Apr 062012

Thank you all for the kind comments and emails on yesterday’s post. My intention in the post was to just share some of the stuff that’s been going on lately, but not to give the impression that I’m unhappy with my life. I hope the post didn’t come across as negative, that was not my intention.

For awhile now I’ve been talking about changing my workout routine. Well enough TALK! It’s time to DO. I’ve been doing my new routine for two weeks now.  I want to confess something: I have a newfound love of body weight exercises. While they aren’t new to me, they have now become a big part of my gym sessions. Dare I say–I might even like them better than straight cardio workouts. Why? Because they kick my butt. My heart rate gets higher doing these exercises than it ever does on a cardio machine!

Not too bad, huh?

I want to share my current circuit weight machine that I’m doing with you guys. Tailor it to your own abilities and as always, consult with your doctor or a personal trainer before trying something new. I don’t do all of these exercises every time. I mix them up, I do other moves and I add machines into the routine often. But this is just a general idea of some of my favorite exercises right now.



I do between 8-15 at a time right now, 4-7 times.

Triceps Dip

I do 10 reps 4-6 times.

Side Lunge with Rotation

This is a new exercise that I’ve added to my circuit and I love it! It’s pretty easy to do. Here is a little demonstration on how to do it:

I got this exercise in my Nike Training Club app one day at the gym when I wanted to add something new to my circuit workout. This one is really fun but you have to hold a fairly heavy medicine ball to really feel it!


10 reps 4-7 times, depending on how my knees are feeling. Sometimes if I’m feeling really strong, I do the “squat press” which is where you do squats and then raise the free weights above my head.

Step-Ups with Overhead Weights

I was using two 15 pound free weights for this but recently increased it to two 17.5 weights.

The step-up exercise is a great leg workout and I feel like it helps me with my balance issues. I don’t have great balance and tend to be kind of clumsy. I’ve noticed that I feel more stable now that I’ve been doing these step-ups for about 6 months now.

Alternating Step Back Lunges

These are surprisingly difficult. I thought they would be easier than the traveling lunges, but for some reason I feel these much more in my quads and not in my glutes like the other lunges. I also struggle with staying balanced. I need a lot more practice with this exercise!

Russian Twists

Russian Twists are awesome and pretty easy to do for ab exercises. My friend Robyn said that they frequently aggravate her lower back when she does them, so if you have back issues you might want to talk to your doctor before trying these.

I do between 20-30 reps three or four times in a workout. I use between a 10-12 pound medicine ball.

Traveling Lunges

I do about 4 or 5 at a time, turn around and do 4 or 5 back to where I started. I’ve increased the weight that I hold as I do the lunges to two 15 pound weights.

I would much rather do a few REALLY good lunges, then do more but they are sloppy because I get fatigued. Once I get used to this routine, I’ll increase the weight again. I’m almost ready!

Bicep Curls

I like doing bicep curls because they make me feel really strong. I do 10-12 curls three or four times during my circuit.

I’m currently at two 17.5 pound weights. I’m excited that I can consistently increase the weight. Although, I’m not seeing a ton of change in the amount of loose skin I have in my arms (from losing so much weight). Bicep curls are great for strengthening your upper body and will make your arms look nice in short sleeves. :)


I do all the above exercises in a circuit. I don’t always do all of them in one session, but this is a general idea of what I am doing in the gym right now. I love it! This routine makes me feel so strong. I feel like my legs are getting stronger, my stability is increasing and my recovery time is much faster. Instead of being crippled and sore for almost a week, I can now walk like a normal person in just a day or two. Progress.

QUESTION: Do you do circuit exercises? What’s in your rotation right now?

Mar 092012

My recent Saturday morning workouts was one of the best workouts I’ve ever had. I felt strong, happy and pain-free during the entire workout. There wasn’t a single moment where I was bored, or lost steam, or felt tired and slow. It was one of those workouts that you don’t want it to end because it was so dang good! First, I did something new on the elliptical. Instead of the same ol’ same ol’ routine (manual with 10-12 resistance), I did intervals. It was so much fun! The machine went from Incline 4 with 6 Resistance to Incline 10 with 12 Resistance. I did that for about 45 minutes and burned more calories than I do when I us do a straight 60 minutes.

Then my run was the kind of run where I could have gone forever. I hated that I had to stop when I did. Even if I could DO more, I had to listen to my body and take it slow. Adding too much mileage too soon is how I’ve gotten into trouble in the past. My 1.38 mile run was fast and FUN. That’s the best part. I felt so good! And so bummed when I stopped.

After my run, I spent a good 40 minutes doing a circuit routine with free weights and full-body exercises. I increased the free weight amounts and I felt strong while I lifted. See that above photo? My butt seems to have entirely disappeared! I have no idea where it went. Talking with Suzanne later that day, she suggested that I need to increase the weight that I’m lifting even more. I also need to look at what I’m eating and I might need to change that up a bit.

Time: 1:41
Calories Burned: 875

We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get caught up on our DVR’ed shows. We’ve been so busy lately we’re about three weeks behind on everything! Then we made dinner together.

I was craving fajitas and guacamole so that’s what we made. I didn’t want to eat tortillas though, so I made us salads. I prepped all the ingredients while Michael made the guacamole.

If you want to try some amazing guacamole, try Michael’s recipe. It’s delicious and spicy. The secret: TONS of garlic and some jalapenos. We don’t add salt to the guacamole at all because the tortilla chips are pretty salty themselves.

I had some ulterior motives for suggesting fajita salads for dinner. Not only was I craving Mexican food, but I wanted to use up some stuff from the pantry. My last visit to World Market produced this:

It was time to use it up. Michael wasn’t too enthused about using the fajita sauce. His stance: he could make the same flavors with spices and it wouldn’t be some pre-packaged crap. Yes, I know…I’m trying to get away from the processed foods and we totally didn’t NEED this stuff to make yummy fajitas, but sometimes I’m weak and I give in to impulse shopping! I can’t help it!

For the veggies we used one small yellow onion and a sliced up yellow pepper. The sauce thickened up in the skillet and when it was ready I topped the salads with the fajita mixture. It smelled pretty good. I topped the salads with the guacamole and some sour cream.

How was the fajita mix? It was just okay. My first bite of the salad and I said “Wow this is really salty!” and then “And it’s really sweet too.” There was way too much sodium in the mixture. I think Michael was right, as much as I hate to admit it! We could have made the same flavors ourselves without using the processed food and without having a TON of salt in our fajitas.

I’m not saying that dinner was awful in any way. The salt was more than *I* like but the dinner was still really delicious. We had some of the sauce leftover and I just dumped it out. In the future we’ll just use our own spices. Lesson learned!

QUESTION: Do you use a lot of prepackaged items and sauces when you cook?