Lift heavy and work hard or go home.

My workouts have evolved over time not only as I have built my stamina and strength, but as I learned more and more about how to workout effectively. When I first started working in fitness I was taught that if  you wanted to loose weight you had to do 45-60min of cardio 5-6 days a week and strength training was 2-3 days per week. No exceptions. That is a pretty grueling schedule to keep and I was never a marathoner in training. I have done that kind of time, and the biggest problems with doing that kind of training is that is boring and it de-emphasizes the strength training. It also eats up a lot of time. Intervals were encouraged but they were always just a couple of intervals just thrown into the middle of 45-60min cardio session. It is hard to really give your intervals the effort they deserve when in the back of your mind your trying to reserve energy for the remaining 30min of cardio. Once upon a time I would total 2-3 hours in the gym 5-6 days a week. I was over training but didn’t realize it.

I have to thank the fabulous Zuzka Light for teaching me that workouts don’t need to be long to be both challenging and effective. (This has earned her a permanent place on my list of awesome people.) You can get all your strength training and effective cardiovascular training done together. Cardio and strength training are not mutually exclusive. I found Zuzka’s original website years ago when I was doing all my workouts at home and still follow her on her new site ( Zuzka is the queen of time efficient intense home workouts. She has a truly singular gift for designing effective, simple, and short workouts using minimal equipment. Because she keeps things simple you don’t have to worry about learning maniacal choreography or wasting time trying to coordinate yourself. You can get straight to working hard. And because she keeps her workouts short you can really give it your maximum effort for the entire workout. If you are a quivering pile of sweaty goo when you are done one of her workouts, you did it right. Dr. Sara Solomon also posts great home workouts on her site ( Her shoulder workout really kicked my ass a few weeks ago.

Anyway the moral of the story is I am fitter and stronger than ever because I workout smarter rather than longer or more often. That doesn’t mean I never do cardio kickboxing anymore or never use a treadmill. I just use the treadmill for tabata protocols and am on it for no more then 10-15min. I do the occasional 30-60min kickboxing session because I enjoy kickboxing. But what I don’t do is do it so much and so often that it starts to feel like a chore. I put a greater emphasis on strength training by hitting the gym 3-5 days per week. I lift heavy for 8-12 reps per set. Each body part is trained once per week. I don’t waste my time with the pink barbie weights doing 15-20 reps (another common error that often goes along with the excessive cardio bunny workouts). I change my strength workouts every 4 weeks to keep it interesting. My workouts are finished within 60min. If I am too busy or tired to get to the gym I also don’t sweat it or beat myself up. I stay home with my gymboss and yoga mat and do a killer 12-20min HIIT style body weight workout Zuzka Light/Dr Sara Solomon style. If am I really tired I may just do a little yoga.

And of course I always walk the dog. Can’t forget that.


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