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Strengthening and Shaping for the Lazy

I like easy strengthening exercises.  I’m lazy and a procrastinator who will build up what she needs to do to epic proportions in her mind, psyching herself out of doing any work at all.

I have not done yoga or pilates, or any sort of strengthening exercises for months.  (I can blame it on the Holidays, but, well, ok I’ll blame it on the holidays.)  Over the past 2 weeks I’ve been back working on the weight machines at the gym to strengthen without the pressure of not falling over during yoga or Pilates.  I just started to see and feel results this past week so I figured I’d try my hand at some floor moves.  Anyone who says yoga and Pilates are easier than pumping iron are DEAD WRONG.  Ok, maybe it’s relative to your own body weight vs. weights on the machine.  I’ve got some lbs. on me, so lifting 20 pound weights to work my shoulders on a machine is kids play opposed to holding my body weight up in some Pilates moves.  Personally, I prefer floor work over the weight machines since machines isolate specific muscles and yoga/Pilates work all the stabilizing muscles as well as main muscles.  I like a full body workout!

I also strongly procrastinate working on my core.  I know it’s necessary to work your middle to feel your strongest, and once my middle has gained strength I think “why did I ever stop doing this!?”  So, I attempted some new and seemingly easy core work to keep my waistline slim (I like to accentuate the hourglass) and strengthen at the same time.  I threw in some glute work and yoga as well.  These exercises took me about 30 minutes, but you can easily shorten it by picking and choosing your own routine.  Thank you Pinterest!

1. I started with about 15 minutes of Yoga to “warm up”.  I put that in quotes because Yoga is more than a warm up, it’s a great strengthening medium in addition to Pilates.

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2.  Laying your back seems easy right?  I tried these Alternating Single-Leg Glute Bridges to work both the glutes and Hamstrings before heavily working on my core.  Hot damn, they were my least favorite exercise of this series so I’m glad I got them out of the way first.  And let me tell you, I have strong glutes.  I’d probably save this for Intermediate workouts.

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3. My planks, which engage the core muscles, are not very strong so a moving plank exercise seemed up my alley to build up stamina.  I rather enjoyed the Wide Leg Plank as it was challenging but not impossible. I was able to do 3 sets of 10, definitely feeling the burn by the end.  For more waist slimming exercises, click on the image.

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4. I love working my obliques…especially in slight and easy exercises. The Side Bridge and Oblique V-Up are now two of my new favorite exercises because at the time I felt like I was doing nothing but today my sides are SORE. I did 3 sets of 10 for each.  That’s my kind of exercise!

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Oblique V-Up

Lie on your side with your body in a straight line. Fold your arms across your chest. Keeping your legs together, lift them off the floor as you raise your top elbow toward your hip. The range of motion is short, but you should feel an intense contraction in your obliques.

10 repetitions each side

core45. I of course ended with the Corpse Pose because THAT is the lazy lady’s favorite Yoga move. I end all of my routines in this relaxing and meditative pose. Sometimes I fall asleep…

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Today is the day after this workout, and I feel just the right amount of soreness in my core muscles.  That is encouraging and makes me want to continue with new exercises on a regular basis to keep the core strong without obsessing.  Variety is key!  I’m a victim of routine and I need to force myself out of my comfort zone to keep myself interested in body maintenance as well as work some new muscles.

If you’d like to try yoga at home with some help from a professional, check out this great series of Kris Fondran’s ShapeShifter Yoga videos!  Kris Fondran has been teaching and practicing yoga for more than 12 years. Her yoga experience and her Master’s degree in Exercise Science make her one of the top experts on yoga and fitness today. Click through the image below to read more about it!

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Grat…I mean…Catitude.

I am thankful for so many things and for so many people.  I have numerous exciting changes going on in my personal and professional life.  I am grateful not only for the specific wonderful new chapters opening up, but for my readers/friends/family who have been cheering me on along the way.

Specifically, I wanted to extend a humble bow to everyone who has supported me with kind words, constructive non-judgmental feedback, and inspirational energy and stories regarding exercise & wellness.  I started this journey for myself, and I stay true to my goals because of you.  For that you will forever have my gratcatitude.

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Killin’ it at the gym, cool cat style.

This morning alone I had 3 people tell me that I am still losing weight and looking great, when in fact I have gained weight…muscle weight.  It’s amazing how building, strengthening, and shaping your body can make such a difference not only in how you feel and look, but in how you are perceived by others who are NOT your scale.  It’s taught me that the scale is not always the best judge when it comes to your health, but it is still a good way to make sure you aren’t going too crazy with extra calories with an increased workout.  I’m currently trying to balance out my calories with activity right now and it’s been a struggle.  I’ve been hardcore committed to classes 2x a week at my new gym (pilates and yoga) and learning other types of core work to do on my own after cardio/weight training. Needless to say, my appetite is increased a lot and late night snacking is my vice.   This is something I am working on curbing.

I honestly don’t see a dramatic difference in the mirror, my clothes are still pretty tight fitting and luckily I still think I look damn good.  Others have been kind enough to notice positive changes in my body shape and nice enough to tell me.  Even my favorite sandwich technician at Subway noticed I look more fit, without any type of selfish prompting!  To me, that is success. Look out Jared!

All in all I am grateful for everyone who has  been there for me when I was not at my best, when I was at the top of the world, and when I’ve just been blah.  It shows to the true character of my friends when you’re there for me through thick fat and thin, sickness and health, and unbalanced and balanced serotonin levels.  I wouldn’t be on this road to wellness without your unconditional love and support so from the bottom of my cat loving heart, thank you.

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