Six Moves, Four Sweaty Workouts

Happy First Day of August!!

As the Greeks say, “Kalo Mina!”  (Happy Month!)

I love the month of August… it’s birthday month!

You guys have heard me say (seen me write?) that a short workout is better than no workout at all, that you never regret a workout, something is better than nothing, and so on.

Anyways, in the last issue of Women’s Health I got, there was an article in there called “6 Moves, 4 Workouts.”  I actually have referenced this article in a couple of earlier posts, here and here.

I’ve really enjoyed these quick but heart pumping workouts, and figured some of you might too.   Something new for a new month, perhaps?

Here’s how it works.  Each of the four different workouts is composed of six different body weight exercises:

  1. Jump Squats
  2. Butterfly Situps
  3. Burpees
  4. Triceps Dips (can be done on the ground if no bench or step available)
  5. Lunge Hops
  6. Pushups

 

No equipment needed!

Here are your four different workout options:

TOTAL TIME
Do 10 reps of each exercise, moving from one to the next without resting.  Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes.  For this workout, do the exercises in the following order:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

TOTAL COUNTDOWN
Complete 60 reps of the first move, 50 of the second, 40 of the third, and so on, until you’ve worked down to 10 reps of the last exercise.  For this workout, do the exercises in the following order:  2, 1, 6, 5, 4, 3.

TOTAL ROUNDS
Do 12 reps of each exercise, moving from one to the next without rest.  Complete 5 rounds and note how long it takes you to finish.  Aim to do the workout faster next time.  For this workout, do the exercises in the following order:  3, 4, 5, 2, 6, 1.

TOTAL REPS
Complete as many reps as you can of each move in one minute each, moving from one exercise to the next without stopping.  Rest one minute, then repeat the entire sequence two more times.  Keep track of your total rep count, so if you finish 20 lunge hops, start counting pushups at 21.  Try to beat your grand total next time.  For this workout, do the exercises in the following order:  5, 6, 2, 3, 1, 4.

I’ve tried the first three workouts.  I did “Total Time” in the backyard at my uncle’s Cape house on the 4th of July when I wanted to do a quick 15 minute workout before our BBQ.  I was able to complete 7 full rounds + the first 2 moves of the 8th round in 15 minutes total.  Not too shabby, and I was a SWEATY MESS!  My face was red and I was huffing and puffing by the end of the 15 minutes!

For “Total Countdown,” it was pretty quick and in my opinion definitely not as difficult as the “Total Time.”  For this workout, I did 20 minutes of kickboxing before it, and finished up with a couple extra strength moves after.

For “Total Rounds,” Tim and I did this one together as a backyard workout during our vacation week down the Cape.  It took me 13:16 to do 5 rounds of 12 reps of each exercise.  This workout has you starting with burpees and finishing with jump squats.  Doing those back to back as you start each round is seriously no joke.

Will tackle “Total Reps” sometime soon!

Anyways, I love these because they are quick, sweaty, calorie blasting, you can do them anywhere, you can do them at your own pace, and they give you something to work for next time (improved time, increased reps, etc.)  Plus, if you’re a competitive person it’s fun to do these with someone else!  Definitely give these a try, keeping in mind not to push yourself past your limit (these are advanced workouts), and then leave me a comment telling me how it went!  I would love to hear how you guys do.

What’s your favorite way to get your heart rate up in a short amount of time?  What are you looking forward to in August?

Something Extra:  I’ve been helping out my uncle’s business by managing their Facebook page.  If you wouldn’t mind, click over to this link and then click “like.”  He would love some extra fans, and it will only take two seconds!  And then if you have four seconds, make sure to like the Fitness & Feta Facebook page too — that one is here.  I broke 400 likes this weekend, hooray!  Thanks friends!

Skinny Sips: Nectarine Basil Vodka Collins

I don’t post too much about alcohol on the blog.  If I do, it’s usually A) because I’ve had too much and feel the need to tell you all about it, or B) just a brief mention of whatever cocktail or beer I had with dinner, or at an event, etc.

The July/August issue of Women’s Health had a whole feature on “Skinny Sips.”  The summery cocktails highlighted in the article all supposedly have 200 calories or less as well as other health benefits to them.  Now obviously a virgin drink is a much healthier choice than an alcoholic one, but they are not as fun!  Since I do love trying new and interesting cocktails (I’m just terrible at making them, legit I would be the worst bartender of all time), I decided I would give one of the “Skinny Sips” a try during my vacation week down the Cape.

We decided to try the Nectarine-Basil Vodka Collins, because we had most of the ingredients already on hand!

 

Nectarine-Basil Vodka Collins

Makes one drink

Ingredients

  • 1.5 ounces of Square One Basil Organic Vodka
  • 1 wedge of lemon muddled with 3 slices of nectarine and 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 2-4 oz. seltzer

Ghetto version like ours:  Use the vodka you have on hand and shake a little basil in there from your spice rack.  The specs of basil didn’t bother us!

Directions

  1. Muddle per the above.
  2. Shake it all up, then combine ingredients in a chilled glass.
  3. Serve with ice and garnish with a nectarine slice.

This drink was definitely refreshing.  But it also tasted better after the ingredients had been sitting together for a while.  So maybe make a batch and let it chill before you indulge.

Women’s Health says:  We love an herb with a perk.  Basil has been shown to lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels. 

In that case, I’ll have another!!

What are your favorite “Skinny Sips?”

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

Last Minute Holiday Shopping Guide for Fitness Fanatics

Attention all you last-minute holiday shoppers!

Still have shopping left to do?  How about shopping for that fitness lover in your life?  Whether a spouse, friend, or family member – these ten ideas are sure to please that special person in your life that is trying to get in (or stay in!) shape.

Last Minute Holiday Shopping Guide for Fitness Fanatics

1.  A Gym Membership or Class Pass
We all know gym memberships these days aren’t cheap.  Neither are special classes at your local fitness, dance, or yoga studios.  A ten class pass at my local hot yoga studio costs $120, and that’s a pretty good price.  You all know how much I love fitness, and some of my favorite past presents have been class passes.  For all you Bostonians, here are some of my personal favorite places that are still offering gift cards for the holiday season:

And gift cards fit right in a stocking!  Just make sure you know for a fact that this is something the gift receiver wants – these can be a lot of money down the drain if they don’t get used!

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2.  Fitness Clothes

If you can afford it, lululemon gear seems to be the most popular (and lusted after) gear.  I do not own any lululemon clothing (yet) and would absolutely love apparel from there that I wouldn’t normally pay for myself.

For Her:

The Groove Pant
Also described as The Holy Grail of Yoga Pants…

The Hot N Sweaty Tank:

For Him:

Cypress Run Pullover

The Trek Pant

Looking for some clothes that are a little more wallet friendly?  Check out the active sections of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls – you can’t go wrong with a matching tank and capris set for $12.99 total!  I also recommend Reebok and Old Navy for more go to options.

How about something a little smaller?  Go with workout socks!  A great stocking stuffer.  And who doesn’t need a new pair of athletic socks anyways?

3.  Magazine Subscription

There’s so much out there in the blog world and on the internet for good fitness reads, but in my opinion there is still nothing better than holding an actual magazine!  Especially on a plane, a workout machine, or by the pool.  I like to cut recipes and workouts out of magazines and hold onto them for future reference so I don’t have to go thumbing back through the magazines or trying to remember what website I found a neat new ab move on.  A magazine subscription is a pretty inexpensive gift idea and will be one that lasts the entire year and gives that special someone something to look forward to in the (real) mail each month!  My favorites?  Women’s Health (or Men’s Health) and Shape.

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4.  Yoga Essentials
For the Yogi in your life, there are a LOT of gift options out there!  My favorite go to brand for yoga stuff is Gaiam – if you don’t order right off their website, their stuff can often be found in most Targets, Barnes & Nobles, Paper Stores, etc.

If you know me, you know that I love giving theme presents.  A yoga theme is a really easy one to do!  Combined with a class pass if you wish, you can use some of the following:

  • Yoga mats are the yoga class essential so you don’t have to rent a mat (who knows who might have used it the last time?) each time you go to class.  They also come in a variety of styles and colors!
  • Yoga bags!  Once you start lugging a yoga mat to class each week, you will quickly realize the need for a yoga bag.  Easy transport!  I have this bag in purple (from Target) and I love it.
  • Skidless Yoga Towels – a MUST HAVE for those that practice heat yoga.  Skidless yoga towels prevent slipping, absorb sweat, and put a more hygienic layer between the Yogi and yoga mat.
  • Yoga blocks and straps are also wonderful options that aid yoga practice by making poses more comfortable and ensuring proper alignment.  That strap could definitely fit in a stocking!!

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5.  Heart Rate Monitors
An amazing little gadget that will tell you a lot about your body, a heart rate monitor works by measuring electrical signals from the heart and displaying them on the unit’s data center.  This data is intended to help ensure that your training regimen is not too easy or too intense, but just right for maximum effectiveness.  There are two types of heart rate monitors:  Chest Strap Models and Finger Sensor Models (wristwatch style).  For more details on the pros and cons of each model, click here.

A watch style is on MY list this year!

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6.  Foam Roller
This one might be a little funny to wrap, but a great tool for reaching muscles that you cannot normally work.  The idea is to roll your body weight through the foam roller to exercise and develop your connective tissue.  Some people say that a foam roller’s effects are similar to getting a deep tissue massage!  By increasing flexibility and decreasing muscle tension, it can help prevent injury and improve performance.  A must have for post-exercise sore muscles!   [Source]

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7.  Workout Headband or Sweatband
I’ve mentioned before that I absolutely cannot get a good workout if I don’t have a headband on, and that my favorite headband is the lululemon one Colleen gave me for my birthday.  I tend to go through workout headbands quickly as they get gross and worn out, and I tend to leave them all over the place.  I’ve heard rave reviews of BIC bands too, but I haven’t tried those yet!  This is another inexpensive and go to stocking stuffer idea, and good for both women (headbands) and men (sweatbands)!

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8.  Pedometer
Health experts often recommend a goal of 10,000 steps a day.  Pedometers are small electronic devices you can clip to a belt or waistband to measure how many steps you take.  I’m willing to bet that those who use and wear a pedometer are more likely to hit this number.  Don’t you think you’d be more likely to take the stairs, park far away from the mall entrance, and move more in general if you had an increased awareness of your steps?  I think this is a neat stocking stuffer idea, and since pedometers come in all shapes, colors, and sizes they can also have a personal touch!  [Source]

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9.  Jump Rope
Another cheaper gift option!  A jump rope is perfect for that fitness lover with a busy schedule.  Maybe they are always running around with the kids, or maybe they have to travel for work and are always on the road.  Whatever the case may be, a jump rope is such an underrated piece of exercise equipment.  It sells for under $20, fits into a briefcase, can be used by the whole family, and improves cardiovascular fitness while toning muscle at the same timePlus it’s a calorie torcher!  [Source]

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10.  Non Plastic Water Bottle
Everyone’s gots to stay hydrated, especially during a workout!  Get a non plastic water bottle that can be reused time and time again.  There are a ton of cute ones out there, and they will cut down on waste!

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I realize after writing this post that I could probably make a list of nearly 50 fitness related gifts for fitness fanatics!  So many ideas in my head.  Perhaps a yearly post to run during the holiday season from now on.

Questions of the Day:  Do you have a fitness fanatic in your life?  Are you buying them something fitness related for Christmas?  Do you have any other go to ideas or suggestions?  Are YOU the fitness fanatic?  What’s on your fitness related holiday wish list?  What’s the best fitness related gift you’ve ever received?

Stay tuned for my last-minute holiday shopping guide for FOOD fanatics later today!