Wednesday Workout: Steady-State Cardio

Hi there! I don’t have a workout for you today… I just wasn’t feeling it this week. It’s not that I haven’t been doing and teaching share-worthy workouts, it’s just that I’m a little bored with sharing them. I feel like they are usually fairly similar and although I am not going to stop doing my Wednesday Workout posts all together, I just feel like I needed a little break from the endless Pic Monkey graphics and posts. Mmmmkay?

With that said, I wanted to talk about something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

Steady-State Cardio.

002

A few weeks ago, a member came to my class for the first time. When I ask if anyone is new, I always go over and introduce myself and do a quick check of their physical status/ability: do you go to group ex. classes? What’s your usual workout consist of? How many days/week do you strength train? I do this so I can help them with what weights they should grab, as well as mentally know whether or not I’ll need to offer any modifications other than what I normally offer. I also tell them not to get intimidated by the moves or me yelling- I want them to be motivated and to push themselves, but I don’t want them to feel scared or like they can’t do my workouts. No such thing in my mind- there are always modifications that can be offered to bring a workout to your level.

IMG_0135

This particular member did great throughout the class and after, when I asked her how she did and what she thought of the class, she gave me the following response:

“That class is no joke! I can’t believe how hard I worked. I’ve been coming to the gym and just doing the elliptical and walking on the treadmill for a few weeks now and haven’t worked as hard as I just did. I feel cheated!!”

Her words really stuck with me and got me thinking about all the others who are still doing what she was doing, day in and day out… pedaling along on whatever cardio machine they choose, without really pushing themselves out of their comfort zone or even into an area that leaves you feeling like “wow. that was a really great workout! I feel beat!”. If you’re taking time out of your day to workout, don’t you want to reap the benefits of it and maximize your time there? Don’t you want to notice how you’re getting stronger and/or faster or even that you can finish a cardio set without taking breaks? Don’t you want to feel like it’s worth your time?

I’m not saying you can’t get there with steady-state cardio- there are plenty of times where steady-state cardio is EXACTLY what I need- I just think you need to incorporate other workouts into your routine in addition to stead-state cardio. If you keep doing the same thing, you can keep expecting the same results. I know, I know… sometimes you just want to go to the gym and veg. out on a machine. Or you don’t really want to sweat a lot because you have such and such plans after your workout. I get it- I’ve been there more than just a handful of times and it’s totally fine! What I’m suggesting, though, is if you’re finding yourself bored with your workouts or you feel like you’ve plateaued or the gym just isn’t worth your time, TRY SOMETHING NEW! Try a new class or a new running route or a new program on the elliptical. It doesn’t have to be a big change for your body to react to it; something small is a great place to start. And, you know what? You’ll probably love how you feel after that change and want to keep trying new things… trust me, this happens to me all the time!

So, the point of this post is to get you to do a self-check of your workouts: What’s your current workout regime consist of? When’s the last time you changed things up? What’s something you want to try? What’s a fitness goal you want to achieve? I want to hear from you, so let me know what you’re thinking! And then, I CHALLENGE YOU to try something new. I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone.

Also, if you’re looking for a great article related to this topic to read, I stumbled upon this on Facebook after I drafted this post: 6 Reasons You’re Not Seeing Results from Your Workouts.

Advertisements

My 40 days of meditation {in review}

As you may remember, for Lent this year I decided to focus on ADDING something, rather than taking something away. I just felt like there was more meaning behind adding something beneficial to my life than there was restricting myself from sweets, chips, peanut butter, etc.

Since there were so many of you who commented and said you were interested in trying it with me, I wanted to check in and give you my thoughts now that the 40 days are over.

The verdict? Overall, I really liked it! But,was I good at it? Not really. Was it easy? Definitely not. Did I do it every day? Nope-I have to admit that I missed days here and there and didn’t always want to take time to sit and do it, but that’s ok. I didn’t want it to become another task; I wanted to WANT to do it because I felt the benefits. Therefore, if I wasn’t feeling it, I didn’t do it.

And that is OK. I’m proud of myself for realizing that!

just breathe

I have to say, though, “meditating” for just 10 minutes a day for a month + (give or take a few days… well, actually just take a few days) was much harder than I anticipated. There were some nights where I just couldn’t shut my mind off! It was so frustrating, but rather than getting upset over it, I just let my thoughts come in and tried to let them go right back out (I have to thank my date here- he’s actually the one who turned me onto meditating and when I voiced my frustrations to him about my racing mind, he told me to acknowledge them, let them come in and then let them out. It helped). This wasn’t always successful, but I tried! Some nights I used the 10 minutes to just think, because clearly I had a lot of thoughts that were racing through my mind. Yet other nights I was able to sit there, peacefully, and just breathe innnn and outtttt with big belly breaths.

breathe

Will I continue this now that Lent is over? I’d like to say I will do it a few times a week, but if I’m being totally honest, I don’t know if I actually will. It’s not that I didn’t like it, but it was another added thing to my day. Granted, I should put down my computer/iPad/phone earlier or shut off my TV earlier or get up 10 minutes earlier to get in the 10 minutes of quiet, still, ME time. But sometimes we aren’t always as good at doing things we know we should do, right? Sometimes it’s easier to talk about the things we could/should/would do rather than actually taking the time to DO them. In the end, doing more and talking less is something I could really benefit from… anyone else?

I hope all of you were successful with Lent this year- I want to know how it went! Were you able to last all 40 days? Did you cheat at all? Have you decided to adopt the change you made for longer than the Lenton period? Any advice to help me do more and talk less?

This Week: Workouts, Weekend Recap & Things I’m Looking Forward To (including trying a new class & a free weekend!)

Phew! Another weekend has come and gone. April is flying by so quickly it’s like Mother Nature cannot keep up… at least that’s what I’m pinning as the cause for this crap cold weather! I’m just over it. That’s all.

I headed up to Maine on Friday afternoon since I was modeling in a fashion show for my mom’s friend on Saturday afternoon. I got to wear 3 amazing outfits from PJ’s Unique Peek… my mom said she’d buy me a few pieces of what I modeled- can’t wait to get them!

IMG_7279

After the show, I headed back to Boston to hang with the guy. I made us gluten free pizza (and half dairy free), enjoyed some wine and watched 2 movies (who am I ?!?!)- Revolutionary Road and The Heat. Both were really awesome movies. Sunday, we got up and had a great breakfast (thanks to farm fresh eggs and bread from my dad!) and then went to his nephew’s baptism. It was a really great day- it’s nice to be surrounded by such a fun, loving and welcoming family!

IMG_7282

Although I took 2 rest days last week (which never happens), for the days that I did work out, I had really great workouts. Another weird thing from last week was the fact that I worked out in the morning 4 of the 7 days AND logged almost 10 miles of running (all you “runners” out there may not think that’s anything spectacular, but for me it’s a solid amount of running in a week!). I only taught 2 classes, and although I missed my members, it was a nice break to have a week for ME and MY workouts. I’m back at it this week with 5 classes on the agenda, but it’s all good- I’m rested and ready for them!

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I was home in Maine, so I did a workout there before setting up shop to work from my parent’s kitchen for the day. I did a cardio workout I got from the Shape magazine in my Easter basket, and then sandwiched compound strength moves and core exercises between cardio sets. It was great!
  • Tuesday- I got up and ended up running 4 miles before work!!! I went out thinking I’d run 3, but felt good so kept going. Around the 2 mile mark I stopped and did some core exercises at the park in East Boston. It was a solid Tuesday morning workout 🙂
  • Wednesday- I had after work dinner plans, so I worked out before work. I ran 2.25 miles and then did some upper body strength and core circuits: 10 reps each, 4 rounds of decline push-ups on the BOSU, Triceps kickbacks, bicep curls and shoulder presses and then stability ball passes, stability ball crunches, stability ball supine extensions and stability ball tucks. Another great workout. Big thanks to Kate for subbing my class for me!
  • Thursday- I was FINALLY back in the gym to teach! I taught a SHRED class similar to the workout I did at home on Monday morning and then a kickboxing class with lots of burpees… muahhaha 😉
  • Friday- Rest. I did some push-ups and planks throughout the day, but nothing major.
  • Saturday- I was modeling in a fashion show up in Maine, so I went for a 3.35 mile run when I woke up (and beat the rain!) and then did some upper body/compound moves/core exercises before calling it quits. My triceps and hamstrings were sore on Sunday!
  • Sunday- Another rest day. I went to a baptism and took advantage of a lazy morning before I went there. It was great!

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I’m teaching my 6am muscle class today and then hopefully running a few miles on the treadmill after.
  • Tuesday- I was invited to try out a class at The Handle Bar indoor cycling studio and decided to cash in that class on Tuesday. I was allowed to bring a friend, so my friend Lisa will be joining me. So excited!
  • Wednesday- Back to my usual Wednesday night workout- probably some running before I teach UXF Burn. I missed them last week!
  • Thursday- Teaching SHRED and Kickboxing.
  • Friday- Rest!
  • Saturday- Teaching kickboxing at the YMCA. Hope my front row is there 🙂
  • Sunday- Not sure… I’d love to get to a yoga class. I need some of that in my life!

Things I’m Looking Forward To

I’m excited about a lot of things this week, but the thing I’m most looking forward to is a weekend, in Boston, with no plans besides teaching. I may treat myself to a massage, but otherwise, I plan on doing some relaxing, catching up on blogging, cleaning my apartment and hopefully having a date day/night. I’m also looking forward to having my workout done on Monday morning so that I can grocery shop and cook on Monday night- I got really used to the feeling of not having to workout after work last week and I see myself doing that a lot during the summer. The day is so much better when I know I can go home after work or run errands or get drinks/dinner. Lastly, I can’t wait to try Handle Bar studio with my friend Lisa… I foresee drinks and dinner after the class 😉

Questions for you: How many rest days did you take last week? Have you been running a lot? What was the best workout you had last week? Have you ever been to Handle Bar?

 

Creamy, Cheesy, Sauteed Veggies

I don’t know about you, but I get bored with basic sautéed veggies. Sure, sometimes I’ll add wine or change up my seasonings, but for the most part, they’re usually the same. The other night, though, I switched things up and ended up making the most delicious sautéed veggies! They were creamy, cheesy and the perfect side dish addition to my meal.

Creamy, Cheesy Veggies

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • ~1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • ~1/2 cup chopped summer squash
  • ~1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Seasonings of your choice
  • Big handful of spinach
  • 1-2 Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges (I used the garlic & herb ones!)
  • 1-2 tbsp. water/milk/almond milk/soy milk (I used soy because that’s what I had)

Directions

1. Chop up your veggies. Heat a pan with EVOO and add in the onions, minced garlic and herbs/seasonings of your choice.

2. Once the onions are translucent, add in the summer squash and zucchini. When those veggies are mostly cooked, add in the spinach. Add in your Laughing Cow cheese wedge(s) and milk/water once the spinach starts to wilt. Keep mixing/stirring until the cheese wedge has melted completely.

3. Serve and enjoy!

IMG_7190

I was seriously surprised at how flavorful those little 35 calorie cheese wedges made these veggies! It was like a party in my mouth. I also had baked chicken and quinoa, but kind of wished I was eating a bigger serving of these veggies.

IMG_7192

I think these would be great atop a salad- a nice change from the usual boring raw veggies, right?!

The best part of this dish was the fact that it didn’t take a long time to put together! And, you can pick whatever veggies you have on hand… asparagus would be a great addition to this dish!

Questions for you: What’s your favorite way to eat veggies? Sautéed? Baked? Raw? Do you like Laughing Cow Cheese?

 

 

Wednesday Workout: Full Body Pyramid Style Strength Workout

Hi there! I’ve got a fun workout for you that left me rather sore last week. I’m still not totally sure if I was sore for 3 days from this workout alone, or if it was also because of the towel workout I taught before this one. Regardless, I really liked this workout and felt like it hit all the bases for a full body workout.

I’ve posted a pyramid style workout before (Wednesday Workout: Pyramid Workout), and while this one today is similar to the other one, I did mix up the way the exercises were laid out and the cardio that I did with them. I went with 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest for the cardio format since I think people are sometimes more apt to “give it their all” when they have 45 seconds to work rather than 60 seconds. I know I push myself more to finish it without taking breaks! You’ll notice that the cardio exercises mimic or compliment the strength pyramid exercises… might as well give those muscles a little extra burn before moving on, right?! Also, if you didn’t want to do cardio and wanted to keep the workout shorter by just doing strength, feel free to leave it out entirely. I’ve done that before and I still finished the workout sweaty and tired.

Full Body Pyramid Strength Workout

To help save on time, I did break down some of the rep and exercise combos to be unilateral (no need to do 40 1-legged dead lifts on each side!).

Most of the moves here have made an appearance on the blog before, but if you’re confused about anything, feel free to shoot me an email or leave a question in the comments.

Questions for you: What’s your preferred time for a cardio blast? How long can you give it your all? Do you like to have your cardio moves match the strength move you’ve just completed?