working out

Challenge Yourself: The 3 Best Fitness Classes For Families

Let’s face it: We all have days when we just don’t feel motivated to exercise. But if everyone in the family is committed to exercising, then you’ve got motivation to show up at the gym. One way you may not have thought of to work out: Signing your brood up for a small group class. Here, some suggestions from Tilton Fitness (where kids 13 and up are allowed to break a sweat) on their best classes to try:

TRX/SPIN
What it is: In this class, you’ll use TRX straps (the popular suspension equipment designed by Navy Seals) followed by a 30-minute spin routine.
Why it’s great: You’ll get a double shot of cardio and strength training—and the bands will give you a truly great total-body workout. Plus, the exercises are easily modified. Although everyone can be doing the same movement, they can perform it at varying levels of difficulty.

TABATA FIT
What it is: Trainers will use the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) method—which is a short burst of physical activity followed by a rest period—to build muscle and boost strength.
Why it’s great: Since you go as hard as you can, you’ll rev your metabolism and burn calories long after you leave the gym. But like the TRK/SPIN class, you can easily dial down the intensity.

COMBAT BOOT CAMP
What it is: With its mixture of plyometrics, calisthenics and weight training, the popularity of boot camp classes shows no signs of slowing down. The activity is part cardio, part-strength training, and a lot of fun.
Why it’s great: You’ll build strength and hone your flexibility, but the best part of the class might come from performing the kicks, jabs, and punches themselves—how’s that for a confidence booster?


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.


Tiffany, Week 20: What We Let Slip To Stay Fit

tiffany

I’ve blogged a lot about how much I love working out. Sweaty, intense, long sessions of weights and cardio. And I bet you’re thinking, “She has to be cutting corners somewhere. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!” Well, let me tell you the #1 place that I’m not cutting corners: What we eat. Yes, it’s tough finding time to put a healthy meal on the table and manage this. The solution: Planning. You have to plan. If you don’t have a meal plan you’ll slip. We don’t work out on Sundays so that’s the day that we will cook a lot in preparation for the coming week. We eat a lot of fresh fruit, eggs, chicken, salad, and turkey. We also love quinoa, which is a great meat substitute. We eat a lot of quinoa tacos. We always have chicken cooked up so we can put it in salads or make fajitas.

So what does slip? Housework. Our house is not as organized and clean as I’d like it. But I’ve gotten over it quickly and realize that it’s never going to go away. It will always be there waiting for us. The kids, our health, our lives, etc, could be gone in a moment. So we prioritize what is most important and the rest falls into place. Really we lead a great and busy life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope I’ve given you some tips on how you too can have it all. It might take time but stay persistent and it will fall into place.

What do you push to the side to make time for fitness? Post a comment and tell me!


Tiffany, Week 19: So How Exactly Do Andy and I Both Squeeze in Workouts?

tiffany

People ask me all the time how do you make time to exercise. B.C. (Before the Challenge) I used the gym at my office. I’m blessed to have a wonderful, complete gym at my office that is staffed with great trainers, great equipment and great classes. I did go a little in the morning but my body doesn’t like to work out very hard in the morning. I need some coffee and a shower before I can work out. I know that’s crazy talk but if I don’t shower before a work out it just doesn’t feel like I’ve worked as hard.

I go a lot on my lunch hour and crank out a hard core half hour, some times 45 minutes, take a fast shower to get the sweat off or just wipe down with wet wipes, freshen the hair up and make up and go back to work. I bought a little fan to keep at my desk so I could fan myself if I’m still overheated from working out. Then I’d eat my lunch while working at my desk. When I was training for the half marathon I did a lot of running on my lunch hour and ran on the trails around my office. Now if you don’t have a gym at your office just take a walk around your building, go in a conference room on your break and do some push ups, sit ups, squats, etc. Where there is a will there is a way.

As part of this challenge we were given a membership to Gold’s Gym and access to amazing trainers. Now I train/work out with Lass at least 3 times a week. My sessions are from 5 to 6 Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Andy works with Wes 3 times a week too. The gym is on my way home from work so I just swing in and punch out an hour and head home. Andy sets his sessions so that he goes between 7 and 8pm. Andy also will work out in the morning. Nothing like working with Wes but he’ll do some to build muscle and endurance. Plus Andy walks all day everyday so he’s constantly moving.

How do you make sure to get a workout in? Post a comment and tell me!


Peggy, Week 19: Three Rules of Spin Class

peggy avagliano

It has been a few months since I started going to the gym, and I still try to go to Spin class whenever it fits into my schedule. I love the fact that Spin pushes me to work harder than I really want to. A good Spin instructor individualizes the ride for each participant. You ride together, but each person works at his or her own level.

That said, I have to admit, that I often feel like leaving soon after the class begins. Before the second song ends, I find myself out of my comfort zone. I know that if I cycling on my own, I would probably slow down; or choose an easier route. I start to look around the room. Most people are barely breaking a sweat. I need a drink.

First Rule of Spin: Bring a water bottle.
We start to our first hill. The Sunday instructor loves to ride out of the saddle. (I should note: I choose classes based on when I can go, not the instructor that teaches them.) We begin a six-minute climb. She tells us to add a ¼ or ½ turn, if we can. Sometimes I add that much; sometimes I don’t. I believe you should push yourself. Keep pedaling to the beat of the music or faster. But if you can’t keep up, take off a little resistance

Second rule of Spin: It is your ride.
Yeah! Fifteen minutes are over! One quarter of the ride is done. I can do this!

We spend the next fifteen minutes working on speed and resistance. I forgot to bring a towel. My bars are dripping with sweat.

Third rule of Spin: Bring a towel.
Half of the class is over. With the lower resistance I start to feel like I can finish the class strong, but the instructor has a long climb planned. We begin a 24-minute ride up hill. We add on four complete turns as we stand out of the saddle, and do not decrease the resistance as we sit for short intervals to take a drink.

I am getting tired, but I realize that I am able to keep up with the class. I am holding my own. Sure there are some who are faster than I am, but I am keeping up!

The hill is over. We lower resistance, cool down and stretch. Class is over; we’ve all burned over 600 calories. I head home to shower. Another good workout done!

Do you take a gym class that pushes you harder than you’d work on your own? Post a comment below and tell me about it.