Full Body Beginner Workout

It’s been awhile since I last shared a beginner workout, so I thought I’d put one together for today. 

This full body workout is perfect for those who are just starting to get back or into fitness for the first time (as always, before to check with your doctor before beginning to workout). Do each exercise for 30 seconds before resting for 30 seconds. Repeat for each exercises listed. Rest as needed at the end, before repeating the entire two to three times through. Below the graphic I’ve added descriptions of each exercise in case you’re unfamiliar with any of them. I’ve structured this workout so that there’s three core, lower body, upper body, and cardio exercises, to make sure that all the major muscle groups are worked.

Want to make this workout a bit harder to challenge you if you’ve been working out for awhile? Increase the amount of time that you’re working or decrease the amount of rest.

Full Body Beginner Workout

Plank // The plank is very similar to the starting position of a push up. Ensure your elbows slightly wider than shoulder width and your forearms on the ground, and your body is a straight line from your head, through your shoulders, hips, and knees, to your heels. Just like with the push up, if you need an easier modification, use your knees instead of your toes. Make sure your ankles, hips, shoulders, and head are in a straight line.

Bodyweight squats // With feet hip width apart and hands in front of you to help with balance, use the glutes to lower your hips back and down while bending at the knees. Once you’ve reached the lowest position you can without leaning forward too much or letting the knees collapse in, return to a standing position, using your glutes to propel yourself.

Overhead press // Stand with your feet hip width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. With your upper arms in a 90 degree angle to your torso and your hands directly above your elbows, lift your hands straight up so that your arms are straight above your head. Slowly lower your hands back down to the starting position.

Jumping jacks // Stand with feet together and arms at your sides. Jump both feet apart from each other while raising your hands above your head with straight arms. Jump your feet back together and lower your arms to the starting position.

Bicycle crunches // Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. With your hands behind your head and elbows out to the side, bring your feet off the floor so that your shins are parallel to the floor and your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Bring your shoulder blades off the floor and alternate bringing your left elbow towards your right knee, and your right elbow towards your left knee. Your feet should look like they’re pedaling a bike.

Alternating lunges // Stand with feet hip width apart. Step forward with one foot so that the forward leg’s thigh is parallel to the ground, and the back leg’s shin is parallel to the ground. The back knee shouldn’t touch the floor. Use your quads and glutes to step the front foot back towards your back foot and end by standing straight up with feet hip width apart again. For the second lunge step forward with the other foot. Continue alternating legs for the entire 30 seconds.

Bicep curls // Start with the feet hip width apart, and back in a neutral position. With a dumbbell in each hand, keep your elbows in close to your side and raise the dumbbell upwards. Movement should be at the elbow, not the wrist. Lower the dumbbell with a controlled movement, not allowing gravity to take over.

High knees // Starting in a standing position, quickly bring your left knee up in front of you as high as you can. Step back down and repeat with your right leg. Repeat.

Side plank // To perform a side plank, lay on your side with your elbow beneath your shoulder and your forearm on the ground. With your top foot stacked on top of your bottom foot, lift your hips off the floor so that your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet are in a straight line. Hold and then repeat on the other side.

Glute bridge // Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet close to your butt. Raise your hips up off the floor by contracting your glutes, leaving only your feet, shoulders, and head on the floor. Relax your glutes and return your hips to the floor. To do a single leg glute bridge, raise one foot up so the knee is straight. Use your remaining foot on the ground to push off the floor and raise your hips while contracting your glute.

Tricep kickbacks // With a dumbbell in each hand, flex at the ankles, knees, and hips so that your torso is leaning forward slightly. Bring your arms close to your body with your elbows back slightly. Start with your forearm in a 90 degree angle to your upper arm and slowly extend your forearm until your entire arm is straight and your triceps muscles are contracted. Slowly reverse the movement so that your arm is once again at a 90 degree angle.

Side shuffles // Stand with feet hip width apart and knees bent so you’re slightly squatting. Leading with your left foot, shuffle sideways. Then shuffle to the right with your right food leading. Move as quickly as possible.

As always, remember to check with your doctor before beginning to workout. Honor your body and modify this workout as needed for you. 

What’s your favorite upper body exercise? 

Weekly Workouts August 13 to 19 2017

Weekly Workouts

Sunday // I started off the week with a trip to the gym. I spent 35 minutes on the bike. I really concentrated on keeping my cadence the same while increasing the resistance. It was tough, but such a great workout.

Monday // On Monday I got to the gym bright and early before work and found myself an elliptical. I spent 30 minutes doing steady state, which left me sweaty and tired. It always surprising how quickly I get tired out after one half an hour.

Tuesday // Tuesday was my scheduled rest day. Not going to lie, I really enjoyed being able to sleep in.

Wednesday // I went for a walk in my favorite park. The weather was absolutely perfect, so I knew that I had to take advantage of it.

Thursday // Rest day. I just couldn’t get myself out of bed, even though I pressed snooze a few times. I don’t know why I was so tired, because I was in bed at a decent time Wednesday night.

Friday // Today’s workout was brought to me by YouTube. I did a Jessica Smith workout and in half an hour I was done. I love quick workouts, especially when they happen at home so I don’t have to worry about driving to and from the gym.

Saturday // Rest day. I was planning on going to the gym, but I ended up falling down a couple steps from the laundry room into the garage.  I ended up landing on my left wrist and right hip, both of which were pretty sore right away. Yeah, I don’t know how I managed to land like that either. Anyways, I decided that it would be a better idea to take it easy than to go to the gym and make anything worse.

What was your toughest workout from the last week? 

Friday Favorites August 18 2017

It’s Friday, so that means that it’s time for my weekly Friday Favorites post.

Friday Favorites

I ordered a new to me brand of protein powder last week and really liked it. I got the Pure Protein Vanilla Cream (affiliate link) flavor. It literally taste like vanilla cake batter when I use it in smoothies. My current go to recipe is yogurt, frozen berries, a bit of orange juice, and protein powder. My dad had a taste of the smoothie and even he admitted that it was pretty tasty.

Red Ensign Mill Street Beer

My boyfriend bought this for me to try during our last date night. We had eaten at Mill Street Brewery last year (it’s a Canadian brewery with a restaurant/brewery in downtown Calgary). we decided to split it, and it ended up being delicious. Even  my boyfriend said he liked it even though you could taste a hint of raspberry in it. Red Ensign is definitely a beer that I would get again.

I can’t be the only one who’s fallen in love with Halt and Catch Fire over the last three summers, can I? The fourth and final season starts on Saturday and I can’t wait. Essentially it follows five people who have all worked together at some point in tech/computers/the beginning of the internet. The first season was set in the mid 80’s, and this last season will be set in the 90’s. It’s pretty crazy to think of how quickly technology and the internet changed in those 10 or 15 years. Donna is definitely my favorite character. I believe past seasons are on Netflix, so give the first episode or two a try – I think you’ll get hooked.

 Jordan's Granola

I found this granola when I was out shopping last week. I hadn’t tried it before, so I thought I’d give it a go. It only has oats in the granola, so there’s no seeds, nuts, or dried fruit. Surprisingly I kind of liked it like that. I typically mix granola into Greek yogurt for breakfast in the mornings, and I liked how simple it is. Definitely something I would buy again.

What’s a favorite of yours from the last week?

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog, I appreciate it! 

Lower Body Workout Roundup

Today I’m putting together a few of my favorite lower body workouts that I’ve posted on the blog. I thought that having them all in one place would be handy. Below you’ll find my lower body workout roundup.

Lower Body Workout Roundup

Click on the graphic or the title below it to be taken to the original post for that workout. There you’ll find all the details for each workout as well as a detailed description of each exercise.

Remember to alternate parts of the body that are worked. You don’t want to do two leg workouts in a row – throw in an upper body or cardio workout in there between the two. Even take a rest day if you’re still feeling sore before you do another lower body workout.

If you’ve never done one of the exercises before, don’t be afraid to ask a trainer at your gym for some pointers or to check your form. I can almost guarantee than they’d be glad to help. That’s what they’re there for! It’s better to skip an exercise all together than do it with bad form and risk an injury.

Lower Body Circuit Workout

Lower Body Circuit Workout

Lower Body HIIT Workout

Lower Body HIIT Workout

 Lower Body Circuit Workout

Lower Body Circuit Workout

Lower Body Workout

Lower Body Workout

 Lower Body Workout

Lower Body Workout

Looking for more workouts? Check out my circuit workout roundup as well as my workouts page. You can also find workouts from me as well as other bloggers on my Pinterest page. There’s a ton to choose from there.

As always, check with a doctor before starting to exercise. Honor your body and modify these workouts as needed for you. 

What’s your favorite lower body exercise? 

Mine are definitely deadlifts. I always feel so strong when I do them, even if I’m not lifting super heavy – even 60 pounds makes me feel like I’m doing something impressive.

My Journey to Become a Personal Trainer Part 2

Today I’m sharing the second part of how I became a personal trainer. If you haven’t read it yet, you can check out part 1 here. Be sure to read that post before reading this one – it documents the beginning of my journey in university. 

My Journey to Become a Personal Trainer Part 2

I left off part one of this series graduating from the University of Lethbridge. A few weeks after finishing finals I got on a plane to head to Europe for a month with a few friends. We decided on a Contiki tour. (Yes, Contiki has a reputation, which I unfortunately didn’t know about. All the stereotypes were right – at least on my tour. I would have booked something else if I had known what it was like.) Despite that, I still managed to have a ton of fun with my friends. It was so much fun to explore Europe and to get to experience the rich history in 10 or 12 different countries. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip, but I’m so glad I got to see so much. That photo is in Munich where I drank my very first radler!

A few days after getting back I went back to U of L for the convocation ceremony, and then it was back to the real world. I had decided before I left for Europe that I wanted to move back to Calgary. Lethbridge felt very small town to me and I wanted to be back in a bigger city. Moving meant leaving behind some good friends who decided to stay in Lethbridge after graduation as well as leaving the gym that I loved.

As well as looking for a job, I started looking for a gym that I liked in Calgary. I tried out a few, and even joined one, but I don’t remember going very often. I didn’t feel comfortable there, and I was always making excuses not to go. I really wanted to find a gym that I liked, because I knew from the YWCA in Lethbridge, how much of a stress reliever working out was for me. After a few months I ended up cancelling my membership though because I wasn’t going often enough to justify the money.

I ended up finding a job in the addiction/mental health field. I really wanted to like it – I’m so passionate about both those things, but it ended up being a super stressful job. I was front line staff (working with clients), in a completely different environment than I had experienced in either of my internships during university. I dreaded going to work in the mornings and was so relieved when I walked out at the end of my 12 hour shifts. I alternated between working days and nights, so that was also tough. It was my first time working nights, and now I realize that it’s probably not something I can do long term. The whole transitioning to and from nights was really hard on my body. Huge props to people who work nights!

I ended up finding another job through someone I knew who owned her own business selling native plants. While it wasn’t what I went to school for, I really enjoyed the work. It was physical so I wasn’t sitting at a desk staring at a computer all day. I was able to be outside. I got to see beautiful plants and flowers throughout the spring and summer. My boss and my co-worker were both such amazing people, I really lucked out being able to work with them.

During this time I started eating better. I was watching what I was eating, in addition to portion sizes. No, half a bag of chips is not a serving. I was eating more vegetables in addition to planning out my meals instead of winging it when it came to meal times. I started writing down everything that I ate. Doing that forced me to be honest with myself about what I was eating. Seeing my day of eating in black and white on the page in front of me was shocking. Was it really possible that I was eating that much, day in and day out?

I started by making small changes. One of the first was to stop drinking pop. I probably drank one per day in university. I slowly started cutting it out until I wasn’t drinking it at all. Now I only have it a few times a year. I started eating normal serving sizes instead of what I wanted to eat. I also realized that I used food to deal with my emotions. If I was stressed, anxious, depressed, or even happy, I would eat. Clearly this wasn’t the best tactic.

During this time I started journaling daily. I’d spend probably 30 or 45 minutes each day writing. I wrote about my relationships with friends, work, stuff I was anxious about, whatever was going on in my life. It was the first time I’d ever journaled consistently. It was a bit surprising to me when I started to use food less to deal with my emotions. By writing down what I was feeling instead of heading straight for food to ignore it, I was eating less. I still have all those journals – probably 10 or 12 of them. Like I said, I wrote a lot.

I think I’ll end this part here because this is starting to get long. I’m looking forward to sharing how the positive changes I was making paid off in the next part. Stay tuned!