Core and balance

Last night was just noodle and myself since the Pilot was working. We went swimming after nap, came home for an awesome dinner, and then did the bath/bedtime rituals. After she was snuggled in bed, I decided to get in a little core and balance workout. I’m guilty of skimping on these two fitness components, and I also notice a positive correlation with lack of core/balance training and injury.  

Balancing  1 of 1

(And by that I don’t mean balance-related injuries, haha)

Here are some of the most important reasons to work your core:

-You core is what helps to stabilize you in everyday activities/chores and in fitness performance. 

-A weak core can lead to back pain, poor posture and injuries from lack of stabilization.

-A strong core can lead to increased performance and make everyday activities much easier.

-By training your core muscles, you’re teaching your stomach to pull itself in, instead of letting everything all hang out.

One of the easiest things you can do to engage your core is to sit with good posture (uhhh, call the posture police for me), and think of pulling the spot in that’s just below your belly button. Try to contract and bring it in towards your spine. I also love back extensions (your spinal musculature is part of the core, too), planks, hanging leg raises and yoga poses as core work.

Balance is just as important as core training, because when we challenge our balance, we’re utilizing proprioception. In a nutshell, our proprioceptors (a type of nerve receptor) give information to our brain about our body’s position in space. Working on balance forces us to use this skill, and as we get older, we’re less likely to experience falls. Another bonus about balance training is that it utilizes the deep muscles of your core. <—Balance and core go hand in hand πŸ™‚

If you want to add an extra credit core component to any exercise, try adding a balance element. BUT, do it safely…

This is why emergency rooms exist resizecrop


As far as balance goes, it’s always a fun component to throw into my group fitness classes. You get the macho manly men who can burpee and sprint for days, but when you make them stand on one foot, they crumble. It’s kind of awesome.

Here’s the little workout I did last night:

Core and balance

Anyone else guilty of neglecting balance and core work? A consistent yoga practice is the only thing that guarantees I’ll get those two things in, but it’s been a couple of weeks since I made it to a class — I’m overdue for an awesome yoga sesh.

Hope you have a great day! See ya later with a delicious dinner/lunch recipe πŸ™‚



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  1. Tracey on August 20, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Can u explain or show how to do these poses? Tx

  2. Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life on August 20, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Ok, I now have a new goal…. to be able to balance like you in that picture! Holy cow, that is so awesome!

  3. Jackie on August 20, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Yoga definitely helps me do it but I am guilty of avoiding it too!

  4. Lisa on August 20, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Great post. I admit, I’m not always great at working on my balance and core work. Ever since I got more into pilates though, I’ve been doing a lot better with it and it does make a big difference!

  5. Amy @ The Little Honey Bee on August 20, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I have definitely been working on my core/balance — yoga has helped a ton! New motivation is your first pic! So impressive

  6. Heather @fitncookies on August 20, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I have gotten much better about working on core! Not so much balance.. but I try to do core twice a week at least. I don’t like doing it every day (and I know it’s not good for it!) but I feel twice a week is enough for me! I stick to doing it after my runs which helps because my runs during the week are usually shorter and I have time!

  7. Michelle on August 20, 2013 at 11:32 am

    If I got in that position someone would have to call life flight to get me out. Either during or after the face plant on the floor. So yes, I have neglected those two things. πŸ™‚

  8. Emily @ The Good Era on August 20, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I go through phases of focusing on core and not. I think it’s discouraging for me because even though I might “feel” progress, I don’t usually see it. Read, I don’t have a six pack! haha I know I should focus more on it!

  9. Ashley @ Life and Fitness on August 20, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Core work is so important. I have to admit I am a major slacker when it comes to core and balance work. I need to make it more of a priority after workouts.

  10. Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food on August 20, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I love doing core work! I probably don’t do as many balance exercises as I should, but I used to be a dancer so I have pretty good balance as it is. I’m trying to get to some yoga classes soon to keep improving though!

  11. Julie on August 20, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Holy sh*t, Gina! Look at you go! That pic is AWESOME!

  12. Caitie @ twentytwofit on August 20, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Love that you explained the pros of core strength in detail. Extra motivating to get that extra core work in!

  13. Ashley on August 20, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I am seriously terrible with balance work, I try to get to yoga once a week but that’s about it for me.

  14. Christina @ The Beautiful Balance on August 20, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I can’t wait to try that core and balance workout! My boyfriend can run for miles at any speed and can lift a ridiculous amount, but refuses to try yoga because he says “it won’t do anything.” Really it’s because he’s afraid of not being amazing at something his first time trying it.

  15. Amanda on August 20, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Ok as a yoga instructor – warrior 3 to half moon and back … love it, totally incorporating into my flows!

    • Fitnessista on August 20, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      i got that combo from tony horton and LOVE it. your just bring your knee and arms in towards your body to transition πŸ™‚

  16. Becca @ familyfaithfitness on August 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    WOW! AMAZING pose! I hate to admit this but I have NEVER done yoga!!! I hope to try it out this year. It’s on my goal list to achieve at least the basics! I struggle doing anything that is not cardio. I’m working on incorporating strength training this fall!

  17. Hilary on August 20, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Some days I think the posture police would come after me, too! The older I get (turning 33 soon – eek!), and the longer I retain what I would call a pretty standard “desk job”, the more I feel my core suffer. I love, love, love yoga for core & balance work (it’s probably the most effective thing I’ve tried), but I’m also trying to incorporate more core moves at the gym too (like walking or static lunges w/a twist, holding a weight/medicine ball or holding plank w/row). The standing balance poses in yoga I do fairly well with, but the arm balances are so much tougher for me – you are rocking that eight angle pose – maybe I can achieve it someday!

  18. Cassie Vaughn on August 20, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    I do 30 minutes of yoga every day, so I feel pretty good about my core workouts. It’s my cardio that takes a hit.

  19. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on August 20, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    That pose is awesome! That’s one pose that I have yet been able to conquer. I try to challenge my core and balance as much as possible, but it definitely needs more work!

  20. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves on August 20, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Dance, pliates/yoga definitely helps me not to forget about core and balance work. I’ve come to realize that having a strong core makes such a big difference in how I execute other exercises (for the better). Great post!

  21. Jessica @ Prayers and Apples on August 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    I’m def guilty of neglecting my balance work! But studying to take my NASM exam (one week from today – wahoo!) just drilled into my head all over again the importance of stabilization!

  22. Ryane on August 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Hey Gina!! I am in Tucson for a quickie work trip – and I just saw you were hanging out around the university which is cool, good to see there is fun stuff to do around campus! I was wondering if that part of town was cool/safe to run around? I’m not here long enough to justify a rental car (working/staying next to campus) as much as I’d love to check out Sabino Canyon!! School is just barely in session though so not sure if early AM’s are dead/scary in this area or if it attracts a good amount of like-minded runners πŸ™‚

    Can’t wait to explore a little bit tonight though – was going through some of your Tucson pages doing “research”!

    • Fitnessista on August 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      hey girl! welcome to t-town πŸ™‚
      it’s totally safe to run around campus in the morning– there should be a lot of people out and about. i used to do a square around campus, running through the campus mall, taking a right on cherry, another right on 6th, a right on euclid or park, and then speedway back to cherry. there are some courses on map my run, too. just make sure to be smart and keep your phone with you, but i usually feel safe in that area since there are so many people around

  23. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on August 20, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Holy wow you have good balance! As a runner I really need to work on my core work! it is my next goal! It helps in so many ways!

  24. Mirna on August 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for the reminder Gina. I neglect my core much more than I should.

    Do you have any beginner tips?

  25. Heather @ Housewife Glamour on August 20, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I have been great about doing core lately, mainly because I have been LOVING my Fitness Pilates class at the gym. I really want to get back into yoga, though. It’s been ages!

  26. Heather Murphy on August 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    Great workout! I am extremely guilty of neglecting core work! I love trying out other people’s core routine when I too lazy to create one on my own. πŸ™‚

  27. Melodie on August 20, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    I was slouching at my desk reading this (typical – ugh!) and as I read posture, I immediately straightened up. i’m so bad about that!!!

  28. Courtney @ Star Systemz on August 20, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    I always love seeing that photo, honestly I used to go to equinox and personal trainers would always have clients doing the craziest most dangerous exercises like really! I was always waiting for a crash and fall so scary! I sure do need to work on my core that is my most avoided area when it comes to exercising it. Thanks for sharing love + shine Courtstar

  29. Taylor @ Single-tracked Mind on August 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Funny that this topic is your post today – I’m heading to pilates after work today! Haven’t been to a pilates class in literally years.

    • Fitnessista on August 20, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      have fun!!!

  30. Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food on August 20, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I just thought about doing a core workout this evening!…it’s something that I haven’t concentrated specifically on for awhile now and I need to get back into it! Thanks for the workout!

  31. Anna @ Fitness Γ  la Anna on August 20, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks for this reminder! I find a solid core really helps with my running endurance. I actually did an intense core workout last night too! Of the sit-up variation, not yoga-esque πŸ˜‰

  32. Jillienne@ChasingRaspberries on August 20, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I definitely need to work on my balance and core. I’m probably the clumsiest person there is!

  33. Mo on August 20, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Ok, I’m looking at that beautiful photo of you thinking “if that we’re me, total face plant”! I’ve noticed as I get older, my balance is really lacking. Good example, just getting back on a bicycle after not riding one for a few years and I can really feel that I’m not as secure as I was as a kid. Riding more and more hoping to improve that – not quite at the level of that awesome pose. Have you ever thought of creating a calendar? That would be a great photo for one – very inspirational. Take care and enjoy the rest of your week.


    • Fitnessista on August 20, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      i definitely think we lose balance over time, but it’s an easy thing to get back with a little training!
      i’m way too awkward to make a calendar haha πŸ˜‰
      hope all is well, friend. have a great week!

  34. Stephanie @ The Academic Triathlete on August 20, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    I’m so guilty! I always tell myself I’m going to focus on it each week and then it always gets pushed to the bottom of the list. Thanks for the inspiration to get some work in tonight!

  35. Paige@FitNotFad on August 20, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I’m taking the class to get my NASM certification and that’s the first thing in our book: why core and balance are so important and how they keep you safe, especially in the workplace (work related injuries are off the charts). Great workout!

  36. Kate @KateMovingForward on August 20, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    I swear I am the most naturally unbalanced person in the world! I need to restart working to improve here!

  37. Renee on August 20, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Ahhh I’m totally guilty of not getting enough core/balance/flexibility work in my workout routine. Your pose looks awesome in that picture by the way! Good for you πŸ™‚ It really shows off your strength.

  38. Rebecca@Runningfoodbaby on August 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    So guilty of neglecting my core – so very very guilty!

    I should work on my core tomorrow πŸ™‚

  39. Livi on August 20, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    ugh yes! and…stretching!!

  40. Karen on August 21, 2013 at 12:23 am

    Wow! That photo of you at the top is ridiculous! I feel like I’m pretty strong, but I spent a good 5 minutes trying to figure out how to get into that pose. I even got my husband to try! Please describe how in the world you get into that…the competitive side of me is dying to know :).

    • Fitnessista on August 21, 2013 at 12:46 am

      haha i love it!
      so keep in mind that i’m NOT a yoga teacher (and our instructor had a perfect way of explaining how to get into this pose– it’s how i learned), but here’s the nutshell version of what i do:
      start seated with left leg straight in front of me, right knee bent and right foot on the floor
      place hands at hips on floor
      using my hands, bring my right leg up and around so that my leg is on my shoulder and my right shoulder is underneath my right knee
      place hands back on floor and start to tilt my weight forward to my hips lift off the ground
      as my hips come up, i bend my elbows and bring my left leg over towards the right side, and “hook” it into my right foot
      please be careful and do not face plant, mmm k?

  41. Liesl @ Fitnessinthekitchen on August 21, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Yes, I’m SO guilty of this one.
    Being a former gymnast I have alot of natural balance still, but I know I need to work on it every week to not lose it as I get older.
    Thanks for the fun workout!

  42. Whitney @ Life Love, Whit on August 21, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    I love this post! I’ve never been big into yoga but am a huge pilates reformer devotee. I’ve tried and tried to get my husband to do it and he won’t do it (even though he is a massive runner and in super great shape. But without fail every time we do anything that requires core work I can always crush him. I’m now 14 weeks preggo and had to give up pilates for the 1st trimester from some complications but just got the clear to start up again and I’ve loved it. It’s like my body has been craving core work!

  43. Lozzie on August 30, 2013 at 4:54 am

    Wow, I’m rubbish!! I do core work with kettlebells and TRX but I normally hate doing core work! Bleghhh! But, reading this – I think I may just sign up to a couple of yoga classes!

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