Is Your House on Fire?

A few weeks ago I was at my dog park and it was later at night, around 9pm. I’d had a long day and felt my pup deserved an off-leash romp, even if that meant going in the dark. I didn’t expect anyone to be there, but an older woman was there with her two rascals. We started talking and before long I learned that as a young adult she had been a nun. It made sense, actually, she definitely had the demeanor of someone that had listened a lot in her life. The kind of listening were the words don’t matter so much as the space between the words.

Before you know it, she was telling me a story of someone she knew that was getting a divorce. She said that it seemed clear that the marriage had been over many years before, but that her “house wasn’t on fire yet” but that recently it had gone down quickly, all the way to the ground.

This concept of a house needing to be on fire before someone is motivated to truly change really struck me.

In terms of health and wellness many people don’t change until their house is on fire. They wait until their cholesterol is so high that it requires medication. They wait until they can’t climb a flight of stairs without losing their breath. They wait until the 5 pounds of holiday season weight has become 20 the next July.

And this makes sense. Life is busy, complicated and sometimes just getting by feels like you are winning at life. Treading water is better than drowning. I heard that and I feel that, too.

But we all know that it doesn’t have to be this way. Is there an area of your life that feels like that? Are you barely keeping your head above? Let’s focus on that and let’s try to change before your ship is totally sunk. Let’s stop before your fire begins — it’s so much easier to re-decorate a house than it is to re-build it, right?

If your area is fitness and healthy eating and you are just keeping your head above water right now, let’s do these three things this week to ensure we catch you before your house is engulfed in flames:

1. Focus on ADDING in one healthy eating behavior. That could be eating one huge salad a day with a lean protein. That’s it. Don’t change anything else in your diet, just ADD this salad.

2. Add in a high-intensity-interval training session to your workout week. Don’t change anything else you’re doing workout-wise. Just ADD this in. This can be some sprint repeats, hill sprint repeats and anything Tabata-style, like intervals on a spin bike. Shoot for a 20-minute session. Yes, that’s it!

3.  Spend one hour a week doing a relaxing self-care focused thing for yourself. This could be a leisure walk, a yoga class or podcast, or meditation — you can break it up into 10 minutes 6 – 7 days a week, too. 

Commit to this House on Fire Challenge for one week and tell me how it goes! If you need ideas on some high-intensity workouts to try, just ask!

kettlbell

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Core + Conditioning Workout

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Here’s a little workout for y’all. Conditioning work for my purposes in this workout is about getting your heart rate up and “conditioning” your cardiovascular system.

Historically, I am not one to prioritize abs in my own workouts — we use our core in most movements, particularly in heavy lifting, but lately I have been doing a little bit more ab-specific work. And after a few months, I am definitely seeing some results of this labor, so I wanted to share the love. I don’t love traditional crunches for a variety of reasons, but what I do love is a good challenge, so things like v-ups and hollow rocks are right up my alley 🙂  Because, well, they are hard and I love that.

In general,  this workout is geared towards advanced/intermediate exercisers. It is not intended for beginners, though I do offer some modifications below for injuries and places where you get hung up — I encourage you to do things well, rather than rushing through reps just to be down with it. Please reach out with any questions! Tips and links for each exercise below!

1. Burpees:  advanced burpee, i.e. chest to deck, please and thank you.

modification burpee (in my groups we call these a high-plank burpee)

2. V-Ups:  If you don’t have these quite yet or have lower-back issues, modify with 20 starfish sit-ups. For more of a challenge, do 10 on each side rather than alternating sides.

3. Reverse Burpees:  Be judicious with this one, particularly those of you with low back issues. The weight will help counter balance you and help bring you forward a bit, but it’s my opinion that it’s optional if you have the ability to do so without one.

4. Plank. I do believe this one does not require a link, but I do encourage you to do a high or tall plank and to practice full-tension (squeeze the glutes, lats, etc.).

5. Kettlebell swings! Again, practice full tension (squeeze the lats, shoulder are locked in their joint socket). If you don’t have a kettlebell handy, I will take 60 seconds of jump rope in lieu of this.

6. Hollow rocks. Another link here with more explanation. If this is your first time, take it nice and easy with these guys. Don’t expect them to be as clean and pretty the first time you try them — you may have a larger range of motion than these guys and that’s okay, as long as you’re safe and paying attention to how the exercise feels for you. The main thing to keep in mind is that you want your low back tied to the ground the entire time.

ETA: here’s another explanation of how to get into the proper position for hollow rocks. Also, note that you can also start with bending both knees, then just one knee as you progress to a full hollow rock. If you are a beginner this is good way to go.

Have fun with this one and let me know how it goes!

xoxo,

-Cat