live it active


Getting your activity in is…tough

Happy Tuesday!

I have to say, life has been rather on the busy side as of late. We were just back in Ontario for a wedding (an absolutely marvelous one) and our time just whizzed by. I knew that I somehow had to fit in my weight workouts to ensure that I didn’t lose out on my bet. I didn’t want to disappoint my accountant. On second thought, she may have been pleased at the thought of a free breakfast and bottle of wine.

So while sitting with my mom in the backyard one sunny afternoon, I started doing my calisthenics. After a brief (and I mean very brief) workout, my mom asked whether that would have made any difference. Even though my brief exercise interlude was far from intense, it still got me out of my chair and moving. Sure, I may have only burned 100 additional calories, but it was still better than sitting still.

The first little weight workout (to be clear, I had to use body weight while I was home due to lack of free weights) happened on a Friday, leaving me one day to get in the third and final weight workout to meet quota. So I got up at 6:45 AM, ran laps on our driveway, did squats, planks, work with the Swiss ball and was delightfully eaten by mosquitoes. After much cursing and hot breathing, I went inside to finish my arm and ab workout. I then stretched, showered, got dressed and went to the hair salon to get my hair done for the wedding. I felt energized, happy to achieve my goal, and ready for a fabulous day of celebrating and dancing.

When you’re travelling, busy with family stuff, or on vacation, squeezing in a workout or two can be very difficult. Over the course of my brief interlude at home I had many thoughts about NOT doing the workout, thinking ‘who cares?’ I realized that I do care. I realized that my health and my body are worth caring about.

So if you are going away for an extended period or know you will be busy I encourage you to set a workout goal for the week to ensure you hold yourself accountable. Family, friends, food, drinks and every other distraction can often stand in your way, but I encourage you to push through.

Happy exercising!

M

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Belated Wednesday Workout Tip: Hold yourself accountable…

…and if you need help, ask a friend to be your accountant.

So what do I mean by this? Let me explain.

I’ve been slacking incredibly on my weight workouts and I was beginning to feel the effects. I was running, hiking, and walking, but it wasn’t enough. Weight training helps to build and tone muscle which helps to increase one’s resting metabolism among many other short and long-term health benefits. I can’t recommend it enough. Yet, I haven’t been doing it.

I decided to rope one of my best friends into the mix. She was my walking and pilates (one time only…I could not hate an exercise more) companion when we lived in the same city and is someone who could definitely help me hold myself accountable.

She immediately agreed to be my accountant and even better, we placed a bet. Now, I know I usually say stay away from extrinsic rewards, but sometimes it’s totally okay to have a little fun with it. Fun and social interaction are definitely positive motivators for exercise and thus, I believe they cancel out the negative extrinsic motivator. Anyways, we agreed to a 2 month bet in which we both selected our own exercise / health goals and the minimum amount we had to perform each week. We also agreed upon the stakes – a bottle of wine and a breakfast (I know, a very interesting combination…don’t worry the wine won’t be consumed over breakfast).

As you have likely guessed, I selected weight training a minimum of 3 times per week. My friend decided to commit to 3 mindfulness meditation sessions per week (which I thought was awesome).

After two weeks for me and one week for Jessica (she didn’t realize the bet had started due to my tardy emailing skills), we are both on track. I had to squeeze in a ‘quickie’ last night in order to sustain my bet, but I’m proud to say the bottle of wine and breakfast purchase is still up for grabs.

So if you’re struggling to hold yourself accountable, find an accountant. Place a bet. Have fun with it. Not only is it a great way to get you motivated (and sometimes we need an extrinsic motivator to help us get off the couch to experience and appreciate how awesome being active can feel and be), but it keeps you connected with a close friend. We have been emailing and texting throughout the week to help one another keep on track – I like that. Social support is such a critical component of long-term health change.

Happy Monday and thanks for your patience re the belated Wednesday workout tip!

M


Wednesday Workout Tip: Get Ripped Arms

Ah, back to the world of blogging. I am pleased to be back. We have been through quite a bit in the last couple of weeks. Our hometown (Calgary, Alberta) was hit by a major floor that had the entire downtown core evacuated. We live in the core and thus, were out of a home for almost two weeks. My partner has dealt with most of the aftermath as I have been travelling overseas and our city and local communities are in the midst of cleanup that could last for months if not years. Needless to say, it has been a whirlwind couple of weeks and helps to explain my absence from the blogosphere.

As the title of this post suggests, I am going to share some pearls of wisdom on how to get ripped arms. In actual fact, I am taking some exercises from a recent article in Women’s Health Magazine and interspersing it with my own upper body routine.

1. Do a 10 minute warm-up. I can’t tell you how many times I see people skip this critical step. Please allow your muscles the opportunity to warm-up; you’ll be able to workout for a longer period of time and you won’t run the risk of tearing tissue more than you have to, trust me.

Now that you’ve done a warm-up, you’re ready to start pumping the guns. For each of the following exercises below, complete 10 to 12 reps, moving from one exercise to the next with little to no rest in between. Following the last move, rest up to a minute, then repeat the entire sequence two more times (total of three sets).

2. Dumbbell Alternating Shoulder Press and Twist: A)Stand with feet shoulder width apart, tail bone curved under*, core firm, and hold dumbbells just outside your shoulder (weights prepped to move in the direction of the ceiling), with your elbows and palms facing each other.  B) Rotate your torso to the right as you press the dumbbell in your left hand at a slight angle above your shoulder. Reverse the movement back to the start, rotate to your left, and press the dumbbell in your right hand upward. That’s one rep (oh yeah).

Dumbbell Alternating Shoulder Press and Twist

3. Dumbbell Row: A) Hold dumbbells with an overhand grip bend at your hips and knees, and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length from your shoulders. B) Bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells to the sides of your torso. Pause, then slightly lower the dumbbells. One rep.

Dumbbell Row

4. Incline Pushup: A) Place your hands on a box, bench, or step instead of the floor. B) Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the bench. Watch that your elbows don’t become chicken wings as you lower yourself down, keep elbows close to your side. Pause at the bottom and then push yourself back to the starting position. That’s one rep!

Incline Pushup

5. Thrusters (what an exciting name): A) Hold a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders, your palms facing one another. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your torso as upright as possible throughout the entire movement. B) Lower your body until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor. C) Push your body back to a standing position as you press the dumbbells directly over your shoulders. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. That’s one rep!

Thrusters

6. Series of Swiss Ball Activities. A) Lie face down on top of a Swiss ball so that your back is flat and your chest is off the ball. Turn your arms so that your palms are facing each other. B) Raise your arms at a 30 degree angel to your body (so they form a Y) until they’re in line with your upper body. Pause, then slowly lower back to the starting position. That’s one rep!

Swiss-Ball Y Raise

Slight variation of the above move: Swiss Ball T Raise

Swiss-Ball T Raise

Another variation:

Swiss-Ball W Raise

And one more:

Swiss-Ball L Raise

I encourage you to do all the above variations at least 10 – 12 times during your workout session. While the burn may not be pleasant, the results will be. If you’re feeling very energetic, incorporate a bicep curl and tricep bench dip (or use weights).

Over the course of the next month, I plan to do incorporate this into my tri-weekly weight lifting routine. I am also going to be incorporating more leg and core work and plan to share those workouts with you each Wednesday over the next month.

Happy weight-lifting!

M

References: Get Gold-Medal Arms Like Natalie Coughlin’s, Women’s Health Magazine, 2012

 


The Hiatus is Over

Good afternoon loyal followers! 

I have been dealing with a number of interesting life events over the last two weeks which have taken my attention away from the blog. Yet, I have returned and vow to be more regular. 

I aim to have operations back in order by mid-week as I am currently recovering from some intense jet lag. 

Thank you for your patience! Email me or comment below if there are some topics you would like addressed. 

M



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