Tag Archives: cardio workout

The World Cup: Perfect for Machine Cardio

Ahhh, the World Cup is finally here! If you unfortunately don’t know what I’m talking about, let me explain… biggest sporting event of the world! Teams from all parts of the world coming together to battle in tournament (soccer or football). It’s a glorious glorious thing for soccer-lovers like Hungry and I. And I’m telling you that these games can tie directly into your fitness! Do you ever feel the drudgery of doing cardio on machines (aka treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc.)? Then this is the ticket for you!

STAIRMASTER

Since Thursday (the start of the World Cup), I’ve found myself on the cardio machines more than usual. Why is that? Because as I’m pumping away at the elliptical, I’m completely engrossed in the World Cup games! Yes, I may be embarrassing myself by throwing up my hands or yelling at the gym TVs, but I am WORKIN‘ it. 

“Machine cardio” becomes a chore for most of us on a routine basis. This means we aren’t putting our all in, say if we did sprints or some other high-intensity, high-focus exercise. When you’re into something, whether it be a song you’re jamming to or a game you are loving, you are working hard. Your mood is up and you are pumping those machines! This means you are working harder, burning more calories, increasing the capacity at which your muscles are fighting, and generally getting a better workout. Set the program to “interval” and just rock it. 

bike dist

 Take advantage of amazing soccer being played every day (at least once a day!). Jump on that elliptical or treadmill, even if there’s only 15 minutes left in the half. Something is better than nothing! I know I’ve stepped on the treadmill in these past few days JUST for an excuse to watch the game at the gym. The World Cup is such a perfect way to sneak some machine cardio in especially if you normally despise it! Watch the World Cup to stay hungry and fit!

*Question of the Day: Who are you rooting for in the World Cup?

BONUS KITTY PIC

Sajah being so darn handsome

Sajah being so darn handsome

Best Way to Burn Calories: Cycling Interval Training

A few months ago, we discussed HIIT (high-intensity interval training) for treadmillsNow let’s move onto the bike. If you want thighs of steel, this is the workout for you. You will come off the bike feeling like your legs way a hundred tons after this workout because you’ve worked so hard. HIIT is a great way to stay in shape, turn the fat-burners on high, and improve oxygen capacity. Think you had to run 6 miles a day to do that? Think again! HIIT is a great time-saving way to stay in shape while constantly challenging your body, thus burning more calories. Plus, you build more muscle because you’re doing more powerful exercises that require force (sprints, etc.).

Interval training burns more calories and challenges your body more than most cardio programs due to the nature of intervals. You are constantly changing your speed and pace, thus forcing your body to try to adapt. In sprint mode? Your body has to fight to give your muscles and lungs enough oxygen. In recovery mode? Your body has to slow down all its systems to try to provide you with the right recovery tools. But do you let it recover? Of course not! Thus, your body is constantly attempting to adapt to the conditions you force upon it, but the nature of intervals cause it to never be able to properly catch up, which makes us stronger in the end.

Do this for a minimum of 15 minutes. The best would be 25-30 minutes, or even more if you’re feeling crazy.

  • Begin with a 3-5 minute warm-up of 75-80 RPMs. Let your legs get warmed up so you can TOAST them.
  • Start your 1-minute sprint. I want you to pump those pedals as FAST as you can, get your RPMS above 100, maybe above 120! If you need to up the resistance, do it! Go hard! Train with purpose! Listen to awesome music!
  • Once you hit a minute, go into 1-minute recovery mode–think of it like a fast enough pace without killing you. Cycle easy, but not too easy.
  • Repeat–go back into your sprint for a minute. Then return to recovery.

If this seems too advanced for you, try doing 30s sprint/1min recovery. If this seems too easy for you, try doing 1min sprint/30s recovery. There are so many ways to change this up to fit your needs. HIIT is one of my most favorite ways to train and this is just ONE example. Doing HIIT on the bike will accelerate muscle development in your legs, shaping you to be more powerful in that part of your body. Keep your eyes out for more on this series of how to burn calories and the best HIIT tricks. Use this workout to stay hungry and fit!

You might also like…

BONUS KITTY PIC

Double cuteness!!

Double cuteness!!

Hiking for Fitness

Chris often says that hiking is a tougher workout than running. Master Kim, our old Tae Kwan Do teacher, said that hiking is the best form of exercise besides Tae Kwon Do itself. If you believe anyone about fitness and life, it’s that guy.  I like to go hiking sometimes when I’m planning not to run that day. And almost always, I am passed out on the couch afterwards, zapped of energy. Which is a good thing! I know we are lucky enough to be in Colorado and thus have a seemingly-infinite amount of hiking trails, but there are hiking trails everywhere. Yes, even in Iowa. You just need to go find them.

A dam

A dam

This post is encouraging people to hike for fitness and not just spend all of their time in the gym. And there will be pictures from my most recent hike in Lyons, Colorado at Button Rock. Now, as you all know, I have nothing against gyms–nothing at all! In fact, we spend 2 hours there per day, usually. But we must never forget the beauty of nature and what we can enjoy outdoors. We must always find a balance between the indoors and the out.

photo (19)

Hiking is a great form of exercise. It (usually) costs nothing, spare the gas or parking fees, and it is almost enjoyable. Some people detest gyms and if you are one of those people, take a hike! Hiking has an extraordinary amount of benefits including cardiovascular endurance training or as we like to shorten it to “cardio.” Not all hikes are uphill, but I know that ours definitely was. Hiking is walking on steroids. As you continue going upwards, the air gets thinner, and your body has to work harder to gain its homeostasis (basically, the “normal” state of our body at rest). And even if you’re not necessarily going straight uphill, the terrain of hiking is often unsteady, thus your body fights to maintain balance and recruit muscles to stabilize yourself.

My friend and her dog

My friend and her dog

There are incredibly cardio benefits to this (in fact, it is almost just as powerful in this way as running is, as your body has to try to regulate your breathing just as it does while you run or jog), but there are also just as many muscular benefits as well. After I’ve hiked, I feel that I ran a 5k and did a heavy leg workout. It of course has these effects, because of the strain you put on your “cardio” system (as we spoke of earlier) and the amount of work your poor muscles have to do!

Her dog loves to be thrown sticks and retrieve them in the water

Her dog loves to be thrown sticks and retrieve them in the water

After a hike, I can almost certainly not do a heavy leg workout. I remember one time I did this hike and it was a planned leg workout that night. As soon as I got home, I passed out on the couch for an hour and then I dragged myself to the floor to do some leg work without weights. Just when your body is trying to balance upon the unsteady terrain, your legs (all the way from your feet to your glutes and even core) recruit all the muscles they can to maintain that stability. Your glutes help you power up the steep hills and rocks, your quads help slow your descent downhill, your calves help to delicately step up a pile of boulders, and your hamstrings keep you going. It is a fully functional total leg workout. And the legs almost never get a break the whole time!

photo 1 (4)Even with just the slight amount of benefits I’ve already told you, why aren’t you lacing up your hiking boots already! Take a day off from the gym, or even combine the two, and go for a hike! My traps even feel sore afterwards too. If the workout benefits haven’t convinced you, then maybe the rest of these pictures will! Go hiking to stay hungry and fit!

photo 4 (1)

photo 3 (2)

photo 2 (3)

photo 2 (2)

You may also like…

5 Ways to Firm Up Your Glutes

No matter what gender we are, we all want to have nice glutes. And besides aesthetics, the stronger our glutes are, the more powerful we are. Think of when you feel your glutes: walking up the stairs, the beginning part of sprinting, and standing up from kneeling or squatting. Improve your gluteal muscles and you will get up the stairs faster, be able to run and sprint faster, and spring up from the ground like a ten-year old. These are 5 simple exercises that can be performed anywhere!

1. Doggies. You’ve heard me talk about these beforeand I will again because it’s such a great exercise for the glutes! And the more you do without stopping, the better workout it is for those muscles. Go on your hands and knees, kick your leg back and then rotate it around to starting position, keeping the leg in line with your hips. Keep going until you can’t and then go right away to the other side.

2. Hip bridges. This can be done with or without a stability ball. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, knees bent. Now, lift up, bringing your hips and glutes up. If you want a deeper exercise, you can go up on your toes to get higher. Come down, but don’t touch the floor. Continue up and down, squeezing the glutes at the top until failure. If you want to use a stability ball, simply put your calves on top of it and do the same motion.

3. Box jumps. For this, you can use an athletic box, stepper, a chair, a couch–anything that is raised and stable. Focusing on using your glutes, spring up with both feet and jump onto the top of the box. Try to synchronize so both feet hit at the same time. This is also a cardio workout if you do it repeatedly. Slightly squat down so you can get power, and jump up!

4. Step ups with leg extension. This is different from regular step-ups. Have something similar to what you had for box jumps–a box, a stepper, a chair, a couch, whatever you can find. Now step up with one leg, and extend the other as high as you can behind you which clenches the glutes. Now do the same on the other side. Do this until your glutes and hips cramp up so you can’t do another (aka until failure!).

5. Bobbing squat. You will really feel the burn with this one. Get into a squatting position and hold. Now bob your hips and glutes up and down in little motions. Go for as long as you can until the burn is just too much. Don’t forget to time yourself and try to beat your own record!

So if you’re looking to have buns of steel for the summer time, or better, for your lifetime, make these few exercises a part of your routine. They’re easy to remember and simple to do (though they burn if you do it right!), giving you no excuses not to have the glutes of your dreams! Click here if you’re looking for an over-all non-machine leg workout! Use these exercises to stay…hungry and fit! 

BONUS KITTY PIC

Nymeria found a nice little spot

Nymeria found a nice little spot

Running with Thunder

First of all, that sounds like an awesome Native American name. Second of all, let me start off with saying that, I am not a runner. I am not good at running, but I am learning to be better. Most people think, since I’m a personal trainer, that I am good at and/or enjoy every form of exercise. Wrong. But right now, we are gearing up to do an obstacle race (i.e. Warrior Dash) training class so I need to get my endurance up. Okay, back to why I’m writing this.

I’ve been running two miles lately, never going past it. I’ve been able to manage it semi-alright lately. And I’ve been trying to do it at a park, McIntosh Park, close to work. With the mindset of doing another 2 miles yesterday, with the possibility of going a little further, the clouds rolled in. I didn’t really think it was going to rain, but as I hit the pavement/trail, drops began to fall. Thunderheads were in the distance and, soon enough, they began rumbling. Rain starting falling heavier and lightning flashed–actually saw the bolts!

photo 1 (7)

McIntosh Lake

McIntosh Lake

By the two mile run, I still had enough energy. I had my headphones in, but no music playing (didn’t feel like holding them) so I could hear the rain and thunder. Somehow, I think it energized me because I was enjoying it. Though my feet were getting tired, I plugged on. I was slightly wary of getting struck by lightning during the no-trees part, but I figured that would make a good story, too.

photo 3 (3)

I ended up running the full trail–3.6 miles! I was absolutely shocked and extremely proud of myself for going the whole way without stopping–at a decent pace too! Took me 32 minutes for the thing.

3.6 mi run

Moral of the story: Don’t fear the rain 

Real moral of the story: Don’t ever limit yourself, you never know what you can achieve

BONUS KITTY PIC

Sleepy

Sleepy

Home Workout Thursday: Push Muscle Group

Sometimes we neither have the time nor drive to get ourselves to the gym. That’s when you do a home workout. No matter what, you can always get a workout in! This workout will focus on our push muscle group: shoulders, chest, and triceps. For best results, do 3 sets. But hey, one is better than nothing! So if that’s all you have time for, that’s fine. Cardio exercises are 1 minute each. Strength exercises are until failure. NO REST IN BETWEEN EXERCISES.

  • Equipment Needed:  Dumbbells, a floor (…)

Ready, set, go!

  • Jumping jacks – 1 minute
  • Chest press – Until failure

  • Triceps extension – Until failure

  • Mountain climbers – 1 minute

  • Arnold press – Until failure

  • Side triceps extension – Until failure

  • Boxing (with weight) – 1 minute
  • Pec flies – Until failure

Again–NO REST IN BETWEEN EXERCISES. You can, however, rest after each set. Let’s shoot for 3 sets. Use the heaviest dumbbells you can manage, really get your muscles tired and worked out. Let us know if you have any questions in the comment section below! You can always get a workout in, even if you don’t have a gym! And remember…stay hungry and fit! 

MMA Circuit Training: New Workout!

Hey everyone, so this might be a first on the blog site. I am going to provide you with one of my personal workouts for you perform. This one can be adjusted to fit your current level of conditioning. It also has a great progress tracking system. It’s essentially a full body workout that is meant to get your heart rate way up into the cardio-building and even fat burning range. If you haven’t subscribed to our YouTube channel make sure you do. As I am getting in better shape, I will be posting free workout videos! It’s like I’m personally training you, but it’s not quite personal… and it’s FREE!

You perform five exercises. Each for a set number of reps. You do not rest between exercises. Rest 30 seconds after each round. Then repeat until you are exhausted and cannot complete a round. That is when you stop. This one can be done at home or in the gym or a park. It requires no equipment but some can be used to make it more challenging. It’s very simple but very effective. Here it is:

1. Roundhouse kicks – 20 total
2. Split jumps – 10 total
3. Mountain climbers – 15 total
4. Elbow strikes – 20 total
5. Burpees – 10 total

I recently did this one at the end of a very long muscle workout and stopped only in Round 4 so I’ll be taking a rematch very soon! I haven’t done cardio in a VERY long time so once I start it up again I’ll have better luck.

Feel free to add some wrist weights, ankle weights, a weight vest, or use a standing or hanging bag in order to challenge yourself further. Use ALL OF THEM if you are a beast and want to stay hungry and fit!

High Intensity Training [Or: For Cardio Haters]: Treadmill Interval Training

Odd title, perhaps. I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a cardio hater, but I certainly do not usually enjoy running. Sprinting, sure, but sustained running, no. I’m not sure what it is, whether it bores me, I have poor endurance, or I don’t run properly (definitely a combination of the three). So if you’re like me, or if you just want a new great fat-blasting workout, listen up.

56/365 morning run

56/365 morning run (Photo credit: kharied)

Instead of trying to improve my mile time or extend the amount of mileage in a go, lately I’ve been doing interval training instead. This is perfect for someone like me who is eager for a tough intense workout, but isn’t a huge fan of running for cardio. Using a treadmill for this makes everything a lot easier because you can easily control your speed and monitor it as well.

Treadmill Desk

Treadmill Desk (Photo credit: {platinum})

So go ahead–don’t be scared–jump on that treadmill and get ready for this workout:

25 minutes total

  • Start with a 5 minute walking warm up, but make it brisk–3 or 3.5 mph
  • Now we begin our interval training. Bump up the speed to 5 mph, a light jog
  • After 1 minute, change the speed to 8 mph or something akin to your speed of a sprint
  • Sprint for 1 minute at this pace then slow it down back to 5 mph (or slower if you’re really struggling–but never below 3 mph)
  • Go off and on like this (switching every minute) until your treadmill reads 25 minutes

This interval training is excellent for burning fat. And more importantly–for me–I don’t get bored, because I’m constantly switching speeds and pushing myself hard. It may seem like a long time for such intensity, but it goes by quickly and you will know the hard work you’ve done after. Your body will ache for nutrients.

English: Workout room.

Workout room. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Say you can’t bump it up that high? Or perhaps 25 minutes is just too long for you. Be reasonable, listen to your body, if you need to modify it, do so. For beginners, or people who just want to start smart, extend the rest time (the slow jog or fast walk in between the sprints) to 2-4 minutes instead of just 1. This may be the time you need to help you get all the way to 25 minutes.

And for those who just don’t have the time, simply cut it down farther. But make sure you maintain that speed and don’t cheat. You only cheat yourself. Let us know if you have any questions. As always…stay hungry and fit!

15 Minute High-Intensity Workout — No Excuses

I don’t care how busy you are. You have 15 minutes. You do. Don’t lie to yourself. So if you don’t have time for your own full workout, try this one. Only 15 minutes. Extremely simple. All you need is a timer. You could use your phone if it has one too. You can get some of your family to do it with you–it will make it more fun (and entertaining) this way. Most everyone can do it, unless you have a significant injury. Just try it! It gets you working, your heart rate up, hopefully sweating, and your core/legs strong. So here it is…

  • 1 minute mountain climbers

  • 1 minute russian twists

  • 1 minute lunges

x5

Meaning, you perform 1 minute of mountain climbers, 1 minute of russian twists, then 1 minute of lunges. And REPEAT FIVE TIMES. Take as little rest as possible. If you do so, you will have completed a very efficient, high-intensity, muscle-burning workout.

With the mountain climbers, I want you to go as quickly as possible. Keeping the pace up is one thing, but you also need to try to get those feet as close to the hands as possible to complete a good exercise.

With the russian twists, make sure you are doing complete rotations. This means that it’s not just your hands moving side to side, but also your shoulders. You’re doing a complete twist from either side. Once you’ve mastered that rotation, try to get a solid speed going.

With the lunges, if you have enough room you can do moving lunges. Otherwise, place your hands on your hips, lunge forward with the right, bring it back to center, then lunge forward with the left. This way, you stay in the same spot, but still get the full extension of the exercise.

Good luck, work hard, and sweat often! 

How to Keep in Shape with an Injured Lower Body

You don’t have to be an athlete to know how much lower body injuries (ie: knees, ankles, feet, etc.) are a pain in the tush. Perhaps you’re not even into fitness, but somehow you’ve sustained an injury. And you think, uh oh–how can I stay in shape if I can’t use my lower half? Now I’m not suggesting you’re paralyzed or anything, but if you have a torn meniscus, you better not be doing any running or leg work. Chris and I have had our fair share of lower body injuries, torn meniscus, bruised gliding plates, sprained ankles, the list goes on. However, fitness-buffs and athletes that we are caused us to search around and get creative in order to stay in shape and not melt into a puddle of jelly.

You may not think you can get a cardio workout just with your arms, but you can. Some of my friends may remember during my injury, me puffing red in the face with jelly arms after one of these specific workouts excluding the lower body. So let me share some tips.

1. Arm cycle. Look around in your gym. You see that older-looking machine that nobody ever seems to use? The one with nowhere to put your feet, but pedal-looking things for your hands. Go and sit on it. It’s an arm cycle. And it’s a hell of a workout and a great upper-body strengthener and toner. Start at 30 minutes. Set it to whatever level desired. Then each day you use it, turn it up 2 minutes until eventually you reach 60 minutes. It’s tough and sometimes hard to keep going, but it is a machine that will keep you in shape.

3. Seated boxing workouts. Now when I injured my knee, I was out for a long time–very frustrating. And while doing the arm cycle was keeping my cardio in shape and also my muscles in shape, I wanted variety. Chris offered this seated boxing workout and it kicked my butt, but made me very strong. This is for ones wanting variety or those without an arm cycle. Try this one out:

  • Sit down on a chair, back straight, shoulders back. Have two dumbbells in your hands, could range from 3 to 10 pounds. I would definitely start with 3 pounds or 5 pounds. You may think, oh I can lift way more than that, but just wait for what you will be doing. 
  • Start shadow boxing for 1 minute using the dumbells
  • After 1 minute is up, pick up the dumbbells (or you can get heavier) to do curls for 1 minute. 
  • Done with the curls? Back to 1 minute shadow boxing with dumbbells
  • After that minute, put down your dumbbells and get yourself on the floor for 1 minute of push-ups.
  • Rest for 1 minute
  • Do the same last 4 exercises again–that’s one set
  • Do 3 sets of this.

It may look like nothing. But go ahead and try it, it is an excellent workout. Be sure to have water nearby when you do so. Stay hydrated during your rest periods. It is a high intensity workout that takes no longer than 25 minutes, typically.

Otherwise, you can do your typical upper body strength workouts (chest, triceps, back, biceps, shoulders, core dependingseated. This way, there is no pressure on your lower body and you can get your muscles in shape.

Good luck and let us know if you have any questions! And don’t forget to focus on healing too!