ABC Ab Exercise

Want a fun way to eliminate a stubborn lower-belly pooch?  ABC abs will do the trick but be prepared, this might sound like child’s play but it will challenge you!  What makes this exercise fun is to go through the alphabet with a group of friends and think of a healthy food for each letter:-) It serves as a positive distraction from the fire in the abs.

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I’m always on the look out for creative ways to challenge my fitness class and they had a blast with it!  Class ended with lots of chatter and laughs which is music to a coach’s ears.

Here’s how you do ABC Abs:

  1. Lie on your back, extend your legs and pretend that your toes are like pencils and write the A, B, Cs with your feet.  You could even do it old school style and write in cursive;)  The bigger you make your letters the harder you will work.
  2. Place your hands under your lower back to provide support.  If you feel too much tension in your back, or if your hamstrings are tight, go ahead and bend your knees a little bit.
  3. Imagine you have a belt strapped to your waist that anchors you to the floor.  You don’t want your lower back to come off the floor unless you are doing a hip lift to dot the letter ‘I.”
  4. As you write out your letters name a healthy food, for example, ‘A’ avocado.  If you are doing it with a group, take turns.  The longer it takes the person to think of a food, the more time spent holding a contraction!  Yowza!

ABC abs with the kiddos!

I’m thinking I could have a blast doing this with these lil’ angels!  LOL!  This would be a fun way to share fitness and teach them about healthy foods.

img_1824You could have them make letters standing up with their arms in a ‘Charlie’s Angels’ pose;)  Let me know how you share the fun with your little ones!

 

4 Exercises to Target Your Lower Abs

You can keep your abs toned through the holidays with this in-home routine.  If you hate going out in the cold, then this routine will be perfect for you.

Tightening up those pesky lower abs is challenging.  Most of the exercises that target that region involve using the hip flexors, so if they are weak then you may not feel the movement.

Engaging the transverse abdominal muscles that will tighten up your core. To hit this area I’ve put together some unconventional exercises that all build upon a plank.

You will need:

  • 2 hand towels
  • mat
  • smooth surface
  • a rock solid focus

*Make sure you can master a standard plank hold before you progress to these exercises.

Plank Row

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Get into plank position with your towels under your feet.  (The naval is pulled toward the spine and your body is streamlined.) Push yourself back as far as you can while you are pressing into the towels.  Then pull your body back to the starting position.  It’s a small movement.  Keep your body tight and straight the entire time.  Perform 8-12 reps or go for 30 seconds.

Bear

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Get into a push up position with arms extended and hands under your shoulders.  Press down into your towels and pull your feet toward you.  Then, push back to the starting position.  This can also be done by bending your knees and pulling them toward your chest.  Perform 8-12 reps or go for 30+seconds.

Mountain Climber

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Holding the extended plank position, pull your right knee in toward your chest then press back while pulling your left leg in toward your chest.  Perform 16-20 reps (right & left leg is a full rep) or go for 30+ seconds.

Army Crawl

*video on Facebook page, click icon @ http://www.totalbodyandmind.net*

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Get into plank position and tighten up your abs and butt.  Crawl forward on your forearms until you hit the edge of your mat, then crawl back.  4-8 reps (one forward and back is a full rep).

Hourglass Workout Plan: Get Beach and Bride Ready

monroeIf mother nature blessed you with a natural hourglass shape, lucky you!  I’ve been working to enhance my curves for years, and weight training has made a world of difference.  Even Marilyn lifted weights, along with diet, to keep her voluptuous body firm.

You can absolutely create the look of a shapely silhouette by building up your shoulders and back, tightening up the abs and sculpting the glutes.  The Hourglass Workout is a week’s worth of workouts that I’ve designed to create killer curves and burn off body fat.

  • There are 5 workouts with a rest day mid-week.
  • Complete each superset or tri-set then rest one minute before starting the next set.
  • beginners perform 1-2 sets/advanced perform the instructed amount.
  • Use the ab circuit twice a week on non-consecutive days.
  • Cardio should be done at least 3 days a week.  The bootcamp workout on Day 5 is considered a cardio day.

Follow this, along with nutrition tips I’ve provided in the links at the bottom page, to compliment your workouts.  If you would like to receive personalized fitness and nutrition programs, check out my about section and send me a message.

Day 1: Monday— Legs/Shoulders

Superset: 4 sets

Deep squats: 12 reps

Step jumps: 12  http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/box-jump-multiple-response

*modify using a smaller box

Trisets: 3 sets

Walking lunges: 24 total steps

Dumbbell sumo squat: 15

Lateral bound with dumbbells: 30 total http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/lateral-bound-

Trisets: 3 sets

Shoulder press: 15 reps

Lateral raise: 12 reps

rear delt fly machine: 15 reps

Day 2: Tuesday— Chest/Biceps

Giantset: 4 sets 

Dumbbell incline press: 15

Plyo push-ups: 12 http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/plyo-push-up

*modify on knees

Dumbbell fly: 15

Step ups: 24 total http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/step-up-with-knee-raise

Giantset: 3 sets

E-Z bar curl: 12 reps

Dumbbell incline curl: 12 reps

Hammer curl: 12 reps

Jacks: 30 seconds

Day 3:  Rest day  

Day 4: Thursday— Back/Triceps

Superset: 4 sets

Barbell deadlift: 12 reps http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/main/popup/name/barbell-deadlift

Machine row: 12 reps

Giant set: 3 sets

One arm row: 12 reps

Dumbbell pullover: 12 reps

Wide grip pulldown: 12 reps

Bench jumps:

Triset: 3 sets
Cable over head extension: 12 reps

reverse grip pull-down: 12 reps

bench dips: to failure

Step ups: 24 total

Day 5: Bootcamp

Perform 3 rounds for 1 minute for all exercises. Rest 1 minute & repeat.
  1. Weighted Burpees *perform this with dumbbells
  2. Curtsey lunges *holding dumbbells  http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/detail/view/name/kettlebell-curtsy-lunge
  3. Slow floor sprints *a slow controlled version of a mountain climber.  When you bring your knee in toward the chest, don’t let your foot touch the ground.  Hold for a second, then switch.
  4. Axe chop with medicine ball *picture at bottom page
  5. Single leg deadlift *30 seconds on one leg and 30 on the other
  6. Low plank crossover *cross one leg over the other in plank position, almost touching floor, repeat on the other side.
Ab circuit: 3 rounds, rest 1 minute after each round.
  1. Decline crunch: 15 reps
  2. Stability ball pike press/or knee tuck: 10 reps https://healthyjustice.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/total-body-workout-you-can-do-at-home/
  3. Side plank hip drops: 10 each side, hold last rep up for 10 seconds http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/main/popup/name/side-bridge
  4. reverse crunch:  15 reps
  5. russian twist with medicine ball: 20 reps

Ax Chop with medicine ball

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Nutrition and Lifestyle Blogs:

https://healthyjustice.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/get-healthy-for-the-summer/

https://healthyjustice.wordpress.com/2016/06/13/buff-bride-5-tips-to-lose-weight-stay-healthy-for-your-wedding-day/

Backyard Bootcamp Part 2

When it’s a gorgeous day outside and you’re tempted to skip the gym why not try this backyard bootcamp and get ur workout on!👊💪

This is part 2 of Backyard Bootcamp.

Click here for part 1: https://healthyjustice.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/backyard-bootcamp-part-1

You can use these workouts a couple of different ways.

1. Hard core 45 min-1 hour workout:

Do all the rounds and sets from Part 1 & 2 for a fat blasting workout!

2.  High intensity 20 min workout:

Select 2-3 rounds from Part 1 and/or 2 and get in a total body HITT workout!

Backyard Bootcamp Part 2

Warm up by jogging around the block.  Then do some buttkicks, high knees and dynamic stretches.

1st round repeat 3x

Jump with 180 degree turn-6-8 reps

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Push up with rotation twist-8-10 reps

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Tire Roll Outs-12 reps

(keep your abs braced and lower back tight)

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2nd round repeat 3x

Tire Jumps with zig zag sprints-6-8 total

(I jump the tires, sprint in and out between trees; rest 5 sec., sprint back and jump tires to finish=1 set)

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Tire Flips-20 total flips

(use your legs to power up)

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photoI’m available for personal and group/partner training as well as health coaching.  I’m a certified personal trainer/lifestyle fitness coach NESTA/Health Coach NDP. I can work with you locally or out of state.  Send me a message, and I will be happy to share my services with you.

 

Fitness Plan For 2016

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If you have a New Year’s resolution to get back into shape or to become even more fit it’s important to have a plan.  I see so many people in the gym not working out effectively and then they give up because they don’t see results.  A plan would make all the difference because it brings focus and maximizes your time.  

I want you to stick with your resolutions and see positive results so I’ve put together a basic guideline for your workouts.  It’s simple and that is why it can be effective.

I’ve experienced best results with myself and clients who exercise 3-5 days a week with weights and cardio.  It really isn’t necessary for these sessions to go beyond an hour.

Once you master the routine for a solid 6-8 weeks, then add in some small changes.  

Step 1:  Create a weekly schedule  

  1. Decide what 3-5 days you will train on during the week.  

For example, Mon-Wed-Fri or Tue-Wed-Th.

     2.  Decide from the list below, which body parts you will focus on for each day.

  • Back
  • Chest
  • Legs
  • Shoulder
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Abdominals

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Beginners:  Work all of the the body parts 2-3 days a week

Fill in the blank with the days you will schedule your total body workouts:

I will perform my total body workouts on _______________________.

Intermediate/Advanced: From the list, pick 2 body parts to focus on during each workout.

Fill in the blank:

Day 1: (Monday) of weight training I will work ___________and _____________.

Day 2: (Wednesday) of weight training I will work ____________ and __________.

Day 3: (Friday) of weight training I will work _____________ and ____________.

  3) Arrange your cardio to be shorter on the days that you are performing weights.  You can schedule your longer cardio sessions for the days that you are not weight training.

Fill in the blank:

I will perform 2-3 days of 20-30 min of cardio on these days: __________________.

Step 2: Pick your exercises for each body part

Here is a link that provides a library of exercises: http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/

Beginners:  pick 1-2 exercises for each body part from the above link. 

Intermediate/Advanced:  Pick 2-3 exercises for each muscle group.

Step 3:  Putting It All Together

  1. Sample Beginner routine:

Weekly Schedule:  

Mon and Wed:  total body workout with 20 minutes of treadmill or walking outside and 10-15 min of abdominal exercises.

Friday:  30 min of cardio and 15 min of abs

Keep it all on machines.  This will ensure proper form and technique.

Total Body Workout Plan:

Perform one set of  12-15 reps of each exercise.  Rest 30 seconds to a minute after each exercise before moving to the next.  

(A rep is the number of times you perform a specific exercise, and a set is the number of cycles of reps that you complete.)

Leg Press Machine, Hamstring Curl, Chest press machine, Back row machine, Shoulder press machine, Rear Flye machine, Tricep machine, Bicep machine.

Here is a video I did that might help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2kDklUA-js

  2.  Sample Intermediate/Advanced  routine:

Weekly Schedule:

Monday:  Legs and Shoulders

Tuesday: Rest day or light cardio

Wednesday:  Back and Biceps with 20 min of cardio

Thursday:  Rest day or light cardio with abs

Friday:  Chest and Triceps with 20 min of cardio

Workout Plan:

Perform 2-3 sets of  8-12 reps of each exercise.  Rest 30 seconds to a minute after each exercise before moving to the next set.  

Legs:  Smith machine deep squats, Leg extension and Leg press

Shoulders:  Dumbbell overhead press, Lateral raise, rear flye (machine)

Back:  Lat pulldown wide grip, Seated cable row, One arm row

Bicep:  Cable bicep curl, Dumbbell hammer curls, Machine bicep curls

Chest:  Bench Press, Dumbell Flye and Incline Press

Tricep:  Overhead extension, Tricep pushdown, Dips

Abs:  see these articles for workouts: https://healthyjustice.wordpress.com/tag/lower-abs/

https://healthyjustice.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/unleash-strong-sculpted-abs/

Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. Earl Nightingale

Improve Your Posture and Prevent Hunched Shoulders

The secret to looking thinner, taller and confident is good posture.  Improving your posture will dynamically effect your overall well-being.  Think about the person that walks into a room standing tall, head up and gait sure, that’s the person that gets noticed.  A confident man and woman is the one that turns heads and captures opportunities for all the right reasons.  We want that person to be you, so let’s get started.

I. Develop Self Awareness Of Your Posture.

Right now how are you sitting?  Are your shoulders slumped forward and spine rounded?  Or are your feet planted on the floor, shoulders relaxed down and back, spine straight?

Now stand up and just let your arms hang down by your side naturally.  Which way are the palms of your hands facing?  If they are facing backwards, you are rolling your shoulders forward. This is typical especially if you work at a desk all day or if you do a lot of weight training.  Have you ever noticed how guys that have big muscles seem to have rounded shoulders?  Ideally you want your palms to be facing each other toward the midline of your body and thumb up.

You might realize you have bad posture but unless you make a conscious effort it will not improve.   You could go through the whole day with the same hunched back and imbalanced hips unless you remember to pay attention.

II. Posture Check ins.  

  • Write post it notes and place them on your computer or on the bathroom mirror to remind you to have good posture.

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  • Set a  set a Pomodoro timer or an alarm on your phone to take posture and activity breaks every 30 min.  Posture and activity breaks will help you expand your body and think with more clarity.
  • Ask yourself, “how is my posture? Are my ears in-line with my shoulders? Are my feet flat on the floor?”  Sitting for long periods of time will cause you to  get stiff and more than likely you will end up slouching.
  • Ask friends and family to remind you:)

III.  Resistance training specific to improving posture

So much of life is pulling us forward, from reading and writing to cooking and typing, the list goes on and on.  To make a significant change in your posture, you have to get in there and strengthen the under worked opposing muscles and stretch the overworked ones.

Here is one of my favorite exercises at the gym, the rear fly.  I always do light weight and high reps of 15-20.  I pause for a second when I am at this part of the exercise.

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I encourage you to get a band and do the rear fly with it during your posture breaks at work.  Perform 30-50 reps of this same exercise.

When you pull back turn your thumbs to face behind you.

Control the band coming in.

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Here is an excellent workout that you can do at home.

https://www.fitnessblender.com/videos/better-posture-workout-exercises-to-improve-posture-and-prevent-hunched-shoulders

My favorite exercise to open up my chest and to feel an overall good stretch is lying over a stability ball.  ahh…

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With all the hard work you do everyday in and out of the gym, you deserve to walk proud.

 

 

 

Target The Lower Abs With This Move

It can be easy to get stuck in a rut doing the same ab exercises each week.  Training with the TRX straps is an excellent way to change up that stale  routine.  This exercise is basically a reverse curl except you are pressing into the handles with your hands.  This pressure brings a deeper contraction to the lower abs.

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To get the good burn from this crunch make sure you do it slow and controlled.  Draw your knees up for 2 counts, hold at the top for a second, then lower for 2 counts.  Perform 3 sets of 15 reps.