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Are Your Power Walks POWERful? 8 Tips to Improve

bonnie pfiesterI was running the other day and ran past a middle-aged woman (side note: I love how “middle-aged people” continue to get older as I get older. ha!). Anyway, so I say good morning (because that’s how I roll) and she mouthed something. This was my cue to stop, take off one of my earphones and say”what?” since I can’t read lips. She repeated herself saying, “I used to that. I used to run 3 miles a day and look skinny like you”.

I went on to say “you can do it again” and tried to encourage her. She said she was too old, etc and went on to make excuses. I then told her how my mom and dad got fit in their late fifties and that it’s never too late to get in shape. She was totally not hearing me, but I smiled anyway and off I went.

As I ran around my “morning loop” I passed her 4 times. This KILLED me. She was clearly was walking for exercise, but she was walking so slow she almost was going backwards. OK, not really, but you get my drift. She wasn’t even TRYING! I guess she thought she was doing something “healthy”, and don’t get me wrong, what she was doing was better than sitting on the couch – but she could have made SO much more out of her efforts.

Even people that walk past me that I can totally tell are walking for exercise are still WAY under where they need to be to really burn some calories. Power walks should be PURPOSEFUL walks. So, how do you know if you are on pace?

8 Ways to Put More Power in Your Power Walks

1.) Swing arms. Arms should swing at a 90 degree angle while walking and your body should twist at the waist while holding your abs tight. This gives you the power you need to move faster (look at the photo of the runner. I guarantee she would be able to book it like that if her arms were dangling down by her side. However, if you aren’t walking fast enough, you’ll feel like a complete tard because your arms will be out-performing your legs. Another words, don’t expect to swing your arms like a maniac and let your legs walk like you are in a coma. They work best if they are working together and it will feel much more natural. The best part about swinging your arms is, it not only increases calories burned, but it tones your abs and waist. If you do it right, you will actually be sore. If not, you are likely not getting enough rotation.

2.) Maintain good posture. Be sure to stand up tall while running or walking, holding your stomach nice and flat, rolling your shoulders back, and being careful not to stick your neck out (which people often do when they are moving forward, whether driving or walking). This will help train your body how to maintain better posture all the time. If you aren’t “training” your body on good posture while walking, you are training your body how to maintain bad posture.

3.) Walk as fast as you can. Try walking as fast as possible without breaking into a run, taking long strides with bended knee as if lunging forward. Your arms will really have to swing hard to help you keep this pace. It will also feel completely awkward, but it will look much more normal than it feels. Do this until you can’t maintain it any more. I would consider that your top pace for walking.

4.) Prevent slowing down by tracking your walks. For instance, you can count your steps from one mailbox, or light post, to another to help give you a top-end goal to help hold you accountable or you can track your walk time. You can also do sprint intervals to improve your pace where you sprint from one drive way to the next at every 3-5 houses or so. An awesome device that is great for tracking your pace is the iPhone App called the RunKeeper. It will tell you your average pace and track your progress.

5.) Look at people around you. Notice other walkers and realize they all think they are working out hard and many of them look no different than if you saw them walking in the mall while shopping. Make it your mission NOT to be “that guy”. 

6.) Have someone video tape you. This is a RUDE awakening. When I was doing a TV segment on walking, I was SHOCKED by how slow I looked. I was walking at 4.2mph and it looked like I was strolling. Sometimes pride fuels us to improve and we need to see how we look to others in order to be motivated to perform better. This sure helped me.

7.) Challenge your workouts with interval training. I love my GymBoss Interval Trainer. It’s a timer you can set to go off at different intervals to help make your walks more challenging and less boring. For instance, if you are wanting to become a runner you can set the timer for 2-minute walks and 1-minute sprints. As you improve, you can change that to a 2-minute jog and 1-minute recovery walk. Eventually, you can do a 2-minute run and 1-minute sprint. It’s a great way to boost your workouts and let the GymBoss become your “trainer”.

Polar RC38.) Buy a heart rate monitor. This tip is the #1 best thing you can do to hold yourself accountable. Your heart rate is the best indicator of how many calories you are burning. I like to be around 75% of my maximum heart rate with 65% being my lowest and 85% being my highest. (Maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. Then you multiple that number by the heart rate you are wanting to maintain, like .75). I suggest getting a POLAR Heart Rate Monitor like the Polar RC3, as a POLAR not only tracks your heart rate, calories burned, and all kinds of cool stuff, but it allows you to set up 5 sports profiles so you can so you can easily change between exercise sessions. It also has a zone lock that alerts you if you are falling out of your training zone. You can even set up interval training based on heart rate, speed/pace or distance, or chose from their training programs created by their fitness experts. Think of it as your very own affordable personal trainer. Plus it tracks your training history so you can see how you improve!

Here’s a great video showing all the ways you can use your Polar.

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FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Slimming Leg Workout: Less May Be More

Two isn’t always better than one. Sometimes less is best – and this is most certainly true with this workout. This workout, which was released at our club 3 weeks ago, as part of our Max Method Workouts available free to members, is an effective workout that slims your thighs, tones your legs and lifts your glutes.

The secret is in the number #1. Meaning, every exercise in this workout is done on one leg. Since single leg exercises require more balance and stability, it engages muscles that typically would not get the same workout when both legs are used at one time. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Try more Max Method Workouts and Gymboss Interval timers are available for free at Max Fitness in Vero Beach. Located behind Outback on US1. CLICK HERE for a free week pass.

Max Method’s Slimming Leg Workout

Warm Up

10 Minutes of Elliptical, Treadmill or Stepper

 Leg Workout

Using the Gymboss Interval Timer, set the timer for 40 seconds of work, followed by 20 seconds of rest. Do 3-4 sets each (of both left and right leg) exercise in the following order, with NO rest between sets and exercises. The strength portion of this workout should only take 20 minutes for 4 sets of each.

 • One-Leg Press Leg Press or Single Leg Squat
(Unse a orange, black or red Bodylastics band, anchored high, for assistance)  Max Fitness Members: Use #20 Plate-loaded machine or #23 selectorized machine or bands (in BCx boot camp room)

 • Walking Lunges
Use 10lb-20lbs dumbbells for women and 30-40lbs for men  

 • One-Leg Leg Extension
Max Fitness Members: Use #9 Hammer Strength Leg machine

 • One-Leg Dumbbell Straight Leg Dead Lifts
Max Fitness Members: Use Dumbbells or barbells 

 • Single Leg Curl        
Max Fitness Members: Use #10 or #11 Hammer Strength Machines

Cool Down Cardio

Do 10 minutes for a cool down or do 30-45 minutes cardio for fat burning. Doing cardio after your workout will help you burn primarily body fat.

TIP: Don’t forget to repair muscle by drinking a protein shake 30-45 minutes after your workout for the best results.

3 Ways to Amp Up Your Workout

Steve Pfiester writes for Designer Whey, “What are you Really Doing in the Gym“.

“I’ve been guilty of going into the gym, knocking down a list of exercises, and two hours later packing up to go home.  Sounds good, but the problem is I never really worked out at all.  Sure I got a little pumped, maybe even made my quads burn a little.  And still, except for my armpits, my shirt didn’t have a drop of water on it – except where I drooled starring at Bonnie doing walking lunges. Ok, moving on…

How do we make our time in the gym more useful, more intense, more productive?  Most of us don’t have time to devote two hours of pure isometric exercises to give us bigger biceps.  Especially when our goals may be to condition our abs and lean out.  Even if you’re like me and you want it all, is it still possible to work on building our bodies while we condition and get lean?” 

CLICK HERE to read the rest of Steve’s Blog and get the answer!

Steve & Bonnie, Behind the Scenes @ FitStudio

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While on my morning run yesterday, I was listening to Joyce Meyer speak on discipline, obedience and rebellion. It’s funny how rebellious we can be. Rebellious to our spouse, to rules, to our boss, to God and even to our own selves.

She went on to say “You can’t be pitiful AND powerful. You have to choose one or the other”. I loved what she was saying so much I repeated it ten times so I wouldn’t forget it. This statement is so true. How many times do we bounce back in forth, flip-flopping around from trying to take control of our body and completely losing control of our body. One minute we are getting fit and another minute we are getting fat. You can’t be whimpering about your weight, whining about where you wish you were, and actually powerfully making progress forward.

Every time we dive into self-pity we allow excuses to slow us down or bring us to a screeching halt. Pretending we are powerless is pitiful indeed, but it’s also a LIEWe DO have the power to change our bodies and to change many things in our lives. And even though there are some circumstances we CAN’T change – WE CAN CHANGE!

Youre the BOSS!
The fact is this: The only one thing we really have FULL control over is ourselves, so we are in power whether we use choose to the authority or not – and if we don’t, then that’s what makes us pitiful.

I admit, I have griped about my own body, grabbed my stomach fat and said “I’m fat” out loud enough times that it really got ridiculous. Sure, I workout and all that jazz, but I was eating like crap at night and on the weekends – and quite frankly, as miserable as I was, I wasn’t quite miserable enough to do something about it.

Granted, I was only a few pounds over where I wanted to be, but it was making me look and feel crappy. I was beginning to dress around my body. You know what I mean – when you where clothes that are lose where you want to hide fat (love handles) and tight where you are skinny (calves). haha Yep! That was me.

Then summer rolled around and I had to get in a bikini. OUCH! Ok, maybe that was the one thing I needed to make myself just miserable enough to take more action. I finally had to come to that place where I faced myself with the truth. I know how to get in tip-top shape. I know what to do, what to eat and what NOT to do. I also know I can do it in 6 weeks. When I look at it like that, I had to admit, “what’s 6 weeks”. Once I reach my goal, I can go back to “maintenance” and pretty much eat and live very healthy with much more wiggle room to eat, etc. Duh!! What the heck Bon!?!


So, I’m claiming POWER not PITY! I don’t even have the right to be sorry for myself when I don’t take care of myself. Instead, I’m going to do what i know I NEED, not what I WANT – and be POWERFUL once again!!


…and YES, that’s MY face in the pic now cuz “I GOT THE POWER!!”


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