Sherri McMillan's new-you workout: Week six

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“The greatest irritant to most people is not a lack of money or status, but ill health. Nothing shines brightly if we do not feel well…” - Margaret Stortz

The quote above is so true. The very person who is too busy to exercise but then is hospitalized for a triple bypass surgery and who is no longer able to take care of work or family responsibilities and their life is never the same is the very same person who wishes he would have taken the time to exercise and take better care of himself. So if you’re not doing it now, start your journey to a better life today.

If you have missed any of the previous weeks of the eight-week “New Year, new you” program, you can access all of the workouts and photo galleries at www.columbian.com/new-you. Today we will continue to add onto the program we’ve developed so far. See the workout below or visit the photo gallery of the week six exercises.

Cardio Conditioning: Continue with three to five cardio workouts for 20-60 minutes and this week focus on varying your pace. For example, one day walk, jog or cycle for 15 minutes at a really fast pace, then on another day, go for 25 minutes at a moderate pace and then finally, try 40 minutes at an easier pace.

photoTri-pod training. Start by getting down onto your hands and knees. Position your arms directly under your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips. Keep your abdominals contracted and your spine completely stabilized. Your back should be completely neutral and it should feel like a straight line from your tailbone to the top of your head.
photoStart the exercise by lifting one arm from the shoulder and reaching it out in front of you. Simultaneously, lift the opposite leg. You should attempt to really stretch the arm and the leg outwards and lift upwards while maintaining the abdominal contraction and spine stabilization. Think more about reaching the arm and leg rather than lifting so high that you have to arch your back. While you lift onto one leg, be sure to not shift all your body weight to the side that is supporting you. Try to stay completely stabilized. Do this five to 10 times each side.

Muscle Conditioning: Perform one set of each of the exercises you’ve learned up to this point two to three times on alternating days and add on today’s new exercises (intermediate/advanced exercisers can try two 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 in.

Legs and Torso: Tri-pod training. Start by getting down onto your hands and knees. Position your arms directly under your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips. Keep your abdominals contracted and your spine completely stabilized. Your back should be completely neutral and it should feel like a straight line from your tailbone to the top of your head.

Start the exercise by lifting one arm from the shoulder and reaching it out in front of you. Simultaneously, lift the opposite leg. You should attempt to really stretch the arm and the leg outwards and lift upwards while maintaining the abdominal contraction and spine stabilization. Think more about reaching the arm and leg rather than lifting so high that you have to arch your back. While you lift onto one leg, be sure to not shift all your body weight to the side that is supporting you. Try to stay completely stabilized. Do this five to 10 times each side.

photoOverhead shoulder press. Grab a set of hand weights and position them to each side of shoulders with elbows below wrists and palms facing forwards.
photoPress hand weights until arms are extended overhead and palms face inwards. Lower and repeat eight to 20 repetitions.

Upper Body: Overhead shoulder press. Grab a set of hand weights and position them to each side of shoulders with elbows below wrists and palms facing forwards. Press handweights until arms are extended overhead and palms face inwards. Lower and repeat eight to 20 repetitions.

photoPlank table tops. Lay on your stomach propped up onto your elbows. Position your elbows so that they are underneath your shoulders. Now lift your body up so your weight is completely supported on your elbows and toes. Keep your abdominals contracted and your back in a neutral position and remember to breathe comfortably. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat eight to 15 times.

Torso: Plank table tops. Lay on your stomach propped up onto your elbows. Position your elbows so that they are underneath your shoulders. Now lift your body up so your weight is completely supported on your elbows and toes. Keep your abdominals contracted and your back in a neutral position and remember to breathe comfortably. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat eight to 15 times.

High Intensity Interval Training: An easy way to incorporate high intensity training into your fitness program without even knowing it is by participating in activities like squash, tennis, racquetball, basketball, volleyball or soccer. These types of activities will keep you fit, agile and mobile into your later years, and it’s a fun way to achieve these benefits. So try to incorporate an activity like this into your weekly regime.

photoCalf stretch. Stand facing a wall. Place one leg close to the wall and the other farther away. Keep the heel of the back leg positioned firmly into the floor. Be sure that both feet face forward. Feel the stretch in the back calf. Now move the back foot in a few inches. Keep the back foot firmly planted into the ground but now slightly bend the back knee and hold the stretch.

Flexibility: Complete each of the stretches you’ve learned up to this point after each workout. Try to hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds.

Calf stretch. Stand facing a wall. Place one leg close to the wall and the other farther away. Keep the heel of the back leg positioned firmly into the floor. Be sure that both feet face forward. Feel the stretch in the back calf. Now move the back foot in a few inches. Keep the back foot firmly planted into the ground but now slightly bend the back knee and hold the stretch.

Nutrition: Allow yourself one free day every week so you can indulge in the things you enjoy without feeling deprived. Just remember, it’s not an all-out binge day just a day to enjoy some of the things you love.

Helpful Tip: Use music to get you in the mood to exercise and/or to inspire you to workout more intensely. Music definitely motivates.

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