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.
• While you may be thinking its all the teenagers out there racking up those 18 hours a week, you may be surprised to learn that the average age of a gamer is 32 years old!
• Fortunately, it appears that the #1 game of the Top 5 Best Selling Video Games ever is Wii Sports! Sweet!
I was glad to see that Wii Sports was #1 because you can actually use your favorite game console to get a workout in and get the kids and adults moving, sometimes without really even realizing they’re getting a workout!
Here in Arizona, it’s a great option, too, when it’s a toasty 116* outside! You can stay inside in the air conditioning and still get some exercise in.
Here are 5 great games that can get everyone in the family moving and active!
1. Just Dance: This series of games will definitely get the heartrate up as you attempt to keep up with the dancers on the screen! Available in a myriad of versions, including a Disney Partyversion, you’ll have lots of variety to keep the workout interesting. Available on Xbox and Wii.
2. Disney Party for the XBox gives full body play action for the entire family! Activities include tennis, baseball, skiing, football and more! Several variations available.
3. Zumba Fitness will certainly help you not only find your groove but burn some calories along the way! Available for Wii, XBox and Playstation.
4. Wii Your Shape Fitness Evolved is great for those just starting a fitness routine.
5. The Limited-Edition Wii Sports Resort Bundle with Two Wii MotionPlus is great for families with the two bonus MotionPlus. This takes Wii Sports to a whole new level!
While we have our fair share of games at our house (Matix is passionate about Skylanders at the moment!), Chris and I have a few rules that come along with the game consoles.
If the kids want to play a video game, they need to head outside and play for 60 minutes THEN they can come back in and play their favorite games. It works great for our family. Everyone stays active and everyone can have fun.
Do you have a favorite game that gets you moving? Any special rules that come along with your game console? Share your answers in the comments below!
The fitness guru tells us how to quickly get rid of that extra tummy.
I receive a lot of great questions about health and fitness, and one of the most oft asked is, “How do I get rid of my baby pouch?” Let’s be honest: our bodies go through so much during pregnancy, and our muscles and skin in the abdominal area definitely take the brunt of the whole experience. And while that little bundle of joy is so worth it, getting rid of that tummy can be so frustrating.
There are two ways to get rid of that baby pouch once and for all: good nutrition and exercise. That’s right, there’s no magic potion, no contraption, no quick fix. You can have the most ripped six-pack around, but if there’s a layer of unnecessary fat on top, that six-pack will be invisible. Likewise, you can follow a great nutrition plan, but without cardio and strength training (especially in your ab area), you won’t get the results you’re looking for.
On the nutrition side, make sure you’re eating lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables, and drinking at least ½ your bodyweight in ounces of water every single day (130 pounds = 65 ounces of water per day, for example). Chris and I follow the “10 gulp rule.” When taking a drink of water, try and swallow ten gulps, and you’ll reach your daily water goal pretty quickly!
On the exercise side, do some sort of cardio and strength training on most days of the week. My Best Ab Workout, which is part of my Total Body Workout, is a great place to start, and it only takes five minutes. A couple of cautions: Don’t do these exercises on consecutive days, and if you’ve recently given birth, make sure your ab muscles aren’t separated or that any separation has healed before beginning these exercises. For some bonus strengthening and toning, contract your abs during your daily activities (exercising, sitting, walking, standing, playing with the kids). This will also help prevent lower back pain and posture problems that can be a by-product of pregnancy.
When you combine good nutrition and exercise, you’ll be strengthening those all-so-important ab muscles and getting rid of that unwanted layer of fat on top. Pretty soon your six pack will shine through and you’ll be able to say bye-bye to that baby pouch for good.
It’s officially summer and time for BBQs, swimming and sun! But are your buns and thighs ready? Ready to sport those shorts, swimsuits and even that little red, white and blue bikini for the 4th of July?
Buns and thighs (also known as the glutes, quads, and hamstrings) are often our biggest trouble spots. When covered by the blanket of energy we call body fat, they can look dimpled, thick, and unsightly! However, these are the biggest and most powerful (and most beautiful) muscle groups in the body! When we shape and develop them the right way, they can quickly become our biggest asset (no pun intended !)
Here are my top three buns and thigh exercises to maximize shape and development to look your best in those skinny jeans, shorts and swimsuits!
Exercise #1: Squat
Proven to stimulate more of the glutes and hamstrings than any other exercise . . . the squat is the go-to for exercise #1. Try starting with 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
1. Start by standing in front of a chair, facing away from the chair. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, your toes pointed slightly outward and your hips and knees fully extended.
2. Keeping your weight on your heels, slowly lower your hips onto the seat of the chair, as if you’re being pulled backward by your belt. Reach backward with your hands to help guide you.
3. Sit on the chair and allow the weight in your hips to shift backward, as you would when sitting normally.
4. Shift your weight forward, still keeping your weight on your heels, and stand up to the starting position, with your knees and hips extended. Use your hands to push off of the chair if needed.
Exercise #2: Lunge
Overall HUGE compound movement for the glutes, hamstrings AND quads…you’ll feel these more than ANY other movement…not just during, but for the next two days!! Try starting with 3 sets of 15 (hanging on to a stable object or in an open space).
1. Start by standing with your hips and knees fully extended, holding onto a chair or other stable object.
2. Take an aggressive step backward with your right foot, fully extending that leg and touching the floor with the toes of that foot. Allow your left knee to bend and your body to lower slightly to adjust for the movement.
3. Keeping your left knee directly over the toes of your left foot, drive through your left heel and draw your right leg forward to bring your body to a standing position.
4. Take an aggressive step backward with your left foot, fully extending that leg and touching the floor with the toes of that foot. Allow your right knee to bend and your body to lower slightly to adjust for the movement.
Exercise #3: Bridge Up/Marching Soldiers
This is a wonderful fine-tuning movement that really isolates the glutes and hits the hamstrings hard. Try doing 3 sets of these in a slow and controlled manner for 60 seconds each and you will not be able to ignore the burn! Get your glutes to talk to you!
1. Start lying faceup on the floor with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor, and your arms relaxed at your sides.
2. Driving your left heel into the floor, raise your hips as high as you can and keep your right knee bent while lifting it as far as you can toward your chest.
3. Lower your right leg back to the floor and return to the starting position.
4. Quickly switch sides and drive your right heel into the floor, raising your hips again. Keep your left knee bent while lifting it as far as you can toward your chest.
5. Lower your left leg and hips back to the floor and return to the starting position.
After consistently working out your glutes, quads, and hamstrings with these 3 exercises, the only meaty thighs and fluffy buns that should be around will be those you buy to grill up for a summer BBQ dinner.