Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back-Strengthening Exercises

Hi Team - Here is a simple way to work your back with no equipment.  First, take a second and think about your core.  Your core encompasses a lot of muscles.  Your rectus abdonimis, external obliques, internal obliques, tranversus abdonmis and most importantly...your back.  All of these muscles make up your core; the core is the combination of your stomach and lower back.

Here is a core workout/combination I use in class on a regular basis that can help strengthen the back and the core:

Core Workout:
  • 20 seconds:  Superman - lay face down, raise up the legs and arms to balance on your belly button - head looks at the ground

  • 20 seconds:  Plank on Forearms (see my plank post for modifications)

  • 20 seconds: Full Plank (see my plank post for modifications)

  • 30 second V-Sit Hold (see my V-Sit post for modifications)

  • 30 second break
Now repeat these exercises for a total of 5 minutes (1 minute for back exercises and 30 second V-Site and rest).
You can also put this into a 32 count combo for class.  Here is the 32 count combo breakdown:

1-8: 2x Superman (up/down counts as 1 count)
9-16: Hold modified plank
1-8: Push up to full plank
9-16: Knees come down, legs cross and sit back to V-sit

Check out this Weekend Workout featuring Abs for more ideas for class or try this at home!  This video is a free group fitness class! Let's call it Abs Lab with Jonathon's Fitness

Let me know if you have any questions!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Indoor Cycling Playlist - Various Artists

Hi Team - It's Monday already! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  I decided to make a fun playlist to get me out of this workday funk. The weather is changing in Cincinnati and it's depressing because I don't want to let go of Summer 2011.

This playlist has a higher cadence in the first half and the second half will help develop our leg energy along with strengthening and defining our leg muscles.  This is all combined with the awesome tunes we'll listen to for this 50 minute ride.

Which song is your favorite? My new favorite song is Moves like Jagger - it's a great song for getting fired up for a spin class!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Boot Camp Weekend Workout

Team - You've asked for it, so here is your Boot Camp Weekend Workout! You probably remember my 5 Minute Boot Camp from the beginning of my blog.  If not, check it out!

As I've mentioned several times, working out and teaching group classes is my passion.  If you cannot go to the gym on a regular basis or just want new fitness ideas, my blog is designed for you - my Weekend Workouts are "free" group fitness classes.

This Weekend Workout takes basic exercises to the next level.  My philosophy for this workout was (1) lower body work, (2) upper body work, (3) then a combination of the too to fatigue the muscles. And it is finished up with some ab work to top it off.  These are not hard movements, these are simple exercises combined to give you an awesome Weekend Workout.

What You'll Need

Free space to move around
Hand weights - 3-5lbs are always recommended, but not necessary
Mat - for ab work

Exercises You'll See: (1 minute each exercise)

Lunges (lower)
Check fly/variation of a shoulder press (upper)
Lunges with a chest fly and a variation of the shoulder press (combo)

Squats (lower)
Bicep curls (upper)
Holding a squat with a preacher curl (combo)

Crunches (upper)
Center Knees (lower)
Bicycle crunches (combo)


Thanks again for your patience! What'd you think? Let me know what you think about this 10 Minute Boot Camp Workout!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Easy and Healthy Recipe - Chicken Pad Thai Wrap

Team - Diet, exercise and rest are important to your health.  I have a continuous battle with two out of the three.  I have a passion for working out and reaching my fitness goals - that is not a problem.  The problem is not having enough hours in the day.  I always make sure to get at least 6 hours of sleep, but sometimes I need more.  Lastly, my diet is good, but could always improve.  The problem is fast food and "bad" food tasting so very good. A busy schedule also adds to this problem.  This is why I like to find easy ways to live a healthier lifestyle. 

This Chicken Pad Thai Wrap recipe is simple and healthy.  All of my recipes will be made with common ingredients that you can find in your local grocery store or you will already have in the refrigerator. 

Easy and Healthy Chicken Pad Thai Wrap
  • Thinly Sliced Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 Cup of Peanut Butter - Crunchy
  • 1/2 Cup of Pad Thai Sauce
  • Green Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Tortillas
1. Gather your ingredients

2.  Open your Chicken Breasts and start cooking the chicken - feel free to cut the breasts into thinner pieces for your wraps.

A quick trick:  Grab your head of lettuce and hit the core on a hard surface.

Simply pull out the core to make the chopping process a breeze! Thanks Kelly!

3. Chop up your Green Onions - don't cry!

4. Measure out a half of cup of Crunchy Peanut Butter - remember to check your Chicken Breasts.

5.  Measure out a half of cup of your Pad Thai Sauce.

6.  Mix the Green Onions, Peanut Butter and Pad Thai Sauce in a mixing bowl

7.  Your Chicken Breasts should be about done - make sure you continuously turn them to cook evenly.

8.  Spread your sauce mixture evenly on a Tortilla and microwave for 15-25 seconds.

9.  Put your Chicken Breasts on the tortilla - the microwave helps soften the tortilla and melt the Peanut Butter, you will not believe how good this tastes!

10.  Garnish your wrap with some veggies - I just picked Lettuce

11.  Fold the tortilla over both of the "pointy" sides of the chicken and then roll up.  Put it on a decorative plate, add a side and enjoy this Simple and Healthy Meal.

Can you believe it? It only a few minutes to fix, ,there is usually leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day and is crazy easy to make the best Chicken Pad Thai Wraps.

What did you think? I would love to know - Look for your Weekend Workout soon!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rest is Important and Usually Forgotten

Team - There are three important parts to your health: diet, exercise and rest.  Yes, rest and muscle recovery are very important.  Resting our bodies ultimately helps us become stronger.

Picure this - You make it to the gym and pick up a Stability Ball and a pair of heavier hand weights (20+ lbs) for squats on the stability ball.  Before you squat and curl, your primary muscles and other corresponding muscles are full of energy.  This energy is also know as glycogen.

You prep yourself and start performing the squats and bi curls.  As your muscles contract against the hand weights and your natural body weight, you create small tears in the muscle.  These tears regenerate in a resting period which result in muscle growth.  Muscles rest when the specific exercise in complete.

The November '95 study from "The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" said longer rest periods, such as 3 minutes, between sets resulted in greater strength gains more than a shorter, 30-second, rest.

Let your muscles rest!  And do not work the same muscles consecutive days.  This includes abs as well.  Resting the muscles and the body is key to reaching your fitness goals.

Here is a recent picture of myself taking a quick break at the park with some friends. Two things:  1.  Yes, I did let me heart rate come down before perform this stunt 2. I was a gymnast.

How do you rest? Do you get enough rest? What are some pointers on getting enough sleep at night.  One pointer I live by is not checking my phone when I fall asleep.  The emails and texts can wait, rest is important!

Source:  Importance Of Rest

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Step Aerobics Warm up Combo

Team - Here is the perfect Step Aerobics Warm up combination.  Sometimes in a step aerobics class you'll have beginner and advanced steppers.  How can you tell? Try this simple 32 count combo for your group fitness class and just look around the room.  Some will follow and some will lead.  If you have leaders, have fun and take your class to an advanced level and if you have followers, be sure to include them throughout the entire step aerobics workout.

32 Count Combo Step Aerobics - Warm up
2x R Basic
2x L Basic
2x R V-Step
2x L V-Step

4x R/L Turn step
4x Corner Knees

Take it up! Run instead of basics, add a tap on the turn steps and knees turn into kicks!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Indoor Spinning Playlist - Beginner Playlist

Team - This beginner indoor Spinning/Cycling Playlist is the JAM!  Today is the first day of school for Northern Kentucky University.  I teach an indoor cycling class for the Campus Recreation Center at Northern Kentucky University.  

To say it lightly, this playlist is for everyone! If they have been to class before, great - "clip in and enjoy."  If tonight is their first class - "lets have fun and get moving."  Explain all three hand positions on the bike, make sure "you're always in control and never letting the bottom bounce on the seat," and "take a break when you need it." Make it your ride!

Highlight of the playlist:  Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire - Great movie, even better song!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gliding Discs Workout - Gliders

Team - Here is your weekend workout, featuring Gliding Discs (or the Gliders).  The Gliding Discs can help you create a unique workout.  As mentioned in the video, these Gliding Discs just slide across the floor so feel free to use paper or plastic plates (for carpet) or a couple hand/face towels (for hardwood floors). It's the exact same thing! Also, if you don't feel comfortable using the Gliding Discs, do the below workout with me without them. 

This workout will increase your heart rate and engage the legs and hip flexors.  We have endless options with the gliders.  Maybe you'll see a upper body toning video from me in the near future. Comment and let me know your favorite Gliding Disc exercise.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lactose Free Smoothie - Berry Blast!

Team - It has been a great week! The best way to end a great week is with a fresh fruit, lactose free, smoothie.  Today I canoed for 6 miles in Morrow, Ohio. I love making exercising fun!  It was a perfect day to be outside.  After canoeing, I came back and ran some steps of downtown Cincinnati with a friend.   We decided to stop on the way down and complete a quick TRX workout.  Be sure to check out my TRX 10 Minute Beginner Workout if you're not familiar with Suspension Training.

To sum up my day, I was sweating in the sun all day.  It was a blast, but draining.  I opted out of a protein shake when I got home, but opted in for a Berry Blast (lactose free) smoothie. This total berry combination was the right thing to replenish the nutrients I lost. 

Lactose Free Smoothie - Berry Blast

1. Gather your ingredients:

  • Half of a Banana
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Lactose Milk - I chose Almond Breeze (40 calories/serving)
  • Apple Juice - I chose Mott's for Kids - (40% less sugar than regular Apple Juice)

You'll also need measuring cup, regular drinking cup and a blender.

 2.  Have your cup and blender close

3.  Pour 1/2 cup of your Apple Juice and Lactose Free Milk into your cup.

4.  Add a handful of all of your berries and 1/2 of a banana. Slice up your banana before adding it and it'll be easier to blend.  Do you like blueberries more than strawberries?  Add more of your favorite berry.

5.  Almost there, looks very patriotic.  Get excited!

6.  Just like Maggie, blend all of the ingredients together.

7.  Lastly, add a strawberry and a straw.  You're ready! Take a sip and enjoy...

If you're having guests over, and have time, premake this drink and place in the refrigerator to chill.

Let me know how you ended your week. Did you end it with a smoothie, dinner with a good friend or some rest?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jumping Jack Explanation

Team - Today's exercise explanation features the ultimate plyometric exercise, the Jumping Jack! Jumping jacks are a great cardiovascular exercise with several modifications. I will always stress modifications.  Modifications help us in the gym and help the instructors teach an effective group fitness class.  It's important to exercise, but it's also just as important to exercise at your own level.

The heart rate will increase during this featured exercise and the hips and shoulders will be continuously working.  Emphasized in my AFAA Primary Goup Fitness Certification, we will be engaging our hip/shoulder's abductor and adductors during a jumping jack.  Hip flexion and extension as well.

Executing a Jumping jack: 

1.  Start with your feet together, soft bend in the knees and hands down by your waist.  (Always start with your low options, then gradually move up.)

2. Half Jack - Both arms go up to shoulder heigth and one leg (toes) will tap to each side.  Immediately after the tap come back to the standing position and repeat on the other side.  (Usually counts 1-4)

3.  Full Jack - Next, if your body or team is ready, take it up to a full Jumping Jack.  Start in the standing position and jump both legs out to the side (straddling and saggital plane) and immediately jump back to the starting position. (Usually counts 1-4 or together, 5-8)

Jumping jacks get old though, right? No worries! Spice up your Jumping Jack Workout by incorporating the below exercises. The below video also has some 32 count combos.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Exercise is fun - Kangoo Jumps

Team - Wanted to share a quick "exercise is fun" moment with all of you.  This past weekend was a fun filled weekend with lots of traveling.  I was in and around Cincinnati and all the way to Seaman, Ohio at one point to visit a family member.

With everything happening so fast around, on Saturday my Mother and I deicided to take a few minutes for ourselves and exercise.  I did a quick glance of our surroundings; We had park benches, a large parking lot and a pair of Kangoo Jumps.  Our 20 minute workout consisted of tricep dips and squats on a park bench with a brisk cardio workout around the parking lot.  Here is the best part - we completed the workout with my Mom jogging in the parking lot in my Kangoo Jumps!

Shh, don't tell my Mom I posted this picture for all you Bloggies to see, but here is my awesome Mom at the start of her Kangoo Jumps workout.

Mom agreed, "these new age moon shoes are so much fun" - Check them out and if you're in the Cincinnati area with your own pair, let's start a Cincinnati Kangoo Jump Club!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How to Teach a Group Fitness Class - Part 1

Team - Today's post takes a different approach on this "Jonathon Combo."  Cuing a Group Fitness class is important for cooperation and safety. Here are some Cuing tips for a Group Fitness Class.

Cuing keeps everyone engaged in class.  Cuing happens before a beat or at the top of a phrase because we want everyone to follow the correct exercise pattern.  As instructors, we help create and lead the exercise patters (also know as 32 count combos - 32 count blocks).  Modifications are also important for every class.  Modifications keep safety and personal goals top of mind. 

I went to every available class when I first started teaching group classes.  Immediately after class, I would CASE the routines, mofications and cues (CASE = Copy and Steal Everything).  I would also analyze the way every instructor formatted their class.

One common factor in every class is the description of an exercise.  For example, there are ways to change up a bicep curl, but a bicep curl will always be a bicep curl with your "elbows locked to your sides and a light grip on the handles/hand weights."  This is why I developed my "How to Teach a Group Fitness Class" quick fact sheet.  Here are some things I say in class to help promote good form and health into a dymnaic fitness class.

Click "How to Teach a Group Fitness Class" below for my Fast Fact Sheet on Cuing

Half of the room planking on a step bench
This sheet helped me when I first started and is just an example of what you would hear in a group fitness class.  Feel free to print this sheet and add to it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Indoor Cycling Playlist - Pop Music

Team - Sometimes it's fun to have songs on your playlist that the class may not have heard. This will help the class focus on their form and cadence.  Other times, it's a lot of fun to have songs on your playlist that everyone loves!

This is a fun playlist - enjoy it!

"Jai Ho" and "Green Light" are two of my favorite songs to include on playlists.  They're upbeat, exciting and send out lots of motivation.  What are your favorite songs in a spinning class?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Medicine Ball Workout - 10 Minutes

Team - This weeks workout features a Medicine Ball.  This Medicine Ball Workout is at the easy to moderate level.  Lots of difficulty options are available in this 10 minute routine.

Adding a medicine ball to your workout is a different and fun way to engage the upper body and lower body.  If, at any time in this workout, this medicine ball becomes too heavy and you cannot keep up to the beat...just put it down and do the same motions with your arms.

Now grab that medicine ball that you got for Christmas three years ago and enjoy the workout:

Pretty easy, huh? Your hear rate was probably at least 75% of your max. That's awesome! If you missed a move or just want to try it again, hit "replay."

Medicine Ball Workout
Taps to side - ball opposite
Heels forward - med ball chest press
High Knees - med ball shoulder press
Jump Rope - med ball overhead
"Out for 2, in for 2" - med ball down and up
Repeater Knee - med ball knee crush
Big Circle Knees - med ball circles to knees (knees wide)

Squat - med ball frontal raise
Lunge - Tricep/chest press
Figure 8s
Medicine Ball Chest Press

Friday, August 12, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Recipe - Chicken Salsa

Team - Today's recipe will take minutes to prepare and is easy on the bank account. This recipe was passed on to me from my Mother's coworker. Kendra heard about my Crock Pot recipe obsession and shared this recipe.  Once you see the ingredients, you'll know why this was a crowd favorite!

Crock-Pot Salsa Chicken
-Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
-Salsa to cover the Chicken Breasts (I used the same salsa from the Guacamole Recipe a couple weeks ago)
-Slow Cooker/Crock Pot
-Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners - (the best invention, no mess cleanup)
-4-8 hours on Low to cook

See why I love this recipe! This is all you'll need...

Gather your ingredients:

Get out one Crock Pot Liner and the Crock Pot:

They don't melt, rarely tear and you have NO mess to cleanup - amazing!

Open your Chicken Breasts, carefully place them in slow cooker and then wash your hands.  As you can see in the below picture, I just put them right beside each other. 

Pour the Salsa (spice level of your choice) directly on top of your chicken.

Cover all of the Chicken Breasts with Salsa. The water and tomatoes in the salsa will infuse the chicken to make it tender and juicy. It's amazing!

Here is the best part: set the slow cooker on Low and go to work. The second best part is to forget you put the chicken in the Crock Pot and come home to the aromas of dinner throughout the kitchen. A great surprise! I usually leave work around 8:30am and don't get home until 8pm at night, so plan on 4-8 hours of cooking time on Low.  Cooking time can vary based on temperature setting and variety of Crock Pots.

Finally, enjoy your Crock Pot Chicken Salsa Recipe.  My dinner below was chicken, fresh salad and corn on the cob.  The chicken is always so juicy, Yum!

As you can tell there are two things in life that get me going: food and exercising. Exercising is my first love and fulfills my creative side; food is the perfect compliment to my first love. That is my life in a nutshell.

What is your top love? Diet or exercise? Neither or both? Enjoy the Chicken and let me know what side items you could have with this delicious recipe.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tricep Dips - Featured Exercise

Team - Today's featured exercise is the Tricep Dip.  This exercise will strengthen and build the tricep.  This seated dip targets your shoulders, chest and your triceps.  

The tricep brachii has three parts; long, lateral, and short head.  This functional exercise can be performed just about anywhere. 

Here are the correct steps to perform a seated tricep dip:

1.  Sit tall on a stable ledge (can be a bench in a group fitness class)

2.  Walk the bottom out a few inches from the ledge while keeping your fingers pointed toward the toes:

3. Dip the bottom down.  Send your elbows back and push up through your palms to the starting position.


Increasing Difficulty:
Walk the feet out - the farther the heels are away from your bottom, the more difficult the tricep dip.

Even more difficulty, raise up one leg dip the bottom down and push up through the palms to end in the original position.


Try this exercise in a group class with a step aerobics bench.  Take it down/up for four counts and down/up for 2 to make a perfect 32 count combo.

What a great exercise!  Tell me what you think!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Boot camp drill for Group Fitness Class - Jonathon's Combo

Team - Today's combo is perfect for any boot camp style class.  My combo combines three exercies and a sprint (jog/walk for a modification) for high intensity training.  Feel free to use cones or any kind of marker in class to seperate the class into thirds.  Now, pick three exercises.  Before the class starts, go over each exercise with the class.

For example, here are my exercises :
1. Butt Kicks - jogging with heels coming toward your bottom
2. High Knees - knees pull up toward the chest, but chest does not fall
3. Lunges - front knee of the ankle, not the toe, dropping the back knee down to the ground
4. Sprints - can be a jog/walk

Next, prep the class.  Let them know your expectations. "We will continue this cycle for three minutes.  In three minutes, I expect at least 10 cycles.  If you reach 10, challenge yourself and try 15."

Cleary point out each marker.  "You will bring your knees up here, lunge here..." and etc.
Although you cannot tell by looking at the picture, there is about 20-30 feet between each point.
Make sure you give them updates. "You're 1 minute in....2 minutes in....30 seconds left..." Hear rates will be racing at the end of three minutes so the class will need to keep moving.

Try this same exercise at the park with friends.  Pick three bushes/light posts, three exercises and start your timer on your iPhone.  It's fun and super easy!

What exercises would you use? I love new ideas, please comment and share!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Country Spinning/Cycling Playlist 8.8.11

Team - Yee Haw! Here is your indoor cycling (spinning) playlist for the week. Fifty minutes of country classics.  Although some of the class will not be fans of the playlist, this is a simple way to change up your class while still getting a good workout.  If they really dont like the playlist, just encourage your class to focus on their form, cadence, and heart rates instead of the music.

Highlight of the playlist for me will be sprinting to Fancy by Reba McEntire!

Hopefully the class will love the playlist and we'll be sweating to some classics.

Kangoo Kind of Day - Kangoo Cincinnati

It was a Kangoo kind of day here in Cincinnati.  Humidity was down, but motivation was up! I headed down to a local park in the later afternoon and took my TRX Suspension Bands and my Kangoo Jumps.  My TRX workout was very similar to the TRX Workout from yesterday and the Kangoo run was short and sweet.

Still a little sore from my boot camp classes yesterday, I was able to finish the workout.  If you missed the TRX Workout from yesterday, make sure you check it out.

Going to start running around the city to recruit new Kangoos.  It would be nice to start a Kangoo running club every Sunday.  Do you Kangoo and live in the Cincinnati area (downtown) and want to join me for a Cincinnati Kangoo run? Click the "email me" tab at the top and let me know, would love to meet other Kangoo lovers.

Cincinnati Kangoo Club

Look for your indoor cycling/spinning playlist in the afternoon tomorrow.
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