burn fat more efficiently. This means that the more you use your muscles with exercise, the more fat-burning enzymes your muscles develop to burn more fat.
  • Changes the Body's Chemistry: Exercise positively affects a number of hormones in your body, which are related to fat storage such as insulin, adrenaline, and cortisol. Endorphins, small morphine-like chemicals, are secreted with exercise and can also help reduce fat storage, as well as create a feeling of well being and alleviate stress. Exercise also speeds food transit time through the intestines to complete the digestive cycle, which reduces the chances for digestive disorders and bowel cancer.

The benefits of exercise go way beyond losing body fat. A fit body responds differently to things than a fat body. Things like cholesterol, sugar, salt, etc. simply don't affect someone whose fit the way they do someone who's fat. From a health standpoint, exercise positively affects every organ in your body. Exercise also improves your sleeping patterns, energy level, and overall feeling of well-being. The more you do, the more you will want to do as the benefits continue to increase and you get the results you're after. In short, exercise is a must for losing body fat as well as improving the overall quality of life. It will add years to your life and life to your years.

Your Most Powerful Tool - Your Mind

Before I give you those simple powerful movements, that will have you ready in no time, I want to include some reality too. The mind-set is one of our most powerful tools. The mind can make you or break you! Believe me, I am as human as you are! I have had my days in which my mind got the best of me. The most powerful tool you have that gives you the ability to achieve anything, if you believe in it. Is your mind! Over the years, I have traveled making appearances and holding lectures talking with women about- why we are fat and why we have trouble keeping off the weight. We work so hard at losing!? I have been asked many questions about myself; what I did, why losing weight worked this time and not the other attempts, etc... I have found that having to think about the answers was a great self discovery exercise for me. If any of you have read my articles before? Then you know that I was given a second chance. The hard way! I nearly died and experienced a near death experience. Now, even though I had divine intervention step in; I still had to search inside for me.

Through all this, I continue to learn and grow in my passion for helping others realize their own greatness. I want to share some exciting discoveries to focusing on your own dreams and passions. Believe me! They are so simple; it only requires your mind and some reflection.

  1. You must put fear aside and step into the light! Confront the world with confidence that "yes I have the weight to lose, and yes I am doing something about it! And yes, I am going to make difference.
  2. Seek out the best place to plant yourself in life! This will be the place you get the most light, the most nourishment, and the most support. You should find the people around you are also seeking the same goal.
  3. When looking for the best place to plant, accept the help that comes from around you. It is much easier to surrender yourself to only what is good. When we are hidden and no body knows we are here, it's hard to get help.
  4. And finally, as you grow in your health and beauty (mentally and physically), it is important to share the beauty (spiritual growth) you have with the environment (others) around you. In this way you will affect others with the elements and encouragement and support they need, so that the garden will grow to exponential proportions. Life is waiting and calling for you to step out into the light and accept it's good!


Remember the 5 SW's:

Some Will
Some Won't
So What
Someone's Waiting
Stick With It

The 4 F's of Inviting:

Face your Fears and Find your Freedom!!!




Believe it or not, having a lower body to be proud of is well within your means. Regardless of your genetic makeup or physical structure, you can improve the appearance and shape of your hips, butt and thighs. It simply takes consistency and future vision. The following exercises are simple to perform, and only require minimum equipment. When combined with a higher protein, moderate carbohydrate, moderate fat diet, they are very effective for toning and reshaping your butt and upper thigh region.

LOWER BODY CYCLE PROGRAM

Choose 5 exercises of any of the following movements, depending on your level of fitness? Do 12 - 25 repetitions of 5 sets or 5 cycles on each leg. Believe me, you will see the difference fast! Make sure you change your leg movements often.

Beginners: 3 Lunge exercises, 15 repetitions each leg- 2 cycles = 6 sets
Intermediate: 4 Lunge exercises, 20 repetitions each leg- 3 cycles= 12 sets
Advanced: 5 Lunge exercises, 20 repetitions, each leg- 3-4 cycles= 15-20 sets

EXERCISES

SPOTTY DOGS

A simple and effective exercise for warming up the body, as well as lubricating the entire major joints. As with all co-ordination exercises, start by learning the basics, before progressing. Begin with your legs; stride forward with one leg, whilst taking the other leg back. You only need to stride a short distance, remembering not to allow your knee to go to far forward. Once you can do this, bring in the arms, either taking both arms forward and back together, or alternate them with the opposite leg, i.e. left leg forward at the same time the right arm goes forward, then simply take both the leg and arm back, before repeating again on the other side.

WALL SQUAT THRUSTS

A good exercise for working both the heart and lungs, and also leg muscles. Lean into a solid wall, whilst lifting your knees up towards your chest, in a smooth alternating motion. This exercise can be performed slowly, by placing your feet completely on the floor, or for those that are fitter, try performing the exercise at speed, working off your toes.

STEP UPS

Make sure that the platform you are stepping on is secure. Step up one foot at a time, placing the foot firmly in the center of the step. Bring the other foot up so that both feet are on the step platform, before lowering one foot at a time. You may wish to alternate the foot that leads upwards, or lowers depending on your co - ordination. Holding small weights will make the exercise harder.

STRIDE JUMPS

Start with your feet together, and your hands by your side. Jump up a few inches, with the aim to take your feet out to the side, approximately double shoulder width. You can at the same time take your hands also out to the side, raising them to shoulder level, before returning them back to your side when you bring your feet together. The exercise can be made harder by holding small weights in your hands.

STANDING SQUAT

This exercise can be performed in a number of foot position in order to work various muscle groups, try your feet together, wide with feet facing out, or one foot wide, and the other under your shoulder. Lower down, bending at the knee joint, no lower than 90 degrees, keeping your back straight, and avoiding letting your knees go past your toes. Working above either a chair or step box, will ensure that you don't go down to low. You can hold small weights in your arms to increase the exercise.

PULSING SQUATS

Lie down flat on your back, with your hands under your buttocks to give your back some support. Smoothly lift and lower your legs alternately, approximately 8 - 12 inches, keeping a slight bend at the knee. The rhythm should be 2 lifts per second, i.e. left leg up then lowered followed by right leg up then lowered each second. An exercise to avoid if you suffer from lower back pain.

SKI JUMPS

An excellent exercise for developing power in your quadriceps. Aim to jump upwards taking your leg from a standard lunge position one side to the same position the other side, using your arms to obtain extra height. Concentrate on achieving height, and landing flatfooted on your front foot, and on your toe on the rear foot.

RAISED SQUAT

Place one foot on a secure step box raised off the floor, the higher the box the harder the exercise. Keeping your back straight lower yourself down, taking your upper legs no lower than the knee on the step box. Always remember to avoid taking your knee over your toes.

ALTERNATE LEG SQUAT THRUSTS

Place your hands flat on the floor, with fingers facing forwards directly under your shoulder joint. Keeping on your toes during the exercise, take one leg from the rear, up towards the chest in a smooth motion. Once the foot of this leg reaches the ground, the other leg should then start to come up towards the chest, and at the same time the leading leg should go back to the starting position. Depending upon your fitness level will determine how far your movements should be. Small for beginners, larger for those that are fitter, remembering not to over stretch

HAMSTRING CURLS

A simple exercise, and favorite amongst aerobic instructors. Stand with your feet double shoulder width apart, and bring your heel upwards towards your buttock. Transfer your body weight onto the foot that is flat on the floor, leaning slightly to the side, to aid your balance. Repeat with the other leg in a continuous flowing motion. To make the exercise harder, you can bring in the arms doing a number of exercises such as pec deck, shoulder press, bench press or crossed arms

STANDING JUMPS

Stand with your legs double shoulder width apart, with your feet facing slightly outwards, and your arms crossed at shoulder height. Aim to jump as high as possible, keeping your arms crossed, and legs wide. On landing bend at the knee lowering yourself down, before repeating. Remember to avoid letting the knees pass over the toes.

BURPEES

A very hard exercise combining both a standard two footed squat thrust and also a star jump-Start by performing a single squat thrust, followed by a single star jump, and then repeat both exercises again. This is a very hard exercise, and should only be performed by persons with a good level of fitness and injury free.

TWO FOOTED SQUAT THRUSTS

With your hands flat facing forward under your shoulders, start with your feet together extended behind you. Staying on your toes, bring your knees upwards in the direction of your chest, in a comfortable manner. Once your feet have landed up by your chest, thrust them back smoothly to the starting position before repeating. Begin with small movements, and increase the movement size, as you get fitter.

REVERSE LUNGE

Begin with your feet shoulder width apart, torso erect. Take a slow, controlled step backwards. When the ball of your foot touches the floor, continue the movement by lowering your hips so that your forward thigh becomes parallel to the floor. At this point your forward knee should be positioned directly over your ankle or foot slightly behind. Your front foot should be pointing straight ahead, and your trailing knee should be extended to stretch your hip flexor muscles. After reaching the most comfortable bottom position, shift your balance forward and then push off with your rear foot while straitening your forward leg. When you have returned to the starting position, repeat the movement with the other leg.

INNER THIGH LUNGE

Begin with your feet nearly shoulder width apart, torso erect. Take a slow, controlled step forward and out to the side with the right leg, pointing your toes slightly outward (as though they were in the two o'clock position on a clock). Your thigh should not drop further than parallel to the floor, with your knee positioned over your ankle and foot. Your trailing knee should be relatively extended to stretch your hip flexor muscles. The exertion phase of the exercise occurs when you push off your front foot and step back to return to the starting position. With a little practice you be able to perform it in one fluid motion. Repeat for the left leg (to ten o'clock position) to complete one repetition.

BALLET SQUATS

Start by standing with your legs apart, feet flat on the floor, slightly wider than your shoulders with your toes pointed out in the 10 and 2 o'clock positions. Keeping your head up and your torso as erect as possible, initiate the movement by bending your knees while keeping your torso upright holing your hands to your waist or in front of you. Your knees should travel in lines with your toes, descending as though performing a ballet plie. Try to lower your as far as your flexibility allows. Using your legs and resisting the temptation to lean forward push out of the bottom position to return to the start.

For more information or to inquire on Specialized Freestyle routines? Visit www.sherrygideonsonline.com or e-mail me at sherry@sherrygideonsonline.com.

Note: All pictures are copyrighted and used with permission. Some pictures were done by Jim Lindstrom, DigiPic Studios jl4images@aol.com / 702-562-6360. Contact him if you need photography! He is great.

Women: Shape Up For Summer With Freestyle Fitness!
sherry@sherrygideonsonline.com

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