In honor of our Glutes, Guts, and Guns Boot Camp that starts next week, I wanted to share 3 effective core exercises that you probably aren't doing right now. These can be done at home, or on the road but do require some minimal equipment. The 3 exercises are the Paloff press, resistance band torso twists, and suspension trainer hip drop.
Studies show that most people won't watch a video longer than 2 minutes. This video is 1:54, go watch it! That also means I could not fit in as much info as I like into the video. So here are a few further tips for these exercises.
1. Paloff press with resistance band
This what is known as an anti-rotation exercise. When you press out, you will really feel your love handles and butt muscles working hard. Start with the handles in the center of your chest, press out, hold for a couple of seconds, let it come back towards your chest, and repeat this sequence.
2. Torso twist with resistance band
Wrap the band around something that won't move, grab both handles with your hands, keep your arms straight, and rotate to your left. Make sure your arms are just holding on and not pulling the band, that is the core's job. Repeat on the other side. To make it more challenging, stand on one foot.
3. Suspension trainer hip drop
This requires a suspension trainer (TRX Jungle Gym, etc...) but could also be done with a rope if you were in a pinch. I am using a suspension trainer with a door attachment. The door attachment just rests on top of the door, you close the door (hopefully no one opens the door mid-exercise) and you can loop the suspension trainer through.
Then you will stand with one foot forward, one foot back, the lead foot will be the one closest to the door attachment. Place both handles over your head, elbows up high, lead with your ribs, drop your hip away from the attachment, and then stand back up. Repeat on both sides and then have really sore love handles the next day.
Desk jobs have their benefits such as: less chance of being attacked by vicious dogs; great for gingers avoiding excessive sun; good chance you have a chair that spins around; trash can basketball; the list goes on and on.
The downfall of desk jobs are the tight muscles and bad posture that go along with all these nice things. If they unchecked they can result in some serious problems.
The first fix is called the Thoracic Bridge. It's a great way to correct imbalances and tight muscles, plus it sounds fancy. Max Shank, a highly respected fitness pro, shows you how it is done here: Thoracic Bridge Video:http://tinyurl.com/lnqb55p
Here are 4 other options you can add to your arsenal as well.
1. Sound the alarm
Set an alarm so that you have a reminder to stand up at a minimum once an hour. Preferably every 15 minutes if possible. Or you could always rock the stand up desk.
2. Squeeze the Charmin
A side effect of too much sitting is your glute muscles going to waste. While you are standing up any way when the alarm goes off, why not add a little something to it? Put your feet slightly closer than shoulder width apart, feet pointed out at 45 degree angles, and pinch your butt cheeks together. Sounds weird (because it is), but it will really help you.
3. Pull it apart
You need a band for this one. Hold a band directly out in front of you, arms straight, wrists straight, knuckles up, and then extend your arms all the way out like you are demonstrating your awesome wing span. Make sure to pinch your shoulder blades together in the back. This one will you will feel a difference in by doing them for just a few days.
4. Tight hips don't lie
Sitting too much causes your hip flexors to tighten up. If you have trouble getting into a deep squat, the culprit can sometimes be tight hips. Try the 90/90 hip flexor stretch.
Go into a kneeling position, with your right knee up and your left knee on the ground. Keeping your back straight, push your hips forward, and think about sinking your hips into the ground. Hold that for 15-20 seconds and then do the same on the other side.
When I was 21 years old, I took a summer off when I was in college and moved to Dublin, Ireland. Didn't know anyone, no job, and no real plan other than it was something I had always wanted to do so I was doing it.
Eventually I formulated a plan for getting a job when I got there. The plan consisted of one step: Walk around until I found a job. There is a reason you can't rent a car until you are 25, males below the age of 25 do not have fully formed brains and are not known for making excellent decisions. Some say their brains never quite get there after 25 either.
I managed to secure a job interview as short order cook at a local pub. Part of the interview process was to gather all of the applicants into a room, give them a Guinness, have them hang out, and do a feeling out process.
This was the greatest job interview ever! I was laughing, having a good time, and I thought it was all going great until I heard a disapproving noise. And the noise was aimed directly at me.
The noise was followed by a disapproving sentence from the owner. He said, "That's the problem with you bloody (cleaned up for this e-mail's sake) Americans, you do everything so bloody (edited) fast!"
After a moment of confusion, I looked around and realized what he was talking about. Everyone had about 3/4 of their beer left and mine was just sitting there in a pile of lonely foam.
Spoiler alert I did not end up getting the job. But while I was living there I noticed that they have a lot of very lean people and a low number of overweight people.
So I started observing and I came up with 5 ways they stay in shape in Ireland.
1. Slow eating and drinking
This is the one I first learned at the job interview. Irish meals would be drawn out over music, laughter, and conversation. They would eat smaller amounts of food, but would feel full because they gave their brains the time to tell their stomachs that they and eaten enough.The focal point of their meals was the company they were with, not the food itself. This was pre-smart phones, so it may be different now.
2. Lots of walking
Everybody walks! I'm guessing it is because the people that drive are on the wrong side of the road. Crazy people. Think about how many calories you would burn if you walked 1-2 hours a day. Not to mention avoiding a lot of the trouble brought on by excess sitting.
3. A lot of the food is terrible
Seriously. Hard to eat to much when you don’t enjoy the food. I made the mistake of wandering into McCary’s (thinking it was a McDonald’s). Had the golden arches and everything, but I'm pretty sure the burger was made of ground leprechaun. It was AWFUL.
The thing I started doing is just using food as fuel, not a way to make myself happy. It was a mind set shift for me. Food should be enjoyed, but it's not a way to alter my mood. This ended up being a very valuable lesson for me down the road.
4. Avoiding fast food
Whenever I went into a fast food place (I was desperate! Have you ever seen blood pudding?) it would be 99% tourists. The locals would not eat there. A co-worker put it simply "We don't eat it it's because the food is addictive and it will make you fat." The Irish have a way with words.
Weird how "outsiders" can see that so easily, but we Americans keep right on keeping on with fast food.
5. Access to affordable, fresh produce
I was making the equivalent to about 4 dollars an hour. Not much in a big city like Dublin, but I could still afford to get fresh fruits and vegetables from the Farmer’s Markets they would have scattered throughout the city. Not that I ate vegetables back then, but a lot of the locals took advantage of it.
I'm not asking you to eat terrible food, but: eating and drinking slower; walking more; eating more fresh fruits and vegetables; not using food as a way to alter your mood; and avoiding fast food are all habits you can start adding to your life that will be a tremendous help no matter where you live.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day tomorrow, have some green vegetables!
The snow and ice has really been messing with my routine. Throwing my work schedule off, throwing my nutrition off, and making my hands look like a dead person's.
I'm done with winter.
Last week I went and taught my 530am class, came home, and didn't do much of anything productive for the next 8 hours or so. I was completely unmotivated to get anything done, despite having free time on my hands.
My son was at the end of his rope too. He had built every Lego, read every book, and crafted every mine he could think of. One of his friends lives pretty close, so we set up the parent saving bring a friend over deal.
The only problem was we had to walk over in the freezing cold weather on the icy streets and sidewalks. It's only about a 15 minute walk, but it was built up in my head as 15 miles. The laziness was on me!
But I promised my son I would do it, so off we went. It was not great when we started off. Wind all in my face, walking like a 90 year old man so I didn't fall on the ice, and feeling like a 90 year old man telling my son to slow down.
But after about 10 minutes I could feel things changing. I started to enjoy the walk and I started feeling better overall.
When we got back, I cleaned up and rearranged my garage, got a bunch of work done, and did several other things on my list. I felt great!
So what changed? The thing that changed everything was just getting started. Sometimes it really is that simple.
That has happened to me so many times in life. It could be a workout, writing a paper, cleaning the house, or hundreds of other things.
You have to take the first step! It is the hardest one, it takes the most energy, and it is the scariest step but it is also the most important one.
If you have 50 pounds to lose, don't think yo have to get rid of it in that first workout. Just start one workout and see what happens.
If you are training for a 5K and you've never run in your life. Run for 5 minute and see what happens.
If you eat out every single night of the week, try cooking one meal at home this week.
Whatever it is that has you overwhelmed, take a step towards overcoming it. You don't have to accomplish it this week, the goal is to break out of the rut and get your momentum going in the right direction.
Write down one thing you will do this week, then use that to build on. Rinse and repeat.
A few weeks ago I went down to New Orleans for a race. It was the Rock N' Roll Marathon series. My wife and I did a half marathon relay where we ran 8.5 miles and our partners ran the rest of the way.
I was running right along and about Mile 5 I heard a magical voice saying, "Hey we got King Cake over here!" So I did what any shining example of fitness would do and grabbed a piece of King Cake.
My rationale was that I will probably never be offered King Cake in any other race so I'm doing this! It was really good too. Except when the excitement of the cake eating wore off and the running was still going. Started to feel a little rough.
We were running next to this guy who was probably in his mid-50s. He was quiet for about a half a mile, but then that changed very quickly.
In this booming voice he says, "Do we have any George Strait fans out there?"
Everyone around him, "Crickets"
Undeterred he continues, "This is one of my favorite songs. Amarillo by morning. Up from San Antone...."
He continues sharing his favorites from George Strait. Favorite lines, the saddest line from this song, the best line from that song, etc... All in this voice that is super loud. I can see why this dude was a runner, his lungs were amazing.
Not gonna lie, his lungs were also getting on my nerves. My wife and I had to get out of there!
We picked up the pace and picked up the pace some more. We could still hear him from about a quarter mile away. Lungs for days.
We get about a mile away and we are safe. And guess what? I no longer feel nauseous from my ill fated cake decision. Not only that, but we just made great time and covered a lot of distance thanks to George Strait's brother.
Things that can take your mind off of your struggles are invaluable.
For some people music is a great distraction to help them push through tough workout. For others, an encouraging workout partner does the trick.
At my boot camp, I say and do weird things, crack jokes, and tell stories. I play songs that no grown man should have on his playlist. Part of this is because I am a weirdo, but is also to help take their mind off of the pain.
Sometimes all you need is one little thing to get you through the toughest part of your workout.
What works for you? I would love to hear what helps you push through your workouts when you feel like you can't go on.
The Super Bowl is on Sunday! Whether you are watching for the actual football, the commercials, for Katy Perry, or you are just there for the food you will probably be watching this weekend.
Why not make it a little more interactive? Sure you will look like a freak, but that's ok! We're still all friends here.
Use this list to make the game a little more interesting for you and those around you.
Enjoy the game!
It has always been my philosophy that you should be well rounded in your approach to fitness. For my own personal fitness level, I have certain benchmarks I always want to be able to maintain.
This has influenced the way I train my boot camp clients as well. I want them to be able to go out and work in the yard all day, do a Warrior Dash, play with their kids at Shakala and not end up in the ER, go roller skating and not end up crippled the next day, and pretty much do whatever physical activity they want to do.
For instance, two ladies who attend the 530am class did exactly what I am talking about this weekend. We will call these two ladies, Tammy and Beth, mainly because that is their names.
Neither Tammy nor Beth are runners. And if you asked them, they would tell you they never run. But they are at boot camp almost every day at 530am, 5 days a week.
This weekend a few of us went to New Orleans for a race. Tammy ran the entire 10k without stopping and Beth ran a half marathon! Running 6.2 miles (Tammy) and 13.1 miles (Beth) without any specific running training is really impressive.
Don't pigeonhole yourself training just one way! Work on strength, speed, flexibility, endurance, and agility. Keep things interesting, keep your workouts fresh, and do workouts that challenge and excite you.
Train so you can be strong enough and fit enough to handle whatever life throws at you.
PS-When you train this way, you will also find that you will lose weight, inches, and body fat along the way
We've all heard of Martin Luther King Jr. and all that he did to advance the civil rights movement. How much do you know about Ralph Abernathy?
Dr. King was the fire, passion, and motivation behind the movement but it would not have worked without Ralph Abernathy. When Dr. King would get people fired up and ready to act, Mr. Abernathy was the one that had the plan for what the people needed to do next.
One would not have worked without the other. If Dr. King was the Why, Mr. Abernathy was the How.
Have you ever watched a video, heard a speech, saw a movie, etc... and it got you all excited about getting in shape and losing weight. What happened next?
For a lot of people it is flurry of activity and then a fizzling out. If you go to a gym, you may notice that that the crowd is starting to thin out already. People have their why, but don't always have the How.
My job as a fitness professional is a to provide the How. I can help with the Why, but that is something that has to come from within. You have to show up and do the tough work, I have the easy part.
So if you are already motivated, but you just need some help on sticking to a plan send me an e-mail to info@HuntsvilleBootCamp.com and tell me how I can help you.
Did you happen to read the study that came out recently claiming that women are overweight these days because they do less housework? Before you ask, yes this study was done by a man. Apparently a man who: A. has bodyguards B. is incredibly brave C. has a death wish
While the premise of the study may seem insulting, you have to dig down a little deeper to get an important lesson from it. The study found that women in 1965 did 25.7 hours per week of housework, and in 2010 that number had dropped to 13.3 hours per week.
Put another way, women went from burning 3486 calories per week doing housework to burning 2518 per week. At nearly 1000 calories fewer burned per week, you can imagine where that would contribute to weight gain.
That would be true no matter how you had an extra 1000 calories per week in your life. If you kept that up over a year's time it would put nearly 15 extra
pounds of fat on you.
So what is the moral of this story?
Housework is a sneaky way to burn calories called NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. So you need to make your life NEATer.
Here are a few other examples how: •Fidget •Dance •Calf raises sitting at your desk •Take the stairs •Stand more •Use a ball chair instead of an office chair •Drink more water (you'll be on the "go" more) •Walk and talk rather than sitting in your office all day
There are hundreds of ways you can work more movement into your day without actually taking time to go to an actual workout. These aren't structured exercise programs, but they are ways to get more movement into your day.
You will burn more calories, feel more energized, and your muscles will not be as stiff. Get creative and think of ways you can be more active throughout the day.
Or you could always spend 30 hours a week doing housework...