Wednesday Workout: 12 Minute Medicine Ball Workout

Hey there! Happy Wednesday 🙂 I feel like I have so many workouts to share with you, but I’ve noticed that a lot of them tend to be pretty similar in terms of format/structure and timeframe. Have you noticed? As with most things, I feel like I tend to get in a groove (I like that better than saying “rut”) for a while and do mostly the same thing until I finally get sick of it. I do this with food, clothes, drinks and my workouts. Lately, I find myself doing quickie 20-30 minute workouts that are usually a combination of 4-6 exercises, 8-12 reps each and either doing it AMRAP or round style. I like this format for a few different reasons:

  • I like counting reps vs. waiting for a timer – I don’t know why, I just do. Except when I’m teaching – I like a timer so that everyone can work at their own pace and I can coach more easily.
  • It’s easy mentally for me to get into a workout this way. I know the format so I don’t have to think about it.
  • It works well for bodyweight and weights
  • When I have the ability to lift weights, I think this type of format produces the most gains in a short amount of time for me in a physical aspect

I went through a phase a while ago where I did mostly conditioning style workouts – lighter weights and more combo moves rather than sticking to the basic push, pull, squat and hinge movements that I find allow me to lift heavier and see physical changes quicker.

Last week, though, I was getting better from a cold and after having taken a few days off, still wasn’t feeling my usual strength. I also didn’t want to push it too much so I created a total body conditioning workout that used a medicine ball rather than something that had me lifting all sorts of weights. Was it the hardest workout I’ve done lately? Definitely not. Did it get the job done in terms of giving me a good workout, though? Sure did!

I actually had fun just using a medicine ball and creating exercises to do with it. I also liked the 30s intervals rather than rep counting for a change. I used a 10lb medicine ball, which was a little light for some things, but otherwise worked pretty well.

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In case you missed my Insta story where I showed each move, I’ve uploaded them to YouTube so you can check them out if you have any questions.

Questions for you: Do you prefer total body conditioning style workouts, strength workouts, cardio workouts, etc?

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I Sometimes Create My Own Stressful Situations

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Over the weekend, I created a very busy day for myself on Saturday. I didn’t need to, but I have a tendency to over-book, over-commit and over schedule myself (WHY?!). Granted, if everything worked out time-wise how it should (or how it does in my mind), it would be a different story, but we all know that is generally not the case. Something is delayed, something takes longer than we anticipate and something doesn’t go as smoothly as we planned, which in turn means it takes longer to complete.

Here’s the way I thought my day was going to go:

  • get up, eat breakfast, make workout & get new playlist
  • Leave the house at 9:30 to bike to the Y
  • Teach 10-11 then do a quickie workout on my own
  • Leave the gym at 11:15
  • Shower quickly and head to a hair appointment at 12:30
  • 12:30-1:15 – hair cut
  • After hair, go to the grocery store to pick up other things we needed for the night
  • While this was all going on, Roberto would be getting ground pork in the North End
  • 3:15-3:30 leave for Jessi and Chuck’s

I mean, just looking at that written out now makes it so clear that I was setting myself up for a stressful day by jamming my schedule so full of different things. If ONE thing got delayed or took longer, it would literally throw off the rest of the day, so when multiple things don’t go as planned (as was the case for me on Saturday), I was left feeling anxious and like I was running out of time to get things done. It was not a relaxing day, even though it was filled with lots of my favorite things.

As we drove to Jessi and Chuck’s house (which was the thing I was most excited about!), 30 minutes late, mind you, RM asked what was wrong. We were stuck in traffic and I hate being late and when I told him these things and how anxious they were making me feel, he quite bluntly said, “Monique, you do realize that you created a busy day when you didn’t have to, right?”. Touché, RM, touché.

And, while I didn’t necessarily like being called out on this ( 😉 ), the guy did have a point. I could’ve spared myself a whole lot of stress, rushing around, and anxiety if I had just not filled my schedule so much. Committed to one less thing. Given myself time to enjoy fewer things rather than rush through them. RESTED and relaxed, maybe!

While I’ve gotten better at this since meeting RM (he, unlike me, much prefers not having plans and just going with the flow in terms of what he’s feeling on any particular day, especially the weekends), I still have the occasional self-imposed busy/stressful day like I did last weekend. Or even just the need to fill up “free” time with things I always wish I could do if I had more free time. However, I am really working on doing less of this, because at the end of the day it robs me of the enjoyment of each activity – and there’s no fun in that!

I’d love to hear from you – if you tend to be like me in terms of filling up your schedule, how do you force yourself to slow down? To not overbook or over commit? To “go with the flow” rather than have everything planned out?

And, if you’re not like me, but rather more like RM in that you prefer to not have plans scheduled out, what’s a tip you have for people to be like that? 

For me, before I over-book myself thinking that I’m a super woman who can handle it all, I’m going to think about what I REALLY want to do and what can wait. For the thing (or things if they’re spread out) I really want to do – that will be my focus and if nothing else happens that day then it’s no big deal. Bonus- if I get other things done based on time, that’s just things I don’t have to do another day!

Wednesday Workout: 5 Exercise Band & Bodyweight Workout

Good morning! I hope you guys are having a good week so far. I ended up coming down with a cold, so it worked out well that Seaport Sweat was cancelled last night so that I could rest. Needless to say, I did not workout. In fact, I spent most of the day on the couch and napped twice – something I never do. But, I have to say, I’m proud of myself for taking the time to rest and let my body recover. In years past, I would’ve pushed through it, which was just stupid!

Anyway, if you are not resting today or this week, I’d consider checking out this workout. I did it the other day when it was a beautiful, dry, sunny, warm day. Considering these days are likely limited as we approach fall and winter, I had to take advantage of it and take my workout outside rather than in the gym. As you all probably know, I always carry a resistance band and jump rope in my gym bag so that I can easily workout outside with a little more than just my bodyweight.

If you don’t have a resistance band, you can easily do this workout without, which I’ll explain down below. As for the format, you can choose! I did 4 rounds, but you can do any amount of rounds you want or you can see how many rounds you can complete in 15-25 minutes.

5 Exercise Band & Bodyweight Workout

Few things:

      • Banded side steps w/thruster – see this video
      • HRPU = Hand Release Push-Ups
      • Reverse lunge w/single arm press – see this video
      • Banded jumping jacks – see this video
      • Plank w/shoulder taps – high plank and keep your body nice and still (hips are flat and quiet, not lifting) as you lift your right hand to touch your left shoulder. Repeat with the left hand to the right shoulder. That’s one rep.

    I hope you give this a try! It was nice and quick, but left me feeling a little tight the next day which just goes to show you that you don’t have to a. go to a gym for a good workout and b. that you don’t need to have access to lots of equipment.

    Hope you have a great day!

Hub on Wheels Citywide Bike Ride

If you follow me on Social Media, then you know RM and I got bikes last year and have really enjoyed our bike rides all over Newton, Watertown, Waltham, Cambridge and Boston. That said, when I was contacted to see if I wanted to be part of the press team in the Hub on Wheels citywide bike ride to support pediatric cancer research at Boston Children’s Hospital, we were both all for it.

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Going into the event, neither one of us really knew what to expect, but I’ll tell you this – I was not expecting the event to be of the magnitude it was! There were over six thousand riders, either doing 10 (but really 12) miles or 40 miles in and around Boston – I couldn’t believe it! Due to the types of bikes we have, we opted for the shorter ride, but some day I would like to have a bike that would allow me to do longer rides more comfortably.

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Shortly after 8am, we were off and riding. The weather was pretty gloomy & cool, but it made for good riding weather. One of the coolest parts about the experience was getting to ride down a car-free Storrow Drive… something I’ve never experienced! We rode down towards Brighton and then turned around at the Harvard field. We got off at Fenway and rode down a car-free Comm. Ave, around the Commons and ended back at City Hall Plaza. It was a great route and I loved being up and about in Boston while most people were still sleeping. A quiet Boston is a nice change!

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There were lots of my favorite vendors set up in City Hall Plaza, including Purity Organics, Hint water, Food Should Taste Good, Larabar and more!

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After the ride, we got breakfast at Metropolis Cafe in the South End and we both talked about how happy we were that we were able to participate in such a cool event that was raising money for such a wonderful cause. I hope to be invited to ride again next year!

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Questions for you: Do you enjoy bike riding or would you rather do a run instead? Have you ever rode in this fundraiser?

Wednesday Workout: 2 Exercise Count Down Workouts {10-15 mins!}

Hey there! Happy Wednesday 🙂 Last Tuesday was a busy day, leaving me very little time to workout. I fully accepted the fact that I might not get my own workout in due to training someone at lunch and then teaching 2 classes after work, but when I got into the city and realized I had about 15 or so minutes to spare before teaching, I got right to work with a little workout! I could’ve effed around and not gotten anything in, but I knew I really wanted to and I felt physically able so I decided to just bang something out.

It was actually a part of the workout I was planning to teach in class, so it worked out really well. The best part? It was only 2 exercises, and I didn’t need any equipment! The way it worked was I picked 2 exercises and did them back to back, starting with 10 reps, dropping to 9, then 8, then 7, etc., but when I got down to 1 rep, I did 10 again. I tried to rest as little as possible and because of this, I was able to get halfway through a second set (that I’m also sharing with you). The first one was brutal because it was all legs and the second one was brutal because it was burpees WITH a push-up. It’s funny because as I did them, I felt so strong (push-ups are usually really hard for me), but the next day I was so sore from them! So strange.

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  • Squat & knee raise – squat, knee raise right, squat knee raise left = 1 rep (aka you end up doing double the number of squat reps)
  • Jump squats – take them at your own level!
  • Single Leg Deadlift – perform the reps each side
  • Burpee- take out the push-up if needed, or do them on an incline surface

There ya go! I’ve had a few people come up to me recently saying that they are having a hard time finding time to workout, or rather, just don’t have the motivation. I plan on doing a whole post on this topic, but for now if you’re falling into one of those categories, try a quickie workout like this. It’s very little commitment, but I promise you’ll feel so much better and more motivated once you get started. And, if you don’t, then that’s ok, too – listen to your body – it’ll know when it’s ready to move again!

Questions for you: Have you been motivated to workout lately? What exercise is generally hard for you?