Fitness Friday 5/29: Movement for Better Focus

Happy Friday to you all!  Guess what, we made it through another week.  I've been SUPER busy with work recently, and will be for basically the entire month of June (so bear with me - posts will be few and far between over these next couple of weeks).  For now though, I'll be honest, my focus on fitness has been slacking while my full-time job ramps up.  Some days I feel pretty guilty about it, but other days I realize that there's nothing I can do but try to get back into a good routine when I can and keep my diet in check.  Little workouts like this one help when I'm really pressed for time and looking to add some more movement throughout my day.   In fact, that's what the whole Fitness Friday series was made for: office workers, stay-at-home parents, or any one of you looking to add a quick bout of exercise to your day when you're pressed for time, or have limited space/equipment.  Keep reading for more details on the exercises!

Fitness Friday movement for focus

 

Fitness Friday 5/28

2 x 2 (2x through, twice today)

Plank Leg Lifts - start in a high plank, hands under shoulders, core engaged keeping your spine aligned from top to bottom.  Without moving any other part of your body, lift your right leg up as high as you can, keeping it straight.  Lower it back down so your toes touch the ground.  Continue the lifting pattern for 20 reps on the right leg, then switch immediately to the left leg without coming out of the plank.  Trainer Tip: if your wrists are giving you trouble here, drop down to your elbows.  Similarly, to decrease the intensity if needed, drop down to your knees.

In & Outs - sit down on the floor, legs extended with hands by your sides, elbows on the ground, chest up.  Bring your knees to your chest, using your abdominals to pull your legs in.  Your elbows should come off the ground, but hands stay planted.  Extend back out to starting position, keeping your feet slightly off the ground.  That's one rep.  Continue the in & out pattern for 30 reps.  Trainer tip: If you want to increase the intensity, take your hands off the floor and bring them overhead when legs are extended, reaching them up and in front of you as you pull your legs in.

3-Point Lunges - start standing, hands on hips, gaze forward.  Lunge forward with your right leg, keeping your chest open and spine vertical.  Push back up to standing, and immediately step out to the right in a side lunge.  Step back to center, and immediately lunge backward in a reverse lunge.  Each 3-lunge set counts as 1 repetition.  Complete 10 reps on each leg by either doing them all on one leg before switching, or alternate legs as you go.  Up to you!

Hope that gives you a little movement throughout your day today.  Remember you're aiming for twice through all exercises and do that 2 times today.  Good luck and let me know how they go!  As promised in an earlier post, here's a little motivating quote for you to end your work week with...

consistency will get you far

Readers: chat with me!  How do you add movement to your days when they're jam-packed with work and errands?  Do you have any tricks or helpful tips for keeping yourself accountable and motivated? I'd love to hear what you're up to!

Monday Boost Workout: Cardio + Core

Mondays.  We all have a case of them sometimes.  Sometimes they're the absolute worst, and other times they treat you well.  I hope the latter happens for you today, but if you find yourself feeling stuck and like today is a nonstarter already, here's a little morning kickstarter workout to get your butt into gear and get you moving.

The Get-You-Going Cardio + Core Workout

High Knees - get 'em up to waist level, and keep the pace quick!

Mountain Climbers - like a burpee, but instead of the push up at the bottom, alternate "running" in a plank for 8 counts (4 on each side), then pop back up quick.  If you want to add some extra cardio - jump at the top when you come up.

Oblique Twists - sit on the ground, either keeping your feet flat and knees bent (easier) or bend the knees but raise your feet off the floor.  From that position, lean back slightly so your abs are engaged, and twist side to side, touching your hands to the floor.

Hip-Touch Planks - Get into a low plank position (on your elbows), and twist your hips to one side while lowering them to the floor.  Keep your abs engaged and legs as straight as you can throughout.  Return to start and immediately twist to the opposite side.  Keep alternating sides.

Jumping Jacks - you know what those are :) 

Leap Frog Planks - from a high plank position with hands in close, hop your legs up to your hands like you would when doing the return phase of a burpee.  Instead of coming up off the floor though, keep your hands planted on the ground and hop feet back.  Alternate hopping forward/backward like leap frog.

Oblique Crunches - lay on one side, keeping your bottom arm extended out and top arm bent with your hand behind your head.  From there, crunch up to the side so your elbow meets your knees.  Extend back down to start.  That's one rep.  If you want to make it easier, only crunch up using one leg instead of both.  Harder = keep legs straight and "V" up.

V-Up Crunch Ups - lay down on your back, arms extended above you and legs out straight.  From here, lift both legs and arms up to form a V, touching your toes or shins if you can.  Return to start.  Crunch up again, this time bending your knees and bring them into your chest.  That sequence is 1 rep.  Alternate that pattern.

 

Happy Monday, and happy March to you all!  I hope the workout gives you a little boost to jumpstart your day and get the blood flowing.

I'll leave you with a motivating quote for the day...

A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins gives you the power to make better decisions, helps you be at peace with yourself, and offsets stress.

12 Days of Fitness Challenge: Day 1 - Push Ups

On the first day of Fitness, my trainer gave to me... (sorry, I had to).  Happy first day of the 12 Days of Fitness, everybody!  I hope you're as excited as I am to get these exercises started!  Today's exercise is the traditional push up.  I know, I know, push ups?  Everyone seems to have a love-hate relationship with the push up.  So, why are we starting off with them?  Well, for starters, they're a great way to engage your entire body in one move: shoulders, chest, abdominals, quads and glutes to name a few!  They don't require any equipment and use a limited amount of space, so feel free to "drop and give me 50" right in your own living room!  (Kidding about the 50...)

Now, I think the traditional push up is one of the most common exercises that people do with poor form:  

  • Unengaged core = sagging lower back, which can lead to low back pain;
  • Chin tucked into the chest, looking at the ground = obstructed airway and therefore less oxygen to the muscles;
  • Butt up in the air = unnecessary additional pressure on your shoulders

 I'd like to teach you the proper way to do a push up - not only form, but also your breathing technique:

  • Start in a high plank position, hands directly underneath your shoulders (pictured below, top)  
  • Engage your abdominals so your back is stabilized, and keep your spine in one straight line from head to low back  
  • Lower yourself to the floor keeping that position throughout the move; as you do so, breathe IN  
  • As you push yourself up (keeping proper form throughout), breathe OUT (somewhat forcefully) 

How'd that feel?  Wondering how many to do?  For almost all of the exercises in this challenge, that's going to be up to you!  I'd like you to do the maximum amount you can.  For those of you who are already in a fitness regimen, start from the traditional push up position (pictured below, A & B).  If you're just starting out, instead of being up on your toes, bring your knees to the floor (pictured below, C & D).  Remember the same rules apply for form: spine aligned, core engaged, head in a neutral position to allow oxygen to the working muscles.  If you get through 5, great!  10?  Awesome!  20?  Wow!  Keep going until you start to lose form (i.e. if any of the "poor form" points start to happen).  Once your form starts to suffer, stop.  Take a break and let your arms rest.  Now, if you did your first round from the traditional position, I want you to try to do a few more from your knees (pictured bottom).  If you started from your knees, try to do a few more from the same position.  I know you can do it!

Rules for today's challenge:

  1. Get through the push up sequence twice today.  That means doing one set until failure (loss of proper form from both traditional and knees positions), then some hours later at your choosing, do another set.  You can do these in the office, at home in your living room (as shown), or even if you're traveling!
  2. Make sure you check in and report how you're doing!  Use #12daysfit on social media and take a picture if you'd like (I'd love to see you demonstrating proper form)!  If you're not on social media, comment below on this post with your progress!  I'll be checking in, too. :)

I hope your holiday week is off to a great start!  If you're not on the mailing list for the challenge yet, don't worry!  It's not too late to sign up!  Check it out here and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for subscriber-only emails with fun mini challenges, motivational tips, and more!  Now, let's get that first round of push ups started! :)