Wednesday, 28 December 2011

A Christmas Gift

Hey everyone,

We managed to do four bodyweight workouts while in Winnipeg.  Our third workout there was density training, using similar bodyweight exercises as in the last blog post.  The fourth workout was eight bodyweight exercises, performed once each, for maximum reps.  Even without equipment or much time, we continued to workout, offsetting some of that dreaded holiday weight gain!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas holidays - bodyweight workouts

Hey everyone,

We are in Winnipeg for the holidays, to celebrate Christmas with Tannys' family.  It can be tricky to stick to your fitness routine while travelling and even more-so over the holidays, where there are constant temptations and distractions.  However, this is a critical time of year to maintain your fitness, which can help offset some of the (unavoidable) extra eating!

Aaaack!  Holiday weight gain!!!  Fight back with exercise!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Awesome new workout: 5 to 10 to 15!

Hey everyone,

It's tough to be original in the fitness world!  There are a ton of great ideas out there and people seem to have already tried/invented everything.  However, we did come up with a new fitness routine, which we tested out today.  It was a blast!  It's based on starting out with a strength exercise, then moving onward into a strength/conditioning, then finally a conditioning phase.  As with many of our routines, it is circuit-based.

Let's up the intensity...

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Back at it - a hardcore 4X4 workout!

Hey everyone,

Today, Tannys and I did another 'quatro'-circuit workout, with four circuits of four different exercises (i.e. 16 sets total).  We really gave this one 100%.  Once we had finished and got over that "I'm going to die" feeling, we felt awesome - really satisfied with how challenging it was and how we performed throughout it.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

I'm back in the game!

Hey everyone,

Today was an awesome day.  After a week of not working out, I (Alex) finally felt sufficiently healthy to do a workout!  I had planned the workout several days in advance, eagerly anticipating the moment...

Working out when injured or sick...

Hey everyone,

As Tannys mentioned in some earlier posts, I was sick this week.  Unfortunately, this impacted my training and I did not work out all week...

Friday, 16 December 2011

Morning Tabata

Hey everybody,

This morning I got up at 5:30 to complete another workout. We haven't been as diligent this week with Alex being sick, so I thought I would take this opportunity to challenge myself with an early-morning Tabata. Although it was tough to roll out of bed at 5:30 (especially while Alex kept sleeping!), knowing it was Friday, and I could sleep in the next day, made it easier.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Bodyweight Tabata Workout

Hey everyone,

Alex hasn't been feeling too well the past few days, so I decided to try a bodyweight workout on my own.  I chose to do this Tabata-style to get some cardiovascular benefit and kept my rest periods between exercises down to one minute.  I was thus able to complete my workout in 30 minutes.  At first, I didn't find the one minute rest too bad, however I struggled to recover between exercises once I hit the burpees. 

Monday, 12 December 2011

Can I exercise if I’m pregnant?

Many women believe that during pregnancy, they should stop their exercise routine or even restrict their normal day-to-day activities.  While this may be the case for a small portion of women, most can remain active and fit throughout their pregnancy. 

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Workouts - Density-Training Videos and New Workout Ideas

Hey everyone,

We decided to continue our trend of pulling and pushing full-body workouts, to allow for back-to-back workouts.  We have also continued to experiment with metabolic finishers at the end of some workouts, including one of our favourite tools - battleropes!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Pulling and Pushing Circuits

Hey everyone,

We've decided to change things up again a bit this week and try to do some back-to-back workouts.  Since we're still doing full body workouts, we've split today's and tomorrow's workouts into "pulling" and "pushing" exercises.  We felt that this would allow us to target specific muscle groups each day, including both upper and lower body muscles. 

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Workouts - Countdown plus battleropes!

Hey everyone,

For our Saturday workout, we did another 300 countdown workout.  However, this time we changed the exercises and included a bonus 5 minute metabolic finisher - battleropes!

Alex doing Bulgarian split squats (using a 32kg kettlebell)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Is it safe to exercise during my fertility treatments?

One common question that women ask about is the safety of exercise during fertility treatments.  The answer to this question depends on the type of fertility treatment you are undergoing, potential complications, as well as your general health and exercise history. 

Workouts - 300 Countdown

Hey everyone,

On Thursday, Tannys and I were looking for a different type of workout, to give us some extra challenge and excitement.  With those goals in mind, we decided to do a 300 countdown workout!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Tutorial - Lunges

Here is a brief tutorial on how to perform a lunge:

The lunge is a great exercise that works your quadriceps, glutes, as well as your balance and core strength.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Workouts - More mini-circuits, with 2 new exercises!

Hey everyone,

On Tuesday, Tannys and I decided to do another circuit-based workout.  We chose six exercises and divided them into two mini-circuits.  Coincidentally, it worked out that the first contained three leg-focused exercises, with three upper body exercises in the second mini-circuit.  Here's what we did:

1. Front squats (Tannys - 95lbs, Alex - 225lbs)
2. One-leg hip bridges
3. Overhead kettlebell stair carry

1. Wide-grip pullups (Tannys - band-assisted, Alex - 24kg)
2. Dips (Tannys - bodyweight, Alex - 24kg)
3. Seated kettlebell rows (Tannys - 12kg, Alex - 32kg)

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Tutorial - Turkish Get Up (TGU)

Here is a brief tutorial on how to perform a turkish get-up (TGU):

A TGU is a great full body exercise that focuses on coordination, flexibility and core strength.

Start the exercise by lying flat on the ground with a kettlebell just above your right shoulder, your right knee bent, with your right foot flat on the ground, and your left leg extended.  Grasp the kettlebell handle in your right hand and press it up towards the ceiling.  Using your core, sit up straight keeping your arm vertical and the kettlebell up in the air. Place your weight on your left arm and lift up your hips to swing your left leg underneath you and place your left knee on the ground.  Straighten at the waist, still holding the kettlebell towards the ceiling.  Stand up straight to complete the first portion of the exercise.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Tutorial - Kettlebell Swings

Here is a brief tutorial on how to perform kettlebell swings.  To note, there are different variations of the kettlebell swing, including overhead swings, one-hand swings, alternating swings, etc.  This tutorial will focus on the basic two-handed version, which provides a good foundation before you branch out into the other varieties.

To start this movement, stand with your feet roughly shoulder width apart, holding a kettlebell with both hands (arms extended).  Bend your knees to start the movement and swing the kettlebell back, between your legs, to begin to build some momentum.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Workouts - Mini Circuits

Hey everyone,

This morning we did a workout using mini circuits.  For this workout, we picked six exercises, but then separated them into two mini circuits (of three exercises each).  We took a brief rest between each mini circuit, and even some short rests between exercises.  This style of workout took longer than our recent timed workouts (i.e. density, tabata, etc.), but it was nice to use heavier weights and have those longer rest periods which allows you to recover more of your strength between exercises.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Tutorial - Kettlebell Snatch

Here is a brief tutorial on how to perform a kettlebell snatch:

Stand up straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding the kettlebell in one hand between your legs.  Bend at the knees and waist and swing the kettlebell back between your legs to gain some momentum.  Then, keeping your core tight and arm straight, swing the kettlebell up above your head in an arc.  As the kettlebell passes 90 degrees, punch your wrist forward to swing the kettlebell around and prevent it from banging your wrist at the top of the exercise. Finish the exercise by standing with your arm stretched straight up holding the kettlebell. Reverse the sequence to complete the exercise.

Picture Sequence

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Workouts - Fight Gone Bad (FGB), Champion's Version

Hi everyone,

When Tannys and I had to fit in a quick workout before heading out for the evening, we turned to an old-favourite that we learned from Crossfit.  A Fight Gone Bad (FGB) workout is a very intense circuit of five exercises, performed for one minute each, with no rest in between.  There is one minute rest in between each circuit (i.e. after five minutes of work). 

The FGB style mimics the pace and rhythm of a UFC mixed martial arts fight, where fighters will go through five minute rounds with only one minute rest in between.

This is likely how a real UFC fight gone bad experience feels... Our FGB workout was slightly less painful.

Tutorial - Alternating Kettlebell Deadlifts

Here is a brief tutorial on how to perform alternating kettlebell deadlifts: 

With your feet shoulder-width apart and a kettlebell in between them, begin the move by bending at the knees and hips (while keeping your back flat and core tight), grasp the kettlebell with one hand, and then stand up straight. 

At that point, reverse the move to set the kettlebell back down before standing up straight (after having released the kettlebell).  Then, repeat, switching to use your other arm.

Picture Sequence

Monday, 21 November 2011

Morning workouts!

Hey everyone,

Over the past week, we have done some morning workouts, as well as our usual after-work sessions. Although it's tough to get up early, once you get through the workout, you feel truly energized and ready for your day!  This is a great option to keep in mind if you are unable to fit in a workout during the evening. We recommend that you use a timed workout style (e.g. tabata or density training) if you are in a rush and also start with a fairly easy exercise that doesn't require a lot of concentration or coordination until your body is fully awake.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Density Training + TGU Tutorial

Hi everyone,

Today, Alex and I decided to revisit a previous workout style that we were frequently doing last spring, before our wedding, with good results. This style of workout is called density training and involves 5 minute blocks of exercise, followed by two minutes of rest. During the 5 minute work period, 2 exercises are alternated, doing a moderate number of reps so as to continue through the full 5 minutes with minimal to no rest. Whenever we fatigue and can't continue with the exercises, we will keep moving, applying active recovery (e.g. running stairs).  This is preferable to simply resting during the 5 minute blocks of exercise.

Here is the workout that we completed:

1. Racked kettlebell squats (24kg for Alex, 16kg for Tannys)
2. Alternating kettlebell dead lifts (40kg for Alex, 20kg for Tannys)

3. Pull-ups (bodyweight for Alex, band-assisted for Tannys)
4. Bench press/kettlebell press (245lbs for Alex, 12kg kettlebell for Tannys)

5. Overhead lunges (24kg for Alex, 12kg for Tannys)
6. Hip bridges

7. Kettle bell snatches (16kg for Alex, 12kg for Tannys)
8. Bench step-ups (24kg in racked position for Alex, 12kg + 8kg held by side for Tannys)

9. Turkish get-ups (TGUs) (20kg for Alex, 8kg for Tannys)
10. Reverse push-ups (AKA inverted rows)

Monday, 14 November 2011

Workouts - Fast, Slow, Fast!

Hey everyone,

Yesterday, we decided to try a different style of workout.  Thus, we created a fast, slow, fast workout!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

300 Countdown Workout

Hi everyone,

When I arrived home from work on Friday night, I was inspired to do a workout after reading Alex's post from earlier that day. Having spent the entire day working, I didn't have the energy to do a Clydesdale workout, so I formulated the 300 Countdown workout. For this workout I chose 5 exercises, each focusing on a different body part. I planned to do 100, 80, 60, 40 and 20 reps of the chosen exercises. The goal is to do each exercise with as few sets as possible.  You can either focus on finishing one exercise at a time, or switch between them (which may allow for shorter rest periods).  Here is the 300 Countdown workout that I did:

1. 100 Kettlebell overhead swings (16 kg)
2. 80 Push-ups
3. 60 Squats with racked kettlebell (16 kg)
4. 40 Kettlebell Snatches (12 kg)
5. 20 Pull-ups

Overhead Swings

Friday, 11 November 2011

Workouts - Clydesdale Training

Hey everyone,

This morning, my good friend Mark and I worked out together.  The focus of the workout was conditioning, yet it was truly a full body workout and a surprisingly challenging one at that.  In the spirit of some of the exercises and the intensity that went into it, we named it 'Clydesdale' training.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Workout by the Sea, Tabata-Style!

Hey everyone,

After reading Alex's post from yesterday, I was inspired to do a body weight workout today.  As I didn't need any equipment, I did my workout in my hotel room overlooking the sea.  We have found that most hotel rooms are very adaptable to doing a workout, which is especially important if your hotel does not have a fitness room. Alex and I used this method a few months ago while in France to keep in shape and work off some of the delicious French food! You can incorporate the bed, desk, etc. in your exercises to give you plenty of options.

Today I chose to do my workout Tabata-style.  I included 6 exercises, focusing on both strength and balance moves.  I performed each exercise for 4 minutes (20 seconds work, then 10 seconds rest), followed by a 2 minute rest to complete the entire workout in 36 minutes.  Here is what I did:

  1. Jumping lunges with alternating kick (right lunge, left lunge, right leg kick, left lunge, right lunge, left leg kick, etc.)
  2. Push-ups
  3. Mountain climbers
  4. Single leg deadlift, touching floor with opposite hand
  5. Close-grip push-ups
  6. Sleeping crabs (lie flat, lift body up on left arm and right leg while touching left leg with right hand, then switch)  
                                           Mountain Climbers

A New Personal Record - 100 Pushups!

Hey everyone,

Yesterday, after getting home from work, I wasn't feeling overly motivated to workout - a feeling that we've all battled against.  Fortunately, I had planned my workout the night before and written it in our fitness log, which made it impossible to rationalize taking the day off!  I had planned another full-body triplets workout (see previous posts for description of these mini-circuits).

As I went to the basement to begin, I began doubting the workout I had put together:

  1. Pushups
  2. Weighted parallel chinups (24kg)
  3. Reverse pushups

  1. Rack-pull deadlifts (275lbs)
  2. Weighted jumping lunges (24kg kettlebell)
  3. Kettlebell step-ups (onto a bench - using 24kg kettlebell in a racked position)

Monday, 7 November 2011

Greetings from Greece!

Hey everyone,

I arrived in Greece yesterday for another medical conference.  I will only be here for a very short stay and am returning home again on Wednesday!  So far I have been having a great time.  The weather was beautiful yesterday when I arrived.  I'm staying in a hotel right on the Aegean Sea with a beautiful sea view:

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Workouts - Triplets and International Travel

On Saturday morning, before Tannys left for Greece, we did another full body workout. 

Tannys doing one-arm rows:

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Our first full-body workout!

Hey everyone,

We took a few days off at the start of the week to help us recover from our colds.  Incredibly, we are still sick, but have fortunately begun to finally feel a bit better.  After three days off, we were very eager to get back into our fitness routine.  We were especially excited because today was our first full-body workout in our two-month trial.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The day before Halloween!

Hey everyone,

Well, it's the day before Halloween, which is always a time with plenty of 'less-than nutritious' temptations - thus it was a perfect day for a workout to mitigate any treats we consume!  There are many different opinions and perspectives out there on nutrition.  Ours, in short, is to eat healthy the majority of the time, yet also enjoy life!  A life of deprivation and constantly avoiding things is not a lot of fun (nor would it be easy or overly sustainable).  Although working out doesn't give you a license to eat whatever you want, it certainly does help counteract the occasional treat.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Workouts - A Saturday Circuit

Hey everyone,

Well, we survived to the weekend, but unfortunately we're both still sick.  Nonetheless, we decided to muster up the energy for a workout.  Today we chose to do a circuit, focused on arms, shoulders, and abs (or ASA as we sometimes call it).  These muscle groups are smaller, so this workout is generally less taxing, which was perfect given our colds.

For today's ASA workout, we did a six-exercise circuit, repeating it 3 times.  We timed each circuit, as well as a two-minute rest in between each circuit.  Our pace was fast, with minimal rest between sets.  This pace and intensity left us gasping for breath, but also allowed us to complete the entire workout in about 18 minutes of actual effort (not counting rest periods).

Here's what we did:
  1. Hand-stand pushups
  2. Dips
  3. Underhand-grip chinups
  4. Kettlebell clean & press
  5. Grasshoppers
  6. Walkout to an extended plank hold (for 10 seconds per hold, repeated 3 times)

Persevering and adapting

Hey everyone,

On Wednesday, Tannys and I were both suffering from a cold, but wanted to do a workout.  We always feel guilty when we don't workout, although we try to give ourselves more rest days when sick (e.g. avoiding back-to-back workout days).  We also pay close attention to our bodies when we design the workout and also during it to calibrate our intensity and pace.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Workouts - Strength-based leg workout & battleropes!

Hey everyone,

As Tannys wrote earlier, we are both feeling a bit under the weather (admittedly, her more than me).  Perhaps it was the travelling, with exposure to more people, altered routines and diets, etc.?  In any case, I wanted to do a workout this evening but didn't want to put my body under too much stress and risk developing a full-blown cold.

Workouts - Back to the Grind - sort of...

Hey everybody,

Well we've made it back from a great relaxing week in Orlando and are settling back into our usual routine.  Despite the fact that I was suffering from an ongoing cold, we did manage to fit in a couple more workouts which hopefully helped to offset the less healthy eating!  On Thursday we moved to the Waldorf Astoria, which was closer to the Disney resorts.  This hotel had a pretty good fitness room with your usual cardio equipment and weight machines.  They also had a decent assortment of free weights.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Another day, another workout

Hey everyone,

While Tannys was off at her conference, I decided to do another workout to pass the time.  Actually, that's not the only reason I did it.  Whenever we're travelling, we have noticed that the food, although delicious, is never very healthy (e.g. last night, for the first time ever, I tried a fried pickle, which unexpectedly showed up as a side dish at dinner!).  It's tough to eat all of your meals at restaurants.  Even when you try to make healthy choices, you have less control than when making things at home and those extra calories add up.  There are temptations around every corner!  Thus, holiday/vacation workouts are somewhat of a defensive system against gaining weight and losing ground in our fitness.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Mojito as a training aid?

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to share a few thoughts and anecdotes about the periods leading up to and following our 5km charity run (which Tannys just blogged about).  Our unconventional (i.e. innovative) pre-run strategy in the night before:

Pitcher of cherry-flavour mojito

5K Run for Reproductive Health in Orlando

Hi everyone,

We've been in Orlando for 3 days now and are having a great time!  This morning we awoke before the sun came up to participate in the 5K Run for Reproductive Health at the conference I am attending. Over 250 attendees had registered and the air was buzzing with excitement when we arrived.  Given our very minimal training for this run, we were a bit intimidated to see the fit people we were running with!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Workouts - Time crunched? How about some density training!

Hey everyone,

In a rush on Thursday night, between getting home from work and going to see a good friend on her birthday, we were looking for a quick workout.  What could we do in approximately half-an-hour; something that would be intense and effective?  A density workout!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A tough run - and 3 epiphanies

Hey everyone,

Today we did a 5km training run, to continue our (minimal) preparation for the charity race in Orlando next week.  Right at the start, Tannys had some pain (a strained intercostal muscle?).  We adjusted our pace to accommodate the injury, but persevered to complete the run.  Reflecting on it afterwards, here are three key observations that we made:

Monday, 10 October 2011

Workouts - Strength + Circuit

Hi everyone!

We were very excited that it was finally Thanksgiving - a long weekend!  On the Friday night, after work, we took the time for a longer leg workout.  We started off with a strength component of three exercises, with four sets of each (plus warmups).  Then, we finished with two circuits of three exercises, with a brief rest in between those circuits.  This latter part was more for metabolic conditioning and as a finishing component (i.e. we used lighter weights and had virtually no rest in between the sets in the circuit).  Here's the workout:

  1. Deadlifts (rack-pull version)
  2. Front squats
  3. (Front) barbell step-back lunges (i.e. holding the barbell in front, as in the front squat)
  1. Alternating kettlebell deadlifts
  2. Kettlebell swings
  3. Kettlebell bulgarian split squats

GCWCC 5km Charity Run!

On Thursday, October 6th, I (Alex) participated in the Government of Canada's 5km charity run for the United Way.  With only a couple of training runs for preparation, I set out with two colleagues.  We set a goal-time of 25 minutes, which was a challenging pace for us (based on our one previous group run).