5 Exercises you can do at HOME Exercise #5

Exercise #5 Push Up

Benefits

Targeting the chest, back of your arms, and the front of the shoulders, this is considered one of the staple upper body exercises in a work out program.

Progressions

The great thing about a push up is that there are many variations to progress the movement. Make this exercise more challenging by manipulating the speed of the exercise, lifting a leg up, changing the width of your arms (wide & narrow), or even pushing yourself off of the floor (clap push up).

Written by Jay Agustin, edited by lifefitwork

YOU’RE DONE!

Congratulations for completing the lifefitwork 5-Day Challenge! Now some of you might be saying “this wasn’t hard” or “I’ve seen all these exercises before, nothing new”, well I further challenge you to try all 5 every day. The tough part will be committing yourself to taking the time to complete them. This is the hardest part of any fitness regime, but once you’re over that hump you’ll see just how easy it can be. If you didn’t get a chance to complete all of the challenges this week, no sweat. Here’s a quick recap and where you can find them;

1. Plank

2. Side Plank

3. Squat

4. Hip Extension

5. Push Up (see above!)

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5 Exercises you can do at HOME Exercise #4

Exercise #4 Hip Extensions

Benefits

Also a great calorie burner, this exercise targets the butt and hamstrings. Not only will they lift and tone your butt, they’ll also help you perform the first 3 exercises much better. The problem is, the average desk-chained individual sits so frequently that the muscles in their butt literally shut off. Over time, injuries occur in the low back, knees and even the ankles to name a few.

Progressions

Instead of using two legs, perform the exercise with one or even add weight to your waist.

Another effective progression is to hold the squeeze for a set amount of time (ideally 30 secs+).

Counter Stretch: Pigeon Pose

Pair this exercise up with a pigeon pose to loosen up the backside of your hip and promote more blood flow to the area worked. Got back pain? Inactive/tight glutes usually contribute to the stiff back that you’ve been experiencing.

Written by Jay Agustin, edited by lifefitwork

5 Exercises you can do at HOME Exercise #3

Exercise #3 Squat

Benefits

The squat targets one of the biggest muscle groups allowing for optimal calorie burn. Believe it or not, they will also contribute to your fat loss not only in the legs, but also everywhere else in the body (yes, even that spare tire around the waist!)

Progressions

To make the squat more challenging, add weight, speed up your reps, or even add a jump.

Counter Stretch: Runner’s Lunge

Pair this exercise up with a runner’s lunge (link includes other helpful stretches as well) and save yourself from the tight hips you’re most likely suffering from. As an added bonus, they’ll help you squat even deeper over time.

Written by Jay Agustin, edited by lifefitwork

5 Exercises you can do at HOME Exercise #2

Exercise #2 Side Plank

Benefits

The core is considered to be made up of the many muscles that wrap around the waist (even the legs) not just the ‘6-pack’. This exercise is definitely one of the underrated moves and also contributes to improved posture and the slim looking waist perfect for completing the summer look.

Progressions

To make things more challenging add movement/weight to the side plank.

– movement with arms/legs (countless variations)

– added dumbbell in free hand or even ankle weights

Need More? Couple your side planks with yesterday’s Plank, and feel the burn! #lifefitwork

written by Jay Agustin, edited by lifefitwork

5 Exercises you can do at HOME Exercise #1

Exercise #1 Plank

Benefits

Targets the core, which is essential for a desk-chained individual. A strong core is associated with good posture and it’s what’s usually lacking when you’re caught sitting for most of the day. As an added bonus they’ll also contribute to the 6-pack you’re dying to see.

Progressions

To make things more challenging add movement/weight to the plank.

– movement with arms/legs (countless variations)

– added weight plate on back

written by Jay Agustin, edited by lifefitwork

lifefitwork ft. wallstfitness

A few months ago my friend Sara and I (yes, Sara & Sarah, get the laughs out now) decided that we needed to up our fitness game. We were already relatively healthy and active but we’d reached a plateau. So we wanted to find someone who could help motivate us to push further and essentially, kick our ass into gear. Queue Jay from wallstfitness.

wallstfitness

We were introduced to Jay by a friend, and from our first meeting we knew that he was exactly the kind of person we were looking for. Before hitting the gym we talked about our daily routines, our fitness goals, habits and what we expected out of this experience. Truth be told Jay’s outlook on incorporating fitness into your lifestyle helped inspire me to write this blog! So to give credit where credit is due, allow me to introduce wallstfitness…

My name is Jay Agustin. It’s been a pleasure of mine to educate the business leaders and entrepreneurs about fitness. That’s why I created Wall Street Fitness. I believe that if you start treating your body as you would your own business, it would translate into a better you in all aspects of life. You are Your own stock; my goal is to coach on how to properly invest into yourself and increase your self value. – Jay Agustin

I asked Jay; What’s the best advice you can give to someone who wants to improve their lifestyle?

Do less, better. For starters, what are you doing right now for your health? If it’s minimal, there is no point of adding the max amount of work to your already busy schedule. The key to sustaining a habit is to start off with the minimal amount of work and apply it consistently. Even if it means 30 squats a day, eventually that 30 becomes 40, then 50, and all of a sudden you’re at Fitness Depot and you’re buying weights to add to the exercise. A month in and the squats aren’t so challenging so maybe you’ll add push ups to the routine. Start off small, and create a snowball effect.Jay Agustin 

Now, we put you to the test! Over the next 5 days lifefitwork has teamed up with wallstfitness for the ultimate lifefitwork challenge! Starting tomorrow March 28th, we will post an exercise here for you to complete on your own terms. We will post a different exercise each day (along with video demonstration) until April 1st . Your goal is to successfully complete the daily task and record your results in the comments section! Include how many reps or how much time you were able to hold an exercise till exhaustion. Hold yourself responsible and commit to #lifefitwork!

Wake up & Smell the Coconuts!

Remember our talk about Coconut Oil? Well, after a few failed attempts I’ve finally found my all-time favourite recipe to use it in! Try it out and let me know what you think!

*Note: If you’re allergic to peanuts I am so sorry, because you are REALLY missing out. But, try substituting with another nut butter or nut substitute.

PB&C Smoothie

Step 1: Combine

Step 1: Combine

Step 2: Blend

Step 2: Blend

Ingredients

2 tbsp. Organic Peanut Butter

½ Cup Almond Milk (or milk of your choice)

1 Ripe Banana (for a thicker smoothie use frozen)

2 tbsp. Greek Yogurt

4-5 Ice cubes

1 tsp. Coconut Oil (Solid at room temperature)

Combine all ingredients in a blender & blend until smooth.

                                                                                                   Simple, delicious & hearty! I’ll have this smoothie in the morning and it will keep me going straight through until lunchtime. The coconut oil acts a natural sweetener to counteract the strong nutty taste from the organic peanut butter, while elegantly complementing the banana flavour. Still too cold for a smoothie in the morning? Save this for a replenishing post-workout snack! #lifefitwork

Look Good = Feel Good

If you think this isn’t true you are WRONG. I know that’s a strong statement, but seriously, I challenge you to disagree with me on this one (I actually encourage this).

If you don’t like what you’re wearing, or feel comfortable in what you’re wearing on the outside, you will not ‘feel good’ on the inside. Example. Say you work in a very corporate environment and you have the daunting task of making a presentation to Senior Executives (yes, I faced this last week). Will I be wearing slacks and the sweater that I may or may not have slept in the night before? No! I’ll be wearing the most appropriately-corporate outfit I own (which also doubles as my “interview” go-to). Going into that arena feeling confident with my knowledge & in my appearance made for one heck of a successful presentation!

This isn’t ground breaking news in a day-to-day sense, but what most people don’t realize is the same goes for your workout gear. If you don’t feel good with what you’re wearing, chances are you won’t feel like you’ve accomplished very much in your workout. You need to find your “workout” go to. So starting from the bottom, here’s a lifefitwork Style Guide (live links included!) to help you find what that is;

Gents: Apologies in advance as this a female-centered post, but please by all means, comment and share your thoughts from the men’s perspective as well! Please also note that all of the products listed below are samples of what I already own and no, this is not an endorsed review, all have been purchased & tested by me!

SHOES

Nike Free

            Nike Free 5.0

Did someone say Nike? Contrary to popular belief and almost all social media, Nike shoes are not the only ones on offer.

Don’t base your fitness shoe on style, performance comes first and I guarantee you’ll find a pair you like anyways. Not sure which ones to get? The Running Room and some Nike stores offer a free assessment of your stride, gait etc. to find the best shoe for you!

BOTTOMS

THE Fold-Over Tights, Addidas - Stella McCartney

THE Fold-Over Tights Addidas – Stella     McCartney

You’ve got 3 basic options. Pants, capris or shorts (I beg of you, unless you’re playing Tennis a skort is NOT an option). Whether you’re sporting pants or capris make sure your focus is on the quality of the fabric, and make sure you perform the standard squat and/or jog test before you purchase.

in the flow crop

in the flow crop  Lululemon              

This is so important.

[Squat Test: With your back to a mirror, bend down as if you are sitting on a chair & take a peak over your shoulder. If you can see your under things or the slight shade of your skin colour, do not purchase.]

Brave enough for the short game? Make sure to check the length and elasticity while in motion, or else face the wrath of shorts-turned-underwear in a matter of seconds. [Jog Test: Run on the spot to make sure shorts stay in place and do not ride up.]

                                       TOPS

run: swiftly tech long sleeve crew (my personal fave!) Lululemon

run: swiftly tech long sleeve crew (my personal fave!) Lululemon

Here the options are endless, but there can be a right or wrong choice depending on the activity you’re doing and body type. Let me start by lending some truth to this myth; “Baggy t-shirts make you look skinnier” – No they do not! They make anyone look sloppy and frumpy regardless of what’s hidden underneath them.

Note: Cotton is a fabric to avoid when working out as they will retain a lot of that sweat you’re getting rid of and weigh you down.

Instead, find a light-weight breathable fabric. As daunting as this may sound, opt for a shirt with a tighter fit, or a constructed top with a flattering flair. Don’t shy away from a tight fit, these can actually suck you in and make you look thinner (#winning).

                                                     BOLDER HOLDERS

Or, sports bras if you prefer. This one is a little more personal and you definitely need to pay attention to fabric, elasticity, coverage and the Bounce Effect (you know what I’m talking about).

If you’re going to spend money on any of the above items, invest the most in a good quality sports bra – your back will thank you (again, sorry gentlemen but it’s a girl thang).

All things considered, size matters when you’re looking for the right support for your body.

Now, I know I’ve just mentioned a lot of stuff and a lot of brands that let’s face it, are not cheap! Don’t fret, there are affordable options out there. I’ve listed some of the most common brands to give you an idea of what kind of thing you should be looking for. But here’s a great list to find affordable yoga gear, and no, I wouldn’t classify them as being “yoga only” items. FYI, my favourite sports bras of all-time were purchased at Target for $20, and as soon as the news came out that they were closing I bought 3 more #guilty.

So remember…

1. Always try things on.

2. Always test out how they move.

3. Go lightweight & tight (ish).

Love how you feel in an outfit and I promise you’ll feel better & push yourself harder. #lifefitwork

Sláinte!

I love beer. And having gone to University in Halifax, Nova Scotia beer-drinking was almost a degree requirement (Fun fact: I used to live directly across the street from the cemetery where Mr. Alexander Keith himself was buried!) And I love celebrating this monumental Irish holiday (though, celebrating what? Someone please explain.) in the best way we know how, by drinking (preferably green) BEER!

Bunch o'leprechauns

                                             Bunch O’Leprechauns (Dalhousie University, circa 2012.)

…at least that’s how it used to be when “student” was my full-time job. But truth be told, I am so glad those days are behind me and the green beer (hugely overrated) has stopped flowing. Okay, maybe not stopped completely but we’re trickling here in comparison.

This year however, I am happy to say I will be trading in my green beer for a green pressed juice by Greenhouse Juice Co. If juice isn’t your thing (or you get a little sticker shocked with the price of a juice) try making your own green smoothie like one of these.

East of Eden (Romaine, Kale, Celery, Apple & Lemon)

East of Eden (Romaine, Kale, Celery, Apple & Lemon)

Must I explain why the juice or smoothie is better than the beer? I think not in this case, a vegetable is a vegetable is a vegetable, and veggies are GOOD FOR YOU. Point made.

By all means, enjoy your beers but try something new this year and start/end off your day with the healthier green drink to #lifefitwork AND celebrate St. Patrick!

Time for a Takeover!

Move over Kale! There’s a new celeb in town and Coconut Oil is her name.

Oil of the Gods

Oil of the Gods

 Truthfully, I’m probably late to jump on the Coconut Oil bandwagon but it’s still new to me so I’m sticking to it. There’s no surprise that a lot of us suffer from dry skin in the bitter winter months and my mom recently told me about her new cure, Coconut Oil. She had recently been on a trip with my Aunt and they treated themselves to a complete spa-day, with facial included. What they learned during their facial was that coconut oil is what many claim to be the best natural moisturizer out there. Their esthetician even claimed to say that she has ditched buying regular moisturizers and strictly uses coconut oil!

I wasn’t sold yet. But I am a very firm believer in the mantra don’t knock it ‘till ya try it.

So, I bought myself some coconut oil (available at most retail grocery stores) and have started using it as a hand cream. And I am happy to report that as a moisturizer it definitely seems to be working (goodbye dry, cracked, winter knuckles!)

BUT, that’s not the only thing it’s good for. The jar itself claims coconut oil is “Ideal high-heat cooking oil, delicious for baking, in bread, on vegetables, or popcorn”. Sounds too good to be true, right? So of course, I had to try it.

Let me tell you, I have NOT been disappointed. I’ve started to use coconut oil as a substitute for olive oil when cooking with vegetables (mushrooms especially) and they are delicious! I find the hint of coconut really helps to bring out the natural flavours of the veggies I’m cooking with. Of course after I started using Coconut Oil myself I went online and found about a bijillion ways to use it! Some of my faves can be found here by well+good (one of my all-time favourite blogs fyi).

Moral of the story? Always ALWAYS listen to your mother. And stay tuned, I’ll be showcasing some of my own favourite recipes using Coconut Oil soon! #lifefitwork