Thursday, December 5, 2013

4-Mintue Floor Workout for Tight Buns and Core

Check out my bootie lifting and core toning workout on YouTube
Remember to "Like", "Share", and "Subscribe"!  Then stay tuned for my next video!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Learn a defense against a side wrist grab - My Nov. Fox4 Segment

Happy Thanksgiving week! Remember to give this video (and my other YouTube videos (search for the Janell Rogers channel on YouTube)) a "thumbs up" and share these with your friends and family.  Thanks!!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

9 Minute Power Cardio Kickboxing VIDEO!!!

Check out my Cardio Kickboxing power workout on YouTube!  Remember to "Like", "Share", and "Subscribe"!  Then stay tuned because there is more to come!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

10 Minute Power-Workout -- Whole Body Interval Training

Whew-wee!  Only 1 week to go until Turkey Day!  Like me, I’m sure most of you out there are trying to figure out what to cook, how many people to plan for, and how to clean, decorate and get the house ready for guests.  All good things, but all time consuming.

That’s why this week I am going to feature another short, jam-packed exercise routine.  Even though extra time is pretty slim this next week, I know you can squeeze in a few 10 minute workouts.  Luckily, this routine utilizes the interval training method so you can blast away more calories and get the most out of your training (see last week’s information on interval training).
Aim for doing this workout routine at least 3 times over the next week.  Have more than 10 minutes?  Do the routine back-to-back or add in last week’s “15 Minute Power-Workout – Whole Body Interval Training”.

10 Minute Power-Workout – Whole Body Interval Training
Note: Grab a weight for this one to kick-it-up even more
1.       High Knees Jogging In Place (quickly)

2.       Jumping Jacks (touch your hands together at the top and go wide with your legs)

3.       Jabs with Weight (30 seconds each side – fast!  Make sure to pull your arm all the way back)

4.       Squat Front Ball Kicks (squat low and kick high (get your knee up!) while holding your weight to your chest)

5.       Invisible Jump Rope

6.       Bicycle Crunches (hold your weight to your chest)

7.       Mountain Climbers (try to balance your hands on your weights)

8.       Hands and Knees Back Kick (30 seconds each side – fast!  Keep your belly pulled in, knee to chest, then press straight back through your heel)

9.       Quick Side-to-Side Step (touch your feet together and twist your arms across your body)

10.   Squats with Tricep Curl (hold your weight between your hands, behind your head – extend your hands up as your squat down low)

11.   Side Blade Kicks (30 seconds each side – fast! Keep your toes pointing to the front as you kick out, pull your leg back in to work your inner thighs)

12.   Jumping Jacks (touch your hands together at the top and go wide with your legs)

13.   Invisible Jump Rope Backwards

All bolded items are hard and fast for 1 minute (unless specified 30 seconds each side).  Push yourself and get winded; this is essential to get the full benefit of interval training.
All non-bolded items are 30 seconds and the “easy” section of the workout.  Try to relax your breathing but still keep working!  Move at a moderate pace; you should be able to talk to a friend but still be breathing a bit heavier than normal.

 Like this?  Follow me on Pinterest and pass it on to a friend!  Plus, continue to check out my blog for more great exercise moves and tips for living your best life.  Want to try out a class with Janell?  Call Kempo Fitness (913-649-4422) and reserve a free introductory lesson.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

15 Minute Power-Workout: Whole Body Interval Training

We are down to only 2 weeks before Thanksgiving festivities ensue…followed by 2 months of jam-packed schedules of get-togethers, events, and celebrations.  Although your time might be limited, continuing to workout is going to be essential to maintaining your health and fitness goals….and your sanity!

Over the last year I have continually read and heard about the benefits of interval training, giving you more results in less time (or even greater results in the same amount of workout time).  A doctor I heard of the radio the other day even said he saw comparable benefits in individuals who did 3 30-minute interval training workouts a week as those who did 5 1-hour regular workouts a week (Check out the first link below).  Luckily for my students (and all of you) this is how I have structured all of my cardio kickboxing classes!
While all of our time will be limited over the next few months, let’s use interval training to our advantage!  So let’s get started with this 15 minute power-workout routine to rev up our engines and make sure we look and feel great this holiday season!  Then, stay tuned in to Be Well With Janell because I will continue to upload new workouts, exercises, pictures, videos (yay!), and more!

Note: Want to make it a high-intensity interval training workout (HIIT)?  Use a heavy bag and weights for all the exercises below – not sure how to do these moves?  Check out my blog or call in to our dojo and we’ll get you taken care of (Kempo Fitness – 913-649-4422).

15 Minute Power-Workout: Whole Body Interval Training

1.       Jumping Jacks (30 seconds regular, 30 seconds Nordic)

2.       Jabs (1 minute each side, with fast feet)

3.       Jog with High Knees

4.       Side Blade Kick Leg Lifts (1 minute each side)

5.       Jump Rope

6.       Squat Front Ball Kicks

7.       Side Shuffle Step – fast!

8.       Backward Jump Rope

9.       Mountain Climbers

10.   Side-to-Side Step with Arm Lifts

11.   Punches – hard and fast, with squat (10 punches high, 10 in your lowest squat, repeat)

12.   Side Knees (1 minute each side)

13.   Jumping Jacks

14.   Side Shuffle Step – fast!

15.   Cool Down Jog

All bolded items are hard and fast for 1 minute (unless specified 1 minute each side).  Push yourself and get a bit winded; this is essential to get the full benefit of interval training.
All non-bolded items are 30 seconds and the “easy” section of the workout.  Try to relax your breathing but still keep working!  Move at a moderate pace; you should be able to talk to a friend but still be breathing heavier then normal.

 Check out these websites for more information on the benefits of interval trainings:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Raised Bridge - Lift Your Bootie and Tone Your Core

Happy Halloween! 

Halloween is here, marking the start of the holiday (and dare I say eating) frenzy that takes place over the next 2 months.  But, if the tempting food and jammed schedules aren’t enough, we often add the pressure of looking extra good for all the holiday pictures that will be taken.  But, never fear, I will be here to help you through it all with tips, tricks, exercises, and more to make this holiday a great one!
This week we’re going to work our core muscles, inner thighs and bootie all with one exercise… the:
Raised Bridge
(Note:  To increase the intensity of this move, add a weight) 
Begin on your back with your feet on the ground and your feet hip width apart.  If you are going to do this move without a weight, place your hands down by your sides, palms down.  Pressing your feet down into the ground, exhale while you press your bootie up toward the ceiling, holding your core muscles strong.  In this position, think of pulling your thighs into each other, keeping your knees hip width apart; this will activate your inner thigh muscles.  Press down into your floor with our feet to activate your hamstrings.  Lastly, lift your bootie up to the ceiling that little bit extra to really get your glutes working.  Inhale and release back down to your starting position. 
If you are doing this move right, you should feel your core, glutes, hamstrings, and thighs.  Go for 2-4 rounds of 15 reps.

Friday, October 4, 2013

22 Fun Things To Do This Fall and Stay Active!

Happy October!

October always brings the feel of Fall, promising perfect-weather days and crisp, refreshing nights.  It’s a time of year that beckons for long walks, time spent on the patio, and games to be played outside.  I recently saw a segment on the Fox4KC website with the title: “Do your kids suffer from nature deficiency disorder?”  Obviously, this is not a real disorder but there has definitely been a change in what children and families do for entertainment, even since I was growing up.  Even though technology is the wave of the future, spending time outside not only creates a sense of grounding but also develops a respect for where we live and the environment.  In addition, spending time outside encourages all of us to live a healthy and active lifestyle, something that is desperately needed as rates for obesity, diabetes, etc. soar in our country.
So, I implore you: Go Outside!  Play!  There is so much to do right now; here are some ideas:

22 Fun Things To Do This Fall and Stay Active

1.       Go for a walk or bike ride with your loved ones (or by yourself for some “me” time)
2.       Have fun at a pumpkin patch
3.       See if there is a Fall festival nearby you can go to
4.       Run through a corn maze
5.       Plant bulbs in your garden for pretty Spring flowers
6.       Try geocaching and find some treasures (do nearby or take have an adventure and go to a near-by state park)
7.       Put up Halloween decorations
8.       Jump in the leaves (or just run through them, enjoying their crisp, crunching sound)
9.       Play hopscotch
10.   Throw a Frisbee (you could even try a game of Frisbee golf)
11.   Build something (we are going to build a fort for my son…very exciting!)
12.   Go for a hike in nature (need ideas of where to go?  Just google search “hike (your state)”)
13.   Carve a pumpkin
14.   Rake leaves and use them to make cute (or scary) ghosts to hang in your trees
15.   Fly a kite
16.   Go to an apple orchard to pick apples and then make applesauce and caramel apples
17.   See how many colors of Fall leaves you can collect and then make “stained glass” with them (iron the leaves between two sheet of max paper)
18.   Enjoy doing an exercise circuit in the cool, brisk air (jumping jacks, squats, pushups, side knees, lunges, etc.)
19.   Play a game of touch football or a game of baseball (you can even use trees or other markers in your yard as the bases (my son and I run around the tree after he hits the ball)
20.   Get your friends and family to do a run/walk
21.   Visit the zoo (it will be less crowded)
22.   Pick out your favorite, yummy Fall fruits and vegetables at the City Market (or another farmer’s market near you)

Take some time to enjoy the beautiful weather of Fall; I promise if you go outside, and take a deep breath, you will relax and feel more grounded.  Then it’s time to go out and have some fun!

Want other ideas?  Check out these links:


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lots Fun on Fox4 News This Week! Defend against a surprise side attack

This week my time on Fox4 KC News was filled with lots of laughs; I think it's because prior to recording we were talking about how great the Renaissance Festival in Kansas City is (I love it!).  But this light-hearted mood led to a segment filled with jokes, talk of using a turkey leg as a weapon, and lots of "sound effects".  Apparently, the sounds effects were quite entertaining although I didn't even realize I was doing them!  Ha!  Fun times...

Check out this week's segment at:

Remember to click on the "Recommend" and "Share" buttons!

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Blessed Life...

My grandfather passed away this week.  Luckily, I took my kids down to see him and my grandmother last weekend so we were able to see him during his last days; something I feel very blessed for.  Seeing him in that state, and seeing my grandmother with him, has left me with a few images that will forever be imprinted in my mind.  Although his consciousness was fleeting, in the brief moments we did have, you could tell how much it meant to him to see his family and his great grandchildren.  In one moment, his reached out and held my 4 month old daughter's foot and he smiled with joy.  Another time, he just stared into my son’s eyes, almost in awe, finally saying: “he looks like you”.  And after each time we leaned over to tell him “we love you”, we got a “love you” in return.  These were some of the last words my grandfather spoke.  Wow.

But one of the images that has impacted me the most was from the last time we went in to see him.  He was not really conscious at the time so we went over to see my grandmother.  Soon after, she got up, walked over to his room (they were in a rehabilitation center together), saw his state, and just leaned over to give him a kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss on the lips; even from across the room you could feel how much she loves him; my heart ached for her.
They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this year.  Actually, both sets of my grandparents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this year.  Amazing.  I told each of them that they are an inspiration.  Although I am so saddened to think of my grandmother’s love passing on, I am moved to my core by how much they stood by each other, loving and supporting each other as one unit.
As my husband says, “that is a blessed life”.  I am reminded how important it is to tell and show your loved ones how much they mean to you.  And I am reminded how important it is to believe in them and support them. 
I think of my husband and how much we love and support each other; I would say we do an amazing job of that.  And I hope that we can be as blessed as my grandparents, with at least 70 great years together.
So, my test for my next black belt is tonight; I will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tone Your Triceps with the Tricep-Punch Combo

I’m down to a week for my next black belt test; wow.  There really is no way to cram years of training into a week of prep so all I can do now is walk through (mentally and physically) my material as much as possible and then trust in myself.  So, I have a whole week to combat any jitters that pop up with a mental pep talk of: “come on, I can do this!  I’ve got this!  I will get through it and I will do great!” etc. But to be honest, once you have the training and the practice, it’s your confidence and faith in yourself that is one of the biggest determining factors for how you will perform.

Today is a lovely dare-I-say (almost) Fall weather day.  I’m sitting here enjoying a bowl of freshly cut peaches, kiwi, and purple grapes (so sweet and satisfying who could need candy!) with a spaghetti squash in the oven to eat with my fresh picked tomato, zucchini, and pepper meat sauce.  Yum, yum, yum!  It’s an ultra healthy food day that makes me really appreciate the warm weather and the delicious foods we can grow.    I have a small garden in the back and although it’s my first year with it, and I definitely could have done a better job, there is still something so special and rewarding about going out to pick my own fruits and vegetables (especially with my son).
If you haven’t jumped into gardening, there is still time to jump in and try it out.  Broccoli and kale are two super green foods that love the cooler Fall weather.  Although we are past the prime time to plant, head to your local nursery to find matured vegetables you can still plant and harvest.  Plus, they can fill you in on what you need to do to help them thrive.  Later this Fall I will write up some of my favorite broccoli and kale recipes so we can all savor the bounty of our efforts together!  Live here in Kansas City?  I love going in to Soil Service Nursery Center on 71st and Troost; I always find them to be knowledgeable, helpful, and with quality plants.
This week we are going to focus on the arms with the:

Tricep-Punch Combo
Note:  You will want to use a hand weight to kick up the volume on this exercise.   Don’t have a hand weight?  Grab a can of soup, a bottle of water, or any other weighted item you can hold onto. 
Start in a mini lunge position with your left foot in front.  Pull your belly in, open and lift your chest, and relax your shoulders.  In addition, activate your thigh muscles and feel as though everything is pulling into your middle.  Hold the weight in your right hand and bring your hand up to your armpit (consider this your starting position).  From here, extend your hand out behind you, lifting up until your feel your tricep muscle activate; reset to your starting position.  Now punch out in front of you, pressing out with your tricep and pulling back in with your bicep.  This is one repetition.  Do 10-20 reps on each side for 2-3 rounds.
Have a great week and good luck with the veggies!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Active Breathing -- Calm the mind and center yourself

The importance of silence…

It has been quite a week, make that a month.  Like I’ve said before, I am an optimist.  An optimist and what I have dubbed: a solution finder.  Basically that means I always try to see the best in the world and when an issue comes up, rather than getting all worked up or wrapped up in drama, I simply go to finding “solutions” to take care of the issue…rework the path for merely a slight detour instead of getting stopped in a construction zone.  However, sometimes things build up so much that even my optimistic nature and solution finding abilities start to crumble a bit; I have found myself in a situation this week.
I think my limit happened last Thursday evening when we had to rush my son to the ER to get stitches.  Man, the look in his eye when they held him down to put 5 stitches between his eyes…I think that scene (and his face when he initially got hurt) will haunt me for quite awhile.  But in the end, it’s not just this one event that has taken it’s toll on me, but rather all of the recent events that seem to have put a vice on my heart and a weight on my shoulders.  So what to do…
The answer came yesterday evening when I went out to sit on my front steps for a few minutes, all by myself:  I need some time alone to just be.  Being out in nature with nothing going on around me except the wind blowing in the trees allowed me to just sit and breathe; breathe in calm and peace and exhale out the tension and stress I was holding onto.  I finally felt some of the weight being lifted off my shoulders and as though I could re-center myself.  The 5 minutes I had definitely wasn’t enough so in the evening, after my tennis lesson (I picked up tennis lessons after my daughter was born for something fun to do), I went for “a drive”.  I had the windows down and drove through all the pretty streets in my area.  No music.  No phone.  Just the gentle breeze and warm night air coming in through the windows.  And I realized here how easy it is to get caught up in the chaos of life; to always have something going on to distract us from just being, centering, and connecting with ourselves.  In this day and age we are constantly bombarded with information, noise, activity, technology, etc. that even when we have a few moments with “nothing to do” we fill it up!  But, the thing is, sometimes it’s in the simplicity of the silence that we can find peace.

This week, I encourage all of you to give yourself a few minutes to just sit and be.  Sit outside or sit inside, it really doesn’t matter (although outside adds in the meditative component of watching the breeze in the trees, the birds chirping, etc.); the key is to put away all of your distractions and just breathe.  Breathe in the silence, the calm, and all the potential life holds; and breathe out whatever is running you frazzled or weighting you down.

Active Breathing
This will be our exercise of the week.  Although it doesn't seem like much, learning how to breathe properly takes effort and dedication, just like toning your arms or your backside.  We will do this exercise standing but you can do it just as easily from a seated position. 
Start with your feet about hip width apart; roll you pelvis forward slightly feeling the lengthening in your lower back.  Pull your belly in, open and lift your chest, and relax your shoulders.  Feel your feet grounding you to the Earth and the crown of your head lifting up to the heavens.  Maintaining this position, inhale thru your nose, breathing all the way down into your lower lungs; this means your shoulders should stay stationary while your floating ribs (bottom ones) expand out.  Pause at the peak of the inhale, feeling the expansion in your body.  Now, slowly exhale from your belly, sighing out any tension or stress, centering your body and mind (your exhale should be audible).  Continue this breathing, in and out. 
Now, as you inhale, reach your arms out to the sides and up overhead, opening your chest as you go.  Again, pause at the peak of the inhale, lengthening your spine.  Exhale, slowly bringing your arms back down by your sides.  Inhale, lengthen; exhale, relax.  Repeat for 5-10 breaths.  Then, just stand or sit, continuing to fill up your body with good and center back in to yourself.  With proper breathing, you should feel at peace and yet invigorated at the end.
Cheers to all of us having a calming and centering week.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Strong Legs and Great Cardio with "Speedy Steps"

As you know, I am getting myself ready to test for my next rank in the martial arts; in it’s essence, this is a goal, just like any other you might set for yourself.  And just like all good goals, there is a deadline attached to it.  And, like all the paths taken to achieve a goal, sometimes it gets a bit bumpy.  This week, I was tired and lacking enthusiasm to workout and practice my material.  But alas, I have this big deadline looming over my head, demanding that I not give in and “rest on my laurels”.

Although it was my deadline that got me started in the workout last night, it was one of my students that helped me do just the little bit extra I talked about in my last blog.  During class we were doing the following exercise of the week.  I came up next to this student (I’ll call him “Awesome D”) and started doing it alongside him, going a bit faster than he was.  The result of this went as follows:

Awesome D: “Awe! You’re making me look bad!” (said jokingly)
Me:  “Come on!  Get it!” (chuckling along with him)
To which he responded by speeding up even faster than I was going…challenging me with a friendly:
Awesome D: “Where you at???”
This of course “forced” me to step it up and match this new, top-speed pace!  It was this friendly competition that got both of us to go that extra bit and have fun along the way. 

Sometimes it’s hard to stay on track, but having a deadline and some friendly competition might be just what you need to keep on going and get you to achieve your goal.  If you are trying to reach a goal, set a deadline; this gives you an endpoint to strive toward (when you reach your deadline, reevaluate and repeat the process).  You also want to develop a relationship with your instructors; they will help you set realistic goals and keep you accountable (at my martial arts/fitness studio we call our students when they don’t show up and follow up on their progress at least every week).  Lastly, get to know your classmates; you can razz each other, encourage each other, and overall keep the process a bit more fun.

Speedy Steps

Note:  You can use any height of step for this exercise.  (I like to use 12”-18” step.)

Start in front of the step, belly in, chest open and lifted, and head up.  Step up with your left foot, followed with your right foot; then step down with your left, followed with your right foot.  That’s it!  Go as fast as you can for 30 seconds, starting with your left; repeat on the right side for 30 seconds.  If you aren’t huffing and puffing (with your legs burning), speed it up!  If you still need more of a challenge, increase the time and the height of your step.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How to: Get-Into-Shape-Immediately

It's official. I just found out I'm testing for my 3rd degree black belt in a month.  As you know, I just had my baby girl 3 months ago so instead of excitement, I'm filled with nerves. So, I have now started the "must-get-back-into-shape-immediately" game plan. Now, here's the great thing about this plan: I'm not doing anything crazy to get back into shape. Come on, I have to be realistic!  I am still taking care of 2 kiddos all day and having to provide the exclusive sustenance for 1 of them (nursing); I have to take in enough calories and have enough energy to do both of those things. 

This is important because it makes what I'm going to do to get back into shape is something all of you can do.  Yes, we all want to look and feel great in as little time as possible, but who wants to do some crazy workout-2-hours-every-day plan to get there?  Very few people.  And you know what?  Only very, very, very few people will maintain the results they get from doing it that way; it's just not sustainable.  Instead, overall good health and fitness is something you have to work at every day and every week.  Sorry!  But, if you want (or in my case need) to step it up for a bit, you can do it by simply making the most out of the time you have to workout.

I'm going to be doing at least a little bit each day to help tone my muscles, build endurance, and remembering my material (since for me I am working toward attaining that 3rd degree).  And the times that I have a scheduled workout planned, I am going to push myself as hard as I can.  Yes, that means I expect to be dripping sweat at the end of my workouts, and to be sore, but that's what I need to do to get results.  When I do squats (or a horse stance in martial arts), I'm going to push my limits and get my legs burn.  When I punch, I'm going to punch with gusto and put my whole body into it, and when I do my "break" exercises (like jogging in place), I'm going to try and go just that little bit faster than my normal pace.  And that last bit is what is key: just do that little bit extra....that little bit more effort....that little bit lower or harder...that is what is going to get me into shape and ready for my test.

For all of you out there, if you are trying to reach a goal, start with something you can do. 
1. Give yourself an "end date" that is in the near future (for me, that's my test).  This way you know that you need to do that little bit extra for just ____ weeks; then you can re-evaluate at that time.
2. Do a little something each day to bring you closer to your goal.  It can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going up and down the stairs twice instead of once, parking farther away from the store entrance, and walking briskly. 
3. In all of your scheduled workouts, do just that little bit extra.
4. Lastly, if you really want to get in shape, you need to workout (and by workout I mean get yourself sweating) at least 3 days a week (ideally 4).

All of you can do those 4 steps, just like I am.

Only have a few minutes?  Try this quick workout to get your blood pumping and tone your body.

20 Jumping Jacks
20 sets of Front Two-Knuckle Punches
10 Squat Front-ball Kicks
5 Push-ups
15 Mountain Climbers

Repeat 2-4 more times.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fast Feet! Easy to do and great for your legs

This is a great week. It's not that anything really special has happened, it's just one of those weeks where everything seems beautiful and good: the weather (even when it's raining), my kids (even when the are crying, my hubby (even though he was out of town).  I am definitely an optimist by nature, but I still enjoy weeks like this where I seem to be able to find happiness and pleasure in everything.

My little girl just turned 3 months old (and my son 2 years old); it's amazing how fast that time has gone. I am finally feeling like my body will let me do most of my martial arts moves again so now it's just working back up my endurance and strength. The great thing is that I know I can do it (just like you can), I just have to keep working on it, one workout at a time.

This week is about your legs. I use this exercise in every class as part of our warmup (and sometimes mixed into some agility training). So get ready for:

Fast Feet
This is me, 3 months after having my beautiful baby girl

Think of this exercise as jogging in place really fast and with really small movements.  Start with your feet together, belly in, head up. For your "fast feet", stay on the balls of your feet and only lift each foot up about an inch. Bend down into your legs making sure to not lift back up as you lift your feet up (don't bounce, stay low and steady). Next, you want to make sure to not waddle from side to side as you pick up your feet; think of your upper body staying totally stationary the entire time. This will isolate into your quads, inner thighs, and hip flexors. If you don't feel in working these areas, make sure your knees are bent, you're staying low, and you're not tipping side to side; from the top up you should hardly tell that you are moving your body at all. If you are having a hard time keeping still, try doing this in front of a mirror so you can watch your shoulders and keep them flat.

That's it!  Go for at least 30 seconds - 1 minute, building up to longer. To mix it up, try going out wide with your feet, keeping your movement the same as with your feet together.

Have fun with it!  Make "smoke" come off those feet from moving so fast!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fun on Fox4 tv segment

Well, my family is having quite the week fighting a summer cold and sinus infection...not fun. But this past Sunday I had a great time on my Fox4 KC segment. It was a feisty day, getting me caught on camera still joking around with the meteorologist and anchor about the "amazing bodies" of the Kansas City Wizard players who would be modeling in an upcoming KC fashion show.  

See this fun segment at:

Remember to "recommend" it and share it with your friends!

Have a great week!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Work your Core (and Whole Body) with the Ballerina Bow!

This week I am writing with an injured pinkie finger.  The reason I mention this is not that I’m hurt, but because of how I got hurt.  As you know, I recently had a beautiful little girl (2 months ago) and I just started teaching again and doing my cardio kickboxing classes, all of which are going great.  I started back to my martial arts training this week, which also went great, until we started goofing around.  You see, I didn’t get hurt punching or kicking the heavy bag, nor did I get hurt practicing defensive maneuvers and takedowns with my fellow instructors, no, instead I jammed all the joints in my pinkie finger while goofing around. 

I mention this because we often hear “oh, I’m too old for that” when asked if they want to try martial arts or cardio kickboxing.  I think the fear of getting hurt is perpetuated by all the MMA out there and (to be honest) poor instructing.  Our students are more likely to get hurt out riding their bike, walking in their yard, shoveling the show, etc. then in our dojo.  When working out, it is important to find a place that is safe and fun, a place that will teach proper technique, make sure you are actually doing it, and then teach you how to modify as needed.  If you go to a place like this, like ours, you can do marital arts or cardio kickboxing at any age.

It’s core work this week!  So get ready for the:
Ballerina Bow

Note: If you tend to have lower back pain, try substituting this move out for the standard floor crunches.
Begin standing.  Pull your belly in to support your lower back, open and lift your chest, and relax your shoulders.  Maintaining this position, raise your arms up over head, making sure to keep them straight and extending out through your fingertips (this activates all of your arm muscles).  This is your starting position.  To do the Ballerina Bow, simply bring your right leg up as you simultaneously bring your arms down in front of you; think of high-fiving your shin.  Then return to your starting position and repeat on the other side.  That’s it!  You are doing the Ballerina Bow.  Remember to fully extend your lifting leg to activate your leg muscles; the higher you lift your leg, the more you will work your lower abdominal muscles. 
The best part about this exercise is that it will work your entire body.  After just a few of these you should start to feel your shoulders, core, and quads beginning to burn; this is a good thing!  Go for 3 1-minute rounds, making sure to keep the tempo up in order to get your heart rate up. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Backward W - Lift Your Bootie and Tone Your Hammies

Whoa.  Pushing a stroller can be a good workout!  We had our family get-together at Table Rock Lake 2 weeks ago and we had a wonderful time playing at the pool, swimming in the clear, warm lake, and strolling around Branson.  But the best workout, by far, was what I got right after we arrived.  My sister-in-law and I decided it would be fun to go for a walk while the rest of the family went shopping for groceries.  Now let me tell you, Ozark country is hilly!  I set out with my son (30 lbs) in our super Jeep All-Terrain Stroller (love those real tires but this sucker is another 30 lbs).  So, I’m pushing and pulling an additional 60 lbs up and down hills that are a 30-40% incline….wow!  Core and quad workout going down (a bit scary considering my precious cargo, I admit) and whole body workout heaving it back up.  Who knew pushing a stroller could be such a good workout!

This week is leg week.  We did a version of this exercise to work out our core (W is for Core Strength – 4/24/13); here, it will work the back of your legs and glutes.  Just make sure you keep your core strong and pulled in so that you do not strain your lower back.

Backward “W”
Begin on your hands and knees; pull your belly in to support your lower back, open your chest, and lift your head up.  Maintaining this position, straighten your right leg out behind you, extending out through your foot while tightening up all your leg muscles.  From here you are simply going to “write” a W in the air – bring your leg up crossing to the left, center, and out toward the right.  In class I simply call out: left, down; middle, down; right, down; middle, down.  Make sure to control the down to get the most out of the workout.  Since you are lifting your leg in multiple harder-directions, you will work of your leg muscles (including those-to-reach inner and outer muscles) along with your bootie and core.  Go for 5-10 reps on each side; repeat for 1-2 more rounds.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Week 5 - postpartum - journey back to great shape

Week 5.  Ah…we are almost there!  We are almost to that big milestone of being 6 weeks postpartum.  I really thought I would be back to work teaching martial arts (and cardio kickboxing) this week, after all, I went back after 4 weeks when I had my son…but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave my kiddos yet.  It really is a whole different ball game with 2 kids!  It’s interesting because on one hand, we’re less stressed because we’ve already been through this before, which has left us with an assurance that we know what to do and that we can handle it.  On the other hand, there is definitely no more napping while my little one sleeps because her older brother still is running around and needing my attention.  I’m definitely still learning how to juggle the needs of my 1 month old daughter while still playing, feeding, and snuggling with my (almost) 2 year old son.  So, even though I felt a little guilty deciding not to go back in to our work this week, I just couldn’t do it yet.  And to be honest, all the women I told I would be back after a month had this immediate response: “oh!  That’s not enough time!”…so maybe the one who needs to be easier on me is…me.  (Although I do still like to think of myself as a Super Woman).

This week, we had a lot of events for our business, Kempo Fitness (with United Studios of Self Defense).  Typically I would be working all of these events but since I am still considering myself to be on maternity leave, my wonderful husband got to hold down the fort.  That said, I really couldn’t stay away fully!!  ;)  One of the events was a local art show that we had a booth at.  Since this booth was close to our house I decided to walk down there with both kiddos.  Now, we had decided we didn’t need a double stroller, so I was left with our totally awesome Jeep stroller.  This stroller was built for off-roading, being tough and  easily maneuverable with air tires and even shocks, but it was not built for 2…until I came around.  Oh yes, I walked to our booth 4 times with my daughter safely strapped into her infant seat while my son got to ride perched on the handle bars.  Since I used 1 arm as a seat beat for my son, that left only 1 hand to actually push the stroller…now let me tell you…that is a good arm and core workout!
But since this is not the “workout” route I would recommend to all of you out there, let’s focus on another move. 

Arm Circles

This is a really easy shoulder exercise, one you can do anywhere.  You can do it standing, walking, or even jogging in place.  To get started, lift your arms out to the sides at shoulder level; extend your arms out as far as they can go to activate all of your arm, chest, and upper back muscles.  Pull your belly in to support your lower back as you open your chest and drop your shoulders.  Maintain this position throughout the exercise.

From here, simply draw circles in the air with your arms (rotate from your shoulders, not your elbows or your wrists!).  I like to go out to the sides, then up over head, and finally down in front of body for about 1 minute intervals.  Mix it up by circling forward or backward in varying circle sizes.

This is a gentle way to start toning your upper body while gently staring to exercise your core muscles.