Monthly Archives: January 2012

Working around injury part 1


I managed to get a nice cut on my hand at my part time gig. No stitches required, but due to location, it’s caused some issues with my scheduled workout progressions. Injury and illness are part of life. It’s critical to know when to ease up and when to push through.

In this case pushing results is reopening the cut and extending the healing time. Sure I can do 1 armed workouts, but why? It’s easier and safer to give the hand a few extra days to heal and make sure I stay active.I don’t need to pick up an odd infection at the gym. I shifted my resistance workouts to minimize lifting and ejected to do some additional cardio this week.

When you are faced with illness or injury how do you chose to deal with your workouts? Comment below.

Wildcard Weekend- Year of the Dragon 2012 edition

Monday the 23rd kicks off the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese lunar calender.  My first thought for Wildcard Weekend was the legendary “Dragon Flag” abdominal exercise . But after review, I figured that I might give you something slightly less scary.


This weekend-


Jumping jacks 20 reps

Squat thrusts (Burpees) 5 reps

Side crunches 15 rep each side

Side leg lifts 10 each side

Fire hydrants 8 each side

Star jumps 5

Beginners do 3 circuits, intermediate folks go for 4, and advanced folks go for 5.

That first training session, no pain no gain?

Courtesy of the awesome Dave Kellett

There’s this tendency to think that no pain, no gain means you need to kill yourself on the first workout. Not so. Killing yourself on the first workout is a good way to ensure that you don’t try for a second. You don’t need to vomit on your first workout. You don’t need to pass out. You don’t need to hobble out of the gym.

That first workout with a trainer may seem short. The goal isn’t to break you. The goal is to orient you to basic movements and assess where you are. The last thing your trainer wants to do is scare you into not coming back. Don’t worry if the first couple of workouts don’t seem hard enough. Your trainer is building you up gradually to reduce the possibility of injury and general terror. The hard work will come. It just doesn’t always need to show up day one.

There’s never a good time for the vacuum to die

onstantly on folks about the importance of doing the important things in the day first. In the case of losing weight, this means you workout needs doing ASAP. Why? Because life happens.

Case in point. Today I got up and discovered that one of the cats had decided to explode the kibble dish all over the living room. In the interests of my sanity, I elected to vacuum up the kibble before I did anything else. I hauled out the battered vacuum cleaner, turned it on, and promptly heard the sound of the motor burning out accompanied by the smell of burning rubber bits. So I’ve got a dead vacuum cleaner, cleaning powder all over the floor, and kibble scattered from here to Timbuktu. In short, I’ve got a mess to deal with at a very inconvenient time.

Now honestly, when is it a good time for the vacuum to die? It always happens while you are needing to clean something. The same thing happens with your workouts. Without fail, something happens during the day that interrupts your schedule. The boss needs a report from you. A deadline is looming and you’ve lost a half a day’s work due to circumstances beyond your control. The kid walked out the door without her coat and it’s going to drop down to 30 degrees by the time school is out. Life happens. The question is, what do you do?

The key is to keep moving. Curse the vacuum and horrible timing. Do not waste 10 hours researching cheap vacuum options. Identify the closest place which sells vacuums and go. Purchase what you need. Not what’s perfect, what you need. Then go home and finish vacuuming the blasted carpet.

It took an hour out of my day to cuss, pull on jeans, and head to Walmart for a new vacuum cleaner. Is it the best possible cleaner? Nope. It’s going to get the job done. Have I possibly wasted a little money? Maybe. I’ll probably replace it again down the road. But my time spent on workouts, and my business is a lot more important than the $40 I may save by doing perfect vacuum research for 10 hours.

I fixed the problem, and moved right on to the next priority event on my list for the day. Once I finish up this, it’s time to get in my delayed workout. Doing that puts me back on track for the day. It has the added bonus of dropping any residual stress.

Life happens, don’t let the unexpected moments detour you from your end goal. Fix the immediate problem, then get right back on schedule. Do not compound the frustration by missing additional tasks. Honor your self promises and get those priority tasks done!

Wildcard Weekend

The idea behind Wildcard Weekend is simple. Most workout programs have either cardio or rest days scheduled for the weekend. Wildcard Weekend gives you a random selection of exercises. Sometime during the weekend, crank out a brief 15-20 minute workout. This is a chance to have some fun. Bring your kids to the park and have some play time. Invite a friend to join you. The key is integrating a fun, potentially challenging break into your day.

This weekend:

Jumping jacks 20

Bodyweight squats (wide stance) 12

Narrow pushups (bring your arms in closer to your body) 6

Wall sits 20 seconds

Reach ups 8

Dips (using a bench or chair) 8

Thirty seconds rest, repeat the circuit 3 times for beginners, 4 times for intermediate, 5 times for advanced.

Remember, this is a body weight workout. So no need to hit the gym. You can do this in your living room. Have fun, and let me know how you do!

Wacky Wednesday

courtesy of Denise Taylor

Building a healthy body and life isn’t just about fixing the outside. It’s about working on the inside as well.

Inspirational speaker Denise Taylor is a living example of this. When her daughter Jonnae Taylor was dealing with treatment for leukemia, Denise battled to keep her body and mind fit. The idea of Wacky Wednesday came from a desire to bring joy to children stuck in the wards of childrens hospitals. These kids battle life threatening diseases. Denise and Jonnae would wear funny hats, wacky glasses, and generally make an effort to bring some silly into a scary, serious world.

Jonnae lost her battle with leukemia, but her spirit carries on through the We Get To program and Wacky Wednesday. 

Life doesn’t always have to be serious and painful. Bring joy to the life of another and learn to not take everything so darned seriously! Laughter is great exercise!


HIIT for beginners: the 30-30

Equipment Needed

  • Running shoes, track (or)
  • Cardio machine where you can adjust levels (stationary bike, ARC Trainer, Eliptical, Treadmill)
  • Timer

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It’s a cardiovascular workout  that uses cycles of high intensity exercise interspersed with intervals of lower intensity recovery. The best way to think of HIIT is look back at when you were a kid. This is where you run a block, walk a bit to catch your breath, then run again.

HIIT cardio came into the mainstream fitness world starting in the mid 90s. Researchers discovered that using intense intervals over short bursts improved  VO2 max (a measure of aerobic capacity), and improves anaerobic performance. What does that mean in layman terms? You improve your endurance and your strength by doing a shorter, faster workout.

My introduction to HIIT came via the now defunct Muscle Media magazine. In an article by Shawn Phillips, he introduced me to the workout that would help change my life. His method was short and simple. Do a short, intense workout of 30 seconds of all out sprint, followed by 30 seconds of lower intensity recovery. Do this for 4 minutes. That’s it, just 4 minutes. Over several weeks, you add a minute of intervals every few days  until you hit 15 minutes.

I didn’t care about that. All I cared about was 4 minutes. At that point in time, walking up the stairs was hard. Looking at the “simple” cardio workouts in various books and magazines. Even 20 minutes seemed too long. But I could do 4 minutes. I built my life around suffering like a dog for 30 seconds. As hard as it was, I unloaded everything I had into those 30 sprint intervals. At the end of 8 weeks, I was at 15 minutes of work, 20 pounds down, and feeling amazing.

I’ve taken the original Shawn Phillips HIIT and modified it. For this workout you will add a 5 minute warm up and cool down to your overall time.

Downloadable 30-30 HIIT Workout Chart