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My 4 Favorite In-Home Workout Programs

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Over the years, we’ve seen quite a variety of in-home workout programs come to the market.

And I have to admit that I love the fact that there are so many different styles and available options out there.

On the flip side though, I can also imagine that things can get a bit confusing as well.

So which program is right for you?

Well, only you would know this, as you know more about you than I do.

I don’t know what your current level of fitness is, what you like and don’t like, nor do I know if you’re working with any prior or current injuries/limitations.

So what I’m going to do is share four of my favorite in-home workout programs with you and allow you to decide for yourself which one (or more) may be a good fit for your own individual needs.

The programs I am going to discuss are all different from one another and offer a variety of unique benefits. I’m sure you’ll connect with something.

Four of My Favorite In-Home Workout Programs

1 – Extreme Time Saver With Jackie Warner

The reason I like this program is because – just as it claims on the cover on the dvd, it really is like getting two workouts in one.

Extreme Time Saver is ideal for someone who wants a challenging workout in minimal time. It’s perfect for someone with a tight schedule.

The exercises in this program include multiple muscle groups and combine movements so that your entire body is fully engaged in each of the exercises.

The video below demonstrates several of the exercises you’ll find in the dvd and includes modifications.

The program is intense, so I encourage you to modify if necessary.

2 – One On One Training With Jackie Warner

Yep, this is another Jackie Warner workout. The reason I like this one is because  it’s easy to get a good 20 minute session in while focusing on one specific area of the body. You can also use the entire program at once to get a full body workout in if you desire, and if you have extra time to engage in a longer session.

There are short cardio intervals incorporated into each of the segments as well to mix things up a bit while adding some variety.

This program is less intense than Extreme Time Saver, but it’s plenty challenging, It also includes modifications if necessary.

3 – Leslie Sansone’s Walk At Home Videos

I have to admit that when it comes to Leslie Sansone’s workout videos, I don’t have a favorite for two reasons.

The first is because there are so many to choose from, it would be tough for me to have a favorite. The second is because I feel there is something of value to be gained by any one of her videos – as they all have something beneficial to offer.

I have written a post about the benefits of incorporating a walking program into your life and included one of her videos there as well.

The walk at home programs can be tailored to suit your own unique needs - and include workouts for people of all fitness levels and schedules. They can be done in the privacy of your home and regardless of weather conditions.

Whether you are looking to get a one mile fitness walk at a moderate pace, or a five mile advanced walk mixed with strength training and jogging intervals, I can assure you that you’ll find something that will work perfectly for you.

I stumbled across this video and I found it to be an honest and heartfelt review of a few of the Walk at Home programs from someone who had nothing to sell, but simply wanted to share her own experience.

And below is a video demonstrating how the program works using one of the one mile walks. I personally think it’s an excellent addition to any exercise routine as you can make this your entire fitness program or simply use it to give you a good cardio workout in between your strength training sessions.

http://youtu.be/WjduJjO1pLg

4 – Tony Horton‘s 10 Minute Trainer 

I am a huge fan of short, but effective workouts…and this is exactly what’ll you’ll get in 10 Minute Trainer.

Each 10 minute segment focuses on a specific area of the body, and the program is quite challenging. You will DEFINITELY feel as though you’ve worked hard, although you can always modify the exercises if needed.

I’m going to share a video that explains the benefits of the program and discusses the basics of how it works.

The idea is to put everything you have into these short workouts to maximize your results in little time.

This program, in addition to the rest of them shared here requires minimal equipment…which is another added bonus.

Take Your Time Before Making Any Decisions

I’ve shared several workout programs here – all of them with something to offer.

The idea is to do some additional research and see what you feel is the most relevant to your own needs, tastes and desires – and to make an objective and informed decision.

What is it that YOU need the most from a fitness program?

Do you need a low intensity workout to get started? Or would you prefer a high intensity workout in a short period of time?

Do you have any prior injuries that would benefit from a program that strengthens  the entire body with minimal to no impact on your joints?

When you are clear on what you need, you’ll make an informed and empowered decision – and this is how you’ll get the most out of your workout.

Have you tried any of the programs suggested here? Do you have any of your own to add?

Image credit goes to Walk At Home.com

How To Stay On Track If You’re Sick or Injured?

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Hey, it happens.

Sometimes we get sick or hurt and like it or not…we’re out for the count for a little while.

And even though this is inconvenient at any time…there’s no question that it definitely throws a monkey wrench into the mix when we’re trying to stick with a health and fitness program.

So how does one deal when this happens?

How do you stay on track when life knocks you down physically?

Well, I have a few suggestions.

How to Stay On Track If You’re Sick or Injured

Respect Your Current Condition and Listen to Your Body

Now this may seem obvious, but let me assure you that there are many people out there who ignore messages their bodies are giving them and instead, attempt to ‘work through the pain/ illness’.

This can (and often does) cause a relapse and prolongs the healing process.

I’m not saying that you should forgo all health and wellness activities. I’m only suggesting that you listen to your body and to respectfully work with your current condition(s).

An example of this might be that if you’re nursing a cold…it may be best to take a break from any high intensity exercises and instead, go for a walk at a slower pace outdoors if you have the energy to do so.

You’ll reap the benefits of breathing in some fresh air while moving oxygen around…but by slowing the pace, you won’t be placing any additional stress on your body as it’s trying to heal.

This is a way to do something productive in the presence of an illness while respecting your current condition and temporary limitations.

Get The Facts

Rather than leaving it to guess work, if you’re sick or injured…but still want to maintain an active lifestyle, then make it a point to specifically ask your physician about any contraindications you may have to exercise…and what’s allowed as well.

You may be surprised to find out that physical activity is encouraged, but perhaps at either a lighter intensity…or working out in alternative ways.

For instance, if you’re experiencing knee pain…then running is obviously not in your best interests regardless of how much you enjoy it.

But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

In this case…you can probably do some upper body strength training or perhaps substitute swimming for running.

Find out what you CAN do and stick with it as you heal. You’ll stay connected to the process of well-being as you respect the temporary limitations.

Hey, you never know. You may end up LOVING the substitution so much so that the injury ends up being a blessing in disguise because it ‘forced’ you to expand your horizons and try something new.

Stranger things have happened.

Make Nutrition a Top Priority

This is one of the most powerful things you can do to not only help you stay in alignment with wellness while you’re sick or injured…but it could actually speed up the healing process as well.

There is a specific mindset that goes along with intentionally eating foods that are meant to provide you with everything you need for optimal health.

And I can tell you from personal experience that if you stay in a state of mind that uses nutrition as a tool for wellness…especially in the presence of illness or injury, it makes you feel empowered and enthusiastic. 

This is a promise.

Not only do you reap the physical benefits…but the act in and of itself is a sign of self-love, self-care and self-respect. When you are down and out for any reason…what you need is someone to care for you as you recover.

And who better than you, right?

One way to do this is to make sure you have high quality foods around to help heal your body, keep your metabolism elevated and your system functioning properly.

It’s understandable if you’re unable to spend a lot of time (if any) in the kitchen preparing meals. Convenience matters here…so this is where resolve to plan ahead comes in.

A suggestion is to keep a lot of easy foods around such as nuts, sliced fruits and vegetables and things to dip them in such as hummus. Ask someone close to you to bring you some ready made meals such as salads and vegetable soups so you don’t have to wait until you’re starving to make a decision about food that may result in a choice you end up unhappy with.

Stay Positive and Focused on Healing

I know this also sounds cliche’…and believe me, I get it.

It’s really tough to stay in a positive frame of mind when you’re feeling lousy for any reason…and it’s probably that much harder if you’re bedridden.

However, this is also where free will comes in…and an opportunity to exercise it to the best of your ability.

Using my own example…I had broken my foot many years ago and I couldn’t walk, work or do much of anything else. I also lived in a townhouse at the time.

Talk about inconvenient!

And what really sucked was that I had JUST gotten myself into an active routine that included a lot of fitness walking and tennis.

I felt useless, bored and nervous. I ordered pizza almost every day and waited for the days to go by.

Then I noticed something interesting…

I realized that while I hadn’t been active…my good leg was getting stronger, as was my upper body because of having to compensate for the loss of the use of my broken foot (which was in a cast up to my knee).

I actually liked the fact that I was gaining strength in the other areas…and it inspired me to continue on with the healing process in a whole new light.

In hindsight, the whole experience taught me a valuable lesson..which was to not only be mindful of how I moved around in general (as my injury happened as a result of losing my balance during a quick change of direction while playing tennis)…but it also helped me to realize that self-pity and negativity was definitely NOT a good use of my time.

I’ll also mention that like everyone else…I too get sick (as I did last year with a ROTTEN cold).

This time, however, I followed my own advice.

I stayed hydrated, made juice using my juicer…and watched funny videos to make me laugh as often as possible.

I kept my attention focused on healing and nourishment as my body recovered from the stress it was under…and naturally, I didn’t force myself to exercise. When it was time to get back into it, I kept it light as I slowly regained strength.

Focusing on Well-Being

The energy that goes along with the subject of well-being is a positive one.

So if for any reason, you get sick or injured…the way to stay on track is to keep your attention on anything that resembles wellness on all levels.

It not only helps the healing process move along nicely, but it also keeps your attention focused in a way that won’t allow you to fall back into old patterns.

Do you have anything to add? How have you dealt with being sick or injured when you’ve been in the middle of a health and fitness program?

Why Healthy-Living is the Solution to Many of Life’s Problems

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Now I’m not sure if you’ve noticed…

…but things have gotten pretty crazy out there.

I mean, unless you’ve been living under a rock, then it’s probably safe to say that you have felt the tension in the air which results from the fact that life, as we know it, has become intense.

Between the chaos of world affairs, the rising cost(s) of living and the overall feeling that goes along with knowing that the world you once knew is just a memory, but what is yet to come is still a mystery – I would imagine we could use some sort of “pick me up” to deal with things.

And I’m not promoting the type of pick me up you’ll find in a bar, drug or any other tool used to enable you to escape the here and now either.

Nope – I’m suggesting that what will deliver strength to the weak and light to the darkness is a good old fashioned dose of well-being.

What we need right now is to be good to ourselves…and we need it more than ever. We would be wise to treat ourselves, and one another with dignity, integrity, respect and kindness whenever and however possible….and this is much easier to do when we participate in a wellness program.

Health and Wellness Inspires Positive Action

When life gets rough, it’s natural to feel a sense of disempowerment.

When things seem chaotic, or when problems arise – sometimes we can feel as though we’re sitting in the middle of a thunderstorm…wanting to take action, but not knowing what is the best way to go about it.

As a result, it’s common to ruminate in our feelings of helplessness while searching for ways to escape life rather than to face it head on.

So what’s the best way deal with adversity in a manner that inspires positive action?

Incorporate a health and wellness program into your life.

The benefits to using this approach as a response to dealing with problems are numerous. Some of them being:

  • Exercise releases stored cortisol in the body caused by stress.
  • Building physical strength also promotes mental and emotional strength.
  • Taking positive action (in the form of health and fitness) attracts additional “remedies” that can inspire solutions that weren’t obvious in a negative and limited mindset.

Exercise Releases Stored Cortisol in the Body Caused By Stress 

Stress causes the release of the hormone cortisol. In response to a real emergency (like running away from a bear), it’s beneficial and works in our favor by lowering our sensitivity to pain, increasing our energy and basically allowing us to deal with urgent issues with efficiency.

However, when we live in a chronic state of stress and therefore, produce an abundance of cortisol, it can build up and cause a lot of problems in the body. Some of the negative effects of this are a decrease in muscle tissue, impaired cognitive function and weight gain.

Exercise is a way to help release the additional cortisol being stored, therefore allowing you to implement a calm and sound state of mind when dealing with day to day issues. This is extremely beneficial when it comes to problem solving because it’s the combination of our physical, emotional, mental AND spiritual Intelligence that allows us to respond from a place of all-encompassing (and calm) knowledge and acceptance of an objective truth.

By releasing the excess cortisol through exercise, we rid ourselves of a chemical that is only designed for one specific use – which allows us to operate from a clear and deliberate state of mind and a healthy body.

Building Physical Strength Also Promotes Mental and Emotional Strength

When faced with adversity, as mentioned earlier, it’s in our nature to want to do something, and usually right away. This is because our adrenaline levels rise and we’re suddenly fueled with additional energy to put into action.

Now again, unless this is an emergency…if we aren’t using this energy, it not only accumulates and gets stored in the body, but because we’re in a panic, our fear takes over and it is from this place of emotional turmoil that we make hasty decisions in response to problems. They aren’t usually well thought out and often end up causing more damage.

However, when we exercise, we are teaching our body, and hence our entire being to respond to stress in a controlled and intentional manner.

We are putting our focus and attention into the building of our muscles, bones and joints. We are also strengthening our hearts and improving the overall function of our physical movements, in addition to our cardiovascular, neuromuscular and respiratory systems.

We are basically turning our body into a powerhouse, capable of handling ALL types of  stress with efficiency.

Because practicing focus and attention is also a mental exercise, it is accurate to say that by incorporating a physical fitness routine into our lives, we are also getting practice at exercising our minds through this level of focused attention and therefore, allowing it to spill over into our ability to emotionally respond to stress in a more constructive way.

This is always a better alternative as opposed to reacting to issues and often leads to a more permanent and well-rounded solution to any problem.

Taking Positive Action (in the form of health and wellness) Attracts Additional “Remedies” That Can Inspire Solutions That Weren’t Obvious in a Negative and Limited Mindset

In my opinion, and from personal experience, it has become apparent that whatever state of mind we spend our time in the most attracts similar patterns, people and events.

If we marinate in negativity, we are more apt to line up with additional “evidence” to support this way of being and will only serve to promote more of the same (although this does NOT mean we shouldn’t acknowledge the negative…as we must to gain clarity).

Some experts say this has to do with specific neurotransmitters that fire off in the brain and create relationships with other similar ones – which are responsible for how we perceive and experience reality.

Whatever we put our focus on expands. Careful and deliberate action creates a result that reflects more of the same. When we make choices about our nutritional habits based on a level of self-respect and care for our body and the planet as a whole, we are sending a message out to the world that we are conscious creators.

By participating in a safe and structured exercise program, we are actually declaring to ourselves, and the Universe that we care about our well-being and the well-being of life in general – and through synchronicity and the invisible field of all possibilities, we have no choice but to align with other individuals and circumstances that support the “I AM” that we are proving ourselves to be.

Everything we do is an “I AM” statement – whether spoken or unspoken.

So if in the midst of a problem, we sit around and dwell on our circumstances and treat our bodies with neglect, we are saying “I AM someone who ruminates in my own misery and I am helpless to do anything about it”.

However, if instead, we partake in a fitness walk or strength training session and then follow it up with a form of high quality nutrition, we are essentially declaring “I AM someone who cares about me, about life and I will do whatever is within my power to act from a place of personal empowerment”.

By caring enough about our well-being and the well-being of life and others, we would have no choice but to actually BE the solutions to quite a few of life’s problems.

It isn’t about vanity (although it’s a nice side effect). It’s about care.

And the state of reality, more than anything, needs people who CARE ENOUGH TO BE AS CONSCIOUS AS POSSIBLE.

How do you respond when life brings you down?

Photo image credit goes to huffingtonpost.co.uk

Chair Exercises For A Full Body Workout (Free Workout Routine Included)

Beautiful young girl doing exercises at home

Over the years, I’ve been asked several times if it were possible to get a workout in while sitting in a chair.

The reasons for this question have varied, ranging anywhere from careers that included a lot of time sitting to disabilities and injuries.

The good news is that the answer to the question is YES!

You can definitely work out while sitting in a chair. In fact, there are some excellent exercises you can do in a seated position – and I’m going to share several examples of how to do this in today’s post.

Chair Exercises

If you think it isn’t possible to get a challenging workout in from a seated position, then you’re about to find out otherwise.

Coach Nicole from Sparkpeople.com has several videos offering safe and effective chair exercises complete with warm-ups, cool-downs, stretches and modifications.

You can be creative with this, as you are only limited by your imagination. You can also add dumbbells, resistance bands or a stability ball if you have progressed to a more advanced level of fitness.

A great way to incorporate chair workouts into your routine is to consider focusing on a specific body part on different days of the week. This will allow you to get some variety in, and will help you to keep from getting bored.

An example of this would be:

  • Monday – lower body/core
  • Tuesday – cardio
  • Wednesday – upper body/core
  • Thursday – cardio
  • Friday -resistance band/stability ball

Just make sure that the chair you are using has no wheels and is secure to the ground to avoid injury.

Now that we have an idea of how this can work, let’s get to the video demonstrations.

**And as always, if you have any specific medical conditions, consult with your physician before starting any exercise programs.**

Lower Body

In this video, Coach Nicole demonstrates three lower body exercises. The idea is to challenge yourself, so if they seem too easy, then feel free to increase the number of repetitions and/or amount of sets you perform.

You can always add an additional exercise to the mix by simply getting up and sitting back down – which basically mimics the squat exercise.

Do 3-4 sets of this circuit and if time allows, move on to the core workout.

Core

The following video offers a 12 minute seated workout that focuses on the entire core (abs, obliques, hips and back).

These exercises will work to help strengthen the muscles surrounding your spine without compromising safety. Doing these movements correctly will involve a conscious effort to stabilize your spine while keeping you focused on your posture – which is something that benefits us in every activity we participate in throughout our lives.

Just remember to listen to your body. If you have any specific issues with your spine that you feel you need to be cautious of in regard to this workout, then feel free to run this by your medical professional, or skip any of the exercises that you aren’t comfortable with.

Upper Body

This next video is a nine minute upper body workout, however, you can always make this (or any of the workouts) more difficult by doing it two or three times in a row if your schedule allows.

It’s best to start with lighter weights in an effort to make sure your form is correct, and then increase the resistance if necessary. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a variety of weights around as some exercises (such as the arm circles) may be more challenging than others (like the seated rows).

Cardio

This next video is an 11 minute seated cardio workout.

What I love about Coach Nicole’s workout videos is that she explains each exercise as she demonstrates the movement in a clear and concise way.

For this workout, it’s important to pay attention to her breathing. You can see that while her respiration is a bit labored due to the increase in her heart rate, she is still able to carry on a conversation.

You’ll also notice that even though this is a seated workout, she incorporates a proper cool-down to bring the heart rate back to normal, which is a perfect example of practicing exercise safety.

Using Additional Equipment

If you decide you want to include some additional variety into your routine, you can include the use of resistance bands and a stability ball into your workouts.

This next video is a 21 minute seated resistance band workout.

I personally LOVE using resistance bands for many reasons; and I have discussed the benefits of using them here.

Just make sure that your bands are in good shape and that the resistance is something you can work with.

Seated workouts can also be performed using a stability ball.

Not only do they force you to contract your core in order to maintain proper posture while sitting on them, but they are great to use for a post workout stretch.

Here’s a video discussing the benefits of using a stability ball for a seated workout while offering some tips on how to use them effectively.

Time to Get Moving

As you can see, I wasn’t kidding when I said it was possible to exercise from a chair.

The videos I have shared with you in this post are just a few examples of what’s available in regard to seated workout programs.

I encourage you to give some of these ideas a try. If you do, I’d love to hear about your experience.

Have you ever tried doing a seated workout? Do you have any ideas or suggestions you feel like adding in the comments section?

Extreme Weight Loss – What You Need To Know

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Here’s a question…

When you turn on the television and see the world as it’s being portrayed, do you ask yourself if what you’re seeing is, in fact, true?

The reason I ask is because I have noticed that over the years, there has been quite an abundance of information that makes its way into our lives that influences our thoughts, our emotions and our overall behaviors.

And in regard to health and fitness, this is especially true when it comes to the shows that promote extreme attempts at weight loss.

Now before I go on, let me just say right up front that I am not bashing, criticizing nor bad mouthing anything.

I actually believe in freedom of speech, so these words aren’t meant to censor anyone.

My goal here is to raise awareness of how things are portrayed in an attempt to get you to think about what you’re about to do before you take action…

So before you make any decisions about how to design a weight loss program for yourself, I just want you to get a better understanding of what it means to take extreme measures when it comes to your well-being.

Extreme Weight Loss – What You Should Know

It’s easy to feel inspired when you see someone get help from a trainer or coach and undergo a substantial transformation.

You see them go from someone who hates themselves to someone who feels a tremendous sense of self-empowerment. You watch them ‘keep on keepin on’ as they work out for several hours a day while following a very strict diet.

And then you witness the reward at the end of it all as they are praised and congratulated by their friends, family, trainer(s) and the public. You see them stand in a place of immense pride and joy as they confront the image of themselves that they worked so hard to change.

Now you may be wondering where I am going with all of this…because the scenario I have just described appears to be both inspiring and desirable, right?

Right.

This is because it is meant to paint that exact picture, which will enable an emotional response from the viewer.

Now while the feeling of being inspired by positive change isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, it is still wise to understand that while ‘reality’ may look a certain way on the surface, there are things you need to be aware of when it comes to implementing any of these behaviors on your own.

Such as:

1 – There Are Teams of Medical Professionals on Staff to Handle Injuries and/or Emergencies.

As you watch people engage in strenuous physical activities, it’s important to know that these individuals have been screened and are being monitored by medical and health professionals just in case something were to go terribly wrong.

When you see someone injure themselves on television, you also see the medical staff quickly arrive on the scene. They know how to handle an emergency and are equipped to do so regardless of what it is.

However, if YOU were to overdo it and ended up with an injury, could you say the same help would be available for you when you would need it?

Probably not.

It just doesn’t happen that way in real life, especially if you are exercising on your own.

If you were to attempt to emulate any of the extreme activities you see on television in your workouts without having been initially assessed for exercise, and then properly progressed to handle something more intense and challenging – then you could be on your way to an unwanted outcome without the support of a well-qualified staff on hand to handle your situation.

So when it comes to your own fitness program, especially if you are new to exercise or have taken a hiatus, slow and steady is the best way to go if you want to lessen your chances of getting hurt, or worse.

2 – All Diets are Monitored by Qualified Nutritional Professionals.

When it comes to extreme weight loss attempts, it’s no secret that nutrition plays a huge role.

Fad dieting, calorie or food group restrictions and other means of limiting food intake are usually part of the regime when you are looking to shed pounds quickly.

But unless someone has undergone a complete analysis of how to eat properly, especially if there are food sensitivities or medical conditions present, then using extreme measures can cause a lot more harm than good.

A couple of examples of this are nutritional deficiencies and/or a decrease in your metabolism…which will only serve to help you gain the weight back quickly and then have an even more difficult time taking it off again.

When it comes to the programs you see on television, people are under the guidance of well-qualified nutrition professionals. It is under these controlled circumstances that new eating habits are implemented, and they are monitored regularly to make sure that no one gets sick or suffers from consequences of the extreme changes in their behavior.

In regard to your own nutrition, however, if you were to implement such dietary changes on your own, you could cause yourself problems, such as malnutrition, which could easily lead to other medical problems if you weren’t being properly guided by someone who knows more than you do.

So Do Extreme Weight Loss Attempts Work?

Honestly…yes. They do.

Extreme behaviors always produce an effect.

In fact, there are times when it may be necessary to implement an extreme weight loss program, depending on the situation.

However, if this were to be the case, then you can be sure that the individual who fits into this category would have to be closely monitored to make sure that everything goes smoothly and that they do not get hurt or suffer from any other unfortunate consequences.

But unless this happens to be the case for YOU, then your best bet – regardless of your initial condition -  is to practice a safe and structured health and wellness program into your life that incorporates balance and keeps the focus on an overall desire for well-being.

The message here is to use the extreme weight loss stories as a tool for inspiration and nothing more.

The idea is to implement behaviors that are best suited for your own personal circumstances in an effort to do things the right way.

Have you ever attempted any extreme weight loss behaviors? If so, what was your experience?