You have been inspired to fitness, now what?

side plank progression

This is the final post in BlogHer’s Inspiration to Fitness series. To start from week one, click here.

Congratulations!  This is your final week of Inspiration to Fitness.  You’ve made it!  If you’ve gone through this 8-week program with us, your heart is now healthier, your muscles are stronger, and your lungs are more conditioned.

We might be at the end of this challenge, but hopefully (and it sounds like this is true for most of you), you have found your groove and are figuring out what works best for you when it comes to exercising.

So how do we keep this up and extend what we’ve learned into a life of healthy living?

lake sunrise

Don’t look at this as the end, look at it as the beginning.  The past 8 weeks have not been getting you close to the finish line, they have been preparing you to start running your race.  Take the successes that you’ve had in the past two months, and let them propel you forward into a new perspective on life.  Don’t stop.  Don’t go backwards.  Keep moving forwards.

Keep switching it up.  Whether you’ve found your groove in running, yoga, or exercise DVDs, make sure you don’t get bored.  Remember to challenge your body by switching it up sometimes.  If you have found your running stride, keep adding in those intervals every once in a while.  If you enjoy working out at home with Jillian Michaels screaming at you, buy or rent a new DVD every few months.  Keep your workouts fresh and invigorating.

Set new goals.  In the beginning, you set goals for this 8-week program.  As this program finishes up, it’s time to reevaluate and set new goals.  From here on out, I encourage you to take some time every few months to evaluate where you are and dream about where you want to be going.  Don’t get too comfortable, keep challenging yourself.

Use your resources.  There are so many helpful resources out there when it comes to fitness.  If you aren’t actively using Twitter to communicate with health professionals, I encourage you to do so.  Twitter is amazing in that you can have one-on-one conversations with some of the top professionals in the world.  You can also get helpful tips, links to current research, and stay up to date on fitness trends.  Fitness blogs are also a good place to look for inspiration.  Many have full workouts including photos and videos.  Check out my workout page, and also visit Healthy Living Blogs for a huge list of health bloggers.  ACE Fitness also has an incredible exercise library.

Now onto your final workouts!

On your 3 cardio days this week, I want you to challenge yourself to go a full 30 minutes at an RPE of 5-6.  Challenge yourself to get there!

Your strength workout is the hardest one yet.  Challenge yourself to do 3 circuits of the strength portion with a 2-minute rest period between sets.  Remember, warmup and core exercises are 15 repetitions and strength exercises are 8-12 repetitions.  Don’t forget to stretch!

Dynamic Warmup

dynamic warmup arm circles
Make huge circles with your arms as fast as you can. Do 15 forward, then 15 backwards.

jumping jacks
Do 15 jumping jacks. Make them big, remember this is a dynamic warmup!

pogo hops
Jump a few inches off the ground and land on the balls of your feet. Continue for 15 repetitions.

dynamic arm swing
Standing with feet together, bring arms in front of your body and cross one over the other. Swing them open then quickly back in front of your body. Make big moves and complete 15 repetitions.

Core Exercises


side plank progression

Lie on your left side with feet extended, right foot stacked on top of the left.  Bend your left elbow and place it directly beneath your left shoulder.  Engaging abdominal muscles, lift your hips and knees off the mat.  Hold as long as possible, then gently lower.  Switch and repeat on opposite side.  Modified version: bend lower knee.

forward jumps

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.  Slowly bend into a crouching position and jump forward, landing softly on the balls of your feet.  Take a moment to stabilize, then jump again.  Repeat 15 times.

toe touch crunches ***Please refer to the previous post about checking for diastasis before doing these or any other abdominal exercise***

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.  Raise your legs up with feet flexed.  Reach your hands up and touch your toes.  Slowly lower your shoulders back to the floor, keeping your legs raised.  Repeat.

Strength Exercises

bodyweight squat
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Pushing your hips back, lower your body into a sitting position. Keep your butt back and your head up. Make sure to keep your knees over your ankles. Don’t let your knees go forward past your toes. Pause at the bottom for 2 full seconds, then come up and repeat.

burpee steps

Start in a push up position, lower into a push up.  As you come up, jump your feet forward, keeping hands on the ground.  Spring up into a standing position.  Finish with a jump with hands overhead.  Repeat by dropping back down into a crouching position and kicking your legs out to the rear into a push up position.

side lunge
Standing with feet hip-width apart, step out to the side with your right foot. Keep left leg straight and bend into a lunge in the right leg. Push through the right foot and back into a standing position. Make sure left leg stays straight and right knee doesn’t extend past toes. Complete all repetitions on the right before switching to the left leg.

superman exercise

Lie facedown on a mat with legs extended straight and arms overhead.  Keeping limbs straight and neck neutral, tighten your core muscles and slowly lift your arms and legs off the ground.  Hold for 2 seconds then slowly release back to the floor.  Repeat.  (Tips: don’t hold your breath and don’t lift your legs so high that you strain your back)

shoulder packing exercise

Standing with feet hip-width apart and bellybutton pulled towards your spine, place your arms by your side and look straight ahead.  Exhale and pull the shoulder blades down and back, squeezing them together.  Without letting your lower back arch OR allowing your head to go forward, hold the shoulder blades together for 5 seconds.  Release and repeat.

mountain climbers
Get into a push up position with hands below shoulders and feet extended out. Tighten abs and bring shoulders down and back. Bring left foot up towards hips, then jump to switch legs. Continue jumping and switching legs while keeping spine and core stabilized. Do 30 repetitions (15 each leg).


shoulder stretch
From a seated position, extend your right arm across your body in a straight line. Reach your left arm up and pull gently back on your right arm, stretching the shoulder. Hold for 30-60 seconds then repeat with other arm.

butterfly stretch
Sit with your legs in a diamond shape, the soles of your feet together. Sit up nice and tall with abs engaged. Push knees towards the floor and hold, but do not bounce. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.

door chest stretch
Standing in a doorway, place hands on either side of the doorway at chest level. Take one step forward and allow the chest to stretch. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

quad stretch
Stand on your left leg and grab your right ankle directly behind you. Keeping knees together, pull ankle towards your body really stretching out your thigh. Make sure to keep your right knee facing straight down, don’t let it go out to the side. Hold for 30-60 seconds then repeat with left leg.

kneeling hip flexor stretch progression
From a kneeling position, bring left leg out front with foot flat on the ground. Push body forward through the hips, stretching that right hip flexor. Hold for 30 seconds, then bring right arm straight up, slightly twisting body to the right and leaning to the left to go further into the stretch. Hold for 20 more seconds then repeat process on opposite side.

glute stretch
From a kneeling position, cross right leg in front of body while extending left leg back. Place hands on floor and sink into the stretch. You can extend even further into the stretch by walking hands out front and bringing chest towards the floor. Hold for 30-60 seconds then repeat on opposite side.

child's pose
From a kneeling position, bring your arms out in front of you, sink your hips back into your heels, and rest your chest on your knees. Sink into the pose and relax all of your muscles. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

Foam Roller (optional)

foam roller it band
Lie on your right side and place your right hip onto the foam roller. Place your hands on the floor for support. Cross your left leg over your right with foot flat on the floor. Roll from your hip towards your knee in small movements. If you come across a spot that is particularly painful, hold the position for 30 seconds before moving on. Repeat on opposite side.

foam rolling the piriformis
Sit on foam roller with it positioned under your right glute. Cross your right leg over your left and lean into the muscle. Roll back and forth in small movements while shifting your body slightly to roll all of the muscle. If you find a spot that is particularly painful, hold for 30 seconds before continuing. Repeat on opposite leg.

foam rolling the back
Lie faceup with foam roller under your upper back and feet flat on the floor. Roll from the top of your back to the middle of your back in small movements with your hips elevated off the floor. If you find a spot that is particularly painful, hold for 30 seconds before moving on. Be sure not to roll your lower back as this could cause injury.

foam roller calves

Sit on the floor with your legs stretched in front of you. Place the foam roller under your right calf. Cross your left leg over your right ankle. Use your hands behind you for support and raise your body off the ground. Roll forward and back on your calf muscle. Repeat on opposite leg.


It has been a pleasure working with you, I have enjoyed being your fitness expert for the Heart Health Track!  Come chat with me on Facebook or Twitter, and keep checking back on my blog for new workouts and healthy recipes.

* Don’t forget to leave a comment on my Buyer’s Guide telling me which products you would love to own for a chance to win!

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  • beth March 4, 2012 at 9:46 am

    The quad stretch you are suggesting is extremely hard on your knee….it is also unatural position…..try pulling the leg away from your glutes (butt) and then tilt… is generally called a flamingo….I call mine a tilted flamingo… your other arm out stretched for balance.

  • Lennalivinglight April 28, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Great post – I’ve been living in Kenya for a couple of years now and have found some great ways to work out in my living room. I use all sorts of crazy equipment that I make myself. I can buy equipment here but it’s like 3x the cost as it is at home. You can use rice bags, sand bags for weights, Soccer balls as a bosu type ball, carpets as yoga mats – jump ropes are great. And I follow this website online that provides a free workout every day. They use mostly body weight for anyone can do it. I even turned my 62 yr old mom onto it! Good luck!

  • Hannah May 27, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Sometimes it’s hard to break out of routine and mix up workouts for your body. Mentally, what do you tell yourself to do this?