Category Archives: Workout Wednesday

9 Awesome Fitness and Nutrition Apps

I am obsessed with my iPhone. I have my phone with me at all times to check in on my Etsy shop, to keep up with my friends on social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) and to research new project ideas on Pinterest. Come to think about it… this might not be healthy… I probably need help… Well I’ll worry about that later.

I am always looking for new apps to help me with the simplest of tasks. With that said, my iPhone has become my most reliable workout buddy. Here are some of my favorite apps for gym and home workouts.

Free Fitness

  • Bit Timer is a great app for strength training intervals. You can set the work time, rest time and the number of intervals you wish to repeat. Play your get pumped music in the background and the app will alert you when it’s time to start and end.
  • Gymboss allows you to create a timer with intervals and rounds. It also has preset programs and a basic stop watch.
  • Nike Training Club comes with various workouts and workout programs at the beginner, intermediate or advanced level. Use it for cardio, strength or a combo and set goals for toning, leaning out, getting strong or targeting certain areas. You can preset the amount of time and play your own music in the background.
  • Map My Run means you no longer have to estimate how far you’ve run, this app uses GPS to actually track them. You can change your activity to bike, run, walk and even hike. You can also create pre-made routes to make sure you’re covering the proper distance to meet your goals. Plus you can post your runs to Facebook and Twitter and use the Map My Run community to keep you motivated!
  • Fitness Pro is a great app for fitness junkies and newbies alike. It’s a great guide to new exercises and proper use of gym equipment. It’s not very useful at home but great for the gym.

Paid Fitness

  • Map My Run also has an MVP paid option which gives you coaching so I’m listing it a second time.
  • 10k Pro is a couch to 10k program that has preset goals for 30 days. You begin each day and follow the instructions for a certain amount of time. These instructions are spoken to you as you go along so there’s no need to keep an eye on the time. Fitnesity also has apps with a similar formate for situps, squats, arms, pushups, abs, pullups, cardio etc.
  • Yoga Studio offers classes for all levels and in varying lengths of time. You can specify the ambient sound and leanr about 250 different poses.

Free Nutrition

  • Lose It! is a food journal app to track how many calories are going in and how many are going out.
  • Fooducate helps you out when shopping for food. Use the scanner to scan the barcode of a product and the app assigns a grade based on health.

Give these apps a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.

-XOXO-

Exercise for Beginners

Are you ready to start exercising regularly? Or maybe you’ve fallen off your exercise plan and need a boost getting back to the gym. Follow this 20 day sequence to help you start, or start again. Starting with day 1, only progress to the next day once you complete the previous. If you miss a day return the the day before you missed.

Credit: downtown.tumblr.com

Things to remember

  • Don’t skip your break days: they are important to protect your muscles.
  • Stretch properly beforehand.
  • Keep yourself hydrated.
  • Push yourself but not to the point of injury. Be mindful of your body.
  • Have fun!

Workout Terms Glossary

Jumping Jacks
Starting standing with feet together and arms straight by your sides. Jump up and spread your arms and legs wide as you land. Jump up again to return to center.

Leg Lift/Raise
Lay down on your side, hip on the floor, and prop yourself up on your forearm. Lift your top leg straight up into the air. Lower it back down without touching your bottom leg. Repeat.

Lunge
Take a big step forward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg.

Crunch
Lay flat on your back. Place your hands behind your head, and your feet flat on the floor. Pull your shoulders away from the mat. Make sure you don’t pull your head forward with your arms but rather keep your gaze upward and use your hand for neck support only. Lower yourself back to the mat.

Sit-ups
Start by lying on your back on the floor, cross your arms over your chest or place hands behind head or neck. With feet flat against the floor and knees bent, lift upper and lower vertebrae from the floor. Lower back to the floor with control. That’s one rep.

How to Wake up Early to Workout

Busy schedules sometimes mean waking up earlier just to get a workout in. I know it’s hard, it was hard for me to wake up early just to write about waking up early to workout. But there are some benefits to getting a workout in before you really start your day.

  • Morning exercises “jump start” your metabolism and kick your body into overdrive, helping you burn more calories throughout the remainder of your day.
  • Doing something good for your body in the morning energizes you for the day.
  • Studies show that working out in the morning helps brain activity for four to ten hours after exercising. Harness your new super power toward good, not evil.
  • Regular exercise leads to better sleep quality meaning you won’t need as much and it’ll gradually be easier to wake up earlier. You might not even need an alarm some days. It’s a cycle of good health.
  • Keeping a consistent exercise schedule regulates your bodies endocrine system and circadian rhythm. This means your body will start to recognize a pattern. It won’t be confused by different wake times and will start to regulate various systems in your body.
  • Working out in the morning leads to healthier diet choices throughout their day. Endorphins tend to suppress appetite.
  • Exercising in the morning gives you an opportunity to plan your day, pray, or just be alone with your thoughts.
  • If you “get it over with” in the morning, your fitness goals are less likely to slip through the cracks of a busy life.
I hope you’re convinced to give morning exercise a try. Here are some helpful tips to help you get up earlier and get moving.
If you’re running out of workout ideas, check out my printable workouts here.

Treadmill Workout

Do you look at the treadmill and think, “Treadmill…? More like DREADmill,” and then laugh at your own cleverness? Do you fall into a mind-numbing boredom ball while using the conveyor belt of monotony? This high-intensity interval routine will challenge your body and keep you brain engaged, boosting your fitness level as the minutes fly by. Interval training is the best when it comes to cardio conditioning.

Find the downloadable pdf here, and discover literally dozens of downloadable workouts here. ❤

Workout Playlist

Creating a good workout playlist can be overwhelming and while it’s good to have a motivating mix spending time creating the playlist takes valuable time from your workout. So I’ll make it simple for you. The only workout mix you’ll ever need:

Just kidding… unless that works for you. And in that case, you can just stop reading now. If you need more variability, READ ON!

Skip the musical roulette

Instead of setting your MP3 player on shuffle, proactively build timed playlists that provide the right energy all the way through your workout. Barney Stinson says a playlist should be all build. Here is his classic “Get Psyched” playlist:

For a workout mix though I would recommend starting slow for your warm up, building up to a peak and then bringing it back down for your cool down.

Keep it fresh

Every month, find a weekend to look around on iTunes charts to see what’s new by your favorite artists and in your favorite genres so your playlist never gets stale. Workout songs are a personal choice because it comes down to whatever gets YOU moving.

If you need a place to start, here are a few of my favorite workout songs:

  • “Get Down Tonight” – KC and the Sunshine Band (113 BPM)
  • “Rock and a Hard Place” – The Rolling Stones (129 BPM)
  • “Dancing with Myself” – Billy Idol (176 BPM)
  • “Moves Like Jagger” – Maroon 5 (128 BPM)
  • “Safe and Sound” – Capitol Cities (138 BPM)
  • “Beat It” – Michael Jackson (139 BPM)
  • “Walk This Way” – Run-DMC (106 BPM)
  • “All Shook Up” – Elvis Presley (125 BPM)
  • “Seven Nation Army” – The White Stripes (124 BPM)
  • “Stronger” – Kanye West (104 BPM)
  • “Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons (138 BPM)

Get in rhythm

Studies have shown that listening to music that syncs with your movements provides a better workout than exercising without tunes. The following is a good guide to follow based on what your workout involves:

Beats per minute    Perfect for

160 and up                  Running, jumping rope
140 to 160                   Jogging, Spinning
125 to 140                   Power walking, stair-climbing, elliptical
105 to 125                   Walking, toning
60 to 115                     Stretching, yoga, warming up


What’s on you workout mix?

Bootcamp Pyramid

I am a fan of pyramids (see thigh pyramid workout). If you played any sports in high school you might remember them (fondly or maybe not so fondly) as ladders. Basically, you start with a short interval (for this workout it’s 20 seconds), and work your way up (climb) to the longest interval (50 seconds) and then you step easily back down to the short interval again (20 seconds).

All the intervals here are less than a minute. This makes the time fly and boosts your motivation as you see the intervals get shorter as the end of the workout gets closer. No equipment is necessary for this workout except an open space in which to do it. Turn on some good music and you’ll get a full body cardio/toning interval workout!

You can get your printable version of the workout here. Don’t know how to do these moves? Check out my workout glossary.

5-Song Workout

Workout Wednesday is the day that is today. So here’s a thing to print out and do.

It’s necessary for me to go to ab classes most of the time because it’s a struggle to keep myself motivated when doing ab workouts when I’m home alone. Having someone telling you how many moves to do makes me actually believe that I “can do 3 more.” But sometimes (always) I’m lazy so I like staying home better. That’s where this workout comes in. Pick five of your favorite songs of the moment (Bitin’ the Bullet by Grouplove, Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke and Pharrell, Addicted to You by Avicii, Glory and Gore by Lorde, and Mission Bells by Matt Nathanson do it for me).

Find more printable workouts here and a glossary of workout moves here. Download the printable version here.

The Sssshhh!-We’re-trying-to-sleep Workout

We’ve all gotten the urge to workout in awkward situations. You don’t want to wake a sleeping baby with your grunts of motivation. You’re roommate is studying for a big test and can’t stand your heavy breathing. It’s 1 o’clock in the morning and your downstairs neighbors are pounding on your floor because of your incessant jumping on their ceiling. Now you are equipped with this little beauty. It’s a total-body workout which can be done in almost perfect silence.

You can download the printable pdf here.

Below is a description of how to do these workout moves. For a full list you can check out my glossary here. You can also find more printable workouts by clicking here.

Front Kicks
Start in a standing position. Lift your right leg straight out in front of your body until it is as close to parallel with the ground as you can lift it. Alternate legs.

Uppercut
Stand with feet hip-width distance apart. With a quick upward motion, scoop your right fist through the air to just in front of your face. Repeat on the other side.

Lunge Kick
Do a lunge then when you’re standing do a front kick.

Lunge
Take a big step forward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg.

Front Kicks
Start in a standing position. Lift your right leg straight out in front of your body until it is as close to parallel with the ground as you can lift it. Alternate legs.

Squat
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, Squat slowly until both knees are bent 90 degrees and raise arms straight to shoulder level in front of you. Immediately rise out of squat, returning to standing with arms by side.

Pushup
Lay on your belly with hand flat on the floor on either side, forearms perpendicular to the floor. Stiffen body and literally push yourself away from the ground, hinging at the knees. When arms are straight hold and with control release your body, hover above the ground and repeat.

Russian Twist
Grab a 5- to 15-pound dumbbell with both hands. Stand with feet hip-width distance apart and your arms straight out. Take a big step forward with your left foot and, engaging your abs twist your torso to the left as you bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Twist back to center, push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg.

Crunch
Lay flat on your back. Place your hands behind your head, and your feet flat on the floor. Pull your shoulders away from the mat. Make sure you don’t pull your head forward with your arms but rather keep your gaze upward and use your hand for neck support only. Lower yourself back to the mat.

Calf Raise
Stand with feet hip-width distance apart. Lift up onto your toes, hold and release.

Tricep Dip
Find an elevated surface such as a step, a coffee table over a chair. Place your palms on the surface directly behind your body. Hold yourself up and gently lower yourself down using your arms. When your arms make a 90-degree angle behind you lift yourself back up to the starting position.

Glute Kickback
Standing facing the back of a chair, hold onto the top of the back rest. Lift your right leg straight behind you as far as you can, hold and return to the floor. Repeat on left side.

Plank
Set-up the top of a push-up position with your hands directly below your shoulder. A variation of this is to rest on your forearms with elbows directly beneath shoulders. Hold your body completely straight by engaging your abs. If you can’t hold the plank for the full duration, work up to it. Form is more important the length of time: don’t drop your hips or raise your butt.

Vertical Leg Crunches
Do crunches but instead of positioning your feet on the floor press them straight up as if trying to press them into the ceiling.

Side Plank
Lie on your side with your legs straight. Prop yourself up with your hand directly below your shoulder (or on your forearm with your elbow directly below your shoulder). Your body should form a diagonal line with your feet stacked on top of each other. If you can’t hold the plank for the full duration, work up to it. Form is more important the length of time: be sure your hips and knees stay of the floor.

Short Bridge
Lay on your back with arms by your side and feet flat against the floor, hip-width distance apart. Lift your hips from the mat until your body forms a straight line from shoulder to knee.

Bird Dogs
Postion yourself like a table top, knees flat on floor, hip-width distance apart directly below hips, hand shoulder-width apart, directly below shoulders. Lift your right arm and left left so they form a line parallel to the floor, hold then return to table-top. Switch sides.

Jack-Knife Sit-Up
Lay flat on the ground, arms extended over your head legs straight. Raise your arms and body off the ground at the same time as you lift your legs straight up so that you meet in a fold balanced on your lower back.

12 Weeks of Wellness: Stretch

The third week of wellness is upon us and this week we’ll be focusing on stretching, moving, activity. Of course you’ll want to keep up with the good habits you’ve been developing so don’t forget to continue hydrating and getting enough rest.

Exercise is important to a healthy lifestyle for many reasons, regardless of your age, sex, or physical ability.

Mayo Clinic

To accomplish this week’s wellness goal you’ll need to try a new form of exercise. A few ideas include: yoga, walking during your breaks at work or school, running, lifting weights, swimming, etc. The idea is to try something you maybe have been wanting to try but haven’t for whatever reason.

You can check out my Fitness Page for a few ideas if you are unsure about where to start.

This week stretch: try a new form of exercise

Click the week for more information on why these are important to your wellness

Thigh Pyramid

I’m not really sure what happened, but sadly the writing for this post got lost and replaced with Your Best Butt forward. All my genius is just gone forever. *le sigh*


Anyway, The printable workout is still here and that’s probably what you came here for anyway. Sooooooooooo… enjoy:

Download the printable version here.

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Below is a description of how to do these workout moves. For a full list you can check out my glossary here. You can also find more printable workouts by clicking here.
Squat

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, bend your knees slowly until your upper legs are parallel with the floor and raise arms straight to shoulder level in front of you. Your chest should be slightly forward and your knees should not extend past your toes. Immediately return to standing with arms by side. 


Lunge
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Take a big step forward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg. 

Toe Touches 
Stretch out your lower back and butt muscles. Stand with feet hip-width distance apart. Stretch up with your hands straight above your head. Bend at the hips touch your right fingers to your left toes and twist so your left arms reaches toward the ceiling. Hold then straight up to standing and switch sides.

Wall Sit
Press your back against a wall. Keep back flat against the wall slide down until knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold.
Jumping Jacks

Starting standing with feet together and arms straight by your sides. Jump up and spread your arms and legs wide as you land. Jump up again to return to center.

Sun Salutations

It’s Workout Wednesday and about time for another post about yoga…

All around the world, many cultures have long viewed light as a symbol of consciousness and self-illumination. In The Origins and Historyof Consciousness, Erich Neumann wrote, “The world begins with the coming of light, opposition between light and darkness has informed the spiritual world of all peoples and molded it into shape.”

The only source of light for most of human history was, of course the sun, and today it remains our primary source of light. The Hindus called the sun Surya and they revered it as both the physical and spiritual heart of our world and the creator of life itself. They called the sun the “eye of the world” (loka chakshus), which was regarded as a pathway to the divine.

One important way many Hindus honored the sun was and is through the asana sequence known as Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations. Namaskais a Sanskrit word, which can be derived from namas, meaning “to bow to” or “to adore.” The placement of joined-hands touching the heart at the beginning and end of each sequence shows that only the heart can know truth.

Ancient Yogis believed that each person replicates the world around, including “rivers, seas, mountains, fields… stars and planets… the sun and moon” (Shiva Samitha, II. 1-3). Therefore the practice of Sun Salutations allows each person to share their inner sun with the sun which shines down upon them.

There are many variations of Sun Salutations but generally it consists of eight basic postures in a similar order as follows, with alternating inhales and exhales as transitions between poses (Photos courtesy of Yoga Journal dot com):

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

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Your Best Butt Forward

Everyone should include a butt exercise in their routine and here’s why: strong glutes can enhance athletic performance, prevent injury, improve posture and result in a nice shape.
All women gain muscle differently, but all women can benefit from strengthening their butt. This is a workout that will help you put your best butt forward. Have a happy Workout Wednesday and as always, drink plenty of water and rest whenever you feel you need to.
You can download the printable pdf of this workout here.
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Below is a description of how to do these workout moves. For a full list you can check out my glossary here. You can also find more printable workouts by clicking here.
Jumping Jacks
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 Starting standing with feet together and arms straight by your sides. Jump up and spread your arms and legs wide as you land. Jump up again to return to center.

Lunge
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Take a big step forward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg. 

Squat
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Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, bend your knees slowly until your upper legs are parallel with the floor and raise arms straight to shoulder level in front of you. Your chest should be slightly forward and your knees should not extend past your toes. Immediately return to standing with arms by side. 

Plie Squat
With hand on your hips, stand with feet facing toward opposite walls in a wide stance. bend you knees to a 90 degree angle keeping your back straight and your entire body in a single plane. Don’t let your knees extend over your toes; if they do, make your stance wider. Straighten your legs to the starting position and repeat.
Side Lunge
Stand with feet together and hands on hips. Take one large step to the right and keeping the left leg straight bend the right leg, lowering yourself toward the ground. Stand back up and bring your right foot back to touch the left. Then repeat on the left side.

Butt Kickers
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Start in a standing position. Start jogging in place kicking your foot as close to your butt as you can with each step.


Short Bridge
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Lay on your back with arms by your side and feet flat against the floor, hip-width distance apart. Lift your hips from the mat until your body forms a straight line from shoulder to knee.

Side Leg Circles
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Lie down on your side, hip on the floor, and prop yourself up on your forearm. Lift your top leg in a circle toward the front, up, back then down. Do the required number of reps then switch to your other side.

Easy As 3.14

Today is the fourteenth of March, or in number 3-14. Some of you might see today as just another day, but every year I look forward to today as eagerly as a child dreams about Christmas morning. Do you know why? Because, today I get to eat pie in excessive amount and pretend it’s because I love math (but really it’s because I love pie).

Caught on yet? I’ll spell it out for you. The Greek letter pi is the symbol for the number 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820…., which is a very important number in math especially when it comes to circles. It’s an irrational number, which basically means it never ends (just like my love for pie). Don’t believe me? This website gives 1,000,000 decimal points, and that’s not even the end of it. Also here’s a really cool video of a guy who put the number pi to music:

But I’m not here to teach you about math or music, I’m here to give you a workout sequence based on math. YAY!

There are two sets of “pi” complete with three minutes of cardio, one minute rest and four minutes of strength. Go through both sets once for beginners, twice for intermediate and three times for advanced. Do an extra time through if you plan to eat pie after 😉


Download the printable version here.

Check out my full glossary of workout terms. Below is a list of terms used in this workout.

Burpees 
Begin in a standing position. Drop into a squat position with your hand on the ground. Extend your feet back in one quick motion to assume the plank position. Return to the squat position in one quick motion. Jump straight into the air as high as possible. That’s one rep.

Bridge Lift
Lay on your back with arms by your side and feet flat against the floor, hip-width distance apart. Lift your hips from the mat until your body forms a straight line from shoulder to knee.

Front Kicks 
Start in a standing position. Lift your right leg straight out in front of your body until it is as close to parallel with the ground as you can lift it. Alternate legs.

High Knees 
Start standing and begin jogging in place lifting your knees as high as possible.

Jumping Jacks 
Starting standing with feet together and arms straight by your sides. Jump up and spread your arms and legs wide as you land. Jump up again to return to center.

PlankSet-up the top of a push-up position with your hands directly below your shoulder. A variation of this is to rest on your forearms with elbows directly beneath shoulders. Hold your body completely straight by engaging your abs. If you can’t hold the plank for the full duration, work up to it. Form is more important the length of time: don’t drop your hips or raise your butt.

PushupLay on your belly with hand flat on the floor on either side, forearms perpendicular to the floor. Stiffen body and literally push yourself away from the ground, hinging at the toes. When arms are straight hold and with control release your body, hover above the ground and repeat.

Ski JumpsStarting in a standing position with knees slightly bent and chest forward, quickly jump from side to side over an imaginary line. Land each time with feet hip-width distance apart. When you land where you began (2 jumps) that’s one rep.

Squat
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, Squat slowly until both knees are bent 90 degrees and raise arms straight to shoulder level in front of you. Immediately rise out of squat, returning to standing with arms by side.

Shoulder Press 
Hold a weight in each hand above your shoulders, next to your ears. With palms facing in life the weights straight up until your arms are straight directly over your shoulders. release to starting position.

Star Jumps 
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Squat down and jump up as high as you can. In midair spread your arms and legs wide. As you land in the starting position bend your knees.

Tricep Dip 
Find an elevated surface such as a step, a coffee table over a chair. Place your palms on the surface directly behind your body. Hold yourself up and gently lower yourself down using your arms. When your arms make a 90-degree angle behind you lift yourself back up to the starting position.

V-Raise 
Hold a weight in each hand, arms at your side with palms facing in. Lift with straight arms and open them into a v-shape until arms are parallel with the floor. Hold then carefully release to starting position.

Wall Sit 
Press your back against a wall. Keep back flat against the wall slide down until knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold.

This is One Hundred Workout

It’s Workout Wednesday, and while we all (hopefully) can count to one hundred, and we all know what it looks like (“one hundred” or “100”) especially if you’ve played with coins at all. Now you can know what it FEELS like too, because this workout is a breakdown of five awesome moves to do for a total body workout. You can even know what two hundred and three hundred feel like it, if your up for it.

Start by warming up with some stretches of the shoulders, legs and side body for at least five minutes. Stretching feels awesome so longer is definitely not frowned upon here. Then when you’re ready turn on some tunes and go for it!

Try to go all the way through without taking breaks (obviously stop if you can’t go on). If you’re a beginner stop at just one time through, you can always work up to more. Intermediate, take a 1-2 minute break then try going through the workout a second time and advanced should shoot for three times through. As always, drink lots of water and have fun!

If you would like to print out this workout you can download it from my Google Docs by clicking here.

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Below is a description of how to do these workout moves. For a full list you can check out my glossary here. You can also find more printable workouts by clicking here.

Pushup
Lay on your belly with hand flat on the floor on either side, forearms perpendicular to the floor. Stiffen body and literally push yourself away from the ground, hinging at the toes. When arms are straight hold and with control release your body, hover above the ground and repeat.

Lunge
Take a big step forward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg.

Tricep Dip
Find an elevated surface such as a step, a coffee table over a chair. Place your palms on the surface directly behind your body. Hold yourself up and gently lower yourself down using your arms. When your arms make a 90-degree angle behind you lift yourself back up to the starting position.

Squat 
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, Squat slowly until both knees are bent 90 degrees and raise arms straight to shoulder level in front of you. Immediately rise out of squat, returning to standing with arms by side. 

V-Ups 
Hold a weight in each hand, arms at your side with palms facing in. Lift with straight arms and open them into a v-shape until arms are parallel with the floor. Hold then carefully release to starting position.

Runner’s Stretches

I’ve been learning so much in my running journey over the last three-months. Did you know that if you stretch your range of motion in your hip joint you can actually become a better runner? If your hips are too tight your leg won’t extend behind your body very far before swinging forward, which reduces the propulsion your body has the potential to exhibit. These stretches are meant to open your hip joint in order to improve your running.

The Happy Runner [dot] blogspot [dot] com

Kneeling Hip-Flexor Stretch
Step into a lunge position, and lower you back knee to the ground. Keep your upper body straight while you tilt your pelvis forward. Hold for one minute, release, and repeat twice more. Then switch to the other leg.

Knee-to-Chest Bridge
Pull in your right knee, holding it against your chest. Keeping your head and shoulder blades on the floor, push up with your left leg into a bridge position while keeping your right leg against you. Push up, keeping the pelvis level, then lower yourself down. Do 12 to 15, then switch legs. Do three sets on each side.

I Heart Inspiration [dot] com

Marching Bridge
With your head, shoulders, and both feet on the floor, push up into a bridge position. While up, begin “marching”—alternate lifting each foot about an inch off the ground, while keeping your pelvis steady and facing straight up. Do three sets of 20 marches (10 on each leg), with a short break between each set.

Swing Drill
Bend and lift your left leg in front of you, then swing it back behind you as far as it will reach without moving your pelvis or lower back. This is the running motion you want to have—hip extending back, pelvis and lower back neutral (not arched). Do two sets of 20 swings with each leg, alternating legs with each set.

Community [dot] Saucony [dot] com

Half-pidgeon

Starting in a v-shape position with hands and feet flat against the floor, pull your right leg through, placing your right foot next to your left hand and your right knee next to your right hand. Bring your butt as close to the floor as you can as you place the top of your left foot on the ground with your leg stretching behind you. Sit up tall and then bending forward at the waist, touch your forehead to the floor. Hold, release and repeat on the left side.
Runner’s Lunge
Get into a lunge position with the right knee at a 90-degree angle, knee not passing the toes, and the left leg straight.  Put your hands flat to the floor on either side of your right foot. Then move your right foot to the outside of your right hand, toes at a 45 degree angle. Move around in this stretch, roll to the outside edge of your right foot opening your right knee to the floor, or lower your left knee to the floor. When you feel adequately stretched, switch legs.
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Living Room Tabata Workout

Guess what… it’s Workout Wednesday again and with it comes a printable Tabata workout that you can do in the comfort of your own living room. A little background in Tabata training: Tabata was founded in Japan by Izumi Tabata. In two groups of athletes, he compared moderate intensity training with high intensity interval training. 
He found that the athletes training in high intensity interval training improved their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic system. The athletes who did the moderate intensity training only improved their aerobic system, with little or no change to their anaerobic system.

With this in mind, this workout is meant to push you. You should try to keep your heart rate up for each set and for the strength bursts you should give it your all (especially with the gorging holiday tomorrow). Good luck!
Download this free printable workout.
The following are terms used for this workout. For a full list check out my workout terms glossary
Burpees
Begin in a standing position. Drop into a squat position with your hand on the ground. Extend your feet back in one quick motion to assume the plank position. Return to the squat position in one quick motion. Jump straight into the air as high as possible. That’s one rep.

Dead Lift Toe Touches
Stand with feet a bit closer together than shoulder-width. Bend forward at the waist with a straight back, arms hanging straight down from the shoulder. Bend through your knees, then lift your chest by pulling your shoulders back and down, head in line with the rest of your body. Then straighten your legs and lift up on your tippy-toes.

Mountain Climbers
Begin in a pushup position on the hands and toes. Bring the right knee in towards the chest, resting the foot on the floor. Jump up and switch feet in the air, bringing the left foot in and the right foot back. Switch back, that’s one rep.

Pushup
Lay on your belly with hand flat on the floor on either side, forearms perpendicular to the floor. Stiffen body and literally push yourself away from the ground, hinging at the toes. When arms are straight hold and with control release your body, hover above the ground and repeat.

Rear Lunge
Take a big step backward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg.

Sit-ups
Start by lying on your back on the floor, cross your arms over your chest or place hands behind head or neck. With feet flat against the floor and knees bent, lift upper and lower vertebrae from the floor. Lower back to the floor with control. That’s one rep.
Ski Moguls
Starting in a standing position with knees slightly bent and chest forward, quickly jump from side to side over an imaginary line. Land each time with feet hip-width distance apart. When you land where you began (2 jumps) that’s one rep.

Squat Jumps
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, Squat slowly until both knees are bent 90 degrees and raise arms straight to shoulder level in front of you. Jump straight up as high as you can landing back in a squat.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

The Green Belt [dot] blogspot [dot] com
 What are you thankful for this year?

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Challenging Yoga Pose Helper

Yoga is full of challenges and difficulties to overcome, which is why I consider it a journey. Through gradual changes I have seen my body evolve from being tense and tight to being capable of awesome poses. The best thing is that these changes are noticeable: every practice I experience a deeper stretch and can push myself just a little bit further. This post includes some challenging poses and methods to achieve them from Women’s Health Magazine.

The Pose: King Dancer (Natarajasana) 

At any stage of practicing this move you feel a stretch in your shoulders, quads, and hip flexors and you will see improvement in balance. To stay steady, focus on a spot on the ground in front of you (Drishti).

The Buildup

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/the-pose-king-dancer-natarajasana?workout=27589

Stage 1
Loop a strap around the top of your left foot and holding the strap in left hand, lift left elbow toward the ceiling. Hold, then release and switch legs.

Stage 2
Start in stage 1, then grab the strap with your right hand as well. Push your left foot into the strap, without leaning forward too much. Hold, then release and switch legs.

Stage 3
From phase 2, move your hands down the strap closer to your foot. Elevate the thigh by pressing into your shin. Keep your chest lifted. Hold, then release and repeat with the other leg.

The Finale

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/the-pose-king-dancer-natarajasana?workout=27589 

From phase 3, move your hands down the strap and grab your foot with both hands. Draw your knee toward the center of your body so it’s in line with your butt. Press your foot into your hand until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your chest up, hips square, and upper arms close to your ears. Hold, then release and switch sides.

The Pose: Handstand (Adho-Mukha Vrksasana)

This pose strengthens your shoulders, arms, core, and legs. As you work toward it, keep four things in mind: Move slowly and carefully, rotate your triceps toward your body, keep your neck relaxed, and gaze just slightly past your fingertips.

The Buildup

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/the-pose-handstand-adho-mukha-vrksasana?workout=27589

Stage 1
Start in downward-facing dog (an inverted V) with your heels against a wall. Place your right foot flat on the wall, then place your left foot next to your right. You should be in an upside-down L shape with your wrist directly below your shoulder, your back straight and perpendicular to the floor, and you legs straight and parallel to the floor. Hold, then bend your knees and lower one foot to the floor at a time.

Stage 2
Start in Stage 1, then lift your right leg off the wall, straight up toward the ceiling. Your left leg is still parallel to the floor, with your foot flat on the wall. Hold, keeping your core tight, arms straight, and neck relaxed, then bring your right foot back to the wall and switch legs. To release, bring both feet back to the wall, bend your knees, and lower one foot at a time.

Stage 3
Face the wall and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor about 10 inches away from it. Get into downward-facing dog, then walk your feet in a few inches, stacking your shoulders over your wrists. Brace your core and slowly raise your left heel toward the ceiling, leg straight. Keep your hips square, arms straight, and neck relaxed. Hold, gazing toward your fingertips, then lower your leg and switch sides.

The Finale

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/the-pose-handstand-adho-mukha-vrksasana?workout=27589

Start in downward-facing dog with your hands shoulder-width apart and legs straight. Walk your feet forward, shifting your weight onto your hands and stacking your shoulders over your wrists. With your arms straight and core tight, lift your right leg toward the ceiling, keeping your hips square. Bend your left knee and gently raise your left leg toward the ceiling, bringing your hips over your shoulders. Hold, then slowly come down one leg at a time.

To view Crow (Bakasana) and Side Plank B (Vashistasana B), and a more detailed description of King Dancer (Natarajasana) and Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana), please visit the Women’s Health Website. If you would like a printable pose guide, click here.

What to Eat Prior to Working Out

It’s Workout Wednesday, and on this particular Workout Wednesday I would like to share with you a little secret about fueling your body for workouts.

We all know it’s a bad idea to exercise on an empty stomach, because your body burns muscle tissue when there is no food energy to use (contrary to popular belief, of burning fat in this situation). In fact according to this study, women who ate before working out actually ate less the rest of the day. But, did you know that there are many foods you shouldn’t eat before working out? Some can even cause cramping, dizziness and headaches. After some research I’ve come up with a few ideas of what to eat (and not to eat) before my runs and other workouts.

About 2 hours before:

Grab something full of carbs, protein and healthy fats:

  • Cooked quinoa and grilled chicken
  • Whole wheat pasta with cheese and veggies
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Greek yogurt with berries and almonds
  • Grilled fish, avocado and mango wrap

Avoid fibrous veggies:

  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Beans
Avoid high-fat foods:
  • Burgers
  • French fries
  • Ice cream

About 1 hour before:

Eat easily digestible carbs and a little protein:

  • Whole wheat toast with nut butter
  • Whole grain crackers or pretzels and hummus
  • Small bowl of cereal
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Some cottage cheese and grapes
  • Half a fruit and nut bar
  • Cheese stick and carrots

    Aviod gas-producing fruits:

    • Pears
    • Apples
    • Melon

    About 15 minutes before:

    Enjoy easily digestible carbs:

    • Banana
    • Applesauce
    • Some saltine crackers
    • Raisins

    Avoid large servings of protein and carbs and high-saturated fat and high-fiber foods:

    • Pasta
    • Bagel and cream cheese
    • Fried chicken
    • Granola bar (high fiber)

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      It’s All About the . . . Heart

      Today, not only is it Workout Wednesday but it’s Halloween! And as if your heart’s not pounding enough from fright fests, scary movies, ghouls, goblins, and ghosts, and other Halloween fun, I’m adding another post to my “It’s All About the…” series: cardio.

      glitters 123 [dot] com

      The difference between cardio exercises and the other five focused-workouts (arms, legs, buns, abs, and girls) is that cardio workouts do not require you to rest the muscles 48 hours between workouts. In fact, most trainer’s encourage at least 20 minutes of elevated heart rate activities every day.

      If you’re a runner, or want to become one (my beginner’s guide to running), running is a great cardio exercise. Walking is another (although you must walk quickly enough to keep your heart rate up). On days you just can’t bring yourself to leave the house, there’s “It’s All About the Heart”.

      It’s a great series of exercises you can do at home. It’s also great for the park, the office, your dorm room, between classes, the supermarket… well maybe not the supermarket, but you get my point. Now get up, turn on The Monster Mash and get that heart pounding!

      Download the free printable workout.

      View my workout terms glossary. The following are workout moves you’ll see in this sequence:

      High Knees
      Start standing and begin jogging in place lifting your knees as high as possible.

      Jumping Jacks
      Starting standing with feet together and arms straight by your sides. Jump up and spread your arms and legs wide as you land. Jump up again to return to center.

      Star Jumps
      Stand with feet hip-width apart. Squat down and jump up as high as you can. In midair spread your arms and legs wide. As you land in the starting position bend your knees.

      Happy Halloween 2012 [dot] com



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      It’s All About the . . . Abs

      Another post in my “It’s all about the…” series prepared for you and delivered on Workout Wednesday. This one focuses on your abdominal muscles and guess what! You will not see a single crunch in this entire post. After mentioning it just then, I will not even say the dirty word again. What a great day!


      These ab workouts are designed to boost your metabolism to help get rid of belly fat. However, it’s important to remember that exercising your abs will not get rid of belly fat (flat stomachs are about 90% what you eat) but a strong core is important to help protect your spine.

      Make sure you focus on this muscle group three times a week on non-consecutive days. Muscle groups need a 48-hour resting period between workouts.


      Download this free printable workout.

      For clarification on what to do for each of these sets here are descriptions of the action (full glossary):

      Glute Bridge March
      Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Rest your arms on the floor at should level, with palms facing up. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Engage your abs and lift your knee toward your chest, hold then lower. Repeat on other leg.

      Hip-Thigh Raise
      The same as a Leg Bridge. Lie on back with knees bent. Rest your arms on the floor at should level, with palms facing up. As you lift your hips from the form to form a straight line from shoulders to hips, extend on leg in the air. Hold, then lower foot flat to floor and switch to the opposite leg.

      Lunge with Rotation
      Grab a 5- to 15-pound dumbbell with both hands. Stand with feet hip-width distance apart and your arms straight out. Take a big step forward with your left foot and, engaging your abs twist your torso to the left as you bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Twist back to center, push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg.

      Plank
      Set-up the top of a push-up position with your hands directly below your shoulder. A variation of this is to rest on your forearms with elbows directly beneath shoulders. Hold your body completely straight by engaging your abs. If you can’t hold the plank for the full duration, work up to it. Form is more important the length of time: don’t drop your hips or raise your butt.

      Plank with Arm Lift
      Get in plank position, with your body in a straight line. Engage your abs and shift weight into one arm. Extend the opposite arm in front of you and hold.

      Reverse Lunge with Single-Arm Press
      Grab a 5- to 15-pound dumbbell in left hand and hold it next to your left shoulder, palm facing in. Step backward with your left foot and lower your body until your knees are bent 90 degrees while pressing the dumbbell directly over your shoulder without bending or leaning at the waist. Lower the weight back to the starting position and you push back into standing. Do reps then repeat on the right side.

      Side Plank
      Lie on your side with your legs straight. Prop yourself up with your hand directly below your shoulder (or on your forearm with your elbow directly below your shoulder). Your body should form a diagonal line with your feet stacked on top of each other. If you can’t hold the plank for the full duration, work up to it. Form is more important the length of time: be sure your hips and knees stay of the floor.

      Side Plank with Rotation
      In the side plank position, engage your abs and reach your hand toward the ceiling. Slowly tuck this arm under your body and twist forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Return to side plank.


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      Let me know how it goes!

      It’s All About the . . . Buns

      It’s Workout Wednesday on Maggie’s Mind Mumbles: Here’s a free printable workout, made especially for you…

      If you are looking to tone your cheeks and the mighty squats challenge didn’t work for you this workout might be more up your alley. It’s another workout in my “It’s all about the…” series, this time focused on your buns.

      Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: It's all about the buns Workout

      Just 5 moves, 1-5 times per day, 3 times per week and your on your way to a nice round boot-ay. Just make sure you do it on three non-consecutive days each week, as muscles groups need 48-hours of rest between exercising.

      Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: It's all about the buns Workout

      Download this free printable workout.

      Don’t forget to check out my workout terms glossary.

      These are the moves in this workout:

      Elevated Bridge Lift
      Lie on back with legs extended and heel resting on an elevated surface (stair step, chair, step, low table). Lift right leg straight over hip, foot flexed. Slowly lift hips off floor until body forms a straight line from left heel to shoulders. Lower body back down to floor. Do reps then switch to other leg.
      Extended Squats
      Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, Squat slowly until both knees are bent 90 degrees and raise arms straight to shoulder level in front of you. Immediately rise out of squat, lift heels off floor, rising onto tiptoes, and raise arms straight overhead. Hold then release returning to squat position.
      Squat Dip
      Stand two feet from front of chair or other elevated surface, facing away, feet hip-width apart, hands on hips. Lift leg and place top of foot on surface behind you. Lower into a single-leg squat, keeping right knee behind right toes and dipping left knee toward the floor, straighten right leg to stand. Do reps then switch legs.

      Step Kick-back
      Stand facing an elevated stable surface (chair, stair step, step low table) feet hip-width apart, hands on hips. Step onto surface with right foot and lift bent knee to hip level in front of you. Hinge forward slightly from waist and kick left leg behind you. Bring knee back to hip level as you straighten up. Lower left foot to floor and lunge right leg behind you. That’s one rep, repeat reps then switch legs.

      Tree Twist
      Stand on tiptoes, feet together, a couple of feet behind a chair or other belly button level stable item you can hold onto. Place hands on chair (or other item) and keeping back flat, hinge forward from waist and lift bent left knee to hip level in front of you, left foot by right knee. Keeping upper body still and left foot by right knee, slowly bring left knee directly out to side, slowly return knee to center. Do reps on tiptoes then switch legs.

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      It’s All About the . . . Girls

      It’s Workout Wednesday: YAY! Here’s a printable workout for you…

      This post in my “It’s All About the…” series (see Arms and Legs) is about a problem all women face: gravity. You see gravity is a very strong force that causes certain… things to sag as time goes on. The good news is we can fight gravity and prevent these consequences of aging with simple and effective workouts like this one.

      I actually got this workout from Self.com so you can thank them for the clever names. You can view the slideshow by following the link. All you need is medium resistance bands to do this workout on 3 non-consecutive days each week to stop the sag and add perk up the girls.

      Description of workout (full glossary):

      Breast-in-Show Row
      Stand on left leg, loop band around right foot and hold an end in each hand. Extend right leg and arms out in front of you to start. Bend arms and draw elbows straight back. Be careful not to hunch forward; keep back straight and shoulders down and back. Slowly release arms, keeping leg extended. Do reps and switch legs.
      Bust a Move
      Stand in a side lunge, right leg bent and right foot turned out at an angle. Place one end of a band under right foot. Bend at waist so chest points over right thigh toward floor and hold arms extended out to sides to start. In one fluid motion, pull the brand up and back, diagonally across body, as you raise torso and rotate it open. Slowly return to start. Do reps then repeat on opposite side.
      Cleavage Kickback
      Stand on an exercise band, feet hip-width apart, holding an end in each hand. With arms down at sides, squat and bend slightly at waist, keeping back flat. Draw the band behind you, keeping arms straight, squeezing shoulder blades together and feeling chest stretch open. Slowly release arms for one rep.
      Full Circle
      Start in a push-up position on knees or toes with hands set wide. In one fluid, circular motion, shift weight to right arm, lower yourself to the floor, the shift weight across body to left arms and push yourself back to start. Do reps then change direction.
      Glute Bridge March
      Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Rest your arms on the floor at should level, with palms facing up. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Engage your abs and lift your knee toward your chest, hold then lower. Repeat on other leg.

      Perky Pike
      Start in an inverted-V pike position, hands and feet on floor, butt lifted high, to start. Lower left forearm to floor, then lower right forearm to floor. Straighten left elbow the right elbow, to return to start for one rep. Do reps then reverse order.

      Sag Stopper
      Start in a lunge with a band looped under back foot. Hold an end in each hand buy shoulders, arms bent and parallel to the floor, elbows behind you. Press arms straight out to front, level with shoulders. Slowly and with control, bring arms back to start so you feel chest stretch open. Do reps then repeat on opposite side.
      Superwoman Slide
      Start in a push-up position, hands directly under shoulders, resting on paper or plastic plates (for carpet) or washcloths (on wood or linoleum) as gliders. Keeping arms straight, slowly slide them out in front of you in a V shape to lower chest toward floor. Hover above floor if possible, and then rest on floor. Bend arms to slide hands under shoulders and push up to start.
      X-Raise
      Stand with feet hip-with distance apart, the end of a band under each foot. Hold the other end in the opposite hand so band crisscross in front of you, hands at sides. Bend knees and squat extending arms out slightly to sides. As you straighten legs to stand, simultaneously reach up and out. Return to squat.


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      It’s All About the . . . Legs

      Hello! It’s Workout Wednesday and guess what, I have another free printable workout for your fitness pleasure!

      Did you know that leg exercises burn more calories than any other muscle groups? This is because your legs are the largest muscle group in your body, which means it takes more energy to move them.

      Another workout sequence to add to the “It’s all about the…” series: legs. These moves are designed to tone and strengthen your upper and lower legs muscles. The secret to exercising your legs is slow, controlled movements. For stronger, leaner legs the goal isn’t to get your heart rate up (see It’s All About the Heart: coming soon!), the goal is to use motion to purposefully fatigue the muscle.

      On three non-consecutive days each week, do this workout. All muscle groups need a 48-hr resting period between training. To make the workout more intense, hold weights in hands during lunges or attach ankle weights during any of these moves.

      Download the free printable workout.

      View my workout terms glossary. Exercises in this workout sequence:

      Forward Lunge
      Take a big step forward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg.


      Leg Bridge
      Lie on back with knees bent. Rest your arms on the floor at should level, with palms facing up. As you lift your hips from the form to form a straight line from shoulders to hips, extend on leg in the air. Hold, then lower foot flat to floor and switch to the opposite leg.
      Leg Lift
      Lay down on your side, hip on the floor, and prop yourself up on your forearm. Lift your top leg straight up into the air. Lower it back down without touching your bottom leg. Repeat.

      Plie Jump

      Starting from a wide stance turn your toes to face out. Bend your knees then pressing up from your toes jump straight up. As you land bend your knees again.


      Reverse Lunge
      Take a big step backward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg.

      Wall Sit
      Press your back against a wall. Keep back flat against the wall slide down until knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold.

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      It’s All About the . . . Arms

      “It’s all about the…” is a series of workouts I have created that focus on specific areas. Todays workout is about arms. This is for no particular reason except that I needed an arm workout. The other day I raised my hand in class and noticed a jiggly-wobbly bit hanging down. I said to my arm, “This is unacceptable behavior, I didn’t expect it from you of all body parts. Now get back in line!”

      Yeah… we’re working on that.

      Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: It's All About the Arms Workout


      Here’s my workout. I do it on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; the key is to do it on three non-consecutive days every week. You only need to do it one time through due to the repetitive nature of the actions.

      Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: It's All About the Arms Workout

      Download this free printable workout.

      I have also created a glossary for workout terms in case they are obscure or I use different names than what other people call things. Feel free to check that out. 

      These are the terms used in this workout:
      Back Row
      Standing with legs hip-width distance apart bend your knees slightly. Lean your upper body forward. Hold a weight in each hand, arms at side and palms facing in. Pull your elbows up behind your body until your arms are at a 90-degree angle at the elbow. Release to starting.
      Bicep Curl
      Hold a weight in each hand, arms down, and palms forward. Bending at the elbow lift the weight to your shoulders. Release weight back to starting position.

      Half-Bicep Curl
      Similra to bicep curls but instead of lifting the weights all the way to your shoulders stop when your forearms are parallel to the floor and release to starting.
      Pushup
      Lay on your belly with hand flat on the floor on either side, forearms perpendicular to the floor. Stiffen body and literally push yourself away from the ground, hinging at the toes. When arms are straight hold and with control release your body, hover above the ground and repeat.

      Shoulder Press
      Hold a weight in each hand above your shoulders, next to your ears. With palms facing in life the weights straight up until your arms are straight directly over your shoulders. release to starting position.
      Tricep Dip
      Find an elevated surface such as a step, a coffee table over a chair. Place your palms on the surface directly behind your body. Hold yourself up and gently lower yourself down using your arms. When your arms make a 90-degree angle behind you lift yourself back up to the starting position.
      V-Lift
      Hold a weight in each hand, arms at your side with palms facing in. Lift with straight arms and open them into a v-shape until arms are parallel with the floor.  Hold then carefully release to starting position.

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      Enjoy.

      Running 101

      I have tried adopting running off and about once every month for the last 6 years. There were times when I had my schedule down pat and I even got to the point where I actually started enjoying it. Every time I have tried running program I stop for some reason. Sometimes I would get too busy, sometimes it was that I became a wimp in the winter, sometimes it was that I became a wimp in the summer, sometimes I was just a wimp, and sometimes I plain forgot that I was trying to start running. Needless to say I am not a runner.


      I want to be though. I love running culture and I generally enjoy the activity (except when I first start out after not doing it for a long time and the wheezing begins). So I’m sticking to it this time. And I’m posting it to my blog because this way someone out there knows if I fail. I just don’t think I can take that kind of disappointment from you.

      One thing I discovered about my past attempts is that everyone who has tried to teach me about running, (friends, trainers, coaches, blogs, vlogs, etc.) have all been very athletic. Because of this, and my consistent gung-ho attitude about all things in general (Anything you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you), I would always jump in with both feet and no net. I would think to myself, “I’m going to run five miles today,” and then I would feel like a failure when I couldn’t accomplish these impossible goals. 

      But the truth is, most of the plans that were presented to me were made for athletic people, by athletic people. I am not an athletic people. I need to start small and take baby steps.

      Since this is the real deal, I’m trying something new. I’m going to sneak running in to my daily routine and the change will be so gradual I won’t even know that I’m being so sneaky (shhh, don’t tell Maggie!)

      Soooooo, here’s the game plan. I am on week two and going strong. Every week I amp up the running time or tone down the walking time until suddenly I can run twenty minutes straight, no sweat (pun intended?). Or at least that’s the plan.

      Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: Running 101: A Beginner's Guide to Running
      If you want to follow my running plan too, you can download the pdf here.
      (I am still getting used to using blogger: Google Docs displays the preview without some of the detail but they tell me it will be restored in printing. If you have problems with this feel free to shoot me an email: maggiesmingmumbles@gmail.com or leave a comment with your email address and I will send you the pdf directly)


      4×4 Workout

      This workout (originally created over at Fit Fab Cities) is another designed to be done in whatever amount of time you have available for it. There are FOUR sets with FOUR individual exercise per set (hence the title).

      Enjoy!


      Beginners should take breaks whenever needed. Intermediates should take short breaks between exercises and longer breaks between sets. Advanced exercisers should limit breaks to only between sets. and again… DRINK WATER!

      Free printable version: click here.

      *Update: My glossary for these, and many more, workout terms is here. The following is a shortened list of only those terms found in this workout:

      Bicycle Crunch
      Lay flat on your back. Place your hands behind your head, lift your left leg straight up about 2 inches from the ground and bring your right knee up to form a 90-degree angle. As you do this pull your left shoulder away from the mat bringing your left elbow to your right knee. Make sure you don’t pull your head forward with your arms but rather keep your gaze upward and use your hand for neck support only. Now switch, pull your right elbow to your 90-degree-bent left knee and straighten your right leg to hover above the floor.

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      Butt Kickers
      Start in a standing position. Start jogging in place kicking your foot as close to your butt as you can with each step.

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      Front Kicks
      Start in a standing position. Lift your right leg straight out in front of your body until it is as close to parallel with the ground as you can lift it. Alternate legs.

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      Jumping Jacks
      Starting standing with feet together and arms straight by your sides. Jump up and spread your arms and legs wide as you land. Jump up again to return to center.

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      Lunge
      Take a big step forward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg.
      Mountain Climbers
      Begin in a pushup position on the hands and toes. Bring the right knee in towards the chest, resting the foot on the floor. Jump up and switch feet in the air, bringing the left foot in and the right foot back. Switch back, that’s one rep.

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      Plank
      Set-up the top of a push-up position with your hands directly below your shoulder. A variation of this is to rest on your forearms with elbows directly beneath shoulders. Hold your body completely straight by engaging your abs. If you can’t hold the plank for the full duration, work up to it. Form is more important the length of time: don’t drop your hips or raise your butt.

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      Pushup
      Lay on your belly with hand flat on the floor on either side, forearms perpendicular to the floor. Stiffen body and literally push yourself away from the ground, hinging at the toes. When arms are straight hold and with control release your body, hover above the ground and repeat.
      Quad Lift
      Sit with leg straight out in front of you, back straight. Place your hand on either side of your hips. Keeping your leg straight lift your right leg, lower it back to the floor, then lift your left leg, lower it. That’s one rep.

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      Reverse Crunches
      Lay flat on your back, with your arms at your side. Use your arms to support your body, curve your back as you lift your legs, butt and lower back into the air. Pull your legs close to your chest, then using your ab muscles lift them straight into the air again.


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      Shoulder Press
      Hold a weight in each hand above your shoulders, next to your ears. With palms facing in life the weights straight up until your arms are straight directly over your shoulders. release to starting position.

      Ski Jumps
      Starting in a standing position with knees slightly bent and chest forward, quickly jump from side to side over an imaginary line. Land each time with feet hip-width distance apart. When you land where you began (2 jumps) that’s one rep.
      Squat Press
      Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, Squat slowly until both knees are bent 90 degrees and raise arms straight to shoulder level in front of you. Immediately rise out of squat, returning to standing with arms by side.
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      Tricep Dip
      Find an elevated surface such as a step, a coffee table over a chair. Place your palms on the surface directly behind your body. Hold yourself up and gently lower yourself down using your arms. When your arms make a 90-degree angle behind you lift yourself back up to the starting position.
      V-Lift
      Hold a weight in each hand, arms at your side with palms facing in. Lift with straight arms and open them into a v-shape until arms are parallel with the floor.  Hold then carefully release to starting position.
      V-Sit
      Start by sitting with your legs extended in front of you, toes pointed, hands resting by your hips. Slowly hinge your body backward by lifting your legs off the ground, keeping them straight and toes pointed. Lift your arms so they are parallel to the ground.  You should be balanced on your butt, with your body forming a “V” from your toes to your head.

      Mighty Squats Challenge

      Squats… it’s a horrible word, but a wonderful workout especially if you want a nice round butt (yoga pants can help with this as well). Surprisingly, I watch this video (and do the workout, I swear) every other day. Cassey Ho is super (impossibly) peppy and also inspirational.  I’ve watched (and done, I swear) her other videos available on YouTube and her blog.

      If you like the song Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen (or at least think it’s catchy like I do) then this squats challenge is strangely quite enjoyable. AND it only takes about six minutes, BUT if you want to skip to the workout it starts at 31 seconds and ends at about four minutes, SO the workout is actually only about three minutes and 30 seconds long… NO BREAKS!

      Now…







      Do you enjoy squats? How do you tone your butt and thighs?

      1-Hour Total Body Workout

      I am not one of those people who really love to work out. I wish I were, because my life would be so much easier if I didn’t have to force myself to do things to keep in shape. I do what I have to in order to keep active but mostly I enjoy activities that are exercise plus something else, like yoga for relaxation and stretching, riding a bike to a friends house, walking the long way to the grocery store, hiking and backpacking, or running to the ice cream shop.  These activities have another purpose, and yet I still get some exercise out of it. I do have a few workout plans that I like to fit each in once a week (5-4-3-2-1 workout for one) and this one.

      I developed this plan for myself based on some Women’s Health Magazine workouts and an app I have for my Kindle Fire (as well as from my limited knowledge of what a good workout is). It takes an hour as is, but can easily be cut down to 45, 30 or even 15 minutes just by cutting out reps.

       
      1-Hour Total Body Workout


      For a printable version click the link below
      1-Hour Total Body Workout




      Check out my workout terms glossary. These terms are used in this workout:

      Butt Kickers
      Start in a standing position. Start jogging in place kicking your foot as close to your butt as you can with each step.

      Clamshell
      Lay on your side with both knees bent at 90 degrees. Keeping your knee bent and feet together, hinge your top leg open. Lower your knee back to starting for one rep.

      Crescent Lunge with Row
      Stand in crescent lunge position, one foot a large step in from of the other, the front foot flat against the floor and the knee bent 90 degrees and the back foot on tip-toes with the leg straight. Lean your chest forward slightly and with a weight in both hand, palms facing in, pull the weight straight up, elbows bending behind your body.

      Dog Lifts
      Start in a tabletop position, hands directly below the shoulder and knees directly below the hips, tops of feet against the floor. Keeping your right knee bent lift it from the ground up to the side until it is parallel with the floor. Slowly lower it to hover above the floor. That’s one rep, do all reps then repeat on the opposite leg.
      Donkey Kicks
      Start in a tabletop position, hands directly below the shoulder and knees directly below the hips, tops of feet against the floor. Keeping your knee bent lift your right foot up toward the sky, lower it back to hover over the floor with control. That’s one rep, do all reps then switch legs.

      Flutter
      Lay flat on your stomach. Lift your legs and arms from the mat, keep your forehead against the floor. Quickly alternate lifting your right arm with your left leg, then your left arm with your right leg.
      Froggy Lifts
      Lay face down on your mat with your forehead to the floor. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and flex your feet. Turn your toes out slightly keeping your heels together, lift your feet straight up removing your knees from the mat.

      Hamstring Curl
      Lay flat on you stomach, prop your upper body up onto your forearms. Attach ankle weights to your ankles or hold a hand weight between your feet. Slowly bend your knees, lifting the weight into the air. Carefully lower the weight toward the floor, hover above the floor, for one rep.

      Hip Bridge
      Lay on your back with arms by your side and feet flat against the floor, hip-width distance apart. Lift your hips from the mat until your body forms a straight line from shoulder to knee.

      Inner Thigh Raise
      Lying on your side pull your top leg forward into a 90-degree angle with knee resting on the floor. Lift the bottom leg a couple of inches and then lower it back to hover just above the floor. That’s one rep.
      Jog-in-place
      Pretty self explanatory, jog… but do it in place.
      Jumping Jacks
      Starting standing with feet together and arms straight by your sides. Jump up and spread your arms and legs wide as you land. Jump up again to return to center.
      Knee Ups
      Start standing and begin jogging in place lifting your knees as high as possible.
      Leg Extension
      Lie on back with knees bent. Rest your arms on the floor at should level, with palms facing up. As you lift your hips from the form to form a straight line from shoulders to hips, extend on leg in the air. Hold, then lower foot flat to floor and switch to the opposite leg.
      Leg Raise
      Lay down on your side, hip on the floor, and prop yourself up on your forearm. Lift your top leg straight up into the air. Lower it back down without touching your bottom leg. Repeat.


      Plank
      Set-up the top of a push-up position with your hands directly below your shoulder. A variation of this is to rest on your forearms with elbows directly beneath shoulders. Hold your body completely straight by engaging your abs. If you can’t hold the plank for the full duration, work up to it. Form is more important the length of time: don’t drop your hips or raise your butt.

      Quad Lift
      Sit with leg straight out in front of you, back straight. Place your hand on either side of your hips. Keeping your leg straight lift your right leg, lower it back to the floor, then lift your left leg, lower it. That’s one rep.

      Shoulder Press
      Hold a weight in each hand above your shoulders, next to your ears. With palms facing in life the weights straight up until your arms are straight directly over your shoulders. release to starting position.
      Side Kick
      Start in a tabletop position, hands directly below the shoulder and knees directly below the hips, tops of feet against the floor. Lift your right leg so it is extended straight back from your body. Slowly bring it around so that it is perpendicular to your body and parallel to the floor. Return it to straight behind you for one rep. Do reps then repeat on opposite leg.
      Side Plank
      Lie on your side with your legs straight. Prop yourself up with your hand directly below your shoulder (or on your forearm with your elbow directly below your shoulder). Your body should form a diagonal line with your feet stacked on top of each other. If you can’t hold the plank for the full duration, work up to it. Form is more important the length of time: be sure your hips and knees stay of the floor.

      Ski Hops
      Starting in a standing position with knees slightly bent and chest forward, quickly jump from side to side over an imaginary line. Land each time with feet hip-width distance apart. When you land where you began (2 jumps) that’s one rep.
      Squat
      Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, Squat slowly until both knees are bent 90 degrees and raise arms straight to shoulder level in front of you. Immediately rise out of squat, returning to standing with arms by side.

      Static Lunge
      Begin with right leg one large step in front of the left leg. Lower your body until both knees from a 90-degree angle. Don’t touch your back knee to the ground. Lift yourself out of the lunge. Do reps then switch to left leg.

       

      Triangle Pushup
      Do a pushup but instead of placing hand outside of your body, move them in under your chest with index finger and thumb touching to form a triangle.
      Tricep Dip
      Find an elevated surface such as a step, a coffee table over a chair. Place your palms on the surface directly behind your body. Hold yourself up and gently lower yourself down using your arms. When your arms make a 90-degree angle behind you lift yourself back up to the starting position.
      Tricep Extension
      Hold one 10- to 15- pound weight in both hands. Place it behind your head and with control lift it over your head.
      V-Lift
      Hold a weight in each hand, arms at your side with palms facing in. Lift with straight arms and open them into a v-shape until arms are parallel with the floor.  Hold then carefully release to starting position.

      Whether you enjoy working out or not, how do you keep in shape? Try the workout, tell me what you think; I appreciate constructive criticism.

      How to Yoga: and Other Life Lessons

      I have been practicing yoga routinely since I started college, four years ago. Before that it was an occasional activity that I enjoyed but was never too attached too. Now, I find it hard to sleep, and my muscles feel stiff if I miss even a day. I feel that every person has a different experience when practicing yoga, and I don’t claim to be an expert, or even that good at it, but I do think that I have learned a few thing in my four years.


      Stay Present
      My life is full of distractions: what are we having for dinner, I need to check my email, how much homework do I have, etc. Yoga is my escape from all of that.  The only problem is letting myself escape.  Most of the time my mind wanders away from quality breathing and properly setting-up poses to these other thoughts that seem so urgent. When I DO get my thoughts focused in, not only does this helps with my yoga practice, but also helps de-clutter my life.



      Wear Yoga Pants


      ‘nough said

      Breathe
      If there is one thing I know, it’s that breathing is the best medicine, both inside and outside the yoga practice. Breathing is something that’s taken years of practice for me to learn especially with tough poses. The same way a sigh can relieve tension during a stressful argument, the proper exhale or inhale of breathe can relieve tension in muscles.



      Don’t Give Up
      There are hundreds of poses that are too difficult for me to even fathom at this point in my yoga practice. I know it will take time and practice to get there, but I won’t get there if I give up.


      Laugh at Yourself
      Every sport and activity on the planet has a few nuts who take it too seriously. I always take time to laugh at the nut I see in myself. I wrote this song to Tik-Tok by Ke$ha once.

      Wake up in the morning feeling like Siddhartha, grab my mat it’s on the floor this isn’t Sparta, start chlid’s pose, downward dog, sun salutations holmes, ‘Cause when I do lotus pose, I can be like “om.” 😉

      Also, Yoga: the complete and balanced parts of breakfast.


      The 5-4-3-2-1 Workout (my version)

      Maggie's Mind Mumbles//: 5-4-3-2-1 Workout

      One of my latest obsessions is the website Pinterest (if you want to follow me, my username is: maghaseman).  I spend way too much time there pinning things to plan the wedding that is non-existent, the house I’ll never be able to afford and the vacation of my dreams.  There are a few things I do pin that I actually use though, including workouts.  I came across this wonderful routine about a month ago and have tried it a few times.  I love Caitlin’s Blog Fit Fab Cities and have tried a lot of her ideas.

      This particular routine, The 5-4-3-2-1 Workout, is such a great idea, it’s quick and, as Caitlin says in her blog, easy to fit into a busy schedule, and I love the formatting (bright colors).  However, as I was doing the exercise I found that I lost track of the workout.  I have always struggled with workouts that have too much variety, some people enjoy the variety because it keeps it interesting but for me personally it doesn’t work.  The other thing I didn’t like was that it was missing ab exercises.  So I revamped it a little to suit my own needs:

      54321 workout, schedule, busy, fitness nuts
      You can download the printable version by clicking this link: 5-4-3-2-1 workout.


      I kept Caitlin’s cutesy rainbow formatting and a lot of her content.  I replaced her 4 minute section with ab exercises.  Hope you enjoy it!

      **Update: Check out my workout terms glossary.

      These are the terms used in this workout:

      Bicycle Crunch
      Lay flat on your back. Place your hands behind your head, lift your left leg straight up about 2 inches from the ground and bring your right knee up to form a 90-degree angle. As you do this pull your left shoulder away from the mat bringing your left elbow to your right knee. Make sure you don’t pull your head forward with your arms but rather keep your gaze upward and use your hand for neck support only. Now switch, pull your right elbow to your 90-degree-bent left knee and straighten your right leg to hover above the floor.


      Crunch
      Lay flat on your back. Place your hands behind your head, and your feet flat on the floor. Pull your shoulders away from the mat. Make sure you don’t pull your head forward with your arms but rather keep your gaze upward and use your hand for neck support only. Lower yourself back to the mat.

      High Knees
      Start standing and begin jogging in place lifting your knees as high as possible.


      Jumping Jacks
      Starting standing with feet together and arms straight by your sides. Jump up and spread your arms and legs wide as you land. Jump up again to return to center.

      Lunge
      Take a big step forward with your left foot, bend your knees and lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles. Push off with your left foot and stand back up. Do reps, and then repeat on other leg.


      Plank
      Set-up the top of a push-up position with your hands directly below your shoulder. A variation of this is to rest on your forearms with elbows directly beneath shoulders. Hold your body completely straight by engaging your abs. If you can’t hold the plank for the full duration, work up to it. Form is more important the length of time: don’t drop your hips or raise your butt.

      Pushup
      Lay on your belly with hand flat on the floor on either side, forearms perpendicular to the floor. Stiffen body and literally push yourself away from the ground, hinging at the toes. When arms are straight hold and with control release your body, hover above the ground and repeat.

      Squat
      Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides, Squat slowly until both knees are bent 90 degrees and raise arms straight to shoulder level in front of you. Immediately rise out of squat, returning to standing with arms by side.

      Tricep Dip
      Find an elevated surface such as a step, a coffee table over a chair. Place your palms on the surface directly behind your body. Hold yourself up and gently lower yourself down using your arms. When your arms make a 90-degree angle behind you lift yourself back up to the starting position.

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      Leave a comment: What kind of exercises do you enjoy?  How do you fit workouts into your busy schedule?