Headphones On. World Off.

I don’t think we need a doctor or scientist to tell us how music influences our workout. It’s pretty simple; good music equals good workout. Music is a mood enhancer so depending on the beat of your music, it can help you perform repetitive motions, get your heart rate up as you cycle, or help you cool down after a rigourous stair master session.

Your playlist can set the pace for your exercise routine. You’ll most likely work harder and your playlist will provide a distraction while doing 100 of your least favorite reps. Mine happen to be triceps but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! After all, Spring is around the corner and who doesn’t love a sexy, sleeveless dress.

Whatever your reasons is…blast that music and work it out!

Here is a short playlist I use when I know my day is going to be busy, but a quick workout is better than no workout. It’s only about 15 minutes with a 3 minute cool down. Your mind, body and soul are worth 20 minutes out of your busy day.

Learn How To Live – Alice Merton
Like That – Bea Miller
Heroes – Alesso
Miss Me More – Kelsey Ballerina
On His Knees – Danny Elfman

Now take a deep breath and Embrace the Ride….you’re worth it!

Rebecca Louise | Realife Co.

 

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Vacuum Your Way to A Flat Stomach

My family and friends joke that I’d eat dirt if it helped my health. When I was a younger I would run to my mom in a panic shouting, “I think I just swallowed a bug!” or “I just ate some mud pie! Am I going to die?” Her response to me would always be, “You need to eat a pound of dirt before you die, you’ll be fine.”  Sooooo, my family and friends just might be right.

I’m always trying new and interesting exercises so when I find one that is fairly simple and extremely affective, I just have to share it. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s called the stomach vacuum exercise. A simple abdominal move that targets your inner most abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominis. This technique involves contracting those internal abdominal muscles and is very effective in burning belly fat. Most fitness instructors believe that stomach vacuums are a fabulous way to reduce your midsection. It is said that incorporating this technique in your regular abdominal workout can help you burn off visceral fat in as little as three weeks. I’ll take that!

Excess body fat has serious consequences to our health but excess visceral fat is even more dangerous. It increases our risk of  heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers, regardless of your weight. Let’s give this exercise a try and report back in three weeks.

TIPS BEFORE STARTING:

1.  Make sure to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
2.  Best if done on an empty stomach to create more space for contraction.
3.  DO NOT do this exercise if you have an inguinal hernia.

My preference is the stand up version:

  • Stand up straight with your feet shoulder length apart.
  • Place your hands on your hips.
  • Slowly inhale as much as possible, bringing in your stomach as much as you can.
  • Try to imagine a string pulling your navel towards your backbone.
  • Hold this position for 15 seconds, breathing normally.
  • After 15 seconds exhale slowly bringing your stomach back to starting position.
  • Repeat this sequence of moves  3-5 times.

If your confused on how to effectively do the stomach vacuum, check out youtube where you’ll find plenty of videos. This has to be the easiest breathing exercise to help you achieve a flat tummy. Give it a try….what do you have to lose but a few inches!

Rebecca Louise | Realife Co

Life has its Ups and Downs. We call them squats.

Yesterday, a girlfriend and I were swapping workout ideas and she mentioned one to me that I can’t believe I haven’t heard of. It really is a great way to start getting your “girl boss” booty, legs and core into shape and possibly lose that unwanted winter weight.

When it comes to losing weight and getting toned, this trick actually works. Take into consideration this little fact: the average woman pees six to eight times in a twenty-four hour period, so that’s about five to seven times while you’re awake. And if you drink a ton of water each day like I do, your visits might be more like 10-15 times a day. This is definitely a case of “the more the merrier” or should I say, “the more the derriere”!

This means you have six to ten plus opportunities to fit in a little fitness. Every time you hit the bathroom, whether it’s to pee or touch up your lipstick, do the workout below. If you have 5 minutes to scroll through your social media than you have a minute or two to think about your health and getting into shape. #noexcuses

10 SQUATS (Squats have been blamed for being destructive to your knees, but research shows that when done correctly, squats actually improve knee stability and strengthen connective tissue.)

  • Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your back straight and your knees centered over your feet.
  • Be sure to keep your head up and chest out.
  • Slowly bend your knees lowering until you reach a 90-degree angle.
  • Imagine pushing your hips and butt back while keeping your weight loaded into the heels and outer foot.
  • Return to starting position using your heels to push into the floor.

And your done! Minimally, this adds up to 60 squats. That’s a pretty decent workout for not hitting the gym.

Hey Girl Boss…Slow Progress in Better than No Progress. Keep going.

 

Rebecca Louise | Realife Co

The feel-good exercise that makes make me want to work out … Every. Single. Day.

I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to realize that the problem wasn’t the exercise, it was the all-or-nothing pressure to turn every muscle twitch into an obsession.

In early January, I was in North Carolina on a work trip, reporting on the Umstead Hotel just outside of Raleigh. Two women led me on a tour of the hotel’s organic farm: one with a neat bob and a polished trench, who worked in marketing for the hotel; one in hiking boots, who worked on the farm and was excitedly pointing out edible flowers and cardamom plants. We were all close in age, and talked about the stuff a group of women who’ve never met before but are quickly bonding do: Growing herbs, favorite restaurants, pets, workouts. “I’ve decided to try this new thing where I do yoga every day,” I told them.

The other girls gave me a look. Daily yoga classes were clearly a more serious fitness commitment than they were expecting me to profess. I wondered if it was because I looked ill-equipped to pursue such a rigorous fitness schedule, or because my vibe was more Media Elite Skeptic than She Who Has a Mantra. “No, no, no,” I said. “Just a little something: 20 minutes of sun salutations in the morning, a restorative stretch in my bedroom before I go to sleep. I’ve been doing these videos on YouTube.”

“Wait — are you talking about Yoga with Adriene?” asked the hotel marketer. I nodded. The farmer gave us both a high five. “You guys, I do Adriene, too.”

In the wellness era, as self-improvement has become an ever bigger Big Deal, being “well” is no joke. These days, fitness is increasingly marketed and perceived as an immersive experience, a “lifestyle choice,” costly (for a reason!) and difficult, it sometimes seems, for the sake of being difficult.

Like, if you’re not spending more than a car payment on that gym membership — with a 12-month commitment — you’re not really trying. Which may be why for the past decade, I’ve exercised in fits and starts. I get way into SoulCycle/Barry’s Bootcamp/New York Pilates, attend maniacally, and burn out after a few weeks or months — sick of spending half my life and all of my disposable income on $35-plus (each!) exercise classes. I end up ditching it all, and going back to doing nothing beyond walking my dog around the block until the next phenom beckons.

I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to realize that the problem wasn’t the exercise, it was the all-or-nothing pressure to turn every muscle twitch into an obsession. Science is on my side here: A study published last year in Circulation, the journal for the American Heart Association, found that committed but moderate exercise four to five times a week was almost as effective at protecting the heart against aging as the kind of extreme workouts that elite athletes (and Barry’s devotees) do.

Hence the new-to-me appeal of Yoga with Adriene: Exercise that is free, low commitment, even…pleasant? That’s the kind a girl could stick with.

Which may be what turned 4.4 million subscribers on to Adriene Mishler. Known as “the people’s yogi,” she is the biggest yoga star on YouTube. In 2015, Yoga with Adriene was the most searched workout on Google. Yet her popularity still feels niche enough that I, an avid yoga fan who doesn’t spend a great deal of time on YouTube, had never heard of her until last year, when I asked a friend to recommend the best yoga video one could do in a hotel room. The thing about Yoga with Adriene is that once you start talking about her, you realize everyone in your life is secretly obsessed with her. The friend who first recommended Adriene has done her videos almost daily for at least a year. Another woman I know keeps a count of how many consecutive days she’s done Adriene sessions — the millennial version of a snap streak. She’s on 436. I know this because she posts the running tally every evening on Instagram Stories.

Adriene has posted hundreds of free videos, one for every mood. Her hour-long classes are just as sweaty and challenging as any vinyasa class in a big city studio. There’s a 20-minute video for stretching after travel. Yesterday, I did a 7-minute routine without ever getting off the couch. All are filmed in her Austin, Texas dining room, usually with her cattle dog, Benji, napping in the background. Her body is fit, obviously, and marvelously bendy, but it’s also kind of normal — a welcome relief from the washboard abs and Terminator biceps of the mic’d up warriors who teach SoulCycle. Adriene is slightly goofy: She might advise you to spread your arms as wide as “a big Texas T,” or break out into Janet Jackson’s All for You while breathing through warrior pose. Her workouts don’t require straps or blocks or anything, really, but a tiny bit of space and a mat, or even a humble towel. Her instructions are precise and geared toward avoiding injury: When you take your left wrist into your right hand and bend it just so, she lets you know that you should feel that stretch all over your left side, not just in your arm and shoulder. But that’s all just…teaching yoga.

If there’s some more ephemeral magic at work here, it’s a specific low-key Adriene-ness. Unlike the classic fitness coach stereotype, she has no expectations, no hardcore goals — she’s not pushing you to do more or try harder. This low-stakes, no-commitment, little-something-every-day approach has made exercise a joyful, and pleasurable, part of my day. Yes, every day. These days, I feel less creaky when I wake up in the morning, my posture has improved, and I’ve noticed some definition in my shoulder muscles. But I keep at it, first and foremost, because it makes me feel good.

Yesterday, what made me feel good was a 7-minute couch workout. Tonight I think it’s going be something a little more energizing for an early-evening pick me up. But at the moment, I’m on deadline, so excuse me: I have a date with 12 Minute Yoga for Brain Power.

By Marisa Meltzer
This article was originally posted on Shondaland.

The Best Workouts For Women

For abs, legs, and everything in between.

Finding your fave type of workout is a lot like picking a favorite ice cream flavor: There are so many to choose from, and everyone’s taste is a bit different. Plus, different flavors work better on different days to suit different moods.

See where I’m going with this? If you’re interested in trying cardio, strength training, or a 30-day challenge, check out the assortment of workout options below. Sample them all, and who knows, you may discover a new favorite.

If you’re looking for a challenge…

If you’re looking for an abs workout…

If you’re looking for a leg and butt workout…

If you’re looking for an arm workout…

If you’re looking for a total-body workout…

If you’re looking for a cardio workout…

If you’re looking for a couples’ workout…

If you’re looking for a prenatal workout…

If you’re looking for recovery/restorative workouts…


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