exercise hacks

Exercise Hacks & Workouts For Weight Loss

Is it just me or has our culture become obsessed with speed? You only need to read a magazine or browse the internet to be bombarded with “hacks” for getting more done in less time. Eating, working, exercising, socializing, bathing, relaxing, sleeping. Every area of our lives has been touched by the wand of time-management. Yet somehow, even with these time-saving strategies, we still lack time. 

We work harder and faster, and get more done in less time, just to have more time to be MORE productive. It seems counterintuitive, no?

I don’t want to get more done. If anything I feel the need to do less, but to do those things properly.

Efficiency has its limitations, and extreme productivity isn’t a roadmap to leading a content and healthy life.

And yep, that includes your fitness routine…

Over the past five years the fitness world has exploded with exercise hacks. Trainers and novices alike boast how they can compress their 60 minute workout into 15 minutes (and still get the same results).

Gah.

But what does that say about the state of our lives? That we don’t have time to give our body — our physical home and temple — 45 minutes of gentle, unhurried movement in a 24 hour day.

Why are we more concerned about wasting time than safe-guarding our health? Why are we hacking our lives away?

Clients often ask me for the quick fixes, the shortcuts. They want to know what exercises they need to do to lose weight fast. What hack is there for quickly getting back into those skinny jeans?

Sometimes I think my answer disappoints them. The only “hack” is consistency.

To lose weight and keep it off, to get fit and stay fit, to feel as good in your body in 10 years as you do now, remember this: fitness needs to be simple, gentle and consistent.

And that’s why my workouts here on the blog take a back-to-basics approach to fitness. And that’s why I’m never going to yell at you to move faster, or push harder. And that’s why this week I encourage you to slow down, connect with your body, and un-hack your workout routine.

Let me know how it goes!

With love,

JDW Signature

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Hack-less Workout Routines You Might Like:

Learn The Jump Lunge

Crunch Free Ab Workout

Stretches For A Tight Upper Back

Upper Back Stretches Jennifer Dene Wellness

4 Feel-Good Stretches For A Tight Upper Back

In today’s workout I’m sharing four upper back stretches that will make your spine feel divine. All you need is an exercise mat, so come on in and join the fun!

Remember a few weeks ago when I shared three stretches for tight hips? In that post I talked about how our sedentary lifestyle is really doing a number on our muscles and joints. Sitting is the new smoking and it’s wreaking havoc on our bodies.

Another side effect of our habitual postures is tightness in the upper back, neck and shoulders. Here’s why:

Most of our day-to-day tasks keep our arms in front of our torso (hello computer work, texting, driving, ironing, and cooking). This contracts the muscles at the front of the body and weakens the muscles of the back, which are constantly being lengthened.

Yep, lengthened. Your “tight back” might not be a symptom of muscle contraction, but actually of muscle strain.

Rounding the shoulders or low back when sitting or standing (and constantly reaching forward) over-stretches the spinal extensors and weakens the shoulder stabilizers. Rather than being a good thing, this “flexibility” is a sign that your spine isn’t properly supported and your own weight is dragging your body out of alignment.

What happens then?

Our fascia — the connective tissue that wraps around the muscles, bones and organs  — gets stiff and inflexible from being stuck in the same position all day. Imagine the fascia as a cobweb that has wrapped around your muscles. Cobwebs that get ignored get more and more dense; fascia that gets ignored also gets more dense (or knotted) creating tension and reducing mobility.

So what can we do about it?

I’m so glad you asked! We need to take a three-pronged approach to tackling these aches and pains:

  1. Strengthen the spine. A tight back is different from a strong back. Do these three upper body exercises (and pay particular attention to move #1 “Cactus Glides”) 
  2. Strengthen the core. This is going to support your spine from your abdominals, and help you to improve your posture throughout the day. Here is a 10 minute crunch-free core workout. 
  3. Stretch the upper back through a variety of movements. Mobilizing the thoracic spine (upper back) through flexion, extension and rotation will help to take your fascia from sticky to supple. Try adding the four exercises in the video below to your daily routine.

Download Your Stretch Series

I’ve created a nifty one-page PDF for you to download, which includes instructions and photos of the four stretches from today’s video. That way you can keep it on your computer to remind yourself to stretch your spine throughout the day! Click here to download your free PDF.

Now I’d Love To Hear From You

Once you’ve had a chance to do these stretches I’d love to know how they felt in your body. Let me know by leaving a comment below.

With love,

JDW Signature

FOLLOW THROUGH | JENNIFER DENE WELLNESS

How To Follow Through (& Set Goals That Matter)

I hear a lot of “failure” talk in my coaching business. Women will come to me after another failed attempt to lose weight. Another failed attempt to stick to a diet. Another failed attempt to strike work-life balance.

Which got me thinking about the concept of success and failure, and the clinical way in which we set goals and expectations for ourselves.

And I’ve realized that we’re going about it all wrong. It’s not the women that are failing, it’s the process they’re taking. 

You see, the standard way to set a goal is to think of a desired outcome (rather intellectually) and then take specific actions to get there. While being smart about goal setting is important, there’s a downside to being too strategic about the whole thing.

When we think too far ahead, and have a laser focus on how we’re going to achieve something in the future, we’re overlooking one of the most important aspects of success. That is: Will I enjoy the journey of reaching this goal?

If the answer is no, then you don’t have a hope of success.

Because successfully reaching a goal isn’t just about the outcome, it’s about enjoying the process that gets you there.

The key to staying motivated is to find joy in the journey. I don’t know about you, but counting calories, eliminating food groups or doing exercise classes that I hate is not going to motivate me to follow through on my health and fitness goals. If anything, it’s a one way street to failure.

But that’s the way we go about this whole goal-setting thing – we make choices that look good on paper.  It’s intellectual, but it’s not effective. And ladies, that’s what makes the diet industry a billion dollar business.

So What Can You Do Differently?

Instead of thinking about something you’d like to achieve and immediately asking how do I get there, start by asking why.

Why do I want to get to reach that goal?

Why do I want to make that change?

Why does this really matter to me?

Only after you’ve found your why, should you start on the how, which should be created in a way that’s realistic, sustainable and (most importantly) enjoyable.

Remember this: Goals aren’t reached overnight. Life is in the journey. Start with why. Build your own how.

Now I’d Love To Hear From You

Weigh in on this discussion by leaving a comment below.

With love,

JDW Signature

P.S. Are you ready to break through walls of self-doubt and commit to reaching your REAL goals, once and for all? Schedule a free 30 minute consultation with me via email: jennifer@jenniferdenewellness.com to schedule your free consultation.

Release Tight Hips

Got tight hips? Try these stretches.

Thanks for joining me for another JDW blog post! I’m really enjoying sharing this new content with you each week, and I hope that you’re finding it fun and useful. (If so, perhaps you can leave a comment below!)

In today’s post I’m sharing three exercises that you can do at home to release tight hips. These exercises will improve mobility in the hip joint, reduce aches and pains, and allow you to move more freely.

These days it seems that everyone has a problem with their pelvis. Whether it’s weakness, strain, feeling tight, or being out of alignment, having a dud hip can put a real damper on how you feel physically.

Of course this is exacerbated by our daily habits; sitting for too long — guilty as charged — and not taking the time to stretch each day only makes things worse.

Here are some other factors that might be putting the grip in your hip:

  • Weak core strength
  • Weak legs
  • Imbalanced muscular development
  • Past injury
  • Overuse of the hip joint
  • Incorrect seated posture

A Quick Anatomy Lesson

Don’t worry,  this won’t take long and I’ve made it super simple 🙂

The hip joint has two main functions: it provides mobility for the lower body and stability for the pelvis. It’s also a major weight-bearing joint.

As you take steps to improve the health of your hips I want you to keep four things in mind:

  1. Having “tight” hips (particularly at the side of the hip) is not always a bad thing; if they are too loosey-goosey then your pelvis isn’t supported, which puts pressure on the low back and the knees during movement.
  2. Yet the hip joint should also have a wide-range of motion, to allow the legs to move freely. Over time, repetitive movements in the same range, and planes, of motion will decrease hip mobility.
  3. Having tight hip flexors (those muscles at the front, either side of the groin) doesn’t mean you have strong hip flexors. Sitting keeps the psoas muscle in a state of constant, and passive, contraction, making it tight but also weak.
  4.  Ultimately we’re looking to strike a balance between pelvic stability and mobility. You can improve the stability of your hip with exercises that target the gluteus medius (aka the side of your bum), and increase mobility with targeted stretching, regular movement — try to stand as much as you sit — and being mindful of your posture throughout the day.

Moves two and three in this Killer Leg Workout will strengthen the gluteus medius.

Bonus Tip

Tight hips are not only the result of physical neglect, your emotions play a part in the health of your hips as well.

When you have a stressful experience your body tends to react with a muscular contraction, either tensing muscles to fight, or contracting inwards to hide.

But because that contraction isn’t always followed by movement — unless you get up and do jumping jacks after each stressful email — stagnant muscular energy gets stuck in your body.

And where does that energy go? To our hips, one of the largest joints in the body and the connection point between our top and bottom halves.

Now you know why and how you need to give your hips a little more TLC, let’s jump into these three stretches. Props for this workout include: a chair, a tennis ball/lacrosse ball/fascial release ball, and a foam roller. Don’t have the equipment? Get creative and join in with the moves that you can!

Now I’d Love To Hear From You

Are you enjoying our at-home workouts so far? Let me know by leaving a comment below. There you can also share any kinds of exercises that you would like to see more of!

See you soon,

JDW Signature

If Like Training At Home, You’ll Love These:

Low Impact Cardio Workout

3 Fun & Effective Arm Exercises Using The Wall

Want To Kick Your Health Up A Notch? Check out my 1:1 health coaching program here.

Relieve Constipation | Jennifer Dene Wellness

Feeling Constipated? These 5 Tips Will Help.

I’ll be frank, today’s conversation may feel totally awkward, especially since we’ve only just met.

But talking about your bathroom habits should be right up there with discussing your healthy diet and daily exercise routine. Regular bowel movements are a sign of good health, and are nothing to be embarrassed about.

Yet for many of us, toilet talk is one of the most embarrassing discussions to have.

On my new-client intake form I ask about digestive health, and there is one particular question that 80% of my female clients jump past as quickly as possible.

The question: “Do you experience regular constipation, diarrhea or gas?”

The most common answer from female clients: “No, nope, not me.”

Whereas my male clients… well, you can imagine the detail!

I totally get it. For the longest time I was SO embarrassed to talk to my husband about anything that went down in the bathroom that we had to create a code word for that daily constitutional.

We call it “The Mouse”. Best not to overthink it.

Of course that kind of daintiness can only go on for so long before it gets old. I’m not embarrassed anymore, and I hope that you’re not either.

So let’s throw this topic on the table and have a good ol’ chat-a-roo about our toilet habits, and in particular how to relieve constipation.

In today’s video I’m sharing five simple tips that will help to keep you regularly regular.

Once you’ve had a chance to watch, scoot to the end of the page and grab the recipe for the fiber bowl — a concoction that will seriously change your life.

To Recap, Here’s What We Discussed:

Tip #1 = Stay Hydrated

Tip #2 = Chew Your Food

Tip #3 = Move Your Body

Tip #4 = Eat Fiber (soluble AND insoluble)

Tip #5 = Squat On The Pot

And Here’s Your Fiber Bowl Recipe:

This one is a game changer! Have it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and immediately follow with a very large glass of water. Once your system gets used to the fiber-hit you can increase the quantities a little bit.

~ 1 tablespoon psyllium husks (available Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Amazon etc)

~ 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds

~ 1/2 tablespoon slippery elm bark powder (I usually order mine online)

~ Ground cinnamon to taste

~ 1/2 cup coconut water

~ 1/2 cup filtered water OR 1 cup filtered water only

Mix everything together and drink immediately.

Now I’d Love To Hear From You

What helps you to keep your digestive system happy and humming along? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

With Love,

JDW Signature

P.S. Want recipes and workouts that will keep things moving? Download your free week of the Healthy Living Made Easy Program
How To Strengthen The Pelvic Floor | Jennifer Dene Wellness

How To Strengthen The Pelvic Floor & Reduce The Urge To Pee

I am having a chuckle to myself as I write this post.

I was at the gym this morning, sitting on a physioball doing my kegel exercises, eyes closed and deeply concentrating.

I was using my breath to contract my abdominals, and tapping my toes in a rhythmic beat that matched the lift and lower of my pelvic floor muscles.

That’s when I started to giggle.

You can imagine how strange it must have looked, this girl sitting, tapping, and huffing and puffing with her eyes closed.

Pretty weird!

Remember when I told you that we all feel awkward and out of place at the gym sometimes? Well, this was a prime example!

Want to know what I did? I started lifting and lowering my arms, just to make it look like I was exercising.

Talk about dorky.

But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. Here’s why these exercises (and knowing how to strengthen the pelvic floor) is so important:

  • The pelvic floor muscles act like a hammock that supports the internal organs. A weak or damaged pelvic floor can lead to prolapse, where the pelvic organs actually fall out of the vagina.
  • Regularly doing kegels can reduce or even prevent incontinence, which is super important when you’re out-and-about and trying not to pee.
  • These muscles play an important role during intercourse and orgasm.
  • And they are one of the primary core muscles, meaning that they help to stabilize the pelvic girdle, strengthen the abdominals, and support the back.

Today’s video is important for everyone to watch (yep, men should know how to strengthen the pelvic floor too), and the exercise that I’m teaching you should be done every day.

With that in mind, here’s a tip to remember:

Choose specific daily activities that you associate with practicing your kegels. This will make it easier to remember to do them. Tweet this. 

Here are some of the activities that I use:

1. At traffic stoplights
2. When I make a cup of tea
3. And when going to the loo … you might as well feel them in action. (Too much information?)

Watch the video below to learn how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with kegel exercises, to support your internal organs, improve your sex life and reduce the urge to pee!

Questions, Comments, Insights?

This isn’t a topic to be embarrassed about, and the more we share the more we learn. If you’re finding it hard to engage your pelvic floor muscles, or have any questions about doing kegels or preventing leakage, I would love for you to leave a comment below so that I can help.

And, if you’re open to sharing, I would love to know what is your go-to activity to remind yourself to do these exercises each day!

Pelvic Floor Exercise: Lift, Hold + Release

  • Sit comfortably on a chair, with your legs apart and your spine straight up and down.
  • Keep your bum and abdominals relaxed, and then inhale through your nose.
  • As you exhale you will contract the pelvic floor muscles (imagine the feeling when you’re trying not to pee).
  • Hold on to that contraction for a full inhale, exhale, inhale and then slowly release the muscles on the next exhale.

Hint: As you’re contracting visualize a helium ballon, rising internally from the vagina to the naval, where it hovers as your cycle the breath.

Repeat this exercise twice a day, for 10 repetitions each time. As you get stronger your goal is to keep that contraction for a greater number of breath cycles, ultimately working up to 10 full total breaths (inhale-exhale) per lift.

It’s been such fun chatting with you today and I can’t wait to do it again soon!

Make sure that you’ve signed up for Jennifer Dene Wellness updates so that every new workout is delivered straight to your inbox. You can do that by clicking here.

With Love,

JDW Signature

P.S. Don’t forget, you need to treat your P.F. like your B.F.
Sugar In Healthy Food

How Much Sugar Is In The Healthy Food You’re Eating?

Do you know how much sugar is in the “healthy” food that you’re eating?

It’s probably much more than you think.

“There is often loads of sugar in healthy food, or at least food that we’re told is healthy.”                 Click to tweet.

But just because a product label claims to be “healthy”, “organic” or “natural”, it doesn’t mean it’s actually good for you. 

Terms like healthy and natural are not strictly regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which makes it easy for shoppers to be misled. In fact, often the least healthy foods make the grandest number of claims.

Take a box of Kellog’s Raisin Bran for example. The bright packaging is covered with claims such as: heart healthy, a good source of fiber, made with whole grains, rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, made with real fruit…

But the proof is in the pudding, and this cereal has 17g of sugar per single (one cup) serve. Pudding indeed.

And cereal isn’t the only offender. Many products carrying the “healthy” label are loaded with added sugar.

Today’s video is for you if you’ve been trying to:

Eat better • Sleep better • Have more energy • Reduce mood swings • Reduce belly bloat • Lose weight…

Why? Because reducing your sugar consumption will help you get there. But in order to reduce how much sugar you’re eating you first need to know exactly where the sweet stuff is lurking in your fridge and pantry, how to find it, and what to choose instead.

In the video below I’m chatting with you about:

  1. How to read nutritional labels and ingredients lists to find out how much sugar a product contains
  2. Highlighting some of the main sweet offenders
  3. And to wrap up I’ll show you how to swap these products for healthier alternatives

Once you’ve had a chance to watch, I’d love to hear from you.

What healthy food swap will you be making this week, to reduce your overall sugar consumption?

Join in the discussion by leaving a comment below.

You can download the cheat sheet that I mentioned, by clicking the image below.

Cheat Sheet- Hidden Sugars - July 19, 2016

Just to recap, here’s your task for today:

  • Set aside 15 minutes to read the nutritional labels and ingredients list on the packaged food in your fridge and pantry.
  • Discard anything that you find from the “high offender” list, and make a note to buy the low sugar alternative at the store tomorrow.

Thank you so much for joining me here on Jennifer Dene Wellness. Together we can create a bright, healthy and purpose-filled future for ourselves, and the women that come after us.

With love,

JDW Signature

P.S. Don’t forget to download your free PDF. Here it is.
P.P.S Sad to think about breaking up with cereal? Don’t be! Make my low sugar bircher muesli recipe instead >>>
Live Boldly

How To Live Boldly & Increase Joy

When was the last time that you stepped outside of your comfort zone? 

Do you regularly have experiences that make you feel truly alive and inspired?

Have you forgotten how to live boldly and say YES to new opportunities?

While routine is important, to keep life buzzing along, it can be easy to get caught up in the humdrum of daily living. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we can do anything – be anything – if we just put our minds to it.

“There is enormous value in spontaneity, exploration, and living outside of your comfort zone.”  Click To Tweet.

And to live a life that you truly love you need to be excited, challenged, educated and inspired on a regular basis.

Which means reigniting the fire that allows you to live boldly and  burn brightly in everything you do.

And I want to help you do just that.

Today’s video will, hopefully, inspire you step out of your normal routine and embrace new experiences and opportunities with open arms. 

Once you’ve had a chance to watch, I’d love to hear from you.

What might you say YES to, this week, that will reignite your creative and adventurous spark?

Please join in the discussion by leaving a comment below.

This is the final video in my 7 part of my series: 7 Ways To Love Your Body & Life This Week. Catch up on all the previous videos here

7 Ways To Love Your Body (Cheat Sheet)

Just to recap, here’s your task for today:

  • Keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunities or experiences this week.
  • Before you automatically say no, consider saying YES!

Thank you so much for joining me here on Jennifer Dene Wellness. Together we can create a bright, healthy and purpose-filled future for ourselves, and the women that come after us.

With love,

JDW Signature

P.S. Don’t forget to download your Self Love Checklist. Here it is. 

How To Make Exercise Fun

Ah, exercise. I know you’re good for me, but do I really have to see you every day?

The answer, my friends, is yes.

The good news is that exercise doesn’t have to be grueling, sweaty and uncomfortable. In fact, with a little know-how you can actually make exercise fun.

No kidding!

The benefits of daily physical activity are numerous, covering everything from improved mobility and mental health, to lowering the risk of many diseases.

But it’s the daily part that really counts.

If you want to be the best version of yourself then a short walk three days a week just won’t cut it.

The easiest way to be consistent, and make this an every day habit, is to choose a style of movement that is fun and enjoyable.

Ditch the bootcamp and get fit, feminine & fabulous with exercises that you love. Click To Tweet.

If you’ve given up on exercise because you think that it’s too hard, or boring, or, *gasp*, not important then you need to press play on today’s video.

In the next few minutes you’ll learn exactly the kind of (fun) exercises you should be doing on a daily basis, how to fit them in to your schedule, and I’ll give you the key to kickstart this healthy habit.

Once you’ve had a chance to watch, I’d love to hear from you.

What’s your absolute favorite kind of exercise?

Join in the discussion by leaving a comment below.

Remember that this video is part of my series: 7 Ways To Love Your Body & Life This Week. Catch up on all the videos here.

Click the image to download your free Self Love Checklist!

7 Ways To Love Your Body (Cheat Sheet)

Just to recap, here’s your task for today:

  • Write down all the types of movement that you really enjoy doing. It might include things like walking, bike riding, swimming, dance, yoga, Pilates, ice skating, surfing … even gardening.
  • Select one of these activities to do everyday this week (preferably something free and easy, such as walking or riding a bike), and a second activity that you might only do once or twice (such as dance or Pilates).
  • Schedule these activities on your calendar, every day.
  • Put on your shoes and go and do that first, every day activity right now. Even if you only have time for 5 or 10 minutes, we need to kickstart that new habit in this very moment.

Then dive into the final video, where you’ll be reminded to live boldly and say yes to new experiences.

Thank you so much for joining me here on Jennifer Dene Wellness. I know that together we will create a bright, healthy and purpose-filled future for ourselves, and the women that come after us.

With love,

JDW Signature

P.S. Don’t forget to download your Self Love Checklist. Here it is.