Archive of ‘Exercise’ category
There is something incredibly humbling when you decide to blog on best exercises to lift the booty.
As a sometimes personal trainer and all the time yoga instructor, it’s the body request I hear most often.
What are the best exercises to bring back my 20-something butt?
or, a little more politically correct
I would like a more defined backside
No matter the age of my client or participant, I’ve learned one universal truth: we all want a shapely butt.
I don’t have genetics on my side for this one. However, after repeating these moves for years and years, I have noticed a definite difference.
A hybrid of my favorite pilates and Jane Fonda exercises, this quick series is my go-to when you want to be a little more Kardashian, a little less Kate Moss.
For each of these moves, I ask you to do them until fatigued. Since you aren’t using weights, the number will vary drastically from person to person. Fatigued means “I could not do any more”, not “I don’t want to do anymore”. There is a difference!
The Fire Hydrant
I’ll give you three guesses on why this move is called the fire hydrant.
Begin on all fours, wrists under shoulders, knees under hips. Keeping your ankle and knee in alignment, raise your leg out to the side. Return back to start. Repeat until fatigued. Switch legs.
Begin in the same position as the fire hydrant. Flex your foot and extend your leg up as high as you can, like you are going to kick the ceiling with a flat foot. Really use your glute for this move, trying not to rotate your hip to get your leg higher. Return to start and repeat until fatigued. Switch legs.
Do this move immediately after you complete your leg lifts
Extend your leg straight behind you, foot flexed. Raise your leg until it’s equal to the floor, extended straight from your hip. Pulse up to the ceiling. Repeat until fatigued. Switch legs.
Note to self: remove background items when taking pictures.
Begin in the same position as the fire hydrant. Flex your foot and extend your leg up as high as you can, like you are going to kick the ceiling with a flat foot. Really use your glute for this move, trying not to rotate your hip to get your leg higher. Bend your knee and cross it behind your knee on the floor. Extend back up to the ceiling as high as you can and repeat until fatigued.
Bring your feet together, heels under your hips. Press into your feet and squeeze your butt as you lift off the floor. You want to be a diagonal line from your shoulders to your knees. Continue to contract your glutes and hold for 30-60 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times until fatigued.
What are your favorite J.Lo. worthy moves?
For a few years my office was located in the center of the weight section of the gym.
I’m not kidding.
It’s hard enough to stay focused with the regular distractions of life: text messages, daydreams, bag of trail mix under my desk. Now imagine being surrounded by lots of co-workers and students, mostly men, pumping iron all day long.
Did I mention my office had floor to ceiling windows?
Luckily, I moved into a more professional setting but I occasionally miss the days of staring out into the weight room. Mostly, to spy on what people were chowing down on after a workout.
I saw, and heard, the craziest things. Enough to remind myself that no, most people don’t have a clue about what types of foods are best post workout. They do have lots of thoughts on the subject though.
Whether your a weekend warrior or weeknight gym-goer, you’ve probably heard a lot on the importance of eating before exercise. It’s equally important to discuss what to eat after a workout, perhaps even more so than the pre-exercise meal. After workout nourishment is critical to recovery and improves your ability to train consistently.
First up: Hydration.
A basic rule of thumb to ensure that you are consuming enough fluids: weigh yourself before and after exercise, drink 16-20 fl oz water for every 1 lb lost.
Sounds great in theory, but is it practical for most of us? I don’t own a scale. I don’t really see the point and I am not about to start weighing myself multiple times a day to make sure I am drinking enough water down to the exact ounce. I do offer this suggestion for the athletes that I coach, but not all of them are on board.
An easier option? For starters, stay hydrated all the time. Keep a water bottle with you to drink from throughout the entire day, not just immediately before and after exercise. If you’re consistently drinking before, during and after exercise, you should be ok. The best way to measure hydration levels is to monitor the color of your urine. Lemonade is preferable over iced tea.
Dehydration CAN happen, especially when running for over two hours or in the heat. In that case, I recommend drinking a beverage that contains sodium. Sodium increases fluid retention, facilitates thirst, and helps to maintain proper electrolyte status, all which are essential for optimal sports performance.
Second: Recovery nutrition.
You have two main goals after you exercise: restore glycogen loss and repair muscle tissue.
Carbohydrates are essential in restoring carbohydrate stores, which were likely depleted after your workout. If you want to get fancy, consuming 0.3-0.6 grams of carbohydrate for each pound of body weight is recommended to build glycogen stores.
Protein is the other essential component of the post-workout meal. Amino acids are necessary to rebuild damaged muscle tissue, among other things in the body.
For optimal results, enjoy both of these macronutrients- not one over the other. I’m looking at you protein-powder fanatic guy who only mixes his with water.
Combining protein with carbohydrate nearly doubles the insulin response, which means you store more glycogen. Refueling with carbs and proteins provides greater muscle glycogen stores than either carbs or protein alone.
My go-to meals and snacks:
Chocolate Protein Bites
Banana with 1 tbsp. nut butter
Tofu scramble (tofu, lots of veggies), whole wheat tortilla
A greek style yogurt with oatmeal & fruit
Post workout shake: spinach, protein powder, almond milk, 1/2 frozen banana, 1-2 dates, 1 tsp. chia seeds, 1-2 tsp. cocoa powder
Creamy Protein Kale Salad
PB&J and Chocolate Soymilk
Since it’s important to eat within 45-60 minutes post workout, find what works for you. Since I often workout in the morning, I make my breakfast my ‘post-workout meal’ and don’t give it much thought. If you train in the evening or during the afternoon, consider a small snack afterwards until you can get to the next meal.
Gaining weight, even though your training harder than ever? I discuss weight gain and running.
What’s your favorite post workout meal?
Week 6 of our Running Challenge is here! Are you still with me?
Before we get chatting, let’s pause for a little motivation/inspiration.
Love that! Especially on days I don’t want to go anywhere.
And my other favorite. Bam! Why do you run? I run mostly for me time & mental clarity. (sometimes I run to enjoy more margarita’s)
Are we motivated yet?
Do you need more?
Today’s Topic: Outside or Treadmill?
Most of us, I am guessing, are going to say outside. Outside, especially on a nice day, doesn’t even feel like work. It’s just enjoying the scenery, fresh air, and pace of whatever you’ve got to give.
I’m pretty lucky in the fact that Northern California weather, for the most part, is almost always sunny. Except for a few days here and there, I can count on dry, sunny skies to accompany me. I do have to deal with 100+ days in the summer, but I also run at 6AM so it doesn’t impact me too much.
I’ll be honest. I dread the days I have to go indoors. Especially if I’ve been on a kick with good outdoor runs, then being indoors feels like beating my head against the wall as I eye every minute on the treadmill.
You too? Sometimes though, you just gotta do it. If it’s raining or miserably cold for a few weeks, we can’t stop. Upcoming races wait for no one. I’ve learned that multiple times with shin splits, stress fractures, and other injuries.
There are benefits to running indoors: It’s safer (I don’t run alone at night. I’ve watched enough law&order SVU to know that), You can pace yourself better (nothing like having a moving belt underneath you for motivation to keep your speed up), you can vary the terrain (practicing for the SF marathon but live in the flat-as-dirt valley? Make some hills on the treadmill!)
So, while I prefer the outdoor space as much as possible, here are top-tips to making your indoor workout just as fun.
1. Put on your favorite show: If you’re fortunate enough to have a treadmill near a TV, find a favorite show or channel and run to it! Most gyms use closed captioning so you can read the dialogue as you go along. You’d be amazed how mindless reality TV can be, to me it’s the perfect thing to run to. I am so much more concerned with their failing lives than how many miles I’ve completed.
2. Switch up the Tempo: Maintaining a constant speed can be a real buzz kill. Switch it up! Add time intervals, tempo changes, ect. to make it more fun. Plus! Intense interval training will burn more calories and get you done faster. If you’re new to training- try a few different time intervals. Push yourself for 60 seconds, recover and repeat. Not only will you get a more efficient workout, you’re also training your body to run faster.
3. Don’t change anything: I don’t get the people who are running so fast they have to lean on the railings/console just to stay on. How is this good for you? Seriously. I am so fascinated that they are a moment away from biting it and falling off. Keep your normal stride, and maintain that good form that we’ve been working on!
4. Stimulate the outdoor experience: Why does running on a treadmill seem easier? Oh, that’s right- it is! The track propels you forward, so you have more momentum than being outside. Increase the incline to counteract this- 1-2% incline should do it!
5. ZONE out! Yes, you can zone out while you are outside, but you are more likely to be hit by a car, bike, or texter. When you’re on the treadmill, you’re safe. Zone out, think. Plan. Daydream about the weekend. No one will bother you or touch you. Enjoy the peace and just run.
What are your favorite tips for running either outside or on the treadmill?
New here? Check out Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, of our 12 Week Running Challenge!
Happy almost February! Can you believe the first month of the year is almost over?
Time for a check-in! We are 1/3 of the way through our 12 weeks. Are you still hanging in there? It takes 21-days for something new to become a habit so I hope you have found that with your running! As always, let me know if you need more information from me: workout ideas, meal ideas, ect. That’s my job.
I’d love to know how your progress is going- tell me in the comments!
Today’s post is all about CORE strength.
I’m talking specifically about the muscles of your stomach, back & hips. If you’ve been running with us these past few weeks, you’ve probably already noticed a stronger heart and stronger legs, but core strength could be what’s missing! Weak core muscles can lead to injuries; a strong core improves your performance and helps with distance runs. The stronger your core, the more stable you are as you hit the ground. A well-balanced core also improves your running economy. Result: faster times.
(Plus, don’t we all secretly aim for a tight tummy?)
This is my favorite core routine and one that helps build a strong and stable core. To start, try doing the exercises below, spending 45-60 seconds on each. Rest 10 seconds before going on to the next one. Can’t do 45 seconds? Don’t worry! We are all starting from different fitness levels. Do what works for YOU. Don’t compromise form for time. If you can only do a move for 5 seconds, start there. After your done, take a 5 minute break and then repeat the whole series 2-3 times. Try to do this routine three times a week.
You know how everyone says that you should work out while watching TV? Well, this really is the perfect routine to do while watching TV! There’s no equipment involved and very little space needed.
If you have time for Modern Family, you have time for this. Sometimes getting fit is all about challenging your excuses.
Everyone loves planks, no? I love planks and make my body sculpt classes do them every since day! Why? Well, for one, most everyone can do some modification of it and it’s always a challenge- no matter what your fitness level.
Start by lying onto your stomach and push yourself up to a modified pushup position. You can come to your toes or onto your knees. The goal is to be in as straight of a line as possible, using your abdominal muscles to pull you in and hold. Watch your pelvis. If you feel weight in your low back, make sure you aren’t arching or rounding you back.
Imagine pulling your belly button into your spine to prevent your hips from pressing toward the ceiling.
Do your shoulders hurt in the above versions? Try doing the modified pushup version instead! Drop to your knees and bring your hands underneath your shoulders. Focus your eyes on a spot midway between your hands and slightly forward to keep spine in neutral alignment. Hold abdominal tight so the back remains supported, and keep that straight line from knees to head.
Another goodie. Don’t I look so happy to be demonstrating core moves for you?
This one is a little more advanced, so modify if needed.
Start in a side plank position: Elbow under your shoulder, pressed up onto your toes and forearm. Starting with the bottom leg, pull it in towards your chest while still maintaining your side plank pose. Hold for 5 seconds, place it down and repeat 6 times. Don’t lose your side-plank form. If you notice your hip dropping to the floor, pull it back up. If you can’t hold your hip up, or if your chest falls forward, stop, take a break and try again. Warm up to how many repetitions is right for you.
Repeat, but now with the top leg. Same as before, try keeping your side plank form as you bring your leg up. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 6 times, if able.
Plank with Diagonal Arm Reach
Think back to how you did your earlier plank. If you were on your knees for that one, start on your knees here. If you could hold plank on your toes, do the same for this move as well.
The goal of this move it to stabilize your core as you balance on one arm. Starting with your right arm, extend it out in front of you, at a diagonal. Hold for up to 60 seconds. If your hips start to drop, drop your arm, rest and repeat. Switch to the left arm and repeat.
Plank with Alternating Leg Lifts
Start in the same plank position as you did in exercise 1. Slowly raise one leg off the floor. (Because of the BOSU position, it looks like my toe is resting on it. Whoops! It’s not.) Count to two and slowly lower your leg to the floor. Switch legs and repeat. Build your way up to doing this for 60 seconds.
Plank to Push-Up
My ‘Oh baby’ move!
Start in a pushup position, either on your knees or toes. Your back should be fairly straight and your butt down, in line with the rest of your body.
Moving one arm at a time, come down towards the floor into a fore-arm plank position. Keep your back straight and your abdominal muscles tight.
Once you reach the plank position, move one arm at a time back into the starting pushup position. Again, try working up to repeating these moves for 60 seconds.
That’s it! A quick, 5 series workout guaranteed to improve your core strength, whatever your level. Need less? Try doing all 5 moves, holding for as long as form allows, and then stopping. Need more? Try repeating the moves 4-5 times, with little rest in between.
I’ve got a few more strength and stretch routines coming your way, so be on the lookout for those! What’s your favorite core exercise?