Simple + Fast Ab Workout

Hey friends! Today I am sharing one of my current favorite (and fast!) ab workout routines. This workout is great combined with strength training or cardio, or you can do it by itself for a quick morning ab burner.  I am not a certified coach or a workout professional (by ANY stretch of the imagination!), so please look up these exercises online if the descriptions I provide below don’t make sense. 

Do the following Circuit 2 Times:

25 Leg Lifts: Lay flat on your back, placing your hands underneath your lower back.  Bring your upper body off the ground slightly.  Slowly lift your legs 1-2 feet in the air, and lower slowly till they almost touch the ground.

25 Double Leg Toe Touch Crunches: To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your legs straight toward the ceiling. Squeeze your abs to push your lower back down. Then, crunch your head and shoulders off the floor, extend your arms straight and reach for your toes.

50 Cross Body Crunch (25 each side): Lie flat on your back and bend your knees about 60 degrees. Keep your feet flat on the floor and place your hands loosely behind your head. This will be your starting position. Now curl up and bring your right elbow and shoulder across your body while bring your left knee in toward your left shoulder at the same time. Reach with your elbow and try to touch your knee. Exhale as you perform this movement. (Tip: Try to bring your shoulder up towards your knee rather than just your elbow and remember that the key is to contract the abs as you perform the movement; not just to move the elbow.)
Now go back down to the starting position as you inhale and repeat.

After completing the above 2x (for a total of 200 repetitions), do the following:

2 Minute Plank:  Lie facedown with legs extended and elbows bent and directly under shoulders; clasp your hands. Feet should be hip-width apart, and elbows should be shoulder-width apart. Contract your abs, then tuck your toes to lift your body (forearms remain on the ground); you should be in a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 2 minutes.

50 Plank Jacks: Begin in a plank position, with your shoulders over your wrists, your core braced and your feet together. Jump your feet out wide and then back again while upper body remains in place.

I would be happy to post more on fitness/working out, but I need your help! Which (or more than one) of the following are you most interested in hearing about:

A. diet

B. specific workouts

C. how to fit fitness into a full schedule (try sayin’ that 10 times!:)

D. running

C. other (do tell!)

Have a fantastic day, friends!

-Allison

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4 Reasons Why Everyone Should Exercise

So, should EVERYONE really exercise?  I say a resounding YES!!!  If you have been teetering on the fence, wondering if exercise is all it’s cracked up to be, this post is for you!  If you are hitting and missing (with more misses than hits:)  with exercise, you should definitely keep reading!

What is the big deal about exercise?  Well there are probably more than 100 reasons why you should exercise, but here are the 4 biggest reasons that I personally choose to exercise:

  1. Taking care of your body through exercise is good stewardship.  “What?  Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” -I Corinthians 6:19-20
  2. Exercise is one of the best ways to increase your personal discipline. I used to skip exercise on days I felt least like exercising. Now I know that those are the days when I need it the most. For me, choosing to get up and exercise EVERY morning (except Sunday) has been a powerful way to practice discipline, and goodness knows I needed that!
  3. Working out regularly will prepare you for a variety of life situations.  Strength training helps me be able to lift heavy things more easily at home and at work.  Running and leg workouts enable me to keep up with my brothers when we go hiking.  For women, various types of exercise will prepare our bodies for pregnancy + childbirth.  Mammas who exercise are better equipped to carry heavy toddlers and play tag with their kids.
  4. Regular exercise helps with weight control.  If you need to lose weight or are concerned with maintaining a healthy weight, exercise is key!  Some studies have even shown that exercise can even suppress appetite. I have definitely found that exercise helps me not only to eat moderately, but also to make healthier choices. I mean, who wants to totally reverse the good effects of their morning workout by indulging in a mid morning snack of ice-cream?  Not I!

What do you think?  What are some benefits you find from exercise?  If you are wanting to start, what steps do you plan to take to make exercise a regular part of you life?

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Golden Wheat Bread Recipe

As requested on our family instagram, here is the recipe for Golden Whole Wheat Bread I made the other day:

2 cups very warm water (warm enough so that you can just hold you finger under the water as it runs- if it was any hotter it would be too hot)

3 TBS yeast

3 tsp. sugar

3 cups scalded milk

1/2 cup honey or sugar

1/3 cup molasses

1/2 cup oil (I use olive oil)

2 TBS salt

6 cups whole wheat flour

6-7 cups white flour

Stir together the water, 3 tsp. sugar, and yeast.  Let set ten minutes.  In a large bowl (or mixer), combine the oil, scalded milk, honey, molasses, and salt.  Add the yeast/water/sugar mixture and wheat flour.  Mix some more.  Now comes the fun part!  Add several cups of white flour and continue mixing and adding flour.  I use my (clean!) hands to knead the dough.  When it becomes less sticky and starts balling together instead of adhering to your hands and the bowl, you’ve probably added enough flour.  I never measure exactly, but add until the consistency is right.  Knead a few minutes more.

Make sure your bowl is big enough, cause now you need to put a towel on top, set it in a large place, and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hr.

Divide the dough into loves and put into greased pans.  I like to make three generous loaves in bread pans, and one small round free-standing loaf.  Turn the oven on to 350 and let the loaves rise until much larger, about half an hour.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until done.  When done, the loaves should be golden, and sound hollow when tapped.

Immediately remove from the pans and allow to cool a few minutes.  Our favorite way to eat the bread is fresh, with butter and honey!  It also makes delicious toast, sandwiches, and croutons.  Enjoy!

Have a wonderful week, friends!  Be watching for my first post on fitness, coming later this week.  I am excited to delve into a topic that I am very passionate about.  If you have any specific fitness-related questions or things you would like me to write about, feel free to drop me a line through my “Contact” page.

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