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Showing posts from October, 2010

More on the subject of Rest, and Today's Workout

After a LONG day of rest I planned a great workout for today. Rest days are hard for me, twiddling my thumbs, and I have to keep reminding myself that rest IS as important as working out! I need rest to recover and build the muscles I am working so hard on. I focused yesterday on water intake and researching some new exercises for creative inspiration- but I was cautious not to do too many reps to practice, negating my rest day (I did this last rest day! lol)
Today I am going to have a 2-a-day. Tonight I plan my full core workout with my husband (how fun is that? He pushes me!) so this morning I thought I'd try some of these new exercises to get jump started. 
This is an Upper & Lower Body Weight Workout, 150 reps, with intermediate exercises:
Supine Pull Ups 15 x 3 Single Leg Push Up 8 x 3 Single Leg Lunges 8 x 3 Low Squat Jumps 20 x 3
This took less than 30 minutes with short rests in between sets. I did it circuit style to reduce the rest time required. I felt like I could do more…

Simple & Effective Upper Body Workout No Equipment Required! 30:00

This is an easy-to-do and very effective upper body workout. You can modify reps and form as needed for + or - work.
Push/Press (Upper) Body Weight Workout +200 Reps 3 Circuits of 4 exercises, 8:00, rest 2:00 between circuits = 30:00 Total
Full Push Up x 10 Side Lying Tricep Push Up x 12/side Side Bridge Elbow to Knee Crunch Alternating Sides x 12 Single Arm Press Up to Pike (I have modify this from knees!) x 12/side
Remember to keep your core engaged completely during exercise! This is especially difficult for me on the eccentric phase of the Single Arm Press Up.
It looks easy written down but it was challenging for me. This is Day 3, my last burn before a rest day, and boy I am jello now.
Give it a try and enjoy!

Measures of Progress

Many people look for weight loss as the ultimate reward for exercise. Losing weight takes time, and often beginners need to build the strength to support a cardio program for weight loss. Some mothers who are nursing will "hang on to" weight until months after lactation has ceased completely. We need to consider that there are other benefits of exercise, and we need to pay attention to those results as well, regardless of what the scale says.
Here are some things I expect you to see within the first few months of my program:

- less aches and pains
- increased range-of-motion
- increased strength
- increased energy
- increased sense of well being
- decrease in stress
- improved posture
- a shifting of weight- you may lose inches
These are all great reasons to exercise- stretching, strengthening and building cardiovascular fitness. 
Remember that muscle weights more than fat. As we strengthen weight is shifted to lean muscle mass which burns more calories at rest, speeding up you…

You are another person's goal!

I have had this conversation with a few of my clients recently, regarding our individual levels of fitness. No matter where you find yourself along the continuum of fitness, there is someone out there working to be where you are. There are always people more and less fit than yourself (greater and lessor than yourself- the Desiderata!). So represent and strive for improvements, all the while being humble about your challenges and proud of your accomplishments. Every day that you exercise you are fitter than the day before! It is a series of small steps in your life's work!

Running Form

It is imperative to focus on your form when running in order to improve performance and prevent injury. Here are the things I look for when assessing running form: Keep your back straight and tall, with shoulder girdle anchored- think shoulders "up, back and down".Keep your chin up and upper body still. Your arms are for dynamics not speed/momentum! Do not swing your arms; try to keep forearms parallel to the ground the the wrists relaxed. Do NOT allow your arms to cross your midline in the front- that means do not swing them across your body. This will F&*k your back!Do not lean forward. This can cause shin splints. Conversely, don't lean back and strain your core.Try to land softly mid foot. Avoid heel striking or running on the balls of the feet.Do not stride out. Speed is about turnover, not stride. This can cause shin splints.Keep your transverse as engaged as possible- think abs "tight tight tight"Try to smile and keep your neck, shoulders and jaw rela…

2 Kinds of Sore

There are, in my opinion, 2 types of soreness. The first is from exercise, and the remedy is rest. The second is from stiffening, and that requires exercise. How do you determine the difference? Experience. Here are a couple of examples:
I ran last Sunday for the first time in 3 weeks and my shins are sore. This is a result of mild deconditioning and I am resting for 6 days, with a plan to run again on Sunday. I will slowly rebuild conditioning with increased frequency and distance. Example 1.
Quite often I experience lower back ache and I know I need to stretch out and loosen up. I use a program of targeted dynamic stretching, followed by the stationary bike which loosens my back like nothing else (!), then a static stretching cool, down. Example 2.
So the next time you feel stiff or sore, ask yourself "What KIND of sore is this?" You may be resting unnecessarily and exasperating your aches, or you may be overtraining with the same results.

Working Out with Baby

(subtitled "Making It Work")
So here is my day and how I managed to "make" time for my workout. Does this sound familiar?
I set the alarm for 6AM with ambitious plans for an AM run. I woke at 5:45AM, looked at the clock and thought "No way in hell", reset it for 7AM and went back to sleep.
Wake 7:18AM- overslept. Get my daughter up, she leaves for school at 8:15AM. My amazing husband does her morning routine while I get the baby up and fed.
8:15AM the house is now empty, just the baby and me. While he plays I grab a few minutes on the computer and finish my coffee.
8:50AM Baby goes for nap. Yay. My house is a disaster. The kitchen is a wreck- breakfast mayhem piled on last night's remnants of dirty dishes and mess. *sigh* I veg/work for 30 minutes on the computer.
9:15AM School calls- my 7 year old is in the office. Dammit I might not get my workout in at all! Crisis is under management  and hopefully I don't have to rush  out to pick her up (Grrr) OK …

Protein & Cereals for Baby

I have been emailing with a client who is looking for inspiration regarding sources of protein for her (almost) 9 month old. I was giving her tips, tricks and my favorite recipes for cereals and I thought it was good information to post here. (It is an excerpt from emails, so that explains how it is written):
"OK CEREAL, my favorite topic. I love to cook him hot cereal. Some grains I prepare:
- whole bulgar wheat
- 6 grain cereal
- steel cut oats
- brown rice
- quinoa
- amaranth
(the last 2 are about 30% protein each!)

I cook a small pot of hot cereal every 2-3 days and refrigerate leftovers for easy reheats. When preparing a serving mash in some banana, a tich of soy milk, a tablespoon of dessert tofu, applesauce, whatever. Dollop with yogurt and it's a great meal FULL of protein (several sources too) anytime of day.

Your challenge will likely be the chunky consistency. Try blending it down with some water and formula or rice milk or whatever using a hand blender.
I als…

Ab Rehab Success!

I visited a client on Saturday for an 8 week progress update on her ab rehab. She is working to close a large separation on a small frame, almost 9 months postpartum. While she lost only a total of 1.5 fingerwidths in 8 weeks of dedicated hard work and 24-7 splinting (yes she is sleeping in it!), she lost 3" off her waist and 1" from her naval! Also, her connective tissue is the strongest I have ever felt- so strong in fact that initially I thought she had closed her DR, and only because of our skepticism did I continue checking and rechecking until I could feel the separation.
Success! It works. Have you completed your sets and reps today?

Don't Write Off Your Day!

Say it's 3PM- half way through the day and you are realizing how crappy you've eaten today-overindulged, poor choices, been inactive, overslept, hungover... well tomorrow is a brand new day. No. Begin your active recovery as soon as you find yourself engaging in the self dialogue of defeatism. Have something nutritious to eat to ward off cravings instead of starving to purge over indulgence. Exercise to improve energy, boost esteem and motivation.
Begin now. Just as every day is a brand new day, every moment is a brand new moment. Don't write off the rest of your day any more than you would the rest of your life!

2 Pregnancies & Labors- A comparison with and without exercise, from my own experience.

I wrote this 3 weeks after delivering Seth:
I have now been through 2 pregnancies- the first six and half years ago, and the second this year. It is difficult to compare experiences directly- there are inherent characteristics unique to each. "They say" with your second pregnancy you show sooner, carry lower, deliver faster, etc., but even considering those generalizations, I can draw some distinctive conclusive comparisons based on my degree of fitness, or lack thereof.... With my first pregnancy I made the over cautious and under educated decision to cease all exercise, based on my fear of compromising my condition. I had been a consistent 5-10 K runner for 3 years.

With my 2nd pregnancy, now as a personal trainer, ceasing my exercise routine was simply not an option. I modified my routine accordingly and exercised right up until the day I delivered. I used an adaptive program incorporating cardio, flexibility and strength training.

Here are some observations dur…

Postural Changes During Pregnancy

Changes in your postural alignment is a natural occurrence as pregnancy develops. The ideal posture ensures the most efficient use of our back muscles so that the least energy is required of these postural muscles. Pregnancy results in an increase in overall body mass and a change in the centre of gravity. As the pregnancy progresses the posture adapts to the changing weight and subsequent forces imposed on the body.

The exact postural changes that occur in response to pregnancy can vary however the general change is that there is an exaggeration of the curve in the lumbar spine (lower back). This exaggerated curve in the lower back is what causes the back muscles to be placed under stress and can lead to back pain. It was thought that following the birth, a woman's posture returns to the way that it was pre-pregnancy. However some studies have shown that the posture after pregnancy is not significantly different to the posture developed during the later stage of pre…

Working to Manage Rest

For the past 6 weeks I have been consciously trying to manage my work:rest days more effectively, and doing a great job I think!
During September I consistently averaged a rest day every 3 days, so a 2:1 work:rest ratio. I found that with more balance I was able to increase the intensity of my workouts, by adding reps, time, and increased RPE to my sessions therefore maximizing my workout time! This was my goal heading into the fall so I am happy with my performance.
So far in October I am averaging a 1:1 work:rest ratio and noticing exponentially increased intensity to each workout. Not only that, I am seeing results happen fast- my four-pack is popping, my obliques  and lats are more defined, my glutes and quads are more muscular. Again congruent with my goals, managing work:rest is giving me the progressive results I am aiming for.
As personal trainers, we are our own best clients- I am able to train myself the way I would love to train every client I have, pushing for maximum results…

Just Get 'Er Done!

I met with a new client the other night and we were discussing motivation and inspiration. She was relieved to hear that even for me, a personal trainer, 90% of my workouts are relatively uninspired "just get it done" workouts. Occasionally I am really inspired and jacked up for my workout, but it is not the norm.
Considering this, remember CONSISTENCY is key, and the cumulative effects of the "just get 'er done" workouts are just as tangible as if every workout were mentally inspired! So today, JUST GET 'ER DONE, and tomorrow, and the workout after that. Cherish the truly inspired workouts and the rest of the time just do it. Results are results and they will come regardless of the enthusiasm for the work :)

Remember it is the results we are after, and workout after cumulative workout, they will come.

Suck it in!

Today's reminder is to engage your transverse muscle all day, every day. I would suggest that to be gently and consistently engaged half way between fully relaxed and the spine is the goal. Whenever you perform any "work" during the day (i.e. picking up/carrying children, lifting laundry, even getting out of the car) engage the transverse completely to the spine.
So for today it's not suck it up it's SUCK IT IN! :)