Circuit Training and Why You Should Try It

Ever feel like your workout is stale? Don’t look forward to it because you’ve done it numerous times before? You might’ve even reached a plateau and haven’t been able to achieve new progress lately. Don’t sweat it (lol, get it), it happens to all of us if we don’t change our workouts up. For example, we always switch up the muscle groups and add new exercises. But say you just do total-body workouts, which a lot of people do, and you’re just getting bored and losing interest. I have a solution! 

It’s called circuit training. No, you don’t need to be an athlete, a fitness extraordinaire  or even in shape! This will be the pathway to getting there and having some fun while doing so. Circuit training involves numerous stations with little rest time in between. This especially great for people who want to lose or maintain weight because you’re constantly keeping your heart rate up and your body moving. You give yourself a certain amount of time or reps at each station and then move to the next without resting. There are various ways to do this, and you can even do it at home. 

Let me give you an example. 8 Stations:

  1. Push ups 
  2. Supermans 
  3. Dumbbell swings 
  4. Mountain climbers 
  5. Plank 
  6. Curl, shoulder press, triceps extension (one sequenced movement) 
  7. High knees (in place) 
  8. Squat jumps 

You would go through say, 45 seconds of each station and move to the next. It depends on your fitness level. With some of my more beginner clients, I will give them 15 seconds rest between every two stations rather than until the end. I will give you variations at the end. Want to workout at home and don’t have any equipment? No problem.

  1. Squat jumps
  2. Push ups
  3. Reverse crunches 
  4. Russian twists 
  5. Jumping jacks
  6. Lunges
  7. Calf raises 
  8. Jog on the spot 

Don’t need any equipment for that one. And you can design the circuit training to fit your needs. Looking for only cardio? Swap the strength exercises (like push ups) for things like jumping jacks, jump rope, high knees, mountain climbers, jog in place, and so forth. Want to focus more on strength? Take out the cardio and add more strength in. Either way, you’re getting your cardio up by going from station to station without rest. Personally, I would suggest keeping both in the routine. Strength and cardio training is important for everyone, I don’t care who you are.

List of more exercises you can do (with and without equipment):

  • Crunches
  • Dips
  • Squat press
  • Plie squats
  • Wall sits
  • Triangle push ups
  • Step ups
  • Shadow boxing
  • Medicine ball throw
  • Chest press
  • Pec flies
  • Skull crushers
  • Jump lunges
  • Hip bridges
  • Burpees
  • Curls

And so on and so forth. There are tons of exercises you can do. You can make your own routine. Pull some of your favorite exercises from the list and go for it. Try to hit all parts of your body.

Beginner: 8 stations, 45 seconds at each station, 15 seconds of rest after each two stations, two minutes rest at the end, complete three circuits.

Intermediate10 stations, 1 minute at each station, 15 seconds of rest after 5 stations, two minute rest at the end, complete three circuits.

Advanced: 12 stations, 2 minutes at each station, no rest in between, two minute rest at the end, complete three to five circuits.

Please, try circuit training. At your gym, at your home, outside, wherever! Some advantages of circuit training? I already covered some but I’ll recap: saves on time, encourages fat loss, keeps your heart rate up, effective use of time and exercise, works on all muscles of your body, improves your cardio, and improves strength. Those are just a few. You choose the number of stations, length of time at each station, and how many circuits you have time to do. Challenge yourself every time.

Let me know what circuit you did and how it went! And if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Holiday Movie Review: Rise of the Guardians

I know we’re called Hungry and Fit. I know. But take this as a metaphor. We are Hungry and Fit. All the time. But there’s more to life than eating and obsessing with fitness, it’s called fun and relaxing. So here’s another movie review, presented warmly by yours truly. 😉

Rise of the Guardians. A nice holiday movie for the kids (and the rest of us). It was Black Friday Night and we were strolling the beautiful outside 29th Street Mall with family. We all got big cups of hot cocoa and enjoyed the sparkling lights on the tree and light poles. After some last-minute relaxing Black Friday shopping in an empty Macy’s (new boots, thank you very much!), the elder generation of the family decided to hit the sack, but us youngsters wanted to see a movie. Well, really just Chris and I did, but we dragged my brother, Kai, along anyhow.

Passing by the quiet ice skating rink, we slipped into the Century Boulder Theatre (which we had never attended) and saw a 9:30 showing. We were one of three other groups watching the movie–guess it’s not a real popular time or day to watch a kid’s movie. Anyhow, onto the movie! Tell me to stop story telling.

Rise of the Guardians has a great cast: Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Chris Pine, Jude Law, and Isla Fisher. All of them do an absolutely incredible job at the voice acting, they really get into it, making it that much more enjoyable for the audience. We actually couldn’t believe Alec Baldwin played Santa so we had to watch this of him live-action doing it to believe. And for any Elder Scrolls fans, Santa totally sounds like a Nord so I spent the night annoying Chris and Kai with Nord-accented Skyrim quotes. I’m sure they enjoyed it.

With top notch actors, DreamWorks did a lovely job with making it beautiful and fun CGI. Definitely visually-pleasing and enjoyable to watch. I especially loved Sandy’s effects. The imagination of the creators was what was really the best part of the show…the story, the powers, the “guardians“…all of it. I found myself leaning forward into the movie, getting really into it, it was quite captivating as any magical holiday movie should be. Probably the funniest parts of the movies was whenever the yetis were in the scene. We definitely cracked up every time they were there.

It wasn’t excellent. But it was good and we left feeling happy. A good holiday movie that gets you in the spirit for the upcoming holidays. Go see it on a winter night and don’t forget the hot cocoa.

Hot Cocoa

Hot Cocoa (Photo credit: wine me up)

Thanksgiving Feast: Do it Right

Okay, so we’ve been gone for…a week. But we have plenty reason why! My family came in and it was a very excellent, fun, way-too-fast vacation for all of us here in Boulder. But you’re not here to listen to my excuses about family and not being able to post. You’re here to see food. And since we’re just getting back to full-time blogging, I’ll post a nice light array of food.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. When is it not? Don’t answer that, yes I know the turkey could light the house on fire. Family, food, sunset walks, and good tv. WHAT CAN GO WRONG? Don’t answer that. But seriously, everything went well for us and we had an amazing time (kittens included). So, my parents and brother came in for the week and we had a 9-person Thanksgiving. It was beautiful and great and just LOOK AT IT ALL. 

Mum’s homemade cranberry sauce, from stewed cranberries and sugar

Baked yams with shaved almonds on top

Mashed potatoes (of course)

Martinelli’s…Thanksgiving Classic 

TURKEY. We didn’t eat it, but others did 

My beautiful plate…you can see salmon (wild caught) as my meat in addition to a roll, mushrooms, and brussel sprouts (as well as other food covered already)

You will always find amazing salads at Marga’s house 

Plate all clean! Well except for the avocado Kai dropped on the floor

One of the two pies we had. This one was a bakery-made Peach-Raspberry (yum) and Megan made a top-notch pumpkin pie that I wish still existed

So that really covers it for Thanksgiving food…except for the stuffing and gravy and other alcohol served. Everyone had a good stuffed time. How was yours?

You know it…BONUS KITTY PIC 

Restaurant Rave: Kho’s Asian Bistro

After our workouts (usually legs) at the Longmont YMCA, we typically go out to eat. It’s our eating-out treat day. And for the past two Fridays, we’ve gone to Kho’s Asian Bistro. You can guess if this is going to be a positive review or not. WE LOVE IT HERE. It’s not just the food, which is obviously made with love, but the incredible atmosphere and service.

So this place is tucked away, literally you have to go down No Name Road to get there. No, seriously, it exists. Once you get there, it’s in a complex with other shops. As soon as we walk in, we’re blasted to Malaysia, with fountains and beautiful sculptures and ethnic items on the wall. The sushi chef is the first to say hello and wave us to a table.

After being seated, we are soon approached by a waitress (all three we’ve interacted with have been absolutely great) and offered drinks. I almost without fail can never resist a Thai Iced Tea. Chris gets his green tea which comes in a huge pot and fills us up plenty.

We’re also pretty settled upon what we want at this point and we order our appetizer (Chris gets white rice, I get Hot n Sour Soup). The thing I love about this place is that everyone here is earnest and really wants to make you happy. We’re smiling as soon as we walk in the door.

We gobble down that quickly and we order our dishes. The first time, I got a Malaysian Curry and it was delicious (I could barely make a dent in it). Chris got the Una-Don which is his favorite. This time, I got the Buddhist Delight and he got Shrimp Ramen. I can never finish the dishes here, they’re so huge and decently priced. Packed with flavor but none of the heavy sauces that always hurt my tummy.

You can just tell: IT LOOKS DELICIOUS. BECAUSE IT IS. And that’s not all. This is the second time we’ve been here and the second time we’ve received a little special something on the house. This time it was two veggie pieces of sushi. Needless to say, we were happy.

Speaking of sushi, they have the best white tuna I’ve tasted so far. Haven’t loved it (because we’re spoiled from the coasts), but I definitely ate all my pieces last time I had some. The only negative about this restaurant is that they don’t have ethnic music on…it’s current music which we dislike. All in all, this is a fantastic joint and we will be coming back every Friday. We feel so welcomed, wanted, and happy that we’d be fools to go elsewhere. Thanks Kho’s Asian Cuisine! And where else can you find such great fortune cookie fortunes…

Cheers!

Lactose-Intolerant? I’m Sorry…But Here’s Something for You!

Now Chris’ mom is a fantastic cook and baker, so this one is a treat. Especially for you folks out there who are lactose-intolerant (what a sad world that is) and have other allergies. She’s prepared a Pumpkin Pie Recipe (Lactose Free) for everyone out there for the upcoming holiday!

That sure looks good, doesn’t it? Now trust me, I’ve had many many things she’s cooked or baked from her amazing Thanksgiving Stuffing to her Chocolate Mocha Cake. She’s got it all and she has it down-pat.

Head over to her Etsy site for this delicious recipe and more. She doesn’t just cook–she also crafts. She makes wonderful jewelry and headbands…she paints too! It would really be worth your time to take a look at everything she’s got. And I’m not just saying this because it’s Chris’ mom…it’s because I truly enjoy her good, healthy food and you will too!

(you know it…BONUS KITTY PIC)

Wreck-It Ralph and Skyfall: Double Feature

Ideally, Alana and I would go to the movies every time a new movie came out that we were even remotely interested in if we had the time and money.  We’re not quite there but we’re close enough to be able to see the movies we really want to at a discounted rate on Sunday mornings before we both go into work for some late shifts. Although our checklist is backing up, it includes: Cloud Atlas, Argo, Chasing Mavericks, Man with the Iron Fists, Lincoln, Silent Hill Revelations, and Flight. You could probably figure out which ones we each want to see. Rise of the Guardians comes out nest Wednesday and that’s on there because we love Dreamworks but there are tons of upcoming movies that we want to see: namely The Hobbit and Les Miserables. But back to the point of this post, a review of this trip and those two movies.

As for the trip, we were excited to see that Hobbit promotions were everywhere and we even took some pictures with them. There was also a stand up of Georges St Pierre for his upcoming match against Carlos Condit. I want to see it but Alana doesn’t, but it’s not a big deal. So we brought our usual stash of goodies including popcorn, drinks, and candy and prepared for the double. First up…

In theater 4, Wreck it Ralph. This was a good Disney movie, plain and simple. Great voice acting, a good comedic and clever script, nostalgia for gamers, and a cute story line with great characters. It was entertaining, kept our attention, and was full of great lessons. The soundtrack was solid and the animation was top notch, going from pixelated throw back moments to smooth and beautiful modern day technology. In terms of a score, let’s just say it was a really good movie. 8 maybe seems fair. Nothing lower but there was nothing exceptional to make it higher.

No time to break, the previews here last for so long that we had to go to the bathroom and rush to the next one.

In theater 11, the movie I have been waiting for the past four years, Ian Fleming presents Daniel Craig as 007 James Bond. My dad raised me on James Bond movies and although him and my brother love Roger Moore, I am a little bit more open to the other Bonds. I always liked Sean Connery, and even Pierce Brosnan, and even Timothy Dalton, but Daniel Craig has done an exceptional job in the role. He is much more callous and introverted than past Bonds but maintains the confidence and debonair manner. I don’t want to give any spoilers but I was initially disappointed in the story. With that being said, I enjoyed the movie and was grinning the whole time. They kept regular Bond quirks but took some new turns and chances, such as with their “choice” of Bond “girl.” Javier Bardem was so amazingly creepy. It was great acting, beautiful sets and landscapes, dark and mysterious, but overall amazing. Maybe 8.5 but it’s hard to put a number to it.

And then we bought a 6 dollar fountain drink to win a trip to New Zealand for 4 and the set of the Hobbit. We lost and won a track from the movie soundtrack. That is one expensive song.

See these movies and wait to read our next reviews.

Bisque Me! Beautiful Butternut Squash Bisque

Now, I’m no Master Soup-Maker. In fact, this is my first time cooking a soup (or bisque, rather) from scratch. And it turned out really well! I got my basis for the recipe here, but I really changed this one up. Also, apologies for the lack of postings, busy lives! We’ll get back into it, we have a lot in store for you still. Alright, get ready!

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3/4 cup of diced carrots
  • Butternut squash
  • Vegetable stock
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Brown sugar to taste
  • Ground ginger to taste
  • Garlic

Alright! Semi-long list but once you have everything cut up it’s easy. And the last few are to taste, throw your own ideas in there too. Ginger, brown sugar, and cinnamon just gave that nice soothing Fall flavor. So amazing on the cold nights we’ve been getting in Boulder.

Directions:

  • Cut up your butternut squash (I would roast it before hand, it was NOT fun to cut raw), carrots, and onions into cubes or small pieces.

  • Next, put some oil and butter into a big pot. I added some garlic in there too. Watch out, the smell is divine.

  • Once that’s nice and hot, pop in the onions.

  • Once the onions are nice and tender, put in the carrots and squash. And, though I’m not explicitly saying it, throughout this I’m putting in salt, pepper, garlic pepper, cinnamon, brown sugar, etc. Do it to taste. Make it your own.

  • Stir it around and then pour your vegetable stock in and bring to boil. You’re going to leave these in here, boiling, until all the vegetables are nice and tender.

  • Alright! So your veggies and nice and tender…I hope you have a blender or food processor! Because you want to throw all that mixture into that blender or food processor and blend it until smooth. Now we have a really bad blender, and although it took some time, even ours was able to blend all these. So you can do it!

  • Once that’s all blended, pour back into the heated pot. Here, you can add cream into it if you want (I didn’t). I stirred in a lot of cinnamon, ground ginger, and brown sugar in at this point to get it to that flavor I wanted to. Just stir and taste until you are satisfied.

 

And voila! You are done! Wasn’t too hard, was it? I really really suggest it as we move into winter…it is so nice and hearty. Very warm. There might be a holiday coming up where you can use this… Let me know if you have any questions!

(BONUS KITTY PIC)

 

Congratulations, Obama!

Phew. Breathe out a sigh of relief. Not that we now have a financial genius in office, because he isn’t. But because progress and equality like gay marriagewomen’s rights, and immigration will keep moving forward. Romney would’ve pushed all that back and severely hurt the progress we’ve made. Listen to Obama’s winning speech, how he includes everyone as a full citizen with all the rights that he has. It’s inspiring. We all know that in the future, everyone will be equal, it’s just how long will it take to get there?

I’m proud to have Barack Obama as my President, a man who stood up for gay rights when he didn’t have to. Who does the right thing. And has a kick-a$$ First Lady who isn’t afraid to be buff. I’m excited for these next few years.

Congrats. 

(bonus kitty pic)

Get Yo Autumn On: Whole-Wheat Banana PUMPKIN Bread

Oh yes I said it…pumpkin. I’ve made tons of banana breads, but now it was time to introduce the beloved fall vegetable, pumpkin. How many times do you think I can say pumpkin in this paragraph? Anyways, this pumpkin banana bread is one, absolutely delicious, twoeasy to make, and three, doesn’t leave you feeling guilty. It uses a bit of brown sugar and honey to sweeten things up, as well as the banana and pumpkin that go along with it. I found this recipe here and varied it a bit, put more cinnamon in it, more honey, typical stuff for me. Alrighty, get ready.

Ingredients:

  • WET
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (weird)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • DRY
  • 1.5 cups whole-wheat flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

This is the pumpkin puree I use. You can find it…ANYWHERE right now

Okay, looks like a long list but it doesn’t take long to prepare.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55-70 minutes

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • REAL simple here. Mix all the wet ingredients together

  • Then, you mix in the dry ingredients like the flour, baking soda, etc. Just look up at the ingredient list above, I organized it for you (it was really hard).

  • Spoon it all into the buttered or oiled baking tin and place into oven!

  • Bake for 55-75 minutes. Test it in the middle with a fork or a toothpick to make sure it’s cooked all the way through.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we will! I’m bringing this over to my aunt’s and cousins’ to watch the Election Night coverage as we bite our fingernails. Now that I think about it, I probably baked this to subconsciously soothe myself.  Don’t forget to VOTE tomorrow. Please.

BONUS KITTY PIC

Swim to Workout, Swim to Live

Pressured by Alana to write a post because our consistency has been awful lately (we are very busy, but no real excuses exist, I have enough time a day to write ONE post), I am going through the most difficult process.. deciding what to write about. I can write about anything, or try to… I mean it might not be good but I can go on and on if I want to. So I’ll save the favorite video games of the past year post for when I’ve played a few more I want to finish, my dinner tonight was disgusting so forget that (over 1600 frozen calories), I took the past two days completely off workouts and three from climbing because of forearms splints and just being sick.

I need rest to recover quickly (I hope), so let’s talk about something obvious for me… swimming. This isn’t going to be in detail, I’m just going to talk a bit about swimming. Of the over fifty hours a week that I work, or will be working, almost all of it is related to swimming or aquatics. So let’s break it into a few categories… continue if interested:

Swim training 14

Swim training

Water Safety: This is the most important of all aspects of aquatics. Whether you’re at a birthday party playing pool games, swimming laps to stay in shape, working on your strokes to qualify for an event, surfing in Southern California, snorkeling in the keys, or scuba diving in Southeast Asia, you always need to consider safety and it starts at a very basic level.

Learning to be comfortable and not scared of the water is the first step before you can become proficient at any aquatic skill. If you’re scared of drowning at a very forward level (everyone should be aware of it) then you need to get over that fear quickly. Having children get comfortable with the water at a young age will allow them to break into learning how to actually swim easier, so it’s never too early to start. But it’s also never too late to start! Better early than late but better late than never. If you aren’t comfortable or children that are dear to you aren’t either, then you need to find someone to work on that.

English: A breaststroke swimmer, in a hotel sw...

Just keep swimming!

Swimming: Swimming is a great way of moving efficiently, doesn’t always have to be quickly, once you’ve got your water safety and comfort taken care of. The key here is to conserve energy and have a means of moving that utilizes your arms, legs, and ability to breathe. That’s right, obviously, breathing is the most important aspect of swimming. I don’t care how fast you can swim with your face in the water if you can’t breathe. Swimming is about survival when it comes down to the nitty gritty. Whether it’s rolling onto your back to float or using a rollover breathe to replenish air before going back into a faster means of moving, breathing it key. Once you have those motor skills involving your arms, legs, and breathing operational, it’s time to think of the next step.

Swimming to workout: Now at the highest level this would include competitive swimming, but the basic level means that you can kick, stroke, and breathe properly so that you can workout without hurting yourself. If your stroke is off, you might hurt your shoulders or something else. If you breathe to one side you might develop a huge knot over there, or you might just develop an uneven stroke. If you don’t kick, you won’t swim as well or you could pull a groin or a muscle in your leg. If you don’t breathe, your workout won’t last long. Even if you’re not competitive think about taking stroke classes so that you can get a better workout by doing breast stroke, back stroke, flip turns, butterfly and other advanced techniques that will activate muscles you’ve never used. You can expand your lung capacity, burn fat, and even more. (Note: Please get proper instruction in how to do butterfly, it’s far too easy to hurt yourself if done improperly.)

Competitive: If you have all your strokes and techniques down, and you’re in good shape or want to be, join a team or a program to keep swimming. United States Masters Swimming will take anyone not affiliated with some other organizations if you are over 18. It’s a great chance to keep or start competing. United States Swimming is another huge program to look into especially for youth, and there are local clubs for people of all ages if you are in the right spot and look hard enough. Otherwise, join a class and compete against yourself in a strict environment. YMCAs usually offer lots of programs.

PB220013

Competition

Recovery: If you are injured or your body has become more fragile there are tons of water therapy and recovery, and fitness, classes that are much easier on your joints. AEA and Waterart offer some certifications in teaching these courses if you are interested. You are never really too old to stop getting in the water.

Extreme: If you want to surf, go for it, I recently did and feel comfortable although we just moved after Alana got a new board. Snorkeling is a great tourist activity and scuba diving is the ultimate underwater adventure. Scuba stands for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus and it, and the aqualung, were in great part the result of the efforts of the late Jacques Cousteau. I recently had the pleasure of meeting and having lunch with his son, Jean-Michel. You can either go to SSI or PADI to get certified and they last for life and offer endless specialization continuing education opportunities. I am currently enrolled in SSI’s Open Water Diver course, and I plan on completing that and my Advanced OWD by the end of the year. Then it’s onto Rescue Diver and Dive Master but we’ll see how long that takes.
Scuba diver. Found at Plongée sous-marine & ob...

Scuba-ing

If you have any questions about anything aquatics, even ocean conservation, please feel free to leave a comment. I’ll get into more detail about each of these over the next few weeks, possibly expanding by giving each its own post, including ocean conservation and preservation, and everything else.
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