The ‘10000 steps per day movement’ | keeping track with LifeTrakCore

Disclaimer: LifeTrak noticed me conversing with friends on Facebook about my interest in pedometers and the ‘10000 steps per day movement’ and sent me a LifeTrakCore C200 to track my daily activity (non-knitting activity, that is) and share the experience with my readers. Thanks LifeTrak!

We all know that we need to move more.

Not just vigorous exercise, but frequent bursts of low to moderate intensity movement throughout the day. Taking the stairs, walking to the grocery store, getting off the computer and stretching our limbs more than once every couple of hours.

Studies have shown that people who move continuously throughout the day have better health markers than those who exercise intensely for an hour then remain sedentary for the remainder of their day.

As a person who spends lots of her non-gym hours sitting and writing OR sitting and driving OR sitting and knitting, I was curious to know whether I was falling into the ‘sedentary gym rat’ pattern.

10000 steps per day

Enter the LifeTrakCore C200. A pedometer/heart rate monitor/calorie counter that straps on your wrist and keeps track of your daily movement.

10000 steps per day

For the past week, I’ve kept track of my daily steps, aiming to reach 10 000 steps per day. (Why 10 000?)  I decided not to do anything drastic to make sure I reached my goal; just go about my daily business and let the steps ‘fall where they may’. Since I’m a ‘numbers geek‘, I made you a table to look at. Can you see the pattern?

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 4.23.33 PM

What did I learn?

  • most days, my usual combination of working out and training clients gets me pretty close to 10 000 steps per day (one of the perks of working in the fitness industry, I guess!)
  • my step counts are highest on days when I teach group fitness (did you know that you can amass approximately 4000 steps in just an hour long Step aerobics class? Come join us!)
  • spending an hour in the gym, mainly lifting weights, added very little to my daily step count (maybe a good reasons to swap out stationary lunges for walking lunges?)
  • no workout, no walking, lots of writing leads to an appallingly low step count (although technically, Saturday IS my rest day. Should we be striving for 10 000 steps on rest days too???)
  • it’s pretty easy to add an extra 2000 or so steps to my day by just going for a 20 minute walk (although now that the bears are out, I’m not sure how often I’ll be doing this solo…)

I like being able to see my daily activity quantified; not just at the end of the day, but part-way through, when there’s still time to get back on track. Plus, going for a walk mid-day always clears my head and improves my productivity for the rest of the afternoon.

Have you every tracked your daily steps?

What surprised you the most about the experience?

And should we still be aiming for 10 000 steps per day on our ‘rest’ days? ;)

A CrossFit style workout you can do at home

Yesterday, I was excited to see a free 90-minute window on my calendar. So excited, that I immediately Tweeted about it, asking my followers what type of workout they would fill it with. Running? Strength? A CrossFit style workout?

Crossfit style workout

Crossfit style workout

I had just psyched myself up for an upper body pyramid session at the gym when my 10-year old daughter got up and told me she wasn’t feeling well. She looked flushed and was running a bit of a temperature. I decided to keep her home from school (the parents of her friends can thank me later…). I cancelled my clients, drove the boys to school and made a backup plan.

Crossfit style workout

Although I own lots of workout equipment, I don’t have a bench or an Olympic bar or heavy enough dumbbells or a place to do chin ups. None of the equipment that I needed to do the workout I’d planned. It would have been easy to let myself have a ‘rest day’. But I was still feeling the residual energy of the workouts I’d recently done at FitBloggin. In particular, the CrossFit style workout led by Reebok.

Why not create my own CrossFit style workout? And just because I know that many of you will also be faced with aborted workout plans due to sick children, pets or spouses, I decided to shoot a video and share it with you!

The entire workout is 12 minutes long. I did it in it’s entirety, but edited because not everyone has 12 minutes to watch someone else workout! Grab some weights, a skipping rope, a mat and a kettle bell (or use a dumbbell if you don’t happen to have a kettle bell lying around) and get moving!

P.S. If you like this workout, please SHARE it with your friends, LIKE it on YouTube and SUBSCRIBE to my channel!

 

 

The hardest workout ever OR how Crossfit almost made me vomit

FitBloggin Recap Part I

There’s nothing I love more than a kick butt workout.

  • Sixty minutes on a spinning bike? Bring it on!
  • Pumping iron in the weight room? Hear me roar!
  • Boot camp, sir? I’ll happily drop and give you 20!

Crossfit? Never tried it before, but how hard can it be? (I swear that I can hear the chuckles of veteran Cross fitters as I type these words…)

Famous. Last. Words.

This morning, I was treated to my first Crossfit workout ever, courtesy of Reebok (one of the many proud sponsors of FitBloggin). After way too little sleep and a lukewarm cup of ineffectual hotel room coffee, I joined a hundred of my closest fitness blogger friends in a WOD (that’s Crossfit-speak for Workout of the Day).

Led by a team of Crossfit trainers, bloggers of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels lined up in the hotel conference room to learn how to properly execute air squats, pushups, sit ups and burpees.

Apparently I squat all wrong (!). My coach, Brad had to repeatedly correct my form, encouraging me to keep my chest up and “please, open those knees up just a little more to make room for your butt to descend just a bit closer to the floor”.

Crossfit at Fitbloggin

I’m only smiling at Brad because the WOD’s all finished!

After working on our technique, we were asked to pair up. Today’s WOD was to be a partner drill. Partner would alternate resting and working, one minute of each. Doesn’t sound that bad, does it?

The WOD?

  • Air squats, 1 minute, maximum reps
  • Sit ups (chest to thighs, please), 1 minute, maximum reps
  • Burpees (chest to the floor, please), 1 minute, maximum reps
  • Repeat again for a total of 6 minutes of work and 6 minutes of rest

My partner? None other than the sweet (and buff!) Brendon from Sequel Life Fitness. We rock-paper-scissored to decide who was going first (in effect, who would be setting the performance standard; a little competitive maybe…)

Crossfit at FitBloggin

We started out strong; 35 air squats, 25 sit-ups and 20+ burpees each during the first round. Second round was tougher; a lot tougher. Legs a-shaking, lungs a-burning tougher. I stopped counting reps because breathing seemed more important. This clip of Brendon rocking his sit ups is shaky because I was a bit shaky.

I can totally understand why CrossFitters love their workouts! There’s nothing like the feeling that you’ve physically exhausted yourself to put you in the mood for breakfast.

After you stop feeling like you’re going to vomit, that is.

Crossfit at FitBloggin

Crossfit at FitblogginThanks so much to my fabulous sponsor Gaiam for supporting my trip to FitBloggin and my quest to learn new things about fitness and healthy living.

 

 

Have you ever tried CrossFit? Tell me about your WOD?

Have you ever eaten quinoa ‘oatmeal’? (I have a great recipe that I’ll share with you all next week)

 

The diversity of physiques among Olympic athletes: what does a fit body look like?

I love the Summer Olympics! Runners, cyclists, swimmers, divers, gymnasts and rowers, oh my!

Unlike their Winter Olympics counterparts, summer Olympians wear very little clothing, allowing viewers to see and appreciate fit bodies in all their various forms. (I particularly like Ryan Lochte’s…)

The long, lean physiques of the triathletes. The short, muscular statures of the gymnasts. The broad shoulders and narrow waists of the swimmers. The tight and toned glutes of the sprinters.

Makes you realize that the question ‘what does a fit body look like’ can have many different answers.

Check out my Day 10 VEDA (Video Every Day in August) video below for more musings about diversity in athletic physiques.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s VEDA video; subscribe to my YouTube channel now!

What does a fit body look like to you?

What’s your favourite summer Olympics event?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lack of Motivation Monday: three questions to ask yourself

It happens to the best of us. Even those who exercise for a living. (But don’t we all exercise for living?)

We wake up and find ourselves lacking in motivation. “I don’t feel like it today”, “I’m too tired to get to the gym”, “It won’t hurt to skip my spin class today”, “I have a lot of other things to get done”.

When my motivation to work out needs a boost, I ask myself three questions:

  1. Did I exercise on two of the last three days?
  2. Can I fit a workout in tomorrow?
  3. Can I find 30 minutes in my day to move, without going to the gym?

If I answered ‘yes’ to the first question, I just might deserve a day off. I aim to exercise 5 days out of 7, leaving me 2 days a week for rest and recovery. Maybe my lack of motivation is just my body’s way of saying ‘rest today’.

Whether or not today is an official rest day, however, depends on my answer to question number two. If there’s time in my schedule for a workout tomorrow, I’m off the hook. Rest day it is. If not, and particularly if the rest of the week is jam packed and there’s even the slightest possibility that I might have to miss a workout later in the week, off to the gym I go.

I might not feel like exercising, but I know that I’ll regret skipping out on my workout later in the week. Usually once I’ve laced up my running shoes, uploaded an energizing playlist and warmed up a bit on the treadmill I get into the groove and end up happy with my decision.

Even when I’ve answered ‘yes’ to questions 1 and 2 and feel like I’ve officially earned a day off, I ask myself how I might fit 30 minutes of movement into my day away from the gym. A walk, mid-day, to clear my head. Some pushups and a plank, just because. Some shots on goal in the back alley with my youngest child.

Thinking about skipping your workout today? Ask yourself three little questions. If you can’t honestly answer ‘yes’ to at least two out of three, you might need a little more motivation!

Check out some of my previous Monday Motivation posts and get moving.

You’ll never regret the workouts you do, just the ones you miss! (A cliche, but true!)

What’s your secret to staying motivated to exercise even when you don’t want to?

 

Working out is hard: show me your #PROOF

If you follow my Twitter stream (you do, don’t you? If not, just click on the little blue ‘t’ button over on the right), you’ve probably noticed me Tweeting about my workouts and including the hashtag #PROOF.

It’s all part of a FitFluential ‘motivation and accountability’ campaign. The premise being, that because our friends and colleagues are anticipating our daily #PROOF, we’ll be less likely to skip a workout and more likely to ‘crush it’.

It’s great to see what everybody else is up to (although some people are clearly over-achievers, setting the bar stratospherically high for the rest of us…) and it feels wonderful to have somebody see your #PROOF post and Tweet back words of encouragement and support. Because, frankly, working out is hard and a little bit of positive reinforcement goes a very long way.

What constitutes #PROOF?

People have been extremely creative, posting pictures of themselves during and after workouts (exhibiting the compulsory sweat), snapshots of the scrap of paper they wrote their workout plan down on, link ups to their Daily Mile runs, photos of heart rate monitors showing calories burned, minutes in their ‘target heart rate zone’ and, my personal favourite, the maximum heart rate they attained during their workout (that’s my competitive streak coming out again!).

Anyone can join in. You needn’t be a member of FitFluential (but of course, you should be! The only requirement is an interest in healthy living!).

Some examples of my recent #PROOF? Why of course!

and

and

I’d love to see YOUR #PROOF!

All you need to do is Tweet the details and include the hashtags #FitFluential and #PROOF!

And please feel free to let me know in the comments box below.

 

Tips for making indoor cycling more enjoyable (really!)

Today, I wrote a guest post for Trainer Kim about spinning. More specifically, about why I think spinning is a great workout for just about everybody!

I thought I’d follow up with some specific tips for making indoor cycling more enjoyable.

  1. Prepare yourself for fun. That’s right. Arrive on your bike, expecting to have a great time. Nothing puts a damper on an enjoyable workout faster than a negative attitude.
  2. Don’t ride the horn. You know, the front part of your seat? Horn riding not only takes the fun out of your workout, it also makes for sore ‘lady parts’ the next day. Enough said.
  3. Dress the part. Long, flared pants are not only too warm for spinning, they also run the risk of getting caught in pedals and wheels. I’ve seen this happen and it’s not pretty.
  4. On the other hand, full coverage of your upper torso (especially if you’re large chested), will make you (and your instructor!) feel less self-conscious when you lean forward over the handle bars in ‘aggressive’ stance.
  5. Bring your singing voice. I love to sing in spin class. It not only makes the time go by more quickly, it makes me feel happy!
  6. Pedal with a flat foot. Pointing your toe will reduce the power of your stroke as well as lead to sore calves the next morning.
  7. Pull on your pedals as much as you push. Pushing from the top of the stroke down targets your quads. Pulling up from the bottom of the stroke targets your hamstrings and glutes; you know, the part of your body people look at when you walk away from them.
  8. Drink lots. You can expect to sweat more than usual while spinning. Make sure you’ve got at least 750 ml of water to replenish as you go. If there’s not a puddle under my bike at the end of class, I know I’ll be dehydrated later that day.
  9. Go at your own pace. Ignore your neighbour. Unlike a road bike race, indoor cycling has no destination so it doesn’t matter who gets ‘there’ first.
  10. Adjust your tension accordingly. While you needn’t add as much tension as your instructor requests (particularly if you’re new to spinning or just tired from a late night out), it’s really boring to spin at the same tension for the entire class. Variety will make the workout infinitely more enjoyable.

And finally,

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t love it the first few times on the bike. When I started spinning, my instructor told me that many participants hate it for the first 5 or 6 classes. It’s a challenging workout and even those who exercise regularly find it very different from running and group aerobics. I considered myself lucky, in only hating the first 3 classes I took :)

How do you make exercise more enjoyable?

Hanging around with Tuesday Trainer and my TRX

One of my all time favourite fitness tools is the TRX. Five pounds of sturdy, nylon webbing, comfortable foam handles and a mesh, drawstring bag to keep it all neat and tidy when it’s not giving me a fabulous workout.

I’ve used mine at the gym, the playground and hanging from the swing set in my backyard. It’s lightweight and portable, making it the perfect holiday fitness tool. Taking up less room than a pair of shoes, it’s easily packed in your luggage. And talk about a conversation starter! People always ask what I’m doing when they see me working out with my TRX.

Today, I’m demonstrating two exercises using the TRX over on Tuesday Trainer. This week’s focus is super sets; check out the other trainers’ moves and the workout Lyndsay creates out of them.

Then, give this quick workout a try and tell me what you think! (Don’t have a TRX? We have them at my gym! Book a personal training session with me and I’ll be happy to show you in person!)

Have you used a suspension trainer before?

What are you favourite TRX exercises?

Things you might have missed while I’ve been away

I know. It’s been quiet around here for the past week or so. I’ve been on holiday with my family and chose to honor that time with a vacation from my computer. No e-mails or texts or phone calls. No Twitter or Facebook or blogging. (It was harder than I’m making it sound!)

I did, however, prepare a few posts in advance, just so you wouldn’t miss me while I was gone! Did you see them, even without my social media prompts?

If not, here’s what you missed;

Progressing your plank and packing for a plane ride

Exercising to look good

Hotel room workouts via Tuesday Trainer

Understanding your real reason for exercising

Making fitness a family affair via Coquitlam Center

I’ll be back to my regular blogging schedule tomorrow; Monday Motivation with a guest post from Talia Tugman of Bite Size Wellness fame!

Did you do anything exciting on your spring break?