AMRAP Workouts: Get In, Get Out and Get Sweaty

Participant warrants represent and agree that he/she is in good physical condition and that he/she has no disability, impairment or ailment preventing him/her from engaging in active or passive exercise. Participant further warrants that he/she has consulted his/her physician and has not been diagnosed with and is not aware of any medical condition that may place the Participant at increased risk of injury or death from engaging in exercise at the level consistent with the intended participation in this Event. I herby give Healthworks Group the absolute right and permission to publish, copyright, and use pictures or videos of me in which I may be included in whole or in part.

Working Out Together and Getting Stuff Done

Alone, humans often fail.  But teamed up with a friend or a loved one, beautiful things can happen.  This is one of those beautiful stories.

“My sister [Peggy Lawrence] has not only shown me what it means to be brave, but also has allowed me to love more deeply,” said Patti Biancardi Barth.  “What a privilege it is to be her friend, sister and exercise partner.” Doctors diagnosed Peggy with multiple sclerosis 23 years ago, when she was 37 years old. MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body – potentially affecting functions ranging from walking to thinking. In an effort to build up her strength and minimize the effects of the disease, Peggy began exercising with Patti on a regular basis.

“When Peggy was first diagnosed we were rollerblading, bike riding and enjoying speed walking,” Patti said. Despite their best efforts, over the past 10 years, Peggy’s symptoms progressed, altering her lifestyle substantially.  She is challenged with balance issues, spasticity, leg pain and stiffness.

“I am heartbroken as I watch her struggle with her daily activities,” Patti said. “We feel we are at a crossroads.”

Pictured from left to right, Coach Nate, Peggy, Patti, Coach Demetrius

Fortunately, in the past few years, two big developments have given Peggy and Patti good reasons to remain hopeful.  The first was their decision, three years ago, to begin working out together at the Anytime Fitness gym in Merrillville, Indiana.

“We love the increased effort and enthusiasm when we partner during workouts,” Peggy said.  My growth in strength and stamina has increased greatly.” The owner of the gym, Feras Musleh, impressed both Peggy and Patti with his “compassion, acceptance and enthusiasm.”  And the sisters give credit to personal trainer Kevin Torok for dramatically changing their approach to exercise.

“He took the time to casually observe Peggy, to get to know us and to show us better techniques while working out, focusing on her challenges and targeting specific muscle exercises for her,” Patti said.  “Kevin’s humor, expertise and his genuine interest in our increased fitness level lit a fire in us.  We then scheduled three personal training sessions with him where he broke down three different workouts and was very detailed as to how – and why – we were doing these exercises.” Under Kevin’s guidance, Peggy and Patti learned how to maximize the efficacy of their workouts by pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.

“We currently rotate the three different workouts on a weekly basis,” said Peggy.  “Then Kevin convinced us to participate in group training.  It was at these sessions, we met personal trainers Demetrius Jackson and Nate Fowler.  D and Nate bring their game to the group workouts.  It is so much fun to work out in a group.  We love it.  D and Nate review exercise adaptions with me before class to ensure successful group participation.  The group atmosphere brings energy, competitiveness and comradery to our workouts.  Enthusiastic, educated personal trainers, music, and people who love working out together is the perfect recipe for success.”

The second big development that’s given Patti and her sister reason to be hopeful about Peggy’s future is a promising new treatment for multiple sclerosis:  a stem cell transplant procedure which has demonstrated impressive results in halting the progression of MS and, in many cases, reducing many symptoms related to the disease.

“What I know is that the progression of this disease needs to stop,” said Patti.  “We need this treatment to keep Peggy mobile and healthy.  I love my sister dearly.” Peggy is scheduled to begin the treatment in a few months, but it’s not cheap – $60,000 – and not covered by insurance.  More information about Peggy and the procedure that she’ll be undergoing is available on her YouCaring page.

Meanwhile, to prepare herself for the fight of her life, Peggy and Patti will continue to work out – together – three times a week at Anytime Fitness and once a week at a local swimming pool.

“Our weekly schedule fluctuates with family and work responsibilities, but we are committed to our health,” said Peggy.  “I like exercising with medicine balls, kettle balls, TRX ropes – any exercise, really, as long as the music is loud.  Our trainers have taught us a variety of workout strategies, targeting specific muscles repeatedly, to increase cardio and overall fitness.  We are definitely stronger.”

Patti concedes that she and her sister are both tired at the end of a workout, but it’s “a very good tired.”

“Our physical and mental strength is increasing with every workout,” Patti said.  “Peggy’s upcoming stem cell transplant is getting closer.  Her fitness level will soar once she is wiped clean of MS.  And that’s when she’s really going to shine.  I can feel it.”

Teamwork.  It’s a beautiful thing – and a powerful force.

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5 Prehab Exercises That’ll Keep You Feeling Good & Moving Well

Participant warrants represent and agree that he/she is in good physical condition and that he/she has no disability, impairment or ailment preventing him/her from engaging in active or passive exercise. Participant further warrants that he/she has consulted his/her physician and has not been diagnosed with and is not aware of any medical condition that may place the Participant at increased risk of injury or death from engaging in exercise at the level consistent with the intended participation in this Event. I herby give Healthworks Group the absolute right and permission to publish, copyright, and use pictures or videos of me in which I may be included in whole or in part.

Gold Medal Mash Up

Your New Year’s resolution motivation might be waning, but the Winter Olympics are sure to inspire you to continue on your fitness journey or maybe even up your game! The athletes’ stories, fierce finishes, and emotions on display during the medal ceremonies are sure to have you lacing up your sneaks.  As you head for the door, be sure to grab this medal-worthy, metabolic conditioning workout as your training guide. Get ready to crush the competition as you sprint your way through a quick HIIT workout with moves inspired by your favorite winter sports. Whether your home is on slopes or you prefer cozying up next to the fire, this fast-paced workout will get you warm on the inside!

Be sure to warm-up for 5-10 minutes prior to completing the circuit and pick a few of your favorite stretches to complete after 2-3 minutes of walking to cool down. Complete each exercise within the pair for 30 seconds. Then, rest for 15 seconds and repeat. The goal is to become uncomfortable during exercise 1 and recover (slightly) during exercise 2.  You should be able to complete this metabolic conditioning workout in 20 minutes. But, if you do it right, that should be all you need!

Speed Skaters

Leap side to side. Try to take off from one foot and land on one foot. If needed, touch your back foot down for balance. To increase intensity, go wider, jump more explosively, or move faster.

Curtsy Lunge with Upper Body Rotation

Step back into a lunge and cross the left leg behind the right with arms extended out, in front of the chest. Be sure to put more weight on the right foot (front foot) and slightly hinge at the hip. The knee should be pointing in the same direction as your toes. At the bottom of the lunge, with arms still outstretched, rotate your torso in the direction of the back foot. Return torso to face front and then bring feet together. Switch legs. Feel free to add weight (hand weight, medicine ball, kettlebell) to the upper body for increased intensity.

90-Degree Squat Jumps

Begin with feet a bit wider than hip distance. Sink into a squat and as you come back up, jump and turn a quarter turn to face the right side. Land in a squat and repeat to return center. Continue alternating the quarter jump to either side of the room. If you prefer less impact, complete the quarter turn with a small hop or simply move your feet quickly. To increase intensity, jump higher, move faster, or add a medicine ball at the chest or overhead as you jump.

Squat with Heel Lift

Begin with feet a bit wider than hip distance. Sink into a squat, making sure to keep weight in the heels, knees lined up with toes, and chest lifted. Once you are at the lowest point of your squat, pause and lift your heels. Hold the heel lift for a count of three, lower your heels, and stand back up. To increase the intensity, move slowly, increase the range of motion, and consider adding weight at the chest or overhead.

Mogul Hops 

Begin with feet close together; jump and turn the body to the right diagonal. Then, quickly, jump and return to center. Repeat to the left. Unlike the squat jumps from above, these are mini hops with focus on moving quickly and precisely. To increase intensity, move faster or add a medicine ball to the chest.

Plank with Alternating Lunge

Position hands on the floor, directly under your shoulders, and extend the legs out behind you. From this position, take your right leg and place it near your right hand (in a low lunge position), then return back to plank position and repeat on the left side. Continue alternating. To increase the intensity, move faster or change to a hop from right lunge to left lunge.

Triple Hop & Hold

Stand on your right leg. Perform three progressive hops (think little, big, bigger). After the third hop, stick the landing in a deep bend and count to three before repeating on the same leg for the duration. You will perform the hops on the left side during your second round.

Warrior 3 to Standing

Stand on your right leg and extend the left leg behind you. Arms reach overhead with biceps covering ears. Keep the body in one straight line as you try to hinge forward, bringing the back leg off the floor and the torso parallel to the floor. Pause and return to standing. Continue on the right side for the duration. You will perform the Warrior 3 on the left side during your second round.

Reverse Burpee

Begin with your feet wider than hip distance. Squat back and down to the ground. Once your bum hits the floor, lie back, extending the legs out in front of you and the arms overhead. Quickly return to a seated position and back up to the standing start position. To increase the intensity, add a jump when you stand or move faster. Be sure to perform this exercise on a soft mat or be extra careful as you lower to the ground. You might consider completing this on a BOSU Balance Trainer instead for an extra challenge (and a soft place to land).

Reverse Plank

Begin in a seated position with your legs outstretched. Place your hands behind you on the ground slightly behind your shoulders. Press through your hands and heels to drive the hips up towards the ceiling. Hold for a count of three and lower down. Repeat for the duration. You can also bend your knees and place your feet on the floor to perform a reverse tabletop, instead.

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Keep Your Resolutions Moving with This February Calendar

The holiday rush is over, and right about now, New Year’s resolutions are often losing their steam—but don’t let them! The hardest part is getting started, and the second hardest is pushing forward even if you haven’t seen the results you’re working toward. It takes time. Have faith in the process and long-term plan to build a stronger, healthier life. Tools like this can be helpful to keep your momentum going.

Simply download this wellness calendar and fill in the days, ensuring you stay active and organized. Don’t forget to fill out the goals and measurement sections, and maybe add in a personal adventure or two. This shouldn’t be all work! Good luck.

Download Blank February Calendar     Download Full 2018 Calendar

Want more direction?

Try our beginner Get Started Plan with recommended workouts and times to get moving during your first 30 days of fitness. If you’d like to personalize these plans more to your personal abilities and needs, you can visit your nearest Anytime Fitness to work with a certified personal trainer. We also have more detailed, goal-oriented fitness plans:

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Challenge Yourself with this Total Body TRX Workout

Whether you’re new to the gym scene or a seasoned vet, you’ve likely seen the TRX hanging around the gym and wondered, “What in the world is that thing?” or “I know what it is, but can I really get a great workout with it?” You’re in luck, because this blog answers both questions.

The TRX Suspension Trainer was created by Navy SEAL squadron commander Randy Hetrick while on deployment. Using a jiu jitsu belt and parachute webbing, he created a way to get a total body workout using minimal equipment that would be easy to move around and travel with.

Suspension trainer exercises are even better than bodyweight exercises because they support a variety of back exercises that are difficult to do without equipment. And it adds an element of instability that challenges every muscle—especially the core. Even better: Most exercises on the TRX are easily modifiable for all levels of fitness.

Now that you know what it is and why it’s awesome, go ahead and give it a try! The total body workout below will get you started. For the Overhead Raise, One Leg Wide Row, Fly, Curl, Modified French Press, and Side Bend, you can modify it and make things a little easier by moving your feet farther away from the wall or TRX anchor. To make these exercises more challenging, move your feet closer. For all exercises, remember to keep your core engaged to help maintain good form.

After you complete this workout, you’ll have a new piece of equipment and eight new exercises in your fitness arsenal, not to mention you can show off your skills when the next newbie drops in. Spread the TRX love!

Total Body TRX Workout

Reps: 15 | Circuits: 3 | Rest: 60 seconds between circuits

Download This Workout

Foot Up Split Squat

One Foot Split Squat

1 – Stand upright with one foot looped in the handle and your arms by your sides.

2 – Drop your body down toward the floor, bending at your hips and knees and leaning your torso slightly forward.

3 – Push off your front foot to return to the start position.

  • Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.


TRX Push-up

1 – Place your hands on floor in front of you and your feet in the handles behind you, with your elbows bent and your chest nearly touching the floor.

2 – Push up until your arms are straight, keeping your hips in line with your shoulders.

• Lower back to where your chest nearly touches the floor and repeat.

Overhead Raise

TRX Overhead Raise

1 – Lean back holding the handles with your arms fully extended, your feet flat, and your palms facing down.

2 – Pull the handles overhead with your arms straight and hands close together.

One Leg Wide Row

TRX One leg row

1 – Stand on one leg and lean back, holding the handles with your arms fully extended, your foot flat, and your palms facing down.

2 – Pull your chest up to the handles, bending your elbows.

• Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.



1 – Lean your body forward with your hands in the handles, arms straight out to the sides at shoulder height, and your legs straight out on your toes.

2 – Pull the handles together in front until they meet over your chest.

• Keep your arms straight throughout.


TRX Curl

1 – Lean back holding the handles with your arms fully extended, your feet flat, and your palms facing up.

2 – Pull your body up to the handles, bending your elbows and curling your hands toward your shoulders.

Modified French Press

Modified TRX French Press

1 – Lean to one side holding the handles overhead with your arms straight.

2 – Arch your torso over to one side and reach your arms to this side.

3 – Pull your body back up to the start position.

  • Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other side.

Side Bend

TRX Side Bend

1 – Lean to one side holding the handles overhead, with your arms straight.

2 – Arch your torso over to one side and reach your arms to this side.

3 – Pull your body back up to the start position.

Download This Workout

Find more workouts like this in the Anytime Fitness App.

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How to Properly Use Supersets to Your Advantage

If you’ve spent any amount of time looking for workout inspiration or attending personal or group training sessions, chances are you’ve run across the term “superset.” While supersets are common, it’s still hard for many to grasp what they are and how best to integrate them into a workout. So, here’s some help!

Supersetting is rather simple: Perform two exercises, back-to-back, with little to no rest in between. An example would be doing a set of biceps curls and then triceps dips right afterward. For the time-crunched gym goer, supersets are regarded as the holy grail of workout constructs. Any type of training that promises better results in half the time is a win for most!

Designing supersets, however, gets a bit more complicated. See, the exercises you choose to perform back-to-back will either work for you or against you. Sequence the right exercises together and you’ll burn more calories and increase performance. Choose the wrong pairing and it can bring on injuries and potentially impede your progress. Let’s break it down and make supersets super simple. There are three types.

Antagonist Supersets: Pairing exercises together that involve opposing muscle groups.

  • Ex. Biceps curls, followed by triceps curls
  • Ex. Leg extensions, followed by hamstring curls or deadlifts

Antagonist supersets allow one muscle group to rest while another gets to work. This should enable you to lift at the same “level” (weight/reps) as you would if completing multiple sets of one exercise with adequate rest in between each set—which saves time and increases caloric expenditure.

Agonist Supersets: Pairing exercises together that involve the same muscle groups.

  • Ex. Chest presses, followed by push-ups
  • Ex. Pull-ups, followed by biceps curls

Agonist supersets are sometimes referred to as compound sets and are the most physically demanding types of supersets. They allow you to increase your volume of training (how much you can accomplish in the same amount of time) and intensity (in less time), and incorporate more muscles in the same workout.

A “pre-fatigue superset” falls under the agonist heading. Instead of choosing two exercises that target the same general muscle group, you begin with an exercise for one of the smaller muscle groups that assists in the second exercise you’ll be performing. In theory, for example, when you wear out one of the muscles that assist in the chest press, the chest will have to work harder, and will then have a bigger “reaction” to the chest press.

  • Ex. Triceps kickback, followed by chest presses
  • Ex. Biceps curl, followed by seated rows

Unrelated Supersets: Pairing exercises together that are not connected.

If you pair exercises that are unrelated, you still receive the benefit of accomplishing more sets and reps in a shorter amount of time, and also will have little-to-no loss of strength when moving between exercises.

  • Ex. Lunges, followed by pull-ups
  • Ex. Squats, followed by push-ups

Common Superset Mistakes

Beware of the following mistakes that might affect your health and results.

Pairing Core with Other Exercises – Your core is responsible for stabilizing and helping you lift. When you are continually taxing your core in between sets of heavy lifting, you run the risk of eliminating an integral source of support. Better to save the core work for the end of the workout or another day if you’re using supersets to maximize your gains!

Performing Successive Compressive Moves – A compressive move is anything that compresses your spine, such as goblet squats or barbell lunges. Compressive moves aren’t bad, necessarily. But you do want to work in non-compressive exercise to counterbalance these common exercises. Examples include anything that fixes your arms in place and allows your feet to move, such as triceps dips, pull-ups, glute bridges, or any suspension exercises (e.g. TRX exercises).

Ultimately, supersets are a great way to maximize your time in the gym. And, with a little bit of forethought, they can help you keep your muscles guessing, break through plateaus, and avoid burnout or boredom. Ask a personal trainer for more advice if you’re still unsure how to build your own supersets.

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3 Great Moves for the Cable Rope

The cable rope attachment is extremely versatile. So much so, I have several trainer friends who carry their own in their gym bag in case wherever we’re going to lift doesn’t have one! Beyond the pushdown, curl, and pull, you can use it for variations in leg exercises, core movements, and upper body training. Let’s master these moves first though! Watch and read on for instruction.

3 Great Cable Rope Moves

Triceps Pushdown

Your triceps muscles consist of three heads, or points of origin: the medial, lateral, and long head. The most efficient way to train all three is using a full range of motion—just as you would with any other muscle group. And the trick to getting all three heads involved in the Triceps Pushdown is tilting your torso forward at a 30- to 40-degree angle, instead of standing straight up.

  1. Start off standing in front of a cable machine, attaching a rope to the high pulley and grabbing the attachment with an overhand grip.
  2. Keeping your abs drawn in, back straight, and elbows in at your sides, push the rope down toward your thighs.
  3. As you push down, split the rope apart at the bottom and isolate the tricep muscle.
  4. Hold this position for a count and return back up to the starting position.

Hammer Curl

Your biceps consist of two heads, and hammer curls help build both the brachialis and brachioradialis in a way other curl variations simply do not. Attach the rope on the end of the cable machine so it gives you room to move, but assists your controlled motion. Working the brachialis is particularly important if you’re looking to beef up your guns. It will also build strength in the upper body for doing daily activities like picking up children, doing household chores, and lifting grocery bags!

Face Pull

Face pulls might be the most underutilized exercise out there. They serve as both an awesome muscle-building exercise and a highly effective movement for improving shoulder health and posture. They’re great for building rear delts, traps, rhomboids, and rotator cuff muscles. And they are one of the very best exercises for treating and preventing internal rotation of the shoulder joint—a.k.a. rounded shoulders. Face pulls will help to rotate your shoulders back into the proper position for better posture and decreased injury risk.

  1. Grab the rope attachment and set it at upper chest height
  2. Rather than gripping the rope from the top with your palms facing down like most people do, instead, grip it from underneath with a neutral hammer-style grip
  3. Keep your chest up, shoulders back and retract your shoulder blades
  4. Pull the rope back towards your face while at the same time imagining that you’re trying to pull the rope apart
  5. Pause in the fully contracted position and focus on squeezing your rear delts and upper back before returning to the starting position

Ready? Get out there and give the cable rope a try. Your muscles won’t be disappointed!

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5 Ways to Stay on Track With Your New Fitness Goals

Staying committed to an exercise regimen is hard work. There’s no way around that. But it’s about much more than physical resolve. Designing the routine that’s best for you is key. We want to help you reach your goals, which is why we’ve put together five tips to help you design a routine you’ll want to stick to! If you need more direction and assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local Anytime Fitness staff member. We’re ready and eager to help!

Push yourself. 

When it comes to personal fitness, you are the biggest factor in the success of your program. Ultimately, you’re the one who decides to hit the gym or run that extra mile. As you begin a new routine, being your own cheerleader will go a long way in making your desired results a reality!

Keep a fitness journal.

When you think about exercising, journaling probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, recording your progress in a dedicated place will make a big difference as you develop your routine. Whether you choose a physical notebook, an app, spreadsheet, or our monthly wellness calendar, giving yourself a handy place to record your exercise will help you keep every week productive—and be a great way to reflect on how far you’ve come! 

Reward yourself.

There’s a reason why every store seems to have some form of a rewards program—they’re extremely effective at gaining repeat customers. In that same way, creating a rewards program around your workout plan will help to make you a “repeat customer” of the gym! Set a goal for yourself and choose a reward you get once you meet that goal. It doesn’t really matter what you set as your reward, but try to choose non food-related rewards, like a massage, a new outfit or a movie. Whether your goal is to lose weight, lift a certain weight, or exercise consistently for a period of time, knowing you have a new outfit, trip or treat at the end can do wonders to get you there!

Introduce variety.

People who are new to a fitness routine often burn out after their first few weeks because their workouts start becoming boring. Mixing together different workouts will keep your mind and your muscles engaged! Try a variety of exercises as a great way to discover things you enjoy, which will ultimately help keep you motivated and having more fun each time you hit the gym. 

Get social.

Whether you’re a Chatty Cathy or prefer a solo exercise sesh, there are plenty of ways to involve others to help keep you motivated. If you’d like to get moving with other workout enthusiasts, check out your gym’s group fitness schedule or local event pages to see what groups are around you. From distance running to weightlifting, chances are someone in your area enjoys the same type of exercise and would be thrilled to buddy up!

If you aren’t interested in having a gym buddy, but still want a sense of community, online communities  like your gym’s Facebook page, where you can chat about progress, are great ways to cultivate that same sense of support.

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2018 Wellness Calendar for Active Planning & Progress

Every day is a fresh slate to make good choices. But it’s not always easy! In fact, usually it’s not. There are temptations around every corner and seemingly continual reasons to celebrate and “treat yourself.” The trick is establishing a plan, a routine, that lets you enjoy life but also reach your wellness goals. And then, stick to it! Use this simple tool below to stay on track. You can download it, print it, and then fill in the calendar with the exercise and activity—and even meal planning—that will help you get there.

How to Get Started:

  • Set some goals, big and small.
  • Determine your healthy rewards.
  • Take your measurements.
  • Test your squats, push-ups, and plank.
  • Schedule your first month’s activity!

If it’s hard to think big, start small. Set a plan for this week, and then this month. Small steps really do lead to big rewards, you just have to get moving—and believe in the plan. You’ve got this!

2018 Calendar Preview:

Download a Blank PDF to Print:

Download the 2018 Calendar (PDF) January 2018    February 2018    March 2018    April 2018    May 2018    June 2018    July 2018    August 2018    September 2018    October 2018    November 2018    December 2018

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Bodyweight Strength Training Plan You Can Accomplish Anywhere

This is an interesting time of year. As the new year approaches and getting healthier is top of mind for many, the holidays ramp up and it’s harder and harder to get to the gym and stick to a routine. Many skip workouts, but also increase calorie intake. That’s why this fitness plan is here! We don’t want you to get off track. Let’s focus on a simple strength training plan that you can do anywhere, anytime, so you can push through the holiday season and into 2018 stronger than ever.

This progressive, four-week plan can be found in the Anytime Fitness mobile app, under the workouts tab (Plans > Beginner > Strength > No Equipment). Even though it’s labeled “beginner,” it’s great for any person of any fitness level. There are three workouts a week, with a recommended day of active rest in between.

During week one, you’ll start at a moderate intensity. The exercises will mainly target the muscles that surround your knees, hips, and shoulder joints. These unilateral exercises will help you increase your muscular strength by using your bodyweight alone. As you progress into weeks two through four, you’ll notice that the workouts start to utilize supersets, which will allow you to work more muscle groups at once, and make even more progress.

Even though this is just a bodyweight strength training plan, you will feel muscles being used that you might not typically feel from a free weight or resistance machine exercise. Trust me, when you do the lateral lunges, you will feel it the next day! So, let’s get going with workout one. There’s no reason to wait!

4 Weeks to a Stronger You

Bodyweight Strength – Week 1, Day 1

3 sets, 10 reps, 60 secs between reps

Download Workout 1

Bodyweight Strength – Week 1, Day 2

3 sets, 10 reps, 60 secs between reps

Download Workout 2

Bodyweight Strength – Week 1, Day 3

3 sets, 10 reps, 60 secs between reps

Download Workout 3

Visit the Anytime Fitness App for Weeks 2-4.

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