How To Stretch Your Lower Body Safely and Effectively

How To Stretch Your Lower Body Safely and Effectively - by Personal Trainer Jennifer Ledford

The multiple stresses of modern life caused by things like working at a desk, long commutes, or repetitive use of technology seem to be wreaking havoc on people’s bodies these days. Oftentimes, when I begin working with a new private client, the first few weeks are spent working on flexibility and range of motion.  This helps prepare their body to move more efficiently which allows the client to maximize the benefits of their exercise routine and to help prevent injury.

A good exercise routine includes time spent on maintaining flexibility and range of motion to avoid potential joint pain down the road. One of the simplest ways to improve flexibility is stretching.  You don’t need to belong to a gym and while some props or equipment are helpful, they aren’t necessary.

In today’s video I demonstrate the proper way to stretch your quads and your hamstrings both lying on the floor and in a standing position.  It’s usually a good idea to know a few different stretches that can accommodate your current fitness needs and/or location you’ll be performing the exercise.  For example, you may not want to lie on the floor at your office but it’s one of the most important places to stretch your legs after long periods of sitting so knowing some standing stretches is very beneficial in this setting.

Scroll down and take a few minutes to watch the video.  If you have any questions for me, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below or on my Facebook page. Click here to link to my page.

Have a blessed week!

With Love,


How To Stretch Your Lower Body Safely and Effectively



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Two exercises that will help tone your hips and glutes

The abdominal muscles are usually the first thing that will come to a person’s mind when you hear the words “strengthening your core” in a fitness environment. While the abs are a major player when it comes to supporting the trunk, there are other muscles that play an important role as well.

Hips and glutes are two very important muscle groups that help support your trunk otherwise know as your “core.”  They also help support your pelvis.  A stable pelvis can help prevent knee injuries which in turn helps you stay active and maintain your weight.  When you strengthen all of your core muscles you don’t just look better, you contribute to your overall wellness.

In today’s video I’m sharing two simple exercises that you can use to help strengthen your hips and glutes. The exercises are easy to follow and you don’t need any equipment to do them.  Take a moment to watch the video and if you have any questions for me leave them in the comment section on my website or leave a comment on my Facebook page and I will respond.

Have a great week!

With Love,


Five Ways To Exercise Without Ever Going To The Gym


Jennifer Ledford - Personal Trainer - Fitness & Healthy Lifestyle Coaching - Exercise Without Ever Going To The Gym

Fourteen years ago I was training private clients in gyms.  My job was to help them develop a regular exercise program.  I would put together carefully crafted easy-to-follow exercise programs and even remind them to pack their gym bag the night before.  Despite all of this planning and their motivation to participate, many of my clients would struggle with making it to the gym regularly.  The main reason was TIME.  Notice I said reason and not excuse.  That’s because they would come to me frustrated and I would look at their schedule with them and once I took a look at their calendar I would look them in the eye and say “you’re right, you don’t have time to go to the gym.”  I realized that by the time my clients got dressed, drove across town to the gym and then back home, they could have already finished a solid workout routine.  The gym was not a good fit for them.  So, I started developing in-home programs.  One thing led to another and my private in-home training business was born.

Gyms are a great concept and I have nothing against them but there are many reasons (the time issue being one of them) that only twenty percent of the members will use a gym two to three times per week.  You’ll rarely ever hear a gym tell you they have a waiting list or they are all sold out.   For many people, their gym membership ends up being a monthly charitable contribution that they don’t want to cancel because that will mean they have given up or failed.

If you’re someone that wants to exercise regularly but have a hard time making it to the gym, you are totally normal.  You may be struggling with finding the time to go to the gym or it might make you feel uncomfortable.  Or, maybe it’s because after a long day at work under fluorescent lighting, the last thing you want to do at the end of the day is exercise indoors or be away from your family and/or pets.  Whatever the reason, I give you full permission to cancel your gym membership if you know that you will never use it.

Here Are Five Ways You Can Exercise Without Ever Setting Foot In The Gym

1) Exercise outdoors.  Exercising outdoors has proven to offer even more health benefits than exercising indoors.  A recent study revealed that exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, as well as decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression.  Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.

One of my favorite ways to exercise is to walk our four dogs.  I log in several miles per day spending quality time with them.  From time to time I need to motivate myself to get up and go (even personal trainers need a prod now and then) but ninety nine percent of the time I look forward to being outdoors and close to nature with our animals.

2) Buy some cardio equipment.  Consider your own indoor exercise equipment if you have the space for it.  Treadmills, elliptical trainers, and exercise bikes are the most popular and versatile.  Machines are a nice backup for the outdoor exerciser as well.   When it gets a bit snarly outside, I recommend clients hop on their “rainy day” equipment and do a good old-fashioned machine workout. You can try an interval workout to mix things up a bit.

You can buy used equipment with warranties from companies like Play It Again Sports if you’d rather not pay the price for brand new equipment.

3) Jump.  Indoor trampolines are a really great way to burn calories. You will feel like you are playing! This also works your core and leg muscles. Rumor has it that continual use of the trampoline can help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Experiment with five minutes of jumping, then alternate to five minutes of high knees rapid marching or stair stepping. Turn on your favorite tunes and do this three times for a total of 30 minutes.

Trampolines are budget-friendly and make great “rainy day” tools as well.

4) Use exercise videos.  Exercise videos are a great way to schedule your workout on demand.  Make sure the routine you choose is appropriate for your level of fitness and don’t do anything that causes pain or you are unsure about.  For access to some of my favorite simple exercises you can do at  home, click on this link.

5) Create a home gym.  Whenever I help a private client set up a home gym, there are some basic pieces of equipment that I consider staples.  My criteria is simple.  The equipment should have multiple functions and be able to be easily stored, especially  if the client does not have one room dedicated to exercise equipment.  This helps cut down on clutter and cost.

One of the most versatile strength training and endurance tools on the market is the TRX Suspension Training System. You can use it to stretch, build strength, increase endurance, improve stability, and develop a great looking physique. The TRX is suitable for beginner to advanced levels of fitness and can be used anywhere. The list price is $199.95 but since I’m a certified TRX trainer the company allows me to share a direct link with you that offers a discount.  Click here for the discounted link.

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TRX HOME Suspension Trainer

You may be someone that likes the gym but realistically can only make it there a few days per week, or you’d like to combine your gym workouts with some in-home or outdoor exercise.  This makes you more of a hybrid.   I recommend using the gym for the things you can’t do at home, like your favorite spin class or the swimming pool.  Then, supplement with your in-home or outdoor routine.

Finding the right exercise routine is personal.  So make sure it fits your lifestyle and it’s something you can sustain stress-free.

To your health!