Tag Archives: weights

Fill ‘er Up!

You wouldn’t attempt to drive your car when it has no fuel.  You know better, and would make sure to put something in the tank before heading out even for a short trip around town, let along a long trip.

Food is our fuel, it’s our energy source that runs all of our body’s systems.  So why do we continually see people trying to workout without enough fuel in the tank? It’s important to make sure that you have a little something to eat before your workout – always.

Round It Out – Plan a pre-workout snack to have a protein, carb, and a fruit or vegetable.  Of course whatever you choose is going to depend on personal preferences, and any dietary restrictions you might have, but some of my favorite pre-workout dining includes milk, eggs, nut butters, cottage cheese, yogurt & granola.  All items high in protein that will help you to feel more satisfied yet keeping it light.  Morning-glory or Bran muffins, oatmeal with fruit or nuts, or high fiber cereals are all carbs that have whole or fuller grains to help you feel fuller without eating a large amount.  Bananas and apples are my favorite go-to fruits to round it out.  They are easy to take on the go, relatively mess-free and provide a decent amount of nutrients and fiber.  Mixed melon, cucumber, and mixed berries are a fresh,  light change as well.  Making a smoothie to go is also a great way to incorporate more than one of these nutrient groups together in a tasty way.  Try adding spinach for a high iron boost in a fruit/veg smoothie!

Did You Know? Cramping when running or swimming after eating a fuller meal is actually your body trying to digest that food.  The blood that supplying your body’s intestinal tract gets redirected to your arms and legs, and the food “stalls” in your intestines.

Don’t let your car sputter out, just make sure you put premium in!


Let the Rhythm Move You!

Inspiration comes in many forms, for me music is a huge motivator.  I’ve always been a musically inclined person, even if I didn’t know it.  I started in elementary school playing the recorder, graduated to the clarinet for junior and senior high school, and I still play the clarinet today, mind you not nearly as well anymore.  I have always been able to feel and move to the beat of the song but don’t be mistaken, I dance like Elaine from “Seinfeld”.  There I go dating myself again.

Music is an expression of feeling or mood, even an expression of identity for some.  I have several playlists that I listen to when working out, and they’re all based what my program of the day consists of as well as the mood I am in walking into my workout.  I edit my playlists about once a month to update my motivation and keep from overplaying these delightful gems.

When I want to hit the cardio hard, I focus on pop music, whether it’s current top 40 or from another generation all together, if it makes me smile and want to dance, it makes the cut.  This week’s current cardio-killer favorites include Justin Timberlake’s “Cant Stop The Feeling”, Will.I.Am and Britney Spears “Scream & Shout”, Nicki Manaj “Super Bass”, and Men Without Hats “Safety Dance”. Love them or hate them my friends, but they make me smile and move a little bit faster.

Weight lifting/resistance training is a completely different beast for me.  My focus and mindset changes, as I suddenly have to pay close attention to my posture and form as well as breathing and core engagement.  With so many more factors to be considered, I need something rock to focus..  My favorite lifting anthems right now include Rise Against “Prayer Of The Refugee”, Metallica “Better Than You”, and Social Distortion “Story Of My Life”.

Cool down and stretching are important components of fitness that are forgotten or skipped quite frequently.  I have made my self an amazing chill playlist to enjoy at the end of my workout to inspire me to stay those five minutes longer and work on my balance, range of motion, and relaxation.  Current favorites include The Gaslight Anthem’s “Bring It On”, Pearl Jam’s “Release”, and Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”.

I’m pretty passionate about both wellness and music, so I’m elated that the two can go hand in hand for me.  I feel like my musical tastes are a part of me and I’m happy to share a snippet of myself in the form of musical identity with you.  Take the time to build a stellar playlist.  Keep a list in your “notes” app on your phone of songs you hear and decide you love so you can download and add it later.  Something that makes you want to dance, sing and have a great time.  It’ll brighten up your day, kick up the intensity in your workout, and leave you feeling refreshed and in a better mood walking out of the gym.

Shake it Off!


Finding Time

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-SquatTargets 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 JackTargets 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-OversTargets 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-BacksTargets 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!


Shawnessy Volunteer Recruitment – June 2013

Areas Actively Recruiting Volunteers
Shawnessy YMCA – June 2013

~Babysitting
~Community Programs – LINC
~Group Fitness Instructors
~Weight Room

Areas that your YMCA flourishes with the help of volunteers:
Aquatics
Babysitting
Childcare
Climbing Wall
Community Programs
Group Fitness Instructors
Membership Services
Laundry Services
Preschool Programming
Teen Night Monitors
Triathlon
Weight Room
Youth Sports & Programming


Fitness Volunteer Opportunity

Shawnessy YMCA in Calgary’s south west  is actively recruiting certified group fitness instructors to join our fabulous team of volunteer instructors!  There will be subbing opportunities as well as full classes available beginning in summer and fall 2013.

If you are group fitness certified with YMCA, AFLCA or Can-Fit-Pro, click here to check out the posting.


Spring Ahead

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!


Can You Kettlebell?

Enhance the effectiveness of your strength training and improve your overall fitness results with exercises unique to the kettlebell. New at Eau Claire YMCA: 4-week kettlebell bootcamps!

What is so great about the kettlebell?

  • Highly time-effective: Ability to train both strength and cardio at the same time.
  • More functional/dynamic: Using a kettlebell trains multiple muscle groups at the same time.

Outcomes when using the kettlebell properly are:

  • A high-intensity, full body workout with both cardio & strength gains.
  • Improved coordination.
  • Greater flexibility/mobility.

The new 4-week bootcamps provide the foundation of a kettlebell workout. At the end of the mini-camps, you will be able to challenge yourself with a multiple of effective exercises done right.

  • Class dates: 8, 15, 22 Feb & 1 March (12:00-13:00)
  • Fees: Member $28 Non-Member $36

Wanna know more? Contact Eau Claire YMCA @ 403-269-6701.

Written by YMCA Fitness Director Geoff Starling


Contributing to a Healthy Community

Weight Floor Safety

Please help keep our weight floor safe for everyone by picking up your towels, free weights, water bottles and any other equipment and putting them away in the appropriate space.  These items left on the floor are a tripping hazard.

When lifting heavy weights, please ask for a spotter.  This not only keeps you safe, but protects others around you should you need to drop the weight suddenly.  When using weight plates on a bar, please secure the plates with collars to avoid them slipping off and possibly causing injury.

Let’s ensure everyone has a safe, enjoyable and effective workout!


Kettlebell Workout Routines

Kettlebells have been around for decades and been used primarily in Eastern Europe for strength training. Kettlebells bring us back to the idea that fitness means the body’s ability to work well as a whole.

The entire body is needed to control and lift the kettlebell–large groups of muscles are engaged at the same time. It works the core hard leading to better stability and overall strength.

“Just like fashion trends come and go, same can be said about workout trends. Hundreds of years ago Russian bodybuilders were using cannonball-like equipment for strength training. Little did they know then that their workouts would be turned into classes in gyms across the globe 300 years later. The reason kettlebell workouts are so popular is they provide strength training, cardio, balance and flexibility all in one short workout.” Nancy Howard

Check out these 6 kettlebell workouts sure to bring you results found on the Daily Spark website.


Should I do Cardio Before or After Weights?

One of the most frequently asked questions in the gym is, “should I do cardio before or after I lift weights?”

Well the answer is not as clear cut as you think. Trainers, fitness experts, exercise physiologists and scientists are all still debating if it is better to do cardio before or after your resistance training session, if you were going to do both on the same day. There is very little peer reviewed literature on the subject, so what should we all do?

Well everyone needs to be their own scientists and figure out what works for them.

What I find when working with a lot of my clients is if my clients does an intense cardio session at the beginning of their workout they expend a lot of energy and they cannot lift as heavy or as intensely as they would normally be able to if they just warmed up and then went right to lifting weights.

The same is true for cardio. If one of my clients comes in and has a really heavy and intense strength workout and then tries to do an intense cardio session they don’t have the energy and are not able to go as fast or as long or train at the same level because they have depleted a lot of their energy stores when they were lifting weights.

When it comes to the general public I get them to take note of their goal, (lose weight, gain muscle, get stronger etc…). Then take note of their current program, the order that they do their exercises in, the intensity they are able to train at.

If they want to gain muscle and strength then they should be putting the majority of their energy into their resistance training workouts. If they are training for an endurance race then their focus should be on increasing cardio and endurance.

If you are not training for anything specific it is a good idea to change around your program every few months so that you don’t get bored and so that your body continuously need so adapt to the changing stimuli. Try doing cardio first for a few months then do your strength first for a few months and see if you notice any difference in your goals.

The key is to find out what works for you because what works for you may not work for everyone else.


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