Warrior Room gym

A Little Help From Some Friends


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I haven’t seen a number that big in a LONG time. 951 calories burned! Holy Smokes!

We did our warm-up and then got right into it. Saturday was a day of new things at the Warrior Room. We started with a workout where we did pushups for 20 seconds and then a plank for 20 seconds, rest, repeat 8 times. Yes 8 times! It was a hard start to the day but I got through it.

We moved onto the station workout. One station was a deadlift, goblet squat and another kind of squat (I can never remember the name). We did that 6 reps, 6 reps, 3 reps then repeat. The next station was a bent over row with the kettle bell, lat raises, and jumping jack planks. The next station was hammer curls with kettle bells and triceps. Finally there was a one-handed swing station with a few other moves. It was hard work! I was feeling it with just one time around the stations.

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Then it was time for a run.

It was a bitter cold morning but sunny and blue-skied. The big group broke up into two teams to do a “snake run.” I’ve described this before: you run in a single file line, the last person does a sprint to the front and so on. It’s really challenging but for me with my knees–sprinting is not wise.Β Thankfully Ashley told me to just go run outside at my own pace. Wise idea. We did the run every 20 minutes to break up the kettle bell workouts. I ended up run/walking about 1 mile total.

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We did a few different sets of abs and honestly that felt like a bit of a break from the super intense stuff we were doing before. After the abs we did a routine similar to the pushup-plank one. This time it was squat jumps for 20 seconds then holding a squat for 10 seconds–repeat 8 times. Ouch! My thighs were BURNING after three rounds. I wasn’t sure I could make it to 8, but I did with taking it easy and going a little slower during my 20 second set.

There was a few other station workouts and another ab sets and then we did something I’ve only heard about before: the Turkish Getup. Michael talks about this move a lot. It’s part of his kettle bell routine at home. He’s been telling me how challenging it is for years but I never tried it. It was fun but HARD. Mostly hard because it was the end of the workout and I was spent. My arm was shaking as I tried to hold myself up.

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The Turkish Getup seems like a very efficient move to me. It works your entire body and relies on strength AND balance. I think I did ok. The part that was hard for me (other than holding myself up) was the move to get your leg under your body to get ready to stand up. That is gonna take a lot of practice I think!

Later that night, I had some friends over for dinner and a little crafting.Β It was time to send the save-the-date postcards. Well, according to bridal website calendars I was months behind on this but oh well. I don’t know that save-the-dates necessarily need to go out a year in advance. Plus, most people who are invited already know the date. πŸ™‚

Michael created out postcard with photoshop. He did a fantastic job and I love the way it looks. We mailed a few test postcards to see how they’d hold up in the mail. They did ok. Most of the “test” ones held up, one or two were Β a little torn. I searched for the heaviest paper/postcard paper I could find and couldn’t find anything heavier than what I got.

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Michael printed out all the postcards and I invited my bridesmaids over for dinner (bribe) and to help address and stamp the cards. I was so glad they helped! I think hand-cramping would have set in around postcard #40….

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Michael made his amazing mac n’ cheese, my cousin Anna brought some white wine and we got started! We ate dinner (so good) and then cleaned up before starting the postcards. Anna was smart bringing white wine instead of red! But we got lucky, no spills or anything. πŸ™‚ It was fun and having Erika and Anna there to help me we were done with the post cards pretty quickly. We spent the rest of the evening chatting and just hanging out. I was happy to have the company AND to cross one more thing off the to-do list.

Kettle Bell Conditioning

Back in December I wrote a little bit about my experiences at The Warrior Room kettle bell gym here in Portland. You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and also the background to this post here.

Why Kettle Bells Are Awesome

I’ve been a fan of kettle bell workouts for a few years now. Michael turned me on to them because besides cycling, his fitness was pretty much entirely kettle bells. While working out with KB was fun, I didn’t really getΒ really into it until a few months ago when I went to the Warrior Room. Why? Because I knew my form wasn’t quite right. Going to the classes and learning the proper form and having an instructor correct my movements made a WORLD of difference.

What I love about kettle bell training is how EFFICIENT it is. If you are short on time but still want to workout, you can get in a pretty kick-ass workout in 30 minutes. The other bonus is that you don’t need a gym membership! Kettle bells can be affordable and they can be expensive. It just depends on what you’re willing to spend. But buying a kettle bell or two of various weights is a whole lot cheaper than an expensive gym membership! If you’re still unsure, and live in the Portland area, get the Groupon deal for the Warrior Room. Minimal commitment and you get to try it out for yourself. That’s how I started! And now I’m hooked.

Another reason I love KBs is the progress I saw. After going to 8 classes at the Warrior Room I saw definition in my arms and shoulders I hadn’t seen before with traditional weight lifting.

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Now my triceps need to get on board with my biceps and tighten up. πŸ˜‰

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Kettle Bell Conditioning

Because I blogged about my experiences there, they offered me a free Kettle Bell Conditioning class for me and a dozen of my friends/readers who wanted to give it a try. It was very generous and the second I posted the news on Facebook I was flooded with comments and emails from people who wanted to give it a try.

The gym added a class that was specifically called Kettle Bell Conditioning and was exactly what I was looking for when I first started. It was less “crossfit” and more instructional. The class is entirely about learning the form and movement in a proper way. I’ve taken one of these specific classes before the free group class.

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I enjoyed it so much and left feeling more confident in my abilities. The instructor corrected a few of my moves and postures but overall I did okay. I was also able to take the tips I got with me to my regular gym to practice on my own.

Free Class

I was really happy with the turnout. Eight blog readers and friends came out to give the Warrior Room a try. A few had to cancel last minute due to the nasty flu/bronchitis/cold thing that is going around. So there were 9 of us working out and that turned out to be a great sized class.

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We started with the usual warm-up: 30 jumping jacks, 15 squats, 10 push-ups, repeat. Ashley, the instructor, told each person what color kettle bell to grab for the first lesson and we got started.

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Some of the things that were covered were how to do a proper deadlift and how to do the swing. The swing is the challenging part. I struggled with that when I first started at the Warrior Room. For some reason I couldn’t make my body do the proper hip hinge and snap. It’s a lot harder than it looks! But with practice and correction from Ashley, I am doing so much better! Having the right hinge and snap in the swing is so important because the potential for back injury is there if you don’t. You don’t want to thrust your hips/stomach forward on the swing, it’s more of a snap up.

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We did a little tabata workout next. 4 sets of 20 seconds of high-knees and then we grabbed more kettle bells for the next training part. This time she showed us how to do goblet squats, sumo squats and then some ab work (crunches, double crunches, bicycle crunches). Next was some easier upper body workouts. I think everyone was feeling the burn already! We did overhead press with two kettle bells and then also did the up-right row (which is one of my favorites).

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If you hadn’t noticed, we’re doing the kettle bell workouts bare foot. Why? As a runner, I thought it was very weird the first time I took a kettle bell conditioning class and we went barefoot. I am so used to wanting LOTS OF CUSHION it seemed foreign. But in reality, doing weight lifting and kb workouts in running shoes interferes with the natural movement of the foot and ankle. It also changes the way you step and walk. Going barefoot will improve your posture, form and stability. I noticed a difference right away with squats. Squats were a million times harder barefoot because I was so used to using my shoes as a crutch. Without that crutch I had to focus on staying balanced on the heels of my feet. So much harder than it sounds!

I used to have very weak ankles. So weak that I’d strain and sprain them on a regular basis. What changed that for me was swimming. Becoming a strong swimmer strengthened my ankles and I’ve never had an issue since. Gone are the days where I’d roll my ankle just standing. Instead, my ankles became the rock hard support for my body I needed. Swimming and kettle bell training seem to go hand in hand with strengthening weak parts of my body.

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I truly hope everyone had a good time at the class. I’m sure it was harder than they were expecting and somewhat foreign if they’d never picked up a kettle bell but if I convinced evenΒ one person to give it a second try I’ll be happy. I think kettle bell workouts are one of the most efficient fitness I’ve tried thus far. It’s fast-paced and there is no chance you’ll be bored! I promise. And I promise a good sweat and a good calorie burn! The free training class lasted about 45 minutes and I burned 500 calories. Have I convinced you yet? πŸ™‚