Caroline’s Favorite Effective Ab Exercises.

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I often get questions about the most effective exercises for the abs. It seems everyone is looking for quality ways to tone their tummy in less time. There are countless exercises that target the abs, including fitness DVDs (Does “Six Pack Solution” sound familiar?) and even pricey machines that infomercials swear can help you. But do you really need a video or specialized piece of equipment to get the most out of your ab training?

NOPE! A study conducted at San Diego State University’s Biomechanics Lab (and published by ACE, the American Council on Exercise) revealed that the best ab exercises  don’t require any quick fixes or fancy gizmos, and are surprisingly easy to fit into your day.

Researchers looked at the effectiveness of 13 common abdominal exercises—everything from crunches to the “Ab Roller”  machine. Using EMG (electromyography), they measured the muscle activity of the participants to determine which exercises best targeted the abs and the obliques, while also limiting the activity of the hips and thighs (because when an abdominal exercise is executed poorly, the hips and thighs engage to “help out” the abs). To view the entire study report from ACE, click here.

Overall, researchers said that all of these exercises are “relatively effective” ways to train the abs—but some are more effective than others. The top ranking moves from their study were body weight based and moves anyone could do at home, the gym, or outside. The big takeaway here is that you really don’t need to buy anything special to train your abs —traditional exercises prove to be better in training your stomach muscles.

That being said, here are some of my all time favorite effective ab exercises that don’t require a gym membership, fancy equipment, or tight spandex.  Who needs a gym when there’s the living room floor? I swear by these moves and if you focus on quality movement you will too! You don’t need a lot of time or a lot of gear just press play wherever you are and get to it. Just remember that the secret to results comes from combining core training with a clean diet, total body strength training, and a fat-burning cardio regime (like high intensity cardio). You can read all my six pack secrets here. I hope you enjoy the video below – take me home with you or when your travel, we can workout together anywhere and keep your stomach muscles feeling powerful!

SUBSCRIBE to my youtube channel for more no-equipment needed moves you can do anywhere! And as always if you like this video and please always feel free to share with your friends 🙂 What are your favorite body weight moves for a strong core? Leave me a comment below, I love hearing from you!

Cheers to your health,

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

You Are Only One Workout Away From A Good Mood.

Looking for exercise motivation? Here’s one mantra that will help get you moving, ” You are only one workout away from a good mood”

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Photo credit Kuroda Studios

“You are only one workout away from a good mood” 

People always ask me where I get my positive energy. I have a secret sauce. Its called exercise. Movement is my mood changer, every time. It doesn’t have to be a crazy gym workout either, even a walk around the block does a world of good for my mental state and wellbeing.

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“You are only one workout away from a good mood” is my mantra and I use it as a reminder on days I’m needing a little extra oomph. I don’t remember exactly when this phrase first came to me (maybe it is simply from too much time on pinterest), but I have used exercise as a psychological reset since I was a teenager.

I remember one day in particular, I was about 15 years old and in a terrible mood.

Crying, drama kind of mood. I don’t remember the reason for it, probably some boy I liked didn’t call me back or I had a fight with my mom.

What I do remember, is that I ran it out of me, literally.

I laced up my shoes, stepped outside and started running with tears streaming down my face (At the time I was a ballerina – we are dramatic like that ;). This was before the iPod, so it was just me out there running with my thoughts and my breath.

As I racked up the steps, I could no longer play the drama out in my mind. I had to focus on putting one foot in front of the other, driving my arms and controlling my breath.

Soon, sweat replaced the tears and concentration quieted my mind. I felt the emotion and chaos drain out of me.

I left it on the road like litter.

That day, I ran farther than I ever had and I experienced the profound shift that a flow state can induce.

I didn’t know anything about endorphins. I’d never even heard of a ‘runner’s high.’ I just knew I felt better.

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I have used exercise for many things since then; to meet friends, get strong, run better, to learn about myself and what I’m capable of. But the biggest reason I exercise is to feel better and to get the kind of positive energy that fuels my day with power.

I know no matter what’s happening, how I feel, or where I am – I am ALWAYS just one workout away from a good mood.

My friends laugh because I have a workout for every mood, but they too know my motto:

“You’re one workout away from a good mood” and 98 out of 100 times, it gets them to the gym too.

Some people don’t believe me, but then they try using my mood changer mantra and within a few workouts they completely trust the mind altering power of exercise!  Here are just a few examples of moods you can exercise yourself out of into a happier state of being:

  • The When You Think You Cant Workout
  • The No Sleep Workout
  • The PMS Workout
  • The Jet Lag Workout. Air squats in the airport – you know how we do!
  • The Hangover Workout. Sweat is the best cure 🙂
  • The Pissed off workout
  • The breakup workout. Therapy really.
  • The I’m feeling overwhelmed workout
  • The sad workout
  • The event day workout
  • The needing clarity workout

I could go on forever – but you get my point. Movement can help you feel better, think better, and BE better. There’s a workout cure for every mood, no matter what life throws at you. So whether you feel like it or not, go get your sweat on. You will thank me later.

Love and squats,

Caroline

For more feel good fitness inside and out : Check out my book, Balanced Body Breakthrough and get your mind, body, and spirit in great shape so you can love your life.

If you are interested in scheduling a consultation to discuss ways we can work with together and improve your health, contact me at: carolinejordanfitness@gmail.com

Other Things To Check Out: 

Don’t Seek Love, Live in Love. 70 ways to Fall in Love with your Life!

Don’t Seek Love, Live in Love

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When Valentine’s Day approaches, we all start looking for signs of love outside of ourselves—chocolate, cards, phone calls, flowers, gifts or other sweet sentiments.  Its all to easy to connect our happiness to these external factors and use these things to define the level of love in our lives.

Yet it’s important to remember that happiness is not really determined by the external world, but by the world found inside of you. No amount of flowers, gifts, or love from someone else can fill a void created by a lack of internal happiness. Love is an inside job—and the irony of it is, in order to receive it, we have to already have it. So with Valentine’s Day coming up, Id like to invite you to look at your relationship with yourself and your life. Are you in love with it?

Love takes work. Relationships take work. And the love you have for yourself and your life – yes you guessed it – takes work. Just like anything worth working for, great love doesn’t happen over night. It takes time, sweat, dedication, patience, practice, persistence, and a positive attitude. Learning to love life and all that life has to bring you is a sure way to bring more happiness into your world. One small intentional action a day can create a big changes in creating a life you love. Here are my thoughts on 70 different ways you can create a positive, powerful relationship to your life, and fall in love with it…. every minute of it.

70 Ways to create a positive, powerful relationship to your life. 

  1. Love yourself first.
  2. Live in the present moment.
  3. Don’t ignore the past.
  4. Look for the good in everyone.
  5. Don’t believe everything you think.
  6. Be honest with yourself.
  7. Do what you enjoy doing.
  8. Eat foods that nourish you from the inside out.
  9. Travel. As often as possible.
  10. Give back to others.
  11. Practice patience.
  12. Don’t avoid conflict.
  13. Know what really matters.
  14. Learn to say no.
  15. Learn to say yes.
  16. Create positive rituals.
  17. Find something to believe in.
  18. Accept what you cannot change.
  19. Don’t try to change others.
  20. Let go, forgive, and move forward.
  21. Stand up for yourself.
  22. Be grateful for what you have.
  23. Avoid judgments, stereotypes, and assumptions.
  24. Expect good things.
  25. Be open-minded.
  26. Find a positive outlet.
  27. Use positive language (especially when talking to yourself).
  28. Take chances.
  29. Don’t sabotage your happiness. Get out of your own way.
  30. Find your voice and listen to it.
  31. Surround yourself with positive people.
  32. Believe in your ability to change your life.
  33. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  34. Ask for help.
  35. Take life one day at a time.
  36. Treat others how they want to be treated. Golden rule people!
  37. Don’t let fear hold you back. Feel the fear. Do it anyway.
  38. Avoid complaining.
  39. Don’t create unnecessary drama. Don’t put up with people that do.
  40. Stop making excuses.
  41. Get rid of mental clutter.
  42. Get rid of physical clutter.
  43. Set up clear boundaries.
  44. Seek out opportunities.
  45. Don’t take things personally.
  46. Celebrate the little things.
  47. Trust your intuition.
  48. Help others help themselves.
  49. Be a good listener.
  50. Don’t take life so seriously.
  51. Pick your battles.
  52. Highlight your strengths.
  53. Look for beauty everywhere.
  54. Let go of what you don’t need.
  55. Work hard and play hard.
  56. Know your life has a purpose.
  57. Greet yourself with love.
  58. Pay attention to what your body is saying.
  59. Take calming time-outs.
  60. Don’t wait for someday.
  61. Look for learning opportunities.
  62. Make time to play.
  63. Don’t settle. Ever.
  64. Don’t waste time on hate and envy.
  65. Handle stress positively.
  66. Inspire yourself – and others.
  67. Try your best in everything.
  68. Turn your face to the sun.
  69. Stop wanting to be what you’re not.
  70. Be your own hero.

“If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us.” Give yourself permission to fall in love with your life, no matter what’s missing or what you wish could be different. It’s your life and like it or not, you are married to it. You might as well make it the relationship of a lifetime and find all the beauty in it. Love is a choice. No one can take that choice away from you and no darkness is bold enough to extinguish it. Go ahead… you have nothing to lose. Fall head over heels with your life. Every minute of it.

Till next time…. live in love,

Caroline

Other Valentines Themed Posts:

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Winning Superbowl Healthy Recipes and Workout videos!

Winning Superbowl recipes from my heart to yours! Photo from yesterday's CYCLE FOR SURVIVAL fundraiser, thanks to support rider and friend Sarah Morrow .

Winning Superbowl recipes from my heart to yours! Photo from yesterday’s CYCLE FOR SURVIVAL fundraiser, thanks to support rider and friend Sarah Morrow .

Sharing time with people you enjoy, delicious food, and unforgettable commercials – the SUPERBOWL is always a good time. But unfortunately, along with the fun of the party comes lots of calories and sitting (not really a winning combination).  According to an article in the USA Today, Super Bowl parties are second to Thanksgiving when it comes to the number of calories consumed.  If we are not careful, we could eat our daily intake of calories, doubled, during one super bowl game.

DO NOT FEAR!!!!

I have created a healthy, happy superbowl guide to help you. Below are my choice football party recipes and workout videos to get you game day ready. You might be surprised how delicious choosing a healthier celebration feels and you’ll feel so good you’ll have ample energy for the after parties.  With these resources you can prepare a game day plan that wins all around. Have fun, be safe, and may the best team win! TOUCHDOWN!

Caroline’s Healthy, Happy Superbowl Guide.

SuperBowl Recipes. Plan ahead and cook up a few nutritious recipes so that you have something healthy to serve at your party. Here are a few of my favorites:

Caroline’s Crispy Kale Chips

Ditch the Doritos and put out a bowl of these (healthy) bad boys instead. To make them, simply wash kale, dress with olive oil and a bit of sea salt, and roast in the oven until crunchy and crispy.

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of kale (I used the curly kind)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Wash kale, remove the inner rib or stem, and tear into chip-size pieces. Make the pieces a little larger than you want the chips because they will shrink.
  • The kale must be thoroughly dried. I ran it through a salad spinner, laid it out on paper towels for 5 minutes, and then ran it through the spinner once more.
  • Put the kale pieces in a gallon plastic baggie and add the olive oil. “Massage” the kale to ensure that each piece has a coating of oil.
  • Arrange the kale in a single layer on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or you can place them right on the sheet). You may need a to use more than one sheet or bake in batches.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt. Use a bit less than you think you need because the kale shrinks and the salt intensifies.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until the kale is crisp and slightly browned.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

If the chips last more than 5 minutes (mine never do) you can store them for 2 days in an airtight container or bag. Make sure they are cooled thoroughly before storing.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Rosemary  ( adapted from FeedMePhoebe)
Makes 2-4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Toss the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, rosemary, salt, and paprika until well incorporated.

3. Arrange the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, redistributing once during the cooking process, until browned and crispy. Allow to cool slightly – they will get even crisper and firmer as they come to room temperature.

Serve the fries alongside ketchup, lemon aioli, and perhaps a turkey burger, if you’re feeling frisky.

Root Vegetable and Black Bean Chili (Gluten/Dairy Free from FeedMePhoebe)
Makes 10 servings

This chili is the perfect earthy blend of sweet and spicy. If you want to get even more rich flavor out of the vegetables, roast them until they are nice and caramelized and then add them to the stew. You’ll cut down on your stove-top cook time, and the extra step is worth it. If you can’t find chile negro any mild dried chili will work here.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dried chile negro
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • Olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 3 28-ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 4 small parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 4 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1. Place the chiles in a bowl and submerge in boiling hot water. Soak for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour. Remove the chiles from the water, reserving the liquids. Rinse off the seeds and skin and discard along with the stems. Place the cleaned chiles in a small food processor along with 1/2 cup of roughly chopped cilantro stems, the garlic, and 1/2 cup of soaking liquids. Puree until you get a fine paste, adding more liquid as necessary.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large lidded Dutch oven over a medium-high flame. Saute the onion and carrots until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. You want the spices to get nice and toasted. Carefully pour in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

3. Add the sweet potatoes, parsnips, black beans, black chile paste, and remaining soaking liquid. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, adding one or two cups of water if necessary. You want a soupy consistency, as the chili will thicken as it simmers.

Simmer, partly covered for 20 minutes, until the potatoes and parsnips are tender. Season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Simmer 5 minutes more. Ladel the chili in bowls and serve!

Caroline’s Happy Tummy Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (paleo friendly!)

Ingredients:

  • *2 & 2/3 Cups Almond Flour
  • *1 Tsp Baking Soda,
  • *2 Tsp Pure Vanilla
  • *1/2 Cup Pure Maple Syrup.(If you are trying to watch your calories you can use a light syrup) 
  • *3 Packets Stevia -OPTIONAL
  • *2 Large Eggs
  • *1 & 1/2 Cups Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks or Chips.
  • *1/2 Cup Coconut Oil, Melted.
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  1. Grease the baking sheet. Mix the almond flour and baking soda together.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, vanilla, and syrup.
  3. Mix together the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl.
  4. Mix the chocolate chunks into the batter. You can get creative and add whatever additional ingredients you’d like. Some awesome  options would be: unsweetened dried fruit, walnuts, pecans, coconut, cranberries, mint leaves, or cherries!
  5. Melt the coconut oil and mix it into the batter. The original recipe said it was okay to add extra almond flour if your batter ends up being too runny but my batter stayed firm. I guess it all depends on the quality of your coconut oil.
  6. Drop the cookies onto the sheet. (about 1 & 1/2 tablespoon) The dough is trickier to work with because it has no flour. Don’t be afraid to get your fingers sticky! Place them on the GREASED baking sheet and press down into a cookie form with your hands.
  7. Bake about 10-11 minutes. Let them cool for about two minutes.
  8. Remove from the baking sheet and add to a cooling rack or a separate plate.
  9. Let cookies cool (if you can wait that long 😉 and ENJOY!

Superbowl Fitness: Caroline’s “Get in the Game WORKOUT CHALLENGE” 

Fuel your SuperBowl Sunday with POWER by getting your workout in before the first commercial. The below drills are designed to work on your strength, speed, stamina, and agility while burning calories and boosting energy. It’s a challenging series – as always, please check with a doctor before beginning any new exercise routine. And note: *You DO NOT need a football or access to a football field for these workouts. Just a positive attitude, a bottle of water, and some space! ; )

Running/Jogging Warm Up Drills. 10 minutes.

  • Easy jog 5 minutes
  • Walking Lunge. 20-30.
  • Butt kicks (kick your heel towards your butt)
  • Squat with side shuffle 1 minute
  • High Knees 1 minute
  • Plank with mountain climber knees 1 minute

“Make a Tight End”

All my favorite moves for a tight hips, thighs, and butt in 14 minutes! Work on keeping good form and strengthening your legs, core, and balance.

Penalty ABS.
One of my favorite quick, effective ab workout routines! Do a little bit or all of it for a core workout that will make you feel great long after half time.

Cardio BURST: TOUCHDOWN 

This cross-fit inspired cardio circut will get you sweating in less than 10 minutes. This challenging all-levels circuit works the entire body, doesn’t require any equipment, and includes the perfect mix of strength and cardio exercises. It’s a winning combination – you’ll feel like such a rockstar when you’re done you might need your OWN halftime show. Its a feel good, endorphin rush. Give it a try pre-kickoff and let me know what you think!

Once through the circuit is GREAT – you can also repeat the above 2-3 times and go home with a longer workout.

Wishing you a safe and fun SuperBowl celebration. Now get focused, put on your game face, and get ready to “BRING IT”. Im positive you’ll have a healthy, happy Superbowl. TOUCHDOWN!

Caroline