Friday, 21 May 2010

Craig Ballantyne: 6 Upper Body Ab Exercises

By Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Turbulence Training

The thought of having to do an additional 20-30 minutes of abdominal work after a regular workout can sometimes be enough for you to skip the ab training altogether. But, with these six upper body exercises, you'll gain all the benefits and more of a regular ab workout, without the extra time.

This 15-minute upper body workout will not only build your arms, your chest, and your back, but every one of these exercises is also going to work your abdominals.

So this workout will include as I mentioned 6 exercises, but they will be broken down into 3 super sets at 5 minutes each.

So, the first super set will pair chin-ups with spiderman push-ups.

Now, just because these aren't specific abdominal exercises don't think your abs will walk away unscathed. I remember training a client before and a couple of days after doing the chin-up exercise she commented how shocked she was that her abs were so sore.

With proper form, the chin-up exercise can very powerfully target your abs.

For proper form, begin in the dead hang position. Now, keeping your body tight, brace your abs and pull your body up and chin over the bar, then in a controlled fashion, lower your body down. You will
noticeably feel this exercise working your lats and your biceps.


Perform enough repetitions that take you until one short of failure. For example, if you can do 15 repetitions, then only do 14 and so on.

After the chin-up exercise, you will move into the spiderman push-up. In this exercise, you will get into a regular push-up position, and then as you come down bring your knee up to your elbow and back down. Alternate sides.

As previously noted, each super set pairing will be done in five minute intervals. Once finished with the first super set, move onto the next upper body combination of one-arm standing dumbbell shoulder press and heavy weighted dumbbell rows.

For the one-armed shoulder press exercise, place the DB at shoulder height with your palm facing outward. Next, brace your abs and place your opposite hand on your side to ensure your obliques are working while pressing up with the DB. Do eight repetitions for one side, and then switch to the other side.

Immediately after completing your repetitions for the shoulder press, move to DB rows. This time you will choose a weight you can normally do 10 times, but now try to get 12 repetitions. However, be sure to use only good form.

By keeping your body and back in a straight position, you will end up working your abs very hard, especially as you get closer to failure and your obliques work against rotation. If you find that you need to take a 5-10 second rest after ten repetitions in order to use perfect form for the remaining two, then do that.

Again, you will do this super set for five minutes going back and forth between these two exercises.

To finish off the 15-minute workout, you'll do two arm exercises that simultaneously work your abdominals. The first exercise is the lying dumbbell triceps extension. Now, in order to get a good ab workout from this exercise, when you're at the bottom position, drop a little more and you stretch your abs. Then, bring the
dumbbells back up overhead and repeat.

That little extra stretch at the bottom of the exercise will really work your abdominals to give you that six pack abs look, much like the stability ball roll-out when you stretch out at the end of that exercise.

The final exercise is the one-armed standing dumbbell curl. For this exercise you want to begin in a braced position. Since you will be using a heavy weight, your abs will have to work very hard throughout this exercise. To get in proper position, if your right arm is working, then your left leg will be in front. You can do
this exercise for 6-8 repetitions per side.

That's the 15-minute upper body workout that will work your abs just as hard if not harder than any ab crunching workout you could possibly do.

For DVD workouts using these exercises please visit:

=>Turbulence Training


If you have any questions, just let me know.

Have a great week.

Your friend,

Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Mike Geary: 4 Proven Tricks to Eat Less Food

Studies Show 4 Proven Tricks to Eat Less Food
by Mike Geary, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist
Author - The Truth About Six Pack Abs

I found these 4 tricks (that are proven to help people eat less food and overall calories) while reading a fascinating book recently called 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman.  I think you'll find these very helpful if you're looking to control your caloric intake and reduce your body fat.

These tricks were tested in scientific studies and are quick and easy to implement.  I thought these were quite interesting...

size of bowls and spoonsTrick #1 to Eat Less --  Several studies prove that the size of the bowl, plate, or spoon that you use can directly influence how much food and calories you consume.
Richard Wiseman, in the book 59 Seconds, talks about one study conducted where party guests were randomly given either 17 or 34-ounce bowls and 2 or 3 ounce spoons, and allowed to help themselves to ice cream. It was found that the party guests given the large spoons and large bowls had eaten 14% and 31% more ice cream respectively, than the people using the smaller spoons or smaller bowls.

Another study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania used a bowl of M&Ms that were left in the hallway of an apartment building. A sign next to the bowl told people to help themselves to the M&Ms. Some days a tablespoon sized scoop was used in the M&Ms and on other days, a larger scoop was used in the bowl.  The researchers found that the larger scoop caused people to take TWICE the amount of M&Ms on average compared to the people that had used the smaller scoop.
I've also seen studies referenced in the past that showed that people who used larger plates consumed more calories than those using smaller plates.

The lesson -- Use smaller plates, bowls, and silverware and you may inadvertently reduce your calorie intake.  This also means saying NO to seconds and thirds!

woman eating fast or slowTrick #2 to Eat Less --  You've probably heard before that eating slower can help you to eat less because it gives time for the fullness signal to reach your brain and thereby shut off your appetite before you've eaten too much.

However, this study below found a twist on this!
According to Mr. Wiseman in the book 59 Seconds, a study at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center had overweight participants eat a meal at 3 different speeds:

a)  their normal rate
b)  half their normal rate
c)  their normal rate at first, followed by half their normal rate (normal-slow combo)

The results were interesting...  Eating at the slower rate caused the men to eat less, but not the women (that's weird!).  However, the 3rd group that combined the normal pace at first with the slower rate after that caused both the men and women to have a large reduction in their appetite and eat less.  The normal-slow combo was found to be more effective than just the slow-only group.  Why?  I have no idea, but those are interesting results!

Mr Wiseman stated that the lesson here to eat less is "to start at your normal speed but then savor each and every mouthful".

chocolatesTrick #3 to Eat Less --  According to the book 59 Seconds, a series of experiments conducted in offices compared putting chocolates right on people's desks vs placing the chocolates six feet away.

In another experiment, the chocolates were put inside either transparent or opaque jars. When the chocolates were placed on the person's desk instead of 6 feet away, people ate on average 6 more chocolates per day per person.  Also, the chocolates in the transparent jars were eaten 46% more quickly than the opaque jars.

Just shows... out of sight, out of mind!  As you may already know, I recommend never even having junk food around your house at all...that way, you're never tempted by it and you're forced to only eat healthy foods... but then you can use your weekly cheat meals to eat junk food out at a restaurant. That way the junk food is never in your house to begin with!

eating pizza by the tvTrick #4 to Eat Less --  Studies have found that people eat significantly more when they are distracted by TV, movies, games, or other distractions.  In one experiment mentioned in the book 59 Seconds, people who were more absorbed by a movie ate significantly larger amounts of popcorn compared to those that were paying less attention to the movie.

In another experiment, people who actively listened to a detective story during lunch (being distracted by the story), ate 15% more food than those who sat in silence during their lunch.

The lesson -- ditch the TV and other distractions and focus on your food!  Enjoy every bite of your food and you will naturally consume less calories while enjoying your food more.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Mike Geary: What Busy Moms Need To Know To Get Fit

I was at a conference for fitness professionals a few months ago in Florida & I had the pleasure of meeting a fitness pro named Holly Rigsby. Holly is a busy mom who also manages to keep herself in spectacular shape... so she actually does practice what she preaches.

I asked Holly to contribute an article to the blog so we could give some special attention to the busy moms.

**Fitness Faux Pas; What NOT to do**
By Holly Rigsby, CPT

Author -

Listen up Ladies– Just like the popular fashion show on TLC " What NOT  to Wear'" you are about to get a large dose of "What NOT to Do" if  your goal is to boost your metabolism, shed fat and achieve results in
the shortest time possible.

Is this you? Get ready, because I am about to call you out on the Top 3 Mistakes you are making that can destroy your metabolism, zap your energy and keep your body soft and flabby.

Hours of Cardio?
Cardio is not the end-all be-all solution to fat loss. Working longer and harder will not help you lose fat – in fact it can make you store more fat! We have gotten hung up on the notion of "calories burned". This causes us to obsessively look for ways to increase calorie burn in the hopes that we are also burning more fat. Unfortunately you are only risking the loss of muscle and receive little to no increase in your metabolism once you stop.

Besides, why would you want to torture yourself with the unnerving thoughts of minutes needed to burn fat. What if you miss a day or eat too much? My buddy Craig Ballantyne refers to this punishment as the
"Cardio Confessional". We've all done it, but what results has this habit rendered?

It's not how many calories you can burn per exercise, but how many calories you burn 24-7. You already possess the most powerful fat burner – your muscle! So why punish yourself and risk the loss of your
fat burning potential? Toss the notion of long hours of cardio out the window. INTENSITY is the KEY to getting the most out of your cardio in the least amount of time. So revamp your cardio program with new,
energizing short burst intervals!

Target the Trouble Spots?

Jennifer Garner's toned arms and Fergie's fab abs are not created by some "magic:" exercise that mysteriously melts fat off a particular area of the body. It is time to banish the "Spot Reduction Myth" once and for all.

There simply is no "one" exercise that acts like a "magic eraser" to rid your body parts of unsightly fat. That's not how the body works. If you want to loose fat, you instead need to challenge all of the muscles in your body to boost your metabolism, so you lose fat all over.

When it comes to fat loss, isolated, shaping exercises are a waste of your time. Just because you "feel the burn" does not mean you ARE burning the fat. One of the most effective ways in which to maximize
your fat-burning potential is through full body, short burst resistance training. By working several muscle groups at once, short burst resistance training saves time, skyrockets your energy levels and incinerates fat and calories.

Resistant to Resistance Training?

"I don't want to bulk up, I just want to get toned"

Let's think about what you are saying here. Toned, simply means you have shed the fat that once covered your muscles – so we can see your muscle definition. Muscle gives your body a lean, tight shape.

No, you will not bulk up like a man. Women simply do not have enough testosterone to get "bulky" nor, typically do they spend enough time with weights to look anything other than lean, toned and firm. The
only reason some women feel like they look bulky is because they have excess body fat while building muscle, but are not eating in a way that supports fat loss.

Plus, muscle takes up less space than fat. The quickest way to drop a jean size is to incorporate short burst resistance training into your fitness routine.

If muscle makes you cringe, then you need to get used to a thin, soft, flabby body. For lean, toned, fit bodies have low body fat and a lot of lean muscle.

Instead of working hours on end month after month for little if any results, try eliminating these fitness faux pas from your program and start letting your body work for you to achieve your fat loss goals.

Thanks for that article Holly!

You can check out Holly's system for shaping up busy moms at:

I'll be back in a few days with more Lean-Body Secrets.

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer
Founder -

Friday, 14 May 2010

Mike Geary: My Number 1 Rule for Eating Healthy

Whenever I tell people this simple rule for eating healthy, they are always shocked by it's simplicity, and that they never thought of it like this before.

First, we need to come to the realization that food science and marketing in recent decades has crowded all of the REAL food out of our grocery stores to the point that at LEAST 90% of everything in a modern-day grocery store is NOT true food anymore...

The so-called "food" that lines our grocery store shelves nowadays is better termed -- "Edible Food-Like Substances", as the highly respected nutrition journalist Michael Pollan calls it.

I absolutely love that term and think it is SO very true!

Our food supply has become so overly processed, that it's not uncommon for a simple snack food to contain a list of 20-30 ingredients of additives, chemicals, flavorings, colorings, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial sweeteners, and more.

However, it CAN be easy to avoid ALL of this junk by following my 1 simple rule of eating healthy... and that is:

Eat only foods that are 1 ingredient.

Drop dead simple!

This means sticking almost solely to these:

eggs, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, berries, and meats (only meats raised in a healthy manner)

For example, almost everything I ate today was 1 ingredient, although perhaps mixed together:

*eggs with veggies for breakfast
*snacked on fruit, berries, and nuts all afternoon
*home-made guacamole (made fresh with all single ingredients) and veggie sticks
*cooked mixed veggies, side salad, and grass-fed bison steaks for dinner

Now THIS is fat-burning nutrition made easy!

Pretty simple stuff, and all made from single ingredients instead of processed food packages with 30 ingredients or more.

Do I eat like this 100% of the time... admittedly no... BUT, if you can stick to this 1-ingredient rule at least 90% of the time, it is actually VERY simple to get as lean as you want!

A 2nd simple rule:

If your great grandparents 100 years ago wouldn't have recognized the food you're eating, don't eat it!


Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer
Founder -

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Mike Geary Interview: Fat Loss Tip and Workout Tricks

I've got a great gift for you today... it's an audio interview I did recently where an award-winning health blogger named Jackie pulls all sorts of tips out of me for getting lean six pack abs...

We discuss foods that help fat loss, workout tricks to get super lean, motivation, and TONS more... and as a gift for being one of my subscribers, you get complimentary access to the audio interview here:

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer
Founder -

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Mike Geary: A Common Food That Boosts Your Metabolism

*How Your Spice Cabinet Can Boost Your Metabolism**

I've written before about the power of certain herbs and spices in terms of antioxidant capacity and other health benefits. If you remember, I wrote a couple months ago about the super-food status of cinnamon and how powerful a health food (or rather spice) that it can be.

The next super-spice -- Chili!

I was just reading about a recent Australian study that documented how you can burn more calories, increase your metabolism slightly, and help control your blood sugar and insulin levels by including chili peppers and chili spice (or cayenne) in your foods.

Keep in mind, this may be a minor "detail", but when you add up a lot of these types of "details", you can make significant changes to your body over time.

As you've probably heard in the past, the active ingredient in chili pepper (capsaicin) can cause slight increases in your metabolic rate and calorie burning from a meal. This has been reported many times in both animal and human studies.

However, in this Australian study, Madeleine J. Ball, MD, one of the researchers from the study, sought to find out how chili pepper affected blood sugar and insulin response after a meal.

As you know, chronically high insulin levels in your body can not only cause deposition of excess body fat, but also can lead to diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

The study was split into groups of subjects that ate meals without chili spice, and other groups of subjects that ate meals with chili pepper.

As it turned out, the chili pepper eating groups had lower insulin levels and more stable blood sugar after the meals than the groups that ate the same food without chili.  According to Dr. Ball, "the chili is probably having some effect on the ability of the body to clear -- or remove -- insulin from the bloodstream".

Aside from the temporary calorie burning boost and insulin controlling response, apparently chili pepper also has significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties...

So if you can handle a bit of spiciness, go ahead and enjoy adding some extra cayenne or chili pepper to your pot of meat & bean chili, your morning eggs, meat dishes, and other meals, knowing it's possibly giving you a slight edge in the fat burning department.

One of my favorite meals that I've been eating a lot of lately is my home-made chili. I make big batches of it, and that leaves leftovers for quick and healthy meals whenever you need them.


Don't be lazy, be lean.

Mike Geary
Certified Nutrition Specialist
Certified Personal Trainer
Founder -