Tag Archives: High-intensity interval training

Living Fit Mommy: Time to Get Ready for Boot Season

I’m not one of those people who adores the cold mornings of winter, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the fact that I can once again wear a nice pair of tall, riding, boots, with the requisite pair of  skinny jeans, once again—I absolutely love boot season!

Seriously…love it.

So, as summer nights begin to fade into fall mornings, my focus is less on what my legs look like in shorts, and more what they feel like in a pair of skin tight skinny jeans.

My weight fluctuates 3-5 pounds over the course of the summer—I tend to indulge a bit more than normal and my workouts get a bit sporadic due to my kids being out of school—but I try my best to keep my leg regimen honest during those months, so by October, I can be ready to splurge on a new pair of boots and jeans to add to my growing collection—vain, I know, but I don’t work this hard for kicks. The payoff is pretty clothes and nice boots. Kill me.

The following pic—taken while I was trying on a new pair of skinnies—is from last fall. I have on my favorite pair of boots  in the pic; bonus, I was fresh from the salon so I was feeling great that day:

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As noted, it’s been nearly a year since that pic, and I have a bit of work to do; namely, I’ll be needing to inject my weekly leg day regimen with a little more “umph”. I backed off the heavy lifting for a bit because I was dealing with far too much soreness in the days that followed. Also, I didn’t want to injure myself, so I thought it wise to scale things back a bit and let the cardio—I also bike and dance during the week—pull double-duty in the leg department.

That said, when you put on a pair of tight jeans, everything shows—EVERYTHING—so you have to take care to do the types of exercises that will lift and tone the glutes (ex.: Donkey Kicks, Bridges, and Lunges), give great form and definition to the quads and hamstrings (Squats, Squats, and More Squats), as welll as strengthen the calves ( a forgotten body part in most regimens)

Below is a common leg day routine for me, during the cold season. It’s just the strength portion, so it doesn’t include what I do in between reps—HIIT bursts—or afterwards. I typically couple or triple these up as supersets so I can move through my workout fairly efficiently.

  1. 3 x 10 Hack Squats (75 Pound Barbell): this is a really challenging exercise to do, so if you opt to try it, I recommend doing it with as little weight as possible. Form is always key and this exercise is no exception. 
  2. 3 x 30 Forward Lunge (15 per leg/set)
  3. 3 x 30 Side Lunge (15 per leg/set): I add a knee raise and use a set of dumbbells for this one, but the movement alone is plenty. Trust me. 
  4. 3 x 25 Prisoner Squats
  5. 3 x 20 Hip Lifts (25 pound weighted plate/body bar)
  6. 3 x 30 Reverse Lunge (15 per leg/set)
  7. 3 x 30 Donkey Kicks (15 per leg/set)
  8. 3 x 12 Dumbbell Thrusters (20 pounds)
  9. 3 x 25 Calf Rocks
  10. 3 x 25 Calf Raises

I vary the exercises I do from week to week—some weeks the ‘Hack Squats” are traded out for regular Barbell Squats, or I might ditch the “Donkey Kicks” for “Hydrant Raises” for example—and I only work my legs, to this degree, once per week; the other four days are reserved for targeting other muscle groups. That said,  my legs are always inadvertently receiving attention because, as I said earlier, I also include dancing, biking, HIIT, and other cardio activities into my regimen.

Yes, “Boot Season” is finally around the bend, and I cannot wait.

 

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Living Fit Mommy: You Have to Step It Up

You want to know the key to torching calories and training your body to burn long after that last set is complete? High-Intensity Interval Training.

Now, I don’t want to lose or bore you with a bunch of scientific jargon about how the inclusion of such training can improve your VO2 Max and up your overall level of performance—but if you’re interested in all of that, feel free to look here—so I’m going to keep it simple and just get straight to the point: if you want to get more from your workouts and become a more fit individual, you have to work harder.

Here’s the thing: the reason so many people have had success on programs like P90x, TurboFire and Insanity is because those programs rely heavily on the concept of giving maximum effort for  prolonged periods of time. That’s the only way to jolt your body into making the necessary adjustments it takes to keep up with the blood and oxygen flow you’re suddenly using in droves; that, in turn, leads to an increase in calories burned and a more aerobically fit body.

But, you don’t have to spend $100+ to get those results. You just need to dedicate yourself to doing more than the status quo. Challenge yourself to go beyond your comfort zone and truly see what your body can do; if you’re not drenched in sweat and completely breathless at the end of your routine, you aren’t doing enough—I’m just being honest.

Now, there are exceptions, of course. If you’re an Olympic lifter, you won’t necessarily take this approach, but most people aren’t incorporating heavy lifting into their regimen, they’re just trying to lose weight. If the latter sounds like you, then I recommend investing in a heart rate monitor and seeing just how much effort you’re really expending during your 30-60 minute jaunt in the gym—the results may surprise you—and go from there.

And, if you want to know your current aerobic fitness level, here’s a nifty little calculator.

 

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Living Fit Mommy: A Chance For Something New

“Plateaus” aren’t a welcome part of anyone’s fitness regimen, but as our bodies evolves and get stronger, it’s  to be expected.

My advice: take it as a compliment to your consistency and hard work because it likely means you’ve become so much healthier, and stronger, that your body needs a new challenge to be forced into hitting new levels.

You can often blast through a plateau by 1) adding more intensity to your workouts (HIIT and Tabata are great tools for that), upping the weight/reps during your strength sessions (don’t be afraid to add more pounds to that dumbbell), or opting for a new type of cardio (have you tried a Zumba or Spin Class on for size?).

Remember: a plateau isn’t a sign that you can’t go any further, it’s a sign that you’ve made progress and now need to tweak things a bit. See it for the truth that it is and then examine your workouts to see where adjustments can be made.

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