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 *

Boot Camp Workout

Boot Camp Workout

Guest Post by Sam

“Front, back, goooooooooo!”

I remember hearing those words screamed at random intervals and thinking “what the hell did I get myself into?” I could barely keep up because my drill sergeant was switching things so quickly.

Front – start doing push ups, back – flip over and do sit ups, go – hop up and run in place. Over and over and over. Never in the same order, never for the same amount of time, but always a great workout.

Hi everyone! I’m Sam (AKA GI Jane) and I blog over at Walk A Mile in My Boots.  I’ve been in the Army 6 years now (wow, that’s crazy), married another Soldier and moved to Chicago to start our lives out of the military. Well, not completely,  now we just do the one weekend a month National Guard thing.  When we first left active duty and started living la vida loca, we sort of let ourselves go. No one making us workout at o’dark thirty every morning? Hell yeah. Too bad those early morning PT sessions were what was keeping me from gaining those 20 ahem 30 pounds.

So we decided it was time to get our rears back in gear.  I’ve run a couple 5k’s and am currently training for my second half marathon. The husband has started to join me and we’ve recommitted to living a healthy lifestyle. If there is one thing the military has taught me, it’s a way to keep workouts interesting and fun.  When you have a company full of 100+ Soldiers, you can’t exactly squeeze them all into one gym at the same time and have everyone take turns on machines. That’s what is so great about the workouts I’ve learned, you can do them anywhere and modify them your needs! So here’s a few of my favorites!

Despite what you’re thinking, “grass drills” (or front, back, go’s) aren’t actually a sole workout. They’re usually part of another workout. I use it as one of the cards when I play “poker” with my Soldiers. I have a deck of cards with all sorts of different exercises on them. You use the number on the card as the number of reps for that exercise. Example 9 of diamonds = 9 diamond(or close handed) push ups. The way I set up my deck of cards is: number cards = something that has reps(regular push ups, diamond push ups, star push ups, sit ups, burpees, the Jane Fonda, 30 sec planks, crunches, etc.) face cards I make something cardio related.  Usually sprints, butt kicks, jump rope, or jumping jacks. Then for the Aces and Jacks I will throw in “grass drills” or squats or lunges. This is especially fun when you have a group of friends that you workout with. But it can be fun by yourself too if you’re looking to switch things up a bit.

Another workout we use a lot is a Pyramid Workout. It’s usually a few basic exercises and you start with a higher number of reps and work your way down. Start by doing 10 push ups, 10 sit ups, 10 burpees, 10 diamond push ups, 10 crunches, 10 jumping jacks, and 10 standing squats.  Then go down to 9 of each exercise.  Keep going down until you get all the way to 1.  And then, if you’re not feeling completely rubbery and burned out, go back up.  You can do it basic with just push ups, sit ups and squats or add as many exercises as you’d like.

So what about cardio.  That seems like a lot of strength stuff right? We have a few different run workouts we would use.  Like the Indian Run (now called Last Man Up) which is fun if you’re in a running group.  Start out in a straight line (think follow the leader) and the last person in line sprints to the front.  Then the next person, so on and so forth.  It’s like an interval workout which is good for speed.  Or if you’re by yourself you could do what we call 30-60-90s.  You jog for 30 seconds, sprint all out, balls to the wall for 60 seconds and then recover(walk or jog) for 90 seconds.  Rinse, repeat.  If running isn’t your thing how about a ruck march? Grab a back pack and throw some weights or random objects in it(weight will depend on how much you can handle) and go for a walk. A long walk, think 5-12 miles. You’ll get some training in those miles!

We’re all about the KISS method (Keep it simple stupid) and things that can be done by pretty much everyone. Almost every exercise we do, you can easily modify:

  • Struggle with push ups? Go to your knees.
  • Squats a bit hard? Do half squats and don’t go as deep.
  • Same with lunges.
  • Jumping jacks, well like Jillian Michaels says, there is no modification for jumping jacks.

All these workouts can be done in your own home, backyard, or at a gym with your friends.  You can do them alone or in a large group. You don’t need any weights and can always make it easier or harder depending on how you feel that day.  If you really want some motivation or someone to yell “front, back, go” at you, give me a call. 😉

Since I’m sure not everyone is military, here are some references on some of the exercises you may not know:

  • The Jane Fonda
  • Star push ups – I can’t find an example, but I’ll try to explain. Get in the push up position, go down and when you come up touch your left hand to your right foot underneath of your body. Go down again and when coming back up touch your right hand to your left foot.
  • Diamond Push Ups 


I’m 23, hubby is 29. We live outside Chicago (for now) and we love anything outside. Mountain biking, hiking, volleyball, softball and of course, running. We’ve been married almost 3 years after meeting while on active duty at Fort Knox, KY. We have one child…err, cat named Remington who runs our house like a dog, even the delivery guys are scared of him. 🙂

QUESTION: Do you do any boot camp type exercises in your workouts?

Lisa’s Note: A big thanks to Sam for writing this guest post! I love this workout and want to include the drills (and the poker game) into my workouts!