Whether you're training for athletic performance or just to look good in your spring outfit, the core is a key component of any smart workout plan.

A few stretches for your hips done before and after your core workout can reduce the chance of lower back irritation, so be sure to listen to your body and be mindful of what your body is telling you as you do these movements.

In the gym: Standing Woodchop (Cable machine)

Pull the plug to adjust the height of your cable so it is at chest or shoulder height. As you pull the cable across your body, be sure to keep your torso tall as it twists. To finish, touch the cable lightly to your shoulder at the end of the range of that movement. Remember to breathe and keep your feet planted firmly on the floor for this total core exercise.

At home: Dumbbell twist low to high

To replicate the feel of the cable, we will use momentum as we twist so we use additional muscles to stop the rotation of the body. Holding a dumbbell by your right knee, tilting at the hips, bring the weight up and across your body until you are facing to the left with your upper body (be sure to rotate the torso and not just move the arms for this movement!). Repeat on both sides to work the core and back evenly.

Nutrition Tip:

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, but perhaps it is also the one that most busy people skip.

To avoid making this mistake we can use our time to prepare the night before (or even earlier) by simply boiling some eggs, chopping up some celery and carrots and dropping it all into a small sandwich bag. Make two or three to-go breakfasts ahead of time and you're good to go for a healthy breakfast option.