Winter Workout: Turn S.A.D. into Sculpt and De-​​stress!

It’s the time of year when winter seems like it has gone on forever. The dark, cold days make you tired and sometimes depressed. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a serious condition and there are ways that doctors can treat it, with light therapy for example.

If you feel tired and just need a winter workout that heats you up and gives you a “cardio high” try my winter-​​themed cardiosulpt moves like:

–Nordic Track
–Scissor Ski Lunges
–Snowflakes
–Snow Angels
–Mountain Climbers
–Moguls

Watch the 2 minute demo video here! http://galtime.com/multimedia/health/46591/24755/exercise-lift-your-spirits-winter#axzz1krKdIPDj

Fitness — fit it in for a bright, warm spring!

NikkiFitness 100 Push-​​up Boot Camp


I have helped a lot of people with push-​​ups. Some needed to pass a physical fitness test, some wanted to be able to do push-​​ups off their knees, and some just wanted to have smoking arms.

My plan to get anyone to do 100 push-​​ups in a single training session is this:

Get in shape:

If you can’t do 10 push-​​ups on your toes in a plank position, then start doing this routine on your knees, with hands wider than shoulders, so that as you lower, your elbows line up over your wrists like a field goal post formation. Then work up to doing 2 on your toes, and 8 on your knees, then 5 and 5 until finally you are strong enough to do 10 push-​​ups at a time on your toes.

THEN.…

Do 10 full plank push-​​ups on your toes with wide hand stance.

Turn over onto your back and do 1 minute of crunches (any crunches will do, if you want to mix it up, steal some moves from my Hard Core Abs video.)

Repeat this for 10 sets (100 push-​​ups). It should take about half an hour. You can finish here, or do some plyometric cardio moves, or go for a 30 minute jog before or after this routine. Then shower and go brag to your friends.

Next week I will write about push-​​up variations for when you have mastered the NikkiFitness Push-​​Up Boot Camp.
Fitness – fit it in! Nikki

NikkiFitness, Nicole Glor, is 34 year-old fitness expert on Fox and Friends, and the star of 7 fitness DVDs including new Hard Core Abs DVD, Fit Travel Workout DVD, Booty Camp, Red Carpet Runway Workout, Military Wife Workout, Baby Bootie Camp, and the Beach Bride Destination Wedding Workout (Amazon). Nikki’s workouts have been featured in over 100 national media outlets. She is also an AFAA certified NYC personal trainer, group fitness instructor at Crunch in Manhattan, a 200 RYT YogaFit/Yoga Alliance trained yoga instructor, author of the upcoming book “Slimnastics”, a fitness columnist for Military.com and a spokesperson for SilverSport antibacterial fitness products. Her “Slimnastics” workouts focus on multitasking toning and cardio intervals to cut workout time in half and boost metabolism. Get her newsletters, music playlists, video demos and DVDs at www.nikkifitness.com Search for “NikkiFitness” on Facebook and Twitter!

The NikkiFitness Slimnastics Workout Book Launches in May


30-minute X-treme No-Equipment Routine Combining
Gymnastics, Plyometrics, and Advanced Yoga

By NikkiFitness
DVD Instructor, Former College Cheerleader, NYC Personal Trainer, Boot Camp Class Instructor, Yoga Teacher, Media Fitness Expert

“Work out because you can, and for all those whose bodies cannot. Motivation plus a tough, quick workout that you can do anywhere, is all you need. Fit in your fitness because your body is a gift.”

This is part of the motivation that Nicole Glor, NikkiFitness, provides in The Slimnastics Workout, released in May 2012, just in time for the Summer Olympics and beach bikini workout time!

She began her fitness journey as a Syracuse University Cheerleader, leading team conditioning workouts, and enjoying the benefits of gymnastic routines, cheerleading jumps, and toning while balancing your body weight in pyramids and partner stunting. She soon became a Manhattan-based group fitness instructor, personal trainer, yoga teacher, and star of seven fitness DVDs, fitness writer for Military.com and national TV fitness expert.

Through her classes, clients, readers and fans, she found the need for a different fusion workout. Something that had not been done, but that you could take anywhere. Something as challenging as P90X or Insanity, but not as complicated with all the DVDs and equipment. Something as short at the 30-minute express classes she taught at Crunch for busy New Yorkers. Something that will chisel your arms, boost your booty, cut up your core, strengthen and straighten your back, and melt away fat. Something like Slimnastics!

The NikkiFitness “Slimnastics” Workoutis an athletic routine that gets you ripped in a radical new way:

* · A yoga-​​based sun saluting warm-​​up readies the body but keep your sneakers on- you are going to need them!
* · Slim and tone your legs while melting away fat and cellulite with gymnastic/​cheerleading inspired explosive plyometric cardio drills like toe touches, spring squats, jump tucks, and jumping lunge kicks.
* · Alternate the intense cardio intervals with upper body and core-​​cutting balance moves from gymnastics and yoga with poses like forearm stands, eight angle (astavakrasana), and firefly (titibasana).
* · Finished off in a yoga-​​based stretch and cool down for the mind and body.

In The push-upstics Workout (GT Media; June, 2012; Amazon $35.00), NikkiFitness shares motivation, helps the reader change their life “starting today”, provides shape-up instructions to get you ready for Slimnastics, then shows the Slimnastics routine with step-by-step instructions and photos. From the novice to the extreme athlete, anyone can learn how to change their bodies and have fun without taking a lot of time to do it.
Time is often the key to a fitness routine. Aside from the Slimnastics routine, Nikki uses NikkiFitness tear-out sheets, she shows how to “fit in your fitness” morning, noon, and night; how working out helps at work; how to go from two modified push-ups to 100 full pushups per routines; how one move called “Down and Dirty” amazingly tones every major muscle group and provides a cardio workout; how to cross train; how to learn interval training and plyometrics; how to protect and strengthen your back; and how to “exercise your soul.”

The companion DVD and Vook (video book) The Slimnastics Workout DVD launches in June as well.

Slimnasticsis the workout you love to hate, and will have you loving the new you in no time.

About the Author
NikkiFitness, Nicole Glor, is 34 year-old fitness contributor on Fox and Friends, and the star of 7 fitness DVDs including new Hard Core Abs DVD, Fit Travel Workout DVD, Booty Camp, Red Carpet Runway Workout, Military Wife Workout, Baby Bootie Camp, and the Beach Bride Destination Wedding Workout (Amazon). Nikki’s workouts have been featured in over 100 national media outlets. She is also an AFAA certified NYC personal trainer, group fitness instructor at Crunch in Manhattan, a 200 RYT YogaFit/Yoga Alliance trained yoga instructor, author of the upcoming book “Slimnastics”, a fitness columnist for Military.com and a spokesperson for SilverSport antibacterial fitness products. Her “Slimnastics” workouts focus on multitasking toning and cardio intervals to cut workout time in half and boost metabolism. Get her newsletters, music playlists, video demos and DVDs at www.nikkifitness.com Search for “NikkiFitness” on Facebook and Twitter!

Fit Travel Workout

All week I have been teaching my fitness classes without using equipment, so that my class members can take these moves along with them for Thanksgiving and other holiday travel. It’s easy as pie to work off those desert calories without needing to get to a gym or pack a suitcase full of dumbbells. All you need is my Fit Travel Workout DVD shot in China, Mexico, Italy, Chicago, NYC and Tampa that proves you can work out wherever life takes you. If you don’t have the DVD, you can also print out my three Military​.com fit travel columns for free.

Here is a 10 minute portion of the 30 minute workout that slims you with cardio and sculpts you with muscle toning.

1) Traveling push-​​ups (works chest, triceps, shoulders and abs): Start in a plank position (the top of a push-​​upon your toes and hands wider than shoulder width apart) perform one push-​​up by bringing the chest to the floor and keeping your arms wide so that your wrists and elbows remain in line. Push back to a plank position while engaging your abs. Take right hand and cross it over the left and then bring left hand out to the left and under your left shoulder, moving your body in a counter clockwise direction. Do a push-​​up here. Cross left hand over right and return to start. Do a push-​​up. Cross left hand over right again and move body toward the right in a clockwise direction. Move right hand out again to a normal push-​​distance and do another push-​​up. Return to start by crossing right hand over left and moving back towards center. That completes one rep and 4 push-​​ups. Perform 5 reps for one set.

2) Squat, rock and lift (works glutes, outer thighs and quads): This is also a great move to perform if you are around kids for the holidays. I perform this one with my baby in the Baby Bootie Camp DVD. Even without extra weight, its a great booty burner. Start in a standing position, feet shoulder width apart. Squat by shifting weight into the heels and bending knees to 90 degrees. As you return to standing, rock the weight to your left leg and lift your right leg out to the right with a flexed foot. Place right foot back on the ground and squat again, this time shifting weight to the right and lifting the left leg to the left to complete one rep. Do 20 reps for one set. This hip abduction works the outer thighs and quads. Target the glutes by doing a second set and instead of lifting the leg to the side, lift it behind you between squats.

3) Down dog shin reach (works abs, shoulders, chest): Start in a plank position like in move 1. Tightening your abs, lift your hips to the sky and shift weight back into the toes, keeping heels lifted off the floor. While shifting the weight back, also take your right hand off the floor and reach it toward your left shin for an oblique challenge. Move back into plank and return right hand to the floor. Push weight back toward down dog with hips lifted and weight into the right hand while reaching your left hand towards your right shin. That completes one rep. Perform 15 reps for one set.

4) Airplanes (works upper and lower back, glutes, hamstrings and rear delts): Lay on the floor, face down, with both arms extended away from the body at shoulder level forming the letter “T”. Lift your legs, arms and head off the floor by contracting your glutes, upper and lower back. Hold in the “up” position and move your arms to the front of your body reaching past your head. Return to the “T” position and lower the entire body down for one rep. Do 15 reps for one set.

Cardio Intervals: Perform jacks and jump rope moves for 3 minutes in between each set. Keep it interesting by changing the feet to knees up, one leg hops, pogo stick hops, heel taps, etc.

Pack this workout, an iPod and a pair of sneakers to stop you from packing on the pounds this holiday!

 

Thanksgiving Fit Travel Booty Camp

You’ll be perched at the dinner table, and maybe slouching in a car, plane, train or bus to travel for your Thanksgiving meal next week. Your booty will need a break from all that sitting, and instead of packing weights or finding an open gym, there is an easy way to pack some boot camp toning for the backside while you’re on the road.

1) Glute rainbows: On all fours, straighten your right leg and lift it in a half circle (or rainbow) at hip level, and lower to left side to arch over your left heel. Tap the floor, lift back to hip level and tap toe back on the right side. Repeat the rainbow 15 times per leg before changing sides.

2)Floor kicks: Remain in all fours position and with your weight distributed on both hands and your left knee. Bend right knee in towards the belly and then straighten it to kick it back diagonally to the ceiling/​wall behind you.Return the bent knee towards the floor for one rep and repeat 15 times on the right leg. Do another set of 15 on the left.

3) Front thigh lifts. Lay on your side, supported on your right elbow and right hip. Bend the right knee to 90 degrees under you. Bend your left leg on top so that your flexed foot drops in front of the right knee (if you do this move in front of a mirror you should see the reflection of the sole of your left sneaker, not your shoelaces). Lift the leg so the knee is close to your chest and left shoulder, and lower the bent left leg 15 times.

4) Side lunge and twist. Start in a standing position and lunge to the right side, facing forward. Your right knee should bend at 90 degrees, while your hands support you on your right quad (above the knee) and your toe points diagonally to the right. Your left leg is straight, with the foot on the floor, toe pointing diagonally left. From here, push off the right leg to transfer to a standing position with your weight now on the straight left leg. Your hands should reach diagonally up and to the left, creating a twist for the abs. Your right straight leg will lift up for a glute raise of the floor. Transfer the weight back on the right to a side lunge for one rep. Repeat 15 times on the right and then switch legs.

Do two-​​minute cardio intervals between the moves to complete your 30 minute routine. Good cardio moves for travel include jacks, mountain climbers, simulated jump rope, squat thrusts, plie squats, and jumping lunges (or get the moves in real time on my DVDs).

After your workout and dinner you can be thankful that these Fit Travel Booty Camp moves will help make sure that the turkey, potatoes, gravy and pies don’t spend forever on your hips.

Big Ball, Little Belly: Stability Ball Abdominal Workout, Part 2

If you’re looking for a way to challenge your abs more than crunches and planks on the floor, the key is instability! A stability ball will put you off balance to add an extra level of toning to each move. I have many abdominal ball workout moves, and these pictured below place you on the floor, next to and on top of the ball. Next week I will list other ways to work your abs (along with arms and legs) with a stability ball.

Elbow plank (works abdominals, chest and arms)

Start in a kneeling position with the ball in front of you. Roll up onto the ball on your stomach and place your forearms and elbows on the ball and clasp your hands together beneath your chest. Straighten your legs to balance on your toes and slowly push into the ball with forearms to raise the belly off the ball. Hold the plank for 30 seconds at a time for 3 sets, and work up to 60 seconds per set.

Hip Crunch (works obliques)
Kneel on the right side of the ball and straighten your right leg out to the right side of your body, with your foot on the floor. With your left hand hug the ball in close to your hip and then push your weight into the ball so the left hip is anchoring the ball down. Start with your left hand still on the ball and put your right hand behind your head. Lower your left side ribs onto the top of the ball and engage your right side obliques to bring you back upright. Once comfortable with the move you can put the left hand behind the head as well because your hip is anchoring the ball. Do 15 repeat on the other side for one set. Do 3 sets.

Jackknife (Works abs, quads and hip flexors)
Lay face-​​up on the floor with the ball between your feet and arms extended overhead. Lift the legs off the floor as you raise the arms and shoulders by “crunching” and engaging the abs. Transfer the ball into the hands and lower the legs and arms back to the floor slowly. Crunch and transfer the ball back to the feet, keeping the arms and legs straight, to complete one rep. Do 10 reps for 3 sets.

Big Ball, Little Belly pt 1

Stability Ball Workout for Abdominals

If you’re looking for a way to challenge your abs more than crunches and planks on the floor, the key is instability! A stability ball will put you off balance to add an extra level of toning to each move. I have many abdominal ball workout moves, and these pictured below place you on top of the ball. Next week I will list other ways to work your abs with a stability ball or a power ball (power balls have 7–8 pounds of sand inside).

Here are some of my favorites:

Ball Plank/​Pike

If just starting out, chose the plank, if you’re looking for a challenge, add the pike to the plank. Start kneeling with your stomach on the ball push forward to roll onto your feet and hands and continue walking your hands out so that the ball rolls from your stomach to your shins/​shoelaces and you are facing the ground. Hold here for 30 seconds for the plank. Make it harder by contracting the abs and pulling your feet and the ball in closer to your hands while raising your hips up to the sky. Repeat 15 times.

Oblique Twist

Start sitting on the ball and walk your feet away so that your slide down to a bridge position, with your head and shoulders comfortably resting on the ball. Your head should be in line with your hips while you contract your glutes and quads to hold you up. Place the hands in prayer position extended directly above your neck. To perform the move, roll up onto your left shoulder and bring your gaze and your hands directly to the left as pictured. (Be sure to roll onto the shoulder and not just move your hands! our head will come off of the ball.) Return to center and repeat on the other side for one rep. Perform 15 repetitions.

Oblique Crunch

Start in a seated position on the ball with your hands behind your head and lay down, then return to sitting by engaging the abs. That is a normal crunch. Start there if you are a beginner. If comfortable with the regular crunch, then lay back and engage your abs while sitting up and twisting your shoulders, head and torso to the right. Lay back down and twist to the left for one rep. Perform 20 reps. (Make it even more difficult by crunching up half way, pausing there, then twisting to the right without coming completely up to a sitting position, so your abs engage throughout the entire move.)

Check back in next week for more moves and have a ball working those abs!

Ten Plank Variations for Perfect Toning

Planks are one of the cheapest, easiest and quickest ways to tone your body anywhere you go. They work your abs all over, and if you get creative you can also add glutes, and thighs, triceps, shoulders, upper back and pecs to the list! Here are some of my favorite plank variations (From my Fit Travel Workout) for your next sweat session.

Note: When I mention a regular plank position, I mean balancing on your elbows (forearms) or hands (the top of a push-​​up) and toes, facing the floor, with hips in line with the shoulders and knees and hands or elbows directly under shoulders. Look in front of our hands to keep neck in line with spine. You’ll look like a perfect straight plank — parallel to the floor, lifting the belly button towards the spine. In a side plank you will balance on one arm and face the side of the room instead of the floor.

1. Forearm plank hold:
Balance on your forearms and toes, hold this for 30 seconds and work up to 3 minutes!

2. Push-​​up plank (pictured):
Do a push-​​up, then turn to the right, balancing the weight on your left hand, opening right hand to the sky and staggering or stacking the right foot on top of the inside of the left as you balance on the outside of the left foot. Come back to a full plank, do a push-​​up, and then repeat on the other side.

3. Plank knee cross:
Hold a regular plank and then balance on your left foot and bring your right knee under you towards your left elbow. Keep your hips low to the ground. Return to full plank and repeat on other side. Make it harder by taping the opposite hand to the foot or by “can caning” the leg — after you bring the knee toward the opposite elbow, straighten the knee and kick the leg out toward the left. Bend it again and return to start.

4. Outer thigh side plank (pictured):
Plank on your right hand or forearm and lift your left straight leg off the right leg and toward the sky. Lower leg and repeat 10 times. Move into a plank on the other side and repeat. Make it harder by bending your lower leg and holding a weight in your top hand. Straighten the arm to the sky as you lift the top leg. As you lower the leg lower the hand and weight behind your neck, keeping the elbow pointing to the sky the whole time to work the triceps in a half french press!

5. Glute plank:
Balance on our hands or forearms and lift your left straight leg off the floor, move it over the right foot and then return to start. Repeat on that side 10 times and then switch to the right leg lift and cross. Make it harder by bending the left leg at 90 degrees, with the sole of your foot facing the sky. Lift and lower in pulsing motion for 10 reps. Repeat on the other side.

6. Hip Taps:
Get into a side plank on your left forearm. Lift hips off the floor and then lower them to tap the left hip to the floor and lift again. This works your obliques in an extreme way if you do 20 or more! Repeat on the other side

7. Thread the needle (pictured):
Get into a side forearm or full side plank on your right arm. Lift left arm to the sky and stagger the feet so the top (left) leg is in front. Sweep your left (top) arm toward the mat and “thread” it under your right armpit, reaching for the back of the mat, while rotating your hips to face the ground and balancing on your toes. Rotate your body back to a side plank and repeat 15 times then do the same on the other side.

8. Plank crunch:
Hit the obliques again by getting into a full plank on your left hand and stagger your feet with the bottom (left) foot in front this time. Bend your right elbow and put your hand behind your head. By balancing on your right (top) foot, bring your left knee across to your right elbow to “crunch” then return to start. Repeat 15 times and then switch sides.

9. Spiderman plank:
Get into a full plank on your forearms or hands. Balance on your right toes as you bend your left knee out to the left and towards your left elbow. Return to start and repeat 20 times, then do the other side.

10. Upper Back Plank Rows (pictured):
Get into a full plank position with medium weights under your hands. Lift the right elbow to the sky and return to the ground. Repeat on the other side. Do 20 reps switching arms each time. Wrists hurt? Instead of balancing on weights, you can also work the upper back by doing down dog planks or dolphin planks. Start in a plank on your forearms or hands and then push hips to the sky and push hands into the mat like you are trying to rip it in half between your feet and hands, Your biceps should be next to your ears. Return to start and repeat 20 times.

BONUS Reverse Plank stretch:
Get some relief from your hard work and sit on the floor with your hands on the floor next to your hips, fingers pointing towards feet. Your knees should be bent and feet flat on the floor. Push into your hands and lift your hips off the floor, letting your neck be an extension of your spine and looking at the ceiling. This stretched the chest and shoulders while toning the core, glutes and quads.

So next time crunches make you crazy, fight the plateau with this plank series!

Hard Core: Low Abs Workout

One of the biggest workout requests I get in class and over email and twitter is moves to tone the lower abs. Here are three of my favorites, all done in the same basic position — laying face up on the floor — for quick transitions between moves, and then you can take a nap right on the floor when you are done!

1) Long Leg Lift

Lay on your back with hands palm down on the floor by your hips for support. Extend both legs to the ceiling with knees mostly straight. Lower legs towards the floor while contracting the lower abs (your lower back should not lift off the floor, if it does, keep legs higher.) For an advanced move, take legs a few inches off the floor and raise back to the sky for one rep. For modified move, only lower legs half way and bring them back up. Do 20 repetitions.

2) Hip Hop

Keep lying face up and place hands behind your head. Keep the legs straight and extend them to the ceiling. Flex your feet and use your low abs to lift your hips off the floor to the sky. Return hips to the floor for one rep.

For more intensity, add an upper body crunch so that you lift your shoulders off the ground at the same time you lift your hips. (Be sure to keep looking at the sky and do not drop your chin toward your chest, keep the chin lifted and neck in alignment with the spine.) Do 20 repetitions.

*For extra abdominal toning, after your last rep, hold the hips up at the very top of the move, feet reaching for the sky, and do 10 extra crunches with the upper body, holding the lower body steady with hips off the floor.

3) Criss-​​Cross

Continue to lay on your back and place hands back on the floor, palms down, next to your hips. Keep legs straight and over hips with feet extending to the ceiling. For level 1 drop legs a quarter way to the floor; for level 2 start half way to the floor; for level 3 start with legs just a few inches from the floor as shown. Once you found your level, separate legs out about 3 feet into a “V.” Bring them back together, crossing your right foot over your left. Separate feet again, and then bring them back together with the left leg on top. Repeat for 20 repetitions.

If you are not ready for a snooze, repeat all the moves again for 3 sets. Either way, you’re sure to wake up sore tomorrow and with flatter, fitter low abs!

Fitness, Fit it in.

Train to Improve Your Push-Up Power

I received a great question from a Military.com member about building up strength to do full, strong push-ups.

So many women have trouble building up the strength, or just say they hate doing them and give up. It’s very important for women to have stong upper body strength. Just follow these steps:

1) Start standing arm’s length away from a wall and count as many as you can do against it. If you can do more than 20, move on to the next step. If not, practice every other day until you can do 20 against the wall, trying to do one or two more each day. (You need to give yourself a day to recover in between.) Finish by stretching your chest muscles: link your fingers behind you and lift your arms upwards for 15 seconds.

2) Find a table, couch, weight bench, bed or counter. This should be around knee- to waste-level high. Stand back far enough so that you can lean your body diagonally onto the bench, holding yourself up with your arms. Do the pushups at this level, working slowly up to 20 at a time, practicing every other day. Bring your chest down to the bench or whatever you are practicing on, and be sure to focus on keepng a straight line from your ankles to your hips to your shoulders. Hands should be farther than shoulder width apart. Keep the body aligned and don’t hinge at the hips. It’s better to only do one perfect move rather than 10 with poor form. Watch yourself sideways in a mirror or have a friend watch you and tell you if your hips tilt up to the sky or you let the belly sink to the floor instead.

3) Move to a step (either like one from an exercise class or a step at home on a staircase.) Start on your knees with feet together. Again focus on your form being a straight line from your knees to hips to shoulders while bringing your chest and chin to the step and work your way up to 20.

4) Now you are ready to do them on your feet, still on a step. Ankles, hips and shoulders in line, chest and chin to the step.

5) Congrats! You are ready to try the full pushup. Once you work up to 20, you can start trying to do more.

Quick Push-up Tip: You should always work your upper back muscles — the opposing muscle group — to avoid a muscle imbalance. An imbalance will cause the shoulders to round forward, tight pectoral muscles, overstretched trapezius and rhomboids, and other back conditions, even pain. You can strengthen your back by doing weighted dead rows, weighted reverse flys, or by laying on the floor, arms out to the side away from body at shoulder level — forming a T — and lifting the chest and arms off the floor. You squeeze the shoulder blades towards each other and release down for 20 reps.

Good luck with your workouts this week!

Nikki