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August Fitness Tips

  • Published
  • By Michelle Walker
  • 169th FSS
Fruits and veggies are plentiful during the summer months. But if you are still having a hard time getting the recommended amount, consider using your blender to mix these healthy foods. When you get in the door in evenings, instead of reaching for the cookies and snacks try mixing spinach with a half cup of your favorite fruit to mask the spinach if you aren't a fan of it. Remember to top it off with a little water, almond milk or coconut water and a few pieces of ice to keep cool. If you are rushing around on the weekends, these drinks can make a great on-the-go snack. Try letting your kids help make them! You will be surprised if they help pick out the fruits, how many of these they may be willing to try!

Four of the Best Body Weight Exercises:

1) Spiderman push-up: One of the best total-body exercises out there. This push-up engages your upper body, core and lower body, all at the same time. Adding a balance element that further challenges your body will make every rep that much tougher.
What to do: Get into a push-up position on the floor with your hands just wider than your shoulders. Bend your arms to lower your chest toward the floor; at the same time, bend your left leg out to the side, trying to touch your knee to your left elbow. Reverse to return to the start position; then perform the motion with your right leg. Continue for three sets of eight to ten reps.

2) Body-weight squat with pulses: Your core is heavily relied upon during each rep, so keep your torso strong and tall. Some of the largest muscle groups in the body, your glutes, are targeted. This exercise rewards you with a higher calorie burn than some other leg exercises. Adding smaller partial reps at the bottom will bring up the burn even faster!
What to do: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then bend your knees and hips to squat. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the ground, then pulse up and down (moving only a few inches) ten times before standing. Do three sets of 15 to 20 reps.

3) Forward lunge with kickback lunges: These are king when it comes to eliciting delayed onset muscle soreness, thanks to its large range of motion and the emphasis it places on your quads, which are a smaller muscle group than your glutes.
What to do: Take a large step forward with your left foot and bend both legs until they form 90-degree angles. (Your back knee should be an inch or two off of the ground.) Push through left front foot to return to the start but instead of planting your foot; raise your leg as high as you can behind you, being careful not to overarch your lower back. Swing your leg forward once again to step into another lunge, and repeat. When your set is through, complete the motion on your right leg. Do three sets of 15 to 20 reps on each leg.

4) Pull-up/chin-up: While considered an advanced exercise, full pull-ups or chin-ups are worth working up to. If unassisted, you are essentially pulling up nearly 94 percent of your entire body weight. That's not a small feat, for sure! Using a wide overhand grip (pull-up) will activate the largest muscle in your upper body, your lats, more than using a narrow reverse grip (chin-up), which will solicit your biceps more.

What to do: Grab hold of a pull-up bar using one of the two grips mentioned above. Bend your knees and cross your ankles, or leave your legs dangling straight towards the floor. (Note: to alleviate some of the body weight that you will be moving, get a friend to support your knees or ankles.) Without swinging your body, bend your arms to pull yourself upward until your chin clears the bar. Extend your arms to return to the start, and repeat for two to three sets of as many reps as you can manage.