Archive for March, 2014

Sounds like a circus! Today’s blog is going to be one of my favorite at-home circuit workouts using 4 pieces of equipment (yes, I get bored easily…) This workout can be done using one circuit alone repeating 3-5 times, 2 circuits, or all 4. Use your imagination or whatever equipment you have available.

First, make sure that you warm-up appropriately for at least 5 minutes. Then, go!  Each exercise should be performed for a total of 10-20 reps depending on your level of fitness.  Another option is to time each exercise (i.e. 30 seconds per exercise):

Circuit 1: Medicine Ball

  • Squat and Lift – squat down, tap the ball to the floor and lift overhead as you push out of the squat
  • Wood Chop – make sure to do both sides!
  • Standing Torso Rotation – perform fast but under control!
  • Overhead Ball Slams (unless you live in an apartment with downstairs neighbors!)
  • Lunge with Rotation

Circuit 2:  Kettlebells (can use Dumbbells too!)

  • KB Swing (one-arm or two arm)
  • Renegade Row (requires 2 Kettlebells or Dumbbells) – plank position with hands on bells, then alternate rowing
  • Single arm KB Snatch – both sides!
  • KB single leg Romanian Deadlift
  • Goblet Squat

Circuit 3:  Barbell (a variation of Cosgrove’s Complex)

  • Deadlift
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Bent-over Row
  • Upright Row
  • Military or Push-Press
  • Back Squat

Circuit 4:  TRX

  • Push-Up
  • Row
  • Bicep Curls
  • Overhead Tricep Extension
  • Assisted Pistol Squat
  • Plank to Pike (with feet in loops)

If you’re up for the challenge, repeat from the top!  Also, make sure to cool-down for 5 minutes and stretch.  If you decide to try this, let me know how it went!



With all the buzz about the latest fitness and nutrition trends and each one promising the best/fastest/easiest results, how do we go about figuring it all out.  There are so many eating “camps” out there, how do we choose what is right for us?  IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros or Flexible Dieting), IF (Intermittent Fasting), and the good old CE (Clean Eating) are just some of the big ones I come across all the time.  Which one do I promote?  All of them…

Our lives are difficult enough without throwing extra “rules” into the mix.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not bashing any program.  I’m just into simplifying things.  Do I track my macros?  More or less, yes.  Do I eat foods (or non-foods in some cases) that are considered unhealthy?  You bet I do!  Are 95+% of my meals considered “clean”?  Absolutely!  Have I skipped breakfast to save my calories for the end of the night (knowing that I had an event that was certain to include foods I don’t normally eat)?  Definitely… (Disclaimer:  I pay much closer attention to my numbers during the weeks of contest prep).

The best plan for obtaining proper nutrition is the one (or ones) that you can comfortably stick to and that will fit into your lifestyle.  I’ve read the information and grasp all the concepts of these plans, but I will not freak out if my macros are a tad bit off for the day (if they are reasonably close and my caloric intake is reasonably close to what my plan is, I’m happy).  I won’t necessarily wait until the clock reads 11:00 on the dot to eat my first meal.  If I’m starving at 10:31, I’m going to eat knowing that if I wait too much longer, I’m more likely to eat way more than I originally planned.  Yet, I always take into consideration the QUALITY and QUANTITY of my food.  Yes, calories DO matter.  If you eat too much clean food, you’re going to gain weight.  If you eat nothing but processed food but your calories are lower than you expend, you’re going to lose weight (Though I can’t guarantee that you will look or feel great).

Find what works for you!  If you need the structure of eating every 2-3 hours, go ahead!  If you want to practice IF so that you can have larger meals, do it!  I’ve probably tried a little bit of every plan and I will use bits and pieces from each one of them on any given day.  The vast majority of my meals are healthy whole foods and yours should be too.  Just remember not to get too caught up in all the “rules”.

It’s still dark outside but it’s time to wake up and get my butt out of bed.  I wobble downstairs (because yesterday was leg day of course) and start to make lunches, prepare breakfast, pack backpacks, and pack my own bag.  I then remind my girls for the 4th time that it’s time to get dressed and ready for school and eat breakfast.  Another morning rush and we’re all out the door.

After dropping off the girls, I get back in the car and give my shaker bottle a few good shakes, and start my morning ritual.  I’m on my way to the gym and it’s time to start getting myself ready for the work ahead.  Inside my shaker, one of the best pre-workouts I’ve ever used – Top Secret Nutrition’s Pump Igniter.  I like all the flavors but will admit that my favorite is the Cherry Limeade.  I mix in a scoop of TSN’s Creavar to up the ante.  Within minutes (and I do mean minutes!) of finishing, I start to feel that all-familiar tingle.  It spreads across my face and hits my ears.  I turn onto the main road and I’m starting to drive a little bit faster (I often wonder if the excuse of taking a pre-workout will get you out of a speeding ticket?).  I’m now completely focused and ready to hit the weights!


Needless to say, I absolutely love Pump Igniter.  I’ve been using it since it came out last year and have never needed more than 1 scoop.  It’s still working just as great as the first time I tried it.  I don’t hit the wall, I don’t crash afterwards.  A solid product I will continue to use and recommend.

The Number One Reason…

Posted: March 6, 2014 in Fitness
Tags: , , ,

Time!  It’s the number one reason people give for not participating in a regular exercise program, right?  If you can find 30 minutes, you can certainly get a decent workout in.  It just takes a combination of motivation, determination, and a little bit of creativity.  I had quite a busy day today.  So busy, in fact, that I was not able to get to the gym.  I actually didn’t have any significant time to myself until my kids went to bed.  I certainly didn’t want to spend over an hour exercising…I didn’t want to throw in the towel either.  I planned today to be a cardio/core day because I knew I wouldn’t be able to adequately train legs at home.  I wanted it to be a fast but effective workout and not a 20 minute walk in the park followed by 4 sets of 20 crunches…So, here is what I did with my 30 minutes…

  • 5 minute warm-up on my Spin Bike

I set my workout timer for 20 cycles of 1 minute each (actually 1 minute and 10 seconds to allow me to switch between the bike and core exercises…no cheating here!) and alternated between 1 minute sprints on my bike and 1 minute of each of the following core exercises.  There was absolutely no rest until I finished the 20 cycles…so here is a list of the exercises I alternated with my bike sprints:

  • Knee-Ins
  • Crunch
  • Russian Twist with Medicine Ball
  • Ab Wheel Roll-outs (what was I thinking doing this for 1 minute straight?!)
  • Frog Crunch
  • Scissor Kicks
  • Bicycle Crunch
  • Plank
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Double Crunch

Rest about 1 minute at the end (just enough to hydrate and catch your breath…)

  • 5 minute cool-down on Spin Bike

That’s it…30 minutes (ok maybe like 33 minutes and 20 seconds but who’s counting) and covered in sweat!  Give it a try…you’ll either thank me or, well, not…

Well, I’m tired of 2 things:  I’m tired of winter and all this snow and I’m tired of my winter “fluff”!  Although I don’t have any specific competition plans yet, I’m at that point where it is time to shift gears.  I love being able to eat a ton of food and I love feeling super strong in the gym.  What I DON’T love is not fitting into my clothes…now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t consider myself “fat” by any means but it’s time to drop a bit of fluff in preparation for the warmer months (I think they’re coming, I hope they’re coming).

I’m going to document my journey for several reasons:  To keep me accountable, to fill you guys in on what my personal fat loss plans look like and how they can change from week to week/month to month, and to remind myself on tough days why I “do what I do”.

So, here goes.  I will call today my official start:  Day 1.  So, what do I do on Day 1?  Nothing too different than I do any other day except build a small calorie deficit into my plan and work a bit of cardio in.  So, today, I am being a bit more conscious of certain food choices, I won’t always “eat when I’m hungry”, and I will drop about 200-300 calories from my daily plan.  That’s about it; nothing too exciting and nothing too drastic.  Although it isn’t necessary to eat a certain number of meals, I like to eat more frequent meals when I’m trying to lose fat.  I won’t cut any food groups, I won’t drastically drop my carbs, and I won’t do more than 20-30 minutes of cardio at a time.  I’ll follow a plan for about 2 weeks before making any major changes…my rule of thumb, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

I’m starting this journey at 130 pounds.  I don’t generally weigh myself or do body-fat measurements during my “building season”.  I just concentrate on my strength, how I look in the mirror, and how I am feeling overall.  I will take more measurements this week so that I have some starting numbers.

My supplement stack will also change at this point.  For now, I have recently added Top Secret Nutrition’s Probiotic Weight Loss product twice a day.  2 things I’ve noticed right off the bat with taking this product:  a moderate suppression of my appetite and overall less bloating.  I will keep you updated on all my supplements, training, and diet changes as I progress.

Ready, set, go!