Get a Lift- Tone and Tighten Your Legs with this Stair Workout

Did you know that one of the best pieces of exercise equipment is probably already in your home or in your office building?  Your stairs can provide a simple workout, but with big results! Even if you only have a couple of steps to use, you can tone and lift you backside, get some heart healthy cardio and build strength in your legs and core in less time than it would take on a flat surface! The following workout focuses on the lower body and core and gives you an effective workout in your home with little to no equipment.

Ready for Lift-off?

After you have warmed up, you will alternate a cardio burst of running/walking 30 steps with the exercises below. Once you have completed all five exercises and cardio bursts between, you will rest and then repeat 2-3 more times.

1.       Two at a Time: Walk up the steps, two steps a time. Your goal is to take 30 steps.

2.       Step Lunges: Stand below the bottom step. With your right foot step onto the bottom step lunge down. Be sure that your back knee is under you rather than in-front. Once you have lunged down as far as 90 degrees,  press yourself up and return  your right foot back to starting position. Repeat on the left foot.  Complete 10 lunges on each leg.

3.       Squat with a Side Step-up: Stand facing the wall with your right foot on the step bottom step and your left on the floor. Squat down and as you press yourself, tap your left toes on the step next to your right foot. Then place the left foot back on the ground, squat down and repeat 20 times on each side

4.       High Knee Step-ups: Stand in a lunge position with your right foot on the bottom step and your left foot on the floor. Put your weight into your right leg and quickly lift your left knee up in front of you higher than your hips. Quickly place the left foot back behind you into a standing lunge position. Repeat 20 reps on each side.

5.       Calf Raises: Stand on the bottom step facing the stairs. Place a weight in one hand and place the other hand on the railing. Stand on the step so that your heels are hanging off the edge of the step. Once you feel a stretch in your calves, press yourself up onto your toes, then lower slowly back into the stretch. Repeat 20 times.

Form Dos and Don’ts

Do keep your weight in whichever heel is on the ground during the exercise to keep the pressure off your knees. Follow modifications online if you have knee, back or hip issues.

Don’t lock your knees out. Keep a “micro-bend” to them when coming out of a squat or lunge and when extending your leg.

Don’t slouch

Do relax your shoulders and engage your core for better back support

If you can’t complete the entire workout, even with the modifications listed at our website, don’t give up. You will get stronger. Try again next week and remember better fitness is achieved  “One Step at Time!”

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Fitness Resolution Make-over

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If your New Year’s Resolution was to work on your personal fitness, have you stuck to it over the last month? If not, you don’t have give up, and you are not a failure! You can use your experience to learn what doesn’t work for you. Next, you may need to change the way you think about your goals and how you plan to get there.  Start by focusing on what actually works for weight loss, health and fitness resolutions and how we can get that resolution to stick for a lifetime.

What doesn’t work (Not realistic) Works! (Realistic)
I am going to lose weight this year I will keep an exercise and diet journal for at least one month
I am going to exercise 6 days per week starting Jan. 1st! I am going to schedule workouts and treat them like very important appointments I must work around
I will eat healthier I will spend time each weekend preparing a meal plan and grocery list for the week.
I will not eat any carbs until I reach my goal I will focus on “clean” foods and avoid processed foods
I will lose 20lbs by Spring I will run a Half Marathon (5K, 10K, etc) this Spring
I will banish all my favorite sweets and high calories foods from my life I will allow myself to eat my favorite foods once per week.. and enjoy it!

 

I always recommend small goals at part of a much bigger plan. Decide on resolutions that promote a specific action! Instead of resolving to “lose weight,” “get fit” or “get healthier” start with the a more specific new goal such as resolving to be more committed to yourself and your goals or to be more consistent with your actions. Then define a plan that focuses on the daily actions you will need to take and new habits you will have to make to achieve your personal fitness goals!

 

Remember, creating that New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or get fit is only the first step of your commitment to improving your fitness level! Words are easy, daily actions are challenging. Buddy up with a friend or join a program to stay accountable for those actions.

Your commitment to yourself will be tested almost daily….like bad days at work, your kids’ schedule, traveling, days that are too hot, too cold, etc…  But by staying committed and consistent with your actions like the ones above, you will create lifelong habits and you may actually not need to make a personal fitness resolution ever again!

Niki  Gauthier

Owner of Niki G’s Fitness 

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Have Your Cake and Be Fit Too

Have Your Cake and Be Fit Too™

Key Ingredients to Successfully Managing your Weight

Recently I had a client ask me when she would be able to eat “normal” foods again. We had to talk about what exactly normal is, but in her mind it’s being able to eat all those yummy prepackaged foods, cakes, cookies donuts, and basically eat whatever she wanted.

That’s not normal.

Popular maybe, but not normal or natural, especially if you are trying to maintain your weight! Eating these food on a daily basis will not allow you to look and feel your best, but a little treat now and then won’t keep you from staying fit! Follow the recipe for weight loss without deprivation.

Most of my clients start one of our Boot Camps to lose weight and get fit. We first work on setting goals, committing to a regular exercise schedule, eating clean, natural foods and of course journaling our diet, exercise and any progress made.

But, what happens next? What do you do after you are comfortable with your weight? Do you stop exercising and get to eat whatever you want?

Of course not! Overall you should aim to eat as healthy as possible, mainly to stay healthy and for better energy. But those who become thin and stay thin learn about balance and know that they can enjoy their favorite foods once a while without setting themselves back.

Below are my top tips for finding balance and maintaining your weight:

  1. Work Hard So You Can Play Later. Want to keep your metabolism high and bodyfat percentage low? Want to burn calories instead of just storing them? Then you need to exercise! The three major components are Resistance Training, Aerobic Exercise or “Cardio”and stretching to maintain flexibility, reduce injury and balance out the more intense exercise.
  2. Never say “can’t.” You can eat anything you want. But you choose to eat the most natural form of your foods and correct portion sizes because you want to feel good on the inside and look great on the outside! Plan a “cheat meal” each week, have that piece of cake you’re craving without guilt!
  3. Spice it Up.Change up your exercise regularly to avoid getting stuck in a rut. Always be looking for ways to challenge yourself whether it’s using more weight, or less weight with more reps, different exercise equipment or even just the scenery! You should enjoy your exercise time. Find activities that keep you interested.
  4. Learn It, Love It Live It. Don’t obsess about your fitness program, diet or your body. Strive for a healthy balance of nutritious eating, regular exercise and even look to embrace any flaws you may have. Learn to love the lifestyle and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be fit, healthy and confident.

Managing your weight can be just as challenging as losing weight. But with a little consistency, creativity and commitment, maintaining a healthy weight and improving your fitness level can be a piece of cake!

As seen in LiveSouthNash Magazine Summer 2010

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