Let's get down to the core of it

I'm working on core stability with high plank and pike combo on a bosu and stability ball. Both pieces of equipment are throwing off my balance so much that my core is forced to work overtime to stop me from falling over. Crunches, back extensions, planks, mountain climbers, bicycles are all amazing ways to strengthen your core.

Building up core muscles is key to:
.reducing back pain
.improving posture
.making day to day activities easier
.improving athletic abilities
.balance

In the summer I absolutely love stand up paddle boarding. It requires a ton of core strength to stop you from getting wet! #healthyintoronto

Here's a quick 10 minute core workout that you can do pretty much anywhere.

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30s: Bicycles
30s: Forward plank with hip dips
30s: Sit ups
30s: Back extensions
30s: Side Plank hold
30s: Side Plank hold
1 Min: Mountain climbers


 

Mountain Climbers - Keep your bum down!

Mountain climbers are a top go to exercise for my clients. The reason is that you're getting your entire body involved and at the same time, getting your heart rate up.

A common mistake with mountain climbers is letting your bum creep up in the air. The reason this happens is because your brain is saying "My core is tired, I'm going to take some of the work away from it", so your bum goes up in the air to give your core a break. Buuuutttt, your body is like "No, please let me strengthen your core".  Like with most exercise related things, you need to fight your brain and let your body (that's more than capable of doing the work) do the work. Mind over matter. So, drop your hips down so that you have a nice straight spine. The other reason your bum might be in the air is because your shoulders aren't directly over top of your wrists. You may just need to shift your body forward and your bum will come down with that movement.

This video highlights a common way I see people doing mountain climbers and how to adjust your body so that you have correct form.

 

If you want to step up your climbing game. Try some of these variations that are throwing off your balance, forcing your core to work even harder.

 

 

 

 

My Transformation

When I was growing up Kraft Dinner was considered a meal - like, an entire box of the stuff to myself. I wasn’t eating it as a side dish and I wasn’t even eating vegetables with it. It was just one big, heavily processed meal. When I was younger my metabolism could handle it so it didn’t really phase me. Over the years my metabolism slowed down, and I started to progressively gain weight. Overeating was just one of the many bad habits I had picked up while I was growing up.

When I was 15 I gave smoking a shot for the first time and I hated it. I remember coughing over how disgusting it was. But, I don’t give up easily so everyday after school I gave it another go even though I was hating it and hating it and hating it until I was hooked. I smoked pretty consistently for someone who wasn’t old enough to buy cigarettes or have a job. I eventually got up to a pack and a half a day. I had one with my morning coffee, on my walk to work, before I started work, on break, at lunch, on break, on break again, on my walk home and at home at home at home at home. Jeez, thinking about it makes me wonder how I had time to do anything but smoke.

And after 12 years of getting my nicotine fix on, I was finally ready to kick the dirty habit to the curb. As most smokers know from the number of times they’ve tried to quit, nothing works. This time was going to be different for me though because I was ready, so I went cold turkey. Man was I a nightmare, and I’m sure my husband wouldn’t hesitate to agree. I was extremely moody, and the only thing that made me feel better was food. So we went out for meals a lot. Every craving for food that I had, I fulfilled. I wasn’t a healthy eater before I decided to quit, but as soon as I quit it got way worse – fast. If I was going to quit smoking, I was going to eat my way through the struggle. In two months I gained 15 pounds, bringing my weight up to 175 pounds (standing just 5 feet tall). That was when I decided that I needed an even bigger change!

I was overweight, out of shape and extremely sluggish. I decided to join a weight loss program to help me meet my health goals. Okay okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration; when I joined the program it was all about weight loss for me – not in the least about improving my health. My desire to be healthy evolved over the time I spent on my weight loss journey.  

I followed the program exactly. As soon as I put my mind to something I give it 110% until I have achieved my goal. (IE: Getting myself addicted to smoking in the first place) The weight started to drop and I was starting to feel better about myself. Next up, the program started to encourage exercise, which had me thinking “Uggghh I hate exercise”.  I knew that if I wanted to really get in shape, I also needed to up my fitness. I started with online workout videos. I would do 20 minutes a day a couple times a week. Then I got a gym buddy and started going for hour long classes once a week on top of my 20 minute videos. I slowly kept adding more and more to my exercise calendar.

Eventually I fell in love with eating healthy and exercising almost daily. I no longer needed the program to help me. I had changed my lifestyle enough that it all became second nature. After 15 months I lost 60 pounds and I've successfully kept it off ever since.

Before                                                                      After

Before                                                                      After

Becoming a trainer was the next step in this crazy transformation. I was able to learn so much over the years and it would be a shame if I couldn't pass on my knowledge to other women like me. I love setting and achieving goals for myself, but watching other people achieve their goals with my support is even better.