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Marc D. Healthy Living Professional

Walnut Creek, California
I started my fitness business to help educate people about proper nutrition and training. I distinguish myself from all the other "fitness gurus" by being the Beginner's Expert. Somebody you can come to without any prior knowledge of fitness or bodybuilding and get a simple education... Full Bio
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The Right Way to Do Dumbbell Squats by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training I think when his trainer said dumbbell squats, maybe they meant hold the weights not stand on them? How do people come up with this stuff? Shattered ankle in t-m ... Read on »
Carb Backloading FAQ by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training Marc’s Carb Backloading FAQ for those who still seeking answers. With every bodybuilding program that hits the market, over time people have a slew of questions t ... Read on »
Does Alcohol Make You Gain Weight? by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training Does alcohol make you gain weight?! “Does alcohol make you gain weight?” is a common question I get in my Inbox at least once a month   They are probably referring ... Read on »
Need a Challenge? Join this Fitness Contest by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training Starts on February 14th, 2013 My friend Tom Venuto has an interesting concept called the “Love Your Body” challenge. In this contest if you TAKE ACTION,  you can s ... Read on »
Why Do You Think Weight Loss is so Difficult? by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training   For the last several years, I’ve been asked questions thru e-mail and in person about the particulars of losing weight.  Being mostly skinny all my life, I ne ... Read on »
The 5 Keys to Bullet Proof Abs by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training

This is a guest post by Shane McGrotty of * Rep Fitness * He has been training in power lifting, Olympic lifting, and CrossFit for several years.

Everyone knows that to have visible abs, a good clean diet is absolutely essential to get rid of the fat covering them.  However, this article is about creating bullet proof abs, not flimsy beach abs.  The type of abs that are useful in sports, taking punches to the stomach, and that make for a strong core.  Having a strong core helps prevent back pain, so don’t skimp on regular abdominal work!

1. Static Holds 

Having the strength to hold your body in a certain position is key in several ways.  There are examples of static hold training being useful for every day situations, and for athletic endeavors.  When you’re driving, activating your core to support your spine will release stress on your back, and bring your shoulders into better alignment.  When you are rock climbing and stabilizing your body to keep it from moving, or trying not to move your upper torso back and forth while running… static holds are everywhere.  Some key exercises to perform are planks, both on your hands in the push up position, on your elbows, and on your sides using one hand.  An even more advanced position is raising oneleg on your side – known as the starfish pose

star-pose

The Star Pose

which causes a lot of imbalance and seriously engages your core.  Still too easy?  Try adding a weight vest, or holding a dumbbell or kettlebell overhead with your free arm.

2. Core Twists 

Whether you are looking over your shoulder in your car to make sure no one is in your blind spot, or running and turning to catch a ball over your shoulder, you have to be able to twist your midsection and still be strong.  Some of the best exercises for this include the Russian twist -

- which can be done with anything in your hands.  Another great exercise includes laying down on the floor and keeping your legs off the ground and touching them side to side on the floor, keeping your body at a 90 degree angle.

3. Old School Strengthening Methods 

There are new tools for strengthening your core that come out every year.  However, the old school methods of training your abs are still some of the best.  These include hanging leg raises, decline weighted sit ups, dragon flags, and ab rollers.  There are hundreds of ways to make these easier, and hundreds of ways to make them harder.  Don’t skimp out on doing these every week.

4.  External Loading 

When you load up 200 lbs. for a front squat, your core is heavily engaged.  Getting your body comfortable with having a great deal of external weight on it, and engaging your core to protect your back during the squat is important.  This is an often overlooked aspect of core training.  Some people believe in fatiguing your core before you start your total body movements, while others believe you should work directly on your core afterwards.  My philosophy is that you should constantly bombard your body in different ways, so mix it up.  If you pre-fatigue your core, do a conservative squat or deadlift workout to ensure you do not hurt yourself the first few times.  Either way, full body exercises like the squat and deadlift strengthen your core and should not be overlooked.

5. Explosive Power Movements

While crunches with a little ball under your lower back is popular, and may help your abs a bit, it isn’t going to get you bullet proof abs.  Using your abs in an explosive way is key to building up raw strength and power.  Using *slam balls*

is an excellent example of this.  It is a full body exercise where you throw down a ball partially filled with sand of up to 50 pounds, and pick it up and throw it back down again from overhead as seen in the video.  You do this as violently as you can.  It is not only a good stress reliever, but they are designed for this, and it is an exhausting exercise for your body and abs.  Take the ball downstairs in your basement, or in your backyard and have some fun!  Throw it back and forth differently with a friend.  You can throw it from the side, overhead, bring it up through your legs and up over your head, straight up, pick a target you have to reach in the air, etc. the possibilities are endless… but they all should be done explosively with your mind focused on using your core.

Remember, all 5 different methods target your core in different ways, so make sure to perform all of the exercises on a regular basis.  Skip the crunches, and add these exercises for fully developed core strength.

Shane McGrotty is the owner of * Rep Fitness * where you can find fitness, CrossFit, and weight lifting equipment for sale.  He has been training in power lifting, Olympic lifting, and CrossFit for several years.  Check Rep Fitness out on Facebook .

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Where’s the Beef? by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training What’s in your burger? That’s a good question!  If your meat comes from the third biggest seller of meat, United Kingdom based Tesco, it might contain some horse mea ... Read on »
Dragon Flag by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training The Dragon Flag is arguably the best ab exercise and probably the most difficult one you can do. If you can do these in “good” form, you have core strength without a doubt ... Read on »
10 Reasons Your Carb Back-Loading Experience Sucks: by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training With a few tweaks, this kid might be Carb Backloading (he didn’t read the book either) You haven’t read the book. Click “ buy now ” to fix that. You are tre ... Read on »
Introducing The NoBull Bodybuilding Points System by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training Thanks to a suggestion from a friend who pointed out rewards system.  I told him I wanted to reward my readers in some fashion but  giveaways or emails just wouldn’t do.  ... Read on »
Top 49 Things I Learned In 2012 by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training Looking Back at 2012 What’s the lat pull-down machine for?  For people who can’t do pull ups (thanks Vince Girona!) You don’t need a training partner.  You ca ... Read on »
Can You Help Me Convince My Parents Supplements are Safe? by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training Supplements are safe for teens! (or are they?) Question: I am 18 years old.  I've been weight lifting for about a y ... Read on »
Try Cardio Coach for Free?! by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training I used to hate doing any cardio until I heard my first Volume of Cardio Coach.  In my experience with high intensity interval training, nothing beats it.  Sean O’Ma ... Read on »
Two weeks until the New Year, enjoy it while it lasts! by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training With New Year’s but 2 weeks away, I hope you are taking some time to relish the emptiness of your gym (if your gym is less crowded).  Once those resolutions are made… look ... Read on »
Carb Back Loading for Cheapskates by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training Not Everybody Can Afford Carb Back Loading So you say you can’t afford to buy the Carb Backloading ebook ?  In most cases, it is not because you cannot “afford” it ... Read on »
Carb Back Loading Meal Plan by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training Carb Back Loading Meal Plan: Simple, Healthy and above all … FUN! This could be your carb back loading meal plan While the book does contain a general carb bac ... Read on »
How Did We Get Here? Obesity Trends by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training Is obesity a national problem? Will it become a global problem? Here’s the Center for Disease Control (CDC) obesity trends among adults from 1986 to 2010. The ... Read on »
The Deadly Truth About Veganism by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training This is a guest post by Mishka Thomas, a food and beverage blogger The tragic death of an infant is among the many cases that shed light on the consequences of ... Read on »
Carb Backloading by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training Carb Backloading Question from Facebook: I’m in great shape right now, thanks to your advice and all your info, but notice your talking about this carb back-loading th ... Read on »
Bodybuilding Myths by Marc D. Healthy Living Professional Posted in: Blog Posts in Strength Training This is a guest post by Galen Hass is a seasoned bodybuilder and consultant to Trim Nutrition (a weight loss company) Many bodybuilding newbies turn to the most r ... Read on »