Strength 101: Frog Crunches

Hi There! So let’s talk abs again! With summer on the way, we’d all probably like to make sure that we’re making the most of our ab workouts right? So many times we hit the fibers of our upper abs, but neglect the fibers in our lower abs. This is where these frog crunches come in. This move came straight out of 21 Day Fix, and it’s simple, but whoa, is it ever effective! You’ll want to start out by lying on your back/supine, with your legs extended, toes turned out. Your lower back should not be arching off the floor. Maintain toes turned out, bring your knees toward your chest, and simultaneously crunch up off the floor, bringing head towards knees. Exhale, drawing belly button in as you crunch. Try doing anywhere from 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions. Your abs play an important role in protecting your back, ladies, especially after having children. I haven’t had children yet, but I’ve seen many women who don’t exercise between pregnancies, and develop major back problems because their core muscles haven’t been strengthened. So my point is core training is vital, not just for aesthetics, but for making everyday tasks easier.
How to: Lie on your back. Beginners bring legs straight up to a 90 degree angles, the more advanced may lower their legs closer to the floor. Turn toes out as far as possible, pressing heels together. Place hands behind head and look at your belly button. For those with gentle necks, place a towel behind your head, and hold onto each end. Crunch up, bringing your knees towards you and exhaling. your knees will separate, but your toes must remain turned out. Inhale, extending your legs and lowering your head. Repeat.

This is a great move that will have your abs burning on rep 2…trust me. What’s your favorite ab move? Tell me in the comments! Have a great day and come back on Friday as I dish on food! (Pun intended.) 🙂

Fitness 5 Friday: 5 ways to flavor your water

This has been probably one of the most exhausting weeks I’ve experienced since Micah’s college graduation, but it’s been a rewarding week. Something I’ve been working on this week has been drinking more water…I’ve realized that I need to drink more water. You might be saying, “Yeah, me too, but water is boring.” Well, that’s where making my own water flavors has kept me from losing interest in keeping hydrated! I prep these foods, and then place them in a pitcher, or you can by an infusion pitcher. I love mine!
Here’s my top 5 flavors:

1. Cucumber and lemon – clears complexion, de-bloats
2. Raspberries – antioxidants
3. Lime and ginger – soothes and achy tummy and freshens breath
4. Watermelon – helps flush toxins
5. Mixed berries – a healthier alternative to gatoraid

These additives are all natural. Just slice as needed and add them to a pitcher of water. Chill and then serve! What’s your favorite healthy water additive?

Strength Training 101: Woodchoppers

Hi Friends!
Hope you’re having a great week! This week, I wanted to touch on an exercise that is great for your core, but is often done incorrectly. You can even anchor a resistance band under one foot, and perform them that way, just make sure the band doesn’t slide as you rotate your foot! 🙂
Here’s the breakdown: Start with abs in and dumbbell in hand. (You can either practice this move with no weights at all, which I recommend for beginners.) You won’t need a very heavy dumbbell, either. Squat down, holding dumbbell in both hands by right knee. Twist and rotate with straight arms, moving dumbbell up diagonally to the left. Slowly rotate and lower dumbbell back to the right side in a squat. This move should never be rushed, and abs should be contracted throughout this movement.

This is a great move for working the obliques, but should not be performed with momentum for safety reasons. This move is great for not only working the core, but also getting a total body cardio workout! Get out there and get moving!

Happy Workout Wednesday!
Julie 

Monday Motivation: Setting Goals

Hi! So here it is on Monday, and…we got freezing rain…again! Winter just does not want to let go of his grip!  Today, I’m here to talk about persistence. James says, “Let patience have it’s perfect work, so that you do not grow weary and lose heart.” Wow, I wish it were easy, but many times, I know that at the slightest sign of difficulty, I’ve thrown up my hands and walked away from some great opportunities, but that’s not the case anymore! I’ve been learning some things about my self the past 2 months, and one of those things has been that in the past, I’ve talked about goals, but never laid out the ground work to reach them. I get caught up in the grandiose vision of achieving a certain goal, but then try to “guestimate” my way there. My advice: when you set a goal, do the research. Make a detailed plan. Know your strengths. Know your weaknesses. Make a sacrifice to get there. Without sacrifice, you will have no ownership in your goal. Some of the best decisions I’ve made in life have been risks.
Here are some tips to help you reach your goals:
1. Write out your goals. Be specific. For example, my next fitness goal is to have a six pack…I’m actually close right now. The goal I had before was to have a flat tummy again. I wrote this down in my fitness journal.
2. Do some research. If you want, slimmer thighs, then you may not want to do powerlifting to reach your goal. Is this an extreme example, yes, but you get my point. That said, do not overlook strength training if that is your goal. Do you want more energy, then do research about programs that allow you sufficient nutrition…a “no carb” diet is not for you. Ask a fitness professional that specializes in the types of goals that you have.
3. Get accountability. So many of us lose sight because we’re afraid to tell anyone what we’re about to do…for whatever reason. Find someone who will encourage you but also be honest with you. Announce your intentions on your social media. It works.
4. Show up. If you never start, then you can’t finish. It’s that simple. Just commit to starting your workout…once the balls rolling, it’s harder to get off track.

I hope this helps! This may not come naturally to you, but anything worth having must be worked for!

Stay warm! 
Julie

Fitness 5 Friday: My Review of 21 Day Fix

Hi!
So it’s been over a week since I’ve posted, but I have soooo much to tell you! The past 21 days, I’ve been a bit preoccupied with the 21 Day Fix challenge, and whoa, the results are amazing, both inside and out! I’ve had so much fun working out with my hubby as we’ve completed this challenge together! We also cut back on our grocery bill! I’ve been reminded through this experience, that I need accountability as much as the next person, and love the community I’ve found through this! I plan to do a round 2 starting next week! The workouts are great, and you get to do a different half-hour workout daily, and the meal guide was amazing! There’s no guesswork in this, and I was eating a wide variety of foods and taking my Shakeology daily! I plan to buy the barre leg workout and the flat abs fix workouts to go with this series. There’s even a plyo dvd that can be dialed down a notch…or two or three for those who want to try plyo but aren’t sure if it’s for them. I love the modifications, and the warm up helped me to recruit the right muscles during strength exercises! There’s even 2 active rests days and a variety of workout types. I would recommend this program for almost anyone, whether a beginner or a pro. There’s something you can do. The only equipment needed is a resistance band.

This week, I’ve experienced several blessings that I’ve overlooked…for some crazy reasons, this week has been more stressful than normal…and oh, how I felt it. Here are 5 things that I am thankful for this week.
1. My wonderful husband giving me a foot massage yesterday.
2. My amazing sister-in-law and dear friend, Elizabeth helping me organize and spring clean my house this week!
3. Getting an offer to teach classes at a rec center near our house.
4. Getting mentioned on a National Coach Call by the CEO of Beachbody
5. Being anonymously gifted with money for a nice date night for my hubby and I.

It’s so easy to overlook the amazing things around us when we are bombarded daily by all that’s going on in the world, but when all is said and done, it’s nice to know that I can get away, pray, and relax for a moment. I’m so grateful for the loving husband I have, and thankful for so many simple things, such as having arms and legs that are strong and healthy. So many people take this for granted. Don’t make the same mistake. Count your blessings this week!

Workout Wednesday: Seated Row tutorial

Hi There! Happy Workout Wednesday! Today I’d like to highlight an exercise that will help keep your back strong and healthy, as well as review how my workouts are going this week!  I’m really happy about the way this week has gone so far. I’ve been leading my first challenge group as a coach and am really enjoying my results from the 21 Day Fix! Because of our busy schedules, and eating g-free, we needed something to keep us on track, and so far, the workouts and shakeology have been amazing!!!!! I’ve lost over 1″ in my hips and 1″ in my waist. I can see my muscles, not bones, and the nutrition plan leaves me feeling energized… I’m officially no longer addicted to caffeine! I wanted to post “after” pics already, but Micah said, “Wait, the best is yet to come”. REALLY?!  Where was this when I was getting ready for my wedding and didn’t have time to plan my own workouts? I love this, and if you check out my 21 Day Fix page on the blog you can see the challenge pack for yourself. 🙂 This week has been really fun, and exciting, and for all you Northerners, don’t hate, but we had freezing rain, sleet, and ice the other day, so I got a day off! But, I will be working Saturday morning…

Today’s post is a part of my “Strength Training 101” series. Today we’re going to be talking about bent and seated rows. I’m using bands for the video, but please feel free to use weights. This is a back exercise that is great for all fitness levels, and strengthens your shoulders, and upper to mid back muscles.  Watch the video, and tell me your thoughts! What’s your favorite upper body strength training move? Comment below!

See you on Friday!

Julie