The Best Single Leg Exercise for Everyone

The Best Single Leg Exercise for Everyone

Having the balance to walk up and down stairs is one of the most functional things you can train your body for.

Still, many Americans out there will struggle with this basic exercise & as a result, it is one of the ones I prescribe most frequently.

Work your legs individually and make sure your balance & stability is on point with step ups no matter what your age is.


Simple, effective & something EVERYONE regardless of AGE or ability should be able to do well. Having single leg stability for walking & climbing stairs is essential to your ability to thrive.

Beginners: start with a low step. One of your stairs, a step stool or an exercise step at your gym.

Try sets of 15 or more per side for a cardio blast!

Athletes: step up onto a chair, bench or box at the gym.

Try to complete as many reps as possible in a two minute period. Try again next workout to improve your score.

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How to Start Running (or Get Back Into It)

How to Start Running (or Get Back Into It)

Andrew Peterson Personal TrainerWant to lose weight but don’t have a gym membership? Good news! Getting outside is FREE and running is one of the best ways to burn calories regardless of where you are.

While there is some variation between gyms, more or less they all look the same. They’re filled with useless machines and smell bad.

Why spend your training hours inside a fitness facility when you can take in the majesty and beauty of nature without any monthly gym fees at all?

Important note: if you are significantly overweight you should begin with walking regularly.

Getting started with running, or getting back into it, can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be.

When you are young you think of running like RUNNING! Moving at top speed, busting ass.
If you try that nowadays you’re going to very quickly overwhelm yourself and be collapsed on the side of the road gasping for air. That isn’t what you want, that isn’t what I want, that isn’t what anyone wants.

The first thing you must realize is that the goal of running isn’t to go fast, it’s to keep moving until the end.

Finish line over finish time!

So slow down and take it easy. If you are doing it and you cannot breathe you are going to fast. It isn’t a race.

Learn Form

Now that we have got you slowed down, you must learn to run in a nondestructive manner, this is the key to longevity and in turn success!

When you pound the pavement loudly, bang your feet and slam your knees you can quickly rack up a lot of the ankle and hip pain.

For many people, this is where they stop. What you are going to do is slow down to a manageable pace, whatever that might be, and focus on learning form.

Read my blog How Do I Run Without Hurting My Knees? and watch this video each time before you go out for a run.

Focus on trying to incorporate one tip at a time until they become a natural part of your stride.

Have a training plan.

Having a plan is crucial to success in running, weight loss and life.

Since you are new to running or detrained from a long period of inactivity I recommend the couch to 5K free app.

The C25K Free app will act as your personal trainer. It will guide you through walking and jogging intervals that anyone can complete.

It also provides you a calendar so you know you will be able to jog a 5K at the end of your time with the app.

Burpee Modifications

Burpee Modifications

This month we have our most intense challenge yet. This guide is here to show you 3 burpee modifications to tailor this intense exercise to your current ability level. The Burpee is beloved by trainers and clients everywhere because of it’s raw effectiveness at helping you lose weight. Practicing this move will wake your body up by  re teaching it movement patterns it has long forgotten.

The burpee is a true test of total body conditioning. It consists of 3 different moves done in succession. Each move works a different part of the body and together makes for an intense full body cardio and strength workout. Each move should be done linking to the next as smoothly as possible.

Level 1 Burpee Modifications  – don’t overthink it

If you have never done a burpee before this is where you start.

  • From a standing position get down on the ground, all the way until you are lying flat on your stomach. If you can hop both legs out behind you great, if not walk out one foot at a time.
  • Step two, stand back up, jump up and clap your hands over your head.

Level 2 Burpee Modifications  – building form

If you have some good fitness built up you can break this move down into 3 different moves done in succession andburpee challenge try to nail them with the best form you can.

  • Squat Thrust (core) – an exercise in which the legs are thrust backward to their full extent from a squatting position with the hands on the floor.
    • Level 1. Walk one foot at a time back, and one foot at a time forward.
    • Level 2 Walk one foot at a time back and hop both feet forward. If you can’t do this go back to level 1.
    • Level 3 Hop both feet out together, hop both feet back in together.  If you can’t do this go back to level 2.
  • Pushup (upper body) – lower your upper body to the ground with you arms and shoulders. Warning: Push-ups are tough.
    • Level 1. get all the way to the ground and get yourself up any way you can.
    • Level 2 put your knees down and lower your body all the way to the ground before pushing up. If you can’t do this go back to level 1.
    • Level 3 lower yourself all the way to the ground and perform a full strict pushup. If you can’t do this go back to level 2.
  • Flying Squat (lower body) – jump as high as possible, work your upper body by reaching up and clapping above your head at the peak of your jump. Land softly by absorbing impact with bent knees as you hit the ground. If you have bad knees or can’t jump you can skip this one. Do as much of the movement as you can.

Level 3 Burpee Modifications  – taking it to the next level

This is such a valuable move because of all of the things you can do with it. The possibilities are limitless. Once we get good at the basic moves we can add on with other fun exercises.

Sample level 3 burpee modifications we perform:

  • Box Jump Burpees – Jump onto a step and back down instead of just up in the air to finish the move.
  • Burpee Pullups – Jump up, grab a bar and perform a pullup an the end of the move.
  • Burpee Deadlifts – Pick up weights at your side to finish with a deadlift instead of a plyometric jump at the end.
  • Ball Slam Burpees – Finish with a ball slam for an extra boost of fat burning cardio.

Reminder about Burpee Modifications – If you have preexisting injuries it is perfectly fine to omit parts of this move which cause pain. For instance if you have bad knees you might want to finish by standing up straight instead of jumping. If you have shoulder injuries you might want to skip the pushup and just pop out into a plank without lowering your body. Now that you’ve read this list of burpee modifications you should be able to chose the difficulty that is right for you. This one is going to be tough so leave your questions and favorite burpee modifications in the comments below!
Burpee Modifications for 30 day challenge

How to Set Fitness Goals

How to Set Fitness Goals

No goals, no progress

Learning how to set fitness goals is essential to making progress. You should have no less than 5 goals in mind at all times.

First, define your goals. Second, make a plan to reach them. Third taste sweet, sweet victory.

First goal – short term goal
An easy one to help you build confidence. (Example – Workout 4 times a week for a month,Walk 7 miles. Lose 15 pounds, complete the squat challenge)
Second goal – long-term goal – take 6-12 months.
examples – improve your posture, defeat diabetes. Lower blood pressure. Rehab an injury. Lose 100 lbs
Third goal – Event Goal
A charity walk, 5k, sports league or tournament or train for and compete in.

Nothing helps you lose weight and get in shape like having measurable goals.

  • Complete this activity: Share your 3 fitness goals in the comments below to help yourself and others focus!

How I learned to love rest day (or hulk no smash today?)

How I learned to love rest day (or hulk no smash today?)

Hulk no smash.

I’ve written ahulk no smash bit about resting lately, along with the emotional impact extended rest had on me. But as I remembered yesterday, there’s a humorous side to it too.

When Drew was first trying to convince/encourage/persuade me to rest (I can be a little stubborn!), it took him a while. When I finally agreed and took that first rest weekend, I loved it, but I didn’t really do it very well. When my Fitbit was showing zero active minutes by 7 on Sunday, I sent him a screenshot of it saying “must walk. Can’t face zero active minutes!” So I went and walked a few miles.

He started sending me pics and articles about resting, along with a one word text. REST! My favorite pic is the one attached. I am a huge fan of all things Avengers, the avenger movies and the individual character movies. I could easily rest on a day that included a marathon of those movies.

But this pic has had another effect. There are days after a particularly challenging workout, like yesterday, when I find myself wandering around the first floor of my house repeating rather pathetically Hulk no smash, Hulk no smash. When I realize I’m doing it again, it does make me laugh. And on Sunday rest days, when I say Hulk no smash, it’s happy not pathetic.

But in the end, there’s a reason why my favorite line in the first Avengers movie is when Captain America says “Hulk, SMASH.” I’d rather be smashing (working out) than resting, but I need both.  Hulk no smash today.

Contact Andrew to begin your weight loss journey today!

Overcome hard times and breakthrough a plateau

Overcome hard times and breakthrough a plateau

jan deadliftI have been pretty lucky throughout this weight loss journey to health so far. With the exception of a bad calf sprain a couple months ago (that slowed me down but didn’t stop me), I have been injury free…sore but injury free. I have my nutrition under control, and I am down 83 pounds and have yet to plateau. Don’t get me wrong, I have been working very hard, but I do feel lucky that it has been pretty smooth for me physically, nutritionally, emotionally. And I have also had a ton of support from a lot people, some I know, others I am just meeting.

That changed about 10 days ago. Now, every day I am struggling with feelings of not being good enough, not being strong enough, and thinking I am never going to be. Logically, I know that is not true. I am strong, and physically, I get stronger all the time. The powerlifting picture below reminds me of that.

But recently, I came up against something that stirred up old feelings of inadequacy, and I am having a very hard time getting past them.

What caused this? Having to rest.

I understand resting is an important part of training. I have been going all out for months, logging 10+ miles a day walking and doing 3 workouts a week (2 with Drew that are becoming more high intensity all the time, 1 on my own). So about a month ago, I finally gave in to what Drew had been telling me and did a rest weekend. It was hard to give up the 20k+ steps a day streak I had going, but I let it end at 98 days and I rested. I loved it, and it only took that weekend to make me a convert. Resting on Sundays? Best thing ever!

After the crunches and squats challenge, Drew told me to rest more because that had been a very intense 4 days, and my body needed to recover. I rested Sunday, but the step ups and straight leg deadlifts I did Monday earned me an EPIC FAIL in the resting department for that day, so I was told to rest again on Tuesday. Since by then I’d figured out that if I didn’t get it right, I’d have to keep resting, I got it right…step count under 5k, and no exercising beyond stretching.

Met Drew for my next workout that Wednesday fully expecting a heavy duty, weighted workout to get me going again, and I couldn’t wait! Instead, he said we were keeping it a little lighter to see how my recovery was going. Well, that light workout kicked my butt, and Drew told me to continue resting through that day and the next.

Later that night, I was walking home around 7:30. Halfway up my street, I started crying. Luckily, no one was outside, so I didn’t look like too much of an idiot. When I got home, I sat on the kitchen floor with my back to the door and cried for half an hour, a complete emotional meltdown. So much for having everything under control! I just kept saying what’s wrong with me? Anyone else would be recovered by now. I’m not good enough, I’m not strong enough. I’m never going to be strong enough. My body is failing me again. I just kept repeating those phrases over and over again.

Turns out, having my recovery period extended again, had subconsciously thrown me back to the times when I was having my shoulder surgeries. Every time I thought I was healed, I’d find out I had to have another surgery. I kept saying what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I heal? I’m not good enough, I’m not strong enough. My body is betraying me…you get the picture. During that time, I had an awesome physical therapist, Eric, who calmed me down throughout. When I had no faith in myself or my body’s ability to heal, I held on to the faith I had in Eric to get me as far along the path to healed as possible…and he did. He also drilled into me not to compare myself and my recovery to anyone else, because we all start from different places and have different challenges, but right now I am having an extremely hard time holding on to that lesson.

So where did that leave me? Facing those same thoughts and feelings, and not trusting myself or my body again. I trust Drew. I know that his goal for/with me is to help me reach my goals. Until I get back to trusting myself and my body again, I’ll hold on to my faith in Drew and trust that if he is telling me to do something, there’s a reason…no pressure, Drew! I hope it won’t take me as long to get back to normal this time, but it is an ongoing struggle. Every time I see someone doing an exercise I can’t do or being given a harder version than I do, I hear the voice in my head telling me I’m not good enough or strong enough and I never will be. Overcoming that voice and moving forward anyway is taking everything I’ve got.

The moral of the story? No matter how smooth a journey is, there will always be a bump in the road. What’s important is how we handle it. In the past, an emotional meltdown like this would have had me eating everything in sight. This time, it made me dig deeper to recognize what was wrong, acknowledge it, and make a plan to move forward. I am strong, and not just physically. This did not derail me. When I hit a weight loss plateau, and I’m sure I will, that won’t derail me either. I will face what I need to face, sometimes alone, sometimes with the help of those around me, but I will move forward and I will reach my goal. It is that important to me. In the meantime, I’ll look at the picture of me deadlifting 135lbs and remind myself I am doing things now I couldn’t have imagined 6 months ago. I grow stronger every day.


Contact Andrew to start your weight loss journey today!