Some of you already know that I am obsessed with surfing. For those of you who are just finding out - yep, it's true. In July of 2013 I unofficially traded my rigorous swim workouts and martial arts (Tae Kwon Do) training for a daily surf addiction that has now officially stretched into Winter.
For a few months I got by on my basic yoga & strength training routine, but around Thanksgiving week I woke up in the morning and my body was screaming for more support. An achey back and tight muscles due to cold weather indicated that it was time to bump up my cross training a notch. After a week of hammering out my 20 minute winter fitness foundation before my morning surfs, my pain was gone, my movements fluid, and I felt amazing (still do!). On top of that, surfing just got that much more fun, as I head out now completely warmed up and ready to give my all.
In the Winter, it is important to find a dynamic balance - between consolidation, conservation, and movement. We've got to make our workouts count that much more because there is less daylight and typically we have less energy to spare. When we do scale back our fitness routines, we've got to make the work we do cover our basic needs - for movement, flexibility, and strong muscles that will support our skeletal structure through all of the various activities our lives demand.
I've got a few more secrets up my personal health and fitness sleeve (I'll save those for another day soon), but know that if you do this 20 minute winter fitness routine every day before your regular workout, or on the in-between days when you don't have a lot of time, you will notice clear results that will make your heart melt with all sorts of love for yourself. I'm using it primarily for surfing now, but in a few weeks when I head up to the mountains it will be the perfect prelude to my first ski days of the year.
To your health and happiness this winter season, I offer up Real Fit Mama's 20 Minute Winter Fitness Foundation:
1. 5 minutes walking and running
Honestly folks, I invite you to do this in whatever combination works for you. It may be different for you on different days - it is for me. After a lifetime of pounding my joints (I'm a runner turned dancer turned martial artist), I'll admit that some days my body just won't have a huge run. Sure, I could force myself. That's easy. But why? The goal is to feel good, be strong, and stay healthy. Depending on the day, I might walk anywhere from 20-90% of this.
(Hint: If I have extra time, I may also add more time if I'm craving the cardio. I do my best just to listen to my body. Especially if I'm headed out for a surf session afterwards - I strive to find that perfect sweet spot between getting revved up and getting worn out. Some days I'll walk and run up to 10, 20 or 30 minutes. One of my favorite things if I'm without my buddies is to wear my earphones and listen to music ONLY during the times I'm running.)
2. 50 squats, 50 lunges, 30 toe-presses, 25 Iron Brooms
After the walk and run warm-up, this fitness routine builds from the ground up. Squats, lunges, toe-presses and iron brooms all really work the lower body and the core. It's important to lay a strong foundation so we can work our way up to the abs and arms, and then focus on flexibility. When done with this portion, stretch your quads - briefly. *NOTE: for the lunges and iron brooms, alternate legs/ sides. If you're not sure what an iron broom is, check out the photo in this post. A toe-press is simply standing with your knees slightly bent and pressing up onto your toes, then lowering your heels back down.
3. 25 push-ups, 25 sit-ups, 25 push-ups, 25 sit-ups
Now that we've laid the foundation, it's time to put in the beams and supports. Push-ups and sit-ups BOTH work the core body strength and build muscle tone. Push-ups also strengthen the pectoralis muscles and the arms, but don't be fooled - everything from your abs to your legs is also getting a workout. Why is this important? Because we need to train our muscles to fire-up enough for them to instinctually kick-in when life places heavy demands on them. Also, physical strength exercises counter-act the negative effects of prolonged sitting that are almost un-avoidable in today's world.
4. Hold plank - 30 counts, hold side plank - 30 counts, 10 hip touch-downs - each side
This is where my understanding of building construction ends and the most challenging part of this workout begins. In addition to solidifying a solid core, holding these plank exercises will integrate your entire body and treach it's parts to work together more efficiently and effectively. You will notice certain tensions releasing over the course of a few weeks as deep strength takes effect in your posture and activities.
*NOTE: for a visual of what a side plank looks like, check out the photos in this post. A hip touch-down is performed from the side-plank position, and entails smoothly lowering the side of the hip closest to the ground all the way down, and lifting it back up.
5. Seated butterfly stretch, seated wide-leg stretch, forward bend, stretch calves
My favorite way to feel connections in my body holistically after a good workout or warm-up is to finish up with a few key stretches. Stretching increases blood flow, promotes flexibility, enhances fluidity of motion and prevents injury. It is a MUST for surfing and many of my other favorite activities, and can even help prevent many medical conditions.
*NOTE: My favorite calf stretch is done by using a stair or ramp and placing the ball and toes of the foot on the edge of the stair while gently lowering the heel down beneath it. I always support my upper body by holding on to the wall or ramp so that I don't over-tax or tear my achilles tendon.
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