Q n A Feb 7

pull up tips



Question: In trying to do the wall stick up, I am unable to get my arms/hands to touch the wall, let alone press against it.  Is this just plain old lack of flexibility?  Keep trying?  Is there something else to do to convince those arms and hands to lay flat against the wall? Gary

Answer: The stick up is super tough if you’re tight through the chest.
chest stretch
If you have a ball or bench, lay on your back, open up your arms and let your hands sort of flop to the side.

This is a great passive stretch and a good start.

After you have some flexibility, keep working on the stick up as it opens the chest and strengthens the upper back too. Hope that helps! Keep at it!


Question: I’ve been doing your dumb bell complex challenges! Going great so far. Is this enough to burn fat, build some muscle and lean out? Also, have you ever shared your eating plan on your blog or not? I’d love to have some insight into your eating habits. “Day in the life of Shawna’s refrigerator”. Shane

Answer: I”m glad you’re enjoying the challenge complex plan. I have Challenge Diet coming up in March so you’ll get a really good idea as to what a day in my life is like. For now, you can check out this post: My Typical Monday


Comment: Greetings to you. I completed your program Challenge Jump Rope. It was so enjoyable and fun! I have more endurance than before I picked up the jump rope. No wonder that boxers use the rope as one of their training tools. Effective!


You really know how to put together a quality training program. I saw improvement  and progression with every workout. I am now 49 years young and simply love to move. Jumping rope is becoming somewhat of an addiction.

By the way, in November I restarted ice skating. I basically learned how to ice skate two years ago. Last year, I had to sit it out due to foot surgery. Now, I am taking lessons from a figure skater. Jumping rope is giving me a huge edge because I last longer and tire less on the ice. Shawna, I appreciate you so very much. Thank you for your great example and for your excellent work. Bear hug, Anneli

My Reply: Anneli, THANK YOU so much for your kind words regarding my jump rope program.

I’m so happy that it helped increase your fitness level while keeping the ‘fun’ factor. I never dreamed that it would also improve your ice skating – bonus! Some people will take the time to write if they are unhappy, but i have to say your email is a testament to your good character that you took time to write and make my day with your positive comments.

Keep going strong on your fitness pursuits, let me know what I can do to help you and thank you again. You really did make my day!


Question: I had a heart attack and have since recovered. I’ve changed my lifestyle and have dropped about 30 kg. I’m looking to lose another 10kg. I’ve incorporated exercise and want to do more of what you preach, however, my cardiologist said I need to do 250 minutes of exercise per week which is about 35 minutes a day. He told me to make sure my heart rate is at between 100-120 beats per min for a continuous 20 min. Isn’t this boring cardio which a lot of you fitness gurus call a waste of time? I know I have a heart condition but I need to lose weight. What do you think?

Answer:  You’re exactly right about steady state cardio being the most ineffective method for fat loss. heart

For any other client I’d suggest that maintaining a working heart rate of 120 is unlikely to get them to their fat loss goals quickly.

However (and this is big), I’m in NO position to argue with your cardiologist who has years of education and he or she has personal experience with YOU and your health history.

I’d highly recommend presenting your doctor with the same information about steady state cardio and asking him or her when you can safely increase the intensity of your ‘cardio’ workouts.

You could tell about this study:

In that study, subjects doing bodyweight exercises for just 4 minutes got better fitness results than subjects doing 30 minutes of slow cardio.

“Extremely low volume, whole-body aerobic-resistance training improves aerobic fitness and muscular endurance in females.” Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2012 Dec;37(6):1124-31.

In addition, I’d work on tackling your body fat from two other angles:

I’d work on increasing lean body mass (muscle) which will help burn fat by creating a more favorable resting metabolic rate. With more muscle, you’ll burn more calories even at rest. This can be done without taxing the cardiovascular system extensively, but check with your doctor first if you’re not doing this currently.

Along with resistance training, ensure your nutrition plan is dialed in. Challenge diet is on the way to help, but in the mean time, cut back on all processed food, sugar and liquid calories. Increase vegetables and lean proteins.

I’m really happy to hear how you’ve changed your lifestyle to improve your health. I’m really impressed with your quest for knowledge. This will serve you well as you fine tune your fitness efforts.


Question: What can I do to help my knee pain?

Answer: Take a look at this interview with my friend, Rick Kaselj as he summarizes ways to take off the stress of knees:

  • seek medical advice to confirm that there’s nothing serious
  • get full range of motion (straight to bent)
  • focus on hip exercises to improve strength and power to des-tress knees
  • stretch muscles around the knee
  • change positions that irritate the knee
  • take the knee out of positions of stress like some standing positions, high heeled shoes, etc

Rick’s got lots more answers that have helped me and lots of my clients with knee pain with his Fix My Knee Pain program that you can implement at home.

fix my knee pain prdt grp

Rick’s program is half price today, well worth it to save money and trips to time consuming appointments when there’s so much you can do to fix your knee pain at home.