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Remember there are three equally important components in a true physical fitness lifestyle:

Nutrition:

This is no secret and there are no quick fixes. This is the stuff you learned in the third grade. Balanced meals and food from the food groups, along with PROPER PORTIONS, is still the way to go!

Aerobic Activity:

This is ANY activity that is done for a minimum of 20 minutes that elevates your heart rate. It can be biking, jogging, aerobics classes, hiking or any number of other things. I recommend that you do some type of aerobic exercise at least four times a week. This activity teaches your body to burn calories more efficiently and exercises the most important muscle in your body, your heart.

Strength training:

This is where your "body shaping" can take place. Making your body strong with weight resistance can do wonders for you. Using weights to shape your mucles can vastly improve your symmetry.

Begin some sort of aerobic activity (even if it’s just a short, brisk walk) and try the following workout routine for a couple of weeks and see if you don’t feel better. Don’t forget to pay attention to your eating habits!

Sissy Push Ups

Starting PositionDown Position

This exercise will tighten the muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps and upper back.

Kneel on your knees; lean forward and place your palms on the floor beside you about shoulder width apart. These movements are done with the knees on the floor, as opposed to military push ups with palms and toes on the floor. Using your knees places less stress on the lower back but still works your chest and back muscles. Keeping your body as straight as you can, lower your nose to the floor, then push back up again to the starting position.

Do FIFTEEN of these push ups.

Shoulder Side Raises

Starting positionExtended position

This exercise will tighten up your shoulders and upper arms. You will need some sort of weight for this one. If you don’t have dumbbells, use an iron skillet (one arm at a time.) That skillet weighs five pounds, and since you’re not going to be frying food anymore, you might as well find a new use for it! HA!

Stand (preferably facing a mirror) with your feet slightly apart for balance. With a dumbbell in each hand, the movement begins with your hands in front of your chest and your arms curved out. Slowly raise the dumbbells out to the sides of your body to shoulder height -- no higher. Then bring them back to the starting position. Keep your elbows slightly bent throughout the movement. That is ONE REPETITION of the movement. For this daily workout, I recommend you do three sets of eight repetitions.

Lunges

Starting PositionLunge

AHA! LUNGES! I do at least 100 of these on each leg every day of my life, and boy am I glad that I do! I’m over 50, and I still wear shorts a great deal of the time. These LUNGES can change the way you feel about your legs, trust me.

LUNGES is to keep whatever muscle development I have long and lean as opposed to short and thick. We don’t do LUNGES with weights because we’re not using them for extra muscle development. We use an elevated platform because it helps to work out your gluteus muscles better.

Stand three or four feet away from a six-inch high platform you plan to lunge onto. Drop forward on the ball of your right foot allowing the left knee to bend and touch the floor. Push yourself back up to the starting position. Alternate legs as you go until you have completed your set. I recommend a minimum of three sets of 15 (on each leg) daily.

Don’t stand so far from the board that you have to stretch a great deal to reach it -- this position would make you lose your balance. Don’t stand so close that our knee goes farther forward than your toe. That position would cause a great deal of stress on the ligaments in the knee and can cause damage to them.

Crunches

Starting PositionCrunch

CRUNCHES, the tummy flattener that WON’T cause stress on the lower back and WILL reach that lower abdominal area.

Lie flat on your back on the floor. Bend your knees and place your feet about shoulder width apart. Place your hands behind your head (this is because it is a good place to put them, NOT to pull on your neck) and keep your elbows pointing straight out from the side of your head. Place your eyes on the ceiling and KEEP THEM THERE throughout the entire movement. Be CERTAIN to keep the small of your back pressed FIRMLY flat on the floor during the entire movement.

The movement of the "crunch" consists of simply raising your shoulder blades off the floor and lowering yourself back down, concentrating on the lower abdominal muscles doing the work. That is ONE REPETITION of the movement. I recommend a minimum of 50 crunches on a daily basis. Quality is more important than quantity on this one! (Do these slowly, and concentrate on the contraction of the muscles.)

After you have mastered the CRUNCH, try this variation. Instead of doing a series of many crunches, change your strategy. Three sets of 12 repetitions for this one.

Begin in the same position as before. This time, SLOWLY, raise your shoulders off the floor on a count of three, hold that position for a count of three, then SLOWLY lower your shoulders on a count of three. Continue this for 12 repetitions without resting between crunches. Rest 30 seconds and do another set. Then, rest another 30 seconds and do a third set. On alternate days, do your high repetitions.

Once you have tried this workout on a serious basis and seen an improvement in your physique, please drop me an e-mail and let me know how it is going! Also, if you have any questions about physical fitness, send me e-mail. You can send me a message from any page of this site by clicking the mailbox icon at the bottom of each page.

The Complete Physical Fitness Lifestyle: Try it, what have you got to lose?

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