Be Well: Full Workout #4

DSC_5552Since I've spent the last week and a half being inducted into the CrossFit world, I figured it was only appropriate for me to bring you a CrossFit-inspired workout this morning. Many CrossFit workouts feature two or three exercises performed in a repeating circuit for time. While bicycle crunches and tricep dips aren't necessarily a main part of the CrossFit repertoire, the workout I've laid out below should make you feel very accomplished (and sweaty!) by the time that you're done.

Do five rounds for time of:

15 reps deadlift

20 reps bicycle crunches

15 reps tricep dips

DSC_4332Deadlifts - I know I say this all the time, but it is essential that you use a heavy bar for this exercise. The bar I have in the top picture is not heavy enough. For reference, I recently did a workout in which I deadlifted 95 lbs. in sets of five reps for seven rounds. You can do at least half of that. Give it a shot, focus on keeping good form, and you won't regret it!

Bicycle crunches - this workout is for time, meaning that you should be doing all of the exercises quickly. However, you need to be especially careful that speeding up your bicycle crunches doesn't destroy your good form, which is a frequent occurrence in ab exercises. One rep is turning to the right once and the left once. You should be counting "left, right - 1." "Left, right - 2." Hopefully that makes sense. Do not let your legs start to flail or your elbows start collapsing in around your head. If that happens, slow down - doing these crunches slowly with good form will be far better for you than doing them quickly with bad form.

Tricep dips - you guys can do these no problem. Again, don't get tired and let your technique slip! You're better than that.

As always, remember to jog or bike or a few minutes in order to warm up. And don't forget to stretch!

DSC_1996Guys, it's starting to feel like it just isn't my week. Yesterday morning a light came in on my car warning of an exhaust system malfunction - just what you want to hear when you're about to go get some cavities filled! So I will likely be spending a sizable portion of today bringing my car into the auto repair shop and trying not to have a heart attack when they tell me how much it will cost to fix. I did, however, get my car stereo replaced yesterday, which was probably the most exciting thing to happen to me this week. I can now use my iPhone to play music (and podcasts, and driving directions) through my car stereo. And yes, it does feel nice to have finally entered the 2010s. Things are fancy here.

Be Well: The Time Tradeoff

I found myself in a situation yesterday morning where I had an awkward 10-15 minutes for weight training after finishing a cardio workout. I had decided to do a 30-minute sprint running workout that morning, but in the workout planning stages I just didn't put much thought into what I would do for weights afterwards (I know - what's wrong with me?!). When I got off the treadmill with only 15 minutes or so to go before I needed to head to the locker room, I ended up spending a bunch of time vacillating between various weightlifting options. I couldn't decide what would get me the most bang for my buck (er, minute), so I ended up wasting my minutes instead. No bueno.

So, I came home tonight, flipped through the exercises I have featured on this blog so far, and came up with three that give you a great all-around workout when you only have a little bit of time. Really, spending 15 minutes doing any kind of weightlifting at all is far better than dedicating those 15 minutes to "stretching" and "abs" AKA laying on your back on a mat feeling lazy. But since you've already decided to spend those 15 minutes weightlifting, you might as well have some direction!

Major disclaimer: I am not suggesting that you plan all of your workouts where weight training is a 10-minute afterthought. Instead, on the days where you've decided to do a "cardio day" but still have time for weights (you always want to maximize your time in the gym - you're already there, might as well make it worth it!), you should turn to these exercises for a more well-rounded gym experience. Weightlifting-focused days should definitely be a part of your fitness routine!

Now, the exercises!DSC_5558

1) Deadlifts. I can't say enough good things about how wonderful deadlifts are. They're great for your legs and you won't be panting afterwards, so you can move right into your next exercise. Win-win. DSC_2016

2) Tricep dips. You can do these straight from doing deadlifts, so you can get in a great leg and arm workout. Plus, tricep dips do a great job working the entire arm (with very little necessary equipment) so it's easy to incorporate them quickly into a workout.DSC_0742_2

3) Kettlebell swings. If you're only doing one weights exercise, do kettlebell swings. They get your heart rate up AND provide a great lifting workout for your arms and your legs. Win-win-win.

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So, I realize I am the ditziest blogger ever and, after entitling yesterday's post "Mystery Date," totally forgot to fill you guys in on the answer to the mystery. The mystery location: Benu! It was fancy and filling and amazing and just an all-around wonderful outing. Sorry about being so mysterious :)

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!