The Grind

Posted: October 20, 2014 in Fitness
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Hard work, dirty work, the day-in and day-out “it ain’t pretty” work.  That’s where I’m at right now…”The Grind”.  I’m doing my best to put the work in, eat well, and rest when I can.  I’m in that phase where the hard work doesn’t quite show yet.  I’m not trying to lose fat but I am trying to improve my physique for next year without putting piles of slop and jiggle on my body.

I made the decision at the end of the summer to hold off on competing for this year.  It was just too rough of a year for me to even think about adding an additional stressor.  For those that follow me, you may already know that on Christmas of last year, I lost my mom.  That was a huge, devastating blow.  The year followed with ups and downs with my father’s health, a new business for me, and some nagging injuries…my head was just not in the game.  And for those of you that compete, you know that if you’re not into it, it’s a struggle and can be completely miserable.

So, stay tuned folks…I’m going to do my best to keep updating this blog with recipes, workouts, tips, fun, and anything else fitness related.  If there is anything in particular you would like me to write about, please drop me a note in the comments!

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog.  I’ve been fighting a serious case of writer’s block…oh well, it happens.  I’ve also been struggling a bit with getting motivated to get my workouts in.  My best time to workout is first thing in the morning but with all the craziness of the summer:  work schedule, kids, etc. my workout time is never the same from day to day.  Most of my workouts have been at home as well which has forced me to be a bit creative at times.  With limited time, limited equipment, and constant interruptions from my kids, I’ve found that performing circuits is the best way to get in both my weights and cardio/conditioning in a shorter amount of time.

Here’s today’s workout I performed with emphasis on back and biceps:

10 minute warm-up on bike

Perform the following circuit of exercises 4 times through with as little rest as possible (use weight heavy enough that the last few reps are tough):

  • Pull-ups x 10
  • DB Curls x 10
  • Kettlebell Swing x 20
  • 2-Arm DB Row x 10
  • DB Reverse Curls x 10
  • Jump Rope x 50
  • Kettlebell Pullover x 15
  • In & Out Band Curls x 20 (Alternate curling band in toward your chest and out to the side keeping elbows locked in at your sides)
  • Fast feet on bottom step of staircase x 50
  • Single-Arm T-Bar Row with Barbell x 15 each side

 

After performing this circuit:

  • DB Back Flye 2 x 15
  • Band Straight Arm Pulldown 2 x 20
  • TRX Inverted Rows x 100 (as many sets as it takes to complete 100:  50 reps with neutral grip and 50 reps with pronated grip)

Finish the workout with 10 minutes of Jump Rope…well, in my case today, I got another 10 seconds of cardio when I walked into the giant spider web that was across the gate of my fence 😛

Try it and let me know how you do!

I cannot believe that it’s August already!  I’ll admit, I’m a bit happy about it too.  It’s been a long summer so far and my girls and I have been spending MUCH too much time together. With that aside, there’s also less than a month left until my vacation 😀

My sponsor, Top Secret Nutrition, has been really upping the ante with some of their newest products that have recently hit the market.  I have tried just about every one of them and have yet to be disappointed.  In this blog, I’m going to discuss what my current supplement stack looks like for the remainder of my fat loss phase before I hit the beach…and maybe, just maybe, a competition in the fall…

My standard supps that I take pretty much year-round include the Whey Protein, Active Extreme Multivitamin, Fish Oil & CLA with Lipase, Advanced Joint Support, and Red Palm Oil.  These are my “must-have” health essentials.

My workout stack includes Pump Igniter and Creavar pre-workout for resistance training or Cardio Igniter prior to cardio/conditioning.  I sip BCAA Hyperblend during my training.  Post-workout is usually a Whey Protein shake unless I have a whole-food meal instead.

For fat loss, Top Secret Nutrition has added a ton of new products to their line.  My current fat loss stack includes Ab Igniter once or twice a day with the newest Garcinia Cambogia chews as needed a couple times throughout the day to help with cravings and appetite (I have a big one!).  I’ll also cycle between some of the other products as well: the Garcinia Boost and Raz-Lean Energy shots are my other favorites!

Be sure to check out all their amazing products at topsecretnutrition.com or if you already use some of them, tell me your favorites and why.  Happy August everyone!

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!

Leg Circuit

Posted: July 17, 2014 in Fitness
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I have found that one of the most difficult workouts to complete at home successfully is legs.  When most people think of a leg workout (myself included), they think of heavy squats, leg presses, leg extension, etc.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could safely clean and press the amount of weight I would want to squat at home.  I certainly don’t have a fancy leg press or leg extension machine at home either.

So, my favorite way to do legs at home is to complete a circuit and utilize a lot of unilateral moves.  The following is the circuit I completed at home today using only a few kettlebells and a step.  It took me about 1 hour to complete 4 total rounds (including interruptions from my kids, the phone, and a few curious bees)…

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All exercises were done back-to-back with little-to-no rest.  I used 15 reps for all of the exercises with the exception of the medicine ball squats (20 reps).  So, grab your Top Secret Nutrition Pump Igniter or Cardio Igniter (’cause either one will do!), warm-up and GO!

  • Kettlebell (KB) Goblet Squat
  • KB Stiff-Legged Deadlift
  • KB Sumo Deadlift
  • KB Step-Up
  • KB Bulgarian Split Squat
  • KB Deficit Reverse Lunge
  • Bodyweight Unilateral Box Squat
  • Bodyweight Squat with Medicine Ball Squeeze (medicine ball between knees, fast reps – if you drop the ball, start over! :-P)
  • KB Calf Raise Farmer’s Walk (about 50′ x 2)

Take a few minutes between each circuit to rest and complete 2-4 circuits total.  It may not be heavy but I was certainly sore afterward!

If you decide to give it a try, let me know how it goes!

I can’t believe that we’re halfway into July already!  I’ve been squeezing in my home workouts whenever and however I can with my kids home this summer.  Today I’m going to share with you one of my “quickies”.  I had about 25-30 minutes to get something done and I wanted to make sure I hit a little bit of everything.  Weights, cardio, upper body, lower body, core, and a few drills for fun.  I wanted to keep the intensity high the entire time so after downing my Cardio Igniter from Top Secret Nutrition, I strung together a quick warm-up, 4 bouts of Tabata, and some drills at the end.

Warm-up: 2-3 minutes of jog in place and dynamic stretches (I wrote another blog on the dynamic warm-up if you’re interested:  https://fitgirlkris.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/the-dynamic-warm-up/ )

Tabata #1 – Lower Body Focus (a quick reminder of Tabata – it is 20 seconds of work alternated with 10 seconds of rest and performed for 4 minutes.  This equals 8 total “rounds” of exercise)

  • 2 rounds of Goblet Squat (I used a 35# Kettlebell)
  • 2 rounds of Kettlebell Swings
  • 2 rounds of Jump Squats
  • 2 rounds of Pop Squats

Tabata #2 – Upper Body Focus (I wanted to focus mostly on shoulders on this particular day)

  • 2 rounds of DB Lateral Raises
  • 2 rounds of DB Bent-Over Raises
  • 2 rounds of Push Press
  • 2 rounds of “V” Push-Ups

Tabata #3 – Cardio/Conditioning Focus

  • 2 rounds of Battle Ropes
  • 2 rounds of Jump Rope
  • 2 rounds of Jumping Jacks
  • 2 rounds of High Knees

Tabata #4 – Core Focus

  • 2 rounds of Mountain Climbers
  • 2 rounds of Burpees
  • 2 rounds of Plank with Arm Raises
  • 2 rounds of Plank with Leg Abduction Hops

Rest about 1 minute or so between each Tabata bout.

To finish the workout I did a few laps up and down my street of the following:

  • 1 lap of forward jogging
  • 1 lap of backward jogging
  • 2 laps of lateral shuffle
  • 2 laps of cariocas

Make sure to cool down and stretch for a few minutes and you’re done!

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!