Tag Archives: Workout

My Top 3 Exercises for Core Strength (The First One Will Make You Cry)

Do them until the vein in your forehead bursts!

Yesterday, I was speaking with a relative who’s nearing 60. She’s been doing a ton of hard work to strengthen her legs after dealing with a knee issue. Now, she wanted to add some serious abdominal exercises for extra power and stability. I thought that if she needed this information, you guys might too!

Many of us know how to do a push-up, but the best exercises to work your core aren’t as well known. The classic crunches have never given me the burn and strength increases that these do.

See the video below for an introduction to all three!

  1. Flutter Kicks

A mainstay of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDS) training. If it’s hard enough to challenge aspiring Navy SEALs, it should challenge us too! Lay on your back and move your legs in a scissor pattern without putting them down. After 90 seconds of this, my abs are fried from top to bottom.

  1. Plank

Until I started yoga, I had probably never done a plank properly in my life. The key is to get your shoulders above your wrists. When you do this, your core muscles will engage and you’re well on your way to serious strength gains.

  1. Boat Pose

Just did this in yoga this morning! You sit down, holding your legs up and bent and your arms alongside them, and open and close your body in a V shape. I find this particularly challenging for the lower abs.

Like all strength training exercises, I suggest doing them until failure. Keep going until your muscles give out. And if you’re hungry for more strength training resources, see this post.

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/LinkedIn/email using the buttons below. This helps more people find the blog!

Gyms Don’t Drive COVID Transmission…So Where Is Everyone?

After I finished a workout last night, I found myself chatting with the gym’s owner for the first time. He told me that some classes would be cancelled this week, due to both a lack of instructors and students. He hoped that it would be just this week. He also said business was down over 80%. This despite having taken countless precautions, including temperature screening, distancing and masking.

The data we have indicates that COVID transmission in gyms is very rare. In New York state, just 0.06% of cases could be traced to a gym. To put that in perspective, private gatherings in homes led to 74% of traceable cases. Further data from the UK and the University of Oregon Consulting Group also indicates minimal transmission in gyms.

And it stands to reason to me that cases that did originate in gyms would be dramatically easier to trace than those that originated in most other settings. Gyms have a list of members and sign-in sheets. Restaurants, bars, or private gatherings generally don’t. So my intuition tells me that if anything, the case fraction attributable to gyms is probably an overestimate, although I cannot prove that.

We should also bear in mind that every time we work out, we get healthier. Even if you do contract COVID, from whatever source, you’ll be in a far better position if your baseline level of health is higher.

And yet people aren’t showing up at my gym like they used to. Why is that? I think the cause is a reasonable fear coupled with a lack of specific information. So, please share this info with whoever you can!

I hope to see a smile on the owner’s face and full sign-up sheets soon!

“Woman Exercising – Credit to https://bestpicko.com/” by Bestpicko is licensed under CC BY 2.0

My Best Resources for Home Workouts

When my gym closed last March, I wondered how I’d continue to train and stay healthy. Even with gyms reopened now, lines are often long and many people are still not comfortable going. So how can we stay in shape at home, preferably with little or no equipment? These are the best resources I’ve found:

  • Athlean-X. Terrific YouTube channel created by Jeff Cavaliere, a physical therapist and trainer to professional athletes. It’s one of the marvels of today that you can have the same trainer as NFL players and other elite athletes, all for nothing and without leaving your house.

    His Athlean Xero program in particular has countless exercises that use no equipment whatsoever. But just because they’re bodyweight exercises doesn’t make them easy! I particularly like the sidelying bicep curl and the Bulgarian split squat.
  • Body by Science. The author is a doctor with deep knowledge of how strength training works. I used his principles even while I was still going to the gym, but I find them just as applicable now that I’m doing mostly bodyweight training.

    This program has you move slowly to maximize time under load and lift to failure so that the muscles will be overloaded and grow. Moving slowly can also make a small weight feel like a big one if your equipment is limited. The program also emphasizes the importance of training each muscle group only once a week, since the muscles take significant time to repair and grow. A burn or cut doesn’t heal in a couple of days, and neither do the microscopic tears in the muscle caused by strength training.

These resources have helped me gain a significant amount of mass and strength in the last 10 months. In fact, I’m progressing at a faster rate than I did with a gym membership. I also find that moving slowly and using primarily bodyweight means I don’t injure myself, which was a problem in the past.

No more excuses! Let’s get to it!

How I Took An Awesome Yoga Class for $1.75

One of the new hobbies I’ve picked up in 2020 is doing yoga. I became a believer when it helped me recover from a painful tendon injury, and I’ve been turning myself into a pretzel (or trying to) ever since.

Yoga classes can be expensive, but I’ve found a way to take great classes in person for as little as $1.75, which is what I paid last night. Perhaps as a way to coax people back into gyms, ClassPass has yoga, spinning, and numerous other classes for incredibly low rates. And you can do it all a la carte with no monthly membership fee.

You can do a 0 credit a month plan for free and then buy credits any time to take a class. That’s what I do.

I’ve taken almost a dozen classes since November and I’ve never paid more than $6. I go to a local studio with great teachers, and I feel very energized and relaxed afterward. I work out, socialize a bit, come home and eat dinner, then sleep like the dead due to the evening’s exertion.

An a la carte model is perfect right now because the COVID situation can change rapidly and impact people’s willingness to go to a gym. With this plan, you only pay when you actually go.

I don’t know of any cheaper way to do yoga, and the app is easy to use, so I strongly recommend this to anyone who is interested in yoga or other fitness classes.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to be around this community of people who enjoy yoga and live nearby. It makes me feel normal and feel happy, and that’s valuable nowadays. See you at spinning tonight!

Try CkassPass for free for 14 days using this link. (If you do, I will also receive some free credits. )

“Yoga in King George Square Brisbane-06=” by Sheba Also 18 Million Views is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

I Found a Secret Gym!

One of the benefits of not travelling in 2020 has been discovering what’s right around me. I’ve made more new friends this year than in the prior 5 years combined. I find myself actually (perish the thought!) saying hello to neighbors! We’re even exchanging baked goods like something out of the 1950’s. And it’s totally awesome.

Besides new friends, I just discovered something else: the building I’ve been living in for 2.5 years has a gym! I peeked through a hole in the laundry room wall, where plumbers were working on a pipe. As I got closer, I could hardly believe what I saw. A secret room filled with…exercise equipment?

I passed through a door marked Meter Room, past our electric meters, and went through a second door…this one unmarked. Inside was a gym straight out of the 1970’s. Rusty iron weights, exercise bikes without a single transistor, and bodybuilding posters from decades ago.

Our superintendent created this gym entirely on his own. It’s not the Equinox, but the equipment is surprisingly varied and of high quality. He made it for himself and shared it with whoever might wish to use it. After his recent retirement and return to his home country of Colombia, he left all this here for us.

Working out in this secluded space alongside exposed pipes makes me feel like Arnold Schwarzenegger at Gold’s Gym in the 1970’s. Until I look into one of the mirrors, at least. 🙂

I wanted to tell you about this to emphasize the wonderful things we gain from being at home more this year. We are not just missing out on travel, concerts, etc. We get something too…a new familiarity with and appreciation for the world right outside our own doors.

It also shows me the great effect one person can have on others, even others they’ve never met, with just a little care and individual initiative. People our superintendent will never see will be healthier because of what he did. What a great example for the rest of us!

How are you guys staying healthy this year? What have you discovered nearby? Let me know in the comments!