Tense abs

Yesterday I was asked by Dan what area I wanted to work on to which I replied “my core” … Oh boy. I didn’t feel the burn too much at the end of my session but the DOMS is pretty bad today so I must’ve done something good!

Dan set me 8 minutes and 8 types of crunches; 1 type with as many reps in 1 minute, no break before the next.

I accomplished the following:
Basic crunches – 14
Cross over crunches right side – 10
Cross over crunches left side – 12
Clam – 13
Sliding crunches – 16
Bicycle crunches – 12
Plank – 50 seconds before I gave out
Raised legs crunches – 20

After a breather and a stretch I then did 12 weighted crunches with a 2.5kg disc.

I then wanted to do a little bit on my thighs as I’ve been focusing so much purely on my upper body so I did 30 squats at 12.5kg – 15 normal squats, 15 wide-legged squats. I’ve not varied my squats at all as of late so I felt the burn then!

Tomorrow is our last weights day before we go visit Dan’s family in Wales so we’ll be doing Insanity towards the end of the week down there. I’ve been doing a lot of weight-based training so it’ll be good to do some intense cardio to make sure my heart’s still happy. 😉

I’m hoping to repeat this workout sometime in the near future to see if I can beat my reps, or if I find them easier, to gauge how my core has been progressing.

Hope my fellow Brits had a good bank holiday weekend!


“So that’s where my back muscles are” work out

Ohhh, man. This was a tough work out! It has made my back ache (in a good way) and the stairs now look like Everest.

3 rounds

Bicep curls – 5 kilos 20x
Tricep curls – 5 kilos 20x
Arm raises – 5 kilos 20x
Overheads – 5 kilos 20x
Bench press – 15 kilos 20x
Military press – 15 kilos 20x
Bent over row – 20 kilos 20x

Squats – 25 kilos 20x with 20 seconds break in between 5 reps
Lunges – 25 kilos 20x

And lastly 25 deadlift 20x with 30 seconds break in between 10 reps

After my cool down I made sure to stretch out my back properly with 20 minutes of Yoga.

It’s so nice to be at Dan’s and be able to use his weights rather than weighing kitchen items and putting them in a backpack! I was also able to do military press and bench press for the first time in months. I’m looking forward to our workout room with weights, pull up bar and a bench in our home in June!

Abs and ass day

butt fitspo

Bringing the buttspo picture back! Incidentally, does anyone know who this booty belongs to?

3 rounds of 5 exercises, 30 seconds reps, 15 seconds break to write down number of reps and get ready for the next set.

  • Ugi twists (I explain the how to do Ugi twists in 10 awesome abdominal exercises)
  • Full arm extension hanging leg raise
  • Reverse push ups
  • Monkey jumps (a simple one, jump up in the air and then down to the floor, do a press up and that is one rep)
  • Full squats

In the 30 second time frame, the goal is to do as many reps of the particular exercise in 30 seconds. Interval training is high intensity and for such a short work out, it really kicks your butt. For interval training ideas, check out bodyrock.tv or type in ZWOW into youtube. Zuzana Light, former bodyrock.tv owner who now runs ZWOW, is one of my favourite fitness inspirations so I personally prefer ZWOW but bodyrock.tv has some great info on the site too.

My reps today:

Ugi twists – set 1=14, set 2=16, set 3=20 reps
Hanging leg raise – set 1=9, set 2=11, set 3=15 reps
Reverse push ups – set 1=8, set 2=9, set 3=10 reps
Monkey jumps – set 1=3, set 2=4, set 3=8 reps
Full squats – set 1=8, set 2=8, set 3=8 reps

My monkey jumps reps were incredibly low for the first two sets because I was doing proper push ups, which I really, really struggle with. By set 3, I thought I’d suffered enough so I did the press ups on my knees which is lower intensity.

After I finished my interval training, I was ridiculously hot so I sprinted around the block (half a kilometre) in the pouring rain just to cool down, then did it again at a jog to gradually calm my heartbeat. I didn’t time it because it was an impulse decision but I didn’t get too soaked or have my arms drop off from the cold (it is very cold in Britain today) , haha. When I caught my breath again, I took a full 30 minutes to stretch my muscles out because they have worked very hard today. I’m going to be aching tomorrow! 😉

Swat up on squats!

Okay, this is definitely my last post tonight, there is such a thing as overkill. But I did promise a post on squats, so here it is.

Image courtesy of Zusana and Bodyrock.tv

Whether or not you’re taking part in my fitness challenge for the week or month, squats are an exercise that should not be ignored. There’s a little confusion as to whether full, deep squats are bad for you as opposed to 90-degree-angle squats known as half squats and that is because some trainers believe they put excess strain on your knees, potentially causing damage.

I do not agree. Why? Any exercise performed incorrectly will cause excess strain on your joints and cause damage. Done properly, any exercise will cause strain on your joints which your body then adapts to – so don’t sweat it and in the words of Nike: Just do it.

Benefits of full squats instead of half squats

  • Works the quadriceps (thigh muscles), gluteus maximus (your booty) and hamstrings primarily, as well as erector spinae (the long muscle on either side of your spine), transversus abdominae (your deep ab muscles), pelvic muscles (both medius and minimus) and soleus (a lower leg muscle) as secondary muscles
  • Infact, indirectly, they work your entire body – no other exercise compares in that sense!
  • Contraction of the quadriceps, the hamstrings, and the gastrocnemius maintains integrity around the knee joint. “What?!” – it basically means you’re helping preserve your knee joints
  • Squats help to release the most anabolic growth hormones and testosterone into your body so you’ll start to gain muscle in your upper body as well
  • They increase your balance

Not sure how to squat properly? Here is a great squat form video – that is a half squat but the same form applies to full squats, just go lower.

Whether you are a runner, body builder, Zumba enthusiast, football player, volleyball player and so on and so forth, squats are for you so what are you waiting for?
If you have a lower leg injury, be gentle with yourself and if you’re not sure you’re up to squats, don’t try them without seeking medical advice first!

Tips for correct squat form:

  • Do not look down: this is very important and extremely important if you have a weighted bar over your shoulders. The floor isn’t going to change colour so you don’t need to watch it.
  • Do not arch your back
  • Do not bring your knees in: you will put extreme pressure on the ACL and MCL (they’re ligaments in your knees)
  • Avoid allowing your knees to reach past your toes: this is a controversial one, most professionals say don’t ever, however I’d say try not to make a habit of it because it’s bad form.

Hope this helps everyone, particularly those doing my squat fitness challenge.

Exercise when you’re under the weather

Happy Monday ladies and gents, another brand new working week to squeeze your exercise into.

I haven’t been feeling well the past few days, very lethargic and struggling to stay awake so yesterday I had a day off other than walking the dogs and 30 squats.

Today I am stuck in the office with a lot of work to do and between that and walking the dogs, I should be able to find some time to work out to the Zumba program I recorded on TV. I’m a bit dubious to try it but I have no time to go to the gym and the weather is still miserable in sunny Britain so running is off the cards.

Hope everyone has great workouts today and enjoys their second day of full squats!

Fitness challenge: 210 full squats

zusana light squat

Starting on Sunday, I am throwing down the gauntlet for myself and any of my followers who are wanting to tone their thighs. We are going to be doing 30 squats a day for 7 days. I’m not talking about half squats either, I mean full butt down past your knees squats.

Already masters of the squat? Do the squats while on your toes – the killer.

Who’s with me? You can tag them on to the end of your workouts and on your days off just a quick warm up, squats then 5 minutes walk and stretch to cool down.
Can’t do a full squat set? Don’t worry, alternate 5 sets/6 reps full squat then half squat.

Remember to do them in sets with a break in between to prevent burning yourself out! Also have your toes pointed out at a 30 degree angle, that way if you’re struggling to lift yourself back up, your knees won’t buckle in.

Go for it, kick your ass metaphorically and sculpt those thighs. Let me know how you get on.