This high intensity core, cardio and strength routine will keep you fit and fabulous during all your summer travels!
Some people seek spiritual guidance in a mass congregation; whether it be in a church, temple, synagogue or at home watching the Bachelorette with your homegirls.
I cross-fit. Cross-fit is my church; my spiritual salvation that keeps me mentally, physically and emotionally strong as I weather life’s challenges, including “Hurricane Hearing Loss” and the sh*tstorm that is Lyme disease. For me, it’s either cross-fit or heavy medication. And I choose the former. Most of the time.
And it’s not just me that has experienced the miraculous mental and physical transformations that take place after a sweaty workout sesh. There is actual science to back this up.
While most people hit the gym to build muscle, improve their cardiovascular health and maintain a rocking beach bod, daily exercise has also been shown to have a significant impact on your mental health. It boosts brain function (including focus and memory), reduces stress and acts like a natural Prozac by releasing dopamine or happy hormones into your bloodstream. Check me out:
While all of the aforementioned qualities are severely lacking in my teeny weeny little pygmie brain, this research article pretty much had me at “boosting brain function.” Remember that anti-drug campaign in the 80’s which utilized the cracked egg in the frying pan to represent your brain on drugs? #currentsituation
With travel schedules, kids out of school (For tips on how to survive, please see http://essentiallivingmadesimple.com/top-five-tips-for-surviving-summer-break-it-doesnt-have-to-be-instagram-worthy-to-be-memorable/ ) and 101 reasons to eat, drink and basically hold up the middle finger to all things health-related, summer acts as a huge cock block to an otherwise consistent exercise routine.
So I created a challenging, yet do-able travel workout routine that requires only 20 minutes of your time and no equipment. And with simple modifications, it can benefit all fitness levels. Most importantly, it can be done with little ankle biters at your feet.
Disclaimer: I am not a trained or licensed fitness professional. In fact, some would say that what I do on the daily would fall under the rubric of “baby crossfit.” If you are pregnant, nursing, have a heart condition or serious physical limitations (aka really old or out of shape,) please consult with a healthcare professional before performing any of the below mentioned exercises. If you experience shortness of breath, lethargy or that feeling like you may drop dead at any minute, please stop. (And that could mean that you are actually doing it right, but for purposes of this disclaimer, stop.)
Let’s get our sweat on!!
Do this series of exercises three times to jump-start your heart rate and get yourself nice and warm for the big workout. To modify, still do this series of exercises, but just for two rounds instead of three.
1. 10 JUMPING JACKS
Everyone loves a good ole’ jumping jack, but to really reap the true benefits make sure that your feet are a generous distance apart in the ending position and your hand touch above your head. (See picture below).
20 SECOND PLANK HOLD (on knees or regular)
If you have back issues or are still working on strengthening your core, you can do the plank on your knees. This is still a good core strengthener and makes your arms work as well!
2. 10 MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS
Start with one knee and opposite arm raised and then jump and switch to the opposite knee and arm. Make sure that your arm is straight up in the air during each move and try to get those knees up as high as possible. Note: I absolutely, positively, hate these things. But nothing can get my heart rate up faster than an MC. The more you do them, the easier they will get. You may go from loathe to a slight dislike.
20 SECOND PLANK HOLD
So for plank, please keep your back flat (neither rounded or arched). If you look like you’re about to do the worm, then you’re doing it wrong. In this picture, my upper back is a bit too arched and could use some flattening. And this leads to my next piece of helpful/unhelpful advice– if you have any questions as to whether your back is flat, either have someone photograph you or do your plank in front of the mirror. I used to think I was a plank ninja, but realized that there is vast room for improvement!
3. 10 SPEED SKATERS
Here you want to start as pictured and then kind of do the splits in the air and land on the opposite side. I had a heck of time capturing in motion photographs, but hopefully you get the point. To receive maximum benefit from these you want to cover as much ground as possible when switching from the left to right “skate” position AND make sure that you touch the ground each time.
20 SECOND PLANK HOLD
WORK IT OUT GIRL (5x)
This is the big event! But really it’s not because it’s only going to take you about fifteen minutes and you can do ANYTHING for fifteen minutes right?
So you are going to do the full set (5 push-ups, 10 air squats, 15 sit-ups) for a total of five rounds. If you can, try to complete this workout without stopping and instead work at a consistent pace (even if that pace is slower). If you need a break, then do it after completing each round. If five rounds seems a bit too intense, take it down to three or four rounds. Keep in mind that five rounds at a quick pace is pretty tough–I workout pretty consistently and I’m nice and sweaty and exhausted when I’m done!
So the biggest mistakes I see with regards to push-ups are “the worm” (aka dipping tummy, curved back) and “the frogger” (neck juts out and one touches their chin down to the ground without actually bending their arms). Both are extremely funny to watch, but not so great on your neck and back.
Do yourself a favor and watch the Youtube Video which illustrates everything NOT to do when performing a push-up. Prepare to die laughing.)
10 AIR SQUATS
- Stand up
- Squat down
- Stand back up
Pretty simple right? Well do enough reps and those quads will be on FIYA!
Here are some “squat-tastic” pointers:
- Your feet should be slightly turned out and knees over toes (you can also do these with feet parallel to one another, but I find this position to be hard on the knees).
- Keep your arms out in front of you as you move in and out of the squat. While tempting, resting your hands on your thighs will give you less of a workout.
- Keep your heels on the ground
- This is the best one yet! Instead of resisting, let gravity take you down and literally fall into the downward squat position. Use your leg strength to stand back up.
So it took me about ten years, but I finally learned how to do a proper sit-up–one which will allow me to work my entire core without killing my lower back. For this exercise I highly reccommend using an ab mat or a rolled up towel to prevent the inevitable rug burn that will occur when the skin on your lower back repeatedly hits the ground. And let me tell you it feels all fine and dandy until you hit the shower. This feeling is akin to child birth.
Start in the seated position with back flat and legs in the butterfly position (soles of feet touching). Then go straight back (arms overhead), touch the floor and then come back up. On your return, touch those hands to your feet as you return to the seated position.
Feels different doesn’t it?
ARE YOU SWEATING YET?
The real question is how much are you regretting the smores, Nutella sundaes, wine, beer, Zima, Boon’s Strawberry Hill, Michelob Ice, licorice ropes, Nerds, cotton candy, funnel cakes, movie popcorn, cronuts and chalupas that you had this summer? I’m in a shame spiral for sure 🙁
What are my favorite recipes, health and wellness tips and kid-friendly natural products?
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WATCH THIS! LEARN HOW NOT TO DO A PUSHUP! I WAS CRYING…