Upper Body Workout + Workout with Your Dog

Happy Monday! I love the start of a new week (most of the time) because it means a new beginning to be productive and work toward my goals! Today is the day for several holidays (including National Eight Track Tape Day…hmm) but the one that I like most is National Pet Day!

This article on 13 Fun Ways to Workout with Your Dog had some new ideas I hadn’t thought of before (and made me miss my Weimaraner/Golden Retriever doggie Rita, who we gave to another family after Judith was born and I couldn’t keep up with Rita’s super high energy needs anymore 😦 It’s bittersweet, but I know she’s happier).

For the past 12-ish weeks I haven’t had to think about my workouts since I was doing a challenge with workouts on DVD (it was TERRAfit, in case you want to check it out – it combines 2 of my favorite things, essential oils and fitness!), and I really enjoyed them! The workouts are repetitive enough that you can get the hang of it quickly, but challenging enough that you’re gasping for air after the first cardio set (there are 3 strength and 3 cardio sets in each workout).

Now that TERRAfit’s over, it’s back to writing workouts for me! Last weekend I wrote a super challenging total body one, but I’m going to save that to share with you later in a project I’m working on 😉 For now, here’s a fun (I’m using that term loosely) upper body workout that’s sure to fire up and strengthen your arms. Try a little Peppermint oil or Soothing Blend on your arms before you start – they’ll cool down, feel a little tingly, and you’ll get an energy boost to power through your workout! (If you have sensitive skin, go easy on either of these two essential oils – sweating will open your pores and make them feel more intense, which most people love, but can be too strong for others.) All you need are a set of dumbbells at a medium weight (5-15lbs works for most people). For the first portion, keep moving at a fast pace. Rest for 1-2 minutes after each round.

Warm up (5 mins)

15 push-ups

Side plank with lateral raise

15 one leg bicep curls (engage core to keep your balance)

Tricep dips (hands on floor, lift hips into high bridge as you straighten arms)

15 one leg back rows (engage core to keep your balance)

30 second static squat with shoulder press (hold squat position as low as you can, shoulder press overhead)

15 bicep hammer curls (regular speed)

15 bicep hammer curls (slow, twice as long as regular)

Repeat 2-3x


2 minutes cardio: 30 seconds each – jumping jacks, mountain climbers, skaters, burpees

10 push-ups

Repeat cardio and pushups.

Cool down – stretching, walk, foam roller


Enjoy the burn!

❤ Gina



6 Naptime Workouts

Quiet, quick workouts don’t have to be boring or ineffective. In fact, short, high intensity workouts can be very effective (think HIIT–it’s super for leaning out and strengthening muscles in the entire body + cardiovascular fitness!). Here’s a roundup of workouts that are perfect for naptime.

24 Minute Dumbbells Only Home HIIT Workout – Blonde Ponytail

Upper Body Superset Workout – PB Fingers

Full Body HIIT Workout – Fit Bottomed Girls

Six Pack in a Sweater Ab Burner – Fitnessista

Kettlebell Pyramid – Carrots N Cake

The 20-minute Hotel Room Workout – Nerd Fitness


Bonus for fun: The Playground Workout – Nerd Fitness (this one looks super tough!)

Let me know if you try any of these! It can be so hard as a new mom to get back in the swing of things, but anything is possible if you get creative and persevere through tough times. Many of my workouts turn into breastfeeding sessions or toddler meltdowns or snack time. If you can’t get it all done at one time, it’s OK to split your workout up. Keep in mind, higher intensity workouts like the ones in this post will get you more results in less time.

Thanks to all the fabulous fitness bloggers who created these workouts ❤

Make Your Abs Cry

Hello hello! If you want a quick but painful ab workout, this is it! I went for a run with Judith in the jogging stroller earlier this week, and did this workout when I got home. I felt it the next day in that great way that means your workout was a success! 😀


When I need an extra push to do something that’s tough (like this ab workout, or eating veggies instead of more chocolate, or being patient with my daughter), this quote gets me every time! Thinking about how I’ll feel tomorrow helps me just do it – satisfaction for a job well done beats regret for sure.

I’ve been enjoying lots of tea with a drop of Bergamot essential oil at night to stave off the munchies. I’m part of an online fitness challenge right now so I can’t let my team down by eating after hours! It’s the extra push I needed to stop boredom snacking. I could post salt lamp pics all day, but I’ll spare you. That’s what Instagram’s for, right?


Little Lady turned 17 mos. a few days ago! She’s changing a lot and is so much fun to be around at this age. The solar lights from our walkway are the perfect accessories for her outfit, obviously.

How neat is this? The Living Planet app can turn any pic or video into…whatever type of pic that’s called. I like the way panoramic photos turn out. Videos look so cool. I’d post the original of the pic above, but it’s way, way back in my phone’s photos.

Back to the ab workout–you’ll just need a balance ball for these exercises.

  • 30 knee tucks
  • 50 crunches on the ball
  • 10 knee ups
  • 30-60 sec plank (make it easier without using the ball. Feet on the ball make it harder)

Repeat 1-2 times. Gently stretch in an “up dog” type position to give your abs a break. Enjoy the burn 😉
❤ Gina

4-minute New Years’ Eve Workout

Happy New Years’ Eve! I love this time of year, and after taking a few weeks off in December, I’m refreshed and ready to get back to my routine (as much of a routine as I can with a 16-month-old who takes my plans and laughs at them, then crushes them to pieces. Just saying 😉

Because of the aforementioned 16-month-old, I’m all about super quick workouts over here. And since somebody got a medicine ball for Christmas from the best husband ever, we’re going to use it in this workout 😀 (That was me. I got the medicine ball for Christmas. Just so we’re clear. Haha)


You can do this without the medicine ball, of course, or substitute a soccer or basketball.

This workout can be completed in 4 minutes, or you can repeat 1-2 times for a longer workout. You can even do each round at different times throughout the day (stay at home moms are all too familiar with that kind of workout, am I right?! Start before breakfast, do a round during afternoon nap time, another round before bed…whatever it takes!)

Form notes:

Squats w/med ball toss – holding medicine ball at waist level, squat. As you stand up, toss the ball above your head and catch just before beginning to squat again. Work at making it fluid movement.

Plank crawl – in full plank position (hands below shoulders), inch one hand and foot forward, then the opposite hand and foot. Keep core engaged!

Medicine ball crunches –  like regular crunches, but with medicine ball held above chest. I like to tap the ball on the floor behind my head, hands on the ball, when I come down after each crunch.

Medicine ball mountain climbers – (if you have wrist problems, skip the medicine ball and do regular mountain climbers) both hands on medicine ball, start slow – these are much harder to balance than regular mountain climbers, and your abs will feel it SO MUCH more! The second time I went through this circuit, I had to stop and hold in plank. Fiery fiery abs!

If you’re out at a party tonight, here are a few of my tips for staying on the healthy wagon:

  • Come (somewhat) hungry – it never works for me to eat before a party. I ended up still stuffing my face because of all the yummy new dishes to try and then I’ve gone way overboard by having two meals instead of one. Now don’t fast all day beforehand or anything, but I never go to a party full. I will usually bring a snack in case the options are terribly unhealthy or there’s not enough food.
  •  Pass up the store-bought dishes or boring food. Don’t just eat it because it’s there. (I’ll skip the store-bought chocolate chip cookies or cakes, I can get those anywhere, but I try the homemade, “family recipe” type dishes.)
  • Don’t forget drinks have calories too, and can have a lot of sugar. I like to enjoy my sugar in baked goods, not drinks, so just ask your hostess what’s in the punch and if it’s loaded with sugar, only take a small sample of it instead of filling up a huge glass.

Enjoy your 4-minute workout and eat some NYE party snacks for me tonight 🙂

Friday Faves + Fit Tip

Happy Friday! We’re doing a whole bunch of nothing for Halloween tomorrow, but looking forward to the usual weekend fun.
I thought “fit tip Friday” would be a fun weekly post, so here’s the first one:

I was so used to 45+ min workouts before I became a mom. I loved spending time at the gym and could pretty much stay there all day if I wanted. I really missed that after Judith was born, and was frustrated with all the interruptions when I tried to get even a 20 minute workout in with her at home. She was upset, I was sweaty and upset (lol), and it just wasn’t fun.

But guess what? I had to get used to it. Sometimes I have to stop and start my workout a bunch of times to feed her or change her diaper or go play in her IKEA tent with her (her new thing is to sit inside it, yelling at me until I crawl in and join her, haha). Sometimes all I can do in one day is TEN MINUTES. The first couple months after Judith was born, I let so many 10 minute workouts go by out of frustration that I couldn’t exercise for a longer chunk of time. Then I realized, I could have exercised for 30-60 more minutes this week, just by taking advantage of 5 or 10 minutes here and there.

Be prepared! Have some 10 minute workouts typed into your phone’s note-taking app, or on a marker board in your house. You never know when you’ll have a chance to get moving! Here are a few ideas:

4 mins cardio, switching exercises every minute on the minute (butt kicks, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, jog in place, squat jumps, etc)

1 min abs (plank, pike crunches, bicycle crunches, etc)


Tabatas: 20 sec work HARD, 10 sec REST. Repeat 8 times for a 4 min workout and huge metabolism boost. I like to do kettlebell swings and burpees this way.

Compound exercises: pick 5 exercises, perform for 30-45 sec and rest until 1 min is up. Switch exercises for the next minute, and repeat all 5 for a total of 10 mins. So you’re completing 2 rounds of 5 exercises. Try squats with shoulder press, inchworm abs, lunge with lateral raises, push-up to side plank, or deadlift with bicep curl at the top.


Now for some Friday favorites!

15 Ways to Feel Slimmer by Tomorrow (most of these are good to do ALL the time, but when we get off track, they’re a great way to feel/look better in a hurry)

Dry brushing + oil lotion before shower to protect from chemicals in water

Chatbooks mystery sale – I’ve blogged about Chatbooks before, and now they’re giving away some big discounts (up to $100)! Use code “TREAT” in the app during checkout (everyone will save at least $3). Good thru 10/31 (tomorrow!)
Glass straws: great for drinking water with essential oils, and making green smoothies look cool in the straw

The Many Medicinal Properties of Food

See ya next week!


Using Essential Oils to Get Fit

Disclaimer: I’m not allowed to name the brand of essential oils I use on my blog in order to comply with the company’s wishes (and the FDA’s rules about commercial speech). EMAIL ME at fitoilsmomma@gmail.com to request FREE SAMPLES, find out why I use the brand I do, or place an order.

^super convicting, right?! It’s so easy for me to focus on excuses/obstacles sometimes. But this statement is so true. Just get rid of them, and results start showing up.

When I discovered essential oils four years ago, I had no idea they could improve my fitness. I mean, they’re little bottles of magical liquid, so I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was! Now I’ve kind of got a routine down (it changes day to day a little bit, but I have a few favorites I use consistently).

Peppermint–cooling and invigorating

I can help but feel energized when I take a whiff of this. I pop a few drops in my diffuser with Rosemary during my at-home workouts and I get a big energy boost. At the gym without a diffuser? #1, tell your gym manager to get a diffuser going to purify the air and lift everyone’s mood! #2, pop a drop of peppermint on your tongue or in your (glass) water bottle for a similar effect.

Metabolic blend–like fire in your mouth (in a good way)

I start every workout with a shot of this blend. I put 3-4 drops in a shot glass, fill with water, and I’m good to go. I’ll literally take a shot and go right into my workout at home, no waiting in between. My sinuses clear up and I actually feel more motivated to work out. The citrus is refreshing and the cinnamon is warm. Combined with the peppermint in this blend, that’s where the fire comes from. Bonus: it minimizes sugar cravings when used consistently, and smooths cellulite when applied topically (I use 20 drops in 1 c. coconut oil). Cha-ching! Lots of bang for your buck with this one.


A tip I got was to massage a few drops into my legs before a run. I gave this a try earlier this week. I’m going to do it a few more times before I talk more about it. But I mention it here because it enhances circulation and lymphatic flow, which exercise does as well, so I feel like it’s a great way to get the most out of your workout.

• Soothing blend

What good is working out if you’re too sore from one session to do your best the next day? This is where I love the minty fresh soothing blend. I use it before and after a hard workout to ease achy muscles and joints. It is so important to be able to walk upstairs after leg day (the diaper changing table is upstairs in our house, soooo staying downstairs on the couch all day is not an option. Although it should be. Haha).

• Protective blend

When I go to the gym, I keep a little spray bottle with about 10 drops of protective blend mixed with witch hazel to spray down the equipment. Safer than toxic cleaning sprays and it smells amazing. This way, I’m not picking up nasty germs from the benches or handles, and I stay healthier so I don’t miss workouts from feeling run down or having a stuffy nose.

These are my top 5 oils for fitness – what are your favorites?