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10 Living Room Exercises that Burn Fat and Get You Toned

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Orange Rika.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Calc-tufa

Getting to the gym is not always possible. In fact, as we get busier and more strapped for time it is important to know a few things you can do from the comfort of your own living room. That way you can forget about making excuses and just get to work. In this post I am going to show you 10 exercises that you can do in your living room that will help you burn fat and get toned.

The complete home workout strategy

If you are going to workout at home you want to make sure you are approaching it with a strategy that will allow you to get a complete home workout. Just because you are at home does not mean you can take it easy. In fact, you have permission to go a little bit crazier now that no body is watching! In order to get a complete workout you will need to:

  • Work every muscle group
    A big part of losing weight and getting toned is doing a full body workout. Your living room exercise should hit every body part in order to make sure you are not taking it too easy.
  • Elevate your heart rate
    If your heart rate does not go up you aren’t working hard enough and you are not going to lose any weight at all. Make sure you are pushing yourself so that your heart rate gets up and stays up for most of the workout period.
  • Sweat a lot
    Sweating is a sign that you are working. I see so many women workout well below the threshold that they need to in order to make progress. Make sure you are sweating a lot when you exercise at home.
  • Warm up and down
    Warm ups and warm downs are essential in order to prevent injuries and make sure you can workout again tomorrow. There is no point working super hard if you injure yourself and can’t workout for a whole week while you recover.

10 living room exercises that burn fat and get you toned

53.OM...I quit....OM
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Keeping in mind the above four points here are the ten exercises that you can do in your own living room if you don’t have time to get to the gym. Try to keep your technique as clean as possible and make sure you are only taking 30 second breaks in between exercises.

  1. Jumping squats
    We are always talking about jumping squats here at Free Women’s Fitness because they are an absolute super exercise. They burn fat, get your heart rate up, shape your entire lower body and push you to an entirely new level of fitness. As far as body weight exercises go these are the absolute hardest thing you can do. Do not take them lightly.

    How to do them? Simply squat down on the ground with your left foot in front. Spring up into the air as high as you can go and then land with your right foot in front. Go down as low as you can and then repeat until you can’t do anymore.

  2. Coffee table step ups
    Make sure you have super stable coffee table or bench before you do this one. It is a great way to tone your lower body with a particular emphasis on your quadriceps and your butt. If you have bad knees these might be a little bit hard.

    How to do them? Stand in front of your coffee table or bench and step up on to it with your left foot. Step back down and repeat with the same foot. Carry out as many reps as you can and then switch feet. You can increase the difficulty by either going faster or wearing a backpack with some heavy weights in there.

  3. Couch leg reverse crunches
    Reverse crunches are one of the best exercises you can do if you want to flatten your tummy and develop some stronger abs. You can do them a variety of different ways but, actually, one of the most comfortable is to do them while holding on to the bottom of your couch.

    How to do them? Lay on your back and position your head about a foot away from the couch leg. Grab the leg with your hands and raise your knees so they are 90 degrees with the floor. Tense your abs and roll them back into your chest. At the top of the motion tilt your pelvis for a final little crunch. Lower them slowly back down and repeat.

  4. TV shadow boxing
    Shadow boxing has been used by boxers for decades as a way to build up their speed and their reflexes. It is extremely good for toning your arms and requires zero equipment and almost no space. It will get your heart rate up if you do it right.

    How to do it? Stand in front of the TV with your hand by your ears in the boxing ready position. Bounce on the spot like a fighter ready for action. When the camera changes angle or focus punch at the TV with your left hand and bring it back to the guard position. Repeat with your right hand the next time the camera changes. If you want to pick up the pace choose a more regularly occurring TV moment or do three punches every time it happens. Try and keep it up for five minutes and see how you go!

  5. Chair push ups
    If you have two sturdy chairs you have all you need to get an amazing chest, triceps and shoulders workout. Push ups are incredible when you do them on the ground, and they are even better when you do them between two chairs. This is an amazing way to firm and shape your flabby arms and even push up your bust by working your chest.

    How to do them? Place the two chairs next to each other with enough room for your torso in between them. Now place your hands on the seat of the chair and assume the push up position with your butt tensed, back straight and elbows back at a 45 degree angle. Lower yourself down until you feel a stretch in your chest and then push yourself back up. You can make this SUPER difficult by lifting your feet higher and higher on a couch, table or another chair.

  6. Shopping bag bicep curls
    If you want nice toned arms you need to work on your biceps as well as your triceps. One of the best ways to hit those biceps is to do some curls with a medium to heavy weight – like a shopping bag filled with books, groceries or other weighty items.

    How to do them? Fill up two shopping bags with some items until it is quite heavy for you to hold. Now stand up straight with your shoulders square and your head up. Tense your biceps and curl the weight up to your shoulder without moving your elbow from its position. As you are lowering the bag breathe out. Repeat with the other arm. Make this exercise more difficult by adding more weight to the bags. Remember to swap the bags over after each set in case one is actually more heavy than the others.

  7. Door step calf raises
    Have you got a set of stairs or a raised door step in your house? If so then you have all you need in order to develop some amazing calf muscles. Calf raises are one of the best things you can do for some tight and toned lower legs.

    How to do them? Simple stand on the step with your heels off the edge. Hold on to something so you don’t lose your balance. Lower your heels down and then push upwards using your calf muscles until your heels are as high as they can go. If you want to make this harder try adding a backpack with some weight or even doing it one leg at a time. This one burns!

  8. Superwoman back lifts
    It is really important to work your lower back if you want to counter all the badness that occurs after months and years of sitting at a computer all day long. These superwoman exercises are a simple and easy way to get some back health into you.

    How to do them? Lay on your stomach with your toes pointed and your arms up in front of you like you were superwoman flying through the air. Keep your face down towards the ground. Breath in and then lift your arms and legs off of the ground about one inch and then hold. Breathe out, lower and repeat. Don’t try to push this one too far, just do as many as you can.

  9. Army star jumps
    Good old fashioned army star jumps are an extremely good way to work your shoulders, coordination and get your heart rate up at the same time. You might even want to do these in between the others exercises as a way to keep loose and warm. Don’t underestimate them though, I imagine most of us couldn’t complete 100 in a row.

    How to do them? Simply stand with your feet together and your hands by your side and jump so that your legs land about two to three feet apart and your hands clap above your head. Jump back to the original position and repeat. Try to keep a flowing motion without too many stops.

  10. Dictionary crunches
    We all have one of those big dictionaries that are almost too heavy to put on the shelf. They are a great crunches tool. If you don’t have one just find something else that weighs about 2 to 5 kilograms. These crunches will help to flatten your tummy and strengthen your core area.

    How to do them? Lay on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Place the dictionary on your chest and tense your abs. Roll your upper body towards your knees and crunch your abs tight at the top of the motion. Lower your body down on the exhale keeping your abs tensed the entire time.

You can perform these exercises in this order or you can mix them up. It is really important to use the correct technique so if you are unsure on how to do something just leave it out until you have time to research it and learn it fully. Remember, don’t rest too much and keep your heart rate up.

Conclusion

Every now and then it will be necessary to workout at home. The great thing about this workout is you can do it while dinner is in the oven or while you are watching Grey’s Anatomy at night time. Try and keep it going for at least 20 minutes if you want to get some noticeable benefit out of it. And if you have any more ideas please drop a comment and let us know.

Look Great in a Mini Skirt: Cardio, Diet and Exercise Tips

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Overshot contrast
Creative Commons License photo credit: sirmightymac

Every woman wants to look great in a mini skirt. Most of the time we get a little pang of jealousy when we see another girl walking past in one that we wish we could fit in to. But those toned and tight legs and butt are achievable. In this post I am going to give you a few cardio, diet and exercise tips to make it happen.

How to look great in a mini skirt

Looking great in a mini skirt does not just happen over night. It takes weeks and months of hard work and discipline. The reason most women don’t achieve this is because they give up too early. If you can work hard for about two months you will start to see dramatic results.

We need a three pronged approach to get that great body:

  • the right cardio;
  • the perfect diet; and
  • the best resistance exercises

I have divided this post up into those three sections so you can digest the information easily. Remember, it takes hard work and mental discipline. It is not a quick fix. There is no such thing.

The right cardio for toned legs and a round butt

AVP San Francisco 2009
Creative Commons License photo credit: C1ssou

So what sort of cardio should we be doing if we want to look good in a mini skirt? The answer is simple: high intensity. High intensity cardio will get you results faster.

Why high intensity?
If you have been reading Free Women’s Fitness for a while now you will know that high intensity cardio burns more calories than low pace running and walking because it continues to burn calories after the session is finished. Your heart rate gets boosted so high you speed up your metabolism for a long time.

What exercises are good?
We want to target the butt, hamstrings, thighs and calf muscles especially and as such we should be doing exercises like sprinting, hill runs, kickboxing and other forms of exercise that target the lower body.

How often?
You should be doing cardio at least four times a week for at least two months. After that you can scale back or move into something less stressful on the body. However, hitting your body with a good dose of high intensity work will do you wonders.

The right diet for that mini skirt goal

Pomegranates
Creative Commons License photo credit: quinn.anya

The next (and most important) element is the diet. If your diet is lacking in any way you simply will not lose the weight or tone the legs. Why? It is simple: it takes an hour to burn 200 calories on the treadmill but it takes 30 seconds to eat that many calories. So, if your diet is out your exercise will be fighting an uphill battle.

What to eat?
The most important thing you need to know is that an all natural diet is the best. You should try to avoid any food or drink that is man-made or processed. This means avoiding bread, refined sugars, pasta, etc. You want to stick to foods that are natural, organic and good for you. Here are some foods for weight loss.

How often?
As you all know, timing is almost as important as the stuff you eat. If you eat three big meals a day your body is going to get weighed down and your metabolism will slow. However, if you eat a small meal every three hours your digestion will be cranking and helping you to burn energy. Did you know that the very act of digesting food burns calories? Why not keep it digesting small amounts instead of letting it all get converted into fat.

The best exercises for that mini skirt figure

Weights 2
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There are actually a few things that women seem to ignore when training for that mini skirt figure. One of those things is that heavy weights are actually good for you. They won’t make you bulky but they will burn calories and help you to tone those muscles.

Types of resistance exercises
The best types of exercises you can do if you want to tone your legs and butt are ones that involve many muscles at once. These are called compound exercises and include the jumping squat, the squat, lunges, hill sprints, etc.

How to do them?
All exercises should be done slowly and with perfect technique. Why? Because this way you rely on your muscles to do the work and not your momentum. Momentum is easy. Pushing is hard work. This burns calories. Make sure you learn how to do the exercises really well before you hit the heavy stuff. Injuries last a long time.

How often?
For the first two months you should hit the gym (or living room!) every day that you aren’t doing cardio. This is a perfect routine as it should give you enough recovery time whilst still doing the amount of work that you need to do.

Bonus tip: Work the shoulders
Did you know that the perfect hour glass figure is actually an illusion created by the shape of your upper body as compared to your lower body? If you build up your shoulders more it will make your waist appear thinner and as such your mini skirt much sexier. If you want to look amazing in that short skirt you should work your shoulders with military presses, push ups and so on.

Conclusion

In just two short months you will feel more comfortable in that mini skirt. All you have to do is the right cardio, resistance exercises and food. Please don’t give up before the results start to happen. Push through the mental pain barrier and achieve the body you have always wanted.

3 Motivating Thoughts to Get You to the Gym

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Public Domain - English Bay Jogger
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Have you ever missed a gym session because you just couldn’t be bothered? Ever set your alarm early with the intention of doing a workout but then hit the snooze button and gone back to sleep cos you couldn’t muster up the motivation? I bet you have. We all have.

With that in mind I have put together a few inspiring and motivating thoughts that you can bring to mind every time you think you are going to fall back asleep instead of going to the gym. Hopefully they help someone out there.

3 motivating thoughts to get you to the gym

These thoughts are just temporary fixes. You can use them when things are really bad. However, you need to find a lasting motivation inside yourself that gets you through the tough times. You need to develop the habits. If you don’t you will soon lose interest and no inspiring thoughts will help you.

1. Working out will make me live longer
Life is so short. You might have kids who you are going to have to leave behind one day. But working out can extend the time you have with them. Hitting the gym can cause you to live a few years longer. Running and weight training are excellent for your longevity.

2. Working out will make me feel better
Working out makes you feel better. Each time you go for a run or lift some weights your body releases endorphins and these make you feel good. If you struggle with depression you will do well to remember this one. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to make you feel better.

3. Working out will make me look better
I do not know one single person who likes the way they look. But exercise can change this very quickly. It helps us to burn fat and build muscle and over time we will come to like the way we look. Working out will make you look better and as such you will feel better about yourself.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?