Whatever holiday you celebrated over the weekend, I hope it was happy!
I was all set to write about my first mammogram for today’s post. Unfortunately, due to a scheduling snafu by the imaging center, my Saturday appointment was postponed for a couple of weeks. Stay tuned. So, I decided to improvise with a short and sweet ode to chocolate.
I’ve been giving up sweets for Lent for as long as I can remember. While there’s obviously much more significance to Easter Sunday than breaking my fast, I won’t deny that one of the things I look forward to on this holiday is overloading on the treats I’ve missed for a little more than 40 days. It starts with Cocoa Puffs for breakfast (good to know there’s whole grains in that cereal now!) and continues with Italian cheesecake, rainbow cookies and at least one Creme Egg for dessert following a big, pasta and other carb-filled lunch with my family.
So, along with the moderation-is-key “rule,” another part of my lifestyle mantra is this: Sometimes you’ve got to be a little bad to get back to the good. That means today I’ll push my body extra hard at small group training (I’ll even welcome burpees if our instructor Roberto includes them in workout) and eat my normal healthy fruits and veggies and drink lots of water to get my body back on track. I can’t promise I won’t sneak in a leftover piece of milk chocolate or a peanut butter filled chocolate egg…but again, it’s all about finding a balance that works for you.
I’ll wrap up sharing a recent story on Foxnews.com that made me feel a little better about my guilty pleasure. Click here to learn about a study about chocolate and body fat.
Sometimes giving in to temptation (at least when chocolate is involved) is what you need to do so you can get it out of your system, and re-focus on the course to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
This week marks the start of round two of the “Ultimate Fitness Experience” small group training class. For the next four weeks, Roberto Murichi will continue to push us to perform kick-butt exercises including burpees, kettlebell swings and push-ups. While I’ve been writing about my experiences in the class, I’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to describing a key component: the Tabata Method.
The idea behind the Tabata is this: you perform four minutes of work at high intensity. That breaks down to doing as many reps as you can for 20 seconds straight and resting for 10 seconds. You repeat the cycle eight times.
Sounds simple, right? Well, after a couple of cycles of pushing out as many push-ups, squats or sledgehammer swings as you can, no doubt you’ll feel your heart racing and the sweat starting to pour.
Tabata training gives you lots of mix-and-match options. You can perform a single exercise for one 4-minute Tabata, followed by another exercise and another four-minute Tabata. Or you could try four cycles of squats followed by four cycles of push-ups. Last week, Roberto set up five stations of five different exercises and we had to get through one Tabata at each station. The scenario offered 20 minutes of hard work:
- Sledgehammer swings
There’s lots of debate surrounding whether Tabatas and other types of high-interval training are okay for the fitness beginner. Based on my personal experience, I can tell you my strength and endurance gains took a serious hit last year thanks to a foot injury that put me on the sidelines for several months. When I started working back up to my normal routine, I had a hard time getting through Tabatas. So, for all you fitness newbies, click here for an article I found featuring some suggestions about Tabatas for beginners.
Like any other activity, mixing things up in your workout is a great way to stay motivated to keep moving. Whether it’s Tabata Training, a new group exercise class or a new path for your next run, adding some variety to your exercise routine is a surefire way to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
We made it to the end of another work week, and I made it to the end of an intense four-week small group training class at New York Sports Clubs.
For the “grand finale,” our (awesome) instructor Roberto Murichi had us run through the same workout we did during our first week so we could measure our gains in cardio capability, strength and endurance. Here’s a look at the program. (Just like the 50-30-20 I wrote about earlier in the week, this isn’t a workout I’d recommend for a fitness newbie or anyone returning to an exercise routine after a hiatus.)
After an eight-minute warm-up which included 20-second bouts of six exercises including push-ups, squats, and sit-ups, we moved on to the heart of the workout. Roberto set up five stations for the following exercises:
- Kettlebell high pull
- Jump rope
- Box Jump
The goal was to perform as many reps as possible in one minute before moving on to the next exercise. After completing the fifth exercise, we got to enjoy one minute of rest! Then we started the circuit all over again for round two. For the third and final round, we had to keep track of every single rep we completed from the first burpee to the last box jump. Those reps added up to our final score.
The first week of the class, my score came in at 180. Wednesday night, I made it to 242. Each of my classmates on “Team Alpha” saw their numbers improve, too. Needless to say, we were all happy with the results!
I’m happy I took Roberto’s class for many reasons, but mainly because it offered a needed jolt to my fitness routine and it also provided a new perspective on high-intensity circuit training. I look forward to one more class after work tonight to make up for some of the time I lost while sipping rum punch on the beach in Jamaica. There’s a very good chance I’ll be signing up for round two of this class which starts in April…so stay tuned for more intense workout ideas to help you have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!