Challenge Yourself: 4 Exercises You Can Do With Your Husband

The Avagliano Family

We’ve all been there before: Caught between the ambitious goal of heading to the gym and the more likely reality of vegging out on the couch while watching NCIS. And when those feelings arise, it helps to have a little push from a workout buddy.

“Encouragement and support are two big factors that can help you stay in shape,” says Anna Erik, from Tilton Fitness, where the Avaglianos work out. “You’re more likely to succeed if you have someone rooting for you and working to achieve similar goals.”

In that case, perhaps the perfect partner is the guy who’s already at home. Think about it: He’s close by, helpful, and can’t easily duck out of requests.

Use Erik’s 30-minute, total-body workout to keep you—and your spouse—in shape this season. (And ladies, go easy on him.)

Warm-up: BOSU-ball step-ups
Place a BOSU-ball on the floor at your feet. With your right foot, step on the center of the ball, then step forward with your left. Take a step back with your right foot, followed by your left. Repeat for 5 minutes.

Squat with Plank Arm Reach
Stand with both feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended in front of you, facing your partner. Slowly squat (as if you were sitting on a seat) until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Next, place your hands on the floor, and jump or walk to a plank position. Keeping your hands on the floor and arms shoulder-width apart, reach for your partner’s hands one-at-a-time. (Remember to keep your core braced and your back straight.) Jump or walk back to the plank position, and stand up. Repeat 20 times.

Cardio: 1-minute Jumping Jacks

Partner-Assisted Single Arm Chest Press: Stand facing your partner, with your right leg about one foot in front of your left. Place your palms together with your partner’s, at chest-level. One partner should push forward, while the other resists. Try this for TK seconds at a time. Repeat 20 times, then switch sides.

Cardio: 1-minute Jump Rope

Lunge with Medicine-Ball Twist: Start by standing to one side of your partner, about an arm’s length away. Hold a medicine ball in both hands next to your chest, and keep your feet at hip-width apart. As you take one step forward with your right leg, and sink down until your knee is bent at a 90-degree angle, twist your body to the right and hand the ball off to your partner. (Your left leg should come down about 1-inch above the ground and your core should be braced.) Then step forward with your left foot. Next have your partner do the lunge, twist and return the ball to you. Continue lunging, switching the ball back and forth between the two of you. Repeat for 30 times.

Cardio: 1-minute Mountain Climbers
Get on the floor in a push-up position, with your hands on the ground and arms shoulder-width apart. Keep your core braced your back in a straight line from your shoulders to feet. Bring your right knee forward to your chest, then back to the starting position. Then switch legs, bringing your left knee to your chest, and back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat 15 times.

Squat Walk with Medicine-Ball Raise:
Stand facing your partner with your feet shoulder-width apart. Holding a medicine ball with both hands in front of you, near your hips, step to the side with your right foot and descend into a squat until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. (Your partner should step out with his left foot, to mirror you.) Raise the ball to shoulder-level, keeping your core braced and your arms straight and hand it off to your partner. Stand back up, bringing your left foot closer to the right. Walk 15 steps to the right, and repeat to the left.

Cardio: 1-minute Running up and Down the Stairs

Medicine-Ball Sit-Ups:
Lie down on the floor, opposite your partner. Your knees should be bent, with the tips of your toes touching his. Holding a medicine ball at chest level and keeping your core straight, sit up and toss the ball to your partner. Lower yourself down to the starting position and rise in time for him to toss the ball back to you after he’s done a sit-up. Repeat 20 times.

 Maria Masters is the associate health editor at Family Circle.


7 Time-Saving Tips for Making Healthy, Home-Cooked Meals

Crispy Bean & Cheese Burritos

Cooking every night can be a daunting endeavor especially when you’ve been at work all day. It’s definitely one of the reasons many people resort to fast food, take-out or frozen meals. But don’t be discouraged by the clock. You can pull together a home-cooked meal in a snap. Here’s what I recommended to the Avaglianos because I know how pressed they are for time.

#1: Create a daily menu for the week.  It’s best to do this on the computer because eventually you’ll create enough menus and shopping lists that you can cut, paste, rotate and repeat the weeks instead of coming up with new ideas.

#2:  Decide who is in charge of what meal. It’s important to delegate cooking responsibilities especially if you have older children in the house.

#3: Seek out great recipes. Check out these 20-minute meals and shortcut suppers. And don’t try to make anything too complicated especially when you know you only have a short amount of time.

#4: Use your shopping list. Going to the store with a firm plan makes it so much quicker to shop. Don’t forget to double the ingredients if you want to make enough for the next night’s meal or the following day’s lunch. This will ultimately save you time and money.

#5: Stick to ingredients you need. Don’t get lured into buying what’s on sale that week or sweet treats you don’t need when you are shopping. But do leave room for healthy snacks and lots of fruit and vegetables to snack on.

#6: Prep ahead of time. If you know you need chopped onions in 3 recipes then get a bunch of them chopped on Sunday when you get back from the grocery store and keep them in a plastic container until you are ready to use them.

#7: Make it known. Print out and post the schedule and menu on the refrigerator so all family members know when it is their turn to cook dinner!

 Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.


Tiffany, Week #22: What We Usually Forget When Setting Goals

tiffany

People have asked me: “How do you do it?”  My response is: “How do you eat an elephant?” I usually get blank stares back followed by an awkward silence. Then I add: “One bite at a time.”

For me, the question isn’t “How do you do it?” but “What do you do once you’re done?” I know all too well about setting a big goal, achieving it and then finding myself in the middle of the road thinking, “Now what?” All the glory is gone and just stuck. This happened to me in a very big way last year.

Back in 2010, my good friend Jenny encouraged me to go out on a freezing cold October morning and volunteer for a marathon. My job was to take off racing chips and hand out medals to the finishers. I saw the joy and pain in the runners. I also noticed some women who I was shocked to see finishing this race. I had just started writing my own blog because this weight loss journey I’ve been on has been on track for years. So I decided shortly after the marathon I volunteered at that I was going to do a half marathon. In October 2010 I was tipping the scales somewhere on the 270 range. I’m only 5′ 3″ so all that on my frame is way too much.

In the year I trained for the race I got down to 227. In the process of training I developed what is called jumpers knee and had to cancel a lot of the races I signed up for because my sports medicine doctor was not going to let me run in the races. I was devastated and I was a crying mess but I was determined to finish the half marathon. I spent all summer in physical therapy and was released to do a run-walk routine for the half.

I completed the race and I had no other plan in front of me and just like in the past I packed the weight back on. I experienced what’s called “post race blues.” I didn’t fail, I met my goals. But where I did fall short was making a future plan. I still had all this weight to lose but no plan of how to get it off because I was tired. Training can be exhausting if you let it.

Plan for success, plan for fun, plan for work. Just like in everything if you have a plan of action, passion and a willingness to accept constructive feedback then you have no choice but to be successful. This life and my weight loss journey is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Just like being a good wife, mother and friend you have to respect, listen, seek information and be willing to do things you really don’t feel like doing but in the end you’ll look back and be so thankful for the experience.

I am so thankful for my post race blues. It taught me that how important having a plan is.

What do you need to make a plan for right now? Post a comment and tell me!


Tiffany, Week #21: Can We Have It All?

tiffany

I say YES! In this game of weight loss and living a healthy life, getting to the gym and making low-cal meals takes time. Time away from your significant other, children, housework and extended family. How do I manage all that is on my plate and still have time to work out and be healthy? In a word…Partnership.

Andy and I have partnered with one another and have unwavering support for the other in this journey. Not just with in the Family Circle challenge but in life. We realize what we have to lead and its good for Anna and Jack to see us make time to do all that we have to and maintain good health and loss the excess energy.

Weight loss success also takes commitment. You have to be so committed to your goals and really stop and think how is this going to help me in reaching the end result.

How are you willing to work on your partnerships and commitment to win at weight loss? Post a comment and tell me!


Peggy, Week #21: 10 Truths To Help You Lose Weight

peggy avagliano

So, what have we learned? If I had to make a short list of what I’m taking away from the challenge, here’s what the past (nearly) six months have taught me and my family.

Focus on three basics:

  • Exercise. Nothing else will help you fit into the jeans you want to wear. Find an activity you love. Make it easy for you to do it.
  • Drink water! Eight glasses a day. It works! You will want to eat less, and you will feel better.
  • Plan ahead. Fast food is the easy option for those who are not prepared. Be prepared, and you will eat healthier and save money!

Make smart choices:

  • Avoid buying junk food. If I buy foods that are bad for me, I will eat them. I have no willpower when it comes to chocolate. The best solution: Get rid of the junk, do not buy more and don’t make any at home.
  • Don’t have just any old dessert. I used to eat ice cream sundaes with peanut butter and hot fudge sauce. Now I have a cup of sorbet or vanilla frozen yogurt with raspberries and bananas. Make Jello and sugar free pudding with fat free milk.
  • Give in if it makes sense. If you really want something, eat it, but be conscious of the amount of food you consume. For example, if you really want an ice cram, have it. But not while you are sitting in front of the television or talking on the phone and distracted. Enjoy it. Make the calories count.

Be accountable:

  • Track your results. Use sparkpeople.com or any of the free websites on line to track your results. Buy a Fitbit or other tracking device. I loved mine, and wish I had not lost it. These devices help to make you accountable to yourself! Other websites, like Earndit.com tie into the Fitbit site and reward you with gift certificates for achieving your goals!
  • Get a buddy. Having someone to share your weight loss journey with makes it easier to stick with it.

Never, ever, ever give up:

  • If you totally blow your new diet, just start again the next day. Do not feel like you should wait to start over on Monday, since you blew it on Friday night. You’ll have a reason to not start on Monday too!

Begin right now:

  • You’ll never lose weight simply by reading about it. Start today.

What one truth of weight loss do you believe everyone needs to know? Post a comment and let me know!