Although the crunch or curl up is an easy go-to exercise for the rectus abdominus, try adding this exercise to recruit the oblique muscles. Obliques run diagonally to the waist. They stabilize your core, define the waist, and aid in rotation of the body. The "old school" bicycle exercise will work your obliques, but if you do a Pilates interpretation, it will slow you down and emphasize them more. Lie on a mat, hold the sides of your head instead of clasping your hands behind your neck. Keep your elbows back as you lift your feet off the floor with both legs bent. This is your starting position. As you extend one leg, lift your back from the floor and bring your elbow towards your opposite bent knee. Now, bring your extended leg back so that both legs are together and return to the starting position.Only then will you extend the other leg and bring your opposite elbow to your bent knee. You will inhale at the start position, and exhale while you bring your elbow across your body, inhale as you return to the start position. This slow interpretation of an "old-school" bicycle exercise will be tougher, so start with about 10 repetitions, and add more reps as you become more adept at the exercise. If you have low back issues, be aware that there is a load on the spine, so check with your doctor for an OK. http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/exercise-library-details/1/241/
You will find an article in the November 2013 newsletter about a study comparing weight loss among participants who either exercised with high energy expenditures and those who did a more moderate workout. Those who participated in the moderate workouts lost weight without as much effort. Keep in mind that this study used aerobic exercise sessions, not resistance exercise sessions.
This study also did not look into interval workouts, which have been shown to be a superior way to burn calories and thereby lose weight. The current HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training methods are a better way to bump up your weight loss program and in a shorter amount of time. Those long cardio machine bouts of up to an hour may send you right to a highly caloric meal that derail your efforts.
Contact a trainer who can fully round out all the information about aerobic sessions and weight loss before you decide to throw in the towel on your hard workouts....
Fall weather in Colorado is changeable. We can expect to see the first snow and/or yet another 90 degree day. Listen to the weather forecast and plan your outdoor cardio days in advance. I take advantage of these last warm days to get out on our South Platte River Trail to inline skate for miles. You may choose to get an early start for your hike in the mountains, being on alert for those chilly afternoon storms that come rolling in. There will be those days that you will have to duck indoors to avoid rain or snow, so check out a facility with newer cardio equipment. Try the Open Stride machine at Buck Rec Ctr. This PreCor equipment allows you to change from a stair step motion to an open stride similar to running just by the resistance you apply to the foot holds.
Be consistant with your cardio, getting at least five days per week of walking, hiking, biking, inline skating or other outdoors, or going indoors when the weather deosen't cooperate.
Everywhere you turn today, you will find the latest exercises being demonstrated as a way to lose weight, tone up, and get "flat" abs. TV shows may devote 30 seconds to three exercises that you have to do. The newspaper has articles once a week showcasing a fitness professional and his/her exercise recommendations. Magazine covers have toned bodies that encourage you to buy off the rack at the supermarket to get the latest celebrity exercise routine.
How can you stick to a routine of your own when you are surrounded by other ideas? Some of the exercises/programs that you come across have merit, but when you try them on your own, are you doing them correctly? Do they seem too easy, or exhaust you and make you so sore that you can't exercise for two weeks?
I became a Personal Trainer because I saw people making mistakes at the gym and felt the need to help clients with proper form, breathing, and most importantly, taking into account their individual needs. That is what is missing with the ubiquitous exercise suggestions in the media. Will they work for you? Are they safe? How can you progress past the initial program after you have mastered that exercise? As a Certified Personal Trainer, I must fulfil continuing education requirements to become recertified with ACE every two years. I read peer reviewed studies to find out the safety and eficacy of many exercises monthly.
Get set on a course towards your goal with a Personal Trainer, and if you need continued adherence and accountability, make regular appointments with your Trainer. I have a client that I see every three months to fine tune her workout and that works for her. I also meet with a younger client twice a week to keep her on a lifetime course of fitness and wellness. Other options are to start intensively, meeting twice per week initially, then tapering off to once a month.
Balance training exercises can be simple yet effective. The exercise described below will get you "in touch" with your footing, strengthen your ankles, and help bone density! Standing on one leg will have you making minute adjustments to the weight distribution on your foot, and the full weight of your body on one leg has been shown to increase its bone density.
You can get up from that easy chair while watching your favorite show and stand on one leg for 30 seconds.Work up to a 2 minute hold on each leg. As you stand, imagine a string attached to the top of your head, pulling you up to the sky. Here is where "getting in touch" with your core comes in handy. Pull in your lower abs (transverse abdominus), and the isometric contraction will also help your balance.
Have a chair nearby if you feel you need it. Eventually you can try different positions for the unweighted leg as shown here. If you have access to a Step 360, try holding your one leg balance pose on it. The next way to bump up the exercise is to throw a ball to someone while on one leg.
You can do this everyday! Try it tonight!
Some of you may know that I have had a rough summer, losing both of my parents. I was lucky to have them in my life for so long, but it is still a tough transitional time for me. What saves my emotional and mental states through this time is exercising my body! I went for a walk tonight on the Highline Canal, where I have a "destination" bench at Millikin Park. It's always beautiful among the tall cottonwood trees, and greener grass than I have in my yards! (My weimeraner really likes that.)
Tonight I was treated to the sight of a carriage, drawn by a Clydesdale, going by the bench where I was doing my stretching routine. I just never know what I will see over there, but it rejuvenates me. I love living in Colorado!
I hope you can get out to enjoy these warm evenings with your sport, gardening, or a run. Just fill your lungs with that fresh air! It will put your problems in perspective, and lift your spirits.
Many talk show experts love to demonstrate the amount of sugar contained in soft drinks, juices, and energy drinks. For example, a can of Coca Cola, labeled to have 39 grams of sugar, can be better visualized by knowing that equals 9.75 teaspoons of sugar. A can of Red Bull has 27 grams of sugar, or 6.75 teaspoons. Imagine putting that much table sugar into your large cup of morning coffee! The evidence is clear that excessive sugar consumption, especially in liquid form, can have detrimental health effects.
To determine the amount of hidden sugar (fructose, sucrose, etc) in supermarket foods, simply divide the amount of sugar (usually in grams) on the label by 4. That will give you the approximate amount of volume measurement in teaspoons. Use this knowledge to make you aware of how much sugar you have been consuming, and how much healthier it is to cut back on those empty calories, both for your health and your waistline!
Both clients and trainers seem to have distinct preferences for how they start/stop/interrupt their cardio session on a treadmill. Do you "hop" on or off the side rails? Do you stay put and let the treadmill begin rolling to start and then let it put on the brakes for you at the end?
My preference is to keep both feet on the surface right under your feet rather than start with them on the rails to the side. If you think about how you begin your walk or run outside, do you wait for the ground to "get moving" then jump in? No, you just start walking or running! Set your program on the treadmill and keep your feet on the tread in the center. The machine will start slowly and build to your set speed. Similar to getting on or off a ladder, the most vulnerable moment to fall is when you only have one foot on the treadmill/ladder. This is what happens when you start or stop, or interrupt your run momentarily by hopping onto the side rails, then try to get back onto the moving tread. Modern treadmills have a sophisticated braking system that brings the machine to a gentle stop while you have both feet on the center tread. Think of how a rollercoster is able to stop from a high rate of speed without throwing you out of the car. If you are running at a fast pace, use the arrow down buttons to reduce the speed then hit stop. I can guarantee that you are not going to be thrown off!
We have been so lucky here in the Denver area this Autumn - not much snow to speak of! If you are the one who ends up shoveling, you may want to prepare your body for that inevitable blizzard. This is where core training is valuable. It teaches you how to support your back with better posture and body awareness. I suggest practicing the "dead bug" exercise which may be done on a mat or carpet. On your back, have knees bent at 90 degrees, with the feet off the floor. Arms are bent, with the elbows pointed towards the ceiling. As you bring one foot back to the floor (knee is still bent) bring the opposite arm over your head briefly touching the hand to the floor. The important part is to keep your lower abdomen still without arching your back off the floor. Pictures and complete progression are at: http://www.acefitness.org/exerciselibrary/147/supine-dead-bug
Once you know how to stabilize your back and abdomen, you will be able to accomplish this while doing heavy lifting, such as lifting dozens of shovelfuls of snow!
The seasons seem to be running a few weeks behind, which means there is still time for some great hiking in the high country. The well used trail up Shrine Pass Road in Summit County offers meadows blanketed in yellow daisies, purple larkspur, pink Indian paintbrush, white yarrow and more. Pass the snowfields and reach the ridgeline with its great views. All my lunges paid off in that my legs were not sore, except for the front of my ankle from flexing my foot to go up the inclines. I NEED MORE TOE RAISES!
You can do toe raises by facing a waist high support (counter or back of chair to hold onto), and lift up your toes, holding momentarily, and slowly lowering to the floor. For added resistance, place a 9 - 15 pound BodyBar across your toes. Do 15 to 25 repetitions for two sets.
Another thing to consider while you are hiking is to hold your tummy in (strong core), especially if you are carrying a pack. Of course, bring a lightweight, waterproof jacket (I met some strong sprinkles of rain on the way down), water, snacks, sunscreen and hat/sunglasses.
I felt perfectly comfortable hiking on my own since there were many other folks on the trail on Sunday. If you go during the week, you may want to bring a buddy in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Go to my facebook page for photos: