Quite often, these days, my workouts are rushed. Now that I’m teaching full time my days are long and my midweek gym sessions are squeezed in at 6.30am before I get the bus to work or quickly on the way home before tea and eastenders! I usually concentrate on having long sessions on Saturday and Sunday (at least 1hour) where I work specific muscle groups like legs or upper body – but in the week it’s usually a 30 min full body blast. Therefore I need to do a workout that works my whole body and gets my heart rate up quickly – no messing.
There are benefits to this kind of workout and although I’m not exactly an expert on all the technical stuff I know that doing high intensity exercise and getting a good sweat on, even if it’s for a short period of time, can burn just as many calories as a longer session of lower intensity.
So, here’s one of the workouts I do in my 30 min blast sessions. It takes roughly 20-25 mins which gives me a bit of time to warm up before and stretch after.
Completely 10 reps of each exercise in a circuit. Then move on to 9 reps of each, 8,7 etc descending until you finish with one of each.
PUSH UPS (picture A)
BURPEES (push up + jump up picture B)
BOX JUMPS (picture C)
TRICEP DIPS (picture D)
There is no set rest period in between circuits – I just do it as quickly as I can with a few short breaks for water etc.
Trust me, this is a total killer, whatever your fitness level. It’s hard but worth it – and such a sense of achievement when you’ve completed it! You can put in any exercise to this format to change it up and work different muscle groups.
Let me know if you give it a go?!
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Now that I’ve been working out consistently for 9 months now I’ve began to notice some progress in the weights I’ve been lifting. I’ve tried to progress my upper body weights slowly and most use lighter weights/more reps for this part of my body because I’m conscious of becoming too stacked in my arms and shoulders.
In terms of my lower body though I am constantly trying to up the weights which I squat to continue to tighten and build muscle mass on my butt! Booty gains is what it’s about.
So recently, the barbells I’ve been using o squat have become too heavy for me to actually lift above my head without help. It’s time to venture into the free weights area and stack up the squat rack. I’ve always intimidated and ‘out of place’ as a female in the free weights area, so Paul showed me how to work it initially, but it’s essentially very simple. It allows you to safely squat weight levels which would be otherwise too heavy for you to lift.
A few tips for women thinking of using this kit:
- You are strong. DO NOT feel intimidated by the meathead guys in the free weights section. If your gym is anything like mine it’s a male dominated environment and they may look at you like, ‘what you doing on our squat rack?!’ You have as much right to use it as they do.
- There is NO minimum weight which ‘allows you’ to use the rack. When you first start you may be putting baby weights on the bar, or even no weights (as the bar weights 20kgs normally). This is fine, you don’t have to squat 100kgs to be ‘worthy’ of the squat rack. Build up slowly.
- On the subject of slowly; take your time. Don’t get flustered and end up rushing and hurting yourself.
- Give it a go!! Why not?
Do you use the free weights section?
Virtually everyone would say they can’t work out without a super motivating playlist playing full blast in their headphones, am I right? Personally, I love working out to music. It gives me a rhythm, sometimes a distraction and always the motivation to push myself a bit harder. I wanted to share my ‘Ultimate Workout Playlist’ with you today because I love listening to it in the gym and I really feel the right music can make the difference between a mediocre and a kick-ass workout!
- Good Feeling – Flo Rida
- In For The Kill – La Roux
- Mr Saxobeat – Alexandra Stan
- We Built This City
- Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake
- Sorry – Justin Beiber
- Troublemaker – Olly Murs
- Timber – Pitbull & Keisha
- I Love It – Icona Pop
- Call On Me – Eric Prydz
- Anaconda – Nicky Minaj
- Down – Jay Sean
- Get Ugly – Jason Derulo
- Lose Yourself – Eminem
- Tears – Clean Bandit feat Louisa Johnson
- The Girls – Calvin Harris
- TINA – Fuse ODG
- Partition – Beyoncé
- We Built This City – Starship
- Girlfriend – Avril Lavinge
- How Deep is your Love – Calvin Harris
- Don’t Stop the Music – Rihanna
- Milkshake – Kelis
- Domino – Jessie J
- Run the World – Beyoncé
- Bounce – Iggy Azealea
- Temperature- Sean Paul
- Pump It – Black Eyes Peas
- That Power – Will.I.Am
- Cheerleader – OMI
- Fight Song – Rachel Platten
- Blame it on Me- George Ezra
- Cold Water – Major Lazer feat Justin Beiber
The single best way I find to motivate myself when I’m feeling tired or lazy is to get a gym buddy to kick me up the bum and force me to workout. Luckily, I have the best and most brutal workout partner in my husband! Because Paul is so into his fitness himself he goes to the gym pretty much everyday, so if I tell him ‘I’m going with you tomorrow’ he will MAKE me go and not take no for an answer. Which is great if you’ve had a long day and your suddenly feeling like the sofa looks a lot more appealing than the gym bench…
It’s a really good motivator to have somebody who loves working out the gym with you. We help each other and (as you can see here!) cheer each other on! It could be anyone; a partner, a friend or even just someone you’ve met at the gym – but having someone to help push you that extra mile can really help when you’re feeling a bit ‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’
Have you got a gym buddy?
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Anyone who works out or does any kind of sports or exercise knows how important it is to stretch. But how many of us actually do it?? Nah.
I would never stretch after working out, mainly due to laziness, wanting to get the hell outta there as soon as I was done and also kinda out of embarrassment that I can’t touch my toes (really, I can’t).
But – a little tip. I spent a bit of time looking up some yoga poses and also some cheerleading stretching (I used to cheer for my uni) and have began working towards these. By giving myself a challenge I have not got really into my stretching after every workout. Some of the poses are actually a workout in themselves!
Below is me working towards my ‘Scorpion’, a cheer shape which is a lot harder than it looks! It’s actually really hard work and I work up a proper sweat practising it! I started on the floor first trying to touch my head with my feet, then moved on to holding onto the wall, then once my balance and core strength improved I moved onto free standing and using a resistance band. As you can see I can’t quite hold my foot in my hand yet!! But I’m determined to get there.
This one is the more commonly known ‘warrior’ pose from yoga. This one is hard work too, but I always try and do it in the morning as it gives your body a certain stillness and focus as well as testing your balance and core. I have put this picture up because Zakynthos is much prettier than my gym in London!
What is your favourite stretch?