Autumn Plank Challenge

Photo taken by: Becka Hueth 

Photo taken by: Becka Hueth 

The time is almost here for our highly anticipated plank challenge! The challenge will run from Oct 1-31st. The rules are: you have to complete the amount of time within the day - doesn't have to be all at once but I would encourage you to push to fatigue every day. 

*Notice that last 5 days of the challenge are all 5:00 minutes. Wanted to give you 5 opportunities to to go as long as you can after a whole month of building your core strength. 

I'm excited for this one! Spread the word to your friends and family and get them in on it too!

Oct 1 30 seconds
Oct 2 45 seconds
Oct 3 45 seconds
Oct 4 1:00 minute
Oct 5 1:00 minute
Oct 6 1:15 minutes
Oct 7 1:15 minutes
Oct 8 1:30 minutes
Oct 9 1:30 minutes
Oct 10 1:45
Oct 11 1:45
Oct 12 2:00
Oct 13 2:15
Oct 14 2:30
Oct 15 2:45
Oct 16 3:00
Oct 17 3:00
Oct 18 3:15
Oct 19 3:15
Oct 20 3:30
Oct 21 3:45
Oct 22 4:00
Oct 23 4:15
Oct 24 4:15
Oct 25 4:30
Oct 26 4:45
Oct 27 5:00
Oct 28 5:00
Oct 29 5:00
Oct 30 5:00
Oct 31 5:00 

20 Minute Ab Session

Repeat this circuit three times through! 

Normal Crunches x20

Normal Crunches x20

Crunch with side reach x 20

Crunch with side reach x 20

Modified Bicycle x 20

Modified Bicycle x 20

Circular Crunches x 10/direction

Circular Crunches x 10/direction

Bicycles x 20

Bicycles x 20

Normal crunches demo continued

Normal crunches demo continued

Crunch with side reach demo continued 

Crunch with side reach demo continued 

Modified bicycle demo continued

Modified bicycle demo continued

Circular crunches demo continued 

Circular crunches demo continued 

Bicycles demo continued 

Bicycles demo continued 

Client Success Story featuring Kristi R

Meet Kristi, a client of Wellness By Little for over 2 years. Kristi came to training with a clear vision, a hilarious sense of humor and accomplished her goals day by day with the help of a nutritionist and regular weekly training appointments. Hear more of her story: 

Why did you decide to start a training program?

A few years ago, I experienced a short period of extreme back pain.  I went to the doctor, weighed in at my all time high and for the first time, my blood pressure was quite high.  So I had to get a grip on things.  My husband and I joined the WAC, started nutritional counseling, and I signed up for personal training twice a week.  That's how I met Mary!

What are your short (3 months) and long (6 months to a year) goals?
Short -
Lose 10lbs
3 formal workouts weekly
7-8 hours sleep at least 5 nights per week

Long - 
Maintain weight loss and lose another 5lbs
Maintain my exercise and sleep routine.
Not training for the Olympics, just want to be walking and healthy when I am 80!

What success(es) have you had since starting training?
Initially, I lost 20 lbs and many inches.  And my BP returned to normal without medication. Yeah for me!  But recently, I have been less diligent with my diet and exercise so I have regained 10lbs. It's a life long process, that's for sure.  But despite that, I am in much better physical condition than when I started, both aerobically and muscularly.  I just did a 10 mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail with no problem, and not even sore afterward.

What's your most favorite and least favorite exercise? 
Favorite - Anything that stretches my obliques; feels so good!

Not so favorite - Those planks are just my personal earthquake! And I call the stability ball, the instability ball!

If you could give one piece of advice for someone contemplating starting a program what would it be?
Cut yourself some slack and take it one step at a time.  Working with Mary is such a pleasure!  The time will fly by and you will hardly know you are working hard.  Well, except for the planking...

 

Wellness By Little Client, April Schmidt Shares her Success Story!

April's first day home after surgery. 

April's first day home after surgery. 

A Little Background on April's History.  
I am 51 and have lead a pretty active lifestyle around my work schedule. I mostly hike and ski on the weekends.  I have always been on a healthy nutritional path. I had a wake board injury occur in August 2015 that actually pulled my entire hamstring off the pelvic bone called Avulsion.  This required surgery followed by crutches and brace for 6 weeks, total non weight bearing.  I began PT in week 2 of that period, twice a week.

What got you Interested in Starting an In-Home Training Program? 
I began a home training program in January because I wanted a more aggressive work out to reach my personal goals faster. My short term goal was to build back the muscles in my leg from atrophy and be as strong on that side of my body as the other.  I also wanted to stretch out my back and the side of my body that had been compensating for the length of my recovery. In home training makes my life easier as I don't have to hassle with gyms and it saves me a ton of time! 

Tell us About Your Successes so Far. 
My long term goal was to ski in Spring.  This injury takes anywhere from 6 months to 3 years to recover from, so I knew this was an aggressive goal, but possible with the will and dedication I was willing to put into it. I started training with Mary Little in January to help me with a plan and to stay on track.  I also knew I would need the motivation along with her guidance.  She was recommended by a friend.  I was with her just twice a week and saw results already in week 2! The biggest success has been the strength I've gained in my core, and arms along with the injured leg to have overall body strength to ski.  She gave me "homework" cardio to go along with this to build endurance, which I did on the days I didn't see her,or in addition to, once I felt strong enough.

My success story is that I skied 5 months and 3 weeks after my surgery!  Although I only made it 4 runs that first day, my goal was just to be able to complete 1.  Since then, I have been skiing 8 more times, and feel stronger than I ever have.  Thank you Wellness by Little!! I couldn't have done it with out you!

 

3 Exercises For Office Workers

There is much evidence to show that sitting for 8+ hours a day has negative effects on the body, posture and mental health. It is so important to get up and move ONCE every hour. Below are 3 exercises that help promote good posture, get blood flowing throughout the body to help rejuvinate the mind and circulatory system. By performing these exercises once every hour, you can improve posture and productivity at work.    

From a seated position, bring hands behind head and rotate left and right while keeping spine and torso long. The more you can rotate, the better.  Be sure to engage the core while performing this exercise. Rotate 10 times to the left and 10 times to the right.


From a seated position, bring arms out to 90 degrees, palms facing forward. From here, without arching the back press arms up towards the ceiling while keeping the core engaged. Repeat 20 times.

From a plank position, hands in line with shoulders bring one knee at a time up towards the elbow. Repeat 20 times per leg.

Modification: If wrists are bothersome or this version is too difficult you can perform mountian climbers on a seat or bench and come down to your forearms.

The Perfect Park Workout!

When you're crunched for time and don't want to miss out on a workout, do this routine ANYWHERE to tone arms, legs, back and core.  This workout requires no equipment! 

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20 Pushups 
20 Reverse Lunges/leg (shown in picture) 
20 Mountain Climbers/leg
20 Squat Hops 
20 Superman's
20 Slow Bicycles 

Repeat 3 times 


USEFUL MODIFICATIONS:  

Pushups- Use knees if needed.
Reverse Lunges- If you have knee pain, bend back knee less than front knee (shown in picture). 
Mountain Climbers- If you have wrist issues, perform mountain climbers on a bench/chair on forearms . 
Squat Hops- Again, if knees are bothersome, take the hop out of the squat.

Workout Wednesday: Create Your Own Gym. Use Your Own Body.

Ellyn in Eastern Washington. Photo Credit: Stephen Matera 

Ellyn in Eastern Washington. Photo Credit: Stephen Matera 

Going to the gym doesn't have to mean you need to master the newest machines or lift free weights. Sometimes the only thing you need is you. If your primary goal is to lose weight or get strong, keep it simple by utilizing your own body weight to work out. 

There are hundreds of ways to challenge all systems of the body through body weight exercise. For example, the circulatory system is stimulated through longer duration, moderate intensity exercises such as running, jumping jacks, power skipping or even just jumping up and down or side to side. 

The muscular system, meanwhile, can be targeted through strength exercises such as planks, push ups, lunges and squats. Each of these targets specific muscles to improve strength.

Another benefit of body weight exercises is their inclusion of balancing components. When using machines, the body doesn't need to balance any weight because it can only push or pull the weight via the cable. Because the cable guides the movement, most of the balancing action is eliminated.

For example, let's look at the differences between doing a leg press on a machine versus doing a standing squat. The machine is set up for a "generic human," and a cable guides the resistance, thus eliminating any balancing possibility. With a squat, however, you're in control of how the weight is distributed by having proper form from your feet all the way up to the crown of your head. You're forced to balance your own body weight. The same principal holds true when comparing machines to free weights, as free weights still challenge the body to balance. 

There are many ways to progress any body weight movement, such as increasing the number of sets and/or reps. You can also shorten your break time, lengthen the duration of the exercise or add supplemental weight when appropriate. 

Client Success Story: Linda from Capitol Hill

Linda joined Wellness By Little in January 2015 looking to increase her overall strength and to improve her balance and posture. On day one, we did baseline testing together and her numbers were as follows: Push Ups: 6 Plank: 1:25  Wall Sit: 1:25    With many months of dedicated training and pushing to the places Linda did not think were possible she increased muscular strength in her upper body, core and lower body.  On 7/9/15 we re-did Linda's baseline testing and her results were impressive: Push ups: 17 Plank: 1:53 Wall Sit: 2:40  The numbers speak for themselves and Linda reports to feel increased muscular endurance specifically in her yoga practice. She's able to hold positions longer and her stamina throughout classes have improved. 

Linda joined Wellness By Little in January 2015 looking to increase her overall strength and to improve her balance and posture. On day one, we did baseline testing together and her numbers were as follows:
Push Ups: 6
Plank: 1:25
Wall Sit: 1:25  

With many months of dedicated training and pushing to the places Linda did not think were possible she increased muscular strength in her upper body, core and lower body.

On 7/9/15 we re-did Linda's baseline testing and her results were impressive:
Push ups: 17
Plank: 1:53
Wall Sit: 2:40

The numbers speak for themselves and Linda reports to feel increased muscular endurance specifically in her yoga practice. She's able to hold positions longer and her stamina throughout classes have improved. 

 

 

Body Weight Workout

This routine can be done in your home by simply using your own body weight. NO EQUIPMENT NEEDED!
 
Circuit One
Side plank push ups x 15
Reverse Lunge with Step up x 15/leg
Mountain Climbers 1:00 minute
Repeat 3x
Circuit Two
15 Burpees (using step as modification if needed)
20 Squat hops (take out hop as modification)
Jog for 2:00 minutes @ moderate pace
Repeat 3x

Demonstration of reverse lunge step ups.

Demonstration of reverse lunge step ups.

Wellness By Little clients Adrian and Khanh demonstrating side plank push ups in their Madison Park home. 

Wellness By Little clients Adrian and Khanh demonstrating side plank push ups in their Madison Park home. 

The Ultimate Jump Rope Challenge

When was the last time you jump roped? It's cheap, portable and strengthens upper and lower body while also requiring some serious cardiovascular endurance.

If you're new to jump roping or trying for the first time in a while try this workout:

50 jumps>15 sec rest and repeat 5 times.

If you're wanting more of a challenge try this:

100 jumps>15 sec rest and repeat 5 times  

If you're familiar with double unders this is the ultimate jump roping challenge:

10 double unders, rest
20 double unders, rest 
30 double unders, rest
40 double unders, rest
50 double unders, rest
60 double unders, rest
50 double unders, rest
40 double unders, rest
30 double unders, rest
20 double unders, rest
10 double unders, DONE!

The rule is this: once you've completed 10, move onto 20. If you fail to complete 10, you have to start over again. For example: If you make it 59 but not 60, you must start at 50 again.  

Good Luck! 
 

Feel the Burn With This Stair Workout!

Stairs are a great way to get a quick, yet intense workout in your day.  Try these moves to get your legs and glutes stronger:

Find a set of stars that has 20 to 50 steps.

1.     Up and down once, single step on each stair

2.     Up with two steps on each stair, single step down

3.     Up sideways (right leg leading), single step down

4.     Up sideways (left leg leading), single step down

5.     Up skipping one step, single step down

Repeat five times.

Get Strong Quick With Kettlebell Swings

If you were looking for a single exercise to care for the human frame you’d probably look for an exercise that helped us regain our posture from one of sitting hunched over to one that was upright, extended, and open. The kettlebell swing is an exercise that helps strengthen the body and can overcome all the negative effects of sitting. This exercise can also strengthen your heart and help you lose weight, too. 

Before you get Started:
To perform a proper kettlebell swing, you have to first master the principles of a proper squat. Meaning weight is placed in the heel, knees are tracking over toes, core is engaged and chest is up. Although these swings do not require you to take a full squat, the foundation is very important to have. 

How to do a Proper Kettlebell Swing:

From squat position, drive the hips forward squeezing glutes, core and quadriceps, bringing kettlebell up to about eye level. The kettlebell will raise with your momentum on the way up and drop with gravity on the way down. Allow your body to move with that speed rather than forcing the kettlebell to do something different. 

These swings can be added into a strength circuit. Swings are a great way to get the heart rate up in a short period of time because it is a multi-joint exercise. 

My 4 Favorite Stability Moves

Stability Ball Session

In the following order repeat this circuit 3 times:

1. Plank Knee Tucks x 15

1. Plank Knee Tucks x 15

2. Stir the pot x12 each direction.  - In plank position make small circles in each direction

2. Stir the pot x12 each direction. 
- In plank position make small circles in each direction

3. Hamstring Curls x20 - From bridge position with hips high, bend knees to bring ball towards rear. 

3. Hamstring Curls x20
- From bridge position with hips high, bend knees to bring ball towards rear. 

4. Stability Ball Exchange x20 - Exchange stability ball from hands and feet with low back firmly planted on ground. 

4. Stability Ball Exchange x20
- Exchange stability ball from hands and feet with low back firmly planted on ground. 

3 Moves to Work Arms, Cardio and Core

The Chaturanga Push Up - this exercise alone incorporates hamstring flexibility, core and upper body strength. They can be performed often and I highly recommend office workers to get away from their desk a couple times a day to do these. 

Chaturanga Push Ups x10 (Modification: use knees) 

50 jumping jacks

1:00 plank hold

30 second side plank hold/side

Reapeat 3x

 

 

The Ultimate Full Body Balance Workout!

Today's workout Wednesday is all about balance. EQUIPMENT NEEDED: dumbells. 

Single leg bicep curls with dumbbell x12/leg

Single leg overhead press with dumbbell x10/leg

Single leg squat x20/leg

Single leg dead lift x10/leg

Core:

Single leg lifts x30 total (laying on back/15 per leg)

Repeat 3x

 

 

Plunge Into Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises are also known as "jumping" or "explosive" movements that are designed to be maximum force in a short period of time. The benefit of performing plyometric type exercises is to increase muscular power. These movements mimic exercises such as skiing, football, basketball and soccer, so athletes to the active adult can see benefits from performing plyometrics. Because the nature of these exercises and the potential for increased stress on joints, muscles and tendons precaution and/or modifications should be taken if you have an injury.

Plyometric Workout - No Equipment Needed:

Squat Hops x20
Burpies (w/ push up) x20
1:00min Plank

30sec Rest then repeat 1x

Lunge SwitchUps x20
Plank Jumping Jacks x30
1:00min Plank

30sec Rest then repeat 1x

Jumping Jacks x50
High Knees x50
Side to side hops x50
Front to back hops x50

30sec Rest then repeat 1x