Weekend Challenge

Friday, May 31, 2013

Inspired by my upcoming collaboration with Thinking Slimmer, I have created a 'How To' series of post here on the blog.  Eventually, they will evolve in to short instructional videos on You Tube.

Until then, explore the quickie workouts.  Find 2 or 3 and complete them back-to-back.

30 minutes of sweat this weekend! Get to it!

How To Perform a Squat

Squats are a basic move in the fitness world.  They are also functional, meaning you perform them as part of every day life.  To perform a squat:

1.  Stick bum out as if sitting in a chair (or on the toilet).
2.  Keep knees behind the toes to protect the knee from injury.
3.  At the bottom of the squat your weight should be in your heels, not your toes.  To test this, see if you can wiggle your toes.

How To Perform a Modified Press Up

Press ups (or push ups as we call them in America) are great for building upper body strength.  This example if for a modified press up at an incline, which makes the move a little easier.  You can use a counter top, study desk, wall, or bench to get stronger before trying it on the ground.

1.  Start with your body in a straight line and shoulders over your hands.

2.  The pivot point is your toes.  You will be rocking back and forth on them.
3.  Lower your chest to the bench/counter/wall by bending elbows.  Keep body straight (do not bend at the waist).

4.  Exhale as you push yourself back up to starting position.

How to Perform a Wall Sit

Wall sits are a fantastic way to kill time.  If you have a spare minute or two during your day, find a wall and have at it!  Time yourself each time and see if you can hold on a little bit longer!

1.  Stand with back against wall and feet about 60 cm away from wall.
2.  Slide down wall so knees are at 90 degrees.

3.  Keep the weight in your heels and your hands on your hips (rather than pressing on your thighs).

How to Perform a Frontal Raise

Frontal raises are great for toning upper body.  You can also add them in to other exercises to involved the entire body.  If you find frontal raises easy without any weights, hold tins of soup or bottles of water to add resistance. You could also invest in a resistance band.

1.  Stand tall with a slight bend in the knee.  Locking the knees puts you at risk for injury.
2.  Keep your tummy in (engaged) to support your lower back.
3.  Have palms facing your body.
4.  Keeping your arms straight, raise arms to chest height as you exhale.

How to Lunge

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lunges are a great way to tone the legs, as well as stretch them.  As you become more confident with the basic lunge, you can start to add in variations, such as frontal or lateral raises with the arms.

1.  Stand with legs hip width apart.
2.  Step forward with one foot and keep toes pointing forward.
3.  Lift the heel of the back foot off of the ground.
4.  Sink your back knee towards ground without touching.  Do not lean forward.

5.  Keep front knee over ankle and behind the edge of the toes to avoid injury.
6.  Exhale as you stand up by straightening legs.  You can leave back heel off of the ground.

Cardio Kick- Step Ups

Step ups are a fantastic way to warm up the body and get the heart beating a little bit faster.  It is important to perform this on the bottom step to avoid falling down the stairs. Also start at a pace that is comfortable for you.  With time, you will build up speed.

1.  Stand on the ground in front of a step.
2.  Leading with either foot, bring first foot up on to step and then the other.  (Up-Up)

3.  Then step down with the foot you started on, followed by the other leg.  (Down-Down)

4.  The pattern is therefore Up-Up-Down-Down.
5.  Be sure entire foot is placed on the step.  Do not let your heels hang off of the edge.
6.  As you become move comfortable with the movement, you can start to increase your speed.

How to Perform a Plank

Planks are one of the best overall body exercises you can do.  This is another great one if you have a spare moment or two and are able to get down on the ground.

1.  Start on your hands and knees on the ground.
2.  Lower yourself to your elbows (on to forearms), keeping your shoulders over the elbows.
3.  Legs are extended back and you are on your toes.
4.  Keep the tummy in (tight/engaged) to support your back.
5.  Try not to clench your hands as your body is tense enough.

6.  If you need to drop to your knees, do not release the tension in your stomach.  Keep it going!
7.  If it is more comfortable for you, you can perform a plank on the palms of your hands instead of elbows.

How to Perform a Superman

Don't worry, we will feature Supergirls in a later post.  Supermans are a great way to strengthen your lower back.  Just as you compliment bicep training with triceps work, you need to work your back if you do abdominals.

1.  Lay on your stomach with arms and legs extended straight.
2.  If you have a bad or weak lower back, start by lifting opposite arm and opposite leg.

3.  Hold for a moment.
4.  Exhale and release.
5.  Then switch to other combination.

6.  You only need to raise your limbs enough to feel the movement in your lower back.  No need to reach for the sky.
7.  Once you are strong enough, you can lift all 4 limbs off the ground at once.

How to Perform a Tricep Dip

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Time to tone the arms a bit.  This exercise uses your own body weight for resistance.

1.  Sit on the end of a bench or study chair (not a rolling one!) with hands next to bum and knees at 90 degrees.
2.  Lower hips by bending arms at the elbow, with elbows going straight back.
3.  Try to keep space between your ears and shoulders.
4.  Keep hips close to the bench.  As you fatigue, your hips will naturally pull away from the bench.  Bring them back in.

5.  Using only your arms, push yourself back up by straightening your elbows.
6.  As the move becomes easier, straighten your legs to make it more challenging.

How to Perform a Lateral Raise

Lateral raises are another great upper body move.  It works your shoulder muscles a little bit differently than frontal raise.  This exercise will help you be able to put your carry on above your seat on the plane.

1.  Position the body in the same starting position as the frontal raise.
2.  Have palms facing body but on the outside of the legs.
3.  Keep arms straight and raise to 90 degrees out to the side (making the body into a 'T' shape).

Quickie Workout #55

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.

Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com)

Warm up- 1 min jumping jacks/star jumps, 1 min jog in place high knees, 1 min grapevines
1 min- Leg swings- Touch right foot behind left, causing a 1-legged squat on left leg. Then swing right leg up to right side at a comfortable height.  Keep leg straight.                      
1 min- Knee circle with ball- Holding a small Pilates ball (or pillow) in knee pit, make small circles with knee 30 seconds one direction then switch direction.                 
1 min- Side knee raise with ball - Keep knee bent at 90 degree. Lift knee out to the side to a comfortable height without moving upper body.             
1 min- Calf raises - Stand on your toes then slowly lower down to ground
1 min- Plies - Feet shoulder width apart (with slight foot turnout) and hips tucked under, lower down as low as you can without sticking out bum or leaning forward.
1 min- Lat pulldown with band- Hook band over a secure railing or door. Hands should be in a wide grip over your head. Keep elbows relatively straight and lower hands down to shoulder height.                
1 min- Torso twist with band - Keep gaze and hips forward so only torso moves. This shapes abs with the resistance from the band.                   
1 min- Lunges        
1 min- Bicep curl with band                      
1 min- Leg abduction with band - Tie band in a loop and place around ankles.  With slight bend in supporting knee, bring other leg away (think alien abduction for away!) from body.
1 min- Boat pose                    
1 min- Plank                                                  
1 min- Side crunch                                       

Weekend Challenge: Cooking Up a Storm

Friday, May 24, 2013

Time for a kitchen adventure!  In an effort to have you try new things and find enjoyment in home cooking, I am challenging you to experiment.

Roll a dice or pick a number between 1 and 6 to determine which mystery ingredient you will be cooking with this weekend.

1.  No peaking before choosing a number.
2.  Buy item organic and/or local if possible.
3.  Even if you don't think you will like it, try the item anyways (unless you are allergic).
4.  Look for a recipe/regional inspiration you have never tried with the item before.
5.  Have fun and send pics to mollie@ptmollie.com!

1.  Beets/beet root (fresh not canned)
2.  Rhubarb (something different than pie)
3.  Kale
4.  Broad beans
5.  Cauliflower
6.  Asparagus

Weekend Challenge

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sometimes in life, we get carried away with everything that has to be done and impending deadlines. This leaves not much time to do things we used to enjoy.  Our body never gets a chance to relax and slow down while allowing our mind to be engaged.

This weekend I challenge you to read for pleasure.  Pick up a book you have been meaning to finish.  Gather the kids and start reading Harry Potter or Chronicle of Narnia together.  Treat yourself to you favorite magazine from the shop (no matter how trashy).  Reading is a wonderful escape, as well as a way to connect with other via shared interests or experiences.

You can take this challenge even further by creating a monthly book club with some friends.  Visit your local library for some ideas.

Comment below with what you decided to read.

Next VTG Starts May 27

Monday, May 13, 2013

It is that time again!  The next Virtual Training Group (VTG) will start on Monday May 27.  The program is run via email for 9 weeks, ending 29 July (just in time for August holiday!).  We will be limited to 15 participants. All are welcome, no matter what your fitness level, age, or gender.

Here are some testimonials from previous clients:

"Mollie is an amazing, positive motivator, just what you need when you are trying to become more active. She is super supportive, and really wants you to succeed. I was part of her virtual training group, and she gave us great ideas for workouts, and checked in to make sure we were all staying focused on our goals. She has found her calling!"
-Sarah B., virtual training group member, Malden, Massachusetts, USA

"I am a 32 year old working Mom to a 16 month old and wife. I want it all... but feel it is really tough. I struggle with finding the balance and I usually am last on my own list, never taking time for something I would like to do.

During the last VTG I was going through a tough time in my life and quiet depressed, going to bed at 8:30 often times, eating whatever was easy and not really working out. By the end of the VTG I was exercising regularly and feeling SO much better about myself, my relationships and life in general. I really believe that working out saved me in so many ways. I am doing this because I want to keep going and feeling better and better every day.

I love the positive encouragement and support of the women on VTG."
-Giovanna, virtual training group member, New Hampshire USA

The specifics:

The VTG runs for 9 weeks and is conducted over email.

During Week 0, everyone comes up with 3 SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound). They can be anything from take a walk at lunch time, eat 3 servings of vegetables/day, to journal 4 times/week.  It is up to you what area of your life you want to focus on. (Personally, I am having swim sessions as a goal as my sprint triathlon is 27 July.)

On Mondays, I send out an email with articles, tips, and my report.  The group replies to all with their progress and homework (quote, healthy recipe, gratitude reflection). There is also a Facebook group to stay in touch. 

It is FREE to new members.  VTG veterans are asked to invest £10/$15 (paid in my shop) (less than £1/$2 per week) to help cover costs for motivational materials.

It is about finding accountability for your actions through a virtual supportive group. No need find a local gym buddy. The VTG will be all you need!  

Ready to commit? Email me at mollie@ptmollie.com to be added to the list!

Weekend Challenge #54: Beyoncé's Booty

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The unstoppable Mrs. Carter is on tour and just played in London.  Her curves are amazing.  She embraces being a healthy woman and we all should too.  Today's workout targets the backside.  Get it toned and rock it this summer!

Walking uphill is also great for strengthening your glutes. How about finding a hill and completing this workout at the top?

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.

Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com)

Warm up- Walking lunges forward for 1 minute, then reverse lunges for 1 minute. 2 minutes of squats with alternating knee lift.
1 min-  Deadlifts
30 sec each leg-  Arabesques 
1 min- Wall sit
1 min- Box jumps or run ups
2 min- Squat down and hold for 10 seconds. Squeeze bum on the way up.
1 min- Clams with resistance band around your thighs
1 min- Hip raise
1 min- Mountain climbers       
1 min each leg- Side leg lifts- lay on your side with bottom arm extended. Rest head on arm.  Lift upper leg up to 90 degress and then return to start. 

Complete the following exercises all on one side before switching to the other. 
30 sec- Fire hydrant- Kneel on hands and knees.  Keep knee at 90 degrees and lift leg out to side, like a male dog near a fire hydrant.
30 sec- Heel pulse-  Kneel on hands and knees.  Keep knee at 90 degrees and lift heel up to sky in small pulses.
30 sec- In and out- Bring knee in to chest and then extend straight behind you.
30 sec- Straight leg pulse- Keep leg extended (with toe pointed) creating a straight line with back.  Pulse up and down about 2 inches.

Weekend Challenge: Chew It Over

Friday, May 10, 2013

Catching up on my Institute for Integrative Nutrition lectures today, the topic of chewing come up. In some dietary philosophies, people are expected to chew their food 100 times before swallowing. That isn't entirely practical for people who have stuff to do, but I feel that it is a lost skill.  Most people take one or two bites before swallowing.  Then we 'wash it down' with a drink.

This weekend, slow yourself down at meal time and chew 25 times before swallowing.  It will be a good exercise in taking a step back from rushing around.  You will also have the opportunity to be a better listener to your dining companions.

Chewing your food makes it easier for your body to digest food, so you should be feel better than you usually do after a meal.  Chewing also helps your body access the nutrients in your food more quickly (because the food is broken down).  True, it make take a little longer to eat your meal, but this means your body will be able to tell you it is full before you overindulge.  Again, you will feel better after a meal.

Let me know if you feel a difference after meals when you complete this challenge.  Bon appĂ©tit!

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mother's Day in America (and New Zealand it turns out) is Sunday 12 May.  Readers enjoyed my Christmas gift list, so I thought I would share a few ideas on what an active Mom might like this weekend as a gift.  (The items on the Christmas list are still a good idea, no matter what the occasion).  Many of these companies were founded by moms too!

1.  New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood et al.


This book gives info on how to select different foods, their healing properties, and how to prepare/store foods.  There aren't too many recipes so think of it more as a reference book.  It is something Mom can pick up when she feels inspired and not have to worry about having time to read it cover to cover.  Or if Mom likes cooking, make her a personalized recipe book by printing out recipes you think she will like and adding your own photos.

lululemon Run:Swiftly 
2.  Expensive gym kit Mom might be too practical and penny-wise to spend a ton of cash on a t-shirt to sweat in.  But I can tell you the extra money is worth it.  I suggest anything merino wool (such as Icebreakers) or the lululemon Run:Swifty Tech Tee.  If you aren't sure of Mom's size, sneak a peak in her drawers and see what she already has.  A gift card is flexible too.  Feel free to ask other family members to chip in if you think this is outside your budget.

3.  Beauty treatment Does your mom love getting her nails done but rarely take the time to head to the salon?  Or does she always ask her partner for a neck massage while watching TV?  Wold she enjoy some pampering?  Use your observation skills (or ask her best friend) what method of pampering would make Mom the happiest.  Avoid Groupon though as some salons won't be up to standard on cleanliness and customer service.

4.  Podcasts Hypnotherapy is a great way for Mom to relax, give up sweets, gain confidence, or prepare for a natural childbirth.  I enjoy Unstuck Thinking's podcasts (such as her moving meditation HypnoGoGo) while my friend Becca of From Snickers to Marathon swears by Thinking Slimmer.

5.  Personal training sessions  This is a tricky one  You don't want Mom to feel overweight or out of shape.  But if she tries to fit in gym sessions and eat well but isn't seeing the results she would like, one-on-one training could push her passed her plateau.  It is important she finds a trainer she has a good rapport with.  Find an establishment where there are several trainers she can choose from (with a free consultation) and invest in a training package.

6.  Reasons to Run fine art print  Mom will love this natural wooden artwork with metallic print from Believe I Am.  This gift shows Mom how much you believe she can achieve at home, at the gym, and at work. It can inspire everyone in the family when they need a bit of motivation to get outside.   Believe I Am using sport psychology techniques to motivate and support aspirational women with clothing, jewelry, and other gifts.

7.  Betty Designs Dream Tankini Usually I would say bathing suits are not good gifts for anyone.  However, I love Betty Designs use of butterflies and skulls to create a balance of femininity but also 'don't mess with me attitude.'  This tank is multi-sport so mom will only need to pack this for family trips to cover many activities (yoga, swimming, triathlon, beach time).  The only thing I would suggest is to allow Mom to select her own bikini bottoms.

8.  Bonus gift for everyone to enjoy Think about including a little something as a bonus for mom, such as a small food treat or travel size game.  If Mom is NOT allergic to nuts check out Nutzo organic nut and seed butters (Omega-3 rich, with or withour peanuts and in chocolate!).  As for a game, Bananagrams is fun for all ages- both those who know their letters or those still learning.


9. 'In Health and Happiness' bracelet Gorgeous bracelets custom-made for my clients by Erica Sara Designs. Available in Sterling silver or brass with a black string here in my shop.  Constant reminder to Mom to pursue health and happiness every day.  *Please note I will not be able to mail these out until 15 May.*

10.  Anything from Green People  This company offers organic and natural beauty products for men, women and children.  With my skin allergies, it is now my go-to for shampoo, lotions, and makeup.  Green People has also been very supportive of PT Mollie too, for which I am grateful. I recommend the self-tanning lotion.

11.  Homemade art and coupons  Never underestimate a gift made with love.  Draw Mom a painting of the family, write her a poem why you love her, or make her coupons for date night/free baby-sitting/breakfast in bed/control of the television.  Be creative!

What are you getting your Mom?  If you are a Mom, what would you like? Feel free to comment below.

We here at PT Mollie wish all the mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and positive female role models out there a wonderful Mother's Day.  Big hugs and high 5's all around!

Quickie Workout #53

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.

Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm up- 40 squats, 40 walking lunges, 20 jumping jacks/star jumps
1 min-  'Around the world' lunges
1 min-  Stand in a doorway and press arms continuously against door frame trying to make a T  
1 min- Wall sit
1 min- Burpees (with push/press up at bottom)
1 min- Mountain climbers
1 min- Plank
1 min- Leg lifts
30 sec- Side plank, each side for 30 sec             
1 min- Mountain climbers
1 min- Burpees
1 min- Wall sit

Weekend Challenge

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Continuing our theme from last week's challenge, I would like you to play silly outdoor games you enjoyed as a child.  Maybe you have fond memories of dodgeball, four square, red rover, tag, kickball, 3 legged race, or bike race down the road.  Get some friends together and spend the afternoon outdoors and unplugged. Feel free to introduce new games, such as Slack Line and Fricket/Cups (for which you will need beer).  The idea is to get people moving, smiling, and maybe sweating a bit.