18 Tips to Kickstart Your Morning Workout

Had the pleasure of doing an interview with Livestrong.com. Here’s the link, but you can read my blurbs below.

18 Tips to Kickstart a Morning Workout Routine | LIVESTRONG.COM#slide=3#slide=3 NoneNoneNoneNone

11. Force Yourself Out of Bed

If your alarm is right by your bed, you’re more likely to reach over and hit snooze repeatedly. “I set my phone’s alarm and put it in the bathroom — not next to my bed,” says personal trainer Shane Allen. “This means I physically have to get up, stumble into the bathroom and turn my alarm off. By then, I’m already up. Might as well stay up!” But don’t be too hard on yourself early in the morning. “Try to use an alarm note that is as un-alarming as possible, but will still wake you,” says Brandon Mancine, Texas-based NASM-certified personal trainer and Level 2 CrossFit coach “You want your movement to wake you, not a sense of emergency. This will spike your stress response and leave you sluggish the rest of the day.” Try an app like Wake Me Up or a device like Philips Wake-Up Light HF3550.

14. Ease Into Your Morning Workout

Your body has just been at rest for seven to eight hours; don’t force it into an intense workout right off the bat. “Don’t start with marathon sessions,” says personal trainer Brandon Mancine. “If you’re strength training, get a few (one to two) major moves in with one to two assistance moves and work your way up. For your cardio, start at about 50 percent. See how you feel the rest of the day. With both, make sure you allot time for warm-up and cooldown.” Or start even simpler from the comfort of your own home. “Start with a 10-minute workout you can do at home before work,” says Santa Barbara-based fitness trainer and motivational speaker Jenny Schatzle. “It’s proven that even 10 minutes a day changes your brain.” Try her 10-minute body-weight workout. Do each move for 45 seconds, write down how many you did, rest for 15 seconds and start the next movement: squats, push-ups, jumping jacks, triceps dips and crunches.

The Best Workouts for Sexual Stamina

This was an interesting interview. Often, when people seek out a Trainer or Coach, “getting some” is high on the list of goal. As I said in my contribution to the article (#2) you should view it as an athletic event you can get better at.

The Best Workouts for Sexual Stamina. by Astroglide.

Imagine that the thing you want most in the world is at the top of a steep mountain. You lace up your hiking boots, strap on your backpack and set out to reach the summit with a smile of iron-willed determination. The climb gets steeper, but you persevere. The rocks under your feet crumble and you slip backwards, but still you push on. The air grows thin and just as it seems the thing you want most in this world, the thing at the top of the mountain peak, is within reach, your lungs give out and your knees buckle. You slide backwards, trip and tumble until you’re back at the bottom of the mountain with no backpack, one hiking boot and zero energy to try again. Now imagine the thing at the top of the cliff is an orgasm.

Reaching the heights of sexual pleasure can sometimes seem impossible, especially if your own body is working against you. Luckily, there are steps you can take to sexercise your way to better sexual stamina. We asked sex, health and fitness experts which workouts they recommend to clients who want to have sex longer, stronger, and well, just plain better. Here’s what they had to say:

5 Exercises for Sexual Stamina

  1. Make it Bounce. The workouts you do to increase sexual stamina don’t have to be boring. In fact, Sex Therapist Jacqui Olliverrecommends one that you’ve probably loved since you were a kid — jumping on a trampoline. “Rebounder bouncing, or bouncing on a mini trampoline, increases blood flow to all areas of your body and strengthens your lower body support muscles including your pelvic floor, abdominals, hips, thighs and lower legs,” says Jacqui.

“Rebound for 10 minutes a day to enhance your overall health and sexual fitness.” Feel a little silly bouncing around? Set up your trampoline in your TV room and bounce while you watch your favorite show — or watch music videos and jump along to the beat!


  1. Focus on Strength. According to Personal Trainer and Nutritionist Brandon Mancine, “There are 10 physical skills that can be developed to enhance performance. Of the 10, strength has the greatest carryover to every other skill. So if you’re looking at sex as an athletic performance (and you should, for you and your partner’s sake) work on pound for pound strength. This type of training also happens to elicit a hormonal response that will increase sex drive so its a win all around.”

Which exercises does Brandon recommend for building strength? “Squats will have the greatest effect on total body strength, kettlebell swings are a great addition as well for a easy to do anywhere strength, power, endurance workout (good hip action too!)” You can do these in the TV room too, but we definitely recommend swinging the kettlebell AWAY from your flatscreen.

  1. Stretch It Out. Ever wonder why dancers have a reputation for being great in bed? Donna Flagg, the creator of Lastics, credits it to the flexibility that comes from consistent stretching. “I’ve had many students tell me, (very surprised) that their sex lives improved from my stretch classes. And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Stretching (if you’re doing it right) not only creates flexibility but also control in the muscles, particularly in the pelvis.” Try Lastics for yourself, or create your own stretching in the morning or before and after your regular workouts.
  2. Practice Second Position. Jennifer McCamish is a former Radio City Rockette, personal trainer and owner of Dancers Shape, a barre and Pilates studio in Austin, Texas. She agrees that when it comes to improving sexual stamina, you can learn a lot from professional dance. “The stronger and more flexible you are around the hip joints, the easier it is to spice up your sex life by exploring different positions that might normally be difficult to get into or hold for an extended period of time,” says McCamish.

To help achieve these goals, she recommends getting into second position. “Bend your knees as low as you can without letting your shoulders collapse forward or your tailbone stick out. Engage your abdominals back towards your spine and pull your ribs together so you are supported through your lower back. Begin to dip one inch down and lift one inch up and feel the weight in your heels with light toes. With each lift, exhale and feel the area between the sits bones and pubic bone pull together and upwards.

According to McCamish, “This exercise will work the most critical muscles needed for enjoyable sex, the pelvic floor, while at the same time stretching and strengthening the inner thighs, glutes, quads and knees to help you conquer more exciting and adventurous sexual positions. It also builds body awareness so you know what muscles to activate for a more intense climax.” Sounds like it’s worth a try to us!

  1. Pace Yourself. Want to know how to have better sex? One of the easiest changes you can make is varying your pace. Alternate between faster, more forceful thrusts and slower, more sensual moves. This will help with sexual stamina by making it easier to stretch out sessions, and it’ll also build up your sexual energy so when you orgasm you REALLY orgasm.

Fitness Trainer and Health Coach Clint Fuqua says a great way to work on switching it up is to do sprints and HIIT (high intensity interval training). “Even if you’re going for a marathon session in the sack, you’ll need to be able to go from slow to fast pace over and over again. The best way to keep your body from giving out before you get off is to make sure it can handle all the ups and downs for as long as you want to go or until that little blue pill loses effectiveness.” The more you practice sprints and other cardio of the HIIT variety, the easier time you’ll have!

Any of these moves will help you sexercise your way to increased sexual stamina, and the more work you put in outside the bedroom, the easier it’ll be to put in work inside. But keep in mind that your overall performance level is affected by other habits and choices too! Here are just a few more things you can do to keep yourself at peak sexing shape:

  • Stay hydrated throughout the day
    Limit your alcohol before sessions
    ●      Eat a balanced diet full of whole foods
    ●      Limit your refined sugar intake
    ●      Stick to a consistent sleep schedule
    ●      Take a daily multivitamin
    ●      Limit smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke
    ●      Remember to slow down, switch positions and change things up

Remember that above all, sex should be fun! So if you’re straining and struggling don’t be ashamed to take a break or suggest a different position, or to break open that free sample of Astroglide to cut down on the friction. Anyone who isn’t understanding and accommodating isn’t worth doing all that sexercise for anyway.

Have you tried any of the moves we mentioned? Have your own unique tip for increasing sexual stamina? We’d love to hear it — tweet us @Astroglide and share your thoughts!

Don’t Be a Dumbbell: Avoid These 11 Common Gym Mistakes

Written by Amy Roberts.

Trainers see just about everything when it comes to bad gym behavior, from moves that put muscles and joints at risk to careless habits that endanger the health of others (or simply annoy them).

SafeBee asked several trainers about the most common mistakes they see, and for their advice on how to stay injury — and embarrassment — free at the gym.

Mistake #1: Engaging in boot-camp madness

You’re pumped you made a commitment to get fit, and you can’t wait to crush your first workout. But do too much too soon, and at the very least you’ll be very sore. “Two-a-days and high-intensity boot camps are for sports and the military, not for building a solid base of a healthy life and body,” says Dallas-area fitness trainer and health coach Clint Fuqua, NASM-CPT. “Simply surviving a workout is not the way to increase health for the long term and will normally leave you on injury reserve, getting depressed and fat on the couch.”

Mistake #2: Diving in without warming up

You want to get in and out of the gym in the most efficient way possible. But don’t just go full-swing into yourkettlebell swings or strength circuit or sprint intervals without first priming your muscles for the demands you’ll be making on them. “I rarely see anyone do anything related to a warm-up: no foam rolling, no stretching, let alone a dynamic warm-up,” says Henry Halse, CSCS, ACSM-CPT, a trainer in Philadelphia. Spending a few minutes doing arm circles, leg swings, and a few warm-up squats, for example, can save you pain and possible injury later.

Related: Injury-Proof Your Exercise Resolution

Mistake #3: Believing the calorie burn on the screen

Cardio machines display all sorts of numbers: distance traveled, speed, heart rate. And every gym-goer’s fave: calorie burn. Sad news: This number could be inflated — by up to 42 percent, according to one report.

Mistake #4: Sticking to all cardio, all the time

Access to treadmills and ellipticals may have been your impetus for joining the gym, but don’t get cardio tunnel vision. “If you do the same aerobic workout every day, your body will adapt and you won’t see the changes you want,” says Kate Vidulich, ACSM-CPT and the founder of FatLossAccelerators.com. Mixing up your routine is essential to keeping your muscles — and you — from getting bored.

Be sure to also lift weights or do some other form of resistance training, especially if you want to maximize your calorie burn even after you leave the gym (this is known as the after-burn effect). “Strength training increases basal metabolic rate (BMR) meaning you use more calories to live,” says San Antonio-based personal trainerBrandon Mancine, NASM-CPT.

Related: How to Stay Germ-Free at the Gym

Mistake #5: Lifting weights that are too light

“Women in particular tend to underestimate their lifting ability, and therefore never reach their full training potential,” says Vidulich. “Why? They don’t want big muscles. But lifting light weights for a billion reps won’t create the intensity required to get any noticeable results.” How do you know that you’re properly loaded? If you can do 10 reps and feel like you could do easily do five or more additional ones, you gotta go up. Ideally, you should have just enough gas to maybe churn out two or three more.

Mistake #6: Lifting weights that are too heavy

Overloading yourself is a bad idea, too, and a recipe for injury. “Not everyone has the biomechanical or neuromuscular structure to control heavy squats or bench pressing, so don’t put square pegs in round holes,” says Marc Megna, CSCS, an NFL player turned strength coach and co-founder of Miami’s Anatomy at 1220. “There are regressions, progressions, and alternatives for every exercise. The goal of every training session should be to be able to perform the next training session.” If you’re not sure how to choose the right weight or exercise for you, ask a trainer.

Related: Can’t Get Into the Exercise Habit? Try this Trick

Mistake #7: Ignoring your form

How you perform an exercise is as important to your wellbeing as getting to the gym in the first place. Bad posture, incorrect or incomplete range of motion, and compensating with one muscle when you’re looking to work another — all of these mistakes not only sacrifice the quality of your workout but increase your risk of injury. “For strength training, I tell my clients: Learn the movement, then challenge the movement,” says Mancine. This often means literally going through the motions with no weight at first.

Mistake #8: Zoning out on cardio machines

Bad form can happen on cardio machines, too. It’s easy to just let the machine chug along and not watch your posture, or worse. “I can’t tell you how often I see people on stepmills looking to work legs and butt, hunched over in a posture that makes it impossible to fire their glutes fully if at all,” Mancine says. Never hold on to a cardio machine unless it’s designed for you to do so (like ellipticals with moving handles), and look straight ahead — not up at a TV or down at your magazine — to avoid neck troubles.

Mistake #9: Not consulting a pro

For some reason, people are unlikely to ask for help or advice from the trainers at the gym. (Educated guess: They’re worried she’ll try to hard-sell them to buy sessions.) Instead, they watch other gym-goers to get ideas, or chat with the lifter on the bench next to them. “Commercial gyms are also universities of ‘broscience,’” Halse says. “When someone has a question, everyone instantly becomes a fitness/nutrition/rehab expert and gives their two cents — it makes me cringe.” First, the advice might be flat-out wrong, and second, what might work for one person’s body or goals may not work for another’s. Many gyms offer complimentary training sessions when you sign up. Take advantage. Ask lots of questions. (And have your “thanks but no thanks” speech ready for the sales portion, if need be.)

Related: How to Avoid a Treadmill Accident

Mistake #10: Not dressing for success

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it happens. “Booty shorts and flip-flops both have their place and it’s not in the gym,” Fuqua says. “Leave the beachwear in the bag and come to the gym dressed to train so you can look great at the beach later.” That means, ideally, wearing clothing made of performance material that wicks sweat away from your skin and dries quickly, and choosing appropriate shoes for your activity.

Mistake #11: Being a slob

Do your part to keep this shared space tidy. Follow the rule kids are taught in kindergarten: If you use it, put it away. And that’s not all. “I get it — working out is sweaty business. But not wiping down the equipment or cleaning up after yourself really gets up my nose,” says Vidulich. “Please use a towel!” Wiping down surfaces before and after you touch them is also a good way to avoid getting sick at the gym.

Amy Roberts is a certified personal trainer. She writes about fitness, health and a variety of other topics for many well-known publications.

See the original article here: http://www.safebee.com/health/dont-be-dumbbell-avoid-these-11-common-gym-mistakes

Skip The Scale: Non-Traditional Ways To Measure Weight Loss

In an interview I did with about.com’s Mountain Biking expert Beth Puliti, we spoke about “non-traditional ways to measure weight loss”. I would have rather seen it titled, “Nontraditional way to measure increased health” but I understand which would get more clicks. Here is my contribution with a link to the full article at the bottom.


Ride Your Bike & Set Goals
In addition, Brandon Mancine, certified personal trainer, nutritionist and owner of B-Fit Personal Training/Brandon Mancine Fitness in San Antonio, TX, has clients do the following:

1. Regularly take part in an active hobby that you enjoy. As you get in better shape, your physical abilities will increase. This means you can accomplish more. If you weekly take part in an active hobby (let’s say… ballroom dancing), you will be less likely to skip a workout because you are experiencing how it improves your life by allowing you to do more of what you enjoy.

2. Develop an empowering goal. It could be tied to that hobby (compete in a ballroom competition) or to deadlift your bodyweight, run a mile in a certain time. But have something that you will accomplish by a certain date and set a plan to get there.

Full article:  http://mountainbike.about.com/od/fitnesstrainingracing/fl/Skip-The-Scale-Non-Traditional-Ways-To-Measure-Weight-Loss.htm

Willing to be the Weakest. A Guest Post.

The fitness industry is rife with “know it all” blogs that consistently bash and slander other programs. Constantly posting, “Top 5 Exercises to Avoid!” or “The Reason I Don’t Do (XXX) Program”. It is my opinion that this is one of the biggest challenges the industry faces. Anyone who has internet access and a phone can portray themselves as an expert and there are unfortunately hordes of people willing to jump on a bandwagon to hate anything.

And then there’s guys like Mike Gillette. Below is the most recent post from his page. I can’t think of a situation where a person shouldn’t read this.

Willing to be the Weakest

By Mike Gillette


At two key points in my life I made an important decision. Both times it was the same decision. That decision was to be the weakest person at the gym.

The first time was in 1981. I had just turned 19 and had been living a life characterized by fear, negativity and weakness. In order to reverse course, I knew I would need to do, think and believe the opposite of what I had previously done, thought and believed. So I did.

Intuitively I must have understood that I would never be able to start thinking strong or acting strong unless I actually felt strong. And at 19, I “knew” that in order to get strong, you had to join a gym. So I joined. It was a confusing place, particularly for someone who didn’t know anything about training. There were gleaming chrome Universal and Nautilus machines and an assortment of dumbbells and barbells. It seemed like a lot of stuff to have to figure out.

But the bigger challenge was just walking into that place. A place where I didn’t feel as though I belonged. At that point in time I was as far away from being a physical person as anyone could be. Skinny, weak and I had only recently stopped poisoning my body with drugs and alcohol. I was the weakest person at the gym and I knew it. I assumed everybody else knew it too. It was a circumstance I very much wanted to change. So I did.

Within three year’s time, I went from being the weakest person in the gym to an Army paratrooper who achieved perfect scores on every one of his physical training tests, to aformer Army paratrooper with a broken back. Because of a climbing accident, I had actually managed to become physically weaker than I had been  when I began my strength journey in 1981.

But the one thing in my favor was that in those intervening years I had learned how to “think” strong and “act” strong. So I did. Sometimes.

After almost a year of getting comfortable with things like walking and standing, I started to think about what it might take to “feel” strong again. And just like before, I knew that I needed to join a gym. Between 1986 and 1988 I actually joined five or six different gyms. They were all short-term memberships. Because each time I would start working out, it would take only about a week or two for my back injuries to become so unbearable that I would have to stop. I would then spend several depressing months sitting around feeling weaker than before. But eventually I would gather myself up and join another gym. And the process would repeat itself.

It was in January of 1989 that I made the decision to be the weakest person in the gym for what would be the last time. I had gone almost a year without even trying to train. The endless disappointments had taken a toll and I didn’t want to go through that again. But, there I was, joining another gym. And just like the very first time, eight years earlier, I was skinny and weak. I was actually worse than weak, I felt fragile.

Happily, this story turns out well. But only because I’ve been willing to be the weakest person in the gym. Being weak in a gym full of strong people sucks. But it only sucks for a while. Because eventually you get strong too. And once you’re strong, you can share that strength with someone else. Maybe you’ll share your strength with the weakest person in the gym. I hope so.

9 Beginner Crossfit Workouts

Some great advice all around. My contribution is on the push up in #4. This piece was written by Anna Schaefer and featured on Healthline.
CrossFit is a wildly popular approach to what some consider extreme fitness. At first blush, it looks approachable, with many of the moves mimicking what you may have done in high school gym class. But once you’re in the “box” (CrossFit gym) doing your WOD (workout of the day), you quickly see just how intense this fitness approach can be.

Because CrossFit moves can be modified to fit nearly any fitness level, it’s said to be appropriate for just about everyone — young and old, fit and not so fit. But when starting with CrossFit, the best advice is to start slowly and work your way up.

We asked four CrossFit coaches and professionals for their input on the best moves for beginners. This is what we learned.

1. Air Squat

Todd Nief, owner of South Loop Strength & Conditioning in downtown Chicago, says you should begin the air squat by initiating the movement at both the hip and knees simultaneously, making sure your feet are flat on the ground throughout.
1.Keep a neutral, braced position in the spine, tightening your core and watching out for arching or rounding of the back.
2.Lower your body by bending at the knees and hips, tracking knees in line with your toes.
3.Drop your hips below the knees.
4.Push back up through your heels to a standing position.
2. Shoulder Press

The shoulder press is a fundamental beginner move, according to Jessica Murden, owner of CrossFit ACT in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, as it creates a “strong overhead position” for many of the more advanced CrossFit moves.
1.Hold an empty barbell on the shoulders with a grip just slightly wider than shoulder width.
2.Press the bar up, directly overhead.
3.Return to the start position.

3. Burpee

Burpees are the move everyone loves to hate. But why? They’re tough and effective, and Murden says they’re great for metabolic conditioning.
1.From a standing position, lower yourself to a squat.
your hands on the ground and kick your legs back into a pushup position. 3.Do a pushup.
4.Bring legs back into a squat position.
5.From squatting, jump into the air, landing back in a squat position, and start again.

4. Pushups

Brandon Mancine, Personal Trainer and CrossFit coach, warns not to use your knees if you can’t do a basic pushup. Resorting to your knees doesn’t allow you to build up the strength needed to eventually do a full pushup. Instead, he says, use a platform or something to raise your hands off the ground, which requires less strength.
1.Place your hands directly under your shoulders.
2.Lower yourself all the way to the floor.
3.When you reach the bottom, immediately push up to starting position.
5. Pushup with Hand Release

Need some help with your pushup form? Nief says releasing your hands, as in this move, will help you go all the way down — getting the most out of your pushups.
1.Get into a pushup position.
2.As you lower yourself, while the chest is in contact with the floor, release your hands momentarily.
3.Place hands back on the floor and push up to a starting position.

6. Box Jump

The box jump is “one of the purest forms of explosive exercise,” says 2008 CrossFit Games champion Jason Khalipa.
1.Using a stable box or platform, stand upright with your heels shoulder-width apart and toes pointing slightly outward.
2.Begin to move downward into a squat, knees tracking over your feet.
3.When you reach the bottom, propel yourself upwards, using your arms for momentum.
4.Land with both feet simultaneously on the box, either in a standing or squatting position.
5.Step or hop off.

7. Ring Row

Murden says the ring row is a great way to build up strength for a pullup. To perform this exercise, you’ll need hanging rings.
1.Grip the rings with palms facing inward.
2.Keeping your body straight, pull yourself towards the rings until your chest touches the rings, or goes slightly past them.
3.Pause briefly before lowering yourself in a controlled movement.

8. The Clean

To avoid injury, Khalipa suggests using an empty bar when you’re just starting out. If that’s too heavy, try a broom instead.
1.Start with your feet hip-width apart. Throughout the exercise, make sure to keep your weight in your heels and your chest open.
2.Squat down and hold the bar in your hands just slightly in front of your shins, directly above your feet. Your arms should be locked with your elbows facing outwards. Keep your chest as upright as possible.
3.Begin to raise the bar vertically, pulling it slightly towards your body.
4.Once the bar passes your knees, jump slightly and shrug to bring the bar as high as you can to catch it.
5.As the bar reaches maximum height, squat under it by placing it in a front squat position, resting on the front of your shoulders. Repeat.

9. Kettlebell Swing

When you do a kettlebell swing, make sure to keep your knees unlocked and avoid driving them forward, says Nief. You will need a kettlebell.
1.With your feet hip-width apart, back straight, and chest up, stand over the kettlebell.
2.Squat down, knees tracking over feet, and grab the kettlebell with palms facing towards your body.
3.Move into a standing position. As you do this, shift your weight into your heels, bending your knees slightly while pushing your butt towards the wall behind you.
4.As you do this, swing the kettlebell through, between your legs.
5.In a continuous movement, swing the kettlebell forward, raising it to just below shoulder height in front of you, contracting your glutes and hamstrings.

Whenever you’re a newbie to a workout program, start slowly. Use small weights or no weights until you’re confident that your form is good. Build your strength slowly and you’ll get more out of your workouts with less chance of injury.

Women and Weights.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with many amazing people as my time as a Fitness Pro. Both men and women. While every person is their own unique being, there are trends to be noted. Women being resistant to strength training is a common one. This story features two amazing women I had the pleasure of working with that are choosing to do amazing things.Enjoy.

If you liked this article and thought it may help someone you know, please be sure to share it on social media.