J is for Jumping


J is for Jumping

It may seem silly, but there are two things you can do to workout ANYWHERE and ANYTIME. Working out doesn’t have to be complicated, a gym membership isn’t necessarily needed, and you don’t have to drive somewhere to get fit. Sometimes all you need is to return to the basics.

These two activities are perfect for people that want to work out at home, or if they are on the road traveling and don’t have access to a gym. When I workout at home my typical workout includes the bike trainer + a circuit of jumping jacks, jump rope and weight lifting. In fact, in a few weeks I’m going to start doing the home workout again to avoid the overcrowding at the gym.


You don’t need anything to perform these. Perfect! Jumping jacks work your quadriceps (thighs) , your hip abductors/adductors, and is a great cardio workout. This is a “plyometric exercise that uses explosive movements to elevate your heart rate. (source)”

It seems silly that something so simple could burn so many calories, doesn’t it? But it’s true. The activity can build and tone muscles. Here’s a sample workout or try this:

1) 10 Pushups
2) 10 Crunches
3) 10 Reverse Crunches
4) 10 Triceps Dips
*Add 10-20 jumping jacks after before every pushup set and get some cardio benefit out of it.

You can do the jumping jacks in your normal workout, or do it during commercials when you’re watching TV. If you can only do a few at a time, switch off from jumping jacks to ab work on the floor or do some squats, then back to jumping jacks. Really, it’s all about staying in your target heart rate zone and burning those calories!

If you’re a crossfit junkie, they often incorporate the jump rope and jumping jacks into the routines. Lots of people are doing ’em!


The jump rope is the same concept as jumping jacks. It elevates the heart rate, burns calories and trust me, by the time you’re done with a set your arms will be aching.  The best part about the jump rope: it’s cheap. I bought a jump rope at Ross for about $3. I bet the Dollar Store has them too. Pick one up to have on hand for the next time you work out at home.

When I was running a lot I sometimes took a break mid-run to do some jumping jacks. It kept my heart rate up but gave me a quick break from the mileage. If nothing else, it was variety.

Of course, the jump rope takes a little more coordination than normal, and definitely more than jumping jacks! It can improve coordination, agility and endurance. Here’s another workout suggestion for jumping rope. Next time you’re short on time and don’t think you can make it to the gym, try doing these two things for 20-30 minutes at home and see how you feel!

Note: Obviously consult your doctor first. Jumping jacks and jump rope exercises can sometimes aggravate knee issues.

QUESTION: Do you utilize these at-home workout routines? Any other suggestions for gym-free workouts?

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals *

How to Watch More TV

How to Watch More TV

Guest Post by Michael

Hi, I’m Michael — aka “The Boyfriend”. Lisa asked me to post something about cycling. Even though January isn’t exactly the prime cycling season, you can still enjoy your bicycle in the winter months.

Most of us live in areas where cycling isn’t really an option this time of year or the only people we see out there cycling are die-hards or people that have no other means of transportation. I could make this post about all the great cold weather cycling gear that’s available, but I won’t. Instead, I’m going to talk about TV.

Lisa's Bike

Yes, TV. I have no problem admitting that I love to watch TV. I think there are a ton of extremely compelling and entertaining shows out right now and one of my resolutions is to watch more TV.

Most of us watch TV sitting in a chair or a couch. I do that too. But I often wake up long before Lisa does in the morning and force myself to get onto my bike and watch TV. And I figure that as long as I’m going to be sitting on the bike, I might as well pedal. Besides, it’s pretty hard to eat breakfast while you’re on a bike…

Lisa's Bike on the Trainer

You’re probably wondering how all of this works. That’s what I’m here for. Rest assured, you’re in good hands. First, you’ll need to plug your TV in. Then if you’re like me, you’ll need to get television service, or connect a DVD player, or a Google TV/Apple TV/gaming console type device, so you can watch a disc or Netflix. I find it handy to have a remote as well because I watch TV shows that I’ve recorded with my DVR and I have a tendency to fast forward through the commercials.

Now, the bike. I mentioned that I can watch TV from my bike. How? I’m able to do this because I have a bike trainer.

A bike trainer transforms your bicycle into a stationary bike that you can ride from the comforts of your own living room. This is probably a foreign world for many of you, so I will help you choose a good one.

There are 3 basic types of bike trainers.

Wind Trainers

Mag Trainers

Fluid Trainers

Wind Trainers use a fan-like blade to generate resistance.

  • Pros – These are usually cheap.
  • Cons – These tend to be noisy and they can create wind in your house which may knock things over.

Mag Trainers use magnets to generate resistance.

  • Pros – No wind!
  • Cons – Some are noisy, some are not.

Fluid Trainers use a liquid to generate resistance.

  • Pros – No wind!
  • Cons – These are almost always pricey, often costing $200+.
Fluid Trainer

Most of these devices can fold up and be stored in a closet or under a bed.

If you’re thinking about getting one of these devices, you should also get a riser for the front wheel that creates stability. This will assure that you’re level and that your handle bars can’t turn. This is a good thing.


If you live in an apartment or your living room has carpet, you may want to get a training mat. These mats are designed to protect carpeting and absorb vibrations which generate sound. Your neighbor that lives beneath you will appreciate your purchase of a mat.

These will work with most bikes. Some will come with replacement axles which are designed to fit perfectly within the trainers. If you have a mountain bike, you should get a street tire or a tire designed for trainer use for the rear wheel. If you have a fixed gear or one-speed bike, you should get a bike trainer that you can adjust the tension via a remote.

I use a Kinetic Road Machine fluid bike trainer. It does not have a remote for adjusting tension, but I don’t need that because I can adjust the resistance by shifting gears.

I also wear a heart rate monitor while training so I’m assured to get a good workout.

Here is my workout routine:

After a 5 minute warm-up period, I get my pedaling cadence up to 90 RPM and my heart rate up into my target range. This is what I use to determine what gear I should be in. After a minute of being in my heart rate zone, I  start doing intervals where I shift into harder gears and get my heart rate up by about 20 BPM. Once I get it that high, I drop down gears while maintaining a cadence of 90 RPM until my heart rate gets back within the target range. Rinse and repeat.

I do this routine 3-4x/week for 45 min to an hour. If you follow this routine along with a sensible diet, you will burn fat, gain lean muscle, and lose weight. But most of all, you’ll be able to watch even more TV and that’s what’s really important here.

Lisa’s Note: I wanted to add that something like this is excellent for runners too. If you’re a runner you should be cross-training to prevent injuries. If you are already injured and can’t run? Cycling is an excellent alternative that really does work for losing weight!

Lisa’s QUESTION: Do you have a bike trainer? Do you use it in the winter months? What kind do you have?