Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.


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May workout challenge

photo-15The Plank Position is no doubt one of the best Ab Exercises. Not only does it strengthen the abdominal muscles, but also works all the core muscles – the back, hips, etc.

Here’s your challenge

1st — Get into plank position and hold form for as long as you can. Place a clock so you can easily see it, as you’ll need to keep track of your time. Repeat this task 3 times and take note of your longest time.

2nd — every other day for four weeks repeat this exercise. Your goal is to stay in position longer and longer with each effort. By the end of the four weeks you should have tripled your longest time.

Plank Pose Basics — Start by lying face down on the ground or use an exercise mat. Place your hands or your elbows/forearms underneath your chest. Hands/elbows should be directly under your shoulders. Prop yourself up to form a bridge using your toes. Maintain a flat back and do not allow your hips to sag towards the ground. Hold this position focusing on tightening your abs by drawing your belly button to your spine. Hold until you can no longer maintain a flat bridge.

Beware of Cheating —  Remember to not let your hips and back sag. This exercise will only be effective if you work to maintain a flat line from your shoulders to your feet. You might want to start in front of a mirror to learn the technique.

If you have any questions please ask. I look forward to hearing how you do.

Namaste…


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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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12 days of December (The Season of Eating – Navigation Tip #3)

Eight Santa's Running

I wrote you a little song. It’s also a workout. For 12 days you’ll add one new task to your fitness routine until you have 12 tasks. It’ll be fun. Give it your best effort and sing along if you dare!

On the first day of December my trainer said to me… drop & give me 20 burpees…

On the second day of December my trainer said to me… eat protein for breakfast, and drop & give me 20 burpees…

On the third day of December my trainer said to me… 30 minutes of cardio, eat protein for breakfast, and drop & give me 20 burpees…

On the fourth day of December my trainer said to me… run up 4 hills, 30 minutes of cardio, eat protein for breakfast, and drop & give me 20 burpees…

On the fifth day of December my trainer said to me… eat 5 colors fruits & veggies, run up 4 hills, 30 minutes of cardio, eat protein for breakfast, and drop & give me 20 burpees…

On the sixth day of December my trainer said to me… 60 bicycle crunches, eat 5 colors fruits & veggies, run up 4 hills, 30 minutes of cardio, eat protein for breakfast, and drop & give me 20 burpees…

On the seventh day of December my trainer said to me… climb seven flights of stairs, 60 bicycle crunches, eat 5 colors fruits & veggies, run up 4 hills, 30 minutes of cardio, eat protein for breakfast, and drop & give me 20 burpees…

On the eighth day of December my trainer said to me… drink 8 glasses of water, climb seven flights of stairs, 60 bicycle crunches, eat 5 colors fruits & veggies, run up 4 hills, 30 minutes of cardio, eat protein for breakfast, and drop & give me 20 burpees…

On the ninth day of December my trainer said to me… 90 walking lunges, drink 8 glasses of water, climb seven flights of stairs, 60 bicycle crunches, eat 5 colors fruits & veggies, run up 4 hills, 30 minutes of cardio, eat protein for breakfast, and drop & give me 20 burpees…

On the 10th day of December my trainer said to me… 100 bench dips, 90 walking lunges, drink 8 glasses of water, climb seven flights of stairs, 60 bicycle crunches, eat 5 colors fruits & veggies, run up 4 hills, 30 minutes of cardio, eat protein for breakfast, and drop & give me 20 burpees…

On the 11th day of December my trainer said to me… 11 minutes of stretching, 100 bench dips, 90 walking lunges, drink 8 glasses of water, climb seven flights of stairs, 60 bicycle crunches, eat 5 colors fruits & veggies, run up 4 hills, 30 minutes of cardio, eat protein for breakfast, and drop & give me 20 burpees…

On the 12th day of December my trainer said to me… use your foam roller, 11 minutes of stretching, 100 bench dips, 90 walking lunges, drink 8 glasses of water, seven flights of stairs, 60 bicycle crunches, eat 5 colors fruits & veggies, run up 4 hills, 30 minutes of cardio, eat protein for breakfast, and drop & give me 20 burpees…


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The Season of Eating 101

Too much turkey

It’s started. I call it The Season of Eating. There’s really no way to get around it, one way or another your healthy living tendencies will go to shit during this period. Some of us will manage better than others, but basically we’ll all suffer a shift in our waistlines and our exercise regiment.

First and foremost, do not to panic! Worrying will only stress you out causing you to eat or drink more, elevating the situation.

I’m not going to lie; I cave during The Season of Eating. I definitely dive head first into most opportunities to suck down yummy food and drink. Miraculously, I usually manage to keep the same jean size but it’s not a pretty picture nor is it easy.

Anyway, here are just a few little things that I personally keep in mind during these challenging times. They work for me and they’re pretty painless.

  • Baked goods – Eat only homemade stuff or things that you can be darn sure will be worth the calories. When confronted with a cookie tray from Cost-Co, skip it and wait until someone passes the truffles or homemade snacks.
  • The same goes for the cheese platter. If you can’t skip it all together then pass up the blocks of Safeway cheese and wait for the artisan cheese platter to surface. It might not appear for a day or two but it will at some point!
  • Sign yourself up for a workout class or organized event. Perhaps a New Years Eve or NY Day run, cycle or walk. There are tons to choose from. It’ll force you to stay on top of your workouts. I’ve signed myself for a New Years Eve half marathon that I’m not fit for at the current moment, so like it or not I’ll have to dig deep and train, impending cookie gut and all!
  • Keep moving. I like to keep moving. It tuckers me out sometimes but it helps keep the furnace burning.  Examples: Walk and take the stairs everywhere possible. Get up in the morning, have your coffee and go for a walk/run/ride or what ever you can manage for as long as you can manage it. 10 minutes is better than nothing! Mid day, walk/take a yoga class, just move for at least 10 minutes. Same goes for the evening, don’t just go home and sit on the sofa ever. Even if you can’t do this every day do what you can when you can. Make the effort it does help!

Here are some numbers that might motivate you. 10 minutes of: (The math will obviously vary depending on your body weight, composition and the pace at which you perform the task)

  • Walking at brisk pace will burn 54 calories
  • Heavy cleaning will burn 54 calories
  • Step-ups (using stairs) burns 175 calories
  • Raking leaves burns 40 calories

And, try these lean muscle builders. Remember, the more muscle you have the more calories you’ll burn just sitting at the table next to the cheese platter.

  •  Squats—Do ‘em while you brush your teeth
  • Walking Lunges — As you move about your home
  • Push-Ups — Do 10 every time you find yourself at the kitchen sink. (Against the wall or on the floor)
  • Curls — With a can of soup or bottle of detergent
  • Plank Position — While reheating food. Hold for 30 seconds and work up to 3 minutes.
  • Crunches — There are a thousand versions. Pick the ones you like and do ‘em while you watch the weather.

So there you go, these are things that help me. If you want to be, or if you can be super good, then skip all the holiday treats, simply walk past the cookie platter and when cooking, find ways to make healthier versions of the dishes you serve. Unfortunately total abstinence won’t work for me so I’ve found these other things that help me. As for you, it’s up to you to find ways to enjoy the season and manage your waistline at the same time, I can only offer suggestions.

The bottom line, enjoy this time, no matter what.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I’ll be on back Monday 11/28 with something very gripping to say…

P.s. Click here if you want to know how far you’ll have to run/etc to burn off the bits of your T-giving dinner. I say, just keep moving and stop counting!


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Somebody toss some cold water on me!


In my next life I’d like to come back with the ability to do this. Did you watch the video? You should. It’s inspiring and it’s freaking hot! Kinda like exercise porn in my mind. Maybe it’s the double Scorpio in me but regardless; it’s a fine way to spend 1:14. Watch the video and then think about what it would mean to be as focused and fit as this dude.


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If you aren’t climbing you’re descending

Mosaic Staircase, Inner Sunset, SF

I hate to be the one to point this out but the holidays are right around the corner and with that come parties and food and a zillion reasons not to workout.

In an effort to keep you moving and looking fab in your holiday attire I’ll be holding Stair Climbing Workouts every Saturday @ 9am, beginning this week through Saturday 12/17.

The beauty of climbing stairs is no matter your pace you always get a fantastic cardio and booty-boosting workout. These workouts will include core and stretching exercises as well as interval stair climbing. Participants are encouraged to climb at their own pace but will be urged to push themselves. Walkers as well as runners are welcome.

The price for 7, one-hour workouts is $35 paid in advance, the drop-in rate is $10 per workout. Be advised that taking advantage of the “paid in advance” rate is not only economical, paying in advance encourages one to workout on those days when getting out of bed is extra hard. We workout rain or shine!

Each Saturday we’ll climb a different set of stairs visiting all parts of San Francisco. I will post, and email the schedule once I have a group assembled.

This weekend’s workout will commence: 11/5/2011 – 9am sharp, @ Lyon and Broadway. We’ll be kicking off the season on the famous Lyon Street Stairs.

If you can’t manage getting to my scheduled workouts you can still get your climb on! No matter where you live or what time you workout I’m certain you can find some stairs to climb. If you need ideas or inspiration there are books, websites and even apps for your phone that can help. For those of you here in San Francisco I recommend, the book; Stairway Walks in San Francisco by Adah Bakalinsky or the iPhone app SF Stairways (it’s a little buggy but it’s only 99 cents.) it even tells you how much cab fare is back to your house should you need a lift home.

No excuses, it’s time to start climbing off those cocktails and cookies! Contact me if you would like to join our Stair Climbing Workouts here in SF.


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Stoked to be in the water – Jeff Clark

Okay so I must admit I get all hot and bothered when the conversation turns to surfing and surfers. See, I grew up in San Diego just blocks from the beach. Until the day I turned 20 and moved north, I basically spent every day of my life on the beach. Yep, I was a “surfer chick,” or wanabe. I never did get the hang of surfing but I was excellent at posing on the beach with my long, sun-bleached hair waiting for my yummy, bronzed surfer-boyfriend to come in. Oh…those were the days.

So, when my friend Cindy sent an email asking for volunteers to try paddleboarding at the famed Mavericks (Mavericks is surfer HQ here on the NorCal coast), I jumped at the opportunity like a shark after a hunk of meat.

Rather than rambling on about our adventure I’ll simply let you see for yourself how the day transpired. It’s pretty tame, there were no massive waves and no surfer boys (aside from the world-renowned Jeff Clark!) but there were lots of really nice people and we had a fantastic time.

Rule #1 if you don’t want your shades to sink when you fall off the board, put them on a leash. I was too cheap to buy a leash so I did a little MacGyver work.

                 

Ever try to squeeze into one of these things? Kind of gross if you ask me.

At this point we’re done with our paddle. That’s Cindy on the left, me, Cassandra our fantastic teacher and Diana in the sexy little top.

You get extra points if you can do a downward dog sans falling in the drink.

So there you have it. A nice relaxing way to spend a sunny day. We saw stingrays and a few harbor seals popped their heads up to have a little chuckle (do you think seals can laugh? Seriously, can they?) I can’t say that I got a workout paddleboarding but that’s mostly because I was too focused on staying on the board. According to Cassandra there are things you can to do work a little harder. Next time I’ll be braver and head for where the big waves and the surfer boys are (yea right!).

As they say at the beach…  It was pretty bitchen! Thanks gals for an awesome day.

P.s. If you want to check out paddleboarding at Mavericks, call Cassandra. She was really great and the prices are super reasonable!

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