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More Outdoor Fun for a Workout Wednesday

Still Standing Another Heart-Pounding CrossFit UWS Workout!

Still Standing Another Heart-Pounding CrossFit UWS Workout!

Surprise! I’m back just in time for a Workout Wednesday! It turns out I never shared one of my latest and greatest outdoor workouts with you, and figured this was the perfect day of the week to put it out there. What made this Central Park workout extra fun was it included a team element. Here’s how CrossFit UWS head coach Roberto Murichi got a half-dozen “warriors” to break a sweat:

Active Stretch: 60-second hamstring stretch; 30 jumping jacks; 6o-second squat stretch; 30 front kicks

Warm Up: After 20 seconds of jumping rope (single-unders), we then had 90 seconds to complete two exercises:

  1. 20 park bench plyo push-ups
  2. 10 squats

Each of us finished the push-ups and squats before the 90 seconds were up. That gave us just enough time to grab some water before picking up our jump ropes and moving on to round two. (Three rounds total.)

Team Workout:

Roberto split us up into three teams of two. When the timer started counting down from 15 minutes, team member number one started a 200 meter run. Susan was my partner, and while she ran I had to bang out as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of the following exercises:

  1. Five burpee bench jumps: We used the park benches as our support point, just like we did for the warm up. When we brought our legs in following the push-up part of the burpee, we either did a box jump or a modified version stepping on and off the bench one leg at a time.
  2. 10 reverse lunges (double count)

Once Susan finished her 200 meter run, I started mine and she would pick up wherever I left off in the AMRAP. When I finished the 200 meters, Susan would start up again and I was back at the bench. The same sequence continued throughout the 15-minute workout. When time was up, Susan and I had plenty of sweat to prove we made it through 12 rounds of burpee bench jumps and reverse lunges. Add that to multiple rounds of the 200 meter run and I think it’s easy to see why we were riding a major endorphin high when the buzzer finally signaled the end of the workout.

We tied another team for 12 rounds, while the third team beat us out by one. At the end of it all, there were high-fives all around and lots of heavy breathing. Sometimes a little friendly competition and fresh air is all you need to mix things up and add another level to your ongoing efforts to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Welcome Summer of 2013!

Looking forward to more summer Saturdays in the park with Roberto Murichi

Looking forward to more summer Saturdays in the park with Roberto Murichi

Ever feel like you’ve hit a rut in your fitness routine? Don’t worry – it happens even to the biggest fitness fanatics. The good news is sometimes all you need to get your mojo going again is a change of venue. Now that the summer season officially has officially started, there’s no time like the present to take some of your moves to a park, beach or other outdoor hot-spot near you.

I certainly have some extra kick in my step on this first Motivation Monday of my favorite season thanks to the leftover endorphin rush following a long overdue Central Park workout courtesy of  CrossFit UWS head coach Roberto Murichi.  Here’s how I kicked off a picture-perfect Saturday in New York City:

  • Active Stretch:  20 sec squat stretch; 20 front kicks; 20 seconds running in place (ironically abbreviated R.I.P); 20 back kicks. Three rounds total.
  • Warm up:  I had 10 minutes to complete as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of the following exercises (I managed to get through four):
  1. 100 single-unders (jump rope_
  2. 10 plyo bench push-ups
  3. 10 overhead squats

Roberto was kind enough to catch one of my rounds in action. (Before you take a peek, I admit my form wasn’t ideal for the first few push-ups, but for the next round I re-adjusted my hand position on the bench and I was able to bang them out without the arch in my lower back you see here.)

  • Workout: The “Chipper”:  Roberto set his timer to see how quickly I could complete the following circuit: 
  1. 400 meter sprint
  2. 40 bench jumps. I chose to do modified step-ups
  3. 40 kick-outs (I demonstrate both the step-ups and kick-outs in the park bench workout video posted earlier this month. Click here for a refresher.)
  4. 200 meter spring
  5. 20 step-ups
  6. 20 kick-outs

I finished the above in 8:03. Not my fastest, but not my slowest time either. The bottom line is I pushed myself to a serious break-a-sweat, heart-pounding limit and felt ready to take on the world when I was done. I hope this workout re-cap offers a serious shot of motivation to use this week and the entire summer season as a time to get out there and get moving. There’s no time like the present to explore your surroundings and spice up your workout routine as part of your ongoing journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Exciting Times at LauraLovesFitness!

Use Your Surroundings for a Great Workout!

Use Your Surroundings for a Great Workout!
Photo/Video by Ash Kalmar

As we kick off a new week, I’m excited to tell you about some new “stuff” going on with my blog.

I’ve recently connected with Jon Meterparel, one of New England’s signature on-air personalities in the world of sports. If you live in the Boston area, you probably know him as the play-by-play by voice of Boston College football and basketball and from his many days on the Dennis and Callahan show. Jon has been looking for “experts” to appear on his new website and today, I’m sharing what I hope will be the first of many videos that will be placed on JonMeterparel.com. Be sure to check out Jon’s website for some great sports stories and to also find advice from other experts on topics ranging from golf to gadgets.

Keep an eye on my Facebook posts and tweets to learn when this video will make its official “debut” at JonMeterparel.com. In the meantime, I need to give a major shout-out to Ash Kalmar who shot and edited this video with me on a glorious Saturday here in New York City.

I look forward to hearing your comments and your ideas for future fitness videos. Don’t be shy! Your support and feedback inspire me to continue looking for ways to keep all of us motivated on this lifelong journey to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

A Brisk & Exhilarating Workout Wednesday

Kicking off December with a brisk workout in Central Park

Kicking off December with a brisk workout in Central Park

It certainly doesn’t feel like December here in New York City on this first Workout Wednesday of the month! It’s been close to 50 degrees here the past few days, and I’ve enjoyed every breath of this balmy air on my morning walks to the office. However, it was nowhere near this warm on Saturday when I headed to Central Park for another great CrossFit UWS workout!

Armed with my Under Armour compression top, ear band and gloves, I was ready to go. Of course, after jump roping a few minutes and getting through one round of the warm up, my core temperature was adequately fired up and ready to push through another of Roberto Murichi’s killer workouts.

Here’s how it all broke down:

  • Static/Active Stretching:  After some static stretches for my calves and hip flexors, I spent between 5-6 minutes minutes jumping rope.
  • Warm up:  We had 10 minutes to complete as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) of the following circuit:
  1. 50 m lunge walk
  2. 25 sit-ups
  3. 20 push-ups
  4. 15 back extensions (“Superman”s)

Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted part of my note on my iPhone and don’t remember how many rounds I got through. I know it was more than two and less than 10. Regardless, I was more than warmed up and ready to move on to the the heart of the workout. The key with any AMRAP it to remember you can stop and take a breather at any time when your body tells you to.

  • Workout: I’ll call it “Three Crazy Minutes x Five.”  The basic concept: we had three minutes to get through as many rounds of the following circuit as possible (yes, another AMRAP): 
  1. 25 m sprint
  2. Three burpees
  3. Six squats (I used the park bench as a guide to make sure I “sat” down far enough so that each squat count!)
  4. Nine box jumps (also using the park benches as our jumping on/off point)

We would work our way through each of the exercises listed above until the three minutes were up. Then we had one minute of rest before moving on to the next round. We did this for a total of five rounds.

I never made it through the circuit three full times in three minutes. The most I could bang out were two circuits and then an additional 25 meter sprint and three more burpees before the glorious sound of the buzzer went off to let us know we had 60 seconds to rest. When those five rounds were up, the endorphins were flowing and I felt great!

Despite the holiday hustle and bustle and Old Man Winter knocking on our doors, I’m hoping to get a couple more of these Central Park workouts in before the end of 2012. If you’re interested in getting in on the fun, click here for more information.

Wherever your workouts take you this month, remember to stay active so you can round out the year knowing you’re doing all you can to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Thanksgiving Eve: The One Day You Shouldn’t Skip the Workout This Week!

Another Awesome CrossFit UWS Workout!

with Ashleigh & John

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

I’d say this is the one day you really don’t want to skip the workout this week! If you have an abbreviated work or school day, why not add an extra ten minutes to your cardio session or take that 90-minute group exercise class.

If you can get outside and take advantage of the not-yet frigid temps, you could always try the awesome workout CrossFit UWS Head Coach Roberto Murichi pushed us through this past Saturday. This was the first time I was able to get to the Central Park class in several weeks, and it felt great to be back in action!

  • Static/Active StretchTwo rounds; four areas of focus:
  1. Hamstrings: 30-second static stretch followed by 30 seconds of “butt kickers” – similar to running in place, but instead of bringing your knees up toward your chest,  you bend them enough to try and kick your heels to your glutes.
  2. Quads: 30-second static stretch followed by 30 seconds of “high knees”- running in place with those knees coming up as high to the chest as possible.
  3. Hip flexor: 30-second static stretch followed by 30 seconds of jumping jacks.
  4. Chest: 30-second static stretch (clasp hands behind back and “pull”) followed by 30 seconds of “sun gods.” That’s simply raising your arms to shoulder level, keeping them straight and moving them around in circles.
  • Warm up: 100 meter sprint. 10 rounds. This was done in “relay” style with my two other classmates. With the combined effort, it took us just under 13 minutes to get through the 10 rounds.
  • Workout: Roberto broke things down into one-minute intervals where we’d bang out as many reps as possible of four different exercises. We continued with as many one-minute rounds as needed to get through the total number of designated reps as follows:
  1. 100 sit ups
  2. 75 squats
  3. 50 push ups
  4. 25 burpees
  • The “catches”: At the start of each minute, (which we were alerted to by a beep on Roberto’s iPad), we had to bang out five box-jumps using the park benches as our jump-on/jump-off origin. The other catch was that you had to finish all the reps designated for each exercise before moving on to the next. So, let’s say I got through 50 sit-ups in the first minute. When I heard the one-minute beep, I banged out five box jumps, then went back to sit-ups starting at #51. I couldn’t start the squats until all the sit-ups were done. It took me 12:50 to complete all the reps of all the exercises. (Which means my workout also included a total of 70 box jumps.)

Just a friendly reminder that these workouts aren’t designed for fitness novices. However, if you’re looking to take things up a notch, Roberto’s workouts are a great way to supercharge your routine! Click here for more information on the workouts and when they’re held.

Whatever you do on this Workout Wednesday, be sure to make it count! That way you can head into the Thanksgiving holiday knowing you’ve done all you can do to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Workout Wednesday: Back to the Basics

I said it on Monday, and I’ll say it again: what a difference a week makes!

I’m excited to tackle this Workout Wednesday with new energy. For me, getting back into my fitness routine has meant focusing on one of my lifelong addictions: cardio.

While I haven’t completely decided how today’s workout will break down, I do know there will be a combo of elliptical, recumbent bike and rowing machine training when I hit the gym after work. After my five-day hiatus, I started with a moderate 30 minutes and should have no problem hitting a full 60 minutes today. Adding a plank and push-up Tabata along with some SMR and stretching and no doubt I’ll sweat any work-related stress right out of my system. All of this will no doubt help me get back up to speed and ready to tackle another crazy Central Park workout.

So, today’s post is a reminder about the importance of cardiovascular exercise. In the simplest of terms, it’s crucial when it comes to reaching your goals of losing weight, reducing body fat or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The benefits of cardio activity include its ability to decrease:

  • Daily fatigue
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Hypertension
  • Non-insulin dependent diabetes and
  • Obesity

At the same time, cardio helps boost your:

  • Sense of well-being
  • Immune system
  • Blood lipid profile and
  • Overall physical performance at work and at play

While there are several levels to cardio training, for the purpose of this post, I’m going to focus on some guidelines for beginners and anyone who may be getting back into a fitness routine after a hiatus.  (As usual, I base these guidelines using the what I studied through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.) Your cardio activity should focus on maintaining a zone one heart rate which is approximately 65% to 75% of your maximum heart rate. Here’s what that means for you:

  1. To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from the number 220.
  2. Multiply your max heart rate by .65.
  3. Multiply your max heart rate by .75.

To use myself as an example:

  1. 220-37 = 183
  2. 183 X 0.65 = 119
  3. 183 X 0.75 = 137
  4. Laura’s Zone One Heart Rate = 119 – 137

If you’re working within the parameters of zone one for cardio, it’s likely you are also in stage one of your overall exercise program. (NASM refers to this as the stabilization level.) If you’ve never worked out before, you may want to try to reach your zone one heart rate for a maximum five to ten minutes and then spend another 20 minutes simply walking at a good pace, climbing the stairs in your home or getting really dirty in the yard by cleaning up the garden.  Your goal should be to eventually maintain your zone one heart rate for at least 30 minutes.  This can take some time.  A “newbie” may need two months or longer to meet this demand, but remember: there’s no finish line here. You’ve made a commitment to exercise and start taking better care of yourself, so while you don’t want to just dial it in, make the journey work for you.

I hope this brief session of cardio 101 will help get your heart pumping safely and effectively so you can have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

The Workout That Set My Mind Straight!

Saturday morning workout warriors!

After nearly a half-dozen flights and too many hours sitting in an edit suite for too many days in a row, I was beyond grateful to be able to make it to my Central Park workout this past Saturday.

As always, CrossFit UWS head coach Roberto Murichi designed a kick-butt proram for his Saturday morning warriors. Here’s how it all went down:

  • Static/Active Stretching:  We all addressed our trouble spots. For me, as always, that included the hip flexors and calves.
  • Warm up:  Involved two exercises – single-unders (jump rope) and sit-ups – for a total of three rounds.

Round one: 250 single-unders followed by 50 sit-ups

Round two: 150 single-unders followed by 30 sit-ups

Round three: 50 single-unders followed by 10 sit-ups

  • Workout: Team Relay: What a great way to feel like a kid again! The goal was to get through the following four-station circuit as many times as possible in 15 minutes:
  1. 150 meter kettlebell walk
  2. Rest station
  3. Burpee/box jump: This involved doing a burpee immediately followed by a box jump. We used the park benches as a “launch pad.”
  4. Push-Ups: The park benches served as our “prop” for this station, too.

Before I spell out the specifics, here’s a two-minute glimpse of what Roberto captured on my iPhone. I’m at the burpee/box jump station at the beginning.

  •  How we “ran” the race: My fellow workout warriors and I each started at a different station. (Somehow I managed to start in the rest station!) Whoever started with the kettlebell walk set the pace for the burpee/box jump and push-up station. While one person walked the 150 meters, I hung out in the rest station while teammate number three teammate banged out as many reps as possible at the burpee / box jump combo station and teammate four pushed through the push-ups. When the teammate finished made it back to the starting line for the kettlebell walk, each of us moved to the next station. So, after the kettlebell walk, you always got to rest before moving on to the burpees/box jumps and push-ups.
  • The final piece to this relay puzzle: We kept a tally of how many reps of the burpees/box jumps and push-ups we completed as a team. So when I moved from the rest station to the burpee/box jump, I added my reps to the number my teammate finished at. When time was up, our team had gotten through 200 burpees/box jumps and 305 push-ups. Needless to say, it was a pretty intense 15-minutes!

Now that the cooler autumn days have settled in here in New York City, these outdoor workouts are extra exhilerating! If you’re interested in getting in on the fun, click here for more information on the workouts and when they’re held.

Here’s to enjoying the heart of the fall season and all the opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

 

A Fresh Start

Iowa City, IA

Orlando, FL

Today’s dose of Monday Motivation is all about facing reality. There will always be wrenches thrown into your normal schedule. Unfortunately, those wrenches can wreak havoc on the activities that keep you feeling energized and healthy overall. I’m in the midst of accepting this reality right now. What’s getting me through it is knowing at some point, my routine will get back on track and I’ll feel like myself again.

It’s been a hell of a week and it looks like it’s going to be one monster month in general. Thanks to back-to-back business trips featuring five airports and 10-hour shoot days followed by a nearly-impossible edit deadline, I’ve been pushing it pretty hard at the office. I also lost my weekend as my editor and I had no choice but to keep working through it to meet our deadline.

This is not a pity-party post. I realize there are people who constantly deal with these kinds of demands. Running your own businesses is a 24/7 job, and if you’re in the business of saving lives, times like this are common and even expected. However in my world of video production in the public relations world, this is not my norm. In fact, one of the reasons I left the TV-reporter life behind was that I was sick of running on the hamster wheel. So when things gets this crazy, everything from my workouts to my REM cycles suffer.

I haven’t felt this unhealthy in quite some time. I’ve definitely gained a couple of pounds. Despite packing my sensible snacks for my travels, there are only so many healthy choices you can make when room service and deli sandwiches during a 15-minute break are your only options. So, I’m forgiving myself for the extra alcohol and larger-than-normal bread portions I ingested while I was on the road. While I managed to squeeze in workouts in both Iowa City and Orlando, I have NOT been able to keep up with my normal exercise schedule at home. That changes now.

Today marks the start of a new work week and one that doesn’t include a plane, train or automobile. While I’ll still be putting in extra hours at the office, I’ll bring my gym bag and pre-workout snack to the office everyday to motivate me to hit the gym afterward. Fortunately, I was able to push through a CrossFit UWS Central Park workout before heading to the office Saturday morning. That set my mind straight for the days ahead. After the workout, I was also able to hit the grocery store and stock up on my my healthy favorites like berries, bananas and non-fat Greek yogurt and veggies. Getting back into my healthy routine will no doubt help me sleep better, too.

When the unexpected happens at work or at home, your best laid plans will go awry. Just remember to keep breathing, do the best you can with what you have to work with and forgive yourself for the “slip-ups” that help you get through the craziness. When you see that first glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, embrace it and realize it won’t be long before you take your first steps back toward normalcy and all you do to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Kicking off the New Season with a Kick-Butt Workout

Still standing after the first Autumn of 2012 Central Park workout!

This Workout Wednesday marks a first for me. I’m spending it in Iowa City! While you read this post, I’m either on one of two flights or in my rental car heading to my hotel. I plan on hitting the fitness center soon after checking in so I can get the blood pumping after sitting on the plane.

So, while I can’t give this past weekend’s killer CrossFit UWS workout another go today, I wanted to share it with you in case you have the desire and opportunity to kick things up a notch in the great outdoors!

Seriously, this workout was tough and NOT one I’d recommend for any beginner. However, if you’ve got solid core strength and good form while performing the following exercises, then well, I’d love to hear what you think of what Roberto Murichi cooked up for his latest and greatest Saturday morning class in Central Park.

  • Static stretching:   Each of us focused on static stretching our tight areas, holding each stretch for 30 seconds. For me, that meant paying special attention to my calves and hips.
  • Warm up:  The concept was to complete three exercises within 90 seconds for a total of five rounds. Here’s what each round looked like:
  1. 20-second plank, 100m sprint, three squat thrusts
  2. 20-second plank, 100m sprint, six squat thrusts
  3. 20-second plank, 100m sprint, nine squat thrusts
  4. 20-second plan, 100m sprint, 12 squat thrusts
  5. 20-second plan, 100m spring, 15 squat thrusts

What made this warm-up deceptively “easy” was the fact that if we completed the exercises before the 90-seconds were up, we could rest before the “ding” sounded on Roberto’s iPad alerting us to the start of the next round. So, for the first round, getting through the plank, spring and three squat thrusts left me with nearly 30 seconds of rest time before round two. However, as the squat thrusts reps got higher, the rest time got shorter. Needless to say after the seven-and-a-half minute warm up, I was a little scared of moving on to the killer workout!

  • Workout: For the purpose of this post, I’ll call it “30…20…drop!” It was “only” two rounds, but we were timed on how long it took us to complete them. For round one, we had to perform 30 reps of each exercise. For round two, we “only” had to get through 20. Oh, and each of the two rounds started with a 200m sprint. Now for the exercises:
  1. Push-ups
  2. Squats
  3. Sit-ups
  4. Walking lunges (30/20 total, so 15/10 for each leg)
  5. Bicycles (double count)
  6. Back extension (which some people call the “Superman”)
  7. Double-unders (I admit, I’m not coordinated enough to do double-unders, the jump rope always gets caught up on my feet! So for us single-under warriors, the reps broke down to 150/100 for each round)
  8. Burpees (UGH!)
  9. Box jumps (using the bend.) As a regression, we could do step ups/step downs

Well, someone in the group has to finish last and that was me. I wrapped the workout in 22:20. After I finally caught my breath, I couldn’t believe the rush I felt from the workout. Again, covered in dirt, sweat and grass with the echo of Roberto’s coaching us through lingering in my ears, I felt amazingly exhilarated!

So, I’m definitely following my own advice and mixing it up with the start of the new season. Maybe I’ll see some of you in the park one of these weekends. Click here if you’d like more information about the classes  and CrossFit UWS.

If you’ve got a killer workout you’d like to share, please don’t be shy! Sharing information about new and exciting fitness routines is a great way to help everyone have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Simply Lovin’ These Outdoor Workouts!

Saturday Morning Central Park Warriors!

On this Workout Wednesday, I gladly share what I’d call my favorite workout in recent memory.

The fact that Mother Nature provided a picture-perfect morning for this kick butt CrossFit UWS  group class in Central Park didn’t hurt. Here’s what Roberto Murichi cooked up for us to tackle:

  • Active stretching: included walking lunges, reverse walking lunges and bear crawls.
  • Warm up: Burpees Tabata followed by 50 meter walking lunge. Just a reminder on what constitutes a Tabata, the high-intensity training protocol features eight continuous intervals of 20 seconds of maximum intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest. Check out the clip below to see what a few of those 20 seconds of work looked like. Needless to say after we finished the burpees, adding those walking lunges provided one heck of a warm up!
  • Workout: I really liked this AMRAP -“as many reps/rounds as possible” – combo. Our mission was to push out as many rounds as possible in a five-minute interval of the following exercises for a total of three rounds. We had one minute of glorious rest in between each round.

Round one

  • 10 pistols: Another term for single-leg squats. We used the park benches as a start/end point for the exercise. As a regression, we could switch to “regular” squats as needed.
  • 10 box jumps: We used the park benches for these, too. The regression was to do a step-up and step-down.
  • 10 push ups

Round two

  • 100 meter sprint
  • 10 walk out push-ups

Round three

  • 100 single-unders (jump rope)
  • 25 situps

Just to further clarify the AMRAP concept: in round one, we’d bang out the 10 pistols, 10 box jumps and 10 push ups, then start over with the pistols again and keep repeating as many rounds of the three-exercise combo until we heard the blessed buzzer on Roberto’s iPad. After the five minutes were up, we had one minute to drink some water, stretch and catch our breath before moving on to rounds two and three featuring the different exercise combinations.

The endorphins generated by this killer workout kept me energized from the moment I banged out my last sit up right right through the last out at Yankee Stadium where I happily watched my beloved Bronx Bombers beat the Devil Rays. I’m already pumped to see what Roberto has in store for us next time around!

If you’re beyond the beginner level and looking to kick things up a notch, this kind of workout won’t let you down! Click here for more information about CrossFit UWS.

Remember, regardless of your fitness level, mixing up your exercise routine with different workouts and different venues is a great way to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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