Wednesday Workout: Burpees, burpees, burpees. I <3 Burpees!

This week’s “Wednesday Workout” isn’t necessarily a workout, but rather an ode to burpees! It’s no secret around here how much I love burpees; in fact, there’s RARELY a time where I teach a class that doesn’t include them. Lately, I’ve been learning all sorts of new ones that I’ve been bringing into my classes and based on my member’s reactions to them, they love to hate them!  Which is why I am writing this post for you today: I want to share my love of burpees and all my favorite types of burpees with you! I am hoping you’ll either incorporate them into your workouts that you do or teach, because they really are one of the best cardio workouts.

*Side Note: I thought it would be fun to incorporate both step-by-step pictures AND video’s for my favorite burpees- let me know what you think! I apologize that the video’s are blurry; it must be something internal because the camera wasn’t moving when the videos were taken and I took a couple “test” videos and those came out just like these. I hope you can ignore that and focus on the burpees instead 🙂

1. Basic, most common burpee- this is the one I did up until just months ago. Starting from standing, place your hands on the ground, jump or step your feet out so you’re in high plank position, jump or step your feet back into your hands and do a nice, big jump at the end!

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IMG 0183 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

2. “Real” burpee (or, CrossFit burpee)- Start out just as you would when you do a basic burpee, but instead of jumping out into high plank position, jump out and drop your whole body onto the ground. From there, lift your whole body up, jump your feet in and perform a big jump at the end.

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IMG 0184 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

3. Surfer burpee- Perform a “real” burpee, but instead of jumping your feet in and doing a big jump at the end, push yourself up from the ground and land in a “surfer” stance. Drop back down to your stomach, jump up and land in a surfer stance at the other angle. I love these because they work your legs A LOT when you land in the low squat “surfer” stance.

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IMG 0185 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.
4. Frogger burpee- Perform a big forward jump, drop down into a “real” burpee, push yourself up and do a 180* jump so you’re facing the other direction. Jump in that direction, drop down into a “real” burpee, and continue on.

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IMG 0186 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

5. Burpee/Push-up/Side plank/Tuck Jump- I have no idea what to call this burpee, but I recently learned it from someone at a work conference (not a workout conference, mind you, I just talk about fitness all the time and found someone else who loves fitness!). For this one, you start out doing a basic burpee, but when you jump out to high plank, do 1 push-up then open up to a side plank, come back to center and do 1 push-up, open up to a side plank on the other side, come back to center and do 1 push-up and then jump your feet in and instead of just jumping up, do a TUCK JUMP at the end of the burpee. Killer!

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IMG 0187 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

6. One-Legged Burpee- Follow all steps as the “basic” burpee, but instead of jumping out with both legs, tuck in one knee and only jump back with one leg. Alternate legs jumping back for each burpee. You can also hold a small bender ball in between your knees here, too!

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IMG 0188 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

7. Angled Burpee Jumps- Start out with a “basic” burpee, but when you jump your feet out into a high plank, jump them out to the left. Jump them back into the center (at your hands) and then back out to the right, back to your hands, back out straight, and then jump them in and do a big jump at the end. So, it goes: down, out left, in, out right, in, out center, in, jump up.

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IMG 0189 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

8. Burpee w/squat landing- This is similar to the “surfer burpee” in that you don’t perform a big jump at the end of the burpee. Instead, when you jump your feet in, you stick your landing in a nice, deep squat. In addition, lift your hands so you have to balance in that low squat. After your landing is “stuck”, place your hands back down, perform a “real” burpee and then push yourself up and stick that low squat landing.

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IMG 0190 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

Your turn!! Share with me: What is your FAVORITE burpee? Least favorite? Did I miss any?

Wednesday Workout: Compound Exercises with CrossFit Cardio

Hey there! How is your week unfolding so far? My photo shoot was re-scheduled for last night, which was SO fun! We shot on Acorn street and all around Beacon Hill and the Esplanade. More on it later 🙂 Before I get into the workout, I have to vent about what happened on Monday night. If you remember, I was supposed to sub a class at the Wellington BSC on Monday night at 5:30. The class was supposed to be BodyPump, but no BodyPump instructors were available to teach, so the permanent instructor got special approval for a format change so that I could teach the class. I had a great supersets workout all planned out, with only minimal cardio since the class is not used to cardio and I was so excited to finally get to sub at that gym (it’s huge, new, awesome and 5 mins from my apartment).

Well, I got there and had my bench and bar and weights all set up, and I was starting to talk to a few members about the slight format change and then all of a sudden, this lady comes running into the room, still in flip-flops and throws her sneakers on MY bench and runs to the stereo going “few I have 1 minute to spare!”. Clearly, I am very confused and I tried to explain it quietly to her, but she was a very vocal, overly expressionate (I don’t think that’s a word, but I am making it up because it fits well) person who felt the need to make the whole thing a bigger deal than necessary. To make a long story short, she was claiming that she was supposed to sub a 5:30 spin class for Nicole. News flash, lady, there is no 5:30 spin class at this gym on Monday’s and Nicole teaches at Central on Monday’s. Anyway, this lady tells the whole class that she has been teaching for “a million years” and asks then asks them if they wanted Pump or “whatever she is going to teach” (pointing at me). Obviously it made more sense for her to teach the real format of the class, but what bothered me is that she just came in and took it from me! And then kept bringing it up all class and was totally inappropriate (throwing her bar down, picking out and picking on the new people, calling light weights “baby” weights, etc.). ANYWAY. Vent over. Instructors- have you ever experienced something like this? Class goers- have you ever had an instructor like this?!

Ok. Let’s get to the workout. I want to do a recap of the discussion from last week’s post on Compound vs. Isolation Exercises, but I haven’t had a chance to spend time put something together… it will come, though! It’s almost ironic that I am posting today’s workout since I just got over telling you how I am loving isolation exercises more than compound exercises at the moment. What can I say? When I can only pick a few exercises to do in a class, I want them to include as many muscle groups as possible! This workout surely did that.

Compound Exercises and CrossFit cardio

Most of this workout is fairly self-explanatory, but if you have questions, obviously ask in the comments or shoot me an email! Ab Roll-Ups might be new to you as they were new to me… Thank you, Women’s Health 🙂 Here’s the explanation and picture for the move: Ab Roll-Up. This is a super tough move for your legs, as it’s so much harder to go from seated to standing, but only using your legs, than you’d think! Make sure you’re not rolling too far on your back so that you’re crunching the back of your neck; only roll to about your shoulder blades/meaty part of your upper back. These ended up taking much longer than I had anticipated, so for the 2nd round, they did just 12 and 6 of each and the last round was just 6 of each.

I ended the class with low and high mountain climbers (4 high knees, then drop down and do 4 mountain climbers. Again, thank you Women’s Health) for 2 minutes and more ab work.  I liked this workout because it included so many different things and my legs literally felt like jello by the end!

Questions for you: What is your biggest pet peeve about instructors (I won’t be offended!!)? Do you like it when they try to make funny jokes when they aren’t funny? What’s your most favorite “new move” as of late?

Wellness By The Water Retreat

You guys. I had the most amazing day on Sunday at the Wellness By The Water Retreat, which was hosted at Le Meridien Cambridge hotel. Going into this day, I knew that I would be in my element as the website described it as:

Join us for a luxury fitness and wellness retreat in the city. Escape to beautiful Boston for a full day of fitness, yoga, nutrition, spa services and wellness.Sought after professionals brought to you for all of your wellness needs including:

  • Bootcamp
  • Yoga
  • Stretch & Breath Work
  • Nutrition
  • Spa Services
  • Wellness Services
  • Catered nutritious meals and snacks
  • Health & Wellness companies providing information and samples of their products!

But I had no idea just how awesome it would be. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to that! (well, some people, but I am guessing most of my B2B readers would think it’s pretty amazing).

Anyway, I arrived at the hotel just around 9am, quickly realizing that I forgot my yoga mat (which they reminded us to bring in an email that I looked at earlier that morning). #epicfail. I did OK without one, but I did feel a little silly! After I checked in, I met up with Athena and Ashley. I was SO excited to get to hang out with two fitness enthused people like myself for the day, as well as many, many more people just like us!


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Photo Credit: Athena

 Shortly after everyone settled down, the two creators of the event, Kendall and Celeste, introduced themselves and gave us an overvue of the day.  By 9:20, we were already on our first workout of the day: 30 minutes of Boot Camp with Celeste!

026It was awesome! We did some really neat partner exercises such as partner sit-ups, “run the plank” and partner lat. pull downs, and I can’t wait to bring some of them into my classes! After boot camp, we broke out into smaller groups based on the color on our name tags.

029We were scheduled for 30 minutes of the following workouts:

  • Tai Chi with Julio
  • Barre with Tessa Hollyn Taub
  • Pilates with Daniel Cohen (a personal trainer at Sports Club LA)

Barre. Omgoodness. Let me tell you were my legs and core BURNING! I have done a couple of other Barre classes, but no one has ever made me hold a plie squat so darn low, with so many pulses. I was literally dripping. Tessa was AMAZING and I totally want to take private classes with her. I loved it! Tai Chi was pretty cool as well, since that was something that was totally new to me. I work at the Y with Julio, who lead us in Tai Chi and his knowledge and passion for this was wonderful.  We focused on a lot of breathing in Pilates, which couldn’t have come at a better time for me. As you have probably noticed, May has been a little rough for me thus far, so taking some time to really BREATHE was juuuust what I needed!



By the time I was through all of these classes, I was really quite thankful that lunch was next on the agenda. We ventured downstairs and couldn’t believe the meal we were served. I was expecting a buffet or something simple, but we were served a lovely salad and main meal (we called it the Wellness Wedding meal!).


Kendall also spoke about a few ways to “lighten up” for the summer. I am not sure I could cut out dairy all together, but it was interesting to hear the alternatives to dairy! I am always up for hearing about different food “lifestyles”, so I loved learning about all sorts of different new food ideas and recipes throughout the day.

032After lunch, we had time to mingle and browse through the vendors before attending the 6 different 20 minute sessions scheduled out for us. I loved this station by Eventbrite!

040Yum, yum yum! Athena and I had to pose for a pic!

britemix with athenaDuring this “break” before the afternoon sessions started, there was also a “photo booth” area run by Lucie Wicker Photography. Omg I LOVE these things!! Of course we had to jump in for some fun!



photo-booth-4So fun! After everyone had some time to mingle and check out all of the vendors, the afternoon sessions began. We had 20 minutes at each station, which felt a little rushed at times, but only because I was always so interested in every company that we were learning about! I started at the John Hancock table and learned about financial things (sorry for my lack of better terminology!)

037From there, I went to the Organization Table with Allison Webber, which I totally loved. She was amazing and super interactive and could really just read people very well. She said that 50% of her job is therapy and working with people to let go of their issues in order to de-clutter and organize.

I was so looking forward to my next stop: massages with Body Waves Massage. As you know, I work out A LOT and carry LOTS of heavy bags, so I am always in need of a massage. I stole this pic from Athena’s blog that she got from Celeste Pratt on Instagram and had to use it because that’s me getting a massage in the back right! She said I was really tight, especially my right quad, so I have been trying to foam roll more actively this week. #hurtssogood


My next sessions were acupuncture with Synergy Acupuncture and skin care and nutrition with MZ Skincare. I have never had acupuncture before so I was really excited about this! I told her I had shoulder issues and she did a little extra for me. I didn’t notice a huge change, but I wonder if going to acupuncture for full sessions would help alleviate my injuries?? The presentation by MZ Skincare was also really interesting in that they gave us good tips on choosing REAL sunscreens and how to clear up your skin from the inside out, meaning, learning about how to feed your body nutrients that help with your skin. Very interesting.

 Finally, I went to a CrossFit class for a WOD (workout of the day) with Sarah Loomis. Funny side note: Sarah worked for the BSC and taught UXF and actually subbed one of my classes! Small world, indeed! Here was our WOD:

038Good thing I am totally loving real burpees 😉 we skipped the 21 reps due to time, but did 15 reps of burpees and lunges, followed immediately by 9 reps of both. If that doesn’t get your heart rate up, I am not sure what will! I also loved the EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute) workout because it was a great way to push YOURSELF, which I am a fan of. The goal was to try to have MORE rest time every round… I can’t say I did, but I did move a lot faster from round 1 to round 2!

Lastly, our FINAL event of the day was a nice, closing yoga session with Kendall. Another funny side note, Kendall was auditioning at the BSC for yoga the same day that I was auditioning for kickboxing and TBC. I knew I recognized her!

kendall-teaching-yoga1From Celeste’s Instagram

After a very busy and physically active day, a nice, restorative yoga session was just what all of us needed. I haven’t been practicing yoga because of my shoulder injury, but it felt really great on Sunday!

Overall, I cannot fully express how wonderful the day was. Athena did a wonderful recap of the day, too, so check it out! As she said, it felt great to be in our “happy places” all day. Huge thanks to Kendall and Celeste for organizing such an incredible event and day! I can’t wait for the next one!

Questions for you: What’s your “happy place”? Ever been to a health and wellness retreat?

Weekly Workouts

Holy Moly! Monday, already?! I had an incredibly busy weekend, but let me tell you was it fun! Before I get to recapping, let’s focus on workouts and getting back on track (even though I am almost positive that today will be a rest day since yesterday was an intense day of workouts!).

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I ran 4.63 miles after I finished work and then spent about 30 minutes doing all sorts of different strength and core work using a band. So fun!


  • Tuesday- Went to a boot camp class with my favorite instructor. If you think I am tough, you should go to one of her classes. Killer. I love it.


  • Wednesday- I was pretty sore, so I just did 10 minutes on the elliptical and then taught UXF and did most of the workout with them.


  • Thursday- Double time! I taught a stations workout in SHRED and then kickboxing.
  • Friday- Rest, besides a 30 minute walk around Somerville, ending at the liquor store to get some wine. Definitely not a coincidence, but it sure was great motivation!


  • Saturday- Taught Kickboxing at the Y, which included lots of burpees 😉


  • Sunday- Wellness by the Water Retreat, which included 30 minutes of Boot Camp, Tai Chi, Barre (OMG hardest Barre class I’ve been to) and Pilates and then also a CrossFit WOD (workout of the day) and yoga. Needless to say, it was a tiring, but FUN, day!


This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- Likely a rest day besides my normal walking commute.
  • Tuesday- Maybe another rest day since I have a photo shoot after work!
  • Wednesday- I was invited to go to a Women’s Health event at Exhale, so I am doing a Core Fusion Cardio class in the morning and then teaching UXF after work.
  • Thursday- Double time! SHRED & Kickboxing
  • Friday- Maybe a Deck of Cards workout? Running? Circuits?
  • Saturday- Teaching Kicboxing at the YMCA
  • Sunday- I’ll be in Maine for Memorial Day weekend so I will probably get my mom to do something with me 🙂

You tell me! What was your hardest workout this past week? Most fun? Anything you’re proud of?