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.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My June Self Defense Segment for Fox4 KC News

Hi All! 

Here is my Fox4 KC self defense segment for June.

Remember to 'Like' it and 'Share' it!

I hope you all have a save and fun Forth of July!  It's great that we live in a country where we can still achieve the dreams that we work for. 

This week, have fun, play, celebrate!  Plus, take some time to look around and appreciate all that we have because we live where we do.

Happy Independence Day!!!