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Jan 19 16

The Boatyard Blast

by Rebecca

Yesterday, while some sanding was being done on our boat that is now on the hard, Mike and I decided to go workout at a nearby park area. While Mike found a perfect tree to hang our aeroSling to do a suspension trainer workout, I decided that I would do the following plyometric-based bodyweight workout using the HIIT format.

The Boatyard Blast
Exercises:

  • Jump split lunges x3 / Skater lunge x2
  • Walk out plank climb / Frog jump
  • Burpee to surfer jump turn
  • Plank cross knee tuck / toe touch
  • Ninja jump / tuck jump
  • Plank jack / Oblique tucks / donkey kick

Instructions:

Do as many reps of each of the above combination exercises for 50 seconds resting 10 seconds between each one. Complete 3 sets.

Since we hauled our boat out to do some maintenance, and to store it while we do some traveling on our friends' boat, my workouts will be taking place off of Frost for the next little while. Here is today's calisthenics session, the Boatyard Blast!

Posted by StrengthPLUS on Monday, 18 January 2016

Dec 17 15

10 types of workout formats

by Rebecca

To keep things interesting, I like to use a different workout format each time I exercise throughout the week. By doing so, I feel that my body is being challenged in a variety of ways, sometimes focusing more on strength; other times testing my cardio, recovery or ability to push that extra bit more.

The following are 10 different workout formats that I like to use:

1. Circuit Training. With this type of workout, do 15-20 reps at a moderately fast tempo of 4-6 full body exercises. Do each, one after the other, with little rest in between (20-30 seconds). I will typically do 3-6 circuits.

2. Pyramid. I do this a few different ways. a) Ascending pyramid: Start with low reps then increase the number of reps each set (Note: I sometimes also increase weights or resistance along with this) b) Descending pyramid: Start with high reps then decrease the number of reps each set. c) Triangle pyramid: A combination of both. Increase the number of reps for each exercise up to a set number then decrease the number of reps back down.

3. HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. This is one of my favorites! To do this type of workout, I choose a number of exercises (I usually do 4-6) that are completed by doing as many reps as possible in a set time followed by a short rest before moving on to the next exercise. The work/rest ratios I typically us are 50/10 (50 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest), 45/15 or 30/30.

4. AMRAP – As Many Reps As Possible. To do this workout, I choose 4-6 exercises with a set number of reps that I will do as a circuit. I set my timer for 20-30 minutes then complete as many circuits as I can in that amount of time.

5. Tabata. Like HIIT, this type of workout is done by time. The difference is that the exercise is done for a very short amount of time followed by a short rest then repeated again for another 5 sets using the same format before moving onto the next exercise. I again choose 4-6 exercises. The amount of time is 20 seconds of work; 10 seconds of rest.

6. Supersets. Pairs of exercises that are done back-to-back before moving on to the next pair of exercises. I may only do one pair of exercises that I will repeat with a rest time in between (30-60 seconds) each set or I may do several pairs of exercises that I will do as a circuit with rest times in between each pair of exercises.

7. EMOM – Every Minute On the Minute. Choose an exercise and complete a specific number of reps every minute on the minute for a predetermined number of sets. So, if you are able to complete your set within the first 10 seconds of the minute, you have 50 seconds to rest. This gets harder as the sets go on.

8. Add-on. Each set, add on another exercise to the one that has just been done. For instance, set 1 is exercise A; set 2 is exercise A+B; set 3 is exercise A+B+C; etc. I do up to 6 exercises. Once all exercises are done, I then start with the last exercise and follow the same formate adding on the previous exercises.

9. Challenge. For this type of workout, choose one or more exercises where the goal is to complete a very high number of reps in no fixed time.

10. 5 x 5 Strength training. Choose 4-6 simple exercises using heavy weights or high resistance. Do 5 sets of 5 reps with as heavy a weight (resistance) as you can handle for that exercise and rest for 45-60 seconds after each set before moving onto the next exercise.

Grab your kettle bell and try this AMRAP workout:

Exercises:

  1. 20 figure 8 squats
  2. 10 Cross over Push up x2 / one-arm row
  3. 5/side Partial TGU
  4. 10 Dive bomber squat thrusts / KB swing
  5. 5/side forward and back lunges

Instructions:
Set your timer for 25 minutes. Complete the above circuit as many times as you can.

Kettlebell workout on a boat

Grab your kettlebell and try these exercises for a full-body workout!

Posted by StrengthPLUS on Monday, 14 December 2015

Dec 1 15

Whatever you enjoy, go do it!

by Rebecca

Enjoyment can come in a variety of ways and one’s idea of it can differ from one person to the next. While some like to read, others would rather practice playing an instrument or work on a craft. Some enjoy hiking; others would rather sit on a beach.

The important thing is to find something that you enjoy doing and not always do what someone else perceives as being fun. When you are in a relationship, understanding each others’ perception of fun is key. Sure it is nice to have some things in common so you have occasions that you can enjoy together but if you have something that inspires only you, you should go do it!

Mike and I have fun doing many things together but there are definitely things that I like that I know Mike is not as keen to do. Likewise, there are things that Mike enjoys doing that I do not. As long as we continue to enjoy a few activities together, we find that it is often nice to spend a part of the day doing our own thing. The things that make us happy.

Check out my latest exercise video in which I demonstrate a way to achieve a full-body workout using a fender ball on the side deck:

A few exercises using a fender ball on the side decks…

Posted by StrengthPLUS on Monday, 30 November 2015

Exercises:

  • Elevated side lunge (right foot on fender)
  • Elevated side lunge (left foot on fender)
  • Hands on ball push up / front squat
  • Bulgarian split squat (right foot on fender)
  • Bulgarian split squat (left foot on fender)
  • Decline push up / alternate knee tucks

Instructions:
Do each of the exercises in a circuit for 50 seconds each resting 10 seconds before moving onto the next exercise. Complete 4 sets.

Nov 16 15

10 Reasons it’s a good idea to take a break from drinking alcohol

by Rebecca

Ok, so I am not going to preach and tell you that you should stop drinking alcohol forever. I, for one, enjoy a glass of wine or two, or a cocktail in the evening. We are, however, on a one month hiatus from drinking any alcoholic beverage. We are not doing this because we have had too many nights of overindulging; we are simply doing this because we can, and it is something that we do from time to time to keep ourselves in check. We know others that do the same, and I really believe it to be beneficial.

We have just finished our second week of not drinking and I really don’t miss it much. Even with the crappy days that we have had where it would be nice to sit back and drink some wine, I am happy to sip my water or a club soda and keep a clear head. Will we go back to drinking alcohol after our month is up? Perhaps; however, I am certainly not interested in overindulging. I like how I feel each day of not drinking.

The following are a few good reasons to give up consuming alcohol even if it is only for a short time:

  1. Good for your liver. We all know that the consumption of alcohol can take a toll on your liver. By not drinking, your liver will have time to repair itself.
  2. Save money. Think about the amount of money you spend on alcohol. Now think about what you could use that money for instead. You will be amazed at how much you save if you keep track of that sort of thing.
  3. Lose weight. Yes, alcoholic drinks contain a fair amount of extra calories, and when you end up having several drinks over the course of the evening, these calories add up quickly.
  4. No hangovers in the morning. Waking up in the morning feeling fresh and ready to start the day really makes it worthwhile. There are so many more things you can squeeze into your day when you aren’t fighting a hangover.
  5. More energy to do other things. This basically goes with the above. You will likely find that your energy level will increase, and you will have more drive to do all the fun things that you have always wanted to do.
  6. You won’t make a fool of yourself. Yes, we’ve all been there (well maybe not everyone but certainly those that have gotten drunk). You know those times when you completely make a fool of yourself, not realizing it at the time, but then remember or get told about it the next day? Ugh! It is obviously ok to have a good time but without drinking alcohol, you will be more in control of your actions.
  7. Rides home are safer. Most people these days don’t drink and drive (a car), however, in the cruising world, there are many that operate a dinghy while under the influence. This is obviously very dangerous, and even if you are just a passenger in the dinghy, if you are drunk, there is more of a risk of falling out in a bouncy inflatable.
  8. Remember conversations from the night before. Have you ever had someone come up to you the day after a night out drinking and begin talking to you about some conversation that you apparently had with them the night before, but you don’t remember? Worse are the times when you arrange to do something really fun the next day but you don’t remember making those plans. Forgotten names? Not recalling all the interesting stories or knowledge that others were sharing with you? Sound familiar? Avoid this happening by enjoying a night out sans alcohol.
  9. No drunken pictures of yourself will appear on your Facebook page. Oh yeah. You know those incredibly embarrassing photos of yourself that you see posted on Facebook? The ones where you are making a complete fool of yourself? Yes, you can un-tag yourself, or ask the poster to take the photo down, but usually by that time, everyone has seen it and the damage has been done. Drunken pics are never flattering!
  10. To prove that you can; to keep yourself in check. We have seen far too many old-time cruisers, drunk and talking nonsense, to know that we do not want to become like them! Being silly and having fun can be done without the assistance of alcohol. If you still want to have a beer or a glass of wine now and then, then by all means have it. If, however, you see yourself consuming more than just a few drinks a day, everyday, perhaps it is time to take a break.

Do you have the energy for a quick 16 minute workout? The following is one that can be done in very little space, so no excuses!

Exercises:

  • Three pulse Step back lunge & knee (right side)
  • Three pulse Step back lunge & knee (left side)
  • Push up / cross knee tuck
  • One-legged Hip press / leg lift / leg abduction (right)
  • One-legged Hip press / leg lift / leg abduction (left)
  • Squat / calf raise x3

Instructions:
Do each of the exercises in a circuit for 30 seconds each resting 10 seconds before moving onto the next exercise. Complete 4 sets.

Small space BW workout

Please, tell me again how you don't have enough space to workout!

Posted by StrengthPLUS on Sunday, 15 November 2015

Nov 10 15

6 Annoying things that can occur while exercising on a boat

by Rebecca

Exercising on a boat can be somewhat challenging but I and many others have proven that it can be done. There are however, some things that can make it more demanding than usual. Some creativity and the ability to adjust your workouts is helpful to ensure that you limit the risk of injury and / or keep it enjoyable. The following are a few of the annoying things that can occur when you workout on your boat:

1. Rain. While working out in the rain is not a big deal, it can make the surface of a boat very slippery and thus there is a higher risk of injury. Be sure to take note of this if you do workout in the rain and adjust your exercises if need be to avoid slipping. I would suggest taking your workout inside or wait until later if you see lightening!

2. Sunshine. Depending on where you are, the sun’s intensity may be an issue. You may wish to choose your workout time so that you are not out in the blazing sun. Early morning or evening are obviously better than the middle of the day.

3. Boats passing by. A boat such as a dinghy or motor vessel can sometimes throw a wake causing the boat to rock. Be aware of any boats approaching and be ready to hang on when they pass by.

4. Swell. Although you may start out in a nice calm anchorage, sometimes a swell will develop causing your boat to roll. This can make some exercises a bit more challenging if not impossible. Having some backup exercises that you can do instead can be beneficial in these circumstances. Try doing exercises that you can do while holding onto something such as the mast, the forestay or the life lines.

5. Cat calls. While it is common for people to gawk at you while passing by as they may be curious as to what you are doing, those that make cat calls can be a little annoying. Choosing a workout time when there is less of a chance of this occurring OR choosing an anchorage that is more secluded may be a better option.

6. Social visits. It’s nice to have others come to your boat to say hi but when they come over and try to start a long conversation with you, or they want to ask questions about what you are doing while you are in the middle of your workout, this can be bothersome. You could politely tell them that you will talk later but it is still a disruption and it is sometimes not easy to do. This can be avoided altogether if you choose a time to workout when you know you won’t be disturbed or drop your anchor in a secluded place where no one else will interrupt you.

The video below is a combination exercise challenge workout. Set your timer for 10 minutes and count how many reps you can complete in that time. I managed to do 50!

I had to resort to coming ashore to upload this video but here it is:Push up / cross toe touch challenge: How many can you do in 10 minutes? I did 50!

Posted by StrengthPLUS on Sunday, 8 November 2015

Dec 19 14

Super combo bodyweight workout

by Rebecca

I had a little fun yesterday with a bodyweight super combo that I came up with. I often go to sleep thinking about what I am going to do to workout the next day. This is what I came up with:

Super combo workout:

Exercises:

  • Walk out plank
  • Sit outs (right/left)
  • Mountain climbers x2
  • Frog jump
  • Duck walks x2
  • Jump up
  • Back shoulder roll*
  • One-legged deadlift*
  • Jump split lunges x2

Instructions:
Do each exercise one after the other as quickly as you can without compromising your form. As soon as you finish, go right into the next set without rest. Complete 20 sets. Challenge yourself by timing how long it takes you to do it. Try to finish is 10 minutes or less.

*Alternate sides when doing these exercises.

Dec 12 14

Eating paleo for a week

by Rebecca

This week we have 3 guests who eat primarily a Paleo diet. This is a new one for me but I managed to adjust my usual charter menu to one that would satisfy our customers and so far, after 5 days, my meals seem to have been a hit. The truth is that many of the meals that I make for Mike and I when we are not on charter follow closely to a Paleo diet. I would, however, never say that we are on any specific diet though since we don’t really follow all the ‘rules’ that govern any specific one. We still believe in the D.E.C. Diet and just limit our intake of other foods that fall into the ‘not-so-good’ category.

Here is one of the breakfast meals I made this week:

Paleo Huevos Rancheros!

Ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes (1/2 – 1 potato per plate depending on the appetites of those who are eating it)
  • Eggs (1 or 2 per plate)
  • Salsa (1/2 cup per plate)
  • Turkey bacon (2 slices per plate)
  • Avocados (1/2 per plate)

Directions:

  1. Cook the potatoes and mash them. I cut them up into pieces and boiled them in water for about 10 minutes to cook them.
  2. Cook bacon and cut up into pieces.
  3. Put the mashed potatoes on a plate and form into a circle by fattening it out as thin as you want.
  4. Sprinkle the cut up pieces of bacon on top.
  5. Fry an egg (or two) and place on top of the bacon.
  6. Top it with some salsa and avocado and… voila!

I actually think I liked it better than regular Huevos rancheros.

Dec 6 14

On the road to recovery

by Rebecca

It’s been a month since my shoulder injury and it is just now starting to feel like it is getting better. After many sleepless nights with pain radiating around my shoulder, I have finally had three good night’s sleep with very little discomfort.

I plan to take it easy a bit longer and gradually add in some physio exercises to help strengthen it back up before doing anything too strenuous. I did try to do some shoulder exercises a week ago or so but I think it was too soon and it seemed to aggravate it more so I stopped.

With my shoulder out of commission, most of my workouts for the past few weeks have focused on my legs and core. As an example, the following is the bodyweight workout that I did this morning:

Exercises:

  • Jump squat – 50, 45, 40, 35, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10, 5
  • Sumo squats – 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50
  • Jump switch hip press – 50, 46, 40, 36, 30, 26, 20, 16, 10, 6
  • Alternating one-legged hip press – 6, 10, 16, 20, 26, 30, 36, 40, 46, 50

Instructions:
Do each of the fours exercises, one after the other, for the first number of reps listed. Rest 1 minute then do the second giant set for the next number of reps that I listed. Continue resting 1 minute after each set. Watch the video below to see how to do each exercise.

With Christmas just around the corner, I created a special advent calendar on my StrengthPLUS Facebook page for some fitness fun. Check it out!

Nov 28 14

300 Post-Thanksgiving Workout

by Rebecca

As yesterday was American Thanksgiving, I am sure there are many of you who may have overindulged a tiny bit. The following workout requires no equipment. Complete each exercise for the set number of reps before moving onto the next. Rest when needed but try to complete the workout in as short amount of time as you can. Remember to maintain good form on all exercises:

300 Post-Thanksgiving Bodyweight Workout:

  • Step forward lunge / cross touch down – 50 reps alternating
  • Spiderman push ups – 50 reps
  • Squat / side bend leg lift – 50 reps alternating
  • Dive bombers – 50 reps
  • Mountain climbers x10 / Kick ups x10 – 5 reps
  • Partial Turkish Get-Ups – 50 reps alternating

Description of exercises:

Step forward lunge / cross touch down


  1. Step forward into a lunge with arms out to your sides (Pic A)
  2. Bring your opposite arm to front foot down as you reach your other arm up (Pic B)
  3. Return back to a lunge (Pic A)
  4. Step back to a standing position with feet together
  5. Repeat the exercise on the other side
  6. Continue alternating for the set number of reps

Spiderman push ups


  1. Start in a push up plank position (Pic A)
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your body down as you bring one knee up to the side (Pic B)
  3. Return to your starting position (Pic A)
  4. Repeat the exercise bringing your other knee up to the side
  5. Continue alternating knees for the set number of reps

Squat / side bend leg lift


  1. Squat down touching your finger tips to the ground (Pic A)
  2. Transfer your weight onto one leg as you circle your arms to that side then up and over as you lift your other leg up to the side (Pic B)
  3. Repeat the exercise on the other side
  4. Continue alternating for the set number of reps

Dive bombers


  1. Start on your hands and feet with your butt in the air (Pic A)
  2. Bend and flare your elbows out and lower your nose toward the floor between your hands
  3. Slide your body forward as if you were trying to go under a bar without letting your body touch the floor then drive your head up straightening your arms and leaving your hips down (Pic B)
  4. From this position, reverse the exercise to return back to your starting position (Pic A)
  5. Repeat the exercise for the set number of reps

Mountain climbers x10 / Kick ups x10


  1. To do mountain climbers: Start in a plank and bring one knee up between your arms (Pic A)
  2. Jump and switch knees keeping your hips low. Alternate knees 10 times.
  3. To do kick ups: After completing the mountain climbers, turn yourself over so you are belly up on your hands and feet. Kick one leg up in front (Pic B). Jump and switch legs. Continue to alternate for 10 reps
  4. Continue alternating between mountain climbers and kick ups until you have completed 5 sets.

Partial Turkish Get-Ups



  1. Start by lying on your back (Pic A)
  2. Sit up placing one hand on the floor behind you as you bend your opposite knee and place your foot on the floor (Pic B)
  3. Drive off of your hand and foot lifting your hips off the floor as you reach your free hand up to the sky (Pic C)
  4. Return to your starting position (Pic A)
  5. Repeat the exercise on the other side.
  6. Continue to alternate until you have completed the set number of reps.
Nov 21 14

“No pain, no gain”

by Rebecca

The expression “no pain, no gain” is one that I’m sure most people have heard in reference to exercising. It is a motto that is supposed to help motivate an individual through a strenuous workout.

However, what if that pain is associated with an injury? It is important to recognize the difference between the burning sensation which you may feel during an exercise or the muscle soreness you get after a strenuous workout and the pain that you feel as a result of a wound.

What causes the burning sensation you feel while doing an exercise and soreness that you feel after a workout? In a nut shell, the discomfort is caused by lactic acid. As you do a specific exercise, lactic acid builds around the muscle(s) involved causing a burning sensation. Your muscles begin to fatigue as the lactic acid interacts with the calcium in your body. This is what results in your inability to complete any more repetitions. When you feel sore the next day after working out, this is known as a delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) which will continue until the lactic acid is removed (naturally) from your muscles. Sometimes this takes a few days.

Ok, so being sore after a workout is one thing and usually after a day or two, the soreness dissipates and all is well again. Pain from an injury though is different. The pain is much more intense and if you continue doing exercises that involve the part of the body that is injured, it won’t just go away and ultimately it will get worse.

My shoulder is still giving me grief two weeks after injuring it. How did I hurt it? I don’t really know but it is not the first time that this has happened. I am no doctor or physical therapist so I can definitely not diagnose what is wrong. All I know is that I need to give it a break from any exercise that involves using it. This is not easy for me but I am hoping it won’t take too long to heal. I have been doing lots of reading up on shoulder injuries on the internet and getting advice from friends so this has been helpful and I have learned more than I ever thought I would ever know about the muscles in the shoulder.

What should you do when you are injured?

For many years, and one that I have always followed, the R.I.C.E method has been recommended:

R. Rest – As difficult as this is for an athlete, resting the injury is key. This of course does not mean you have to lie in bed all day. I have continued working out each day by doing exercises that don’t involve my shoulder. Lot’s of legs and core!

I. Ice – Apply ice with an ice pack or a bag filled with ice cubes to the injury. This along with taking anti-inflammatories such as Aleve or ibuprofen is used to reduce pain and inflammation of injured tissues.

C. Compression – Wrap the injury in a bandage to limit and reduce swelling. If you feel throbbing, remove and re-wrap the area a bit looser.

E. Elevation – Raise the injury above the level of your heart. For example, if you have injured your ankle, lying with your foot propped up on a couple of pillows will help to control swelling.

So, I have been following the above method for my shoulder injury but I come to learn from more recent claims that the use of ice and anti-inflammatories may not be the best thing for recovering from an injury and that they may actually hinder it.

Current research now states that the M.C.E. method should be used:

M. Move safely when you can as much as you can.

C. Compression

E. Elevation

This article goes into more details on the recent claims.

In my own opinion, I believe in the R.I.C.E. method. This has worked for me in the past so I continue to use it. I do keep my shoulder moving however and I have begun doing a few physio exercises to help with recovery. I am not feeling any pain while doing these movements so I am hoping they will help to speed up the healing process.

One last note: I was one of the unlucky people who contracted the Chikengunya virus while we were in Grenada. Although I felt fine after just a few days, I have learned from others who also came down with it that there is lasting effects. Some of our friends are still suffering after having it months ago! Could this be affecting my recovery from the shoulder injury? I don’t know but I am not letting it stop me!


Morning workout on the bow. I’ve been doing a lot more bodyweight exercises


Mike joins me every morning now!