Breaking down the move: Burpee

This post has been brought to us by Mark Merchant and George Vafiades of As One Effect. Check them out on Booya.

Ah, the burpee – one exercise that requires, mobility, flexibility, strength, systemic conditioning (full body fitness), core and shoulder stability – love the burpee.  The burpee is an integral part of the As One program  so, if you’ve taken class, you certainly know how to do this.  But, if you, or a friend, want to come in and check out a class, this is a perfect way to get ready.

How to perform the burpee –

1. Feet shoulder width

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2. Bend over to the  ground, hands down

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3. Jump feet back as you lower your chest to the floor

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4. Press up and in one motion jump feet back to starting position

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5. While standing up, jump with hands over head

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Eager to try the burpee (aka squat thrust)? All of our bootcamp workouts feature the move! 

Behind the Scenes: Grit by Brit shares her experience

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That’s me, front and center, delivering the GRIT by Brit workout for BOOYA Fitness

BOOYA is a revolutionary new fitness company that provides high-end workout videos to consumers on demand.  Think NetFlix for workout videos. It features amazing fitness instructors mostly from the best boutique fitness studios in NYC.  

Personally, I decided to support BOOYA and be a featured instructor on the platform because I love the idea of being able to connect with my students outside of the group fitness classroom.  Also, the founder, Prita Kumar, is a fellow Harvard Business School MBA and Fitness Fanatic (like me).  Prita and I met each other over Twitter and instantly connected.  I’m so excited for her to transform the fitness industry through high-end video content.  You can learn more about her journey to starting BOOYA Fitness on this cool start up documentary, CLICK HERE to watch.

So, let me move on and tell you a little about the cool experience I had at the BOOYA shoot and what you can expect from the new and improved GRIT by Brit workout…

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Headed to the studio with my cue cards in hand!

So if you have a copy of my DVD (if you don’t buy one on Amazon - PLEASE) you’ll notice that the workout I designed for BOOYA is very similar.  However, I really tried to take my game to the next level.  In addition to the jammin’ music, I incorporated new techniques I’ve learned to over the past year to enhance my workout.  Specifically:

  • More FUN – I incorporated some “dance-like” moves into the cardio sections and into the choreography overall
  • More FIERECE – After each cardio round I have a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) section
  • More FITNESS – Through the workout I really focused on focus on toning the legs and core.  Also I only use of body weight resistance training – no hand weights this time

I feel a HUGE sense of accomplishment after this shoot because I can look back on my progress over the past year and see how I’ve really grown as a fitness instructor and personal coach.  It feels good knowing that I’m better able to help people reach their fitness goals.  I’m VERY confident that my new workout video will inspire and motivate tons of people to have fun, get fit and show their GRIT

Brit Rettig, Founder of Grit by Brit

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Breaking down the move: Plank

This post has been brought to us by Amanda Rose Wellness. Check her out on Booya here.

Plank is an isometric strength exercise that requires maintaining engagement of the core muscles for an extended period of time. The most common plank is the front plank which is held in a push-up position with the body’s weight distributed onto the arms, legs and toes.  

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I find plank to be so amazing is because:

  1. Requires complete concentration and focus
  2. Strengthens the lower back, rectus abdominis (your 8-pack) and the transverse abdominis (the corset of muscles that hug your middle)
  3. Builds strength in the stabilizer muscles of the back (traps, rhomboids, rotator cuffs), all three parts of the shoulders, chest muscles, biceps, triceps, butt, quadriceps and calves
  4. Doesn’t require any fancy or expensive equipment 
  5. Promotes good posture and prevents back injuries by teaching your core to stay contracted in a regular standing position.

There are so many variations of plank that you can always try modifications to challenge yourself. Such examples include side plank, single leg plank, single arm plank, TRX plank, revolving plank, etc.

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Did you know? The longest time in abdominal plank position is 1 hour 20 minutes and 05.01 seconds and was achieved by George Hood in Naperville, IL, USA on December 3, 2011.  

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to perform the plank at home:

  1. Come into a narrow push-up position with your shoulders directly over your elbows and your elbows directly over your wrists. Arms are perpendicular to the floor and torso is parallel to the floor. 
  2. Spread your fingers and press the bases of your index finger deeply into the floor.
  3. Squeeze the muscles of the biceps and triceps. Press your outer arms inward.
  4. Firm your shoulder blades against your back and spread your collarbones away from the sternum.
  5. Press your quadriceps or front thighs towards the ceiling. Activate the shin and calf muscles. Push into the ground to help lift the body up. 
  6. Keep your spine in a neutral position and your back flat. Picture your body as a long straight board or plank. Get it? 
  7. Tuck the tailbone down and lift the pubic bone up. Keep the navel in. Contract the abs towards your spine.
  8. Lift your head away from your neck and gaze down towards the floor. 
  9. Breathe. Smile :) 
  10. Hold as long as you can. Aim for 20-30 seconds in the beginning and work your way up to one minute or longer as you get stronger. Repeat two to three times.

Eager to try the plank? Check out ZaxFit Extreme Core Challenge

Breaking down the move: Downward Dog
This post has been brought to us by Fitmapped, Your GPS for Fitness
Downward dog is one of the most commonly yoga practiced yoga poses, and for good reason!  Adho mukha svanasana, as the pose is called in Sanskrit, offers tons of amazing benefits to your inner yogi; from boosting circulation to strengthening your entire body, downward dog is totally worth incorporating into your regular fitness routine.
How To:
1. Start on your hands and knees.  Check that your hands are directly in line with your shoulders and that your knees fall under your hips.  Spread your fingers wide and curl your toes underneath your feet.
2. Straighten your legs as you exhale.  As your knees come away from the floor, focus on lifting your hips towards the ceiling.
3. Push through the floor with all ten fingers to activate your back and arm muscles.  Reach for the floor with your heels to firm up the quads and back legs.  Draw your navel into your lower back to lift your hips even higher.
4. Take five deep breaths.
5. Feel strong, energized, and grateful!
Content has been approved by Anita Mirchandani, NASM CPT
Practice this move in any of our featured Yoga workouts!

Breaking down the move: Downward Dog

This post has been brought to us by Fitmapped, Your GPS for Fitness

Downward dog is one of the most commonly yoga practiced yoga poses, and for good reason!  Adho mukha svanasana, as the pose is called in Sanskrit, offers tons of amazing benefits to your inner yogi; from boosting circulation to strengthening your entire body, downward dog is totally worth incorporating into your regular fitness routine.

How To:

1. Start on your hands and knees.  Check that your hands are directly in line with your shoulders and that your knees fall under your hips.  Spread your fingers wide and curl your toes underneath your feet.

2. Straighten your legs as you exhale.  As your knees come away from the floor, focus on lifting your hips towards the ceiling.

3. Push through the floor with all ten fingers to activate your back and arm muscles.  Reach for the floor with your heels to firm up the quads and back legs.  Draw your navel into your lower back to lift your hips even higher.

4. Take five deep breaths.

5. Feel strong, energized, and grateful!

Content has been approved by Anita Mirchandani, NASM CPT

Practice this move in any of our featured Yoga workouts!

Breaking down the move: Push-ups

This post has been brought to us by Mark Merchant and George Vafiades of As One Effect. Check them out on Booya here.

The perfect pushup – although primarily considered a chest developer, its effectiveness as a core and shoulder stabilizer should not be overlooked.

How to perform the perfect pushup

  1. Place your hands and feet on the ground. Hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders in line with your chest.  Near armpit area.
  2. Put your toes together, body in a straight line from head to heels
  3. Squeezing shoulder your blades together, lower your body to the floor allowing only the chest to touch ie. Lead with chest not chin
  4. Maintaining a straight body, drive through hands and return to starting position.

Full Push-up: 

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Modified Push-up: 

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Eager to try the push-up? All of our bootcamp workouts feature the move! 

Breaking down the move: Squats

This post has been brought to us by Fitmapped, Your GPS for Fitness

Today is a perfect day to get back in the gym and work on some strength training, and one of the ultimate leg-toning moves is the squat. Squats can be done a variety of ways target different muscles, but primarily they work on your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. They are also great for your core, as you need to use your back and ab muscles to stabilize your body throughout the moves. Additionally, muscle-building moves like squats are great for strengthening your bones.

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In a traditional squat, you begin standing straight upright with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms out so they are parallel with the ground, and take a deep breath in. As you breathe, move your hips back and down, bending the knees as if you are sitting into a chair. Make sure to keep your back straight and chest forward as you lower your butt, and don’t let your knees go over your toes in the front. You can go deeper, but a good aim initially is to squat until your quads are parallel to the floor.

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Keep your core engaged throughout the move. Once you get as low as you want to go, pause, and then push back up through your heels. You should feel this in your glutes as you push yourself back up to your standing position. To make a traditional squat more challenging, you can add weights, either holding a bar behind your head or holding weights at your chest or to your sides.

There are ways to perform squats that work slightly different muscles. In the simplest way, you can spread your legs wider than hip-width apart and stand in a plié-like position with your toes facing slightly outward. This move works the inner thighs a little more, and it can also be made harder and more aerobic by adding a small hop while in squatting position. This is a great plyometric movement that can help burn fat while sculpting muscle. You can also do this move using weights, as with a traditional squat.

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Another variation on the squat is the split-squat. Split-squats are also called static lunges; to do a split squat, you stand with your feet one in front of the other, separated by a few steps (approximately 2 feet, depending on your size). Then you lower your body straight down until your front quad is parallel to the ground.

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This move requires more stabilization from the core. Again, once your front quad is parallel to the ground, you pause for a second and then push up through the front heel, engaging the front-leg gluteus maximus. You can make this move harder by holding weights in either hand. You can also make it into a plyometric movement by jumping straight up, switching legs mid-air, and squatting with the other leg forward. This jump split-squat move is much harder and requires more balance and use of stabilizing muscles, so I would only recommend it once you’ve mastered other squats and gained leg strength.

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There are tons of other ways to do squats, and with all squats you should be careful to use proper form to protect your knees. If you have any doubts, consult a professional at your local gym, and if anything ever feels painful, trust your body and stop.

Content has been approved by Anita Mirchandani, NASM CPT

Accountability Buddy: Do you have one?
This post comes from Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp
Last week I got a rather urgent text from Myrna, our butt-kicker extraordinaire. She told me she was going to be featured in the Daily News – photo shoot and all – with a story. Super exciting! This woman has had it coming, I’m telling you. She’s been plugging away, bit by bit at creating the live she wants and the response she’s getting is beyond positive. That old saying – you reap what you sow… It’s true.
Anyway, as it goes with big events, we want to look and feel our best and since I have a deadline coming up to look and feel my best too, we made a pact: We would text each other our meals and promised to keep it clean. For more than a week we have been sending each other our breakfast eggs, our lunch salads and turkey meatball dinner or chicken with veggie dinners.  It was inspiring to have someone to report to (reporting to myself all the time gets boring….). It made me more aware of what I was eating and stopped me from making haphazard choices. Myrna felt the same way about sharing her goals and steps she was taking to get to it. I was thinking twice about ‘treating’ myself with things that weren’t really treats because they would in the end just punish me. So, I decided not to ‘punish’ myself at all after committing to Myrna. There was just one incident where a massive amount of apple cobbler made by my friend Erin was put in front of me and I decided to nose dive into it. I did report it to Myrna and made up for it. Not by beating myself up or calling myself names, but by adding an extra workout and lowering my carbs the following day.
Having someone to share your intentions and goals with is crucial to your success. It makes you feel that you’re not in it alone. It helps you realize that your actions have consequences – on your body and health and on the other people you shared your goals with. I pride myself on doing what I say I will do, so when I tell someone I’ll commit to something and then don’t do it, I know that I’m not only letting myself down but also change the other person’s view of me. In the Slim & Strong program I always have my participants share their goals with their team mates and I encourage them to stay in touch and share struggles, successes and ideas throughout the month. It works. I hope you’ll give it a go and make that commitment to a friend, co-worker, trainer or other person in your life whose view of you matters to you.

Accountability Buddy: Do you have one?

This post comes from Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp

Last week I got a rather urgent text from Myrna, our butt-kicker extraordinaire. She told me she was going to be featured in the Daily News – photo shoot and all – with a story. Super exciting! This woman has had it coming, I’m telling you. She’s been plugging away, bit by bit at creating the live she wants and the response she’s getting is beyond positive. That old saying – you reap what you sow… It’s true.

Anyway, as it goes with big events, we want to look and feel our best and since I have a deadline coming up to look and feel my best too, we made a pact: We would text each other our meals and promised to keep it clean. For more than a week we have been sending each other our breakfast eggs, our lunch salads and turkey meatball dinner or chicken with veggie dinners.  It was inspiring to have someone to report to (reporting to myself all the time gets boring….). It made me more aware of what I was eating and stopped me from making haphazard choices. Myrna felt the same way about sharing her goals and steps she was taking to get to it. I was thinking twice about ‘treating’ myself with things that weren’t really treats because they would in the end just punish me. So, I decided not to ‘punish’ myself at all after committing to Myrna. There was just one incident where a massive amount of apple cobbler made by my friend Erin was put in front of me and I decided to nose dive into it. I did report it to Myrna and made up for it. Not by beating myself up or calling myself names, but by adding an extra workout and lowering my carbs the following day.

Having someone to share your intentions and goals with is crucial to your success. It makes you feel that you’re not in it alone. It helps you realize that your actions have consequences – on your body and health and on the other people you shared your goals with. I pride myself on doing what I say I will do, so when I tell someone I’ll commit to something and then don’t do it, I know that I’m not only letting myself down but also change the other person’s view of me. In the Slim & Strong program I always have my participants share their goals with their team mates and I encourage them to stay in touch and share struggles, successes and ideas throughout the month. It works. I hope you’ll give it a go and make that commitment to a friend, co-worker, trainer or other person in your life whose view of you matters to you.

What Is the Best Workout to Do?
This is a great question but there is not one answer.  Like diets, one size does not fit all.  Some people do great on a vegan diet, others swear by Paleo.  Everyone has an idea of what is best.  While there are tried and true techniques and approaches to both diets and exercise, what resonates with you might not work for me.  Yes, a foundation and basic understanding of specifics are going to be helpful.  Just as a healthy diet tends to consist of eating real, whole foods (minimal or no processing), to have a well rounded workout routine you need to incorporate stretching, strengthening and cardio.  It’s also a good idea to vary your routines.  Beyond that, the best workout is one that you will do. 
A good workout is something that you like to do enough to keep doing it.  Consistency is the key, and is also one of the hardest things to achieve.  We get excited to be a part of the latest craze but soon lose interest and find ourselves unmotivated to get off the coach.  Start with what excites you.  What do you love to do?  That is what you should commit to doing because you are most likely to keep it up. 
The one constant in life is change, and working out is not different.  Your favorite workout from the past two or three years might not be resonating with you anymore, and that is not only OK but it is perfectly normal.  Listen to those signs and adjust accordingly.  If you find you body no longer craving a specific workout or if you are getting bored, try something new.  Explore what is out there until you find something else that resonates with you and go have fun doing that. 
As our cravings for specific foods change with the season our desire to work out a specific way will change as well.  As we get older we will gravitate towards movements that are more in line with our changing bodies.  What feels best for you today, this season and this year?  What do you love to do that will inspire you to get out of bed or off the coach?  Operating from this standpoint will bring you much closer to developing a consistent practice and healthy routines because it comes from your own truth.  Keep exploring and keep having fun.
- Zander Gladish 

What Is the Best Workout to Do?

This is a great question but there is not one answer.  Like diets, one size does not fit all.  Some people do great on a vegan diet, others swear by Paleo.  Everyone has an idea of what is best.  While there are tried and true techniques and approaches to both diets and exercise, what resonates with you might not work for me.  Yes, a foundation and basic understanding of specifics are going to be helpful.  Just as a healthy diet tends to consist of eating real, whole foods (minimal or no processing), to have a well rounded workout routine you need to incorporate stretching, strengthening and cardio.  It’s also a good idea to vary your routines.  Beyond that, the best workout is one that you will do. 

A good workout is something that you like to do enough to keep doing it.  Consistency is the key, and is also one of the hardest things to achieve.  We get excited to be a part of the latest craze but soon lose interest and find ourselves unmotivated to get off the coach.  Start with what excites you.  What do you love to do?  That is what you should commit to doing because you are most likely to keep it up. 

The one constant in life is change, and working out is not different.  Your favorite workout from the past two or three years might not be resonating with you anymore, and that is not only OK but it is perfectly normal.  Listen to those signs and adjust accordingly.  If you find you body no longer craving a specific workout or if you are getting bored, try something new.  Explore what is out there until you find something else that resonates with you and go have fun doing that. 

As our cravings for specific foods change with the season our desire to work out a specific way will change as well.  As we get older we will gravitate towards movements that are more in line with our changing bodies.  What feels best for you today, this season and this year?  What do you love to do that will inspire you to get out of bed or off the coach?  Operating from this standpoint will bring you much closer to developing a consistent practice and healthy routines because it comes from your own truth.  Keep exploring and keep having fun.

- Zander Gladish 

5 Reasons Fitness is a Mental Health Miracle Drug
This post comes from Brit Rettig
I know I’m always talking about the external, physical benefits of working out (6 pack by summer, J-lo legs, Michelle Obama arms).  But, let’s not forget about all of the ways that fitness helps us on the inside.  Maintaining our mental health is critical for overall wellness.  Here are the top 5 “non-physical” reasons I believe exercise is a mental health miracle drug.  Keep these in mind during your next sweat session!
1) Super Self-confidence – Pushing through physcial challenges gives us confidence which spills over into other areas of life.  Nothing is sexier than confidence
2) Less Stress – Studies show that the most common mental benefit of exercise is stress relief.  Boss getting on your nerves?  Go walk it off.  Angry is not a good look.
3) More Memory – A good sweat session boosts our memory capacity and brain power.  Jocks are smarter after all…and smart is HOT
4) Addiction Control – Since our brains releases dopamine “the happy chemical” during exercise, we get a natural high – goodbye addictions!
5) Real Relaxation – Moderate exercise can have the same effect on your body as a sleeping pill.  Who needs chemical drugs for a little R&R?  Not us!
- Brit Rettig, Founder of Grit by Brit

5 Reasons Fitness is a Mental Health Miracle Drug

This post comes from Brit Rettig

I know I’m always talking about the external, physical benefits of working out (6 pack by summer, J-lo legs, Michelle Obama arms).  But, let’s not forget about all of the ways that fitness helps us on the inside.  Maintaining our mental health is critical for overall wellness.  Here are the top 5 “non-physical” reasons I believe exercise is a mental health miracle drug.  Keep these in mind during your next sweat session!

1) Super Self-confidence – Pushing through physcial challenges gives us confidence which spills over into other areas of life.  Nothing is sexier than confidence

2) Less Stress – Studies show that the most common mental benefit of exercise is stress relief.  Boss getting on your nerves?  Go walk it off.  Angry is not a good look.

3) More Memory – A good sweat session boosts our memory capacity and brain power.  Jocks are smarter after all…and smart is HOT

4) Addiction Control – Since our brains releases dopamine “the happy chemical” during exercise, we get a natural high – goodbye addictions!

5) Real Relaxation – Moderate exercise can have the same effect on your body as a sleeping pill.  Who needs chemical drugs for a little R&R?  Not us!

- Brit Rettig, Founder of Grit by Brit

High Intensity Interval Training – A Booya Fitness Staple
Amanda Rose, creator of Warrior Fight Club, shares her insight!
Although my first love is yoga, I have been incorporating more cardio into my workouts. With a history of cardiovascular disease in my family, I understand and respect the need for a healthy heart.  
Considering that the #1 excuse people use for not exercising is lack of time, intervals are a perfect solution. It is quick, effective and to the point. 
A bit of education….interval training incorporates the body’s two energy systems, the aerobic and anaerobic. The aerobic system uses oxygen to convert carbohydrates into energy. When you run or walk for several miles, you are tapping into this system. The anaerobic system draws energy from fuel stored as glycogen in the muscles for short bursts of energy, such as sprinting. This system doesn’t utilize oxygen and cannot provide enough energy for a sustained effort. 
Because intervals require both systems, interval training has lots of benefits including:
1) More calorie burn – Of course, the more vigorous you exercise, the more calories you burn! But interval training can also cause an “afterburn effect”, where the body burns more calories anywhere from 24-48 hours post-workout. So when you are relaxing on the couch, the furnace is still cooking. In addition, it boosts metabolism AND builds lean muscle. 
2) Improved cardio function - Intervals cause your heart and lungs to become bigger, stronger and able to adjust to sudden intense challenges (like running to catch a bus). Plus, it allows you to exercise longer and with more intensity, improving overall athletic performance.
3) Fun - Because intervals are short, it prevents boredom! It adds a nice variety to your workouts, especially since you can vary the intensity level, length of work, rest intervals, and number of reps. You can even opt to change the exercise modality; riding a bike, running on a treadmill, or even jumping rope are all great variations. The great thing about interval training is that there is no one way of doing it. Different lengths of work and recovery bring different benefits and challenges, all of which are good.
4) Time-efficient - As I previously mentioned, you can do intervals in a short amount of time. My workouts average 20-23 minutes and I am completely spent! I have no excuse to not get it done and neither will you. AsOne’s Deck of Cards and Basic Circuit are particularly good and short as they are under 20 minutes each! 
5) Overall positive health benefits – Interval training can improve insulin sensitivity, optimize cholesterol levels and decrease blood pressure. 
DISCLAIMER: Interval training is tough, so if you’re just starting to work out, spend at least one month working on your stamina with steady intensity cardio workouts before incorporating intervals into your routine.  Add these intervals in slowly and avoid repeating them on consecutive days. Intervals are hard on the body so give yourself ample rest and be sure to practice yoga too!
Booya features some amazing interval training workouts—check out our Bootcamps for guidance from the best trainers in the industry! 

High Intensity Interval Training – A Booya Fitness Staple

Amanda Rose, creator of Warrior Fight Club, shares her insight!

Although my first love is yoga, I have been incorporating more cardio into my workouts. With a history of cardiovascular disease in my family, I understand and respect the need for a healthy heart.  

Considering that the #1 excuse people use for not exercising is lack of time, intervals are a perfect solution. It is quick, effective and to the point. 

A bit of education….interval training incorporates the body’s two energy systems, the aerobic and anaerobic. The aerobic system uses oxygen to convert carbohydrates into energy. When you run or walk for several miles, you are tapping into this system. The anaerobic system draws energy from fuel stored as glycogen in the muscles for short bursts of energy, such as sprinting. This system doesn’t utilize oxygen and cannot provide enough energy for a sustained effort. 

Because intervals require both systems, interval training has lots of benefits including:

1) More calorie burn – Of course, the more vigorous you exercise, the more calories you burn! But interval training can also cause an “afterburn effect”, where the body burns more calories anywhere from 24-48 hours post-workout. So when you are relaxing on the couch, the furnace is still cooking. In addition, it boosts metabolism AND builds lean muscle. 

2) Improved cardio function - Intervals cause your heart and lungs to become bigger, stronger and able to adjust to sudden intense challenges (like running to catch a bus). Plus, it allows you to exercise longer and with more intensity, improving overall athletic performance.

3) Fun - Because intervals are short, it prevents boredom! It adds a nice variety to your workouts, especially since you can vary the intensity level, length of work, rest intervals, and number of reps. You can even opt to change the exercise modality; riding a bike, running on a treadmill, or even jumping rope are all great variations. The great thing about interval training is that there is no one way of doing it. Different lengths of work and recovery bring different benefits and challenges, all of which are good.

4) Time-efficient - As I previously mentioned, you can do intervals in a short amount of time. My workouts average 20-23 minutes and I am completely spent! I have no excuse to not get it done and neither will you. AsOne’s Deck of Cards and Basic Circuit are particularly good and short as they are under 20 minutes each! 

5) Overall positive health benefits – Interval training can improve insulin sensitivity, optimize cholesterol levels and decrease blood pressure. 

DISCLAIMER: Interval training is tough, so if you’re just starting to work out, spend at least one month working on your stamina with steady intensity cardio workouts before incorporating intervals into your routine.  Add these intervals in slowly and avoid repeating them on consecutive days. Intervals are hard on the body so give yourself ample rest and be sure to practice yoga too!

Booya features some amazing interval training workouts—check out our Bootcamps for guidance from the best trainers in the industry! 

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