Move of the Week: Sumo Deadlifts

Good morning!

Sometimes I think dead lifts sound like an intimidating move if you aren’t familiar with them.  Especially with the word “sumo” in front of them?!  Come to find out, “sumo” deadlifts are actually a more beginner version in lieu of a regular deadlift.

Here’s the breakdown on how to correctly do one.

Sumo Deadlifts

Step 1

Load the barbell and roll it against your shins.  Stand with your feet about twice shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed out at an angle. Bend at your hips and grasp the center of the bar with your hands 12 inches apart and palms facing you.

Note:  Here I am still rolling that bar toward my shins – you should try to get it as close to your shins as possible!

Step 2

Without allowing your lower back to round, pull your torso back and up, thrust your hips forward, and stand up with the barbell. Squeeze your glutes as you perform the movement.

Step 3

Lower the bar to the floor, keeping it as close to your body as possible.

So what’s the difference between a deadlift and a sumo deadlift?!

  1. Works different muscles:  This version of a deadlift focuses work on the quadriceps and adductor muscles of the legs; the initial squat pose puts more of the work on the front and inside of the leg, as opposed to behind.
  2. Less back work:  This exercise may be safer for beginners.  In the sumo deadlift, there is less back involvement as you do not bend forward as much as in a standard deadlift.

And how can you incorporate a sumo deadlift into a workout?!

Check out the workout I did with these the other day!  This was the third workout from my four-week customized personal training plan from Tina Reale over at Best Body Fitness.  If you missed Day One and Day Two from Week 1, make sure to check them out too!

Pyramid Strength Sets + 20 Minute HIIT Cardio Intervals


  • Perform a light 5 minute dynamic warmup.
  • Go through entire Pyramid Strength Set series.  Start with a light to moderate weight for the first set.  For each following set, the reps will decrease and you should increase the weight you use accordingly.  For my class takers – I used heavier weights for these exercises than I normally do in class since it’s less reps!
  • Finish workout with the 20 minute HIIT Cardio Intervals.  This can be done with cardio of your choice, I opted for the elliptical!

This kicked my butt, ESPECIALLY the cable leg extensions.  And I thought the sumo deadlifts would be the culprit, ha!

See my Tweet?  I just had to let Tina know.  🙂

Ever done a deadlift or sumo deadlift before?  Are there any moves out there that sound scary or intimidating to you?  Or, were you ever nervous to try a move and then come to find out it’s not that bad?

Have a fabulous day, and don’t forget to enter my giveaway to win four free boxes of cheesesticks!  They are all natural and yummy.  I’m announcing the winner tomorrow!!

Peanut Butter & Pretzel Truffles

How’s everyone’s day going?

Work Clothes

I’m wondering.  Does anyone else just not try anymore when they get ready for work?  I used to.  But now on most days, I’m so busy running around from place to place (or just so tired) that I have pretty much just given up on looking my best for work.  For me that means my hair goes up wet (and by the end of the day is a big poofy thick mess), minimal makeup, and pretty much the same outfits every week on rotation.  Frump McGee.  However, I find that because of this, when I actually wear a cute outfit, different clothes, or wear my hair down and straight, I get a ton of compliments.  And a ton of “omg what’s different?” or “did you cut your hair?” comments.

Nope, just got ready today.

Today was one of those days.  Sorry for the random rant.

Morning Workout

Tim and I celebrated Valentine’s Day a little early in the North End last night.  Since we chalked the night up to a calorie fest, we woke up early this morning to get in a good am sweat sesh together.

Remember my post on all the things I’ve won lately?  Well, one of the things I won was a customized 4 week workout plan by Tina at Best Body Fitness.  Today I started my first workout in the training plan, and I loved it!  Thanks so much, Tina!  If you guys like the looks of this workout, make sure to click over to Tina’s blog and check out her stuff – it’s good, and on my daily reading material.  😉

Circuit Intervals with Pyramid Strength Sets

How to do this workout:

  • 5 minute warmup I did a jog, single hop jumps, jumping jacks, leg swings, and stretching.
  • All exercises in Set 1. 
  • 10 minutes of cardio at a quick, challenging pace & resistance – I went on the elliptical at a level 10 crossramp with a 6-8 resistance.
  • All exercises in Set 2.
  • 10 minutes of cardio at a quick, challenging pace & resistance – This time I kept a level 10 crossramp, but did an 8 resistance the whole time.
  • All exercises in Set 3.
  • Cooldown and stretch.

As you can see, you start with more reps in the first set but have less in Sets 2 and 3.  You should start with light to moderate weights for Set 1, and then increase accordingly as the reps decrease.  I used ten pound weights for Set 1, twelve pound weights for Set 2, and fifteen pound weights for Set 3.

Exceptions:  I used five pounds consistently for the lateral shoulder raises to play it safe on my shoulder, and since the lat pulldowns were done with a machine (I never use machines!) I used forty pounds for Set 1 and then fifty pounds for Sets 2 & 3.  Sixty was too much!  For the men out there, I’m not sure what size weights Tim used but please choose accordingly.

On my iPod for the cardio portions?

  • “Helena Beat” by Foster the People
  • “Rock the Casbah” by The Clash
  • “Lovefool” by A Newfound Glory
  • “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult

I didn’t listen to my iPod for the strength components because that would be rude of me, considering I dragged Tim out of bed so early to workout with me!

I am happy I got my workout over with nice and early today.  I definitely felt more energetic throughout the day and less tired at my desk.

Another Valentine’s Day Treat

Still need a Valentine’s treat to make?  This morning I posted the recipe for my Valentine’s M&M Pretzel Bites, but here’s another equally as delicious choice!

I actually made these for Tim’s Super Bowl party last week, but think they would be great for a Valentine’s gift as well.  Especially in pretty packaging.  They are a great combination of salty and sweet!

Peanut Butter & Pretzel Truffles

Recipe inspired by EatingWell


  • 1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped salted pretzels
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, melted

(Makes 20 truffles)


  1. Combine peanut butter and pretzels in a small bowl.
  2. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.
  3. Roll the peanut butter mixture into 20 balls (about 1 teaspoon each).
  4. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and freeze until very firm, about 1 hour.
  5. Roll the frozen balls in melted chocolate.  (I just melted the chocolate chips in the microwave)
  6. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

EatingWell tells me that each truffle should have:  64 calories; 4 g fat ( 1 g sat , 2 g mono ); 1 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrates; 2 g added sugars; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 53 mg sodium; 65 mg potassium.

However, I have some tips & lessons learned for you guys:

First, I TRIPLED this recipe.  And still ended up with only around 20 truffles.  So, I guess next time I’ll go a bit smaller.  I thought the balls I rolled were already pretty small, but then after you put them in the chocolate they do get bigger.  Now that I re-read the ingredients, I see it says to use a teaspoon.  My bad.

Second, be patient.  I was so inpatient during the cooling steps that I started on the next steps too soon and then things just got messy.  And then I got frustrated.  Don’t do that.  Let them cool completely before moving on.

Third, just have Bridget roll the frozen balls in the melted chocolate.  She’s way better at it than I am.  And probably better than you will be too.  Sorry, it’s just the truth.

These aren’t that pretty.  And really shouldn’t look like this.  But I promise you they taste delicious.

I will try these again and learn from my mistakes!

Any tips for truffle making?!

Off for a night of chocolate, wine, and fun with the gals!  🙂

I’m on a Winning Streak!

Is everyone enjoying the weekend?  I had a nice low-key night in on Friday, a TON of fun hosting Jen’s good-bye party last night (more on this later!), and am now trying to be productive before heading to Tim’s for his Super Bowl festivities.  If you missed it, make sure to click over to this post and read all my tips on keeping tonight’s game watching somewhat healthy!

You know what’s really exciting?

In the past 2 months I have been the lucky winner of FOUR blog related giveaways.  Do you guys think I should play the lottery?  I’m on a winning streak!

I thought it might be nice to give a little thank you and shout out to the sites that ran these giveaways!

Around The Plate

You guys might remember me announcing that I was asked to join the Around the Plate community as a Recipe Guru.  If you haven’t ventured over to this site before, please do!  It’s wonderful.  Anyways, Kati (otherwise known as “The Girl Behind the Plate”) ran seven straight days of Healthy & Happy New Year’s Giveaways.  I entered every single contest, and I won the prize I wanted most!  Two “Simple Mantra” tees from a company called Words to Sweat By.

How cute are these?!

I love them!  You should definitely go check out their other products by clicking over to this link.  Love apparel that promotes a healthy lifestyle!

Big thanks to everyone at Around the Plate and Words to Sweat By who made this win possible!

Creative Soul in Motion

In December, Erin over at Creative Soul in Motion (same girl who guest blogged for me on Monday!) wrote a fantastic blog post on the benefits of sparkling/seltzer water.  She offered coupons for Poland Springs in a giveaway at the end of the post, and I won!  You guys know how much I love coupons…. score!  You rock, Erin!

Live Run Love Yoga

This one was SO exciting.  My blog friend Whitney over at LiveRunLoveYoga (remember her guest post on ways to make running fun?!) is running the Boston Marathon in April for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and was lucky to have several companies and people donate some sweet prizes to raffle off as part of her fundraising initiatives.  I donated $20 to Whitney’s cause because I wanted to support her, NOT because of the sweet prize packages.  And I won.  Amazing.  What did I win?


Ahhh!  Thank you, Whitney!

Salt, Sun, and Sanity

Lindsay is a new Fitness & Feta follower, so of course when I found that out I added Salt, Sun, and Sanity to my Google Reader.  A few weeks ago Lindsay was offering a giveaway for Melissa’s organic Garden Herb Croutons.  I don’t even LOVE croutons, but I am now addicted to entering every possible contest I can.  So I entered.  And I won.  Something to share with the boyfriend and roommates!  Thanks, Lindsay 🙂

Trading Up Downtown

This win was a little embarrassing.  Tina over at Trading Up Downtown (and same author of Carrots N Cake) was offering up two bags of pistachios as part of a giveaway in December.  I didn’t think I had even a shot at winning (Tina gets so many followers on both of her sites), so I left the dorkiest comment of all time.  Of course it’s when I write something AWKWARD for the world to see that I win!

“I love nuts (ha!) but unsalted cashews are my favorite. Pistachios and almonds are a close 2nd and third!!”

Perfect.  Thanks, Tina!

Do you guys enter a lot of blog giveaways?  Have you ever won anything?

You can take a look at some of the past giveaways I’ve hosted here:

And make sure to tune in over the next few weeks, I have a really exciting new round of products I’ll be giving away!  These are gonna be GOOD!