Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

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!

There really is no need to spend hours at the gym.  Sometimes I don’t even get to the gym…I’ve created quite the home gym over the last few years and to me, spending money on key pieces of equipment makes me much happier than spending money on shoes and handbags (don’t get me wrong, I love those too)…

Monday was a super-busy day for me (as usual) between work, family, dinner, softball games, etc.  I had just over one hour during a break in the action to squeeze a workout in at home.  I saved a few minutes afterwards for a shower…you’re welcome.. 😉

I used an adjustable dumbbell set and a few kettlebells (but you can used dumbbells for the entire workout if you want):

I performed all the exercises in the order listed, took a 1 minute break after the end of the circuit, and completed 4 total circuits.  I did a quick light aerobic warm-up for about 5 minutes:

  • Dumbbell Curl to Overhead Press x 15 reps
  • Heavy Kettlebell Swings x 20 reps
  • Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks x 15 reps
  • Renegade Row x 10 reps each side
  • Unilateral Bent-Over Row with Kettlebell x 15 reps each
  • Burpees x 10 reps
  • Reverse Lunges x 10 reps each
  • Russian Twist x 20 reps
  • Unilateral Floor Bridge x 15 reps each
  • Plank with Alternate Leg Lifts x 10 reps each
  • Kettlebell Deadlift x 15 reps
  • Unilateral Kettlebell Thruster x 10 reps each
  • 3-way Delt Raises x 10 reps each (Front, Lateral, and Bent-Over)

That completes 1 cycle.  Rest for about a minute to grab some water and catch your breath and then go again!  This type of workout gives you the best of both worlds (as long as you use a weight that is challenging).  Not only are you stimulating each major muscle group, but your heart-rate remains elevated for the entire hour for that fat-blasting effect.  I try to do a workout like this about once per week in between my other “standard” weightlifting routines.  If you decide to try it, let me know how it goes!


The end of 2013 was one hell of a roller-coaster for me and my family.  The rush of the holidays on top of  everyday life can certainly wear one down.  But that is small beans compared to what was to come.  On Christmas night, in one sudden moment, I lost my mom.  She had been ill for awhile but this was completely unexpected.  Several days after the funeral, my dad landed in the hospital for almost a week.  The last couple of weeks have been one blurred nightmare.

This has certainly been a serious wake-up call.  In an instant, it can all be changed forever.

Health – something we certainly don’t think too much about until we don’t have it.  I don’t care who you are or how much money you make, if you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing.  If you follow my blogs or my facebook page regularly, you’re most likely into some facet of fitness.  So, good for you!  We all need to take good care of ourselves to the best of our abilities.  There are many things that are under our control and some that aren’t.  Exercise, food choices, sleep, smoking, alcohol use, etc. – we can all make conscious choices regarding these.  We can’t change our genes or family history of certain diseases but we can choose to live our lives to minimize the effects.

I am not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  I know it’s the start of a new year, but why do we have to wait until January 1st to make a positive change in our lives?  That aside, I am going to work to make goals for 2014 regarding health not just physique goals or competition goals.  Being a mom, I am often putting my own needs on the back burner to take care of my kids.  But, what good would I be if I wasn’t healthy?  I plan to catch up on any medical stuff I may have set aside to make sure I’m as good on the inside as I am on the outside!

So, I challenge you to do the same.  Keep on top of your health as much as you keep on top of your workouts or meal prep.  Try to quit a nagging bad habit if you have one, drop the weight that’s been plaguing you, get more sleep, get off the computer and go workout (but finish reading this first! ;-)), or whatever else will positively influence your health.  Let’s make 2014 one hell of a healthy year!

Family obligations, job responsibilities, workouts, food shopping, meal prep, and even show prep if you compete can take up a lot of your time. It has been said that bodybuilding can be one of the most selfish sports…if you let it. It has taken me several years to figure out how to balance everything and I sometimes still get it wrong. I have learned that having a plan is key to being successful, but what happens when that plan gets changed? You have a sick child, the gym is closed, you forgot to pack all your meals, etc. There are so many things that can happen in the course of a day to mess up your plan, but don’t let that derail your entire day! Yes, fitness is definitely a lifestyle, but it shouldn’t be your whole life! We all have families, jobs, and other responsibilities that are just as important as our fitness. I’m going to give you a few tips on how to find a good balance between all of these things without going crazy!


  • Have a plan, but also have a back-up plan!  I used to get so upset if my scheduled workout got messed up.  Now, instead of getting upset, I just try to reschedule it somewhere else in my day.  Even if I can’t get to the gym to do the workout I had planned, I have several key pieces of equipment at home that I can use.  I prefer to either get up before my kids to workout or do it after they have gone to bed.  This avoids all the possible interruptions that are sure to come…”I’m hungry, thirsty, bored, she’s looking at me!, give that back!, etc…you name it, and they’ll drive you crazy with it ;-)”  Some great items to have on hand that won’t break the bank are several strengths of resistance bands and a jump rope.  You can get both a cardiovascular as well as strength workout.  If you have extra funds; adjustable dumbbells, a suspension training system, and even some exercise DVDs can be great.
  • Change your attitude!  As I said in the last tip, I used to get frustrated when my schedule got turned upside down.  Now, I look at it as an opportunity to do a workout that I wouldn’t normally do.  Sometimes doing a little Yoga at home can be a refresing change to your routine as well as a great stress reliever!
  • Always, always, always have something with you to eat when going out.  Sometimes you’ll forget a meal or you might be running late.  I carry a shaker bottle with a scoop of Top Secret Nutrition’s 100% Whey with me.  If I need a snack in a hurry, all I need to do is add water.  You can also carry a meal replacement bar, a bag of almonds, etc.
  • Be flexible with eating out.  Don’t avoid social situations or always be the one to pick the restaurant when going out.  Most places will have something reasonably healthy for you to eat.  Don’t be afraid to ask for dressings on the side, no butter/oil etc.  Try to choose a lean meat and salad or vegetable.  If that’s impossible, pay attention to portion size.  One small plate of pasta is not going to completely ruin your physique if you’re diet is in check the rest of the time.  It’s ok to have a treat/cheat meal from time to time!
  • It’s also ok to have an unplanned rest day!  So you didn’t get to the gym or get in a workout at home – oh no, that’s it!  Just forget about it now…you might as well just open the freezer and grab that pint of Ben & Jerry’s and go to town right?  Nah, just go to the gym tomorrow, you’ll be ok, I promise!
  • This one’s for all you parents out there.  Don’t feel guilty for making time for yourself!  Making healthy choices everyday is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your kids.  Kids mimic everything they see.  If you’re eating healthy and staying active, they are more likely to do the same.  And I also promise that they won’t die without you if you go to the gym for an hour.  Not only that, if exercise helps reduce your stress and make you feel better overall, you will be a MUCH better parent as a result!
  • Play with your kids!  You don’t need special equipment to go outside and chase after your kids.  Ride bikes together, play tag, etc.  Take them to the park or playground.  Make a workout for yourself while you’re there.  I’ve been known to do a few pull-ups on the monkey bars!
  • Don’t stress if you don’t always get it right!  “To find balance, we must fall a few times…”  Just let it go and start a new day tomorrow.

Well, I hope that helps a little bit.  Summer’s here, the kids are home, there will be BBQs/vacations, and many other things to think about.  My advice, do the best you can to stick with your fitness goals but allow yourself some time to have fun with family and friends!