Blog Archives

Bikini Leg & Back Workout

steve and bonnie pfiesterHere’s one of the leg and back workouts for our Bikini Boot Campers. BCx Bikini Boot Camp is a program we are running for bikini competitors and women just wanting to look fit on the beach. The girls are getting insane results!

For example, Ashley dropped from 23.9% body fat to 16.9% body fat by increasing muscle and decreasing fat in just 4 weeks. Lauren lost 15lbs in 4 weeks without losing one pound of muscle!! SO many success stories! The program incorporates diet, weights, classes and cardio homework. Some of them are competing and some are just going through the training and diet to get in the best shape they can.

Here is a pic of just a few of our girls. We have about 40 in Bikini Boot Camp and 15-20 competing. Congrats girls! You guys are totally rocking!

bikini training

Our bikini boot campers do 3 group workouts a week, plus are given extra cardio and weights homework to do on their own. Here’s a taste of one of our “homework” assignments. (Learn more about our programs at Max Fitness.)

Hamstrings:

hamstring curl NOTE: Click on the exercise to watch video instructions

Prone Hamstring Curl
SETS:                         5
REPS:                         20,18,15,12,10
RESISTANCE:            35,45,50,55,60
REST:                        30-45 seconds max rest time.

Try to keep resistance high but it is more important to hit the rep range goal.  Every set alternate feet position from wide (8”apart) to close (touching)

Alternating Standing Hamstring Curl
SETS:                         5
REPS:                         15
RESISTANCE:            20 (Increase each set as possible)
REST:                        20-30 seconds max rest time.

Keep upper supporting leg (femur) against the pad. Complete 5 sets on both legs.  No rest when switching left and right.

Quadriceps:

Leg Press
SETS:                         5
REPS:                         25,20,15,15,15
RESISTANCE:            2plates, 3plates, 4plates, 5plates, 6plates
REST:                        45-60 seconds max rest time  maintain shoulder width foot position.

Keep seat back in the lowest position to allow for increased ROM. Push with your heals with no pauses, (continuous motion). Try to keep resistance high but it is more important to
hit the rep range goal.

dumbbell walking lungeHeavy Walking Lunges
SETS:                         3
REPS:                         20 (40 total-20 each leg)
RESISTANCE:            15, 20, 25 (2 dumbbells each hand)
REST:                        45-60 seconds max rest time  weight the front foot.

No pause, use continuos motion. Grip strength may become an issue.  Short steps with depth, almost touching the back knee to the ground.

Leg Extension
SETS:                         5
REPS:                         25,20,15,15,15
RESISTANCE:            40,45,50,60,60
REST:                        45-60 seconds max rest time change leg position randomly across all five sets.

Make sure to get full ROM by allowing your legs to go all the way down and all the way up.  NO PAUSING (use continuous motion)

BACK

Wide Grip Pull Down  

SETS:                         5
REPS:                         15
RESISTANCE:            50,60,70,?,?
REST:                        45 seconds max rest time, superset each set with 10 push ups.

Remember when pulling down to imagine pushing DOWN with your elbows instead of pulling down with your hands.  Stay extended through your thorax (bow your chest up) towards the bottom end of the range as you try to touch your clavicle (collar bone) with the bar.

Close Grip Pull Down  

SETS:                         5
REPS:                         15
RESISTANCE:            50,60,70,?,?
REST:                        45 seconds max rest time, superset each set with 20 (each side) bicycle crunches.

Remember when pulling down to imagine pushing DOWN with your elbows instead of pulling down with your hands.  Stay extended through your thorax (bow your chest up) towards the bottom end of the range as you try to touch your chest with the close grip handles keeping your elbows in close. Remember to keep your elbows out wide and rotate your body to touch your elbow to your knee (instead of pointing your elbows forward to reach your knee). Focus on rotation through the waist.

bicycle crunches

Seated wide Grip Row  

SETS:                         4
REPS:                         15
RESISTANCE:            50,60,70,?,?
REST:                        45 seconds max rest time, superset each set with 20 side plank pulses .

Remember when pulling back low into your waist try to imagine pushing BACK with your elbows instead of pulling BACK with your hands.  Stay extended through your thorax (bow your chest up) towards the end of the range as you try to touch your navel with the bar (USE LONG PULL DOWN BAR AND GRIP ON THE OUTSIDE ANGLE.

Leg Workout Graphic:

BIKINI LEG WORKOUT

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Weakness Is Required

Weakness if not a fault

I’ve spoken to so many people who apologize for being weak. They say stuff like “I knew I was weak, but I didn’t realize just how out of shape I really was” or “I’m so sorry I am unable to keep up“. Or they say stuff like “I can’t” because they believe they are not supposed to experience such weakness. The truth is “THEY CAN”, but it’s going to be hard. Unfortunately, people often walk away with their head hanging, discouraged at their bodies difficulty to perform the way they had hoped – feeling like a failure, instead of realizing their need for weakness.

PICK YOUR CHIN UP! If you are doing what you are supposed to, you should feel weakness. You HAVE to feel weakness in order to get stronger.

weakIf I bang out 12 overhead presses with ease, I am not getting stronger. I am only demonstrating my EXISTING strength. That’s when I know I need to add weight. When I do 12 reps, but the last 4-5 are really challenging to finish (and maybe the last 1 or 2 seem nearly impossible), THAT’s when I’m changing my body.

This principle applies in many ways. For example, you don’t become a better musician by continuing to play music you have already mastered. You get better by trying more difficult pieces. If you can finish the piece without a mistake, you are not challenging yourself enough. If you are not challenging yourself, you are not improving. You are simply performing. You MUST fail before you succeed. Sadly, no one likes to fail. So, as a result, many people avoid failure (or experiencing any kind of weakness) at all cost – and only do what they are currently good at and currently strong enough to handle.

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. Michael Jordan

on the floorI don’t like extreme cardio. I do Kickboxing and LiveXFit because I know I need it. Feel free to take a class with me, or follow me online at LiveExercise to see for yourself – I can GUARANTEE you will see me reach failure (and it ain’t pretty!). However, I do it because I know it will make me stronger, better and healthier. I’d prefer to run, but I can already run. I’d prefer to rest more between exercises, but that won’t improve my cardio and conditioning. So I huff and puff my way through each workout, just hoping I can make it through.

Do I enjoy failing? Do I enjoy feeling weak? NO! I hate it, BUT I realize it’s a requirement for getting stronger. If I want to get stronger, I have to experience those weak moments.

So, celebrate your weakness. Celebrate reaching failure as long as you don’t give up! It’s in that weakness you are made stronger. 🙂

The Shoulder Shake-Up Workout

Post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Cory Vines.

shoulder shake-up workout NOTE: Click on the exercise to view video instruction.

1st Segment: HEAVY
3 x 12 Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
3 x 10 Dumbbell Snatch (10 Right/10 Left)
3 x 12 Upright Rows

2nd Conditioning Segment: MODERATE
2 x 10 Step Up & 1-Arm Shoulder Press (R/L)

Super Set: (Right arm first)
1 x 10 1-Arm Step Up (arm stays up)
1 x 15 1-Arm Shoulder Press
(repeat Left Arm – no rest)
x 2

3rd Segment (Arms start shaking!): LIGHT
15 Dumbbell Lateral Raise
30-Second Elbow Plank
X 3 (no rest between exercises & rounds)

3 x 15 Dumbbell Rear Delts

I’M STAYING COOL IN CORY VINES

CORY VINES I’m wore my brand new Cory Vines racerback tank yesterday and loved it. It’s super soft, light, extremely breathable and has moisture wicking technology that allows sweat to evaporate quickly. It fit really nicely (somewhat fitted in the chest area, with a nice bit of light stretch), but a little looser through the waist so I’m not suffocating or feeling like every fat roll is showing through. Best yet, it’s not expensive! Get this tank.

WORKOUT: Box Jump Full-Body Blitz

Box Jump WorkoutGrab a plyo box, bench or aerobics step and get ready to get your heart pumping! This is a great workout to put with an upper body strength program, like chest day, or you can even add it to a light cardio day to boost calorie burn and intensity.

Do the whole workout or break it up however you like. Do one or two rounds between each circuit of exercises or do one round each time you change exercises. There is no wrong way to add a BCx Blitz to a workout.

To make it even easier, here are 2 different examples of how you can add a simple routine like this to your existing program.

Conditioning Chest Workout:

4 Sets of Bench Press
2 Rounds of Box Jump Blitz
4 Sets of Incline Press
2 Rounds of Box Jump Blitz
4 Sets of Pec Deck or Incline Flies
2 Rounds of Box Jump Blitz

Fat Burning Cardio Workout:

10 Minutes of Cardio
2 Rounds of Box Jump Blitz
10 Minutes of Cardio
2 Rounds of Box Jump Blitz
10 Minutes of Cardio
2 Rounds of Box Jump Blitz

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Easy Recipe for the Perfect Workout

sandbag thrustersWhen Steve really likes a workout, he calls it “YUMMY”. Well I have a sweat sandwich that you are going to LOVE! It may not sound very tasty, but the results sure are yummy – and who doesn’t like a recipe with only 5 ingredients? I do! I’m all about simple – and that goes for my workouts too.

Workouts don’t have to be complicated to be challenging. Sometimes the most effective workouts are super simple, but super purposeful and well-planned. Unfortunately though, it’s not enough to just know a few good exercises, you should know how to make the most out of those exercises by pairing them up with complimentary exercises, as well as putting them in the right order to help you reach your goals.

SWEAT SANDWICHWhile there are MANY different ways to put a workout together, here is one of my own workout formulas you can use to create your own challenging and effective workouts using what you know with what you have. All you need is 5 exercises – 3 different strength exercises and 2 conditioning (boot campy) exercises.

The formula starts with the most difficult task and ends with the lightest (low weight/high rep) exercise, with a nice dose of cardio and conditioning sandwiched in the middle for more calories burned and more overall intensity. Then it repeats 5 times. Give it a shot!

Recipe for Your Own Sweat Sandwich

bonnie pfiester#1. Strength: Heavy Weighted Multi-Joint Exercise

The first exercise in my circuit would be a heavy, to both tax my target muscle group and get my heart rate up, like thrusters, overheat squats, push press, pull ups and push ups.

#2. Strength & Cardio: Conditioning Exercise Using Moderate Resistance or Bodyweight

The next exercise could be more explosive and powerful, using moderate weight or bodyweight, but focuses on really getting the heart rate up like a hip drive or box jumps.

#3. Toning Exercise: Moderate Resistance or Body Weight to Target Muscle Group

Once my heart is pounding, I can use a toning exercise to let my heart rate come down a little, while focusing on my target muscle group, like lunges, leg extensions, shoulder presses, bicep curls, bent over rows, tricep extensions, flies, one-arm chest press, etc.

4. Conditioning: Cardio and/or Conditioning Exercise to Increase Heart Rate

Now that I’ve had a “rest”, it’s time to get my heart rate back up with a complimentary cardiovascular exercise that doesn’t allow my target muscles to rest. For instance, I may do mountain climbers if I’m doing arms, wall-ups if I’m doing shoulders, or burpees if I’m doing legs, so those muscles don’t have time to fully recover.

shoulder raises5. Sculpting/Targeting: Using Light Resistance to Target the Key Muscles

Lastly, I finish the muscle circuit off with a burn using a bodylastics band, light weights or my own bodyweight, like shoulder raises with a band, wall sits, plank, band flies, band curls, band kickbacks, curties, stomps, etc.

After the 5 exercises are complete, I take a 30 second rest and start all over again until I’ve completed 5 rounds, depending on my weight and other exercises/activity for the day. Want more? Reduce it to 3 rounds and add another totally new 3-round circuit for more variety. You can do each exercise for 15-20 reps each for the fastest time, or you can do each exercise for 30-45 seconds at each station.

2 Sample Workouts:

bonnie pfiesterShoulder Focus

Leg Focus

If you do it right, you’ll end up flat on the floor, totally wiped out like ME! 🙂

 

Are Your Power Walks POWERful? 8 Tips to Improve

bonnie pfiesterI was running the other day and ran past a middle-aged woman (side note: I love how “middle-aged people” continue to get older as I get older. ha!). Anyway, so I say good morning (because that’s how I roll) and she mouthed something. This was my cue to stop, take off one of my earphones and say”what?” since I can’t read lips. She repeated herself saying, “I used to that. I used to run 3 miles a day and look skinny like you”.

I went on to say “you can do it again” and tried to encourage her. She said she was too old, etc and went on to make excuses. I then told her how my mom and dad got fit in their late fifties and that it’s never too late to get in shape. She was totally not hearing me, but I smiled anyway and off I went.

As I ran around my “morning loop” I passed her 4 times. This KILLED me. She was clearly was walking for exercise, but she was walking so slow she almost was going backwards. OK, not really, but you get my drift. She wasn’t even TRYING! I guess she thought she was doing something “healthy”, and don’t get me wrong, what she was doing was better than sitting on the couch – but she could have made SO much more out of her efforts.

Even people that walk past me that I can totally tell are walking for exercise are still WAY under where they need to be to really burn some calories. Power walks should be PURPOSEFUL walks. So, how do you know if you are on pace?

8 Ways to Put More Power in Your Power Walks

1.) Swing arms. Arms should swing at a 90 degree angle while walking and your body should twist at the waist while holding your abs tight. This gives you the power you need to move faster (look at the photo of the runner. I guarantee she would be able to book it like that if her arms were dangling down by her side. However, if you aren’t walking fast enough, you’ll feel like a complete tard because your arms will be out-performing your legs. Another words, don’t expect to swing your arms like a maniac and let your legs walk like you are in a coma. They work best if they are working together and it will feel much more natural. The best part about swinging your arms is, it not only increases calories burned, but it tones your abs and waist. If you do it right, you will actually be sore. If not, you are likely not getting enough rotation.

2.) Maintain good posture. Be sure to stand up tall while running or walking, holding your stomach nice and flat, rolling your shoulders back, and being careful not to stick your neck out (which people often do when they are moving forward, whether driving or walking). This will help train your body how to maintain better posture all the time. If you aren’t “training” your body on good posture while walking, you are training your body how to maintain bad posture.

3.) Walk as fast as you can. Try walking as fast as possible without breaking into a run, taking long strides with bended knee as if lunging forward. Your arms will really have to swing hard to help you keep this pace. It will also feel completely awkward, but it will look much more normal than it feels. Do this until you can’t maintain it any more. I would consider that your top pace for walking.

4.) Prevent slowing down by tracking your walks. For instance, you can count your steps from one mailbox, or light post, to another to help give you a top-end goal to help hold you accountable or you can track your walk time. You can also do sprint intervals to improve your pace where you sprint from one drive way to the next at every 3-5 houses or so. An awesome device that is great for tracking your pace is the iPhone App called the RunKeeper. It will tell you your average pace and track your progress.

5.) Look at people around you. Notice other walkers and realize they all think they are working out hard and many of them look no different than if you saw them walking in the mall while shopping. Make it your mission NOT to be “that guy”. 

6.) Have someone video tape you. This is a RUDE awakening. When I was doing a TV segment on walking, I was SHOCKED by how slow I looked. I was walking at 4.2mph and it looked like I was strolling. Sometimes pride fuels us to improve and we need to see how we look to others in order to be motivated to perform better. This sure helped me.

7.) Challenge your workouts with interval training. I love my GymBoss Interval Trainer. It’s a timer you can set to go off at different intervals to help make your walks more challenging and less boring. For instance, if you are wanting to become a runner you can set the timer for 2-minute walks and 1-minute sprints. As you improve, you can change that to a 2-minute jog and 1-minute recovery walk. Eventually, you can do a 2-minute run and 1-minute sprint. It’s a great way to boost your workouts and let the GymBoss become your “trainer”.

Polar RC38.) Buy a heart rate monitor. This tip is the #1 best thing you can do to hold yourself accountable. Your heart rate is the best indicator of how many calories you are burning. I like to be around 75% of my maximum heart rate with 65% being my lowest and 85% being my highest. (Maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. Then you multiple that number by the heart rate you are wanting to maintain, like .75). I suggest getting a POLAR Heart Rate Monitor like the Polar RC3, as a POLAR not only tracks your heart rate, calories burned, and all kinds of cool stuff, but it allows you to set up 5 sports profiles so you can so you can easily change between exercise sessions. It also has a zone lock that alerts you if you are falling out of your training zone. You can even set up interval training based on heart rate, speed/pace or distance, or chose from their training programs created by their fitness experts. Think of it as your very own affordable personal trainer. Plus it tracks your training history so you can see how you improve!

Here’s a great video showing all the ways you can use your Polar.

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FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

22 Ways To Do Push Ups

22 Ways to Push UpYesterday, I asked everyone what their favorite upper body exercise was. Although answers varied from pull-ups to upright rows, one exercise stood out: The Push Up.

Honestly, push-ups are just amazing. Not only do they work the chest, they tone the triceps, biceps, shoulders and core – all in one workout. But did you know there are many different ways to do a push up? Hand placement, tools and angles can help you hit muscles in different ways.

For instance, the closer you place your hands together, the more you work your triceps and inner chest (cleavage) area. The further out you place your hands, the further out on your chest you work (like your under arm bra strap area). If you place your feet up on a platform, or raise your hips up into pike, you put more weight on your shoulders and upper chest. You can even do push-ups on an uneven surface like a medicine ball or bosu to challenge your core more.  This is why it’s best to try incorporate different styles into your workout – to hit your muscles in different ways, and continue to challenge your strength and range of motion.

Never done a push up? Start with the Modified Push-up. The key is to keep your bottom down. If you were to string a line from your head to your toes, your body should be in a straight line, following that line as you do the exercise. Always start attempting a military push up (standard push up) and then move to your knees when you can no longer maintain good form. The more you do it, the stronger you get. Have fun!

22 Ways To Do Push Up 

Click on the link to watch video demonstration for each exercise.

  1. Push-up22 Ways to Push Up
  2. Close Grip Push-up
  3. Decline Pushup
  4. Dive-bomber Push-up
  5. Push-up To Sit-up Combination
  6. Push-up To T-plank Combination
  7. Diamond Push-up
  8. Bosu Push-up
  9. Stabilizer Push-up
  10. 22 push upsIncline Push-up
  11. Swiss Ball Push-up
  12. Modified Push-up
  13. Weighted Push-up
  14. Alligator Push-up
  15. Plyo Alligator Push-up
  16. Balance Ball Pike Push-up
  17. Single-leg Decline Push-up
  18. Resistance Band Push-ups22 push ups
  19. Wide Push-ups
  20. Rotational Push-ups
  21. Bosu Kneeling Pushup
  22. Dumbbell Push-up

Ramp up your intensity and try Tabata push ups with the Gymboss Interval Timer. 8 sets of 20 seconds ON and 10 seconds of rest. Talk about a KILLER workout! Whew!

But wait! There’s More!

Now, of course this isn’t ALL the different ways to push up. There are one-arm push ups, plyo push ups, and all kinds of stuff you can do. Check out Funk Robert‘s extremely versatile and powerful push up workout. You’ll see his hands are all over the place – so this workout seriously works from every angle! Maybe someday I’ll grow up to be like Funk and actually learn to plyo like that!! 😉

30 Days of Motivation: The Truth About Training Your Abs

fat absIn yesterday’s blog I talked about how it would take 8,250 sit ups to erase one cheeseburger. Why did I pick sit ups for the exercise? I didn’t choose it because it’s the most effective exercise. I chose to use sit ups as my example simply because many people are still under the impression you can work your belly off with ab exercises.

While many people would say it’s a “no-brainer”, that you need to do cardio to burn calories (or stored fat) over doing a specific exercise to target one area, tell that to the millions of people who spend their hard-earned money on silly ab-flattening devices. Why? Because dumping money on a chance to get abs with ease is a lot more tempting than trimming down the hard (and right) way.

If you want to lose your belly fat, tighten your midsection, and see a six-pack, here are 25 ways to waste your money.

25 Ab Gadgets You DON’T Need

  1. Ab loungeAb Rocket
  2. Ab Glider
  3. Ab Lounge
  4. Six Second Abs
  5. Ab Roller
  6. Ab Rocker
  7. Ab Wheel
  8. Ab Doer
  9. Ab Flyer
  10. Ab Force
  11. Abs of Steel
  12. Ab Coaster
  13. Go-Fit Core Ab Ball
  14. Flex Belt Abs Toner
  15. Waist Trimmer
  16. The Crazy Abs
  17. Ab Energizer
  18. Ab Circle Pro
  19. Semi-Recumbent Ab Bench
  20. Abmat Abdominal Exerciser
  21. Slendertone Abdominal Muscle Toner
  22. Body by Jake Abs Exerciser
  23. Ab Rocket Twister
  24. Velform Sauna Belt
  25. Multi Core Flex Pro Ab Gym

NOTE: If you are bowing up right now, and about to post a comment telling me how much you love your Ab Wheel, hold your breath. I’m not saying that some of the ab devices don’t actually work your abs (although most of the items on the list are junk). What I’m saying is, you don’t need them to get great abs – plain and simple! 🙂

Fact or Fiction: You Can Target Belly Fat

woman's absIf you REALLY want to get rid of all those past mistakes stuck to your belly, you need to improve your diet and do cardio. There’s really no other way around it. You can’t target fat, and isolate what you want to lose, and what you don’t. Answer is No. You can’t target belly fat.

For instance, you can’t hop on the Ab Wheel and lose just belly fat, just as much as you can’t do a bunch of cardio to just lose belly fat – but here’s what you CAN expect.

Ab Machines: Tighten, strengthen, build, and tone specific muscles.
Tip: Ab machines are great for tightening stomach muscles, which can make it easier to hold your stomach in, and keep your tummy flat. They also can help build each individual abdominal muscle (the “cube-like” squares) so your abs have that six-pack appearance. The leaner you get, the more definition you will see.

Cardio Machines: Burn calories, burn fat, and improve overall muscle tone. 
Tip: Cardio helps melt the fat that covers your abdominal muscles. If you do cardio that incorporates upper body movement, like boxing, running, elliptical, and aerobics, you can increase calorie burn and tighten the core from the rotation in your upper body. However, the primary reason most people do cardio is to burn calories to manage weight.

Diet: Controls body weight, body fat, and muscle mass.
Tip: Even if you do abs exercises, and do a ton of cardio, none of that matters if you replace the calories burned by just eating more food. That’s why diet is SO important while on the quest for six-pack abs.

Here is a great workout that will get your heart rate up, as well as tone your core!

5-Minute Abs Circuit

Do each exercise for 60 seconds each, back to back, with little to no rest between exercises. I use the Gymboss Interval Timer to track my time.

crunches1. Burpees
2. Sit Ups
3. Oblique Crunch (L)
4. Oblique Crunch (R)
5. Plate Crunch 25lb plate or 15lb-25lb dumbbell

Repeat 3 – 5 times

Today’s Motivational Quote:

doing crunches is like

CrossFit Makes Your Clothes Fall Off: Workout and Training Tips for Everyone

My 1st WOD: Get the Workout, the Inside Scoop & Training Tips!

Since so many facebook and twitter followers were noticing the topless boys in the pictures we posted from our workout at Reebok CrossFit One, I had to tease about it – and tell you more about this juicy workout. Truth is, I would have gotten naked too if I was going as fast and strong as these athletes were! They were totally incredible athletes that made me feel like an out-of-shape couch potato in comparison.

Fear Factor

Many fitness professionals may pretend they aren’t intimidated in new fitness environments – but I’m not one of those people. I won’t lie. It wouldn’t have hurt my feelings if our CrossFit workout got canceled. The unknown is always scary to me, and I’m not much of a group exerciser. I prefer working out solo or in a more private setting. So, I listened carefully to instructions (pictured left) to make sure I didn’t make a fool of myself. ha!

A new workout is like riding a new roller coaster. Once you ride it, you know what to expect and most of the fear is behind you. Although the moves were familiar, I still didn’t know exactly what to expect, and had my reservations admittedly.

I’m not much of a thrill seeker. I’m a middle of the road girl – “steady strong” is my motto. Not really, but that’s kinda how I go about life. It’s kind of like the StairClimb Steve and I did. He bolted up the first 15 flights of stairs like a bat out of hell and I just pushed steady strong the whole time and beat him. ha! Maybe it’s because I can’t stand the feeling of my lungs about to explode, and he loves that extreme feeling of almost dying, but either way – whether I liked it or not, I knew I was in for a thrill ride – and cameras were rolling to catch it all on tape!

Training With Top (Topless) Athletes

We had the honor of working with some of the most elite athletes in the country. Here’s a pic of the entire gang of FitFluential Ambassadors, including Steve and myself, as well as the trainers and staff of @reebokcrossfit1 at @Reebok headquarters in Boston after our workout. #GETAFTERIT Hoorah!

CrossFit Games Athletes

I am going to try my best to give you the scoop on the athletes we were with. Athletes, please forgive me if I get your name or titles wrong. If I do, I’m blaming Google. ha!

Among some of our trainers for the day were:
Austin Malleolo, 2010 CrossFit Games: 6th (center, and shirtless)
Julie Foucher, 2011 CrossFit Games, 5th (to our right of Austin with grey tights)
Spencer Hendel, Reebok CrossFit Games 2011: 9th  (the shirtless guy next to julie with a beanie on)
Joe Masley, 2012 CrossFit Games Northeast Regional Affiliate Division – 2nd Place (and yet another shirtless guy next to Spencer)
James Hobart, 2011 Affiliate Cup Championship team CrossFit New England
Jared Davis (JD), 2010 Southeast Regional, 1st (last guy with his shirt off on the left)
Christy Phillips, 2012 Reebok CrossFit Game, 11th (in turquoise blue)

(Here I am with Spencer Hendel, who was the trainer for Steve’s group)

The Workout of the Day (AKA: WOD)

Yes, this is me doing box jumps with FitFluential “Manbassador” Jeremy Scott, doing the following workout.

200 meter run (sprint) relay 

150 Dumbbell Thrusters
100 Pull Ups (or Ring Rows)
50 Box Jumps

200 meter run (sprint harder or be shamed) final relay for total time

Instructions: During the 200 meter sandwich (the workout between the two 200 meter runs), you rotate stations. We had 3 people on our team. One person held a 115lb bar in a static hold (guys held overhead) while another person did the work (thrusters, pull ups or box jumps) and another rested. Each person rotated out until all the reps were complete. We changed stations as soon as the guy doing the active work (thrusters, pull ups, box jumps) wore out. Great workout!

This was us smack in the middle of our workout. I figured I could try to snap a pic while I was (quote/unquote) “RESTING” (more like dry heaving). haha

The Take Home

I took home more than a workout, I took home some DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) too! I’m feeling great, just don’t ask me to make any sudden moves. My quads are SO sore! I think I love the result more than the workout, but no pain no gain right? ha!

Sure, CrossFit isn’t for everyone. Although it is scaleable for everyone (74 year old Reebok employee, AnnMarie, proved that), the training atmosphere fits a certain personality. People who are competitive love the accountability of timed workouts, posting times, and having a “winner”.  That’s why athletes love these workouts, they are competitive. So what about the other 99% of the population? You can still apply some of the effective training principles in your own ideal fitness setting.

Here are 5 Training Tips Anyone Can Use

1. Partner Accountability: What will keep you going faster and stronger during a workout? Knowing your friend is not-so-patiently waiting holding 115lbs overhead drying for you to finish up and swap stations. Here I am, at my resting station (catching my breath), while James Hobart is doing a static hold, waiting for Jeremy Scott to tire out from thrusters and switch stations.

2. Timed Workouts: Anytime you add time into a fitness equation you beef up intensity. You don’t have to be competing against other teams to have the fastest times to get the most out of this. Just time yourself and try to beat your own time next workout.

3. Functional Training: As a gym owner, I admit there is a need for machines, BUT it is extremely important to implement funcional training in your workout routine too. Functional training improves your overall quality of life, moving like we do during normal daily activities. I mean, we don’t have back support, like we do on a leg press machine, when squatting down to pick up a heavy object. Hands down, functional training is an absolute a must in training – CrossFit or not.

4. Camaraderie: There is nothing like a pat on the back or a group yelling for you. Our boot campers experience this, and it’s thrilling – and gives even the toughest, most painful workout a more positive feeling when it’s over. I know the trainer of our group, James, was just being nice when he said “good job”, but it still felt good anyway. 🙂

5. Improved Form and Range of Motion: CrossFit is big on form, and rightfully so. They push a lot of weight, and can’t afford to hurt themselves, but attention to form and range of motion should be on everyone’s list of essentials. First, as you improve form in the gym, you will improve form and posture outside of the gym. Focusing on posture and form also improves core strength. Second, most people slack on range of motion. Squats are often shallow and movements limited. The problem with shallow training is we aren’t exercising the muscles we use in real life. If you get up off the ground, you are in a deep squat. You don’t start with your thighs parallel to the ground. If your knees can take it, you should be moving in a bigger, longer range of motion to get the most goody out of the exercise. The problem is, this means you will likely have to go down in weight – something most body builders don’t want to do. Well, suck it up and put your pride aside. The results will be worth it and no one really cares how much weight you lift anyway!

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

7 Ways Women Can Rock Pull Ups

Yep, that’s me doing pull ups in my new favorite Reebok tank. And, I’m glad the camera is behind me because, no matter how I do these things, they are tough – and it shows on my face! They may not be my favorite exercise, but they sure do deliver killer results. And, if you aren’t doing them, you need to start!

If you’re a woman, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “I’ve tried doing a pull up, and beside busting a few blood vessels, nothing happened.” Or, maybe worse, you didn’t even try. I have to be honest, until recently, the last time I did a pull up was during the presidential test in elementary school. Then, during boot camp, I did enough pull ups to kill someone. After that, they became a normal part of my workout routine – and there is nothing like them.

Most women think pull ups are just for boys, but women can benefit greatly from this traditional exercise. If you do them often, you’ll sculpt a back you are DYING to show off, like Jennifer Nicole Lee does here in this racy white number seen here on SocialLiteLife. Personally, I don’t even know how she kept this dress on, but between conquering dreaded back fat and sculpting that beautiful V-taper that accentuates the waist, I can see why she wants to show it off.

Of course you can’t expect to just jump on a bar and do a pull up out of the blue. Pull ups take a lot of upper body strength, which is something most women have to work on. Whether you want to do a pull up, or just do similar exercises to sculpt the back, these 7 exercises will improve your strength, skill and physique.

7  Ways to Perfect the Pull Up

1. Pull Ups with a spotter. A spotter can give you the boost you need to start doing pull ups right away. You can spot at the feet, knees, hips or waist.

2. Pull Ups using a chair to assist you. Be careful when attempting this one, but a chair is a great way to get a little help when you are training alone. By using only one foot, or putting your feet on the top of a folding chair (that could fall over if you use too much pressure) it forces you to not rely on the chair too much.

3. Pull Ups with a resistance band. I like using a blue Bodylastics band because I can easily loop it around my bar and clip it to the handle, but the band you see in the photo also works well too. Simply put a foot in the handle or band, being careful to point your toe down so the band doesn’t slip off your feet. Beginners may want to use the Orange or Black Bodylastics band, which you can buy separately or in a complete set.

4. Negative Pull Ups make you stronger. Boost yourself up and resist the negative movement down to increase strength. Your body will want to fall quickly, but fight it with all your might with each repetition and watch your strength improve.

 5. Assisted Pull Up Machine. The assisted pull up machine best simulates an actual pull up. You adjust the weight to the counter balance your own weight, assisting you up just like a spotter.

6. Heavy Pull Downs using the cable pulley. When all else fails, you can always do lat pull downs on a machine or cable. Although the same muscles are being worked, it’s not a substitute for the real thing – but a really close second. Go as heavy as you can to build strength.

7. Modified Pull Ups. Although this movement isn’t the same motion as a pull up, it works the back in a similar way. Since I’m a fan of functional training, and love that you can do this exercise in an open environment like this playground, this is a great exercise to incorporate into your back routine. Most people use a barbell on a squat rack to do this exercise in the gym. The more horizontal you are, the harder it will be.

Just because you are a girl, doesn’t mean you get to skip pull ups – it just means you have to be a little more creative! Happy Pull-Upping! SO Go @GetAfterIt!

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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