Deck of cards workout

cards.jpg

It’s WORKOUT WEDNESDAY! Are you read to move your body? Of course you are!

(disclaimer: this is a recycled post back from 2008 but it’s a great workout so I’m featuring it again today!) :)

Get a deck of cards and get ready to sweat! Decide how many cards you will be using. Here is a general guideline:

If you are a beginner exerciser start with 5 cards
If you are moderate exerciser start with 10 cards
If you are an advanced exerciser, start with 20 cards
and if you are hardcore-I need to feel my lungs burn-type of person, go for 30 or more cards

As always, if you feel the need to do stop and take a break, please do so. Everybody’s fitness level is different, the purpose here is to challenge YOU at your current level.

Now are you ready?!

Red cards are jumping jacks
Black cards are push ups
Face cards equals 10
Aces are high (equals 11!)

So, for every card that you pull, you are to do the specific exercise and number that corresponds with the card. For example, this is what it looks like for the first 3 cards I pull:

red 9= 9 jumping jacks
black 4= 4 push ups
red 2= 2 jumping jacks

The workout should be done quickly but do not sacrifice speed for form. Focus on what you are doing and the muscles that you are using. Review your push up form here if necessary.

This is a fun workout that can be done at any point during your day, so no excuses!!

Get moving and let me know how it went!

Multitasking while running


Here are a few of the things I did during my running workout on my treadmill:

  • changed 2 diapersManon
  • broke up 5 fights over the same ridiculous toys
  • changed the channel 2 times and then put in a movie.  (that no one watched)
  • got two different drinks (not for me)
  • went back for two different snacks. (again, not for me)
  • nursed a cranky baby
  • helped a preschooler “clean up” after using the bathroom

So much for a stress free workout, huh?  No matter how many interruptions, I still felt better after my workout than before.

Never underestimate the power of a workout gang!

photo credit: Spigoo

Out with the old, in with the new

My mission for 2010?

Lose the baby weight while juggling life with three small children.Happy New Year

It’s definitely not mission impossible, but it WILL be a challenge!

What challenges are you facing for 2010?

Here is a round up of my favorite posts from 2009.
Happy New Year gang!

January 2009: How the gym is just like high school
February 2009: Skinny vs. Strong
March 2009:  When the gym doesn’t work out, mommy still needs a workout!

April 2009: 8 Ways to Motivate: Get Your Workout Done!

May 2009: 10 things I learned from yoga class

June 2009: Belly After Baby: How to Get Rid of Your “Mummy Tummy”

July 2009: Fitness a la carte

August 2009: Your muscles need massage therapy

September 2009: If your wife were in rehab, would you bring her drugs?

October 2009: Inflammatory breast cancer

November 2009: My top 5 fitness goals

December 2009: Kegel Exercises: My Main Squeeze

photo credit: WELS.net

Kegel Exercises: My Main Squeeze

Today’s guest post is courtesy of Kara Thom, who blogs over at Mama Sweat. (not familiar with her blog? Go there now, you are missing out!) She manages to find time for fitness even though she now has 4 kids to work around her schedule.  Thank you Kara for the great advice!

Focusing on the positive here. Focusing on what I can do with this postpartum body of mine, and what’s left of my time and energy. That focus then, is on the almighty Kegel — yes, I’m talking about exercising the nether region.

First one must know what a Kegel is before I go on. If you think a Kegel is something served at a Jewish holiday, this post won’t make any sense. A Kegel is a contraction of the pelvic floor muscle; squeezing tight all those sphincter muscles. Its most famous purpose is improving bladder control. And so, almost always bringing up Kegel exercises make us giggle. And contrary to popular myth, Kegels aren’t just for women. If you have a prostate, Kegels are equally important. And while bladder control is indeed a nice thing to have (I mean, wouldn’t the ultimate insult of parenthood be to have to change your own diaper too?), a Kegel’s influence on those pelvic floor muscles also set up a stronger foundation for a stronger core. I like to call it the core of my core. Without a strong pelvic floor, everything that attaches to it, going up your trunk or down your legs is compromised. Think lower back, glutes, hips, hamstrings, and then everything else that attaches to those and on out. Everything begins at the pelvic floor. It’s ground zero for our musculature.

So, if you’ve been injured or out of commission, or like me, just had a baby, which both weakens your pelvic floor and puts you out of commission, then starting with Kegels before you do anything else is important. I know this first hand, because trying to come back too soon after my first pregnancy resulted in painful running and a plethora of back, hip and IT band problems. And there are all sorts of remedies for those problems, but if you don’t start with the core of your core–ground zero–then it’s difficult to fully heal.

So how do you do Kegel exercises? The easiest explanation is to squeeze those muscles “down there” that would stop the flow of urine and those that would keep you “puckered up” in a tense situation. The pelvic floor muscles are like a hammock between your tail bone and your pubic bone. The idea is to contract or tighten up that hammock. Ideally we should all be doing 200 a day. There are two main ways to Kegel: Flicks are quick contractions and you should aim to do them in sets of 10. The other option is to hold a Kegel, ideally for 10 seconds or more.

The nice part about Kegel exercises is that they don’t require workout clothes. They don’t require a gym. In fact, you don’t have to make time to Kegel, you can do it almost anywhere, anytime and no one is the wiser. The guy taking your order at Starbucks might wonder what’s up with the strange look on your face, but still, he’ll never know.

Sounds so easy. And perhaps because they’re so easy we tend to overlook them, forget to do them. Plus, the pay off isn’t quite as noticeable. While we might brag about how strong our quads are, or show off our cut biceps, boasting about the strength of our pelvic floor muscles is not something we normally do.

Normally. Allow me. I got some positive reinforcement at my six-week check up that my singular focus with Kegels and Sahrmann exercises are working. (By the way I’m up to Sahrmann exercise #4.) My midwife first checked my diastasis recti–the split that occurs between your abdominals when pregnant–and commented how nicely and quickly it was coming together. Yes! And, without going into too much detail she said, “You must be doing your Kegels.” In fact, I could have held back the flood waters in Fargo with my bladder.

With this new confirmation that my hard work is paying off, I’m doing my Kegel exercises even more. And with my eye on the prize–running again!–I’m applying a few running workouts to doing Kegels. Since most people have a hard time remembering to do them and, let’s face it, they’re boring, here is how I’m “squeezing” them into my day and making this workout more fun.

Kegel fartlek. Now I have just put two funny words together. This is not passing gas between Kegels. Fartlek (in Swedish means speed play) is a running workout that allows you to spontaneously pick up the pace at irregular intervals. You get to decide when and how long to speed up. Say, you decide to run faster to the next stop sign or in between light poles. With a Kegel fartlek it’s the same, but it helps to be traveling in a car, bus, or other mode of transport. Just pick some sort of landmark and hold the Kegel until you get there. Pick another landmark and repeat.

Kegel tempo. A runner’s tempo workout might consist of a 10-minute or 15-minute run at their race pace sandwiched in between a warm up and cool down. The Kegel tempo is a little different. Using the car radio or your Ipod, Kegel to the beat of a song. This worked nicely to the tune of “Good Things” by the Bodeans.

And a strong pelvic floor is a good thing. If you happen to pull up next to me at a stop light, honk, wave, and give me a knowing smile.

Want to know more about Kara? She was featured as “One Fit Mommy” here!

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