Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.


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Does your core measure up? Time to test, or retest!

Flying Baby Pose

This is Lucia. Lucia’s not at the point yet where she’s worried about growing a Muffin Top, but very soon she’ll be taking her first steps and given that she’s already working on a strong core, I see great athletic promise in her future.

In case you’ve forgotten, “core strength” refers to the muscles of your abs and back and their ability to support your spine, keep your body stable and balanced. A strong core basically supports every physical movement you make. It’s the body’s center of power, the stronger you’re core, the easier your life will be. This means, riding your bike, running, picking up your kid, a watermelon, surviving that killer boot camp class or simply getting out of bed.

Wondering how your core measures up? I was, so I found a test for us to take. The senior athletics coach with the United Kingdom’s National Governing body for Track and Field developed it. It’s a good one! Give it a try it only takes 3 minutes. If you fail, there’ll be a link at the bottom of this post where you can find core strengthening exercises.

The Core Muscle Strength & Stability Test
The objective of this evaluation is to monitor the development and improvements of core strength.

To prepare for the assessment you will need:
Flat surface
Mat
Watch or clock with second counter

Conducting the Test
Position the watch or clock where you can easily see it

Start in the Plank Position (elbows on the ground)
Hold for 60 seconds

Lift your right arm off the ground
Hold for 15 seconds

Return your right arm to the ground and lift the left arm off the ground
Hold for 15 seconds

Return your left arm to the ground and lift the right leg off the ground
Hold for 15 seconds

Return your right leg to the ground and lift the left leg off the ground
Hold for 15 seconds

Lift your left leg and right arm off the ground
Hold for 15 seconds

Return you left leg and right arm to the ground

Lift your right leg and left arm off the ground
Hold for 15 seconds

Return to the Plank Position (elbows on the ground)
Hold this position for 30 seconds

Results
Good Core Strength – If you can complete the test fully, you have good core strength.

Poor Core Strength – If you cannot complete the test fully, your core strength needs improvement. If you are unable to complete the test practice the routine three or four times each week until you improve. By comparing your results over time, you will note improvements or declines in core strength.

I hope you’ll try the test. It certainly couldn’t hurt to know where you stand. If you want to work on your core check out this site for a really comprehensive list of core exercises you can do anywhere.

Go get ‘em…

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I want to but…

That's Me & Mr. Skinny

Yesterday I read an article about how to keep people interested in your writing. It said that it’s important to let your readers know that you aren’t perfect. Nobody wants to be read about perfect people or people who presume to be perfect. Being perfect doesn’t inspire. It also said to be genuine and let your personality shine through. Thank goodness I thought, lord knows I’m not perfect and trying to hide my personality is like trying to hide my big nose.

After reading the article I did a little self-check. Do I pretend to be a know-it-all? Do I practice what I preach or am I full of shit? I decided that I actually do make an effort to follow my own advice and I think I’m pretty genuine. Last week I encouraged folks to try chia seeds even thought I hadn’t tried them myself, and in truth, I wasn’t in any hurry to do so. After my little self-check I decided I’d better get some chia seeds and have a taste. I’m happy to report that they’re pretty unobtrusive as far as taste goes and they really do expand in liquid so don’t let ‘em sit around in a smoothie or something. You’ll be sorry.

If you follow along, I tend to spout off exercise challenges and routines for you to try. Those I do try before I write them, but in some cases I don’t actually keep them up. Take Kelley’s Ab Challenge from a few months back where I published a photo of my very own abs. My abs looked pretty good at that point and I was working to make them look even better. At the time of the challenge I did keep up my end of the bargain, however since then I’ve slacked off so badly that I had to loosen my belt a notch last night. Can you imagine, a trainer letting such a simple thing as her abs go to chub? It’s beyond shameful!

As for my pushing you to try different things, get out of your comfort zone; I do try to keep up that end of things but here again, not always. Most recently my trainer friend Dawn challenged me to push my running pace by taking a minute off my average mile. I did make an effort to reach this goal but it was half-assed and now I’m ashamed of myself.

I once had a friend who I was absolutely crazy about but he had a habit of saying “I want to but…” In his case, “I want to but…” meant he’d rather be with someone other than me. To this day those words continue to haunt me. When you say “I want to but… “  You don’t get credit for saying or thinking that you want to do something.  You only get credit when you actually make the effort to do it. Remember, actions speak louder than words in everything you do.

So, I wanted us all to try chia seeds, I got on it and I tried them. I want us to step outside of our comfort zones so this weekend I’m taking a paddleboard lesson at the famed Mavericks. No, I am not perfect nor am I that interesting really, which is why I try new things like chia seeds and potentially make a fool out of my self on a paddleboard, in a wet suit that’s sure to emphasize my currently less than impressive abdominal zone.

In the end, I am not a perfect know-it-all, the only difference between some, and me is that I make the effort. “I want to but…”  is not in my phrase book.

See you Monday; if I survive I should have an amusing paddleboard report that’s sure to reek of personality.

Make me proud this weekend…


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Making muscle

Doin' Dips

As I mentioned the other day, a pound of muscle takes up more room in the body than a pound of fat. Muscle also burns calories to maintain itself while fat just sits weighing you down.

When I encourage you to gain muscle, I’m not suggesting that you bulk up and enter a bodybuilding contest. I am simply suggesting that you take the muscles that you have and feed them (pump them up) a little bit. When you do this you will not get bigger, you will become toned and smaller as the increased muscle will burn the excess fat.

Think about this, after the age of 40 our bodies start to lose muscle.  As you lose muscle, your strength decreases, increasing your risks of injury from muscle weakness, poor balance and fatigue. Not to mention weight gain. Need I say more?

With that, below is a very basic workout you can do anywhere, all you need is your body. Give it a try.

  • Warm up with a 10 – 15 minute walk or jog. Swing your arms around, across your body and around and around like you’re swimming.
  • 10 Push ups (on your knees, against the wall or boy style, whatever you can manage but is still hard!)
  • 20 – 30 (each leg) Walking Lunges
  • 20 – 30 (each leg) Standing Straight Leg Kickbacks
  • 20 – 30 Tricep Dips
  • 20 – 30 Calf Raises
  • Plank – Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Now repeat the sequence two times for a total of three sets.

Add this basic circuit to your weekly fitness routine. Do it three times per week if you can manage.

Remember, this is just a sampling of things you can do. If you want to come up with your own routine be sure to work everything; chest, back, quads, shoulders, hamstrings, biceps, triceps, calves and abs. You know where to find me if you need help.

P.s. Always suck your navel toward your spine while performing every exercise. Inhale during the easy part of the movement, exhaling during the more difficult half.  Do not hold your breath when performing any exercise.

P.s.s. The basic rule of strength training is: to get stronger, work with heavy weights and perform fewer repetitions. To promote tone and endurance, use lighter weights and complete more repetitions. For the purpose of this post I’m suggesting that you start with building endurance and adding tone (light weight, lots of reps).


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Workin’ off my muffin

Workin' it!

Get a Hula Hoop.  Use it to have some fun and get a little exercise. There are classes and videos and all sorts of suggested uses for a Hula Hoop. Even Marisa Tomei has gotten in on the action with her own video and hoopBody Kit.

I’ve just ordered a weighted hoop (2 lbs); they say they’re easier to operate and I would guess allow for a better workout.  Either way, I intend to use mine as a vehicle for laughter and to work my core. Remember, my Ab Challenge? Maybe even one day I’ll try a Hooping class but for now it’ll be a fun way to break up my core workout.  A few crunches here, a few turns of the hoop there. Get where I’m comin’ from?

For inspiration have a look at this video. It’s called April Curvy Hooping. While you might think this sister could use a little more core work she’s clearly fitter than she looks and I think one hot Hooper! Seriously…take a second to click on the link.

(And yes, the Hula Hoop will be making an appearance at one of my Fitness Walk workouts one day soon…)

Make me proud! See you back here on Monday…


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Hello! I know you’re out there.

All of you should be joining me in Kelley’s Ab Challenge.  Every one of you could use some work on your abs/core.  I’m not calling anybody out, but I am making it easy for you.  What more do you want? Come on, start small but make an effort!

Why do you need a strong core? Basically your core/torso supports every physical movement you make. It’s the body’s center of power, the stronger you are in that area, the easier your life will be. This means, riding your bike, running, picking up your kid, a watermelon, surviving that killer boot camp class or simply getting out of bed.

Here are my suggestions for things to do this weekend. Work your core…

FYI ladies, a strong core makes for a strong pelvic floor.  Strong muscles in the pelvic floor make for tight pelvic muscles. Get where I’m going with this? Valentines Day is coming!

Do something good for your body this weekend!

See you Monday…


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Time to hold Kelley accountable

Crunch time!

It’s become painfully clear that I’m not spending enough time focusing on my own personal fitness. With that, I have decided to hold myself accountable by exposing my very own abs to you and pledging to do better by them while you watch.

Yes, those are my abs. Call it my “before” photo. While I realize that my abs don’t look all that horrendous to some, rest assure it’s because I’m standing up very straight and sucking my belly button into my spine as hard as I possibly can.

When is all said and done, I need to do some work on my abs and my entire core.

Here’s what I propose – I will commit to doing 300 abdominal reps, every other day.  I have chosen this number and this time frame because I know it’s something I can stick with. I am pushing myself, but not going crazy.  I will do this for one month, and then reassess the situation. Lets see what my abs look like in one month. I promise to let you see, for better or for worse.

How about you – I would love for you take this challenge with me.  It’s always more fun to exercise with someone even if we never meet.  So, if you’d like to be part of this, email me, comment on this posting, or do it in secret.  You can set your own rules. Rules that work for you.

Here’s a list of suggested ab/core exercises to get us started.  More to come…