circuit training

How to determine what workout will WORK for you…

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This is probably one of my all time favorite topics.  I love trying to help people determine what will help them get into the BEST shape of their life.  Whether you have no weight to lose and want to tone up, or lose 100lbs, you should follow a few basics in order to determine what works best for you.  Bottom line is this…if you have been doing the same program for a while now with the same results, you may need a change.

#1.  Do you put muscle on easily?  I do NOT fit into the “puts muscle on easy” club.  I have always been one of those people that even when I lift, I still look a little “softer.”  This is good and bad.  It’s good because I really didn’t “bulk up” in college when I was lifting my heaviest.  It’s bad because I have to work harder to gain muscle when I want it.  If you fall into either category you may need to alter the amount of weight you are lifting to get the results that you want.

#2.  What look am I going for? I am not in competition.  I don’t want to look like a body builder.  But, I do want to look lean and toned.  I want to look feminine, but strong.  A nice balance would be ideal.  If you know what your goals are then you will have a better idea to what you need to do to get there.  If I decided in question #1 that I put muscle on easier and I want to bulk up then lifting heavy is what I need to do.  Or if I want the more feminine and “cut” muscles then I need to lift lighter weights for higher repetition.  Now, what’s funny about that is that I am not a muscle girl.  So I can lift heavier in order to get the right amount of toned.

#3.  Cardio vs. Resistance Training?  If you have been following this blog for a while you know my stance on this.  Though I love to go out for a nice run every now and then, running, or plain cardio is NOT the best route if you are trying to cut fat and tone  your body.  It just isn’t.  Your body needs muscle to burn fat.  That is just the science of it.  Any way you slice it, to get the best out of your workouts to burn fat you MUST put on muscle.  If it weren’t the case every episode of Biggest Loser would look the same.  They would diet and get on the elliptical machine and treadmill.  You see them on the ground, moving their bodies around, and lifting things the majority of the time am I right?? Cardio isn’t the key.  Get out of your comfort zone and try something with resistance training or weights.

Let me show you a few pictures that really caught people’s eye recently.  On the left I was only running. I ran like 4 times a week for about 30 to 40 minutes.  On the right is my “after” picture where I have done mostly resistance training.  Weight lifting, yoga, and circuits have gotten me to the body on the right.  I really only do “cardio” one day a week.

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#4.  It HAS to be fun.  You don’t always have to be miserable during your workouts.  One of the biggest misconception about working out is that it’s torture.  You are in control over what workouts you do.  I get a lot of clients that tell me how much they love Zumba.  That is a great and fun workout!!!  I’ve tested out Zumba classes, however for me it just wasn’t enough.  I struggled with some of the moves and it was hard for me to get my heart rate up.  Luckily, there are other options out there if “dance” is your thing.

***The best way to cut fat is always to improve your diet, but when you are done dieting you want their to be something fabulous for everyone to see.  And that is NOT the look of loose skin.  Putting muscle on as you diet is the absolute key.

Now, here are a few programs that I recommend.  These are workouts  I have PERSONALLY tested out and loved.  These are great workouts for STRENGTH and TONING!!!!!  They will help you cut the fat!

Les Mills PUMP

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***This is basically an at-home version of “Body Pump” barbell class that is common at the gym.  If you’ve never tried a body pump class you need to get to a gym and try this out immediately.  You will be hooked.  It is an amazing way to SCULPT your body and feel strong again.  I really love that you can determine how much weight to use too.  This makes it a workout for anyone.  If you are in either group, the one that puts muscle on easy or the one that struggles, you can alter your workout accordingly.  Those muscle builders can put a light amount of weight on the bar.  Those that need to go heavier can do that too.  The main attraction to Les Mills PUMP is the “rep effect.”  You get a ton of reps in during the workout.  This is the workout that has changed my body.

Chalean Extreme

chalean-banner***I like this workout as a start up to those new to lifting weights.  The way that Chalene Johnson breaks it down into three phases is amazing.   Burn, Push & Lean are the three phases that help you get the sculpted look you are after.

 Turbofire

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***If dancing is your thing this workout combines Dance moves with kickboxing in an intense, but forget that you are working out type of atmosphere.  Another Chalene Johnson program and one of my all time favorites.

Jackie Warner DVDs

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***Two of my favorite workouts.  They are quick and effective.  The downside is that it’s not a “program” so  you are doing the same thing OVER and OVER again.  But, still a great piece to put into your collection.

If you ever have questions about what workouts will work the best for your body type just ask.  Not everyone is the same.  Not everyone LIKES the same things.  Do your research and see what is available.  Know your goals and you will be more successful!

 

Haley Signature

 

Top 10 Gadgets for Fitness and Travel

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Today I want to talk to you about some of my favorite technology gadgets that help to make fitness fun.  AND these are great for the Holidays since a lot of us travel to see our family.  They can be used ANYWHERE to make sure that you get your workout completed no matter where your head is hitting it’s pillow.

1.  Nike Training Club App.

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Tell it your fitness level and goals, and this multidimensional app pops up a list of appropriate workouts. It’s based on 130 dynamic training drills designed to work on cardio, build strength, and tone your core. Step-by-step instructions and video demos lead you into 30- and 45-minute full body workouts. Audio coaching and your own playlists keep you motivated throughout. And as you track your history and progress, you can earn rewards that unlock exclusive workouts from celebrities like Lea Michele, professional athletes like Shawn Johnson, and Rihanna’s personal trainer, Ary Nuñez. It can be used anywhere.  Don’t miss a workout with this amazing app.

How Much: Free

2.  Fitness Blender YouTube Channel

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If you are on the go this youtube channel is a must.  There is a variety of workouts.  Some short, some long.  It also gives you an estimate on the number of calories you could burn if you work your buns off (literally).  Check it out.  I’ve done several of these on days where I just didn’t know what I wanted to do.

How Much:  Free

3.  GymBoss Interval Timer App

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I have talked about the GymBoss app before when showing you how to create your own circuit training workout.  It is a fantastic app that allows you to set your interval and the number of rounds you want to complete.  It’s so easy to use, AND it’s loud enough to hear over your music that is playing on your phone, which is the trouble that I’ve had with other interval timers in the past.

How Much:  Free

4.  The “Hipssister.” Create pockets when you don’t have any.

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The joy in this beauty is that it’s not JUST for working out.  Sometimes I use mine at work when I don’t have an outfit that has pockets.  It can be added to ANY outfit to hold your possessions.  I use it when running to hold my phone and listen to my music.  I’ve never been a big fan of headphones or ear buds when working out.  This allows me to keep my phone close and dry, and surprisingly it stays put pretty well.  If I have REALLY slippery pants on it will move, but I don’t know that anything would stay put on those suckers.  Find it HERE

How much:  $26.00 – $35

5.  MyFitnessPal app.

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This is not a new app, but just in case you haven’t heard of it before I couldn’t NOT tell you about it.  This app is great for tracking your caloric intake daily.  Most people have done the hard work for you.  It even has food from restaurants AND a scanner option to scan the barcode of your food immediately.  It is by far my favorite food tracking app.

How much:  FREE

6.  Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor

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I know that I have also talked about the Heart Rate Monitor and how it changed my life in workouts.  I never really knew what I needed to do to burn calories before using mine.  I thought I knew, but I wasn’t always right.  The heart rate monitor can be taken anywhere and used in any type of workout.  All you do is enter in your height and weight and it does the rest.  If you are stuck in a rut this is a great way to really figure out what kind of calories your workouts are burning.  You may be surprised at what you find out.  I bought mine HERE.

How much:  around $60

7.  Valeo Neon Jump Rope

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This “old school” but effective piece of workout equipment is a great way to strengthen your legs and kick up your cardiovascular ability.  Its small and easy to bring ANYWHERE.  Its a staple in my workouts, especially when I make my own circuit.  It can be found HERE.

How much:  $7.00

8.  Mr. Tea tea infuser

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This tea infuser is adorable.  I am putting this on my Christmas list as I attempt to learn more about tea and the health benefits.  It, also, can be taken anywhere.  It can be found HERE.

How much: $10.00

9.  Nike Fuelband

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There are many fitness trackers available out there, but none may be as fun as the Nike+ Fuelband ($149). It turns everyday activities into a game where the object is to rack up as many points as possible.

How much:  $149

10.  Nathan Strobelight

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The Nathan Strobe light is an effective way to stay safe while running outdoors.  Especially now that it gets dark so early, sometimes the only time you can go is after dark.  It can be easily attached to jackets and shows drivers that you are on the road too.  It can be found HERE.

How much: $10.00

So, when you are on the go this Holiday season, there is no reason you can’t find something to do.  Some of these could also make great stocking stuffers for the fitness friends on your list.  Happy Holidays and happy shopping!!!!!!!!!

Haley Signature

Pregnancy Circuit

If you are here to sign up for the Black Friday giveaway click HERE

Today I wanted to share a pregnancy circuit that you can try…even if you’re not pregnant you can do this and add more weight or make it higher impact.

These 11 different exercises can get your heart rate up while working muscles to help maintain strength.  Notice I say maintain…you lose muscle like crazy while pregnant and certainly won’t be building muscle considering most of your protein is going into building tissue for your baby, and that’s okay!  Just make sure you add some resistance to keep those muscles toned as much as possible.

Use a timer app on your phone, like “Circuit Trainer”  that will alert you when to switch exercises.  You can input the times for 45 seconds on with a 15 second rest in between each exercise…making it 1 minute.  One time through will be 11 minutes, 2 times through will be 22 minutes, and 3 will of course be 33!  You choose how long you want to go.  Don’t forget that you also choose the intensity.  Listen to your pregnant bodies and keep it low impact.

(Sorry if the pics are blurry.  I took them from a video of me actually doing the exercises.)

Here it is:

High Knees (slow and steady)

High Knees (slow and steady)

Bird Dog.  Hold for 2 counts and switch sides.

Bird Dog. Hold for 2 counts and switch sides.

Lunges. Weights optional.

Lunges. Weights optional.

Fall squats.  Jump feet together lightly and reach high.

Fall squats. Jump feet together lightly and reach high.

Bucks. *ONLY IF YOU CAN STILL LAY ON YOUR BACK. Raise hips to the ceiling and squeeze butt and hamstrings.

Bucks. *ONLY IF YOU CAN STILL LAY ON YOUR BACK. Raise hips to the ceiling and squeeze butt and hamstrings.

Kettle bell swings. Use a jug of water if you don't have a weight :)

Kettle bell swings. Use a jug of water if you don’t have a weight :)

Push ups.  At the level you choose.

Push ups. At the level you choose.

Mountain climbers.  Go at a steady pace.  Your shoulders will be BURNING!

Mountain climbers. Go at a steady pace. Your shoulders will be BURNING!

Squats.  Weight optional.

Squats. Weight optional.

Plank ups.  Move from push up position to plank position and back again.  Make sure you switch the arm you lead with.

Plank ups. Move from push up position to plank position and back again. Make sure you switch the arm you lead with.

Side lunge.  Switch sides at the 20 second mark or stay on the same leg for the whole time and switch legs the next round.  Weight optional.

Side lunge. Switch sides at the 20 second mark or stay on the same leg for the whole time and switch legs the next round. Weight optional.

I hope you try this (whether you are pregnant or not) and let me know what you think!  It’s a great way to mix up your workouts!  And it makes the time go by so quickly!

Happy Circuit Training!

Signature Maggie