Honor Our Troops With A BootCamp Workout

For those who’ve been in the military you know that not only are soldiers brave but they are tough! Part of their job is physically pushing their bodies to the limit. Here’s some ideas on how you can mimic boot camp in your workouts. Many military fitness moves are based on body weight. So try push-ups, pull ups, and squats for full body work with your body weight. All these exercises have many variations and can be overloaded with external weight (dumbbells, bars, rubber tubing) if needed.

Add intensity to your moves. We call this work plyometrics. Plyometrics are moves designed to increase power and speed. Take your basic squat and add a jump. As you reach the bottom of the movement you spring back up and off the floor, landing only to begin again. Adding power can be done to most movements. All it takes is adding explosive movements to your routine. Sprints, jumps, hops, etc will all add intensity to your workout.

Think about compound movements – soldiers have to do a lot of moving. They overload with external weight which doesn’t come off (think packs, belts, boots) when they have to run, jump, climb, squat, etc. Moving isn’t all straightforward work. Many of our regular activities require us to twist, bend, and move laterally (side to side) as well as up, down, reaching and more. Try adding some compound movements into your workout. Compound movements are those that may combine two or three different movements – a squat with a kick and rotation, a lunge with balance work included, or pushups with a squat jump (daisy pickers) included.

Here’s a link to a boot camp workout from about.com
Here’s a link to freeworkoutsguide.com
Disclaimer – I didn’t check out all these listings but they have quite a variety to choose from.

Its Time to Get Back on The Fitness Wagon!

I don’t know about you but I’ve been slackin’ in my fitness routines. I’ve been loving the summer weather, traveling, and playing but none of it with really direction toward fitness. I can’t say I’ve grown any rounder but I do feel I’m lacking some feel good energy I get from a solid fitness routine. As the calendar turns toward September I am motivated to start again. Here’s what I’m going to do.

First, I’m going to begin with cardio. I don’t know why but this always seems to get me motivated again. And its going to be a hard cardio session. Not a killer one but one I know I did some work in when I am done. Next, I’m going to get going on weight training. Back to lifting a full body routine 2-3 times a week for the first couple of weeks maybe even the first month. After I have my cardio (which isn’t always a high intensity workout) back to 4-5 days a week for around 30 minutes and my strength training at 2-3 days a week I’m going to start breaking into more interval work. I’ll add intervals into my cardio and super sets into my strength training to get an extra blast of cardio in without compromising my time. I’m big into yoga so I’ll keep my daily practice going and I eat pretty good now but I can definitely add some more fresh veggies in while we harvest our small garden and stock up from the farmers market for our winter preserving.

All this coming together sounds like a lot of time but really I’m looking at about 5 hours/week. That’s nothing when it comes to good health – I think I can find that to keep my quality of life high — no problem the trade offs just aren’t worth not doing it!

Exercises for Good Health

We can’t avoid messages about better heath however many people are asking what are exercises for good health? Just being told to exercise can lead to uncertainty about how to become more healthy and eventually lead back to less-healthy habits out of shear frustration.

Consider your goals when deciding what your best choices regarding exercises for good health are. Do you want to run longer, walk further, lose weight, or gain mass? These big picture questions about your future health will direct you toward right exercises for your good health.

The five basic components of exercise should be a focused on in any fitness routine: cardiovascular, strength, endurance, body composition, and flexibility. How much you’ll focus in one area verses another will depend on your goals, fitness level, and time you have to devote.

In a nut shell, cardiovascular exercise works large muscles groups, strengthens our heart and lungs, and is done over a period of time, say 20-60 minutes. Muscle strength and endurance creates muscles strong enough to accomplish desired tasks (strength) over a period of time (endurance). Body composition is a ratio between fat and lean mass and will change according to your fitness. Flexibility training is a fancy name for stretching, but is very important because it keeps our muscles moving through full range of motion ready to respond to tasks we ask of them – lifting grocery bags, catching us as we slip on ice, running to first base, hugging your kids, lifting your best one rep max ever, the list goes on. (See older blog posts for more specifics on the 5 components of fitness)

In the end the best exercises for good health are those you will do!

Workout While You Walk!

Ok, now that we’ve covered basics of walking over the last few blog posts – lets look at adding adventure to our jaunt because lets face it, walking is, well, sometimes it can be boring. You can also add this workout to running, which can be great fun! First,

Take very large steps. Try keeping your speed as you begin taking extra long strides. Do this for ten steps and begin walking as fast asyou can for thirty steps. Repeat 3 times.

· During the third round change the extra long strides into lunges. Keep the knee over the ankle as you move forward, as it will want to shoot out over your toe, which can be too much stress on the joint. Center your weight as you come into the lunge and lower the body over the hips. Do ten lunges on each leg, and begin walking as fast as possible again. Repeat this sequencence.

· Next, add knee raises. As you move forward raise the knee to waist height with each step, do ten then walk as fast as possible for thirty steps. Follow this sequence with an extended kick as you raise the knee. Raise the knee to waist height and then extend the leg from the knee out front. Feel the quadriceps as you extend placing the foot down as far in front as you can. Repeat for ten steps and recover for thirty.

· The next set works the hamstrings. As you walk bring your heels up to the glutes. Knees stay close together as stride decreases working the back of the thigh to raise the feet. Repeat for ten steps recover for thirty.

· Finally, as you walk forward raise the leg out to the side and place the foot down across the mid-line of your body, working the outer and inner thigh respectively. Imagine your body has been cut in half, right vs left, and you need to place your step in the opposite half. So each step will involve bringing the leg out to the side (outer thigh work) and then stepping across the mid-line (inner thigh work).

· Repeat the entire sequence throughout your walk and make sure you are moving fast enough to keep the heart rate up if this counts as your cardio workout.

Sure you’ll look funky, but it will put some spark in your daily walk and add spice to your routine, plus will help add emphasis to the lower body as you move.

Proper Alignment When Walking

Proper alignment is important to the health of your body. As we begin to move in repetitive patterns we can change our posture over time. This may create places where the body experiences pain and soreness, muscle imbalance, or other problems because it is not meant to stand, move, or stay in the altered stance. When you walk – do you alter your posture?

First, Stand tall with your knees over your ankles, hips over your knees, shoulders over your hips, and ears centered over your shoulders. In this position it should feel comfortable to pull in on the abdominals and the lower back should feel supported with the pelvis in a neutral position. I know it sounds like a lot – your homework for the next couple of days is to practice this each time you look in the mirror. My yoga participants will attest to the progress regular practice makes on good posture. Begin to walk forward noticing how the body feels and responds to new alignment. Does this feel better?

Begin your regular stride with good posture and then add big arms. With the arms extended swing them forward and back in rhythm with your steps. As the right foot comes forward swing the left arm forward, and as the left foot moves so does the right hand. See what happens. How does your heart respond? Can you move faster when the arms and legs are both involved with purpose?

Practice walking with good posture and notice if it changes your energy level, the amount of work you have to do, and any other changes. It may be uncomfortable to stand up straight. Know this is normal – you’ve been asking your body to hold or move in another pattern so the muscles are strong in that pattern. Notice when you have automatically switched back to your old movement pattern and readjust attempting to stay with neutral posture as long as possible. Remember, it took time to get to this point – it’ll take time to get back. Happy Walking! Next time – a workout to try during your walk.