Warm Yourself Up Workout

 

This week my idea was to come up with a quick and efficient workout that would warm you up from the super chilly weather we have had this winter. As I’m writing this, the snow is slowly melting as a wonderful ‘heat wave’ is rolling through. I figured the workout would still be appropriate as freezing rain is in our horizon or at least it was. With all of this said, I feel like for the most part I’ve kept myself in positive spirits as far as the weather goes. There’s actually something quite beautiful about living in a snow globe. I guess it’s all in the perception of how you view things in life. Don’t let something you can’t control, like the weather, bring you down. Just bundle up, give yourself some extra time to get to the places you need to go and do things that will get those positive endorphins going…like my Warm Yourself Up Workout.

So the workout consists of six exercises that you can complete in a circuit-like fashion. For whatever reason, the theme of the workout is exercises that start with the letter B.  It’s probably because they are all beautiful exercises just like the snow.  They are beautiful in the sense that they will challenge you, get your heart rate up and it won’t take you very long to complete it if you push yourself. 

Warm Yourself Up Workout 

Burpees 3×15

Ball Slams 3×15

Box Jumps 3×15

Barbell (or dumbbell) Shoulder Press 3×15

Broad Jumps 3×15

Bulgarian Split Squats 3×15

Go through three rounds of each exercise at your own pace.  Challenge yourself to finish as quickly as possible while keeping good form.

burpees

 

Burpees:  You will start in a standing position with hands overhead. Jump up off the ground and then bend your knees so that you can put your hands on the ground in the same position as your push up. You are then going to two foot jump your feet back or walk one foot at a time back into your starting push up position. Your back should be flat and hands should be stacked directly below your shoulders. Jump or walk your feet back to your bent knee position and stand up to start the exercise over again with a small jump overhead.

 

 

 

ball slams

 

Ball Slams: Use a medicine ball of your choosing and put it overhead. The name of the exercise pretty much gives away what you’re going to do so bend your knees and you slam the ball on the ground. Catch the ball, bring it back overhead and repeat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

box jumps

 

Box Jumps: I would start with the smallest box which is usually about 12 inches. All you’re going to do is two foot hop up and back down at whatever speed you’re comfortable with. Be careful and stay focused during this exercise and keep your eye on the box as you jump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

barbell

 

Barbell Shoulder Press: I used a barbell but you can use dumbbells if they are more accessible to you. Stand with good posture and bring the barbell to your chest. Press the bar straight up above your head and then back down to your chest to begin the exercise again.

 

 

 

 

 

broad jump

 

Broad Jumps: Find a decent amount of space or even a clear pathway that you can use. Bend your knees and bring your arms back as if you are going to use them to propel you forward as you jump forward. The goal is to jump as far forward as possible and land as softly as you can with a bent knee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

split squat

 

Bulgarian Split Squats: You will need a bench or chair to set your foot on.  This exercise requires some balance so get yourself set up and stay focused throughout the exercise. Basically a split squat is a lunge with your foot raised up. Bring your feet apart so that if you were to drop your back knee into a lunge position, your knee would stay behind your toes. Make sure you stand up nice and tall throughout the exercise.

 

 

 

 

 

Have fun, work up a sweat and be proud of yourself when you finish.

Love Is All You Need

 

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day this week, I want to touch on something that I actually think is quite imperative to your success. It’s really important to eat right and get in a routine at the gym which is why I spent a few weeks talking about those topics. Another key to positive lifelong changes is finding things, whether it be food or activities, that you love…even if it’s a love/hate relationship.

I think this rings true for everyone so it probably goes without saying but I find that the things I truly enjoy and love are the things I invest the most time in. Family and friends are at the top of my list but my health is right up there with them. I’ve said more than once that it’s not ‘if’ I’m going to workout but ‘when’. Not a day goes by, unless I plan in advance to take the day off, that I’m not finding time to fit in my workout. Usually when I’m in a time crunch (which is most days), I choose the activities I enjoy the most.

So how have I found workout I love and things I’ve become passionate about? I have expanded my horizons and I’m always up for trying new activities. Yoga is one activity that I’ve come to enjoy and I’ve added it to my weekly routine. Would I have thought in a million years that my boxing, lifting, sport playing self would be a room of calmness and quiet where I can focus on the present? No way. But I tried it anyways and kept in mind what I personally wanted out of the class. I learned that I actually can achieve my goal of increased flexibility and quieting my mind from the normal hustle and bustle of my life and feel good afterwards. It was me taking a step outside my comfort zone and being open to new possibilities that really helped me. I encourage you to do the same.

Think of a class or an activity you’ve always wanted to do but were too scared or too embarrassed to try. Take a chance and do it. There’s a chance that you may not like it and you may feel uncomfortable at first. If that’s the case, give it a few more tries. Sometimes it’s simply takes getting acquainted with something new and in no time you’ll feel comfortable and more confident and you might end up liking it. Who knows you might be really good at something you’ve never dared to try.

Don’t wish, just do. How many times have you said, ‘I wish I could run a 5k’ or ‘Someday I’ll sign up for that mud run but I need to wait until I’m in better shape’. I’ve heard that countless times and my advice is always the same, just do it. Make the commitment and sign up for it. Set up a training program and keep your goal in mind at all times. There is never a better time to do something you’ve always wanted to do than right now. Don’t wait because typically those moments pass you by.  Most people find joy and passion for things that they work hard for. Who wouldn’t like the feeling of accomplishing something you’ve always wanted to? Trust me, you’ll love that feeling and it’ll keep you motivated to set a new goal in the future.

My last piece of advice is surround yourself with a loving support system. I really believe that these people can make or break it for you. Find friends and family that will encourage you, understand your goals and always keep them in mind when they are with you. There’s nothing harder than being tempted by the people that are supposed to be helping you achieve your goals. They should have nothing but love for you and respect for what you’re trying to accomplish.

My hope for you all is to someday find the same kind of passion I’ve found in so many of the activities I’ve been a part of throughout my life. There’s nothing better than finding something you love and enjoy. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Back to Lifting Basics

 

Though it is one of my favorite physical activities, for a lot of people it’s a part of the gym where they feel uncomfortable, overwhelmed and quite possibly embarrassed. The weight room can be intimidating with all the machines, cables, dumbbells and all the bells and whistles that go with it. I get it, so many things to try…where would you possibly even start? So I’m going back to the beginning as I have been the past couple of weeks. I’m even going to repeat a lot of exercises I’ve talked about in previous posts because I think it’s important to break things down and make it simple especially for those that are first starting out or even people that have fallen off the wagon and need to jump back on.

All I used for this workout is a set a dumbbells, a bench (a stability ball can serve as a bench as well) and my own body weight. This is a routine you can do at the gym or even at home if you can’t seem to get to the gym as often as you would like. If possible, I would try to get to the gym…I recommend this because I think there are less distractions to pull you away from your workout and it’s good to have some time to just focus on yourself. The interval workout ideas I posted last week can be tacked on to the front or back of your weight program. It still should take you no more than an hour to an hour and a half to get through all of it.

 

Weight Program

Dumbbell (DB) Chest Press – 3 x 15 (sets x repetitions)

DB Mid Rows – 3 x 15

Bench Squats – 3 x 15

 

DB Shoulder Press – 3 x 15

DB Lateral Raises – 3 x 10

DB Front Raises – 3 x 10

DB Reverse Flies – 3 x 10

 

Bodyweight (BW) Forward Lunges – 3 x 10/leg

BW Lateral Lunges – 3 x 10/leg

Glute Extensions – 3 x 15

Single Leg Glute Extensions – 3 x 15 

**each grouping of exercises are to be performed together. For example, you will do one set of dumbbell chest press followed by one set of dumbbell mid rows and repeat for two more sets. Just go down the list and perform each one and then just start over.

Here’s the exercise breakdown to help you make sure you’re performing each exercise correctly.

 

Chest Press

 

DB Chest Press – Laying on a flat bench with feet flat on the floor, (you can also put your feet on the bench if you feel too much of an arch in your back) start with the dumbbells around armpit distance apart. Your elbows should be making a 90 degree angle or so at the start of the exercise. Keeping the dumbbells at the same distance apart, press straight up from their starting points in a controlled, slow motion and control the press back down. 

**Make sure through any exercise you are breathing properly. Exhale when the exercise is difficult (for the chest press you will exhale on the upward motion and inhale on the downward motion) and inhale when you are coming back to your starting point.**

 

 

Mid Row

 

DB Mid Row – Start by putting the bench up at about a 30 degree angle. Lay on your stomach with your legs straight and your chest at the top of the bench. Your head should be above the bench. Start with the dumbbells in your hands with your arms straight. Bring your shoulder blades together by bringing your chest up off the bench a bit. Pull the dumbbells up towards your armpits and squeeze your shoulder blades at the top of the exercise. Control the weights both on the way up and down. 

 

 

 

 

 

Bench Squats

 

Bench Squats – The bench or box squat is a very basic exercise to get you familiar with the fundamentals of a squat. Start with your feet a little wider than hip width apart and turn your toes out on an angle just a bit to open up your hips. Think about reaching back on the bench as you sit and keep your chest up. Your knees should be going out towards your angled toes and you are going to sit and rock back to a neutral seated position. To stand, push through the outside of your feet to keep your knees from diving in and try to keep your chest up as much as possible. The goal is to not lean so far forward to get up but rather use your glutes and hamstrings to bring you back to a standing position.

 

 

 

 

Shoulder Press

 

DB Shoulder Press – Start with your palms facing one another at about ear level and press them straight up from the starting point. Lower back down to your ears and repeat. With all of these exercises, take your time and just get in a good rhythm. You always want to be in control of the weight and not feel like the weight is controlling you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lat Raise

 

DB Lateral Raise – Start with the weights at your side with your palms facing in. With straight arms or a slight bend in them, raise the dumbbells so they are parallel with the ground. Your palms should be facing the ground at the top of your exercise. Lower both dumbbells back down to their starting point and repeat. 

DB Front Raise – Start with the dumbbells in front of you facing your body just like you did for the lateral raise. With straight arms, raise both dumbbells until they are parallel with the ground. Just like the lateral raise, your palms should be facing down when you’re at the top of your exercise. Lower both dumbbells back down to their starting point and repeat. 

DB Reverse Flies – Bend your body into about a 45 degree angle. Make sure you keep your shoulders back and chest up to promote good posture. When you are doing a reverse fly, you want to think about squeezing your shoulder blades as it is working those rear deltoids. With a slight bend in your elbows, start with the weights together and arms straight.  Staying in your bent position, fly the dumbbells out keeping that slight bend and squeeze your shoulders blades at the top of your exercise. Control the weights back down and repeat.

 

Forward Lunge

 

Forward Lunge – Start with your feet together and take an over-sized step forward. In this position you are going to keep good posture and instead of leaning into your front leg to perform the lunge, you are going to drop your back knee towards the ground. This will ensure you are continuing to stand up tall and it will also protect those knee joints. The same rule applies for lunges as they do squats…no knees should cross the plane of the toes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lateral Lunge

 

 

Lateral Lunges – Start with your feet together and take a over sized step to one side. Your toes should always be pointing forward throughout the exercise. Lean into the leg that you stepped out with, push your glutes back behind you as if you were going to sit down and keep your other leg straight. Push back off the outside leg and repeat the exercise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glutes

 

Glute Extensions –  Lay on your back with your hands at your side and your knees bent with feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips and squeeze your glutes at the top of the exercise. Lower your hips back down and repeat.

 

 

 

Single Leg Glute Extensions –  You will start in the same position as glute extensions except one leg will be up in the air. Lift your hips, squeeze your glutes at the top and lower hips back down. Repeat.

 

 

Take your time with each exercise until you get comfortable with the proper form. Remember everyone is at the gym working on themselves. They aren’t worried about what the person next to them is doing so just go in with a plan and execute it to the best of your ability. Start with a lighter weight and you can always move your weight up if it is too easy. A good rule of thumb is the last five repetitions of your exercise should start to feel harder and harder. There are countless different exercises and these are just some basic ones to start you off and give you some guidance. I will definitely give you an in depth look into the weight room soon. Happy lifting.