Workout Wednesday: Bootcamp Workout

Oh, hey there!

Things have been a bit… crazy around here for the past couple of weeks. I’ll give you all a life update on Monday but suffice it to say that I have a few very good excuses for not being around here much lately!

Plus, it’s the Olympics, and who has time to blog when Simone Biles is tearing it up on the floor routine? Am I right?

Ok ok, that’s not the real reason I haven’t been around, but you’ve got to admit that when the Olympics come around, there’s often little time for anything else. Especially the Summer Olympics. And especially especially when there are people like Michael Phelps running around with about 10,000 gold medals.

Anyway, today’s Workout Wednesday is a little EMOM bootcamp workout that my Rondeau Group Fitness ladies did two or three weeks ago. It is great for a small group workout, takes about 30 minutes including rest time, and is a great way to get a full body blast with plenty of fun mixed in with lots of hard work!

We added in a core component between each EMOM set, and also did some partner band runs at the end to round out to about 45 minutes. Adding in a strong core component is a great way to spend a little bit more time on the workout without completely burning anyone out.

EMOM stands for Every Minute On The Minute, and these types of workouts are always a little bit of a silent killer. The “reps” are fairly short in order to allow for some rest time, but as time goes on, that rest feels shorter and shorter, and the effort feels harder and harder! To get the most out of this workout, be strict about the times even when you start to get tired. Each 10 minute segment will be over before you know it!

 

Equipment needed: 

Cones

Medicine Balls (# will depend on the number of people doing the workout)

Flat field space of at least 50 yards in length

Additional equipment for optional core additions of your choice

The Set Up:

Set up one area with 3 cones. One as “Start” cone, one at 20 yards, and one at 50 yards.

Set up another area with medicine balls

EMOM Full Body Bootcamp WOrkout

Complete the workout:

The first two cycles will each be completed for a total of 10 minutes, completing the designated exercise/combo every minute on the minute. I split my group into smaller sections so that some were working with the med balls while others were running, and so on.

Cycle 1: Side shuffle to cone one, turn and sprint to cone two, and then turn and sprint all the way back to the start cone. Alternate the side facing for each side shuffle rep.

Cycle 2: Med ball squat and throws – hold a medicine ball at your chest. Go down into a full squat, raise from the squat and push/toss the ball straight up overhead. Catch the ball and immediately go back down into a squat.

Medicine ball slams: Raise a medicine ball up overhead, and slam to the ground, contracting your core and using your full body to create the maximum amount of force. If your medicine balls bounce, catch and repeat continuously.

Cycle 3: Burpees. Self explanatory! Think you want more than 5 minutes of this cycle? Think again!

As I said above, we completed an additional core component between each cycle, and then capped the whole workout off with a few rounds of partner band runs. You could stick with just this workout, though, and still get a great full body workout in just 30 minutes! Another great thing about this workout is that it does not need a group either — I completed this a few days before my ladies did and it was great as a solo session too.

Enjoy!

 

High Intensity Bootcamp Workout

Hello, friends!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a workout for you, so that’s what we’re doing today. This is a killer workout that my bootcamp ladies completed as their “Summer Challenge” workout in the end of July. This coming Thursday, they will repeat the workout, in the hopes of improving their time from trial 1 until now.

What point are tough workouts if we’re not seeing progress, right?

And to celebrate that progress, the lucky RGF lady who improves her time by the largest margin will be winning a pretty amazing prize — the entire outfit below, courtesy of my friends over at New Balance!

This includes the “Shapely Shaper” sports bra (amazing), this fabulous NB Dry top and bottom, AND the crazy cute Fresh Foam trainers.

It’s all from the New Balance fall line, and might I say that I am OBSESSED with every piece here. The Fresh Foam trainers are so incredibly comfortable, and the color palette here couldn’t be better. I’m so happy for whoever wins and I hope they love this outfit as much as I do!

This is a workout that requires very little equipment, so it’s easy to do on your own or with a group. You do need a little bit of space — a field where you have 100 yards of running space will be fine. You can also substitute the exercises I have listed here to suit your needs better, so it really is something that anyone can do!

So go ahead, lace up those sneakers, and let’s give this a try!

RGF Summer Challenge

Equipment Needed

5 cones or place markers

Sandbags or kettlebells (as many participants as you have)

Relatively light resistance bands (as many participants as you have)

Relatively heavy resistance bands (as many participants as you have)

The Set Up

Set up the 6 cones in a straight line, with 20 yards in between each one. The first cone is the starting point. Place the lighter resistance bands at the 40 yard cone, the sand bags at the 60 yard cone, and the heavier resistance bands at the 80 yard cone.

Lets Get Started

Starting at the first cone, run 20 yards to the second cone. Complete 10 jump squats. Run to the next cone, completing 10 reps of bicep curls and tricep extensions with the band. Continue running cone by cone, completing 10 reps of each exercise. When you have completed 10 reps of Plank Up-Downs, run 100 yards back to the start. Take as little rest as possible and continue. Now run to each cone, completing 9 reps of each exercise. Continue in this fashion until you get to ZERO reps of each exercise, which means you will run straight to the 100 yard cone and back.

The Moves

Jump Squats – Self explanatory. Go down into a body weight squat, keeping your weight back on your heels. Jump up as high as you can, landing carefully and softly back down in your squat.

Bicep Curls and Tricep Extensions – We completed these with resistance bands, Bicep curls standing on band, and tricep extensions 1/2 kneeling on band, raising band above and behind head to an extended position.

Weighted Rear Lunge – We did these as a sandbag lunge. Holding the sandbag (or weight) in front of you, step one foot back into a lunge, rotating your torso to swing the weight over the leg that is forward. Return to standing and switch legs. This is one rep.

Sumo Squat w/band – Stand with feet in a wide stance, toes pointed out slightly. Standing on a resistance band, hold the band with both hands on the outside of your legs, as close to your ankles as possible. The closer you are to your ankles, and the tighter the band is, the more resistance you will get.

Plank Up-Downs – Start in a high plank position (on hands and toes). Bring one arm down to rest on your forearm, immediately followed by the other arm. Bring the first arm back to high – plank position followed by the other arm. Continue alternating between high and low plank position continuously, with a cycle of one up and down as one rep.

The Timing

This took my boot campers anywhere from 30 minutes to 35 minutes, and let me tell you, it is a TOUGH 30 minutes! Even if you are used to longer workouts, there is no need to supplement with anything at the end of this. My bootcamp ladies can attest to that!

If you try it out, enjoy, and let me know your time!

I want to give a HUGE thank you to New Balance for supplying the winner of my bootcamp challenge with such an amazing prize. Check out their website for more of their awesome fall line — I’m pretty sure I want every new piece they have! 

Perspective

Yesterday I decided to take my workout outside, since it was one of the nicest fall days we’ve had around here in a while. I walked up to the park near my house with the intention of walking my four mile loop that I ran quite often this summer. Once I got going though, the nice day got the best of me and I decided to do some jogging intervals with my walk. Since my injury, I haven’t run a lot, and higher intensity running still makes my headache pretty bad. So I took it easy and decided not to push too much, but just to run as much as I wanted without pressure.

I ended up running about half of the 4.5 miles, which felt great! It had been quite some time since I ran outside, and although  it wasn’t my most impressive “run”, it still felt wonderful. When I reached the entrance to the park at the tail end of my loop, I decided to keep the workout going with some moderate body weight exercises. I did some box jumps, elevated push ups, and rear-foot elevated split squats. During this, I was kind of upset that this is the level of intensity that I’m at right now — it’s frustrating to be so far away from where I was just months ago.

workout pic

At one point, after a set of box jumps, I turned around and saw an older couple who was in the middle of a walk. As I turned in their direction, the man started pumping his fist in the air, and yelled to me “You’re doing great! Keep up the great work!”. I smiled and waved, and then as I got into position to do some split squats, I overheard him say to his wife “Do you think you can do that?”

I then turned, and saw his wife, who must have been in her 60s at least, try some hops onto a smaller stone slab nearby. As I watched, smiling, the man started doing them too! Here they were, two people at probably retirement age, congratulating me on doing this workout and then giving it a go themselves.  I gave them a round of applause as the man exclaimed that they were “harder than they look!” and they went on their way.

It was such a funny moment, as just before then I had been frustrated with where I’m at. In my own eyes, I was doing less than I wanted to be, but in their eyes, I was strong and inspired them to try something new.

It’s all about perspective.

You may not be where you want to be in terms of your health and fitness, but to someone else, you are an inspiration. You may not have reached your goals yet, but that doesn’t mean that what you’re doing is unimportant. I’m not going to be where I want to be for a while, and I’m just going to have to learn to be okay with that. I need to ditch the ideas of what I “should” be doing, and the goals that I “should” be reaching, and accept that things might move a little slower than originally planned.

Happy Monday everyone! Have you ever had a funny fitness interaction when working out outside? 

Think Outside The Box: Stadium Workouts

First off, I just want to say that I think it’s a little ridiculous how little I’ve been posting lately. I’m not going to make any excuses except to say that I’ve just been enjoying my summer, and blogging regularly has been very low on my priority list! I figured that when I had this time away from work I would have more time to blog, but it just didn’t turn out that way. Maybe it’s because my life is less structured during the summer, which makes me much less disciplined to sit down and write, or maybe it’s just that summer time gives me too many awesome distractions (beach days! lake days! camping! getting engaged to my love!) to waste time sitting in front of my Macbook.

Either way, it turns out I’m not very good at blogging during the summer. So sue me.

Anyway, today’s post comes to you from a recent google search that led someone to my blog. I can see google search terms and links that lead you all here, and from time to time those google searches either make me giggle (people find me through searching “fat ass” quite often…) or give me ideas for a new blog post. Today is the latter, and comes from a search of “what exercises can you do at a stadium”. I talk a lot on here about stadium runs, and really it’s the only form of cardio I do besides kettlebell swings and the (very) occasional straight sprints/hill sprints.

Basically, stadium runs are the bees knees.

bees

But when you go to the stadium, you don’t have to just run up and down the steps. There are lots of other things you can do to get in a varied and well rounded work out! This is especially true if you have access to the field that goes along with the stadium, but even if all you have are stairs, there are lots of options to keep you busy all summer (and throughout the winter if you can brave the cold and snow!)

Granted, when I head to the stadium, I’m usually going to run the steps, because it provides me with incredible conditioning and because I get plenty of strength work elsewhere. But like everything else this summer, my schedule is all over the place, so some weeks the stadium is where the majority of my work out time takes place. Running over and over again would get boring, so below are some of the other things that I have thrown into the mix to change things up a bit from time to time.

stadium

  • Push Ups – Push ups are probably the easiest way to vary your stadium run routine. Set a plan and a number – and go. Sometimes if I’m feeling a little slow or not up to a continuous run, I’ll throw in 10 push ups after every 5 stadium columns (five times up and down the steps, followed by 10 push ups, and so on). It’s a great way to add in some upper body strength work, as well as giving your legs a little bit of a break every few minutes.
  • Sprints – Instead of doing a continuous up-down-up-down stadium run like I usually do, sometimes I’ll go there and do a much lower number of sprints. These will be all-out sprints to the top, as fast as my legs can propel me, with plenty of recovery time in between to allow for maximal output during each sprint. When I do these, I’ll do something like 10 sprints instead of 20-25 total sections, or I’ll do a lower amount of sections (12-15) at my regular speed, with a handful of sprints at the end. Remember to give yourself plenty of recovery time between each one – about 2-3 minutes should be good. This is much less of an endurance workout and much more of a strength/power workout, especially if the stadium you run in has giant steps like Harvard Stadium does.
  • Side stepping – Running steps doesn’t have to be all forward motion. You can get a great workout in by alternating forward running up the stairs with sideways stepping. For instance, run up and down 3 sections, followed by side stepping (leading with your right foot) all the way up one section, and finishing by leading with your left foot. This will give your glutes and hip musculature a much different workout than the forward run, and is a great way to break up the monotony!
  • “Box” jumps – Instead of running up one foot at a time, why not use the stairs to do some double leg plyo work? Jump with both feet in the same style of a box jump. Take one or two stairs at a time, depending on the stadium or set of stairs you’re working at. But remember to do these safely! I never do double leg jumps once my legs are already too fatigued — the last thing I need is a tumble down concrete steps due to wobbly legs on my landing. **I only recommend doing these forward however. I recently watched two guys at the stadium doing backwards double leg jumps up the steps. To me, it looked like a recipe for disaster, not to mention an inevitable face plant down the steps if the jump is not landed absolutely correctly.
  • “Boot camp” moves – You know all the things you dread doing in boot camp? Burpees, planks, etc. Try adding some of these in, but you’ll usually want to shorten the training session if  you do so. Try adding in 5 burpees for every stadium section you run. You’ll be toast before you even know what hit you, but effective cardio sessions do not have to be long cardio sessions!

Boston7

Of course there are a million other things you can do to spice up your stadium run, but these are just some of my favorites. And as I’ve said before, access to a stadium is not necessary as I know not everyone is lucky enough to have access to a place like Harvard Stadium where you can work out pretty much whenever you want.  All you need is a tall set of stairs, and you’re good to go! And don’t worry if you’re running on public stairs and you get some funny looks – those people are just wondering how they can be as awesome as you are. 😉

How do you change up your cardio workouts? Do you enjoy running hill sprints and stairs or flat terrain more?

Happy Summering!

Motivation Monday: Strength In Numbers

I’m not one to have a workout buddy. I train solo, and I like it that way. In fact, it’s a running joke around my office that I really don’t tolerate people talking to me during my workouts… it gets a little dangerous.

WHY must you talk to me when I’m in the middle of a back squat?

I’m not sure why I am that way, but I always have been when it comes to gym time. I hate to socialize while I’m lifting; I get in the zone and I stay there. So then why, when a friend of mine asked me to join her for a large group stadium run did I say yes? I have no idea. But I’m glad I did.

Last Wednesday, I joined a group called the November Project. It’s an exercise tribe, as they call themselves, that meet up for 3 workouts per week. Monday is a “destination deck of cards” workout, Wednesday is a stadium run at Harvard, and Friday is death hill sprints in Brookline. To quote from their website, from the two dudes who started this shindig:

During our involvement at highly competitive Division I collegiate rowing program we realized that no mater how tired, cold, sad or hungry we were, somehow we always showed up for practice. The reason? We didn’t want to let down the other seven guys in the boat. Using that model we started scheduling workouts that we knew we had to show up for because we didn’t want to leave the other guy hanging.

It’s brilliant, really. A tribe, a cult, a group of crazy fitness freaks, whatever you want to call this thing, it’s brilliant.  

I had actually heard of the November project about a month ago through a link on Twitter or something just as arbitrary. I read about the Wednesday Stadium day, and although I do run stadiums on a regular basis, (and love/hate every second of it), I was scared to joint this group. Why? 2 reasons:

1. The early start time. These people meet at 6:30 am, which, granted, is only about a half hour before I normally get up, but that 30 minutes snuggled in my bed is valuable.  Getting my butt to Harvard for a 6:!5 warmup means I would have to be out of my house at 6:10 (I ride my bike)…. Meaning I would have to wake up, oh, WAY EARLIER THAN I LIKE TO.

2. These people seem to be a little cray cray. Seriously. If you look through the website/blog, you’ll see postings of times from the weekly stadium runs. The most badass of the November Project folk run a full stadium in the time it takes me to do half, and I’m not going to lie, that was intimidating.

So what happened? Why did I change my mind?

I grew a pair (not literally…thank God. That would be awkward), and realized that the only thing that was really holding me back was my own fear. And if I can go in the weight room and sling around iron heavier than my body weight, I sure as hell am badass enough to train with these people right? So when my friend Meg suggested that we go, after a couple days of wishy-washy, back and forth, “ok maybe I’ll go once” thoughts, I thought to myself:

“Let’s do this!”

(Never mind that Meg bailed on the day we actually went.)

Sorry dude, called you out. 

But two of my other friends were there with me on that cold Wednesday morning. We met, hugged it out (as is apparently customary at the November Project workouts), and proceeded to get our butts kicked for the “newbie” workout of the day.

The verdict? It was incredible. There were so many other people there; people of all ages, body types and fitness levels. I heard grumblings of being “so hungover” (really? On a Wednesday morning?), I heard a few other mumblings of “dude this sucks”… But besides the few negatives, I heard a whole lot of cheers, whoops, hollers, and words of encouragement. I saw high fives, hugs, and tons of smiles. And you know what? When I finished, I had a smile on my face too.  The energy and positive atmosphere was kind of intoxicating, and made it a completely different experience than I’ve ever had running the stadium by myself.

Here’s just part of “the tribe” getting their Stadium on. Like ants huffing and puffing up and down the concrete. But AWESOME ants. 

Sure, my lungs were screaming from the early-morning cold fall air, and my legs were shaking like crazy, but I finished with my friends, and also alongside about 100 other people that were there that morning. 

After we finished. Feeling good!! 

Like I said, I’m not someone to have a workout buddy. I don’t generally do group fitness classes, and I don’t belong to a running group, or anything of that sort. I never really understood why people talked about the group atmosphere of Cross Fit. But now? I get it! Pushing through an insanely hard workout was way more fun with all of those people working towards the same thing. Even if it was just a silent head-nod in passing on the way down the stairs, there was a common understanding that we were all in it together. We were all having our asses handed to us by Harvard Stadium, and we liked it. 

Needless to say: I will be back. I’ll be back this coming Wednesday, as a matter of fact. So who’s with me? Any Boston area peeps that want to join in? I can’t say I’ll be joining these dudes for the Monday and Friday workouts, because my time in the weight room is precious to me. Maybe every once in a while when I need to switch things up, but for now I think I’ll stick with the stadium days.

Do you usually work out with friends or solo? Do you enjoy a group atmosphere? Is there anything in your town similar to the November Project, or if you live in Boston, have you thought about joining up? 

Workout Wednesday: SUP Dude?

The title of this post is so cheesy, I apologize. I couldn’t help it though.

If you haven’t noticed through earlier posts, I tend to spend a whole lot of time working out outside during the summer months. My gym/weight room visits have been few and far between for the past few weeks (I know, shame on me), partly because the gym was closed last week, partly because of my back, but also because I have a hard time being cooped up inside when it’s so darn nice out. Even on days when I do make it to the weight room, I’ve been riding my bike there so I can still take advantage of the beautiful Boston weather!

Although stadium runs have been taking over my life (in a great way) lately, there is one other outdoor workout that is at the top of my list, way above all others:

Stand Up Paddleboarding (or SUP, for short. Now do you get the title?)

This was my first time on a SUP in beautiful San Diego. 

If you’re not familiar, a SUP is basically a much larger version of a surfboard on which you stand, balance, and paddle around. (The name pretty much says it all). I know it sounds easy, and it actually can be as easy or as hard as you make it. As with any workout, you get out what you put in! You can do this in calm water (ponds, lakes, rivers), or for a little more wild ride, out in the ocean. I’ve done both, and they’re both such different experiences I’m not sure which one I prefer more.

Clearly NOT me. I’ve SUPed in waves, but definitely not waves this big! 

I first tried SUP out in San Diego in 2009 and instantly loved it. Although I’m pretty sure I could do anything in San Diego and love it, but I digress.  When I came back after that trip, I searched and searched for places that I could rent a paddleboard here on the East Coast, but it turned out to be extremely difficult to find them. While the sport was already gaining popularity on the West Coast, us Easters (you like that term?) hadn’t quite caught up to the game yet. I did end up finding a few surf shops at a couple of different beaches who each had 2 paddleboards to rent out, so with first come/first serve, it was still difficult to actually get ahold of one.

I just now realized that I didn’t have my ankle thing on… That’s why it looks like my board has a tail. Ha! 

Fast forward to 2010, when there were some local river/lake kayak companies who were starting to rent out a few paddleboards. Fast forward again to this year, and it seems like they’re everywhere! The local Boston company, Charles River Kayaks, now has a ton of them available, and I see people out on the Charles on them nearly every day. It’s definitely picked up in popularity here, although I can’t speak for other areas of the country, especially those areas away from the coast.  I’m even seriously considering buying my own at this point, because I love it so much, I live right next to the river,  and renting for $17/hr adds up pretty quickly!

So why should YOU try SUP?

Because Jennifer Aniston does it. And that makes it cool, right?

Not a good enough answer for you? Ok then… 

I have 2 answers for you here: 1) It’s FUN! and 2) It’s an excellent full body workout!

Not only is it an amazing workout for your shoulders, arms, and back, but your core also gets an ass-whooping. Depending on how long you go out for, and also depending on the type of water you’re in, your legs can also get a killer stabilizing workout. For example, last time Will and I went out on the Charles River here in Boston, we were paddling for 2 hours straight… and when I finally stepped off the board, I could hardly move my legs (lets not even mention how sore my lats were the next day).

Also, if you happen to be local to Boston, paddleboarding down the Charles lends itself to an amazing and unique view of the city and skyline. It’s an excellent way to spend an afternoon, or if you weren’t paying by the hour, you could make a whole day out of paddleing, picnicking somewhere, and paddling back!

If you live near either coastline, check out the local surf shops for SUP rentals. Or if you live near a lake or relatively calm river, it’s definitely worth checking out the local kayak/canoe rental places as those are starting to offer SUPs pretty regularly now.

This is now the selection at our local rental place, which is pretty great since they used to only have 2! 

And with that, I’m off! It’s my first day back at work after having the entire two months of June and July off, so I’m sure I’m in for a rude awakening!

Have you ever tried paddleboarding? Does it seem like an activity you would enjoy? Do you do any other water sports? 

Fitness Challenge Week 6: Sprint!

Since I gave you an easy week last week with the lunges, this week I’m cranking it up a notch and giving  you a sprint workout that will probably make you want to slap me.

Source

Why sprinting?

Well, for starters, because I like it. Second of all, for all of you steady-state-cardioers out there, adding in 1-2 sprint and/or HIIT workouts each week will really help you to kick your fat-loss into gear. *Note: I am not suggesting that interval/sprint training is the end-all, be-all of cardio. I really believe, based on research that I have read, that both types of cardio have a place in a training program. But if all you do is steady state, adding in some sprints or intervals could really help increase your results, when paired with a balanced training program and nutritional plan.

And although it’s not the only thing you should be doing, sprinting is a valuable tool in a training program, be it for fat loss, strength, or energy-use efficiency. If you lift weights (which most of you do), adding sprints to your program can help with your body’s ability to power through the end of those tough sessions in the weight room. Sprints will also help your body to burn more calories post-exercise, and who doesn’t want that?

So without further ado, here is your workout:

As it says above, you’ll need to set up cones, or some sort of markers, at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 yards. Or better yet, you could use an already lined football field!

This picture is actually perfect, because you won’t need a full 100 yard space, only 50 yards. This is because each sprint (besides the 10 yard ones) will be done with a cut and turn at the mid-point. Why? Adding in the cuts gives this workout a little more difficulty… and for any current athletes that are reading, makes this a more functional workout.

This workout wont take you very long, but it’s tough! I would not perform this on a day of, before, or directly following a heavy leg day in the weight room.  And if you are very new to working out, or have never ran/done sprints before, I would do a very modified version of this. Try starting out with half the reps of each distance and see how you do. I would even omit the full 100 yd sprints if this is your first time doing a workout like this.  And if you are advanced, I would add 1-2 reps of each distance after the 20s. As always, safety needs to come first! If you have a pre-existing injury or feel pain/shortness of breath/dizziness, please discontinue the workout and consult with a medical professional.

Now get out there, get motivated, and get going!!

yes yes yes.

Do you do sprint workouts usually? How often do you incorporate sprints or HIIT into your training?