Actions follow thoughts

From the July 7th 2010 edition of The Lancaster News

The trick to getting fit is making exercise a habit, which is a conditioning process of the mind. The sooner you understand this way of thinking the quicker and easier it becomes to reach your health and fitness goals. You have to renew your mind on a daily basis. It’s no different than how some of us think of a favorite holiday dessert. We become conditioned to this thought and even to the taste of that particular dish.

This same power works with exercise and diet. When we condition our thoughts, our physical actions follow. I use this method when training for bodybuilding competitions.

Let’s face it; I love to eat and anyone who knows me can attest to that. I spent many years conditioning my mind and it’s a technique that I am still enhancing and perfecting.

It’s a lifetime learning experience. But this learning experience can forever change the lifestyle of anyone willing to apply it.

You can now put together the two different programs and you will pretty much have a complete training program that can change your life forever.

  • Increase your water intake – Without enough water, your body doesn’t have a fighting chance against burning fat or attempting to lose weight.If you replacing sodas and other sweet sports drinks with water in your diet it works wonders. You will be surprised to see you may drop 5 to 8 pounds within the first 10 days. Start out by drinking a liter each day and build up to drinking about 2 liters (or more) each day. This will have a tremendous impact on jump-starting your metabolism to burn excessive body fat.
  • Get active – Trust me when I say I am a fitness expert at body transformation. As a Pro Natural Bodybuilder I have walked the trial and error trail from beginning to end.

The ‘Dynamic Five’, step by step

These five exercises are among the most effective (and most under-rated movements) in exercise history.

These exercises and movements – for losing the love handles and getting tone and ripped abs – can be done outside a gym setting.

If not being able to get to, or afford, a gym membership has been holding you back from the body you deserve, you no longer have any excuses.

Dynamic chest, back, triceps and shoulders

Push-ups – that use your body’s own resistance – are one of the most under rated powerful exercises in the book. And once you get into the habit of doing them, they bring on some serious results. Toning of the chest strengthens the core, triceps separation and shoulder definition.

Here’s how:

  1. Lie face down on the floor, making sure your feet are together.
  2. Put your palms on the floor, just about level with your breast and fairly tight to your body. Place both arms about shoulder width apart. Push up while trying to keep the rest of your body rigid.
  3. Stop “pushing up” just before you lock your elbows. Flex your chest and triceps while pulling in your abs. Also, keep your gluts tight.
  4. Hold for a second and then lower yourself back down slowly, until your nose is almost touching the floor.
  5. That’s one; now repeat.

Push-ups work the arms, chest, core, legs and more. If you can spend just 5-10 minutes per day doing push-ups, you’ll see and experience amazing results in a very short time. Best of all, push-ups can be done anywhere without expensive gym equipment.

‘Kitchen Chair’ a dynamic exercise

Dips are another great anywhere, anytime, all-round core exercise. They’re especially good at tightening and toning your triceps. If you have loose, hanging skin on the back of your arm, a daily round of dips should make it disappear. All you need is a chair.

Here’s how:

  1. Sit on a chair with your hands placed by your side
  2. Extend your legs a little. Your knees should be bent at about 40 to 45 degrees with your feet touching the floor.
  3. Lift your body off your chair and hold your weight while pulling in your abs.
  4. Slowly lower your upper body by bending at the elbows so you sink toward the floor. Breathe in through your nose.
  5. Then push back up to the start position while breathing out through your mouth.
  6. Repeat

Get dynamic abs in an instant

by now, you know what’s coming next; it’s the famous sit-up. Sit-ups tighten and tone your abdominal region and hips while improving balance.

Here’s how:

  1. Sit down on the floor and lock your toes under a desk or other weight you can find.
  2. Lie down on your back, with your arms crossed on your chest and your knees bent at about a 45-degree angle.
  3. Sit-up so the bottom of your elbow touches your legs.
  4. Sit back into lying position. Just so your shoulders are flat on the floor then start sitting up again.
  5. Repeat.

It’s important you keep your arms crossed over your chest. Although it’s popular practice to have your arms behind your head, this is actually dangerous because it strains the neck and bends the back. Make sure the strain is always on your core. When you get to the point where you need to “throw” your upper body to sit-up you should stop.

Dynamic lunges

The lunge looks more like an embarrassing silly walk than an exercise. If you are self-conscious, this is an exercise you can do it in the privacy of your own home. Lunges are excellent for toning your legs buttocks and strengthen the core. They strengthen legs and knees and improve posture, balance and stability. Plus, lunges work large muscles, which burn off a lot more calories.

Here’s how:

  1. Take a big stride forward.
  2. Bend your back leg so the knee almost touches the floor.
  3. Your front leg will also bend at the knee. Be sure to keep the front knee in line and over the ankle.
  4. Now simply walk forward, bending your legs like this. Keep your upper body straight and ridged.

Holding weights (or water bottles) will result in an even better workout.

Squats a dynamic body blaster

just like push-ups, squats are an exercise you will either love or hate.

They are incredibly beneficial to your health that needs to be a habit. Squatting is great for adding leg strength, developing nice curves of the thighs and nice, tight gluts while working the core.

Here’s how:

  1. Stand up with your arms by your side and your feet about 12 inches apart.
  2. Sink your butt to the floor, bending at the knees. As you go down, pull your arms up, so they are straight out in front of you
  3. When you go down as far as you can, hold that position for a second.
  4. Now use your legs to stand up straight again, moving your arms back to the side of your body. Remember to make this movement while shifting your weight toward your heels and pushing your hips back. It’s important to try and keep your back straight as you squat.
  5. Repeat.

All five dynamic exercises are done in three sets of 12 repetitions. You can increase the intensity with time as you get stronger. The rest and recovery time should not be any longer than 60-90 seconds between sets.

Remember that each exercise can be increased in intensity and difficulty by adding weight and other factors into the equation.

Please note that some of you may already have some serious muscle imbalances or muscle compensations that may inhibit you from doing a proper squat or lunge.

This will require the attention of a physical therapist or a professional fitness personal trainer. Improper movement and posture assessment and working against muscle imbalances and compensations increases the risk of serious injury to yourself or others.

It’s important to check with your family doctor or physical therapist to assure that you are doing each and every movement with correct form.

Until next time, train hard and eat healthy.

– Fitness expert and NGA Pro Natural Bodybuilder Kennett Washington is president of Healing Strength Personal Training.