exercise

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.


A Simple Trick to Keep Weight Off: Weigh Yourself Regularly

weighing yourself

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know how hard it is. That’s why it’s so important to keep the excess weight from coming on in the first place. And one method for doing that is to weigh yourself regularly. I know there are lots of opinions on this with some experts saying to never weigh yourself but I think regular weigh-ins are helpful for keeping you on track.

You might think it’s better to just see how your clothes fit. If they’re getting snug, it’s time to cut back. But this doesn’t always work. Clothes stretch and people like to use the “it must have shrunk in the dryer” excuse when pants get too tight. A scale is more reliable.  And it seems to get people to take action more than the tight-clothing approach.

How often should you weigh in? Some people like to weigh themselves every day, but I think that’s a lot. And once a week weigh-ins can be misleading. For example, just one day of salty meals before a weigh-in could add on a couple pounds of excess water. So I tell people to weigh in 2-3 times a week. That way you can get an average for the week.

If you see your weight creeping up by a couple pounds, take action. Cut portions a little and bump up your activity level. These small changes can help get rid of those few extra pounds. And losing 1-2 pounds now is much easier than trying to lose 20-30 pounds later.

Through her Des Moines-based nutrition company, SK Health Communications, registered dietitian Stephanie Karpinske writes and develops recipes for magazines, books, supermarkets and food companies. She is the author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success and writes a blog about healthy eating, foodnuti.com. She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.


Challenge #6: The Grand Finale

healthy family challenge 2012

It all comes down to this. After five months, the Lehmans and Avaglianos will have to use all the skills they’ve learned before a final weigh-in. Who will come out victorious? And who will win the entire Healthy Family Challenge 2012? Check in every day as our families head toward the finish line.


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.


Peggy, Week 20: We Won A Treadmill!

Avagliano familyWhen our trainer set our goals for the gym challenge, I believed she had Bruce Lee’s philosophy in mind, “ A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often simply serves as something to aim at.”

We came back from Italy, and expected to be far worse off in the gym than we were when we left, but, to our surprise, the walking we did paid off. It was still a stretch to achieve each of our goals, but we managed to pull them off.

The gym challenge is over, and both families achieved their goals. The journey has been a struggle, but hitting our goals does have its rewards. Peter’s A1C, a test which measures how well he is doing with his diabetes, has significantly improved. Amanda is stronger and more confident. Michael is faster. We are all thinking before we eat.

Of-course, we also have the opportunity to win prizes! This time both families won. This month’s sponsor is Epic they let us choose a piece of fitness equipment. We’ll be getting the treadmill in this photo. Not bad, huh?

My entire family has been using the treadmill at the gym, so we thought this would get the most use at home. We’re looking forward to using the iFIT function. This automatically tracks how we are doing and is sort-of a virtual trainer to keep us on track with our goals even after the 6-month challenge is over!

Post a comment below and tell me about a fitness goal you’ve set for yourself!