Fitnasty Blog
New classes: 2011 POST-THANKSGIVING HELL WEEK!!
November 10th, 2011 | Permanent Link | 2 Comments »

Everything comes full circle.

The fact that I got to do my whole back operation all over again, with new titanium hardware and a spinal fusion from scratch to boot, isn’t the MOST totally awesome thing to come around again . . . but! The fact that my first time back to teaching MadAbs classes after that surgery in 2009 was for a post-Thanksgiving, 5-day boot camp extravaganza? Now that’s awesome.

Why you ask? Because it’s all coming around again, baby! Two years later, the week after Thanksgiving will mark the first MadAbs classes back after my surgery, and we’ll have an entire WEEK to kick ass every night in boot camps, kickboxing, and the much-anticipated preview of the brand new “Skinny Bitch Barre”!

Not only do I encourage my clients to do so, but I’m also very into pumping up my fitness regimen and zeroing in on cleaning up my diet right before the holidays. This way, I can set myself up to easily avoid any holiday-related weight gain, and, if I play my cards right, I’ll come out on the other side even more fit than before.

And you can do it too! This is the perfect time to get serious about your workouts.

DO NOT WAIT for New Year’s. That’s for amateurs. We’re serious, we’re hard-core, and we put our asses into overdrive the week after Thanksgiving.

And I thought I couldn’t be more excited than I was to finally start teaching again! Here we go, boot campers! I’ve created, just for you, a 5-day, cleansing series of amazing, high-energy classes designed to work together to give you the confidence you need to face the holiday season without fear, and take from you at LEAST one pound off your body, or even an inch off your pants. If you come to class every day during this post-Thanksgiving week, you’re going to walk out of the last class on Friday, December 2nd setting off smoke alarms.

Smokin’ HOT alarms!!

2011 POST-THANKSGIVING HELL WEEK!
Monday, 11/28 through Friday 12/2 of MadAbs classes to cleanse out, clean up, and get your body ripped and smokin’ hot before the holidays can get ya.

all 5 days: $80
choose any 3: $50
drop-in: $20
Paypal option on website coming soon; or bring cash or check to your first class made out to “MadAbs Fitness”.

Monday, 11/28: BOOT CAMP! in the Annex Gym at Miller Community Center (19th & Thomas, map), 6:30-7:30 pm.

Tuesday, 11/29:  ”Skinny Bitch Barre” (new!!) in the multi-purpose room at Montlake Community Center (18th and Calhoun, map), 5:30-6:30 pm.

Wednesday, 11/30: Cardio Kickboxing  in the multi-purpose room at Miller Community Center, 6:30-7:30 pm

Thursday, 12/1: “Sculpt” in the multi-purpose room at Montlake Community Center, 6:30-7:30 pm.

Friday, 12/2: Climbing Boot Camp at the E. Howe Stairs (10th St. & E. Howe, map), 6:00-7:00 AM.

And there you have it!! I’ve been drooling over my daydreams of finally getting back to teaching, and I’m so excited to go back that I can hardly contain myself! . . . hence the drooling. I’ll probably have that issue taken care of by the time I’m yelling at you to do five more burpees, though :)

Sign up now!! Please email RSVP with madelyn@madabsfitness.com as soon as possible with your name, how many people you’re bringing with you and who they are, and what package you’ll be choosing and which days you plan on coming. Plus, check this out—–>

THE FIRST TEN TO RSVP CAN BRING ONE GUEST ALL WEEK FOR FREE!!

So get your buns moving and get ready to get fitnasty, exiting class on the last day feeling hotter than you have all year. And that’s no joke.

Let’s talk dates! The scheduling for fall/winter begins today!
October 17th, 2011 | Permanent Link | 1 Comment »

It’s the announcement you’ve been waiting for all summer! I’m going into the Miller Community Center today to set up some classes for fall. Yippee!!

It’s been 12 weeks since the spinal fusion operation that put me out this July, and I’ve taken the smallest tiniest baby steps ever to get full exercise clearance. But first things first, I need to go into Miller to see what days and times are available for the classes that we want. Plus, MadAbs is expecting a totally killer deal with Living Social to premiere in the next couple of months, so we’ve got to start getting our fitnasty on now!

Here’s the Fall 2011/Winter 2012 Schedule that I proposed in September, and the weekly order that I’m going for. Have comments or suggestions? These are YOUR CLASSES! So don’t hesitate to weigh in on what you want out of them.

Cardio Kickbox/Core Crunch
This high-intensity shadow-boxing class revs your cardio up to a level we rarely achieve on our own–myself included! Cardio Kickboxing is a crazy-fun way to tone your tone your upper-body anddrip body fat all while getting a little agression out, leaving you feeling invigorated, sassy, and a little hard-core. After that 45 minute butt-kicking comes Core Crunch, a 25-minute ab-tastic voyage that brings you miles closer to your dream six-pack every day you come to class.

Cardio Kickboing- 45 minutes

Core Crunch- 25 minutes

Miller Community Center, (19th & Thomas, Capitol Hill)

Sculpt
It’s back by popular demand! This low-impact and lower intensity class uses dumbbells to helps you get your weight-lifting on. Working with weights is essential in reducing body fat, and I’ll help coach you and your form with exercises like deadlifts, back rows, chest presses to tone and sculpt your body. Come to “Sculpt” to tone, and watch your reflection get rock-solid by New Year’s!

60 minutes

Miller Community Center (19th & Thomas, Capitol Hill)

Skinny Bitch Barre
Join Abigail (she’s the “Abs” in MadAbs!) for this low-impact class that will completely reshape your body to make your muscles longer and leaner, and make you more flexible and smokin’ hot than you’ve ever been. Barre class revolves around the traditional ballerina’s bar as a prop for insane all-over toning while helping you focus on balance and breathing.

45 minutes

Miller Community Center (19th & Thomas, Capitol Hill)

The Water Tower Boot Camp
You hate it sooo hard, but no one can deny that the water tower at Volunteer Park delivers one of the most amazing workouts you can get in less than an hour. We’ll do around 10 sets of those infamous stairs to rock your cardio and tone the hell out of your legs, plus do intervals of upper-body and core exercises at the top of the tower using Madelyn’s resistance bands. You’ll love to hate it, but don’t be surprised if you can’t wait to come back for more.

60 minutes

Volunteer Park (Capitol Hill)

Get 20% off fitness equipment at Target!
October 9th, 2011 | Permanent Link | No Comments »

Did you read yesterday’s blog post on how to build your own at-home fitnasty center? If you were inspired to get started but lacking in the cash monies department, I have wonderful news for you! Because I’m now an old, old, old lady, I was drinking my coffee this Sunday morning at 7:30 am, reading the Seattle Times and cutting out coupons . . . Yes, I was actually cutting out coupons. I wish I could just turn 30 already and get it over with.

Anyway! That’s not the good news! The good news is that I saw THIS!

Pack a lunch and make the trek to Northgate!

That’s right! All fitness equipment is TWENTY PERCENT OFF! If you need a better excuse than that to get going on your totally awesome hypothetical home gym, then . . . you’re really good at excuse-ing.

Your Fitnasty Home Zone: get the basic equipment
October 8th, 2011 | Permanent Link | No Comments »

Not only is it completely unnecessary to have a gym membership to get in the best shape of your life, but if you have the right equipment, there can be tons of benefits to working out in your home instead of in a gym! Here are a few reasons to stock up on your own equipment like, today:

  • If you’re just beginning your journey to fitnastiness, gyms can be intimidating, and being in front of a bunch of strangers while you working out can sound terrifying. When I first began my journey, (I used to be THIRTY POUNDS heavier, y’all!) I locked myself in my spare bedroom to practice my moves—I wouldn’t even let my boyfriend so much as sneak a peek in my direction while I was exercising! That time alone allowed me to work at myself, drop some body fat and increase my fitness level so that soon, I felt confident enough and knew enough exercises to work out in public.
  • Save money! Not only do you not have to worry about a monthly bill that you feel guilty about not using sometimes, but purchasing the few, inexpensive pieces it takes to make up a home gym is a great investment that you can have and hold.
  • It saves a crazy amount of time. Which, as a personal trainer, is one of my favorite reasons for home gyms—it helps eliminate the ancient and very much hated virus that plagues all fitness plans (and a dirty word in my house growing up): EXCUSES! If your equipment is in a storage container under your bed, it can’t get a whole lot more convenient than to roll out of bed and get a super-quick workout in before your shower or even a 5-minute homework assignment before bed that will put you on the fast-track to your goals.

One of my favorite clients decided to spice things up a bit and so her husband began to join us for our sessions together, and going a step further, decided that they’d love to be able to work out on their own property. So! One dumbbell and medicine ball at a time, we’re turning their garage in to a little piece of MadAbs heaven. *Ahem!* I mean their own personal fitness facility! For them, of course. Of course.

Check out the list of stuff I recommend that they get. It’s a great list to reference because this husband-wife team is in very common fitness-level ground, not too high or low at any extremes, and there are, obviously, both genders involved. Be sure to check out the links to websites with good prices!

  1. pull-up bar, $20-30; most can easily be inserted in a bedroom doorway without doing any damage at all, and can be removed just as easily. (link)
  2. woody bands, $15-20; in my opinion, these are essential to any gym, home or not. The band attaches to a pull-up bar and loops below the participant’s knees or feet to give them the boost they need to make a full pull-up without sacrificing form. That way you can strengthen the muscles needed for doing actual pull-ups so that a future where you can really do pull-ups on your own is well within your goal-sight. (get heavier resistance for women and beginners, lighter resistance for men and advanced peeps) (Rogue Fitness)
  3. kettlebell, $20-$50 (price depends on weight; I recommend a 20# bell for women, a 35# bell for men); this piece of “wonder” equipment is very on trend right now, and it’s no wonder why: you can do a million different exercises with it! K-bells are also great because working with them recruits multiple muscle groups to work together at the same time, especially your core. This versatile little weight is essential to your home gym. (
  4. Hooverball medicine ball, $35-60+; like the kettlebell, this is a crazy-versatile piece of equipment. The “Hooverball” version is much larger and softer than smaller, harder and usually rubber medicine ball that usually comes to mind. The benefit of having the large version is that you can do so much more with it, like wall balls (a SUPER favorite exercise of mine!! almost as much as burpees!!), pass to other people or slam it on the ground, or even play actual Hooverball, which is like volleyball but way more of a workout. (Amazon) (Rogue Fitness)
  5. air disc, $13; relatively small and lightweight, these air-filled cushions can be used a hundred different ways to make exercises more or differently challenging by working on balance and stability. They’re a great alternative to BOSU Balance Trainers, which are awesome but expensive and take up a lot of space. (Amazon)

    These light-weight balance discs are a great alternative to BOSU balls, and ultra portable, too.

  6. jump rope, $5-30; jump ropes are instant cardio, and much cheaper than a treadmill! (Amazon) (Target)
  7. dumbbells, $10+ per set; free weights kick gym machines asses any day of the WEEK, baby! I recommend having a set of 5# and 10# weights for women; and 8#, 12#, and 20# for men, depending on fitness level. Also, I recommend buying these at an actual store, as shipping from an online source is usually expensive. (Sportsmith) (Target)
Leah’s Carnita Goodness! (another BOMB Paleo meal from my Paleo all-star!)
October 4th, 2011 | Permanent Link | No Comments »

Thanks for everyone’s patience with my absence during the past few days! I’ve been sick as a dog, roving from bathroom to bed and back again—not fun. But Colin has been taking amazing care of me, so now I’m a rockstar, back from the dead and better than ever, only a slightly bogged-down/ridiculously-busy-because-I-have-been-avoiding-my-ever-growing-inbox-like-the-bubonic-plague-because-it’s-so-scary type of rockstar. Ya know, that type. So thanks for everyone’s patience in waiting for a reply from me via email, and thanks to YOU, darling little Fitnasty Blog readers!

In honor of the ripples of orange, red, and yellow burning through the treetops that comes with the onset of one of my favorite seasons, today I give you a super tasty recipe that will most definitely warm your tum-tum and please your partner.

My Paleo Diet all-star Leah, (and pretty much all-star in general, she’s the one who was doing the dive bombers in the push-up blog a few days back–what a bad-ass!) is always coming up with shockingly scrumptious ways to make meals that not only send your taste buds to heaven but meet the high Paleo cooking standards of wholly nutritional, super-good-for-you food.

In May we enjoyed her Coconut Chicken Fingers with Cauliflower Rice, and now she gives us: “Leah’s Carnita Goodness”! What are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Leah’s Carnita Goodness!!

What you need:

  • Pork Shoulder (Whole Foods and Madison Market Co-Op are great places to get really good pork)
  • Chicken broth 1-2 cups
  • Spice mix: 1) 3ish teaspoons garlic powder (or I use fresh minced garlic  add it when I add the broth), 2) 1 tablespoon cumin, 3) 1 ½  teaspoon crumbled dried oregano, 4) 1 ½ teaspoon ground coriander, 5) 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or one cinnamon stick broke in 1/2
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth

The fixings:

  • green cabbage to use as tortillas (or you could use tortillas)
  • guacamole
  • fresh pico de gallo
  • fresh cilantro
  • limes

Follow these steps to make a very tasty meal:

  1. Sprinkle all sides of salt. Next coat the pork with the spice mixture. I really massage it in.
  2. Place the bay leaves in the slow cooker. Set the coated pork on top of the leaves and pour the liquid around it. This is when I add the cinnamon stick.
  3. Cook on low until it comes apart with a fork, around 8 hours, or more. Turn it over halfway through. OR you can cook it on high for 4 hours (turning halfway through).

You could totally eat it now…but it wouldn’t be as amazing as if you do the next step. Now – this is what makes it B.O.M.B!!!

Turn the oven on broil. Place the shredded pork shoulder on cookie sheet and place in the oven for 4-6minutes until it is nice and crispy. Give it a shake half way through. (you may need to go longer depending on your oven).

Now, make some carnita tacos and enjoy  one amazing, Paleo-licious meal!

Check back with me tomorrow for a blog I’m really excited about: “The Bare Bone Essentials for Your Totally Fitnasty Workout Zone in Your Home”!

This just in! “President’s Posture is Positively Poor!”
September 29th, 2011 | Permanent Link | 1 Comment »

My adorable mother called me this morning and told me a really cute story about how she “saw” President Obama this past weekend. And since I got a hold of this story, I’m going to pass it along to you, yippee!

But first, a little Obama-related fitness news. This picture on HuffingtonPost.com caught my eye today; check it out:

What’s wrong with this picture?

…what’s going on here, Prez?!

The worst posture ever is what’s going on here! Yeah, I know he has like “stuff to do” and “a country to run” and all that, but I expect much better posture from one of our fittest Commanders in Chief!

Having good posture is not only good for your body, (it enforces proper alignment which helps ensure weight and stress is distributed to the right places on your body which may help you avoid injuries in the long run) but it can take several visual pounds off your frame and make you look much sexier all around.

Back when I was dating…I mean, I never really dated before you Colin…but if I were to ever have dated, I might have gotten complimented on my posture quite a bit! It’s not much, but hey, I took what I could get! I mean, *ahem*, I would have taken what I could get, *ahem*.

Here are some easy tips to improve your posture:

  1. Using a mirror, align your ears, shoulders and hips, and find the natural ‘S’ curve of your body.
  2. Roll your shoulders backward and engage the muscles between your shoulder blades by “turning them on”.
  3. Work on strengthening your upper back and rear shoulders. Here’s an awesome exercise that you can do while you’ve got 30 seconds to kill, “Be a penguin”: place elbows at your side, and touch your shoulders with your hands. Keeping your hands on your shoulders and your ears aligned, raise both elbows (count one, two) and lower them back to your waist (count one, two). Do as many reps as your wait allows.
  4. Always sleep on a firm mattress and never on your stomach.
  5. Stand against a wall with your shoulders and butt touching wall. Here, the back of your head should also touch the wall – if it doesn’t your head is carried too far forward. (If you’re like me, be sure to account for a full derrière!)
  6. And dun-dun-dun-dun…the answer to so many of our day-to-day problems: move more!

Now! You’ve waited so patiently for it, and here it is!

The Story of My Mom’s Encounter With the President
This past weekend, my two moms had to travel through Seattle on their way home from visiting family in Ocean Park, and having caught wind that the president was going to be in town too, they looked up info on the Internets about how/where to avoid getting stuck behind any freeway closures, blockades etc.

Some navigation around I-5, 405 and 520 ensued, (and to be honest I really don’t remember where this story ended up taking place, please forgive me Mom!) and the two wound up on a highway they were sure was going to be clear, only to be behind a back-up that went on for days.

They decided to finagle their way to an off-ramp and once having escaped the highway, they encountered what appeared to be a little crowd gathered on either side of the street in what looked like anticipation for a parade!

“What’s going on here?!” my mom inquired one of the women lining the residential street.

Obama was what was going on here! And my mom, positively tickled pink at the idea of seeing the president, waved enthusiastically for her partner to join her on the side of the road. Sure enough, a motorcade began to flow down the street in just minutes! Fifty motorcycles led several unmarked black cars down the street, the parade culminating in two identical black limos adorned with teeny tiny American flags as well as a general aura of awesomeness.

And there, inside one of those limos was the President of the United States of America, and my moms could tooootally envision him waving to them from the inside, just as clear as day.

So yes, they didn’t actually “see” the president. And yes, yes, this story has nothing to do with fitness at all, whatsoever. But it was a good story, wasn’t it? …wasn’t it?

The answer is YES! Mom, that was an AWESOME STORY!! I love you!

Love, Madelyn <3

Baby steps part III: SIT-UPS!
September 27th, 2011 | Permanent Link | No Comments »

For the baby-steppers and beginners, doing sit-ups for the first time or starting again for the first time in a long time is a feat in itself, especially if you’re a little overweight–old school sit-ups are tough!

But, as my clients and students are accustomed to hearing me say, that’s a fanTASTIC reason to do them! If something is hard, or if you absolutely hate doing them (usually this is because they’re hard :) ), then you should make doing that exercise your priority until it becomes easier and not as hated. Translation=do burpees every day!!

The traditional sit-up is well-known to anyone who participated in elementary school P.E., so I’m not going to go over it here. I’m going to show you a modification on the old-school sit-up that is spiked with cardio and is actually a bit easier than the traditional version. But! this is NOT because I’m going easy on you, it’s so that you can do more of them, and faster! Hooray!

The exercise: The Cardio Spiked Sit-up
Sit-ups are, as you probably know, a simple exercise that targets and strengthens the abdominal muscles as a whole. What most of us forget, is that there are a lot of muscles and other good stuff that connects the torso to the lower body, and all that stuff needs strengthening too! So if you’re spending all your core-work time devoted to crunches–and I know you all have at least one day a week with a specific “core-work time”, right?–then you’re hurting your hip flexors by way of ignoring them, and strengthening the muscles around them without working them, thereby creating a potentially dangerous imbalance. Scared?? Good! Do sit-ups! Yay!

Here I am so happy I'm going to be doing sit-ups! Start like so, on a mat, your feet wide enough to tap the space between them, knees bent, feet flat on mat. Oh, and smiling.

From your starting position, lean back to the floor, but be mindful of using your abs muscles instead of just flopping down to the mat. No flopping. Keep your arms outstretched the whole time, (hands NOT touching each other) and tap the floor behind you before using your upper body to help you swing back up to sitting. Do not rest down here or take a nap.

This is where my sit-up is a bit easier---use the momentum of your upper body and swing yourself back up to sitting. Make a fist and pretend like you're pulling a sheet or cape up behind you. (Cause you're a superhero!) Keep your feet on the floor!! and your butt solidly planted there as well.

You're nearly there! Keep your arms outstretched this entire time, and don't interlace your fingers together. Reach toward your toes, exhaling as you come up.

Donezo bonanzo-cakes! Quickly tap the space between your feet, actively crunch your abs, start from the top and rinse & repeat!

These are made to be done fast and in high quantity. But, of course you’ll get a different benefit if you do them slow too, and it’s all about keeping your body guessing, so mix it up!
The assignment: the first week week, every Monday do 5 intervals of 60 seconds of as many sit-ups as you can with a 30-second break in between. The second week, keep your Monday assignment as is, and add in a “sit-up tabata” on Friday. (Learn more about what a tabata is here and here, and here’s some quick instructions on how to do a sit-up tabata for now: for 20 seconds, go totally balls to the walls, working as hard as you possibly can and bust out as many sit-ups as physically possible for you, then rest for 10 seconds, then repeat for 8 rounds. The key here is to remember that all 8 rounds will only total four freaking minutes, so you’re giving it your very, very best! I really like to use this online tabata timer when I do tabata.) For the third week, keep Monday and Friday as is, and add in 100 side-to-side sit-ups on Wednesday, tapping the left and right side of your feet alternately instead of between them. (you choose if 100 means 50 each side or 100 each side!) The fourth week, keep Monday and Friday as is and add in a side-to-side sit-up tabata in on Wednesdays too. Are you ripped yet?!

The Sand Workout: eradicating guilt on vacation
September 24th, 2011 | Permanent Link | No Comments »

On vacay? Or doing a little traveling while the weather’s still agreeable? Chances are you’ll be indulging in either local fare and funky cocktails, or like me and just zipped down the coast for a little sunshine and grabbing drinks and snacks with friends in warmer places. Either way! There’s no reason to taint your indian summer travels with nagging guilt about food and drink indulgence, so why not take advantage of your surroundings and get an out-of-the-ordinary workout in?

While Colin and I are here in San Francisco, one of my best friends Lauren took me to see the very best karaoke in Hayes Valley (and possibly all of San Francisco—how often do you get to see “Under the Sea” performed live by three drunk bachelorette-goers??) at The Mint.

Lauren had some, ahem several, beverages, I had a couple glasses of champagne, and I may or may not have picked up a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream on the way home . . . anyway! Moving right along!

"Call me!" and "model-face"

The day before, L-dawg and I enjoyed catching some rays on Baker Beach and I found a wonderful way to magically cancel out any naughty behavior I might perform the following night: SAND WORKOUT!

Working out in sand is hard. But! the more intense the workout, the faster you’ll get the same results. PLUS! With intense workouts, your body is burning more calories for longer. Sa-weet! Happy hour, anyone?

Check out these three simple exercises that make up a killer workout that’s over with before your friends can finish their first margarita.

The Sand Workout: do as many rounds as you can in 10 minutes.

1) Sand Sprints!

On your mark, get set, GO! Perform 10 sprints, each lasting about 5 seconds, give or take depending on how much room you have on the beach. Give yourself a SMALL breather in between each--pretend like I'm there watching you to avoid the temptation to lolly-gag!

2) Broad Jumps

Crouch low and muster up some super-strength, then jump as far as you possibly can, landing softly and landing low, in the same crouch stance. Repeat 20 times. (yes, you heard me! 20!)

3) Plank Walk with Mountain Climbers
Perform 5 of these bad boys; plank-walking down and back equals 1 rep.

Baby steps part II: DO PUSH-UPS!
September 22nd, 2011 | Permanent Link | 1 Comment »

Yesterday we went over squats and got your lower half covered, and started working on firing up your mid-section for performance everywhere from the gym to the bedroom. Me-yow!

We’re going to even you out today and finish up the 1-2-3 basics tutorial on getting fit as a fiddle. Our old-school basics that have worked like a charm for decades are 1) Squats, 2) Push-ups and 3) Sit-ups. Here we go!

The exercise: The Push-up
Remember how the squat is a “compound” exercise? That means that it’s pretty much a total-body exercise, and uses practically everything except your biceps and triceps to make it happen. The push-up is like that. It’s totally a compound exercise and uses TONS of muscles working together to make it happen–pretty much everything except your calves. Yes, push-ups even work your butt, YEEah! Push-ups are uh-mazing.

More on how amazing push-ups are and why: push-ups primarily target your pecs (chest muscles) and triceps, but also benefit your deltoids (shoulders), back muscles, and do a crap-load for your core, as your lower back and abdominal muscles work together to stabilize your spine and generally make your whole body a solid plank so that you can successfully push yourself up and down off the floor.

How to- Push-up Mechanics and Common Mistakes:

  • Set yourself up to begin your push-up by placing your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with your finger tips pointing forward- NOT out to the side.
  • Lower yourself straight down to the floor, your elbows pointing to your heels and slightly away from your body- elbows NOT pointing straight outwards at a 90 degree angle.
  • Keep your body totally straight as a board during the entire push-up, from the nape of your neck to your heels- do NOT bend at the hips and point your butt to the sky.
  • ——->these tips will hold true for both standard and peel-press push-ups! Follow them!

The assignment: try each of the variations below and see which one you can do ten of with good form. Once you’ve got your push-up type, start by doing 5 every day for the first week– pick morning or night to do them. The following week, do 5 in the morning and 5 at night five days of the week, with one day a week where you do an extra 5 at lunch-time–woohoo! The third week, do 5 in the morning and 10 at night five days a week. The fourth week, do 10 in the morning and 10 at night, five days a week. You’ll notice a HUGE difference at the end of the four weeks and will be extremely close to being able to beat up anyone you damn well please. From there, re-evaluate what type of push-ups you can do, and start over with a new type!

Beginners: The Peel-Press Push-up

ONE: Hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, fingers pointing forward, chin up and totally straight, strong body with tight, contracted abdominals.

TWO: During the "peel-press" push-up, it's IMPORTANT to sloooowly lower yourself down to the floor, as we're trying to really work on strengthening the crap out of your abs so you can do the standard version soon.

THREE: All the way down. Now don't rest too long here, it's not a tea party!

FOUR: Once you're all the way down, start lifting your chin and peeling your chest off the floor, then press your upper body up using your arms until your tummy is mostly off the floor.

FIVE: From the last position, called "upward-facing dog" in yoga, push your body fully up into the starting position, or plank, and exhale deeply.

Intermediate: The Standard Push-up
You can use the pictures above for instruction too, but only look at pictures ONE, THREE, and FIVE.
You can do a regular push-up, that’s fantastic!! It’s labeled “intermediate”, but even if you can only do one or two without struggling, you should be proud of yourself; as a personal trainer, I work with a lot of people and not everyone can do them.

Advanced: The Dive Bomber Push-up
This is a toughie, but FUN! If you can do this one, awesome. If not, get to work and work your way up to it. Because once you go pro at dive bombers, you feel pretty bad-ass. Here’s one of my all-star clients who went from athlete to smokin’ hot, titanium ass-kicking machine who just completed the Seattle to Portland bike race like it was her warm-up. Go Leah!

Let’s get our baby steps on: SQUATS!
September 20th, 2011 | Permanent Link | No Comments »

Babies have the right idea. You know how once they figure out something that will entertain them, they make you do it over and over and over again? They may be a little simple-minded and enjoy mind-numbing repetition, but we could all learn a little from how our miniature counter-parts teach themselves exciting new tricks. Like walking, for instance!

But we already have walking down pat, so BAM! Check that off the list. Next up: what are the first steps I should take in getting physically fit?

Keep it simple with three old-school exercises:

  1. squats
  2. push-ups
  3. sit-ups

I always give my personal training clients little homework assignments that will fill in the gaps between our sessions together and their everyday life, because just working out with me a couple times a week unfortunately isn’t enough–everyone needs to work pretty constantly at first on making their physical foundation totally rock solid. This is where we take advice from babies! Keep it ridiculously simple and do it over and over and over again.

“Okay, I’m ready to get started. But why squats, push-ups and sit-ups?”
Each of these exercises meets a few of the magical requirements: 1) They recruit several different muscles and muscle groups to work together at the same time, which does some pretty cool things. It increases your fitness level more quickly by forcing your body to work together as one kinetic chain PLUS burns way more calories than if you isolate a muscle group to work all by its lonesome like in a biceps curl. Next, 2) These exercises all revolve around your wonderfully important core. Push-ups are actually an AWEsome core exercise, because your abs are working on overdrive holding your body stiff as a board in order for your arms to push the lever of your body up and down. And squats? Did you know that when done properly, squats are a better ab exercise than crunches? Yuppers!

The exercise: The Squat
This is a compound exercise that’s even considered to be “full-body”, using practically everything except your biceps and triceps! Squats primarily target the quads, hamstrings and glutes, but also do work in strengthening tendons, ligaments, and even bones. Isometrically, (isometric=strength training without movement, like a plank exercise) the majority of your core muscles are working like crazy here to stabilize you in your squat, and help you push yourself back up to standing.
The assignment: Start with 10 squats a day for a week. Then do 10 in the morning and 10 at night for a week. Then do 10 in the morning and 20 at night for a week. Then 20 in the morning and 20 at night for a week. You will notice a difference in your strength and coordination.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, ready to drop that booty like it's hot.

Begin to lower yourself like you would sit in a chair. Note the curvature of the low-back and the upright posture of the upper back/torso.

Proper squats drop the hips just below the knees. Not getting low enough can put strain on the knees and won't fully use the backs of the legs.

The exercises: Push-ups and Sit-ups
Check back tomorrow for the word on push-ups and sit-ups! The beautiful thing about tomorrow’s blog post is that NO ONE will walk away without a variation of push-ups possible for their fitness level. I’ve worked with everyone from crazy fit athletes to sixty year-old women, and there’s always a different version that works for everyone. And find a way to make sit-ups part of your cardio routine!

“So what are the benefits of having this totally and awesomely strong core that you speak of?”
It’s the section you’ve been waiting for! The side-effects to getting super strong!

While you’re working on losing weight or getting ripped, you can enjoy working out more as your increasing strength allows you to do more and more fun stuff . . . OR it might allow you to do stuff you already do, but just do it more and better! . . . and for longer periods of time, too!

Remember me mentioning isometrics above? This type of strength is extremely useful for holding positions like planks, and can be used in holding other positions as well, wink, wink! Also, as you increase the strength of your core, this ability to hold onto contractions can not only make certain activities in the bedroom better for your partner, but will make your own happy ending much, much more pleasurable. Yippee kayay! Time to do a couple’s sit-up party baby!

See you tomorrow for push-up variations, and another assignment to send you on your way to a strong core and a solid foundation.

Madelyn xo