Cardio workouts without touching a treadmill or leaving your house

Currently, I live on the second floor of an apartment building and I quickly realized upon moving in that high-impact cardio workouts were not going to work.  With every jump and series of cardio movements, I could feel the rage of my neighbors living under me.  I needed to get a good cardio workout in without disturbing my neighbors, so I did a little research.

Turns out, jumping around and all that would be associated with crazy cardio workouts isn’t necessary to get your heart rate up.  There may be occasional jumping but with practice, you will find it easy to softly land on your feet without making a lot of noise at all.  My favorite go-to for workouts is YouTube, as there are many videos that are very effective workouts and completely free!  Here are some of my favorites:

Cardio Lunges

This is a great workout to really get your heart racing while also working on building up the muscle in your lower body.  You may recognize the woman, Cassey, in the video from some of my other posts.  She has so many wonderful videos for working out and healthy lifestyle tips; she is my absolute favorite person to work out with.  Cassey is always motivating and positive and I have seen and felt more results doing her workouts in one week than I have with any other workouts.

Kickboxing

This is another video that I love to include in my workouts.  Usually the day after I do this video, I feel most muscle soreness in my “glutes”.  Cassey also incorporates a little bit of upper body muscle toning in this video as well.

Cassey and Coach Nicole

Cassey teamed up with Coach Nicole to make a fun workout to get you pumped up!  The video alternates between Cassey and Nicole and they both offer great cardio sequences that I love to do.  I am sure you will, too!

Weighted Cardio

I just happened to fall upon this video not too long ago, and I am glad I did!  This video features Cassey in a workout taught by Tony Horton, a P90X trainer.  They use medicine balls but since I don’t have one I just use a hand weight.  If you don’t own a hand weight or medicine ball, try using water bottles filled with water or sand, or anything else that adds resistance.  There are six moves that they lead you through for a great full-body workout.

I am confident you will love these videos and you will feel and see the results with persistence!

Stay healthy and be strong!

When you are sick: sweat it out or sit it out?

I have always been a firm believer in nothing but rest when I get sick.  As much as I love a good workout, I would not push my body to work while I am sick.  This weekend, I had a lot of head congestion, between my nose and sinuses.  I haven’t worked out since Friday because of this, but I decided to look into this a little more to see if I was actually right and I was surprised by my research! sickWorking out while you are sick can be okay!  There are some precautions, however.  It is only okay to work out if your symptoms are above the neck.  If you have a stuffy nose like I do, a light workout can actually help open the airways and relieve congestion.  If you are feeling achy in your muscles or fatigued, it is very important to not push your body through a workout and allow yourself to rest.  If you are feeling like you are coming down with a cold and you are not sure if you should work out, it is recommended to talk to a doctor before any physical activity and if you feel lousy after ten minutes of your workout, do not continue working out and focus on rest. Some workouts during your head cold can include:

  • A walk might be one of the most beneficial methods of opening the airways and relieving congestion.
  • Try jogging lightly as long as it is part of your regular workout routine and you only have a mild head cold.
  • Yoga–this is one stress-relieving workout that will help the body fight off your cold.  The stretching involved with yoga can also relieve aches related to colds and sinus infections.
  • Dancing is another stress-reducing workout that will aid in strengthening the immune system.   Low-impact dance won’t put too much stress on your joints and may be the perfect workout while feeling sick.

  There are several workouts that are specifically not suggested when feeling sick, however:

  • Endurance running. If you are training for any kind of race or marathon, it is best to skip this week’s run.  Keep in mind that workouts while sick should be kept very low impact and lighter than your usual routine.
  • Weight machines at the gym. Lifting weights may put more strain to your muscles and force your body to work harder when it is already using a lot of energy to make you feel better.  Lifting weights may also increase your risk for injury since your body is weaker than usual while sick.
  • Swimming and biking. For some, swimming and biking works as long as it is low intensity, but others find it harder to breathe well during these activities.
  • Outdoor activity in the cold. Cold and dry air can constrict and irritate your air passages and cause a runny nose and coughing.  Again, be aware of the messages your body is sending you.

Even though some workouts are acceptable during a head cold, be sure to keep in mind that it is suggested to lessen the intensity of your regular workout and reduce the amount of time of your regular workout routine.  During these workouts, be aware of your body and if you feel like you are pushing too much, don’t be discouraged; simply listen to your body and give it rest if you aren’t feeling well enough to work out.  A couple days rest from working out won’t affect your usual performance, just gradually work up to your regular regimen as you feel better.

Tonight, I might look up some yoga videos on YouTube and see how I feel!  YouTube is my favorite go-to for workouts—the videos are free and there are so many people who post workouts for exactly what you need.

Stay healthy and be strong!

Hands Up for Pushups

Let’s talk about pushps.  They all began in gym class in elementary school or middle school when the gym teachers had to test your physical health and made you complete as many crunches and pushups as you could (and in my case, I had to do them while half of my class watched me).  They always held a negative connotation and you have always dreaded them, right?  Well, pushups just got a bit more exciting.

There are so many variations of pushups, it is truly unbelievable.  Also, each variation is an excellent full-body workout.  In any given pushup position, you will be working arms, shoulders, chest, core, back, and legs.  Everything is working to bring your body up and down.  They are always a good challenge, and can always be made harder.  Push yourself!

These are just a few types of heart-pumping, sweat-inducing pushup varieties:

  1. Wide-grip pushup. This pushup is just like your standard pushup but it involves a wider stance to work your chest harder.  Place your hands further than shoulder width apart and feel the burn!
  1. Narrow-grip pushup. These specifically target your triceps.  Place your hands just a few inches apart from each other beneath you in pushup position.  Bend your elbows and feel those triceps working hard!
  1. T-pushups. These are my personal favorite.  Begin in standard pushup position.  Now, lean to one side so you are at a side plank with your feet stacked and raise your arm.  Return to standard pushup position and repeat on the other side.  This is a full body workout and particularly works on strengthening the obliques as well as arms, shoulders, and core.
  1. Feet-elevated pushups. These require, you guessed it, for your feet to be elevated.  Find a bench outside or a chair or even your bed and place your feet on it in pushup position. Now do a set of regular pushups but you will feel more work for your shoulders, chest, and scapular stabilizers, or the muscles that connect your neck, mid back, and shoulders together.
  1. Elbow pushups. These are just pure torture but extremely effective.  In plank position, go on to your elbows so your forearms are on the ground.  Now, one arm at a time, return back into a full plank position with your hands on the ground beneath you at shoulder width apart.  Repeat this up-and-down movement and you will be shredding your arms in no time.

These are excellent moves to incorporate into your workouts.  For beginners, these moves can also be performed on the knees.pushups  Challenge your friends and see who can do more reps or last the longest!  Create your own pushup variation, or see if you can do one of the pushups listed above continuously throughout your favorite song.  These are difficult moves but you will see the results with determination.

Stay healthy and be strong!

Whatever you do, do not worry about buying that gym membership.

Coming right out of college, I knew I was not going to have the means to afford a gym membership.  Real-world bills began to pile up and budgeting proved that a gym membership was not something that was going to happen.  However, that was not going to stop me from keeping fit.

Body weight training is the best workout to stay lean and fit and it won’t cost you anything at all.  Many people might try to use the excuse that they don’t want to work out because it costs too much and they don’t see results to make it worth it.  Well, body weight training does not even require a gym membership; in fact, it can be done completely at home and with some hard work, there will be results.

This workout method is becoming more and more popular also due to how effective it is.  There are so many variations of body weight training that improves your movement and strength, and makes you toned.  My favorite body weight training workouts come from Cassey Ho on YouTube, called “Blogilates”.  She has created a form of working out that incorporates Pilates moves and interval training.  Personally, I have seen and felt more results from her in one week than any other workouts that I have done in the past.  She has hundreds of workouts specifically targeting each muscle group in your body as well as many cardio workouts, too.  By doing Blogilates workouts, you can tailor your workout exactly how you want.  For example, if you want to just work on legs, search “Blogilates legs” into YouTube and you will find numerous leg workouts from Cassey that will leave you sore and stronger.  Her muscle toning workouts only take up the space of a yoga mat; although you don’t need a yoga mat to perform the workouts, be sure to use a soft surface such as a carpet and that will work perfectly.  She also has videos on how to choose healthy foods to eat to compliment your workouts.

Body weight training has given me the opportunity to maintain my health that I had in college and allows me to feel fresh and strong every day.  I strongly suggest giving this workout method a try.  Working out is now made easy and convenient right in your home and still gives the results that are desired.

plank girl

The New Year’s Resolution diet isn’t working? It’s okay, just quit.

diet_scale_000001667800At every start to the new year, there are countless people who announce how they are going to start on a new diet and work out and lose weight.  The new year brings on a sense of motivation to start off new, begin on a fresh slate, and make a positive change to your life.

Well, this diet thing may not be what you need.

Don’t get me wrong, you may begin your diet, limit yourself on carbs and junk food and see quick results.  Your miracle diet plan may leave you feeling healthier and happier and thinner.  You may fit in those jeans you wore in high school again.  Your friends and family overwhelm you with compliments and everything seems to have fallen into place.  However, after perhaps a couple months of your new diet, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the eating habits that it demands.  Inevitably, the weight returns.

Don’t fall into the trap of a new diet.  Ease into a new lifestyle.

For long-term results that leave you in a state of happiness and health, create a new lifestyle for yourself.  This will not happen quickly or easily necessarily, but it is more effective than picking up a diet book off of the shelf at your local Target store.

Start by evaluating exactly how you go about eating and exercise in your life.  How often do you exercise?  What types of food do you eat on a daily basis?  Be honest with yourself, as this will only help you achieve ultimate health in the long run.  Create measureable goals that are realistic so you can have something concrete to work towards.

Once you have completely evaluated yourself and your health, begin by making little changes slowly.  There is no need to tell yourself, “I will stop eating ice cream tomorrow,” or, “I will work out every day from now on”.  Cutting yourself off from foods that you have always enjoyed immediately will only make them more tempting and you will return back to your old habits.  One rule that I do my best to follow is to have 80% of your diet every day be completely healthy decisions and have 20% be slightly off the course of strictly healthy.  With little splurges every day, it makes you less likely for big splurges and weight gain.

As far as exercise, don’t drive yourself crazy with workouts that you don’t enjoy.  Don’t force yourself to wake up every day and run three miles if you dread it.  Don’t hop on the elliptical and force yourself through a half hour of leg-pushing work.  An activity as simple as walking everyday will make the difference.  Play basketball with your friends, go swimming, or go for a light jog if that is what you enjoy.  Any kind of activity that you enjoy will be the easiest to commit to and you will no longer dread working out.  Simply find something that you can look forward to and work it into your schedule.

Exercising and eating healthy go hand-in-hand.  By incorporating both of these elements into your life, you will reap the benefits.  Good luck and stay strong!