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Fitness Friday: Anywhere Leg Workout

While I love a great weight training session, sometimes you just don’t have the time or access to a fully stocked gym. This is a simple leg workout that you can do anywhere – When you’re on the road for work, taking a vacation, or just can’t get to the gym.

These are basic bodyweight movements that you can adjust as needed – Simply add weights or resistance bands to increase difficulty.

Squats:

Squats are a great movement that work a number of muscle groups – If you have bad knees you can modify the move by not squatting as deeply.

Leg Workout Fitness Friday San Francisco Fitness Blogger Nike Workout Gear Lunges Squats Side Lunge

Top – Nike c/o JD Sports

Capri Pants – Nike c/o JD Sports

Shoes – Brooks

Fitness Tracker – Misfit Shine {post coming up on this soon!}

Tips for the perfect squat:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart
  2. Keep your chest & head up
  3. Squat as low as your body easily permits
  4. Repeat for 3 sets of 10

Interested in adding a barbell? Check out Base Body Babe’s Top Squat Tips.

Front Lunge:

Front and walking lunges are a great way to tone your legs – You can easily increase the difficulty by carrying dumbbells or a weighted medicine ball.

Leg Workout Fitness Friday San Francisco Fitness Blogger Nike Workout Gear Lunges Squats Side Lunge

Tips for the perfect lunge:

  1. Stand comfortably with legs hip width apart giving you a good base
  2. Step forward with one leg, ensuring that your knee doesn’t cross in front of your toes
  3. Sink your back leg down to hover directly above the ground
  4. Bring your back leg forward and repeat the movement on the other side
  5. Repeat for 3 sets of 10 on each leg

Most important thing to keep in mind – If it hurts, don’t do it. If you have sensitive knees don’t go for a full lunge!

Want to add a little cardiovascular work to your lunges? Try jumping lunges!

Side Lunge:

Want to strengthen your inner legs? Moves like lunges and squats are just the ticket. Mix up your lunge workout with some side lunges.

Leg Workout Fitness Friday San Francisco Fitness Blogger Nike Workout Gear Lunges Squats Side Lunge

Tips for the perfect side lunge:

  1. Start in a standing position and bend at the waist as you extend your leg to the side
  2. Keep your knee in line with your toes
  3. Push yourself back to a standing position using the extended leg and repeat on the other side
  4. Repeat for 3 sets of 10 on each side

If you want to brush up on your basics, check out – How To Do Lunges.

{Photos by Mr. Bethanimalprint}

What’s YOUR go-to leg workout?

Leg Workout Fitness Friday San Francisco Fitness Blogger Nike Workout Gear Lunges Squats Side Lunge

Thank you to UK-based activewear retailer JD Sports for sponsoring this post. They have a great online selection including all your favorite brands, even the Rita Ora for Adidas line!

After JD Sports reached out, Bethann of Bethanimalprint and I decided to head to Mountain View for an afterhours workout in the park. Be sure to check out Bethanimalprint to see how you can get her killer abs!

Disclaimer: Prior to making any dramatic changes to your fitness routine or diet you should consult a physician.

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{Guest Post} Food & The Daily Battle

Welcome to Part II of the Women’s Health series here on Moi Contre La Vie. Today we’re going to hear more from Megan of Kaia F.I.T. Sacramento on the daily struggle to eat well. If you’re new to this series be sure to check out Megan’s bio {Guest Post: Women’s Health} and her previous post – Fashion of the Fitness World.

Part 2: Food… The Daily Battle

I love ice cream, especially cookies & cream. I love cheeseburgers and extra crispy french fries. I can put down a serious amount of pizza. I love crafty cocktails and champagne. I worked in fine dining restaurants for 10 years and was privileged to indulge in some amazing dishes and glasses of wine…

But now I work in the fitness industry. And I constantly try to balance my view of food… Fuel or Delicious Goodness? My answer is both.

The majority of the time, on the day-to-day, food is fuel. Looking at it that way leads me to eating cleaner, leaner, and healthier. I view myself like a machine and if I want to run properly, perform well in my workouts, and feel energetic all day, I need to provide myself with the best fuel available.

I personally feel the best when I eat multiple times throughout the day, always beginning with breakfast. I feel great when I eat lean meat and eggs, lots of veggies and greens, and fresh fruit. I like nuts and trail mix for snacks and dried fruit for dessert. Avoiding the starchy carbs, dairy, and sugar is essential to feeling good.

KaiaIV

However, coming from the restaurant industry, I love nothing more than a nice dinner out. I appreciate a perfectly cooked noodle and a salty piece of pork belly. And I absolutely love home-made ice cream and cookies at my mom’s house. These are the good things in life.

So, how do I balance it? When do I decide to devour a sandwich and when do I stick to a salad full of veggies? I practice MODERATION. I try to stick to healthy ‘fuel’ most of the time. When I treat myself to ‘carbs’ and sugar, I view it just that way… As a TREAT. I think it’s better that way anyway. I feel like crap when I eat sugar and bread days in a row and I stop appreciating it.

Everyone has to make their choices, each and every day. But awareness is where it all begins. If you never go without bread, dairy, sugar, alcohol, etc., how will you ever know how you feel without it?

Our go-to detox at Kaia FIT is 7 days without the following:

  • All starchy ‘carbs’ (bread, tortillas, rice, potatoes, etc.)
  • Sugar over 9g per serving (besides sugar naturally found in fruits/veggies)
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Processed Foods (if you can’t pronounce something on the label, avoid it!)

Eating clean is a great feeling and I highly recommend letting yourself experience it. And remember, “All things in moderation, including moderation.”

A big thank you to Megan for this great insight into her way of thinking about nutrition. It’s very easy to get into patterns of binging or restricting, so avoid all the negative side effects of both of those ways of eating and try practicing moderation as Megan has suggested.

What’s your personal approach to your daily diet?

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Beginner Fitness

In 2012 a reader came to me with a simple request – Could I help her ease into a workout routine that would put her on the path to overall better health? I documented a part of the process in the following series of posts – Want To Achieve Gym Goddess Status?, Part II, Part III, Part IV & Part V.

I’ve recently received a similar request and thought that 2013 would be a great time to share some of the details with my readers again because I think it’s such a worthwhile topic and achieving better health is widespread goal. I’m sure there have been countless New Years Resolutions related to this so why not get started on your path to health and happiness now?

In addition to providing short beginners workouts for the next few weeks, I’ll be recommending reading and do my best to keep you all motivated and inspired – Which is half the battle.

Workouts:

You want to ease into a new workout regime regardless of your current level of fitness, however if you’re not currently working out, attending classes, and/or running on a regular basis I would suggest starting with one or two small workouts a week and gradually increase to 3-5 as you start improving and feeling stronger.

Let’s start Week One with two short workouts to get us in the mood:

Day One

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of intervals on a machine of your choosing {See the suggestions under Warm Up}

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

*My recommendation is to turn this into a mini circuit workout – After your warm up do one set of planks, one set of lunges, and one set of squats, then repeat the process a second and third time to complete the circuit before your warm down.

Day Two

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

  • Reverse Lunges {FitSugar’s Back to Basics: Stationary Reverse Lunge} 3 rounds of 10 lunges on each knee
  • Crunches {Dummies.com’s How To Do Crunches} 3 rounds of 20 – Be sure to watch your form & keep your chin & elbows UP form is important w/ this move
  • Leg Lifts {Shape Magazine’s Double-Leg Lower & Lift} 3 rounds of 20

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Nutrition:

Following diets, participating in cleanses, and going through detox programs are interesting ways to find out how your body responds to things, but they’re not a way of life. Learning to eat well & make smart food choices on a daily basis is going to do much more for you than any short-term healthy eating “fix.”

Depending on your typical diet transitioning to a clean eating regime can seem pretty daunting, so to make the switch more manageable I’ll just recommend a few tips and suggest some things to cut out of your diet each week.

To start, it’s time to get cooking! Your first goal should be to cut out packaged, processed, and pre-made food from your diet. Don’t panic! That doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to order Chinese again or never enjoy a handful of chips in the future, but if you want to transition to a clean diet the first step is to eliminate all of these types of foods. So your mission for the next two weeks is to start giving up anything processed, stop hitting the drive-through, and spend more time in the kitchen and less time at restaurants.

PumpkinSeeds

Here are a few alternatives:

  • If you like chips or salty other snacks – Try raw almonds, butter-free air popped popcorn, or baby carrots w/ hummus
  • If you crave the beta-endorphin rush of sugary treats, baked goods, or candy – Switch these high calorie picks for fresh fruit, natural almond butter, or homemade sweet treats like Choosing Raw’s Cinnamon Caramelized Cauliflower or Maple Cinnamon Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Homework:

Understanding why you feel the way that you feel and how to improve your health is important. Anyone can blindly follow instructions, but learning about health, nutrition, and your body will help you for your entire life.

So with the goal of educating yourself and expanding your horizons here are some interesting articles you might enjoy:

  • Healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and nuts & seeds {in moderation} are an important part of a healthy diet. Learn more about this subject by reading Natalie Jill Fitness’s Eating Fat Will NOT Make You Fat…
  • One of the things that impacts your health almost as much as nutrition and fitness is stress. You need to pay attention not only to how much stress you have in your life, but how you deal with it – How Stress Affects the Body.

Stress

So what do you think of this new series? Are these topics and the information I provided above interesting and relevant to your life?

Disclaimer: I am not a trainer, doctor, or dietitian nor do I have any certifications associated with physical fitness or nutrition. I’m merely an enthusiast {and former athlete} who reads & does research daily and has worked out alone or with coaches & trainers since the age of 6. I am lucky enough to have access to a handful of blogs, websites, and trainers to answer my questions though. Prior to making any dramatic changes to your fitness routine or diet I suggest that you consult a physician.

For more inspiration, my daily workout routines, and more Moi Contre La Vie you can find me on these platforms:

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Links You’ll Love

Health & Nutrition:

Treadmill

Sometimes going to the gym sounds like the worst thing in the world. Sometimes the weather is awful when you were dying to go for a run. Well if you have a set of dumbbells (or you could easily use a kettlebell or weighted bosu ball) you can tackle this rainy day workout!

I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting smoothie recipes so when I was browsing Organice Your Life and saw this Raw Green Coconut Shake recipe I was thrilled.

Don’t think you have time for a full workout? Why not try this Women’s Health Get Fit In Only 15 Minutes: Skinny Jeans Workout which includes the very important squats & lunges or FitSugar’s BOSU Circuit Workout.

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In the mood for something sweet? Or do you want a treat for family or friends that’s healthy as well as tasty? Check out the super healthy and oh-so-simple Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies over at Peas And Thank You or

I always get excited when I can add a fun new recipe to my rotation of favorites. Something quick, easy, and delicious. Well, if you’re like me, you’ll want to try Choosing Raw’s Curried Quinoa & Aduki Bean Patties – They’re savory and filling, and easily adapted based on the ingredients you have on hand, a home run in my book.

Fashion:

Whenever I want a dose of inspiration one of my go-to websites is WhoWhatWear – From Style Stalker posts to reviews of new collections to street style breakdowns, they’ve always got you covered – Styling Tips For September.

Street style is a fun and evolving part of fashion and fashion blogging and I’ve been enjoying the pictures online for ages – From bloggers to fashion insiders to models to celebrities. It’s a great way to get inspired or to see what’s trendy and hot right now. And with four Fashion Weeks coming up, it’s time to give it a closer look – A Street-Style Primer For The September Shows. Or check out one of my favorite model street style blogs out there for up to date shots from the shows – Altamira: Models Off Duty.

The accessories are probably my favorite part about dressing for Fall and Winter. Scarves, gloves, hats, outerwear… Swoon! FabSugar agrees – Best Fall Scarves 2012: It’s a Wrap — Shop the Best Layering Scarves For Early Fall.

I love vintage-inspired styles and loved this post on finding some great pieces that are perfect for Fall and fabulously retro – Finding the perfect 1970s shoulder bag.

I’m a bun girl through and through so I was excited by all of the buns on the runways for Fall. If you’re of a similar mind, check out Harper’s Bazaar’s The Return Of The Bun or Best Celebrity Top Knots: The Fun Bun Hall of Fame.

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Gym Goddess – Part IV

Welcome to the next installment of the How to Become a Gym Goddess series (if you’d like to catch up, here are Week 1, Week 2 & Week 3).

Week IV ended up being particularly busy so it was the perfect example of how to squeeze workouts in whenever and wherever you can. Whether you’re trying to get in shape, working on changes in your life to make yourself healthier or trying to maintain your existing fitness regime, you need to make a committment to your health. You need to prioritize yourself – your body, your health, your sanity – over other things in your life. I’m not saying that you should miss deadlines to log a little gym time, but you need to make an effort to put yourself first. There will always be something that comes up, a work assignment, a dentist appointment, an illness in the family… But you’re better equipped to handle what life throws at you if you’re healthy & well nourished.

Note: Check with a doctor before you begin a new fitness routine.

 

Day 1:

10 minute cardio warm up – moderate speed on stationary

3 Rounds

  • Plank arm raises – lift each arm 10 times
  • Bench step ups – 10 each leg, knee up
  • Back lunge w/ medicine ball twist – step back into a lunge & twist holding a weighted medicine ball out w/ straight arms, twist to each side 10 times

15 minute cardio warm down

Stretching

Day 2: Medicine ball workout! Grab a 4, 6 or 8 pound ball and let’s go! This is inspired by the workouts featured in the November Women’s Health – Body By Anna (in the magazine only) & Get Fit in Only 15 Minutes. And if you’d like a little more motivation check out model Julie Henderson w/ fitness guru David Kirsch using medicine balls over at Modelinia. Even models aren’t perfect!

10 minute cardio warm up

3 Rounds:

  • 20 Wall sits w/ rotation
  • 20 High-Low chop
  • 20 squats w/ overhead ball raise
  • 20 Russian twists
  • 20 bicycles

10 minute cardio warm down

Day 3: A quickie inspired by The Fitnessista. Even if your schedule is as crazy as Liz’s has been there’s no excuse for slacking off, in the long run you’ll be glad you took a few minutes for yourself.

  • 5 minutes cardio of choice
  • 30 seconds of jumping jacks
  • 30 seconds of high knees
  • 30 seconds of plie squats (plie low, jump & bring legs together and arms straight up)
  • 30 seconds mountain climbers
  • 30 seconds push ups
  • 30 seconds burpees

Day 4: HIIT

5 minute warm up

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

Repeat for 15 minutes of intervals

5 minute cool down (i.e. walking on a treadmill etc)

Results: This fourth week was really a testament to Liz’s dedication, with work and family issues popping up all almost daily she put forth a lot of effort to make sure that her workouts came together. Once you get into a routine and start to reap the benefits of regular exercise, it’s a great motivator to keep things going. So don’t let yourself get led off course by your busy life – if you make the time, you’ll see the results.

Joining a fitness program or hiring a trainer can be a great way to go if you’re interested in changing your fitness regime and aren’t quite sure where to start. Finding the right program or trainer is important though, not all gyms and trainers are created equal. Check out these suggestions from some of the experts for how to find the perfect fit: PrecisionNutrition, FitSugar, The Fitnessista and The Huffington Post. Also, when to break up with your personal trainer, something else you should definitely keep in mind if you decide to go for one-on-one sessions.

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