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My Spring Equinox Fitness Challenge

I am a goal-oriented gal, and have been feeling the need to set some new fitness goals. Always up for some expert help, I wanted to work with a trainer, too. Equinox Fitness invited me to run (pun intended) my six-week Spring fitness experiment at its SF gym, which I, coincidentally, started on the Spring equinox. My goals are pretty simple: I want to become a better, faster swimmer and improve my VO2 max. Equinox placed me with a wonderful trainer Hannah — she swam competitively in college!

Like any experiment, we had to figure out my base level of fitness. Hannah and I spent an hour taking measurements: body fat percentage, VO2 max, squats per minute, posture, elbow plank endurance. My first workout session will be half on land, followed by a swimming assessment and water workout. All this will take place at 6:30 a.m. Although, I am no stranger to early morning workouts, just getting to the gym on the other side of the city that early might be an experiment unto itself.

The great thing about working with a trainer is I already learned a new exercise, a variation of the ever-versatile plank. To learn the move,


Hannah called this move the plank-up, it targets the core while working your arms.

  • Start in an elbow plank. Shift your weight to the right, place your left palm on the ground. Then shift left to place right palm on the ground, ending up in a plank position.

  • Now reverse the action, place the left forearm on the ground followed by the right, returning to an elbow plank. This completes one rep.
  • Repeat four more times starting with the left arm to complete five reps. Then switch sides starting with the right arm for five more reps.
  • Do two sets of five beginning with each arm, then rest in a child's pose to stretch.

Try this move next time you're working out. You will be surprised how much you can feel it in your abs.

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