Saturday, July 24, 2010

Awesome Circuit Conditioning Workout

I have an incredible workout planned tonight after work. I'm actually really excited about hitting the gym, and I'm trying to make sure to get all of my meals in (on time) to fuel my efforts. I'll post about it later...

Ciao for now... this was hands down the best workout I've done in a while. My heart rate was elevated the ENTIRE time -- like pumping out of my chest hard -- and the workout was spectacular. I took my rope and kettlebells to the gym today, and I worked the type of circuit that I'd always wanted to do but couldn't because of lack of equipment. I was finally able to mix strength machines and toys.

Here's what it looked like:

Circuit 1 (4 sets, 1st set was warm-up @ 20 reps)
Seated Leg Extension
Prone Hamstring Curl
Ropes Gone Wild 0:30 secs
Kettlebell 0:30 secs (varied swings, squats, etc)

Circuit 2 (3 sets, 12 reps/exercise)
Seated Row
Incline Bench Press
Kettlebell 0:30 secs (squats, windmills, TGU's - did 1 per side)

Circuit 3 (2 sets)
Box Squat (new exercise, only did 2 sets)

Circuit 4 (3 sets)
DB Military Press
1-Arm DB Tricep Extension

Snatches 2:00, alt 5 reps/side

I felt the fat and everything else melt off of me today. Not to mention it was nice and hot outside, so I got a nice detox as well.  I almost hurled..but managed to keep it down :-) LOL I didn't want to embarass myself at the gym! HA!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tasty Green Lemonade

I was in a rush to prepare my mid-morning meal, which is usually just a protein shake, but I wanted to get some extra greens in today, as I had some baby spinach that I wanted to use before it went bad. So, I thought of an old fallback of green lemonade.  Gosh, it was really good today. I probably won't be able to ever create it exactly the same way again, but I did want to share it in case anyone was interested.

Fitgirl-ATX's Yummy Green Lemonade with a protein boost:
* 1 scoop whey protein (I used RTN's Bionic Edge Whey in Banana flavor)
* 2 handfulls of organic baby spinach (I used what was left in my container in the fridge)
* 1/4 lemon (add more or less to taste - this includes everything - skin, pith, seeds optional :-) )
* cold water (I didn't measure it, just used about 1 cup)
* ice cubes

Put all of the ingredients into Vitamix blender, in the order listed above. Blend until desired consistency is reached.

This was very refreshing. I find that in other green lemonades that I've made, I don't typically care for celery as the base. When I use kale or collard greens, I tend to have to use more apple and lemon to mask the green taste.  Cucumber, spinach, and lettuce all seem to be mild enough to be pleasing to my pallate.

I love to increase my green drinks and veggie juices during the summer months because there are so many fresh fruit and healthy, local green produce in stock at reasonable prices. Take advantage and enjoy all of the wonderful treats that nature has to offer!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

For those of you who did not know, there is a PART 2!

I don't know how I missed this, but Keith Weber has released a sequal to his Extreme Kettlebell Cardio DVD.  The first one is a serious butt kicker, and I was elated to see a second.  I think his workouts are well designed, dynamic, and CHALLENGING!  I still struggle with the first DVD and have never been able to complete it from start to finish. I added the second one to my home training library without hesitation. 

I'm still feeling kind of fatigued, so I decided to preview the DVD today.  WOW - it is a good 'un.  Keith also looks fantastic in this workout!  His conditioning is phenomenal, and I thought it was off the charts the first time!  I ranked the first DVD right up there with Newport & Firepower from a conditioning point of view, and the second one is no exception.  I actually think his DVDs might be more of a conditioning challenge than Newport & Providence, and that is saying ALOT!

Unfortunately, there is no trailer for this workout, but here is the link to the DVD description:  Check it out!

Well done, Keith!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Good week, but feeling tired & drained

I really think my body is giving me a sign. I mentioned on Tuesday that I was feeling a bit fatigued, drained, and tired. Well, that trend is continuing, as today I feel even worse, which is a sign of overtraining. I also didn't drink enough water yesterday or eat enough protein; my appetite wasn't very strong. Depending on how I feel today, I might just use today as a pure rest day from training, but definitely tomorrow. I'd scheduled a kettlebell session for tomorrow, but I think I'm going to skip it. I'll eat well today, strength train if I'm feeling better, and take tomorrow off completely.

I had a nice cardio workout last night. I did 35 mins on my spin bike. It's been a few months since I've had a chance to get on my bike, and it felt good. I did more of a low-end interval workout, since I was already feeling tired.

We will see what the rest of today brings! Make it a great one!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hard work pays off....and a little rant about chocolate chip cookies

Consistent Workouts: I've been working out consistently and dieting well over the past week. Hard work is paying off. I'm down 4 pounds in 6 days, which is remarkable. Change is happening...I'm not going to get too excited or too ambitious in setting my goals, but I will continue training diligently and eating well. Today I felt pretty exhausted during my strength training workout, so that is a sign to back off a little bit. I will only do a light cardio workout tomorrow to give my body an active rest. I'll pick up with strength training sessions on thurs/sat, and a kettlebell workout on Friday. I'm feeling REALLY good, and I'm proud of myself for remaining dedicated to my mission.

I wanted to share a bit of a personal story to help encourge those of you who may be struggling to meet your goals. We all struggle with something, and our struggles change as life changes. My blog is centered around my training, experiences as a fitness coach, and my desires to compete again. Even though I've been a fitness industry professional for over 12 years, it doesn't come easy.  I'm a person too, with very real struggles and accomplishments. For some people, fitness goals come easy. I'm not one of those people. I work hard for everything that I have, and I love fitness with my entire being.  My weight and physique have been all over the place for most of my life. I've never been (nor do I want to be) a skinny girl. I am a strong woman, with muscles and curves, and I love to train hard. Competing was the most difficult and challenging thing that I've ever done in my life, and I want to do it again. Being a fitness instructor and coach is one of the most rewarding roles of my life, and I want to do continue doing that for as long as I can. Anyway, I wanted to share a piece of my story and hope that somone out there can find inspiration in it.

My addiction to chocolate chip cookies & Dove ice cream bars: I had a flashback today when I was at a coffee shop working.  I really wanted a chocolate chip cookie. Anyone who knows me well knows that chocolate chip cookies have been my vice since college.  In college, I treated myself to one chocolate chip cookie per day for most days because I worked out and studied so hard. I often times find myself still wanting that one chocolate chip cookie often.

I remember when I was training & dieting for competitions, and I still had my cookie cravings. I remember asking myself if I really wanted a cookie or if I was just hungry and wanted something quick and tasty to eat. It was almost always the latter. My cookie cravings tended to come when it was close to my afternoon meal time.  There were times when I'd have my meals pre-packed and just didn't feel like eating it. Instead, I'd just tell myself how much I wanted a cookie.  When I realized my habit, it became easier to kick it.  When the afternoon would roll around and I'd want to go down to the cafeteria for my yummy cookie, I developed a habit of stopping, asking myself if I really wanted a cookie or if I was just hungry. I'd eat my meal or drink a green tea sweetened with stevia. Usually, that strategy worked.  I would tell myself that after I ate, if I really still wanted a cookie then I could have one. Over time, I found that after I ate and had my green tea, I didn't even think about my cookie anymore. 

For the past few months, I've found myself returning to those cravings of cookies, chips, and other fast, convenient things. However, sitting down and having a real heart-to-heart with myself just proved to me that during those cravings, I'm really just hungry and haven't been diligent enough to prepare in advance for those cravings. So, cookies and chips are easy, but junk for the body. They have no nutritional value whatsoever. Realizing how many calories I burn in a workout and how hard I have to work to expend those calories, it really makes me think about whether or not one cookie, one ice cream bar, or a handful of chips are worth the sacrifice. Look at the 'nutritional' breakdown of any convenient snack food.  Over the past several months, my cravings have totally been for Dove ice cream bars. Those yummy treats are a whopping 330 calories each and 25 grams of sugar, and that's if you just eat one...but who really eats just one?? ;-) I can eat an entire box in a night. I've realized that I can't control it, and when I buy a box from the store, I've started opening the box on the way out and throwing away 2 of the 3 bars that come in the box so that I won't eat them all at once. I can't trust myself around the temptation, so I just throw them away in an attempt to control it. It's so wasteful, but I know that if I take the box home, I'll eat the whole thing while i'm watching the latest episode of True Blood :-). I'm sharing this because there are always temptations. There is a difference between an occassional indulgence and a bad habit. It takes strength and self discipline to realize what your own vices & bad habits are and how to break them.

A fire has been reignited inside of me to return back to my athletic state. I'm committed to truly cleaning up my diet.  I've been following my diet, but getting depressed by lack of progress and falling right back into the trap. I've shared many times about the struggles I've been facing over the past few years. It's so easy to get frustrated, get lost, and fall back into those bad habits. I feel much better now that I've vowed to myself to change. More importantly, I know what it will take to turn myself around. Granted, I have other circumstances that are outside of my control, and I just have to deal with those. What I CAN do is really commit myself, follow the regimen that I know works for me and my body, and control all of the things that are within my grasp. I'll pray about the rest and let the cards fall where they may. However, I have to accept responsibility for my own actions and success, and really give it my best consistently.

What are your vices?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Coming July 19th: Pavel + TRX (translation -- HEAVEN)

I seriously feel like I won the lottery or something based upon one single announcement on the Fitness Anywhere blog today. Coming soon - a kettlebell & TRX DVD led by Pavel himself.  Check it out....I CANNOT WAIT!!!

Here is a teaser of the forthcoming DVD (don't forget to use the link on the right to order your TRX system):

Read more about the release here on the Fitness Anywhere blog:

Providence, Ropes & a batting cage

Well, I decided to do Providence again today. I brought along a pair of 12kg kettlebells, my rope, and went to the gym to workout outside. First of all, let me just say that I'd forgotten how taxing working out under the blazing sun can be! LOL :-) I used my audio version of providence, which has a slightly faster tempo than the drills in the DVD, IMO. I completed rounds 1-13, added in some rope drills during the breaks, and some getups at the end. I was going to flip some tires as well, but I was purely exhausted when I finshed my hour-long session.  I also skipped the 3:00 snatch test at the end.

I'd fully intended to get a cardio session in before bed. However, we decided to go to the batting cage yesterday evening, so I used that as my cardio supplement instead. Luckily (or unluckily,depending on how you look at it), my softball machine at the batting cage was broken. Meaning, that I was only supposed to get 30 pitches, but my machine never stopped pitching. So, I batted for a good 30 minutes or so. I worked up a major sweat during the process of batting, picking up balls, re-loading the machine, etc. It was fun! I haven't been to a batting cage literally since my softball days in high school. I had fun and will do it again!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Outdoor Workout: Kettlebells + Tire Flips

Today was overcast, so I thought it would make a perfect day for an outdoor workout. I took my 16kg kettlebell to the gym and decided to 'play' outside. I did several rounds of various kettlebell lifts - swings, snatches, squat variations, windmills, TGU's, and combined them with tire flips and a few weight machines. It was alot of fun! I tired myself out, which was the point :-), and had a fun workout. I love having access to tires now :-)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Glute-Ham Raises ROCK!!!

I had a chance to use an Elite FTS Glute Ham Raise today as part of my workout. As suspected, it ROCKS!  I've been wanting to use one of these for years, but couldn't afford to buy one for myself or my gym.  It's rare to find these puppies in commercial really have to go to a hardcore facility to see these in action.  It was so great!  I was able to do 5 consecutive reps AFTER my training session.  My hamstrings feel incredible, and I look forward to working with this in the coming weeks. Simply outstanding. If you can find one in your area, try it!  Note: a Glute-Ham Raise machine is NOT the same as a back extension/roman chair. They are two entirely different pieces of equipment.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Interesting Read: "Kettlebells: Twice the Results in Half the Time?"

I found a pretty interesting article citing an American Council on Exercise (ACE) study conducted about the science behind kettlebell training. I wanted to share it with those of you wondering why 'it' works.  It was a solid study. 

Note: I do encourage you to take the article for what it's worth and not to get lost in the technicality of the VO2Max discussion, especially if you are new to kettlebell training or have no desire to learn the science behind it.  I just thought this particular ACE article was informative, shared an interesting study, and introduced some of the reasons why kettlebell training is so effective.  We had a long discussion about VO2Max training around 2006 on the AoS forums.  Anthony DiLuglio released an early minute of strength about not getting lost in the details around it, and I couldn't agree more. VO2Max is a seperate discussion, and if you're interested, you'd be well served in checking out Kenneth Jay's articles & DVDs on the subject over at

Anyway, check it out and see what you think -

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Finally hit my stride....

Well, I've finally rediscovered my groove, so to speak.  I'm working ALOT, but I'm also using this time to focus on my personal development and growth.  I found the perfect gym (Metroflex Gym), and I feel right at home there! It's my kind of an underground gym, complete with tires, stones, a freakin' glute-ham machine, gym full of hammer strength & Elite FTS equipment....I could go on and on.  Anyway, I'm back to lifting at least 3x/week (sometimes even 4!). I'm still working on my cardio schedule, but I'm getting in at least 3x/week.  I've decided to use this month to get back into some kettlebell work as well, doing Providence or Newport at least once a week.  I'm also getting my eating plan down, allowing myself a few occassional treats, but following it pretty closely (about 85%-90% compliance each week).

So, I'm having fun.  My garage gym is also set up and about ready to re-open for business. I kind of wanted to be selfish and spend the rest of the summer just focusing on myself and not taking clients yet, but my pocketbook might demand otherwise :-).

Anyway, I hope that you all are having a fun summer, training smart, and eating right.  Now that I'm all settled and my groove is back, I'll be updating my blog more frequently.  I hope that you will check back!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Independence Day Workout - AoS Providence

I was inspired today to pick up my bells and get to work.  Actually, it was the fact that I'd unpacked my garage gym completely, had everything back in its place, and it was begging for someone to sweat and work hard in it.   Also, I was chatting with a member from Cathe's forum about AoS, and I missed workout out with my AoS DVDs.  So, I thought no better way than to pick up my bells and work AoS style. 

Yesterday I did Providence for old times sake. It's been a few months since I've even touched my kettlebells, so I decided to work light (12kg) and only expected to make it through the first 7 rounds or so of the workout.  I actually did the entire thing, and the 12kg felt really light for most exercises (exception being the triple crush & the press ladders).  I was proud of myself for 1) making it through the workout and 2) noticing all of the progress that I've made in my kettlebell lifting journey.

Providence will always hold a special place in my heart.  It was one of the first DVDs that I purchased in my kettlebell journey way back in 2005.  I learned alot about kettlebell technique and form from Providence. When I first started working with kettlebells, I had to rely on DVDs to teach me technique and then workout approaches.  I was self taught for 6 months before I met with an instructor. Lucky for me, my first teachers were Anthony DiLuglio and Lisa Shaffer, both of whom are now good friends and colleagues (I'm a fitness coach also).  My teach-yourself-kettlebell DVDs were Pavel's From Russia With Tough Love and AoS Providence. I remember purchasing Providence because it was a work-along DVD, and one that I knew I'd be able to use again once I got the basics down.  I only had a 12kg bell when I first started.  I remember sucking air so hard during the swings round. It made me smile when I was barely winded from them yesterday with the same 12kg bell.  It's amazing how incredibly conditioned your body gets after training with kettlebells over time.  I saw my entire journey, both personally and professionally, during round 1 of Providence. It still kicks my butt to this day (and we aren't even going to talk about Newport yet - LOL).  But, it's amazing to notice progress and to reflect on just how far you've come. I think about my many clients whom I have also challenged by sprinkling bits and pieces of Providence into some of our sessions.  Growth is an amazing thing.  I will always love Providence because I am always evolving, no matter how many times I do the workout.  If you think it's getting easier, get a heavier bell. There are always ways to increase the intensity of the workout, and it feels different every time!  Also, the wonderful twist of Vintage Providence is also cool.  But, the original piece of work, in its unaltered form is really what reminds me of how much I love kettlebell training -- even now, 5 years later!

What makes you passionate about kettlebell training? TRX training? cardio? running? lifting weights? swimming? -- the point is to find something that you TRULY LOVE and do it religiously.  Take it back to basics and rediscover why you fell in love with something in the first place.  I can honestly say that I LOVE kettlebell training, TRX training, and lifting weights period.  I love how my body responds. I love the feeling of getting stronger week by week. I love watching my body change. I love knowing that I can kick someone's a$$ really badly if provoked. I love knowing that I can defend myself if I'm put in a situation to do so. Strength is power...they are not the same thing. (think about that..)

"Success is the result of a few simple disciplines practiced and perfected diligently."