Wellness

Slay the Day : Mini-Band Travel Workout

Maintaining a training routine while traveling can be challenging. Throw in holiday parties, good food, and lack of gym equipment, and you can feel at a total loss. 

When training, I advise all clients to invest in two items... a foam roller & mini-band.

Whether you're traveling or find yourself with an extra 20 min at home, but not enough time to get to the gym, these two items will provide just enough of a challenge to garner a sense of accomplishment. Remember, something is always better than nothing, and no one ever regrets a workout...

While I'm big on training glutes & core (see workout here), in general, I like to target all major muscle groups within any one workout.

Below are some of my favorite mini-band exercises you can do anywhere (I actually keep a mini-band or two in my purse). It's quick, it's simple, but it gets the job done! 

Happy holidays!

 

See More: 5 Tips for a Healthy Holiday

 

Step Outs

Loop band around both legs and bring it above the knees (no pressure on knee joint). Feet hip width apart, hinge from the hip, keeping weight in the heels. Take one step out to the side to widen stance while maintaining hinge. Return to neutral stance (hip width apart), and repeat. Practice 15-20 reps on each side, then return to center for 20 pull aparts. Your glutes should be on fire!

 

Commandos

Begin in plank position, shoulders above the hands, and feet hip width apart– band around the ankles. Carefully lower to forearm plank, and return to full arm extension. ProTip: focus on maintaining stability in your hips. As arms lower hips should follow, but they should remain parallel to the ground at all times. Repeat for 10-20 reps. 

 

Plank Jacks

Begin in plank (full arm extension) with band around the ankles. Maintaining stability in your shoulders, core, and hips, simultaneously bring both feet into a wide stance position, then back together. Imagine jumping jacks, except your arms remain in place ;)

30-40 seconds

 

High Row

In a soft stance (knees slightly bent), grip band with both hands & raise arms to shoulder hight. Keeping arms parallel to the ground and shoulders down away from the ears, pull band apart and in towards chest. Extend to straight arms and repeat for 15 reps. If you're doing this right, you should feel it in your back with each pull.

 

Hip Thrusts

Begin by lying down, band above the knees, and knees bent at hip width apart. Pulling thighs apart, so as to break that band, press through the heels & squeeze glutes to raise and lower the hips. Repeat 15-20 times. 

 


 

Glutes & Core

I always warn my clients they'll get sick of hearing me say "glutes & core". Despite that coveted peach & chiseled six-pack, these are the two most important muscle groups to train not only individually, but in unisen.

Your glutes & core are your two largest muscle groups, providing balance, control, and power. You cannot have one without the other; a strong core will only get you so far without a strong pelvis, and when performing a movement if you lose engagement of one, the other follows suit.

Below are some of my favorite glute & core exercises, all of which are easy to progress or modify as needed... 

As for this outfit- Abercrombie is kind of my guilty pleasure, which makes me feel 15, but surprisingly my 15 year old self never shopped there. It wasn't until a few years ago while Christmas shopping that I stumbled across their store and found some gems I couldn't turn down. Now, I'm always checking in, especially because they have the best sales– this bra is only $8!

 

SINGLE LEG HIP THRUST

Lay flat on the mat & pull one knee in to the chest, extend that leg out at approximately 45 degree angle. Squeeze your glutes to lift the hips. Keep your neck in line with your spine & your back flat, so as to not over extend (aka. don't arch your back). At the top of the movement, you should be able to draw a straight line from head to toe. 

To modify simply keep both feet on the floor. For an added challenge ditch the mat and lean up against a bench. Line up with your back against the edge of the bench at the bra-line. Keeping your back flat, you'll pivot on the bench with each lower and lift of the hips. 

 

SQUAT

Pro Tip: Keep your weight in the heels & reach back as in sitting in a chair. Keep knees behind the toes & only lower as far as you can keep that core engaged. The moment you start to fee that core give out, squeeze your glutes and press through the heels to standing. As you strengthen, you'll be able to increase that range of motion while maintaining proper muscle engagement. If you're feeling this in your quads or knees, your likely keeping the weight towards the front of your feet & not reaching back enough. Transfer weight to the heels and lead with the hips. 

 

Reverse Lunge 

From standing, reach back with one leg and lower the knee one inch above the ground in the center of your stance. You should see a 90 degree angle from hip to ankle on both legs. Press into the front heel and push back up to standing. Avoid kicking off the back foot. Keeping the weight in the front heel, your back leg should float back up to standing. If you're doing this right, you'll feel on one side of your glutes at a time.

 

Pilates Step Down

This is a modified pilates chair exercise. To start, place one foot on top of a bench, shift all of the weight forward onto that leg. Find your balance & engage your core. Keeping your upper body in place, and your back leg light as a feather, reach back and gently tap your toe to the ground, return to bench, gently tap the toe, and repeat. If you're doing this right, by 15-20 reps your glute will be burning out. 

Pro Tip: As with the squat, if you're feeling this in your quad, transfer your weight to the heel of that front foot.  

 

Brick Bug

Don't underestimate this simple movement, this is one of my favorite core exercises & a great replacement for crunches, since it doesn't apply any pressure on the neck. Begin by lying flat on the mat, bring legs up to table-top, and grip a yoga brick on one side between your knee and elbow. Rather than applying pressure down through the elbow, flex your foot (toe to chin) and apply pressure through the knee up toward the chest. The more your press up through that knee, the more you'll feel those lower abdominals engage. On the opposite side, extend your arm overhead and straighten your leg at a 45 degree angle. Only extend as far as you can keep that back flat to the mat. If you feel pressure in your low back, or notice it starting to arch, limit your range of motion & focus on straightening the leg, rather than lowering it. 

 

Plank

If you ever feel back pain in this position, the following instructions are for you. 

Start on your hands and knees, lift the knees off the mat, make sure your back is flat- there should be a straight line from head to toe. If you struggle keeping this form & feel your low back arch, tuck your pelvis toward your ribcage. Pull your weight forward just a couple of inches making sure your shoulders are directly above your hands. To fully engage your core, squeeze your glutes and  flex your thighs. The more musclsd you can engage, the better.

To modify, either lower down to your elbows, or drop down to your knees. For an added challenge, simply practice lifting one arm off the mat at a time. The key here is control, maintaining the hips in place, while transferring weight (aka. avoid that side-to-side sway).

 

Pilates Single Leg Stretch

Begin by laying flat on the mat. Pull your knees into the chest, peel your neck and shoulders off the mat & engage your core. Extend your left leg forward, & slide your right hand down your ankle, using the other to gently brace the inside of your knee. Switch legs & repeat for 10-15 reps. 

Pro Tip: Keep your shoulders down away from the ears & peel up off the mat an added couple inches.

 

Side Plank with Hip Dips

Turn onto your side, bend your knees slightly & place your hand under your shoulder. Press into your hand & lift the hips off the mat. Stack the shoulders, stack the hips, and find your balance. You should see a straight line from head to toe. In a controlled fashion, lower and raise the hips. 

To modify, separate the feet for a wider base of support. Additionally, you can lower down to your elbow and/or knees. Bend the knees at a 90 degree angle & lift the hips– you should see a straight line from your shoulders down to your knees.  

 

Rest

5 Tips for a Healthy Holiday // Feat. Fabletics

5 Tips for a Healthy Holiday // Outfit c/o Fabletics – To get your first outfit for just $25 here!

Happy Monday! The holidays are officially here, and starting Friday it'll be Christmas tunes all around. If you're anything like me, this can be a dangerous season for loading up on sweets and some of the year's best family recipes. Don't get me wrong, I am all for treating yourself, but the guilt I can do without.

As we head into the hustle and bustle, I want you to be at your best to enjoy the holidays, so while I'm no fitness expert, today I want to share five tips I've found helpful in keeping healthy over the holidays.

  1. Four Legs Go Further Than Two: This is the perfect time of year to grab a girlfriend and make a pact. No need to wait for a new years resolution, team up with a friend and commit to being workout buddies this holiday season. Whether meeting up for a group class or meeting up for a run, I've always found it harder to give up when with a friend. With two of you involved, not only will you keep each other accountable for showing up, but working out will be much more enjoyable knowing the pain and gain is shared. Also, if you're in anyway competitive, this is a great way for the two of you to push each other further. Keep in mind the holidays are bound to get hectic, so this is a great opportunity to be productive and guarantee some quality time with one of your girls.
  2. Get Ahead of the Game: Start now. Thanksgiving is on Thursday, and I promise you'll enjoy the holiday much more freely if you get a few workouts in before the big feast. There is no need to feel guilty when enjoying an evening with loved ones, so plan ahead, squeeze in an hour a day if possible and make it an investment in yourself. This rule applies throughout the month of December as well– if you know you won't be able to get to the gym on Wednesday, push yourself harder or give yourself an extra hour on Tuesday. You'll be sore, but you'll be ahead of your game plan, and that's the goal. Catching up during the hustle and bustle of holidays is far too stressful, and the boost of confidence you'll get from being ahead of the game is 100% worth the effort. Remember, investing in yourself is not a selfish use of time, but a way to better prep yourself both physically and mentally for work, family, and social responsibilities– your health is reflected in all aspects of life!
  3. Become a Morning Person: I am the least morning person I know, so trust me when I say, I understand your pain. That said, with holiday parties and gift shopping this is the safest bet that you'll get your workout in during this busy season. When trying to become a morning person every detail matters, and there are a variety of seemingly silly but effective ways to help get you there. For starters, wear your workout clothes to bed, or at least lay them out the night before. Plan everything ahead of time, and I mean everything: socks, hair ties, water bottle, protein bar, everything. If you're not a morning person, you will be in a much clearer state of mind prepping these items before bed, than your will in a hazy morning daze. I guarantee you are much more likely to get to the gym on time when not having to rummage through a dim-lit room in search of your shoes. Need some extra motivation? This is another great reason to have a workout buddy– you will be much more likely to roll out of bed if you know someone else also gave up their sleep and and is waiting on you at the other end. Additionally, try signing up for a group class. Many gyms have penalties for missed classes once you're already signed up, so adding that extra pressure could be just the trick.
  4. Log your progress: We all need pep-talks, and a Pinterest board is great place to start, but why not take it one step further and get a little more personal? One habit I've found to be surprisingly effecetive is tracking my monthly fitness routine. Hit up a class today? Simply jot the type and length of the class in a note on your phone. Went for a run? Jot down the date and length of your run. Seeing your work on "paper" is a great way to reference progress and watch yourself break limits. Again, if you're in any way competitive, you'll likely find yourself setting new monthly goals based on this data. While physical change can take time to show, this is a great way to track your strength and endurance. Keeping this information logged on your phone makes the task nearly effortless, so why not?
  5. Treat Yourself: Like I said, I am all for treating yourself, but why limit your treats to just food?... Eyeing a new workout outfit? Set tangible goals and reward yourself! Set aside a small budget each and commit to working out 5 time this week. If at the end of the week you've met your goal, the outfit's yours. Same goes for accessories. Need a new bag for carrying that change of clothes? Agree that if you get to the gym before work for a week, you've earned it. Trust me, if you're hitting up the gym as often as you'd like, you'll be sweating through some serious gym clothes and a new outfit can be just the motivation to get you back. That said, keep in mind that, as cheesy as it sounds, your time spent working out is it's own treat. I know it can be difficult to make time for the gym, especially when work and kids get involved, but this is a time to clear your mind, relax, be tech-free, and burn some steam, so while you may be dying in that group class, remember this is your time, and you're quality of life will be better because of it!

To shop more outfits like the one above, click here– the sports bras are awesome!

This post has been braught to you by Fabletics, however, all opinions remain my own. The integrity of this site is far more important to me than any compensation or brand partnership. – S