I don't know about you but I can't believe the holidays are here and 2012 is two weeks away! Now, I could spout out lots of tips and tricks about how to keep up with your workouts during the holidays but seeing as I've done that before, I want to go in a different direction.
Over the holidays, I want you to exercise your gratitude and pat-on-the-back muscles.
I had an AHA! moment with a client a few months ago who was struggling to keep up with the discipline of working out 5 times a week and making good food decisions. She was getting really down on herself and wasn't able to focus on all of the things she'd accomplished. Instead, she was telling herself she wasn't working hard enough. As an exercise, I asked her to write down all the things she had accomplished since she started training (her list could be super long, BTW, she's accomplished a TON). Since I asked her to do this, she's turned a corner and is working harder than ever and is taking pride in her training.
I really believe that when we can take the time to pat ourselves on the back for what we've accomplished and when we can focus on being grateful for how hard we work, we can accomplish so much more than we think we're capable of. You can congratulate yourself for choosing salad as a starter instead of the spinach dip, or for doing an extra set of exercises when you were tired. Always be grateful for what you have instead of focusing on what you might not have. And be grateful for taking the steps you need to take to be healthier!
Exercising your gratitude and pat-on-the-back muscles can only lead to one thing: gaining the empowerment you need to make the right decisions for yourself. And THAT will take you places you didn't think you could go to.
Not a bad way to head into the holidays, eh?
We introduced some strength training in Week 3! It was very exciting :)
I kept some good core stabilization and shoulder health exercises in like the straight leg raises, Ys Ts As and Wall Angels (which are a LOT harder than they look). I didn't shoot some exercises since I was spotting so you didn't get to see pretty awesome bench dumbbell presses but you will in Week 4!
Micah did 3 sets of 8-12 reps with weights heavy enough for him to feel fatigued by that 8th-12th rep. I'm a stickler for form so once form starts to break down, it's time to end the exercise (even if rep 8 hasn't been reached).
Micah's ankle was feeling a little tender this week so to err on the side of caution, I made him do some intervals on the bike (which were still wicked hard), some cardio blasts that weren't too much of a burden on the ankle (that would also help strengthen it), and then he ended with one more set of intervals on the elliptical before cooling down.
Micah was pretty tired on Wednesday when we trained. He hadn't slept well the night before and hadn't eaten in a few hours before the workout. I'm bringing this up for a few reasons:
Week 3 was great! The holidays are around the corner and Micah will be on his own for some of weeks 4 and 5 so the next post will focus on what to do when you are on your own! In the meantime, enjoy the Week 3 video!
This week, we continued on with building the base of muscular endurance, core stability and doing circuits filled with cardio blasts and plyometrics.
We started Week 2 with a few exercises I believe are absolutely essential to anyone who wants to move and feel better.
The dead bugs and birddogs are two core exercises are a few of the "building blocks" to get a strong core that can support your spine. When I talk about the "core", I'm not just talking about abs. I'm talking about the torso from C1 all the way down to your pelvis to your booty. The spine is your most important asset; it houses your central nervous system! You want to do everything you can to protect it. No matter what your goal is, if you don't have a strong core, you're asking for injury. This is why I spend so much time at the start of any training program on core stability.
Micah injured one of his rotator cuff muscles years ago. Rotator cuff injuries and tears are very common and the causes vary greatly. Since Micah's goals are to gain more lean muscle mass in his upper body, I need to make sure his shoulders stay really healthy as training gets harder. The tube external rotation exercise (2 sets of 15-20 reps) and the hitch-hikers (also 2 sets of 15-20 reps) are two of many excellent exercises you can do to get those muscles and tendons ready to bear more weight in the future. Micah has rounded shoulders so those two specific exercises will help counteract that and help to open up his chest.
The rest of the resistance exercises were also done for 2 sets of 15 reps. Micah recently suffered an ankle injury so adding in some single leg exercises really helps his foot stabilizers work. Research has shown that balance work like this reduces the likelihood for future ankle injuries. Plus, it makes the exercise he's doing more challenging :) You can try this when you do any upper body excises!
The rest of Week 2 centered around quick bursts of cardio and plyometric exercises. Plyometrics are tricky to work into training programs because a good base of strength needs to exist. Micah has a lot of lower body strength already so I felt confident about adding these exercises in. Research has shown that plyometrics aid in helping the ankle get stronger so this is not only giving him tremendous calorie burn but it's going to help him not re-injure his ankle. These exercises were done in a circuit two times for 45-60 seconds each with about a 60-second break between circuits. Whew!
So that was Week 2! Enjoy the video!
We are about to enter Week 2 but I thought I'd give you a little recap of Week 1! After doing some movement and strength assessments with Micah, I was ready to design a program. Although Micah is relatively fit, I felt it necessary to start with muscular endurance protocols for Weeks 1-3. This means using weight that is light enough for Micah to get to 15-20 repetitions twice. Starting with muscular endurance training will not only get Micah's muscles prepared to bear heavier weights when we get into strength training going into Week 4 but will also strengthen his tendons and ligaments to prevent injury. It's also a great way to torch some calories :)
We trained twice in Week 1: Day 1 focused on weight training (using dumbbells, the lat pulldown machine and body weight) with some cardio blasts. Day 2 focused on core exercises and interval training. Needless to say, Micah was a bit tired after these workouts. The great thing is, though, that his body will go through tremendous adaptations in these next 6 weeks and if we were to do these same workouts Week 7, my guess is they would be wicked easy.
So here's the thing for those of you who are looking to get leaner and more toned: Riding the stationary bike or elliptical machine for 60 minutes at one pace is not doing you ANY favors. If you're going to spend an hour at the gym, wouldn't you want to get the most bang for your buck? Get your heart rate up during your entire workout! Incorporate some high-intensity cardio blasts where you feel like you can't go anymore after 30-60 seconds and slow it down for 30-90 seconds and then repeat about 10 more times. On a scale from 1-10 (1 = sitting on a couch and 10 = running away from a pack of wolves), you should be around an 8 during the high intensity portion and a 6 when you slow it down a little. You can also do some weight training exercises in between your intervals. This kind of training makes your body work super hard not only during the workout but for hours AFTER so you're burning calories for much longer than just the time you're in the gym (this is called EPOC: Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption). When you're leisurely reading your magazine on a cardio machine for 60 minutes, you're only burning a few calories while you're on the machine and nothing after.
So check out what Micah did this week (outside of winning two soccer games!). A lot of these exercises don't require equipment so try incorporating them into your own workouts! Enjoy!
My friend Micah Valentine came to me a few weeks ago with a question: Could I get him 6-pack abs and a bulging chest in 6 weeks before he goes to Hawaii on vacation with his family? My answer: Let's get working and we'll find out!
Micah is generally in good shape. He's always been athletic and currently plays soccer; he's a father of three adorable little girls so he does a lot of running around. That said, he's been feeling a little flabby lately and is driven to do what it takes to feel comfortable in his swim trunks.
You will all be getting to know Micah a bit until he goes to Hawaii at the end of January. As an intro, I thought I'd post a few "before" photos so we have of where he's starting:
I also got a new handy-dandy video camera so we're going to be using it a lot to show you how we're going to get Micah to Beach Body Dude. In fact, we made a video to introduce you to Micah!
I hope you have fun getting to know Micah! We'll be blogging here to tell you about his progress but please click here to "Like" IzzyFit on Facebook and click here to follow IzzyFit on Twitter. AND you can now officially subscribe to IzzyFit YouTube channel by clicking here!