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CBS Early Show Appearance

[On January 1st, fitness expert ERIC HARR appeared on the CBS Early Show with four simple exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home that promise to give your metabolism the jump-start it needs to kick-off the new year on a good note.]

SO MANY OF US MADE the resolution to get fit in 2006, but found it difficult to actually get started with an exercise regime. For our fitness, this is the toughest time of year! Our metabolism is in winter hibernation, our bodies are turning every spare calorie into lovehandles (not fair!) — and we’ve just eaten more than any other of time of year.

But now, there are no more excuses. Here are five moves to fire up your metabolism moving in 2007:

1. The “Jumpstart” Jumping Rope: Rocky 6 is in theaters, so jumping rope is back in style — and it’s for all ages! It’s trendy, shapes a fab physique and burns the calories like no other single exercise.
Demo: You want to start low to the ground and keep your elbows close to your sides…by flexing your biceps, you’re working your arms as well as your legs. This is a phenomenal total body workout.
Benefits: It shapes your shoulders, calves arms and abs, while rocking your heart rate — all on par with running. You can burn up to 1000 calories per hour. Even though this is a weight-bearing exercise, it doesn’t jar your joints, since the impact of each jump is absorbed by both legs. Overall, jumping rope works wonders on your agility, posture, balance, reflexes and coordination.
Goal: If you’re just starting out, try to jump without stopping for one minute. Then, take an active recovery period for about 30 seconds. Your goal is to build up to ten minutes of jumping rope at one time—which is the equivalent of running an eight-minute mile!
Gear: A hot number is the “
Valeo Digital” that counts calories as you jump ($10). I’m not — nor will I ever be — a fan of counting calories, but I do believe in the value of “tracking progress.” So, don’t obsess with the calories, but do monitor your progress!
For a better upper body workout, choose the
RopeSport Premium 4-in-1 ($15) that includes a “weighted” rope.

2. The Go-To Gadget: Reebok Core Board: This is a fun and fresh spin on strength training. This exercise integrates two of the “top 10 fitness trends for 2007” according to the American College of Sports Medicine: core training (#5) and strength work (#6).
Demo: This is sort of like a surf – or snow – board…this platform provides instability. That’s good because it fires every muscle in your body just to balance on it.
Benefits: Instead of spending thousands on machines, here’s a great alternative. Millions of Americans suffer from back pain. It prevents us from living our best lives –- a lot of that is due to poor core strength. In this case, instability is a good thing! When you are forced to balance on this unstable platform, every muscle in your body is “activated.”

– “Simple Stand” Just balancing on the board is a great workout for beginners. Loosen the stability setting as you progress.
– “Balance Lunge” hits your entire lower body…two “trouble spots”: hips and backside. You want to lunge right onto the board. The balance involved as you land on the board boosts the benefit of the move. (Watch Eric do the move on the CBS Early Show. Link at end of post.)
Exercise bands provide a double boost to your metabolism: it revs up your heart rate and it builds strength. For a more aerobic workout, loosen the resistance and do more repetitions, more quickly. For strength, up the resistance and do fewer repetitions, more slowly.
Goal: Use this instead of weights to get a total body workout two to three times a week. You can do it while you’re watching TV!
Gear:
Reebok Core Board. $170. Includes a workout DVD with directions of how to do all these exercises.

3. “Band Camp”: Functional fitness training — i.e. using strength training to improve performance for activities of daily living — again, this combines two of the hottest fitness trends for 2007: “functional training” (#4) and strength work (#6). Exercise bands are the most efficient and effective way to strengthen and tone your entire body. They are completely adjustable (to the millimeter). And, they are a terrific “portable gym,” ideal for travel and “anywhere” workouts.
Benefits: Exercises that mimic actual job tasks or other activities help improve balance, coordination, strength, and endurance. Many of the activities we do in life are performed across multiple planes of movement, but most traditional “strength training” in the gym doesn’t really strengthen us for everyday life. Functional training embraces that fact and allows strength training to be more applicable to the everyday movements of the human body as well as sports specific training. In addition to building strength, significant improvements in balance and coordination are principle benefits of the unrestricted motion of functional training. The bands can burn up to 500 calories an hour — and revs your metabolism all day long.
Goal: You can use bands every day for strength training or to help you stretch. Go entirely on feel and strive to “comfortably challenge” yourself each time you do a session with exercise bands. That level of subjective effort will ensure that you get fit without fatigue.
Gear: Bodylastics – Basic Tension. $40.

4. Body Bar Workout: The Body Bar is a classic, timeless fitness tool; a simple, one-piece solid, weighted fitness bar encased in easy grip rubber. But, here’s the fresh, new spin on it: the new “flex” version allows for an array of super strength and toning moves.
Demo: Two basic moves:

– “Waist Twist”: develops core strength and flexibility simultaneously and improves performance in any “rotational sport” such as golf, tennis or swimming.
– “Flex Squat”: A better variation of the traditional squat (which puts too much pressure on the knees.) This more elegant and effective move strengthens the lower body, while toning the upper body in safe way.
Benefits: This workout tones and stretches all major muscle groups. Perfect for people just starting to exercise or for people wanting to get past a fitness plateau. Builds flexibility, balance and strength. Using controlled movement strengthens core muscles, back and abs to stabilize the body and develop functional range of motion and balance needed for everyday movement. Also targets the midsection which weren’t not feeling particularly thrilled about this time of year!
Goal: Like the core board, you can use this instead of weights to get a total body workout two to three times a week. You can do it while you’re watching this show.
Gear:
Power Body Bar Flex 4’ ($40).

5. GAIAM Balance Ball: Balance training is a red hot trend in the fitness world now — and for good reason. Here’s a simple balance ball move to rev up your metabolism and reshape your body.
Demo: Sit with your hands on the floor behind you, your fingertips pointing toward your body. Place your feet on the ball (if you’re feeling wobbly, try it without the ball at first or come down onto your forearms). Keeping your abdominals tight, press your hips up toward the ceiling (think of making a diagonal line from your shoulders to your feet). Hold for 3–5 breaths, then return to starting position.
Benefits: The Reverse Plank tones and strengthens shoulders, arms, low back and abdominals..
Goal: Complete 5–8 reps; build to 3 sets a day.
Gear: Brighten up your workout with the GAIAM BalanceBall in Tie Dye. $30. Includes air pump and DVD with three complete workouts.

(A note from Eric on his Early Show appearance: “I felt compelled to make a comment about CBS Early Show anchor Hannah Storm. There are countless stories about network personalities being demanding or difficult to work with. Hannah Storm is anything but. She is an absolute delight. I’ve been doing TV for almost 8 years — and in that time, I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about an on-air personality on either end of the actual on-camera segment, i.e. when the camera is off. Hannah was sweet at all times, to everyone on set. The sweetness you see on the air is genuine; it’s who she is. Nice to know, because I admire her work professionally.”)

To view Eric’s segment on the CBS Early Show, vist: http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?id=2319214n
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