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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Top 10 Secret Tips The Pros Use To Get Results When Lacking Time

Fitness Professionals are just as busy as the average American and they struggle to get their workouts in just like everyone. Consider this…you’ve been at the gym all day working and training clients. Often, at the end of your shift, you just want to go home and the last thing you want to do is stay longer at the gym to get your own workout in. So how do Fitness Pros stick with it?

Here’s Some Tips From The Pros:

  1. Make It A Priority
    • Trainers realize that their life is better, they feel great and are more productive when they do exercise. Secondly, they have learned to be efficient and effective in their life to know how to fit workouts in that don’t necessarily require more time. Third, they understand if they can’t be disciplined enough to walk their talk, how are they going to teach and coach others to do it! So NOT working out is NOT an option! And NOT working out, shouldn’t be an option for you either!
  1. Let’s Do It Together
    • If you are friends with a fitness pro, most likely they will talk you into going for a hike, bike ride, run, taking a class or working out together. Fitness Pros combine their workouts with their quality time with loved ones. They recognize they don’t have the time to do both separately but by combining they can do it all!
  2. Go Hard
    • Trainers often replace long duration and easy intensity cardio with short and hard interval training.  You can accomplish the same workload in a shorter period of time so when you don’t have a ton of time, go hard and fast.
  3. Combine Exercises
    • Trainers often combine muscle conditioning movements.  For example, instead of doing one set of squats and then one set of overhead shoulder presses, they will combine the movements and do a squat with an overhead shoulder press at the same time.  Or instead of a separate set of lunges and bicep curls, they will do them at the same time. This an efficient way to train and saves a ton of time!
  4. Keep Moving
    • Trainers oftensequence their exercises to remove any rest periods.  So for example, instead of doing 3 sets of bench press with a minute rest in between, they might do their core training in between their Bench Press sets.  Or they might perform lower body and upper body exercises back to back with no rest in between. Removing the rest periods can save a ton of time!
  5. Cardio/Muscle Blast
    • Trainers often don’t have the time to do separate cardio and muscle workouts so they will often workout in a way that allows them to train both fitness components at the same time. They may intersperse cardio segments in between muscle conditioning exercises or perform circuit workouts with high intensity callisthenic exercises that condition muscles and the cardio system.
  6. Less Reps
    • Instead of doing high-endurance muscle conditioning, which takes longer, trainers often lift heavier and keep repetitions between 8 and 12.
  7. Move Your Body ALL The Time
    • Trainers get a ton of activity all day just because they are moving around so much as they are training clients, even if it’s not their own workout. So try to emulate that in your life…just move more and you won’t have to spend hours and hours in the gym!
  8. Focus!
    • Trainers focus on what they are doing when they are working out to maximize their workouts and results. We can’t tell you how many times we see gym-goers zoning out watching TV or reading a magazine while workout out.  If you want to maximize your workouts, put away the books, magazines and distractions while working out so you can focus on what you’re doing and get in and out of the gym more quickly.
  9. Motivation
    • Trainers fully understand what they need to do to get it done. If they’re just not feeling it, they may rely on their favorite, high-energy pumping music playlist to find their inner motivation. Or they may watch a 2 minute youtube clip highlighting inspirational athletes that will get them going. Or they may call a workout buddy to join them for their workout to assure they get it done.

Trainers realize that instead of exercise taking up too much time, it will actually give you more time, energy and increased productivity. They realize they look better, feel better and live a better life when they workout and take care of themselves so they just do it.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Girlfriends Half Pic 2016Join us for the….
Girlfriends Run for a Cure Half & Quarter Marathon October 15th, 2017 in Vancouver, WA.

Recruit your best girlfriends and help raise funds for Breast Cancer Treatment, Research & a Cure!

 

 

 

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Fine Tuning Your Cardio Workouts to Maximize Fat Loss

In order to maximize caloric expenditure, we need to maximize the amount of oxygen we are consuming during cardio workouts. We utilize more oxygen when we involve more muscle mass. So any activities that involve more muscle mass will make your fat loss program a lot more efficient. 

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Mix It Up In The Weight Room

If you have been doing the same program and the same exercises in the weight room, it’s time to change it up. Although there are a lot of different ways to lift weights, the only perfect resistance program is one that changes. A program that we design today, may be perfect today, but in about 4-8 weeks, it will no longer be as effective.This is due to the Overload Principle – a training principle that you must understand in order to experience ongoing results.

When you first begin exercising, the body is exposed to a stimulus that it’s not used to and it will be forced to respond in a positive fashion by getting stronger and fitter. This is called a physical adaptation, which means that your body has structurally, biomechanically, and physiologically improved. But simultaneous with the physical adaptation is the physical plateau that many people experience. In order to experience ongoing results, the body must be stressed or stimulated to a greater degree than what it is used to. We know that the body needs to be challenged in order to progress. This overload principle can be adhered to by changing your program in a variety of different ways.

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