The Pilates Hundred is a classic Pilates exercise, and even the days I don’t do Pilates, I begin every workout with this move! It increases circulation, focuses on breathing, and gets your tummy flat in no time. It’s called “The 100” because you inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts until you reach 100 – simple enough!
The thing I love about this exercise is that there are so many different variations you can do based on your ability. For a beginner modification, keep your feet flat on the floor or move them to table top position and pump the arms lower to the ground. For an advanced modification, stretch your legs out eye-level – it’s a huge challenge!
How to do the Pilates Hundred:
Lift your head and shoulders off the mat, bring your knees into the chest, stretch your legs up to a 45 degree angle (point your feet in a “v” shape). Reach your finger tips and pump your arms up and down as you breathe. Squeeze your inner thighs and butt for an added challenge! Make sure you have energy in your arms and body and pull the belly button to your spine.
Watch the video below from my favorite Pilates instructor – Mari Winsor!
It’s hard to not have a love-hate relationship with planks. On the one hand, they literally tone all parts of your body at once, and are proven to be one of the best ab/core exercises you can do. On the other hand, they hurt like a mother and it’s not exactly fun to stare at your countdown clock for one minute while your whole body trembles and sweat pours from your face. Oh planks, what would I do without you?
There are tons of variations of plank positions to keep you from getting bored and to engage new muscles, but I recently discovered one particular plank move that I never thought to do before, and I knew I had to share it!
The position is called a Reverse Plank, and it is fantastic. It’s a take on the Yoga table-top lift, and it tones quads, glutes, triceps, abs, and lower back all with one move. Honestly, it’s one of the toughest holding positions I do in my workouts, and after seeing the pictures for this post, I realized I’m not even pushing my butt up as much as I should! Because (duh) it’s really really hard!
Sit with your legs out in front of you, hands behind you forward, fingers spread. Lift your hips off of the ground, squeeze belly button into the spine and hold for 20-30 seconds. Work to not let your hips sink down (the hardest part).
Here are three variations: (leg up and hold, tilt head back slowly, or modify by resting on forearms)
Sister tip: Be sure not to hold your breath! Breathe steadily. For an extra challenge, add alternating leg lifts. Don’t try this exercise if you have back problems, you know your body best!
I’ve been working on making a concerted effort to have more successful mornings lately, and so far, it’s going pretty well! Forbes shares that successful people have their day mapped out within the first hour of being awake, and while I’m not that prepared in the morning, here’s what I’ve started doing to make sure my day starts better than ever!
1) Drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up
I read this article last year about the incredible benefits of drinking water on an empty stomach. When you think about the fact that you’re not drinking anything for those 7-8 hours you’re asleep, it makes you realize how truly dehydrated we must be when we wake up! There are tons of researched advantages to drinking water in the morning, but I just do it because it makes me feel like I’ve started the day off on the right foot!
2) Don’t grab technology right away
I have a really bad habit of grabbing my phone within the first few minutes of waking up, and I want to kill that routine. According to a mobile testing firm, 84% of smartphone users check an app first thing in the morning! Crazy. Instead, think about what kind of day it will be, plan out meals or work, or go shower and get ready, then check your tech. It’s a small difference, but can start the day stress-free, which helps your mental health! You’ll have plenty of time to catch up on all that buzz-kill news throughout the day. 🙂
3) Do 10 push-ups
Push-ups are the fastest, sharpest way to get blood flowing for your day. They require no equipment, and you’ll see the arm and back toning difference in no time!
4) Make your bed
If you haven’t seen this video about why it’s so important to make your bed, do yourself a favor and click play now! This routine helps your mental health and prepares you for a strong day.
5) Pack your lunch
Although I try to pack my lunch before I go to bed every night, my point is that this should be part of your routine before work! I pack my lunch almost every day, and I have since I started in the work field. I save tons of money (think $10 out to lunch each day x 5 = $50 a week which can lead to almost $2000 a year!), eat healthier, and I don’t stress about what to do for lunch, since it’s already there waiting for me at noon.
6) Do wall squats while you brush your teeth
Ha! This is my favorite. Although two minutes of wall squats doesn’t constitute as a workout, every little bit helps.
7) GREEN SMOOTHIE!
You know I had to include this one. I start every single day with a smoothie. I always include some sort of greens; spinach, kale, celery, romaine, or all of the above, frozen or fresh fruits, almond milk, and wheat germ. Green smoothies are a great way to start the morning, and research proves that you should drink them on an empty stomach so your body is able to absorb and digest all of the nutrients without other food getting in the way. Read about my favorite Cherry Super Smoothie here!
How do you start your day off successfully??