30 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY JANUARY 25-31, 2024 www.montereycountyweekly.com at the turn of every new year, millions of people make resolutions about their fitness goals for the coming year, and if the endurance of that tradition is any indicator, most of those people don’t follow through with said resolutions. Change is hard for anybody, especially if it involves forming new habits and breaking a cycle of inertia. There’s always an excuse to not exercise—too busy, not feeling energetic, it’s too cold outside, etc.—but if one can hone in on a routine to do even once a week, and maybe for only 15-20 minutes, it can bring about substantive benefits for one’s body, and even one’s mind. Ariel Johnson, a personal trainer at Strength, a fitness studio in Monterey, says that, in order to get her clients to break out of that inertia, she assigns them homework, simple exercises they can do with no equipment, but that utilize what’s already in their home. She usually only gives them two exercises, maybe three, and they’re so simple they might make it hard for one to talk themselves out of doing: One is box squat using only a chair. When seated, stand up, then sit back down—that’s one rep. Sit, stand, repeat. To make it more challenging, stand up on the chair after standing, step back down and do it all over again. Another is standing pushups—just find an edge of a counter, or a wall, and plant both hands on the edge or wall and start pushing, and keep at it for 10 or more reps. “Go back and forth, and boom, that’s very good for your body,” Johnson says of alternating between those two simple exercises. “If there’s a person in front of me who does nothing, and has a baseline of zero exercise, that circuit is going to be enough stimulus to have a positive effect on their body. I think we get too caught up in the fine details of trying to come up with the most optimal exercise routine that we don’t focus on what’s helpful to us.” She adds, “Whatever it is you will do consistently is going to be the best thing for you.” Let’s say someone is more ambitious, but still wants to get a good home workout in 20 minutes or less. If that’s the case, Johnson also recommends a few more exercises that can be done in two or three sets of even just a minute each. In addition to squats and pushups, next do a lunge—while standing, step forward with one foot and lean into it until the knee reaches a 90-degree angle and the rear knee is parallel to the ground. Then return to a standing position and do one with the other leg forward. Alternate and keep at it for a minute or more for one set. The fourth exercise is bridges. Start by lying flat on your back with arms at each side, knees bent and feet planted on the ground. Then push up from your legs and glutes into a bridge. The fifth is what’s called “YWTI” exercises, with each letter standing for the shape made with the arms. This is done by lying face down on the ground and moving one’s arms to form the shapes of said letters—for example, I is straight up, parallel to the body, while Y is diagonal, etc. It works the shoulder and back muscles. Sounds simple? It is, but can achieve results nonetheless. “If you did all five of those exercises, it could technically target all of your muscles pretty well,” Johnson says, adding that two to three times a week is great, but so would be seven. “So much of it depends on how your body is responding and how your body feels.” home body How to keep your body tuned up in just 15 minutes for a few days a week without ever leaving our home. By David Schmalz health & fitness Above: Personal Trainer Ariel Johnson demonstrates a lunge, by stepping forward and stopping her knee at a 90-degree angle. Left, Johnson demonstrates a bridge. These are two exercises she recommends as part of a short, daily workout. DANIEL DREIFUSS Orbea Wild eMTB Pinkbike’s eMTB of the Year Open Tuesday ThrOugh saTurday In Downtown Santa Cruz – 585 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz See website or phone for details • 831-621-2309 • www.currentebikes.com EvEry BikE includEs: • Free LiFetime tune-ups • proFessionaL assembLy • assistance with sizing & adjustments • discounts on accessories, racks, etc. • compLete post saLe service mention this ad For an additionaL $50 off any BIKE In stocK eLectric bicycLes carmel plaza • ocean ave & junipero st • 831.625.8106 carmel-by-the-sea, california • shop at khakisofcarmel.com soft jackets sport coats sneakers sweaters trousers shirts polos + more select items 20% off made in italy