Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Courage and Determination: How to Tap into Yours



I was recently at a friend's blog (Carla Birnberg) where she did a post based on someone she happened to notice (with the help of her observant young daughter) who was doing tricep dips in a wheelchair. This was incredible to see,and she said that it must have taken some true "grit."

I agree that it is truly impressive.

Lately, I don't think I've have been showing any grit in my endeavors.

However, back when I was first trying to lose the excess weight (I lost over 145 lbs and went from morbidly obese to a healthy BMI), I think I did show grit.

You see, I had a condition known as plantar fasciitis, and what it boils down to is this: My heels were chronically inflamed. My heels were always swollen and in pain. Standing felt like I was standing with knives sticking into my heels and every step felt as if the knives were being turned and slid in deeper. And it was constant.

I am reminded of the original Hans Christian Anderson version of "The Little Mermaid," where, when she walked on human legs, it felt like she was walking on knives. Once I developed plantar fasciitis, I knew how she felt.

Despite this constant pain and the fact that just walking across the room was painful enough to bring tears to my eyes, one of the ways I lost the weight was through walking. I walked everywhere, miles and miles every day. When I got up each morning, the pain would be so bad that I stooped and shuffled painfully to the bathroom, wincing with each step. Out in public, the pain was just as bad, but I walked straight and with a fast pace, because I didn't want anyone seeing me to realize how much pain I was in. I even went on hiking trips with my husband and we hiked up mountains.

The doctors tried steroid injections, and they worked for a couple of months - and then they didn't. I was told that I could have a surgery on my heels which only had a 50-50 chance of working. I was NOT told that losing weight would help, and yet, after I lost a significant amount of weight, the pain went away.

Wish I could find some of that grit again now though.

I don't remember where, along my weight loss journey, the pain from my plantar fasciitis went away. I just know that somewhere along the way, I had lost enough weight that I no longer had the chronic pain.

And here's where I make a confession.

 I have mentioned before that I have let some of the weight I lost creep back on. Although I have still lost a lot of weight overall, I have gained enough of it back that my plantar fasciitis is back too. I see it as my wake-up call. It's time to find my grit. It's time to get back that courage and determination I somehow found years ago when I first started this weight loss journey.

My bus driver missed my stop today and wouldn't let me off until the next stop, and I was literally in tears about the pain the extra walking caused. I don't want to be this person. I will not suffer chronic pain when it is perfectly in my control to do something about it.

But how am I going to tap into that determination again? How do I find the courage to start walking despite the pain, as I did at the beginning of my weight loss journey all those years ago? And how did I find it back then?

And you might be wondering how you can tap into that determination and courage too. So I have made a list.

1. Make a decision. You have to make the decision to do whatever it takes to reach your goals. You have to decide that nothing is going to be allowed to get in your way. When my husband gave up smoking (before we met), he had to make a decision. He had to say to himself that he wasn't going to smoke another cigarette ever.

2. See yourself as the person you want to be. When I first started working out and eating healthy, my perception of myself changed. I started to see myself as someone who cared about her health, as someone athletic. I started to visualize myself as the person I hoped to become through my healthy journey. Healthy, fit people didn't binge on cookies, so neither did I. When my husband gave up smoking, he no longer considered himself a smoker; he was a non-smoker or an ex-smoker, but he no longer saw himself in the same cigarette-smoking light because that would have made it easier to fall back into bad habits. Non-smokers don't pick up cigarettes and start smoking.

3. Remind yourself why you are doing it. Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to attain a goal. My reasons are personal ones. I want to be healthy for myself, so that I no longer experience chronic pain. I want to be healthy for my children, so that I can not only be a good example for them but also so that I will be around for a long time in their lives. I want to be healthy for my husband, so that he never has to become my caretaker and do things for me due to me no longer being able to do them myself. I feel better when I am a healthy weight, and I am more confident.

4. Take the first step. Whether it is eating a healthy lunch, skipping dessert, going to the gym, going for a long walk or joining a slimming club, taking the first step towards your goal is paramount in making sure you are going to achieve it.

5. Take the next step and then the next... Each step you take is another step towards your goal, and, if you get yourself to take each step, eventually all of those little steps are going to add up and you will find yourself closer to your goal than you imagined.

6. Reward yourself along the way. I'm not talking about giving yourself some dessert because you've been "good" all week. I'm talking about buying a new dress to suit your new size or getting a new haircut. Going out with friends can be a reward you give yourself. Doing anything that feels like a reward but doesn't set you back in reaching your goal, and planning it ahead for all of those smaller milestones along the way, can give you something to look forward to and more impetus to reach your goal.

7. Don't give up. Even when you do take a step backwards, don't throw in the towel. Keep going. For every step back, become even more determined to take several steps forward. There will be times when it seems harder than usual; don't let those times keep you from continuing. The only thing that can keep you from reaching your goal is you.

How determined are you?

Monday, 4 August 2014

It's a New Week: What Are You Doing with It?


(If you are in the US, yesterday was the beginning of the new week. The US starts the week on Sunday, but the UK begins the week on Monday. For the purposes of this blog post, I am using the UK definition of the first day of the week.)

Today is the start of a completely new week. Are you happy with your fitness? Are you happy with your health? Are you happy with your body?

While I hope your answers to those questions are all going to be "yes," if your answer is "no" to any of those questions, I have another question to ask you.

What are you doing today, and the rest of this week, to make sure that you are going to be closer to your fitness, health and body goals next week?

You can spend this week wishing that you were slimmer, stronger, and healthier. And when you get to this time next week, you will be no closer to that goal. A better idea is to take steps towards getting yourself more fit, stronger, healthier and slimmer and to take those steps today and tomorrow and the next day - and all the way through the week, so that this time next week, you will be closer to where you want to be.

When I was at my highest weight, I had many friends who were also overweight, some of them even more overweight than I was at the time. One of them started trying to get fit. She started working towards losing weight and working towards getting the body she wanted. A year later, she had lost 145 pounds. She still had quite a bit of weight left to lose to reach her goal, but I was struck by one thought; if I had started working towards losing weight and getting fit back when she had started, I would have already been at my goal weight. A year had already passed, and I had done nothing towards my goal and gotten no closer to it. This thought really annoyed me; although I was very happy for my friend, I was annoyed with myself.

Then I found out I was pregnant. The idea of waiting even longer before I could get fit was unthinkable to me. That's when I started working out and eating healthily. And the weight came off. It took a long time. I lost the first 100 pounds in one year, but it took another 9 months to lose the last 45 pounds. But I did it. I reached my goal weight.

If I hadn't started working towards that goal when I did, I might still be the same morbidly obese weight that I started at.

I find I am having to remind myself of this though. I've been letting my former bad habits sneak back in and my weight is trying to creep back up on me. I don't feel as healthy or as strong as I did a few years ago. So I'm going to do something about it today, and every day this week. And then I'm going to continue doing something about it.

What are you doing today?


Thursday, 31 July 2014

Update on the 28 Day Fitness Challenge Book and more


I haven't written in a while, so I thought I'd give an update. I'm currently reformatting the 28 Day Fitness Challenge book to make it easier to use. I hope to have it completed by mid-to-late August. I'm also working on a cover for the book. (I might have to ask you all for help choosing between the ones I am coming up with, or I may end up having one custom-made for the book by a company that creates book covers regularly.)

I took way too much time off from my own fitness, which has shown on my physique, but I am slowly getting back into it, and I know I will be back where I was at my optimum fitness phase again soon.

I am also working on a second book to compliment the fitness book. This book is a combination of many useful things for people trying to fit in the right nutrition and lose weight. It is a food diary, a weight loss log, and it also will give tips on eating healthy. It will have some healthy recipes in the book, and there will be a place to set up mini-goals and log when you have reached them. Used in conjunction with the 28 Day Fitness Challenge, it is meant to assist in weight loss, fitness and over-all health. I'm still trying to determine what I will call it. It's still in the planning stages, with only the preliminary rough draft written, so if you have any ideas of other things that would be helpful to include, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

28 Day Fitness Challenge - the prize winner! #28DayFit

So, taking all of the entries and assigning them numbers, I then went to random.org and out the numbers in to find out who the winner of the "28 Day Fitness Challenge" book and Jillian Michael's Master Your Metabolism was going to be.

The random winner is:

Jo Hart


Congratulations, Jo! I need you to e-mail me your mailing address (or private message me through Facebook) so I can send you your prizes!

The "28 Day Fitness Challenge" book will take a couple of months before it is published and then I will send you the copy. The "Master Your Metabolism" book will be sent to you this week.

****

For everyone who did the challenge, feel free to come back at any time and re-do the challenge or start on a different level.





28 Day Fitness Challenge - Day Twenty-Eight #28DayFit

Day Twenty-Eight
(aerobic/cardio)



Choose two exercises within your level:

Beginner Level

1. Run up and down one flight of stairs (in your home, at work or at the mall) 20 times (that's up AND down counted as one time). This is a great way to get your heart rate up. Just remember to be careful; the last thing you need at this point is to slip and fall down a flight of stairs. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes.

2. Walk for 30 minutes at a reasonable pace. Make sure you are wearing comfortable walking shoes. If the weather is not conducive to outdoor walking, go to your local mall or shopping center. You can also use a treadmill, if you have access to one. Take deep breaths as you walk, letting oxygen fill your lungs.

3. Jog for 20 minutes. You can do this either by jogging in place at home, on a treadmill if you have access to one or by jogging outside for 20 minutes. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes. Don't forget to stretch before and after you jog. 

4. Jump rope for 20 minutes. Make sure you are either wearing appropriate shoes or are on a padded surface (rug or mat) to prevent overly jarring your joints.

5. Do 20 star jumps/jumping jacks. You start with your legs together, then jump them apart. While this is happening, you are also bringing your arms up to clap above your head, keeping your arms straight at all times. Then bring your arms down as you jump your feet back together. In the USA, these are called "jumping jacks," and in the UK, these are called "star jumps." Do this twenty times.

6. Do 20 minutes of running on an elliptical crosstrainer. You need to be at a level 3 or above for incline. Varying speed and rate of incline will give you the most effective workout. Don't forget to keep your arms working too. Elliptical crosstrainers give an overall body workout while keeping stress to your joints at a minimum.

7. Use the Wii Fit step exercise, the 5-minute session, six times, then do the 14-minute boxing session twice. This may seem like a very slow-moving work-out, but the key to these workouts is variation, so even though it seems slow, it should work-out a variety of different muscles.

8. Dance to fast music for 20 minutes. This works even better if you find a music video featuring dance moves that you can try and follow. Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" is one music video that, if you try and follow her dance moves, filling in your own movements for the few moments when dancing is not shown, will give you a good workout. That is only about 4 minutes long though, so you need to find some fast music that you can play continuously and move your body to it.

9. Take a 30-minute long intermediate-level class that involves aerobic training. This class can be ballroom dancing, belly dancing, stationary cycling, Zumba, aerobics, kickboxing, martial arts or any number of things. Choose something you think you might enjoy learning.

10. Jump side to side, starting by moving your right foot to the right and following it with your left foot until your left foot touches your right ankle and then doing the same towards your left. Do this for 8 minutes. Then jump, with your feet together, from side to side, for another 8 minutes. Go back to the first form of jumping for another 8 minutes and then do the side to side jumping with your feet together for another 8 minutes. This will work out your leg and hip muscles.

11. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and wiggle your hips very fast, not moving any other part of your body, keeping your stomach and back as straight as you can, for 9 minutes. Then move your body in a semi-circle from the waist up down to the right, moving fluidly down in front and then to your left. Do this nine times. Then do this in the opposite direction, starting on your left and moving to your right, nine times. Then hold your arms straight out to the side, shoulder-height, and make small circles with them, keeping the elbows straight, for nine minutes. This works out a wide variety of your muscles.

12. Hula hoop for 20 minutes. If you don't have a hula hoop, mimic the action you would do if you were trying to keep a hula hoop from falling. You can break the work out into two sessions of 10 minutes each if 20 minutes is too difficult for you.

13. Spend 20 minutes roller skating or in-line skating. This will work out your legs and increase your heart rate for better cardiovascular fitness.

14. Do 10 cartwheels and 10 forward somersaults. It's okay if you don't do these perfectly. Just have fun and try not to get too dizzy.

15. Spend 15 minutes doing yoga. If you cannot find a yoga class to attend, you can use a video or look up some yoga fitness routines on-line. Yoga is a great way to help with your breathing and relaxation as well as muscle flexibility.

16. Spend 10 minutes is meditation. This is time you spend breathing deeply. Take a deep breath in for a count of 8, then hold it for the count of 4, then breath out for a count of 8. Repeat this throughout the ten minutes and feel your body relax. Try and find a quiet space to do this in. There are other breathing exercises that can be found on-line to do instead of this one, but whichever breathing exercise you do, spend the full 10 minutes doing it. You will find this helps sharpen your mind and relax your body.

17. Exercise to a 30 minute aerobic exercise video. Make sure the pace is easy enough for you to keep up, preferably low-impact cardiovascular exercise. This will get your heart rate up and workout a variety of muscles. If you have no exercise videos at home, you can rent them on-line or find some on-line for free to use.


Intermediate Level

1. Run up and down one flight of stairs (in your home, at work or at the mall) 30 times (that's up AND down counted as one time). This is a great way to get your heart rate up. Just remember to be careful; the last thing you need at this point is to slip and fall down a flight of stairs. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes.

2. Walk for 40 minutes at a reasonable pace. Make sure you are wearing comfortable walking shoes. If the weather is not conducive to outdoor walking, go to your local mall or shopping center. You can also use a treadmill, if you have access to one. Take deep breaths as you walk, letting oxygen fill your lungs.

3. Jog for 25 minutes. You can do this either by jogging in place at home, on a treadmill if you have access to one or by jogging outside for 25 minutes. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes. Don't forget to stretch before and after you jog. 

4. Jump rope for 25 minutes. Make sure you are either wearing appropriate shoes or are on a padded surface (rug or mat) to prevent overly jarring your joints.

5. Do 25 star jumps/jumping jacks. You start with your legs together, then jump them apart. While this is happening, you are also bringing your arms up to clap above your head, keeping your arms straight at all times. Then bring your arms down as you jump your feet back together. In the USA, these are called "jumping jacks," and in the UK, these are called "star jumps." Do this 25 times.

6. Do 30 minutes of running on an elliptical crosstrainer. You need to be at a level 3 or above for incline. Varying speed and rate of incline will give you the most effective workout. Don't forget to keep your arms working too. Elliptical crosstrainers give an overall body workout while keeping stress to your joints at a minimum. 

7. Use the Wii Fit step exercise, the 5-minute session, seven times, then do the 14-minute boxing session twice. This may seem like a very slow-moving work-out for the intermediate level, but the key to these workouts is variation, so even though it seems slow, it should work-out a variety of different muscles.

8. Dance to fast music for 25 minutes. This works even better if you find a music video featuring dance moves that you can try and follow. Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" is one music video that, if you try and follow her dance moves, filling in your own movements for the few moments when dancing is not shown, will give you a good workout. That is only about 4 minutes long though, so you need to find some fast music that you can play continuously and move your body to it.

9. Take a 30-minute long advanced-level class that involves aerobic training. This class can be ballroom dancing, belly dancing, stationary cycling, Zumba, aerobics, kickboxing, martial arts or any number of things. Choose something you think you might enjoy learning.

10. Jump side to side, starting by moving your right foot to the right and following it with your left foot until your left foot touches your right ankle and then doing the same towards your left. Do this for 10 minutes. Then jump, with your feet together, from side to side, for another 10 minutes. Go back to the first form of jumping for another 10 minutes and then do the side to side jumping with your feet together for another 10 minutes. This will work out your leg and hip muscles.

11. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and wiggle your hips very fast, not moving any other part of your body, keeping your stomach and back as straight as you can, for 10 minutes. Then move your body in a semi-circle from the waist up down to the right, moving fluidly down in front and then to your left. Do this ten times. Then do this in the opposite direction, starting on your left and moving to your right, ten times. Then hold your arms straight out to the side, shoulder-height, and make small circles with them, keeping the elbows straight, for 10 minutes. This works out a wide variety of your muscles.

12. Hula hoop for 25 minutes. If you don't have a hula hoop, mimic the action you would do if you were trying to keep a hula hoop from falling. You can break the work out into two sessions of 12 1/2 minutes each if 25 minutes is too difficult for you.

13. Spend 30 minutes roller skating or in-line skating. This will work out your legs and increase your heart rate for better cardiovascular fitness.

14. Do 15 cartwheels and 15 forward somersaults. It's okay if you don't do these perfectly. Just have fun and try not to get too dizzy.

15. Spend 20 minutes doing yoga. If you cannot find a yoga class to attend, you can use a video or look up some yoga fitness routines on-line. Yoga is a great way to help with your breathing and relaxation as well as muscle flexibility.

16. Spend 15 minutes is meditation. This is time you spend breathing deeply. Take a deep breath in for a count of 8, then hold it for the count of 4, then breath out for a count of 8. Repeat this throughout the fifteen minutes and feel your body relax. Try and find a quiet space to do this in. There are other breathing exercises that can be found on-line to do instead of this one, but whichever breathing exercise you do, spend the full 15 minutes doing it. You will find this helps sharpen your mind and relax your body.

17. Exercise to a 30 minute aerobic exercise video. Make sure the pace is easy enough for you to keep up, but fast enough to keep you working hard. Make sure it is, preferably, low-impact cardiovascular exercise. This will get your heart rate up and workout a variety of muscles. If you have no exercise videos at home, you can rent them on-line or find some on-line for free to use.

Advanced Level

1. Run up and down one flight of stairs (in your home, at work or at the mall) 40 times (that's up AND down counted as one time). This is a great way to get your heart rate up. Just remember to be careful; the last thing you need at this point is to slip and fall down a flight of stairs. And wear appropriate shoes.

2. Walk for 30 minutes at a fast pace and then jog for 20 minutes. Make sure you are wearing comfortable walking shoes. If the weather is not conducive to outdoor walking, go to your local mall or shopping center. You can also use a treadmill, if you have access to one. Take deep breaths as you walk, letting oxygen fill your lungs. 

3. Jog for 30 minutes. You can do this either by jogging in place at home, on a treadmill if you have access to one or by jogging outside for 29 minutes. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes. Don't forget to stretch before and after you jog.

4. Jump rope for 20 minutes, then do 20 star jumps/jumping jacks, then do another 20 minutes of jump rope and finish with 20 more star jumps/jumping jacks. Changing up the exercise helps to break the monotony of doing the same thing. The mind likes having the second-long breaks between doing one action and doing the next to look forward to. Make sure you are either wearing appropriate shoes or are on a padded surface (rug or mat) to prevent overly jarring your joints.

5. Use the elliptical crosstrainer for 45 minutes. You need to either vary your speed and incline or you need to stay at a mid-to-high range with both. Varying speed and rate of incline will give you the most effective workout. Don't forget to keep your arms working too. Elliptical crosstrainers give an overall body workout while keeping stress to your joints at a minimum.

6. Use the Wii Fit step exercise, the 5-minute session, eight times, then do the 14-minute boxing session twice. This may seem like a very slow-moving work-out for the advanced level, but the key to these workouts is variation, so even though it seems slow, it should work-out a variety of different muscles.

7. Dance to fast music for 30 minutes. This works even better if you find a music video featuring dance moves that you can try and follow. Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" is one music video that, if you try and follow her dance moves, filling in your own movements for the few moments when dancing is not shown, will give you a good workout. That is only about 4 minutes long though, so you need to find some fast music that you can play continuously and move your body to it.

8. Take a 60-minute long advanced-level class that involves aerobic training. This class can be ballroom dancing, belly dancing, stationary cycling, Zumba, aerobics, kickboxing, martial arts or any number of things. Choose something you think you might enjoy learning.

9. Jump side to side, starting by moving your right foot to the right and following it with your left foot until your left foot touches your right ankle and then doing the same towards your left. Do this for 15 minutes. Then jump, with your feet together, from side to side, for another 15 minutes. Go back to the first form of jumping for another 15 minutes and then do the side to side jumping with your feet together for another 15 minutes. This will work out your leg and hip muscles.

10. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and wiggle your hips very fast, not moving any other part of your body, keeping your stomach and back as straight as you can, for 15 minutes. Then move your body in a semi-circle from the waist up down to the right, moving fluidly down in front and then to your left. Do this fifteen times. Then do this in the opposite direction, starting on your left and moving to your right, fifteen times. Then hold your arms straight out to the side, shoulder-height, and make small circles with them, keeping the elbows straight, for 15 minutes. 
This works out a wide variety of your muscles.

11. Hula hoop for 30 minutes. If you don't have a hula hoop, mimic the action you would do if you were trying to keep a hula hoop from falling.

12. Spend 30 minutes roller skating or in-line skating. This works out various muscles in your legs, and, even works the abdominal muscles and arm muscles when done correctly. Be sure to wear appropriate safety gear.

13. Do 20 cartwheels and 20 forward somersaults. It's okay if you don't do these perfectly. Just have fun and try not to get too dizzy.

14. Spend 30 minutes doing yoga. If you cannot find a yoga class to attend, you can use a video or look up some yoga fitness routines on-line. Yoga is a great way to help with your breathing and relaxation as well as muscle flexibility.

15. Spend 20 minutes is meditation. This is time you spend breathing deeply. Take a deep breath in for a count of 8, then hold it for the count of 4, then breath out for a count of 8. Repeat this throughout the twenty minutes and feel your body relax. Try and find a quiet space to do this in. There are other breathing exercises that can be found on-line to do instead of this one, but whichever breathing exercise you do, spend the full 20 minutes doing it. You will find this helps sharpen your mind and relax your body.

16. Exercise to a 30 minute aerobic exercise video. Make sure the pace is fast and mostly cardiovascular exercise. This will get your heart rate up and workout a variety of muscles. If you have no exercise videos at home, you can rent them on-line or find some on-line for free to use.

17. Take a well-deserved break. You've been working hard this week!

******

You've done it! You've now completed the 28 Day Fitness Challenge! You should be really proud of yourself for making it this far!

You may come back and re-do this challenge at any time, and you may do the challenge at different levels. But I recommend taking a day or two to rest up before trying the next challenge!

This challenge will be available in book form later in 2014, but the book will have some slight differences to the challenge than what you have seen here, It will be edited to revised to make the challenge as effective as possible. I'll make an announcement using the hashtag #28DayFit when the book is ready for purchase. 


One person will win a copy of the book as well as a copy of Jillian Michael's Master Your Metabolism. Check back tomorrow to see who gets their name drawn! 

Monday, 3 March 2014

28 Day Fitness Challenge - Day Twenty-Seven #28DayFit

Day Twenty-Seven
(anaerobic/strength training)


Choose two exercises within your level:

Beginner Level

1.  Grab some small hand weights and put your arms straight up above your head. Slowly bend your elbows, lowering the hand weights to behind your head. Slowly unbend your arms and repeat this 15 times. This will work out the underside of your upper arms. If you don't have hand weights, you may substitute bottles of water or canned food. Just hold the bottles of water or the cans in place of the hand weights. Start with smaller weights. At this level, you will probably need to work your way up to heavier weights. If you are comfortable using heavier weights, then go ahead.

2. Do 15 squats. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your bottom as though you are about to sit in a chair, keeping your back straight and your knees should not bend any further than a 90 degree angle. Hold for 10 seconds and stand back up. Repeat this 15 times. This will work out your buttocks, the backs of your thighs and, if you keep your posture straight, your abdominal muscles.

3. Do 15 front lunges. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and take a big step forward with one leg. Lower yourself so that your front knee is bent at no more than a 90 degree angle, keeping your back straight. Hold for 10 seconds and then straighten your leg and bring it back together with your other leg until you are standing straight again. Repeat, stepping forward with the opposite leg. This will work out your buttocks, your abdominal muscles, and the tops of and back of your thighs.

4. Do 15 sit ups. Lay with your back flat and your knees bent. Either have someone hold your feet down or tuck them under your couch to be certain you don't lift them off the floor. Cross your arms behind your head, but keep them loose. Keeping your back straight, lift your upper body until you are sitting up, then slowly lower yourself again. Be certain not to pull yourself using your arms. This is meant to be working out your abdominal muscles, so let them do the work.

5. Do 15 stomach crunches. These are similar to a sit up, except you do not sit up all the way. Lay flat with your knees bent. Cross your hands over your chest. Curl your shoulders up towards your pelvis. As you lift your shoulders, keep the small of your back against the floor. Repeat this fifteen times. This will work out your abdominal muscles and your obliques.

6. Do 10 push-ups. Facing down, put your arms on the floor, elbows straight and keep your back straight and your legs straight out behind you. Slowly bend your elbows to touch your chin almost to the floor while keeping your back straight. Then straighten your arms, raising yourself back up from the floor, again, keeping your back straight. Repeat this nine times. This is an excellent workout for your arms, but can also have a positive impact on your abdominal muscles and back. If this is too difficult for you, instead of keeping your legs straight out behind you, you may instead kneel on your knees for this.

7. Grab some small hand weights and hold the weights at shoulder height, almost sitting on top of your shoulders but nor touching. Slowly raise your arms straight up, as if pushing the weights up above your head. Then slowly lower them to just above your shoulders again, keeping them close to you. Repeat this 15 times. This will work out your upper arm and your shoulder muscles. If you don't have hand weights, you may substitute bottles of water or canned food. Just hold the bottles of water or the cans in place of the hand weights, and be careful not to drop them.

8. Swim 15 laps in a pool that is smaller than Olympic-sized or 10 laps in an Olympic-sized pool. The resistance of the water against your movements is a great way to tone your muscles and the weightlessness your body experiences in the water means that the exercise is not harmful to your joints. Most communities have a pool that you can use for small fee.

9. Hold a medicine ball down in front of you, keeping your back straight. Continuing to keep your back and arms straight, raise the medicine ball above your head, then lower it slowly to your right. Bring it back up above your head and then lower it slowly to your left. Then bring it back up above your head and slowly lower it in front of you again. Do this 10 times. This will work out your back muscles and your abdominal muscles as well as the muscles in your upper arms and shoulders.

10. Do 10 crossover crunches. This is the same as a regular crunch but you keep your hands held behind your head and with each raise of your body, you semi-touch one elbow to the opposite knee, then you repeat the process again using the other elbow. As you lift your shoulders, keep the small of your back against the floor. This will work out your abdominal muscles and your obliques.

11. Hold your arms straight out in front of you at chest height while holding hand weights, slowly bend your elbows, bringing your hands towards your chest and then lower them back to straight again. Do this 5 times and then hold your hands out to your sides, straight and at chest height, slowly bend your elbows bringing your hands towards your shoulders and then lower them back to straight again. Do this five times. Repeat both sets one more time. This will work out your upper arms.


Intermediate Level

1. Grab some small hand weights and put your arms straight up above your head. Slowly bend your elbows, lowering the hand weights to behind your head. Slowly unbend your arms and repeat this 25 times. This will work out the underside of your upper arms. If you don't have hand weights, you may substitute bottles of water or canned food. Just hold the bottles of water or the cans in place of the hand weights. At this level, you should be able to start with some medium-weight hand weights. You might still need to work your way up to heavier weights.

2. Do 20 squats. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your bottom as though you are about to sit in a chair, keeping your back straight and your knees should not bend any further than a 90 degree angle. Hold for 10 seconds and stand back up. Repeat this 20 times. This will work out your buttocks, the backs of your thighs and, if you keep your posture straight, your stomach muscles.

3. Do 20 front lunges. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and take a big step forward with one leg. Lower yourself so that your front knee is bent at no more than a 90 degree angle, keeping your back straight. Hold for 10 seconds and then straighten your leg and bring it back together with your other leg until you are standing straight again. Repeat, stepping forward with the opposite leg. This will work out your buttocks, your abdominal muscles, and the tops of and back of your thighs.

4. Do 25 sit ups. Lay with your back flat and your knees bent. Either have someone hold your feet down or tuck them under your couch to be certain you don't lift them off the floor. Cross your arms behind your head, but keep them loose. Keeping your back straight, lift your upper body until you are sitting up, then slowly lower yourself again. Be certain not to pull yourself using your arms. This is meant to be working out your abdominal muscles, so let them do the work.

5. Do 20 stomach crunches. These are similar to a sit up, except you do not sit up all the way. Lay flat with your knees bent. Cross your hands over your chest. Curl your shoulders up towards your pelvis. As you lift your shoulders, keep the small of your back against the floor. Repeat this twenty times. This will work out your abdominal muscles and your obliques.

6. Do 15 push-ups. Facing down, put your arms on the floor, elbows straight and keep your back straight and your legs straight out behind you. Slowly bend your elbows to touch your chin almost to the floor while keeping your back straight. Then straighten your arms, raising yourself back up from the floor, again, keeping your back straight. Repeat this fifteen times. This is an excellent workout for your arms, but can also have a positive impact on your abdominal muscles and back.

7. Grab some small hand weights and hold the weights at shoulder height, almost sitting on top of your shoulders but nor touching. Slowly raise your arms straight up, as if pushing the weights up above your head. Then slowly lower them to just above your shoulders again, keeping them close to you. Repeat this 20 times. This will work out your upper arm and your shoulder muscles. If you don't have hand weights, you may substitute bottles of water or canned food. Just hold the bottles of water or the cans in place of the hand weights, and be careful not to drop them.

8. Swim 20 laps in a pool that is smaller than Olympic-sized or 15 laps in an Olympic-sized pool. The resistance of the water against your movements is a great way to tone your muscles and the weightlessness your body experiences in the water means that the exercise is not harmful to your joints. Most communities have a pool that you can use for small fee.

9. Hold a medicine ball down in front of you, keeping your back straight. Continuing to keep your back and arms straight, raise the medicine ball above your head, then lower it slowly to your right. Bring it back up above your head and then lower it slowly to your left. Then bring it back up above your head and slowly lower it in front of you again. Do this 15 times. This will work out your back muscles and your abdominal muscles as well as the muscles in your upper arms and shoulders.

10. Do 15 crossover crunches. This is the same as a regular crunch but you keep your hands held behind your head and with each raise of your body, you semi-touch one elbow to the opposite knee, then you repeat the process again using the other elbow. As you lift your shoulders, keep the small of your back against the floor. This will work out your abdominal muscles and your obliques.

11. Hold your arms straight out in front of you at chest height while holding hand weights, slowly bend your elbows, bringing your hands towards your chest and then lower them back to straight again. Do this 5 times and then hold your hands out to your sides, straight and at chest height, slowly bend your elbows bringing your hands towards your shoulders and then lower them back to straight again. Do this five times. Repeat both sets three more times. This will work out your upper arms.


Advanced Level

1. Grab some small hand weights and put your arms straight up above your head. Slowly bend your elbows, lowering the hand weights to behind your head. Slowly unbend your arms and repeat this 30 times. This will work out the underside of your upper arms. If you don't have hand weights, you may substitute bottles of water or canned food. Just hold the bottles of water or the cans in place of the hand weights. If you have hand weights, they should be a minimum of 5 pounds each, but, at this level, you are probably capable of heavier weights.

2. Do 30 squats. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your bottom as though you are about to sit in a chair, keeping your back straight and your knees should not bend any further than a 90 degree angle. Hold for 10 seconds and stand back up. Repeat this 30 times. This will work out your buttocks, the backs of your thighs and, if you keep your posture straight, your stomach muscles.

3. Do 30 front lunges. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and take a big step forward with one leg. Lower yourself so that your front knee is bent at no more than a 90 degree angle, keeping your back straight. Hold for 10 seconds and then straighten your leg and bring it back together with your other leg until you are standing straight again. Repeat, stepping forward with the opposite leg. This will work out your buttocks, your abdominal muscles, and the tops of and back of your thighs.

4. Do 30 sit ups. Lay with your back flat and your knees bent. Either have someone hold your feet down or tuck them under your couch to be certain you don't lift them off the floor. Cross your arms behind your head, but keep them loose. Keeping your back straight, lift your upper body until you are sitting up, then slowly lower yourself again. Be certain not to pull yourself using your arms. This is meant to be working out your abdominal muscles, so let them do the work.

5. Do 30 stomach crunches. These are similar to a sit up, except you do not sit up all the way. Lay flat with your knees bent. Cross your hands over your chest. Curl your shoulders up towards your pelvis. As you lift your shoulders, keep the small of your back against the floor. Repeat this 30 times. This will work out your abdominal muscles and your obliques.

6. Do 30 push-ups. Facing down, put your arms on the floor, elbows straight and keep your back straight and your legs straight out behind you. Slowly bend your elbows to touch your chin almost to the floor while keeping your back straight. Then straighten your arms, raising yourself back up from the floor, again, keeping your back straight. Repeat this 30 times. This is an excellent workout for your arms, but can also have a positive impact on your abdominal muscles and back.

7. Grab some small hand weights and hold the weights at shoulder height, almost sitting on top of your shoulders but nor touching. Slowly raise your arms straight up, as if pushing the weights up above your head. Then slowly lower them to just above your shoulders again, keeping them close to you. Repeat this 30 times. This will work out your upper arm and your shoulder muscles. If you don't have hand weights, you may substitute bottles of water or canned food. Just hold the bottles of water or the cans in place of the hand weights, and be careful not to drop them.

8. Swim 30 laps in a pool that is smaller than Olympic-sized or 20 laps in an Olympic-sized pool. The resistance of the water against your movements is a great way to tone your muscles and the weightlessness your body experiences in the water means that the exercise is not harmful to your joints. Most communities have a pool that you can use for small fee.

9. Hold a medicine ball down in front of you, keeping your back straight. Continuing to keep your back and arms straight, raise the medicine ball above your head, then lower it slowly to your right. Bring it back up above your head and then lower it slowly to your left. Then bring it back up above your head and slowly lower it in front of you again. Do this 20 times. This will work out your back muscles and your abdominal muscles as well as the muscles in your upper arms and shoulders.

10. Do 20 crossover crunches. This is the same as a regular crunch but you keep your hands held behind your head and with each raise of your body, you semi-touch one elbow to the opposite knee, then you repeat the process again using the other elbow. As you lift your shoulders, keep the small of your back against the floor. This will work out your abdominal muscles and your obliques.

11. Hold your arms straight out in front of you at chest height while holding hand weights, slowly bend your elbows, bringing your hands towards your chest and then lower them back to straight again. Do this 5 times and then hold your hands out to your sides, straight and at chest height, slowly bend your elbows bringing your hands towards your shoulders and then lower them back to straight again. Do this five times. Repeat both sets five more time. This will work out your upper arms.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

28 Day Fitness Challenge - Day Twenty-Six #28DayFit

Day Twenty-Six
(aerobic/cardio)



Choose two exercises within your level:

Beginner Level

1. Run up and down one flight of stairs (in your home, at work or at the mall) 19 times (that's up AND down counted as one time). This is a great way to get your heart rate up. Just remember to be careful; the last thing you need at this point is to slip and fall down a flight of stairs. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes.

2. Walk for 29 minutes at a relaxed pace. Make sure you are wearing comfortable walking shoes. If the weather is not conducive to outdoor walking, go to your local mall or shopping center. You can also use a treadmill, if you have access to one. Take deep breaths as you walk, letting oxygen fill your lungs.

3. Jog for 19 minutes. You can do this either by jogging in place at home, on a treadmill if you have access to one or by jogging outside for 19 minutes. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes. Don't forget to stretch before and after you jog. 

4. Jump rope for 19 minutes. Make sure you are either wearing appropriate shoes or are on a padded surface (rug or mat) to prevent overly jarring your joints.

5. Do 19 star jumps/jumping jacks. You start with your legs together, then jump them apart. While this is happening, you are also bringing your arms up to clap above your head, keeping your arms straight at all times. Then bring your arms down as you jump your feet back together. In the USA, these are called "jumping jacks," and in the UK, these are called "star jumps." Do this nineteen times.

6. Do 19 minutes of running on an elliptical crosstrainer. You need to be at a level 3 or above for incline. Varying speed and rate of incline will give you the most effective workout. Don't forget to keep your arms working too. Elliptical crosstrainers give an overall body workout while keeping stress to your joints at a minimum.

7. Use the Wii Fit step exercise, the 5-minute session, six times, then do the 14-minute boxing session twice. This may seem like a very slow-moving work-out, but the key to these workouts is variation, so even though it seems slow, it should work-out a variety of different muscles.

8. Dance to fast music for 19 minutes. This works even better if you find a music video featuring dance moves that you can try and follow. Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" is one music video that, if you try and follow her dance moves, filling in your own movements for the few moments when dancing is not shown, will give you a good workout. That is only about 4 minutes long though, so you need to find some fast music that you can play continuously and move your body to it.

9. Take a 30-minute long intermediate-level class that involves aerobic training. This class can be ballroom dancing, belly dancing, stationary cycling, Zumba, aerobics, kickboxing, martial arts or any number of things. Choose something you think you might enjoy learning.

10. Jump side to side, starting by moving your right foot to the right and following it with your left foot until your left foot touches your right ankle and then doing the same towards your left. Do this for 7 minutes. Then jump, with your feet together, from side to side, for another 7 minutes. Go back to the first form of jumping for another 7 minutes and then do the side to side jumping with your feet together for another 7 minutes. This will work out your leg and hip muscles.

11. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and wiggle your hips very fast, not moving any other part of your body, keeping your stomach and back as straight as you can, for 8 minutes. Then move your body in a semi-circle from the waist up down to the right, moving fluidly down in front and then to your left. Do this eight times. Then do this in the opposite direction, starting on your left and moving to your right, eight times. Then hold your arms straight out to the side, shoulder-height, and make small circles with them, keeping the elbows straight, for eight minutes. This works out a wide variety of your muscles.

12. Hula hoop for 18 minutes. If you don't have a hula hoop, mimic the action you would do if you were trying to keep a hula hoop from falling. You can break the work out into two sessions of 9 minutes each if 18 minutes is too difficult for you.

13. Spend 19 minutes roller skating or in-line skating. This will work out your legs and increase your heart rate for better cardiovascular fitness.

14. Do 9 cartwheels and 9 forward somersaults. It's okay if you don't do these perfectly. Just have fun and try not to get too dizzy.

15. Spend 13 minutes doing yoga. If you cannot find a yoga class to attend, you can use a video or look up some yoga fitness routines on-line. Yoga is a great way to help with your breathing and relaxation as well as muscle flexibility.

16. Spend 8 minutes is meditation. This is time you spend breathing deeply. Take a deep breath in for a count of 8, then hold it for the count of 4, then breath out for a count of 8. Repeat this throughout the fifteen minutes and feel your body relax. Try and find a quiet space to do this in. There are other breathing exercises that can be found on-line to do instead of this one, but whichever breathing exercise you do, spend the full 8 minutes doing it. You will find this helps sharpen your mind and relax your body.


Intermediate Level

1. Run up and down one flight of stairs (in your home, at work or at the mall) 29 times (that's up AND down counted as one time). This is a great way to get your heart rate up. Just remember to be careful; the last thing you need at this point is to slip and fall down a flight of stairs. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes.

2. Walk for 39 minutes at a reasonable pace. Make sure you are wearing comfortable walking shoes. If the weather is not conducive to outdoor walking, go to your local mall or shopping center. You can also use a treadmill, if you have access to one. Take deep breaths as you walk, letting oxygen fill your lungs.

3. Jog for 24 minutes. You can do this either by jogging in place at home, on a treadmill if you have access to one or by jogging outside for 24 minutes. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes. Don't forget to stretch before and after you jog. 

4. Jump rope for 24 minutes. Make sure you are either wearing appropriate shoes or are on a padded surface (rug or mat) to prevent overly jarring your joints.

5. Do 24 star jumps/jumping jacks. You start with your legs together, then jump them apart. While this is happening, you are also bringing your arms up to clap above your head, keeping your arms straight at all times. Then bring your arms down as you jump your feet back together. In the USA, these are called "jumping jacks," and in the UK, these are called "star jumps." Do this 24 times.

6. Do 29 minutes of running on an elliptical crosstrainer. You need to be at a level 3 or above for incline. Varying speed and rate of incline will give you the most effective workout. Don't forget to keep your arms working too. Elliptical crosstrainers give an overall body workout while keeping stress to your joints at a minimum. 

7. Use the Wii Fit step exercise, the 5-minute session, seven times, then do the 14-minute boxing session twice. This may seem like a very slow-moving work-out for the intermediate level, but the key to these workouts is variation, so even though it seems slow, it should work-out a variety of different muscles.

8. Dance to fast music for 24 minutes. This works even better if you find a music video featuring dance moves that you can try and follow. Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" is one music video that, if you try and follow her dance moves, filling in your own movements for the few moments when dancing is not shown, will give you a good workout. That is only about 4 minutes long though, so you need to find some fast music that you can play continuously and move your body to it.

9. Take a 30-minute long advanced-level class that involves aerobic training. This class can be ballroom dancing, belly dancing, stationary cycling, Zumba, aerobics, kickboxing, martial arts or any number of things. Choose something you think you might enjoy learning.

10. Jump side to side, starting by moving your right foot to the right and following it with your left foot until your left foot touches your right ankle and then doing the same towards your left. Do this for 8 minutes. Then jump, with your feet together, from side to side, for another 8 minutes. Go back to the first form of jumping for another 8minutes and then do the side to side jumping with your feet together for another 8 minutes. This will work out your leg and hip muscles.

11. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and wiggle your hips very fast, not moving any other part of your body, keeping your stomach and back as straight as you can, for 9 minutes. Then move your body in a semi-circle from the waist up down to the right, moving fluidly down in front and then to your left. Do this nine times. Then do this in the opposite direction, starting on your left and moving to your right, nine times. Then hold your arms straight out to the side, shoulder-height, and make small circles with them, keeping the elbows straight, for 9 minutes. This works out a wide variety of your muscles.

12. Hula hoop for 23 minutes. If you don't have a hula hoop, mimic the action you would do if you were trying to keep a hula hoop from falling. You can break the work out into two sessions of 10 minutes each if 20 minutes is too difficult for you.

13. Spend 27 minutes roller skating or in-line skating. This will work out your legs and increase your heart rate for better cardiovascular fitness.

14. Do 14 cartwheels and 14 forward somersaults. It's okay if you don't do these perfectly. Just have fun and try not to get too dizzy.

15. Spend 18 minutes doing yoga. If you cannot find a yoga class to attend, you can use a video or look up some yoga fitness routines on-line. Yoga is a great way to help with your breathing and relaxation as well as muscle flexibility.

16. Spend 12 minutes is meditation. This is time you spend breathing deeply. Take a deep breath in for a count of 8, then hold it for the count of 4, then breath out for a count of 8. Repeat this throughout the fifteen minutes and feel your body relax. Try and find a quiet space to do this in. There are other breathing exercises that can be found on-line to do instead of this one, but whichever breathing exercise you do, spend the full 12 minutes doing it. You will find this helps sharpen your mind and relax your body.


Advanced Level

1. Run up and down one flight of stairs (in your home, at work or at the mall) 38 times (that's up AND down counted as one time). This is a great way to get your heart rate up. Just remember to be careful; the last thing you need at this point is to slip and fall down a flight of stairs. And wear appropriate shoes.

2. Walk for 31 minutes at a fast pace and then jog for 14 minutes. Make sure you are wearing comfortable walking shoes. If the weather is not conducive to outdoor walking, go to your local mall or shopping center. You can also use a treadmill, if you have access to one. Take deep breaths as you walk, letting oxygen fill your lungs. 

3. Jog for 29 minutes. You can do this either by jogging in place at home, on a treadmill if you have access to one or by jogging outside for 29 minutes. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes. Don't forget to stretch before and after you jog.

4. Jump rope for 17 minutes, then do star jumps/jumping jacks for 17 minutes, then do another 17 minutes of jump rope and finish with 17 more minutes of star jumps/jumping jacks. Changing up the exercise helps to break the monotony of doing the same thing. The mind likes having the second-long breaks between doing one action and doing the next to look forward to. Make sure you are either wearing appropriate shoes or are on a padded surface (rug or mat) to prevent overly jarring your joints.

5. Use the elliptical crosstrainer for 33 minutes. You need to either vary your speed and incline or you need to stay at a mid-to-high range with both. Varying speed and rate of incline will give you the most effective workout. Don't forget to keep your arms working too. Elliptical crosstrainers give an overall body workout while keeping stress to your joints at a minimum.

6. Use the Wii Fit step exercise, the 5-minute session, eight times, then do the 14-minute boxing session twice. This may seem like a very slow-moving work-out for the advanced level, but the key to these workouts is variation, so even though it seems slow, it should work-out a variety of different muscles.

7. Dance to fast music for 29 minutes. This works even better if you find a music video featuring dance moves that you can try and follow. Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" is one music video that, if you try and follow her dance moves, filling in your own movements for the few moments when dancing is not shown, will give you a good workout. That is only about 4 minutes long though, so you need to find some fast music that you can play continuously and move your body to it.

8. Take a 60-minute long advanced-level class that involves aerobic training. This class can be ballroom dancing, belly dancing, stationary cycling, Zumba, aerobics, kickboxing, martial arts or any number of things. Choose something you think you might enjoy learning.

9. Jump side to side, starting by moving your right foot to the right and following it with your left foot until your left foot touches your right ankle and then doing the same towards your left. Do this for 13 minutes. Then jump, with your feet together, from side to side, for another 13 minutes. Go back to the first form of jumping for another 13 minutes and then do the side to side jumping with your feet together for another 13 minutes. This will work out your leg and hip muscles.

10. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and wiggle your hips very fast, not moving any other part of your body, keeping your stomach and back as straight as you can, for 13 minutes. Then move your body in a semi-circle from the waist up down to the right, moving fluidly down in front and then to your left. Do this thirteen times. Then do this in the opposite direction, starting on your left and moving to your right, thirteen times. Then hold your arms straight out to the side, shoulder-height, and make small circles with them, keeping the elbows straight, for 13 minutes. 
This works out a wide variety of your muscles.

11. Hula hoop for 28 minutes. If you don't have a hula hoop, mimic the action you would do if you were trying to keep a hula hoop from falling.

12. Spend 28 minutes roller skating or in-line skating. This works out various muscles in your legs, and, even works the abdominal muscles and arm muscles when done correctly. Be sure to wear appropriate safety gear.

13. Do 19 cartwheels and 19 forward somersaults. It's okay if you don't do these perfectly. Just have fun and try not to get too dizzy.

14. Spend 28 minutes doing yoga. If you cannot find a yoga class to attend, you can use a video or look up some yoga fitness routines on-line. Yoga is a great way to help with your breathing and relaxation as well as muscle flexibility.

15. Spend 18 minutes is meditation. This is time you spend breathing deeply. Take a deep breath in for a count of 8, then hold it for the count of 4, then breath out for a count of 8. Repeat this throughout the fifteen minutes and feel your body relax. Try and find a quiet space to do this in. There are other breathing exercises that can be found on-line to do instead of this one, but whichever breathing exercise you do, spend the full 18 minutes doing it. You will find this helps sharpen your mind and relax your body.

16. Exercise to a 30 minute aerobic exercise video. Make sure the pace is fast and mostly cardiovascular exercise. This will get your heart rate up and workout a variety of muscles. If you have no exercise videos at home, you can rent them on-line or find some on-line for free to use.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

28 Day Fitness Challenge - Day Twenty-Five #28DayFit

Today, we are combining strength training with cardio training to get the maximum benefit from our workouts.

Day Twenty-Five
(combined)

Beginner Level

1. Run up and down one flight of stairs (in your home, at work or at the mall) 15 times (that's up AND down counted as one time), while holding hand weights. Make sure to move your hands in a jogging motion while holding the weights, in time with your jogging. You may use water bottles or cans of food if you don't have hand weights. This is a great way to get your heart rate up while also working your arm muscles. Just remember to be careful; the last thing you need at this point is to slip and fall down a flight of stairs. Make sure to wear appropriate shoes.

2. Walk for 25 minutes at a reasonable pace; then do 10 minutes of planks. Make sure you are wearing comfortable walking shoes. If the weather is not conducive to outdoor walking, go to your local mall or shopping center. You can also use a treadmill, if you have access to one. Take deep breaths as you walk, letting oxygen fill your lungs. A plank is where you klay face down to the ground and hold your body up using your hands and your feet, keeping your legs, back and arms, straight.

3. Jog for 15 minutes; then do 10 push-ups. You can do this either by jogging in place at home, on a treadmill if you have access to one or by jogging outside for 15 minutes. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes. Don't forget to stretch before and after you jog. If jogging for fourteen consecutive minutes is too difficult for you, break it up and do two separate sessions of jogging for 7 1/2 minutes each, followed by 5 push-ups with each set.

4. Jump rope for 15 minutes; then do 10 front lunges. For the lunges, place your feet shoulder-width apart and take a big step forward with one leg. Lower yourself so that your front knee is bent at no more than a 90 degree angle, keeping your back straight. Hold for 10 seconds and then straighten your leg and bring it back together with your other leg until you are standing straight again. Repeat, stepping forward with the opposite leg. This will work out your buttocks, your abdominal muscles, and the tops of and back of your thighs. If 15 minutes of jumping rope is too difficult for you to achieve all at once, you may break the session into two 7 1/2-minute sessions with 5 front lunges with each set. Make sure you are either wearing appropriate shoes or are on a padded surface (rug or mat) to prevent overly jarring your joints.

5. Do 5 squats while lifting hand weights from shoulder height to all the way extended and back down again. Then, setting the weights out of the way, do 5 jumping jacks/star jumps. Then repeat, doing 5 squats and then 5 jumping jacks/star jumps. Then repeat the process two more times so that you have done a total of four sets of 5 squats/arm lifts and four sets of 5 jumping jacks/star jumpsRaise the arms while doing the squat and lower them back to your shoulders when you are coming up from the squat.for the squat, place your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your bottom as though you are about to sit in a chair, keeping your back straight and your knees should not bend any further than a 90 degree angle. Hold for 10 seconds and stand back up. This will work out your buttocks, the backs of your thighs and, if you keep your posture straight, your abdominal muscles. the arm weights will work out your upper arms and the jumping jacks/star jumps will get your heart rate elevated to help burn off calories.

6. Spend 15 minutes roller skating while wearing ankle and wrist weights. This will work out several areas of the body, with particular focus on the legs. Be sure to wear appropriate safety gear.

7. Hold weights in your hands while doing the 14-minute boxing session on the Wii Fit. This will work out your arm muscles while giving you a cardio workout using your legs at the same time. You may hold cans or bottle of water in place of the hand weights if you don't have any. Make sure the weights are heavy enough to cause you a slight strain but not so heavy that you can't do the workout.


Intermediate Level

1. Run up and down one flight of stairs (in your home, at work or at the mall) 25 times (that's up AND down counted as one time), while holding hand weights. Make sure to move your hands in a jogging motion while holding the weights, in time with your jogging. You may use water bottles or cans of food if you don't have hand weights. This is a great way to get your heart rate up while also working your arm muscles. Just remember to be careful; the last thing you need at this point is to slip and fall down a flight of stairs. Make sure to wear appropriate shoes.

2. Walk for 45 minutes at a reasonable pace; then do 15 minutes of planks. Make sure you are wearing comfortable walking shoes. If the weather is not conducive to outdoor walking, go to your local mall or shopping center. You can also use a treadmill, if you have access to one. Take deep breaths as you walk, letting oxygen fill your lungs. A plank is where you lay face down to the ground and hold your body up using your hands and your feet, keeping your legs, back and arms, straight.

3. Jog for 25 minutes; then do 16 push-ups. You can do this either by jogging in place at home, on a treadmill if you have access to one or by jogging outside for 25 minutes. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes. Don't forget to stretch before and after you jog. If jogging for 25 consecutive minutes is too difficult for you, break it up and do two separate sessions of jogging for 12 1/2 minutes each, followed by 8 push-ups each time.

4. Jump rope for 20 minutes; then do 16 front lunges. For the lunges, place your feet shoulder-width apart and take a big step forward with one leg. Lower yourself so that your front knee is bent at no more than a 90 degree angle, keeping your back straight. Hold for 10 seconds and then straighten your leg and bring it back together with your other leg until you are standing straight again. Repeat, stepping forward with the opposite leg. This will work out your buttocks, your abdominal muscles, and the tops of and back of your thighs. If 20 minutes of jumping rope is too difficult for you to achieve all at once, you may break the session into two 10-minute sessions, followed by 8 front lunges each time. Make sure you are either wearing appropriate shoes or are on a padded surface (rug or mat) to prevent overly jarring your joints.

5. Do 5 squats while lifting hand weights from shoulder height to all the way extended and back down again. Then, setting the weights out of the way, do 5 jumping jacks/star jumps. Then repeat this four more times (for a total of fivesets of 5 squats/arm lifts and four sets of 5 jumping jacks/star jumps). Raise the arms while doing the squat and lower them back to your shoulders when you are coming up from the squat.for the squat, place your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your bottom as though you are about to sit in a chair, keeping your back straight and your knees should not bend any further than a 90 degree angle. Hold for 10 seconds and stand back up. This will work out your buttocks, the backs of your thighs and, if you keep your posture straight, your abdominal muscles. the arm weights will work out your upper arms and the jumping jacks/star jumps will get your heart rate elevated to help burn off calories.

6. Spend 20 minutes roller skating while wearing ankle and wrist weights. This will work out several areas of the body, with particular focus on the legs. Be sure to wear appropriate safety gear.

7. Hold weights in your hands while doing the 14-minute boxing session, twice, on the Wii Fit. This will work out your arm muscles while giving you a cardio workout using your legs at the same time. You may hold cans or bottle of water in place of the hand weights if you don't have any. Make sure the weights are heavy enough to cause you a slight strain but not so heavy that you can't do the workout.


Advanced Level

1. Run up and down one flight of stairs (in your home, at work or at the mall) 35 times (that's up AND down counted as one time), while holding hand weights. Make sure to move your hands in a jogging motion while holding the weights, in time with your jogging. You may use water bottles or cans of food if you don't have hand weights. This is a great way to get your heart rate up while also working your arm muscles. Just remember to be careful; the last thing you need at this point is to slip and fall down a flight of stairs. Make sure to wear appropriate shoes. Your hand weights, if you have them, should be no less than 5 pounds each, although, at the advanced level, you are probably capable of using heavier hand weights.

2. Walk for 48 minutes at a fast pace; then do 18 minutes of planks. Make sure you are wearing comfortable walking shoes. If the weather is not conducive to outdoor walking, go to your local mall or shopping center. You can also use a treadmill, if you have access to one. Take deep breaths as you walk, letting oxygen fill your lungs. A plank is where you lay face down to the ground and hold your body up using your hands and your feet, keeping your legs, back and arms, straight.

3. Jog for 34 minutes; then do 20 push-ups. You can do this either by jogging in place at home, on a treadmill if you have access to one or by jogging outside for 34 minutes. Make sure you wear appropriate shoes. Don't forget to stretch before and after you jog. If jogging for 34 consecutive minutes is too difficult for you, break it up and do two separate sessions of jogging for 17 minutes each, followed by 10 push-ups each time.

4. Jump rope for 26 minutes; then do 20 front lunges. For the lunges, place your feet shoulder-width apart and take a big step forward with one leg. Lower yourself so that your front knee is bent at no more than a 90 degree angle, keeping your back straight. Hold for 10 seconds and then straighten your leg and bring it back together with your other leg until you are standing straight again. Repeat, stepping forward with the opposite leg. This will work out your buttocks, your abdominal muscles, and the tops of and back of your thighs. If 26 minutes of jumping rope is too difficult for you to achieve all at once, you may break the session into two 13-minute sessions, followed by 10 front lunges each time. Make sure you are either wearing appropriate shoes or are on a padded surface (rug or mat) to prevent overly jarring your joints.

5. Do 5 squats while lifting hand weights from shoulder height to all the way extended and back down again. Then, setting the weights out of the way, do 5 jumping jacks/star jumps. Then repeat this five more times (for a total of six sets of 5 squats/arm lifts and five sets of five jumping jacks/star jumps). Raise the arms while doing the squat and lower them back to your shoulders when you are coming up from the squat.for the squat, place your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your bottom as though you are about to sit in a chair, keeping your back straight and your knees should not bend any further than a 90 degree angle. Hold for 10 seconds and stand back up. This will work out your buttocks, the backs of your thighs and, if you keep your posture straight, your abdominal muscles. The arm weights will work out your upper arms and the jumping jacks/star jumps will get your heart rate elevated to help burn off calories.

6. Spend 30 minutes roller skating while wearing ankle and wrist weights. This will work out several areas of the body, with particular focus on the legs. Be sure to wear appropriate safety gear.

7. Hold weights in your hands while doing the 14-minute boxing session, three times, on the Wii Fit. This will work out your arm muscles while giving you a cardio workout using your legs at the same time. You may hold cans or bottle of water in place of the hand weights if you don't have any. Make sure the weights are heavy enough to cause you a slight strain but not so heavy that you can't do the workout.