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First Week Of Crossfit Workouts

22 Mar

As I mentioned in my Get Swole update, my brother and I decided to try some Crossfit workouts for the next 4 weeks. I don’t belong to a Crossfit gym, so I looked for workouts that can easily be done in a typical gym.

I like the set-up of Crossfit workouts in that you start with strength moves, and improving on big lifts, and then move into conditioning (more like cardio).

I wanted to share our first week of workouts and see what you think! It was definitely a change from our normal routine but I really liked it.

Monday

crossfit wod

Tuesday

amrap crossfit wod

Wednesday

Off

Thursday

4 sets of 10

Barbell deadlift

T-Bar row

Conditioning:

50-40-30-20-10 (repeated 2x because we don’t know how to do double unders)

Jump rope

Crunches

Friday:

Ran 2 miles

Saturday (today):

Not sure yet!

We are obviously staying away from Olympic lifts like squat and clean, etc. because I’m not certified in Olympic weight lifting, so I can’t teach my brother and myself the proper form. Although I’m sure I can figure it out based on other exercises I have taught to clients, better safe than sorry!

I’m going to create my own “strength” portions based on what I want to get better at, but I look through the internet to find good conditioning WODS. So if you know any good ones, please leave a comment!

Have you tried Crossfit? What do you think of it?

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Get Swole Program Review

21 Mar

Well, 16 weeks has come and gone…crazy! When my brother and I first started the Get Swole program we didn’t think we’d get past 4 weeks, simply because we had never followed such a long plan before. Well, besides marathon training.

Get Swole program

Here’s my most recent update about the plan. I have gained a lot of strength throughout these 16 weeks. Sure, I’m a personal trainer and could have made my own plan, but I wanted to try something new.

I was a little skeptical because a lot of the exercises are the same throughout the 16 weeks, BUT, each phase (which is 4 weeks), you change how many sets and reps you do. This keeps you from hitting a plateau, and also helps you to continue gaining strength.

For example, in Phase 1 of leg day, we started with 5 sets of 12 reps of exercises. In Phase 2, we moved to a pyramid phase, so leg day was exercises for 20, 15, 12, 10 and 8 reps (such as squats). Phase 3 was higher reps (3 sets of 15), and Phase 4 was 6 days of lifting (as opposed to 4), and lower reps (8 reps).

So even though we did a lot of the same exercises throughout, like bench press, barbell squats, leg press, and others, we were constantly challenging our muscles because we were switching the reps, which means we were switching up the load we were using.  If you’re doing less reps, you want to challenge yourself by making the weight heavier than if you’re doing 15 reps of an exercise.

I have looked through other bodybuilding.com plans but haven’t found one I like as much, mainly because it seems to focus on smaller muscle groups rather than incorporating the big lifts (squat, bench, pull-ups).

I really like this plan, and my brother and I plan on re-starting it and changing a few things. Currently, we are going to do 4 weeks of Crossfit workouts at the gym, in order to change things but, but afterwards we will go back to Get Swole.

Here are some of my numbers/how I have improved. I know this might be nothing to some people but it’s a big improvement for me! 🙂

  • Bench Press – Started: 45 lbs, Current: 65 lbs
  • Barbell Back Squat – Started: 30 lbs, Current: 100 lbs (!!) <– most I have ever squatted!
  • Leg Press – Started: 80 lbs, Current: 160 lbs
  • Leg Curl – Started: 30 lbs, Current: 60 lbs
  • Military Barbell Press – Started: 20 lbs, Current: 40 lbs
  • Incline Dumbbell Press – Started: 12.5 lbs, Current: 25 lbs

These are the exercises that are currently coming to mind but there a lot of others on the plan. Sadly, I didn’t make my goal of doing an unassisted pull-up (well,maybe…hmm I will try at the gym tonight), but I’m almost there! I can pull myself up half-way 😉

I’ll warn you now – leg days are killer. But so worth it. I was always dripping in sweat, but I love challenging myself with barbell squats. My goal was to hit 100 lbs by the end of the program, and I did it! Here are some baby quads 😛

And I think I got a little bit of bicep progress! I’ll admit, if I skipped any workout it was bicep/tricep day, but doing pull-ups and presses still helped make those areas stronger.

If you’re looking to gain some muscle and strength, I highly recommend checking this program out! I will say, I did not follow it to a tee. There were some exercises I left out, or changed, just based on what my brother and I could do at our gym, or what I thought was more appropriate for us. But feel free to contact me if you have any questions about that.

Don’t be afraid to lift heavy ladies! You will feel 100% more confident knowing how much stronger you got…and you will definitely not look like a man.

I’ll keep you posted on how these 4 weeks of Crossfit workouts go. So far, I love them! It’s totally different than anything I have done.

Do you like to lift heavy?

What is your favorite muscle group to work out? I think mine is leg day 🙂

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The Stair Workout

18 Mar

Here’s a new workout video for you! All you need is a set of stairs – so this one is really convenient to do right at home, or even at work if you wanted to.

The video is only 8 minutes long, but it’s tough! I was so out of breath by the end. Feel free to repeat the video 2-3 times through for a longer workout. You will definitely feel this one in your quads and glutes!

Here are the exercises this video includes:

  • Step-ups with oblique crunch
  • Tricep dips
  • Soccer drill
  • Squat-to-step
  • Push-ups
  • Box jumps with a burpee (!!)

Check it out:

Let me know if you decide to try it out & what you think! I’d love to hear your feedback.

Have you ever used your stairs for a workout?

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Fitness Friday – 10 minute workout!

14 Mar

TGIF! Who’s ready for the weekend? I’ll be spending today at the Blogging Concentrated 1-day workshop/conference in NYC, but I couldn’t leave you without a workout to kick off the weekend 😉

This is a 10 minute workout! Yes, it will only take you 10 minutes to complete. If you’re short on time or just don’t feel like spending an hour at the gym, then try this workout out.

There are a few ways you could do it. You could solely do the 10 minute workout (after a proper warm-up of course). Or, you could go for a run or do whatever you want first, then end with this. Or if you want to make it longer, simply do it for as many rounds as possible in 15 or 20 minutes. Challenge yourself!

This is also a bodyweight workout – which means no equipment! So…no excuses 🙂

10 minute workout!

We’re hitting legs, chest, arms, abs…burpees for cardio…this workout has got it all!

I’ll be heading to my Maryland tomorrow for my brother’s soccer tournament, so should be a fun weekend. I think we plan on visiting Baltimore for dinner or something. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Out of the exercises in this workout (squat, push-ups, dips, bicycle crunches and burpees) which is your least favorite?

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My Top Workout Videos

13 Mar

I thought of this post because I recently tweeted about a video I did yesterday (that will be included below) that has me all kinds of sore today. I’m already sore from yesterday’s leg day, but then I did abs and it’s just total body soreness.

Sometimes, we may not have time to go to the gym to get a workout in, which is where these workout videos come into play. YouTube can be a great place to find exercise videos when you’re tight on time, or just want to do an at-home workout.

Top YouTube Workout Videos

Here are some of my favorite YouTube videos, which are also saved in a playlist on my YouTube channel if you’re interested. Please subscribe to my channel for updates on workout videos that I upload! 🙂

Jackie Warner 20 Min. Core Workout

This is the video I did yesterday after legs, and my entire core is sore. Abs…lower back…everything. It also includes cardio intervals that are abs-focused. I love doing this video because I hate doing abs, so following along with a video makes the time go by faster.

Jillian Michaels’ 6 Week 6 Pack Abs

Love that level 1 is available on YouTube. This one is an abs video too though there are other body parts worked as well. For example, she does a reverse lunge with overhead reach, squat twists, and other stuff. There are cardio intervals as well. I’d say this is a total body workout, and not 100% focused on abs like Jackie’s video…but it’s still a good one! You go through the sequence 2 times.

Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Meltdown

Does anyone remember ExerciseTV? I used to do this video all the time when I first started working out. I remember it being tough, especially because I was not as flexible as I am now. This is a great total body workout which uses yoga moves as its foundation. If you want a traditional yoga video, then this isn’t what you are looking for.

Yoga For The Hips

I love Chaz of Yogamazing. This is a quick video that I like to do after runs and workouts. You should check out his other stuff too! We all probably need more hip openers, so that is why I suggest trying this out.

Power Yoga For Weight Loss

I found Bryan and Rob’s channel only a few weeks ago, but I love this video. It is pretty challenging, and I realized that my balance is awful. I plan on doing this video more often to work on that. Trust me, you will be sweating during this! This video is 30 minutes, but they have other power yoga videos on their channel that are 45-60 minutes long.

Bootcamp Calorie Burn

No joke, this is one of the first workout videos I ever did! I made the effort to work out more senior year of college, and I would do this video in my room. This was also on ExerciseTV, so I’d also do it when I was home for break, along with Jillian’s 30 Day Shred. I miss ExerciseTV! They had some great videos. This is basically all cardio, but it will definitely get your heart rate up! The only annoying part about it is the girls in the back who are whooping and hollering the whole time. Watch and you’ll understand what I mean.

40 Min. Full Body Workout – POPSugar

This is another video I only recently found but it is a great total body workout. There is cardio, strength, and abs. What more could you ask for? You do need some dumbbells for this one. The POPSugar Fitness channel has a bunch of other workout videos as well.

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So there you have it. My favorite workout videos at the moment. Whether you want full body, abs, or yoga, there should be something on this list for you! And (shameless plug) I make workout videos regularly on my YouTube fitness channel too if you want to check it out 😉

Which of these videos do you want to try?

Do you have favorite workout videos? Please share in the comments!

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Step Interval Class Review

6 Mar

So I decided to try a new class yesterday at my gym (YMCA). I’ve been trying classes with my dad, but he couldn’t make it so I was kind of nervous to try it on my own. I honestly didn’t even know what step interval was, but figured it was a lot of step-ups and lunges on a box…I was kinda right…

The instructor helped me set up with my box, light and heavy weights, and a band for stretching.

Class started with a warm-up which I was fine with, but soon the choreography started…

It wasn’t that bad. It did consist of stepping up and down and lunges, but also hopping over/across the box, step-up with knee tucks, step-up with leg curl, and other moves. The one move I got confused with was “around-the-world lunges.” It involved crossing your feet over then onto the other side of the box? I can’t even explain it. I just watched the others and couldn’t help but laugh to myself because I felt so lost and uncoordinated.

When you think of step aerobics, you might think of something from the 70s or 80s, but this was definitely a great workout. I was sweating a ton and my heart rate was up. Perhaps it was because I was working EXTRA hard to get the moves right and not trip over myself 😉

In between the stepping, we took some breaks where we picked up the weights to do squats with bicep curls, plie squats with shoulder raises, balancing moves with tricep exercises and more. It was a great total body workout. The only thing I will do next time is make my step 1 step higher. I think I could have handled that, but didn’t want to try on my first class.

At the end of the class we did some abs and stretching.

I think I will be back for this class! If you’re interested and live in the NJ area, this class is held at the Somerset Hills YMCA.

After the class, I wanted to get in a tiny bit of running, so I did some hill sprints. I did:

10.0 incline, 9.0 speed -> 30 seconds

1 min. walk

9.0 incline, 8.0 speed -> 30 seconds

1 min. walk

8.0 incline, 7.0 speed -> 30 seconds

1 min. walk

5.0 incline, 7.3 speed (5K pace for me) -> 1 min.

2 min. walk

9.0 incline, 9.0 speed -> 30 seconds

Cooldown walk.

Overall, a great workout day! Heading back to the gym later for chest and back day.

I’m going to try to film a workout this weekend – which would you prefer? “Stair Workout (all you need is your stairs)” or “Total Body HIIT”?

Let me know if in the comments!

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Abs & Arms Workout

6 Mar

Ready to torch those abs and arms? Here’s today’s workout for ya:

abs workout

So for the abs portion, I want you to do 100 reps of those exercises. You can choose where you do 20 of each, or you can do 10 of one exercise, 5 of another, 15 of another, etc.

Here are examples of some of the exercises:

Reverse Crunch

Side Plank W/ A Twist

Opposite Arm/Opposite Leg Crunch

After you’re done with abs, move straight into arms. Do those exercises 2-3 times through depending on how you feel. Let me know if you try it out & what you think of the workout!

Do you like working out arms? I’m not a huge fan because I like working out bigger muscle groups, but do it because I know it will help on the bigger lifts.

What arm exercises do you like?

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Glute Strengthening Exercises

5 Mar

We all know what kinds of exercises strengthen your glutes…but what about the smaller glute medius? This muscle is very important for hip stability and strength. If you’re a runner, then pay extra attention to this post 😉

I got the idea for this post when “The Strength Guys” wrote about foam rolling and strengthening weak muscles. I asked them about how I foam roll the outside of my hip/IT band area because it is really tight, and they suggested also strengthening my glute medius and hip external rotators.

glute strengthening exericsesBackground Image via Scott & White Healthcare

This concept isn’t new to me – I have gone to physical therapy a couple of times during marathon training and was told my hips are weak. As a personal trainer, I used to have clients warm up with a few of these exercises, and also incorporate them into their programs in order to strengthen the overall hip area. Now I just need to be better with doing it myself!

The Strength Guys recommended a few exercises to me, which I wanted to share with you. If you are experiencing any IT band pain, or your outer hips are really tight (try foam rolling, if they’re tight it will hurt), then try adding these into your training routine, or at least into your warm-up.

Exercises

Clam With A Band

 You can do these without a band too, but the band adds great resistance.

Fire Hydrant

I do these as a warm-up before leg days, but I like the added band resistance.

Lateral Step With Band

I had my clients do this as a warm-up before every session. Trust me, you will feel this one and instantly know if your glute medius is weak! Start with 5-7 steps on each side and work your way up.

Crouched Band Monster Walk & Sumo Walk

A variation of the lateral step.

Side Lying Leg Raise

Add a band for more resistance.

I highly suggest incorporating some of these into your routine, as a warm-up and as strength work. According to The Strength Guys, strengthening areas that have trigger points can help you rely less on a foam roller, and instead strengthen those areas so they become looser. But in my opinion, if a foam roller helps you feel better than incorporate that too!

I like to foam roll before lifting as a way to increase mobility temporarily, and I foam roll after to get out some kinks. But I do also try to work on weak areas…I just need to be better about focusing on my hips!

Do you do any of these exercises regularly?

Are you guilty of ignoring your smaller glute muscles?

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Best Abs Exercises + A Workout

3 Mar

I’m not a huge fan of abs/core work, but I incorporate it into my workouts 2-3 times a week, because it is so important.

As a runner, having core strength helps me to run stronger and maintain good running form. Having a weak core could also lead to injuries, due to muscle imbalances (other muscles working twice as hard to compensate for a weak muscle).

Even if you’re not a runner, having a strong core gives you more power, and helps you have proper form in lifts such as squats, deadlifts, pull-ups etc. If you’re core is weak, you will definitely feel that when you are trying to do pull-ups!

And I’m not talking about core as in just your abs – working your lower back is part of that equation too.

Here are some “real-world benefits of strengthening your core” according to Harvard Medical School:

  • Everyday acts. Bending to put on shoes or scoop up a package, turning to look behind you, sitting in a chair, or simply standing still — these are just a few of the many mundane actions that rely on your core and that you might not notice until they become difficult or painful. Even basic activities of daily living — bathing or dressing, for example — call on your core.
  • On-the-job tasks. Jobs that involve lifting, twisting, and standing all rely on core muscles. But less obvious tasks — like sitting at your desk for hours — engage your core as well. Phone calls, typing, computer use, and similar work can make back muscles surprisingly stiff and sore, particularly if you’re not strong enough to practice good posture and aren’t taking sufficient breaks.
  • A healthy back. Low back pain — a debilitating, sometimes excruciating problem affecting four out of five Americans at some point in their lives — may be prevented by exercises that promote well-balanced, resilient core muscles. When back pain strikes, a regimen of core exercises is often prescribed to relieve it, coupled with medications, physical therapy, or other treatments if necessary.
  • Balance and stability. Your core stabilizes your body, allowing you to move in any direction, even on the bumpiest terrain, or stand in one spot without losing your balance. Viewed this way, core exercises can lessen your risk of falling.
  • Good posture. Weak core muscles contribute to slouching. Good posture trims your silhouette and projects confidence. More importantly, it lessens wear and tear on the spine and allows you to breathe deeply. Good posture helps you gain full benefits from the effort you put into exercising, too.

Now we know core strength is important…

My Top Abs/Core Exercises

1. Bird-Dog

Okay first I want to say, I typed bird-dog into Google to get an image, and this came up…

Very interesting lol…

Okay here’s the actual bird-dog:

 

Start on all fours, then extend your opposite arm and opposite leg, but make sure to keep your back straight. Tighten your abs in order to do this. Don’t let your back sag in the middle!

2. Plank

You knew this would be included on the list. Plank is an awesome core exercises. Works your abs, as well as your hip flexors and lower back. Make sure you have a neutral spine and neck, and brace your abs. Don’t let your back sag! Start with holding it for 20-30 seconds, and work your way up to a  minute. Once you can do a minute, you can try different plank variations (I’ll write up ideas in another post), or you can have someone add a plate to your back for an added challenge.

3. Hip Raises

Here, I show you weight hip raises, but doing body weight hip raises uses the same premise. This move will be working more of your hips and glutes, which are still part of your core. You can add a weight, like I did in the video, in order to make it more challenging.

4. Reverse Crunch

This will work more of your lower abs. Grab a sturdy object, or use a heavy weight, and crunch up and in. Your goal should be to work up to not needed a heavy object behind your head.

5. Side Plank With a Twist

This is a bit more challenging than just holding a side plank, but you will really feel it in your obliques. If this is too hard, start with holding a side plank for 30 seconds on each side. Incorporate this once that gets easy. Or you can also use both in your abs rotation: do static side plank one day, and do this one on another day.

Put It All Together

Do this workout 2-3x a week and you will notice your core getting stronger.

best abs exercisesLet me know if you try it!

Which of these abs exercises do you already do?

Do you like doing abs/core workouts? What is your favorite exercises?

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Chest and Back Gym Workout

26 Feb

When I was thinking of what my next workout video should be, I decided I wanted to do a gym workout. Most of my videos you can do at-home, and with little to no equipment. But I know some of you like working out at the gym, like I do.

chest and back workout

Here is my chest and back workout for you. In the next week or so, I plan on uploading a leg workout so that you can pair the two and do each workout 1-2x per week.

Instructions

As I mention in the video, you want to do the A1 and A2 exercises 3 times before moving on. So you’ll do bench press and pull-ups for 1 set, take a 30-45 second break, then do another set of bench press and pull-ups, take a 30-45 second break, another set, and THEN move on to B1 and B2 exercises.

If your gym is set up so that bench press is really far away from pull-ups, it’s ok to switch to another back exercises, or do all 3 sets of the bench press, then all 3 sets of pull-ups before moving on. But ideally, you’ll do A1, A2 three times, then move on, etc.

You can watch the video and pause after each exercise so that you hear the cues, or you can take my printable with you to the gym!

Sets and Reps

It’s 3 sets of 12 reps for everything, so find a good weight for you to complete those reps. It should be a weight that is challenging in those last 2-3 reps. If you finish and feel like you could do more, then increase your weight. If you increase and can’t complete the reps, just lower back down to another weight and complete the set…nothing wrong with that!

Make sure you record your weights so that you can track your progress. Each week, try to increase your weight by a tiny bit. In 4 weeks, I’ll upload another chest and back workout so you can switch it up.

Here’s the video:

Let me know if you try it!

What are your favorite chest and back exercises?

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