workout wednesday

For workout Wednesday, we have a barbell circuit.

Barbell Circuit

Perform each exercise in five sets of five reps and go heavy, so long as you keep your form.

Go forth, and be sweaty.

I’ll often hear many people, usually women, complain about their upper body strength. Most likely, this is because women (and I know I’m generalizing here) tend to stick to cardio like running, biking, or ellipticalling, which is great for their health, hearts, and legs, but they’re completely ignoring an important part of their body! Or else, they aren’t working out at all.

There is no judgement in this post, I’m just pointing out what I’ve heard and trying to remedy that! Cardio is easy- hold the pitchforks- in the sense that you hop on the machine or head outside and you pretty much know what to do.

Strength training is intimidating. There is equipment involved, whether complicated looking machines, funny-looking dumbbells, heavy-looking barbells, or the even stranger kettlebell to name a few. Also, it can be difficult to know what to do and why.

If you are starting out with weight training, exercising, or coming back from an injury, I recommend checking out the weight machines offered at the gym (this is the only time I’d recommend the machines for the record).

Otherwise, if you’re interested in lifting, take the time to do some research, whether in online tutorials or trainers at your gym (we’re always happy to help!) to learn exercises and the proper technique, whether the workout involves equipment or body strength.

Below is an upper body workout that targets all the main muscle groups, including the biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, and chest. If you perform each move properly, the core will always be engaged.

Upper Body 1

Come back next week to check out the lower body workout!

go forth…and be sweaty

I talk an awful lot about strength training around here and while it is an integral part of any training routine, cardio is still important too.

For me, cardio is often a long run or session on the spin bike, but on days when I want something to top off my weight training, I’ll turn to quick cardio bursts.

You can perform the circuit below anywhere between 1 and 5 times, depending on your timeframe and how your body feels. This is also a great workout you can do outside, at home, on vacation, or wherever life takes you. All you’d need is a jump rope, but even that motion can be mimicked without.

Sweat fiercely.

Cardio without Machines

*I apologize in advance for the triple whammy of burpees.

workout wednesday

I switch between full-body and split routines every few weeks/months to keep from plateauing and right now, I’m in the thick of full-body madness. If you’ll remember, my latest workout was inspired by Gal Gadot’s training for Wonder Woman and it has been kicking my butt in the best way.

On Mondays, I start with 30 minutes of cardio, usually on the spin bike, alternating between jumps, sprints, and hills. I follow it up with a half-hour of strength training targeting every muscle group, 2 sets of 20 reps.

Tuesdays are all about compound movements. My first circuit includes rows, deadlifts, front squats, reverse curls, and overhead presses, all with the barbell. I start with 2 sets of 5 with just the weight of the barbell all sequentially. Then, I move onto the individual movements with 4 sets of 5 because I can lift more weight with some exercises. I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now and I can already feel myself growing stronger. I end with about 10-15 pounds on the barbell and do another set of 5 in a row. My second circuit includes chest presses, assisted pull-ups, tricep dips, hanging leg raises, and oblique lean downs, same sets and reps. If I have time at the end, I try to do 8-10 minutes of jump roping.

Wednesdays are a run day, going between 3-5 miles.

For Thursdays, I fit in more cardio on the spin bike, either a straight 30 minutes or two 15-minute workouts with strength training, this time 3 sets of 12 reps.

My Friday or Saturday workout involves more circuit training, 4 exercises in 5 sets of 10. More jump roping at the end.

Either Friday or Saturday will by my rest day and then I go for another long run on Sundays.

It’s been killer, but effective!

workout updates

I’m quite pleased with my new workout routine I crafted a week ago. Before, I would either do total body almost every day or break it in different variations of triceps, biceps, chest, back, shoulders, and legs. For whatever reason, my body rebels against leg day and I have struggled to not resent those days.

However, I think I’ve found my antidote. Many people who do split routines do legs all in one, but this time around, I decided to break it up much like I do with the upper body. Here’s what my new routine looks like:

Day One: Triceps, Chest, Quads, Core

Day Two: Quick Total Body (Run Day)

Day Three: Biceps, Back, Hamstrings, Core

Day Four: Quick Total Body (Run Day)

Day Five: Shoulders, Ab/Adductors, Glutes, Core

Day Six: Yoga (Run Day)

And on the seventh day, I deserve a helluva rest!

Again, I’m only on my second week of this routine, but my muscles are sore and feel as though they have received the proper attention to each group. On Week 1, I ran through each exercise in three sets of twelve reps and Week 2 is four sets of ten reps at a slightly higher weight. For Week 3, I’ll do three sets of fifteen reps at a lower weight, and then my highest weight on Week 4 for five sets of eight reps.

Repeat.

For strength training, I like to incorporate body strength moves with weight training for the best results. For example, I’ll throw in some plyometric moves to hit my lower body, such as jumping lunges or jumping squats, and for my upper body, I’ll add a lot of push-ups and triceps dips. This adds a nice little dose of breathless to the equation.

For my core training, which I do every day at the end of my strength routine, I’ve tried to be better about hitting each spot of the comprehensive core. I do a lot to hit the obliques, like twists and lean downs, as well as stretch out the upper and lower portions of my stomach with rollouts or leg lifts, and finally strengthen the lower back  and pelvic regions with supermans and hip lifts.

On my non-run days, I do little bouts of high intensity cardio, including the spin bike and jump roping. It’s been awhile since I’ve jump roped, but I’m getting back into it and I just love it. It’s one of the best total body workouts you can do.

I’ve left the gym feeling sweaty and accomplished, which is really the reason we go in the first place. Or at least for me. I can’t speak for you.

My workouts are intense, but I love the challenge. My problem area has always been the eating and I know I need to rein in the sugar and extracurricular eating I tend to do when stressed or bored. Mindlessness is nobody’s friend, but I am feeling better about it.

What makes you feel strong?

Bump-y Weekend of Fun

Well, hey. It’s been awhile, which isn’t intentional and I’m not quite sure what happened to delay my posting. All I can say is that I’m back now to our regularly scheduled blogging. October is busy and somehow basically mid-way thru?

Let’s continue with a little weekend recap. Saturday morning started off at work, but after, I rushed home to finish up putting a few things together before hightailing it my friend Katie’s apartment. Our college friend Erin is getting married at the end of this month and we’ve already kicked off some of the celebrations with her bridal shower in August, but this time it was all about the Bachelorette.

My friends from school refer to ourselves as “the core four” as there are four of us who are really close and we’re all bridesmaids (except for the bride of course).

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We started off with a delicious potluck meal that included a buffalo chicken dip, chicken parmesan, pasta, garlic bread, salad, and cupcakes for dessert. Yum!

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I would zero in on the cupcakes, but hey! I made them and I have a hell of a sweet tooth.

Second event on the agenda was an improv show in the city. So freakin’ funny. There’s something about improv that is so raw and re-actional. As a writer, I’m all about the planning and the wording, but it’s so important to have instincts and gut reactions. Color me so so impressed! Definitely something to do again soon! Though I will say they should work on their margarita.

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The rest of the night was focused on celebrating Erin with some drinking and dancing. You have to dance when you drink because you burn off all those calories and it’s just so darn fun. It’s a rule. Look it up!

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The next day, started off with some brunch and lots of water and coffee. I went simple with eggs over easy, toast, sausage, and some home fries. My eggs were half raw, which would never happen in my kitchen. Brunch is about the experience and the people you’re eating with (sometimes) and not always about the food (we’re going with that for now). The woes of being a cook in a restaurant!

Once I got home, I focused some more on rehydrating before I headed out for a run. I am so sick of my feet falling asleep- I know I need new sneakers but I was in denial- but I still made it through a wonderful 6.25 mile run on a gorgeous day. Seriously, the weather this weekend was phenomenal. I walked another two miles home and just enjoyed being outside and listening to my music. Good music is everything when it comes to running and getting in that groove.

I made a hunk of a salad for dinner to pair with the pizza my parents brought home from their lunch. I didn’t have the biggest appetite after running, but the meal hit the spot. For the rest of the night, I watched some episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer  studied (okay, so I did a little studying and a lot of watching). I also wrote quite a bit and ended up falling asleep later than I should have.

Regardless of my late start to sleep, I woke up early on Monday morning for our weekly grocery shopping trip. There was nothing but angst and pain when I realized the store didn’t have blueberries OR raspberries. That is a true nightmare. Thankfully, there were strawberries so I could keep it together. Also, I can eat apples again so we’re all good on the fruit front.

A strength training workout was also on the agenda. Despite feeling tired and somewhat affected still from Saturday night, I killed it at the gym with my lifting session and felt even stronger than last week when I hit a few milestones. To top things off, I worked through a body strength/plyometrics circuit that left me feeling nice, sweaty, and accomplished.

I should mention that I whacked my head yesterday too and am rocking the bruise and bump combination. It really was completely a moment of stupidity because all I did was bend over and knock it off something I knew was there. Whoops. I seemed to sleep fine last night and woke up so I doubt there’s a concussion…

Before work, I had a nap before a productive study session that cleared up a few points I wasn’t grasping before. I just used “before” a lot in that sentence. I was going to change it, but then I decided to mention it, so you can’t judge it. It’s a thing.

So here we are on Tuesday, which feels like a Monday, but we’re already that much closer to another Friday!

I started my day off with an egg and two egg white omelet with chicken sausage and cheese and a fresh homemade whole wheat waffle. Notice the grapes for fruit as there were no berries and the strawberries required a lot of moving other things around to get to them and I was hungry.

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Still delicious and spot-hitting!

Now for even more productivity, less head hitting, and a lovely (albeit rainy) day! Promise I won’t go as long between posts.

Celebrating the Small Things

After breakfast yesterday, I got started on my workout. Up first was a dumbbell circuit that included bicep curls, standing tricep extensions, shoulder raises, weighted lunges, alternating front raises, and inverted rows. I performed each move in 6 sets of 8 reps and felt strong after my rest day on Sunday. For something a little extra, I went through a plyometrics/cardio circuit of box jumps, jump rope, rope swings, push ups, and sit up twists.

To top things off for the day, I hopped in the pool for a swim. I’ve learned the hard way that my watch does not track swimming, so I still have to count laps to make sure I’m staying on track. It can be a pain, but I break the laps down into groups of twelve, as each set is 1/3 of a mile. When I started, it took me a good 17 minutes to finish each round of 12 laps, which totaled approximately a 51 minute mile. Swimming is slow, especially for me, but I’ve been growing stronger and faster as I practice and learn good form. Yesterday, I swam a consistent 13 minute 1/3 mile swim and put in a little extra effort that last bit to make up a 39 minute mile. That is three year’s dedication right there! I think, when you put in effort and determination, we’re allowed to celebrate the small things as much as the big.

Whether in swimming, running, or lifting as of late, I’ve been noticing myself growing stronger and I take a lot of pride in that. For exercise to be effective and consistent, you have to find what works for you, what you enjoy, and be mindful of how it takes care of your body!

This should be the motto for anything we do in life. It’s hit me lately that if I put as much work, consistency, and determination into other things in my life as I do exercise, I can really make things happen. I consider myself lucky that the greatest challenger to myself and what I do in life, is myself. Not everyone can say that.

To recover from my workout, I enjoyed a lunch of leftover whole wheat spaghetti with peppers, mushrooms, and spinach along with a piece of parmesan crusted tilapia I had prepared the day before. I will share that recipe soon!

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While grocery shopping on Sunday, I checked out the sushi section and decided to try something different. I’m new and unadventurous to the sushi world, but I went with the spicy tuna roll and thought it was delicious! For an extra hit of veggies and protein, I enjoyed a side of carrot and celery sticks with peanut butter for dipping.

Breakfast this morning was a one-egg, two egg-white omelet with spinach, peppers, tomato, and jalapeño and some cheese. I paired the delicacy with two pieces of buttered whole wheat toast and a side of fresh blueberries and raspberries.

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With a little blogging and digesting, I’m off to the gym to fit in another great workout!