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Cardio using a towel – The Towel Taz

So today our metabolic workout included, among many tortuous things, the Towel Taz.

The Towel Taz has become one of my favorite aerobic conditioning moves. While not necessarily hard if you do it for 10 or even 20 seconds, it becomes brutal at about 30 seconds and completely destroys you if you do it for a couple of minutes.

So what is the Towel Taz?

It sort of looks like this, especially when you get tired and start to grimace.

Basically it is you shaking a towel as powerfully and quickly as you can up and down while moving quickly around from side to side, in a circle, forwards, backwards and every which way. (Just like the Tasmanian devil above, you are basically moving around as fast as you can in a whirlwind!)

Trust me…It is harder than it sounds. That towel that at one point seemed light (although the moving blankets we use don’t exactly feel light even to begin with) gets pretty heavy, pretty quickly. And your legs get amazingly fatigued moving around quickly.

BUT I also like this move because it is something that anyone at any level can do.

AND you can easily do this move even at home…or well…anywhere for that matter! All you need is a towel or blanket. Even a freaking bath towel will work! You don’t even need a lot of room to do this move (just make sure there isn’t anything around that you could knock over with the towel!).

So the next time you want to do a little aerobic conditioning, but don’t feel like going for a run or you don’t have a piece of equipment like a treadmill, bike, VersaClimber or elliptical handy, grab a towel!

Start with 3 two-minute rounds of Towel Tazes. Try to decrease your rest from 2 minutes in between each round to only 30 seconds between each round. BUT if you decrease rest, make sure that you aren’t doing it at the expense of working hard the next round. It is better to rest for 2 minutes and work just as hard the second and third rounds than it is to rest for only 30 seconds and be super sloppy the last couple of rounds.

Once that feels easy try 5 rounds or even up the time that you do the Towel Taz.

OR if you are looking for a great metabolic circuit, try the one I did today!

WORKOUT:

3-4 Rounds of the following 9 exercises, with one minute rest between rounds.

Each exercise is done for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest to change to the next exercise.

Towel Taz
Sled “Fight” (Push, pull, rotate the sled every direction within a small amount of space.)
Power Ropes battling waves with shuffle (So alternate arm waves while shuffling side to side.)
Push against Wall (So if you don’t push yourself on this one it isn’t hard, but what you do is literally push against a wall as if you want to move it!)
Lateral Shuffle, Sprawl, Sit Thru (So shuffling in a semi-circle, at random points drop to the ground and perform a sit thru, which is an ab move where you lift your left hand and bring your right foot up to replace your hand and literally “sit through.”)
Bag Carry (Take a heavy bag, sandbag or any other awkward heavy bag and bear hug it and walk around quickly.)
Sidewinders (Using a two-inch, 50 ft rope, stretched out all the way, rotate side to side creating waves like a snake moving over the ground. A total ab killer!)
Woodchop Sit ups (Hold a weight with both hands over your right shoulder. Knees bent, sit up and drive the weight across down to your right hip. Then lay back down and repeat)
Glute bridge with twist and reach (In a glute bridge reach your right hand as far back over your head on your left side as you can. Then come back center and reach your left hand across your body and as far overhead to your right as you can.)

Super good! AND lots of different ways to move!

Anyone else have any random exercises that they love that look kind of stupid and not that hard but are actually KILLER?

Barf

The easiest thing ever is to kill someone with a workout and make them have to barf.

Yep it’s easy.

Make them do hard exercises as fast as they can. BINGO!

AHHHHHH!

But seriously what does that accomplish!?! So you FEEL like you got a great workout…But what does it really improve!?!

Is it really making you lose weight? Or are you just getting worn out?

Is it really making you perform better? Or do you just feel rundown?

I mean stringing a buttload of tough exercises together and making someone do them super quick may be difficult but the workout is totally bogus and TOTALLY LACKS DIRECTION!

But trainers continue to do it and clients continue to want it. I’ve even had friends who will go do cardio after a weight training workout just because they felt like they hadn’t sweated enough and weren’t totally exhausted.

While I understand WHY people like killer workouts that doesn’t mean they are always right.

Or good for you.

Honestly, I prefer to work below the barf line. Heck I even like not necessarily being sore the next day.

Honestly. I just want a well thought out workout which doesn’t necessarily mean a killer workout each and every time!

A killer workout each and every time leads to overtraining, which leads to injury which means forced time off.

I don’t have time for that!

I don’t feel like being sidelined with an injury!

So I plan and progress my workouts. I do stabilization days, which include lots of isometric holds. I do strength days, which can mean slow, heavy lifts that don’t even make me break a sweat.

And yes…occasionally this progression does mean workouts that absolutely destroy me.

BUT THEY ARE WELL THOUGHT OUT…Not just freaking hard exercises done as quickly as possible without rest.

Actually most of the “killer workouts” I do aren’t at all like most people do to create killer workouts.

But I was very very very close to barfing. Only of course because I worked as hard as I could.

So what are the killer workouts that I accept?

300 ft in one minute on the VersaClimber.

Or like today…

VersaClimber 30 seconds on 1 min 30 seconds off for 5 rounds

REST

Tsunamis 25 on about 2 minutes off for 5 rounds

REST

5 rounds with over 2 minutes rest in between each round:

Sled pushes 100 ft
20 Sidewinders
5 Squat Thrusts

Doesn’t seem like much right? It isn’t the hardest exercises EVER with no rest. But guess what!?! It made me feel more destroyed than almost any other workout I’ve done.

And I didn’t have to do it super quickly to feel destroyed.

It was a well thought out program with movements to help me progress toward competing well at the Kettlebell Competition.

And I probably won’t be doing another workout like it for a little while.

Because…For one, I don’t need to. There is no point. It wouldn’t get me closer to my goals. And two, it would only make me risk injury!

And when I say that workouts like this put you at risk for injury, I mean that workouts like this put a ton of strain on the body and usually only serve to perpetuate bad movement patterns.

If you want the most out of your workouts, even the killer ones, you need to do some non-killer workouts to improve your movements so you actually get the most out of everything that you do.

Stop wasting your time on killer workouts and really start working toward your goal.

So mix things up and try this stabilization workout!

Workout:

5 rounds of 1 minute holds on each exercise. Try not to rest between exercises, but take a short rest between rounds.

Toes (literally just balance up on your toes as high as you can. Don’t rock to the outside toes either, really use the big toe!)
Squat hold (squat at lowest to 90 degrees or to right above where compensation occurs. Keep the chest up!)
Bat Wings (AKA scapular hold. Pinch your shoulder blades back and lean against a wall only your elbows touching.)
Push up Hold (So set up at the top of a push up and try to hold from your hands and toes. Keep everything in one straight line without sagging!)
Glute Bridge Hold (Lay on your back and push up, driving through your heels and upper back. Once a minute becomes easy, do a single leg bridge)
Pull up hold (Do a chin up and hold at the top with legs straight for as long as possible. If you need to, straighten your arms and hang at the bottom until the minute is up)

Not a long workout. A great stability/recovery day so you can get everything working properly! TRY IT!

P.S. Going back to my whole New Year’s Resolution theme of the last couple of days….Not doing killer workouts, especially at the beginning is super important. For one, your body isn’t ready to handle workouts like that and you risk injury. And two, you risk making yourself so sore that you can’t workout for days, which won’t help you get into the habit of working out consistently, which in turn will only make it harder for you to get on track to reach your goal!

VICTORY!

So today I hit my first goal of 70 ft in 10 seconds on the VersaClimber.

VICTORY!

The added bonus is that I managed to be the first girl to do it! Now I just want to see other ladies up on that wall!

If you have a VersaClimber at your gym try to do 70 ft in 10 seconds! Do it and send me the picture of your completed sprint!!! 🙂

Now on to 300 ft in 1 minute and 20 minutes straight on the battling ropes! Then back to deadlifting human beings!

Two Steps Forward…

I constantly remind clients to be patient with their progress. I constantly remind them that it isn’t just a clear upward progression.I constantly remind them that there are slight setbacks and plateaus.

For every two steps forward, there may be one step backwards.

Sometimes though I need to take the time to remind myself.

Since starting my progression on VersaClimber and the Battling Ropes, I’ve seen huge gains – gains in strength, speed, explosiveness and even mental toughness.

But today, I experienced my first “plateau.”

Whether it was slight fatigue, a lack of focus or a slight lack of mental toughness, I just didn’t have it today. My progress on the VersaClimber stalled.

I can literally taste success, I’m so close to my goal.

On Wednesday, I even thought there was a good chance I would hit it today.

I think I set my expectations just a bit too high and put a little too much pressure.

I wasn’t patient enough.

I hate being patient.

But patience is really key. If you get to riled up and put too much pressure on yourself, your biggest weapon – YOUR POSITIVE MINDSET – will go out the window.

I feel like I wasted a few sprints today because I had a negative mindset. I hadn’t hit my goal and instead of getting angry and pushing back and battling as hard as I could, I got down on myself.

That is probably the single worst thing I could have done.

I let my mindset change to a negative one – I let myself listen to my fatigue and make up reasons why I wasn’t able to have reached my goal yet.

I made up excuses instead of just pushing with everything I had.

But I won’t let that happen again. I now have a couple of days of some active rest and then I’m back at it again on Monday.

No self doubts.

Just a positive mental attitude and a knowledge that I’m going to give everything I’ve got until I get there!

Taking that first step

Great cartoon!

How many times have you looked at a task and thought, “I can’t do that” or “That is going to be so killer and I won’t try it today”?

Probably too many times.

I don’t like being on a piece of cardio equipment for more than 2 seconds. Honestly, I could never step foot on a piece of cardio equipment and be more than happy.

But one of the basic tasks I have to complete is a quarter-mile on the VersaClimber.

Have I mentioned that the VersaClimber is one of the newest activities that I have a love/hate relationship with?

Well I do.

And since I first tried the VersaClimber and realized I had to spend more time on it than a minute, I sort of had started to tell myself I would never survive the quarter-mile.

I told myself, “I hate cardio.” “I can never zone out when I do stuff like that.” “I always am miserable doing that.” “I won’t be able to do very well.”

Finally I told myself to shut up.

Why was I having such negative thoughts? Why was I psyching myself out!?! I was making the whole thing worse by thinking so negatively.

I needed to JUST DO IT! If I couldn’t do it then I couldn’t do it, but I would never know until I actually TRIED.

And on Monday night, I did it. I didn’t set any expectations, I just did it. Whatever time I got, I was going to be proud that I took on the challenge instead of just saying “I can’t” and never trying.

I took the first step toward success – Actually TRYING the activity!

And I did a GREAT job. (Not to brag, but I’m pretty happy with how I did!). Here I’d thought I’d never survive, but instead I kept a pace that set me up to do a mile in under 40 minutes (which gets you up on our wall at our gym). Of course I’d need a some more training to do it, but I’d shown myself it was possible!

After I finished, I couldn’t believe just how negative I’d been beforehand. Why hadn’t I embraced the challenge? Why had I psyched myself out of even taking the first step?

What if I had let my negative mental attitude keep me from taking on the challenge?

Then I would never have known if I could do it. I would never have tested a new mental and physical limit.

Sometimes you need to cast aside all expectations and JUST DO IT. Don’t say “I CAN’T.” Just TRY IT!

Take that first step.

And this applies to everything in life. Any goal you have, if you don’t take that first step toward achieving it then of course you will never get there! If you want it, take that first step!

If you “fail,” get back up the next time and just go a bit further.

Trying but not succeeding isn’t a failure. It is a learning experience.

Never trying it….well that is a true failure.

Take the first step…Go for it!

Have I mentioned before that I hate cardio?!?

So my new AWESOME job that I’m so STOKED about (they all say “stoked” here…it sounds as weird to me as “wicked” originally did…) has tasks that we complete that help us develop as leaders, individuals and trainers.

I looked down the list and I was excited until I saw “Running” as one of the tasks.

BLEH!

Have I mentioned before that I really really dislike running anything more than a sprint!?!

Well I DO!

And I thought that the running would be the worst of it (and by worst I don’t mean necessarily the hardest…I just mean the thing I dislike the most.)

BUT it isn’t.

I had my first real intense encounter with the VersaClimber yesterday.

Uhm…I definitely didn’t look one iota like this when I was on it…Gasping for breath and sweaty is more like it…

It is now my new “favorite” cardio machine. It used to be the erg (oh how I love/hate the erg), but now it is most definitely the VersaClimber.

Completing all of the VersaClimber tasks is going to be absolutely miserable in that way that I love.

So I guess maybe the running actually still is the worst thing since it isn’t just sprints…

What piece of cardio equipment do you love to hate? Have you had an “encounter” with the VersaClimber!?!

P.S.  Don’t expect this blog to change from lifting to cardio just because I went to a new gym! Killer weight workouts are still to come! 🙂

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