The Best 10 Workouts You Can Do at Home for 2016

Hello New Year! How are those resolutions coming? Are you staying on top of your nutrition and fitness goals? Statistics say by the third week in January, a vast majority of people have thrown in the town on their new-year goals.

If you set fitness goals for yourself this year, I want to give you a new boost of motivation. So I’m writing a new, revamped version of one of the most popular posts I’ve ever written, The Best 10 Workouts You Can Do At Home to give you yet ANOTHER 10 awesome home-based workouts.

No excuses. No gym membership needed. Minimal gear required for some of these. 

You ready????

Here are the BEST 10 Workouts you can do from home (or anywhere!) for 2016

1. Beach Babe Booty. Here is another great booty workout from Lita, a dancer who blogs on Tumblr as Back on Pointe. This girl is truly ON POINT at shaping your booty.

photo & workout compliments of backonpointe

photo & workout compliments of backonpointe

A 100% at-home without a single piece of equipment required. Let’s get it!

2. 3-Minute Workout – ARMS. Who cares about arms in January? You do! Summer bodies are made in the winter! NYC-based fitness trainer Anna Altman designed this no-equipment arm workout to get you ready for tank tops in no time. 

Beginner Arms | thewellnessscientist.com

Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed

3. SELF Magazine’s 6 Moves That’ll Work Your Abs, Butt, And Thighs In The Best Way. 

Reshape-in-6-moves

Photo courtesy of SELF.com

This total-body workout was designed Tracy Carlinsky, founder of Brooklyn BodyBurn to give you a total body burn. Some of these moves are done against a wall, so make sure you have a sturdy spot with plenty of room to move. 

Do the routine two times, switching sides for moves 3, 4 and 5. For best results, do 3-4 times per week. You can watch the workout here to learn the moves.

 

4. 6 Minute Sexy Thighs Workout. Cassie Ho (aka Blogilates) is my go-to girl for sculpted thighs. Everyone LOVED her Inner Thigh Workout that I included in the original Best 10 Workouts post.

Grab a mat, and try this workout 3-4 times a week for sexy thighs!

Need a mat? Check out this one on Amazon:yoga mat

photo and workout courtesy of Blogilates

photo and workout courtesy of Blogilates

 

5. At-Home Barre Workout. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve heard about the ballet-inspired barre workout. I finally tried a barre class just a few weeks ago, and although I’ve been doing Pilates for about four years I still felt sore in places that I’ve never felt the next day.

photo courtesy of SkinnyMom.com

photo courtesy of SkinnyMom.com

This video from SkinnyMom.com will guide you through an at-home barre workout. And don’t worry if you don’t have a ballet barre at home … you can use a sturdy chair or even your countertop to do these moves. A squishy ball is used for some of the moves. If you don’t have one, you can find one for under $10 on Amazon. 

 

6. The Foam Roller Workout. I have super tight hamstrings and hips, and the foam roller is my favorite way to stretch and relax after a workout. If you are a runner, maybe you already have one that you use to roll out muscles. I love the idea that this prop can also be used to sculpt lean muscles!

Photo and workout courtesy of womenshealthmag.com

Photo and workout courtesy of womenshealthmag.com

You can view step-by-step instructions for all of the moves on the Women’s Health magazine website here

 

7. Total Abs Workout. Dying to have those abs of steel? I like this workout called “Total Abs,” which is one of twenty from Neila Ray at trimmedandtoned.com. You can browse all twenty if you’d like OR start sculpting your abs NOW and hit the floor.

Photo and Workout from trimmedandtoned.com

Photo and Workout from trimmedandtoned.com

 

 

8. 7-Minute Workout. This one is a favorite from @workouts_daily. You don’t want to miss this 7 minutes workout. Yep, I said 7 minutes. You can’t tell me you don’t have SEVEN minutes! And if you have more time, perform another set or two. 

Workout and photo courtesy of @workouts_daily

Workout and photo courtesy of @workouts_daily

 

9. The Bra Bulge Workout. Say goodbye to “bra bulge” and annoying back fat with this great little workout from TheScienceofEating.com. 

Bra-Bulge-Workout

photo and workout courtesy of TheScienceofEating.com

Complete the listed number of reps for each of these moves (this is called a circuit.) Then perform the circuit 1-2 more times.

“Pin” this pic to make it easy to find next time. Say “Good Riddance!” to back fat.

 

10. 5 Minutes to Leaner Legs workout. Got 5 minutes? Then you’ve got time to sculpt long, lean legs. 

5-Minutes-to-Leaner-Legs

Photo courtesy of GetHealthyU.com

Perform 12-15 reps on each move (on each side, as applicable). Five minutes, and you’re done! For more detailed instructions of these moves, check out this link.

I hope you found some must-do workouts in this updated list! Don’t forget to warmup for about 5 minutes before starting your workout, and stretch when you are done.

 

The Science of Sensation

Wow, what an incredible week this has been for me.  I have been fortunate enough to spend the past week in Portland, Oregon training getting trained to teach the Nia Technique.  Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that leads to health, wellness, and fitness.  With much excitement for what lies ahead, I am happy to announce that I received my White Belt in Nia and am now a certified instructor.

The Science of Sensation

One of the things that I came to appreciate this week was how important it is to use sensation to understand what my body needs.  It has always been very easy for me to do things in a mindless fashion — eat quickly (often on the go), drive from destination to destination on autopilot, even moving to music via choreography versus having something in the music itself stirring movement in me.  After this week, I have a new way to make sure that I am practicing mindfulness … to ensure that I am taking time to appreciate my experiences, both big and small.

The science of sensation is powerful.  I’m not talking about feelings or emotions such as happiness or sadness.  I’m talking about simply realizing how a part of your body feels and acknowledging it — your eyes after hours looking at the computer, your back after sitting in the same position all day — that kind of sensation.  If you are relaxing, you might simply sense the softness of the fluffy rug underneath you.  As an exercise in self-awareness, I encourage you to stop & sense.  Is there any pain in any part of your body?  If so, move in a subtle way until you feel that pain start to lessen.  Are you comfortable and relaxed?  Sense what that feels like and try to release even further.  

Did this “click” for you?  Please leave a comment below and share your experience!

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21-Day Fitness Challenge – Are You Up for It?

 

I can’t believe that it’s already March!  It feels like this year is flying by.  That being said, I am not a huge fan of winter and cold weather so BRING ON THE SPRING!!

 

I extended another 21-day fitness challenge this past week thanks to Kristi Fauth (aka Robobarbie).  The fitness challenge is all about setting a new healthy lifestyle habit.  It takes 21-days to form a new habit … let’s make it one that is good for our bodies!  Doing this with all of you guys who are participating via the Wellness Science Facebook community is awesome and extremely motivating.  I need that extra motivational boost that accountability to others gives me — don’t you find that helps?

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday, I headed over to Uforia Studios to get my cardio fix Zumba-style.  The 11:45 class with Asya was filled with energy and, as promised, we had fun while we worked our butts off (literally!)  If you have not tried Zumba and you find your regular workouts boring and no longer motivating, I highly recommend you try and class or two.  Zumba is for everyone.  You don’t have to be an experienced dancer.  Just show up willing to work hard and have fun.  It is no surprise that instructor Asya has quite the following.  She adds a little something extra to class by working the room and dancing with everyone.  I’ve never seen anyone end a routine quite like she does either (think back handsprings & splits … yes, I’m serious!)  My abs and hips were still sore for two days after this class, so I must have gotten to some muscles that weren’t used to getting a workout (awesome!)  I will definitely make this part of my new healthy habit.

 

I want to hear from you!  Leave me a comment below this post and tell me about the workouts that inspire you.  Have a favorite class or instructor?  Tell me about those here too.  And don’t forget to stretch … and breathe! :-)

 

 

You may also want to read:

 

How to Get Fit Doing What You Love

 

How to Hold Yourself Accountable

You Can Dance, for Inspiration

 

I started dancing when I was about five years old.  First, I was enrolled in ballet class.  I still remember the sequined orange costume and frilly tutus we wore that year as “Florida Orange Blossoms” in my dance studio’s recital showcasing routines representing each of the fifty United States. 

 

I eventually added tap and jazz to my repertoire, but I quit dance classes when I became a teenager because I thought I was way too cool and way too busy doing things teenagers do like three-way-calling all of my friends to talk about boys.

 

Aside from a semester of ballet in college that I thought would be an easy ‘A,”  it was close to twenty years before I ever took a dance class again.  I was vacationing at a women-only spa in Southern California, and the program offered about a dozen exercise and yoga classes every day.  I didn’t think I had enough rhythm to join the cardio dance classes, even though they looked really fun.  I couldn’t resist on the last day since I heard that a well-known choreographer from the east coast was coming out to teach the class.  That hour was SO MUCH FUN that I stayed for the second dance class and had a ball dancing to tunes from the Grease soundtrack that I’d played about a million times as a kid.

 

Due to my job and other preoccupations, it was still a couple of years before I made dance (or any kind of exercise) part of my regular routine.  I discovered both Zumba and NIA (the acronym for Neuromuscular Integrative Action) dance at approximately the same time.  While both dance classes, the two are completely different.  In Zumba, you feel like you are in a music video.  You move non-stop, but it is so much fun the sweat and breathlessness doesn’t seem to matter.  NIA is a completely different experience.  While still a cardio workout, NIA emphasizes self-expression, body awareness, and enjoying the movement.  After my first NIA class, I remembered how much I used to love to dance.  Dance has a way of making us feel lighter in spirit, which is great for type-A’s like me who feel the need to control.  

 

Dancing for exercise isn’t a new concept, (remember those infomercials for Sweatin’ to the Oldies with Richard Simmons?) but the popularity has increased in the past couple of years making it pretty easy to find a variety of classes no matter where you live.  In addition to benefits such as a decrease in blood pressure and weight loss dance has also been shown to provide benefits such as improved mood and energy, stress reduction, and increased self-esteem.

 

A study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York with close to 500 participants aged 70 and older measured cognitive activities such reading and doing crossword puzzles as well as physical activities like swimming, golf, and dancing to see if doing any of these activities reduced the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.  Frequent dancing reduced the risk of dementia by a whopping 76% — way more than any other activity that was studied.

 

There are plenty of dance classes/styles to choose from, so choose something appropriate for your current fitness level.  Start with beginner level class at first and move up as your confidence and skill increases.

 

Want to know how many calories you are burning?  Check out this Calorie Burn Calculator for info on calories burned while dancing and tons of other activities.

 

The most important thing?  Have fun!!

 

Common Demotivators & Why the Excuses Aren’t Cutting It

Do you ever notice how easy it is to talk yourself OUT of doing something healthy?  So much easier than talking yourself in to doing something good for your body?

 

Today's post is all about common demotivators, excuses, and why they are doing us harm.

Last month, I started a motivation board on Pinterest chock full of great quotes and images meant to inspire myself and others to keep working towards our goals.  

Have they been helping you?  I hope so!  

My personal favorite is the girl in the bathing suit with "Are you sure you want that cookie?" splashed across her stomach.  I have a serious cookie craving every night after dinner.  In fact, I found that picture one night right after I had eaten a cookie – LOL!

I was inspired today to write about demotivators (thanks, Paige!) because, in truth, these are what keep us from achieving our goals of losing weight, getting healthy, going to the gym, etc.

 

It's Cold Outside and/or Raining.  Winter weather is a HUGE demotivator.  I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of the cold OR the rain.  The two together … forget about it!  Winter weather can have negative effects on our mental state.  You've heard of seasonal affective disorder?  This is a condition where you have episodes of depression, usually during the winter months.  This can result in weight gain, unhappiness, social withdrawal, and other negative effects.  So it is even MORE important for us to get out & get moving during the winter months to combat these negative effects.  Remember, it is mind over matter.  Once you get to the gym and get moving, you'll be warmed up pretty fast – and you'll have that endorphin boost to propel you through the day.

 

I'm Too Busy.  Another common demotivator! Working full time, taking care of the house, kids, grocery shopping, cooking dinner and the great many other items on our plates can be overwhelming!  Who has time to work out?  You can easily talk yourself out of working out when you think about the errands you have to run.  I saw a poster the other day that read:

"There are 1,440 minutes in a day.  Use 20 of them to work out."

Hard to argue with that.  If you are like me, you have seen the latest episodes of Glee and Grey's Anatomy.  If you are willing to stay up until midnight watching TV, then "I'm too busy" is a lame excuse.  You will probably save more than 20 minutes a day by skipping the commercials thanks to TiVo.  Use them wisely and work out!!

Don't get lazy with food prep either.  Pack some healthy snacks to take to work so you don't head to the vending machine or find yourself lingering outside of conference rooms looking for cookies.  You can make a couple of days worth of servings of things like brown rice & veggies to keep on hand for the week.  Don't feel like chopping veggies?  I can't remember the last time I went to the grocery store and didn't see an array of ready-to-eat washed & cut veggies.  Just grab a few containers & roast away!

 

I was good for a month.  That's enough until next year.  WRONG!  Taking care of yourself is more than a once a year gig.  If you do nothing else, walking in your neighborhood 3 times a week for 30 minutes will do wondrous things for your body and your mental state.  If you found something else that you love (like I did with Zumba & NIA) – keep doing it!  

As far as healthy eating goes … did you give up caffeine or sugar or something that you were having way too much of?  How did you feel?  Wouldn't you like to feel good all year instead of just one month?  Remember that!

 

So next time you begin to talk yourself OUT of exercising or eating right, remember why it is the easy way out.  Stick to your new healthy eating patterns & workout routines and by next January, you won't be dieting.  You'll be adjusted to a whole new way of life, loving how you look and feel!  If you need help, don't be afraid to ask for it.  You deserve to be healthy & happy.  I'd love to work with you to meet your goals — check out my 90-day Personalized Wellness Plan.  

Leave me a comment below and tell me some of your own demotivators !

 

 

 

 

The Science of Prevention

The Science of Prevention
Do’s and Don’ts that Could Save Your Life!

Running, Exercising Outdoors

The key to living a healthy, balanced life is practicing prevention. Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

If you are not already well versed in your family medical history, I can not stress the importance of having those conversations. If someone in your immediate family has a chronic illness like heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, or a history of cancer, this is something both you & your doctor should be aware of.

There are basically two types of inherited disease: single gene inheritance & multifactorial (or complex) inheritance. Examples of single gene inheritance are diseases like cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia. In those instances, there are no changes that you can make to your environment or you lifestyle to impact whether or not you will develop these diseases. Multifactorial inherited diseases are a different story. Examples of these are things like diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer. If you inherited a risk factor for one of these types of diseases, taking preventive steps in your life could be difference between developing the disease or not.

Having regular physicals with your health care provider & scheduling recommended preventive screenings for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, and even depression could save your life. Many of these diseases, when detected early, can be treated with medication or in some cases even with simple lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.

Other preventive measures that are important for a healthy lifestyle and in some cases could save your life include:

Not smoking
Getting to & maintaining a healthy weight
Being physically active
Consuming a healthy diet
Not drinking excessively

I’m curious … are there diseases that you know of that run in your family that you could prevent or help your children or loved ones prevent with these tips? Comment below & tell me about it.

If you can’t remember the last time you had that physical or “annual” mammogram, schedule it NOW! Then come back to this page and tell me, “I did it!”

Enjoy the Holidays With These Guilt-Free Tips

Who says you can’t enjoy the holidays without doing everything in excess?  I see nothing wrong with enjoying foods you love that are only around during the holidays.  Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite desserts — I look forward to it all year!  The key is portion control.

As far as resolutions go, I think it is a great tradition to set goals for the new year.  That doesn’t mean that you have to overindulge yourself until the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve!

Ease your way.  You will have much greater success if you ease your way towards your healthy living goals.  Healthy replacements are one way to go.  Use olive oil where appropriate instead of butter, low-fat dairy vs. full fat, sip plain water in between cocktails or other high-calorie festive drinks.

Be realistic.  If you haven’t been to the gym in five years, don’t expect to run five miles every day for the first week.  Pledge to show up, push yourself but not overdo it.  Overexertion can lead to injury, and injury will take you out of the game and away from your goal before your holiday decorations are back in the attic!

Share your goals.  You will be much more successful if you tell you close friends and family about the positive changes you are trying to make.  If your friends know you are keeping an eye on your calorie intake, they’ll be less likely to try and encourage you to share a second dessert.  Plus, you may motivate someone else who needed a little push or a fitness buddy to ask if they can join you on your daily walk.

Enjoy the holidays and be well!

 

Photo credit:  mvjantzen

5 Sneaky Ways to Lose 10 Pounds Fast

 

Sometimes losing weight can feel like the most impossible task in the world, so I wanted to share these sneaky ways to lose 10 pounds QUICKLY, SAFELY, EASILY!!

1.  USE A SMALLER PLATE.  That’s it folks!  Just because its dinner time doesn’t mean that you need to use a dinner plate.  Try using a smaller plate to keep portion size in check.  Research shows that women who used larger sized dinner plates continued to eat long after they were hungry and even to a point of feeling overly full.  The American portion size is out of control compared to portions in other countries.  Do yourself a favor & start with a smaller plate.  You’ll be surprised!

2.  WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING?  If you eliminate soda from your diet, you will be shocked at how much weight you can lose.  Drinking diet soda is not going to help you lose weight, and some studies show that you may actually gain weight due to the effect that some artificial sweeteners have on your brain causing it to CRAVE other sweets.  When I eliminated diet soda from my diet, I lost 6-7 pounds in just a few weeks – and that happened without making any other modifications to my diet & exercise routine.  If you need caffeine, switch to iced tea with lemon (avoid artificial sweeteners).  Your best bet is to drink WATER, but it takes time to transition from drinking 10 Diet Cokes per day to drinking only water.  Set reasonable expectations, but STOP the sodas right away!

3.  EAT BREAKFAST.  It may seem like encouraging you to eat more rather than fewer meals works against you — it doesn’t!  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but choose wisely.  Rather than grabbing a bagel with cream cheese & a hot mocha, choose a breakfast with both fiber and protein.  My favorite breakfast is non-fat Greek yogurt with a few raspberries, natural granola, and a small serving to mixed nuts (like unsalted pistachios, almonds, and cashews) with a soy cappuccino.  This gives me plenty of protein and a healthy dose of fiber first thing in the morning.  Skipping breakfast causes you to make bad eating decisions for the rest of the day, and you could end up eating more food with little nutritional value.

4.  SHORTEN YOUR WORKOUTS.  You can burn more calories by doing short bursts of cardio throughout the day than by walking at your average pace on the treadmill for an hour.  Do you stop by Starbucks every day on your way in to work?  Instead of driving by on your way to the office, try starting off your day with a 15-20 minute walk to grab your morning coffee.  Ready for your second cardio burst?  Instead of sitting down gabbing with your colleagues for 30 minutes after you have finished eating lunch, grab one or two of them and take the talk outside!  A 20-minute mid-day walk will give you more energy in the afternoon than that extra cup of coffee you were thinking about.  Same thing in the evening — walk around your neighborhood after dinner or if you have a dog, try taking him out for a walk instead of just letting him out the back door.

5.  MEAL PLANNING.  Taking the time to plan healthy meals and snacks and make a grocery list can save you from eating a ton of extra fat & calories.  There are so many meal-planning websites out there, you don’t have to even come up with the ideas yourself!  Don’t forget to wash & cut fruits & veggies that you will use for snacks as soon as you get home from the store.  This way, they are super easy to throw into the blender for a healthy, tasty smoothie when you get hungry instead of going for that calorie-packed energy bar.

With these little tips, you can lose 10 pounds in no time without even realizing it.  If you slip up on your weight loss journey, don’t beat yourself up about it.  Give yourself the same kindness that you would offer to a friend, and just keep going.

I’d love to hear your comments if you enjoyed this post.  Have other sneaky ways to burn off 10 pounds with little to no effort?  Share those below too!

Comfort Food: Why Are You Seeking Comfort?

Millions of people use food as a way of seeking comfort from pain or hurt in their lives. Most are doing it without even realizing it.

Do you find yourself sitting at home, alone & bored watching TV and eating when you aren’t hungry? Do you suffer from insomnia and find yourself getting up during the night & cleaning out the pantry? They don’t call it comfort food for nothing!

In order to break through this unhealthy behavior, you have to dig deep and figure out what is really eating at you! It may be worry about something going on in your life or someone close to you. It may be an issue stemming from childhood that you never worked through and hoped to bury. You have to work your way through the pain in order to come out on the other side. This hurt and discomfort you are experiencing is good — it is showing you that you are due for a change.

You may have tried dieting in the past many times with no success. Don’t beat yourself up about past failures. You weren’t ready to make a change or you needed help! Sometimes the true difference between failure and success is getting the help you need and deserve!

I want to help you by giving you a FREE resource that you can use to finally make the change you’ve been longing for and end your feelings of hopelessness once and for all.

Visit my website and click to download our FREE Wellness Workbook here: goo.gl/qKo3j

Four Tips for a Healthier Heart

Did you know that one in four women in the United States dies from heart disease? Pretty shocking, huh? That makes coronary heart disease (CHD) the number one killer of women in the US. There are many steps people can take to prevent heart disease. Concentrating on key lifestyle areas such as exercise, nutrition, and smoking is the best way to reduce your risk.

Here are 4 tips to help you become more heart healthy.

1. Stop smoking. Smokers are TWICE as likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers. Quitting is the most important thing you can do to live longer. In the first 20 minutes of quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure decrease. Within one year, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010, p. 359) If you need any more motivation, think of your loved ones. Second-hand smoke is dangerous for them too. Quitting is hard, but there are many aids on the market that can help you. If the other members of your household smoke, be the strong one! If you vow to stop, you may be the inspiration they need to stop too. What’s better than helping your loved ones become healthier and live longer?

2. Move it! Your heart’s job is to pump blood through your body. You need to raise your heart rate for about 30 minutes each day so your heart can do this efficiently. If you aren’t getting regular exercise now, start slowly. Take a brisk 15 minute walk, then move up to 20 minutes and so on. Having a walking buddy helps with motivation, and you can get your social fix too. Walking and talking with a friend gives your mental health a boost as well.

3. Watch your diet. A healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease. Try and eat a balanced diet with high fiber foods like vegetables and fruits, whole grains opposed to white flour, and fish. Minimize dairy products that are high in fat, as well as other high fat items without a lot of nutritional value like cookies and cakes.

4. Have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly. If you have high blood pressure, you run a higher risk for heart attack and stroke. High blood cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and circulatory diseases. Know your family history! If high blood pressure or high cholesterol run in your family, you have to be even more diligent with your diet and get more exercise. High fiber foods and whole grains will help with you cholesterol. Your doctor may also recommend drug therapy if diet and exercise aren’t doing the trick.