Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Booty Blaster!

This week is all about toning your backside…your booty that is!  And with swimsuit season upon us, now is the perfect time to start working it out to lift it up, up, up!  This exercise is one of my all time favorites to do at the end of my leg and/or core cardio kickboxing days.  It is a move that hurts so bad yet so good that as soon as I mention it the entire class groans…but they sure do love what it’s doing for them!  So jump right in and get ready for:

The Booty Blaster!
Begin on your hands and knees with your knees under your hips.  Stagger your hands so that your right hand is in front of you and your left hand in under your left armpit; this position will help you twist your hips to get your leg up higher.  As always, pull your belly in to support your lower back, open your chest, and keep your head lifted.  Now comes the fun part.  Lift your left knee up as high as you can, trying to pull it up toward your shoulder while keeping your foot pulled in tight; you should instantly feel this in your left core and derriere (booty) muscles.  Keeping the knee in this position, you are going to extend your foot out until your leg is straight; hold for a count of 5 and then pull your foot back in.  Repeat 3 more times slow, and then go for a speed round, going as fast as you can for 30 seconds-1 minute.  Repeat on the right side.  To perk up that backside, do 2-3 rounds, alternating sides at least 3 times each week.
Remember, the key to this exercise is to keep the knee up and pulled in toward your shoulder, so don’t let that leg drop!  Feel the burn and then see the results.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Week 2 - postpartum -- journey back to excellent health

Week 2.  This was the week of submission for me.  I…am a doer.  I recently came to the realization that although I like dressing up and looking nice, I take after my roots and am a “farm girl” at heart.  Case in point, the week that I went into labor I was still teaching my cardio kickboxing classes, running everywhere with my son, hauling 30 shovelfuls of dirt across the yard and planting sod…just the type of gal I am (note:  shoveling dirt etc. is not something I recommend for pregnant women!).  So, when the delivery of my daughter went so much smoother than with my son, I figured I should be able to get right back to doing everything I would typically do…not the case.  I guess the 2 week requirement of minimal movement for new moms is needed for the body to heal on the inside, even if we feel/look okay on the outside.  Unfortunately, it took 3 hours of a level 8-9 on the pain scale (mamas out there, you know what that means) and 2 days of not being able to stand up straight to accept that I am not an exception to that 2 week rule.  Got it.  Message heard.

So alas, this was my second week of rest.  Looking forward to being about to carry my son, exercise, and feel like I can actually m.o.v.e.!
That said, baby girl is great, beautiful, and wonderful.  And my son…ah!  He is just incredible.  So loving, always trying to give his little sister hugs and kisses.

This is me holding my son while the sand for his sandbox was delievered
Goal for the next week is to start going for longer walks and to begin gentle exercises.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Nordic Jumping Jacks -- Great for the Whole Body!

This week we are doing a variation on an old classic: jumping jacks!  I love adding jumping jacks into my workout routine because they are a great way to warm up and exercise the entire body.  If you keep your arms straight, extending out, and lift your arms all the way up over head you will get an excellent arm (specifically shoulder) workout.  And, if you take long strides with your legs, you will work all the way up and down your legs.  So jump on board and start those jumping jacks!

 Nordic Jumping Jacks

 Begin standing with your hands at your sides.  As always, pull your belly in to support your lower back, lift and open your chest, and relax your shoulders.  Inhale, bringing your arms up overhead (try to touch your hands together while keeping your arms straight); at the same time, jump your left foot in front and your right foot in back.  Exhale, bringing your arms back down, jumping your left foot back and your right foot forward.  That’s it! 
There are multiple ways to add these jumping jacks into your routine.  I like using them in the beginning and in between exercises (as a “cool down”).  Here are a few options.

  •  3 rounds of 50 jumping jacks
  • 1-2 rounds of 100 jumping jacks
  • 4 rounds of 30 seconds
  • 2-3 rounds of 1 minute
  • 4 rounds of 20 jumping jacks, followed by 10 as fast as you possibly can go

Have fun!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Week 1 - postpartum -- my journey back to excellent physical fitness

A week has past since our beautiful baby girl was born.  On one hand, I can’t believe it’s already been a week since she was born, and yet, on the other hand, I cannot believe I’m holding a little human being who is 7 days old….absolutely amazing!  For her birth, I was able to have my second fully natural, drug-free delivery; something that was extremely important to me.  And although I know that all women can do this, I truly believe that my training in the martial arts (bringing  me mental and emotional focus and control) along with my continued exercise throughout my pregnancy (which kept my body fit and strong), allowed me to have the natural childbirth with more ease.  In fact, this time around, my husband, midwife, doula, and I told jokes and stories until the last critical moments; it was truly a joyous experience.
Okay, so where are we at for the first week?

Total pregnancy weight gain: 35 lbs.
Weight loss after first week: 15 lbs.

Being that new moms really aren’t supposed to do much of anything for at least the first 2 weeks postpartum (our internal bodies need time to heal), I do not have any type of exercise routine started yet.  In fact, I probably won’t have one started for until after week 6 (once my fabulous midwife gives me the a-okay).  However, as my body heals, I will be able to walk, play with my son, and move more and more…slowly strengthening my body back up.

 What I’m going to be looking for in myself during the months ahead is getting back the full-body muscle tone I had before the pregnancy.  I also will be counting down the pant sizes as my hips and body return to their pre-pregnancy state.  I know many people are all about counting the pounds, but to me, there is so much change that my body will continue to go through over the next week (hello milk!), that I think muscle tone and clothing size will be a more accurate judge of getting back to where I want to be physically (back to pre-pregnancy shape).  For those of you out there wanting to lose weight, I would encourage you to try this method as well.  Checking your weight daily can be discouraging…instead, look for a looser waist in your pants or increased definition in your arms or core; then weight in every few weeks to see where you’re at.


Until next week…

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tone the Sides of Your Legs

This is a low-impact way to tone those hard-to-reach sides of your legs. 

Side Leg Lift
Begin on the ground, rolled over to one side.  To help activate your core (side oblique muscles), prop you head up using your hand (or just prop up on one elbow).  Extend both legs out through your heels, making your legs as long as they can be; this will get all of your leg muscles (in both legs) working.  Keeping your legs strong, and your belly pulled in to support your lower back, lift your top leg up to the ceiling.  Make sure to keep your toes pointing to the side, keeping your foot parallel to the ground, to isolate the sides of your thigh.  Do 5 slow reps, followed by 15-25 fast; alternating sides; go for 3-5 rounds. 

For more information on Janell and her classes, visit:

Plus, stay tuned to: to see how she is getting back into shape after having her baby girl!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Great Arms and Legs - Plus, Baby Girl is Comin'!

We are in the final week before our baby girl is born; in fact, once this blog goes up she might already be with us.  This is a fact that I am both super excited for, and yet, a little stressed about.  I’m excited because I know that from the moment she is placed on my belly I will love her completely, thinking (knowing) that she is the most wonderful being ever.  And I can’t wait to see my husband holding our little baby girl, with love in his eyes, knowing he is totally going to be wrapped around her little tiny finger.  With big sister, I see them playing for years to come, as big sis teaches her how to do her hair and look cute while still being tough, strong, a great athlete and a seriously smart cookie.  As for our son, the awesome, super, little ninja that he is, I just hope and pray every day that they are close and that he always knows that we love and support him. 

But on the stress side, there’s just so much to do and to get done!  And how will having a baby girl affect our lives?  At work this week one of our instructors said to me “you seem stressed”.  My response was   “well, yeah, I am.  There is so much I want to happen and I only have a week left to get it all done”.  But here’s the thing with stress: it can be both good and detrimental.  It’s not good to be a wound-up ball of stress; however, if you care about something, and want to get something done, you’ve got to want it so much that you do get a little stressed about it, because that is what is going to push you to do more, strive to achieve, and get results. 
So for now, I’m going to keep plowing forward and taking what’s good, to great; because soon, very soon, it will be time to relax and focus on our family while celebrating our new, wonderful, and beautiful baby girl.

This week is Arm Week!  (With the added bonus of working your core and legs as well!)
Squat with Shoulder Press
This is one of my favorite exercises to end a class with (and yes, I still do this one, even now, very prego).

Begin with feet wide for a squat position with weights in your relaxed arms.  Pull your belly in to support your lower back, open your chest up, and relax your shoulders.  As always, maintain this position throughout the exercise.  Now it’s time to work our muscles!  Remember, as you squat down to keep your toes over your ankles to support your knees (do not let your knees come forward past your toes or buckle in).  As you squat down, curl your weights up under your chin; at the bottom of your squat, press the weights up over head.  Return to your starting position.  That’s it!  Do 3-5 rounds of 10-20 reps.


For more information on Janell and her classes, visit:

Plus, stay tuned to to see how she is getting back into shape after having her baby girl!