Monday, September 17, 2012

20 Min Total Body Circuit and Banana Treat

20 Minute Total Body Circuit Workout

Today I was tired and had no desire to go to the gym... mostly because I dreaded doing cardio.  I generally hate cardio, and I'm not very good at it, but I do it because it's good for me.  Today, though, I realized I was dreading it so much that I was about to forego the gym altogether!  No good.  Instead, I decided I would commit to a quick, intense strength workout.  Quick because I had to convince myself to get to the gym, and the thought of putting in 60 minutes of effort overwhelmed me.  20 minutes-- doable.  Intense because deep inside I really did want a good workout.  And so, I created this 20 minute total body circuit:

Deadlift- hamstrings, glutes, erector spinae [back], (quads)
Push ups- triceps, pecs, abs
Squat to shoulder press- quads, shoulders, (glutes), (hamstrings)
Chin ups- Lats [back], biceps
Imaginary jump rope- calves, cardio

These moves are all pretty standard.  For rounds 1 and 3, I did wide-leg squats (feet turned out) to shoulder press with my palms facing forward.  For rounds 2 and 4, I did squats with my feet parallel and hip width apart to shoulder press with my palms facing each other.  I used 40 lbs for deadlifts (20 lb each hand), 10 lb each hand for shoulder press, and 30 lb assist for chin ups.  I'll admit that for the squat to shoulder press, I had to take a lot of breaks where I kept doing squats holding the weights without pressing (at least I kept moving!).

Let me tell you... this counts as cardio!  I even fooled myself!  If you move immediately from one exercise to the next with no breaks, you can keep your heart rate up.  Before beginning the circuit, I did a quick warm-up, 1 pass each:

Walking lunges
High knee running
Butt kick walks
Walking lunges
Side chasse (gallop) left
Side chasse (gallop) right

After the strength circuit, I did a quick ab circuit:

Plank with hip taps: assume a traditional plank position on your elbows, twist to tap one hip on the ground, then twist to tap the other hip on the ground
Ball pike ups: assume a plank position with your hands on the ground and feet on a stability ball, roll the ball towards your hands by piking your butt into the air, keeping your legs straight.  Easier modification: roll the ball towards your hands by bending your knees to your chest
Ball switches: lie flat on your back, holding the stability ball over your head, lift your arms/chest while simultaneously lifting your legs, grab the ball with your feet and lower back down to a flat back, lift back up (upper body and lower body simultaneously) to transfer the ball back to your hands-- that's one rep.  Keep repeating!  Today, my hip flexor was bothering me during this exercise, so I switched to suitcase crunches.
Suitcase crunches: lie on your back with your knees lifted to form a 90 degree angle, simultaneously lift your butt and your chest to crunch, gently lower back down and repeat

I ended with some light stretching.

Banana Treat

I was in the mood for something sweet after dinner, and I had a banana that was starting to get too brown for normal eating comfort.  I took advantage of the situation and made myself a quick, "healthy" dessert.  I simply cut up my banana, put it in a small non-stick pan, sprinkled it with cinnamon, and let it cook (flipping occasionally) until it turned soft and juice started to come out.  Then, I ate it.  Just like that.  So easy.  It's amazing what a little heat can do for a banana!  This would taste great on top of some vanilla ice cream or on a slice of whole wheat toast smeared with peanut butter!  Unfortunately, I was out of ice cream and bread, so I settled on 3 dark chocolate Hershey Kisses to get my chocolate fix and a small kick of antioxidants.  

Okay, I know the picture looks like banana mush, but if I could only have you smell this deliciousness, you'd understand what I'm talking about!

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