30-Minute Total Body Workout w/ Walking Poles (+ GIVEAWAY!)

30-Minute Total Body Workout w/ BungyPump Walking Poles

I'm super excited to bring you today's workout!  When BungyPump reached out to me to review their suspension walking poles, my immediate reaction was yes absolutely because they're so different than any piece of exercise equipment I've ever used.  Of course, they're supposed to be used to add more resistance (and therefore more muscle activation and calorie burn) during walking activities, but I found myself immediately coming up with ways to incorporate them into a workout.  So, below is a total body circuit routine with a few bouts of cardio mixed in.  AND you guys have a chance to win a pair of BungyPump Walking Poles for yourself!

First, here's a bit more about them. BungyPump walking poles are Swedish-made with a built-in suspension system that will add 4, 6, or 10 kilos of resistance (9, 13, and 22 pounds respectively) to your walking routine.  They have an ergonomically shaped handle with a hand strap for security, and the height of the poles is adjustable to suit your needs.  You can also adjust whether or not the poles are locked, meaning they can be used sans resistance if you prefer.

BungyPump Walking Poles

The workout I created with these poles is pretty versatile, so if you find yourself out on a walk and want to add some more activity, you absolutely can.  Take the exercises individually as they are, or do the full workout in its entirety for a great calorie burn and total body sweat sesh.  Keep reading for the details of the workout and make sure to enter the raffle to win a pair!

30-Minute Total Body Workout w/ Walking Poles

30-Minute Total Body Workout w/ BungyPump Walking Poles

What You'll Need: a pair of BungyPump Walking poles (WIN A PAIR below!) and an exercise mat.
What You'll Do: go through each round 3 times, doing each exercise for 1 minute, focusing on one major muscle group per round.

Round 1: Legs (x 3)

Cardio: Jump Squats - start standing with the poles vertical in each hand, no resistance put on the poles yet.  Squat down as low as you can, and then explode up into a vertical jump, pressing the poles down as you propel yourself up into the air.  Land back down softly, letting the poles release back to starting position.  Repeat the jump squats quickly for 1 minute.

Curtsey Lunge Pulses + Hold (each side) - start in the same standing position you were in for the jump squats, holding a pole in each hand.  Step back into a curtsey lunge on your right side (by taking your left foot and stepping behind and to the right).  Maintaining the lunge position with the poles pressed down, pulse the lunge with little movements up and down for 30 seconds, letting the poles move up and down with you.  After those 30 seconds are up, stay down in a low lunge for the next 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Squat Hold (30s back/30s front) - start in a low squat position with one of the poles placed behind your knees.  Squat down just low enough to hold the pole in place (but be careful to not go so low that you're resting on your heels).  Hold that position with your hands outstretched for 30 seconds.  Then, maintaining the squat position, grab the pole and hold it out in front of you for the next 30 seconds.

- Repeat round 1 two more times - 

Round 2: Arms (x 3)

Cardio: Plank Jack to Frog Hop - lay the poles down parallel to each other on the floor and start in a plank position with your hands at the top of the poles and feet on in the inside (see image). From here, jump your feet to the outside of the poles (plank jack), then jump them up to your hands (frog hop), keeping your hands planted the whole time.  Reverse the move to jump your feet back to the outside of the poles, and then back in. Continue the pattern quickly for 1 minute, keeping your abs engaged and shoulders in line over your wrists.

Walking Push Ups - keep the poles in the same parallel position as the cardio move above.  Start in a push up position on the left-most side of the poles.  Do 1 push up.  Now step your right hand and right foot to the right, over the first pole to the inside "lane" (left side follows so you're now in a push up position on the inside of the poles).  Do another push up.  Then continue to walk yourself over to the right-most side of the poles and do another push up here.  Reverse the move to walk back over to the left, stopping to do 1 push up in each "lane".  Continue the pattern for 1 minute.

Chest Squeeze + Pulse + Hold (10/10/10 x 2) - start standing with one pole held parallel to the floor, palms facing up toward the ceiling, hands at the ends of the pole.  Using the resistance of the pole, slowly press inward keeping your arms straight.  Once pressed in as far as you can, slowly release the pole back to starting position.  Do 10 slow presses, then hold the pole in and do 10 slow pulses (tiny presses).  Once 10 pulses are done, press the pole in as far as you can again and hold that position for 10 seconds.  Do this twice through.

- Repeat round 2 two more times -

Round 3: Abs (x 3)

Cardio: Lateral Bounding Hops - lay the poles down end to end to form a line on the floor. Starting at one end of the line on one side, swing your arms down by your sides, bend your knees and jump over to the other side, trying to cover as much distance as you can.  Land softly and immediately load the next jump, then hop over to the other side of the line.  Continue the bounding hops down and back for 1 minute.

V-ups w/ Chest Squeeze - start laying down on your back, holding one pole in your hands overhead, pole relaxed with an overhand grip.  From here, do a V-up by engaging your abs to bring your legs and upper body off the floor while simultaneously bringing the pole up overhead to reach out in front of you, squeezing your hands together as you raise.  Reverse the move, lowering your body back down to the floor and releasing tension on the pole as you lower.  Keep going for 1 minute.

Raised Leg Wall Sit - alright, fair warning: these ones are HARD.  I don't expect you to hold this position for the full minute, so do what you can, take breaks, and get back into it when you're ready.  Start in a seated position, lower and middle back flat against a wall, legs bent with heels touching the floor.  Your feet are flexed, balancing one pole on top of your ankles (see picture). Place your hands on the ground between your legs and press.  Lift your legs up off the floor as high as you can, engaging your abs to do so.  Hold that position for as long as you can, taking breaks when you need to.  Keep going for 1 minute.

- Repeat round 3 two more times - 

And now for the fun part...

WIN A PAIR of BungyPump Walking Poles!

BungyPump Walking Poles Giveaway!

That's right!  You can win a pair for yourself!  The poles themselves range in price depending on the resistance you choose, but the ones seen here (the Walkathlon line) are priced at $135, so I'm excited to be able to offer a pair for free to a lucky reader!  This is a raffle-style giveaway (entry options are below), and the winner will be announced May 17th!  Good luck to you all and I hope you enjoy the workout!

[Update] 15% off BungyPump Poles with code INFITINHEALTH

The giveaway might be over (congratulations to Sonya!), but I'm not leaving you guys empty handed.  Use code INFITINHEALTH to get 15% off ANY BungyPump pole set!  Click here to check out the different styles, and make sure to check back in and let me know how you like them!

Readers: chat with me!  Do you do a lot of active/outdoor walking?  Do you use walking poles?  Have you ever "thought outside the box" when it comes to exercise equipment (if so, what have you used)?  What exercises would you do with the poles if you won them?

Walking The Talk: 7 Benefits of Walking + The Surgeon General's Call to Action

Today I'd like to take a step away from the more difficult workouts on the blog and talk to you a little bit about regular simple physical activity like walking.  How often do you get outside and walk?  Maybe you take your dog for a walk every morning?  Or perhaps you take a walk with your family in the evening after dinner?  What about during the workday?  Do you make it a point to get up and go for a walk midday to beat the workday slump? 

Walking the Talk: 7 Benefits of Walking + The Surgeon General's Call to Action

There are so many benefits of regular movement of your body, and walking is one of the easiest ways to move your muscles and joints (infographic below).  This post was inspired by information from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in their support of the Surgeon General's recently announced campaign: Step it Up! A Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities.  This campaign helps promote individual walking and walking groups within communities all across the nation in its efforts to reduce sedentary lifestyles and help raise awareness about the importance of daily physical activity.

Infographic c/o ACE's Walk the Talk Fitpro Toolkit

We've heard it time and time again - heart disease is THE leading cause of death in this country, with over 611,000 deaths reported in 2013 alone.  And the most contributing risk factors for heart disease are a lack of physical activity, and, in combination with a poor diet, obesity.  Let's just think about that for a minute.  Over a half a million people (HALF A MILLION) die each year because their heart failed to do its job.  Their hearts were put under too much stress carrying around extra weight due to poor diet, remaining sedentary, and dare I say, just plain laziness.  Let this be a wake up call to you.  If you are sitting on your couch, in your desk chair, or wherever you are right now reading this, I want you to get up.  Stand up.  Seriously.  Go stretch your legs and walk around for just 1 minute.  Don't worry, I'll wait...

(Insert Jeopardy theme song here...)

Back from your walk?  How was it?  Do you feel like you have more energy?  Good!  One of the easiest ways to combat obesity and start a daily physical activity habit is to walk, like you just did.  Wasn't that bad was it?  This reminds me of a pretty inspiring story I heard on ACE's 15 Minutes to Wellness Podcast about a man named Lee Jordan who started his fitness journey by walking 30 seconds (30 SECONDS!) a day.  Lee started this journey at 450 pounds.  He lost over 275 pounds and it all began with putting one foot in front of the other for 30 seconds a day.  I highly recommend that episode of the podcast, in addition to all the others in the series.  Really, check it out!  Click here to listen to Lee Jordan's interview and learn more about his journey.

The Surgeon General's Goals for the Campaign

Okay, back to the campaign and what this means for you.  The Surgeon General is putting out a call to action for all Americans to get involved in this campaign.  The goals of the campaign are simple and most of which you can help with by simply getting active yourself and in your community.  The number 1 goal is to make walking a national priority by encouraging individuals, families, and communities to get out there.  Other goals include making communities safer and more walk-friendly by installing sidewalks and streetlights, as well as providing education to the public on the benefits of walking and to professionals on how to engage their communities.  For a full list of the campaign goals and details of each, click here.

Walking Fun Facts

All that was pretty doom and gloom (sorry!), so how about some fun facts for a more light-hearted approach!  These facts were taken from the list of 52 Fun Facts in the American Council on Exercise Fitpro Toolkit.

Walking facts c/o ACE's Walk the Talk Fitpro Toolkit

How Can You Get Involved?

You might be thinking this is all well and good, but I'm too busy to go for a walk in the morning or after dinner.  To that I say remember Lee Jordan's story.  Small increments.  The walks don't have to be hour-long endeavors.  To all the readers of this blog, I challenge you to join me in a 10-minute walk every day for 2 weeks (starting today) wherever you can find the time.  Take your dog out in the morning before work.  Take a walk with your kids after school.  Go for a walk with coworkers on your lunch break at work.  Take a walk by yourself whenever you need to clear your head.

If you're on social media, particularly Twitter and/or Instagram, I'd love it if you joined me in using the hashtag #StepItUp to show your support!  You can tag me (@infitinhealth) and ACE (@acefitness) and join us all in creating a healthier nation, one step at a time.

Readers: chat with me!  How was your weekend?  Do you get a walk in frequently during your day?  If not, where can you find the time to add in a walk?  Do you walk to work, school, or elsewhere usually?  What about around your neighborhood?  Will you join me in the #StepItUp campaign?

Note: This post is not sponsored by ACE in any way.  I received the Walk the Talk Fitpro Toolkit because I am an ACE professional.  This post is simply my way of sharing that information with all of you and encouraging us all to get up and be active!

My Adventures Around Australia Part 2: Kangaroo Island

Warning: LONG post ahead...

Welcome to part 2 of my Australia Adventure series!  Part 2 is all about Kangaroo Island - an amazing little island off the coast of South Australia that's full of wildlife, nature, and breathtaking views.  To give you an idea of where it is in relation to the rest of Australia...

Okay. So, Kangaroo Island (KI for short) is in South Australia, pretty much off the coast of Adelaide, which is where the main part of my trip took place.  We were very close to it!  The second map shows the general path of the tour bus, outlined in red, that took us from Penneshaw (far right tip of the island) to all the main tourist attractions.

The tour we went on was an all-day event starting at 6:45am and going until about 10:30pm.  So I set my alarm the night before for 5:45, and snoozed until 6am thinking I had another 45 minutes to get ready.  Well, I got a call at 6:15 saying our bus was downstairs and waiting.  Um, what?!  Needless to say I scrambled, didn't have time for anything other than throwing on some clothes and heading out the door.  That was a wonderful start to the day, but despite that I was really looking forward to the trip.  We took a bus from Adelaide down to Cape Jervis where we got on a ferry which took us to the island.  The ferry ride was a little wavy and took some concentrating not to get queasy, but I managed.  Straight off the ferry and onto the tour bus we went!  We had 4 main tourist stops along the way: Seal Bay, the Koala Walk, the Remarkable Rocks, and Admiral's Arch.  Keep reading for details about each! (Pictures are at the very end...)

TOURIST STOP 1 | SEAL BAY

Well it's obvious that we saw seals so I won't bore you with that detail.  I bet you might think seals are lazy creatures just lounging on the beach all day sunning themselves.  Yes?  Well I'll tell you they're not!  In fact, far from it.  According to our tour guide, once the female seal gives birth, she swims out to sea as far as 150km to dive for food.  Not terrible you might say, but get this: she dives for 3 days.  Straight.  That's 72 hours of non-stop diving to collect food, coming back up to the surface, and then diving back down again to collect more food for her pups.  Not to mention the long swim back to shore - I'd be utterly exhausted after that!  No wonder they sleep for so long!

TOURIST STOP 2 | KOALA WALK

This one was fun!  There was a little nature preserve filled with paths of trees where you could walk through like you were in a forest and look for koalas.  They were there, hiding in the nooks of tree branches just chillin', eating their eucalyptus and generally enjoying life.  Though I'm not sure they really enjoyed us pestering them with flashes of cameras, poor little guys.

TOURIST STOP 3 | REMARKABLE ROCKS (my favorite!)

Okay, this had to be THE coolest tourist attraction on KI that we saw.   The rocks, not kidding, looked FAKE right up until you actually touched them.  It was AMAZING.  The funny part was that these rocks were basically a cliff on one side, being on the edge of the ocean, and there wasn't a barrier to protect people from falling.  Our tour guide explicitly told us to be careful and use our own judgement: "Okay people.  There's no barrier between the rocks and the ocean.  People have fallen.  Use your judgement and don't be stupid."  Hah, okay... use common sense.  Got it.  In America, that's a lawsuit waiting to happen!  Anyway, these rocks were just stunning.  See the pictures below in the album.  The views, the scale of the rocks... you don't appreciate any of that until you're right up next to them.  I mean, jeez, some look like CAVES once you see how gargantuan they are with a person next to them!  They're 500 million years old (yes, that's true) and they're all granite boulders that have been cut, chipped, or otherwise carved purely by nature.  Breathtaking and truly remarkable, I'd say.

TOURIST STOP 4 | ADMIRAL'S ARCH (What? There's an "arch" down here?) 

Okay, for some reason this attraction wasn't too impressive to me, but it was still neat to see.  However, I wasn't too sure what we were supposed to be looking for when we were walking down to it.  An arch, you say?  Well, maybe that island over there could be considered an arch, but umm... not really.  We kept walking down these boardwalk paths getting closer and closer to the ocean, seeing sea lions and other animals along the way, and still no arch.  "Where IS this thing?!"  Didn't help that I think I missed the tour guide's explanation of what we were looking for and what the thing was.  Finally we walked down a few flights of stairs and turned a corner and there was the arch.  It's a pretty sight, especially when the sun is shining.  The archway itself was carved out all by the sea and wind - no man-made tourist attractions here!  Though I'm not too sure where the Admiral comes in...

PICTURES!


And that about sums up my trip to Kangaroo Island!  Once done at Admiral's Arch, we made our way back to the ferry, and then to the bus, which took us back to Adelaide.  We didn't get back to the hotel until about 10:30pm, and my god I was tired.  But the trip was worth every minute - a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Stay tuned for Part 3 (the best part) of this series - my adventures in SYDNEY!!  You'll hear about how I spent my birthday on the Sydney Harbor Bridge, how we went to the "manliest" of beaches, got a sunburn, toured the Opera House in the rain, and much more.  Hope you are enjoying this series!  Until next time, stay happy and healthy!