challenge yourself

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.


Challenge Yourself: Get Fit!

Walking

For Challenge #5, the Lehmans andAvaglianos were challenged to hit a number of fitness goals. Both teams did such a great job that they were all declared winners! If you’re looking to continue your get-healthy journey and follow our families’ leads, read on for expert tips:

Foolproof Motivators 
Never miss another workout again, thanks to these inspiring tips from Tanya Jolliffe, healthy eating expert and community moderator for SparkPeople.com.

1. Forget the Scale. Judge your progress by creating fitness mini-goals: holding a plank for a minute, doing 10 boy-style push-ups, running a mile in 10 minutes. “It puts a purpose behind your routine that energizes,” says Jolliffe.

2. Make It a Date Night. Ditch dinner and drinks with your hubby for an evening of dancing or an afternoon of hiking.

3. Do It First Thing. Checking a workout off your list in the morning could improve your mood, make you more productive at work, inspire you to eat healthier and help you sleep better.

4. Find a Cause. Walk a 5K for an MS charity or do a bikeathon to raise money for cancer research. It’ll strengthen your commitment to exercise, says Jolliffe.

Eat to Win
Reaping results from your fitness regime requires paying close attention to your hand-to-mouth action.

Hold back on extra helpings. “A lot of people believe they can eat more if they exercise,” says Elizabeth Fassberg, the Avaglianos’ nutritionist. “But exercise is not a free pass to overindulge at meals.”

Practice portion control. “Vacations and holidays don’t mean you have to put on weight. I told the Avaglianos they could taste everything while they were in Italy–just don’t finish it,” says Elizabeth. And if you have one big meal, make sure your others incorporate extra fruits and vegetables.”

Pump up the protein. “I encouraged the Lehmans to include protein, such as lean meats, dairy and beans, in all meals and snacks,” says Stephanie Karpinske, the Lehmans’ nutritionist. It helps repair the body, especially muscle tissue, after intense workouts. “Protein also helps fight hunger, may reduce carb cravings and has fewer calories than fat,” explains Stephanie.

How do you stay motivated? Share your tips in the comments below.


Challenge Yourself: Get Healthy Today

Walking

This week, Peggy invited you to get healthy, too. She never expected to be chosen for the Healthy Family Challenge, but now that she is, she and her family have changed their eating habits, started exercising and lost weight.

You can do the same at home. Throughout the challenge, we’ve given you many ways to challenge yourself and eat better, drink more water, exercise and get more sleep. You can also use the tips from Elizabeth and Stephanie, our fabulous nutritionists.

If you haven’t been, check out the links and make a few small changes. You’ll see results soon–and be on your way to a happier, healthier life.

What motivated you to get healthy? Share in the comments below.


Challenge Yourself: Order Healthier Fast Food

KFC Smart Swap

This week, our Healthy Family Challenge nutritionists. Elizabeth and Stephanie, have shared a lot of advice for making healthier food choices on the go. This is so important when it comes to losing weight. You’re never going to eat every meal at home, so you need to choose better options when you’re grabbing a quick bite.

Often, we end up at fast food places. And while those menus include lots of calorie-laden choices, there are also better-for-you options. See what they are:

Smart Swaps: Healthy Fast-Food Choices

20 Healthy Fast-Food Meals

What’s your favorite healthy fast food meal? Share in the comments below.


Challenge Yourself: 5 Calorie-Burning Strengthening Moves

Plank

In her post today, Tiffany noted that strength training is just as important as cardio when it comes to losing weight and getting in shape. The reason? As your muscles recover, you’ll continue to burn calories.

For best results, follow Tiffany’s lead and do both strength training and cardio in every workout. Here’s how to squeeze in five easy strengthening moves in just 10 minutes.

What’s your favorite strength/cardio combo? Share in the comments below.