4 Easy Steps to Sticking to a Morning Fitness Routine

Posted by Stephanie Khan on Apr 3, 2018 12:31:32 PM

Lets face it, some days we have every intention of working out, but life somehow gets in the way. Between work deadlines, family obligations, and sick kids even the most dedicated exercisers  can get derailed. One way around this is to workout first thing in the morning. Sounds good, but getting out of a warm and cozy bed to exercise is hard! Follow these four steps to get yourself up and moving in the morning.

easy morning workout for women

unsplash-logoPhoto by:Christopher Campbell

 

START SLOWLY: Figure out how much time you will need for your workout and begin to gradually adjust your sleep schedule. Start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier and waking 15 minutes earlier. Use that extra time in the morning to do a quick yoga or stretching routine, or any other short workout. This will help you get into the habit of doing something good for your body every morning. Continue gradually adjusting your sleep schedule by 15 minutes each week until you have enough time for your full workout.


SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS: Create an environment that is conducive to exercise. Start by packing your gym bag or setting out all of your workout gear the night before and placing them by the door so you are ready to go.  If you are having a hard time resisting the snooze button put your alarm clock across the room or set multiple alarms. The goal is to make it as easy as possible to get out the door in the morning! It also helps to have a plan B in place just in case. For example, if you are planning to head out for a run but wake up to a thunderstorm, try an indoor tabata or strength workout.


GIVE YOURSELF AN OUT: Sometimes we wake up and just don’t feel like getting out of bed to exercise! When lack of motivation strikes, promise yourself you can stop after 10 minutes if you are still feeling exhausted. Chances are that once you get up and moving you will want to keep going. Even if you decide to stop, at least you have done something for 10 minutes. Even 10 minutes of exercise is better than zero!


ENLIST HELP: An early morning workout buddy can work wonders in helping you stick to a morning workout routine. We are more likely to show up if we know we have someone waiting for us! If you can’t find a friend who is willing to wake up and workout, Try signing up for a class, hiring a trainer, or posting your intentions to social media. All of these thing can help create accountability and help you to stick to your plan.

 

Article Submitted by: 

Stephanie Khan, Director of Group Exercise and Personal Training at The Women's Club

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Topics: group exercise classes for women, exercises for women, Women's Wellness, personal training, fitness for women, exercise programs for women, Strength training for women

30-minute No-Gym Body Weight Workout

Posted by Angie Quehl on Apr 17, 2014 4:38:00 PM

No Gym, No Problem!

Worried about staying on track with your fitness during Spring Break? Well fret no longer! While we firmly believe that there is no substitute for a good, old fashioned gym workout, we understand your concern so we scanned the internet for the perfect workout that needs no gym or equipment and can be done anywhere. Chock-full of body weight exercises, this little marvel will work your total body in just 30-minutes so that you can be on your way to having Spring Break fun in a jiff!

So what are you waiting for? Pull up some sand or push back that hotel room furniture and get started on these 8 fantastic body weight exercises! You will be done before you know it and right back to the fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get more  health and fitness tips at Greatist.com.

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Topics: exercises for women, exercise while travelling, Strength training for women, exercise at home

7 Things You Need to Know About Proper Squat Technique

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jan 28, 2014 12:04:00 PM

You're Doing It Wrong...Maybe

It is no secret that the squat is one of the best lower body exercises around that targets those hips, buns and thighs that are troublesome spots for many women. While this exercise for women can really help you tone and sculpt those areas, it also very easy to perform this fatburner improperly thereby diminishing the power it packs and risking injury. Fear not friends! We have put together 7 tips on proper squat technique for women to ensure that you get the most out of your squat every time.

1) Proper Squat Technique: Hip Hinge

When most people try to squat, the knees protrude far over the toes, the rear end goes straight down, and the heels come off the floor. This happens because proper squat technique requires some hip flexibility, proper balance, and a “hip hinge”. Each time you squat you should hinge your hips so that your rear end moves backwards during the downward phase of the squat, your knees will no longer protrude well over your toes (if you are tall, this may happen, but make sure it does not put pressure on your knees). Finally, the pressure of the squat will be on your heels instead of your toes and you will be able to get more depth to your squat.

2) Proper Squat Technique: Straight Head Position

One major mistake people make when they squat is rounding their necks, or looking down at the ground. The spinal alignment is automatically thrown off, which makes the squat a very dangerous exercise, especially if you are using a lot of weight. Sometimes we can pick a spot on the wall that’s in line with the eyes as I standing straight, then as you squat down, keep the eyes on that spot. The head is automatically in the correct position.

3) Proper Squat Technique: Chest Out/Shoulders Back

A key theme with the squat is to make sure your spine is in proper alignment. By keeping your shoulder back and your chest out, your lower back will most likely have the correct natural curve. If you instead round your shoulders and sink your chest in, your spinal alignment will be thrown off.

4) Proper Squat Technique: Slightly Arched Lower Back

As you can see in the picture below the bottom of the spine (known as the lumbar spine) has a slight arch. You should keep your lower back flat, to slightly arched as you squat. Hyperextending your lower back by arching too much, or rounding your back can put significant pressure on the intervertebral discs, which are soft gel like cushions that protect each vertebrae. If the disc ruptures because of too much pressure, a portion of the spinal disc pushes outside its normal boundary, which is called a herniated disc and may require surgery to repair. Not enough emphasis can be made to make sure your lower back is flat to slightly arched throughout the entire squat movement.

woman doing proper squat                 WebMD.com

5) Proper Squat Technique: Athletic Stance, Toes Pointed Out

Use an athletic stance for the squat so that your knees are slightly bent, feet are firmly planted on the ground, and toes pointed outwards slightly, which helps with stabilization. The wider you put your feet, the more it works your glutes and hamstring (back of the leg), and the easier it will be to stabilize. The closer in you put your feet, the more your quadriceps will be emphasized (the front of the leg). One common mistake when people use too much weight is that one, or both knees will cave in towards their center. Make sure to keep your knees out and choose weight that is appropriate for your level.

6) Proper Squat Technique: Exhale Up/Inhale Down

Breathing is very important for squatting in particular because it is a challenging exercise. Improper breathing can make you light headed, or nauseous, and in extreme cases, some people even black out. As you are lowering yourself, remember to take a deep breath in, then as you are pushing up, breathe out forcefully. Always keep this breathing pattern. Towards the last few reps, you may consider taking a few extra breaths at the top of the squat position as you are standing for some extra energy.

7) Proper Squat Technique: Depth of the Squat

The depth of the squat primarily depends on your hip flexibility. If your hips are very flexible, then you may be able to squat “below parallel” (hamstrings are below parallel with the floor) and if you have poor hip flexibility, then you will be “above parallel”. In general, try to shoot for your hamstrings about parallel with the floor, which deeply engages your thighs, hips, and glutes. If you can go lower than parallel that’s fine, just make sure you don’t experience any pain in your knees, or lower back, and always keep your lower back flat, to slightly arched.

A couple other tips to keep in mind is as you are practicing proper squat technique for women is to look at the profile of the squat as you are standing sideways towards the mirror. You may also consider videotaping your form as well.

 

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Adapted from an article which originally appeared on builtlean.com.
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Topics: exercises for women, leg exercises, butt toning, hip toning, Strength training for women

The Real Facts About the 7-Minute Workout

Posted by Angie Quehl on May 22, 2013 4:32:00 PM

Transform Your Body in 7 minutes? Hmmmm...

Have you heard the hype surrounding the “NEW” and "scientific" 7-Minute Workout? Wondering if this workout is for you? Is it effective, safe, really all you need to do? Let’s take a look at it!

What's it All About 

The 7-minute Workout is an example of a High Intensity Circuit Training (HICT), which involves intense bursts of exercise intervals, combined with short rest periods with the workout being completed in as little time as 7 minutes. It is certainly very convenient for the modern exerciser, who may not have extended periods of time to devote to an exercise program. IS this a new approach to exercise? No way!! Classic Calisthenics were popular and highly promoted 50 -100 years ago! The only change for modern HICT calisthenics are that the old routines done at a very fast pace with strict rules so that each type of 12 exercises is done at a very fast pace for only 30 seconds each, with 10 second rest between sets and exercise types. In about 7 minutes the entire session is finished. The old/new routine is backed up with research that shows that it generally meets guidelines for quantity and quality of exercise, made by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

How to do the 7-minute Workout

seven minute workout resized 600

 

What is Calisthenics?

Calisthenics exercises consist of a variety of simple movements, such as planks, push-ups and lunges, generally performed without equipment.‭ ‬These types of exercises are designed to increase the flexibility and strength of the muscles of the body, using movement, such as jumping, ‭ ‬bending, ‭ ‬swinging, kicking, ‭ ‬twisting or stepping and jogging on the spot.

The ACSM recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week). One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise. Gradual progression of exercise time, frequency and intensity is recommended for best adherence and least injury risk.

So What Do I Think?

So my advice, and opinion is this... I think the 7-minute workout is a good addition to a well-rounded workout plan. Would I recommend ditching everything you have been doing and doing just this workout? No. I believe that a well-rounded exercise plan includes workouts that consist of sustained aerobic conditioning, strength training AND interval training. This provides, not only a good mix of exercise, but also ensures that your workout doesn’t get boring!

 

Article submitted by:

Pennie Watson, Director of Personal Training, The Women's Club

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Topics: cardiovascular exercise, fitness tips, exercise programs for women, weight loss for women, Strength training for women

The "Two-fer" Essential Exercise for Women

Posted by Angie Quehl on Mar 22, 2013 12:40:00 PM

Let's Twist Again!

In the past we have brought you several exercises incorporating rotations of the torso and upper body. There is nothing that can help you sculpt that terrific bod better than doing these "two-for-one" moves and who doesn't want to get more bang their buck when it come to working out?! We all know the leg-toning, butt-firming lunge is a lower body exercise that is hard to beat in terms of getting rid of the dreaded jiggly bits.  Add a torso twist and you have turned this classic move into a core-targeting, side-firming power couple which is why its our pick for month's edition of Essential Exercises for Women. 

Twisting Lunges

• Stand with feet about shoulder width apart.


• Hold a medicine ball (optional) in front of you with elbows bent about 90 degrees. You may want to begin this exercise with no weight and build up your strength over time.

Twisting Lunges

• Step forward with your left foot into a lunge position. 

• Be sure to keep your knee over your left foot; don't twist at the knee.


• From your torso, twist your upper body to the left. Then, reach across your left side with your arms out-stretched.Think of pointing to the left from your belly button. 


• Maintain a slow and controlled movement throughout the exercise.


• Slowly move your arms to center and step forward with the opposite foot and twist to the other side.


• Continue the movement for about ten steps.


Complete 2 sets.

 

More Twisting Two-fers

 

 

What Can We Show You?

We love, love, love showing you moves you can use each month but we want to know what you want to see! Drop us a note in the comment section below or click to button to submit the body part(s) you need the most help with and we will share with you some ways you can target those trouble spots and get results! So what are ya waitin' for? Click. Type. Send!

 

Ask Fitness Questions Here

 

 

Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston, Director of Personal Training at The Women's Club

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Topics: exercises for women, abs exercises, butt toning, thigh toning, Strength training for women

Essential Exercises for Women: Single Arm Dumbbell Chest Press

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jan 17, 2013 2:49:00 PM

Up in Arms!

In this month's edition of Essential Exercises for Women, we highlight a variation of a traditional exercise, the dumbbell chest press. By alternating sides and adding the stability ball, this exercise becomes much more challenging! By alternating the arms, you add a new dynamic to the move where you have to engage your core to keep the body stable. When doing this version, you may need to go lighter on the weights. You might also want to try it on a bench or floor before moving on to an exercise ball.


Lie down on a bench, step, or stability ball. (If using a stability ball, be sure that your upper back and head are on the ball!) Begin with the weights in each hand straight up over the chest, palms face out.


Keep the left arm in place while bending the right elbow and lowering the arm down until it's at or just below the chest (the arm should look like a goal post).


Press the arm back up without locking the elbow, then immediately repeat the move on the left arm while keeping the right arm in place.

single arm chest press


Continue alternating sides, engaging the abs to keep the torso from moving.
Repeat for 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions on each arm.


Tips

  • Keep the abs contracted throughout the movement to protect your back.
  • Keep the motion slow and controlled -- try not to use momentum to lift the weight.
 
 
 

Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston



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Topics: exercises for women, strength training, arm exercises, fitness for women, Strength training for women

Sculpt Your Lower Body -- Stability Ball Wall Squat

Posted by Angie Quehl on Dec 18, 2012 4:05:00 PM

Up Against the Wall!

When you use a stability ball between you and a wall to perform squats, it is called a wall squat. The ball helps you maintain proper form and can be used to challenge more advanced users. Wall squats may be done with or without hand weights for added resistance. Choose a ball that is the proper diameter for your height.

What's it Workin'?

The quads (aka the front of your thighs) are the targeted muscles during this exercise but many other muscles get a workout also. The butt, hip, calf, back of thigh, low back, abs, and side abs are all used during this move. Done with or without dumbbells, you can  also throw in some bicep curls with light hand weights and now you have a full-body movement! 

How's it Done?

Step 1

Starting Position: Place a stability ball against a wall and gently lean against it, positioning the top of the ball into the small of your back, but making contact with your tailbone, low- and mid-back. Your feet should be positioned 6 - 12" out in front of your body, feet hip-width apart with toes facing forward or turned out slightly.

Step 2

Pull your shoulders blades down and back. Do not allow your low back to pull away from the ball. Gently lean into the ball, as you shift your weight into your heels. Place your hands on the front of your thighs.

Stability-ball-squat-300x213

 

Step 3

Downward Phase: Inhale. Keep the tailbone, low and mid-back against the ball as you bend your knees, and begin to lower the body. Push back with your hips, allowing them to drop under the ball. The ball will glide down the wall with you as you lower your body toward the floor. Do not move the feet. Keep your knees lined up with your 2nd toe. Continue to lower yourself until challenged or until your thighs align parallel to the floor. Hold this position briefly.

Step 4

Upward Phase: Exhale and slowly push your body up away from the floor. Extend your hips to bring them back underneath your body. Continue pushing upward, returning to your starting position.
To help develop the foundations of good squatting form, emphasize dropping your hips down and slightly under the ball, and avoiding driving your knees down and forward.

Here are even more Booty Blasting Exercises... 

 

 

 

Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston

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Topics: exercises for women, abs exercises, toning, butt toning, Strength training for women

The 5 WORST Fitness Habits on the Planet!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Nov 13, 2012 10:39:00 AM

bad fitness habits

Taking the time to examine the way you exercise can offer various differences in being safe and keeping the body well balanced along with the better results. Here are five of the worst fitness habits you need to know about in order to make sure that you are maximizing your workout and preventing injury.

1.  Holding Your Breath During an Exercise – Breathing steadily in a regular manner has a lot of advantages. For example, inhaling and exhaling properly can help you exert more energy while doing some moves. It can also aid in the balanced production of lactic acid which is necessary for muscle build-up. With proper breathing, you can have a stable heart rate. The maximum oxygen level to the blood can be well-delivered with a full breath. This in turn will bring enough energy to muscles on the move.
 
2.  Sticking With the Same Exercises – Challenge is something that your muscles need to produce better results. Your muscles will simply adjust when sticking to the same workout routine and progression will be difficult to achieve.  Simply change up your exercises every week or two by increasing weight, adding sets and repetitions, as well as adding new exercises like Zumba, yoga, etc.  This will not only prevent injury and produce better results, but will prevent boredom as well.
 
3. Fueling the Body – Properly fueling the body before and after you workout is essential for maximum results and recovery. The body needs glucose for fuel so if you are a morning exerciser, make sure you eat one hour before you exercise to give your body the energy it

give your body the fuel it needs

 requires.  If your blood sugar is low, your body ends up stealing it from your muscles. Consuming a mixture of protein and carbohydrates will be optimal for exercise performance.
Drinking a protein shake with fruit is ideal. 
A post workout meal is important for re-fueling the muscles.  Your muscles breakdown during exercise and giving your body proper nutrition after your workout is highly beneficial for muscle recovery and growth.  Try drinking a protein shake with fruit or making sure you consume both protein and carbohydrates within an hour after exercising.

4.  Bad Form – Safety is essential during your workout and the best way for you to be safe is to maintain the correct form. If you do not put serious consideration on proper movement and form then you are no longer attaining the best benefits that exercise can offer. Plus, with bad form you are adding much risk of injury. Remember, slow and controlled is best when using weights.
 
5.  Slacking off on Stretching -  After a hard workout, the last thing most people want to do is stay and stretch.  However, flexibility is very important as we age in preventing injury and maintaining health for your body.  The next time you work out simply plan ahead and allot time for stretching all major muscles including hamstrings and lower back.

So how are YOU Doing?

Do not despair if you found that you were guilty of one (or maybe even more than one) of these bad fitness habits. The key here is to make change so that you CAN get the results that you want. Instituting the help of a personal trainer and/or a nutritionist can be a tremendous help answering the "what am I doing wrong" question many of us have when if comes down to our exercise program. So dont' be afraid...go ahead and ask for help. we would love to hear the questions that you have! Drop us a note in the comment section or just click the button below and we will get to as many questions as we can.

 

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Topics: women's health, exercises for women, nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness, fitness tips, fitness for women, Strength training for women

Best Exercise to Ditch Arm Flab Forever!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Oct 5, 2012 1:15:00 PM

Train Your Tri's!

how to get rid of arm flab

If I had a dollar for every time a client has asked me how to get rid of the flabby part of the back of their arm, I would be very wealthy! While there is no easy fix, there are many fabulous exercises that target the triceps and if done correctly, bye-bye flab!

 

A little background on the triceps. They are a “small” muscle, as opposed to large
muscles like the bicep. They are easily forgotten muscles. Most people think that if they
are working their arms, such as in bicep curls, they are targeting the whole arm. Wrong!
We are targeting the main, large group and forgetting our small little triceps in the back.

Tricep Extensions are a great exercise for women that target the triceps and this variation using the stability ball adds intensity
and challenges the core!

 

How to Do It:

1. To perform a triceps extension on a stability ball, get into a bridge position on the
ball. Holding your weights close to your sides, slowly roll from a seated position
onto your back until the ball is under your head, neck and upper portion of your
shoulders. Keep your hips up by pushing through your feet and bending your
knees at a 90-degree angle. Pull in your abs to keep your back straight.


2. Fully extend your arms without locking your elbows straight up from the shoulder
point. Slowly lower the weight by bending your elbows until they are a little less
than a 90-degree bend. Fully extend your arms and repeat.

Perform 10 to 15 for general strength and stability training.


Precautions: During the exercise, don’t move your shoulders and be sure to keep
your hips up. If you are having difficulty performing this exercise on the ball, move
to the floor! 

Article Submitted by: Pennie Waston

 

Want More Arm Flab Fighting Exercises?

We would love to help you tame that arm flab as well as any of your other trouble spots! Drop us a note in the comments sections as to what area of the bod you would like to see us tackle next or if you are in the Chantilly, Herndon, Fairfax, Centreville area schedule a free consulation with one of our wellness coaches. Already a member? Stop one of our certified personal trainers and ask...we are always here to help!

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Topics: exercises for women, toning, strength training, arm exercises, Strength training for women

Essential Exercises for Women: Get Tank-Top Toned!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jul 5, 2012 11:35:00 AM

Prepare to Go Sleeveless!

As the heat wave of the summer wears on, all of us may be turning to tanks, and shoulder-baring tops to try and stay cool. For our July edition of Essential Exercises for Women we have put together a move that is sure to make your shoulders, chest and upper arms look mah-vel-ous...Michelle Obama won't have a thing on you!

Push-up/Tricep Push-up 

This multi-jointed exercise targets the chest, shoulders and tricep as well as the abs when performed in the most extended position.

1. Start on your hands and knees, fingers spread, wrists under shoulders, knees under hips. Extend one leg back to rest on your toes, then the other, forming a straight line from your heels to your shoulders. Keep the butt and ab muscles tight and the shoulders sliding down the back. Be sure the neck is in line with the spine (don't hang your head or jut your chin out.). A modified version would be to have the knees remain on the floor instead of extended out on the toes.

push up for women
2. Bending the elbows, slowly lower the body as far down as you can while maintaining proper form. Then, straightening (but not locking) the arms, come back to the starting position. Repeat to fatigue (strive for 12-15 repetitions).

tricep push up for women

Kick It Up!

For a challenge and more emphasis on the smaller tricep portion of the arm do the push-up with the elbows pointing back and close to your sides (as seen above). The triceps are a smaller muscle group so do not be surprised if this version is a little tougher.

Need Some Motivation?

How about even more of an incentive to give push-ups a try? Fact: Your shoulders and upper back tend to carry less fat than the rest of your body, so the right exercises can give this area a nearly instant makeover, says Ramona Braganza, a celebrity trainer who has worked with stars such as Anne Hathaway and Jessica Alba. 

 

Photos: Women's Health Magazine

 

Have Other Trouble Spots? We can help!

We have a full staff of personal trainers and exercise experts who are willing to answer any question you throw at us. Drop us your question in the comments section below or SUBMIT IT to us privately. 

If you are in the Chantilly, Centreville, Herndon, Fairfax area, schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with one of our fitness professionals who can help you map out a plan for success.

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Topics: exercises for women, arm exercises, fitness tips, fitness for women, Strength training for women, exercise at home

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