Be Well: Full Workout #2

This week I'm back with my second full workout! Many of the exercise pairings below have been inspired by the workouts I've been doing in the gym lately, so I hope you like them!

As I said last time, start with 15-30 minutes of cardio. You can skip it if you're short on time (since this workout is designed to keep your heartrate up when done correctly) but if you do have time, it's always good to put your heart to work. Again, opt for cardio exercises that will challenge you - sprint workouts are always good. Try to stay away from the elliptical machine.

After you're done with your cardio, complete the following circuit for a full-body workout:

Set 1: Deadlifts and Walkout Pushups to Twist

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Start with 10 deadliftsYou should be lifting a heavy weight. Yesterday I did 5-6 sets of 5 reps of deadlifts with 115 lbs. And I could have gone heavier. You should be lifting at least half of that. And I would strongly consider doing more. The more you do, the stronger your legs and glutes will be - that means slimmer, firmer legs!

DSC_6305Next, do 10 walkouts to pushup with a twist. You should go straight from the deadlifts to these pushups - resting in between sets will only let your heartrate drop and therefore make your workout less effective. Remember to keep your abs tight, back flat, and lower yourself until your arms are at 90-degree angles. This should be a great complement to the muscles you used in your deadlifts.

Now rest for 30 seconds, then repeat this circuit two more times - 10 deadlifts, 10 walkout pushups to twist, 30 seconds rest.

Set 2: Bicep Curl to Overhead Press and Squats

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After the 30 seconds of rest on the tail end of Set 1, go straight into 10 reps of bicep curls to overhead presses. Remember, keep your abs tight, don't arch your back, and you can always balance on one foot to make the reps more difficult. As always, using heavy weights is key! DSC_4300_2Next, move directly into doing 10 squats. Choose a heavy weight (I never do squats with a body bar as pictured above; that was unfortunately the only bar that was available back when I took these pictures) and keep your weight in your heels and your back flat and strong.

Now rest for 30 seconds. Then repeat Set 2 two more times - 10 bicep curls to overhead presses, 10 squats, 30 seconds rest.

Set 3: Kettlebell Swings and Bent Over Rows

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Last set! First, start with 10 kettlebell swings (I'm guessing I don't need to reiterate the importance of a heavy kettlebell?). Don't forget to bend through the knees and lift with your legs!

DSC_5583Next, do 10 bent over rows. Advice on these is pretty much the same as the advice on everything else - keep good form, don't hurt your back!

Now rest for 30 seconds.

Finally, repeat Set 3 two more times - 10 kettlebell swings, 10 bent over rows, 30 seconds rest. And there you have it! You should feel good and tired by this point.

Has anyone else watched this SNL sketch over and over since it aired on Saturday night? (Here's hoping that NBC doesn't force them to take down that video between the time of me writing this and the time of you reading it.) I'm kind of obsessed. I wish I was a good enough dancer to make dancing in a tofu outfit look good.

Have a great Wednesday!

Be Well: Full Workout #1

As promised, I have my first full workout to share with you guys today! Here I've combined five of the exercises that I've already demonstrated on this blog into a 30-45 minute workout. Instructions and links back to the original demonstration posts are below. Give it a try, and let me know how you fare!

1) Start with 15-20 minutes of challenging cardio. Running or the stairmaster are generally my cardio activities of choice. Try an interval workout for a more effective use of your 15 minutes. If you like to get your cardio workout in on a stationary bike, definitely try an interval workout - when I bike, I alternate between two minutes of riding at a normal pace and one minute of sprinting. It really brings your biking cardio workout to another level. Finally, do me (and yourself) a favor and stay away from the elliptical (unless you have a recent/healing knee injury). There are very, very few instances when getting on the elliptical isn't a giant waste of your time. It's much too easy to slack off on them, and the elliptical calorie counters are flat-out lying to you.

2) Repeat the following circuit three times. Exercises should be done back to back with no rest in between.

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a. 1 minute of sumo deadlift high pulls

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b. 1. minute of plank walks

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c. 1 minute of squat to overhead press

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d. 1 minute bent over row

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e. 1 minute bicycle crunches

f. 1 minute rest

To recap, that's 1 minute sumo deadlift high pulls, 1 minute plank walks, 1 minute squat to overhead press, 1 minute bent over row, 1 minute bicycle crunches, 1 minute rest.

In all of these, you should be lifting heavy weights. I recommend (for girls) at least a 20 lb. kettlebell for the high pulls, at least 12 lb. dumbbells for the squat to overhead press, and at least a 20 lb. bar (or 10 lb. free weights) for the bent over rows. And don't be afraid to go up in weight! If your body isn't completely tired by the end of the first circuit, you need to add more weight.

Well, there you go - I hope you enjoy my first full workout. Have a great Wednesday!

Be Well: Bent Over Row

This is probably the easiest exercise I will ever feature on my blog. I've been a little dissatisfied with the state of my triceps for the past few months, so I've been on the lookout for simple yet effective workouts to get them back to the toned state they once were in! (Side note: one of the major obstacles to getting my toned triceps back is my tendency to make bad snacking decision, such as pounding down a couple handfuls of M&Ms while writing this post...please don't judge me.)

Anyway, I love the bent over row because it's great for isolating your triceps and it can be done with a barbell or with free weights. The thing that is key (KEY!) to this workout is keeping your back FLAT - not rounded, not arched. All effort should be concentrated in your arms. Your back should not be strained at all. If you need to stand at a 90-degree angle from a mirror so you can observe the angle of your back, do that.

Additionally, you need to choose a heavy weight. If you (or I) want results, your (or my) triceps should be burning at the end of this exercise. Your triceps are surprisingly strong, so I would suggest using a 30 lb. barbell or 15 lb. free weights at the very minimum.

Start with your back flat, bent ~ 45 degrees at your waist, feet hip distance apart. Slowly raise the barbell up towards your chest, sending your elbows straight back. Your movement should be slow - if you try to do this quickly you will lose your form and compromise your workout.

At the top of the motion, the bar should be pressed into your chest and your elbows should be pointing to the back of the room.

Slowly lower the weight back down. It's important to keep in mind that the lowering of the weight is JUST AS IMPORTANT as the raising of the weight. Shortchange the lowering part and you're making your workout half as effective.

I recommend three sets of 15-20 reps. I'm definitely going to be including bent over rows in my upcoming workouts - I hope you are too!