Executive Express Workout

Even though we have an amazing gym with lots of machines, I like to design workouts for executives using just a wall, chair or bench so the exercises may be done anytime any place!

Traveling? NO EXCUSES! All you need is a wall for a total body core alignment tune up!

Kneeling Table Top with WALL

target: strengthen core, total body alignment, stabilize hips (side), stretch hips (front), activate upper back. 

DSC05398

  • Kneel arms length away from wall. hands under shoulders. Knees under hips.
  • Extend one arm up to shoulder height and press hand into wall while extending opposite leg straight back.
  • Hold 15-30 seconds and switch sides resting as needed. Repeat up to 4 rounds

 

Opposite arm Opposite Leg with Wall

target: strengthen core, stretch upper back, activate upper back, tone arms, release tension wrists, elbows, neck, stabilize hips. 

 

DSC05408

  • Lye on mat forearms length away from wall.
  • Bring one arm up bent overhead allowing hand to press into wall if body allows. Allow opposite arm to rest on ground close to side extended straight and encouraging shoulder to roll back to press as close to ground as body allows.
  • Relax neck and shoulders and initiate strength from upper back as hand presses into wall.
  • If body allows, bring opposite leg up bent to 90 degrees.
  • Hold 15-30 seconds and switch sides. Rest and stretch as needed.  Repeat up to 4 rounds.

 

Seal Pose with WALL: toe tap, knee tap

target: core, inner thighs, pelvic floor, hips, upper body. 

DSC05415

  • Lye on mat forearms length away from wall.
  • Bring both arms up to press into wall.
  • Bring both legs up 90 degrees.
  • Bring toes together keeping knees open and squeezing inner thighs. Hold 5-10 seconds.
  • Bring knees together inwardly rotating and continuing to squeeze inner thighs. Hold 5 -10 seconds.
  • Repeat toe tap and knee tap as body allows for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

 

Dolphin Pose with Bench to thread the needle 

target: core, upper back stretch and range of motion, upper back stabilty, spine stretch, hamstring stretch. 

 

DSC05430

  • Using a bench  allow forearms to press into bench shoulder width apart while encouraging hips up towards ceiling to stretch spine. Hold 13-30 seconds as body allows.
  • Bring one arm down and reach across towards opposite arm ” thread the needle”, stretching the upper back for 3- 5 seconds , then return to forearm position taking a moment to pause before switching to other side.
  • Repeat threading the needle for 30 seconds-1 minute resting and stretching as needed.

 

Remember to listen to your body and consult a fitness professional for form!

S-M-I-L-E !

R : )

 

 

 

Advertisements

Re-defining Mom Arms!

True story..when my son was three he grabbed the back of my arm better know as the tricep area and squeezed the fat as he hugged my arm. “I don’t like the hard parts of you like your legs,” he said. “I like the FATTY parts.”  As he squeezed my triceps he re-named the softer part of me:  mommy fat, mommy fat mommy fat, which he liked to sing every time he hugged my arms.

Before mother hood, anyone pointing out anything “fat” on me would have sent me to tears. My son redefined fat as soft and nurturing and comforting teaching me that we are more than HOW we look, we are how we feel and how we love.

Whenever I train new moms I share this story. Life changes when you become a mother and so may priorities and perspectives. Ironically I have found that the more I focus on how I feel versus how I look the happier I am.

Here are some of my fave Mom Arm exercises to tone up AND feel good modeled by new mom Danica McGreal.

 

BARRE PUSHUP 

Arms wider than shoulder width apart

Change up pushup speed and range of motion:

Slow on way down, fast on way up. Fast on way down, slow on way up

Pause half way down and hold. Pause half way down and pulse

DSC05327

 

BAR-BELL ROW

Butt touching wall for stability with slight hinge at hips

Keep core tight while rowing arms up

DSC05306

FOAM ROLLER STRETCH 

Allow the mid back to stretch is important for moms carrying babies and breast feeding

Lower body is anchored with top of feet pressing into ground while squeezing glutes

Feet hip width distance (or whatever distance feels best for your body)

Arms extended forward pressing forearms into foam roller, thumbs pointing up towards ceiling

Allow head to be neutral, finding the form that feels best for your neck

DSC05352

FOAM ROLLER COBRA

Draw elbows back towards body allowing chest to lift off of ground

Hold for two counts and return to stretch position

DSC05364

WALL ANGELS

Back pressed against wall arms to side

Feet forward two steps, hip width apart

Reach arms to side stretching overhead in a letter Y shape and return arms back down to side

DSC05347

 

Bosu Burn!

When using props for yoga and pilates inspired movements, it is important to have mastered the mechanics without the prop first. The Bosu is a nice way to challenge muscles and balance once forms are mastered!

 

Cobra Tail single arm reach

Anchor lower body by pressing tops of feet into floor.

Thighs squeeze tight as if you only have one leg.

Hip press into Bosu ball below the midline of the ball.

Abdominals squeeze tight.

Alternate lifting one arm at a time.

_04A9444

photo by @luzcanons

 

 

Airplane with cobra tail

Keeping legs as anchor, lift both arms out to side

_04A9448

photo by: @luzcanons

Tail lift

Extend arm straight out shoulder width apart and press hands into ground

Lift both legs up no higher than hip height squeezing legs tight together

_04A9456

photo by @luzcanons

 

Side plank

Allow side of body to lengthen over Bosu

Legs squeeze tight together, side of bottom foot pressing into ground, toes pointed

Extend  bottom arm out straight pressing hand into ground

Reach top arm up stretching towards ceiling

_04A9463

photo by @luzcanons

Gym-Rat Yoga!

For my clients that are more into lifting heavy and maxing out, I have found a way to sneak in yoga stretches while going for the burn!

Taking a moment to pause and check in with how the body is feeling before going into a heavy set will also make sure the muscles are working deeply instead of pushing through with momentum.

Mountain Pose on Leg Press

Before a set of leg press, take a moment to stretch arms overhead in Y shape. Use upper back muscles to pull down shoulders and take a moment to stretch and breathe. Lower arms back down and continue with set of leg press.

_04A9262

photo by @luzcanons

 

Figure 4 on Leg press “The Kozak”

This is one of my favorite  hip stretches created by one of my engineer clients who loves to invent new ways to approach challenges. Brainstorming during a session we came up with ways to use gentle  weight bearing machines and dumbbells to increase hip range of motion.

With a light weight cross one leg over other leg. Take a moment to pause.

_04A9270

photo by @luzcanons

Slowly start to bend supporting leg as far as your body allows. One side may be different than another. Do not force your body into a position, instead just notice the range of motion knowing every day is different. Hold for 10-30 seconds and then switch sides.

_04A9265

photo by @luzcanons

 

 

 

 

Efficient Executive Workout

Time, efficiency and results are important when designing workouts for busy executives! Here is a quick circuit workout with one station!

With each exercise:

  • Take a moment to focus on the muscle you are working
  • Listen to your body, if you are feeling sensations of gripping or spasms in muscles or aching in joints stop!
  • Start with a lighter weight and build to heavier: pace yourself then push yourself safely

Seated Lat Pull Down (Inside grip)

Plant feet firmly into ground. Tighten core. Slowly lower weight towards shoulders and return to start position.

_04A9252

(photo by @luzcannons)

Plank on Bench

Plant forearms on bench shoulder width apart. Press forearms away from bench activating upper back muscles. Tighten abdominals.

 

_04A9248

(photo by @luzcannons)

Standing Pull Down 

Stand in squat position anchoring lower body and tightening abdominals. With inside grip lower arms down to shoulders keeping lower body still then return arms to straight position.

_04A9241

(photo by @luzcannons)

 

Lunge hold with opposite arm reach 

With one leg forward in static lunge position, reach opposite arm up for upper body pull down.

_04A9243

(photo by @luzcannons)

7 WEEK WORKOUT PROGRAM

LOWER BODY CORE foundation strength 

This class works the lower body and core with total body strength moves to build a strong foundation. Working from the ground  up using weights, bands, and body weight we will test balance and stability  while targeting the lower body  and pushing muscles to fatigue at a pace that works for each individual.

SUS_1489-2 (1)

UPPER BODY  fat burn 

Total body weight bearing postures and movement focusing on the upper body to get the heart rate up in the fat burning zone while building upper body strength.

DSC01516

UPPER BODY  sleek stretch tone

Recover from lower body foundation strength days with postures that stretch and tone the lower body while working the upper body with weights and bands.

SUS_1502 

LOWER BODY CORE sculpt and lengthen

Increased balance, stability and strength from the foundation strength class allows the body to work deeper with range of motion and resistance exercises, creating long lines and sculpted muscles.

SUS_1586

Changing Workouts with Seasons of Life

Our workout seasons may change throughout our life in long phases, throughout the year, or even every month!

I started doing workout video tapes when I was 14 years old loving the way exercising made me feel, and feeling inspired to choreograph my own routines. Yo-yo dieting in my late teens led to a weight gain of 30 lbs. I exercised 2 hours a day and consumed under 1,000 calories a day but kept gaining weight because the yo-yo back put my body in starvation mode storing fat. Learning how to treat my body with kindness and follow a balanced plan with consistency allowed me to find my formula for a balanced lifestyle of healthy eating and moderate exercise. It took me two years to re-spark my metabolism and when I did I was able to maintain my healthy weight and enjoy food even during and after pregnancy.

There is not one secret workout formula that will work the best. The key is finding a safe program YOU enjoy and will be able to maintain with consistency long term. If you get bored change it up! Balance and Consistency is key.

 

Age 9 (second from right lifting my brother)

Gymnastics, climbing trees, playing outdoors.

37625_673991618431_3106806_n

 

Pic below left age 18

Workout: Group workout classes: cardio step, cardio funk. The Firm workout videos.

http://www.gaia.com/collection/firm-workouts

 

12495947_10154060968994673_6276590690607248701_o

 

 

Early 20’s

Workout: Walking, playing with toddler, dance classes.

Some days I would walk up to 9 miles a day, not because I was “working out” but because I was enjoying time with my son exploring the city. I dreamed of being a professional dancer but felt I was too old so enjoyed taking dance classes for fun.

 

12885745_10154127156744673_5319713124548205164_o

 

Late 20’s early 30’s

Workout: Weights, Running

As a personal trainer I enjoyed weight workouts brain storming routines and formulas that would help others get results. I used my dance class background to incorporate dance technique with weights. Running was  a way for me to destress and have time for myself. I liked the adrenaline rush that came from running. I felt strong and energized and ignored any “pain” in joints feeling invincible.

 

 

 

 

 

Late 30’s

Workout: Yoga, dance, alignment

Injuries from over-exercising and gymnastics led me to focus on alignment  working with physical therapists and chiropractors to understand my body better. Yoga felt good on my joints and I felt relaxed and stretched like I had just got a massage.  My body actually felt better in my late 30’s than my late 20’s because I was listening and respecting my body with kindness. Running no longer felt good on my knees, yet dancing felt great on my whole body energizing me mentally and physically. I no longer felt “too old” to dance! I danced to feel good and no longer focused on how I looked. I practiced yoga taking time for my mind and body.

 

40

Workout: Meditation (mind workout), Mindful Movement, Dance, Yoga, Walking

In my late 30’s approaching 40 I found myself “working out” less and finding time for stillness and meditation. I found that if I was aware of my body all day with mindful movement I felt better as opposed to not thinking about it all day and rushing to yoga class stressed out.

11075022_10153286055884673_1681988091287058696_n

80

24667_423815709672_4454679_n

I am not 80 yet! I read once in a yoga magazine to picture yourself at 80. What do you want to be doing? How will you spend your time? Once you have a clear picture of yourself in your mind spend time in the present nurturing your eighty year old self. Granted there are things we can not control, the mental exercise is simply  reminder to be kind to yourself and open to all possibilities. When I am eighty I picture myself teaching yoga on a beach during the day and salsa dancing at night! I will be wearing long ,flowy skirts and fuchsia lipstick-smiling at my laugh lines and thanking my feet for carrying me through the journey of life!

Start Where You Are. Use What You Have!

DSC01120

 

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

-Arthur Ashe

I often tell clients to choose a workout and program that is balanced, realistic  and that they can maintain long term. Anything too extreme will cause burn out and sets us up for failure.

Long term also means keeping in mind that as life changes so do we, and so may our routine.  At different phases of life we may have to get creative to design the right program for each phase of life we are in. At times we may be able to devote several hours a week to activities and other times in life we may only have thirty or ten minutes a day.Family, responsibilities, career, travel, and health are factors that come into play when designing the right program, and re-evaluating of our current program is right for us.

How to design the right program?

  • Know your current situation.
  • Be honest with yourself.
  • Take action!

Why do you want to workout? What’s your mantra?

Appearance, mental health, physical health, physical rehab, pre and post surgery, sports specific strengthening? Name the reason-write it out. What drives you to workout and how important is it to you? Let this be your daily mantra or reminder. Write it out and post it somewhere you will see it daily, or set it as an appointment reminder everyday  on your phone as a recurring meeting.

I do twenty minutes of total body strength so I can run an injury free marathon. 

I workout every day to prevent osteoporosis. 

I workout so I can feel good in a bikini on my next vacation. 

I workout because it clears my head, I feel better, I am nicer to be around and I have more energy.

 

Find your community and experts for your goal

Once you have named your mantra find your right community or expert to help you on your path. If you love running, join a running group. If you need to rehab an injury find the right physical therapist that has experience with your specific need and ask for referrals. If you want to look like a bikini model, hire  a personal trainer with experience training participants for physique competitions.

http://www.fitnesseducationseminars.com/find-certified-im-specialist/

http://www.bodysculptfitnessllc.com/#!maintenance/c66t

http://www.cararuns.org/

 

What’s more important than working out?

When I first started working as a personal trainer 17 years ago, I was trained  by my managers to tell people that working out was the most important thing for their health and they needed to make time to workout above everything else-it should be their number one priority. At age twenty I believed this to be so. Working out made me feel invincible, I loved exercising and wanted to share this love with everyone I met. I kept hearing the same excuse-I have no time. So I started to ask people to write out their current schedules. How much they slept, worked, life obligations. After meeting with hundreds and hundreds of people over the years and looking over schedules I saw:picking up kids, dropping off kids, taking care of elderly parents, working two jobs, fighting cancer, closing  million and billion dollar business deals, getting divorced, getting married, hosting parties,  having babies, going to business school, law school, medical school. I found that the excuse “I have no time to workout” was actually quite accurate.We are an over- scheduled society with intense demands on career, financial success and life . After meeting with hundreds and hundreds of people  based on the people I met with -I found that SLEEP was actually much more important than working out. Make sure you get enough sleep I would tell my clients. ..Then call me to schedule a workout!

 

Explore non-gym options 

Yes, I am a personal trainer and I am saying: explore non-gym options. Once upon a time there was no such thing as a gym. Many “active” people stay fit by pursuing an active art form such as martial arts, ballroom dancing, yoga, hiking, swimming. Activities that can be done for a lifetime and actually improve with age as the body permits.

 

80 year old ballroom dancer

 

 

World’s Oldest Gymnast

 

Martial Arts

 

Carving out time

There are things we do daily as a part of life. We use the bathroom, we brush our teeth, we charge our cell phones. I’m not trying to be funny, I’m actually serious. What if “turning on the body” became just as important and we took body breaks during the day?

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. (Arthur Ashe)

If you only have ten minutes a day- start with that. Find a program that suits the season of life you are in and do what you can every day! Your body will thank you!

Every day is different and every BODY is different. Treat yourself with kindness finding the right program that works for you!

 

PACE yourself PUSH yourself!

shown below modified plank using wall 

DSC01617

 

 

Every day is different and every body is different. Knowing when to PUSH yourself and when to slow down and PACE yourself is very important to prevent injuries and gain benefits from a regular workout program. Here are some tips to PACE and PUSH yourself!

  1. Don’t ignore nagging injuries and consult a doctor with any concerns before beginning a workout program. Ignoring an injury may allow you to PUSH through a workout, however healing will take longer and can even exacerbate.
  2.  Take time to survey your body before a workout. Notice how you are standing, if you are favoring the right or left side, if you have any tightness. Only you know how your body is feeling so take time to be aware so you can PUSH safely.
  3. Start incrementally and build. Unless you are a professional athlete and being paid to workout there is no reason to start out full force. Start with 50 percent of what you think you can do and each repetition build to find your PUSH level of exertion or maximum intensity  while listening and respecting your body.
  4.  If you are working out with a trainer or attending a group class be sure to communicate any injuries or concerns. If modifications are not given in a group class ask the instructor to give you one. Don’t be afraid to sit out a set that does not feel right for you.
  5.  Be honest with yourself. Are you unmotivated, tired, sore or injured? Sometimes movement feels better when sore however be aware of any pulling or gripping sensations. If you are unmotivated treat yourself to a RECOVERY treat such as an epson bath, massage, or nap-AFTER the workout!

Make daily movement a part of your life and your body will thank you. Take time for yourself and know when to PUSH yourself and when to PACE yourself during workouts!

Brain Breaks for Productivity

 

11075022_10153286055884673_1681988091287058696_n

The first time I learned to “meditate” I didn’t even know the word meditation. I was nine years old bouncing around, refusing to sit in my chair and do my homework. My father set a timer for 10 minutes and told me to take a brain break. I was to do anything but homework for the next ten minutes, but when the timer went off I had to sit and get back to my homework for another 20 minutes. This for me meant jumping, dancing, singing, climbing on furniture. My little brain breaks of body movement allowed me to release tension resulting in more focused productivity.

Meditation (or brain breaks as I like to say) is a way to quiet all the programs running in our minds, and allow ourselves to be fully aware in the present moment without worrying about the past or future. Creativity, stress relief  and productivity are all benefits of taking the time to meditate.

You don’t have to commit yourself to an hour of yoga a day to reap the benefits of meditation. Even starting with 2 minute breaks a couple of times a day can be beneficial.

Breath Meditation

Check in with yourself through out the day and notice if you are holding your breath or clenching your jaw. Set a timer for 2 minutes and listen to the natural flow of your breath without forcing it. Try moving with your breath.  For example, lift your arms as you feel the natural flow of your inhalation and start to lower as you exhale. Let your body follow your breath.

http://www.energyarts.com/qigong-breathing

Sound Meditation

Spend some time exploring different genres of music:classical, rock, jazz, opera, pop. Notice which songs invigorate you, relax you, make you smile. When you are feeling sluggish, try taking a “music break” and play a song that invigorates you. If you are feeling anxious try playing a song that relaxes you. 

Sleep Meditation

Waking up feeling refreshed will have an impact on our entire day. Having good sleep hygiene will help us get a good nights sleep.

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips

Travel, stress and long work hours can also have an effect on our sleep. The ultimate nap is a sleep meditation using theta brain waves to allow us to go into a deep sleep and come out in 10, 20, or 30 minutes.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dpopular&field-keywords=ultimate+nap

 

Movement Meditation

Body movement such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong, martial arts and yoga can be a great way to move the body allowing the mind to relax.  If you don’t have time to do a 60 minute video, why not make it a goal to do 10 minutes of the video a day and complete it by the end of the week?

Qi Gong Video

 

Guided Meditation

Guided meditations are oral narratives from an instructor with a focused intention encouraging visualization.  The link below offers some short guided meditations. Itunes and Amazon also offer many goal specific guided meditations to release stress, and achieve goals.

http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22

Try a few different types of meditations mentioned above and notice how your body and mind respond. Start with a 2 minute breath check in, a guided meditation while commuting or a 10 minute movement meditation. Your body and brain will thank you!