Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fitness Equipment

For most workout programs like P90X, Chalean Extreme, Power 90, or just going to a gym, you use equipment while working out. Workout equipment can add variety to your workouts and help challenge yourself. However, you do not need any workout equipment to have a great workout. Workout programs like Insanity just require your own body weight for you to see results. Insanity is able to do this because of MAX Interval Training, which involves pushing yourself as hard as you can, which will break down muscle, and when it heals you become stronger and will eventually see visible results! All the jumping, speed work, and push up variations in Insanity help sculpt your body without any fitness equipment! Also, running does not require any fitness equipment. So I don't want to hear that you can't get in shape because you can not afford any equipment, a gym, or workout programs. You can always run, do push ups, and your own ab routine, and boom! You can get into great shape! If you have any questions on developing a workout routine (such as running workouts, ab workouts, and body weight strength training) you can contact me at

However, workout equipment is great to add to your fitness regimen. I use workout equipment all the time, but it is not something that you have to have. Here is a list of the equipment that I have and use in my workouts:

1) Dumbbells - I have a set from 3-55 pounds. I got these for a great deal on craigslist! Try to get equipment that is used and cheaper than if bought new, just make sure it is in good condition. I also recommend PowerBlocks or Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells, which are a great deal compared to buying a whole rack of dumbbells and safe a lot of space. They also can go up in 2.5 pound increments which is a great feature.

2) Yoga Mat - This is a thing that everyone should have! I use mine for yoga, stretching, and ab workouts. They can also be great for absorbing the impact on your knees while jumping during workouts like Insanity or P90X Plyometrics.

3) Push Up Stands - These are not necessary for doing push ups, but they can really aid in building strength. Push up stands give you a bigger range of motion and stretch on your chest, which can lead to better muscle growth and strength. They also reduce the strain on your wrists, because your wrists are kept strait and not bended like when doing push ups on your hands. I have both the Perfect Push Up and Tony Horton's PowerStands. These are both great, but also different. With the perfect push ups you can also rotate your wrists while doing a push up, which provides the chest with a different tension and it can feel more natural as well. Tony Horton's PowerStands, have a huge range of motion which a really like, and they have really comfortable grips.

4) Body Fat Tester - This is more of a progress tracking tool than equipment. With this tool you can track your weight and body fat lose. You measure you skin fold above your hip, and then look on the chart to see your body fat percentage. It is easy to use and decently accurate. However, if you want to get a very accurate body fat measurement, you should visit your local gym.

5) Heart Rate Monitor - I use this during all of my workouts! You really only need this during cardio workouts so you can monitor your heart rate. However I use it every workout because I like to see how many calories a burn. Basic heart rate monitors just tell you your heart rate, but nicer ones also keep track of your calories burned and the percentage you worked out from your maximum heart rate. You don't have to have this, but if you want to push yourself hard or keep your heart rate safe during cardios, this will do it.

6 ) Ankle Weights - I have a pair of 5 pound ankle weights. You can use this during ab routines to add more of a challenge or add variety by doing lower reps. Also you could even use these in a leg workout or wear them while doing pull ups to add more resistance.

7) Weight Vest - I have a 20 pound adjustable weight vest. I only suggest this if you consider yourself advance. This is great to add more resistance, challenge, and variety to your strength workouts. You can use this for push ups, pull ups, and leg workouts. If you can easily do 50 push ups, 15 pull ups, or are finding that Legs and Back is becoming easier, you might want to consider using a weight vest. This will challenge your muscles and keep the results coming. It also can add a different rep range in your workouts, so instead of doing 30 push ups or 15 pull ups, you will be doing 15 push ups and 8 pull ups.

8) Resistance Bands - These are a great substitute for dumbbells. These are quite cheap and still give you a great workout. They also provide a different type of resistance than dumbbells, so you can add variety and muscle confusion. Resistance bands can also be taking on trips so you can still get your strength workouts in.

9) Jump Rope - This is a great way to get your cardio workouts in. Jumping rope requires good coordination and balance. You can also get a great calf and leg workout in from jumping rope.

10) Stability Ball - I love using this in my workouts. This can really challenge your muscles and balance. You can use this for push ups and ab workouts. You will find it is much harder to do push ups on a stability ball than on the floor because you muscles also have to balance and support your body.

11) Pull Up Bar - I use the P90X Pull Up bar and I love it! It is easy to use and can fit in most doorways. It provides 7 different pull up variations to add variety and challenge to your back workouts.

12) Power Tower - I really enjoy using this piece of equipment. This is definitely an accessory though, but it is great to have! Mine has a pull up bar which has a very very wide gripe, push up stands, a dip station (works and chest and triceps) and a leg raise station for ab workouts.

13) Weight Bench - This is great to have for weight lifting workouts. I often do my own chest workouts using this, and Tony Horton uses one in several of his One on One workouts. Shaun T also uses on in the Insanity Upper Body Weight Training. Mine has a decline position, which you can use for chest exercises, or even do crunches. There is also a flat and incline position, and then a straight 90 degree position.

14) Chair - This can be a great piece of workout equipment, and everyone already has this at their house! You can use this for decline push ups, chair dips, and it is used in P90X for several back, shoulder, and tricep exercises.

15) Medicine Balls - Unfortunately I do not have any of these, but this can be great to add resistance to your workouts. You can use one in an ab routine or a cardio routine. You can even use them as a kind of push up stand to add more range.

There are still many more different kinds of workout equipment that you can use, but these are some of the basic and that I recommend. There are still all of those machines at gyms, which can be good for variety, but they are not as necessary. Just remember that all you really need is your body to get into great shape.

You can also view my fitness equipment video: Part 1 and Part 2

Friday, January 29, 2010

Why Should I Exercise?

The hardest thing about starting an exercise program is, well, actually starting! It also can be difficult to stay motivated during the first few weeks, which is when you will want to quit the most and will be wondering, why I am doing this again? However, if you start any Beachbody program such as P90X, Insanity, or Chalean Extreme, there will be a specific schedule that you follow which can help keep you motivated during your journey, but after you have completed one round, it can often be difficult to stay with it. You may be thinking, what next? But your fitness journey never ends! You can always make improvements with your fitness and add variety and more intensity to obtain better and better results! That is also a reason why Beachbody has so many great exercises programs. They keep you motivated, and it is good to try something different every once in a while. If you are struggling with staying motivated, or need any advice or help with your workouts, you can always email me at for help, or visit the TeamBeachBody Message Boards.

Now, you may be wondering why you should exercise and workout in the first place. Exercising is not just so you can look good at the beach, it also has many health benefits, including some people don't even think of. Looking great is just one of the side affects of exercise, the main thing is having a healthy and active body that is less vulnerable to illness and injury. Looking great and having those sexy abs or firm thighs is just a way to show off your hard work, discipline, and it can also be a motivation to others to change their lives and become healthier. Don't get me wrong though, because I love having a great body! This is one way that I motivate myself to workout 5-6 days a week and to eat and stay healthy, which fitness is all about. Once you start exercising, you will notice dramatic effects about how you act, feel, and think. Here are some benefits of exercising.

1) Exercising Improves your Mood - Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You'll also look better and feel better when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Regular physical activity can also help prevent depression. You will end up be more productive at work, school, and your home. People will notice your good attitude and ask you what is up, and that is when you can tell them about the benefits of exercise and TeamBeachbody!

2) Increased Energy - The right combination of exercise and nutrition creates an hormonal environment conducive to fat loss, increased muscle strength and increased energy. When your body is working at peak efficiency, your energy levels soar! Physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. In fact, regular physical activity helps your entire cardiovascular system — the circulation of blood through your heart and blood vessels — work more efficiently. Big deal? You bet! When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you'll have more energy to do the things you enjoy. For me, this includes Karate, Running, Swimming, Hiking, Biking, and working out to P90X and Insanity!

3) Exercise helps manage your weight - When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn — and the easier it is to keep your weight under control. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk during your lunch break. Do jumping jacks during commercials (Like the P90X or any other Beachbbody Infomercial, haha). Better yet, turn off the TV and take a brisk walk. Physical activity you accumulate throughout the day helps you burn calories, too. Also get involved in an exercise program 5-6 days a week. This can be any Beachbody program or going to the gym, running, biking, or swimming. Do whatever you enjoy and works for you.

4) Exercise promotes better sleep - A good night's sleep can improve your concentration, productivity and mood. And you guessed it — physical activity is sometimes the key to better sleep. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. There's a caveat, however. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you may be too energized to fall asleep. If you're having trouble sleeping, you might want to exercise earlier in the day. I know after I hard intense work and a day of school, I am dead tired by the time I go to bed and I fall right to sleep. You also should try to get at 8 hours of sleep every night. I often only get 7 hours, but the main thing is to make sure you feel refreshed and energized throughout the day and don't feel like you are going to crash.

5) Exercise decreases your risk of heart attacks - By exercising regularly and making positive changes in your diet, you lower your cholesterol and blood pressure and greatly diminish the chances of having a heart attack. Cardiovascular exercise also creates a strong and healthy heart, especially HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which is actually better than regular cardio because it makes your heart and lungs grow stronger and bigger.

6) Exercise reduces the risk of osteoporosis - Regular exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and can even reverse it buy building bone tissue and muscle mass. So ladies, don't be afraid of putting on some muscle. It will just give you a toned look and will increase your metabolism and health.

7) Exercise Decreases your Stress Levels - The worries and stresses of everyday living such as commuting, work demands, conflicts, school, family, can stick with you long after the work day is done. Exercise right after work is the perfect natural therapy that can change your mood. Also a good yoga workout can greatly relieve stress and calm your mind and body. I also enjoy working out first thing in the morning. This helps me have a good productive day, and it also helps me stick with my diet. Also, when you sweat during exercise, you are releasing toxins out of your body and releasing hormones in your brain which help relieve stress and promote good health.

8) Exercise improves your body shape, muscle definition, endurance, and flexibility-
When you do HIIT (Such as Insanity), weight training (Such as P90X or Chalean Extreme), or yoga, you are doing exercises that help shape your body and improve your fitness. HIIT or any other cardio improves your endurance and will help shape your body and burn fat. A lot of cardio exercises like running, biking, plyometrics (Like PlyoX from P90X), and Insanity will also add leg definition and strength. Cardios like swimming and also Insanity will add upper body strength as well.
Weight training increases your muscle tissue and strength which will shape you body and make you look and feel good. More muscle also speeds up your metabolism and allows you to burn more calories throughout the day. Yoga will keep you lean and increase your flexibility. See my previous post about yoga for more information.

9) Exercise can be fun! - Yes, your heard me, exercise should be something that you enjoy. If you don't enjoy exercise and having a healthy lifestyle that will benefit you and others around you, then what is the point in doing it? It is important to find the right exercise program that works for you and that you enjoy doing everyday. My workouts are the favorite part of my day, and I always look forward to making improvements in every workout and doing better than I did in that last one.

There are countless benefits of exercising, but here are a few more.
-Improves circulation and helps reduce blood pressure and reduces joint discomfort.
-Increases body density and makes the body use calories more efficiently.
-Lowers resting heart rate and enhances immune system.
-Improves posture and eases and possibly eliminates back problems and pain.
-Decreases fat tissue more easily.
-May add a few years to life.
-Increases your range of motion and speed of muscle contraction and reaction time.
-Enhances immune system and improves glycogen storage.
-Enables the body to utilize energy more efficiently.
-Enhances oxygen transport throughout the body and improves liver functioning.
-Enhances feedback through the nervous system.
-Makes calcium transport in the heart and body more efficient.

Now I could of gone into detail about all of these, but I think you get the point. By exercising you will create a better you, and you will also be around to enjoy your life longer. So next time you think, hmmm, should I have this piece of cake, and then someone says, c'mon live is too short, you need to enjoy it, then just say "Well, my life will be short if I eat that cake!" Take control of your life. Bring it and Deep Deeper. Decide. Commit. Succeed.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Insanity Fit Test Number 2 Results

Today I did Insanity Fit Test Number 2, and I am really happy with my results so far! I've been very diligent and dedicated to Insanity, and I love how you get to push yourself as hard as you can. I also did Cardio Abs after the fit test, just do get a little more workout in, and I love abs! I have also been doing P90X Back and Biceps on the Cardio recovery day, because Insanity does not work the back and biceps, so I want to keep those muscles activated. Insanity does have plenty of push ups, tricep and shoulder work. I am also going to order the Insanity deluxe upgrade soon, which will be some more great workouts to add to my collection! Even though I really like Insanity, I will probably only do it for another week. The reason for this is that track season starts on January 19th for me, and doing Insanity and killer track workouts is not the best idea! That would be way too much cardio and I do not think I would recover well. I would also probably loose a lot of muscle if I did Insanity during track season. I am in a way disappointed about this, but I am going to continue to add more muscle and get stronger with P90X. I will probably still add in one or two Insanity workouts a week though, just because I love it so much! I will definitely do a full round of Insanity after track season is over in April. Remember to DIG DEEPER AND BRING IT!

Fit Test Results, Day 1 vs. Day 15

Switch Kicks - 68/70
Power Jacks - 47/53
Power Knees - 95/103
Power Jumps - 43/52
Globe Jumps - 11/11.5
Suicide Jumps - 20/21
Push-Up Jacks - 31/33
Low Plank Oblique - 60/70

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 New Year Goals

Well, the New Year is finally here! Every year when this time comes around people are always making new year resolutions and goals, but sadly most of them are never followed through with. Most people always say that they will "finally" loose weight this year, but they may try for a week or two but then fall off course and give up. A big problem for this is that they do not have much motivation or goals in mind. You need to have a schedule and program to follow to help you stay motivated, which is where Beachbody comes into play. All of Beachbody's fitness programs have a specific and proven to work schedule and diet guide to help you reach your fitness goals. But remember, your fitness resolution is not just a 90 or 60 day plan, it is a lifestyle. Two many people are focused on doing a program such as P90X or going to a gym to loose 20 pounds, but what happens after that? People will often be motivated during a new fitness regimen, but after they have completed it you could loose motivation and not want to start back up again. But this is not what a healthy lifestyle is about. For a healthy lifestyle you need to be working out 5-7 times a week, eating 5-6 small meals a day, and get 8 hours of sleep every night. By doing this throughout your life, you will feel stronger, more energetic, and healthier. You will also be less vulnerable to illness and injury, and who doesn't want to have that? And of course there is also the benefit of looking ripped, toned, and sexy, but all of those are secondary and just "icing on the cake" to the other benefits of fitness. So if you are new to fitness and exercise, start off by setting goals for yourself and creating a workout schedule and diet plan. You can find tremendous help at TeamBeachbody on the message boards, at my coach Josh's website, on Youtube, or by emailing me at For a fitness and healthy lifestyle to work well, you need to be motivated and enjoy what you are doing. So find the right workout program that works for you, whether running in your neighborhood, going to a gym, or doing a Beachbody program. But DO SOMETHING! Just show up to workout and you are on a way to a better, stronger, and healthier you.

Now I would like to share with you my 2010 fitness goals.

1) Be able to do 20 pull ups. I can currently do 16.

2) Be able to do 60 push ups. I can currently do 40.

3) Be able to run under a 5 minute mile! My fastest so far is 5:28

4) Be able to run under a 18 minute 5k. My fastest so far is 19:22

5) Weigh 145 pounds with 6% body fat by the end of the year. I'm currently 127 pounds with 9% body fat.

6) I want be able to do every Insanity workout without any extra rest, and continue to push myself harder and DIG DEEPER!

7) Continue to get in better and better shape, stronger, healthier, and be a role model to others.

God Bless and have a fantastic New Year in 2010!

Rush Hemphill