Top Picks for Upper Body Conditioning and Core Strength
1. Suspended Side Plank: Lower suspension cables so they hover about 12-14 inches off the floor. Using your forearms for support, place your feet into the suspended cables. Move your upper body into a push-up position. Gradually rotate (spiral) to one side. Hold position for a few seconds and repeat on the other side. You can alternate repetitions between each side or perform multiple sets (8-10 reps each) on one side before switching to the other side.
2. Angled Push-Up on One Leg: Raise suspension cables to armpit height or above. Grasp the cable handles and move forward into a leaning position. The greater the lean, the harder the exercise. Lift one leg keep it elevated throughout the duration of your set. Perform 12-15 push-ups, or as many as needed to reach a state of momentary muscle fatigue without losing your form.
Sometime ago, I read a book by Diana Schwarzbein, M.D. and Nancy Deville entitled “The Schwarzbein Principle – The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy and Feeling Younger.” From my perspective, I found their material quite interesting and factual. Much appreciated was an approach that did not suggest fad dieting, miracle pills, potions or weight loss gimmicks. Just clean, healthy eating with real foods designed to decrease the metabolic aging process, balance hormonal response and improve overall sense of well-being. Fast forward to 2013 and I have sense read many, many books advocating the basic guidelines presented by Dr. Schwarzbein and Nancy Deville in 1999. The following are key elements to consider:
- To maintain hormonal balance, particularly insulin, and hunger control, you don’t want to skip meals. When you skip meals, a number of things can happen. You can become mentally unfocused, tired, and blood sugar levels can drop. When they drop too low, a person may start to get light headed, dizzy, sick to their stomach and feel the urge to eat even more at their next meal.
- Try to eliminate the consumption of man-made, artificial, processed and packaged foods. These items contain food substitutes, chemical compounds and preservatives that are not good for our bodies.
- Try to eat real foods in their most natural state (fresh fish, tofu, pasteurized milk, whole cottage cheese and yogurt, nuts, seeds, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, high quality protein, lean meats, eggs, flax seed oil, olive oil, 100% all natural nut butter or peanut butter, brown rice, non-starchy vegetables). Real foods spell healthy food. They provide our bodies with good nutrition for healthy living.
- Eat a variety of good fats, real foods, non-starchy vegetables and protein at each meal. Note the phrase “at each meal.” The combination will not only provide you with essential nutrients and productive enzymes, it will help to satisfy hunger between feeding.
- Avoid taking too many over-the-counter medications, drugs, excess stimulants and refined alcohol. Many of these contain by-products which are filtered through the liver (hopefully) and stored as toxins in our fat cells.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Regular varies from individual to individual. For myself, I try to stay active on most days of the week. Five to six is my personal exercise goal. Two to three days/week is beneficial. One to two days/week is better than no exercise at all.
Believe me, these simple steps can have a major impact on your health and well-being! If you live a fast-paced and busy lifestyle (eat most of your meals out side the home) try following the 80/20 rule. Follow the steps eighty percent of the time, give yourself a break twenty percent of the time. Enjoy life and be good to your body!