PYRAMID PUSH-UP CHALLENGE

BY: DANIELLE PRESS

Music by: SKY CHIEF, Jeff Crease and Anthony Chesterman

 

 

Hey guys! This workout was created in the magical and inspiring town of Nine Mile, Jamaica.  This was the birth place of Bob Marley and the One Love sentiment still holds true and strong.  This workout is meant to similarly inspire, help build your strength and challenge your resolve. There are minimal breaks here.  Use the change between your push-ups and your leg workouts to rest the other body parts.  This is a great finisher to any workout and can be done with or without weights. 

This workout will be organized as a pyramid for each variation of pushup.  You will count down 10,9,8, etc. for each type of pushup.  Between each pushup set you will perform 20 reps of varying leg exercises.  The number of reps for the leg focused exercises will always remain at 20.  

 Pyramid Pushup Challenge

10 Tricep Pushups — Keep your arms and elbows close to torso.

20 Squats — Challenge yourself more with added weight 

9 Wide Arm Pushups

20 Sumo Squats- Make sure your toes are pointing outwards.

8 Diamond Pushups — With your hands in a diamond shape, place them directly beneath your chest.

20 Donkey Kicks (Right Side)

7 Standard Pushups

20 Donkey Kicks (Left Side)

6 Side to Side Pushups — Perform these as a 1-2 count, with each side counting as 1 rep.

20 Squat Jumps

5 Decline Pushups

20 Squats

4 Incline Pushups

20 Sump Squats

3 Pike Pushups — The closer your legs are to your body, the harder the pushup becomes.

20 Donkey Kicks (Right Side)

2 Pushups to Side Plank — You can count these as a 1-2 count, or 1- 1, performing 4 total for an extra challenge.

20 Donkey Kicks (Left Side)

1 Explosive Pushup — Use all your strength to push up explosively, clapping or just quickly hovering your hands above the ground.

20 Squat Jumps

 

 

The Symbiosis of Weight Training and Yoga

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By: Danielle Press

From the moment I started working out I couldn't get enough.  The harder the better.   I wanted them to be more brutal and more demanding. I did, and still do, love being pushed to the brink.  I love being exhausted.  With a mother and father who have both been in the fitness industry, I pretty much grew up in the gym.  I remember going to bed at night, listening to my parents put together mix tapes, mapping out their spinning, aerobics, or training classes to the never ending beats.  In addition to the classes they taught, both my parents were avid strength trainers, gym rats who love the pump.  I grew up loving that and still do.  Yet as they have gotten older, and respectively, as I have gotten older, our bodies are responding to these brutal workouts differently.  Tennis elbow, knees that ache, muscles that strain, hips that can’t seem to find relief. I have been reluctant to change the way I exercise, fearing I won’t get the same results or the same feeling.  But I have to ask, how long is too long in the strength training world?  How much is enough before our bodies start to reject the intensity and we find ourselves in need of alternative forms of exercise, or in the least, a compromise?

 

Personally yoga seemed like the best addition to weight training, a way to relieve my body, stretch it out, and increase my flexibility.  Still, time and time again I would run into a mental block.  Despite acknowledging that I needed to incorporate something new, I couldn’t get past the nagging thought that strength training was the only form of workout I would ever really love and be passionate about. I soon came to realize that I was hurting myself, more than helping it.  I wasn’t listening to my body and the needs it was desperately calling for.  It was then that I realized the first and hardest step in this transition would be the mental aspect of it.  I will be the first to admit that I have and still struggle with the concept that yoga is as good of a workout as strength training.  I know this mentality is wrong.  I have taken yoga classes and struggled with moves that others do with ease.  I have watched in awe at people who perform poses that require a kind of strength I have never been able to obtain through weight training.  And yet, I still hesitate.  However, as more time goes on, as I begin to incorporate weekly yoga classes with my weight training, the benefits are undeniable and like my body, my mind is starting to change.

 

Unbeknownst to many, myself included, weight training and yoga work wonderfully together, balancing each other for the benefit of the mind, body, and soul.  After experience and research I have found they are nearly a match made in fitness heaven.

 

 

 

Stronger On All Fronts:

 

Strength training and yoga do not have to be mutually exclusive.  When combined people have found that each form of fitness benefits the other, enhancing performance and ability.  Yogis who incorporate strength training in their routine have found that increased muscle strength help them get into more difficult poses.  Weight lifters have found an increased range of motion, flexibility in their movements, a more clear focus, and a greater understanding of their body. (Chandra, Charu. "5 reasons yoga and strength training combine perfectly." Mindbodygreen.com, 25 January 2014. Web. 25 Sept 2016.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Body Balance:

 

Often times during strength training we perform explosive, powerful movements.  We use all of our strength to get in one more rep or increase weight.  These compound movements activate the fast twitch muscle fibres which aid in the development of power and speed.  

Alternatively, the static movements and slow flow of yoga activate slow twitch muscle fibres, which help build endurance.  Balancing the two provides a more holistic approach to fitness, a way to develop strength and endurance symbiotically.  (“Ultimate Guide to Combine Yoga and Weight Training for a Killer Fat- Burning Workout." Thescienceofeating.com. Web. 25 Sept 2016.)

 

 

 

 

Emotional Relief

 

The emotional and mental relief found in both practices are amazing and undeniable.  During strength training, explosive and dynamic movements aid in the release of stress and aggression.  When working out with weights there is an increased stress on our muscles, which activates our body to release and produce more endorphins.  This release of endorphins elevates moods and decreases tension (McNary, Trisha. "Working with Weights to Help Relieve Stress." Livestrong.com, 11 Jan 2016. Web. 25 Sept 2016).  

Yoga similarly helps relieve stress but offers a unique component in the relaxed and peaceful state most people feel following a yoga class. As one moves from one pose to the next there is a continuously acute awareness of breathe and inward intention.  These breathing exercises relax the body and aid in tension release for larger muscle groups.  Additionally, the deep inhalations and slow exhalations provide the body and brain with much needed blood and oxygen("How Yoga Helps Reduce Anxiety and Manage Stress." Americanyogaassociation.org. Web. 25 Sept 2016).  Once there is an understanding of Yoga style breathing, it can be incorporated in many facets of life,  helping people feel relaxed, calm, and at peace with themselves and life’s daily challenges.  

 

 

 

Body Breaks:

 

One of the key components in strength training is recovery.  The importance of which can’t be overlooked, and is something I need to constantly remind myself about.  Without consistent recovery strength training can become counter productive, leading to a laundry list of issues which include but are not limited to, fatigue, injury, decreased endurance, tendonitis, and mood swings. (Nowlin, Chelsea. "Muscle Recovery Time After Weight Lifting." Livestrong.com, 18 Dec 2013. Web. 25 Sept 2016. )  

 

While recovery is necessary, activity is still beneficial and welcomed.  Yoga is ideal for active recovery days.  Strength training leads to tighter and shorter muscles, which translates into prolonged soreness and a decrease in muscle efficiency.  The dynamic stretching incorporated in yoga help lengthen muscles and aid in recovery.  Additionally, yoga promotes strength, flexibility, and balance, which can all be utilized during weight training. (“Ultimate Guide to Combine Yoga and Weight Training for a Killer Fat- Burning Workout." Thescienceofeating.com. Web. 25 Sept 2016.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The No Excuses In Your Backyard Workout

By: Danielle Press

 

    The peak of summer may be over but we still have time to enjoy that magic time  of year when the days are still longer, the sun is still warmer, and nothing beats a day spent outside.  Calendars fill up quickly during these brief summer months.  Many people vacation, take long weekend getaways, have family reunions, and cheers to endless reasons for celebrations.  With all of these occasions it could be hard to pry yourself away for a workout.   For even the most dedicated, a holiday workout can seem daunting, if not simply undesirable.

 

Why lift a dumbbell when you could be lifting a glass of wine?  Why get in an afternoon session while the rest of the house takes an afternoon nap?  You do it because it feels good.  You do it because you know the negatives associated with exercise are just misconceptions, that a shift in perspective could make all the difference. Exercise is time away, an hour where your mind can wander or sit perfectly still, a time when you can focus on yourself, how your body feels, and how it responds to challenge.  Exercise levels indulgence, leaving both the body and the mind feeling nourished and taken care of.  Workouts can be done virtually anywhere and with virtually anything. You are your own motivation.  You are your own trainer.

 

    When you reflect on yourself what do you see?  When I reflect on myself I see that after a day or two of indulgence my body is craving something green, fresh, and healthy.  I feel the need to do something with my body, to move it, push it, and challenge it.  I also realize that my mood starts to shift after a few days off routine. Most importantly, I realize that only I can make myself feel better.  

 

 

Now, its time to change perspective. Rather than focus on the negatives, realize and believe all of the positives that will come out of it.  Rather than make excuses, make transformations.  Rather than dread the demand you put on your body, thrive off of it.   

 

1- You don’t need to find a gym.  

 

The outdoors is your gym.  Take advantage of these stunning summer days.  Whether you get in an early workout in the cool morning hours of the day or a session in the calming lights of dusk, you are guaranteed to feel motivated by your surroundings.  Use the energy surrounding you to push harder, go farther, or endure longer.

 

2-  You don’t need equipment.  

 

Use the elements around you as equipment.  Tree stumps work wonderfully as box jumps or benches.  Sand and water act as great resistance components.  Drift wood found on a beach can also double as a barbell.  Rocks act as free weights or dumbbells, added to any routine to strengthen and challenge.  Go outside and look at your surroundings.  Everything you need is right there.

 

3-  You don’t need a lot of time.  

 

You don’t need to spend hours of your day working out.  Harder and shorter workouts have been proven to yield an increase in fat loss and muscle growth.  You can set aside as little as 20 minutes of your day to your own personal wellbeing.  This allows you to make the most of your time with family or friends.

 

4-  You don’t need to do it everyday.  

 

Let’s face it- you are on vacation.  You want to rest, recover, sleep, and play as you please.  So set a goal for yourself.  If you are gone for a week on vacation, try to work out 2-4 days.  Any activity you do will be better than none.  You are already ahead of the game.  Most don't bother doing anything, simply writing off their vacation as a loss. You can turn it into a gain!  

 

5- Look at it as time for yourself.  

 

We all need a little solo time.  Whether this time is used to reflect or stay quiet, your mind will be at ease.  You will have only one focus, and that is the task at hand.  One more rep.  One more jump.  One more round.  This time is yours.  Use it to stay quiet, listen to the natural sounds that surround you, and let everything else fade away.

 

6- Look at it as something FUN!  

Step away from the preconceived notions that workouts are a chore.  Start looking it as something enjoyable.  During the warm summer months take a break from the gym and play outside.  Get dirty, play with rocks, move amongst the trees and act freely.  The biggest hurdle most people face is the mental attitude we have associated with exercise.  Time and time again I have heard people say they loathe going to the gym, only to find that once they are done they feel amazing.  Instead of loathing it from the beginning, focus on the positives.  Channel your inner child and have fun with your movements.  Dance, box, or take a barr class.  Find what you enjoy doing, and it will never be a chore.  

 

If you find yourself in a cabin or a cottage, camping, or just taking a hike, try this intense Tree Stump Workout guaranteed to leave you breathless and invigorated.  Completing the circuit once is a good workout, twice is a great workout, and three times will kick your ass!  

 

 

TREE STUMP WORKOUT

 

Equipment Needed:    1-2 Logs

            Resistance Band

            Mat or Towel

 

 

Run (100-200m)

15 incline Push-Ups

20 Step-ups with Knee up

15 Dips with Toe Touch

25 Abs

 

Run

15 Decline Push-Ups

20 Box Jumps

15 Single Leg Lunge on both legs

25 Abs

 

Run

15 Wide Incline Push-Ups

20 Tree Stump Burpees with a Box Jump

15 Log Bridges

25 Abs

 

Run

15 Tree Assisted Bicep Curls (Resistance Band)

20 Tree Assisted Chest Press’ (Resistance Band)

20 Punches with Resistance Band

25 Abs

Weight Training for Weight Loss

 Weight Training for Weight Loss

The two main reasons I hear why women avoid weight training are:

  1. I don’t want to bulk up!
  2. I’m comfortable on the treadmill- It’s what I know how to do!

It’s a new year, and it’s time to break out of your comfort zone and step into the world of weight training. Yes, cardio is an important factor for weight loss and there are many benefits for sweating it out on the treadmill or stationary bike, but don’t put your eggs all in one basket.

Do I Need Yoga Before Yoga?

 Do I Need Yoga Before Yoga?

It’s always such a great feeling for me stepping into a yoga studio after a long absence. Feeling stiff in my body, knowing that movement is what I need.

However, after my first class after a long absence, my wrists are KILLING me. I start to notice the pain during class start to creep on the inner part of my wrist, below my palm.

May it be that I need yoga before I even yoga?

Get a little Salty in Tulum, Mexico!

Get a little Salty in Tulum, Mexico!

Wake up in the morning to a salty breeze touching your face  in a private beachside home. Start your day with sunrise yoga- your body moving to the sound of  waves crashing against the shore.  A healthy, delicious breakfast will be served by a local chef followed by a bike ride to the mysterious Mayan Ruins that sit on the cliffs overlooking the sea. Afterwards, you can opt for exploring the town’s culture, or hanging out with a book on the beach.

A combination of fitness, adventure and relaxation is what this all women’s beachside retreat will provide.

Salt Fitness Retreats was created by my dear friend Amanda Mason and I.  Our thirst for cultural exploration and healthy living has led us to this exciting day of offering YOU fitness retreats in exotic locations all over the world.

We believe that the foundation of all things in life stem from feeling your best from the inside out. At our retreats we focus on the foundation: nourishment (nutrition), fitness, adventure and passion in order to inspire healthier habits in all avenues of life. We are committed to helping you recognize both your physical strengths and your strengths of character in life.

MARCH 2-6TH, 2016 TULUM MEXICO

Whats included:

  • 4 nights accomodation in private beachside home
  • transporation to and from cancun airport
  • private, local chef cooking three healthy and delicious daily meals
  • daily yoga and/or personalized oceanfront fitness classes
  • private on-on-one fitness and nutrition coaching session
  • bike tour to mayan ruins
  • half day tour to cenotes
  • stand up paddle board
  • free time to relax in a beach hammock or explore what tulum as to offer
  • sunset salsa dancing and live beachside music

Whats not included:

  • roundtrip airfare
  • one dinner in town center
  • spa service
  • alchoholic beverages

Come join us for an incredible journey of the mind, body and soul. It is our promise that you will leave our retreats re-inspired to live healthfully out of intent, choose to do things each day that make you feel alive, and, of course, to get a little salty.

Visit our website for more information or email us at saltfitnessretreats@gmail.com to register and reserve your spot!

Booty Blast Workout

Booty Blast Workout

No excuses! This workout doesn’t need any equipment to get those glutes firing.

All you need is your motivation and some space to move and you are all set.

*Perform as a circuit

Speed skaters 20 reps/ 5 sets
Plank leg lifts 12 reps/5 sets
Squat leg lifts 12 reps/ 5 sets
Donkey Kickbacks 12 reps/ 5 sets

Check out the video on YouTube here.

The Poor Man’s Massage

The Poor Man’s Massage

Ahhh foam rolling…The great alternative to a massage…But seriously!

If you don’t own a foam roller, I highly suggest ordering one and incorporating it into your daily routine. I got mine off Amazon and it’s a great investment, I promise you.

Foam rolling is the most common practice for Self-Myofacial Release (SMR), which gets rid of adhesions in your muscles and connective tissues.

What is fascia and what are the benefits?

Fascia is a collection of connective fibrous bands that surround your muscles and other internal organs. By using a foam roller, it will help stretch out your muscles and tendons but also really gets into those hard to reach areas, breaking down adhesions, knots and scar tissue. It’s a great tool to be used for injury prevention, recovery, blood circulation, flexibility and breaking up trigger points.

How it’s Done

By using your own body weight on the foam roller and focusing on tender areas, it will help break up knots within the muscle and help to release unwanted muscular tension. Once a tender spot is found it’s best to hold the pressure on the spot for about 30 seconds. It’s important to take your time rolling and not move too fast. You want to give your brain enough time to signal to your muscles to relax. I like to focus on my breathing and really try to let go and have my muscles relax while foam rolling. Also, be sure to avoid rolling directly on joints or bones.

But it hurts!

Yes, the same reason why people get deep tissue massages is because it hurts. But it’s a good kind of hurt where you know there will be a greater benefit. Our body naturally wants to be healthy and strong, but because of training, nutrition, stress, flexibility, posture, and other lifestyle factors, sometimes we need to give our body a little extra help. By foaming rolling, we can control our healing and recovery process by applying pressure to these “trigger point” locations. By releasing these trigger points we help to re-establish better range of motion, and work toward enhancing our bodies performance. The deep compression of SMR will allow normal blood flow to return and aid in the recovery of healthy tissue.

Pre or Post Workout?

If you have the time, it’s beneficial to foam roll both before and after a workout. Pre-workout foam rolling helps to increase blood flood and help release knots in soft tissue, which will enhance performance. Post-workout foam rolling helps assist in recovery by aiding circulation and returning tissue to a relaxed state. If you only have time for one, however, I would definitely recommend foam rolling BEFORE your workout.

Even when I am not on “leg day,” I still foam roll them out everyday. I do a lot of driving for work, so my IT band is always tight. I usually start at my calves, and work my way to my IT band, quads, hamstrings, inner thighs and then finish with glutes.

Foam rolling is a great (and cheaper) alternative to a massage therapist. Try it out if you haven’t before. Trust me, your body will thank you!

 

*From top left clockwise I am hitting my quads, IT band, hamstrings and glutes.