My Non-Diet Diet…And Experience w/ Isagenix

So I don’t believe in diets. I feel like you should make smart and realistic nutritional decisions to fit your lifestyle. I like to eat…and like most people, if I deprive myself of all things “evil and delicious” I’m setting myself up for failure. With that being said, I don’t think you should divulge into every single temptation. But if I want pizza, I’m gonna order a pizza – I just might have to restrain myself from eating the whole thing! It’s all about moderation.

I think the key of a healthy diet is implementing healthy choices into your diet regularly – not 100% of the time. Not only is eating “healthy” expensive, but it can be time consuming (constant grocery shopping, meal prepping, etc.) If you’re like me, you don’t have the time/energy/desire to cook and prep all of your meals. Find options that are healthy but also convenient for you; otherwise you will just get frustrated and the “diet” will back fire. The first thing to do, is to not have “junk food” in your house. Maybe a secret stash for emergencies only – but if they aren’t there, you’re less tempted (out of sight, out of mind, right?) And who knows, over time you may get used to not having them around and crave them hardly at all! Ditch your potato chips for wheat thins or a low calorie cracker or carrot sticks. Replace your sugary snacks with granola bars. Hit up Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Central Market, etc and just try some new snacks!

It took me a while, but I finally found a “diet” that I not only ENJOY, but that’s convenient and EASY!!! First off – I don’t enjoy cooking….and/or grocery shopping. I’ve discovered a few tricks so I don’t do either hardly at all. I recently started using Isagenix products – which is one of my biggest reasons for this post. It’s a wonderful nutrition plan that fuels your body with all of the vitamins and minerals it needs. Their wide variety of products allow you to have a flexible diet, while at the same time giving you the nutrients you need to stay healthy and energetic.


My biggest reason for starting Isagenix was because I had no energy – and no motivation. I felt “blah” all the time and all I ever felt like doing was lounging around. I needed something to get me off the couch and out the door so I could get back to my active lifestyle that I once had. I love working out, but didn’t feel energetic enough. I think the biggest problem was that I wasn’t giving my body what it needed. Isagenix has a fabulous line of energy products that are all-natural and don’t give you that “crash”. The shakes though, are what help me maintain that energy and make me actually FEEL healthy. They supply you with supplementation you need, and probably aren’t getting. And the best part – it’s a meal replacement! No cooking, just blending (or shaking…but I prefer blending with ice). Of course I mix things up and add fruit and whatever else sounds good. (More on this in a bit). A typical shake day is 2 shakes a day – ideally replacing 2 meals. The thing to remember is to snack in between meals, so you’re eating every few hours or so (5-6 times a day). This keeps your metabolism going and keeps you from binging!

To keep my mind sharp and my energy up, I use the Ionix Supreme and the Want More Energy?. The Ionix Supreme I take in the morning or on my way to work. It’s designed to give you mental and cognitive awareness – basically keeps your mind sharp! The Want More Energy? is great before or during workouts or to give you a boost of energy to get you through the day.

There are 3 lines of shakes: IsaLean, IsaLean Pro and IsaPro Whey. The IsaPro is for post-workout protein. IsaLean Pro is for those that want to build more lean muscle, and the IsaLean is the standard shake. To decide which shakes and other products to take, depends on your goals. Whether it be weight loss, lean muscle gain, or energy/performance, Isagenix has packages to help you meet your goals. A good place to start is to try out one of their different packages. With the shipment, you will receive guides on how and when to take certain products and their benefits. I started out with the Energy and Performance System, and then made my autoship/future order a smaller package – the Athlete’s Pak. I also order the e+ shots, cleanse for life and any other snacks as needed.

The great thing with Isagenix, is that you have flexibility. If you want to go out to eat or have something sinful, do it! As long as you’re having your shakes, you’re getting the nutrition you need. There’s no way I’m giving up my pizza and beer! And you can always do their deep cleanse to rid of all those toxins. Splurging every once in a while will not slow your progress – just be sure to stay on track.

If you’re interested in trying Isagenix, or just wanna check out the products then go to my page – Isagenix is also a company that allows you financial growth as well. You can make money simply by inspiring others to join! (More info about the business opportunities on the website.)

Now for my non-shake meal, I usually have a meal from My Fit Foods. They portion and prep all the food for you – and they have a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I love it because I know I’m getting proper portions…and I don’t have to cook! At first they seem pricey, but it cuts down on a lot of grocery shopping – and a LOT of time. And If you eat out, you actually spend more on a meal most likely, so you’re probably spending about the same. They have 3 sizes to choose from, and most of their meals are gluten free. I have yet to have something from there that I don’t like (it beats anything I could try and make!) They have chicken, pork, beef, salmon,salads, pastas, chilis, tacos, muffins…and more! You can pre-order your meals online (for most stores) and pick them up. Check out their meals! (

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Now I don’t do this for every meal, but they’re great to take to work or if you’re busy and don’t have time to cook.

Another thing I discovered is Nature Box. It’s a monthly subscription and you get 5 healthy snacks delivered to your home for $19.99. (They also have a 10 snack option.) You can either get surprise snacks (it’s like Christmas!), or you can customize your order. Their products are all natural, and most are vegan. No high fructose corn syrup, no partially hydrogenated oils, no trans fats, and no artificial sweeteners or flavors. They have granolas, dried fruits, nut mixes, fig bars, rice snacks, trail mixes, etc. I love mixing their different granolas in with my greek yogurt. (


An obsession and must-have snack of mine are the Quest Protein Bars. These can be purchased online or at GNC. They are AMAZING protein bars! They have about 21g of protein, only 4g of carbs, anywhere from 1-4g of sugar, and they’re gluten free. I don’t know how they make them taste so good…but they are delcious – and they have so many flavors! These are great post-workout or a mid-day snack. (


So what do I buy at the grocery store? Well it’s not much. Here’s a few things I may stock up on.

  • Greek Yogurt – I love greek yogurt , i usually get Chobani or Fage. Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, and I usually eat one for lunch or a midday snack. I get both flavored and plain. I mix granola and agave nectar in with the plain, and it’s pretty tasty.
  • Egg Beaters Egg Whites – I grew up making eggs in the microwave…no I’m not crazy and yes it works (maybe it’s a Michigan thing?) Anywho – I pour about 6oz or so of egg whites into a coffee mug. (Spray the mug with a light cooking spray if you want…so the eggs don’t stick). Add a little bit of cheese or herbs, or whatever you like. I add Laughing Cow cheese wedges, they have a variety of flavors and add great flavor to the egg whites. Pop it in the microwave for a 1 1/2 minutes, stir and cook for another 30-60 secs, and boom! You have scrambled egg whites! So easy…so yummy!
  • Fruit – bananas, apples, grapefruit, clementines – whatever I’m in the mood for! I like the Del Monte fruit cups, but I drain the liquid cuz it has quite a bit of sugar. I love adding the mango and pineapple to my shakes!
  • Coconut and/or Almond milk – I like putting a few ounces in my shakes, or I will put it in my cereal. Silk Pure Coconut milk is usually what I get. Watch out for the flavored milks (i.e. Vanilla) cuz they can have added sugar and calories.
  • Almonds – whole natural almonds are good, but if you’re not a fan I love the Blue Diamond Toasted Coconut Almonds.
  • Stevia – a wonderful all-natural sweetener. I add it to my tea and my Isagenix cleanse.
  • Chicken Breast – I just keep these in my freezer, in case I don’t have anything for dinner. I like to add it to angel hair pasta with some garlic and olive oil. (Avoid jar pasta sauce, it’s TERRIBLE for you!)

There’s other things I may get here or there, but these are the most common. I try not to keep pop in my house, that way I’m not tempted. I drink a lot of tea, especially iced green tea. It doesn’t have a lot of caffeine but it keeps me alert. I’m a huge Teavana fan, and have a good variety of teas from them. I actually have a blog on tea it’s nutritional benefits.

I hope this is somewhat helpful to those of you who want to eat better, look better, but not stress yourself out doing it 🙂

And I highly recommend giving Isagenix a try, or at least checking it out. I was skeptical about it at first – and don’t usually buy into nutrition fads and what not – but I’m a firm believer in these products. They have a lot of different products, for many different things – even a skincare line! And if you get others to sign up, you actually make money, which can pay for your products.

So click on my link and get started!


Squats, etc Circuit

This workout is mainly a variety of squat exercises, but I threw some other random moves in there as well to switch it up and give your quads a break! For the squat exercises I use a barbell (40-50 lbs) or my sandbag. If you don’t have access to either, you can do these exercises holding dumbbells – or you can simply do them without any weight at all and you will still get a good workout in.

Do 2 sets of the circuit, resting no longer than 30 seconds between exercises and 2 minutes between sets. Moving from one exercise to the next is a good way to keep your heart rate up. I a couple random exercises to give your legs a little rest.


Squat Pulses (12 reps) – Stand with the barbell/sandbag on your shoulders, feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down, and pulse 3 times before coming back up to standing (1 rep). Lower and repeat. The pulse is a very short movement.




Low Step Backs (20 reps) – Start in the same position as the previous exercise, but stand with your feet slightly closer together. Lower into a squat and hold as you step one leg back behind you and then back forward (still squatting). Repeat, alternating legs while maintaining a low squatting position. Be sure that your knees don’t bend forward past your toes. Do not do a back lunge with stepping back, just simply step back as far as you can.


Half Burpee + Upright Row (10 reps) – This is an exercise to keep your heart rate up. Start with your barbell/sandbag on the ground. Lower down and place your hands either on the ground or on your weight (depending on how stable it is), and jump your feet back to plank. (Note: If your barbell or weights aren’t stable enough for you to jump back to plank without rolling, then simply place your hands on the ground behind it. ) Jump your feet forward and stand pulling the weight up to under your chin into an upright row (1 rep). Lower the weight down to the ground and repeat. Try to do these somewhat quickly.

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Side Lunge + Jump Squat (20 reps) – Place the barbell/sandbag on shoulders. Squat down and do a jump squat. Land in a squat and lunge out to the right, remaining low. Come back to squat – jump squat then repeat alternating sides. Stay low throughout. I guess it’s more of a side step, since your’re already lowered down into the “lunge” – just straighten the opposite leg. Again, you can do this without weights.

Side Lunge

V-Ab Splitters (10 reps) -This is a 2-part move. Lie on your back, arms and legs extended. Do a V-up, raising your legs and shoulders and torso up so that you’re reaching towards your toes and your body make a V Shape (see pic). Lower, then come up again by lifting your legs open into a V and crunching up bringing your arms between your legs. (1 rep). Lower and repeat. If the first part of the move is too difficult, do a toe touch crunch instead – raise your legs above your hips and reach for your toes.



Bulgarian Split Squat (10 reps/leg) – I saved the best/worst for last 🙂 Place barbell/sandbag on your shoulders. Prop your left foot onto a bench or step behind you, and plant your right foot on the floor into a wide split stance. Lower straight down, keeping your front leg linear and your spine rigid. Come down until your back knee hovers above the floor, and then push back up to starting position. Complete all reps and then switch sides. If you are new to this exercise, try it first without weight. It requires balance as well as strength!

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Are your legs burning yet?? Try for 1 more set! Unless you’re done….then good job!




Eccentric Exercises – An Overlooked Training Method

Eccentric Exercise is also known as negative training. It’s the opposite of concentric, or positive training, which is what you typically do when weight training. In concentric training, the muscle is working against weight as it shortens (i.e. curling up during a bicep curl). The opposite is performed with eccentric training, and the and the concept is to have the weight put tension on the muscle as it lengthens (i.e. lowering the weight during a bicep curl)

So what are the benefits of Eccentric Exercise? Well there are a LOT! When you perform negative training, your muscle can withstand a heavier weight load – which means a more effective exercise with more results! Also, negative training has been shown to decrease tendon pain. And increasing your strength with eccentric exercises can decrease your risk of injury.

Here are some reasons to add negative training to your workouts:

  • You can reach failure quicker, because the larger load causes muscle fatigue faster – which means faster results!
  • Increase in muscle strength.
  • Increase in muscle size – a lot of bodybuilders use negative training to “bulk up”
  • Strength gains obtained through eccentric work will carry over to concentric work, but not vice versa!
  • Strength gains from eccentric training will be maintained longer while de-training, and muscle built using eccentric training (as opposed to concentric training) is better able to withstand the breakdown process that starts when muscles rest.
  • Eccentric training requires less oxygen – so less stress on the ol’ lungs and heart!
  • Eccentric training works the entire joint – leading to increased stability and decreased risk of injury.
  • It’s a good way to switch up your workouts, avoid plateau, and challenge your muscles in a new way – I love switching up my workouts!

The one warning I will give you, however, is that there tends to be more delayed muscle soreness with eccentric exercise. This is only meant to be done a couple times per week. Your muscles need adequate rest, since there is more weight put on them. And if you are new to weight training, I wouldn’t recommend this type of training until you get a good muscle base down. Generally speaking, most people can use weight that’s about 40% heavier with eccentric movements than with concentric.  With that being said, do not start out with that much weight. Start at a low weight and work your way up.

Negative Training Workout

Here’s a workout for you to try with some standard eccentric exercises. You can do all or just try some of them. During the eccentric move, lengthen the muscle in about 5 counts. This is meant to be a slow, controlled and resistance-based movement. The concentric movement should be only 1 count.

Complete 3 sets – and base your number of reps on your muscle strength.

Bent Over Row (10-15 reps) – Stand holding a barbell or sandbag, hinged forward at the hips. Bring weight up to your chest with elbows bent back behind you and slowly lower the weight, straightening your arms (eccentric movement). Bring the weight back to start, pause and repeat.

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Reverse Curl (8 reps) – Use an overhand grip on a barbell or dumbbells curled up at your chest to start. Lower the bar slowly all the way down and keep your elbows at your sides (eccentric movement).  If you prefer, perform a regular bicep curl with an underhand grip.



Bench Press (8-10 reps) – Lie on a bench, holding a barbell at your chest. Press the bar straight up, pause, then lower slowly under control (eccentric movement). Press the weight back up and repeat.


Squats (10-15 reps) – I’m going to give you 2 great options for the squat. The first is a traditional squat, holding a barbell/sandbag on your shoulders. Slowly lower down into a squat, pushing your hips back (eccentric movement). Come up in one count, pause and repeat.

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 Another option is to place a medicine ball between your thighs and squeeze as you slowly lower into a squat. Return to standing still squeezing the ball to hold it between your legs, pause and repeat. These will work your inner thighs too!

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Seated Shoulder Press (8-10 reps) – Sit on a flat bench, holding dumbbells at your shoulders with palms facing out. Press the weights overhead, then slowly lower the weights down (eccentric movement). Press back up when they reach your shoulders and repeat.



Dumbbell Pull Over Crunch (8-10 reps) – Your abs can even benefit from eccentric exercises! Lie on the ground with legs extended, holding a dumbbell in each hand overhead. Crunch up as you bring your knees to chest, pulling the dumbbells up and to your shins. Pause at the top and lower slowly back to start (eccentric movement). Crunch back up and repeat. If you can, try to straighten your legs without them touching the ground.

pullover crunch



Hanging Knee Lifts (8-10 reps) – Do these from a pull-up bar or from a roman chair.  Hang legs straight and crunch knees to chest. Slowly lower your legs until straight (eccentric movement), pause and then lift them back to chest.


Combo Weight Training

I love combination exercises. It not only cuts down on your time spent at the gym, but it works multiple muscle groups at once. And that means….burning more calories more efficiently!

Pay attention to your form. Do not rush these moves. You want to make sure that each part is done correctly, to get them most benefit from them. Use a challenging weight, but one that is doable for the entire exercise. Some muscle groups in a particular exercise may be smaller than others, and therefore cannot tolerate as much weight. Adjust weight as needed.

Complete 3 sets of these exercises. Take a 1 minute break between, 2 minutes between sets.

Wide Squat to Press (15 reps) – Holding a dumbbell in each hand, rest at shoulder height facing forward. Stand with legs wide apart and toes slightly pointing out. Squat down. On the ascent push the dumbbells up in a shoulder press. Lower the dumbbells and lower back in to the squat and repeat.

Dead Lift + Row (15 reps) – I use my sandbag for this, but you can use a barbell or dumbbells. Grasp the bar just wider than shoulder-width apart. Stand with feet about 4-5 inches apart and legs slightly bent. Lower the weight from the waist toward the ground. When you reach the bottom position, pull the bar toward your abdomen. Lower the weight and use your glutes to pull you back to standing position. Repeat sequence.

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Push-up + Jackknife (10 reps) -Using a large stability ball, place your hands on the ground in push-up stance and feet on top of the ball. Perform push-up, then using your abs roll the ball in toward your chest. Your body will form an upside V. Return to start position and repeat. Your core should be engaged the entire time. If the jackknife is too difficult, replace it with a knee tuck (see last pic)


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Glute Bridge + Press & Fly (15 reps) – Lie on floor, holding a dumbbell in each hand at your chest with palms facing each other. Keep your feet flat on the ground and knees bent. Raise your hips while squeezing your glutes, press the dumbbells straight up above your chest and then down and out to the sides into a fly, with a slight bend in the arms. Bring arms back together above chest, then lower your arms and then hips and repeat. To add a challenge, place your feet on top of an ugi or bosu ball.


Stationary Lunge + Knee Lift and Curl (10 reps/leg) – Start in a staggered stance, holding dumbbells by your side. Lower into a lunge and use your front heel to press yourself up to a standing position while bringing your back knee up to your chest and simultaneously curling the dumbbells to your shoulders. I do a hammer curl, with palms facing your body. This exercise works your entire lower body, core and biceps muscles. Be sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire exercise. Complete all reps, then switch legs.

Not Your Average Core Workout – HIIT Style

This is a HIIT core workout. I’ve used exercises that aren’t too conventional, but will really work your core.  Some of the best exercises for your core aren’t your typical crunches – and this workout doesn’t contain ANY “crunches”. Try to perform as many reps as you can in the time given.

Set a timer for 50 seconds work/10 seconds rest. Complete 2 rounds of the circuit.

Plank Shoulder Taps – Some into full plank, with your hands directly under your shoulders. Alternate tapping your left hand to your right shoulder, and your right hand to your left shoulder. Be mindful not to break plank, and keep your body in a straight line with your abs engaged. If this is too difficult, just hold traditional plank.

fullplank   plank tap

Dancing Crabs – Start by balancing on feet and hands, hips lifted off the ground. Keep your feet and knees about hip width apart and your elbows locked, hands under shoulders. Lift your left  leg straight toward your body reaching for your foot with your right arm. Your abs should be engaged and hips lower slightly. Return to start keeping your hips lifted as much as you can. Continue alternating arms/legs. You should also feel this in your glutes!


Leg Fans – Lie on your back, hands behind your head and legs straight and lifted slightly off the ground. Raise shoulders up and fan your legs, by opening them out to the sides and then back together. Continue fanning your legs in and out and with your legs hovering over the ground, while keeping your shoulders lifted. To make this easier, raise your legs higher off the ground. Be sure to keep your lower back on the ground, and don’t arch your back.

Plank Kick Throughs – Start in full plank. Twist to the left and raise your left arm up and back as you bring your right leg under and through to the left – or your can reach for your foot (see pic 1) Twist back to plank repeat twisting to the right, raising your right arm and kicking your left leg through to the right. Continue alternating sides. If this is to difficult, or you can’t go the entire 50 seconds, don’t twist onto one arm –  just kick your leg under your body to the opposite side (see pic 2).

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Ab Swimmers – Sit leaning back on your elbows, legs straight out in front of you and lifted off the ground about 45 degrees. Flutter your feet quickly up and down, as if you were swimming. These are quick, short movements. Try to lift your arms off the ground and do these just balancing on your tailbone.

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Crab Reach Back – This is a good move to stretch out those abs that you’re working so hard! Crouch down with knees bent and feet flat, and place palms on floor in front of you. Reach one arm back behind you onto the ground, fingers pointing away from body, and lift your butt off floor and reach toward the back of the room as far as you can. Hold in the stretch for a few seconds and return to start. Repeat reaching the other arm back, and continue alternating sides. You don’t have to do as many reps as possible, just go for a good stretch.


Upper Body Burn-Out

This is a weight training rep workout to focus on your arms, shoulders and abs. On the first group of exercises, use a weight that brings you almost to failure by the end of your reps. Lower or raise your weight as needed. The second group of exercises will work your core. Be sure to move straight from the 1st exercise to the 2nd, keeping your core engaged. (I will explain more on this later…) Complete all sets of group 1 before moving on to group 2.

Group 1 – 2 sets

Biceps Curl + Punch Out (10 reps) – Stand with feet about hip-width apart and a slight bend in your knees holding a dumbbell in each hand down in front of you. (I started with 8lbs and worked up to 10lbs). Curl the weights up, palms toward your body, and then turn your wrists down as you punch both weights out in front of you at shoulder level. Bring weights back to shoulders and then curl back down (1 rep).

Triceps Kickbacks (15 reps) – Do these both arms at the same time and try to keep a steady pace. Lean slightly forward at the hips, knees bent slightly and draw the weights back from your ribs keeping your arms tight to your body. I used 10 lbs weights for these. You don’t need to go quite to failure, since you’re going a a faster pace. If it’s to difficult to do both arms at once, or if you’re unable to keep proper form, do each arm singly. Lean forward placing your free hand on the front leg in a lunge position (see pic). 15 reps/arm, and still at a fast pace.

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Single Arm Snatch and Press (12 reps/arms) – For this you can use a dumbbell or kettle bell. I used a 15 lb kettlebell for these. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, weight in one hand. I keep my free hand on my hip or out to the side to help with balance. Keeping eyes forward, lower down into a squat, touching the weight down in next to the opposite foot (palm facing back). As you ascend out of the squat, “snatch” the weight up to your shoulder (palm now facing out) and then press the weight straight up over head. Reverse motion and return to squat and repeat. Complete all reps then switch arms.  Be sure to use a weight that really challenges you. If you want to work more of the inner thighs, make your stance wider (see pic)

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L-Raises (10 reps) – These are very deceiving, and I always burn out on these! I used 8 lbs, but start with 5lbs or even lower if you haven’t done these before. The first few reps aren’t bad, but you should be struggling by half way through. You will be doing a front raise with one arm as you do a lateral raise with the other (arms form an L). Raise all the way up to shoulder level. After you lower, switch and do the front and lateral raises with the opposite arm (1 rep). Be sure to keep your core tight and to lift with your shoulders. Keeping a slight bend in the knee will also help to knock these out!


Plank Rows (10 reps/arms alternating) – Come into plank with a dumbbell in each hand. I use 10lbs for these. If you don’t have a strong core, or haven’t done these before, start with a lighter weight so you can get the form down. You need to make sure to hold a proper plank throughout the rows. From plank, draw one arm back into a row driving your elbow backwards and keeping the weight close to your ribs. Lower and repeat with the other arm. Alternate until you do 10 reps per arm.

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Group 2 – 3 sets

Elevated Leg Crunch + Leg Raise (10 reps) – Lie on your back with your legs extended straight above your hips and hands behind your head. Crunch up, keeping your legs extended. As you lower your shoulders, slowly lower your legs toward the ground keeping your legs straight. Try to go to a 45 degree angle – but lower your legs as low as you can without touching the ground and keeping your lower back to the ground. Raise legs back up to start (1 rep). To add a challenge, place a weight or medicine ball between your feet and/or raise your hips upon lifting your legs. (see 2nd pic). When you are done with all reps, remain in start position with your legs extended and go directly into the next exercise.

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Cross Toe Touch (20 reps) – Here’s where we burn out your abs! Maintaining the leg position from the previous exercise, reach your arms up above your chest and crunch. (You will maintain a crunch position throughout). Reach your right hand to the outside of your left foot as you crunch up higher – then lower slightly (but still in a crunch) and reach the left hand to the outside of your right foot (1 rep). Continue at a somewhat quick pace, keeping the core engaged by keeping your shoulders lifted throughout.


Weighted Roll-Up (10 slow reps) – This is similar to the pilates roll-up but i’ve added weight (of course). The key here is to roll down and lift up very slowly. This will insure that you are using your core and not momentum. Sit with your legs out in front of you, and bent only enough so that your heels are digging into the ground. Hold a weight above your head (I used a 10 lb weight) and keep it raised throughout. Slowly lower down by hallowing out your abs so that your can lower to the ground one vertebrae at a time. Keep your chin tuck – this will keep you from arching your back. When you’re all the way down, slowly reverse back up, peeling your back off the floor while keeping your arms straight. When all the way up, reach the weight forward slightly. You can lay with your legs flat, but I’ve found that bending them slightly helps lowering and sitting up properly, especially because you have shoes on (in pilates you don’t)