Motivate and Move Mondays with Marshalls

It’s that time of year again where the energy and excitement of incoming fall (ok, ok and the pressure to be NYFW street-style ready) gets me up early in the mornings and ready to get moving… But if this forever-going-back-to-school behavior doesn’t sound like you at all, then this post is really more for you…

On Mondays I MOTIVATE. No matter what has happened over the weekend, the week prior, or what thing I’m dreading this coming week, I try to think of Monday as a clean whiteboard filled with open space, possibility, free of red markings, and the perfect time to start fresh. I know that if I start the week off with the best of intentions, and quite literally on the right foot, I set myself up to have a better more productive 7 days. AND if I do fall apart mid week, get slammed with work, stressed out, eat poorly, or miss out on precious sleep, I find it easier to brush off and get over, knowing that I put in solid good work early in the week, and getting back on track is less monumental a task and more a matter of good responsible maintenance. 
So this Monday I’m up and outside showing you my Monday morning routine when at home in Palm Beach. It begins with a cup of filtered hot water, juice of half a lemon, and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to alkaline my system. I sip this while doing some meditative breathing exercises and getting on my workout outfit. 
Statistics show that even putting on workout clothes first thing in the morning means that we’ll at some point motivate to workout that day. Today’s outfit I found entirely at Marshalls, and can confidently say that with Marshalls fabulous new active wear section, there is now no financial excuse or impediment to exercising; my Jockey sports bra was under $9 my sweatshirt $10 and my Adidas leggings were $20.
Next, I set my mental motivation- saying a short series of positive affirmations in front of the mirror (much more on that part to come). With my head in the Monday game, it’s time to get the body in play. At this point I head out for a morning jog, running 1 mile at whatever pace is comfortable for that particular day. I have learned over the many years I have been running competitively in school and to reach certain fitness goals, then through injury, and recovery that it is far more important to listen and observe your body when running rather than push through pains, or zone-out the discomfort via blaring headphones. My Monday mornings are not just about moving my body, but motivating my mind and body to work together, promoting the two to connect more throughout my day and my week. That after all the core of true total body strength.
Once I feel warmed up, blood circulating, and that there’s fresh air in my lungs, I will stop for a stretch and strengthen series. I love using these GIAM bands I found at Marshalls: they come in 3 tensions and are weightless, allowing me to pack them for travel and tie them around my waist to use when I stop along my run. Using this form of resistance you work with your own body weight to help tone and tighten and stretch, creating longer leaner muscles, preventing any tendency to bulk. 
Here’s my beginners Supper Model Stretch and Strengthen Set that will cure any case of the Mondays you’ve got…

1. Now that you’ve warmed up, throw a leg up and over a park bench, large stone, or brick wall (just something around hip height) and use your band to help you stretch your hamstring and calf, making sure you keep your hips square towards the bench and abs pulled in as you fold yourself over to increase the stretch. Count for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side. A variation on this stretch is pictured bellow where you can open up your hips slightly and use the band to increase the stretch in your opposite obliques while stretching the inner thigh of the suspended leg. Hold for 20 and release.

2. Hip Opener: Tight and sore “runners” back often times come from tight hamstrings and hips. The hipflexer is particularly sensitive to running and needs extra attention when stretching. Throw one leg up against a hip height surface, bent knee, and slowly lean in keeping hips square and even. You will feel this in the supporting extended leg and can increase the stretch by raising on to your supporting leg toe while bending that knee a bit. This stretch creates both a deep stretch in the extended leg, and a deep compression in the hip of the opposite leg. Hold for at least 20 seconds, and release. The release is key here as it will send free fresh oxygenated blood flowing through the compression point at your hip. Repeat on the opposite side. *tip* This exercise also stretches the lower abdomen and helps to eliminate the presence of the dreaded “pooch.”

3. Calf Stretch: Us high heel lovers should be doing this morning noon and night in order to protect our Achilles tendon. Flex one foot, placing the toe bed against a pole, wall, or bench leg and push you body weight down and into the pole to create a long calf stretch. Hold for 20 seconds and release making sure to conscious release your toes a few times inside your sneaker to insure that the blood circulates all throughout your foot as well. *This is the NO lacrosse lady cankles move…

4. Strengthen Time! Hovering Back Lunge: Place your hands on your hips and take one leg behind you into a back lunge making sure your back knee comes as low to the ground as you can manage. Push forward to bring your back leg back to place but don’t let it rest and don’t let your upper body come up! Instead keep your upper body and hips low and bring your leg up like a hinge to hover next to your bent standing leg. (see picture bellow) This works your hip line and pelvis, while of course killing your seat. Do 1 set of 20, on each leg, then repeat. *tip* This modification, although minor, really gets results. If you want that killer line and tight definition at your hips when sporting this season’s low rise bell bottoms or while savoring the last seconds of summer in those bikinis bottoms, then get cracking on this exercise ASAP. It works and works quick!

5. Plie Squats: Take your legs out wide pointing your toes outward and pulse down into a plie position. Bring your arms directly in front of your letting them hang down and envision that you are holding a set of dumbbells in your hand (keep this in your mind throughout the exercise) Keep weight in your tailbone and squat as low as you can, keep feet flat and back straight. Do 30 reps. Then bring both feet up on to your tip toes placing your hands on your hips for balance. Squat as deeply as you can in this position, doing 30 reps, finishing with 10 pulses at your lowest point. In the beginning you may really feel this so take your time to work up to doing a second set of this squat duo. *tip* I call this the anti-gravity seat set: it really pulls everything in and up when it comes to your thighs

6. Tricep Toner: Tricep dips are as classic as they come, but they really work at getting the whole back of the arm, which in turn tightens your entire upper arm, keeping them tiny and taught (when you wave there will be no arm jiggle waving back at you, I promise) Do 1 set of 20 dips (shown bellow) but on the second set extend one leg out straight for 10 reps, switch legs and repeat. This increases the burn and forces your triceps to help you balance, further exhausting the muscle. To finish do 15 dip pulses with both feet flat on the ground to target the tiniest edge of the tricep.

7. Extension Pulls: Next I always work my chest and upper back which help with posture, alignment, and over all prevention against lower body and lower back pain. Find a tree or lamp post or something that will allow you to have the band at shoulder height. Pulling the band taught evenly around the tree or post, bend your knees and weight your tailbone, and with straight arms pull the bands simultaneously out to each side, using your upper back and space between your shoulder blades. (see picture bellow) Do 2 sets of 20. Next work the chest by changing your pull ever so slightly. With arms outstretched in front of you towards the tree or post, hold the ends of the band wrapped once around each hand and pull them simultaneously into your chest (mimicking the rowing machine). Be sure to keep your elbows up so that you use both your chest and shoulder muscles. Do 2 sets of 20 reps.

 8. Shoulder and Side Stretch and Strengthen: Finally take the band over head hold it taught between your outstretched arms. Weight your tailbone and soften your stance (bending your knees a bit) stretch up straight holding in your core and pull your straight arms back behind your head and shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds and come back to over head. Next come over to one side, stretching also from the opposite side hip and elongate the entire side. Pulse in this half moon shape 8-10 times gently to deepen the stretch but also to tighten and work your obliques. *tip* This really helps ward off back fat and even the smallest love handle. Repeat on the opposite side, and finish by pulling the taught band back behind your head for a final arm-shoulder-chest stretch.

As if that wasn’t enough before breakfast… Well, it totally absolutely is, but I like to loosen up and finish my workout by running that mile back home, where I’m good and ready for a much needed cup of coffee and much deserved green juice and plate of berries. With a kick off like this, the week ahead seems rather inconsequential right? 
Want more motivation and make-a-difference moves? Check out and follow my “Fit and Fab” Pinterest board HERE
Sweatshirt, Marshalls
Sports Bra, Jockey via Marshalls
Leggings, Adidas via Marshalls
Sneakers, Asics via Marshalls
Bands, GAIAM via Marshalls

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *