12-Minute Workout: Whole Body

Today, my alarm went off for my run. Last night, I stayed up way too late. Today, I hit snooze roughly 2,347,834 times. Today, I missed my run.jM2LoC8FitV4c

But never fear! I was able to get my booty outta bed and into my makeshift home gym (in reality it’s a dining room that currently hosts my bike, an extra couch, my desk and all of my workout equipment but zero dining room furniture). I was very short on time and didn’t really want to focus on any one muscle group. So, on-the-fly, I came up with a fun little workout that I found to be just tough enough! Check it out:

Warm-Up:

A brisk walk with my dog followed by some quality time with my foam roller.

Now I’m Ready:

  • Single-arm bicep curl with balance (15/arm) – Stand on one leg and use a dumbbell (or a bottle of wine, a candle, whatever) to do bicep curls with the opposite arm. Tip: To isolate your biceps, keep your shoulders down and pulled back, keep your elbow locked to your side.
  • Hip lifts with a band (1:00) – Lie on your back and pull a resistance band up around your quads. With knees bent, squeeze your glutes to raise your core off the ground. Tip: Make sure the lifting is coming from your glutes, you don’t want to hyper-extend your back.
  • Leg raises with weight (30) – Lie on your back, holding a weighted object (in my case an Ugi ball) above your head. Raise your legs and your arms to meet in the middle, directly over your face. Tip: Focus on keeping your back flat on the ground, don’t let it arch. Also never forget to breath!
  • Back hypers (1:00) – Lie on your stomach with feet spread about hip-width apart, bend your arms and hold your hands just to the side of your head (face down). Now squeeze your glutes and back muscles to raise your shoulders and quads off the ground at the same time. Tip: Squeeze to raise up smoothly, then release slowly back down.

Repeat the above exercises three times through. This may not be the savior of a workout that will shape your beach bod like no other, but it was a very quick, hard-hitting, enjoyable full body routine. Give it a try and shoot me a note if you want better explanations for certain activities!

loveB

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15-Minute Workout: Glutes

Sometimes I sleep through my alarm (don’t lie, you do it too!). And missing a workout can set a bad tone for my day. So, I have mastered the quick and easy, 15-minute workout. I change up the muscle groups, but it’s typically something I can do at my house or outside, without any equipment.

So here’s a simple workout, focusing on your glutes, to try when you’re short on time! TGIF!

Warm-Up:

Getting your muscles warmed-up is really important. Never jump into a workout cold turkey. For my warm-up I do a brisk walk with my dog followed by a very thorough foam roll session. But you could do any number of things to get your heart rate up and your muscles warm. Then give it a bit of a stretch out prior to starting the 15-minute plan.

Let’s Go!

  • Squats: 1 minute – With your feet about shoulder width apart, squat down, slowly and controlled. Be sure your knees do not cave inward as you squat, and stay back with the weight in your heels. Go down as far as you can, comfortably, aiming to get to about 90 degrees. Keep your shoulders up and push your butt out. As you slowly rise back up, squeeze those glutes! Bonus: If you have dumbbells, or an Ugi ball or any other item you wish to hold, feel free to add weight.
  • Side Lunges: 1 minute – Stand with your feet together and step one foot out to the side, lunging down, laterally, to about a 90 degree bend in your knee. Like the squats, keep your shoulders up and push your butt out. Return to starting position and then do the same on the opposite side. Keep all of your movements slow and controlled. Focus on form.
  • Hip Lifts: 1 minute – Lie on your back with your knees bent, heels just a couple of inches from your butt. Lift your hips up off the ground by squeezing your glutes and hold for 1 second. Return slowly and repeat. These sound easy, but if you’ve never done them, get ready for some sore muscles! This is one of those exercises that I love to hate.
  • Side Leg-Lifts: :30 per side – Lie on your side, bend your arm to hold your head up. Tighten your core, flex your foot and squeeze your glutes then raise your leg to about 45 degrees. Again, go slowly to maintain control, form and balance. If you need balance help, bend the bottom leg a bit. Switch sides. A couple of variations exist to make this a little more advanced. You can do the workout in a half side plank, or completely in side plank position or on a bench, if you’re at the gym. But keep everything tight and controlled!
  • Lateral Bounds: 30 seconds – Stand with your feet slightly apart. Hop out to the side, landing carefully on one foot with your knee bent, and allowing the other leg to cross behind your planted one. Then leap the opposite direction. Go slow, pausing as you land to maintain form and control. This is not specifically a butt workout, but is an all-body, stabilizer muscle activity that is just great all around. I do this every single day, no matter what workout I am doing.
  • Back Hypers: 30 seconds – Lie on your stomach with your hands behind your head. Lift your shoulders and legs off the ground, without bending your knees, by squeezing your glutes, quads and back muscles. Be careful not to pull too hard on your back. Return slowly, then repeat.

Try it, enjoy it, work hard at it and have a blast. Cheers, y’all!
loveB

iPhones can be Personal Trainers Too

Hmmm… what to say about the Nike Training Club app? Well, for starters, it’s Nike. Fuelband aside, name me a product or program that Nike has launched in the past five years that hasn’t been amazing.

I take a lot of pictures of my feet...
I take a lot of pictures of my feet…

I had heard about the NTC app before, but I kind of stuck my nose up at the idea of an iPhone app being able to provide me with a good workout. I had a gym membership, I was running a ton, I was participating in November Project and the occasional yoga class. What else could the app do for me?

It all happened one rainy morning. I had recently quit my job, and had been FUNemployed for about a month, and was already tired of running. The rain was coming down in buckets, and there was no way that I was going to go outside. Hesitantly, I opened the app, which I had downloaded months before. I selected a 15-minute workout led by pop star Ellie Goulding, which was supposed to be a total body tightening and toning workout. Riggghhhhhttttt, a musician is going to lead me through a grueling exercise. But much to my surprise, when I completed the 15 minutes I found myself short of breath and completely drenched in sweat. The following days, I could feel the muscles that I had worked. I was actually sore!

So this is me, apologizing to the NTC app creators. I should never have been such a #workoutsnob about your product. And now this is me, telling all of you fine people to get moving and download the app now and be my Nike+ friend! Here’s why:

Benefits of the NTC app:

Russian twists with Christen Press and Nike Training Club
Russian twists with Christen Press and Nike Training Club
  • No purchase necessary  – The app is free, and very few of the workouts require much more than a pair of dumbbells, medicine ball or a step. You can improvise, like I do, with a pair of beer cans, a soccer ball, and a coffee table or park bench.
  • Time equals money – The workouts range from 5-minute stretching/warming up drills to 45-minute total body sculpting drills. There are plenty of 12, 15, 18-minute workouts that I recommend (below).
  • It’s everywhere you want to be (yeah, I stole that from Visa, so what?) – Most of the workouts can be completed in a very tight space. Put out your arms, spin in a circle. If you didn’t hit anything, then you’ve got yourself plenty of room.
  • One size does not fit all – Luckily, you can take what you want and leave what you don’t. Like star jumps. No me gusta star jumps. When I am given an activity that I don’t want to do, I either modify it or choose something else in its place. Plank, sit-ups, push-ups and squats are all easy and effective options.
  • Tips of the trade – The entire workout is narrated and tips for safety and success are given throughout.

My favorite NTC workouts:

Hip lifts hurt so good!
Hip lifts hurt so good!
  • Goal Getter with Christen Press (yay soccer!): 18 minutes – strength moves to sculpt your core and lower body. Keeps your heart rate up, while you tone. Favorite activity: diagonal bounds. 
  • Butt Buster: 15 minutes – tone your tush in 15 minutes? Yes, please! All girls have that one area of their body that they’re super self-conscious about. Mine are my legs and butt. Favorite activity: hip lifts. 
  • Ab Burner: 15 minutes – abs on abs on abs. Keep crunching! Nobody every complained that their stomach was too flat, or that their six pack was just too prominent. Nobody. Ever. Favorite activity: Russian twists.

So, I’ve done my best to leave you with no excuses not to try the NTC app. It’s not meant to replace all of your workouts, but it is a great option for days when you’re crunched for time or it’s raining and you can’t bring yourself to leave the house. You can also bring your phone to the gym and try these workouts there! Now get out there and get toned, you beautiful people!
loveB