Fitness Friday no. 7

This week I’m going to share my 5 go-to at home workouts, that hit all of those sweet spots everyone wants to work on!

One thing I have been relying on this year, to get back into shape, has been working out at home.  As I’ve mentioned before one of the reasons I wasn’t successful last year was because I was gifted with a few months of workouts and then couldn’t maintain them based on cost and fell right back off. So, having been gifted with <expensive> workout classes again, I told myself I wasn’t going to use them until I got into my own groove at home!  The more I’ve been working out at home, the more I love it because it fits within my schedule – so when I have 30 minutes to get a workout in, I can do it on my own time, when I want, oh and it’s free!

Squats – I love squats! These work your full body but especially your butt, thighs and hips. The key to squats is your posture and formation, putting all of your weight within your heels and sticking that butt back as far as possible. An alternate position is widening your feet to work those inner thighs a bit harder.

Challenge: 4-sets of 50 squats, at the end of each set hold low and pulse for a count of 15

No Weight Arms – You may (or may not) be surprised at how much fatigue you can feel by doing some basic arm movements, with NO weights. Of course weights will add to the workout, but if you’re on the go or traveling these will be the perfect fix. The first pictured below is “Close Grip Flies” – the key here is to keep your shoulders relaxed and pushing your arms straight through the motion. The second is Triceps Extensions, the goal is to keep your neck straight and arms as close to your ears as possible while moving your arms up straight above your head, holding your hands in a fist can help the posture.

Challenge: 4-sets of 25, for both the close grip flies and triceps extensions

Side Leg Lifts – What I love about this, is that you can modify it to adjust to skill and the level of the intensity you want. This also tones your hips, which is perfect if you’re trying to work down those side “muffins.”  To add to this you can extend your top arm straight, this will intensify the core work.

Challenge: 4-sets, alternating 25 lifts on each side

Leg Extender Abs – I found this workout from doing the online Barre classes and I absolutely love it! I especially love it because there are modifications to do that still give you a killer ab workout without killing your lower back, the key is to push that lower back down so that it doesn’t arch.  The goal here is to work through the movement slowly and meaningfully, by alternating your extended legs, as you get used to this you can elevate your head (without straining your neck) and crunch to each side as you alternate.

Challenge: 4-sets, work this slow for 5-minutes and work into the side crunches – hold the side crunch on each side at least once for a slow count of 10

Planks – For someone who has chronic back pain, I’ve never truly appreciated working the core until I started Barre. Planks again have the ability to modified based on skill and evolve over time to work up strength and build that inner core strength.  Starting on your knees (and even your forearms) is perfectly acceptable as long as you keep your back straight and pull your abs in tight, and lower that butt!

Challenge: Hold for 30-seconds at the end each set

Fitness Friday 07 - the bee lifeIMG_9247A special thanks to Allie and Bekah for being my awesome fitness models (and fitness inspiration) and the crazy talented Timothy Logan for taking these awesome shots!

Fitness Friday no. 5

Happy Friday! How is everyone doing with their 2016 fitness goals?

I’ve been making slow progress. I signed up for Barre3 – which offers a plethora of online videos at a low monthly cost, and right now that’s exactly what I need. I’m enjoying the challenge and core building exercises, and I’m excited to keep it up once I start training for my 10-miler.

So this week I want to focus on the “little” things that are just as important to your health and fitness, as the actual physical work.  What’s that? Maintaining your stress and positive energy.

Fitness Friday 05 - the bee life -

1. Confront It. If something or someone is bothering you, confront the situation. I think the word confront often has a negative connotation – but the way you approach the situation is key and doesn’t have to be negative or defensive. Clear your chest and speak your peace, the rest is out of your hands…

2. Lose Control. Speaking of out of your hands, you can only control yourself, aka you cannot control others. So if you’ve spoken your peace, knowing you’ve tried, work on letting go of the rest.  You’ll thank yourself later!
*Disclaimer: I know it’s easier said than done.

3. Release The Stress. With exercise! Not food! Personally, I often crave some bad eatings when I am stressed or had a bad day at work – I find I have a small window to get motivated to exercise, but when I do pick exercise over the burger and fries I feel 10x better AND not fat!  Challenging your mind to pick fitness over food in those situations is half the battle.

4. Stretch! I’ve mentioned this before; but since I’ve been stretching more I can’t get over how much I can feel it in my muscles and body and how much it helps.  It helps release all those stresses that get stored in our body from long days of sitting at a desk or standing on our feet. Try 10-minutes a day, I bet you’ll feel a difference.

5. Reflect on the Good. It’s easy to fixate on the bad, how we didn’t work out, how we ate bad, the jerk at work… and it’s easy to overlook the good. Try writing down on a post-it at least one good thing that happened during your day and tuck it away in a jar, by the end of the year you’ll have a jar full of happy memories, that hopefully also helped you in the current moment – focus on the good. You can also bring this up with a roommate, spouse, or best friend at the end of the day and both share your “goods” of the day.

Keep focusing on your 30-days there is still time to work towards your goals and build good habits!

Fitness Friday – New Year Edition

Happy New Year!! I usually share with everyone my resolutions or goals for the new year – but I am going to switch it up this year and continue with more focused tips so that we’re all successful with our healthy goals always, but especially as we enter 2016.

Fitness Friday - New Year Edition -
Fitness Friday – New Year Edition –
  1. No More Fad Diets – Why?  Because you won’t last.  Let’s face it, we’ve all been there before.  There is a difference between a lifestyle change and a fad diet, know what is good for you and what works with your eating habits, lifestyle and health.  For example, I need to make a more conscious effort of cutting dairy out since I’m lactose intolerant- lifestyle change, not a fad diet.
  2. Post-It On The Wall (Or Refrigerator); If you see your goals everyday, and what you’re striving to accomplish, you’ll be more likely to have success.  In college I used to have little signs posted on my wall that read, “No eating after 9pm” – “No soda!” – “Work Out!” – “One Sweet a Week” … etc. It really helped me get those notions and habits in my head and I actually followed my own rules.
  3. Focus on 30-Days; This was  a suggestion by the famous Biggest Loser trainer, Bob Harper, and I think it’s so smart and simple.  Instead of having grandiose plans for the entire year, focus on one month at a time. I received fitness classes for Christmas – but instead of using that up, I want to get into a rhythm before, since I’ll only have the fitness classes for 2-months – I want my healthy workout routine to last more than just 2-months out of the entire year!
  4. Cut Out The Sugar; Sugar drinks, coffees, soda, and sweets!  Once we have these sugars in our bodies, we only crave them more – so let’s start cutting them out!  This is going to be one of my 30-day focus items that I plan to in-bark on.

So now what? Pick a date to start your 30-day focus, I am thinking about starting January 4th or 9th. Next, pick out your items you want to focus on for those 30-days, start small if you’re starting from square one. For example; Exercise 2-3 days a week, no sweets during the week, no soda or eating after 9pm. Then, write your items and post them up where you’ll see them EVERY DAY; and begin.  I also found that writing my progress on a calendar helped me see my progress – where I struggled and where I had a really kicked ass. It might help you too!

Here’s to you and a healthy and happy new year!

Fitness Friday

Happy Friday! And I’m happy to introduce the first, Fitness Friday! Coming to you live every other Friday with tips and check-ins on your progress and goals (and mine!) and even some tips to help stay in check especially as the holiday season is right around the corner, literally!  And with those holidays, colder weather and darker nights – not the ideal conditions for motivation.

seasons greetings from the mckenzie's

Here are some easy tips to remember:

  1. Drink Water: If you aren’t drinking water consistently throughout the day you’re going to be paying for it later on.
  2. Dress for the part:  If you have cute workout clothes and new sneaks you’ll want to make your investment worthwhile and get sweaty!
  3. Stay focused, but mix it up:  Know the areas you want to work on and focus on those whether it be your arms, abs, butt, legs or all of the above – but remember your muscles will get used to and immune to the same 5 exercises so mix up the routine and add new workouts to your sets!
  4. Stretch: I recently took a 30-minute yoga class during lunch and I can’t tell you how much my body needed that, it was amazing!  If only I took a little more time (regularly) to stretch, my body and tense muscles would feel 10x better.  I’ve felt the difference the entire week since.
  5. Stay consistent: Getting into a pattern and routine is half the battle, as soon as you get into a groove, you won’t want to miss a beat!  The quicker you can start being consistent, the more likely you’ll be on your way to success.

Happy Friday!