Get Ready for Summer Workout

After a long winter, I’m always anxious for warmer weather and the opportunity to spend more time outside. Now is the ideal time to start ramping up your activity levels, so you are ready for those summer hikes, bike rides, marathon yard work sessions and trips to the pool.

As with any change in your fitness routine, start small. Don’t go from the couch to a 60-minute spinning session. Start with 20 or 30-minute workout sessions a few times a week. These sessions might be walks around the neighborhood or 30-minute strength training classes. Just make sure you aren’t asking too much of your body the first day/week.

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Best Workouts for Bad Knees

We rely heavily on our knees in our day-to-day activities, but often our exercise choices abuse them. If you have sore or injured knees, you can still work out – I promise! The important thing is to be aware of what can impact your knees while working out and avoid these activities.

One movement that can have an impact on the health of your knees is how you stand when you lift weights. If you lock out your knees while lifting weights, you are increasing the risk of injuring your knees.

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Intense Workout You Can Do in a Small Space

Spring Break has come and gone, and I’m not ready to get back to the real world! We were fortunate enough to be able to get away, and I’m still enjoying the relaxed routine we fell into during vacation.

Whenever I’m on vacation, I like the challenge of coming up with a small-space, full-body workout. Hotel rooms, dorm rooms or even apartments can make it challenging to work out. This is a workout I created this past week, and I really liked it. It was challenging enough that I felt like I was getting a good workout, but I was able to do it in a small area.

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Best Indoor Workout for When it's Cold Outside

We’ve had a rough winter in Kansas this year. Since Jan. 9, our school district has had at least five snow days. One snow day – let alone five – is not a common occurrence. There have been many days where the weather was too bad to go outside for a run or venture to the pool. This workout is for those days when you are trapped at home and can’t make it to the gym. It’s a quick workout that will get your heart rate up. Give it a try!

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No-Equipment Workouts For At Home

This winter has been brutal. Lots of snow and ice. It’s easy to skip your workout – no one wants to risk his or her life in order to squeeze in a trip to the gym! If you are stuck at home but really want to work out, check out some of my favorite at-home workouts included below. They are bodyweight workouts that require no equipment! Click on the image to link to more detailed instructions for the various movements.

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Fit February Challenge: 5-Minute Workouts

As a trainer, if I could have one “wish” come true, it would be for more people to just get moving. I’m not talking about taking on a huge, new workout regimen or trying the latest fitness craze. I want people who haven’t had the time to start exercising or have struggled to get back into the habit of exercising to just move. For 5-10 minutes. That’s it.

The logistics of starting an exercise program can be daunting – where to do it, how to do it and when to find the time to do it. My goal for February is to set small, five-minute goals that are manageable and logistically doable.

So, here is my challenge for this week: five minutes of activity, three times a week. You pick the days…just get moving for three days. Challenge a friend or spouse to join you.

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Indoor Workout You Can Do With Your Kids

In December, I had an insane amount of continuing education credits to finish because I had put the classes off…for two years. One of the classes I took was about exercise and kids. I was reminded that kids need a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity a day. While taking the class, I started to worry that my son wasn’t getting enough activity each day. As a result, I’ve been trying to focus on ensuring that he gets at least 30 - 60 minutes of activity each day.

Much to my son’s dismay, I’ve started making him exercise with me in my gym. Knowing he wasn’t crazy about the idea, I’ve been trying to come up with workouts that are fun and distracting. We just want to burn some energy! This is an alphabet workout we did recently, and it was a success! I spelled out “Happy Valentine’s Day, Finn.” He had to do the exercises associated with each letter!

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Ultimate Core Workout

Although we covet and drool over an impressive set of abdominal muscles, we often overlook how much support those muscles provide in our bodies! Your core (abdominal muscles, back muscles, pelvic core muscles and diaphragm) is the support system for a multitude of movements: bending forward, straightening up to standing, bending back, bending to the side, twisting your torso as well as stabilizing your spine.

When we think about working our core, we often just focus on abdominal movements, but we need to be working our backs and strengthening our pelvic core muscles, too! Many people suffer from lower back pain, and strengthening your core is a great way to help combat back tightness and weakness.

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"No Time to Exercise" Workout

I’m a personal trainer, and even I have to scramble to fit in my workouts on some days. No matter how well I organize my week, I’m often struggling to squeeze in a quick workout. I create 20-minute workouts all of the time, yet I always need more.

Today was one of those days. I wanted a full-body workout, but I didn’t want to be tied to a specific piece of equipment. As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) workouts are my go-to format on days like these. I can push myself a little harder because I’m competing against the clock, and I know I’m going to be done in 20 minutes. It’s a win-win!

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Heading Back to the Gym: Bodyweight Workout

I have a love/hate relationship with the month of January. I love the idea of a fresh start for the new year, but I dislike that the month also brings that annual pressure to lose weight and get in shape. I’m always in favor of trying to incorporate more exercise and activity into my life, but I think the pressure and expectations of resolutions and big goals set us up for failure. Most people who make big, sweeping changes rarely maintain their new “normal” for a lifetime. It usually requires an insane commitment that most people can’t sustain.

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FAST, Full-Body Workout

There is never enough time in the day to get everything done. If I don’t schedule in a time to work out (and actually adhere to that schedule), the day will end with me being too exhausted to work out. I’ve experienced it too many times to count.

I designed this workout to be a quick, full-body challenge. It requires no equipment, so you can do it at home, in your office during lunch or at the gym

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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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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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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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