Workouts

Empty Gym Workout

A funny thing happened yesterday. I woke up determined to go to CrossFit after work but then, as luck would have it, I got stuck in DC traffic and just couldn't get there in time. I was totally frustrated and fed-up with each day running amuck on my plans to get back to it so when I got home, I walked in the house, changed, and walked right back out! I headed to the gym in my condo building but, confession: I've been living here since November and never been to the gym here! Turns out I'm not missing much - it's small, dirty, and very, very old. I don't even recognize some of the equipment!

2015-04-07_0014
2015-04-07_0014

For instance, I thought the machine in the left image above was a rower (which would have been awesome!) but it's not. There's this weird booklet (below) that describes all you can do with it -- the "total gym 1000 exercise system!" Ha! I was afraid it would break, honestly. Also note the broken jump rope. That was three skips in! Seriously this place was depressing! (No treadmill either!) 

2015-04-07_0017
2015-04-07_0017

Nevertheless, I was determined and the one thing this gym had going was that it was empty -- ALL MINE!

I quickly came up with a workout that didn't require much equipment - just weights, which, thankfully this gym has.

2015-04-07_0018
2015-04-07_0018
2015-04-07_0016
2015-04-07_0016

I chuckled to myself thinking the only thing I really used in the gym besides the weights was a pen hanging from a clipboard on the wall - ha! I think I'm going to invest in a kettle bell, a PVC pipe and foam roller for my next visit to this dungeon gym!

Empty Gym Workout

100 step-ups90 air squats80 lunges70 lateral raises (I did 35 lateral/35 front raises) 60 goblet squats (35 lbs) 50 dumbbell push press (15 lbs) 40 no push-up burpees30 knee raises20 push-ups10 dumbbell snatches 

This workout wasn't too bad. I really paced myself, breaking each move into sets of 10. I would have probably preferred different weights but my options were limited - the gym only had 8 lb, 12 lb, and 15 lb dumbbells; then it jumped to 35 lb-and-up, which are pretty heavy!

2015-04-07_0015
2015-04-07_0015

I used the machine on the right to do knee raises. I was hoping to be able to do assisted pull-ups on that machine but I'm pretty sure the bottom piece is broken. (Sad face!)

I hope one of you can use my impromptu workout to get in a sweat today if, like me, you're not able to make it to your regular gym or stuck in a dingy old gym! I'm actually really happy things worked out the way they did last night because it's been a long time since I went to the gym alone and made up my own workout -- I forgot how much I love that!

What do you usually do in an empty gym? 

Does your apartment building have a gym? 

Do you think I can petition my condo association to give the gym a facelift? 

Empty Gym Workout
Empty Gym Workout

100 Burpees for Time

100 Burpees for Time
100 Burpees for Time

I know.

This is insane.

It really is.

And, even if you don't already despise burpees (which, chances are you do!), you will likely despise them after this. That's what happened to me... This exact workout was on the programming at my box a few months ago and I walked in excited and walked out totally whooped! I vividly remember feeling winded at 30, and panicking a little thinking "I'm not going to make it!" Of course I did but two days later I could hardly move my arms! Sign of a good workout, or insanity? You be the judge! :)

Yesterday, Karlye and had a similar reaction to this workout we did yesterday (another one from the programming at my box):

10 Thrusters10 Over-the-bar burpees8 Thrusters8 Over-the-bar burpees6 Thrusters6 Over-the-bar burpees4 Thrusters4 Over-the-bar burpees2 Thrusters2 Over-the-bar burpees

Of course neither of "enjoyed" the burpees, but we did enjoy getting in a really good workout in less than 10 minutes! That's the beauty of burpees, right? No equipment needed, explosive and the perfect OMG-my-heart-rate-is-up movement, to make even the shortest workout feel tough!

So, how about giving it a try? If 100 seems way out of your league, try just 50 or 25. Don't forget to time yourself, too, so you can retest in a few months and see if you're any faster!

Do you hate burpees? 

Have you ever done 50 or 100 burpees for time? 

No-Equipment AMRAP in 10

AMRAP-10
AMRAP-10

Guys -- I'm committed to bringing more workouts to this blog!! CrossFit style workouts are my favorite but most Be FFAB! workouts, like this one, will be workouts anyone can do, anywhere! This AMRAP (as many reps as possible) can be done at home, outside, OR at the gym and there's no equipment required! Looks easy? Think again! (Those burpees will get you!)

Be FFAB! Resistance Band Moves

Hi guys! I hope you're having a great week, and I hope you've enjoyed the posts from my contributors: Fit Mom, Karlye, who just graduated CrossFit Elements - yea!!! And Cherie, our new bride blogger! Isn't her proposal story the sweetest? All these guest posts have created a bit of a backup on the blog this week but I couldn't resist posting this resist-ance band workout today! :) The number one excuse I hear from women as to why they can't workout is because they can't afford a personal trainer or CrossFit, which I totally understand, but there are things you can do on your own, at home for little to no money that are workouts, too!

RESISTANCE-BAND-WORKOUT-1
RESISTANCE-BAND-WORKOUT-1

For example, these super simple resistance band moves can be done with just one piece of equipment, which I picked up for $12.99! Even though this is just one device, it came with three bands of varying resistance: light, medium, and heavy - tripling my workout potential!

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

The yellow band (pictured here) is very stretchy and great for beginners, but it's easy to switch to the black or grey to make the moves more challenging. (Truth be told: I should have been using the black band for this photoshoot!)

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

Resistance bands help to tone and strengthen your entire body and you can do a lot with them! I'm demonstrating just seven moves here, but there's a multitude more. You'll notice I always have a point of resistance for the band, whether I'm holding it under my foot or it's hooked around a doorknob. Once you've done that, the workout possibilities are endless: three rounds of sets of 12 of each move or, if you prefer, an AMRAP, such as 20 minutes, of 10 of each move. Or, another option is not doing these moves together! Just take 30 seconds during commercial breaks and get in as many chest presses or rows as you can! I promise it won't take long to feel the burn; and if you don't, it's time to switch bands! Happy sweating!! (The moves are below the jump!)

Resistance-Band-Workout
Resistance-Band-Workout

Of course, I'm not a fitness model or a certified fitness professional so I advise that if you have any concern whatsoever about performing these or other exercises, you seek the opinion of your medical doctor and/or a certified fitness professional,

Do you have resistance bands at home? 

What are your favorite resistance band moves?

Be FFAB! Stability Ball Workout

Raise your hand if you ever gotten enthusiastic about your fitness and bought a stability ball! *Raises hand* Raise your hand if you ever used your stability ball. *Crickets*

Yep, I'm guilty of it too! I bought a pink stability ball back in the day, and never, ever used it. I mostly just rolled it around my apartment to move it out of the way, until I finally gave it to my little sister -- she was 7 at the time, and loved it!

Recently, though, I noticed my in-laws had a stabiity ball, hiding off in the corner of their guest bedroom, and I got inspired! I pulled it out, did some research and found tons of really challenging exercises to do with it!

A few things to note before diving in:

+ Stability exercises add a new element to fitness! They make a simple movement, such as a push-up more difficult because you have to move and balance your body at the same time. This requires you to activiate your core and squeeze your butt -- all good things! In fact, when you have to *stabilize* you engage more muscles and burn more calories! That's a win!

+ Stability exercises also improve coordination! They force you to be aware of your entire body, down to the tips of your feet! (One reason why the booty lunges I tried to do with the ball aren't pictured -- balancing was nearly impossible!)

+ Not all of these movements are as easy as they look and sometimes, it took 2 or 3 tries to get it right! I would suggest shutting off the TV and going someplace private (if possible) to do these, so that you can concentrate! Music may help too!

+ Take your time. This isn't a race. Most of these movements are better done slow. I usually like to plow through workouts, going as fast as I can, but with this, it's better to go slow and really contract your muscles.

+ I am not a fitness model. #thatisall

Stability-Ball-Workout
Stability-Ball-Workout

Three rounds: 

  • 10 Pikes
  • 10 Push-ups
  • 10 Tucks
  • 5 Around-the-World Circles
  • 10 V-Passes

Pikes: Great for the core! Lock out your arms and then, using your abs and legs, bring the ball toward your midsection, while hoisting yourself into a v-position. Hold the v-up for a single count and then lower slowly.

Push-ups: With these, be careful not to drop your midsection - try to keep everything tight and locked, coming up from your push-up in one fluid motion.

Tucks: If pikes are impossible, do tucks instead - they're easier! Rather than hoisting your midsection into the air, simply tuck your knees into your chest and then slowly straighten your legs back out.

Around-the-World Circles: These are tough! Rest your forearms on the stability ball and clasp your hands together. Tighten your core and lock your body in an incline plank position with feet hip-width apart. Then, using your forearms roll the ball into a "circle," going right, forward, and left, while keeping your body as stable as possible.

V-Passes: These are actually really fun and beat boring ole' crunches! Lie flat on the ground and place the stability ball between the grip of your feet. While keeping your legs straight, raise the ball into the air, situp, grab it with your hands, and then lay back flat. Now pass the ball hands to feet mid-air and lower back down.

Other stability ball exercises to try:

+ Single-Leg Bridge Lifts: This is a great movement for strengthening your quads and hamstrings, and stretching your hip flexors. You'll want to keep both legs straight as possible and do 10-15 reps on each side. (Remember to try to keep the ball in place during these!)

+ Shoulder Taps: OMG - the burn! These are hard! You're going to feel the burn throughout your abs, obliques, and shoulders! Do them slow, keeping your hips square to the floor (which is easier said than done), and alternate right hand to left shoulder, left hand to right shoulder. Get in as many as you can stand!

+ Just Plank It: Planks are great and when you add a stability ball, and that balance factor, they're even better. If you can't get pikes or tucks, or just want to keep things simple, get horizontal and hold a plank!

Leg-Lifts
Leg-Lifts
Shoulder-Taps
Shoulder-Taps
Plank-Hold
Plank-Hold

Most importantly, have fun! Whatever you do, don't get frustrated if you can't hold the position, just try, try again! I fell off the stability ball more times than I can count and "holding" for shots was nearly impossible, but I definitely got in a workout, and that's what counts... And, no judging here if by the end, you're just hugging and rolling around on the ball! Weeeeee!

Blooper_Take2
Blooper_Take2

Do you have a stability ball at home? 

Do you use it? What are your favorite stability ball exercises? 

Bridal Bootcamp from Pumps & Iron, Exclusively for FFAB!

Happy Tuesday, the second of April... already! Can you believe we're into the spring season now? You know what that means-- summer is quickly approaching! Not to worry, I have a special workout that will get you ready, whether you're planning a beach vacay or walking down the aisle! This workout was created exclusively for Fit for a Bride and it's coming from one of my very favorite fitness bloggers, Nicole from Pumps & Iron! HI NICOLE!!!! You've probably seen Nicole's workouts around the web. I found her via Pinterest, and pinned a lot of her routines! She's got a lot! Just to name a few, she's creator of the towel workout, the body weight pyramid, the deck of cards jump rope workout, 600-rep medicine ball workout, even a True Blood workout! And now, she's done a bridal bootcamp!

Here's how it works:

Set an interval timer for 45 rounds of 30 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.

You’ll go through the following sequence 5 times for a 30-minute workout!

bridal-bootcamp-workout
bridal-bootcamp-workout

High Pulls (right): Start with feet hip-width apart with kettlebell on the floor in front of you. I use a 20lb bell for these. Bend with your knees keeping back straight, grab and kettlebell, and power up, standing as you pull your elbow up, bringing the kettlebell up towards the side of your face. In a controlled movement, lower back to starting position. Keep your core tight as you do these. This move targets your shoulders and upper back, but as with most kettlebell exercises, also works your core if you do it right.

High Pulls (left): Same as above.

Half Windshield with Butt Lift (right): Lay on back, legs perpendicular to the ground and arms outstretched for support. Lower your legs to the right, twisting your hips, until they are just hovering above the ground. Lift back to starting position and then lift butt off the ground, pushing feet up towards the ceiling. Lower butt to starting position and repeat.

Half Windshield with Butt Lift (left): Same as above

Burpees with Push Up: This is a traditional burpee except that you’ll complete a pushup when you’re down in the plank position.

Split Squats: Start in deep squatting position with feet staggered. Back foot should be on the ball; front foot should be flat. Jump up and switch legs, landing back in deep squat with opposite leg in front.

Elbow Plank: You know the drill!

Kettlebell Swing Punches: This is just like a regular swing except for at the top, bend your elbows wide, bringing the kettle bell in towards your face, and punch it back out (I promise you won’t hit yourself in the face—it’s not as scary as it sounds!). I use a 25-lb kettlebell for these.

Reverse Plank: This is an elbow plank flipped upside-down. Support yourself on your forearms and heels and lift your hips so that your body is in a straight line and hold the position. I always find this move challenging—definitely a little shaking going on at the end!

*You'll notice this is a full-body interval workout, but Nicole included moves that target the upper back, shoulders and arms- that's for you brides wearing a strapless dress! Hello burpee push-ups! 

Don't you just love that Nicole incorporates a kettlebell? If you don't own one, you definitely should! Wal-Mart has them priced at about $30.

If you like this workout, you should check out the others on Nicole's blog. Also, you'll notice, it's called Pumps & Iron for a reason- she's quite the fashionista! How awesome are these white and ombre jeans, and these tribal-back wedges? She also regularly posts healthy tidbits, like this one, about peppermint oil, which I found very interesting, and she has a plethora of recipes,too! I thought these raspberry goat cheese crackers looked phenomenal!

Thank you Nicole for creating this awesome workout for FFAB readers!

I hope those of you that try it out will comment and let us know what you think!

Letter from the Editor: Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred & Hello Spring!

Hey you! Happy Monday!

I'm rearing to go this week! I feel great! Why? Because I had my first social-media-free weekend and it was fantastic! I experienced a little withdrawal at first, but ultimately, it felt so good to lose track of my phone and focus on the PEOPLE I was with, and the CONVERSATIONS we were having (rather than on "likes" and comments)!

I went to a wedding Saturday and at one point, I did take the classic bathroom shot (which I would have usually uploaded right away to Instagram) but instead, I just went back to party and forgot all about my phone! The break was really nice.

Have you ever considered taking breaks from social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? It's one of my goals this month, so more on this later!

Bathroom-Pic

I'm also feeling great because I'm three days into Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred!!!!

Can I just say how awesome DVD workouts are? I had no idea! I've always struggled to workout at home because I can't get into the groove or I get bored quickly, but the 20-minute circuits on Jillian's DVD make it easy! I love the sequence: 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs! 2 minutes of cardio? A total of six minutes? I can handle that!

Even (like last night) at 9 pm! We didn't get back from out of town until close to 8:30, but--with a workout that's only 20 minutes long--I figured there are no excuses. DO. IT. And I'm so glad that I did! I worked up a SERIOUS sweat and felt proud afterward. I think the toughest part will be doing it everyday, but I'm up for the challenge! Only 27 more days to go!

Have any of you done a Jillian DVD workout? Do you workout at home often?

IMG_3278

Of course, I didn't like giving up an hour yesterday, but I did love the spring weather I felt this weekend! It was beautiful: 70 degrees Saturday and Sunday in Williamsburg! It made me realize just how much I love this time of year. (It reminds me of our wedding [the anniversary is in less than a month!]). I have a few trips to look forward to this spring and summer, too. I might be going to Miami early May for a bachelorette party, and in June, Aaron and I are going on our first cruise!!! Woo hoo! I can't wait! These are all great reason to stick with the shred, of course, and really buckle down on my diet as well! Do upcoming trips motivate you?? They definitely motivate me!!

How was your weekend? What plans do you have for the spring?

Workout of the Week: 20 Minute AMRAP with Box Jumps

Morning fit family! We're starting the day off with a workout, but I've got two more posts planned- tips to prepare for a 5K and a new recipe! But first, how about a few rounds of box jumps? :)

Workout-of-the-Week
Workout-of-the-Week

Note: You can do thrusters without a weight (basically just squat) (since I clearly forget to include weights in 'what you'll need'). The other option is jump squats! Consider switching up the order, too. You can try 20 Box Jumps, 10 Push-ups, 20 jump squats, and then 20 burpees. What I love about this workout? A big bang for your buck! It's 20 minutes, but trust me, you'll break a serious sweat. I'm loving the AMRAP concept (I picked up from crossfit)! AS. MANY. REPS. AS. POSSIBLE.

Let's go!