Almost every day I have to wake up around 5 a.m. for work. Sometimes earlier. In my line of business, I work before people go to work. I am part of their morning routine, training them before their day begins. Obviously, on some days, the getting-up process is harder than others. My usual wake-up routine has always consisted of me getting out of bed, turning off my wretched alarm, pressing the “on” switch on the coffee maker and putting on my workout clothes.
But balancing personal life and work can sometimes be challenging (especially during the summer when there are more parties than hours in the day). Due to my declining energy levels, my dependency on coffee was getting stronger and stronger. So consequently, my caffeine also needed to get stronger and stronger. What started as one cappuccino a day was now turning into three—and I was crashing midday.
A true lover of java, I don’t really ever see myself completely quitting, and many studies have shown the benefits to drinking coffee. However, too much of anything is never good for you, and excess coffee can definitely put stress on the adrenals and digestive system, as well as trigger hormonal imbalance and body dehydration.
Recently I decided to switch up my morning routine by replacing coffee with green tea, and doing a two-minute Pilates-based abdominal series that would help wake me up. I performed the routine while I waited for the hot water to boil, and by the time I was done, the water was ready. After about three days of doing this, I noticed immediately how much the abdominal series really put me in the right mindset to be healthy, and how much immediate energy it gave me even before I had my tea.
I must admit, I do miss my cup of Joe, and I am sure I will have a cup soon, but this ab series is here to stay. So try out this routine first thing in the morning and let me how know how you feel!
TWO-MINUTE PILATES AB SERIES:
Lying on your back, place a small exercise ball between your knees and bend your knees into tabletop position. Lift your head and come into a crunch position holding onto the back of your thighs. Pull your belly button into your spine.
Extend your legs straight and at 65-degree angle. Anchor your back into the floor and extend your arms by your side. Make sure to squeeze the ball and keep your core engaged.
Begin pumping your arms briskly.
INHALE through the nose for a count of five and EXHALE through the mouth for a count of five.
Perform this 10 times, for a total of 100 counts.
SINGLE LEG TWIST:
Stay in your crunch position with your head lifted off the floor.
Take the ball out from between your legs and extend one leg straight—keep the other bent.
Begin sweeping the ball through and between the legs as you switch legs, straightening one and bending the other.
Twist the upper body towards the bent leg as you do this, and then alternate sides.
INHALE for a count of two and exhale for a count of two.
Perform this 20 times, or 10 times each leg.
DOUBLE LEG REACH:
Rest your head
Place the ball between your hands and bend both knees into tabletop position. Anchor your back into the mat.
Lift your head, coming into a crunch position, and hover the ball at the top of the ankles.
INHALE, extend the legs forward and straight at a 65-degree angle while extending the arms behind in the opposite direction, overhead by the ears. Push your back into the floor and engage your core.
EXHALE, bend the knees and fold back in, bringing the legs back to starting position, placing the ball on the top of the ankles.
Perform this 10 times.
SINGLE STRAIGHT LEG TWIST:
Extend one leg straight up into the sky and hover the other leg right over the floor. The legs should look like an “L” shape.
Perform the same action as “Single Leg Twist,” but try this time to keep the legs straight.
Perform 20 times or 10 times each leg.
Holding the ball between your hands, come into a crunch position with your head lifted off the floor.
Both legs are together and extended straight up towards the sky.
EXHALE as you crunch on the upward motion. As you pulse up, lift the upper body higher off the floor, imagine as though you are trying to get the ball to touch your toes.
INHALE, back down.
Perform 10 pulses.
Then drop the legs a little lower towards the floor, pushing your back into the floor, and perform the same 10 pulses.
Kit Rich is Los Angeles-based fitness trainer with endless exercise and nutritional know-how. Hollywood's hottest stars are addicted to Kit's unique, multi-disciplined approach that combines cardio, yoga, Pilates, and weight training. Kit's clients are immediately taken by her funny and honest approach to health and fitness. She treats her clients as she treats herself, "with a hard challenge, sensibility, sensitively, and a good laugh." Follow Kit on Twitter @kitrichfitness.