Sherri McMillan: This efficient workout works

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photoSherri McMillan, owner of Northwest Personal Training.

Getting to the gym on cold winter days can be a daunting task. But Remy Maguire, personal trainer for four years and competitive cyclist and triathlete, shares this effective and time-efficient cardio and strength combo to help you keep your fitness commitment in 2013. Do her workout three times this week on alternating days.

Cardio: Choose three of your favorite cardio machines; I love the indoor rower, treadmill and good old-fashioned jump rope. After warming up with some jumping jacks, high-knees, or jogging in place to get warmed up: Row/run/bike for four minutes (make a note of how far you go miles/meters/etc.), then switch machines, give it your best effort for another four minutes (note how far you go), finish with two minutes of jumping rope. Repeat this 10-minute circuit two or three more times. Each time try to match or best your last distance!

Strength: Follow your cardio circuit with these total-body core-strengthening exercises to get more bang for your time!

Exercise 1: Push-up to side plank (with modifications or additions). Perform a push-up on your toes or knees, then shift into side plank of the left, hold for 5-10 seconds, return to push-up position, repeat on the right. Go back and forth until you have completed 10-20 push-ups.

Exercise 2: Squat to one-leg balance (add resistance or overhead press to progress). Perform a squat, with or without weights. As you return to standing position, shift your body weight to your left leg and raise your right knee in front of you. Hold this balancing pose for a few seconds before returning to the squat and then balancing on the other leg. Repeat 20 times.

Exercise 3: Bicycle crunches. Lie on a mat with your back pressed into the floor and contract your core muscles. Gently support your head in your hands and lift your legs to about a 45-degree angle. Rotate your torso to bring your elbow toward your opposite knee, creating a pedaling motion. Change your speed from slow to quick every 15 seconds, keeping good form. Continue for one to two minutes.

Nutrition tip: Think before you bite. Ask yourself, "What good is this meal doing me?" The answer might be, "This salmon salad is helping me power through the rest of a crazy work day." Or, "This slice of pie is exactly what I was craving, this is a special little treat that I will savor." Don't eat mindlessly. Make food work for you, not against you.


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