Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

Have A Little Fun With Your Cardio

Posted: July 25, 2014 in Fitness, Fun
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I am definitely not one to do the same workout over and over again.  I think that’s why I’m not a big fan of traditional cardio.  There’s just something about being on the same machine for more than a few minutes that bores the crap out of me.  If I do machines, I do mix it up with intervals or do a mix of machines to reduce the boredom.  I also do a lot of non-traditional types of cardio:  barbell complexes, circuits, battle ropes, etc.  But I still like to add a little fun to my cardio, so here’s what I did today.

Got a deck of cards?  Me neither…lol.  I knew I had a deck somewhere but God knows what my daughters did with it or even if it was a complete set.  With some quick thinking, I searched the Google Play store and found a simple Deck of cards app.  Perfect!

I assigned an exercise to each suit.  You can make it any exercise you want…the body part you were working on or something completely different.  It’s totally up to you!  Here were my choices for today:

Hearts:  Bodyweight Squats

Clubs:  Single-arm DB Snatch

Spades:  2-arm Kettlebell Swing

Diamonds:  Deck Squats (this is where you squat down, butt to the floor, roll back with knees tucked in, roll forward and then stand up) – for a little extra oomph, I made them Deck Jump Squats! 😀

Each numbered card gives you the number of reps (2-10) and I assigned the King, Queen, and Jack 15 reps, and Aces 20 reps.

Set your timer (I did 20 minutes at the end of my resistance workout), grab the top card or swipe the app, and go!  Keeping shuffling through the cards taking a rest only if you need it until your time is up.  I must admit, this was the most fun I’ve had with cardio in a long time!

But you guys with longer hair can certainly benefit too!

I train almost everyday…occasionally, I’ll workout more than once a day.  What’s a girl with long hair to do with all that sweat?  I do shower (99% of the time 😉 …) but I can’t wash my hair every day or twice a day for fear that it may turn to straw and all fall out!

You may or may not be familiar with these products, but I have certainly found them to be a lifesaver especially in the summer.  They have recently become more popular (and thankfully as a result, less costly) but you can do wonders with your post-workout hair with a bottle of cleansing conditioner or dry shampoo.

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Cleansing conditioner is great (now I know you’ve all seen those Wen infomercials) and now many drugstore brands have one (Herbal Essences, Pantene, etc.). The cost is quite reasonable (well under $10 for most of the one’s I’ve seen in the store).  I love to use this especially after an outdoor or cardio session when more than half of my hair is soaked in sweat.  In the shower, you just massage it in, comb it through, finish your shower, and then rinse it out – only one product needed and it’s got you covered.  Several times a week I will use a regular shampoo and conditioner to get extra clean.

I’ll use a dry shampoo in between doing the other “cleansings” to keep my hair fresh.  This can’t be any easier…spray it on your roots, massage it in with your hands, and brush it out.  Voila, ready to go.  This is perfect for after hitting the weights or other times when I need to get cleaned up quickly.

Other helpful hints for keeping your hair under control during workouts…wear a wide headband to help absorb any sweat and keeping hair fully tied up (like in a bun).  This keeps the ends of your hair from getting soaked.

Now, if any of you can find a great trick for escaping a super sweaty sports bra, please share!

 

 

 

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!

 

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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”.

Before we get started, I’m going to poke a little fun at myself (and maybe some of you too! :-))

You might be a gym rat if…

  • You own more workout clothes than regular clothes
  • Your sink is full of dirty shaker cups
  • You think the 5 food groups are chicken, egg whites, brown rice, protein powder, and broccoli
  • You have a special pair of shoes for leg day
  • You think your job is seriously cutting into your gym time
  • You can easily count by 45’s
  • You get more excited when your supplement package arrives than on Christmas or your birthday
  • Your taglines are “beastmode on” “killed it” “nailed it” or “grrr”
  • You can’t pass by a mirror without at least one flex or pose
  • You’ve perfected the mirror selfie
  • You eat most of your meals cold and out of Tupperware
  • The saddest day of the week is “Rest Day”
  • You just finished a killer workout but all you can think about is your NEXT workout

Feel free to add any more that you can think of in the comments section!

Ok, but seriously, I want to talk about one of my favorite products that I’ve been using on a consistent basis from Top Secret Nutrition:  BCAA Hyperblend Energy.  Now, let me tell you why I love this stuff.  First of all, it has caffeine in it (and if you’re like me, you can never get enough caffeine ;-)).  There’s 150mg in each scoop to be exact – about 1 1/2 cups of coffee.  But that’s just the start:  There is a 3:1:1 ratio of leucine:isoleucine:valine.  Leucine has been the star player out of all the BCAAs for its role in protein synthesis, providing energy to muscles, and overall muscle recovery.  It is also an essential amino acid meaning you need to either get it from your diet or supplement (because your body cannot make it).  There are also other ingredients included in this supplement to aid in absorption.  All of this for about 5 calories….winner!

So, how do I use it?  Well, I could literally drink this stuff all day long!  My favorite ways to use it:

  • during a longer workout when I will need the extra fuel for my muscles and the additional energy from the caffeine
  • for an afternoon pick-me-up when I am between meals and want a little something to get me past that 2 pm slump.  It’s great to add to my big jug of water so it makes drinking all of my fluids much easier.  There are 3 great flavors to choose from:  watermelon, pink lemonade, and blue raspberry.  Don’t want the caffeine?  Not to worry, TSN also has regular BCAA Hyperblend WITHOUT the added caffeine.