My Saturday Morning Workout

Lately, I have been killing it at the gym and in my classes.  I have been expanding my horizons and trying all sorts of different exercises and techniques and really working on improving my form and overall fitness level.  I have totally upped the ante.

I’m a huge fan and supporter of body-weight exercises.  In fact, it’s what my boot camp classes are based on.  No equipment.  100% body weight.  My family fitness classes are similar, but often we will bring out some equipment to keep the younger participants keen (although, let me just say that the kids are LOVING this program, and if you don’t think your kids would be interested in fitness and exercises, try working out with them!).  In my family fitness classes I have used jump ropes, hula hoops, and a few balls.  And aside from gliders (which are TOTALLY body-weight exercises) that’s the only equipment I’ve ever used in any of my classes.

My gym workouts and my at-home workouts, however, are an entirely different story. I try and utilize as much equipment as I can at the gym – things I can’t use at home, like the rowing machine, the Smith machine (be still my beating heart), heavier weights, even a Bosu ball (for burpees – again, a body-weight exercise).

Until recently, a lot of my home workouts were body-weight based: doing some of my boot camp classes, or videos like any of the Insanity series, P90-X, Jillian Michaels, etc.  But since I got my dream boxing bag for Christmas, I’ve been using that a lot as part of my home exercise, and often incorporating weight-lifting, and running the stairs into the routine.

Today was a gorgeous day in Nova Scotia; it has been sunny and warm and it truly feels like the start of an early spring (we’re gearing up for some snow tomorrow though.  Bummer.), so I took advantage of the sunshine this morning and moved part of my workout outside – coming back inside for other parts of the workout that I wasn’t able to access in the fresh air.

A few years ago I found a bombdiggity weighted jump rope at a local store.  I loved it so much that I went back and bought the remaining ropes.  Seriously.  I have a small stock, just in case.  I also bought one for my boyfriend so that we can both take advantage of the awesomeness.

weighted-jump-rope

For my warm up I brought the rope outside and skipped away.  It was so wonderful to be able to warm up outside.

Oustide jump rope

This was basically me this morning. (via Yahoo)

Once warmed up I moved back inside so that I could do a boxing workout.  I boxed my butt off to some upbeat music, while doing burpees and squats in between.

boxingbag

Just call me Rocky Balboa

I also took advantage of my resistance bands and my newest obsession, my suspension training system.

Squat Row

Resistance bands are really just as good as weights – and certainly more mobile. (via Google)

I did a bunch of variations using the resistance bands – from squat rows to bicep curls to overhead extensions.  I did it all.

I took my suspension training system outside and channeled my inner Candace and inner Norman and performed different variations of exercises, such as: mountain climbers, chest press and fly, to the full body row (below), planks with a leg extension.

Suspension Candace

Candace Cameron Bure (and Kira Stokes) via Instragram

Norman Reedus Suspension

Norman Reedus via Men’s Fitness

I did circuits of all of these exercises, moving from inside to outside and enjoying every bit of it.

You don’t need a lot of money or a gym membership or even a lot of equipment to get in shape.  If you’re not into body-weight training – or want to move outside that realm for some of your workouts, invest in a few small pieces of fitness gear: resistance bands usually run between $10 and $30, smaller weights can be purchased fairly cheap at places like Canadian Tire and Walmart, weighted jump ropes can be picked up pretty much anywhere, including some discount and dollar stores.  Suspension Training Systems can be pricey.  Mine was an investment that I decided to go ahead with since I can use it personally and for my clients and, well, because #obsessed.  My boxing bag was a Christmas gift and something I’ve been wanting for many years.  It too was an investment (gifted to me), but you don’t necessarily need a boxing bag to enjoy a boxing workout.  There’s nothing wrong with shadow boxing or cardio boxing <- those will definitely get your heart pumping.

And all of the above (minus an actual boxing bag) are mobile items.  So you can move your workouts outside, or pack your gear when you’re vacationing, or even take with you to a friend’s house so that you can exercise together.

The ultimate goal would be to take advantage of both body-weight training and inexpensive workout gear.

~FB

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

I finished my CanFitPro certification course this past weekend.  Whoo hoo!  It was an overwhelming couple of weeks with tons and tons of information to take in (bioenergetics, biomechanics, etc.) and I have tons and tons of studying and prepping to do before I complete my exams.  Thankfully I have about 5 weeks before the written exam and then from there I have to schedule the practical.  Fortunately, I had a friend who’s taken the course and is already training (she’s the person responsible for me going for this!) so I’m able to shadow with her and ask questions.  And my gym and class buddy has “volunteered” to be my guinea pig so I’m able to work with her the way I would work with a true life client.  And it’s helping.

This past weekend, during the course, we spent a good amount of time in the gym and getting to know new equipment.   I’ve always been intimidated by some of the equipment in my gym but since I got back from the course I’ve been broadening my horizons and it’s empowering.

One of the big attractions in the course gym, that all the guys and gals were going gaga for, was the Smith Machine.  And guess what?  We have one of those at my gym!  I was so excited to brag about this piece of equipment and get back to my gym to really work with it (I’d tried it once or twice before; it’s still very new to my gym) and I love it.  I’ve been increasing my weights over the last year but this machine I think will really help me build my upper body strength – especially since I’m still dealing with this stupid back injury, this machine should be great in keeping me from preventing more injury (let’s all knock on wood just in case).

If you’re not familiar with the Smith Machine you can check out the Wikipedia page here and the photo below.

Smith Machine

Smith Machine

The really great thing about the Smith Machine is that it has these little jagged teeth where you can sit or rest the weights on AND where you can lock the safety on each side so if you’re doing lifts and lose your balance the weights will only fall to the safety.  Or, if you drop the bar completely, it falls right into the next set of teeth.  I am really looking forward to getting more use out of this piece of equipment.

I’ve also started using other pieces more and plan to continue with them.  If you are like me and don’t feel great outside out of your comfort zone, try taking tiny steps and take full advantage of new equipment (or equipment new to you).  It’ll be worth it in the end.

Cheers.