‘DO THIS, NOT THAT” Doesn’t Work!

Is High Intensity Training the way to go? Or is Long, Slow Distance Training better? What cardio exercise brings the best results – is it cycling, rowing, running or something else? What muscle conditioning workouts enhance overall fitness best – is it Bootcamp classes, Barre, Yoga, Pilates or traditional weight training?

If someone decides to get fit and commit to an exercise program, there are a ton of options. It can feel like a kid in a candy store so to speak. But there’s only so much time in a week so how do you choose? Here’s some guidelines to help you design a good, solid weekly program that enhances your overall health and achieves optimal fitness. Read the rest of ‘DO THIS, NOT THAT” Doesn’t Work!

3 Best Full Body Exercises!

Time is of essence! In a one-hour workout, it’s difficult to achieve a proper warm-up, an adequate cardio workout, a challenging strength training segment, some postural exercises and an appropriate cool-down and stretch. How do we fit it all in?  Most people want results in the shortest period of time. Who wants to spend 2+ hours in the gym?

Full Body Exercises are the answer to your prayers. Incorporating exercises that combine lower body, upper body, trunk musculature and balance training all into one exercise accomplish three times as much training in the same amount of time. 

Full Body Training is also a more natural and functional way of training. Can you imagine any daily task that you complete regularly that involves only one joint or muscle group? Our bodies just don’t function in an isolated fashion. When you get out of a chair, bend down to pick something up or lift something to put it on a shelf, your entire body functions as a team. And all sports require your muscles to work together. And yet when we train in the gym, most people generally train their muscles separately focusing on only one body part at a time. It would be like a football coach taking each of his starting line players and training them individually before their first game. Even though each player may be in optimal physical conditioning, if the coach hasn’t pulled them together and scrimmage in order to learn to work together, their first game is going to be a disaster. For example, a Leg extension exercise works the quads independently but it doesn’t mean the quads will be able to work together well with the hamstrings or the trunk muscles. Full Body training teaches your muscles to work together as a team as they do in real life situations. During sports or recreational activities, your muscles have to learn to react, support and oppose each other effectively. 

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Why You NEED To Lift HEAVY!

Many physiologists and researchers considering Strength Conditioning to be the true Fountain of Youth – the magic “pill” to reverse or prevent a significant portion of the aging process.

Many of the changes people experience as they age are due to a loss in muscle mass. So if we can maintain a significant amount of muscle tissue as we age, we can expect to age much more slowly.

Let’s look at some of the research and benefits of strength training:    

Strength training will increase muscle endurance and strength, improve bone density and posture, boost your metabolism, increase functional capacity, improve your blood pressure and blood lipid levels, decrease joint pain and reduce your risk of falling. In addition, muscle looks good and can improve your overall self esteem and confidence. You’ll move with better strength, balance, coordination and agility and your performance in your recreational pursuits will be enhanced significantly. Read the rest of Why You NEED To Lift HEAVY!

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Best Strength Exercises You Can Do Anywhere!

The evidence is clear – Strength Training is the True Fountain of Youth.

If you commit to conditioning your muscles against resistance at least a couple times per week, you can expect to improve your muscle endurance and strength, increase your bone density, boost your metabolism, lose weight, improve your body composition, improve your posture, increase your functional capacities and improve your overall health and how you look and feel.

The good news is you can achieve all of this right from home with no equipment starting today, right now!

Here are a few of my favorites. Complete 1-3 sets of the following 2-3x/week:

Lunges

Week8 - LungesStand with one leg positioned in front of the other leg. Keep the front knee over top of the ankle or the foot. Keep the back knee underneath or slightly behind your hips. Slowly lower the back knee towards the ground keeping the front knee over top the ankle the entire time. Only go as low as you feel comfortable. Keep your body weight positioned over the front leg – this is your working leg.  Maintain proper posture and keep your abdominals contracted. Complete 8-15 reps each leg.

Squats

squatbStart by standing with your feet between hip and shoulder width apart. Set your posture by contracting your abdominals, pressing your chest out and up and your shoulders back and down. Start by slowly squatting backwards while keeping your kneecaps pointing forwards – avoid allowing your knees to collapse inwards.Try to keep your weight equally distributed on all 4 corners of your feet – avoid allowing your arches to collapse inwards. Lower to a comfortable position. You’ll notice that your upper body will come forward slightly while your buttocks travel backwards. Now slowly extend back up. When getting started, you may want to just start with mini-squats until you master the technique and then start dropping lower and lower once your muscles get stronger. Perform a set of 8-15 reps.

Push Ups:

pushuptoes2Lie on your stomach. Position your hands on the floor a few inches beside your shoulder.  Make sure that your elbows are directly over top or to the inside of your wrists. Keep your abdominals contracted and your back in its neutral position. Now slowly push up and slowly lower down to the starting position. Perform 8-15 repetition from either a knee or toe position.

The Plank

planktoesStart by lying on your belly with your elbows directly below your shoulders. Curl your toes under and lift your body off the floor. Pull your belly button toward your spine. Remember to breathe. To make the Hover a bit easier you can do it on your knees rather than your toes. If you need more of a challenge you can lift one foot.  Try to hover for at least one minute.

Straight Leg Lifts

Lie on your back with knees bent at about 45 degrees and feet on the floor. Put your hand on your abdominals and pull them in and up so your stomach becomes as flat as you can get it. Keep your stomach in this position throughout the entire exercise as you slowly lift one foot a few inches off the floor. Continue alternating legs. Your back should not move at all during the exercise. Continue for 60-90 seconds. To increase intensity straighten legs, to decrease intensity bend legs.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Join us for our Scary Run – Half Marathon, 10k & 5k
Oct. 29th in Washougal, WA
This race is a fun, costume-themed run/walk. Although titled ‘Scary Run’ your costume doesn’t need to be scary. Be creative and dress in any costume you like as long as you can comfortably and safely run and walk. Feel free to get together with friends and come up with a fun costume theme.

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Pink Power – Training Post Breast Cancer Surgery

We probably all know at least one person who has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I personally know a great deal of women who have been diagnosed including many of my best girlfriends. We started our Girlfriends Run for a Cure, now in our 11th year, for one of our girlfriends Joleen Skarberg, who continues to race it every year with her daughters, sisters, cousins, nieces and best girlfriends. We have been able to raise $450,000 and are hoping to break the half a million mark this year. All of the funds raised over the years from events like ours is one of the reasons that women now receive better diagnosis and treatment and go on to live strong and healthy lives. Joleen is a true testimony to that! I hope one day in my lifetime we can all see a cure for all forms of cancer! Read the rest of Pink Power – Training Post Breast Cancer Surgery

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To Change Something, You Have to CHANGE Something!

Sherri_If you do what you always do, you’ll get what you always get. If you actually want to change your body and your fitness level, things in your life will have to change. But, the problem is that humans are creatures of habit and we often do things, not because we need to, but rather because it’s just the way we’ve always done them. So part of being successful at any endeavor is making sure you set up your life to increase the chances of success! Read the rest of To Change Something, You Have to CHANGE Something!

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Correct Terrible Posture

Since many of us spend so much more time hunched over our laptops, Ipads and cell phones, it’s easy to see why many younger adults are depicting the typical hunch back posture that you normally wouldn’t get until you are in your 80s or 90s. We are even starting to see this kyphotic, hunch posture in our kids!

Bad posture places excessive stress on your muscles and joints which can result in a tight, sore and stressed body. This can lead to back pain, neck pain, shoulder issues, headaches and other health issues and/or injuries.

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Mixing Bikes and Cars Safely

I recently had 3 friends get hit by a car while riding their bikes so it prompted me to write this column to remind drivers and cyclists how to navigate the roads safely. I’m not blaming either group – I think we can all do better!

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Working Out When There is Fire All Around

With the recent fires in the Gorge and throughout the Northwest, it feels like we are surrounded by smoke and fires. Many have questioned whether it’s still okay to exercise outdoors with smoke in the air.

The Environmental Proection Agency (EPA) has created the Air Quality Index (AQI) to answer that question. This index can tell us how clean or polluted our air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern. It measures particles in the air, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ground level ozone.

AQI is measured from 0 to 500, with the higher the AQI number, the greater the level of air pollution and greater health concerns. Read the rest of Working Out When There is Fire All Around

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“Turn Over a New Leaf” and “Fall Into Fitness”

Kids are back to school!  Yahoo! Oops, did I say that out loud?! September is a very busy time in the fitness industry, only second to New Year’s Resolutions. Summer holidays are over, school is back in session and now it’s time for YOU! Take advantage of this natural tendency to turn over a new leaf, so to speak, and here’s a list of the Top 10 things you can easily and quickly implement in your life to “Fall back into Fitness & Fall back into YOU!”

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