Heart-Pumping, Bodyweight Ladder Workout

I created this workout while we were on vacation. I just happened to be reading a Men’s Health magazine the night before, and one of their articles/workouts inspired me to create this ladder workout. (I LOVE Men’s Health magazine. They have some of the best workouts.)

This workout starts slow, but by the time you get into rounds 10-15, you are feeling it. If you struggle doing push-ups or any movement that places pressure on your wrists or hands, check out the wrist-friendly version included below.

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When to Breathe During Strength Training Exercises

Recently, a client asked me about the timing of her breathing during a strength training workout. When should she exhale? Inhale? The easiest rule to remember during a strength training workout is to exhale when you are exerting force and inhale on the recovery. That’s easy to master – in theory. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what is the exertion portion of certain exercises. Let’s look at some popular strength training moves and identify when you should exhale and inhale.

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Sore Knees? Try These Knee-Friendly Exercises

When I was younger, I would jump and hop around with little to no thought about the impact on my body. Now, I cringe when I see someone doing repeated tuck jumps or box jumps. It hurts my knees just watching someone else do it!

Often times, if we have an injured body part, we assume we just need to give up fitness. But, that’s not the case – you just need to find exercises you can do to keep yourself active but not further aggravate your injured area. The important thing to keep in mind is that if you do feel pain in your knees (or any other body part) while doing a movement, stop. No workout is worth injuring your body!

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Full-Body Dumbbell Workout

Some of my favorite workouts are created by accident.   This workout is a result of one of those recent workout sessions. I knew I wanted to do a strength training session with minimal equipment, and I needed it to be full-body.

The only equipment this workout utilizes are dumbbells. If you don’t have any dumbbells, you can easily do this workout with bottles of water or no weights at all. Repeat each circuit for a total of three times before moving on to the next circuit.

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Get a Full-body Workout From Home in 20 Minutes

I love workouts that require no equipment and minimal space. This workout fits that criteria perfectly – it’s comprised of bodyweight exercises that can be done anywhere. There isn’t any complicated choreography in this workout, so you can focus on your form.  Knee-friendly/ back-friendly modifications are listed next to each movement. This is an ideal workout if you don't have time to go to the gym or you prefer to workout from home. Set aside 20 minutes, find a small space in a room and get started! 

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The Beginners Guide to Tabata Workouts

Tabata training is a type of a High Intensity Interval Training workout that is highly effective and efficient. It is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata, who founded the workout format with his team of researchers at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo.  Tabata and his colleagues found that this workout format burned more calories in this 4-minute circuit than would be typically be seen in a 4-minute segment of exercise. They also found that participants saw increases in both their anaerobic system (muscles) as well as aerobic system (cardiovascular); whereas participants who only participated in a moderate intensity program (that was not Tabata) only saw increases in their aerobic systems.

Often times Tabata is associated with cardio and plyometric exercise moves, but I like to use it with both cardio and strength training moves. Because of its intense interval format, you are only going to do it one or two times a week and never on consecutive days. If clients are completing it with the intensity that the workout prescribes, then I don’t usually do more than 4-5 circuits (20-25 minutes).

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Hate Working Out? Try This Alphabet Workout

A former client of mine posted a picture on my Facebook page last week featuring another trainer’s alphabet workout. She commented that it was just like something I would make my clients do! Little did she know, I’m a huge fan of alphabet workouts.  If you are constantly watching the clock while working out, then this one is for you. Time flies by while you are doing it.

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Popsicle Stick Workout

I like to be surprised – a card in the mail, a compliment from a stranger or an unexpected call from a friend.  (Let’s be honest – getting a surprise check or gift in the mail is the BEST.) I especially love it when my husband surprises me by doing the dishes or folding the laundry!

I also like to be surprised during a workout. When I create my workouts, I always know what’s coming next. Sometimes I take a class or go for a group workout that someone else is leading to give me that “surprise” workout. If time is short and I don’t have time to find a class to attend, this popsicle stick workout is a great “at home” surprise workout.

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Stay Inside Workout - Full-body, Low-Impact

Cold and flu season is in full swing, and several of my clients have been out of commission because of a cold. As my clients ease back into their workout routines, we've been trying to keep workouts low-impact. Heart rates still get elevated, but I've taken out most of the jarring movements. Let's be honest, no one wants to do a bunch of jumps and high intensity movements during their first workout after being sick.  

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Why You NEED to Change Up Your Workout Routine

I once had a co-worker proudly boast that she had been doing the same Jane Fonda VHS step workout everyday for years. Yet, in the same conversation, she said she couldn't understand why she wasn't progressing in strength and cardiovascular gains. She wasn't interested in what I had to say, but the solution was an easy one - change up your workout routine!

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Low-Impact Workout That Will Get Your Heart Pumping

I've been trying to create more workouts that are low-impact but still manage to get heart rates elevated.  This workout will increase your heart rate, but it is also kind to your joints. It's a body-weight workout, so you don't need anything in order to do it. If you are needing more low-impact options for workouts, give this one a try. It's quick and less jarring than some workouts!

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Hip and Knee-Friendly New Year's Workout

By the second week of February, more than 80 percent of New Year's Resolutions will have failed. (The most common resolutions people make involve diet and exercise.) As awful as that statistic sounds, I don't find it to be hopeless. It just reminds me that we all tend to bite off more than we can chew in an attempt to make positive changes in the new year.

That's where today's workout comes in. If you are needing a workout to keep your new fitness program going or if you are trying to get back into an exercise routine, give this workout a try. It is actually created to be hip and knee-friendly, so it should be a reasonable workout for everyone.

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Full-Body Turkey Day Workout

Most of us don't WANT to work out on Thanksgiving, but I promise you it's a great way to start off the holiday. After trying to get the turkey in the oven, prepare the side dishes and pick up the house, I'm stressed and taxed. Although a workout isn't on the top of my list, I try to set aside 20 minutes to get moving. I promise you that it's worth it; I am always so glad I did it. I feel less stressed and more energized.

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The Cupcake Workout - Seriously!

Confession: I ate a TON of cupcakes on Saturday. I was stressed,  working on a deadline and in perfect view of them sitting on the counter. I probably should have stopped after the first bite, but I kept eating because they tasted delicious. (If you are looking for a great chocolate cake recipe, check this one out!) Anyway, fast forward to Sunday -  I felt lethargic and icky. I wanted to get myself moving and sweat out some toxins.

That's where this "Cupcake Workout" came from. It is NOT intended to "work off" all of the calories I consumed. It's just a workout to get your body moving and break a sweat.

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Calorie-Torching Pyramid Workout

I have an aversion to doing the same workout more than a few times. I always want something new.  A new workout doesn't necessarily have to be full of different exercises, I just need to switch the format. If I've been doing workouts with a high number of repetitions, then I need to switch to a timed, circuit workout. Changing the format makes the workout more interesting, and the time passes by quicker (and that's a huge bonus)!

A pyramid workout is one of my favorite formats.  

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Small-Space, Full-Body Workout

A few weeks ago, I was staying in a hotel with my son. He likes to sleep in, so if I wanted to squeeze in a morning workout, I had to do it in a very small, confined space. I also had to make sure it wasn't super noisy. That's how this workout was created.  It was just supposed to be something to get me moving; however, I was sore the next day. I'm not sure if it was the squats, lunges or all of the above!

Whether you are traveling or just looking for a new workout, give this one a shot!

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Interval Workout that Will Make You Sweat

In the summer, my son and I participate in a local fitness program called Red Dog Days. It's free and there's a wonderful variety of participants - young, old,  beginners, moms, dads, college athletes and high school athletes.

There are some runs that are Dog Days' traditions, and we all look forward to them. This week was one those anticipated workouts - the Zipper Run.  Although Kansas is considered flat, there are some fantastic hills around the University of Kansas. The Zipper Run incorporates many of these lovely hills - you GET to run up and down five large hills before the run is over.

While I was breathlessly slogging up the hills, I thought about how I like pushing hard during an interval and then having the opportunity to back off until my next push. (I totally coasted downhill.) That's why I love today's Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM) workout. You have a minute to complete your list of exercises. As soon as you are done with the exercises, you can rest until that minute is complete.

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