Monday, January 25, 2010

New Challenge at Push-Ups and Playdates

Hey regular readers,
Just wanted to share with you the opportunity to participate in a new workout challenge, the Evolution Challenge. Have fun doing 25 or 100 repetitions of one exercise per day this week, and crawl out of the primordial soup and into mammal/humanhood! To get started, click over to my professional blog and comment, or find the event on Facebook and RSVP.

Also, I've already created a modified exercise list for wheelchair-bound individuals as well as children, so if you would like modifications to suit your needs, please let me know.

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

OFF, pweez!

"off.", originally uploaded by apkoski.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

100 Challenge for Mortals. Check!

Woo-hoo, everybody! So happy to have you participating in my first group challenge, the 100 Challenge for Mortals. We did it!

Now lets wrap this figurative baby up. First, your fancy schmancy reward is at the bottom. Pick your favorite weblog button/email signature (right click, save image as, etc.). Please let me know if you see no suitable buttons for yourself.

Second, let's do this again! Seriously, this was great fun. Please, ideas or feedback is wonderful. I can't decide whether next week would be good. You endured so many naggy posts over the last seven days. I don't want to leave anyone "jaded and depressed."

Third, let's get the records straight. You Facebook folks will have your 700 reps forever engraved in the internet database. The rest of you have been doing a pretty good job of keeping me updated on your progress.

Which leads me to this: if you haven't updated your participation in a few days, please just drop me an email or comment here or on FB that you've completed the challenge (or I will assume otherwise). You worked hard for this recognition and bragging rights!


Here's the list so far.

The 700 (or 175) Club
Tyleen S
Theresa S
Sheri L
Shaunna L
Paul K
Morgen B
Mary P
Linda H
Julie F
Jenny S
Jessica B
Erica T
Erin R
Erin S
Elise M
Don S
Ashley R

Participants who completed between 1 and 6 events:
Alicia F
Christina B
Christine W
Dominic A
Heidi H
Jackie A
Jodi N
Katie M
Kari K
Mari B
Marisa D
Melanie C
Mia E
Mimi T
Noelle J
Olivia O
Rumi B
Sara J

Your buttons...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sunday Challenge: Superwomans (and Supermans)

Finally, day seven is here! No running for the door now. Time to finish what you started.

We are up to Superwomans... Supermans. Let's just say Superpersons.

Your Challenge this Sunday: 25 Superpersons (mortals) or 100 Superpersons (Immortals)

Click this resource from ACE Fitness, how-to images included.

What happens on Monday? Well, for one thing, you get a day off! And your just rewards, a email signature button or blog button that states your own successful completion of this historic event. Just make sure you come back and visit to pick up your goodies. If you forget to visit again, then I'll thank you now for participating in my made-up funness. The event ended up with 62 Facebook guests, plus several guilty spouses, and about six others for an approximate grand total of at least 70 participants. Yahoo!

Thanks for playing. Let's do this again sometime.

Truly yours,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Saturday Challenge: Inchworms

"Inchworm, inchworm, measuring the marigolds."

Does anyone else know that children's song? We have it on our Ann Murray Sings LP, but Miss A is uninterested so far.

Back to the matters at hand though: our challenge! We're nearly finished. PLEASE, don't give up now. You will feel such a sense of accomplishment if you can just get through the rest of this week, not to mention the amazing blog button/email signature reward. And I'll tell you a secret, if you just keep on reading.

First, did you do your burpees?! Yes? Ok, good. I didn't want to scold you in front of your kiddos.

Second, are you ready for inchworms?

Don't worry, if you get past the inchworms, the superpermans/womans are a cinch. Honest! (That's my secret.)


Mortals: Do 25 Inchworms (from plank, walking up & down back to plank is one repetition)

Immortals: 100 Inchworms

See a video of how to perform one here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Friday Challenge: Triceps Dips

Like trans fats, the industrial revolutions, and golf, triceps dips are one of humankind's self-created evils. The more you weigh, the harder the exercise, and the stronger you get! So don't worry if you're doing your dips next to some skinny-butt who is flying through their reps; they might not be as strong as you...

Your challenge this Friday: 25 consecutive (yes mere mortals, special for today!) dips
or 100 Dips (Immortals)

Breaking down the Triceps Dip:
Choose your starting position; legs extended or feet under your knees for less intensity.

With fingertips facing forward, put your hands on the edge of the table/chair/coffee table/changing table, and hold your hiney within a couple inches of the edge. Then, as my friend Megan would say, "Kiss your shoulder blades together," opening up your chest, and take a deep breath. You're ready to dip.

With your shoulder blades still kissing, slowly lower your body straight down, gently squeezing your elbows in toward each other (but you shouldn't be able to touch them together. If you can... well, you're either unique or your Doc needs to make a house call). Keep lowering your hips straight down toward the floor until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Then press back up. That's one!

See, It's so easy! Unless...

(See, cats do show love. Thank you very much.)

Hang in there. Only two more days to go!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thursday: Burpees!

Ok peeps. I am tired. I say again, tired. A little bird woke me up an hour early, took a 45 minute nap, and um, "peeped" a lot today. Needless to say, she made doing 100 lunges that much more interesting.
But now it's 8:58 pm and I am relaxing while watching my mate finish up his 100. All is right with the world... except that I have to remind you all that tomorrow is burpee day.

The burpee. (AKA Squat Thrust)

Characteristics and origin: see Wikipedia.

How to do one:

Too Easy? Increase the Intensity: Add a push-up while you're on the floor, and jump up each time you get back to the start..

Feel like puking? How to Reduce the Intensity: If the floor is too far away, you can put your hands on the sofa, the changing table edge, or the bottom step at your house.

Precautions: This exercise can be very strenuous. If you feel lightheaded or 'funny,' please take a break or completely discontinue doing the exercise.
If you have low back pain or a history of back problems please practice the beginner method, stepping out and back rather than jumping.

Mortals: do 25 reps
Immortals: 100!

Thank you very much for all your feedback and questions.
We are almost halfway done. Keep it up!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wednesday Challenge: Back Lunges

First off, WOW, everybody! It pleases me to see all 60 of you plugging away at this fun challenge.

And oh boy, this is the day you've been waiting for: Lunge day.

Just a few notes about lunges today:
  • You're doing 25 (Mortals) or 100 (Immortals) per leg. Remember, they don't have to be done all in one set.
  • This exercise is a great one for your booty (gluteals), as well as hamstrings, and quads, calves... pretty much your whole leg. But your booty is what'll get sore. Everybody loves that.
A rear lunge or reverse lunge is simple. You start out standing tall. Step one foot waaaaaaay back until you think you're about to fall over (one leg's length away). Reach your back knee toward the floor. Here's more info and a video from ExRx.

  • If your front knee glides forward until it's hanging out in front (and above) your toes, then you haven't stepped back far enough. Keep that front knee over your foot!
  • If you feel like you're going to tip over onto your sofa or toddler every time you lunge, try stepping back wide, like you're lunging on railroad tracks (that are a little wider than hip width apart).

If doing this exercise properly still hurts your knees, hips or ankles a lot, try stepping back but not lowering your back knee toward the floor.

All right, lemme know when you're done with your lunges!

- Immortal A

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tuesday: Sit-Up Challenge

Aaaah, Sit-ups. Are we talking the old fashioned kind or the Gym Bunny kind?
Well, you tell me. Either way, you start by lying flat on your back, with knees bent, belly button to spine, hands not behind head.

Before we continue, a little background:
Sit-ups work your rectus abdominis (your six pack!) ... somewhat. They also recruit your deep hip flexor muscles, your quads (front of your thigh), your obliques, and a few smaller leg muscles.

Several years ago, at the dawn of "Six Pack Abs" programs and "Guts and Butts" classes, "we" decided that sit-ups are unsafe and ineffective, and that we should never do another one as long as we live. Well, we found out later that this really depends the individual. If you have a history of low back pain, are deconditioned (AKA out of shape), or are feeling acute low back pain during sit-ups, then sit-ups are not for you.

Otherwise, sit-up away! The benefits to doing a sit-up over a crunch are that you're simulating a functional activity that your body will have to perform multiple times every day for the rest of it's life, and that it is a good whole-body exercise (which is cool if you're short on time).

Follow these great instructions from, and see pictures below for a How To. Feel free to comment on the gaudy hot pink arm warmers. I am secure in my armwarmerhood.

So... if you're still reading then it's probably because you decided that you're not yet strong enough for push-ups or you have a kooky back. Fear not, you're still gonna feel something, and it'll make you stronger.

Ahem, the crunch:
Crunches primarily use the rectus abdominis, because the low back does not leave the floor (which eliminates help from the hip flexors). This makes crunches a more ab-specific exercise than sit-ups.

Note to Crunchers: Please do not perform exercises to the likeness of The Thai crunch, which "is performed by hitting the stomach after full contraction. This variation is used by Muay Thai fighters to condition the core to take hits from punches or knees." according to Wikipedia

Commence Push-ups!

Today is it! Let's get this challenge started right.
Don't forget; you're doing either the 25 Challenge for Mortals, or the 100 Challenge for Immortals (or both, totaling 125 of each exercise!)

Don't forget your Push-up options and precautions. Check in here or on FB when you've done your reps!

Good luck!

Photo courtesy of Mari Bartlett,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Challenge Prep & Day 1:

If you've received my Facebook invitation, then you are aware that there are now two challenge categories from which to choose. You, my friends and fam., get to pick which one you want to participate in. Here are your choices:

The 25 Challenge for Mortals: Do 25 repetitions of each day's exercise for the week. (recommended for beginners and infrequent exercisers)

The 100 Challenge for Immortals: Do 100 (!) repetitions of each day's exercise.
(recommended for.... you know who you are. Don't make me get pushy)

Instructions for Both Challenges:
After you complete each days' repetitions, post it in the comments section below, or check in by responding to my Facebook posts. If you don't have time to log, that's cool. I'll live, I guess. OR you could just post your entire week's log at the end of the challenge.... but doing it every day will keep you more honest. I'm just saying....


And so without further delay,

Kicking off this ridiculous challenge are Push-Ups! What are push-ups good for? They give you a strong chest and arms, essential for kid or grandkid acrobatics!

If the modified push-up strains your neck or back, try doing the exercise with your hands on the arm of a sofa or chair back (that has been pushed against the wall).

Remember, you don't have to do all 25 or 100 at once! Often I'll sew a row, do x push-ups, sew a row, do x push-ups etc. (I like mixing medias.), or do a set in the morning, a set during nap time, and the other 3 sets before I climb into bed (not recommended).

Please send me any questions throughout. I want you to do this with success, people!


Friday, January 08, 2010

A Challenge Made for Mortals

Last week I started a 7-day challenge for myself: complete 100 repetitions per day of a single exercise (per day) between Jan. 1 and Jan 7. I invited others to participate, but am not sure if anyone did.

Now it's seven days later, and dang, that was not easy. In fact, I have to admit, I did some of the day's exercises the weenie way, and finished them a day late a few times. But I did all 700 reps! Which makes me a winner, and eligible for this honorable distinction:

And I feel great. So then I got to thinking; why can't my friends and family try it too? Why not plan a 7-day challenge that everyone can participate in, including anyone who doesn't do these exercises on a regular basis, or has never tried them?

So you're in?!

Oh, right, right, right. The exercises.

Ok, here we go:

Monday, Jan. 11: 25 Push-ups
Tuesday, Jan. 12: 25 Sit-Ups
Wednesday, Jan. 13: 25 Back lunges (per leg)
Thursday, Jan. 14: 25 Burpees
Friday, Jan. 15: 25 Dips
Saturday, Jan. 16: 25 Inchworms
Sunday, Jan. 17: 25 Superpersons

NOW you're wondering, "Well I can't do push-ups, so I'm off the hook." Wrong. I will be posting numerous modifications (i.e.: do your push-ups against the wall) for each exercise, as well as video instructions for each exercise. So EVERYBODY can do it!

What I need from you: tell me "I'm In!"

Write a comment (or email me [apkoski(at)gmail(dot)com] if you don't want to create a Google account required for leaving comments) containing those or similar words, do the exercises with me throughout the week, and at the end of the week I will present you with your very own Button/Certificate.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Originally uploaded by apkoski
Our favorite music right now is the stuff that makes Adelaide dance. That means Peter Paul & Mommy, MJ's Thriller, and Snacktime. Aaaah, Snacktime. Let's just say for now that it's lucky for us that she isn't in love with Barney, Teletubbies, or Alvin and the Chipmunks.

My brother Matt gave Miss A this album when she was 7 months old, and it took until the summer for her to grin whenever we started playing their tunes. Well, now we've turned another corner: lyrics.... and accompaniments.

Number ten is IT this week. We'll let you know what's next....

Muppets, perhaps?

I could live with that.