Tag Archives: workout

Easy Workouts That Can Be Done on Your Lunch Break

Easy workouts that can be done on your lunch break. Finding the time to workout can be one of the biggest, if not the biggest hurdle for people when it comes to establishing a consistent exercise regimen. We are all busy and stretched thin for time. As women especially, our time and energy are pulled in every which direction- home, work, kids, community/volunteer service, church, friends, etc. 

One key to maintaining a consistent workout regimen is to get creative with your time management. No need to work out for an hour when you can get just as effective of a workout in in 20-30 minutes! This is one of the main reasons I am a fan of HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. They are short but highly effective! 

Utilizing your lunch break to get in a quick yet effective workout or movement is one way to get creative with your time, especially if you are short on it. If you are working from home, this is even better because you likely won’t need to shower afterwards and can jump right back into work. If you don’t typically take a formal lunch break, I’d urge you to consider blocking your schedule for 30 minutes to invest in yourself and your health and take a much-deserved break in the middle of the day. It’s a great way to reset and be sure you are coming back to work for the second half of the day refreshed, mentally and physically, and able to give your very best to your work. 

Here are 3 easy workouts that can be done on your lunch break! 

*HIIT Workout– Like I said above, 20 minutes of high intensity interval training is enough to get your heart rate elevated and your heart pumping for an effective workout. And the great thing is you don’t need any equipment; there is SO much you can do with just your body weight and by doing plyometric type moves (think jumping type exercises). I like to use the Tabata timer app for my HIIT workouts when I am crunched on time because you can do as many rounds as you have time for and each round is 4 minutes. I typically will do 1-2 exercises per round (each round is 8 times through of 20 seconds of work with a 10 second rest to make up the 4 minutes). The key is to do as much heart pumping work as you can do in 20-30 minutes with little to no breaks. 

*Walking– A simple walk can go a long way! Walking is SO beneficial for our health. Get outside and go for a quick 20-30 minute walk or walk around your building if it’s inclement weather outside. I think sometimes we don’t give walking enough credit, but it is a very effective form of exercise for heart health, hormone health, and overall wellness. Walking is a great lunch time option because you can get fresh air, vitamin D, and move your body, plus you won’t get too sweaty If you need to return to the office.

*Core Workout– This is a great option for a lunch time workout because you won’t get very sweaty. Working our deep core muscles is SO important for improving our overall strength, helping with our posture, and enhancing our other workouts because a strong core is vital for proper form. Working on our core strength and pelvic floor strength is low impact but certainly not a waste of your time and effort. Increasing core and pelvic floor strength can help if you suffer from back pain, incontinence, or if you are trying to heal diastasis recti postpartum. 

 

Give your lunch time a makeover and use that time to your advantage to squeeze in some movement that will give you a boost of energy for the rest of the day, help you progress in your health/fitness goals, and allow you to spend your after work time doing the other things you need to get done.

 

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

Benefits Of Strength Training For Women

Benefits of Strength Training for Women

When I was in college, exercising for me looked like jumping on the elliptical or treadmill and doing steady state cardio for 30-45 minutes and calling it a day. Don’t get me wrong, steady state cardio like this is really beneficial for our heart health and cardiovascular system, however it should not be the only means of exercise. For a long time women thought they could just run or do the elliptical to lose weight and get in shape. That may work for a season but eventually you will hit a plateau and your body will stop responding to that type of exercise. 

One of my favorite ways to exercise and truly continue to challenge the body is through strength training. Thankfully there are a lot more resources out there now for women to help them in strength training. In fact, I myself created a helpful tool to teach women how to become their own personal trainers and implement effective workouts, mainly strength training. You can find out more about my Whole Body Fitness Planner at homebodysoul.lpages.co/wbfplanner. 

Strength training and lifting weights is a great way to transform your body composition (muscle vs. fat) and change your physique. The goal should not simply be to lose weight or be a certain weight but to be your healthiest self. Someone can be 130 pounds but carry more body fat than ideal versus someone who could weigh the exact same, look smaller and more toned, and carry more muscle and less fat. This is the ideal scenario because more muscle equals more calories burned at rest throughout the day. How? Why? Because the more muscle on your frame, the higher your basal metabolic rate which is basically the amount of calories you burn at rest throughout the day. We want that number high because that means we can workout less but still maintain our weight. You will still have to workout and exercise but you can make your workouts more efficient and less time consuming. I think we can all agree that that would be wonderful! 

Ok- back to strength training. Here are 3 benefits of strength training for women (just to name a few). Don’t be afraid to pick up the heavy weights and challenge your body! Strength is in the resistance and our bodies truly change in how they look, feel, and operate when we strength train, add muscle, and lose fat. 

  1. Strength training protects your bone health. Building and maintaining strong bones is vital as women especially as we age. One of the best ways to maintain strong bones is through strength training. Strength training helps support our bone density which naturally can decrease as we age.
  2. Strength training is a great low-impact exercise option. For those who have a hard time with high impact exercise, strength training is even more for you! When you work several muscle groups at the same time (i.e. compound movements) with little rest in between sets, your heart rate increases just like it would through higher impact exercise like running. 
  3. Strength training can improve your mental health. There is something empowering about lifting weights, especially as a female. This alone can help boost your mood and make you feel not only physically strong but also mentally strong and resilient. Lifting weights helps us to tangibly tap into our internal mental strength reserves, which can definitely come in handy when life happens and we need that put that mental strength to use. Studies have also shown that those who participate in strength training have a lower incidence of depression. 

I hope I convinced you to pick up the dumbbells and get to it! Are you ready to add in strength training to your workout regiment?!

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach
Certified Personal Trainer
Connect with us!

My Favorite Exercise: The Burpee

My favorite exercise happens to be the burpee. Some begin to quiver at the mere uttering of the word burpee. If you’ve ever done one, you know the challenge they pose. If you haven’t done one but have watched someone else do a burpee, you probably got winded just watching them and vowed never to put yourself through that terrible misery. But fear not, today I am going to tell you why this exercise is my personal favorite and why you should add it to your repertoire at the gym. Because there are so many variations of a burpee, surely there is one for everyone, of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. 

So, what exactly is a burpee? The burpee is a total body exercise. No muscle goes untouched with this one and that’s the beauty of it. It’s not only an effective cardio exercise that will get your heart rate up after only one, but it also aims to tighten and tone all the right areas of one’s body…and who doesn’t want that?! 

Why do I love the burpee so much? Burpees are one of my go-to exercises solely because you get so much bang for your buck. I am not a runner; in fact, I practically abhor it. Why you ask? Because running is boring to me and it takes a lot of energy, time, and is rough on my precious joints…oh and not to mention the excruciating calf cramps I get- but that’s a whole other topic for another day. In the amount of time it takes to run 3 miles, I could have completed my burpees, burned just as many if not more calories, left the gym, went into the grocery store, and drove home. Well, maybe not quite all of that but you get my drift. Burpees are one of the highest calorie burning exercises out there. Why? Because you are literally using your entire body- moving that body up and down, in and out. These things are fast and furious!

Let’s learn some history of the burpee and find out where it came from. 

The burpee was first developed in the 1930’s by Royal H. Burpee. Royal H. Burpee was an applied physiologist from Columbia University and was the first one to coin the burpee test. He created this exercise as part of his PhD thesis “as a quick and simple way to assess fitness.” Could you imagine if our only fitness test to this day to assess our fitness was a burpee test? Yikes. And it’s to no surprise, the exercise then became popular in the United States Armed Services. The burpee test was used to test recruits for World War II to quickly and effectively assess for agility, coordination, and strength. 

 So, the burpee not only burns big calories, but it also offers great benefits as a cardio exercise and works all of your major muscles. What’s not to love? 

Another thing I love about burpees is their portability. And by portability, I mean you can do them anywhere your body goes because you don’t need a single piece of equipment. Now that’s great! So, next time you’re traveling for work or need to squeeze in a quick and effective workout at home before the kids get home from school or wake up from their nap, whip out a few burpees. I promise you’ll be sweating in no time and feel like such a star when you’re finished. Their empowering and actually quite fun, at least for this fitness guru. I hope you find them just as empowering and effective! 

 

Let’s Break Down the Burpee

 

The burpee at its core combines a squat, a push-up and a jump. Here’s how to do it in 4 steps. 

 

Step 1: Stand with your feet hip width apart. Squat down and place your hands, palms down, on the floor in front of you directly under your shoulders, being sure to keep your knees over your ankles (like a proper squat) and your chest lifted. 

 

Step 2: Jump both feet back and extend your arms so that your body is in a high plank position- long and symmetrical. Be sure to create a straight line with your back and keep your hips slightly lifted.

 

Step 3: Pull your legs back in so you are in a crouching squat position with your palms on the floor in front of you. 

 

Step 4: Stand and jump straight up in the air with your arms extended upwards, landing softly on the balls of your feet with your hips shifted back and knees in line with your ankles, like a proper squat. 

** Remember to engage your core the entire time! This is also a great core exercise! ** 

This is the basics of a burpee. If you want an added challenge, add a push-up in between step 2 and 3. A burpee with the pushup is the form the Military most commonly uses. 

Like I said before, there are many variations of a burpee. If you have problems with your joints and do not like to jump, simply step your feet back and in and skip the jump up in the air in step 4. You can also simply step your feet back and in if you are overweight and need something with less of an impact and a little easier to begin with. You can always work up to jumping the feet back and adding the jump up at the end. 

Below I will share a few variations of the burpee. Some of the variations include removing or shifting an arm or a leg (requiring more core stabilization) or working in a different direction or adding a more explosive move to increase strength and power in the body. 

 

  1. Mountain Climber Burpee: Perform the standard burpee steps. When you get to the plank position to do the push-up, perform a mountain climber instead of the push-up. To do a mountain climber, alternate pulling one leg into your chest, alternating each side twice. Be sure to keep your hips from sagging and keep a flat back, core engaged. Return to the plank position before finishing the remaining steps of the burpee. 

 

  1. Jump Variations: You can also add variety to the jump at the end of the burpee. Varying the jump causes the lower body to do more work by controlling the hips, knees, and ankles. Adding jump variations helps your body to build strength, power, and stability in different planes of motion. Some different jump variations include a tuck jump, broad jump, and a single leg jump. 

For the tuck jump burpee, complete the burpee as usual and at the end instead of simply jumping straight up, jump straight up and tuck your knees in towards your chest. 

For the broad jump, instead of jumping straight up, jump out trying to cover as much distance in front of you as possible. 

The single leg burpee adds great challenge because it requires a lot of core stabilization and balance. You can either do the push-up and the final jump on a single leg or just the final jump on a single leg. Be sure to draw that core in to help you stay balanced and jump as high as you can on that single foot, landing softly. 

So, there you have it. I hope you feel inspired to add a few burpees to your next workout. Start with one and work your way up. Once you’ve mastered the regular burpee, try some of these variations. Take it slow and listen to what your body says. Even if you can’t do the jumps and you’re slowly stepping your feet back one at a time and coming up slowly, you are still burning a lot of calories by moving your entire body up and down and you are working on core stabilization, balance, and coordination.

Meghan Meredith
HomeBodySoul, Founder
Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Certified Personal Trainer

Workouts- Is it Pain, or Soreness?

What to do…

You’ve mustered up the motivation to get in your daily training, and it’s going great, you’re squatting like it’s no one’s business, you’re getting your heart pumping with great high intensity, and you’re feeling like you can conquer the world until, OUCH, you’re in pain, you think somethings wrong, now how do you cope? Is it an injury, or are you sore and never have experienced this level of soreness? Understanding the difference between soreness, and an injury is crucial to creating optimal health and fitness.

Do you keep going or give it a rest? The answer to that question lies in the difference between pain and muscle soreness. People often get these two sensations confused, which can result in increased pain and severe injuries as people take on the misguided “no pain, no gain” mentality perpetuated by the fitness industry.

Knowing the difference between pain and soreness is absolutely essential, so let’s break ‘em down.

The first important distinction to make when comparing pain and soreness is the cause, because it’s very different for each one, as well as each individual person.

So, what actually causes sore muscles?

Muscle soreness is an inevitability of most any exercise, especially exercises that are new to you and your body. Think of mild soreness as your body’s way of telling you, “Hey! Do you feel that? “That’s me getting stronger.” That is the positive way to look at it anyway.

That’s because soreness comes from microscopic tears to your muscle fibers as a result of physical activity. Pumping iron and cardio sessions put more strain on your body than it experiences during the rest of the day, and these tears are your body’s way of responding and then adapting. When the tears heal, your body is stronger, and better equipped to take on more weight than it was before. Your body is created to adapt, and to become strong enough to do what you’re asking it to do.

If soreness is your body telling you to keep going because you’re getting stronger, then pain is your body letting you know it’s been injured and needs a break. This is a CRUCIAL distinction!

What causes pain?

Pain comes from the inflammation your body produces to heal itself after an injury. It can be caused by a myriad of problems such as overtraining, poor form, bearing too much weight, and a general lack of body awareness. But no matter the cause, one message remains consistent when it comes to pain: stop what you’re doing that is causing the pain.

Can you learn how to differentiate between soreness and pain?

The good news is that once you know what to look for (feel for), it becomes easier to separate the good hurt from the bad hurt.

Muscle soreness feels like a dull ache that typically occurs within 24-72 hours after exercise, also called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Unlike pain, soreness is often relieved with gentle movement and stretching, so you’re encouraged to keep mild movement on the agenda if you’re somewhat stiff and sore. The reality is the sooner you get back to the gym with your next workout, the better, and the faster your body will work through the soreness.

Pain, on the other hand, is an entirely different beast. It feels much sharper (such as a needle or cutting type feeling) than soreness, and frequently occurs during, or immediately after, your workout. If you continue to move and stretch while you’re in pain, chances are the pain will intensify and the injury will become worse and your ability to move the affected area is diminished and difficult to continue any movement.

In short, soreness is generally a mild to moderate ache that you often won’t feel until the next day, while pain is a sharp OUCH that lets you know right away (or soon after a workout) that something’s wrong.

To know the difference is great, now what do I do?

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from pain and reduce muscle soreness.

If you haven’t worked out in a long time and are just getting back in the saddle, the soreness you experience now is likely fairly intense because your body hasn’t adapted to the new movements yet.

But don’t let that stop you! As you continue to move and exercise, your soreness will drastically reduce as your muscles adapt and strengthen.

So, one of the biggest tools you have in your arsenal to combat muscle soreness is simply to keep moving.

Not only will continual movement reduce soreness in the long-term, but it does so in the short-term as well. Many people find that if they’re feeling stiff and sore from a workout, engaging in some light exercise and gentle stretching makes them feel considerably better.

Ice, foam rollers, a good night’s sleep, bathing in a hot Epsom Salts bath, and regular massages will also help to ease discomfort from soreness.

When it comes to pain, the prescription is very different. Namely, you do not want to keep exercising while you’re injured. Not only will it be increasingly painful, but doing so will put you at a high-risk of making the injury worse.

To prevent pain, steady warm-ups, quality movement, and post-exercise stretching will go a long way to avoid injury, so consider these things just as important (if not more so) than the exercise itself.

If you do find yourself in pain, the absolute best thing you can do for your body is to see your doctor, or physical therapist. But while you wait for that appointment, the age-old RICE method can make you more comfortable. Please be advised that this is only helpful for managing pain from minor injuries; it is not a healing solution.

R.I.C.E 

Rest – avoid any movement that puts strain on the injury. For example, if you sprain your ankle, you’ll want to avoid walking or putting any weight on that foot. Rest until it no longer hurts to use or put pressure on it.

Ice – ice will help to minimize swelling and inflammation around the injury. The sooner you can get ice on it, the better. Ice the injury at regular, 20-minute intervals during the first few days that you’re experiencing pain.

Compression – compression is another method that helps reduce swelling. Most convenience stores will have elastic bandages, trainer’s tape, or compression braces you can purchase to relieve pain.

Elevation – yet another way to keep swelling at bay is through elevation. Keeping the injured body part above your heart puts gravity to work at reducing inflammation.

Now that you have a handle on the difference between pain and soreness, give one of my awesome workouts a try!