Pink Dumbbell

Shoulder Super Set Workout- Back to Basics Reset DAY 1

Just like diet, fitness can be very individualized. I have found that working out 1-2 body part each day works best for me.

Instructions: Complete 3 rounds of each circuit before moving on to the next.

Each exercise is linked to a video demonstration

Circuit 1- Complete 10-12 reps of the following:

  1. Shoulder Press
  2. Arnold Press

Repeat for a total of 3x

Circuit 2- Complete 10-12 reps of the following:

  1. Face Pulls
  2. Leaning Lateral Raise

Repeat for a total of 3x

Circuit 3- Complete 10-12 reps of the following:

  1. Cable Lateral Raise
  2. Cable External Rotation

Repeat for a total of 3x

 Circuit 4- Complete 10-12 reps of the following:

  1. Plate front raise
  2. Bent Over Delt Raise

Repeat for a total of 3x

 

 

 

 

 

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Lara Croft-Inspired Bodyweight HIIT Exercises

It is absolutely essential to have fitness goals. For some, it can be anything from losing weight to gaining strength; others aim to raise the bar in terms of their conditioning level and overall stature. In order to achieve this, you have to put in the work and pushing yourself to the limit every time. Workout Magazine lists nine motivational tips that will help improve your approach toward this difficult yet rewarding venture including pressing topics such as making time to workout as well as changing up your routine to combat boredom.

Sometimes, however, inspiration can come in the form of real life role models or fictional characters who acts as the perfect fitness icons to aspire to be like. It can be someone like former NSYNC member Justin Timberlake or even an iconic video game character such as Lara Croft.

Lara Croft is a timeless fictional character that plays the lead part in one of the best-selling, most highly acclaimed video game franchises of all time, Tomb Raider. She has come a long way from being a pixelated femme fatale of the late ‘90s, to becoming a more refined representation of girl power.

Croft has an image of a beautiful, intelligent, and athletic archeologist-turned-adventurer. She has been transformed into this global icon that actresses such as Angelina Jolie have portrayed and Alicia Vikander will soon play in the new Tomb Raider movie which will be released later this year. Impressively, this same franchise has made its way into the online world with its own officially licensed Tomb Raider slots game, showing that it is still very much relevant in pop culture especially with the upcoming movie release also on its way.

In essence, Lara Croft is a relatable character many people recognize and follow. Above all else, she is a positive role model for change, which is why many look up to the character as a true fitness icon – regardless of whether she is digital or not. That being said, here is a simple bodyweight workout plan for various levels inspired by Lara Croft.

Strength-Building

For Beginners:

10 reps of band-assisted chin-ups for three sets
10 reps of kneeling push-ups for three sets
10 reps of air squats for three sets
25 reps of ab crunches for three sets

For Intermediate:

15 reps of band-assisted chin-ups for three sets
15 reps of kneeling push-ups for three sets
15 reps of air squats for three sets
30 reps of scissor crunches for three sets

For Advanced:

10 reps of pull-ups for three sets
10 reps of push-ups for three sets
10 reps of tuck jumps for three sets
30-second plank for three sets

For Lara Crofts:

15 reps of towel pull-ups for four to five sets
15 reps of clap push-ups for four to five sets
15 reps of tuck jumps for four to five sets
30-second hollow holds for four to five sets

Conditioning

For Beginners:

40 to 45 minutes of outdoor brisk walking. It is important to keep your heart rate up at all times.

For Intermediate:

40 to 45 minutes of light jogging. You can divide this say one-minute steady-paced jog, followed by a four-minute brisk walk; it is up to you.

For Advanced:

Developing speed is critical, as there is no definite time frame for this. The key is to run as fast as you can for 15 seconds and then gear down to a steadier pace for 45 seconds, repeat as many sets as possible.

For Lara Crofts:

This is practically the same as the previous level, only this time you should incorporate 10 burpees after every set. If it proves to be too difficult, you can always do either 15 jump squats, or 15 tuck jumps, or even 10 push-ups.

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Sexy Back and Sculpted Booty HIIT

 

I named this workout and then realized the accidental Justin Timberlake reference. I contemplated changing it but this workout WILL bring sexy back! So it remains.

Warmup, Dynamic Stretching, Foam Roll

1 mile run or 1 mile on elliptical moderate resistance

Circuit #1

30 seconds on, 10 seconds off

  • Bodyweight squats
  • Jump rope or Kettlebell swings
  • Sumo squats
  • Burpees
  • DB bent over rows
  • Up and down planks

Repeat for a total of 4 rounds

  • 10-12 Pullups

Repeat 3 sets total

Circuit #2

30 seconds on, 10 seconds off

  • L leg bench step ups
  • Cable Face Pulls
  • R leg bench step ups
  • Situp + Russian Twist
  • L leg kickups
  • R leg kickups

Repeat for a total of 3-4 rounds

 

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Shoulder Sculpter and Booty HIIT

It’s all about illusion. If you’re goal is a smaller waist, there are ways to cheat the system no matter what body type.  Sculpting your shoulders and building your booty will create that illusion of a smaller waist.

Warmup, Dynamic Stretching, Foam Roll

1 mile run

Circuit 1

  • 15 jump squats
  • 12-15 standing shoulder press (light-medium weight)
  • 15 Goblet Squats
  • 20 Bicycle Crunches

Repeat 4x Total

Circuit 2

  • 8-10 shoulder presses seated (heavy)
  • 15-20 hip extensions with weight, pausing at the top and squeezing your glutes
  • 30 mountain climbers
  • 30 plank hip dips

Repeat 4x total

Stretch and Cooldown

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Workout Wednesday #2- Intense Lower Body Workout

I totally forgot to post my workout Wednesday, so here goes…

This workout is intermediate-advanced so please modify as necessary :).

NOTE: I linked some of the exercises to videos in case you are unfamiliar with the movement.

Warm-up:

  • I typically hit the treadmill with a book for a 15-20 minute walk
  • Light squats to warm up the booty

 

Pre Circuit Exercise:

Weighted squats. Keep going up in weight until you hit your 1 rep max

 

Circuit #1 (perform each exercise with little to no rest in between)

REST and Repeat for a total of 3x

Circuit #2 (perform each exercise with little to no rest in between)

REST and Repeat for a total of 3x

Stretch, Eat, Sleep.

 

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Workout Wednesday #1 Shoulders

I traded in my “What I Ate Wednesday” posts for Workout Wednesdays! Join me in the gym while I take you through a killer training sesh.

This is an advanced workout that is meant to get your heart rate up and muscles burning.

Warm-up:

  • I typically hit the treadmill with a book for a 15-20 minute walk
  • Light shoulder presses to warm up the muscle

Circuit #1 (perform each exercise with little to no rest in between)

  • seated shoulder press 10-12 reps
  • military press 10-12 reps
  • 30 mountain climbers
  • 20 jump squats
  • 20 second hollow hold
  • 20 bicycle crunches

REST and Repeat for a total of 3x

Circuit #2 (perform each exercise with little to no rest in between)

  • left back lunge to shoulder press 8-10 reps
  • right back lunge to shoulder press 8-10 reps
  • Face pulls 15 reps
  • 20 In and out abs
  • 20 Russian twists (I do these with a dumbbell but you can do it weightless)

REST and Repeat for a total of 3x

Stretch, Eat, Sleep.

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My Go-To Shoulder Workout

If you’ve ever seen me at the gym or have gone to my bootcamp classes, chances are you’ve noticed all my little notebooks. I love experimenting with different exercises at the gym or HIIT workouts in the studio and jotting them down. Some days I’m in a rush or just too tired to come up with an exercise routine so I’ll pull out one of my notebooks and pick a workout!

I have SO many books its a problem…

  • Lily Pullitzer flamingo notebook has lifting routines
  • Blue notebook with a bumblebee has bootcamp routines
  • Striped notebook has zumba choreography
  • and theres at least two more with random nutrition and fitness ideas that pop into my mind

I went into my notebook today and decided to share one of my favorite go-to shoulder workouts.

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Post-Workout Nutrition and Why it’s So Important

This morning I woke up extremely sore and super energized. After noticing the sky was still pitch black I grabbed my phone to check the time– it was 3:50AM! I shut my eyes and tried to go back to sleep, but after an hour and a half of counting backwards, meditating, and changing positions I realized there was nothing left to do but get up and roll with it *Sigh*.

Let’s rewind and discuss why my body was reacting this way.

One of my best friends, CarlyAnn, recently moved back to New York from Nashville. Yesterday she suggested we hit the gym to lift and catch up. The intense leg workout left us hobbling back to my car in a successful yet miserable state.

The smart thing to do would be to have a nutrient dense meal, but instead we decided to skip lunch and run a couple errands!

When I finally got home (hours later) it was almost time for kickboxing. I grabbed some homemade jerky and headed to the studio. Towards the end of class my body was shot and my muscles felt useless. I dragged my lifeless body home, forced down a piece of fish and peas and turned in for the night. This morning I woke up extremely sore.

Can you tell where I went wrong? Lets see..

  1. I totally overtrained my body
  2. I did not refuel properly

What Happens to Our Bodies When We Exercise

Here are just a few things going on inside our bodies during exercise:

  1. Fatty acids from fat, protein in the form of amino acids, and glucose and glycogen, both of which are sugars that come from consuming carbohydrates are used as fuel
  2. Muscle fibers are being torn (this is a good thing! With a good post workout meal and adequate sleep these muscle fibers repair, grow, and gain strength!).
  3. Cortisol levels rise

What is Glycogen?

Glycogen is a form of sugar stored in the muscles and liver. Our bodies are programmed to use the sugar in the blood before tapping into glycogen stores (1). When blood sugar levels drop too low, glycogen is released from its stores to give the body quick sugar and a jolt of energy. Think of glycogen as a backup battery pack for the body.

Cortisol the Fat Burning, Lean Muscle Building Hormone

Cortisol is a steroid stress hormone that gets a bad rep for being associated with weight gain, acne, etc. But when released at the right time cortisol acts fat burning, muscle building and energizing stimulant. Cortisol levels peak in the morning to help wake us up and get the day started. As the day progresses, cortisol levels naturally begin to drop so that by the end of the day we are able to fall asleep.

We also elevate cortisol when we engage in physical activity. Cortisol production promotes the development of lean muscle which is essential in losing fat (yay!). However, when we finish our workouts cortisol level are high and should be lowered by having a wholesome meal of mainly protein and carbs. If you make it a habit to not eat upon exercise cortisol levels will remain elevated causing weight gain (mainly in the abdominal region), sleep disruption, and muscle breakdown.

Bottom Line:

After an intense workout..

  • some of our glycogen stores are depleted
  • muscle is broken down
  • cortisol remains elevated causing a multitude of negative effects

Therefore the purpose of a post workout meal is to restore glycogen and repair muscles in order to build beautiful lean muscle, lower cortisol levels and to just feel good!

How Soon Should You be Eating After a Workout?

It is important to eat within 60 minutes of your workout, but if you really want to take full advantage of your revved up metabolism eat within 30 minutes of exercise (2). The quicker you get some nutrition in your body the sooner you restore glycogen stores and rebuild muscle proteins to stimulate the growth of new lean muscle.

What Should You Eat?

A meal consisting of protein and medium to high glycemic carbs that is low in fat is the quickest and most efficient way in recovering your muscles and utilizing the meal as energy rather than storing it as fat.

High Glycemic Carbs: Digest quicker

Protein: Helps repair muscles

Keeping the meal low in fat: Fat slows digestion and we want our muscle cells to be replenished as quickly as possible.

The following lists contain examples of simple and easily digested foods:

Carbs:

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots, corn, peas
  • Rice
  • Fruits (pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi)
  • Rice cakes
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Note: I always promote eating wholesome foods but if you’ve been craving lucky charms or that chocolate chip cookie (AKA cheat meal) then post workout would be the best time to eat it!

Protein

  • Grassfed organic protein powder
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Wild caught fish
  • Chicken
  • Lean beef

 

References:

  1. Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Stryer L. Biochemistry. 5th edition. New York: W H Freeman; 2002. Chapter 21, Glycogen Metabolism. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21190/
  2. Jentjens, R. & Jeukendrup, A. (2003). Determinants of Post-Exercise Glycogen Synthesis During Short-Term Recovery. Sports Medicine, 33(2), 117-144. http://dx.doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200333020-00004

Photos:

  1. Carbohydrate metabolism. (2017). Slideshare.net. Retrieved 8 January 2017, from http://www.slideshare.net/ganeshbond/carbohydrate-metabolism-31707764
  2. Ballachey, G. (2017). Cortisol and Sleep – Sustainable Balance. Sustainable Balance. Retrieved 8 January 2017, from http://sustainablebalance.ca/cortisol-and-sleep/

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Starting the 21-Day Sugar Detox

Towards the end of my December recap post I briefly mentioned embarking on the 21 Day Sugar Detox. Here is some information on how I discovered the detox and my experience thus far…

I dipped a toe into the pool of podcasting over the summer at the start of my dietetic internship/grad program. Normally I like to stay up late and research interesting fitness and health related topics to stay current with the literature and become more knowledgeable for my clients and myself. However with my day spent at the hospital and my nights consumed with grad work I began losing out on my research time (and sanity! haha).

 

A friend suggested I start listening to some health podcasts during my long commutes to and from the hospital. This is how I discovered Balanced Bites Podcast and co-host Diane Sanfilippo’s 21-Day Sugar Detox.

I’ll be honest, with my background in nutrition I can be very skeptical while listening to these wellness podcasts, but co-hosts Diane and Liz preach the same nutrition beliefs as myself. These ladies get me through a 2 hour commute each day with discussions ranging from nutrition for thyroid functioning to gut health to skin care. Through my incessant podcast listening Diane mentioned her 21-Day Sugar Detox book and I was immediately hooked.

Again, I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to buying nutrition books but I trusted Diane and went forward with my purchase. The detox wasn’t filled with wacky juice recipes, soup cleanses, etc. but rather whole foods, clean and tasty recipes and insightful information.

Side note: I originally had a colorful picture of fruits, veggies and proteins but found an avocado putting on pants to be more interesting

Anyways! In her book, Dianne goes through a preparation phase, which includes enlisting friends or family to embark on the detox journey. I have successfully recruited my mom (the sweets QUEEN), my dad (the carb loving Italian), and my brother (the “if you don’t put your name on it I’m eating it” offender). The day before the detox we all indulged in some creamy Cold Stone ice cream before saying “sayonara!” to all things sweet.

Today is day 2 and everyone seems to be holding up pretty well! I will fill everyone in on our triumphs, struggles and (hopefully) progress!

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Back Workout Trisets 1

Tri-Set Back Workout

I try to incorporate tri-sets into my weekly routine. Not only are tri-sets super effective, but they shave time off your workout and keep gym boredom at bay.

During this form of training you will perform 3 consecutive exercises with little to no rest in between. Once you complete the first tri-set rest for 60 seconds and repeat it 3-4 more times.

You can incorporate more than one muscle group into tri-sets. For example, if you did an upper body splits a sample tri-set could be…

  • Chest press
  • Bicep curl
  • Lat pulldown

I tend to do more isolated workouts therefore my tri-sets focus on one muscle group at a time. Since these workouts can be very taxing on your muscles I recommend doing no more than 3 tri-sets per workout. However, you know your body best, so go based on how you feel!

Here is a back workout to get you started: