Sep 052012

Couple Exercising

It seems like every time we turn around we are hearing more and more of the need to exercise; in the paper, on the news, from our doctors to our loved ones, the U.S. government has even released federal physical activity guidelines. We know and understand the importance of exercise but sometimes it is all too over whelming! Here are 3 key elements to keep it simple. First we are going to break down the exercise guidelines, secondly we are going to focus on the positive and look at the many benefits of exercise and finally we are going to look at the tools to achieve fitness success!

Exercise & Fitness Guidelines
General exercise and fitness guidelines for healthy adults who want to start a fitness program or simply exercise to maintain good health according to the American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) include either of the 2 suggestions below:

  1. Moderately intense cardio – 30 minutes per day – 5 days per week
  2. Intense cardio – 20 minutes per day – 3 days per week and 8 to 10 strength training exercises with 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise – 2 days per week.

Keep in mind this is a basic recommendation and starting point; for weight loss or other fitness goals you need to work at a more intense rate.

Exercise Benefits
We know the benefits of exercise but every once in a while it is a good idea to take a couple of minutes and really focus on the positive benefits and all the good things that exercise does in our lives. Here are my top ten!

  • Exercise helps you lose weight
  • Exercise helps you sleep better
  • Exercise gives you energy
  • Exercise puts you in a good mood
  • Exercise reduces many health risks including; heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer
  • Exercise increases your endurance and stamina
  • Exercise helps to reduce nuisance injuries
  • Exercise helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Exercise helps you live longer and stay more active as you age

Tools for success

  • Schedule your exercise
  • Know your goal
  • Have a game plan
  • Keep it simple, do what you like
  • Log or journal your activities for motivation

If you are not a fan of fitness or exercise I want to challenge you to 1) Get moving with the simple, basic AHA and ACSM guidelines, 2) To read and focus on the top 10 benefits of exercise often and 3) To use the tools to achieve Your Fitness Success!

Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy! ~ Tanya

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Aug 132012

We all, at one time or another, make a promise to get in shape, stay in shape & feel good about ourselves. But the truth is, more often than not, working out and exercising turns out to be a drag. It shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be that way when it can be challenging, exciting and interesting.  When was the last time you were done your workout and you felt like you accomplished something – not just happy to be done!  If you have trouble with the answer to that question the culprits are most likely inconsistency and boredom, two of the biggest factors and reasons why people don’t reach their fitness potential.

Have you ever watched people come in the gym and do the same routine day in and day out, the same exercises in the same order over and over and over again?  You probably do not see them for long because boredom sets in and unfortunately they are not seeing any fitness success, despite their hard work.  So how do we fix that, you know what they say about variety. Over the years I have learned a lot from my clients, and number 1 on the list is the more I vary their workouts the more they enjoy it, the better they feel and the quicker they see success. The focus and goal remains the same but their workouts always have something new in them; challenging them both physically and mentally.  It is really quite simple to vary your workout!  Try using a stability ball instead of an exercise bench, if you do your back exercises with a high cable use a low cable, if you usually work on machines try dumbbells or barbells.  Finally, one of my favorite ways to vary workouts is to do the exercises in the reverse order. Believe me, for the effort you put in to varying your workouts and challenging yourself, the rewards come back many times over. Variety is the spice of life and truly of exercising too!

Another important thing you can do to achieve your fitness success is to be consistent in working out. Consistency, by the way, comes in 2 parts.  First and most obviously is in scheduling.  It is a good idea to realistically assess how much time you can dedicate to your fitness goals – then schedule it in your day planner – in Pen!  Think of it as a non negotiable event; be as consistent as you can with days of the week and times of day. Since you are going to spice up your routines, no more boredom remember, your regular workout schedule can become a treasured part of your week.  Part two in consistency involves the exercise specifics for your goal.  In order to achieve fitness success, you need to consistently follow the appropriate protocols including the number of reps, sets and rest time for your specific personal goal.  An example of proper protocol would be if you want to loss weight, be consistent with 2 to 3 days per week of strength training and 5 to 6 days per week of cardio training.  When you are strength training complete 1 to 3 sets of each exercise with 12 to 20 repetitions in each set and limit your rest time to 15 to 30 seconds in between sets.

I have talked about variety and consistency in planning your exercise program which brings me to this last point.  How do you combine different kinds of exercises into your workout routine.  Specifically, exercise types like cardio, strength training and flexibility, Yoga or Pilates.  Believe it or not there is actually a proper order, exercise protocol, for what type of exercise you should do 1st, 2nd or 3rd and that is because of the effect that the exercise types have on your body.  Accepted protocol is as follows: after a warm up strength training comes first because you always want your body the freshest and strongest when lifting weights.  Cardio should always follow strength training because it is tiring and wears you out.  Last should be flexibility, Yoga or Pilates because they stretch out your muscles.  Remember to always end your workouts with and an easy stretch routine and a cool down!  Use as many different types of exercises as you can in your workouts, but remember the proper order so you get the best benefit!

Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy! ~ Tanya

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May 272012

Bike Circuit

First of all make sure to adjust your bike seat properly.  Set the seat so when you leg is in the down position it is extended with your knee slightly bent and at the top your knee shouldn’t be higher than your chest.  This is a great 20 minute ‘short circuit’, if you have more time or want to work harder repeat the circuit 2 or 3 times.

After your six minute warm up, alternate between the steady pedal and cardio blast working to the rate of perceived exertion, RPE scale.  Remember always listen to your body and do what you can!

Gradually warm up – RPE 5
Steady Pedal – RPE 6 – 8
Cardio Blast – RPE 9
Steady Pedal – RPE 6 – 8
Cardio Blast – RPE 9
Steady Pedal – RPE 6 – 8
Cardio Blast – RPE 9
Recovery or gradual cool down – RPE 5

Have a great cardio workout – work hard and burn lots of calories!!

Be Fit! Be Healthy! Be Happy!   ~ Tanya

Strength Training & Cardio – It’s all Here & It’s all FREE

Apr 302012



Sedentary lifestyles, desk jobs and lack of exercise can cause our muscles to become weak, unbalanced, and inflexible. One result of this can be poor posture caused by weakened back muscles which in turn can bring on back pain and stiffness that exacerbates the situation and often makes it worse. One remedy for this debilitating cycle is to strengthen your core. By incorporating full body, functional resistance training a couple of times per week you will begin to see improvements in all these areas. When your body is strong and balanced even every day tasks like carrying groceries, housework, yard work or even just going about your daily routine tend to become much easier. One of my favorite benefits of this type of fitness training is the improvement in your over all coordination and balance. A good example of this is when you trip up a step or on an uneven surface, when your body is strong and balanced, it will automatically compensate and help keep you from falling.

To really see improvements in your flexibility add a minimum of 20 to 40 minutes of easy Yoga postures and / or specific flexibility training 3 to 5 times per week and always incorporate a full body stretch at the end of your workout whether it is a cardio or strength training workout. Remember to incorporate cardiovascular exercise 5 to 6 days per week for at least 30 minutes.

When strength training follow these exercise specifics and you will be amazed at the improvement in your flexibility, balance and coordination.

  • 2 to 3 full body strength training workouts per week (non consecutive days)
  • 1 to 3 sets, 10 to 15 reps of each exercise and 30 to 45 seconds rest between sets
  • Moderate weight and light to moderate intensity

Not sure where to start, here is an easy fitness schedule to follow.

  • Monday – Cardio exercise
  • Tuesday – Strength training followed by flexibility & stretching
  • Wednesday – Cardio exercise followed by flexibility training
  • Thursday – Cardio exercise followed by flexibility training
  • Friday – Strength training followed by flexibility & stretching
  • Saturday – Cardio exercise
  • Sunday – Rest day

As you begin to have success and start to see results and improvements add another flexibility day and then another day of strength training. Remember to start slowly, new habits such as exercise take time to develop and can be challenging at first.  Keep it fun and if possible exercise with a buddy – you will be less likely to skip a day! Before you know it you will be feeling strong, balanced and flexible.

Be Fit, Be Healthy, Be Happy!  ~ Tanya