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Workouts

Bodyweight TABATA workout

This simple bodyweight workout is easy to do anywhere. You don’t need any equipment besides your sweet self, but some people prefer to use a yoga mat under their back/knees for some of the exercsies.

Start by warming up thoroughly. You can go for a jog around the block or if you’re stuck inside the following routine is a quick way to get your muslces warm.

Warm Up – repeat twice

30 seconds jumping jacks
30 seconds bodyweight squats
30 seconds carioca (aka grape vine shuffle)
30 second single or two leg windmill

TABATA circuit

Do each exercise for 20 seconds on, 10 seconds of rest, four rounds each. You can do them all back to back (aka horizontally – all four sets of one exercise before moving on), vertically (do one set of each exercise and loop through them all four times) or a mixture of the two (two rounds for each exercise, twice).

Squat Jumps

Focus on getting as much clearance as you can in your jumps

Push ups

Any style you like

Lunges

I recommend either backwards stepping lunges or static lunges (where you keep your back leg in place and just go up and down) to forward-stepping lunges as there is less risk of injury.

Scissor kicks

This ab exercise involves lying on your back with straight legs and then alternating straddle and crossed legs, like scissors opening and closing. Try to keep your feet just a foot or so off the ground.

Mountain Climbers

Keep your hips low and your knees near the ground

Skaters

Jump laterally then tap your trailing foot behind the leading foot while touching that same hand to ground. Alternate sides as fast as you can with control.

Plank jacks

Come to a plank position and jump the feet in and out to the sides together.

V-Ups

Keep your arms long and by your ears.

Equipment

White Board Weight Selection Guide for BodyPump

We often have people trickling in during the warm up, and then running around getting dumbbells and extra plates at the beginning of each track. I made a magnet board to let them know what to grab. I still queue the weight selection like always, this just helps folks visualize what they need to grab ahead of time.

I shared this on social media and got a ton of folks asking about how they could make their own, so I wrote up some quick instructions!

How to make your own BodyPump magnet board

First, grab the PDF of the labels and weights. The barbell icon was originally from Flaticon.com and used under an attribution license.

Second, find some magnet sheets. I used these 20mil magnet sheets which are available on Amazon in packs of 25 sheets, you may be able to find them in smaller packages as well.

Print out the PDF on paper that is at least 8 x 10 inches (letter or A4 will be fine). I used glossy laser paper to give it a little more of a professional look. Peel back the adhesive on the magnet sheet and carefully place the paper on top (printed side up and away from the adhesive), being careful to line all the images up so they’re on the magnet.

Trim excess paper and then cut the magnets apart. You can use scissors but you’ll get much nicer lines using a ruler and xacto knife.

Use these with an 11 x 14 magnetic white board (I put my instagram name on mine using a Silhouette machine). Voila!

Fitness Culture

Training Considerations for Trans Athletes

There is a frustrating dearth of information about what, if any, considerations to make when training trans athletes. Most of the day-to-day training information is applied regardless of gender (or should be) but there are still a few specific concerns for people who are taking replacement hormones or have undergone surgery. Most published research has been done with the intent of proving or disproving the idea that trans people have an athletic advantage over cis athletes. Very little attention has been paid to recreational fitness in trans people.

Adam Fisher has put together a primer on working with trans athletes which outlines the basics of how hormone levels affect athletic performance.

Read Training Considerations for Trans Athletes over on Adam Fisher’s blog.

Fitness Culture

Recommended Long Read: Being the Fat Girl on the PCT

 

One of the things that brought me to professional fitness was the culture – namely, how bad it was. I’m not going to throw around too many buzzwords but suffice to say that the fitness industry has an incredible problem with women, queer people, people of color, and anyone who isn’t thin and muscular. So many people abandon exercise at a young age because they’ve been told they’re “not athletic” or are afraid to step foot in a gym because they don’t think they belong there. I believe strongly that fitness is for everybody and how strong you are or how in shape you are does not determine your right to work out in a supportive environment.

Vanessa Friedman’s essay “Why I Got Off the Pacific Crest Trail Instead of Walking All the Way to Canada” dives into the challenges she faced as a self-described “fat slow lesbian” on the PCT. The trail hiking community, celebrated by many as welcoming and a “second family” was less welcoming and more passive aggressive towards someone they felt was an outsider. It’s a long read, but absolutely worth your time.

Nutrition

A Collection of Un-Diets

The road to wellness is paved with good dietary intentions. We ate too much for whatever reason – holidays, stress, just the joy of it being Tuesday – and we vow to “clean up” our diet. This takes different forms for different people, whether it’s an attempt to cut out all soda that cratered at the first office party, or the Whole 30 that ended up being a Whole 3. There are a lot of reasons that sudden cold turkey dietary changes don’t usually lead to long term results.  Instead, here are some weekly meal plans that can help put you on the right path.

The Anti-Detox Diet – Vox

Rather than try to “cleanse” your body by restricting arbitrary foods and eating weird things this week-long meal plan (21 meals total) uses a variety of delicious and totally normal foods you can find at any grocery store.

CookSmarts

This is a subscription-based meal plan service, but they offer a ton of free meal plans (4 different dinners each) to get you started, no signup required.

Dinner Tonight, Lunch Tomorrow – Eating Well

A free 5-day meal plan that leaves you with enough dinner leftover to take to lunch tomorrow

 

There are a ton of services and apps that will help you make your own meal plans, but I find that as someone who is always on the go having something pre-made with a list I can just print out and take to the store really helps. Once you get into the habit of cooking healthy foods it gets a lot easier, but it’s nice to have some training wheels in the beginning.

Got a favorite free meal plan? Share it in the comments below!

Workouts

3 Routines to Keep You Injury-Free

Poor technique, muscle imbalances, and a limited range of joint motion are all factors which can make you more susceptible to injury when exercising. These three routines are great for strengthening and stretching your muscles to keep you injury free through all your training.

The Myrtl Routine

Developed by coach Jay Johnson, this routine can be done after every run in order to strengthen the hips and maintain appropriate range of motion through the hip joint.

Bulletproof Feet

This routine was developed to prevent plantar fasciitis and shin splints, developed by Dr Ted Loos. The goal of this routine is to strengthen and stretch both the feet and the calves.

Muscle Recovery and Flexibility Cool Down

The cool down is probably the most neglected part of a good workout. It’s easy to skip when you’re in a hurry, but it’s a really important part of keeping injuries at bay. This total body stretching routine is a great way to recover after a hard workout.

Equipment

DIY Suspension Trainer Plans

Suspension training is an excellent tool for building strength and stability. It can be used by a very wide variety of people and the equipment can be used almost anywhere. While commercial systems like TRX and Monkii Bars are well made and well worth the price they may not be in everyone’s budget. Here are instructions on how to make two different versions of a suspension trainer – one super low budget $15 version and a more luxurious $40 version.

The Cheap Version

5-Minute Suspension Exercise Device at Instructables

This one uses stuff you can find at your local hardware store and should come in under $15. It uses three lashing straps (sometimes called tiedowns) to create the trainer and if you can’t find a good deal locally Amazon has a 4-pack for under $10.

The fancy version

Monkii.co, makers of a very nice portable suspension system, published really thorough instructions for a nice looking DIY kit. It requires more materials, and some sewing skills for the neoprene case, but still clocks in a lot cheaper than buying a commercial system.