workout

The Weggy Workout

I just realized it’s been over six months since I’ve shared a workout with you all! Not that you all need it — in fact, I’m often left in awe of all YOUR workouts! But I have to say that lately my favorite way to get my sweat on has been through HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. This kind of training provides excellent conditioning, improves athletic ability, burns fat, and gives you that runner’s high without all that, you know, running. And since there’s nothing I love more than blasting music and zoning out during a sweat session, how could I not love it?

This particular workout was inspired by one of my best friends, Weggy. She claims she didn’t come up with it but I certainly didn’t so I have to give her all the credit. Regardless of who came up with it, I was sore for two days afterwards — HIIT can have that effect on you.

The Weggy Workout requires nothing more than your body. You can do it anywhere, anytime. It is completed in a tabata style, aka 20 seconds of hard work followed by 10 seconds of rest. You simply work through the initial HIIT circuit of burpees, high knees, mountain climbers and hip twists (aka planks + side dips) in a 20/10 pattern for four minutes. After each round, you work on arms, legs, abs. This can come from whatever group of exercises you like — we’ve included suggestions on the right. My favorites are dips (arms), squats (legs), and bicycles (abs). After you’ve completed the HIIT round (4 minutes) + one circuit of arms/legs/abs, REPEAT it four times. Writing it out makes it sound so much more complicated than it actually is. My suggestion is to create a playlist via Spotify of tabata-specific songs. They have recordings that tell you when to start your exercise, when the 20 seconds are up and your rest begins, and then when the ten seconds are up and it’s time to move on to the next exercise.

The Weggy Workout

Warm up with 200 jumping jacks. Music by Kesha suggested, not required.

  • 20 seconds burpees, 10 seconds of rest
  • 20 seconds high knees, 10 seconds of rest
  • 20 seconds mountain climbers, 10 seconds of rest
  • 20 seconds hip twists (aka planks + side dips)

Repeat 2x (total of four minutes)

Complete arms/legs/abs circuit (use suggestions in attached image)

That equals 1 round.

Complete four rounds!

Cool down with a 1 mile run. Prancing around your neighborhood singing “American Girl” by Bonnie McKee suggested, not required.

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Wow I’m going to be the worst personal trainer. Must. Improve. Workout. Sharing. Skills.

Disclaimer: Tabata workouts are not limited to Tuesdays, although the alliteration certainly is charming.

Questions:

  • Do you like HIIT workouts?
  • Do you frequently complete tabata workouts?
  • What is your favorite way to sweat currently?
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Yoga Loft Chicago

One of the coolest perks of my job is we get to try out a variety fitness studios and classes in the city. Sometimes they come to the office and we do a group workout in one of the conference rooms but this past week we were lucky enough to be invited to Yoga Loft, a gorgeous, almost hidden studio in the heart of the River North neighborhood.

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All I knew before stepping foot in the studio was it was going to be a “sculpting” class. I assumed that since it was a sculpt class at a yoga studio it would be yoga + weights and maybe a little more movement than the usual yoga class. BOY was I wrong. But let’s rewind…

We walked into the small but well-utilized space and were immediately faced with rows of dark wooden cubbies for our belongings, a variety of weights to choose from, Dixie cups full of water and a wall of yoga mats. From the second we walked in it was a very warm and welcoming place.

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Next we met Tim, who was our teacher for the day. I should have realized when he said he was a personal trainer that we were NOT going to be doing yoga, but I remained blissfully ignorant to what lay ahead.

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All 15 of us grabbed some five pound weights, headed into the studio and sat down on mats already waiting for us. The room was hot as could be so I knew it was going to be a doozy.

Now, onto the workout. After a quick five-minute “warm up” (a term I use lightly because it was tough in and of itself) we jumped right into a 40 minute bootcamp-style workout. Now, I’ve tried just about every workout: spin, body pump, Crossfit, running, yoga, etc., but these 40 minutes were by far the toughest I’ve ever experienced.

We performed two circuits, including some of the following moves:

  • Moving pushups (moving side to side after each one)
  • Burpees + jump with knees to your chest
  • Pushup + lunge + jump lunge to the other leg
  • Planks
  • Forward and back kicks + punches
  • Mountain climbers
  • Sumo squats
  • High knees

I could keep going but you get the picture 😉

The intensity of this workout plus the heat in the room made for a hilarious picture.  All 15 of us were slipping and sliding on our mats, and I even fell a few times while trying to hold a plank. The longest break we had was 15 seconds, a well-deserved rest that only came two or three times during the workout. Needless to say, it was the quickest 40 minutes of my life. After it was done we all looked around at each other and couldn’t believe we had just been moving like the for 40 whole minutes!

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Now that is some good old fashioned sweat! (Plus a side of some serious forehead)

I left Yoga Loft feeling better than I have in months. They aren’t lying when they say that exercise gives you a serious high. I could have flown home on that endorphin rush!

The thing I’m most excited about is that Yoga Loft  is offering new students an incredible deal: two weeks of unlimited workouts for $35! Anyone who has gone to a small studio in a big city knows just how expensive they are, so this is a steal. Megan and I are definitely going to go back for the next two weeks and get our sweat on again – we’re addicted!

If you’re from Chicago and want to check it out with me, I’d love to go with you in the upcoming weeks! Just check out their website, see if it’s something you want to test out, and let me know! I’m always looking for new fitness partners in crime 🙂

Questions:

  • When was the last time you had an amazing workout?
  • Do you belong to a regular gym or a small studio?
  • Any ideas for how to make a little extra cash so I don’t have to sell a kidney to keep going to classes like this once my two weeks are up?

get-me-outside plyos workout

In an attempt to shake things up, Zain and I went outside recently to put together a new workout.  I’m pretty good and getting caught up in workout ruts, so having the chance to put together something new was a blast! I felt like Jillian Michaels, Jr.

We wanted to do something short and intense instead of the typical slow, steady sweat session that I sometimes get caught up in. Zain grew up in Texas and played football in high school so needless to say we had a whole arsenal of plyos workouts to choose from. I also have experience with plyos from back in the day when I played varsity basketball and our team would join the football players for their outdoor plyos workouts. I remember being on the football field running ladders and sprints and some of the guys would end up throwing up. Wimps! But it shows you how tough plyos can be.

What are plyos, you ask?

In short, plyos are a type of high-intensity training that taps into energy stored in muscles to encourage muscle development, agility, cardio functioning, stamina, and speed. The exercises require tons of energy in order to perform them, so they torch calories in a short amount of time.

In other words, poor man’s Crossfit.

I love plyos because they really break up the monotony of “hey should I run or go on the elliptical today?” Plus they are perfect for when it’s nice and sunny out and you want people to look at you and your boyfriend skipping in the park wondering what the heck you’re doing.

ImageFeel free to Google any of these exercises, but I think for the most part if you’ve done any team sports in the past you’ll recognize most of the warm ups. Warm up is a pretty lax word here – these exercises are half the workout! Dynamic stretching is great because it allows your body to stretch and move at the same time – it’s one of the key components to true athleticism, because it propels the muscle into an extended range of motion. Feel free to do any types of dynamic movement you want – jump squats, jumping jacks, just something to get your heart rate up and get your body moving.

For the 4 cone drill, we just grabbed 4 objects from the apartment and set them up in a square about 20-30 feet from each other. We then used that square for a bunch of exercises!

  • 4 cone drill: stand in the middle of the four corners and have your partner point to random corners that you have to run to. Return to the center after touching each corner. Make ’em sweat by telling them the same corner sometimes! Your body won’t be expecting to spring back and forth but the toughness will pay off.
  • 20 yard shuttle run: start in the middle between two “cones” set up about 20 yards between them. Remember the shuttle run from your Presidential fitness test? Recreate the fun! (I say that with total sarcasm because this is my least favorite)
  • 4 corner shuffle: Start in the bottom right corner of a four cone square. Sprint forward to the top right cone. Continue by side shuffling to the top left cone and then back peddling to the back left cone. Shuffle from the back left cone to the back right cone and repeat three times through.

Hopefully those descriptions are easy to visualize – it was a blast and we ended it with a run along the lake. If you’re more of a picture-person here are some awkward photos of me doing the cone drills. Look at our “cones” aren’t we professional?

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Now that spring is pretty much here, try this workout outside! It’s the perfect excuse to get moving and get people to look at you like you’re a crazy person, especially when you’re bounding.

 

 

wiaw: hump day pancakes

I went a little nuts today. I made pancakes on a Wednesday.

No, it’s not a weekend and I’m not celebrating anything, I just needed to switch it up. As much as I love my eggs and oatmeal, it was getting a little old.  Plus yesterday’s workout was the toughest workout I’ve done in years. YEARS. I felt like superwoman once it was all over. So I figured pancakes were in order 🙂

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If you add it all up, it was 60 burpees, 60 goblet squats, and I ended up doing 314 total of the KB swings and the mountain climbers.  This is the after picture:

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Haha no one was in good shape after that.

Breakfast

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I used Kodiak pancake mix, which I’ve heard mixed reviews about.  The ingredient list is amazing– 100% whole grain wheat flour, 100% whole grain oat flour, non-fat dry milk, dry honey, leavening egg whites, and salt. Easy as that. I’ve read that some people find these to be less fluffy than regular pancakes, so I was prepared for these not to come out like a “treat” like most pancakes seem to be.  But in all honesty I thought these were great! I followed the directions exactly and they came out just like regular pancakes (I also added sliced banana to my batter).  Post-picture I drowned these bad boys in some maple syrup. Deeelish.

Lunch

As I’ve mentioned before, work has been crazy lately, so lunch came in two quick parts.

First was a mango-orange chia seed smoothie

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I didn’t get to “second lunch” (I feel like a hobbit saying that) until just before my second job, so I ate it fast while watching the series finale of 30 Rock. It took me just over a month but I finally got through all 7 seasons.  It’s such a great show. “Good god, Lemon.”

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Very rarely do I make it through an entire day without getting some peanut butter into my life. It should be its own food group.

Dinner

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I ate dinner at work once the kitchen closed to customers. Half an order of vegan chili (chickpeas, red beans, and black beans) topped with cheddar, red onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos. Plus one of my favorite treats from work: a jalapeno corn muffin. It tastes like broccoli cheddar soup in cornbread form. I go weak in the knees for that little guy.

In lieu of dessert I was a cheese fiend yesterday, so I had a snack before bed that reminded me much of my time abroad (the Parisians sure do love their cheese plates)

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It was a pretty indulgent day. But you know what another word for indulgent is? Satisfying. I went to bed feeling perfect. Eating what you want when you want it is a nice lifestyle to live. It makes me shudder to think my world used to revolve around sugar-free this, fat-free that. That’s not a place I ever want to go back to!

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Have a beautiful day!

Question:

  • Do you usually crave cheese/salt or sugary foods?

writer’s block

so, i took a little hiatus from blogging. five days to be exact. I’ve been blogging for almost six months and even though sometimes when I sat down to the computer I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about, the words usually began to flow.

last week, however, I faced an incurable case of writer’s block. no new workout tips, no exciting recipes, no fun lunches to put together, nothing. so instead of force it, I took a few days off, hoping to come back this week revved up and ready to write!

Not much has happened in the past five days. I’ve worked doubles every day (internship and serving) so even if I wanted to write, finding the time was a challenge.  A couple first-world middle-class suburban 20-something things that have happened to me lately include the following:

I channeled my inner 12 year old and got a ringtone. Yep, a ringtone. Does anyone with an iPhone even do that anymore? I just needed to hear my favorite song more often, so I decided to fork over the $1.99.

I also went shopping for new jeans. I decided it was time to stop wearing leggings and pretending that they were a step up from sweatpants and actually squeeze myself into some real material that will withstand Chicago winter.

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I forgot how awful jeans are. Hence the sourpuss expression.

I got my first Starbucks holiday beverage. Newsworthy.

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I had a coupon so I decided to get a massage.  In other news, the woman asked me why I was skipping school. As in, high school. Yes, mam, I’m skipping third period geometry to go get a professional massage.

ImageI got new running shoes because I’m itching to start running again and my old ones had a hole in the side that was only getting bigger.

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These were $50 compared to their neon twins at $130. I tried and tried but just couldn’t justify almost tripling the price just for color. Does this mean I’m finally a grown up?

I celebrated my friend Jordan’s 23rd birthday! The year of Michael Jordan is already being good to her 🙂

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I ate fro yo. Because I’m a blogger and that’s just the kind of thing we do.

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And I worked out to balance out the sprinkles

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So yeah. Big things happening over here. 🙂

I’ll be back tomorrow with regularly scheduled programming to share a new recipe with you all.  Have a beautiful Monday! It’s snowing here!

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the anywhere workout

“I don’t have time”

“I don’t have the right equipment”

“I don’t have the money for a gym”

These are just some of the dozens of reasons why people choose not to work out.  First the little excuses start to build and then all of a sudden you’re stuck in a rut and don’t even know where to begin.

Back in high school I never worked out on my own.  I think that’s the case for many people when they’re younger–they rely on team sports to get their exercise.  Those days were great, but eventually it becomes your own responsibility to keep your body healthy.

Today I created a quick workout that you can do anywhere.  You don’t need equipment except your own two feet and it won’t cost you a cent. Plus, it’ll be done in 20 minutes or less, so even if that means setting your alarm a little earlier or squeezing this in on your lunch break, it’s possible.

Feel free to give this a try on one of those days when you just don’t feel like heading to the gym.  Make sure to blast music–that always makes workouts so much more enjoyable for me!

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For a point of reference, “get-ups” involve laying on your back, sitting up and standing without using your hands to support you.  For swim kicks, lay on your stomach and extend your hands forward like you’re reaching for something in front of you.  Then move your arms and legs up and down, never letting them touch the ground.

If this workout seems too challenging for you, scale it back! There’s nothing wrong with scaling a workout down to your fitness level.  Do your pushups on your knees, do walking lunges instead of jumping ones, or only hold your plank for 30 seconds. Just don’t look at a workout and give up on the whole thing because a few of the moves look too difficult. Work your way up!

Get your sweat on!

Kicked my butt

Breakfast today was a quick egg sandwich, as usual.

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Confession: I was hungry 30 minutes later and ate this homemade bran muffin.

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I know what that means…time to switch up my breakfast. I’ve been loving the breakfast sandwiches but at some point my body gets over it and it seems to not hold me over as well. I know that scientifically that makes no sense but hey, everyone is different, right? 😉 Looks like tomorrow I’ll have to try something new.

Today was a special day workout-wise.

See, I’m usually that person who does one or the other–fast cardio one day (zoning out on a dreadmill), weights + stairs on the other, abs when I’m feeling particularly motivated.  There aren’t many times you’ll find me alone in a studio at the gym doing a bootcamp workout.  I admire the people I see doing them, because I know they’re the most bang for your buck, but to be honest I just feel stupid doing them alone.

I was a member of a local bootcamp during winter break last year and I absolutely LOVED it.  I loved the team atmosphere, the blasting music, the intensity and the quickness.  That’s why I know I’d love CrossFit as well.  There’s just one problem: the cost.  I purchased this bootcamp on Groupon (holla!), but normally it is $197 per month. Total malarkey.

However, today I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to run, I didn’t want to lift, and I didn’t want to stay comatose all day, like I know I could.

I was in no mood to work out.

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After some good ol’ fashioned blog motivation, I was inspired to take some hints from The Fitnessista’s Awesome August workout and create my very own bootcamp.  I got in the studio, got over myself, and just did it.  Bonus: I felt like a badass.

Beat the Boredom Workout

Warmup

  • Walk for 10 minutes at a 6.0 incline on the treadmill (3.5 pace or more)
  • 50 air squats
  • 10 pushups
  • 20 girl pushups
  • 1 minute forearm plank

Workout

  • Quarter mile sprint on the treadmill at 9.0 pace
  • 20 bicep curls (each side)
  • 20 tricep curls (each side)
  • 20 bicep curls
  • 20 tricep curls
  • 40 alternating jumping lunges (20 per leg)

Repeat Workout 3x (KILLER)

Cool Down

  • 1 minute forearm plank
  • 20 pushups (regular or girl)
  • 50 air squats
  • End with quarter mile run

Wheeeeew.

This kicked my butt.

I’m not going to lie…I almost fell off the treadmill during that last quarter mile sprint–it felt like my legs were just going to crumble. But, as my body always reminds me, I can do anything–so I womaned-up and got it done!

I had to go into work for just a few hours to work a private party but I made sure to pick up a delicious salad as a left–it’s definitely one of my favorites to take home from the restaurant.

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Mexican chopped salad featuring shrimp, avocado, black beans, corn, jicama (love love love in salads now), radishes, and a homemade honey-lime-cilantro dressing.

The fact that it is massive only adds to my love for this salad.

Now I’m in bed post-dessert: brownies made by my amazing aunt! My dad brought them home after seeing her a few days ago and gahhh they are so so delicious. Especially when microwaved and topped with vanilla ice cream.

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Who says Mondays are the worst day of the week?