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Wednesday Workout: The Quickie

On Wednesday of last week, I was about to head to Michigan for Thanksgiving, and I was running all over the place, trying to figure out when I was going to get a workout in.  I was in a rush to get home to finish packing so that I wouldn’t miss my train (uh, almost did, and it would have been the third time I’ve done something like that so I’m glad I got lucky!), but I knew that fewer workouts would happen when I got to Michigan and just wanted to hang out with my family, so I HAD to sweat that day.  I had started work at 5am that  morning,  and I didn’t feel like I was moving at my normal pace, so I had no idea how a good workout was going to happen in the short amount of time I had.  

But when I got to the gym, I got inspired (ok, maybe there was some coffee involved, too) and I went to work.  This workout took me 25 minutes altogether (OK, so not exaaactly a quickie), MAYBE 30 since I didn’t necessarily hustle to the treadmill to do sprints.  To get the most bang for my buck, I warmed up for 3 minutes on the bike and jumped right into the strength routine.  As soon as I finished my last triceps pulldown, I jumped right on the treadmill and was breathing hard in no time.  [Sidenote: I’m learning that although I’m not running distance right now because my body HATES it, it seems to have no problem with me doing sprints.  Plus when I’m cranking out a fast mile, I feel kind of badass.] 

This workout is perfect for when you wake up late for work (if you’re one of those morning people) or get a last minute invite to dinner when you haven’t had a chance to hit the gym yet.  Seriously, you don’t need a ton of time, but you DO need to work hard.  Keep your body moving and your heart rate up, and an effective workout can be had in 30 minutes.       

Quickest Workout Ever

15 Push-ups

15 Dumbbell Squats ( I used 25s since there was no bar in the area in which I was exercising), but go as heavy or as light as you need to)

20 double punch sit-ups

(do all x2)

15 lat pulldowns

20 hamstring curls on the ball

20 plank jacks

(all x2)

15 dumbbell chest press on ball (20s)

15 triceps pushdowns

(all x2)

10 minutes of alternating run/sprint, 1 min each

Another reason this workout is perfect if you’re super crunched for time is because it fits all of the important stuff in.  You get your warmup, your cardio intervals, and strength training for all of the major muscle groups with cardio bursts in between.   Because you’re training unrelated muscle groups you can move from one exercise to the next with no rest, ensuring you keep your heart rate up.  This also helps increase endurance since you don’t stop moving, even though it is for different moves. 

I was SORE after this workout, so I’m going to remind you: Don’t forget to stretch!  I find that if you’re really running late, you can stretch those hamstrings in the shower as you rinse your conditioner out.  

What are your favorite quick workouts?  What are your favorite killer strength moves?  What do you do when you only have 30 minutes?

Wednesday Workout!

So remember when I said I was going to try to shake up my workout routine? Well I switched it up this week!

Monday and today, I went to a boot camp at Chicago Fitness Coach, and it kicked my butt!  Monday I thought I was going to die, but today was a tiny bit easier.  The instructor and founder, Tony, is super motivating and really pushes you — but does it all with a laugh and a smile on his face!  On the agenda today?  Treadmill sprints mixed with pushups, tons of squats, lunges, mountain climbers, Spiderman pushups, sumo squats, and LOTS of core work.  I was sweating like crazy (and wiping pink toner onto the towel since I had my hair dyed RED!). It’s all very basic stuff, but honestly, it didn’t matter.  We were moving nonstop and everyone was dying by the end!  Plus, I’m getting my workouts in early since the class is held at 9am! (Ah, the perks of not having a regular 9to5.)


And remember how I said it was pretty easy to sweat on the cheap?  I got this month-long, 5x/week boot camp on Tippr for $20!  Getting my butt handed to me weekly is even sweeter knowing I’m only paying $1 per class! Can’t beat that!

What have you done to switch up your workouts lately?  Ever tried a boot camp or another super tough class like it?  Scored any awesome deals on fitness stuff lately? Spill!

No Excuses

Woo! Yeah! That elliptical looks super exciting! TRY SOMETHING ELSE.

No excuses.  When it comes to exercise, that’s what I’m supposed to tell you, right?

Well, I would, but I know that we’re human and we’ve all got excuses when it comes to fitting in our workouts.  However, the trick to getting past those excuses is to hear them and then beat them  by using a little bit of strategy and planning.  Here are a few of the most commonly heard excuses for not exercising (some of which I may have used myself) and how to get around them.

1) Not enough time.  You work 10-hour days, you volunteer, you have a packed social life with a boyfriend, a great family, and tons of friends demanding your attention.  Oh, and we can’t forget your standing appointment with your DVR that’s recorded all of your favorite shows.  Sounds like you have a pretty full, pretty great life.  But you know what’s missing?  EXERCISE.  You manage to fit all of these other things in, but you aren’t able to squeeze in a few sweat sessions?  Grab your calendar and pencil in at least 30 to 45-minute workouts per week.  Honestly, to improve your health, that’s all it takes.  A little more if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, but if you’re already where you want to be, for less time that it takes to primp for work or happy hour, you can get your heart pumping.  And please, please, PLEASE don’t let TV be your excuse.  First of all, go ahead and say that one out loud.  It just sounds silly.  And second, if you must watch that show, why don’t you tune in while working out?  Do an at-home strength program while watching or ask the gym if they’ll turn on your show when it’s on.  You can’t be the only one obsessed with “Glee.”     

2) Not enough sleep.  Uhh, why not?  I understand that the above crazy busy life may limit your time spent snoozing, but getting enough sleep is so important!  I didn’t realize how much better I felt with more sleep until I switched jobs and stopped working 13-hour days (which is ridic, btw).  I started getting 8 or 9 hours of sleep almost every night, and my mood and my health both improved!  It takes a whole lot more to get me stressed or upset now, and I even lost a few pounds just because my body was rested enough to repair itself and do its thing.  Rachel had been telling me I needed to sleep more for the longest time, but it wasn’t until I experienced it myself that I became a true believer!  But let’s just say that you’re still struggling in the sleep department, moderate exercise will actually do nothing but wake you up! That’s the great thing about it. And if you you’re missing out on Zzz’s because you just can’t fall asleep then exercise will help with that too!  Regular activity = regular sleep schedule.  Just make sure you get your sweat on at least 3 hours before bed so you can sleep soundly.  Either way, get moving! 

3) Not feeling like you can do enough in the time that you have.  You think that that 20 minutes you have every weekday won’t do a thing, right?  Not so!  Bump up the intensity on most days, and you can really elevate your heart rate.  Try intervals in your cardio, and limit or eliminate your rest between strength sets altogether.  My favorite is treadmill intervals of 90 seconds at a steady pace with 30 second all-out sprints.  For my resistance training, I like to do supersets between my back and chest or quads and hamstrings (biggest muscle groups burn the most calories!).  You can still do a LOT in a little time.  Trust me.     

4) Not exactly loving the whole ‘working out’ thing.  You’ve tried running because it’s supposed to burn the most calories, but you ended up getting bored or a case of shin splints.  You’ve tried swimming because it’s supposed to be a great full-body workout, but you ended up doing two laps and coming up gasping for air, making you feel like an athletic failure.  You tried a cardio kick class, but the instructor was just a little too peppy for your liking, you couldn’t follow the moves fast enough, and the guy behind you really could have used some deodorant.  Whatever you tried, you hated it, and you stopped working out altogether. But why?  Why did you only try that one thing and give up on exercise entirely?  There are so many options out there!  Try a yoga-cardio fusion class if you need something a little more zen.  Get a mountain bike or a pair of hiking boots and find a trail if being in the gym is just not your idea of a good time (you can even do a little resistance training outside! Squats and pushups, anyone?).  Hire a personal trainer that fits your workout style and personality if you like being in the gym and need a push, but don’t like sharing with other people.  Whatever gets you moving, do it!  And don’t limit yourself to what you see your friends or family doing.  Find what’s right for you and start sweating!

Alright, so those are the most common excuses I’ve come across, but what others have you heard (or used yourself!)? How do you combat those excuses or the ones I’ve mentioned? Spill!      

Gym Pet Peeve #2

I told you all I’d be posting these periodically, so here’s my latest!  This one has been a huge problem recently, so I couldn’t wait to share:

The Over-scented Gym Goer:  Maybe my sense of smell has just been REALLY sensitive lately, but people at the gym have been wearing waaayyyy too much of their signature scents.  Honestly.  I’m beginning to suspect that they’re spraying it on just before they work out, which defies logic for me.  Here’s the thing: You are going to sweat soon, and it’s all going to wear off.  Plus, if you spritz it on a little too heavily, you are going to make yourself and the poor soul on the treadmill next to you gag.  

Sorry, guys, but you’re most often the worst offenders for this one.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m used to perfume (since I wear it — when I’m not working out), or because you are BATHING in it, but the excessive cologne use at the gym has got to stop.  I don’t care if it’s Dolce or Burberry or AXE or just whatever you picked up at the drugstore — the thing is, if I can pretty much taste it — even through the mint gum I’m chewing — while I’m trying to do sprint intervals on the treadmill, then we have a problem.  I have literally cut my workout short or at least interrupted it to switch machines because the smell nauseated me that much.  

Now, ladies, you aren’t getting off the hook completely — even though you generally keep the odors at an acceptable level — because some of you need to work on it as well.  Your super fruity hairspray can be just as bad, and applying your Chanel No. 5 too thickly gives me a headache.  Moral of the story here, people, is that you don’t need to make yourself smell extra nice before you leave the locker room!  The reality is that if you are at the gym for the right reasons (i.e. not to pick up a date), you about to work hard and sweat — no one expects you to smell like roses.

What do you think?  Do people at your gym commit this offense? Do YOU?  Got any other gym pet peeves you haven’t told me about?  Spill it!