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Full-Body Back Porch Workout

So, I’ve been loving working out on my back porch lately on Mondays and Wednesdays, when I do my regular strength training. (Tues, Thurs and Sat are cardio/running and Fridays are Pilates/Yoga/Barre day).

I realized what an asset this natural setting is for workouts. Why work out inside when I can work out here, listening to the morning birds and crickets?

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I’d also like to share the workout I did this morning with you. Feel free to pin it so you can try it out this week:

 

quick strength cardio circuit

 

I don’t have visuals of the moves, but you can easily Google them if you don’t know what they mean. I was thinking about Livestreaming parts of my workouts, so let me know in the comments if that’s something that would be helpful.

For this workout, I used 15 lb dumbbells to really burn out my muscles. And I just used the stopwatch clock on my smartphone to time the moves. The faster you go through the circuits, the more fat you’ll burn. I was dripping from head to toe after this!

Let me know in the comments: would you be interested in seeing my workouts Livestreamed?

Where is your favorite workout spot? #FlashMe your workout hideout.

I Got Published in the Huff Post

Eeeeee!!!! Yes I did!

I got published in the Huffington Post!

You’re definitely going to want to earmark this article for workout inspiration!

As a writer, this is a huge privilege and accomplishment. And let me tell you, I was totally fitness fan-girling at some of the people I got in contact with. Autumn Calabrese!!! Karena & Katrina!!! Lauren Gleisberg!!! If you’re a fitness nut, these are some of the celebrities in our world! I got well over 100 replies and selected only the best ones. And I tried to get a good variety in there as well.

I asked fitness entrepreneurs (the ones who live, breathe and eat fitness) how they would work out if they only had 30 minutes. Because if this is how they do it, then you know it must be effective!

This process completely validated the premise of my very own FlashFit workouts that I’ve been designing myself. Total-body strength training and cardio built into one 30 minute workout.

We can learn so much from some of the overarching themes I found:

  1. Do cardio intervals in between strength moves to increase calorie burn.
  2. OR shorten rest periods and move quickly from one move to the next (circuits).
  3. Target your biggest muscle groups as they’ll give you the most afterburn.
  4. Compound moves give you the most bang for your buck.
  5. Intervals are bomb.
  6. 30 minutes is more than enough time to work out every day.

So basically, to build a workout that’s the best use of your time, do one compound move followed by one minute of cardio until you reach 30 minutes. This will scorch the most fat and lean you out in the shortest time.

What do you do when you only have 30 minutes to work out?

Weekly Food and Fitness: What To Do When You Didn’t Meal Prep

**Hey there, I thought I’d bring back my rundown of my weekly workouts and menus to perhaps inspire others to prepare in advance for a week of healthy eating and give you menu and training ideas. Now that I have more of an established schedule and all, it’s easier for me to organize.

I have been doing at least 30 minutes of exercise every morning, 6 days a week, alternating strength training and cardio days. And for cardio, I’ve been alternating steady state and interval training.

Workouts:


Meal Prep:
None!

Oh my goodness, this week was a bit “off” for me with no meal prep, but I’m hanging in there. We had unexpected company over on Sunday and didn’t get the chance to grocery shop or meal prep like we always do. I definitely don’t eat quite as healthy when this happens. But, I have a few tricks to share on what to do when you haven’t meal prepped, so you can still maintain a healthy diet.

1. Always have some backup food in the freezer or cupboard. I always have a supply of Boca Burgers in the freezer and usually a can of Amy’s soup in the cupboard. I also try to keep a few of those new Protein Steamers on hand. These are not entirely the “cleanest” meals ever, but they’re still very nutritious and a much better alternative.

2. Grab just a handful of ready-to-eat things at the grocery store–or even Kwik Trip! We grabbed eggs, cottage cheese and bananas to fill in my snack gaps for the week. There’s no reason to have to whip up something complicated every week.

3. Use dinner leftovers whenever possible. My hungry boys usually eat up everything we make for dinner, so this one can be a little difficult at times. But if I’m able, I will sneak away a few things before we start eating so I have food for the next day. This helps prevent me from having to go out to eat.

What do you normally do when you haven’t meal prepped for the week?

Weekly Food and Fitness

**Hey there, I thought I’d bring back my rundown of my weekly workouts and menus to perhaps inspire others to prepare in advance for a week of healthy eating and give you menu and training ideas. Now that I have more of an established schedule and all, it’s easier for me to organize.

I have been doing at least 30 minutes of exercise every morning, 6 days a week, alternating strength training and cardio days. And for cardio, I’ve been alternating steady state and interval training.

Workout Schedule

  • Monday: 30 min 21 Day Fix Extreme
  • Tuesday: 30 min run
  • Wednesday: Rest, sick
  • Thursday: Rest, sick
  • Friday: 30 min Flashfit (my own workout)
  • Saturday: 35 min interval run
  • Sunday: Rest

This week was a bit of a bummer because I was sick for several days. The first day it hit, I had a wicked sore throat, and Hubster has been complaining about me snoring every day I’ve had the sore throat. Sorry Hubby!

On the menu this week:
  • Breakfast: superfood smoothie, eggs with veggies, grapefruit
  • Lunch: Quinoa Pecan Peach Salad from the Tone it Up Nutrition Plan
  • Snack: A hefty serving of squeaky clean cucumber salad
  • Dinners: we have clean parm chicken, ham and cheese sammies, homemade blueberry pancakes, pizza burgers, etc.

A photo posted by Jessica Collins (@boun_seejess) on
Look at this beast! I get excited every day when snacktime comes around. I made my cucumber salad with 3 cucumbers, 1/2 onion, a carton of cherry tomatoes and 1 can chickpeas. For the sauce, I used about 1.5 cups of plain Greek yogurt, garlic, vinegar and dill. I’m tellin’ ya, you don’t miss the mayo!
This week I also had an appointment with my doctor and asked him about my weight, again. And again, they checked my thyroid!!! That’s been checked so many times, my blood should have its own spot in the lab. I’m getting a bit frustrated. Thinking about doing a video about it, because I have a lot to say, haha! I’m eating pretty clean, working out 6 days a week, and my body is not responding whatsoever. My diet and food plan here would make anyone else lose weight…just not me. Oh well, will keep you posted on what I find out.

Weekly Food and Fitness–And the Easiest Pumpkin Turkey Chili Recipe Ever

Hey there, I thought I’d bring back my rundown of my weekly workouts and menus to perhaps inspire others to prepare in advance for a week of healthy eating and give you menu and training ideas. Now that I have more of an established schedule and all, it’s easier for me to organize.

I have been doing at least 30 minutes of exercise every morning, 6 days a week, alternating strength training and cardio. And for cardio, I’ve been alternating steady state and interval training.

Workout Schedule
Monday: 30 min FlashFit (workout series designed by me!)
Tuesday: 30 min interval run
Wednesday: 30 min Supreme 90 Day total body
Thursday: 30 min steady run
Friday: 30 min Tracy Anderson workout
Saturday: 35 min interval run
Sunday: Rest

On the menu this week:


  • Breakfast: My favorite Shakeology smoothie, Greek yogurt and egg whites with spinach.
  • Lunch: Pumpkin turkey chili {below} and my own version of peanut butter balls
  • Snack: cottage cheese with chickpeas (you’ve got to try this combo!!!)
  • Dinners: Mini pizzas, turkey/green bean casserole, crockpot chicken, etc.

Here’s a quick recipe for the chili I made for my lunches. It is adapted from several of my favorite chili recipes in one. I took ingredients that I loved and were super easy to assemble (mostly canned–still healthy) and came up with this:



Easiest Pumpkin Turkey Chili
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can pumpkin
2 lbs lean ground turkey
your favorite chili seasonings (I used garlic powder, chili powder and cumin)

  1. Brown the turkey, drain the oil.
  2. Dump in the rest of the ingredients and warm through.

Yes, that simple!!! I also would’ve added one diced onion if I had remembered to pick one up. The pumpkin may sound weird, but it really makes the chili so rich and creamy without any added cheese or sour cream. I actually went with a 15-oz can of pumpkin rather than the larger can shown in the picture. You don’t really taste the pumpkin taste either, but do you know how brilliant pumpkin is for your health? You should definitely look it up!

I had my entire house clean on Saturday and my entire work week of food prepped by Sunday afternoon. I proudly read and relaxed the rest of Sunday after this was all prepared, for the first time since we moved. I haven’t done that in a loooooooong time. Ever since we’ve moved, the projects and piles have prevented me from even wanting to relax. So, this type of simple food prep really helped get me to the point where I actually felt like I could relax and read.

How about you, what does your week of food and workouts look like?

Agility Ladder DIY

You can get all the supplies to make your own agility ladder at a regular hardware store, and it really only takes less than half an hour to make.

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Agility ladders are an amazing unsung fitness tool that you’re probably not using. I will be back to share some agility training drills soon too, so stay tuned for that. But these exercises shouldn’t be saved for professional football players or high school track teams. Agility drills not only increase your agility, but they also provide a great source of cardio, especially if you’re getting bored with your treadmill routine. You can get pretty creative with your fancy footwork, like sport dancing, and it also tests your mental acuity. We did some agility drills at the NASM workshop I attended and they were kind of fun and challenging and had me out of breath within a few minutes.

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Supplies:

  • Short nails/carpet tacks
  • Hammer
  • Wood shims or other flat thin wood*
  • Rope
  • Tape measure

Instructions:

1. Stack two shims on top of each other with one narrow side and one thick side of each together. Nail the end of the rope into the top of the first shim stack.

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2. Measure 15 inches to the next rung and hammer another nail into the top of that shim stack.

3. Continue until you have 15 rungs. Cut the rope at the end of the 15th rung. Now, go back and do the same thing on the other side of the ladder, hammering the string to the shims every 15 inches.

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Voila, your very own agility ladder! It’s easy to fold up and hang in your garage or shed. Be careful if you’re doing this project outside with little kidlets around. All the neighbor kids ran over when they saw what I was doing and asked if they could “help.” Um, no. And we ended up with a knocked over pile of nails in the grass that I was really trying to prevent (barefoot in the summer, ouch!). Just hand them a few shims and a little length of rope and see who can make the best godseye.

*I would actually recommend using some thin wood versus shims. Shims are what I had on-hand, but nailing into the narrow ends proved to be a bit tricky. The wood needs to be pretty thin though, so you’re not tripping over it. Also, if you have feet that are much larger than mine (women’s 8), the width of a shim might not work for you. You should be able to fit both feet inside with some room left over, so take your own measurements from there.

Weekly Workout Rundown

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Monday:

  • 50 min 12WBT run in the AM with 10 min hard intervals
  • Tuesday:

  • 50 min 12WBT total body tone in the AM
  • 30 min casual walk with mom at lunch
  • Wednesday:

  • 50 min treadmill interval run in the PM, 3.43 miles
  • Thursday:

  • 50 min 12WBT run in the AM with 10 min of hard intervals
  • 30 min moderate walk at lunch
  • Friday:

  • 25 min brisk walk with 5-10% incline at lunch
  • 50 min 12WBT yoga stretch in the PM

  • Saturday:

  • 55 min 12WBT run with 10 min hard intervals

  • Sunday:

  • Rest
  • Friday’s lunch workout is what happens when a girl forgets her workout bra. #FitnessGirlProblems. If I couldn’t run, I could certainly walk on enough of an incline to get my heart rate just as high. It worked! I swear, I need a checklist or something for those lunchtime workouts. I’m always forgetting my towel or gym shoes or something. Ha!

    This week, I’m entering the 4th and final week of my 12WBT preview. I’m going to be sorry to see this program go, but I might just sign up for it when it goes live in the US. I’d totally pay for it! You must check into it if you’re looking for a fitness plan that not only helps you with food and fitness, but also motivation and underlying issues that might be preventing you from losing weight. The food alone is worth so much in my book–it takes sooo much guesswork out of food prep and most of the recipes are super easy and practical. And you’ll find your favorite things in there, like nachos! I printed the recipes and had them bound in a notebook so I will always have them as a reference.

    I’m going to start creating my own workout schedule this week, so I’m prepared to challenge myself once the program is over. I’m definitely going to set it up like this plan though. Three days of cardio and abs, two days of strength training, one day of yoga stretch, and at least one day of complete rest. I’ve neglected yoga for awhile now and could really use the release, flexibility and calm in my life. I always love it when I do it, I just don’t always actually do it. I also think core work is absolutely essential and highly neglected. In my NASM training, core work is prescribed for every workout, so this plan is even in line with my studies. I can’t wait!

    Side note: I’ve decided that these weekly workout posts definitely need more pictures, so I’m going to make an effort to include some “setting” pictures for you, to make it more interesting and motivating. Perhaps inspirational images, pretty views from my lunch walks, or sneak peeks into my very own workouts. What do you think?

    How do you plan your week in workouts? Do you follow a prescribed plan or make up your own?

    Weekly Workout Rundown

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    Monday:
    • 15 min LiveFit back workout in the AM
    • 30 min AM run, 2.44 miles

    Tuesday:
    • 20 min LiveFit chest and abs in the AM
    • 30 min AM run, 2.55 miles
    • 25 min walk at lunch with mom
    • 20 min rest of LiveFit from Monday and Tuesday

    Wednesday:
    • 45 min LiveFit legs workout in the AM

    Thursday:
    • 25 min LiveFit arms and abs in the AM
    • 30 min run, 2.55 miles
    • 30 min bike ride
    Friday:
    • 15 min LiveFit shoulders in the AM
    • 30 min AM run, 2.57 miles
    • 15 min FlashFit workout
    Saturday:
    • 60 min LiveFit legs and more of Friday’s shoulders
    Sunday:
    • Rest

    I am past the halfway point of the LiveFit Series, baby! Every day since I got to add cardio back into my routine, I’ve beat my past mileage by at least a smidge. It really helps to have that little personal competition to be ~Better Every Day. 
    Today I feel like junk, so I’m not really that talkative. I was thisclose to leaving work early, but slugged my way through the day and actually got some things done. Can’t quite pinpoint what is wrong, but I’m just not feeling up to snuff.
    This past weekend, I went to the Sports and Fitness Expo in Oshkosh and had a great time. I’ll share more about that hopefully tomorrow. I also started training my mom, who gets to be my first personal training guinea pig. I’m so excited about doing this! And I really hope she gets some great results, because she deserves to feel good about that. After that, I worked on a writing project while watching a Big Bang Theory marathon. #BigBangBinge I’ve been challenged to put together a 4-5 page document for my church, so I’ve been giving that some of my undivided attention. Well, sort of…
    Sunday was just as busy with church, followed by a Donut Date with my Peanut (yes, I am human!) and then a living room screening of the Great Gatsby. That is one of my very favorite books of all time, so I love anything to do with the Great Gatsby. After that was Bible study and bedtime. Now, I’m dreaming of bedtime again. I just want to curl up and have someone sing Soft Kitty to me. Only my fellow Big Bangers will understand what that means:)

    Donut date after-church tradition

    Weekly Workout Rundown

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    Monday:
    • 15 min LiveFit back workout in the AM
    • 30 min AM run, 2.44 miles

    Tuesday:
    • 20 min LiveFit chest and abs in the AM
    • 30 min AM run, 2.55 miles
    • 25 min walk at lunch with mom
    • 20 min rest of LiveFit from Monday and Tuesday

    Wednesday:
    • 45 min LiveFit legs workout in the AM

    Thursday:
    • 25 min LiveFit arms and abs in the AM
    • 30 min run, 2.55 miles
    • 30 min bike ride
    Friday:
    • 15 min LiveFit shoulders in the AM
    • 30 min AM run, 2.57 miles
    • 15 min FlashFit workout
    Saturday:
    • 60 min LiveFit legs and more of Friday’s shoulders
    Sunday:
    • Rest

    I am past the halfway point of the LiveFit Series, baby! Every day since I got to add cardio back into my routine, I’ve beat my past mileage by at least a smidge. It really helps to have that little personal competition to be ~Better Every Day. 
    Today I feel like junk, so I’m not really that talkative. I was thisclose to leaving work early, but slugged my way through the day and actually got some things done. Can’t quite pinpoint what is wrong, but I’m just not feeling up to snuff.
    This past weekend, I went to the Sports and Fitness Expo in Oshkosh and had a great time. I’ll share more about that hopefully tomorrow. I also started training my mom, who gets to be my first personal training guinea pig. I’m so excited about doing this! And I really hope she gets some great results, because she deserves to feel good about that. After that, I worked on a writing project while watching a Big Bang Theory marathon. #BigBangBinge I’ve been challenged to put together a 4-5 page document for my church, so I’ve been giving that some of my undivided attention. Well, sort of…
    Sunday was just as busy with church, followed by a Donut Date with my Peanut (yes, I am human!) and then a living room screening of the Great Gatsby. That is one of my very favorite books of all time, so I love anything to do with the Great Gatsby. After that was Bible study and bedtime. Now, I’m dreaming of bedtime again. I just want to curl up and have someone sing Soft Kitty to me. Only my fellow Big Bangers will understand what that means:)

    Donut date after-church tradition

    How to Stay Fit on Vacation

    Our family has taken several trips this past summer, including one that was an entire week long. Like almost every trip I take, I never put my health and fitness on vacation. No, it’s not because I’m crazy; it’s because it makes me a better, healthier person. Keeping up my running habit not only energizes me for a day of sightseeing, it also keeps me centered and happy.

    How to Stay Fit and Active on Vacation
    1. Bring a few supplies: and by supplies, I mean as simple as sneakers, workout clothes, a jump rope and resistance tubing. I don’t want you to haul all your dumbbells and fancy schmancy equipment along. Keep it simple and packable. If you’re bringing resistance tubing, you’ll want to find some easy resistance workouts that you can do anywhere. For cardio, a good pair of running shoes and/or a $1 jump rope is all you need to get in a good sweat session. You can even add 1 minute of jump roping between each resistance tube move to knock strength and cardio out at the same time.
    2. Get up early: and by early, I mean earlier than 10am. No need to get up at 5am like you do at home (unless you want to), but earlier than your travel companions. Then, sneak in a workout before you even get started with your day. It will be much easier to tackle if you get it out of the way first. You won’t want to go for a run after a long day of sightseeing. Knock it out right away and feel that great feeling all day!
    3. Scout out the trails, running routes and hotel equipment. Although hotel equipment can be pretty unpredictable (every treadmill is “out of order”), it can be a great option when it’s storming or cold outside. Many hotels nowadays have a workout room at your disposal. Do some research beforehand to find out what’s available and check customer comments about the conditions of the equipment. Even if you don’t have equipment at your disposal, you can always run outside. Use the user-created running routes on Map My Run to see where the locals are kicking up dust. Or check out American Trails to locate nature trails in your vicinity. I found a running trail when we were staying in Port Washington that now is part of one of my most cherished memories ever. I saw two deer and shared the magic of lightning bugs with my son for the first time ever. It was beautiful.
    4. Build active activities into your itinerary. Obviously, Mackinac Island is navigable by foot, bike or horse only. We did a ton of walking out of necessity, just like on our Crivitz trip last year where we walked miles of trails to see all the waterfalls. But we also like to kayak, hike, swim, snorkel, and so many other active things. We naturally build many of these things into our vacation days. Take a walking tour, rent a bike, take para-sailing lessons, swim in the local lakes, just get out there! Vacations should naturally have an element of fitness to them already, so take advantage.
    5. Eat out only once or twice. In a previous post, I discussed travelling on a budget. One way our family does that is by bringing or buying most of our food from local grocery stores. Not only do we save cash this way, but we also save our waistlines. It is much healthier to eat this way. Yes, splurge while you’re away from home, but only a few times, not for every single meal. Keep healthy snacks like bananas, trail mix and dry cereal with you everywhere you go so you’re less likely to binge when you’re suddenly stricken by severe hunger between meals.
    6. Use what you have: in the Resources section below, I offer a link to a hotel room workout. It’s possible to get a sufficient workout in with only a chair, a wall, a stick and/or your body weight. Put together or search for a workout before you leave that involves the “equipment” that you have available to you. There is no shortage of workouts tailored to these types of conditions.
    7. Borrow your kid’s portable DVD player: Peanut has a DVD player that I used in Chicago to do the Tracy Anderson workout that I picked up there. All I needed to work out was a chair! This is one super portable way to bring your home fitness DVD collection to good use out on the road. If you’re lucky enough to have a DVD player in your hotel room or cabin, you could trim even more from your luggage. If you’re bringing your laptop and it can play videos, you have yet another option.
    Taking in sites on-foot is one of the best ways to navigate your destination. When you run through local parts of town, you will see parts of the city that you never would’ve noticed in a car. In Mackinaw City, I found some neat footpaths, took in gorgeous sunrises and learned the layout of the land much better during my runs. The trail below is one such path that I discovered while running. The city workers use it to get to their day jobs, but it made for such an amazing scenic running route. Peanut even went for a “run” with me on this trail. We had to stop a lot to track chipmunks;) Another beautiful memory.
    It’s hard to resist views like this on a run (Lake Huron, Mackinaw City):
    I hope that these tips have made it easier for you to fit in fitness out on the road. It definitely is more than possible! Once you can find ways to eliminate the excuses for exercising, you can stay fit for life.
    A few resources:
    1. I did this killer workout on YouTube while staying in Mackinaw City, MI. We brought our Google Nexus tablet and had free Wifi, so it worked out pretty swell. You could just do a search for “hotel room workouts,” and get thousands of hits like this.
    2. I always use the Runkeeper app to track my outdoor runs, including time, pace and distance.
    3. I also use the Spotify app while I’m running to listen to tunes, if I’m not surrounded by the lovely sound of waves and birds.
    4. Rubber tubing routines abound on the internet if you do some searching, like this great do-anwhere routine. I also like this Chady Dunmore one from a recent issue of Fitness RX. If the bodybuilders are using it, then it must be good, right?