Designing Your Cardio Program – A Little Bit of Everything is the Best Approach

Last week, we discussed the type of Cardio activity to include into your fitness program.  Today, I wanted to educate you on a few more training principles that can help when designing your cardio program.

First, every good cardio program should include aerobic and anaerobic exercise with some variable impact and agility training. 

Read below for the rationale and an explanation…..

IMGL6304 Designing Your Cardio Program – A Little Bit of Everything is the Best ApproachAerobic Exercise:

Aerobic exercise is easy to explain.  It involves going out for a walk, jog, cycle, swim, hike, x-country ski, indoor cardio equipment or taking a fitness class.  It includes exercise that is within your comfort zone and at an intensity that you could hold for 20 minutes plus.  This type of exercise will condition your heart and achieve numerous health benefits.

Anaerobic Exercise:

Anaerobic exercise is a more challenging form of exercise.  It involves the same activities as above but at a much harder intensity.  For example, it would involve going for a jog and then for 30 seconds picking up the pace and sprinting.  Read the rest of Designing Your Cardio Program – A Little Bit of Everything is the Best Approach

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Choosing The Right Activity To Get Fit

Choosing the right activity to get fit is important and now that spring is here, days are longer and many of us have a renewed sense of energy….so instead of just jumping into something, take a moment to consider which activity might be the one that you actually stick to for the long term.

970177 10151561836956946 1921935068 n 300x225 Choosing The Right Activity To Get FitThe most important consideration when deciding which activity will be your primary activity of choice is deciding which activities interest you the most and that you really believe you could do on an ongoing basis.

The best activity in the world is the one you actually do regularly! 

If I told you that running was the best way to get in shape but you hated running, you probably would not stick to the program very well and would probably experience very limited results.  So, you really need to examine your interests.  For example, if you prefer to exercise outside, running through trails or hiking may be your answer.  If you prefer indoors, you might enjoy the energy of fitness classes, resistance training or working out on a Treadmill so you can be distracted by a magazine or TV.  If you like to exercise in groups, fitness classes or a walking, running or hiking club may help you stick to your program.  If you are a solo exerciser, your own individualized program may offer the solitude you are looking for.  It is important to determine the perfect-fit, custom-designed program that will facilitate your efforts.

Here are some questions to help you design a program that is going to work for you: Read the rest of Choosing The Right Activity To Get Fit

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Top 7 Exercises

The American Council of Exercise asked 17,000 personal trainers what was the one exercise they couldn’t do without.  The 7 exercises personal trainers can’t live without when designing programs for their clients are:  Lunges, Squats, Push-Ups, Abdominal Exercises, Running, Walking, and Yoga.

Well, 17,000 Trainers can’t be wrong so I thought we’d provide you with a little bit of guidance in each of these areas.

lungeb 300x249 Top 7 ExercisesLunges:

Stand with one leg positioned in front of the other leg.  Keep the front knee over top of the ankle.  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.  Intermediate:  Same as above but lunge lower.  Advanced – Perform the same exercise as above but start to add resistance by holding free weights.

squatb t800x500 214x300 Top 7 ExercisesSquats:

Start 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 8-12 or 10-15 reps.  As you progress, add resistance.

 

pushupplanka1 300x252 Top 7 ExercisesPushups: Read the rest of Top 7 Exercises

Should You Workout if You’re Injured?

swimming1 300x166 Should You Workout if You’re Injured?If you’ve ever experienced an injury, you’ll appreciate the fact that it can really take you out of your normal fitness routine.  Often, when someone suffers an injury or is experiencing chronic aches and pains, they take a complete break from exercise.  But there’s rarely a reason to take a hiatus from exercise.  Instead, do whatever you can to move your body because it enhances your internal biochemistry, gets the good hormones flowing, improves circulation and blood flow which will all help with the healing process and help to prevent depression while you are rehabilitating. There’s very rarely a reason that you can’t move your body at all even when you are injured!

Of course, you’re going to have to modify your program a bit until you figure out the cause of your aches and pains and heal your injury.  Here are some action steps you can take if you ever find yourself having to manage an injury.

Count it as a blessing: Read the rest of Should You Workout if You’re Injured?

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Lazy Or Do You Need A Day Off?

Sherri Bike Lazy Or Do You Need A Day Off?

I like to start my day by revving my metabolism.  But I’m just like everyone else and some days I just don’t feel like it.  I thought I’d share the tips I use to determine whether I’m being lazy or I need a day off.

  • If I’m tempted to press the snooze button and I fall right back asleep, that’s a sign my body needs some extra rest. If I just lay there wide awake, I’m probably just being lazy so I get up.
  • When I first wake up, I will check my emails and/or Facebook and the light from my cell usually wakes me up and then I’m ready to go. If that doesn’t work, I may need some more rest.
  • If I’m really tired, I will force myself to get up and open the blinds, grab some water and walk around. Usually by moving around, I start to wake up and feel better. If I’m still feeling exhausted, the rest may be more important.

I’ve had days where both my kids were sick and my body felt like it was fighting something so I decided to take a rest day and reserve the energy for my immune system to give it a good fight. A workout will stimulate your immune system but if it’s already being challenged, it can suppress it and take it over the edge.

What do you do when you are sick? Read the rest of Lazy Or Do You Need A Day Off?

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Indoor Cardio Workouts

The weather has been nasty lately leading most of us to retreat into the warmth and comfort of a fitness facility to condition our bodies. But many people waste a lot of time and energy training improperly on indoor cardio machines.  Here’s a few tips to reduce the boredom and monotony of your indoor cardio workouts and assure your technique is top notch.

treadmillmain 300x199 Indoor Cardio WorkoutsTreadmill:

The lineups to get onto a treadmill at most fitness facilities make it easy to believe that the treadmill remains the most popular indoor cardiovascular machine.  The learning curve is quick – just get on, punch in a few numbers and start walking or running.  Treadmills are popular amongst sports physicians and physiotherapists because they better absorb the impact forces associated with running.  Treadmills allow you to avoid unfavourable weather conditions, go for a run in the evening without having to worry about the safety issues and avoid being startled by the neighborhood dog.

Technique tips:

  • Make it a goal to not hold onto the rails while jogging or walking.  Instead, use your muscles to balance and support your body.
  • Keep your abdominals contracted, look forward and avoid swinging your arms side-to-side and crossing the mid-line of your body.

Treadmill workout idea:

  • Warm-up.  Do 1 minute of a walking hill climb.  Then 1 minute of a flat, comfortable jog.  Then 1 minute of a flat sprint.  Then 1 minute of a flat, recovery walk.  Do this 5 times for a 20 minute workout.  Cool-down
  • Once a month, try a time-trial workout.  Program in a distance like 5km (3miles) and record how long it takes you to complete.  Next month, try it again and this time try to go a little faster.  As you get fitter, you should be able to perform the same distance in a shorter period of time.

Eliptical Trainer:

The word on the street is that these machines, looking very similar to a stairmaster, are gaining popularity and may soon rival the treadmill for exercisers’ favourite piece of equipment.  Read the rest of Indoor Cardio Workouts

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Use It Or Lose It

The old adage “use it or lose it” appears to ring true in almost all areas of your general health and fitness. You just can’t store the benefits associated with a healthy lifestyle. Here are some areas that may be affected by neglect:

Cardio-Respiratory Fitness:

668 300x225 Use It Or Lose It

If you don’t challenge your heart, your aerobic capacity will definitely decrease with time and unfortunately, it becomes a vicious cycle.  You don’t exercise so you get out of shape, then daily activities start to become more challenging so you start to look for ways to make movement easier ie take the elevators and escalators instead of stairs, park closer, sit more, drive more etc.  Then your cardiovascular fitness deteriorates even further, you’re huffing and puffing more and starting to move even less because it’s uncomfortable. So stop the cycle and start moving your body and challenging your heart.

For those of you who do exercise regularly and find yourself out of your routine for whatever reason, generally, after only one or two weeks of complete inactivity, significant reductions in cardio-vascular fitness can be measured. It seems to be the fitness component that is affected first by a lapse in training. But the good news is Read the rest of Use It Or Lose It

Fall in LOVE…With Fitness!

 

Heart Bslloon Fall in LOVE…With Fitness!

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the LOVE bug has struck many making it a great opportunity to address the benefits of working out together with your special someone.  Spending quality time with your honey will help to keep you both healthy and fit and will benefit all areas of your life including your marriage or relationship!  Most studies report that working out together will help each of you stick to the program – it’s harder to cop out when you know someone is counting on you.  Plus working out with someone else makes it fun – you almost forget you’re working out!  And you may even find that you each work out a lot harder side by side versus being alone – it’s a competitive thing.

Most fitness facilities recognize the importance of having members work out with someone else which is why many offer the ‘2-for-1’ deals.  So maybe consider joining a gym together.  Not only will you experience the benefits I just mentioned but also, you won’t have to go looking for someone to help spot you on some of your heavier lifts in the weight room.  If you’re not sure where to begin, most personal trainers offer partner training so that you and your loved one can workout together under the guidance of a fitness expert. We are offering Valentine’s Day Partner Training specials so it’s the perfect time to get started! Read the rest of Fall in LOVE…With Fitness!

Achieving Your Goals and Dream Life – Step Ten

Achieving Your Goals and Dream Life – Step Ten

Now we move on to Step Ten in the effort to achieve your goals and dream life, but first let’s review the first 9 steps….see below:

Step 1: Lay out your goals
Step 2: Get physical
Step 3: Eating like a champion
Step 4: Realize your potential
Step 5: Be positive
Step 6Surround yourself with amazing people
Step 7: Become a Lover of Knowledge
Step 8: Don’t Let Set Backs Set You Back
Step 9: Be an inspiration to others

STEP 10: Your Past Does Not Equal Your Future – DREAM BIG!

230 300x225 Achieving Your Goals and Dream Life – Step Ten

After working with thousands of people helping them to achieve their goals, one of the saddest things for me is to see someone become a victim to their past.  I see so many people make excuses for why they can’t achieve their goals today based on what has happened to them in the years past.

But, the key to achieving your dream life is taking ownership of YOUR tomorrow.

Take 100% responsibility for where you are, who you want to be and where you want to go.

Don’t let a bad childhood, a divorce, a bankruptcy, an abusive relationship, a horrible boss, an awful job, or past weight issues continue to determine the rest of your life.

It’s important to remember that every struggle and every obstacle gives you the opportunity to be stronger and can shape you into a more resilient person.  I know it’s hard, but sometimes it’s helpful to be thankful for the hard times because they can only make you stronger. If you can try to make peace with your past, it can often help to not screw up your present and future! You are who you are today because of what’s happened to you so embrace it, learn from it and move on. Don’t use your past as a crutch – it will only hold you back from your true potential.

I like to believe that most situations, whether good or bad, offer a gift.  It’s just a matter of discovering that gift. Sometimes the gift just hasn’t revealed itself yet and it may take time to realize anything positive from a tough situation.  It’s often helpful to consider that many hard times catapult us out of comfort zones that may hold us back from our full potential.  A better life for you may be just around the corner!

Someone once reminded me that your tombstone will list the date you were born and the date you died, with a dash in between.  This dash – that interval – represents your life.  You have the choice right now as to the type of life you will live.  Very few people die and regret not spending more time at the office, watching television or performing household chores.  Instead they often wish they would have spent more time with loved ones, they’d taken bigger risks, they’d been involved with more fun, exciting activities and adventures and learned to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us every day.

Dream Big & Seize The Day!

Ps.  It may be helpful to print off each of the 10 Steps to Achieving your Dream Life to refer to whenever needed.

Yours in Health & Fitness,

Sherri McMillan

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Achieving Your Goals and Dream Life – Step Nine

Achieving Your Goals and Dream Life – Step Nine

We have moved on to Step 9 of your mission to achieve your goals and dream life, but first you may want to view the previous steps:

 

Now For Step Nine: Be An Inspiration to Others

594 300x225 Achieving Your Goals and Dream Life   Step NineI feel very confident that when you focus on helping others and inspiring others to live their dream life, it makes it easier to achieve your goals.

For example, maybe you’re one of the lucky few fitness fanatics?  You have no problem getting up every morning and getting to the gym for your workout or your early morning run.  You’ve been exercising for years and couldn’t imagine ever quitting.  When you’re on vacation or on a business trip, you always book at a hotel that offers a fitness gym so you don’t get off track.  You exercise 5 plus times per week and it’s never a problem and in fact, sometimes, you have to really discipline yourself to take a rest day.  Sedentary, couch potatoes watch you with envy wondering how you do it!

Were you always so disciplined?  Probably not.  Think back to when you first started exercising.  Do you remember how it felt?  You may have felt a little awkward or clumsy.  You may have been really stiff and sore the next day.  It may have taken you a little while to get into a routine and feel comfortable with what you were doing.  You may have hated every second of every workout!

When did exercise change from a chore to a necessity, to a desire? When and how did you get hooked?  As personal trainers, it’s our job to get new clients to the point where they’ve caught the exercise “bug”.  This is when clients stop complaining about how much exercise hurts and how difficult it is to stick to their program and instead, start commenting on how exercise makes them feel so good and how they find they need exercise to de-stress, find energy or be more productive at work.

Unfortunately, most people never get hooked on exercise. 

They give up before Read the rest of Achieving Your Goals and Dream Life – Step Nine

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