By Danielle Braff, Special to Tribune Newspapers
12:53 AM EDT, July 4, 2012
Don't have time to get to the gym? Become the ultimate multitasker by working out while cooking dinner. Zayna Gold, the Boston-based owner of five Pilates studios and creator of the DVD "Boston Body Barre" created this workout so that you officially have no more excuses. Bon appetit.
Multitask: Cook pasta or steam your veggies.
Details: As soon as your water starts to simmer, go into a deep squat. Sit back into your squat position so your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold the countertop to help you keep a straight 45-degree back position. Stay in this position until your pot of water comes to a full boil. Remember to pull your abs in tightly to protect your lower back. Push your feet into the floor to get more of a challenge. This move will strengthen your quads, glutes, hamstrings and inner core.
Water-bottle arm circles
Multitask: Cook a microwave meal or heat up the leftovers.
Details: Practice upper-body toners with water bottles instead of dumbbells. Start with a small bottle (or a half-full bottle) and increase the weight as you get stronger. Try holding a 16-ounce water bottle in each hand, and hold both arms at shoulder height, slightly in front of your body. Make four sets of eight very small circles to the front. Then switch directions and circle back four sets of eight very small circles. This should work your front and mid-shoulder, chest muscles and rotator cuff group. Also, your core will work to stabilize your torso and pelvis while your arms are moving.
Multitask: Set the table.
Details: The larger your table, the more toned your triceps will be. Standing in front of your table, place your hands on the table with your fingers facing forward and get into a plank position. Keep your body in one long line from your heels, hips and crown of your head. Tighten your buttocks and pull your abs in and up to stabilize and protect your back. Slowly bend your elbows to your back, and hug your upper arms close to your armpits. Bend only as far as you can, keeping your body in a straight line even if this is only an inch or two to start. Do this between each place setting to work your triceps, biceps, core and upper back muscles.
Multitask: Alternate with tabletop triceps as you set the table.
Details: Place your hands on the sides of a sturdy chair with your knuckles facing outward. Get into a plank position. Slowly bend your elbows out to the side only as far as you can while keeping your shoulder blades gently hugging your spine. Slowly straighten your elbows while pressing your hands into the sides of the chair to activate your chest muscles even more. Start with just an inch to focus on your shoulder girdle position. Repeat six times between each place setting to work your chest, upper back, arms, glutes and inner core.
Multitask: Make a salad.
Details: Practice these buttock and hamstring toners while you're standing stationary making a salad or chopping meat. (Only try this move if you have good one-legged balance to avoid injury.) Place a can of beans — or any small can — behind one knee, and bend your leg to hold the can securely behind your knee. You may adjust higher on your thigh if needed. Stand with your hands on the counter and your hips facing forward. Press your upper leg back as far as you can go, raising your foot to the ceiling. Then bring it back to the initial bent-knee position.
As you're doing this exercise, pull your core in and up so your pelvis is neutral and stable. Tuck your tailbone slightly throughout the exercise so that you feel the back of your leg and buttocks working. To strengthen and tone your hamstrings, buttocks and inner core, repeat four sets of 10 repetitions on each leg.
Multitask: Stir your muffin batter or soup.
Details: Skinny up your waistline with this oblique and core toner. Place your left hand on your large stirring utensil. Standing with your feet directly under your hips, keep both hips facing front. Bend your knees softly and tighten your buttocks to stabilize your hips and pelvis. Stir in a clockwise direction, keeping your torso and your hips perfectly still. Change to a counterclockwise direction, and then repeat with your right hand. This works your oblique and your inner core muscles if you do four sets of 10 stirs in clockwise and counterclockwise circles with each arm.
Celery cardio crunch
Multitask: In between every vegetable you chop for salads
Details: Stand tall and hold a celery stalk against your lower abs, horizontal to the floor. With a deep exhale, raise one knee up while pulling your lower abs away from the celery stalk. Keep your abs in and up while lowering your leg. Alternate knee-ups focusing on pulling your abs away from the celery. Challenge yourself by pressing the stalk firmly into your low abs so that you have to work harder to keep your abdominals away. Alternate your legs for one minute to work your inner core, deep postural muscles, quads and hamstrings.
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