Back to School Motivation

back_to_schoolI talk plenty of talk about being consistent with exercise in order to get or stay fit and healthy and I believe it’s important to also ‘walk the walk.’  Even as a fitness professional, I need plenty of motivation to stay consistent.  (For a little window into my world, the more I post about it, the more I need it myself :P)

I use a tracking calendar. Over the summer, my consistency was fair at best. I stayed active and had plenty of fun enjoying the beautiful Colorado summer with my family however, where I was lacking was my strength training and any version of intense workouts.

So here we are at back to school time. I have 2 school age kids and one in pre-K 3 times a week.  They have a consistent schedule (consistently busy when football and gymnastics are in the picture) so I need a more consistent commitment.  My goal is to increase my strength and intensity workouts and to work for 4-5 stickers on my calendar per week.

Feel free to join me as I plan on posting my workouts AND weekly dinner plans.

 

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A Trainer’s Review of Barre Workouts- The Ballet Physique

My first experience with a barre workout was a positive one with a side note of critisism as explained in my review after only ONE PureBarre class. (read more) I then pushed through the rest of my 10-session PureBarre package and had a slight change of heart. (Check it out)

I haven’t done a barre workout since last May and now I have another Cancun beach vacation staring me in the face in 7 weeks.  We have moved from SoCal and I don’t have a PureBarre close to me but I did find The Ballet Physique in downtown Littleton.

Now downtown Littleton, CO is super cute on it’s own, but The Ballet Physique is a great addition.  Once you get used to the difficult parking availability, this studio has a great boutique feel with friendly smiles to greet you.  The studio has a bit of a loft-like feel with the look of exposed brick and high ceilings, it’s quite welcoming.  The classroom itself is carpeted which is different from what I was used to at La Costa PureBarre.  There are the familiar tools of small hand weights, foam mats, cushions and small rubber balls which I equate to 4-square balls.

The Ballet Physique has an advantage of not being a franchise and therefore has more freedom to change up class content.  The main content of course is mostly about the booty, which is why everyone gets in the door in the first place…including myself.  However, they have a range of classes that branch into pilates, cardio and muscle pump classes that ensure you have a variety to choose from and don’t plateau or burn out.

My first class, from Kristin S. was a fairly classic barre class.   There was a warm up with upper body work using small hand weights and some push ups and after that was a bit of burning the glutes with what I call curtsey lunges.  We then we moved to the barre and sufficiently exhausted the legs and butt with the oh so effective pulse and burn technique.  Finally, the jello legs got relief and passed the pain onto the abdominals as we crunched our way to the finish line with the help of the barre and balls.  A bit of stretching and I was left to gingerly make my way to my car…perfect.

For me, I have realized that I push harder when I am around others.  Eventough I have all the tools for home workouts, I just don’t seem to get as sore when I work out by myself.  Plus misery loves company right?  As I stated my current motivation is a beach vacation so I will be trying out all the class styles and instructors while keeping my readers up-to-date on all the exhausting and rewarding details.

So if this type of workout interests you, I would highly recommend you go and check our The Ballet Physique in dowtown Littleton, CO.  Tell them I sent ya!

How to Get Stronger Legs (Home Workout)

Leg workout you can do at home to get rockin’ legs.  Single leg dead lift, hamstring ball curl, rolling lunges, rolling side lunges and side skaters.

You will need:
5-15 lb wieght (med ball, dumbell or small pet or infant LOL)
Physio-ball
roll cart/plastic plate

enjoy this workout 2-3 times per week.
Comments are always appreciated and I am happy to answer questions as well!

Training the Trainer- Bulky Before Beautiful

OK, I am officially in my “bulking up” phase (or so I hope).  My pants and jeans are tighter and my skinny jeans don’t fit all of the sudden.  However, because I have been consistent with my workouts AND my eating intake, I can make the reasonable conclusion that I am building my lower body muscles back.  I have had sessions 5 & 6 with Ryan and I can tell I have more control and balance with my exercises.

EXCELLENT!  And at the same time really frustruating. 

This is why there are so many women out there that won’t lift weights.  We must be patient!  When gaining strength, you will gain muscle.  The body gains muscle THEN adjusts it’s metabolism and burns off the excess fat.  So initially, you get “bulky” but eventually the body slims and firms adjusting to the new added muscle mass.  For me, in the past, it takes about 2 weeks for my body to adjust to the new muscle.  Here’s hoping that is still the case.

starting position flattening back into the floor
holding pelvis steady, lower legs & return to start

Ryan is still helping me through the process of making my abdominals fully functional while they shorten from baby #3.  The above exercise is a nice transition from a simple contract & hold to adding some movement.

Staying Fit Through Injuries

I must begin this post with a disclaimer (of sorts):
If you are an exercise-obsessed person addicted to working out, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU!  I do not support working through injuries, only AROUND injuries. So go relax and have a cheeseburger :).

Many of us do our best to stay active and live a healthy lifestyle.  Unfortunately, **it happens.  You twist an ankle wrestling with your kids, or strain your back while moving boxes, or you go through childbirth (darn babies :)).  With injuries, there is a certain protocol when they are fresh & new that is taught in First Aid class…R.I.C.E., which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.  Once you have done that, come talk to me.

I deal with many clients who have chronic pain from injuries that happened decades ago.  A sprained ankle in high school that developed into a knee problem that developed into an opposing hip impingement that led to a joint replacement that led to a shoulder problem and now they have debilitating headaches.  Really!  So my goal is to educate people about how to get through an injury/surgery with the greatest success possible.

The best thing you can do after an acute injury is move as normal as possible and stay active.  This may sound funny to you, but if you don’t pay close attention, the habits your body develops from a limp from tweaking your knee/hip/ankle can stick with you.  Also, the mental hesitation of not staying active for fear of re-injury will create a wicked pain and inactivity cycle.  The same is true after medical procedures.  It is SO important to follow through on your physical therapy program beyond what is covered by insurance!  Just because your insurance runs out doesn’t mean your are healed

A great example of staying fit through and injury is a client I had back when I worked at the DAC.  He was a healthy gentleman who had torn his achilles while playing basketball.  He came to me wanting a few upper body exercises he could do while he was on crutches for 3 weeks and his foot was “booted” for 6-8 weeks.  It started out with a few simple chest and back exercises, but it turned into the beginning of my corrective exercise career.  Through bands, creative cables, and counter balances, this man was able to work nearly every muscle BUT the calf that was torn! He hardly missed a beat because we remembered that everything else still worked.

Don’t let yourself turn into a couch potato just because you have Blackberry Thumb, Tennis Elbow or the like.  Get creative!  And if you can’t think of anything, ask a trainer for some ideas.  It is important to let the injured area heal, but don’t forget about the rest of the body.

Another example is my personal one.  My second child was delivered by C-section because the little bugger was upside down and one foot to the sky.  Nearly all resources, including my own OBGYN, state that a women should wait 6 weeks to exercise after having a c-section (4 if regular birth).  Now my M.O. with guidelines has always been to “Question with Boldness”, so after a week or so of rest after my surgery my brain starts wondering, “why 6 weeks? my arms aren’t broken…my feet aren’t broken”.  So I began to ease into simple exercises like a seated bicep curl, bench dips and calf raises.  Then I moved to balancing on one leg, push ups into the wall, seated shoulder press (yes, all light weights).  Eventually, it was a smooth transition back to my former workouts.

So if you are reading this with your feet up and ice on your (insert body part here), go through a mental checklist of your body.  Which parts are still healthy?  What movements can I do without aggravating my injury?  Finding exercises you can perform while your injury heals will not only keep your body strong, but also keep your mind strong.  Depression can sneak up on you if you let the injury or pain get the better of you.

10 Reasons You Should Strength Train

Why should you strength train?

Answer :

Proper strength training can help us to look better, feel better and function better. Here are 10 reasons why you should pick up your weights today and get started:

Brought to you by iVillage Total Health

1. Strength training prevents muscle loss. Adults who do not strength train lose between five to seven pounds of muscle every decade. While cardio exercise improves our cardiovascular fitness, it does not prevent the loss of muscle tissue.

2. Strength training will increase your metabolism. Research shows that adding three pounds of muscle increases our resting metabolic rate by seven percent, and ups our daily calorie requirements by 15 percent. The average adult experiences a two to five percent reduction in metabolic rate every decade of their life, so strength training can help make up for that loss.

3. Strength training will increase your muscle mass. Research shows that doing 25 minutes of strength exercise, three days a week can increase muscle mass by about three pounds over an eight-week training period. After that, muscle mass will continue to increase, but gains will differ from person to person depending on how much muscle has been lost through the years.

4. Strength training will reduce your body fat. Increasing your muscle mass will increase your calorie burn, thereby reducing the likelihood of fat accumulation. Researchers found that strength exercise produced four pounds of fat loss after three months of training, even though the subjects were eating 15 percent more calories per day.

Read more on reasons 5-10 here

5. Strength training will increase your bone mineral density.

6. Strength training will improve your glucose metabolism.

7. Strength training will speed up your digestion.

8. Strength training reduces your resting blood pressure.

9. Strength training will relieve lower back pain.

10. Strength training will reduce arthritis pain.

The Best Exercise When You Are Short on Time

Walking Lunge with Rotation

Photo & description courtesy of fitness magazine
Minutes 2:00-4:00
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a light to medium weight dumbbell with both hands, arms extended in front of you.
Step right foot forward about 3 feet and bend knees 90 degrees into a lunge.
At the same time, rotate your torso and dumbbell to the right, keeping arms straight.
Return to stand and repeat with left leg, rotating to the left.
Continue, alternating 8 to 10 times per side.