Pushup Variations: Incline & Decline

I told you last week how much I love pushups!  I love them so much that I want to provide you with multiple variations to keep you engaged in this exercise.  So this week we’re going to talk about 2 more variations of this exercise: incline and decline.  Both of these variations will work slightly different muscles than the traditional and modified pushups we discussed last week.  If you missed that post, click here.  Remember not one variation is “better” than the other.  They’re all great! I just want you to find the variation YOU’LL DO.  But promise yourself you won’t just chose the easiest one!  Pick the one that challenges you but feels doable.

Pushup Incline

045090-PushupIncline_A

045090-PushupIncline_B1.  Get on your knees next to a step or stair.  Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the step or stair.  Get up on your toes.

2.  Keep your body as straight as possible, with your eyes focused straight down and your neck in a neutral position.

3.  Lower your chest towards the step or stair.  Keep your arms close to your sides and your elbows pointing straight back.

4.  Squeeze your flutes and brace your abdominals through the pushup.  Do not allow your lower back to sag or your hips to pike upward during the downward phase.

This form of a pushup can be further modified by going to your knees.

Pushup Decline

045090-PushupDecline_B

045090-PushupDecline_A1.  Put your knees on a step or stair, crossing your feet at the ankles.

2.  Assume the pushup position, placing your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor in front of you.

3.  Slowly lower your chest towards the floor.  Keep your arms close to your sides.

4.  Push up, so that your arms are straight but not locked.

This form of a pushup can be progressed by going from your knees to your toes.

I hope you are starting to develop a love for pushups like me!  Remember to chose the variation that you’ll do.  Don’t get frustrated with yourself.  You WILL get stronger!

Want to get stronger together!  I just released my NEW & IMPROVED eat clean train mean 7 day challenge.  When you sign up you receive my FREE diet eBook and links to some great motivational workouts.  Head to www.cj7day.com or CLICK HERE and lets get started!

~ Chalene

 

 

Challenging Your Inner Voice: Decide to Believe in You

2013-06-30 Chalene 449Lasting success is powerfully tied to your beliefs.  Your beliefs are also shaped by the conversations you’re having all day long with others, and most powerfully by the conversation you’re having in your head – by the familiar sound of your inner voice.

What does yours sound like? What does it say?

Do you hear:

You are a loser.

You’re fat and the only chance you have of people liking you is if you’re skinny.

You’re not strong enough to do this, so just give up.

The good news is that this cruel, punishing voice that crushes your spirit, can be silenced.  If you make a conscious decision to succeed, that voice will be silenced.  You’ll have the strength to silence it.  Whether you believe you’ll reach your goal and maintain a happy weight for the rest of your life…or that you’ve just wasted time on reading this post, either way, you’re right!  Your mentality going in dictates your outcome.

Whatever you believe about dieting, you’re probably right.  Whatever you believe about your abilities, your good luck or misfortune, your opportunities, the condition of your relationships, you’re probably right!  Those who believe they can lose 100 pounds, but also worry they’ll gain it back, are correct.  Those who believe they can lose 100 pounds and will keep it off, are correct!  It starts with what you believe.

Your beliefs are also shaped by your habits.  What you believe about yourself shapes the course of your life!  So along with swapping that negative inner voice for a more positive, powerful one, you must forge new, positive habits.  I’ve got your back!  I’ll teach you simple daily habits that will lead you to lasting success.

Once you decide to succeed, you must give up thinking like a lifelong dieter.  You’ve gotta lose the dieter’s mentality!  That dieter’s mentality has conditioned you to view dieting as a temporary prison sentence.  You end up cheating with “bad food” and then you get judged and punished…by yourself.

And you can handle it…for a while!  Until one day, life deals you an insane amount of crap and you just can’t take it anymore.  You rationalize that you’re entitled to a cookie and scarf it down.  But you’ve just had the worst day ever, so screw it!  You deserve another cookie!  Then, just one more…a sleeve of cookies later, you concede.  You’ve blown it, just like you knew you would.  You might as well enjoy that bag of chips and a few spoonfuls of ice cream at this point.  Disgusted with yourself, you decide you’ll start over, but you’ll wait after your upcoming vacation.  You’re disappointed in yourself, unmotivated, and certain you’ll never get off this roller-coaster.

Bust out of the prison of shame and guilt – the one YOU built!  You’re a winner.  From this day forward, success is your only option.  It’s the only choice you have.  If I told you your family’s life depended on you going the next 5 days with no food, no water, and no sleep, could you do it?  Hell yes!  Sit up straight, smile, and have the confidence of knowing you’ve already mastered the first step.  You’ve just realized this whole thing hinges on your decisions to DO…not to try.

So let’s DO! You’re the only one that can hear your inner voice…but I want to challenge you to put yourself out there.  To believe in yourself so much, that you’re whiling to put it in a comment.  Don’t worry…I will not tolerate judgment from others…negativity will NOT be allowed and will be deleted from the post.  So take a moment and think about the challenging conversations you’ve had with that inner voice.  Make a conscious decision to put that voice to rest.  That voice can only be quieted by YOUR decision to believe in YOU.  I want you to believe so strongly in whatever’s in your heart, that you’re whiling to shout it from the roof tops.  If you’re whiling to do that, below I want you to post in the comments, following this format, this is just an example (I want you to apply this example to your inner voice):

If your inner voice says: “your not strong enough to do this, so just give up.”

I want you to post: “I believe I’m strong enough and I refuse to give up.”

What do YOU believe in!? Share it with me.

Did this post help you?  If so, I’d love to be able to help you more!  I created a FREE 30 day program that helps you determine your life’s priorities, set goals in line with those priorities, and get more organized.  If this program sounds like it would help you, click here to sign up.

~ Chalene

Healthy Recipe: Ceviche

IMG_3549Summer is a great time to enjoy ceviche!  So for this fit food Friday, I wanted to feature my favorite ceviche recipe.  Served chilled, this citrusy, refreshing twist on seafood not only taste amazing, but is easy on the waistline.  Ceviche typically consists of raw seafood that “cooks” in a marinade.  If this makes you uneasy, you can poach the shrimp before putting them into the citrus marinade.  However, know that the taste will not be same.

Ingredients

2 pounds of raw shrimp – cleaned, deveined and cut into thirds (21-25 per pound)

10 medium firm roma tomatoes – diced

5 mini cucumbers – peeled and diced

1 medium red onion – diced

1 bunch cilantro – finely chopped

2-3 jalapenos – seeded and diced

Lime Juice from about 15 limes

2 tablespoons of red chili flakes

Directions

In a hot frying pan slightly toast red chili flakes for about 45 seconds.

In a blender, blend together: lime juice, toasted red chili flakes, jalapenos, salt and pepper to taste.

Place cleaned and cut shrimp in a bowl add lime juice mixture cover and let sit for about 20 minutes or until shrimp turns pink.

In a separate bowl combine cilantro, onion, tomatoes and cucumber.

When shrimp has turned pink drain about half of the lime juice from bowl and combine with the veggie mixture.

Serve with fresh avocado, eat with chips or over a salad.

What’s your favorite ceviche recipe?

Hope you end up loving this recipe as much as I do! If you try it out, don’t forget to leave me a comment and let me know how you liked it!

I hope you’ll join me next week for another fit food Friday recipe…#yum!

Know someone that needs a little more fit food in their life?  Please share this post with them.  Also, have you heard my new 7 day eat clean train mean challenge is new and improved?  Click here to sign up for this free diet and exercise program!

~ Chalene

Pushup Variations: Traditional & Modified

I love pushups! Sorry, but I do!  They are hands down one of the best upper body exercises that also challenges and sculpts your core.  Actually, I need to be honest with you, the truth is…I used to hate pushups, but over time I’ve learned to love them for their amazing benefits.  You might be thinking, “I do bench presses, that’s the same thing right!?”  Unfortunately no…don’t convince yourself that some other exercise you’re doing is the same as doing a pushup, because it’s not.  Just accept that fact that pushups have crazy good benefits and they need to be apart of your workout routine.   Pushups work the whole body.  From head to toe, your body kicks into overdrive to support itself and maintain a stiff straight posture – a task you don’t have to do lying on your back.  So because of my love for pushups, I’m dedicating the next two Wednesday Workout posts to teaching you variations and proper form!

When performing a pushup, you not only work your arms, pecs, and shoulders, but you also work your core.  Your core is critical to creating a well-balanced body and to gaining the strength you need to perform all exercises with great efficiency.  Plus, when you have a strong core and defined upper body, you’ll stand taller, improve your posture, boost your energy, and generally look thinner than someone of the same weight with poor posture and a weak core.  A strong core can banish back pain and make all your workouts safer and easier.

To get these benefits, you must maintain proper form: flat back, hands positioned under your shoulders.  Different hand positions put different loads on your joints and muscles, but every one of us is put together a little differently.  The way you need to place your hands to feel strongest might be slightly different than the way I need to keep my hands.  So experiment with hand positions (as long as they are under your shoulders)

It’s vital to keep your back flat.  I’m not gonna lie, it’s challenging to do this.  It forces your abs to work their hardest.  But making that effort will give you the greatest results.

Modified pushups, which you do on your knees, are virtually identical to normal pushups except that the muscles are worked at a lesser intensity or overload.  It’s important to maintain proper form in the modified position as well.  Rest your weight slightly above the knees, keep a flat back, and activate your abs.

If you’re new to exercising start with a modified pushup and limit your range of motion.  In time you’ll be able to take your chest to the floor.  Each time, push yourself to go a little lower through your range of motion.  No matter how frustrating it is at first, stick with it; every rep is changing your body!  Pushups are tough.  They’re supposed to be.  But you’re tougher!

Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to perform a traditional pushup and modified pushup.

Traditional Pushup

blog 1

Blog 21. Lie face down on your mat with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and under your chest.  Keep your fingers straight and your legs straight and slightly apart with your toes supporting your feet.  Your weight should be on your hands.

2.  Keep your body as straight as possible, with your eyes focused straight down and your neck in a neutral position.  Try to keep bottom from sinking too low or piking up.  A helpful hint is from the side, you should look like your standing.

3.  Lower your chest toward the floor with your arms and elbows pointing away from your body.  Push up so that your arms are straight but your elbows aren’t completely locked.

4.  Squeeze your glutes and brace your abdominals throughout the pushup.  Do not allow your lower back to sink or your hips to pike upward during the down phase.

Modified Pushup

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blog 41.  Get on your hands and knees, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and in line with your chest.  Cross your feet at the ankles, creating a straight line from the top of your head to your knees.

2.  Keep your body as straight as possible, with your eyes focused straight down and your neck in a neutral position.

3.  Lower your chest toward the floor with your arms and elbows pointing away from your body.

4.  Push up so that your arms are straight but your elbows aren’t completely locked.

5.  Squeeze your glutes and brace your abdominals throughout the pushup.  Do not allow your lower back to sink or your hips to pike upward during the down phase.

Now that you have a step-by-step breakdown on performing a traditional and modified pushup, get down on all fours and give me 20!

~ Chalene

Do You Want Change? Get Your Butt Into Gear!

2013-06-30 Chalene 142You’re about to learn about the focus and confidence you never knew you had.  Hopefully I’ll be able to help you shift your thinking, your stress level will drop, your brain will change, your body will transform, and your life will gently sway into balance.  I want to help you beyond chiseling your waistline.  I want to help change the landscape of your life.  My hope is that people will start to raise an eyebrow, and ask, “What has gotten in to you? You’re like a different person.”

We’re going to start with a few choice habits.  It’s much easier to change your behavior than it is to change your genetics.  It’s also much easier to change your behavior than it is to change your thought patterns.  As they say, behave your way to success, and eventually your brain will follow.  Experts suggest that married partners who have fallen out of love but who commit to behave as though they are deeply in love with their spouse will eventually experience a shift in their beliefs about their marriage.

I know you want success, and you want it to last.  Success is a matter of changing your routine and disciplining yourself to maintain a few well-proven habits.  Regardless of whether it’s diet, business, relationships, fitness, parenting, or all of the above that have brought you to me, if you adopt a few new habits, success is achievable.  Best of all, once you rebuild your foundation with me, the success you’ll experience will trickle down into nearly every area of your life.

Successful people do what others know they should, but will not.  To become a success, or just to be more successful, you will need to do what average, less motivated people will not.  I need you to commit.  It’s your life.  It’s your health.  It’s your future.  You have dreams.  You know you deserve more and that what you’ve done up to this point has been average at best.  But you’re no longer interested in average!

Today you lay the first brick of your foundation.  What’s the first brick?  A decision.  You must decide that from now on, things will be different.  You have to fully, honestly, and completely decide if you’re ready to change – not just for a day or week, but for good.  You must first make a decision to succeed.  I had to make that decision too!  With obesity on both sides of my family, junk food was a well-loved tradition in my household.  Topping out at 5 foot 2 inches, lets just say I had no choice but to figure out how I was going to maintain a healthy weight and positive body image and avoid the pitfalls of dieting.  Well, I figured it out, and I’m sharing my secret with you…it begins with a decision.

The totally cool part about this journey we’re about to take is that it will actually help you to become more successful in all areas of your life.  If your open to it, I need you to decide right now.  You have 10 seconds!  Make a decision and commit to it…for you!

Did you make a decision? If so, what is it? Post it in a comment below.

If you’re willing to take the next step, join me again next week for challenging that inner voice.

~ Chalene