Archive | December 2012

12.12.12 Workout

12 exercises, 12 reps. You pick your workout time [20 min, 30 min, 40 min]. Do as many rounds as you can in that time frame.

(1) DB Side Lunge with Crane Twist [left]
(2) DB Side Lunge with Crane Twist [right]
(3) Plank Supermans
(4) Jump Squats [option to criss-cross legs when jump to center, alternating]
(5) DB Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
(6) DB Plank & Row
(7) DB Wide Deadlift Hops
(8) Push Up Jacks
(9) Bicycles
(10) Hover Ups
(11) DB Squat & Shoulder Press
(12) Squat Thrusts

Exercises Explained:

(1) & (2) DB Side Lunge with Crane Twist: Hold the dumbbell [DB] at your chest and side lunge to the left. Engage your left glute & use it to lift you up to balance on your right leg with the left knee bent and lifted to 90 degrees [this is your crane]. Using your core, twist towards the left leg. Repeat for 12 reps on left side, then switch to right.

(3) Plank Supermans: Start in a plank position on hands. Tighten the abdominal wall and lift opposite arm & leg off of ground, pausing for a moment, then control lowering them back down. Alternate until you complete 12 reps. Make sure you keep the hips in alignment [not sashaying side-to-side; your plank looks the same with 4 foundation points down as when there are only 2].

(4) Jump Squats with Criss-Cross Option: Start in a squat position, toes forward, feet outside the shoulders. Hop the feet in & together, landing on balls of the feet “standing” then hop back to squat position. Criss-cross option: Same squat starting position, but when you hop the legs together & land on the balls on the feet, cross right leg in front, left leg behind [squeezing inner thighs together]. Hop back to squat & next time you hop legs in, cross left in front, right in back.

Image

(5) Stiff-Leg Deadlift: See picture — hold a DB in each hand & hinge at the hips,reaching the butt back [you’ll feel a stretch in your hamstrings], keeping the back flat/spine long; which means keeping the core engaged & shoulder blades pulled together. Look at Regan’s spine — see how it’s one long line from his head to his butt? Perfect form.  🙂  To come up, engage the glutes & hamstrings to pull yourself back up to the standing position.

(6) DB Plank & Row: Get into a plank position holding a DB in each hand, shoulders stacked over weights/wrists. Step feet out shoulder distance [basically width of mat] and firmly engage the core. Like the plank superman, keep your hips steady [no sashaying side-to-side!] as you “row”/lift one weight off the ground, bending the elbow to 90 degrees. Control both the lift & return to start. Alternate sides.

(7) DB Wide Squat Hops: Hold one DB between both hands and set the feet about 2″ outside the shoulders on either side. Sit back into a squat [DB will be in between legs]. Hop straight up in the air as high as you can and LAND back in your squat position. Arms stay straight the whole time. Important to keep the core contracted AND never land “standing” with locked knees. When your feet come back to the ground, you’re right back into your squat.

(8) Push Up Jacks: Get into plank position, hands wide for push ups. Perform one push up [on knees or toes; if on knees, lift them back up to plank when finished]. The end of your push up returns you back to plank [where we started]. “Jack” the feet out then back in and start over with the push up. The “jack” looks just like your feet would for a standing jumping jack.

(9) Bicycles: Yeah yeah, so you “know” how to do a bicycle. Here’s our way. 🙂 Lie on your back with your legs in table top [bent 90 degrees, knees stacked over hips] and hands behind the head. Your gaze will be up to the ceiling the entire time, don’t pull on the neck & drop chin down to the chest. To bicycle, connect your back hip points & sacrum firmly into the ground & engage the space between your frontal hip bones [never let back arch or hips sway side-to-side]. Extend you right leg straight out & contract the quad, keeping back pressed into floor by keeping core engaged. Now, use the obliques to lift the right side of the upper body off the mat and twist towards left knee.Pause in the twist & hold. Return to start & repeat on other side for 12 reps total.

(10) Hover Ups: Oooo, the hover up. FYI, major corner burner, always. And especially after push up jacks & bicycles. Get ready. Lay on your back with arms & legs extended. This is a CORE exercise, so try to avoid using momentum and letting the quads & hip flexors dominate the work. You’re going to be using your abdominal wall – from top to bottom, to peel the upper & lower body off the ground, coming to balance on your sit bones in a modified boat pose [knees bent]. Sweep the arms along your side as you pull your rib cage down to your hips to get the upper body off the ground; and simultaneously engage the space between your frontal hip bones, initially pressing your sacrum towards the ground to draw the legs up & in. After you’ve paused in your boat pose, return to start the same way you came up, slow & controlled, but THIS time and from here on out. Return the head all the way to the floor, but hover the arms & legs off ground before returning to boat pose. To understand what modified boat pose [with knees bent] looks like, check out this video.  😉

(11) DB Squat & Shoulder Press: Hold DB’s hovering above your shoulders and sit back into a squat. With the weight at your shoulders, the tendency is to round the back. Engage the core & keep the spine long while chest stays open, collar bones wide. Keep the postural muscles in the back activated at all times to protect the shoulder joint. From your squat, stand up & press the weights up [all in one motion], then return weights to shoulders as you sit back into the squat again. Full range of motion squats, people.

(12) Squat Thrusts: The best way to end any set.  🙂  Hold DB’s at your side & start standing. Lower through a squat to place DB’s on the floor in front of & just outside your toes. Hop or step the feet back to plank, keeping the core strong and not letting your weight transfer back into the feet. Keep weight over the DB’s [shoulders stacked over wrists]. Then hop the feet back up to your squat position and jump up with weights at your sides, landing back in your squat, ready to repeat. Once you get the movement pattern, make it a continuous, fluid motion. Modifications: step back to plank, step forward to your squat and/or just stand at the top instead of jumping up.

ENJOY!  And let us know how it goes — please post your workout time & # of rounds you got.

Finding [My] Balance

Ankle

I’ve been struggling with motivation lately – lacking enthusiasm for my workouts and attention to my nutrition. I lost my balance – and here’s my story.

At the end of September, I was rear-ended by a guy going over 50 mph, but I felt lucky to come away from the incident feeling “fine”. In fact, the next day, I came one second away from my summer-long goal of running a 6-minute mile [I ran a 6:01]. Later that week though, perhaps once the shock of the accident started to wear off, I began experiencing pretty severe low back pain and began physical therapy 2x/week. Then a week later, I sprained my right ankle…BAD; like can’t walk at all, bad [nope, not while exercising, but while walking out to my car — I’ll save the explanation for another time. I am still trying to think of a better story of how it “really happened” 🙂 ].

So, because of these two incidents, I essentially didn’t workout for 5 weeks. I went from being in the best shape of my life [no joke], to being extremely limited in what I could do. For someone who moves for a living and thrives on being fit, this was hard to swallow. I lost my sense of well-being and found myself swimming in self-pity. When I finally felt that my body was well enough to begin working out again, I then lacked motivation. I was frustrated that all the progress I’d made over the summer was essentially gone.

And as could be expected, this wallowing led to a lack of attentiveness to what I was putting into my body on a daily basis. In the beginning, it wasn’t a big deal, but as I continued implementing this lazier and mindless approach to my nutrition, eating poorer quality foods than I usually do, I started to notice that my energy was also zapped. I was tired. This, in turn, increased my lack of motivation to do anything. And I found that I was spiraling in a direction of depression that had me constantly questioning my self-value. Suddenly, I wanted to eat out more [because I didn’t feel like cooking]; I felt myself craving junk food and feeling like I always needed a cocktail. I was eating maybe 60-70% clean [not absolutely horrible], but my attitude shift was BIG. I couldn’t seem to get myself out of the funk and even more so, could find no motivation to do so.

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Shape Your World 11.26

The truth is — motivation sucks. It waxes and wanes as frequently as the high school love interest. And often times, I think it can almost serve as a barrier to our success. Why? Because of its flightiness! When I am motivated, decision-making towards my goals is easy. It’s easy to say no to things that will obstruct the path to my goals; and in the same token, it’s also easy to motivate for the challenges I must overcome to reach my goal. But what happens when motivation is lacking? What happens when everything around us is actually zapping our motivation and pushing us in the opposite direction? It’s pretty easy to “fall off the wagon”, right? We don’t need motivation; my friends, we need discipline. I needed discipline. I needed to reconnect with who I was and what was important to me.

Its discipline that helps us walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Motivation may get us started, but we must implement discipline to follow through. Goals vary, and so do the steps required to get us there, but we all know excuses get us nowhere in life and the same holds true with pursuing goals. Be it a goal of obtaining lifelong health or running a marathon, motivation will only ever take you so far.  Discipline, on the other hand, leaves no room for excuses. It doesn’t come & go, doesn’t take “no” for an answer. Instead, it’s a habit pattern that streamlines our goals because you don’t do things “when you feel like it”, you do it because you made a commitment, made a pact – and a promise with yourself to keep it. We might not feel like working out, or feel like preparing nutritious food; we might lack enthusiasm, but discipline makes us do it anyways. Discipline follows through where your mind cannot; it pushes through barriers and breaks down walls of excuses. We don’t break promises or commitments that we make to other people – friends, family or clients, so why do we so easily break commitments to ourselves? That’s the most sacred earthly relationship we hold. We cannot fully love or take care of others unless we truly love and care for ourselves.

We all struggle with this same thing – finding our balance. Finding balance between our social lives and time constraints; between taking time out for ourselves, while doing our jobs and being a “good” partner, parent or friend; and balance between what we define as “being healthy” and “having fun”. But the problem with balancing is that we’re not always “on”. And all the things we juggle in life and the stuff that happens is constantly challenging our equilibrium and taking us out of balance more than helping us find it.

It’s my one true passion in life to help people find their path to living healthfully for a lifetime. Not for the times we’re “motivated”, but forever. To develop a relationship with ourselves where we respect our body and our needs [both physical & psychological]; while caring enough about our well-being to see it as a lifelong pursuit versus obtaining immediate results. It’s something that takes work. We don’t always get it right and often times we lose our balance along the way.

But sometimes, we have to lose our balance to find it.

And there’s no shame in that. It’s the permanence of discipline, the flexibility in pursuing health as a lifestyle and the commitment to our own overall well-being that helps us find our balance again. And when we do, gosh, does it feel good. So, maybe today is the day that you leave motivation at the door and make the commitment to yourself to be patient. To live every day to the fullest, to fill your body with nutritious ingredients because it really does make a difference, to move your body now so that you can keep moving for the lifetime that’s ahead of you. To accept this as a journey, where we stumble, where we maybe even eat s**t pretty hard sometimes– but we get back up, because we made a promise to ourselves and we’ve got the discipline to back it up. And that’s where I found balance again.