Posts Tagged With: weightlifting

Quick Countdown Workout




It was one of those days – I just couldn’t convince myself to go to the gym. I knew I wanted to be active but just didn’t feel like facing the treadmill lines and stinky mats.

On days like these I like to work my creative juices and come up with my own workout circuits to keep things interesting. Here’s what I decided to do tonight (while watching an episode of Jeopardy – Teacher’s Tournament in my basement ;)):




40 30

20 10




What do you to mix up your workout routine?



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OrangeTheory Fitness



I think the whole Groupon/LivingSocial/CrowdCut/DailyDeal market is getting a bit ridiculous. Now, I’m in the business of scoping out discounts (for my job, as well as for my own personal use), but 19,583,892,734 offers a day on things like blenders and leggings is a bit much.

Anyhow, a particular Groupon recently made its way to my inbox and I contributed to their click-through rate to see what it was all about. The offer was for a small, unique gym called OrangeTheory Fitness. Upon further research, I realized that I could get a free week of classes so the Groupon wasn’t really necessary. Why not?  I’ve become somewhat complacent at my current gym (LA Fitness) and was ready to try something new anyway. Plus, their Minneapolis location is about a mile from my work. Perfecto.


What is OrangeTheory all about?

OrangeTheory is a franchise, with locations all over the U.S.

According to their website, OrangeTheory Fitness is “a one-of-a-kind workout broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training, using a variety of equipment including treadmills, rowing machines, TRX suspension training, and free weights to tone your body and gain energy throughout the day”.

They claim that participants burn up to 900 calories in a single 60 minute session.

What’s unique about this concept is that everyone wears heart rate monitors and your heart rate (and everyone else’s) is continuously displayed on several screens in the room.



My Experience

This workout was just plain awesome. The first 30 minutes or so were spent on the treadmill doing interval work. The goal is to keep your heart rate in your “orange zone” when you are doing a “push” (80-90% of max heart rate), and in your “green zone” when you’re at your “base pace” (70-80% of max heart rate). There are about 10-15 people in each class session, and the trainer will tell you to increase your speed or incline in intervals. Occassionally, they will tell you to go “all out”, which may push you into your red zone for a short time (over 90% of max heart rate). The orange zone is supposedly your target heart rate zone for optimal fat burning.

What I really liked about this concept is that you can’t cheat yourself. Everyone has different levels of fitness, so for some people, speed walking on the treadmill will put them in their orange zone. For others, it’s necessary to get up to a 7 or 8 mph run to get to that level. Regardless of your speed, everyone in the class can see what your heart rate is at, so if you’re not pushing yourself, you and everyone else know it.

After 30 minutes of interval work on the treadmills, we moved on to the weight room. Our group did some circuit training that involved kettlebell swings along with pushups and cross-body situps on the bosu balls. We then moved back into the cardio room and did sprints on the rowing machines. WOW. These machines are awesome. True water resistance (actual water in the rowing machine) which gives you a total body workout (back, legs, biceps, triceps, etc). In between rowing sprints, we did dumbbell curl presses and squats. Oof. The workout still wasn’t over 

Back to the weight room – our group was given one final circuit that involved suspended full-body pull-ups, medicine ball lunges, and flutter kicks with the medicine ball to finish the hour.

Every workout is different. Our trainer told us that they have created over 1,000 sequences so frequent visitors will never do the exact same workout twice.


The Verdict 

At the end of the 60 minute session, everyone’s final results are displayed on the screen. It shows you how much time you spent in each heart rate “zone”, indicating how hard you exerted yourself throughout the workout.

It’s so easy to work out absentmindedly at the gym. Not the case here. I got a much better workout than I generally do on my own and am encouraged to push myself through each interval. It’s like boot camp, only with more technology.

I was sore for several days after my first session. I’ll be going back a couple more times to use up my free week and will seriously consider enrolling at this gym in addition to my LA Fitness membership. Although it is expensive, it’s almost like having a personal trainer. I think that doing OrangeTheory even once per week on top of my regular workouts will give me a leg up to increasing my overall fitness.


Have you ever tried OrangeTheory Fitness, or another unique fitness concept? What did you think?

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Fitness Friday 9/14

A recap of this week’s efforts to maintain a strong, healthy body…


Warrior Dash!  This was the first “mud run” event I have ever done. How FUN! I love getting dirty – it makes me feel like a little kid again.


Owwwwww….I feel dumb. I had decided to do the Warrior Dash in my Vibrams to avoid squishy, sloppy running shoes and to help me climb through the obstacles more easily. It worked like magic, but when I woke up on Sunday I could hardly walk. My calves were like bricks and I felt like I may have created a stress fracture in my foot. Nice going, Ashley. No exercise for me. I even had to call in injured to work!


We had suite tickets to the Twins game and….get this…they actually WON the game. Yes, really. It’s a miracle. The suites at Target Field are amazing. I’ve been in suites at many a sporting event, but this was over the top nice. There is even a private elevator that takes you to the suite level and an attendant to press the button for you. Thank goodness, because I don’t know if my dainty fingers could have managed. We noshed on free junk food, drank Bud Light, and were able to watch the US Open final, an NFL game, and the Twins game all at the same time.


my legs and feet were still definitely not up to par, so I decided to do an intense upper body workout instead. I did P90x Shoulders & Arms, combined with 6 sets of pushups (140 total)


Sushi happy hour for a friend’s birthday at Fujiya in uptown…that lasted until 9pm. Oops, no workout today!


I was feeling super sluggish since I hadn’t done anything cardio-related in almost a week. I’m still nursing this stress fracture/deep bruise/whatever the heck is wrong with my foot, so I’m trying to avoid running for a while. Instead, I went to the gym and did about 7 miles on the stationary bike and 25 minutes on the stair mill, followed up with 160 pushups. This 100 Pushups android app is sure deceiving. Um, app people? 160 > 100. I’m sure you are aware of this. How many more is it going to make me do!? I promise, you will not catch me doing 500 pushups a day.



Happy weekend, friends!


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Fitness Friday 9/7

A recap of this week’s efforts to maintain a strong, healthy body…


We spent last weekend relaxing at the cabin, singing songs around the campfire, reading, and playing games with family. I have to say that I’m super bummed that summer is coming to an end…*sigh*

Saturday: In an effort to not be the laziest loser on earth over the weekend, I went for an easy 3.2 mile sunset jog on the country roads near the cabin. I only saw one car…much more peaceful than running in the city.


Sunday: 114 pushups on my new fun Android App – “100 Pushups”. Then, more lazing by the lake and sunburns  🙂


Monday: It’s called Labor Day for a reason, people! We refrained from doing much of anything strenuous and cleaned out our DVR after driving home from the cabin. Yay!


I got called off of work early and decided to do Mike’s Workout. Thanks hunny!

Wednesday: Geared up for my dreaded “long run”. I’m toying with the idea of doing the Monster Dash ½ marathon in October, but every time I go out for a long run, I get more discouraged. This one was my personal distance record to date at 8.2 miles (around lakes Calhoun and Harriet). It actually felt better than my previous 7.5 mile run in terms of knee pain and speed (woo!), but for some reason I felt completely nauseous the last 2 miles (boo!). I have a feeling that my problem is a lack of glycogen. Because we follow a paleo-style diet, I’m not fueling up like the typical distance athlete. We simply don’t eat bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, etc. regularly. I should probably be taking in WAAAAY more carbohydrates than I currently do if I am going to keep increasing my distance.  Time to stock up on sweet potatoes for the days preceding those long runs.



Thursday:I wanted to give my knees a break after Wednesday’s run, so I did 30 minutes on the stair mill at the gym while watching some horrible reality TV, then completed another 100 or so pushups.


How did your workouts go this week? Any other paleo eaters out there with marathon fueling advice?

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Mike’s Workout

I was feeling anti-gym after work yesterday for some reason.  I knew that I had a loooooong run planned for today, so I was definitely going to lay off any leg exercises. Time for some upper body action. But watching “Opening Act” on E! was sooooo much more entertaining than watching Tony Horton lift 50 lb dumbbells for the 397350th time.

P.S. – has anyone seen that show? I think that was the first time I have EVER turned our TV to the E! station, but I loved the concept of the show…making dreams come true, one Youtube sensation at a time. Thanks E!.

Anyway, the hubs has created his own “everything” workout that consists of chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps and abs (well, almost everything). Perfect TV workout. Let’s go.

24 total sets. Do 8-15 reps per set. For the ab workouts, do 25 reps per set.

Click on the links for instructions on specific exercises….or a general idea if I couldn’t find the exact exercise 😉


1. Standard Pushups
2. Wide Grip Pull-Ups
3. Seated Shoulder Press
4. Seated Curls
5. Leaning Tricep Extensions
6. Cross-Body Scissor Crunches

7. Military Push-Ups
8. Standard Pull-Ups
9. In and Out Shoulder Flys
10. Full Supination Curls
11. Lying down Tricep Extensions
12. Row the Boat

13. Wide Push-Ups
14. Chin-Ups
15. Pike Press
16. In and Out Bicep Curls
17. Reverse Push-Ups
18. Oblique V-Ups

19. Diamond Push-Ups
20. Close Grip Pull-Ups
21. Deep Swimmers Press
22. Crazy 8’s
23. Overhead Tricep Extensions
24. Roll V-Holds


What do you think? Do you have a favorite routine for when the workout vids just won’t cut it?

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Ashley’s 55 Workout

I was incredibly inspired by The 99 Workout. I loved the format of it…even the repetitiveness. The fact that the workout repeated itself over and over wasn’t even an issue. Just getting closer to the end made me more motivated to complete it. Before I knew it, an hour was up and I was a big sweaty puddle. Love it.

So, needless to say, I decided to copycat and create my own similar workout. Let me present to you, Ashley’s 55 workout. Let me know what you think.

I came home from work on Tuesday and put this together in my basement while watching season 8 of Friends  on DVD (the one where Monica and Chandler get married!). I recommend you do the same…or not. Your choice.

Here it is:

A couple of tips: 

– Switch up the crunches (Regular, Knees up, Obliques, Reverse, etc.) to work different muscle groups.

– Same goes for the alternating lunges. Switch it up with reverse lunges, side lunges, and forward lunges (even add a kick) to target different glute/quad muscles.

– For the shoulder presses, I started out with a 5lb weight and increased it to an 8lb weight from the 33 section on. Just remember that 55 reps is a LOT and you have quite a few sets left to go. pace yourself 🙂

– Kill the  mountain climbers. Get your knees as close to your nose and/or ears as possible. You’ll get a great workout on your arms, shoulders, core, and legs all at once.

– If you aren’t sure how to complete these exercises, click here to learn how to do a Burpee and here to learn how to do a Mountain Climber.

Hope you guys enjoy….Let me know what you think! 

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Fitness Friday 6/15

A recap of this week’s efforts to maintain a strong, healthy body.

: Ran the Joe Plant Memorial 5k with a PR of 25:19.

Sunday: A leisurely 10-mile bike ride downtown and back for lunch with some friends. 30 mph wind gusts quickly squashed the idea of maintaining a good speed.  Also did a quick 15 minute run with the dog in the late afternoon. I wore my Vibrams for the first time in a while just for something new.

P90X Shoulders & Arms. This felt GOOOOD. It’s been far too long since I have included regular lifting days in my workout regimen, as Tri training has taken up all my time with swimming, biking, and running. Felt awesomely sore for the next 2 days.

5.6 mile run around NE Minneapolis. This was a planned rest day (happy hour, what can I say)…but it was just too beautiful outside to resist.

Rest day – spent time with family and attended the premiere of our Sis and Bro’s film, Where the Yellowstone Goes.

Thursday: Bodyworks plus Abs class at LA Fitness. Shoulders, Biceps, triceps, abs, lunges squats, flys, etc. etc. 

How did your workouts go this week?  Are you meeting your fitness goals?

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