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Go In With A Plan

Yesterday I sent out an email about going into your workouts with a plan.

When we are prepared and go in with a plan, we are a bazillion times more likely to accomplish our goal.

Think about the times you’ve gone into the gym without knowing what workout you are going to do.

How many times do you slack off because you don’t have a clear direction and feel tired from a long day at work? How often do you half-ass your workout just so you can go home sooner and eat dinner? How often do you string together random things just because that equipment is available even though the exercises really have nothing to do with your goals?

Probably all too often.

Because when you don’t go in with a plan, you aren’t going to be as motivated to push yourselves to work hard toward your goals.

Going into your workout with a clear idea of what you need to do motivates you to push hard even when you are tired. You have something you are SUPPOSED to accomplish. So even if you are tired at the end of the day and you only want to do 3 rounds, you are going to push through and do the 5 you have written down to complete.

When you don’t have something written down, you can easily adjust, but when you have something concrete written, you will push through because, most of us, don’t like knowing there is something that we didn’t do.

Also, when you don’t have a program written down you often just do whatever is easiest with no regard to whether or not those exercises or weights will move you forward toward your goals.

You will sub in other exercises that may not even work the same body parts just because that equipment is available. Or you may even turn to a cardio workout because the weights area is busy.

You tend to go the path of least resistance unless you have a guide….almost all of us do.

Having a pre-written workout is a great way to guide ourselves forward even if it isn’t the easiest or most convenient thing to do.

It keeps us on track and motivated. It guides us and even allows us to track our progress because we can make nots on what we actually did.

If we don’t write things down to begin with, it isn’t likely we are going to go home and record every detail about our workouts right after.

And if you can’t track your progress, how will you know what is working and what isn’t? How will you know what changes need to be made?

Plus if you aren’t going off pre-written workouts, you probably aren’t going to be consistent enough in the first place to truly get results!

So start going in with a plan.

Not sure how to write-up a workout? Then check out my Workout Library with 50 free ones! And if you have questions about them, email me at (Plus I even have some great ones under the workouts tab on this site!)


Metabolic Monday

So today is a “metabolic” workout day – aka…MY TYPE OF CARDIO!

A metabolic workout is a high-intensity workout where you do compound movements back to back with as little rest as possible between them.

That doesn’t mean stringing together the hardest exercises you know of and just doing them back to back to back for an hour only resting when you feel like you either can’t function or are going to puke.

The point of a metabolic workout isn’t just to destroy you – it is to raise your metabolic rate both during and AFTER the workout so that you can burn some serious calories and more importantly some serious FAT.

It is also super good for athletic performance since it can improve your cardiovascular capacity. It can help improve your lactic threshold and VO2 max.

Yup…If you want to be able to run faster for longer or do well in any endurance sports, you may want to incorporate metabolic training into your workout routine!

So how do you design a metabolic workout?

My mom and sister in town for a metabolic workout around the holidays!

My mom and sister in town for a metabolic workout around the holidays!

Well..there are a ton of different ways. The key points to consider are…

  1. Include compound moves – aka work the BIG muscles groups…Bicep curls and such are pointless moves to include.
  2. Use some resistance. You don’t need to use the max weight you can handle, but you do want to incorporate challenging weights to make your muscles work to their max!
  3. Add in rest – The key here is to teach your body to recover as quickly as possible. HOWEVER, if you don’t include any rest in your workout, you AREN’T going to be working at a max effort the entire time. To really get some of those cardiovascular capacity benefits, you need to be working near a maximal effort as much as possible, which means you NEED to rest and recover! When you start, you may want to rest 3 to 5 times the time you work. As your fitness level improves, cut the rest until you even hit a ratio of 5 times the work to rest.
  4. Keep the intervals short – When you get into the 2 minutes and above range, you start to work the aerobic energy system. If you really want to focus on improving your lactic threshold, keep your intervals of work between about 30 seconds and a minute thirty. Honestly, I even prefer keeping the work between 30 seconds and a minute.
  5. Don’t throw in the kitchen sink! – Don’t just combine 30 hard exercises and do them each once. Balance what you are working. If you pair up exercises, or even go through a circuit, make sure that you vary what you are working. Think about movement patterns (push vs. pull) as well as hemispheres (upper vs. lower body). If you vary how and what you work, you will find that you are more able to work to your full potential each round EVEN if you feel a bit fatigued and out of breath.

Below is a sample Metabolic Workout. While we love using sleds and ropes and sandbags, I do realize that not every gym or household contains those things so I tried to stick with bodyweight or more traditional equipment. (If you don’t have any medicine balls you could mimic with a dumbbell or even a cable machine with a double-handed overhead chop down toward the ground. Make sure though to use your lats for the pull over as well as your abs and legs!)

Metabolic Workout

WARM UP (make sure to do dynamic stretches, foam rolling and activation. Very important to be WARM!)

40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest between each exercise. Rest for 1-2 minutes after each round of all 5 exercises.

Repeat anywhere from 3-5 times depending on your fitness level.

Front Squats (add dumbbells or kettlebells in a front rack…light but challenging)
Medball Overhead Slams (Bring the medball back overhead and then slam it straight into the ground)
Crawling (Table top position..Forwards and backwards)
Lateral Hops (aka Skater hops…So hop as far as you can to the side off of one foot onto the other)
Russian Twist (Hold a weight plate and rotate side to side as QUICK as possible)

If you are a beginner, you may want to start with less work and more rest…Even say 20 seconds of work, 40 seconds of rest and work your way up to 40 seconds of work and 20 seconds of rest. For lateral hops, you can also sub side shuffles as long as you stay LOW and move quickly!

Yay! Metabolic workouts…what a great way to start the week!

Renaissance Woman

What are your fitness goals?

Are they to be the strongest? Or the fastest? Or even just the best looking?

Or what if your fitness goal isn’t necessarily to be the best in one thing but to be great at everything?

That is my goal. I want to be a fitness renaissance woman. Actually, I want to be a renaissance woman in life, but that is a story for another post.

What is a fitness renaissance woman?

It is a woman who can partake in any physical activity and do it half-way decently even her first time. It is a woman who is willing to try any fitness related activity at least once. It is a woman who can lift heavy weights, sprint quickly, go on a long jog, play a game of basketball, go paddle boarding or even just go for a leisurely hike.

It is a woman who trains for life and looks amazing while doing it!

I am that woman. I train to be that woman. I encourage others to be that person!

That is why I can’t stick to a purely powerlifting or bodybuilding/fitness modeling workout program.

Each is too narrow in what it makes you good at. A strict powerlifting program will make you super strong, but will totally ignore the cardio part of being in shape. It won’t make you an awesome sprinter or make you able to go for long jogs outside just because the weather is nice.

The same sort of thing goes for a bodybuilding workout. The main goal of a bodybuilding workout routine is to make you look good. You won’t necessarily get super strong or develop strength in other areas of fitness, but you will look good.

Is it worth it to do these programs and really only be great at one thing?

Why not do a program that can make you strong, fast and look good all at once?

Maybe it’s because I’ve set narrow goals and achieved them only to realize there is so much more out there that I want to experience. So why not experiment and try everything I can!?!

That is why I lift heavy, sprint often, go for long bike rides (and even jogs…preferably outside since I don’t like running very much), do some boxing and even some gymnastics!

And guess what, doing that made me strong enough to win a powerlifting competition EVEN though I didn’t do a strict traditional powerlifting program.

This program made Candy powerful enough and in great enough cardio shape to row a 2k in 7:33 even though we never actually rowed any 2ks over the last two months.

This program allows me to feel like not only can I do any physical activity that someone asks me to do, but it also makes me look pretty freaking good!

I’m not saying I look like a fitness model, but I look strong and lean.

So why spend time on a strict program that makes you super good at only one thing?

Why not do a program that makes you great at everything so that you can take on every physical challenge life throws at you AND look good while doing it!?!

Be a fitness renaissance person! Be a Man Biceper!

Here is another weekly workout to help make you awesome at everything! 🙂

Top 10 ways to have more fun while working out!

I love lifting heavy weights and workouts that nearly kill me. For me that is fun…as sick as that may sound.

But I do realize that my idea of fun doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone.

And if you want to find the perfect workout routine for you, you have to find a form of exercise that you enjoy!

While I don’t think any workout routine is complete without at least two days of heavy lifting, I do think there are lots of things you can do to make your workout routine fun in general.

Here are 10 ways to make your workout routine more enjoyable:

  1. Workout with a friend. I find that working out with someone not only pushes me harder but makes any workout, no matter how torturous, more tolerable.
  2. Do activities that you enjoy! Do a Zumba class if you enjoy it. While lifting is important, you don’t have to lift every day, which leaves plenty of time to do the activities you love! Combine an activity that you love with a couple of essential, but maybe not as fun lifting days, and your overall program will be something you enjoy.
  3. Add music to your workouts. Create a playlist for your workouts. Matching up music to exercises can be motivating and make the workouts more fun. A playlist can both help you take the appropriate amount of rest and help you not take extra breaks during an intense circuit!
  4. Challenge yourself. There is no better feeling than pushing through a hard workout. When you complete a challenging workout, you feel successful and that feeling of success makes the hard work worthwhile!
  5. Mix it up! Vary what you do. If you do the same thing week in and week out, you are going to get bored. And if you are bored with your workout, you probably aren’t having fun. Keep it interesting and mix things up at least every 4-6 weeks!
  6. Try something new. Every time you experiment and try something new, you give yourself the chance to find something new that you enjoy. Trying something new also adds variety to your workouts, which keeps you interested!
  7. Take the workouts outside the gym. Try taking your workouts outside. Go for a run or hike. I always find that I workout for way longer when I’m actually GOING somewhere. Even just moving your workouts from the gym to home can make it easier to squeeze one in on a day when you aren’t motivated.
  8. Play. When kids play, they are exercising. What’s to say a workout has to feel like a workout? Go stand-up paddle boarding, roller skating or biking! Or even just go play on the playground with your kids!
  9. See results. When you see results, you are motivated to keep working hard. Find some great ways to measure your progress and do check ups every 4-6 weeks. Success is a great motivator!
  10. Don’t think that every workout has to be a marathon. Don’t pressure yourself into making every workout the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Also, not every workout needs to go on for an hour. Sometimes the best workouts are the ones where you go all out and are exhausted in 10 minutes. Vary the length and intensity of your workouts. Something is better than nothing. And not having to stress over the length of your workout can make working out more fun in general!

How do you make working out fun!?!

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