Five 10-Minute Workouts to Boost Your Mood (& Muscles!)

Happy Monday and welcome back!

This week, as you can tell by the title of my post, I wanted to stick with the health & fitness theme – if you haven’t noticed, I’m very into this kind of thing, and even more so now that traveling is off limits!

I’ve been teaching online fitness classes while in quarantine, and after writing 4-5 different workout routines each week for my classes, I figured I might as well start sharing them on here. I want to disclaim that my only fitness certification is as a spin instructor, so these are simply recommendations of workouts I’ve been doing (and teaching) to get a quick hit of movement in throughout my day.

I wanted to stick with the 10 minute workouts for this week’s post, as this (in my opinion) is the easiest way to start implementing strength and conditioning into your day. Everyone can find 10 minutes to spare at some point during the day, and picking just one focus area for that 10 minutes can make a huge difference down the road!

I’m a proponent of switching things up every day, between muscle groups, activity level, and duration of exercise – this will help your muscles to recover between workouts, and also to get you excited and motivated to try new things, rather than sticking to the same ab workout everyday for a week. I also have noticed that even just 10 minutes of exercise can help clear your mindset and give you a refreshed outlook on the rest of your day, so even if you’re feeling stressed and exhausted and a workout seems like the last thing you want to do, I’m sure you’ll feel MUCH better afterwards. So, without too much of an introduction, here are five 10-minute workouts to get you started!


1. 10 Minute Core Crunch

This set contains 10 exercises, 1 minute each. You can decide how long you want to hold each exercise vs. how long you want to rest – you can start with 30-40 seconds on/20-30 seconds off, and then build up to 45-50 seconds on/10-15 seconds rest depending on your stamina. For an extra challenge, use ankle weights while you crunch!

  • Plank rockers (elbow plank while shifting your weight forward and backward)
  • Flutter kick
  • Boat to low boat (hands off the ground for a challenge!)
  • Leg lifts
  • Russian twists (hold a 5-10lb. weight to make it harder!)
  • Straight leg crunches
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Penguins (on back with feet on the ground/knees pointed up, reach for alternating ankles)
  • Hip lifts (legs straight in the air, lift your hips up using only core muscles)
  • Reverse crunches (hold a weight to make it harder!)

2. 10 Minute Leg & Glute Strength

For this exercise, I definitely recommend working up to using ankle weights eventually – if you don’t normally do leg exercises, you will benefit from just bodyweight, but adding weight definitely increases the intensity of this workout! Similar to the core crunch workout above, I am giving you 10 exercises, and you can choose how you want to build the intervals of working time vs. rest to reach 10 minutes!

  • Bodyweight squats, or hold a weight for higher intensity
  • Squat pulses (weight also optional)
  • Alternating right/left donkey kicks (from tabletop position)
  • Alternating right/left fire hydrants (from tabletop position)
  • Right side leg lifts (laying on left side)
  • Left inside leg lifts (laying on left side)
  • Left side leg lifts (laying on right side)
  • Right inside leg lifts (laying on right side)
  • Right straight-leg reverse leg lifts, straight up or side-to-side for challenge (from tabletop position)
  • Left straight-leg reverse leg lifts, straight up or side-to-side for challenge (from tabletop position)

3. 10 Minute Arm Toner

Choose an accurate weight for these workouts – I use 5lbs because I want to tone my arms rather than bulk up, while my brother, a college football player, uses 10-15lb weights to build muscle. Even starting off with 2-3lbs will make a difference, and if you don’t have weights at home, you can use any household object, like water bottles, soup cans, or shampoo bottles! Once again, this workout contains 10 exercises where you can choose your intervals – I recommend spending less rest time on these, though, as our stamina tends to last longer with arm exercises.

  • Bicep curls
  • Hammer curls
  • Overhead press
  • Chest fly
  • Tricep extensions OR tricep kickbacks
  • Bent over rows
  • Wide arm bicep curls
  • Front to back narrow rows
  • Lateral raises
  • Boxer punches

4. 10 Minute Full Body STRENGTH

This set combines core, legs, and arms to form one cohesive strengthening exercise. I recommend holding onto a light weight for most of these to up the intensity, and I suggest 45 seconds on/15 seconds off as a good starting point – but feel free to switch things up as needed!

  • Reverse lunges + torso twist, alternate right/left
  • Wide arm pushups, on knees or on feet
  • High plank jacks (step out right/left, or hop for challenge)
  • Side lunges, alternate right/left
  • Bicep curl to overhead press
  • Torso dips in horse position, alternate right/left (lean toward alternating sides/knees)
  • Plié squats (horse position)
  • Tricep dips OR tricep kickbacks
  • Boat to low boat
  • Hip lifts, hip lift pulses, or hip lift hold

5. 10 Minute Full Body CARDIO CONDITIONING

This fifth and final exercise is perfect for when you don’t have the time or energy to go for a run, do a full HIIT workout, or any other cardio of choice. Once again, I am giving you 10 exercises for which you can build your own intervals to reach 10 minutes, but I challenge you to work up to 1 minute of each exercise – that means no rest! This way you are getting a FULL 10 minutes of cardio!

  • Jump rope in place
  • Jumping jacks
  • Torso twist shuffle (twist hips right/left while hopping)
  • Butt kickers
  • Hop-hop-squat
  • High knees
  • Jumping jacks
  • Side shuffle 2 steps, touch ground on 3rd (alternate right/left)
  • Alternate front kick + toe touch with opposite arm
  • Mountain climbers

Well, that is all to get you started! These five sets should give you enough of a variety to pick and choose what you want each day, and of course feel free to switch out certain individual exercises for other modifications, or other moves you enjoy more. I personally like the structure of a 10-exercise, 10-minute workout, because I can get through it fairly quickly, so I hope you can all find a similar motivation! Pairing two or three together can also make for a great, 20-30 minute full body workout 🙂

Hopefully I can film a live workout soon to share with you all so you can better see the exercises and form I am explaining, and you can workout alongside me. I will also be posting more blogs like this in the future with different and new exercise ideas – so until then, good luck and happy moving!

xx,

Megan


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What I Eat in a Day as a Fitness Instructor – Healthy Meal Ideas

Good morning and welcome back to another week! I hope everyone is enjoying the summer weather and starting to find some normalcy as life begins to reopen a bit.

This past week, I decided to film a video going through an entire day of my meals and snacks. As I’ve mentioned, I am currently teaching fitness classes online while still at home, so I filmed this video on a day where I was teaching two classes and definitely wanted to eat healthier and boost my energy. I thought it would be a good idea to go more in depth with each meal I eat and list out specific recipes for you all, so while I’ve linked my vlog from last week below, I’m going to walk you through another day in my life where I ate slightly different meals – still focusing on staying healthy!

Breakfast

To start every day, I drink either a hot lemon water (which I did today), or a hot lemon ginger tea. This helps wake me up and slowly start my metabolism for the day.

A few hours later, I’ll make an iced coffee – usually hazelnut – with just a splash of almond milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I’m trying to break my habit of drinking two coffees per day, so I find that if I can hold off on my first coffee until 11 or 12, I don’t end up needing one later in the afternoon.

Once I’ve finished my coffee and start to get hungry, I make my breakfast. On this day, I made my favorite green smoothie: two hand fulls of spinach (about half of the blender), 2/3 frozen banana, a hand full of frozen pineapple, a large scoop of almond butter, 2-3 tbsp hemp seeds, 1-2 tsp cinnamon, 1-2 scoops collagen powder, and either almond or coconut milk (I keep adding milk as I blend it until it’s the thickness that I want). I top my smoothie with coconut flakes and chia seeds, first to get more protein, and second to slow down how quickly I drink it!

Lunch

For lunch today I had my usual avocado toast – a slice (or sometimes two) of any multigrain seed toast, half of an avocado mashed, lemon juice, sea salt, cracked black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Normally I use the Food For Life brand rice bread, but I can only get that at Whole Foods near me and right now it doesn’t make sense to shop at more than one grocery store, just to be safe! This is my absolute favorite lunch that I have most days, and it definitely fills me up enough to hold me over throughout the day.

With my lunch today I also had a bowl of SkinnyPop popcorn – another favorite snack, and not too filling. It’s nice to be able to mindlessly snack on something knowing it’s still (relatively) healthy!

Dinner

For dinner I made a rice bowl with coconut white rice, and then topped it with roasted broccoli and cauliflower. I roasted the veggies with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then topped the rice with coconut aminos (tastes like soy sauce). This is one of my favorite dinners – I love roasted vegetables – and it’s super easy to make. This also fills me up after exercising or teaching a class!

A little while after dinner, I end my night with a bowl of red grapes, and a cup of lemon-ginger-tumeric tea. I’m a big dessert person, so eating grapes instead of sweets after dinner was a good habit for me to pick up. Drinking this tea also helps me to digest everything from the day, reset my stomach for tomorrow, and calm myself down before going to bed.


I know this is just one day in my life, but I love coming up with new recipe ideas and playing around with my meals, so I will definitely do another post like this in the future if you are interested. Of course what I eat varies day to day, but for the most part, this is a pretty good representation of my diet.

I’ve linked below the vlog I filmed last week bringing you along another day in my life, and if you have any questions or comments, please let me know! Health and fitness is one of my main interests, so I love sharing this information and writing posts like these.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief day in my life, and I hope to see you all next week! Let me know if there’s anything you want to see in the future, and enjoy this start to the summer 🙂

xx,

Megan


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Current Favorites of 2020

Welcome back and happy Memorial Day! I hope everyone’s been having a relaxing weekend and enjoying some time off. I’m definitely excited that the weather is getting nicer, and I’m really starting to enjoy my quarantine routine.

This week I wanted to talk about some of my favorites at the moments – books, movies, food, and more. I’ve been trying so many new things with all of the free time I have now, and while I’ve been loving it, I’m starting to run out of ideas! So, I wanted to share with you all my favorites of quarantine in case you’re also in need of some new inspiration.

TV and Movies

  • Outer Banks – I know everyone has been watching this show on Netflix, but I had to include it. This was super quick to get through and while I didn’t expect to like it at first, I was completely wrong!
  • Big Little Lies – I’m definitely late to this trend, but I’m about halfway through Season 2 now and I love this show. It’s definitely heavier and I can only really watch one episode at a time, but it’s so intriguing!
  • Ozark – Another great Netflix show! This isn’t the type of show I usually watch, but something good to mix it up. Also much more dense than other light hearted shows, so keep that in mind.
  • Life of the Party – I watched this movie with my mom a couple of weeks ago, and it was SO funny, we both loved it! Great for a lighthearted movie after dinner.

Books

  • Little Fires Everywhere – I’d been meaning to read this so that I can watch the Hulu series next, and I just finished last week. This book was SO good, and I got through it pretty quickly because of all of the suspense! I would definitely recommend reading this if you’ve watched the show, or are planning to do so.
  • The Couple Next Door – I’m about halfway done with this book now, and it’s another great, suspenseful story. If you’re into mystery or crime novels, this is a good choice.
  • The Defining Decade – When I need a break from my other fiction-based stories, I’ve been reading a chapter or two of this book. I would highly suggest anyone in their twenties read this, it has so many amazing lessons for young adults and it so motivational!

Food and Drink

  • Summer salads – Now that it’s summery weather, I’ve been obsessed with a few different salads. My favorites are Greek, quinoa and orzo based salads, and light arugula salads with different fruits and nuts! Feta is always a topping 🙂
  • Summer cocktails – I talked about a few of these in my recipe post, but I’ve been trying out a few new ones recently. My favorites are Aperol Spritzs, sangria, rose spritzers, and different frozen fruit drinks.
  • Ice cream – Another summer necessity! I’ve been going to Dairy Queen and White Mountain Creamery more often now that it’s getting hot out, and I’ve also been picking up lots more of Ben and Jerry’s dairy free pints…SO good!
  • Coffee – I’ve been experimenting with my regular coffee orders now that I have so much time, so while I usually start my day with a MaryLou’s hazelnut iced coffee (I buy the ground coffee and make it at home), I’ll almost always end up treating myself to either a whipped latte at home, or a Dunkin Donuts caramel iced coffee in the afternoon.

Activities

  • Laying outside – This sounds simple enough, but I’ve actually been enjoying spending a lot more time than usual in my backyard. Especially when it’s warm out, I’ve found it so peaceful and relaxing to just lay in the sun and listen to music, podcasts, or read.
  • Walking – I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but with all the time I have during the day now, walking has become one of my favorite ways to exercise. It’s also been so great to keep my mood lifted and to stay motivated. I’ll play a 45-75 minute podcast, and just walk until it’s over!
  • Spinning – I finally got access to a spin bike, and this has been AMAZING for both my physical and mental health! I missed spinning so much, as I went from teaching and taking 4-5 classes per week, to none at all, so I’ve been trying to get on the bike as much as possible lately.
  • Online learning – I’m now starting to take different online classes and watch more tutorials on some interests I’ve gained recently, which has been a great way to spend my time and stay mentally motivated and engaged. These range from 15 minute YouTube videos to week long online courses or programs, so you can spend as much or as little time on this as you like!

Other

  • Podcasts – I talk about podcasts a lot, but I wanted to mention specifically my favorites right now. I listen regularly to The Skinny Confidential podcast, Gals on the Go, Girls Gotta Eat, and The Office Ladies, among a few others!
  • Eucalyptus products – Specifically, I use a eucalyptus body wash at the end of my showers, and I’ll just put a drop in my hands and breathe in the scent to calm down and reset my mind. Any calming scents or oils are great to boost and focus your energy.
  • My new favorite sweatshirt – This is the cropped, grey Champion hoodie from Urban Outfitters, and I’m obsessed. It is so comfy, the perfect crop length, and the hood is so big and cozy (exactly how I like sweatshirts!). I recommend sizing up so that it’s extra cozy, I like my sweatshirts to be more oversized.

This list is definitely on the longer side, but I wanted to make sure I included everything I’ve been loving while in quarantine (which is a lot!). I hope this can give you some ideas if you’re stuck on old content, activities, or recipes, and if you have any other recommendations that I left out, I’d love to hear them below! As always, stay safe and healthy, and I’ll be back next week 🙂

xx,

Megan


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