Two of My Favorite Balls…Exercise Balls

Hello hump day!

For my workout today, I decided to target my core. I stared at my two favorite (exercise) balls in the gym: Yoga ball and the Bosu Ball. These two fitness pieces are great for stretching, toning muscles, and finding balance. These work outs below will target the arms, core, and legs. If you are new to exercising with these balls, just practice getting down the technique of a flat back, and tight core. It is more important to do each exercise with proper form only a few times, rather than to repeat the exercise multiple times with poor form, which can result in injury. Exercise with caution and listen to your body.

Yoga Ball Pass Back

1) Starting position: Start off laying down straight on a mat holding the yoga ball above your head.

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2) Pass the ball: Keeping your neck lax, and back straight, bring your legs up and your arms (holding the ball) into a pike. You should be using your core, your legs, and your arms to crunch up and pass the ball from your arms to your legs.

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3) SQUEEZE your legs and slowly bring the ball down to the floor in a controlled manner. Try not to just drop and plop your legs to the mat. Keep legs straight out and do not bend at knees. Slowly lower your legs to the ground.

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4) Bring legs back up with the yoga ball, and pass the ball to your hands, and return to start position.

5) Try to pass the ball at least 10 times. If you cannot do the ball transfer between legs and hands, work on just raising the ball up and down with your legs from position #2 and #3.

If you can do this 10 times, move on to the next work out with my next favorite ball…

The Bosu Ball

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How do I use this thing? There are so many exercises you can do with the Bosu Ball and that is why I really enjoy adding it to my workout routine. You can stand on it and work your entire body, but let’s focus on the arms and core again. This ball will really help you build muscles for balance.

Bosu Ball Push Ups

1) Turn Bosu Ball upside down, so that the ball is on the floor, and the black bottom is facing you.

Start in a plank position. Back straight, hips up, and hands on the handles of the Bosu Ball.

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2) Lower slowly to a push up. Remember to keep back straight and aligned with hips. Do not let your lower back drop.

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3) Push back up to plank position. That is one push up! Do 10 push ups, then alternate exercises between the yoga ball and the Bosu ball.

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If your whole body is shaking during this push up, you are completely normal and doing well! That is how you know you are working on building your muscles in your back, abs, legs, and arms.

For beginners, hold position #1 for 30 seconds, then go back to your yoga ball and do the pass backs. If your arms or torso is shaking while trying to balance, tighten your abs, tighten legs, and raise your hips and hold as long as you can. Embrace the shaking because you will start building that muscle to keep your balance!

What are your favorite exercises ball? Do you use the yoga ball for any other activities?

Hungry for more,

The Midwest Marmot

A Day of Cleaning – 5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Space

Happy President’s Day all! I am fortunate enough to have the day off of my 9-5pm job and can spend the day relaxing…and cleaning.

Last week, I spent a lot of time at the office, came home late, and basically didn’t care about my personal space. I took a nice hard look around my apartment today and noticed all of the clutter. There was food all over the counter, the Christmas decorations were still up, and there was a basically a lot of commotion.

Studies have shown that your surroundings and the people you surround yourself with really influence your emotions and well being. Take an office for example, if you are working under florescent lighting all day, with no sunlight, in a messy, cramped up cubicle, how do you think you will feel leaving after working for 9 hours? The same analogy can be applied to your home. If your home is a place of rest and relaxation and you are living in a cramped space full of clutter and dust, are you going to feel very relaxed? You don’t have to wait until spring to do your “cleaning.” Do it now, and see how much better you feel!

Here are some ideas to improve your living space:

1) First, reduce the clutter and get rid of the things you don’t need. Make your space simple. The frequent buyer coupon from the restaurant you’ve only been to once? Good riddance. The boots that are worn out that you have been waiting to wear again, but you know you never will? Donate those leftover clothes and shoes.

2) Smells. To eliminate the smells in carpets, sprinkle the carpet with baking soda and let it absorb for an hour. Then, vacuum the powder up. To eliminate the smell in the kitchen, add a lemon to your garbage disposal, grind it up and it will smell a whole lot better. For a musty room, slice an onion in half, place on a plate and leave in room for a couple hours. That onion will absorb any weird odors. My favorite thing to do at the end is to light candles and add a nice smell to the room.

3) Feeling a bit claustrophobic? Hang mirrors to bounce off more light and make the room look bigger and more spacious. Utilize more light by including white furniture, or white walls.

4) Color is very important to the mood of room. Try adding tranquil colors such as blue and green to calm your mood. Red colors can boost feelings of warmth and love, but also signal intensity. Try using different shades of the same color.

5) Add life to your room and pick up some plants or flowers. Cacti are very easy to take care of. Gerbera daisies or tulips can add a splash of color and happiness to any room.

Gerbera daisies can easily brighten up a room

Gerbera daisies can easily brighten up a room

What are your cleaning strategies? Do you feel so much better?

Hungry for more,

The Midwest Marmot

Beet and Sweet Potato Mix

Have you ever come home from a long day of work realizing you don’t have anything in your kitchen to eat? I saw that I had a beet and a sweet potato left over from a week before and decided to finally cook them. Luckily, these two ingredients I had in stock are packed full of nutrition and super easy to cook. Beets are full of glycine betaine which aids in fighting the toxins that cause stroke and coronary heart disease, and can even ease depression. Beets can test how your digestive system works.

This quick and easy snack was inspired by a lyssandlemon’s back to basics salad, which is a nice and filling meal!

This beet and sweet potato mix can be eaten at any time. I ate these as a side to my pot roast, and then ate some of the leftovers for lunch and then breakfast for the next few days.

Three ingredients:

1) Beets

2) Sweet Potato

3) Nuts – sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans. I used sunflower seeds!

Five Steps:

1) Wash and peel beets and sweet potato

2) Cut beets and sweet potatoes into cubes

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2a) To reduce clean up time, place saran wrap on top of your cutting board as the beets dye everything pink!

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3) Toss sweet potato with a spoon of coconut oil

4) Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes

4a) Option – The beets will be crunchy after baking. For a slightly softer beet, you can steam for 15 minutes. For super soft beets, you can boil, but boiling strips the beet of its nutritional value.

5) Mix seeds and nuts with beets and sweet potato.

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Beets, sweet potatoes and nuts are the only ingredients you need – and it’s a quick and easy side.

How did your recipe turn out? What else did you mix in there?

Hungry for more,

The Midwest Marmot

Too Busy for This

Who I am – Busy

These days, everyone is too busy for everything. You can’t make a friendly call to your husband/wife/parents because you’re too busy with a meeting. You can’t prepare a meal because you’re too busy cleaning a mess. You don’t have time to work out because you’re busy planning your wedding/engagement. You can’t work on your book because you’re busy uploading pictures to your new social media site. You can’t make dinner because you’re too busy writing your blog 😛

Are you really that busy? Or are these just easy excuses to make?

In my family, social, and professional life, I am always seen as the busy one. I constantly have some event to be part of or somewhere to be, never content just being. I used these events as a distraction or an excuse from what was truly important – myself.

Why I’m Here

The purpose of this blog is to help you get rid of your excuses and help you make the conscious decision to do things that are good for your body, mind, and the others around you. This blog is full of simple ideas, and small additions you can add to your daily routine if you truly are “busy.” These ideas mainly revolve around health and fitness, but will help you figure out what is truly important so you are not so busy all of the time.