HIIT

Fueling Up!

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Things have been going so well with my knee that I’ve stopped blogging my daily workouts and am going back to just writing about unique workouts and nutrition! It also doesn’t help that it’s school season again so my full-time job has ramped up and I’m once again at the mercy of teachers and students needing all things technical.

Yesterday I signed up for The Heist!! This is an all-women’s bouldering competition held at Central Rock Gym (my home gym) in Watertown, MA. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since I heard about it after CRG’s Ring of Fire comp back in March. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to compete due to my knee, but I’m back in the gym twice a week and I’m feeling strong so let’s do this!

I’ll admit, I’m nervous. I’m still very much a beginner climber; my height to weight ratio really works against me in the gym. So even though I’ve been climbing twice a week since January, my techniques’ just so-so and I’ll be competing at a beginner’s level. This means I’ll be attempting 5 bouldering problems rated V0-V2 over the course of 3 hours. That is a LONG comp, much longer than the one I did back in March. I honestly rarely do gym sessions that are so long and while the length is really to give people time to rest between attempts, folks who need more attempts (as I might due to my level) will just end up climbing more. My goal is literally to not come in last. This is a real goal for me because in my last comp, well, I came in last. 

Due to the healing time for my knee I missed out on the chance to train with The Heist CRG Team so for now I’m on my own. I’m training by bouldering once a week to gain strength and skill and top roping once a week to help me with endurance. I also just treated myself to new shoes (I’ll blog about those another time) since my old shoes were starting to fall apart and really weren’t ideal for bouldering. On the days I’m not in the gym I’m doing a mix of cardio (biking for my knee), tabata/HiiT workouts, kettlebell strength training, and yoga.

It’s been interesting, as I work to strengthen my legs and upper body I’ve been gaining weight. A chunk of that is from new muscle, but if I’m honest with myself a larger chunk comes from allowing myself to drift into a summer junk food diet cheating more and more on my allergy diet. I’d still say overall I’m a very healthy eater, but I’ve had fried clams/oysters, lobster salads, bagels with lox, burgers and beer, Mexican and margaritas, and all sorts of things that are great once in a while but not once a week. It’s time to slim down, which means being strict about not eating foods I’m allergic to and keeping my portions reasonable with a paleo-tilt. Every pound in my body is a pound I’m dragging up the wall with me. Thankfully, this is also harvest season so my kitchen is FULL of local, organic produce, most of which from my or my Dad’s garden.

This week I’m trying out a few new recipes. The first one was Punjabi Baingan Bharta, which is an eggplant dish that I actually enjoy (I usually hate eggplant). I basically followed that recipe to a T except that I quadrupled the amount of garam masala, added a little turmeric and cardamom, and used an immersion blender at the end. Its was so good!

Last night though was INCREDIBLE!! It was adapted heavily from this recipe, but I’ll put my whole recipe here.

Grilled Chicken with Raw Peanut Ginger Lime Veggies

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Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, or an oil of your choosing
  • 3 large or 5 small carrots, spiraled or peeled into noodles*
  • 1 large zucchini spiraled or peeled into noodles*
  • 1 medium beet spiraled or peeled into noodles*
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (or almond or cashew butter if you’re strict paleo)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut milk (use canned or “cooking coconut milk”)
  • 2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

*Note: I use the GEFU Spirelli Spiral Slicer but have my eye on the Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Plastic Spiral Vegetable Slicer. The GEFU works well for zucchini but for the carrots and beets I just used a vegetable peeler to make strips.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your grill (if it’s not grilling season you can pan-fry the chicken in coconut oil, ghee or an oil of your choosing). In a small bowl mix olive oil, salt and pepper and brush on chicken (note: if you’re pan-frying just sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken).
  2. In a medium bowl mix the nut butter, coconut milk, aminos, cayenne, garlic, ginger, and lime juice. 
  3. Begin grilling the chicken, depending on the thickness it should be grilled about 6 minutes per side to an internal temperature of 165ºF.
  4. Mix spiraled/peeled veggies with cilantro and stir in sauce.
  5. After chicken has cooled for ~5 minutes cut it into bite-sized chunks and mix in with the “pasta” until fully coated in the sauce.
  6. Serves two!

Finally, here are two of my favorite DIY workouts from the past two weeks. These are both core and lower-body intensive to compliment my climbing and knee recovery, but they are still full-body workouts (and both started with 30 mins on the exercise bike doing intervals and end with 15-20 mins of yoga):

8/22/2014 3 Rounds for Time (my time = 20 mins)

  1. KB backward lunge row and pass under x 20 (26lb KB)
  2. Weighted sit-up and butt-lift x 10 (15lb dumbbell)
  3. Single-leg lateral lift x 10 each side (5 lb ankle weights)
  4. KB Single-leg deadlifts x 5 each side (26lb KB)
  5. Single-leg kick-backs x 10 each side (5 lb ankle weights)

9/3/2014 – 2 Rounds for Time (my time = 22 mins) – I purposely lowered the KB weight for this per my Physical Therapist as I get back into weighted squats. I’d normally use a 26lb KB so choose your own weight that’s right for you.

  1. Weighted double-leg lifts x 15 (5 lb ankle weights)
  2. Single-leg lateral lift x 15 each side (5 lb ankle weights)
  3. Single-leg medial lift x 15 each side (5 lb ankle weights)
  4. 2 X 20 Kettlebell One-Arm Swings (15lb KB)
  5. Figure 4 Squats x 12 each leg (15lb KB)
  6. Weighted Deadlift kickbacks x 15 each side (15lb KB + 5 lb ankle weights)

Enjoy the beginning of the change of season and remember to eat those fresh veggies!!

 

Killer Sunday Morning

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It’s a little hard to believe that today I’ve already been to the airport, my office, spent 1.5 hours at the gym and had an awesome breakfast and it’s not even 9:30am yet. You can do a lot when you get up at 4am…not that I recommend it. 😉

One big plus was that the gym was dead, so I felt more comfortable there than usual, and I enjoyed a whole lane to myself in the pool. Here was today’s workout. I have to say it felt harder than it looks on paper, probably because I was pretty exhausted to start with. The total time was 1.5 hours:

  1. 30 minute spinning using intervals (I used their built-in spin class option and it actually wasn’t bad, I enjoyed it more than the real spin class I took on Monday mostly because the instructor was very detailed and took a lot of time to explain proper form)
  2. Two sets of the following:
    1. Hanging straight leg lifts x 5
    2. TRX Low Row x 10
    3. Kettlebell Swings x 30 (12kg/26.5 lbs)
    4. Side-plank leg-lifts x 10 each side
    5. Lying on stomach, lift one leg back, foot pointed x 10 each side
    6. Weighted sit-ups x 10 (15 lbs)
    7. Weighted seated twists x 20 (15 lbs)
  3. ~10 minutes of stretching, including a full leg series with a resistance band.
  4. 500 meters swimming, various strokes.

Then I hung out in the hot tub for a little bit, aiming the jets at my ITBs, which have been pretty tight this week due to all the cycling. I was thrilled that my PT cleared me to do the KB swings again, though she wants me to try to keep my legs straight, and I normally add squats to them. That was a little challenging but not bad.

I got creative today with the PT exercises. From my previous entries, this is what I’ve been tasked to do daily:

  1. Leg lift series (wearing 5 lb ankle weights on each ankle, per PT):
    Single-leg-lift x 30 each side
    Side leg-lifts x 30 each side
    Lying on stomach, lift one leg back, foot pointed x 30 each side

I had already modified the forward leg lifts and was adding crunches and doing some as double-legs instead of single. The hanging leg lifts today were really intense and more full-body than my previous modification. I really struggled to complete 10 and am looking forward to building up to 20 at a time and beyond. Doing the side-leg-lifts in a side-plank was also quite intense and more full-body. I love that both challenged my core. For the reverse lifts I still did it the old way today, mostly due to exhaustion. I’d like to possible try them with the TRX the next time I’m back in the gym.

So that wraps up my last workout before Seattle. I’m still trying to figure out what I can do there to remain active. I’m bringing my yoga mat and am hoping to bring my ankle weights, with some of the weight removed, as long as I don’t go over the bag weight limit. I really want to rent a bike but have been FLOORED by the prices for a one week rental. I could actually buy a bike on Craiglist and give it away at the end of the week for less than the cost of renting a bike. Honestly, our car rental is cheaper than renting a bike. There is seriously something wrong with that equation.

Wish me luck and remember that injury doesn’t need to equate to a sedentary lifestyle. There’s always *something* you can do to keep moving. 🙂

No-Knee-Pain Workout

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Another day, another workout. This was a bit condensed from yesterday since I had to squeeze it into an hour:

  1. Light warmup.
  2. 20 mins on the bike set to “random” with an average level at 10.
  3. Circuit x 2:
    1. Kneeling weighted pushups + rows x 10 (10 lbs each arm, totally bummed I needed to keep my knees down, but the one-leg plank didn’t work for the rows)
    2. Leg lift series (per PT):
      Straight-leg-lift-crunches x 10
      Side leg-lifts x 10 each side
      Lying on stomach, lift one leg back, foot pointed x 10 each side
    3. KB press R x 10 (26.5 lbs)
    4. KB press L x 10 (26.5 lbs)
    5. TRX bicep curl
  4. 10 mins stretching, including leg stretches with resistance band.
  5. Swam 500 meters

It was a good workout. Definitely got my sweat going and I felt like it was a good incorporation of full-body. Reflecting, I feel I should have just done pilates this morning though, since I did a circuit yesterday so I’ve lifted two days in a row, and tomorrow I take an intermediate yoga class at night so it would have been more balanced to do pilates today and then the hard workout tomorrow morning followed by yoga at night. I’ll get a routine going eventually. 🙂

Oh, and I rocked my Vibrams today! First day with them in the gym and it felt great! I usually exercise barefoot or in Vibrams at home so it made me feel much more comfortable.

Recovering from Injury

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About two weeks ago I wrote a long post about how I injured my knee at the end of May and the many frustrations I’ve had seeking proper treatment for it. I thought it was my best entry ever, which meant, naturally, that the entire body of the post disappeared when I hit “publish”. After much ado, tech support let me know there was no hope in getting it back. I will hopefully wrangle up the hutzpah to re-write it at some point, but for now I’m just moving on.

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So, quick facts on what’s up:

  1. The last week of May I banged my knee against the climbing walls while bouldering (not unlike me, I have very little grace in my legs when I climb) and bruised my distal quad tendon right at the top of the patella.
  2. The very next day I could barely move my knee and was in a ton of pain. Ice/rest/elevation and I was getting better.
  3. Feeling better, I went back to my normal workouts, which left me unable to walk for two days…crap.
  4. Spent a month modifying workouts and using ice when needed. No pain killers. Still struggling with pain so I saw my PCP, who sent me to an Orthopedist, who diagnosed me with a very small tear on the distal quad tendon and sent me to Physical Therapy.
  5. I haven’t been able to teach yoga since I can’t squat or lunge, I also can’t run/jump or do bodyweight exercises with significant quad engagement. Not easy, but I’ve been making it work.
  6. Just started PT yesterday, which already has made a difference. I have scar tissue in my quad so it will take 4-6wks to repair, as opposed to ~3 if I came in right away, but it WILL repair.

So I’m looking at about another month of recovery as long as I’m careful and keep my fitness up. Unfortunately, much of what I’ve been asked to do (swimming, cycling) I can’t do at home so my loving partner bought me a 1 month membership at our local cattle-call gym. It’s one of those fancy Boston Sports Clubs and, frankly, I fucking hate it. That said, recovery is the most important thing. I’m a physical person, I have two physical jobs and I was preparing for a climbing comp in September, which I still have a chance for if I take care of myself. My leg will also, hopefully, be with me my entire life so I have to treat it right.

I’m posting today to start a log of my workouts. This may not be daily, but I thought this would both help me track what I’m doing and possibly help give others with knee injuries ideas on what they can do. The most common thing I see as a massage therapist is clients who get injured, get out of a normal exercise routine, lose fitness and struggle to get it back or give up entirely and become sedentary. I’ve personally seen this lead to chronic health issues including depression, chronic aches and pains, insomnia, and in extreme cases issues like heart conditions and diabetes due to weight gain. Let’s face it, we all know proper diet and exercise make a huge improvement to our quality of health, so the lack of exercise can lead to poorer health. This is one of the reasons I’m fighting to stay fit, while also ensuring I treat my knee right to prevent further injury. The Orthopedist said this is not a time to “play through the pain” unless I want to be back in 6 months with a completely torn tendon; at which point I would need surgery. No surgery, please!

On to the workouts…

First one is a circuit I’ve been doing at home. I start with a 5-10 min warmup and end with ~15 minutes of yoga for a cool down, ensuring that I’m not doing lunges, squats or two-legged planks on the right.

No knee pain circuit (repeat 2-3x) – Total Time 30-45 mins
  1. One-Legged Wide-Arms Pushups x 10 (bad leg on top)
  2. Bicep and forearm curls x 20 each (10lbs)
  3. Tricep overhead and push x 20 each (10lbs)
  4. L side-crunch x 20
  5. R side-crunch x 20
  6. Chest push and flys x 20 each (10lbs)
  7. Kettlebell Seated Twists x 40 (26lbs)
  8. Weighted sit-ups x 10 (15lbs)
  9. Butt-lifts->legs straight full sit-ups x 10
  10. One-Legged Close-Arms Pushups x 10 (bad leg on top)

And here’s what I did for my first two days at the gym:

7/14/14 – Total time: 1:15

  1. 45 min spin class without standing
  2. 10 mins stretching
  3. 8 laps in olympic-sized pool, various strokes
  4. 10 mins sauna

Reaction: Spin class was SO BORING!! I really struggle with machines that use a lot of cardio but don’t go anywhere. I get the rat-in-a-cage syndrome. That said, I have to bike right now so…

7/15/14 – Total time: 1:15

  1. 30 mins cycling, using intervals for both speed and tension
  2. 5 mins upper-body stretching
  3. Circuit 2x of:
    1. Chest push and flys on ball x 10 each (12.5lbs)
    2. Bicep and forearm curls x 10 each (12.5lbs)
    3. Tricep overhead and push on ball x 10 each (12.5lbs)
    4. Leg lift series (per PT):
      1. Lying on back, lift one leg up, foot flexed, and lift upper body into a crunch x 10 each side.
      2. Side leg-lifts x 10 each side.
      3. Lying on stomach, lift one leg back, foot pointed x 10 each side.
    5. Side-crunches x 10 each side.
  4. 5 mins stretching
  5. Swam 5 laps, various strokes, one lap with kick board.
  6. Attempted to sit in steam room, it smelled like a pile of old socks.

 Reaction: This was much more my style, even though I still wanted to gauge my eyes out during the cycling. It’s so boring. I have to find a way to make it more fun. The circuit was good, shorter than I’d like but it’s hard to fit everything in before work. As it is, ideally my PT would like me to do 40 mins on the bike and I’d like to have swam longer, but I really needed the circuit to make me feel good in my upper body and abs. I realize swimming is a full-body workout, but as someone who’s used to lifting weights, it’s not enough for my upper body.

Through this process I’m also tightening up my diet. I have been cheating on my food allergy diet off and on since moving back to MA; lots of temptations down here. It’s amazing that in just not eating the things I’m allergic to I drop weight immediately…like 7 lbs in a week. That’s just pure gut inflammation, and I was feeling it as my belly started protruding again. For the record, this is not a calorie-restrictive diet, it’s simply not eating the foods I was diagnosed as being allergic to. Huzzah science!

Speaking of which…after a workout like that a healthy breakfast is imperative! This is what I went for:

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Eggs on a gluten-free millet bun with half an avocado with salt + pepper and a small handful of fresh fruit. I have my healthy fats, a good amount of protein, and some carbs to perk me up. Feeling great!!

C25K Redux & Climbing for the Top!

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In spite of it being 0ºF at my doorstep this morning, I’m thinking towards Spring! This year I signed up for my first official 5K. For anyone who’s been following my blog for a while, you know I began running back in April of 2010 using the Couch-to-5K program with the Get Running App. I also chose to run close to barefoot with Vibram Five Fingers (first KSOs, then the Treksports and now the Spyridon LS). I’ve continued running off and on since then but I generally don’t run much in the winter because I’m neither a fan of treadmills nor am I a fan of being cold. I also honestly don’t enjoy running as much as I enjoy climbing or yoga or HiiT workouts, so it tends to fall near the bottom of my list.

All that said, my school is involved in a 5K so I’ve decided to support them by participating. This is a big deal for me because I really don’t enjoy crowds so while I love obstacle courses and trail running, I haven’t been competitive about it. While I probably don’t technically need the C25K program this time around, since I’ve maintained good physical fitness, I want to take it slow so I can work on my form and rebuild any running-specific muscles that I may have been neglecting in the winter months. Unfortunately, this means using my treadmill right now (at least until all this %&*@# snow melts), but that does give me the ability to maintain consistent speeds and challenge myself to go faster in my runs. I specifically like to alternate running speeds, which is not part of the C25K regimen, because it both helps keep me engaged and builds better cardio by keeping my body guessing.

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In addition to the running, I’m working on leveling up in climbing! I’ve been climbing off and on for a couple years now but became a member at Central Rock Gym in January and have been hitting the walls 2-3 times per week since then. It’s amazing how addictive it is. I’ve found myself devouring climbing videos on YouTube and the more I watch others climb the more confident I’m getting in my own climbing. Above you’ll see my first bouldering route with a heel hook (which was super fun!) and since then I’ve been working more on my technique and was stoked to kill a couple V2’s at the gym yesterday!

My top roping has also improved. I went from climbing a 5.6-5.7 to now successfully completing 5.9’s. Once I get confident with the 5.9/5.10 range I can begin learning lead climbing, which means I’ll be responsible for hooking in my own rope on several preset lead carabiners along the route. This will help prepare me for outdoor climbing, which I’m hoping to try this summer.

For a girl who’s afraid of heights I’ve come a long way! The thing I really gain by climbing is when the confidence I have in myself is greater than my fear of heights. I’m not afraid of falling when I know I can hold myself up. Obviously, this can be applied to many facets of life, which I’m finding is the real thing I seek with physical fitness. Yoga teaches me to find moments of calm even in the most stressful situations. High intensity trainings and climbing both help me gain confidence in my body and mind and challenge me to push further.

They’re not kidding when they say “strong is the new beautiful”. 🙂

Planting Your Seed of Fitness

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I’ve taken a long road to “fit”. Honestly, I was that kid who faked illnesses to get out of gym class and would gladly tell you the only time I ran was if something was chasing me. Now I’m on a regular schedule of working out for at least 45 minutes every day before work, alternating between high intensity interval training (HiiT), yoga and pilates. I hit the rock gym 2-3 times per week and attend yoga classes 2-3 times per week. I’ve fallen in love with kettlebells and weights. I take at least one day off a week for rest and ensure I’m alternating between exercising those fast-twitch muscles with those intense workouts with building slow twitch muscles and flexibility through yoga. Right now this is a good balance for me and I’m excited to see where I go from here. The things is, it was a long road to get here.

My partner has a favorite (non-original) line that he likes to use when I’m being self-defeating. “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.” He reminded me of this just this week as I was watching bouldering competitions on YouTube and lamenting that while I’m falling in love with climbing I will never be phenomenal at it. Excuses poured out of my mouth. “I’m too old, these climbing athletes started when they were kids.” “I’m too tall and heavy.” “I’m afraid of heights.” The list goes on and on, but I have to admit that after watching these athletes compete I learned new techniques and the next time I hit the gym I was able to do harder routes and I had more confidence. I don’t expect to be a rock star climber, but the point is that I’m getting better. I’m planting my seed today.

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“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”

I mentioned my road to being fit was a long one. The first time I was even introduced to a type of fitness I enjoyed was when I was about 15 and my theatre teacher showed us yoga during our warmups. It was slow and gentle and I could get into it. I then found that I enjoyed the jumping parts of track and field (high jump, triple jump, long jump, pole vaulting) which was fun for a while but I quickly became intimidated by the real athletes on my team and I also loathed the warmups. So that didn’t stick.

It wasn’t until after college that I really started caring about fitness. I moved to Boston, found myself walking to work and eating better (honestly, anything other than fast food was better than I had been eating in college) and I started dropping weight without even trying. I decided to check out a local yoga class and quickly fell in love. But, I’d walk through the gym to get to my class and would shake my head at the crowd on treadmills, ellipticals, and the weight benches. In part I was intimidated, and in another part I just felt like I wasn’t in that crowd. I had terribly negative misconceptions that people were there out of pure vanity and that it was just some daytime sex club for post sorority chicks and frat dudes. Years later I would find out how wrong I was, but at that time it was just not my scene.

It wasn’t until I went to school for massage that I started to really get it. The body is an incredibly fascinating thing. On one hand, it’s fascinating because of the amount of abuse it can take and keep on ticking. On the other hand, when you care for it right the body is capable of amazing feats of greatness. What I had yet to learn was that even MY body was capable of those things. 

Practicing massage is a lot like dancing. It takes a good amount of coordination and balance. It takes a good understanding of body mechanics and physics to avoid self-injury. Practitioners also benefit from being fit and healthy and having a more developed upper-body. I was blessed to have some classmates that came from the fitness world and they coached me to try getting in better shape and eating healthier. 

I started with free weights. Small weights, high reps. The reason this worked for me is that it wasn’t painful to do, and I saw results very quickly. I enjoyed feeling strong and seeing my muscles develop. Naturally, I then wanted to eat foods that helped fuel my body so I also began learning about better nutrition; a subject I continue to explore daily.

I continued with yoga and weights and naturally I had several lapses where I just slowly got out of my routine, only to pick it up again months later. But every time I got back into it I tried to take things further. I explored different types of yoga; some extremely challenging. I walked more and began hiking. I found summer activities, like paddling, running and swimming, that kept my attention and kept me active. It all started building. I was exercising because I wanted to be in shape for massage, and then the type of exercise I was doing demanded different parts of my body to be more fit so I started doing other exercises to support that. For example, when I found I enjoyed paddling it only made sense that I was continue with my free weights to build upper body strength. And in continuing with free weights I would need yoga to help me stretch those muscles for recovery. The combination of strength and flexibility came back into my massage sessions and I had more stamina.

It was about two years ago that I started getting into HiiT by following some videos online. For me, this was a perfect fit because I get bored easily if I’m doing a “routine”. The HiiT workouts I was doing were different every day. Similar to crossfit, I faced a new challenge and often didn’t know in advance what it was going to be. All I knew was that by the end I would be sweating my butt off and I would feel like She Ra. I suppose you can say I became addicted to the adrenaline; I definitely enjoyed the challenge.

I have to give the caveat that in most cases I do not recommend starting a new type of exercise by watching a video. It’s important, especially with intense workouts, to use proper form. By this point I had been working with a personal trainer, had studied anatomy/kinesiology and felt I was body-aware. Even still, I quickly transitioned to going to a kickboxing class that also did circuit training and I found it extremely helpful to have someone there who could call me out if my form was poor.

So I planted that seed back in 2003 that I wanted to be fit and my tree is still growing. I’m not a super-athelete, but I also feel like I could hold my own during the zombie apocalypse. The trick is to stick with it. Find new challenges that keep you interested. Listen to your body and know it’s a-ok to start slow. I started with walking and now I’m climbing three stories in the air and swinging around 25lb kettlebells like they’re kittens.

Also, did I mention the health benefits? Once upon a time I had “bad knees”, was on meds for acid reflux and insomnia, got colds regularly, and I had exercise induced asthma. With the right diet and exercise routine those have become vices of my past. I thought those illnesses were just part of who I was. Now my immune system is bangin’ and I feel stronger than I ever have!

I do have to say from my own fitness progress and from watching the progress of my clients over the years, it is imperative that you start at a level that’s appropriate for you. Diving head-first into a fitness routine that’s too strenuous for you is a great recipe for failure. For one thing, there’s a high chance of injury, which can start a terrible cycle of having to stop working out to heal, only to jump back in, overdo it, and re-injure yourself. So please listen to your body and take it at your own pace. The next issue is that if it hurts or you end up so sore you can barely walk the next day, you’re probably not going to want to keep going. Yes, it’s normal to have some burn, especially when you’re just starting out, but you can get in shape without pain. Seriously, I did it. If I was in constant pain I would not have made it this far. If you’re unsure of your fitness level and where to start I highly recommend working with a personal trainer. But if you can’t afford that it’s not a good excuse to not exercise. 😉 Look for community classes, beginner videos or just start with something really basic like long walks and a little jogging.

Finally, remember there is no finish line. Fitness is ongoing. Plant your tree today and keep growing!

Want some motivation? I just recorded my first virtual yoga class! Please check it out and let me know what you think:

For those of you who enjoy HiiT, I created two new progressions this week. It’s been a while since I’ve posted these but I’m hoping to make it a habit again. If you try them let me know how you did! Remember to warm up first!

Full Body, Cardio Focus (2 rounds, 45 sec activity, 15 sec rest)
  1. KB Swings (my reps 24/25)
  2. High knees 
  3. Side-plank leg-lift R (my reps 14/14)
  4. Side-plank leg-lift L (my reps 14/14)
  5. High knees
  6. KB snatch R (my reps 8/7)
  7. KB snatch L (my reps 7/7)
  8. High knees
Bicep Buster (3 rounds for time, my time 16:50)
  1. 10 reverse pull-ups in a pyramid (6-10-6 seconds) (for this, start at the top of the pull-up position and slowly lower down while counting out the seconds; for those who are proficient with pull-ups you can do regular pull-ups at the slow pace; for those who are new to pull-ups, try using a strap and modify as necessary to avoid injury)
  2. 15 R side crunches
  3. 15 L side crunches
  4. 30 bicycle reps
  5. 30 air squats
Now go shovel a foot of snow. 😉 Hehe, those on the East Coast may know what I’m talking about. I shoveled a good 14″ after this workout, and then did my cool down.