Train Smarter, Not Harder: My Compound Movement Workout

Train Smarter, Not Harder: My Compound Movement Workout

Happy Monday!! I’ve been trying a couple things for my workouts on my own and with my classes and decided this past week (and with my sandbag workout) to switch it up. I added combined movements together, using more total body, all in one exercise. Before I would isolate just legs, back, abs, etc. While that is good too, I would spend A LOT of time–sometimes two hours on a workout. As of a couple weeks ago, I decided to ditch that idea and decided to train smarter, not harder. I took basic movements like a push-up and added to them. In a recent Instagram post, I posted about my double plank push-up. It’s nuts, one small change, and the movement is completely different!! Each of the movements incorporates total body, so there’s no need to do extra sets of anything at the end. I was wiped by the end and sore the next couple days!

This workout took me about 40-45 min. Back to back each set. Rest once completed all sets. All you’ll need is:

  • Mat
  • Weight/plate
  • Weight/kettlebell 

Compound Movement Workout

Overhead Walking Lunges with Plate; Holding a plate over your head, lunge forward on leg at a time to one end of a room, switch legs coming back) 3x both ways

Kettlebell Squat + Row+ Press–in that order! Using a kettlebell, make sure you use one arm at a time squatting to reach opposite arm to opposite foot, rowing to your shoulder, ending with pressing weight overhead; 3x 15 both arms

Double Plank Push-Up; Starting on forearms in a plank position, use one arm at a time to push yourself into a high plank. Add pushup then lower down to forearms alternating sides. 3x 15 (alternating 5 reps each arm until you get to 15)

Plank Row on Cable; Using the cable machines, make sure pulleys are placed low to the ground. In a high plank position, grab pulley with one hand and row forward stabilizing though the core. I needed a wide base with my feet for balance here. For more of a challenge, bring feet narrow. 3x 15 each arm.

YOUR TURN:

-Any movement you’ve tried with an extra challenge that you found to be tougher or easier then you thought? What did you do?

-Do you prefer bodyweight workouts, heavy weights, or both?

-Do you find yourself taking time to learn new ways to incorporate weights or you get in, do what you do, and leave?

Stairs, a Sandbag, & Empowerment: How I Celebrate International Women’s Day

Stairs, a Sandbag, & Empowerment: How I Celebrate International Women’s Day

Happy Hump Day! Thought to squeeze in a midweek post about my latest workout and mention a belated International Women’s Day to some pretty cool and inspiring ladies in my life. I did a pretty cool workout yesterday with stairs and a sandbag and I’d say WHAT a great way to celebrate!! Weights make me feel empowered and strong, just like some of the women in my life. Why not double up and celebrate it with an intense workout? EXACTLY.

I know not all of us causally own sandbags at home (I sure don’t but am using the Y’s!), but using weights or some form of resistance is the point. Yes, you can forgo the weight and do it bodyweight style…BUT I find the added weight adds a great challenge and the awkwardness of holding the sandbag stimulates my muscles differently compared to hand weights aka balance and grip strength strength…both of which don’t get a lot of attention. The sandbag offers a few ways of holding it complete with multiple handles depending on what you’re doing. It’s the ultimate challenge in carrying weight, AND you can do almost anything with it. You name it, it can be done. Throwing, pushing, holding, pulling, swinging, carrying, etc. the list goes on. If the stair component is missing for you, add the stair master if in a gym. If outside: a ramp, stadium steps, or just replace the climbing movement altogether and add sprints or some plyometric cardio moves like burpees or jumping jacks. You’re carrying the bag WITH you to the top and back down all ten flights (in my case) twice so don’t drop it! Reconfigure the bag each time but don’t leave it behind! 😉

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I used a parking garage adjacent to the Downtown Y. For you Tampa friends, I used the Old Ft. Brooke parking garage downtown. Since the Y is right there, it was perfect for grabbing a mat and the sandbag without going too far. I was in the mood to not be in the gym and wanted to challenge myself in a new way that wasn’t on machines or lifting traditional weights. I felt like getting creative and stepping out my comfort zone. I remembered the sandbags and stairs nearby and BOOM, I wrote a circuit, grabbed the sandbag and mat, and was ready to go!

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The sandbag I used weighed about twenty five pounds. With this workout, especially for us ladies, that’s all you’ll need…lol. Remember its bulky and awkward to hold so that is also another consideration, especially as you get tired. The workout uses the sandbag almost the entire time but some it uses bodyweight exercises without the bag and just the mat. Make sure you find a nice few flights of stairs!! I climbed ten flights twice. Needless to say I was wiped and am sitting her writing this sore, BUT it was awesome and if anything the beautiful views of downtown were worth climbing to the top for. I can’t wait to continue incorporating stairs and sandbags for future workouts!

What you’ll need:

  • One sandbag or heavy weights
  • Mat
  • Ten flights of stairs/an incline/whatever is available to you

Two sets x 25 reps each (total four sets) back to back sets. Keep bag and climb stairs to the top. Don’t forget to include a warmup and cool down/stretch. *This workout took me approximately forty/forty-five minutes with some rest in between circuits.*

Lower Body circuit (bottom of stairs):

-Reverse Alternating Lunges (double count–each leg counts as one) 25x

-Basic Squat 25x

~climb stairs with bag~

Upper body circuit (top of stairs):

-Basic pushups *using sandbag under chest as a marker to GET LOW* 25x

-Plank pushups on sandbag (good way to challenge yourself on a non-even surface and makes is softer on forearms) first set pushing from one arm, second set other arm 25x

~back down stairs with bag~

Core: Lower Back (bottom of stairs)

-Deadlifts 25x

-Supermans on mat 25x

~climb stairs with bag~

Core: Abs (top of stairs)

-Russian twists with bag 25x

-Bicycle crunches on mat (double count) 25x

~back down stairs with bag~

Cool down and stretch!

 

 

 

 

Why Ladies Need To Pump Iron Too ;)

Why Ladies Need To Pump Iron Too ;)

I’m sure you’ve heard myths about how lifting weights can make women look/feel:”bulky”/”like a guy”/”unattractive.” I’ve heard that too…especially being a personal trainer. I primarily train female clients and that is one of the first things they tell me when talking about goals. “I want to look toned, but not bulky” or “I don’t want to lift heavy.” Every time I share the same answer: it isn’t possible because us women do not have the levels of testestorone males do. All of the sudden, they feel relieved and are ready to start lifting! (almost). Besides the myths, lifting weights is more then just great for our appearance. Below are reasons and benefits why you need to add strength training to  your routine:

  • Prevents osteoporosis–weakening of bones as women grow older that become brittle and fragile with age. This usually includes increased chance of falling and decreased bone density.
  • Increased muscle = lower percentage of fat–Cardio as we know helps burn fat, but muscle gains contributes to muscle growth which keeps fat in check. Muscle weighs more then fat and helps build a lean and toned look creating curves 😉
  • Metabolism jumps–muscle takes more energy to use and even at rest burns more calories then a heavy cardio session resulting in an increased calorie burn!
  • Lower numbers in blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol–we all wanna keep these numbers in check with cardio, but in the long run the added muscle gains helps keep these numbers lower for longer then just cardio alone.

Strength training doesn’t always include weights. Strength training can be anything that incorporates resisting gravity in one form or another. “Resisting” can your own body weight, resistance bands, dumbbells, sandbags, etc. The point is that your lifting something! Weights offer the best benefit (in my opinion) since you can challenge yourself with different amounts of heaviness! However, if weights seems intimidating to you (or just the thought around being a bunch of meatheads in the free weight area…you know where I’m going with this *insert rolling eye emoji*), feel free to use your own bodyweight to start off. Bodyweight strength training routines are awesome and require no equipment or gym! Don’t let bodyweight be the only form of strength training you get though, moving up from bodyweight to resistance bands or taking a group strength-based class can help immensely! Check out a couple bodyweight workouts to start off with here and here. Feel free to ask your local gym if you can get an overview of how to lift safely or think about getting a personal trainer 😉

Getting into a strength training routine of twice a week at minimum is all it takes to see a difference.  Start with two days a week and work up to three. Switch up your routine from a HIIT style/30 min workout, to a class, to muscle focused type workout (upper body/lower body or a push/pull) to keep it fresh. Don’t let yourself get bored! Keep switching the stimulus so your body doesn’t always adapt and plateau. Keep yourself on your toes while consistently challenging yourself. Check out the “workout” tab to see various routines to help switch it up!!

YOUR TURN:

-#THROWBACK! When was the last time you strength trained and what did you do, where were you, anyone join in, feelings or thoughts or your first time training? Have you gone 360 and changed it entirely or you’re still figuring out what you like? I wanna hear! We all start somewhere.

-Top three artists/music for a strength training workout…GO!

Forty Minute Push/Pull Strength Workout

Forty Minute Push/Pull Strength Workout

 If group fitness isn’t your thing but working out alone is (or in a small group), this workout is perfect for you! I especially love how its about forty minutes and a total body routine. The only difference with this one compared to other workouts I’ve posted, is that it requires weights. Bodyweight is great, in fact I use it primarily with my bootcamp classes, but weights are a great addition too! Have no fear–added resistance makes it challenging, ups calorie burn, and gets your heart rate pumping fast. And LADIES–this will not make you bulky–it is physically not possible. Ya girl wrote this workout remember? 😉 You don’t need a fancy set of weights or be in a gym for that matter either. Bonus points if you own your own set! I recommend you pick a weight about five to eight pounds or having a heavy set either of tens or fifteens. Pick weights that fit your ability but are still moderately challenging. I like to say that the last few reps (~3) of a set are challenging/fatiguing but do-able. This workout is a push/pull concept which means that each set is grouped by movement, i.e pulls would be rows, bicep curls etc. and push would be chest press, squats etc. You can be as creative as you want! Just think about the movement and build on that. Don’t forget about the warm-up, cool-down, and core! Grab your weights and get ready to get sweaty 😉

Push/Pull Strength Workout

Perform each exercise for a minute each, back to back with minimal rest in between three times total. Rest 1 min after fully completing each round.

Round 1: 3x through

-Chest press (1 min) *push*

-Single arm row  (30 sec each side) *pull*

-Jump Squat with weights (1 min) *push*

-Upright row (1 min) *pull*

~rest 1 min after each round~

Round 2: 3x through

-Butterfly arms (goal post arms, bringing elbows together in front of chest) 1 min *push*

-Bicep curl (1 min) *pull*

-Single or double leg glute bridge (30 sec each leg/ 1 min both legs) *push*

-Deadlift (1 min) *pull*

~rest 1 min after each round~

Round 3: Abs 3x through

-Leg lifts (1 min) use without weights *pull*

-Russian twists (1 min) *pull*

-Single/double leg v-ups (30 sec each leg) 1 min*push*

-Crunches (bonus if on exercise ball!) 1 min *push*

~rest 1 min after each round~

YOUR TURN:

-What are your go-to strength workouts?

-How do you beat burn-out with your strength training workouts?

 

Mantra Tampa: The Ultimate Pilates Workout

Mantra Tampa: The Ultimate Pilates Workout

*Disclaimer: Thanks to affiliations with the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was able to experience Mantra Tampa in exchange of free classes for writing this post. As always, my opinions are my own*

I was recently chosen to experience Mantra Tampa through Tampa Bay Bloggers! Mantra Tampa is located in South Tampa on South Dale Mabry and in Sarasota. Described as a “pilates on steroids” type workout using a Megaformer, you work your entire body with no impact focusing on core, upper body and lower body, and balance. Each class is fifty minutes total with a small class size of about eight to twelve participants with the instructor leading you throughout the entire workout. To get the best results, they recommend you take classes two-three times per week with enough time for your body to rest in between. Some people take classes five-six times per week, but always remember to listen to your body! Roughly, you can burn up 500-700 calories in fifty minutes! Talk about an intense burn…you end up burning calories post workout too! Check out other FAQ’s here.

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I have to admit, I was a little nervous about my first class. I went in and received an overview of the Megaformer, what to expect, and a few basic terms. I felt awkward the first time, but caught on quickly. By the end of the class, I was already catching on! The key is to “go slow” to activate slow-twitch muscle activation while adding pulsing and holding. It was safe to say I was definitely dripping and shaking within the first five minutes 😛 holy sweatfest!!!

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Not only does it combine strength training, but it is a great way to cross train. They recommend you should invest in some Toe-Sox, socks with grips on the bottom that allow you to feel more stable when transitioning to other parts of the Megaformer, and a towel…’nuff said 😉

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Organizing the Essentials: Check Out What’s in My Gym Bag

Organizing the Essentials: Check Out What’s in My Gym Bag

Like many people this new year, a resolution is stay or get healthy and fit. I didn’t always carry a gym bag when I started getting into fitness and health. I took group fitness classes in high school and only brought my water, car keys, towel, and phone. I took up cross country and had my backpack with my school stuff and change of clothes stuffed into two overstuffed, undersized bags without much thought besides the basics: socks, running shoes, sports bra, and cotton (ugh) shorts and shirt/tank top.

Two years ago I decided to learn more about the gym and took the time to challenge myself and push intimidation aside on the squat rack. This past year I got certified in group fitness and was in the gym a lot more and in some cases left the gym to train clients, teach classes, get my own workout done, or run errands and needed a legit place to put my stuff (which I carried too much of). After trial and error, I realized how you prep for your day starts with what you consider to be essentials and how you organize them in order to stay focused in and out of the gym. I have a wristlet clutch for my wallet, keys, business cards, cards/cash, and phone and my Jansport backpack for bigger things for food, clothes, laptop, notebook, toiletries, etc. I combine the two, and BOOM much more efficiently organized and ready to go! 

What I have in my bag at the moment: 

-Three to four sweaty bands/wide headbands

-Toe-socks for teaching barre

-Camelback water bottle

-Cheap headphones & extra Fitletic Armband for my phone ready for a workout

-Whistle for teaching my bootcamp class, HEAT

-A couple pens (ya never know!)

-My old phone (now basically an iPod) for music when I teach/workout since I like to keep my real phone put away to limit calls, texts, emails, etc. 

-Healthy portable snacks like baby carrots or nuts

-Extra phone charger

Why Inclines/DIY Hills Can Be Your Friend + Incline Workout

Why Inclines/DIY Hills Can Be Your Friend + Incline Workout

Happy Wednesday! Although I live in Florida and hills are not really a thing (unless you have bridges #SoFlo or north florida-ish), reaping benefits of hills can be tough. Luckily in Downtown Tampa where I teach, using a long ramp along the backside of Curtis Hixon Park (Tampa friends you know where I’m talking) has been good to get some incline in and where I did my workout yesterday! If you don’t have a ramp, using a stadium, stairwell, even the stair master at your gym works too! Parking garages are also a great option, just make sure you’re running them safely and during a less busy time of day.

Hills can be intimidating, a long and tough climb to the top, but they have other benefits besides just strengthening your legs:

  • Build endurance
  • Improve efficiency
  • Great way to challenge yourself before a flat course
  • SPEED- hills are basically speed work in disguise
  • Boost cardiovascular fitness

After reading up on hills, I’m planning on doing a bridge workout with my HEAT class and adding to my training as well. Look for that post up soon too!! 😉 Back to inclines though, it all has benefits. I feel most people run them too hard, too fast up them resulting in burnout or they honestly hate them and don’t do them at all. Go slow, take baby steps up, and recruit those arms help propel you up! If you have joint issues, the downhill part of the hill is where you want to be careful. The eccentric (lengthening) part of the movement on the way down, can put pressure and extra strain on joints. Control your movement instead of “letting yourself go.” Rest at the bottom, then back over again! Your heart and legs will thank you 🙂

Check out my incline workout I did with my class yesterday! As mentioned above, use a stairwell, treadmill/stairmaster, stadium, etc. if you don’t have a ramp!

Curtis Hixon Ramp Workout (no equipment–YAY!)

Three exercises per round at the bottom, middle, and top of each incline

*single count means each side counts as 1 rep

*double count means both side counts as 1 rep

Starting at bottom, focus is lower body/squats[cue Drake’s song haha] : 

-50 basic squats~~ run to middle portion of incline

50 pulse squats~~ run to top of incline

-50 jump squats/basic squats~~ run back to the bottom

~REST 1 min~

Bottom, focus is cardio:

-40 jumping jacks~~ run to middle of incline

40 burpees~~ run to top of incline

-40 Skaters (single count)~~ run down to bottom

~REST 1 min~

Bottom, focus is abs:

30 bicycle crunches (double count)~~ run to middle

-30 supermans~~ run to top

-30 flutter kicks (double count)~~ run back down

~REST 1 min~

HOLLAA you’re done! Don’t forget to stretch and cool-down after. 😉

Reap Benefits of Recreation

Reap Benefits of Recreation

Friday is here YAY! That means more time for sleep, catch on work, fun things to do, and new ways to get FIT! Sometimes getting into a gym after work can be a drag, especially when friends or co-workers invite you to happy hour.

If we wanna maintain goals and stay on track, its good to have back-up plans or new ideas to have in mind that will keep us focused. So what if we can’t get in that 45 min spin class we wanted? Maybe a walk or a bike ride on Saturday will work. Its a about balance. Something is better then nothing right?! That’s where recreation comes in! No one seems to use that word anymore…lol. I have my minor in it, so I’m used to calling any activity (gym or no gym) that name.  I mean running, cycling, dance, hiking, swimming, walking, stand-up paddle boarding (another fav!), roller blading, fitness in general etc. is considered recreation. (btw who still roller blades?!?). So when you dread heading into the gym, re-think it and see if any of these activities seem, hmm…fun-er? 😉

  • Running—the whole foundation of my blog is top of my list!
    • Benefits: aerobic, anywhere, only need shoes, quick!
  • Swimming—a great summertime sport that includes some resistance, not just aerobic
    • Benefits: aerobic, low impact, some resistance involved, total body type movement
  • Walking—anyone can do it!
    • Benefits: somewhat aerobic, great/easy way to get moving for any fitness level, no special clothes or equipment required, fun, convenient
  • Hiking—not really here in FL (although in some parts, yes!), varying terrain makes this activity tough and invigorating
    • Benefits: aerobic, great way to see the outdoors, good for doing in groups, challenges balance, works small muscle groups in the legs and foot
  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding—A Floridian’s favorite, or can be done on any flat lake or calm inlet.
    • Benefits: somewhat aerobic, great for balance, core, and posture, good for groups, great workout for upper body
  • Roller Blading—An oldie, but goodie!
    • Benefits: aerobic, great strength workout for legs, convenient, good for balance and core

Yes, these activities do NOT require a gym, but who said to improve you had to be in one?? Not here! This time of year can be tough getting in a workout, so the options above offer something for everyone without completely ditching your workout altogether…better then no workout, AM I RIGHT?! They might not create the strength training, heavy sweat sesh workout all of us crave, but they do offer tons of benefits. A good thing to keep in mind around the holidays, when you’re with family, friends, co-workers, etc and want to do something together!

YOUR TURN: Any good go-to activities you guys do that help with staying on track during the holiday season?? Comment below!

 

Holiday Motivation: Maintain Don’t Gain (or lose sight of your goals!)

Holiday Motivation: Maintain Don’t Gain (or lose sight of your goals!)

Hi There! I took a small hiatus from blogging over the holiday, now I’m back with some new topics to share with you. Everyone knows the holiday season is upon us. For most people, that usually means more eating out, falling off of a workout routine, other seasonal stressors, and other ways to put health and fitness on the back burner. I myself, find it hard to juggle my workout schedule among a lot of things going on, especially during this time of year. SO, I’ve decided to share some motivation, tips on setting small goals for each workout, and why staying fit over the holidays matter.

Starting to feel that “dread” or “guilt” upon starting a workout or run or for not getting your workout in? I’m already there on some days honestly! #keepingitreal…LOL. Marathon training during this time of year has its pros and cons (burn off those christmas cookies right?) so I get it.

  • Motivation wise:
    • Get half of the workout done anyways. Thirty minutes or less? Make it hard, fast, intense. This goes for HIIT workouts and speed/tempo runs.
    • Holiday fun runs or a 5k—so many good reasons for a 5k! Holiday runs are especially fun since they’re seasonal and allow you dress up. Get a group together or your family.
    • Experiment with *healthy* holiday recipes–a lot are re-created with healthy substitutes. My mom does roasted brussel sprouts with cranberries. It a festive dish and its healthy.
    • Holiday Challenges—I’ve done a running streak (with clothes on–LOL!!) where you run a mile a day from Thanksgiving till the new year. Not into running? Try doing a set of ten push-ups, holding a plank, etc. every day till the New Year instead. Get your friends together and make it fun.
    • Out of the box ways to motivate yourself: make your phone screen something motivational, a good quote maybe? Seeing it often helps you focus on your goals.
  • Go in the gym with a plan…Okay, so you made to the gym. Now you’re trying to figure out what you wanna work on. You might be feeling that “dread” set in but you know you need to do something. Instead you wander around and might not be efficient with your time. Aside from just showing up, plan your workouts ahead of time (see post on using a planner). For example, know you’re gonna do an upper body HIIT workout. Its okay if you don’t have the exact plan in front of you  (sometimes I don’t) but knowing what you’re doing *somewhat* makes it easy to get it and get it done.
  • Staying fit matters…Yes, we like to indulge this time of year. We should!! Tasty, wonderful food and treats are among us. It’s special. Try not to completely let it go to the point you hate yourself for it. All those thirty minute or less workout/runs, walks, and push-up  challenges, etc matter. Healthy food choices count too. Starting the new year with maintaining your goals is much better then having to start all over again with everyone else at the packed gyms etc. That thought alone makes me cringe! #packedgyms.

No one is perfect, but its the moments you don’t want to do anything that count the most! Plan it out, get it done, feel great, repeat…all season long. 🙂

Jumping Rope: An Oldie But Goodie

Jumping Rope: An Oldie But Goodie

HELLO! Over the past few weeks I’ve added some new cardio so my workouts. Lately, I’ve been all about quick effective workouts (see my last post on HIIT) and jumping rope has come to mind. I also recently read an article on Runner’s World and they had some interesting points on how jumping rope can help with running. Through that article as well as some research on my own, there are tons of benefits when including jump rope to your strength and cross training routine. Not only the obvious benefits including:

  • Can be done anywhere
  • Cheap
  • Easy storage
  • Good, fast way to get cardio in

BUT also adds components that enhance running performance as well. WHO KNEW?! Check out the benefits below!:

  • Aids in good posture 
    • During a race or run, rounded shoulders become more obvious as you fatigue. Training your upper body to stand tall as you jump keeps your form efficient.
  • Fast Footing
    • More efficient way to quicken your steps and stride leading to improved speed while keeping light on your feet.
  • Recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers 
    • Jumping without much break in between can help with explosiveness and power at the start of a run or race. 

Pretty short and sweet if you ask me! After learning these benefits, I love incorporating the jump rope! Who knew the such an oldie could reap awesome benefits in such a short time. To be honest, it is fatiguing. But my heart rate is up in no time and the added challenge is giving me something to work towards. To start, try to do 20-30 reps without stopping. Then add 5-10 more each time. I jump for time so I did 1 min when I added it to a workout. If a minute is tough, try 30 seconds and work up. Be sure your rope is not too long either. Hold the handles at your side and notice if the middle of rope touches the floor. If more than middle does, it’s too long, if not enough touches, it’s too short.

If not for enhancing performance, adding it to your cardio routine is a fun way to mix it up. You’ll be reap the benefits of an old school activity while gaining cardio health benefits along the way.