Category Archives: Quick Workouts

Cinco de Mayo: Will Sweat For Tacos

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Being as I am not Mexican, this is really just another excuse for me to eat tacos. I won’t lie, I’m a little bummed that it falls on Taco Tuesday…I was hoping for that extra taco day in my week.

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I thought I would put together a quick post with a Cinco de Mayo: Will Sweat For Tacos workout (because why have guilt over eating tacos?!) as well as a few simple recipes that are perfect for today or any Taco Tuesday.

Cinco De Mayo Workout
After a good workout I always like to refuel my body right. If you are a fan of Strawberry Shakeology, why not give this Mojito version a shot?

Cinco De Mayo Shakeology

Tacos and Burrito bowls are always a favorite of mine. Here are links to two recipes I’ve shared in the past that are staples in my home. They are quick, easy and full of flavor!

Slow Cooker Carnitas: These can be made with pork or beef and they’re so yummy! Click here for the recipe.

carnitas

My photo isn’t nearly as nice as the ones featured on the site where the recipe came from. One day, I’ll put more effort into food photos for these posts.


Black Bean Tacos: These may be vegetarian but they are full of flavor! You could even use this as a dip or as a taco topping…that’s how good this is. Click here for the recipe.

black bean tacos
I hope you enjoy this workout as well as the recipes I have shared. I am a total sucker for Mexican food, so if you have a simple and tasty recipe you’d like to share, please feel free to link to it below. I can always use an excuse to use up an avocado!

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May The Fourth Be With You

may_fourth_v11fin
Today is Star Wars Day and as a fan of the original three movies (I will not go into my thoughts on the newer ones, however I will say I am excited about the new installment due out this Christmas) I thought why not search Pinterest for some fun Star Wars related workouts to celebrate properly.

From workout t-shirts and mini workouts to yoga, Pinterest had it all.

May the fourth be with you check out my favorites from my search.

Star Wars Shirts

How cute are those tanks and tees?! Pinterest is full of them and I think I need to a few to my collection!

This Storm Trooper workout is guaranteed to make you sweat…but I can’t guarantee that it will help you find the droids you’re looking for or that you’ll ever hit your target by doing it. Storm Troopers just don’t have very good aim. Pew! Pew!

Star Wars Workout

 

Do or do not, there is no try. The force needs to be strong with you to complete this one, but don’t worry, there’s a level for everyone. Just don’t give up and go to the Dark Side…nothing good ever comes from that.

Star Wars Workout 2

If you’re a nerd like me and plan on watching any of the movies today, why not get off your booty and sweat a little with this Star Wars Workout Game? (Curse C3PO and his  complaining!)

Star Wars Workout 3

Have a tough day in Jedi Academy and need to unwind? Try your hand at this 20-minute Star Wars Yoga routine. It’s almost as good as a cold beer in the Mos Eisley Cantina.

No matter how you decide to celebrate Star Wars Day, just make sure you don’t skip your workout, don’t ever let me hear that you like JarJar Binks and May the Force Always Be With You.

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10 Ways Yoga Can Reduce Stress and Make You Happy

10 ways yoga can reduce stress and make you happy
I have always had a love hate relationship with yoga but there are two things I can’t deny: When I do yoga I feel less stressed and as a result, I feel more happy. There is also the realization that I lack flexibility and might be a descendant of the Tin Man’s, but that’s another topic.

Here are 10 Ways Yoga Can Reduce Stress and Make You Happy:

1. Increase Your Happiness. Yoga increases the production of serotonin (happy feelings) and decreases cortisol (stress) production. As a result, you get an extra boost of happy feelings and the stressful feelings seem to magically go away. This can help you to be a happier, healthier , more positive person.

2. Decrease Mood Swings. Yoga can help regulate hormones, lowers your blood pressure, and connect you to your emotions with heightened mindfulness. By practicing yoga you can reduce the likelihood of negative emotions sneaking up at you out of nowhere.

3. Decrease Anxiety and Stress. During yoga, you are encouraged to relax, slow your breathing, and focus on the present moment. This shifts you from the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) to the parasympathetic system (relaxation response). The result? A slower heart rate, decreased blood pressure, and lowered cortisol. (See how all three of these tie in together?) Focusing on the present moment also reduces all of the “what-if’s” that can bring on stress and anxiety.

4. Get a Better Night’s Sleep. Yoga increases the production of melatonin in the body. Melatonin helps to give you a sense of calm and well-being so when your head hits the pillow, you can drift off to dreamland.

5. Lower Your Blood Pressure. Yoga is a marriage of movement and breath. Research has proven that exercise, meditation, and breath exercises can all help lower blood pressure without medication. With yoga, you’re getting all three for the price of one…Score!

6. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone. Yoga is a great way to learn what your body is capable of. If you keep up your practice you will be amazed at what your body can do. I was always afraid of trying “Hot Yoga” but it was an amazing experience…one I need to get back to.

7. Lose Weight. You can drop pounds by practicing yoga and let’s face it, that can bring on feelings of happiness and reduce stress. Yoga regulates hormones, including the stress one called cortisol, which is the culprit behind that stubborn belly fat. It also helps you to release trapped emotions, so you are less likely to emotionally binge on a bag of chips, pint of ice-cream or other processed foods.

8. Create A-ha Moments. Yoga allows you to relax your mind. When we do this, we are able to block out all of the things we think we “need” to do. As a result, the mind quiets so that all the thoughts and creativity that are sitting on the back burners of your mind can float to the surface.

9. Learn Discipline. By starting a consistent practice, you teach yourself the art of discipline. When you map out a specific time of day for your practice, you begin to schedule your life and as a result, a lot of stress disappears because there is less “unknown” throughout your day.

10. Meet New People. Yogis can be some of the most nonjudgmental, relaxed people you can meet. They tend to take responsibility for their bodies, minds, and emotions, so it really cuts back on the drama. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is very important, especially if your goal is to reduce drama and negativity in your life.

These are just a few of the benefits that yoga has to offer and why I plan on incorporating more of it into my routine.

Want to start reducing your stress and bring on the happiness? Check out this 10 Minute Yoga for Stress video by Erin Motz (and check out her other videos on YouTube…she’s got some great ones!)

 

 

Do you have a favorite at-home yoga DVD that you use? Is there a yoga class that has changed your life? Please share with me below so I can check them out!

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Walking Dead Workout

The Walking Dead Workout
This Sunday night, the Walking Dead is back and I couldn’t be more excited!!

For those of you who don’t know I am a HUGE fan of this show. Mike and I binge watched all of the episodes during the mid-season break last year and those Governor episodes were so awesome, weren’t they? He was truly the BEST villain of the show so far.

In honor of its return, I wanted to share this Walking Dead Workout by Tony Horton featuring 6 moves to get you in epic zombie-fighting shape! It’s less than 20 minutes long, so it should be easy to fit into your day.

Now grab your weapon of choice and BRING IT!

 

 

I know Tony isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I had to laugh at the water and blood effects that they added to this video.

I hope you’ve been liking the mini-workouts I’ve been sharing. I know everyone gets bored of their routines, needs to shake things up a bit or maybe you just haven’t committed to a full workout program yet. If you like these, please comment below so I can share more of them.

Also, feel free to post your thoughts on tonight episode, I’m always up for a little Walking Dead talk!

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Bootylicious Lower Body Workout

Today’s featured workout will help you to shape and define a bootylicious booty. Our glutes and hamstring are two of the most powerful muscle groups in our body, and they are also responsible for us ladies looking good in a pair of yoga pants or skinny jeans. Shallow statement? Yes. But you know you’ve all thought it!

I’m also including a stretch video because we have to treat our muscles to a little TLC, right?!

I love working my lower body and I personally find that I see results very quickly in this area. Whenever you work your lower body, there is also a cardio effect, so don’t be alarmed if you feel your heart-rate increase.

Both of these bootylicious lower body workout videos come from Autumn Calabrese (creator of 21 Day Fix) and will help you tighten and tone your body with a few basic moves.

 

 

5 Moves for a Firm Booty:

  • Squats
  • Side Lunges
  • Leg Lifts
  • Bridges
  • Mule Kicks

I would recommend doing 3-5 rounds of this, depending on your fitness level and available time. If you’re short on time but don’t feel enough of a burn after 3 rounds, try doing them with weights to up the intensity but keep your workout time short.

 

 

Lower Body Stretches:

  • Roll Forward
  • Runners Lunge
  • Quad Stretch
  • Hamstring Stretch
  • Repeat with Roll Forward on other side
  • Cat & Cow
  • Butterfly Stretch
  • Runners Stretch
  • Twist Stretch
  • Pike Stretch

Make sure you do the stretching routine after the booty workout. Stretching is very important, especially when it comes to your lower body. If you still feel sore, check out this post I did on foam rolling. Your body will thank you!

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Quick Office Workout For Your Abs

Quick Office Workout for your abs (1)

The New Year is here, your holiday vacation is over and you are feeling motivated to stay on track with your fitness, right?!

Why not utilize some downtime at work to get a little extra movement in?

We all know we can park a little further from the entrance, take the stairs instead of the elevator and skip the fattening latte from the drive-thru on our way into work… but did you know you could work your abs with the help of your office chair?

If you’re sitting at work, have some privacy (because your coworkers may look at you like you’re crazy if they see you doing this – or then again, you may inspire them) and 5 minutes until your next meeting, or you’re waiting for a phone call, why not use that opportunity to get in a quick office workout for your abs?

Today I am sharing a workout by Autumn Calabrese (creator of the 21 Day Fix), which will show you 5 CORE MOVES you can do at your desk using only your OFFICE CHAIR!

 

 

 

 

I bet you’ll never look at your office chair the same way again, right? Even if you can’t do all of these moves at your desk, why not incorporate a few of them throughout your day to help you stay on track and reach your goals a little faster? Plus if you work from home like I do? You have no excuse to not do these moves!

If you’d like more information about Autumn’s at-home workout, The 21 Day Fix, check out this post I did last spring when I first tried it or comment below!

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Total Body Fat Burning Workout with Resistance Bands

Total Body Fat Burning workout with resistance bands
Today we are doing total body resistance exercises using a band! If you’ve ever purchased a Beachbody program, you probably have one of these laying around. If you don’t have a set, you can purchase them at Target, Walmart, your local sporting goods store. You can also pick up a door attachment for them at the same retailers.

In this video you will get 7 moves for a total body fat burning workout with resistance bands – you are going to love them, especially because you do 3 sets of them all in about 20 minutes!

 

 

7 Moves for Total Body Fat Burning:

  • Row + Squat
  • Chest Fly + Transverse Twist
  • Lat Pull + Back Lunge
  • Chest Press
  • Single Arm Row + Single Leg Squat
  • Incline Press + Curtsy
  • Sumo Squat + Switch Grip

The intensity of your workout will also depend on which color band your choose, so this workout can definitely grow with you!

I hope you are enjoying these weekly mini-workout videos. They are a great way to change things up and to ensure that you get a workout in despite a hectic schedule. Workouts like this one are also perfect to do while on vacation. The bands can easily fit into your luggage without taking up a lot of room.

Don’t worry if you can’t complete 3 rounds of this yet, you’ll work your way up to it. You could even break these up and do 1.5 rounds in the morning and 1.5 in evening until you are able to complete all 3 at one time.

Fitness is simply about moving more, challenging your body and doing more than you did yesterday.

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#PlankWithNikki Challenge

It’s the time again…

Time for me to challenge you with 30 days of something to make your body a little stronger!

Since I’ve had a good response to plank challenges in the past, I figured why not kick off the beginning of spring with one. For the next 30 days, I challenge you to follow the graphic below and do a plank-a-day, with the goal of being able to hold a 5 minute plank by day 30.

#PlankWithNikki Challenge

As you can see, I am not asking for much time per day. You can squeeze this into your day very easily, especially since most of the month only requires 2 minutes or less of your time. That doesn’t sound too bad right?

I will be posting a daily accountability post over on the Facebook Page and I invite you to check-in daily. Accountability is so important to staying on track. Plus, you just might inspire someone else to get their plank done, by posting about yours!

Use the hashtag #PlankWithNikki, especially when posting on Instagram. I love being inspired by others and would love to see what you are up to!

Questions or concerns about how to hold a proper plank pose? Check out this post from the archives or post a message to me over on the Facebook Page.

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Sneak Peak: Brett Hoebel’s 20-Minute Body Workout

Brett Hoebel 20-Minute Body Demo

Back in January, I had the opportunity to head into NYC during the Polar Vortex, to workout with Brett Hoebel, again. For those of you who remember, Brett took my FlyWheel virginity last June, so I jumped at the chance to meet him again and learn more about his new 20-Minute Body workout.

As I entered the hotel gym where the demo was taking place, I received the warmest welcome from Brett and I was shocked that he remembered me from FitblogNYC as well as FlyWheel. I may have internally fangirled for a moment, but I kept my composure and happily engaged in some fitness talk with him and the other bloggers who were there for the small session. I was surprised by how intimate the class was. I was expecting a large group, but it was only myself, two other bloggers, Brett and his fitness model doing the workout (who was such a sweet person. I truly enjoyed chatting with her after class). In all honesty that made me a bit nervous because I couldn’t hide in the back like I normally do during group fitness events….I really need to get over this phobia!

During the first few minutes of the session, Brett went over the basics of this 20-minute program and explained what we would be doing. His passion for fitness and the Brazilian art of Capoeira, which is a form of self defense based on martial arts, acrobatics, and dance, really shined through here and I found myself getting excited and nervous to give this a try. One of the things I loved about my prior class with Brett, was his selection of music and he didn’t disappoint for this workout either…the electronic dance music was playing and you could feel your energy begin to flow listening to it.

To get the blood pumping on this frigid NYC day, Brett started us off with a cardio series full of crosses, upper cuts, jab, sidekicks and some fancy footwork, which my two left feet didn’t handle too well. At the end of the cardio warm-up, Brett enthusiastically pumped us up and then bumped up the intensity for the next round. The circuit he did with us was called the “4×4” and consisted of four sets of 1 minute long, explosive isometric moves, featuring low runner’s lunge-squat combos, crossover walking planks, jump squats and of course abs. Brett increased the difficulty each round by slightly tweaking each move and added a “shake ‘n bake” shimmy with a kick, to the ab roll-ups and a mountain climber variation to the plank holds.

Don’t be fooled by the 20-minute aspect of this program….it will kick your ass, quite literally…my booty was killing me after this routine, but in a good way! The best part? All you need is 20 minutes a day, a 4 foot-by-4 foot space and your own body-weight to complete these moves.

As you know, I’ve been a big fan of these shorter workouts! They are perfect for busy mom’s, like myself and after doing programs like Focus T25 and P90X3, I can’t wait to try the full 20-Minute Body program….saving those 5-10 minutes could mean the difference between blowing drying my hair or tossing it into a pony tail before running errands!

Here is a sample of what we did (note: You may recognize Rachel from Insanity in this demo!):

You can also catch the “Fit Minute” segment, that Brett did on CBS’ The Couch, the day after I did the demo with him, by clicking HERE.

20-Minute Body is expected to be released Spring 2014 and will feature different levels of workouts depending on where you are in your fitness journey, a journal to track your progress and of course a nutrition guide.

If you are interested in learning more, why not join Brett’s 20-Minute Body Challenge? Click the graphic below to sign-up today!

20 Minute Body march2014

 

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like A #12DaysOfFitness Challenge

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for many of us…although it can also be a stress filled and indulgent time.

If you are anything like me, the tree is up, you’ve been busy shopping and cookies & holiday treats have been baking! I LOVE Christmas cookies and I especially love making them with the help of my children. The excitement, giggles and smells of cookies in the oven are what makes Christmas such a happy time to me. Despite my love of this activity, it can be a dangerous one if you eat too many cookies, grab too much fast food because you were out late shopping, or consider a Venti Peppermint Mocha Latte to be lunch, while picking up forgotten presents at the mall.

Team those things up with holiday parties, cookie swaps and family gatherings and you have the perfect storm for a caloric overload, which can result in buttons popping, lack of energy when you crash from your sugar rush and don’t forget the dreaded muffin top!

Staying active this time of year is important for our minds as well as our waistlines. Everyone needs a little time for themselves where they can unplug, clear their minds and work out a little aggression.

With this in mind, I decided it would be fun to run a #12DaysOfFitness Challenge over on the Facebook Page! The graphic below has the list of moves, as well as how many reps should be done each day. The challenge will work as a progression each day, so you will complete the activity of the day PLUS all of the prior ones…just like the Twelve Days of Christmas song. Kinda fun, right?

#12DaysofFitness

These activities shouldn’t take long to do each day and if needed you can break them up (although you’ll see better results if you can complete them as a daily circuit). Be sure to stop by the Facebook Page, click LIKE and join in on any daily questions, information or check-in’s that will be provided.

I hope you find a little time for yourselves this holiday season to keep up the progress you’ve made, or to get a jump start on your New Years resolutions!

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