My 30 Minute Gym Workout

I love lifting weights. There is something so satisfying in it. I always feel good when I’m finished, like I accomplished something worthwhile even though all I did was pick things up and put them down. Even though I do that all day long with a 30lb boy and an 18lb girl, I just really love going to the gym.

I haven’t had much experience with public gyms. Most of my gym workouts were during private team sessions, but I have been a member of a local gym for nearly a year now and it didn’t take me long to realize I may have been breaking some kind of unwritten rule. It seems that most females steer clear of the weights, opting for the cardio side of the room. It’s quite amusing to me to observe the distinct line between the seemingly “male side” and “female side”. It’s even more amusing when I enter into the “wrong” zone. I have been an athlete and in athletic circles most of my life and most of the girls I knew lifted weights. It is a new experience to feel out of place where I have always felt comfortable as a result of the strange looks I get upon entering the weight side of the the gym. (Is this only in the gym I go to or is this universal in public gyms?). The guys stop all their idle chit-chat and the women glance over curiously and I end up feeling quite self-conscious so I ended up trying to get in and get out pretty quickly. It wasn’t a conscious decision initially; I just wanted to be done so I could leave, but it resulted in a nice workout routine that I have stuck with.

I like it because it is challenging, it keeps me constantly busy, it works my entire body, and it only takes 30 minutes.

I will not be sharing photos of these exercises as there is a plethora of pictures of people who enjoy posting themselves working out all over the internet so if you need a reference for any of these exercises, I’m positive you can easily find great examples ;-).

Shoulders, Arms, and Back

6 rep max each with free weights:

Arnold Press

Single-Arm Lateral Raise (do one arm, then the other)

Standing Rear Deltoid Flys

1 minute rest: do 6-8 pull ups (I hate wandering around a gym between sets)

Continue with 6 rep max weights:

Palms-In Shoulder Press

Upright Row

Lying Rear Deltoid Raise

1 minute rest: do 6-8 pull ups

Rotator Cuff [being a former swimmer, I am a stickler about healthy shoulders]:

Grab a set of dumbbells less than 5 lbs. (I use 2 lbs), find a bench and lie on your stomach. This is a lot like the YMCA dance, only horizontally. You will make a Y with your arms and body, keeping arms in line with your body and parallel with the ground. Then you will make a T shape, then an I shape which means you will be in a streamline position (swimming term!). Y,T,I = 1 rep. Do 2 sets, 10reps each.

Legs, Butt, and Abs

10 reps Box Jumps (10 up and 10 down)

(Grab a Bosu ball, a kettle bell, and a mat).

Single Leg Squat on Bosu ball (10 reps on one leg, then the other)

6-8 rep max     Wide stance squat (on the ground) with kettle bell.

Hit the mat and do some crunches. I mix this up often but always work lower, oblique, and upper muscles in that order. Examples:

25 hip raises with knees at 90 degrees (lower)

25 with knees at 90 degrees, legs resting together on the mat to my right, then to my left (oblique)

25 in sit-up position, touching left elbow to right knee, then switching (oblique)

25 with legs straight out (upper)

50 bicycle (oblique)

2 x 30 seconds of “6 Inches” (lower) [Lay flat on back, place hands palm down between your hips and the mat. Lift legs 6″ off the ground and kick like you are swimming for your life]

2 x 10 Jackknife (all) [laying on back with legs straight and arms straight overhead resting on the floor, simultaneously raise arms and legs until your toes and finger tips meet in a near pike position, then lower to floor. Your sacrum will be your pivot point. Vary speed and length of time holding the position]

Repeat entire leg and ab set one time.

I don’t do all of that ab work in one workout. I mix it up and choose a few for each muscle group. Lastly, I do some flattening work. All those crunches can actually make you wider from a side view because you are growing muscle or in my case, also been pregnant a few times. So to help keep my belly button and my spine close friends I finish by lying on the mat and drawing my muscles into my spine as closely as I can. Pretend you are trying to touch your belly button to your spine. This will look to everyone else like you are resting, but you are actually doing deep muscle work. I hold for as long as I can and repeat 10-15 times. If you have been doing crunches and haven’t been getting the results you hoped for or you’ve still got the baby pouch, skip the crunches and do these instead. All day long. When you walk from the parking lot to the grocery store. When you wash dishes at the kitchen sink. Anytime you can. Nobody will ever know you’re doing it and you’ll be getting a flatter belly by the day.

One ab exercise I never do is a standard crunch with knees bent in the typical sit-up position because it uses leg muscles more than abdominal muscles.

There you have it! My 30 minute mommy-friendly, work-friendly, busy-life friendly gym routine. And it doesn’t even have to be done in a gym. It could be done in your basement or garage or your living room with a few easily stored and simple equipment purchases. All you would need to start is 2 pairs of dumbbells, a wooden box (easily buildable), door frame pull-up bar, Bosu ball, and a kettle bell.

Disclaimer: I am an exercise physiologist and not a doctor. Please consult your personal physician before beginning this or any exercise program.


The Easiest DIY I’ve Ever Done and Fall Nesting

Last week I decided to paint a curbside furniture find that we’ve been using for over a year. I’ve even had the paint sitting on a shelf for awhile. I don’t know why I haven’t done it earlier. Around here it seems we’re really good at starting projects and then not finishing them right away. We get distracted with beginning another project once the one we’re working on is at a resting point and then it may take a long time before we get back to do the finishing touches. That’s the way homes evolve I guess. At least it’s the way ours evolves. Anyway, my painting project only lasted about 30 mins but it inspired me to start changing things up in the rest of the house.

photo 2Changing out my collection of seasonal watercolor “Essentials” is one of my favorite things. (Jones Design Co.)

Something about it officially being Fall made me feel I needed to do some nesting and cozying around the house in anticipation of our lives changing to welcome in cooler days and nights. I think the kids’ play room is the only room I have left alone.

photo 1The kids and I have been enjoying collecting a lot of pine cones and acorns.

It was fun and chaos all at once. In the middle of this I decided our bookcase in the living room needed a banner. I’ve seen a lot of them online and they always catch my eye as looking festive and a bit whimsical.

I don’t store much in the crafting supply area. I usually plan ahead and buy just what I need, so my spur of the moment decision that I had to hang a banner right now potentially presented a problem. Luckily, I had cream resume paper, thread and needle, and 5 minutes. Here’s how I made my cute and super fast banner.

photo 1


I chose a font called Marker Felt and made the letters the size I wanted. I wanted my pennants to be between 2 and 3 inches long. I free-handed the pennant outline on the back of the paper around all the letters and cut them out. Then I used a needle to poke holes near the two top corners of each letter. I threaded my needle with black thread and then threaded the letters through, cut the thread, hang and you’re finished!


photo 2


I think I will be making many of these as the months and seasons change. I will probably use black and white baker’s twine to thread them in the future or maybe some jute twine, but this was such an easy way to make a fun statement with simple things I had on hand. I am already anticipating my Thanksgiving version saying, “Grace and Gratitude.” I think that would be such a great reminder of the fall season to have in my living room where we tend to hang out the most.

I also added an entryway drop spot. I have been wanting to do this for a long time and finally did it (sense of accomplishment).


photo 1


It isn’t too interesting looking yet but I had to start somewhere and adding meaningful objects and frames over time is the fun of decorating. I didn’t want it to be a permanent thing as we are constantly evolving our home’s usefulness to suit us as our needs change so I just stuck up some 3M hooks. Nothing fancy, but it works just fine and it’s so nice walking in the front door and having a place to hang our coats, scarves, and hats and come winter it’ll be nice to have a place to sit down to pull off our boots. We bought wood and have a plan in mind to build a small table to add to this spot. I’ll post about it when it’s ready. And I will be on the lookout to add some pretty things to the wall so that little deer isn’t so lonely looking.

I figure I should show the furniture piece that started the frenzy of rearranging.

photo 3


I found it abandoned on the side of the road and in perfect condition. I think there must have been something additional sitting on top of it originally because there was just ugly fiber board on the top.


photo 4


Sean put some planks on it and it sat that way for a year while the paint sat on a shelf 5 feet away. The main reason I didn’t paint it is our huge TV sits on it and that seemed like too big a thing to have to move out of the way. Perceived limitations.


photo 5

 The paint color is Valspar London Coach.

I feel this TV needs an explanation as most of you know we don’t watch much television. The thing is, it looked much much smaller in the store, on the wall, with other larger TV’s around. We had an inkling it was a bit larger than we thought after we bought it and were trying to put it in the car to drive it home. As it turns out, I’m happy we bought it as it is in my classroom space and it works great for showing HypnoBirthing videos during classes. So that’s it for my little update. What have you been doing recently?