Blog

Will Power and Healthy Habits

Psychological deterrents to exercise and healthy eating adherence are of great interest to me. We’ve previously discussed that people who are more skillful may be more likely to be active, and self-efficacy research reveals that an individual’s belief in his or her ability to successfully do an activity is a large determinant of if he or she will actually do it (Clarke, 2015; Jongen et al., 2016). Other psychological factors contributing to adherence are support and willpower.

A meta-analysis by Burke, Carron, Eys, Ntoumanis, and Estabrooks (2006) demonstrated the value of contact and/or social support in exercise. The more contact and social support available, the greater the adherence was as well as the beneficial effects of the exercise (Burke et al., 2006). I believe this is the reason activities such as Crossfit and spin classes have such loyal patrons. The group or team dynamics increase members’ consistency and, therefore, their results.

Willpower, synonymous with the concepts of self-control and active volition, is another psychological component of diet and exercise adherence. The Fell article (2011) mentions that willpower is a limited resource that gets depleted throughout the day, therefore, the morning is the best time for one to make the decision to exercise. Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Muraven, and Tice (1998) further demonstrated that one’s willpower is limited and one’s willpower in a certain task (for example, exercise) can be depleted by unrelated acts (such as willpower at work) that share this common resource.

Willpower is important for anyone who is trying to change habits, especially those involving diet or exercise, to understand, as relying solely on will power may not be the most effective method. One of my favorite fitness bloggers, Sohee Lee, writes a lot about how willpower comes into play with diet goals. She discusses how restrained eating (when an individual must resist the urge to eat particular “forbidden” foods) draws more on one’s willpower reserves than unrestrained eating (no food is off-limits), and, often, counter-regulatory eating (overeating “forbidden” foods) results from a period of high restraint (Lee, 2016). Because of this, she recommends a no-food-off-limits approach to healthy eating, and that one should make small changes week by week toward healthier eating as opposed to drastic ones. The less willpower required the more likely the healthy habits will last.

References

Baumeister, R., Bratslavsky, E., Muraven, M., & Tice, D.M. (1998). Ego depletion: Is the active self a limited resource [Abstract]? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 74(5):1252-65.

Burke, S. M., Carron, A. V., Eys, M. A., Ntoumanis, N., & Estabrooks, P. A. (2006). Group versus individual approach? A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of interventions to promote physical activity. Sport & Exercise Psychology Review, 2(1), 19-35.

Clark, J. E. (1995). On becoming skillful: Patterns and constraints. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 66(3), 173-183.

Fell, J. S. (2011, April 4). For best exercise, don’t be lonely or late. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-fitness-exercise-adherence-20110404,0,746272.story

Jongen, P. J., Heerings, M., Ruimschotel, R., Hussaarts, A., Duyverman, L., van der Zande, A., & … Visser, L. H. (2016). Intensive social cognitive treatment (can do treatment) with participation of support partners in persons with relapsing remitting Multiple Sclerosis: Observation of improved self-efficacy, quality of life, anxiety and depression 1 year later. BMC Research Notes, 91-8. doi:10.1186/s13104-016-2173-5

Lee, S. (2016) Why can’t I stick to my diet: The what-the-hell effect explained. Sohee Fit. Retrieved from http://www.soheefit.com/what-the-hell/

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Why it’s important to expand your movement comfort zone!

Clark (1995) theorizes that there is a positive correlation between one’s motor skillfulness and daily activity level. This is important because of the rising obesity- and inactivity-related diseases in our society and the decreases in activity among everyone from children to adults. Low self-efficacy toward movement abilities and diminishing movement comfort zones play a role in these decreasing activity levels, and I believe it is our job as coaches and trainers to increase clients’ self-efficacy and movement comfort zones.

Self-efficacy is a person’s perception of his or her ability to successfully complete a certain task, and individuals tend to avoid tasks where their self-efficacy is low (Jongen et al., 2016). Based on this, Clark’s theory correlating motor skillfulness and one’s activity level isn’t too much of a stretch. People who don’t believe they can do activities are less likely to do them, but why don’t people believe they can do activities?

I think one reason people have low self-efficacy toward movement is that with less and less movement over time, movement comfort zones get smaller and smaller. Many adults spend a majority of their lives moving from chair to chair, and other movements aren’t practiced so they become less comfortable. Getting down to the floor and back up, for example, is something that rarely happens for many. This movement becomes out of their comfort zone, avoided, and soon enough, they can’t get down to the floor (or up from it).  As the old adage goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it,” and this applies to movement skill as well.

Dan John is a well-known strength coach who strongly advocates that everyone get down to the floor and back up 25 times a day to increase comfort on the floor and movement ability and as prevention for falls or fall-related injuries. He mentions research that showed people who had difficulty getting down to the floor and back up were five times more likely to die in the next six years than the participants who did the task with ease (Barwick, 2012; Barreto de Brito et al., 2012). Using these patterns on a regular basis is the best way to increase one’s comfort with them.

I also observe limited movement comfort zones in many kids, especially those who don’t regularly participate in sports or other exercise-based activities. Their movement comfort zones aren’t challenged, they don’t expand, and through their lives, these kids avoid more and more activities because they lack the self-efficacy to participate. One thing I do with the kids I coach is push the boundaries of their movement comfort zones. We crawl, roll, and tumble, practice handstands, climb cargo nets, and traverse monkey bars. I integrate this idealogy with adult clients and in my own life as well. I think the best way to increase movement self-efficacy and comfort zones is through repetitive practice of activities out of one’s comfort zone. This expands one’s comfort zone and provides experience-based evidence about how skillfulness in many movements can be easily obtained with practice.

References

Barreto de Brito, L. B., Ricardo, D. R., Soares de Araujo, D. S. M., Ramos, P. S., Myers, J., Soares de Araujo, C. G. (2012). Ability to sit and rise from the floor as a predictor of all-cause mortality. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 0(00), 1-7.

Barwick, T. (2012). Can you do this? Simple sitting test predicts longevity. NBC News. Retrieved from: http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/13/15870881-can-you-do-this-simple-sitting-test-predicts-longevity

Clark, J. E. (1995). On becoming skillful: Patterns and constraints. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 66(3), 173-183.

Jongen, P. J., Heerings, M., Ruimschotel, R., Hussaarts, A., Duyverman, L., van der Zande, A., & … Visser, L. H. (2016). Intensive social cognitive treatment (can do treatment) with participation of support partners in persons with relapsing remitting Multiple Sclerosis: Observation of improved self-efficacy, quality of life, anxiety and depression 1 year later. BMC Research Notes, 91-8. doi:10.1186/s13104-016-2173-5

Sprint Development and Motor Programming Theories

Sprinting is a motor skill used by many athletes to achieve goals in their particular sports. Soccer players sprint up and down a field chasing a soccer ball or opponent player and making breakaways. Baseball players sprint from base to base, and football players sprint to get the ball into the end zone or to make themselves available for a pass. Rugby, lacrosse, and basketball require running as well. These athletes must sprint quickly and efficiently to out-play opponents and sustain performance for the duration of a match. Motor program theories postulate the way our bodies learn and store knowledge about coordinated movements, such as sprinting. Two popular motor theories are the general motor and dynamic systems theories. General motor programs originate movement patterns in the central nervous system. These movements have specific invariant features and flexible parameters that help one adapt the movement to the environment. Dynamic systems propose that movement instructions arise from one’s environmental constraints. These patterns self-organize into stable states defined by order parameters, and they are dynamic within certain control parameters (Magill & Anderson, 2013). Understanding motor theories can help coaches develop athletes’ motor skills with the use of drills that vary appropriate variables to ensure the specific motor skill is being practiced.

Motor program theories postulate the way our bodies learn and store knowledge about coordinated movements, such as sprinting. Two popular motor theories are the general motor and dynamic systems theories. General motor programs originate movement patterns in the central nervous system. These movements have specific invariant features and flexible parameters that help one adapt the movement to the environment. Dynamic systems propose that movement instructions arise from one’s environmental constraints. These patterns self-organize into stable states defined by order parameters, and they are dynamic within certain control parameters (Magill & Anderson, 2013). Understanding motor theories can help coaches develop athletes’ motor skills with the use of drills that vary appropriate variables to ensure the specific motor skill is being practiced.

Two popular motor theories are the general motor and dynamic systems theories. General motor programs originate movement patterns in the central nervous system. These movements have specific invariant features and flexible parameters that help one adapt the movement to the environment. Dynamic systems propose that movement instructions arise from one’s environmental constraints. These patterns self-organize into stable states defined by order parameters, and they are dynamic within certain control parameters (Magill & Anderson, 2013). Understanding motor theories can help coaches develop athletes’ motor skills with the use of drills that vary appropriate variables to ensure the specific motor skill is being practiced.

Motor program theories postulate the way our bodies learn and store knowledge about coordinated movements, such as sprinting. Two popular motor theories are the general motor and dynamic systems theories. General motor programs originate movement patterns in the central nervous system. These movements have specific invariant features and flexible parameters that help one adapt the movement to the environment. Dynamic systems propose that movement instructions arise from one’s environmental constraints. These patterns self-organize into stable states defined by order parameters, and they are dynamic within certain control parameters (Magill & Anderson, 2013). Understanding motor theories can help coaches develop athletes’ motor skills with the use of drills that vary appropriate variables to ensure the specific motor skill is being practiced.

Motor program theories postulate the way our bodies learn and store knowledge about coordinated movements, such as sprinting. Two popular motor theories are the general motor and dynamic systems theories. General motor programs originate movement patterns in the central nervous system. These movements have specific invariant features and flexible parameters that help one adapt the movement to the environment. Dynamic systems propose that movement instructions arise from one’s environmental constraints. These patterns self-organize into stable states defined by order parameters, and they are dynamic within certain control parameters (Magill & Anderson, 2013). Understanding motor theories can help coaches develop athletes’ motor skills with the use of drills that vary appropriate variables to ensure the specific motor skill is being practiced.  Successful sprinting relies on the reciprocal patterning of the arms and legs.  The left arm moves in the opposite direction of the right arm and left leg. Similarly, the right arm moves opposite of the left arm and right leg. A kinematic analysis of arm movements in sprinting by Bhowmick and Bhattacharyya (1988) demonstrated that this arm movement creates angular momentum to counterbalance the angular momentum produced by hip rotation from the leg movement, and it helps elicit forceful leg drive to increase the overall velocity forward.

Successful sprinting relies on the reciprocal patterning of the arms and legs.  The left arm moves in the opposite direction of the right arm and left leg. Similarly, the right arm moves opposite of the left arm and right leg. A kinematic analysis of arm movements in sprinting by Bhowmick and Bhattacharyya (1988) demonstrated that this arm movement creates angular momentum to counterbalance the angular momentum produced by hip rotation from the leg movement, and it helps elicit forceful leg drive to increase the overall velocity forward.

Utilizing the generalized motor program theory, I could improve an athlete’s running ability with drills that reinforce the reciprocal patterns of the arms and legs. Drills could initially start from the on floor, using Perry Nickelston’s (n. d.) Primal Gait exercise where, while lying prone, one presses his or her shoulder and the opposite thigh into the ground and extends the opposite shoulder and thigh away from the ground, then alternates to the reciprocal position. The next drill we can progress to is an arm and opposite leg raising from a quadruped position, followed by crawling in the quadruped position using the same reciprocal arm and leg motions. I could then progress my client to walking, or marching, upright with the reciprocal arm and leg patterning and implement another exercise such as a single leg step up with knee drive and reciprocal arm movement to increase strength, power, and stability in this pattern.

When searching the internet for the dynamic systems approach in relation to sprinting, the name Frans Bosch appears frequently. He is a well-known sprinting and jumping coach who consults for many European sports teams. It is a challenge to find original information from Frans Bosch on the internet that is free and in English, but available sources do indicate the value he places on using a dynamic systems approach to train athletes in a way that best transfers to their performance settings. Bosch uses unique coaching techniques and cues to elicit unconscious movement responses (West Ham United FC, 2014). Through drills, he aims to create conditions that optimize the self-organizing system’s chance of finding a satisfactory solution (Hargrove, 2016).

Frans Bosch’s ideas can be incorporated when using dynamic systems theory to develop sprinting. For example, the game of tag allows players to transition from standing still to walking to sprinting based on demands of the environment. This demonstrates the nonlinear behavior that is typical of dynamic systems as participants move through unsteady transition states to attractor ones. Further, the game of tag allows systems to self-organize into the best movement solution for given circumstance. Another possible exercise utilizing dynamic systems theory involves performing sprinting drills on varying terrain (i.e., sand, turf, dirt, grass, hills, winding path, straight path, etc.). This applies dynamic systems theory by altering the constraints of sprinting in order to develop robustness in the skill, another concept that Frans Bosch is a proponent of (West Ham United FC, 2014).

I think that both motor theories have a place in training a particular motor skill such as sprinting. As a coach, I apply both approaches, separately and together, to train my athletes. I progress players from generalized motor program-based drills for reciprocal patterning to dynamic systems drills that call for self-organization, environment-elicited behaviors, and nonlinear state transitions. My goal as a coach is to best prepare my athletes for sports performance and skill robustness to ensure success and reduce injury risk, and I believe that utilizing both systems is the best way to do that.

References

Bhowmick, S., & Bhattacharyya, A. (1988). Kinematic analysis of arm movements in sprint start [Abstract]. Journal of Sports Medicine & Physical Fitness, 28(4), 315-323.

Hargrove, T. (2016). Review of “Strength training and coordination: An integrative approach” by Frans Bosch. Better Movement by Todd Hargrove. Retrieved from http://www.bettermovement.org/blog/2016/review-of-strength-training-and-coordination-an-integrative-approach-by-frans-bosch

Magill, R. A., & Anderson, D. I. (2013). Motor learning and control: Concepts and applications (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Nickelston, P. (n. d). Moving beyond mobility manual 2.0. Retrieved from stopchasingpain.com

West Ham United FC. (2014). The team behind the team [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0nZsAHdDyQ

Practice makes perfect

I grew up to the sound of instructors reciting the mantra, “Practice makes perfect.” I was taught that all I had to do was practice hard and often, and one day, I’d be a master of whatever task I was working at. Unfortunately, research shows that the process isn’t that simple. One must deliberately practice his or her skill and have advantageous genetics, among other influences, in order to become an expert in a specific field.

Deliberate practice, or perfect practice, refers to the time one spends perfecting a skill using the most effective, appropriate training methods and feedback (Baker & Horton, 2004). It requires effort, focus, motivation, quality coaching, and drills that transfer well to performance. An athlete must be focused and intrinsically motivated to work hard through practice times under that guidance of knowledgeable coaches who maximize the efficiency of practice time and utilize effective feedback techniques to maximize the athlete’s development. Training exercises must be gauged to the athlete’s level and allow for correction and repetition. These drills must also transfer well to the performance of the defined task (Baker & Horton, 2004).

There are many flaws with the model of deliberate practice for expert performance which stipulates that approximately 10,000 hours of perfect practice over the course of 10 years is what is required for any individual to become an expert. Firstly, many of the studies cited for this model are retrospective studies, meaning the total hours of practice time were estimated retrospectively by participants, instead of being recorded or measured at the time of occurrence. The accuracy of these approximations is questionable. Secondly, what assurance is there of the quality of a given hour of practice? Is an hour of practice by one person in a study equivalent in quality to an hour of practice by another person in that same study? Furthermore, Tucker and Collins (2012) found that the number of deliberate practice hours only explains 28 to 34% of the individual variances in certain sports’ performance. While practice is an essential ingredient in the recipe for achieving sports expertise, it is not, by any means, the only important element.

Tucker and Collins (2012) state, that “training can be defined as the process by which genetic potential is realized,” demonstrating the intertwined relationship that deliberate practice and genetic factors play as one becomes an expert. Genetic factors that hold a large influence on sports performance expertise include gender, height, VO2 response to training (among other hereditary cardiorespiratory variables), and muscle mass and strength. Certain traits are more advantageous in some sports and less advantageous in others. For example, pertaining to the trait of height, tall individuals are preferred by some sports, while shorter individuals are favored by others (Tucker & Collins, 2012). Psychological traits including one’s ability to focus, rebound from mistakes, and manage anxiety in addition to one’s self-confidence and concentration are also influenced by genetic components and play an important role in setting up an athlete to achieve expertise in his or her sport (Baker & Horton, 2004).

Regardless of practice quality and genetic factors, there is also a limit to how much time one can practice in a given period without increasing the risk of injury from overuse and fatigue. Andrew Read (n. d.) tells a joke of an overzealous, novice athlete who asks his coach how long it’ll take before he’s a world class athlete. The coach tells him it will take 10 years. The athlete then asks the coach how long it would take to become a world class athlete if he works twice as hard and trains twice as long. The coach’s response is twenty years. Athletic development is limited by the amount of training one’s body can handle, and the occurrence of injuries delay the development process or prevent expert performance capability.

In my work with young athletes, I apply some of this information by teaching my students quality practice habits, such as concentration, focus, and intrinsic motivation. Although strong evidence exists about the influence of genetic factors on an individual’s performance potential, I refrain from teaching young athletes to attribute any of their success or lack of success to factors outside of their control as I believe this negatively affects their motivation. Further, I could do more in my coaching to promote positive recovery practices, such as quality sleep, soft tissue maintenance, and good nutrition, in the athletes I work with so they can maximize their ability to train and minimize injury risks.

References

Baker, J. & Horton, S. (2004). A review of primary and secondary influences on sport expertise. High Ability Studies, 15(2), 221-228.

Read, A. (n. d.). Run Strong [E-book]. N.P.

Tucker, R. & Collins, M. (2012). What makes champions? A review of the relative contribution of genes and training to sporting success. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 46, 555-561.

 

 

 

A Case For Crawling…In Your Workout!

When was the last time you crawled?

On your hands and knees or hands and toes?
Forward, backward, sideways, clockwise, counterclockwise?oksanakuzmina7

Many haven’t crawled since they learned to walk as babies.

Go crawl right now. On your hands and toes, down and back in the nearest hallway. I DARE YOU!

I bet it’s harder than you thought it’d be!

Crawling is called a primitive movement (along with rolling, pushup, and quadruped). It’s a basic, yet critical, pattern we learn during our physical and neurological maturation as it develops the strength, coordination, and stability that translate into higher level activities such as running and climbing.

Crawling is similar to many things in life; if you don’t use, it you lose it! Your body forgets how to crawl, how to recruit muscles in those fundamental patterns, how to stabilize your body in dynamic positions, and how to coordinate arm and leg movements. Your ability to move (pain and injury free) deteriorates from there because the foundation is gone!

I’ll show you how to start rebuilding your foundation. The most fundamental of the many styles of crawling is the bear crawl (or table top crawl).

_backwardsbearcrawl-the-21-exercises-from-the-get-ripped-anywhere-outdoor-series_0

In this crawl, the opposite arm and leg move together. The left leg and right arm “step” forward, then the right leg and left arm “step” forward. The challenge is keeping your back straight and hips level through the movement. With clients, I’ll place a foam roller or light, plate-like object on their lower backs while they crawl, forcing them to stay level during movement to prevent the object from falling.

From Eric Cressey’s High Performance Handbook I learned a variation of this crawl where you inhale as you take each “step” then hold the position in place as you exhale,”crunching” your ribs down toward your pelvis.

Once you master forward crawling, then comes backward crawling, sideways crawling, and circular crawling….next add resistance!

Resistance can be added as a weight plate on top of your hips, resistance bands around your hips or shoulders, towing a kettle bell behind you, etc. Just don’t venture there until mastering the basic technique!

I like this video of some other crawling variations:

Here’s your challenge: 

  • Add 3 sets of 20 steps of bear crawls into 2 of your workouts this week, in your warm up or as a superset to another exercise.
  • Post a video and tag or hashtag K8IrelandActive bear crawling!
  • Comment below with your thoughts on crawling after giving it a try.

For more reading about crawling check out:

Functional Movement

Marks Daily Apple

Excuse #1: I don’t have a plan

“I don’t have a plan.”

“I don’t know what to do.”

You walk into the gym. What machines do you use? What exercises do you do? Reps? Sets? Weight? What about in your workout tomorrow?

I’m going to make it easy for you and outline exactly what you need to do in the gym. Your tasks:
1) Read this article
2) Print the workout PDF
3) Jot some notes on exercise form from my cues and included videos, or pull up this article on your phone at the gym
4) Get  your butt in the gym and work hard, for about an hour, at least 3 days a week or 4 days if you can include an extra credit cardio session.

I’ll walk you through it. 3 days of full body strength training. It’s a great start if your goal is to lose weight, get in shape, and build some muscle tone.  Here’s the plan:

Each day: 

Warm up: 5 minutes cardio, 5 minutes foam roll
Spend 10 minutes rotating through exercises A1, A2, and A3.
Spend 10 minutes rotating through exercises B1 and B2.
Spend 10 minutes rotating through exercises C1, C2, and C3.
Spend 5-10 minutes on exercise D.

Week 1-2: Choose weight for each exercise that’s “medium” difficulty.
Week 3-4: Choose weight for each exercise that’s challenging in the last 3 reps.
**Never choose heavier weight if you can’t perform the exercise with good form**

Do this routine for up to 8 weeks!

Warmup

Before you do anything in the gym, warm up! 5 minutes on a cardio machine of your choosing, going from light intensity to medium intensity. Some ideas:

  • Incline walk on a treadmill. Start at 3.0 mph with a 5.0 incline. Over the course of 5 minutes, increase speed to 3.5mph.
  • Stepmill (the one with a conveyor belt of steps). Start at an easy level (1 or 2). Over the course of 5 minutes increase up to a moderate level (3 to 5).

Then, foam roll your legs and upper back at a minimum. This should take less than 5 minutes.

  • Hamstrings (back of thighs)
    hamstrings_foam-roller
  • Quadriceps (front of thighs)
    bordon_quadriceps
  • IT Bands (Outside of thighs)
    itb-foam-roller
  • Adductors (Inside of thighs)
    stuartkari072314_3449_lowres
  • Calves (Back of lower legs)
  • Glutes (Booty)
    images
  • Upper Back
    woman-foam-rolling

Workout A

A1. Chest Supported DB (dumbbell) Row (10 reps)

  • Set an incline bench to a 30- to 45-degree angle from horizontal
  • Rest your chest on the bench with DBs in your hands.
  • Use a neutral grip, palms facing toward your body

A2. Incline DB Press (10 reps)

  • Done on same incline bench set up.
  • Shoulder blades are pulled back behind the body the entire movement.
  • Arms should be at a 45-degree angle to your body, so not flush at sides or straight out from shoulders.

A3. Hip Thrust (10-20 reps)

  • Position your back against a flat bench, with the bench hitting your back just below your shoulder blades
  • Feet are a little wider than your hips
  • Knees are in a line between your ankles and hips
  • Push through your heels and raise your hips up, squeeze booty at the top
  • Start with two legs, no weight, doing 10 rep sets. Increase reps up to 20. Once you can do 20 reps on two legs, try 10 reps using a single leg.
  • This is a long video, but it’s worth the watch.

B1. Leg Press (Machine) (10 reps)

  • Position your feet hip width apart, high enough on the pad so that when knees bend they don’t go past your toes.
  • As your knees bend, keep them in line with your middle toes. Don’t let knees cave in as they bend.
  • Push through your heels as you extend your legs.
  • Don’t lock out your knees

seated-leg-press

B2. Walking Lunges (20 steps total)

  • Hold dumbbells at your sides, starting with light weight(5lbs).
  • Take a big step forward, bend back knee and drive it toward the ground without touching the ground
  • Don’t let front knee go past front toes
  • Keep torso straight up
  • Keep heel of front foot down through lunge movement

C1. Plank (30 seconds to 1 minute)

  • Take deep breaths while holding
  • Don’t let hips dip (with lower back arched) or hips rise into the air
  • Contract the front abs, bringing the pelvis toward the lower ribs

C2. Dead bug twist (20 total or 10 each side)

  • Lower back stays flat to the ground the entire time with abs engaged (draw belly button toward spine)
  • Feet in air, knees bent at a 90-degree angle
  • Arms are straight up in air
  • Rotate torso slightly to one side and then the other
  • Once this gets easier, hold a weight in your hands

     

C3. Scaption (10 reps)

  • Only raise arms to same height as your shoulders (not above as shown in video).

D. Sprints (30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds rest)

  • Set treadmill speed at your sprint pace.
  • Sprint for 30 seconds, then jump off and rest for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 5-10 times.
  • Always start your sprints with a more conservative speed and increase speed on 2nd and 3rd sprints.

Workout B

A1. Seated Cable Row (10 reps)

  • Only arms and shoulders move, not torso.
  • Use an underhand grip with hands shoulder-width apart.

A2. Bench Pushups (6 to 12 reps)

  • This is a progression to pushups on the ground
  • Arms at a 45 degree angle to the body
  • Work up to 12 rep sets on the bench. Once those are easy, work up to 10 rep sets on the ground (flat), then 10 rep sets with your feet on the bench and hands on the ground.

A3. Sumo Squats (10 reps)

  • Wide stance, booty back, knees out
  • Push through heels coming up
  • Keep back straight

weighted-sumo-squat

B1. Kettlebell (KB) Deadlift (10 reps)

  • Keep heels in contact with ground and back straight

B2. Step Up (with DBs) (10R/L)

  • Start with no weight
  • Push through heel
  • Back straight, chest up
  • Do all the reps on one side, then all the reps on the other side

C1. Deadbug Progression (10R/L)

  • Low back flat against ground
  • Alternate right and left side reps

C2. Diagonal Curl Up (10R/L)

  • 10 reps on the left side then 10 reps on the right side

C3. DB Bicep Curl (10R/L)

  • Alternate arms: right arm curls, left arm curls, right arm curls, left arm curls….
  • Standing
  • Palm up
  • Move slow and controlled through entire rep

Alternating-bicep-curl-female

 

D. Jump Rope: alternate 1 minute jumping, 30 seconds rest

  • Keep your shoulders back, chest up
  • First minute: singles (one double-leg jump per rope turn)
  • Second minute: “+” shape. Hop forward-back, left-back, right-back, back-forward while jumping rope
  • Third minute: alternating single leg jump, one jump per rope turn.
  • 1-3 rounds of this!

Workout C

A1. Lat Pulldown (10)

  • Keep shoulders back and down the entire time
  • Overhand, shoulder-width grip or a little wider

lat-pulldown

A2. Cable Chest Press (10)

  • Don’t let elbows go behind your body

A3. Birddog (10 R/L)

  • Opposite arm and leg
  • Keep trunk, shoulders, hips stable
  • Hold each rep 5 seconds

B1. Goblet Squat (10)

  • Booty back
  • Back straight
  • Hold weight at your chest
  • Keep heels down and push through heels to come up

B2. Single Leg (SL) Deadlift (10 R/L)

  • Hold one weight (kettle bell or dumbbell) with two hands
  • Keep back straight
  • Slight bend in the knee
  • You should feel a nice stretch in your hamstring
  • Actively extend through back leg to counterbalance

Single-Leg-Deadlift-Kettlebell.jpg

C1. Cable Wood Chop Low to High (10R/L)

C2. Med Ball Crunch (10)

  • Hold ball overhead
  • Actively press lower back into ground
  • Raise ball to ceiling until shoulder blades come off the ground
  • Hold for one second before lowering

mb53_medicine_ball_workouts_crunch_medicine_ball2

C3. Cable Tricep Extension (10 R/L)

tricep-rope-extensions.jpg

D. Plyo Circuit:

20 Lateral Hops (pause and balance for a moment on each rep, start with narrow jumps, get wider)


10 Box Jumps (jump up, step down one foot at a time)
Unknown-1.jpeg
20 Up and Overs (start slow, get faster!)
lateral-jump-over
20 Skips (moving or in place)


 

Here’s a PDF you can print with all three workouts:

Full Body Beginner Workouts ABC


 

Extra credit cardio session:

Cardio Option A: 30 minutes of steady-state exercise

  • First 5 minutes: slowly warmup from light intensity to moderate intensity
  • 20 minutes at moderate intensity (an intensity where you are working but not working at an all-out or “sprint” level)
  • Last 5 minutes: cool down by decreasing your pace or resistance over 5 minutes

Cardio Option B: 30 minutes of Intervals

  • First 5 minutes: slowly warmup from light intensity to moderate intensity
  • 7 Intervals (21 minutes) of:
    • 1 minute at high intensity (sprint, max, push yourself, as hard as you can go for the minute)
    • 2 minute at low intensity (keep moving but let your body and breathing recover)
  • Last 4 minutes: cool down by decreasing your pace or resistance over 4 minutes

Ways to increase cardio intensity: 

  • Increase resistance
  • Increase incline on treadmill
  • Increase pace

**use hands to hold onto cardio equipment as little as possible

Easy Peasy!

Now print the PDF and get to the gym!

Let me know how it goes!

 

Reflections

Last week, two significant events occurred in my life:

  1. I celebrated my 25th birthday  7279382038_7bacf1ef67
  2. My uncle tragically and unexpectedly passed awaysadface

Needless to say, my mind is full of overwhelming thoughts and emotions as I reflect on a quarter of a century of my life and everything my uncle meant to me and my family.

I want to write this post on my reflections- the thoughts and revelations I’ve had in light of these two events. I can’t promise this will be the most uplifting post I’ve ever written. Additionally, a lot of these points are part of my own “processing” of events, so I apologize if I ramble a bit.

Reflections on Uncle Mike

  • He was my dad’s oldest brother (only 54 years old, though), best man at my parents’ wedding, father to two of my cousins, and eldest son of my grandparents…among his other roles.
  • No doubt about it: he was the family jokester. I can’t picture him without a big smile on his face. One of the funniest stories my family tells is how Uncle Mike showed up the day of my parents’ wedding, as the best man, with hair and eyebrows freshly dyed jet-black. I can’t imagine my mom laughed about it then, but now we definitely do.
  • He was everyone’s cheerleader. He was such a big supporter of whatever I was doing in my life at the time. When I started weight lifting and bodybuilding, he was one of the only people in my family not saying things like “don’t get big,” “be careful of too much muscle.” He shared my excitement over lifting PRs, my progress in getting stronger and more muscular and we spent many a family party shooting the shit about fitness. He made me feel validated with my passions.
  • He adventured…Cairo, the Himalayas, Nepal, Europe, Yosemite. He was a tourist in the cities and backpacked in the mountains. I believe it was after he finished law school that he (and my Aunt) backpacked around most of the world. He had a passion for nature and culture. Sometimes his priorities may have been questionable…like the time in college when he spent money that was supposed to pay for housing on climbing shoes (then had to live out of his car)…but everything worked out for the better in the end.
  • He was passionate…about his kids, rugby, corvette racing, his wife, nature, adventuring, family, music, and so many other, sometimes random, things.

Reflections on Grief

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  • It sucks the big one.
  • I don’t like the word grief.  It’s weird.  One’s response to loss. I don’t feel like it’s an accurate depiction of what I or any of my family feel. Grief. Sadness, confusion, anger, numbness, emptiness, shock, devastation, sober, pensive, pained, preoccupied, distracted, heartbroken
  • Everyone says how important it is to let yourself feel, to “process” emotions associated with such occurrences, but, to be honest, I don’t really know how to even begin to do that. What do you do? Sit on the couch all day? Make yourself cry looking through old photos? Part of me doesn’t feel like I deserve to be as affected as others who were closer to hom. I was just one of his nieces, not someone who talked to him often, grew up with him, or saw him daily. A lot of my sadness around my uncle’s passing comes from empathizing with my family members’ pains…my dad’s, my grandma’s, my cousins’. Seeing my dad’s reaction to losing his brother, my grandparents’ pain from losing their son, my cousins’ heartbreak from losing their dad. These are the realities that affect me the most. I’m sad for their sadness.
  • Relationships and time are the most important aspects of life. Who matters to you? Do they know what they mean to you? How does your time reflect who is important to you? I know I definitely need to devote more time to cultivating relationships with my parents, my sisters, my friends, other uncles, and my grandparents. Life is too short to put these things off just because I’m busy with work or too caught up in my own world.

Reflections on being 25 years old

  • I bought myself 6 bottles of red wine for my birthday.
  • I feel old even though everyone I know who is older than me says I shouldn’t feel that way.
  • I feel so blessed to have such a close family and a fantastic boyfriend. My family has grown so close as my sisters and I have become adults. Our family dinners are truly the best and are frequently spent laughing, telling stories, playing games, and just having a great time together. My boyfriend and I support and compliment each other well. We both love working hard and playing harder. We both have our own businesses but make time to go climbing, back packing, shooting, surfing, sailing, hiking, to the movies, and to do all other kinds of things together. I’m so lucky and so blessed to be with him.
  • I’m frustrated to not be in or committed to a graduate program. I still feel like I’m in this “transition” phase in which I don’t know where I’ll be or what kind of job I’ll be doing 5 months from now. I am taking steps to remedy this, but it’s just a slow-as-molasses process. I’m not done learning. I’m eager to begin the “career” part of life, but there is so much more I want to learn.
  • I have a few major accomplishments so far in my life: 1) I was a member of the Santa Clara Vanguard for 2 years 2) I ran a full marathon 3) I worked as an EMT with UCLA EMS 4) I graduated from UCLA with my B.S. in Physiology.
  • On my own I’ve learned a lot about:
    • Exercise
    • Nutrition
    • Coaching
    • Motivational/Habit-Forming Psychology
    • Marketing
    • Sales
    • Running my own business
    • Physical Therapy
  • In the last year, especially, I’ve realized that a healthy mind is just as important (if not more so) as a healthy body. Achieving these is not something that happens over night nor is it something that one can just give up on. Both are essential for a high quality of life. I will never stop trying to be healthier today than I was yesterday.
  • I don’t know everything. Actually, I don’t know much at all. What am I doing?
  • I’m not sure what I want to do for my career. Some career paths have well defined names: physical therapist, doctor, writer. More and more I find that the people I look up to and aspire to be like have less defined titles. Eric Cressey runs two athletic training facilities, writes articles for multiple websites, publishes books and training programs, and speaks in conferences and seminars. Ben Coomber owns 4 businesses, runs a nutritionist certification program, has an amazing weekly podcast, speaks at tons of venues on nutrition, creates supplements, and plays rugby. James Clear publishes articles, writes books, speaks at events, travels the world, and lifts heavy weights. Bret Contreras writes a lot of great articles, does a lot of impactful research, is finishing his Phd, and runs a successful coaching business. So I guess I want to be an entrepreneur? A fitness professional? Create a career where I can do all the things I love that help people get/stay healthy and active? Impact as many lives as I can. Unfortunately, there isn’t a how-to book available on that kind of career. It’s a lot of touch-and-go, trial and error, work your butt off, try and try again, and take things a day at a time.
  •  I’m grateful that my parents allow me to live at home with a low rent…..but it’s really hard to grow as an adult under one’s parents’ roof. It’s really hard. I’m an organization nut, and the fact that I don’t have a functional, organized office space to work in, with white boards, etc drives me cray cray. Sharing a fridge and pantry with the fam is a challenge, as is spending most nights at my boyfriend’s place but having to come back home in the morning for clothes/food/etc. I do my best to create and environment where I can be successful, but I also crave my independence on the daily.

What are your thoughts? Please share below in a comment.