Day of Love…And Candy Calorie Incineration

Happy Valentine’s Day! Each year when the nauseating Sweethearts (honestly, do people actually enjoy eating those things?) and oversized stuffed animals are put on the shelves weeks in advance of February 14, I always find myself fighting the urge to be cynical and condemn the gimmicky traditions of our consumer-driven commercialist society, the one that spends $1.5 billion on V-day candy alone!  But when the day arrives and love songs are saturating the air waves – save those sung by the napalm poet, John Mayer – and the town is literally painted red with roses, cards, and chocolate boxes, the innocent Belle and Buttercup wannabe in me is happy to celebrate a day devoted to ODA: obligatory displays of affection.

Interesting tidbit: According to ABC News, consumers are expected to spend $15.7 billion for Valentine’s Day, with the average person spending $115, compared to $103 in 2010. Guess that means the recession’s over!  

Well, I think it’s fitting to interrupt your candy consumption with a workout-related blog. Not only will you burn off the Godiva, the rush of endorphins won’t hurt your romantic plans for this evening (cue Marvin Gaye) ;-). By the way, for you married folks reading, “The Doctors” show a few days ago featured the top edible aphrodisiacs. Allow me to list them for you:

Onions, garlic, truffle oil, tomatoes, mushrooms, cayenne pepper, potatoes, oysters, basil and chili peppers. They even have a recipe for an “Erotic Tonic” that has bananas, chocolate, papaya, and honey, all of which are purported to…well, do I really have to go into it??

Stay fit, stay faithful ~<3 Di

A little Darwinian humor 😉

This workout is just for upper body (find its lower body counterpart under this category of “At-Home Workouts.”) You’ll need light and medium resistance bands, a light, medium, and heavy pair of dumbbells, exercise ball, and a chair.

Do the exercises below in the order listed, moving from one exercise to the next without resting. These exercises will not be timed, but you should complete the given number of repetitions as you concentrate on proper form and controlled breathing, exhaling during exertion. Complete the circuit three times before moving on to the next. Rest fifteen to thirty seconds between circuits.

Note: Remember to warm up by jogging in place, jump roping, or doing jumping jacks until you feel warm and your heart rate is elevated.

Exercise Descriptions:

Circuit 1

1.)    Military press

  1. Holding dumbbells, sit in the middle of exercise ball. Sit up straight, keep abdomen tucked in. Knees are ninety degrees to the floor.
  2. Raise dumbbells so they are even with your shoulders, palms facing out.
  3. Raise weight overhead without locking elbows.
  4. Lower the weight to starting position.

2.)    Dumbbell pull-over

  1. Holding the dumbbell, sit on the exercise ball. Gently roll yourself down so that your shoulders, neck, and upper back rest comfortably on the ball. Make sure feet are planted firmly on the ground. Contract your hamstrings and glutes to hold yourself in bridge position.
  2. Position dumbbell over your chest, placing hands around the end of the barbell farthest from your chest.
  3. As you inhale, bring the dumbbell behind your head as you slightly bend your elbows and squeeze your chest.
  4. Exhale as you bring arms back to the starting position.

3.)    Incline chest press

  1. Grab dumbbells. Lie on the ball so that your head, neck, and back around comfortably positioned on the ball. Place your feet firmly on the floor with knees bent and your rear a few inches from the floor.
  2. Position dumbbells so they are even with the midline of your chest, palms facing out.
  3. Extend weights straight up, directly above your collarbone. Do not lock your elbows.
  4. Lower to starting position.

4.)    Single arm lat pull-down

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart . Grasp either handle of the band and raise arms over your head so they are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Choose one arm to remain in place as an anchor. Pull the other arm down and to the side until the upper arm is below parallel to the floor.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position.

Circuit 2

1.)    Dumbbell push-ups with alternating row

  1. Place dumbbells slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Grasp dumbbells.
  2. Extend legs so that the feet are together. Arms should be straight down from the shoulders. Do not lock elbows.
  3. Pull right dumbbell off the floor, keeping the elbow close to the body. Repeat with left dumbbell.
  4. Slowly lower your body toward the floor until the elbows form a ninety degree angle.
  5. Slowly raise body back to starting position, and repeat letter C and D for given number of repetitions.

Note: Go to your knees to make this move easier.

2.)    One-arm rear delt flye

  1. On hands and knees, hold one side of the band in your right hand and grab other end with your left.
  2. Keep right hand in place as an anchor as you lift the left arm straight up to shoulder level, leading with your elbow. Squeeze your shoulder blade.
  3. Slowly return to starting position and repeat for given number of reps before switching sides.

Note: Adjust hand placement to add or decrease tension.

3.)    Head bangers

  1. Holding weights, sit on exercise ball and roll down so that your head, neck, and shoulders are comfortably positioned on the ball. Knees are bent to form a ninety degree angle, hips are lifted, feet planted firmly on the floor.
  2. With dumbbells facing each other, extend arms straight over your chest.
  3. Bend elbows and lower the weight down to a few inches above your forehead or until elbows are at ninety degree angles.
  4. Squeeze triceps to straighten the arms. Do not lock elbows.

4.)    Ball roll-out

  1. Kneel behind ball. Lean forward to place lower arms on the ball.
  2. Roll the ball forward by extending your elbows while raising the arms until they frame your head. Don’t let your back sag.
  3. Return to starting position by engaging abdominals.

Circuit 3

1.)    Tricep kickback

  1. Holding dumbbells, lie face-down on ball. Slide body back slightly so your hips and lower abdomen are on the ball.
  2. Grip the floor with your toes and open legs wide enough so you feel stable.
  3. Raise upper body a few inches so your chest and shoulders rise up and your body forms a diagonal line from head to heels.
  4. Reach arms straight out in front of your shoulders, hands close to the floor.
  5. Bend elbows and pull upper arms up behind your back, keeping arms pinned to your torso, palms facing each other.
  6.  Elbows bent, extend arms, squeezing your triceps.
  7. Lower weights to starting position.

2.)    Hammer curls

  1. Grip each band handle like a hammer. Position feet hip-width apart on the band.
  2. Keep abs engaged, back straight, shoulders back.
  3. Bend elbows and slowly raise your hands toward your shoulders without rotating the handles.
  4. Slowly reverse the motion and lower hands back down.

3.)    Upright row

  1. Grasp dumbbells and stand with feet hip-width apart. Palms face your thighs.
  2. Pull dumbbells up to your shoulders with elbows leading out to the sides. Allow wrists to flex as weights rise.
  3. Slowly lower and repeat.

4.)    Ball side-to side

  1. Kneel behind ball, then place your midsection on it. Roll forward until your hands reach the floor.
  2. Walk your hands out until the ball is underneath your knees. Hands should be shoulder-width apart.
  3. Pike your hips up so rear points to the ceiling.
  4. Rotate hips to the side and bring knees toward the chest.
  5. Return to starting position and repeat on opposite side. Repeat for given number of reps.
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