Tag Archives: High-intensity interval training

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I’m just posting this for my own reference. I did this work out last week and it was SO good, as Zuzana Light’s workouts always are, and I didn’t want to lose it. So, if you have 20 minutes, knock this one out and you’ll be sweating like a dog in the end. In fact, I might just go do it again right now.

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Healthy Weekend!

This weekend was such a success! I was traveling, again, this time visiting friends in Brussels, and overall, I’m pleased with my choices. This is one of the few times I’ve come home from a trip and not felt entirely guilty, so I’d call that a small but significant traveling accomplishment.

On the bus ride from Paris to Brussels, I brought a few healthy snacks with me, like a banana (note to self: bananas do not travel well) and some nuts. When we made a quick pitstop, I went to buy some food but of course, as with all gas stations, everything offered was pure filth. Chips, nasty pre-made bacon sandwiches doused in mayonaise, soda, candy… things that people have somehow been allowed to call “food.” (Honestly I don’t know how this stuff looks appetizing to anyone. It’s repulsive. It’s not food! Its like, hey, why don’t we go eat some concrete-flavored sandpaper and dip it in liquid mercury. Yum! Seriously… Unbelievable that processed food-like edible items exists, much less get eaten by billions. Barf.) I found some pre-sliced apples in a package (not ideal, as they have preservatives to keep them fresh… I hear these are often cancer-causing. Eek), but I figured sliced apples was probably my only safe-ish bet, so I ate that, and cringed at everyone on the bus fussing with that packaging that was keeping them from their wholesome, nutritious, life-giving Doritos.

On to the rest of the trip…

One of the friends I was traveling with (who reads this blog and shares many of my same feelings and goals – hello friend!! I see you!) was entirely on the same page as me the whole time, which helped both of us stay on track for the most part, while still allowing ourselves little indulgences along the way. We agreed before the trip to work out in the mornings and to share any heavy meals/treats we might consume, since often times all we really crave is just a bite and not the entire thing (like for example, with Belgian waffles), and we did exactly that. Our first morning we all got a late start so exercise didn’t happen, but at least we walked a lot that day and did not overeat. We shared one Belgian waffle between 3 girls, which was actually perfect (those things are so big and sweet anyway that eating a whole thing makes you feel like dying), we had a small burger for lunch (like, a correctly portioned patty, no bigger than 3 or 4 ounces) which my friend smartly ate without the bun (I ate half of the bun) and for dinner our friend and host made us some pasta with veggies and ground turkey and a little bit of red wine. That night, while out at a bars, we shared a beer and later a mojito (no need to drink the whole thing…), which was perfect. We got the taste, but none of the bad side effects. Not bad for a day of travel, where most of the time I spend too much money and calories on eating out and drinking at restaurants.

Day 2 was started off on the right foot when we set our alarms earlier and went outside to exercise, enjoying the surprisingly sunny weather in the process. We started with a short walk, then a 15 minute run to warm up. When we got to the park, we did a series of running sprint intervals, and after this exhausting set, we buckled down for a short HIIT routine before walking back home. (Our exact workouts are featured at the bottom of this post). After exercising, we bought some pineapple and water and fresh squeezed orange juice and refueled before setting out for the day. Our sightseeing was accompanied by a few healthy snacks (nuts, protein bars, green tea, etc) and of course, a few bites of a Belgian waffle. We shared our beers that afternoon, and all four of us in the group shared a few macaroons, and at dinner time, we allowed ourselves to indulge in our first and only true Belgian meal. I ate a chicken stew with veggies and potatoes and for dessert, a waffle. I’d like to think this was my only real indulgence of the trip, which is slightly amazing and really exciting that I didn’t indulge more than that.

Monday, day 3, was our last day, and I left at around 1pm. In the morning, my friend and I went out for another quick workout (featured below). Before leaving, I ate a panini (not the best choice, but also not the worst) and I took a banana and a raw, all-natural granola bar for the drive back to Paris. Dinner with my host family was, surprisingly, a healthy salad! I was so happy to be eating greens!

As I type all of this, I’m realizing that while its hard to have a perfect weekend, or a perfect trip (with regards to health), it is SO possible to make good choices given your constraints and to not completely blow it in two days. Surely traveling isn’t ideal for staying healthy, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing! This is a big lesson I am just now starting to learn. After my travels through Belgium and Spain a few weeks ago (and my many indulgent moments therein), I’m seeing that it is still possible (though not easy, I admit) to be healthy while exploring the world and having fun with friends.

Another wonderful thing about this weekend was the power of friendship! Having someone who shares your goals and who understands your struggles is such a blessing. Not to mention, having that person be a great travel buddy… it makes all the difference. I know for a fact that I would not have worked out once if it were not for my friend, and its likely I would have eaten a whole waffle (or two, or three), several beers, plenty of fries, etc. But having someone to share the journey with (and to keep you accountable) was what truly made this weekend a success. Thank you, dear friend, for accompanying me on this journey!!

I feel proud and pleased. I had a great time, and food did not consume me nor did it cause me to feel any guilt, and that is something worth celebrating today. I hope all my trips can be as healthy as this one!

***

And now for a recap of our workouts, in case anyone wants to try it out. We came out sweating and sore in every possible way, so give it a shot, if you dare…

Workout 1:

Warm up: jog/run for 15 minutes

Jog (normal pace, resting pace) 1 minute

Sprint (all out, 90-100% effort) 20 seconds

Repeat 12 times

Then, do this circuit:

To warm down, walk or jog for 15 minutes.

 

Workout 2… We did both of these videos:

Then this one

To warm down, walk or jog 15 minutes.

***

Trust me, your ass will thank you after finishing these workouts. I know mine is.

 

Hooray for a healthy, fit weekend!!

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Free Exercising

I wrote in an earlier post about using the internet as my “gym”, since I don’t have money to spend on a gym and I’m not going to be living here long enough to want to spend money on lots of equipment. So, I have my convenient resistance bands that are light and compact (great for traveling) and versatile enough to provide some intense strength training, and I have YouTube, for a plethora of amazing exercise videos to give me inspiration.

This morning I was able to squeeze in a 30-minute HIIT run, and I found myself with an extra 15-20 minutes later in the day, so I took advantage and did another quick workout. I wanted to work my upper body today since 2 days ago I killed my lower body and I know its best to give each muscle group a decent rest after an intense exercise, so I went searching through the internet for good upper body resistance band exercises. I came across this great video below by Stuft Mama which gave me some new tips on how to use my resistance bands in a similar way to using weights or machines.

I then followed this brief work out with another DailyHiit workout:

I only went through this video once because I was running short on time, but even once felt great, considering I had already worked out quite a bit earlier.

Another successful and FREE workout day, with some great meals (so far… lets see how dinner time goes with the family) which were all easy, quick, and super healthy.

Feeling pumped on life! Woo, bring it on, bitches.

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HIIT Running

Today I wanted to go for a run, a steady, easy long run, but my morning got past me and I found myself with only 30 minutes left for running before I had to be back home, so I decided to make the most out of my run by making it a HIIT run, which means High Intensity Interval Training. I adapted my intervals based on a running workout I found a long time ago online somewhere (I wish I could find the link to it!) which looked essentially like this:

5-minute warm up

Repeat the following interval 8 times:

1-minute normal pace (slow to medium jog)

30-second sprint (all out, 90-100%)

After the 8 intervals have been completed and you’re exhausted:

5-minute cool down

 

Simple enough!

Since my sports watch died (battery is dead and I haven’t been able to find a new one here in France), I don’t really have a good way of keeping time while running, so I adapted this general interval running routine to fit with my music. I ran at a normal pace with the timing of the verses of each song and I sprinted through the chorus, or, if the song didn’t lend itself to this pattern, I would use visual markers ahead of me that looked around 50-100 meters away (roughly) and I would sprint all the way to those. By the end, I had finished my 30 minute HIIT training and I had run a distance of around 3.25 miles, so not too shabby for a short workout!

Exercise doesn’t have to take up your whole day if you know how to exercise a little smarter. 45 minutes on the elliptical at the gym (while mindlessly reading a magazine or watching tv) and 15 minutes with pussy weights (5 pounds? Come on, I know you can do more than that) won’t do much if you’re looking for visible results, but half of that time spent doing a short HIIT routine and heavy weight training will go much, much farther. If you don’t know where to start, just search Youtube for HIIT videos and you will find plenty to get you started. There’s no excuse to not exercise!

Get off your ass and move, every day. If you have time to be reading this blog, then you have time to work out. Go.

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Mix-and-Match Workout

Yesterday I didn’t run because I don’t run 2 days in a row (and I ran on Monday), so instead I did a mix of a few exercises in the family room, in front of my computer. Since I don’t have a gym (I’m broke as shit, yo!), my exercising has consisted mostly of running and free videos online. I want to become proof that exercising and getting in killer shape can be free and can be done at home, so stay tuned to see how my progress goes between now and summer, aka bikini season, aka every girls worst nightmare (except the rare few that can’t wait to show the world their abs. #hatethem, #wanttobeoneofthemoneday).

I was introduced to BodyRock.Tv and the sister site, DailyHiit by a friend a few months ago, and I just recently started incorporating these workouts into my routine, and I fucking love them. They push me (as long as I push myself, of course) pretty damn hard and they are efficient and quick, which I like a lot since my schedule doesn’t really allow for a lot of time to spend working out. You go through each circuit a few times (they will tell you how many), so you press play, do a short but intense HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) routine, and when its over, you just hit replay and continue until you’ve finished. You’ll come out dripping sweat and loving yourself for accomplishing such a great work out.

Yesterday, I did this video twice:


And then I did a variation on this Ham & Glutes workout by one of my favorite fitness bloggers, Muffin Topless. Since I don’t have a gym or any weights, I used my adjustable resistance bands that I bought at Target (before moving to France) and used a both medium and heavy bands at the same time to add enough resistance for those large lower-body muscles to really work hard. For the parts of her workout that required a machine, I did whatever variant I could come up with using my bands, and I ended up skipping some exercises altogether because I got lazy and wanted to be done (yes, I admit it). In between each set, I alternated between different cardio or strength exercises, like jumping jacks, high knees, push ups, speed punches, roundhouse kicks, fast feet, burpees, etc and in total, my workout lasted about 50 minutes.

I finished dripping in sweat and I felt amazing. I followed my exercise with my tuna lunch (which I posted about earlier), and a really long, guilty-pleasure shower. Felt great the rest of the day (minus after eating those 3 cookies)! Amazing what exercise can do for your spirit.

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