Posts tagged ‘routine’

September 1, 2011

Tearin’ It Up

Want to hear something gross? When you strength train, you are actually putting little tears in your muscles, which often causes delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). When the muscles repair the tears, they build themselves stronger than they were… most of the time, anyway. Whenever I think about that, I get the heebie-geebies I am reminded as to how awesome the human body really is.

Why the tidbit of info? Today I’m sharing the workout I started this week. It focuses on lifting heavy, so you’ll be tearin’ it up in the gym. I don’t follow it exactly day-in and day-out, but I’ll be following it pretty darn closely through September.

The beach is that way....

For instance, I completed huge pyramid sets of dumbbell bench press instead of barbell bench press Tuesday night. All the barbell benches were taken, so I did what I could.

I may have taken bits and pieces from various sources, but if I remember correctly, this is a Tiff original. I’ve had it a few years, so I can only be 96% sure of this, not 100%. 96 is a pretty good percent, right???

  • Day 1: Legs
  • Barbell Squat: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlifts: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Lying Leg Curls: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Leg Extensions: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Glute Kickbacks: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Day 2: Chest & Calves (Pilates at Night)
  • Bench Press: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Cable Crossovers: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Pushups: 2 sets until failure
  • Standing Calf Raises: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Donkey Calf Raises: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Day 3: Back
  • Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Lat Pulldown: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Seated Cable Rows: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Reverse Flyes: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Day 4: Shoulders & Calves (Pilates at Night)
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Front Dumbbell Raises: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Lateral Raises: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Donkey Calf Raises: 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Day 5: Arms
  • Rotate in a Functional Exercise: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Hammer Curls: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Barbell Curls: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Concentration Curls: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Triceps Kickbacks: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Rope Pushdowns: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Skullcrushers: 4 sets of 4-6 reps
  • Day 6: Cardio
  • Probably running or walking outdoors
  • Day 7: Rest
  • Alternate between 4 sets of 6 reps and 3 sets of 8/10 reps

Complete as much cardio as you’d like. This workout takes me about an hour to complete every day, excluding Day 6. That does not include the 20-30 extra minutes of pilates at night twice a week. If you are a cardio queen, feel free to extend that a bit. I allow myself frequent occasional cardio-free Fridays. You could also sub exercises for your main trouble spot once a week in lieu of calf exercises; it’s your workout!

Here are 3 free pilates workouts I’ve been loving lately. The first 2 are difficult, and the 3rd is for lazy days.

  1. Blogilates
  2. Pilates Power
  3. Less is More Pilates

As you all know, it’s important to refuel after a hard workout. Be sure to include protein and carbs in your post-workout munchies. The Greek yogurt I’ve been eating this week is full of protein, and it’s best when purchased in containers as big as your head. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

Wowzers! That's a lot of yogurt! And a double-chin!

How often do you change up your workouts? What are your favorite sites for workout videos?

August 11, 2011

Strength Circuit & More Nom Nom Noms

I started a new workout this week, and I think you might like it. It’s easy on my “injured” feet but isn’t too easy everywhere else. I found the routine in a 2009 issue of Muscle & Fitness Hers, and they have a guide to “The Vacation Countdown” workout on their site.

This is a four day split that has you lifting on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Follow this for weeks 1-4:

  • Week 1, complete the circuit on the given day 2 times, resting 60 seconds between exercises
  • Week 2, complete the circuit 2 times, but rest only 45 seconds
  • Week 3, perform 3 rounds, and rest 30 seconds between the exercises
  • Week 4, complete 3 or 4 rounds, resting 15-20 seconds

The pics in the magazine are pretty motivating, but they’re intense. Yeah, I guess M&F Hers thinks I should try to look like this…

The 1st circuit includes the first 7 exercises on the list, Dumbbell Swing to Walking Abduction. The 2nd circuit, which you perform on Wednesday, goes from the Dumbbell Squat to the Abs Circuit. I also added in weighted Leg Lifts before the Dumbbell Squat.

Friday’s circuit includes the Romanian Deadlift through the Arm Circuit. I may add something else here as well, but I’m not sure yet. The 4th circuit includes the last 5 exercises.

Even after all this sweating, I’m still happy enough to be like this… (except for the half-smile/half-tough-girl expression)

buff stuff

So far this week, I completed 25 minutes on the elliptical Monday, and I had an excellent swim Tuesday. I also completed 25 hard minutes on the stationary bike Wednesday, and will go for another swim today. Hopefully I’ll have more time Friday or Saturday for at least one long cardio session. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Oh, and last night’s dinner of eggplant, zucchini, basil, and grape tomatoes topped with sauce and feta was pretty yummy.


I thought I might get away with eating one third of this so that I could have 2 nights of leftovers, but after seeing how empty my little plate looked…

half baked?

I decided to just go ahead and eat half of the pan anyway. Oh, and I also snacked on quite a few Kashi Pita Crisps in sea salt flavor. These things are fairly processed, but for junky snack food, they are darrrrrn goooooood! (To be honest, they aren’t thaaaaat junky.) There’s even a coupon on their site right now, so check it out if you want to save a buck.

Do you work out at home or the gym? How do you push yourself to reach the next level in your training?

August 6, 2011

She’s got SuperFeet, SuperFeet, She’s SuperFeetayyyyy

So my doctor appointments yesterday were no fun.  Nope.  No fun at all.  The podiatrist had no helpful solution for me.  He said I had good running shoes and very good inserts, so he did not have anything to recommend.  (By the way, I use the green Superfeet inserts in my running shoes.)


He said the small muscles in my feet probably just get tired.  Whaaaaa?  But why are they tired all of a sudden?  I’ve been active since the age of 4.  I played soccer for 13 years.  How do I have weak feet???  (If any readers can explain this to me, please shoot me an email!)

Walking out of the appointment I learned these things.

  • Wear supportive lace-up shoes all the time – even at home.  This is bad.  I’m barefoot as much as possible!
  • Pick up things with my toes to strengthen the muscles.
  • Plyometrics (such as my Kirsch workout) are hard on my feet.  (He didn’t say not to do them though!)
  • Increasing my running by adding one more running day per week broke the renowned 10% rule of running.
So I’m going to look up stretches and strengthening exercises, ice my feet, wear shoes more often, and purchase new running shoes and supportive cross trainers.  I have been doing all my cross training in my old running shoes, but that’s probably not the best thing for me.
Enough of that.  Just thinking about  that appointment made me mad.  Moving on…
When I was trying to let my feet rest last week, I swam laps in a pool a few days, did some pilates, and worked out at home two mornings.  I wanted to share my at/home workouts with you.

I used all this...

The routine has 4 Tracy Anderson YouTube videos with supersets in-between.  Tracy and I really had a lot of bonding time!  I don’t normally like her workouts since she thinks women should never strength train with more than 3 lbs., but I guess it works for her gorgeous clients, like Jessica Simpson and Gwyneth Paltrow.  Nevertheless, the workouts are a good change from my normal style.
The Routine
  • Video 1: Warm Up – just followed video and did my own warm up with weighted punches and dynamic stretching
  • *Insert first superset here (rest 20 seconds, repeat, rest 20 seconds, and repeat one more time)
  • Video 2: Tracy Anderson Arms Webisode – It gets hard with weights!
  • Video 3: Tracy’s Standing Ab Quickie – I gave my arms a break by throwing in this clip.  The goal was to keep my heart rate up.
  • **Insert second superset here (rest 20 seconds, repeat, rest 20 seconds, and repeat one more time)
  • Video 4: Tracy Anderson’s Arms Quickie – It’s another burner, but I really like this one.
  • I finished up with this arm set to really fine-tune the muscles before stopping to stretch

 Tuesday Arm Superset #1

– 15 Push Ups,   15 Flies with 8-lb Dumbbell,   12-15 Tricep Skull Crushers with 8-lb Dumbbell

Tuesday Arm Circuit #2

– 15 Push Ups,   12 (each side) Resistance Band Overhead Tricep Extension

You can feel strong with 1 pounders...

Thursday Arm Circuit #1

– 15 Rows with Resistance Band,   15 Reverse Fly with Band,   15 (each side, alternating) Curls with 8-lb Dumbbell

Thursday Arm Circuit #2

– 12 (each side) Cross Pull with Band,   12 (each side) Curls with Band

Have a great weekend everyone!  Come back Monday and tell me the best thing you did!
July 11, 2011

July Workout

After my kinda-sorta-but-not-really time off from working out, it’s time to get down to business.  Did anyone try out my June workout?  If so, I’m curious as to what you thought.  It really built up my backside, and while that was one of the goals, I’m not sure I need to keep building.  So this workout doesn’t have quite as much booty work, but maybe you’ll still sweat your booty off, if that’s a goal of yours.

The two split-style workouts are similar, but it’s important to change up your workouts every four to six weeks, even if the changes are small.  (I want enough time to build muscle without reaching a plateau.)  For simplicity, I usually change it up monthly.  Next month, I hope to throw in more circuits and supersets, so stay tuned for the August workout.

This routine is not advanced, but this is not for beginners either.  I recommend completing 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions per set, depending on if it’s a heavy day or light day.  I change it up by throwing in drop sets, pyramid sets, 21s, or big sets of 15 reps every once in a while.  Just do what feels best for you, but 3 sets of 10 is the perfect place to start.  I’m not sure how easy or hard it is yet, since I have only just started it today.


  • Barbell Curl
  • Twisting Resistance Band Curl (or with Cable)
  • Resistance Band Triceps Extension (or Cable)
  • Dips <– hardcore dips or modified bench dips, whatever works for you
  • Reverse Curls (Feel these in your forearms) – I did it holding two 5-lb dumbbells and followed that immediately with some weighted punches and jabs to burn things out
  • Complete 35 minutes of cardio.  I often opt for the stair climber on Mondays.




Be sure to get your legs parallel to the ground, but don’t let your knees pass your toes.


  • Run or Walk at Home – Enjoy Summer!  I usually go for about 3 miles.
  • Finish with a cool down, stretches, and yoga.  The yoga should challenge you.


I’ll most likely do this with an EZ Curl Bar on a bench, but you get the idea.


  • Go for a long run, walk, or bike ride.  Enjoy the weather!  I run about 4.5 miles on Saturdays.
  • Finish with a cool down, stretches, and yoga or pilates.  The yoga should challenge you.

I hope you enjoy the workout.  If you give it a shot, let me know what you think of it.

Do you switch up your routine daily, monthly, or other?

How much cardio do you usually do per week?

June 6, 2011

Blog Birthday & June Workout

Did everybody have a super weekend?  What was the best thing you did?  I suppose I’ll have to pick boating since we met up with so many fun people out on the lake, but just being off from work was pretty darn good!  As Kevin always says, any day on vacation is better than a day at work.  (That was his catch-phrase in Italy when it rained on us daily, and he was sooooo very right!)

I have some big news to share.  As of Sunday, the blog has been around for one whole month.  Wow!  Time flies when you’re meeting new bloggies, practicing a hobby (writing), and pretending to have a valid excuse for photographing your food (and beers).

Now that it’s Monday, and we’re back to the daily grind, I want to share part of my daily routine with you.  I crafted this month’s workout a week or two ago, and I started it last week.  As you’ll notice, each day works at least one big muscle group.  This burns more calories.  Also, we start with the big muscle group then work smaller one.  This yields better performance and therefore better results.

Monday: Chest and Shoulders + 30-45 minutes cardio (elliptical)

Tuesday: Legs and Abs + 20-30 minutes cardio (stair climber)

  • Leg Extension Superset with Plyometric Squat Jump *Go directly into squat jump after extensions, then rest for 30 seconds to a minute.  I do 8 jumps holding a 2.5-lb plate
  • Seated or Lying Leg Curls 
  • Power Knee Tap & Touch  Superset with Calf Raises (Any way you like to do them)
  • Jacknife/Teaser  *I get the best results from this ab move!
  • Ball Crunch 
  • Crunch to a Knee *Like my art?  Keeping your feet flat on the wall is easier than holding them up yourself, but you get a better crunch doing this because it forces you to keep your feet still.  It forces you to crunch your elbow to an opposite knee instead of bringing your knee in toward your elbow.

Like My Art???

Wednesday: Arms + Cardio (any)

Thursday: Abs + Cardio (run) + Yoga (if you have time)

  • I do my three-mile Thursday, and I follow it with stretching
  • Complete the same ab routine as Tuesday
  • If time, do a little yoga.  I know yoga helps my running, but I never make myself do it.

Friday: Butt & Back + Cardio (I often do cardio-free Friday because it’s more fun.)

  • Bench Step-up  (If you’re new to this, use a step like in the link’s photo instead of a bench.)
  • Bridge with Crossed Leg  *Do it like the picture indicates, but extend that crossed let as you come up.  The ending position should have one foot on the ground while the other leg extends parallel to the stationary thigh.


Saturday: Run + Abs

  • Run (or walk)
  • Follow the same abdominal routine – if you’re extremely bored with it, feel free to sub pilates

Here is an explanation of the hand step-up from Monday.  I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, but this looks pretty good:

May 11, 2011

6-Packs Aren’t Just for Beer!

Get on the ball with this workout (and scroll down for the elliptical workout).  I ran at the gym yesterday morning, but I lacked time for my ab workout.  I completed this routine after I got home from work, which I am doing 2 to 3 times per week.  This gave me time to bake my giant sweet potato.  Those things are always worth the wait!

First, warm up your core by walking, doing light pilates, or anything else to get the blood flowing.

1 – Stability Ball Pass – I did 3 sets of 5 reps.  Start lying on the floor with your arms reached above your head, and hold the ball between your ankles.  Crunch your abs to lift your legs and arms; grab the ball with your hands.  Lower your arms (holding the ball) and your legs at the same time.  Passing to hands and back to feet completes one rep.  I never do these until failure because they can stress my hip flexors.  

2 – Weighted Crunch on Ball – I did 3 sets of 10 reps.  I held my 8-lb dumbbell behind my head with my arms relatively straight.  You still feel these even if you do not use any weight.  Simply place your hands behind your head.

3 – Torso Twist on Ball – I did 3 sets of 8 reps.  Hold a weight or medicine ball perpendicular to your shoulders with your hips parallel to the floor and in-line with your shoulders.  Keep back and arms straight while you twist over onto one shoulder.  You feel this in your obliques, but it is also good for stabilizer muscles.  Do this to the left and the right to complete one rep.  (Sorry for the crappy pics!)

Starting Position

Twist at Torso

4 – Weighted Toe Reaches – I did 3 sets of 10.  Keep your feet up and crunch up toward them.  Come as close to touching your toes as possible.

Leia wants in on the action!

5 – Plank – 1 set of 60 seconds.  I should have done more of these, but the sweet potato was calling!

Today is a rainy day that started off with 42 minutes of elliptical at the gym.  I’ll outline that for you here too.  I’ll be working all day (bleh) then heading back to the gym for my first body pump class.  I’m pretty excited! 

I’m also excited Kev will be cooking dinner due to my workout class.  That reminds me – I’m supposed to email him the recipe.  It’s my very own Chinese Take-In, which does not need a recipe!  The meal is rice, frozen mixed veggies, and scrambled eggs – all topped with low-sodium soy sauce.  Quick, cheap, and easy- that’s my kind of meal and perfect for a rainy day!

42-minute Elliptical Workout  (I kept RPMs around 150-160, but generally 156)

  • Time        Resistance     Incline
  • 0-5              1-5                    10  (increase the resistance 1% per minute)
  • 5-7              5                         8
  • 7-8             10                       8  (whew!)
  • 8-10           5                         8
  • 10-11         10                       8
  • 11-13          5                         8
  • 13-15         10                       8
  • 15-16          5                         4 (note the incline switch)
  • 16-17          7                        4
  • 17-18          9                        4
  • 18-19          7                        4
  • 19-20          5                        4
  • 20-22          5                        4 (stay two minutes here)
  • 22-23          7                        4
  • 23-24          9                        4
  • 24-25          7                        4
  • 25-27          5                        4 (stay two minutes here)
  • 27-28          7                        4
  • 28-29          9                         4
  • 29-30          7                        4
  • 30-32          5                        4 (stay two minutes here)
  • 32-33          7                        4
  • 33-34          9                        4
  • 34-35          7                        4
  • 35-42          7                        4 (decrease resistance 1% per minute)

*Ignore the “Incline” part if your elliptical does not have a crossramp.  If at all possible, use the long, moving hand grips, not the t-rex grips – you burn less calories with those dinky things.

Don't Use Reptar-Like Grips

 As always, thanks for reading!

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