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5 Moves For Sculpted & Toned Legs

Legs are one of the most common problem areas that clients complain about. Can you relate?

Do you avoid wearing shorts and hate the thought of a bathing suit?

If your thighs rub together, buns jiggle and dimples appear, it’s time to step up your leg routine.

Whatever you’d like to improve about your legs, it isn’t going to fix itself. The best strategy for getting killer legs is to include strength training for your lower body in your regular exercise routine.

To tone and sculpt your legs, incorporate the following five exercises a few times a week and see the difference they make. Stick with it and you’ll be showing off those legs in no time.

Tone Your Legs Move #1: The Squat
A properly done squat is a powerhouse of an exercise. In one movement you work your glutes, hips and thighs. Talk about hitting all the problem areas!

Here’s how to do a proper squat. Position your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, core tight, and chest up, squat down like you’re going to sit in a chair. Bend at the knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your knees from extending past your toes. Hold this position, and then exhale as you stand back up. Repeat for 20 repetitions without resting. As your endurance builds, feel free to add resistance by holding weights at your sides.

Tone Your Legs Move #2: Carving Curtsy
This move is a little more complicated but worth the effort. It works your abs, buttocks, and legs—including your inner thighs.

To do the carving curtsy, first stand up straight with your arms bent and hands by your chest. Lunge back and to the right with your left leg so your left foot lands behind your right foot, to the right of your body. Bend both knees to a 90-degree angle, as if you’re performing a curtsy. Swing your left arm forward and up and your right arm back by your right side. Then stand up straight, lifting your left knee out to the side and tap your left knee with your left hand. Do 20 reps on each leg then repeat on the other side.

Tone Your Legs Move #3: The Mountain Climber
This rocking leg exercise mimics the movement of climbing a steep mountain. The faster you move your legs, the more of a cardio workout you’ll get as well.

Get into a push-up position: hands and toes on the floor holding up your body. Holding in your abs, lift your right foot, and bring your right knee toward your chest. Tap the floor with your right foot, and then extend your leg back to starting position. Repeat with your left leg, bringing your left knee up toward your chest and tap the floor. Return to start position. Repeat with both legs for 20 repetitions.

Tone Your Legs Move #4: The Lunge
The lunge is arguably the best leg exercise, as it works pretty much every leg muscle as well as your buttocks. There are quite a few variations to the simple lunge, but to do the basic lunge, stand up straight and tighten your core.

Step forward several feet with your right foot, lightly landing heel first. Bend both legs down until bent at 90 degrees (never more) and your left knee is about an inch above the floor. Your knee shouldn’t extend further than your toes. Keep your body upright, tighten your core and work to keep your balance by not wobbling from side to side. Lift your body up and bring your hips forward until you’re standing straight. Repeat on the other side, lunging forward with your left foot. Complete 20 lunges per leg.

Tone Your Legs Move #5: The Step-Up
Step-ups are great because they mimic movements you perform in daily life. This exercise works your legs and also gets your heart pumping. When you step-ups you can hold a dumbbell in each hand to increase resistance. In addition, you’ll need some sort of step such as a bottom stair, sturdy box, or low stable chair.

Step up with your right foot and then bring your left foot up. Step back down, so both feet are on the floor. Repeat, stepping up first with your left foot. Continue doing this 20 times with each leg.

Incorporate these moves into your routine to tone your legs, lift your buns, strengthen your core, and to encourage healthy weight loss.

Why stop at just toning and sculpting your legs? I’m here to help you transform your entire body! Call or email today to get started on a specialized fitness plan that’s designed to quickly shape your body.


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2 Swim Practices To Build Speed

Swim Start


Triathletes need the ability to settle into a steady pace and swim a long distance during a race. The goal of these two sets is to take that steady pace and make it faster!

Before launching into the workouts, you need to know the two biggest mistakes that can be made in these workouts. The first error is not going fast when it’s time to go fast. You must have a noticeable difference between your steady pace and your fast pace.

The second error is reducing the amount of recovery between swims on the first workout. Triathletes often feel that the least amount of rest during a set, the better. Not this time. You need the recovery so you can go fast.


Swim Set #1


  • 200 swim
  • 100 your choice of drills
  • 400 pull with or without paddles

Main Set

Depending on your fitness, swim speed and training time available, do three to five repeats of the set below. Before beginning, select a swim interval that is your current steady pace time, plus 40 seconds. For example, if your current steady pace is 1:40 per 100, the swim interval will be 2:20. That means leaving the wall every two minutes and twenty seconds. Actual rest time will vary depending on swim speed.

  • 4 x 100 with a full minute of rest between rounds:
    • #1 – Swim 75 at your current steady pace, then 25 FAST!
    • #2 – Swim 50 at your current steady pace, then 50 FAST!
    • #3 – Swim 25 at your current steady pace, then 75 FAST!
    • #4 – Swim 100 FAST!

Cool Down

  • Finish up with 300 pull, with or without paddles, and 100 very easy
  • Total distance = 2300 to 3100

Note: Workout adapted from Anaerobic Endurance workout #7 “Workouts in a Binder for Triathletes.”

Swim Set #2


  • 400 swim, 200 kick, 200 swim
  • Repeat the next round once or twice. Recover 10 to 15 seconds between swims.
  • 4 x 25
    • #1 – 12.5 easy, 12.5 fast
    • #2 – 12.5 fast, 12.5 easy
    • #3 – 25 easy
    • #4 – 25 fast

Main Set

Before beginning the main set, select a swim interval that is your current steady 200 pace time, plus 20 seconds. Notice that the swims are longer than in the first workout and the rest is shorter.

Your “fast” won’t be quite as fast for this workout as it was for the first one. That’s okay. Just be sure there is a noticeable difference in speed. For example, if current steady pace is 3:20 per 200, swim interval is 3:40. That means leaving the wall every three minutes and forty seconds.

Actual rest time will vary depending on the swim speed of each 200.

  • 7 x 200
    • #1 – Swim 50 fast, 150 easy (be careful not to go too easy or you won’t make the swim interval)
    • #2 – Swim 100 fast, 100 easy
    • #3 – Swim 150 fast, 50 easy
    • #4 – Swim 200 fast
    • #5 – Swim 150 fast, 50 easy
    • #6 – Swim 100 fast, 100 easy
    • #7 – Swim 50 fast, 150 easy

Take 1 full minute of rest and go right into 100s. Select a swim interval on this one that is 15 seconds over your steady pace. For example, if your current steady pace is 1:40 per 100, your swim interval will be 1:55.

  • 7 x 100
    • #1 – Swim 25 fast, 75 easy
    • #2 – Swim 50 fast, 50 easy
    • #3 – Swim 75 fast, 25 easy
    • #4 – Swim 100 fast
    • #5 – Swim 75 fast, 25 easy
    • #6 – Swim 50 fast, 50 easy
    • #7 – Swim 25 fast, 75 easy

Depending on your goals and fitness level, repeat a second round of the 100s.

Cool Down

  • Swim 200 very easy
  • Total distance 3200 to 4000

Note: Thanks to swim coach Doug Garcia for the main set.

Be sure to go into these swim sets relatively fresh. If you are wiped out from previous runs, bike rides or life chores it is best to just do an easy swim and come back to these workouts later when you can go faster.


This Is Not a Story About Last Place

 By: Jason Gay



Taylor Phinney’s solo ride during the Tirreno-Adriatico on Monday.

This is a story about a guy who finished last. Which is technically true. You can look up the results of the race, and you’ll see his name, right there, lonely at the bottom. Taylor Phinney. USA. Finishing time of six hours, twenty-two minutes, fifty-four seconds. One hundred-and-ninth place. Last.

But this story is better than that.

First, about Taylor Phinney. Remember that name. You might already know it. Bike racer from Boulder, Colo., 22 years old. The son of two cycling legends, Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter. A big dude on the bike, at 6 feet 5 inches, 180 pounds, Taylor Phinney is one of the most promising young cyclists in the world. He’s already been to the Olympics twice. Won a stage of the prestigious Giro d’Italia last year. He is expected to have many great days in the sport.

Monday didn’t begin like one of those days. Phinney was competing in Italy’s Tirreno-Adriatico stage race, and this penultimate stage was a doozy. Up and down, down and up, 209 kilometers of punishment, including a 27% climb so comically steep that some riders got off their bikes and pushed them uphill. Many riders quit. Later the race organizer would admit that the stage was too difficult, even for elite pros.

Phinney didn’t expect to win this stage. He just wanted to hang around, because the next day brought a time trial against the clock, and Phinney had a chance for a good result in that event. But the day soon unraveled. His legs weren’t feeling great, and then his bike busted its chain. He had to get a replacement and chase his way back to the pack.

“I just was dangling,” Phinney said on the phone, from his home in Tuscany. “We kept going over these really difficult climbs. I’d get back to the group and I would get dropped. I’d get back again, then get dropped.”

Bike racing is a sport that fetishizes suffering. Anyone who’s done it talks almost mystically about painful days on the bike, about the serenity achieved by pedaling through the agony. But even the best can only take so much. Soon Phinney found himself in a small group of 30 or so riders who had fallen off the main field, with about 130 kilometers, or 80 miles, left. The riders in the group began talking. Phinney said it became clear that nobody wanted to finish. Drop out now, get out of the cold. This is no shame. It happens all the time. Fight another day.

But Phinney wanted to fight now. He had to complete the race under the time limit to do the time trial Tuesday. “If I wanted to finish the race, I was going to have to do it by myself,” he said.

So that’s what he did. As the rest of the group abandoned the race, Phinney put his head down and pedaled. He was suddenly alone. The weather was miserable. It began to rain. And Phinney kept thinking of one thing.

“I would just think of my dad,” he said.

Davis Phinney has lived with Parkinson’s disease for more than half of Taylor Phinney’s life. One of the great American racers of all time, a Tour de France stage winner and Olympian, Davis’s day is often met by frustrating physical challenges. Tasks that were once simple take so much longer. Ordinary life requires patience.

That’s what kept his son pedaling in the cold Italian rain.

“I knew that if my dad could be in my shoes for one day—if all he had to do was struggle on a bike for six hours, but be healthy and fully functional—he would be me on that day in a heartbeat,” Taylor Phinney said. “Every time I wanted to quit, every time I wanted to cry, I just thought about that.”

He had so many miles to ride. “It’s kind of embarrassing,” he said. “The race has gone by, and people aren’t really expecting one rider slogging along by himself.” Fans on the side of the road offered to push him up hills. But Phinney remembered a story his Dad had told him about one of his old Tour de France teams, making a pact to decline pushes.

Taylor would do the same. No pushes.

“He never lost his motivation,” said Fabio Baldato, an assistant director for Phinney’s team, BMC Racing, who was driving a car behind Phinney the entire route. “It was unbelievable.”

“He wanted so badly to finish the race,” said Phinney’s teammate, Thor Hushovd, a former world champion.

Hours later, Phinney crossed the line, exhausted. He finished almost 15 minutes after the second-to-last rider, thirty-seven minutes behind the winner. He didn’t make the time cut for the day, which meant he couldn’t compete in Tuesday’s time trial. It was a bummer, but Phinney was too zonked to be devastated. During his post-race massage, he cried like crazy. On Twitter, Phinney wrote about riding for his Dad and called it “probably the most trying day I’ve had on a bike.” When Phinney’s saga was reported on the website Velonews, cycling fans went crazy. These have been bleak times for the sport, ripped apart by doping scandals. Phinney’s solo effort—and his emotions post-race—had stirred something soulful. “Emotion is powerful and undeniably human,” Phinney’s mother, Connie Carpenter, said in an email from Italy.

Back home in Colorado, Davis Phinney was marveling at the whole story. You can still find Davis on his bike, usually on the fancy carbon-fiber city commuter he got from his son. Cycling remains a sanctuary—”easier than walking, in a sense,” he said. But the daily routine remains full of hassles. Davis Phinney keeps a sense of humor about it, jokingly referring to himself as “Turtleboy.” He began a foundation to give people living with Parkinson’s tools for living well—for achieving little victories.

Davis Phinney said he didn’t learn about Taylor’s ride until after it was over. Friends told him how inspired they were by his son. When he heard that Taylor had been thinking about him the whole time, he was floored.

“I have almost no words for how amazing it makes me feel,” Davis Phinney said. He wrote in an email to his son:

You make me so happy and beyond proud—and that is better than any medicine and can defeat any disease.

The results are wrong. This is not a story about a guy who finished last. Taylor Phinney won that race.

By: Jason Gay 
Original Source



Delineating the Perfect Swim Stroke

Should a swimmer’s arms serve as paddles or propellers? That question, abstruse as it might seem, underlies a long-running controversy in swimming about the best, most efficient technique for the freestyle and the backstroke. It also prompted a new study from a group of scientists at Johns Hopkins University that, in seemingly answering the question, is likely to provoke even more debate.

The concern about how best to position and move the arm during the freestyle stroke (also known as the front crawl) and its inverse, the backstroke, first gained prominence back in the 1960s, when James E. Counsilman, the famed Indiana University men’s swimming coach known as Doc, decided to apply scientific principles of propulsion and fluid dynamics to swim techniques.

The physics of swimming are simple enough. To move through the water, you must generate thrust. To do so, you can use dragging or lifting forces. Drag is created by, unsurprisingly, dragging back against the water and, in the process, pushing an object, like the swimmer’s body, forward.

Lift, on the other hand, is created mainly by the flow of fluid around an object moving at an angle through the water. The fluid flows faster around the more curved side of the object, lifting and thrusting it forward. Ship propellers work on this principle.

In the deep-catch stroke, illustrated at top, the hand pulls long and deep through the water. In the scull, below, the hand traces an S shape.

But until Doc Counsilman weighed in, it was widely believed that swimming, for humans, involved primarily drag forces. You pulled against the water, like someone paddling a canoe, your arm remaining straight, palm perpendicular to the body. This stroke technique is often called a “deep catch” style of swimming, since you pull long and deep against the water.

Coach Counsilman was convinced, however, that lift could and should provide a majority of the propulsion for human swimmers, and that the way to generate lift was to scull, or move the stroking arm through an S-curve underwater.

In his revised version of the freestyle, the arm, bent as it breaks the surface, pulls back against the water at first, as in a paddling stroke. But then the arm starts turning sideways in a gentle curve as it begins to trace an S shape, the thumb heading up as the palm turns parallel to the body. The arm reverses that motion to traverse a full S shape before emerging from the water.

Fluids would flow swiftly around the hand as it sliced through the water and, Coach Counsilman contended, create more lift than the deep-catch stroke.

Coach Counsilman instituted this new stroke technique for his swimmers, first at Indiana University and later as head coach of the United States Olympic team. His swimmers, who included Mark Spitz, won more than 20 Olympic medals and 23 Big Ten Conference titles.

In the years since, sculling during the freestyle stroke and backstroke became commonplace among elite and recreational swimmers.

But many coaches continued to question whether lift, generated by sculling, was really the fastest, most efficient way for swimmers to reach the wall.

So the Johns Hopkins scientists, who before the 2008 Summer Olympics had studied how best to perform the butterfly stroke (their conclusion: have extremely flexible ankles and, if possible, big feet), decided now to put the two strokes to the test in a series of complex computer simulations.

They began by creating a virtual animated arm, using laser scans and motion-capture videos from Olympic-caliber swimmers. “We decided to separate the arm from the rest of the body so the we could study, in isolation, the underwater flow dynamics” around a swimmer’s arm during the freestyle stroke or backstroke, says Rajat Mittal, a professor of mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins and a devoted recreational swimmer, who oversaw the study.

They then gathered underwater videos of elite swimmers, supplied by USA Swimming, which they categorized as displaying either a sculling or a deep-catch stroke.

The scientists ran their animated arm through multiple simulations of each stroke, requiring thousands of hours of computer time.

The result was “a bit of a surprise,” Dr. Mittal says. It turned out that lift was, as Doc Counsilman had maintained, important for efficient, and therefore fast, stroking. In all of the scientists’ simulations, lift provided a majority of the propulsive force.

But sculling did not supply much lift. In fact, it impeded both lift and drag. “Our shoulders won’t twist all the way around,” Dr. Mittal says, meaning our arms won’t lever about as ship propellers do, and the amount of lift we can create by sculling is small.

The better choice for human propulsion, he says, was the paddlelike deep-catch stroke, which actually produced more lift than sculling, along with a hefty dose of drag.

“All things being equal, our data show that the deep-catch stroke is far more effective,” Dr. Mittal says.

Of course, races are not won or lost by disembodied arms, and as Dr. Mittal points out, “all things are not equal, most of the time.” An effective deep-catch stroke requires considerable shoulder strength, which many swimmers lack, making a sculling-based stroke easier for them, at least until they develop robustly muscled shoulders.

“How you roll your body in the water with each stroke will also matter,” he says, as will overall fitness. “Sculling is less fatiguing,” so less-fit swimmers may opt to scull, he says.

But for fit, powerful swimmers, or those who aspire to become such, “my advice would be to use the deep-catch stroke,” he says.

“Anecdotally, we’ve been told that more and more coaches are moving to the deep-catch,” he continues, and his group’s findings suggest that for most swimmers, whether elite or recreational, “that is the way to go.”




By: Gretchen Reynolds