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“Over the River and Through the Woods…”

The plank: No gym necessary!

The plank: No gym necessary!

Same with the push-up

Same with the push-up

Side Planks, too! Photos by Lauren Bachner

Side Planks, too! Photos by Lauren Bachner

‘Tis the season for shopping and eating, and for many, it’s also also a time for traveling. If this weekend’s plans take you “over the river and through the woods” to somebody’s house for a few days of holiday cheer, you don’t have to leave your commitment to exercise at home. Packing a few fitness essentials and making a few modifications can keep you on track.

  • Sneakers. Having them along for the trip means there’s no excuse not to go for your usual daily run (weather permitting) or take a long walk with that relative or friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with since the last family get-together. It also means you’ll have an easy way to burn some calories pre- or post-feast time.
  • Workout clothes. There’s always room for an exercise bra, a pair of shorts or yoga pants, a moisture-wicking top and two or three pairs of athletic socks. These items take up practically zero space in any bag and you don’t have to worry about them getting wrinkled!
  • Fitness apps. If you’re traveling by train or car (and you’re not driving, of course), use the trip to download apps that give you exercise plans no matter where you decide workout. One of the most popular ones out there is FitnessPro. Being delayed at the airport is another perfect time for app downloads.
  • Now get moving! You brought your “stuff,” so there’s no excuse not to hit the floor of the guest bedroom or the den when it’s not filled with the TV crowd. Here are just some of the exercises you can do anywhere: bridges, planks, crunches, jumping jacks, squats, lunges and push ups. (If you’re driving and have the room, throw your yoga mat in the car so you can do the core exercises on the floor with greater comfort.)
  • Family Fitness Plan: If your family is willing to give you control of the remote for a bit, maybe you could all meet in the living room to give your Zumba DVD a try. If they happen to have a Wii, XBox 360 or PlayStation system, why not try a Dance Dance Revolution competition to get everyone moving and have a few laughs in he process!

The bottom line is even though you may miss your favorite group exercise class or one day of weight training at the gym, there are ways to stay active when you’re away from home. The bonus is you get to make memories while spending time with family and friends.

This marks my last post of 2012. I’m looking forward to spending Christmas with my family and friends on Long Island. I’m even more excited about starting the New Year with new energy and new strength to take on whatever this roller coaster ride called life throws at me.

I close the year with a big thank all my readers for supporting me through a year of ups and downs. I hope you’ll be back in 2013 so we can start the next part of our journey together on the endless road to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Another Killer Outdoor Workout Wednesday

With CrossFit UWS Co-Owners Roberto & Ashleigh

Happy Workout Wednesday!

For this week’s installment, I gladly share another kick-butt workout courtesy of CrossFit UWS head coach Roberto Murichi.

I survived..I mean enjoyed…this workout with seven other Saturday morning warriors in Central Park. Here’s what we did:

  • Active stretching: included walking lunges, reverse walking lunges, side hops and knee-up hops.
  • Warm up: 200 m run followed by the maximum number of push ups we could do before having to drop to our knees. The alternative was to hold a plank as long as possible before dropping. Three rounds total.
  • Workout: Roberto put together another heart-pounding combination of exercises. This time, each of us was timed upon completion of the following three rounds:

Round one

  • 100 m run
  • 21 burpees
  • 21 squats
  • 21 push ups
  • 21 box jumps (using park benches)
  • 21 sit ups

For rounds two and three, we again started with the 100 meter run and moved on to the exercises in the same order. The only thing that changed was the number of reps. For round two, we dropped to 18 reps for each exercise and for our final round, we were down to 15.

Honestly, after 21 burpees, I had no idea how I’d make it through the rest of the exercises in the first round, let alone get through all three.Yet, thanks to the positive coaching from Roberto, shout-outs and high fives from the rest of the group, I somehow made it to the last sit up and heard myself shouting “Time!” I finished in 17:05.

Workout completed, I found myself covered in sweat, grass and dirt, feeling completely spent and exhilarated at the same time. Then, the heavens opened and we all welcomed the soaking rain as we sprinted out of the park to get to our next Saturday morning destinations.

It’s been great adding this outdoor workout to my weekly fitness routine. Being in the park offers a break from the ordinary, and having Roberto cheering us through the reps and rounds while keeping an eye on our form offers some great motivation. If anyone lives in the city and wants to give the workout a try, click here for more information about CrossFit UWS.

If you’re beyond the beginner level and looking to kick things up a notch, this kind of workout won’t let you down! Regardless of your fitness level, mixing up your exercise routine by venturing into the great outdoors is a  wonderful way to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Workout Wednesday: Outdoor Edition

All Smiles After a Killer Workout!

Saturday in the park…

No, this isn’t a tribute to that old Chicago classic. Instead, it’s a post sharing one of the more intense workouts I’ve had in recent memory courtesy of CrossFit UWS head coach Roberto Murichi. I cannot in good conscience recommend this workout for anyone just starting a fitness routine. However, for all you seasoned fitness enthusiasts looking to kick things up a notch, I guarantee this will do the trick!

I was one of the nine brave souls who met in Central Park at 9 am for Roberto’s workout of the day. Here’s how it broke down:

  • Active stretching: included walking lunges, reverse walking lunges and bear crawls and monkey jumps. The bear crawls got some second looks from tourists out and about in the park as we literally crawled from one end of our grassy spot to the other with our glutes high in the air
  • Warm up: 30 seconds of squats; 30 seconds of push ups; 30 seconds of rest. Six rounds total.  (Yes, this was just the warm up.) Here’s what some of that looked like. I’m the one in the gray top. (Ironically, Roberto chose “Misery” by Maroon 5 to play from his iPad for this part of the program):

  • Workout: Nothing short of killer! Our mission was to complete the following in six minutes or less:
  1. 400 m run
  2. 40 squats
  3. 30 sit ups
  4. 20 push ups
  5. 10 burpees

Afterward, we got a three-minute rest period. We then did the workout two more times for a total of three rounds.

Done!

I’m happy to report I got it all done in about 5:20 in the first round, but I won’t lie, I didn’t get through all of it for the remaining two. For the second round, I made it to through everything but the burpees. On the last round, I only made it through the sit ups.

Along with Roberto’s positive coaching, we nine Saturday morning warriors kept each other motivated with high-fives, and a mixture of grunts and laughter when we heard the 10-second warning beeps or “dings” signaling new rounds for new exercises. At the end of the hour, I felt totally spent and exhilarated at the same time. A few of us went out for a healthy breakfast afterward. (I enjoyed an amazing egg white, avocado and Swiss cheese wrap along with a lot of water and a huge iced coffee.)

If anyone lives in the city and wants to give the workout a try, they happen every Saturday at 9am and also on Thursdays at 6:30 pm. Click  here for more info. I hope maybe I’ll see a few of you other in the park sometime! Trust me, mixing up some exercise in the great outdoors is an awesome way to kick off a Saturday -or any day of the week! – and the perfect way to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

“Death By Abby”

If that title sounds daunting, it should. In honor of another Workout Wednesday, I share the latest and greatest killer workout courtesy of Roberto Murichi, UFX instructor extraordinaire.

The workout concept is pretty basic: a one-minute timer starts counting down as we push out three burpees immediately followed by three kettlebell push presses. With the remaining time in that 60-second window, we begin our quest to conquer 200 sit-ups.

When the timer “dings,” a new 60-second countdown begins and we start all over again with the burpees and move on to the push presses. Then we add on to our previous round of sit-ups and continue to push toward 20o. Every minute marks a new start on the exercise trio. Roberto gave us a max of 20-minutes to reach the 200 mark. I finished in just under 12 minutes. (And second to classmate Zac.)

Here’s what one round looked like:

This killer workout has endless possibilities when it comes to the exercises you can include. Sticking with the 200 sit-up goal, options for the other two exercises include squat thrusters, box jumps or even pull-ups. Whatever exercises you choose, I guarantee you’ll finish feeling like you got your butt kicked pretty hard!

Tonight marks my last UFX class for awhile. I can’t thank Roberto enough for opening my eyes to new workout options and for his motivation and energy! I look forward to keeping in touch with my small group training classmates and meeting up to keep the workouts alive and continue along the path to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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