4 Fun Pumpkin Exercises

A Halloween workout? Well, it doesn’t take a mad scientist (or a person dressed as one) to realize that a pumpkin can be used as a weight. The pumpkins grown for carving typically range from two pounds to 25 pounds… though the biggest pumpkin ever weighed in at a monstrous 2,323 pounds!!!

But enough pumpkin trivia. We are here to sweat.

Halloween Pumpkin Workout Exercise Routine

Two types of pumpkins are needed for this routine… For the push-up, use a flatter, heavier pumpkin so you don’t lose your balance and take a nosedive into the squash. You’re going to have to be a little careful which actually makes you work a bit harder for balance and stability. For the other exercises, choose a second, lighter pumpkin.

Here are weighted pumpkin exercises to ensure that you’re a fit gypsy, a limber ghost, or just a downward-dogging little devil in the pumpkin patch this year. Aim for 15–20 reps per move.

 

Halloween Workout - Staggered Hand Push Up Exercise

Pumpkin Staggered-Hand Offset Push-Up

Target Muscles: Chest

Assume a push-up position (feet together, body straight from head to heels, arms straight, hands in line with and slightly wider than your shoulders) with a pumpkin three inches in front of your right hand. Place your right hand on the middle of the pumpkin, squeezing your glutes and bracing your core to keep your body rigid (and your hips from sagging). This is the starting position. Keeping your elbows tucked, lower your chest until it almost touches the floor. Pause, then push yourself back up to the starting position. Switch sides for each set.

 

Halloween Workout - Overhead Press Exercise

Pumpkin Pick Up and Press

Target Muscles: Glutes, quads, shoulders

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and turned out 15-degrees with the smaller pumpkin between them. Keeping your back flat, straight, and core braced, lower your body and grab the pumpkin with both hands. This is the starting position. Straighten your legs as you lift the pumpkin to chest level. Now press it overhead until your arms are straight. Pause, and then reverse the movement, lowering the pumpkin to the floor. That’s one rep.

 

Halloween Workout - Weighted Lunge Exercise

Pumpkin Loaded Lunge

Target Muscles: Quads, glutes, shoulders, core

Stand tall holding the smaller pumpkin straight overhead with both hands. Keeping your back flat, straight, and core braced, take a large step forward with your right leg, lowering your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor (don’t let your left knee touch the ground). Pause, and then push back up to the starting position. Do equal reps with both legs.

 

Halloween Workout - Seated Twist Exercise

Seated Pumpkin Twist

Target Muscles: Core

Sit on the floor with your knees bent, holding the smaller pumpkin in front of your chest with both hands. Lean back slightly. Keeping your back straight and core braced, rotate your torso as far to the right as you can, and then as far to the left as you can. That’s one rep. Not challenging enough? Hold the pumpkin farther away from your chest.

 

Halloween Pumpkin Workout Exercise Routine

5 Reasons You Keep Getting Injured

When you drop a kettlebell on your foot or karate kick the coffee table, there’s no mystery as to why you’re injured. It’s when there isn’t an obvious cause and you find yourself limping to the sideline that leaves you scratching your head (and rubbing your achy muscles or tendons) in search of clues as to what went wrong. These five reasons could very well be the culprits that are keeping you from injury-free exercise.

5 Reasons You Keep Getting Injured

1. You’re Dehydrated

Dehydration can lead to loss of focus and coordination. The less focus you have, the more prone you are to making avoidable mistakes putting yourself at a greater risk of injury because in most cases… the muscle doesn’t have the capacity to do its full range of motion.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for how much water you should consume on a daily basis. The “drink eight glasses per day” advice you were taught in phys ed has largely been dismissed. So instead of going by thirst, check your urine. If it’s dark in color, like iced tea, chug a glass of water. If it’s pale yellow to nearly clear, you’re in the clear. And if it’s sparkling neon green, you’re undoubtedly a space mutant.

Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, fatigue, and light-headedness. What’s more, according to a small study published in the Journal of Nutrition, even moderate dips in hydration levels can turn someone into a grouch.

2. You’re Unsure About Being Sore

Do you know the difference between good sore and bad sore? It’s important info to possess for a couple of reasons — 1) it’s the type of question that might pop up in the Cash Cab; 2) knowing can enable you to detect an injury, or prevent one from worsening. Bad soreness typically has a radiating sensation. Or it’s a localized, continual disruption or irritation. Good soreness isn’t sharp, shooting, stinging, or radiating. It just feels like it’s within the movement pattern or general muscle tissue.

Where the soreness occurs can also tip you off. Good sores do not exist in the joints. Joint pain can typically be a result of some type of injury, or a lack of hydration, recovery, or lubrication. If that’s the case, drinking more water may be able to help you hydrate. Whether you feel a radiating sensation or discomfort in the joints, a wise idea would be to reassess your approach to training and recovery, and revisit your body alignment during exercises that utilize those body parts. You should also ice down the injury to reduce inflammation.

3. Your Warm-Up Was Lukewarm

A proper warm-up does more than prime the body for a workout; it helps improve your performance. While trainers like Shaun T and Tony Horton remind you how important warm-ups are before each Beachbody workout, you also need a warm-up game plan if you’re working out solo.

A general warm-up elevates the heart rate, while a specific warm-up uses similar biomechanics and movements that target muscles that will be used in forthcoming exercises. So which of those is right for you? There’s really no right or wrong way to warm up, so an improper warm-up is subjective. It depends on each person. That means it’s on you to decide when your body feels it’s ready to rumble. But if you dodge your warm-up or fail to loosen up the right muscles (and those supporting ones, too) that oversight can come back to bite you in the back or shoulders, ankles, knees…

4. Your Ego Is Bigger Than Your Muscles

You probably feel like a chump doing so, but sitting out a set when you’re too sore (the bad type of sore) to continue or subbing in an easier exercise for one that’s too advanced is sometimes necessary to prevent injury. Your ego may get bruised in the process, but that’ll heal much quicker than a muscle tear.

When you’re on the fence about pushing further or participating in a progressive movement, slow things down. Double-check your technique and body alignment during the movement to reassure yourself that what you’re doing isn’t demanding too much of your body. Going slow and steady enables enough time to recruit other muscle fibers to help support and handle the workload.

5. You’re Not Stretching Enough

Optimally, you should be stretching multiple times per day. No, you don’t have to drop into a downward-facing dog in the middle of a meeting with your boss, but, specifically, you want to at least stretch before and after workouts. A preworkout stretch can identify which muscles have tension within them – and gives you more information to protect your muscles, having been aware of which seem tight, than if you go into a movement pattern having not stretched. Add extra warm-up time if you detect muscles that aren’t ready.

Stretching increases flexibility and encourages your joints to move through their full range of motion. However, before you train, opt for dynamic/ballistic stretching. Studies show static stretches during preworkout can actually inhibit the ability for muscles to fire, and performance output can decrease. Keep static stretches for your cool down instead. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds, and take it out as far as two minutes.

Mini Workouts, Major Results

When it comes to sustainable weight loss, you basically have two options: Eat less and exercise less, or eat more and exercise more. Odds are you’ll fall into the second category (me included!).

I know, I know… you’re barely able to carve out 40 or 60 minutes a day to work out as is. But what I’m talking about is doing two 10-minute sweat sessions instead of a single, longer one, so you’ll actually spend less time exercising. And for each of the below sessions, all you need is your bodyweight, so you can do them anytime, anywhere.

Not only are there scheduling advantages of splitting one long workout into smaller, more manageable chunks, but each time you exercise you initiate a series of metabolic events that help your body burn fat and build muscle. If you work out once per day, you’ll trigger those events once. But if you work out two or three times, well, you get the idea — you compound the effect, and ultimately reach your goals faster.

If you’re not sure where to start, try the mini-workouts below. Perform two of the workouts each day — one in the morning, and one in the afternoon or evening — and warm up with two minutes of jumping rope or jumping jacks before you begin. If you find any move too difficult, do the “modifier” exercise instead. Keep boredom at bay by mixing up the routines you do each day!

Mini Workouts - Major Results

WORKOUT A

Perform the exercises as a superset (one superset equals one set of each move back-to-back). Do as many supersets as you can in 5 minutes without rest. Start with 20 reps of the wideout drop and 10 reps of the judo push-up. In each successive superset, do two fewer reps of the wideout drop, and one fewer rep of the judo push-up. So in your second superset, you’ll do 18 wideout drops and nine judo push-ups. In your third set you’ll do 16 wideout drops and eight judo push-ups. You get the idea. Try to go all the way to zero reps of both exercises before your five minutes are up. If you do, begin working your way back up the sequence.

Purpose: Building explosive power in the legs and strength in the chest, shoulders, and triceps

Wideout Drop
Stand with your legs together, elbows by your sides, and hands together in front of your chest. Jump your feet out to your sides and drop into a wide squat, extending your arms straight out in front of your chest. Spring back up to the starting position, and then begin your next rep without pausing.

Modifier: Bodyweight squat (perform each rep quickly, exploding up from the bottom position, but don’t jump).

Judo Push-Up
Begin in a push-up position but move your feet hip-width apart, and raise your hips so your body forms an upside-down V. Lower the front of your body with your arms until your chin nears the floor, and then swoop your head and shoulders upward while lowering your hips until they almost touch the floor (you should end in an “upward dog” position). Reverse the move to return to the starting position.

Modifier: Standard push-up.

WORKOUT B

Perform the exercises as a superset (one superset equals one set of each move back-to-back). Do as many supersets as you can in 5 minutes without rest. Start with 20 reps of the split jump and 10 reps of the explosive push-up. In each successive superset, do 2 fewer reps of the split jump, and one fewer rep of the push-up. Try to get all the way to zero reps of both exercises before your time is up. If you do, begin working your way back up the sequence.

Purpose: Building explosive power in both the upper and lower body.

Split Jump
Assume a staggered stance with your left foot forward. Lower your body into a lunge, and then jump with enough force to propel both feet off the floor. Land with your right leg forward. That’s one rep. Alternate legs each rep.

Modifier: Split squat (perform each rep quickly, exploding up from the bottom position, but don’t jump).

Explosive Push-Up
Assume a push-up position with your arms straight, body rigid, and hands slightly wider than and in line with your shoulders. Keeping your elbows tucked, lower your chest until it’s a few inches from the floor. Push up with enough force for your hands to leave the ground. Land softly and repeat. Extra points if you add a clap.

Modifier: Standard push-up (push off the floor forcefully, but don’t let your hands leave it).

WORKOUT C

Perform as many reps as you can of the superman walkout push-up in two and a half minutes. Repeat with the reverse lunge. Don’t rest between exercises. Each time you do this workout, try to perform more reps of each exercise in the allotted time.

Purpose: Building strength and boosting muscular endurance in the chest, shoulders, lats, triceps, and legs.

Superman Walkout Push-Up
Get down on all fours and raise your hips so that your body forms an inverted V. Walk your hands forward until you’re in a push-up position, and do a push-up. Continue to walk your hands forward until your arms are stretched above your head (like you’re Superman), and hold for one to two seconds (you’ll feel an intense contraction in your lats and abs). Walk your hands back to a push-up position, do a push-up, and then return to the inverted V position. That entire sequence is one rep.

Modifier: Walkout push-up (follow the directions above, but don’t go past the push-up position).

Reverse Lunge
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your fingers interlocked behind your head. Keeping your torso upright, step backward with your left foot and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees and your rear knee almost touches the ground. Pause, and then push yourself back to the starting position. Repeat, this time stepping back with your right leg. Alternate legs each rep.

Modifier: Forward lunge.

Workout D

Perform the following exercises as a superset (one superset equals one set of each move back-to-back). Begin by holding the indicated position of each exercise for five seconds, and then doing five full reps. In each successive superset, hold for one less second, and do one fewer rep of each exercise. Continue counting down until you reach zero seconds and zero reps of both moves. Each week, add one second and one rep to each exercise in the first superset.

Note: There are no modifiers for the exercises in this workout. If you’re not fit enough to perform the moves as described, wait to do this workout until your fitness level increases.

Purpose: Boosting muscle growth and amplifying strength throughout the body.

Split Squat
Assume a staggered stance with your hands on your hips (or fingers interlocked behind your head) and your left foot forward. Lower your body into a lunge until your rear knee is a few inches from the floor and your front knee is bent 90 degrees. Hold for the allotted time, and then begin your full range of motion reps.

Push-Up
Assume a push-up position with your hands in line with and slightly wider than your shoulders. Brace your abs (imagine someone is about to punch you in the gut), tense your arms, and press them into the floor and toward each other (imagine you’re trying to push the floor together between them, but don’t actually move them). Hold for the allotted time, and then begin your full range of motion reps.

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Why Should I Squat?

Earning the title “King of All Exercises,” the squat is a staple for everyone. No other move works more muscles below your waist, and no other move will help you look sexier in a pair of jeans. 😉

Why Should I Squat - Benefits of Squatting

Okay, But Why Should I Squat?

Here’s a breakdown of the 5 biggest benefits of proper squatting:

1) Gain strength & build muscle

We all know squats are a killer leg exercise – working more muscles below your waist than any other exercise (quads, hamstrings, adductors, glues, and calves included). But squats are more than just a leg exercise; your abs and lower back muscles stabilize your torso and your arms support themselves or weights. Surprise! Squats work your whole body from head to toe.

2) Burn fat!

The more energy you burn, the more fat you burn. Squats burn more energy than any other exercise by working more muscles than any other exercise. As an added benefit, the more muscles you gain, the more energy (and fat) your body uses doing everyday things or even while resting.

3) Strengthen bones & joints

Studies show squats can improve bone density – making bones stronger and less likely to break. Squats also strengthen the muscles, tendons, and connective tissues around your knees, hip, and ankle joints – protecting them against injuries. The key is to squat with proper form so you strengthen your joints instead of stressing them.

4) Increase flexibility

It’s a common misbelief that squatting will make you bulky and stiff. When in reality, many people discover how inflexible they truly are while trying squats for the first time. Squats can’t make you inflexible because you must be flexible to squat! Practicing each week, pushing deeper into the exercise, and  moving your legs through a full range of motion will quickly improve your flexibility!

5) Improve functionality

Squats are one of the most foundational functional movements in our lives. Anything from getting out of a chair to squatting down to pick something off the floor requires squat strength. We’ve been squatting since we were babies; as we get older and sit in unnatural positions all day, our squat form goes from perfect to us not having a clue.

Squat 101 Series

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3-Day Full Body Circuit Workout

Day 1: Abs & Arms Workout

2017-01-20 - Abs & Arms Workout.png

10 chair dips | 30 second side plank (each side) | 30 crunches | 25 hip thrusts
30 arm circles | 10 triangle pushups | 10 pushups
Repeat circuit 2 – 3 times

Day 2: Thighs & Booty Workout

2017-01-27-thighs-booty-workout

20 lunges | 20 reverse lunges | 20 squats | 30 second wall sit
20 hip bridges | 30 donkey kicks (each side)
Repeat circuit 2 – 3 times

Day 3: Core Workout

2017-02-03 - Core Workout.png

30 sec plank | 10 supermans | 30 sec R side plank
10 v sits | 30 sec L side plank | 10 burpees
Repeat circuit 2 – 3 times

Why You Need to Plank

One of my FAVORITE exercises is one that you can do anywhere with no equipment. (Although, adding a stability ball will absolutely push your workout to the next level!). It is the PLANK! This move challenges your entire body and burns more calories than any other traditional abdominal exercise. The muscles you strengthen will ensure you burn MORE energy even when you are at rest. What does that mean? I helps keep your metabolic rate high – and keep it high all day long (even when you are asleep!).

Why Do I Need to do Plank Exercises

If that wasn’t enough – here are 5 more reasons to plank!

A Toned Belly

Planking will help build your deep inner core muscles that lay the groundwork for that six-pack look. As your abdominal muscles become stronger, your mid-section will tighten.

Reduce Back Pain

Planks work for back pain because they strengthen your core, which has the pleasant “side effect” of reducing back pain. They also strengthen your back muscles, especially those in your upper back.

Flexibility

While building strength, planks also increase flexibility in your posterior muscle groups. The muscles around your shoulders, collarbone, and shoulder blades will expand and stretch (an area that often receives little attention), as will your hamstrings and even the arches of your feet and your toes.

Improve Your Mood

Virtually every exercise has the potential to give you a mood boost, and planks are no exception. Planks are unique, however, in that they help stretch and ultimately relax muscles groups that often become stiff and tense from prolonged sitting. The tension release that planks provide is uplifting for your spirit.

Improve Your Balance and Posture

To do a plank correctly, you must engage your abs to stay upright. Side planks or planks with extensions are particularly beneficial for building balance, as are planks performed on a stability ball. In addition, planks work all the muscles you need to maintain proper posture, like your back, chest, shoulders, abs, and neck. If you do planks regularly, you’ll find you’re able to sit or stand up straighter with ease.

So… what are you waiting for?!? Let’s get planking!!!

Thigh Trimmer Workout

Thigh Trimmer Workout!!
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50 Jumping Jacks
50 High Knees
25 Lunges (each leg) – Hold the last one down and pulse for 10 seconds
20 side lunges (each leg)
50 Inner thigh lifts (each leg)
1 minute wall sit
50 Squats- Hold the last one and pulse for 10 seconds
50 Skaters
Repeat 3 times & feel the burn!!

5 Minute Flat Abs Workout

Happy Fit Friday! Trying to fit in ONE MORE workout before the weekend? This core workout takes less than 5 minutes and can easily be done once when you wake up and once before you go to bed. Combined with some awesome nutrition, it will help yield you the tummy you’ve been looking for!

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Here we go!:
20 crunches: knees in air and ankles crossed
20 crunches: right leg straight and elevated and left leg bent
20 crunches: left leg straight and elevated and right leg bent
40 criss-cross toe touches: opposite hand to opposite toe. (Shoulders come off the ground)
20 windshield wipers: legs stay straight and fall at 45 degree angle back and forth
20 leg lifts
40 bicycles: (see the picture posted)
2 x 1 minute plank holds

And that = happy ABS!!!! Remember… Abs are 20% strengthening and 80% diet, so if you want them to show, eat well! For more fitness & meal plan ideas, stay tuned!