Exercise of the month: Turkish get-up


Exercise of the month: Turkish get-up

by: Jeff Libengood | .
The Fitness Doctor | .
published: May 01, 2013

Here is an exercise I have been doing, and teaching, for years. Its soooo simple yet soooo effective – basically just lie down, stand up then lie back down again!

This exercise allows for creativity and versatility too. I have used kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls, flex bands anchored at different places, nothing but an empty fist and even a barbell! Yes, a barbell – but that was still a challenge!

This exercise develops incredible flexibility, functional strength, core strength, shoulder strength, leg strength and cardio-respiratory conditioning.

Make sure you have no lower back pain or conditions before doing this exercise. If you do, don’t do it. If you are a beginner, start with just a closed first. If you work out regularly, start with a 5- or 10-pound dumbbell. As you gain an understanding of the exercise, and you are capable, progress accordingly.
Start lying completely flat on your back with one arm pointed towards the ceiling keeping your elbow locked out. Don’t let it bend!

Start into a standing position but the key is pretending there is  giant magnet on the ceiling that is pulling whatever is in your hand straight upwards. Do not let the arm ‘sag off’ out of perfectly vertical alignment the whole time – standing up and lying back down. This really challenges and strengthens the shoulder region.

Once you stand completely up, arm fully extended upwards in the air, return back to the starting position lying down again. This constitutes one rep. I like to do multiple sets between three to 10 reps depending on the load and workout objectives. I recommend just starting out and trying to do one to two sets of 10 reps – for each hand. That’s right! You have to do a set for each arm.

I like to put a light weight (15-20 pounds for me) and do 10 reps for time; try to do the 10 reps for the quickest time. The alternate way I try to increase ‘work’ is selecting a predefined time like 30-60 seconds and seeing how many reps I can do in that time. Then I switch to the other arm.

For those of you wanting to add more of a challenge – and you have access to a VersaClimber – do 10 reps for speed of the Turkish get-up, followed by 30 seconds on the VersaClimber (or stairs or sprints if you prefer) then rest 60 seconds and do the Turkish get-ups with the other arm (plus 30 seconds of VersaClimber, stairs or sprints).

This is one set. Do one to three sets. I do this one with Kasumi to improve her conditioning for table tennis. This is great for softball conditioning as well as many other sports and overall conditioning.

You can check your cardio improvement by doing your first set of 10 reps with each arm then taking your heart rate. Take it immediately following the set then again at one-, two- and three-minute intervals to see how fast your heart rate returns to normal.

Record these values and save them. After a month or so of doing them, recheck heart rate at the same intervals. See how much you have improved.
There you have it – one simple but highly effective functional training exercise that is sure to get you results.

Jeff Libengood, aka The Fitness Doctor, is a personal trainer to pro and Olympic athletes, business VIPS, celebrities and performers in Tokyo. He founded Total Postural Reprogramming in Japan and is a leading lower-back-pain expert and an author, lecturer and educator. Email him at: jeff@thefitnessdoctor.jp

How bad is restaurant food for you?

There’s no questioning the fact that the foods you eat go far in determining how quickly you’ll meet your fitness goals. And if you’re eating a number of your meals out at restaurants then you’re going to want to keep reading because the average restaurant meal contains more than 1,200 calories.

Most people have no idea just how fattening restaurant entrées are. In fact, the following information may shock you.

Here, in no particular order, are five of the most fattening restaurant dishes along with tips that I’ve included to equip you in making lighter, healthier versions of these dishes at home.

No. 1: Cobb salads are loaded with cheese, bacon, egg, and topped with a creamy dressing. Sure, you’re eating a salad, but that salad is likely to contain more calories than a burger.

Making a lighter cobb salad at home is easy and quick. Start with a dark lettuce, like spinach or arugula, to get the most nutritional value. Top it with hardboiled egg whites, baked turkey bacon, light cheese, avocado and drizzle lemon juice and vinegar for dressing. This has dramatically lower calories while still providing you with a satisfying, tasty dish.

No. 2: Spinach dip is filled with veggies so its calorie content is often underestimated, when it comes to appetizers. Don’t be fooled: just half a cup of this creamy dip will set you back about 350 calories. And if you finish the bowl yourself then you’ve just taken in 1,000 calories in dip alone, not to mention the chips or pita bread you scooped it with.

That delicious creamy spinach flavor can be recreated at home by using low-fat milk, spinach, some olive oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. A quick Google search for ‘light creamed spinach recipe’ will give you plenty of recipe options that are much lower in fat and calories than the restaurant version.

No: 3: Fried chicken of any kind from a restaurant is going to be loaded with more fat and calories than you’d believe. Even a serving on the kid’s menu will tip the scales at over 800 calories.

Making faux fried chicken at home is easy and surprisingly delicious. Whip up a few eggs with some Dijon mustard, garlic powder and onion powder. Dip your skinless, boneless chicken tenders in the mixture and then coat with almond flour, thyme, paprika and salt.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until no longer pink, flipping once halfway through. Turn on the broiler for the last couple of minutes to make it nice and crispy. This will save you hundreds of calories that would have ended up around your waist.

No. 4: Sliders are so small, there’s no harm in enjoying a couple, right? Wrong. Despite their petite package, enjoy a couple sliders and you’ll have taken in more than 1,000 calories.

The biggest problems with the restaurant slider are fatty meat and the refined-carbohydrate bun. So at home you can remedy these two issues: Use lean, ground turkey, and your grill pan to cook them with minimal oil. Instead of the bun, use large pieces of butter lettuce to wrap around your patties. Add sliced tomato, low fat cheese and grilled onion and secure the whole thing with a toothpick. These at-home sliders are guilt-free!

No. 5: Eating a pasta-based dish at a restaurant is weight-loss suicide. There’s no way to escape all those carbohydrate calories unscathed. The 1,000+ calories found in the noodles will quickly end up stored on your body as fat.

There are two really easy and guilt-free ways to mimic pasta noodles at home. 1) Bake a spaghetti squash until tender, then scoop out the soft, angel hair-like strands and top with your healthy pasta sauce. 2) Using a vegetable peeler, create long strips of zucchini and top with your healthy pasta sauce.

Cooking more of your meals at home, using the tips above, will save you many hidden calories and goes hand-in-hand with regular, challenging workouts in seeing you to your fitness goal. Call or email today and I will schedule a time to meet with you one-on-one to strategize the quickest and most effective route to getting you to your fitness goals.

– Jeff Libengood, jeff@thefitnessdoctor.jp

The three Bs: Training made simple - yet diverse

My BBB system (bands, balls and bodyweight) is a unique training system without limits created to eliminate big, bulky, fixed dimension machines and all the excuses that go along with why you can’t workout. BBB will give you complete, diversified workouts anywhere you are, anytime.

There are no more excuses such as, ‘I can’t get to the gym’, ‘no money’, ‘no time’, ‘no equipment’, ‘no space’, etc. The only limit to training in the BBB system is your own creativity. There are literally thousands of exercises and variables at your disposal. For example, there are more than 100 varieties of the push-up alone, (which I believe is more superior than the bench press).

You have the most incredible machine at your disposal – your body! The BBB system is based on making the body move, exercise and function the way it was created to, naturally, in three dimensions and functionally. Your body has over 650 ‘bands’ of muscles and 200+ bones creating numerous articulations and infinite movement variations.

You can literally do more exercises with a band, ball and bodyweight movements than you can with an entire line of big, bulky expensive gym equipment – and you will get better results!

Flexbands are a fabulous and versatile way to train. They are large rubber bands that come in various strengths that provide resistance from a few to over 200 pounds. They constantly change resistance as they lengthen or shorten, they add a constant variable to the force/curve line in every repetition that is, in my opinion, superior to weights when it comes to training for strength, speed and functionality.

Bands have a higher ‘elastic’ component and can be trained at slow or high speeds, trained at any angle because gravity doesn’t apply to them, and they give you stronger and faster muscles. They can speed up your metabolism to burn fat, are portable so you can train anywhere and have unlimited training potential.
They also improve function, stabilization, posture, strength and speed, allow you to train in all three planes of movement, are highly functional and safe on joints. They are very safe to use overall.

Swiss Balls are a fabulous and a challenging way to train. They really develop the body’s ‘tilting reflex system’ (which helps maintain balance in an unstable environment like on a Swiss ball, moving escalator, bus, train, etc.). Most gyms get caught up in using big expensive equipment that isn’t beneficial to a person’s real life needs and challenges.

The balls train stability, strength in multiple planes, challenge and strengthen the entire nervous system, improve balance, and provide unlimited training options and challenges. Combined with bands, you will be able to do literally thousands of exercise options.

Bodyweight training is so underrated. Reality is it’s a very valuable and integral addition to training that most programs seem to forget anymore. Bodyweight training requires great strength, balance and flexibility. There are so many fabulous bodyweight exercises that will challenge any individual at any level under any circumstance in any environment.

Creativity with bodyweight, bands and balls will leave everyone really enjoying their workouts while really challenging them and everyone will get results. BBB is a portable, cheap, functional, light and limitless system of exercise and stretching options.

If you want to start seeing more progress, start incorporating these into your workouts. If you need help, email me.


Crispy Orange Chicken

Who doesn’t love ordering crispy orange chicken? Forget the restaurant. Now you can stay in and make it yourself at home. Rest assured that this meal is filled with healthy ingredients that will not derail your fitness results. Servings: 6

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate (no sugar added)
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Zest from one orange  
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 2 packets Stevia
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Dash salt and pepper
  • Dash granulated onion
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  1. Combine the orange juice concentrate, coconut aminos, olive oil, orange zest, red pepper flakes and Stevia in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil on medium-high.
  3. Generously season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and granulated onion. Add chicken to  hot skillet and brown on all sides.
  4. When chicken is almost fully cooked, add the orange sauce, stirring to coat all of the chicken. Cook, uncovered, simmering the sauce until thickened and fully sticking to the chicken.
  5. Garnish with sesame seeds and freshly chopped green onion.

Nutritional Analysis:
One Serving Equals, 282 calories, 12g fat, 505mg sodium, 12g carbs, 1g fiber, 35g protein

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