Tri-colored leaves and crisp morning sunrises – yep you guessed it, fall is here. Say bye-bye to the 15-minute snooze, and say hello to your banging fall body! Jump start your day the right way with these five morning exercises fit for fall.
To get started, you’ll need:
- Tennis shoes
- Comfortable clothing
- Yoga Mat (Optional)
A good warm-up is imperative to wake up your muscles, especially with cooler weather approaching. Begin your warm-up with a jog for at least 5-10 minutes. This increases blood flow to the working muscles. Following the jog, keep your body warm with some dynamic stretches such as butt kicks, high knees, side shuffles or lunges with a twist to the right or left.
Warm and ready? Let’s get started. The goal is to complete this circuit 3 times. Do as many reps as you are able.
Targets: Triceps, Forearms, Shoulders, Lower Back
15 reps, 3 sets
Dips are a must when it comes to defining and isolating your triceps muscles. Your triceps are a group of three muscles located on the back of your arm, between your shoulder and elbow. Dips can easily be done inside or outside. To begin, find a level and sturdy platform – such as a park table, gym bench or even your kitchen table.
With the bench behind you, grip the edge with your hands. Place one hand on opposite sides of your hips. Palms down and fingers pointing toward the ground. With your hands on the bench, take 2 to 3 steps forward until your legs are extended and arms are straight on the bench.
Slowly lower your body toward the ground. Keep your arms locked in a 90 °angle. Slowly pull yourself back up and straighten your arms back to the starting position. Keep this up and say goodbye to jiggly triceps. Repeat for 15 reps, for a total of 3 sets.
2. Alternating Drop Squats
Targets: Glutes, Hamstrings
20 reps, 3 sets
Squats are a great way to tone and strengthen your lower body. There are several variations of a squat using your body weight, free weights, plyometrics – you name it!
To begin, keep your feet spread shoulder width apart and hold your hands in front of you. Drop down to the ground in a squat, feet spread, tapping the ground with one hand. Jump back up, feet together. Drop to the ground again, feet spread, tapping the ground with the opposite hand. Continue alternating hands for a total of 10 taps each hand.
3. Bicycle Crunches
15 reps each leg, 3 sets
A strong core is imperative to strengthening both your upper and lower body. Bicycle crunches are a perfect exercise to add to any ab routine.
To begin, lie flat on the ground. Place your arms behind your head. Keep your head up slightly and elbows out. Come up in a crunch, twisting to one side as you bring your elbow to your opposite knee. Continue alternating, elbow to knee as you complete 15 reps on each leg for a total of 30 reps.
4. Hip Raises
Targets: Core, Glutes, Hamstrings
10 reps, 3 sets
Looking to tighten those abs and that rear? Look no further. This is the exercise for you. Start with this basic variation or mix it with a weighted plate on your hips as you lift to fully activate that rear.
To begin, lay flat on your back, arms out to your side, palms facing up. Tighten your core as you lift your hips off the ground. Squeeze your glutes tightly and push your weight into your heels. The goal is to make a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause for 5 seconds, lower back to the floor and repeat. Continue for 3 sets of 10 reps each.
5. Crab Reach
Targets: Glutes, Hips, Back
10 reps each side, 3 sets
Desk job anyone? You’re not the only one. Sitting in a desk for several hours a day can affect your posture over a period of time. Crab reaches are a perfect exercise to lengthen your spine, stretch out your lower back muscles and tone your glutes.
Begin in the crab position, with hands and feet on the ground. Place your feet shoulder width apart and palms pointed away from you in an upside down “U” shape. Press your hips up and simultaneously extend your arm back as you reach behind your head. Focus on squeezing your glutes as you reach back. Follow your hand with your eyes to extend fully. Pause, and return to the starting position. Continue for 3 sets of 10 reps each side.
Now, repeat the entire circuit 3 times through. Well done!
Finish up your morning workout with a cool down by jogging for 5-10 minutes. Refuel post-workout with one of four Coffee High Protein Smoothies, which provides a jolt of coffee to jump start your day and at least 31 grams of protein for a filling breakfast. That’s equivalent to the protein in about 4 eggs packed into a delicious, tasty, ice-cold smoothie.
Lilian C. Nwora, R.D., L.D., is the owner and editor of Dresses & Dumbbells, LLC. She is a registered dietitian nutritionist and personal stylist, with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition. She also holds a Bachelors of Arts in Sports Medicine and over 12 years of athletic competition experience.