What are 5 exercises I can do using the stairs in my house?

  1. Stretches.
    1. Example: Keep one foot flat on floor leg straight, put other foot on second or third step and slowly lean forward.
    2. Example: Keep one foot flat on the floor. Put the other foot on the second or third step, and slowly bend your knee. This will give the heel of the lower foot a gentle stretch. 
    3. Example: Stand on edge of bottom step on the ball of one foot: let your heel gradually lower until you have a good stretch in your tendon. Alternate feet.
  2. Heel lifts, with or without additional weight. Similar to 1.3 above, but you alternately lower and raise your heel, standing on your toes. Hang onto the railing to maintain balance.
  3. Jumps: Hop, both feet together, onto the bottom step. Hop back down. Do 3 sets of 12. Gradually build up to hopping onto higher and higher steps. You will probably want to hang onto the railing to maintain balance.
  4. Use the stairs as aides to change the angle on your push-ups. You can start with your feet on the floor, and your hands on one of the higher steps. As you build your strength, you can work down the steps, and eventually end up with your hands on the floor, and your feet on the steps. You then gradually move your feet to higher steps, which changes the muscles that you engage during your push-ups.
  5. Seated dips. Sit on the bottom step and put your palms flat on the second step. Push down, straightening your arms. Lower yourself slowly until you’re about to sit on the step again, then repeat. Build up gradually.

How do you handle yourself mentally knowing you will gain weight during the holidays?

If you’re really upset at temporarily gaining a few pounds, just remember that your weight is not an ethical issue. You’re not poisoning babies or something equally bad.

Try to get some perspective on your situation. I mean that literally. Try to consider this problem as if it belonged to someone you care about, not you.

If you wouldn’t hate someone else for gaining 5 pounds that they’re going to lose after the holidays when they get back on track with their eating plans and workouts (or even if they don’t), then why would you hate yourself?

If it turns out that your real reason for being upset is that you’re angry at yourself for not reaching a goal or maintaining perfect self control, then I’d suggest learning some techniques for self forgiveness, and understand that if you berate yourself for not being perfect, you’re likely to have even worse results.

If you’re willing to read an article on ‘messing up,’ I suggest Stephen Guise’s article “The Hidden Cause of Downward Spirals.”

Remember: We’re not robots!

What exercises can you do using a towel?

There is an entire range of exercies you can do just with your body weight; I suggest reading up on calisthenics or search the term “bodyweight exercises” for examples. Once you’ve exhausted all of those ideas, and you feel you need something additional, here are a few things you can do with a towel:

  1. Shoulder roll-outs; also called “shoulder dislocations.” Using a towel that is a bit shorter than your height, hold the towel horizontally in front of you, grasping each end, pull your hands apart, and keeping your arms straight, raise your hands straight up and attempt to lower your hands down behind yourself to your butt or lower back. Now return to the starting position. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions. This will gradually increase the range of motion in your shoulders.
  2. Towel curls. Stand straight, perhaps with your back against a pole or wall for support. Grasp each end of the towel and place one foot in the middle of the towel. Raise your hands toward your shoulders, bending your elbows. You can vary the intensity of the curls from light to very heavy by changing how hard you press down on the towel with your foot.
  3. Hip and hamstring range of motion: Lie flat on your back with one leg straight on the floor. Wrap the towel around the foot of the other leg and raise your leg toward the ceiling, pulling the leg upward with the towel. You may eventually be able to pull your leg almost to your chest this way.
  4. Find a door handle or upright post. Wrap the towel around it, squat down with feet directly below the door handle, and lower yourself away from the door, straightening your arms. Slowly bend your arms, pulling yourself toward the anchor point, engaging the muscles in your upper back. Repeat.
  5. If you have a chin-up bar or similar place for doing pull-ups, you can start training yourself to do one-arm pull-ups by wrapping the towel over the bar and hanging onto it with one hand, while gripping the bar normally with the other hand. Do your pull-up workout this way, alternating hands on the towel every set. Gradually lower your grip on the towel further from the bar, over the course of several months. This will decrease the amount of assistance you get from the “towel side,” and you’ll get a harder workout on the “bar side.”

I’m sure there are 100 more ideas that you can find online. These are just the ones I thought of while avoiding starting my morning workout for a few minutes! Good luck to you.