BOSU Ball Squats

Bosu Ball Squat - Position 1

Bosu Ball Squat – Position 1

Want to tone your legs? Want to challenge yourself with something new… Try BOSU Ball Squats.

This exercise is excellent to activate all of the muscles in your upper legs and your core. It requires a lot of control and balance and is a bit harder than it looks. To perform a BOSU Ball Squat:

    1. Grab a BOSU ball and put the ball on the ground, leaving the flat surface up.
    2. Slowly place one foot at a time on the BOSU ball and stand up straight (You are now in Position 1).
    3. Slowly lower to a squat position by lowering your butt down and activating your quads (You are now in Position 2)
    4. Using your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, raise back up to a standing position (You should now be back in Position 1).
    5. Repeat for the recommended amount of reps (usually 12-20).
Bosu Ball Squat - Position 2

Bosu Ball Squat – Position 2

Tips:

    1. Remember, when doing squats, the general rule is “Ass to Grass!” Lower your butt down as far as you can. This full range of motion will help build and tone your legs muscles.
    2. In order to balance, really activate your core. This exercise is more than just a leg workout!
    3. Once you become comfortable, you can add a barbell to make the exercise harder. Rest the barbell behind your head on your shoulders and perform the exercise with this added weight. WARNING: Do not try to squat the same amount of weight on the BOSU ball that you normally do on the flat ground. Start off small and add weight slowly. You will be surprised how much harder the squat becomes on the BOSU ball.
    4. BE CAREFUL!!! It is easy to fall off the ball. If you need to, perform this exercise next to a wall or something else that you can hold to maintain your balance. Try and do the exercise without brasing yourself, but hold something when necessary… Safety is always the most important thing when exercising!

Do you like this exercise? Do you have any other exercises you would like to share? Any questions or comments? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

A Better Way To Eat Almonds

Did you Know…

You can get more out of your almonds by soaking them in water.

Almonds are one of my go to foods to snack on because they are high in protein, fatty acids, omega-3 and fiber. Almonds are also considered a Superfood because of the high levels of Vitamin E, Antioxidants, and they help curve your hunger. After doing some research I found out that soaking almonds actually helps you absorb more of the nutrients the almonds have to offer, but how?

Almonds2

The brown skin on an almond protects it until the correct levels of sunlight and moisture allow it to germinate. Because of this, eating an almond without allowing it to get proper moisture makes it harder to digest. When the almond is soaked; however, the outer brown skin is penetrated and the almond releases enzymes. When eating an almond that has been allowed to take in such moisture, you are able to digest the almond more efficiently and absorb the healthy nutrients the almond has to offer.

How to soak an Almond:
This is very easy. It is recommended to put the almonds in a bowl of purified water. Cover the almonds with 2 cups of water per 1/2 cup of almonds. Soak the almonds in the bowl overnight (10-12 hours). After the 10-12 hours, drain the almonds and eat or store them. You can store the almonds in the refrigerator for about one week. The almonds are soft, sweet, and they taste great!

Apparently, if you would like to sprout your almonds, simply soak you almonds overnight and place them in a glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator. After a few days, the almonds should begin to sprout (about 1/8-inch sprout should show). A sprouted almond can be more beneficial than a soaked almond because they are easier to digest and they also release lipase (an enzyme that helps digest fat). I have not tried this, but would like to very soon. If you have, please let me know what you think!

Do you like this post? Do you have any other ideas for posts? If you have any questions or comments please email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com!

Feature Friday: Sandy Vo

Sandy Vo 1

First name: Sandy
Last name: Vo
City: Albany
State: New York
Age: 21
Height: 5’2″
Weight: 128lbs
Profession: Communication major, Business minor. Founder of Peer Academic Review Board for the school. Director of Communications for American Marketing Association. Proud intern at this awesome music company called Tunigo. If you’re a music lover, this will be your best friend for life.

Follow Her:
Twitter: @Msfitique
Instagram: Msfitique
Blog: http://www.msfitique.com

When did you start working out?:
I started this new healthy lifestyle, working out and eating clean consistently late March last year. I didn’t start lifting until July though! I’ve seen tremendous changes ever since I started lifting. To think that I used to be the one who was scared of weights because it would make me bulky is too funny to even think about it. Start lifting ladies 😉

Sandy Vo 2

How many days a week do you work out?:
I work out 6 days a week and make sure to have one rest day for my body to recuperate. Some weeks I have ultra energy and find it hard to have a rest day. That’s what this lifestyle does to you though. It makes you feel so good, mentally and physically, that you start absolutely loving it. Being an ex-college party girl who was almost always hung over, working out and eating clean was non- existent in my life. When I started, I did it because I felt like I absolutely had to in order to get healthy. Now, I do it as a hobby more than anything. It’s incredible how much my mental state has changed since then too. It’s so worth ditching parties, cheesy pizza and liver killing alcohol for =).

How long is your average workout?:
My average workout is 1 hour. When I first started and had no clue what to do in the gym, I’d hog the elliptical for almost 2 hours and got super skinny, and fragile looking as a result. Now, lifting and having knowledge about the right kind of training, it only takes 1 hour of my life a day to get fit. There are no excuses there.

Favorite muscles to exercise:
I love working out my glutes because I have some pretty fun exercises for that, and I love seeing the changes week to week. I also love working my legs overall, and shoulders.

Sandy Vo 3

Least favorite muscles to exercise:
If I had to pick, I’d say chest because I’m not a huge fan of bench presses.

Do you have any fitness goals? If so, what are they?:
Yes! I’m actually competing for my very first show June 29th in Boston with the WBFF. After losing 30 pounds since I started this journey less than a year ago, it’s been rough to get my physique to where I wanted it. I was looking fragile and I wanted to be fit. So I started slowly upping my calories to gain weight but I did it the wrong way and I gained back all the weight. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to learn. I started prepping in January actually because I wanted to do this the healthiest way possible by giving myself time. So far I’ve learned that slow progress is the best kind of progress and real results take time. Patience is everything! I gained back all the weight because I was frustrated with not seeing the kind of results that I did. In January 23, I was 140. Now March 29, I am 128. Competing for me, has nothing to do about winning a trophy. That will be my cherry on top. It’s more about testing how strong your mind really is. Training for a show isn’t easy but it will be worth it in the end.

Do you have any fitness inspirations? If so, who are they?:
– Amanda Latona, super hot body with a kick ass personality.
– Justine Munro
– Andrea Brazier is also another gorgeous, hard body inspiration.

What supplements do you take or recommend?:
I only take multi vitamins, fish oil, vitamin d, iron (because I’m low on iron) and that’s it! I don’t believe in using fat burners and unnecessary supplements that may harm my body. All the nutrients that we need is in our food! Supplements are just that, they supplement our diet, not replace it.

Sandy Vo 4

Can you give a brief overview of your diet?:
Meal 1- 4 egg whites, 1 egg. 1/2 c oats
Meal 2- 1/2 c cottage cheese, blueberries
Meal 3- 3 oz chicken with small salad and 1/4 c brown rice
Meal 4- 3 oz chicken with small salad
Meal 5 -3 oz tilapia with veggies and sweet potato
Meal 6 – Protein shake
Of course I add my own little twist and turns to make my food super delicious. I turn meal one into scrumptious pancakes

Do you have any workouts that you specifically like, that you believe are very affective?:
HIIT is very affective. I’m talking about a lot of calories and fat burned in a short amount of time. It’s also fun to play around with the intensity and challenge yourself. Normal steady cardio is boring. I find myself seeing the most progress with high intensity interval training always.

How much cardio do you do? (Per day or per week):
Because I am prepping for a show right now, I do cardio 6 days a week. I do one session in the morning and one after lifting.

Sandy Vo 5

Do you have any tips for people who are trying to reach their fitness goals?:
Start by believing in yourself. Believe that you can achieve that physique that you have always dreamed of, but more importantly, believe that you have that strong mentality and power inside of you to do absolutely anything. Back then, running at 8.0 mph for even 20 seconds was impossible to me. It was impossible because I limited myself. But once I tapped into that power I knew I always had inside of me, I finished a mile in 6 min and 30 sec. I’ll never forget how accomplished I felt. Another super important tip is be patient! All your hard work will pay off if you are willing to be patient for it. The small progresses are the best. Learn to love them, reward yourself for them versus picking on yourself for not seeing any changes. I promise you that you can wait just a little bit longer while continuing to do what you do, you WILL get there!

Do you have any other things you would like to say? (Comments, Suggestions, etc)?:
I’m currently in the making of my own incredible fitness journey and I have yet to be at the level that I want to be at but looking back, the fact that I have made it this far is what thrills me the most. I’m super excited to see how far I am going to take myself with this show coming up! I’m taking my readers a long with me through my journey on Youtube as well, so feel free to watch me go!

Did you like this Feature Friday Inspiration? Do you want to know more about Sandy Vo? Do you think you have what it takes to be my next Feature Friday Inspiration? Email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Workout: Outside Body Weight Workout 4/6/13

When traveling, sometimes it is hard to really find the time and place to get in a good workout. Today we experienced exactly that. DO NOT LET THIS BE AN EXCUSE TO DO NOTHING!!!!! Right now I am in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the weather could not have been more perfect for a workout. With little time and little equipment, my fellow cast members and I put together a quick circuit training workout that we could do outside just using our body weight. All you need to perform this workout is a bench, wall, or other object that is a foot or two off the ground. Here it is:

Alec Varcas Circuit Training

20 pushups
20 tricep dips
15 burpees
15 box jumps
10 squats
60 second plank hold
Sprint around the pool

We did this circuit 5 times!

The goal was to do this as fast as possible with very little breaks. It doesn’t sound too hard when you read through the workout, but once you get your heart rate going and you really push yourself to finish quickly, you will definitely SWEAT and your muscles will be screaming!

TIPS:
1. If you have never done any of these workouts, please do proper research and make sure your form is correct and safe! I will be posting some techniques for these workouts in the near future, so keep an eye out.
2. Circuit Training workouts are great to do with a group of friends. Seeing others push themselves hard, only makes me want to push my limits too. Plus if you are competitive, you can see who is able to finish the workout first!
3. BRING WATER! Circuit training can be very hard and if you do not hydrate, you are chancing dehydration which is never a good thing!
4. Push yourself. If you find this workout too easy, make it harder! You can add 10 more pushups, 10 more box jumps, 10 more squats, or even add more workouts to the circuit!

After this workout I realized that I did have a little more time so I also did 3 sets of:
20 belt kicks
60 second side plank holds on each side
40 power squats
30 pushups

All of these workouts together make up a great, quick full body workout. I usualy like to focus on one or two muscle groups a day, but it is great to mix it once in a while. Circuit training provides great cardio while also building and toning your muscles.

Do you have any circuits you like to do? Sent them to me! Maybe I will try them out and post them :-). Do you have any other questions? Email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com.

Feature Friday: Mirella Mikaela

Mirella 1

First name: Mirella
Last name: Mikaela
City: Stockholm
Country: Sweden
Age: 23
Height: 161 cm (about 5’3″)
Weight: 48 kg (about 106lbs)
Profession: Law student

Follow Her:
Twitter: @MirellaMikaela
Instagram: MirellaMikaela

When did you start working out?:
I’ve always been active, going for power walks etc., but started going to the gym in November 2012.

How many days a week do you work out?:
About 5-6 days a week.

Mirella 2

How long is your average workout?:
About 1.5 hours.

Favorite muscles to exercise:
All the body! I primarily take classes like Body Pump and Circuit Training (kind of like Crossfit.) Sometimes I box and do yoga.

Least favorite muscles to exercise:
I don’t have one that I don’t like.

You have very defined core muscles. Is there a specific class or workout you believe helps you achieve these results?:
Core is included in all the classes I take, so that’s probably why. I also go horseback riding once a week which is super core-strengthening.

Do you have any fitness goals? If so, what are they?:
To be strong, healthy, and happy!

What supplements do you take or recommend?:
I don’t take any.

Mirella 4

Can you give a brief overview of your diet?:
A lot of proteins & vegetables.

Do you have any guilty pleasures/cheat meals?:
A lot of them! To mention one, I’m in love with dark chocolate.

Do you have any workouts that you specifically like, that you believe are very affective?:
See above (the classes.)

Do you have a favorite workout class that you like to take?
Body Pump and Circuit Training, kind of like Crossfit.

Why is it your favorite?:
You workout your whole body

How much cardio do you do? (Per day or per week):
I have a dog so I walk at least 40 min/ day. Sometimes I run on the treadmill after a class as well. How long depends on how I feel that day.

Mirella 3

How did you be come flexible?:
Yoga! And I did gymnastics as a kid.

Do you have any specific advice for women who are looking to hit the gym harder?:
Find The kind of workout/exercise YOU enjoy. It’s not a pain in the ass, it’s actually really fun!

Do you have any tips for people who are trying to reach their fitness goals?:
Just the regular: clean eating, exercising And dedication. You won’t see results right away. Don’t give up.




Did you enjoy this Feature Friday Fitness Inspiration? Do you have any more questions for Mirella? Do you want to be featured as one of my Feature Friday Fitness Inspirations? Email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Men Need Zinc!

fit man

I was confused at first as to why men needed higher amounts of zinc than women. I honestly didn’t even really know what Zinc did for your body. Here is what I found:

HOW MUCH DO WE NEED:
The recommended amount of Zinc for the average male is 11mg per day and the recommended amount of Zinc for the average non-pregnant or breast-feeding female is 8mg per day. Males need more Zinc than females not only because they generally have larger bodies, but a sexual active male also looses zinc through ejaculations.

WHY DO WE NEED IT:
Again, I knew that Zinc was important, but I had no idea why we needed it. After researching I realized that Zinc is actually quite crucial for your health and well-being! Zinc is found in almost every cell in your body. It helps activate the enzymes that improve your metabolism, fight off infection, improve the strength and complexion of your skin, and play an important part in reproduction. If you do not have enough Zinc in your diet, you may experience fatigue, hair loss, diarrhea, and many other unfortunate symptoms.

steak

WHERE CAN WE GET IT:
As I said in an earlier post, most nutritionists suggest getting your nutrients from food rather than supplements. Zinc can be found in many foods such as oysters, red meats, fortified cereals, peanuts, some seeds, dark chocolate, and many other foods. If you believe you are not getting enough Zinc in your diet, consider taking a zinc supplement to try and reach the 11mg per day.

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH:
Be careful!!! Zinc is one of those nutrients that you can overdose on! It is suggested to have no more than 40mg of Zinc a day. If you end up going over the 40mg recommendation, many side effects can occur. Some side effects include headache, dizziness, and loss of muscle coordination, nausea, loss of appetite. Too much Zinc also can lead to anemia because zinc interferes with the absorption of iron and copper.

Do you think you are getting enough Zinc in your diet? Do you take a Multivitamin or Zinc Supplement? Do you have any other questions for me? Contact me at Corestrengthalec@gmail.com!