New Year’s Workout
By Kristin Ranuio
It is the month for resolutions, and fitness makes it onto most people’s list in one way or another. As a Napa–based, certified personal trainer with over 20 years in the fitness industry, I have tried and/or taught many different forms of exercise and, as everyone else, I have my favorites. And, also like everyone else, I have days when I just don’t want to work out. If you have those days too, but still feel you need to get your exercise in, here’s a set of exercises I use myself and teach my clients, demonstrated in photos by some of our Napa locals. I call it the “commercial workout”, because I usually do it while watching TV. You need no equipment, just the floor, a counter, and maybe a kitchen chair. The final ingredient is you.
For the legs, we start with squats. To get good form, a kitchen chair comes in handy. Sit down in a good, solid chair that has a seat at a height that puts your knees in a 90° angle when seated. Place feet shoulder-width apart, firmly planted on the ground. Pressing heels into the ground, standup, then sit down. That’s one rep (short for repetition). Once you get the hang of it, try it without letting your behind touch the chair, but just hover above it; you can stretch your arms out in front of you to help balance if needed. Once you have that down, you can eliminate the chair. Start with three sets of 12, taking a break in between sets (I do one set during each commercial break of a one-hour show), working your way up to three sets of 25.
For your core, one of my favorites is the “plank”. Put your body in the same position you would be at in at the top of a push-up (for a modified version use the top of the push-up on your knees), arms straight and lined up under your shoulders. Now, hold that position. Keep your tush down so your body is flat, like a plank. Try to work up to holding it for one minute. You may feel yourself start to shake on this one!
For the upper body, I like the push-up/dip combination. Each set of push-ups is immediately followed by a set of dips; this is where your kitchen counter comes in. Facing away from it, hold onto the counter with both arms just behind you, arms straight. Knees can be bent or, for a little more work, keep legs straight. To execute a dip, lower yourself by bending your elbows (the arms are the only things that should move, your body and legs stay stationary), straighten arms again, that is one dip.
For push-ups, don’t feel limited to the floor. Hands on the wall or counter, or a great way to modify them if needed, you can also do them on your knees. Your push-up/dips combo goes like this: one set of push-ups immediately followed by one set of dips, then rest. Do it three times, building up to 25 reps of each.
Do the commercial workout on those days when you need it, making sure never to do it two days in a row; muscles always need a rest day in between. Add some walks or hikes through our lovely hills and valleys, or go for a brisk stroll right in your neighborhood or on one of our many available trails. Go dancing, rake leaves, above all, move.
Just remember you don’t always need to go to a gym to get some exercise. There are limitless options available to get your body moving. These you can do in the comfort of your very own home, and you don’t need to buy any fancy home gyms or even dumbbells. Remember to always consult with your doctor before beginning
any new exercise program.
Happy New Year!