Tuesday April 15, 2014
It's Tax Day and you know what that means, right? It means stress and do you know one of the best ways to get rid of stress? No, it's not drinking (although that can help occasionally)...it's exercise. And can you guess what exercise I'm loving right now? That's right: Split squats with rotations.
The point of this exercise is not, in fact, to "make people fall over for my own personal enjoyment," as some clients have suggested. That's just a bonus. The real point is that this is a killer lower body exercise that targets almost everything you can think of including the glutes, hips, thighs, core, balance, stability, patience, coordination and flexibility.
This is clearly an advanced move, so a few thoughts: First, the BOSU makes it more difficult, so try this on a more stable platform your first time around. Second, there's quite a bit of rotation here which may not work for every soul out there. I recommend having a rail or wall nearby to hold onto as you learn this move.
Do it right: Stand about 3 or so feet in front of a BOSU or step and place the right foot on top, resting on the toe.
Pause to get your balance and take the arms out to the sides as you bend the knees into a lunge.
As you lunge, rotate the torso, bringing the right hand towards the left foot and the left arm straight up overhead.
Rotate back to start and stand up, repeating for 12 reps on each side.
Split Squats with Opposite Rotation
Monday April 14, 2014
We talk about calories as though they're living, breathing beings...beings that we believe we can actually control. We want to burn them, cut them, slash them, get rid of them, measure them and, really, who can blame us? Sure calories don't have actual brains or emotions or opposable thumbs, but who hasn't felt slapped in the face by a big hunk of chocolate cake or a bowl full of greasy, salty yummy potato chips?
Yes, sometimes trying to control our calories is much like herding cats, but the good news is that there are multiple options out there for us. We can keep a food journal for example and count our calories. We can also monitor our portion sizes and avoid eating out too much. Another option is, of course, exercising those calories away.
So, what about you? How do you control your calories and which method seems to work best for you? Do you use more than one? Vote in this week's poll and tell us how you control your calories.
Thursday April 10, 2014
Is it possible for workouts to be fun? I suppose that depends on your definition of fun. I don't really consider working out fun, per say, but I do enjoy the benefits I get from it. Even if a workout isn't completely fun, there are ways we can make it more pleasant.
For example, I had one client who mentioned how long she'd been trying to get into a running program. She would go out to walk and then run a little and walk a little, never really progressing from there. Digging deeper into the issue, it became clear why she wasn't progressing: "I hate it," she finally admitted. "Why would you want to do something you hate?" She just looked at me, kind of the way my cat does when I ask him to please get off the dinner table, which is to say, as though I'm speaking Swahili.
I'm always kind of surprised at how many people force themselves to do workouts they hate or treat their workout time like a punishment in which they're not allowed to enjoy even a moment of it.
Which is why I wrote my latest article, 5 Ways to Make Workouts More Fun. I said 'More Fun' not completely fun, just so you know.
Wednesday April 9, 2014
It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the things we need to work on. It usually starts out with some vague realization - You see a co-worker eating an orange and you suddenly think, "I really should eat more fruit." Then you sit down and feel that little twinge in your back and think, "I should really work on strengthening my lower back." As you turn to face your computer, you realize how tight your pants suddenly feel and you think, "I really need to lose more weight."
From there, your neurons start firing and a veritable shower of 'shoulds' begin to flow - You should start running 10 miles a day and learn how to make your own yogurt. You should manage stress better and eat more tofu. And floss more. Yes, definitely should floss more.
This week, instead of getting overwhelmed by all the things you're not doing, why not pick just one thing you'd like to work on and focus on that? It's so much easier to work on one thing then everything at the same time, isn't it? Some ideas:
- Flexibility - Most of us have this one chronically tight area that nags at us. What's yours? Find it, figure out a stretch or two that would work on that area and do those stretches every day this week - After workouts, after a hot shower, whenever you take a break from work or life.
- Your diet - What's one thing that kind of bugs you about your diet? Maybe you don't drink enough water or get enough fiber. Maybe you feel like you should cut down on the wine or the potato chips. Whatever it is, spend some time thinking about how you could change that one thing and try it for a week. Set an alarm to go off every hour and drink a glass of water. Research foods that have more fiber and try one of them. Replace wine with tea or just drink less than normal.
- Your Workouts - Is there some 'should' that always pops up in your workouts? Maybe you think you should stretch more or work harder. Maybe you think there's an exercise you should be doing but don't. Whatever it is, plan out how you'll tackle that 'should' and focus on it this week. You may find it's something you really don't want to do in the first place.
What other ideas can you come up with? Leave a comment and tell us what you'll work on this week.