Tuesday, April 7, 2015

15-20 min. at Home Total Body Strength Routine w/ Dumbbells

Links to this post
This is a quick routine with classic exercises. Do one set for each exercise. If you are feeling up for it and have the time, then you can run through this routine twice. 

Warm-up: 7-10 minute vigorous walk or on treadmill. Get heart rate up and a little sweaty. Walk at a moderate where you are out of breath, but can hold a conversation. 

Exercise #1: Lunge w/ bicep curl:
Holding dumbbells at your sides, step your left foot forward and bend your knees until your left thigh is nearly parallel to the floor. Make sure you are putting pressure on your heel of the front foot and that you are bending the back foot. As you lunge, curl the weights in front of your chest, palms up. Reverse to return to start, then repeat with the right leg. That's one rep. Do 10 reps each leg 
Lunge w/ bicep curl.

Exercise #2: Squats w/ forward and side arm raises:
Hold dumbbells in front of body, legs wider than hip width distance apart, pull belly bottom and pelvis in and squat down pushing through your heels. When you squat you lift the arms forward, as you stand up arms release down. That’s one rep. Repeat 10 times. Then hold dumbbells along side of body, as you squat lift arm out to the side. Repeat 10 times. 


Forward and side arm raise.

Lateral arm raise.

Exercise #3: Overhead lift:
See image. Make sure legs are hip width distance apart. Keep belly button sucked in, pelvis pulled in and push through heels. That's one rep.
Do 10 lifts.


Squat w/overhead lift.
Exercise #4: Overhead Tricep Extensions:
See image. Make sure legs are hip width distance apart, jeep knees soft and elbows pulled in toward face. Keep belly button sucked in, pelvis pulled in and push through heels. Do 10 extensions.


Overhead tricep extensions.

Exercise #5: Donkey Kick:
See image. Kneel on ground with knees underneath hips and hands under shoulders. Exhale as you lift your right knee, keeping your leg bent at 90 degrees, until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Press your foot up toward the ceiling until a comfortable extension. Inhale and return to start position. Do 10 kicks each leg. You can also add a knee lift out to the side (not shown). Repeat ten times each leg.
Donkey kicks.

Exercise #6: Kneeling opposites hold:
See image. Kneel on ground with knees underneath hips and hands under shoulders. Lift your right leg and left arm, stretching them out from your body and keeping them inline with your torso. Hold ten seconds and then switch, Repeat twice each leg. Remember to keep breath in the nose and out your mouth as you are holding your position.
Kneeling opposites hold.












End with a child's pose, happy baby pose and stretching.

Child's pose.
Happy baby pose.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tackling Your Fitness Bucket List: 30 Days Back to Basics Yoga Challenge

Links to this post

Ever wanted to try yoga, but were too intimidated by it? Maybe you think it's too touchy-feely, or not a decent workout. Maybe you feel you are not flexible enough, or you tried yoga once and it was awful. Maybe your afraid your feet will blossom like the tongue and cheek AFLAC commercial alludes to...

Rest assured yoga will not make your feet blossom and, indeed, yoga is a good workout for the whole body and mind. Here's why.

Yoga is a series of precise body-weight postures and movements that fall into the following categories:
  • Forward bends
  • Back bends
  • Balancing poses
  • Seated and twisting poses
  • Standing poses
  • Arm balance poses
  • Core poses
  • Inversion (Upside-down) poses
  • Restorative poses
There are almost an endless variety of balanced poses that work your entire body evenly, focusing on different goals to develop your strength, flexibility and agility. You also learn different breathing techniques in order to learn how to control and optimize your breath. One of the biggest "mistakes" a beginner exerciser (no matter what type of exercise they are participating in) makes is holding their breath. In yoga, learning how to breath with the poses is part of the process- nothing too touchy-feely about it. And each pose has both a beginner, intermediate and more advanced versions. Beginner poses which our challenge is based on can be done by anyone, while the intermediate and advanced poses take much practice and are the stuff that can intimate the pants off acrobats. So no worries, you won't be asked to wrap your leg around your head.

Unlike other forms of exercise, yoga allows you to work the whole body and focus on being in the moment, because you need to concentrate and focus on the pose you are working on in order to perform it properly and obtain the optimal benefits.


If you are like me and have tried yoga before and it just did not click, we encourage you to give it a go again. I did and found instructors that resonated with me and I learned to appreciate the many benefits yoga gives to the practitioner and now I LOVE yoga. That is not to say everyone who tries yoga again will learn to love it, but maybe you may obtain the many physical and mental benefits that I did too.  There are many forms of yoga and many yoga instructors out there that practice and instruct yoga in a way that may better mesh with you. You may even benefit from our 30 day Yoga Back to Basics Challenge.  30 days of beginner yoga poses with each day building upon the day before. At the end of 30 days you will have learned a grounding yoga sequence that focuses on total body strength, flexibilty and agility.

It will be fun so we encourage you to give a try! Namaste.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A New Year, Time to Tackle that Fitness Bucket List, and We've Got the Fitness Challenges for You!

Links to this post
Need a good kick in the pants and some camaraderie to help you tackle getting in shape in the new year? Look no further, we at Joy of Fitness have some fun (a relative word here) fitness challenges that will whip you into shape, tone and strengthen your body. Get moving, feel good and inspire others to do the same. You can do these challenges at home by yourself or enlist some friends and family. For some extra support and expert advice join our Facebook Group: Joy of Fitness Challenges.

The story behind the starting of these fitness challenges and the Facebook group: 
L to R: Shannon Stoughton (a.k.a. The Old Lady) &
Erika Laubach (a.k.a. The Youngin')
It all started with my learning that one of my wonderfully talented Fusion Fitness instructors, personal trainer and Institute for Integrative Nutrition graduate recently turned thirty. I witnessed her perform a killer push-up one day while leading one of her classes and thought, I may be forty, but I am forty strong and I will show this youngin' how it's done forty style. So I went into one of the storage rooms in the studio (I wasn't going to humiliate myself, I wanted to practice first, ya know), and got myself into an awesome plank, started to lower down into a push-up, then face contortion, sweat beads of fear, flashes of spectacularly failing the pull-ups portion of the presidential physical fitness test in elementary school, and finally plunk to the ground- another spectacular fail. Gulp. Swallow pride. Got myself off the floor and went back into the big room with a sweaty, forced smile on my face.
For some reason witnessing Erika perform a proper push-up that day in time triggered in me an existential mid-life fitness crisis. I mean, I have been watching people perform amazing push-ups my whole life and have helped clients learn and perform them as well. I have even managed to pull one off when I needed to. However, arms have always been my weak point and push-ups have always been a struggle for me which is why I personally avoid performing push-ups for exercise like the plague.

Yes, even fitness professionals can improve upon performance, technique and have areas of the body they neglect. I figured it was about time, after forty years of living, to face this upper body weakness nemesis and nip it in the bud. It's time to take my own advice to break bad habits of self-doubt and to woman-up by tackling this challenging area of my body and here's why. I would like to improve upon my overall health. Push-ups are a great way to increase total body strength (when done correctly which equals safely), including targeting the elusive core (ab muscles for stabilization), and the upper torso by engaging the pectoral muscles, deltoid muscles, biceps and triceps muscles. Most importantly for me, push-ups are perfect for promoting good posture by targeting and strengthening the muscles of the upper back as well, including the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and trapezius.

Of course misery LOVES company so I decided to confide in Erika about my mid-life fitness crisis and asked her to come in on the challenge. Thankfully, she accepted and tasked herself with the walkout exercise. Thus, the thirty/forty challenge was birthed. My goal is to do 30 consecutive push-ups in 30 days and Erika has decided to tackle 40 consecutive walk-outs in 30 days starting January 2, 2015. That's correct, the younger ones do more- only seems fair, right!

We decided to take it public to hold ourselves accountable, to cheer each other on, give each other advice AND just in case there are a few folks out there kind of like me and need a good kick in the pants to get started!

I have posted our workout challenge as a pdf document and as a pic in our Facebook group group Joy of Fitness Challenges  and below, if you want to join in on the fun. We are also here to help if you have questions about proper technique. Our goal is to provide a different fitness challenge each month covering all parts of the body for 2015.


Ready for a fitness challenge? Join us!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Fit & Fabulous: Motivation,Tips & Tricks to Get Fit, Stay Fit & Enjoy It During the Holidays & Beyond!

Links to this post

It's that time of year, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us. Between pies and traveling, it can be hard to stay active and fit during this time of year. A to-do list a mile long, a mother lode of family obligations, work parties and last minute shopping means it's hard to get motivated and stay disciplined to exercise. You're stressed, busy and it's cold outside, so why not just take a break from your fitness program until the New Year? Because there are 34 days between Thanksgiving and New Years and we at Joy of Fitness are determined to help you make the most of them.  We've come up with some smart strategies, motivational techniques and a challenge to help you make fitness part of the celebration all holiday season long.

Try a dance based fitness class like Zumba!

Need some motivation, nibble on this:
  • Remember that exercise helps control weight. Want to be able to have your iced sugar cookies and eat it too, AND not gain weight over the holidays, then keep moving! When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. You don't need to set aside large chunks of time for exercise to reap weight-loss benefits. If you can't do an actual workout, get more active throughout the day in simple ways — by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from the store or revving up your household chores.
  • Remember that exercise improves mood. Need another way to deal with that pesky relative besides drinking that extra class of spiked egg nog, insist they come along to your intense interval class. That will learn them and make you happy too! A workout at the gym, a group exercise class or a brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
  • Remember that exercise boosts energy. Winded by your gargantuan to-do list? Can't keep up with your boss at the annual holiday chicken dance competition... Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores 
  • Remember that exercise helps promote sleep. Are visions of sugar plums dancing in your head and keeping you up at night. If you are struggling to fall asleep, or to stay asleep, regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep.

Find relaxation and unwind w/ Yoga!
Need some tips & strategies to keep moving during the holidays and beyond, try these:
  • Acknowledge and accept that the holidays probably will affect your exercise program to some extent. Then you can...
  • Be flexible when your day gets busy. For example, instead of simply blowing off your 5 p.m. trip to class in favor of an office party at the same time, wake up an hour early and walk or jog before work. Or fit a brisk walk into your lunch hour.
  • Mix up your routine. For example, if you are a runner, instead of running four days a week, try adding in a strength training class and/or yoga class. The novelty of the new exercise will hopefully be a stronger motivator than the 'need' to do something else during your normal exercise time. An extra benefit is that cross training is the best way to avoid injuries and improve your time.  OR if you usually take exercise classes only offered at a certain time, try a new class that is offered at a time that works better for you during this busy time of year- variety is the spice of life! 
  • Organize your day the evening before. Prioritizing your tasks beforehand will help you find time to exercise. Each week, make it a priority to fit in three exercise sessions.  
  • Combine exercise with family commitment. For example, hauling the kids up a hill a few times can make a sledding trip as beneficial as a jog.
  • Just say no. You do not have to attend every party, go to every holiday extravaganza.  Take an honest look at your schedule, and instead of trying to squeeze exercise into your schedule, take other things out.
  • Consider online shopping- saves on travel time, shopping stress and may save some dough. The goal is not to do more (as we all have a tendency to do this time of year), but to do less, but do it all well.
  • Challenge yourself by creating a holiday wish list for one or more improved areas of physical fitness. Maybe you want to increase arm, leg , glutes, core strength or increase your cardio. Maybe you want to obtain more flexibility or balance. Challenges are fun ways to focus on one aspect of your fitness and to help you keep your discipline constant. Create your own challenge, whether it involves trying a new bodyweight exercise every day, testing different yoga poses or experimenting with an unfamiliar running workout. And be sure to check out Shannon & Erika in their holiday challenge!
  • Create a home workout for yourself or check-out our recommended Joy of Fitness 5-20 min. home workout routine, for those times you can't make it to the gym or class. Squats, push-ups, and many other exercises can be done without any gym equipment.
We also love these suggestions from an article written by Sophia Breene on Huffington Post Healthy Living:
  • Make It Official and sign up for a race, competition or fitness-y vacation like a hiking or bike trip in January or February so you have a good reason (and plenty of motivation) to stay in shape over the holidays.
  • Try Feet-First Sightseeing. If you're traveling or going on vacation explore a new city on foot or bike instead of in a car or by public transportation (weather permitting).
  • Find A Workout Buddy Stepping out at night for an 8p.m. fusion fitness class is much harder to skip when you're one half of a dynamic workout duo. Enlist a fitness-minded friend or family member (especially if you're traveling) to be your holiday exercise buddy. Encourage each other to lace up the sneakers for pre-dinner workouts and post-shopping trip runs.
  • Treat Yourself No, not to that extra slice of pumpkin pie. If it's within your budget, indulge in new workout clothing or fitness equipment before Thanksgiving to boost motivation throughout the holiday season.
  • Start A Fitness Tradition. There are tons of family-friendly holiday-themed running events in most areas. Sign up the whole family (don't forget the costumes) for a fun, goofy Turkey Trot or Jingle Jog. Before you know it, the annual race will become a family tradition. 
  • Include Everyone. Working out can often be a solitary activity, which may explain why many people skip the gym when friends and family are in town. Make it a group activity by inviting visitors to join you at the gym or a favorite exercise class.
  • Find A Promotion. Many gyms and exercise studios offer deals and specials during the holidays. Do some snooping and sign up if you find a sweet deal.
  •  Act Like A Kid. Childhood winter favorites like sledding, snowball fights and ice-skating get the heart pumping. Head outside for a sneaky (and super-fun) workout.
Be ready for the mistletoe. People are attracted to strong, healthy people. Your confidence will show if you've been keeping up with your exercise habits.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Links to this post

In this season of giving thanks and giving back, Joy of Fitness is proud to be sponsoring a winter supply drive for the only emergency domestic violence shelter for women and children in Montgomery County Md, the Betty Ann Krahnke Center (BAK).  BAK is a 54-bed, short-term crisis shelter for women and children who are fleeing domestic violence and/or victims of sexual assault or human trafficking. BAK provides crisis intervention, safety planning, victim advocacy services, counseling and therapeutic interpersonal skill-building, with an emphasis on trauma reduction and personal empowerment. BAK’s intervention, prevention and education services empower women to  
create a new future for themselves and their children that is free of abuse, coercion and fear. 
Last year, BAK helped 155 women and 223 children move towards a safer
future. Some families stayed a week, others stayed several months.

Did You Know?

  • Domestic Violence occurs in all age, racial, gender, religious, socio-economic, educational and occupational groups;
  • Is used to intimidate, humiliate and frighten as a way of maintaining power and control; 
  • Has a devastating, lifelong impact on the young children who witness family violence.
Make a difference for women and children who are fleeing abuse and domestic violence in our community! Please join us this holiday season by helping us provide much needed winter supplies to the Betty Ann Krahnke Center.


We will be accepting the following winter supplies for BAK:

  • Mittens, gloves, hats, scarves- Adult & Kid Size (New)
  • Winter Coats- Kids (Gently Used, New)
  • Flannel Sheets- Twin (New)
  • Fleece blankets (New)
  • Diapers & Baby Wipes
  • Full Size Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body wash lotion)
  • Towels & wash clothes
  • Gift Cards to Target, grocery stores, gas stations, etc.)

Donations can be dropped off at the Joy of Fitness studio:
Woodmoor Shopping Center
Suite 131- Dark Lotus Studio 
10111 Colesville Rd.
Silver Spring, MD 20901

** We will be accepting donations during our class hours (see schedule) starting Friday, November 21 through Friday, December 19. **

Sunday, November 2, 2014

World Dance Fusion: It's More than Dance, It's Family Tradition!

Links to this post
Why did you become a fitness instructor? Becoming a World Dance Fusion fitness instructor was an evolution for me. I was already into dance and fitness as well as a professional educator, so this was a logical next step.

What are the traits you look for in an excellent instructor  Someone who has excellent technique, breaks things down clearly, knows modifications, and makes things fun!

...and how does that influence your teaching style? I come from a background in Physical Therapy, so I approach every class with "do no harm" mindset. I feel my participants become better aware of body mechanics and hence get a healthier workout.

What motivates you to get out there and exercise yourself? I love to walk, and that is my first choice for physical activity, followed by dance. I love the feeling of being awake and renewed that a good workout brings me.

Favorite dance step, why? It is what my favorite teacher, mentor and friend Kukuwa calls moving your "boomsbey". Simple circular rotation of the hips down one direction and back up the other. I love the core workout and the toning benefits. It is just simply pure fun! 

Inspirational Quote: "I have just got to do a better job at getting them to play better." John Harbaugh, coach of the Baltimore Ravens. My philosophy on teaching, if I stay on top of my fitness game, my participants will too.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Exercise: My "Drug" of Choice - Robin Jackson, Joy of Fitness Instructor

Links to this post
Why did you become a fitness instructor?
I always say I was thrown into teaching group exercise classes and I'm glad I was.  I enjoy the positive energy that flows throughout class.  Besides that, I love to see people working out and benefiting from it.
What are the traits you look for 
in an excellent instructor and 
how does that influence your teaching style? 
I look for high energy and how well engaged an instructor is with their participants.  I've been around numerous instructors from various backgrounds and these two traits have proven to be the most important for success in teaching.


What motivates you to get out there and exercise yourself?
I just love the feeling I get when I workout!  It's a huge part of my life.  Outside of the benefits one gets from exercising, it just makes me feel good.  It's a natural stress reducer and if I go too long without it I can feel my body getting lazy and tense.  Exercise is my "drug" of choice :)


Favorite exercise, why?
It's a toss up between a Walkout and a Turkish Get Up.  Both demand major core strength which of course is the powerhouse of the body!


Inspirational Quote:
"The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination." ~ Maya Angelou