Category Archives: cross training

Morning workouts have returned!

Thanks to Exercise TV and my dear friend Namaste Mari, I have successfully been able to incorporate some sort of exercise in when I get up in the morning.

I’ve even had a partner working out with me for support!

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But Jillian’s “Boost Your Metabolism” proved to be too much for Suzie, so she rested while I finished the workout. She was out of breath!

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“Boost Your Metabolism” (the abbreviated 25 minute version anyway) was the first workout I did on Exercise TV in a long time but I actually did not do it in the morning, it was 4 in the afternoon!

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But it was quite challenging still, so I felt the need to mention it on the blog. The next morning, I did Jillian’s “Yoga Meltdown” which wasn’t very calming or reflective the way Yoga tends to be but it was definitely challenging for my muscles; I was even sore later that day!

This morning, I did Cheryl Burke’s “Disco Abs” which was a lot of FUN but I did not feel it in my abs at all. Still, dancing at 5:30 in the morning was enough to wake me up and get me going for the day. I’m so glad morning workouts are back in my life!

Do you work out first thing in the morning? What do you do?

I wanted to start running but now that summer is coming to a close, sunrise is getting later and later. I’m way too chicken to run in the dark…by myself at least!

I'm back…sort of

I haven’t been on here in so long that I had to go back and read the last few posts I wrote to see where I left off. It’s really only been a week but when you are used to writing about your workouts everyday, a week off can feel like an eternity.

Basically, all of last week, I did not feel like moving — at all. Not even walking.

Over the weekend I went out of town and where I was, I had to walk, but if it hadn’t been for that, I don’t know that I would have on my own. My motivation level has been in the negative.

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But, after some time off, I went back to work on Wednesday. I tried to talk myself out of it many times throughout the day, but somehow I dragged myself to the gym and did a 50-minute workout. I took it easy, doing 30 minutes on the bike (while reading a book) and then walking for 20 minutes on the treadmill. It felt really good.

So yesterday I decided to give running a try. I’m signed up for a 4 mile race this Saturday and I knew I wanted to at least re-familiarize myself with running before then. It had been so long, I wasn’t even sure I remembered how, ha ha. Talk about waiting until the last minute.

It was later in the day and way too hot to run outside, so I stuck to the treadmill. And I went slooooow (for me). Before I got started, I thought about the article that had inspired me to just slow down and enjoy running for the heck of it.

While I was on the treadmill I even repeated to myself “nice and easy, breathe, no injuries” and other phrases that kept me going and also kept me from saying to myself “you are too slow.” Because that is just ridiculous.

I ran 3 miles in 35 minutes and some change. I ended up utilizing the 4:1 ratio of running to walking and the longer I went on, I increased my running speed. At the end of it, I felt like I could keep going which to me is a good sign that taking it easy is the way to go on Saturday. 🙂

I finished up my second day at the gym with a full 15 minutes of stretching. It was very nice!

So I feel like I’m back, sort of. I’m still not 100% but at least the past two days I’ve been able to do more than just put one foot in front of the other. Progress!

“See” you all later! Hopefully not too much later…

This week's workouts

I feel really good about how my workouts went this week. It’s been a long time since I can remember saying that!

I am really grateful for this new gym membership, it’s really motivating me to “fit it in” on the busier days! 🙂

Here’s how the week went down:

  • Monday -Long walk with Suzie
  • Tuesday -Ran 1.87 miles outside, abs, Body Pump class
  • Wednesday – 30 minutes on the elliptical
  • Thursday -Ran 1.87 miles outside, abs, Body Pump class
  • Friday – Ran 3 miles on the treadmill
  • Saturday – 15 minutes on stair master, Weight training, abs + Walk with a friend and lots of shopping!

I’m not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow, but my goal for the next week is to increase my running distance, since I have a 5 mile race coming up soon! I’m also hoping to get myself to a yoga class. 🙂

How did your workouts go this week?

Gym rat

On Memorial Day Monday, I officially became the proud owner of Josh’s now former gym membership.

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While I am sad that he’s not using it for himself, I have to keep telling myself that you can only lead a horse to water. There’s no sense in paying for something not being used and since canceling was not an option ($$$) we were able to transfer the remaining months on the contract into my name.

I definitely prefer to be outside in nature, taking a nice long walk or invigorating run, but my free time has recently become quite limited and now that it’s hitting at or near the 90 degree mark every day, time outside is also limited. So this could not have come at a better time!

I’ve also been struggling with a little weight gain pretty much since the mini-Marathon but this new gym membership is just what I needed to get me motivated again 🙂

Since we were off work on Monday, I took Suzie for a nice long walk (for her, 2 miles) in the morning before it got too hot. As a smaller dog, she is really sensitive to the heat so we try not to stay out too long.

Tuesday afternoon, I actually braved the heat (for a few minutes) and did a 1.87 mile run with Farrah and about 5 minutes of abs. It was way too hot for me to be running outside but I know the more you do it, the easier it gets. Still, I want nothing over 2 miles when it’s 88 degrees!

Then last night I went to the gym for the first time. What is my favorite thing about gyms?

GROUP FITNESS CLASSES!

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., this gym has Body Pump classes. I was so excited to get to my first one at this new gym last night!

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I’ve taken Body Pump several times before and loved it. Once at the YMCA, a couple of times at Urban Active, and even a “do it yourself” body pump I did on my own. It’s a perfect toning workout for me! I’m so glad that now belonging to a gym, I can start going more regularly and get some real results.

It was much smaller than other classes I’ve been in, which has to do with the size of the gym, so it was a little more intimate if you will. The instructor was really great, even throwing out a few random nutrition facts (“limit saturated fats!”) while we were “pumping” up our bodies.

She also made sure when we were doing an exercise that we were engaging the right muscle, which I’d never even noticed before. Like when you are doing a bent over row (for your back), don’t use your biceps to pull in the bar, use your back muscles and squeeze your shoulders together. It makes such a difference!

We started out with a warm up of each exercise we’d be doing and then we went through the tracks: squats, chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps, lunges, abs. I think that’s it! I didn’t care much for all of the music but I’ll get used to it. I can’t wait to go back tomorrow!

Finally, this morning I popped in around 6 a.m. to get in a little 30-minute elliptical action before work. I work full-time, I’m taking summer classes, and have a lot of after work commitments, so first thing in the morning is just about all I have left. It worked out great, no pun intended.

How do you keep up with your workouts over the summer?

Using proper form

I am running a 5k tomorrow morning, so I knew that today would either be rest or cross-training. I’ve been feeling pretty good today so I decided I wanted a good sweat session!

I started off with 30 minutes on the elliptical. I kept the ramp at 10 but I gradually increased the resistance from 5-8 when I got too used to it. I read some of the latest issue of Vegetarian Times while I worked up a sweat.

Woo! I hadn’t used an elliptical in a long time and I had forgotten how great of a workout it was. My heart rate got up into the 150’s, my legs were burning and I was covered in sweat. That might sound gross, but that’s exactly what a good workout is to me! 😉

Afterwards, I carefully did some upper body weights. Since I injured my arm a few days ago (it’s better now), I was sure to use proper form and weights just a tiny bit lighter than I usually would. So far, so good!

For each exercise, I did 2 sets of 20.

  • Chest presses (12.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Military shoulder presses (7.5 lb)
  • Reverse flyes (7.5 lb)
  • Bent over row (20 lb barbel)
  • Upright row (20 lb barbel)
  • Bicep curls (7.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Tricep extensions (1, 10 lb dumbbell, overhead)

Since I was in the weight room and not on an exercise mat using a body bar, I think what made the difference was being able to see myself in the mirror. When it’s right there in front of you, it is easier to see what you are doing and to check and make sure you are doing it correctly.

This is how I usually work out but for some reason the other day, I was in a room without mirrors and just judging by how things felt. That is probably how I hurt myself. Noted!

This was a great workout and really made me realize how much I love the challenge of weight training. I’m definitely planning to get it back into regular rotation here soon.

What’s your favorite magazine?

Stairmaster + Weights = Yowzah!

Yesterday, I decided to do a little crosstraining at the gym instead of running since I’m not really training for any races other than 5K’s right now.

I started off my workout with an easy 10 minutes on the stairmaster to warm up, which I had not done in a long time! It was NOT easy. They also switched machines since last time I was there and this thing was rather intimidating.

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But, I hopped up on there and even though I pretty much had to look at my feet the whole time to keep from tripping, it was the most intense 10 minute workout of my life. My heart was beating hard and I was already sweating by the time I got done (I gradually increased the levels from 1-5 over the 10 minutes).

Afterwards, I hit the bench for some weights. It’s nice now that the semester has ended, the gym is much less crowded. So I had plenty of space to do everything I wanted to. It was an awesome workout!

I did 2 sets of each exercise, 12 reps each set

  • Chest presses (12.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Military shoulder presses (7.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Dead lifts (20 lb bar)
  • Upright rows (20 lb bar)
  • Bent over reverse flyes (7.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Bicep curls (10 lb dumbbells)
  • Tricep overhead extension (1, 10 lb dumbbell)

Then I went into the other room to stretch out my arms and do some abs. I did regular crunches, reverse crunches, and side crunches. I think I just did one set of each but 35 reps for each set (and each side of the side crunches). I did everything I’ve mentioned here in 45 minutes. I love short but intense workouts, I know how to maximize my time 🙂

I am a little sore today which tells me that it’s been way too long since I’ve done this much weight training. Can’t wait to keep it up this summer!

Do you weight train? What do you like or dislike about it?

Cardio, abs, yoga

Today, I decided to try out more of the classes at Urban Active. I’m really impressed by this gym!

Before I headed out the door, I had to document how incredibly pink I was today. I did not plan this, I swear 😉

First, I went back to my favorite Cardio Cinema (today’s selection: the new Star Trek) and walked for 20 minutes, gradually increasing the incline up to 15.0 and then back down. That got the heart rate up and broke a sweat!

Then, I headed to a short 15-minute abs class. I wasn’t too impressed…I guess I am more advanced at ab work than I thought because I barely felt a burn.

Afterwards, I attended the “Urban Yoga” class which was pretty challenging and had me sweaty and fatigued, especially in the legs. Yet I felt refreshed and free at the same time. I love yoga.

I still have a few days left on my free pass then I need to decide if I’m going to join. I really want to, I just have to take a look at our budget and see when exactly it can happen.

Do you belong to a gym? What is your favorite thing about it?

Zumba and Iron

I had the pleasure of trying out a new gym this weekend thanks to my friend Renee.

She is a member of Urban Active, which has several locations here in our city. I’m actually thinking about joining once my 7-day pass expires because I really want a place to use on the weekends, a place that offers great classes and a place to go if work cancels due to snow!

On Saturday, I attended a Zumba class, only the second one I’ve ever been to. It was great!

The last time I did Zumba, I had a hard time keeping up with the foot work, but I was much better prepared this time. I felt like I kept up really well with everything and it was the first time I remember “letting go” and not caring what I looked like as I was shaking everything! I was a sweaty mess when we left too…always a good thing 🙂

Then yesterday, I went back and took the “Urban Iron” class which is what you all probably know as Body Pump. It’s a group class with barbels and you get a full body workout in 1-hour. The instructor was 7 months pregnant, which also inspired me because if she was still doing it, so can I!

I only struggled with two areas during class: chest and abs. I put too much weight on my bar for chest presses, so about 3/4 of the way through the set, I had to take some off and jump back in. Then our last set of abs had us doing lots of planks and my arms were so tired from everything else that I had to let myself down a few times.

But I actually expected to struggle with squats and lunges or shoulder presses, but I was totally wrong! I love it when you get surprised like that 😉

On the weekends, I usually just take it easy, count grocery shopping as exercise, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I definitely feel 100 times better today knowing that I had such an active weekend!

It helps that the weather was spectacular…we hit 63 yesterday! Unfortunately, it’s not sticking around, but it’s not too terrible either. We’ll be in the 30’s and 40’s this week and hopefully Spring is right around the corner.

I was actually planning to run yesterday but I remembered  a commitment I made to get my dog healthy, so I took her for a nice hour-long walk instead. It was good for both of us!

I’m running today 🙂

Listening to your body

On my food blog, See Sarah Eat, I posted yesterday about the importance of listening to your body’s hunger cues and not eating based on the clock or your own “time frame.”

This same concept can be applied to exercise. I think it’s interesting how I got to apply this principle in my routine yesterday, both through food and fitness!

Yesterday, my training plan called for a 2 mile run and weight training. However, all morning my legs weren’t feeling too great from the past two days of running on the treadmill (especially that 4-miler). I also started to think about my upcoming workout and honestly the thought of running was not exciting to me.

When that happens, instead of pushing through a run and totally not enjoying it, I’d rather switch it up for a day and re-arrange my schedule to do a run later. It’s frustrating at the time, but I definitely think it pays off!

I ended up doing 25 minutes on the elliptical trainer, followed by some weight training.

  • Plank push ups (2 sets of 5 – I struggled!)
  • Chest presses (2 sets of 15 – 15 lb dumbbells)
  • Shoulder presses (2 sets of 15 – 5 lb dumbbells)
  • Shoulder shrugs (2 sets of 15 – 20 lb dumbbells)
  • Bicep curls (2 sets of 15 – 10 lb dumbbells)
  • Tricep kickbacks (2 sets of 15 – 10 lb dumbbells)
  • Leg extension machine (2 sets of 15 – 35 lbs)
  • Leg curl machine (2 sets of 25 – 50 lbs)
  • Side bends (2 sets of 25 – 12.5 lb dumbbells)
  • Reverse crunches (2 sets of 40)
  • Side crunches (2 sets of 25, each side)

This routine made me realize that I am neglecting my back! I need to write up a new routine because having a strong upper body with a weak back won’t do me any good 😉

Also regarding time: sometimes we plan for a morning workout but we don’t feel up to it or we oversleep. That’s okay! Just try to fit it in later in your day. There is almost always something that can get moved around in order to accomodate your workout, especially if it is a high priority to you.

You might have to use your lunch hour (and eat at your desk), skip or record a TV show you usually watch, or tell a friend you’ll be late for dinner. Don’t stress about it! The feeling you get from finishing a workout is totally worth it.  You are worth it 🙂

I always put a workout on my calendar like an appointment. It might get moved around a lot but it almost never gets deleted!

Every work out is a learning experience. I am so glad that I did not push myself to run yesterday because today my legs feel strong and I’ve definitely got the energy to run today!

New obsession?

Yesterday afternoon I headed to the gym for yet another indoor workout. In addition to the snow still on the ground that hasn’t gone anywhere yet, we are expecting another 5-10 inches of snow starting tomorrow night!

Ugh. So now I have to break my positivity rule and just say it: “WINTER SUCKS!” Whew, glad I got that out.

But I got in another great workout nonetheless. I attempted to hop on a treadmill but they were all taken, the sign up sheet was full for another 30 minutes and I didn’t have time to wait.

So I elliptical-ed again!

I love how each time I use this machine, it’s a different experience. I went a lot faster this time so my time and mileage almost lined up with how fast I run on average.

I also gradually increased the ramp and resistance (every 5 minutes) and then cooled down the last 5 minutes.

Even though I’d rather be running outside or on a decent treadmill, I’ve enjoyed my time on the old elliptical. I used the elliptical trainer quite a bit when I first started working out again during my big weight loss and lifestyle changing period.

Afterwards, I did a few quick upper body moves (bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder shrugs, dead lifts, lateral raises, front raises) and called it a day.

I’m trying not to worry about my training right now but I do need to start thinking about increasing my mileage during the week if I’m not able to get it in elsewhere. The elliptical is a great workout but it’s not a running substitute.

Do you use the elliptical? What do you like or dislike about it?