I Want Pecs

3 Tue, 2011 § 3 Comments

A poster of this hangs in the weight room of our gym.

I sort of want it.

I have wanted to focus on working my chest specifically; & fortunately I have a husband willing to step in as my lifting partner a couple days a week & create really solid workouts for us.  The following are last week’s; if you like feeling worked through your pecs, you’ll enjoy these, especially #2, which was really felt the next day.

#1 Chest_Back (Monday)

Alternate between 1 & 2 each set; as well as 3 & 4 each set — so do 20 DB Press, then 20 Rows, short break, then 20 DB Press, 20 Rows, etc.  Adjust weight according to your own abilities.

  1. DB Press 20 @ 12# x 2, 12 @ 20#, 6 @ 30#
  2. Rows on machine 20 @ bar only x 2, 10 @ 20#, 6 @ 40#
  3. Decline Press 20 @ 35# x 2, 8 @ 55#, 6 @ 65#
  4. Reverse Flies 20 @ 7# each x 2, 8 @ 12#, 6 @ 15#
  5. Incline DB Press 20 @ 10# each, 8 @ 15# each, 6 @ 20# each
  6. Push ups to failure: 21

#2 Chest_Shoulders (Thursday)

  • 3 x super set: Push Ups x 10 @ BW & DB Butterflies x 10 @ 15# each
  • Butterflies (machine) x 8 @ 40#, x 10 @ 40#
  • 3 x super set: Assisted Pull Ups & Dips (40# on machine) 1) x 10 each exercise (rest) then x 8 each (rest) then x 8 each
  • Lying Overhead bars x 10 @ 25# x 2
  • Assisted Windshield Wipers x 8


Are you a woman who likes to work her chest or does it make you nervous?

Turkish Get Ups {Video}

29 Fri, 2011 § 5 Comments

(We’ve been having fun with Dave’s iPhone camera)

Dave recently introduced me to

the Turkish Get Up

with 25# bar

[I also practiced with the 45# bar, which required a bit of grunt — good grunt though.]

I like them!  Core intensive.  Full Body.  Static.

It’s all in form & how you hold your body & use your arm & knee to stabilize as you roll up to sitting, to kneeling, to standing, then reverse the movements.  You could also do these with a kettle bell, but then you lose some of the lateral stabilization the long bar offers.  Keep the bar high & your arm engaged.  *(update) Also, articulate through the spine as you lay back down, really engaging your deep core muscles.  I think about making each vertebrae, especially in my low back, touch the mat as I “roll” back down.

I am just trying to figure out how to work them into workouts.  Any suggestions?

Burpee to Pull Up [Video]

22 Fri, 2011 § 6 Comments

One of my new, favorite moves.

Though the jump gives you some help with the pull up, this is still exhausting.

I like my burpees to be more dynamic than this & have a little more “pop” from the push up into the squat.  I also want to work on jumping from the squat into the pull up more quickly, rather than pausing to establish my footing.  Dave recorded me doing 8 of these after my workout last Sunday, so I am going to blame the lack of “oomph” on fatigue. 😉

Every day we push ourselves we get stronger, right?!

I like to do 3 sets of 10, which is fatiguing.  Even more fatiguing is doing these as intervals like below.

Tuesday Morning HIIT

  • Burpee to Pull Up : 10 sec rest; 30 sec max – 6 rounds = 4 minutes
  • Hamstring Curls on yoga ball: 30 sec; 10 sec “rest” SWITCH TO Ball Pikes: 30 seconds – continue alternating 6 rounds = 3 xs each = 4 minutes
  • Side Lying One-Arm Tricep Press Ups: 20 sec alternating each arm, no rests – 6 rounds = 6 xs each side = 4 minutes
  • Hanging Knee Raises: 20 sec then Mt Climbers: 20 sec (no rests) – 6 rounds = 6 xs each = 4 minutes.

We Enjoy the Silliness

23 Wed, 2011 § 6 Comments

Even with anticipated work stress, you know it’s going to be an ok day when by 8AM you have already cracked up – in a good way.

Dave & I played “Man vs Wild Snow & Traffic” on the bus yesterday.  Actually, Dave played, & I lost it.  I am fairly obsessed with Bear Grylls & “Man vs Wild”.  If you do not know what I am talking about, stop now & go enlighten yourself.  Bear Grills is a bad ass, intelligent – he even usually uses “literally” correctly – & he has an English accent.  😉  Enough said.


It all started because overnight, the snow & ice made the roads in Flagstaff quite “slippy” this morning.  [Bear always says slippy instead of slippery.]  From our seats on the bus, we watched cars slide off the road & instructed each other on “proper technique” for maintaining traction & traversing “slippy” slopes & cautioned how “a good friend, only a few years ago, had lost his footing on a slope much like this & slid all the way to the bottom.  He suffered numerous injuries & barely survived.”  Dave marveled over the “traditions of the locals” & the lengths people are willing to go to attach a pair of sticks to their feet to slide down a hill.  You have to do this all in an English accent or it’s not as funny.  😉  I know; we’re dorks.  I like it this way. I like that we can be silly.  Laughing is the only way to start your day.

Maybe you’re not as amused – though I can’t imagine why not – so here are some workout options I’ve done lately if you’d rather just sweat:

Playground Workout ~ HIIT ~ 4 minutes each exercise = 6 rounds each: 10 seconds rest; 30 seconds max effort

  • Ninja Jump Tucks
  • Chin Ups
  • Surfers
  • One-Arm Side Lying Tricep Press Ups

Balanced ~ full-bodied HIIT ~ 4 minutes each exercise = 6 rounds each: 10 seconds rest; 30 seconds max effort

  • Scorpion Flips 5 – 6 – 6 – 5 – 6 – 6
  • Skater Lunges (L, R) 13 – 14 – 15 – 15 – 15 – 15
  • Pull Ups (rounds 1, 2, 4, 5 pull ups; rounds 3, 6  chin ups) 9 – 7 – 7 – 6 – 9 – 7
  • Mountain Climbers 37 – 36 – 31 – 31 – 32 – 34

Breathing Ladders ~ Remember these?

  • 12# medicine ball swings 1:10:1 = 22:30 minutes


I tried to ride my morning high, but so many things wore me down yesterday.  By the time I got home, I did not want to turn my computer on, leave the house or do anything but sit with Dave & talk, play with Eisley & finally relax.

Just before 6:00 this morning, we saw a huge herd of elk right outside our gym though; so I am optimistic today will be a good day.


How silly can you be with your spouse/partner?

Hold & Explode!

19 Sat, 2011 § 4 Comments

“Get lower!”


“Tight core!”

“Watch your form!”

“Good throw!”

“Keep moving — faster!”

Partner moves are great because you can push each other — plus you always want your part to be over.  This move was no different.  As the sets progressed, we did not want to hold the squat any longer than necessary; as our muscles fatigued, an explosive burpee became nearly impossible.

We liked this so much, we had to share it with you!  Even if other people have done this, I am giving Dave major credit for an awesome move.


Ball Throw Burpees

Allie: begin in squat with legs  at 90*, holding medicine ball in front of chest.

Dave: do a burpee, jumping/returning into a squat position:

[burpee: squat & bring hands to ground – jump feet back into a plank position – do a push up, exploding as you push up, popping into the squat position.]

Allie: throw the ball to Dave as he lands in the squat.

Dave: catch the ball

& stay in squat.

Allie: burpee,

[try to keep your head in line; my form is not great here]

jump back into squat position.

Dave: throw the ball.

Allie: catch the ball.

Continue alternating moves between partners for duration of time or reps.

Your quads will hate love you.

Thursday morning we met a couple people at the gym & did a group workout:

  • 4 rounds: 10 x ball throw burpees each person followed by 15 x these each side
  • 4 rounds of a partner switch up:  one person did 10 x 45* lean-back medicine ball throws while the other person did weighed quick steps as quickly as possible while holding a medicine ball in front of his/her chest
  • 3 rounds: triangle presses [side bend, works obliques] followed by pull ups [I did 5]
  • we finished up with another set of pull ups & Dave’s crazy “windshield wipers” — which is another exercise we should just show you


I hope it was worth the wait, because last night I did not feel like changing  into workout clothes & sweating to burpees, just  to get dressed again.

There was pizza waiting after all!

So we got up bright & early to show you our burpees before hitting the crag in Jack’s [a.k.a. rock climbing in Jack’s Canyon].

Hope you are enjoying an active weekend as well!

Biker Girl

3 Thu, 2011 § 8 Comments

Eisley was having such a difficult time adjusting to me working full time, I decided I needed to find someone to check in on her during the days she is alone.  Rather than having someone simply let her out & give her a little attention, we thought a run a couple times a week would do her good.  She’s big energy in a little package after all.   After taking her for a short evaluation run, our guy from Marathon Dogs said a short run might not be enough & suggested we let him try biking with her.  She has been on a few trails with us while mountain biking, but had never run on leash next to the bike.  After promising he would be very careful & patient with her, I consented.

Yesterday was her first run!  She did great & one of the wonderful things about Marathon Dogs is he sends a follow up email immediately following the run to let us know how it went.  I love this.  He started her off slowly, just walking next to the bike until she was really comfortable with it.  She took to it right away; soon he was pedaling, & she was running!  He was even able to tell me her mileage & preferred & top pace.

She was still as excited & energetic as ever when we got home…so much for an exhausted puppy. 😉  He will be increasing her run time throughout their following sessions.  I hope she is having fun.

[She was not nearly this tuckered out; this old photo makes me anxious for summer & miss climbing in American Fork Canyon in Utah.]

[photo by David Finch]

Because her skin is thin, the harness has a tendency to chafe when she runs.  I need to find an Iggy-specific harness, fully padded on the straps.  Any recommendations?

Eisley got her workout in, so Dave & I decided to do something short before dinner — it was my turn to make it up.  I was not going to share this because I was not thrilled with it, but I am hoping you can help me.  I really like the concept of no rests, alternating between the lower body wall sits & an upper body or core exercise.  However, this was not challenging enough.  Don’t get me wrong — 8 minutes worth of wall sits seriously burned toward the end; the in-between exercises were not hard enough though.

We did 2 sets:

  • Wall Sit – 60 seconds
  • Pike Press – 30 seconds
  • Wall Sit – 60 seconds
  • Seated Bicycle – 30 seconds
  • Wall Sit – 60 seconds
  • Hanging Knee Raises – 30 seconds
  • Wall Sit – 60 seconds
  • Tricep exercise – 30 seconds [Dave did Dips; I did Tricep Push Ups]

I like the tricep push ups & hanging knee raises, though I could have gone for 1 minute.  30 seconds just didn’t seem long enough for any of the workouts, so I could increase the time or do a set # of reps rather than a specific time.  I am actually thinking doing each to fatigue would be the way to go.  Thoughts?  Oh, & how can I make the pike press/push ups more challenging?  I switched to one-leg which seemed pretty good.  I realize I could just do a more standard push up, but I like rotating pike presses into my workouts because they work a different aspect of the shoulder.

Since we did not feel worked enough, we finished up with extra sets of these workouts & played around with some others.  Dave likes to make up challenges — & he invented the best tricep partner exercise!  We may have to find a way to record it on video though, rather than try to explain.

Finally it was time for dinner.

Deconstructed Baked Potatoes

I love trying to deconstruct dishes recently — breaking down components to develop & rethink the flavor of each ingredient, like enhancing these simple potatoes with fancy lavender salt.  We also topped the roasted, red potatoes with tempeh [me], real [Dave] bacon, chives & added a big dollop of Greek yogurt.  I was never a huge fan of sour cream on my potatoes, but the yogurt was extremely satisfying & cooling with the potatoes & herbs.

p.s. The first time I tried Fage Greek Yogurt, I accidentally bought 2% rather than non-fat & never looked back.  I already feel guilty having dairy, & since the craving usually only hits every three weeks or so, I make sure it’s worth it. 😉


Your yogurt: is it full fat or fat free?

Do you run or bike with your dog?  Do you have a great, padded harness you can recommend?

Please, help me with this workout!

Waiting on the Shore

1 Tue, 2011 § 5 Comments

My favorite photo from Dave’s trip.

Santa Barbara, CA ~ David Finch

Dave inspires me.  Dave motivates me.

I wanted to work out this morning…but I didn’t want to…& was running out of time anyway.  Even though he took the day off, he offered to drive me to work rather than sleep in.  This gave me a bit more time to fit in a work out — no excuses now, especially after he created this short workout to wake me up too.

Do the following set twice:

  • 2 x Pull Up
  • 2 x Chin Up
  • 2 x Pull Up
  • 2 x Chin Up
  • 10 x Mt. Climbers
  • 10 x Chaturanga Run
  • 10 x Mt. Climbers
  • 10 x Chaturanga Run
  • 25 x Hamstring Curl on yoga ball
  • 10 x Burpees [first set only]
  • 30 X Ball Swings* with 12# medicine ball [second set only]

*like kettlebell swings but with a medicine ball
I completed this in 9:20.  Short & intense.

Cool down consisted of a variation of Sun Salutations through Warrior II, with added tricep push ups before transitioning to downdog; included pigeon pose & ended in Child’s pose.


Dave’s photos make me excited for summer traveling.  Do you have any plans for upcoming trips?

Earn It

24 Thu, 2011 § 9 Comments

I am sort of annoyed with this “earn your carbs” mentality I have come across recently; so instead of ranting, I decided to share one of my favorite carb snacks.

I like air-popped, because then I can drizzle it with melted coconut oil.  You can also pop it over the stove in oil though.  Let me know if you need specs for the stove top method.

My current obsession is sprinkling maca powder over it, which is reminiscent of butter scotch, along with sea salt.

I first read about maca in Thrive & started adding it to my recovery coconut-hemp drinks.  It can help reduce cortisol levels caused by stress, which will aid in recovery & repair from physical exertion [aka exercise].  It’s boasted to help achieve greater strength, energy & stamina.  The difference for me has been subtle but noticeable.

Faith recently revealed how easy it is to make my own herb salts though, so my popcorn might just get fancy.  What herbs would be good on popcorn?  Ideas?


Rather than “earn your carbs”…let’s try, “earn your sweat” or “earn your body’s love”.

Yesterday, I had my own personal, long-distance trainer. 

Natalie set me up with a grueling circuit with this exercise challenge.  I almost backed out, because my stomach felt off when I got home.  I decided giving it a try & pushing through might be worth it & make me feel better.  It was, & I did.

Circuit Training x 3 rounds

  • Push Ups to fatigue (start on toes, when fatigued – keep going on knees) ~ 15-15 / 17-10 / 15-12
  • Squat Jumps to Squats (jumping squats to fatigue – switch to prisoner squats) ~ 21-31 / 25-30 / 26-30
  • Pull Ups (true – assisted) ~ 4-10 / 13-12 / 3.5-10
  • 1 min High-Knees (both legs up = 1) – 1 min Lateral Hops – 1 min Jump Rope ~ 94-63-150 / 84-70-153 / 88-70-149
  • Jumping Lunges to Regular Lunges (once fatigued jumping – switch to reg.) ~ 30-30 across the board
  • Bicep Curl & Overhead Press (as many as you can) ~ 2, 10#s ~ 20 across the board
  • 1 minute Mountain Climbers ~ 67 / 66 / 73 (both legs forward = 1 count)
  • 3-way Lateral Raises (Palms facing forward ~ 5#s, backward ~ 2#s & floor ~ 5#, 10-12 each) ~ I did 10 each for all 3 rounds
  • 5 Plank Ups Downs (each side) – start in plank, come down to elbows in a “walking” motion, come back up
  • 15 Burpees (without push up)
  • Tricep Dips to fatigue ~ 30 / 30 / 25
  • 25 Tuck Ups* (lay on your back with feet & arms out straight; bring knees to chest & upper body off ground)

*Wasn’t sure how to do these, so I did static butt raises instead.

This sucked – in a good way. 😉  One of the great aspects of this circuit was how Natalie alternated the exercises.  The more weight-focused exercises provided just enough of a rest as I caught my breath but still continued to work specific muscles to fatigue.  Changing it up like this never gave my body a chance to adapt, which is how I like it: drenched, grunting & pushing through the whole time.

Thank.You.Natalie.  Why do you have to live so far away again?

Give her circuit a go or check out one of her many workouts @ FollowMyFitSteps.com.

p.s.  Whole food carb sources are ok.  Obviously, don’t go crazy, & avoid processed stuff, but eating balanced means not beating yourself up over a bowl of quinoa.  I mean, c’mon people!

We all do this from time to time, but I do not like instilling an “earn my food” mentality & prefer to view, appreciate & relish in food as fuel.


What are your thoughts on earning your carbs/food?

Until Tuesday

20 Sun, 2011 § 3 Comments

During our weekend girls’ trip to Albuquerque, we spotted hints of Spring.

We returned to Eisley-height snow.

I am driving Dave two+ hours away to the airport tomorrow morning in this — at 4:30am!  Ouy.  Those couple, precious hours will be worth it though.  He will be at a team-building conference for work, & the last we had planned, he would be back Sunday.  Over the weekend, we received bad news about his grandfather, so now he will be flying to Utah from the conference for a funeral. 😦  Not to steal the limelight…but did I mention I won’t see him until next Tuesday now?

Tonight is our last night together for over a week!  So what am I doing online?  He is running a quick errand, so I thought I would jump on & leave my weekend workouts for you…

then I’m all his.


We stayed at the Radisson, so I had complete access to the fitness & wellness center next door.  I haven’t replaced my spinning class since moving to AZ, so I was PSYCHED to drop in on spinning in Albuquerque.  I felt worked, though I wished the instructor had increased resistance or RPMs more on a couple intervals, but I can always adjust that myself [one of the beauties of spinning].  I did not love her music choice though.  I do not listen to much main stream radio, so spinning is my chance to get a dose of something I feel like dancing to!  I didn’t feel much like dancing, but I’ll still take it.  She also did not include much of a cool down, which was ok for me because my heart rate drops pretty quickly; but for those who were there for the first time, our ending was be a bit abrupt.

Before class, I decided to hit the weight room.

  • Infraspinatus [rotator cuff] 3 x 10 [7.5#s]
  • Bicep curls x 20 [10#s each]
  • Chin ups 3 x 5
  • Chattarunga – hold 1:05
  • Skull crushers 3 x 10 [10#s each]
  • forearms
  • Bench dips with feet on medicine ball 3 x 10
  • Burpees 2 x 10

Sunday morning I wasn’t looking for the same intense sweat but still wanted specific muscle fatigue.  This worked.

  • Rhomboid “crunches” 3 x 10 [15# bar]
  • Dual Pulley Rows 3 x 10 [35#]


  • Skater Lunges with Jump & Knee Up ~ 4 rounds: 10 sec rest; 50 sec max
  • Seated to Hanging L “Sits” ~ 16 rounds: 5 sec max; 10 sec rest
  • Superman to “V” Sit/Boat Pose ~ 6 rounds: 20 sec max; 20 sec max


Did you get hit with the blizzard?

Pickled Pink

17 Thu, 2011 § 6 Comments

I have longed for these beauties to fall into my hands.

I scoured farmer’s market each week in SLC last season hoping to catch a glimpse.  When I finally spotted pretty little watermelon radishes a couple weeks ago at New Frontiers, I was giddy.

Raw, they had a fresh, peppery crispness; most of these guys ended up pickled though.

When made fresh & properly fermented, pickles are not only a yummy treat but can be nourishing as well, full of healthy enzymes that aid in digestion.  Our favorite store-bought brand is Bubbies, but I also like to make my own.  I have yet to pickle cucumbers because I haven’t been able to tear myself away from radishes; I think I am finally ready to branch out.

Making your own pickles puts you in control of all the ingredients & cuts down on waste from packaging.  The list of supplies is short!  All you need:

  • Clean, glass jar
  • Cheese cloth
  • A rubber band
  • Water
  • Vinegar [of choice]
  • Vegetable [of choice], sliced thinly

Place your vegetable slices in the jar & cover with a water:vinegar mixture of 1 parts vinegar to 4 parts water.  Place a square of cheese cloth over the top & secure it with the rubber band.  Leave on the counter 1 – 3 days.  Replace the cheese cloth with a secure lid & keep in the fridge up to 10 days.

I usually rinse them before eating because they can be a bit overly salty.

While I really like these, Dave was not a fan of this version; umeboshi vinegar can be a bit harsh.  I will try again with a milder vinegar – maybe apple cider — & carrots perhaps.  Every since Faith pickled carrots with rosemary, I can’t stop thinking about them.   Yes, that is definitely on my list.

Also on my list:

strengthening my triceps for all the crazy, pressing, “mantling” moves I’ve been attempting on the rock around here.  Wednesday’s 5am workout had to include weights, but I also wanted to get my heart rate up & work my core.

Combo Workout it is!

HIIT ~ 4 rounds = 4 minutes: 10 seconds “rest”; 50 seconds maximum effort

  1. Ball Pikes ~ 24 / 26 / 27
  2. Low Jacks ~ 47 / 51 / 47
  3. Ball Pikes ~ 20 / 25 / 20
  4. Low Jacks ~ 44 / 45 / 46
  • Shoulder Extensions [side & front] x 15 each [with 5#s]
  • One-Arm Tricep Extensions x 10 each side [with 10#]

Repeat full set twice = 3 times total.

This looks easy.  It’s not.  My core, hip flexors, shoulders & triceps were ALL fatigued by the end.  Pushing out the last set was not easy.  But if it’s not hard, it’s hardly worth it.


Do you make your own pickles?

Do you have any specific strengthening goals?

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