Tag Archives: at-home workout

At-Home Leg Workout …and Happy Fall!

Yesterday was “leg day” for me. But it was also one of those days where I just didn’t feel like going to the gym. I debated skipping the workout altogether and just having some chocolate instead (always a good idea). But, I was feeling antsy from sitting at my computer all day and wanted to burn off some energy…so I decided to get creative and design an at-home workout I could do in my basement.

When I’m in a gym, I take advantage of the weight room and get some good strength training in while I can. Squats, deadlifts, and bench presses are my kind of thing. But it’s always good to mix it up and keep your body guessing! This is how you see results in fat loss, muscle gain, and fitness! So, I like to throw in random workouts from time to time that utilize other skills like flexibility, stability and plyometrics.

With that in mind, I created the following leg workout that you can do at home. All you need is a set of dumbbells! 

leg circuit

Click here for links with videos and descriptions of each exercise: Stability and Plyometric Leg Circuit

I’m pretty thrilled that Fall is finally here! This is my favorite season of the year. Although I also say that about winter. And spring. It’s hard to choose a favorite.

I’ll be back soon with delicious recipes for Fall…accompanied with more leaf graphics and fall-themed workouts.  😉

For now, I leave you with my latest find for this season:

pumpkin spice tea

          Pumpkin Spice tea from Trader Joe’s

I’ve been drinking a cup of this goodness every day this week!

Happy Fall! 🙂

One Simple Change to Get More Out of Your Workout!

When it comes to fitness, more isn’t always better.

Simply put, the QUALITY of your workout is more important than the amount of time you spend on it.

For years, we’ve been told that the best way to burn fat is through long, aerobic workouts, such as long distance running or hours on a similar cardio machine. In recent studies, though, we’re learning that shorter interval workouts are actually just as effective for burning fat, increasing your metabolism, and lowering insulin resistance.

Here are some other benefits of interval workouts:

– simple to create using any kind of exercise, which keeps you from getting bored!
– easier to fit into your schedule because they can be done in less than 30 minutes and still give you a great workout
– they can be done anywhere – I’ve done them at parks, in my basement, and in hotel rooms
– increases your RESTING metabolism rate – meaning, your body will burn more calories throughout your day, even when you’re resting. Long aerobic workouts might burn a lot of calories DURING the workout, but interval workouts cause you to burn more calories overall because you continue burning throughout the next 48 hours

Without further ado, here are the simple steps to creating a great interval workout:

Creating an Interval Workout

You can make your intervals as long or as short as you want, but a good rule of thumb is somewhere between 30-60 seconds. So, following the 2:1 ratio, if your intervals are going to be 30 seconds, your rest periods will be 15 seconds. The short rest period keeps your heart rate elevated and is guaranteed to give you a great workout!

A couple years ago, I started incorporating intervals into my running workouts and saw a noticeable increase in my speed. Lately I’ve been using intervals for various exercises on the floor or with weights, primarily using movements that work multiple muscle groups.

Here are some of my favorite exercises for intervals workouts:

  • Burpees – Everyone hates them (myself included) but they are one of the best total body exercises you can do without any equipment
  • Push-ups – If you can’t do military-style push-ups, put your hands on a bench, or just do the push-ups on your knees
  • Squat jumps – squat with your feet shoulder-width apart; as you rise from the squat, jump off the ground with both feet
  • Lunges – many variations you can do on this one! Lunge forward, backward or sideways and add an overhead press with dumbbells if you can
  • Plank – if you’re able to plank easily, add in an alternating leg lift or other variation to make it more difficult!
  • Scissor Legs – you can use ANY ab exercise in your interval workout, but scissor legs are one of my favorites. I also love doing Russian twists and In-and-Outs
  • Tricep Dips – all you need is a bench or chair
  • Bench Step-ups – exactly what it sounds like: find a bench or flight of stairs and step up and down, alternating your leg each time
  • High Knee Sprints – great exercise to get your heart rate going!
  • Jumping jacks – simple and old-school!
  • Side shuffles over a step
  • Mountain climbers – this one targets your abs and also hits your shoulders, glutes and legs

Those are just a few of the exercises you can incorporate into your interval workout.

Here’s a sample routine that I created for myself a few days ago:
Full Body Interval Workout cropped

This circuit will give you a great full-body workout in less than 20 minutes!

I’ll leave you with a little workout humor that made me laugh today…


Two At-Home Workouts: Shoulders + Abs

Tis the season…of allergies SPRING! The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and my throat is scratchy. Allergies have never really bothered me in the past, so when I felt my throat slowly closing up and my nose getting stuffy on Saturday night, I was caught off guard. The tree pollen has been incredibly high this week (so high that my Weather Channel app is sending me alerts about it, whatever that means!) and as a result, I’ve spent most of my time indoors. It’s frustrating to not be outside enjoying the glorious sunshine, but it’s given me the motivation to get back into strength training in my workouts this week.

allergies ecard

I haven’t been in the mood for the gym the past few days, so I decided to create a couple simple workouts that I could complete in the comfort of my own basement. All you need for these is dumbbells and a stability ball.

On Saturday, I completed this shoulders workout, circuit-style. Meaning, I didn’t rest at all between the exercises and completed the set 3 times. (I did rest about 1 minute in between each set.) It was a tough and sweaty workout that left my shoulders completely spent. For circuit-style workouts like this one, I often use a slightly lighter weight on all the exercises for the first circuit, then increase to a heavy weight for the second, and back down a little bit on the third.

Shoulders Circuit:
(15 reps each, with no more than 10 seconds in between each exercise)

– Seated Arnold Press on Stability Ball
– Side Lateral Raise
– Standing Overhead Press with Dumbbells
Bent-over Rear Delt Raise (you can do this exercise either bent-over while standing, or sitting on a bench)
Dumbbell Front Raise

< repeat 3x >

I followed this workout with a 30-minute HIIT run on the treadmill and called it a day!

On Sunday, I was in a little bit of a rush to workout before making it out to church for an earlier Easter service, so I jotted down a simple at-home abs workout that took me less than 25 minutes to complete.

This workout consists of 2 circuits of 10 different exercises that are each done for 1 minute with no rest in between. My favorite way to do these workouts is to set up my interval timer app and just start and stop it when I do each exercise, without clearing the accumulated time. That way, I can see the minutes adding up and know that I’m getting closer to the end of the circuit! Pausing the timer in between exercises for a few seconds allows me to grab a dumbbell, stability ball, or whatever I need, without cutting into the “1 Minute” of the next exercise.  😉

Here’s the workout:

abs circuit workout

Abs Circuit Workout:
(Do each exercise for 1 minute and complete the entire circuit without resting, if possible! Repeat twice.)

1) Hanging leg raise (if you don’t have a pull-up bar at home, do some mountain climbers for this segment instead)
2) Russian Twists (with dumbbell)
3) Side Tilts with Dumbbell
4) In-and-Outs
5) Scissor Legs
6) Plank with Feet on Stability Ball (or a Medicine Ball, if you prefer!)
7) Crunches on Stability Ball (the ball should be under the “small” of your back)
8) Side-plank with Leg Raises
9) Stability Ball Leg Lift (squeeze the stability ball between your ankles/calves; lay on your back and slowly raise the ball up off the ground, while tightening your abs)
10) Bicycle Crunches (left elbow to right knee, and vice versa)

If you aren’t sufficiently sweaty at the end of this workout, throw in a minute or two of mountain climbers to finish it off!

I hope you had a great Easter weekend!


Finally, Some Snow! …and a couple at-home workouts!


Yes, good ol’ Saint Louis got some SNOW last night! We were predicted to get a little bit on Christmas Day evening, which never really came. Fail. However, we got a beautiful couple inches of it last night, which wasn’t really predicted at all! The temperatures hovered right around 32 so it could have gone either way. I’ll take the gorgeous snow! The roads weren’t bad at all this morning because it was just enough to make things pretty. 🙂

I woke up around 7 this morning and did this short Youtube yoga workout in the comfort of my bedroom where it was nice and warm. It was a very relaxing and refreshing start to my day! Then I leashed up the beagle for a short walk in the snow. She is such a wimp and acted like her paws were going to fall off, as she daintily picked her way down the street. Makes me laugh, that one.

After my cheeks and nose were sufficiently numbed, I came inside and enjoyed a mug of warm lemon water while chatting with my mom.


A few weeks before Christmas, my mom started bringing up the idea of getting in shape and having me design some workouts for her. My mom has always been a very active woman and loves to hike, bike and walk with my dad on their vacations. She’s not by any means overweight but wants to get more “toned” and build some muscle. 😉

We joked back and forth for a few weeks about me being her “personal trainer” but it wasn’t til the day after Christmas that we finally got down to business and got our sweat on together. My parents have a fair amount of workout equipment in our basement, including a treadmill, elliptical machine, bench with bar/weights, and numerous free weights.

On Wednesday, I created a short and sweet (and sweaty!) abs and core workout for Mom to do. I was a little nervous because:

1) I’m a Holistic Health Coach, but NOT a personal trainer! Although I’ve done TONS of research about workouts and love to create workouts for myself, I’m not officially qualified to train someone.

2) I know what works for ME, but I don’t know how to evaluate someone else’s fitness level and create an appropriate workout for THEM.

Well, it must have been a success, because Mom said her abs were on fire the whole time and the next day she definitely felt it! Win!

Here’s the circuit workout I created for her; you don’t need any equipment except a big stability ball and a weight to hold for the Russian twists.

On Friday, we decided to tackle the legs so I designed a simple but effective workout for her that focused on basic exercises like squats and lunges. Since my mom is just getting back into working out, we did most of the squats and lunges with light weights, but she plans to continue increasing the weight over time to get even better results!

Here’s the leg workout I designed for Mom, along with some extra notes about improving stability and balance, which are areas she wants to work on:

When it’s cold and dreary outside, I tend to opt for at-home workouts so I can stay in the comfort of my own home. Even if you don’t have a lot of equipment in your home or basement, there are tons of bodyweight exercises you can do that will definitely have you sweating! Think pushups, lunges, squats, mountain climbers, tricep dips, etc! If you intersperse some cardio bursts (jumping jacks, fast feet, jump squats) in between the exercises, you’ll really get your heart rate up!

I’m off to drink some Gingerbread Spice tea and start a new book!

A Killer Leg Workout…and a Bridal Shower

When it comes to bedtimes, my ideal is lights-out around 10pm. I know, I’m like a grandma! haha. I’ve always been more of an early to bed, early to rise, kind of person. Even in my “prime” (read: high school) I was almost always in bed by 11. I thrive on waking up early; the morning is my favorite time of day. It’s so peaceful and quiet.

All of that was basically just an introduction to the fact that I got to bed later than I would have liked last night. 😛 Hence, I woke up later than usual…around 8:30. I know that might sound rather early for a Saturday morning, but my normal wake-up time on a Saturday is 7 or 7:30 because I find it impossible to sleep much later. I’d been planning for several days to do a leg workout this morning because I’ve really gotten out of the habit lately. Running has taken the place of lower-body strength training for me the past few weeks. I do love the increased running mileage, but I miss the strength training! Running is something I do because I LOVE it…weight training is more a discipline and necessary part of my routine. I know strength training is good for me and I know it helps build muscle/burn fat so I try to lift weights at least 2 or 3 times a week. I have no problem staying on track with upper body weight lifting because I love that and also see results more quickly, for some reason. But with the lower body, I’m always more inclined to go for a run than to bust out the lunges and squats.

Today was the day that lower-body strength training reappeared in my life, though. As soon as I woke up, I grabbed a pen and paper and lay in bed, designing a leg workout that would give me a good burn. I feel like weight lifting is useless if it doesn’t make ya at least a little bit sore. 😉 With my paper in hand, I made my way down to the basement to knock out this workout:

15 Bulgarian Split Squats (each leg)

15 Front Squats (holding 30lb bar)

15 Hamstring Curls with Swill Ball (one leg at a time)

60 Seconds Abs (any abs exercise of my choice)


15 Bulgarian Squats (each leg)

15 Back Squats (holding 30lb bar)

15 Hamstring Curls with Swiss Ball (one leg at a time)

60 Seconds Abs


15 Lunges, Holding 10lb Weights in Each Hand (15 lunges each leg)

15 One-Legged Squats (each leg)

15 Hamstring Curls with Swiss Ball (one leg at a time)

60 Seconds Mountain Climbers


15 Lunges, Holding 10lb Weights in Each Hand (15 lunges each leg)

15 One-Legged Squats (each leg)

15 Hamstring Curls with Swiss Ball (one leg at a time)

60 Seconds Mountain Climbers


15 Plie Squats, Holding 30lb Weight

15 Single Leg Deadlifts (each leg)

15 Plie Squats, Holding 30lb Weight

15 Single Leg Deadlifts (each leg)

60 Seconds Abs


Whew, my legs were on FIRE after this! I was somewhat disappointed by that because I can tell my legs have lost strength over the past month since I haven’t been strength training them! A lot of the weight amounts I used today were far below where I used to be at, which is frustrating. BUT at least I’m getting back into the strength training now, and hopefully it won’t take too long to get back to where I was at!

Moving along, after my awesome leg workout, I enjoyed a delicious bowl of oatmeal with the usual fixings: frozen blueberries and peanut butter, and an insane amount of sea salt. For some reason, I love my oatmeal really salty. It never TASTES salty to me, though. But I put a ton of salt on it. And cinnamon. YUM.

We were off to my aunt’s house for the 12pm shower luncheon. It was such a blast! I don’t yet have pics from the afternoon because my aunt has yet to email them to us, but here’s one I took on my phone of my outfit for the day:

Laura really enjoyed herself, which was the most important thing! And I really enjoyed catching up with all these homeschool moms that I hadn’t talked to in forever! They are all so sweet; I felt so accepted and loved the whole afternoon. Not that it’s about me, but lately I’ve felt so distant and out of place in a lot of the crowds I hang out with, so it was really refreshing to feel like these ladies truly cared about me and how I’m doing. Such a blessing!

I played the “maid of honor role” when it was time for gifts, jotting down the name that corresponded with each gift to make thank you notes simpler for Laura. She got a lot of great stuff from her registry! I always love going to bridal showers where the bride is registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond because the boxes and bags all have that deep purple that is signature of B, B & B. Gorgeous!

Saturday night, I was supposed to go to an engagement party for two of my friends, but I was exhausted from the bridal shower and not feeling that great so I decided to stay home instead. I felt horrible (as I always seem to when I miss social events!) about not going, but at the same time, I was glad I stayed home. It was a nice relaxing evening instead, reading, writing, and eating huge bowls of frozen blueberries until my lips turned blue. (That’s not a joke – they really do turn blue from the blueberry juice) 😉