Friday, December 31, 2010

get ready...get set...

Happy New Year's Eve!  I am sitting here on my couch, enjoying a cup of coffee (brewed on my new Keurig coffee brewer, btw-lol) and reflecting on the past year that I have had and looking forward to the upcoming 2011.  I don't know if 2010 has been good or not- weird thought, I know.  But honestly it has been one of so many ups and downs that I think I will remain on the fence- and say that 2010 was just ok. 

Started off pretty crappy, but came back around in February.  I was into school heavy, enjoying every class and learning a lot. That I am thankful for- that I had the opportunity to return to school and finish my Associate's degree with ease and speed!  I never imagined that a year later I would be in massage school, but hey, I figured that I would learn about things that would take me places I hadn't imagined.  That, I think, is a perk of being an adult college student.  You are open to thinking outside of the box, and don't feel like you HAVE to go in a certain order or something that doesn't jive with what your goals are.  Anyway, back to my year...  lol.  Summer was hectic as we moved to Clayton- not something that was planned, but what turned out to be the best move we could have made.  We love our home and being outside of the city 'plat' living is something we all are happy about.  Granted the move sucked and the timing was rough- Morgan's beginning of summer break was happening, plus finishing up my school was a lot more time consuming than I ever thought it would be.  But at least my internship at Personally Fit gave me some great insight to Muscle Activiation Techniques, and reassured me that is what I want to do "when I grow up."  *smile* 
Morgan's transition to a new school has gone (relatively) smooth, thankfully.  I know she misses her friends at her old school, but I think the change has been a good one.  Her grades say so, at least. 

I am hopeful that the upcoming year is a good one for everyone.  I have several goals that I am intent on reaching, and I have made some decisions about my schedule that will allow me to reach those goals without suffering from burnout.  I know some won't be thrilled with my decisions, but I know I have to do what is best for me and for my family.  Well, I hope everyone has a very safe New Years!  Get ready to complete some crazy challenges with me starting tomorrow!  bwaaahaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaa 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Day 25 - We did it!!

Today I know everyone is super crunched for time...  and I like everything to be a complete journey, ending somewhere close to the beginning.  (yes, that was a deep thought moment...)  Today I would like everyone to do 25 jumping jacks... and take a moment to reflect on the past 25 days.  Has it changed your daily attitude about exercise?  Did it become a higher priority for you?  Did you enjoy it- even the physical challenges you didn't like?  Let me know what you thought! 

I have enjoyed this, more than just the physical part of it (although thanks to bronchitis, I will be making up the exercises from this past week during next week) ... challenging myself to keep others challenged it what I have enjoyed most!  I like to use what I have learned to share with you - my friends- and help you to feel better/lose weight/whatever your fitness goal might be. 

I will be blogging on a regular basis and I encourage you to check in - and keep me on task!  I have a bridesmaid dress that is hanging on the back of my door that I must get into by April.  I can't at this point. (well, I can, but isn't very attractive!)  For those of you who have enjoyed this challenge, I will invite you to take part in what I will begin on January 1st.  Let's just say that 25's are 1/4 of what I will do everyday. *wink*

I hope you all have a Very Merry Christmas, enjoy the time with your families and loved ones.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 24 - Windmills

yes, I almost forgot! 

I know several of you are pretty sore after the mountain climbers from yesterday, so this one will help stretch out those sore muscles, while working core at the same time.

Starting position:  feet about shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent.  arms up (so your body is in the shape of an "X")  lower right hand to left foot, back up to starting position.  Then lower left hand to right foot, etc etc etc.  Do this 25 times each side.  Make sure you jog or march in place for about 30 seconds to warm up before you begin.  Enjoy!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 23 - Mountain climbers

Today's challenge is going to get your heart going! This video is excellent for showing technique and speed variation. Listen to your body and adjust your speeds accordingly. Do the same intervals as yesterday, 25 seconds active, 25 seconds recovery, do this a total of 5 times. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 22 - side jumps

wow, what a find!  This gal does a daily fitness challenge that consists of 5 exercises... gee, I am going super easy on you after all!  lol
This entire workout is excellent, but the challenge for today is the 2nd exercise she shows, side jumps. 
Do them for 25 seconds and then rest for 25 seconds.  Repeat the sequence a total of 5 times. 

Day 21 - Guess what today is: More Arms!

You were warned... Today starting position, same as yesterdays: good posture with arms in a squared off U shape.  Yesterday we went back and forth, today we are going up and down!  Everything is level to begin, and you will start with rotating your forearms up (think Touchdown!)  trying to keep your upper arms in place while your forearms go up.  Listen to your body- if you have any rotator cuff issues then don't even attempt this one...  (if you need an exercise to replace, just email me and I'll give you another to do)
25 of this one, then you are going to do 25 with your forearms going down. This motion is small, thanks to our shoulderblades.  You should feel both of these exercises throughout all the muscles in your shoulder. 

Enjoy!  For our last 4 days we will be focusing on cardio moves. How time flies!  You have all done an awesome job of keeping up with the challenges - or catching up when you fall behind.  Keep up the great work!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 20 - More arms!

This one should give you a pretty decent burn... lol.

Starting position:  Standing with our good posture, arms are straight out from shoulders (T), now bend your elbows so that your hands are toward the front. (think of your arms and body making a U- only with corners!) 
We are going to use this starting position both today and tomorrow, so remember it! :) 
Today's challenge goes two ways- forward and back.  Extend your arms so that your hands meet in front of your body, then return to starting position.  (if you have hand weights, this is a great time to bring them out!) We are working our pectoral muscles and biceps, with a bit of assistance from the shoulders.  Do 25 reps of this exercise. 
Now when we take this motion back, we are working our upper backs and triceps.  The motion is not a large one, so just take it back within your comfort zone and squeeze throughout the entire move.  Again 25 reps. 
Hope to see many of you tonight!  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 19 - Triceps

Good morning my workout friends!  Wow, I cannot believe that today is day 19!  6 more exercises and we will be at the end of the 25 day challenge.  Many of you have done an incredible job.  I am very impressed- and I hope that you feel great about your accomplishment, because you have worked hard! 

With that being said, and considering what I have put you through the past week, today is going to be considerably lighter.  Simply because we need another weight lifting exercise, and we need to work our arms a bit more.  Last week was mostly legs and core, this week we are going to focus more on our arms and upper body.

Triceps extension:
You need your handweights for this one (one heavy weight works nicely, if you have it).  If not, just grip the two weights together.  Starting position: weights in hands together above head, arms fully extended.  (Rest of body is in our supportive feet together, knees slightly bent, abs in tight, shoulders back position)  Your elbows are in tight to your head.  Lower your forearms so that the weight touches the back of your neck- keeping your elbows in tight to your head the whole time.  As you extend your arms back to the starting position, squeeze your arms, pushing up like you want to push through the ceiling.  Do this 25 times.

Let me know if you need any clarification, otherwise: until tomorrow...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Beginner Fat Burning Exercise: The Burpee

Happy Saturday ladies! Today we have the Burpee. (great name, I know) It is also known as the squat thrust, if you prefer that name. *wink* This is an awesome cardio workout, we are getting our hearts pumping today!!

This video is great for the modification of the Burpee, so that is why I chose to use it. She does demo the advanced version (including the push up) so you can see what that looks like as well.

What the challenge is: 25 of them, however you would like. Beginners- you can see how that is done in the video. If you are going with the advanced version- I haven't seen them done with a push up until all these videos I have looked through this morning, so feel free to take that out and just do the squat thrust movement. Also, she didn't add the jump at the end- I want you to add a jump when you return to the standing position. (as you stand back up, you lift your arms up and just explode up, adding a plyometric aspect to this workout)

As always, if you have any questions or need clarification, email me, text me, facebook me- just ask!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 17 - opposites

Today's opposites is different from our lower back work from last week.  This time we are on our backs, arms and legs extended.  (Arms above head, think X)  From here, you will bring your right arm and left leg up, touching your foot (or shin, or knee) with your hand.  Return to starting position.  Switch to left arm and right leg.  Main focus here is abs (yes, you see a theme this week...  struggling with that area more than normal, I guess, so I felt we should hit it hard!)  *smile*

25 each side... or more if you are in the groove! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 16 - T stabilization

Good morning!
This video does an awesome job of showing this exercise! The only thing I would like for you to do differently is extend that moving arm straight up toward the ceiling, rather than behind her head as she is showing. If you would like to really challenge yourself, you can go fully extend both arms, using your hand to support you- rather than the forearm as in this video.
We are mostly focusing in on the thoracic spine- or the top part of the back- between the shoulder blades especially.
Really try for a 25 second hold on each side-- but don't feel like you didn't accomplish anything if you have to break it up into sections. This is a very challenging exercise, especially the first few times you try it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 15 - Dips! (not the kind you eat with chips...)

This one will be a real challenge! Just so you know, if you are struggling with finding a place to do these at your home, then join me after class tonight and we will use the stage to get them accomplished!

We are working our entire upper body with this one, but focusing mostly on triceps. This video does a wonderful job of explaining in detail how to do this exercise and a modification suggestion.

Enjoy! See you tonight!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 14 - Ready, Set, PLANK!

Happy Day 14 everyone!  Today's challenge is the plank, the exercise we all love to hate.  *smile*

Starting position:  Face down on the floor, toes tucked under, forearms flat on the ground.  When you are ready, you will support yourself on only your forearms and toes.  Hold for a count of 25, recover for 30 seconds and do it a second time & feel free to repeat as needed throughout your day...  Things to keep in mind:  Keep your bottom down, you want to imagine you have a board running from your neck down to your feet, you want a straight line.  You can modify this if you need to: have your knees as the lower contact point; again keeping in mind you want that straight line from your shoulders down (think of that ramp we talked about on push-up day!)

Have a great day!  Until tomorrow...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 13 - Favorite Exercise Day!

Happy Monday!  (ha.ha.ha.) 

Today I wanted to change it up just a bit... we are at our halfway point of this challenge and I want to know what you think!  Many of you have shared with me that you are enjoying the challenge.  Now I want to know exactly which exercises you love and which ones you don't care if you never do again...

I want you to pick the two extremes today.  From those exercises you have already done, pick your absolute favorite.  Do it again- only 2 sets this time around!  *wink*  If you are feeling daring, change it up from the first time you did it, add a modification (or 2) to make it more challenging. 

Now- pick your least favorite exercise.  Do it again as well- (I'm not going to ask you to do 2 sets tho!)  I challenge you to change it up a bit, add modifications, and see if it changes the exercise for you.

When you communicate to me that you have done the exercises-- PLEASE let me know which one was your favorite and which was your least favorite.  Let me know how you changed them up (if this applies) and how it affected your workout.

Hopefully this weather clears off enough for me to be on-time to class tonight.  Until then!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 12 - crunch around the clock

Wow, this weekend I am 0 for 2 on posting on time and I apologize for that.  But I am here now and I bring you tidings of joy & the challenge for Day 12!

This one is one of my all-time favorite finds.  So many times when people do crunches they don't exactly hit the spots that they think they are hitting.  (working more into the hip flexors than into the actual abdominal muscles we THINK we are working.)  This particular exercise guarantees that you will crunch where you should be crunching. 

I like to use a band with this one (no, not to provide back up music for your excercise-- the band you can use as extra resistance when exercising!)  If you have one, you want to tie it around your thighs.  Mid-thigh works best.  If you don't have a band, you could possibly use an old pair of panty hose- something with a bit of give to it. This is just an extra bonus to your workout, so don't feel this is absolute to completing this challenge. 

So, starting position, you are laying on your back, with your legs up in the air.  Thighs are straight up, knees bent.  Now if you have the band, you want to separate your legs- enough to engage all of your thigh muscles, both in front and back.  From this starting position, you will bring your shoulderblades off the floor, so your lower back is the pushed down into the floor.  Consider a clock... you will start at noon (with your torso) and go in a clockwise circle.  Do this 25 times.  Return to starting position and recover for 30 - 45 seconds.  Lift again, this time going in a counterclockwise motion - 25 times.

I know this can be a confusing exercise, so if you need any clarification on any part of this exercise, please contact me.  Otherwise, I hope you enjoy this one!    

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 11- And we sit...

First off, sorry for the inconvenience of delay this Saturday morning (almost not morning, that is).  I am one sleepy Gina!  I set no alarm, and look what happened! lol.  Anyway, I apologize for being late.

And now...  today we are going to leave our arms alone, since we worked them hard yesterday.  We are going to do a wall sit.  Working our legs and our core.  With your back against a wall, you want to walk your feet out about the length of your own thigh.  Then you scoot down the wall until you are sitting, using the wall for your support.  If this is a new move for you, your thigh doesn't have to be parallel to the floor, just go till you feel your leg muscles working.  Otherwise, sit just like you were sitting in a chair.  Make sense? 

Hold this for 25 seconds. If you would like, do it a couple more times, just give yourself about 30 seconds to recover. 

Hope everyone has a superb Saturday!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 10- Stuck on raises!

Happy Day 10!  Love that it's Friday, too!  Now, I figured since everyone LOVED the calf raises SO much, we would keep it "up" with some shoulder work.  (yep, I crack myself up- I might be a bit sleep deprived this week, so excuse the weak humor) LOL

SO- Lateral and front raises.  We are working the shoulders, so it is important to remember to not let your shoulders hunch up while you are doing these.  If you are, then you are using your abdominal muscles more.  That means you need to take a break.  It is totally fine to break these up, as long as you accumulate 25 (each way, each arm) by the end of the day. 

Starting position: our good ol' feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, belly in tight, shoulders back.  Use hand weights (if you have them- or use soup cans, rocks, whatever you have handy.  this one will probably not work with the use of small children as weights, if it does, you are a beast!)  Arms are down by your sides. In the front raises, you bring your arm straight out in front of you.  How far you bring it up is completely up to you, but as a general rule, you end up about shoulder height. (Make sure to keep your arm straight- but don't lock that elbow!) In the lateral raises, you bring your arm straight out to your side.  I like to alternate frontal raise, then lateral, then frontal, etc.  I usually do both arms at a time, but if that tires you out too quickly, then try: left frontal, right frontal, left lateral, right lateral, etc.

So your total lift challenge is 100- 25 left front/25 right front/25 left lateral/25 right lateral.  You thought your legs were burning yesterday?  Just looking out for my friends, making sure I help them to keep warm!  *smile*

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 9 - Calf Raises

Today we are working on the lower back portion of our leg.  Starting position for basic exercise is feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, stomach in tight, shoulders back. Raise up on the balls of your feet, lower back to floor.  Do this 25 times, and on the final raise- hold yourself on your toes for a count of 25.  (If you need help with balance, stand near the back of a chair or countertop) Then (if you want) you are done. 

If you want more: 
After you hold for 25, then do 25 little pulses (small movements up and down that don't bring your heels back to the ground). 
You can add heavy hand weights to add to the intensity of the exercise.  Have your arms either down your sides or in front of you, whichever is more comfortable for you. 
You can also do this exercise on a step- or any raised area.  Toes go on the stair with your heels off the edge, this allows your heel to go down past your toes in the downward portion of the movement.  If you do this, you are giving your achilles a great stretch. (Of course keeping everything in controlled movements so as to not risk injury!!)

Enjoy this one!  ;)  One of my favorite exercises to torture students with, heehee.  It is the pulses that will get you.  And at least you will be generating some good heat, especially since it is so darn cold out there!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 8 - Pelvic Lifts

Wow- can you believe we are on Day 8 already?? 

Today the challenge is pelvic lifts.  We are working our butts here, people.  *wink*
Starting position is lying on your back, feet flat on the floor (knees are obviously bent in order to get that accomplished!)  Arms are on the floor, along your side, palms down.  Squeeze your buttocks and lift your pelvis up, creating a ramp with your thighs and torso.  Hold at the top of that motion for a fraction of a second- longer if you really want the burn.  25 of 'em.  Have fun! 
For my die-hards out there who love to torture themselves: add a 25 second hold to the last one.  I promise you that you will feel that one!!! 

Enjoy-- see you all tonight!


Biceps, more specifically.  Grab some handweights, some canned goods, couple of rocks, whatever you have access to.  We are going simple today: bicep curls.  BUT we are going to do 2 sets of 25- and work the entire muscle.  First, stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, stomach in tight, shoulders back. (i.e. good, supportive posture!)  Arms are down at your sides, palms facing up.  The motion is to bring the weights up to your shoulders-keeping your elbows in tight to your sides- then return to starting postition.  This is for the 1st set of 25.  For the 2nd set, your arms will be down, palms facing in towards your legs.  Other than the direction of your palms, everything else is the same. (remember to keep those elbows in tight to your sides!) ... These are called hammer curls.

Now, for modifications.  That is really the simplest way to do this exercise- the way to challenge it up a bit: Sit on an exercise ball while doing it- that will engage your core muscles as well.  You can also throw in some balance and stand on one foot while doing the 1st set and switch to the other foot when doing the 2nd set. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful Tuesday! Until tomorrow...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Getting back to it

(Yes, I am posting this early.  I don't trust the "scheduled posting date and time".  Don't want to be late with your challenge- especially since I won't be online all day!  Happy Monday!)

Okay, for those of you just joining us... or if you have missed some days-- NO WORRIES!  Just get BACK to it with this back exercise. (and you get credit if you make up the days you missed-hint,hint!)

This exercise is called 'alternating opposites'.  Lay on your stomach, arms extended.  Lift your right arm and left leg at the same time.  Hold for just a sec, then lower.  Next, lift your left arm and right leg.  Hold, then lower.  Repeat 25 times both sides.

If you are feeling good and want more, go for the full lift- both arms and both legs at the same time.  Or you can try both arms or both legs as a variation on this exercise as well.  If you are feeling this in your lower back (and not in a good way) then don't do the variations.  Again, this does not have to be a huge motion to be effective!!  No matter how you do it, you are strengthening your lower back.  So make sure to use careful, controlled motions. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful Monday.  It is my first day of massage school- wish me luck!!  See you all at class!

Lunging forward at 45 degrees

Wow, not a great start to Sunday... late night of card playing caused me to oversleep! Sorry folks! Here is today's challenge. Don't let this super flexible gal intimidate you. The motion does not have to be huge to be effective! Main points to remember: If you imagine your body is the center of a clock, your right leg will go out to 2:00, and your left leg will go out to 10:00. Keep hips & toes forward! The video she is more angled with the direction she is going, but I want you to keep straight ahead. (Sorry, best video I could find for right now) Remember the knee doesn't have to go down all the way- just don't open up so wide, go down to just where you start to feel it, then raise back up. My friends with knee issues- hang on to a counter or back of a couch to support you- some piece of furniture that isn't going anywhere! You can step out, go down- repeat your reps, and then back to start. OR you can step out, go down, step in and repeat (like the video shows).

Good luck, have fun, 25 each side!

After you are finished, go play in the snow!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pushing it-- with push ups!

I figured I should really 'push' you since we aren't having class today (Saturday).   No, really!  Nice and simple today.  25 push ups, no matter how you do them. *wink*

Of course most of you beasts will go for full out military pushups.  *laughing*

Then there is the modified 'girl' push ups. (if you do this way, please keep your BUTT DOWN!!!- think of your body making a ramp, from knees to shoulders)

If your knees say "NO WAY", then you can do pushups against the wall.  Have your feet arms length away from the wall, shoulder width apart.  Keep your feet in place, put your hands on the wall, bring your torso toward the wall.  (if you need any further clarification on this, just email me)

Enjoy your day!  maybe we all might get an extra bonus workout of shoveling snow!!  That will go well with our wood we chopped... lol

Chopping wood

Okay, so I figured my best bet would be to give you a video for this one.  The chick in the video uses a medicine ball, but will also work with a dumbbell, sack of potatoes, or a small child.  heehee.  Whatever works for you!  Do this one 25 times on each side. 

*please remember to warm up,  get your blood flowing a bit before you jump right in on some of these.  Just walk in place for about 30 seconds, or go through some of the warm up moves we do at the beginning of class.  Especially when you are using weights to strength train, it is so important to warm up-- and cool down! Just give yourself some recovery time.  *smile*

I am so excited by the responses to this challenge!  We have 17 people currently involved.  That is AWESOME!  I can see now that you all are going to test me, I can tell you want to be really challenged, so I am going to have to dig deep and keep it interesting!! 

Have a wonderful Friday!  I will probably post Saturday and Sunday challenges the night before- gonna be honest, I don't want to have to get up before 7am on those days!  heehee.  5am is early enough for me on Monday thru Friday. 

Have fun "choppin' wood"!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Squats...everyone LOVES 'em!

Ok, so today's challenge wasn't as obvious to me as yesterdays.  But I thought back to last night's class and I don't think we did nearly enough of them! LOL  Please don't rush through these- use this opportunity to check your form.  Feet- shoulder width apart.  The motion is down and back- do them right in front of  a chair if that helps you.  (just don't let your rear hit that seat!!)  DO NOT let your knees go forward over your toes!  If you do, that means you are moving down and not back...  You can do them supported (hands on your legs as you go down) or unsupported (arms out in front of you).  You can add weights (whether supported or unsupported).  The motion does not have to be a big one, you don't have to go till your thighs are parallel to the floor to get something out of this!

Extra challenge:  Feeling like you want to push yourself even more?  Like that burn?  Do Stiletto squats... (you need handweights for this one)  Put the weights on the floor, your heels go on the weights.  (please be careful!)  Proceed as normal- although it won't feel normal by 25!! hehehe

25 squats.  Have fun!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jumping for Joy!

Jumping Jacks.  The 1st challenge, the one that gets us all moving today in our quest of 25 days of fitness is jumping jacks.  As I was thinking last night of what would be a great start for us all, I could not get jumping jacks out of my mind.  I thought "certainly there is something different that would be a more suitable exercise for everyone"... but then of course my next thought is "well, I can always explain modifications.  that way everyone can participate no matter what the skill level or fitness level!"  SO... jumping jacks it is! 

Of course if you can, pound out the good ol' jumping jacks from the beginning of sport warm ups or P.E. class.  I know you remember how.  Get your heart pumping, adrenaline flowing.  If your days of jumping have been gone for awhile, then modify- the arms are still the same, but move your legs out/in- alternating (like the step we do in warms ups in Zumba). 

25 of 'em.  You can do it!  (see how easy this is?)

Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

25 Days of Fitness

I don't know it is inspiration from Julie & Julia or what, but I know that I needed something to challenge myself through this upcoming holiday.  I know several of my friends have expressed a desire for some accountablity and perhaps something new that will be the turning point in lifestyle change. 

Enter the 25 Days of Fitness...  Something small to get us through a little less worse for the holiday wear.  This is a challenge for myself and for any of you who are willing to attempt it.  Simply put, it is all about getting us into the habit of daily physical activity.  We will start easy, then progress to more difficult activities. 

For those who wish to journey with me, the daily challenges will show up by 7am.  During the day, at whatever point works for you, complete the challenge.  Then either comment on the post, or send me an email.  Once the challenge is over, anyone who has completed all 25 days will receive 2 free class passes.  There will be a drawing from all of those who complete the challenge for 2 weeks of free classes. (6 classes)
These free class passes will be for classes at the church.

Sounds simple enough, right?  Good luck to us all!  Until tomorrow morning...