Keep Your Momentum Going!

I want to switch gears a little bit and instead of focusing on a particular exercise, we’ll look at a major issue that many of us encounter: how to keep exercise a priority in our busy lives. This is one of the most common issues I hear from my clients, and who can’t relate? You wake up early, go to work all day, get home and make dinner; the couch is oh so tempting at this point.

Here are my top tools to try to fight the urge to hit the couch after a long day before getting your exercise in.

  1. Remember the benefits. Exercise helps combat health conditions like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, and certain types of cancel and arthritis. It helps to improve your mood. It gives you more energy. Take some time to think about your health and how beneficial it will be to take just 30 minutes to gain these benefits.
  2. Put it into perspective. Remember that a one hour workout is only about 5% of your day. That is totally manageable.
  3. Schedule exercise like you would anything else. This is something I do personally and it keeps me on track like nothing else. It is so simple to look at your calendar, see where you have time and schedule it in just like your doctor appointment or haircut. This also helps to hold you accountable.
  4. Find something you like. If you dread exercise you will find any excuse to get out of it. Try something different until you find something that you enjoy or at least feel good about doing. If you enjoy the work out and are getting a lot out of it, you will maintain motivation and the excuses will fade into the distant past!
  5. Try working out in groups. This would be as simple as walking with a friend or joining in on a boot camp. At Chapel Hill Training, we offer small group boot camps that offer a great workout and the motivation and social aspect of working in a group.

I hope these tips can help you work around your schedule to make exercise a priority. It’s your body and you only get one! Whatever your motivation, keep up the good work!

Adding In Balance

Throughout my articles this year, we’ve discussed quite a few ways to reap the benefits of instability through the addition of a Bosu ball to your workouts. Today, I want to switch gears and focus on another way to add instability: balance. This is a very simple adjustment to make to an exercise that is often overlooked.

I’m going to suggest two basic exercises that you can make far more challenging through the addition of balance, but please note this is not a comprehensive list, the possibilities are endless!

First, let’s look at a standard dumbbell bicep curl. You will start by standing on one foot instead of two, trying not to let the foot that is up touch the leg you are balancing on or the ground. From here, you’ll perform the bicep curl just like you normally would: bend at the elbow and lift the dumbbells to your shoulders and control the weights slowly back down to your sides. Be sure you aren’t using any momentum so that you are isolating your biceps and not allowing any compensation to occur. For the next set, switch which foot you stand on so you are challenging each side equally.

Next, let’s look at a cable chest press. This exercise will be far more challenging because you will have external weight from the cables pulling you back toward the machine. This external weight is an additional challenge on your body which will require core stabilization — so hold your belly button in tight! You will balance on one foot and step forward away from the machine just far enough so that when you are in your starting position the weights will not rest on the remainder of the weight stack. Keeping your elbows and wrists level, press the weight together out in front keeping the movement at chest height, then control the weight back very slowly. Be sure to stay controlled and fight the urge to be pulled back by the weight. Again, be sure to switch which foot you are balancing on for the next set. Much more challenging this way, right?

Through the addition of balance, you are working to stabilize the ankle, knee, and arch all while improving your balance and making simple exercises more challenging. Balance is good stuff!

I’d love to hear which of your favorite exercises you’ve added balance to. Please tell me via my Facebook page at!