Workouts for the Modern Workaholic – Session #2

As previously mentioned these workouts are short with a focus on a specific body part with others mixed in for an extra oomph.  The workouts can be done at your own pace or you can use the suggested pace for maximum effect.  This workout has a primary focus on the various muscles of the back.  If you are unsure about how to safely complete each exercise or do not feel that you can do it in its’ entirety – ask for modifications!

This workout uses a few modalities to get the heart pumping; some to name include tabata, speed sets, and supersets.  In other words, this workout is sure to get the blood pumping.  The exercises done in the workout are to be done quickly with no more than 60 seconds between each movement.  Now if you are like me and like to move rather than do steady cardio (running, biking, elliptical, etc.) this workout acts as ‘cardio’ by keeping your body moving.

Centered 1-Arm Plank with Single Arm Dumbbell Row - Exercise #1

Set-up for Exercise #1: Centered 1-Arm Plank with Single Arm Dumbbell Row

**All sets in this workout are to start with a light to medium weight for the first set and then progress in weight without compromising form or remain with a challenging weight.

**Speed sets should be done with no rest until all the sets and reps are completed.  Non-speed exercises and their sets should have no more than a 60 second rest.  When moving from exercise to exercise keep the rest no more than 60 seconds.  The supersets can have a 60 second rest before starting up the second or third set in the series.

Tabata Warm-up:  Speed Skaters – 3 sets (60 seconds on, 30 seconds off)

Exercise #1:  Centered 1-Arm Plank with Single Arm Dumbbell Row – 3 sets (12/12/12)

Exercise #2 – Superset:  Abdominal Concentration Crunches – 3 sets (25/25/25) and Single Leg Bridge Glute Lift (video) – 3 sets (25/25/25)

Exercise #3 – Speed Set:  Side Plank Hip Dips (video) – 3 sets with 10 reps on each side with a 10-second hold

Exercise #4:  Bent Knee Underhand Low Barbell Rows – 4 sets (15/12/10/8)

Exercise #5:  Cable Rope High Row Pulls – 4 sets (15/12/10/8)

Exercise #6:  Parallel Lat Pull Down – 4 sets (15/12/10/8)

Exercise #7:  Seated Machine Rear Delt Fly – 4 sets (15/12/10/8)

Exercise #8 – Superset:  Stability Ball Abdominal Pikes – 3 sets (10/10/10) and Resistance Band Pull-Aparts – 3 sets (10/10/10)

(Bonus Lab:  Hydrate with 20-40 ounces of water during the workout!  Remember, you must replenish what you lose in sweat!  The key to hydration is to drink before/during/after exercise.)

xxx – Sarah

Workouts for the Modern Workaholic – Session #1

Getting to the gym or fitness area should be a welcome break to allow you to focus on becoming the best version of yourself!  I am creating a series of workouts for the ‘Modern Workaholic’ who typically only has 45 minutes to an hour daily for fitness at least 3-5 days out of the work week.  Most workouts will focus on a specific body part with brief additions of other body parts for a double or triple whammy – the primary body part targeted is the chest.   The workouts have minimal rest which allows for urgency and almost creates a ‘cardio-like feel’ without actually being cardio.

**All sets in this series is to start with a light to medium weight for the first set and then progress in weight without compromising form.

**Rest between sets and exercises should be 60 seconds and there should be no rest during the speed superset.  In other words, when doing the speed superset, no rest at all and just plow through for 6 consecutive sets total.  

Exercise #1:  Incline Dumbbell Press-ups – 4 sets (15/12/12/12)

(Methodology:  Incline the seat lever to the maximum and incline the lumber portion create a 60 degree angle.)

Exercise #2:  Incline Dumbbell Flies – 4 sets (15/12/12/12)

Exercise #3:  Smith Press Push-ups – 3 sets (10/10/10)

(Methodology:  Lower the bar on the Smith Machine to the lowest position which is still about 2 feet from the ground then form a plank which is your starting position for the push-up and the ending position is to be as close to the bar without touching.)

Exercise #4:  Cable Flyes from Shoulder Height – 3 sets (10/10/10)

(Methodology:  Move the lever to match up to your shoulder then for the first 5 reps of the set lunge forward with the right foot then switch for the last 5 reps to the left foot.)

Exercise #5:  Shoulder Dumbbell Alternating Lateral Raises – 3 sets (20/16/12)

(Methodology:  Stand tall with feet together, start with alternating lateral raises by 2’s until the goal is achieved.  For example, 2 lifts on the right side, then 2 lifts on the left side, then back to the right side for 2.)

Exercise #6 – Speed Superset:  Russian Abdominal Twists – 3 sets (25/25/25) & Weighted Stability Ball Crunches – 3 sets (25/25/25)

(Bonus Lab:  Add a Weighted Medicine Ball or Dumbbell to each movement to increase difficulty without compromising form.)

xxx – Sarah

Fit and Vegetarian

Well… I must admit that I have been cheating on my website with eDietitians aka writing for them.  Whoops.  I recently wrote an article for them in June and just finished my latest article for the October edition.  The June article can be accessed at:  The article for the october edition is based on HIIT modality of training aka high intensity interval training therefore stay tuned!


xxx – Sarah

Strengthen those legs!

Your body is like a frame.  It is important to work on each aspect – not just focusing on only one or two problems.  If you focus on problem or certain areas then you are more likely to injury yourself or create an ‘uneven’ look.  Leg day… Hmph.  Some people love working this body part and others do not.  Sometimes I dread leg day  but today I was ready to face the walking lunges.  Today’s workout was awesome and I’m still standing.

All exercises were repeated four times and consisted of repetitions in the pattern of 15/12/15/12.  The key is to do these exercises fast with little to no break to allow for a cardiovascular feel.  The workout should last no more than 30-45 minutes.  Choose two weights – the lighter is to be used during the first two sets and the heavier during the last two sets.  

  • Walking lunges with a barbell above your shoulders (wide stance)
  • SUPERSET ALERT :: Knee-to-Elbow planks and Lying Down Side Leg Raises (2 sets – one for each leg)
  • Sumo Squats with 1-single Dumbbell
  • SUPERSET ALERT :: Weighted Glute Press & Bodyweight Donkey Kickbacks/Hip Extension Kickbacks (2 sets – one for each leg) 
  • SUPERSET ALERT :: 1-minute Jumping Jacks & Weighted Leg Curl Machine
  • Weighted Leg Press Machine (narrow stance)
  • Calf raises on Weighted Leg Press Machine

Don’t forget to stretch, hydrate, and hit the sauna/shower for a good steam!

xxx – Sarah

Running and pushing for those who cannot

Yesterday I ran my first 5k since arriving in Chicago…  Not the best of times but I did place in my age category!  Sometimes going outside of the usual gym routine and outdoor activities can be a great way to get out of a rut or plateau.  This race showed me that I am slacking a bit in the endurance area where running is concerned.  Time to improve – there’s always room for improvement!

The race was for the Les Turner ALS Foundation (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).  Prior to the race there was a speech given by Kaylynn Van Driest.  She quoted from Lou Gehrig’s famous 1939 speech and her words were unforgettable.  The meaning of the race as I interpreted it stuck with me the whole time: Us, those that are ‘able bodied’ are running for those who cannot, our strength is shown through our voluntary actions and willpower to reach the finish line.  

Here’s the chest/cardio workout for today…  All supersets are to be completed 4 times with the weight increasing with each consecutive set.

  • Superset #1:  Run .5 at medium pace followed by 10 pushups and repeat 4 times
  • Superset #2:  Flat bench chest flys with dumbbells (10 repetitions) & Leg raises (bodyweight; 15 repetitions)
  • Superset #3:  Incline bench press machine (10 repetitions) & Bosu plank transverse abdominal crunches (elbow to knee; 20 repetitions)
  • Superset #4:  Decline bench press with dumbbells (10 repetitions) & 10 burpees

Bosu plank transverse abdominal crunches, ‘the how to’:  Turn the bosu over so that the curved side is on the bottom.  Using the two grips on the flat side – get into a straight arm plank formation.  Once in form, the goal is to twist picking up each knee to reach the opposite elbow and repeat.

Get your sweat on!

xxx – Sarah

Change it up with some CHLORINE!

When the days are warm and bright staying indoors doesn’t seem like fun…  Get outside and get moving!  Rather than to do cardiovascular exercise indoors – try something new.  Go for a run, bike ride, hike some hills, or hit the ocean.

In the spirit of watching the swimming olympic trials and feeling the excitement I jumped into the pool.  Go Lochte!  Despite her loss, Dara Torres was phenomenal, she’s a superstar!

Today’s cardiovascular workout was done in an outdoor lap pool…  For those of you who are avid swimmers, give this workout a shot.  If you are not a savvy swimmer – aim for completion of the shorter distances omitting the more tedious distances.  All the distances listed below are in yards and all kick/pull movements should be completed at medium pace/exertion.

  • 100 freestyle warm-up
  • 500 fingertip drills
  • 500 kick 
  • 500 pull 
  • 400 kick
  • 400 pull
  • 300 kick
  • 300 pull
  • 200 kick
  • 200 pull
  • 100 kick
  • 100 pull
  • 100 freestyle (FAST)
  • Stretch

Don’t forget to rinse off the chlorine from your suit!

xxx – Sarah

Keep the cottage cheese away

Always aim for a workout routine from head to toe… Don’t neglect your legs!  Cardiovascular exercise will not help give you curves… Add some weights into the equation!

Legs! Legs! Legs!  Keep your legs firm and dimple-free with this workout.  Now that’s a good chant and explains this workout… All supersets were performed four times.  Cheers!

  • Warm-up: 1 mile run
  • SUPERSET #1:  Kettlebell swings (progressive increase in weight; 15 reps), Bodyweight Air Squats (15/20/25/20 reps),& Reverse 1-leg plank (Bodyweight; 30 seconds each leg)
  • SUPERSET #2:  Dumbbell walking lunges (keep the weight the same; 15 paces with each leg) & burpees (15 reps)
  • SUPERSET #3:  Lying down hamstring curl machine (progressive increase in weight; 15 reps) & glute press machine (15 reps each leg)
  • SUPERSET #4:  Bodyweight calf raises (15 reps) & Lying down straight leg raises (15 reps)

xxx – Sarah

Just a simple chest/cardio workout… hmph

Quick workouts are my forte if you have not figured that out by now.  It is important to keep moving but not to get lazy!  Make the most of your time and do it right!  All exercises below were repeated four times.  Here’s the workout:

  • SUPERSET #1:  Bodyweight pushups on backside of bosu (AMRP) & FitBall dumbbell chest flys (20/15/10/5 reps with the weight increasing each set)
  • SUPERSET #2:  Incline dumbbell chest press (12 reps) & 30 second burpees (FAST)
  • SUPERSET #3:  Decline bench barbell press (12 reps) & decline bench sit ups (20)
  • Abdominal pikes on FitBall (15)
  • Stairmaster -> 20 minutes (increasing the speed every 5 minutes; end at the fastest speed)

xxx – Sarah

It’s a sunny day… Are you getting your vitamin-D?

The weather in Chicago was gorgeous today!  I ran about 3.5 miles along the lake and then walked 1 mile with the pupster.  Being outdoors during the summer is a wonderful way to obtain vitamin-D which is more readily absorbed best from the sun versus food and/or supplementation.   However it is important to minimize your time outside due to the downside/risks of ‘too much’ sun exposure,  basically small increments outside are ideal and load up on the sunblock (…think 65+ = gold star status).  Vitamin-D promotes calcium absorption in the gut.  When trying to absorb more calcium for dietary or physical aspects – include vitamin-D.

Now that I am all settled I can resume my regular fitness schedule.  Here’s the workout which was short and sweet but a mix of everything:

*All exercises and repetitions were cycled ten times

  • 10 burpees
  • 10 pushups
  • 1 minute straight arm plank
  • Pull-ups (AMRAP; as many reps as possible; wide-grip)
  • 10 jump squats
  • 10 hanging leg raises

xxx – Sarah

Let’s mix it up! @#$%^&*!@#$%^&*

Tomorrow I am moving to Chicago, IL…  This means a 2-day trip and a hiatus from the gym for a little while.  Emphasis on a ‘little while’ which translates into a week since I will be unpacking / shopping / starting a new job / etc.

The workout completed today was a nice mix of three body parts – chest, legs, and abs.  Right now… I’m hurtin’ and lovin’ it!

  • SUPERSET#1 (repeated 6x):  Chest press flat bench with baseline bar which is usually 45# (10 reps), stairclimbers (40 movements), & Roman chair leg raises (10 reps)
  • SUPERSET#2 (repeated 4x):  Running up and down the stairs (3 runs up/down) & incline press machine (15 reps)
  • SUPERSET #3 (repeated 4x):  Hamstring curl with FitBall (10 reps), dumbbell chest flys (10 reps), & kettlebell swings (12-15 reps)
  • SUPERSET #4 (repeated 4x):  Leg press machine with medium-stance (10 reps) & air jump squats (10 reps)
  • SUPERSET #5 (repeated 4x):  Lying hamstring curl machine (12 reps) & 1-minute non-stop jump rope rounds

Change is good… Throw your body a curve and try this workout.

xxx – Sarah