Category Archives: Moves I Love

6 Reasons To Warm Up Before The Workout

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I have witnessed the neglect many times around the gym. The eager beaver ready to workout arrives at the gym, heads straight to the bench press (or whatever exercise), slides a couple of plates on the ends of the bar and begins a painful workout. Warming up before a workout is so important. Why? The body has to be gradually prepared for the stresses that are about to be upon it.  Below are 6 reasons given by the American Council on Exercise on why a warm up will benefit your workout.

1. Core body temperature increases which leads to more efficient calorie burning.

2. The elasticity of the muscles will improve which will help prevent injury.

3. The joint range of motion will improve.

4. A good warm up will stimulate the neural message pathways to the muscles, which results in better muscle control and reactivity.

5. Warm ups help prevent lactic acid buildup which will lead to better workouts because the energy systems are able to adjust to exercise.

6. Warming up psychologically prepares you for higher intensities by increasing the focus on exercise which will lead to better, more efficient performance.

 

In my opinion a proper warm up is anywhere between 6-10 minutes. I prefer some type of exercise performed at a gradual pace to prepare my body for more intense work such as cycling, jogging, jump rope, or body weight exercises. If my workout is to run, I warm up by performing a slower jog. I like to gradually build heat within my body to where I begin to sweat. Then the magic happens! My workouts are always much stronger with a proper warm up. Do your body good, warm up, it will make your workout more enjoyable 🙂

Be honest, do you skip the warm up to save time?

 

*All exercises are not suitable for everyone. Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise or workout program.

Stop! Drop! And Mountain Climb! #FitIn5 Day 4

Today is a little different. I find that when I take breaks during the day and move around a little more, I feel more energized. Our bodies are made to move, so if you have a job where you are sitting for long periods of time, it is a great idea to stop for a minute or two and move around or stretch. This is where Day 4 of the 29 Day #FitIn5 Challenge comes in. Let’s #stopdropandmountainclimb! This may encourage you to #stopdropandmountainclimb or #stopdropandcatcow check it out!

http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/the-health-hazards-of-sitting/750/

Stop Drop and Mountain Climb for 1 minute five different times during the day which will total 5 minutes of your day. That is not much to ask and you will see how energetic you will feel after. Always modify when necessary but keep it going for the full minute. It is basically plank position with alternating knees to chest, keeping the abs engaged and breathe. It can be done high intensity by picking the feet off of the floor or low intensity by tapping the foot to the floor. Do what you have to do, just keep it moving. Boom!

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I would love to see photos! Tag me on IG at @nthefitzone, comment here, or post to my facebook page. Keep it moving and stay positive.

Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.

Pilates For Runners, The Shoulder Bridge

This is part two of the Pilates for runners. I hate getting sidelined by a stinking injury so I try to do exercises to keep my quardriceps, hamstrings, glutes/piriformis and calves strong. Strength in these areas will help decrease my chance of knee injuries and instability.

This exercise is called The Shoulder Bridge which strengthens the areas mentioned above. I was reading a great article at www.ideafit.com about this exercise. I do it often so I thought it would be a good one to share. First, I come into supine position walking my feet close to my butt and I try to align my heels with my knees and my arms and shoulders are by my side.  As I inhale I lift my back off the floor one vertebrae at a time until my hips are as high as possible. I exhale. I then support my hips with my hands, engaging my glutes as I inhale the bridge a little higher. If I need to modify, I just stay in the first bridge position with the arms and shoulders by my side inhaling and exhaling as I lower and lift 6-8 times. If I want to progress further, I add the single leg lifts. I inhale one leg up and exhale back down to be parallel with the other thigh. I do each side about 6-8 times before slowly lowering the bridge down to the floor. I transition slow and controlled and I always focus on maintaining length in my spine throughout the movement. I engage my inner thighs to make sure my knees do not open.  I finish by bringing my knees to chest to relax.

Beginning/Modification:

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Shoulder Bridge with single leg lifts/advanced:

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I will continue this series of Pilates for runners later this week, so be sure if you are interested to check in again. I know there are a lot of fun races going on this time of year, so these might be exercises you may want to try. Always check with your own physician if you are starting any new exercise program. I do recommend if you have never done Pilates that you find a qualified teacher to get you started.

Hey runners, what do you think of color runs? I am thinking of doing one.

Planks and Gluten Free Pizza Crust

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One of my favorite exercises ever is any form of a plank. Planks work the entire body when done correctly. This exercise is plank diagonal knee which engages the core, strengthens the arms and shoulders, and keeps the heart rate up. I start in high plank position and then bring one knee toward the opposite arm and then alternate. I focus on a steady pace, good control and alignment. I usually do 2-3 sets of 20 within my workouts.

It was just one of those nights when I wanted pizza. I worked so hard on my planks this week, so I thought I would splurge.  I came so close to ordering Mellow Mushroom but I decided to create my own. Earlier in the week I bought the gluten-free crusts. I have never tried it with pizza so this was a first. I found turkey pepperoni, sweet baby bell peppers, onion, mozzarella and fresh basil for the toppings. This was so easy to put together, I just sliced and diced it all and baked for about 15-20 minutes. I enjoyed the crust. It was thin and crispy just like I love.

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Would you plank for pizza? Show me your most creative plank and tag me on twitter or Instagram at @nthefitzone.

ABS, PUSHUPS, BOX JUMPS, PLANKS

Do you ever get bored with the same exercises? Well, it is always a good idea to shake up your routine. Have you ever heard the saying “muscle confusion”? Our bodies are very adaptable. After doing a certain exercise for a period of time and in the same way, our bodies tend to adapt to it which will produce less results or changes. I think it is always a good idea to confuse your muscles with a wide variety of exercises. This could also be referred to as cross training. Everyone wants to see results from their workouts but also, we all need a good balance of exercises which will help decrease repetitive use injuries as well as boredom. So shake things up and cause a little confusion in your next workout. That is what I have been doing and it is working for me.

Here are a few exercises I have been doing lately.

For my abs I tried this ab slide exercise. I used a towel on a hard surface. I lined my shoulders over my wrists, engaging my core, I slide out to where my shoulders, hips, and knees are in a line. I then slide back to the start. I do as many as I can with good form.UAabslide

The next exercise I have been doing are DownDog Pushups. I get into my downdog position. I bend through the elbows as I gaze toward my hands or I could point the crown of my head toward the ground. I do as many as I can with good form.

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The next exercise is one that is out of my comfort zone but I do it on a low step and I am getting better. It strengthens the lower body as well as increases my cardiovascular endurance. I have a sturdy box as I squat and jump up onto the box with both feet landing in a squat position. I then step down and repeat. Tough one!

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The last exercise is a variation for plank. I love to plank but this adds just the challenge I needed. It of course works the core but also kicks up my shoulder strength by adding front (or side) raises with a dumbell. I get in plank position but with a wider stance for my legs so my hips will face the floor. I alternate front raises with the dumbells. I do as many as I can with quality form. Remember, never sacrifice form just to do more. More is not always better.

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How do you shake up your routines? Let me know 🙂

This blog is written by me and it describes my own experiences and opinions. Consult your own doctor before beginning a new exercise, new exercise program or new nutrition program.

Back Pain And Fatigue In Corporate America! Release It With Yoga!

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Do you work for hours at a desk in front of the computer? Do you find yourself slouching most of the day? Have you developed back pain and fatigue? I have had many clients over the years in this situation. We live in a “seated” world today. We do not move as frequently as we used to.  If this sounds like a problem you have, take little breaks during your busy day to just walk a bit and do a little stretch to help combat your daily fatigue.

One of my favorite yoga stretches is downward facing dog. This stretch is fantastic for lengthening the spine and relaxing the back muscles (strengthens and tones the upper body too:). To do this stretch, I start with a couple of deep inhales through the nose and exhales through the nose. I come on to all fours in a table top position. I then lift my hips toward the sky. As I gently open the hamstrings, I let my heels drift to the floor. I do not force the stretch. I spread my hands like starfish creating a strong base through the upper body. I let my head hang relaxed between my arms. I am gently squeezing the muscles in my legs keeping and active stretch throughout my body. I breathe deeply and steady as I feel my back lengthen and relax with each breath.

If the corporate world is tying you up in knots, take a deep breath, do a little down dog, and exhale. Your back may thank you.

Disclaimer – This blog describes my own experiences and my opinions. Consult your own physician before beginning a new exercise or nutrition program.

Top 2 Favorite Fat Busting Exercises – The Burpee and The Tire Flip

Hello World,

Fun times were had over the weekend. The Supermodel turned 1-year-old. We celebrated with a little mini meatloaf cake. She loved us singing Happy Birthday to her. We watched her enjoy her meatloaf as we enjoyed my Mega Vege Pizza. It has been 13 days of no meat consumption by the humans around here. The little experiment is going well. We do enjoy vegetarian meals, however, I am finding that for myself I tend to have eaten too many carbs during this experiment. I think I have been around the house too much where I tend to eat mindlessly and since I am not eating meat I am going for the not so great carbs instead. I cannot speak for the husband, but I am excited for Saturday to arrive. I will complete this experiment but then I will be back to one night a week steak night, chicken a couple of times a week, and our usual fish etc..However, I will be very selective on where the meat comes from. I think it is important to research and find the best quality foods. My goal now will be to buy quality grass-fed beef and organic chicken. I am not a fan of pork, deli meats, hot dogs, or any processed meat stuff anyway so that will not be a problem.

Now on to my top 2 favorite exercises right now.

  • The Burpee – this is one of my favorite exercises because it is an exercise that works the entire body at once which burns lots of calories. Lots of muscles are worked during this exercise so it is time efficient. Burpee training improves the anaerobic system and increases the metabolic rate (this is great if your goal is weight management). I will be doing a Burpee Challenge tomorrow. I will see how many burpees I can do in 1 minute. I will post it and I challenge you to find your max Burpee or beat mine 🙂
  • The Tire Flip – this is one of my new favorites because it is fun, works the cardiovascular system, plenty of muscles are involved so calorie burn is high, and it is time efficient. Bootcamp style workouts include this exercise. I have a little competition going on with the husband. Last night we flipped the tire 40 times. His time was 1:09 my best time was 1:19. I will beat his time.

Below is my little demo of The Burpee. I will video my Burpee Challenge tomorrow. Who wants to bust some fat and accept my challenge?

Forget Boring Crunches, I Am Squatting

There are a few definitions of the word squat. According to Wordhippo, squat means to crouch or sit with one’s knees bent and with one’s heels close to touching one’s buttocks or the back of one’s thighs. Another definition is to unlawfully occupy an uninhabited building or settle on a piece of land. Also, to squat can mean an exercise in which a person squats down and rises again possibly holding a barbell or dumbbells.

This last definition is the type of squat I am referring to, the exercise The Squat. Squats are one of my all time favorites. I love to do this exercise because of all the benefits which I will soon describe.

If I am short on time and need a quick and effective workout, I always do a few sets of some type of squat or different variations of squats. They are not only a great lower body exercise, but also when done correctly squats work the core (all the muscles surrounding the midsection) and the upper body. I never spend too much time doing boring crunches to work my abs when there are great exercises like the squat which will give me more bang for my buck (that saying annoys me a little, but it is true).

Here are the benefits for The Squat:

  1. Improved mobility in the ankles, knees, hips and spine
  2. Joint support – leg muscles get stronger as well as joints in lower body (toughens the knees and ankles and their supporting ligaments and tendons) which will help prevent injury especially as the body ages
  3. Improved balance by nourishing the nerves that control movement in that area
  4. Strengthens and tones the core – the abdomen and lower back are used throughout the movement which enhances posture and balance and helps in performing everyday physical tasks
  5. Burns more calories than many exercises like plain crunches or leg extensions because larger muscles groups are being worked
  6. Increases lean muscle which can enhance fat loss

This is why I love squats. They may be challenging but totally worth the effort. I never regret them.

Muscles used during The Squat:

  1. Quadriceps (front thighs)
  2. Hamstrings (back thighs)
  3. Glutes (buttocks)
  4. Spinal Erectors (low back)
  5. Abdominal muscles (referred to as stomach, but your stomach is an organ inside of your abdomen, just sayin:)
  6. Upper body (if you are holding weight)

So there you have it, lots of good reasons to start squatting. Now I am going to do a few sets right now.

Have you done squats recently? Do you have any squatting benefits to add? Let me know if I forgot one:) Thanks for reading.

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