Hey you, is that your butt winking at me?

Here’s a fantastic guest post from Halevy Life Staff Coach Jake Roswell:

Jeff Halevy TODAY Show Fitness ExpertAlright guys, let’s get one thing straight. It is absolutely asinine (no pun intended) to think that everybody should squat to depth with the same stance. Some have been genetically blessed with squatting hips where they can stand with their feet shoulder width apart, touch their ass to their calves and stand back up, and then there are those of us (yes that means me too), who aren’t that lucky and want to beat the shit out of the aforementioned.

When first told that I was doing a “butt wink” in my squat, I wondered, “What is this butt wink B.S.? Who would come up with such a term?” The only wink I know is the one our business affairs guy gives to the good looking lady at the water fountain. So how is it possible to wink with my butt? Actually, I just asked, I didn’t really want to consider the options for what the creepy bald stranger behind me was saying.

I eventually learned that Butt wink is a term used for excessive posterior pelvic tilt at the bottom of a squat. Think of your pelvis as a bowl full of water. You’re holding the bowl evenly (standing vertical) resulting in no spillage. The instant you tilt the bowl backwards, water is spilling out of the back and the bottom of the bowl is facing forward, also known as posterior pelvic tilt. You may hear terms such as “ass to grass” or “in the hole”, but from experience, if you cannot do this without excessive lumbar flexion (typically caused by posterior pelvic tilt) then STOP! Butt winking puts added tension onto the backside of the intervertebral discs, which can result in potential disc herniation. Addressing factors contributing as well as prescribing corrective strategies to minimize the occurrence of butt wink is crucial to the prevention of injury and the education of novice lifters.

butt wink

Butt-wink, stage right!

1) You may hear coaches’ state that the reason you suffer from posterior pelvic tilt is due to tight hamstrings. This may in fact be the case, however, I believe it is a lazy prescription to correcting such a complex movement. No I’m not trying to harass you trainers out there, I’m just saying that research has concluded that when squatting, your hamstrings do not stretch as much as you think. Dean Somerset’s article “Butt Wink is Not About the Hamstrings” addresses Lombard’s Paradox, which states, “During a balanced flexion of the knee and hip, no real length change occurs in the hamstrings as well as the rectus femoris”. If there is noticeable lumber flexion early in the squat, it could very well be hamstring tightness. Try stretching, but if there is still no difference in performance then there are different structural limitations other than tight hamstrings.

2) Everyone is different. The anatomical structure of your joints (especially the acetabulum in this case) may limit full range of motion. Some can have deep hip sockets which is the cause of limited range of motion. Do NOT try and force yourself in to the hole. This will result in pelvic tilt and subsequent lower back pain as well as discomfort at the hip. There are however ways to work around it. The first can be the beloved kettlebell or dumbbell goblet squat. This will allow you to get low into a squat by maintaining correct lumbar position while hitting depth without any complications as opposed to a back squat. Secondly, try a wider stance in your squat with your feet pointed out more than 45 degrees. When pointing your toes out it allows your femoral head to rotate properly within the acetabulum. Posterior movement of your hips in this position puts your spine into a more neutral position, limiting pelvic tilt. A narrower stance requires a greater range of motion to parallel. To hit depth, for some, the tucking of the lumbar spine is required to get “ass to grass”. Hip mobility becomes more of a factor in this type of squat. The wide movement exhibits greater hip flexion and less plantar flexion which trains the hips on all three planes of motion. To increase hip mobility, try the tactical frog stretch.

3) As stated before, excessive posterior pelvic tilt is a huge detriment to the lower back resulting in possible disc herniation. Another way to control that is to brace the core and activating the glutes. To brace the core breathe into your stomach then your chest, this stabilizes the core anteriorly and posteriorly (front and back). Think of breathing in through the bottom and getting a “fat stomach”. Also, motor control is imperative. You must activate the glutes throughout your squat. Spread and grab the floor with your feet. When activating your glutes during your lift, you are allowing space for a deep squat by relieving pressure off your hip flexors. Both of these concepts control hip rotation and when relaxing in one or both of these areas may result in butt wink.

Yes, I can admit that I have fallen victim to butt wink, consequently resulting in injury. Excessive posterior tilt had me out of the squatting game for 2 weeks. I was able to correct this however, through corrective exercises such as the dumbbell goblet squat explained above. If you have high hopes for the squat then you better check your ego at the door.

Being a better squatter is more efficient than being a bigger squatter. Work the movement pattern, increase your range of motion incrementally, and set yourself up for some serious gains. Hit me up with questions/comments on Twitter: @jroswell3

BJ Fogg Persuasion Boot Camp in NYC!

From NearSay:

Smoking, exercise, healthy eating: all subjects that weigh heavily on our minds as “Resolution Season” fast approaches. But what if there were a way to “hack” behavior altogether, and bypass the inevitable failure of New Year’s Resolutions, and frequent attempts to change your behavior…and even other’s behavior?

Fortune Magazine

Enter behavior design guru, Dr. B.J. Fogg, named by Fortune Magazine as the #1 “New Guru You Should Know.” Fogg, perhaps the greatest innovator of our time in the area of human behavior, gained international recognition for founding the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University, as well as for his influence on both individuals and businesses in the area of behavior change.

What makes Fogg so darn interesting is that his behavior change models don’t exist in a textbook theoretical never-land; they exist in real life. They are tangible, applicable methods to create very real change. (If Tony Robbins has turned you off or let you down, KEEP READING!)

Just ask New York City public health advocate and gym owner Jeff Halevy. Halevy, known not only for his roster of A-list celebrity and foreign dignitary clients, and runaway success as a business owner, but also for his uber-passionate public health advocacy, was asked to join Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign last year by it’s co-chair, Newark Mayor, Cory Booker. Halevy’s task: get Newark adolescents moving. Easier said than done in a city where childhood obesity is at an exponentially higher rate than anywhere else in the country. Halevy turned to B.J. Fogg’s models for behavior change, applying them en masse, and with great success.

The result: 1,500 students moved an incremental 1,500,000 minutes in just 11 weeks (that’s three year’s worth of non-stop activity).

Halevy’s success not only earned him a pat on the back from Mayor Booker, but ultimately resulted in an invite to the White House, where he was asked to expand his program, Our Power, nationally.

Shortly thereafter Halevy reached out to Fogg via Twitter. “I just had to tell B.J. what a stud he is!” explains Halevy. The two struck up a correspondence, which set Halevy on a quest to bring Fogg to New York to hold one of his always-sold-out seminars, Persuasion Boot Camp.

Persuasion Boot Camp is taught in “a private group setting for two days of intensive (but fun) training in creating ways to change people’s behavior” according to Fogg. It is based on Fogg’s “Stanford courses and industry innovation” on Behavior Design. Fogg’s methods “give you practical tools that fit together — [a] system that makes sense…[and] includes how to change behavior by leveraging the power of technology (web, mobile, social networks, video, and so on).”

Shockingly, Fogg’s method downplays motivation — now you’ve got my ear, B.J.!

Halevy will host Persuasion Boot Camp at Halevy Life’s flagship New York City location the weekend of October 20th and 21st. The intimate, “roll-your-sleeves-up-style” seminar has a strict limit of no more than 12 attendees. Those interested in changing their behaviors, or their customers’ or clients’ behaviors once and for all, using sound, scientific, field-tested methods should enroll here: B.J. Fogg’s Persuasion Boot Camp at Halevy Life

Slim in the Gym: 8 Ways to Use a Weight Bench

-From Self.com

The trainer: Jeff Halevy, CEO of Halevy Life in New York City, created this one-stop shape-up just for SELF.

You’ll need: A flat weight bench and acute new sports bra. (Not really—we’re just giving you permission to shop!)

The plan: Squeeze in some presculpting sweat. Halevy recommends fat-blasting intervals: Warm up for 5 minutes at a no-sweat pace on your cardio machine of choice. Next, sprint all out for 30 seconds; slow down for 1 minute to recover. Repeat (minus warm-up) six times, for a total of 9 minutes. On to toning: Do two sets of the given reps of each exercise two times a week on alternate days.

See the exercises HERE

Are You Dying to Get High?

Listen to my HOT 97 Street Soldiers broadcast here:

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Fat Joe Joins Jeff Halevy's "Our Power" Childhood Obesity Program

(From JohnSimonDaily.com) On January 23rd, hip-hop legend and weight loss advocate, Fat Joe, performed at an event celebrating the winners from Let’s Move! Newark: Our Power (LM!NOP), a program created by Behavioral Health & Fitness Expert, Jeff Halevy, to fight childhood obesity. After improving his lifestyle, Fat Joe has recently lost over 100 pounds and chose to be a part of Halevy’s Let’s Move! Newark: Our Power to encourage our youth to follow his success.

Jeff Halevy was hand-selected to create Let’s Move! Newark: Our Power by Newark Mayor Cory Booker, as an extension of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign, which Mayor Booker currently serves as the honorary Vice Chair. The program began in October of 2011 with 1,500 high school freshmen in five different Newark, NJ high schools competing against each other for the most minutes moved. Barringer 9 School has achieved the coveted winning title with an impressive 619,600 minutes moved, earning them a performance by superstar recording artist, Fat Joe, as well as a renewed attitude towards physical activity and wellbeing.

A Fast and Easy Meal for the Girl Who Doesn't Cook

15 Fast and Easy Meals for the Girl Who Doesn’t Cook

Tiffany Tse, Shape.com
Recipe provided by Jeff Halevy, behavioral health and fitness expert and CEO of Halevy Life in New York

Cooking at home and eating healthy often go hand in hand. But if you’re not a kitchen-savvy gal, the best nutrition experts and bloggers have come to the rescue. We gathered their favorite quick and easy recipes for healthy meals that require as few ingredients as possible.

5. Balsamic Tuna with Chopped Celery

Whip up this tuna recipe in seconds for a nutritious meal or side dish. By replacing the fatty mayonnaise in traditional tuna spreads with balsamic dressing (or oil and vinegar), you cut about 100 calories.

1 can tuna (or premade grilled chicken for non-fish eaters)
1 stick celery
Balsamic vinaigrette (Tip: Use Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers Balsamic Breeze Vinaigrette Dressing, which is 1 calorie per spray)

Remove the tuna from its can, put it on a dish, and moisten it with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Dice the stick of celery into small bits and distribute throughout the balsamic-glazed tuna fish to create an instant, healthy meal in less than 5 minutes.

Watching TV = Burning Fat?

Turning prime time into workout time

Originally published: January 13, 2012 3:07 PM
Updated: January 13, 2012 5:39 PM
By JANENE MASCARELLA. Special to Newsday 

If you simply can’t miss the latest episode of your favorite TV show but also can’t fit exercise time into your schedule, consider doing both at the same time.

“When watching TV, many use commercial breaks as the perfect time to grab a snack or something to pick on,” said Chris Cianciulli, a Merrick-based exercise specialist and creator of ChrisFit Boot Camps in Nassau County. “Instead of adding inches to the waistline, there are ways to lose a couple of inches over time.” And, by stealing TV time to exercise more (and snack less), the results will show sooner than you think, he added.

Couch potato challenge

To say goodbye to snacking and hello to a better body, you need to steer clear of the kitchen. So when your show goes to commercial, Cianciulli suggests you plank instead of reaching for the popcorn.

Lie on the floor with your arms folded under your chest, elbows at your sides and your palms on the floor. Raise your body so only your palms, forearms and toes are touching the floor — that’s the plank position. Your arms should be bent at the elbow at a 90-degree angle. (For a lesser challenge, hold your body up from your forearms and knees.) Your elbows and feet should be shoulder-width apart. Try to hold this position until the next commercial.

Commercial intervals

“The average commercial break length is two minutes, and commercials are typically 30 seconds,” explained celebrity trainer Jeff Halevy, a fitness guru in the Hamptons. “This is a great opportunity to do a short but high-intensity interval circuit.” It’s fun because it’s randomized, he said — no timer, so you don’t know exactly how long each interval is.

Halevy suggests choosing two exercises — like jumping jacks or push-ups — that you will alternate from commercial to commercial. As soon as the show you’re watching goes to break, do as many repetitions as possible, and with good form. When the commercial changes, switch to your second exercise. Use the actual show to recover.

Sitcom workout

For those who want to step it up a notch, Pam Bruno, a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist at Evolusion Fitness in Miller Place, suggests pairing interval training with your favorite half-hour sitcom. The standard two commercial breaks create a three-part workout. All you’ll need are dumbbells or hand weights — and some space in front of the TV.

Start the first interval when the show starts. Do each exercise for about 50 seconds, Bruno said, then rest for 10 seconds before going on to the next exercise. Begin with a round of jumping jacks, push-ups (modified by doing them from your knees if need be), squats and bent-knee crunches, and repeat as many times as you can before the first commercial. Then, run in place for a minute, lifting your knees as high as you can. Rest until the commercials end.

For part two, try jump squats, dumbbell arm curls, straight-leg lifts and bent-knee reverse crunches. Do a minute of high-knee running at the start of the commercials, and then rest until the show resumes. For the final interval, do dumbbell arm kickbacks, lunges, bicycle crunches or whatever exercise works for you. Once the commercials begin, do your last minute of high-knees. Rest — and you (and the show) are done.

Stand up, sit down

If all that movement makes it too hard to catch what’s happening on the air, try something a bit simpler. Halevy said there’s no reason you can’t perform what are called “box squats” during a TV show. A box squat simply means that you sit on and stand up from a seat. Aside from building leg strength, squats will get your heart rate up because of the big demand for blood and oxygen by the leg muscles. And that means you’ll be getting a cardio workout, too, he said.

“Most beginners will be able to do 15 to 20 reps for two to three sets, while the more advanced can go for the ultimate challenge of squatting their way through an entire sitcom,” Halevy said. “Even more fun: Make a game out of it. Every time a main character’s name is said, do 10 reps.”

Talking New Year's Resolutions on Hot 97 with Lisa Evers

Check it out – here’s the audio:

What's the Best Exercise for Fat Loss?

Boy do I hear this question often! Well, there may not be any one single exercise — and God knows it’s not crunches — however there is a great METHOD to exercising that optimizes fat loss. The answer: My first book, “The Fast Fat Loss Fix,” is now available on Amazon…but since you read my blog, click here to get it for FREE!