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Showing posts from June, 2010

Top 10 reasons why Running is Great!

This is an excerpt from an email I typically send to my Learn-To-Run Clinic when we are discussing motivation.

There are many reasons why running is one of the most popular forms of aerobic exercise. Aside from the shoes, running is relatively inexpensive. In good weather, running gives you a chance to enjoy the outdoors, but in bad weather, running can be done indoors. Running can also burn significantly more calories than other aerobic activities. Since running is a weight-bearing exercise, it may also prevent osteoporosis.
Running is the most efficient path to cardiovascular fitness.
Running is the most accessible of aerobic sports. You can run anywhere without fancy equipment
Running is inexpensive and easy to learn.
Running is the best method of stress reduction on the market.
Running can help ease women's menstrual tension.
Running is an excellent compliment to a weight control program.
Running is a flexible method of training. You can run at your own pace, with or wit…

Chicken Soup Exercise

I have been sick for the past 4 or 5 days. Ug. Change of season bugs are so strange. A cold in the summer- bah. I have been laying low, canceling every appointment I can and trying to get on the mend.

One thing I am NOT doing is ceasing exercise! I did take an extra dedicated rest day.

It is my experience that the balance between rest and exercise is crucial when I am under the weather. Getting the blood pumping is a great way to encourage circulation, distributing antibodies through my system. There's nothing worse than the system stagnating with an offensive bug in it! 30 minutes of low-moderate RPE exercise is a great investment in getting better. Balancing that with extra rest and nutrition I usually don't get knocked down for very long.
This was very apparent when I was pregnant. The 2 times I caught a bug while pregnant I really felt that exercise saved me. Keeping my circulation moving really helped me to feel better and recover faster.

So the next time you are sick, consi…

Health Benefits of Running

The benefits of running can be broken down into 3 main categories:Health Benefits of RunningThere are a number of health benefits that running or jogging provide.  A primary reason many runners begin running is to lose weight; losing excess weight is one of the healthiest things one can do. Running also prevents muscle and bone loss that occurs naturally with old age. Running may also help fight disease; it certainly helps to strengthen your heart and whole cardiovascular system. Mental Benefits of RunningThere are large (and proven) psychological benefits to running as well. Running builds confidence in all ages of people. Going for a jog during your day can reduce your stress level drastically. And, of course, endorphins are the body's natural antidepressant. Community Benefits of RunningDon't overlook the benefits of a community to turn to; the running community is very much a culture all its own. It is an important support system for many runners, providing support in their…

The Benefits of Prenatal Exercise

There are 2 safety concerns when exercising during pregnancy: #1. Safety of baby #2. Safety of mom
Having said that, you are pregnant not SICK! Can Fit Pro guidelines allow 30 minutes of exercise every day as safe in a normal low risk pregnancy. Incorporate both cardio and strength training into your prenatal routine- use alternating days. Perform flexibility exercises every day- as part of your warm up/cool down, or simply on their own as a relaxation and loosening up routine. Do not use pregnancy as an excuse to be sedentary and have a poor diet. Neglecting your fitness will result in a more difficult recovery- physically, mentally and emotionally! However, do not approach pregnancy as a time to "get into shape"- your body will not have the resources to greatly improve your fitness level. Approach pregnancy as an opportunity to maintain your current level of fitness, while gently targeting crucial areas for strengthening to offset your physical discomfort, and to prepare you …

Nutrition for a Healthy Start!

Today is a dedicated rest day. I am making baby food and reflecting on nutrition from an early age. My (almost) 7 year old daughter eats tons of raw vegetables, fruit, and whole foods almost entirely. I really believe that it is mostly because of my approach to her food plan from the very start.
My disclaimer to this article is that of course I understand every situation is unique. Furthermore, I am not a nutritionist. Aside from basic whole food coaching, nutritional advice is outside the scope of my professional practice. I can only share my own experience and what has worked very well. Please regard this post as one of an amateur.
My daughter Jennifer eats raw vegetables and fruits by the pile. Mealtimes are easy- a main course such as perogies, a bunless (her preference) hot dog or veggie wiener, pasta with Parmesan cheese, chick pea salad, alongside a heaping pile of raw vegetables- baby carrots, sliced bell peppers, snap & snow peas, green & wax beans, cherry tomatoes, ste…

Work Cycles, Rest & RPE

I try to exercise 5 days/week as per Can-Fit Pro's guidelines for exercise: Flexibility 4-7 days/weekCardio 3-5 days/weekStrength 2-4 days/weekThat gives me 2 rest days per week. On active rest days I still stretch, take a walk with the dog, do some tai chi or yoga- something very easy going just to stay fluid and in motion. On dedicated rest days I do absolutely nothing and it's a mental exercise at least!
Since the half marathon in May I have been making a push with my workouts. My last work cycle was 11 days followed by 2 days of rest- 1 active and 1 dedicated. Today was Day 7 of this cycle, and after 6 consecutive days of high intensity interval circuit work I decided (or rather my body dictated) to have a low impact cardio day- to get the blood pumping but with minimal effort. This morning I logged a nice 6K walk. Later I rode the stationary bike at an steadily increasing then decreasing pace for 30 minutes: 4 minutes HR 120 RPE 106 minutes HR 130-140 RPE 124 minutes HR 150…

Balance- At a Glance

Take a moment to think about yesterday. Consider how much time was spent doing the following: WorkingFamily TimeExerciseRelaxationMealsChoresAt a glance, was your day well balanced? Was your day monopolized by work? Did you sacrifice family time to get chores done? Did you forget to take 30 minutes to relax? Did you get some dedicated exercise time in?
If we can strive to balance each day, finding time for a variety of meaningful activities, then we are one step closer to leading healthy lives.  I believe that in this hyper-paced compulsively scheduled rat race we can forget to maintain balance in our efforts, resulting in a lopsided picture of a healthy happy dynamic life.
This applies to the healthiest of choices! If you were to run 2 hours every day that would be a huge time commitment away from your kids, for example. Realizing this, alternatives could be sought such as a family bike ride, scooter beside running parent, etc. Need to get in some relaxation time? Double duty with famil…

The Cost of Fitness

A fit and healthy body is priceless. If you could buy a fit body for yourself, would you? How much would you pay? How much is it worth to you? Well every person can afford to be fit!
Today after a particularly difficult Day 6 workout I ask myself "Is it ever easy? Is it ever really NOT difficult?" And the answer is no. It takes tremendous effort to exercise- first we must overcome the mental obstacles and that alone is a lot of work! Once we are mentally motivated we still have to put our body through the motions with the physical effort. It is hard! There is a reason why I am sweating buckets with my HR in its max zone. It takes effort.
Think of that effort as my currency. That effort recruits my muscles causing them to grow, to respond quicker, to last longer. That effort is paying for my fit body; and that effort...well, it's "free" right? We all at least have the potential. We can create this currency with our own power. We use this effort to expend our calor…

Preventative Foot Care

It is very important to have the proper support in your shoes and especially while pregnant, as many women experience plantar fascia strain due to the pregnancy weight gain. The plantar fascia or arch ligament is a band that runs from under the heel to the front of the foot. Symptoms are typically localized tenderness and pain over the plantar fascia. Wearing arch support in your shoes can prevent this strain, and also will help with the discomfort if it has occurred. It can ultimately prevent plantar fasciitis from developing, which is a painful condition caused by overuse of the plantar fascia or arch tendon of the foot.

It is imperative to be treated for a proper shoe fitting, where your gait is assessed to determine if your ankle joint's motion has inversion and/or pronation in the arch, eversion and/or supination of the arch, or is neutral . Those of us who run are familiar with "stability shoes"- a running shoe with a built-in arch support which compensates for in…

Summer Solstice Workout

06/21/10 Happy Solstice! Today I was feeling tired after such a push core day yesterday. This is Day 5. I was stoic heading into my workout, pragmatic without enthusiasm; determined to get it done, and done I did! I pushed myself and focused on strong form. I had overall improvements in score.
*This is an appropriate workout for an intermediate to advanced fitness client who is no less than 6 months postpartum. If diastasis exists, no more than 6 fingerwidths total, must be able to perform headlift exercise, must be able to engage transverse in prone positions and must wear Tupler splint during exercise.


20 seconds work: 10 seconds rest x 8 rounds, maximum reps, 2 minutes rest between sets 5 Exercises: Lunge Jumps 13/10/9/10/6/9/8/11 Pike Leg Switch 12/15/14/14/13/13/13/14 Side Lunge Jump Twist L/R 7x4/8x4 Burpees 3.5x4/3/3.5x3 Pike To Plank 9/9/9/8/6/6/8/8
10 minute warm up & cool down Total time= 40 minutes  Add 3 sets of 20 headlifts for ab rehab + 5K walk

Total Day = 90+ minutes



The Pelvic Tilt

The pelvic tilt is an important exercise. As a pre/postnatal trainer I teach clients how to do a proper pelvic tilt for core and pelvic floor strengthening,  If you review the headlift in the ab rehab program you will recall that executing a proper pelvic tilt is a prerequisite of the exercise, as shortens the recti at the lowest point.
The pelvic tilt is not achieved with the hips; rather, through the abdominals with a visualization. Remember, this is the foundation of the headlift as it is the first 3 steps of the headlift. Here is how to perform the pelvic tilt in a back lying position: Expand the belly to 1st floorBring JUST the transverse to spine (5th floor). Don’t use pelvis or back to do itNow HOLD IT THERE as you visualize the belly button zipping up the spine under the ribs. (Spine is zipper and belly button is pull on zipper)When the pelvic tilt is properly engaged the  lower back will press gently into the floor; again, without assistance from flexion at the hi…

Workout CORE

Happy Father's Day! To all the wonderful dedicated dads out there, and most of all to the one we have here in my family; without whose help I would not have the time to be the person I am. My husband is the best dad ever.

So today is Day 4 of 6 and I decided it was a good day for a core workout.  This is an appropriate workout for an intermediate to advanced fitness client who is no less than 6 months postpartum. If diastasis exists, no more than 6 fingerwidths total, must be able to perform headlift exercise, must be able to engage transverse in prone positions and must wear Tupler splint during exercise.
Here is what today looked like:
3 exercises in circuit with set reps. Rest for 30 secs between exercises. Repeat. Break with 2 exercises set reps time challenge. Rest for 30 secs Repeat entire workout.
Plank 10 secs Reptile 25/20 Mountain Climber 30/25 Plank Knee Tucks 30/20 Time: 7:25
Monkey Pushups 15 -1:54 Explosive Star 15 -0:35
Plank 10 secs Reptile 25/15 Mountain Climber 30/15 Plank K…

Today's Workout

I enjoyed my Exercise Face-Off so much yesterday that I decided to a variation with the same exercises today. I did 3 circuits of the 6 exercises, resting for 1 minute in between pairs of exercises. I timed set repetitions, based on fitness level for body weight exercises.
*This workout is appropriate for an intermediate to advanced client no less than 7 months postpartum. If diastasis is present, no more than a total 6 fingerwidths, must be able to engage transverse while executing exercises, and must wear Tupler splint during exercise.
Modified Pushup vs. Squat Jump Twist Sets 12/15, 15/15, 8/10 Flying Scissors vs. Alternating Pushups 15/12, 15/16, 12/12 Explosive Star vs. Running reptile 12/12, 15/15, 12/1o 
This took approximately 19 minutes, with 10:00 work: 9:00 rest Add a 10 minute full body warm & cool down for a total 25-30 minutes workout.

Add:
-5K run RPE 12-13 for + 30 minutes moderate cardio
-1 set of 20 double splinted headlifts for ab rehab


Total time for day = 70 minutes
Feeli…

The Splint God Help Me!

It has been since May 11th that I have abandoned wearing my splint. Yes I know, slap me on the wrist. After 10 weeks of all day every day (well 95%) I was completely fed up with it. 10 weeks is a good run, but the lack of support in approximating my recti is noticeable.
I purchased 2 items from the Ardyss line of body shaping garments, the Corset Golden and the T-Shirt Lite. They have been more feminine substitutions for the splint and provide support but only by compression; they do almost nothing to approximate the rectus abdominus. They are supportive, they encourage better posture (something the splint doesn't do), and they definintely flatten and shape; but the approximating design of the splint is more functional from a rehabilitative perspective. Remember what the SPLINT looks like?
All of my clients, myself and my team of trainers struggle with the splint. It does ride up- all day, every day. There is no questioning its effectiveness for what it is designed to do, but the t…

Sharing Successes with Ab Rehab

I thought I would try to encourage everyone to be diligent with the ab rehab program by sharing some anecdotes of success that I have personally been apart of in the few months that I have been teaching this program:
Myself: Began with a separation of 3-4-4 and have closed to 0-2-3. That's 6 fingerwidths in approximately 16 weeks. That is a decrease from 11 fingerwidths total to only 5. My connective tissue which was very weak is strengthened. My waist has decreased from 29" to 26", my naval measurement decreased from 31" to 29"- that's a total of 5" lost. Wow.
Client "X": Has lost 2" from her waist, 2" from her naval, strengthened connective tissue and closed 1.5 fingerwidths total in approximately 6 weeks.
Client "XY": My most diligent client who began with the largest separation and weakest connective tissue- has lost 3" from her waist, 3" from her naval, strengthened connective tissue and closed 4.5 fingerwidths…

Ask an Expert- Julie Tupler's Opinion and a Challenge!

For ALL of my diastasis clients out there, here is an email correspondence of interest. I wrote to Julie Tupler with this question, on behalf of all of us:
"Hello Julie. My name is Kate and I work with Samantha Montpetit-Huynh at Core Expectations as a pre and postnatal trainer. I have several postpartum clients (and I am 6 months postpartum myself with baby #2) who have diastasis they are working to close. We all notice that early in the day our abdominals seem flat, but as the day progresses we become more distended and by evening we feel and appear very distended. In your opinion is this because of our separations? Can you suggest a reason why this is happening? The obvious would be that our stomachs are fuller resulting in more pressure on the separation, and perhaps our abdominals are more tired by the day's end and so engage less? The time range is 6-12 months postpartum.

I just thought I'd ask your expert opinion.

Thanks in advance,
Sincerely,
Kate Rita, PTS, PFS&qu…

Run Program Postpartum Return to Running

Here is a run program I designed for the postpartum client who is returning to running.

This is an intermediate  level cardio fitness program for no less than 3 months postpartum. This is basically a 0 to-5K postpartum plan in 8 weeks. 
Consistency is key to running conditioning. Perform each run 3x in one week on non consecutive days. Progress slowly with the mantra "gas in the can", meaning even if you feel like you can go farther, do not rush the training process. Typically the first run will be difficult, the second you will be left with "gas in the can" and the third will be easy- then you progress to the next step.

Week 1: 2K 4:1 Run:Walk intervals approx 16 minutes
Week 2: 3K 6:1 Run:Walk Intervals approx 25 minutes
Week 3: 4K 6:1 Run:Walk Intervals approx 30 minutes
Week 4: 4K 8:1 Run:Walk Intervals approx 28 minutes
Week 5: 5K 8:1 Run:Walk Intervals approx 38 minutes
Week 5: 5K 10:1 Run:Walk Intervals approx 35 minutes
Week 6: 5K straight approx 30 minutes
Week 7:…

2 Fun Workouts!

After 2 days of rest I started my workout "week" yesterday. Here is a log of my workouts for the past 2 days:
*These are 6 month Postpartum Intermediate to Advanced Fitness Level.
06/17/10:
20 seconds work: 10 seconds rest x 8 rounds, maximum reps, 2 minutes rest between sets 5 Exercises: Squat Jump Forward Back Step backs Monkey Pushups Side Lunge Jump Twist Pike To Plank
10 minute warm up & cool down Total time= 40 minutes
06/18/10: 20 seconds:20 seconds alternating exercises x 3 rounds, maximum reps, 2 minutes rest between sets Flying Scissors vs. Alternating Pushups Modified Pushup vs. Squat Jump Twist Explosive Star vs. Running reptile
10 minutes jump rope 1:1 work:rest w/5 minute warm up & cool down Total time = 30 minutes
I already have tomorrow's workout planned, so check back!

I can modify these creative workouts for you, to suit your fitness level. Ask me how!

Ab Rehab Progress Update

Here is a progress update on my Ab Rehab: I have closed a total of 6 fingerwidths now! Top from 3 to 0, Middle from 4 to 2, Lower from 4 to 3.  I am halfway healed!  My other measurements are holding strong- waist 26", naval 29", hips 34". I wonder if I will ever see a 24" waist again in my future.... only time will tell. It's no matter, all my clothes fit and a 26" waist is perfectly acceptable to me :)

The Food Plan- Strategies

Fundamentally I believe that nutrition is the foundation to health. Provided you are at an appropriate weight I believe that managing a healthy food plan alone will maintain a healthy body. Now of course I also believe that exercise is an essential component of a healthy whole, but all the exercise in the world will not help you if your nutrition is consistently poor.
This is personally one of my biggest challenges as a trainer. It frustrates me to my ends when a client refuses to adjust his/her food plan to be congruent with our fitness goals. Our nutrition also has a goal!
When I use the word diet I do not mean a weight loss food plan. I believe that our "diet" is quiet simply what we eat, and our diet has goals attached to it be it weight loss, fitness, muscle building, pregnancy, or morality (as in vegetarianism), to name a few. Whatever the goal of your current diet or food plan, I believe that strategy is the key to success.
I have a mostly vegetarian diet. I am not dogm…

Ab Rehab- The Headlift

Beginning in Week 4 of the Ab Rehab Program you perform headlifts. The headlift is THE crucial exercise in the Ab Rehab Program, as it shortens the recti in all 3 locations: Top of the muscle when lifting the head.Middle of the muscle when bringing transverse to the spineBottom of the muscle with the pelvic tiltIt is imperative to execute the exercise properly, and believe me that is not easy to do! Therefore, the physical pre-requisites for the headlifts are:
Strong transverse muscle. Must be doing 5oo reps of seated contractions for at least 3 weeksDoing a pelvic tilt in a back lying position correctlyThe pelvic tilt is not achieved with the hips; rather, through the abdominals with a visualization. Remember, this is the foundation of the headlift as it is the first 3 steps of the headlift. Here is how to perform the pelvic tilt in a back lying position: Expand the belly to 1st floorBring JUST the transverse to spine (5th floor). Don’t use pelvis or back to do itNow HOLD IT THERE as yo…