My private class cancelled for the evening so I will be enjoying a long, tough weight session at the gym I like to do full-body weight training when I have a lot of time and usually after my rest day. For me, it just jump starts my motivation for the week of workouts if I start with a really tough one. The day after a full-body weight training session, I always feel stronger and fitter….which in turn makes me want to workout more!
I like to alternate between lower body and upper body. That’s about the only extent of my weight training plan. You can get into more detail about push/pull exercises and what not, but I can’t be bothered. Use the weights to YOUR level. If you can only do these exercises using your body weight, that is fine! Do not compromise form! I can not stress that enough. You can seriously injure yourself if you are not careful. For each of these exercises, I use a high enough weight that my muscles are a bit shaky towards the last few reps, but no higher! Only when the sets become easy do I increase my weight. As always, listen to your body.
My weight routine (full-body):
Leg Press – 4×15
Incline Dumbell Chest Press – 3×12
Dumbbell Deadlift – 4×15 (I am too lazy to set up the bar so I use the dumbbells)
Pullups (assisted) – 3×10 (working towards my New Year’s Resolution)
Weighted Squats (I use dumbbells on my shoulders) – 4×15
Lat Pull Down – 3×12
Quad Extension/Hamstring Curl – 3×12 (I alternate these machines after each set since they are right next to each other)
Back rows – 4×12
Weighted Lunges (dumbbell on shoulder of leg being worked)- 4×20 (each side)
Bicep Curls – 3×15 (each side)
Since this is normally a day when I have a lot of extra time, I will usually follow this weight session with about 20 minutes cardio intervals. For example, 20 minutes on the stationary bike: 1:30min at a light resistance and fast pace followed by 30 seconds of high resistance as fast as I can manage. You can change up the interval times or even the machine. Or go outside and run. Or just do whatever you want.
The rest of my week generally doesn’t require nearly as much time in the gym, but sometimes I just love being there.
Is that weird??
I have always been a big proponent of bodyweight workouts. And I still am. I mean, I love my salt bag as much as the next person……or maybe the person who owns a real sandbag.
But I felt myself becoming a lot less excited to do my usual bodyweight workout since it has been freezing cold outside and I have to bundle up, walk 3 blocks to the park, and then practically finish my workout before I can feel my fingers again. However, the one exercise I love doing in the winter time is running. I become absolutely addicted to running in the winter time.
But my body craves weights.
While I love the infamous “runner’s high” I get, I never feel my fittest when I only run for exercise. And like I said, I was feeling a lot less motivated to do bodyweight workouts with the weather change.
So I caved and got a gym membership.
I went today for the first time and it was as if I had completely forgotten how to workout at a gym. I just walked around without a plan and did a whole bunch of random exercises. Not the best idea. I always like to go in with a plan. But let me tell you something: the feeling of doing a squat with a barbell on my back is second to none. It just feels like the epitome of “strength”. That might not make sense, but just go with it.
I will continue to run a bit because I love it so much during this time of year, but I am excited to improve my strength back to where it used to be before I moved to Europe. The only thing I wish I had done was learn how to convert kilograms to pounds before I went in.
As you might know, I am a huge fan of body weight workouts. I really think we can get in some serious sweat time using what we have (or maybe adding a salt bag to the mix). One of my favorite websites for body weight workouts and inspiration is BodyRockTV. Zuzana and Freddy are incredible athletes and they are doing great things in the fitness world by making exercise accessible and easy to those who don’t believe it can be. Remember, you don’t need a fancy gym membership or expensive equipment to get ripped! I am very thankful for this website and the community involved in it. I hope you check it out and find some inspiration of your own! The website features almost daily workout routines that can be done at home, recipes, and the most supportive and inspirational group of followers I have ever seen. Not to mention, Zuzana is absolutely shredded and Freddy is quite the looker. That is exactly the thing I need to get my ass moving!
So the weather here in Madrid has taken a sudden turn toward Fall. I was wearing sun dresses last week and today I wore one of my ‘new’ sweaters with leggings and boots to face the cold. And when there is cold, there is the sudden desire for everything comfortable: pajamas, hot showers, hearty food… you get the idea and surely you can relate. Basically, (prepare for shocking news) our bodies yearn for hibernation. So you can imagine how excited and motivated I was to get to the park on this gloomy and cold day for my workout!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not.
Today was one of those days where I really had to envision the aftermath of my workout to get myself out the door. You know, the feeling of being hot and sweaty while the cold wind hits your face. It’s really an incredible sense of accomplishment that only comes during this season and I tend to forget how great I feel after workouts in the winter. Not to mention I’m enjoying making the people of Spain think I am crazy. They already stare at me like a freak doing my bodyweight workouts in the middle of the park when everyone else is running around on the track like hamsters. Just imagine the looks I get when I’m doing these in shorts and a t-shirt while they are bundled up with scarves and jackets.
Anyways, this was my workout for the day and this is a great one to monitor your progress. Keep a timer and see how long it takes you to complete! Then try this workout again at a later date to try and beat your own score! You can also add weight like I did using my salt bag for the leg exercises.
The Final Count Down
90 seconds of Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks (cardio)
Continue this pattern of 90 second cardio and strength exercises for 5 rounds, reducing your reps by 10 each round. (ex. round 2: 90 seconds cardio & 40 reps of each exercise)
Remember to push yourself at maximum effort! You are trying to get the best time possible but don’t neglect your form. It is most important that you have proper form during strength training to avoid injuries. If you are a beginner, feel free to modify the exercises for your level. There is nothing wrong with pushups from your knees as long as that is challenging for you. Everyone starts somewhere! And of course, always remember to stretch, warm up, and cool down.
God what I would give to do a deadlift right about now!!!!!
I have seriously felt like my fitness level has drastically dropped in the past couple of months since I haven’t been able to visit a proper gym. Turns out $25-a-month gym memberships are a luxury item that I am now having to live without. The gyms here in Madrid are ridiculously expensive (I’m talking like 70€ a month!) so I will not be partaking in that for quite some time….if ever. I had been really enjoying my nightly visits to the park near my house, but it still felt like I was unable to get a really good workout in. You know, the ones where you are dropping F-bombs the entire time you are working out and then somehow leave the gym feeling like Muhammad Ali.
this was just not gonna cut it…
I had been eye-ing a sandbag for quite some time while I was living in the States. I thought it would add some difficulty to my bodyweight workouts and take them to the next level. I never ended up buying one because a) they were ridiculously expensive ($75 for a bag of sand) and b) because I had 24-hour access to two (yes, two) gyms where I could use a variety of weight equipment. It just never crossed that line from luxury item to necessity…until now!
My bodyweight workouts were just seriously lacking some oomph! The day school ended for me and my backpack was no longer needed to tote around notebooks and my laptop, I turned it into my most useful piece of workout equipment second to my legs. I now present to you my beloved and treasured SALT BAG!
Yes people, what you see is 8 kilos of salt in that backpack. 8 kilos of salt in Madrid will run you about 1.36€ . 8 kilos of salt also equates to about 18 lbs. That’s about .08€ per pound of extra weight to add to your workouts. Quite the deal if you ask me (which you didn’t, but I’m telling you anyways). The best part is when I need to up my weight, I just head to the market and buy some more salt!
You can use the sand(salt)bag to add difficulty to lunges, squats, pushups, ab workouts … pretty much anything!!
I also love this idea because I am able carry all sorts of extra things with me to the park like my jump rope or towel. I use the front pocket for my keys, gymboss timer, and the note card I always write my workout on. This has been such a great addition to my workouts and I definitely have been feeling the burn afterwards.
Moral of the Story:
Stop carrying all those textbooks around. Being smart is not nearly as cool as being fit.
Just kidding. Stay in school, kids.