Posts Tagged ‘Strength Training’


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

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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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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When I decided to pursue a career in the health and fitness industry my main goal was to help others achieve and maintain optimal well being. I strive to be a role model: living a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise as well as relaxation, and delicious and nutritious foods.

When I started working at Steve Nash I connected with many wonderful clients who had a wide variety of needs and fitness goals. Although several of my clients made huge progress over the past 6 months, one client in particular took the tools presented to her and ran with them! Not only did she start making exercise a priority but she also completely changed her eating habits. I would like to share her story as I hope it inspires people that it’s never too late to make changes. This story is really about Jacqueline’s transformation from an unsatisfied and unfit woman leading an unhealthy lifestyle to the energetic and happy person she is today.

Jacqueline and I embarked upon our journey together in May of 2013. When Jacqueline arrived at the gym for her first session she was unsure about working with a fitness trainer but unhappy with her current level of fitness and in need of some guidance. We had an immediate connection and soon enough we both looked forward to meeting twice a week to train. Slowly she began to embrace exercise in a whole new way. Despite the initial aches and pains that accompany any fitness program, she pushed through and told me she felt amazing after every training session and was delighted to have had no injuries in the process; something she feared.

In the beginning there were many exercises that she struggled with but over time she got stronger. Some of her personal best accomplishments were going from 5 minutes of cardio training to doing over 30 minutes without stopping. She was also able to complete a full hour of circuit training with energy left to spare after just five months of conditioning and hard work.

One of her most important and measurable successes was her ability to performing the plank and abdominal legs lifts without any pain. Jacqueline gave birth by cesarean to her daughter 11 years ago and found that any exercises that put stress on her lower abdomen posed a challenge. In five months she went from 3 leg lifts to 12 and can now hold the plank for 60 seconds (compared to 15 back in May). Jacqueline has since made fitness a part of her life 5-6 days a week. She trains on her own 3-4 days a week in addition to her fitness training sessions twice a week.

Check out Jacqueline’s progress…
May 18, 2013 –
Age 50
Height 5’6
Weight 153 lbs.
BMI 24.8
Body Fat 36.5%

The old Jacqueline.
October 12, 2013 –

Age 50
Height 5’6
Weight 140 lbs.
BMI 22.9
Body Fat 31%

The current Jacqueline.
photo (5)

This is only the beginning for Jacqueline, she is now determined to reduce her body fat to 27% or less thus increasing her lean muscle mass and in turn increasing her total fitness level. It’s been a pleasure working with this amazing, thoughtful, dedicated and inspiring woman. I hope to help Jacqueline continue on her journey to optimal health.

Not only is Jacqueline successful where her health is concerned she also runs a very well known Medi-Spa here in North Vancouver. Please visit her website for further information or to book an appointment.

I wish her the best in everything she does. Miss you Jacqueline. ❤

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If have you never done the plank I hope you will add it to your regime after reading this post!


I was at a BBQ last weekend and a friend shared her story about a back injury she has been suffering with. She explained the treatments she was currently doing (pilates, massage, chiro and using an inversion table) and it was then I realized she was not doing anything to strengthen her body’s core muscles (intercostal) and prevent further injury. The intercostal muscles are deep within the body’s mid-section and are very important as they play a key role in our ability to breathe and maintain postural alignment.

Many of the clients I see with back injuries often have weak core strength and many are scared to do any weight bearing activities from fear of causing more harm. It is very important however, to include exercises that strengthen the core, which will in turn help strengthen the back.

A great exercise to do is the plank. There are several variations of the plank, and I have created a video to demonstrate the basic progression for a beginner to intermediate exercise enthusiast. Enjoy!

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It’s hard to believe I have been working towards a full-time career in the fitness training industry for nearly six years. When I embarked upon this journey and began my BC Parks and Recreation Fitness Training certification in Nelson in 2007, I immediately applied to the local recreation center and got hired on part-time. It was then I knew I wanted to pursue Personal Training as a career and was willing to do what it took to get there.

The past five years running my own fitness training business part-time and working in the organic food, vitamin and supplements industry has been great but I started to feel a pull towards my real passion for fitness so started looking at my options. With the completion of my Personal Training Certification at Infofit Educators in 2010 and graduation from Douglas College’s Sport Science program in 2012, I knew what I wanted to accomplish and set out to find the right fit.

steve nash personal trainerI am thrilled to announce that I am now working as a Personal Trainer at Steve Nash Fitness World in North Vancouver! It’s an amazing facility with a ton of equipment, a pool, sauna and many very skilled fitness trainers. I feel like a human sponge at the moment. There is so much to learn not only with policies, procedures, fitness programs and paperwork but also how to best serve the new clients I have been assigned to working with.

Past clients have described me as enthusiastic, a positive influence on their lives and someone who is always willing to go the extra mile to exceed my clients’ expectations. If you’re in the market for a Personal Trainer please stop by the club and ask for me as I am accepting new clients! I specialize in helping those new to weight training feel more confident in the gym setting, those looking to lose weight or gain muscle, and people looking for a fresh workout program.

I look forward to seeing you in the club!

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