Author Archives: bodyagefitness

Health and Fitness Related New Year Resolution for 2015!

Happy New Year to All!

And yes, with the New Year comes the usual resolutions.  Exercise regularly – Lose weight – Eat Healthy food…  Making these resolutions is easy and I am sure that when you are making the resolution, you are sincere in being successful.  The real challenge comes in trying to reach your resolution’s goal/objective.

It would be easy to think that this New Year’s Resolution idea is a waste of time, right?  But  many research agree that ” Making that resolution is the best way to kick start yourself toward your Healthier Goal!”  Studies do show that people who do make the resolution to change their behaviors do much better than non-resolvers who have the same habits that need to be changed.

So now that you know that “Making the Resolution” is the right thing to do.  You just need to know how to optimize your chances of success.

Change in behavior is often a difficult task. Here are some tips which will help you make your 2015 Resolution A Success Story:

  • 1. PICK ONE RESOLUTION FOR 2015: “Fight one battle at the time”. Behaviors change experiments have proven that trying to change more than 1 behavior at the time rarely works.  So, choose the winning solution:  Pick the one thing you want to change the most and really work on it.

  • 2. Make a Realistic Resolution: Be honest with yourself and set yourself a goal which you actually can achieve!  For example, if you do not exercise at the moment, setting up a goal to begin to exercise 2 hours per week is a very realistic goal.  Once you have reached that goal, you can always add more days…

  • 3. Plan for Slip Ups and Deal with Them in a Constructive Manner: Slip ups and setbacks will happen.  It is up to you to quickly learn from them on how to avoid them in the future. ” Lose a battle but win the War!”

  • 4. Set Mini-Goals: Maybe you do want to lose 30+ lbs but it will be much more productive to  make this your “Long Terms Goal” and then break it down into weekly – monthly short terms weight loss goals…

  • 5. Hold Yourself Accountable for your Resolution. Tell Others and/or Write it Down:

    Studies show that the people around you can really be helpful.  Especially after the first few weeks when your original motivation will begin to weaken.  Look for support which will be there for you long-term:  trainer, exercise groups, online support groups… Best for you to figure out the kind of support which will help you during the tough times that are inevitable in any behavioral changement.

  • 6. Positive Feedback and Rewards will Improve your Chance of Success: Do reward yourself when you will reach your first “Short Terms Goal” and be proud of yourself! These positive feedbacks will give you extra incentive to continue toward your longer terms goal.

    One last point is to mention that many research point to the fact that “Strong Will Power Needs to Be Developed”.   And so,  just like you can train your leg muscles to ride faster, you can improve your “Will Power” by following the above tips and making your 2015 Resolutions A SUCCESS STORY!

Best Wishes for 2015 and Train Smarter – Not Harder!

Michel & Svetlana

Effective Core Training is the first step to a Stronger Complete Body! Part #4

In this last post I would like to share with you some of the exercises we use with our clients and ourselves to activate the many different muscle groups that form The Core.

Since the majority of our Core exercises are done in a functional way, many other muscle groups: shoulders/chest/back/hips/legs… are effectively challenged, creating a stronger connection between the different muscle groups.

And we have found that using effective breathing patterns while doing these different abdominal exercises helps activating the inner core muscles as stabilizers for the spine.

Variations of the Knee Tuck exercise:

The different knee tuck variations (stability ball – gliding disks – TRX …) targets your core stability and strength in a very functional fashion. Adding less or more stability – rest on elbows or hands; two legs or only 1 leg, makes this exercise a very appropriate challenge from beginner level to more advanced


Front and side planks

The front and side planks are excellent exercises to improve the stability and the strength of all the connecting muscles of your mid-section.

The plank can be performed resting on bent elbows (easier version) or straight arm ( more challenging). By using different variations of this exercise: front plank on elbows (very basic) to a much more advanced side plank, resting on hand and lifting the top leg ( quite challenging version) you can easily adjust the intensity and difficulty of the exercise to make it fit your present ability and challenge yourself to improve.

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Horizontal or Angled Cable Torso Twist

The muscles of the torso stabilize the spine and allow movement, in many different directions and range of motions by coordinating with the pelvic muscles. These muscles work together to flex, extend, rotate and bend the body in a controlled manner. Torso twist exercises help increase the strength and stability of the core muscles during rotation and also improve the synergy and connection between the upper body and hips muscles which will make many, everyday chores, easier; taking grocery bags from back of cars, picking up grand children, shovelling snow…

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To conclude, I would like to remind everyone of the importance of their Core Muscles. And that there are many ways to effectively activate – strengthen the different muscles of the Core. Doing so using functional exercises as the ones above, will help make the whole body more connected and stronger. Stronger core muscles will indeed save your low back and pelvic from many unnecessary pain and injuries!


Train Smarter – Not Harder!


Effective Core Training is the first step to a Stronger Complete Body! Part #3

In this third of my Core Training posts, (#1 here and #2 here) I will touch on the muscles, which comprise your Outer Core Muscles. And I will remind everyone how the inner core and outer core muscles must be thought of a “One Unit” in order to be functionally effective.

The “outer core” refers to the muscles that most of us would refer to when talking about “abdominals training”.

These include:

  • Rectus abdominis (the 6-pack muscle)
  • External obliques
  • And the big extensor muscles on your back collectively referred to as the erector spinae.

These muscles are responsible for generating movement and the overall stability of the body. But since, none of these muscles are directly attached to the spine, they need the coordinated efforts of the inner core muscles in order to be most effective.

In essence, the inner and outer core muscles (The Core) need to work synergistically to stabilize the spinal cord while allowing you to move your limbs and function normally on a day-to-day basis.

The muscles of The Core are the links between the lower and upper body’s muscles groups. They effectively transfer the force and power generated by these other muscles groups.

A functional and solid Core will help you maintain a good erect posture, increase your stability and balance, improve your performance in your activities of choice and keep your low back and spine healthy!

The best way to train your core muscles to build a solid and functional core is to use different exercises through a variety of planes of motion.

In my next post, I will describe some of these exercises.

Train Smarter – Not Harder!



Effective Core Training is the first step to a Stronger Complete Body! Part #2

Effective Core Muscles Training will help stabilize your mid section and allow you to continue to do the activities you enjoy for many years without having, among other things, nagging low back pains or injuries…

In my first post I described the 2 different groups of your Core Muscles: The Inner and Outer Core muscles.

This second post is about your Inner Core Muscles:

  • Diaphragm
  • Transverse Abdominis
  • Pelvic Floor
  • Multifidus

I am certain everyone would agree that breathing is very essential to life. The diaphragm, one of your inner core muscles, is responsible for about 80% of your breathing actions. But since your diaphragm, also plays an integral part in the stability of your mid-section, it would be wise to make sure you are activating your diaphragm properly and breathing in the most effective fashion: Diaphragmatic Breathing”.

The diaphragm is a dome shape muscle at the bottom of your rib cage. When you are breathing in, your entire diaphragm should extend downward into your abdomen causing your lower ribs and stomach to expand slightly outward. This downward movement of your diaphragm will also create an increase in pressure inside your abdomen. Your other inner core muscles: Transverse Abdominis/pelvic floor/multifidus will activate against this increase in pressure and form, what you could call, your “inner core box”. These 4 muscles will together help stabilizing and supporting your spinal cord and pelvic joints against most external stress loads.

To find out if you are using your diaphragm effectively, go ahead and try this simple exercise:

  • Lie comfortably on your back and relax.
  • Place one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your chest.
  • As your breathe in deeply through your nose, your stomach should expand as your diaphragm is moving downward and your lungs are expending.
  • The hand on your stomach should therefore rise slightly upward and the hand on your chest should remain motionless.
  • As you slowly breathe out through your mouth, the hand on your stomach should move back down.

The deeper you breathe in, the greater the pressure you should feel inside your abdomen and the more aware you will also become of the contraction of your other inner core muscles.

Once you believe you are successfully doing “supine diaphragmatic breathing”, go ahead and try it standing up or sitting on a stationary bike… You will, most likely, have some difficulties but with practice you will succeed. Remember that “Practice makes Perfect!”

Diaphragmatic breathing is a very effective and relaxing way to breathe. It has been used in yoga and meditation for thousands of years.

Breathing is definitely one of these things you will have to do for the rest of your life. Might as well make sure you are breathing in the most effective way!

Train Smarter – Not Harder!





Effective Core Training is the first step to a Stronger Complete Body! Part #1

“Keep your core tight” – “brace your core muscles” … are words many of us have heard in gyms/fitness classes.  But what exactly is “The Core”?

 The Core is composed of:

  • Inner Core Muscles
    • Diaphragm
    • Transverse Abdominis
    • Pelvic floor (Pelvic Diaphragm)
    • Lumbar Multifidus


  • Outer Core Muscles
    • Rectus Abdominis
    • Erector Spinae
    • External Obliques

The function of the inner core muscles is both physiological and physical.

  • The Diaphragm is the main muscle responsible for effective breathing.
  • The Transverse Abdominis helps to compress the ribs and viscera providing thoracic and pelvic stabilization
  • The Pelvic floor (Pelvic Diaphragm) muscles support the organs (bladder, intestines) and provides muscle contraction required for maintenance of continence.
  • The Multifidus muscles provide stiffness, stability and support to the spinal column.

The coordinated efforts of these “inner core muscles” muscles are critical for overall stabilization of the spine/lower back area. Many research have showed that these muscles must activate/engage prior to movements of the outer extremities limbs. Your inner core muscles are your “reactive core”, they should engage, subconsciously, in order to support movement.

Your outer core muscles are larger muscles, well oriented to produce force during external movements. They supports postural stability, generate movements and provide stability when your body is under load (lifting weights).

As you can see, “Core Training” is much more complex than doing 50 crunches with your feet under a bench. Effective core muscle activation requires you to become aware of what the contraction of these muscles feel like.

In the next couple of post I will show you the different exercises I use for myself and my clients in order to properly activate the different layers of the “Core Muscles”.

Train Smarter – Not Harder!