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The Last One Standing

Stay true to you…the rest will follow!

This Motivation Monday post follows the same theme as that old tale about the tortoise and the hare.

I was recently reminded how rewarding it can be to be like the tortoise. In one of recent kickboxing classes, I was the last one to finish the “pyramid” during a rather intense 12-minute warm-up. Rather than feeling defeated, I felt energized knowing I maintained the integrity of my workout. I didn’t cheat by skipping a rep while sweat poured down my face and my heart raced. As we all headed to the heavy bags, I felt extremely focused and ready to tackle the high-intensity  drills and combinations.

What is the pyramid? It’s a non-stop switch-off between squats and squat thrusts. You start out doing 10 squats, then one squat thrust. Next, you move down to nine squats, and bump up the squat thrusts to two. Then you bang out eight squats followed by 3 squat thrusts, and you keep the inverse actions going until you finish at one squat and 10 squat thrusts. Out of the eight warriors starting our day with a bang, I was the last one to finish the pyramid. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t care.

This is just another example that sometimes you just have to block out the noise of comparing yourself to others to focus on your own goal. Many of my classmates, mostly women, are at least 20 years my junior. I look to these fierce fitness chicks for motivation, and there’s definitely something to be said about friendly competition, but I stop myself short of wanting to be exactly like any of them. I’d rather push my body to its own limit, knowing I maintained proper form and did the best I could do. There’s no use pushing yourself so hard you end up hurt and out of the game for who knows how long.

The bottom line is whatever you choose for your exercise routine, staying true to yourself is the best way to stay on course with your plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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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!

50-30-20…Drop!

My classmate was amazed I could still smile after the killer workout!

We made it to another Workout Wednesday!

I have no idea where the last four weeks went, but tonight actually marks my last Ultimate Fitness Experience small group training class at New York Sports Club. It’s been a challenging month, as my friend and fellow NASM certified personal trainer Roberto Murichi made sure each and every workout was a true butt-kicking experience.

What I’m about to share with you is not a workout I’d recommend for a fitness newbie or anyone returning to an exercise routine after a hiatus. However, for anyone looking to kick things up a notch – here’s the workout I sweat through on Monday night.

Our warm up consisted of 16 rounds of kettlebell lunges and kettlebell swings. We performed as many reps as possible in 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest. We’d switch exercises every two rounds. With our heart rates up, it was time to get to the heart of the workout: the 50-30-20. The idea is simple. The execution, however, is a different story.

Roberto chose four “basic” exercises for us to perform in the following order: push-ups, squats, sit-ups and squat thrusts. (A squat thrust is basically a burpee without the jump at the end.) For round one, we had to perform 50 reps of each exercise. In round two the reps dropped to 30 and finally for the third and final round, we ended with the “easy” task of 20 reps per exercise. So yes, that meant 50 push-ups followed by 50 squats, 50 sit-ups and 50 squat thrusts. At the end of the workout, we’d completed 100 reps of every exercise. Of course, we were allowed to rest whenever we needed to catch our breath or get some water. It took me just under 23 minutes to complete the workout, and kudos to one of my classmates who nailed it in about 18.

The breakdown

Again, the 50-30-20 isn’t  for everyone, and it’s crucial to make sure you add some flexibility training before and after this kind of routine to take care of your muscles. One logistical benefit of this workout is that you don’t need a gym to make it happen. Aside from needing kettlebells for the warm up, the heart of the workout includes exericses that can be done at home or at the park.

I can’t wait to find out what Roberto has in store for us tonight in our last UFX session. I’m glad I took the class, as I learned some new techniques and definitely pushed my body to new levels. Even those of us who thrive on working out can get caught in a rut sometimes, and this class kicked me right out of it! That’s one of the things I truly love about exercise – there’s always something new you can do to to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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