Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern
Now that The Hunger Games is out of theaters, do you find yourself wishing you could be empowered by another tough, take-no-prisoners heroine? Pixar decided to fill that void with their latest animated flick, Brave, in theaters today. Since there was a Games-inspired workout, we hoped there would be another opportunity to put our own arrow-slinging skills to the test. So when we heard that New York Sports Clubs teamed up with the movie’s creators to drum up a challenging new workout inspired by the film’s main character, Merida, it was only a matter of time before we ran over, bow in hand.
Called the “BRAVE—Change Your Fate Workout,” creator Amira Lamb raises heart rates and whips participants into fighting shape using fun equipment like a fitness bow and a wooden sword. She pushed us to the limit with each move, combining high knees with archery moves and squats with swipes of the wooden sword. After enduring the 45-minute workout, our arms were shaking and buns were sore. A rest day is definitely in order!
We chatted with Lamb after the class to find out what she likes most about the workout and how she maximizes time at the gym.
What do you like most about the workout?
It’s very different. It’s nice to not work with dumbbells and body bars all the time, and after our Hunger Games-inspired workout, we wanted to keep going with cool themes. In this class we use different types of equipment to get a unique effect on the body.
It was definitely an intense workout, especially for such a short amount of time! How do you maximize every minute?
If people need a break, they can take one, but I don’t encourage them to do so. We only have 45 minutes, so I want to make the greatest impact on your body possible. You don’t want to rest too much because you want to keep your heart rate up. If there are too many breaks, it’s a relaxed workout and the benefits are minimized.
Do you have any tips for women who are super-busy and want to get a total body workout?
Try full-bodied movements, or exercises that encompass both the lower and upper body at the same time. Some examples: kettlebell swings, squats to a shoulder press, or lunges with upright rows. Basically, you want to use as much of your body as possible within one move. By combining strength and cardio at the same time, there’s an added metabolism boost that helps you burn calories during and after the workout.
Is the Brave workout not offered in your community? Keep reading for moves you can do at home!
Healthy living doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Laurel House, AKA the QuickieChick, is out to prove just that in her new book out today QuickieChick’s Cheat Sheet to Life, Love, Food, Fitness, Fashion and Finance on a Less Than Fabulous Budget. We started off 2012 with some simple health upgrades from House, and now we have three more smart steps from her to help take your nutrition, fitness and motivation to the next level.
1. Make your meals count. Food doesn’t just provide energy (calories). Many pantry staples offer lesser-known health qualities. House’s favorite “Bites with Benefits:”
- To burn fat: ginger, jalapeno, cayenne, grapefruit
- To ease a hangover: asparagus, spirulina, oranges
- To focus: rye, yogurt, oatmeal, blueberry
- To boost energy: oatmeal, lentils, black beans, sweet potato, peanut butter, apple, figs, dates
2. Sweat for 100. You may not have time to run 10 miles or fit in your favorite fitness class every day, but you can crank out 100 reps or 100 seconds of these effective exercises. “It’s your no-excuse workout and a great way to burn a few extra calories, tone your muscles and get in a fit mindset,” House says. Start your morning with any—or many!—of the following:
3. Place healthy reminders. Stick Post-It notes on your bathroom mirror, alarm clock, fridge or any other location that you often see. Then write motivational messages on them that will inspire you to keep working toward your wellness goals like, “If you worked out when you started thinking about working out, you’d be done by now” or “Wake up with determination. Go to bed with satisfaction.”
Now tell us: What quote would motivate you to get moving or make smart diet choices?
Unless you are a personal trainer (oh, you lucky folks who get to work out all day!) squeezing in a gym session can get tricky on a time crunch. We’ve all pulled out a living room plank once or twice and were probably pretty surprised with how effective on-the-go moves like this can be. So we’re curious– if you only had five minutes to exercise, how would you do it? Read below to see what our Twitter followers said and get the most sweat for your seconds!
@anji_rae: Burpees! As long as I have time to clean up after since I’ll be sweaty!
@conformistdiary: Mountain climbers!
@Jensosinfull: Jumping jacks, and lots of them! Maybe some jump rope, too.
@caityrogo: Planks are always a good way to go. A 5-minute plank would hit multiple parts of your body.
@_ChaCha_love: Spiderman push-ups and crunches.
@FITNESSkarla: Can I have five? One minute each of jumping jacks, jumping lunges, burpees (as hard as they are), push-ups and a plank hold!
@Stina_NY: If I only had five minutes I would do squats and lunges!
@stacysbootcamp: Jump squats, burpees, side-to-side push-ups, high knees and pull-ups. Ouch!
We know, Thanksgiving was so last week. But chances are, you’re still blaming your tryptophan coma for not getting kicking your workout back into full swing yet.
Slack no more! We got Cassey Ho, a Pilates, fitness instructor, and founder of oGorgeous yoga bags (featured in our gift guide and a perfect gift for your friend!) to give our readers an exclusive routine to help you beat turkey bloat and get back on track to burning some serious fat this season.
Cassey is participating in the YouTube Next Trainer program—an initiative to find the world’s next biggest trainer, helping them launch their fit YouTube career. Check back for more exclusive routines from a few of the Next Trainer participants but until then sculpt, strengthen and tone with this 10-minute session from Cassey that targets your arms, abs, legs and butt below. Don’t worry, she does it with you so you’re not suffering alone!