Monday, May 23, 2011

My Exercise "Routine"

Several weeks ago a reader asked me to explain my exercise routine and another reader asked me which of the Exercise TV videos I like to use. Today I have decided to dedicate a post to answering these questions. Because...everyone wants to workout like ME...right?! :)

Below are the pieces of equipment that I use for my workouts. I typically workout 5-6 days a week, for 55-60 minutes. During that time I always include about thirty minutes of cardio (mainly the elliptical or sometimes a run or fast walk outside) and twenty minutes of pilates, yoga, or resistance training. Like I said, I don't really have a "routine" but I tend to do some type of arm and ab exercise every time I workout.

Many people might call me "lucky" because I am very small boned and overall quite small. Like I said in this post, you could easily look at me and think I have not one ounce of fat on me. Of course where I do carry my fat is around my waist (waist to hip ratio of .81 already, at age 28, yikes). This is the one area I try to workout the most. I know I can't "spot reduce" but it's still nice to have some muscle behind my...ahem...belly fat.

My Favorite Ab Workouts

I don't know the names of any of these moves (I'm an RD, not a trainer!), but I do know they work. This one is great for your back. When you are trying to get nice abs, you can't just work the front, you have to work your back muscles as well. Start in position one (above) and then lift straight up (below). I use a fifteen-pound weight. I typically do about three sets of twenty-five reps.

This move (below) is another great move for your back. If you don't have an ab ball you can try it just by lying on the floor, but in my opinion it's not quite as effective. I typically do about three sets of thirty.

And of course let's not forget the actual abs. This move (below) is incredibly effective. Put the ab ball between your feet, or if you're a beginner (like Nick) put the ball between your shins. Then lift it up to your hands and grab the ball and swing it back behind your head. Then bring the ball back forward, and lift your legs up to grab it, and get back to the starting position. This one is painful, and very effective. I like to do fifteen reps of these, for a total of about two to three sets.

The two parts of my body I love are my legs and arms. I can build muscle in those two areas fairly easily. Like most people I often wish I could gain muscle and definition in my abs as easily as I can my arms, but I'm not holding my breath. Even though it's pretty easy for me to tone my legs and arms, I still need to keep up with my arm workouts or they'll just look like...twigs.

My Favorite Arm Workouts

I love this one (below). I usually don't start off with this interesting squat that Nick is demonstrating, but it's close enough. Normally my legs only slightly bent.

Then with all the power I have I lift up the fifteen-pound weight until it reaches the height of my chest.

And sometimes I'll bring it all the way up above my head. I typically do about fifteen reps, and three sets of this move.

This move is another favorite (below). I actually know what this move is called; tricep curl! I like to do about twenty reps, three sets on both arms. I typically follow this move with the same number of reps and sets of bicep curls.

I like to keep my legs nice and toned so I can feel confident in dresses, skirts, and (maybe) a bathing suit. Most importantly, however, I like to keep my legs toned and in shape because they do so many things! Let's be honest, our legs are an integral source of power, which allows us to do just about everything we do each day. If my legs start to lose muscle as I age, my whole balance will be off and everything will just start to fail, slowly but surely. I'll admit, I love leg workouts!

My Favorite Leg Workouts

I'm a huge fan of angle weights. I like to do leg lifts wearing my two-pound ankle weights. I lay down on the mat, do fifteen reps lifting my leg up, fifteen reps moving my leg to the front or back, then fifteen reps making circles with my leg. I do this sequence twice on both legs.

Nothing beats a good lunge. I do lunges (30 steps total, 3 reps) with a fifteen-pound weight, or a ten-pound weight.

Favorite Exercise TV Workouts

Here are some of my favorite Exercise TV workouts, in no particular order. Keep in mind I've never liked Jillian Michaels because I can't stand it when she gives nutrition advice. However, as a trainer, she's pretty awesome.

  • All 10-minute videos
  • Best of Jillian (I love these exercises, I'm always sore the next day!)
  • Last Change Workout (25 minutes, I think...)
  • 30-Day Shred
  • Yoga Sculpt (31 minutes)
  • Pilates Abs (12 minutes)
  • CRUNCH gym videos (a new favorite!)

And what do I eat after my workouts? Something that is fairly high in protein. Check out this post for some recommendations.

QUESTION: What's your favorite exercise move?


  1. I love the Yoga Sculpt video too. I'll have to try out these other videos. I love that you had Nick demonstrate the moves!

  2. I like pilates a lot, it tones me very well. unfortunately I don't do it often enough. I used to be a yoga junkie but I found hard to focus lately in a yoga class and I don't like bulky arms and shoulders which is what yoga does to me if I do it 2-3 times a week. but I still miss a downward dog sometimes so I might do yoga once a week.
    it's funny that you got s workout "model" to show your favorite exercises.

  3. Great post Gina! I love how you stress that even though you are SO small boned, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't work out and keep in shape! I love jillian work outs and CRUNCH gym work outs are also a new favorite! Have you tried Crunch action Diesel or any of the dance ones? The dance ones are FUN!!

  4. gina, this is so cute! love how you got the boy to do all the exercises for you so you could take pics....great ideas! i think i love pushups becasue they require nothing but your own body weight and they can be changed up wot make them harder if necessary.

  5. Love all your exercises!

    My favorite workouts are yoga, Pilates and barre-type workouts (which combine yoga, Pilates and ballet moves).

  6. I like Jillian workouts too. They work you out hard! I also love spin classes and the arc trainer. I have to do something that's easy on my knees. They get very sore. :(

  7. Your first ab move looks like a deadlift! In addition to working your core, they're also great for your glutes and hamstrings! :)

    I really like Jillian's workouts, too! Short and challenging!

  8. These all look like great workouts. I actually do some of these exercises shown, and they really do help! Love how you accompanied photos with each workout description. :)

  9. If you like lunges, you should try crossover lunges. I do them while doing hammer curls (for my biceps). They're my favorite to do for some reason. I also like squats. Working out my legs is much easier for me than my arms. I don't have a lot of upper body strength even though my arms are toned.

  10. hahahaha! i am LOVING that you got nick to do the pictures for these! hahaha i wish i could have been there to see the picture taking process

    bachelorettttttttteeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so far i'm all about my new york constructionist

  11. I really like the yoga sculpt video! Anything by Cindy Whitmarsh (spelling!?) is a win, too!

    I love working my arms, abs..and legs. Wait.... :)

  12. Ha we're both on a workout wavelength posted trainers workout tips (and we have 1 in common). I love to run ( approx 25 miles a week) do barre classes and hot yoga. My favorite "moves" would have to be straight leg push ups and plank/side plank. I love hearing what other people do as well.

  13. Nick is such a good little blog helper! A++ Nick! :) I need to be so much better about weights..I'm terrible and I know it! I think the Shred is my favorite DVD and I always feel like it gives me a great workout. I need to smart with small goals - like 1 weight workout a week. I was doing so well in the fall, but things crumbled in the winter time, oops!

  14. Nick is such a good sport to demonstrate your strength training moves :P I love how you point out that when working your core, strengthening your back is just as important as working your front. I often forget that, so I'll have to try your first move (I sometimes do the second one ... rarely). I'm impressed that you use 15 pound weights! I have to admit, I don't work heavy weights into my routine often enough, which I know is important. I tend to use my little eight pounders all the time - guess I need to look into getting some new weights!

    I've actually never used a workout video, but I've been wanting to try something by Jillian Michaels (and now I have your recommendation!). Great post, Gina!

  15. Lately I have been forcing myself off the elliptical. I can ride that thing for hours and never get to the mats or the weights. It's been an effort but I am slowly making it over there and boy am I SORE!