DIY: At-Home Body Toning In 4 Days, 1 Hour A Day

When I was pregnant, I gained 72 pounds. I didn't eat (a lot of) dessert or drink sodas. I didn't have gestational diabetes. I was just naturally that girl who easily gained weight. I have struggled with body image; whether it was over my size, shape, color, height...you name it. I've even struggled with eating disorders. As an athlete for 18 years, I've been dunked in water tanks to measure body-fat percentage and sat in the training room with ice packs on every joint. I personally know the challenge and the expectations of a society defining and demanding beauty and performance and feeling like I'm falling short. The reality is that, of course, it's not society's definitions or expectations that are important, it's our health and well-being. Without our well-being and health, many of those beloved tasks we spend our days doing won't get done. I hope you will be inspired to either start a new year and a new journey into physical well-being or maybe just find some fresh ideas to add to an old workout routine.

In this first post of four, we will start with Day One: Biceps and Triceps with Short Day Cardio. The only equipment you need are:

  1. The items above (ab ball, yoga matt, and hand weights)
  2. A willing and committed attitude
  3. A good pair of walking athletic shoes

Perhaps some headphones if you like to rock out. Music is a huge motivator for me but sometimes just the sound of the outdoors is soothing. Yes! Outdoors is the best! Granted, I live in a climate in which I'm not having to jump over sheets of ice or snow banks, but getting outside is a consistent change of scenery and can help push you forward in your fitness goals. You can't just hit "Stop" when you're ready to give up, you have to walk all the way back. Bonus: you might see some really cool wildlife.  Once I had my son, I found it even harder to make that additional 40 minute trek to the gym, so I worked and committed to at-home, easy, body-toning and exercise. We don't have a huge house with an exercise room and we didn't need one, just enough space for me to stretch out my mat, hand weights (I recommend 5 lbs for beginners, 8-10 lbs for intermediate to advanced), and ab ball.

Over the course of these posts you will accomplish toning exercises for the abs-both upper, lower, and oblique-, hips, butt, hamstrings, upper and lower back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps along with quick walking 11 miles of cardio. It sounds like a lot, but each day of the four should take you approximately one hour. No special diet, eating plan, personal trainer, or workout will render long-term results without your committment to health and well-being. Schedule it on your calendar like any other work or personal meeting. The other part of the committment to action is your committment to eating. Eating good, whole, healthy food (brown grains, breads, pastas, nuts, lean proteins, yogurt, cheese, veggies of all colors) several times a day, eating to satisfaction, not fullness. I could not assign this particular school of exercise thought to one practice; this workout combines yoga, pilates, strength-training, calisthenics, and walking to accomplish time-saving results.

DAY ONE: BICEPS + TRICEPS

Start with your walk.

Day one is a short cardio day, so throw on your shoes and headphones for a 2 mile brisk walk. You should be walking fast enough for an increased heartrate and possible sweat but not so fast that you can't still carry on a conversation.

Arriving home, grab your hand weights. The first thing to remember is prevent injury by keeping your core (stomach) muscles engaged and your back straight. Lift with your legs and arms...never your back. The key to your results being most time-efficient and effective is SUPER SETS (noun)-doing two exercises consecutively without rest in transition. You will be doing two strength exercises back to back before you rest 10-20 seconds. It's a combination of muscle tiring and confusion but we are focusing on low weight, high reps.

Let's do this.

Hold hand-weights, bend 90 degrees at the hip letting your arms hang down. Keeping your back straight and core strong, lift weights with arms bent to hip level; pause briefly, slide your arms straight back like wings for the kickback, pause, bring arms back to hip height, lower hands back to hanging position to close pose. Do 16 repetitions and rest 10-20 seconds, then complete a second set.

The supinated arm curl allows you to isolate and strengthen the wrists and forearms while toning the biceps; be sure to curl up to hip height and then roll your wrist out from hip height lifting to chest as pictured. Do 16 reps of curls and transition immediately into your overhead tricep extension without rest to complete the super set. Alternate 16 reps of curls and 16 reps of extensions. Rest 10-20 seconds and repeat for two sets.

Rest 10-20 seconds.

As always, remember to keep your core strong and back straight. I have scoliosis from childhood so these exercises help strengthen the muscles around my spine and 'keep me out of physical therapy' says my doc. Remember to keep your hips lifted in the push-up to support your back and tuck your elbows in close to your ribcage as you lower down. Do 16 reps of push-ups, transition immediately to ball extension for 16 reps then rest 10-20 seconds. Repeat for a second set.

Rest 10-20 seconds.

You completed your bis and tris circuit; now some leg-toning super sets...

Keep your back straight, lift with your hamstrings and legs. Lift from ankle to knee and lower back down slowly. Retain control of your movements and make them slow and intentional. Do two sets of 16 reps.

Rest 10-20 seconds.

This one is simple, bend your left leg and lift to the side 16 reps, follow immediately with 16 reps of lifting bent left leg back and up. Rest 10-20 seconds and repeat. Do this with both left and right legs resting in transition between left and right.

Rest 10-20 seconds.

Two more sets of these! :) and rest 10-20 seconds.

Lastly, these are a simple up and down kick up. Stand in place and invoke your inner dancer. Point your toes and lift. 16 reps on left, immediately transition to the right leg; rest 10-20 seconds and repeat for two sets.

Check out the rest of the workouts here:
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

GREAT JOB!!! Tomorrow is a long cardio walk and all-over abs! Did you sweat? Are you committed to fitness and well being? What's your favorite exercise? Post a photo on our Facebook page or Instagram #campmakerytoning