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More Posts….

So just to catch you up on some of the posts from Redefining Strength….

1. Burpees – We all love to hate them, but they are a great full-body cardio exercise you can do anywhere. Here are 10 Burpee Variations to try. And if you need a really quick workout option, try to do 50 burpees as fast as you can. Now there is a great workout in under 5 minutes!


2. Travel Workouts – Staying in shape while traveling can be difficult, especially when you are busy and don’t have access to the equipment you usually use. That is why it is important to have equipment you can easily bring with you and use in your hotel room. Here are three great tools, 30 exercises and a quick 15-minute workout to help you stay in shape while traveling!

travel workout total valgym

3. The Kettlebell Swing – Crossfit has made the American Swing super popular. But personal I HATE the American Swing. I think it is pointless and dangerous and I will never teach it. Sorry Crossfit. You have many good points but the American Swing is not one of them.


So if you want a beneficial kettlebell swing exercise to truly target your glutes, you need to learn the traditional swing. This hip hinge movement is one of the best to get your glutes activated and help you develop strength and power. Check out this post on how to do the kettlebell swing and basic variations.

4. WORK YOUR CORE – And no…I don’t mean do crunches. I wrote two different posts on core exercises using two different pieces of equipment – the suspension trainer and the sandbag – because working your core is important to become stronger, faster and prevent/alleviate pain and injury.

However, working your core isn’t as simple as doing crunches – it means working everything from your shoulders to your knees down your frontside AND your backside.

That is why these exercises are so wonderful.



What are your favorite burpee variations and core exercises? Are you a fan of the American Swing? How do you stay in shape while traveling?


So I heard this great quote in an ESPN 30 for 30 last night…

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

YES! This is why I’ve said you need to plan out your workouts and diet program and PROGRESS yourself toward your goal!

But apparently not everyone has heard this quote before.

Yesterday I was also told about a trainer that plays “Bingo” to provide people with their workouts.


Basically, people pull exercises out of a hat and the exercises that they pull out make up their workout for that day.

That means they could pull out all leg exercises and just completely annihilate their legs that day even if they did a leg workout already that week. It could also mean that they pulled out four or five sheets with the same exercise on it so that they had to do burpees the entire workout.


When I heard this, I honestly had to shake myself because I couldn’t believe it. It was potentially the dumbest thing I’d ever heard.

Talk about a lazy trainer. Sorry…but it’s true. And potentially a dumb trainer…Because who the heck could put such little thought into their workouts for their clients and think it was ok!?!

And the worst part about all of this for me was that it wasn’t even being done with people who were just casually working out (not that it would be good even then!)…BUT it was being done with a college athletic team!


A team competing at a high level with specific needs – a specific GOAL!

How the could that trainer think it was ok to have them do random exercises? Did that trainer really think it would help the players reach a SPECIFIC goal!?! Random exercises!?!

And all of the players weren’t even doing the same intensity workout or working the same parts so when they went to do a “planned” workout later that week, some of them may have already completely destroyed that muscle earlier when they played BINGO while others may not have worked that muscle for over a week!

Plus it the stupid game didn’t address imbalances or injuries or ANYTHING!


Seriously hearing that made me so angry.

It also made me sure that I had to post the following statement:

Just because someone has a title or certification DOESN’T mean they actually KNOW anything.

Sorry…but it doesn’t.

So that is why I constantly post that you’ve got to experiment and do your own research.

You should be able to judge if what you are given by a trainer or dietitian or anyone else for that matter has merit. You should be able to judge if something is totally bogus and worthless or something that does have potential to get you to your goal.

And please…NEVER….EVER…play BINGO as your workout!!!!

The moves you love to hate…

So one of the challenges for the Under Armour challenge was to film the move you “love to hate.”

It was sort of hard to pick one…just kidding…but not really…

There are so many moves that I really don’t like doing, but at the same time I love them because I know that I only hate them because they are super good for me.

Usually the moves I love to hate are moves that never seem to get easier and almost always leave me feeling tired and sore the next day. They are moves that the masochistic me likes.

The Top 10 Moves I Love to Hate!

  1. “Walking Lunges” – So these are in the video I made for the challenge. I wear a weight vest while doing them, which only really makes them more “lovely.” To do them you jump up and slightly forward as you switch and lunge on the other side. There is something about this plyometric “walking” forward that is torturous. Your legs burn and you get winded. Definitely a move to love to hate.
  2. Balance Lunges – These are always uncomfortable and painful. Maybe it is just that my balance isn’t awesome but I never have fun doing these. With these, your back foot is up on a bench and you are balancing in a lunge position. Like with the split squat, you just lower the back knee to the ground without going forwards or backwards.
  3. Dips – These are also in the video. I did them with a weight vest. They suck enough without it though. These for me are just frustrating. There are some days when I can easily bust out ten in a row and other days when one seems impossible. A great upper body and core exercise though!
  4. Step ups – I can’t explain why I hate these so much, but it might have to do with the cardio aspect of stepping up and down quickly with weights while my legs burn. I like isolating one leg when I do step ups. I don’t alternate legs and I make one leg do all the work while climbing.
  5. Overhead presses – I think I don’t like these because my shoulders are weak. Also the burnout of such a small muscle group always gets me. Try not to arch your back too much as you press weight straight overhead.
  6. Planks – I always seem to do planks after I’ve done shoulders, which makes planks extremely un-fun. Plus I hate any exercise where you have to hold a pose…Maybe that is why I “love/hate” yoga….
  7. Wall sits – Again…I have to sit still why my legs burn and begin to shake. Who doesn’t love/hate that!?!
  8. Burpees – So if I’ve killed my upper body, my arms hurt a bit during burpees. If I’ve killed my legs, my legs hurt during burpees. If I haven’t killed anything, I get out of breath and my lungs hurt during burpees. Anyway you look at it, burpees are torturous for some reason!
  9. Rowing – I’m honestly not sure why I hate rowing so much…Maybe it is the fact that my legs feel like they won’t function and I feel like I’m going to puke when I’ve gone all out on the erg…Yea…I think that might be the reason…
  10. Pull ups – So actually I love pull ups. Sometimes they frustrate me, but I still love them. I feel like this exercise though is definitely one that most women love to hate…or well just hate for that matter!

What moves do you love to hate?

P.S. Foam rolling video coming at the end of this week!!!

Getting our Vitamin D

It has been nice outside the past few days so Ryan and I have gone outside to workout. A great way to get our Vitamin D for the day! (More about the importance of Vitamin D later!)

Our favorite outdoor workout spot is down by the Charles River. There is a little outdoor workout area with pull up bars and places to do abs, push ups, inverted rows, plyometrics and more.

Last year we did the Murph down there.

This year our first outdoor workout was:

1 round as fast as you can:

50 Pull ups
50 Push Ups
50 Inverted Rows
50 Dips
50 Burpees
50 Sit ups

The 1.5 mile walk down to the river felt good, but the 1.5 mile walk back wasn’t near as fun. The workout was definitely a bit harder because we aren’t yet used to the heat and humidity.

What made the walk back more rewarding was a nice BBQ meal with some delicious Cider Sangria.

We grilled up some delicious Grass-fed Buffalo Flank Steak courtesy of The Meat House!

No sauce needed! Just seasoned with cumin, smoked paprika, salt and pepper!

Feeling Tired

I love feeling completed exhausted after my workouts. I love that feeling of just wanting to sit on the couch and not move for a couple of hours.

I especially love that feeling when it takes me less than 30 minutes to get it!

Like today, Ryan and I went down to the gym in our apartment building. This honestly is one of the most ridiculous gyms I’ve ever seen. Four treadmills, two recumbent bikes, a bench press machine, a leg extension machine and one functional trainer (aka a cable machine with a pull up bar). It also has medicine balls up to 10lbs and 3 kettlebells ranging from like 2lbs to 20lbs. Not exactly a personal trainers dream gym.

BUT that didn’t stop us from getting in a killer workout in the very small space that we had. We mostly wanted a cardio workout after doing the 300 yesterday.

So we did:

4 rounds as fast as possible of:

400m Run
20 Burpees (Chest touches the ground on each one)
20 Sit-ups
1 minute wall sit

Great workout that took less than 15 minutes. I got a nice sweat going and my legs started to burn during wall sits especially after the 50 deadlifts yesterday!

Yep..A great cardio session in less than 15 minutes. So why are you spending an hour on the treadmill?

Below is another great workout although it took a bit longer between the heavy lift and the circuit. Still under an hour though (I didn’t really pay attention to exactly how long).


Back squat 5×5

Auxiliary Lift circuit: 5 rounds as fast as possible

500m Row
15ea 1 Leg Squats
30 Box Jumps
30 KB Swings
30 Jump Knee Tucks (Jump as high as you can and bring your knees to your chest as much as possible)

Also, an awesome “Show Me Yours” photo from Francine. A different way to show off her Man Biceps and Man Lats!

Nice back muscles!

Now go workout and have a great Sunday and a great Easter or Passover! 🙂

The 10 Best Exercises you can do anywhere!

So our gym is closed until January 1st for reconstruction. Numerous members were upset because they wouldn’t be able to workout for an entire week.

This got me to thinking about workouts you could do at home.

If you are like me, you have dumbbells, resistance bands, pull up bars, push up stands, yoga mats and a foam roller.

If you are the average person, you probably have walls, chairs, floors, towels and other household furniture and supplies.

But the average person, who doesn’t own even a single piece of equipment, can get in a great home workout just by doing these 10 moves! (The following are in no particular order…they are all awesome…ok but Burpees are definitely the best!)

1. Burpee – If you doubt why this move is on the list, than you’ve never done a burpee. This cardiovascular move is sure to make you feel out of breath and work up a sweat.

2. Push Ups (handstand, decline, one foot off the ground) – Be it the basic push up or something as crazy as a handstand push up, this move is one of the best upper body exercises out there! It will also work your abs!

3. 1 leg squats (to bench) – If you don’t have weights, isolating one leg can make your lower body work harder than it would if you did a simple body weight squat. You can start with a squat to chair and then work up to a pistol squat.

4. Dips from chair (with feet up) – If you put your feet up, you will make a bench chair dip more difficult. This is a great way to work your triceps and can even be done right off of the couch!

5. Balance lunges – Again you are isolating one leg and forcing yourself to use your abs more to balance. Just find something to put your back leg up on and lunge, making sure your front knee doesn’t go beyond your front toe.

6. Climbers (decline or one foot off the ground) – Decline climbers in my opinion are like the best shoulder exercise if you don’t have weights. Your feet are up on a chair or couch and you start on your forearms. Then pushing up you climb up to your hands and then back down. Keep your abs tight and your butt down. Climbers is also a great exercise for your abs!

7. Plank crawl – On your forearms and toes, crawl forward keeping your butt down. Once you crawl across the room, move backwards. You will need to take small steps. Really this is a great exercise for your full body!!! And it definitely kills the shoulders and abs!

8. Jump Squats – Plyometrics of any kind are a great way to get in some cardio and really work the legs!! Plus they don’t require anything but your own body weight. Just make sure to land softly if you live in an apartment!

9. Wall sit – You can read a book or even freaking watch TV while you do this move. All you need is a wall so you can do this about anywhere. To make it more intense, do a 1 leg wall sit.

10. Mountain Climbers – Another great way to get in some cardio, work your abs and burn out your shoulders. When my legs are tired, I also really feel it in my quads.

Runners up: Cocktail lunges, sit ups, jumping jacks, split squat jumps, planks (front and side), glute bridge, supermans,

Man Bicep Moves

So the Man Bicepers were put in charge of coming up with some challenging moves that we could post to our gym’s Facebook page. Below are some of the moves we came up with. If you have any other suggestions, send them our way!!! We need LOTS more!

Do I nauseate you?

The answer seems to be…yes.

Candy told me last night that the workout I designed (which ended with Medball Burpee Slams and Sumo Deadlift High Pulls) made her want to barf.

This morning a new client also told me that she felt nauseated. She said she’d never felt like that before during a workout.

So what is it about me and my workouts that make people want to barf?

The workouts are fast paced. The workouts cram as much stuff into as short a time as possible. You usually have very little rest. And I try to incorporate as many full-body exercises as possible so that I fatigue each and every muscle as much as possible. I also love to push you by adding in challenging weights. And I try to add in burpees as often as possible (or as one of my clients calls them…barfies).

Plus I’m always looking to add in more reps and sets than you would normal push yourself to do.

So that is how I make people want to barf. Because I push them to do way more than they would usually do. I force them to challenge their bodies. And because their bodies aren’t used to the challenge (or in Candy and my case because we push ourselves to the point of no return), they feel like they are going to barf…or at least they get light-headed.

Do I take pride in making people want to barf? No…unless it is Candy or me. But I do take pride in the fact that I force people to work hard and even make them enjoy the challenge….at least I figure they like the challenge since they keep purchasing more sessions….

Does all of this make me and anyone else that loves working out till they feel sick a little sadistic? Yes, probably so.




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