Category Archives: Fitness

Wonder why you are not seeing results from your workout? Here are some insider tips!

When it comes to fitness and nutrition, what works for one person may not work for someone else. While one person may be able to run a half marathon another person- due to injury or body structure- may never be able to run a half marathon. I am not saying that you should sell yourself short or give up on your goals. What I am saying is that you should be able to find some type of workout that you enjoy and that works for your body type.

There is one rule that applies to absolutely everyone. If you are not seeing results, you are not doing the right workout or eating the right diet for you. Some people run, bike, go on the elliptical/ walk on the treadmill for an hour several days a week. It is very likely that they are bored of doing the same workout and that their bodies are also bored of doing the same workout day in and day out. What I would recommend to everyone is workout variety. Try some new things in the gym or outside and rotate them into your workout routine. Runners might need some yoga in their routine. Yogis probably need some strength training in their routine.

In addition to workout variety, you can add in some interval training. With this type of training you should start at your regular pace for a set amount of time and then increase the intensity for the same amount of time. I will use the treadmill as an example. You can start at your regular pace, lets say level 5, for 2 minutes. After the 2 minutes are up you will switch to level 7 for 2 minutes then return back to level 5 and repeat. Some variations to increasing intensity include changing your speed and/or incline. You can get creative with interval training by doing a “pyramid” time challenge. This is how it works:

1 minute baseline, 1 minute challenge

2 minutes baseline, 2 minutes challenge

Continue all the way up to 5 minutes then work back down the pyramid

4 minutes baseline, 4 minutes challenge

3 minutes baseline, 3 minutes challenge

Until you get to 1 minute

Recently, due to an irritated SI Joint in my lower back, I have not be able to run longer distances. I personally feel like a hamster doing 30-40 minutes on the treadmill or the elliptical plus I get really bored.  Another component that was missing is that I was not seeing results. So, what is the point in even working out if I am not enjoying it and not seeing results? Thus, I have turned to rapid cardio/strength circuit workouts. I love these because they have a lot of variety involved. I also love them because I am seeing awesome results and I feel really strong.

Rapid cardio/ strength circuits involve a type of cardio that is called anaerobic exercise. Whereas running running long distances or walking on the treadmill would be considered aerobic exercise. Both of these type of exercises serve their own purpose. I have been finding that short-duration and high intensity exercises, namely anaerobic exercises, are what my body is responding to best at this point in time. Here are some examples of exercises that you can include in your rapid cardio/ strength circuits:

– Rowing machine: 300 meter or 400 meter row

– 1-2 minutes jump roping

– 10-20 burpees

– 30-50 jumping jacks

– Jump- switch lunges

– 30-40 mountain climbers (downward dog position with arms and running motion with legs)

– 20-30 yd. sprints

Those are just a few examples of some anaerobic exercises. I usually choose 3 exercises and rotate through them 4 times. I do the 3 exercises, take a 30 second break then repeat the circuit. By the time you are done, you have done around 20 minutes of intense cardio. You should be sweating and almost out of breath.

I will be posting some specific workouts in the near future. Hang tight! For now, please leave comments if you have any questions!

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Returning to Fitness

Today was my first day back in the gym after about a 2 week break. The two week break was comprised of a combination of several factors including: work, school, lack of motivation, traveling and getting sick. I woke up today not feeling sick anymore and could NOT wait to get back to the gym. Let’s just say that before I went to the gym I was not being very nice to myself and well, I knew it was time for me to get back in the workout grind. Ended up rock climbing for a little bit then taking my chances on a new spin class.

Sometimes I find it helpful to take a group class when I need a little motivation to push myself or get back in the game. Every bike had a towel on it to reserve spots when I first walked in the class. I decided to hang around in the corner of class to see if maybe someone wouldn’t show up. Within 2 minutes (and not even a word leaving my mouth) there were 3 people in the class helping me find out if all of the reserved bikes were actually taken. Now, at my old gym the bikes were nice and the people were average on the nice scale. At my new gym, the bikes are below average but the people are very high on the nice scale. Needless to say, I found a bike! Nothing like a little bit of patience and/or persistence and/or kindness.

Another interesting aspect of my spinning experience is that there were 2 blind people who took the spin class. It is incredible to see how capable people with disabilities are. Sometimes I think bling people get to enjoy life more with their eyes closed given the judgments that society presents today. There are many times where I feel much more content or relaxed with my eyes closed, especially during times when spin class gets intense. Turning inward and listening to my body, the music and my breath really helps me find comfort in challenging physical situations.

By the time I left the gym I already found that I was being nicer to myself. I was thinking much more positive thoughts.

Did I reach my fitness goals in that single spin class? No. Did I make up for not working out in the past 2 weeks? No. Was I proud of myself that I took the first step in the direction I want to go? YES! Am I motivated to go back for more tomorrow? Well, maybe not another spin class (yet) but, yes you can be sure to find me in the gym switching up my workout tomorrow.

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Alternative Outdoor Workout

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. I have been busy immersing myself in the food/outdoor culture in Berkeley. My new gym, Ironworks Berkeley, offers a wide range of physical activities including rock climbing, bouldering, yoga, spin classes, kick boxing and weight lifting. Even with all these options I like to step outside to enjoy an outdoor workout at least once a week.  Outdoor workouts call for some creativity.  Here is what I came up with this week.

1. Start with 60 Mountain Climbers (as demonstrated in the video below)

2. 10- 15 Burpees

3. 20 Air Squats

Repeat exercises #1-3 3x

4. 20 Step-Ups with right leg fast pace then switch to 20 left leg. Use a park bench or stairs

5. 12 Tricep Dips holding for 3 seconds at the bottom everytime

6. 12 Single Leg Deadlifts on each leg:

(Don’t need to use bosu ball)

7. 20 Backward lunges each leg

Repeat exercises #4-7 3x

8. 2 one-minute Planks

9. 20 Side Plank Dips (each side): Start in side plank position with elbow & forearm on ground

Repeat exercises # 8 & 9 2xs

5 minutes or more of a full body stretch. Take a deep breath of fresh air!

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Most Recent (and fabulous) Workout Experience

Today I took a group sculpt class at the local YMCA. Up North they take their YMCA’s pretty seriously in that they provide a clean workout environment and are adequately equipped with a plethora of classes. This particular class looked full when I walked into the class, which was 10 minutes before the class even started. Little did I know that it would fill up even more, to the point where the equipment had run out. Usually a crowded class doesn’t sound appealing but I decided to stay to check out the scene…

It was the most diverse class I had ever been to, considering that the sculpt and yoga classes that I had been going in San Diego to consisted of a combination of soccer moms and MILFS (excuse my terminology).

The general workout philosophy in Southern California and Northern California makes me question how I could possible be living in the same state that I was in just one week ago. The majority of people in SoCal workout to look good. In Northern California it is clear that the goal is to be healthy. There really is no concern about how people look here. In fact I have seen more female armpit hair in the past 5 days than I have in my entire life.

Now back to the class… There were people ranging in age from high school to their 50’s, yet no one seemed to care. Everyone chose their own modification without worrying about what their neighbor was doing. Since there was not enough equipment people were turning to their neighbors asking if they wanted to share their step or trade off using bands. It was a completely fascinating experience and one that I wish everyone had the chance to experience.

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Tools to Reach Your Nutrition and Fitness Goals

MyFitnessPal is the easiest and most user friendly App to help you achieve your health goals. This app is FREE. It is a great way to keep track of your caloric intake, which will help you achieve your goals. You can download this app via iPhones or android software.

The health equation consists of Mind, Body and Spirit. I am going to touch on two of the most common components that affect your health which are Fitness and Nutrition.

The biggest challenge in my personal health equation is by far the Nutrition component, because I LOVE LOVE LOVE food… And growing up in Western society where food is far from promoted for it’s original purpose (to nourish our bodies) but rather as a hot commodity that we “have to have.”

If there is one thing that comes easy to me in the health equation it is the fitness component. I absolutely love getting a good workout in on a regular basis. None the less, after all my experience with fitness I am here to tell you that I believe the nutrition component is more important than the fitness component. No, I am not saying that the fitness component is not important. I am saying that the nutrition component is MORE important to help you achieve your goals. Why? In order for your body to function efficiently, it needs a a good baseline nutrient intake. If you nourish your body well, you are less likely to be deficient in vitamins and minerals thus your essential body functions can perform more efficiently.

Picture your mouth as a filter. If you let foods (or drinks) pass this filter they are going to have either a positive or negative affect on your body. If you continuously expose your body to negative substances, it will respond with an illness, disease or allergy. If you continuously expose your body to positive substances, your body will respond with a “thank you,” and you will feel good. Unfortunately, due to toxins in our environment, there is no guarantee that living a healthy lifestyle guarantees you a disease free life. However, science and history have proven that you tremendously lower your risk for disease if you do treat your body well. I don’t think that we need to live by the rules for every single bite we take in order to reduce our risk. There is room for a few cheats on your diet, however if you find yourself getting into a habit or continuously exposing yourself to foods that do not contribute to your health then maybe you need to check your filter. Or find tools to help keep you on track.

I have found that My Fitness Planner helped me to get back on track because it provides facts for me to base my food choices on. Another tool I have used over the years to get back on track with nutrition is the old pen and paper Food Log. I simply write down everything that I eat & drink during the day for 5-7 days. This way I hold myself accountable for my choices and I can track any negative or positive patterns. I also write at the end of the day how I felt and what exercise I did.

Try out these tools to see what they can do for you!

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A Fresh Approach To Your Gym Workout

My favorite workouts include running, hiking, spinning, walking, and yoga. I have understood the importance of lifting weights since beginning of high school when I took my first Strength and Conditioning class however, my passion for gym workouts has been a roller coster.  I have gone through phases where my passion for working out in the gym has been strong and others where I have been completely unmotivated to go to the gym. Here is the load down on how to get the most out of a workout, regardless of how motivated or unmotivated you may be. Once you have made it to the gym this is what I suggest you do:

Plug in your headphones and turn up the volume. I download a lot of my workout mixes from music blogs such as drop beat not bombs or chemical jump. Having a long mix or playlist is much better than having to flip through tracks. Also, an iPod nano or iPod shuffle serves as an excellent workout buddy because they are tiny and never get in the way. (best investment ever!) The less hassle involved during your workout, the better.

Engage your coreDo a few front planks and side planks to get your core engaged for your workout. Once your core muscles have been “awakened” you will be more likely to engage them and you will be more likely to think about using them to support your body movements.

Next step is your warm up. The goal is to get your blood flowing through your body and to increase your heart rate. At the end of your warm up you should be close to breaking a sweat. Here are a few warm up options:

– Hop on the bike for 7-10 minutes (gradually increasing resistance to increase heart rate)

– Use the rowing machine: 1 500 meter row or 2-3 200 meter rows

– Jog or run on treadmill for 7-10 minutes

– Inclined walk for 7-10 minutes

Now that you are warmed up, you can do a few stretches that directly relate to the workout that you have planned. You should be moving around while stretching, not just standing still. Once you have raised your heart rate during the warm up, you want to keep it at the rate or higher.

Your workout results will be drastically different if you choose not to warm up before. You can burn more calories and have a lot more range of motion if you warm up.

Now for the main attraction..

I like to split my workout up into 3 sections. The first two sections contain 3 exercises each and the last section is a rotation of abdominal exercises. Here is an example:

Section 1:

a. Bicep curl with step up

b. Squat with row

c. Tricep dips

Section 2:

a. Burpies (push up followed by vertical jump)

b. Forward Lunge with chest press (using cables or dumbbells)

c. Step-up with overhead press

Perform exercises a, b & c from section 1 in rotation 3 times through. Then move on to section 2 and perform exercises in rotation 3 times through.

The rotation is important because you give your muscles just enough time to rest before you work them again. Your choice of weight, set # and rep # will depend on the goal of your workout.

Section 3: abs

Rotate through 3 ab exercises 3 times performing at least 25 repetitions of each exercise. Here are some of my favorites:

– knee tuck with stability ball

– ball roll out

– Pilates double leg stretch (lying on back, both arms and legs are extended at the same time)

Now all thats left is a nice relaxing stretching session. I like to do a 10 minute full-body stretch but if you are in a rush or pressed for time you should focus on the specific muscles groups that you used during your workout.

I like this workout structure because it keeps you moving from one exercise to the next without too much down-time. It helps the workout feel like it goes by quickly because it is split up into sections. This full workout should take you 1 hour. Remember to always focus on your form/ alignment so that you do not injure yourself. Also, do not always do the same exercises! There are hundreds of exercises to choose from, get creative or look online. The more varied your workouts, the better results you will get. Planning ahead can help you be more focused in the gym. I get a much better quality workout if I go in knowing which exercises I am going to do. I find it helpful to set up all three exercises before I start the workout section so that I can quickly move from one to the next.

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RAD video. Check this out!! Breaking down the facts.

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December 16, 2011 · 8:32 pm