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First off, I want to thank you for the support you have given me with Elemental Fitness Personal Training over the past 5 years. I started this blog site and part time training business to share my knowledge and passion for health and fitness with those around me, and that I did!

Since February 2016 my wife Flora and I have been furthering our education, brainstorming ways to bring our passion for health and spirituality together and develop a business that has more to offer, inspires, motivates and leads our fellow sisters to greater heights- body, mind and soul.

As of June 20, 2016 Elemental Fitness transformed into Strength and Soul Wellness: An online holistic health company to coach and inspire women to love their body and nurture their soul.

I hope you will join us in this new venture into cyber land as we share our stories, our knowledge and our guidance towards better health.

Thank you again for your ongoing support and I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Please book your FREE 30 minute Personal Training Consultation with me today.

Have a wonderful day!

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Squats are one of my favourite weight training exercises by far. Not only do they have many variations but they work several muscle groups at the same time making them highly effective.

Squats can be performed by almost all individuals providing they do not have any problems with their joints, specifically knees or hips. It’s also relatively easy to progress a squat from something very basic to something quite challenging. Before adding the squat exercise to your regime there are a few things to note:
A) Ensure your knees never exceed your toes on the down phase.
B) A squat should resemble the motion your body takes when sitting into a chair.
C) Your weight should be distributed in the mid foot and heels NOT the toes.
D) You should be gazing forward NOT at the floor as this will change your form.

I have listed my favourite types of squat in order of difficulty (easiest first):
1- Stationary body weight squat (feet in line with knees and legs shoulder width apart)
2- Stationary body weight duck squat (feet turned outward and legs slightly wider than shoulder width)
3- 180 degree turning squat
4- Hop squat
5- 180 degree turning hop squat
6- Bosu ball hop squats (start with one foot on bosu and hop side to side squating on each hop)
7-TRX Suspension Trainer stationary or hop squat
8- Goblet squat (with a dumbbell or kettle bell)
9- Bulgarian split squat (one leg extended behind the body and placed on a bench)
10- Barbell squat (Olympic bar on your upper back behind your head)
11- Wide stance barbell squat (same as above but now feet are wider than shoulder width)

Although many other squat variations exist, these are the ones I choose most often in my person training and with my clients.

When you think about it, we will be doing some form of squatting from now until we’re 100~toileting, getting up from the sofa, getting up from a chair and the list goes on.

Use those legs or you’re going to lose that strength!

So if you’re looking for an exercise that works your thighs, hips, core stabilizers, buttocks, quadriceps and hamstrings all at the same time…you best get squatting!

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Time flies when you have a toddler, work part time, your partner works full time, you are planning a huge move and planning renovations on your new space. Since exercise is what keeps me sane it couldn’t be cut out of my day completely just done in a whole new way.

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I started using nap time (formally my workout and me time) to pack, make calls and send time sensitive emails. Workouts had to be even more creative than before.

I started using my son’s morning park time to burn off some of my own pent up energy and reduce my stress. Squats, lunges, push-ups, curl-ups, tricep dips, back raises, chin-ups, jacks and burpees became the new regime. No equipment necessary and enough to get my heart rate up while still allowing me to monitor my babe. The best part is that my little guy (nearly 2) is now randomly doing burpees. I’m sure it has something to do with the reaction from my partner and I. ūüôā A perfect example of how closely our wee ones pay attention to us and mimic our every move.

Getting creative with your workouts during bouts of high stress and limited time is very important – especially if you hope to remain sane.

What have you done to help keep yourself in check physically during a move?

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I have started teaching a class called Tabata HIIT and totally love it!

tabata
If you have never done Tabata you’re in for a real treat. HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. It is a style of circuit training that is done in the following way: 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. There are generally 5 exercises in the sequence and they get repeated 4 times through. When I teach my class I select 10 exercises done in 2 groups of 5. The entire routine takes exactly 30 minutes. If you’re looking to get your sweat on then give one of these workouts a try…

A) Equipment free:
* push-ups
* jacks
* step-ups on a bench
* frog jumps
* inch worms

repeat the sequence 4 times and then take a 2 minute rest

* burpees
* travelling lunges
* plank holds
* tricep dips on bench
* mtn. climbers on bench or ground

repeat the sequence 4 times through and your workout is complete!

B) Medicine ball workout:
* medicine ball travelling lunges with twist (twisting right when your right foot leads the lunge and vice versa)
* push-up with knee touch (during the up phase of each push-up touch your opposite hand to opposite knee)
* bear crawls
* foot ball runs on the spot
* medicine ball Russian twist

repeat the sequence 4 times and then take a 2 minute rest

* medicine ball squats with chest press
* bird dog
* medicine ball crunches (lying on your back, feet up, ball goes from chest to toes- resting head to ground on each repetition)
* wind sprints
* medicine ball single leg hip bridge (medicine ball remains pressed above the chest while performing a single leg hip bridge alternating legs)

repeat the sequence 4 times through and your workout is complete!

The beauty of Tabata is that it can be done with any sequence of exercises and any type of fitness equipment.

What are your favourite circuit training exercises?

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The holidays are here. The smell of fresh baked apple pie, turkey roasting in the oven and the warmth of the fireplace remind me of my childhood. Without a doubt, my favourite things about the holiday season are connecting with family, enjoying delicious food, and spending as much time as possible skating or skiing in the great outdoors.

We all know soon enough, whether or not we want to admit it, the new year is just around the corner. No matter how you choose to spend your holiday season, or what new year’s resolutions you decide on, here are a few tips to get through the hustle, bustle and stress that this season inevitably brings.

1- We should treat others as we would like others to treat us. I know this is a cliche, but it holds true. Christmas is a time for re-connecting with family and friends and we all know too well that this time of year can be more stressful than we would like. Take a deep breath, count to ten, and do your best to enjoy the holidays.

2- Get out and embrace the abundance of winter activities available to us here in Canada. Engaging in physical activities like cross-country or downhill skiing, skating, tobogganing and long winter walks are a great way to boost your spirits, get fresh air and burn calories.

Snowshoeing in Squamish

3- Taste everything that the holiday season has to offer, but do it wisely. Moderation is a wonderful thing. Don’t deprive yourself of the things you long for all year, just indulge in small portions.

4- Take time for yourself. There’s so much hype around the holidays that it is easy to forget to breath, relax, laugh and love. Take a bubble bath, curl up with a blanket and a good book, practice yoga, go caroling or enjoy a Christmas movie or T.V. special with family or friends.

5- Have an eco-Christmas. Encourage all family members to exchange gifts that are baked, handmade or reused. Wrap presents in newspaper and re-use gift bags. Support local, fair-trade businesses, and products that aren’t disposable or require batteries. This cuts down on unnecessary waste and saves the planet along the way.

I plan to enjoy the next few weeks to the fullest. Having almost healed completely from my slipped disc, I plan to skate, ski and walk outside as much as possible. I also look forward to connecting my fiancee’s family, laughing and cherishing the delicious food that comes along with Christmas.

I hope your holiday season is filled with light, laughter and love. I look forward to the new year and all that it has to offer.

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I now know what it’s like to be almost too busy to fit in exercise. I never thought I would say those words but I’m admitting it! With an 8 month old baby, my life (for now) is no longer about my needs and priorities. I’ve had to come up with quick and effective exercises to get my blood flowing and raise that oh-so-needed serotonin.
©belle ancell 2013 ~ All Right Reserved ~ CREDIT MANDATORY

Over the past few months I have managed to perfect the 20 minute workout- having “no time” is no longer an excuse!

WORKOUT #1 (Sweat it out):
EQUIPMENT REQUIRED: Medicine Ball, Kettle Bell, Jump Rope
#1 – 2 minutes Jump rope
#2 – 1 minute Single arm Kettle Bell swings
#3 – 1 minute Medicine Ball wood chops
(repeat exercise 2 & 3)
#4 – 2 minutes Jump rope
#5 – 1 minute Kettle Bell goblet squats
#6 – 1 minute Medicine Ball crunches
(repeat exercise 5 & 6)
#7 – 2 minutes Jump rope
#8 – 1 minute Kettle Bell bent-over rows
#9 – 1 minute Medicine Ball lunge with twist
(repeat exercises 8 & 9)
#10 – 2 minutes Jump rope

WORKOUT #2 (Full Body):
EQUIPMENT REQUIRED: Your body and a little motivation!
#1 – 2 minutes Jogging (traveling or on the spot)
#2 – 40 Mountain Climbers
#3 – 30 180 degree jump squats
#4 – 20 Push-ups (on floor or bench)
#5 – 10 Bear crawl outs with hop
(30 second walking break)
#6 – 2 minutes Side Shuffles (mark a distance of approximately 25-30 feet and side step left to right)
#7 – 40 Reverse lunges (traveling or on the spot)
#8 – 30 seconds Plank
#9 – 20 Tricep dips – on bench
#10 – 10 Burpies
(30 second walking break)
#11 – 2 minutes Jump rope
#12 – 40 Regular lunges
#13 – 30 Frog Jumps
#14 – 20 seconds Shadow boxing
#15 – 10 Inch worms

WORKOUT #3 (Total Core):
EQUIPMENT REQUIRED: Mat, 5-10lb weight
#1 – 60 Second Plank Hold
#2 – 50 Bicycle Legs
#3 – 40 Mountain Climbers
#4 – 30 Body Stars
#5 – 20 Supine Leg Lifts
#5 – 10 Russian Twists using desired weight
#6 – 5 Roll-ups
(1 minute walking break and repeat)

I did a video to accompany this blog, to demonstrate some of the lesser-known exercises. check it out: http://youtu.be/19Kv2HOQXx0

There are so many variations of exercises and ways to switch up these routines. Feel free to put your own spin on a 20 minute workout. I hope I can motivate you to kick your own butt! Of course, if you need extra help contact me about personal training and my summer bootcamps. Just remember, every bit of effort counts!

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I write this blog from a place of love, understanding and true bliss. It’s an honest snap shot of life with a babe; challenges and all! Just to be clear, I am not the birth mother, I am the ‘other mother’.

I have always been one of those people that loves routine, cherishes a good night’s sleep of at least 7-8 hours, and need some form of daily activity to keep me sane. The birth of my son on September 23 has changed my life as I knew it forever.

Caring for a child truly puts life into perspective. You quickly realize that routine is a word you used to use to describe your morning. The only true “daily activities” you engage in are eating something and getting to work; tidying up and taking a shower only if you’re lucky. And sleep, who needs sleep?! Some nights you get five hours (at varying intervals) and some nights you get seven (those are the good ones). Oh yeah, and Yerba Maté has become my best friend!

Over the past month I have had to change my thinking and my approach to the day ahead and find creative ways to incorporate exercise into my life. I have come up with 5 ways to keep my body fit and healthy while caring for my little boy.
Kris-Fyn-hiking

1- Strap on the infant carrier and head outside. I know almost every street name in my neighbourhood as we (Griffyn and I) have strolled the streets at all times of the day and night and in all weather conditions.

2- While your partner is breastfeeding the baby (generally takes 30-45 minutes to do a feeding when they’re newborn) go for a jog. Better yet, spell each other off so you can both go jogging. This has been my ultimate survival tactic. You would be surprised how much better you feel getting some fresh air and blood pumping through your body. It truly does give you more energy!

3- Again, put the baby in a sling or other carrier (with any luck they fall asleep) and then you are hands-free to do lunges, squats, and even some basic dumbbell bicep curls or shoulder presses. I have a few exercise bands that are also great to use at home when you just can’t get to the gym.

4- Get a DVD that’s meant for caregivers and babies. I got my wife a Mama and Baby Yoga DVD. It’s perfect to do at home and voilà, you managed to get 20-30 minutes of exercise in without even putting your little one down!
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5- Plan exercise dates with new moms in your neighbourhood or join an exercise group. Whether it’s hiking, jogging, bootcamp or just walking, making connections with friends is a great way to keep things in perspective and keep you motivated. It can be tough raising a baby but when you have support and a network of other parents life can seem so much better!

I realize we’re only two months into this wonderful journey called parenthood so I know things will shift and change as he ages but one thing will remain: finding ways to keep active. This winter we plan to snowshoe, cross country ski and enjoy our local swimming pool. And before I know it, I’ll be chasing him around!

Any parents out there care to share what you’re doing to keep fit with your little one?

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