All posts by Guy

Technique – BodyPower

bodypower techniqueTechnique is a word that is used a lot to emphasise great results in the fitness and sporting worlds.

So what actually is the definition of technique? It is simply “The most effective way to carry out a particular task” Seeing it explained like that, it is no wonder all sporting achievements rely so much on technique!

As children, in a sponge-like learning state, technique is established quickly and seamlessly, as we figure out the easiest way to sit, crawl, bend and stand, in order to navigate the world around us.

As we grow older, and factors such as competition and ego start to muddy our judgement, technique is often discarded in favor of achieving results more quickly in order to impress peers, beat a record, or prove a point. Technique also is the first thing to suffer when we are tired, distracted or under pressure…things which affect much of our adult lives.

Case in point: One of things that always surprises us when we take AB-MXR on the road to fitness shows like BodyPower or FIBO, is that whenever we get someone to trial the AB-MXR and they are surrounded by a group of friends…they hold their breath! And we’re not just talking about average couch-potatoes either, these are qualified fitness professionals and self-confessed gym-junkies!

And of course, breathing along with posture and alignment, are the cornerstones of effectively completing a task i.e. of good technique.

Technique is ultimately why we invented the AB-MXR. We wanted to develop a piece of kit that would take virtually all the thinking out of training, something that would keep your posture and alignment on point, no matter how much you fatigued, or how distracted you became.

The AB-MXR does this in a couple of ways:

  1. by aligning to your neck, thereby positioning your spine in the optimum position; and
  2. by being symmetrical, thereby not allowing one side of your body to dominate an exercise as you tire. (What it obviously doesn’t do, is remind you to breathe! Thinking of adding that functionality to AB-MXR 2.0!!)

We have made this our life mission because, in the long-run, good technique allows you to achieve the results you want for your body at the correct pace, and minimizes the risk of injury – keeping you fitter and stronger for longer.

So when you are introduced to a fitness innovation designed to improve your technique, embrace your inner child and take advantage of it – and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll achieve the results you want!

Breaking the Bread Habit

breaking the bread habitNo matter how you slice it, more and more research is showing that bread shouldn’t really have pride of place in the modern dirt. Whether you are paleo, macrobiotic, or just watching your weight a little, cutting bread from the menu seems to correlate with less bloating, fewer sugary cravings, sustained saeity between meals, and better results aesthetically.

Despite all of that, bread has been such a staple for so long, that it’s understandably hard to just quit it, cold turkey.

We thought we’d share with you some of the best alternatives to bread we’ve discovered since…well, since sliced bread!

Portobello mushrooms:
Sandwiches are *the* most popular lunchtime meal. And a traditional sandwich is meat and/or veg, between two slices of bread. The bread essentially acts as a container for the inner filling (and possibly also a surface to house a condiment) but often can distract from the flavors within and fill you up before you finish all the good stuff in the middle.

Try replacing each slice of bread with a portobello mushroom. It achieves the same effect of ‘sandwiching the filling’, with the added bonus of adding nutritious protein and fibre to your meal! You can try pre-baking your mushroom slices or using them raw for different flavors – either way, your lunch will thank you!

Filling suggestion: burgers, ham and cheese.

Lettuce wraps:
In a similar vein, wraps have come a long way in usurping the sandwich market. We think corn wraps are in theory a great alternative to bread, but are wary of them because a lot of them still contain wheat.

Try wrapping your food in a fresh lettuce leaf instead. This adds a much fresher flavor to the food, and is a much lower-calorie alternative to bread or wraps. It’s a particularly refreshing alternative in the summer…with the added bonus that it looks so cool!

Filling suggestion: fajita meat, prawns and cole slaw

Stuffed bell peppers:
This is one of our favorites. Peppers are like the Tardis of vegetables – slice off the top, and you have enough room to house a whole meal within. It’s almost like storing your food in an edible pot!

They will enhance your food with a sweet tanginess, as they have more flavor than mushrooms or lettuce, and will add a delicious crunch to your meal.

Filling suggestion: tuna salad, egg and cress.

There are plenty of other ways to cut out breads from your diet. Try making pizza bases out of ground nuts, or dipping crudites instead of breadsticks in hummus and tapenades.

Whole grains like brown rice and quinoa are also great accompaniments to stews and curries, while lentils and legumes such as chickpeas help fill you up without distending your stomach.

Ultimately the best way to kick your bread habit is to get creative. Once you start, you’ll soon forget bread was ever part of your daily life.

Let us know how you get on, and share any great discoveries you make with us @AB_MXR!

Pimp Your Plank

basic plankWe love planks. A tried, tested and true piece of ammunition in the battle of the core. But like all great staples, it can always be made spicier with just a few additional ingredients!

Here are some of our favorite plank modifications:

Inverse side-plankSide-plank
A wonderful variation on a regular plank, which challenges the body unilaterally, testing arm-strength and proprioception. If you are a dab hand at these, try lifting one leg and doing a star variation!

Side-plankInverse side-plank
This challenging variation focuses on strength in the lats, pecs and obliques of the free side, while building strong stabilisers on the grounded side.

Supeman plankSuperman plank
A wonderful rehab tool. Builds coordination unilaterally, and strengthens the back and buttocks.

Hand-to-forearm dynamic plank Hand-to-forearm dynamic plank 
The PT favorite for the advanced exerciser. Switching back and forth from hands to forearms is a great way to build up a sweat, keep your body thinking, all the while seriously challenging your core to dig deep and build strength from the inside out.

Swiss ball plank Swiss ball plank
A highly advanced exercise, which works the entire body, with particular emphasis on the abdominals, back, adductors and calves.

And if you want spice up your planks even more, you’ll find that most of these exercises can also be done with an AB-MXR, which adds a whole other level of intensity! Check out the range of AB-MXR exercises here:

http://www.ab-mxr.com/full-body-workouts/

Happy planking!

Spilling the Juice on Juicing

Spilling the juiceAnother year, another diet craze hits the market. Although to its credit, the juicing frenzy has stuck around longer than most, especially because of the new found popularity of technology like Nutribullet.

So – is juicing the best thing since steel-cut oats?

We do get the appeal of juicing. As humans, we eat with our eyes as much as we do with our stomachs, and the sheer vibrancy of the greens and reds of many of the freshly blended juices just screams “healthy!” to our stomachs.

And yes, juices can be a great way to load your system with raw, unprocessed vitamins and minerals.

So what’s the problem, we hear you ask? Well there are a few.

  1. Humans have teeth for a reason. We as a race evolved to chew on food. It’s part of our physiological make-up, and a hugely important part of digestion. Take the visceral act of chewing away from a human, and it can confuse their body’s understanding of when it’s hungry or full.
  2. Juice-only diets generally lack protein. Behind the bright green veneer, lies essentially a cup of blended carbohydrates. So while juicing purported health benefits, it actually does little more than feed the average body’s addiction to high-glycemic sugars. Yes, there are hardened juicers out there who perhaps blend tuna in with their green shakes (we happen to know one!) but the majority of fair-weather/beach-body juicers need their juices to be sweet in order to be palatable.
  3. Most juicing excludes the fibre. Take away the act of chewing and now the fibre too, and you have basically blocked any of the natural ways in which your body slows the absorption of nutrients into the blood. Which is great if your juice is purely made of vitamins, but troublesome as your juice is mostly made up of sugars. This results in a huge blood-sugar spike…and we all know that what goes up, must come down. So the inevitable crash after will have you seeking your next quick-high, perpetuating a vicious cycle of sugar-addiction.
  4. News flash: Your stomach likes solids! Just as you would never run your washing machine without clothes inside it, feeding your body nothing but liquids can be very confusing to your gastric system, and can cause you severe stomach cramps and nausea. Your body was designed to churn solid food into soluble materials – don’t deprive it of its purpose in life!

Often times, those on a juice diet also struggle to feel sated after a day of juices and end up succumbing to a solid meal. While this is good news for your empty stomach, it can be bad news for your calorific intake. This pattern of behaviour often results in the diet juicer actually putting on weight when they should in theory be losing it!

So, our advice is to ditch the juice and eat the way your body intended you to.

By all means, enjoy juice if you find it hard to fit your 5-a-day into your diet, but make sure you calculate that into your overall daily calorific intake. And wean yourself off the high-fructose base of many juices, and really try to stick with earthy leafy greens and vegetables for maximum benefit.

AB-MXR – All Body Maximum Resistance

AB-MXR launches their new product video; the AB-MXR in 60 seconds. Start the transformation today.

Find out all about the AB-MXR and how it can help you to build your core strength and shape your body. It’s easy to use, hugely versatile with 100s of different exercises and achieves great results quickly. Being small, portable and easily storable it is ideal for exercising at home, or taking with you when you go to the gym, or even travel. Ergonomically designed to support and protect your head and spine in its correct position, the AB-MXR encourages a safer, more effective and efficient workout. Check out the video and start the transformation today.

The AB-MXR workout programmes

Joanna Kabbani with Ab-Mxr

Joanna Kabbani, personal trainer and inventor of the AB-MXR, has worked with a range of leading sports and medical professionals to produce a series of 5 workout programmes to help you strengthen and shape your body. Choose the programme which most suits your goals, the time you want to exercise and the muscle groups you are targeting. There are 100s of exercises that can be done with the AB-MXR, so the workout programmes are a great starting place.

The Physio\Rehab programme is a series of exercises focused on posture, core stability and sports rehabilitation, as well as improving and strengthening muscles for everyday movement. The 555 is a quick fix (five minutes a day, five days a week, 5 weeks a year) programme ideal for people short of time or enthusiasm for long sessions in the gym. It will show you how doing a little exercise, regularly can make a huge difference. The Abdominal Workout focuses on a series of ab exercises to strengthen your inner abdominal muscles and these also form part of the broader Core Workout programme, which is great for reducing fat and core strengthening. Finally the Body Sculpt combines strengthening exercises with an aerobic workout for those keen to work up a sweat and improve fitness.

The beauty of The AB-MXR is that it is a really neat and hugely versatile piece of fitness equipment which can help people of all fitness levels (it is available in five different weights) achieve their goals. All the exercises can be done in the comfort of your home, or in a gym or studio environment if you prefer. The workouts are available for free at www.ab-mxr.com, supported by photos, video and helpful tips on safety and maximising your performance.