Thursday, October 21, 2010

Work out with a...pumpkin?

Say it ain't so! I love me some pumpkin! (Just in case you didn't already know that.) It's true that I've carved a few in my life, I have certainly eaten my fair share, and I have also decorated our place with them—we even have two sitting right outside our little sliding door. (A short one for me, a taller one for Jason because that's the story of our life.)

But it's safe to say that I have never...EVER...worked out with a pumpkin.

As it turns out, I am apparently very behind the times. From the October 2010 issue of SELF: "A 5- to 7-pounder is a terrific toning tool for the upper body, " says BJ Cook, a fitness coach and host of the Freaky Fat Loss Pumpkin Workout. Freaky Fat Loss Pumpkin Workout? Stop it right there! That sounds like a spooktacular time, and I'd be totally in if I lived anywhere near Coconut Grove, Florida where this workout event apparently (and appropriately) takes place on October 31. (It's a Susan G. Komen fundraiser.) Needless to say, I live nowhere near Coconut Grove, Florida. Give it up for SELF, as they realized a lot of their readers don't, which is why they mentioned the following moves. Try them all with your pumpkin, or just put on your imagination cap and reach for a medicine ball next time you hit the gym.

    From SELF: "Lie faceup, arms and legs extended and slightly off floor, holding pumpkin overhead.
    Contract abs and crunch up as you raise legs (bend knees for an easier move) and shoulder blades
    and bring pumpkin toward toes. Hold for one second, then lower to start."
    From Tara: If you have lower back issues, you'll want to avoid this move. Depending on the severity
    of your lower back issues, you might be able to get away with lifting only one leg at a time. You be
    the judge. Regardless, all of you will want to keep your chin tucked while performing the exercise.

    From SELF: "Start in a pushup position, palms under shoulders, with pumpkin turned sideways
    under chest on floor. Keeping torso aligned with neck and elbows near sides, lower chest to
    pumpkin. Straighten arms to return to start."
    From Tara: This is essentially just a pushup. Focus on keeping your elbows right next to your sides,
    as you'll get more of a burn in your triceps. For an interesting twist, move one hand forward a bit.
    Finish your repetitions, then do your second set with the other hand slightly forward.

    From SELF: "Sit on floor with knees bent, feet flat, holding pumpkin at chest level. Recline torso 45
    degrees. Contract abs and twist torso slowly to the left and then to the right for one rep."
    From Tara: Love this move! You can definitely switch out the pumpkin for a medicine ball, even a
    weight plate. Remember to keep your back straight and squeeze your abs the whole time to protect
    your lower back. And when you get more advanced, feel free to lift your feet an inch or two off the
    ground to increase the burn.

Good moves, right? Based on these, I can only imagine what the rest of the "Freaky" pumpkin workout is like. Sadly, I will never know. And to be honest, I think I prefer my pumpkins on my porch rather than in my gym. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I read my magazines on the couch.

The only thing missing in this particular picture? My favorite brown blanket and a glass of warm tea. Sigh. Can I blow off the rest of my day? I shouldn't. I really couldn't.

Question: Have you ever worked out with a pumpkin...or anything else unconventional? If so, leave a comment and let me know what you used. And I'd also love to know what you did with it.

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