Thursday, February 4, 2010

Great lookin' Paso legs!

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Okay, first I have a confession; I have been way too lax in my exercising and healthy eating.  I lost a good 25 pounds when I did my family challenge in 2007- since then I have put about 5-10 pounds of that back on...but I am still significantly smaller now than I used to be and so I have been pretty satisfied.  After all, fitting into a 4 was my initial goal and that is what I wear now!  I learned that I can run in the mornings and eat snacks and have a dessert during the day and I am generally the same weight the next morning.

However that is not enough for me anymore!  I have become soft- my arms, my middle, and of course my thighs are no longer toned.  Now while my arms are not exactly flapping in the wind, I am frustrated with my current state because I know I can do, and have done, better.  Thus I am recommitting myself today to health and fitness.  Fewer desserts, harder workouts, and healthier snacks...and I am writing it all down!  So consider yourself a success The Skinny- you are motivating me to get back on the wagon!  (Of course my rededication has nothing to do with the fact that yesterday when I bent down to unplug something and came face to face with my thighs I thought I saw one lone dimple...the beginnings of cellulite that I am not ready to embrace at 23 years old!)  So with that being put out there, on to my post.  

Ever wonder how you can tone up those ever-jiggly thighs?  This exercise always kicks my butt and helps me see improvement in my thighs quickly!  I am a ballroom dance instructor and dance is a big part of my life at the moment so...I use some ballroom music (a Paso Doble) to push me hard and at the same time set a time limit.

Step 1: Pick a Paso Doble- any will do, but one of my faves is Espana Cani.  You can search for Paso Dobles on Youtube of Itunes. 

Step 2: Get ready to work it!  Stand with feet a little closer than shoulder-width apart, but not completely together.  You can put your hands on your hips or, for an added challenge, hold weights straight down, straight out, or straight up by your ears.
Step 3: Take a step forward with one leg.  Try to bend your legs so your back knee brushes the ground.  Make sure that your back is straight, i.e. perpendicular to the ground the entire time.  (Hint: the bigger step you take, the easier/less bending you have to do to get your knee to touch the ground.)

Step 4: Bring your feet back to their starting position and repeat with other leg.  I do this, alternating each leg, until the first "crash" in a Paso song...basically a part in the song where you kind of think it is over for a second and then it starts again.

Step 5: After the "crash", bring your legs to starting position if they aren't there already.  Widen your stance a bit at this point...about hip width.  Keep your feet in the same spots and do a squat- bend your knees forward, not out, like you are going to sit in a chair.  Go only as far as you can while keeping your form (back perpendicular to the ground).  The goal is to get your thighs parallel to the ground; if you can reach this point, do not go past it.
Step 6: Stand up.  Repeat over and over until the next "crash" in the music.  (Hint: it will help you balance to stick your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the ground.)

Step 7: At each "crash" in the music, change your exercise.  If you are lunging, go to squats; if you are squatting, go to lunges!  

Some songs only have one or two depends on your song.  But it will never be more than one minute of each exercise so keep going even when your legs are burning!  Try to go with the beat of the helps to set a pace for the exercises so you are motivated to not slow down when those legs get tired.  If you are going to do more than one song, or your song more than one time, give your legs a couple of minutes to rest in between each set- a great time to do some arm or ab exercises!  Try doing just one song in the morning and one in the evening...or right before you eat each meal.  Just adding this routine a couple times to your day will really help to tone up your legs!  Good luck and Ole!

Have you entered the giveaway yet?  Make sure you are a follower so you can be entered to win reusable snack bags!


ChallenCharms said...

I got back on the wagon to healthier living two weeks ago and have lost 1.4kgs since then. Have another 4/5 to lose to get back to last year's wedding weight - yikes! I do agree that lunges are both good and bad. Best of luck with your weight endeavours.

Katie said...

Hahaha! I have so many things to say about this post. First of all, I'm so glad The Skinny is helping you! (Umm... I'm not number the rest of the things I have to say.) I really miss working out with you. Looking at these pictures made me miss you mucho. Not to mention working out to ballroom dance songs. Man oh man do I remember those days. :) Last of all, I am glad to hear that your arms are not "flapping in the wind." Haha. Did I mention that I miss you? Please make up a guest bed for me. I'm want to come visit.

Kathy Haynie said...

I like the idea of exercising to music, but I never know what to use. Thanks for the suggestion! Great photos of the exercises - you make them totally doable. Good for you to set the goals - I'm looking forward to your updates!

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