Multi-Tasking Is the New Cardio

by: Terry Ternyila

I am a multi-tasker by nature. I have a hard time doing one thing at a time. If I am watching a TV show I
am usually checking emails or ordering my food shopping online. I keep flossing sticks in my car so I can
floss while driving and I usually catch up with my mom or friends on the phone on my way home from
work so the drive doesn’t feel like a waste.

I sometimes find it hard to just set aside a half hour or hour to just do exercise. In my busy day, that time
just seems to always go to other tasks that need to get done in my day. So I have found ways to add
some of my exercise into my daily routines. Breaking them into smaller sets and working them around
my tasks I already do make it easier to keep to a daily commitment.

When we went into quarantine for Covid, I realize my steps dropped to almost nothing while working
from home, so I started a little bathroom challenge with myself. Every time I went to the bathroom, I would do a set of exercises like wall pushups, squats, or dips off the tub.

It was great and I realized sometimes I would be getting in 100 squats or pushups in a day because I
spread them out all day. I started to use other time like brushing my teeth or being on a conference call to bring in my exercises. I keep small hand weights by my desk at home so if I am listening to a call I can work my arms one at a time. I will do squats while folding laundry into the basket or lunges down the
hallway to bring the basket to the bedroom.

Even in the car, when I get stopped at a red light I will squeeze my cheeks until the light turns green. Same for waiting on line at a store. People can’t tell you are doing it and really tightens up the muscles. It really becomes a challenge for yourself to see where you can find room in your daily routine to do a
little exercise.

I love finding new places to sneak some exercise into my day. My newest spot is when I go tanning I try to find new things I can do in the booth. Depending if it’s a lay down or stand up, I have come up with some creative things I can do in a small spots for my 12 minutes. Doing these exercises throughout the
day also helps keep me focused on my eating and water intake. Get creative see how you can add exercise to your day…..

Or as Danielle would call it: free cardio

My First Plank and Sit-up Experience

by: Danielle Ternyila

I am really happy with where I am today in terms of my health, but now I look back and realize I’m the kind of girl I used to look at and think, “I’ll never look like her, she’s just lucky, has good genes, probably eats whatever she wants…” This just goes to show, everyone starts somewhere!

At my start, I had NO idea where to begin, and the closest thing I ever had to a structured workout was middle school gym class, so I started with those basics. I got down on my little yoga matt that was sitting in the bottom of my closet for the last 8 or 9 Christmas’s, and I tried my first sit-up in my adult life.

I put my feet under the edge of my bed because I remembered always having a buddy in class to hold my feet down, and I theirs. I put my arms across my chest. A deep breath in was slowly followed by a long, calm exhale. I dipped my body backwards to the floor, closed my eyes and tried my best to, well… sit up.

I definitely felt like a flailing fish on the ground trying my hardest to get my back even an inch off the ground. It was a complete and utter fail.

Don’t be afraid to be a beginner.

My first plank wasn’t any more encouraging of an event, but I could at least feel some success because I could hold the position for a few seconds, unlike the sit-up fail where I flopped around like a chubby catfish out of water. I had heard that a minute plank per day had all sorts of benefits, but it was so much harder than the pictures on Google led on! I wasn’t going to give up though, not on the planks, not on the sit-ups, and certainly not on the rocking body my killer sense of humor deserved!

This was certainly not the first time I had tried to lose weight in my life, but I was more eager than ever to see what would happen when I didn’t give up. The very next day, I held my plank as long as I could, and kept at it every day. I figured out how to do crunches, which were much easier to work around with my big belly, and I started working toward that regularly too, building my strength up to a real sit-up Fast forward a year from then, I was planking religiously for at least 1 minute every night. It had become a part of my nightly routine, and still is!

Planks are great for strengthening your core, and the great part is you can see results from planking for 60 seconds or less! Obviously, not just once in your lifetime, but when you incorporate this into your daily routine, even a bedtime pattern, you’ll activate all your core muscles at once, tone your arm muscles and buttocks, and even build muscle in your thighs! It’s a full body workout.

Why bother with crunches if planks are so great? Well, I wasn’t just going to accept that I would never do a sit-up! I needed to get stronger. Crunches isolate the abs and are pretty beginner-friendly, while still providing a great workout. 

I was determined to get to that point where a 1-minute plank didn’t sound scary at all, and now it’s become such a normal part of my routine that I’m stunned when others tell me how hard it is. Everyone has to start somewhere though, and nobody is different.

I do sit-ups with ease now, and every time I do, I smile a little myself because I will never forget the day I tried my first sit-up, and my complete fail. If you have a goal for yourself, if you are ready to make the change and start living a healthier life, you have to remain disciplined and work toward it every day.

This was the inspiration for my May challenge, which is going to introduce you to some structured workouts with planks and sit-ups. There will be modifications along the way, but if you need more help adjusting the workouts to suit your body and capabilities, I’m always happy to help! I laid on the ground in my room huffing and puffing for far too long for just 1 sit-up, and I’m not going to lie and say it gets easier; the truth is, you just get stronger.

A few tips on planking properly:

  • Lie facedown with your forearms on the floor (or a towel/yoga-mat for more comfort), legs extended, feet together.
  • Push into your forearms as you raise your body so it forms a straight line from your head to your feet. Watch that your hips don’t rise too high!
  • Keep your gaze down and hold as you take steady, even breaths.
  • Maintain the position for up to 60 seconds, then lower your body and rest.

Crunch safely:

  • Use your core to raise your upper body, not your head or neck.
  • Move in a slow, controlled manner. Rapid movements won’t engage your muscles!
  • Keep your arms across your chest; behind the head can strain your neck. Keep your feet planted on the floor, knees shoulder-width apart with your knees bent.

*****If you have back pains or other medical issues, make sure you’re communicating with your doctor to make sure you are practicing the right exercises and techniques for your body.