This Week’s Workout | Personal Trainer

22 Jul


Seriously guys, exercise is fun!

Hello CBC listeners and random people who stumbled onto this blog!

Welcome to ‘This Week’s Workout,’ where I attempt to find an exercise program that will not only whip my butt into shape, but hopefully motivate you to try something fun and new.

This blog will have:

  • My fitness results.
  • Links to the lovely woman who is training me.
  • Pretty embarrassing pictures of me doing squats.
  • New songs on ‘The Great Canadian Cardio Playlist’ that I have compiled with links to buy them from iTunes.

You can click on the button below to hear ‘This Week’s Workout’ that aired on CBC Radio. Then keep reading!

cbc radio






For this week’s ‘This Week’s Workout’ I am testing the waters with a personal trainer to see if the expense is worth the experience. I met up with Sarah Robichaud, who is not only a certified personal trainer, but she is also the on on-air fitness expert for CBC Television’s Steven and Chris and CBS Early Morning Saturday in NYC.

Sarah Robicoud has the arms of my dreams.

Sarah Robicoud has the arms of my dreams.

Sarah’s philosophy is that you shouldn’t have to be chained to a personal trainer for your entire life. I mean, if you want to give her your money, she’ll take it…but Sarah believes that a personal trainer should help you build a fitness regime, ensure your form is correct and then give you the freedom to build on your workout.

Since Sarah recommends 3 sessions with a personal trainer before heading out on your own exercise adventure, that’s what we decided to do for the week. 3 sessions with her and I would workout on my own the other days. The program she created for me was very simple, yet REALLY FREAKING HARD! It covers all the major muscle groups and she added layers each session to up the difficultly.

Each exercise should be done with at least 12 reps and 2 or 3 sets.


Basic: Squats seem simple right? We’ve all done them. We’ve all probably done them wrong. Sarah corrected my form by getting me to put weight into my heels rather than my toes. This takes the pressure off the knees (which were in fact hurting me.)

Stand with feet hip width apart. Slowly lower like you’re dropping your pants to sit on the toilet. Seriously – this is the mental image she gave me. Don’t let the knees go over the feet or you’ll pee on your shoes (my mental image.) As you stand back up, push through your heels (not your toes.)

Increased Difficulty: Add a stability ball and 12 pound weights.


Basic: Another exercise that can hurt your knees if you extend them over your toes. Lunge low and slowly squeeze your butt as you go back up.

Increased Difficulty: Add bicep curls and shoulder presses.


Basic: I’ve always been terrible at pushups, but Sarah gave me some great tips. Keep your bellybutton really pulled in like someone is going to punch you in the gut. Keep your head level like someone is pulling you up by the ponytail. (So basically, a pushup is like getting in a bar fight.)

As you push up, squeeze your boob muscles together (technical term: pecs) and it will help lift you.

Increased Difficulty: Raise your feet by putting them on a bench or do the reverse and pushup from a bench.


Basic: This is a good one to target that muffin top! Get yourself into a side plank position on a mat. Slowly drop hip down to the floor and squeeze back up again. Keep core engaged and don’t sag into the shoulders.

Increased Difficulty: Use a bench to get a greater range of movement.


Basic: The basic crunch should be done with your hands at your ears, not pulling up your head. If it strains your neck (like it often does with me) think about engaging the core and use the hands to support the head, but don’t pull.

Increased Difficulty: Turn it into a ‘dead bug’ crunch. Hold a weight in your hands and raise your legs in the air. Bring the weight up to touch your shoelaces, engaging your core. As you go back down, slowly lower your legs and hands go over the head.

#6: Tricep Dips

Basic: This is one I was getting WAY wrong! I was positioning my body way too far away from the bench, which was yanking my shoulder muscles. Sarah corrected my form and got my butt closer to the bench. Slowly bend elbows and lower butt to the floor.

Increased Difficulty: Do this on a stability ball. IT’S REALLY HARD! I had to put the ball against a wall, but once you get stronger you can APPARENTLY do it without the wall.

#7: Plank

Basic: The normal plank is a great core exercises. Keep your body flat like a surf board. Hold for 20-30 seconds.

Increased Difficultly: Do it on a stability ball. THIS IS ALSO REALLY HARD!


On my third and final session with Sarah, she introduced me to a fantastic interval training app for smart phones called Tabata.


Using this app, I can take the 7 exercises Sarah gave me and really take it up a notch. Each exercise is a Tabata. So if my 1st Tabata is Squats, I work for 20 seconds, rest for 10 and repeat 8 times. Super simple!

You can do ANYTHING as a Tabata. Jump rope for 20 seconds and rest for ten and repeat 8 times. Then do pushups as your next Tabata. Whatever you like. You can set how many cycles and how many Tabatas you do. It uses your music playlist and gives audio prompts so you do not have to look at your phone. It’s great!


So after working out with Sarah 3 times and working out on my own for the rest of the week, what kind of results did I see? I definitely improved my form on several basic exercises. Now let’s look at the numbers.

Chest: No change. Clearly this chest enjoys the size that it is. Though I would find an inch loss to be a supreme clobbering of the dumb back fat.

Hips: Well, a tiny movement on the measurement. I’ll take it.

Waist: YAHOO! A significant movement on the waist measurement. Sweet.

Weight: A slight gain, but I’m going to chalk it up to the whole ‘muscle weighs more than fat’ theory.


I’ve had to travel this week and Sarah’s program has been a great way to exercise in my room with no equipment or in the hotel gym with weights and a stability ball. (The travel food explains the slight weight gain if you don’t believe the ‘muscles weigh more than fat’ theory.)

If you’re thinking of hiring a personal trainer, check out the website You can search by province and each trainer has a profile that lists their certification and specialties. Find someone you like and get moving!


This 30 (ish) minute playlist of all Canadian music will get your feet moving and your heart pumping. If you want to buy any of the songs from iTunes, just click on the download button!


download on itunes

Bit by Bit – Mother Mother

Mental Image: You are a backwoods recluse. A group of no good teenagers are camping on your land. You want to give them a good scare, so you chase them through the forest. Bursts of speed when the music kicks in to get those kids off your lawn!

download on itunes

One Week – Barenaked Ladies

Mental Image: You stumbled on the treadmill and the hot guy beside you is looking at you. You bust out a fast run to show you’re in control. But you embarrass yourself again when you start singing, ‘Chickity China the Chinese chicken….’

download on itunes

Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire (3:29)

Mental Image: You are about to pull off the biggest bank heist in history, but your get away car just got away. You’ve got a bag of cash with a $ on it and you have to run!

download on itunes

Make A New Dance Up – Hey Ocean (3:30)

Mental Image: You are in love. Running through a field with daisies in your hair wearing a gorgeous Anthropologie dress.

download on itunes

Nowhere With You – Joel Plaskett Emergency (3:01)

Mental Image: You’re a little bit needy. Your buddy has things to do. You have nothing to do and want to hang out. You run after him yelling, ‘WHATCHA UP TO PAL?’

download on itunes

Scar That Never Heals – Jeremy Fisher (3:38)

Mental Image: The lyrics are ‘She runs guns,’ so what the heck. You’re super happy that you survived the Zombie apocalypse and are running guns to the neighbours because you’re sweet like that.

download on itunes

Oh Alberta – Elliot Brood (2:50)

Mental Image: It’s 1921. Your beautiful love has been kidnapped by a scoundrel with a twisted moustache. She tied up to the caboose of a train and you’re running along the tracks to catch her. You have a hobo bindle.

download on itunes

Safety Dance – Men Without Hats (2:45)

Mental Image: GRAD 86! Screw your curfew. You’re not going home yet because Bob McCatherine just asked you to dance. You run like the wind back to your girlfriends to discuss how dreamy he is with his polo shirt and hammer pants.

download on itunes

Peace of Mind – Grapes of Wrath (3:41)

Mental Image: You’re a misunderstood teenager. Your Dad just grounded you for coming home late from the school dance. You run out the door screaming, ‘YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND ME!’ You keep running until you grow the hell up.

download on itunes

No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature – The Guess Who (4:52)

Mental Image: Remember your Dad who grounded you? Well this song is for him. He’s a misunderstood teen who ran away from home and is hitchhiking across Canada. No one will pick up this shaggy haired drifter so he starts loping down the highway like a lone wolf. Probably carrying a hobo bindle.

Got a song you think I should add to the Great Canadian Cardio Playlist? Comment below! Got some inspirational words to keep me moving? Comment below! Got anything to say? Comment below!

3 Responses to “This Week’s Workout | Personal Trainer”

  1. rozdale2014 July 24, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Diana I’m loving this column!! As a personal exercise junkie I’m always looking for new fitness regimes to try – really enjoying following along with your adventure. Also – Tabata ROCKS!!

  2. rozdale2014 July 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Diana I am loving this column!! As a personal exercise junkie I’m always looking for new fitness regimes to try. It’s great to be able to follow along with your adventures! Also – Tabata rocks!! 😀

  3. Margret August 7, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    I LOVE this series of posts. What a BRILLIANT idea. As a devoted couch potato, it is inspiring me to get moving. I find most fitness blogs are too intimidating for the average non-super human like myself….you have such a great down to earth (and funny) writing style – I can totally relate. More please.

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