Make Your Workouts More Effective

 

Many people think they have to spend hours in the gym to get in shape. They think if they can’t put an hour into a workout, then why waste the time working out. The truth is, it’s not about the time you put in, but the quality of your workouts.

I see so many people mindlessly going through their workouts with poor form. In addition to poor form, I see the overachievers with heavy weights using momentum and performing their reps way too fast. Consider putting more thought into your workouts and each exercise. Focus on controlling the weight and contracting the muscle; it will make a tremendous difference in your workouts.

Therefore, can you do less with more focus and still get a great workout AND accomplish your goals?

 

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Ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. What am I trying to achieve in my workout today? Is my goal to build muscle, build cardiovascular endurance, work on flexibility, or do I want to bust through a plateau with some interval training? If you don’t know what the purpose of your workout is, you won’t get the results you are trying to achieve.
  2. Are you challenged with your workout? Is it intense enough? Is your weight challenging enough to make it difficult to get through your last few reps?
  3. Are you wasting time in the gym, too much rest between sets? Are you socializing too much- Are you wasting time on social media?
  4. Is your mind on your workout? Are you focused and present to give your workout all you got??
  5. Are you getting results from your workouts that match the time you spend each week on your training?

The truth is if you’ve ever tried a circuit type workout in which you perform exercises with very little rest between sets, you will realize that you can get an amazing workout in as little as 20 to 30 minutes.

RE: Jillianmichaels.com reports circuit training is an excellent way to simultaneously improve mobility, strength, and stamina. The circuit training workout is composed of two to six different circuits, each containing two or more strength/cardio exercises that are completed one right after the other, with little or no rest in between. The strength training works your muscles, and the cardio keeps your heart rate up.

Here’s is my sample circuit:

Pushups- 12

Jump squats -12

Pull-ups- 8

Burpees- 12

Squat with bicep curl -12

Tricep Pushup/Plank Jack combo-12

Plank- 1 minute

Repeat 3x

 

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Friday Get Lean Circuit Training

“Some are born strong and others are made strong.”
― J.R. Rim

Check with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

Begin with a warm-up for 7-10 minutes:

 

Perform each exercise for 12 reps repeating each circuit three times before advancing to the next circuit. Don’t forget to warm-up and cool down. Hydrate before during and after your workout.

CIRCUIT ONE:

  • Pushback Push up- 12 reps
  • Barbell Row With Bicep Curl- 12 reps
  • Bench Side Squat With Abduction – 8 Reps each leg- Right leg 8 reps/ 12 mountain climbers– Left leg 8 reps/12 mountain climbers

CIRCUIT TWO:

  •  Barbell Squat- 12 reps
  •  Clean and Press- 12 reps
  •   Barbell Squat with Bicep Curl- 12 repsPlank Jacks 12 reps

 

 

CIRCUIT THREE:

 

  •  Barbell Chest Press- 12 reps
  • Barbell Tricep Press- 12 reps
  • DB Rear Delt/ Side Raise– 12 reps each- Abs In & Outs 12 reps

 

Cool down/ Stretch

 

 

 

What You Focus On Will Flourish

We all have goals in our lives. Some people write them down with details on how to achieve them, while others keep them stored away in the back of their mind on a mental “wish list.”  However, what if I told you the answer to achieving anything you want is in the title of this blog. Perhaps you want to change careers, go for your dream promotion, run a marathon, or simply improve a relationship with a loved one; the key is applying focus to the situation.

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Do you feel like you deserve a promotion, or does a new career path seem out of reach? What will it take to get you closer to that goal? It may be as easy as signing up for continuing education to help you advance in your current position or, enrolling in courses that relate to your career of interest. When I was in my twenties, I wanted to go into nursing but felt overwhelmed at starting back to school with two young children. I decided to enroll in a chemistry course at my local college and that gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams. I went on to graduate with a BSN in nursing, became a certified personal trainer, and acquired fitness certifications to teach yoga, and group fitness. You may be surprised how quickly new opportunities arise once you prioritize the steps to help you reach your goals. The key is applying concentration, drive, and consistency. You have the choice to stay where you are and hope things magically fall into place, or go after your dreams with focus and a plan.

Maybe, you’ve dreamed of participating in a fitness competition, hiking the Appalachian trail, or running a marathon. Goals such as these may seem out of reach, but it simply requires focus, consistency, and a well thought out plan. In the past, one of the top items on my bucket list was to run a marathon. However, I was not a runner and I felt like a marathon was out of the question. I decided to research training programs and discovered all my preconceived ideas were nonsense. I didn’t have to be a runner, a certain age, or have an athletic lean body to run a marathon. All I needed was a beginner training plan and the drive and consistency to follow through. Once I signed up for the marathon, I focused on proper nutrition and consistently began to build endurance and mileage each week. I successfully completed my first marathon in 2012; It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I remember starting the race Running For The Bay, St. George Island at the break of dawn, seeing the amazing sunrise as I ran over the bridge in St. George Island- Apalachicola, FL. I knew this would forever be a high point in my life; the feeling was priceless!

All you need is the proper mindset, motivation, and consistency to make your dreams come true. I entered my first figure show at the age of 53. I never dreamed I could transform my body, build muscle, and reduce my body fat enough to consider entering a competition. I was slightly overweight in my teens and put on additional weight in my thirties after having children. However, once I became interested in a career in fitness, the goal of entering a figure competition didn’t seem so far fetched, even at the age of 53. My first marathon gave me the confidence to set new goals in life. As I became stronger and improved my fitness level, I began to dismiss age or body type as a barrier to my goals. I realized you can do anything you put your mind to, as long as you believe it, and put the work in to achieve it.

Here I am below at age 53 and I placed 3rd in my age group. I’ll admit, I could have done better, and I didn’t put enough work into posing and nutrition. But this still took hard work, and I was happy with my results. Proof that what you focus on will flourish.

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This concept also works with relationships. We all thrive on connections with family and friends. However, with our busy lives, it can be difficult to put the time and effort into building and nurturing relationships with loved ones. Perhaps you feel guilty about not connecting or spending enough time with your children, parents, siblings, or friends. All it takes is a little thought and focus on ways to increase communication. Consider weekly calls, planning weekend get-togethers, or reading nightly bedtime stories to your children.

Think about an area in your life that you want to improve and simply take the first step. Consider your health, career, and your relationships and start with a plan. Be consistent, focus on the work, and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

Basic Strength Training Workout

 

 

 

This is a well-balanced basic strength routine. Begin with light dumbbells and transition to heavier weights when the exercise is no longer challenging. Consider using heavier weights for larger muscle groups such as back, chest quads, and glutes.

Perform this workout 2x a week on non-consecutive days so that your muscles can recover and rebuild.

ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY NEW EXERCISE PROGRAM.

Don’t forget to hydrate before, during and after the workout.

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Functional Warm up 7-10 minutes-

 

 

 

CIRCUIT ONE:

  1. DB Chest Press – 10-12 Reps

2. Glute Bridge (10-12 Reps)

 

3. Abdominal Cross hand Crunch (10-12 Reps)

REPEAT CIRCUIT ONE 2-3 X

CIRCUIT TWO:

  1. DB Row (10-12 Reps)

 

 

2. DB Bicep Curl (10-12 Reps)

3. DB Deadlift (10-12 Reps)

REPEAT CIRCUIT TWO 2-3 X

CIRCUIT THREE:

  1. Squat Bodyweight (10-12 Reps)

2. Tricep Pushups on Knees (10-12 Reps)

3. Elbow Plank (Hold for 30-45 seconds)

REPEAT CIRCUIT Three 2-3 X

Post Workout Stretch

Killer TRX Cardio Core Workout

I’ve been teaching a TRX six-week challenge class the past six weeks and incorporated a focus on mindful eating, food choices, and a change of routine. I love TRX, AKA suspension training. TRX is a great way to build core strength, burn fat, and increase strength and mobility.

Suspension training can be done with a convenient strap system that’s inexpensive and easy to transport to any workout space.

TRX was developed by a Navy SEAL, Randy Hetrick to train during deployment. It is a portable workout system that combines your bodyweight with gravity. The intensity of all exercises can be made more difficult by adjusting the angle of the body.

This six-week challenge has really helped me to break through a plateau and increase lean muscle. Additionally, my challenge group has managed to successfully improve their nutrition, lose inches, and reduce body fat. This is one of the best workouts for the core and to help define the abs.

Try my killer TRX workout below for some of my favorite suspension training exercises incorporated into a circuit (repeat 3x) Let me know how you like! Don’t forget to add a warm-up and cool down.

  1. TRX Squat With High Row (10 Reps)

2. Jump back Push Ups (10 Reps)

3. Trx Pike Crunch (10 Reps)

4. Burpee Mountain Climber (10 Reps)

5. TRX Hamstring Runner (10 Reps)

6. Up-Down Plank (10 Reps)

Elevate Your Situation

“Feed the mind good wisdom, the body good nutrition, the soul good vibes, and the heart good love. Elevation for your situation.”
― T.F. Hodge

It was pouring rain this morning when I woke up and I didn’t particularly want to get out of bed. I didn’t sleep well and I had a headache that felt similar to a really bad hangover without the fun. I’m sure it was most likely due to the thick pollen all over our deck and front porch. On days like this, I try to make a decision to make the best of my day by focusing on the good things in my life. I dig down deep and REACH FOR MY FAVORITE THINGS to help “elevate my situation.”

“Regardless of Sunshine or Rain, Be Thankful for another GREAT day…and treat Life as the ULTIMATE Gift…. Because IT IS :)”
 Pablo

  1. Favorite Way To Start My Morning -COFFEE

I had to teach an early class, so I jumped out of bed and went down to the kitchen for coffee. Ahhh coffee makes everything better! I decided to go for “bulletproof coffee” so that hopefully the caffeine would kick in and help me forget about my headache.

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I drank a large glass of lemon water and by the time I finished the bulletproof coffee, my headache was gone.

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?”
― Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

2. One Of My Favorite Workouts

Workouts always make me feel better. I prepared a workout for a small group training class. I decided to start off the workout with a treadmill run and added an incline challenge. The run was a great way to get the endorphins to kick in quickly and helped the class to get pumped for the weight circuit to follow. The circuit was total body compound exercises that were completed three rounds.

Jessie's Friday WOD

 

3. Put On My favorite shoes (BOOTS) They always put me in a good mood!  I love cowboy boots and wear them all year no matter how hot it gets.

“She wore trousers, because skirts were stupid, and boots, ‘cuz stuff needed to be kicked.”
 Brandon SandersonShadows of Self

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4. Love to cook! My Favorite Meal-is almost always- Healthy and Home Cooked!

This was such a delicious and easy meal to make. I placed a couple of organic chicken thighs on a roasting pan and seasoned them with a store-bought Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce and sprinkled the thighs with chili powder. Roasted carrots are a healthy, quick, and easy side that requires very little preparation. I scrubbed the organic carrots and basted them with olive oil.   

Roast the chicken and carrots in the oven on 375 for approximately 60 minutes. I paired the baked chicken and roasted carrots with a spinach salad, sliced avocado, and mandarin orange slices.

 

 

“Oh, I adore to cook. It makes me feel so mindless in a worthwhile way.”
 Truman CapoteSummer Crossing

Flex Friday Workout & Fuel

 

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and I just finished my Interval Barbell class. So nice to be back to my normal routine of teaching after a six-week hiatus. Although it’s nice to take a break to help prevent burnout, I miss the positive energy, the music, and most of all the class members. Here’s today’s class: Warm-up 7 to 10 minutes run

Pushups-  20 Reps/ 3 Sets

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Chest Press – 20 Reps/ 3 Sets

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Mountain Climbers – 20 Reps/ 3 Sets followed by Plank (One Minute)

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Clean & Press – 10 Reps/ 3 Sets

 

Barbell Biceps – 20 Reps/ 3 Sets

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Tricep Dip – 20 Reps/ 3 Sets (Weight plate optional)

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Plank Jacks – 20 Reps/ 3 Sets

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Final stretch and recovery fuel

Take a look at these great post workout snack ideas

 

Ten Minute Yin Yoga Practice

Yin Yoga is a practice in which you hold lying and seating poses for three to five minutes. This type of yoga focuses on flexibility and restoration. Try my ten minute practice in the morning to loosen up tight muscles or to help you wind down before bedtime. Focus on breathing slowly in and out through the nose that will help create warmth in the body and promote relaxation. Try to clear your thoughts and focus on a mind body connection as you try to relax in each pose.

You’ll need a mat, water, and an optional blanket for a prop if needed.

Wide Knee Child’s Pose  (Hold for 3 minutes)

Sphinx Pose (Hold for 3 minutes)

Swan Pose (Hold for 2 minutes on each leg)

Finish with an optional pose called Legs up the Wall  3 to 5 minutes

Which Way Should I Go?

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“Cat: Where are you going?

Alice: Which way should I go?

Cat: That depends on where you are going.

Alice: I don’t know.

Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

 Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Where are you going in life? Are you on the right path?  It’s an important question to ask yourself and you may be surprised at the answer. Without purpose or direction we become stagnant and feel empty.  Have you considered what you value most in life?  If you don’t know, then you may end up on the wrong path.

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It can be a challenge in our busy lives to achieve balance when it comes to family life, career, and health. However, if you don’t know where you’re going, you may find yourself at some point in life, full of regrets.

Stop spinning your wheels and write down an action oriented plan with specific goals that will help you live your best life.

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In an interesting article by James Clear  The Four Burners Theory , he reports:

One way to think about work-life balance is with a concept known as The Four Burners Theory. Here’s how it was first explained to me:

Imagine that your life is represented by a stove with four burners on it. Each burner symbolizes one major quadrant of your life.

  1. The first burner represents your family.
  2. The second burner is your friends.
  3. The third burner is your health.
  4. The fourth burner is your work.

One of the most frustrating parts of The Four Burners Theory is that it shines a light on your untapped potential. It can be easy to think, “If only I had more time, I could make more money or get in shape or spend more time at home.”

One way to manage this problem is to shift your focus from wishing you had more time to maximizing the time you have. In other words, you embrace your limitations. The question to ask yourself is, “Assuming a particular set of constraints, how can I be as effective as possible?”

For example:

  • Assuming I can only work from 9 AM to 5 PM, how can I make the most money possible?
  • Assuming I can only write for 15 minutes each day, how can I finish my book as fast as possible?
  • Assuming I can only exercise for 3 hours each week, how can I get in the best shape possible?

This line of questioning pulls your focus toward something positive (getting the most out of what you have available) rather than something negative (worrying about never having enough time). Furthermore, well-designed limitations can actually improve your performance and help you stop procrastinating on your goals.

Consider writing down a small goal for each area of your life that you feel needs improvement. Here are some ideas:

Relationships–  Take time each day to tell your loved ones how much you care for them. Set restraints on social media and use that time to spend with your family. Get in the habit of giving hugs more often. Read books, play board games, or put puzzles together with your children each week. Try and set up a consistent schedule to call your parents, siblings, and friends. Create special memories!

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Career-  This is a biggie! We all need to make money to live but if you hate your job, you will most likely be miserable. Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time at work so it’s vital to find something that is compatible with your family life. Also, if you have small children, you will regret working 60 or more hours a week. That’s precious time away from loved ones that you will never get back. Consider your options for another job with better hours or maybe a work from home option. Set a goal to improve this area of your life by determining the pros and cons of your current working situation and where you can make small positive changes.

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Health-  This is an area many of us end up sacrificing due to time restraints. However, it’s easy to set just one or two weekly goals that can make a substantial difference in your health.  Number one is the food you bring into your home. Learn to make healthier food choices when shopping for groceries. It’s important for your children to learn the relationship between their health and what they eat.  Take them shopping with you and let them make their own grocery list of healthy food choices. Restrict splurges on fast food to special circumstances or occasions. Additionally, consider how you can add activity into your day?  Ride a bike or walk to work if that’s an option.

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Set your alarm an hour early and get your workouts on your calendar.  Even a ten minute workout once or twice a day can make a difference. Determine specific days and times each week for physical fitness and stay consistent. You will never regret this.

Consider what you value most in life and make a plan to make sure you take the right path. Because if you don’t know where you’re going than it doesn’t really matter.

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