3 OF MY FAVORITE RESISTANCE BAND WORKOUTS FOR ELONGATED LEGS AND ARMS
I have loved adding weights to my daily workouts over the past few years, and decided to focus a little more on really elongating my legs and arms (specifically my upper thighs). I narrowed down some resistance band exercised to my three favorites that have given me the best results in giving me leaner, longer muscles in my arms and legs
A few months ago I grabbed these resistance bands at target. I have been doing lots of squats and pushups lately (view one of my favorite squat workouts here). I wanted to really focus on developing leaning longer muscles. So I incorporated a few resistance band exercises. I tried a few different variations of resistance band workouts. I wanted a few simple exercises that were easy to remember and gave me the fastest results (ie: I hate wasting my time during a workout). I try to only do exercises that push my the hardest so I know I will see improvements.
Over the course of four months, I narrowed down the workouts to my three favorite resistance band workouts. These three easy to do (and remember) workouts can be done at home, at the park while the kids play, or at the gym. Resistance bands are great because they are easy to transport and inexpensive!
Here are my three favorite resistance band exercises:
I try to look for bands that give me a good amount of resistance. I use these resistance bands. I use the band with the most resistance almost exclusively. I also cut one of the bands. I like the option to tie it to make it extra resistant.
I really feel like I’m living the best version of myself when I make time to exercise in the morning, and I love wearing my lululemon leggings during my runs. I’m so excited to be teaming up with lululemon to share a few of my favorite items they carry that would make fantastic gifts this season.
I’ve been a big lululemon fan for years and today on the blog I also wanted to break down all of my favorite leggings they carry and sizing info. luluemon has so many good leggings that work for various elements and types of workouts. Just in case you are interested in gifting a pair of their buttery smooth leggings to a friend (or yourself!) this season, I wanted to help make your selection easy.
Here are my top four favorite lululemon leggings and why I love them.
These are my running leggings of choice right now. They are the most slimming on and the ⅞ length (25”) hits right at my mid-ankle which is the most flattering legging length (I’m 5’6” for reference). I love that there are deep pockets on both legs and they are made from lululemon’s famous Nulux fabric that is quick-drying and super smooth. These are great for warm-cool temperatures, the fabric is very thin and soft. SHOP THEM HERE
The most buttery soft leggings I have ever worn! These leggings I use for lounging, travel, yoga, and sometimes sleeping. I don’t usually like to spend all day in tight leggings, but these have a comfortable four-way stretch and I feel like they would be comfortable enough to sleep in (and I don’t usually sleep in leggings). The 25” is full length on me and I wear a size 4. SHOP THEM HERE
These are my most versatile leggings and would work great for cold and warm weather. They hold you in but aren’t super thick (which also adds to the comfort level!). I love the thicker high waistband. These are super durable. The ⅞” are full length on me and I’m wearing them in this blog post. SHOP THEM HERE
I think anythinglululemon would make for a fantastic gift. The leggings are obviously my first choice for a gift, but lululemon also carries truly incredible activewear for women, girls, and men! They have an entire section on their site dedicated to great Gift Ideas that you can check out
I would have died for these running gloves on my runs when I lived in Utah! And they work with cell phones- genius!
Give a woman any lululemon items made out of their Nulu fabric and she will be thrilled! This Nulu Racerback Tank is buttery soft and stays in place on my runs!
This blush pouch would be such a great gift as a makeup bag for the girl on the go!
I’m so obsessed with this hat and run with it all the time. I got it in black and it’s made from the best material. For under $30 this would be a great quality gift.
If you want to be the bell of the ball on Christmas morning, give her these Align II leggings. They are made from that butter soft Nulu fabric and I want to live in them! (the 25” length go right to my ankle, the perfect length).
all c/o lululemon. Sizing and fit details at the bottom of this post
ALL EXERCISE IS GOOD EXERCISE
Don’t get me wrong, I always feel better when I’m able to fit a workout in my day, no matter what time of day it is. I’ve kicked up my workouts a notch over the past 2 years and have discovered how much more I prefer an early morning workout to one in the late afternoon or evening.
I’ve partnered with lululemon today to share how exercise keeps my body and my mind healthy, allowing me to live the best version of myself! luluemon is a brand I’ve loved for years (just wait until you see their new fall arrivals). They truly embody the energy and excitement I feel when I workout. I love the mornings for working out. When I miss a workout I find myself feeling sluggish throughout the day. Every time I miss a workout I make myself stop and remember how I feel so that I’ll be more motivated to fit in some exercise the next day! Working out in lululemon lets me hit the ground running, no matter what kind of weather or workout I encounter that day.
HAVING THE RIGHT WORKOUT GEAR TO COMBAT THE WEATHER
I have naturally poor blood circulation, so I am always cold. Having the right gear to protect me from the elements outside is so important in order to workout! lululemon just released their fall line of high performance jackets and coats that are perfect for cold or rainy mornings! Here are three of my favorite jackets they just released:
I’m wearing their new Rain Rules Jacket. Not only is it buttery soft, but it’s waterproof, breathable, and I love the tailored fit. It’s such a chic rain jacket that was made to allow you to move. It also looks really cute with a pair of joggers, a tee, and sneakers.
They also have a great running rain jacket called the Patch Game Jacket with great movement and ventilation, and I love the cute print.
If you live in really cold weather, lululemon’sCloudscape Jacketis absolutely dreamy. I tried it on in the store and it feels like you are wearing a cloud! It runs a little oversized, so I would recommend sizing down. I makes me think of all my cold morning runs in the canyons when I lived in Utah. This jacket would be perfect for that!
I love that lululemon makes workout gear that works just as hard as I do. Their clothings is impeccably made with the best activewear fabrics to optimize my movement. Their 2018 outerwear keeps me warm and protected so that I don’t have to miss an outdoor workout due to cold or rainy weather.
I realized that when I tried to workout at night I was so exhausted. I didn’t want to take pre-workout or caffeine that late at night, so I would have a much less productive workout than I wanted to. I find that the time of day where I have the most energy is between 9-12, so I figured that an early workout would optimize this time. I’ve come to find that it even extends my energy level to 1 or 2pm in the afternoon. If I am able to get in a workout before 8am, I feel revitalized and already feel accomplished early on. It sets the tone for the rest of my day.
I MENTALLY PREP FOR MY WORKOUT THE NIGHT BEFORE
Before I go to bed I prep for my workout the following morning. I make sure I lay out my workout clothes (or at least make sure that I have a clean pair of socks/sports bra that I can easily grab). Knowing that I get to throw on my favorite workout tank or cute leggings makes it easier to get up when my alarm goes off. I make sure my headphones are charged (I wrote about my favorite headphones here), and I pick out the podcast that I am going to listen to. Usually it’s something business related or one on parenting. Starting the mental prep the night before makes it easier for me get up early for a workout.
HOW I FIT IN MY WORKOUTS WITH KIDS AT HOME
This one can be tricky..but if you are really dedicated to working out, you can find a way to make it happen! When my kids were really young, I would run with them bundled up in my double stroller. I actually ran with Eli a few days ago in the morning! He has been home sick with croup and it was a great way to get him out of the house and he loved pointing out all the cars he saw and pushing the crosswalk buttons.
My favorite time to run is at 6am. This works for me right now because Garrett is home at that time and our boys are (usually) still sleeping. Yes, some mornings are rough getting out of bed that early, but about 10 minutes into my run I feel fantastic. This way I already have a full workout in before I start getting the kids ready for school. This also makes the rest of my day more productive because I’m not trying to find time to fit in a workout during the house I am usually working.
START SLOW AND SMALL, BUT KEEP IT STEADY.
Some days I run 1 mile, some days I run 5. Some days I do 30 squats, some days I do 200. On days where I am short on time, I just for a super quick 15 minute workout and I’m still able to feel energized and mentally rejuvenated. If you can’t run a full mile, that’s fine! Try run/walking half a mile each mornings and you will slowly build up the endurance to add on more distance later.
AN EARLY MORNING WORKOUT STARTS WITH AN EARLIER BEDTIME
I was the queen of late night for about five straight years. With younger kids at home, I would often work while they napped and then after they went to bed until 1 or 2 in the morning almost every night. When I decided to start exercising early in the mornings, I knew I needed to get better sleep at night in order to have the energy for a workout in the morning.
It got a ton easier when my kids started school. I was able to shift my work hours to the morning/afternoon while they were in school.
Are you an early morning exerciser? Regardless of what time I can fit it in, I’m always so glad when I do!
Last year I made two big changes in my workout/health routine. I did my best to cut out refined sugar from my diet, and I got really into working out with weights. In years past, my main form of working out was doing pilates and running. After I had my first son, I trained for and ran two half marathons. I often say the months that I spent training for those marathons I was the happiest I had ever been. Up until that point I was not a runner. Running one mile was overwhelming to me! But after constantly running four days a week for training, I loved it!
I saw the fastest change in my body with added weights and cutting out sugar. So much so that I would only start my workouts with running 1-2 miles on a treadmill, with most of my focus being on the weights. Since moving to our new house, I have a lot more running friendly streets, and I’ve been running longer distances outside more often, and I remember how much I love it! So here is what I have decided to do for my workouts this year that I hope will be the best of both worlds…
I am keeping my weight exercises, and adding longer runs to my workouts. The weights have helped me tone and build muscle, but adding in 2-3 longer runs each week will give my body a break and elongate the muscle.
Invest in better running gear. I have some really great workout shoes for lifting weights, but I still have my super old running shoes for long runs. They are pretty worn out, so I just bought these Adidas sneakers from Nordstrom, and I love them! I showed a closer view of them on my stories the other day. They give me really great support without being too squishy or soft. Keep in mind they run at least 1/2 size big! I ordered my normal size and ended up exchanging them for the next size down. I also just got these leggings and I am so obsessed! Zella, only carried by Nordstrom, makes amazing quality leggings. The high waist is so flattering, the fabric is not see-through, and they come in the best colors and styles! I have been so impressed by all of Zella’s line; it makes Nordstrom the first place I shop when I am on the hunt for good athletic wear.
I will still try and cut out more refined sugar. I swear a cleaner diet helped me cut so much faster. It also made me less sluggish and more disciplined in my workouts. I jumped off the no sugar train over the holidays and I felt so gross. So I’ve recommitted myself to clean eating again.
Now that I’ve posted about it…that means I have to stick with it, right?! I always try to post what I do for my workout on my stories. It helps keep me accountable!
I have a new workout video for you today! I have gotten a lot or requests and questions about my exercise routine, so I wanted to show you another leg move I love to do. Most of the workouts I’ve posted are focused on legs/upper thigh because it’s my favorite area to really focus on. I also think you can improve a lot of other areas of the body while doing these workouts as well. I still do my squat/pushup routine at the gym regularly. I love doing my leg lifts at home, and this is another great leg exercise I love to do at home.
There are so many days when I have the best intentions to get out the door to the gym…eventually. Putting on workout clothes first thing in the morning is one way I mentally make myself workout that day, but many days it just ends up being at home at the end of a long day! Life gets going, and I’m all over the place with kids, work, and errands; but when I already have on a comfy tank, leggings, and running shoes, I force myself to fit in some exercise at some point in the day!
I recently picked up this amazing pair of Nike running shoes from Finish Line in the prettiest lilac color. Aren’t they amazing? I saw them online, and I just couldn’t get them out of my head. The top of the shoe is really soft and pliable, so they are even comfy to wear without socks if you are just doing yoga or pilates! I ended up wearing them all day without socks the other day because I just threw them on first thing in the morning, and they were so cushiony all day long. I love adding a colorful shoe to an all black workout look. Finish Line also has some great women’s workout clothing in addition to shoes. These black leggings are so cute! I don’t love capris on me, so I like that these are long with the logo at the very bottom. One of these days I’ll get brave and go for some bright colored leggings, but I loved these ones. You can check out more of the great options that Finish Line carries here. I saw some athletic shoes there in colors and styles I haven’t seen before, like these and these.
SHOP MY LOOK HERE:
These side leg lifts are great because they are quick and efficient. They really target the outside of the upper thigh (which is always the area I try to concentrate on most). These ones get right to the point fast, and my upper thigh always burns like crazy as I do them! These are great for days when you can’t make it to the gym, but have a little time and want to just concentrate on your outer thighs.
Here is the workout. Try doing it along with me!
note: make sure you have most of your weight on your knee. Your hand on the mat is there to help with your balance, but you should hardly be putting any weight on it. You should be able to lift your hand off of the mat while doing this exercise.
16 leg lifts (foot flexed)
16 leg pulses (foot flexed)
8 clockwise circles (toe pointed)
8 counterclockwise circles (toe pointed)
8 leg lifts (foot flexed)
STRETCH before changing sides!
16 leg lifts (foot flexed)
16 leg pulses (foot flexed)
8 clockwise circles (toe pointed)
8 counterclockwise circles (toe pointed)
8 leg lifts (foot flexed)
Disclaimer: Like I state in all my workout videos, I’m not a professional! These are workouts I’ve picked up from various classes over the years, and ones that I do all the time. I’m simply sharing a few ideas for workouts you can do at home, but I don’t claim to be any sort of workout expert! 😉
If you follow along with me on Instagram Stories, you know that I try to get to the gym a few times a week. If I can’t fit the gym into my day, I usually do a workout at home. Carving out 40 minutes to and hour in my day to dedicate to an intense workout is something that benefits me physically and mentally. Aside from the gym, I am constantly lifting kids, strollers, bags of groceries, hiking up the hill for school pickup, pushing around 1800 lb Costco shopping carts, contorting my body in unnatural ways to reach the prized toy that fell into a deep dark hole under the Cash’s car seat. I am ALWAYS on the move. Since my day is so packed, I usually end up staying in whatever outfit I throw on first thing in the morning. I have found that if I throw on an athleisure look that I can move around easily in- 9 times out of 10 I am more physically active that day. Here are a few tips I’ve learn when it comes to making the athleisure trend work…
1. Find a middle balance in your clothing:
Athleisure means you ware wearing clothing that is appropriate for low to med exercise where you aren’t dripping sweat (yoga, pilates, short jogs, light weight lifting). This is clothing that you should also feel comfortable grocery shopping in, or chatting with your kid’s teacher. Tight running shorts and sports bras only are very much “gym only” clothes in my opinion. So don’t walk around town in something that is too short or revealing. I have a few tighter workout shirts that are great at the gym, but I wear longer, loser fitting tops that cover my bum when I know I’m also going to be out and about.
2. Accessorize appropriately:
A red lip and cat eye glasses do not go with yoga pants and running shoes. But a tiny delicate necklace and understated aviators, and gold studs are a good balance. I also usually opt for my diaper bag when I am heading out in athleisure. I save my nicer totes and purses for a look that is more appropriate.
3. Wear shoes that can crossover:
I have a few pairs of sneakers that are hard core running shoes, but for an athleisure look I go for something really comfortable, one solid color, and a little more understated. I love these new Puma Rebel Sneakers I just got from Rack Room Shoes, because they don’t have laces, so I can slip them on super easily. Socks are optional with these shoes because the bottom of the shoes so comfortable. It kind of feels like I’m walking on clouds. They are also breathable, so I can get away with a light workout without socks too. I love the solid black design because it looks sleek and understated, but still stylish (they also come in pink and grey)
4. A little hair and makeup go a long way:
Since you are spending less time digging through blouses and colors of jeans- take a few extra minutes and throw on a little foundation, blush, mascara, and lipgloss. You can definitely get away without a full face of makeup, but I fell a lot more confident running around town in an athleisure look when I have a little makeup on and my hair isn’t a disaster.
5. Remember to wear jeans sometimes too:
While I think the athleisure look is so great for someone busy like me- I still try and get dressed in a normal jeans + top a few times a week. These are usually days when I have meetings and know I won’t have time to fit in a workout.
Women’s bodies are pretty incredible. We grow babies in our body, we push the babies out of our body, and we feed the babies…with our body. That’s a lot of work our bodies have to go through! Adjusting to life with a newborn can be busy and stressful. The desire to hit the gym and start exercising again, while great, can sometimes seem impossible. I’ve set my alarm for 6 am for two weeks in a row now, every night with the intention of getting up and working out from 6-7am before I need to get the boys ready for school. I’ve actually gotten up and done that one time in the two weeks. Sometimes I feel like if I don’t get to the gym by 6, my opportunity to exercise and be healthy is over for the day because now I need to get kids fed, dressed, driven to school, grocery shop, feed the baby, on and on.
After having Eli, I’ve realized that just because I can’t make it to the gym everyday doesn’t meant that I can’t be healthy. Here are a few tricks I’ve learned to fit into my everyday life while taking care of kiddos.
Exercise wherever you are.
Taking care of a baby isn’t for sissys. All day long you are hauling a 20+ lb baby carseat from the house to the car, from the car to the grocery store, back to the car into the school, etc. You are loading heavy groceries into the car, lifting your stroller, pushing your stroller up the hill to the school, carrying a baby on your hip, helping a toddler see over a tall fence, etc. I’m on my feet constantly and all that heavy lifting is definitely a workout!
If you haven’t had a chance to hit the treadmill, take your kids to the park and walk/jog next to them on the walkway. Sometimes I do stroller squats around the park while Cash plays at the playground (hold onto the stoller with both hands and lunge with each step you take). Park a little further from the school and make yourself walk up that hill for afternoon pickup. Incorporate exercise throughout your day…and chances are, you’re already getting a pretty good workout just taking care of the baby!
Invest in quality workout clothes.
I find it a whole lot easier to get out and exercise when I have workout clothes that I actually want to wear. Being already dressed in comfy running shoes or a cute sweat-wicking top makes it easier for me to get out and move around more. And get some nursing friendly options too! I’ve been looking all over for a good nursing friendly sports bra. I finally found this front zip sports bra at Zappos and I ordered it immediately. It was at my house in 2 days (free shipping!) and now it is so much easier to nurse Eli after a workout.
Pack yourself healthy snacks.
I am always throwing fishie crackers and granola bars in my bag for the boys to snack on. If you don’t have something for yourself in your bag, chances are you are going to get starving (especially if nursing) and you are going to eat the extra bag of fruit snacks because you don’t have anything else. I always have a bag of nuts in my bag. They are filling and healthy. I buy this jar of unsalted nuts fills up two of the nut containers perfectly. It is so yummy!
Keep taking your vitamins.
Just because you aren’t pregnant anymore doesn’t mean you should stop taking your prenatal vitamins. I also take 3 of these biotin pills to help with my skin complexion and post baby hair loss (because hormones be crazy!). I take one Fenugreek pill everyday because it helps with my milk supply. I tend to lose my milk after 9 months, and this supplement has really helped keep my supply up. It might not be necessary/beneficial for everyone, but it has helped me.
Drink tons of water.
I’ve never been a big water drinker. It has no taste to me and it’s so hard for me to force myself to drink water. I’ve been flavoring my water with Mio and now I drink so much water! My guilty pleasure is the Mio Energy (black cherry flavor) mixed with a squirt of Mio lemonade. (it tastes like strawberry lemonade!) The Mio Energy gives me a much needed caffeine boost throughout the day. I know it isn’t the best option, because it does have an artificial sweetener, but I just do one squeeze into a giant thing of water…much less than the recommended serving. And it’s got to be healthier than Diet Coke, right?!
Prep your meals beforehand.
Diet is a HUGE part of getting and staying healthy. I always heard that and believed this, but it wasn’t until I started cutting down my sugar intake drastically that I actually saw how much diet helped even when I don’t have time for intense workouts. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (leannebarlow), you probably know that I eat pretty much the same thing everyday (with the exception of dinner). I’ve streamlined my diet so that I know exactly what I am going to be eating that day and barely have to even prepare it.
The trick is to do it all on Sunday night. I prep my breakfast and lunch Mon-Fri on Sunday nights. That way I can just grab the pre-made tupperware from my fridge and inhale it as I feed my own kids. I’ve listed out my recipes for breakfast and lunch below…
For Breakfast: Overnight Oats
1/2 C Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 C Greek Yogurt
(I love this Strawberry-Honey one. I just buy a quart of it at the grocery store)
1 tsp chia seeds
1/3-1/2 C Almond Milk
(I use the unsweetened kind. I do a little less than 1/2 cup. If it’s too dry when I go to eat it in the morning, I just add a little more)
Pour all the ingredients into a tupperware, mix it all up with a spoon, and stick in in the fridge. I make 5 at a time, so I do it all really quickly and don’t really use exact measurements. They last about 5-6 days in the fridge, so its perfect to make for the whole week. In the morning I just chop of some bananas or strawberries into it and add a small scoop of jam or a little honey and mix it all up. The chia seeds and the oats absorb the milk overnight, so it’s the consistency of oatmeal. Eating cold oatmeal might take a little getting used to, but I’m hooked! And it keeps me full till lunch.
For Lunch: Chicken Sausage Veggie Bowl
2 packages of Chicken Sausage (the Italian Style is my favorite)
2 C uncooked brown rice or quinoa
4 zucchinis (I do 2 yellow and 2 green)
3 sweet potatoes
Garlic Powder (to taste)
Salt/Pepper (to taste)
1 can of Roasted Red Peppers (I buy the ones that are pre sliced so I don’t have to chop them up each time)
This makes enough for 7 days worth of lunches for me.
On Sunday night I cut up all the sausage links (I cut them all along the center length-wise first, then across about 1/2″ wide), and throw them all in a big skillet with some EVOO to brown. While they are cooking I put my rice in the rice cooker, and I chop up all my veggies. I cut up my zucchini the same way I do the sausages, along the center and chopped. I peel the sweet potatoes and slice them 1/2″ thick, then cut each in half both ways, kind of like a mini pizza. Once my veggies are cut, I let them sit out on the counter for a bit so they all have a chance to dry from being washed. If I store them while they are still wet, they will get moldy faster. Once they are fully dry, I throw each one into a gallon ziploc bag with a paper towel inside (to absorb any extra liquid). I store all my cooked rice/quinoa and my cooked sausage in 2 separate tupperware containers and throw them in the fridge too.
When it’s time for lunch, I put the rice/quinoa in the bottom of my bowl (I do a little more than 1/2 a cup), and top with about 1/2 C of sausage, and about 1/2 C zucchini and 1/2 C sweet potatoes. Then I stick it in the microwave for 4 minutes. This is long enough to cook the veggies so I don’t have to dirty another pan just to cook them! Then I sprinkle lots of garlic powder, salt and pepper over the veggies, add a little feta cheese and roasted red peppers, and mix it all up.
I’m not a huge cook, and I came up with this recipe bit by bit over the past year. I wanted a way to eat lots of veggies but not have to take a lot of time to cook them each day, and this way works!
So don’t be too hard on yourself! It’s hard work taking care of kids, and chances are you are getting more exercise then you are giving yourself credit for!
Over the past few months I have really been focusing on trying to ramp up my efforts on exercising/being healthy. I came to the conclusion that in order to really see and feel results I need 2 things:
1. A set workout schedule so I know what I will be doing in advance.
2. Cute workout clothes. That’s enough motivation right there to get me out of bed.
When I started my quest, I decided to do the Insanity workouts. Start to finish. I’d seen my husband do P90X in the past and I don’t know about you, but I could only handle so much of Mr. Tony “I’m so peppy I make you want to roundhouse kick your TV in the face” Horton. I really ended up liking Insanity. Shauuuuun T is much more my style. I loved that I didn’t need any weights or pull-up bars, I could just press play and start. I loved that the work-outs were only 40 minutes long for the first month. But I’ll warn you, they shoot up to a full hour for the last 4 weeks. One hour, 6 times a week. Aintnobodygottimeforthat.
So I took a bit longer to complete the whole course than the schedule lays out. I averaged about four times a week, and had to trim down some of the longer workouts. But I saw changes in my body and had a lot more energy, so I’m going to go ahead and say that you don’t have to follow the schedule religiously to see results. But the workouts kick your butt. And you sweat like an NBA player.
Now as far as having cute clothes to workout in, Albion Fit has your back. I’d live in this hoodie. Not only do they have a great selection of workout clothing (in fantastic color selections, might I add), but they also have a swimwear section that rocks. I have been eying this little number for a while, and might have to add it to my summer suit collection.
Albion Fit is giving one Elle Apparel reader a $100 gift card to help you ramp up your workout wardrobe!
To Enter: CLOSED (must be a US resident and not have won a previous Albion Fit giveaway within the last 6 months)
1st Entry: Like Albion Fit on Facebook (leave a comment letting me know)
Additional entry: Pin your favorite item from albionfit.com and leave a second comment with a link to your pin.
Giveaway runs through 6/12 and I’ll announce the winner on 6/13.
If you can’t wait for the giveaway, get $15 off a purchase of $50 or more with code elleapparel15! (good through 6/12)