Category Archives: Workout Wednesday

Workout Wednesday- Smartphone edition

As I mentioned on Monday, my honey and I got Smartphones over the weekend. I got the EVO 4G to be exact. I’m pretty much obsessed already and have loaded a ton of free apps (I’m too cheap to pay for any at this point!!).

I knew I wanted some good workout apps, so I quickly found the Daily Workout series (abs, cardio, butt, legs and arms) and downloaded all of them!

This is a screen shot of their website: dailyworkoutapps.com. I just saw the yoga workout, but it is only available on Apple products. Hopefully it will be coming to the Android Market soon though!!

Each of the free workout apps offers a 5 minute, a 7.5 minute or a 10 minute option for one set of exercises (the paid apps have more options, but I don’t have the paid version so I can’t tell you what they have!). I have tried out the 5 minute workouts for all of them except the cardio and they were tough. You do each move for 30 seconds with no rest in between, but you have the option to pause the workout at any time.

I liked them because there is a person on the screen demonstrating the moves, so you can easily follow along if you are unsure how to do them. Also, it challenged me to keep up with her when I might have quit otherwise.

The other great thing is that they are simple exercises, with a few new ones thrown in to change up what I already do. So far, the arm, abs, butt and leg workouts have been done in my hallway, which is perfect for me, and shows that you don’t need a lot of space or equipment to do them.

The greatest thing is that I don’t have to have my computer upstairs or be in front of a TV to do the workouts. I simply just have my phone where I can see it and I can basically workout anywhere!

If you have a Smartphone, I highly recommend checking these apps out. I plan to look into some other ones as well and will share if I find some other great ones.

Do you know of any great workout apps??

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A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to run a 10K in November. I’ve thought about it a little more and to save a little extra money, I’m not going to be running it. (Plus, I have an event that day for my direct selling business, so I figure I should be trying to make money, not spend it!!)

So, in an effort to see if I can beat my time from last year, I have decided that I will run the race all by myself. That’s right. I know the course and it is fairly close to my house, so one day I am just going to head over there and time myself running it. I’m hoping my honey and Titan can come to cheer me on. They can play on the school’s football field and track where the course starts. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and when I actually do the “race.”

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Workout Wednesday- Men’s Health


I think it should be illegal for Ryan Reynolds to wear a shirt.... 😉

Today, I have another great post from my brother! He is an avid reader of Men’s Health Magazine, and to be completely honest, I am too 🙂 I got a subscription for my honey this summer and I absolutely love reading it when I get the chance. I’m not a fan of Women’s Health, but the men’s version has some pretty awesome stuff in it! Like in the September issue it says to “skip the skim milk- your body needs some fat to absorb the vitamin D in dairy.” You won’t find that in most women’s mags! 

If you’ve read my first two contributions for this site, then you know I love food that’s not necessarily the best for me.  You could then also make the assumption that I’m not the most fit and you would be assuming correctly.  In fact I’m almost the inverse of my sister who wasn’t the most fit when we were kids while I could eat anything I want and never gain an ounce of fat.

Now my sister’s fit and I’m what’s known as “skinny-fat” which is the worst kind of fat because I look normal (almost skinny) while wearing clothes but there’s flab and a small old-man gut underneath.

My biggest problem these days is Newton’s First Law: “…every body, as much as in it lies, endeavors to preserve its present state whether it be of rest or moving uniformly in a straight line.”

Basically I haven’t worked out as much as I should and it’s tough to get over the inertia of being lazy.  So lately what I’ve been doing is figuring out ways to sneak in a quick 15 minute workout on my lunch break (I work from home which actually contributes to the inertia problem more than I thought it would).  Sometimes I’ll do my sister’s hallway workout, other days I’ll alternate between the below workouts that I got from Men’s Health with my 25 pound dumbbells.  I’m hoping that once I get settled into a bit of a routine during my lunch break, my muscles will start craving more forcing me back into my previous workout schedule.

Shoulder and Biceps Circuit:

1)      Pushup Position Row

2)      Sevens (Biceps) while kneeling

3)      Rest for 30 seconds

4)      Wide grip pushups with hands on the dumbbells

5)      Kneeling Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Single Dumbbell Full Body Circuit adapted from the Garret Hedlund workout in Men’s Health.  Each exercise should be done with only a single dumbbell/single side of your body at a time.  The single side helps with your balance as well as engaging minor stabilizers in your core.

1)      Dumbbell Deadlift

2)      Bent Over Row

3)      Hang Clean

4)      Front Squat (resting the dumbbell in the “hammer” hold on the front of your shoulder)

5)      Push Press

6)      Good Morning (for this one I hold the dumbbell against my upper back and lower neck

Doing a single one of these circuits with 25 dumbbells will get your heart rate up and break a sweat plus leave you enough time to shower, eat a solid lunch, and get back to work within a 30 minute lunch break.  Crank out two or three circuits with this weight or a lighter one and you’ll really get a good workout in.

Have you read Men’s Health before?

Workout Wednesday- Drop Sets

Doing a million reps and sets of the same old biceps curls and triceps kickbacks can get kind of boring. Not only do you get bored, but so do your muscles. They can get used to doing the same moves over and over again and since they aren’t challenged as much, you’ll stop seeing progress. So basically you’re wasting your time with each exercise you do if you’re not changing it up every once in awhile. I highly doubt that any of you have extra time to waste, so here’s a super easy way to switch things up for your arm workout!

Drop sets are a fun way to change your workout routine without having to do any new and complicated moves. Drop sets require a little more equipment, but are a quick and tough workout to really surprise your muscles, making them work harder and ultimately become more toned and shapely. While you can do drop sets with almost any strength move, I really like to use them for my biceps and triceps.

The basic principle of drop sets is to start with high weight and low reps, then move to low weight and high reps with no rest in between each exercise. An example of this type of workout would be:

Biceps curls

5 reps with 15lb dumbbells

10 reps with 12lb dumbbells

15 reps with 10lb dumbbells

Triceps kickbacks

5 reps with 15lb dumbbells

10 reps with 12lb dumbbells

15 reps with 10lb dumbbells

Depending on your personal strength, you could use heavier weights or lighter weights. This is a lot tougher than it sounds, so make sure you do what works for you and don’t strain yourself!!

I like to change up the moves that I do with the different weights for two reasons:

1. I get bored easily doing the same move over and over again and

2. I have to work with the equipment that I have.

 

We have a behemoth of a weight machine that I’ve only started getting used to using:

That's my behemoth of a workout machine! I love it!

I also have only one 15lb dumbbell, two 8lb dumbbells and two 5lb dumbbells, along with multiple resistance bands. Because of this equipment, my most recent drop set workout was as follows:

Biceps

Biceps curl on weight machine- 5 reps at 30#

Hammer curl with dumbbells- 12 reps at 8#

21’s with resistance band- 15 reps

Triceps

Overhead rope press on weight machine- 5 reps at 20#

Kickbacks with DB- 12 reps at 8#

Warrior 2 with triceps extension- 20 reps each arm with resistance band

I did each set twice. Although I didn’t repeat the same moves with different weights, I was still targeting the primary muscle group, just from a different angle with each move.

You don’t have to do three different weights; you could just do two different ones if you don’t have enough equipment. You could also do each move until you are fatigued instead of trying to do a set number of reps. If that proves to be too tough to do for each move, you could just do the last move in the set to fatigue.

Drop sets allow you to surprise your muscles and challenge yourself a little bit more. I don’t recommend doing them for every workout, but adding it in for a week or two here and there will help change things up!

Have you ever done drop sets as part of a workout?

Workout Wednesday- BODYFLOW

Before getting into the workout for today, I have to say a very special Happy Birthday to my older brother! He’s the BIG 3-0!! Although we had our moments of fighting when we were younger, he really is a great brother! He’s an awesome cook, and I plan to share some of his recipes with you all soon. I’ve also asked him to do a guest post for me when things start to get really busy for me in a few days at work!

Everyone had a jacket with their name on it when we were in elementary school! It was almost the most exciting day of my life when I finally got mine 🙂

He’s also a brand new dad and is so amazing with his daughter 🙂 I always knew he’d be a good dad! He’s also a great husband and I’d like to think I had something to do with that! I always gave him and my little brother advice about girls and how to treat them 🙂

Happy Birthday, Nick!!! I hope the 30’s treat you well 🙂

Okay, onto working out!

I work on a college campus and was accepted into a year-long series where small groups of faculty and staff on campus create projects to do something good for the university. With my passion for health and wellness, I brought up the idea of fitness classes exclusively for faculty and staff.

Currently, the gym on our campus is open and free to anyone affiliated with JMU- students, faculty, staff, spouses, etc. The gym offers a great assortment of classes, some even instructed by students. However, with 18,000 students, the classes fill up really quickly (especially the lunch-time and after-work classes when we faculty and staff have time to workout). Plus, some faculty and staff are not comfortable working out with students for many reasons that I won’t get into here. Instead, I’m going to talk about one of the classes we were able to offer this summer.

In working with some fantastic ladies from the Gold’s Gym in our area, we were able to offer Les Mills’ BODYFLOW. I was told it is a mix of Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates, which I was excited about. I took a semester-long Yoga class my junior year of college, but never really got into it. Then I took the semester-long Pilates class my senior year of college and loved it! I’ve gotten into Yoga more recently, but I like to just flow from pose to pose and not really hold them for too long. Mostly I do it for stretching on my rest days (or to just wake up in the morning). Anyways, I was excited to try this class!

The only Tai Chi was in the very beginning for the warm up. It took me a bit to get into it because it is not “normal” movement that I would do to warm up (like running in place or jumping jacks).

The next track is Sun Salutations. These were great after the warm up and sometimes we’d flow quickly through, but others we held for a little longer. We did some Yoga strength tracks with Tree and Warrior poses. Talk about a burn!!! My legs were definitely feeling it after each of these workouts.

The abs tracks were my favorite. With Pilates-inspired moves, we were working the deepest part of our core. Doing some really simple side planks didn’t hurt during the class, but my obliques were screaming the next day, which I loved! We also did some work on our lower back, which can often be forgotten.

The very end of the class was about ten minutes of relaxation and meditation. This was the part I hated in my college yoga class, but this time, I always looked forward to it! Since we did this class at lunch time, this was such a great way for me to decompress in the middle of the day!

I really like switching up my workouts, so doing this for the month of July was a really great way to do that. Although I won’t be joining Gold’s Gym in order to take this and other group fitness classes, I will be incorporating a lot of the moves I learned into my workouts.

As for my project, we will be presenting to a lot of people at the university in December about the success of our classes over the summer. We are hoping it is something the university will continue! Cross your fingers for us!

Because of the project, I was invited to Gold’s Gym to partake in another Les Mills class: BODYCOMBAT! Oh my goodness, ya’ll!!! This was no joke! It was fast, fun, and a killer workout! It’s kickboxing on speed, honestly! With so many punches, my upper back and shoulders are screaming today. It is such a great total body workout; and it all went so fast, I was never bored and it surely didn’t feel like a 60 minute class!

I will definitely be using some of those moves in my workouts as well! I’m hoping to be able to try out BODYPUMP as well since so many of you other bloggers have talked about how awesome it is. If you’re not sure what it is, Jordan does a great recap of it here.

If you get the chance, I highly recommend you check out a Les Mills class near you!

Have you tried a Les Mills class? Which one?

Workout Wednesday?

I realize that today isn’t Wednesday, but I didn’t workout yesterday, so let’s pretend it’s Wednesday. Actually, let’s not. Because if it is Wednesday, then I need to go back to work, and I’m really excited to not be at work today. Okay, so it’s really Thursday, and we’re not going to pretend it’s Wednesday, but I’m going to do my Wednesday post on Thursday. Okay? Thanks 🙂

SUPER EXCITING NEWS!!!

I get to see this little one (and the big guy too!) today!!! My niece Ally is almost 3 months old and I have yet to meet her! My brother and his wife live all the way out in Minnesota, but they are in town this weekend for our family reunion (more to come on that tomorrow!). I’m so stinkin’ excited to meet her 🙂

So, I took the day off today and again tomorrow to see them and then prep for the family reunion, which means I got to do an extra long workout today! I took a rest day yesterday, so I hit it pretty hard today. I like to do circuits and mix it in with some running, so I did just that today. Inspired by this workout from Girl in the Pink, I added a little extra to the workout.

Here’s what I did today:

Warm up

Total body circuit- times 3

  • Run 1/2 mile (a 1/4 mile from my house and back)
  • Kettlebell swings- 20
  • Burpees- 20
  • Jumping Jacks- 75

30-20-10 workout 

  • Jump squats
  • Calf raises
  • Biceps curls
  • Triceps dips
  • Bicycle crunches

I did the total body circuit once, then did 30 reps of the other moves. Then, repeated the circuit and then 20 reps of the moves, followed by another circuit and then just 10 reps of the moves.

I will be the first to admit that I did not fuel up properly for this workout. I went with yogurt and half a banana….it’s worked before, but I think I need something more like peanut butter  to get me through a tough workout. I stopped after one whole time through and ate a cookie I made last night (recipe to come, I promise!), and drank some water. It really helped me push through the rest of the workout. It’s already in the mid 80’s with lots of humidity, so I was completely drenched by the end of this! I did some Yoga stretches as my cool down afterwards, then went in for breakfast. I’m pretty sure I made the best smoothie ever 🙂

Sweet green smoothie

  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 peach
  • 2 slices of crenshaw melon
  • lots of spinach
  • splash of vanilla
  • handful of ice

Blend to desired consistency

I’m off to clean up the house a little and then head over to my parents’ house to meet my niece!!! Lots of pictures to come 🙂

Does your family live close? Do you see them a lot if they do?

Workout Wednesday- Great Glutes

It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Oxygen Magazine’s Glutes Special Edition last year that I truly realized how important it is to train my glutes. Being the biggest muscle in your body, they do a lot to support your lower half and can affect how you carry yourself. After all, without them we wouldn’t be able to walk upright!

Glutes 2011

A strong rear does the following:

  • burns mega calories
  • improves posture
  • eases back pain
  • improves running performance
  • stabilizes the thighs and knees (to help prevent injury)
  • helps with heavy lifting

I always thought that I was just stuck with the butt I had. It’s not too shabby, but I could tell that it could definitely use a little lift. After reading more about glutes training, I realized that it is possible to change the shape of my behind…it would just take a little bit of hard work and healthy eating! So I started adding in more glutes-specific moves to my workouts and usually dedicate a workout each week to them. Honestly, I’ve noticed quite a difference!

Not only have I noticed a change in appearance, I’ve also noticed a difference in my performance. I find that it is easier to run up the stairs at home, do hills on my runs, and just do everyday tasks like bending over to pick up something, or squat down to tie my shoes!

Some of my favorite glutes moves are:

  • straight-leg dead lifts
  • curtsy lunges
  • plie squats
  • hamstring curl with stability ball
  • butt lift on ball- lay with your shoulders and neck supported on a stability ball and your legs bent so your thighs are parallel to the ground. Lift your hips slightly by squeezing your glutes. Hold for one second then release and repeat.

Pair these moves with classic squats and lunges for a great workout for your rear and the rest of your lower half! I promise you won’t regret incorporating more strength moves targeting your glutes into your exercise routine 🙂

Do you train your glutes? What’s your fave move for training them?

Two recipe Tuesday

Before I get to the recipes for today, I have to show you the loot I picked up at the farmer’s market today 😀

For $21, I picked up the following:

  • two ears of corn
  • a yellow zucchini- it looks white though…
  • a green zucchini
  • a patty pan squash- which I’ve never tried but am excited to grill it up tonight like the guy suggested!
  • 1/4 peck peaches- I see a lot of peach smoothies in my future- my honey’s personal fave!
  • bag of potatoes
  • one head of garlic
  • a beautiful head of deep dark green romaine
  • a dozen eggs
  • and lard. YES, I said LARD!!! Apparently it is the best stuff to season an iron skillet with. Plus, it’s not as bad for you as society has made it out to be. I have a fabulous book to review for you all that talks about it specifically. I promise to try to get to that post this weekend!

Onto the eats! The two recipes today are great dinner dishes. Both are fairly quick and don’t require crazy ingredients.

Call me crazy for making chili in the middle of the summer, but it is such a quick and easy bulk meal for me to make so I can have a good nutritious lunch all week! This batch made me five 2-cup servings and one 1-cup serving. Perfect for the work week!

Kristin’s World-Famous Chili (okay, not really, but wouldn’t that be cool?!)

Stellar picture, right? Sorry! I haven't really served it up in a nice way to take a photo of it.

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lb ground beef (or chicken, see note below)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 28oz can tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • dash of red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 cup corn

1. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat.

2. Saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes or until onions are translucent.

3. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink.

4. Drain and rinse both cans of beans.

5. Add beans to meat mixture, followed by the undrained tomatoes.

6. Then add the corn. Add spices and mix well.

7. Let simmer for 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend. You could eat it right away if you wanted to though! Serve with tortilla chips and cheese on top!

Note: to make this with chicken instead, simply skip the ground beef step and mix everything else together. Add cooked chicken once everything else has been mixed together. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes so the chicken absorbs the seasoning.

Creamy quinoa with veggies

Again with the stellar photography today...!

I bought some ricotta cheese to make a ravioli recipe recently (which was pretty fab by the way!), but I had a lot left over. What’s a girl to do? Make up recipes with it! I found a blueberry banana bread made with greek yogurt over at Daily Garnish and decided to replace the greek yogurt with ricotta cheese. It only sort of turned out…that’s why I’m not sharing my recipe here today! It was good, but I need to work on my ratio of wet to dry ingredients before I share it.

Anyways, I still had extra left over. My honey doesn’t mind eating quinoa, but always wants some sort of sauce for it. I decided to whip this up for dinner the other night and it turned out fabulous!

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 large squash, diced
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (more or less to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan.

2. Saute garlic and onions until onions are translucent.

3. Add the chicken stock and quinoa.

4. Cover and bring to a boil.

5. Lower the heat to a simmer and let the quinoa cook until most of the liquid is absorbed.

6. Add the spinach, zucchini and squash and cover again to allow the veggies to steam a little.

7. Once everything is cooked, add the ricotta and Parmesan, then season with salt and pepper.

Have you ever cooked with lard? What’s your ‘world-famous’ recipe??