All Levels Strength HIIT

All Levels Strength HIIT

All Levels Strength HIIT

While writing this blog I had my two trusty companions right beside me.

Bella and my afternoon kombucha.

Poor Bella hasn’t been feeling good this week though. She’s hasn’t been able to keep her food down.

Which is not like her.

She has thrown up pretty much everywhere. Living room, dining room, bedroom and my slipper (true story).

She’s even christened the new Studio.

This morning, while teaching my early morning class, she walked into the middle of the gym during our warm-up, threw up and then walked out.

Alrighty then. Now there’s a GREAT way to start a class.

Thankfully my crew have a fab sense of humour and it was all giggles and laughs.

However, poor Bell’s is not feeling her normal self.

Here’s hoping that a couple of days of special food from the vet will have her back to her old non-throwing-up self.

The deets:

Tools needed: A pair of heavy and light dumbbells

Workout best for: home or gym

Level: beginner – advanced

 

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15-Minute Strength Workout

15-Minute Strength Workout

15 Minute Strength Workout

Well, it’s been a long time.

It’s been a long time since I blogged. A long time since I filmed a workout and a long time since I shaved my legs (TMI?).

However, I have a good reason.

I opened a new boutique fitness studio in Ladner.

In addition, I also re-vamped, re-branded and renewed my website.

Whew! December was a CRAZY, and I count my blessings for two things:

  • Loving husband
  • And spiced rum

They both got me through it all.

15-Minute Strength Workout

During the madness I had very little time to workout.

For 6-weeks I simply fit in what I could, and didn’t get down on myself for not doing more.

I told myself that I knew I would get back to it. But, in the meantime I would just fit what I could in and be happy with that.

And guess what? I actually listened to myself and hence this workout

(Wow. This is definitely a sign of growing up.)

The deets:

Tools needed: A pair of heavy, moderate and light dumbbells.

Workout best for: home

Level: beginner – advanced

 

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25-Minute Butt Lift Workout

25-Minute Butt Lift Workout

25-Minute Butt Lift Workout

A short, yet sweet, glute, hips and thighs workout. 

Your butt.

It’s an area us trainer’s like to see you work because a strong posterior equals a powerful core, a stable low back and knees that should be tracking where they should be (as opposed to that knock-kneed squat pattern that makes me cringe when I see people do it).

In fact, most physios will test a person’s glute and hip strength when someone comes in complaining of knee pain.

knock kneed squats

You see, when you squat your knees should be tracking with your second toe (see “Good” squat above).

Instead, what we see a lot of are knees tracking in towards each other (see “Bad” squat above).

This happens more with women then men too.

Because our hips tend to be wider (what is called our Q-angle, the angle from our knees to our hips bone) this creates havoc on our ability to keep our knees nice, neat and in line with our second toes.

Train the glutes

However, if we train our glutes, and in particular our outer hip area (our gluteus medius), we can help correct this from happening.

This 25-minute workout focusses on the glute med, as well as the glutes themselves, and the hamstrings and thighs.

If you have sore knees you might want to sit this one out, though. Because of the different lunge patterns we do in thew workout your knees might not like it. I suggest you do this workout instead.

4 other benefits of training your butt

1/ Better posture.

A lot of us suffer from poor posture due to sitting. All this sitting we do in a day (such as in front of the computer, in our car, on the couch) creates short and tight hip flexors (the big muscles in the front of our hips), and weak, over-stretch hip extensors (our butt muscles).

This, in turn, will cause a swayback, as well as lumbar lordosis.

Neither are really sexy-looking postures, are they?

Fix this by training your glutes, with moves like bridges and deadlifts found in today’s workout, and you will strengthen the hip extensors and turn on your sexy-looking posture.

2/ Improved performance.

Your glutes are capable of generating a lot of power, especially when it comes to running, speed, acceleration and endurance.

3/ Increased bone density.

When we hit perimenopause and leading into the years after menopause we can lose between 5-10% of our bone density. This loss can lead to osteoporosis, a progressive bone disease.

Exercises that place a load on the bones, like squats, deadlifts and lunges help to postpone this loss and even reverse it.

4/ Weight loss and weight maintenance.

To lose weight you have to burn calories, and nothing burns more calories than a leg workout.

Because the glutes and hamstrings are two of the largest muscles in the body, metabolically they will eat up way more calories when trained.

The deets

Tools needed: Beginners: nothing     Intermediate/Advanced: a pair of moderate dumbbells

Where to do: home or gym

Best suited for: beginner to advanced

The full workout

 

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15-Min Better Posture Workout

15-Min Better Posture Workout

15-Minute Better Posture Workout

This 15-minute posture workout is perfect for anyone who sits in front of a computer for most of their day, or behind the wheel of a car, or for those who are finding their shoulders are rolling forward with age.

My 15-minute better posture workout is a go-to for anyone who sits at a desk.

You see, when we sit and stare at a screen we tend to poke our chin forward (the pros call this forward head posture), roll our pelvis’s forward and slouch our upper backs.

Not cool for the neck, shoulders, hips, back and spine.

bad-desk-posutre

Even those of us with the best intentions will roll into the this bad-boy posture at least a dozen times throughout the day.

And, then there’s those of us who drive.

The car is one place a lot of people don’t think about their posture in.

However if you drive everyday, even if it’s only to the store and back, over the course of a year this will add up to a lot of chronic stress to the neck, shoulders, back and hips.

bad-posture-driving-car

And finally, bad posture can also pop up into our lives when we are innocently out and about walking.

In fact I see this type of posture a lot.

People walking around and leading with their chin, while rounding their upper back.

When I see this I have to forcibly restrain myself from going to that person and physically pulling their shoulders back.

bad-posture-walking

Whatever camp you are a part of this little better posture workout will help straighten you out.

15-Minute Better Posture Workout

 

  • Keep your ears in line with your shoulders
  • Uncross those legs and, instead, place both feet on the ground when seated
  • Pull back your shoulder blades, but not too strict. You don’t want to be too rigid.
  • If you have a hard time maintaining good posture when seated try using a lumbar support pillow.
  • If seated for long periods, get up and move every 20-minutes.
  • Sneak in exercise where ever and whenever you can. Immobility is the worse thing you can do for your posture.

 

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The Most Useless Exercise Ever

The Most Useless Exercise Ever

The Most Useless Exercise Ever

Einstein is quoted as having said that the definition of insanity “is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

This quote leads me to beg the question then, why do people still continue to do abdominal crunches and expect a 6-pak and a functional midsection in return?

If crunches were the answer to a toned tummy all of us would have them.

But alas we don’t, do we? Canada is currently sitting at a 54% overweight and obesity rate (Stats Can 2014) – with a lot of that fat around our bellies.

Something is clearly not working with all these crunches that we have been doing.

woman-with-belly-fat

Crunches – why they don’t work

First off, let’s review why abdominal crunches don’t work and are the most useless exercise ever.

Number one: you can’t spot train.

This simply means that you cannot take a certain section of your body, like your abs, and perform repetitions isolating that muscle group in hopes of decreasing the size of that body part.

You can try all you want.

Heck you can even stare at your belly while you are doing your crunches and yell at it – but it still won’t work.

Why?

Well, basic physiology tells us that fat is utilized as a fuel source, and when we need that fuel we start burning it from various locations throughout the body. Not from one certain location.

You cannot burn fat from one particular area.

Instead, you gotta keep working at training your whole body and slowly the fat in the area you want reduced will start to go away (that is, of course, if you are eating properly too).

Number two: flexing forward is kind of a dumb move.

One of the functions of the abdominals is to flex the spine forward. That flexing activity (which is essentially what we do when we perform a crunch or a curl-up) is not functional at all though.

Think about it. How often do you actually roll the spine while on your back, on a day-to-day basis?

I can think of one time and one time only – to get out of bed in the morning.

And, while the thought of perfecting that movement is great, it’s not really what I think a lot of us have in mind when we go to the gym.

The abdominals are actually used (during our waking hours) as stabilizers to the spine.

Now, please I understand that I am being very general here.

What the heck do our abs do?

The abs are also used throughout the day for twisting, bending, assistance on breathing as well as flexing.

But, if you were to break it down percentage wise what the abdominal muscles did during most of their waking hours the clear winner would be stabilizing and assisting our spine and our posture.

Taking that into consideration you can now see why an abdominal crunch will not help us out in daily living and provide even less help in sport.

More preferable exercises are ones that lengthen the body and then use the abdominals to hold that position, such as:

Planks

Push-ups

Boat pose

Mountain climbers

We also need exercises that ask the abdominals to assist in stabilizing the spine such as:

Squats

Deadlifts

Lunges

Pull-ups

Power cleans

And finally, we need exercises in our routine that also engage the rotational and twisting ability of our midsection. These include:

Reverse woodchops

Anti-rotational movements with tubing or the Rip Trainer

Russian twists with the medicine ball – careful with form though!

Med ball throw downs

Side plank tempo drills

wall-climber-2

If want to perform a crunch

If you want to perform the odd crunches in your routine then I recommend the following.

The following ab exercises were tested and rated by the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

They sponsored a study to see which ab exercise fired up the rectus abdominus (the long, flat muscle muscle extending the front of the body), and the obliques (our waist muscles) the best.

For strengthening the rectus abdominus, the 13 exercises were ranked most to least effective:

1. Bicycle maneuver
2. Captain’s chair
3. Crunches on exercise ball
4. Vertical leg crunch
5. Torso Track
6. Long arm crunch
7. Reverse crunch
8. Crunch with heel push
9. Ab Roller
10. Hover
11. Traditional crunch
12. Exercise tubing pull
13. Ab Rocker

For strengthening the obliques, the 13 exercises were ranked most to least effective:

1. Captain’s chair
2. Bicycle maneuver
3. Reverse crunch
4. Hover
5. Vertical leg crunch
6. Crunch on exercise ball
7. Torso Track
8. Crunch with heel push
9. Long arm crunch
10. Ab Roller
11. Traditional crunch
12. Exercise tubing pull
13. Ab Rocker

Why You Shouldn’t Do Abdominal Crunches:

  • Because you curl your upper body forward they reinforce the slumped sitting posture
  • They compress the (lower) lumbar segments
  • Crunches can actually weaken the pelvic floor
  • Because of the forward flexion movement they restrict the excursion of the diaphragm and hamper breathing
  • Can cause shearing strains across the high lumbar segments
  • Crunches, especially legs supported full sit-ups, over use the hip flexor muscles
  • Ab crunches tend to also over use the rectus abdominis muscle at the expense of the obliques and TA (your deep abdominal muscle)

Final thoughts

And last, but not least, if getting rid of that fat is what you really want, then you need to take a long hard look at what you are eating.

Great abs are actually cooked in the kitchen first and then trained hard in the gym second.

 

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