Not crazy about the form your body has taken? Want to lose some pounds and re-shape? Forget about those long runs and endless crunches. Cardio and abs…that’s so 2000 and late! I’m going to show you a little workout “bling!” Let’s change your approach, from the way you set-up your week’s workouts to what you eat and how you can put it all together in a fun and interesting way!
Let’s classify your workouts in an “intensity range”— using a scale of 1 (resting) to 10 (balls-to-the-walls can’t breathe). We want three of your weekly workouts to be in the 7 to 10 intensity range, and two others in the 3 to 5 range. That leaves two days for rest, which can be taken whenever you feel you need to lay off a bit. This is the perfect formula for trimming the fat, and shifting your shape.
Because shape-shifting isn’t just about exercise, we need to address what you eat as well. You should always begin your intense days with a good breakfast. You’ll need lots of energy for these workouts. Ideally, you should eat an hour-and-a-half to two hours before your workout so your body will have plenty of time to digest. A real breakfast of champions contains carbs, protein and fat. An egg on sprouted grain toast with a slice of tomato or avocado will do the trick – and it’s easy to make. There’s nothing wrong with drinking coffee or tea; just avoid sugar and cream, and drink it black.
If you’re an early bird, you probably roll out of bed and head straight to the gym. It’s so important to get something in your tank first. Grab fast-digesting foods, such as half a piece of fruit, or fruit juice. After working out, you can eat your breakfast. Then, eat whole foods about every three hours throughout the rest of your day.
Parents of high school and middle school athletes, this goes for them as well. Be sure they head out to their early-morning practices with energy in their bellies! Without fuel, dizziness, light-headedness and vomiting can occur.
7 – 10 Intensity Range Workout: First off, high-intensity work outs should be F.U.N. The higher intensity keeps your blood pumping and your energy soaring! Put on your favorite music and get ready to work. An easy way to create intensity is by using multi-joint movements. You can go with the old standbys: squats, bench presses, lunges – all of which are good and fun. But let’s get creative. It’s like adding bling to your favorite hat. It was cool, but now it’s fabulous!
I love to add a little hop or a bounce to my steps – my “fitness bling.” When you squat, lower down and then “pop up” to your toes. You’ll engage more of your core and squeeze into your calves. “Pop squats” are one of my favorite things. Press your arms up to the ceiling as you go, and you just created a huge movement. Take that idea and use it with lunges. Adding a bounce just might be all you need to love the exercise, and to move better with the beat of your music. Be safe, of course, while seeing how many ways you can “bling” your exercises. The options are endless!
Use light dumb bells or no weight at all. Try a medicine ball or kettle bell. Exaggerate your movements with leaps and jumps, then stay low and close to the ground with bent knees. I call that a “creeper lunge.” Challenge your mind and you will definitely challenge your body.
For the following workout, we’ll use time instead of counting reps. That way you can sync with the rhythm of the music. I love Pandora’s “workout radio” and “top hits” stations. The beat is a little fast and a lot funky!
Do each of the following movements for 30, 45 or 60 seconds:
Walking hop lunges
Stiff leg dead rows
Pushups or burpees
Remember, always work at your own pace. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your fit physique won’t be either. And check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise programs.
Your work outs in the 3 – 5 Intensity Range should be elliptical, walking, hiking, swimming or whatever physical activity you enjoy. Add some bling to all of your workouts, keeping a light, fun attitude while exercising. Stick with it and your body will find the shape you’re seeking.
Check our web site (www.StradaFitness.com) for a video of the above workout.
Chani Overstreet is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Strada Fitness & Wellness Center with her husband, Luke. Strada is a state-of-the-art fitness studio located at 3041 Churchill Drive, Suite 100, in Flower Mound, across from Lifetime Fitness. Call 972.330.4300 or visit www.StradaFitness.com for more information.
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