Warming up for the Garden


Many of you are avid gardeners and some of you do it because it is part of your household chores.  Either way it is a good idea to start to practice a basic warm-up before you start lifting, digging and bending over.

Here is a basic warm-up series I presented to the Collingwood Gardening Club last month.  I hope you find it helpful and can start to add it to your gardening practice.

The purpose of the warm-up prior to doing any gardening is to increase blood flow to the muscles you are about to use and to prime or prep them for the necessary movements involved in your upcoming tasks.  You will want to spend about 5-10 minutes warming up.

  • March in place – do about 20 marching steps, with big high knees and swing your arms.

  • Walk laps around your yard/garden, continue to march if you like.

  • Make several trips to get out your gardening tools/supplies one at a time.

10 Squats – set your feet just outside your shoulders, send you hips back as though you were about to sit in a chair behind you, then lower your hips down as low as you feel comfortable.  Keep you chest up, your knees out and your shins as vertical as possible.

10 Alternate Leg Lunges – step back with one foot. Keep the front knee at a 90 degree angle as you lower you back knee toward the ground as far as you feel comfortable.  Keep your torso upright.

10 Shoulder Rolls – forward and back

10 Arm Circles – forward and back

Banded Shoulder Seriesuse a Theraband:

Pull a-parts – standing tall, hold the Theraband with straight arms extended directly in front of your shoulders, pull your arms apart until the band touches your chest.  Perform 10 repetitions.

External Rotations – tuck your elbows firmly into your side (by your rib cage), holding the Theraband in each hand with arms bent at 45 degrees in front of you with palms facing up, pull the band apart by rotating your hands and forearms out to the side (keep you elbows tucked at your side the whole time). Perform 10 repetitions

Lateral Raises – stand with one foot on the end of the Theraband and hold the other end with the same arm positioned at a 35 degree angle from the side of your body, keep your arm straight and raise it as high as you can. Perform 10 repetitions.

Fit for Life – Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Strength Focus
Complete 5 sets of each exercise:

A) Barbell Push Through    5 reps
B) Low Band Row     10 reps

Conditioning Workout
Working in pairs complete as many rounds and reps as possible (resting as needed) for 12 minutes

2 laps together
1 length walking lunge (1/2 each)
6 lengths Farmer Carry (3 each)
8 Push Press (4 each)


Fit for Life – Monday May 27, 2019



Today we will review the Golfers warm-up

Strength Focus

Complete 4 sets of:

A) Progressive resistance Single Leg step-up     10 each leg
B) Dumbbell Floor Press     8 reps


Conditioning Workout
Complete 5 rounds at a steady pace, working with a partner

10 KB Swing
10 Step-ups
10 Med ball partner toss


Fit for Life – Thursday May 23, 2019

Falls  ….  some frightening statistics to share:

The risk of falling increases with age.

The risk is greater for women than men.

Each year one-third of people over the age of 65 fall and it is the leading cause of death.

More than half of falls involving people 75 and older are fatal.

25% of seniors who break a hip from a fall die within six months.

The most dangerous myth is that falling is an inevitable part of aging.  Falls can be PREVENTED!

Exercise is THE BEST method to prevent Falls.  Exercise helps to maintain the strength of muscles, flexibility, and balance. And these good results came from either bicycling, yoga, tai chi, aerobic or even a brisk walk.

In addition to exercise, make sure your eye sight and vision is checked and corrected.

Thank you to Pat for sharing the article from the Toronto Sun:

Shocking Figures About Falling


Now for today’s work:

Strength Focus

Complete 5 sets of:

A) Carry’s
B) Lat Pull Downs   8 reps

Conditioning Workout

Working in partners for 10 minutes, resting as needed

5 ring rows
5 sumo deadlift
2 Thrusters
2 laps










Fit for Life – Wednesday May 22, 2019

Strength Focus

Complete 4 sets of each exercise, alternating between each exercise:

A) Goblet Box Squats     5 reps
B) Dead Bug Hold    accumulate 45 sec


Conditioning Workout

Rep schemes starts at 8 and decreases by 1 each round

8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

KB swing
Goblet Squat
Step ups

Fit for Life – Tuesday May 21, 2019


Hoping everyone has had a wonderful long weekend and is ready to get back to getting strong!

Strength Focus

Complete 3 sets of each exercise, alternating between each exercise as you rest:
A) Heel Drops    8 each leg
B) Dumbbell Row   8 each arm

Conditioning Workout
Complete 4 rounds at a steady pace, resting only as needed

10 Push Press
5 Wall Balls
2 laps

Fit for Life – Thursday May 16, 2019


Strength Focus

Compete 4 sets of:

A) Rack Pulls  5 reps
B) Glute Bridge  10 reps

Conditioning Workout

Complete as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes, resting as needed.  Each round add 2 more thrusters.

2 Thrusters
10 Step ups
1 lap

4 Thrusters
10 Step ups
1 lap

6 Thrusters
10 Step ups
1 lap




Shoes, some would say I have a few.  The above is just a sample of my collection.  It represents some of my “athletic” footwear. Gone are the days spent in high heels and shoes to make a fashion statement.  Living in Collingwood has definitely helped me simplify my shoe shopping desires, in part due to the simpler and more practical lifestyle.  Winter boots and ski boots in the winter and shoes to bike, hike, and run in the summer and of course workout shoes. The lack of fashion footwear stores also helps curb my desire for a pretty little pair of heels, not to mention how brutally uncomfortable they are on my feet!

Working is a gym setting most of my shoe purchases are now “gym” shoes and some of you have asked what shoes are good and where to buy them.  Myrna and Jane both shared a great little article from the Globe and Mail on Monday, May 13 about what shoes are good for working out.

You can read the full article here:

Your shoes might be sab­o­tag­ing your work­out

I have sported the cushioned heeled “running” shoe back when I was logging weekly mileage 60km-80km/week (I don’t do that anymore).  I have gone the minimal “barefoot” route for running too and even had some “barefoot” running shoes. I had shoes for step aerobics and water aerobics classes as well.

As I travelled down the strength and conditioning path I experimented with “Old School” Chuck Taylors and liked the connection I felt to the floor.  Every once and awhile I will lift in bare feet, but with extreme caution. Dropping a weight plate on an unprotected foot does not always end well (just ask my husband).  Both of these methods are not my usual go to, but my “sometimes”. They are useful in working the small muscles and tendons in the foot, that help with our connection to the floor.  Our feet are the foundation for our body and they are rich with nerve endings that connect to other nerves up the legs and throughout the entire body.  Putting our feet to work could theoretically “turn on” extra muscle fibers throughout the body to help move more weight and reap better muscle-building benefits.

When you squat barefoot, you are loading your entire body and moving in a way that is slightly different than you would if you were wearing shoes. And changing things up slightly in the gym is how you constantly keep your body guessing, adapting, and yes, getting stronger.  Therefore it is my “sometimes”.

So what should you look for in a shoe for the gym …. Well, Crossfit shoes generally work well.  They are a shoe that has been designed to have a low heel profile and flat or minimal sole. The sole should be flexible and not too stiff.  The toe box should be wide to allow the ball of the foot and toes to work properly.  Stuffing our feet into shoes that are too narrow does not allow them to work efficiently. They also have a bit more cushioning and support than the old school “Chuck Taylors” and will be more comfortable for some of the dynamic movements we do in class.

I have tried both Reebok and Nike Metcon and personally I prefer the Nike Metcon.  I am on my second pair. I have a narrow foot and felt better supported in the Nike than the Reebok.  

Finding the right shoes for you is a personal journey and may require some research and some time spent with a good salesperson who understands feet and what you are doing with your feet.  Shop around and try them on. In town we have a few options. I love a certain boot fitter at Sporting Life – he helped my dad find some great shoes that were perfect for his VERY wide feet!  Sport Check can be a bit hit and miss with salespeople, but they may have a different selection of shoes to try. You may have to travel outside of Collingwood. Cookstown has both a Reebok store and a Nike store for comparison purposes.

Be patient when shopping for workout shoes – remember they are not fashion shoes and are not supposed to make your feet look cute!  They are supposed to make your feet work properly.