4 Minimalist Moves for Do Anywhere Workouts

Did you know that 3 in 4 Americans claim their schedules are too packed for exercise? Not exactly an earth-shattering revelation though, since most of us have used that fallback when unavoidable time commitments‚ÄĒor urgent Netflix binges‚ÄĒhappen.

But, among¬†the¬†self-described “Super Busy,” about 60% indicated they’d exercise more often if they could do so at home.¬†Well, sure….makes sense. I mean, half the battle is¬†finding motivation to (a)¬†invest in a gym membership then¬†(b)¬†get your money’s worth from said membership.

I’m no stranger to the price tag of¬†staying in shape. Lemme tell you‚ÄĒPure Barre classes cost a pretty penny! Fitness is an expense I’ll willingly take on…but just once a week, thanks. My twenty-something budget can’t handle much¬†more! So, what’s a girl to do those other 6 days?

Enter: the TKO Ab Stretch 4-Way Resistance Band.¬†This affordable‚ÄĒwe’re talking $12.99‚ÄĒtwist on gym-quality equipment makes strength training accessible for anyone¬†who can’t spare gym-quality payments.

4 way resistance bands

With adjustable tension to customize your resistance level and a portable design for on-the-go convenience, low maintenance finally meets effective. TKO Ab Stretch targets the core, arm and back for a full-body circuit that develops muscle tone, promotes strength and increases flexibility.

Courtesy of¬†this gotta-have gadget, your home‚ÄĒor anywhere, for that matter‚ÄĒworkout¬†regimen can be as simple and straightforward as the¬†examples below (thanks¬†to my sister Victoria for being a topnotch fitness model)!

Deltoid Raises

resistance band arm exercise 1

  1. Place 2 of the resistance band loops around your feet, and grip the other 2 loops with your hands.
  2. Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart, or wide enough to create tension on the cord.
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles and keep them taut throughout the remaining steps.
  4. Lower your arms to each side then, with a slow and controlled motion, raise them outstretched into a T-position.
  5. Hold this stance for 5 seconds, while keeping your shoulders relaxed, then lower your arms back down.
  6. Complete 20 more repetitions of steps 1-5.

Bicep Curls

reistance band arm exercise 2

  1. Place 2 of the resistance band loops around your feet, and grip the other 2 loops with your hands.
  2. Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart, or wide enough to create tension on the cord.
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles and keep them taut throughout the remaining steps.
  4. Stretch your arms into a low V-position, with your elbows facing down, then curl them upward toward your shoulders.
  5. Hold this stance for about 5 seconds, keeping your shoulders relaxed, then lower your arms back down.
  6. Complete 20 more repetitions of steps 1-5.

Forearm Extensions

resistance band arm exercise 3

  1. Place 2 of the resistance band loops around your feet, and grip the other 2 loops with your hands.
  2. Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart, or wide enough to create tension on the cord.
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles and keep them taut throughout the remaining steps.
  4. Lower your arms to each side then, with a slow and controlled motion, extend them parallel in front of your body.
  5. Hold this stance for about 5 seconds, keeping your shoulders relaxed, then lower your arms back down.
  6. Complete 20 more repetitions of steps 1-5.

Deltoid Pulses

resistance band arm exercise 4

  1. Place 2 of the resistance band loops around your feet, and grip the other 2 loops with your hands.
  2. Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart, or wide enough to create tension on the cord.
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles and keep them taut throughout the remaining steps.
  4. Lower your arms in front of your body then, with a sweeping motion, raise them outstretched into an inverted V-position.
  5. Move your upper arms in small pulses, while keeping your shoulders relaxed, for about 5 seconds then lower your arms back down.
  6. Complete 20 more repetitions of steps 1-5.

So, now I wanna hear from YOU. Ever tried a resistance band circuit? Know any more¬†“minimalist moves,” involving this equipment? Comment with your¬†favorite¬†strength training tips!


Special thanks to TKO for letting me test out this awesome product. Follow this dynamic fitness gear brand on Instagram @TKO_WhateverItTakes and use the hashtag #WhatEverItTakes.

 

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Don’t Wait for the New Year. It’s Never Too Early for a New You.

Yeah…Yeah…Yeah. You know the drill:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

…for working up a sweat, that is!

Wait, is that not how the song goes? Oh, well. Sorry to burst your bubble, but with the imminent threat of “holiday pounds” (dun! dun! dun!) looming on the horizon, now is an ideal time to kick your fitness goals into high gear. Why hold out until New Years to start acting on that — dare I say, predictable — resolution?

The following 28-day Interval Training circuit, courtesy of Girls Gone Sporty and CROSSROPE, will support you all the way through this festive, yet often diet-derailing season.

With a combination of high intensity tabata, cardio and strength conditioning exercises, you can count on this 4-week program to whip you into tip-top shape — just in time for debuting that brand new little black dress ¬†at holiday parties or tongue-tying those hypercritical relatives into stunned silence.

These daily workouts can be done absolutely anywhere, anytime. ¬†And, aside from your own body weight, the only equipment you’ll need is a jump rope. ¬†(Any jump rope will suffice; however, if you wanna get uber legit, the masterminds behind this program suggest using CROSSROPE’s¬†Double Under Domination Set. Check out my social media accounts to score a 5% discount code on¬†CROSSROPE merchandise.)

So, without further ado…Tone your way through Thanksgiving and Christmas, then ring in the New Year with a fabulous physique and oodles of confidence to continue this healthy streak into 2015!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

***Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of these image slides or the 28-Day Interval Training circuit. All credit for this post goes to Laura Williams, founder of Girls Gone Sporty, in association with CROSSROPE.***

(Oh, and one more thing: Download the entire program here.)

Get a “Leg Up” on Strength Training

So…got those “Thunder Thigh” blues again?

I feel your pain, girlfrand…

This troublesome spot often seems impossible to tone, but – believe it or not – there’s still hope!

By breaking the thigh region down into individual muscle groups and concentrating on each area separately, you’ll finally¬†find success. Good bye, Thunder Thighs. Hello, Mini Skirt Material!

(Oh, and can’t forget about those calves. They deserve a tone-up too, right?)

Just follow my complete leg exercise circuit, and – I guarantee – the results will amaze you:


Adductor Muscles

  • Where they’re located:¬†inner thighs
  • 3 Ways to Work them out…
  1.  Scissor Plank: (1) Lower your body into standard plank position. (2) Make sure that your back is flat, elbows are locked, legs are straightened, and feet are together. (3) While maintaining proper form, jump your legs out, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. (4) Hold this stance for approximately 2 seconds. (5) Tightening your inner thighs, jump the legs back together. (6) Hold this stance for approximately 2 seconds, then repeat. (7) Do 2 sets of 30 repetitions.
  2. Plie Squat: (1) Stand with your legs hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. (2) Turn your feet out approximately 45 degrees. (3) Lift your heels off the ground and balance on the balls of your feet. (4) While keeping your shoulders, back, and hips aligned, bend your legs deeply and lower the body down as far as you can. (5) Hold this stance for approximately 2 seconds. (6) Straighten back up into a standing position, then repeat. (7) Do 2 sets of 30 repetitions.
  3. Ball Squeeze: (1) Lie flat on your back with arms straightened by your sides. (2) Plant your feet firmly on the ground, slightly parted, with knees bent. (3) Place a stability ball (you could also substitute a throw pillow) between your knees. (4) Contracting the inner thighs, squeeze your knees tightly on each side of the ball. (5) Hold this position for approximately 2 seconds. (6) Relax for approximately 2 seconds, then repeat. (7) Do 2 sets of 30 repetitions.

Quadricep Muscles

  • Where they’re located:¬†frontal & outer thighs
  • 3 Ways to Work them out…
  1. Crossover Lunge: (1) Stand upright with your feet together and arms by your sides. (2) While keeping your right leg planted, step the left leg across the right leg. (3) Bend both knees deeply into a lunge. (4) Hold this position for approximately 2 seconds. (5) Straighten and return to a neutral standing position. (6) Repeat this movement on the other side. (7) Do 2 sets of 30 repetitions.
  2. Lateral Leg Lift:¬†(1)¬†Stand upright behind a chair with your feet together and hands gripping the chair’s back. (2)¬†While keeping the rest of your body still, lift the right leg out to the side. (3)¬†Flex your foot and contract both the front and outer thighs. (4) Hold this stance for approximately 2 seconds.¬†(5)¬†Lower your leg and return to a neutral standing position.¬†(6)¬†Repeat this movement on the other side.¬†(7)¬†Do 2 sets of 30 repetitions.
  3. Wall Sit: (1) Stand upright with your back flat against a sturdy wall. (2)  Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your sides. (3) Slide down the wall until your knees are bent at 90 degree angles. (4) Hold this position for approximately 60 seconds. (5) Straighten and return to a neutral standing position. (6) Relax for approximately 10 seconds, then repeat. (7) Do 2 sets of 1 repetition.      

Hamstring Muscles

  • Where they’re located:¬†posterior thighs
  • 3 Ways to Work them out…
  1. Kick Back: (1) Lower your body into standard plank position. (2) While keeping your elbows locked and back flat, drop knees to the ground. (3) Flex your feet and extend the right leg out behind you, kicking upward. (4) Lower your right leg back to the ground, then repeat this movement with your left leg. (5) Alternate kicking back each leg 30 times as quickly as you can, while maintaining proper form. (6) Relax for approximately 10 seconds. (7) Do 2 sets of 30 repetitions.
  2. Step Up:¬†(1)¬†Stand upright in front of a chair, with the seat facing you.¬†(2)¬†Place your hands on hips and feet slightly less than shoulder-width apart.¬†(3)¬†While keeping your upper body still and core engaged, step upward onto the chair’s seat with your right leg, following with the left leg.¬†(4)¬†Straighten both legs and hold this stance for approximately 2 seconds.¬†(5)¬†Step backward with your left leg down to the ground, following with the right leg.¬†(6)¬†Repeat this movement, alternating between each leg.¬†(7)¬†Do 2 sets of 30 repetitions.
  3. Modified Bridge: (1) Lie flat on your back with arms straightened by your sides. (2) Plant your feet firmly on the ground, slightly parted, with knees bent. (3) Lift your heels and push off the ground with the balls of your feet, raising the hips. (4) Elevate your entire upper body and, continuing to balance on the balls of your feet, tighten the posterior thighs. (5) Hold this stance for approximately 2 seconds, then lower back to the ground. (6) Relax for approximately 2 seconds, then repeat. (7) Do 2 sets of 30 repetitions.

Gastrocnemius & Soleus Muscles

  • Where they’re located:¬†upper & lower calves
  • 3 Ways to Work them out…
  1. Box Jumps:¬†(1) Position yourself¬†in front of an approximately 6″ raised platform (you could use a sturdy box, stool, or crate).¬†(2)¬†Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. (3)¬†Bend your elbows, clench hands into fists, and tuck arms in tightly at your sides.¬†(4)¬†Lift your heels and, pushing off the ground with the balls of your feet, spring onto the platform. (5)¬†Land on your toes, then jump backward down to the ground.¬†(6) Land on your toes once again, then repeat.¬†(7) Do 2 sets of 15 repetitions.
  2. Single Leg Raises: (1) Stand upright with your feet together and arms by your sides. (2) Balancing on your right leg, bend the left leg and extend it behind you. (3) Raise your right heel off the ground, then lower back down. (4) Repeat this movement 30 times with your right leg. (5) Lower your left leg and return to a neutral standing position. (6) Bend your right leg and extend it behind you, switching the 30 calf raises to your leg left. (7) Do 1 set of 30 repetitions on each side.
  3. Plie Raises: (1) Stand with your legs hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. (2) Turn your feet out approximately 45 degrees. (3) Lift your heels off the ground and balance on the balls of your feet. (4) Lower your body and avoid raising the hips. (5) While keeping your upper body still, pulse up and down, alternating between the heels and toes. (6) Repeat this movement 30 times, then return to a standing position. (7) Do 2 sets of 30 repetitions.

No Weights? No Worries!

I don’t have a gym membership. I don’t even own a set of dumbbells.

Yup…I’m¬†that¬†girl. Fake fitness freak, some might say. But I beg to differ. Some of the most effective exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home, without legit equipment. All you gotta do is improvise (which is particularly convenient for me, since I majored in performing arts)!

Unless a state-of-the-art workout space is your thing, there’s no need to invest in all those “bells and whistles.” Strength training doesn’t require a Nautilus label. As long as you’ve got some resistance, you’re in business.

So, let’s say you’re toning up on a budget, you laugh out loud at the prospect of driving all the way to LA Fitness, or you just find sporting gear intimidating (like, what is¬†a kettleball?!).

No problemo!

The following low-cost, no-fuss tips will maximize your results without forcing you to finance a home-gym.


Instead of Dumbbells:

  • Water Bottles (approximately 1-2 lb. each)
  • Soup Cans (approximately 3-5 lb. each)
  • Family-size shampoo bottle (approximately 6-7 lb. each)
  • Gallon Milk Jugs (approximately 8-10 lb. each)

Instead of Balance Discs:

  • Basketball or football
  • High heeled shoes
  • Skateboard
  • PVC pipe (8″/schedule 120)

Instead of Stability Balls:

  • Couch cushions
  • Stack of 4-5 textbooks
  • Reading Pillow
  • Hiking Backpack

Instead of Yoga Mats:

  • Thick cardboard (approximately 68″ x 24″)
  • Full or Queen-size mattress
  • Non-slip rug (approximately 68″ x 24″)
  • Full or Queen-size Sleeping bag

 

 

My Top Picks for an “I Hate Working Out” Work-Out

You lack the motivation to tell your “Orange Is the New Black” addiction it’s time to explore other (more physical?) activities. The sheer notion of going for a jog or brushing the dust off those 5-pound weights just exhausts you. There are so many scribbles in your Lilly Pulitzer planner you don’t even have 10 spare minutes to sweat. You detest sports bras. And lycra…let’s not even touch that subject. (“No really! I’m doing a service for everybody else at the gym. No one wants to see these rolls!”). You’re notorious for making that same New Year’s Resolution every single January, then losing interest by mid-February.

In short, working out: not your thang.

Sound familiar?

Hey, you’re not alone. After all, exercise often gets a bad rap. It’s painful. It’s boring. It’s tiring. It’s daunting. It’s time consuming. It’s…blah, right? Well, at first it is. But here’s the good news: if you power through the sore muscles, fatigue, and recurring thoughts of “there are about a million other things I’d rather be doing,” you might just make a life-changing discovery. Exercise feels amazing! Invigorating. Empowering. Revitalizing. Suddenly you’ve got enough strength and stamina to run circles around the baddest bitch from “OITNB.” Hell. You’re the freakin’ Energizer Bunny!

But the fact remains that many of us still struggle with finding the willpower to push past temporary discomforts of physical exertion in order to reap long-term benefits. If that sounds suspiciously like the story of your life, then stand by. I’ve been busy scouring the web for some foolproof, fun, fast, and fairly simple work-outs that’ll make getting a sweat on easier than you ever imagined.

Anyone can learn to love the burn. Women, who never played a sport in their lives, can unleash inner-athletes when they dare to try. Those, who argue they just don’t have enough time, can find ways to make physical activity part of their daily routines.

And that means YOU too.

Yup, even you can get up and move (and enjoy it to boot!). Check out my recommendations below, choose the work-out regimen that best suits your lifestyle, and start pumping those muscles. Because, girlfriend, a healthy body is a sexy body!


For Cardio Training:

1. Go for a bike ride.¬†Intensity for your legs and relaxation for your mind, that’s the beauty of a 2-wheeler. Pick a scenic route to distract yourself from the continuous pedaling motion. Start at a leisurely pace for 30 minutes, then gradually increase to vigorous for 1 hour. So, to recap: fresh air, nature, and toned thighs. #Winning.

2. Play some DDR.¬†Movement doesn’t have to be conventional or even choreographed. It can be as simple¬†as jumping around your living room, courtesy of Dance Dance Revolution. Challenge yourself with the “Maniac” mode and see how long you can keep pace before getting booed off the stage. Never has sweating been so fun.

3. Take the plunge.¬†Swimming laps is one of the most effective full-body exercises like…ever. So, “beach babes” and “pool partiers,” take heart: your natural habitat can be part of your fitness plan. For someone of average endurance, a basic routine would include 2 breaststroke laps, 2 freestyles, 2 backstrokes, and 2 butterflies.


For Strength Training:

1. Jump Squat: This move targets both your upper and lower body. Follow these steps to execute a jump squat: (1) lace fingers behind head and stand with feet shoulder-width apart (2) bend knees slightly to gain momentum, then launch straight into the air (3) after landing, lower body down as far as you can with hips and glutes pushed back  (4) hold for 5 counts, then raise yourself back to a standing position (5) repeat 20 times. You should particularly feel the burn in your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes,

Image

(image courtesy of healthfulpage.com)

2. Bicycle Crunch: This move primarily targets your core. Follow these steps to execute a bicycle crunch: (1) lie flat with lower back pressed into the floor (2) lace fingers at the base of neck and contract abdominal muscles (3) raise legs to a 45-degree angle and bend knees (4) move legs in a circular motion as though pedaling a bike (5) lift upper body off the floor and twist from one side to the other, alternately touching one elbow to the opposite knee (6) repeat 30 times on each side. You should particularly feel the burn in your obliques.

Image   

(image courtesy of sassyfitgirl.com)

3. Push-Up: This move primarily targets your upper body. Follow these steps to execute a push-up: (1) lower down to a plank position with hands facing forward and spread shoulder-width apart (2) flatten back and push glutes down, creating a straight slant along spine (3) clench glutes and tighten abdominal muscles (4) bend elbows and lower body down, while still maintaining a straight spine (5) hold this position for 2 counts, then raise back up into a plank (5) repeat 40 times. You should particularly feel the burn in your triceps, deltoids, and pectorals.

Image

(image courtesy of fitsugar.com)