How to Build a Workout Routine – 4 Simple Steps to Get it Right.

It’s hit us hard. The new reality of waking up each day to much of the same -isolated in the home, with or without a houseful of kiddies, with or without the Passover holiday looming near, we are all in this together yet doing it all alone.  

One way to cope is throw everything we know about fitness and health out the window. A friend sent me a funny meme, I’m giving up eating chocolate for the month.  Wrong punctuation: I’m giving up. Eating chocolate for the month.

Chocolate solves most everything- especially when it is mint chocolate crisp however feasting on chocolate all day makes me irritable and listless, so that seems like it should be off the list of viable options as a mood booster. 

Here’s something else you can try, let’s talk about our workouts.

What workouts you may ask? 

I’m here to convince you that no matter what or who is fighting for your attention, there is always time to workout and for good reason, and I’m going to give you the best advice you’re going to get:

Keep it simple.

That’s right.  Getting in a full workout may be far fetched for many of us – so let’s go easy on ourselves, OK?

We can get a workout, in record time – and super effective, and all it takes is to work four elements.

Think:

Legs

Core

Push

Pull

Work those four elements and you’ve got yourself a well rounded full body strength training routine.  

Here’s how it’s done:

Pick one or two exercises from each list that hit your legs, core, pushing muscles and pulling muscles.  The list ranges from beginner level to intermediate. Pick an exercise you can do for a duration of one minute without rest and move on to the next group.  You can go through the list once, twice or three times for a powerful workout. 

List A

Legs:

Chair sit to stand, bodyweight Squats, 1.5 squats, one legged ‘pistol’ box squats

Core:

Belly breaths, bird dog, dead bug

Push:

Wall/counter push up, ledge or knee push ups, regular push ups

Pull:

Angel against wall, dumbbell row, bodyweight row

To build a more comprehensive program, pick from these additional exercises on this list here and add them into the original list or switch out for more variation.  

List B

Legs:

Standing lunges, alternate leg lunges, toe touch back lunge, side lunges

Core:

Belly breaths with marching, side plank on knees with side knee raise, side plank with leg raise

Push:

Decline push-ups (legs on a stair or couch), push aways, down dog to plank

Pull:

Downward dog scapula presses, reverse snow angels, alternating arm plank row

Aim to strength train 3x times a week.  Here is what your workouts can look like:

Each exercise performed for 60 seconds

Legs:

Bodyweight squat

alternating back lunge

Core:

Belly breaths 

Side plank on knees with side knee raise

Push:

Ledge push ups

Decline push ups

Pull:

Dumbbell row

Reverse snow angel

Optional repeat 

Simple? Yes!  Easy? No, not easy, but just think LEGS, CORE, PUSH, PULL – 4 exercises and you got this one!

In need of some personal attention to your workout routine? Contact me and we’ll tackle it together!

How to Calm the Craziness

Crazy times calls for calming ways.

Calming ways we can take care of ourselves in this battle of uncertainty and fear. 

We’re in complete lockdown now and the last time I went on a stress releasing walk was almost two weeks ago. 

I’m missing my walks. 

Walks are my go to exercise after an intense jump rope session, when I don’t feel like working too hard but don’t want to skip a workout, or just need alone time to re-energize. 

For me, spending time outdoors provides a tranquil backdrop that transforms my busy and hectic life into manageable pieces.  So you can imagine that as times get crazier, more hectic and out of control, my need for calming activities revs up.  

Luckily, I have been rediscovering some of my favorite activities that have been doing wonders to calm my nerves.

Here are a few ideas and I hope they will help you too!
Dancing: Ever dance in the middle of your living room with the music blasting? No? Try it.  If you’re a little inhibited by the notion of letting go, get up early in the morning before the kids, draw the blinds, move around some furniture and just go for it.  Think your kids might enjoy a little dance party? Include them and bring on the joy and laughter. 

Rebounding/Jumping: Jumping on a mini trampoline – or as I was fortunate to do yesterday – jump on your mega sized trampoline in your backyard!  A great workout (even better than running- see link below) and a total release of tension! If you don’t have access to a mini trampoline – try jumping rope or doing 100 jumping jacks (you can break it up in smaller sets of 10 or 20). This can definitely do the trick of releasing that stress.

Fascia Stretching – Fascia is our connective tissue – defined as a system that interpenetrates and surrounds all organs, muscles, bones and nerve fibers, endowing the body with a functional structure, and providing an environment that enables all body systems to operate in an integrated manner. Basically, Fascia is responsible for just about everything!  Lift both arms in the air and stretch your fingers apart in a big and strong ‘jazz hand’.  Hold on to one wrist and pull up and slightly over. Hold that stretch for 5-6 ‘belly breaths’ – it only takes a few minutes for some immediate tension release.  Check out my video https://youtu.be/2QDLmj08F18

If you’re new to working out, your current program is not working for you, or the new reality of working out from home seems daunting – schedule your COMPLIMENTARY first workout session with me! 

Tabata – 4 Minutes to Fit

Tabata training is an amazing way to get a total body workout in very little time.

Tabata is a unique form of HIIT, or high-intensity interval training.  If you don’t know about HIIT, it’s a training technique where you perform short bursts of intense exercise at your all out maximum, followed by short periods of active rest. For example, sprinting up hill for 30 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of walking. While interval training has been around for decades and there are no set times for the intervals, Tabata training has set interval times;  20 seconds of intense work, followed by 10 seconds of complete rest for a total of 8 rounds. That’s 4 minutes and that’s it!  

Be warned, it sounds easy, but if you do it right, and push yourself to the limit, it is a very intense, effective and exhausting workout!  So go easy at first and progress into more intensity as your body gets used to the Tabata format and working at its max capacity.  

So here’s how it works:

Traditional Tabata contains only one exercise, such as push ups, and repeating that same exercise throughout the entire set.  However I like to spice up the protocol and use 2-4 different exercises and alternating. It’s less taxing on one muscle group so you don’t get fatigued as quickly therefore your intensity can stay high. In just 4 minutes you can workout your entire body, besides, it’s much more fun when you add variety to the mix.

For a longer workout, just add more sets and a 4 minute workout can be 8 or even 16 minutes long but be very careful not to overdo it and overtrain. Before working out, especially with intense interval training, always check in with your doctor to see if this type of exercise program can be beneficial and safe for you.

Here are my 4 favorite 4 minute Tabata Workouts:

High Energy Warm Up or Cardio Finisher 

20 sec – jumping jacks 

10 sec – rest

20 sec – mountain climbers

10 sec – rest

20 sec – burpees

10 sec – rest

20 sec – high knees 

10 sec – rest

Repeat 

Lower Body

20 sec – squats

10 sec – rest

20 sec – total body extensions or for a more intense level try squat jumps

10 sec – rest

Repeat 4 times

Upper Body

20 sec – ladder push ups 

10 sec – rest

20 sec – renegade rows

10 sec – rest

Repeat 4 times

Full Body Workout

20 sec – push ups

10 sec – rest

20 sec – squats

10 sec – rest

20 sec- plank to push up

10 sec – rest

20 sec – burpees

10 sec – rest

Repeat

There are numerous benefits to a HIIT workout, whether it is to burn fat, increase your anaerobic and aerobic capacities or just because it is a total body workout routine in record time, there are many reasons for you to give it a try.

Not sure about how to implement Tabata in your workouts? Be in touch for a complementary workout session with me!

Note: If you are thinking about attempting Tabata training, I recommend you visit a GP to see if they think it’s right for you.

Why Strength Train? It’s the Best Thing Going!

When you think about exercising…The goal of being strong and lifting weights might not come to mind immediately.  

Instead we’ve been programmed to  think yoga, jogging or swimming laps. 

Lifting two heavy dumbbells over your head seems daunting, scary and unachievable.    

We tend to stick with the familiar, the comfortable and easy, however it might not be the best use of your time. 

Strength training is the key ingredient for your vitality, well being and will give you a list of benefits unparalleled to just cardio exercises alone.

Forget your preconceived notions of bodybuilders lifting weights for hours at a sweaty gym…it does not have to be like that at all.  Resistance training can take as little as 20 minutes and you don’t need any equipment, just your own bodyweight!

So why is strength training superior to steady state cardio exercises (think spinning classes,  treadmills and zumba)?  

  • Build lean muscle mass while losing body fat
  • Decrease your risk of osteoporosis
  • Boosts immune system
  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce risk of injury, back pain and arthritis
  • Reduce risk of heart disease
  • Reduce risk of diabetes
  • Releases endorphins which may decrease depression

With all that good stuff, how can we resist?  

Let’s strive to get the biggest bang out of our workout sessions and reap the rewards!

Contact me for a complementary workout session!