McMillian: Heighten intensity of workout



A new year equals a new level. Why not take yourself there?

Ted Schatz has been a personal trainer for more than 10 years; holds a bachelor’s degree in physical activity, exercise and community health from Portland State University; and is an avid rower, climber and cyclist. He shares with you an awesome workout that you should complete three times this week on alternating days.


See that dusty rowing machine at your local gym? Get on it. Rowing is one of the best forms of cardio there is. First off, there is no impact on the joints. Second, it is big bang for your buck. There are no fewer than nine major muscle groups being used in one cardio exercise. The Internet is full of great rowing technique videos.

The workout: Start with a nice 3- to 5-minute warm-up, getting your rowing legs under you. Next, it is time to sprint. One hundred meters is a great distance, taking from 15 to 30 seconds depending on your fitness level and rowing skill. Row 100 meters as fast and hard as you can. Rest for two times as long as it took you to row. For example, if it takes you 20 seconds to complete 100 meters, you rest 40 seconds. This equals one minute. Repeat 20 times or for 20 minutes. The challenge is to see how many hundreds you can fit in 20 minutes using this 1:2 work:rest ratio.

Muscle conditioning

Single-leg bench squat: Find a bench. Stand on one leg. Without touching the opposing leg down, sit down on the bench. Without touching the opposing leg down, stand back up. For an easier option, use a higher bench or lightly touch leg down to balance only. This exercise is great for showing imbalances between legs and strengthening the good old hip stabilizers, also known as your butt. Try for 10 repetitions on each leg to start.

The six-count burpee: 1. Squat, touching hands on ground next to feet. 2. Thrust feet back, landing in a pushup position. 3 and 4. Complete one pushup, down and up. 5. Hop feet back forward between hands. 6. Stand up nice and tall. Repeat 10 times for starters.

Skydiver: Lie belly-down on floor or mat with arms extended straight out from your shoulders, feet about shoulder width apart. Lift your arms and legs as high as you can, as if you just jumped out of an airplane. Keep your gaze looking toward the ground. This exercise is great for anyone who spends any time at a desk. It works all the muscles on the back side of your body. Fifteen to 20 repetitions is a great place to start.

Try these three exercises back to back three times through.

Nutrition tip

Sneak your greens in. Cook spinach into soups or add a handful to a smoothie. Green foods are pound for pound the most highly nutritious foods you can eat. So get them in every day.

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