Core Conditioning – To Crunch or Not Crunch?

Abdominal crunches and sit-ups still seem to be the go-to exercise when someone wants to strengthen their core but they may not be doing as much as we think to develop the strong torso we need to play sports, walk, lift or perform other daily activities.

So the question becomes Core Conditioning – To Crunch or Not Crunch?

The problem is in the movement. In an abdominal crunch, we perform technically speaking, a forward flexion of the spine. But a lot of us spend the entire day in a forward flexed position. We sit forward at desks, sit forward at a computer, sit flexed to watch TV, sit flexed to drive, sit flexed at a table to eat… No wonder the typical posture of someone who ages is rounded forward in a “hunch” back posture. Why would we want to strengthen our body in a direction that we really should be trying to move out of? It makes sense that we’d want to try to counteract and minimize these forward forces. 

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Pumping Tubing

Torso rotations2Lack of time is the number one reason many people choose not to exercise. It can be difficult to find time to drive to the gym, find a parking spot, get changed, perform an hour workout while waiting in line for the more popular machines, shower, and get dressed. If you are desperate to fit in a workout but just can’t seem to find the time, exercise tubing may be the answer to your prayers. Elastic tubing is one of the most inexpensive and surprisingly effective muscle conditioning options.

You can purchase a tube at most department stores or sporting good retailers for around $20 and it’s light-weight, travel-friendly and very effective for training the core, upper and lower body anytime, anywhere. In 20-30 minutes you can complete your entire workout from start to finish right from the privacy of your own home or hotel room. Purchase a few different resistance levels (light, moderate and heavy) that way it’s like having a full set of hand weights.

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Legs, Legs, Legs…….

When it’s cold, wet and dark outside, it makes sense to focus your workout routine indoors. Muscle conditioning is a great activity to prioritize in the winter months. One, because you can do it anywhere regardless of the weather and secondly, it will develop some good overall strength and base conditioning that will help the integrity of your joints and connective tissue when you launch your spring and summer activities.

Today, we’re going to focus on the lower body. The best program for strengthening and sculpting any area is to incorporate a variety of exercises that challenge the muscles in a number of different ways.  In addition, you’ll need to regularly advance and modify these exercises every 4-8 weeks to ensure regular progress.

For the lower body, you should incorporate exercises like lunges, squats, step ups, bridging etc.  And there are a ton of variations within each of these exercises so the key is to mix it up!

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2016 Create Your Dream Year!

SherriHI_2015Close out the year as you plan for the next. 2016 will be the year where you create your dream year!

As we wind down the year, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months.

Recap

It’s a great drill to grab a piece of paper and answer the following questions:

  1. What are the highlights of the last year?
  2. What were the struggles of the last year?
  3. What do you wish you would have done that you did not? What opportunities did you not act on that you wish you would have?

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Lean in 2016

The holidays are busy and when you’re busy, getting to the gym and staying lean can be a losing battle! Well, here is a winning full body workout that you can complete 2-3x this week on alternating days. It is quick, challenging and will make it very possible to get an amazing workout in your own neighborhood and home! No equipment is needed to complete this routine. It is best to start this routine with the Cardio portion and then go indoors for the Exercise portion.

Cardio

Hill repeats are challenging and will burn a ton of calories very quickly. Take a moment to scope out your neighborhood and find a steep hill. Start with a warm-up with some straight leg kicks, side shuffles and butt kickers. When you feel like your heart rate is up, you can start your first climb. Go slowly for the first round to ease into the hills. Then either walk or jog back to the bottom of the hill. For each consecutive hill, the goal is to feel breathless by the time you reach the top. You can walk, jog or sprint. The number of repeats will depend on how long and steep your hill is but do them for 20 minutes.

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Ski Conditioning

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow….For many of us in the Northwest, the only thing that can get us through the wet months that lay ahead is knowing that if it’s raining down here, it’s snowing in the mountains!

Because skiing and boarding is so much fun, many of us forget that they are both very intense sports requiring musculo-skeletal strength and endurance, cardiovascular fitness, power, flexibility, balance, coordination and agility. 

All the twisting, jumping, and bashing through the bumps can lead to injuries if your body isn’t ready for it – besides if you’re not fit, you may risk an embarrassing performance!

Well this year is going to be different. Let’s see if your friends can keep up with you! And say good-bye to all those post-ski aches and pains. This year you’re setting the pace! Read the rest of Ski Conditioning

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Managing the Stress of the Holidays

Sherri NaughtyMost of us look forward to the holiday season and yet, many people also report higher levels of stress throughout the festivities…the endless responsibilities from getting your cards out, decorating the house inside and out, finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones and attending every social party and get-together can add a lot of pressure to someone’s life! Whether or not you buy into the holiday season, we all probably experience some level of stress at this time of year.  Here’s how to ensure the holidays don’t get you down:

Exercise:

Bet you guessed this would be at the top of my list.

Exercise is the best de-stressor at any time of year and this still holds true during the holidays.  But don’t get yourself worked up if you can’t keep up with your regular fitness regime.  Instead set some minimums. 

 

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Favorite At Home Exercises

The holidays are upon us making it more difficult to get to the gym. The good news is you don’t need a gym to stay in shape over the holidays! Here’s my list of the most effective at home exercises!

Lunges:

lungebStand in a staggered stance with one leg positioned in front of the other leg.  Keep the front knee over top of the ankle or 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/foot  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 weights. Read the rest of Favorite At Home Exercises

Wake Up Call

CamelBack_Sherri_ShantinaHave you ever stopped to look closely at a tombstone?  Usually it will list the deceased’s name, perhaps a few words to remember them by and then it will list the date they were born and the date they died, with a dash in between.  This dash – that interval – represents their life. It’s bizarre to think your whole life could be summed up in a dash!

So today’s column includes a 5-part Soul-searching assignment for you to hopefully assure that the dash is the best darn dash you could have ever imagined! Grab a pen and a piece of paper.

Step One:

Write down all the things you’ve ever wanted to do in your life and haven’t done yet.

Step Two:

List all the things/people that mean the most to you. Read the rest of Wake Up Call

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Stay Fit During the Cold, Dark & Rainy Season

Sherri_Culchuk lakeWho wants to go for a run, bike or hike when it’s cold and rainy outside? With less light, it’s easy to understand why people don’t get as much activity in the winter and tend to hunker down and gain weight. This lack of sunlight often leads to people experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the Winter Blues. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. Follow these tips to feel great and stay in fabulous shape all winter long:

Gear Up:

If you have the right gear, you can still get outdoors when it’s cold and wet without feeling miserable. Not only will you keep your fitness routine going, but being outdoors even if it’s cloudy and rainy, still exposes you to some levels of daylight, UV Rays and Vitamin D and will help to prevent SAD. So head to REI, Sports Authority, Athlete’s Corner, Fleet Feet or your local sporting retailer to get some warm and waterproof clothing.

Join a Group: 

Running in the rain, cycling when it’s cold or hiking when you’re clouded in at the top is a lot more fun with others and when you’re involved in great conversations or post-workout festivities (coffee, beer, warm soup…) We are fortunate in Vancouver to have many fun running and biking groups and opportunities accessible (and often free or very low charge) Read the rest of Stay Fit During the Cold, Dark & Rainy Season

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