In case you haven’t heard, we’re taking The CHICago Life on the road next week! It’s our law school spring break, and we’re able to steal Greg away from work and head to Ft. Lauderdale/Miami. There’s just one small problem… we’ve been a little lazy when it comes to staying in shape this winter.
We here at The CHICago Life do not profess to be health and fitness experts, but we do know a good one when we see one. Enter Alex Vasileski of A Mind and Body Total Fitness. He’s a Chicago- based comprehensive fitness and wellness machine! Alex, with a resume to awe (he has a doctorate in psychology), a personal story to inspire (he has twice battled Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and, now in remission, is a champion of cancer research) and the personality to engage (Greg was so taken, he’s become Alex’s latest client), embodies the kind of approach to health and well being that we can appreciate.
Needless to say we were intrigued, so we thought we should give it a try. And by we, we mean Amelia, who bravely shook off some of her winter hibernation with a personal session with Alex. We asked him to give us a few simple moves that we can do at home (with little to no equipment) to help get in shape for our spring break trip. Here are a few of the highlights, with tips from Alex on how to accurately perform each exercise.
Exercise 1: “Pass the Ball” Get your core ready! This exercise is meant to focus on the abdominal muscles as well as the hip flexors. Start by lying on your back with your legs straight and arms extended past your head with the ball in your hands. Begin the movement by passing the ball from your hands to your feet by bringing both together. Keep your legs straight as well as your arms throughout the movement! Continue to pass the ball back and forth in a controlled motion. Keep it up until you can’t do another! Feel accomplished.
Exercise 2: “Handed Dumbbell Snatch” This exercise is also core oriented and great for getting your heart rate up! Begin the exercise by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, shoulders back and chest out. Keep the weight in the middle of your body and keep it as close to you as possible as you bring the weight up and over your head, extending your arms until straight. Bring the weight back down to the floor, squatting as the weight goes to the floor. Don’t have weights handy? Swap in a canned good, or our favorite… a Smart Water bottle. Switch arms, and feel the burn.
Exercise 3: “Plank” This exercise is the essential core movement (or lack thereof?). It works every core muscle we have. Great for the lower back and abs, this exercise can literally be done anywhere! Start with your forearms and elbows on the floor as well as our toes. Keep your legs straight and maintain controlled breathing in through your nose, exhaling through your mouth. For a more challenging variation, alternate lifting your legs.
Exercise 4: “Squats” This exercise is simple to do, but also simple to do incorrectly! It is a great one for your glutes, hamstrings and quads, but can also be core oriented if done correctly. Start with your feet shoulder width apart and hands straight out. Keep your weight on your heels and shoulders back, while pointing your toes outward slightly. As you squat down imagine that you are attempting to sit down in a chair keeping your shoulders back throughout the movement. Maintain your posture and breath through the movement. See how you feel after ten.