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Get Fit in 2012

Reach your ultimate fitness goals


Get Fit in 2012

For many, "get fit" will top our to-do list for 2012. But only a handful of us will reach our fitness goals. Eighty percent will fall off the wagon by February.

For many, "get fit" will top our to-do list for 2012. But only a handful of us will reach our fitness goals. Eighty percent will fall off the wagon by February. 

There are many theories as to why we lack the ability to follow through on our yearly pledge of better health. Erika McKinnon, a Vancouver-based personal trainer, believes one of the reasons for a lack of success is because people don’t commit themselves fully to the process.

Make a commitment

Without a 100 percent commitment to a goal, especially one as arduous as exercising more, a lack of drive and persistence is missing. This spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e once a barrier presents itself, such as an injury or lack of time.

McKinnon recommends to her clients that they write out their goals and place them where they can see them daily, such as on the bathroom mirror. Since 95 percent of our actions come from our subconscious—what we would call a habit—it’s important to keep our goals and dreams in our face every day. This constant reminder will help these new lifestyle changes slowly seep into our grey matter, thus helping this new goal to gradually become a part of our subconscious. 

McKinnon also gets her clients to type mini daily goals into their schedulers, whether that’s on their smart phone, computer, or old school with a pen and paper. This process helps them achieve that long-term dream by breaking it down into smaller, manageable daily to-dos. For instance, a long-term goal of a 10 km run is broken down into a daily walk/run program and scheduled like an appointment, thereby assuring that the individual adheres to the plan.

Make a plan

Sue Jordon (, a personal and business coach who has been helping people achieve their goals for a number of years, suggests implementing these three tips when making our fitness plan for 2012.

Find accountability
Without accountability, or someone to hold us to our goals, we can fall back into old patterns. The real power of having accountability, especially in the form of a coach, personal trainer, or workout partner, is that when we do have a setback we can look at it together objectively and from there adjust our plan.

Self-manage your saboteurs
Those little voices in our head we’ve been living with our whole life recall every failure and mishap we’ve ever had. While Jordon acknowledges that it takes power to identify the saboteur and then overcome it, it is something that needs to be identified first and foremost.

Believe in yourself
Never let go of the fact that you deserve to achieve what you want in your life. You must believe in yourself, first and foremost. Learn how to forgive yourself and recognize that you must be prepared to fail in order to truly learn and grow.

Using these tips and the following fitness plan, make 2012 the year you look and feel your best!

Strength program

  • Perform the following program 2 to 3 times a week; however, not on back-to-back days.
  • Find a weight that is challenging for you and perform each movement for 15 repetitions (unless otherwise specified), one exercise after the other without any rest in between.
  • Once you have completed a full circuit of each exercise, rest one minute and thenperform the entire program again. Work up to 4 times through.

Off-set reverse lungeOff-set reverse lunge

  • Hold onto one heavy dumbbell with your right hand.
  • Step back with your left leg and perform a lunge. Be sure to keep the front knee in line with the front ankle and tracking straight ahead (don’t let it wobble side to side), all while maintaining a neutral spine.
  • By holding onto the dumbbell with your opposite arm, you will fire up your core muscles and the added weight will work your lower body muscles harder.

Push-ups with feet stackedPush-up with feet stacked

  • Perform 8 reps per foot stacked.
  • Get in a full push-up position from your toes with your hands wider than your shoulders and your body in a long straight line.
  • Stack your left foot on top of your right, toe to heel, for 8 reps and then switch.
  • If you are unable to perform a straight-leg push-up, then perform 8 reps with just your left leg extended while your right knee is on the ground, and then 8 reps with the right leg extended.

Circling arms with low back extensionCircling arms with low back extension

  • Lie face down with your arms extended overhead, palms facing down, legs straight, and your toes tucked into the floor.
  • Lift your upper body and arms off the floor while circling the arms around and down to your sides, keeping the palms down. As your chest lowers back down, circle the arms up above the head again. Try to keep the arms as straight as possible while circling them down and back up again.
  • Throughout the movement, keep the toes tucked and on the ground to neutralize the pelvis and isolate the low back extensor muscles.

Inverted pull-upsInverted pull-ups (squat rack)

  • Position an Olympic bar in a squat rack, or the bar on a Smith machine, just below your chest.
  • With your feet on the floor in front of the bar, position your upper body underneath the bar, holding the bar a little wider than shoulder-width apart with your palms facing away.
  • Hang from the bar with your arms extended fully, and allow only the bottoms of your feet to touch the floor.
  • Keep your body straight (don’t let your butt sag down) and pull yourself up, focusing on retracting the shoulder blades back and down.
  • Reverse the position and slowly lower yourself until your arms are straight.
  • If you do not train in a gym, you can use two chairs and a broomstick handle. Make sure that the chairs have a ladder back, so that the broomstick handle can rest securely on the backs of the chairs, and position the broom handle as high as you can and perform the exercise as explained above.

Double crunchDouble crunch

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your arms behind you, fingertips facing the feet.
  • Lift your feet off the floor (and keep them off for the entire 15 reps), pull the knees in toward your chest, and use your abs and arms to bring your chest forward too.
  • Slowly extend the body so that the legs are completely straight and a few inches off the ground. Your upper body is a few inches off the ground too with elbows bent—this is one repetition.

Burpee with renegade row

Burpee with renegade row

  • Hold a light pair of dumbbells in each hand and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Drop into a squat position and place the dumbbells on the ground.
  • Kick your feet back so that you are in a straight-arm plank position with your hands still on top of the dumbbells and shoulder-width apart.
  • Hold your plank and bend your right elbow and raise the dumbbell until your elbow passes your torso, while pressing into your left arm for balance.
  • Lower the right arm and perform the same row action with your left arm.
  • Return your feet back to the squat position, under your hips, and then stand up.
  • That’s one repetition; perform the whole movement again.

Treadmill interval program

Get an indoor aerobic workout by adding the following interval workout to your program. It’s a great way to build endurance, especially during cold winter months.

Time What to do Speed/hill (%)

Speed/hill (%)

0 to 5 minutes warm up  

brisk walk
3.4 to 3.8 / 1 to 4%

4.8 to 5.0 / 2%
1 minute
1 minute
1 minute
1 minute
interval 3.5 / 10%
3.5 / 8%
3.5 / 6%
3.5 / 4%
5.0 to 5.5 / 10%
5.0 to 5.5 / 8%
5.0 to 5.5 / 6%
5.0 to 5.5 / 4%
1 minute
3.5 / 1%  
5.0 to 5.5 / 1%
  repeat above 4 to 6 times    
5 minutes

cool down

Easy walking pace / no incline

light jog / no incline

Aerobic program

Two to three times a week, add an activity that gets your heart rate between 65 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate (see sidebar for details on how to find your target heart rate ranges). Maintain this target heart rate for 30 to 45 minutes.

Suggested exercises: jogging, swimming, biking, elliptical trainer, rowing machine, and group aerobic class


Find your target heart rate


220 – your age = heart rate max (HRM)
Multiple the above number by 65 percent and 85 percent for your low and high target heart rate ranges.


206 – your age = HRM
Multiple the above number by 65 percent and 85 percent for your low and high target heart rate ranges.



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