Sore Core

October 17, 2012

I am so sore this morning.

Yesterday was a lifting day. While I originally went in with the intention of just doing a basic circuit, I ended up swinging the good ‘ol kettlebell around.

The good news is, I can still swing the same weight bell as when I was taking KB classes.

The bad news is– owwwwww! I seriously need to get back on a regular lifting routine.

I make no bones about the fact that strength training isn’t my favorite thing in the world. I’d one billion times rather run a 10k than lift for 20 or 30 minutes.

One billion, you guys.

But, I also know it’s good for me, and being the good citizen that I am, I do my part two or three times a week. However, my strength routine is sporadic, unorganized, and, well, kind of half-assed if I’m being honest.

It’s time to step it up.

Yesterday’s Workout:

10 minute warm up on the stationary bike

Circuit:

15  swings: 24 kg kettlebell

Full Pushups (I maxed out at 7. I used to be able to do 12.)

Cleans: 16kg Kettlebell, 8x per arm

Kneeling overhead press: 15 lb dumbbells

Repeat 4x

Afterwards, I did some light ab work and tons of stretching. My IT band has been really tight lately, so I’ve been trying to be extra vigilant about stretching that baby out.

And by “light” ab work, I mean really light. And my abs are sore this morning.

Sigh.

In happier news, I had my Eating Club friends over for dinner last night. I had suggested a Mexican-themed dinner because, as I said in my email to them, I wanted to make pizza.

I’ll let that one sink in.

My friends brought sangria and taco salad. And despite my cultural faux pas, my caramelized onion, pear, and gorganzola cheese pizza was very tasty.

For dessert, we had Zaftig’s cupcakes.

Hoooooooooh Zaftig’s. So good. I snapped this picture after we’d pretty much decimated those puppies.

Chocolate, Red Velvet, and Boston Cream

 

Maura and Kristen wanted to say hi.

Kristen was mad we were out of sangria

Emily really wanted her picture taken, but the damn pillow kept hogging the camera.

Stupid Pillow

It was a good night, earthquake and all. (Nope, didn’t feel it.)

Happy Wednesday!

PS- It might be time I stop using my phone’s camera. My shots are getting worse and worse.

…what I eat on a regular, day-to-day basis.

Oh, you guys. You’re making me blush. I actually have a fanbase!

My question is– do you want the truth? (pizza)

Or the ideal? (um, pizza with whole wheat crust?)

I kid.

Here’s the thing– While I do try to eat healthy on a consistent basis, my diet is far from perfect.

I love cheeseburgers. I would die for baked goods. And alcohol has a pretty regular spot on my beverage rotation.

Given my love for food, I try to take the “you can eat anything as long as it’s in moderation” approach.

Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

(Shameful truth– if I make a pizza at home, I can easily take down at least half of it. I try really hard not to do this, but, you know, sometimes I do. And I may or may not be watching Jerseylicious while doing it. Whatever. Go ahead and judge me.)

However, while I’m not one to be giving out nutrition advice (just yesterday I had 2 chocolate cookies after lunch. What? They were getting old. Someone had to eat them. I don’t bake cookies to throw them away. God.), I will be happy to share with you the healthier side of my diet.

My healthy eating tends to occur Monday-Friday between the hours of 8-4.

Eating right is so much easier when you’re on a schedule, am I right?

And, since today is Thursday and therefore falls into that time slot, I’ve eaten pretty well so far today.

So, let the meal tracking commence.

Breakfast today was my typical go-to Breakfast Sundae. (How is it that even for breakfast, I manage to make it sound like I’m eating sweets?)

I’m a sucker for Chobani Greek yogurt, but the flavored kinds are chock-full of sugar. This made me sad, since the peach kind if my fave.

Enter– chocolate protein powder. Yes, still sugary, but I can control how much I put in, and it adds a little extra protein to boot.

Throw in a few frozen blueberries, and voila! You’ve got yourself a very tasty, kind of frozen, sweet but not-too-sweet-for-breakfast Breakfast Sundae.

Nom nom nom

I also try to eat another piece of fruit along with this. Today it was an apple. A Fuji apple from the grocery store to be exact. I don’t usually like to eat fruit from the grocery store, but I haven’t been home to stock up in a while so Shaw’s apples it is.

And while I’m at it, I might as well start tracking my work outs too.

Wow– look at you guys keeping me on track!

So, yesterday was the big day I decided to officially start training for another half. I’ll be running 4 days a week, which leaves me two days a week to strength train, with one day rest.

Thursdays are a strength training day. Today’s workout was:

Warm Up:
Ankle/Knee/Hip/Shoulder Rolls
Random Stretching
Alternating Back Lunges
Side-to-Side Squats
More Random Stretching
(I have an actual warm up routine I should follow, but that doesn’t always happen. Today was one of those days.)

Main Set:
12x (per arm) 8kg Kettlebell Snatches
15x Bosu Ball sit ups
(Repeat 3 times)

Alternating 3 sets Incline Dumbbell Press/Lat Pulldown
Set 1– 10x @ 30 lbs Press
12x @ 80lbs Pulldown

Set 2– 8x @ 35lbs Press
6x @ 100 lbs Pulldown

Set 3– 6x @ 35lbs Press (meh)
5x @ 100 lbs Pulldown

Cardio Boost:
12x 28 kg Kettlebell Swings
15x 15 lb. Medicine Ball Slams
(Alternate 3x’s through)

Alternating 3 sets Chest Fly Machine/Bent-Over Row
Set 1– 10x @ 70lbs Flies
12x @ 65lbs Row

Set 2–
8x @ 80lbs Flies
8x @ 75 lbs Row

Set 3– 6x @ 80lbs Flies
6x @ 75lbs Row

Final Set– Ropes
100 Alternating
25 Rope Slams/25 Alternating
Repeat 25/25
Finish with 100 Alternating

Took me about 45 minutes, kicked my butt, and I feel good.

So, tell me loyal readers. Do you want to read about what I eat and what I do in the gym? Or should I stay away from the fitness/nutrition stuff and leave that to the pros?

Are You a Muscle Cultivator?

February 14, 2011

“If you walk into a gym, sit on a bench and bang out 3 sets of chest presses followed by 3 sets of incline presses topped off with a few sets of flies trust me you’re not weight lifting – you’re body building. And listen carefully, if you walk out of the gym thinking you’ve just gotten a workout because your hairline is slightly damp with perspiration you’re most certainly in denial, and this is the part that I need you to pay attention to…

YOU…ARE NOT…FIT.

By far my favorite line in this article by Art of Strength.

And now tell me– how many of you do that exact workout?

And for those of you who raised your hand, can you tell me why?

Do you even know?

Is it so you can get big huge muscles and walk around under the false pretense that, since you have big huge muscles, you must be in the best physical shape of your life?

Then you, my friends, are sadly mistaken.

Don’t feel bad though– it’s not your fault. You’ve been fed this “bigger is better” bullshit for years, and unless you’ve worked with a trainer who really knows their stuff, you’re probably just learning that this isn’t the case at all.

For all of you who are horribly confused about what the difference between body-building and true physical fitness (and, judging by the workouts I see so many of you doing, I suspect that’s a lot of you), you need to read this article.

A few of my favorite highlights include:

1.) Unless you have a daily need to continuously press 225 pounds up and down while lying on your back (and, right now, absolutely no reason is coming to mind), there is no need for isolated chest presses. Bench, incline, flies– no reason. For those of you who want to argue with me, give me one good reason, besides getting a grossly inflated chest (and ego).

2.) Modern body-building (aka doing the above mentioned exercise) is yet another form of laziness.

Yes, I said it– laziness. In true American form, people have found a way to get bigger, faster,with as minimal effort as possible. Because, again, in true American form, we’re equate bigger to better. Big muscles must mean you’re in better shape…right?

Wrong. Read:

“Do most people have the determination to achieve the goal of becoming a “strong man”? Not if there’s an easier way to do it. Modern body building was borne of a desire to be bigger faster, all at the expense of physical fitness. Granted, the loss of physical fitness was not intentional rather it was accidental and most certainly unbeknownst for many years. Weight lifting, or the “strong man” routines where developed in such a way that the entire body was enlisted to perform the task. Nothing was being isolated, nothing was being left out, the exercises required not only great physical strength but a tremendous amount of cardio vascular strength. It is this cardio vascular strength that was the greatest loss in the transition from weight lifting to body building.

3.) A 165 pound high school senior recently beat his school’s deadlift record by 100 pounds, deadlifting 365 pounds.

It was the first time he had ever attempted it.

He had never spent hours in the gym doing isolated deadlifts, working up to 365 pounds for the sole ability to deadlift 365 pounds. This senior worked exclusively with kettlebells (surprise!). His workouts consisted of non-isolated, total-body movements, strength and cardio combined workouts.

So he’s physically fit in the true sense of the word…and he can still kick you modern-day strictly-isolated-movement body builder’s asses any day.

I won’t go on with anymore highlights, since what I really want you to do is read the article.

Bottom line, having a ton of muscle will do nothing for you, if you can’t even perform the most basic everyday tasks.

All in all, this is about quality versus quantity.

Authentic versus superficial.

Meat Heads versus True. Strong. Men. (and Women :))

I Lost My Sneakers

January 6, 2011

Seriously…I have no idea where they could be.

I wore them to and from the gym last Friday and sometime between then and now, they up and walked away.

And although barefoot running is all the rage right now too (for good reason), I can’t go to the gym and run barefoot on the treadmill or go in the weights area with no shoes because I’m pretty sure that’s against gym policy. Read:

“Closed-toe athletic shoes must be worn at all times on the courts and in the fitness and exercise areas.”

Damn.

In lieu of my sneaker-less dilemma, I’ve been forced to do more kettlebell workouts this week, simply because I can sneak into one of group exercise rooms and do them barefoot without anyone yelling at me to put some shoes on.

So, for now, kettlebells it is. And it’s kicking my ass. I’m actually sore today!

In celebration, I wanted to share a few videos with those of you who might be interested in the good old KBs, but have no idea what to do with them, or for those that are looking for something new to spice up your routine.

Without further adieu:

Video 1:
Kettlebell Basics with Steve Cotter


This guy is insane. Anyone that can do a double-snatch with any kettlebell is awesome, let alone the ludicrous amount of weight he’s using.

Anyway, I like this video because it focuses on the four basic kettlebell movements: swing, snatch, clean, and overhead press. These four exercises alone will kick your ass. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and try it. One 30-60 second set of each, 3-4 times through, one minute rest after each circuit. You’ll be dying.

Video 2:
5×5 Finisher

This is an awesome way to finish up any strength training workout:
5 snatches
5 cleans
5 squats
5 overhead presses
5 lunges
(rest 1 minute)
Repeat on the other side of your body

I did this the other day after 40 minutes of regular lifting combined with some kettlebell circuits. Five minutes of this had me sweating more than those 40 minutes did. And I was only using a 12 kg KB. (Green, for you colored-oriented folk.)

This can also be a great workout if you’re really pressed for time. 2 or 3 times through and your heart rate will be through the roof.

Video 3:
Finally, the Kettlebell Meltdown 300 Workout

Not for the faint of heart:
25 V-ups
50 snatches
25 push ups
50 swings
50 burpees
50 clean and press
50 mountain climbers

All in a row, as fast as you can.

Amazing workout, but only for people who are already in good shape, and are comfortable with kettlebells. The guy in this video finished in 11 minutes and 16 seconds using a 24 kg bell. That’s almost 53 pounds he was swinging around. I know– he make sit look easy. Jerk.

So, resolutioners, if you’re looking to get in shape, do it right. Skip the treadmill and stationary weight machines. Please. Believe me when I say, those won’t do anything for your overall health and fitness. If you don’t believe me, read this post, “Resolve to move BETTER”, written by one of the people who introduced me to the glory of kettlebells. What she says is true.

But, before you trot down to the gym and start swinging around a bell like a bat out of hell, always have a certified (preferably RKC or AOS) trainer show you how to use them first. While KBs are a great way to get stronger/fitter/all-around more awesome, they can also seriously hurt you if you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. If the trainer doesn’t know what RKC or AOS is, avoid him/her.

Happy training!

I Have a GSP

April 8, 2010

Nope, I don’t mean a GPS.

A GSP.

Get Skinny Plan.

It’s go time, people. Especially with the temps hitting over 80 yesterday, I’m more determined than ever to look HAWT in a bikini this summer.

Well, ok, maybe that won’t happen. But I am trying to drop a little poundage and tone my newly-flabby self up.

This is when I wish I still went to my kettlebell gym. You know, before they started screwing people over and charging them for months of usage that didn’t exist.

Anyway, I digress.

So, what exactly does this plan entail? Let me break it down for you.

1.) Run, run, run. This has been made easier by the fact that the Harpoon 5 Miler is June 5 and I have a goal of running under a 9 minute mile. (Don’t judge me.) In addition, I have a partner in crime whose goal is the same. Excellent.

2.) Kettlebells. You all know my love for all things KBs. Now I just need the motivation to kick my ass on my own. I miss you Stacey and Kevin. 😦

3.) Portion control. Perhaps my biggest downfall. I love me some food. Usually, a little too much.

4.) Lots of fruits and veggies. Happily, this is not a problem for me at all. Maybe it has something to do with growing up on an apple orchard, but I could eat fruits and veggies all day.

5.) Lots less sugar. It doesn’t help that Easter came and went and the Easter Bunny brought me a basket filled with candy. I’m limiting myself to two small pieces a day.

6.) Lots ‘o water. Another downfall. I’ m a camel. Fact.

Now, if you’ll all notice, this plan doesn’t include starving myself, diet pills, or sitting in a sauna in a sweat suit for hours on end.

That’s right folks. I’m doing this the old-fashioned way.

Gasp!

And guess what?

I’ve already lost 3 pounds. Take that, Quick Trim.

I have a confession to make.

I’ve been slacking.

Big time.

Slacking at what, you ask?

Kettlebells.

Earth shattering, I know.

Lately I’ve been finding excuses to just go to the gym and run.

OK, a lot of you will probably just shrug your shoulders at this and say, “What the hell is she complaining about? Running is still good.”

Yes, I know it’s still good, but running doesn’t get me jacked and huge quite like the good ‘ol bell does.

Alright, so maybe I don’t exactly want to get jacked and huge, but I do need to stay on top of my strength training.

So, this brings me to my story of the day:

I was pumped when I got an email on Monday from Stacey of Progress, Not Perfection fame, and one of the old instructors from Punch Gym.

She’s moved onto a bigger, better place called Myoforce — which is really good for her…

…but really bad for me. Hence my slacking. 😦

Anyway, she invited me to come in last night to check the new place out.

“Be there at 7pm for class,” she said.

“Alrighty!” I said.

Being the psychotically punctual person that I am, I left my house at 6:15 to make sure I had plenty of time to find it.

I mean, the directions seemed simple enough. Mapquest told me I should be there in “about 17 minutes.”

Well, one hour and 17 minutes later, guess who was still tooling around Newton, MA?

You got it!

Me.

It doesn’t help that driving in the dark turns me into a 90 year old woman who can’t see. I was so intent on finding the street, at one point I had slowed down to 15 mph.

I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a line of cars behind me about a mile long.

That’s when I knew to just give up.

I went home, did a few crunches to help convince myself that at least I did something, and then…

I had ice cream.

But anyway, that’s not the point. I’m going to try again tomorrow, with new and improved directions from Stacey herself.

So I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

And in the meantime, I’m going to buy a GPS.

Progress, Not Perfection

September 30, 2009

People often times ask me where I turn to for exercise and health advice. The fitness field is ALWAYS evolving, and if you don’t stay on top of your game, it’s easy to fall behind.

If you direct your eyes to the right of the screen, scroll down a little, and look under the “Healthy Living Advice” section, you’ll see a link called Progress, Not Perfection. This, my readers, is a blog that is bookmarked on my computer. I read it almost everyday, and get super excited when I see a new post.

Not only is the blogger one of the freaking awesome trainers at Punch Gym, where I dutifully go 3-4 times a week to get my butt pummeled by kettlebells, but she is also a former co-worker of mine. I’ve seen her in action, people, and take it from me, this is a blog you want to follow (along with mine, of course!)

My goal is to be able to do this:

Yeah, she's nuts!

Yeah, she's nuts!

It runs the gamut…exercise tips, nutrition tips, yummy (and healthy) recipes, holistic living…

Check it out. Read it. Bookmark it. You’ll love it.