Saturday, April 23, 2011

Proform Ab Glider Reviews: Does The "Hasselbeck" Ab Machine Work?

Anyone who watches television late at night knows there are lots of ab workout machines out there. There's a reason for that: they sell really, really well... despite the fact that many, if not most, are basically rip-offs. Well now there’s a new ab machine taking the world by storm: the Proform Ab Glider. It’s quickly become one of the hottest abdominal exercise products on the market and, understandably, lots of people are asking for reviews and opinions for the “as seen on TV” workout gadget.

Here’s one comment left last week by a reader named Olivia B:
"Hi I was hoping you could help me. I just saw the infomercial for the new Elisabeth Hasselbeck Ab Glider machine. It looks like a great product. What's your opinion? Do you have any reviews on it yet? Please help. I don’t want to waste my money again. Thanks!”
Well Olivia, we’ve got some good news for you and anyone else looking for genuine, unbiased Ab Glider reviews: we got our hands on one! In fact my partners-in-crime (aka fitness blogging buddies) and I have been using it for the past 2 weeks. The thing certainly isn't hard to find: it's currently being sold by QVC, Walmart, Sears, Best Buy, Amazon, and several online and offline fitness stores. At the time we bought ours the best Ab Glider deal was being offered on, which has become a great place to order discount fitness and cardio equipment!

So far we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Proform product (the lovely Mrs. Hasselbeck is just the spokesperson/heavily-paid-promotor) . The well-built machine really does provide a very nice at-home ab workout and even a decent cardio workout option. But it’s not perfect and there are a few “negatives” which we’ll cover below...

The Good

The Ab Glider is definitely a unique piece of exercise equipment. Unlike most ab machines it gets you up off the ground and allows you to work your abdominal muscles in multiple planes of motion. That's big! There’s a twisting circular motion -- called “circular burn” by the Proform guys -- and a crunching/knee raise motion -- called “arc crunch” by those marketing whizes. Both motions closely mimic traditional abdominal exercise movements, like hanging leg/knee raises and ab twists, and can be combined in several interesting ways.

Being able to work your abs, obliques, and various other core muscles in 3 dimensions, smoothly, gives the Ab Glider a BIG advantage over most other ab machines. Anytime you can move your body through space in multiple directions you’re able to get more bang for the buck. In other words, you get more fat-burning, muscle-toning benefits in less time. (This is one reason why so many bodyweight exercises -- like pull-ups and dips -- are so incredibly effective.)

Proform says that the Ab Glider provides a fast, fun, unique workout that allows the user to engage more muscle tissue and even get an effective cardiovascular workout. Surprisingly we agree with them!

95% of the time when ab gadgets are marketed as “cardio” machines it’s pretty much bullcrap. Most ab-focused products are simply too uncomfortable or difficult to use long enough to get any real cardio conditioning benefits. But in the case of the Ab Glider we’ve found that it's smooth and comfortable enough to use for the 10-20 minutes necessary to get a good heart-pumping, sweat-producing cardio/aerobic workout.

But like I said above, this isn't a perfect product and certain people should definitely avoid it...

The Bad

There are a few negatives associated with the Proform Ab Glider that we need to point out. First off, the thing is heavy. You’re gonna need some upper and lower body strength if you want to move it around a lot. It’s very solidly constructed out of high-gauge steel which is great in terms of safety and durability, not so great in terms of portability.

The biggest Ab Glider “con” is probably the way the arm handles are designed. Once again you’re going to need a decent amount of upper body strength to use the machine properly. Holding onto the handles while swinging and twisting your body around requires some serious chest, shoulder, and arm strength. Someone who’s very out-of-shape, who has a weak upper body, or who has any shoulder problems isn’t going to be able to use the Ab Glider very effectively.

Other online reviewers we’ve seen also talk about the handlebar problem quite a bit. The problem, as usual, is that the Ab Glider infomercial makes it look really easy to use. And it is... if you’re a strong, fit fitness model or Elisabeth Hasselbeck (who surely has her own $1000/session personal trainer!). But the thing simply isn’t as easy-to-use as the marketing guys make it look and you should be aware of that before you buy.

Personally I have a strong feeling that Proform will eventually come out with an “Ab Glider 2” (or, more likely, an “Ab Glider Pro”) that features padded arms rests like the ones on the popular Ab Coaster. The Ab Coaster is another great "gliding" abdominal machine but, in some ways, the Ab Glider is superior due to its multiple planes of motion. More comfortable and supportive handles and arm rests would make the Ab Glide almost perfect in our opinion!

The final negative we found using the machine is this: it’s not for very short people. My 5 foot tall assistant tried it and she found it more than a little difficult to use. She had to fully extend her arms during the “bottom” portion of the swinging arc motion, putting her in a very awkward-feeling position. Again, future versions of the Ab Glider will probably be more adjustable, especially since their primary target market is women!

The Bottom Line

The Proform Ab Glider is a nice piece of home exercise equipment that provides a unique and very effective ab/core workout as well as a decent cardio training option. It's better than 95% of the ab workout gadgets we've tested in the past. But it is relatively heavy and requires a good amount of upper-body strength to use properly. Very weak people should increase their arm, shoulder, and chest strength before buying. Also, very short people should realize that it's not very adjustable and that they may have a difficult time using it!

Overall we give the Ab Glider 4 out of 5 stars.

Do you have a review of the Proform Ab Glider? Please leave your own useful reviews as well as any questions or comments in the area below. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Quickest Way to Lose 15 Pounds By Summer

Want to lose 15 pounds by summer? Well it's really not that hard. Here's the quickest, simplest, and easiest way to burn off ugly fat and lose unwanted pounds by the time beach season is upon us:

1. Eat a Very Simple Protein-Based Diet

Eat a simple diet based around natural, unprocessed whole-foods. Protein should be the focus because it revs up the metabolism, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and helps to suppress your appetite naturally. It also contains the amino acids your body needs to build/repair muscle tissue. Also include plenty of unprocessed "good" carbs (veggies, beans, small amounts of whole grains, fruit, etc.) and a small amount of healthy fats (olive oil, natural peanut butter, unrefined coconut oil, etc.).

2. Do Full-Body Strength/Cardio Combo Workouts

Do short, full-body workouts based around strength/resistance training and interval cardio (like HIIT). You'll burn more calories and fat while protecting and toning that sexy lean muscle that keeps your metabolism boosted 24 hours a day. Focus on keep the intensity levels high and workout no longer than 30 minutes at a times. Do 4-6 of these workouts per week, depending on your fitness/conditioning level.

3. Drink LOTS of Water

Try to drink about a gallon of pure water per day. This is a little trick used by bodybuilders and fitness models when they need to lose fat and lean down fast. The large amount of water, consumed bit by bit over the course of the day, will do lots of good things for your metabolism and appetite control. It will also allow your body to flush out toxins that get released during a rapid weight loss program.

There you have it: the fastest way to lose 15 lbs by the start of summer. If you stick with this simple plan you'll have no problem burn off ugly fat and building that sexy, lean "beach body" within just a few weeks. Good luck and leave your questions/comments below!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The "Grain Trick" for Fast Fat Loss

Grains are a sticky subject when it comes to fast, healthy fat loss. Some experts say eat them, some say don't. The main problem is that grain foods like breads, pastas, and rice are very caloric dense. They can also cause blood sugar levels and insulin production to spike... not good things if you're trying to burn fat and lose pounds rapidly!

There is a simple solution, as there almost always is. I call it the "grain trick" and it basically goes like this: eat your grains at the right time, mainly right after a heavy strength training/weight lifting workout. That way your body is much more likely to use the starchy calories to re-build lean muscle tissue instead of storing them as body fat.

Stick to these basic guidelines and you should be able to continue eating grains occasionally while still losing weight:
  • Eat fewer grains and starches (like potatoes) in general. It's simply easier to lose fat if you do so.
  • Eat grains/starches ONLY after heavy strength training workouts, within 40 minutes after doing your last set.
  • Choose 100% whole grain options 95% of the time. These are much healthier than refined "white" grain products and don't spike insulin levels nearly as much because they digest slower and generally have lower glycemic index numbers. Every once in awhile it's OK to have a cheat meal that includes whatever type of grain foods you desire. (Also, if you're doing very heavy lifting for muscle gain, it's OK to eat some refined grains or even simple sugars immediately after workouts. The spike in blood sugar/insulin is actually very beneficial.)
  • Eat meals and snacks based around proteins, vegetables, raw fruits, healthy fats, and beans/legumes. Only add in grains only on heavy lifting days and you'll be good to go!
So there you have it: you carb lovers can still have your breads, pastas, crackers, rice, etc. Just time it right and you'll gain more muscle while losing fat faster!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Insanity Asylum Reviews (LMFAO)

So apparently there's a new Beachbody product coming out soon called Insanity Asylum from exercise guru Shaun T and infomercial masters Beachbody. We guess it's something like the original Insanity workout... but even more insane!!!


The workout -- which may very well be incredibly effective -- is based around the kind of high-intensity, bodyweight training many athletes do. It promises to help improve your speed, agility, power, and coordination... all while burning off your ugly belly fat and giving the lean, fit, sexy body we all want.

Even though this product has yet to even be released (no, we don't know the release date or the price) people are already asking for reviews. Since it's extremely difficult to review a product that isn't actually available to purchase yet, we can't help in that area yet. Sorry!

But here's the question that bugs me personally: why are people so incredibly geeked-up about Insanity Asylum?? Yes, I know Beachbody does an amazing job of marketing their products, but come on! We know that, no matter what, this is basically another high-intensity, bodyweight-calisthenics-based workout. Much like almost every other Beachbody program out there. We are fans of bodyweight-based workouts -- because they provide maximum fat-burning/muscle-building benefit with little risk -- but what makes so many people think the Asylum program is so unique and special?

If you think Insanity Asylum is going to magically give you 6% body fat, humongous pectoral muscles, a V-shaped torso, a perfect butt, a 4.7-second 40-yard dash time, and a fitness model's body you're in for a big disappointment. Those things only come with a LOT of serious focus, dedication, and (tons of) hard work... no matter what type of exercise routine you're following!

Some of the messages and review requests we've received for Insanity Asylum sound truly insane. Some people, apparently, are absolutely depending on it to get them into shape for summer 2011. As in, they're not going to begin doing "real" exercise until they can get their hands on the new Insanity DVD set. Here's one  email we recently received:
"Hey I heard about the new workout from the Beach Body people called Insanity Asylum and I want to know more about it. I need to lose about 25 pounds before summer and I want to know if I should buy this product. I've been holding off joining a gym or working out alot because I want to give the new Insanity program a try. I want to be fresh and give it 100% effort. I really think it might be the best workout of them all. Please give me your reviews and opinions of the product. Thanks!" -- Raj K
Wow. That sounds incredibly dumb silly!

Please... if you want to lose weight, build muscle, and get into shape fast DON'T wait around for some "miracle" product -- whether it's a home workout system, a new piece of exercise equipment, or one of the "magic" diet pills currently on the market. No workout video, exercise machine, or fat loss pill is going to give you what you want all by itself. It starts with dedicating yourself and just getting to work.

And, believe it or not, you don't need to spend lots of money to get into great shape -- despite what the marketers would have you believe. Just put on some old sweats and sneakers and head to the local park. Do a few rounds of pushups, squats, pullups, and windsprints. Keep the rest periods short and focus on your form and intensity levels. Eat a clean diet based around quality proteins, good carbs, and healthy fats.

I promise you'll get at least 90% of the benefits of the Asylum workout, P90X, Brazil Butt Lift, Zumba, or any other "hot" exercise program on the market. And you won't have to wait (or spend any money) at all!


Do you have a review, question, or comment about Insanity Asylum? Please leave your feedback below!

Here's a quick video review: