Weight Dropping


First things first.  Happy birthday wishes to my fab friend, Ashley!  Ashley is a fellow Y instructor and gym rat, and a faithful Fitness & Feta fan, so I just had to give a birthday shout-out!

Yesterday after work I headed to the gym.  No surprise there.  I was originally planning on doing yoga before teaching Circuit, but I decided against it because I was too tired/not feeling 100% and wasn’t sure I’d make it through both.  So off to the Y I went to squeeze in maybe 40 minutes of steady cardio (cycling) before teaching my class.

Need to interrupt to say that this is how I felt about skipping out on Kickboxing:

I got to the gym and set up on the one lone spin bike in the corner of the Annex.  People were all around me doing their thing, and one of my colleagues was teaching a bootcamp class on the other side of the room.  However, one person in the room was deadlifting a crap ton of weight and letting his barbell slam SO LOUDLY on the floor.

Look!  I snuck a picture in:

See that giant barbell over there?

Weight Dropping

My colleague went over to the man who was disturbing a LOT of people and kindly asked him to be quieter with his weights.  And the man was difficult and gave him a ton of attitude!  Can you believe that?  He legit put up a fight about how he won’t be able to progress if he can’t clank his weights like that.  I understand that for deadlifts, sure, you might need to drop the weights a little bit, but this was out of control.  And the man asked to speak with a manager at the front desk!  So I hopped off my bike and offered to take over the bootcamp class while my colleague dealt with this dude.  I finished them up with a couple ab moves and stretched them out for the end of their class.

Needless to say, I was only able to get in twenty minutes of my cycle cardio before it was time to start my class.  I was bummed about that, but glad I was there to help!

For Circuit, I used the following format:

  1. Part One:  Three Small Group Challenges
  2. Part Two:  Upper Body Strength Focus
  3. Part Three:  Core Ladder Work

Yesterday I was feeling uncreative when it came to class ideas, so I messaged my friend Jen for some inspiration.  She is the one who came up with the first challenge, and then the other two I made up on my own.  Thanks, Jen!

A Class With Small Group Challenges, Upper Body Strength, and Core Ladder Work

Isn’t my class name so creative?

Small Group Challenge #1
Groups of three compete to see who can complete 150 pushups collectively first.  The two that aren’t doing pushups need to be doing some kind of cardio.  The winning group gets to sit out a set of 10 burpees at the end.  LOVED all the encouragement and teamwork I saw here!

Small Group Challenge #2
Groups of three play follow the leader.  Each person takes a turn at coming up with a lower body move that their group will do for one minute.  In between each I led 30 seconds of cardio moves to give the next group member a chance to think of something.  At the end, each group announced what their favorite move was, and I led the entire class in each group’s “favorite.”  Of course I added things here and there, so when the favorite move was plie squats for example, we did 10 reps of plie squats but then added pulses with heel lifts, etc.  Twas fun!

Small Group Challenge #3
Groups of three compete to see who can complete the ab challenge first.  The two that aren’t doing ab work on the floor are doing jumping oblique twists.  The person on the floor does 10 plank hip dips followed by 10 seconds of mountain climbers.  The winning group gets to sit out a plank at the end.  Except my winning group ended up participating anyways… see – they tell me they hate it, but they secretly love it. 

Upper Body Strength Focus
Go through each move as prescribed with a set of moderate weights (heavier than what you’re used to since focusing on strength and not muscle endurance).  Then go through each move as prescribed for a second set with a heavier set. 

Three Part Bicep Curls
First set = 10 reps of each, second set = 8 reps of each
Part 1 – Start all the way down and come halfway up
Part 2 – Start up and come halfway done
Part 3 – Full curls

Overhead Press + Chest Press
First set = 10 reps of each, second set = 8 reps of each

Up Up Down Downs
First set = 20, second set = 10
Note that right and left = 1 rep.

Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
First set = 10 reps of each, then 10 second hold.  Second set = 8 reps of each, then 10 second hold.
Part 1 – Both arms rowing
Part 2 – Single arms rowing

Double Arm Tricep Kickbacks
First set = 10 reps of each, second set = 8 reps of each.
Part 1 – double arm kickback
Part 2 – flip the palm and pulse toward ceiling

Plank Shoulder Taps
First set = 20, second set = 10
Note that right and left = 1 rep.

Core Ab Ladder

Part of the ab workout I taught on Monday in Core Strength:

  • 50 Crunches
  • 40 Heel Taps
  • 30 Weighted Russian Twists
  • 20 V-Ups (killer!)
  • 10 Second Supine 6 Inch Hold

Post Workout Eats

Grilled salmon with a side of asparagus and a side of carrots, thanks to the b to the f.

Rest of my night was spent apartment hunting while stretching/icing/tending to the hip.

What are your thoughts on weight dropping at the gym?!

New Salmon Recipe!

…thanks to our good friend Bobby Flay!

We tried Grilled Salmon with Cherry Tomato, Charred Corn, and Basil Relish


  • 4 ears grilled corn
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (for the salmon)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced basil leaves, plus whole basil sprigs for garnish
  • grilled salmon


  • Heat grill to high.
  • Pull the outer husks of the corn down each ear to the stalk end.  Strip away the silk from each ear of corn by hand.  Fold the husks back into place and tie the ends together with kitchen string.  Place the ears of corn in a large bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 minutes.Brush the corn with the canola oil on all sides and season with salt and pepper.  Grill until charred on all sides, about 8 minutes.
  • Remove the corn from the water and shake off the excess.  Place the corn on the grill, close the cover, and grill for 15 – 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or until the kernels are tender when pierced with a paring knife.
  • Remove the cobs from the grill, remove husks, and let cool slightly.  Remove kernels from the cobs and transfer to a medium bowl.  Add the tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, and sliced basil and season with salt and pepper.  Let the relish sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.
  • For the salmon, brush the fillets on both sides with olive oil (2 tablespoons) and season with salt and pepper.  Place the fillets on the grill, skin side down, and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 3-4 minutes.  Flip the fillets over and continue grilling for 2 to 3 minutes for medium.  The fish should feel slightly firm in the center and will register 140 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
  • Spoon the relish onto 4 plates and top with the salmon fillets.  Garnish with basil sprigs.

For a side, Grilled Asparagus with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Feta Cheese, and Black Pepper.


  • Grilled asparagus (need 1.5 pounds fresh asparagus, 3 tablespoons olive oil, kosher salt & ground pepper)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled


  • To trim the asparagus, snap the spears with two hands; the tough part should break right off.  Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, toss with the oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Grill the asparagus, perpendicular to the grates of the grill, for 3-5 minutes on each side or until just crisp-tender.
  • Transfer the asparagus from the grill to a large platter.  Add the oil, pepper, and salt, and toss to combine.
  • Top the asparagus with the feta, and serve immediately.


That’s all I have for tonight.  On a more serious note, everyone please please please  say a prayer for this Wilmington family that lost a son and brother this week, and the countless other friends and family members affected by this horrible tragedy.  Definitely feeling the Sunday night blues right now – it’s been a tough week all around.