Fit Friday: Leg Death

Happy Holidays 🙂

Did you all make it through Christmas alive?!

I’m sure more than most of us had one too many cookies (or one too many glasses of wine), so how about a killer leg workout to kick a few a lot of those Christmas calories and make room for some New Year’s indulgences?

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When I say killer, I mean this workout will leave you spent. You know that feeling when you leave the gym and you know you worked hard? Yeah, you know. And you know its the best!

But don’t be intimidated… You can tame it down with lighter weights (I lift heavy) or fewer reps to make it your own. On the other hand, if you want to seriously kick your own butt today, go all out!

Leg Death

*Note: For moves like lunges, do 10-12 reps on EACH leg.

For more workouts to get your sweat on over the holidays check out yesterday’s Holiday Fitness Round-Up. None of these bloggers will go easy on you!

Liz xo

Holiday Fitness Round-Up

merry fitness

Let’s all take some time to rest and enjoy each other’s company this holiday season, but at the same time let’s not forget about our fitness altogether. I usually do really well for one week but if I’m off for two… well, things tend to get a little lax.

Thankfully I prepared a list of holiday workouts so I’m never without a plan during my vacation! I’ll be busting out some of these in my mom’s basement & at various gyms across the province. Pin or screenshot some of these now so you don’t fall off the wagon between Christmas & New Year’s!

1. Elf 4 Health Tabata from Nutty for Life 

Confession: I’ve never tried a tabata workout until this one! I think I found a new love…

elf4health-tabata-nutty-for-life

2. Triple Threat Holiday Circuit from Slim Sanity

If you follow my Fit Friday posts, you know I love Alysia’s workouts. I’m sure this circuit won’t disappoint 😉

triple threat full body holiday circuit

3. Frost HIIT from Fitnessista

This is the perfect at-home workout: 100% bodyweight! No excuses!

frost-hiit

4. Medicine Ball Ab Attack by 9toFit

For those of you who hate doing ab work (that’s you, Cat!), just check out Elise‘s rock hard abs an you’ll be motivated to do this workout! Switch up the medicine for a weight if you don’t have one.

medicine ball pro ab workout

5. Holiday Butt Blaster by Olive to Run

Legs & butt are my favourite muscles to work, especially when I’m pressed for time. These big muscle groups give the best bang for your sweaty buck, burning loads of calories and getting your heart rate up.

holiday-butt-blaster-workout

6. Sweatin’ Under The Mistletoe by Hol-Fit

A great mix of cardio and strength to get your heart rate pumping. Check out the link for some tips on making a healthy holiday game plan.

hol-fit holiday workout

7. Fit and Fab Holiday Workout by This N That Cat

Every workout I’ve tried from Cat has been ridiculous. They always look a little easier than they actually are so I end up working harder than planned 😉

This n that Cat workout

8. Hot Holidays Super Sweaty Workout buy PB Fingers

I’m sweating just looking at this one. You can perform the first box in sequence followed by the second, or alternate between the two. Try not to rest for more than 10 seconds between exercises and lift heavy to burn major calories and get back to enjoying the holiday fun 😉

Hot-Holidays-Workout

Now it’s off to the gym to bust out one of these gems!

Merry Fitness my friends 🙂

Liz xo

Fit Friday: Slim Sanity

Welcome to your November long weekend ❤

While you’re enjoying an extra day off I hope you keep our veterans in mind. Wear a poppy, attend a service, and take a moment of silence to remember those who fought for our freedom. We are SO lucky to live in a country as beautiful as this with everything we need to live happy, healthy lives.

cupcakes Source

We have some special visitors staying with us for the weekend! My mom and Ryan’s mom are both here until Tuesday. I already have menu requests for the spelt & vanilla pancakes AND the butternut squash soup. I love cooking plant-based meals for non-veggies, especially when I know they’re going to love it. I’ll also be making some banana bread and other healthy treats to have around the house.

I thought I’d do a little something different for this week’s Fit Friday post. I love sharing my favourite workout moves and my own routines, but I’d also like to share a little more of what (or who) inspires me to stay fit. Most of the time my main sources of fitspiration are of from fitness blogs. Starting today, I’d like to feature a favourite fit blogger once a month.

Fit Friday: Slim Sanity

Currently, my phone’s photo album is filled with screenshots of workouts from the amazing Alysia at Slim Sanity. I found her via Instagram and have been making my way through her workouts over the past couple of months.

slim sanity

Her workout structures are easy to follow (but not easy!) and she often includes You Tube links to the fitness moves in case you are unsure of how to perform them. I like how she mixes things up from the standard weighted sets like in this chest & abs workout.

chest and abs

I also love that some of these moves work your chest  core at the same time like the flys with leg raises. Killer!

Most of the routines are available on a graphic that you can save, screenshot or even print off and take to the gym. If you have weights at home, you can even bust out most of these right in your living room! This shoulder & bicep burner requires no additional equipment. I do the entire thing with a set of 10’s and a set of 12’s.

sculpted shoulders and biceps

I also love this arrangement of 3 superset groups for a leg workout vs. the conventional 3 sets of each move throughout. It keeps you on your toes (literally) and before you know it you’re done!

lower body supersets 3

You can find more strength routines from Alysia on her workout page including target area and full body workouts, along with circuit and treadmill cardio routines.

I also suggest giving a workout more than one chance. I always get a better workout the second or third time I try it because I’m familiar with the moves and have a better idea of my weight and rep requirements.

Today I plan on doing her Full Body Strength routine for the first time with this sweaty Speed Burst Treadmill Workout.

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Now there’s no excuse to skip your Fit Friday. Slim Sanity is an amazing resource with fitspiration for days!

Thanks to Alysia for letting me feature her today. When I’m truly inspired by someone or something I can’t help but to share it. That’s why I started this blog: to inspire and be inspired! I want everyone to know that the resources they need to get started (or stay motivated) on their wellness journey are right at their fingertips.

You can also connect with Alysia via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, & Twitter!

Where do you get your fitspiration?

What are your favourite fitness blogs? 

Liz xo

Build Your Own Workout

I always hear people say, “I would work out if someone told me what to do”, or “I’d go to the gym if I had a plan laid out for me”.

If I had the means, I would do this for everyone who asked, but my profession is engineering and not personal training. I usually refer people to my favourite fitness blogs, magazines, or more recently, my own little fitness page.

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I find it very easy to turn to a fitness blog, find a workout, do some Google searching if I’m unsure of the moves then take it to the gym or my living room. Just the same, there are many days where I throw together my own thing as you can see on the Fitness Page. However, either of these options can still be intimidating if you don’t know where to start.

I thought it might be helpful for some of my readers to have some basic guidelines on how to put a workout together. Like anything else, confidently creating and executing a workout comes down to time and practice. Maybe you don’t know the difference between tricep dips and a triceratops right now, but after a few workouts I promise you will start to remember the moves and get a little more comfortable with strength training. Everyone has to start somewhere!

Build Your Own Workout: Strength Training Basics

Follow the steps below to first determine your fitness level, then choose your focus area and exercises. Remember that what works for one person might not work for another. You can adjust your weight, exercises, reps, sets, etc. to get the most of your routine. If it doesn’t feel right the first time, make some changes and try it again.

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1. Determine your fitness level.

How much weight?: For beginners, start with 5 lb dumbbells and no more than 10 lb barbells. Test out a few reps and increase or decrease as you feel necessary. Remember you can lift heavier for legs & back than you can for shoulders & arms.

How many reps?: The general guidelines are usually 12-15 reps for light-moderate weights or 8-10 for heavier weights. Get to know your body. There is a difference between fatigued muscles and aching joints! You will likely need to switch up your weight from one exercise to the next, depending on the target muscle group. If 8 lbs feels too light but 10 feels too heavy, use 10 and decrease your reps by 2-3. You will get better/faster results by increasing your weights.

How many sets?: Another general guideline is usually 3 sets of X reps for each exercise. You can either a) perform your 3 sets in sequence then move to the next exercise or b) perform 1 set of each exercise then repeat the entire workout 3 times. I recommend no longer than 30 second breaks between sets. If you are using option b), try resting for only 1 minute between each of your 3 rounds.

I always get a better workout the second time I attempt a given routine. Once you get familiar with the moves and your weight preferences it’s much more effective and its fun!

2. Chose two focus areas

Personally, I think it’s more effective to perform antagonistic workouts because you can rest less when alternating between muscle groups. Legs are the exception because you can switch between hamstring and quadricep exercises so its common to dedicate a day to just legs. I’ve provided some examples of common muscle group combinations below:

  • biceps & triceps
  • back & biceps
  • back & chest
  • chest & core
  • legs & core
  • shoulders & back

All to myself

3. Choose your exercises

I provided 8 exercises for each of the focus areas listed above. For combination workouts like chest & back, choose 3-4 workouts per focus area, alternating muscle groups from one exercise to the next. For a single area workout choose 6-8 exercises total. Again, the number of exercises you perform should depend on your fitness level. You can increase/decrease any aspect of the routine to get the most out of your routine.

For any exercises you are unsure of, type them into YouTube and the first link will likely be a short tutorial.

Biceps

  • dumbbell curls
  • barbell curls
  • supinating dumbbell curls
  • hammer curls
  • outward bicep curls
  • bicep rows
  • 21s
  • preacher curls

Triceps

  • tricep dips
  • tricep kickbacks
  • tricep push-ups
  • lying tricep extensions
  • overhead tricep extensions
  • one arm tricep extensions
  • close grip bench press
  • tricep pull-downs

Back

  • lawnmower (one arm row)
  • bent-over dumbbell rows
  • wide grip barbell rows
  • close grip barbell rows
  • seated cable pulls
  • deadlifts
  • dumbbell pull-overs
  • lat pull-down

Chest

  • dumbbell chest press
  • barbell bench press
  • incline dumbbell press
  • wide push ups
  • dumbbell flys
  • cable flys
  • cable press
  • peck deck

Shoulders

  • military press
  • upright row
  • Arnold press
  • standing lateral raise
  • seated, bent-over lateral raise
  • alternating front raise
  • shoulder press machine
  • shrugs

Legs

  • barbell front squats
  • barbell back squats
  • sumo squats
  • split squats
  • step-ups
  • one-legged deadlifts
  • calf raises
  • leg press machine

Core

  • side plank twist
  • stationary mid & side planks
  • wood chop
  • jack knife sit ups
  • Feiffer scissors
  • bicycle crunches
  • Mason twist
  • mountain climbers

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Now that the framework has been laid, here are some basic workout examples to help you get started:

Ex. 1: Back & Biceps (4 of each exercise)

Perform 8-10 reps of each exercise with a heavy weight. Repeat entire sequence 3 x through, resting no more than 1 minute between rounds.

  • lawnmower, left side
  • lawnmower right side
  • barbell curls
  • wide grip barbell rows
  • hammer curls
  • deadlifts
  • outward bicep curls
  • lat pull-down
  • 21s

Ex. 2: Shoulders & Arms (4 shoulder exercises + 2 biceps & 2 triceps)

Perform 10-12 reps of each exercise with a medium-heavy weight; each set 3 times, resting 30 seconds between sets.

  • military press (S)
  • dumbbell bicep curl (B)
  • Arnold press (S)
  • lying tricep extensions (T)
  • lateral raise (S)
  • outward bicep curls (B)
  • alternating front raise (S)
  • tricep kickbacks, left and right (T)

Example 2 shows that you that the basics are easily build on. Things start to get really fun when you incorporate moves that work two muscle groups at once, like the swimmer’s press for biceps and shoulders.

I hope this helps some of you get started on your journey to a fitter, healthier you! No need for fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships to get the job done. You are both your own best advocate and your own worst enemy. Choose who you want to be and get your hands on some iron 😉

Happy lifting!

Liz xo

Fit Friday: Hot Legs

Happy T.G.I.F.F 🙂

What a busy week! Birthday festivities and work travel kept me from my usual Thursday post but I’m here with a killer leg circuit for you today.

I needed some big muscle burn this week to take care of the cake and wine so I hit weight room for some serious legs.

my leg

Want to fit into your skinny jeans by Christmas? Throw this into your routine 1 day a week. Wowza!

Warm up for 5-10 minutes with your cardio of choice. Start the workout on the machines then move to the barbell and the dumbbells. Repeat the entire circuit 3 x through, resting 1 minute between rounds.

hot legs

Nice legs 😉

Liz xo

Fit Friday: I’ve Got The Power Walk

Remember when I said 2 strength training sessions per week was one of my goals for September? Well I’ve been sticking to it and I’ve been SORE! But good sore loving it 😉

Yesterday I definitely needed a cardio day but I couldn’t make my usual BodyAttack or Step. I wanted to log at least 50 minutes so I hit the cardio room and here’s what happened:

1. Stairmaster

2. Treadmill

  • 20 minute power walk

Here’s how it ended:

chestsweat

My butt and legs are begging for a yoga day today 😉

Never underestimate the power of a fast, inclined walk!  I used to love running but I can’t get through 10 minutes now without shooting pains in my knees, followed by days of aching. Not worth it 😦 Yesterday my backside was too sore for any resistance cardio (biking, elliptical) so I opted for the power walk. It’s lower impact but still highly effective. I burned a load of calories and worked some muscles I forgot I had!

The 20 minute sequence of incline and speed changes is below in a printable, pin-able, or screenshot-able form. You can always adjust the speed or incline range to suit your requirements but you know what I have to say…

Be sure to challenge yourself 😉

Power Walk

For more Fit Friday fun check out the Fitness page!

Liz xo

Fit Friday: Cut to the Core

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Its the last long weekend of the summer but not quite the end of the season just yet. We still have 3 weeks of summer left and I plan on soaking up every ounce of vitamin D I can 🙂

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Have you been thinking about your September goals? Tell me 3 of your fall goals so I can check in with you in a month and we can keep each other accountable!

Until then, here’s a killer core workout to keep your mid-section in check during your Labor Day BBQ & beers.

Oblique Side Bend

The gear:

  • 15-25 lb dumbbell for side bends (should be heavy!)
  • 6-8 lb medicine ball for Mason Twist

The workout:

Cut to the Core

Feel the burn, warriors 😉

Liz xo