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Three Benefits of Stability Ball Workouts

Written by Lisa Jillanza

No matter what your fitness level, at some point, you are bored with your workout and looking for something new. However, getting a whole new routine or doing something completely different is a big step and takes lots of work. What if I told you that you could up the intensity of your current workout and see more results just by adding a stability ball? That's exactly what trainers have been doing for years and the great news is that it works!

Anytime you add an element of stability to a workout, you engage the muscles differently and even add engaged muscles to certain exercises. Ever think your abs could get a great workout while you're doing shoulder presses? The stability ball allows your body to work harder and more efficiently and you'll end up with a body that is stronger, more balanced and a workout that is fun!

Here are 3 of the benefits of using a stability ball for workouts:

Core Strength

Everyone wants a flat belly but few people use the stability ball to strengthen and tighten the ab muscles. Yes, we know that diet is really what reveals your 6 pack but working the ab and back muscles on the ball can help you to sculpt those muscles so that they are ready to shine! When you do stability ball exercises like bicep curls, shoulder presses, crunches and even squats with the ball, your core muscles have to engage to keep you from rolling off the ball! This means that those muscles that you'd normally skip are getting a workout!

Balance & Posture

Balance and posture are something that we take for granted but you really can improve upon them. Learning to use your core muscles while sitting or leaning on the ball can help your body to learn to activate those stabilizing muscles when they are needed... Ever slipped on a patch of ice?! Proper posture is so boring, I know, but knowing that sitting up tall can make you look 10 pounds lighter is very exciting! Using the stability ball helps you learn proper posture which will make you look and feel better!


Doing the same old exercises can be boring for your brain and your body. Simply taking your existing routine and adding a stability ball to it can help to spice up your workout so you aren't bored AND you get a harder workout! Remember, adding intensity isn't always about adding more reps or weight, it can be something as simply as adding a stability ball!

These are just 3 benefits of using a stability ball for workouts. If you haven't already, I suggest you give it a try. Stability balls are found in nearly every gym and most of the time, you'll have a friend that has one you can borrow! I've been using stability balls for my own workouts, as well as to train clients for years with excellent results! I've even included it in Month 2 of the Ten Pound Cut Down workout program because I think it is such a great way to add intensity and achieve great results. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Amy Mac is a certified personal trainer from SDSU and NASM and has a B.S. from Purdue in OLS. She is the founder of WithAmyMac.com, the host of the video podcast, Fit Life, is an Amazon Best-Selling Author and has been recognized by Shape Magazine as one of the Top Fitness Gurus to Follow on Twitter. She is also the co-founder of the health and fitness startup, EverydayBetter.com .

Treadmill Workout: Burn an Easy 2,000 Calories This Week!

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Tired of your same old treadmill routine? Why not spice things up this week and try this easy treadmill work out that will help you burn a quick 2,000 calories in just seven days.

Day One: Power walk : 30 minutes Strength train : 20 minutes

Day Two: Warm-up (walk easily, then briskly) : 3 minutes Power walk : 2 minutes Run fast (don't sprint) : 2 minutes Repeat steps 1 and 2 : 10 times Cool down (walk easily) : 2 minutes

Day Three: Warm-up (walk easily) : 5 minutes Do your favorite strength-training move : 12 reps Power walk (4-6% incline) : 3 minutes Repeat steps 1 and 2 : 6 times Cool down (walk easily) : 5 minutes

Day Four: Warm-up (walk easily, then briskly) : 3 minutes Power walk : 2 minutes Run fast (don't sprint) : 2 minutes Repeat steps 1 and 2 : 6 times Cool down (walk easily) : 3 minutes

Day Five: Repeat Day One's Routine

Day Six: Warm-up (Walk easily, then briskly) : 5 minutes Power walk : 2 minutes Run fast (don't sprint) : 4 minutes Repeat steps 1 and 2 : 6 times Cool down (walk easily) : 4 minutes

Day Seven: Rest

New Year : New Workout!

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Try these quick, easy exercises and fitness tips to jump start your workout in 2012

Wear a pedometer to determine the distance you walk each day. Shoot for 10,000 steps per day. If you aren't reaching that goal, add an extra mile to your routine or take the steps instead of the escalator whenever possible.

Add jumping to your exercise routine : also known as plyometric moves : to build muscle and improve your bone density. Try jump squats or scissor lunges in your next routine.

Spend the extra money to purchase good work out necessities : clothing, shoes, bras, supports, etc. Purchasing the better brands versus going the cheaper route will ensure that you use them and that they are the best for your workout.

Don't spread germs. Always wipe down gym equipment before and after using them to protect yourself and others from germs and bacteria that can be passed from unclean gym equipment.

Don't be a creature of habit. Switch up your routines, walking routes, gym machines and even what days you do specific workouts. Change is good when it comes to exercise and fitness.

Consider the other ways that you can lose weight without really trying : clean the house and burn 200 calories or work in the garden and burn 272 calories.

Even if you have to travel or spend all day in a car or on a plane, still try to fit in physical activity. Take advantage of bathroom breaks by stretching and doing some light exercise. Walk briskly through the airport in between flights if traveling by plane.

Build better bones and as much bone density as you can by doing weight-bearing activities like running or jumping as much as you can in your twenties and thirties.

Yoga has many healthy benefits for your body and your mind. Even if you are a novice, take a class and try something different.

Work out with your significant other or a friend or family member. This allows you to be a spotting partner for one another or just spend some quality time together working out.

Here's to a happy and healthy 2012 and success in your health and fitness plans!

Straight From the Headlines: Tips to “Fit in” Fitness This Holiday Season

Written by Lisa Jillanza

The months of November and December can be two of the busiest months for many people. From holiday entertaining to shopping, it is very easy to get off track when it comes to your diet and exercise. Use the following tips from Prevention to help keep on track when it comes to fitness this year:

Instead of taking that leisurely stroll through the mall when you do your Christmas shopping turn that stroll into a power walk.

Take the stairs while you are at the mall instead of using the elevator or escalator.

Park in the lower lot of the mall and get that extra exercise by walking a little further to the mall.

Try working out in the morning before your busy days get underway.

Invite your house guests to work out with you so you can spend time with them and still get your exercise in.

If you are traveling, check to see if your gym shares their membership with other gyms and try to get in a work out there. If not visit the local YMCA or get a one-time pass to the local gym.