Three ways to tone your arms…

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to get active!  So, if you want to tone up your arms, here are three super simple moves you can do anywhere – and all you need is a resistance band…

x A

Shoulder Press – aim for 3 x sets of 10

Upright Row – aim for 3 x sets of 15

Bicep curls – aim for 3 x sets of 20

Get motivated…

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Over the years, I’ve heard every excuse in the book from friends and family members who claim they just don’t have the time or motivation to exercise.  But while it may be true that we all have different schedules and commitments – staying active is more important to our health than simply how good we look in a bikini.  In fact, exercise can literally add years to your life, not to mention prevent a whole host of chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

But despite all this, more and more of us are choosing to remain sedentary and it all seems to stem from motivation, or lack of.  Here’s how to boost yours and get active:

  • Buy yourself some new activewear – yes, it’s superficial but there is a distinct link between feeling good in what you choose to wear when you workout and actually working out.  If your activewear wardrobe consists of a pile of daggy baggy t-shirts, nobody can blame you for missing that spin class again.  Give yourself permission to splash out and buy some new activewear as even though prices of gym gear can sometimes seem absolutely ridiculous, when you break it down into cost per wear, you actually get a lot of bang for your buck.  My pick?  Nike’s new Epic Run tights.  I am a complete snob when it comes to finding the perfect pair of running tights, but these tick all the boxes – they are the perfect length and don’t bunch up mid-run, the waistband is wide and tight, so it doesn’t roll down at all, and the moisture wicking fabric is super sleek and dry.  Winner, winner!
  • Find an activity you enjoy – as a runner, I often get asked if I’m crazy!  How could I possibly enjoy running around the park for no reason?  I don’t have the perfect answer to that question, but I always say to people that running is simple – you either love it or you hate it.  Don’t force yourself to enjoy a certain activity just because your best friend or Instagram inspo says it’s fabulous.  If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it – it’s really that simple.  Keep trying new activities until you find one you enjoy.  Who knows, boxing could be your thing!
  • Lose the all or nothing attitude – if you set your alarm at 6am to go to the gym, then hit snooze, don’t berate yourself for the whole day and think you’ve ruined your efforts.  You’re doomed for failure if you start your day with that kind of mindset.  Instead, when you do finally get out of bed, pack your activewear in your bag and take it with you to work.  Better yet?  Put it on.  If you don’t have any important meetings scheduled, wearing your gym kit to work will be a constant reminder that you need to squeeze in a workout.  If you can’t be that casual, set yourself a goal of walking home, or hit the gym on your lunchbreak.  The options are endless.

x A

Why should I plank?

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that planks are one of the best moves to tone your abs, back and shoulders and build core strength.  Here are a few other reasons why you might want to give them a try…

x A

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

  • Prevent injury – unlike crunches which can be brutal on your back, when done correctly, planks engage all your deep core muscles, protecting your back and building strength.  If you plank regularly, the benefits will be far greater than a toned mid-section too, and you’ll find dynamic movements such as squats, lunges and even press ups become much easier as the muscle groups supporting your spine become stronger.
  • Boosted metabolism – planks burn more calories than other ab exercise, even concentrated ones like crunches, as they force you to lock and tighten other major muscle groups including your shoulders, abs and glutes.  Try to challenge yourself by trying to hold the position for an extra 10 seconds each time – if you plank daily, you’ll be surprised how quickly your strength improves!
  • Better posture – our posture is directly linked to our core because let me tell you, it can be tiring holding ourselves up all day.  By working on your core strength, you’ll naturally stand taller and you’ll suffer less back, neck and shoulder pain as a result.
  • Improved flexibility – you might not think a static plank position can improve your flexibility, but this simple move stretches your hamstrings, arches of your feet as well as your shoulders and collarbone.  Take this one step further by rotating into a side plank and reap the benefits of working your obliques!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

 

Three steps to toned arms…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

If the sun is shining, it’s safe to say you’ll find me taking my workout outdoors, so here are three quick moves which will tone your arms in no time…and all you need is a park bench!

x A

Tricep Dips – aim for 3 sets of 15 reps

Tricep dips

Push Ups – aim for 3 sets of 15 reps

Push Ups

Side Plank – aim for 15 reps each side, then repeat

Side plank

Shoulder press…

Shoulder press triple

Like so many women, I used to shy away from upper body exercises as I often felt frustrated by my lack of strength, but there are a few moves which helped convert my thinking and the shoulder press was definitely one of them!

Unfortunately women naturally have less upper body strength (simply because we  carry less muscle mass in our upper bodies), but this is exactly why we need to invest the time and effort in strength training.  Not only does the shoulder press strengthen and tone many of the major muscle groups, but it’s a functional movement which will help to improve your overall stability and boost your bone strength.  Win, win!

x A

Shoulder press

  • Using a resistance band, stand with your feet hip distance apart.
  • Hold one end of the band by the handle, elbow bent at shoulder height, then stand firmly on the other end to keep the band tight.
  • Keeping your back straight and core locked in, press the band overhead, extending your arm straight.
  • Then, slowly return to the starting position.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 10-15 reps each arm.

 

 

 

 

LUXE / HEALTH sprint circuit…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

People tend to shy away from sprint training thinking that its’ benefits are reserved for runners or professional athletes.  But in reality, sprints (and hill sprints in particular), are a great way to burn fat from all over your body.  Not only that, but sprint training improves your aerobic fitness far quicker than if you were to just go for a leisurely jog.

When I’m short on time or feeling uninspired, I can always find the energy to bust out a quick sprint circuit.  So, here’s how to recreate my workout for yourself…

  • Firstly, it’s vital to warm up properly, especially if you’re not a regular runner (for beginners, I’d start by running on the flat before progressing to an incline).  So to begin, go for a gentle 5-10 minute jog to make sure your legs are warmed up properly.
  • Secondly, do some dynamic stretches – walking lunges, leg swings (forward and back as well as lateral) and stretch your calves thoroughly by dropping your heel off the side of the curb.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

  • Mark out 3 distances – 25m, 50m and 75m (the distances don’t have to be precise and if you find a quiet street, just use intersections or trees as your markers to make it easier)
  • Once you’ve warmed up – sprint to the 75m mark as fast as you can, then slowly walk back down the hill to the starting position.  This is your recovery, so take your time.  Then, repeat once more.
  • Sprint to the 50m mark and again, walk slowly back to the starting position.  Repeat two more times.
  • Finally, sprint to the 25m mark and return slowly to the starting position.  Repeat five times.
  • And that’s it – you’re done!  Super simple and done and dusted in 25 minutes.

x A

 

 

Wednesday workout…

Wednesday workout

In my opinion, there is simply nothing better than taking your workout outdoors!  So grab yourself a resistance band (I use Circuband) and get moving.  I promise, these five moves will have you breaking a sweat in five minutes flat!

x A

Circuband Workout – aim for 3 sets of 15 reps for each exercise

Bicep curls

  • As you flex the bar towards you, ensure you keep yourself strong and upright.  Try not to use the momentum of rocking back and forth to lift the bar.

Bicep curls

Single arm chest press/Box punch (15 each arm)

  • This is basically a modified chest press movement and using the resistance band, you’ll feel the stretch through your shoulders, chest and upper back.

Boxing

Seated Row

  • Sit with your feet planted firmly in front of you and tilt back 45 degrees.  As you pull the band towards you, make sure you keep your back and core locked in strong, focusing on bringing your shoulder blades together.

Seated rows

Side Swipe/Static Ski

  • With this move, you want to focus on pulling the band down on each side, working your abs and building your core strength.  Once you’ve mastered this move with your legs static, feel free to add a lateral lunge (but trust me, it’s much harder than it looks!)

Ski Twists

Upright Row

  • Make sure you keep your shoulders down and back throughout the movement.

Upright row

Body weight workout…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Let’s be honest, going to the gym day in, day out can not only be monotonous and uninspiring, it can also be expensive.  While I’ve taken my workout outdoors to soak up some sunshine and fresh air, here are a few moves you can do at home using just your body weight – all you need is a chair or bench and you’re good to go!

x A

Body Weight Workout – aim for 3 sets of 15 reps for each exercise

Incline Push Ups

Push Up Sequence

Box Jumps

Box Jump Sequence

Tricep Dips

Tricep Dip Sequence

Step Ups (15 reps each leg)

Step Up Sequence

Pull Ups

Pull Up Sequence

At home workout…

Talk to any woman about what muscle groups she wants to work on and I bet you anything she’ll say her arms and back!

Unfortunately though, experts agree that spot training doesn’t work and no matter how much you exercise one muscle group, fat reduction tends to  be spread throughout the body.  BUT, another myth that is rife amongst women is that lifting weights and resistance training bulks you up.  Put simply, this is completely untrue and unless you’re striving to become a bodybuilder and lifting extremely heavy weights and eating a bodybuilder’s diet, resistance training and weights will help to keep you lean and toned.  We need to build muscle to burn fat and the only way to do this effectively is to incorporate resistance and weight training into your workouts regularly.

So, on this rainy Sydney day, here’s a move you can do in the comfort of your own home without even getting your feet wet…

x A

Seated Row 

  • Using a resistance band (I use Circuband), wrap it around a piece of furniture or to your balcony railing.
  • Sit comfortably on the floor with your feet flat and grab each end of the band in one hand.
  • Tilt back 45 degrees and lock in your core.
  • Start with your arms extended and then pull the straps back towards your chest, focusing on squeezing between your shoulder blades.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 15 reps.