Exercise – Am I Doing Enough?

Exercise - Online Fitness Coaching

A very frequent question I get about exercise is: “Am I doing enough”?

This usually happens when people are just starting a new exercise routine, but can also come up when they’ve been exercising for a while and aren’t seeing the results they were hoping for.

My approach to this question is to look and where you’re at in your exercise routine. If you’re a beginner just getting started, usually you’re keen to get going and have a lot of motivation. This leads to wanting to workout 5-7 days a week. Unfortunately, that amount of exercise usually leads to over doing it and ultimately losing motivation. As a beginner, the key is to start your program slowly and build up your confidence and strength to be consistent.

If you’re not a beginner and have been exercising regularly for a while, then the concern is usually that you’re not reaching your goals. If you’re not seeing progress, then this could be a good sign to step it up a little and increase what you’re doing. Add an extra day to start and see if that’s enough to get you moving towards your goals again.

I hope this helps with the “Am I doing enough” question. Please let me know if you have any other fitness related questions in the comments below and I’ll be sure to answer them in future videos.

Weekly Activity Challenge – Benchmark #2

Weekly Activity Challenge - Benchmark #2

Welcome back to the weekly activity challenge! If you missed the announcement last week: for the next year (at least) I’ll be posting a weekly activity challenge on Monday’s. This will highlight some form of activity or workout you can do throughout the week to stay active. The challenges will vary from walking, to stationary holds, to workouts and other types of activities that we do naturally as human beings. You can try them every day if you’d like, but I’d recommend at least 3 times throughout the week.

Every activity challenge will follow a few key principles:

  • They can be done at home or outside.
  • They won’t require any specialized equipment, just things you can find at home.
  • They will be based on natural human movements and bodyweight exercises.
  • Should take less than 60 minutes to complete, most will be less than 30 minutes.
  • Can be done every day.

For the next 4 weeks, I will outlining out “Benchmark Challenges”. These are activity challenges that we will test every 10 weeks to see your improvement. In the next 4 weeks, you’ll be establishing your baselines to get a clear picture of where you’re starting from.

Today, I’m introducing Benchmark #2.

Weekly Activity Challenge – Benchmark #2:

3 sets for maximum time of:
1. Max plank hold; 1:00

Weekly Activity Challenge - Benchmark #2
NOT this kind of Planking!!

This means you’re going to get into a front plank and hold that position for as long as you can. It might be 10 seconds or 2 minutes, but hold it as long as possible. Then, rest 1:00 exactly before starting set 2. Repeat that for 3 total sets. The 1:00 rest is important for when we compare in the future. It keeps that variable consistent for comparison.

Try this workouts once per day if you can, or at least 3 times throughout the week. If you try it every single day, don’t be surprised if you’re score drops a little at first. This will be due to sore and tired muscles.

Please post your scores in the comments section for each time you do it. I also recommend a Workout Journal for your own records.

Have Fun!

*image from Google Image search: Planking

Weekly Activity Challenge – Benchmark #1

Weekly Activity Challenge - Benchmark #1

Today I am introducing a new component to my website: the weekly activity challenge. For the next year (at least) I’ll be posting a weekly activity challenge on Monday’s. This will highlight some form of activity or workout you can do throughout the week to stay active. The challenges will vary from walking, to stationary holds, to workouts and other types of activities that we do naturally as human beings. You can try them every day if you’d like, but I’d recommend at least 3 times throughout the week.

Every activity challenge will follow a few key principles:

  • They can be done at home or outside.
  • They won’t require any specialized equipment, just things you can find at home.
  • They will be based on natural human movements and bodyweight exercises.
  • Should take less than 60 minutes to complete, most will be less than 30 minutes.
  • Can be done every day.

For the next 5 weeks, I will outlining out “Benchmark Challenges”. These are activity challenges that we will test every 10 weeks to see your improvement. In the next 5 weeks, you’ll be establishing your baselines to get a clear picture of where you’re starting from.

Today, I’m introducing Benchmark #1.

Weekly Activity Challenge – Benchmark #1:

As many rounds as you can in 10 minutes of:
1. 6 Push Ups
2. 8 Squats
3. 10 Sit Ups

Weekly Activity Challenge - Benchmark #1
Click on exercises for a video demonstration

For 10 minutes, you will continue to cycle through exercises 1, 2, and 3. Count how many fully complete rounds you can get, plus any additional reps.

For example: If you complete 6 full rounds, plus the push ups and half the squats, your score would be: 6 rounds + 10 reps. Now, when we test this again in 10 weeks, if you score 6 rounds + 15 reps you’ll know exactly how much you’ve improved!

Try this workouts once per day if you can, or at least 3 times throughout the week. If you try it every single day, don’t be surprised if you’re score drops a little at first. This will be due to sore and tired muscles.

Please post your scores in the comments section for each time you do it. I also recommend a Workout Journal for your own records.

Have Fun!

Plank Challenge – vBlog #8

Plank Challenge

This weeks fitness challenge is a front plank challenge. I’m challenging you to see how long you can hold a front plank for every single day. If you missed last week, I offered a walking challenge that’s worth checking out.

As far as the plank goes, it’s a pretty straight forward exercise that you can do anywhere. All you need is you and a floor. So yes, literally anywhere. Here is an extremely exciting video I made of the front plank.

In this video blog post, I offer up a plank challenge to see how long you can hold it every single day. I suggest doing it at least once a day, but aim for 2 or 3 at various times throughout the day for maximal benefit. A good starting point is around 30-60 seconds if you’ve never done a plank before. If you have 1-2 minutes is a nice average. However, advanced athletes can hold for 3, 4 and even 5+ minutes!

The plank itself is an amazing exercise. It provides great benefit to the core helping you develop a strong posture. You’ll feel it in you abs, obliques, erector spinae muscles in your low back, and also in your legs and arms. It truly is a full body exercise.

As always, I encourage you to track your progress. Keep a journal for yourself and I welcome you to share your tracking with me so I can see what you’re up to. Otherwise, please post questions or comments below and good luck on the plank challenge!

Motivation for your Resolutions

Okay, so it’s been a little while since I did my (weekly) video blog, but here’s my first for 2013. It’s almost February, so where many people start to struggle around now is motivation.

A lot of people know what to do. They have to routine, program or class that they go to, so it’s fairly well laid out before them. Even with that though, the hardest part is usually just getting to the gym in the first place so they can follow the program or join the class. Once there it’s easy, but how the heck to you get there? How do you motivate yourself to get out of the warm cozy bed or off of the comfy couch with potato chips on your lap?

I want to know how you stay motivated to stick to your fitness resolutions? Some people hire a personal trainer or an online coach like me, others place bets and some have photos of the body they want plastered everywhere. What do you do? Check out my video, comment below and let’s share some motivation ideas for our new years resolutions.

2013 Evernote Fitness Challenge

2013 Evernote Fitness Challenge

I have teamed up with Evernote again this January to create a New Years Fitness challenge. You can check out the full details on Evernote, but here is the gist of it.

The Challenge: Create your own Evernote Workout Journal

Get your workout on in as many creative ways as possible and use Evernote to snap as many photos as you can, logging your day-to-day progress. Here are some ideas for photos you can capture using Evernote on your mobile device:

  • Show us how you’re working out at home: lifting cans, doing push-ups with kids on your back, walking the stairs with your dog, etc.
  • Show us your favorite outdoor workout spaces such as the park, trail, hill, or monkey bars you use.
  • Show us your favorite gym equipment.

To help you track your progress, save my document, “Creating an Evernote Workout Journal,” to your Evernote account.

Tracking what you do and your results will help keep you motivated throughout the Challenge and the New Year.

Be sure to share photos the Evernote Facebook page and my Facebook Page and Twitter using the hashtag #evernotelife and @evernotelife @anthrophysique.

Get started now and let me see what you can come up with. What kind of cool places have you already worked out?

vBlog #5 – Holiday Fitness Tip #2

My second holiday fitness tip is to help you fully enjoy the treats this holiday season. I don’t know about you, but at my family dinner, people start worrying or complaining about what they “shouldn’t” be eating.  After 3 butter tarts and their second piece of pie, the jokes start coming out about how long it’s going to take to work that off or the fact that it goes directly to their hips.

The holidays are a hard time stick to any diet or goal. This holiday fitness tip is about making your goal to have your treats when you say you will. Plan ahead for when you’ll have treats, but then stick to it. If it’s not planned, stay away!! Check out my video and let me know your favorite holiday treat in the comments.

Check out my last holiday fitness tip here.

Video Blog #3 – Missed workouts

So apparently it’s not Monday anymore… Which is when I did this video. But it’s been one of those weeks where suddenly it’s Thursday!

The irony is that it’s fairly fitting with the topic of; What happens when you miss a workout? Please comment and let us know your strategies!

What’s your plan?

Ever heard the term “Planning is the key to success” or “Failing to plan is planning to fail”? I have. Probably a million times too! But do I always do it? Not always. Life’s too busy right?!?

In my experience, the sayings are true and planning can play a big role in your success. One thing I often recommend to my clients is that they plan out their meals in advance. Especially when it comes to whatever meal is the hardest for them to make. Mine is dinner.

Last week, my wife put together this little plan:

We’ve been eating out a lot so it’s time to get back on the horse. A big step for eating better is to make your own meals.

For me, I could eat meat and a vegetable as my meal and I’m good to go. For my wife however, she likes more than two ingredients in a meal and has a desire for things to actually taste good. (weird right) So, along came the plan.

From the plan, we went and did a grocery shop to make sure we had everything we needed. Since then, it’s been as easy as: look at the plan, grab the ingredients, cook them, and eat them. Simple, easy, and actually fun.

We’ve been making dinner together, eating at home and feeling way better. We’ve had to modify our plan a few times, but it was just a matter of switching out the days and re-arranging. In 1 week, our plan has proven extremely successful and it has made dinner a much more enjoyable meal.

Do you plan your meals? If so, how has it changed your life? If not, how would it change your life if you did? 🙂

Please share you your plan on my Facebook page. You can find the one I posted above right here.

Announcing AnthroPhysique’s Weekly Activity Plan

AnthroPhysique’s specialty service is creating custom workout programs for individuals to follow on their own. I like to focus on helping people develop a lifestyle of activity that doesn’t always have to be a “workout” you’d do at the gym, but can include running, hiking, swimming or cycling. The key is to stay active on a consistent basis. Today I’m very excited to announce a new service I am offering.

Not everyone needs or wants a custom program and not everyone is interested in a personal coach. Many just want a little guidance of what to do. Some people do a similar workout all the time, so it’s nice to change it up and put a little spice into the routine. For this reason, AnthroPhysique is announcing the official launch of our Weekly Activity Plan.

The Weekly Activity Plan is exactly that. It’s a schedule of activities and workouts that will be release each week. The activities will range from gym workouts, to home workouts, to playful activities outdoors. The focus will be directed towards the average 30 – 50 year old professional person that is already consistent with some form of activity. Weekly plans will consist of 3 – 5 workouts depending on their intensity and focus and can be done on any day.

The distribution of the Weekly Activity Plan will be through this Shared Evernote Notebook. For simplicity, you can subscribe to this notebook through its RSS Feed and get the weekly updates in an RSS feed reader like Google Reader or Feedler RSS Pro for iOS.

 

For those of you that take on this challenge, and start to incorporate some or all of these workouts into your lifestyle, I highly encourage you to track your results in Evernote and Share your notebook with me. You can share it privately with me to coach[at]anthrophysique[dot]com, or you can share it publicly with a free account. Either way, I’d love to see how you’re doing with the activities as it will help me improve the program as you grow.

The plan has already started, so check out the notebook and send us your results! If you have questions or suggestions about the workouts, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

 

Evernote Workout Journal

One of the main things I do with Evernote is logging mine and my clients workouts. The best part of using Evernote for remembering your workout logs is the search capability.

I used to use paper journals to keep track of workouts. I’d even get specially formatted workout journals from online or local book stores. They were great for logging specifics of workouts each day, as well as having ‘benchmarks’ in the back of the book. However, even with good formatting and organization, the problem was always in searching for workouts.

The reason I log workouts is so I can compare my results. If I was going to do a workout with squats for example, I’d want know what my results were from the last time I did them. This was always a major pain in paper journals. It meant flipping through hundreds of pages or even multiple journals, if I had them near by. This was particularly so if I wanted a results from a few previous workouts.

Using Evernote has simplified this entire process. First, it is very easy to log my workouts. Second, all my workouts now stay in ONE journal that I can access from anywhere. Third, searching for the last time I did a certain workout or exercise couldn’t be easier.

Here is how I set up a Workout Journal in Evernote.

Step 1: Create a new synchronized notebook called “Workout Journal”

Step 2: Create a new note for each workout.

Step 3: Naming the note.

This is a key component, especially for when searching through workouts at a later date. I use 2 elements in my naming scheme. #1 – Details of the main component of the workout. This could be something like “Circuit”, “5K run” or “Back Squat x3”. #2 – The date. My notes are ordered by date created, but I like to have the Month and Day in the title for quick reference when comparing two workouts and the time I took between them.

Step 4: Logging consistent details and results.

Over the years I’ve come up with a very consistent way of writing out my workouts and how I log results. This too can become key when searching and comparing workouts later. For example: writing “situps” in one workout and “sit ups” in another will not allow me to compare those two workouts in a search. Create consistency with your naming scheme.

Step 5: Search and compare; this is where the magic happens! Once you have logged a bunch of workouts, being able to search through them and compare your results lets you track your progress over time. Below are some screen shot examples of comparing running workouts with a search of “Run” and “800m Run” more specifically.

“Run”
 

“800m Run”

These types of searches will also work if I want to find a workout I did back in “January” or compare specific strength workouts like “Back Squat x5”

If you want to track progress, you need to compare. Searching specific words and filtering your results is the key. This is why I love Evernote!

Do you have a workout journal already? Are you using Evernote? Send us your shared notebook link, pictures or feedback in the comments section.

My Evernote Story

Two weeks ago, Evernote blogged a video of me telling my story of how I use the App. I was excited to see it go live since it had been filmed a few months before. I really enjoy using the program and being an Ambassador for others to get value from it as well. Here is the video:

It’s seen over 3000 views already which is pretty exciting! Let me know what you think in the comments below or if you have any questions about how I use Evernote.

The Value of Water

While about leave my apartment the other day, I went to fill my bottle up with water. Sure enough, the Brita jug was nearly empty. Then came the slew of thoughts:

Do I have time to wait for the filter or do I just go straight for the tap water?

When was the last time I actually changed that filter?

Is it supposed to be changed every 3 months or 6?

Will there be a difference in my water quality after 3 months vs. 6?

How much are the filters anyway?

I bet it’s cheaper than bottled water!

Crap water is expensive!

Why?

Since then I’ve been thinking about the value of water. On one side, it’s the second most valuable thing in the world. As in, only air is more immediately needed than water to survive. Without either, we’d die pretty quickly. But, why don’t we pay for air then… It’s polluted too… Will there be a Brita Air filter? How much with that be? Uh oh, here we go again…

In north america, we pay more for bottled water than we do gas in our cars! Is it really that valuable? I mean, I know we’d literally die without it, but is the quality we’re buying truly worth that much? Is the quality we think we’re buying actually the quality we’re getting? Does that quality really matter?

I know plenty of people that mainly drink filtered water. I know plenty that mainly drink tap water. Believe it or not, there’s plenty of people that don’t even have tap water. Can we measure our health differences between bottled vs. tap? To what degree does the filtered water win out over regular tap water?

Crap. So many questions!

As you can see, I have many questions around this subject and I wanted to put them out there to stimulate some though and discussion. What is your view on the value of water? What do you choose to drink and why do you make that choice? Is it because it’s available and marketed to us or are there health benefits you can measure? Please post your thoughts in the comments and see if you can do it ‘un-googled’.

 

What’s the best…

As a professional fitness mentor, one of the most popular questions I ever hear is: “What’s the best… (fill in the blank)”. The top of this list includes things like:  What’s the best exercise for abs, legs, cardio, toning, or what’s the best thing to eat for breakfast, snack, lunch, etc. Everyone seems to want to know what’s the best thing they can do for their health.

Although I think it can be a great question, I feel like I’m usually asked from a short-cut mentality. As in, if it’s the best, then I’ll just do that one thing and get all the results I want right?!? Ummmmmm, not so much. Sorry.

In the pursuit of health, I personally don’t think anything can be titled “the best”. There’s definitely a scale of better and worse, but even that will depend on multiple factors. Things like: your goals, your timeframe, where you’re starting from, your age, gender, etc. The thought of claiming anything as the best in a one-size-fits-all approach scares me.

The funny part however, is that so much of the fitness industry is based on this concept. There’s a million Ab-Rollers (see video), ellipticals, suspension systems, DVD workouts, iPhone Apps and specialty fitness classes out there that claim to be the best. I’d easily argue that most, if not all, will be able to get you some pretty sweet results too. However, in the long run it’s not going to remain effective. It’s not going to continue being the best.

One of my usual responses to “the best” question is to give a food example. Let’s say for a moment that brocoli is THE BEST FOOD IN THE WORLD. Even if it were true, do you think you’d do well if that was the only food you ever ate? Not a chance. Your body is more complex than that.

Even though there may not a best exercise or best food, I do still encourage you to aim for one “best” in particular. I encourage you to strive for being in the best shape of your life. As far as we know, we only get one life, and your body is the one thing that will be with you throughout the entire thing. Why not make it awesome?

What are some of the top things you’ve found to help you get success? What’s near “the best” on your lists?