By Suzanne Bowen
There’s no better way to ease into your day than by stretching first thing in the morning. Wake up your body and brain with this 9-move sequence, designed to be done while you’re still in your PJs!
Side Bend Reach
Standing at a bed or other support, bring right leg in front of and across left. Shift into the right hip and reach right arm up and over head. Hold and take 2-3 deep inhales and exhales. Repeat on left.
***Stretches outer leg, hip, waist and shoulder
Blooming flowers, singing birds, and warmer days are welcome reminders that summer is right around the corner. But, if you have yet to shed your winter wardrobe for fear of exposing your non summer-ready body, thoughts of tank tops and bikini bottoms might have you wishing it were still November.
The following yoga poses will help tone your arms, core, hips and thighs so you can sport a fit summertime physique.
Better than doing a bench press, practicing plank pose tops the list as one of the best yoga poses to do for overall strength and tone. Practice at least one set of plank every day, and work up to holding your plank for up to one full minute. If you need to modify, practice plank pose on your knees until you can work up to practicing it on your toes. (more…)
Are you trying to tone your legs, glutes and core for the summer time? Try this workout that will help you boost your metabolism while sculpting a beautiful summer body.
The majority of these moves are plyometric moves, also known as “jump training.” These moves will target your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, core and glutes. In order to protect you joints be sure to land softly and not come crashing down after each move. When your knees are bent, sit back and do not allow for your knees to come past your toes. To get the most out of this workout, push off the ground through your heel to activate your glute muscles each time you jump. If you are not a fan of jumping or have bad knees, remember that all of the moves can be modified! To modify the move and decrease your intensity, remove the jumping action for each move.
This workout will also elevate your heart rate and doubles as another form of cardio. Keep track of how many repetitions you do each minute, and try to beat your reps the next round. After you complete this workout, save the amount of repetitions you completed for when you do this work out again. This will allow you to know how hard you need to push yourself in order to beat your best numbers and set a new personal record!
Angeles Burke is an American Fitness and Aerobics A.F.A.A. certified group fitness instructor, national level bikini competitor training with IFBB Pro Shannon Dey’s Team Bombshell, member of the National Physique Committee and Celsius sponsored athlete with a master’s degree in communication studies.
One of the most common questions I get from women is how to get back into shape after having a baby.
While I don’t have kids myself, I know that nothing can change your body, and life, as quickly as having a child. Your body doesn’t want to respond to the same activities in the same way and your previous three nights a week at the gym seem like an impossible dream. Oh wait, dreams are the luxury of those actually getting sleep.
This can make working back into a fitness routine seem like an insurmountable task. But it can be done! It just requires a little creativity, planning and perhaps the occasional babysitter. And your efforts will pay off in more energy, stress relief and a renewed self-confidence. Try these strategies to help you get back on track. (more…)
The weather is finally warming up, which means we’re all gearing up to get outside and exercise more. For many, this means strapping on the tennishoes and getting out for for a run. I’m hoping to do so myself as running is one of my absolute favorite activities to do outside, especially in the springtime.
With increased exercise often comes soreness and tight muscles, which requires a proper stretch and adequate rest for our bodies. Our solution? A gentle yoga routine that will help you slow down, breathe, get re-centered and give your muscles a good stretch. Stretching is not only important for preventing injury, but it also keeps our bodies limber and flexible to complete all of the activities we love to do – indoor and out.
This 8-move yoga routine was designed by our own Jill Lawson, a certified yoga instructor in Colorado. We recommend getting into some yoga-appropriate attire, finding a good place to practice, and then reading through all of the instructions before jumping in. Doing so will allow you to practice the movements fluidly, and ensure you do them properly to avoid injury.
Stretching: Possibly the secret weapon for any successful athlete, especially runners. The trick is knowing when to stretch and how to stretch. It’s also important to know some stretches are better for runners than others, and even if you have just a little bit of time you can make a big difference in your performance with a few specific moves.
Hanna Rosov, ACSM, HFS, and owner of Zeal Fitness in Wichita, Kansas, works with many runners and lent some insight on proper stretching routines for those who run often. “There are a couple different kinds of stretching that are appropriate at different times,” said Rosov. “Dynamic stretching works best as a warm up prior to running. It tells the muscles ‘get ready we’re going to do something.'”
Dynamic stretching looks different than traditional floor moves, as they’re typically active movements that can be safely done before a workout or run without expending too much energy. “Dynamic stretching doesn’t use a lot of energy; you are putting your muscles through a range of motion while gradually increasing heart rate,” said Rosov. (more…)
Everybody wants to be fit, but let’s face it; making a commitment to an exercise program can be a mega time-zapper. The good news is, if you learn to exercise smarter you can still get amazing results in a very short amount of time. If you commit to a well-designed circuit-style workout that overloads all of your major muscles, works large muscle groups with compound movements and keeps your heart rate elevated the entire time then you can get fit, lean and strong exercising just 30 minutes, three days a week.
If weight loss is a concern, as long as you keep moving quickly from one exercise to the next to keep your heart rate elevated you don’t need to run a single lap or put in any extra cardio time either. That’s because hormonal changes occur with circuit-style resistance exercises that create a fat-burning environment (1). For the best weight loss results you will of course also need to watch what you eat. A “clean cuisine” style diet is your best bet for healthy, long-term weight loss.
As for picking the best exercises, I prefer a “full fitness fusion” approach that fuses a variety of exercise disciplines and focuses on full body moves rather than isolation exercises. If you want to get fit fast you will get much better quicker results doing compound exercises like push-ups as opposed to an isolation exercise like biceps curls. As with anything, the smarter you work the less time you need to spend and the better your results will be.
Getting to the gym on the weekends doesn’t usually happen for me. It’s my time to relax and unwind and the last thing I want to do is get bundled up, make myself presentable and go get sweaty for an hour. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a quick workout before my weekend officially kicks off. This 10-minute arm workout that can be done at home (or anywhere) is my solution for that.
From boxing to yoga to body weight moves, this quick arm toning workout hits almost your entire upper body, including triceps, chest, core, and even your legs. So get into something comfy and breathable, grab a bottle of water to stay hydrated, and let’s get started!
One of the biggest excuses for not working out is the lack of time. By the time you get your gym bag together, drive to the gym, park, walk inside, say hi to your friends, do your workout, and head home again, you’ve taken up a good hour or two of your day. Because I know how valuable each individual’s time is, I developed this quick and easy access workout that can take only 10-30 minutes of your time. You’ll be getting your sweat on for that entire duration, not spending half of it driving.
All you need today is a staircase. It doesn’t matter how many steps it has because you can make do with whatever you’ve got – in your house, front porch, or stadium. Combining these exercises will give you a total body workout. The key to reaching success is to go as long as you can without any breaks (think Crossfit). My suggestion is to do one set of each exercise until you’ve completed all seven and call that round one. Try to do 3-5 rounds all together for the total workout, and only take breaks in between each round. Each exercise should be done for 10-15 reps. Once you feel like you’ve got it all figured out, start timing yourself and try to beat your time as each round progresses. Good luck!
Stair Laps: This one’s pretty self explanatory. We’re going to start with a few stair laps as our warm up to get that heart rate up, the legs stretched out and the blood pumping. For a stair case that is about 20 steps long, do 5 laps (down and back is one). Start off with an easy pace, and then pick it up after each lap. (more…)
It’s the weekend – time to relax, unwind and blow off some steam from a long work week, right? What better way to de-stress than with exercise? Today we have a simple, 7-move workout that requires no equipment and tones and tightens your entire lower body. Get ready for classics like deep squats and side kicks, as well as a few new moves like the “runner’s start” and standing split kicks.
So get your workout gear on and do this workout, no matter if you’re at home, outside or spending time at a friend’s house. If you have 10-15 minutes, you have time to whip your lower body into shape. Let’s get started! And afterwards, don’t forget to check out these 5 tips to survive the weekend.
March is here which means one thing – spring will soon arrive and bikini season will be next. You’ve been working hard on that New Year’s resolution by cleaning up your diet and keeping a consistent workout regimen. But what else can you do to make sure those legs are bikini ready? If you’re looking for more ways to shape and tone your legs, than you’ve stumbled across the right read.
For this week’s Saturday Morning Drill, all you need is a pair of ankle weights. Ankle weights can range from two pounds each all the way up to 10. If you’ve never used them before, I recommend starting out on the lower end of that scale. Incorporating these simple devices into your workouts can be more difficult than they come across. (more…)