Your FREE Workout

What could be worse than American reality TV?   Answer: Swedish reality TV. No, it’s worse than worse. It’s bad on steroids and not even in HD quality to boot. Why…you’re asking yourself…did I subject myself to this punishment? In all fairness, I had no choice. I was at the gym, (it has free childcare, need I say more), on the elliptical machine, (there’s only 2, it’s a small gym), facing four TV’s tuned into different stations. Only one was showing the reality TV show, (thank goodness), the rest were playing reruns of The Biggest Loser and The Doctors—Jillian Michaels just happened to be on both.

So is she like the only expert that can help anyone lose weight? I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I actually signed up on her website for some “free” workout ideas. I know, I know…nothing’s free. Now I’m bombarded with emails telling me for $4 dollars a month I can get my free workouts. Does Jillian Michaels really need my $4 dollars??? But, I digress…

So Maggie loved the kid care and I loved my hour break and the next day we went back. Only this time…I decided to give Pilates a try. You ever been…No? I hadn’t either and I really wouldn’t suggest your first class be in Swedish:)

The Zen-like setting did nothing to prepare me. The lights were dim, soft music was playing; candles floating in glass bowls flanking either side the instructor’s stage. Lovely.I did my best to follow along, stretching, lengthening, contracting my abs while holding my legs high in the air, (just like her) gracefully holding, then not so gracefully holding, (but still holding), then more holding, still more…starting to shake but holding (barely). When we were ever going to stop holding!!?? It was like this for an hour. If not for the mirrors (and the people to witness my failure), I might have quit. But I had my pride (and the friend who came with me), so together we powered through.

When it was over, I asked this fifty-something instructor her secret to staying fit (don’t we all want to know The Secret?) These were her words, “be consistent.” Dang it! Can’t it just be eating grapefruit, because that I can do! No, of course it can’t, that would be too easy and if we really want to get deep about exercise it’s a metaphor for life, yes folks, a tough, challenging, but ultimately important metaphor about staying balanced.

It’s ALL about consistency. This instructor had been a ballet dancer in her youth but now, she said, she’d learned to be kind to herself. Not the “kind” that rewards oneself with a chocolate bar after a tough day, (yes sometimes we need that kindness too), but this…this means taking time each day to ask yourself, “How are you managing? What do you need?” Questions, sadly, we’re more apt to ask a stranger than ourselves.

She cautioned that, “a little exercise each day is better than a lot all at once.” Right. We’ve heard that before, but somehow we miss the message. A little each day. Give your “self” time, not just to exercise, but to recharge; that’s what this is really about. “When we’re kind to ourselves,” she said, “we’re able to be kind to others,” namely our family. Hmmm…how true. It’s a philosophy that might not change the world, but it could just change our “self” and sometimes that’s the hardest change of all.

Okay Folks, as promised, here is: Your Free Workout!!!

You don’t even have to pay me $4, or my friend Jen Jensen, a personal trainer, my fitness hero, a mom and exercise guru extraordinaire. Below is her strategy for a heart-pumping workout that will re-energize your day. You can even do this with your kids. Thank you Jen!!!

Complete this circuit three times: or as many as you can with the time you have. Keep your heart rate up (but not too high).

One minute: jumping jacks

20 seconds rest

*One minute: girls push up’s (do a few men’s if you can)

20 seconds rest

One minute: jumping jacks

One minute: lunges alternating lead leg each rep.

20 seconds rest

One minute: jumping jacks

One minute: triceps dips on a bench or chair.  If you can, lower your self with legs straight, but if you need to, bend your knees and it will take some of the pressure off your arms.

20 seconds rest

One minute: jumping jacks

One minute: plank pose. (Do this with your elbows and palms on the ground, your back flat but held in the air.) Hold for as long as you can, (drop down or go into down dog if you need to), but try to hold until one minute is over.

*For variation Jen suggests replacing any of the strength exercises with a move that requires weights. Or if you want an additional challenge, replace the jumping jacks with a sumo squat jack—that’s where you jump and land in a squat each time you open your arms. Oh, yes you can!!!!

2 Comments on “Your FREE Workout

  1. Even I could handle that routine! I can feel muscles twinging in excitement as I read thru the list. And sometimes gym-peer pressure is a good thing when it comes to mirrors and friends and holding poses. But I’d be willing to bet that they are watching YOU to inspire them to hold their pose as long as Lana can hold hers!

  2. Just wanted to let you know I did your workout because it was raining…I am no Swede, I don’t brave the conditions. Thank you for the workout. I loved it! And I also like checking in on your blog to feel like I, too, am living in Sweden. Lots of love and appreciation….

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