"Soup of the Day"...just got Serious!
So, it turns out I’m terrible at home schooling my children. It’s no real surprise, as being a great teacher requires a degree, incredible patience, and very specific sorts of intuition, creativity, expertise, and wisdom. That said, being terrible at something you are trying to do to help those you love is a horrible feeling. Which got me thinking: While I’m not an elementary school teacher, I need to help my kids, and so, what do I need to do better so I can feel better about the whole thing? What would help me is some basic information to understand the underlying principles and end goals, as well as some - or even numerous! - examples of specific exercises I can do with my kids. These things would give me – respectively – the motivation and confidence I need to keep going.
Is the same true for some of you with home fitness? Would any of you gain motivation and confidence if you better understood some of the simple principles of how exercise can be effective? The specific steps that can benefit many? We’re throwing all kinds of exercises at you, which is great fun. But would these workouts be more fun/more interesting, would you be more likely do to them, if you understood a bit more of the whys and hows behind them?
I’d like to add in to these emails a place for Exercise Science of the Day. It will not replace the Workout of the Day, but will simply be adding information for those of you who are interested, as well as - selfishly – a place for me to geek out a little to do what – I hope! – I am good at doing: educating adults about one specific topic: Exercise.
For the first little bit I will focus more on the Exercise Psychology stuff, as the mind is so vital in all of this. Then you can expect a combination of both mental and physical principles as well as an interesting mix of cardiovascular, muscular, biomechanical, and neural adaptations.
Exercise Fundamental of the Day
Principle 1: All Movement Counts.
No matter how you choose to move, it’s always beneficial to engage your muscles and raise your heart and respiration rate. So, feel free to choose activities you love as well as those that are simply convenient.
Real life example: My runs are now always on the rail trails throughout Collingwood, as it’s a safe, easy place for the kids to bike with me while I run. I’ve stopped worrying about how fast, or how far I’m going. It’s the perfect way for me to fit in a workout, while spending time with them, AND getting them out and about for exercise in a way they enjoy.
People always ask things like: is running on a treadmill better than biking? Is lifting heavy weights low reps better than lifting lightweight high reps?
For today: Don’t worry about it. I will touch on some of those complexities another day. For now, know that all movement is beneficial and absolutely “counts”. And perhaps more important, that your body is your brain on this one. The brain craves habits, rituals, regularity, and forward momentum. Yesterday you moved. Today you moved. Those two things predict that you are likely to move again tomorrow.
Just get moving. Worrying about what or how is for another day.
Workout of the Day
Lauren Neal, our Group Fitness Director at the Adelaide Club, created this fabulous Lower Body Stair Workout. She’s prescribed a stair climbing warm up, and then 5 different exercises and recommends 5 full rounds. You can either increase or decrease the rounds as you see fit. Lauren also explains: “For each of the unilateral exercises, always start on your non-dominant side. If you find a very large strength imbalance, add a couple reps to that side. Because most of us won’t be adding weight to this, most exercises are focused on slower tempo to ensure intensity through increased time under tension.”
Bring Your Heart Rate up with Your Warm-up
Start by climbing the stairs, depending on how long your stairwell is, you can adjust accordingly. By the end, your heart rate up should be up!
Aim to land with a flat foot and your torso angled forward slightly. Focus on pressing through your heel and driving knee up.
- 15 Rounds regular stairs – up and down counts as 1
- 10 Rounds double stair climb
- 5 Rounds double stair climb – try to increase your pace
Dynamic Calf Stretch (2 ways):
Start by placing your hands against the wall. One foot is forward, close to the wall, with a soft bend in the knee. The opposite leg is extended behind you (this is the focus). As you exhale, focus on bending your back knee and driving it forward. Try not to let your back heel lift off the ground, but rather using each exhale, try to work into available ranges.
Using the bottom step, place your one foot flat on the step. The opposite heel will be hanging off the step. As you exhale, drop your heel towards the ground slowly and then return to your starting position. Take your time with this one as it can be intense. If too much, just focus on the first stretch. Keep this dynamic, by continuing to work into further ranges if available.
A1. Reverse Lunge to Step Up
10 Reps (per side)
- Hips squared
- Step back with your dominate leg into a reverse lunge
- Torso slightly leaning forward
- Focus on pushing front knee towards baby toe (don’t let it collapse)
- Pause at the bottom for 5 seconds
- Press into heel with your back leg coming up into a step up on the stair
- Drive opposite knee upwards to about 90 degrees & squeeze opposite glute
- That is one rep – Step back into your lunge and repeat
A2. Pistol Squat
8 Reps (per side)
- Start seated on the stair – Non-dominate leg will be at 90 degrees
- Start on a higher stair to make it a bit more accessible, if needed
- Press through heel and come to a standing position
- Squeeze glute
- Focus on a slow decent as you lower yourself back to a seated position
- Hold onto the railing as needed
A3. Lateral Lunge with Pulse
10 Reps (per side)
- Bring one leg up onto the stair
- Toe faces forward
- As you exhale, press your hips backwards and drive your knee outwards
- Shoulder blades are retracted and ribs are down
- Pause at the bottom & add a tiny pulse
- Press yourself back up to a standing position
A4. Bulgarian Split Squat (1&1/2s)
8 Reps (per side)
- Facing away from the stairs, you’ll elevate your dominate leg against the step
- Shoulder blades retracted, ribs down, torso angled slightly forward
- Holding neutral spine, you’ll inhale lowering your back knee towards the step
- Pause at the bottom, press through heel and come up halfway
- You will then go back to your bottom position and hold before coming back to your start position
- That’s one rep!
- Focus on finding your glutes – this should be done slow!
A5. Switch hops
20 total reps
- Facing the stairs, start with one foot elevated
- Press through heel into a hop and switch legs on the stair
- Drop back knee towards the ground for an added challenge
Repeat the moves from the top 5 times!
For questions about this workout you can connect with Lauren directly.
Bite of the Day
If we can’t fly off to Spain, let’s take our palates there, shall we? Paella de verduras is the classic rice dish from the East Coast of Spain, but made with vegetables. I’m a huge fan of everything with smoked paprika these days and this recipe from Cookie and Kate is smoky, beautiful to look at, hearty, and delicious. It also happens to be gluten free and vegan.
Get this delicious recipe here.
Have a "Something of the Day" you want us to include? Email Meg.