Feb 022016
 

Not all workouts need to be an hour long. Sometimes you just don’t have the time. Sometimes life gets crazy and you don’t have time to drive to the gym, change your clothes, get in the pool and swim…but you want to do SOMETHING. There are definitely ways to get in a workout without having to sacrifice a ton of time.

This post is about a few things you can do when you only have 30 minutes to get your sweat on!

Kettlebells

Kettlebells are by far the #1 option when you need a good work out with a giant calorie burn in a very short period of time. If you don’t want to pay for a gym membership, or won’t have the opportunity to GO to a gym, owning a few kettlebells of various weights can make getting fit at home easy. Trust me! Michael has invested in about 6 different kettlebells and his workouts at home are either running, kettlebells or biking to work. He’s been working really hard the last few months preparing for our little guy’s arrival by getting fit and his kettlebell workouts rarely last longer than 30 minutes. It’s doable.

I definitely miss going to the Warrior Room. It was a cool community and a fantastic workout. I am looking forward to returning after the baby is here! Here are a few posts that included some kettlebell workouts you can try:

Warrior Room Part 2

Two Classes

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I definitely recommend taking a class or two somewhere, or hiring a personal trainer, to teach you the proper form. There’s a bit of a learning curve but once you get the form down, you can do it on your own and you don’t need a class. You can find videos online for different routines and it’s easy to do it at home by yourself.

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Using kettlebells is pretty easy and it’s such a good calorie burn! Trust me when I say you’ll burn those calories in 30 minutes.

Battle Ropes

Battle Ropes are FUN and hard. So hard. Your shoulders will burn. You will burn so many calories. You’ll be drenched in sweat and it really doesn’t take more than a few minutes to get to that point! What I love about doing this exercise is that it’s fun and different.

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There’s a podcast I listen to that was pretty eye-opening when it came to fitness. Joe Rogan’s podcast is really diverse–he talks about everything. Psychedelics, politics, feminism, sports, comedy, history…But fitness is a big part of it. I remember one episode where he described something called “functional strength” and he said he preferred that kind of workout to your typical weight lifting routine. Basically, doing something “functional” like flipping giant tires, pulling and pushing heavy loads, and doing things like the Battle Ropes made him stronger in a more functional way. Instead of being a big meat head with no neck, his muscles WORKED for him, instead of being “pretty.”

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An article I read, Getting Outside the Box: The Definition of Functional Strength, says:

Functional strength is the strength that gets us through life and daily survival. Manual labor typically involved walking, running, pushing, pulling, and grasping.”

I really liked the idea of that and then I got the exposure when I was going to the Warrior Room. They had battle ropes and giant tires and it was SO hard and challenging but I noticed immediate differences in my strength levels and core strength after only a few weeks of doing functional exercises like this! I am a big fan! And these types of workouts don’t take a big chunk of your time.

 

Body Weight Exercises

Similar to the above functional exercises you can do. These don’t require equipment. These are simple things that can get your heart pumping, burn a lot of calories and you can do them in your living room if you need to!

Squat Jumps

We did squat jumps a lot at the Warrior Room and they ALWAYS got me. I loved doing them because I saw results, but dang I’d be sore. It didn’t take much to get my heart pounding. This is a great thing to do when you are short on time.

 

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Burpees and Mountain Climbers 

Like many of you, I have a love-hate relationship with burpees. They are efficient and effective but damn they kind of suck! :) burpee

Mountain Climbers:

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An example:

Sometimes if I had limited time and needed to get in and get out in terms of the gym, I would do something like this:

quick warm up

jumping jacks

push-ups

squat jumps

squats

burpees

mountain climbers

Effective calorie burn without taking a long time.

Running

Running is a really efficient way to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. Obviously you should have a base of some running before just going outside and doing an epic 5 miles. That would hurt. So if you are already a runner, or a sometimes runner, running is a GREAT way to get in a workout when you only have 3o minutes.

When I used to run at lunch time at work I had 1 hour. That meant I had to change, run, then take a quickie shower, get dressed and be back at my desk within that hour. It was definitely a challenge, but a good one. One of the things I miss most about doing that was having my evenings free. Instead of my work day being really long and not getting home until after 7pm because of gym time, I got off work and had my evening free to do things with friends, go out for happy hour, basically enjoy some downtime! Plus, it got me out of the office, improved my mood and broke up the long day.

Repost: Why I Run the Waterfront

What a Great Workout!

Finding a Workout Buddy

I got pretty good at running during my lunch hour. I got good at changing quickly, then I’d run for about 40-45 minutes, and it would take me 10 minutes to shower and get dressed, grab my food and be back at my desk.

If you only have 30 minutes to workout, go for a run. Sprints and intervals would be your best bet for maximum calorie burn, but just running works too.

I’ve given it a lot of thought and I think once I am back running after the baby is here and after maternity leave is done, I will try and go back to running during my lunch hour. I don’t foresee a ton of extra time in my future to go to the gym after work and some things are going to have to change. I think running during my lunch hour might be the best way to do that!

What are your favorite ways to workout in the shortest amount of time?

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Dec 222015
 

This post is just in time for all the people who will soon be flooding the gym for New Year’s Resolutions! And a good reminder for us old folks that have been going a long time (and probably picking up some bad habits along the way).  It’s easy to get into a rut and hopefully this post reminds all of us (me included) to break some of those bad habits. I recognize a few of these in me.

Just Doing Cardio

I used to be a cardio junkie. I hated weight lifting. I would force myself once in awhile to do a quick circuit around the weight machines and it would be boring, I’d feel like it was a waste of my time and I’d never see any changes in my body or strength.

After a few different injuries kind of forced me to take it easy on the cardio, I had to find something else to do so I could still work out. I started lifting weights on a consistent, serious basis and I finally “got it.” I started to LIKE lifting weights. It wasn’t just a boring slog. Seeing a difference made me realize if I stuck with it, I COULD see a change and it wasn’t a waste of my time.

I liked feeling stronger. I liked that I could lift things easily in my day to day life simply because I was lifting weights on a regular basis. It was empowering! Check out this old post that is still a great one: Reshaping Your Body with Weight Lifting.

So if you want to see some CHANGE in your body, mix it up. Get off that elliptical and try doing some body weight exercises or add some free weights into your routine.

cardio

Unrealistic Expectations

You have to start somewhere. If that’s walking/jogging in intervals before you can RUN, that’s ok. If it’s lifting 15 pounds to start with, while the muscles guys in the gym are lifting 100 pounds next to you, who cares? You have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Having expectations that are unrealistic will just cause disappointment and probably injury!

 

Phoning It In

GET OFF THE PHONE! Get off the phone! SERIOUSLY PEOPLE get off your phone and work out! I see this in my gym ALL THE TIME and it makes me crazy. People doing nothing and fucking off with their phones. Sitting on weight machines, not lifting weights, but playing with their phones. Taking up equipment and space goofing off.

A tip for this: make a playlist ahead of time and stop messing with your phone. You don’t need to be on Facebook or texting or whatever else. Focus on the task at hand: getting FIT.

Another tip: write out your workout routine for the day and follow that. I have a little notebook that I take to the gym with my weight lifting routine already mapped out for me. I have 5-8 different routines and I mix them up and sometimes I change things around once I get to the gym, but overall I follow it. It keeps me focused and keeps me from wandering around the gym aimlessly.

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Overtraining/Not Resting

I can tell when I’m starting to get into the over-training territory. I feel tired, run-down, burned out and I often end up getting sick. That’s a clear sign it’s time to rest.

When I was going to the Warrior Room, I went 2-3x a week for over a year. It was great and I loved it and I loved the progress I was seeing. But last December I decided to take a month off. I was starting to have some aches and pains, mostly in my joints. I wanted to avoid an overuse injury and I felt like I might be on the way to tendinitis in my elbows or something. I decided to take a month off and do something different, then go back.

It was a good idea and in theory it should have worked. After a month I still didn’t feel quite ready to go back. I had managed to avoid overuse injuries but I was still mentally not ready to get back into something so rigorous or intense. I decided to give it a few more weeks–then I got sick, then I had some back issues…then I got pregnant. So…I haven’t been back since. But in theory that break would have worked (as it had in the past) if those extenuating circumstances hadn’t popped up.

Check out some posts on the topic:

Why Recover?

Addicted to Exercise

Are You Overtraining?

Improper Fueling

Not drinking enough water before, during and after a workout is bad bad bad. Take a water bottle with you and drink it all!

Drinking sugary “sports” drinks when it’s not necessary. I see this one in my gym all the time, too. Except it’s usually big guys lifting weights carrying around a GALLON jug of some kind of juice drink. I have no idea what it is or how many calories are in it, but think long and hard about your Gatorade sports drink…are you burning 400 calories in the gym but then drinking 150 calories worth of sugar?? What’s the point??

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The Long And Slow

I am so guilty of this at times! When I was a cardio junkie I’d go to the gym and spend the entire time doing a long and slow cardio workout like the elliptical or running on the treadmill or the stairmaster. Just slogging along, no variation, my heart rate staying pretty steady in the same range.

Mix in some HIIT-type workouts instead. You can still do the elliptical but mix it up with the different programs the machine has. Hill climbs, hard resistance, etc. If you are doing the spin bike, add in intervals of really hard standing climbs to get your heart rate up instead of the steady same old same old.

 

Doing The Same Exact Thing

What I miss most about going to the Warrior Room (besides the people and the fun classes, of course) was the variety of the workouts. It was a mixture of weight lifting with kettle bells and intense HIIT cardio. I loved the fact that it was different every single time I was there. I was able to see progress in my strength after each week of going to classes because my body was adapting and getting stronger doing different things.

When I am Married to My Workout I don’t see progress like I should. I feel stagnant and stuck and wonder why the scale isn’t budging or why I’m still doing the same thing every time. It’s also boring! Variety is key.

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Not Planning Ahead/Being Inconsistent

I schedule my workouts on my Google calendar like I do appointments. Sure, I can be flexible sometimes and move things around if needed, but for the most part I stick to that schedule. It makes it harder for me to skip a workout. It’s on my calendar, after all.

In a similar vein, a bad workout habit is being inconsistent with your workouts. I think variety in fitness is CRUCIAL. Crucial for your body to avoid overuse injuries and burnout; crucial for your mind to avoid boredom; crucial for your body to not get used to doing the same exact workout every time (see above). But at the same time, not having a consistent schedule/routine with your workout can mean no progress.

An example of this is weight lifting. If you only lift weights once a week, you aren’t going to see any differences. You won’t see progress in your body shape or strength. And it will feel like you’re wasting your time. But having a routine that steadily increases the reps and weights you are lifting shows you are making progress. When I was consistently lifting weights 3x a week I had a different weight lifting routine each time, but I was working the same muscles (just in different ways) and I could SEE and feel the progress I was making. Doing kettlebell swings with the same 25 pound bell each time, I realized it was too easy. So I went up in weight. Then after awhile 30 pounds was too easy. I would switch around doing MORE REPS with 30 pounds, or I’d do less reps at 35 pounds. I could see and feel a difference.

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What are some bad fitness habits you want to break?

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