Love Notes by Jari Love

Posts in the Wellness category

Healthy Alternatives to Your Favorite Desserts

by Jari Love

Is your sweet tooth sabotaging your healthy diet? Sugar addiction is real, but fortunately there are ways to curb all of your pesky junk food cravings. By substituting a healthier food that you still find delicious, you can get into the habit of turning to a truly guilt-free dessert — and still enjoying every bite. If you are serious about cutting added sugars, it may be hard to get started at first. Your taste buds are used to huge hits of concentrated sweetness, but they will adjust quicker than you might expect. Before you know it, you’ll be craving hearty fruit salads, and the thought of a frosting-heavy cupcake will just turn your stomach.

Once you trade in the sugary desserts, you won’t miss them nearly as much as you think. In order to get there, you can replace your usual fixes with some naturally-sweet treats. Here are five desserts you can feel good about.

  1. Trade the ice cream sundae for yogurt with fruit and nuts

A bowl of plain yogurt contains live cultures of beneficial bacteria to help support a healthy digestive system. Topped with fruit, nuts, seeds, and/or oats, you’ll have a well-rounded yogurt sundae that can double as a hearty breakfast. Berries are a great natural sweetener for your yogurt, or you can add a small drizzle of raw local honey. Be careful, as the honey will up the sugar content of your dessert, but at least it provides added health benefits.

  1. Trade cookies for a rice cake with peanut butter

The crunchy sweetness of a cookie might be tough to resist, but you can get a similar experience from a souped-up rice cake. Just don’t skimp on the quality of your rice cake. Try a salt-free brown rice or wild rice variety with your favorite nut butter. Add sliced bananas to this low-calorie treat for sweetness, and sprinkle a few flax seeds for extra nutritional value. This dessert is sure to satisfy your craving for a crunchy and nutty treat.

  1. Trade the Popsicle for a slice of watermelon

On a hot summer day, your dessert of choice is probably going to be a cold one. Instead of reaching for a sugary Popsicle or fattening ice cream cone, grab a slice of nature’s perfect summer treat. Watermelon will hydrate and cool you while satisfying your sweet tooth. The juicy melon is also great cubed with a little salt, lime, and chili, if you like a sweet and spicy dessert. And if you are feeling adventurous, try grilling your watermelon. For those who prefer warm desserts, grilled, baked, or pan-fried fruits can turn up both the heat and the sweetness.

  1. Trade the slice of pie for a hearty apple crisp

You might think it’s hard to beat a freshly baked fruit pie, but if you are watching your diet, you won’t believe how satisfying (and how nutritious!) a warm fruit crisp can be. Apples are an excellent and classic choice, but mixing it up with pears, peaches, and/or berries will give your crisp new dimension. This recipe from Pure and Simple is a great place to start if you want to keep it on the healthy side. You can substitute oats for the almond flour if you like. Feel free to try it with less maple syrup and honey, and the sweet juices of your fruit will shine through. For best results, choose fresh fruits that are in season.

  1. Trade the milkshake for a smoothie

A ripe banana may be the best natural smoothie sweetener around. Juicy mangoes are another tasty addition. Blend these sweet and nutrient-rich fruits with unsweetened almond milk for a fast and low-calorie drinkable dessert. Add a little organic cacao powder if you want your refreshingly light smoothie to rival a chocolate milkshake in terms of taste. Superfood powders like spirulina or maca can up the nutritional value, making your smoothie either a satisfying dessert or a hearty afternoon pick-me-up.


Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

5 Moves to Strengthen Your Shoulders

by Jari Love 

Getting to the gym is hard enough as is, and the wait for equipment once you’re there makes it even worse. Fortunately, you can get a great workout without any dumbbells, barbells, or fancy machinery. These Weight-Free Workouts focus on a different muscle groups each time to show you how to build strength, even when you don’t have access to a gym. With these moves, any time can be workout time.

Whether you typically don a suit or a more casual T-shirt, strong shoulders are the key to a broad, great-looking upper body. As wonderful as it feels to look like a model in your favorite clothes, aesthetics become a lot less important when you consider the vital role shoulders play in everyday life. Anything involving pressing, pushing, throwing, and basically any arm movement, relies on the shoulder joint. Its composition makes this joint the most flexible in the body, but all that movement makes it extremely prone to injury.

By addressing both strength and flexibility with these five exercises, you’ll be able to keep your shoulders in great shape. This can benefit everything from your basketball game to your ability to change a lightbulb. And yes, you’ll also look stellar in your clothes.

  1. Inchworms 

Despite the silly name, this exercise is a serious challenge for your back, chest, arms, abs, and shoulders. Though isolated moves to target your shoulders specifically are important, these types of full-body moves will help build your coordination. It won’t do you any good to have strong shoulders if you aren’t able to use them in conjunction with the rest of your body. It’s also a good idea to balance your shoulder workout days with other workouts so you don’t stress the area too much, which could lead to a tear or other injury.

Begin standing with your feet almost touching and your hands at your sides. Bend at the hips, keeping your knees straight but not locked, until you can reach the floor with your hands. Use your hands to walk yourself forward until you are in a plank position with your palms on the floor directly below you shoulders. Perform one pushup, then walk your feet towards your hands while keeping your palms planted. When you get close to your hands, switch to walking with your hands to perform the next sequence. ACE Fitness suggests aiming to cover 10 to 15 yards. As the move becomes easier, perform several pushups in each downward phase to increase the challenge.

  1. Prone Ys

Working at a desk all day has a tendency to force most of us into a hunched position. Unfortunately, this bad posture becomes the norm even after we’ve stepped out of the office. In order to open your shoulders back up, you need to take things in the opposite direction. According to Muscle & Fitness, this exercise often doesn’t require any weight to pose a challenge. There isn’t really any limit to the recommended number of repetitions, so you can keep going until you’ve exhausted your muscles. If you’d like a little added resistance, water bottles will do the trick.

Most people do this move on a bench, but a stability ball or even the floor will also work. Lie down and extend your arms above and slightly out to the side so they form a “Y” with your head in between. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, then raise your arms up. Hold the position briefly, then carefully lower your arms back down. You can also perform the move one arm at a time.

If this move is extremely challenging, it’s a good sign you have some weakness or lack of mobility. In this case, try performing a sequence by changing the direction your arms are pointed.

  1. Feet elevated pike pushups

Handstand pushups are great for shoulder strength, if you can manage to stay balanced. That’s sort of a tall order for guys who don’t have a gymnastics background, so feet-elevated pike pushups are a great starter move. Switching to a pike position, meaning your butt is raised towards the ceiling, forces more of the load onto your shoulders and raising your feet increases the intensity even more.

Get into a standard pushup position, but raise your feet onto a bench or a step. Next, form your body into an upside-down “V” by bending your hips and pointing your butt towards the ceiling. The goal is to have your torso and upper body as vertical as possible. From here, carefully lower yourself until your head is just above the ground, then push straight back up. Men’s Fitness suggests four sets of 12 repetitions. Depending on your fitness level, you may need to start with fewer.

  1. Neutral-grip sternum chin-ups

Most people only switch their grip on the bar when they vary their chin-ups or pullups. Choosing a different bar position offers some advantages as well. recommends chin-ups with a neutral grip, where you grasp two bars so your palms face one another, to pose more of a challenge for the core muscles and the rear shoulder.

These muscles, technically called the posterior deltoids, often get a lot less love than the anterior and medial ones. Neglecting this area will could lead to injury and also prevents you from getting as strong as possible as they assist with every type of shoulder movement. Weak posterior deltoids can also lead to a hunched appearance, and nobody wants that.

To perform this move, you need a set of parallel bars positioned relatively close to each other. You can find these at the gym and likely at a park. Grasp the bars with an overhand grip, and pull yourself up. As you reach the top, pull your shoulders together and lean back slightly. Keep pulling until your chest is just about even with the bars, then lower yourself back down.

  1. Doorway stretch

Many guys are all about working on their deltoids, leaving the tiny rotator cuff muscles forgotten. They play an important role in helping you raise and rotate your arms and they’re among the most frequently injured muscles. We’ve already addressed strength, but we’ll finish with a move to improve flexibility. The University of Rochester Medical Center explains that these muscles don’t get a very good supply of blood on their own, which makes it tougher to recover. Since stretching encourages blood flow, it can go a long way toward keeping your rotator cuff healthy.

All you need to get a good stretch for these shoulder muscles is a doorway. With your arms pointed downward, grip the edges of a doorway, then lean forward until you feel a gentle resistance. Hold it briefly, then release. The key is to keep the stretching gentle. The only thing worse than not working on flexibility at all is pushing it too far, so remember to only go as far as you can without discomfort.


More Shoulder Strengthening Workouts HERE

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

By Collage Video | | Abs, exercise, fitness, Healthy, Jari Love, Motivation, practice, tips, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Plank Variations for a Stronger Core

by Jari Love 

First there were sit-ups, then crunches, and now we have the plank. The ab exercise du jour is widely recommended by fitness professionals as the best way to strengthen the muscles around your midsection without the same risk of straining your neck you get with the other two exercises. Let’s take a closer look.

Planks belong to a category of exercises called isometric moves. These exercises require holding a steady position rather than the two-part contraction, lengthening and shortening the muscles, that occurs with isotonic moves. A few other examples of isometric exercises include wall sits and holding your arms out to the sides while grasping dumbbells. These holds are great for building strength in a particular area, but they have limitations. Wayne Westcott, an exercise science instructor at Quincy College, told ACE Fitness isometric moves aren’t the most beneficial for overall strength since you don’t get much benefit after holding a position for longer than 90 seconds, and also because you’re not going through the entire range of motion.

We’re not saying anyone should stop doing planks, just suggesting you mix things up. A few variations will help you more effectively strengthen your abs and also target other core muscles you may be neglecting, so give these five alternatives a shot.

  1. Uneven plank

Even though moves that isolate one muscle group have their place, it’s always smart to include some exercises that target multiple areas at the same time. It presents a new challenge to your body and will help you speed out of the gym a bit faster. The uneven plank is one of the simplest, and most effective, moves using this approach. Instead of resting on both forearms, you’ll contract one arm to rest your hand on the floor. BJ Gaddour, CSCS, told Men’s Health, this combines the downward phase of a push-up with a plank to target your core and triceps at the same time. The uneven position also forces your core to work harder to stabilize.

To do this move, get into the plank position with your weight resting on your forearms and your legs fully extended. Keeping your elbow as close to your body as possible, pull one arm towards you until it’s in the push-up position and your weight is resting on that hand and your other forearm. Hold the move as long as you can with good form. If your back starts to sag, it’s time to cut the hold short.

  1. Two-point plank

Most have heard of the three-point plank, and the idea is very similar here. Changing to just two points of contact makes the standard plank significantly more challenging because you’ll be fighting rotational forces from two sides. But remember, only progress to this variation if you can hold a three-point plank effectively. You should be able to hold one limb off the ground while maintaining correct form for about 90 seconds before taking the next step.

Start in the standard plank position, your weight resting on your forearms and your legs fully extended. Simultaneously raise one arm and the opposite leg off the ground, extending your arm straight in front of you. Resist the urge to twist and keep your back and shoulders as flat as possible. Check out to get a look at the correct position.

  1. Side plank with leg raise

In an effort to carve the perfect six-pack, many guys don’t spend enough time strengthening the sides of their core, the obliques. These muscles help with rotational force and keeping you stable in daily life as well as athletics. Another reason to target this area? According to Livestrong, obliques are responsible for the “V” shape in the lower abs most guys are after. Basic planks don’t do a great job of targeting your obliques, though, so you have to turn the move sideways to strengthen these muscles.

For guys who are used to strength training, a standard side plank may not provide enough of a challenge. Adding a leg raise makes the move more difficult and also engages your abductor and adductor muscles. Working on this area around your hip will go a long way towards reducing your risk of a groin injury.

To get into a side plank, lie on one side with your forearm resting on the ground, elbow below your shoulder. Stack your feet one on top of the other with your legs fully extended, then raise your hips off the ground, resting your weight on the side of your foot and your forearm. From here, lift your top leg until your foot is even with your hip. Hold the pose for several seconds before lowering your leg. recommended two to four sets of five to 15 repetitions on each side.

  1. Plate transfer plank

Boredom is toxic for any exercise routine because a wandering mind nearly guarantees you won’t perform the activity as effectively as possible. This is especially true for isometric moves. A plank with great form will do a lot to help strengthen your midsection while one performed improperly will compromise your results and potentially strain your back. Adding a basic movement is one of the simplest ways to keep your mind occupied, so grab a few weights when you hit the mat.

Gather three to five weight plates or dumbbells, each around 5 pounds. Get into the plank position and stack the weights just to the side of you. Keeping your back flat and your core tight, lift the arm nearest the weights off the ground, pick one up, and transfer it to the other side of your body by crossing your arm in front of you. Repeat until you’ve moved all the weights, then switch arms. Men’s Journal shared a great video demonstrating this technique.

  1. Stability ball plank circles

A decent fitness routine doesn’t require a ton of equipment, but a stability ball is one of the smartest investments you can make. They’re inexpensive, easy to store, and incredibly versatile. Using one for planks forces your stabilizing muscles to work harder, and you can intensify the effort even more by adding a stirring motion. Men’s Fitness likes this exercise because it strengthens all of your core muscles while building endurance and balance.

Set yourself up with a stability ball sandwiched between your forearms and the ground, keeping your legs extended as usual. Once you’re balanced, slowly move the ball in a circle using your arms. Keep your legs stable and your back flat as you perform the motion. After about 30 seconds or so, switch directions.


Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

By Collage Video | | exercise, fitness, Healthy, Jari Love, Motivation, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Diet Essentials After a Workout

by Jari Love

Eating nutritious foods to support a healthy body might be important for everyone, but it’s even more critical for active folks. Running a race, spinning on a stationary bike, and rowing are all great activities to get your heart pumping and offer numerous health benefits. The harder you work, the more energy your body needs. It can be tempting to stock up on sweets and other empty-calorie foods to fill you up, but doing so could jeopardize your workouts and your health.

With so much conflicting information, though, it can be hard to determine what the “right” foods are. There’s a difference between carbohydrates from sweet potatoes and those from white bread, and it really can make a difference. Fortunately, we’ve put together a guide to some of the most important nutrients to fuel your gym routine and keep you feeling fine.

  1. Complex carbohydrates

Athletes around the world gathered in a collective eye-roll with the sudden boom of the Atkins Diet, a meal plan based around consuming only low-carbohydrate foods. While some might successfully lose a few pounds with this method, it isn’t an ideal choice for those with high physical demands. Livestrong explains that carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel, and that inadequate carb consumption can leave you feeling fatigued and lead to a number of deficiencies.

Instead of eliminating this group of important nutrients, focus on getting the best quality carbohydrates. That means whole grains and vegetables. Runner’s World explains these types of complex carbohydrates provide fiber and digest more slowly to provide a steady energy supply. That doesn’t mean simple carbs are out, though. The story went on to note foods like white rice and pastas offer up an energy boost that’s ideal immediately before exercise.

  1. Healthy fats

If there’s one thing we learned from the low-fat diet craze, it’s that eating less fat doesn’t make anyone healthier. WebMD explains that many low-fat or fat-free products rely on fillers like sugar and flour to sub for the missing ingredients, which could bring the number of calories right back up to where they were in the first place. What’s more, fat is essential to good health. Fitness says the nutrient helps to keep your body functioning and aids in absorbing key vitamins. The article stresses the importance of consuming unsaturated fats, while limiting saturated and trans fats.

And it’s even more important for athletes. Colorado State University states that frequent exercisers should consume at least 15% of their calories from fats, or risk suffering poor performance. So don’t shy away from the avocados and nuts, but maybe cut back on the bacon a little bit.

  1. Protein

You may have heard bodybuilders talk about the importance of eating enough protein, but it’s not just those seeking to get ripped who need to focus on the nutrient. Researchers have found diets rich in protein can help prevent obesity, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure. Protein is also important for those who frequently exercise, as it ensures you lose the flab and not muscle mass.

In addition to obvious sources like eggs, meat, and dairy, protein can come from vegan-friendly sources as well. Foods like nuts, quinoa, and legumes provide plenty of the good stuff without relying on meat or animal products. Health offers some great options for vegetarians and vegans.

Don’t go protein crazy, though. Fitness explains that consuming too many calories, even from these types of healthy foods, can still lead to weight gain. Just because you’re burning calories on the treadmill doesn’t give you an excuse to go on an all-you-can-eat red meat binge.

  1. Electrolytes

There’s noting worse than competing in a game or race and suffering from a dreaded cramp. The culprit is usually an electrolyte imbalance. Prevention explains this can happen when we don’t have enough of these minerals, but also when we have too many. So what exactly are electrolytes? According to MedlinePlus, electrolytes are minerals in our blood that impact the amount of water in the body as well as muscle function.

While many have traditionally turned to sports drinks to replenish these minerals after a serious sweat session, NPR reports that many athletes are choosing whole foods over the neon beverages. One thing everyone seems to agree on? The need to get enough of them. Leslie Bonci, a dietary adviser for several baseball teams, told NPR, “Electrolytes are minerals essential in helping the body retain water — and it’s true: We can’t live without them.”

So do you really need that sports drink? It all depends on your effort. Runner’s World reports most people don’t need the sweetened beverages for their workouts, but those who exert themselves for over an hour could benefit from the electrolytes. Just keep an eye on portion size.

  1. Water

We’ve all heard that drinking enough water is important, but it becomes even more crucial for those sweating on a regular basis. Many health professionals suggest letting thirst be your guide, but that can be problematic. Dan Trink, director of personal training operations at Peak Performance NYC, told Men’s Fitness that “by the time this warning sign kicks in, you are likely already dehydrated.” He also added that even a 2% loss in body weight due to dehydration can negatively impact performance.

If you need more reason to guzzle a couple of more glasses, consider what it can do for your waistline. Prevention reported findings from research that indicated drinking water over sugary drinks can slow the rate of weight gain.

Be aware that it’s possible, though rare, to drink too much of this vital beverage. Scientific American reported overdoing hydration can be fatal. The story explained this condition, hyponatremia, occurs when sodium concentration in the blood drops too low. Again, it’s rare, so just be aware of how much you are actually sweating.

  1. Vitamins and minerals

Vitamin or mineral deficiencies can lead to health problems for anyone, but it can be catastrophic for athletes. A study in the North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy discussed how an inadequate supply of iron can negatively impact athletic performance by preventing the efficient transportation of oxygen throughout the body.

The study concluded the condition can “severely affect an athlete’s ability to perform at an optimal level.” And that’s just iron. Everything ranging from calcium to vitamin C plays an important role. WebMD offers a whole list of different vitamins and minerals, explaining what they do and how to get more of them. Hint: many sources are fruits and veggies.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

By Collage Video | | exercise, fitness success, Jari Love, practice, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Vegan Spicy Kung Pao Recipe

by Jari Love

Do you love Asian food but also have a vegan in the family? This recipe is the best of both worlds, giving you the Asian food fix you’re craving while keeping things vegan friendly.

Cauliflower florets make an excellent replacement for meat in this kung pao recipe. The florets get a quick dip in a light batter and are then oven-roasted just until tender. Once they’re roasted, I toss them in a spicy sweet sauce, then pop them back into the oven for a few more minutes to brown and get crispy. Trust me, this version is so amazingly good you may not even miss the meat.

Spicy Vegan Kung Pao Cauliflower Recipe

Serves 4-6

Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 20 minutes | Total time: 40 minutes


  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup water, plus extra if needed
  • 1 large head cauliflower, florets removed
  • 1-1/2 cups vegan-friendly kung pao sauce
  • Fresh cilantro and thinly sliced green onions, for garnish



  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, combined the garbanzo flour, garlic and onion powders, Sriracha sauce, salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup of water, and mix until a thick batter forms, adding more water if necessary to thin out the batter as desired.
  3. Dip the cauliflower florets into the batter, remove any excess, and then lay them on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the florets are battered.
  4. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until the batter turns a golden brown color.
  5. Remove from the oven, and carefully, using tongs, dip the cauliflower into the kung pao sauce. (Be careful, as the cauliflower is fragile, and the batter can fall off.)
  6. Once all the cauliflower is coated, bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a serving platter.
  8. Garnish with fresh cilantro and green onions. Best served warm.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

By Collage Video | | Jari Love, Recipe, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Essential Factors for Muscle Growth

by Jari Love

For those aiming to lose weight, the equation is relatively simple: calories in < calories out. Going the other direction — that is, gaining mass and building muscle — presents a comparatively more intricate set of steps. Muscle growth depends on a number of factors, not just how much weight you can throw on a barbell (though that is part of it). Whether you’re trying to build your arms up, or get a Channing Tatum-esque core, fostering proper muscle growth requires specific and deliberate attention to several key factors. While most of these factors seemingly fall under the ‘common sense’ category, their relative importance to overall muscle growth may surprise even the most seasoned lifter. For example, you may be familiar with the 80/20 rule, which can be applied to many aspects of life. The rule dictates that 20% of the effort directed at a given task or goal will have the most impact, while the remaining 80% has less. Well, within the world of fitness, it applies as well — just not in the way you might think. We’ll cover that more in the following pages, along with some of the other surprising (or not surprising) factors that may be hindering your journey to muscle growth. Read on, take stock of your daily routines, and make the appropriate changes, if need be.

  1. Diet

You know the adage, or at least some form of it. And the 80/20 rule clearly applies here: A lot of the work when getting fit takes place in the kitchen, not in the gym. That means that what you’re putting in your body to use as fuel, is just as if not more important, than what you’re actually doing at the gym.

You need to focus on lean, protein-rich foods that will nourish your body and help facilitate muscle growth. Some of the dietary staples to consider are chicken breasts, lean beef, and salmon — all of which provide significant doses of protein with fewer calories and less fat than other meats. For veggies, stick to nuts and beans, which also have protein, albeit in lesser quantities.

  1. Sleep

Rest and sleep is incredibly important to muscle growth, yet most of us would gladly give up an hour or two if it means we get to stay out at the bar later, or pack in some more time with the Xbox. When you sleep, your body is hard at work repairing your muscle tissue, replacing old and damaged cells, and getting to work on the good stuff. You’ll also recharge your brain and attain more mental alertness, and it gets you ready for the next round in the gym.

For those serious about putting on muscle, 10 hours of sleep is often recommended, but at least seven to nine per night.

  1. Age

You don’t have much control over how old you are, and unfortunately, it can be a real factor when trying to redefine your body. Your age brings along with it many elements — past injuries, fatigue, family obligations, etc. — all of which can hinder your workouts, both in terms of what you’re physically capable of, and the amount of time you can put in at the gym. What it really means is that the older you are, the more planning you may need to put into your routine, and the more care you have to take to avoid injury.

  1. Variety

You’re probably familiar with the term ‘muscle memory.’ Muscle memory is basically your body’s way of adapting. That is, if you continuously do the same exercises over and over, working the same muscles and body parts, you’re going to plateau faster — because your body is adapting. That’s why variety is so important. Make sure you get in your basic lifts and exercises, but be sure to mix it up a bit. Do lifts that use different muscles, to keep your body continuously surprised. This will not only help build up peripheral muscles, but take the load off of the muscles you’re typically depending on.                                                                                                            

  1. Goals

We keep harping on this one: Establish goals, and track your progress! You want to know if you’re lifting more than you were last week, and by how much. That way, you can aim for personal records, which will ultimately lead to bigger and stronger muscles. Keep pushing yourself, aiming to add weight every session, or at least every cycle. If you’re able to beat personal bests from previous weeks, you’ll know you’re getting stronger. So keep track, write down some goals, and lift like a madman.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

By Collage Video | | exercise, Jari Love, practice, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Flat Abs Pasta

by Jari Love

Flat abs while still indulging? Here’s a pasta salad that’s healthy, tasty, and definitely makes you feel like you’re indulging, but also is flat abs friendly!  The secret is to use a vegetable peeler to turn zucchini into long pasta-like strands. This recipe is filled with fiber and is the perfect side to a lean chicken breast. Servings: 4

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 organic zucchini
  • 1/2 cup organic cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • dash of salt and pepper

    Cooking Instructions:

    1. Trim the zucchini ends. Peel down the length of each zucchini until you reach the seeded center, creating long, noodle strands.
    2. Place the noodles in a medium bowl, add the quartered cherry tomatoes.
    3. In a small bowl combine the oil, garlic, lemon juice, dried basil, salt and pepper. Pour over the noodles and mix to combine.
    4. Chill for at least 20 minutes in the fridge.
    *Optional, garnish with drops of balsamic vinegar glaze before serving.

      Nutritional Analysis: 92 calories, 7g fat, 68mg sodium, 7g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, and 2g protein.

      Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

      By Collage Video | | Jari Love, Recipe, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

      Do You Make These 5 Fitness Mistakes?

      by Jari Love

      Stroll through any gym and you’ll notice many mistakes. Mistakes that waste time. Mistakes that put people in danger. And mistakes that are just plain crazy.

      Maybe you even make a few of these mistakes yourself.

      By avoiding these common blunders, you’ll put yourself on the fast track to results.

      Check out the following 5 fitness mistakes and the solutions you need to avoid danger and to get fit fast.

      Mistake 1: You use the wrong weight
      The goal is to challenge your muscles, not to simply go through the motions. If you are able to complete 15 repetitions easily, then the weight is too light. On the flip side, if you aren’t able to perform an exercise through its full range of motion, and find yourself cheating on form, then the weight is too heavy.

      The correct weights will feel challenging by your last few repetitions, but won’t force you to sacrifice form.

      Mistake 2: You do the same routine
      You may have noticed that most people do the same exercises each time they visit the gym. Maybe you’ve been doing the same exercise routine as long as you can remember – if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it, right?

      The truth is that exercise routines have expiration dates, and that is the date that they begin to lose their effectiveness. As a rule of thumb never use the same routine for more than 4 weeks.

      Mistake 3: You don’t warm up
      Most people consider warm up time to be wasted time – they’d rather jump right into the heart of the routine. What they don’t realize is that a good warm up will allow you to perform at a higher intensity, which means greater results.

      The point of a warm up is to increase your muscle temperature. This increases blood flow, muscle contraction and reduces muscle resistance. Your warm up should last 5-10 minutes.

      Mistake 4: You use bad form
      Gyms are filled with people performing exercises with bad form. The two biggest reasons are that you aren’t concentrating on the exercise, or you’re trying to lift weight that is too heavy. Lifting with improper form almost always results in injury.

      Take the time to achieve proper form, by doing so you’ll avoid injury and will reap the full benefit from each exercise.

      Mistake 5: You workout alone
      People who exercise alone are less challenged, less accountable and typically see fewer results. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Why rush to the gym if no one is there waiting for you? Why push yourself if no one is watching? Exercising alone is a recipe for disaster.

      Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

      By Collage Video | | exercise, fitness success, Jari Love, practice, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

      Working Out Benefits Your Kids

      by Jari Love
      There are a million excuses to skip a workout, especially when kids are involved. Not only do you have to fight against your sleepy self telling you to go back to bed and push your workout off to the afternoon, but when the kids need to be fed or you want to spend some time as a family, your fitness regime will quickly take a backseat. Balancing a career, children, and time for your physical fitness can seem truly impossible, but the benefits for you and your kids are worth the balancing act. Here’s why:
      1. You’ll be a better parent
      Exercise helps ward off disease, prevents injuries, improves sleep, and helps maintain mental health. If those aren’t enough reasons, the neurochemical effects of exercise boost your mood and help you think better, which can lead to an increase in creativity, productivity, and better parenting. When you carve out time for yourself and your physical well-being, it shows in the way you react to stressful situations, your energy levels, and how you interact with your family.
      1. Teaches work ethic
      You may try to teach your kids the importance of hard work and good work ethic, but what about when they watch you overcome something difficult like laying out one more set in your garage gym or hitting the pavement every day after work? Exercise highlights your work ethic in moments when you’re tired from the day and unmotivated but still head out the door to fit in time for your body and mental well-being. Lauren Rodgers is one such parent who has prioritized fitness and shown her kids first-hand the value of hard work in the gym.
      1. Gives them time
      How many times have you caught yourself thinking, “If only there were more hours in a day”? With more time you would put in enough hours at work, cook healthy meals, spend time with your family, take time for yourself, and get that ripped body you never have time to build. Exercising actually adds time to your life. According to the National Institutes of Health, participating in leisurely physical activity can extend your life by 4.5 years. That’s almost five more years with your kids. Now imagine if you did regular, strenuous exercise. How much more time would that give you with your family?
      1. Demonstrates a healthy lifestyle
      Good workouts lead to better nutrition, more energy, and healthier lifestyle choices. When you’re in a routine of hitting the gym, drinking a fruit and protein-filled smoothie for breakfast, and making veggie heavy dishes for dinner, your kids will notice. You’re showing them how to lead a healthy life by example. This is how they’ll perceive adult life to be, and they’ll follow suit by being healthy, active teens and adults.
      1. Establishes respect
      It may not feel like it, but when you grunt out another 10 push-ups or insist on serving healthy meals, your kids will respect you. They’ll notice that you knock out some sit-ups during the commercial break and don’t eat doughnuts for dinner. When they see that you prioritize your physical fitness they will not only respect you, but they’ll want to emulate you.
      1. You’ll be happy
      You know that high when you finish a tough workout? When you exercise, your brain sees it as a time of high stress, so it releases a protein called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and endorphins to fight stress and reset the mind. This is why your mind becomes clear and you feel at ease during and after exercising. This happy feeling impacts the way you feel about yourself and your life. When you take care of yourself and you’re happy, your kids will notice.
      Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.
      By Collage Video | | Jari Love, practice, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more


      by Jari Love

      Creating an effective exercise routine requires goals. Deciding on what you want to accomplish, and using that as a guiding light to craft your regimen, is an easy way to make sure you’re covering all of your bases, and not skipping any steps on your way to conquering those objectives. But no matter what it is that you are truly after — Tatum-esque six-pack abs, Dwayne Johnson’s shoulders and arms, or maybe just a better level of all-around fitness, sans injury — there are certain elements to every single workout that you want to make sure you’re covering.

      According to Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned medical center in Minnesota, exercise should balance five essential elements to lead you to good health. That includes strength training, balance training, aerobic fitness, flexibility, and balance training — all of which, when used in conjunction with one another, produce a “well-rounded” fitness routine.

      These elements, though rather vague, have become more or less universally accepted by the fitness community. Getting in shape is about balancing a proper diet with exercise, and depending on your goals, tweaking the individual components until you reach a desired outcome. Those components consist of what the Mayo Clinic has laid out, along with a few peripherals.

      With that in mind, we’ve made a list of eight essential things you should adopt into your routine. Some of these aren’t very specific, or may seem like no-brainers — yet people often forget, or simply neglect to take them into account. Read through it, and see if you’re skipping over any of our essential workout components.

      1. A Time Limit: While you may hear about some people spending hours in the gym to get a chiseled body, a lot of conventional wisdom says that you should really limit your time among the dumbbells and barbells. The reasoning is simply because of the law of diminishing returns — that is, after a while, your muscles fatigue, and you stop making progress. While you still may be burning calories, for those looking to build muscle, being in the gym for hours may be more detrimental than helpful. Instead, fine-tune your routine and see what lifts you can incorporate that will save you time.

      2. Muscle-Group Focus: If you’re experienced in the gym, you know that most people tend to break their lifting regimens up into specific days, like ‘leg day’, or ‘abs day’, for example. And this is solid advice. Focusing on a specific muscle group on different days is a good way to ensure you’re balancing your exercises, and working all of your muscles within a given week. Also, it gives other muscle groups time to rest and recover from the previous workout. So, put a plan into motion, and give your routine a daily focus.

      3. Intensity: Go hard, or don’t go at all — it may sound like advice a high school football coach is bestowing upon his team before a big game, but it’s also a useful mantra for your time in the gym. If you’re not going to bring some serious effort to the table when doing your lifts or engaging in your daily run, it’s going to show when you miss your goals. A good way to crank things up to 11 is to use intensity workouts or exercises, which use explosive movements that can lead to serious muscle and strength gains.

      4. Water — Lots of Water: This is simple enough: stay hydrated. Have a water bottle nearby, and be sure to be drinking often. In the gym, and especially if you’re on the treadmill, you’re going to be sweating. A lot. Making sure that you’re replenishing your fluids is incredibly important, as dehydration can lead to muscle fatigue and cramps. You’re not playing for Vince Lombardi, after all — so keep slamming the H2O.

      5. Failure: What we really mean is, doing a specific exercise or lift to failure. That can be pushups, pullups, curls, or whatever — there are a lot of people who say you should go for the ultimate burnout for at least some of your sets. What ‘lifting to failure’ really means is that you go until you can’t hold proper form any longer, or simply can’t perform the exercise. Of course, this isn’t a good approach for every exercise, but for many of them, fitness experts give it the nod. Just be careful.

      6. Cardio: By cardio, we mean that you’re getting your heart rate up, and burning some serious calories. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go out and sprint hills, or even get on the treadmill. Doing some jumping jacks, using a jump rope, or even engaging in a fast circuit with dumbbells or machines around the gym will get your heart racing and the sweat pouring. Of course, many lifters are wary of cardio, but getting a tad into every workout can help you warm up, cool down, or just burn off some extra calories.

      7. Pushing/Pulling: These are the core movements that define your workout and build muscle. Think about it; whether you’re deadlifting or bench pressing, you’re pushing or pulling weight either toward your core, or away from it, and that is where the actual exercise is happening. And this is what you want to make sure you’re doing every time you work out. For lifters, this isn’t much of a problem. For some, it’s simply getting your form nailed down. Push/Pull workouts have become a rather common thing nowadays, so if you need some guidance, there is plenty to be found.

      8. A Cool-Down Period: This is one of the most-skipped elements, and it’s easy to sympathize with those that do. A cool-down period after your workout can help minimize soreness later on, and get you prepared for your next workout in a shorter time frame. Using a foam roll, stretching, or simply hitting the treadmill for a ten minute walk or jog should suffice, as long as you’re going from a ten to a zero on the intensity scale. Think of it like waking up in the morning — you don’t jump out of bed and go right into hyper productivity. It’s the same with your workouts, just in the opposite direction. Give your body a chance to slow down and relax. Also, make sure to have some water and a protein shake.

      Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

      By Collage Video | | fitness, goals, Healthy, Jari Love, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

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