At Home Beginner Workout

Today I’m sharing an at home beginner workout. It’s the perfect workout to do with just a few pieces of equipment.

Yesterday I went to Costco for the first time since January! It was the first time since March that I had been inside a grocery type store. I’ve been ordering groceries online and doing contactless pick up since then. I’ve been super cautious, so it felt a bit strange being in Costco after so long. While it was busier than I was expecting, almost everyone was wearing a mask (and even wearing it properly), so I was grateful to see that. I was feeling some anxiety walking into the store, but now that I’ve been once, the next time will be easier.

As usual I went in with a list and ended up buying more than I had planned on. I stocked up on laundry detergent, Italian sausage, beef burger patties, hand soap refills, containers for leftovers, and jerky among other things. We should be well stocked for awhile now. Do you have anything that you always get when you go to Costco?

And now onto today’s at home beginner workout!

The only pieces of equipment you’ll need for this workout are a pair of dumbbells and a yoga mat if you’re on a hard surface. I like these dumbbells (affiliate link) from Amazon. the Manduka Pro Mat (affiliate link) is my absolute favorite yoga mat. It’s the one that I use today and I went through yoga teacher training with. If you’re not feeling the beginner workout today, you can find all of my workouts on my workouts page.

This workout is pretty straight forward. You’ll do 15 reps of the first exercise on the list and then rest for 1 minute. Move on down the list doing 15 reps and then resting for 60 seconds. Hold the plank for 30 seconds. Once you’ve done the donkey kicks, start over at the top. Complete all 10 exercises 3 times through for a full workout. Below the graphic I’ve listed descriptions for all of the exercises. If you end up doing this workout, be sure to tag me on Instagram. I’d love to hear how you did!

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. 

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 and ankles. 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.

Crunches

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feel flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Slowly lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Make sure your neck stays in a neutral position. The upper back should be moving, not the neck. Slowly lay back down on the floor.

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.

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.

Knee plank

The plank is very similar to the starting position of a pushup. Your hands are slightly wider than shoulder width and directly below your shoulders. Your body is a straight line from your head, through your shoulders, hips, and knees.

Bent over rows

With a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing each other) bend forward slightly at the hips so that your torso is at a 45 degree angle to the floor, letting your arms hang straight down and keeping your back in a neutral position. Bring both dumbbells up towards your armpits while contracting your shoulder blades towards each other (kind of like pinching your shoulder blades together). Move dumbbells back towards starting position. 

Alternating lunges

Stand with feet hip width apart. Step forward with one foot so that the front 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.

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.

Donkey kicks

Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keeping your knee bent, lift your left leg so that your knee is parallel to the floor and the bottom of your foot is parallel to the ceiling. Lower you leg back down and repeat with the right leg.

What’s a favorite exercise of yours to include in an at home beginner workout? Something that you always buy at Costco?

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

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

Spotify Workout Playlist

Today I’m sharing a Spotify workout – complete with a link to the playlist on Spotify.

Did anyone else get the email from Peloton that barre workouts are now on the app? I’m pretty excited that they’re now included in my Peloton membership. Barre has been a favorite workout of mine for a long time, despite the fact that I don’t do it very often. I’m sure I’ll be getting more barre workouts in now that it’s on the app. It took me a few minutes to find them on the app – they’re under the strength workout category. Since I started using the Peloton app a few months ago I have nothing but good things to say about it.

Now that I’m done sharing that excitement, on to my Spotify workout playlist!

This playlist is mainly songs that I’m hearing on the radio right now. I feel like pop goes in cycles. I love songs for a few months and then there’s a few months of a lull where I’m less than impressed with top 40 hits. Right now I’m really enjoying everything that I’m hearing. It’s always fun when that happens. I’ve included artists like Pink, Jonas Brothers, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, Marshmello, and Sam Smith.

Especially with working out from home right now, I find that having some great music really gets me motivated to put in that extra effort. If you’re anything like me, it’s nice to have that extra little push with the last few reps of burpees or squats. What motivation I don’t get from those people around me at the gym, I get from some really good music.

You can find the playlist here. As always you can also follow me on Spotify and get updated when I put together new workout playlists. That usually happens monthly. I love hearing what other people are listening to so I like to follow people on there and find out what they’re enjoying. Be sure to check out my previous workout playlists too.

Do you like doing barre workouts? What’s a favorite song on your Spotify workout playlist?

Weekend Highlights

This weekend was full of taking it easy which was exactly what I needed. I’ve been talking a lot about self-care with healthcare professionals this week. I decided to take their advice to heart and spend some times doing things that make me happy and bring me joy.

I spent time reading. I’m currently making my way through Big Summer (affiliate link) by Jennifer Weiner. I’m a big fan of hers, so I was pretty sure that I would like Big Summer. So far I haven’t been disappointed. I haven’t been able to figure out the ending yet, though I do have my suspicions. I wonder if I’ll be right. Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn’t spoken one word to Drue in all this time—she doesn’t even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media—so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless.

Drue was always the one who had everything—except the ability to hold onto friends. Meanwhile, Daphne’s no longer the same self-effacing sidekick she was back in high school. She’s built a life that she loves, including a growing career as a plus-size Instagram influencer. Letting glamorous, seductive Drue back into her life is risky, but it comes with an invitation to spend a weekend in a waterfront Cape Cod mansion. When Drue begs and pleads and dangles the prospect of cute single guys, Daphne finds herself powerless as ever to resist her friend’s siren song.

Self-care also meant working out! I did a quick upper body workout on the Peloton app. It felt good to get moving and work hard even if it wasn’t for too long.

Sunday afternoon I ended up going for a short hike with my dad and brother in Kananaskis, about an hour west of Calgary. My brother wanted to go check out a hike at the site of an internment/POW camp from WWII. There were a few of them in Alberta, and Camp 130 was in Kananaskis.

As for the hike, it was relatively easy. The path was pretty well defined and tree lined so while there were pockets of sunshine, most of it was in the shade. It was the perfect fall weather to spend some time outside.

The first half of the hike was all uphill.

The leaves have started to change color here. While we don’t get the pretty orange and red colors that they do in eastern Canada, I still thought that the leaves were pretty.

Falls are typically pretty short here in Alberta, so I’m all about taking advantage of the cooler weather before the snow arrives. Being able to spend the afternoon with my dad and brother in the mountains was perfect.

The mountain parks were shut down for awhile at the beginning of the pandemic. They’ve opened up since then which I’m grateful for. A lot of the parking lots we passed for other hikes were packed, so I was very grateful that there were only two other vehicles in the parking lot for this hike. We didn’t actually see anyone else on the trail which was perfect. I think part of it is because there are obviously no international tourists, as borders are still essentially closed.

Shop my outfit below. They’re all affiliate links.

Is it starting to feel like fall where you are? How do you practice self-care?

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Jackets for Fall

Today I’m sharing some of the cute fall jackets I’ve had my eye on this year.

It’s definitely starting to feel like fall in the mornings here in Calgary. The weather is cool and crisp and the days are slowly getting shorter. I generally need long sleeves on at the very least when I go outside now, if not another layer to be comfortable. I thought I’d share a few of the jackets for fall. I’m all about the layers (I’m always cold), so having a few jackets to pick from is always nice. I have similar versions to all four jackets in this post except for the trench coat. You can find all of my fashion and outfit posts here.

Quilted vest

I love the polished look that a quilted vest (affiliate link) will give to a long sleeved shirt and a pair of jeans. This dark brown one from LL Bean would be perfect for fall. Vests are really nice for those days when you want something a bit warmer but don’t need an entire extra layer.

Trench coat

Fall is typically wetter here in Calgary than summer is, so it’s always nice to have a longer jacket option to stay dry. This trench (affiliate link) from J Crew has a perfect classic look to it.

Peacoat

Peacoats are definitely one of my absolute favorite fall/winter jackets. This peacoat (affiliate link) from LL Bean is really similar to the one I have. I really like the double row of buttons down the front and this grey color is a perfect neutral. They’re also nice and warm which is perfect for me. Calgary can get pretty cold in the mornings and evenings, even during the fall.

Utility jacket

If I’m going for a more casual look, I love a good utility jacket (affiliate link). This one is from Banana Republic. Utility jackets go perfectly with a sweater, pair of jeans and bean boots.

Click on the images below to be taken to the store websites. They’re all affiliate links.

What are your go to styles of jackets for fall? Share in the comments below.

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

At Home Arm Workout

Today I’m sharing an at home arm workout that’s perfect to do at home with just a pair of dumbbells.

It’s definitely started to feel like fall here in Calgary the last few days. The mornings have been crisp and cool and I’ve had to put on the heat in the car. Autumn is my favorite season so I’m definitely looking forward to it, but I’m definitely going to miss the long days and summer sunshine. What’s the weather been like where you live? Is fall on the horizon or does it still feel like summer?

You’ll only need a set of dumbbells for today’s at home arm workout. I would recommend a lighter set rather than heavier weights. I like these dumbbells (affiliate link) from Amazon. If you’ll be working out on a hard surface, a yoga mat might also be nice for the chest presses and push ups. I love my Manduka Pro (affiliate link).

Start at the top of the list of exercises with the Overhead presses. Perform 15 reps and then rest for 30 seconds. Move on down the list repeating the 15 reps and 30 seconds of rest. Just in case you need a reminder about any of the exercises, I’ve listed descriptions of all the exercises included in this workout. And if you’re looking for a workout that isn’t an at home arm workout, be sure to check out my workout page. All of the workouts that I’ve shared on the blog over the years are over there.

Overhead presses

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. 

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.

Chest presses

With a dumbbell in each hand, lay down on a bench or the floor. Your upper arm should be at a 90 degree angle to your torso and your hands directly over your elbows. Move the dumbbells up while they come above your chest. With control move them back down to the starting position. 

Lateral raises

With your arms down at your sides with a dumbbell in each hand, slowly raise your hands away from your body to the side, keeping your arm straight at the elbow. Once your hands reach shoulder level, slowly lower them back down to your sides.

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.

Push ups

Starting on your toes and hands, make sure your body is a straight line from your heels to your knees, hips, shoulders, and neck. Your hands should be a bit wider than your shoulders. Slowly bend at the elbows, lowering yourself to the ground. Try to get at low as possible, and then push yourself back up, all the while maintaining that straight line. An easier modification is instead of being on your toes, lower to your knees.

Front shoulder raises

With a dumbbell in each hand, stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Slowly lift your hands in front of you so that they’re at shoulder height, with a micro bend in your elbows. Slowly lower your hands back to your sides. 

Bent over rows

With a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing each other) bend forward slightly at the hips so that your torso is at a 45 degree angle to the floor, letting your arms hang straight down and keeping your back in a neutral position. Bring both dumbbells up towards your armpits while contracting your shoulder blades towards each other (kind of like pinching your shoulder blades together). Move dumbbells back towards starting position. 

Chest flyes

With a dumbbell in each hand, lie on a bench or the floor with your elbows slightly bent. Move the dumbbells in a semi circular motion above you until they meet directly above your chest. Return to the starting position by moving the dumbbells with control so that your arms are extended again. 

Hammer curls

Similar to regular biceps curls, hammer curls differ only in hand position. Stand with your feet hip width apart with dumbbells in your hands. Position your hands at your sides so that your palms are facing your legs. Keeping your hands in this position the entire time, bend at the elbow and bring the dumbbells up as far as possible. Lower yours hands back down to the starting position. Make sure you keep your spine in a neutral position the entire time. 

What’s your favorite exercise to include in your at home arm workout?

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

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