Fit Friday: For the Core

I’m excited to bring back one of my favorite series, Fit Friday. Recently I have felt that I’ve moved away from fitness posts by focusing more on running. I want to get back to my roots though, so, while there still may be a running workout on Fridays from time to time, you will generally find some type of strength workout. I introduce you to Fit Friday #1: For the Core.

Fit Friday

Here’s a quick core workout that will get your weekend started right.

For the Core

With all core exercises it is important that you focus on tightening and bracing your abdominal muscles for the most effective workout. Pull up your belly, brace like you’re preparing to be punched, and make sure you continue to breathe. There, now you’re ready.

Note: While the instructions say to perform each exercise for one minute, you should only do it as long as you can keep good form. So, if that is only 30 seconds at first or even less, that’s great. Work at it, get stronger, and before you know it you’ll be sailing along for a minute.

1. Plank with Alternating Knee to Elbow: Start in a high plank position, making sure that your shoulders are directly over your wrists and that your spine and hips are aligned. Inhale, then exhale as you bring your left knee to touch your left elbow. Hold for 2 seconds. Return to starting position then repeat with the right knee. Continue alternating knees for one minute. Modification: Put your knees down in your plank position.

Plank Altnernating Knee

2. One Leg Deadlift: Stand with your weight on your right leg. Start to bend forward at the hip, keeping your right leg straight and your spine neutral. Extend your left leg behind you with the knee straight. It should stay in alignment with your body throughout the movement. Lower until you’re about parallel with the ground. Slowly return to your starting position. Do all the repetitions on your right leg for a minute, then repeat on the left side. To increase the challenge: Hold a kettlebell in one or both hands.

One Leg Deadlift

3. Side Plank with Hip Dip: Assume a forearm side plank position. Make sure that your shoulder is above your elbow, your hips and legs are stacked. Hold the opposite arm in the air. Without losing form, lower hip to the mat. Return to your starting position. Repeat for one minute, then switch sides. Modification: Keep lower leg on the floor.

Side Plank

4. Supine Toe Taps: Lie on your back with your legs in a tabletop position (hips and knees bent at 90 degrees). Tilt your pelvis slightly and push your back into the mat. Slowly lower one leg and tap the toe on the mat. Return to starting position then lower the other leg. Alternate legs for one minute, keeping your back pressed down for the whole set.

Supine Toe Taps

5. Bicycles: The old fashioned bicycle crunch is still a great exercise if it’s done correctly. Lie on your back with your hands lightly supporting your head. Bring your right knee to your left elbow, then your left knee to your right elbow. Take it slow and don’t pull your head to reach higher.

Bicycles

6. Russian Twist: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Keep your back straight and lean back slightly until you feel your abs engage. Hold your hand out in front of you. Twist to the right and touch your hands to the ground (if you can without rounding your back. If not, just go as far as you can). Then twist to the left. Alternate for one minute. To Advance: Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell in your hands as your perform the exercise.

Russian Twist

7. Sliding Pike: This exercise should be done on a wooden or laminate floor (see below for variations). Start in a high plank position with your feet on a blanket or large towel. Using your abdominal muscles, draw your legs in, keeping your knees and spine straight as you move into a “Pike” position (inverted V). Return to your starting position. Repeat for one minute. Modification: Allow your knees to bend as you draw your legs in. Variation: This exercise can be done with your feet on a stability ball or sliders.

Sliding Plank

8. Leg Lowers: Lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air. As you engage your abdominal muscles, press your back into the mat. Lower your legs only as far as you can without losing form or lifting your back. This is important. Hold for two seconds then return to the starting position. Repeat for one minute. Modification: Keep your knees slightly bent and use a smaller range of motion when you lower your legs. Don’t do this exercise if it causes back discomfort or pain.

Leg Lowers

This workout should take about 10 minutes. You can complete one set or, if you have more time, repeat the workout for a killer core workout. Enjoy.

I’m linking up with Jill for Fitness Friday!

FitnessFridayRev3

Disclaimer: Although I am a certified Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

What is your favorite core exercise?

So You Say You Hate Exercise

Time for a little tough love.

I didn’t become a personal trainer for the huge amount of money I could make. Not for the fame and glory that I could achieve. Nope, I became a personal trainer because I believe in fitness. How much better our lives are if we exercise.

Which is good because there hasn’t been a whole lot of money, fame, or glory involved. But I do know I’ve changed a few lives, so that’s a pretty good trade-off.

There is one thing I’ve grown pretty tired of hearing though, not just from (a few) of my clients, but from non-exercisers in general. The random people who come to the gym, friends of clients, even other bloggers (!). They will walk in, look disdainfully around at the equipment, the members sweating, the trainers demonstrating, and say, often haughtily (like this makes them special in some way), “I hate exercise.”

I used to consider this a challenge. I could take this person, create a program for them, find something that they do enjoy, and they would become lifelong exercisers. Barring that, I could at least make them like me enough to enjoy the time we spent together training.

The problem with the former goal is that it rarely happens. They stick to a program for a while, complain a lot, start to find excuses, then disappear from the face of the earth the gym forever. Or at least until next New Years.

The latter solution isn’t perfect either. There is a large segment of the population who won’t hire a personal trainer, so I’m missing a large part of the target audience. And while I do have a few clients who train with me because they enjoy my company, they would rather chat than work out, and they are terrible at adhering to the other parts of a fitness program normally done on one’s own, like cardio and proper nutrition.

I’m tired of sugarcoating exercise, of trying to make everyone happy, of spending my valuable time convincing you to enjoy doing something that will make you feel better, live longer, play stronger, and generally have a better life. So, to that end my new mantra is…

Buttercup

Suck it Up, Buttercup

Who ever said that everything that you do in life had to be fun? We, all of us, do many things daily that we don’t really enjoy. Do you like brushing your teeth? Cleaning the litter box? Scrubbing the toilet? Do you do it? Yes, because not to do it would leave you in a stinky place.

Even if you enjoy your job, you don’t always like it. But you do it because, you know, money. You clean your house, mow your lawn, help your kid with homework you may not understand yourself. Fun? Not really.

You do all of these things because, well, you have to, need to, are compelled to, whatever. For the most part, you don’t do them because you like them. You may even hate them.

If you spend a half hour three days a week lifting weights, or some other form of strength building exercise, and take a little time for a walk most days of the week, you can receive benefits way beyond having a clean litter box. You can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. You can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and osteoporosis. You can avoid the pain of many joint diseases, improve your balance and posture, and general overall health. You will feel better. You will look better.

look better

All of this for only two or three hours a week. Many people spend that much time a night watching television.

So suck it up, buttercup. Just get out there and do it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it. You need it. It’s important. There are many resources available if you are new to exercise and need a little help getting started. You can contact me if you have question, either in the comments or from my contact page.

Who knows. You might even begin to like it. A little.

Love your health

 

To all my regular readers. You probably realize that I’m not speaking to you. I know that most of you either love to work out or have come to terms with its importance. But, you may have, as I do, friends, acquaintances, family, that sprinkle the “I hate exercise” line into your regular conversations. Now you have something to answer with.

The Scoop: Blogfest and IDEAWorld. Gabby, Jillian, Beto and more!

blogFestBody

The powers that be at IDEA have finally released the speaker list and schedule for Blogfest and the IDEA World Fitness Convention, which is July 16-19, 2015 at the Los Angeles Convention Center! Pay attention because you will want to be there after you read this.

Blogfest

You may have heard that Gabrielle Reece will be the keynote speaker for Blogfest 2015, but did you know that she will also be leading a workout? That’s right, Gabby will be teaching the fitness workout she created – HighX!

Laird Hamilton

I never met Gabby Reece, but I did have a chance to meet her hubby Laird Hamilton at a fitness convention a couple years ago.

In addition to High-X, there are several other options for getting your sweat on at Blogfest. Dancer Ian Waite will be teaching his class Dance Yourself Fit. On Friday you can wake up to Kaia Fit with creator Nikki Warren. And while it’s not a workout, you will get a chance to get Up Close and Personal with Zumba creator Beto Perez.

Ian Waite 2

And if that’s not enough fitness for you, on Saturday and Sunday you will have exclusive access to all of the IDEA World Fitness Convention sessions, including the workouts, which include the Hollywood Trainer Ultimate Mash-up with celebrity trainer Jeanette Jenkins, Bodyshred with Jillian Michaels, Zumba, taught by it’s creator Beto Perez, plus many workshops that will include lectures and workouts. And that’s just Saturday!

Jillian and others

Of course you come to blogging and fitness conventions for more than just workouts. You won’t be disappointed. Blogfest sessions include topics such as: How to Increase Readership and Market Your Message to the Masses; Mindblowing Blog Tips; Busting the Top 5 Nutrition Myths; Build a Following on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter (three separate sessions); Make a Career Out of Blogging; The Future of Blogging; and SEO Tips and Tricks. Speakers include Katy Widrick, Melissa Burton, RD, Kasey Arena, Amanda Vogel, and many more. Check here for the complete schedule.

Friends 18

I was fortunate to meet Katy Widrick at Blogfest 2014.

Along with your access to all of the sessions, workouts, and speakers at IDEA World on Saturday and Sunday, all Blogfest attendees also are invited to the opening ceremonies on July 16, which include keynote speaker New York Times best selling author Brendon Burchard, 2015 IDEA Jack LaLanne award recipient Jenna Wolfe, and 2015 IDEA Fitness Inspiration Award winner Anthony Robles. And you won’t want to miss the IDEA World party!

And don’t forget that the IDEA World Fitness and Nutrition Expo runs July 16-18, 11:30 to 6:30. It is one of the largest fitness expos in the world, so come prepared to network, chat, shop, and eat your way through the LA Convention Center expo hall.

Perhaps the best part of Blogfest, and one of the main reasons I will be back, is the opportunity to meet so many of the people whose blogs you have been reading for years. To finally put a voice and a face (beyond a photograph) to these women and men is priceless, and it really is what makes Blogfest such an important event to add to your schedule.

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I have a special code that will save you $100 on your registration! Just click here to sign up and use the code BLOG100 at checkout. There are a limited amount of openings, so don’t delay.

Blogfest Register 2015 new

I’ll be there! Will you? What blogger would you especially like to meet?

Welcome 2015: Running and Fitness Goals

It’s kind of funny, talking about running and fitness goals. I’ve been at it for so long, I’ve achieved all the PRs that I’m ever going to achieve (unless I start a new sport, I guess), and I’m already pretty happy with where I am now, that it seems sort of like, “been there, done that” to be writing about it all over again.

2015 Running Goals

That being said, I am a writer, so I will not only write this post about my 2015 goals, over the next week or so I will be telling you how I’m going to do it, how I’ll keep this 57 year old body going, and what motivates me to attempt my 37th marathon at SLO Marathon on April 26. Oops, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Running Goals

  1. It’s not like it’s been a secret, but my number one running goal for 2015 is to run my 37th marathon in San Luis Obispo this spring.
  2. I don’t want to just run the SLO Marathon, I want to rock it! That means serious training, more mileage, more speedwork, more running. Based on my most recent half marathon time, my previous running experience, and my age, I should be able to run a 4:15 marathon. Of course, that’s not taking my exercise induced asthma into account, which can pop up its ugly head at any moment and blow all plans to hell. But, all other things being equal, assuming I follow the plan that I create (which I’ll share on Wednesday), I can do that.
  3. Staying healthy and uninjured will be very important. I’ll be taxing my body in multiple ways, so I need to be smart and take care of myself, paying attention to minor aches and pains so that they don’t become real injuries.
  4. I want to run at least three half marathons in 2015. The Palm Springs Half Marathon is in February, and the Run Through Redlands is in March, so they will fit pretty well into my marathon training. I’d also like to run the Malibu Half Marathon, which is in November, for the first time. They are all races that Alan announces, so I’ll always get that boost at the finish line when he calls me in. A little inspiration for my final kick.
  5. I would love to do another Ragnar Relay. Even though I was kind of dragged into my first one, I had the time of my life. Now if only my #DirrtyDozen teammates could just agree on which one we should do!
  6. I’d really like to keep my running base throughout the year.

Fitness Goals

  1. Yoga
  2. Yoga
  3. Yoga
  4. No, seriously, yoga. I’ve made a good start getting back on my mat and I want to stay there. I have a lot of options to keep me there, including my friend April’s studio, Yoga Central, and her online classes from Yoga 30. Plus I always have several audio classes with me, right on my phone, from YogaDownload.com, that I can do anywhere at any time.
  5. Now that I have access to a Pilates studio at work, I’d like to take advantage and continue both to do Pilates and to learn more about teaching it.
  6. Okay, I guess I should get back to the gym. While I’m happy with the strength and flexibility I get from yoga, I think a little traditional strength training is a good thing. Plus, Alan and I go together, so I know that if I go…

Well, those are my goals, simple as they are. In the coming days I’ll share more about how I’ll get it all done. By the way, I am an Ambassador for the SLO Marathon and this post contains affiliate links. If you’d like to join me in San Luis Obispo this April, use the code WOODAMB when you register to save $10 on either the full or the half marathon.

What is your fitness goal for 2015? Remember, if it includes running your first 5k (or getting faster at your second or third 5k), be sure to check out my 12 Week 5k Training Program.

2014: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly. The Year in Review

Giveaways are always a good thing. The winner of my last giveaway of 2014, a $100 Visa gift card that can be used to help her community, is Lisa B., who wrote: Haruko Sato would be my favorite story; she braved surgery to help to lessen the effects of her condition and keeps a very positive attitude. I give to my local food bank regularly and donate to charities that care for the elderly in hospices in our area and would use the card accordingly. (The winning comment was generated using Random.org. The giveaway was sponsored by Medtronic.)

2014 was an interesting year. The title of this post came to me because I’ve had so many good and bad things happen this year (and only one ugly, fortunately). I always find it useful to review the previous year before setting goals for the upcoming one. It gives me a chance to see where I am now, and make the plans that will get me where I want to be a year from now. So here is my year in review.

Year in Review

Running

The Good:

Ragnar So Cal was really the highlight of my running year. I was dragged talked into doing it by Melissa, but I am so happy that I said yes when she asked me to take her place due to an injury. And while the run itself was great, the best part was meeting 11 women who will be my friends for life.

Ragnarian

My Recaps:

I’m a Ragnarian!
The Culture of a Ragnar Relay
5 Essentials for Ragnar (and my Complete Packing List)

My return to the marathon, while having moments of both bad and ugly, was overall a great experience. Alan and I were both undertrained, which we really felt from about the halfway point on, but, who cares? Our return to the Rock and Roll Marathon (we both did the original, back in 1998) was definitely a good.

RnR1

My Recap:

Rock and Roll Marathon San Diego Recap

Blogging

The Good

I updated to a new theme for the blog back in March. I really love it, and I plan to tweak it a little in the coming months (2015 goal alert!).

I wrote a couple posts for the Fitfluential blog, which is also something I want to expand in the new year.

My Posts:

The Importance of Youth Sports: A Coaches Perspective
Training for Your 2nd 5k

I attended my first blogging conference, Blogfest, and it was amazing. I not only learned a lot about blogging as a business and a passion, I met so many of my favorite bloggers. I’ll be back, in Los Angeles, next July!

Blogfest

My Recaps:

Blogfest: It Starts with the People
5 Reasons You Need to Go to Blogfest 2015

The Bad

I always want to expand my readership, which was happening early in 2014. However, once summer hit my numbers took a hit too. They seem to be climbing again, but I’d really like to keep them going in one direction (and that would be up).

I feel like I’ve been a bad blog-friend during the second half of the year. Time challenged to be sure, but I did manage to keep posting regularly. What has suffered was my replying to commenters, reading other blogs and commenting there, and general blogging best practices. Again, something that I’ll be working on. Really, there is no excuse for bad manners.

Favorite Posts

Every now and then I write something that I’m very proud of. Here are a few from 2014.

Risi Salad

Favorite Recipe Post: Herbed Risi Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing
Favorite Workout Post: 3 Hill Workouts to Get Faster and Stronger
Favorite Running Post: Running Notes: 7 Key Points for Coaching Girls
Favorite Sponsored Post: Fit Fall Fashion: Fun at Lorna Jane
Favorite “General” Post: So You Want Me to Hire You: 5 Tips to Help You Get That Interview

Most Popular Posts

Stop the Negative Self Talk! 5 Tips to Turn it Around and Improve Performance
10 Questions Never to Ask a Runner This is my fifth all-time most popular post!
12 Running Myths You May Still Believe
From the Coach: 10 Life Lessons from Running

Notice a trend? Boy I sure do. All of my most popular posts this year are about running. You may just be seeing more of those in 2015.

Career

The Good

I started working in a new country club in November. I am really excited to be back to more personal training. I love what I’m doing, I’m working for the woman who hired me once before and we have a really good working relationship, my co-workers are nice, and I’m starting to fill up my training schedule.

I was fortunate to attend two fitness conferences in 2014. As part of Blogfest, I was able to attend the last two days of the IDEA World Fitness Convention last August. I also attended the IHRSA convention in March. I am so lucky that both of these respected conferences were held in Southern California! And that both will be in Los Angeles in 2015!

Sinek

photo credit IHRSA.org

My Recaps:

Fitness Education: What I Learned at IHRSA 2014
Inspired: Using the Lessons from IDEA World in the Real World

The Bad

I spent a lot of time unemployed in 2014, which in one way was wonderful since it was during the summer and I got to spend a lot of time with my husband. But being on unemployment is bad, mostly because they have no respect for the people to whom the money is vital. It is impossible to reach them by phone, they are late with payments, and overall, it just sucks.

The Ugly

The only ugly of 2014 happened when I was fired from my job of nine years with no notice, no severance, no nothing. Even uglier, you can’t read about it because I was encouraged to take down the post to avoid potential legal action. But, it did feel good to write about it, and if you happen to follow me on Bloglovin’ or Feedly, you might still have a chance to check out my post.

While the ugly almost overwhelmed the good stuff this year, I’m a pretty positive person, so I can even find the good side of losing my job. I wasn’t happy and it was time to move on. Getting back to the “real” part of personal training instead of managing has been wonderful.

With all that good stuff, there is still room for improvement (there always is!), so I am working on my 2015 goals for running, fitness, career, and blogging. Coming soon!

What would you say was your best accomplishment in 2014?

Life at the Gym: Asics Gel-Fit Sana Review

I am one of those lucky people who get to spend more than half of their life at the gym. I work there. I work out there. I teach classes, I go to classes, I…well, you get the idea. I’m at the gym a lot, and I’m on my feet a lot.

Asics Gel Sana 6For years I wore my retired running shoes. Yes, I admit it. My old Kayanos took me a long way on the road, then a quick wash and they were off to work with me. I finally figured out though, that as much as I love them, old running shoes probably weren’t ideal for teaching classes, working out, and standing on my feet all day.

When I learned about the Asics Gel-Fit Sana I was happy to try out a shoe from a company that I have trusted for years to take care of my feet. The Gel-Fit Sana is designed to be light and flexible, and has an inner lining that supports the foot from heel to forefoot. And they are very good looking too.

Asics Gel Sana 1So good looking in fact that I’ve pretty much had them on my feet since the first day. From teaching a fitness class, to training clients at work, then off to lunch or to the market, they are fashionable and comfortable.

When I first slid my feet into the Asics Gel-Fit Sana I let out an audible sigh. Yes, they are that comfortable. Thanks to the inner lining, they fit like a glove. So light and flexible that you can almost forget you’re wearing shoes. Like barefoot with benefits.

Asics Gel Sana 7Because I spend so much time on my feet, I really need a shoe that will cushion and support my feet, and the Gel-Fit Sana does that. At the end of the day, instead of needing to rip off my shoes as soon as I get home, I’ve actually been keeping them on, just because my feet feel so good. And that is quite an accomplishment.

While comfortable is great, since I am using the Gel-Fit Sana while teaching group exercise classes, it is really important that I have a shoe that will keep my feet healthy and cool while I’m working hard. I don’t teach high impact classes, but I can still feel how the cushioning in the heel helps absorb the shock, and the mesh upper is breathable, so my feet don’t get sweaty and overheat.

Asics Gel Sana 2The sizing seems accurate, or at least what I wear in my running shoes. And Asics realizes that women’s feet don’t stop growing in half sizes once we get over size 10 (size 11.5 and proud here!). While they have a glove-like fit, my feet don’t feel constricted in anyway, and instead feel supported and secure.

The MSRP is $80 and the Asics Gel-Fit Sana is available in a variety of pretty colors.

Asics Gel Sana 14Hmm, I’m trying to pick my next pair! It’s difficult.

I really like the Asics Gel-Fit Sana. It is the perfect shoe for me.

Do you wear one type of shoe to do everything? Or do you have specific shoes for each sport or activity? What color of Gel-Fit Sana to you like best?

 

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of ASICS.