IT’S A NEW YEAR, and here’s to a new you! Let me introduce myself: My name is Megan Weidner; I am 34 years old, a mother of three kids, a wife, an tree-hugger environmentalist by day and a fitness junkie coach by night. I own and operate Rock. It. Fitness – an energetic, effective, and FUN in-home, online and group fitness bootcamp.Fitness is much more than dieting and taking a few classes at the gym – it is a lifestyle, and as the health and wellness contributor for The Phoenix Rising Collective, I hope to inspire you to live a healthy, happy, and prosperous life through activity and healthy eating. My disclaimer: All of my exercises are suggestions. I am not a nutritionist but through my own experiences, life choices, fitness training and reading, I believe I have the knowledge, and definitely the passion, to help you create a new you in 2015. So here we go… ACTIVITY TIP: “I like to move it, move it…I like to move it, move it…I like to…MOVE” (If you’re a mom, dad, aunt, grandmother, sister, cousin, or teacher you know EXACTLY what movie this is from and you just danced in your chair). In all seriousness, moving is essential and every movement counts: Walking out to the mailbox, walking to the copier at work, playing with children, dancing, and of course, biking, running and lifting. In my classes, I use a method called TABATA; it is awesome, and with an awesome workout you get awesome results. Tabata pushes your body into the anaerobic zone; the zone where the body is forming lactate and promoting strength, speed, power, and muscle-building – basically where all of the good stuff is happening. Tabata is a form of “high intensity interval training”, but please don’t be intimidated by all of those words; you can turn anything into a “tabata”. A tabata exercise means that you are taking your current level up a notch or two for twenty seconds, back down to normal for ten seconds, then back up for twenty seconds and repeating eight times for a total of four minutes. Try adding this to your walk around the block or on the treadmill: After warming up, increase your speed or jog for twenty seconds, then slow down or walk for ten seconds, and repeat eight times. The up-down, up-down is the basis of interval training and is going to push your body into the anaerobic zone. It will also give you noticeable results when you use it weekly. Your energy levels will increase and your endurance will improve. You’ll start to tone, lose pounds, and gain muscle. And, oh my goodness, I almost forgot to tell you one of the best things about tabata: EPOC or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. This is the period after your tabata workout, up to four hours, marked by an increased rate of oxygen intake when your body is returning to its resting state; however, while it’s returning to that resting state, it is continuing to burn calories and tone! There is SO much to share, but I think starting with a little exercise tip is a good way to begin my journey with you and 2015. Please share your fitness questions in the comments section; I look forward to connecting with you. Learn more about Rock. It. Fitness. Be well.
About the Contributing Writer:
Megan Weidner is the Health + Wellness contributor for The Phoenix Rising Collective; she is a fitness coach and environmentalist in the Akron/Canton, Ohio area. She manages a global sustainability and corporate responsibility program for a large multinational company; her areas include environmental compliance, social equity, community engagement and health and wellness. Megan is also devoted to Rock. It. Fitness., her fitness and natural skincare business. She is committed to making the world a better, more environmentally friendly and healthier place through motivation and education. She is certified through AFAA and Tabata Bootcamp. She has a B.S. in Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science (University of Missouri), a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Policy (University of Denver) and an M.P.A (University of Missouri). She lives in Green, Ohio with her husband and three kids.
February 4, 2015 at 9:01 am
Talking about exercise, in your capacity as a fitness coach, what is the best workout to strengthen your abdominal muscles?
February 10, 2015 at 9:15 pm
Hi awesomeroby! Thank you for reading and for your comment. In my opinion :-)…the absolute best ab exercise are planks! To do a plank lay on the floor on your stomach; raise yourself up holding yourself up on your forearms, toes are on the ground; head, back, and butt are all in line. You can add a variety of positions to make the planks more challenging: place one foot on top of the other, switch; reach forward one hand at a time; reach back squeezing your triceps; bring your knee around the side to your elbow; do a high plank (up on your hands) and bring your knee underneath your body to the opposite elbow; shift your body weight forward and back or side to side. Side planks are good too and one of my favorite ab exercises are “hip dips”; while in the plank position roll your body weight side to side like you squishing a bug with your hips…oh so good! These should keep you busy for awhile :-). Let me know if you have any additional questions! ~ Megan
February 28, 2015 at 4:01 am
Thank you. I have been doing the plank for a month and I cant feel the struggle anymore. There has been a small change so I tried to do other exercises like the ab roller which has been so hard to do because I cant maintain a straight back posture while I push forward. Now I do 50 flutter kicks, 30 press ups, 50 knee crunches, 20 pull ups plus other few exercises. Is this enough to build my abdominal muscles? So far, what I can see a lot of change is my biceps and perhaps my chest. I need abs too.
March 10, 2015 at 5:31 pm
Hello! Yes, planks are a great exercise that targets your abs, shoulders, arms, back and legs! Try adding to the plank: bring your knee to your elbow, alternating legs. Bring your knee under your body to the opposite elbow and alternate. while in a plank, roll your body weight from side to side and touch each hip to floor. Side planks will get your obliques. You can also try v-sits. Sit on your bottom in a “V”. You can have your legs off of the floor bent or straight or feet on the floor. Hold your arms out to the side and make big circle your arms, then small circles. Try those and let me know if you have any questions!!!
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