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Be Thankful for Fitness

As we head into the holiday-heavy season, we took some time to cover a little bit of this and a little bit of that. And by that, we mean, ways to live a healthy lifestyle, workout routines from some of our #FitFam, tips on proper techniques and recipes that might just make their way into your Thanksgiving lineup.

Article I. Health and Nutrition - Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar seems to be the talk of the town these days, but is it as healthy and amazing as it appears to be? Yes, it is, without a doubt. In fact, we could go on and on about all the amazing benefits it can provide to your lifestyle, but we don’t want to bore you, so here are just a couple to get the point across: reduces cholesterol, improves digestion, lowers blood sugar levels, improves hair health—yes we said hair health, that’s not a typo—and many more. Even though Apple Cider Vinegar might be a new “thing” for you, it’s been used as a natural remedy for health problems for a very long time. Magnesium, iron, phosphorus, amino acids, antioxidants… what doesn’t it have is the real question.

Article II. UGC/Workout of the Month

For this month, we did our workout a little different. We decided to look to our #FitFam for a workout that gets them pumped up and in “grind mode.” Thanks to @conscious_content87, we found a B**A** biceps and triceps routine that will make your arms feel the burn. After all, if you’re not going to work hard, why workout at all? Besides, some sweat won’t hurt anyways.

1. Standing bicep curls:

Keep your torso stable and spine straight—avoid bending backwards as you pull the weight up towards you. Engage your abs and back, and make sure to use the right weight.

If you’re training for strength or endurance, choose a weight that’ll let you do 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps, with one minute of rest between sets.


Zottman curl:

Unlike a normal bicep curl, the Zottman curl requires you to flip your grip at the top of the movement, switching from a standard curl to a reverse curl. This is where the move gets forearm-building power.

Stand tall with dumbbell in each hand with underhand grip. Keep your elbows tucked and locked, then curl the weights toward your shoulders. Flip your grip 180-degrees and lower the weights back down to your side.


Crossbody hammer curls:

This curl exercise targets the biceps with emphasis on your forearms—developing your brachioradialis, the muscle on top of your forearm.

Remain upright with dumbbells hanging by your side and palms facing your body. Only work with one arm at a time. Curl your arm slowly, bringing it up across your body to the opposite shoulder and back down.


Now it’s time to get hardCORE! Core workout refers to the whole body's overall fitness exercise routine. It is the combination of all physical exercise routines that promote total body fitness. Core exercises usually include the back, shoulder, arm and leg muscles. Exercises designed for core muscles generally help develop stability to the weaker ones, thus giving spine stability. This helps maintain a healthy spine and an aesthetically pleasing posture. Here are some exercise options to get you hardCORE:

Bird Dogs: This is a simple core exercise that improves stability, encourages a neutral spine and relieves lower back pain. It strengthens your hips and back muscles, as well as increases range of motion.

Start on all fours in the tabletop position, knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Draw your shoulder blades together and raise your right arm and left leg, keeping your shoulders and hips parallel to the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower back down to a starting position. Now do the same with your left arm and right leg and that is one round. Do 8-12 repetitions for each leg.

Dead Bugs: A stabilization core exercise that targets your transverse abdominis and spinal erectors. This movement helps teach you to effectively move opposing limbs in tandem while keeping your core stable and your back protected.

Lie on your back with your arms extended straight over your chest, bend your hips and knees 90-degrees, lifting your feet from the ground. Keep your right arm and left leg exactly where they are, then reach your left arm backward, over your head and toward the floor while you extend your right knee and hip, reaching your right heel toward the floor. Stop the movement right before your arm and leg touch the ground. Then reverse the movement and return your left arm and right leg to their starting positions. Preform the same movements to the opposite side. Do 10 reps each side.

Bicycles: The bicycle crunch is great for activating the rectus abdominis, your upper abdominal muscle and obliques. This will also help with toning your thighs, as both your hamstrings and quads will be involved.

Lie flat on your back with your feet on the floor and hands behind your head. Contract core muscles and pull your shoulder blades back as you slowly raise your knees to about a 90-degree angle. Go through a bicycle pedal motion and bring one knee up towards your armpit while straightening the other leg. Rotate torso so you can touch your elbow to the opposite knee as it comes up. Do 40 total reps!

Flutter Kicks: This exercise works the lower rectus abdominal muscles, as well as your hip flexors.

Lie down on your back and place both your hands underneath your buttocks. Lift your right leg off the ground slightly past hip height and lift your left leg so it hovers off the floor. Then switch the position of your legs, making a flutter kick motion. Repeat this for up to 30 seconds!

After you get the hang of it, keep adding on each time you get in workout mode. Adding extra seconds or reps to your daily exercises can do a lot more than you think, but hey, we’ll let you figure that out the hard way!

It’s game time! Are you one of those people that doesn’t like to see how hard your workout is before you actually do it? Then let the cards decide your fate, so you don’t have to. All you need is a deck of cards and a list of workout exercises. To start, assign an exercise to each of the 4 suits—diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs. Shuffle your cards and pull a card from the deck. The number on the card pulled is the amount of reps you need to perform. Once the card is pulled, do the designated exercise for the assigned number of repetitions, and keep repeating until the given amount of time you allocated for your workout expires. Just like that, you planned a fun and interactive workout!

For example:

Clubs – burpees
Hearts – squat
jumpsSpades – push-ups
Diamonds – rowsK - plank knee tucks – 30s
Q - mountain climbers – 30s
J - ice skaters – 30sA - power jacks – 30s

Now pull four cards from the deck and get your workout going. Easy as that!

Article III. Proper Technique

“Keep your back flat! All the way to the ground!” — Do these phrases sound familiar? If so, then this section is for you! Technically, technique is kind of a really BIG deal! The better your form is, the better the results will be and the less injuries you will have to endure. In Layman’s Terms, anything worth doing, is worth doing right... even when you’re exercising! So, for starters, here are some pointers to guide your push-up form in the right direction.

Standard version in plank position -
- Start with hands slightly wider than your shoulders
- Contract your abs and tighten your core
- Lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90° angle
- Push back up through your hands to the start position

Modified Version with knees positioned on the ground -
- Start with hands below shoulders and knees behind hips
- Tuck toes under, tighten abdominals and bend elbows to lower chest
- Press chest back up to start position.

Article IV. 5-Ingredient Recipe/Recipe of the Month

Now that we got the workout talk out of the way, let’s talk about a fantastic 5-ingredient recipe that might just come in handy over the holidays. As the times shift into chilly season, nothing quite warms you up like a delicious bowl of hot chili. And with only 5 ingredients needed, plus all the benefits—gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, and naturally sweetened—this is an easy win for everyone.

First on the ingredient list is yellow onions, which contains dietary fiber that helps decrease the risk of diabetes, high blood cholesterol and colorectal cancer. Next up we have salsa! Although salsa may not be known as a beneficial ingredient at first, once you dig in a little more you will notice that it’s very low in calories, but full of flavor. Sweet potatoes, red beans and vegetable stock each provide ample sources of our suggested daily vitamins—vitamin B, vitamin C, Iron, Copper, Potassium, and Magnesium—as well as provides strength to your bones and ease’s digestion along with many other gut-related health benefits!

For this recipe, first sweat onions in 1 tbsp. oil and season with salt and pepper—continue cooking until translucent and soft, stir occasionally. Next add sweet potato, cook for 3 minutes, and add in salsa, water, and vegetable stock. Bring to a low boil on medium-high heat and then lower heat to medium-low and simmer. Then add red beans, cover, and cook 20 minutes more! And voilà, it’s ready for you to enjoy.


If we happened to miss something important or you have questions on something we covered in this segment, don’t hesitate to visit us at Fitness Connection today and our staff of fitness experts will be glad to help on your fitness journey.