When we’re talking about easy exercises to sneak into your day, I’m not going to tell you to “park farther away” or suggest “taking the stairs.” *Said in annoyingly upbeat fitness influencer voice.* Like, no, I ain’t parking my car a mile away from work just to get some “light cardio in.” That’s super inconvenient and is going to make my mood even worse when I head into work (if that’s even possible). I’m not trying to show up dripping sweat because I thought it’d be cute to park a mile away like some healthy try-hard. So, rather than that bullsh*t, I’ve compiled a list of practical and easy exercises you can do throughout the day. I’m all about practicality here, and these moves are convenient, simple, and work fantastically with your sad 9-5.
Before You Hop In The Shower…
Do a few sets of push-ups or hold a 1-2 minute plank before getting in. Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious, do both. It’s a great way to start your morning. Unless you’re like, still hungover or something, then honestly nothing’s going to help. Just stay in bed.
While Brushing Your Teeth…
Do some squats! It alone won’t be enough to get you a Jen Selter butt, but if you do it consistently, will def help you tone and lift. Any little bit helps.
While You’re Waiting For The Subway…
Try some calf raises. Literally just go up on your tiptoes and then back down, as many times as you can until the train finally pulls up. Sure, people may look at you weird, but considering the fact that the homeless guy next to you is casually peeing on the stairs, you still won’t be the biggest freak show in the station.
While Sitting In Traffic…
Do some arm curls! I keep a 3 lb weight in my car for when I’m sitting in standstill traffic. And, with my commute, I’m really starting to rack up some guns. Jk, but my arms are a lot more toned than they were before. Key word is “standstill”. Like, don’t do this while going 60 mph in a 40 zone or else you’ll have no chance at getting the cop to believe your fake tears.
While Sitting At Your Desk…
Okay, I got a few moves for you nine-to-fivers. When you’re sitting at your desk with headphones in listening to gangster rap and pretending to know wtf you’re doing on Excel, try flexing and un-flexing your abdominal muscles. Tighten your abs in towards your spine, hold, and release. You can also do this with your butt, squeezing your glutes while sitting at your desk. The last move is to try some shoulder shrugs. Raise your shoulders and hold for at least 5 seconds and try for 15 reps. Although, don’t do this too much or people will start to think you’re a chronically unsure weirdo.
These moves won’t replace the effect of a 45 minute spin class, but they will make you feel a lot less guilty about your 100 calorie glass of wine at the end of the night. Besides, any additional toning you can sneak into your day is going to make your #summerbod that much better.
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We all have our reasons for going to the gym, whether it’s because we want to drop some pounds, get toned for our Mexico vacay, or just need to clear our overly cluttered minds (how could Tristan do that to Khloé?! What’s baby True going to think??). Whatever the reason, there’s a specific workout that will help you best achieve your fitness goals. Like, I’m totally a fan of yoga and all, but it’s probs not your best workout option if you’re trying to lose weight, and if you want to tone up, doing straight cardio for an hour isn’t the best use of your time. So, to help you maximize your allotted 45 minutes at the gym as efficiently as possible, I’ve broken down the best workout for your fitness goals.
1. Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, the best workout for you is a high-intensity interval training workout, more commonly known as a HIIT workout. A HIIT workout is a training method in which you alternate bursts of high- and low-intensity intervals throughout a set cycle. This method of working out is proven to burn more calories than most other workouts, while also simultaneously boosting your metabolism. There are tons of free online programs for HIIT workouts that you can do on your own, and most are only a max of 30 minutes. If you’re looking for a HIIT workout class, try Switch Playground, Fhitting Room, 305 Fitness, or a group Tabata workout.
2. Tone Up
Everyone knows someone who’s skinny-fat. The skinny-fat person wears an XS, but their body isn’t exactly “tight” because they’ve clearly never stepped foot at a gym. Toning workouts are for anyone who is content with their current weight but is looking for a more overall definition (skinny-fat or not). The best workouts for those looking to tone up are programs that consist of body weight exercises such as squats, push-ups, and planks. If you’re looking for a group fitness class, your best options are pilates, kickboxing, or barre.
3. Strength & Muscle Building
Take a cue from the d-bags grunting at the gym and grab yourself a pair of free weights to work on building strength and muscles. There are dozens of free online programs specifically designed for women that will help guide you through one of these workouts. You’ll want to set different days to focus on different body parts and should either hire a trainer or watch a shit ton of YouTube videos to make sure your form is correct. There are also some apps that can teach you basic weights exercises, like squats and bicep curls (I use an app called Jefit, but I’m sure there are like, a million similar ones in the app store). For those looking for a strength building workout class, try boxing! Another option: grab some friends and do a P90x workout.
I’m not totally sure why this is your reason for working out… unless you’re like, trying to do some weird shit in the bedroom??? But hey, to each their own!
Improving your flexibility will help decrease your risk of injury, and it will also help your muscles work more efficiently overall. The best workouts for increasing your flexibility are stretching exercises and a workout class such as, you guessed it, yoga.
Nope, not referring to your drinking endurance! (If that’s where your mind immediately went, then I’m going to guess you probs don’t need any help there anyway.) I’m actually referring to physical endurance, as in not being the girl who’s out of breath after climbing one flight of stairs. Building endurance is essential to multiple facets of your overall health. The best workouts for doing so are ones that combine both strength and cardio training, such as classes like Orange Theory. Any type of HIIT workout in general, though, works great for building your overall endurance.
6. Balance & Coordination
Working out for improved balance and coordination is another goal that I don’t totally get the motive for. I guess it’s useful if you’re auditioning for American Ninja Warrior or something?? Regardless, improving your balance and coordination can’t hurt, and almost any balance or coordination based workout will do more than just improve that. If you’re working out on your own, yoga poses are a great workout for improving balance and coordination. If you prefer a workout class, barre classes or any boot camp style class are great options because you’ll be doing multiple different moves that utilize multiple different muscles throughout the class.
7. Mental Health
At the end of the day, basically any workout that you’re willing to do is great for your mental health. There are, however, certain workout classes that integrate spiritual and mental well-being into the actual workout, such as SoulCycle and yoga. Sue me, but I’m personally a big fan of SoulCycle for that reason exactly. I love getting an intense workout in while simultaneously being flooded with messages of positivity. Of course, I know not everyone feels this way, so whatever workout best gets your own feel-good endorphins flowing is going to be beneficial.
Pretty much any workout you do will help you to achieve more than just one of the body goals listed. The most important step is just getting your ass to work out, whether your reasons for doing so are superficial or health-related (or are superficial but you’re pretending are health-related for your Insta story). Whatever your reasoning, I’m totally
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When it comes to choosing workouts, some exercises just seem obvious, like doing squats for a perky butt or planks for rock-hard abs. And don’t get me wrong, I’ll do squats and planks until they’re out of style. *BUT* I think it’s also important to work on the muscles we don’t often think about, especially as girls. We tend to think we just need a little toning and cardio here and there, but there are a lot of important muscles that we neglect at the gym, especially our upper body muscles. It’s time to address WTF to do about them. Here are some underrated upper body exercises and why you should be working them.
1. Chest Presses
Aside from a few modified push-ups as a warmup, most girls never think about working their chest muscles. I mean, the chest press seems like a guy’s exercise, and it can be super intimidating. What many women don’t realize is that your chest muscles just create a stronger upper body in general, which literally makes it easier to do basic activities, like opening doors and holding heavy bags. People also find that chest presses can even give yourself a little chest lift, so you can stop buying push-up bras. So start your upper body exercises with chest presses. Grab two dumbbells and lie flat on a bench with the weights at chest height and your elbows out toward your sides. Then, press the weights upward, keeping them over your chest the entire time, and bringing them back down after every rep and avoiding pushing with your shoulders.
2. Lying Back Extensions
People tend to do a lot of rowing and lat pulldowns to target back muscles, and these exercises are great, but we tend to forget about our back extensor muscles, which are located at the lower back. They’re super important for core engagement, stability, and avoiding injury. Doing lying back extensions will help you avoid hurting yourself at the gym, considering you basically use your back in any exercise, like even running or spinning. Lay out a mat and then lie on your stomach with your head facing the floor and your arms out over your head in a “Y” shape. Then, slowly lift your legs and arms off the floor, keeping only the area from your stomach to your thighs on the mat (if that’s too hard, leave your legs alone and just lift your upper body). Lower back down and then lift back up, feeling the tension in your lower back.
3. Inner Core Leg Lifts
We do a lot of ab movements around here, but there’s a major difference between your ab muscles and your core muscles. Most ab workouts, like bicycles and Russian twists, don’t target the transversus abdominis, which is the muscle that connects to our pelvic floor and internal organs. In order to strengthen these inner muscles, do inner core leg lifts. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent, and slowly lift your right foot off the floor, keeping your core engaged as you lower it back down. Then, do the same on the left, and switch back and forth, exhaling with each rep. These are supposed to be slow and controlled movements, so don’t worry if you’re not getting your heart rate up or sweating, but DO worry if you’re just kicking the ground without feeling it in your abs. Then you’re probs doing it wrong.
4. Lateral Raises
Toning your shoulder muscles will make your whole arm look more defined and just so much better, and the most ideal way is to work the front of the muscle and the side of it in one workout to tone every angle. The lateral deltoid, aka the side of your shoulder, is really what gives your arms a toned look, and it’s often neglected because people just don’t realize what a difference it makes. Standing up with a dumbbell in each with your palms facing your thighs, keep your elbows slightly bent and raise your arms to the side until the weight reaches shoulder height. Then, slowly lower the dumbbell back down to your thigh. Keep raising them up and down, and try not to bounce your legs to use momentum to lift them. The goal is to keep tension in your shoulders the whole time and not get any help from your lower body.
5. Single-Arm Planks
Obviously your abs aren’t a “forgotten about” muscle, but we often overlook the most basic functions of our core muscles, which include stability and balance. Upper body exercises like single-arm planks strengthen the core while testing your stability. By doing moves like these, you’ll notice that yoga poses get easier to hold, being in third position on a spin bike feels more natural, and other ab movements are just less painful. So basically, the single-arm plank is essentially a regular plank, but you only use one hand at a time. Duh. It’s easier to start with your hand centered in front of your chest, but try to work it back out to under your shoulder as you get stronger. The idea is to keep your body square to the ground without raising your hips on one side, and keep your core tight the entire time.
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Maybe once a year Every so often, you discover a new workout class or get a weird burst of energy at 5pm (LOL), and working out feels amazing all on its own. Mostly, though, working out is difficult and painful, and only made worthwhile by the coveted goal of looking good—specifically, looking good naked, which is really the Catch 22 here (I’m not using that right and don’t quote me). As betches with busy lives, going to both a SoulCycle class and a date after work is as unlikely as us running an impromptu marathon, so we’re forced to choose between goals of staying in shape and goals of knowing the Domino’s guy by name finding that person to regularly see our hot, naked bodies. And since the only thing worse than hard work is making choices, the only logical choice is to incorporate your workout into the date itself (the sex part of the date, specifically; I still refuse to acknowledge exercise dates as a real thing). Here are the best sex positions that double as a full-body workout, all for a lower cost and higher chance of orgasm than your usual SoulCycle.
1. Reverse Cowgirl
You knew this position would make the list, because you specifically avoid it when you know you need to do things like walk the next day. As it turns out, repeatedly lifting your body from the hips up is killer for your quads, regardless of whether or not you’re landing on a dick (who knew)—just ensure his hands are otherwise occupied going in, so you can’t take the cop out of him “guiding” your hips aka taking on half your weight. To ensure maximum workout benefits and a killer view for your sex partner, keep your core engaged (chest lifted, shoulders down, abs in), and engage your triceps by keeping your hands at/above your head as much as possible. (I recommend playing with your hair to draw attention from the fact that you’re basically incorporating arm circles into sex.) If you have rock-hard quads and extreme balance, you can make this position even more difficult by starting on your feet instead of your knees; from there, enjoy a series of deep squats and overwhelming fear of maiming your partner for life.
Yeah, I’d joyously never known this sex position existed either until researching this article. It basically involves you planking through sex (your hands or forearms on flat surface of your choosing—I’ve found higher = harder workout—and your legs held up by the guy behind you). The workout here is obvious: you are planking through sex, so if your form isn’t total shit (once again, abs engaged and don’t collapse your chest), you should definitely feel the effects. The downside is that it’s kind of difficult to maintain perfect plank form while being rammed from behind, and the need to remain perfectly still minimizes the usual cardio benefits of sex. While it’s a little more logistically challenging than my go-to’s, it felt amazing sex-wise (keep adjusting until you find the right angle) and crazy hard abs-wise, so I’ll definitely be trying this again next time I finish something labeled “family-size” and need my ass kicked. I’d recommend treating this position as a slower-paced, strength-building warm-up—you can always return to it later if you want to draw out the session and get in that extra burn.
I think this is called a “hip bridge” in traditional workout contexts, and it looks like you putting your feet flat on the ground/bed and lifting your hips so it’s a straight line from knees to shoulders (he’s kneeling facing you, hands probs assisting your legs a bit). It’s easy to do this position lazily when you’re three minutes in and your ass is burning and his hands are RIGHT THERE and could definitely hold you up, but don’t, for obvious reasons. Not only is it pretty uncool to go full dead-weight during any kind of sex, but your aesthetic descent from betch to Jabba the Hutt is incredibly swift if you don’t maintain a strong, lifted torso and long neck in this position at all times. Picture your chin(s) in a hip bridge. You know I’m right. This is a killer butt/hamstring workout for obvious reasons, and if you’re feeling especially strong you can modify into a full bridge by placing your hands flat on the ground/bed facing your feet and pushing up through your hands for an added tricep/bicep workout and an increased burn in your inner thighs and core. TBH I can’t even do a full bridge in normal yoga, so I had to stick with regular arch here—it’s a little frustrating to maintain, but I could definitely feel the lower-body workout, and having your hands free is always nice.
4. Total Hug
Is Total Hug the technical term for this position? Probably not, but I have no idea who makes these rules, and this is an adorable way to refer to a very difficult position. Total Hug is the movie sex thing where you’re both standing and you wrap your legs around the guy’s waist, which I’m sure you’ve tried and failed at before. The good news is that it’s equally difficult for the guy, so you can bitch about how unrealistic this position is together while stretching, hydrating, and preparing for another go. Essentially, you both need to be laser-focused on your body not plummeting to the floor, so if either one of you gets at all distracted, it swiftly becomes a dangerous situation. I can’t quite explain the physics behind why this is so very difficult, but think of it as holding a wall-sit in mid-air with engaged arms and you’ll start to get the idea. For an intense full-body workout, try this position repeatedly until you’re too sweaty to hold onto or until one of you starts crying.
Bottom line: any sex position can be a workout if you’re not starfishing, and if you’re not breaking any kind of a sweat during sex then something’s already wrong. These positions will just elevate your game from “justifying the pint of Halo Top I’ll need after this” to “cancelling my gym membership and starting a sex-fitness Insta—oh wait is that technically porn?” Happy humping!
Images: Becca Tapert / Unsplash; Giphy (2)
We’ve already established that getting rock hard abs comes down to diet and discipline, but some toning exercises will def help when it comes to getting rid of your love handles and defining your tummy area. Most people think the only ways to tone your abs are by doing a million crunches and holding a plank for as long as possible, but those exercises don’t hit your obliques—the side edges of your abs that give you that amazing slimming shape when you’re wearing a crop top. Don’t lie. You know you want those side lines. Here are 8 exercises that will help you get them:
1. Russian Twists
Sorry, the Russian Twist isn’t the name of some cocktail with four shots of Smirnoff and a gross amount of syrup. It’s actually a killer ab exercise, and if you do it right, your obliques should be sore as fuck tomorrow. You’ll need some sort of weight, kettlebell, or ball for this, but don’t go crazy on the weight. Start by lying down on the floor and placing your feet out in front of you, raised a few inches above the ground. Your knees should be slightly bent and your torso should be elevated off the group, making a V-shape with your thighs. Holding the weight with both hands, move it from one side of you to the other, tapping the ground on your right and left sides each time. Do at least 10 reps on each side.
2. Side Planks
Side planks are a static move, so it might look easy because you’re staying still, but try to hold for 30 seconds to a minute on each side and you’ll shut up about how easy it looks. Turn onto your right side with your legs extended and your feet and hips resting on the ground and stacked on top of each other. You’ll want your right elbow directly under your shoulder to hold up your torso and to protect your shoulder joint. Hold for as long as you can, then switch to the left side. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
3. Bicycle Crunches
People usually miss the point with bicycle crunches because they’re doing them so fast that they’re not actually activating the ab muscles at all. This isn’t a spin class, so take your fucking time with these. Lying flat on the floor with your lower back against the ground, put your hands behind your head and lift your left shoulder off the ground while bringing your right knee to touch that left elbow. Then, do the same on the other side. Repeat for at least 45 seconds, and make sure you’re not pulling on your neck. You really should be thinking of reaching your shoulder to your knee and less about the elbow to the knee.
4. Wood Choppers
Just when you thought shit was getting easier, we’re making you chop wood. Okay, not really, but this exercise makes you look like a wood chopper so let’s go with it. You’re gonna need a kettlebell or weighted ball again here, so choose something around 10-20 pounds. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, hold the ball at one hip and explosively carry it over your opposite shoulder, completely twisting your core as you move. Do ten reps on the right side, then the same on the left. The key here is to keep your hips square but twist your torso. Also, try not to throw the ball behind you and hit some guy in the head. It’s not cute.
5. Alternating Toe Touches
This move will burn pretty fast, but it’s amazing for getting rid of love handles, so let’s get it over with. The idea is similar to the bicycle crunch, but it’s even slower and more controlled, so you’re really activating each oblique. Lie on the floor with your legs out in front of you and your arms straight behind your head. Then, lift your right leg straight up in the air at the same time as your left arm, touching your left hand to your right foot (or knee if you can’t make it that far.) Alternate sides for 20-30 reps.
6. Dumbbell Side Bends
This is the one move where you’re gonna have to go pretty heavy in your weight choice if you want to see real results. Drop the 7.5lb dumbbell and grab something substantial (think 17-25 pounds). This is a sculpting move, so you’re gonna hold the dumbbell in one hand and bend over sideways, getting the dumbbell to the height of your knees, then stand straight again. Go up and down on each side for about 20 reps to feel the burn.
7. Sit Up With Side Twist
Sit ups are SO three years ago, but sit ups with a twist will literally carve lines in your abs, so we’re all about them. Lying down with your back flat on the ground and your hands behind your head, bend your knees and keep your feet planted on the ground. If you have a friend around to hold down your feet, that shit is super helpful, but if not, that’s fine too. In one controlled motion, bring your torso up off the floor so that your elbow is touching your knee as you twist with your waist toward one side. Then, slowly lower back down and keep going, alternating sides each time. Do 10-15 reps on each side.
8. Windshield Wipers
We’re guessing you’ve never actually wiped off a windshield in your life so you might not even understand the mental image, but that’s why we’re explaining it to you. The idea here is to move your legs from one side of your body to the other while lying down, only using the twisting of your torso to do so. Bend your knees slightly and start in a fetal position with your legs to the right side of your body. Keeping your hands on the floor next to you, use your abs to twist your legs over to the other side of you, landing them on the floor next to you. Keep repeating for 45 seconds to a minute.
Read: How To Get Amazing Abs In Time For Summer