The Muscle Confusion Debate

This week I had a great conversation with a client and it led me to writing this blog post.  We were talking about the principle of Muscle Confusion.  Which States that muscles accommodate to a specific type of stress and … Continue reading

Video Review: Amy Dixon’s Raise Some Bell

Lately I have been in a rut with my workout DVDs.  After a while the same workout on a regular basis gets repetitive and dull.  So I have become consumed in creating new and creative circuit style workouts for myself almost everyday.  I do start to miss being instructed, and since I have been lacking a workout buddy the past couple of weeks, the gym is getting a little lonely.  So last night I had the company of Amy Dixon, a 15 lb kettlebell and my puppy Petey during my sweat session.

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Raise some Bell is a kettlebell routine, which I am sure you could have guessed.  The workout is a total body routine that lasts 40 minutes including warm up, cool down and a stretch.  There is also a 7 minute “Ultimate Kettle bell Core Workout” on the DVD.

The warm up was great.  I loved how Amy warmed up our  wrists.  It is not your first thought to prepare your wrists, but I pulled my right wrist during kettlebell workouts in the past so I can appreciate the attention to detail.  We dynamically moved through stretches and exercises that prepared us for the powerful moves to come while bringing our heart rate up.  I can definitely see this warmup working in more than just a kettlebell routine.

The Workout consisted of powerful ballistic moves such as swings as well as exercises you would typically do with your basic dumbbell.  The way Amy creates a combination flows well and I enjoyed putting together the exercises.  It allowed me to get a feel for each more before adding on.  My favorite exercise from the workout was the “Rainbow”, It’s a swing with a 180 degree continually pivot on one leg, I felt it over my entire body.  I am a sucker for anything ballistic.  I used a 15 lb kettlebell for the entire workout, but I wish I had a 10 or 12 lb bell for both the hammer curl and the jerk.  I found myself struggling to balance the bell by the horn during the curl.  15 lbs was not to heavy for my right arm during the jerk, but I struggled a bit on my left arm.  I should probably invest in a lighter bell not only for my clients, but for myself as well!

Some of the moves were a little complex, and it took me a few reps to get them down, surely my second time completing this video will be more beneficial than the first.   The moves were powerful and challenging, I felt like superwoman while I was jerking out my reps.  Kettlebell training definitely gives me a high that is different than running and plyometrics and I cannot get enough of it.  I will say, I am pretty sore today.  I need to make a commitment to break out my bell more often after experiencing my body’s reaction to the workout the next morning.

The workout takes a lot of thought and coordination to safely complete the exercises, so the time flew by quickly.  I did not believe Amy when she said we were on our last move of the day.  I do wish the workout was a little longer. I prefer my workouts to be about an hour.

The ab workout is separate on the DVD menu so I completed the 7 minute routine after I cooled down.  I would have liked to tackle abs before the cool down.  The exercises were functional and an all over core workout rather than targeting the superficial muscles, which I liked.

All in all, I give this Kettlebell routine 4 out of 5 stars.  I really loved the exercises and combinations but it was just a little too short and I wish the ab routine came before the cool down.  I will definitely be doing this workout again though.  It is great for when you need a solid workout and you have less than an hour to fit it all in!

Broke Girl Tabata

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I am very excited to present to you my very own TABATA workout! This routine will take you about 45 minutes to complete if you strictly follow MY Tabata timing which is 30 seconds on/10 seconds off.  Please be sure to follow the information below so you can time your rest correctly and get the most out of your precious time!

For Tabata Circuits:

  • 30 seconds ON/ 10 seconds OFF  
  • Four rounds of each move before moving to the next move
  • Perform each exercise in the circuit for 30 seconds, then take a 10 second break and repeat three more times before moving to the next exercise
  • [x2 R x2 L] This means you do two intervals on the right before moving on to do two intervals on the left

*Traditional Tabata in “On” for 20 seconds.  If 30 seconds is too much for you, modify to 20 seconds on/10 seconds off

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Additional Notes:

Burpee Mountain Climbers: Simply do 10 mountain climbers then come into a squat thrust like a normal burpee, repeat continuously for 30 seconds.

Standing Switch Kicks: These are hard to portray in a picture.  You are switching the kicking leg while in the air.  These should be done at a fast pace and you should never have more than one foot on the ground at a time.

Wiper Planks: These can be performed on your hands or down on your forearms.  Planking on your forearms is going to activate more abdominal muscles.  By this point in the workout you may be spent, and need to modify to your hands like I am in the photo.  Don’t hesitate to push yourself!

To up the intensity even more, you can add dumbbells to the majority of the moves or up your weight.

This workout will take you about 45 minutes. Don’t forget to warm up and cool down!

If you would like an e-mailable version of the workout, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at brokegirlfitness@gmail.com

Video Review: Paul Katami’s Burn & Build

A huge part of my own personal exercise regimen is videos. Not only do videos allow me to workout from home, but they also introduce me to new exercise styles and bring variety to my library of moves.   As I test out new videos I will be sharing my experience with you.  A great resource for finding new workouts is Collage Video.  Collage ranks videos by their skill level, but they also provide reviews and clips from the workout.

Untitled-2Last night I took my puppy to our family vet and decided to workout in my parent’s home gym since I was already in the area.  My mom has been wanting me to try Paul Katami’s Burn & Build for a couple weeks now so I gave it a try.  The Burn & Build Workout is an aerobic toning workout that combines  kettlebells with a high step.   The workout itself is 70 minutes which includes an 11 minute warm up and a 5 minute cool down.  There are 7 intervals which mix fast past aerobic moves with toning.  I used a 15 lb kettlebell for the majority of the workout, but found myself switching to a 10 lb weight in the one armed bur-pees.  The video also comes with a 25 minutes instructional for some of the more complex moves and kettlebell maneuvers. I did not watch this to save time, but I wish I had.  I probably would have caught on to some of the combinations a bit faster .  After you complete the 70 minute workout there is an option for a 20 minute ab workout.

This video is considered advanced, so I would recommend being in  shape and having experience with a kettlebell before giving it a try.  The warmup itself is a workout, so by the time you eject the DVD you have done at least 60 minutes of high intensity interval training.  This is a sweat squirting heart pounding workout that takes concentration and skill.  I found myself getting frustrated with a few combinations because I had not practiced the 3-4 part moves in the instructional video.  I’m sure that I will get more out of this workout the second time around.  I definitely recommend this video to anyone who wants to challenge their body and coordination. I would give this video 5 out of 5 stars. Not only did I feel like I was getting my ass kicked, but I am sore today.    Below is Clip from the Workout:

If you do not have a step, I recommend purchasing one to reap the benefits of a bi level workout.  Incorporating a step works more muscle groups and increases your aerobic work and inevitably burns more fat.  In addition, your coordination can improve with step aerobics training.  For this workout you should use a high step.  Here is a great high step I found on Amazon that will not take too much space to store.

If you have any particular questions or a video review suggestion please leave a comment!

Half Hour Kettlebell Burn

I don’t know about you, but the winter really puts a damper on my running.  I love to run in the cold, but the short days and icy sidewalks make it a hazardous way to begin or end my day.  With all this winter weather we have experienced lately, I need to really mix up my workouts to avoid boredom.  One of my favorite ways to strength and cardio train is with Kettlebells.  These portable friends are never boring and deliver a seriously high metabolic cost when you are throwing the bell around.  Kettlebells will push your max heart rate to a new high, which is the most effective approach to cardio fitness (when done safely). So as I sit at my desk and type this post, I’m still scorching fat from my morning workout.

The off centered weight recruits more muscles at one time, especially when moving through a full range of motion (like swings).  These exercises are a great way to strengthen from head to toe without logging hours in the weight room.  Additionally, the exercises are fun.  With kettlebells you are focusing more on the movement than a specific muscle group you are working.  If you are worried about bulking up…Don’t! Kettlebells enhance your natural shape and keep you lean.

My puppy Petey saw his life flash before his eyes this morning as I started my Kettlebell routine.  He learned quickly to keep his distance.  Keep reading for a heart gargling routine!

Petey

I am a huge proponent of workout videos.  They are the best use of your time, especially for mornings.  I try and keep my workouts no shorter than 40 minutes of continual exercise with no rest (ideally 45-60 minutes), but that for a lot of people should start as a goal.  When you are following a video you are more likely to complete reps with the correct form and speed.  Below is a link to a YouTube Video from RyanRaw who has fantastic Kettlebell videos and instruction.  This video is 8 minutes long.  You should do a minimum of 4 circuits. I recommend watching the 8 minute video before completing your first circuit.  Complete circuit number one with the video, and then 3-4 more times.  I personally run through the workout 5 times which takes about 40 minutes.

If you don’t own a bell you can find them at Target, Walmart and even Marshalls/TJ MAXX or any sporting goods store.  The minimum weight you should be using is 10 lbs.  I use a 15 lb bell.

Here is a Breakdown of the moves:

  1. KB Front Swings (20 reps)
  2. Alternating Back Squat Lunge with KB Pass under (20 reps)
  3. High Plank with KB Alternating Row (20 reps)
  4. Figure 8 to Twist (20 reps)
  5. Half Turkish Get Up (10 reps on each side)
  6. Soccer Step Up “Quick Feet” (1 minute)

TIPS:

  • During KB swings, power comes from your lower half, NOT YOUR SHOULDERS
  • Your legs, butt and hips should be doing the majority of the work while swinging, allowing your KB to float into the air
  • When performing the Back Squat Lunge, the passing hand is the same as the moving leg
  • When performing a Half Turkish Get Up, your push should be EXPLOSIVE
  • Always keep your core tucked and tight
  • A 10-30 minute yoga cooldown is the best way to recover and stretch all the muscles you recruited during this workout.

Please post any questions or comments below!