How to Squeeze in Workouts During the Holidays

As the craziness of the holidays take over our schedules, it’s harder to find time to fit in workouts. I’ve found that if I identify small blocks of time for workouts, I can usually fit in a quick workout. I aim to work out for 20 minutes. That’s it. Sometimes 20 minutes seems impossible, so I set my timer for 10 minutes and walk the stairs. Any kind of activity is beneficial - it doesn’t have to be an intense, hour-long class at the gym!

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Want to Start Strength Training? Try This Beginner Workout

Are you wanting to start a strength training program but have no idea where to start? Rest assured, you are not alone! I used to be a cardio-only workout person. I didn’t particularly enjoy lifting weights, and truthfully, I had no idea where to start. If I could get past being totally intimidated by the serious lifters, I’d walk into the workout area and just stare at the gym equipment wondering where to start.  I’d grab a few free weights, do a random number of repetitions and slink back to the treadmills! 

The good news is that it’s not nearly as mysterious as it seems.

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The Ultimate Leg Workout

I have spent years learning how to embrace my curves; although I have become more comfortable with my body’s natural shape, I still try to work on the areas where my body likes to store fat. I am a pear-shaped body type, so I tend to gain weight in my butt and thighs. I try to work my lower body often because I want to have as much strength in my glute and quadricep muscles as possible, and I would rather have muscle than fat.

This workout is one that will get your heart rate up but also strengthen your legs.

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Low-Impact Workout for Bad Knees

I am a firm believer that you CAN workout even if you have bad knees, an artificial hip, sore wrists or a sensitive back. You just have to be cautious of what movements you do.

Today’s workout is knee-friendly, so you can squeeze in a workout without irritating your knees. If anything bothers your knees, stop what you are doing and return to a movement that is comfortable. Our goal is to do no harm!

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10-Minute Upper Body Workouts

Strength training doesn’t have to be an hour-long endeavor. Many of us don’t have hours to devote to working out. We often look at strength training as an all or nothing pursuit – either we have the time to do it or we don’t do it at all.

Today’s workout is intended to combat that mindset. I’m including two upper body, equipment-free workouts that you can do in 10 minutes. 

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Heart-Pumping, Bodyweight Ladder Workout

I created this workout while we were on vacation. I just happened to be reading a Men’s Health magazine the night before, and one of their articles/workouts inspired me to create this ladder workout. (I LOVE Men’s Health magazine. They have some of the best workouts.)

This workout starts slow, but by the time you get into rounds 10-15, you are feeling it. If you struggle doing push-ups or any movement that places pressure on your wrists or hands, check out the wrist-friendly version included below.

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When to Breathe During Strength Training Exercises

Recently, a client asked me about the timing of her breathing during a strength training workout. When should she exhale? Inhale? The easiest rule to remember during a strength training workout is to exhale when you are exerting force and inhale on the recovery. That’s easy to master – in theory. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what is the exertion portion of certain exercises. Let’s look at some popular strength training moves and identify when you should exhale and inhale.

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Sore Knees? Try These Knee-Friendly Exercises

When I was younger, I would jump and hop around with little to no thought about the impact on my body. Now, I cringe when I see someone doing repeated tuck jumps or box jumps. It hurts my knees just watching someone else do it!

Often times, if we have an injured body part, we assume we just need to give up fitness. But, that’s not the case – you just need to find exercises you can do to keep yourself active but not further aggravate your injured area. The important thing to keep in mind is that if you do feel pain in your knees (or any other body part) while doing a movement, stop. No workout is worth injuring your body!

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Full-Body Dumbbell Workout

Some of my favorite workouts are created by accident.   This workout is a result of one of those recent workout sessions. I knew I wanted to do a strength training session with minimal equipment, and I needed it to be full-body.

The only equipment this workout utilizes are dumbbells. If you don’t have any dumbbells, you can easily do this workout with bottles of water or no weights at all. Repeat each circuit for a total of three times before moving on to the next circuit.

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Get a Full-body Workout From Home in 20 Minutes

I love workouts that require no equipment and minimal space. This workout fits that criteria perfectly – it’s comprised of bodyweight exercises that can be done anywhere. There isn’t any complicated choreography in this workout, so you can focus on your form.  Knee-friendly/ back-friendly modifications are listed next to each movement. This is an ideal workout if you don't have time to go to the gym or you prefer to workout from home. Set aside 20 minutes, find a small space in a room and get started! 

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The Beginners Guide to Tabata Workouts

Tabata training is a type of a High Intensity Interval Training workout that is highly effective and efficient. It is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata, who founded the workout format with his team of researchers at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo.  Tabata and his colleagues found that this workout format burned more calories in this 4-minute circuit than would be typically be seen in a 4-minute segment of exercise. They also found that participants saw increases in both their anaerobic system (muscles) as well as aerobic system (cardiovascular); whereas participants who only participated in a moderate intensity program (that was not Tabata) only saw increases in their aerobic systems.

Often times Tabata is associated with cardio and plyometric exercise moves, but I like to use it with both cardio and strength training moves. Because of its intense interval format, you are only going to do it one or two times a week and never on consecutive days. If clients are completing it with the intensity that the workout prescribes, then I don’t usually do more than 4-5 circuits (20-25 minutes).

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Hate Working Out? Try This Alphabet Workout

A former client of mine posted a picture on my Facebook page last week featuring another trainer’s alphabet workout. She commented that it was just like something I would make my clients do! Little did she know, I’m a huge fan of alphabet workouts.  If you are constantly watching the clock while working out, then this one is for you. Time flies by while you are doing it.

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Popsicle Stick Workout

I like to be surprised – a card in the mail, a compliment from a stranger or an unexpected call from a friend.  (Let’s be honest – getting a surprise check or gift in the mail is the BEST.) I especially love it when my husband surprises me by doing the dishes or folding the laundry!

I also like to be surprised during a workout. When I create my workouts, I always know what’s coming next. Sometimes I take a class or go for a group workout that someone else is leading to give me that “surprise” workout. If time is short and I don’t have time to find a class to attend, this popsicle stick workout is a great “at home” surprise workout.

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Stay Inside Workout - Full-body, Low-Impact

Cold and flu season is in full swing, and several of my clients have been out of commission because of a cold. As my clients ease back into their workout routines, we've been trying to keep workouts low-impact. Heart rates still get elevated, but I've taken out most of the jarring movements. Let's be honest, no one wants to do a bunch of jumps and high intensity movements during their first workout after being sick.  

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Why You NEED to Change Up Your Workout Routine

I once had a co-worker proudly boast that she had been doing the same Jane Fonda VHS step workout everyday for years. Yet, in the same conversation, she said she couldn't understand why she wasn't progressing in strength and cardiovascular gains. She wasn't interested in what I had to say, but the solution was an easy one - change up your workout routine!

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Low-Impact Workout That Will Get Your Heart Pumping

I've been trying to create more workouts that are low-impact but still manage to get heart rates elevated.  This workout will increase your heart rate, but it is also kind to your joints. It's a body-weight workout, so you don't need anything in order to do it. If you are needing more low-impact options for workouts, give this one a try. It's quick and less jarring than some workouts!

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Hip and Knee-Friendly New Year's Workout

By the second week of February, more than 80 percent of New Year's Resolutions will have failed. (The most common resolutions people make involve diet and exercise.) As awful as that statistic sounds, I don't find it to be hopeless. It just reminds me that we all tend to bite off more than we can chew in an attempt to make positive changes in the new year.

That's where today's workout comes in. If you are needing a workout to keep your new fitness program going or if you are trying to get back into an exercise routine, give this workout a try. It is actually created to be hip and knee-friendly, so it should be a reasonable workout for everyone.

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Full-Body Turkey Day Workout

Most of us don't WANT to work out on Thanksgiving, but I promise you it's a great way to start off the holiday. After trying to get the turkey in the oven, prepare the side dishes and pick up the house, I'm stressed and taxed. Although a workout isn't on the top of my list, I try to set aside 20 minutes to get moving. I promise you that it's worth it; I am always so glad I did it. I feel less stressed and more energized.

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