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.

 

Fitness Friday: Amazing Arm Definer Workout

Happy Friday! I’ve been posting on Mondays and Thursdays for quite some time, but for the next several weeks I am promoting #FitnessFriday and will be sharing a fitness-related post with you on Fridays. I hope this gets your weekend off to a GREAT start &  motivates you to include some movement during the weekend. Don’t forget to schedule some time for FUN too!  Remember, it’s all about balance 🙂

This is a 15-minute Arm Definer Workout designed by the Nike Fitness Club trainers with only five moves that you will repeat three times. If you have an iPhone, you can download the Nike Fitness Club app FREE of charge. This is one of the many at-home workouts & stretch routines available to you.

 

Arm Definer Workout

 

You do not need equipment to do this workout, however, if you choose to use weights you will need a pair of dumbbells and a medicine ball.

The first move in the Arm Definer Workout is Single Leg Arm Curls. In this exercise, weights are optional. If you plan to use weights, grab a pair of 3 or 5-lb dumbbells and let’s get started!
1)  Stand with your arms by your sides, palms facing towards you. Your knees should have a very slight bend.
2)  Lift one leg, bent at the knee and balance on the standing leg.
3)  Hinge from the elbows and bring dumbbells up to your shoulders.
4)  Lower and repeat, switching legs after 30 seconds.
Check out this YouTube clip to see this move performed.

The second move is the Alternating Medicine Ball Pushup.
1)  Start in push-up position with the medicine ball under one hand.
2)  Lower down as far as you can go, then push back up into starting position.
3)  Roll the ball to the other hand, and repeat push up on the opposite side.
4)  Continue to do this move, switching from one side to another for one minute. To see this move performed, click here.

The third move is the Modified Tricep Pushups.
1)  Kneel with your hands out in front of you. Bring hips forward and shift your weight so it is positioned over your shoulders.
2)  Lower your upper body towards the floor, keeping your abs pulled in tight & your butt down.
3)  Push up and repeat for one minute.
To watch a clip of the Modified Tricep Pushup, click here.

The fourth move is the Sumo Squat with Press.
1)  Grab your dumbbells again if using weights.
2)  Stand with your feet wide, toes turned out, elbows bent with hands up by your shoulders, palms facing one another.
3)  Squat down bringing hips towards the floor, with knees over toes.
4)  Squeeze your butt & legs as you come back up, pressing your hands up over your head (palms still facing each other). Repeat for thirty seconds.
To watch a clip of the Sumo Squat with Press, click here.

The fifth & final move is the Plank Row.
1)  With dumbbells in hand, bring yourself into the plant position. Start with your weight over your shoulders and your feet in a wide base.
2)  Perform a row, bringing your elbow up past your back so there is a slight twist in the torso. Keep elbows close to your sides and abs in tight!
3)  Repeat on the other arm.  Keep switching sides and repeat for one minute. To watch a clip of the Plank Row, click here.

Take a well-deserved 30 second recovery, breathing in and out. Repeat each move 2 more times (including the 30 second recovery), for a total of three sets.

 

Arm Workout

 

Question: Do you work out your arms at least a couple of times a week? What is your favorite arm move?

How To Be Your Best Self

That particular week seemed more difficult than others.  I felt angrier and my patience was pretty much nonexistent.  I remember sitting in a team meeting and, for no reason, tears started to well up and I discreetly left the room so that no one would notice.

I was leading a very big project at work, and things were running as smoothly as one would expect, but I was literally on 24/7.  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d taken a day off.  A year or two maybe, with the exception of Christmas day.  For about two years, I had dreamed of going to a destination spa I’d discovered online.  I could practically feel the tranquility through the photos on the website.  In a minute of desperation, I called the spa & was told they had availability for the next week.

meditation-lake

1) TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF

The spa was usually booked weeks in advance, so I took their availability as a sign, booked the trip, and committed to taking the next week off.

The timing wasn’t great from a work perspective…in two week’s time, I was going to be hosting a conference with over 100 guests flying in from around the world.

But some crisis or extremely urgent work matter was always on the horizon…there was never a good time to take a day off, much less an entire week.

Sound familiar?

My colleague swore that she’d get in touch with me if there was any out-of-control emergency that should couldn’t handle herself.  I let out a big exhale, and a few days later I was off!  And you know what?  The office didn’t fall apart, the conference was a huge success, and I did a better job hosting because I was able to relax and recharge.  Anxiety gone.

Take time for yourself.  You deserve it.  Jobs come and go.  Bosses you admire move on to other jobs.  You are with yourself for the long haul … so give yourself the down time you need.

2) NURTURE YOURSELF

We’re all grown-ups with jobs, relationships, and maybe kids of our own, but there is an inner child in all of us that needs nurturing.  Instead of nurturing that inner child, we busy ourselves and/or pick up bad habits to avoid feeling alone, sad, or inadequate.

I used to be the queen of negative self-talk.  My diet was awful, I didn’t exercise, I drank coffee or soda all day, and I didn’t get enough sleep.  I was even going to therapy, but I wasn’t doing the work I needed to do outside of that hour/week, so it took a really long time to get where I needed to be.  That was my path.  I made it, but I wish I hadn’t suffered as long as I did for no good reason.

Take the time to take care of yourself physically.  Get a physical every year.  Have you blood drawn and check for things like high cholesterol on a regular basis.  Drink water, eat healthy foods, and get the amount of sleep that you need.  No job in the world is worth feeling miserable every single day.  If you don’t take care of yourself, who else will?  And what about the people you take care of?  If you can’t take care of them, who’s going to do that?

Make self-care a priority. You will never regret it.

3) LET GO OF YOUR CONTROL OBSESSION

When I arrived at the spa, the control freak in me was delighted to find that someone had carefully selected a full day of yoga & exercises classes, short wellness seminars, and body treatments for me based on my “pre-arrival interview,” and I had schedule waiting telling me what I’d be doing the next day.

Desperate for soul-nourishing, I had decided in advance that I was going to become a yoga devotee during my week away.  On my first morning at the spa, I showed up to the first yoga class on the schedule, just before 8 a.m.  I found myself a spot at the front of the class, little overachiever that I was.

Then something happened, instead of the instant bliss-fix that I had planned, all I could feel was the pain and tightness of my hamstrings and my hunched shoulders.  I started to feel defeated, like I had failed before I had started, and I couldn’t stop the negative thoughts spiraling in my mind.

The teacher invited the class to “open our hearts.”  (OK … I’m actually embarrassed to admit the first thought that popped into my mind, but if one person can resonate with this, then it’s worth it!)  The first thought I had when this teacher said “Open Your Heart” was “F-YOU!”  I was actually angered by this complete stranger’s suggestion that I trust her and allow myself to become vulnerable.  Inside I was screaming, “I’m here, aren’t I?  I’m trying!!!  What else do you want from me?”  Somehow I viewed her kindness as an intrusion — a criticism that I wasn’t trying hard enough.

I couldn’t get past it that week.  I wasn’t ready to give up control.  I toughed out that class until the end, but I never went to another yoga class the entire week.

Luckily, there was more than yoga planned to improve my wellness that week.  A couple of days later, I met with Sarah, my assigned personal trainer.  I was in my early thirties at the time, but I felt like I had the body of an 83-year-old!  Like on The Biggest Loser when they tell the contestants “Your body age is actually 79!”  That was what I felt like.

Sarah was nice, but she was there to prove a point.  She challenged me with “heavy” 10-lb hand weights and encouraged me during the interval training she had designed for my session.

That 1:1 experience was what I needed, along with a little positive reinforcement.  I was able to let go and be vulnerable.  I started running outside after that meeting with Sarah, and it was during those runs that I was able to feel a certain freedom.  Once I let go of the need to control any and every situation (which is impossible, by the way), I finally felt like the universe was on my side.

My advice here?  Just let go.  Sounds easier said than done, but it is incredibly powerful.  If you need to talk to a professional or a friend, coach, or mentor to get there, do it!  Once you stop fighting, it gets so much easier.  And you’ll be so much happier.

4) BE GRATEFUL.

One of the most popular items on the schedule that week was a one-hour wellness seminar called “How To Be Happy.”  I think every single person in attendance that week was packed in to the room for that message!

One of the big takeaways from that session was practicing gratitude.  We were asked to keep a gratitude journal for the rest of our stay.  Before bed each night, we were to write down five things that we were grateful for each day.  In doing so, we were creating a scenario where we were looking for positive things that happened during the day.  It could be something big like, “I’m grateful for the amazing personal trainer I met today and the way she encouraged me” or something as small as, “I’m grateful that we had cheesecake for dessert tonight — I love cheesecake!”

Keep a gratitude journal.  You’ll spend the day looking for things you can write about, making it harder to focus on negativity or problems!

5) TRUST YOURSELF

A few years later, I was rummaging through a closet and found the binder of resources I had taken home with me from the spa to continue working on my goals.  I found a little note that read:

“Great job this week! You can tell you feel refreshed.  Keep this feeling going by exercising daily.  You have to make yourself a priority — you deserve it!”

Wise words!  I made a risky decision and started a whole new career and chapter in my life.  Today I make my living writing about health, wellness, and self-care.  I also coach women who are looking to make healthy changes to their lives and improve their level of happiness.  I eat healthier, I get more rest, and I make exercise and my personal relationships a priority.  I’m happy to say that once I was able to silence my inner-critic, I also came to enjoy yoga and its many benefits!! 🙂

Trust yourself.  We deserve much more care and kindness than we tend to give ourselves.  And really, the only validation we need is our own.

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What’s Past the Comfort Zone?

I’m not going to lie to you … accomplishing your fitness goals is not always a piece of cake.  In fact, it is HARD WORK!

The last few weeks have been super challenging for me.  In addition to moving to a new home, I started working in the office three days a week.  I quickly saw how easy it was to fall back into my old rut of putting my self-care LAST on the priority list.  As a result, my body has been feeling worn down and I can’t seem to get enough rest.

Luckily, I realized this very quickly and started to correct my lazy behaviors.  I firmly believe in practicing what I preach.  If I’m going to motivate and inspire others to take care of themselves, then I have to do the same.

Thanks to the Sexy September Challenge we’re doing this month, I’m lucky enough to have others inspiring me too!  I had a really good run on Tuesday.  Instead of my usual 3.5 mile loop of the Stanford Dish Trail, I decided to take a different route that added another two miles.  During the run, I felt like I was so far out of my comfort zone that I couldn’t see it anymore!  The good (and awfully painful) thing about this particular trail is that once you start the loop, you HAVE to finish it.  It was hilly and the 6pm sun was a menace, but I felt SO good when I was done.  Its the longest run that I have ever done … maybe ever!

I think you have to push past your comfort zone to see what you are made of.  To truly know that you CAN accomplish your goals, despite all of the hurdles in the way.  This is true in fitness, and in life.  Once you see what you can do, nothing can stop you!

Stay in touch on the Wellness Science Facebook page to be inspired & inspire others for the rest of Sexy September!

I love comments & questions, so keep them coming!

 

 

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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