There is nothing like a fresh start. After the holidays, we find motivation to shed some of those winter pounds, which is great! The question is, as milspouses, how do we find the time to implement these changes and how do we maintain this new lifestyle?

Here’s a brilliant idea — make little changes every day that don’t require completely turning your routine around. “It’s baby steps,” says Maria Diaz, the Installation Fitness Coordinator for USAG Wiesbaden, Germany. “You don’t always have to spend an hour at the gym. I tell people to use what you have at the house and fit in exercise when you can.”

Sneak in Exercise

Maria strongly believes that there are ways to rethink how you use your time and how you move your body. By squeezing in these little tricks, you’ll burn more calories, experience less stress, gain confidence, and tone up — all on your own time.

Perfect Your Posture

If you want to instantly look taller, fitter and more confident, Maria advises, “Keep your posture upright and throw those shoulders back.” Just the act of being mindful of how you stand and present yourself strengthens the mind/body connection.

Begin With Your Core

“Start from the inside out, from your center, and stabilize your core,” recommends Maria. “Making the simple change of tightening and engaging your abs will help strengthen your body all over.” Maria suggests making it fun, and shares “I like to tighten my abs while driving the car and making turns. It’s like a game that gives me a quick and simple workout.”

Just Keep Moving

We’ve all spent time waiting in the checkout line. “Don’t just stand there,” recommends Maria. “ Instead, use your cart for balance, and do calf raises or squats while you wait. Every bit counts.”

Multitask With Housework

Maria is mindful of her body even while doing the dishes. “I often do kickbacks while at the sink and instead of bending my back to load the dishwasher, I squat, hover a moment, load the dish, and return to the sink.”

Rethink Exercise Equipment

“People say, ‘I can’t afford weights.’ I tell them to use what they have at the house. Fill up those water bottles or empty wine bottles to add resistance. Use a chair or counter top for tricep dips, or paper plates under your feet for mountain climbers,” she suggests. Don’t forget the value of body weight exercises.

Play With Your Kids (and their toys)

Maria advocates setting healthy examples for children and suggests that you get active with your little ones instead of being a bystander. “Play sports with them, run around, dance, get down on the floor — just keep moving. If you’re watching TV, you can do crunches, pushups and leg lifts. Chances are they’ll join you and do it too.” When it’s time to clean up, Maria recommends putting one of your children’s toy balls between your thighs and squeezing it while walking around, tidying up and even vacuuming for an extra burn.

Make it fun

Finding ways to add activity to your every day may be what you need. “As women, we don’t always ask for help and a buddy can keep you on track and make you accountable.” Maria advises being active with a friend by taking walks, going for bike rides, attending a fitness class or even going dancing. “Just make it fun and keep showing up!”

1391863_10202263789941047_999801687_nAbout Maria Diaz
As the Installation Fitness Coordinator for USAG Wiesbaden, Germany, Maria leads an active lifestyle. She has helped thousands of military personnel, civilians and family members stay fit and healthy through sports nutrition, personal training, and group fitness classes including spin, Zumba and military elite programs. She has worked in the fitness and personal training arena since 1999 and is passionate about her work.

Read more of Maria’s AW101 fitness tips here, in 10 Ways to Get your “Fit” On During a PCS Move.


Jackie Toops Head ShotA self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” Army wife Jackie Toops is a mother of two and enjoys writing, travel, art, languages, slow cooking and peaceful parenting. She studied Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. She is a contributing author for Wall Street International Magazine and has discussed her articles on-air with AFN Wiesbaden. She’s usually seen adventuring with her Canon, a coffee and two small children. Follow her onTwitter.



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