My 5 Favorite Exercises I Learned From My Personal Trainer

As many of you know, I am on my journey to lose 30 pounds.  I am down 8 pounds with 22 to go!  I am currently participating in Weight Watchers (again), and I have been seeing a personal trainer at the YMCA.  Here are my five favorite exercises that she’s taught me that I enjoy AND that I feel make me much stronger .  My trainer has also measured me recently, and I lost two inches in my hips, an inch and a half in my waist, and at least an inch or more on all my other measurements.  Sometimes it’s nice to see other measures besides the scale.

Favorite Exercise #1:  The Yoga Boat Pose (for abdominal and core strength) – I do this while watching TV

1. From a seated position, bring the legs straight up to a 45 degree angle.

2. The torso will naturally fall back, but do not let the spine collapse. Make a “V” shape with the body.

3. Bring the arms out straight in line with the shoulders.

4. Balance on your bottom (the sit bones).

5. Stay in that position as long as you can, take a break, and repeat.


Favorite Exercise #2:  The Yoga Plank Pose (for arm and spine strength) – I also do this while watching TV


1. Get into the position you would take if you were about to do a push up.

2. Press the forearms and hands firmly down, do not let your chest sink, press back through the heels.

3. Keep the neck in line with the spine and broaden the shoulder blades.

4. Stay in that position as long as you can, take a break, and repeat.


Favorite Exercise #3:  The Kettlebell Swing (for hip, back, and thigh strength)


1. Stand straight with your legs shoulder width apart.

2. Lean forward at your waist slightly and bend your knees so as to go into a semi-squat. Keep your back arched and head facing forward steadily.

3. Try a light kettlebell first. Let you arms hang loosely and raise the weight with both hands over your head and inhale. Then, swing the weight with both hands in between the legs towards the back of you while exhaling. Move the kettlebell using power thrusts from the hip, thigh, and lower back muscles (powerful hip snap on every rep are musts).

4. Complete 5 to 10 sets of 20 reps of kettlebell swings with a minute pause between each set of repetitions. With heavier weights, inhale on the swing between your legs and exhale when you raise it above your head.

* I bought my Kettlebells at Ocean State Job Lot for pretty cheap, but you can get them at any sporting store.  I started with 8 pound weights, and now I am up to 20.  You will be sore after the first time you do this.


Favorite Exercise #4: Bosu Ball Leg Strengthening Exercises (for the core and leg muscles)


1. Place the ball rounded side down.

2. Step up on the ball and at first just maintain your balance (feet should width apart).

3. After achieving balance, do shallow squats, not dipping too far down, as that can cause knee damage. Your arms should be straight out in front of you.

4. Do ten reps if possible, take a break, and repeat.  You will also feel sore after the first time doing this exercise.


Favorite Exercise #5:  Exercise Ball Sit-Ups (for your abdominals)


1. Choose an exercise ball. If you are short, choose a small one. If you are tall, choose a larger one.

2. Sit on the exercise ball with both feet on the floor.

3. Roll backwards on the ball until your back is parallel with the floor and your knees are at a 90-degree-angle.

4. Place your arms either crossed over your chest, hands behind you neck with your elbows bent, or straight out over your head–depending on the amount of challenge you want.

5. Suck your abdonimal muscles in to activate them.

6. Using your abdominal muscles, pull yourself up to about a 45-degree-angle from the ground and then slowly lower yourself back down.

7. Do as many as you can (until is burns), rest for 30 seconds, and repeat.

* There are many other exercises I do with the exercise ball.  I got mine at Ocean State Job Lot, but you should be able to get them at Walmart or any sports store.


Stay tuned…….I will be posting many of my other 5 Favorite Things in weeks to come!  Good luck with your exercises.  I guarantee if you do these at least 3-4 times a week, you will feel MUCH stronger in the next couple of weeks (and probably lose some inches as well).  I can do all these at night while I am watching my shows.  I also do them after my 30 minutes of cardio at the gym!  Lastly, an added bonus of these exercises has been the fact that I do not ned to see my physical therapist or chiropractor anymore for my lower back pain!

* What are your favorite exercises?  I would love more ideas!






Kristin Wheeler

How I lost 30 pounds (and plan to do it again!)

Summer is coming, and everyone is working to shed those extra few pounds put on during the winter “fluffing up” season.  I always seem to work harder when I know someone is watching, so I once again joined Weight Watchers and even paid for personal training sessions at the YMCA.  So far it’s been a rough start.  I’m not sure if it’s my age, or the newest Points Plus program at Weight Watchers.  I previously did Weight Watchers before my wedding back in 2001, and I lost 30 pounds with the program.  

After joining Weight Watchers in 2001

I then joined the staff at Weight Watchers for 2 1/2 years as a receptionist and a leader.  It was a great way to stay on track, and I truly loved working for them.  I ended up leaving the job after moving and having a child.  I didn’t lose all the weight from child number one, and then after child number two…….. (you can guess).  Now, I am back to needing to lose the 30 pounds again.  Of course we all know the magic to losing weight; tons of water, eating less and healthier, and getting some form of exercise.  It’s easier said than done (as many people can attest to).  Weight Watchers helps me, because I have someone to weigh me in and keep me honest.  I am definitely one who “cheats” on my diets or gives myself excuses for starting tomorrow.  The nice thing about the new Weight Watchers Points Plus program, is that it definitely focuses more now on eating healthy and lifestyle changes than just losing the weight quickly.  I’m sure this is the better way to go for more successful maintenance.  The only problem is I like quick fixes, so now I know I’m just going to have to wait to take off the weight.  In the long run it will be better for me, but in the meantime I’m not sure I will be very comfortable at the pool club this summer.  I guess that’s just something I’m going to have to get over.  I also know that at age 36 I will not be losing the weight as fast as I did at age 26.  Darn!  That’s what happens when you get older I guess.  My new goals for this stage in my life are going to be: get healthy (by eating better and exercising regularly), enjoy life, and be happy with who I am.  No more obsessing on the numbers; just gauge my success on how I feel.  Pool club, here I come (now to find a bathing suit to be as flattering as possible so I can be as comfortable as possible)!

Just starting Weight Watchers again in 2011


* No more “after” pictures, just hopefully liking myself more in pictures as time progresses.  Have you had any weight issues?  What do you find is the hardest thing about maintaining or losing weight?

Kristin Wheeler

Getting Gorgeous in New York City

New York City

It’s going to be a fun weekend. Today, several of the contributors and I are piling in Carrie’s SUV and heading to New York City where we will meet up with Katrina for a day of fashion, fun & beauty…oh, and pampering!  Two of my friends are putting on a spectacular event in the city called Getting Gorgeous, and it is going to be fabulous!  Audrey McClelland & Vera Sweeney are the masterminds behind the event and, to be honest, I’ve never even met Vera before–but any friend of Audrey’s is a friend of mine.

This will actually be my first “event” as a blogger and I can speak for all of the ladies of  A Mom Knows Best when I say we are thrilled to get a little R&R, meet some other wonderful women and engage with the terrific brands that will be in attendence.  I really have to give Audrey & Vera  a hand for choosing terrific companies to allign themselves with.  We’re talking Degree, Lifetime Moms, Hanes, Sandals Resorts (BTW, who else is DYING for a vacation after our recent snow in New England?) Weight Watchers & Goody Hair…just to name a few!dad NYC

After hanging with the girls all day, my husband and baby will pick me up and we’ll spend the night with our good friends who have a daughter just two weeks younger than Paige.  The babies always have such a great time together and it’s so fun to see them interact!  Sunday I have a business lunch at a great little restaurant I’ve been dying to try, right by the water, before heading back to Rhode Island.  Crossing my fingers that Paige sleeps a little in the car.  She’s typically good for about an hour…that’s it.  Maybe it’s time to invest in one of those portable DVD players…although since she’s never seen a movie it might kind of freak her out.

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