Exercise Spotlight – The Pushup

Okay okay okay… I know what you are all thinking, “Duh push ups are good for my upper body strength, but they are boring.” But they are the foundation to multiple amazing workouts for your arms, shoulders, back, and chest so before jumping from A to M, we have to start with the basics.

The push-up targets your chest (Pectoralis major), shoulders (front deltoids), and triceps but it is a super exercise because it also targets your abs, lower and upper back, and glutes! So the pushup pretty much trains the whole body and you can do it without a gym!

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Goal: 3 sets of 10 reps per workout (make sure you pause for 1-2 seconds at the bottom before pushing yourself back up)

Too easy? Increase the amount of reps for now… there are many more challenging versions of pushups… to be continued ūüôā
Too hard? Keep your knees on the ground, but keep your back straight or place your arms on a chair or couch so that your upper body is higher than your feet!

Stay tuned! I will continue to post more exercises and videos aimed to tone and train!

THIS BLOG AND BLOG POST ARE NOT TO BE USED FOR DIAGNOSTIC MEDICAL PURPOSES OR MEDICAL ADVICE, THEY ARE FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. PRIOR TO STARTING AN EXERCISE ROUTINE MAKE SURE YOU CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR TO ENSURE THAT YOU ARE HEALTHY ENOUGH TO EXERCISE. 
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Exercise Spotlight – Hip Raise

The Hip Raise is an exercise TRIFECTA! It targets your glutes, hamstrings, abdominals, and lower-back muscles (well I guess that’s a quad-fecta but you get the idea).

Add this to your weekly/daily workout routine to increase the strength of your hamstrings and tone up those trouble spots! I call it the cellulite busting exercise, because it hits all the places where that tends to hide out. Bonus… it requires no equipment what-so-ever!

Goal: 3 sets of 15 reps (make sure to hold the “up position” for at least 3 seconds up to 5)

Too easy? Place your arms out to the side instead of by your hips. Add some weights to your hips and perform the exercise OR hold a piece of paper between your knees and do not let it drop!
Too hard? Decrease the reps and/or sets. Raise your hips as high as you can… even if they are an inch off the ground you are starting to strengthen those muscles.

Stay tuned! I will continue to post more exercises and videos aimed to tone and train!

This blog and blog post are not to be used for diagnostic medical purposes or medical advice, they are for educational purposes only. Prior to starting an exercise routine make sure you consult your doctor to ensure that you are healthy enough to exercise. 

Arginine Containing Foods

Are you training for an endurance event? 

If so try increasing your intake of Arginine to boost your exercise capacity, improve your endurance performance, and improve your body composition by increasing muscle mass.

How can it do such wonderful things you might ask?

Arginine increases Human Growth Hormone, which in turn increases blood flood and mitochondria biogenesis (creation). Mitochondria are involved in the creation of ATP, which is your muscles’ energy source.¬†Since the body is using more energy to create more mitochondria to produce more energy… it burns more glucose (without effecting insulin) and fat, improving body composition by increasing lean muscle.

Arginine is also a precursor for Nitric Oxide (NO), which has been studied to help increase the endurance threshold by vasodilating blood vessels and allowing nutrients to flow throughout the body more freely, increasing oxygen delivery to the tissues.

But I am not saying go pick up a supplement today! No way… you can increase your intake of Arginine by the food you consume.

Top 4 Arginine Containing Animal Sources:

  1. Turkey – has the highest amount
  2. Pork Loin
  3. Chicken
  4. Dairy

642x180-turkey

Top 6 Arginine Containing Non-Animal Sources:

  1. Pumpkin Seeds – 4th highest source
  2. Soybeans
  3. Peanuts
  4. Spirulina – blue/green algae if you didn’t know, add it to a smoothie
  5. Chickpeas
  6. Lentils

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If you can eat at least 1-2 servings per day of Arginine containing foods you will be well on your way to maximize your workout goals!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 4th year naturopathic medical student at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio or my LinkedIn. 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.

Naturopathic Medicine & Sports

Come hear me speak at PSU about Naturopathic Medicine and sports, two of my PASSIONS!! Event description and link to the event details below.

Naturopathic medicine focuses on treating the whole person, preventing disease, teaching our patients, and helping everyone become the healthiest versions of themselves. It is widely accepted that physical activity can decrease a variety of illnesses and conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and even depression to name a few. But what happens when you are trying to be active, but get injured or are ‚Äútoo sore‚ÄĚ to go back out the next day? That‚Äôs where natural medicine can help. Learn how to utilize natural techniques to increase your tolerance to exercise, improve recovery times, and focus your exercises to maximize your health gains and improve your quality of life. Using naturopathic medicine modalities such as exercise prescription, nutritional/herbal supplementation, nutritional changes, and physical medicine techniques including massage, chiropractic manipulation, cupping, and more you too can become a natural athlete and take steps towards becoming the healthiest version of YOU!

More info about the event here!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 4th year naturopathic medical student at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio or my LinkedIn. 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.

Summer Home Strength Workout

I got out early from class today and decided to get a work out in, but I didn’t feel like going into the gym… I wanted to work out and lay by the pool (it is still hot here ya know). In lieu of my normal lifting schedule… this is what I did to change it up!

Upper Body:

  • 3 sets of 10 reps Push Ups
  • 3 sets of 15 reps Bicep Curls (5 lb ‘weights’ – all I had was cans from my kitchen)
  • 3 sets of 15 reps Shoulder Press¬†(5 lb ‘weights’)
  • 3 sets of 15 reps Tricep Dips

Lower Body:

  • 3 sets of 15 reps Squats
  • 2 sets of 10 reps Lunges¬†(right & left leg)
  • 3 sets of 15 reps Toe Raise
  • 3 sets of 15 reps Heel Raise
  • 3 sets of 15 reps Kneeling Kickback¬†(right & left leg)
  • 25 reps of Side Leg Lifts¬†(right & left leg)

Core:

  • 25 reps of crunches
  • 25 reps of toe touch crunches
  • 25 reps of side crunches¬†(right & left)
  • 25 reps of reverser crunches
  • 25 reps of leg lifts
  • 25 reps of lemon squeezersa6de8b13-5157-42e5-a5b9-237710605d86

Now time to relax and take a dip in the pool to cool down!

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.

Summer Fitness Challenge

This is not really a challenge, but I am working on my level of fitness this summer and wanted to share what I do… The good, bad, and ugly ūüôā

Weight Training:

3 sets of 15 reps for the following exercises

  • Biceps curls (10 lbs)
  • Dumbbell bench press (12.5 lbs)
  • Shoulder press (7.5 lbs)
  • Upright row (20 lbs)
  • Squats (70 lbs)
  • Leg curls (20 lbs)

The weight that I was using was about 20% off my maximum. So light weight more reps; heavy weight less reps. 

The following I did without weights (just body weight):

  • Lunges (90 reps)
  • Calf raises (45 reps)
  • Toe raises (45 reps)

Then I finished up with a core workout (25 reps of the following):

  • Crunches 
  • Side crunches (right & left)
  • Reverse crunches (2 sets)
  • Lemon squeezers
  • V-ups
  • Straight leg crunches

Today I am going to bear the heat and go on a hike out in the gorge to mix it up! Pictures will follow…

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.

Let’s Talk Track – Plyo of the Month

Besides being a full-time medical student… in my free time I enjoy coaching a HS track and field team. I love the kids, but one of the benefits for me is that I continue to incorporate new exercises into my workouts!

With my then freshman athlete after she got the school record in the high jump! (2015)

With my then freshman athlete after she got the school record in the high jump! (2015)

Plyometrics (plyos) are exercises that coaches use to increase an athlete‚Äôs strength, speed, and power. Some people associate plyos with ‚Äújumping drills‚ÄĚ, because a lot of them incorporate some type of jumping movement. Once a month I will do a spotlight on a specific exercise so that you can incorporate plyos into your regular workout routine. Besides improving an athlete‚Äôs performance in sports, plyos are a great way to increase cardiovascular fitness and strength in a shorter period of time.

With any exercise regimen, it is important that you attempt new exercises at your own risk. Do not try an exercise that is beyond your own personal ability. I will include exercises that are more basic and more advanced for some variety. If you have questions regarding if you should incorporate plyometric training into your physical activity routine, ask your doctor or other qualified health professional.

Standing Jump Over Barrier

4 sets of 5-10 reps

This is a great video of this plyometric exercise! You can use a cone, box, pillow, or anything that is about 1-2 feet tall. 

CHALLENGE LEVEL
EQUIPMENT
SPORTS
Beginner Plus 1 cone, hurdle, pillow

(approx. 1-2 ft high)

Baseball, Basketball, Football

Description

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart
  • Jump & bring knees up to jump over the barrier
  • Keep body in a straight line with knees pointing straight ahead
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.

Yoga Pose of the Month – Tree Pose

More and more people are jumping on the yoga bandwagon and why not! Yoga has been shown to reduce stress, decrease blood pressure, increases concentration, and improve academic performance. You do not have to be a yogi to participate in yoga, matter of fact you do not even need to be that flexible or coordinated. These yoga poses vary in intensity and focus with the goal to bring out the inner yoga master in all of us.

After a few months of poses, we will start to combine the poses together into routines focused on different themes including energizing, relaxation, core strength, balance, and more!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a yoga master by any means, but I do enjoy doing yoga poses and yoga workouts as a part of my workout routine. If I can yoga, you can yoga.

Tree Pose

Anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 minute per side

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Why?

Improves balance, concentration, and spatial awareness (otherwise known as proprioception).

Muscles Used:

Abdominals, Glutes, Adductors, Quadriceps, Abductors, Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius

Visualization:

If your into that sort of thing… I find it helps me to feel more grounded and relaxed.

  • Imagine you are standing tall like a tree. Root your feet into the earth.

How?Photo on 2015-10-13 at 12.05

  • Start in Mountain Pose
  • Transfer weight to right foot
  • Bend left knee & lift your foot to place it as high as you comfortably can on your inner right thigh¬†(toes point down)
  • Bring your hands into prayer positionPhoto on 2015-10-13 at 12.07 #3
  • Draw abdominals in, lengthen your torso, bring¬†your right knee back & hip forward
  • Raise your arms up towards the ceiling, keep your pelvis equal
  • Focus on a spot in front of you for balance
  • Switch legs and repeat
Photo on 2015-10-13 at 12.08

Tree Pose! Try to keep your hips as level as possible. Not the best example here, but I’m working on it!

Photo on 2015-10-13 at 12.08 #2Photo on 2015-10-13 at 12.09Too hard? Try these variations…

  • Place your back against a wall for balance
  • Try the pose keeping your hands in prayer position
  • Try the pose, but keep your raised leg lower¬†(i.e. on the calf of your standing 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. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

Core Challenge – October

Besides improving my core strength, this challenge has helped me look good in and love all my clothes! #bonus

Strong abs meet cute clothes!

This is your monthly core challenge… For the next 4 weeks, do these exercises 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.

CORE CHALLENGE –¬†October

Upper Abdominals

Thigh Slide Crunch¬†———— 3 sets of 15 reps
START…
  • LIE ON BACK WITH FEET FLAT ON FLOOR & KNEES BENT (APPROXIMATELY 60 DEGREES)
  • PLACE palms on thighs
MOVEMENT…
  • CURL TORSO UP, MOVING HANDS TOWARDS knees, SHOULDERS LIFT OFF FLOOR
  • FEEL ABS CONTRACT, HOLD FOR A COUNTY OF 1
  • RETURN SLOWLY TO STARTING POSITION & repeat

Lower Abdominals (do 1 of the 2 variations)

Lying¬†Knee Up¬†————— 3 sets of 12 reps

START:
  • Lie on back, feet straight out in front of you
  • PLACE ARMS OUT TO THE SIDES¬†or by your hips to stabilize
MOVEMENT:
  • Contract your abdominal muscles & bring your knees to your chest
  • Hold 1 count
  • SLowly RETURN TO STARTING POSITION AND REPEAT

OR for a challenge try…

Lemon Sqeezers¬†————— 3 sets of 12 reps
START:
  • LIE ON BACK, FEET STRAIGHT OUT IN FRONT OF YOU
  • PLACE ARMS BY YOUR HIPS TO STABILIZE
MOVEMENT:
  • CONTRACT YOUR ABDOMINAL MUSCLES
  • BRING YOUR KNEES TO YOUR CHEST & your chest to your knees at the same time
  • Your shoulders will leave the floor & you will be balancing on your buttocks/tailbone at the top of the motion
  • Hands are by your sides, but palms off the floor
  • SLOWLY RETURN TO¬†hollow body position (feet off the ground and shoulders off the ground) & repeat

Obliques

Oblique Crunch¬†————— 3 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

Here is my challenge to you all… do the core challenge 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.

I lost 0.5 inch from my waist from September's core challenge and I can tell me abdominals are stronger! One more 0.5 inch to go!

I lost 0.5 inch from my waist from September’s core challenge and I can tell me abdominals are stronger! One more 0.5 inch to go!

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.

Yoga Pose of the Month – September

More and more people are jumping on the yoga bandwagon and why not! Yoga has been shown to reduce stress, decrease blood pressure, increases concentration, and improve academic performance. You do not have to be a yogi to participate in yoga, matter of fact you do not even need to be that flexible or coordinated. These yoga poses vary in intensity and focus with the goal to bring out the inner yoga master in all of us.

After a few months of poses, we will start to combine the poses together into routines focused on different themes including energizing, relaxation, core strength, balance, and more!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a yoga master by any means, but I do enjoy doing yoga poses and yoga workouts as a part of my workout routine. If I can yoga, you can yoga.

Mountain Pose

Anywhere from 15 seconds to 1 minute

Why?

Improves posture and grounds you for the workout ahead. Also is used as a starting position for most standing poses we will do!

For an index and pictures of all the yoga poses I discuss, check out My Virtual Yoga! It has the pose, a picture, and more!

For an index and pictures of all the yoga poses I discuss, check out My Virtual Yoga! It has the pose, a picture, and more!

Visualization:

If your into that sort of thing… I find it helps me to feel more grounded and relaxed.

  • Imagine the top of your head reaching towards the sky and the base of your feet rooted into the earth
If you need help visualizing... Imagine you are somewhere beautiful and peaceful in nature, like by the Columbia River out in the gorge.

If you need help visualizing… Imagine you are somewhere beautiful and peaceful in nature, like by the Columbia River out in the gorge.

How?

  • Stand with your feet together, distribute your weight evenly
  • Straighten your legs (don‚Äôt lock your knees)
  • Draw your abs in towards your back and elongate your torso and neck
  • Arms beside you, relax your shoulders, reach your fingertips to the ground
  • Practice deep belly breathing, in through your nose and out through your mouth

Bored? Try these variations…

  • Close eyes, move feet hip distance apart, sway back & forth balancing back into the center¬†(this will engage your core muscles and improve your balance)
  • Pilates V Pose: stand w/ your heels together and toes turned out like a ballerina
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.
Sugar Cleanse Day #8! No more symptoms or cravings. My energy level is up and my stomach is less bloated. #sugarcleansewin

Sugar Cleanse Day #8! No more symptoms or cravings. My energy level is up and my stomach is less bloated. #sugarcleansewin

Many of you have requested that I post my daily diet during my sugar cleanse. On Friday, I will put up the last few days, some pictures, and a few recipes along with my typical Foodie Friday post.

Today I started my day off with scrambled eggs and white cheddar cheese and some sautéed veggies (garlic, kale, onion, and bell peppers). Of course this was consumed with a nice cup of coffee and some water! #nomnom

Coffee coffee coffee! Mason jars work for everything...

Coffee coffee coffee! Mason jars work for everything…