workouts

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 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.


Andy, Week 18: The #1 Workout Lesson I Learned

andy

You don’t need an hour-long cardio session to get fit.

That’s the biggest lesson Wes, my trainer at Gold’s Gym, has taught me. Twenty minutes of intense cardio bursts is just as good if not better since I’m shocking my body and forcing it to respond. On days I don’t do the cardio conditioning, I do weight training.

Wes has taught me four basic, strength-training exercises and twenty variations on them. Those basic movements are: the squat, bench press, overhead press and dead lift. If you can’t remember the last time you did any of those moves, it’s time to rethink your workout.

Worried that weight work will take longer than watching the counter tick down on the treadmill or elliptical trainer? Surprise: Weight training doesn’t require hours in the gym. An intense, half-hour is all that is needed. But you have to be fully present during your workout—no zoning out while watching TV on the stationary bike. The main focus is on correct form and intensity. It’s not how much you do, it’s what you do that matters.

Tiffany and I love our new, fit life and will not go back to our old ways. Sure, we’ll slip up now and then. We’re only human. But we are so aware of what our bodies need in order to thrive at peak performance and loving how good we feel, there’s not turning back.

Could you trade your straight cardio workout for conditioning? Post a comment and tell me!


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.