Tag: crunches

ABCs + Exercises = Get Moving!

ABCs + Exercises = Get Moving!

I thought it would be fun to do something a little different this week that would be creative, a little out of the ordinary, and something that family and kids, couples, and people of all ages can enjoy together!  In honor of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign and to pay tribute to Heart Health Month it seemed appropriate to put together an “ABCs of Exercises” to get people moving this month and throughout 2015!  So, here are some exercise ideas to get you going!

A:  Ab workout

B: Biking, Basketball, Bicycle Crunches

C: Crunches, Canoeing

D: Dancing

E: Equestrian – Ride horses!

F: Football

G: Game night w/ a twist – do exercises in-between games and snack breaks!

H: Hiking

I: Ice skating

J: Jumping jacks, Jogging

K: Kayaking

L: Lunges

M: Make a fort, make a tunnel, or make something creative outside!

N: Natural surroundings, use your imagination in your neighborhood to play outside.

O: Open Air — because I love fresh air and being outside!  Run, jog, walk, hike, the possibilities are endless!

P: Push-ups, Paddle boat

Q: Quick run

R: Racquetball, Running

S: Squats, Soccer, Skiing, Stretching, Swimming

T: Tennis

U: Ultimate frisbee

V: Volleyball

W: Weights/Weight training, Walking

X: X-treme water park? It’s X…give me a break, there aren’t too many options with X!

Y: Yoga, Yard work

Z: Zoo outing might be an option as long as it involves some walking, of course!

Happy exploring, playing, and moving!  Find your interests and hobbies and use those along with your imagination and creativity to come up with activities that you can enjoy all while moving!


Less may be more…with reps!

Less may be more…with reps!

I was finishing up my workout last night and began thinking about how many people choose to focus on the number of reps they do rather than the form of their rep.  Proper form is very important, and I would go as far to say it is vital to a successful workout regime.  I will use crunches as an example, but push-ups, squats, and lunges are other exercises that are also great examples of how using improper or incorrect form can hurt you rather than aid you in your fitness goals.  So, let’s consider 100 crunches as your goal.  You decide that 100 is a great, solid number and after several years of pushing yourself hard in the cardio room you feel it is time to work on your strength and core by doing crunches.  You begin doing bicycle crunches where you rotate your legs inward and outward as you do your crunch (see the picture below if you are having a hard time visualizing what a bicycle crunch is).  You get to 40 crunches easily, but after 40 you start getting tired yet you continue struggling and forcing yourself through the reps to get to 100.  After pushing yourself through the reps you feel accomplished, but you also recognize that your muscles weren’t actually working at the end like they were at the beginning because you weren’t able to push your arms as close to your knees as you should have due to exhaustion.  This is where bad form is actually hurting you because it is no longer working your muscles in the way that they should be working if you do the exercise in the correct form.  My suggestion and advice is to remember not to do 100 crunches unless you can actually do 100 proper form crunches.  If you cannot do 100 proper form crunches then it is better to do the number that you can do maintaining the correct form.  If you can only do 40 proper form crunches then do 40 proper form crunches rather than 100 crunches with 60 crunches being in poor form.  It is better to build yourself up over time by starting with the number of crunches you can do using proper form and adding increments of 10 reps over time.

My point is if you aren’t where you want to be yet, you soon will be and using the proper form to get there will be much better and will get you there faster than doing improper form because you are playing a “numbers game” in your head.  Remember quality OVER quantity in your workout will help you see your results faster and maintain them over time.

Why is that?  This is because you are using your muscles properly and efficiently, which allows them to be stretched and strengthened in ways that help condition them over time.  In other words, the proper form is ensuring that you maximize your results.  Thus, without the proper form, the muscles you are seeking to improve don’t get worked properly, the muscles become overly tired and lose the correct form, and you don’t make a lasting effect on the body muscles you are working.

So, with that, consider your FORM every single time you are doing crunches, squats, lunges, and push-ups so that you are doing the proper form and thus maximizing your results when you exercise.  After all, if you aren’t using the correct form, the only person you are cheating is yourself because your results won’t be the results you want to see and feel.


Simplicity might just be key!

Simplicity might just be key!

One constant for most people is that their schedule is always filled, life is always busy, and there never seems to be enough time in the day to do everything on the “to do” list.  People often want short, simple, and easy workouts and quick, healthy meals that keep us on track to maintain or reach our fitness goals.  Why?  Because spending time with family and friends is what most, if not all, of us want.  We basically want the cake and to eat it too!  Shocking, right?  Well, obviously, not really.  That is the majority, not the minority, so if you feel this way, you can rest assured that you are not alone.  So, what can you do to still make the most of your day, save time, and not feel like your entire day is dedicated to health and wellness?  Let’s face it, we are often so busy we don’t necessarily think about all the choices (or lack of) that we are making that impact our health.

My solution (and challenge to you) is to find several small and simple (key word is SIMPLE!) health oriented things that you can do that will help change the big picture over time, then incorporate those into your schedule.  I will give you an example of some fitness and health choices that will assist you in creating a more simple, less overwhelming lifestyle.

First off, start with steps and walking.  Grab a fitness tracker, a very basic one that counts steps is all you need.  If you prefer a more fancier fitness watch/tracker, by all means, get what suits you best.  It used to be that 10k a day was the fad and maybe it still is, but don’t stick with fad diets and exercises.  Strive for what works, so get your count to 14k a day!  Yes, that seems like a lot of steps, but think of walking to the bathroom, in the kitchen, at work, etc.  And just in case you aren’t convinced that getting steps are great for you, walking helps with digestion, is great for your bones, and can improve your mood!  You can do it and it really isn’t difficult.  You may be surprised by how many you get!

Next, the fabulous 5: basic weights, lunges, crunches, squats, and push-ups.  This will help build strength and tone your body.  Do sets that work best for you.  I suggest 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps depending on your lifestyle and fitness level.  You can do these in the morning when you wake up, in the evening to de-stress, while you are outside, while you are watching television, etc and it takes a total of 15 to 20 minutes, if that.

The next one may be somewhat difficult for many, but it is important and will make the biggest difference on your waistline and energy level.  Avoid baked goods.  These are salty, sugary foods that provide little to no energy.  While you avoid cookies, brownies, and cakes, turn to water.  Drink at least a gallon of water a day to stay full, focused, and alert, aiding in keeping your energy level high.  Also, turn to fruit and veggie smoothies that you make at home.  Buy frozen fruits if you are rushed for time or buy fresh fruit and have it pre-cut and in containers so it is ready to be thrown in the blender in the morning or evening.  (This doesn’t mean you can’t have ice cream, this specifically eliminates baked goods, BUT like I continually say, everything in moderation, so don’t go overboard with the ice cream!) 😉

That’s it…simple as that!  5 small and simple tips to incorporate into your busy schedule so that healthy choices are being made without even thinking about them! 1) 14k a day 2) Fabulous 5 exercises 3) No baked goods 4) Smoothies 5) 1 gallon of water per day.  That’s it, an easy exercise and nutrition guide to fit into each day without a workout or a special diet.


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