Thanks a lot Carrie Underwood…

…for the ass-whoopin’ you handed to me at the gym yesterday!

You see, Sunday is supposed to be my rest day from the gym.  But I got out of work late on Friday and decided to make Friday my rest day instead so I could spend more time at home with my man.  That meant on Sunday I needed to make up for lost time!

I recently received this month’s Self magazine in the mail with the lovely Carrie Underwood on the cover.

Inside, Carrie explains one of her favorite workouts:

“I have a game I love for when I’m working out on my own, without a trainer. I take a deck of cards and assign each suit a body area—say, diamonds for arms, hearts for legs, spades for core and clubs for cardio. I split the deck in half and write down exercises for each suit, a different one for each half.
So, if I flip over the six of hearts, I’ll do six squats. If the next card is ace of diamonds, that’s 14 push-ups. Sometimes I’ll make spades boxing and beat the crap out of the bag for however many punches the number on the card says.
Having different exercises for each half of the deck keeps me from getting bored. I make sure there’s a joker in each half—that’s a mile run on the treadmill. Then I go through the whole deck. With a 15-minute warm-up on the elliptical, it takes about an hour and a half total, but it’s fun because you’ve designed the workout yourself.”

Naturally, I decided to give this workout a try!  😉

Here’s what I did:

Fortunately, I drew those two darn Jokers pretty early on in the workout and got the runs out of the way.

This was a great boredom busting workout and lots of fun!  Give it a try if you’re looking to change up your routine.

How did you get your sweat on last weekend?

HIIT Me With Your Best Shot!

Ever seen this pic?

Yup, I’m pretty sure that’s me 😉

So when my coach Brooke asked me to incorporate sprints into my cardio workout, I was a little nervous!  I’m definitely not a runner, much less a sprinter!

Here’s the deal:  High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which involves alternating between periods of super high intensity cardio (like sprinting) with low or moderate intensity cardio (like walking or jogging), is extremely effective.  It’s been said to be the most effective form of cardio in a short period of time, improving endurance, fitness, and your physique while burning crazy amounts of calories.

This site has a great explanation of how HIIT works:

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is cardio performed at such an intense level that your body will spend the rest of the day expending energy to recover from the ass-kicking you gave it. This is commonly referred to as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and it means that you consume a great deal more oxygen recovering from the exercise bout than you would have if you’d just done a steady-state workout.

This means that you will be burning up to nine times more fat while sitting on the couch later that night than you would have if you’d spent an hour on the treadmill at a moderate pace.

Nice, right?

Here’s some more helpful info about this type of training (source):

  • HIIT trains and conditions both your anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. You train your anaerobic system with brief, all-out efforts, like when you have to push to make it up a hill, sprint the last few hundred yards of a distance race, or run and hide from your spouse after saying the wrong thing.
  • HIIT increases the amount of calories you burn during your exercise session and afterward because it increases the length of time it takes your body to recover from each exercise session.
  • HIIT causes metabolic adaptations that enable you to use more fat as fuel under a variety of conditions. This will improve your athletic endurance as well as your fat-burning potential.
  • HIIT appears to limit muscle loss that can occur with weight loss, in comparison to traditional steady-state cardio exercise of longer duration.
  • To get the benefits HIIT, you need to push yourself past the upper end of your aerobic zone and allow your body to replenish your anaerobic energy system during the recovery intervals.

Here’s my current HIIT workout (30 minutes total):

Warm-up:  3.8 speed / 10 incline for about 3 minutes, or the length of the first song on my playlist

Alternate:

30 seconds @ 9.0 / 2% incline

1 minute @ 4.0 / 5% – 10% incline

Cool down:  2 minutes @ 3.5 speed / 0% incline 

…and holy moly, you’ll be sweating like this:

(although I personally do not look this glamorous when I work out!  Much more red-faced!!)

And in case you’re like me and must have good music on your iPod to power through your workout, here’s a great list of workout music from Fitness Magazine.

YOU CAN DO IT!!

Spin Workout & Playlist

My awesome husband gave me a spin bike for Christmas (!!) and it’s been so great to sneak in some cardio at home!

Every month, I like to download a new workout playlist to my iPod (it’s a nice little treat to keep me motivated each month).  But since I didn’t have time to download any new music last night, I decided just to hop on the spin bike, set my iPod to shuffle and see what popped up.  Here’s what played during my ride:

I ended up having an awesome 40-minute spin workout…here it is if you’d like to give it a try!

Spin Workout.Feb 2012

{click the link to open the workout in a new window!}