“Spirit … has fifty times the strength and staying power of brawn and muscle.”
I decided to take it easy today to give my quad a break so instead of going for a jog I tried a workout from the Nike Training app, recommended to me by my friend Cristina. It’s free from the Apple store so if you’d like to try new workouts, I’d highly recommend it. When you start it lets you choose the type of workout that you want: Get Lean (high interval cardio drills), Get Toned (light weights and intervals), Get Strong (increased weights and reps) and Get Focused (15-minute workouts targeting specific areas). For each section you can choose the intensity that you’d like: Beginner (if you average 4-5 workouts a month), Intermediate (if you average 2-3 workouts a week), Advanced (if you’re crazy). And of course from there you can chooses a workout based on how long you want to go for 15-45 minutes.
Since this was a cardio day, I choose Get Lean and I went for the Advanced workouts (for obvious reasons)…and for those who know me well, you won’t be surprised that I went all the way to the bottom of the list and choose the hardest workout…Fast + Fierce. It’s a 45 minute workout where the woman’s voice takes you through different exercises all ranging from 30 seconds – 2 minutes in length. Here’s how it went:
- 1 minute light jog – to warm up
- 1 minute back pedaling – through the gym to knock into as many machines as possible
- 1 minute plank – so far so good
- 2 minutes single leg deadlift with arm curl as you come up with weights – my balance was pretty crappy on this one. I didn’t realize until the first minute was up and she said switch that I was supposed to do one leg at a time so I kept going by alternating legs and trying to balance
- 30 seconds alternating froggers – start in plank, jump one leg at a time to the outside of the arm…so right foot to right hand, then switch left foot to left hand, switching, going as fast as possible
- 30 seconds tuck jumps – standing feet hip width apart, jump both legs up and tuck them to your chest…repeat…it was at this point that I was drenched in sweat and I realized that a jog would have actually been less intensity than I was doing and I was cursing myself for not actually giving my quad a break. However, I didn’t feel any tightness or pain in my quad so I did what anyone else would have done in my position…I kept going!
- 2 minutes step back lunge with overhead press with weights – again I screwed up here and was alternating for the first minute so I just kept doing it, if anything I figured I was giving my quad a break…yeah right
- 1 minute plank walk – start on your hand, go down to one elbow, then to the other, back up to straight arm on side, then the other
- 1 minute ski jump to cross back lunge – jump to right and as you land, take the left leg behind the right and squat…repeat to left.
- 2 minutes wide leg deadlift w/weights – I know this is working my quads but I had to laugh at how amazing I must have looked doing this. I’m really not sure the wide legs bring that much benefit over the feet together but at least the men at the gym had a great view
- 30 seconds 2 feet plank side hops – in plank, jump both feet to the right, close to your hands, back to plank and to the left. I found swearing helped here.
- 30 seconds knee tucks – in plank, jump both feet just behind your hands and back to plank…try not to pass out here
- 1 minute toe touches – on your back, straight legs up, take a medicine ball and try to touch your toes with it…I died at about 45 seconds
- 1 minute side plank crunches – on your elbow on one side, small lifts of your hips up and down…this one felt good, my obliques were tight and keeping my body controlled
- 2 minutes single leg deadlift with db row – this time I realized I needed to do one leg at a time, but my balance was brutal. I do yoga, I have great balance…or so I thought. I barely feel like the rows did anything cause I kept falling over. Maybe it’s built this way to keep you focusing on not falling instead of how much your body is hurting!
- 30 seconds high knees – oh yeah this was a beauty…NOT, good thing my abs have gotten stronger from my ab workout cause they were the only muscle group driving my legs up.
- 30 seconds frogger with swivel – this is an amazing ab exercise, I’m happy I did the workout just for this one. In plank, take your right knee to your left elbow, then left knee to right elbow, then jump both feet to the outside of your hands and jump them back to plank… your abs hurt just thinking about it don’t they
- 1 minute cleans – I’m not going to explain this one because I royally screwed it up. I’m going to let Grego Roman guru explain it to you and then you can picture me trying to figure this out but failing miserably!
- 1 minute squat rotation with weights- feet hip width apart, weights by your shoulders, squat and as you come up twist to one side and press the weights up over your head. After 10 of these I dropped the weights and kept going, my arms were going to fall off from the cleans
- 2 minutes side lunge with arm curls – blah, no arm curls for me here, instead as I lunged (remembering to only go to one side at first) I lifted my leg off the ground in a high extension for an extra kick.
- 2 minute opposite arm/leg extension – on your hands and knees, extend left leg and right arm…and I screwed up again and alternated…they really need to just say one side or something, I can’t be expected to think and workout at the same time!
- 30 second mountain climbers – in plank, jump one leg to the hands, then the other and keep alternating them …killer!!!
- 30 second jump squats – yeah these suck especially this late into the workout
- 2 minute side plank w/ leg lift – the bottom leg is bent and you’re on your elbow. You’re supposed to lift your hips and as you do so, to also lift the top leg…yeah I was able to do it for 30 seconds on one side..then I switched…and then for the last minute I took out the leg lift because it wasn’t happening.
- 2 minute single leg clock squats – what an odd name, basically, you’re balancing on your left leg, right leg is bent. Holding one weight with both hands you touch it to the outside of your left leg so you have to squat. I’m not sure where the clock comes in here, let me know if you figure it out.
- 1 minute full extension – lying on your back, legs an inch off the ground, holding a medicine ball in your arms, bend your knees and bring the arms with the ball to hug your knees
- 1 minute v-ups – these are not the crazy v-ups from the P90X workout. These are keep your hands on the ground and bring your chest to your knees…a little better but still for a minute was pretty hard.
- 30 second plank – good thing this was only 30 seconds!
- 30 second ski jumps – these were fun, if you can believe it. Holding a medicine ball in your hands, jump the left leg out to the side and as you land, take the right leg behind it. From there jump the right leg to the side and switch. I looked like I really knew what I was doing, probably the only exercise in the series!
- 30 second scissor jumps – the fun ended there, for these you start in a lunge and you jump to switch legs…I hate these but all plyo programs use them
- 1 minute suitcases – on your back, legs up with knees bent and holding the medicine ball between your legs (not sure why to be honest with you). Crunch your upper body to your knees.
- 1 minute wood chops – starting with one weight to both hands (like an axe) you jump down into a wide squat and take the weight to the ground…and of course you jump back up.
- 1 minute push ups with feet on medicine ball – so don’t laugh but it took me 30 seconds to get my feet on the medicine ball! It then took me 10 seconds for my arms to get tired doing push ups and I spent the rest of the time hanging out in plank with my feet on the ball balancing.
- 1 minute reverse crunches – on your back, keep your legs straight in the air and lift your hips off the ground. I was doing great here, feeling so strong, and then the woman’s voice on the app tells me to use my abs to lift my hips not the momentum of my legs…fail 😦
- 30 seconds 2 feet lateral hops – these were pretty easy but by this point I was glad for the break!
- 1 minute opposite arm/leg supermans – lying down on your stomach, arms stretched out in front of you, lift opposite arm and leg up at the same time. I was really feeling this in my butt.
- 2 minutes basketball lunge with medicine ball press – this was a blast, I felt like I was back in school playing basketball. Lunge the right leg back and put the medicine ball under the front leg, like a dribbling drill… it was so much fun I didn’t even realize that I was doing lunges, I was going to take a free throw 🙂
- 1 minute kick downs – lying on your back, keeping your legs straight, lift them up and drop them an inch from the ground. I had to be careful to keep my lower back on the ground here, my whole body was tired and I didn’t want to tweak anything.
- 1 minute plank – blah of course they threw this in at the end and a whole minute. That’s just not right!
- 30 second scissor jumps – really, this is just cruel adding the two exercises I hate the most at the end, scissor jumps and froggers
- 30 second froggers – I did them…slowly, but I did them.
So if you look at the program as a whole it’s pretty demanding. They’ve basically broken it down into intervals of 2-3 minute large muscle exercises (legs, chest shoulders), 2-3 minutes of abs, 1 minute of high intensity intervals and they keep repeating that pattern, every now and then adding some ‘rest’ exercises. I’ve colour-coded the groupings above so you can see what I mean.
Overall the program kicked my butt…I was dripping sweat, out of breath and fighting to keep going. Since I didn’t know the names of all the moves I did have to pause it every now and then to see what they were talking about. But the app is built well and accounts for this…the screen changes to show you an image of the exercise that you’re currently on. If you click the screen it plays a video of a super fit woman performing the exercise at crazy tempo so you can see how badly you’re doing. AND… and so you don’t lose any precious seconds of this gorgeous workout, it automatically pauses your workout while you watch the videos! These people are too smart for their own good, I had no excuses to stall this workout.
The one thing I didn’t like was the fact that there was no break. No water breaks have been put in here and trust me, you’re going to need water! Also there’s no time to move from one exercise to the other, so you’re constantly trying to figure out what you should be doing, and how, and with what…and since you’re utterly exhausted your mind is working at half it’s speed so it’s not pretty.
I’m definitely going to try these workouts again, they were great full body workouts. I will however, watch the videos before I start the workout so I have an idea of the moves and I’ll make sure I’m near a water fountain!
13 down, 167 workouts to go…