10-24-2014

New Workout Playlist 15

It’s the start of the weekend – woohoo!

My weekend will be kinda busy and I wish I had one day of sleeping in, but I won’t :-p

Tomorrow is my XC team’s last meet. It’s our Region meet and I have high hopes for them, they’ve been nailing their workouts and I think they’ll do great. 

Sunday I am running a 5K with my dad at Rutgers, and then him, my mom and I are driving down to Philly to check out the half marathon course and figure out race day logistics. I’ve only been to Philly once so it’ll be a fun little day trip. Any suggestions for place to get lunch? 

Anyway, to kick off the weekend, here is my latest workout playlist. I’ve been obsessed with Nick Jonas’s new song. I can’t stop listening to it. I know, I’m so lame.

workout-playlist15

Any tunes I should add to my playlist? What song have you been listening to on repeat?

What are you up to this weekend??

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10-22-2014

Add Pull Exercises To Your Routine

Chances are, if you’re like me, you sit at a desk for the majority of your day. This can wreak havoc on your posture and muscles. I wrote once about posture tips in the office, but today I want to talk about what you can do at the gym to help your posture.

Something I learned when I first starting personal training in 2010 was in regards to exercises we do that can either help or end up making our posture worst. Pull exercises are the #1 that can help you maintain better posture (I feel like I already typed posture 10 times and I’m only 2 paragraphs in).

Add These Back Workouts To Your Routine

Most people do push exercises when they’re at the gym, or do a combo of push and pull exercises.

Push exercises include: push-ups, bench press/any type of press

Pull exercises include: pull-ups, rows, pull-downs

I know that banging out a few bench press reps makes you feel awesome and hardcore, but it may not be the best thing for your posture. When you sit at a desk all day, chances are you’re probably hunched over, at least a little bit. That means your shoulders are rounded forward, and as time goes on, they stay like that. Your pectoral muscles get tight, and doing more bench press reps just ends up making it worse…meaning then your shoulders are hunched over, and the vicious cycle continues.

That’s why I suggest doing more pull exercises than push exercises. I rarely even do push exercises to be honest. I’d rather work on my back anyway, which is one of your largest muscle groups. I also have horrible posture so I know going for a bench press PR won’t help me (though I did try this winter haha).

Doing anything that involves pulling will work your back muscles, which is good for a few reasons.

  1. Working a large muscle group like your back means you’re burning more calories, before and after the workout.
  2. Your back muscles are what keeps your posture up and also pulls your shoulders back. A strong back will help correct posture imbalances.

When you start doing more back workouts, just make sure you mix up horizontal pulls (seated row) and vertical pulls (lat pulldown).

MY FAVORITE PULL EXERCISES

Here are a few of my go-tos, and I wrote about more in a previous post as well:

Negative pull-ups

Can’t do a pull-up? No problem. Start with these. These are really tough but will make you stronger really quickly. This exercises focuses on your lats and biceps. Yeah you’re not actually PULLING yourself up but you’re working towards being able to do unassisted pull-ups (if that’s your goal)

Start with lowering in 5 seconds, and work your way up to 10 seconds (aka it takes you 10 seconds before your arms are straight again)

Seated row

I love seated row. It’s probably my favorite exercise and has really helped me build a stronger back. Make sure you sit with your chest up and shoulders back. Shoulders back always!! Pull in with force, then take 3 seconds to let the weight go again. Don’t rush through any of these exercises. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades as you pull in.

Cable row (Runners, add this to your routine!)

I just started doing this as I’ve been half marathon training and I believe it has really helped me running. Go to a cable machine, pull the cable out a bit and stand in a split stance. Leg that goes back matches with the arm holding the cable. As always, chest up, shoulders back and when you pull make sure to maintain that posture and don’t let your body turn in any way. Your torso should stay facing forward. Pull in with force, then slowly let it out.

She’s not standing in a split stance but her form cues are exactly what you need to be doing.

Why is this great for runners? Because it’s working on your arm strength specific to running. When you need power, what do you do? You pump your arms. You need that arm force. This exercises goes through that exact movement pattern, and as you get stronger you’ll have more power when you need that finishing kick.

To make it more challenging and add in a leg workout too, you can grab the cable, do a reverse lunge, and as you come up do the cable row.

So my main tip? Stop doing as much pushing and start pulling!

Do you do chest AND back exercises or tend to focus more on one?

What’s your favorite pull exercise?

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10-03-2014

Pin It Party!

Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean is hosting a Pin It Party today which I’m really excited for. I love Pinterest and could spend hours perusing different categories. I don’t know what’s gotten into me but the past few days I’ve been pinning like crazy.

The rules of the Pin It Party are that you link to 5 of your blog posts (which have a pinnable image) that you’d like others to pin, you link up to her page, and then you pin other people’s content as well. Here’s the first roundup I did for one of Lindsay’s Pin It Parties.

Okay so here are my 5 posts…pin away…and thanks in advance!

Hansons Marathon Method ReviewHansons Marathon Method Review

I followed this training plan for my first marathon and even though it was tough, really enjoyed it. Hint: it includes a lot of running.

How To Avoid Hitting The WallWays To Avoid Hitting The Wall

Speaking of marathon training…here are a few ways to not bonk in your next race!

Different Types Of Squats7 Different Types Of Squats

I outlined various types of squats to incorporate into your routine. Barbell squats are my favorite.

Bust A PlateauCrush A Plateau

Stuck in a rut? Here are a few ways to get out of it. One of my favorite ways is adding in 1.5 reps into sets.

Coconut Protein BitesCoconut Peanut Butter Protein Bites

Best. snack. ever.

Head on over to Lindsay’s page to see other blogger’s content and pin some good stuff! And of course add your own link! If you do, leave a comment here with your link so I can add your stuff to my boards :)

Let’s end with a random question: Would you rather be able to fly…or read minds? I think I’d choose fly.

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09-12-2014

The 10 Minute Leg Workout

My mom and I try to do strength training two times per week. We are training for a half marathon but also want to make sure we make time to lift as well. Some days we run beforehand and go to the gym after…so let’s face it, we really don’t want to be there for hours. We want to get in and get out.

So that’s why this past week we started incorporating this leg workout into our workout. It only takes 10 minutes when you do it for 3 sets. And trust me it’s not easy. Once you’re done, you now have more time to work on other body parts like back, arms, and especially core.

10-min-leg-workout

So you go through and do each exercise for 30 seconds, then take a 30 second rest. You do this for three sets. You need to make sure the weight is heavy enough. You should be getting 8-10 reps in those 30 seconds. If you’re doing more, then the weight is too light. I am always dripping in sweat after this workout!

Here’s a picture I posted on my Instagram showing the exercises (ignore my running splits, that was from my tempo run that day which was awesome!!) :

This workout targets all the major muscles in your legs, like glutes, quads and hamstrings. It’s great when you’re short on time or want to do something quick after a run.

Let me know if you try it out! What types of lifting do you do while you’re training for a race?

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09-09-2014

Quick Hill Interval Workout

Are you limited on time or just want a good finisher after a lifting workout? Then you have to try this hill interval workout I did yesterday!

My mom and I were sweating bullets once we were done, and it only took about 10 minutes (or maybe less). 

Doing hill sprints helps torch calories as well as make you stronger – which is a great thing if you’re a runner. Adding in hill intervals will help build speed, strength and endurance. 

Here’s the workout:

Hill Sprint Workout

Instructions:

  1. Warm up for 5-10 minutes. Obviously skip this step if you have been lifting or exercising prior to this and are using this as a finisher.
  2. Start running! Take a 1 minute break in between each interval. I like to walk or slow jog.
  3. Cool down & walk for 5 minutes once you’re done.

Like I said, perfect for when you’re short on time but want to get in a good sweat.

Do you like hill sprints? I know some people hate them but I love them. I also like hillier courses better than flatter race courses. How about you?

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09-04-2014

5 Low-Impact Exercise Ideas

You may be injured. Or just may just want a change in your routine. These low-impact exercises are great when you have some sort of lower body issue (like my shin splints) or just want to switch up your cross-training. Really, who wants to be on the elliptical for an hour?? You can try doing one (or a mix) of these instead. I’d say my favorite are the battle ropes.

low-impact-exercisePhoto Credit: Tooley via Compfight cc

Battle Ropes – I recently took a ropes type class which I’ll be reviewing next week. Let me tell you, I am sore. We did all sorts of stuff with battle ropes. My heart rate was jacked up and I could feel my core workout. Any exercise where I’m doing cardio and abs…I’m in. The great thing about using ropes is that it can be as low-impact as you need. I told the instructor I had shin splints, so she modified certain exercises for me. Regardless, I still had to take breaks because I was so winded. Talk about a great way to exercise when you’re injured and can’t run!

Here’s a great and simple move to do with ropes:

photo-3Source: powercakes.net

Stairs - For some reason, I get more winded with stairs than running. No joke, I go up like 10 steps and I’m out of breath (can anyone tell me why??). Stairs are a great way to get in some lower-impact cardio and feel the burn in your quads. If you don’t care about low-impact, add in some jumps (similar to box jumps) to really get in a good lower body workout.

Hiking – About a month or so ago I went for a 1.5 mile hike with Dan. 1.5 miles is nothing right? Well it was straight up a rocky hill, so by the end I was pretty sweaty. If you’re injured, this is a great way to cross train and be outdoors at the same time.

Suspension Training – I’m sure you’ve heard of TRX training. You can do suspension training with anything similar to a TRX. At the class I took we simply used ropes that were hanging from a pull-up bar. There are so many things you can do with suspension trainers: lunges, mountain climbers, planks, rows, single arm rows…the list goes on.

Rock Climbing – During grad school, I worked with the college Recreation department. As a team, we took a trip to the rock wall at our school. I was really scared because I had never done this before. Turns out it was actually a lot of fun AND a great workout. My arms were pretty sore the next day! Rock climbing not only works your arms, but your lower body too since you use your legs to boost yourself up each time you go for a rock. The best part is belaying all the way back down at the top!

Have you tried any of these (or do them regularly?)

I really want to do more muscle ropes at my gym but also am a little self conscious because you have to do them on the main floor where everyone is working out…hmm…

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08-18-2014

New Workout Playlist 14

I haven’t done a new workout playlist in a while, and since there are some songs I can’t stop playing on repeat, I figured I’d share my current playlist :)

Before I get to that I just wanted to do a quick update on my birthday weekend…it was great!

My friends and I went down to the beach during the day, and then went out at night. It was fun spending time with them and I’m so grateful to have them in my life. Here are a few pictures from the weekend:

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Dan & I indulging in some Coronita buckets :)

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Before going out that night

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Beach day!

It was so much fun and also sad that this was only my second time to the beach this summer. I need to go back before summer ends!

Anyway, back to my workout playlist…

Many of these are top 40 songs that are on the radio, but hey, that’s what I like to work out to.

workout-playlist

I’ll admit, when I first heard “Shower” I thought, this is a stupid song. Now it’s been stuck in my head since last night. And I’ll probably play it on my drive home later…

Here’s the playlist on Spotify if you want to listen and follow me! It’s actually my sister’s account but I pay for it, so we both use it :)

What songs are you currently listening to on repeat? I need to add more music to my playlists!

Do you have a beach, lake or pool near you? Have you gone often this summer?

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07-30-2014

How To: Medicine Ball Slams + Workout

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you may have seen my picture tutorial on how to do medicine ball slams:

Medicine Ball Slams

 Medicine ball slams are a great exercise because it’s a full body workout. You’re working your legs and upperbody, and getting in some cardio too. You may feel silly at first doing this in a gym (I did), but it will make you feel bad@$$ ;) I have seen a lot of people doing it at the gym too, so don’t think you’re the only one. Below are the steps + a video tutorial, but keep reading for a full medicine ball workout as well!

Here are the steps:

  1. Semi squat down as if you’re preparing to jump. Keep your core tight and flat back…same form as if you were doing regular squats.
  2. Bring the ball up over your head and prepare to slam it down. As you can see in my picture, I’m on my toes as I prepare to slam it down. You don’t want to just bring it over your head – have some power to it! Be careful not to hyper-extend your back.
  3. Slam the ball down as hard as you can, and again you will end in that semi-squat position. Catch the ball on the rebound and repeat.

For those of you who like video tutorials:

Here’s a workout to try next time you’re at the gym. All you need is the medicine ball!

Medicine Ball Workout

For the tricep extensions, it’s the same thing as if you were holding a dumbbell. See below (minus the lunge):

Med-Ball-Lunge-with-Tricep

 

And medicine ball twists are your standard seated ab exercise. Make sure you keep your chest up and shoulders back the hold time. Twist solely with your arms, not your spine.

Do the routine for 3-5 sets through, or do as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes…let me know which one you do!

Have you incorporated medicine ball slams into your routine? 

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07-24-2014

Booty Burner Workout

I haven’t posted a workout in a while, and I thought why not focus on legs? I’m going to start half marathon training in the next week or two, so it’s time to make my legs stronger.

This leg workout includes some cardio in the form of burpees! Everyone’s favorite exercise ;) Check it out, and read on for instructions.

Booty Burner Workout

I love bulgarian split squats…they are killer, and you will feel it in your glutes and quads! This is an especially great exercise for athletes, since it’s a single leg exercise. You’ll be working on balance and core throughout the movement as well.

If you’re not familiar with them, take a look at this video:

The key thing to remember is to keep your chest up and shoulders back. Start with a lighter weight so you get the hang of it, and then increase.

Let me know if you try out the workout! I love hearing feedback

Have you used bulgarian split squats in your routine?

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06-25-2014

10 Minute AMRAP Workout

I finally posted a new video! I haven’t posted to my YouTube account in a while…making and editing videos takes a decent chunk of time which I haven’t had. But I always do love editing them and seeing the final product.

Today, I have a 10 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) workout that you can do at the gym. All you need are some boxes and a barbell. It’s total body, and includes some plyometric work too.

If you want to do this at home, you can modify by doing dumbbell rounds instead, and doing single box jumps or squat jumps.

Do as many rounds of each exercise for 10 minutes. Or you can do 3-4 rounds…whichever works best for you! Do each exercise for 12 reps.

Here’s the workout:

And here is a printable to take with you to the gym!

amrap-workout

Let me know what you think & if you try it out! I always love hearing your feedback.

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