PRIOR TO READING THIS ARTICLE AND WATCHING THIS VIDEO….You need to note that you do not need to be a fitness model, you do not need to have experience in the martial arts, you do not need to be toned or have bulging muscles, you do not need to be able to kick the height of someone’s head… The key to this type of training is learning movement.  Your body’s proprioceptive system will train itself and your muscles will adapt.  You will find this type of training an incredible workout for your heart, your muscles as well as your mind!  If you are interested in a martial arts workout, for men and women of ALL ages, please call Skymark Health and Fitness at 905-625-8156 and ask about our personal training sessions with David Tucci and Keith Pollard of EmpoweredU Fitness.  We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you in reaching your fitness and wellness goals!

Watch this diverse group of martial artists cooperate and compete.

A simple explanation for the surging popularity of martial arts-based workouts: Our unchecked stress levels make us want to punch and kick things. A more sophisticated one: This category encompasses some of the most efficient, effective styles of fitness.

Just ask the experts featured in our video above: “Martial arts involves all the important elements of movement, including coordination, strength, balance, and breath control,” says New York City-based group fitness instructor Phoenix Carnevale, who has trained in karate, Muay Thai, boxing and MMA grappling.

Across the category, the body types are strong but lean, powered by cardio engines rivaling those ofdistance runners. The movements are graceful yet kick-ass, requiring intense coordination and concentration. And the mental effect is cleansing and empowering—a form of therapy sans the couch.

Each session is a total-body workout, too. “Punching and kicking techniques obviously work the arms and legs, but it’s the effect they have on the core that stands out,” says group fitness instructor Alex Lawson, who has won a world kickboxing title and owns and runs Springhealth Kickboxing & Tabata in London. “Working through all the planes of motion with rapid movements puts a varied and high workload on the core.”

And the sheer focus and concentration required ups the physical challenge. “Using the brain makes the heart work harder,” says Equinox specialist trainer Anthony Fletcher, who also coaches at Snipers Thai Boxing in London and is a C class competitor. “My clients tell me they could never do this level of work by themselves—running on the treadmill or using a cross-trainer is never going to give you the stimulation and concentration needed for Muay Thai.”

Newcomers to the category have the option of starting with one discipline—and our experts suggest working one-on-one with a coach—or testing out a hybrid group fitness class. The Cut, Equinox’s latest signature programming, “is a rhythmic mix of boxing, kickboxing and sports-specific conditioning elements without the use of heavy bags or gloves,” explains creator and Florida-based group fitness instructor Christa DiPaolo. We wanted to create a format that welcomes both newcomers, who haven’t punched or kicked before, and also make it challenging enough for seasoned athletes.”

Don’t be surprised if you fall completely in love. “I am currently preparing a 32-year-old lawyer (who just happens to be female) for her first amateur fight,” says Lex Igwe, a London-based Equinox boxing specialist and former Royal Marine who holds three middleweight boxing titles. “Having the nerve just to turn up to a class and join in is a respected hurdle in itself. But if you think turning up is the hard part, then you’re in for a surprise—a beautiful one at that.”

Try this DIY session from London-based personal trainer and professional Muay Thai fighter Georgina Starkie, who trains under fellow Equinox trainer and pro Rob Lynch:

Choose 3 exercises and execute on a timed structure with a timed recovery. (Starkie says: “Similar to rounds in a fight to practice both mental and physical endurance!”). She recommends:

1. Continuous straight air punches and high knees (1.5 minutes)

(30 seconds recovery)

2. Traveling leap-frog jumps (1.5 minutes)

(30 seconds recovery)

3. Planks (1.5 minutes)

(30 seconds recovery)

Repeat for 3 to 5 sets.

*Says Starkie: “This can be broken down and made easier or more difficult with the intensity of the exercises and the times of the work and recovery.”

For full article by Sheila Monaghan please visit:



Society may be losing touch with a human basic instinct.

Blame the world we live in. Even for the health-conscious, outside factors can dictate when (a set lunch break), why (a client in town), and how much (a to-go container) to eat, says Ryan Andrews, R.D., C.S.C.S., a nutritionist at Precision Nutrition. At some point down the line, we started listening to those factors more than our bodies.

“Most people are aware of the extremes—when they are extremely hungry or extremely full,” says Andrews. But distinguishing subtler signs—a slightly rumbling stomach, a hollow feeling in the gut; and as you grow hungrier, shakiness, irritability, short-temperedness, light-headedness, or a headache—is important, too.

It’s not a bad thing to let your body go there. For healthy people, being hungry isn’t an emergency: “It’s a necessary and normal physiological signal that will return again and again just like getting tired, thirsty, or having to go to the bathroom,” says Andrews. (You just don’t want to let it take over, since going into a meal famished can lead you to overeat.)

Your goal is a reasonable sensation of true hunger, which can make eating more enjoyable, says Andrews. To find it, follow Andrews’ suggestions: 


    Some breakfasts leave you full till lunch, others leave you craving more. “If I have a bowl of oatmeal with soy milk, fruit, flax, and walnuts, I’m satisfied until around lunch. I know that about myself,” says Andrews. Finding patterns that work for your body is an important factor in allowing hunger to do its job, he says.

    Look for foods and amounts that keep you full for three to five hours. “If you’re hungry after an hour, you probably didn’t eat enough of the right foods at the previous meal. If you aren’t hungry after three to five hours, you probably ate too much.”

    Junk food is never a good bet, either: “The pleasure they can bring during the eating process can overrun any natural body cues that are saying ‘stop eating!’.”


    What we see and smell can fool our bodies into thinking we’re hungry even when we’re not, says Andrews. At home, keep groceries stored away. And make sure the food you can see is good for you. Cornell research shows that we’re more likely to eat what we see—for your health’s sake, it’s better to have a fruit bowl than a candy jar.


    Comfort food: The idea that certain foods make us feel good. Unfortunately, if you always eat when you’re feeling a certain way (like stressed), your body might confuse that emotion with hunger, says Andrews. Connecting with a dietician or counselor to troubleshoot the issue is well worth it, as the habit can take a toll on your overall health, he notes.


    If dinner takes you less than 15 minutes or so to finish, you’ll likely still be hungry. “This is because you didn’t give your body enough time to register the original feelings of fullness,” says Andrews. It takes some time for that to set in, sometimes 20 minutes or more. Slowing down can help you pick up on signs of satiety.


    Splurging every now and then is okay. In fact, not doing so could just leave you craving what you’re really after. If someone wants a cookie, but doesn’t eat it because it’s a ‘junk’ food—and opts for a protein bar instead—“they didn’t scratch their itch,” says Andrews. “They end up eating the cookie anyway.”


    “Volume isn’t the only factor that triggers fullness, but it’s a piece of the puzzle,” says Andrews. Case in point: One pound of spinach has the same number of calories as one slice of bacon, he says. “Obviously, one slice of bacon isn’t very filling for most people, but one pound of spinach is.”


    Your body can confuse hunger with thirst. Try a glass of water, give yourself a few minutes, and reassess.

    For full article by Cassie Shortsleeve, visit