Diet & fitness

Jenna Wolfe's little fitness tips can make a big difference

Jan. 26, 2014 at 10:02 AM ET

Video: When it comes to exercise, many people wind up doing the same things over and over again. It’s not always easy to change up a fitness routine, but it’s important.

There are a couple little things you can do to make a big difference for your body. I always tell my clients before a workout to keep their core tight, not just during a workout, but all day long. A tight core will help stabilize you, improve your posture and help with balance and coordination. 

To keep your core tight, pull in your naval. Now hold it tight as long as possible. Are you still holding it? I'll check back and see. It's easy to do, yet hard to remember to keep doing it. When I first started, I'd last a few minutes and forget about it. Now I can go days. You can too. 

In addition to a tight core, I always squeeze my glutes with every step I take. On a treadmill, off a treadmill, walking to work, walking to the bathroom, it doesn't matter as long as you're squeezing your glutes with each step. Again, when I first started doing this, I'd keep forgetting, maybe only squeezing a few times a day. Now I don't take a step without engaging my rear end!

My next tip is all about variety. Mixing up the workout, shaking up the routine, shocking your muscles. You don't have to change your whole routine, you can just modify it a little with a series of exercises I call my "pocket exercises" because you can pull them out of your pocket at any point to supplement a workout or as a workout on its own.  

If you're a runner and you don't want to give that up, you don't have to. Run a mile, do a set of pocket exercises and get back on the treadmill. If you like to spin. hop on the bike for a while, hop off, do a set or two of these, hop back on. This is a fast and easy way to incorporate strength training, various muscle groups, core work and coordination into your routine. 

Pocket exercise #1:                  

  • 10 squats/1 push up
  • 9 squats/2 push ups
  • 8 squats/3 push ups
  • 7 squats/4 push ups
  • 6 squats/5 push ups
  • 5 squats/6 push ups
  • 4 squats/7 push ups
  • 3 squats/8 push ups
  • 2 squats/9 push up
  • 1 squat/10 push ups

Pocket exercise #2:

  • 60 jumping jacks/60 sec plank
  • 60 jumping jacks/60 sec plank
  • 45 jumping jacks/45 sec plank
  • 30 jumping jacks/30 sec plank
  • 30 jumping jacks/30 sec plank 
  • 45 jumping jacks/45 sec plank
  • 60 jumping jacks/60 sec plank

Despite having a baby nearly five months ago, I still try to keep some of my pre-baby health and fitness routines going. Two of my must-do habits every morning are drinking and moving. 

Video: There are some easy ways to keep to a fitness routine that might’ve been part of a New Year’s resolution. TODAY’s Jenna Wolfe, also a certified personal trainer, reports.

Hydrate: The first thing I do when my alarm goes off is drink 20 sips of water (I count 20 swallows). I don't worry about measuring ounces or cups, I just count to 20. That wakes my body up from the inside out. Depending on how long you sleep at night, you probably go 6-8 hours without hydrating, so it's important to get that water in you right away.

Energize: The second thing I do is a modified burpie which uses multiple muscles (also doubles as a stretch and light strength move). I bend over, walk my hands out in front of me until I'm in a plank position, jump my legs out wide and back together twice, bring my right knee to my right elbow and my left knee to my left elbow twice and then walk my hands back to my feet and stand up. 

I do 10 of these every morning to send a little message to my body that it's time to start the day.

Now that you've hydrated and energized — go conquer the day.

No gym? No problem! You can skip the gym and still be more active in your life, no matter where you are or your fitness level. 

Video: Jenna shares a couple of tips for workouts that viewers easily can do at home.

Walking: Set a goal for yourself and try to get in a certain number of steps per day. If you’re a beginner, pick 7,000 steps per day; intermediate, 10,000; advanced, 18,000 plus. All you need is a $10 pedometer. If you’re 1,000 steps short one day, go for a little walk around your building. If you set a goal for yourself, if you get the walking in. I guarantee you’ll get the steps in and feel better about yourself.

Laundry: We all do laundry. Instead of folding it on the counter, squat down each time, pick up an item of clothing and fold it. Put your weight through your hips, with your knees bearing out a little bit. Grab something and fold. You can have 20, 30 or 40 squats each time you fold a load of laundry. Why just sit and do nothing? You can squat, fold, laugh and enjoy!


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