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 #3

Happy Workout Wednesday! This week I've got my third full workout to share with you guys, this time with a slightly different format. I hope you try it, like it, and find it challenging! So here we go:

Start with five minutes of stretching. This workout involves sprinting, and I recently strained my left hamstring after sprinting with no warm up, so the importance of stretching has been on my mind! One really great stretch is to get in a lunge position, interlock your fingers and stretch your arms up over your head, and then lean side to side and push your hips back and forth, side to side, in order to stretch all of your upper leg and hip muscles. Repeat on the other side.

Next, hop on an exercise bike and bike at low to medium intensity for five minutes. If you don't have an exercise bike at your disposal, you can run or do the stairmaster (but no elliptical!). Spend the first two minutes riding easy to get your muscles warmed up, and then finish out the remaining minutes at a medium clip to get your blood pumping.

Rest for one minute.

DSC_4300_2Next, spent one minutes doing squats.

DSC_0718Spend the next minute doing plank walks.

DSC_1996Spend the third minute doing tricep dips.

Now repeat the circuit two more times - first, bike for five minutes, then rest for a minute, then do one minute each of squats, plank walks, and tricep dips.

During your second five minutes of biking, start at medium intensity and work your way up to hard intensity during the block. During your last block of biking, try to sprint the entire time. You can do that while either sitting down or standing up on the bike - it's your preference.

After this, your lungs, legs, arms, and abs should all be burning. You might be exhausted, but your body will thank you later!

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Although commitment and stability are things I crave deeply in my human relationships, those needs do not transfer over AT ALL to my feelings about my workout routine. While I want to come home to the same person every night (you would too if you met my husband), I can't stand being tied down to a certain workout regimen - I never like frequenting exercise classes in my gym for fear of becoming a "regular" and feeling obligated to go, and I even struggle with whether or not I even want to maintain my gym membership. I tend to shop for new workouts with greater intensity than I shop for new clothes - I love learning about new kinds of exercise, and then creating a kind of a weekly workout salad of those new discoveries, incorporating everything from pilates to CrossFit, from barre to half marathon training, into one week of workouts. Especially here in San Francisco where there are so many niche workout facilities, the siren song of CrossFit, yoga studios, barre workouts, and free-standing cycling classes sometimes makes me want to cheat on Old Faithful, my very run-of-the-mill gym, in favor of something...new. I'm not really sure where I'm going with all of this, but my thoughts strayed to new, unexplored, exciting workouts today and now all I can think about is putting those dreams into action. After all, variety is the secret ingredient to staying out of a workout rut and keeping in great shape...but variety can be expensive! If only I had unlimited money to try out any and every workout studio out there...dare to dream, right?