We’ve all heard of the dreaded workout “plateau” but do we know how to avoid it? There are many different variables in every workout program that you can change to help avoid hitting that plateau and help your body continue to see the benefits of physical activity. The four basic areas in which you can change your workout come from the acronym F.I.T.T. – Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type.
The body reacts differently to the different stimuli that you provide it. By changing that stimuli, you help the body avoid adaptation, thus continuing to achieve results.
Frequency – Changing the days you workout or how often
Intensity – Increasing weight when lifting, adding cardio intervals into your program, change your sets and reps to challenge your muscles in different ways and different energy systems
Time – Length of workouts; can work in conjunction with Frequency, try working out more days for less time, or less days for longer
Type – Change the style of cardio you choose (treadmill vs. bike), try a new fitness class, or learn a new piece of equipment
Remember, change is a good thing.
You’ve packed your bag the night before, filled your water bottle, packed the kid’s snacks and booked her into child-minding. She wakes up with a fever. Sigh.
You got all of your paperwork filed, you’ve had your morning snack and have a packed lunch to eat at your desk after a lunch-time run. Your phone rings, and it’s a client crisis that just can’t wait. Sigh.
No matter what the scenario that you’re hit with, the one thing that gets missed in your day always seems to be you. For a workout veteran, this can be disappointing, frustrating, changing the mood and course of your entire day. For a rookie, this can be catastrophic, completely derailing your momentum.
How can you combat this? Here are five not-so-average body weight exercises that you can do at home or in the office with absolutely no equipment. Before you even begin, take a moment and focus awareness on your posture. Hold your core in tight (belly button towards your spine), open up your chest and pull your shoulder blades back. Bring your chin up and tuck your pelvis under just a bit to protect your lower back. OK, let’s go!
1. Sumo-Squat – Targets the Leg Adductors (inner thigh) – Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out towards “10 and 2 o’clock”. Raise your hands out in front of you as a counter-balance, and push your glutes (bum) backwards, bending at the knee. Be sure to keep your knees behind your toes and your head up. If you feel a strain in your lower back, come back to your starting position and reset your posture. Every time you get to the top of your range of motion, squeeze your glutes tight.
2. Plank Jack/Jump Jack – Targets the Core, Leg Adductors, Shoulders – Start in a prone plank position, on either your hands or elbows, knees or toes. Hop your legs out laterally and back in, come to a standing position and up for a jumping jack. Come back into that starting plank position and repeat. Be sure to watch that your glutes don’t pop up into the air, as that essentially deactivates your abdominal recruitment. To make this lower impact, walk out 1 leg at a time in both positions.
3. Roll-Overs – Targets Oblique Abdominals (Core) – Starting on your stomach, stretch out your arms and point your toes. Roll over onto your back without using your arms/hands to assist you. Roll back onto your stomach in the other direction.
4. Plank Kick-Backs – Targets the Core, Glutes – Start in a prone plank position, on either your hands or elbows, knees or toes. Tighten your glutes (bum muscles) and slowly lift your leg upwards and back towards the ceiling. Alternate sides. Be aware of hip positioning and try to keep the pointy bones on either side of your pelvis (ASIS) pointed down towards the ground. This will help to keep your hips from rolling open to the side
5. Incline or Decline Push-Up – Targets the Pectorals (chest) – Start with a basic push-up. You can do this on either the knees or the toes. Come down to the floor as low as you can go, and push your body weight back up. If you’re on your knees, try to keep the fleshy spot just above your knee cap in contact with the floor. This will keep your hips and glutes down enabling your core to stabilize your body. Incline: have your hands positioned 6-12 inches higher on a platform. The higher up you are, the easier the push-up becomes. Decline: place your feet up on a platform, with hands on the ground. When progressing from a knee push-up to toe, start with incline, progressing to flat or decline push-ups.
To add intensity, jog on the spot or add a set of jumping jacks in between each exercise.
No Excuses left, let’s go!
My wife and I were winding down after a busy weekend with our two children, Adam, age 8 and Ashlyn, age 5. The kids’ teeth were brushed, their pyjamas on (bath time was avoided thanks to a wonderful afternoon swim at Crowfoot YMCA) and family books, our nightly reading tradition, was imminent. After a hectic weekend attending the Calgary International Children’s Festival, doing the necessary clean and tidy required to get us through the week, baseball, ballet and the other routines of a young family, we were all pretty ready to be done for the night.
Then, someone blew up a yellow balloon.
My son, always up for a spontaneous game, tapped the balloon and sent it soaring across the living room. My wife, equally game, tapped it back. My daughter quickly got in on the action. Then, emerging from another room to see what was happening, I found the uncovered corner and joined in.
The goal was to slap and pass, push and bash that balloon, avoiding the pointy ceiling and the forbidden hardwood floor.
“Mommy, it’s yours!”
“Adam, hit it!”
“Ha, Dad, it got you in the nose!”
As we played, we talked. We talked about working as a team. We encouraged and cheered each other on. We worked on strategy — slowing down the tempo once in a while, then pounding that balloon for maximum effect and velocity.
Ashlyn squealed with delight each time she took the yellow balloon in an unexpected direction, usually off a parent’s body part. With some encouragement, Adam resisted the urge to hog the balloon from his smaller sister, not always his default position, and soaked up the praise. Mom and Dad enjoyed those love-filled looks parents share when their kids are being simply amazing.
The game went on for 20 minutes. We were totally connected as a family.
We all felt a little lighter.
Daylight Saving’s Time begins at 2am on Sunday, March 10th 2013
Don’t forget to set your clock ahead one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night!
Find yourself sitting with the family and little to say? Wanna get to know what’s on the minds of your kids and unsure what to ask? Calgary’s Child Magazine provides this article on 21 Questions to Jump-Start Conversation with Your Kids:
“It’s evening. Maybe you’re lucky enough to be sitting around the dinner table as a family. Or perhaps you’ve got a few moments in the car with your child between activities. So you ask, “How was your day?” But all you get are grunts and shrugged shoulders. Instead you try asking, “What did you do in school today?” This time you get the customary one-word answer: “Nothing”.”
Read all 21 questions plus other parenting tips.
Today was the first day of our new Fitness Director, Kaia Kjar, noon BARBELL BLAST drop-in class. I was one of the participants and I really loved this class! Kaia was awesome and we really worked up a great sweat! I loved the new time of day for this class and she has a lot of knowledge and expertise to share with all. The stretch was especially good and hit all the right spots. Why not come out next Wednesday and see for yourself?
Check out the Volunteer Canada website to see the news on how Canadians are giving their time and dollars to charities.
One link on the site is to the Imagine Canada website which tells:
“The Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (CSGVP) provides the most comprehensive overview of the contributions of time and money Canadians make to nonprofit and charitable organizations and to each other. Conducted in 1997, 2000, 2004, 2007 and 2010, the CSGVP surveyed a random sample of Canadians on how they:
- Gave money and other resources to charitable and nonprofit organizations
- Volunteered time for charitable and voluntary organizations and for individuals directly
- Participated in organizations by becoming members”
Get your kids pumped for winter with this easy and fun snowflake craft you can easily do with items found around the house. Teaches recycling too!
“Winter crafts (for those of us in the Northern hemisphere) sounds good, which means snow, right? How about making some artful snowflakes from cereal boxes and yarn? I like the simplicity of these, but of course you can add a little glitter, some sequins, pipe cleaner details, or just about anything you have in your craft odds and ends box!”
Read the full details and view photos of this winter snowflake craft on the Creative Jewish Mom website.
Daylight Savings Ends – Remember to set your clocks back one hour on Saturday before you go to bed!
On The Globe & Mail website, writer Dave McGinn takes a look at the issue of time spent on activity vs. time spend watching TV/video/on computer/etc. ParticipACTION has published a new set of guidelines that sets strict limits on screen time and suggestions for activity:
A first-of-its-kind set of physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines suggests children up to four years of age get at least three hours of physical activity each day and sets strict limits on screen time.
“Our kids today, little ones under the age of four, need to move more, they need to sit less and they need to get off of screens,” says Kelly Murumets, president and CEO of ParticipACTION, which released the guidelines on Tuesday with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.
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