How to Use Bodyweight Exercises to Improve Your Fitness

Hi there!

It’s been a while since I did a workout post, which is strange because those are my favorite posts to write.

As a wife, mom, and business owner, I have to have a quick workout routine that doesn’t involve a lot of expensive equipment that I can take anywhere.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m an advocate for body weight exercises. They’re easy to learn (most of the time), convenient, and can be modified for just about any fitness level!

I’ve also seen many, many clients through the years achieve phenomenal results with body weight exercises, not only maintaining their fitness levels but advancing their fitness levels by leaps and bounds.

I’ve also had many personal training clients and group fitness participants say to me, “Oh, I just didn’t work out this week because I was out of town and couldn’t get to my gym.” That’s just crazy. Doing something is better than nothing.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love free weights, and resistance  bands and pretty much any kind of resistance you can think of, but at the end of the day, what matters is that you trained.

(Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links to products, the sales from a portion of which help support my blog, which I put a lot of effort into. The opinions of any products I review are my own, and I only recommend products which I believe are exceptional. Thank you for supporting my blog!)

Really, the only equipment you need is you, or a yoga mat or towel. I prefer a yoga towel because they’re sweat absorbent and can easily be folded and placed in a tote bag or suitcase.

So you see, you really can’t go wrong with this type of workout.

With body weight training, your body experiences these benefits:

  • Less chance of injury
  • Ability to focus on your form and technique, rather than the amount of weight you’re lifting
  • A convenient workout you can do just about anywhere
  • A multitude of exercises so you can add endless variety to your workouts

To give you a taste of body weight training, especially if you’re new to exercise, I’ve provided a sample workout for you. You can do this workout as many rounds as you like, but I recommend completing the series, one exercise after the other, with little to no rest in between, anywhere from two to five times. You can use any variations of these exercises that you like, so the possibilities are endless!

 

They are pretty basic exercises, but if you really do them correctly, you’ll definitely feel them working.

Squats: butt, legs

This classic exercise is one of the best at boosting your metabolism because it uses some of the largest muscle groups in your body. Try basic, plie, single-leg, and jump variations. Try holding still at the bottom of a squat for 30 extra seconds at the end of each set.

Side Planks: abs, obliques, lower back, shoulders    

Side planks can also be done on your elbows and also have lots of variations. The key is to make sure your head is in a straight line from your head to your heels.

Pushups: shoulders, triceps, chest

Another classic exercise, push-ups are a great way to get your heart pumping. They also have numerous modifications. And for those of you who need to build up your upper body strength, they can be done on your knees instead of your toes. Just don’t let your stomach hang to the floor and aim for a straight line from your head to your heels.

Lunges: butt, legs, core

Lunges are another exercise that can really rev up your metabolism. There are lots of ways to to do them too: static, front, rear, side. The options are almost endless. Just remember to put your weight into your front heel to stand. (If you’re a beginner, gradually make your lunges deeper and deeper as you get more fit.)

 

What’s your favorite body weight exercise?

Tell me in the comments below!

 

– Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workout Wednesday: Total Body Tune-up

Here we are again! Snow, Snow, Snow!!!! Frankly, I would love for the snow to make up it’s mind whether it’s going to stay or go, but that’s just me. Speaking of snow…I’m always cold, but this winter is ridiculous! Our house doesn’t have central heating, so, I’m forever walking around bundled up, even though we live in the south. 
I have found some wonderful ways to keep warm:
1. Curl up with a good book, a blanket, and a cup of hot tea or hot chocolate.
2. Snuggle with my handsome fella. 🙂
3. Start baking things…our oven gets super hot, so it heats up the entire top floor of the house, which is really the only floor we use anyway.
4 Workout. Do some cardio. I’ll try out routines that I want to post, or pop in a cardio dvd. Either way, I feel better. 
5. Clean house…okay, so I’m desperate by the time I have to do this to keep warm, but it works great, so, there we go. I’m currently working on the 40 days – 40 bags of clutter challenge. Which was deperately needed at our house. I found out that I have 20 books that are great, but for whatever reason, their just taking up space…There’s even some fitness related ones too. (Check out juliesunshine22).

I love total body circuit training, and this one has some sure-fire arm and leg toners.
So, Stay warm, and get moving!

   
Squat down then while in a squat, reach left leg behind you diagonally. Return to squat then stand. Repeat, alternating sides.

Start out in Plank, hands wide. Bring right hand to meet left hand. Repeat, alternating sides.  
Butterfly Bridge: Perform a glute bridge. While hips are lifted, press knees apart, maintaining tension.Press knees together, then lower. Repeat.
Reverse Plank

Bicycle Crunch


Book Review: Ultimate Booty Workouts

Hi There! 
So I started a new lower body program today, and I’m super excited!!!! (Glute days are my favorite days to train, as all my friends know.) So while many pics of extreme bubble butts are circulating pinterest and tumblr…there are many pics of flat butts that are glorified(i.e. runway models). So let me be the first to say, a particular friend of mine, Jessie, in college, used to always say “Bertha” when I turned around…but okay…enough jokes. 

If you’re looking for a lower body transformation workout… let me say it. Ultimate Booty Workouts is for you. While most people would tease you if you kept this book on your coffee table, let me just say, it is no joke. This gem of a book was written by Tamara Grand of http://fitknitchick.com/ . Tamara is so knowledgeable! This book was written by a woman who knows her field and understands the importance of adding variety to workout routines, while mastering the movements involved in pursuing this particular goal. There are no fad exercises here. The workouts were well thought out, with detailed explanations and cuing. The nutrition guidelines are simple, no complex meal plans, but a list of healthy foods to give you an idea where to begin. The program goes through 3 4-week phases, and there are also cardio guidelines and ideas. This is hands down the most comprehensive book I’ve ever read on the topic. (And believe me, I’ve read a few; which comes with being a fitness coach/personal trainer for 5 years.) My workout buddy and I have challenged ourselves to complete this 12-week program. I’ve even taken my own measurements today.  The other refreshing thing about this book is that there is not one solitary endorsement of plastic surgery, AND she explains the HEALTH benefits of glute training, such as increased metabolism and reduced lower back pain, which are way too often overlooked in articles on the topic. Thank you, Tamara for writing a book that I will continue to use as a resource for years to come! You can order this awesome book on Amazon.com

Go break a sweat!

Julie A


Tabata Turkey Blaster

Happy Thanksgiving!
With a full tummy and thankful heart, I write to tell you I successfully got in a workout on Black Friday, and you can too! I was at my parent’s house for Thanksgiving, and they don’t have a lot of room, but I brought my resistance bands, and I tell you, I was breaking a sweat!!! And I was breathing like I had just finished a round of sprints! I felt accomplished! But, the magic was I accomplished all this in 8 minutes! I used the Tabata format, and will probably use it for years to come! It works for me, and I can get on with my day. Here’s the Turkey blaster I did on Friday!
Exercise Tips
Bent Row: hinge at the hips without rounding the back. Keep your abs in tight as you pull the band toward your abdomen and exhale. Squeeze those shoulder blades.
Runner’s Toe Taps: Get into Runner’s Lunge Pose, hands on the floor. Keeping weight in the front foot, quickly tap back foot forward and back, bottom down.

Push-Ups: Whether modified or full, keep your abs in tight, work on  a controlled motion, quality over quantity.
Jumping Jacks: NO pidgeon toes, and keep your knees slightly bent at all times. You’ll need to tie the band tight enough to keep tension on it throughout the entire exercise.

Enjoy this workout, and tell me of your progress!

Workout Wednesday:Tempo Training and how it works.

There are times when we work for every rep in strength training, and then there are times, when we mindlessly go through the motions. It’s easy to do this with body weight, and resistance bands, and I’ll admit…sometimes, I need a little help being mindful of my muscles working. That’s were tempo training comes in. Tempo training forces you to use your muscles instead of momentum to do the work, so that you’re focusing on the work of your muscles to do the job. Here’s an example: Squat – instead of down, up, down, up think of this motion in phases and use a different amount of time for each segment. For example, 3 sec. to lower into parallel. 2 seconds to standing and 2 seconds at the top of the movement, contracting the glutes. Try it. You’ll definitely feel the muscles working. It usually only takes about 3 or for exercises for a muscle group to get completely burnt out when done this way, but sometimes, it’s good to shock your muscles, and this is one of the best ways to do it.Think quality over quantity.

Squats: keep knees and toes in the same directions, no pidgeon toes! Place hands in front of you  lower 3 seconds, stand 2 seconds, squeeze 2 seconds.

Push-ups: Even those of you who can do full push-ups may want to do the modified push-ups this time. Lower 2 seconds, push up 2 seconds, pause 3 seconds. This will help enable you to do more full push-ups, and get great abs.

Reverse Crunches: Zip up those abs and keep ’em zipped! Lower 3 seconds, Lift 2 seconds, Pause 3 seconds

Single-Leg Dead Lift: Find a focus point. This move was never meant to be rushed any way. If you’re unsure, add resistance and try a stiff-legged dead lift. But most importantly , your back must stay straight, abs in!
Throughout the movement. If your back rounds, you’ve lowered too far. Lower 3 seconds, lift 3 seconds, pause 2 seconds. (Add that squeeze.)

Bicep Curls: Use tubing or weights for this one. Lower 3 seconds, lift 2 seconds, pause at the top 3 seconds…this is a killer with resistance bands.

Side Plank with Hip Dip: Zip it up! Lower 2 seconds, lift 3 seconds, pause 3 seconds.

I would love your questions/comments on anything posted on this page! Thank you for reading! And if you like what you see, share the love!
Exercise tutorials are available on http://www.acefitness.org/

Good morning!

First of all, Happy Veterans Day! I’m so thankful that there are brave men and women who risk their lives everyday for us all here in the US!

Today being Monday, I’m back in my workout and food routine full steam. Today is lower body day on my personal calendar, but it’s also a day on which I have to teach a really challenging group fitness class! Not that I mind the challenge, but it can be tough discerning how much I need to push myself when I have a challenging class to teach later. So I said to myself, “Self, you should just put 3 exercises together and do the whole circuit 3-5x…” So there you have it. I took two of the most effective lower body exercises, the squat, and the bridge, and paired them with an easy-to-do ploymetric (explosive) move, the jumping jack and got a great workout! This workout is a quickie toner for your thighs, glutes, and calves! The key here is adding the pulses, squeezes, and presses at the end of each set. pulses really involve the gluteus maximus, while squeezes target the inner thighs, and presses target the outer thighs. I hope you enjoy the workout. Warm-up by marching in place and perfoming 15 kick backs for each leg.Here’s the tutorial:

Squats:
Put your arms out in front to help keep your balance, put your weight in your heels as you sit back. Newbies, put a chair behind you. Pro’s, add some weights or a resistance band. Oh, and keep your gaze up. Squeeze your glutes to stand up.

Split Squats:
Keep your weight in your front heel, then lower straight down as low as possible. Squeeze muscles and stand. Repeat.

Glute Bridge:
Put your weight in your heels.Squeeze your bum before lifting, this makes sure the glutes are doing the work.

Jumping Jacks:
Keep your knees and toes the same way…and absolutely no pidgeon toes. This will hurt your knees.

Here’s the workout:


 ENJOY and keep perservering! You will reach your goals!