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I travel 330 out of 365 days in a year. I don’t live in one place and it’s difficult to join a gym or have a workout routine when I’m in a new city every other month. On the road, I have watched the weight slowly creep onto my body. It wasn’t until I recently hit 9 lbs above my average that I started noticing and doing something about it.

While eating better is one of the solutions (but the best acarajé is from Bahía!), the other is exercise. Sometimes, walking around and renting a bike at the beach are not sufficient for keeping off extra pounds when you’re enjoying fried street food and açai every day.

Whether you are a busy-body at work, a super mom, or a road warrior, these are simple everywhere, anytime exercises. And I mean it – some you really can do ANYWHERE (I did heel lifts at the post office while waiting at the counter).

They’re not totally new fangled exercises, but the important part is doing it. Stick to a routine. It takes 10 minutes to incorporate into your every day life.

Option to time for 1 minute per each exercise for a 10 minute workout. Increase duration to 2 minutes each when you’re ready. Do as many reps as possible in the time you have.


1. HEEL LIFTS

Why you should do them: Rocking Calves
Where to do it: Anywhere
What you need: Your own two feet

Stand with your feet planted firmly on the ground, hip distance apart. Lift your body up on your toes, as if you were reaching to grab something on the highest shelf. Slowly lower back down. Repeat.

Option to use a table, wall, or rail for balance. Or challenge yourself and use nothing to work on your balance. Also, try this in different “ballet” feet positions. One option is with your heels together and feet out as close to in a line as possible. The other is with heels together and feet at a 45° angle. Another option is to hold at the top for as long as you can. Also try with just one foot at a time or with your ankles on the edge of a step (this one is good if you have knee problems!).

Try to keep the top of your body “quiet” and have the movement come from your legs.


2. WALL SQUATS

Why you should do them: Strengthen your legs and tone your buns
Where to do it: Anywhere you can find a wall
What you need: A wall

With your back against the wall and feet hip distance apart, slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Move your feet out so that your knees are perfectly stacked on top of your ankles. Hold for as long as you can. Carefully move out of position.


3. JUMPING JACKS

Why you should do them: Full body workout + cardio
Where to do it: Anywhere you are comfortable
What you need: Yourself

From standing, jump your legs out to your sides and arms out as far as you can reach (like a star). Now jump your legs back together at center, bringing your arms together above you in a clap. Repeat.

Clapping isn’t necessary, but it’s an extra motor skill to add in there. Also, option to bring your hands together in front of you instead of above your head. These are known as “seal jacks.” Just imagine a seal doing jumping jacks and you’ll get the picture.


Anytime, Anywhere Exercises - Push Ups

 4. PUSH UPS

Why you should do them: Full body exercise
Where to do it: Anywhere you’re comfortable
What you need: A floor, chair, or ledge

If you can’t do a full body push up yet, use a table, chair, or the floor with your knees on to work up your strength. You can add some variance to your pushups by implementing a wide or narrow hand position.  When doing a push up, it’s important to remember to keep your core and glutes tight. Your back should not sag as you do them.


Anytime, Anywhere Exercises - Planks

5. PLANKS (Regular + Side)

Why you should do them: Full body exercise
Where to do it: Anywhere you’re comfortable
What you need: A floor

Like the top of the push up position, make sure your wrists are directly below your elbows and shoulders. Strengthen your core and your buttocks to form a solid line. For a side plank, move from the full plank to your side, keeping one forearm on the ground, creating a 90° angle with your shoulder and body. Make sure your hips don’t sag and your feet are stacked on time of each other.


6. TRICEP DIPS

Why you should do them: Work your triceps (the opposite of your biceps)
Where to do it: Anywhere you’re comfortable
What you need: A floor

Sit on the floor and reach your arms to the ground, slightly behind your booty. Feet should be about hip distance apart and flat on the ground in front of you, a slight bend in your knees. Almost as if you were about to do a crab walk. Lift your body off the ground so that your weight is in your hands and feet. Slowly “dip” from your elbows back down to the ground so that your butt barely touches the ground. Extend arms to bring yourself back to starting. Repeat.

If you’ve got a small toddler, option to have your kid straddle your hips and lie back on your thighs for an extra challenge.


7. SQUATS (OR JUMP SQUATS)

Why you should do them: Leg and core workout (jump squats are full body, plyo moves that include cardio)
Where to do it: Anywhere (in a semi-open space)
What you need: Space (option to add weights)

Start with your legs wider than hip distance, toes turned slightly out. Clasp your hands together in front of your chest for counter-balance (or with weight; I’ve used a coconut before). Squat down as low as you can go (maybe your butt touches your heels). Slowly stand back up. Remember to try to keep your chest and shoulders over your heels rather than pitched forward.

If you’re just starting out, use a chair or couch. Crouch down until your butt touches the chair and then extend back up.

To try a jump squat, start in the same position. Squat down as low as you can. To come back up, jump as if you’re trying to launch yourself into the sky and push your arms up, fully extended. When your feet hit the ground, go back into your squat and jump up again. This is a full body workout and really great for your legs, core, and arms!

Option to use your kid for this one too. Just be careful with the ceiling.


8. LUNGES (Option with weights)

Why you should do them: Work your legs and core
Where to do it: Anywhere you’re comfortable and have space to step
What you need: Water bottle (if doing option with weights)

Stand with legs hip distance apart with weight in your left arm. Take a giant stride forward with your right leg. Lift your left arm at same time up to shoulder height. Lower arm and step back to original position. Switch and do the other side – step forward with left leg, right arm comes up. Repeat and make sure to keep your core engaged.

Be careful about your knee coming too far forward. Try to keep your knee in line with your ankles and toes pointed forward.


9. PUSH PRESS (TRICEP EXTENSION)

Why you should do them: Toned arms and lats
Where to do it: Anywhere
What you need: Water bottle (or anything with weight)

This is so easy to do when walking, on the bus, or waiting in line somewhere. Place your water bottle, purse, grocery bag in one hand, hold it at shoulder height (palms facing the sky). Push up towards the sky until your arm is fully extended. Lower back down slowly and repeat.

See the video above for demonstration, but replace the kettlebell with whatever you’ve got. And since you’ve already got that weight in your arms, also try…


10. TRICEP EXTENSIONS

Why you should do them: Toned triceps and lats
Where to do it: Anywhere
What you need: Water bottle (or anything with weight)

Reach both arms behind your shoulders with your weight in hand. Extend your arms up towards the sky until fully extended. Lower back with control (this helps you work the opposite muscles in turn). Repeat.


Other small lifestyle changes:

  • Take the stairs.
  • Walk to places when you can.
  • Drink more water.
  • Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.
  • Carry a Moringa Bar with you to stave off hunger cravings.

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