Core Challenge – November

This is your monthly core challenge… For the next 4 weeks, do these exercises AT LEAST 3 days a week alternating with days off in between. Core strength is vital excellence in any sport and it increases the amount of fat you burn overall!

Fun Fact! Did you know that you abdominal muscles could support up to 40% of the weight of the spine! Strong abs can improve posture and decrease the strain put on the lower back. This means fewer back aches for you.

The different exercises below target different abdominal muscles to give you the best overall strength and best overall workout.

Kid version of me when I thought I had abs, but I really didn't but was probably stronger than I am now... (I am the one on the right)

Kid gymnast version of me when I thought I had abs, but I really didn’t but was probably stronger than I am now… (I am the one on the right)

CORE CHALLENGE – November

Upper Abdominals

Crunches ———— 3 sets of 15 reps
START…
  • LIE ON BACK WITH FEET FLAT ON FLOOR & KNEES BENT (APPROXIMATELY 60 DEGREES)
  • PLACE arms across chest
MOVEMENT…
  • CURL TORSO UP, SHOULDERS LIFT OFF FLOOR
  • FEEL ABS CONTRACT, HOLD FOR A COUNTY OF 1
  • RETURN SLOWLY TO STARTING POSITION & REPEAT

Lower Abdominals

Reverse Crunches ————— 3 sets of 15 reps

 START:

  • LIE ON BACK, knees bent to 90 degrees, feet off of the floor
  • PLACE ARMS OUT TO THE SIDES OR BY YOUR HIPS TO STABILIZE
MOVEMENT:
  • CONTRACT YOUR ABDOMINAL MUSCLES & BRING YOUR rear in the air
    • Important: try not to rock your hips back wards and ‘roll’ your rear off the ground, this should be a stable/slow movement to work your abs
  • HOLD 1 COUNT
  • RETURN TO STARTING POSITION AND REPEAT
Reverse crunches

Reverse crunches

If the reverse crunches above are too tough for you to start out, try this similar lower abdominal exercise here

 

Obliques

Oblique Crunch ————— 2 sets of 12 reps R & L
START:
  • LIE ON BACK WITH FEET FLAT ON FLOOR & KNEES BENT (60 DEGREES)
  • ROLL YOUR KNEES TO THE SIDE THAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO CRUNCHES FIRST (I.E. ROLL THEM TO THE RIGHT SIDE FOR RIGHT SIDED CRUNCHES)
  • HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD, ARMS BENT
MOVEMENT:
  • CURL TORSO UP, MOVING CHEST TOWARD SIDE, SHOULDERS LIFT OFF FLOOR
  • FEEL ABS CONTRACT, HOLD FOR A COUNT OF 1
  • RETURN SLOWLY TO STARTING POSITION & REPEAT ON BOTH SIDES

 

Combo Crunch (works all parts of core)

Crossover Crunch ————— 2 sets of 12 reps
 START:
  • LIE ON BACK WITH FEET FLAT ON FLOOR & KNEES BENT (60 DEGREES)
  • HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD, ARMS BENT
MOVEMENT:
  • CURL TORSO UP, MOVING right elbow toward, left knee, SHOULDERS LIFT OFF FLOOR
  • FEEL ABS CONTRACT, HOLD FOR A COUNT OF 1
  • RETURN SLOWLY TO STARTING POSITION & REPEAT moving the left elbow to right knee

CHALLENGE!

Here is my challenge to you all… do the core challenge at least 3 x a week for 1 month (until the next core challenge is posted). Take a picture before you start of your abs, whatever state they are, and take a picture after so you can track your progress. Measure your waist around the point of your belly button and measure again in 1 month.

Tell me your success stories or your struggle stories! I am here for support, guidance, and advice to tailor your core training to your needs! 🙂

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

What’s Fresh – November

“Buy and cook what is in season”, that’s what we are always told right? Besides just being trendy, the mantra is actually true! If you purchase and consume in season produce you will not only get the most fresh and tasty food and help the environment, but you will also save some serious $$$. Here is a guide to what is fresh in the fruit and vegetable world this month for local NW produce!

Be mindful that this list pertains mainly to NW residents. If you are from or living in a different location, click on the links below to create a list that pertains more to you!

Fresh fruits for November!

Fresh fruits for November!

Fresh veggies for November!

Fresh veggies for November!

Later on this month, stay tuned for a recipe that uses What’s Fresh produce for its ingredients. If you want ideas for how to incorporate certain foods here into your diet let me know by leaving a comment!

Poll Winner from October!

You voted and APPLES was the most popular fruit from October! One of my favorite ways to use apples as a “sugar free” treat is to make cinnamon apples. There are many ways to make these, but you do not have to bake or be a fancy chef to make this quick sweet treat!

  • Cut up a green granny smith apple (or your favorite type if you want something sweeter) into slices or cubes
  • Place the apples into a microwavable safe bowl add cinnamon to your liking and microwave away x 30 seconds – 1 minute; Stir at least 1 time

OR

  • Place the apples into a sauce pan/frying pan with a SMALL amount of olive oil and turn on low heat, after apples have heated up for a bit, add the amount of cinnamon to your liking and stir. Leave on the stove top until apples are cooked all the way through and the cinnamon has coated them all
  • Eat and enjoy! You could also use this as a base for apple pie filling and it contains no added sugar! If you use a granny smith apple, this dessert is sugar cleanse approved.

Cinnamon-Apple-Snack

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. Please consult with your primary health provider before starting a new exercise regimen. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

15 Minute Workout – November

One of the biggest challenges people have with incorporating physical activity into their daily life is not having enough time to fit it in! A trip to the gym can get overwhelming when you are working, in school, a parent, trying to cook, clean, have a social life, etc. That being said almost all of us can find 15 minutes in our day.

This 15 minute workout is aimed to fight the Thanksgiving bulge!

15 Minute Work Workout

Strength (5 minutes)

Push Ups (3 x 20 seconds OR 3 sets of 10-20 reps)

  • 1 set normal arm push-ups
  • 1 set elbows in arm push-ups
  • 1 set hershey kiss or diamond push-ups
  • Try to do as many of these push-ups without being on your knees, that being said if this is too difficult then do the knee push-ups! They work your arms too

Straight Leg Crunches (2 x 30 seconds OR 2 x 25 crunches)

  • Legs straight & do a normal crunch! Works lower abdominal muscles (the typical ‘pooch’ spot)

Front Arm Raises (2 x 30 seconds OR 3 x 10-20 reps)

  • Use cans as weights if you do not have access to weights at home

Leg lifts (2 x 30 seconds OR 2 x 25 reps)

Leg Lifts via women's health mag!

Leg Lifts via women’s health mag!

Lateral Arm Raises (2 x 30 seconds OR 3 x 10-20 reps)

  • Use cans as weights if you do not have access to weights at home

Cardio (5 minutes)

Squat Jumps (2 x 30 seconds OR 3 x 10-20 reps)

  • Squat down, touch your hands on the ground, and jump up reaching your arms to the sky

Standing High Knees (2 x 30 seconds)

  • Run with high knees in place

Mountain Climbers (2 x 30 seconds)

Mountain climbers via workoutlabs.com

Mountain climbers via workoutlabs.com

Standing Butt Kickers (2 x 30 seconds)

  • Run with your heels kicking your butt in place

Jumping Jacks (2 x 30 seconds OR 3 x 10-20 reps)

Flexibility (5 minutes)

Standing Straddle Stretch (20 seconds to the right, left, and middle)

Back Stretch Series (20 seconds each stretch)

  • Lay on back, pull both knees to chest x 20 seconds
  • Lay on back, pull right knee to chest x 20 seconds and then pull left knee to chest x 20 seconds

Arm Overhead Stretch (30 seconds per arm)

Arm Across Stretch (30 seconds per arm)

Achilles Stretch (30 seconds per leg)

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. Please consult with your primary health provider before starting a new exercise regimen. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.
Halloween fun this past weekend! I do more than workout, cook, and study

Halloween fun this past weekend! I do more than workout, cook, and study

Motivational Monday – Mindful Meditation

I have been doing some soul-searching over the past month and I have decided to shift my blog’s focus ever so slightly. I am still going to post workouts on Wednesday, food related items on Friday, and I will save Sunday for larger posts focused on Naturopathic remedies, health conditions, and general wellness topics.

That just leaves Motivational Mondays… I am going to use Mondays, our favorite day of the week (NOT), for stress relieving and mind focusing activities. By doing this, hopefully all of us (myself including) can do the mindful mediation, stress relieving exercise, etc. and start the week off in a positive, stress-free place.

Pretty much I want to change the perception of Monday… Change it from a sad start to a new work week and transform it into something we look forward to, something that can center us, and something that helps us manage the stressors and things called LIFE that we run into throughout the work week. 

Mindful Meditation

Body Scan

Get into a positive space, whether that is in your home, in your car, outside, at work, or wherever you like. Play the following recording, close your eyes, and follow the guided meditation.

Do this as much as you like over the following week! This can be a great way to fall asleep, can reduce stress, and improve overall health!

CLICK HERE FOR BODY SCAN LINK!

If you are visual like me, use this to help direct your mindful meditation today!

If you are visual like me, use this to help direct your mindful meditation today!

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY CHALLENGE!

After doing the body scan, journal or quickly write down how you feel (good, bad, different, or otherwise). Do you feel more at east? Less stressed? If you know how to take your pulse, take it before and after… did it slow down?

If you are bold, feel free to comment on your experience below! 🙂

Come back next week for a new stress relieving exercise and new challenge!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

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