The Best Short Hikes Near Calgary

These scenic hikes are all 4 km or less round trip and less than 1 hr from Calgary.

The Ultimate Car Camping Pack List

Everything you need for an awesome camping trip!

Tips for Fun Family Backpacking

Family Backpacking 101 - what to pack, where to go...

Discover Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site

Go back in time and live like a trapper at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, only 2 hours from Calgary.

Why you should visit Writing on Stone Provincial Park

Hoodoos, beaches, and paddling! Need I say more?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Go Green and Get Out (With The Kids)

Being outside is natural when you live in the country. The best forts are in the bushes, the best place to cool off on a hot day is in the creek down the street, and the neighbors' horses need company and exercise (and maybe some apples). Going green is easy too. When you want to go to a friend's house, you transport yourself because you have no choice: parents too busy to drive and no public transit. As soon as I could ride a bike, I rode my bike everywhere. It was freeing! No matter that we lived on the side of a mountain and I had a BMX bike with no gears. I simply stood up on the pedals and smiled as I passed spandex-clad weekend warriors riding fancy 26-speed mountain bikes. It wasn't a hardship; it was life on a tree farm. It made me independent and strong. 

These days, living in a city, with kids of my own, I still prefer to take my bike out rather than get in the car for a short trip. It's better for the environment, your pocketbook, and your body and mind. I like to think I'm setting a good example for the kids, too. Here are some ways you can go green while getting outside with the kids:
  1. Incorporate exercise into your daily routines by committing to walk/bike if the travel distance is less than 1 km (or distance of your choice). Forced exercise is better than no exercise! Aim to self propel rather than use your car once a week, then increase frequency as much as possible. 
  2. If the grocery store is within walking/biking distance, leave your car at home. Plan a route that has a playground/pond/park en route so the kids associate shopping trips with fun (and not just cookies, though if that is the carrot that works, go with it).We used to put the kids and groceries into our oversized double MEC stroller/bike trailer, but now that they ride their scooters/bikes, I carry a backpack for the groceries. It's great backpacking training and weight bearing exercise is good for your bones.  Tip: In warmer months, play before shopping so your milk doesn't sour. 
  3. Walk or bike to preschool/school/activities. If you live fairly close, it's actually quicker to do pickups and dropoffs by bike because you don't have to deal with the parking lot/roundabout mess. If this is not an option, walk to the schoolbus stop. I see people drive their kids 100 m to the bus stop and then idle their engines for 10 minutes - so disappointing for so many reasons!  
  4. If you already walk or bike to school, take the long way home once a week. We like to take different routes to discover new playgrounds, find geocaches, or meet up with friends. It keeps things interesting and gives the kids a little more exercise and time outside. Tip: Start a crockpot meal in the morning so you don't have to rush home to make dinner. 
  5. Ride your bikes to the train station and go on an urban adventure by public transit. The kids will love it! In Calgary, take the train to 3rd St SW and go to Prince's Island Park, or carry on to the Calgary Zoo. 
  6. Hiking in Edworthy Park - Mud Puddle, don't jump on my head!
  7. Seek out microadventures! You don't need to drive far to have an amazing time. Quality time together is so much better than time behind the wheel while your kids watch DVDs in the backseat. By seeking out new trails and parks in our city, we have more time to throw rocks in the river, build a sandcastle, get an ice cream, do some geocaching, or just relax in a beautiful spot without worrying about getting home too late. (We love the mountains, but find we get more bang for our buck - and feel less guilty about polluting - by staying overnight so we don't drive back and forth as often.)
Geocaching in town
Biking at Nose Hill Park
According to Carbonify (www.carbonify.com), every mile (1.6 km) not driven saves over one pound (0.45 kg) of carbon dioxide! Track your self-propelled mileage and feel good about your shrinking carbon footprint. You may be pleased to find your waistline shrinking as well. Carless grocery shopping is how I lost the baby weight on maternity leave.

Do you try to minimize car use to maximize physical activity? What strategies work for your family?

Learn More

Climate Reality Project 
Geocaching with Your Smart Phone
I Am Pro Snow Non-Profit Organization - donate $20 or more to get a free beanie
Let's Go Green, Canada!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Solara Resort & Spa - Play Hard & Stay Luxurious In Canmore

When our friend offered us his condo for the weekend, we readily accepted, not knowing at the time where we were going or how amazing the place would be. Upon turning in to the Solara Resort and Spa, we were impressed. The lodges are built in ski chalet fashion, and with Christmas around the corner, pretty lights adorned the entrance and walkways. The cheerful Front Desk staff directed us to the parkade and our suite. We were happy we didn't have the roofbox on so we could make use of the free, heated underground parking.

Solara Resort & Spa, Canmore
A short walk and elevator ride later, we had arrived at our home away from home; a large, luxurious, two-bedroom condo with views of the Rockies. My youngest (3 years old) was quick to exclaim, "This place is SO beautiful!" We turned on the fireplace, cooked a quick dinner in the well appointed, gourmet kitchen, and headed down to the pools. I was pleased to find robes in the closet, so I did not have to change at the pool area (always a challenge with young children).

Solara Gourmet Kitchen
Getting to the Relaxation Pools was a bit of an adventure as the buildings do not connect from the main level. To access the pool, we needed to go down to the parkade (level P2), then follow the signs to the lobby, and then follow the signs to the pool. 

The Relaxation Pools and Water Play Area consists of a wading pool (3 feet deep), large hot pool, and indoor spray park. The spray park water was a comfortable temperature, not freezing like we expected, so it was hard to get the kids to leave! There is no swimming pool on site, but if you want to work out, the gigantic fitness facility has everything you need.

Solara Relaxation Pools
Other resort amenities include the following:
  • Aurora Theatre: Movies are shown here nightly (cost: free!). Tip: Get the movie schedule when you check in, so you know what's playing.
  • Business Centre: Open 24 hours for your convenience.
  • Fitness Centre (access from the Spa entrance): 3,500 square feet with state-of-the-art equipment! Open 6 am - 8 pm.
  • Kids' Activity Centre: A large games room with books, games, puzzles, pencil crayons and paper, toys, and foosball.
  • One Wellness Spa: Pamper yourself after playing hard. The spa's midweek specials on massages ($99) and pedicures ($99) are very reasonable, and the spa has a great atmosphere. There is a sauna and steam circuit in the spa, as well as a relaxation lounge for clients.
Note: All the resort amenities are behind the lobby, near the Relaxation Pools.

Solara Kids' Activity Centre
Lots of puzzles, games and books
Back at our room, we took the most amazing shower ever. The shower in our room was just like a spa shower: raindrop showerhead, side jets, and detachable shower head. The kids are I were able to shower together and no one had to fight to be in the water.

Solara Shower
When the kids were finally in bed, hubby and I curled up on the comfy couch in front of the fire and watched TV. We had planned on watching a Netflix movie, but the complimentary wifi was temperamental, so we were unable to stream video. (Update: Video streaming was possible mid-day, but not in the evening when everyone came home.) That aside, our only regret was that we didn't bring wine. 

Solara Living Room - my little one was sick and spent a lot of time on the couch
It's easy to get a good night's sleep at Solara. The beds and bedding were comfy (we had a King sized bed and the girls had a Queen bed); the temperature was easy to control; and the location was quiet. We did not notice any train or road noise, and the blackout blinds worked well. I often have to wear earplugs and eye shades to have a good sleep, but neither were required this trip. We loved having a fireplace in our room too! The girls' room also had a fireplace and flat screen TV. 

The 2-bedroom suites go for about $259/night at this time of year, but I can see the value. Normally we would stay somewhere cheaper, as it's "just a place to sleep", but since I had to stay in with a sick child (hubby took the older one skiing), it was wonderful to have lots of space, a full kitchen, and mountain views. I can see (two of) the Three Sisters* from our living room! Not a bad place to spend an afternoon and write. *Three famous mountains in Canmore.

One and three-bedroom suites are also available, so you could cut down on the cost by sharing with friends or family. Considering all rooms have a Queen sized sofa bed, so you could sleep 4 in a one bedroom, 6 in a two bedroom, or 8 in a 3 bedroom. While you are thinking of who to invite, don't forget your furbabies! Pets under 40 pounds are welcome at this resort.

Our favorite things about staying at Solara were the following:
  • location - you can easily walk to downtown Canmore from Solara;
  • size and decor of the suite;
  • full-size appliances (we like to cook our own food);
  • full-size dining room table to eat our home cooked meals on;
  • mountain views;
  • spa shower;
  • fireplaces; 
  • in-suite laundry complete with laundry pods; and 
  • relaxation pools and water play area. 
I am enjoying my stay and will be back!

Disclosure Statement: This is an unsponsored review. We stayed at our friend's condo and did not receive any payment or resort credit for this review. 


Things to Do In & Around Canmore

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

10 Reasons to Hate (or Love) Cross Country Skiing

Growing up on the Wet Coast, I did a lot of outdoorsy stuff, rain or shine, but rarely got the chance to cross country ski and was okay with that. When we actually had snow, I was at Whistler, Seymour, Cypress or Grouse Mountain downhilling. Why on earth would I want to walk through the snow when there were glorious mountains to fly down? As a result, I didn't get into cross country until seven years ago at the behest of my husband. 

My first times out were on crappy Classic skis that had seen better days. After a few test runs at Canada Olympic Park, we went to the mountains. I quickly realized black runs were not for beginners and could appreciate that there was more to the sport than meets the eye. Trying to get down an icy slope alive, with insubstantial skis, was akin to sledding into trees with my eyes shut. Both methods would have the same survival rate, I swore, and swear I did... copiously. There may have been some screaming down Blueberry Hill along the lines of "Get out of the way! I can't stop!! I will kill you! Can't stop! Moooooove!!" Nevertheless, I stuck with the sport, but upgraded the seriously bad 20 year old skis... and we downgraded to blue trails so as not to pollute the woods with my profanities.

Cross country skiing in Pocaterra
Since I took up cross country, so many friends and relatives have asked, "Is it actually fun? What do you like about it? Isn't it hard?" To all the haters, I give you:

10 Reasons To Hate (or Love) Cross Country Skiing

  1. It's a cheap sport. When the kids ask if you can stop for McDonald's on the way home, you can't say no, because you didn't spend a penny (besides gas) to ski. 
  2. There aren't a lot of people on the trail. You might ski for an hour to see a dozen skiers. Not good for single people; not good at all.
  3. You can actually find parking close to the trailhead so you don't get to ride in the back of a truck or trailer to your car. You will miss out!
  4. It's a real workout, so even if it's cold out, you are toasty warm and maybe even sweaty. Bring deodorant or your stank ass might not get a ride home.
  5. You can tow your kids in a pulk or Chariot. Yes, that means no babysitter, but you are stuck with them... all day. The horror.
  6. The warming huts don't serve booze. You have to bring your own (unless you are driving home after, then scratch that idea). 
  7. No waiting around for lifts. There are no lineups for anything! What will you do with all that free time and no wifi?
  8. Lots of cross country skiers also backcountry ski, so they aren't impressed by your out of bounds resort skiing. Gotta show off to a different crowd. 
  9. The backcountry huts don't have hot tubs. No biological soup for you!
  10. It's a family friendly sport, so again, you are stuck with the kids. The kids might make friends with other kids and want to ski longer, making it a long day in the mountains. Who likes that?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Snow Fun for Everyone (Real Life Snow Fun)

All parents want what's best for their children, and so naturally, we feel some pressure when we hear how others are keeping their kids active in the winter. Enter the blogosphere or go on Pinterest and there are amazing, yet terrifying, ways to keep your kids busy. Don't be terrified; snow fun doesn't need to be complicated; After all, your kids would rather spend more time doing something with you, than wait around while you research how to construct the perfect snow shelter, or be dragged to the store for food coloring (so many winter activities revolve around colored ice or water!).

Do you wanna build a snowman?
If you're looking for real life snow fun, keep it simple. It takes so long just to get bundled up and out the door that you will lose your mind if you're looking for "those 6 things" the Pinterest page says you need (which you will inevitably drop in the snow and lose forever once you've gotten them all outside).

Simple, Real Life Snow Fun 

  1. Snow Castles: Resurrect the sand toys buried in the basement and make castles and shapes in the snow.
  2. Frozen Bubbles: If it's below freezing, you can blow some ice bubbles. You'll love what happens and the kids will feel like Elsa! No bubble solution left? No problem - mix up your own (check out this Deluxe Bubble Recipe).
  3. Mommy / Daddy's Little Helper: Give the kids mini snow shovels (at the dollar store and Walmart) and get them to help you clear the snow off driveway while you shovel the sidewalk. Pile the snow up on your lawn and make a snow slide (onto the lawn, not the pavement!). My kids can do this all afternoon!
  4. Playground Modification: Build "landing pads" at the bottom of slides; build "walls" (giant snowballs) around a playground structure to make a little house. (Note: Metal climbers and steps are extremely slippery, but plastic and wood are usually not too bad. Spot the kids when climbing up.)
  5. Treasure Hunt: Bury a colorful ball, or something else round and soft, in the snow and have the kids look for it. Time them to make them hurry. Advanced mode: a) Go winter geocaching but look for easy-to-find caches in easy terrain as the snow will make it a lot more challenging. You can also look for the snowflake icon; these caches are not on the ground and easier to find in winter. b) If you have avalanche beacons and know how to use 'em, put one in a Tupperware, bury it in the snow, and have the kids locate it.
  6. Target Practice: Set up a target and see how many times you can hit it or knock it over with snowballs. You don't need a paper target; we like trying to knock a plastic figurine off of a rock.
  7. Survival Skills: Build a fire and roast marshmallows, fire up your campstove and make hot chocolate, construct a snow shelter (don't worry if it isn't perfect).
  8. Snow Angel Variation: Make letters and then words in the snow using only your body. See the fun multiply when you have lots of kids doing this.
  9. Shadows: Mark how tall your shadows are at different times of day; make a sun dial with a stick (doesn't have to be precise, just have fun).
  10. Old fashioned fun: Build a snowman or snow fort, make snow angels, go tobogganing or tubing (No sled? Use a flattened cardboard box or your pool floaties or tubes!)
Finally, remember to send everyone to the bathroom before you bundle up so you can enjoy the snow as long as possible.

What do your kids like to do in the snow?

*For more fun ideas, please check out the Outdoor Play Party.*

More Winter Fun

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Busy Parent Fitness Challenge - Day 30: Leg and Booty Booster

For our final Busy Parent Fitness Challenge workout, we will be working our legs and booty. Working the biggest muscles in your body boosts your metabolism and helps you burn fat, but the kinds of jumping exercises we are doing today could be hard on your knees. Be sure to land gently on the balls of your feet. If you feel any strain in your joints (muscle pain is to be expected, joint pain is not good), skip the jumping and do regular lunges and squats and don't go so low. Let's do this!

Warm up with 5 minutes of running on the spot alternating with jumping jacks or skipping.

1) Jump Lunges: Lunge forward with your right foot so your left knee is almost touching the floor. Jump up and switch legs so you land with your left foot forward and right foot back. Keep switching legs. Use your arms for balance and momentum. Do 30-50.

Lunge
 2) Step ups and toe raises: Step up onto a step, bench or picnic table with your right leg; bring your other leg up, then raise the toes of your right foot and lower; raise your left toes and lower. Step down with your right leg, bring the other leg down. Do 30.

Step up with right leg
Step up with left leg
Raise the toes of one foot
Lower your toes and repeat on other foot
3) Squats: Squat and hold for 30 seconds. Jump up and lift your knees as high as you can. Land on the balls of your feet. Do 10-20.



Repeat the three exercises if you have the time and strength.

Finally, stretch it out. Dancer's pose is excellent for stretching your quads. Donkey kicks are also helpful.

Stretch the quads
Dancer's Pose

Donkey Kick start position
Kick one leg out back and up, repeat on other side

We did it!! 30 days of three daily exercises. How do you feel?

Geocaching 101: How to geocache with your smart phone

Geocaching is a great way to get kids excited to hike. A friend introduced us to geocaching this summer and my kids are now hooked on it! I had known about this pastime for quite some time, but thought it would be hard, that we would have to read a compass and do proper orienteering, and that it would ultimately be a frustrating exercise the kids would give up after one try. I was happily surprised to find you that don't need to refresh your compass skills (though I would like to teach my kids when they are older, geography geek that I am), and you don't even need a handheld GPS unit; you can use your cell phone! 

What Is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a treasure hunt that can be done in many places around the world with GPS-enabled devices (smart phone or GPS unit). The goal is to find geocaches (containers) that are hidden at certain GPS coordinates. 

Insectophobia-The Arachnids, a geocache in Nose Hill Park

Why Should You Geocache?

Besides being a cool treasure hunt, geocaching has encouraged the kids to hike further and faster. They are starting to understand distance (they know how far it is to the school, grocery store, playground), so they have a rough idea of how far it is to the geocache when I tell them there are 500 metres to go, 400 metres to go and so on. I look for a geocache that is less than 1 kilometre from the car, we find it, have a snack, then look for more if more are close by. My girls love seeing what is in each cache and trading treasures. Lately they even race each other to be the one to find the cache, so our hikes are getting faster and faster! Since geocaches are in the 'burbs and rural areas, it is an excellent, inexpensive hobby!

Hiking to a geocache in Edworthy Park

Getting Started

Allow at least half an hour to prepare for your first geocaching trip.

You will need:
  • A smart phone. If you do not have a data plan, you can still use your phone; you will just need to save geocache data in your phone before heading out. You can use a portable GPS unit, but my instructions are for a smart phone.
  • To register for a free basic membership at geocaching.com. Create a user name and password. Pick a good username; you will enter it in each logbook you find. 
  • To download a geocaching app on your smart phone to help you find geocaches. There are a plethora of free and fee geocaching apps, but I like c:geo for Android. It is user friendly, free, and shows more geocaches than some other free apps. If you have an iPhone, look at Geosphere ($8.99) or Groundspeak's Geocaching Intro.
  • A pen or pencil for recording your finds in the log books.
  • A phone charger that plugs into your cigarette lighter. The geocaching apps drain your battery. 
  • Trinkets for trading: small items in new condition such as McDonald's toys, plastic figurines, tokens, stickers, golf balls, postcards. No food, liquids, or dangerous items please. *Leave something of the same or greater value as what you took.*
Geocaching Trinkets

What we discover along the way is as good or better than the geocache!

Finding a Geocache with c:geo

Once you're all set up, you can search for geocaches Nearby (caches will be listed by distance from you), in a certain area (Search by postal code or coordinates), or by geo code (each geocache has a unique code starting with GC, use the Search function). You can view the geocaches on a map or list, and sort by distance from you (or other criteria). Select the geocache's name for more information to help you determine which geocaches you would like to find.

c:geo home screen
Search screen - enter parameters
You can also search with the Live map function that shows all nearby geocaches on a map. Let's say we would like to find a geocache near 10th St SW, Calgary. We select Live map, and see lots of icons. What do they mean? How do we choose?

Live map showing geocache locations

Geocache Information: What to Look For

  • Type: For beginners, start with Traditional Caches (icon: green box). The majority of these will contain a log book and "treasures" your kids can trade. The other types of geocaches are described in detail here
  • Size: There are nano, micro, small, medium, and large geocaches. Start with regular and large caches as they are easier to find and contain more tradeables. 
  • Difficulty Ratings: From 0-5; the higher the number, the harder the geocache will be to find. We usually search for caches in the 1-3 range.
  • Terrain ratings: From 0-5; the higher the number, the more challenging the terrain will be (steep, or requiring lots of bushwhacking). With children, stick to terrain ratings up to 3. 
  • Teddy Bear icon: indicates the cache is suitable for children. 
Tip from geocaching.com: "You should also check to see that other geocachers have recently logged finds on the cache page (also called the cache listing). This indicates that the geocache is most likely still in place and findable. Find logs are indicated on the cache page with a smiley face. Smiley Face Icon"

Selecting a Geocache to Search For (and how to save data)

After looking at the geocaches in the area, we decide on Anna's Birthday (GCZNFC) because it is a Traditional, regular cache, has low difficulty and terrain ratings, and the teddy bear icon indicates the cache suitable for kids (contains "treasures" and is not too difficult to find). Tap the other icons to learn what they mean.

Select Description to learn more (hints, description of caches)
If you do not have a data plan or will be out of cell phone range, tap the Store button to store this cache's data on your phone. 

Finding the Geocache

To find the geocache you've selected, tap the compass rose next to the geocache's name (circled in red below).


Tap the compass rose to get started
A compass will appear on screen. Do you see the red line? The line pointing to 0 is pointing towards the geocache. Keep going towards the 0. The distance indicator is on the right. Since GPS accuracy can vary, start searching for the cache when you are about 5 metres away (some of them have been up to 9 metres off according to my phone).

Go towards the 0 to find your geocache
Geocaches are usually lock n lock containers covered in camouflage tape, but plastic toolboxes and metal containers are also popular. They are commonly hidden in bushes, tall grass, or under logs or stones. Our favorite geocache was in a small cave in the mountains!

Here are a few we have found:

Large geocache
Small geocache
Regular geocache

A unique micro geocache

What To Do When You Find a Geocache

  1. Do a happy dance. 
  2. Open the geocache.
  3. Enter the date and your geocaching.com username in the log book plus a message if you wish.
  4. Trade treasures if there are any in the cache. Be sure to only take a treasure if you leave one and to leave something of equal or greater value than what you took.
  5. Close up the cache securely and place it back where you found it, taking care to cover it up again (leave it as you found it in the same place).
  6. Log your visit in c:geo. Tap the 3 vertical dots on the top right of the screen, then tap Log Visit, and Found It and enter a message if you wish. The common acronym used is TFTC (Thank for the cache). If necessary, let the cache owner know the cache needs maintenance (new container or log book). Tap the airplane to send the log to geocaching.com or click the 3 vertical dots and Save if you are offline (remember to send the log when you have wifi).
Click Log Visit
I hope you found this helpful and that your family enjoys geocaching as much as mine does!

Related Links

How geocaching improves your moral compass

Monday, November 10, 2014

Busy Parent Fitness Challenge - Day 29: Arms

With Christmas party season upon us, now is the time to perfect our arms for the perfect little black dress. Men, however, can benefit from this workout also. Who doesn't like toned arms?

Do 5 minutes of warm up before you begin. I recommend alternating running on the spot with skipping / jumping jacks to get your blood moving and stretch out those arms.

1) Plank Walk: Get into yoga plank position. Keeping feet in position, walk your hands to the right (move right hand to right about a foot, bring left hand to right hand), return to centre, then walk to the left (move left hand to left about a foot, bring right hand to left hand). Return to centre. Repeat sequence 8-10 times. End with 5 push ups.

Yoga Plank Position
2) Crab Walk: Now you're going to do the upside down version of the plank walk. Sit up. Put your legs out in front of you, knees bent. Put your hands behind your hips and lift your bottom off the floor. Support your weight with your hands and feet. Walk a few steps to the right, then walk a few steps to the left. Repeat several times for a total of 30-40 crab steps.

3) Tricep Dips: Do 30-50. Take a short break after 10 dips.

Lower down keeping your trunk straight
Lift up and straighten your arms
Remember to stretch it out after!

Busy Parent Fitness Challenge - Day 28: Ab 30-30-30

Are you ready for some tougher ab exercises? You are, you are, I know you are!

Before starting, do 5 minutes of warm up (running on the spot, jumping jacks, skipping, hopping on one foot and then the other, or walking). Next, do three sets of the three exercises below.  In other words, do 30 of each exercise. If you can do more, go for it!

1) Vertical Leg Crunch: Lie on your back. Keeping your legs together, lift them so they form a 90 degree angle with your body (you are an 'L'). Support your head with your hands and raise your head and upper body. As you lift, exhale and press your belly button down to your spine. Do your best to keep your legs raised and straight. Inhale as you lower your upper body, but keep legs elevated. Do 10 and move on to next exercise.

2) Boat Pose: Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you, feet about hip width apart, hands behind your hips pressing into the ground. Shift your weight back onto your hands so your feet come off the floor. Aim to make a nice 'V' with your legs and trunk. If you cannot (like me), it's ok if your calves are perpendicular to the floor. Once you have your balance, lift one hand and then the other so your arms are extended straight out (at shoulder level). Press into your sit bones, hold for 5 seconds, bring your arms down, and then your legs. Do 10 and move on to next exercise.

 3) Lying Leg Raises: Lie flat on your back with your hands at your sides. Slide hands, palms down, beneath your lower back / top of butt cheeks. Keep your legs straight, with feet flexed (toes pointing up), and slowly raise your legs up so ankles, knees and hips form a straight line. Lower your legs slowly using your hands to cushion your lower back. Do 10.

Lying Leg Raise - start position
Lower legs slowly
Rest for a moment and repeat.

Are you starting to see some definition in your abs? I'm starting to get those lines on the side; quite an improvement from the single line I had across my belly not long ago. Keep up the ab work a few times a week. You will notice a difference and your lower back will benefit too.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Busy Parent Fitness Challenge - Day 27: How to get a bootylicious butt without weights

Cycling is great for the butt, but you can still have a nice derriere even if you don't have a bike. Here are three great exercises that will help lift and shape your butt.

1) Sliding Squats: a) Squat, stay low and shift your weight to the right foot. Lift your left foot off the ground if your balance is good. Hold for a few seconds. b) Shift your weight to the left and hold for a few seconds. c) Repeat a & b 10 times.






2) Bum Kicks: Jog in place or around the park/room, kicking your feet up to your butt. Pump your arms to get a full body workout. Continue for 30 - 60 seconds.

3) Hip Raises / Glute Bridge: Do 30.

  • Variation 1: For more of a challenge, lift one leg in the air while you lift your butt and lower back off the ground. 
  • Variation 2: Facing a wall, lying on your back, press one foot against the wall (knee height) and lift the other leg in the air. You should be able to lift most of your back off of the floor.


Squeeze those glutes together at the top.

Repeat exercises 1-3 once or twice as time allows. Aim for a 20 minute workout!

Busy Parent Fitness Challenge - Day 26: Chest & Arms

The great thing about doing exercises with your own body weight is that you don't need to have any special equipment, so you can do the exercises anywhere. My husband got me into park bench workouts a while ago, and I noticed that the dips and squats I was doing here and there were adding up. Hills on the bike were getting easier, my arms didn't jiggle so much, my belly was getting a bit flatter... I decided to commit to doing 3 exercises each day, no matter what, and see where it took me. So far, so good!

Today's Workout

Today we want to pop those pecs, and work on the triceps. These moves will enhance your chest/bust and reduce arm wobble. 

1) Tricep Dips: Do 30-50. Take a short break after 10 dips.



2) Pushups: Do 10 regular pushups (hands below shoulders), 10 wide pushups (hands wider than shoulders), and 10 narrow pushups (index fingers and thumbs of opposite hands touching). If you can do more, do more. If 10 of each is too much, do as many as you can.



3) Reverse Flies - Pick up one dumbbell in each hand. Stand up straight with feet slightly more than hip-width apart and arms at your sides. Bend your knees slightly, lean forward about 45 degrees, and extend your arms out in front of you with palms facing. *Press out and up, and squeeze your shoulderblades together. Hold for a moment and bring your arms together again. Repeat 20-30 times from *. 


Lift and squeeze shoulder blades together
How is the Fitness Challenge going?