Weekly Workouts + Pulsing Reps Strength Format

Hello and happy Sunday!

First I would like to announce the winner of my two-week customized personal training plan, Kim Farrell!  Congratulations, Kim!  Please email me at fitnessandfeta@gmail.com to claim your prize.  Thank you to everyone else that took my survey and for supporting F&F.

I am spending today working out and getting ready for vacation.  We leave for Maine tomorrow, so I have to get packing!  As I mentioned on Friday, I have lots of guest posts lined up for the week, but I still wanted to get my Weekly Workouts recap in before I left.

Weekly Workouts

Last Week’s Workouts

My favorite part of last week’s workouts was the new strength training format I tried, pulsing reps.  I got the idea from a past Best Body Bootcamp workout.  I never actually fully completed the last round of Best Body Bootcamp due to some shoulder issues, so recently I have caught up on some more Tina workouts!  I am familiar with the concept of pulsing reps already and often add them to the end of my strength sets for that extra burn, but I had never used Tina’s version before:

  • 5 standard reps of each exercise going through a full range of motion
  • 5 pulses at peak contraction, then return to start of movement
  • 10 pulses at peak contraction, then return to start of movement
  • 15 pulses at peak contraction, then return to start of movement

I used this with supersets, so I chose three different pairs of exercise and did the above format three times for each exercise/superset.  In case you are looking for a new strength format, try this out!

Here’s the rundown of my exercise last week:

Sunday
Active rest – kayaking!

Kayking

Monday
On Monday I completed the 30 minute treadmill workout that I posted last week, then did a 20 minute bosu circuit afterwards.  The 30 minute treadmill workout looked like this:

The .5 Treadmill Workout

Tuesday
On Tuesday I took Lauren’s spin class at the Y, then taught a pulsing reps superset workout that focused on chest, back, and arms.  In between each superset we did two minutes of jumping rope.  We finished class with some lower body glute and ab work.

Wednesday
Active rest – 30 minute walk at work for Walking Wednesdays

Thursday
Taught a bootcamp style workout for Kaylin’s last class – so sad!  Also had a walking meeting at work.

Friday
Did a double!  1 hour of yoga (more restorative and relaxing style) followed by 1 hour of Zumba

Saturday
20 minutes steady state cardio on the elliptical + pulsing reps supersets that focused on lower body, shoulders, and abs.

Ellipticals

All in all, a great workout week with lots of variety and solid active rest days.  For my vacation week next week I am planning to exercise, but I am going to play it by ear in terms of when and how.  I definitely see some outdoor runs along the water in my future!

What is your favorite strength format?  Do you plan workouts when you go on vacation?

I’ll be back later today with my Weekly Eats post!  Catch you then!

Wellness by the Water Retreat

Sunday I had the pleasure of attending the Wellness by the Water Retreat at Le Meridien hotel in Central Square.  It was such a FUN day.  I knew it would be, considering it was a day full of fitness and wellness related activities!  I also knew I would have so much fun with Ashley and Monique, two of my favorite fitness friends who also attended the event.

Wellness by the Water

The entire event was organized by Kendall Covitz and Celeste Platt, who very clearly feel so passionately about health and wellness.  They did an amazing job planning the day and keeping the schedule on track.  I obviously arrived with plenty of time to spare, so I caught up with the girls while we waited for bootcamp to start.  Ashley and I got a kick out of our matching yoga mats AND water bottles.  Unplanned!  We are so cool.

Matching yoga mats

Kendall and Celeste kicked off the day with some introductions, and then we got moving!

Wellness by the Water Retreat

Celeste warmed us all up and took us through a thirty minute bootcamp class.

Wellness by the Water Bootcamp

[Photo via Wellness by the Water Retreat Boston]

We did lunges, burpees, planks, partner work, and lots of my favorite moves.

Wellness by the Water Bootcamp
[Photo via Kendall Covitz on Instagram]

Wellness by the Water Plank Lines
[Photo via Kendall Covitz on Instagram]

After bootcamp, we divvied up into three groups and rotated between three different fitness sessions:  Barre with Tessa Hollyn Taub, Pilates with Daniel Cohen, and Tai Chi with Julio Salado.  I had to laugh because Julio is actually one of the healthy living coordinators at the Oak Square Y, and I had no idea he was teaching at the event.  Here are some pics:

Pilates at Wellness by the Water
[Photo via Celeste Platt on Instagram]

Tai Chi at Wellness by the Water
[Photo via Celeste Platt on Instagram]

Tai Chi  at Wellness by the Water
[Photo via Kendall Covitz on Instagram]

My favorite of the three classes was the barre class!  It was tough, and my legs were feeling it.

After the morning sessions, we broke for lunch.  I didn’t think lunch was anything too special, but it hit the spot after our workouts.  I was starving.

Wellness by the Water: Salad

Wellness by the Water: Lunch

During lunch, Kendall shared some of her personal tips for feeling great this summer.  I can’t wait to try her recipe for cashew cheese as a way to cut out some dairy intake.

Wellness by the Water Lunch

After lunch, we walked through the Expo area where there were a few companies sharing information about their products.  Eventbrite had a make your own “britemix” station.  I was just psyched for the jar because I’m lame they’re so cute.

Britemix station

There was also a fitness photo booth, courtesy of Lucie Wicker Photography.  Whoever says fitness can’t be fun clearly doesn’t know what they are talking about!

Fitness Photo Booth

Fitness Photo Booth

Fitness Photo Booth 3

After lunch we went through a series of 20 minute breakout sessions in smaller groups.  First up for me was a sports massage by the folks at Bodywaves.  It was only 20 minutes long, but the massage therapist I had was awesome.  Within a few seconds of touching my back, he asked if I have experienced any pain in my shoulder or neck area.  Um, yes.  He said my pectoralis minor muscle is extremely tight, causing the pain I’ve felt on and off for the past couple of months.  How do they DO that?!

massage room
[Photo via Celeste Platt on Instagram]

Next up was personal organizing with Allison Webber.  I really wish someone had told me that being a personal organizer was a job back in the day.  I would be SO GOOD at it.  During this session Allison talked a lot about how having an organized space can really help you feel mentally well.  It’s so true!

Allison Webber Organizing

Allison Webber Organizing
[Photo via Celeste Platt on Instagram]

After organizing, I headed over to skin health with representatives from MZ Skincare.  We talked a lot about SPF and they shared some fun recipes that can change the way your skin looks and feels.  I really enjoyed this one!

My least favorite session was next, financial health with a representative from John Hancock.  I know finances are important, but I just wasn’t into it on Sunday.

John Hancock

One of my favorite sessions though was the CrossFit workout with Sarah Loomis, a personal trainer at the new LA Sports Club in Chestnut Hill.  I immediately recognized her from the Needham Health & Wellness fair I attended a few months ago with Dawn.  Since we had been working out throughout the day, we did an abbreviated version of this CrossFit workout:

Wellness By the Water CrossFit

Loved the concept of EMOM (every minute on the minute).  Might bring something similar to the Y this week!  I think I really do want to try CrossFit, it’s just a matter of when would I fit it into my schedule.  There was something about having that clock ticking right in front of me that was so motivating.  After the workout, we sampled some paleo friendly food prepared by personal chef Ashley Rose Archibald.  Kale chips and some granola type thing.  We also drank some fruit infused water that was refreshing after getting our heart rates up!

Paleo food

Finally, the last break out session was acupuncture with a representative from Synergy Acupuncture.  I get a little weird about needles, so I was nervous to try in front of the others in my session, but I am definitely intrigued.  People swear by it for pain relief and pain management.  Have any of you tried it before?

Finally, we ended the day with 30 minutes of light yoga and stretching with Kendall.  You could tell she was just in the moment teaching our last class of the day!

Wellness by the Water: Yoga

[Photo via Celeste Platt on Instagram]

I left the event feeling so relaxed, rejuvenated, and happy having spent the day in my happy place.  A huge thank you (again) to Kendall and Celeste for all the hard work they put into planning such a fab day for all of us!

Have you ever been to a wellness retreat, conference, or getaway?

Words for the Weekend + Core Strength Tip #2

find balance

I’ve been thinking a lot about balance lately, as I’m feeling really good about my mental state of mind lately.  I feel like I am not being so hard on myself.  I’m making time for things besides work #1, work #2, blogging, and cleaning.  I’m taking nights or chunks of my night to just watch TV or grab a beer just because and not feeling so guilty about it.  I’m getting more sleep.  I finally feel like my head is above water, and I’m working really hard to keep myself there and feel, well, more balanced.

The theme of balance ties into my core strength tip to wrap up week #2 of the 31 Day Abs Challenge, as improving your core strength truly will improve your physical balance.  If you are someone who feels like you become unsteady in the shower or can’t keep a stable feeling while walking upstairs with many bags in your hands, it might be time to add some core strength training into your repertoire.  Think about it – as you become older, a lot of times fitness is about remaining functional, moving, and avoiding falls.  It’s really important to start with your core strength training when you are young, because while it’s great to help sculpt your body into looking the way you want it to, it’s also helping prepare you to be more self-sufficient when you get older.

That being said, my core strength tip for this week is to add some more balance work into your core strength training.  Throw off your equilibrium a bit!  Here are some ways you can do that:

Ways to Improve Balance

Pick some new equipment.  Some great equipment that can help you improve your balance and core strength include stability balls, bosu trainers, medicine balls, or balance boards.  Try your planks on a stability ball, your pushups on a bosu, or your squats on a balance board.  Your core muscles have to work that much harder, and they have to work collaboratively with other major muscle groups, to keep you balanced and prevent you from falling.

Stability Ball Plank

Work unilaterally.  This means working one arm or one leg at a time, which will throw you off kilter a bit.  Even something like sitting on a stability ball and doing overhead presses, but working one arm at a time instead of together, will challenge your core muscles.  Or do a bench press with one arm at a time instead.  Pick simple exercises you are used to doing bilaterally, and you’ll be surprised at how conscious you will be of the small adjustments your body will need to make to keep you centered.

Change your stance.  Sometimes adjusting to a split stance instead of a wide stance will throw your balance off a bit.  Or even harder, standing on one leg!  You would be amazed at how much harder simple bicep curls are if you do them standing on one leg instead of standing steady on two.  You can even change your stance while working horizontally.  While in your plank, the further apart your feet are the wider base of support you have and the easier the exercise will be.  Trying bringing your feet closer together, or lifting one leg up at a time, during different exercises, and I promise you’ll feel a difference!

Reverse Plank with Leg Lift

Stay away from machines!  I’m not saying to never use the machines at the gym, but think about how much harder your body is working when you are doing free weights or body weight exercises.  For example, when you are doing leg presses on a machine you are pretty much working your legs only.  But if you do a body weight exercise for lower body, such as squats, you are not only working your legs but your core is engaging more as well to help keep you balanced as you squat down and up and not just sitting in the machine.

Do yoga.  Think about how long you hold positions for sometimes in yoga!  There are several different types of yoga out there today, but find one that is right for you and you can enjoy improved balanced, flexibility, range of motion, and strength.

yoga 2

 

Try small things throughout the day.  Once you become comfortable with balance work, try finding small ways to sneak it into your day-to-day routine.  For example, balance on one leg while pumping gas.  Take a few seconds to try to stand on one foot while closing your eyes.  Closing your eyes makes everything harder, so you could even try closing your eyes while working out!  Stand on your tiptoes while waiting in line.  Every little thing counts, and all the little things over the course of a day add up!

What is your favorite way to add balance training into your workout routines? 

I hope this helped you guys!  Have a great rest of your Saturday, and I’ll be back tomorrow with Week 3 of the Ab Challenge.  Catch you later!