What’s a girl (or a boy) to do when she finds herself in a foreign country with very minimal fitness equipment, minimal time with a work schedule, and two little kiddos in tow?
A fast, fun, high intensity circuit, of course ☺. For me, it’s always important to maximize the limited time I do have to workout, so these are always a wonderful go-to.
This workout came straight from Crossfit’s home page a few days back and was perfect, considering my travel circumstances. I started with a 5 minute treadmill warm up, then did the following as quickly as I was able:
500 meter row (the workout called for 50 pushups, but I wanted something to counter balance the pressing motion from my burpees instead)
50 jumping jacks
50 swing ups
50 second handstand hold
To finish? A nice and easy stretching session while my muscles are still warm.
Although this wasn’t the hardest workout I have ever done, it was nice to know that with so little equipment and time, I was still able to get the workout in that my body was needing.
Travel can be tough, but doesn’t need to be an excuse for fitness failure! Something, even this quick circuit, is better than nothing ☺.
While most of the country is in a cold spell, spring is not that far away! And nothing says spring like short sleeves and sleeveless tops . Whether you’re looking to minimize the appearance of that “waving” skin of your underarm, or tone and build some beautifully sculpted shoulders, this 5-minute workout can help. Your shoulders, back, and arms will be in sexy, spring shape in no time at all!
Set the clock for 5 minutes, and do as many rounds as possible of:
10 Bench Dips
10 Commander Push-ups
10 Mountain Climbers
Record the number of rounds completed to set the bar for the next time you do this workout! You can safely repeat this workout twice a week.
1. Hold a seated position, shifted a couple of inches off of a bench. Hands should be directly beneath shoulders with elbows extended and knees straight and locked.
2. Lower down, bending elbows to a 90-degree angle.
3. Press upward through palms until elbows are fully extended.
1. Begin lying facedown, hands underneath shoulders, with abs tight and body rigid.
2. Press upward, extending elbows while simultaneously driving right knee forward, touching it to your right elbow.
3. Lower body back to the ground, extending leg out and staying rigid from feet to shoulders.
4. Press upward again, extending elbows while simultaneously driving left knee forward, touching it to your left elbow.
1. Begin in a deep runner’s stance with both hands on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
2. Keeping abs tight, jump and switch feet as fast as you can.
3. Land gently with the opposite foot forward.
4. As soon as your feet touch down, jump quickly and switch feet again.
5. Land gently with the original foot forward.
So many people are asking me if I am working out yet, post-baby. The answer is yes with some fine print ☺. While I have done a couple structured bouts of movement that could be considered “working out”, I am not yet allowing myself to push at the intensity that I am wishing I could, just to be safe.
Most doctors and reputable sources recommend waiting 4-6 weeks post-delivery before Mom gets back into her regular workouts. However, the same reputable sources and doctors also say the most important thing is to listen to your body (we are all different!). They say if you worked out before pregnancy, and continued to workout through your pregnancy, there is a good chance your body may be ready for exercise much quicker than if you didn’t workout before and/or during pregnancy.
My own personal rules of thumb are these:
1. Get my doctor’s okay to begin.
2. If I am experiencing vaginal bleeding still, I am not ready to workout. If at anytime after I start working out, bleeding resumes, I will stop until it subsides and doc says it’s okay to begin again.
3. If I experience any physical pain (unrelated to regular muscular soreness that follows any good workout), I will stop working out or modify the movement to eliminate the pain. I believe that our bodies talk to us this way, and we should listen!
4. If my breast milk production slows down at any point after resuming exercise, I will slow down my workouts, or stop altogether, until milk production ramps back up. Side note: this may also be a sign my calorie consumption and water intake need to increase.
There you have it. As long as these 4 things are in check, I will begin my workouts.
With every baby, this time period has been different. With Matix and Marley, I waited nearly a full 6 weeks because I didn’t do much (if any) exercise during pregnancy. After Cash, I waited about 2-3 weeks, and after Ruby I gave my body 2 weeks before I started “working out”.
I use quotes because, once again, the workouts were so light compared to my usual, but I know just how important it is to start light. More than anything, this was my structured way to move functionally like all new moms (and humans, for that matter) do each and every day. Think:
squats – like sitting and standing from couch or toilet,
presses – like we do to help our bodies off of the floor or how we push the stroller, and
pulling – like we do to lift our babies and hold them to our chest
Nice and basic. Easy and functional.
Time to share the workout! It was one of my favorites and can be done at ANY level of fitness, from beginner to advanced. By choosing a workout that is scalable, I knew I would be able to throttle it up or down at anytime, ensuring I didn’t overwork my body the first time back.
Disclaimer: If you plan to attempt this workout, please make sure you have your doctors approval, as every body is different post baby. Some are ready sooner than others. Your doctor can help you decide if YOU are ready to begin workouts again.
And…a side note: Even if you are NOT pregnant or postpartum, this workout could be great for you – don’t be scared to rev up the intensity! Give it a try.
My 1st Post-Ruby Workout: 12 Minutes of Tabata
What is Tabata? Four minute rounds of exercise. You perform a move for 20 seconds, followed by 10 second rest, repeating 8 times, totaling 4 minutes. Go at your own pace. If you are only able to get ONE repetition of move in during the allotted 20 second time period, then only do one repetition.
Moves I Tabata’d (4 minutes each move. 3 moves, totaling 12 minutes):
Air Squats – My first round I got 20 in, but by round 5 I was slowing down to about 10 squats in 20 seconds.
*These can be modified to be done from a couch or chair. You basically sit down and stand up from the couch or chair to complete one rep.
Pushups – Oh…I struggled with these. Round 1, I did 12. By round 7 and 8, I was happy to get in 1 or 2 pushups. I slowed down once I realized my core needed some attention.
*Feel free to modify this to pushups from your knees or even pushups from your waist.
Bent Over Rows – I used a 45 lbs weight for both arms (not for each arm ☺). These felt good, but worked muscles I seem to have been neglecting for the last little while.
*These were great to end with. I felt like I got the harder moves out of the way first, and got to end with something a tad lighter.
Moral of the story – listen to your body and your doctor. Move when you are ready, and don’t be discouraged to see your fitness levels aren’t where they were pre-pregnancy. Day by day, with some patience, hard work, and perseverance, we can all become even stronger than we were pre-baby!
Alright busy ladies, here’s how we get rockin’ abs in just 5 minutes a day! Now, I wouldn’t advise you do this workout every day at first, but throw it in the mix – first one day a week, then maybe twice a week, on up to three or four days a week to fire up that core and help build and sculpt the abs muscles.
Here’s how you do it:
Set the clock for 5 minutes.
In the first 90 seconds, do as many Twisters as you can
In the next 90 seconds, do as many Knees-to-Elbows as you can.
For the remaining 2-minute period, hold a Plank. If you need a break, drop to your knees for 5 seconds and get right back into the plank position to complete.
Record the number of Twisters and Knees-to-Elbows you were able to complete in the 90-second periods, and how many seconds you were able to hold the Plank consecutively before your break, and try to beat it the next time you complete this workout.
Not sure what some of these moves are? Help is here!
Begin lying on the ground face-up, knees bent between 45 and 90 degrees, and arms extended to the sides.
Keeping your shoulders anchored to the ground and knees together, rotate your legs over to the left side. Touch your left knee to the ground to mark a complete repetition.
Rotate your legs over to the right side and touch your right knee to the ground to mark another repetition.
Twisters – Step 1
Twisters – Step 2
Twisters – Step 3
Begin lying on the ground face-up, legs extended, and arms extended overhead.
In one motion, draw your knees toward your chest and swing your arms forward, crunching upward with your torso. Touch your elbows to your knees.
Extend legs downward and arms back overhead. Touch heels and hands to the ground.
Knees to Elbows – Step 1
Knees to Elbows – Step 2
Knees to Elbows – Step 3
Begin lying face-down, propped up on your elbows. Elbows should be aligned directly underneath your shoulders, and your legs should be fully extended with ankles extended and toes on the ground.
Squeeze your buttocks, draw your belly button in toward your spine, and raise your body 1 foot off of the ground. Hold the position as long as you can.
The comments about my shoes poured in after sharing this photo.
A woman can never have too many shoes! Especially some super cute and super bright ones like these!
So many asked where I got these fun loving, yellow shoes (actually “solar green” is the color), I thought I should just let you all know where to get a pair yourselves! Just putting them on my feet makes me smile with all of that brightness looking back at me! What better way to get moving? .
It’s the image that set off a firestorm of criticism and also wave of praise, a pregnant woman weight lifting just two weeks before her due date.
Now a familiar face here in the Valley has joined the great debate by posting a picture of herself working out while pregnant.
“If someone is doing that kind of exercise at seven, eight or nine months pregnant that clearly means she worked out before she was pregnant and probably cross fitted before she was pregnant and her body is used to it,” said local fitness guru Heidi Powell.
Powell is quick to defend body building champion Leann Ellison who’s eight months pregnant and posted the picture of herself earlier this month. Her post resulted in thousands of likes, shares and comments, many of them critical.
“So many people make comments based on speculation not doctors or books,” said Powell, who herself is 32 weeks pregnant and still going strong, doing pull ups and lifting weights without worry.
“It really does depend on who you are, where you were before and what your pregnancy complications are,” said Powell.
Dr. Michael Foley, Chairman of the OBGYN program at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital, says exercise is important but pregnant women need to be careful.
“You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you might fall because pregnant women are more prone to injury,” said Dr. Foley.
Still he supports these strong women. He just wants people to realize this sort of workout regimen isn’t for everyone.
“The message is don’t go start something new,” said Foley. “It’s important to get off the couch, make sure you hydrate, stay cool and don’t exercise more than 30 minutes a day.”
The truth is every person and every pregnancy is different and the best advice is to consult with your doctor.
Gardening as exercise? Who knew! An activity that most do for bonding time, stress relief, and beautifying the yard actually has many more health benefits than I even knew! Thank you to Justin Rohner and his amazing iAgriscape team, we can learn about them here…and start some gardening of our own!
Cecilia in her Garden
Bending, stretching, lifting, sweating; while this may sound like a typical trip to the gym, it’s actually an all natural, age old workout that can be as close as your own back yard. According to Harvard Health Publications, gardening can burn as many calories as activities like gymnastics, swimming and even fast paced dancing. Agriculture has not only made our muscles strong, brows wet and tummies flat for thousands of years, but has also given us the very resources we needed to become the self sustaining, thriving species we are today. The best part? Our ancestors didn’t even realize they were working out.
“I’ve lost 50 pounds since we started this,” Cecilia said, as her face lit up. “50 pounds! Can you believe it?!” It was a surprising afterthought that came at the end of a two hour conversation. Cecilia Nedelko, Master Gardener, founder and owner of Cecilia’s Garden, has spent the last few years transforming her once tennis court, concrete-filled back yard into her own food producing, self sufficient refuge. Though she is grateful for the weight loss, one of Cecilia’s main focuses is the mental clarity and sense of peace she finds amidst the sweet aromas of this beautiful oasis. “Man has so lost contact with the sense of life…After I work [in the garden], I just sit down, close my eyes and I listen to the birds and hear the bees; feel the sun, the warmth. To me, it is extremely spiritual and I feel so much closer to God in the garden than I do in a building.”
Calorie counting and will-bending cravings become a thing of the past when you shift your focus from tiring food restrictions to using fresh vegetables, juicy fruits and flavorful herbs to create a sustainable diet of real food. Even in climates as tough as Arizona’s desert, Cecilia and the increasingly large gardening community are able to grow a wide variety of plants. Kale, pomegranate, scallions, sweet potatoes, even quinoa and a plethora of beans and herbs can be grown inexpensively and provide weeks’ worth of food. “There was a point where I didn’t go to the grocery store at all for seven weeks. I just grazed in my garden!”
Cecilia is also able to share food with her neighbors, friends and family, and even sells produce at a local farmers market. During the upcoming fall season, she will be expanding her now profitable small business to some restaurants in the area who are part of the growing real, local food movement.
The more time that passes from the days when home grown food was the primary system utilized for our very survival, the more we forget just how much nature provides. From affordable, low calorie/high protein fruits and vegetables, to giving us an all over full body workout and intense stress relief, gardens have the power to transform not only our bodies, but our whole lives.
Do you garden? Share your experiences, or even things you’d love to learn about gardening and growing your own foods in the comments below!
Want to connect with Justin and the iAgriscape Team? Find and follow them here:
It’s National Dance Day! This fun-filled day of music and movement, celebrated annually on the last Saturday of July, is inspired by one of my favorite TV shows, So You Think You Can Dance.
The thing I love about dancing is that anyone can dance! It’s a “no experience necessary” activity (Shhh! Chris is proof of this!)—you don’t need any lessons, an instruction manual, or even any practice—just move and do your own thing. It can’t get much better than that. ☺
And while you’re moving and doing your own thing, you’re also burning some serious calories—around 100 every 20 minutes! The best part is, you’ll be having so much fun that you won’t even realize you’re working out, and the more you “get into it,” the more calories you’ll burn!
Anyone can find a favorite style of dance because there are so many to choose from: zumba, jazz, salsa, swing, ballroom, hip-hop, line, modern, belly, Latin, or invent a new one that’s all your own.
Dancing is also a great family-friendly activity—even the littlest ones can participate. It can be as simple as turning on your favorite tunes, gathering the kiddos, and moving to the music. Teach them some of your favorite moves and learn some of theirs. Or try one of the many dance-inspired video games that appeal to pretty much everyone from toddlers to grandparents.
So ditch that Saturday to-do list for a while. After all, “Life is short and there will always be dirty dishes, so let’s dance” (James Howe).
It’s kind of a fact of life these days. Between kids, jobs, spouses, parents (in some cases), houses, bills, kid activities, church, community activities—the list could go on and on—it’s really hard to find time to exercise. But just because we’re all busy, our workouts don’t have to become non-existent. And since we get such great physical and mental returns on any time invested in exercising, it’s so important that we make it a priority amongst all our other priorities.
Here are some ideas to help you cross “Exercise” off your daily to-do list:
• Prepare the night before. Set out your clothes, shoes, water bottle, or anything else you’ll need. If you’re going to the gym, make sure there’s gas in the car. Preparation alleviates a lot of potential “reasons” for not working out.
• Wear your workout clothes (except to work, of course). I put on my workout clothes first thing in the morning because it not only reminds me to exercise, but on those crazy busy days I’m ready to take advantage of every free minute to do a little something. Even a few minutes here and there throughout the day can add up to some great workout time: run up and down the stairs, do walking lunges, walk instead of drive, throw in a few pushups or burpees, do squats while you’re on the phone, do crunches while you tickle your baby’s toes…get creative!
• Don’t get stuck in a rut by doing the same thing over and over again—try something new. Variety results in not only stronger muscles (and more calories burned), but a more enjoyable workout too!
• Plan. Have a plan A. And a plan B. And some days you might even need a plan Z. Make a list of workouts so when you’re in a time crunch, you don’t have to think about what to do.
• Be flexible. Constant change is the name of the game at our house. In fact, often the only constant in our life is change. Do the best you can, when you can, and give yourself a pat on the back for doing so.
• Reward yourself. Hey, it works for kids, so why not for us too? Instead of a chore chart, make an exercise chart. You can even use some cute stickers. ☺ And make the reward so fabulous you’ll want to exercise regularly to earn it!
• Trade with a spouse or friend. Not only will you get your workout in, but you’ll be helping someone else do the same.
• Include the kids. Jump rope, play ball, run around the block, play hopscotch, teach them your favorite exercises, and have them do the same for you. For infants and toddlers, put them in the stroller and let them become part of your workout, or even extra weight to lift! Be an example of the importance of exercise.
When you make the time to exercise regularly, you’ll be happier—and more productive—in all the areas of your life.