May
04

Amazing toning workout for your upper body! Get Lean Upper Body + Cardio Workout

*Warm up with a 20 minute walk or jog and/or active dynamic stretching {high knees, butt kicks, jumping jacks, air squats with arms reaching overhead}.

Decline Army Crawl

  1. Using a bench or chair, put your feet on the bench/chair and walk your hands out into a high plank position. Shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers, pulling your kneecaps up towards your belly and pushing your heels towards the wall behind you.
  2. Hold this position maintaining a straight line with your body, flat back, tight core, and neck in-line with spine, gaze slightly in front of you.
  3. Then drop down to one forearm, followed by dropping down to the other forearm so you are in a low plank position with your shoulders stacked over your elbows.
  4. Push yourself back up to the starting position one arm at a time while trying to maintain stable hips, square to the ground.
  5. Repeat this alternating forearm drop for the number of reps listed.

*If this is too challenging you can always perform a standard army crawl with your feet on the ground.

Arnold Shoulder Press

  1. Start standing tall in an athletic position; feet shoulder-width distance apart, slight bend in your knees, and core engaged. Hold two dumbbells, one in each hand, in front of you at about upper chest level with your palms facing your body and your elbows bent. Tip: Your arms should be next to your torso. The starting position should look like the contracted portion of a dumbbell curl.
  2. Raise the dumbbells as you rotate the palms of your hands until they are facing forward.
  3. Continue lifting the dumbbells until your arms are extended above you in straight arm position; locking out your elbows. Exhaling as you perform this portion of the movement.
  4. Pause at the top for a second, the lower the dumbbells to the original, starting position by rotating the palms of your hands towards you. Tip:The left arm will be rotated in a counterclockwise manner while the right one will be rotated clockwise. Breathe in as you perform this portion of the movement.
  5. Repeat for the number of reps listed.

 

In & Out Bicep Curls

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, slight bend in the knees, abs tight, arms down by your sides, and shoulders down and back.
  2. With a dumbbell in each hand and palms facing forwards, exhale as you bend your elbows bringing the dumbbells up to your shoulders.
  3. Then, inhale and return to the starting position. That is the ‘In’ bicep curl.
  4. On the next repetition, rotate your arms at the shoulder so palms rotate further away from your body (a small movement). In this position, exhale and bend at the elbows bringing the dumbbells up to your shoulder and inhale to return to start position. That is the ‘Out’ bicep curl.
  5. Alternate between these two movements. The rest of your body should be stable throughout the entire movement.
  6. Each curl is one rep; repeat for the number of reps listed.

 

Single Arm Front + Back Overhead Tricep Press

  1. To begin, stand up with a dumbbell held in one hand. Your feet should be shoulder width apart from each other with a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Fully extend the arm with the dumbbell overhead, palm facing out, away from the body.  
  3. Lower the dumbbell down in front of your face to touch your chest, bending only at the elbow. Then press it back up, returning to the starting position. That is one rep.
  4. Subsequently, on the second rep, lower dumbbell back behind your head, again bending only at the elbow. Then press back to extend arm straight above your head to the starting position.
  5. Alternate front and back overhead tricep presses for the number of reps listed.

 

Bent Over Wide Back Fly

  1. Start in an athletic stance, feet shoulder-width distance apart with a slight bend in the knees. Holding the dumbbells in front of you with a slight bend in the elbows as if your arms were wrapped around a beach ball.
  2. Then, hinge forward at the waist, keeping a neutral spine.
  3. Perform a back fly in this position. Opening your arms out to the sides, parallel to your back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold at the top of this movement for a second and then return to the starting position.
  4. That is one rep. Perform for the number of reps listed.

 

Bonus Burnout – Killer Combo

AMRAP: Do as many exercises as you can for 1 minute!

  1. Start in an athletic stance, feet shoulder-width distance apart with a slight bend in the knees. Holding dumbbells in each hand at your sides, palms facing out away from the body with thumbs up towards the ceiling.
  2. Perform an inverted lateral shoulder raise, raising the dumbbells up to shoulder height, with thumbs up towards the ceiling.
  3. Then turn your palms up toward the ceiling and perform a bicep curl, bending at the elbows and curling the dumbbells towards your head while your arms stay at shoulder-height.
  4. After the curl hold your arms goal-posted at shoulder height and turn your palms out, away from your body. From here perform an overhead shoulder press, extending your arms straight overhead and locking out your elbows. Make sure to maintain a neutral spine and tight core as you press overhead.
  5. One your arms are locked out at the top, turn your palms in, facing one another. From here, bend at the elbows for an overhead tricep press; dropping the weights behind your head and then pressing back up overhead, again locking out your arms at the top.
  6. Steps 1-5 are one rep. Repeat for the number of reps listed.

Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor before starting a new fitness regime. While Lee from Fit Foodie Finds and Monique from Ambitious Kitchen worked with a professional trainer to design the Summer Sweat Series exercise program, you are participating at your own risk. Please listen to your body and modify as needed.


May
02

30 minute Tabata that will have you dripping in sweat

 

*Warm up with 10-20 minute walk or jog and/or active dynamic stretching {high knees, butt kicks, jumping jacks, air squats with arms reaching overhead}.

Everest Climbers

how to do it:

  1. Start in high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers, pulling your kneecaps up towards your belly and pushing your heels towards the wall behind you.
  2. Jump left foot back as you simultaneously hop right foot forward so it’s in line with right hand
  3. Repeat, switching legs each rep

Push Up + Straight Arm Reach

how to do it:

  1. Start in high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers, pulling your kneecaps up towards your belly and pushing your heels towards the wall behind you.
  2. Slow and controlled lower down, leading with your chest to 90 degrees.
  3. Push back up into high plank position
  4. At the top raise your right arm straight out in front of you, at shoulder height, level with your body. Keep your abs, hips and legs engaged to stay as square to the ground as possible and maintain balance.
  5. Lower your right arm, and repeat pushup
  6. At the top raise your left arm; continue to alternate arms at a steady, controlled pace at the top of each pushup

Lateral Ski Jumps

how to do it:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, knees and hips slightly bent. Arms slightly bent at side.
  2. Using arms for momentum jump side to side.
  3. Jump from two feet and land on two feet.
  4. Land softly with knees and hips slightly bent
  5. Continue full movement for desired reps

Lateral Lunge + Hamstring Curl

how to do it:

  1. Position your feet on the floor so they’re hip-width apart with your toes pointed directly forward.
  2. Lift your right leg and step to the side. Once your foot is fully planted, push your hips back and bend your right knee to lower into a lunge.
  3. Descend until your right thigh is about parallel to the floor, then extend your hips and knee to come back up.
  4. At the top curl your right leg in, heel of your foot towards your butt
  5. Continue back and forth until you complete all of your desired repetitions.

Belly Flop Burpees

how to do it:

  1. Start with feet a little bit wider than hip-width distance apart, weight in your heels, chest lifted.
  2. Lower down into the bottom of a squat, keeping the weight in your heels and chest lifted.
  3. While at the bottom of your squat, plant your hands on the ground in front of your and jump or step back to high plank.
  4. Maintaining a tight core lower yourself all the way down to the ground; using push up form to lower all the way down to your stomach, leading with your chest. Option to drop to your knees and lower to the ground if needed.
  5. Release your hands when your chest meets the floor.
  6. Then replant your hands near your chest and push yourself back up to high plank, again option to drop to your knees if needed.
  7. Once in high plank hop or step your feet back in coming to the bottom of a low squat and then drive through your heels, exploding up into a standing position as you squeeze glutes and hamstring. Or explode up leaving the ground as you clap your hands over your head. That is one rep.
  8. Repeat this movement at a fast-pace for the number of repetitions listed.

Shoulder Taps

how to do it:

  1. Start in high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers, pulling your kneecaps up towards your belly and pushing your heels towards the wall behind you.
  2. Feet should be shoulder-width distance apart to keep hips stabilized.
  3. Lift your right hand off the ground to tap opposite, left, shoulder.  
  4. Lower your right hand back to the ground and repeat this movement on the other side; lift your left hand off the ground to tap opposite, right, shoulder.
  5. Continue to alternate shoulder taps for 28 repetitions. Be sure to keep your hips and shoulders as square to the ground as possible.

Squat Jacks

how to do it:

  1. Stand with feet together, arms by sides. Jump feet wider than hip-width apart and lower into a deep squat, reaching fingertips to toes
  2. Jump feet back together, reaching arms overhead
  3. Immediately repeat, moving as quickly as possible for desired rep

Warrior 3 + Crunch

how to do it:

  1. Stand on your left foot with your right leg lifted to 90 degrees and your right knee bent.
  2. Reach your torso forward as you lengthen your right leg behind you. Reach your arms overhead for balance as your torso and leg come parallel to the floor. Keep your left knee slightly bent.
  3. Hold this position for a moment, and reach through your right heel to engage the back of the right leg.
  4. Moving in one piece, bring your right leg forward, and return to standing upright. This completes one rep.

 

Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor before starting a new fitness regime. While Lee from Fit Foodie Finds and Monique from Ambitious Kitchen worked with a professional trainer to design the Summer Sweat Series exercise program, you are participating at your own risk. Please listen to your body and modify as needed.


Apr
13

Last week on Instagram I shared an exercise video and described how I’ve lost 20 pounds since 2014. If you’ve been following Ambitious Kitchen for the past few years, you know that I’ve been on a journey to find a balance between health, fitness, eating healthy and indulging. Finally I’m feeling like I’m in a good place, where no food is off limits and my general attitude towards food feels very positive and balanced. To be honest, it took me quite a while to get to a point where I wasn’t binging, restricting nor denying myself the food I love.

I want to give you more insight into my ENTIRE journey at another time, simply because I know it’s going to be a longggggg post. Today we’re going to be chatting about healthy snacking & how I incorporate it into my life. Snacking is never bad for you if you do it in moderation and are mindful about what you’re fueling up with. I’ve mentioned this before, but I need to have something to munch on every few hours otherwise my blood sugar crashes and become hangry real quick. So, snacks basically are a necessity in this girl’s life.

Read more.


Apr
05

lower-body-plyo-circuit

*Warm up with a 20 minute walk or jog and/or active dynamic stretching {high knees, butt kicks, jumping jacks, air squats with arms reaching overhead}.

Goblet Squat + Calf Raise

how to do it:

  • Stand holding the top of a dumbbell close to your chest. This will be your starting position.
  • Squat down between your legs until your hamstrings are on your calves. Keep your chest and head up and your back straight.
  • At the bottom position, pause and use your elbows to push your knees out.
  • Push through the bottom of your feet to standing position coming up onto your toes into a calf raise
  • Lower your heels to return to the starting position, and repeat for desired reps

 

Hopscotch Squats

how to do it:

  • Bouncing off the balls of your feet, jump your feet wide.
  • Hop back to center on your left foot, then jump your feet wide.
  • Hop back to center on your right foot, and continue alternating in this pattern.

 

Messier Squats

how to do it:

  • Position feet shoulder width apart and toes slightly pointed out, holding the dumbbell with both hand at the center of your chest
  • Contract core and maintain an upright chest position
  • Flex at the hips and knees by pushing in a backward motion to lower body into a wide squat stance
  • Slowly lower hips until tops of thighs are parallel to floor
  • Keeping your knees in line with your toes, shift to your center into a lateral lunge stance
  • From this position shift hips through the starting position into the opposite lunge stance
  • Continue to shift hips side to side while keeping your chest high and core tight

 

Heisman Bounds

how to do it:

  • Assume a half squat position facing 90 degrees from your direction of travel.
  • Allow your lead leg to do a countermovement inward as you shift your weight to the outside leg.
  • Immediately push off and extend, attempting to bound to the side as far as possible.
  • Upon landing, immediately push off in the opposite direction, returning to your original start position.
  • Continue back and forth for several repetitions.

 

Table Top Glute Stamps + Dumbbell

how to do it:

  • Start in a tabletop position, knees under hips, hands directly under your shoulders
  • Place dumbbell behind one knee bent at 90 degrees, flex foot and thrust foot up into the air activating your glutes and hamstrings.
  • Perform all reps on one leg and switch legs for the second set

 

Dumbbell Swings

how to do it:

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart holding weight out in front of the body.
  • Lower the weight back between your legs keeping your back straight (move your butt back not your knees forward).  T
  • hen thrust the hips forward squeezing those glutes and keeping the core tight to swing the weight up to approximately shoulder height.
  • Continue this swinging movement with control for desired reps

 

Squat + Donkey Kick

how to do it:

  • Start with your legs shoulder width distance apart, arms comfortably at your sides
  • With weight in your heels, chest lifted perform a squat; bringing your arms/hands forward toward your chest
  • Keep your butt back and chest lifted as you push up, pressing your hips up and forward
  • Return to standing position
  • Bend your right knee to 90 degrees and kick it straight back towards the wall behind you
  • Bring knee back into starting position and back to initial squat position
  • Repeat squat and donkey kick back with your left foot
  • Continue to alternate legs with a squat between each kick back

 

Lunge + Squat Jumps

how to do it:

  • Stand with your left foot in front of you and point both feet forward. Lunge down while leaning your torso forward slightly without rounding your spine.
  • Jump straight up, swinging your arms over your head and extending your torso.
  • Land with both feet in a standard squat position
  • Lower into a squat and explode up landing with your right foot forward in a lunge
  • Continue to alternate lunge jump, standard squat, jump lunge
  • Repeat the entire set for desired reps

 

Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor before starting a new fitness regime. While Lee from Fit Foodie Finds and Monique from Ambitious Kitchen worked with a professional trainer to design the Summer Sweat Series exercise program, you are participating at your own risk. Please listen to your body and modify as needed.


Feb
14

When I used to have a corporate job, we would eat lunch out or in the cafeteria frequently. It was easy and fun to have lunch with my coworkers and enjoy good conversation. However, I realized how easy it was to make poor choices when eating out. Often times I used to get a burrito bowl with ALL THE TORTILLA CHIPS and 1/2 cup of guac. No joke.

When I started making my lunches at home, it helped me save tons of money. Not only that, but I reached my weight loss and fitness goals quicker because I didn’t have a massive serving of Mexican food in front of me everyday. (So good though.)

As I continued to prep meals, I realized that sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what you want to eat, what’s in your budget for the week, and not eat the same thing all the time. Thus, I put together some fabulous lunch recipes to help you plan! There are plenty to choose from so you should be set for a few months. Just bookmark this link so you can come back often! Most of the recipes are salads, sandwiches and soups; all meals I find myself eating often for lunch.

I hope this list inspire you to prep a little more at home, save money and stay motivated to eat healthy! xoxo!

Read more.


Feb
03

Have you ever felt guilty, overwhelmed or even disappointed because you went a little overboard with food? Raise your hand.

Now raise your hand if you’ve had this feeling happen more than a few times a month, or perhaps, more than a few times a week.

Me too.

For some of us, this feeling comes more often than we’d hope for, even escalating during the emotional and turbulent trials of life. And why is that? Well you see, food just isn’t about nourishment (oh how easy it would be then!); often, food offers us meaningful conversations, memories to those we hold dear and a ritual of sorts. At certain points in my life, food has been either the best thing ever or the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen. Sounds extreme, but when you find yourself tortured by food, that’s exactly what it becomes.

Read more.


Jan
20

Welcome to the latest edition of Wellness Wednesday! Today we’re discussing our absolute favorite JUNK FREE nutrition and energy bars.

Each month, Rose (my assistant) and I test out our favorite foods, give recommendations and discuss why they’re great. Our hope is to introduce you to new products and encourage a nutritious well-balanced approach to food. We love sharing energy bars because it seems that we’re always reaching for a snack around 3pm, and sometimes it’s nice to stock up on a few goodies.

The bars below were all personally tested by us and have our recommendation. You’ll find additional product information, nutrition highlights and our favorite flavor for each bar below! We hope you enjoy the bars. Be sure to let us know if you have any you love that aren’t on the list by leaving a comment below. xo!

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Jan
06

Today’s Wellness Wednesday revolves around moving your body! My assistant Rose and I embarked on a month-long fitness journey back in November. Our goal: To find the BEST workouts around Chicago via Classpass. We conquered studios, planned our workouts meticulously, and found new favorites to share with all of you!

Before we get into the studios that stood out the most, I want to introduce you to Classpass!

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Dec
16

Oh hi! I haven’t written a Wellness Wednesday in FOREVER. So sorry. Sometimes the topics come to me when I’m least expecting them to. I was actually planning on putting this in a recipe post, but decided it was too specific to be bogged down by gorgeous photos of avocados.

Today is all about doing what’s best for you regarding food during the holiday season (or in general). As always, I LOVE hearing from you guys, so feel free to leave a comment after you read the post. xo!

Read more.

 
 
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