McMIllan: Keep up workouts, it's almost party time

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The parties are almost here, and if you've remained committed to the program, you should be feeling great.

Happy New Year, and I'll see you next year! Be sure to stay tuned for my "Getting Lean & Mean in 2013" program starting soon!

Follow the last four weeks' exercises and add today's exercises to the program while trying this cardio variation below.

Cardio: Start with a short, easy five-minute warm-up. Then begin your 20-minute cardio segment involving any activity of your choice, such as running, walking, cycling, or stair climbing. Start with four minutes at an easy pace and then for one minute, pick up the pace and perform a high-intensity interval. Perform this set four times for a 20-minute workout. Do this workout three times this week on alternating days.

Bicep curl + plie squat: Start with your feet positioned wider than your hips and your feet and knees rotated out so that all the joints in your lower body (hips, knees and ankles) are all stacked and pointed in the same direction. Your shin bones should be perpendicular to the floor. Keep your torso completely upright and vertical with abdominals contracted. Hold a set of hand weights with your elbows at your side. Slowly lower your body down into a plie squat position. As you extend up again, slowly curl the hand weights toward your shoulders while keeping your elbows at your side. Perform 8-20 reps.

Leg lowers + tricep extension: Lay on your back with your feet suspended in the air so that your upper thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your lower legs are parallel to the floor (90-degree angle at your hips and knees). Keep your abdominals pulled in throughout the entire exercise and your back neutral and completely stable. Hold hand weights and position your arms so they are extended upwards toward the ceiling and your wrists and elbows are positioned over your shoulders. Slowly bend your elbows so your hand weights lower toward the top of your head. As your lower the hand weights, simultaneously lower one leg toward the floor. While one leg is moving, the other is completely the stable. Your back should not move throughout the entire exercise. Perform 16-20 reps total (8-10 on each leg) per each set.

Crunches + single straight leg lift: Lay on your back with one leg straight on the floor and the other leg bent with the foot on the floor. Tuck your chin in slightly, focusing your eyes at a 45-degree angle. Slowly curl up to a comfortable position and then slowly return to the starting position, while making sure that your rib cage moves forward toward your hips. Keep your abdominals contracted throughout the entire exercise. As you curl up, simultaneously lift your straight leg off the floor and toward the ceiling. Perform 8-12 times each leg.

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver. She can be reached at www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com.