Monday Ramblings + Workouts for the Week

Good morning!

This post is going to be all over the place, so brace yourself!

I’m currently drinking a coffee and recovering from a great HIIT session! As you may know, Mondays are always HIIT days. They tend to be really busy days for me, so I like to get it done in the morning to kick off my day.

This weekend was a mix of fun, stress, and relaxation. My mom is in the hospital, so that definitely put a damper on things. She’s doing okay and will hopefully be going home in the next few days.

I spent Saturday hanging with a good friend and just catching up. I don’t have many close friends in LA (as anyone that’s moved away from home knows, new friends are much different than lifelong friends), so it’s nice to spend time with the few that I do. We also got to hang with the cutest french bulldog in the world, Pudge:

pedgeSeriously…can I keep him?

Saturday evening, Charlie and I got together with some of my co-workers. We had a great time chatting and eating (what’s better than that!). We had grand plans to go see a movie afterwards, but literally spent 20 minutes driving through the parking garage to find a spot. NOT. ONE. SPOT. So we headed home and watched World War Z instead. It basically reminded me of The Walking Dead and Outbreak rolled into one and not nearly as good. Brad Pitt was okay to look at though. ๐Ÿ˜€

World_War_Z_poster

Sunday was pretty uneventful. I dyed my hair, did laundry, and got a bunch of work done. Charlie and I also got a great fully body workout done. (I’ll have some videos up this week!) I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m trying to kill him every time he steps in the gym. I swear I’m not….(but he better be nice!!! ;-))landmine

Breakfast this morning is 1 egg + 1/2 cup egg whites scrambed and 1/3 cup cooked oats with cinnamon and stevia. I’m a creature of habit and basically eat this for breakfast every day. I’m super exciting, you don’t even have to tell me.

I’m working all day and then plan on doing a Chest/Triceps workout after work. You may have noticed that I’ve been doing more split body part days lately. I go through stages. Sometimes I do more full body workouts, or split between upper/lower body workouts, and sometimes I revert to plain old bodybuilding style and do split body parts (like I am now). I still do full body workouts (like this one I did last week, and one I did yesterday), but I do them closer to 1-2 times per week as opposed to 3-4 times.

I know that everybody talks about “confusing the body” and all that jazz (hint…your body doesn’t need to be “confused” to make progress), but for me, I do what feels good. I go through stages and since I’m in this for the long haul (life), I do workouts that make me happy. I truly think that is the key to sticking to fitness. If you don’t like what you’re doing (and I’m convinced there is something for everyone), you’re less likely to stick to it. Personally, I don’t like yoga. So I don’t force myself to do it. Instead, I do other things that I DO like. Of course, I do think that sometimes the things we don’t like are the things that we NEED (like yes, I know I SHOULD do some yoga), so it’s good to incorporate those things from time to time. Long story short:

Find the things you like and do them often. Find the things you don’t like, and do them sometimes.

Anyways, I’ll step off my soap box now. It’s Monday and way too early for that. ๐Ÿ˜€

Here’s my fitness plan for the week:

Monday: 20 min. HIIT + Chest/Triceps

Tuesday: Boxing

Wednesday: Legs

Thursday: Shoulders + Boxing

Friday: Back/Biceps

Saturday: Full Body (I’m doing workout demos for a trainer’s competition in Santa Monica)

Sunday: Rest

Hope your Monday is off on the right foot!

Question of the Day:

What is your favorite way to workout?

Full Body Attack Workout + Video!

It’s THURSDAY….which means it’s almost FRIDAY….and that means the weekend is almost upon us. Can you tell I’m excited?

This week has been weird. I feel a little off and the pressure seems to be “on”. I know it will pass, but it’s definitely brought out the introvert in me. Hopefully all my friends and co-workers won’t hate me for being so stand-offish this week. ๐Ÿ˜€

Yesterday, I had a small window to workout and decided to make the most of it. I wrote the workout down and immediately knew it was going to be really tough and I wouldn’t be getting much rest (due to my time constraint). I went into my “mode” and just worked through it. Here’s what I did:

Full Body Attach - Untitled Page

This workout was tough! If you want to try it with some modifications, just leave a comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

In other news, I may have mentioned that one of the trainers at my gym is entered into a competition to be Santa Monica’s Best Personal Trainer! We have a competition on October 18th, and I’m one of the people she’s training. We took some video the other day as a sneak-peek of what we’re doing. Video is below!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for today. Stay tuned Friday for the answers to my Ask Me Anything post! There’s still time to get some of your questions in. (And thank you to those that e-mailed me your questions! I’ll be answering those as well! :-))

Tuesday Ramblings

How’s everyone doing today?

I’m just sitting at home waiting for the pest control guy. Fun stuff! We’ve had a ridiculous ant problem for the last two weeks and we FINALLY got someone to come out and fix the problem. It’s been quite a nightmare. Let’s just say, I’m a pro ant-annihilator at this point. -_-

In other news, I found a new protein powder that I’m excited to try called SLAP. I actually ended up buying the entire stack of supplements, which is just L-Glutamine, Whey Isolate Protein Powder, and a Coffee Pre-Workout supplement. I was intrigued by the company because of the minimal and clean ingredients in all of their products. The protein powder is sweetened with Stevia (score!) and doesn’t have any artificial ingredients. I haven’t tasted it yet, but I’ll be sure to let you all know how it is!

photo 1photo 2

Workouts for the Week

I’m still super sore from Sunday’s Leg Insanity, but overall I’m feeling really good and still “on” my game!

Here are my workout plans for this week:

Monday: 20 min. HIIT + Chest/Triceps (DONE)

Tuesday: Boxing

Wednesday: Legs + Bouldering (yup! Haven’t done that in a while!)

Thursday: Shoulders/Abs + Boxing

Friday: Full Body

Saturday: Back/Bi’s

Sunday: REST

Finally…I’m thinking about getting a Brazilian blow out. I NEVER feel like/have time to do my hair and it just ends up being kind of a mess. Anyone ever had one? I’ve heard the chemicals can be kind of harsh, so I’m curious. Let me know your experiences!

Questions of the Day:

1. What is your favorite protein powder?

2. Brazilian Blowout advice please!!!

My Weekend {pictures} + Leg Workout w/ Plyometrics

Happy Monday peeps!

This weekend actually felt quite long (not that I’m complaining), so I feel good and refreshed coming into this week. Here’s some of the fun I had:

Saturday, I took a boxing class in the morning. It was quite the sweat session! There were 3 instructors bringing the pain for an hour. Even though it was tough, I had a blast. Can’t wait for tomorrow night’s class!

photo 1

After we showered up, I decided to get a my hair blown out before we headed to a music festival. It wasn’t a fancy festival or anything, but I just didn’t feel like doing my hair. -_-

Guys…I’m SUPER lazy with my hair. I either let it air dry or put it up in a top knot. I have SO much hair and it’s wavy/frizzy, so it can be a pain in the ass. Anyways, once my hair was all done and pretty, and since I knew I’d actually be wearing NPC (normal-people-clothes) instead of gym clothes, I decided to do my makeup too! (Call it a national holiday! Alert the press!)

photo 2

We then headed out to the Eagle Rock Music Festival. It had promise, but ended up being somewhat of a fail. The vibe was really cool and very family-oriented, but the music was just meh. There were a LOT of DJ’s (not my thing…and I can’t understand what is entertaining about watching someone stand in one place pushing buttons on a laptop and turning discs….but I digress) and the only decent bands were playing in acoustically untreated buildings = muddy musical mess. We did see one latino band that was totally not my style of music, but TOTALLY GOOD. Had we known what the rest of our options were, we definitely would have stayed and watched them longer.

People standing around watching a DJ....I DON'T GET IT. WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?!

People standing around watching a DJ….I DON’T GET IT. WHAT IS THERE TO SEE?!

Sunday, we headed to the batting cages to hit some balls. As many of you know, I played on the guys’ baseball team growing up, so I love getting chances to play! Happy to know, I’ve still got it!

We watched a little bit of the Chiefs game, and then I headed to the sauna gym for a workout. We’re going through a major heatwave (…didn’t I move from AZ to get away from that?!), so the temps have been quite ridiculous. Like, 97 in Santa Monica ridiculous!

Leg Day Insanity

4 sets of

Superset #1: Barbell Squats at (95lbs x 15) w/ Medicine Ball Jump Squats (10lbs x 15)

3 sets of

Superset #2: Leg Extensions (50lbs x 15) w/ Supinated Hamstring Curls (50lbs x 15)

3 sets of

Superset #3: Barbell Walking Lunges (50lbs x 12 per leg) w/ Split Squat Jumps (bodyweight x 10 per side)

2 sets of

Superset #4: (1 leg at a time!!!) DB Step Up (20lbs x 10) w/ Step Up Jumps (bodyweight x 10)

I may or may not have walked out of the gym looking like I just jumped off a horse. As always, check with a doc before starting any new exercise routine. Use weights you’re comfortable with. I posted mine for reference, but you should do what is best for YOU.

Hope you guys have a great rest of your day! I’ll be back tomorrow with some more workouts for the week.

Be sure to check out my Ask Me Anything post and leave a comment with any questions you may have! I’ll be answering them all this week on the blog!

Question of the Day

1. What is the weather like in your part of the world? Still summer-like? Fall? Winter-y?

5 Ways to Have A Great Monday!

Good morning friends! Another Monday is upon us. I have mixed feelings aboutย  Mondays. I love the fresh feel of a Monday. The chance to start fresh and put last week in the past. At the same time, it can be dreadful. So many things to do, having to get up for work, the thought of getting through a Monday only to have 4 more days to get through as well. I love my jobs, don’t get me wrong, but I love to go on adventures, relax, and do what I feel like at the moment, too!

After making a commitment to myself that I’d never hate my Mondays, I decided to come up with the 5 things that help me have the best Monday possible. Here goes!

1. Coffee.

photo(12)

I know this is an everyday thing, but a good cup of coffee can make all the difference in the world. If you can, ditch your regular Starbucks and get some GOOD coffee. If you love Starbucks, fine, but I’ve found that there are FAR better places to get a reallllllly good cup of coffee. Groundworks coffee is my favorite….see if any of your local coffee shops offer it!

2. Workout.

Deadlift set up

Like many of you, Mondays are always busy for me. I do know that if I make a point to get up just a bit early and even do a 20 minute workout, I’ll feel better. I feel more alert for the day, it’s easier to get through meetings, and I start the day knowing that I’ve already accomplished something. If you can’t get it in before work, use it as an after-work stress reliever. It is an instant boost of serotonin, which regulates your mood and will help make you feel happy.

3. Take a Walk.

Another gorgeous hiking view.

After meetings and phone calls, take a 10 minute break to just walk. Don’t bring your phone (unless you have to), and just tune out. Take deep breaths, take notice of your surroundings, imagine you’re in a dream vacation spot, and reflect on all the good things you have in life. It sounds so simple, but can really help you to let go of some stress and breathe in greatness. (Look at me sounding all yogi like.)

4. Plan yourself a surprise.

scratcherThis is probably my favorite of them all. On Mondays, I buy two scratchers from 7-11 and tuck them away in my desk drawer for later in the afternoon. Having something to look forward to throughout the day is so much fun! Maybe I’m just a total dork, but it definitely helps me get through the day to know that something special is waiting for me in my desk. Choose whatever gets you a little bit excited. Whether it’s a piece of chocolate, flowers, or your favorite drink, find something that you just can’t wait to have!

5. Rest.

photo(4)Getting a good night’s sleep on Sunday night can make all the difference in the world. Try to wind down a little extra early to ensure you have the energy you’ll need to push through your day.

I hope these tips help make your Monday the BOMB!

Do you have other tips for Mondays that help you get through? Leave them in the comments below!

Banded Hip Thrusts + Killer Leg Workout! {VIDEOS}

The holiday weekend is thisclose!!!! Is everyone else as excited as I am? I love my work, but I love my playtime too!

I plan on doing a mix of kicking back and relaxing as well as going on some adventures! The weather is gorgeous this time of year (and ummm every other time of the year…thanks Santa Monica!) so I’m going to take advantage of it somehow! I’ve really been wanting to rollerblade down by the beach lately. I loooovvveee rollerblading and don’t do it often enough. Any other bladers around here or is it just me?!

On Tuesday, I did a pretty killer leg workout. It was a mixture of strength training and athletic movements. It completely turned my legs to jello and was a lot of fun! I’ve been doing hip thrusts since pretty much the beginning of hip thrusts (thanks Bret!), and have done them with barbells, dumbbells, and bands. Since my first training studio had a Skorcher (built specifically for hip thrusts), I was able to do banded hip thrusts whenever I wanted, but most gyms don’t have that. I had never actually attempted to do them anywhere else, but decided to try to get creative and figure it out. I found the PERFECT solution and it can be done at any gym containing a standard bench press. Maybe people have already been doing this for a while, but if not, I highly recommend trying it out:

Here’s the full leg workout I did:

Deadlifts: 4 sets at 149 x 15, 159 x 12, 169 x 10, 179 x 8

Deadlift set up

Deadlift set up

Banded Hip Thrusts: 4 sets of 20 reps (next time I’ll try with a thicker band)

2014-08-26 17.43.10

Combo: 3 sets of KB Swings (28kg), Sled Push, Squats, Sled Push (video below)

Superset: 3 sets of DB Walking Lunges (20lb DB’s x 10) + Broad Jumps (10 reps)

Definitely scale this to what you can do and as always, check with a doctor before trying any new workout programs. If you’re unsure of how to do any of these movements, feel free to e-mail me! I’m happy to do video demonstrations!

Have a great rest of the day! 2014-08-26 18.00.12 HDR

Question of the day:

Do you do Hip Thrusts?

Banded? Barbell? DB?

Fitness is FUN: How A Bad Trainer Can Make You Think Otherwise

I had an experience the other day that gave me a total “aha!” moment. It was one of those moments where I literally stopped in my tracks and said to myself “oh my gosh…I get it.”

Part of my job as the manager of a high end gym is to ensure that we have highly talented and knowledgeable personal trainers on staff. This is a big deal in any gym, but especially in this area of town and in this gym. Our clientele is mostly fit people that are serious about their fitness. Many have worked with a personal trainer before and will immediately know if someone doesn’t know what they’re doing. As such, part of our interview process involves a 30 minute practical, where the potential personal trainer puts me through a training session, while our Personal Training manager observes. This is helpful because we both get to put our heads together at the end of the training session to talk about what was good vs. what was not good. It’s changed our entire staff for the better and is a really great practice.

Last week, we were interviewing two potential new trainers to hire. We had set up a practical with both of them. One no-showed (well, there’s your answer!), and the other showed up right on time. He was well-groomed, looked the part, and was extremely nice. That’s about all the good I have to say.

We started our training session with some static stretching. I equate static stretching before a workout to the low-fat diets of the 80’s. Irrelevant and not smart. Strike 1.

From there he took me to the Smith machine to do front squats and back squats. Now, knowing my background and my current training, this wasn’t a very bright idea. I have a good working knowledge of front squats and back squats, and this application wasn’t useful, in my opinion.ย  I use the Smith Machine for the following 3 reasons:

1. Someone is new to squatting and/or very weak

2. Someone has injuries or has other limitations

3. Things I’m unable to do with a standard barbell (certain glute/quad exercises)

(This doesn’t mean other applications are incorrect, but if you’re able to properly do front and back squats using a barbell and plates on your own, no use downgrading to the Smith Machine!)

Smith Machine

Smith Machine

Anyways, I asked this trainer why he was having me do front squats and back squats on the Smith machine rather than using a barbell. Had he given me a decent response to this, I could have accepted it. I am constantly learning new tricks of the trade and was hoping he would have something cool to tell me. But no. The response I got was that it was to “up the intensity.” Really? I can show you 500 ways to “up the intensity” using a barbell. Not a very good answer. Strike 2.

I gave it a shot anyways to give the guy a chance to see what he would have me do. He explained the front squat and back squat and told me to start. The result? It felt awkward. My range of motion was limited. The movement was uncomfortable. I felt the movement in all the wrong places. The experience was not fun. Moreover, the trainer didn’t help me get into the proper position, he didn’t make sure my form was proper, he just stood by and told me what to do. (There’s always a chance my form wasn’t right, making the movement feel awkward. After all, I don’t use the Smith Machine for squats. Ever.)

It was then that I had this realization. I am someone who LOVES working out. I love to sweat and work hard in the gym. For the most part, you can put me in any situation at the gym, and I’m game! Not everyone feels this way, and that is perfectly okay.

But had this been my first time in the gym and that been my first time with a personal trainer???? I would have walked out that door and never come back. I would have thought working out was not fun, uncomfortable, and didn’t feel good. I would have thought “well, that’s not worth it!”

I wonder how many times that has happened to someone who claims they “hate working out”…..when really they just haven’t had a good experience? I’m sure it’s very common and that bums me out!

With that said, I challenge all of you that have tried working out and deemed it as something you hate, to try again. Try something new, try something that look fun to you. Working out does not have to be barbells in a gym. The whole point is to do something that makes you feel good, requires your body to work hard, empowers you, makes you strong, and makes you sweat it out! For some, that might be rock climbing, for others, that’s lifting weights, for the next person, it’s taking an adult gymnastics class. DO WHAT YOU LIKE. And if you have a shitty experience either on your own or with a trainer? TRY AGAIN.

Fitness should be FUN, and inevitably will make you feel like you’re on top of the world. You can’t buy that feeling! I promise, there is something for EVERYONE.

1. What new fitness adventures have you been on lately?

2. Have you ever worked with a trainer that made you think fitness sucked?