Wednesday Workout: Full Body Supersets Workout

As I said on Monday, I taught a workout in SHRED last week that I loved when I did it on my own, but wasn’t crazy about it when I was teaching it. I based my workout off of Athena’s 35 Minute Upper Body Blast workout that she posted a while ago. I knew I wanted to do an upper body strength workout, but since I was at my apartment, obviously without a rowing machine, I had to do something to replace that piece of the workout. Enter: core supersets and short cardio blasts.

Since the workout left me really sore, I thought it would be good to teach (I’m evil that way 😉 ), but I knew I wanted to add in some lower body super sets so that my members could have a more well-rounded workout (when I workout on my own I can pick and choose what I want to do, which is why I loved Athena’s upper body focused workout). Here’s what I came up with!

Full Body Supersets

I’m not really sure why I didn’t love teaching this, perhaps because we did each superset 3 times through and it felt too repetitive? Regardless, I liked the actual workout and can see myself doing it again, which is why I’m sharing it with you today!

I think most of the moves are self-explanatory, but if you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Also, if you’re running short on time, but still want a full body workout, feel free to do only one or two rounds of each strength/core exercises. Or, you can skip the cardio! I do this all the time with workouts that I see online. I’ll change something, add something, remove something… you get the idea.

Let me know if you try this!

Questions for you: Instructor friends- do you like to teach different formats from what you do when you’re on your own?

Fall Into Fitness Challenge- Recap

As most of you are probably aware, throughout the month of October I participated in Athena’s Fall Into Fitness Challenge. I had previously participated in her April Arms Challenge, but only after coaxing myself into it. If you remember, when I recapped that experience, I told you I was hesitant to join the challenge since I did not want to add any more to my already busy workout schedule. Well, I am so glad I did because that challenge was what really started to get me interested in adding more lifting to my workout schedule. Since then, I have made a conscious effort to incorporate more lifting into my schedule and I’ve learned to really LOVE strength training and I look forward to my strength-only workouts. Because of this shift from cardio junkie to a more balanced approach to working out, I have noticed amazing results with regards to my arm muscle definition, ab definition and overall strength capabilities. Strictly cardio is NOT going to get you the body you dream of having; it’s a balance between cardio and strength training (and what you put into your body… that’s huge!)… trust me, I’ve been working out for years and have not seen the results I have seen recently until I got off the “cardio only” workout bus.

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With that said, it should come as no surprise that when Athena started throwing around the idea of another challenge to me, I was very encouraging of her idea, and absolutely all on board to join whatever challenge it was that she was going to do. Athena and I often bounce workout ideas (formats and exercise moves) off of each other, so I knew that anything she put together would be well thought out and different from the regular ol’ boring/basic exercises we may resort to when we go to the gym.

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What I loved most about the Fall Into Fitness challenge was that rather than dedicating a whole month to a certain muscle group (abs, arms, etc.), the goal was just to complete a single exercise each day for the whole month. The exercises ranged from lower body to upper body to core to cardio and everything in between! In addition, the challenge was not set up to stand as a whole workout for you, but rather just an extra move to supplement your current workout for that day. This was PERFECT for me since the last thing I really need is another 10-20 minute workout to add to my schedule. I need something that can take the place of a different exercise I was planning to do in a workout I already created… and this is exactly what I did with the “move of the day” each week.

Fall into fitness calendar

I wasn’t the only one benefiting from “new to me” or “hey I totally forgot about that exercise!” exercises Athena had us doing throughout the challenge- my members did, too! As a fitness instructor, being introduced to new moves or reminded about old moves I hadn’t done in a while was awesome because it helped give me some new moves to incorporate into the classes that I teach each week.

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It was also great motivation to do SOMETHING even on my rest days (not that I need that- if anything I need more rest, but you get the idea… it’s good to move and do something light once a day, every day in my opinion). Friday’s tended to be glute days and even though I usually rest on Friday’s, a little extra glute work is never a bad idea 😉 There was one Friday where I almost copped out on the bridge and crunch exercise because of a bad and busy day, but I sucked it up and did it and was happy I did. I may have been in jeans and drinking wine while I did the exercise, but that’s ok in my book 😉


Lastly, I loved the community aspect of the challenge. We were all encouraged to share photos of ourselves doing the various daily exercises and since I follow a number of the people participating in the challenge, I loved seeing them doing the exercises, too! It was like a virtual cheering section and showed you that EVERYONE could participate in the challenge. It didn’t matter your age, your schedule or your fitness ability because Athena offered various levels for each exercise. All that mattered was you getting out there and trying something new! That right there should serve as enough motivation to join her next challenge (rumor has it there will be one in December! 😉 )!

Thanks for such a fun way to make fitness fun, Athena! Looking forward to the next one!

Questions for you: Did you participate in Athena’s Fall Into Fitness challenge? If so, what was your favorite move? Are you motivated by challenges?

Wednesday Workout: My favorite fitness blogs

I have a super fun “Wednesday Workout” post for you in the makes, but I ran out of time over the weekend, got home much later than planned on Monday and left for North Carolina on Tuesday, so, in other words, I didn’t have a chance to finish it. Womp, womp.

Now that I have time to go to the gym on my own, I’ve noticed that tend to use workouts that fellow bloggers post, or take pieces of their workouts and make a bit of a mash-up workout to do. Since I find these blogs helpful for providing motivation to get to the gym (and workouts to do when you get to the gym), I thought I’d share them with you in case you’re in a workout “rut” and need inspiration.

Fitness and Feta
It should be no surprise that Athena’s blog should be at the top for my favorite fitness blogs. Members always say how the two of us teach very similar classes, and since I have gone to a number of Athena’s classes (back when I lived in Brighton, I went to her 6am Thursday class at the Y religiously) and have done a number of the workouts she’s posted on Fitness and Feta (most recently, her 10-12-15 workout), I can agree that we do have a very similar teaching style! Her workouts are tough, full body and she always keeps the format changing, which helps me when it’s time for me to make my workouts since I tend to get into “fitness ruts” and need reminders for ways to change up a workout. On top of this, Athena has created a number of online fitness “challenges” that helps bring her readers together and push us out of our comfort zone. If you haven’t tried one, I highly suggest it!

Nutcase In Point
Right behind Athena, is Jen’s blog. Jen was also an Oak Square class groupie like I was; we were always in the same classes, always in the front, and usually sweating more than everyone else (sorry, Jen… I take pride in my sweat production! Haha). Anyway, she subbed for some of Athena’s classes and was always a sub that I didn’t mind, because she taught very similarly to Athena. Now that she lives in Canada, we don’t get to workout together (wish we did, though!!), but I do love reading her blog because she always throws in moves that are either completely new to me, or, are moves I haven’t done in forever and completely forgot about. Oh, and did I mention she bakes amazing looking treats and that she used to do a Winesday Wednesday series that I think she should bring back… hint, hint 😉

Fitnessista was one of the first healthy living blogs I started reading, and I’ve been and avid follower ever since. Gina’s posts range in topics from workouts to her job as a fitness instructor to cute stories about her little daughter and to delicious looking recipes, to name a few. One of my favorite post series are her “Focus On” posts where she picks a trending workout (her latest was Focus On: Buti Fitness which looks incredibly… interesting, to say the least) and gives background about the workout in addition to pros and cons of it. If she isn’t familiar with a particular trending workout, she will have a reader or friend write a guest post on the topic. Another thing I enjoy about her blog is the fact that she reminds us all about the things we should all remember and follow, but rarely (in my case, at least) do, such as resting, changing up the intensity of the workouts, listening to your body, etc.

PB Fingers
Julie’s blog was another blog that I started reading a number of years ago (before she became a full time blogger) and have enjoyed thoroughly throughout those years. Recently, Julie became a fitness instructor and I’ve enjoyed reading about the various classes she has started to teach, as well as all of the functional workouts that she posts. Julie’s workouts tend to be shorter and simpler in format, but sometimes seeing those workouts are just what I need to remember that every workout doesn’t have to have some crazy format or advanced moves to be effective; as long as you’re getting your heart rate up, working hard and sweating, that counts as a workout in my book!

Day With KT
Kim has been a reader and follower of Burpees to Bubbly for a while now (thank you, thank you, thank you!) and when I went over to her site, I realized she’s as big of a fitness nut as I am! She’s also doing the Daily 44 this year in honor of her being 44. The “Daily 44” is something she created to stay healthy and active (which started with her Daily 43 after her 43rd birthday), so each day she picks an exercise and does 44 reps of it. The exercises and format of how she gets to 44 vary from day to day, but I had a blast reading through all of the different exercises she has chosen thus far and can absolutely see myself doing something like this for a milestone birthday (maybe my 30th, which is much closer than I’d like to admit!).

I could go on and on, but these are my top 5 favorite fitness blogs where I get most of my inspiration for workouts.
Questions for you: What’s your favorite fitness blog? Any new ones that I should add to my list?

Guest Post: It’s Not About Having Time, It’s About Making Time

Hey Friends! As promised, here is a guest blog from my friend, Athena. I was so happy when she agreed to write a guest post for my blog because, well, we are pretty much twinnies and share so much in common! I hope you all enjoy this post as much as I did. Thanks again, Athena!


Hi, Burpees to Bubbly readers!  My name is Athena, and I blog over at Fitness & Feta.  I’m sure you have seen my name on Monique’s blog before, as we are constantly linking back and forth to each other in our blogging adventures.  Monique and I met years ago when we took several of the same classes at the Oak Square YMCA.  Back then, she was “the girl with the curly hair and glasses” that stood in the front row toward the right.  After a while, Monique started coming to my Thursday morning class, then started following my blog, then I hired her to teach at the Y, and now all of a sudden we chat almost every day.  I’m telling you, shared passions can lead to a lot of friendships!

me & monique

Monique and I are the same person in many ways.  We are both fitness instructors, obsessed with all things food and fitness, we both have just a little bit (ha!) of Type A in us, and I’d say we are probably the two busiest people I know.  We both work a full time 9-5 job, teach multiple fitness classes a week, and blog on top of making time for friends and family, attempting to get enough sleep, and (gasp) maybe even enjoying a little me time every now and then.

However, despite being really busy, both of us make our own well-being a priority in our lives.  Maintaining a (mostly) healthy lifestyle is important to us, and I think we agree that sometimes too many people pull the “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time” excuse all too often.  I would actually say two of the most common things people say to me are either “how do you fit it all in?” or “I wish I could be like that.”  Well today I am here today to encourage you that you CAN be like that and that you CAN fit it all in.  It’s all about how you manage your time and what you are willing to move around to make a healthy commitment to yourself.

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That being said, I want to share my top five tips for making time in a busy schedule for healthy living:

Plan Ahead

Every Sunday I sit down with my planner and take a look at the week ahead.  After taking a look at what I have for work obligations and social events, I map out when I will fit in my workouts.  Each week I post a Weekly Workouts series on Fitness & Feta to help me stay on track and to inspire others to do the same.  I find that once I have made a commitment to myself and it’s on my calendar, I’m less likely to skip out on my exercise!  Every week I shoot for 5-6 workouts, that way if something comes up and have to miss 1 or 2, I am still getting a decent amount in.

Heavier Lifting

Prep, Prep, Prep

Along with making a workout plan at the beginning of the week, I also try and use Sundays as a way to get organized when it comes to food.  First I take inventory of what food I already have in the house and what’s on sale at the grocery store that week.  Then I map out what I’ll eat for lunch and dinner for the week, trying my best to use the ingredients from step one.  This helps keep my grocery budget down, even though many people think you can’t eat healthy food on a budget.  Finally, on either Sunday or Monday I will prep as many meals and snacks ahead of time as I can.  I wash and chop veggies, portion snacks out into baggies, and get lunches ready for the week.  This can be a lot of work up front, but it saves me over an hour a day during my busy weeks… which then in turn keeps my stress levels down!  It’s so worth it.  You can check out some of my weekly meal plan ideas in my Weekly Eats series.


Maximize Your Workouts

If you feel like you can’t workout because you don’t have an extra hour in your day, guess what?  You don’t NEED an hour to work up a good sweat.  You can definitely use any of the following methods to squeeze in exercise into a busy schedule:

  • Split up cardio and strength and do one in the morning and one in the evening

  • Get your heart up with interval training so you get the most bang for your buck

  • Find a good 20 minute no equipment at home workout

  • Embrace compound exercises so you work upper body and lower body at the same time

  • Just move more!  Walk on your lunch break, go on three different ten minute power walks throughout the day, park further away from the building, take the stairs, print to a printer that isn’t close to your desk… you get my drift.


Prioritize and Don’t Overcommit

If your schedule is nutso, ask yourself if you HAVE to participate in everything on your calendar.  Chances are, there are some events you’d rather not go to anyways!  Learning to say no is key.  Maybe you don’t have to go out to eat twice in one week, but the night you don’t go out you can try a new group exercise class or clean your house instead, both of which can reduce stress.  Sometimes we don’t want to admit it, but we have to pick and choose what’s more important.


Find Balance and Start Small

Finally, I think just aiming for balance is the best thing you can do.  If you are so busy that fitting a workout in every day of the week is overwhelming, start with two or three days a week and work your way up.  Or maybe it’s too much to prep all your meals on Sundays, but chopping and washing veggies is something attainable for you.  Whatever it might be, remember that small changes can often times lead to big results.  You don’t have to start with something grand for it to be an accomplishment.


What are your tips for staying healthy despite a hectic schedule?

Thank you for reading my tips, and a big thanks to Monique for asking me to guest post on her blog this week while she is away for work.  I hope you’ll stop by Fitness & Feta every now and then for more from me!  You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  It’s been fun!

Make sure you go check out Athena’s blog!! 🙂

April Arms Challenge Recap

Hi, hi, hi! How is everyone doing? Now that the April Arms Challenge that my friend Athena lead is over, I thought I would take some time to reflect on how the challenge went! Now, as I mentioned in my birthday post, I am not big on setting goals and doing challenges; in fact, when presented with a challenge, I usually lose interest in what is at hand. I am so internally motivated, that I prefer to do things on my own time, on my own account and when I feel like doing them (selfish, much?), not just because someone is challenging me or because there is a prize at the end (although, don’t get me wrong, I am the biggest sucker for free things). And, I have a fear of not succeeding, or better yet, failing (there, I said it. After Friday’s post, I feel like I can/should share that stuff with you guys). Needless to say, when Athena hosted her January Abs Challenge, my response was “I wish I had time, but with all the teaching I am doing, I don’t want to add another thing to my plate.” Okay, this is partially true- taking on any sort of “challenge” certainly would add more to my already busy schedule, but I could’ve fit that in. No doubt about it.

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This time around, I went for it. Now that I have been teaching for almost a year and have been strength training more consistently throughout that time, I’ve noticed an all around difference in my body, but I knew there could be more. I’ve always wanted those arms. You know what ones I’m talking about: toned, defined, not too stick thin and you can tell they workout. I thought that maybe if I took a month and put extra focus on working out my upper body, I could be closer to having those arms. And, you know what? It did! So much so, that I have decided to not only repeat the April Arms Challenge this month, but I have also started the January Ab Challenge. Bathing suit season is just around the corner so I know I’d love to tone up a bit and my class members probably feel the same way!

Here are some before and afters (not bragging here, just showing that there was a difference and that doing something like this WORKED and was really easy to fit into my normal routine).

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Before & After

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Before & After

And, not just by pictures, but in class when I am teaching, I notice more of a definition in my arms and I LOVE it. Now, I will never have those arms because I think that is really more genetics than working out a lot (some people are naturally graced with better arms or legs or stomach or back, etc. and no matter how much working out you do, if you were not naturally graced with those good features/body parts, they will only look so good. I could be all wrong here, but I really believe this.), but I feel like I have made great progress with the type of definition my body is capable of producing.


007(Incorporating different AAC workouts into my classes- win win win!)

I cannot do justice by trying to explain how organized Athena was throughout this entire challenge, but I will say that I was totally impressed. She created workouts that were short and manageable for even people like me with a crazy teaching schedule, she incorporated a variety of moves that worked our muscles in all sorts of different ways (and, gave me loads of inspiration for my classes!), she showed wonderful modifications so that the workouts could be tailored to fit everyone’s levels and she kept it fun with prizes at the end!

The workouts were designed in the following format:

  • Sunday Circuit- This workout incorporated cardio, upper body and core (usually), so it was easy to make this into a fully body workout if you repeated it 2 or 3 times.
  • Monday- Pushup Pyramids, increasing the number of reps each week (or, she had us to a 1 minute pushup challenge to see how many we could do).
  • Tuesday- Triceps Tuesday! My all-time favorite day.
  • Wednesday- Biceps Blast- A close second for my favorite day.
  • Thursday- Tabata Thursday- I loved to hate this day, as did my classes!
  • Friday- Friday “Fives”- the workouts varied greatly on this day, but they always incorporated 5 different exercises. These were a bit longer and I usually incorporated some cardio intervals between doing rounds of the Friday Five workout to complete my entire workout for the day.
  • Saturday- REST:)

005So, there you have it! I can’t believe how much more I enjoyed the April Arm Challenge than I thought I would. It’s fun to have a plan and it makes it easier some days because you don’t have to think or plan out what you want to do for a workout. If/WHEN ( 😉 ) Athena does another challenge, I highly suggest that you sign up! Athena, thank you for taking the time, energy and knowledge to plan such a fun month of upper body-focused exercises.

Questions for you:Have you ever participated in an online workout challenge? Are you externally motivated (ie: more apt to follow through with something if there is someone pushing you along)? What is your current favorite workout move?