A flat, strong belly is the gift for mom that keeps on giving.
Hello, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! I’ve worked with many postpartum moms and hands down, the biggest goal is getting their stomachs and abs back to pre-pregnancy status. It’s usually followed by me doing my best to sympathize as a male and then carefully explaining that No, those crunches aren’t helping and (cough-cough-cough) in fact, may be exacerbating the problem.
A quick note on your core: Your transverse abdominis (TVA) is your innermost core muscle and acts as a corset to pull in a protruding stomach. The TVA worked hard to carry that little bundle of joy, so it’s probably a good idea to return the love. And until your TVA and inner-core muscles are strong enough to act as an antagonist, a good rule to follow is avoiding any ‘bulging’ exercises, so that means no crunches, front planks and jackknifing / hip flexion. Before getting started, you’ll want to check for diastasis recti. This occurs when the connective tissue between your abdominal muscles thins, causing your muscles to separate. The video below does a great job breaking it down:
See what these women way smarter than I am have to say about all of this:
In the spirit of Mother’s Day, I reached out to one of the fittest moms I know, La Jolla Sports Club personal trainer, Christal Rodrigues, to find her favorite postpartum exercises. Here’s Christal in her own words:
This is the essential pelvic tilt, you can do this pretty soon after having a baby. With a C-section, you should wait eight to 10 weeks. You need to work your transverse muscle, so work from inside to out to start pulling in those abs again. Do anywhere from three to four sets of 25 repetitions with a small towel under your back.
At the arch, push down and bring your pelvis toward your nose, creating a ‘C’ with your abs, pulling your bellybutton to your spine and then releasing, avoiding forming an arch with your back.
After you’ve done your pelvic tilt for one week, and you’re feeling confident, start doing the tilts on a ball. Choose a ball height that puts your legs at a 90° angle and screw your pelvis toward your nose, creating a concave, by pulling your belly button to your spine. Then push your glutes back, creating a convex and sticking your clothes back as you rotate from front to back pulling in the abs each and every time making them tighter.
The second part of this exercise works your obliques as you lean to the side squeezing your abs, pulling them in as tight as possible as your hips are going to the side. Alternate sides, ensuring that on all four of these exercises, your shoulders are as still as possible.
When you feel comfortable with the above, try rotating both ways on the ball side to side in a circular motion. Three sets of 15 to 30 rotations.
Not mentioned above, but another great option to help restore the core is hatha yoga. And listen to those bodies! OK, our Mother’s Day gifts for mom blog comes to a close. See you next week!
You talk, we listen. And then we talk again.
Since Brett and Kera became owners here at La Jolla Sports Club, they’ve instituted and stood by an open-door policy. We understand that with changes there are going to be concerns, so in our last enewsletter we sent out a questionnaire asking members to chime in on anything that might be on their minds.
Below you’ll find our original questions, responses and then Brett’s responses to those. Editor’s note: Minor edits have been made for flow / readability, but the ideas remain the same. As always, if you have any questions / concerns, feel free to reach out to Kera and Brett.
Here we go!
LJSC: We love having you as a member of our club and would like to know, How do you rate your level of satisfaction with us?
- The showers in the ladies’ locker room are in need of work and have an unpleasant smell.
- Brett: Women’s / Men’s showers are being quoted for re-grouting, as we recently fixed the piping that was outdated below the showers, both of which should help with appearance and smell.
- I have been a member for about 25 years under various managements and the club has always employed good instructors. I do not use the machines or have a trainer, so I depend on keeping fit through the classes.
- Brett: The classes are a big portion of our club’s offering—we will always keep that as a major focus of our membership.
- When all the bikes got moved into Studio 1 in October (November ?), we were told it was only temporary. Then we were told the new spin studio would open in March and the bikes would be moved. Next I heard, the new space is being turned into staff office space. This is all disappointing news. Studio 1 is cluttered and far too full of equipment for how many people go to the classes. New hand weights would be welcomed too.
- Brett: The spin studio will be taking over the squat-rack area (with the squat-racks moving to the far side where Alessandro’s used to be). We are not adding more office space, as this will be a dedicated—and upscale—area for spinning only. Additionally, the spin studio will open up more room for Studio 1, as the bikes will be moved. We are VERY excited about this new studio and what it’ll offer you, the member. Above all, we thank you for your patience as we go through this improvement.
LJSC: Should LJSC add a free app for phones that would allow you to check in without a card, update billing, reserve classes and communicate with management, among other functions?
- Reserving classes? I hope we are not going the Orange Theory route.
- Brett: Some of our classes have a maximum capacity, so in those cases, the app will allow members to reserve bikes and spots. Going back to the spin studio, we want to offer the best experience possible, so sometimes that means limiting spots.
LJSC: How clean do you perceive the club to be?
- Please update and clean the equipment in Studio 1 and Studio 2.
- Brett: We recently completed our departmental procedure and preventative maintenance documents for a cleaner, more efficient facility.
LJSC: We will be adding more classes soon. What are your thoughts on the current class schedule?
- I’d like more of a variety of yoga and pilates classes at hours of the day that fit the schedules of members who work full time and less focus on spinning and bootcamps.
- Love all of Shanna’s classes and look forward to attending them!
- I don’t know the full schedule, but I have the impression that there are just the less-demanding classes i.e. stretch, and only challenging ones. I would like something in between and moderately demanding. It would also help if classes were designated by the level of challenge.
- Katherine (who teaches Monday and Friday mornings) is so very good. Please hire her to do more classes. She’s outstanding. Also, a new sound system for studio one would be welcomed.
- Brett: The spin studio will free up prime-time slots in studio one and two, so we will be able to offer a wider range of classes, both in variety and difficulty. We are also working on an easy-to-follow scale to help members better understand which classes would be right for them.
LJSC: Please provide any additional feedback or suggestions below. We value your opinion!
- Better communication with members (and staff who often can’t answer inquiries) about the changes ahead and realistic timelines would be appreciated.
- Brett: Kera and I are always available to talk, so please don’t hesitate to reach out, either in person or via email. Additionally, we are doing our best to communicate with members via Facebook and social media (Twitter and Instagram) as well as our monthly enewsletter, so add us for the latest and greatest (Editor: like this blog) from La Jolla Sports Club. Thank you for your feedback!
OK, that’s all for now, see you in May!
Sweat it out by the ocean in your own bootcamp!
One of my favorite things about La Jolla Sports Club is its proximity to the ocean. We are, after all, the Jewel (sidenote, I just learned this: Local Native Americans, the Kumeyaay, called this location mat kulaaxuuy (“land of holes”). The topographic feature that gave rise to the name “holes” is uncertain; it probably refers to sea-level caves located on the north-facing bluffs, which are visible from La Jolla Shores. It is suggested that the Kumeyaay name for the area was transcribed by the Spanish settlers as La Jolla. An alternative suggestion for the origin of the name is that it is an alternate spelling of the Spanish word la joya, which means “the jewel.” Despite being disputed by scholars, this derivation of the name has been widely cited in popular culture.)
History lesson complete, let’s move on to the bootcamp workout. Last week, we talked about making MOB (My Own Bootcamp) by creating a circuit in the gym. Well, it feels like summer outside and we live in the best city in the United States, so we might as well enjoy it. I grabbed LJSC member and proud new dad, Daniel Ertel, to go through a full-body, bodyweight routine outside. All you need is yourself and our gorgeous backyard.
Try doing these exercises for a minute apiece. Three times through will yield an intense, calorie-shredding 45min workout (+ transition time). Knock out three a week and you’re looking (and feeling) pretty good. Always a good reminder to listen to your body. If a minute is too long, adjust the time to what works for you and go from there. Regardless of the duration, my favorite app for interval-training is the Tabata app, which has a clean user interface and a lot of great options like timing, rest and sets, among others. Perhaps most importantly for me, I can play my own music while the app is running.
OK, huge thanks to Daniel, have fun with your bootcamp, enjoy the sweat and salty air and we’ll see you back here when you’re bragging about your sunset workout!
Create Bootcamp, Get In, Get Out, Have Fun
Imagine the following workout scenarios:
- Limited time
- Not motivated
- Bored of routine
- Need a change of scenery*
- Someone challenges you to a medicine-ball-slamming contest
Enter: Your Own Bootcamp, which, when being read by you, will be called My Own Bootcamp (MOB, for short).
You’ve probably seen our bootcamp or Advanced Group Training (AGT) classes, but for whatever reason, haven’t had a chance to attend. Not to worry! Below are some ideas to make your own.
BEFORE WE START, a few notes on gym etiquette. Please be mindful of your fellow gym-goers. Circuits take up space, so be aware of your surroundings, clean up after yourself and allow others to work in. Consider the last one (others working in) a challenge. If someone needs to work in, get creative and find another exercise that focuses on the same movement / body part.
You can adjust timing however you see fit, but if you’re in a time-crunch, you can warm-up, exercise and cool-down all in 30mins, so it looks something like this:
- Warm-up: ~5mins
- Exercise: ~20mins
- Cool-down: ~5mins
Here’s a sample MOB I threw together, feel free to adjust as wanted—the basic idea is to create a fun MOB that challenges your whole body. Start with #1, and then go to #2, #3, etc. One circuit = all of the exercises once through. Three circuits x 6mins each = 18mins (+transition time). My MOB:
Box Jumps – 1min – Grab a plyo-box or riser that fits your comfort / skill level. Squat low and jump on top SOFTLY. Think: ninja.
Band Kickouts – 1min – Attach a band just below the knees, hold kettlebell close to chest and lower into a quarter-squat. Quickly kick the right leg out to the side for 30sec, switching to the left leg for the other 30sec. Feel buns burn.
Kettlebell Swings – 1min – MAINTAINING A STRAIGHT BACK, swing kettlebell from starting / posterior position to shoulder-level. Utilize your buns and hips to drive through the movement; arms should be loose.
TRX Low Row – 1min – MAINTAINING A STRAIGHT BACK, start beneath the anchor point and pull your body up. Be sure to avoid ‘folding’ shoulders inward at the bottom position. Legs further out is harder, adjust as needed.
Medicine Ball Slam Pushups – 1min – Do not spare the medicine ball’s feelings, use your core to slam and destroy that thing. At the bottom position, place one hand on the ball, the other on the ground. Push-up, switch hands, push-up. Start over, keep going.
Treadmill Ab Roller – 1min – Make sure your butt isn’t too high in the air, or that your arms are too far out, which will put unnecessary stress on your shoulders. Hold for a minute and expect abs to be angry.
There you go, a little cheat-sheet for MOB. Mix it up, get creative and most importantly, have fun!
*More to come on this
Seeing as how Shape’ril is all about putting the fun back into working out, we decided to interview our own Tim Malley and his 11 year old client, William, to get an inside look into what makes their trainer-client relationship something you’d like to be a part of.
Note: If you haven’t seen the two of them in action, keep an eye out- William is funnier than most grown-ups and they create a lively, motivational atmosphere.
How long have you guys been working out?
(Tim and William, looking at each other to confirm) About a year?
What’s an average session look like?
Tim: We usually start out with legs and then do some core. We incorporate a full body workout every session. We mix in cardio, as well. Sometimes we’ll use the Jacobs ladder, sometimes the rowing machine, sometimes we’ll box and sometimes it’s sprints on the Woodway.
William: We do full-body stuff, lifting weights. I maxed out at 100lbs on bench! And with great form.
What improvements have you seen, both physically and mentally?
Tim: William has physically changed in a number of ways. He is much stronger and has more endurance than when we started working together. On a mental level, he’s a lot more excited to work out.
William: I started bench press at 20lbs, now it’s 100lbs. I feel stronger, and I’m definitely happier.
William, do you play any sports, and if so, have these workouts helped?
I play rugby and football and the workouts have definitely helped. (Tim chimes in that William rocks at both sports)
Tim, what’s the biggest difference between working with kids and adults?
You definitely have to be on your toes the entire time when you’re working with kids.
What have you guys learned from each other?
Tim: I’ve learned a lot about Minecraft.
William: Really bad jokes, Bram is a narwhal, don’t lock your legs on a leg press (Tim: Yeah, you learned that the hard way)… Oh! Better form is better than more weight!
How many jokes do you tell per session, and what’s your favorite?
Tim: Our joke count has definitely gone down over the past few months, but I think my favorite joke recently is: How do you cut the ocean in half? With a seasaw!
William: The number of jokes vary, but my favorite is Spider-Pig (Tim and William close out the interview singing the Spider-Pig theme song).
Life gets a little hectic sometimes- watching these two is a great reminder to relax and just have fun. See you next week for more Shape’ril tips! -Kevin.
Add a little excitement to your routine with these 9 tips!
Ah, San Diego in the spring, where we all crawl out of our parkas and hoodies and scarves and congratulate ourselves for braving another sub-60 degree winter.
If you’re lacking a little exercise motivation this Shape’ril, or you just want to mix it up a bit, try some (or all) of the tips below to add a little more fun to your workouts.
Right off the bat, my absolute, go-to, #1 tip to increase endorphins: grab a buddy. It’s been proven by Science* that satisfaction and fun go up 5,337% when working out with someone you enjoy. Workout buddies increase accountability and give that extra push to help you hit another rep, minute or extra weight to your exercise. We spend so much time on screens, take an hour or two each week to reconnect with humans- your entire body will thank you.
Don’t have any friends / are bored of your current people / new in town? Coming in at #2 is trying a class or getting back into the habit of sweating with a group. La Jolla Sports Club has you covered with pretty much anything you want to do: dance workout with Zumba, mind-body balance with Yoga, or bang-for-your-buck HIIT bootcamps. We’re a friendly bunch here, so you’ll find friends / workout buddies to keep you having fun while getting fit.
Crank the jams! It’s been shown that 130 BPM (beats per minute) is the optimal rhythm to subconsciously increase intensity, while at the same time decreasing RPE (ratings of perceived exertion). Save the Britney techno mixes for Spinning, and instead, personalize your playlist with some high-energy music that moves you. Or a quick google search will get you pre-made playlists like these.
Aimlessly wandering around the gym adds time and, more importantly, a de-motivating feeling that your workout has lasted longer than it actually has. Create a fun workout plan and streamline your fitness. Throw in some circuit training or make your own bootcamp, and you can get an incredibly beneficial workout within 45 minutes!
Keeping a fitness journal will help you keep track of your progress + seeing the good numbers go up and bad numbers go down = motivation. For added encouragement, take some photos to track your progress. It won’t be overnight success, but keep at it, and over time, you’ll be impressed with what you can do.
Or, hey, maybe try a blog to chronicle your progress and meet other like-minded people?
Big goals are important, but so are mini-goals along the way. Treat yourself when you hit these milestones, it’s good for the motivation and gives you something to look forward to. There is also the Agent Cooper method.
Act like a kid… The world is your playground, and we happen to live in one of the best there is. Get outside and have some fun. Hula-hoop? Monkey bars? Actual stairs instead of a machine? Pick-up games of soccer or basketball? All great options. Thirty minutes a day of high-energy activity is all you need to improve the quality of life. Just keep moving!
Bucket list time: Learn to surf. Half-marathon. Marathon! Hike Yosemite. Bike across Iceland. Pick something fun and do it.
This might be a good time to download some interesting podcasts, TED talks, those Spanish lessons you’ve been meaning to do, etc.
Get a personal trainer. All you have to do is walk in the door- they’ve got the rest covered.
The biggest takeaway is this: Make your workouts fun and it won’t feel like a workout at all. Now go have fun out there! -Kevin.