Thursday, July 28, 2011

I've gone through half a can of diet coke and still no title, so this one doesn't have one

So yesterday's blog, yeah? Now that you've met my inner b**** we can move right along...

Here's today's workout:

You're going to do each exercise for the suggested time interval:rest break ratio and then repeat it for the suggested number of sets:

Speed squats (body weight squats as fast as you can or squat jumps for added difficulty)
30 sec:30 sec x 5 sets

Lunges (standing or jumping, alternating legs within each interval)
30 sec:30 sec x 5 sets

Bosu wobble plank (in push up position with hands on the flat side of an upside down Bosu ball, rock from side to side, keeping abs tight, hips low, and trying not to let your hips roll side to side with you; you can substitute alternating push-up planks here if you want)
30 sec:30 sec x 5 sets

Tricep kickbacks
30 sec:30 sec x 3 sets each arm

Turkish get-up (lying supine, hold a weight or kettlebell above your head and stand up, keeping the weight above your head the entire time. You can use your other hand to help yourself up if you need)
45 sec:15 sec x 5

Bicycle crunches
30 sec:30 sec x 5

Obviously, feel free to switch out exercises that you're unfamiliar with and add in something else instead (standards like push-ups, sit-ups, behind the back dips, thrusters, burpees, mountain climbers, high knees, etc. are all good exchanges).

Ok, that's all the fitness talk I have in me for today. Join us next time for some emotional outpourings completely unrelated to exercise.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Remember how last time or the time before or sometime in the past I may have mentioned how I love my job? Well I take it back. I'm tired of it. So tired of it that you know what I did? I went to Starbucks on my first break since 3 p.m. yesterday and bought a doughnut. A chocolate one with frosting. (Although that's not entirely my fault because I told the guy behind to counter to surprise me and that's what he chose). But here's the real satisfaction: I proudly wore my official personal trainer name tag and bright red shirt with PERSONAL TRAINER written in all caps across the back. After I licked the chocolate off my fingers I went directly to the nearest tattoo parlor and got HYPOCRITE stamped across my face. Take that personal training that is stealing my life.

So now that my hours are picking up, I'm beginning to recognize the well-known and unwelcome onset of burnout. That feeling you get after working until 8 pm one evening only to spend what little is left of your night dreading the 6 am start the next morning. And getting up for 5 days in a row and doing it all again.

And then there's the people. Good Lord, the people.

Sometimes I just want to throw my folder in the people's face and yell, "Fine then. If you don't like what I have planned, make up your own damn workout then give it to me so I can do. Without complaining." It's not like I want to think up my own exercise program after planning everyone else's all day anyway.

And just so this blog entry isn't completely worthless, here's another little morsel from my snack mix of helpful exercise niblets: Most exercises, the first time you do them, are going to feel awkward, uncomfortable, and uncoordinated and you likely won't enjoy them. Get. the hell. over it. Eventually you'll build up the strength and control you need to accomplish them. And those are the exercises that, when you finally get them, will become your favorites. Partly because you'll feel really good at it, and partly because all your friends will think you're really cool and strong for being able to do this really hard exercise.

As soon as all this whining stops ringing in my ears and I can maybe get 12 straight hours away from a gym, we'll start talking workouts again. I have some good ones, but let me just warn you they're going to be hard. Here's the solution: shove your face full of doughnuts before you start and you'll have no room left for all your complaints.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reincarnation... Take 2

So I visited my mom last weekend and we got to talking about my new job, and I was telling her stories about my clients, and giving her advice to get the most out of her own workouts, and all that kind of stuff. And she says, "You should put that kind of thing on your blog!" And I told her, "Mom, I've given up on my blog. I haven't put anything up there in months!"

And do you know what she said to me? I'll tell you:

She said, "I know, since April. I still check it every day, right beside your sister's."

Talk about dedication. My dear mother, who checks facebook twice a year to clear out her friend requests, looks at my blog every day to see if I've posted something new. Only I haven't. Since April apparently. Until now.

You may remember in March or sometime around then that I was inspired by my sister's decision to blog. And how about a post later I had already quit again. So I'm going to try this again: Reincarnation, Take 2.

These days, I'm working at a gym in Annapolis and unlike working at my college Rec center, I have real clients with real lives, real jobs, and real fitness deficiencies. And they're really paying me for my expertise. Which increases the pressure to give them the results they want by about a million percent. Unfortunately, most people come in with completely unrealistic expectations.

And since I don't even know where people's crazy misconstrued fitness ideas come from, I'm not even going to attempt to list them. Instead, consider this a list of things that seem very obvious to me but apparently aren't. My hope is that it will also serve to disintegrate some of those stupid myths that people pull out of fake fitness magazines or off the back of their Special K boxes and bring with them into the gym:

1. If you want to burn belly fat, you cannot spend 3 hours a day doing crunches and expect to be skinny by next Monday. Wanna know the secret to a completely flat stomach? Liposuction or Photoshop. (Or hope that you are one of the very lucky few who just happen to have good enough genes that they never have to worry about it.) However, a fit and firm stomach is within your grasp. Major component to getting there: cardio. Very intensive cardio, 45-60 minutes, 3 times a week. Which leads me to my next point...

2. Your cardio workout does not have to be boring. In fact, if it is, you're probably doing it wrong. 40 minutes of cardio can go by like nothing by changing machines every 10 minutes. Start on the elliptical and bust your butt for 10-15 minutes, then hop off, and get on a stationary bike for 10 more, making your rounds through the rowing machine, the treadmill, the stairs, the Jacob's ladder, running outside, etc. until you've been working for the desired amount of time. Funny how this then leads into my next point...

3. During those 10 minutes of cardio, play with the incline, resistance, and speed options that are offered on the machine. (Choose Quickstart so you can moderate them yourself and at your own pace.) Give yourself a 2 minute warm-up, then increase the intensity in one or more of those three ways for 30 to 60 seconds. During this interval, set the intensity so that you are barely able to make it to the end of the allotted time at that setting. After that 30-60 seconds, put the settings back to a comfortable place, and allow yourself a minute of recovery. Doing cardio in intervals with active recovery this way makes the time go by much faster, allows you to push yourself harder, and burns more calories as it raises your heart rate above a steady state activity.

4. Resistance training aids in weight loss as well. Here's why: resistance training -> increase muscle mass -> muscle burns more calories than fat -> resting metabolism increases because there is more muscle to burn more calories -> total calories burned per day increases -> calories burned becomes greater than calories taken in -> when calories in < calories out, the result is weight loss. That's the highly simplified, Reader's Digest Jr. version of exactly how and why that works. More to come on that later.

Whew, so 45 minutes later, this is why my blog never gets updated. Next entries will be shorter, fo shizzle. and hopefully include a workout. So stay tuned, Mom.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fun little partner workout

This works best/only with a partner. I think Jason deserves a lot of the credit for thinking up this one too. But maybe I helped a little bit.

Pick one person to be partner 1 and one person to be partner 2. Partner 1 begins with running 1 lap around a gym or HPU track. While partner 1 is running, Partner 2 completes the exercise listed with the corresponding number of laps that partner 1 is running (in the first round, obviously, that is 1 lap). As soon as partner 1 finishes said number of laps, partner 2 runs the same number, while partner 1 performs the exercise listed next to that number of laps. Make sense? Let me write it out for you then explain it again:

1 Lap: partner does squat jumps or box jumps (then switch so that the running partner now does the exercises while partner 2 runs 1 lap)
2 laps: partner does jumping lunges or whichever exercise he didn't do last time
3 laps: high knees (easier: squat jacks)
4 laps: burpees (easier: walking lunges)
5 laps: bear crawl (or 3-way knees to elbow plank)
6 laps: do as many reps as possible of one exercise during each lap: 1.) bicycle crunches, 2.) V-ups, 3.) flutter kicks, 4.) Russian twist, 5.) straight leg raise, and 6.) bicycle crunches

Ok, that should make sense now. One partner runs, the other does as many reps as possible of the listed exercise until said partner has run his first set of laps. Switch. Work your way down the list until each partner runs 6 laps while the other does ab exercises for the entire time. This workout is rough, especially if your partner is slow. Choose your buddy wisely.

So, so overdue

It's been forever since I posted a workout and since I apparently have friends who check my blog every now and then hoping I've put up something new (ughmm, Emma), I'll throw this one out there real fast just for kicks:

It's another circuit. I promise I have workouts that aren't. In fact, next one I post won't be one. 'Til then...

Do 4 or 5 rounds, if you can and do them as fast as possible of:

30 double unders (or just use a heavy weighted jump rope)
20 wall ball shots (heavy ball)
10 burpee box jumps
1 minute high knees
2 laps around a gym or HPU track
3 stairwell runs

It starts out feeling easy doesn't it?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thank Jason for this one

So I should be working on my senior thesis or even the attribute recognition project for strength and conditioning that is going to take me until my 30th birthday to finish, but instead, and in fact to avoid all of that, I'll post you another workout.

This one kicked my butt today. Officially. Thank you Jason because it was his idea.

Do this 4 times, without rest (5 if you can, but I didn't):

1 minute full-out SPRINT on a spin bike (med-high resistance)
5 Hang clean/Front squat (75 lbs, including barbell)
20 One-arm dumbbell snatch, as in 10 each arm (1st set: 40 lbs, 2nd set: 30 lbs, 3rd: 35 lbs, 4th: 30 lbs)
10 Forward giant jumps
40 Calf jumps

It sounds A LOT easier than it is so don't be fooled. Or do and then regret it later.

Monday, February 14, 2011

In case you still need motivation...

If the name of the workout below still doesn't inspire you, by special request, here's a little something for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bootylicious -- The Original

Complete 5 rounds as fast as you can of the following circuit:

1 min spin bike on high resistance, standing up (Pump up the resistance until it's too difficult to pedal sitting down. Stand up, using the handlebars only for balance)

1 min spin bike on low resistance
(This is your rest period. Just pedal at a comfortable pace)

1 min spin bike on medium resistance, sprint!!
(Turn up the resistance from your easy minute and pedal as fast as you possibly can for the entire 60 seconds)

30 Body-weight Speed Squats (complete these squats without added resistance as fast as you possibly can)

16 Jumping Lunges

12 Navy Push-ups
(do a normal or girl push-up then bring one knee to the elbow on the same side. Complete another push-up, then bring the other knee to the other elbow. Keeping going until you've done 12 push-ups total)

25 Bicycle Crunches (every 4 turns counts as one repetition; put another way, every OTHER time one elbow touches the opposite knee, count one rep. If you still don't get it just don't even worry about it.)


Part 2 (Do 3-4 rounds of these two with 0 rest. This is called a superset.)

30 Double Leg Calf Raises
50 Jumping Jacks

Congratulations! You are now on your way to being bootylicious.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


So I've been inspired. Finally.

My sister started keeping a blog because she's going to be a famous photographer someday. So I'm going to start keeping up with mine because she's my older sister and everything she does is cool, and thus I want to have one too. Needless to say it will be nowhere near as artistic as hers and probably not half as entertaining, but maybe it will at least inspire you to work out. Or something.

I realized today that more than I miss the paycheck of personal training, I really miss the actually doing it. I miss the people I trained, spending all day in the gym, seeing the same people come at the same time every day and do the same 500 bicep curls in front of the mirror and wonder why they've stopped getting bigger. I miss people asking me for workouts or why their this hurts or their that feels weaker. I miss making up crazy intense workouts that make you wonder why you ever dragged yourself to the gym in the first place.

Realizing this gives me a little bit of hope for my future too. I've spent the last four years trying to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life and have been too scared I'll get bored with whatever I choose to want to commit to it for real (as in, get a full time job doing it). But I think personal training is different. For a year and a half, I never once didn't want to go to work. Never. Not one single time did I ever wish that a session would be over sooner. And I can't say that about any other job I've ever worked.

So maybe I have a future after all. In something other than watching ABC re-runs.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sarah's Workout

I give all credit for this workout to my friend Sarah. I do not pretend to own the rights to her creativity.

Do each exercise for 50 seconds, then take 10 seconds rest before beginning the next exercise. Complete 4-5 rounds for a total of 20-25 minutes.

Roundhouse kick with left leg, jump down into push-up position (you do not have to do a push-up. If it's too easy, add it. I didn't think it was too easy)

Roundhouse kick with right leg, jump down into push-up position

1-2-3 Push-up (aka Mountain Climber Push-ups: Do 3 mountain climber steps, then a push-up with one leg bent, knee to elbow style. Do 3 more mountain climber steps so that the opposite leg is now bent and do a push-up. Keep going.)

Ninja Jump/Sandbag Squat (begin kneeling on both knees; in one swift movement, jump to your feet. While squatting, pick up a kettle bell or dumbbell you have sitting on one side, stand up with the weight, and squat down to place it by your foot on the side opposite where you picked it up. Keep going, switching the weight to the opposite side each time.)

Wall Climbs/Dive Bombers (Dive bombers: look them up online, they're common, you'll be able to find them; Wall Climbs: Begin in push-up position with feet against a wall. Walk your feet up the wall, bringing your hands in toward the base as well, until you are in a handstand position against the wall, chest touching the wall. Walk yourself slowly back down. And go again.)

This one and the last one were quickies. But they're intense and will get your heart rate up high enough to burn a good amount of calories after you're done while your body is still recovering. That phenomenon is called EPOC for Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. Mini exercise physiology lesson: This means that your body is still consuming oxygen and burning energy as if it is still in exercise mode, even though it's not. So the higher you get your heart rate up during physical activity and the crazier the intensity, the longer it will take for your body to return to lazy, resting mode and, thus, the more calories you will burn post-exercise. Good story. Stay tuned for future educational programming.

Staircase to Hell

This workout takes 20 minutes. Do as many rounds as you can in that time frame:

1 stair run
10 Wall Ball Throws
1 stair run
10 Jumping Lunges
1 stair run
10 Box/Bench Jumps
1 stair run
10 Deadlift, RDL, or Sumo Deadlift
1 stair run

Try for 4 or 5 rounds. This means you will have to run up and down the stairs super fast. Good luck breathing.