Hello.  I’ve missed you.  And again, I really appreciate this blog.  It is the motivation and inspiration I need right now and am incredible grateful that you thought of it.

The workout plan of attack for this week:

Tuesday:  Spin!  Followed by the 1 minute squat AMRAP with 55lb.  I made it to 23.5 today which is a huge improvement over my 20 last time.

Thursday: Turkey Trot 5k.  We signed up last week and I’m looking forward to it.  I have run once since your wedding, so we’ll see how this goes.  My lofty goal is under 27 minutes.

Saturday or Sunday:  Angela Leg day!  I’m excited for this.

Huge thank you for that Pinterest board.  Love it!  It reminded me of all the Zuzka Light workouts on youtube that I can be doing at home.

Hugs and Happy Pie Day!




Man, yesterday was such a cluster-eff at the gym.  I had already set up my bar for the squat AMRAP, and went to grab a step (I use it to make sure I’m getting low enough to touch my butt).  I was gone for one minute, max.  I got back, and my bar was being unloaded by a guy.  Nope.  nopenopenope.  I said “hang on, I had that set up, and I only need it for one set.  It’s all yours, after?”  He was very kind actually, so it was ok.  Then I was trying to rush setting that back up to get out of his way as quickly as possible.  I felt the pressure of him waiting, and another guy was watching me (why?  stop staring.).  I was stressed.  I was irritated too, because my heartrate was up, from quickly setting up, and I thought it would hurt my performance for the AMRAP.  And I didn’t want to take a break to catch my breath, because again, people were waiting.  AGH.


In my haste, I had put 65 lbs on the bar, instead of 55 as planned.  I started my one-minute set, and was thinking “ummmm, something’s up, here.”  Realized what I’d done.  WHATEVER, just squat it.  So I did.  I pushed out 16 reps in one minute at 65 pounds.

OK.  Fine.  I mean, I’m building muscle.  I’ll just tell myself this will improve my performance the next time I try 55 lbs. Right.

I did the first circuit.  I did the jumping pull-ups for the first round, but then switched to pullups with the elastic band around my knee.  I could squeeze out 3 or 4 at a time that way.   It was ok.

The squat machine seemed hard yesterday.  Really heavy.  I mean, that’s ok too.  Why do I just feel lame about the workout?

And in the end, I didn’t even get through the second circuit, because the gym closed.  I was working out for 45 minutes, and I didn’t get to the 2nd circuit? That is really weird.  I designed it poorly, I suppose.

One thing I will tell you is that I am pretty sore.  I don’t know if it’s from running or from squats, but I think it’s from squats.  I’m glad I’m sore at least.  Got some work done.

Another thing I will tell you is that Turkish Get-ups with a 20-lb KB is way too heavy for me.  I did a round at that weight, and it was very hard.  If I’d had a chance to do another round, I’d have gone down to 15 for sure.

Anyway, just wanted to keep it real.

Check out this pinterest board of AMRAP routines!  Good place to pull a quick workout.

Full Body Day, 11/20/2014

I’m on my own today.  No workout buddies.

My sister sent me what looks like a completely ridiculous Leg Day to try.  So I’m saving that for Monday — I’m not sure I would really do it justice alone, so I’ll wait until I’ve got a buddy.  It looks tough.  I’m pretty sure J is going to hate me.  Kara, you will love it.  It’s brutal.

For now, here’s my plan for tonight.

1-min Backsquat AMRAP, 55 lbs

Circuit 1 (repeat 3x)

  • Forward lunge to overhead press, small bar with maybe 10 extra pounds on it (x10 each side)
  • Sit-ups on a decline bench (x15)
  • Jumping Pull-ups (x5-10): starting from the ground or a step, if needed, just jump to the bar and try like hell to pull up.  Stuggling is kind of the point.
  • Squat + calf raise on machine (two 45lb plates, x15):  do the squat like normal, but at the end of each one, go straight into a calf raise

Circuit 2 (repeat 3x)

  • mountain climbers on bosu ball, 45 seconds
  • bike HIIT: you know the drill.  30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds recovery for 3 minutes.
  • TRX skull crushers (x15):  these are so effective, and I’m so glad you showed them to me!
  • Turkish Get-ups (x5 each side): with 20-lb KB, certainly not as heavy as the lady in the video below — holy shit, half her body weight.  And I know you hate these.  It’s because they’re hard.  😉

So guess what?  I went on a run yesterday with Brian.  We ran just 1.5 miles, but it was one of the easiest runs of my life.  It’s seeming more and more likely that I’ve had small clots in my lungs for most of my life… and only after fixing that can I really feel what it’s like to BREATHE normally.  I am so happy I’ve figured that out!!  I’m hoping my capacity increases, too.  I’d love to have better numbers on my race times.  Here’s hopin’!

Hope you’re having a good week Kara!  See you Saturday. =)


Leg Day, 11/12/2014

Hi Kara!  Um, an 11-minute climb?  I mean, basically, you should be ready for Sandhill Road any day now.  That sounds TERRIBLE to me.  I’m such a cardio wuss.

Speaking of being a cardio wuss, the last three workouts I’ve had with J, she’s ended by doing an extra run.  Clearly I am not wearing her out enough.  My secret goal (shhhh) for next week is to make two workouts that are so brutal that she doesn’t want to run afterward.  *evil grin*

Anyway, I didn’t get a chance to post Wednesday’s leg day before we did it, so here it is now.  I am sore today still, so I think it was a good one.  Also, I happened upon a new move that I thought you would appreciate.  I’m sure you’ll be able to guess which one it is, below.  😉

First things first:  1 minute AMRAP.  

Back squats with 55 lbs.  I think I got to 28 reps.  For the fitness challenge, I was definitely over 30.  I’m planning to hit this AMRAP again this week (and maybe every week for awhile) just to make sure I’m making headway.  I want to be able to power these out at this weight with no breaks.  And then I’ll consider increasing the weight.  Maybe.

Circuit 1 (repeat 3x)

  • Butt Bridges (x10), then hold at the high position of the bridge and do:
    • a 5-second hold with right leg extended straight, parallel to floor
    • a 5-second hold with left leg extended straight, parallel to floor
    • 5-seconds right
    • 5 seconds left
  • Walking Side Squats with Resistance Band (x10 each direction):  wrap a resistance band around your thighs, just above your knees.  Step to the right into a low squat.  At the bottom of the squat, pulse your knees outward, stretching the band.  Stand, bringing feet closer, but don’t let the band fall.  And repeat 9 more times to the right.  And then 10x to the left.  See cartoon!
  • Single Leg Deadlifts, holding two 12-lb dumbbells (x10 each side)
Walking Side Squats with Resistance Band (Cartoon by yours truly.  Yes, you're welcome.  I know.  It's beautiful.)
Walking Side Squats with Resistance Band (Cartoon by yours truly. Yes, you’re welcome. I know. It’s beautiful.)
Single Leg Deadlifts (source)

Circuit 2 (repeat 3x)

  • Step Ups with Hop + Backward Lunge, two 12-lb dumbbells (x10 each side): With your right foot step up onto a high (1.5 ft?) step.  Step up explosively, hopping as you get to the top.  Let your left leg just come along for the ride.  Then step off with your left leg, back onto the ground, and bring your right leg down too.  Then step back with your right leg, into a backward lunge.  The trick to not getting confused is that you step up with your right leg, and you step back with your right leg.  SAME LEG.  There is a little pause in the middle when you get off the step, before you step back into the lunge.  Make sense?
  • Wall Squats with Calf Raises (x20):  Sit in a static wall squat, and do the calf raises while in the squat.  Simple.
  • Jack knives on body ball (x15)
  • Tricep extensions, balanced on Bosu ball, 20-lb dumbbell (x15): with the Bosu round-side-down, balance your feet on the flat side with knees slightly bent/neutral. While balancing there, bring the dumbbell up over your head and perform the presses with the dumbbell going behind your head as you bend at the elbows.
Jack knife on Body Ball (source)

That’s it!  I am definitely a bit sore in the bum today.  And also my triceps!  20-lbs was a great choice for weight on that move.  So, did you guess the “Kara’s gonna like this one” exercise?  Obviously you did.

Good luck meeting your work deadline this week!  Missing you lots.  MASSAGES TOMORROWWWWWWW YESSSSS!


Last Week, Today.

Dearest Amanda,

I have been very lazy and slacking on my workout creativity.  I have a big deadline on Monday, so until then I will continue using your workouts (THANK YOU.)  My workout recap since my last post:

Friday – Leg Day.  Nice work out! I was definitely sore.

Sunday – Arm Day.  I enjoyed this workout.  Perfect for a Sunday morning. 🙂  Can you walk me through the crab move though?  I think i did that one wrong.

Tuesday – Spin! An excellent class.  I can feel my stamina slowly building back up and the wall I usually hit around minute 40 is getting less painful 🙂 I’ll leave you with an inspirational song we climbed to yesterday during an 11 minute climb.

xoxo. kara.

Upper Body Day, 11/10/2014

Alright, this one is a mish-mash of previous workouts.  Aren’t they all, though?  I think this arm day is a bit heavier on the cardio, however, which is nice!

It just occurred to me that the gym might be closed today.  Please, no!  Headed out now!

Circuit 1 (repeat three times)

  • Bike HIIT
    • 30s sprint
    • 30s recovery
    • 30s sprint
    • 30s recovery
    • 30s sprint
    • 30s recovery
  • bent-over row + tricep kickbacks, 10lb dumbbells (x15)
  • T-pushups (x10)
  • situps on declined bench (x15)
T-pushups (source)

Circuit 2 (repeat three times)

  • explosive squats + overhead press at the top, 10-lb dumbells (x15)
  • Lat pulls, 50 lbs (more weight?) (x15)
  • V-sit chest press, 8-lb dumbbells (x15)
  • Wall sit with bicep curls, 10-lb dumbells, (x15)
Wall sit with bicep curls (source)


Leg Day, 11/6/2014

Love the new background, Kara!  SMASHING.  Hey you’re getting in a lot of exercise!!  Are you planning to run the Turkey Trot this year?  (I ask, because well…you’re hitting the cardio pretty hard.  That’s awesome.  Tell me about spin!)  I wish I could do that race, but we’ll be out of town.  Maybe we should do the Santa Run together…

Anyway, met with a gym buddy (same one) yesterday, for the leg day workout below.  It’s been interesting working on legs with a buddy who has a bit less experience with olympic lifts.  I’m trying to keep it simple, and not be too bossy about form, but I don’t want her to get hurt!  So for now, we’re kind of sticking with some of the simpler lifts like deadlifts.  And when I say deadlifts are simple, I really mean that they’re simple in this case because they aren’t super heavy just yet.   In order not to overwhelm newbie friends with too much direction, I usually just say two things:

     “weight in your heels — you should be able to wiggle your toes”


     “your shoulder blades should be pinched together — this will help cue your body to maintain a straight back.”

I think just those two things are plenty to focus on, for a beginner.  Before we move on to heavier weight, we’ll need to master the other form cues too, like:

     “keep the bar close to your shins”

     “push your butt back — you should be bending more at the hip than the knees”

Anyway, I am excited to move back to tougher, heavier lifts like some overhead squats, back squats, and jerks… but these things take time.  I am not a professional either, so I don’t want to push “J” into anything dangerous!

Circuit 1

  • squat jacks: holding a 20-lb kettle bell at your chest, hop your legs wide and sink down into a squat.  Hop back up to standing with your legs together. (x15)
  • deadlifts with a small bar + 20 lbs (x15)
  • bridges on medicine ball:  your standard butt bridges, but with your heels balanced on a little (10-lb-ish) medicine ball (x20 + 10 second hold at the end)
  • russian twists with 15-lb kettle bell (x15 each side)
Russian Twist (source)

Circuit 2

  • reverse lunges + squats: starting on top of a step, lunge backward with one leg.  Then come back up onto the stop, and do a squat there.  We used two 10-lb dumbbells. (x10 each side)
  • clam shell exercise:  we didn’t have a resistance band, so we rested an 8-lb dumbbell on our knees for this.  (x15 each side)
  • wide scissor legs: lay on your back with your legs straight up in the air, perpendicular to the ground.  Open them wide enough to feel a stretch in your inner thighs, then bring them back together, slightly crossing over each other in the middle.  Alternate the direction of this cross on each rep. (x20)
  • sumo squat + calf raise:  holding a 20-lb kettle bell, do 15 sumo squats (see below).  On the last rep, stay low in the squat, but lift your heels to stay in a static squat/calf raise for 15 seconds.  You will shake.  And that is ok. No whining. (x15 squats + 15 second hold with calf raise)
Clam Shell Exercise (source)
Sumo Squat with Kettle Bell (source)

That’s all for now!