Thank you ABEO Footwear from The Walking Company for sending the best athletic shoes a girl could ask for. Perfect for hitting the gym or the trails. My favorites this season are:

ABEO Smart 340: laced, true to size, built to absorb impact to keep your knees safe.

ABEO Abound: Slip on, sleek, runs slightly wide but otherwise true to size.

ABEO Everett: Slip on, runs slightly wide but otherwise true to size, classic colors, great support.

This is mostly a fashion family blog. But, I guess I do a bit of everything from seasonal toy guides to decor. So, I guess I might as well dive in with some of what I’m up to right now. Over the last month, I’ve gotten more inspired to get fit. Why? Quite honestly, because I was finding myself very unfit and not loving it. Mostly via numbers on the scale and the fact that my jeans have been getting quite snug. However, as I’ve increased my workouts I’ve also started feeling motivated by the increased strength it brings.

Activewear from Pact (purchased by me though I do sometimes work with the brand as well). Check out their whole line here.

In this post, I want to share how I built up a base fitness level and how that has helped me work toward more structured workouts. About a year ago, I decided I wanted to be healthier and get fit. This mostly included a goal of being able to do real pushups (not just the girly ones). I started doing 5-10 minutes of fitness before I got in the shower every couple days (head over to this post for more on that).

I’m no stranger to working out. I can remember hitting my mom’s aerobics videos at 10 or earlier. At 16, my dad took me to the gym and signed me up for a year membership. I hit it hard for my last year of high school (a genetic knee condition kept me from pursuing sports so this was a good way to keep fit). Enter college and the freshman 15, instead of giving in, I found myself going to step classes and hitting the free weight room with the guys (not that I talked to them, ew). After I had my first baby, I struggled to get back into fitness but found beach body and have used it on and off for the last 10 years. Next post, I’ll talk more about that. For now, suffice it say, I’ve always struggled with my upper body strength when working through videos. Many require push-ups and sometimes I couldn’t even keep up with the modifications. This time, I had a strong base and now can make it through many of the workouts without wimping out. Why? Those 5-10 minutes of fitness.

Sneakers: c/o ABEO footwear from The Walking Company

Here I’m going to share my three most important exercises that got me in shape to keep up with Chalene, Shaun, and Amber.

Sneakers: Abeo Smart 340

  • 1. Incline Push-up. All my life, I have been taught to modify the typical push-up on my knees. I’m not going to say that’s wrong- I still have to go to my knees about half way into a minute long push-up session. However, that modification didn’t teach me good form on my toes. Instead, doing incline pushups gradually built the strength I needed to complete more than 30 consecutive full form ones. Pro tip: okay for real this is a learn from my mistake tip- the most effective push up involves kicking your elbows back aka a tricep push-up. I have spent my whole life doing push-ups with my arms out, working my chest. Apparently, tricep targeting push-ups are more effective so focus on doing those. I’m playing catch up trying to fix my form and feel like I wasted a year on the less effective version.
  • 2. Plank. Holding plank is hard. It engages all your muscles head to toe. Even now, a minute in plank is a tough go for me (especially after I’ve worked my upper body and core). Work on contracting your abs before you pull your body up into position and hold it strong. If you have a weak core, you may want to start with my next exercise first.
  • 3. Cat pose/contracting your abs. This is probably the most important exercise (in my opinion) for building a strong base for all other exercises. Why? Because you’re core is everything. It holds your body in alignment when you’re working any body part. Without a strong core, you risk injury and pain no matter what exercises you do. I started doing this when I discovered I have diastasis recti from carrying four sweet babies. This exercise is easy: start with the cat pose on all fours and round your back up as you imagine pulling both sides of your ab muscles together (or your belly button toward your spine and don’t forget to engage your pelvic floor muscles as well). A strong core will improve posture and increase your ability to do other exercises such as the push-up and plank. It also has benefits far beyond that like strengthening your pelvic floor which is important for all women (if you’ve ever peed when you sneezed you know what I’m talking about!).
  • If you’re thinking of starting an exercise program but don’t feel quite ready; consult your doctor (disclaimer right there;) and start slow with this modified quick and easy routine:

    10 cat poses (hold your abs in for 10 seconds each)

    10 incline pushups

    10 squats

    Hold plank for 20 seconds (modify by doing forearm plank)

    10 calf raises

    Repeat twice. Increase difficulty by adding more reps or reducing modifications. Quick at home cardio includes, stair climbing (I do sets of 10-20 throughout the day) and walking the neighborhood. You will feel stronger and ready to conquer full body challenging workouts with just a few minutes a day.

    Whether you do 5 minutes of exercise or 60, just keep trying. Eventually, you will build up muscle and endurance that will allow you to move onto bigger and better things! Happy exercising!

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