Tag Archives: Circuit training

Last night, I remembered the grueling Tough Mudder workout that I loved to hate from last summer, and I realized that it would be a great way to maximize my workouts in a hotel gym that lacks both space and equipment. Burpees and push-ups and squat jumps, oh my! When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t feeling my best, so I compromised by tackling just half of the prescribed workout, and that was enough to get my heart pumping and sweat streaming into my eyes. I think Jack was doing an impression of me after my workout in the video above.

I was a little grumpy about the fact that just half of the workout- when I’ve done the ENTIRE thing before- was a challenge today, but I was pleased that the running parts were not as tiring as they were last summer and I was running at a faster pace than I had 10 months ago. Looks like all that running for my 10k paid off!


Falling Off the Wagon… and Remembering to Get Back On!

It is much easier to train yourself NOT to stay on top of your fitness goals than it is to train yourself to keep those fitness goals in mind and drag your sorry carcass to the gym/on a run/anywhere that doesn’t involve wearing pajamas and sitting on the couch reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book.

I know this to be true because I recently did an experiment that involved me not going to the gym or doing anything all that physically active for about two weeks, and then yesterday I made myself get up early and accompany Don to the gym. The results of my experiment prove that it is very easy (and also quite fun!) to snuggle up in bed and make excuses as to why one shouldn’t get up and slip into one’s sneakers, and also that the more times one lies in bed, turns off the alarm and makes excuses, the harder it gets to resist the allure of inactivity.

I hadn’t intended to be quite so inactive for quite such a long time; I was a little bit the victim of circumstances and also a little bit the victim of my own poor planning. After my victorious 10k run (If you haven’t read the post about me finishing my 10k run and making my time goal, please read that one too because it makes me look a WHOLE LOT less lazy than this post does!) and the weekend of celebratory beers and concert, I boarded a plane headed for the US to visit friends and family whom I had not seen in a couple of years…

And then a big storm blew in and my flight got delayed and I was stuck in the Frankfurt airport for a day…

And then I, again, got stuck in the Newark airport for another day when a flight was cancelled, and when I finally made it to my parent’s house in Vermont, exercise was the furthest thing from my mind. The closest things to my mind? A shower and a nap!

I managed to fit in two short, uninspired runs during the week I visited the Northeast- one where snow pelted me in the eyes as I ran, another where the wind blew so ferociously that I turned a corner and was blown to a standstill despite the frantic pumping of my arms and legs- but mostly I sat around and stuffed my face while catching up with my dear family and beloved friends.* As my trip came to a close, I was anxious to return to Germany because- newsflash- we are moving, and while I was loafing around, sampling the best macaroni & cheeses Vermont has to offer, Don sent word that our things needed to be packed post-haste because they were being shipped about a week after my return.

I’ve know about this move for quite a while, but I have neglected to mention it because I thought we had more time. I was (quite obviously) wrong, and you can imagine my distress when all of my returning flights were again cancelled or delayed and it took me an extra three days to get home. You can also probably imagine Don’s distress as most of the responsibilities of packing then fell on his shoulders, and to make matters worse, this isn’t a simple around-the-corner-next-town-over move. Uh-uh, we are moving to eff-ing HAWAII. We are super sad to be leaving Germany (and at the start of Fest season, no less!) but we are also excited to be going to the land of pineapples and sunshine! When I finally arrived home, I had only two days to make sure our stuff was in order. After it was picked up and en route to our new tropical digs,  I could have gone to the gym because its not like I even have a couch to sit on, but…..well….I just took the weekend off for no good reason other than it was easier than not taking the weekend off.

When I finally did drag myself to the gym yesterday, I made sure not to overdo things (although an injury would be a pretty good excuse to not go to the gym…). I did a few circuits of burpees, sit-ups, and box jumps, and followed that with some time on the stationary bike. Today, since Don and I are now sharing a car and he needed to use it to go to work, I didn’t go to the gym and instead opted for a slow 3-mile run in the beautiful Bavarian sunshine.

Yesterday, as I was cursing myself for the last few weeks of laziness and regretting every homemade cookie I ate while I was at my parents’ house; I came to the realization that, although I often dread it, I never regret exercise. I regret many of the things that I love (the aforementioned homemade cookies eaten by the fistful, for example), but exercise- in any form- is never something that I end up wishing I hadn’t done. No matter how little or how much of it I do, I always feel better for having done it. That alone is encouragement enough to convince me not to make an excuse tomorrow and to instead get myself to the gym.

*If you’re like me, you are probably interested in WHAT I was stuffing my face with: Homemade bread, homemade cookies (my parents are turning into quite the bakers), vegetarian sushi, pizza, Vermont craft beers, pad thai, macaroni & cheese (from the Parkside Kitchen in Richmond and again from Twigg’s Gastropub in St. Albans), mexican food, vegetable soup, cheddar soup, garlic bread, maple peanut brittle, and many other things, but those were the highlights! God, I love food.


Variety is the Spice of Life


My Granny once told me that variety is the spice of life, and, although at that point she was referring to my dating life, I think her advice applies to all aspects of life, especially fitness. Having some variety insures that things don’t get stale and we remain interested in fitness and it also means that we are more likely to work our entire bodies so that we have better overall fitness and achieve our goals faster. Good advice, Gran, thanks!

Lately, as you may have noticed, I’ve been doing an absurdly disgusting amount of running which means I’ve been a little lax in doing other forms of fitness. This is partly because I have other things to do during the day besides hang out at the gym, partly because I feel that if I’m torturing myself by running distances of greater than a mile at a frequency of more than twice a month I should get to have a little bit of a break from everything else, and partly because I’m worried about the risk of doing a serious leg session (squats, extensions, curls, raises, presses…) the day after or before a run day or on any day when my legs feel a little sore from running. When I’m running three days a week, it’s hard to find a day that doesn’t fall into any of those categories.

I’ve been trying to make sure I don’t let my upper body strength fall by the wayside in the midst of all this running and also to make sure I’m maintaining flexibility, which I know with every fiber of my being will help ward off running injuries and make me a better runner overall. In addition to the normal weightlifting, using a Neila Rey prescribed workout when I can’t make it to the gym, and keeping loose with Adriene’s yoga, I’ve also been mixing things up with a new circuit training/TABATA class at the gym. I was heartbroken when the spinning class I enjoyed so much got bumped to 7:00pm this winter and then was cancelled entirely, but this circuit training class makes up for it a little bit.

This class is a full body workout and usually consists of nine different stations that are done for three rounds of fifty seconds each (with a little rest in between each round NOT (as I had hoped on day one) between each station), and then a final speed round of thirty seconds for each station. The total time for the entire class (with breaks and instruction time) is slightly less than one hour, and I’m pretty tired and very sweaty when its over. These are the BEST workouts in the shortest amount of time and could easily be tailored to be done just about anywhere with no equipment other than your smokin’ hot body. I really love these classes and am grateful when my schedule allows me to attend one, and I highly recommend checking to see if your gym offers them. They are the ultimate quick and dirty- don’t let the 50 seconds for each station lure you into underestimating these workouts, you’ll work hard but you’ll also be finished with your exercise and resuming your regularly scheduled programming in less time than it takes to watch an episode of Game of Thrones.

An update of this week’s running: We are two weeks away from my March 28th deadline! I managed to stay hydrated and feeling fine all week, and Don joined me for a long 6 miles yesterday morning. We had a pretty good pace (6 miles in 63 minutes), and I enjoyed having Don’s company but was kind of annoyed that he was always a little ahead of me and still seemed fresh at the end of the run when he had been out late with his friends the night before and was a little hungover, and I had gone to bed early and drank nothing but water and tea all week. Some guys have all the luck!

No more training wheels, uh-oh….


The last day of the LiveFit trainer was sort of anticlimactic; it was simply one hour of cardio, and the fact that I had actually completed all twelve weeks didn’t sink in until the NEXT day when I got to the gym and flipped open my notebook to….an empty page.

Instead of a carefully constructed agenda for my day’s workout complete with asterisks and stars marking the supersets and active rests, I had no plan whatsoever. The possibilities were endless, and all that wide-open space to roam free was a little bit daunting. At first, I thought, “haha! See you suckers, I don’t have to BE here, I can just leave if I want, I FINISHED my twelve weeks!”, but that was a stupid thought. Why, oh WHY, would I skip out on my gym routine when I just put all that work into establishing it? Well, honestly because deciding what to do in the gym is not easy. I felt overwhelmed by all of the choices and just when I started to panic, I thought WWJD (Jamie, not Jesus)?

I realized that it was, in theory, a Legs day, and I flipped back through all of the previous Legs days and pieced together my workout based on my favorites of Jamie’s exercises, I call it Legs: Greatest Hits. While definitely not original, I ended up with a good workout and hopefully I will get more brave about designing my own. The rest of the week was much the same; I picked exercises from the LiveFit Trainer based on which body part I was focusing on each day and tried to do forty-five minutes to an hour of lifting and thirty minutes of cardio.

My schedule has gotten a little wonky with all of the festive gatherings of the holiday season, so I am taking two or even three days off from the gym in the coming weeks. In order to be consistent, I will continue to pick ala carte from Jamie’s workouts and follow her schedule as best I can through the holidays, and then I may do Phases Two and Three over again, we’ll see what the New Year brings.

This first week after finishing LiveFit was more difficult than actually doing the program. While I like having the freedom to change things around if, say, the leg press machine has a line of twenty people waiting for it, I am apprehensive about being able to design a workout that gets the job done without overdoing it. Thanks to Jamie, I have some guidelines to help me out.

Now that I’ve moved away from the circuit training featured in Weeks 11 and 12 and gone back to doing fewer reps with more weight, I realize that I have become much stronger even within the last month. For the first time, I put weights on my barbell to bench press (no joke, up until today I used only the barbell, my arms are about as useful as a T-Rex’s) and I added an extra five pounds for my squats. Even though I enter the gym feeling uncertain about the choices I have made for my workout, I usually leave feeling like Wonder Woman, and that, my friends, is pretty badass.