Saturday, March 30, 2013

Weeekend Workout #14

This weekend I have 2 pairs of three exercises.  The goal is to choose a weight that is challenging to complete 8-10 reps.  Move from one exercise to the next, resting 15-30 sec between each exercise.  When finished with the last exercises of each pairing, rest 2 min and then repeat two more times.

Group 1 - x3

1-Arm KB Swings
Barbell Bench Press
Wide-Rip Pulldowns
Rest 2 min.
*Repeat two more times

Group 2 - x3

Incline DB Press
Bulgarian Split Squat w/ DB
TRX Low Rows
Rest 2 min.
*Repeat two more times

Finish - x1-2

300 Yard Shuttle Run - Set cones 25 yards apart and repeat 12 times (down and back).

Weekend Workout - #13

Once again this weekend I am going to focus on core exercises that will fire up your metabolism.  These are exercises you can do just about anywhere.  By boosting your metabolism, you will continue to burn calories for several hours after the workout.

The only piece of equipment that you will need is a TRX Suspension.  If you have a stop watch or a Gym Boss, that will be helpful, otherwise you can estimate your time.

Complete the first three exercises (10 reps each) without resting between each exercise.  Then when you finish the last exercise, rest for the same length of time it took you to complete all three exercises.  Then repeat all exercises again, resting again for the length of time it took to complete the exercises, and then repeat for a third time.

Group 1
1.  Plyometric Push Ups
2.  Jump Squat
3.  Burpees

Rest 3 minutes

Now complete the next set of three exercises (10 reps each) in the same format as above.

Group 2
1.  Spiderman Push Ups
2.  Mountain Climber
3.  TRX Saw

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"COW" Workout

Core Of the Week...

Each Wednesday you'll get an ab workout to help improve your core strength.  Feel free to incorporate these exercises into your normal workout, or make this a workout by itself.

As with all workouts, make sure to warm up.  Light movements (5-10 min) to increase body temperature (eliptical machine, or row machine) and some bodyweight exercises (2 sets of 8-10 reps) to warm the muscles (squats, push ups, jumping jacks) are great examples of a warm up.

Ab Workout:

Med Ball Reverse Throws (8 reps per side) - Stand 5 feet from a brick wall (or outside) holding a medicine ball (6-8 lbs) between legs.  With knees bent, forcefully stand and throw the ball over your Right shoulder against a wall (or across a field outside).  Repeat for reps, then switch sides.

Battle Rope Planks w/ Row (30-sec) - In a plank position with your feet wider than shoulder width, grab the rope and pull your arm back (keeping elbow close to the body), then pull the rope with the other arm.  Keep repeating for time.

Swiss Ball Pike (12 reps) - With both feet on a Swiss Ball and in a plank position, pull your hips up and bring feet towards your chest keeping your legs straight.  You will end in a reverse V position if done correctly.

Skier Abs (30-sec) - Standing to one side of a bench, grab both sides of the bench with hands and jump both feet up and over landing softly with feet and then immediately jump back to the other side. Keep repeating for time.

TRX Anti-Rotation Press (10 reps per side) - Standing sideways to the TRX Anchor, hold both bottom loops in both hands.  With your body leaning at about a 45 degree angle, press both arms straight out in front of you and then pull back to your chest.  Repeat for reps, then switch sides.

TRX Hip Drops (10 reps per side) - Stand sideways to the TRX Anchor and hold the TRX handles above head with hands resting on top of your head.  Keeping hands on top of head, push hips away from the anchor and then pull back to starting position.

TRX Superman's (30-sec) - Stand underneath the anchor and hold TRX handles in each hand with hands right in front of your shoulders.  From a squat position, stand and lean forward as you raise both arms above head and together.  At the top position, squeeze your ab muscles.  Reverse movement and repeat for time.

Back Extensions (12 reps) - Perform on a back extension machine or Swiss Ball.  Only raise upper body until it is in line with the lower body.  Pause for a few seconds and repeat for reps.

Pulley Side Crunch (8 reps per side) - Stand sideways to a cable pulley system.  Make sure to have a one hand handle hooked at the top position.  Grab the pulley with your palms facing towards you.  Pull the weight down from your ab muscles (obliques) and NOT with your hand/arm.  Let the weight up slowly and repeat.  Similar to DB Side Bends movement.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sloane's TRX Challenge - 6/8

Not that the previous weeks' challenges have been easy, but this week I certainly upped the level of difficulty.  Not only is this week a test of strength, but also a test of endurance.  A combination of upper body and core exercises combined with a full-body scorcher make this workout one to remember.

Participants had to complete 20 reps for each exercise, and in the fastest time possible.  If you can make it through the first exercise without fatiguing, you might have a chance to finish the workout.  However, if you struggle with it, it may be difficult to finish.

Here are the exercises for this week, in this order.

1-Leg Burpee w/ hop L - x20
1-Leg Burpee w/ hop R - x20
Biceps Clutch/Curl Combo - x20
Pike -x20
Pull/Push Combo L - x20
Pull/Push Combo R - x20

Make sure if you attempt this workout that you are warmed up, and hydrated.  If you have any injuries or recent ailments, I would advise that you do NOT perform this workout.  If you have high blood pressure, I would also advise against you participating in this Challenge.

Try to maintain good form for each exercise, especially when fatigue starts to kick in.  Once you start to sacrifice good form, rest and regroup before continuing.  If you cannot finish all exercises with good form, make note of how long you did the workout for, and then try to improve how long you can go the next time.

Good luck and if you do the Challenge, let me know your time.  Can you beat 6:50??? 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Weekend Workout - #12

This weekend, the emphasis will be on core strength. Although there is only 1 "core exercise" (Russian Twists) in the workout, you will notice that all exercises in one way or another engage the core muscles during the movement.

The exercises are not extremely difficult, but they are not easy at the same token.  Select a weight that is challenging to complete the 10-12 reps.

Perform 3-4 sets of all exercises, 10-12 reps total, or per side, with minimal rest between each exercise.  Then rest 1 min between each set.

Warm up 10-15 min

1.  Barbell Forward Lunge onto Step - To help give you more hip mobility, lunge onto a box or step that is about 6" high.  This will allow your back knee to drop even lower than if lunging on the ground.

2.  Burpees with Rope Swings - shoot for 5 sec. of rope swings in between the 10-12 burpees

3.  Side Lunge with Knee Lift and Overhead Press - you can use either a weighted bar (like in the video) or dumbbells to preform this exercise.  When lifting the knee, try to keep the knee from crossing the mid-line of your body

4.  Push Ups with Elevated Feet - maintain good alignment during the movement, don't allow your low back to sag.

5.  Russian Twist with Med Ball - use a 6-8lb medicine ball, and make sure to keep your back up straight and keep the ball in front of your chest during the movement.


To make this exercise even harder, lift your feet off the ground 

6.  Reverse Lunge with Twist - you don't have to perform this exercise with a Bosu ball or medicine ball.  However, if you are looking to add a level of difficulty, start standing on a Bosu ball while holding a medicine ball and rotate the ball to each side with arms extended as you step back.

7.  Hi/Low Planks with Bosu Balls - For this exercise, only do 5-6 per arm.  Keep your hips from rocking from side to side during the movement.  You don't have to have your hands or feet on Bosu balls; for an easier version, just use the ground.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Health Questionnaire #3 Answers

1.       How long after exercises is the optimum time to consume a recovery meal?
A.      30-45 min.
B.      60-90 min.
C.      90-120 min.
D.      120-150 min.

2.       Whey protein is considered a “slow releasing” protein?
A.      True
B.      False

3.       How many calories are in 1 gram of carbohydrates?
A.      2
B.      4
C.      6
D.      8

4.       What is the optimum amount of protein to consume in order to maximize muscle growth for the average-sized male?
A.      10g
B.      20g
C.      40g
D.      45g

5.       Which of the following countries has the highest consumption rate of High Fructose Corn Syrup?
A.      USA
B.      Hungary
C.      United Kingdom
D.      None of the Above

6.       Quinoa is not considered a complete protein (a food that contains all 9 essential amino acids?
A.      True
B.      False

7.       For exercise lasting longer than 30 minutes, the ideal ratio of carbohydrate to protein is ________ to maximize recovery.
A.      2:1
B.      3:1
C.      1:3
D.      1:4

8.       To enhance recovery and promote muscle building, it’s best to consume which of the following after exercise?
A.      Protein only
B.      Carbohydrates only
C.      Protein and Carbohydrates
D.      Fats and Carbohydrates

9.       How many calories are in 1 teaspoon of sugar?
A.      6
B.      16
C.      24
D.      30

10.   What is the recommended daily sodium intake?
A.      500mg
B.      1200mg
C.      1500mg
D.      2200mg

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sloane's TRX Challenge - 5/8

In this week's TRX Challenge, I opted to select several lower body exercises to test the endurance and strength of the leg muscles.  Not only are the two lower body exercises challenging, but participants had to complete 30 reps for each.  In between each lower body exercise, I mixed in a challenging abdominal exercise.

The goal for this week was to complete all exercises (for the specified # of reps) in the fastest time possible.  The only rest would be the transition from one exercise to the next.

You can do this workout alone or use it as a warm-up for your normal workout routine.  Either way, I'm sure you will be challenged.

Sprinter Start L - 30 reps
Sprinter Start R - 30 reps
Oblique Crunches - 20 reps
1-Leg Squats L - 30 reps
1-Leg Squats R - 30 reps

Monday, March 18, 2013

Better Sleeping - Week 6

Here is the final week's tips for sleeping better...

I hope you have been able to incorporate some of these ideas into your daily routine and that you have noticed more quality sleep over the last few weeks.  I would love to hear from those who have tried some of these and how it helped your sleeping.  Leave a comment below in the "Comments" section.

Week #6 ideas:

#1.  Follow Your Nose - Lavender and Chamomile can be soothing and relaxing scents and lead to better sleep

#2.  Start a Routine - Your body will associate an event with sleep; try reading in bed or taking a bath before bed

#3.  Soak up the Sun - Get plenty of sunshine (or bright light) during the day, this can help regulate your sleep cycle

#4.  Practice Yoga - This can help relieve insomnia

#5.  Talk To Your Doctor - Lifestyle changes can lead to better health and sleep, but talk to your Dr. if your sleeping does not improve.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Weekend Workout - #11

This weekend I have a combination of strength, endurance and core exercises that will leave your body famished while burning lots of calories and recruiting tons of muscle.  This is an efficient workout that you should be able to complete within 30-45 minutes.

There are a total of four (4) separate circuits that you will complete.  In the first circuit, you will perform all exercises in a row, without rest, for 5 reps each.  Rest 1 minute between circuits.  For each circuit, select a weight that is challenging for the specified number of reps for each.

If you complete the whole workout (all 4 circuits) and feel like that wasn't enough, try to complete a second set of all circuits.  Here is the sequence I want you to perform them in...

Circuit 1
Front Squat x5
Front Squat + Overhead Press (Thruster) x5
1/2 Front Squat + Overhead Press (Push Press) x5
Back Squat x5

In the second circuit, perform each exercise without resting for the specified number of reps.

Circuit 2
Hanging Barbell Cleans x10
Mtn. Climber x25
Push Ups x10

In the third circuit, the emphasis will be on your cardiovascular endurance.  By this point your body will already be screaming.  You'll perform each exercise again without any rest between each for 10 reps each.

Circuit 3
Scissor Lunge Jumps x10
Push Ups x10
1-Arm KB Swings x10ea Arm

The final circuit will test your core and upper body strength.

Circuit 4 - this circuit is courtesy of Scott Thom
Floor Wipers x 10 
Bus Drivers x 5 ea.
Power Curls x 5

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Smoothie recipe

Since I'm such a big fan of the ingredient pumpkin, I wanted to share with you another healthy and flavorful smoothie recipe.  Pumpkin packs lots of vitamin A so you get the added bonus of that as well.  I make mine with almond milk and add a few cubes of ice to thicken it up a little.

If you want a little more protein, you can add another scoop of protein powder, however, if you do so just add another 1/4 cup of milk.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie 

1 cup milk (skim, soy, or almond)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 banana (frozen)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or allspice)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Blend all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!  Add ice to get the consistency you like.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sloane's TRX Challenge - week 4/8

In this weeks' TRX Challenge, I selected some good lower-body and upper-body exercises that would challenge both strength and balance and endurance.

Each exercise had to be completed for 1-min with only a 30 sec rest interval between exercises.  The exercises for this week included the following:

1. Hamstring Curl
2. Low Row
3. Suspended Lunge R
4. Suspended Lunge L
5. Atomic Push Ups

I have a video of Janessa and Brian to show that these challenges are not just for the strong man.  Brian is very strong in his upper body.  Janessa is also very strong, but her strength is in her legs.  You will see in the videos that Janessa has a little more endurance than Brian also.  Both put in solid efforts, however, neither did enough reps to win this week's challenge.  Jordan, who has also been competing in the challenges each week cranked out 193 total reps to take top honors.  With his win he gets a $25 gift certificate to Backporch Coffee

Janessa - 173 reps
great form on all exercises but didn't have the strength left in her for the Atomic Push Ups

Brian - 167 reps
Brian's form started to diminish towards the end of the Low Row's.  You'll notice how he begins to use his hips more than his lat muscles towards the end of the minute to pull himself up.  Being a bigger guy, he also began to run out of energy during the Atomic Push Ups.

I like to use these challenges to help myself and the participants discover their "weak link".  We all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses.  It's easy and more fun to always work on our strengths.  For instance, if a person can bench press 250lbs., more than likely he/she will continue to do the bench press since they are good at it.  However, if that same person can only squat 150lbs, odds are that he/she is weak in the lower body muscles (or could have a low back issue).  Instead of trying to bench press 300lbs, I would recommend that this person make it a goal to try and squat 250lbs.  And as an added bonus, by increasing his/her squat significantly, more than likely he/she will increase his/her lean mass amount leading to a more lean physique.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Better Sleeping - Week 5

Here are this week's tips for sleeping better...

Week #5:

#1.  Try Tryptophan - Consuming some dairy before bed can help some sleep better

#2.  Take a Natural Approach - Sleep aids such as melatonin, and valerian root may help.  Discuss with your Dr. before taking.

#3.  Drink Alcohol in Moderation - Limit alcohol use a few hrs prior top bed (and all together for that matter).  This may wake you up during the night.

#4.  Rule out Medications - Some meds can cause insomnia.  Ask you Dr. which medication won't keep you up at night.

#5.  Check the Thermostat - Extremes in temperatures can make it tough to fall asleep.  Best temps for sleeping are between 60-70 degrees.

#5.  Don't Eat Too Late - Stop eating at least 3 hrs. prior to bed

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Weekend Workout - #10

This weekend I am focusing the workout on large muscle group exercises while using multiple joints during the movements.

Always warm up well for 10-15 min. of some sort of cardio as well as including some squats, lunges, and push ups to activate the muscles to be used.

Aim to complete 3-4 sets of all exercises.  Complete all med ball push up sets first before moving to the squats.  Then do one exercise after the other with 30-60 sec. rest between exercises.  When you finish the last exercise, rest 1-2 minutes.  Choose a weight that is about 85% of your 1RM (1 rep max); heavy enough so that you can lift it only 6-8 times.  By the 6th rep it should already be very challenging. 

1.  Med Ball Push Ups - use a 8-10lb medicine ball.  Aim for 6-8 per arm.  See video below for details...

2.  Barbell Front Squat - Instead of resting the bar behind the neck, rest the bar in front and on your shoulders.  If this is uncomfortable, use can wrap a towel around the bar where it makes contact with your shoulders.  This exercise is a great leg exercise but also engages the core muscles quite a bit.  You will not be able to lift as much weight as your back squats, so you may want to experiment with the weight (do about 2 warm up sets) before settling on the weight you'll use for your 4-5 sets.

3.  Lat Pulldowns - wide grip, pull down the bar in front of your chest (not behind neck)

4.  Dumbbell Bench Press on Swiss Ball - instead of lying on a bench, use a Swiss Ball.  This will allow for better range of motion with your shoulders and add an element of instability so your core muscles will be firing during the movement.

5.  Forward Lunges with Dumbbell Upright Rows -  Holding dumbbells with an overhand grip, and in front of your body, lunge forward with your right leg and at the same time bring both hands up to shoulder level.  Keep your elbows out wide and keep the weight close to your body.  Then as you step your left leg forward to meet your right lower the dumbbells.  Now lunge forward with your left leg and repeat.  Keep alternating for 8 reps per leg.

6.  Standing Alternating Dumbbell Overhead Press - Stand while holding dumbbells at shoulder level at your sides.  With palms facing forward, lift your right arm above head and lower back down, then raise your left arm and lower.  Keep repeating for total number of reps (6-8 per side)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sloane's Health Questionnaire #3

Had lots going on during the month of February, so much that I forgot to post a Health Questionnaire during that month.  So considering this month is National Nutrition Month, I wanted to focus all of the questions on nutrition.

Answers will be posted on the 20th 

1.       How long after exercises is the optimum time to consume a recovery meal?
A.      30-45 min.
B.      60-90 min.
C.      90-120 min.
D.      120-150 min.

2.       Whey protein is considered a “slow releasing” protein?
A.      True
B.      False

3.       How many calories are in 1 gram of carbohydrates?
A.      2
B.      4
C.      6
D.      8

4.       What is the optimum amount of protein to consume in order to maximize muscle growth for the average-sized male?
A.      10g
B.      20g
C.      40g
D.      45g

5.       Which of the following countries has the highest consumption rate of High Fructose Corn Syrup?
A.      USA
B.      Hungary
C.      United Kingdom
D.      None of the Above

6.       Quinoa is not considered a complete protein (a food that contains all 9 essential amino acids?
A.      True
B.      False

7.       For exercise lasting longer than 30 minutes, the ideal ratio of carbohydrate to protein is ________ to maximize recovery.
A.      2:1
B.      3:1
C.      1:3
D.      1:4

8.       To enhance recovery and promote muscle building, it’s best to consume which of the following after exercise?
A.      Protein only
B.      Carbohydrates only
C.      Protein and Carbohydrates
D.      Fats and Carbohydrates

9.       How many calories are in 1 teaspoon of sugar?
A.      6
B.      16
C.      24
D.      30

10.   What is the recommended daily sodium intake?
A.      500mg
B.      1200mg
C.      1500mg
D.      2200mg

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sloane's TRX Challenge - Week 3/8

In this week's version of Sloane's TRX Challenge, those participating had to perform the following exercises...

1.  Y-Squats
2.  Power Pull L
3.  Power Pull R
4.  Side Plank w/ Crunch L
5.  Side Plank w/ Crunch R

Sloane demonstrating how it's done.

Each exercise had to be completed for 1 min. with a 20 sec. rest interval between each exercise.  The goal this week was to see who could complete the most total # of reps of all exercises.  This week's challenge would certainly challenge the core muscles and the back/shoulder muscles...oh yeah and of course the cardiovascular system.

Try this challenge on your won sometime and see how many reps YOU can get in 1 min. for each exercise.  Sloane completed 206 total reps.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Better Sleeping - Week 4

Here are this week's tips for better sleeping...

Week #4 ideas:

#1.  Relax! - Take a break during the day (meditate, stretch, read, etc.)

#2.  Add White Noise - This can help you sleep more soundly

#3   Listen to Lullabies - Listening to soft music at night can lead to increased sleep quality and quantity

#4.  Be Productive - Deal with your thoughts at night (pay bills, make a to-do-list), then go to bed when ready.

#5.  Nap Wisely - Keep mid-day naps to under 20 minutes, any longer and it could make it harder to fall asleep at night

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekend Workout - # 9

While down in Arizona, I chose to include some outdoor agility drills you can do to help improve your performance for ball sports, or to add some card work to your strength workout.  If cardio is your primary focus, I would recommend that you do these drills first and then your strength workout. However, if strength gains is your focus, do your strength workout first and then these agility drills.

I have my dad and myself demonstrating the agility drills, so I wanted to show that you can do these even if you are in your 60's or 70's.  not only do these drills work the cardiovascular system, but they also help to work on coordinate and balance (two things that diminish as we age).

For each exercise, repeat 2-4 times as fast as you can.  For an added motivation, time yourself for each set and try to match your time for each set.  Allow 1 minute rest between each set.

The drills for this workout include the following:

1.  "W" agility drill

2.  "T" agility drill

3.  Figure 8's and lateral shuffle drill

4.   5-10 agility drill

5.  Star lateral shuffles - perform this exercise both directions

Friday, March 1, 2013

Staying active in your senior years

While I am on vacation down in Arizona, I thought it would be fitting to post an article about staying active.  Yes, it is much easier to stay active when the weather is nice (70+ degrees and sunny), but it still takes time and effort to get your exercising in.  I'm sure we could think of a million excuses of why NOT to exercise, but even making time for a 30 min workout can be sufficient and effective.

My dad doing the "T" agility drill

This article was inspired by the fact that my parents and most of their community neighbors (nearly 3000 people) stay active nearly year round.  By staying active I dont just mean going for hikes or walks around the block; instead I'm referring to playing Pickleball (a smaller version of tennis and a bigger version of table tennis), softball, golf, strength training, going for walks, dancing, and even playing in a band.  Yes, my dad and a few others recently formed a band, Like Minds, and play once a month for the community.  We were fortunate enough to see them on this vacation, and there were close to 300 people there to watch, dance and have a good time.  My dad did play in a band during his 30's, and 40's but who would have thought he would be playing in his 70's, probably not him nor my mom.

My parents live in a Dell Webb community (Sun City Festival - 45+ and over) and have access to lots of activities.  Each time Jenny and I come down to visit there is never a dull moment, always something going on or something to go see.  Their community is located out near the foothills of the White Tank Mtns. near Surprise AZ; which offers plenty of hiking and exploring options as well.  My dad even found a bat cave, which of course we had to go inside, but was a little creepy.  Going inside a dark cave not knowing what to expect can be scarier than you think.  And on top of that, you hear lots of weird noises and the occasional brushing of a bat against your shoulder.  I can only imagine if someone in high school were to discover this, because it sure would make for a great truth or dare challenge.  Spending the night inside the cave would be quite the dare.

Ok, getting a little sidetracked.  I guess my whole point to this article is that it is great to see not only my parents, but many other elders staying active in their 60, 70, and even 80's.  Is it the weather alone that keeps people active, or the fact that they want to keep their heart healthy?  I asked a few people that live here to get their opinion and here is what they had to say...



my dad

So I hope this give others motivation to keep active and not let age be a deterrent.  If you are not as fortunate to live in a warm climate, I'm sure there are still plenty of indoor activities you can do.  Don't look for excuses,  they are only an easy way out.

I recommend that anyone over the age of 60 have a Health History completed by your physician and to make sure you have full clearance to participate in any exercising.