cscs

A seated upper-body workout for a lower-body injury

Seated upper-body teaserBeing injured sucks.

But it especially sucks if you’ve been training for an event, such as your first Boston Qualifying-attempt marathon, when a lower-body injury occurs just five days before your race.

If you’re lucky, it won’t be too serious and you can bounce back within an month. You may have to miss your race, but at least you can ease back into training sooner once you get the A-OK from your physiotherapist or doctor. Other times, you might be sidelined for 12 weeks or more, depending on the type of injury.

Being sidelined is hard, especially when running or exercising in general is your natural state. Although complete rest with physio and other rehab methods (such as IMS, massage or chiro) is best, you may be cleared to do some upper-body exercises if you happen to be dealing with a lower-body injury.

Because I am not an athletic therapist and because certain injuries require certain means of recovery and repair, I can’t tell you specifically what to do to help you return to training. But I can share some general injury recovery guidelines and a sample seated upper-body program you could bring to your physiotherapist or doctor and check to see if you’re clear to try something like it (but modified, of course, based on your injury).

This is a program I’m doing right now with one of my clients who has a severe knee injury. While this program was cleared and given the A-OK by his doctor, it might not be suitable for you. Please check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially when injured. (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: Ultramarathon strength training program for trail runners (Part I)

finlayson-summitLast week I shared my 25K trail race training plan, and aside from the usual mid-week and weekend long runs on the trails, you might have noticed I also included three days of strength training per week. Just as strength training is important for runners training for marathons held on paved roads, it’s also important for runners racing on the trails — even those racing an ultra distance.

Although fitting strength training in to ultramarathon training can be tricky, it’s doable and totally worth it. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, some of the benefits of adding strength training to marathon training include faster recovery from injury, prevention of overuse injuries (which is one of the most common injuries ultrarunners experience), and a reduction of muscle imbalances. Besides providing preventive benefits, strength training can also help runners increase their power output, which comes in handy when climbing hills. (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: 30-minute total body workout

Happy #WildWorkoutWednesday! Looking for a short strength training workout that targets all your major muscle groups AND gets the heart rate up? Try this five-set circuit. All you need is a yoga mat and a set of dumbbells.

30-minworkout

1) Romanian deadlift into dumbbell bent-over row
2) Squat to overhead dumbbell press
3) Anterior lateral lunge with low-reach dumbbells
4) Push up / bent-over lateral raise (perform as superset)
5) Bird dog / reverse crunch (perform as superset)

Perform each set three times with 8-10 reps per set. Rest for 30 seconds in between each set before moving to the next set. Click here for video instructions and here for another handy print-out.

Fitness rant: Looking good does not make you an expert

Look how fit I am! You should listen to me! And buy my ebook! - Internet fitness experts

Look how fit I am! You should listen to me! And buy my ebook! – Internet fitness experts

By now you may have heard the story behind Jen Selter, the “fitness expert” who landed a column in the New York Post by posting pictures of her shapely butt on Instagram. Thing is, this woman is neither certified to train nor in a position to give fitness advice to the general population, as author and certified personal trainer Jen Sinkler points out in this article for Men’s Health.

“Good intentions abound—she isn’t endangering people, by any means, only propagating myths that have been disproven. She is a fitness inspiration to many. She is not (yet) a fitness expert, however. She has never trained a client, aside from her mother.”

The quote above from Sinkler’s article is something that can be applied to a lot of the well-intentioned fitness fanatics on social media these days. (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: Total-body strength circuit with modifications for beginners to advanced

Happy #WorkoutWednesday! If you’re looking to get started with a resistance training program — or maybe you’re looking to mix up your current routine — I’ve got just the workout for you. I created this video and program as part of a fitness challenge group I hosted in January. It requires minimal equipment, works all major muscle groups and is something you can easily do at home. It’s the first workout of two meant to be performed 2-3 times per week on alternating days with a rest day in between. I will post the second workout, workout B, next Wednesday 🙂

What you need:

  • 8-15lbs set of dumbbells
  • Yoga mat

The workout:

WARM UP

ACTIVITY SETS / REPS INTENSITY* NOTES
Arm circles  1 2 easy Forward and backward 12 rotations
Sun salutations 3 1 easy Down dog to cobra pose and back up
Leg swings 1 8 each side easy Swing front to back and side to side
Knee up/backwards lunge/stretch 1 8 each side medium Knee up, step back w/ same leg, stretch arm up on same side
Side lunge w/ 5lb weight 1 8 each side medium Lunge and push weight out in front

 

WORKOUT
Alternate workouts grouped by letter (A, B, C) until all sets are complete. For example, complete one set of workout 1A, rest for 30 seconds, then complete one set of 2A. Rest again, then repeat two more times before moving on the the next grouped set.

EXERCISES SETS / REPS WEIGHT REST TIME NOTES
1A. Goblet squat 3 8 to 10 10-20lbs 30 secs
2A. Walking lunge w/weight/twist 3        12 10 lbs 30 secs Take 12 steps (6 each leg) forward alternating and twist towards the leading leg when you lunge. Do lunge w/o twist if you have lower back issues.
3B. Glute bridge 3     10 to 12 10 lbs 30 secs Advance: hold a 10-20 lbs dumbbell on your hips.
4B. Side lunge w/ weight  3     10 to 12 5-10lbs 30 secs Lunge and push weight out in front. Beginners, don’t use a weight.
5C. Push up  3         8 BW none Beginners: from knees. Advanced: from toes.
6C. Donkey kick  3  8 each side BW none Kick back behind you on hands and knees. Advanced, try yoga variation.
7C. Plank 3 Hold for 30-50 sec none

Does marathon training make you gain weight?

Looking like a stuffed sausage during triathlon training in 2010.

Looking like a stuffed sausage during triathlon training in 2010.

It might seem counterintuitive, but running long distance does not always equal a fit-looking body. I say fit looking, because if you can run 25 – 34km once a week for several weeks, you are a fit person. You just might be carrying around a little extra squishiness than if you were, say, lifting weights and doing half an hour of plyometrics a few times a week instead.

What gives? I burn, like, 1,500 calories on my 30 km training runs. That’s like, a whole day’s worth of food!

And herein lies the problem: Marathon training = eat all the foodz + type I > type II muscle fibres = more squishiness. (more…)

No, you’re not fat because you’re stupid. You’re fat because the fitness industry is failing you.

litingmanFirst of all, I love Bryan Krahn’s writing. He’s entertaining, smart and to-the-point. He’s a fitness professional who gets it. His name also makes me think of Byran Cranston from Breaking Bad, which makes him even that much cooler.

But I took issue with his tongue-and-cheek blog post published last week called You’re Fat Because You’re Stupid after seeing it featured on the Personal Trainer Development Center‘s website. I see what he’s doing, and all of his arguments are totally valid; but isn’t calling people who overcomplicate and oversimplify body recomposition or expect weight loss to be quick and easy “moron[s], fool[s], [and] slack-jawed mouth-breather[s]” a form of shaming? Just because people with weight to lose turn to scapegoating (it’s the gluten that’s making me fat! Wait, no — it’s my fatiguing adrenals and leaky gut!) and the latest diet fads does not make them stupid. Diet fads, consumerism, sensationalist headlines and fear-mongering is stupid; the people who buy into them are not. As syndicated fitness columnist James Fell says in this awesome post that was also featured on the PTDC’s website, “Shaming over body weight is stupid. The evidence that the obesigenic environment and capitalism run amok are the primary culprits in the obesity epidemic is overwhelming. Being obese is rarely a choice people make. In most cases, being lean is a choice, and a damn hard one to follow through on.”

So why do we continue to buy into this stuff and ignore the advice from smart trainers like Krahn and Fell? (more…)

My Annual Non-New Year’s Resolution Post: 2015 Goals

IMG_3542Unlike last year’s annual non-New Year’s resolutions post, this year I can actually say I accomplished the three goals I set for myself at the end of last year: get my CSCS designation, get published in a print magazine, and qualify for the Boston Marathon. This is one of the reasons why I love having this blog — I can publicly announce things I want to accomplish and hold myself accountable to them, no matter how lofty they may be.

And lofty they were this past year. (more…)

Looking to get fit in 2015? Join Koru Personal Training’s January Fresh Start Challenge!

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ll know I don’t like New Year’s resolutions or diving in head-first to some new diet trend or fitness program and giving up all your vices cold turkey. Most of us are back to our old ways by February, and feel crappy that we failed our resolutions yet again.

I’m more a fan of setting goals or intentions for the year, and then setting smaller SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals to help get me there. If one of your goals is to improve your health, fitness level and nutrition knowledge this year, I’m hosting a month-long online fitness challenge over on Koru Personal Training’s Facebook page for the super reasonable price of $20!

From January 1-31, clients will participate in weekly fitness, nutrition and mindfulness challenges under my guidance to help start 2015 off on the right foot. An exercise program tailored to all levels with video instruction will be provided, as well as basic nutrition guidelines and meal plans, support, accountability and encouragement. Participants in the challenge group are also encouraged to share their progress and help motivate others — the more you engage and participate in each challenge and with each other, the more entries you will get to enter to win a Polar Loop ($100 value)! The group will also be private, so I encourage all participants to share as much as they feel comfortable sharing with others in the group.

I did a free pilot fitness group on Facebook for three weeks in November with about 13 people, and they all really enjoyed the challenge and loved the accountability and support.

If this is something you want to be a part of in January, head on over to Koru Personal Training’s Facebook page, “Like” the page and go here to fill out the registration form. More payment details will come later.

What are your biggest health, fitness or wellness challenges/habits you would like to tackle in 2015?

The 3 biggest roadblocks to weight loss and how to break through them

timber8Sometimes you find inspiration for blog posts in the most unlikely places and situations.

I just finished an intensive three-day change management course for my real job as a corporate communications advisor. I had to participate in several break-out sessions, give a presentation, and write an exam. Along with all the notes I jotted down pertaining to work projects and organizational change management over the three days, I wrote down this blog post title on a sticky note.

A strength and conditioning coach is kind of like a change manager. We help our clients work through a change to achieve their desired outcomes or goals. In the case of business, this is usually financial success. In the case of fitness, this is usually weight loss, an improvement in aesthetics or an improvement in overall health and wellness. (more…)

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