Explosive Pushups with Dumbbells

Explosive Pushup 1

Explosive Pushup 2

Explosive Pushup 4

Explosive Pushup 3

I was recently asked to post more exercises that really target your chest. In the past few months, I started adding more pushup variations into my workouts and have noticed a significant change in the strength and size of my pecs. This exercise destroys my chest at the end of a great workout. Explosive Pushups with Dumbbells test your upper body strength and allow you to use all areas of your chest in one exercise.

To do Explosive Pushups with Dumbbells:
1. Take two dumbbells and lay them upright on the ground. (One side of the dumbbells should be flat on the floor, and the other side should be up in the air, leaving a flat surface at the top)
2. Start in a raised plank position with your feet on the floor and one hand on each dumbbell. *Image 1
3. Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor. *Image 2
4. As you push up, lift your hands off the dumbbells. Now your feet should be the only part of your body touching the floor.
5. As your body starts to lower back down to the ground, land with your hands on the floor between the dumbbells. *Image 3
6. Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor. *Image 4
7. As you push up away from the floor, lift you hands off the floor and try to place them back on top of the dumbbells.
8. End in a raised plank position with a slight bend in your elbows, your feet on the floor and one hand on each dumbbell.
9. Repeat steps 3-8 for the allotted amount of reps.
Click Here to watch a short video to see an example of Explosive Pushup with Dumbbells.

TIPS:
1. Do not arch your back. During the explosive motion you may want to arch your back to get your chest higher and get your body higher off the ground. By keeping your body straight, it may seem harder, but you will activate and train the correct muscles.
2. If you are feeling sharp pains in your wrist or elbows, stop the exercise. This exercise can have a high impact on your joints in your arms, especially if your form is not correct. You do not want to cause any damage.
3. You can place your feet together, shoulder width apart, or wide. The closer your legs are together, the harder your core will work to stabilize your body.
4. If you do not have dumbbells, you can use other surfaces like a small boxes, steppers, or anything else you can think of as long as the surfaces are the same height.
5. I try to do 5 sets of 5-10 reps with a 60 second break in between each set. If this is the last exercise I do of the day, I do as many reps as possible until I reach failure.




Have you ever tried Explosive Pushups with Dumbbells? Are there any other variations of pushups that you like to do? Contact me with corestrengthalec@gmail.com with questions, comments, or ideas for other topics.

Hollow Body Holds

This is one of the greatest core conditioning exercises out there. It may look simple, but after only a few seconds, you will feel your core burning! Hollow Body Holds will strengthen your entire core and will help condition your body for many other exercises.

Hollow Body Holds 3

How to Perform Hollow Body Holds:
1. Lie down with your back on the floor and hands by your side
2. While keeping your lower back flat on the ground, activate your core to lift your legs, arms and shoulders a few inches off the ground.
3. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds (or as long a possible). The image shows the position to hold during a Hollow Body Hold.



TIPS:
1. You must keep your lower back flat on the floor. Keeping your lower back connected with the floor will activate the appropriate muscles for this exercise.
2. You may find yourself shaking during this exercise. As long as you are not uncomfortable, try to push through it. You may shake because your muscles are not used to the tension from this exercise, but it means that your muscles are working hard. Be prepared to be sore tomorrow!
3. BREATHE! Do not hold your breath during this exercise. Focus and take slow deep breaths.
4. Keep your legs tight together!

Have you ever tried Hollow Body Holds? How long can you hold a Hollow Body Hold? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with questions, comments, and ideas for new topics.

Feature Friday: Mike Stalker

Mike Stalker 1

First name: Mike
Last name: Stalker
City and State: Split between New York and New Jersey
Age: 23
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 180
Profession: Entrepreneur

Follow Him:
Twitter: @TheMikeStalker
Instagram: @TheMikeStalker
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheMikeStalker

Where did you go to school? What degree did you graduate with?:
Fordham University class of 2014. Graduated with a degree in Finance.

Did you play any sports in school?:
I played Division I Men’s soccer.

Mike Stalker 2

When did you start modeling?:
About 2 years ago.

Are their any shoots you have done or photographers you have worked with that specifically stick out as some of your favorites?:
Have to give a shout out to Rick Day. He is the one that got my name and look out. If it wasn’t for him, I may not have had much success at all. I am also a big fan of Richard Phibbs. His work is brilliant and shoots some awesome campaigns, celebrities, and professional athletes. Also, need to give a shout to Sonny Tong. He is a young photographer from LA, and I think he has a bright future.

When did you start working out?:
Started to work out my junior year of high school.

How many days a week do you work out?:
I shoot for 5-6 days a week.

Mike Stalker 3

How long is your average workout?:
1-2 hours.

Favorite muscles to exercise:
Back and Chest.

Least favorite muscles to exercise:
Legs!

Do you have any fitness goals? If so, what are they?:
My fitness goals are usually to stay lean all year with some respectable muscle mass – 5-7% body fat. It also motivating to see your strength levels increase. Other fitness goals are to inspire people all over the world in fitness, health, and nutrition.

Do you have any fitness inspirations? If so, who are they? Do you have any other people you look up to?:
In terms in the fitness industry, I really look up to entrepreneurs John Romaniello and Tim Ferriss. While they are not models, they are fitness professionals – authors, trainers, investors, etc (both make over 7 fig a year). Tim Ferriss has an awesome book out – The Four Hour Body that has had some huge commercial success.

What supplements do you take or recommend?:
1st Phorm supplements. I love a good pre-workout to get me going. Pre-workouts with creatine are great because they kill two birds with one stone. And protein is huge.

Mike Stalker 4

Can you give a brief overview of your diet?:
High protein with healthy fats and carbs. Lots of protein (chicken, fish, eggs) and greens.

Do you have any workouts that you specifically like, that you believe are very affective?:
I like to do everything. Play sports, bike, sprints, and lift. I also recommend doing a bodybuilding type split to increase muscle. M- Chest/tris T-Back/Bis W- Legs T- Shoulders F- Arms S- and finishing each workout with abs 3-4x a week.

Do you have any tips for people who are trying to reach their fitness goals?:
Stay patient. Your body won’t change overnight. Stay focused – nutrition is huge and you need to really pay attention to what you are putting in your body, not only for physical changes but for mental and psychological effects as well. Lift hard, heavy, and often to really lose body fat and increase lean muscle mass. GET IN PROTEIN.

Mike Stalker 5

I know you also have your own fitness website. What type of content do you share on your website?:
I share content based on fitness, nutrition, success, and life.

What is the website address?:
mikestalkerfitlife.com —> Will soon be launching TheDailyAce.Com

Do you have any other things you would like to say?(Comments, suggestions, etc)?:
I have a huge digital magazine launching in November.

Did you like this week’s Feature Friday, Mike Stalker? Would you or someone you know liked to be featured? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com for questions, comments, or ideas for other topics.

What is HIIT?

HIIT 1
Many of you may have heard about HIIT training before, but don’t really understand what it is. I’m going to briefly explain the concept of HIIT training and how you can include it into your workout.

WHAT IS HIIT?
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. The concept of HIIT is alternating low-intensity intervals with high-intensity intervals. The most common and simplest form of HIIT can be applied to running, however HIIT can be used in many different exercises such as burpees, box jumps, squats etc.

WHAT IS AN EXAMPLE OF A HIIT WORKOUT?
When running, instead of running at a steady pace for 15 minutes, try doing a low-intensity interval alternated with a high-intensity interval. For example, 30 seconds of walking, then 30 seconds of seconds of sprinting. Doing 15 rounds of this exercise would be a great HIIT workout. Push yourself hard during the sprint. Many times we are comfortable at one speed, however it is not even close to our max speed needed to do a sprint. The more you push yourself (under safe conditions), the better the results.

WHY IS IT EFFECTIVE?
Because of the high interval training, you are able to really work on your endurance, increase your metabolism, burn fat, and help build muscle.

Cassandra Fiorella @petitefi

@petitefi

    Endurance: According to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Meeting, 2 weeks of HIIT improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training.
    Burn Fat: Because of the high intensity, your body works hard to repair itself. After a HIIT workout, you burn more calories over a 24 hour span than you would during a regular endurance program because your body is constantly working in repair mode to recover your muscles.
    Metabolism: HIIT increases the production of your HGH (Human Growth Hormone) by up to 450% which helps burn more calories throughout the day and is suppose to help slow down the aging process.

HIIT is never easy because you have to push yourself hard, but the outcome may surprise you. Since adding HIIT into my workouts, I have noticed a huge change in my body and my abilities as an athlete.

Do you include HIIT workouts into your workout routine? What are some of your favorite intervals to do? Let me know at corestrengthalec@gmail.com.

Raised L-Sits

Are you ready for another great stabilization exercise? L-sits are one of my favorite core strengthening exercises to perform because you can engage your entire core with one simple move. L-sits are a great exercise to add to any workout plan, and no matter what your fitness level, there is always room for growth and improvement with this exercise.

Raised L Sit

How to do Raised L Sits:
1. Grab two bars or stable surfaces of equal height and set them about 1 to 2 feet apart from each other. (The distance apart depends on the comfort of each person individually)
2. Place one hand on each surface and squat down to prepare for the exercise.
3. With your arms straight, raise your legs up off the floor in front of you.
4. Straighten your legs so they are now parallel to the floor.
5. Hold this position for as long as you can and then lower your legs back to the floor.
6. Repeat this exercise for the allotted amount of sets.

TIPS:
1. Track your progress with L-sits. The first time you try this exercise, you may only be able to hold this position for a few seconds, but after only a few weeks, you will see a huge difference in what you can do. Seeing your time increase will help motivate you to keep pushing your limits.
2. Keep your chest open and up. Keep your back straight and do not hunch when doing this exercise. Hunching will activate the wrong muscles and may even cause muscle strain.
3. Breathe. Like most stabilization exercises, it is common for people to hold their breath. I am sometimes guilty of this too, but holding your breath will cause unnecessary tension throughout your entire body which will actually make this exercise harder.
4. Look straight ahead! Try not to look down at the floor or at your legs, and don’t lift your head up. Pick something straight in front of you to focus on.
5. Your toes can be flexed or pointed during this exercise, but choose one. You want to really activate your legs and keep them straight and tight in this workout. If you let your feet just dangle, you will not be fully engaging your legs in this exercise.
6. If you do not have bars for this exercise, you can use two platforms, chairs, or even stacks of books.
7. My goal for this exercise is usually to hold the L-sit from 30-60 seconds and I do about 5 sets. If I do them right in a row, I try to take about a one minute break in between each set.

Have you ever tried Raised L-sits? Let me know what you think of this exercise and let me know if you have any other questions or comments by emailing me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com.

Handstand Negatives

Handstand Negatives 1

This is the next step in learning how to do Handstand Pushups. If you have not tried any of the previous workouts suggested in order to learn how to do a handstand pushup, CLICK HERE. Handstand Negatives depend on a slow controlled motion to strengthen and train your back, shoulder, and core muscles.

To Perform Handstand Negatives:
1. Place a pad, pillow, or soft surface on the floor and against the wall.
2. Face the wall and prepare to kick up into a handstand. To do so, place your hands a few inches away from the wall, on either side of the pad, and kick your legs up. You should end in an upside-down position with your back facing the wall.
3. Bend at your elbows and slowly lower your head down to the pad.
4. Lower your legs back to the ground by pushing off the wall with your feet.
5. Stand back up and repeat steps 2-5 for the allotted amount of reps.

Handstand Negatives 2

TIPS:
1. The exercise is ALL ABOUT CONTROL. Holding the handstand position will practice stability, but also the lowering down will activate those muscles needed to do a handstand pushup.
2. When lowering your head down to the pad, try to lower as slow as possible. Taking 3-5 seconds is ideal. The slow motion will make this exercise hard, but effective. It will really test and work a wide arrange of muscles in your upper body.
3. Once your head is down on the pad, try pushing up from this position. It is ok if you can’t, just kick up into a handstand before every negative. If you can do a pushup, do another handstand negative after the pushup.
4. Try doing 5 negatives at a time at first and then try and work your way up to 10 consecutive reps. At first you may not be able to lower yourself slowly, but over time really test yourself and try to lower yourself as slow as possible.

Have you ever tried Handstand Negatives? Have you been following my guide to learning handstand pushups? Let me know what you think. Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com with any questions, comments, or ideas for new topics.

Feature Friday: Jerdani Kraja

Jerdani 1

First name: Jerdani
Last name: Kraja
City: San Diego
State: CA
Age: 21
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 180lbs
Profession: Fitness Model and Revlabs Athelete Manager

Follow Him:
Instagram: @jerdanikraja

Are you signed to any agencies or do you do promotions for any companies?
Revlabs (https://www.revlabs.com/)

When did you start working out?:
I started working out freshman year of high school when I was 14 years old.

Jerdani 2

How many days a week do you work out?:
I usually work out 6 days a week.

How long is your average workout?:
About 2 hours.

Favorite muscles to exercise:
Biceps and Triceps

Least favorite muscles to exercise:
Chest, its boring to me.

When did you start competing?:
I started competing when I was 19 years old, while being active in the military.

Jerdani 3


Do you have a coach to help you prepare for your competitions?:
I don’t have a coach to help me prepare.

Do you have any fitness goals? If so, what are they?:
There is a pro show in November, but my ultimate goal is to be one day competing at Mr. Olympia.

Do you have any fitness inspirations? If so, who are they?:
I have two. Gregg Plitt is someone who I have looked up to for a while now. My other inspiration is also my best friend, owner, and mentor. He is the president RevLabs, Joshua Nussbaum.

What supplements do you take or recommend?:
For my pre workout I take RevLabs Endorev. It’s like crack, and I need a tough pre workout. For my protein shakes, I use RevLabs protein and testosterone booster. It makes me feel great and brings my workouts and results to the next level. I also take any BCAAs or glutamine.

Jerdani 4

Can you give a brief overview of your diet?:
I try to eat 6 meals a day, spaced 3 hours apart. I also have 2 shakes a day.

Do you have any workouts that you specifically like, that you believe are very affective?:
I believe in super setting and drop setting everything I do.

Do you have any tips for people who are trying to reach their fitness goals?:
It takes time… be patient. Consistency is key.




Do you have any other things you would like to say?(Comments, suggestions, etc)?:
I love people and helping, so feel free to hit me up for anything.

Did you like this week’s Feature Friday, Jerdani Kraja? Would you or someone you know like to be featured? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com for questions, comments, or ideas for other topics.

Killer Core Workout

Photography:  Peter Brown Apparel: Body Aware

Photography: Peter Brown
Apparel: Body Aware

When it comes to core workouts, I like to dedicate one day during the week to just core exercises. This workout is the one that I have been using for the past few weeks to help build and tone my core. So far I have been feeling and seeing some great results. The thing I really like about this workout is that it does not only focus on one area of your abdominals, but instead focuses on your entire midsection from your abs, to your obliques, and even your lower back. This workout consists of groups of exercises that should be done right after another followed by a long rest. This will test your endurance and will help give you the results you are looking for. Try it out and let me know what you think.

KILLER CORE WORKOUT!

Cardio and Warmup:
30 minutes of Cardio
10 minutes of Stretching

Group 1: (3 sets)
Leg Lifts with Alternating Stability Ball x 15 reps (Click Here)
Reverse Crunch with Stability Ball x 25 reps (Click Here)
Leg Lifts With Stability Ball x 10 reps (Click Here)
90 second rest
* Do 3 sets of this Group of exercises

Group 2: (3 sets)
Kettlebell Side Bend x 20 reps on right
Kettlebell Side Bend x 20 reps on left
Ab roller x 15 reps
90 second rest
* Do 3 sets of this Group of exercises

Group 3: (3 sets)
Raised Side Plank on right x Hold for 1 minute (Click Here)
Raised Side Plank on left x Hold for 1 minute (Click Here)
Toes to Bar x 10 reps
* Do 3 sets of this Group of exercises

Group 4: (3 sets)
Hollow Hold x Hold for 1 minute or until failure
60 second rest
* Do 3 sets of this exercise

Group 5:
Back hyperextensions x 200 reps. Rest when needed.
* I usually do about 5-10 at a time and then rest for about 5-10 seconds.
Stretch

That is my Killer Core Workout that I have been doing once a week for the past month. It is definitely not easy, but it will help get you a strong and toned core. Let me know what you think of the workout and contact me with any questions, comments, or ideas for new topics at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Feature Friday: Jen Piccolo

Jen Piccolo 2

First name: Jen
Last name: Piccolo
City: Wolcott
State: Connecticut
Age: 23
Height: 5’3″
Weight: I choose not to share my weight on any of my social media platforms. I’m a big advocate of self love and not letting the scale determine your worth. I want to inspire people, young girls especially, to focus on the healthy, not the skinny.

Follow Her:
Twitter: @JenTheFitFoodie
Instagram: @JenTheFitFoodie
Youtube: Youtube.com/IAmJenPiccolo
Website: www.JenTheFitFoodie.Blogspot.com

Jen Piccolo 1

When did you start working out?:
I started working out in 2009, right after I graduated high school. That’s when I decided to make a lifestyle change and start living healthier.

How many days a week do you work out?:
I workout 6 days a week. I have 1 active rest day where I typically practice yoga or go for a hike.

How long is your average workout?:
My workouts range from 45-60 minutes.

Favorite muscles to exercise:
I love to exercise my arms! I’m actually really proud of them. When I was at my heaviest weight I absolutely hated my arms. I would never wear anything that was sleeveless or showed anything more than my forearm. Now my arms are my favorite body part! They have definition to them now and I definitely have a lot more upper body strength. I do various arm exercises utilizing light weights and high repetitions.

Least favorite muscles to exercise:
Two words. Leg Day. haha. I’d say its a love/hate relationship.

Jen Piccolo 3

Do you have any fitness goals? If so, what are they?:
I would like to lose more body fat and continue to improve my strength while building lean muscle.

Do you have any fitness inspirations? If so, who are they?:
I absolutely love Daniel and Kelly who run FitnessBlender.com. They provide free at home workouts for every fitness level. They advocate clean eating and exercise. They do not use supplements or endorse any products, which I think is awesome. Their main goal is to show you that all you need to change your body is a clean diet and exercise.

I also really admire Karena and Katrina who run ToneItUp.com. They upload free workouts to their youtube channel and post weekly workout schedules for you to follow. They also offer a nutrition plan!

Can you give a brief overview of your diet?:
I have actually been following celebrity trainer, Chris Powell’s, carb cycling plan. I eat 5 meals a day and alternate between low and high carb days. I typically stick to lean meats, tons of fresh veggies, and healthy fats. I do my best to choose things that are minimally processed. I have one treat meal a week… and it’s always Mexican food! My absolute favorite!

Jen Piccolo 4

You have made a huge transformation in the past few years. How long did it take and how much weight did you lose?:
I have lost 70 pounds. It took me a little bit over a year to lose the weight. Since I lost the initial 70 pounds I have just been working on building lean muscle and dropping more fat.

Do you think diet or exercise played a bigger role in your weight loss journey?:
Although both play a huge part in living a healthy lifestyle, I would say diet played a bigger role. I’m a firm believer that you can’t out exercise a bad diet. I’m actually proof of that. I was a competitive dancer growing up. It was a great form of exercise. However, I had a poor diet and large calorie intake so I was always overweight.

What is one thing you wish you knew at the beginning of your transformation?:
I wish I knew more about “clean eating”. When I first started losing weight I did it by counting calories. It would have been a lot easier for me to just cut out the processed garbage and focus on eating nutritious foods!

How did/do you stay motivated?:
When Im not feeling motivated I look at old pictures of myself. By doing so I can really see how much I have changed. I realize how much I enjoy living a healthy lifestyle. I love feeling healthy, strong, and confident; I want to keep it that way!

Jen Piccolo 5

What is your favorite cheat meal?:
As I already mentioned, Mexican food! I love fajitas and beef burritos. And churros. I really love churros.

Do you have any workouts that you specifically like, that you believe are very affective?:
I always love HIIT workouts (High Intensity Interval Training). They are quick, effective, and perfect when you’re short on time.

Do you have any tips for people who are trying to reach their fitness goals?:
My tip would be to stay consistent. Make small changes over time and stay consistent with them. Integrate them into your lifestyle. Don’t change your diet so drastically or you’ll never stick to it.

Do you have any other things you would like to say?(Comments, suggestions, etc)?:
I have lost 70 pounds without a gym! You don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership to get fit. There are so many great platforms to obtain free workout plans. Utilize whats already out there and invest in some free weights!

Did you like this week’s Feature Friday, Jen Piccolo? Would you or someone you know liked to be featured? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com for questions, comments, or ideas for other topics.

Feature Friday: Ryan Young

Ryan Young 1

First name: Ryan
Last name: Young
City: Los Angeles
State: California (Originally from outside Chicago, IL)
Age: 34
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 170lbs
Profession: Model and Actor

Follow Him:
Twitter: @RYoung25
Instagram: @ryyoung
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ryyoungLA

How long have you been modeling for?::
I started in the mid/late nineties while growing up in Chicago. but it really took off once I moved to LA around 2000.

What agencies are you signed to?
I’m blessed to work with such great people at LA Models/LAM2 in Los Angeles, Spot 6 Management in Toronto and Brand in Orange County. Lately I’ve been looking to expand and reach further markets.

Ryan Young 2

When did you start working out?:
Fitness has always been a part of my life. Growing up I played soccer, baseball and volleyball. My first summer job was lifeguarding so I became a great swimmer then too. I was fortunate to grow up in a family that placed an emphasis on excelling in all areas of life, fitness being one of them.

How many days a week do you work out?:
I’m active seven days a week. I know, I know… I’m suppose to take a day or two off and rest but I find it hard to sit and relax! Six of seven days I’m lifting and running; the other ends up being lighter with maybe a hike, a shorter run, a spin class, an ocean swim, something.

How long is your average workout?:
My average workout is usually an hour and a half. I’ll hit at least a couple body parts, throw in some abs and do some stretching. I should come clean and let you know, I do split my day up with workout sessions. I’ll lift in the am and then run in the early evening, or I’ll switch it up. Either way, my day isn’t complete until I get both sessions in. Yeah, its a bit of an addiction at this point.

Ryan Young 3

Favorite muscles to exercise:
Favorite muscle to exercise, abs. Or legs. Its a satisfying feeling putting in the effort and seeing results from both of these muscle groups fairly quickly.

Least favorite muscles to exercise:
Not necessarily my least favorite, but definitely least worked, would be my back simply because I rarely see it. Vain but true! Lately I’ve been trying to change this and concentrate on it more because its been neglected.

Do you have any fitness goals? If so, what are they?:
I’m constantly setting new goals; they give me a sense of what to work toward. Its part of why I love running so much. There usually isn’t a time I’m not registered to compete in a race. At the moment, I’m training for marathons in Reykjavik, Chicago and Long Beach. Then I’m set to run across the state of California in January… the short way, west to east. Along with all this running my goal is to keep on the small amount of mass that I do have. Finding the right balance is constantly in the back of my head.

Ryan Young 4

Do you have any fitness inspirations? If so, who are they?:
I’m constantly picking up inspiration from a variety of places. I’m that guy who while running will look at the faces of other runners and wonder what their stories are. I’ll be out along the beach and find inspiration in nature. Or I’ll be reading piece of news and be blown away by some small act of courage. Other athletes, small miracles of nature, music can all be inspirations to me. Its hard for me to separate what’s a “fitness inspiration” and what inspires, motivates me in general. I see it all as one. I believe how and what we choose to see in the world is reflected in our choices and therefore our fitness.



Do you have any other people you look up to?:
I do! At the moment I’ve been consuming everything I can about the great Indian runner from the 50s and 60s, Milkha Singh known as The Flying Sikh. His story of loss, tragedy, the power to over-come odds, and give back in charity inspires me greatly. Last year an awesome film called “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” was released about his life story. I highly recommend it, athlete or not.

Ryan Young 5

What supplements do you take or recommend?:
These days I swear by C-8 MCT oil added to coffee or foods I’m already eating. Just a small amount goes a long way in providing an energy boost, increased focus and greater endurance. I make myself whey protein shakes after each lift or run and take daily potassium and magnesium supplements.

Can you give a brief overview of your diet?:
I eat healthy but don’t have a set, strict diet. I allow myself to make daily choices and occasionally give in to my sweet tooth. Any given day, I’ll have a couple shakes with protein, chocolate almond milk, bananas, a variety of berries and maybe some peanut butter. Salads and lots of chicken and turkey are always on the menu.

I know that you are also a runner. How often do you runner each week? And how many miles?::
Usually I run 6 days a week, sometimes 5. Total mileage varies. Because of the run I’m doing in January, almost 270 total miles over ten days, I’ve been approaching my training a bit differently than as I normally would. I’ve been setting a distance to achieve and doing the same mileage for five days, taking a day of rest (or two) and then upping the mileage and repeating. Averaging out my total miles since the beginning of the year I’m at about 42 miles a week; lately, with more increased training I’m in the mid 50 range.

Ryan Young 6

Can you explain more about your “Race across California?”::
This coming January I’ll be taking part in the Race Across USA marathon challenge. Along the way runners will be raising awareness on the benefits of health and fitness to children. I’ll be running the California state portion running from the ocean, Huntington Beach to the CA/AZ border, (just under 270 total miles) before passing off the run to other runners who will carry it across Arizona, and then another group through New Mexico, then Texas and so on until the race reaches the White House. All the while, there is a core team of runners who will complete the full run across the country; I’ll just be keeping them company in California! Part of my involvement is to raise funds to support the sponsoring charity, The 100 Mile Club. This organization has over 700 chapters in elementary schools across the country and encourages kids to pledge to run 100 miles per school year. While pursuing their goal, the pledging kids earn small incentives to continue on along with learning the values of goal-setting and a lifestyle of making healthy choices. If anyone reading feels inclined to donate and be a part of my journey please take a look at my site http://www.imathlete.com/donate/RyanYoung . I appreciate it!

Do you have any tips for people who are trying to reach their fitness goals?:
I see health and fitness not in terms of dieting or exercising to get that “summer body,” but rather in terms of practicing wellness through our daily choices. Its deciding to live a life consuming good foods and training. Achieving fitness goals, I believe, requires a change in our thinking and habits so that any positive results we see become long-lasting. Making these choices that at first might feel like sacrifices; giving up those sugary foods we love, going out for drinks or skipping a workout we just don’t feel like doing, but with a true commitment to ourselves, along with the answer to “why am I pursuing this goal?”, these sacrifices become just another way of life. So I guess that’s my humble advice: achieving fitness goals requires a change in mindset from what was to what is possible.

Do you have any other things you would like to say?(Comments, suggestions, etc)?:
Yes, make sure to get plenty of sleep too! It does a body good.

Did you like this week’s Feature Friday, Ryan Young? Would you or someone you know liked to be featured? Contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com for questions, comments, or ideas for other topics.