Sunday, November 30, 2008

Deb, I think I caught your cold!


I still managed a workout, but it wasn't the 12 Days of Fitness horror show I posted below. Not even close.

Bodyweight circuit 3x:

15 y squats
10 decline pushups
10 stepups each side
30 pushups
20 squats
15 spiderman climbs each side
10 forward lunges each side
10 close grip pushups
15 SB leg curls
10 TRX body rows

The good news is, most of my clients are away or busy with family so I haven't had to go work since last Wednesday, and won't have to go in at all tomorrow either. The bad news is, if I don't work I don't get paid. And the holidays are coming, and cat food is expensive.

Sing it, people: "On the first day of fitness my trainer gave to me ..."

a sprint and two pushups

On the second day of fitness my trainer gave to me ...

two rocket jumps, a sprint and two pushups

On the third day of fitness my trainer gave to me ...

three power scisssors, two rocket jumps, a sprint and two pushups

On the fourth day of fitness my trainer gave to me ....

four prone jacks, three power scissors, two rocket jumps, a sprint and two pushups

On the fifth day of fitness my trainer gave to me ...

five bu-urpees, four prone jacks, three power scissors, two rocket jumps, a sprint and two pushups

On the sixth day of fitness my trainer gave to me ...

six sumo squats, five bu-urpees, four prone jacks, three power scissors, two rocket jumps, a sprint and two pushups.

On the seventh day of fitness my trainer gave to me ...

seven seal jacks, six sumo squats, five bu-urpees, four prone jacks, three power scissors, two rocket jumps, a sprint and two pushups.

On the eighth day of fitness my trainer gave to me ...

eight base rotations, seven seal jacks, six sumo squats, five bu-urpees, four prone jacks, three power scissors, two rocket jumps, a sprint and two pushups.

On the ninth day of fitness my trainer gave to me ...

nine dynamic pillars, eight base rotations, seven seal jacks, six sumo squats, five bu-urpees, four prone jacks, three power scissors, two rocket jumps, a sprint and two pushups.

On the tenth day of fitness my trainer gave to me ...

ten bicycles, nine dynamic pillars, eight base rotations, seven seal jacks, six sumo squats, five bu-urpees, four prone jacks, three power scissors, two rocket jumps, a sprint and two pushups.

On the eleventh day of fitness my trainer gave to me ...

eleven wideout squats, ten bicycles, nine dynamic pillars, eight base rotations, seven seal jacks, six sumo squats, five bu-urpees, four prone jacks, three power scissors, two rocket jumps, a sprint and two pushups.

On the twelfth day of fitness my trainer gave to me ...

twelve skater hops, eleven wideout squats, ten bicycles, nine dynamic pillars, eight base rotations, seven seal jacks, six sumo squats, five bu-urpees, four prone jacks, three power scissors, two rocket jumps, a sprint and two pushups.

Ho ho ho!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday Functional Cardio

I warmed up with the run/back run, shuffle/carioca, skipping/pogo jumping/inchworming combo Wendy posted a while ago, then did the following:

Combo #1

Sprint, 2 pushups/Sprint back, 2 pushups
Sprint, 2 pushups, 2 rocket jumps/Sprint back, 2 pushups, 2 rocket jumps
Sprint, 2 pushups, 2 rocket jumps, 10 bicycles each side/Sprint back, 2 pushups, 2 rocket jump, 10 bicycles each side
Sprint, 2 pushups, 2 rocket jumps, 10 bicycles each side, 5 lateral bounds each side/Sprint back, 2 pushups, 2 rocket jumps, 10 bicycles each side, 5 lateral bounds each side
Sprint, 2 pushups, 2 rocket jumps, 10 bicycles each side, 5 lateral bounds each side, 5 prone jacks/Sprint back, 2 pushups, 2 rocket jumps, 10 bicycles each side, 5 lateral bounds each side, 5 prone jacks
Sprint, 2 pushups, 2 rocket jumps, 10 bicycles each side, 5 lateral bounds each side, 5 prone jacks, 2 burpees/Sprint back, 2 pushups, 2 rocket jumps, 10 bicycles each side, 5 lateral bounds each side, 5 prone jacks, 2 burpees

rest 1 min and repeat

Combo #2- Hold a 5 lb plate (a medicine ball would've been better, but I didn't have one handy) while doing the following:

24 squats
12 each alternating side lunges
12 each split jumps
4 rocket jumps
12 jump squats

rest 1 minute then repeat

Combo 3
This is one repetition. Perform 5 reps without rest:

Pushup up set up
10 wideouts
20 mountain climbers
Pushup, lateral bear crawl, pushup
2 star jumps

Rest for one minute, then repeat

Combo #4:

10 prone hypers, 10 prone tucks
Sumo walk holding the plate (or med ball), 10 split jumps with plate, sumo walk back holding plate, 10 straddle jumps with plate
Shuffle, carioca, side run, 10 pushups, repeat 1X
10 bicycles (each side), 10 straight leg scissors on each side.

rest for one minute, then repeat

It was weirdly fun and far easier than the Wendy fitness chick workout. As I was doing the first combo I was thinking that with some tweaks I could turn it into an awesome "12 days of Christmas" workout for some of my favorite victims, I mean, clients.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday workout

I did AOS Providence, using my 12 kg kettlebell for as many drills as possible--which wasn't very many, so don't be impressed.

I think I've finally gotten the hang of the figure 8 to hold, but the flip & squat and slingshot still elude me. My flips always stop about halfway around so I end up catching the bell when the horns are facing downward. Whatever. I don't think my legs know the difference.

Giving Thanks For Clean Eating Magazine

The latest issue contains some awesome looking recipes, including one for quinoa with turkey, toasted pecans, dried cranberries and other yummy seasonal foods.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving workout

Bootcamp on the beach:

Jog 5 minutes on sand to warm up
Sprint 1 minute on sand
20 pushups
Sprint 1 minute on sand
side plank, 30 sec each side
Sprint 1 minute on sand
20 squats
Rest 1 minute
Walk 5 minutes on sand to cool down

It was a fun workout but I probably should've made it harder. For me, anyway, I should've made it harder or gone longer or something.

I also had to walk to the supermarket to pick up a couple of things I forgot, but that doesn't count as a workout.

Holiday fitness tip: be sure to incorporate cross-training. Don't just have pumpkin pie; have pecan as well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day Before Thanksgiving Workout

I took my usual Wednesday ballet class, and also did the the Pinnacle kettlebell DVD, 3 circuits, 10 sec. rest between rounds. I did the first circuit with my 12 kg bell, all but the final round with the windmills. I wasn't feeling very happy with my form on some of the exercises, though, so I stayed with the 8 kg bell my second two times through and did a few extra reps per round.

I also walked 5 city blocks carrying a 12 lb turkey, but I'm not sure that counts as a workout. Maybe if I'd been doing walking lunges with a twist ...

I haven't checked Youtube, but surely someone's filmed a "turkey workout" with a frozen Butterball standing in for a medicine ball.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mistress Laura Attempts The "300" Workout, Plus Goal Setting

Or a version of same. The original 300 workout is a bit--okay, more than a bit--beyond my capabilities at this point. So I lightened it up as follows:

25 band assisted pullups
50 barbell deadlifts at 75 lbs
50 pushups
50 14" box jumps
50 windshield wipers
50 1-arm dumbbell dead clean to press at 20 lbs
25 band assisted pullups

The idea is to complete all 300 reps as quickly as possible without sacrificing form. It took me about 24 minutes to get through it. Not bad.

I also taught cycling.

I really need to stretch out my hips, which are still hurting from Sunday. I think another thing that was working against me on race day was, I ran in my orthotics for the first time. Because these are meant to correct the way my feet absorb force, they'll eventually make me a stronger, faster, more painfree runner ... but I need to get used to them. There's a subtle change in muscle recruitment patterns that I noticed even during the race, and of course much more so afterward when the DOMS started to kick in.

Note that I say: I need to stretch my hips, not that I'm actually going to. I sorta suck.

Which brings me to goal setting. I think I want to change focus for a bit and work on improving my strength in certain areas. I was browsing around the Figure Athlete website, and I noticed Rachel Cosgrove had a deadlift program that looks intriguing. It's intermediate to advanced, meaning that if you can't deadlift your bodyweight for 3 sets of 5 you might get better results working a different set/rep range. But I can, although I haven't for a while.

I'll start after the 12th, unless I think of a better idea.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday workout

Didn't feel real motivated, but managed the following:

Kettlebell circuit:

one-arm swings, 10 per side
windmills, 5 per side
cleans, 10 per side
overhead press, 10 per side
hand to hand swings, 10 per side
one arm rows, 10 per side
Gasp, wheeze, repeat for a total of 3 circuits

I used my 12 kg bell for all exercises except the windmills. I don't know that I'll ever be able to stabilize my shoulder well enough to be able to use much more than 8 kg on that particular exercise. I suck.

After that I did some core work on my TRX trainer. Pikes, rollups, bicycles, pendulums, supine leg raises over, and a couple other things.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

SF Run & Walk For The Hungry

Paul and I do this race every year. It's a fundraiser for the local food bank, and it's in Golden Gate Park. In previous years was held on Thanksgiving Day itself, but this year race day was moved to the weekend before. It's a 5k.

And that was plenty.

Ugh. I learned a lesson today: if you want to perform well in an endurance event, you must do a certain amount of endurance-oriented training. Not only that, but if the endurance event is a race on pavement, some of your training must include running on pavement. Otherwise your body won't be conditioned to handle the repetitive stress.

Fortunately the race was only 5k. If it had been longer I think I would've gotten in some real trouble. Of course if it had been longer I would've trained for it.

Anyway, I ran my first mile too fast, which makes sense because most of the time when I run I sprint on the treadmill. After that I was gassed and slowed way way down, then finally hit on a pace I could sustain for the duration. I finished the race in just over 30 minutes, which is longer than it has taken me in previous years. So, 10 minute miles on average.

Not that it matters, really. I mean, I wouldn't have raised any more money for the food bank if I'd been running 6 minute miles.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Bodyweight 500

One of the calluses on my left palm tore off yesterday, leaving a raw spot that made it too painful to grip a dumbbell or kettlebell. (Envy me my glamorous existence, people!) So, I opted for a bodyweight workout today. The pullups and chins were problematic because of the raw spot (and also because they're freakin' pullups and chins for Goddess's sake), but everything else was okay, even the inverted rows because I did those on the TRX, which has nice cushy padded handles to grip.

50 Prisoner Squats
50 Pushups
25 Jumps
25 Stability Ball Leg Curls
50 Stability Ball Jackknifes
50 Step-ups (25 reps per side)
25 Band-assisted pull-ups
50 Forward Lunges (25 reps per side)
50 Close-grip Pushups
50 Inverted Rows
50 Squats
25 Band-assisted chin-ups

I got through it in about 28 minutes, which isn't bad I guess. This is a CB workout, and he claims the first time he tried it it took him 27 minutes. Of course I'm sure his form was a lot better than mine on the close grip pushups, and he was also doing regular pullups and chins, not band-assisted. OTOH, he's under 35 and a guy, which tends to be somewhat of an advantage when it comes to upper body stuff so I'm not going to give myself too hard a time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm all about the kettlebells this week, it seems

Yesterday's workout was AOS Elevation II. I went through it 3 times, resting for 10 seconds between rounds. I used my 12 kg bell for most of the workout, but had to drop down to 8 kg for the TGU situps, chest presses to half-getups, and some (okay, most) of the snatches. The good news, though, is that I had no trouble using 12 kg for the clean and press. So, that's progress.

I also taught cycling, but I'm not sure that counts as a workout because I was off my bike half the time helping people with their heart rate monitors.

Oh, and I had 90 minutes of ballet/Nutcracker rehearsal.

I haven't been doing so well with the eating lately, and plan to do something about that. I'm not particularly looking to lose weight at the moment, but I've been feeling headachey and a bit nauseated for several days and I think it's because I've been eating too many of the wrong things and not enough of the right ones.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Pinnacle workout

Pinnacle is another AOS DVD offering featuring Anthony DiLuglio. Good stuff.

There are 6 rounds performed for reps not time, and you get to pick how many times you want to go through the rounds as well as how long you want to rest between rounds. I opted to rest 10 seconds between rounds for more of a cardiovascular effect, although on another day I might opt for 30 which would allow me to use a heavier kettlebell on most exercises.

Round 1 consisted of one-arm dead swings and one arm swings, 5 of each to each side

Round 2 consisted of dead cleans and long cycle cleans, 5 of each to each side

Round 3 consisted of dead clean and press and long cycle clean and press, 5 of each to each side

Round 4 consisted of high pulls, half snatches and snatches, 5 of each to each side

Round 5 consisted of dead cleans to squats, long cycle cleans to squats, 5 of each to each side, followed by 10 flip & squats (except I can't get the hang of the flip so I just did a release and catch as I dropped back into my squat)

Round 6 consisted of windmills, 5 to each side, figure 8 to hold alternating sides (except I subbed one-arm hand-to-hand swings because the figure 8 still eludes me), 10 total, and hand to hand sumo deadlifts, 10 total.

I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately--yesterday I was fighting off a migraine, and today I've had cramps that I think may be TOM-related but it's hard to be sure. So, anyway, I quit after three rounds. I think I was working out for a about half an hour total. It felt like enough, anyway.

I also took a 90 minute ballet class, but it mostly was rehearsal--just a quick barre to get us warmed up, then straight into Reed Flute (that's the bit from Act II that I think is the most recognizable part of the score to most people. I mean, if I hummed it you'd know it ... or if you didn't it would be my humming that'd be at fault.) Then we worked on the Act I party scene for a while. My Arabian pas de deux has been cut because my partner couldn't be bothered to show up at rehearsal, and we don't have time to rechoreograph it as a solo. Also, I think my instructor has trouble envisioning it as anything other than a pas because that's the way it was done at San Francisco Ballet where she trained. So, anyhoo, no Arabian :( Instead, I'm one of the dolls in the party scene. It's the same part I danced last year, and it's a real crowd pleaser and something I'm very comfortable with. It sort of makes sense to have me do it again, because as choreographed I'm the only person in the group who's physically capable of pulling off the jumps. There's this one bit where I go from a straddle jump (or as close to same as I can get) directly into an Italian changement (it's just a regular jump except that as I come up I pull my heels up toward my groin), and then I repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Then I go into an attitude turn/karate kick sequence, and thankfully that's just about it.

Anyway, I sort of had that dance in mind when I did the Wendy fitness girl workout last weekend, because I think the explosive movements will make my jumps even stronger. I need to keep working on hip flexibility and core strength as well. Oh, and my front assemblees suck, so I need to practice those.

The pas would have been a fun challenge but in a way I'm a little relieved because, well, I'm a little weirded out by the concept of any man who isn't (1) Paul, (2) a trained dancer, or (3)gay having that much physical contact with me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Workout update plus a !free! bonus from Workout Muse (nope, it's not steak knives)

Yesterday I attended a 2-hour TRX workshop for personal trainers. It wasn't a workout per se, but we did a lot of learn-by-doing so a fair amount of physical activity happened. It was an incredible Indian summer day in San Francisco, so we took the TRX units out to a park, hooked 'em up to a jungle gym, and did the workshop there. It was lots of fun although we got some very strange looks . I plan to practice with it intensively this week, then start using it with clients as soon as I feel I have a good understanding of how to make the exercises safe and effective for people at all different fitness levels. I think it's going to be a tremendous tool for helping a few of my clients transition from wall squats with a stability ball to free squats, and also for helping my more advanced people achieve greater range of motion on their one-leg squats.

So, anyway, today I did the 25 minute "Total Body Express" workout that came with my TRX unit, and then I followed up with a 20 minute kettlebell circuit workout. The circuit consisted of overhead squats, presses, 1-leg Romanian deadlifts, cleans, and swings, each exercise performed for 50 seconds, with a 10 second rest between exercises. So, four times through the circuit.

And that brings me to the !free! bonus from Workout Muse. It's called "The Holiday Survival Kit," and it consists of an mp3 track that'll cue you through the 50/10 intervals, and an e-book with suggestions for what exercises to do. The idea is to pick 5 exercises: a 2-leg exercise, a push, a 1-leg exercise, a pull, and a core move, do each for 50 seconds with a 10 second rest between exercises, repeated 4 times. The downloadable e-book has a bodyweight-only routine, a kettlebell routine, a couple of band routines, and a couple of dumbbell routines. I didn't care for the kettlebell routine in the e-book so I put together my own, but the basic template is just fine--I love me some peripheral heart activity training!--and I did adhere to that.

If you check out my linked blogs you should be able to get to the latest posting from Workout Muse that talks about the Holiday Survival Kit. I don't know that it's something I'd pay money for, unless of course it came with the world's smallest juicer and a spiral slicer for carving decorative vegetables, but it's a worthwhile freebie if you'd rather listen to an mp3 than watch the clock.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Cow In The House

Once upon a time there was a poor peasant couple who lived in a miserable one-room hovel with their six children, their children's children, their dog, their cat, their cockatoo and their in-laws. (Okay, the one room was pretty big, but still.) Their living conditions, as you can imagine, were squalid and disgusting in the extreme, and they quarreled constantly. They knew they had to do something to improve the situation, but they couldn't think what.

Finally in desperation they went to consult the village wise woman. "Oh, village wise woman," they asked, "our one-room hovel is crowded and disgusting, and we can't bear it any more. What should we do?"

The wise woman thought for a moment, then said, "My children, it's really very simple. You keep a cow, do you not?"

"Yes, of course," they replied, puzzled.

"And where do you keep it?"

"In the pasture, so it can eat grass and grow fat."

"Ah," said the wise woman. "You must bring the cow out of the pasture and take it into your house. Do not ask why. Simply do it, and come back to see me in a week."

The peasant family was understandably mystified, but did as the wise woman instructed. They brought the cow into the house, and soon things were worse than they had ever been. The cow was gentle and docile and not that big for a cow, but even so it took up a lot of space in the already overcrowded hovel. Worse, it was in the habit of pooping and peeing where it stood, which made the hovel even smellier and more disgusting than it already was. The piles of dung attracted flies, and the flies attracted spiders, and the cat chased the spiders at all hours of the day and night instead of catching mice as it was supposed to do, so that soon the house was overrun with mice, and the in-laws criticized, and basically there was nothing good about the situation at all.

After a week of this, the peasant family went back to the wise woman in despair. "Wise woman, wise woman, we followed your advice, but now things are worse than they have ever been. Our hovel is even more crowded than it was, and it reeks of cow dung and is filled with vermin. What are we to do?"

The wise woman thought for a moment, then said, "My children, it is really very simple. You must take the cow out of your house and put it back in the pasture."

Again, the peasant family followed the woman's instructions. Then, once the cow was out of the house, they set to work cleaning up the piles of dung it had left behind. Soon the house no longer reeked of cow excrement. It no longer attracted as many flies, so the spiders left too, and without the distraction of the spiders the cat got back to chasing mice, so that soon the house was as free of vermin as any medieval hovel could hope to be. Not only that, but without the cow taking up so much space there was a little more elbow room in the hovel, and the family began to get along much better. Even the in-laws were no longer quite as critical.

Within two weeks the peasant family had gone from being miserable to being quite content in their tiny hovel, and it was all thanks to the wise old woman and her advice to bring the cow into the house.

But what does the story of the cow in the house have to do with exercise? Simple.

Today I attempted the Wendy fitness girl workout. I wasn't sure what a few of the exercises in the final combo were so I did other things that seemed to fit in the context of the workout. (Are wideouts plyo pushups where you go from close grip to wide and back again? If so, good, because that's what I did. And, are groiners anything like spiderman pushups? If so, again good, because that's what I did.) And I did my planches with feet against the wall because I'm so far from having the necessary balance it isn't funny. And while I did get some air under me during the four point explosions, straddle holds and L-holds in combo #2, they sure weren't pretty.

Anyhoo, never again will I complain about P90x Plyo X, the Rachel Cosgrove Get Metabolic workout, or any other damn thing, because after today's horror show those workouts seem like something you'd do on a recovery day!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recent workouts

Yesterday was a Turbulence Training bodyweight circuit with 1-leg squats, pullups, chinups, pike pushups, 1-leg hops, squat thrusts and other incredibly fun moves. I followed with 20 minutes of tabata intervals using bodyweight moves-lateral hops, skaters, base rotations and seal jacks--instead of a machine. I also took a 90 minute ballet class.

Today I did my own thing:

Superset 1: DB triple press (6 seated overhead, 6 incline, 6 flat) 3x20; 1-leg pistol squat using my suspension trainer to get full range of motion, 3x8 per leg

superset 2: DB rows, 3x8 per arm x35; KB squat, 3x10 per side x12 kg

superset 3: walking offset pushups 3x8 per arm; KB sumo deads, 3x20x12 kg

superset 4: KB release swings, 3x 20x 12 kg; burpees, 3x10

Countdown: jump lunges, 5 per leg, 4 per leg, 3 per leg, 2 per leg, 1 per leg, supersetted with inchworms, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, the whole thing performed twice through.

I took very short rests between supersets because I was short on time, and that definitely affected how heavy I was able to go. On a stronger day I could've used 25s on the triple press and 40s on the rows. I still felt I got in a good workout, though.

Also, as I was doing the walking pushups down the hall of my house, I discovered that one of my cats had spit up her breakfast on the oriental rug. It says something about my dedication to working out, or more likely about my housekeeping, that I completed my set before wiping up the cat mess. Interestingly, you can hardly see barely-digested little Friskies on an oriental rug unless your eyes are only a few inches away from same. So, if I'd picked a different exercise to do I probably never would've noticed the cat hurl, at least until I stepped in it.

I am nothing if not glamorous.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hating On The Elliptical

While I think Turbulence Training is one of the most effective, accessible programs around, I definitely don't agree with everything Craig Ballantyne has to say on the subject of fat loss.

In his latest blog posting, for instance, he rags on elliptical trainers as if they were the worst thing to hit the fitness world since the adductor machine. He objects to them for three reasons: (1) they tend to overstate the number of calories burned by users; (2) they're too easy; and (3) they're too easy. Okay, that's really only two reasons, but don't blame me, blame Craig, because it was he who said he had three reasons for not liking ellipticals.

Here's where else I think Craig's analysis is flawed:

(1) Sure, ellipticals may overstate the number of calories burned, but that doesn't make the elliptical bad in itself. It just means you need to ignore the calories-burned function, which you should be doing anyway because as we all know what really matters for fat loss is not how many calories you burn during the workout itself, but how many you burn around the clock.

Which brings me to the second problem with Craig's reasoning:

(2) He seems to think that the elliptical isn't challenging enough to create much of an afterburn effect. But as is true of any cardio machine, the elliptical can be as hard or as easy as you like. It all depends on how fast you go, how much resistance you add, how long your stride is, whether you incorporate arms, and so forth. While it's true that I can't push my heart rate quite as high during an interval training workout on the elliptical as I can running sprints on the treadmill, I can still get it high enough to count as HIIT. It's a nice option for days when my joints can't take the pounding of a high-impact workout.

It's perfectly true that there are a lot of misconceptions about the elliptical--that it tones your arms, that it tones your legs, that it tones your butt if you go backward on it, yadda yadda yadda. But that doesn't mean the elliptical itself is bad. It just means there's a lot of misinformation floating around. No sense in throwing out the baby with the bathwater. (For that matter, no sense in throwing out the bathwater if you can use it to water the plants or something, but that's another subject altogether. )

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

AOS Providence, sort of

That was my workout for the day. I say "sort of" because I was too cheap to spring for the DVD so I got the mp3 version, which does a great job of cueing you through the exercises if you already know what they are and how to perform them, but is no help whatsoever if you don't. So, I had to improvise on a couple of the rounds.

The format of "Providence" is rather like that of Rachel Cosgrove's Get Metabolic workout, in that you work pretty intensely for 2 minutes, then take a 1 minute break. There are 14 rounds plus a 3 minute bonus round, so the entire workout is 45 minutes long.

Here's the exercise breakdown:

Round 1: 2-handed swing, one arm swing, hand-to-hand swing
Round 2: Cleans (5, 4, 3, 2, 1 per arm, repeated twice)
Round 3: Chest presses (5, 4, 3, 2, 1 per arm, repeated twice)
Round 4: Squats/sumo deadlifts--3o seconds 1 side, 30 sec. sumos, 30 sec other side, 30 sec. sumos
Round 5: One leg deadlift (5 per leg, lather rinse repeat until the 2 minutes is up)
Round 6: Windmills into an overhead squat, 1 minute per side
Round 7: clean and press (5, 4, 3, 2, 1 per arm, repeated twice)
Round 8: Flip and squat (I skipped the flip because it makes me nervous, and just squatted for the entire 2 minutes)
Round 9: Tactical lunges
Round 10: Triple crush (this is a curl to an overhead press to a 1-arm triceps overhead extension, and I had to modify because my triceps aren't strong enough to allow me to do very many reps with an 8 kg kettlebell)
Round 11: Sling shot into a figure 8 with a static hold (for some reason the figure 8 eludes me, so I simply repeated round 1)
Round 12: Seated press (5, 4, 3, 2, 1 per arm, repeated twice)
Round 13: One arm row (5, 4, 3, 2, 1 per arm, repeated twice)
Round 14: Pullovers, Russian twists, Sicilian crunch (I had no clue what a Sicilian crunch is, so I did heel touches instead. Turns out it's just your basic extended leg overhead crunch. I think people just come up with these names so they'll sound more badass. "Hey, I did Sicilian crunches with 24 kg today, so show me respect or I'll put a fish in your bulletproof vest. Now that's an offer you can't refuse.")

Bonus round: 3 minute snatch test--1 1/2 minutes per side

I liked it in spite of not knowing what the heck I'm doing on some of the exercises. I mean, I think I know enough that I'm not likely to hurt myself, and I also think that with practice my cleans will get, well, cleaner.

I also worked up enough of a sweat to realize that I absolutely cannot under any circumstances exert myself physically while wearing sunscreen that contains active ingredients other than zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, unless of course I want sore eyes and a bright red nose. Ugh.

The kettlebell drills were a nice change of pace after all the bodyweight stuff I've been doing. I like that too, but it's good to mix it up. In fact, I think I might tweak my workouts to make them more of a fusion of bodyweight and dumbbell/barbell/kettlebell exercises. That format works well at the gym because it doesn't tie up more than one piece of fixed equipment and/or set of dumbbells in any one superset, which is kind of an obnoxious thing to do in a gym as small as mine. I mean, there's this one guy who, every Friday for the last 2 years, has done the same alternating set of bench presses and barbell squats. A great pairing of exercises to be sure, but inconvenient as heck because there's only the one flat bench and squat rack, and he usually does 4-5 sets including his warmup, so it takes him a while to finish even when he keeps his rests short enough that working in isn't really feasible.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just Say NO To Cardio!

That's the title of Boyfriend Craig's new book. You probably already know that, if you're on his mailing list or the mailing lists of any of his multitudinous affiliates. You probably also already know pretty much what the book says: low intensity steady state cardio in the "fat burning zone" is a crock, high-intensity interval training and bodyweight circuits are the way to go if you want to lose body fat, yadda yadda yadda.

There will also be any number of plugs for Turbulence Training. ("Order now! and upgrade to a Platinum Membership for $197! This is a one-time-only offer that ends, well, never, actually, but for now let's say it ends November 30 at midnight PST. So don't delay--order NOW, and start losing belly fat TODAY!") Not that Craig's system isn't all that and a bag of oven-baked sweet potato chips and you could do a whole lot worse with your money, and you probably have, but even so the high pressure sales tactics get old fast.

Even so, I bought the book. Even if it's mostly one long advertising brochure I'm hoping it'll have some solid arguments I can use to persuade my cardio-queen clients that there's a more effective way to work out if their main goal is fat loss. Also, I wanted the set of steak knives and the world's smallest juicer. What I mean is, I wanted the Bodyweight Cardio 2.0 and Bodyweight Cardio 2008 programs, which Craig is throwing in (along with some other stuff) as a !FREE! bonus for the first 53,014,027 people to order.

I'll post more once I've had a chance to try out the new programs.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Would you fork out money for this?

I'm hoping I can persuade the powers that be at my gym to let me offer small-group express personal training. Participants would have the option of purchasing 3, 6, 9 or 12 half-hour sessions, and what they would get (along with the sessions of course) would be an individual assessment and a personalized program of corrective stretches and isolated strengthening exercises to address any muscle imbalances they might have. Clients would be responsible for doing these exercises on their own prior to the group sessions as part of their warm-up. The group sessions would consist of metabolic-density type total-body circuit training, and basically would follow a template format, meaning that I might have everyone in the group doing some type of squat, but the senior with the low back pain would get stability ball wall squats while the muscleman would get heavy dumbbell squats and the track and field diva would get jump squats. Everyone would do as many as he or she can in a minute, working at his or her own pace and taking mid-set breaks as needed, before moving on to the next exercise. And so on, until a half an hour has gone by.

I think this could be a tremendous moneymaker. Participants will be getting the support and camaraderie of a group ex class, but they'll also be getting programming that's customized to their individual needs and goals, which will make it more safer and more effective than traditional group ex (which is included in the price of membership at my gym ... and you pretty much get what you're paying for IMO :))

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Today's workout

Same as Sunday:

The usual warmup, followed by

10 burpees
30 pushups
30 squats
15 mountain climbers per side
rest 30-60 sec.
100 jacks
15 alternating forward lunges per side
15 TRX inverted rows
20 close grip pushups
rest 30-60 seconds

Lather rinse repeat a total of 3 times through the circuit.

It occurs to me that I am freaking sick of pushups. I had the 1-arm nightmares yesterday, plus the 45 pike pushups and the 72 spiderman pushups. Today's workout had 150 pushups of one sort or another, while tomorrow's will include 80 decline pushups. And that's not taking into account the 20 pushups in the warm-up! I actually did 170 today and will do 100 tomorrow. On Friday, however, I will get off lightly with a mere 80 pushups.

I really shouldn't complain, as pushups don't bother my wrists unless they're the plyometric kind. It just seems like overkill, and I feel as though I'm sacrificing quality for quantity. Oh well. That's how you make bodyweight training progressive, I guess: you go from cranking out three sets of 30 varying-quality pushups to 3 sets of 30 really good full-range of motion ones.

Still, I might have a look at the original Turbulence Training bodyweight program, either the intermediate or the advanced version, just because knowing me I think I'll have trouble sticking with this one for four weeks. Or, I might mess with this one a little :)

Oh, and I had a 90 minute ballet class/rehearsal also. My hips felt good because of the yoga I've been doing. Hip flexibility is a huge thing for me because so many of my clients have low back pain that I attribute to stiff hips. Their hips don't move, so when they bend over it's not a hip-hinge movement but a bending forward at the waist, which puts their backs at great risk if they're bending forward to, say, pick up a laundry basket or bag of groceries. Sometimes I feel as though my mission in life is to teach people the right way to pick things up off the floor!

Advanced Yoga with Rodney Yee

This DVD is freaking awesome. The 50 minute total body routine features a bunch of advanced headstand variations and arm balances--flying turtle, anyone?--and some great hip openers that'll get most people sitting comfortably in lotus position in less time than you'd expect. There's also a 25 minute routine exclusively for the hips that I probably should be doing almost daily.

The way the poses are sequenced makes even the most advanced moves more doable than you'd think, although I'm still very far from being able to do most of them. The arm balances come easier than the headstands because I don't really like inversions. I had to take them out of my practice when my blood pressure spiked because of issues with the birth control I was using, and then again when my eye doctor told me he thought I might be developing glaucoma. My blood pressure is fine now, and my current eye doctor thinks my interocular pressure is okay also, but it's hard for me to think of headstands and handstands as being safe and effective moves for me.

Still, I'd like to become more proficient at them, and to that end I downloaded the York Handbalancing Course ( It's got some helpful progressions as well as analysis of exactly what's going on when you do a handbalance. It really is about finding your balance, not about brute strength, although strong wrists and forearms certainly are useful. In other words, most weightlifters have the physical strength to do a handbalance, but most of them can't because they don't have the necessary proprioception to be able to maintain their equilibrium when standing on their hands. My proprioception, however, is pretty good, so I think if I work at it consistently, preferably with a spotter in the vicinity, I should be able to defy gravity along with Rodney in the not too distant future.

So, anyhoo, Monday's workout was the two routines from the DVD, and Tuesday's workout was Turbulence Training Advanced Bodyweight Workout A (the one with the 1-arm pushups).

I also taught cycling. Since it was Election Day I inflicted the following "fair and balanced" playlist on my class:

Born in the USA, Bruce Springsteen
Don't Stop, Fleetwood Mac
There Goes My Hero, Foo Fighters
Soul Man, ??
Barracuda, Heart
Won't Get Fooled Again, The Who
Even Better Than The Real Thing, U2
I Predict A Riot, Kaiser Chiefs
Long Road To Ruin, Foo Fighters
It's The End Of The World, REM
Landslide, Dixie Chicks
Not Ready To Make Nice, Dixie Chicks

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend workouts


warm-up circuit 2x:
10 pushups
10 squats
10 stickups
10 spiderman climbs
10 waiters bows
20 cross crawl

superset: chin-ups (these were supposed to be one-armed but that was so not happening), 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1; split squats, front foot elevated, 4x12 per leg (so sets 3, 5, and 7 were chins only)

superset: pushups, hands on SB, 3x20; 1 leg SB curls, 3x12 per leg

tri-set: TRX inverted rows , 3x10-12; jump squats, 3x6; cross-body mountain climbers, 3x10 per side

The TRX inverted rows were supposed to be regular inverted rows with feet on the ball, but since I don't have a squat rack I improvised. I tried doing the TRX rows with my feet on the ball but that was just a little too much instability, especially after the chins, which I suck at.


Same warmup as Saturday, followed by a fun (?) bodyweight cardio circuit:

10 burpees
30 pushups
30 squats
15 mountain climbers per side
rest 30-60 sec.
100 jacks
15 alternating forward lunges per side
15 TRX inverted rows
20 close grip pushups
rest 30-60 seconds

Lather rinse repeat a total of 3 times through the circuit.

I was not happy about the 30 pushups. I mean, I did them, but by the end they weren't pretty. The close-grip pushups sucked too, big time.

Later, yoga.