November 22, 2010

Pancake Session: The Photographer’s Workout

Anyone who has been around this blog any length of time knows how much we love (love LOVE) our couple from last year, JC & Esther. If you’re new to this blog, just click HERE, HERE and HERE to fully understand. But be warned, you’ll probably fall in love with them too. Well it’s been over a year since their wedding and a lot has happened in that time (just wait til you see little Luc below!)…and I’ve been missing me some JC&E time. So I reached out to Esther (who also happens to be a personal trainer) to see if she’d be willing to put together a custom workout for all of us sit at a desk, sedentary types. And she was more than happy to oblige! And since JC stepped in to take the pictures to go along with the workout, it’s a full on JC & Esther love fest all over again! Love you guys!!

It is my honor to introduce guest blogger for the day, Mrs. Esther Tetreault- fitness specialist. (And if you like this post, Esther & her team remotely train people all over the world….so shoot her an email and she’ll start kicking your butt!)

It’s too cold out.
I have 18 weddings to edit.
I just have to get through this busy week but next week will be better.
My socks don’t match.

I bet you’ve uttered one of these *reasons* why you couldn’t work out. I’ve worked with personal training clients for over a decade and I hear at least one *reason* every day. I tell all of my clients, and any random stranger who will listen, that there are 24 usable hours in every day. 1440 minutes. You REALLY can’t find a few minutes to exercise? Really?

I am one of those people who enjoys working out so I make time for it because I know it’s important and I feel SO GOOD when I’m done. I’m busy, too! So I never understood how you couldn’t find just 20 minutes a day to exercise. Then I had a baby. Now I get it. Really.

But here’s the thing. There are still 24 usable hours, 1440 minutes, in every day and I get to choose how I spend them. I know not every one of my minutes is productive and most of them aren’t even spent focusing on me. So now I multitask. I’m going to teach you how to multitask, too.

How many hours a day do you spend sitting at your desk or computer? Now how much of that time is really spent working (c’mon, you know you’re surfing the web…you’re reading this blog post right now!) I’m going to show you some exercises you can do while you’re working (or surfing) at your desk.
So pull up iTunes, get your favorite upbeat songs queued up, and let’s go:

Chair Squats:
From a seated position in your chair, place both feet flat on the floor about hip width apart. Pressing through your heels, stand up. Now, slowly lower your butt towards your chair but don’t sit down…stand back up, pressing through your heels again. If you need assistance, use your hands lightly on the arm rests to steady yourself. Focus on keeping your weight back on your heels, so your knees don’t extend over your toes, and keep your chest up. Try 10-20 repetitions.

Desk Pushups:
Place both palms flat on your desk, a little wider than shoulder width apart. Walk your feet back about 3 feet and balance on the balls of your feet. Now, slowly lower your chest towards the desk as far as you can and then press back up. The closer your feet to your desk, the easier the pushup. Stepping farther back will make it more challenging. Focus on keeping your abs tight and your back straight. Try 5-15 repetitions.

Chair (or Desk) Dips:
From a seated position, hold the front of a stable chair (or desk) with your hands right by your hips. Place both feet flat on the floor, about 3 feet in front of you. Now, as if you were sliding into a pool, scoot your butt off the chair and lower yourself down until your elbows are at 90 degrees. Press yourself back up, keeping your back straight and perpendicular to the floor. Focus on pushing through your arms, not your legs. Try 10-20 repetitions.

Backpack/Purse Curl:
Grab anything moderately heavy that you can keep a good grip on…your camera bag, your purse, a bag of groceries. From a seated or standing position, hang your arm straight by your side. Now, lift the object until your elbow is bent 90 degrees, keeping your elbow right by your hip. Focus on just lifting from your elbow, not swinging from your shoulder. Try 10-15 repetitions per arm.

Book Raise:
Find the heaviest book (or baby) you’ve got. From standing, hold it in both hands with your arms hanging down in front of you. Now, using straight arms, lift to shoulder height and then lower it back down. Focus on keeping your back straight and your body still, only using your shoulders and not your back to lift. Try 10-15 repetitions.

Let’s get another angle on that! :)

Oh heck, just one more!! :) :)

And there you have 5 simple exercises that can be done in minutes at your desk. No excuses…I mean *reasons*…why you can’t. Try one right now! I’ll wait. Better yet, I’ll do one myself.
. . .
. . .
. . .
There. 15 pushups done!

Did you know the average American gains 7 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day? One to five of those pounds won’t come off before the next holiday season. That means you can slowly gain weight every year and wonder why you’re suddenly 20 pounds heavier than you were in college.

Today I’m challenging you to be proactive and beat the odds. Start exercising today; don’t wait to make it a New Year’s resolution. Instead of trying to take off the holiday weight later, try not to put it on right now.
If you can promise yourself that you’ll do one, or two, or all of these exercises every time you sit at your desk, you’ll be feeling and looking better by New Year’s. Pick one exercise for every hour you’re working, or take 20 minutes and do 2-3 sets of each one. Throw in 30 seconds of jumping jacks between each set and you’ve got yourself a cardio workout as well!

I’ve challenged Justin Mary, so they are committed (or so they told me to get me to stop harassing them). They have each other to keep them focused and I’m going to check in to keep both of them on track. Are you up to the challenge? I want to know! This is a basic program to get you started, but if you keep at it you should be ready to move on to more challenging exercises quickly. Shoot me an email, tell me how the program makes you feel, or let me know when you’re ready to step it up!

Esther and her team of fitness specialists work with clients in the Boston area, and design custom programs for clients all around the world. You can reach Esther at 617-505-6605 or

  1. Lara Rios

    That’s very funny, I love the ones with the baby! Sooo cute :)

  2. Caitlin

    I love this! Thanks for sharing Esther. I sit at a computer for 9+ hours a day so I am determined to fit some of these in. Your baby is adorable!

  3. Karen (Mikols) Bonar

    "my socks don’t match" … mine never match. :)

  4. Lori Calhoun

    Dang…Esther be lookin good after havin a baby!

  5. Leslie

    Thanks for the tips!! I’ve recently started working out with a personal trainer!! I’ve found it’s helped hold me accountable!

  6. Jil

    i just loved Esther & JC’s wedding pics! – congrats on Luc, he is beautiful!

  7. Aliy

    Wow, Awesome post. I wish my "weights" were that cute!

  8. Ray

    "The Photographer’s Workout" <——I like that. ;o) And Luc is a CUTIE!!! =D Congrats to JC & Esther!! ;o)

  9. Chris Aram

    How funny – love the "baby lift" ;-)

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