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Coring is not so boring.

I am the kind of person who likes to see results right away, otherwise I feel like that 1 whole hour of hard work is not paying off.  I blame it on being a Generation X’er.  I’ve tried to dismiss that mindset throughout my wellness journey and more importantly over these past 2 weeks.  About a month ago I hit a wall.  To change this feeling of not moving forward, I’ve made it a point to focus on a new regiment, eat when I’m hungry, snack on healthy stuff when i’m not so hungry, and not beat myself up if the scale fluctuates.  I also recently joined an affordable 24 hour privately owned gym, Urge Fitness, 3 blocks from my house with state of the art equipment and unlimited classes so there is NO EXCUSE not to work out!

I’ve been focusing on my core/abs in addition to lifting weights regularly again.  Historically, I’m the worst at regularly working my core area even though it’s the most important area to focus on and strengthen.  I usually bitch and moan and complain to anyone trying to help me, saying that it’s too difficult, it hurts my back, and I don’t want to “bulk up” my middle.  I realized today that those were pretty lame excuses to not work hard and in fact, my back has never felt better.  This is a pretty sad realization since I’ve always known that a strong core helps alleviate back pain and help with posture.  I was just too lazy and too impatient to put in the time.  In addition, over these past weeks my abs and other core muscles have never felt stronger which is surprisingly a more rewarding feeling than slimming down my mid section. Who knew!??  

I’ve focused on very basic core/ab exercises (crunches, side reach heel touches, lower abdominal leg lifts, kettle bell swings) in preparation for the hard “core” techniques of today (bridges, planks, twists, thrusts!).  I only recently started doing kettle bell swings (pictured below) which have become my new obsession.  I feel they have made a HUGE difference in my overall strength and I use a very low weight kettle bell.  Just look at all the muscles one single exercise can help strengthen!

kettlebellswing1MuscleAnatomyKettleBellSwing

If you google “Core Exercises” a slew of results pop up.   I’m still not at the point where I can hold a plank or bridge for 30 seconds, but I have finally attempted to at least try.  That is a HUGE deal for me!  After laying the ground work with beginner exercises, I finally feel well prepared to start trying more intense core techniques.  Core exercises are very intimidating to a larger woman like myself who has a lot more weight to hold up than the average sized human.   I’ve set a goal for myself to be able to hold a plank (without and then with arm raise) or lateral bridge for more than 2.3 seconds over the next couple of weeks.  Not so surprisingly, I can rock the Glute Bridge like no other.  I will then add different intense core exercises over the course of the next couple of months.

core exercises

For me, 2 weeks seems to be the point of clarity.  When I stick to a routine for at least that amount of time, I can start to see and/or feel small results that make me feel like the sweat, pain, and frustration over the past weeks wasn’t for naught.  In addition to my lower back pain being practically nonexistent due to my core work and religious stretching routine, I’ve felt my muscles responding to the weight training.  I feel stronger, I feel definition, and I feel that the weight I’ve gained is healthy and not worth getting depressed about when the scale numbers creep upward.

If you have lower back pain and it’s not due to a bulging disc or any other medical condition (as always check with your health care physician) take a gander at these Princeton University Athletic Medicine exercises and stretches.  I plan to try some new techniques and the page categorize them ranging from easy/medium/difficult.  I also came across core exercises geared specifically towards runners and thought it could be of use to some of my friends and followers.

All this being said, I do not want a 6-pack.  I do not want to look like a body builder.  I just want to feel strong and healthy and fill out a nice pair of jeans.

Quick and Dirty!

I’ve been a busy bee this weekend.  I didn’t make time for the gym yesterday, and on top of that I had 2 social gatherings with delicious food!  I was determined to move my body today!

I got to the gym 30 minutes before closing to get in a quick cardio workout.  I was bummed I didn’t make it in time to do 30 minutes of weights, but I figured I can do some quick and dirty exercises once home.  I prefer the “back to basics” approach to exercises.  I look like an old lady every time I do my floor exercises, but the simpler the better for me!

Here is the rundown of today’s workout.  Please click through the image to be taken to another site with more details:

30 Minutes on the Elliptical, Level 12.

20 minutes ab and strengthening work at home.

  • Side Reaches (25 per side), Crunches(2 sets of 25), Leg Lifts (abdominal and side lying – 25).  Please see my post from the other day for a clearer picture of these exercises.
  • Arm Circles (25 forward and 25 backward).  Add weight if desired, or work up to it.arm circles
  • Shoulder Touches (25 per arm).  Add weight if desired, or work up to it. (this lady is workin’ it!  If you click the photo it takes you to some very simple home exercises for older individuals or people with limited mobility.)shoulder touches
  • Hip Raises (2 sets of 25)
  • hip raises

20 minute light stretching at home. I payed close attention to holding these stretches longer than I usually do to lubricate my joints as recommended by Kris at De-Stress Yoga.  One day I hope to try Yin Yoga (holding stretches longer than normal).

  • Pigeon Stretch, Lumbar Extension, Sitting Side Reach, Cat Stretches.  Please see my post from the other day for a clearer picture of these stretches.
  • Laying Quad Stretch
  • quad stretch
  • Groin Stretch.
  • groin stretch
  • Knee Hug Stretch and Knee Rolls for lower back.
  • knee hug stretch
  • Seated Toe Touch/Hamstring Stretch.
  • FLEX-hamstring-stretch-seated

    Total Calories Burned Today from exercise: 578

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