Growing up, I hated PE. I am a petite person with no killer instinct and I got picked last for all teams along with another girl, who I think was actually a dwarf. In high school I discovered the gym and working out and it suited my desire to get in shape, feel good and not have “balls flying at my nose.”
Here is a recent video I did with my lovely, hilarious and talented friend Daniella Monet. In it we demo some exercises you can do with no weights, equipment or gym membership necessary! Please note that I am not a professional trainer, merely a workout enthusiast so please consult your health professional before working out. I encourage everyone to be active and find what works for you, listen to your body, but not that lazy voice in your head. If you want more workout options and ideas, check out this post on my favorite home workout DVDs here.
Work It Out!
Here are some suggestions for exercises to do in sequence. I encourage you to search on YouTube and get more ideas for different exercises to incorporate – keep it interesting and fun!
Step 1: Cardio
I always warm up with some kind of cardio. Basically that just means getting your heart rate up. Cardio is what releases endorphins, which are your feel-good hormones. Usually I only do around 10 minutes of intense cardio and then move on to toning exercises. Cardio will burn fat but strengthening muscles will rev your metabolism and help you burn fat throughout the day as well as tone up your body!
- Jogging: Always an easy cardio option. Jog around your neighborhood with your iPod and do sprints for interval training. Try to find hills or if you’re on a treadmill, do an incline of 5 or higher to work your butt!
- Jumping Jacks, Jump Rope, Butt Kicks: All great options if you want to stay stationary. All you need is a little patch of floor or ground to do these. Challenge yourself! Set a timer and do jumping jacks for a minute then butt kicks for a minute and repeat.
- Martial Arts/Dance Moves: Like what Daniella and I do in the video; squat and punch, back or high kicks and rip or hip isolations. Do as many reps as you can within a 10 minute period of time.
Step 2: Toning
Muscle toning is my favorite part of working out. This is where you really see results. Cardio will help you slim down but toning will lift, build and define your body and help your posture.
- Leg Lifts, Kicks and Squats: Like Daniella and I do in the video. Controlled kick/leg lift movements to the side or back will help tone around your legs and butt. Try to do 3 sets of 20 to 30 reps for each exercise. Really focus on the muscle your working and make small and controlled movements. Squats are one of the best things to tone your butt – make sure your knees are not going in front of your toes when you squat down.
- Abs: Crunches, side crunches, lower ab leg lifts, bicycle crunches are all great to tone and tighten your tummy. Strengthening your core is really important in helping with your posture and protecting your back from injury. Try to do 50 reps of each exercise and work up from there! *Remember to keep your abs tight during any leg and arm exercises as well so you tone them throughout your entire workout.
- Arms: One of my favorite places to tone because you will really notice a difference in a short period of time. As a female, I tend to have fleshy arms with that back-of -the-arm-chub thing. But toning your deltoids and overall arm muscles will make a huge difference. You totally don’t need weights but you can use up to 3 pounds (start with 1 pounders) and make sure you do as many reps as you possibly can. The moves Daniella and I demo in the video I try to do at least 3 to 4 times per week – they are sort of a combo of Cardio Barre and Tracy Anderson and pilates. Try these from Fitness mag too.
Step 3: Stretching and Lengthening
Stretching is a really important part of a total body workout. Toning and cardio can sometimes tighten you up and stretching helps you to lengthen the muscles you just worked so you get long and lean. Remember to breath and don’t push yourself too hard.
- Yoga: Yoga is such an awesome workout because you tone and stretch at the same time. Some of the yoga poses Daniella and I demo are great for posture, your legs and overall balance. Try taking a yoga class to learn some poses and then practice on your own. Or watch some youtube videos or home DVDs.
- Legs and Back: At the very least, stretch the large muscles in your legs when you’re done with steps 1 and 2. A simple hamstring stretch is to bend at the waist and try to touch your toes. Do it standing or sitting and hold for 30 seconds or more. Quads, calves and hip flexors are also important to stretch.
- Arms, Shoulders and Neck: If you do your arm toning exercises correctly, you will also be stretching at the same time. Yoga poses are great for arms as well, like the ones D and I demo. Arm circles, cross-overs and head tilts from side to side can relax your muscles and draw your shoulders down away from your ears, helping with posture.
Most important: ENJOY yourself! Start out light and work to challenge yourself. You CAN DO IT!