As I type this post to you my arms/abs are still a bit sore from a new workout I tried at my gym on Saturday! I don’t know about you, but I love this feeling! It’s a surefire indicator to me that the new workout challenged my body, and I know that it means I am building muscle. More on this new class later in the post.
The workout inspired me to share my 5 go-to workouts that you can do anywhere (well, almost anywhere). Most of my friends have children, so whenever I create a workout, I’m constantly thinking about whether or not one of them would be able to do the workout while their child is at school or napping. I know that the busier life gets, the easier it is to let go of our workouts. But the bottom line is, all of us most likely have 20 to 30 minutes to spare a day. It’s just a question of motivating ourselves to get off the couch and do it.
Yesterday, at our Girls on the Run event (where we raised tons of money for the organization!), I was talking to one of the mothers who actually competes in Ironmans on a regular basis. She said that she has gotten herself into the habit of doing workouts while her 3-year-old watches tv. It was hard at first, but once that became her routine, she didn’t even think twice.
With a little bit of planning, you should be able to fit any of these workouts into your schedule.
Calories Burned: Approx. 590 per hour*
Equipment Required: Treadmill, track or simply you neighborhood sidewalk
Running has been and always will be my favorite cardio workout. As long as you have a pair of running shoes, you can do it anywhere, and you can constantly try to improve speed through interval training. Plus, its benefits include fighting depression, increasing your bone mass and of course decreasing or maintaining your weight.
Since becoming a dog owner, my runs have changed just a bit. A couple days a week I’ll use the treadmill or track, but most days are spent plodding along in the neighborhood or on the trails with this guy.
During the summer, he can only last up to 5 or 6 miles (on a good day) but with cooler temperatures, he’s a much happier puppy and can run for quite awhile. He slows me down significantly (30 to 60 seconds per mile), but I feel so much better after running knowing that I’ve given him some much-needed exercise. Plus, looking back at his doggy smile and wagging tail always lifts my spirits. It also motivates me to go running on days I don’t really feel like it. I’ll tell myself, “Well, Cole needs to run, so you do too!”
Holding a leash changes the way that I run, but I hope it’s preparing me for one day when I become a mother. I plan on running with the stroller whenever possible and am already certain that the BOB Ironman Stroller will be on my registry list Mothers, since you’re the real experts, please feel free to share your running stroller of choice in the comments section.
Of the many excuses people provide for NOT running, boredom is one of them. So, here are a few of my favorite workouts to fight running boredom.
1. Treadmill Twosies: A simple treadmill interval workout that features constant speed changes.
2. Count Up Track Workout: A track workout mixed with a bit of total body circuit training; if you don’t have a track, simply use a running app like MapMyRun to track your mileage.
3. Treadmill Roulette (via Carrots N’ Cake): For anyone who complains of treadmill boredom, this workout is definitely for you. Simply print this workout, throw on Pandora and play along.
Calories Burned: Approx. 500 per hour*
Equipment Required: Depending upon the workout, sometimes, only your body weight; other workouts incorporate dumbbells and kettle bells.
Functional training is sort of the “buzz word” in the fitness world right now, and with good reason. With different machines at the gym, you’re simply working isolated muscle groups. However, with functional training, you can train several muscle groups at once, while also improving your balance, core stabilization, strength and flexibility. Plus, there are always ways to modify movements in functional training for varying levels of fitness abilities.
Designed for up to 18 people per class maximum, the program consists of functional training movements performed at variable rates of resistance. Participants rotate through 6 stations and rounds of varying functional training, using kettle bells, resistance tubing, suspension trainers, boxes, dumbbells, etc. Throughout the entire hour there are 1 minute breaks at the end of every circuit, but other than that, there is no resting for the weary!
While I do functional training on my own almost every day, the group setting and having knowledgeable trainers on-hand to motivate me and show me what to do, helped to take my workout to another level. It was without a doubt one of the best workouts I’ve had in a long time.
I believe my new gym has a similar offering, which I hope to help out with! While this class costs extra, at $100 for 3X’s a week, it seems worth it to me. Many of the classes are early in the morning, so if you’re mom, you can probably get in this workout even before the kids/hubby wake up.
But, alas, some of us don’t have time to get to the gym for a functional training class. For those people, my recommendation is to buy a pair of dumbbells (10, 12 or 15 depending on your strength level) and try out a few of my favorite functional training workouts.
1. 15 Minute Bikini Body Workout: This workout features a lot of basic functional training movements at one minute intervals. The lengthy intervals help to ensure that you’re really working those muscles.
2. Quick N’ Dirty Countdown Workout: After 3 rounds of this circuit, you’ll definitely feel the burn. For an extra challenge, try adding 10 reps to every section on the last round.
3. 10 Minute Heart Pumping Full Body Circuit: This workout combines movements for a quick total body workout. No movement is done in isolations i.e. squats + shoulder press.
Calories Burned: 620 calories per hour*
Equipment Needed: None…but a killer soundtrack always helps!
I’ve spoken at length on the SHLB of my love for kickboxing. No matter what kickboxing class you take, you’re guaranteed a fast-pace, cardio-centric workout. And, according to most fitness professionals, the cardio-conditioning element of kickboxing is one of the most effective ways to burn fat. At the same time, kickboxing boasts a toning element that most cardio workouts cannot claim, because proper technique forces you to engage all muscles of your body, particularly your core.
As classes go, I’m a huge proponent of LesMills BodyCombat, which is offered at any Gold’s Gym (and many more gyms) throughout the country. In NYC, I took a class at Equinox called Powerstrike, which was a bit more fast-paced and featured more challenging combinations. I would definitely recommend to those in the NYC area that are willing to pay a rather large gym bill. Otherwise, just buy the DVD!
I have a pipe dream of teaching kickboxing one day, but until then, I like to create my own routines. The great thing about these kickboxing workouts is, whether your baby is napping or you are on vacation, as long as you have some good music, you can do them anywhere. Just remember that you get out of you workout what you put INTO your workout. It may be hard to motivate by yourself, but keep in mind, the harder and faster you punch, the higher that calorie burn.
1. 15 Minute Cardio Kickbox Workout: This workout uses basic kickboxing combos to create a big cardio burn. 3 rounds = 45 minutes of hardcore cardio!
2. Strength + Kickboxing Workouts: You’ll need weights for the strength portions; the kickboxing parts keep your heart rate up, and the strength portions help with toning.
3. 20 Minute Cardio Kickbox BLAST: I’m a huge fan of challenging combinations, so that’s why I created this workout. You’ll need to print this baby or display it where you can see it, but trust me, this is a fun one!
Calories Burned: Approx. 375 for 30 minutes + 250 calories during the next 24 hours*
Equipment Needed: Depends on workout; sometimes only body weight but some workouts call for dumb bells and kettle bells; interval timer (use app on phone)
Despite the fact that it’s been around since the 90′s, tabata has recently gained a huge following in the fitness world. The high-intensity interval training (HIIT) style workout involves short, four-minute bouts of explosive interval moves done for 20 seconds each for eight rounds, with a 10-second break between each round. With this format, you are increasing the use of both your aerobic AND anaerobic systems, which equals endurance build-up and extra calorie burn.
So, what’s the big fuss about this format? Well, science has proven that Tabta increases your resting metabolic rate for 24-36 hours post-workout, meaning that you can burn more fat post-workout than you would burn with a steady workout, such as a treadmill run. You mean I can burn 250 calories sitting on the couch AFTER my workout? Sign me up please.
I plan on creating some tabata workouts for the SHLB, but in the meantime, here are some of my faves. Note: do not be tempted to skip those 10 second breaks. You NEED them in order to get the most of your workout and finish strong.
1. Super Sweaty Tabata Supersets (via FitFabCities.com): My FAVORITE tabata workout. This baby incorporates supersets for a complete workout. 21 minutes and you’re done with your workout for the day!
2. GNC Total Body Tabata Workout (via Blonde Ponytail): 5 extremely challenging moves for 4 minutes a piece = an intense 20 minute workout. Head over to her website to check out the mechanics of each move.
3. Take it Anywhere Tabata (via FitFabCities.com): I like this workout, because as the title states, you can do it anywhere and don’t need any equipment. Great workout to bust out on your vacation. Do the circuit twice if you have the time!
Calories Burned: Approx. 530 calories per hour*
Equipment Needed: Rowing machine
I couldn’t write an exercise post without giving a shout-out to one of my favorite, most under-utilized machines at the gym:
The indoor rowing machine! Or the “erg” as some of the pros call it. When you row correctly and with the right intensity, you’re not only getting a large calorie burn, but also, you’re working tons of muscles with each movement, including the leg, core and arm muscles.
In college, I was lucky enough to room with a member of the crew team, who taught me the correct form on this machine. But, if you’re intimidated, simply ask a trainer at your gym to teach you how to use it. Some gyms are also offering rowing classes which I hope to take some day.
Shape Magazine has a great 20 minute workout to get you started, and as a bonus, the article provides tips on form.
Here’s a simple workout from Carrots N’ Cake, where you essentially rest the same amount of time that you row.
I have always been a huge proponent of rowing, so stay tuned for some rowing workouts on the SHLB. The best part about rowing machines? They’re the most underutilized machine at the gym, which means they are ALWAYS free no matter how busy your gym gets .
To avoid injury with any of these workouts, remember to master proper form and technique before engaging in any form of high-intensity cardio.
I hope this post has provided you with some unique workouts that you can squeeze into any part of your day. In future posts, I’ll be sharing my favorite workout music and fitness apps, so stay tuned!
To conclude this post, here’s a picture of my workout for Sunday.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, yesterday, Girls on the Run coaches were guest bartenders at the Newburgh Brewing Company. For three hours, we worked the taps and collected lots of tips to benefit for our organization. The place was packed, and I had a great time chatting with people, pouring brews and making “expert” beer recommendations. And I must say, after three hours, I was exhausted!
Judging from the looks of our overflowing tip jars, I’d say we did a pretty good job
That’s all for today, folks! Please head over to my “Workouts” page to view more!
What’s your favorite “do anywhere” workout? Feel free to share links
*All calorie estimates assume a 130 lb women performing the exercise at vigorous intensity