The best exercise you’re not doing……

This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is the birddog.

You should do this because–  this move works on your core /shoulder stability and hip mobility. And if you’ve been sitting most of the day, you needs this. This move works on our natural contralateral ( opposite arm/opposite leg) pattern also.

Makes your everyday life easier because–  this move will strengthen the lower back which will help with low back pain and may help prevent low back pain.

Form tips –  Keep your back straight from head to low back and avoid twisting at the hips during this movement. If you have tender knees, putting a pad/towel underneath them will help. Do 10 reps on each side daily.

 

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How much time have you got? (to exercise)

You’re given the same 24 hours as everybody else to get stuff done. However, you’re struggling to find the time to stay in shape while your friends who seem to have less time than you are ripped.

How is that possible?

jealous

Among the many clients, I’ve come across, their number one reason on why they’re not in better shape is “I don’t have the time.” Rather than tell them that we all have the same 1440 minutes per day and they need prioritize their time better, I often say “I understand.”

But what I really want to do is run my head repeatedly into a brick wall.

Brick wall

It’s not the amount of time you have to exercise, it’s making better use of the time you do have. (tweet this) Whether you have 10 minutes or 60 minutes per day to exercise, use the following strategies to get in better shape and be the envy of all your friends.

1. Exercise at home

 By the time, you’ve driven to the gym, exercised, showered and driven home or to work, a fair chunk out of your day has vanished.   Not everyone has time for that, unless of course you wake up at the arse crack of dawn.

Crack 1

Instead, cut out the middle (gym) man and save time by exercising at home. With the purchase of a few inexpensive fitness tools like looped resistance bands, dumbbells and by making use of a few household items, most of your fitness needs can be met at home.

Set aside a dedicated workout space and time and then you’re ready to roll. Watch the following videos to gain some exercise inspiration.

 Paper plates

 A couch

The wall

If you need help putting together an at-home routine, you can contact me here.

2. Use the great outdoors

Spring has sprung and summer is arriving so it’s  not too hot or too cold to step out into the great outdoors to exercise. This can be as simple as putting on a pair of shoes and taking a walk, run or going to your local playground to get your sweat on.

If the playground is not your style, try this for the next 12 days. Download a distance counter on your smart phone (if you don’t have a Fitbit or pedometer) and walk or run for 12 minutes for the next 12 days straight.

Here’s the catch. Each day try and beat the distance from the previous day. After 12 days of doing this, you’re sure to be a fitter, lighter and tighter.

3. Minimum effective dose (MED)

 If you’re burning the candles at both ends but still want results from your exercise, MED is perfect for you. MED is simply the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome. In most cases, the outcome is probably fat loss or muscle gain.

The following routine will only take just over 30 minutes per week. You heard right. Just 30 minutes.  You’ve got 30 minutes in your week to exercise, right?

Instructions

Follow the training below, 4 times per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) for 6 weeks. Please use nothing less than 100% effort.

Day 1

1A. Close grip pushups 10 reps (Can be done on an incline surface)

1B. Inverted rows 10 reps

1C. Kettle bell swings -20 reps or Bodyweight swings 20 reps

Rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 5 circuits

Day 2

Walk for 2 minutes followed by a 15 second sprint interval followed 15 seconds of rest. Repeat this cycle for 5 work/rest intervals. Afterwards, cooldown for 2-3 minutes.

(This can be done on a treadmill, track, bike, rowing machine or elliptical.)

Day 3

1A. Push-ups – 10 reps

1B. Side planks- 15 seconds each side

1C. Bodyweight squats- 20 reps

Rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 5 circuits 

Day 4

Repeat day 2

4. Eight-minute stackable (gym) trainings

If you find it difficult to exercise at home and you don’t have a lot of time to spend at the gym, then try my eight minute stackable trainings. You’ll only need to spend 8-24 min exercising after your warm up.

However, be warned. It’s intense but your results will be worth it.

Instructions

Complete each training as a circuit, resting as little as possible between exercises. Rest 30- 60 seconds at the end of each circuit and do as many rounds as possible within the eight minutes.

Select a weight that allows you to complete all repetitions with good form. If you’re doing more than one stackable training, rest 120 seconds between rounds and choose no more than three.

Eight minute legs

1A. Goblet Side Lunge– 8 reps on each leg

1B. Goblet squats- 8 reps

1C. Single leg hip extensions – 8 reps on each leg

Note- Use either a dumbbell or a kettlebell.

Eight minute arms

1A. Overhead triceps extensions– 8 reps

1B. Concentration curls – 8 reps on each arm

1C. Triceps pushdowns– 8 reps

Note- You’ll need access to a cable machine and dumbbells. Keep them both close.

Eight-minute shoulders

1A. Band pull apart- 8 reps

1B. Band shoulder press- 8 reps on each arm

1C. Band In/Outs- 8 reps on each arm (four front raises/four lateral raises)

Eight-minute chest

1A. Dumbbell chest flies– 8 reps

1B. Single arm chest press– 8 reps on each arm

1C. Incline pushups– 8 reps

Eight-minute back

1A. Dumbbell pullover– 8 reps

1B. Bent over reverse flies– 8 reps

1C. Single arm row– 8 reps on each arm

Eight-minute core

1A. Front plank with shoulder tap– 8 reps on each side

1B. Side plank with hip dip– 8 reps on each side

1C. Reverse crunches – 8 reps

 

Wrapping up

 You don’t need a lot of time to exercise but you do need it to be effective.  Because a little exercise can go a long way. Now I’ve busted the no time excuse, do you have any others?

Come at me.

 

 

 

 

The best exercise you’re not doing……..

This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is split stance kneeling inner thigh mobilization. Mouthful, right?

You should do this because–  the inner thighs make up such a large part of our legs, can get ‘tight’ and affect your hip mobility and knee stability.

Makes your everyday life easier because– less knee and back pain is always a bonus and groin strains are never fun. Preventing them with this is much better.

Form tips – Don’t over arch or round the lower back to much as your are rocking back and forth. More is not better when it comes to this stretch, so please be careful.  Do 8 reps on each leg daily

 

Put the fun back into your exercise

You reach over to smash the alarm clock against the wall because it’s time to drag yourself out of bed. You’re stumbling around in the dark trying not to wake anybody up so you can get yourself to the gym because the scale isn’t your friend.

stock-vector-illustration-of-alarm-clock-ringing-133189433

Sounds like fun, right?

So many things in our lives aren’t fun, but exercise shouldn’t be one of those things. Movement and exercise (for the most part) should be mostly enjoyable and not viewed as punishment.

If movement is enjoyed, you’re more likely to stick with it, and the results you want will be within reach.

Rather than dreading your gym time, add the following exercises to your routine. Who knows, you may even smile a little.

1. Have a ball

 Most gyms stock medicine balls  and they’re a great tool to add some variety to your training.  Most people use them for every weird and wonderful core exercise known to man, but the real magic happens when you throw them.

You release built up tension, increase your power and burn a ton of calories. Heavens forbid, you may even laugh.

Find a wall, grab a ball and try this med ball circuit.

1A. Squat toss–           8 reps

1B. Slams–                  12 reps

1C. Overhead throw–  12 reps

1D. Twist throws–       6 reps on each side

Rest as needed between exercises and circuits and do anywhere from three to four circuits.

2. Get competitive……… with yourself

Counting repetitions and trying to beat it next time is a great way to measure progress, and the process of counting may distract you from the burn you’re feeling.

Set the stopwatch for 30 seconds and do a many reps as you can with good form. Choose from the following exercises.

Bicep curls

Overhead triceps extension

Chest press

Bodyweight squat

Be sure to “flex” afterwards.

3. Play

Remember what it was like to be a kid as you ran outside, played with your friends or reenacted your sporting heroes in the backyard? Close your eyes and imagine that for a moment. Good times, right? Here’s a few ideas to start you off.

  • Join a recreation league to play a sport you enjoyed during your childhood
  • Play hide and seek with your kids or other adults
  • Play catch, jump rope or hopscotch
  • Play fetch with your dog

Wrapping up

All movement is good movement, and you’ll be raising a sweat without even realizing it. Together, we can make exercise fun again.

 

 

 

 

The best exercise you’re not doing……

This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is the humble single leg balance.
You should do this because– it helps strengthen the ankles and works on your overall stability and balance.
Makes your everyday life easier because– good balance will help prevent falls and strong ankles are needed for the gym, getting around and playing sport.
Form tips – Bend the working knee slightly, stand tall and feel your whole foot on the floor. If your balance is good, move the foot around that’s in the air, for more a challenge.

Act ( Lifting changed my life)

I was the skinny kid that got picked on in the schoolyard and was last picked for playground games. Regularly, my feelings were hurt because I was lighter than the other boys.

Bully

Being tall and thin, I was an easy target for bullies. I was pushed, punched, insulted and ridiculed because I was too weak and scared to fight my own battles.

I deliberately avoided conflict because of my size. Sometimes, others fought my battles for me. That didn’t make me feel better, just inadequate.

Not much had changed when I started college. I was skinny and out of shape. A turning point occurred around twenty-six years ago while I was hanging out with a good friend.

We were goofing off and giving each other shit when he demanded.

“Lift up your shirt.”

“Why” I said.

The look he gave me suggested I do it or else, so I did.

“Mate, you really need to hit the gym.”

He was right. I was six foot one and 145 pounds soaking wet. I had a concave chest, poor posture and no muscle tone. I was weak and unhealthy. I knew this deep down, but for someone else to point it out was all the incentive I needed to act.

After being exposed by my friend, I joined a gym within a week and began my quest to be bigger, stronger and healthier.

Being a weightlifting newbie with no idea how to lift, I screwed up a lot. Bicep curls were at the start, in the middle and at the end of many of those workouts. In fact, from exercise selection, form and diet I had it all wrong.

biceps 2

But you know what? I still made gains because I acted and decided I wasn’t going to be a pushed around anymore. Lifting not only changed my body, it changed my life.

My confidence improved. Friends and family noticed that strangers didn’t take me lightly anymore. I even got more attention from the opposite sex, which isn’t saying much because my action meter was at less than zero.

The best thing about it was that, I was no longer getting sand kicked in my face. I wasn’t looking over my shoulder and living my life in a state of fear.

sand

These results were enough for working out at the gym to become a habit. Through hell or high water, I was in the gym two to three times a week, giving it my all. Lifting weights was my anchor while life’s storms raged around me. No matter how out of control things were, I could always control my effort and intensity in the gym.

For the past eight years working as a personal trainer, I’ve helped hundreds of clients become better versions of themselves.  It’s been a long journey from being a lifting newbie, to teaching clients to crush deadlifts, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

If none this had happened, I wouldn’t be in the position to help people change their lives for the better and for that I’m truly grateful. And biceps. I’m happy to flex them too.

Was there a painful moment or memory as a kid that prompted you to act? Please share it with the world. Come on, I know you can do it.

The best exercise you’re not doing

 This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is forearm wall slides.
You should do this because
1. This helps reinforce good posture after sitting and slouching.
2. You use the correct muscles for reaching overhead.
Makes your everyday life easier because- Reinforcing good posture and using the correct muscles for reaching mean less shoulder pain and better mobility.
.Form tips – Tuck your chin in, put one foot on the wall and breathe out as you slide your forearms up the wall. Do 8 reps daily and before your lift weights overhead.