Physical exercise

12 Minute Full Body Workout

chili peppers

This is Today’s 12 Minute Full Body Workout.

Ate breakfast a little later than usual because the kids were both feeling under the weather, which changed the morning schedule somewhat. Got the kids to school, cleaned up the kitchen, changed bed sheets and put in a load of laundry so that I could do my workout without falling behind on chores AND before I would need to eat again!

Warmed up with 10 x flights of stairs (up by two’s – down by single steps). Each flight up and down equals 1 x + light stretches.

18 Rounds of two intervals:

10 seconds Rest + 30 seconds Maximum Effort

Complete the six exercises in order then repeat the sequence two more times to equal three times through.     (Hover over the exercise name to open a window to view the exercise description. I’m working on adding photos of the others.)

1.Dynamic Squat : 22 – 20 – 19

2.Reverse Push Up (w/ Dip Stand): 18 – 17 – 16 

3. Ninja Jump + Jump Tuck: 7 – 7 – 7

4. Feet Elevated Push Ups: 16 – 16 – 16

5. Sandbag- Alternating Leg Tap down                                     (start from top of step stool): 19 – 21 – 19

6. Straight Arm Hanging Leg Raises                                          (toes touch top of door frame): 9 – 9 – 9

A)  Incorrect  Do NOT Do This (left)

B) Correct End Position (below)

It is important to keep the knees slightly bent and initiate the movement from the abdominals. Tip the upper part of the pelvis backward causing the pubis to curl up towards your face, which in turn will cause the legs to move up toward the top of the door frame. This requires a lot of strength and practice. Initially, start by just hanging with straight arms from the pull up bar. Gradually, over days or weeks try to tip the pelvis as described without even attempting to lift the legs. Trying to achieve too much too soon can result in using the Psoas muscle to lift the legs as is seen in the first diagram (above left: A) – this is incorrect – Do NOT do this.

As seen in B) the correct movement shows a rounded lower back. Think ‘angry cat’ back except you are also curling your tail bone under in the direction of the pubis. Tail bone chases pubis -not sure how else to describe it at the moment. 🙂

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Cool down 4 x 100 skips w/ jump rope (legs parallel)

+45 Minutes Ashtanga Yoga Standing Series (including first 12 seated postures -a few vinyasa + 3 Backbends + close).

Transfered laundry and by 11 am, had my post workout meal (thankful for leftovers):

Fresh panfried Halibut with homemade caramelized onions on a bed of brown rice noodles. A side of roasted Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash w/ Lime Juice, Olive Oil, Cilantro, Ginger and Chili peppers. And Steamed curly Green Kale. Glass of Water. One Square of chocolate.

I haven’t stepped out of the kitchen since!

I’ve been preparing a different recipe for Lamb Stew, adapted from Beef a la Provencal from Lucy Waverman at the Globe and Mail…It is so amazing. I made it two weeks ago and it was delicious. Only draw back is that it takes so long to make. I will post the recipe another time.

However, during this food prep, I had my third meal – LUNCH at around 1pm…homemade turkey soup, except I had twice the amount shown in this picture below. I’ll share that recipe another time too, only, first I have to show you how to make your own Turkey Stock, which makes ALL the difference.

It’s All in the Timing

“Until you value yourself,

You won’t value your time.

Until you value your time,

You will not do anything with it.”

M. Scott Peck

I think timing is important.

Time is of the essence…

The timing of the punch line…

“Time keeps on slipping…into the future…”

In my mind, the key to living a well-rounded, balanced life comes down to timing.

For me it’s a work in progress. Some days I feel like I’m really beginning to get the hang of handling this busy life and other days I feel as though I’ve completely dropped the ball and have to rethink my entire strategy.

Timing our daily tasks should be simple enough, one would certainly think so after having two to four, if not more decades of practice. You’d think! So why is it that every January, suppliers and manufacturers of fitness equipment and videos have a booming business? A booming business for something which are basic life skills that we should have been taught and been well versed from day one? This is why I suggest that we focus on Daily Body Maintenance as a lifelong practice as opposed to viewing it as a resolution. We can’t wait till every January to eat or we won’t be alive. So, why do we wait till January every year to make a resolution to focus on our health and fitness and then stop within 90 days? There are a lot of things that we should be more punctual with – but aren’t. Such as house maintenance. Have you seen those advertisements for soap scum remover? Who lets their house get that dirty that they need a jack hammer of chemicals to break through to the tile below? If we stay on top of what needs to be done in a timely fashion then everything takes less time. I know this…I’ve been experimenting.

In order to eat well and exercise daily, I believe we need to focus more on timing our tasks. It’s really simple if we become consistent with one step at a time; master it and only then, add on. Rather than biting off more than we can chew, we need to set ourselves up for success.

For most families, the end of the day is a very hectic time, with kids’ afterschool activities, homework, dinner and bedtimes. In order to get my workouts done I have to schedule them into my morning after I drop the kids to school. I have had to develop a well timed pattern.

Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.

William Penn

In order to have an effective workout, I have to be well nourished. I start my day with a very healthy breakfast. I would NEVER consider exercising without being well fuelled and hydrated. This also means that I have to leave enough time to digest prior to my workout. This has to be well timed and it comes with practice. If I eat breakfast at 7:15- 7:30 am, I will be digested and ready to do my workout by 8:45 – 9:00 am. If I get side tracked and don’t start my workout at that time (being delayed till 9:30 or 10:00), then I will forfeit my workout until after digesting my next meal. Generally, if I don’t do a workout I would be eating my second meal of the day by 9:30 – 10:00 am. Once I pass my ‘workout window’ of opportunity, I can feel my energy drop, I feel hungry and know that I will have to refuel in order to actually gain something positive from my workout. Working out on empty is a useless practice. (However, working out first thing in the morning seems to work well for a lot of people).

You see, it ALL comes back to timing.

 Naturally, we need to think and plan ahead to be able to:

  • Do a 4 Minute Morning
  • Make breakfast and get the household moving in the morning
  • Get anywhere on time; schools, appointments, activities etc.
  • Eat a well balanced meal
  • Digest enough before physical activity
  • Time water intake throughout the day
  • Stretch periodically throughout the day
  • Plan the grocery list
  • To be able to make dinner on time
  • To make enough to have leftovers
  • Time the loads of laundry
  • Stay on top of various household chores
  • Anticipate tantrums and scuffed knees…
  • Be able to do an evening stretching routine
  • …so that we can spend our time wisely.

Time is the coin of your life.

It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.

Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.

Carl Sandburg

To not always feel like we’re running to catch up. Running out of time.

I must govern the clock,

not be governed by it.

Golda Meir

Sure the “inbox is meant to be full”. That’s what life IS. Timing how we live our life is an art.

It’s not about trying to clear out the inbox; in fact, a great life suggests an inbox that is plentiful. It’s the outbox which should be continually cleared out.

Finish the projects. But keep starting new ones; being creative is essential. Some projects are short term, while others are daily and life-long, like our daily body maintenance.

If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

John Wooden

If you look at how some of the most successful people time their day, they are going non-stop and continually starting up new projects – that fail or succeed – it doesn’t seem to matter. What seems to matter is that the creative juices are flowing. The Wall Street Journal published an article a few weeks ago about Martha Stewart’s day. Click here.

She’s up at 4:59 am and goes all day. She has a personal trainer that she works with first thing in the morning and has a mid day yoga lesson. Martha scores big points with me for looking after her physical being. However, I don’t think she gets enough sleep. Take a look at the article…and I thought I had a lot on my plate – she’s busy. No question, she has got timing her day to an art.

Someone out there will surely say: “Well, if I had a all her money and a personal trainer, I would be in shape too.” But that’s another conversation…

Today’s Time Challenge

When I first mentioned to friends and family what I wanted to accomplish with this site, I got a mix of reviews. I said that my goal was to help people to better understand how to exercise properly. Some told me that it wouldn’t work because “people” don’t want to know how to do things – they don’t want to spend time learning how, they just want the quick fix…show them what to do but forget about teaching them anything.

This hurt.

I didn’t want to believe this. And I don’t. I do realize that for many this may be true, but now, since having started this site I know that there are many who do want to know how and are willing to spend the time on learning. Even if this were to reach only one person, I will keep sharing.

Today I did Zuzka Light’s ZWOD II workout but made a modification to suit me. I find that a lot of the workouts I follow incorporate too many plank type exercises for me. You will understand what I’m talking about if you’ve read my post on how doing too many push ups can have a negative effect, click here.

In any case, the main thing is to find a way to get motivated to move and stretch our body daily, but equally important not to throw caution to the wind and do things mindlessly, just because someone says so.

Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you should.

We need to practice mindfulness and choose wisely.

Yes, I can do a lot of push ups, but that doesn’t mean I should do an excessive amount in one workout. I show my modification in grey (what I did in place of the 10 twisted push ups).

I had been doing house cleaning prior to my workout, while digesting my lunch – got to make the most of my time! So my official warm up was only 5x flights of stairs by two’s going up + single steps going down + light active stretching.

ZWOD II  – My modification in grey.

Complete three rounds for time. I finished in 15:54.

1. 5 Man Makers (I used pair of 10 lb. dumbells)

2. 20 Low Burpee Hops

3. 10 Twisted Push Ups

3. 5x [10 Reps Kick Ups + 1 Pull Up] (forward grip)

4. 25 Competition Sit-Ups

click here to see the video and how to do the exercises.

Exercises #1, 2 & 3 all involve a plank position. Recruiting the same muscle groups. For me this would have been excessive to have repeated three rounds.

Exercise #4 is a great choice because by dropping the knees out to the side with soles of the feet together (butterfly), the effect helps to cancel out the Psoas muscle. When we do a classic full sit-up, once we pass the crunch phase (the first quarter of the movement) the Psoas then engages and does the work to haul the torso up to sitting; this is not ideal since most people have chronically tight Psoas. In order to do this Competition Sit-Up exercise properly and effectively, it is important that the spine (especially at the lumbar region) be flexible enough to round into the ground as the body curls up to sitting. If the lower back (lumbar region) flattens out then I would advise the individual to stick with 1/4 crunches and work on increasing the flexibility of the lower back and psoas.

4 x 100 skips w/ rope to cool down.

40 Minutes Ashtanga Yoga Standing Series (including first 12 seated postures – no vinyasa – +3 Back bends + closing sequence)

People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness.

John Wanamaker

My 12 Minute ‘Kitchen Sink’ Workout

English: Kitchen sink drain Deutsch: Abfluss i...

Today’s 12 Minute ‘Kitchen Sink’ Workout

Today I practice Yoga, but before I start, I like to warm up. And because my workouts are so short I figure that they make for a great warm up! Because I’ve got a lot of things to get done around the house (which I tend to fall behind on regardless) I find that these SHORT workouts help to energize as opposed to deplete. As a result, I find that I have more energy and TIME to do the things that are important to me and my family.

My workouts aren’t an EVENT anymore, they are simply the required set of exercises to maintain my physical body so that I can BE and DO and LIVE.

I felt like doing a 12 Minute workout today but didn’t want to repeat exercises so I decided to follow the Keep It Hard for 12 Minutes template from BodyRock Tv. I wanted to use my sandbag and medicine ball to change things up a bit. Below is what I put together.

I warmed up with 10x flights of stairs. Up by two’s down by single steps. Up + down = 1 x. Followed by some light active stretching.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Set Timer for: 12 Rounds of 10 seconds Rest + 50 seconds Maximum Effort

Do as many reps in each 50 second interval as possible with precision. One exercise for each round, which means you don’t have to revisit that exercise – so go for maximum effort.

1. Chin Ups (Reverse Grip – palms face towards body)    My score: 12

2. Start w/Sandbag on floor between legs. Squat down to lift SB to Right Shoulder + Squat as SB lands on R Shoulder + Straighten up + Squat to Lower SB to floor between legs + Straighten up = 1 Rep – Repeat to Left Shoulder – Alternating shoulders. (Therefore, you do three squats per side to equal 1 Rep) My score: 14

3. Mountain Climbers, My score: 128

4. Straight Arm Hanging Leg Raises (rounding lower back to raise legs up – toes touch top of door frame),               My score: 12

5. Alternating Side Jump Lunges w/ 8lb. Medicine Ball tap down, My score: 37

6. Lying 6 inch Leg Raises, My score: 21    

7. Santana Push UpsMy score: 12

8. Bicycle Abs, My score: 64

9. Dips (using Dip Stand), My score: 10 + 5 assisted

10. Jump Lunges , My score: 35

11. Prisoner Get Up , My score: 9

12. Burpees (includes push up and squat jump),              My score: 12.5

Cool down with 4 x 100 skips w/ rope

+40 Minutes Ashtanga Yoga Standing Series (includes first 12 seated postures –a few vinyasa scattered in today– + 3 Backbends + closing sequence).

After my workout, Stella was up and walking around.

What you have to know, is Stella is an ageing Rhodesian Ridgeback. Come March, she’ll be 15 years old. (That’s ancient for a Ridgeback, who’s lifespan on average is ten years). Her walks, however, aren’t much of a walk anymore – they’re more of a sniff. See picture – notice the snow covered snout. She has become very arthritic and she moves very slowly and cautiously. Her walks take a long time and don’t really cover much ground. She sleeps more during the day than she used to. I send her out throughout the day, just in the backyard to sniff around and to exercise her legs. She’s got to keep moving, just like us. Once she stops practicing getting up and taking the stairs…exactly, she won’t be able to. Same as us.

Her eyesight is going as is her hearing…however, it is remarkable how she can still hear the sound of the treat bag open – selective hearing I think! And some days her walks are just a few meters long, after, which she turns to come home. Luckily, we’re next to the forest so that makes for a lot of interesting smells- if you’re a dog. But in no way are her walks exercise for me anymore. I’m glad that I don’t count on walking the dogs as my exercise. In my view, the dog walks are just a chore – part of our household obligations and Active Living. The dogs’ walk is their daily maintenance – physical, mental and emotional. It’s a big responsibility taking care of another being, which makes it even more important to master the skills of taking care of oneself first!

What did you do today for your body maintenance?

Let me know if you give this workout a try. Because each exercise is done only once, I think that just about anyone can try it – providing necessary modifications are made to suit your level, of course!

Perspective

Darlene left this comment: “Very inspiring. But I do wonder… have you always been in shape?

It seems as though this would work best for people who are already fit and trying to look like you. What about those of us who are overweight? Should we lose the weight first?”

My Answer:

GREAT QUESTION!
This IS how I believe people who are overweight can get themselves to a healthy weight. By being consistent with daily body maintenance. It takes time for the body to build strength, become flexible, develop agility and power. We can’t achieve it over a short period of time and then just stop and coast on our results. Starting from zero it took me one week of trying every single day to finally accomplish one chin up, and that was after about six months of consistent weight training. Now I can pull off five chin ups whenever I go past the bar. When I forget and don’t do them for a week, I’m back to square one. The strength gain is not permanent…you know, “use it or lose it”. It takes a lot of time to get fit and very little time to undo it. A little bit everyday is our insurance for a healthy and active life.
As we age, it’s not the dumbells we’ll have to pick up, it’s ourselves.

There has been so much emphasis on more being better over the years. People watching professional athletes who train for hours a day (which is just not possible for the average person, let alone parents). I know people who are overweight who struggle with running long distances or training like a triathlete, hoping to achieve the body type of said sport. What often happens is pain and injury to joints that are not physically conditioned for such activities. Then as a result of the long duration of these workouts, people get hungry and end up over-eating to satiate the furnace, which negates the calories burned in the first place! Followed by a decrease in Non-Exercise Activity (look for my article on N.E.A.T) for the rest of the day and possibly for the following day(s).

There is no quick fix. There is no magic plan. What there is, is Self-Discipline. Self-Discipline is born from being Consistent. Enter: Daily Body Maintenance. Every morning for the rest of our life we start with some daily exercise (which also helps to Get The Fuzz Out). The rest of the day we stay active = Active Living. This means take the stairs. Clean our home. Walk the dog. Do our chores. Fit in a more intense 4-12 minute HIIT workout and thorough body stretches. Once we stop living an active life and let others do our doing, well, there goes NEAT.

Once we let advertising and products convince us that there is an easier way, we’ve lost.

Remember one important point: Just because someone is not overweight, does not mean that they are healthy or fit. We are all made up so very differently, carry our body fat differently. I think we will be better off if we think less about how we actually look or what the scale says and put more emphasis on how we feel, what our body can do, how our skeleton functions and how we nourish ourselves. That’s what I mean when I say: I believe we will do ourselves a service if we focus less on the aesthetic and more on our body’s function.

And then Denise kindly reminded me that: “You never answered her question.”

Right, the question was: “But I do wonder… have you always been in shape?”

I realize now how important it is for people to know if I have struggled as they have. It’s a complicated answer from my perspective. Because everything is relative.

Though I have never been physically overweight, I have had periods when I have lost considerable amounts of muscle tone and strength and have had an increase in body fat. During the period after my first child was born, I lost all the pregnancy weight very quickly (people complimented me on that), BUT I was far from being healthy or fit. I could barely run a flight of stairs without becoming winded…this was not me and I was not flattered by those compliments. I would think to myself, that being thin without health and fitness meant nothing. From those compliments, I realized that it was more common to value one’s size, weight and shape rather than value one’s fitness and health. After my second child was born, the pregnancy weight came off fairly quickly but left a residue of excess body fat that I was not accustomed to. For the first time ever I had excess body fat over the waist of my low-rise jeans, and I had lost even more muscle tone. At the time, I didn’t care so much about it because I was more focused on producing healthy milk for my infant and I knew that once I stopped nursing I could focus once again on myself…little did I know that my job as a mother and parent was just beginning and the time I thought I’d have to focus on myself would not be what I imagined.

So the answer is no.

No, I haven’t always been in shape. And, no, I don’t know what it is like to be overweight. My actual weight was relatively stable but my form had shifted.

But it’s about perspective don’t you think? I have had my own share of struggles getting back to health and to a level of fitness that just keeps getting better with daily maintenance. You can read about my experience here.

And so with this in mind I thought it apropos to share the following blog. Fit2Fat2Fit: Super-fit Personal Trainer, Drew Manning decides to chronicle his experience with going from Fit to Fat then going back to Fit again. If you have a moment check it out. His doctor, Dr. Warren Willey has some profound words to share with respect to transitioning from being overweight and eating an unhealthy western diet:

“The body must heal from the damage done, then and only then will weight loss be significant and maintainable.”

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The post below, is from Drew Manning’s, Fit2Fat2Fit site. The first photo is Drew Manning on May 7, 2011, the first day of his Fit 2 Fat quest. The second photo is him six months later (Nov. 7, 2011) having gained approximately seventy pounds. You’ll have to go to his site to see how he is now working towards becoming Fit again.

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A Few Words from My Doctor, Dr. Warren Willey

Posted on November 4, 2011

Dr. Warren Willey was asked to say a few words about Drew Manning from Fit2Fat2Fit.com:

When I was first informed of Drew’s plan I had a mix of emotions. His altruistic goal of helping people via his example thrilled and excited me. His method, similar to that of a teacher playing in traffic to demonstrate the dangers to her students, did not. Needless to say, Drew is currently dodging traffic.

His journey has brought some valuable things to light:

  • First and foremost – even the healthiest, strongest, leanest, and fittest person is not immune to the effects of the classic western diet. Without regards to what crosses your lips and how much movement you do, you will suffer the effects of poor dietary habits and lack of exercise.
  • Second – it’s a process that does not take a lot of time. Look how he has changed in less than six months. In my medical weight loss practice I hear people claim the fact ‘the weight just came on’ or ‘I have gained thirty pounds in the last few months!’ followed quickly with finger pointing toward the recent development of a awful metabolic defect (thyroid or sex hormone problem to name but a few). Drew’s experience shows that it is usually not a medical condition, but a lifestyle condition.
  • Third – It will be interesting as to the speed of his recovery. If you have been following him, you will notice at first there was not much physical or outside changes apparent. In contrast to what was happening inside, one could likely not tell what he was doing. If we had the benefit of viewing the internal environment and the plethora of hurricanes he was creating, the story would have been very different. We are very aware that the internal organs, in particular the liver, take a beating from our diet. Chemicals, sweeteners, and preservatives in food play havoc long before the damage is apparent in our outward appearance (i.e. your fat!). His fat gain increased exponentially when the internal environment could not keep up.

An important lesson for all watching: correct, long lasting weight loss is a process. The body must heal from the damage done then and only then will weight loss be significant and maintainable. Quick weight loss plans do not do this, and that is why we have so many people excellent at dieting and losing weight, but even better at finding it again.

His healing from this will also take place in this order:

  • The internal environment will have to heal followed by the fat loss.
  • The liver needs to be repaired
  • The mitochondria (energy source of cells) will have to be restored to health for him to have the energy to exercise again.

It will be a slow process, but what you will likely notice is that once his internal body heals, the fat loss will be exponential just as the gain was.

An important lesson for all watching: correct, long lasting weight loss is a process. The body must heal from the damage done then and only then will weight loss be significant and maintainable. Quick weight loss plans do not do this, and that is why we have so many people excellent at dieting and losing weight, but even better at finding it again. Drew’s method of weight loss will be successful and permanent as he will start with repairing the damage done and then changing his body.

-Dr. Warren Willey

If you only have time to watch one video, watch the first one with Dr. Willey.

Here is one article, from the many articles written globally about Drew Manning’s journey. I chose to share this one in particular because there is some commentary from Drew’s wife, reflecting on his physical and psychological changes. “Personal Trainer Drew Manning Made Himself Obese To Understand What Being Fat Feels Like”.

What Is Visceral Fat?

Illustration of obesity and waist circumferenc...

Image via Wikipedia

After yesterdays post on “What Is A Wheat Belly?”, I received a few comments from readers wondering how they can be tested for the presence of visceral fat and how can they reduce the amount of it?

I just found this well written, clear and concise article from the Health Bulletin site.  They list a few options for testing visceral fat such as CT scans, bioelectrical impedance and circumference measurements. CT scans are expensive and put the patient at risk for unnecessary radiation especially when the circumference measurement test can be done at home, with a simple measuring tape.  When I was a fitness appraiser I did at least half a dozen waist-to-hip ratio tests per day.  Basically, if the ratio from the girth circumference measurement from your abdomen is larger than the girth circumference measurement from your hips (taken at the largest buttock protuberance) then consider yourself in the visceral fat category.  You can also take an honest look at yourself in the mirror to know where you’re at.

A word of caution: It is also possible for people to be “skinny-fat”.  I’ve seen many who’s body fat is so evenly spread over their body that they don’t have the typical body shape of someone who is overweight; they tend to ‘carry it well’ (at least in clothes).  I often see this in men who wear business suits.  The suit hides it and just makes them appear ‘solid’.  This is worrisome because they ‘get away’ with not exercising and eating recklessly because they don’t show an outward appearance of carrying excess fat (until the suit comes off!).

Check out the Health Bulletin site it has a lot of very useful information.

A word on BMI: BMI stands for Body Mass Index. Often doctors use this measurement to determine if a persons weight is acceptable for their height.  It has it’s draw backs and in our household this test is a laughing stock.  My husband, who at 5’9″ weighs in at 168 lbs. of solid muscle and at approximately 7% body fat –  according to the chart he is overweight.

So as with everything, one must do their homework and think through the process, beyond the numbers.

Today’s 10 Minute Workout

A straight flight of stairs, somewhere in the ...

Image via Wikipedia

I couldn’t find a link for this workout at Mark Lauren‘s website so I’m posting it here.

It’s a time challenge.

Only three exercises:

  1. Burpees +
  2. Mountain Climbers +
  3. Jump Lunges (A.K.A: Iron Mikes)
Instructions: 
Complete 7 Rounds as fast as possible.
Round 1: Complete 5 Reps of each exercise (i.e. 5 Burpees + 5 MC + 5 Jump Lunges)
Round 2: Complete 10 Reps of each exercise (i.e. 10 Burpees + 10 MC +10 JL etc.)
Round 3: Complete 15 Reps of each exercise
Round 4: Complete 20 Reps of each exercise
Round 5: Complete 15 Reps of each exercise
Round 6: Complete 10 Reps of each exercise
Round 7: Complete 5 Reps of each exercise
My times:
2 August, 2010 –   Time  13 min :53 seconds
5 September, 2011 –  Time  10 min :31 seconds
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For my warm-up:
Ran up + down my basement staircase 10 x (12 stairs).  (Up + Down = 1x)
Odd numbers I took the stairs by two’s.  Even numbers I took single steps.
I.e.
1. by two’s
2. singles
3. by two’s
4. singles etc….up to 10.
Lunge style Hip flexor stretches, side bends, quads etc.
Did Mark Lauren’s workout, as I’ve come to call it.
Once finished it took a long time to get my breath back.  This was a super hard workout.  Walked around for quite some time breathing.
  • Cool down with 4 x 100 skips, still trying to bring my heart rate down gradually.
  • Cool down with 5 minutes on the stationary bike.
  • 5 Forward Grip Pull Ups
  • Full body stretches including rolling out ITB & TFL with foam roll.
Post-workout meal & lunch combined:
Romaine Salad with cherry tomatoes/ red peppers/ broccoli / my salad dressing
4 Slices of Roast Turkey (ingredients: roast turkey, salt –NOT processed)
1 leftover BBQ Sweet potato (fresh from last night) with a pat of unsalted butter.
12 oz. Water.

To Do or Not To Do?

Just Do It Anyway

Image by MikeVC via Flickr

I read this great bumper sticker a few months ago: “Kids who hunt, trap and fish do not mug little old ladies”.  It got me thinking…

The Industrial Revolution brought with it an incredible opportunity for creative thinkers, builders and doers.  Yet, the same seed spawned a cloud of laziness for the masses.

Sliced, pre-packaged bread – no need to make your own anymore…who’s got time anyway? We have gone and replaced the time we’ve gained from these inventions with more things to do.  Because in truth, we are not lazy we are doers – each one of us.  We have gained more time to do more, but at what cost?

My point is that for a large part we have lost the art for having to take care of ourselves.  Not having to explore, create or examine because the fundamentals have been taken care of for us.  This wheel of convenience has run amok.

Humans need to ‘do’.  We are no different from the very busy animal kingdom.  We see the birds preparing their nests for spring: tending, feeding and guarding their nestlings.  This is their natural cycle, which is not so different from ours.  But ours has gotten muddled up.  Historically, our natural drive was to find shelter, be clothed, and eat three meals per day, dance and sing.  Presently, we still have this natural survival energy.  We need to burn it off somehow.  If we do not find a constructive way to utilize this energy we are going to sit around and overeat.  Much like the housebound dog that doesn’t get exercised; he gets himself into mischief to satisfy his natural drive, often in the way of eating a lone leather shoe or digging up the garden. Or, like the “kids who mug little old ladies”!

To think that those of us in Western society who are lucky enough to live in an age where education and personal development is attainable and affordable:  from life coaching, music lessons or personal fitness training to name a few…isn’t that fantastic?

However, it is what we do with this gift of learning that is worth questioning.  Has it become an affordable disposable luxury much in the same way that food has become?  (Read FUEL https://youasamachine.com/fuel-2/ to know what I’m talking about.)

Let me pick on personal training since it is my background.  Does personal training work? It depends. It always depends on a variety of factors. It depends on whether you hire a trainer as an educator or as your motivator.

I know way too many people going to personal trainers and not making progress.  Sure, maybe at the beginning when doing anything new will have an effect.  But as time goes on the people I have talked with admit to not doing any workouts except for when they have a scheduled appointment.  And even fitting in those appointments becomes challenging.

I think personal training would be more effective overall if sessions were viewed more as lessons, like swimming, martial arts or piano lessons for example. A lesson being something whereby you acquire further understanding of a subject.  You learn, practice, refine, learn more, practice more, refine more etc.

For the most part personal training has become a service of sorts, a session in which a client is often mindlessly put through their paces.  They leave feeling wiped out and think they got their money’s worth.  But has the client learned anything in the process?  Money can buy an hour with the best trainer on the planet but I don’t believe that it can buy health or a lean well-conditioned body. But if it does, it is only a temporary transformation. Yes, you’re better off having done a mindless session than none at all. But this reinforces dependence.

Your body doesn’t know how much money you have or don’t have.  You can deceive the mind but not the body.

If a client is seeing a trainer once to three times per week for a year and hasn’t made a significant change, which is to blame, the trainer or the client?  I would think that after one year of private instruction a client would be very well versed and on the road to becoming self-sufficient and accountable.  But that rarely happens.  Why?

In order to make progress in any subject we need to understand the fundamentals.  Before we can read we need to learn our A-B-C’s. In terms of our physical health and fitness we need to have a grasp of basic anatomy.  Does this mean that in order to brush our teeth effectively we should first be schooled in dentistry?  Not quite.  But our brains are able and hungry for knowledge and up for the challenge.

We all should be well versed in our anatomy and physiology, but we aren’t.  We let the experts take care of us!  We let doctors prescribe pharmaceuticals.  We let our governments come up with ‘programs’ to raise awareness to better our health.  It’s all fluff.  We need to take control of us.  En masse, we need to give our heads the proverbial shake.  Just like handing over our hard earned life savings to the expert to invest for us and not having done any research into where or what it is being invested.

Each and every one of us needs to become accountable.  We need to learn about how our body works so we can take care of it – and stay out of mischief.

Be accountable.  Become your own expert.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.”

– Gandhi (1869-1948)

When The Honeymoon Is Over

after hot yoga class

Image by alc990 via Flickr

Just about everyone I talk with has the same problem. How to maintain our health and fitness among all the other things that have to be done?

The other day, I ran into an acquaintance that I hadn’t seen in a long time and without any prompting from me, he mentioned that after he put his #!*%! back out again it was recommended he try ‘hot Yoga’.  He did and was disciplined with his practice for six months straight. Then stopped. He stopped going for two reasons: 1) because his back was feeling stronger and so naturally didn’t need it anymore and 2) he just didn’t have two hours a day to devote.  And so the cycle continues.  He’ll do nothing until he puts his back out or some other injury takes hold.  When that happens he’ll find the time to take care of him until he’s fixed, then stop and go on cruise control until the cycle repeats…

That’s when I told him about this blog and the concept of 4 Minute Mornings as Daily Body Maintenance.

We chatted about the fact that when a person starts a diet or exercise program there is this honeymoon period when everything is new and exciting and you want everyone to join you because it is the ‘way’!  And you go hard and strong for three, five or six months. You turn your entire world upside down because you think: “I’m really going to make a change and do it this time”. But like any honeymoon, it too comes to an end; too big of a change, too much too soon.

This is where my daily 4 Minute Mornings come in. The concept is simple.  The exercises are simple. But best of all, you are in control. You learn to help YOURSELF be fit and healthy, using your own bodyweight to develop the functional strength you need from home. The driving, parking or getting a babysitter is eliminated from the equation, which is a lot of time saved right there.

It is not mindless repetition.  It’s not about proving how much endurance you have or how much you can do or how hard you can work.  It’s about consistency;  revisiting functional movements and stretching the body daily.  Yes, it is hard work and takes discipline, but anything worth having is worth working hard for. It is about educating yourself about yourself. Becoming your own expert –no one knows you better.

Self-discipline is born from consistency. And naturally, one thing leads to another. When you do something positive it is more likely other positive choices will follow.

Here’s what to do:  Maintain your body in a compassionate way – daily.  Eat fresh, whole foods that provide nourishment  as opposed to stimulating your body with artificial energy.  Get eight hours of sleep a night.  Hydrate your body with fresh clean water.  Floss your teeth daily…the mouth is the gateway to the body.

These are simple things we can do to improve and maintain our health. Start with baby steps with which you can be consistent.

“For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice.”  -John Burroughs

“Younger Next Year”

Because I was feverish about sharing my experience with Short-Duration High-Intensity Interval Training, my friend Leanne gave me a copy of Younger Next Year for Women.  She had recently read it and thought I would appreciate it too.  Boy did I!  And in the case you haven’t heard about it, I want to share it with you.

Dr. Henry Lodge and Chris Crowley’s first book: “Younger Next Year” written for men was so successful that they came out with a version for women, because wives were swiping their husbands’ copies and let’s face it men and women age differently.

Dr. Henry Lodge, explains the science of ageing.  In his seventies, Chris Crowley, originally a patient or Dr. Lodge’s, explains (often with humour) the ageing process from the front lines.

You can view this three minute YouTube excerpt from the PBS television special that airs this Friday, June 3, 2011! (That’s tomorrow!)