Tag Archives: abdominals

5 Minute Workout: Standing Abs

I love Mondays! A new week. A new to-do list that needs checking off. A new set of expectations to meet. But with packing up boxes, selling off belongings, cleaning and recleaning furniture and all the other fun that comes with a big move, all the days have seem to mush together lately. Not Monday though. Monday you get to start fresh. I usually get more done on Mondays than any other day because I’m so motivated! 

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love lists. I love checking things off that list. I love completing a list. And, I love making the next list!

Here were Monday’s items of importance:
Book store
Baby blog post
5 minute workout
Ab Ripper workout
Enchilada prep
Little bug: swim
Skype mom and dad
I had the car which doesn’t happen on Mondays so took advantage of my 18 euros in store credit and snagged these treasures!

I’m very pleased to have my own copy of Twilight but even more excited to have more books to add to little bugs “Big Girl” collection!

After my PX90 Ab Ripper workout (via YouTube), I decided that I needed some loosening up. I had a GREAT 7.5 miler on Sunday -9:15 per mile- which is a bad-ass fast for me but it’s left my back feeling less that great so I turned to my Standing Abs 5 minute workout to help!

I do this 1-2 times a week. It’s great for when I don’t feel like getting dirty on the ground and doing while baby is playing. If you are heavily pregnant, eliminate the ball.

This doesn’t look like much, but the next day, you should feel this!


Move from one exercise to the next without rest.
1. Side bends with the ball (10-15 per side)
2. Standing rotations with the ball (15 per side)
3. Single-leg standing side crunch (15-20 per side)
4. Repeat 1-3 again to reach 5 minutes

1. Side bends with the ball (10-15 per side)

  • keep knees and elbow soft
  • inhale when bending, exhale and use those abs when coming back up
  • make sure you aren’t moving your arms, use only your abs to do the work

2. Standing rotations with the ball (15 per side)

  • knees and elbows soft again
  • concentrate in the twisting using just your abs and avoid going to fast
  • pause in the center before twisting to the other side

3. Single-leg standing side crunch (15-20 per side)

  • balance on one leg
  • squeeze as you bring your elbow and knee together
  • switch sides

Modification if you don’t want to balance

 4. Repeat 1-3 for 5 minutes!

I hope you like this one! It’s easy yet you’re getting a nice little ab work in. Did you notice my little workout buddy in there? 🙂

And guess who was back doing The 100 Pushups Challenge ?
Yay, hubby! I think he’s getting nervous about meeting the rest of my family and  friends! I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to look and feel their best when meeting their wife’s fam/friends?

There’s nothing like unwinding for the day with a bit of pool time!

The day ended with some gooey, slightly spicy, perfect enchiladas by your’s truly! I heart Mexican/American food!

What’s your favorite food style?

Used books or new books, what’s your pref?

What’s your favorite summer activity?

Have a great Tuesday!



Filed under 5 minute workouts, Ab Workouts

Nutrition Nook: Just Beet It!

After 5 days of family fun, my life is slowly getting back into the usual routine…if you call moving across the globe, planning little bug’s birthday party and our going away party routine. It is t-minus 2 months and 1 day till we leave Spain and with all the sorting, throwing, selling, packing as well as spending time with family, day-to-day responsibilities, marathon training, blogging and “Wishlist of things to do before leaving Spain,” I’m surprised we (I) haven’t gone a bit loco!

Today was the first full day of getting back to normal and I tried going at it full-force with my push-ups and 5 minute workout. Today it was 5 sets (23, 20, 22, 20, 25) with 1 minute rests in-between. I must have a chat with that hubby of mine about when we are getting back to our 100 pushup challenge?!

My 5 minute workout I had to do with little bug playing on her activity table while I watch a horrendous program special called Fast Food Babies. It’s about babies and toddlers who only eat fast food. Appalling, disgusting and sad is all I can say about that! Don’t even get me started about fast food and the politics behind it. Anyways, here is what went down during my 5 minute workout:

Deep Plie Squats*: 15-20 (I did a few Plie Jump Squats in there as well)
Pilates Bicycle: 50
Ball exchange (minus the ball): 25
Plank with leg lift*: 10 lifts per leg
I got through this about 2 1/2 times in 5 minutes

*If you are pregnant, I highly recommend deep plie squats. They are great for opening up the pelvis and strengthening the muscles down there. Do them slowly and hold at the bottom for a few seconds. Plank with leg lifts are also safe during pregnancy as long as it doesn’t cause pain or discomfort. They are great for keeping your core area tight.

Today’s juice for this momma was carrot, orange, ginger and pear! Yummy and very energizing. The vitamin A and C overload is exactly what my body needed after all the crap (aka too much beer and spirits) I took in over the last week. Little bug had many sips and gave a giddy approval.
Notice that crappy weather? Where is summer?!!!! Grrrr.

Little bug had a milk shake (formula) mixed with 3 strawberries and 1/4 pear.
A guzzle champ this kid is with her smoothie. I’m so proud that she’s taking it out of a glass since she isn’t a big fan of the sippy cup. I was having problems getting her to take her afternoon formula from anything except a bottle, but once I switched to fresh juice with cooled formula/water mixture, she started drinking from a glass like a pro!

So for the last 3 weeks, I’ve been getting my “beet on.” Beet Root that is! I tried juicing it, but realized in about 10 seconds that this was not ideal or possible for that matter, so out came the Magic Bullet for a little smoothie action.

Beet root, I feel, is an acquired taste but don’t be a wimp and shy away, just keep trying it and learn to love it! Here’s the DL on beet root (per 3.5 ounce serving):
Protein: 8g
Fat: 3g
Carbs: 23g
Dietary Fiber: 6g
Calories: 175
Summary: Although it’ll stain most things it touches, this is a perfect little piece of food. Decent in the protein and fiber and just the right amount of calories to sustain the tummy for a while!

Here’s a bit more love that the BR gives.
-Reduces cholesterol
-Aides in liver production: FYI on this, when the liver is functioning properly, fats are broken down efficiently, aiding weight loss, and preventing fatigue and nausea (that last part is great for pre and post pregnancy).
-Aides in healthy nails, skin, ligament, tendons and bones
-Boosts stamina
Natures Viagra: One of the earliest known benefits of beetroot is its use as an aphrodisiac during the Roman times.
-Fights Cancer
-For women, it improves menstrual problems as well as cures anemia

Beet root as also been coined as a new “super food” for it’s detoxifying qualities and drastically reducing high blood pressure!

Drink it up baby! I usually blend with a few strawberries and a bit of yogurt and water. But today I also cut it up with celery, cucumber, grapes then mixed with a bit of Greek yogurt to make a salad!

Suck it up and give it a go. With all the health benefits, it’s worth the time to get used to it. Studies say it takes a baby 16 “tries” to get used to a food…so…if after 16 “tries” and you still don’t like beet root…then…try it again!

Happy Hump Day!


Filed under 5 minute workouts, Ab Workouts, Leg Workout, Nutrition Nook, Pregnacy, Runners Nook

Confessions of a Cookie Addict

Confession numero uno: Five cookies worth of dough and four freshly baked cookies yesterday has me making today dubbed Training Tuesday! Damn that Nestle Tollhouse cookie recipe, you are EVIL and should be destroyed!!!

Ok, not really. Did I ever mention my weakness for cookies? Forget sweets, candy, chips (crisps), cakes and even most chocolate…the cookie…let me be more specific…the American-style cookies are my true food weakness. One bite, one spoonful of dough and it’s a done deal. I will be dipping in and out of sugar rushes all day long always wanting another cookie fix, I’ll be searching high and low for something equally as good, I’ll promise myself over and over “only one more.” Does this sound familiar to anyone? Anyone?

I did pretty good to only have 4 fresh ones though, so that’s something right? So when the sun peaked it’s little head through my curtains at 6:30am (that’s like 4am for me), it was shoes on, water in hand, tunes in ears and up the mountain for today’s 3 mile run in preparation for the Run Crazy Horse marathon.
I almost made it all the way up before needing a walk break. I was so tired and I’m amazed and so proud I almost ran up, up, up that crazy mt! Yay me! I was in slow-mo though and all I could think about was on Friends when Chandler and Joey would watch Baywatch! Once in town it was an easy 2 kilometers of flatness before returning downhill.

I wasn’t satisfied though.

Did I mention I ate five cookies worth of dough and four freshly baked cookies? That run would not suffice! It’s Push-ups time!

Confession numero dos: Hubby and I haven’t been doing the pushup challenge for about 9 days now! Slap me in the face, I know! How could I commit to a fitness challenge and NOT carry through with it? Who does such a thing?

HAVE NO FEAR, an excuse is HERE! When hubby went to Madrid for his US paperwork medical exam, he was on the bad end of a needle and came home with 2 shots, one of them being a tetanus shot. A sore-armed hubby, then Paris, and now a sunburned hubby…it’s been put on the back-burner till further notice. I’ve done the pushups on my own a few times but I prefer a cheering section! But, I am going to maintain my pushups until we start up again. Today I did 5 sets (keeping with the 100 pushup challenge style): 20, 20, 21, 22, 25. That’s pretty swell in my book! During the 1 minute rests I combined running my little “field,” doing jumping jacks and standing side crunches for a little mini-obstacle course. And I did have one very loud and needy cheerleader!

Confession numero tres: Little bug and I have not done our Mommy & Baby workouts for about 2 weeks. What kind of a fitness role model am I 😉 Feeling a little better about the whole cookie incident but not completely satisfied, I incorporated Mommy & Baby move (Ball Bridge) into a 5 Minute Ab Workout! Here’s what it looked like on paper/screen.

1. Ball bridge with Baby and added press ups: 20 each
2. Ball crunches: 25
3. Ball planks: hold for 10-15 seconds
4. Ball knee tucks: 10
Repeated a few times until I was needed

I do not encourage self-pics during a baby ball bridge!

I do encourage recycled objects like yogurt containers, empty water bottles and big rocks (as long as they know to keep them out of their mouths) as outdoor toys for distraction during other exercises! P.S. she prefers this over most her other toys! Eat that Fisher Price 🙂 (I still love you though, don’t worry)

Nap time for babes and a shower for momma and I finally felt alright about the unmentionable item consumed in large quantities yesterday.

On the positive side, I’m still taking in lots of decaf teas and freshly squeezed juices!
That one is kiwi and strawberry! Little bug also takes a bit mixed in with her formula. She’s hates formula out of her sippy cup. Who could blame her though, that stuff smells vile…but mixed with a few strawberries and it’s chug, chug, chug for her!

Here’s my week of running (Marathon training Week 3):

Hopefully I can keep my hands out of the cookie jar and cookie mixing bowl for that matter!

I hope all you mommy’s had a great Mother’s Day! I know I did 🙂

Here’s something to make you smile:

I feel I can relate any story to Friends, Sex and the City or Seinfeld!

Coming Tomorrow: The American Runner in Paris (part duex)…it involves food!!!!!


Filed under 5 minute workouts, Ab Workouts, Mommy & Baby Moves, Runners Nook, Travel Nook, Upper Body Workouts

Zzz bloody rain RUINED my run!

My brain was hurting after Zumba on Wednesday. Different day, different teacher, different dances and now everything hurts. Not to mention that hubby and I were out until 2am being bodyguards at my brother-inlaw’s gig. I haven’t done 2am in a looong time!

Oh, and how could I forget the 100 Pushup Challenge
Week 3, Day 2 went like this: 20, 25, 15, 15, max out set…I did 27! (90 sec. rest in between sets) THAT’S 102 PUSHUPS!
Like the baby distraction 🙂

This was indeed a 3 coffee day.

I haven’t been neglecting my juicing needs though! Yesterday, I dusted off the orange juicer and got to work.
Wednesday was Orange-Carrot-Apple-Ginger!

Not as good as Carrot-Apple-Ginger but a much-needed energy-booster before I headed to Zumba. My Pi Beta Phi house-mom said that if you drink normal drinks out of a pretty glass, it’d help you feel special. I agree!

Little bug totally approved!

The rain unfortunately RUINED and DESTROYED my run up to Mijas tonight. The day wasn’t completely wasted though. We went scarf hunting as I would like a new one for PARIS! Did I mention I’m heading there in 7 days!!! Info on that later. We also saw our good friends Vicki and Amelia Rose today. The girls are only 2 days apart!

I wallowed about my missed run in a large tub of hot water with a cocktail (my hair was screaming at me for a good scrub)!

Energized…I proceeded to read 15 books to little bug before putting her to bed. I promise something halfway interesting this weekend 🙂



Filed under Mommy & Baby Moves, Nutrition Nook

Mommy & Baby Moves: The Basics (part 2)

Ahh Motivation Monday is upon us again! 3 loads of laundry, 2 cups of coffee, and 1 clean, organized closet all by 1pm…not bad huh!

As promised, some more Mommy & Baby Moves! These 2 exercises are just your basic moves and are very easy to perform with a baby who doesn’t move much…aka…the newborn phase up until they can’t sit still. I was lucky that little bug stayed still this long. (See The Basics Part 1)

Wait a minute, that’s not very good form…

Ahh, now that’s more like it…omit the head turn!

After you have a baby, don’t get too excited about doing a plank, it’s going to take a while to build back up to them.

Yet another excuse to smother my little bug with kisses. The poor thing…it’s good I don’t wear lipstick or she’d be permanently stained! I barely got this pic in before the camera battery went dead, so that’s why this Mommy & Baby Moves is a bit short today. Sorry, I’ll do more next week or later this week perhaps. If you are into yoga, I also like doing a downward facing dog and then go into a plank and then into a pushup!

Here are my workout goals for this week:

It doesn’t look like much but I’d rather do the smart thing and ease back into my running frequency, otherwise I’m terrified I’ll get a knee injury! Eeeekkk. I only had a few shooting pains yesterday so it seems to be getting better. I also plan to be doing my bikini butt & legs 5 minute workout a few times along with creating a 5 minute cardio blast (which I hope to post this week ). I feel so inspired by the weather that all I want to do is be outside all day!

Happy Monday and have a great week!
Do you set workout goals for yourself each week?
What’s your favorite kind of fitness class to take?

IN THE CUE: Nutrition Nook: Avocado Spread


Filed under Mommy & Baby Moves, Upper Body Workouts

Pregnancy Workout (part 1)

I’ve gained too much.
I’ve gained too little.
I ate too much.
I ate too little.
SHOULD I eat that vs. CAN I eat that vs. I NEED to eat that.

It seems that for the 9+ months of pregnancy, women go mad – myself included – for anything nutrition or fitness related. You hear conflicting “advice” everywhere from your grandmother to the internet to the random checkout lady you’ve never met. Today I’m adding to that “advice.” Take this post as you like. I’m simply sharing some of the exercises that worked for me during pregnancy (and after as well).

This entire post is one GIANT ENORMOUS disclaimer. Don’t be an idot and do these exercises if you feel pain or don’t feel right doing them. Not every pregnant person is the same. Ok! Got it!

I kept my exercises very basic concentrating on the “classics” as I like to call them, adding in tons of planks and religiously performing my favorite moves. It’s hard enough to motivate oneself each day to workout during pregnancy, I figured it’s best to do ones that I enjoyed doing! I also incorporated pregnancy yoga and many pilates moves that required lying on my side.

Kristen’s Pregnancy Workout (part 1): 2-3 sets of each exercise
1. Ball Pushups – as many as I could
2. Alternating Walking Lunges – 40 reps (20 per side)
3. Opposite Arm/Leg Raises –  20 reps (10 per side)
4. Side Plank (with opptional leg lift) – 20 reps (10 per side)


I started out using a ball and once the belly took over, then I did them on my knees. It’s especially important to keep your stomach in tight. Be very careful when getting into position as your balance may not be as good during pregnancy.


This is one of my all-time fav leg exercises! I have no idea why but it’s great. Once your belly grows, make sure to really keep those shoulders pulled back which will help your posture. Forgive the form in 2.a isn’t quite right (knee is too far forward).


I’m not going to lie, I hate doing lower back exercises with a passion but at the end of the day, you gotta do them! Nothing is worse than nagging lower back pain…especially when the pounds start to add up. Start on all fours, raise the right arm to shoulder height and the left leg to hip height. Hold for 2 counts. Go back to start position and repeat with the other side.

SIDE PLANK with opptional leg lift

I started doing this exercise long before pregnancy so I just continued doing it throughout. It’s a toughie! If you really want a challenge, hold the leg up for a few seconds! HUGE disclaimer on this exercise! Please do not do this if you are not already in “plank shape.”

For those who are NOT expecting a baby, this is a great way to really make a side plank more challenging. I was so excited when I was able to start doing this again. This falls into that “fun” exercise move category for me! Man I sound like a little fitness nerd!

Ok folks, that’s all for now. See, I really didn’t do anything magical or special during pregnancy; my “magic pill” was consistency! I’ll share a few more pregnancy exercises next week.

RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER: Travel Nook – Am I ready to leave Spain?

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Filed under Ab Workouts, Leg Workout, Pregnacy, Upper Body Workouts

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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Filed under 5 minute workouts, Ab Workouts

Mommy & Baby Moves: Pilates Rollup

Once your baby starts taking steps forward with your assistance, this is a great move to do! If your baby cannot do this, you can “bounce” him/her to imitate the walking movements. This is modified from a Winsor Pilates DVD I did in the past. It’s a bit technical in form, so I’m showing quite a few photos today to illustrate.

My little bug and I are constantly on the ground playing and this another fun one that makes her giggle with glee! A great motivator indeed! AND because of her weight it’s an added bonus because it’s making my ab muscles and arms stronger!

Sit with your legs straight, abs tight, back straight and your arms in front of you holding on to your baby’s hands.


As you walk baby towards you, slowly roll all the way down, feeling each vertebra press into the ground. When you are almost lying flat, place hands under baby’s arms and start pushing baby up. (Try not to let your feet pop up, but worry about baby’s safety first)


Once you are flat, raise your baby above your chest. This is a good time to wiggle baby around and bring her/him to your face for some extra smooches. Make sure you have control of baby the entire time.


Now, with baby still in the air,  squeeze your abs and slowly roll your torso up and forward and place the baby back into the starting position! (If your arms are not strong enough, place baby on your chest and stomach while your roll forward)

I’ll never put recommended reps as that is not the purpose of Mommy & Baby Moves, simply do and enjoy the extra time together.


Working out with my little bug comes naturally to me; perhaps it’s because my mother worked out with me when I was a baby too! I figure it’s never too early to set a good example.

What a little poser!


COMING NEXT: Nutrition Nook: Coffee-ology

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Filed under Ab Workouts, Mommy & Baby Moves

Move of the Moment: Ball Knee Tucks

Every workout over the past 2 weeks I’ve done this exercise: Ball Knee Tucks
I love it because years ago I couldn’t do it.
I love it because I had to work at it over and over.
I love it because it works more than just your abs.
I love it because it WORKS.
I love it because they’re hard.
I love it because they’re NOT crunches!
I love it because I don’t have to do many to REALLY feel it burn.
I simply love my ball knee tucks!

This is more of an advanced exercise but don’t let that put you off from trying it! If you have the option, practice in front of a mirror to get the form just right.

Targeted areas: balance, stability, core, shoulders

Start in the pushup position with the ball under your ankles. For an easier option, have the ball higher on your shins

Bend the knees, bringing them into your chest and squeeze those fab abs. Roll out and repeat!

I do this until I have to fetch some grass out of little bugs mouth; if she’s doing well, then I aim for 15 reps!

P.S. funny moment was when we were taking these photographs I had to switch location because some nasty biting ants were attacking my arms! Ewww….and OUCH!

IN THE MAKING: A look-back on Thirsty Thursday…and it’s not what you think!


Filed under Ab Workouts, Move of the Moment

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