One of the most popular excuses I hear for people not exercising regularly is definitely the "No Time" excuse. Let's face it, with kids, spouses, aging parents, work, etcetera,'s a wonder any of us have time to wipe our noses, right?

Here's the thing though, if we don't take care of ourselves, who will be around to take care of our loved ones anyway? Not to mention, if we let our health fail by not doing the things we need to do in order to enjoy optimal health, our quality of life will be poor and it's all a mute point in the end.

Think About This: When's the last time you were knocked off your feet with illness or injury? I mean the kind that you actually had no choice but to take a day or two out of your busy schedule to recuperate and heal. Remember how crappy you felt? Think about how lucky you were that it was temporary.

The bottom line is that if you do not take care of yourself now, you are more likely to develop serious health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, blocked arteries, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis (leading to broken bones as you age), and a host of other illnesses and diseases that will shorten your life and make what's left of it much more difficult than it needs to be. Most, if not all, of these diseases are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices.

So, in honor of Valentine's Day I must ask you, my friends, where's the love? You must find the time and wherewithal to get started on a healthy lifestyle plan NOW! Daylight's burning, people! Time is ticking away and if you are not exercising regularly and eating sensibly, you are asking for an early departure from planet earth. It is that simple. What are you waiting for? YOU MUST LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO IMPLEMENT HEALTHY CHANGES IN YOUR LIFESTYLE BEGINNING TODAY!

So what do you need to do? Well, I thought you'd never ask. First, you need to begin to get regular cardiovascular exercise. The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) says you should actually strive to do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week or do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week AND do eight to 10 strength training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.

Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation. It should be noted that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary. The 30-minute recommendation is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease.

So no more excuses! Get busy! Make the time and begin your cardio, strength training, and improved nutrition plan today. Love yourself enough to take care of YOU! If you don't, nobody else will.

Getting started is the hardest part. If you need a boost getting started or just want to make sure you are doing things correctly, safely, and hence, more effectively, please don't hesitate to contact me. Just mention The Straightforward Fitness Flash discount and I will give you 10% off the price of any package of personal training! It could be the very thing you need to finally achieve your fitness goals!

This is the part of the newsletter where I picture an exercise and give explicit instructions on its proper execution.

I can't believe this! As I began to think about which exercise to spotlight in this newsletter, I realized that I have NEVER shown a lower back exercise before now. How crazy is that? I profusely apologize for neglecting such an important area of our bods as this one! Without lower back strength, our weakest link would be our core and that would be very, very bad. You should follow up every abdominal workout with a lower back exercise. No exceptions. It's that important! Today, I will show you the basic hyperextension utilizing the Swiss ball. It feels awesome and helps to stretch and strengthen your lower back.

Swiss Ball Hyperextensions
Primary Muscle Group Worked:
Lower Back.
Secondary Muscle Groups Worked:Glutes, Hamstrings, Middle Back.

To see a video of this exercise go to: Low Back Hyperextensions Video

Preparation: Kneel in front of the wall with feet far apart and against the wall. Hold exercise ball up against the front of your thighs and lie with your stomach on top of it. Allow your upper body to hang down slightly. Flatten heels up against the wall as you simultaneously raise your knees off the floor and straighten them. Place the hands clasped and palms up on lower back.

Execution: Exhale as you pull your upper body up as far as you comfortably can to an upright position. Inhale as you return back down to the starting position. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.

Variations: This exercise has a great progression as shown in the video. You may begin with hands on butt. After a month or so you may progress to hands at chest. Next progress to hands at temples or ears. And finally you may hold a weight just under chin for added resistance. As I said, just be sure and give it a month or so between those progressions!

HEREIN LIES THE CHALLENGE: Keep your form strict! No cheating on this exercise.

TIP: Avoid arching your back at the top. Stop and pause when upper body is in a straight line with your butt and legs. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for desired amount of reps.

Okay, peeps! This is the inspirational part of the newsletter known as the "Ponder Pond" where you're welcome to take a swim in the sweet waters of inspiration.

This month's video is one that I absolutely love for two reasons. One, I la-la-loved Dominic on "SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE" a few years back when he was first discovered. He is amazing. And two, I la-la-love the song and what it says. If you are lucky enough to have a special someone in your life then you know what it feels like when just thinking about them makes your heart dance. My heart is dancing this Valentine's Day. For that I am truly grateful and I wish that for everyone of you, my loyal readers. Happy Valentine's Day.

Well, that's about it for this time! I hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter and until the next issue, may the wind be at your back and improved health and vitality your new reality!

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

And don't forget to tell everybody about where they can get all the free fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

From my heart to your health,

Linda Burke, CPT

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