The Exercises:

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These are a few explanations on how to do the exercises listed on the 30 Day Challenge. I am not a medical professional so if you have any health concerns please go have a chat to someone who is a medical professional before starting this, following my guide is done at your own risk and I take no responsibility for any injuries. I really doubt that you can injure yourself by doing this as long as you stay smart – if something hurts, don’t push it, if you can’t handle a certain level activity  yet modify the plan to start slower to suit you. Know your limits and work within them safely. If a movement is just do difficult try to find an alternative that is comfortable to do instead.

Push Ups: Hands shoulder width apart, body held taut and strong, keeping your back nice and straight. You can do these from your knees but it is advisable to start doing them on your toes as soon as you can. The less you weigh the easier it will get as you will improve your strength and lessen the weight that you are pushing up against. View some great YouTube instructions on how to do these correctly here.

Hoop Squats: Hoop round your waist in whichever direction is most comfortable with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat your body down while keeping your back straight to mimic a sitting position, try to keep your torso level as you hoop so that the hoop stays up. I like to do these in lots of ten, holding for a count of ten on the last one in each set. remember to tighten your abs, sucking your tummy in to bring your belly button as close to your spine as you can. Remember to breathe.

Hoop Jam: Turn up the music and jam. Incorporate moves you know but also have a ‘play’ trying to devise new hooping tricks. Try to spend your time hooping an equal amount in both directions, focus on flow moving from one trick to another and use the hoop on lots of different plains – high, low, hooping in lasso and making figure eights across your body.

Leg Raises (Side): Do this one leg at a time, counting one on each side as one repetition, i.e. 20 leg raises on each leg would be 20 reps. Lying down on your side keep your leg straight and lift up to the side from your hip. Keep your leg strong and straight, keep your foot flat with your toe pointing slightly downward towards the floor, make sure your torso stays on its side on the ground. Keep your breathing nice and even and tighten your abdominal muscles. Your hips should stay centered and not move. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgh6sGwtTwk

Leg Hooping: I call it leg hooping because it works out your leg muscles fantastically in a way that lengthens, rather than adding bulk. Please check the awesome YouTube tutorial on this from Jon Coyne at HoopSmiles. His hooping tutorials are my favourite, all very practical, easy to follow and very useful. See his YouTube tutorial on Foot Hooping here.

Plank: Please watch this video on YouTube for a great plank tutorial.

Sit Ups: For each rep of a sit up I include four things. A crunch, an lower abdomen lift and obliques. For the challenge you can just do crunches, however I recommend doing all four types, so for example if the plan is ten reps you would do ten of each exercise.

Magic Cardio: I swear by these. It’s not an original idea of mine, I’m not sure where it came from but someone did teach this to me and it is such a brilliant way to pick up your heart rate when you are working out. While I love strength building exercises including cardio is really important, enter Magic Cardio! Magic Cardio involves four movements which you cycle through.

  • The first is a Star Jump, starting with your feet side by side you jump them out, then back in; this is one rep.
  • Second you do a Scissor-Jump starting with one foot forward one foot back, jump to scissor your legs so your feet switch places, then jump again and switch them back to their original position; this is one rep.
  • Third you do Knee Ups, lift your knees up one at a time as high as you can get them to go, aim to have your thigh in a straight line parallel to the ground at its highest point. Do this once on each leg; this is one rep.
  • Fourth is Kick Backs, kick your heels up at the back, once left, once right; this is one rep.

If you do a Magic Cardio Two: you start with two of each of the movements, then do one, if you do a Magic Cardio Five, you start with each movement repeated five times, then four times, then three, then two, then one. Adding dorky hand actions will increase the amount of energy you burn, and also up your cool-factor if you are exercising in a public place. Think Jazz Hands.

I am not a expert by any means. If you have any questions or alterations I would love to hear them.
<3, Mary

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