Stair “step-up” Workout – WoW #49

Here is a great workout that you can do at home with a stair or any platform that can support your weight.

A step-up is a bodyweight exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the gluteal muscles in the buttocks. This is what is considered to be a general lower body conditioning exercise.

You can do all of the variations in this video as a progression or choose the variation that is appropriate for your level of fitness and mobility.

Bridge Variations – Workout of the Week #48

The main target muscle in the Hip Bridge is the erector spinae which runs from your neck to your tailbone. Doing this exercise stretches and engages your hip abductors, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings. On the other end of the movement, the rectus abdominis, obliques, and quadriceps get a workout due to the need to stay stable.

If you are feeling adventurous, you also try adding the Marching Bridge and the Single Leg variation. But don’t get carried away, master the basic bridge before progressing.

A healthy balance of hip strength and mobility is very important to ensure everyday stability and also to prevent overuse and athletic injuries. Achieving this balance isn’t a problem if you keep it in mind, don’t sit too much for too long, and occasionally weird out your coworkers by laying down in the conference room and doing some of these hip bridges!

More hip strength info in my article called 3 Hip-Strengthening Exercises for Power and Mobility

Comfortably Uncomfortable

Photo of a finish line

Let’s try a little experiment. If I asked you to go out and run, swim or cycle right now with no further instruction, what pace would you go at?

Chances are that you would go out and run, ride or swim at what we refer to as a “comfortably uncomfortable” pace. A pace that makes you feel like you are getting some benefit from it but also a pace that feels achievable and sustainable.

There is a good reason that we humans default to working just on the verge of discomfort. In fact, psychologists even have a name for it: Manageable Difficulty or (more whimsically) The Goldilocks Rule.

The Goldilocks Rule says: humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Or, comfortably uncomfortable.

Continue reading “Comfortably Uncomfortable”

It’s not the Race, It’s the Plan

I have heard the same thing so many times in the years that I have been a coach. An athlete finishes their A-Race, takes a bit of a recovery break, and then eventually emails me saying “Now that my race is over, I can’t seem to get motivated to workout anymore!” – or – “I seem to have lost the motivation to exercise, now that the race season is over.”

Then, after they flounder around for a while, unsuccessfully trying to get magically motivated, they sign up for another race with the sole purpose of rekindling their motivation to exercise. And sure, that works… but I think they are missing the point.

I am going to say it: Motivation is overrated and overvalued. For my money, motivation can suck it.

Races are fun and I love helping someone achieve their race goals – but races aren’t the reason you are getting to the gym, track, pool, or trail on a consistent basis. Having a plan is!

Races aren’t the reason you are getting to the gym, track, pool, or trail
on a consistent basis. Having a plan is!

You see, when you have a race on the calendar, you usually also have a training plan for that race. That training plan involves a concrete workout for most days of the week. This forces you to make room in your schedule to get said workout done. And that right there is the magic. At that point, motivation can go hang – because you have a plan!

The workouts are on your schedule and therefore you get them done. And you know what, you can do this even when you don’t have a race to train for! WHAT?!?!? I know right?

So, I am not saying that you need to stop racing (if you enjoy it) but you do need to give credit where credit is due. The plan is the real hero here, not the race, not some magical motivation imp sprinkling “you love to exercise” dust on you as you sleep, not even your goal of achieving and new personal best finishing time.

It’s not the race – it’s the plan.

If you enjoy this type of out of the (crossfit) box thinking, you might want to check out the mindset, lifestyle, and habit forming program I run with Monica Reinagel over at Weighless.Life. Or join our free Facebook group.

Dec 22 – I am grateful for…

  1. The opportunity to watch a bald eagle relaxing on a tree near our house while making up stories about how excited the other birds in the neighbourhood to have her visit.
  2. Knowing that my sister trusts and respects me the way that I trust and respect her.
  3. Possessing a demeanour that allows me to be approachable but worth listening to (I helped a kid at the gym today and I don’t think he wrote me off as “some bossy old guy”).

The Strut – Workout of the Week #44

Walking home from the grocery store, in the rain, carrying everything on my back, I decided to add a little extra movement to my day.

No need to change clothes or set any time aside. Just some extra movement tossed in to challenge my balance, leg strength, proprioception and coordination.

Don’t tell me you don’t have time to exercise 😉

Fitness Digest – Oct 13, 2019

I can’t believe it. Not only is it autumn already – but October is nearly halfway over!

Which means, for us in the Northern Hemisphere anyway, it is time to start pulling our cold weather movement practices (and gear) out of storage (metaphorical and physical) and get them back into the forefront. For me, that means doing things like setting up the bike trainer, switching my running shoes to ones with more grip, and perhaps buying some Swimmer’s Shampoo to protect what little hair I have left on my head from the indoor pool and its overly chlorinated-ness.

What does autumn mean for you, in terms of fitness and movement? What changes are you going to make to ensure that you don’t turn into a sedentary lump for the cold weather months? Let me know by hitting REPLY on this email and I will write an article on this topic and include your suggestions.

And with that, my friend, on with the digest!

If any of the following topics happen to tickle your fancy, click the underlined text to read or listen.

My Podcasts:

Scientific American – Is It Possible to Get Fit Fast?
Everybody wants to get built right now or to run that 10k next month, but can you really get fit fast? And is that really the point?

Scientific AmericanThe Importance of Forearm Strength and How to Build It
Do you have weak forearms? Is your lack of forearm strength holding you back? In this podcast, I answer a listener’s question and get to the bottom of this weakness.

Get-Fit GuyCan You Use Yoga to Improve Your Athletic Performance?
Is there a way to use yoga to improve your performance and resilience at a particular sport? I met picked the brain of yoga practitioner, Abi Carver of Yoga15.com, to find out how she works with athletes to do just that. 

Get-Fit GuyHow to Stay Hydrated During Exercise
How important is staying hydrated during exercise? If you’re lugging around a fanny pack water bladder or sports beverages, you are overcomplicating it. (For some added hydration knowledge check out the Nutrition Diva’s article called When are Sports Drinks Necessary?)

Videos:

Hanging Leg Raises: Get-Fit Guy’s”Workout of the Week” #39
It may be one of the most overlooked core strengthening exercises but it is also one of the most effective. As well as working your lower abs, it activates your entire core while also challenging your shoulders, back, quads, and grip strength. Shout out to my mate, Graham Turner at https://www.instagram.com/gt_fit_at_50/ for reminding me of this awesome exercise.

Social Media:

The most popular post in the last two weeks was a photo of me and Abi Carver promoting the podcast episode I mentioned early about how to use yoga to increase your athletic performance. As you can see, we were both pretty excited about it!

Other Stuff:

My friend and business partner, Monica Reinagel, just kicked off her very eye-opening 30-Day Nutrition Upgrade again. If you feel like your diet could use an upgrade (and whose couldn’t?), I strongly encourage you to go check it out!