Sherri McMillan's new-you workout: Week three

Part of the New Year, new you eight-week fitness program

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With fitness, sometimes you have to change your mindset. For example, I tell our clients that the wrong question to ask yourself everyday is “Should I workout today?” The answer to that question is almost always "Yes!" Everyday you should do something active and move your body. So instead, the correct question should be “What exercise am I going to do today?” You should always try to do something.

If you have missed any of the previous weeks of the eight-week “New Year, new you” program, you can access it at www.columbian.com/livewell. Today we will continue to add on to the program we’ve developed so far.

Follow along with week three here, or in the photo gallery of this week's exercises. For previous weeks see:

Week Two

Week One

photoLunge – Stand with one leg positioned in front of the other leg. Keep the front knee over top of the ankle. Keep the back knee underneath or slightly behind your hips.
photoSlowly lower the back knee towards the ground keeping the front knee over top the ankle the entire time. Keep your body weight positioned over the front leg - this is your working leg. Maintain proper posture and keep your abdominals contracted. Only go as low as you feel comfortable. To increase intensity, you can hold hand weights. Complete 8-20 repetitions each leg.

Cardiovascular conditioning: Continue with three to five cardio workouts for 20 to 60 minutes this week and include a few interval workouts. That is during a few of your cardio workouts this week, pick up the pace for 30 to 60 seconds and then reduce back to normal. Once you feel good again, pick up the pace again. This is a great way to increase your fitness level and burn more calories.

Muscle conditioning: Perform one set of each of the exercises you've learned up to this point 2-3x on alternating days and add on today’s new exercises. (Intermediate can try two sets and advanced exercisers can try three sets). Remember to breathe comfortably throughout each exercise - exhaling as you exert and inhaling as you recover. In each of the exercises maintain proper posture and keep your abdominals pulled inwards.

Lower Body: Lunge. Stand with one leg positioned in front of the other leg. Keep the front knee over top of the ankle. Keep the back knee underneath or slightly behind your hips. Slowly lower the back knee towards the ground keeping the front knee over top the ankle the entire time. Keep your body weight positioned over the front leg - this is your working leg. Maintain proper posture and keep your abdominals contracted. Only go as low as you feel comfortable. To increase intensity, you can hold hand weights. Complete 8-20 reps each leg.

photoUpper Body - Reverse Flies: Lay on your stomach over a bench, grab a light set of handweights and position both arms straight to the side beside shoulders. Use your back muscles to slightly extend your spine so you are not collapsed and flexed over the bench. Position your arms perpendicular to your body with elbows just slightly bent.
photoNow slowly lift both arms upwards while pulling shoulder blades together. Keep your neck in a neutral position, abdominals contracted and back stable. Perform 8-20 reps.

Upper Body: Reverse Flies. Lay on your stomach over a bench, grab a light set of handweights and position both arms straight to the side beside shoulders. Use your back muscles to slightly extend your spine so you are not collapsed and flexed over the bench. Position your arms perpendicular to your body with elbows just slightly bent. Now slowly lift both arms upwards while pulling shoulder blades together. Keep your neck in a neutral position, abdominals contracted and back stable. Perform 8-20 reps.

photoOblique crunches. As you lift your upper body, lift the opposite leg at the same time.

Torso: Oblique crunches. Place your hands behind your head to lightly support the weight of your head. Keep your chin away from your chest and focus your vision at about 45 degrees into the ceiling. Avoid looking straight up to the ceiling or towards the opposite wall. Now slowly lift your torso up on an angle. As you lift your upper body, lift the opposite leg at the same time. An oblique crunch does not need to involve a large twisting action. Contract your abdominals on each repetition. Alternate 8-15 reps each side.

High Intensity: "Rectangle Drill." Place four cones in the shape of a rectangle or square with each cone about 20+ feet apart from each other. Start at one corner and sprint to the top of the square. Then shuffle across the top of the square. Then back-shuffle. Then laterally shuffle back to the start. Do this 30-60 seconds one way. Take a break and go the other way.

photoHigh Intensity: "Rectangle Drill." Place four cones in the shape of a rectangle or square with each cone about 20+ feet apart from each other. Start at one corner and sprint to the top of the square.

Flexibility: Perform each of the stretches you've learned up to this point after each workout. You can compliment these stretches with others you already do or perhaps, consider taking a Tai Chi, Yoga, Stretch or Pilates class.

Stretch: Inner thigh on the wall. Sit with your back straight up against the wall. Now bring the souls of your feet together and allow your legs to just drop out to the side. Feel the stretch through your groin.

photoThis week's stretch: Sit with your back straight up against the wall. Now bring the souls of your feet together and allow your legs to just drop out to the side. Feel the stretch through your groin.

Nutrition: For the next few weeks, be conscious of your portion control. You may be eating right, just too much of a good thing. So cut back a little bit here and there. For example, pour a little bit less cereal. Purchase the smaller bananas. Use a smaller plate. Have a bowl of soup before you have lunch or dinner to fill your stomach. Whatever you consume, try to reduce it by just a bit.

Helpful tip: Set one small goal every day. For example, on Tuesday your goal may be to finish your 30 minute walk. On Wednesday, your goal may be to drink 8 glasses of water. And Thursday, your goal may be to do your muscle-conditioning exercises. The key to long-term success is taking it one day at a time, but every day doing what you need to do to be at your best!

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. is the author of five books including “Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson. She can be reached at www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a two-week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started. Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.