Tag Archives: Exercise

How to do a pull up

Recently, I did my first chin ups. It was the first time since I was a kid that I’ve done one, and I was thrilled to be able to do it again. I had a trainer that was trying to get me to do them a while ago, but I was not successful. But practicing on my own and using the technique that P90x teaches allowed me to finally do them. Here’s how I did it:

1. Building my upper body: Pull ups require a lot of upper body strength — many women don’t possess this naturally in the way that men do. I started building my upper body with weight machines like the lat pull down, rowing machines, and cables to build chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps. I also did a vigorous yoga program that includes sun salutations, side arm balance, crane, head stands/hand stands, and other upper body strengthening poses.

2. Easy does it: pull ups are hard enough as they are – so why go for the most difficult kind at first? I started by going for chin ups first – the grip (palms facing you) makes them a little easier to do than the standard pull ups (palms away). Also, it’s easier if you keep your grip standard – about shoulder distance apart. Wide or close grip pull ups can be more difficult and should be attempted when you are more advanced.

3. Getting support: When I worked with my trainer, he put me on a pull up bar and said, “OK, do a pull up.” Obviously that wasn’t going to happen – there was no way I could pull up all of my weight from hanging straight down with feet dangling in the air. I needed to decrease the amount of weight I was pulling. I learned that you can practice the pull up move by resting one or both feet on a chair and pulling up a portion of your weight. As I got stronger, I tried to just barely rest one foot on the chair while pulling up as much of my weight as I could handle. One day, I was able to one pullup. The next time, I tried for two, and I did it. As I get stronger, I see how many I can do. Right now, I’m up to 6 at one time without a chair.

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Older neighborhoods = less weight gain

I saw this interesting article from the NY Times‘ health section: a study shows that residents of  older neighborhoods (e.g., ones that were built decades ago) are less likely to gain weight. It points to the fact that you can walk to places – like stores – in older neighborhoods.

I grew up in an older town that had a main street several blocks from my house. As kids, we used to walk down to “town” or ride our bikes there. Of course, we were going to town looking for candy, but at least we were getting out and walking towards it instead of having mom drive us to it.

The best way to get in shape

Part of having a delicious life is about loving the skin you’re in. Finding movement that feels right for you can help you love your body that much more. When you take care of your body with vitality-building exercises, you are rewarded with higher energy levels and more positive emotions (not to mention a sexy hot bod).

I work out in the morning because I know there’s no way of getting out of it. At 6:00am, I’m too sleepy to reason with myself. If I make myself just get up and do it, I’m already 10 minutes into the workout by the time I fully wake up, and then I’m not resisting working out.

Sometimes I have an awesome workout. And sometimes I want to die. Most of the times, I like working out. But sometimes, if I’ve stayed up too late the night before (like last night), I really don’t want to get out of bed. I think about hitting the snooze button. But then I get up anyway.

Why? Because the best – and only – way to get in shape is to consistently put one foot in front of another. That means, just show up.

Even if it’s not your best workout day, or if you can only work out for 20 minutes. Or 15. At least you showed up. That’s 15 more minutes than you would have done had you stayed in bed. And once you get into the habit, you won’t think twice about skipping a workout. It will become second nature like brushing your teeth, just another step in your routine.

It takes about 21 days to ingrain a new habit. Once you do something consistently each day for about 3 weeks, it becomes part of your daily routine. If you continue past that time, you’re probably going to keep the habit for quite a while.

I’m 19 days into my new workout routine. I’ve noticed that the shape of my body is starting to change. All of my pants are loose, and most everything else in my wardrobe fits well or is moving to the “too big” side. And while I’m sleepy today, my overall energy has definitely increased over the past few weeks.

I highly recommend trying a new workout routine and committing to it for at least 3 weeks. Try something that challenges you. If you’ve been a runner forever, take up a new cardio sport such as biking or swimming. If you lift weights, try yoga. If you’re a weight lifter, try Tai Chi. Even if you’re in amazing shape, you may be surprised how difficult a new type exercise can be. And, if you’ve been bored with your same old routine, you might find yourself loving working out again.

Something to get you started (if you’re in New York City/Brooklyn):

Free yoga and tai chi classes in Bryant Park
Body Church – free full-body workout Sundays in McCarren Park
Shape Up New York – free fitness classes in New York City
Swimming Pools – free adult lap swim in mornings and evenings throughout the summer

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Want to kick start a new diet or exercise routine? Try my week-long cleanse class – a quick, flexible, easy way to get moving. The class starts May 7, so sign up today!

Extreme Workout – P90X

Every day I wake up more sore. Back, arms calves, hamstrings. Everything aches. But it’s all good.

I’ve been doing the P90X workout for about five days. Started on Monday, and plan on doing each and every work out religiously through the end. I like a good workout. I’m not afraid of sweat, fatigue, or muscle aches. It’s been a while since I did a hard core workout. The last time I was working this hard was when I was training with Traditional Tribal Fitness outside in the park. This P90X workout is not unlike Kiki’s own tribal invention of using your own body mass to strength train every part of your body. But this time, I’m doing it in my own living room.

I have to admit that the informercial totally sold me. Yes, I am a marketer as well as a health coach, but I still bought into it. I know from my own experience that hard workouts work and the before and after shots and success stories sealed it. The women all slimmed down without looking bulky after all of the ab work, pull ups and jumping.

I will write more about my progress as I get further into the workout schedule.

Day 28 – Move

For many people, exercise is not be high on the list of to-dos. But taking time to move each day gets the blood and lymph moving, helps you move toxins out of your body, and can contribute to your overall mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

You don’t need to run a marathon to get the exercise your body needs. Start out with a brisk walk or leisurely bike ride. Once you get in the habit, you’ll love how your daily movement makes you feel.

Day 12 – OM

Come back to center with a moving meditative practice. Take Yoga, try Tai Chi, Martial Arts, or some other moving meditation that will bring your mind and body back together as one. Yoga uses postures, breathing and meditation to integrate mind, body and soul. Tai Chi focuses on flowing movement to help stimulate the movement of energy (Chi) in the body and improve health. Martial Arts rely on discipline, breathing practices and focus to condition the body and gain strength and power. Whatever you choose, enjoy being fully present in your practice.