My New Workout Commitment

On December 17, I began my Body Revolution journey. It took me 5 weeks to complete Phase 1 because I decided to repeat a week that I slacked off on. I’d say I’m pleased so far. I’ve lost 14 inches overall and I’m down .4 pounds. I’m thrilled over the inches, but wish the pounds were more. I know my eating was completely off. I fooled myself into thinking I was eating right, not tracking my foods. When I began Phase 2 on Thursday I committed myself into tracking every bite, lick and taste no matter what they add up to. In the past of be good for eating a snickers, not counting it for some random reasoning like I was on the road with the kids or because I was stressed. Travel and stress points count too. I’ll never be satisfied on the scale if I’m not true to myself. 
I’m excited to start Phase 2 (even though my body is screaming no you’re not after the first workout yesterday). 
Here’s my measurement chart so far, I’ve decided to do my measurements every four weeks matching the phase change. I’m looking forward to an amazing transformation and loss to share over this next month. 
Here’s my before pictures. Ugh. 
My Instagram, Twitter and Facebook chronicle my daily food and exercise battle. Follow along if you’d like. 

The 15-Minute Anytime, Anywhere Workout


You don’t need a pricey new fitness class to shake up your routine. Work out any time, in any place, with this total-body plan—which uses nothing but a household hand towel—created by Melissa Paris, a New York City–based personal trainer. “The key to seeing continued results and avoiding plateaus is to keep challenging your body in different ways, whether that’s with new moves, a new environment, or new equipment,” says Paris. “Incorporating a towel into your routine is a no-cost and efficient way to take your workout to the next level.”

That’s because with every exercise, the towel provides either friction (as in the lateral lunge) or tension (as in the seated oblique twist) to help engage muscles that would otherwise be missing the action.

So rather than using the towel to dry off, use it to break a sweat. Complete the exercises as instructed, moving from one to the next with little or no rest in between. Stop for 30 to 60 seconds at the end (if needed), then repeat up to two more times.

Innovate your workouts with Shape-Up Shortcutsand get a smoking-hot body in shorter workouts!

MOVE 1Leg Curl
Leg Curl
Beth Bischoff

Lie faceup on the floor, knees bent and both heels on a towel; lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders (a). Slide your heels away from you as far as you can without dropping your hips (b). Pause, then return to start. That’s one rep. Do 15.

MOVE 2Seated Oblique Twist
Seated Oblique Twist
Beth Bischoff

Sit on the floor and hold the towel taut between your hands, arms straight and extended at shoulder height; lean back and raise your feet about a foot off the floor, keeping your core tight and knees bent (a). Pull the right end of the towel toward the floor, rotating your shoulders and torso (b). Pause, then rotate back to center and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Do 20.

MOVE 3Lateral Lunge
Lateral Lunge
Beth Bischoff

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips, and your right foot on a towel (a). Bend your left knee and push your hips back as you slide your right foot out to the side as far as you can (b). Pause, then pull that foot back to start. That’s one rep. Do 15, then switch sides and repeat.

MOVE 4Superman Press
Superman Press
Beth Bischoff

Lie facedown on the floor, chest lifted, and hold a towel taut between your hands in front of your shoulders, elbows bent (a). Press the towel away from you until your arms are straight (b). Return to start. That’s one rep. Do 20.


Women’s Health Magazine

The Fast-and-Furious Interval Routine

Get a full cardio workout in just 20 minutes with this interval routine. 

When you’re short on time, your best bet for an efficient and effective workout is amping up the intensity of your slow-and-steady pace, which will burn more total calories each minute during your workout—and, some speculate, may also suppress your appetite. Whether you prefer to swim, run, bike, hike, or walk, this cardio intervals workout, created by Todd A. Astorino, Ph.D, an associal professor of kinesiology at California State University at San Marcos, will make sure you get the biggest calorie burnout of 20 minutes.

Warm up, moving at a slow pace.

Go all out, pushing yourself as hard and fast as possible.

Active recovery: Catch your breath.

Repeat minutes 5:00 to 7:15 five times.

Cool down.

Have You Tried AcroYoga?

Tired of your same-old Vinyasa? It might be time to mix up your yoga routine. A new kind of partner-based practice called AcroYoga is trending right now. The restorative yoga practice combines yoga and acrobatics, using gravity and your own body weight to enhance stretching and strengthening poses.

Most sequences include “therapeutic flying,” in which you play one of two roles: the base, who lies on the mat and supports a partner in the air, or the flyer, who balances on the base’s legs. The practice can also include Thai massage, which involves assisted stretches, and some kneading.

AcroYoga can strengthen the base’s legs and release tension in the flyer’s body, particularly in the back. Certain poses can also build muscle, says Jason Nemer, cofounder of AcroYoga. But the practice doesn’t just benefit your body. Working with a partner to lift one of you into the air helps you learn a lot about your fears and limitations—and how to move past them, says Nemer. What’s more, AcroYoga is more social than solo practice and can help you build trust, especially with your partner.

Acrobatics not quite your thing? You can still try AcroYoga. “I’ve seen people again and again re-think their ideas of what they are capable of,” says Nemer. Of course, the safest way to get started is with a certified teacher who can help ensure you’re doing the poses properly (you can find a class here

No classes near you? Try this two-pose beginners’ sequence at home with a partner (it’s best to start off with another woman so you can support each other’s weight) and a spotter.

Pose 1: The Front Bird

This is similar to the airplane game you probably played as a kid. It strengthens the flyer’s back and the base’s legs.

Start as the base: Lie on your back with your legs parallel to each other. Bend your knees so your upper legs are perpendicular to the floor and your lower legs are lifted at about a 45-degree angle to the floor. Ask your partner to walk toward you, and place your heels on the top of her thighs so your toes just touch her lower belly. You should now be cradling her hipbones with the arches of your foot.

Take the flyer’s hands, and bend your arms and legs slightly as she leans forward and brings her feet up off the ground. Encourage the flyer to brace her core to create a straight line between the top of her head and her toes. Meanwhile, straighten your arms and legs upward to push the flyer away from the ground. When you both feel comfortable and balanced, slowly lower your hands (but not your feet) and see if your partner can stay balanced on just your feet (this is where having a spotter is especially helpful). Stay in this position for up to 30 seconds, and then slowly lower your partner to the ground.

Pose 2: The Folded Leaf

This therapeutic pose gives the flyer a gentle spine stretch.

From the starting portion of Front Bird pose, turn your feet outward so the flyer’s hipbones hit the inside edges of your feet. Ask her to fold forward so that the crown of her head brushes your belly and her feet lift off the floor. After holding the pose for 30 seconds (or as long as you both feel comfortable), hold the flyer’s hands and help her come up from the forward fold. Then, begin to soften your knees and slowly lower your legs toward the floor until the flyer’s feet touch the ground to come out of the pose. Release your hands.

After you’ve tried both poses, switch positions and repeat the sequence as the flyer.

photo: Blend Images/Thinkstock

Published on August 15th, 2013

Action Hero Hot-Body Yoga

Build a slim, trim body like screen siren Kate Beckinsale with these muscle-sculpting mat moves. 

Strange as it sounds, Kate Beckinsale prepares for the physically demanding job of playing futuristic fighters and werewolf hunters with a yoga-based routine.

She also practices qigong, a discipline involving controlled breathing and fluid movements that’s similar to tai chi. In addition to making her physically strong, yoga and qigong help Kate relax.

Want an action-star body like Kate’s? Her instructor, Mandy Ingber, let us in on her body-sculpting moves. Do two or three sets of each four or five days a week.

MOVE 1Down-Dog Split with Knee Drives

Begin in downward facing dog, then raise your left leg to move into down-dog split (a). Bend your left knee and pull it toward your forehead (b). Straighten the leg back, then bring the knee outside your left elbow. Straighten the leg again, then bring the knee toward your right elbow. Repeat three times. Switch legs and repeat.

MOVE 2Lunge Switchback

Begin in a lunge with your left foot in front of your right, left knee at a 90-degree angle, and hands on the floor on each side of your left foot (a). Keeping your hands on the floor, shift your weight onto your hands, and in one swift motion, switch the positions of your legs (b). Spring from the right to the left and back again 10 times.


Crow Pose

Begin in a low squat with your feet together, knees apart. Place your palms on the floor shoulder-width apart, elbows slightly bent; rest knees on the outsides of your triceps (a). Gaze at the floor a foot in front of you, and shift your weight onto your hands. Lift one foot off the floor (b), then the other. Hold for five breaths. Repeat three times.

MOVE 4Temple Pose to Plie Squat

Begin with your feet about three feet apart, toes turned out about 45 degrees, and hands in prayer position (a). Keeping your back straight, sit your hips down and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor (b). Hold for eight breaths; squeeze your butt and straighten back up. Repeat eight times.


Women’s Health Magazine