Category Archives: 5 minute workouts

5 Minute Workout: Upper Body with the Resistance Band

I had to stop midway through doing this on Monday. My Brain said: What are you doing, you have the 100 pushup Challenge today! Tuesday = sore arms.

Continuing from last week’s 5 Minute Workout I kept the momentum going with the resistance band. This week’s inspiration came from my gym-sickness (like home-sickness but for the gym) for back machines. Exercises for the back are my favorite! A sculpted sexy back on a man or woman will not only make you look better in your summer wardrobe but also help your posture immensely.

You may not be sore after this series but you will definitely be on your way to saying “bu-bye” to those bingo-wings!


Move from one exercise to the next without resting.
1. Wide Row-15 reps
2. Single arm row-12 reps per side
3. Standing Chest Press-15 reps
4. Butterfly-12 reps
5. Upright Row-15 reps
6. Repeat 1-5 to get 5 minutes.

1. Wide Row- 15 Reps
I use a red band but you can get easier/harder resistance bands depending on your fitness level. I like to bend my leg slightly so I avoid using my lower back or momentum to perform this. I crossed the bands (sorry you can’t see), grip with knuckles facing up and then simply bring the elbows out wide and pausing for just a moment before returning to the start position.

2. Single Arm Row- 12 reps per side
For hand placement, put both handles in one hand.

This time, bring the arm straight back keeping it in close to the body. Repeat on other side.

3. Standing Chest Press-15 reps
Again, I cross the band where it’s wrapped around the railing.  Keeping the elbows wide and parallel to the ground. Press forward and together, almost touching and then return to start position.

4. Butterfly 12-15 reps
Arms are even with the back and out in a “T” with a slight bend in the elbow. Bring together as if you are hugging a tree but don’t let the hands touch. Bring back to start.

5. Upright Row- 15 reps
Hand and band position

Pretty self-explanatory on this one. Just keep an eye on the wrists and height of your elbows.

Now go back and repeat and there you have it: 5 minutes to better arms!

Now on to this week’s running goals!
Marathon training starts in 13 days and I’m amazed, to tell you the truth, that I’ve been reaching my goals each week!!

Ok, ok now little bug has the floor.
“You see this. See how I’m holding it? Twist it around like so.”…
“Watch those wrists remember. Now, bring the foot back.”…
“Twist the torso, straighten the arm and TA-DAAA! Now repeat for 12 reps.”

JUST AROUND THE CORNER: Mijas Mountain. take 3

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Filed under 5 minute workouts, Upper Body Workouts

5 Minute Workout: Can’t Resist the Resistance Band

My heart was thumpin’ right out my chest and I went to look at my stopwatch and it only said 2 MINUTES and 30 SECONDS! You know it’s going to be a good 5 Minute Workout!

When I put together a 5 minute workout, my goal is to use little or no equipment, stick with basic moves or at least basic moves with a twist, and to get that heart pumpin’. I want to be thinking is this over yet!

That’s exactly the phrase that popped in my head this week during my Can’t Resist the Resistance Band routine. The concept is simple in theory then suddenly it sneaks up on you and woo-paa the ticker is getting a nice little workout.


Move from one exercise to the next without resting.
1. Squat (10) > Squat Pulse (10) > Squat (10)
2. Bicep Curl (10) > Curl Pulse (10) > Bicep Curl (10)
3. Lunge Shoulder Press (10) > Lunge Pulse (10) > Lunge Shoulder Press (10)
4. Repeat 3 with opposite leg
5. Repeat 1-4 until 5 minutes are up. (This series takes about 6-7 minutes to complete twice)

1. Squat > Squat Pulse > Squat

The important part about using a band, is to use it correctly. Notice the wrists are always straight.

I find that pulsing and the resistance band go hand-in-hand. (If you have ever taken a Body Pump class, you know what I mean.) If you have never “pulsed” during an exercise here is how you do it. For a squat, go into the position shown above, then only go about a 1/4 of the way up and then back down but do it faster than you would with the plain squat. After you do 10 pulses, go back to doing 10 full-motion squats!

2. Bicep Curl (10) > Curl Pulse (10) > Bicep Curl (10)

Keep those elbows at your sides. No cheating! Watch those wrists too. If you are using a weaker or stronger band, adjust your reps accordingly. The last rep should be difficult or getting difficult.

First, I look so pale and dopey, but at least my hair is highlighted! Ok, back to kicking some butt! You can do a curl pulse in two different ways. THIS way, you start from the halfway point where your arm position is like the one shown above, bring all the way up and then go back down to the halfway point again. (I need a mirror as my arms in that first pic are a bit too low.) After pulsing, go back to full-motion curls for 10 reps.

3. Lunge Shoulder Press (10) > Lunge Pulse (10) > Lunge Shoulder Press (10)

The important aspect is form. Notice where the arms start and how they are facing (wrists, wrists for petesake). Also, press through the heel of your front foot. If you cannot make the 10 reps, simply do the exercise without the press (shown below).

If you can’t complete the 10 presses with the lunge, switch to this version. Notice though how the hands now face in.

The lunge pulse here is similar to the squat pulse. Get into the “kneeling” looking position and then, pressing through the front heal, bring yourself up about a 1/4 of the way and then back down. After 10 of these, go back into the lunge shoulder press.

4. Repeat with other leg: Lunge Shoulder Press (10) > Lunge Pulse (10) > Lunge Shoulder Press (10)

Those 5 minutes aren’t done yet! Go back and repeat from the beginning! 5 minutes will get you about 1 1/2 times through but if you want to get through this twice, it should take about 6 to 7 minutes!

On to running biz…last night’s date night was a bit of a bust! There were hurricane-like winds and I don’t think our little bug is that hardcore about getting the run in as I was. My legs were itching for a run but the wind was insane. After heading into a little beach bar and settling for a 1/2 pint of cider, I kept walking in and out saying, “I think I could do it.  I think I could run this.” Finally after about a half hour, hubby told me to go ahead. Woo Hoo! I was out the door!

I had only 20 minutes which meant no warm-up or cooldown. I must say, running after 1/2 pint of cider is not recommended for a reason. I had no idea what my tempo was and started out way too fast. Then I think I looked at my watch wrong and I ended up having to do an all-out sprint back to the car. I was knackered! Lesson: Don’t drink and run!

Tonight it’s day 2 in the 100 pushup challenge and a run/walk up to Mijas again! I’m looking to improve from last week’s first attempt of 15:58!

Oh, on the moving front…a friend sent me the PERFECT job listing last night, but it’s in IOWA…not exactly driving distance from Minneapolis or Colorado, huh? I’m still tinkering with the idea of applying just to get “in the practice” again. What do you think?

Let the sorting begin!
This is hubby going through all his CDs.
I think he went from 60 or so down to a dozen!

Here’s Little Bug in the snood I knitted her.
Is that how you spell snood?
Keeps her warm and soaks up the drool!


Filed under 5 minute workouts, Leg Workout, Upper Body Workouts

5 Minute Workout: Cardio Blast

I am absolutely in love with this week’s 5 Minute Workout! My heart was beating out of my chest by the end, which is a thumbs up in my book!

This is my “get me out of my crappy, lazy mood workout.” If you find yourself needing some cardio but feel glued to the couch, unmotivated or short on time but still want to feel like you did “something” in terms of cardio…this should do the trick and maybe, just maybe after the 5 minutes are complete and the endorphins are flowing…you’ll feel like your ol’ self again!


Do each exercise for 30 seconds. NO rest in between!
1. Jumping Jacks
2. Step-Ups
3. Shuffle
4. Jump Rope
5. High Knees
6. Repeat 1-5 for 5 minutes o’ fun!

Do them like you mean it people! Woo Hoo!

Use a short step and it’s simply: up, down, up, down, up, down

Hated these in the volleyball days but love them now. GREAT for runners because our bodies NEED side to side training that running doesn’t bring. The area you use doesn’t have to be long, I think mine is about 10 feet long and works fine.

Don’t have a jump rope? Well just pretend you do. Probably better that way too because it’ll then be constant jumping and you don’t need to worry about tripping all over yourself!

You knew I’d save the best for last! Think of it as running in place but bringing the knees as high up as you can!

Now do all 5 again and…WOOPAA you have 5 minutes! This cardio blast is perfect to incorporate before or after other 5 minute workouts I’ve shown.

I completely scrubbed out for this workout. I had limited sun left and just returned from my run up to Mijas (posting my results tomorrow). But give me a little credit, I kept it a bit dressy by showcasing my Barcelona Marathon finisher shirt 😉

DO THIS WORKOUT! You’ll feel like a kid again, you’ll feel less mushy, you’ll give that heart a workout, you’ll love it! It’s like an energy drink but without the drink part!

Ta, ta!

NEXT IN LINE: Runners Nook: Mijas Mountain. take 1


Filed under 5 minute workouts

Obstacle Course DIY

Get your cardio and resistance training in one go by making your own little obstacle course. Most people call them circuits…but don’t you think obstacle course sounds a lot more fun! I feel like a kid again saying Obstacle Course! Since becoming “Mom,” (or MAM when my hubby imitates my American accent) this is one of my new favorite ways to get in a bunch of exercises and muscle groups at once. You can do this on your own or pop the little one in a bouncer/walker/mat full of toys while she/he watches.

Here’s Obstacle Course DIY

The first ingredient is a space. Indoor or outdoor as long as you have enough room to move and create little stations. This is my usual space.
The length here is enough to complete 12 walking lunges. I call this my “field.” For an indoor space, a hallway would work pretty well here.

This square space is like a blank canvas for a fitness nerd like myself! I can jump rope here and use this area to house an exercise ball!

No this is no ordinary bench…see how is screams for me to do step-ups, dips and pushups on it!

And this railing…ahh…a perfect little haven to wrap a resistance band around for upper body work or yet another place to do pushups!

Which brings me to the next ingredients: equipment. I use a jump rope, exercise ball and resistance band. An exercise mat is good to have as well.

Don’t the pictures add to the excitement of making your own obstacle course! You could also add free weights, bosu, thigh master, vibrating ab belt…ok, maybe not the last two 🙂

You really don’t need to have anything though since you can get a good 10 exercises out of the bench area. Seriously, 10 exercises…off the top of my head: dips, pushups, pushups with feet elevated, steps ups, box jumps, calf raises, lunges with back leg elevated, planks with feet elevated, side planks, planks with leg raises…and that’s just getting started, you get the point.

Now, simply mix cardio elements with resistance elements in any order. I like to have enough exercises to keep me busy for 5 minutes and then hopefully I have enough time to get 3 sets in! Here’s what I did last week.

1. Sprint the field and do 5 jump tucks at the end
2. Sprint back and complete 10 jumping jacks
3. Move over to the railing (which has the resistance band wrapped around) and do 20 back rows
4. Jump rope for 50 jumps
5. 40 stepups
6. Shuffle drill back and forth in box area for 12 lengths
7. 15-20 Dips
8. Walking lunges the length and back of the field
9. Ball knee tucks: 10 reps
10. Sprint the field up and back
11. Sprint the field backwards up and back
12. 30 side kicks: 15 per side
13. Lather, rinse, repeat if possible

And booo-yaaa (does anyone say that anymore, it felt like the appropriate moment for a boo-yaaa) a simple workout that you can  create on the fly and can change-up easily every time!

And sometimes she likes to join in!


Filed under 5 minute workouts, Ab Workouts, Leg Workout, Mommy & Baby Moves, Upper Body Workouts

5 Minute Workout: Bikini Butt & Legs Workout

This week’s 5 Minute Workout was inspired by a friend’s question:

Hey miss fitness…I need some advice. What do you do to tone/firm the back of your legs. Mine look like they have encountered a major hail storm since I had the baby…any advice? (besides get liposuction :))

Wow! That’s a challenge. First off, it’d be Mrs. Fitness as I’m a married woman…ha, ha! Second, after this, I will no longer be doing this blog because I will make millions by sharing the winning formula to eliminating cottage cheese thighs! Ok, not really. Sorry to say but every woman will…hold on, let me rephrase that. Every woman who cannot routinely get liposuction will get cellulite. This is simply down to women’s chemistry. Around the middle to late twenties and especially after childbirth, a hailstorm beats down on women’s thighs and even arms and stomach. Although there isn’t a magic formula for getting rid of it, (besides extreme measures) you can diminish the appearance by toning the lower body.

I am really going to stress the toning bit. Cardio will help immensely if you need to lose weight in general but resistance training and toning is really the key to reducing the look of it! Plyometrics are fantastic to incorporate as well as barbell squats, lunges…any weighted exercise that’s really taxing all those little muscle fibers.

I don’t have any of that equipment, not even heavy dumbbells. So I’ve made it that these 4 exercises can be done at home, the park or anywhere that has a sturdy bench/chair. The whole leg is being taxed but there’s greater concentration on the back of the legs. The next day, I felt this  in my butt…right where your swimsuit bottom would hit!


1. Alternating jump lunges -10 per leg
2. Step-ups – 10 per leg
3. Rear leg raised lunge – 10-15 per leg
4. Bridge side kicks – 10-20 per leg
5. Repeat 1-4.

Do these exercises one after another with no rest. This gets the heart pounding and you should be able to complete 2 cycles of this in 5 to 6 minutes!


I like to start in the lunge position and then, pushing off the front heel, jump as high as I can (which is probably 2 centimeters off the ground) and land back in the lunge position but with the other leg forward. Continue “jumps” until you hit 20 (10 per leg).

Easy right!? Find bench, or chair. Start with one leg up. The leg that is up, push through the heel to hoist your other leg up. Don’t use momentum at this part! Return to start position. I like to do all reps on one side first before switching to the other. It’s an easy classic that works every time!

Rest one foot on a bench, chair, or bosu (either side works). Keep your knee in line with the toes on the other foot, lower yourself down, keeping your back straight. Push through heel to come back up. Again, I complete one side first before switching to the other!

LOVE this exercise. I had no idea what to call it though. I think I learned it about 10 years ago from an old school Billy Banks Tae Bo video (VHS of course). This raises the butt and works the obliques! It’s one of my hidden gems (not so hidden anymore). If you have extra time to kill during a TV commercial break or something, do 25-50 of these per side throughout the break.

Get into a bridge position. Raise one of the bent knees out to the side. Extend out into a kick. Bring back to starting position but don’t let knee touch the ground.

Repeat all exercises again and you should be slightly over 5 minutes. I love this workout and would recommend doing an extra round, completing 3 sets of each exercise!

Little bug’s point of view! She was in the baby carrier while hubby snapped the pics! Did you notice her extra warm winter hat? It was freezing up there!!!! Brrr. I had many layers on from what you all saw. All pics were taken in Mijas which is a lovely village up the mountain just a few minutes from where we live.

IN THE MAKING: Pregnancy Workout (part 1). See what exercises I did throughout my pregnancy.

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5 Minute Workout: Abs (lower emphasis)

Abs, short for abdominals, right? I like my description better: ABS= Absolutely Beautiful Stomach or how about ABS= Alcohol and Beer Stomach! I wonder how many new gadgets, magic pills, extreme diets and questionable lotions have been gracing our infomercial time-slots promising that THIS…yes, THIS. IS. THE. ANSWER. TO. YOUR. FLAT. STOMACH. I can hear that deep voice-over guy now, “Say goodbye to your gym membership, eating those green vegetables and endless crunches on the ball.” (Make sure when you read that, you are doing the voice as well, there’s a much better effect!) This is actually a.k.a for, “Say goodbye to your money you stupid moron, I’m taking it in 3 easy payments of $19.99.” (Again, deep voice is good here!) Goodness, I have watched too many infomercials in my day.

Okay enough stalling, so if you are reading this, I hope that by now you’ve learned that if you really, REALLY want a nice tummy, then you have to eat very well and keep up that cardio routine in order to keep that pesky fat off your tummy in the first place. It’ll then be the ab exercises that tone and sculpt the appearance of it!

Today’s 5 minute workout targets all the abdominal muscles but there’s a bit more concentration on the lower region. I use an exercise ball in two of the moves shown but you can perform these without one. When I completed these 5 minutes, I was very glad and so were my abs!


1. Crab crawl – 30 seconds
2. Mountain climbers – 25 per leg
3. Reverse ball curls – 20-30
4. Ball exchange – 10
5. Repeat 1-4 until 5 minutes are up (no resting between exercises)

This is named exactly how you perform it: you crawl on all fours like a crab. If you can find a long enough space where you “crawl” for 15 seconds and then crawl back, that usually works best. Keep your abs tight throughout the entire exercise to avoid lower back injury. This feels funny but it’s great for the arms, core and getting that heart rate up!

Get into the plank position, bring one knee to your chest, now switch and bring the other knee to your chest. This is simply running in place in the plank position. Once you are comfortable with the form experiment with different speeds. This is another great one for the entire core as well as the arms and heart.

Again, this can be done without the ball. The ball just makes it harder. I like to keep my shoulders and head off the ground, but if that doesn’t work for you, keep your neck and shoulders down. The ball can either be placed like I have it or you can squeeze your legs around it. After 3b, bring the ball back down but do not let the ball touch the ground. I love holding the 3b position for a few seconds and really squeezing the abs and before slowly coming back down!

No, you’re not seeing double or triple…that’s 10 photos! The breakdown is that you exchange the ball from legs to arms. It’s important to keep that core extrememly tight and lower back glued down! Only go as far down as your body lets you or until your form goes off.

After this exercises go back into the crab crawl and repeat all four exercises! I can’t guarentee instant results or a money back guarentee but this is a nice challenge for the abs with a few moves that think outside the box!

COMING SOON: Mommy & Baby Moves: The Basics

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5 Minute Workout: Lower Body Blast

This week’s 5 Minute Workout is guaranteed to leave you out of breathe! Hey…wait…don’t stop reading…and don’t go all wimpy on me now fitness junkies!! How else could you get a lower body workout in 5 minutes? Again, like last week, success is performing each exercise one after another. I threw in some plyometrics to get that heart rate going wild and really get those muscles saying “are you freakin’ kidding me.” Plyometrics are excellent to incorporate into your training especially if you play any sports and want to improve performance and increase speed.


Adjust reps as needed

  1. Side lunges – 15 per leg (alternate)
  2. Jump squats – 10
  3. Reverse lunges – 15-20 per leg (alternate)
  4. Plie’ jump squats – 10
  5. Repeat 1-4 until 5 minutes are up

I look so dopey! Ha, ha, he, he

This is hands down my ultimate favorite leg exercise because the next day…hello inner thighs! Forget those inner/outer thigh weight machines…this exercise kicks it up old school and you can do it anywhere! It’s a great burn is what I’m trying to say.  Here are a few quick tips:   foot and knee need to point in the same direction, keep both feet flat on the floor, and that toe touch I’m doing will give a little extra umph to the hamstring area!

When landing, try to come back into starting position or as close to it as possible. Try not to pause inbetween reps.


Reverse lunge means you are stepping back into a lunge (not forward). My knee looks like it’s touching the ground but it’s really not. Try to get the knee down as far as  you can.


HolyMoly action pictures are hard!

Like jump squats, try to land in your starting position. To make this harder, click heels together at 4.b! This is another great inner thigh burner!

After completing this move, circle back to exercise 1 and repeat until your 5 minutes are up. I hope you feel this as much as I do.

This weeks photos were taken on my inlaws front lawn. It’s such a serene place and with a postcard view!

Please caution: there is greater risk of injury doing plyometrics so please make sure you are on a stable surface, not severely overweight and use proper form.

NEXT UP TO BAT: Mommy & Baby Moves: Pilates “Roll-Up”


Filed under 5 minute workouts, Leg Workout

5 minute workout: upper body

5 minutes, that’s right, I said 5 minutes – however, there’s a catch – no resting in between exercises. Not only will this bump up your workout intensity, but you’ll be done in no time and feel a nice burn in your arms. I’m a “no-pain, no-gain” kinda girl, but I’m also a very busy person with a hundred things to do in a day, so this is my way of getting in a great tricep (and a little ab, shoulder and chest as well) workout. This is perfect to start now and get those arms looking halter-top ready for summer!


Adjust reps to your workout level.

  1. Push-ups (my love-hate exercise) – 15 reps
  2. Plank series
  3. Tricep pushups – 5-10 reps or however many you can!
  4. Tricep dips – 10-20 reps
  5. Repeat 1-4 until 5 minutes are up!

Hold each exercise in the Plank Series for 5-10 seconds

(Excuse the angles and a few form mishaps; we’re still getting used to the lighting and camera.)

This is the same as a pushup, except keep your arms tucked in by your sides (like you’re squeezing a book between your arm and body). These are harder than regular pushups, if you can’t come all the way down, simply lower yourself as much as possible.

Again, keep those elbows in and your back close to the chair.

Once you complete this exercise, start again with your pushups and repeat the cycle for 5 minutes. If your arms give out before 5 minutes, simply do as much as you can and try again in a few days!

COMING NEXT: Baby Moves…exercise you can do with your baby


Filed under 5 minute workouts, Upper Body Workouts