Stay Fit Through the School Year
School is creeping upon us faster than we’d like. All of that free time you once had for working out during the summer can continue to be put to use with these 5 tips that will help you work every area of your body and keep you extra fit this school year! I caught-up with Athletic Trainer Helen Bavin to give us the scoop on how to do just that! If you follow these instructions, you can wear those high-waist shorts or crop top to class with confidence!
1. General: Keep Moving – “It’s easy to get caught up in finishing projects, studying for your next exam, or “de-stressing” on social media, but if you want to burn calories & be fit, the best thing for your body is to be in motion. Whether it’s jogging, power-walking, playing intramurals or going on a hike, strive to do some sort of activity that gets your heart rate up at least 5 days a week for 25-30 min/day.”
2. Butt/Thighs: Squats & Squat Jumps – “Start with simple body weight squats (image 1). Form is very important – Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed just barely out. Squat down as if you are sitting back into a chair, keeping your knees lined up behind your toes & your chest/head up. Don’t bend forward! Simply start with a few sets of 10. As you get more comfortable with this, progress to a more advanced move – squat jumps (image 2). Do this by adding a jump between each squat – explode out of your squat with your arms swinging forward & over your head. Remember to land softly as you come down between each rep! 3 sets of 12 reps is a good starting point.”
3. Arms: This exercise is a great place to start to tone your arms – bicep curl with overhead press. For this exercise you will need 2 dumbbells ranging from 5-8 lbs. With a dumbbell in each hand, perform a regular bicep curl, palms facing up (image 3) – once you bring the dumbbells up, turn your wrists so your palms face away from you (image 4) & push the dumbbells up over your head (image 5). Bring the dumbbells back down, face your palms back in & return to starting position. Start with 3 sets of 8 reps & as it gets easier, increase the number of reps or the weight. You can even add in a squat between each rep to make this a full body exercise.”
4. Core/Abs: V-Ups are one of the best core exercises because they work your lower & upper abdominals. The best place to start though is to break the exercise into two parts. The first will be a simple straight-leg situp (image 6). Lay on your back, straighten out your legs, extend your arms over your head & at the same time, bring your arms forward (not bending your elbows) & sit straight up (image 7). Maintain straight legs & good posture as you reach a sitting position. Slowly roll back down to flat position on the ground and begin with repeating 3 sets of 6. The second portion is leg raise. Lay on your back, place your hands underneath your gluts (image 8), & keeping your legs straight (knees do not bend) lift your legs straight up until they are about 60-80 degrees off of the ground (image 9). Control the movement in your core & slowly lower your legs back down. Repeat 3 sets of 8. As your core gets stronger, you will be able to do both of these exercises in one motion, performing a full V-Up.”
5. Back: “Lay flat on your stomach and place your hands, elbows bent at about 90 degrees, by your ears (image 10). Just slightly lift your chest off of the ground (concentrate on using your upper back muscles by squeezing your scapulas together) & slowly control the movement back down to the ground (image 11). Begin with 2 sets of 8 reps. As this gets easy, include a small turn to both sides – lift your chest off of the ground & keeping your chest up, turn to the left, then to the right. Don’t drop your chest down after each rep, but rather try to keep your chest off of the ground for many seconds as you go back & forth to the left & right. Repeat for a total of 3 sets of 30 seconds.”
Helen Bavin graduated college in May 2014 with her Bachelors in Athletic Training. She is now a Certified Athletic Trainer & began her own business, Bodies by H, in July. Her focus is bridal boot camps, but Helen works with all sorts of women & girls, helping them achieve their goals of a strong, confident body. Check out her website: www.bodiesbyh.com or Instagram: @shredbeforeyouwed for more tips on how to stay fit through physical activity as well as nutritional balance!