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You make the workout hard

So this month we’ve changed up our training a bit at the gym and have been on a new progression.

A “back to basics” progression.

And apparently a few people complained that it was “too easy.” Which honestly made my jaw drop.

I’ve done basically all of the workouts in the progression and I’m sore as all get out. There have even been a few that have made my legs want to give out or my food to come up.

The workouts in our progression…Easy?!?!?


But as I began to really watch people around me do the workouts with me, I realized one big thing….They weren’t pushing THEMSELVES.

They were used to a more complex workout that forced them to become fatigued and when we simplified it, they just didn’t know how to push themselves through simple moves.

They didn’t know how to challenge themselves with weight….or rest…or reps…or ANYTHING!

And the worst part is that being able to push yourself is the KEY to success!

Any success for that matter.

I can write someone up a workout and diet plan, but if they don’t do it when I’m not there to push them….well they won’t make near the progress they could.

They need to be able to PUSH THEMSELVES.

Anyway, so I was watching people cruise through the same workout that was literally destroying me….And it started to piss me off.

Why are they wasting their time using weights that are way too light? Or why are they doing only 10 reps when they could do 12? How can they complain that crawling is easy when their butts are way up in the air!?!

And then I realized another key thing…Most people don’t really know what it means to push themselves. Their workouts have to be an hour long or they have to do some crazy moves to be satisfied that they got a great workout because they can’t challenge themselves enough with a simple squat.

Well let me just clarify something right here…YOU DON’T NEED FANCY MOVES OR HOURS OF WORKING OUT TO GET IN A KILLER WORKOUT!

You just need to make sure that you are challenging yourself with weights and reps and even rest times. You just need to make sure that you are doing moves correctly and getting the most out of them.

Not to ramble or side track, but let’s just pause a moment to think of a move that most people do incorrectly  – THE PUSH UP.

Most people don’t do the push up….They do the worm.

Their core is flopping around and the have scapular winging and their heads are jutting forward and their arms are out at some odd angle.


Found this on a crossfit website…The caption they had is that she is “working on her push ups.” I really hope someone corrected this form….OUCH…Sorry chica.

So of course they aren’t getting the most out of the move.

BUT neither are those guys who do keep a decent push up line but only move up and down an inch when they do their push ups.

THOSE DON’T COUNT! Think push ups are easy…THEN DO A FULL ONE! Lock your arms out at the top and hit your chest to the ground!!!

And then if that is too easy, PROGRESS THE MOVE. Move your feet up to a chair. Add a weight to your back.

Don’t just whine that it is easy and think you need to be doing some other fancy move.


Anyway, I’ve ranted enough. I’m just sick of hearing about how a workout is too easy because if you give a workout 100% effort, trust me….It won’t be easy!

So try this workout and REALLY REALLY give it everything you’ve got.


SAQ x5 rounds with a little rest in between each
Ladder ICKY Shuffle
Zigzag cone shuffle
Lateral step and throws x6 reps


STRENGTH x5 rounds with little rest in between each round
Sandbag pull throughs x 8 each side
Sandbag Zercher lateral lunges x 8 each side
Circle crawls x 10

CONDITIONING x 5 at least double the rest to work

Sidewinders 25 seconds on as fast as you can

(The last can be subbed for any full body “sprint” activity for 25 seconds if you don’t have ropes)

This workout left me fatigued and sore. And I only did 8 reps on two of the strength things when many people did more. It is all about choosing a weight that you want to give up on before you’ve completed all your reps. Like with the lunges…I wanted to give up around 6 reps….Like literally just wanted to drop the bag and NEVER pick it up again! BUT choosing a challenging weight DOESN’T mean choosing a weight that you can’t use correct form with.

Anyway…CHALLENGE YOURSELF! Take a seemingly “easy/simple” workout and really focus on doing everything perfectly. Really choose a weight that makes your muscles scream. Push yourself to rest less or do more reps. PUSH YOURSELF!

I lift so I can live

I enjoy working out – most of the time. There are definitely days that I wish I didn’t have to see the inside of a gym, but in general I enjoy working out.

On those days that I just don’t want to workout, I remind myself of how good I’ll feel when I’m done. I remind myself that I not only workout because I love working out in and of itself BUT also because working out helps keeps me healthy so I can live life to the fullest!

Working out keeps you in shape so you can live life without injury. So you can play with your kids; so you can go skiing; so you can shovel snow; so you can move boxes and furniture (not fun but sometimes necessary).

On Saturday, when Ryan and I moved to a new apartment (in the same building but two floors lower), I realized just how lucky we were that both of us were in shape. Moving futons, mattresses, bureaus and huge tv stands isn’t easy – actually I’d say its impossible if you don’t lift heavy things on a regular basis.

A friend of mine actually echoed this thought. He offered to help us move. I turned down his offer because we were so disorganized (we didn’t pack anything up since we were only moving down two floors…really, really stupid…). When I said ‘no thanks’ he gave me a look like ‘really?’. Then he said, “Oh…well Ryan has you and you are probably as strong as he is! If it was just Nicky and me, I would have to move everything!”

Nicky almost never works out and when someone is skinny, you brush off the fact that he/she never works out because he/she maintains a healthy weight. But there are times, like when you move, that you realize just how important working out is! I mean moving is a part of life.

Yes, you can hire movers for big moves, but I’m not even talking about big moves (and that can be way more expensive than moving yourself!). Think about how many times you run into an instant where you have to move a heavy box – like if a big package is dropped off on your doorstep by the mailperson and you have to move it inside.

I actually ran into this problem when the Bowflex dumbbells I ordered for Ryan were dropped off. I had to open the box and move the dumbbells separately up the three flights of stairs. That situation definitely made me wish I was stronger!

The idea that I couldn’t do an activity that occurs in everyday life is enough to motivate me to keep working out. Is it enough to motivate you?

Man Bicep training vs. the training I’m sometimes forced to do…

So when I workout, I do what I think of as Man Bicep training. It combines some Crossfit workouts with some power lifting and some high intensity interval training. I do circuits; I do tabata workouts; I do some slow lifts. But each and every workout, I push something to almost absolute failure. GO BIG OR GO HOME. I’m slightly sadistic…I know…

But I realize that not everyone wants to push themselves to quite that extreme. And I understand that. We each have different tolerance for different things. But sometimes I’m just so disappointed by how little people want to push themselves.

The mind gives up way before the body needs to. But most people can’t push their mind past the initial fatigue of their body. Which can sometimes make being a trainer difficult.

It’s been interesting trying to figure out just how hard to push some clients. Clients all tell you they want someone to push them – they want someone to design a program for them. They all say they want work hard. BUT what they are really saying is “I only want to be put through a workout I wouldn’t usually think of, but I don’t really want to be too sore. BUT I also want to see fast results.” They also usually want just really want someone to be there for them when they work out. They want a “friend” to motivate them to workout.

And while trainers are there to create new and interesting workouts and motivate and create results, they are also there to push you beyond where you think is acceptable. You won’t ever see results or improve your fitness if they don’t (unless you are a natural Man Biceper!). Don’t tell a trainer a weight is too much. They are watching your form and will know if it is too heavy. Don’t tell a trainer an exercise is too hard just because there is a slight burn in your legs. Don’t tell your trainer what your workout should be. YOU HIRED THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE THE EXPERT!!! LISTEN TO THEM!

And trainers, stop giving in to your clients. Yes, you must be flexible and deal with each client in a way that matches their personality, fitness level and work ethic but you don’t have to be play dough. You must remember that you are there to improve their health. That you are there to get results and that you must push them beyond where they think their limit is. Sometimes you have to push super gently, but still YOU HAVE TO PUSH! Show you are the expert! Show that your job is about improving someone’s fitness and not just taking their money and giving them the workout they THINK they want!!!!

And by the way…all you women who are reading this and thinking you would never lift heavy weights…let me refute all of your excuses…READ THIS!

Let’s create a Man Bicep generation!!!

Push Ups, Pull Ups and Weights

Why do all three of these things tend to be lumped together as fitness activities that women don’t want to do?

Almost every man I see at the gym does at least two of these in any given workout, but rarely do I see women ever even doing one of them! AND on the rare occasion a woman is doing weights or pull ups or push ups, it is always MODIFIED!!! Why are women so afraid to grab double-digit weights? Why won’t they attempt push ups from their toes. Why won’t most women even go near an assisted pull up machine?

It honestly baffles me that women won’t do weights, won’t do push ups, won’t do pull ups. Those are seriously three of the best things you could ever do! Below I list a few reasons why each is good.

Push Ups:

  • Are a compound movement using almost all of the muscles of your body. They work your chest, shoulders, triceps, back and abs.
  • AND There is NO WAY you will get bulky doing push ups

Pull Ups:

  • Are a compound movement using almost all of the muscles of your body. They work your biceps, triceps and shoulders. They also work almost all the muscles in your back and your core!
  • AND There is NO WAY you will get bulky doing pull ups

Pull ups and push ups compliment each other well. If you do a compound set of push ups and pull ups you will destroy your upper body and get the lean, toned look most women want! If you aren’t doing these two exercises you are missing out on two of the best ways to get the bikini body you want! Next time you are in the gym, try a push up from your toes. If you do, you will work your abs more!!! Next time you in the gym, try a pull up. You’ll be able to feel just how hard your core is working. Do these two exercises and an extra ab workout each week will be a thing of the past!!!


It should come as no surprise that I think weights are probably the most wonderful weight loss and fitness tool there is out there. I mean simply put, more muscle equals higher metabolic rate equals you can eat more food and I love food! And a higher metabolic rate is also very helpful if you are trying to lose weight!

Most women turn to cardio to lose weight but weight training is just as important if not more so in being able to get the weight off and KEEP it off.

Women turn to cardio because they are afraid of bulking up. But what makes women look “bulky” is actually having a high percentage of body fat . If you have a high percentage of body fat, your muscles will actually look BIGGER! Fat takes up a lot of space in the muscle making it look bigger. When you lose body fat that intramuscular fat will begin to vanish. So even if you add muscle mass — which is very difficult for women to accomplish — your overall muscle size is probably going to be smaller because the weight lifting will help you lose the fat you have stored in your muscles.

Because muscle takes up less room than fat, when women strength train, they usually lose inches rather than gain them. So not only are there a number of physical benefits such as an increase in metabolic rate, a decrease in the risk of osteoporosis, and an increase in strength, weight lifting for women will actually help a woman slim down!
Women are much more likely to “tone up” from the process of strength training than bulk up. Research has shown that women can add 30% (or more!) lean muscle mass to their bodies and end up looking much thinner, feeling much stronger and appearing much firmer than they were before. So you could add 30% more lean muscle to your body and look even more beautiful and feminine than before! So why aren’t you lifting weights?Next time you are in the gym, steal the squat rack from the men, load on the weight to that 45lb barbell and bust out 10 deep squats. Just think about the inches you are losing!
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