It’s Time to Enjoy Those Parisian Café Chairs!
So how many of you completed challenge number 1? Are you feeling stronger? Fitter? Ready for challenge number 2? I know I’m ready. I really enjoyed sharing the step-up journey with you and I know our next Parisian adventure will be just as much fun (for our legs and core anyway). So let’s get started!
Like our last challenge we are off to Paris but this time to enjoy the typical Parisian pastime of people watching. Well not really, not unless you put a mirror in front of yourself or of course you could head to the park, or an actual café or maybe you could exercise with friends or in your neighbours yard so you could watch them or (ah I digress again – bad habit of mine haha). Parisians enjoy being seen (so they say) and often they do this by taking up a position at their favourite café and watching their fellow Parisians stroll by while enjoying a coffee or two. Well we are going to join them, to some extent anyway. Over the next month we are going to sit on café chairs. Yep, you’ve worked it out, we are doing squats this month. Lots and lots of squats! Oh don’t groan, your legs will love you for it! And again no equipment is needed and all it is going to take is 5-10 minutes a day. Perfect!
So firstly our housekeeping – how to do a squat properly! I know what you are thinking, she is wasting our time, again, but your form during an exercise is crucial. If you don’t do these properly (especially as the number and the demand on your body increases) then injury is more likely and the results will be less than spectacular – trust me! So let’s break a squat down.
Firstly, for those new to squats it is advisable to stand in front of a kitchen chair when doing them so that you can use this as your guide to making sure you drop low enough within the squat. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your feet turned slightly out (about 5-10 degrees) and far enough away from the chair so that when you squat your bottom touches the seat of the chair.
Next find a point in front of you to look at (in that mirror if you are craving some people watching). While you are squatting make sure you maintain contact with it, which will stop you looking down, placing extra strain on your neck and shoulders, and diminishing your form during the exercise.
So now our setup is correct we are ready to squat. Firstly, either fold your arms across your chest or place them straight out in front of you at shoulder height. Now tighten your stomach muscles. Breathe in and lower your buttock to the seat of the chair, keeping your back straight and your knees over your feet (don’t let them turn inwards). Make sure your weight is evenly placed through the heels and balls of your feet while you are performing the squat. Now let your buttock just touch the seat (don’t actually sit down – this isn’t coffee time you know) and then come back up to the standing position pushing your weight through your feet as you breathe out.
For those not using a chair you need to lower your buttock so that your hip is lower than your knee (which will, in most cases, make your thigh parallel with or slightly lower than the floor). Remember to keep your body upright, spine straight, so that your eyes can maintain focus on your fixed point, and your stomach muscles tightened.
If you prefer you can also do these using a fit ball against a wall. Make sure your back has contact with the ball at all times and that your set-up is the same as that of the squats with out the ball. Using a ball can allow you to drop further into the squat and therefore stressing those thigh and gluteal muscles more and therefore increasing your muscle tone. Whichever way you choose remember to keep your form at all times and stop if pain presents itself.
So now for our Challenge! Hoorah! Yippee! Wahoo! Sadly this is the best I can do for fanfare – I need to work on that, but you get the idea, I’m excited!
When I was calculating how many squats to do I thought about how many chairs I would lazingly like to sit on in Paris, enjoying the views, the vin (wine) and macaroons (not at the same time obviously, that would be yuck) and I came up with a challenging 1500! Yep, those thighs are going to love us. And like last time I have divided up the number of exercises over a 4 week period with 5 days of activity in each week. So our schedule of buttock tapping and hip bending is as follows:
Week 1: 45 squats per day for 5 days
Week 2: 65 squats per day for 5 days
Week 3: 85 squats per day for 5 days
Week 4: 105 squats per day for 5 days
Just like last time there will be some of you who will find this challenge a little easy (you know who you are) so again you can increase the number of squats or you can hold a weight in each hand to increase the challenge. Just remember to maintain your form and stop if there is any abnormal pain during the exercise. It’s always advisable to see either your health care provider or pop into the clinic to make sure that there are no issues that would prevent you from starting the challenge. Just give us a call at the clinic and we will put you through your paces, just to make sure.
So now we are ready! My legs are eager for travel (well at least eager to get off my comfy couch) and to continue my fitness journey. Bring on the coffee, the view and Paris. Thanks for joining me and remember to stay in touch either via the blog or on our Facebook page. Your involvement will keep me motivated and together we will be one step closer to keeping our New Year’s Resolution goal.
See you next month.
Happiness in Health