Best Stretches For Runners

Best Stretches For Runners

If you’re a runner, you probably already know that you need to keep your muscles flexible and increase their range of motion or you’ll suffer from injuries. Finding the best stretches for runners can help you prepare your muscles for exercising and also reduce the tightness after you run, since exercising causes the muscles to constrict. Stretching before running also increases the blood flow to the muscle tissue and gets them prepared for the run. Here are a few stretches you’ll find helpful.

Stretch the quadriceps.

It might seem simple, but it’s very effective. You can stretch your quadriceps, the muscle in the front part of the leg, with a simple easy action. Pull your leg behind you bending at the knee by using the hand on the same side. Pull up with the knee pointing down. If you have good balance, you may not need it, but it can be helpful to hold onto something to prevent falling.

Your hamstrings should receive attention too.

Making sure your hamstrings are up for the challenge is also important. These are the muscles on the back of the leg and help bend the knee and help you straighten your upper part of the leg at the hip. A great hamstring stretch requires you to sit with one leg, in this case we’ll use the left leg first, extended and the other leg, right leg, bent with the foot touching the inner thigh of the left leg. Lean forward, without rounding your back and reach for your toes. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. Don’t over stretch to the point of injury. You don’t have to pull your toes toward you, just limber up the area. Do it on the other leg.

Loosen your calf muscles.

This stretch is so easy to do, but extremely effective. Stand by a wall with it close enough to touch if you stretch. Put one foot, we’ll use the left again, in front of the other. The right leg remains straight while you put your hands on the wall and bend the knee of the left leg. You’ll feel the stretching of the muscles in the right leg. Reverse legs.

Loosen the muscles down the outside of the thighs with a stretch. Stand near a wall for balance, cross the left leg in front of the right with them crossed at the ankles and lift the left arm over your head. Balance with your right arm as you stretch to the right.

Stretch your back by standing with hands behind it, shoulders up and posture good. Push the pelvis under and back. Hold and release.

Don’t forget your glutes. Lay on the ground with legs lifted. Pull on toward your chest, bending at the knee and then do the other after extending the first.

Push ups on a soft surface can help release tight back muscles.

Get A Head Start On Bikini Weather

Get A Head Start On Bikini Weather

Get a Head Start on Bikini Weather

You can get a head start on bikini weather by beginning an exercise program right away. Don’t wait until the weather gets warm to start worrying about how you look in your bathing suit, start immediately and you won’t regret it. Whether you have pounds to lose or just want to tone your body to perfection, starting immediately will insure you’ll have the best possible results.

Set realistic goals and stick to a program.

Realistic goals work both ways, losing 100 pounds in two weeks isn’t realistic, but losing a half pound after eating healthy and working out for weeks isn’t realistic either–if weight loss is a goal. You need to find a goal somewhere in the middle that’s both achievable, yet still tough enough to be exciting. If you have a lot of weight to lose, break it up into smaller more easily achievable goals to give you a sense of accomplishment.

Learn how to eat healthier.

You don’t ever have to diet. In fact, dieting doesn’t work because it’s too restrictive and always ends. Then you regain the weight you lost. Instead of dieting, making lifestyle changes such as learning to eat healthier is a better plan. You will learn how to make wiser choices when it comes to foods, sometimes making substitutions, such as Greek yogurt for sour cream and sometimes cooking differently, like steaming food rather than frying it. People who change the way they eat often find they like the new healthier meals and never feel hungry or deprived.

Get help developing a workout program.

Not everyone knows exactly where to start when it comes to working out. Even if the person follows a video, often they do the exercises improperly without realizing and that can minimize the benefits and even cause injury that will put you on the bench beyond bikini weather. A personal trainer will design a program that’s tailor made for you and one that will have you looking your best on the beach. You’ll love the fat burning formula I developed. It gets you ready for bikinis quickly.

You’ll feel the workout originally, but don’t let that stop you. After a few weeks the only thing you’ll feel is great.

Not only will your body look fantastic, working out also helps give your skin a glow by increasing circulation and sending nutrient and oxygen laden blood to every cell in your body.

Just because you’re thin doesn’t mean you’ll look fantastic in a bikini, unless you have a few curves. You can also learn how to build muscle tissue and add a few pounds so that bikini looks fantastic on you.

The longer you workout, the easier it is to lose weight. You’ll be building muscle tissue to replace fat tissue and muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance. That means you’ll be boosting your metabolism.

How To Tone Your Arms

How To Tone Your Arms

How to Tone Your Arms

If you’ve ever thought there was a helicopter overhead when wearing a sleeveless top only to find it was the flab under your arm flapping in the wind, it’s time to tone your arms. You don’t have to cover your body and wear long sleeves to feel comfortable in public. It takes a few exercises done on a regular basis to tone the muscle tissue and make it more attractive.

Start with something simple.

One exercise that almost everyone can do is arm circles. To maximize results, holding three or five pound weights can get results faster. If your arm strength is totally limited you don’t have to use weights at first. You can work up to the eight pound weights. Stand erect with your arms outstretched at your sides. Make small backward circles with your arms, making sure you keep your shoulders down. Repeat the circle twenty times and then do forward circles for the same number of times.

Push toward the clouds for even more muscle tissue.

Another easy exercise that can help tone those arms is also another simple one. If you have limited upper body strength, you can start without a weight and gradually add dumbbells from one to eight pounds, making sure you have the same weight in each hand. Stand with feet apart, bending your elbows with hands shoulder height and palm facing outward. Raise your hands up with arms straight, keeping your shoulders down. Lower back to starting position and repeat the process 20 times.

Keep the weights behind your back.

This one is tougher. Stand with your feet at shoulder width and your knees slightly bent. Your arms should be at your side with palms facing backward and a dumbbell in each hand, if you’re able. Lift your arms backward, hands should be about two feet from the body and then bring them back down to your sides. Repeat this 20 times.

These are just starting points for firmer upper arms. In order to get the best results, losing overall body fat may be necessary. Make sure you don’t do these every day, but instead every other day.

Some simple curls with your arms to your side can also help tone your upper arms. You can start doing these without weights and work up to eight pounds.

A push up starting with the forearm flat and elbows bent to support you is another good way to use body weight to build your upper arm muscles.

There are so many different upper arm exercises but a total fitness program not only firms your arms, it can also firm and tone your entire body while burning body fat in the process.

Put A Cork In It

Put A Cork In It

When it comes to weight loss and alcohol, you’re better off if you put a cork in it and bypass the spirits if you’re going to drink more than one glass a day. One study shows that people who drink in moderation, no more than one glass of beer or wine, are actually thinner than those who don’t. The reason may be because it slows them down at meal time and allows them to reach the point of satiation before they finish their entire meal. That causes them to eat fewer calories and stay thinner.

While many calories from alcohol are wasted by the body, it can only waste so many.

For some reason, your body doesn’t process the calories in alcohol and some of them are wasted. But your body can only do so much. If you’re drinking several glasses of wine, hard liquor, beer or cute little umbrella drinks with every meal, these are empty calories that can add even double the amount of daily calories you intake if you have several drinks. You might never consider eating a Big Mac and large fries as part of your weight-loss program, but you might decide to have a Mai Tai or two with a meal. You’ll get more calories from two Mai Tais than you’d get from the Big Mac and fries. At 620 calories each, you’d be guzzling 1240 calories with the drinks and only 1040 calories with the burger and fries. That’s more than half a day’s worth of food in just two small drinks. Even Superman’s body couldn’t waste all those calories.

Wine is heart-healthy but enough is enough.

Many recent studies show that a glass of wine or beer each day can lower your risk of heart disease. However, if you’re drinking more than that, it actually increases the risk, a fact many sensational news stories often forget to mention. The older you are, the more good that one glass of wine does, particularly if you’re over 65 or already have existing heart disease. Those younger may not get nearly the benefit from the wine.

Consider the caloric intake of all drinks when you decide to imbibe.

Just like food, any drinks you consume add calories. If you want a glass of wine with your dinner, sip the wine slowly and enjoy the conversation with your dinner mate. When the food comes, eat just as slowly, savoring the flavor of each bite. You’ll not only enjoy your meal and drink more, you’ll also find that you eat far less and get the most out of every bite. Always remember, no matter whether it’s food or drink, make sure you take the time to really taste the food or drink and enjoy the flavor. Not only will it help you lose weight, it will make your life more sensual and pleasurable.

No matter what study you read, it shows that adding wine or alcohol to your diet doesn’t always have health benefits if you don’t already drink. It’s better not to start and limit your intake if you already consume alcohol on a regular basis.

While only a small amount of the calories from alcohol are converted to fat, the rest are changed to acetate in the liver. It keeps the alcohol safe for human consumption and prevents it from poisoning the body. However, it does slow down the metabolism of fat, making weight loss more difficult.

If you do drink, check the calorie count of the drinks first. Savoring a small glass of chardonnay with a meal only adds 90 calories, while cute little umbrella drinks may be an entire meal’s worth of calories.

No matter what you consume, food or drink, moderation is the key. You can often eat your favorite foods and still lose weight if you eat with moderation.

Start Planning Your New Year's Resolution

Start Planning Your New Year’s Resolution

You don’t have to wait until the stroke of midnight to decide on your New Year’s resolution. You need to start as soon as possible to insure you have the perfect one or ones to make the coming year better. At least one of those resolutions should include a way to make your life healthier and commit you to a lifestyle change, whether it’s becoming fitter, weight loss, quitting smoking or other bad habits or getting more sleep at night, anything that decreases your risk of serious illness and increases your overall good health is excellent.

Losing weight is often the New Year’s resolution chosen.

America is now obese in epidemic proportions. In fact, obesity is the leading cause of preventable deaths, surpassing even cigarette smoking. In a list of the most obese nations, America ranks number one, followed by China—which is a shocker—and India—another shocker. The Chinese and Indian obesity rate is mainly in the city and blamed on the new fast food restaurants and processed food. In other words, they’ve Americanized their eating. Shedding extra pounds leads to decreased risk of serious illness and improves health. Bringing the New Year in with a resolution for weight loss is a good idea, but you need to plan your strategies to start off with a boost. Consider using the services of a personal trainer to help.

Getting back into shape can improve your health and rev up your energy.

No matter how thick or thin you are, if you’re not fit, you probably feel exhausted from minor exertion. A program of regular exercise can help you conquer exhaustion, slim and tone your body and leave you feeling exhilarated. While you can start a program of regular exercise on your own, it’s far easier to start with the help of a professional, such as a personal trainer, who will create a program especially for your goals, level of fitness and special needs. If you’re on a budget, start with a trainer and as you become fitter often branch off on your own, using the trainer’s expertise less frequently.

Quitting smoking can be a boon to your health, but can create other problems unless you’re a step ahead.

Every doctor will agree that quitting smoking will help improve your chances of living longer and reduce the risk of serious diseases. However, people who quit smoking often find themselves eating more and craving sweets to replace the instant boost in energy a cigarette gave them. That leads to a worse problem, obesity. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is ceasing smoking, consider starting a workout program and professional nutritional advice to help prevent weight gain. Exercise also burns off the stress hormones created by the desire for cigarettes.

Lack of sleep can take its toll, but if you suffer from insomnia, what can you do that doesn’t include popping a pill? Working out regularly can help you sleep better at night and improve your health in both ways.

A healthy diet is extremely important for longevity and wellness. Learning how to eat healthier might be your resolution and a nutritionist or personal trainer certified in nutrition can help.

Substance abuse is growing and the horrible effect on the health of the individual with the problem ages and weakens the person with the problem. If you’re struggling with an addiction problem get help. Exercising on a regular basis can also help you develop a stronger will and lift your spirits by giving you a boost of endorphins, dopamine or other hormones that make you feel good.

If you find yourself depressed frequently and want to be happier, it may not be out of your reach or come with a prescription label. Studies show a program of regular exercise can help lift depression and make you feel better.

Let Us Be Your Coach

Let Us Be Your Coach

Your Coach

Getting a fitness coach is not a new concept and has helped thousands of people lose weight or achieve other fitness goals. We’d like to apply for the job of your coach because we know you’ll see results with our help. You may have tried to lose weight or get back into shape before but failed for a number of reasons. Normally, most often the reason is lack of success, which then produces lack of motivation. Injury, lack of direction, inappropriate exercise and unproductive time spent in the gym also contributes to programs failing.

Personal trainers create a program specifically for your needs.

You’re a unique individual with your own special needs and level of fitness. If you’ve never exercised previously and are completely out shape, you’ll need a different program than the person who works out regularly. Trainers first identify each person’s level of fitness, including weaker muscle groups, learns goals and any special needs, such as back problems that might require modifying an exercise. Only then does he or she design a program to work that person toward maximum potential but will still be within his or her capabilities.

You’ll learn how to do each exercise correctly.

It might seem like a simple thing, but doing an exercise correctly is extremely important. While you might think you’re doing it right, sometimes something that seems minor, such as how you turn your wrist or whether you inhale or exhale, makes a huge difference. The trainer first shows you how to do the exercise, then watches to insure you have the proper form. Doing an exercise incorrectly minimizes results and can even cause injury that sets you back for months.

You’ll see faster results with us as your coach.

Not only does a trainer create an initial program, but also tracks your progress. As your fitness level improves the trainer adjusts your program to reflect that improvement. That’s something most people who work out alone fail to do and then quit because they don’t get the desired results. Trainers also know what exercises work faster and provide the most results. You’ll spend less time with the help of a trainer/coach, but see more improvement.

You’ll have plenty of motivation when you have a coach. A personal trainer holds you accountable, but also provides a great deal of support.

Exercise may not be enough to help you reach your goals as fast as you want. That’s why personal trainers also help you learn how to eat healthier.

You’ll feel fantastic after a workout. Not only does regular exercise burn off stress hormones, it stimulates the brain to replace them with ones that make you feel good.

You’ll love what you see and achieve your goals with less time spent in the gym. It won’t take long before you’re wearing a smaller size, enjoying more energy or noticing more strength when you workout with a personal trainer as your coach.

My Thanksgiving was Ruined

My Thanksgiving was Ruined

So if you’ve been reading my emails & blog regularly this week, you know there is still more to the story. I left you “hanging” right?

I showed you my 6 pack in the first part of the story: HERE

I included some photos from a photo shoot I did 11 years ago and told you about the goals I WANTED to achieve back then.

I also shared with you in a 2nd article, how 11 years this past weekend, I almost gave up on my goals and I almost QUIT. You can read about it here >>>

So now that you are caught up, you want to know about that man and his wife, who approached me after I stepped off the stage and WON the 2004 Fitness Nationals, 11 year ago.

If you remember, I also told you one of my goals was to “be in the magazines”.

Well from what I had been told, it can be really hard to get into the magazine. You have to live in NY or LA or really be known in the industry.IMG_5032

Here I am, this girl from Akron, Ohio, which isn’t exactly known for “fitness” and I tell myself I one day CAN be in the magazines. Why not?!

After I got off stage this man and his wife approached me and congratulated me on my win and newly earned pro card.

His wife says, “You have a great look and we would like to feature you in our magazine.”

The man hands me his card. He and his wife are the owners of Fitness RX for Women magazine and several other fitness publications.

She goes on to say, “We have never featured or used an NPC or IFBB competitor in our magazine, you will be the first ever featured in our Fitness Rx for Women publication. We really like your appeal.”

I kept a smile and listened, I didn’t want to seem over excited or like I was a “newbie’ to this type of thing.IMG_5033

I am so excited to hear about this opportunity and not only that I will be in a “magazine”, but I will also be the FIRST NPC/IFBB ever used in a model in Fitness Rx for Women magazine.

Ahhh, another dream come true- all in one day!

Then they say, “You will fly out on Friday and shoot all day Saturday.”

All these thoughts are going through my head…..

Wait a minute? Friday? That’s the day after Thanksgiving!!!IMG_5034

You mean to tell me I have to fly out and be ready for a fitness photo shoot the day after Thanksgiving?!

Thanksgiving I eat turkey, mashed potatoes, and pie. I want to eat PIE on Thanksgiving.

I also want to sleep in and just relax, after all….it’s the day after Thanksgiving?!

Thanksgiving isn’t about working out and fitness. It’s about stuffing the turkey and stuffing yourself.

Whose pants fit after Thanksgiving, let alone be ready to do a fitness photo shoot!!!IMG_5035

Who are these people to suggest such a thing, lol!!

So I smile and I take their card to confirm the arrangements for my trip- for the day after Thanksgiving to LA.

I sooo wanted to be in the magazines, but now my Thanksgiving is ruined!

Of course I did not say any of those things to the man and his wife:) That was the banter taking place in my head.

I was presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity, that I had only dreamed would happened and now I am faced with making “an adjustment”.IMG_5036

You’ve heard the saying, “Opportunity won’t always be there, but excuses will be.”

I had a choice.

Make the excuse I can’t go to LA because it’s the day after Thanksgiving -or – adjust my thinking and my schedule.

Well, when you put it that way, it’s easy.

I attended Thanksgiving with my family and I took my own prepared versions of my meals. I still enjoyed my favorite foods, I just made sure I prepared them, kept the portions under control, and spaced them throughout the day – rather than the typical huge feast.

I ate steak, potatoes, brussel sprouts, cranberries, and then a small sliver of pie.
All I had to do was box up and freeze any of my grandma’s favorites for when I returned.

I had a choice to think of my Thanksgiving as “ruined” or just make an adjustment to my schedule.



I had a choice to make a small sacrifice to embark on an opportunity of a lifetime or say no, because it wasn’t the right “time”.

Everyday we are faced with choices. Some are big and some are small.

When you want something bad enough, you will make it happen.

If you aren’t serious, you’ll make excuses.

I will listen to excuses, but I do not accept them.

We, each one of us, possess the power to make things happen.

We decide when we will accomplish our goals.

When you are ready to take on and accomplish your goals, let me know.

I’d love to help:)

~ Summer Montabone, CSCS, IFBB Pro
Founder, Summer’s Fitness & Team VIP Online
Coach to Champions- In Life

PS- The photo shoot experience and my first time in LA…now that is a whole other story too! Whew!!!


See My Six Pack?

See My Six Pack?

It’s throwback Thursday… 11 years ago today, I was doing some photo shoots beforeIMG_5018 the Fitness Nationals.

I was super strong, ripped, & flipped. I had abs! Yes see my 6 pack!

That was 11 years ago, that I was laser focused and took my body and fitness career, to the next level.

It’s part of my journey & my resume.

I look the same today, don’t I?

In these photos – I’m 5’8″ and about 125 pounds with 6% body fat. I could bench 175 pounds & do 15 wide grip pull ups, no sweat.

Don’t ever use the term “girl push up”. I could do one arm and one leg push ups — can you dude?

I worked my tail off to get those big muscles. Aren’t I huge? I lifted so heavy trying to put on muscle. Don’t I look manly?

I ate 7-9 times a day. Protein, fats, carbs – all cycled through the week.IMG_5019 (1)

In a sport where others would do 2-3 cardio sessions A DAY for 45-60 minutes — I barely did 3 sessions a week for 20 plus my routine practice.

It’s funny how even 11 years ago, I was way way ahead in the sport when it came to getting lean in less time.

It wasn’t easy, but I was diligent and determined. I wanted to carve my best possible physique. I also wanted to have a highly skilled fitness routine. I wanted to win. And be in the magazines.

I wanted to show that this girl from Akron, Ohio could make her mark on the national level.

I’ll tell you more on how Nationals 2004 & the magazine thing went – tomorrow.IMG_5049

Tomorrow, Friday, is the Nationals 2016.

That’s what I wanted to achieve for myself back then. So I went for it.

Today, my goals are a bit different.

I know how hard it was for me to be that lean and “have abs”. I also know I can’t be that lean all the time. It’s not healthy. If I was still that lean-I wouldn’t have any kids!

So as I reflect on where I was 11 years ago and where I am today – I am a true believer – you can achieve anything you set your mind to and are willing to put the WORK into.

And I know a thing or two about helping others achieve their goals. That’s my passion today-helping others achieve their personal best!

What do you really want to achieve? It’s possible, but nobody said it’s easy.

~ Summer Montabone, CSCS
Founder, Summer’s Fitness

PS- If you don’t know me, I hope you can sense my sarcasm and my seriousness:)

Who Has 30 Minutes For Exercise?

Who Has 30 Minutes For Exercise?

30 Minutes for Exercise

Setting aside 30 minutes for exercise three time a week isn’t difficult, particularly when you consider other things you often do each day that take 30 minutes or more. Playing a game on the computer may take that long or longer, watching two or three of your favorite television shows or reading the posts on Facebook can easily eat up 30 minute of time. It’s time to put that 30 minutes to work and give provide more benefits for your body, while also improving your overall self-esteem.

Exercising regularly can prevent serious conditions and improve control over those you already have.

There are so many studies that show people who exercise regularly can help prevent serious conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes, just to name a few. If you already have those conditions, it can make them more manageable. When you consider that devoting 30 minutes of time three times a week can help prevent hours spent in the doctor’s office, pharmacy or hospital, it seems like an excellent way to spend time. Investing the time now can reduce the time spent later managing an illness or condition.

A program of regular exercise can boost your energy level and allow you to get more done in less time.

When you have energy to spare, you zip through the daily tasks that can take hours otherwise. Investing that 30 minutes in exercise can help you boost your energy level so household tasks go quicker. You’ll be amazed at how much more time you have if you don’t feel exhausted constantly and tackle each project with vigor.

Regular exercise can make you more mentally productive.

Smart employers provide exercise programs for employees because they know it makes them more productive at work, reduces sick days and lowers the amount of money spent for health care. Studies show your cognitive thinking improves with regular exercise, just as your memory does. Regular exercise burns off the hormones created by stress, clearing the fog in your head that slows you down dramatically. Just think of how much time you’ll save going into a room and actually getting when you went in there for, rather than trying to figure out the reason. Whether it’s at work or at home, thinking clearer helps reduce the time on any mental task.

Learn the right way to do each exercise and the right types of exercises with the help of a personal trainer or boot camp. You can then use that information to workout at home while you watch your favorite program on television.

You’ll be amazed at how good you feel after you workout for a while and how great you look. After just a few weeks, you’ll start looking forward to exercising more and more, making lack of time an excuse that you no longer will use.

You’ll sleep better at night after exercising. A good night’s sleep helps improve everything the next day. It allows you to handle even bad situations with grace and ease.

When you use a trainer who designs a personalized program that gets fast results, spending hours in the gym is unnecessary. If you don’t believe it, exercise with a trainer 30 minutes three times a week for two months and see the amazing results for yourself.