Fitness for Christmas!

Christmas was all about FITNESS this year!!! I am so excited to share my gifts with you all!

#1 and #2… Cook books! Chef Del is a NY Times bestselling author, whom I have been privileged to learn from at the Wellness Forum here in Columbus. In his cookbooks, Del explains much of the diet and lifestyle taught by the Wellness Forum, and explains the role it has played in his journey from a hefty 475lbs to nearly his optimal body weight, where he is today. While I am still learning a lot about the Wellness Forum’s concepts on a healthy lifestyle, I have been thoroughly impressed with the way they are able to back up their concepts with science. 


Dr. Popper, founder of the Wellness Forum, supports a plant-based diet, which has been shown to have remarkable impacts on both health and fitness throughout life. I highly encourage checking out some of the information on their site! You 

can even join the Forum (even if you are not a Columbus local) for a very reasonable fee. Membership gives you access to additional resources on their site.

I haven’t  gotten to try any of the recipes from the books yet, but I have had a few of his creations from the Wellness Forum’s food case and meal events, and let me tell you…THEY ARE INCREDIBLE!


#3 A FitBit One!


Oh, if I could only for this one! It is going to be beyond amazing to have the ability to track my workouts, activity levels, and sleep patterns without having to do it all manually! I know that one of the biggest negative factors in my ability to keep up with my fitness routines and continue to make progress has *always* been my sleeping habits (funny since I work for a sleep lab now!). I am a night owl. I have been since I was little. Only problem is that now, it catches up with me a lot quicker. I definitely notice my mood and energy levels are WAY different when I get 4 hours of sleep instead of 6 or 8. describe to you how excited I am f

I am also excited to see how active I am throughout the day. I work a desk job, so most of my day is (or seems) pretty sedentary. I try to get up and walk around every hour or so, but some days we are just far too busy for that. Maybe I need a treadmill desk?? Like this! Hmmm…somehow I don’t think I am going to be able to get my company to foot the bill for that one…now matter how well I can explain the benefits! Shucks.

Overall, it was definitely a fantastic Christmas, and I am looking forward to using my new tools to continue to understand in progress in my fitness journey. What tools are you looking forward to using in 2014? 

Look for FitBit stats on workouts to come!


Speaking of workouts, I loved this weekend’s Tabata style workout so much that I decided to do another today! I also brought back the standard bench press into my upper body routine – an exercise I have been wimping out on for a while. Normally, I am not the kind of girl who cares what other people think about the exercises I am doing. I also know my limits pretty well, so I am a decent judge of what I can or cannot do. For some reason, though, I have had a total mental block on the bench press lately! I kept picturing myself going up to press just the bar and dropping it or not being able to get it back up, so I have been avoiding it completely. I am happy to say that, not only did I survive the bench press, but I was able to lift MORE than the bar, and do three sets of 10 reps! Take that, bar! Here is the breakdown from my entire workout today. It was challenging, but not too ridiculously so.

Tabata 1: (0:20 work, 0:10 rest x8)

  • High Knees
  • Sumo squat jumps
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Tuck Jumps

Strength Set (3x)

  • Push ups (Rotating, Triangle, Regular)
  • Bent over Row w/ Tricep Kickback
  • Lateral Front Raises

Tabata 2:(0:20 work, 0:10 rest x8)

  • Up up, down downs
  • Mountain Climbers

Strength Set (3x)

  • Stability ball Overhead Tricep Extensions w Kettlebell
  • Stability Ball Chest Press
  • Stability Ball Flyes
  • Stability Ball shoulder Press

Tabata 3: (0:20 work, 0:10 rest x8)

  • 3-way Froggers
  • Plank Jacks
  • Jump overs
  • Burpees

Strength Set (3x)

  • Bench Press
  • Tricep Bench Dips
  • Plank Reaches

Soon, I am going to have to bring running back into my weekly workouts. I signed up to run a 5k Survival Race at the Arnold Fitness Expo! I am excited, but I have a little work to do before I am up to even a 5k again. Stupid shin splints. 

Ok, that’s all for tonight, folks! 🙂


Behold…the Wonders of Tabata!

Over the weekend, I was busy searching for something new – and super quick! – to add to my fitness routine. Between chaos from the holidays, family visiting, and preparing for my trip to Montana (I leave in 4 days! Yikes!), I have been crazy busy! In all the chaos, I keep reminding myself to take time for myself each day and make sure to get a workout in. It has taken me most of my life to really and truly understand how important it is to take daily time for myself, so I am definitely not backing down on it now!

With all the chaos, though, I haven’t had as much time to design my own workouts and fitness routines, so I have turned to the wonderful world of the Blogisphere to do so for me! On Friday, I was in a super huge rush to leave work, get a workout in, and make it downtown to meet up with some out-of-town visitors. I wanted to get in a good workout, do so quickly, and was also craving a new twist on some of my usual routines. I have gotten in the habit of doing exactly 15-21 minutes of HIIT, followed by 35-45 minutes of strength training, and while I include a lot of variety in the exercises that I do, I’ve learned that the more you keep your body guessing, the better your results, so it was about time for a change.

Over the past year or so I have heard a lot about Tabata but didn’t really have a clue what it was, and since one of my new-found favorites, Gina of Fitnessista posted this Tabata-style workout, I decided I MUSTTT try it!Xmas crumble

Tabata is similar to HIIT in that it incorporates short bursts of super-high energy, balls-to-the-wall (so to speak) periods of a particular exercise, followed by a brief period of rest. The biggest difference I’ve noticed so far is that the Tabata-style workout intervals tend to be shorter, and the total set is generally a little shorter, allowing you to repeat or change exercises in each set, as well as pair the cardio bursts with strength training. The rest period in Tabata (by definition) is also shorter than the period of work. In this particular workout, I noticed an interesting phenomenon — though the overall workout time ended up being longer than my typical HIIT session (about 24 minutes, just of the cardio portions!), I actually worked harder through the entire session! Since the intervals were so much shorter, I think it was a mental game of “Ok, ten more seconds, you can do it! Push it!” which made me push harder the entire time! I highly recommend incorporating some Tabata into your workout regimen – I will definitely be doing more if it in my workouts moving forward!

I did modify the Tabata session Gina posted a little bit to better match my fitness goals. Here’s my breakdown.

Tabata 1: 20sec, 10 sec rest, 8 rounds

  • Body weight squats
  • Squat jumps

Strength Set (3x)

  • Bicep Curls
  • Lunge w Overhead Press (R)
  • Bent-over Row
  • Lunge w Tricep extension

Tabata 2: 20sec, 10sec rest, 8 rounds

  • High Knees
  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jumping lunges

Strength Set 2 (3x)

  • Pushups x10
  • Tricep Dips x20
  • (R) Leg Bridge Pulse x15
  • (L) Leg Bridge Pulse x15

Tabata 3: 20 sec, 10sec rest, 8 rounds

  • Jump Overs
  • Out-out, In-ins

Core Burn Finish

  • 50-second plank
  • 50 Bicycle Crunches
  • 25 Leg Lifts
  • 25 V-ups

Make it a great Monday! More later.

Dragging after Christmas…

done tree

Christmas is over…and I am completely feeling the let-down from the end of all the excitement. Well, that and I am completely exhausted from more nights of staying up late and getting up early than of getting a half-way decent amount of sleep!

Does anyone else have a really hard time getting back into the groove of normal life after something you have been looking forward to for a long time? I remember when I was a little kid and we would go to visit my cousins and aunts and uncles, I wouldn’t be myself for a few days after coming home from the trip. I would cry and lock myself in my room. While I am not *quite* as much of a drama queen about it now, I definitely notice that I feel ‘down’ after a big event or occasion. It usually takes me a couple of days to get back to normal.

For me, these kind of days are the hardest to make myself work out, but also the workouts that are most important. As someone who has struggled off and on with depression, I know how easy it is to let myself get stuck in that rut of feeling down. Depression is a place that I never, ever want to go again, and I have found that a well-balanced diet and regular exercise are the best tools possible to control my own mental health.

Since I was so tired yesterday, I decided to focus my workout a little more heavily on weight lifting and strength training, and shorten my cardio session. Everyone is a little different, but I love weight training, and I find it much easier to still push myself lifting when I am exhausted than to do so in running or cardio. If I try to do interval training when I am too worn out, I usually just end up frustrated! It is always important to listen to your body – sometimes you may even be better off taking a day to completely rest up and rejuvenate than trying to push yourself into a workout that you are too exhausted for. (I was planning to box this morning, but decided to skip it for that exact reason!)

Here is the workout I did yesterday afternoon! It incorporates a little cardio burst after each lifting interval to keep the heart rate up. The HIIT portion is only 10-minutes, and was a lot lighter than normal, so push yourself!

Cardio (0:50 exercise, 0:10 rest)

  1. Box Jumps
  2. Medicine ball Russian Twists
  3. Lunge kicks (L)
  4. Lunge kicks (R)
  5. Medicine ball push ups
  6. Skaters
  7. V-ups
  8. Medicine ball plie hops
  9. Bicycle Crunches (continuous)
  10. 3-Way Frogger


  • Fitness Ball Leg Curls
  • Weighted Glute Bridges
  • Jumping Lunges
  •                 0:30rest, 0:30 plank
  • Seated Leg Curls
  • Seated Leg Press
  • Jump Squats
  •                 0:30rest, 0:30 spider plank
  • Sumo Squats on Smith machine
  • Calf Raises on Smith Machine
  • Single Leg Deadlifts
  •                 0:30rest, 0:30 reverse plank
  • Barbell Good Mornings
  • Barbell Squats
  • BOSU Jump-Over Squats
  •                 0:30rest, 0:30 plank

Merry Christmas Eve!

This getting ready for Christmas stuff is CRAZZZZZYYYY! I was up super late last night writing Christmas cards for my team at work, getting recipes together, and wrapping presents. Then, after work and my workout today I spent about 5 hours cooking for Christmas dinner on Wednesday. I just volunteered to cook yesterday….so I had a lot to do! I am definitely worn out. Can you even believe it is Christmas Eve already?!!??! I totally can’t! And I can’t believe I am leaving for Montana in a little over a week! My mom and I have set up a temporary gym membership for the week that we are there. With all of the hiking, snowboarding, and adventures I am planning, I don’t know that I will even need it, but it is definitely good to have the ability to keep up with my normal workouts while I am there.

Well, time to get the Christmas-ing started! Here is my workout from today. I will most likely take the day off tomorrow, but a PopPilates video or a short yoga session might be necessary to get over excessive food comas! Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it!

Cardio (0:50 work, 0:15 rest) (adapted from BenderFitness)

  1. Hover Jacks
  2. Jump Squat
  3. Up-up, down-downs
  4. 3-Way Frogger
  5. Mountain Climbers
  6. Tuck Jumps
  7. Twisting Push ups
  8. Lunge Kick (right)
  9. Lunge Kick (left)
  10. Burpee
  11. Russian Crab kicks
  12. Plie Jump
  13. Shoulder Tap planks
  14. Lunge Jump
  15. Toe touch skaters

 Strength (adapted from FitnessBarbie)

  • Assisted Pull ups 
  • Wide Grip Lat Pull downs
  •           Reverse grip lat Pull downs
  • Seated cable rows    
  •           Dumbbell Rows
  • Cable Rows
  • Seated Dumbbell bicep curls
  •           Dumbbell rear delt raises
  • Rear Delt Cable Rows
  •           Cable Bicep curls
  • Dumbbell hammer curls

“Bonus” workout!

Really, it’s just the workout that I slacked on posting on Friday! This was my workout on Friday evening!

Cardio (0:50 seconds, 0:10 Rest) an editted workout from BenderFitness

  1. High Knees
  2. 3-Way Frogger
  3. Lunge Jumps
  4. Burpee
  5. Reverse Crunches
  6. Bicycle
  7. Mountain Climbers
  8. Rotating Push-ups
  9. Reverse Plank
  10. Jump overs
  11. Surfer Burpee
  12. Knee drop Plank
  13. Squat Jumps
  14. Twisiting Scissors
  15. High Knees


  • Assisted Pull-ups
  • Assisted Dips
  • Arnold-style shoulder presses
  • Hammer curls
  • Milk Jug Rows
  • Barbell curls
  • Barbell Rear Delt Raises
  • Barbell front Raises
  • Cable curls
  • Shoulder Presses
  • Plank Flyes

Combined Leg Day

Hey, all! I hope that you are all ready for the holidays! Do you have any big plans for New Years? I usually like to host some kind of a shin-dig (I really just enjoy making fancy drinks and NOT driving!), but this year I don’t really have any plans. This year I didn’t decide to host a party soon enough — people apparently make New Year’s plans in like November! I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do since I am leaving to visit my sister in Montana on the 3rd. I figured I would already be stressing to get all packed and ready for my flight by New Years, so I kept going back and forth about it.

So, what are your workout plans for the holiday week?? I keep telling myself that I am going to work out every day this week, but I am also trying to be realistic — I volunteered to cook Christmas dinner for my parents (They are leaving to visit my sister the day after Christmas, so it seemed more realistic!), so I am twice as far behind for the holidays as I thought I was three days ago. AHHH!!! I also still need to put together gifts for my staff…that’s probably what I should be doing right now instead of typing on my blog…Hopefully the team will understand!

Anyway, here is my work out from today! I ended up being a lot longer than I had originally planned. Something about the stress of the grocery store and the knowledge that I would probably miss at least ONE workout this week made me really want to push it hard tonight! I am planning on hitting the gym tomorrow after work before the Christmas festivities start, but Christmas day is still up in the air. I am hoping to get at least a 20-30 minute workout it — but I am also a realist — it will probably be a more cookie-focused day!

Here is the workout I completed today! I will also be adding a bonus (ok, make-up!) post for my workout on Friday. Saturday was a Yoga day (I used Melissa Bender’s 20-minute yoga routine), and I took a break on Sunday. I tend to get shin splints pretty easily, and after Wednesday’s boxing/lifting/running extravaganza, I was feeling pretty sensitive.

Cardio Intervals (0:50 work, 0:15 rest)

  1. Mat hops (hop over mat, back and forth)
  2. Unicycle (right)
  3. Jump Rope (or mock-jump rope)
  4. Unicycle (left)
  5. Burpees
  6. Plank w Leg Lifts
  7. Mat hops
  8. Suspended leg raises
  9. Burpees
  10. Leg Raise Hip Twist
  11. Jump Rope
  12. Temple Tap Abs
  13. Mat hops
  14. Starfish V-Up
  15. Burpees

 Strength Intervals (0:50 interval, 0:15 rest)

  1. Dumbbell Swing
  2. Bulgarian Split Squat (right)
  3. Dumbbell Swing
  4. Bulgarian Split Squat (left)
  5. Romanian Deadlift (Dumbells)
  6. Chair Twist
  7. Plank Crunches
  8. Single Leg Deadlift (right)
  9. Single Leg Deadlift (left)
  10. Side Plank Row (right)
  11. Side Plank Row (left)
  12. Reverse Plank heel taps
  13. Plie Jump Squats
  14. Supergirl Row (right) Advanced Plank w/ right arm row
  15. Supergirl Row (left) Advanced Plank w/ left arm row

Strength Training (Adapted from Fitness Barbie…she gives you her workouts and meal plan free this week!)

  • Dumbbell Squat Jumps
  • Dumbbell Step Ups w Kick Back
  • Dumbbell Curtsey Lunges
  • Dumbbell Pop Squats (Pop from narrow to Sumo Squat)
  • Plie Jump Squats
  • Dumbbell Deadlifts
  • Dumbbell Lunges
  • Dumbbell Good Mornings (1/2 deadlift w/ weight on shoulders)


What a day(s)!!!

Yesterday, I decided to take advantage of a Groupon purchase I made a few months ago and finally visited Title Boxing Club! I braved the wee hours of the morning and hit the 6AM boxing class. It was a challenging and exhilarating workout – I honestly didn’t expect to be pushed so hard! More on that later (I am working on a full review of the experience). After boxing, I went to work, and then hit the gym for my normal lifting session (minus the cardio work, since I spent an hour on that in the morning). By the end of the day, I was completely exhausted and decided to head to bed instead of getting my workout posted.

After spending the morning hitting bags and doing fist push-ups, I thought it was appropriate to continue to work my upper body, so I focused on Chest/Triceps. Here is my strength training session from yesterday night: (PS, this one is also a WaterCooler Wellness original!!!)

Strength Training

  • Incline barbell chest press
  • Incline dumbbell flyes
  • Shoulder tap planks
  • Flat bench Press
  • Skull Crushers
  • Bench-balance V-crunches
  • Behind the head single arm Tricep extensions (Focus on bringing the weight down towards your opposite shoulder. Lock your elbow in place and focus on moving only the forearm.)
  • Cable Cross overs (high position)
  • Tricep push-downs
  • Rolling ball push-ups (Place one hand on the floor, one on a medicine ball. Do one push-up. Then, while in plank, roll the ball to the opposite hand and do another push-up.)

After two days in a row of upper body, plus an intense boxing session, my upper body was completely dead. I decided to work lower body today. I designed a workout that I intended to be challenging, but a little lower scale then normal. Well, perhaps I misjudged how exhausted I really am because this one was definitely a challenge!


Run 1 mile. (I kept telling myself to take it easy, but once I got on the treadmill and got going, I ended up doing 2 miles with a little incline walking after the first. I couldn’t help it! I added a couple of new songs to the ol’ iPod today, and they cued up right as I was about to call it quits on the treadmill and got me all pumped up again! Never underestimate the value of a good playlist for your workouts!)


  • Side lunges with Dumbbell
  • Medicine Ball Squats
  • Dumbbell Step-ups (tall box)
  •                Plie Hops w/ Medicine Ball
  • Walking lunges
  • Leg Extensions
  • Leg Press Machine
  •                 Split Squat Jumps
  • BOSU Squats w/ Dumbbells
  • BOSU Deadlifts
  • BOSU Jump Over side squats (One foot will be on the BOSU, one on the ground to start. Come down into a squat. As you come up, hop over the BOSU, switching which foot is on the BOSU and which foot is on the ground. These were super challenging!)
  •                 Tree Pops (These are like a cardio version of single leg dead lifts, but without weights. When you bring your leg back in, instead of stopping at standing straight up, bring knee up towards chest and hop on standing leg. This really works every part of your lower body and core as you work to maintain balance and stability!)

Ok, I promise to tell you all about my Title Boxing trip this weekend, but I am beyond exhausted tonight! At least next week is a short one  with the Christmas holiday. (Can you believe it is Christmas time already?!)

A WaterCooler Wellness Original!!


Today, I designed my own HIIT workout!!! I didn’t borrow this one from any of the other amazing bloggers out there…it is 100% me! Well, mostly…I didn’t make up any craaaazzzzzyyyy new moves yet or anything! #thingstocome (?!). It wasn’t as intense as some of the other workouts I have done this week, but I will still covered in sweat with jello-y arms by the time I finished! Let me know what you think of this one! There will definitely be more @WaterCoolerWellness originals to come!

HIIT – 0:45 of each exercise, 0:10 rest in between (I repeated the entire cycle twice, and on the second go round added about 15-20 seconds of cardio –mostly jumping jacks- in place of the rests)

  • Up-up, down-downs (Move from plank to plank-on-elbows by bending one elbow at a time and placing on the mat. Aim to “replace” your palm with your elbow, and then go back up. This really works your core and chest!)
  • BOSU Push-ups
  • Toe-touch Skaters
  • Dumbell suspension Swings (Similar to kettlebell swings – just catch the dumbbell in the air and switch hands.)
  • Lunge Jumps
  • Burpee w/ Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  • Ab Blast:
  • Plank Crunches (Bring knee towards elbow, one side at a time)
  • V-Ups
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Temple Tap Abs (Legs extended and shoulders/chest off the mat. Hold elbows out to the side and twist upper body to tap the mat with each elbow. This is kinda like a Russian twist, but with your legs extended to really KILL your core! It is one of my favorite moves from BenderFitness.)

Strength Training

  • Dumbbell upper back press and squeeze (Dumbbells in hand, elbows at shoulder height. Press elbows back and squeeeezee upper back.)
  • Inverted rows on TRX
  • Rear delt barbell raises
  • Seated cable rows
  • Dumbbell Rows
  • Bench Dips
  • Stiff arm push downs
  • Twisting push-ups (Push-up then move into side plank for a couple seconds, then back to plank for another push-up. Rotate on both sides)

I was still feeling really exhilarated from completing my first ‘original’ workout when I got home today, so I decided to do a Pop Pilates video too! Cassey’s Bodacious Back workout completely finished off my arms and back for the night! I am *definitely* going to be sore tomorrow!

Tomorrow I am planning to get up EARLY to take a kick boxing class at Title Boxing Club. I have never been before, and I am SOOO not a morning person! But…I am looking forward to throwing a different ‘punch’ into my fitness routine! I will be sure to post a review sometime tomorrow after I finish the class!

Back to the Grind

Ok, so I slacked off, swollen-faced for most of the weekend. I told you…me and the dentist don’t get along! I literally slept on the couch and watched “Criminal Minds” for the rest of the day after my appointment on Friday. I was so miserable! I don’t even know that it was so much pain, as anxiety and being worn out…and completely detesting the feeling of having half of my face numb. I was able to get a quick @blogilates workout in on Saturday afternoon after Christmas tree shopping, so I guess I was only a 50% slacker this weekend (since I didn’t post it!).

Well, since I took it easy this weekend, I had to hit the gym with a vengeance today! My legs were definitely shaking for an hour or so after I left the gym. I will be anxious to see how sore I am tomorrow! Anyway, here’s what I did today. Let me know how it goes for you! Did you make it through the cardio? I definitely paused my timer once or twice during the workout session!

Cardio/HIIT 0:30 Burpees, 0:45 Each Exercise (modified slightly from BenderFitness)

1. Pendulum Hop

2. 3-way Froggers

3. Curtsy Lunge (right)

4. Curtsy Lunge (left)

5. Mountain Runners

6. Plank Jack

7. Speed Skater

8. Lunge Jump

9. Leg Lift Plank

10. Plie Jump

11. Mountain Climber

12. Side Lunge Lift (right)

13. Side Lunge Lift (left)

14. Plank


Weight Training (modified from

  • -Leg curls w/ Stability ball
  • -Stability ball planks, sit ups
  • -Bulgarian split squats
  • -Dumbbell sumo squats
  •      superset with jump squats
  • -Leg press, high & wide stance
  • -Leg press, close stance
  • -Lunge Kicks
  • -Barbell deadlifts
  •      superset with barbell forward lunges

A little progress, every day

Some days you are on, some days you are off. Today’s workout went so much smoother than I ever would have guessed! I have been trying to amp up my lifting and keep my cardio challenging, but reasonable. Today’s workout left my legg-ies quivering, but I made it through and felt GREAT at the end!

HIIT Cardio


0:45 sec on each exercise / 0:30 sec Jump Rope or Jumping in place in between exercises

  • Kettelbell swing
  • Box Jump
  • Burpees
  • Split squat Jumps
  • Curtsey Lunge (R)
  • Spiderman Planks
  • Curtsey Lunge (L)
  • Plie Jumps
  • Hover Jacks
  • Jump Squats

Strength Training

3 sets of each group

  • Seated hamstring curls
  • Walking lunges w/ plate twist
  • Wide stance smith machine squats
  • Single leg deadlifts
  • Dumbbell front step ups w/ leg kick back
  • Box jumps
  • Kettlebell Plie squats
  • T-Squat Pops

Tip to keep your workout moving, but still give you a little rest between sets : Drop into plank!! One of the things I picked up from Blogilates is ‘RIP’ or ‘Rest in Plank!’ I’ve learned to incorporate that movement into more and more of my workouts. It genuinely gives you a minute or so to catch your breath, but keeps those muscles working!!!

So, I’m not really  sure how I am going to get a workout in tomorrow. I have a dentist appointment to replace a filling at noon, and I am typically pretty much down and out after they work on my teeth. I get really nervous every time I go to the dentist, and that takes so much energy out of me! Never mind that I completely hate the feeling of the anesthetic. Does anyone else totally hate going to the dentist? Maybe I will try to wake up early and get a morning workout in…though anyone who knows me also knows that I am about the furthest thing EVER from a morning person! Regardless, I will be sure to give you some puffy-faced fitness love tomorrow!

Make it a great day!