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Fall back into fitness: Back to school edition

Young woman in tank-top, beside purple exercise ball outside in the fall.

True story: when I was a kid, I used to loathe gym class.  Nothing gave me anxiety like the dreaded mile run, and I got butterflies in my stomach when the teacher got out the dodge balls.  Oh how things have changed!  Now I run for fun, and working up a sweat is one of my favorite parts of the day.  I still think I’d hate playing against a bunch of fifth-grade boys in a game of dodgeball, though.

With the fall season upon us, even though you may not be headed back to school yourself, it’s still the perfect time of year to re-commit to physical fitness.  Here’s a gym class-inspired workout that will earn you an A+ in looking and feeling your best this fall.  Sharpen that No. 2 pencil and take notes!

Setup/Equipment:  Clear a large area (your living room or backyard will do).  You’ll need a timer, a mat, a jump rope and a weighted medicine ball (a playground ball will work in a pinch, and you can always mimic the jump roping motion if you don’t have one).

Warm-up: Do one minute of Jumping Jacks, followed by jogging/marching in place, high knees, arm circles and a plank hold.

Workout: Perform each of the moves in succession for one minute each, completing as many reps as possible with good form.  Take a 60 second break after one round is completed.  Repeat two to four more times through.

  1. Squat and Shoulder Press.  Hold the medicine ball at chest level as you sit back into a squat.  Push through your heels back up to a standing position, pressing the medicine ball overhead.
  2. Medicine Ball Slams. Take a wide stance, with arms extended and the ball overhead.  Slam the ball onto the ground with force (be sure to bend your knees as you do so) and catch the ball.  Repeat.
  3. Pushups.  Because no gym class is complete without them.
  4. Leapfrog hops.  Start in a wide-leg stance, knees bent.  Take two giant hops forward, then quickly jog backwards to your starting point.
  5. Pullover Sit-ups.  Lay on your back with knees bent, hands on the ball, which is resting on the ground overhead.  Perform a sit-up (or crunch) by bringing the ball up and in front of you, then lower back to start.
  6. Mountain Climbers. In plank position (advanced option: perform with hands on the ball), quickly drive one knee into your chest at a time while keeping your abs pulled in and hips in line with your body.
  7. Jump Rope.



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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing