Studio 5 Contributor Melanie Douglass R.D., NASM explains how to exercise for energy.?
It’s ironic: the less you exercise, the less energy you have to get through the day… and the less energy you have, the less you exercise. On the surface, it seems like an impossible cycle to break, but in reality, it takes one step… one choice… just one workout, to break the cycle and ignite your body with a new level of energy.
Exercise is the key to finding energy. Period. So instead of waiting around for energy to find you — try creating your own energy. Here’s how:
1) Commit to doing your “energy” workout FIRST thing. What’s “first thing”? Depending on your personal schedule, that may mean first thing in the morning, or first thing when you walk in the door after a long day at work. Don’t open the mail, don’t check messages, don’t pick up a newspaper… don’t do anything until your workout is done! One, itty bitty distraction almost always leads to no workout at all in today’s nonstop world. So make a commitment – not for life, not for a month – just for tomorrow. When is your best “first thing” workout time? Then go make it happen!
2) Make the first minute easy. That may seem like a contradiction, but there are many reasons to start slow and easy. First, your body needs a warm up. Second, your mind needs a transition. Just start moving. March in place, take a slow walk, step up and down on a single stair, or climb up and down a flight of stairs a few times. Let your mind wander and don’t even think about your workout. Think about your day, your post-workout plans and just let your mind decompress for a minute while you warm up. Let this first minute flow into an easy/moderate 2 – 3 minute warm-up.
3) Go for total body integration… not isolation. If you want more energy, choose exercises that ignite multiple muscles at a time – not just isolated muscles (like bicep curls or ab crunches). Exercises that integrate various muscles throughout your entire body increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients — throughout your entire body. This increases energy and promotes an improved sense of well-being.
Here are four amazing exercises that do just that:
– Stiff-Leg Deadlift to Calf Raise with Bicep Curl
Hold dumbbells by your sides with your arms straight and your palms facing your legs. Keep your back straight and bend forward from the hip and slowly roll the dumbbells down your legs keeping your legs straight, back straight, and shoulders pulled back. Push your hips backwards as you lean forward. Then slowly roll up and push your weight up onto your toes for a calf raise with a bicep curl. Lower the heels and return to starting position. Do 12 reps and repeat 1 – 3 times.
– Lunge to Knee Lift with Triceps Press
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand up tall with your back straight, your abs tight, your feet shoulder width apart and our palms at your sides. Step forward with your right leg about 3 to 4 feet and bring both dumbbells to the base of your neck with your elbows bent and kept close to your ears. Slowly lower your left knee until it’s 1-2 inches above the floor, then bring the knee up while pressing the dumbbells straight up overhead and squeezing the back of the arms. Return to start position. Do 12 reps on each leg and repeat 1 – 3 times.
– Stork Dives with Front, Side, Back Press
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and one dumbbell in each hand. Push your weight through your right leg and hinge forward from the hip so that your upper body and left leg are straight and parallel with the floor. As you hinge forward, raise the dumbbells straight up overhead until they are in line with the shoulders. Return to starting position and then dive forward again, this time with the arms pressing straight to the side. Return to start and dive forward a third time, pressing the arms straight behind you with palms facing the floor. Do 12 reps on each leg and repeat 1 – 2 times.
– Spiderman Pushups with Knee Tuck
Get down on the floor in a push-up position. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. (Try this push-up from your toes!) As you lower down to do the push-up, pull your right knee up and flex your foot (like spiderman climbing a wall) – the bent knee should be lifted to the side and parallel to the floor. Return to straight leg push up position, then slightly bend both knees; pause, then straighten the legs and do a spiderman push-up on the other leg. Do 6-12 reps on each leg and repeat 1 – 2 times.
Melanie Douglass is a registered dietitian, a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified personal trainer, and an AFAA certified group fitness instructor. She graduated with Honors from Utah State University and holds a degree in Nutrition and Food Science.
Melanie is the author of two best-selling books: Losing it! 5 Keys to Successful Weight Loss that Work and Tip-a-Day Guide for Healthy Living (Deseret Book). In 2005, she was recognized by the American Dietetic Association as an “Industry Mover” for her work in developing innovative fitness and nutrition programs for the consumer market. She has worked with several cutting-edge fitness companies including ICON Health & Fitness and Nextfitness.com. Melanie currently writes health articles for Wasatch Woman magazine, teaches fitness classes at Sports Academy and Racquet Club in Logan, Utah, and does health and fitness presentations for conferences and seminars.
Melanie is the “Health and Fitness” Contributor for Studio 5 and delights in conjuring up practical ways to eat better, exercise effectively, and improve overall health.
When she’s not busy coercing her children to eat healthy foods, she loves listening to electro music, teaching step aerobics, playing the piano, not-having-to-cook-dinner and eating in restaurants (ahem, you know, for research), and spending every
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