#FatblasterFriday | The Virtual Partner Workout

Last September I attended Fitbloggin. During the Reebok-sponsored Crossfit workout, I was lucky enough to be partnered up with Brendon Payne of Sequel Life Fitness. An incredible athlete, enthusiastic coach and all-round great guy, he lifts weights, runs AND practices yoga!

(Great hair and smile too, don’t ya think?)

partner workouts

We had so much fun we promised to schedule another fitness collaboration; a bit of a challenge given that we live in different countries and on opposite sides of the continent! Who doesn’t love a good partner workout?

Thank goodness for video cameras, Skype and iMovie!

Although Brendon and I did this workout together (well, ‘virtually’ together), you can do it with or without a partner. (Partner workouts are a blast IF you have the RIGHT partner…).

Today’s #FatblasterFriday is an interval partner workout;

  • 6 body weight exercises (actually there are 7; I snuck an extra one in. Can you find the second ‘5’ in the video?)
  • 30 s of HIGH INTENSITY effort
  • 15 s RECOVERY between exercises
  • 2 or 3 times through

You can take turns performing the 30 s of work (thereby earning a 45 s rest) OR each perform all of the moves as written above. Your choice.

Note that we purposefully didn’t plan the workout in advance. Neither of us knew what move the other would request, setting the stage for ‘pay back’ lest one of us be too demanding!

You can use the same format (and different moves) next time you do a partner workout (just be sure and go first….he, he!). And even train with friends who live nowhere near you! (I seriously LOVE Skype!)

If you LOVED this workout, please share it via Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter (sharing buttons are at the bottom of the post). We promise, it will make our day!

partner workout

Who did you think was better at following directions (I have a very thick skin…)?

Will you do this workout solo or with a buddy?

Disclaimer: Although I am a registered Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

High intensity interval workout: welcome to #FatblasterFriday!

After receiving some queries from readers as to

  1. when I might be releasing a workout DVD (answer; not anytime soon!)
  2. whether I could show rather than describe my workouts (a video is worth a million words) and
  3. why, in my workout videos I only demonstrate the moves (rather than do the entire workout for with you)

I decided that it was time to start a regular, real-time workout video series.

Welcome to #FatblasterFriday!

Most Fridays (in the wee hours of the morning, so my East coast viewers can make it part of their day), I’ll be posting a short, but intense workout video that you can do in real time with me.

But I need your help to make this work. How?

  • SUBSCRIBE to fitknitchick on YouTube 
  • WATCH and DO the workouts with me
  • GIVE me your FEEDBACK on YouTube or in the COMMENTS section below
  • LIKE and SHARE my videos with your friends via email, Facebook and Twitter


Today, we’re doing an 8-minute, whole-body, high intensity interval workout. The best type of workout for torching calories and blasting fat.

Four moves, 45 s work/15 s rest, times two. No equipment, other than a bench and a mat, required.

Ready to rock it?

The Workout:

  1. Plie squats
  2. Pushups (from knees or toes; hands on ground or bench)
  3. Squat jumps (or squat to toes to reduce impact)
  4. High plank knee twist (hands on ground or bench)

Drop me a note below if there are specific types of workouts you’d like to see!

And a very Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers!

Disclaimer: Although I am a registered Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

A CrossFit style workout you can do at home

Yesterday, I was excited to see a free 90-minute window on my calendar. So excited, that I immediately Tweeted about it, asking my followers what type of workout they would fill it with. Running? Strength? A CrossFit style workout?

Crossfit style workout

Crossfit style workout

I had just psyched myself up for an upper body pyramid session at the gym when my 10-year old daughter got up and told me she wasn’t feeling well. She looked flushed and was running a bit of a temperature. I decided to keep her home from school (the parents of her friends can thank me later…). I cancelled my clients, drove the boys to school and made a backup plan.

Crossfit style workout

Although I own lots of workout equipment, I don’t have a bench or an Olympic bar or heavy enough dumbbells or a place to do chin ups. None of the equipment that I needed to do the workout I’d planned. It would have been easy to let myself have a ‘rest day’. But I was still feeling the residual energy of the workouts I’d recently done at FitBloggin. In particular, the CrossFit style workout led by Reebok.

Why not create my own CrossFit style workout? And just because I know that many of you will also be faced with aborted workout plans due to sick children, pets or spouses, I decided to shoot a video and share it with you!

The entire workout is 12 minutes long. I did it in it’s entirety, but edited because not everyone has 12 minutes to watch someone else workout! Grab some weights, a skipping rope, a mat and a kettle bell (or use a dumbbell if you don’t happen to have a kettle bell lying around) and get moving!

P.S. If you like this workout, please SHARE it with your friends, LIKE it on YouTube and SUBSCRIBE to my channel!



Feeling better bootcamp workout: work, rest, repeat

After eight days without exercise (does hauling laundry up and down the stairs and making and re-making beds count?), I’m heading back to the gym this morning to teach a ‘feeling better’ Boot Camp workout.

I love my Wednesday morning boot campers. They’re strong, funny and hard-working. Their energy is infectious (and I’ll be drawing heavily on it to get through the hour). While I always encourage them to ‘go at their own pace’ and to ‘take a break when they need it’, today’s workout will really highlight the ‘work, rest, repeat’ principle.

Rather than give them a set number of repetitions to perform, I’ll be timing each exercise and drill, asking them to give it their all for as long as they can, then rest before moving on. Although my timer will be set for 40 s of work and 20 s of rest, participants are allowed to begin their rest break earlier, as long as they’ve pushed themselves to fatigue. This is the ‘rest-based interval’ approach as described in The Metabolic Effect Diet (the book is fabulous, as is their blog!).

I find that using rest-based intervals results in participants pushing themselves harder than they might in a more rigidly defined interval workout or when they feel like they must work right until the end of a timed interval. It’s also a great format to use when you’re recovering from illness or getting back to exercise after a long hiatus.

Today’s bootcamp workout will be focused on the ‘functional four’; squats, lunges, pushes and pulls performed as small circuits with cardio bursts thrown in at random.

Set your Gymboss Interval timer for 12 rounds of 40 s work and 20 s rest. Start with circuit 1; perform each exercise or drill for up to 40 s, rest 20 s and move on to the next exercise. Repeat circuit for a total of 3 rounds. Rest 2 minutes and move on to circuit 2.

Here we go!

As always, feel free to Share, Tweet and Pin this workout!

Which was your least favourite exercise? Ha!

Disclaimer: Although I am a registered Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. Always adapt workouts to suit your body and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

Come Tabata with me! Five moves for fat loss

Today is Day 4 of my Metabolic Effect diet. Not that it’s really a diet, just a change to the already healthy way I’ve been eating.

What I’ve noticed most is how quickly hunger descends on me right before a meal, probably as a result of eliminating starchy carbs from my between meal snacks (I’m still eating them at meal time, but in moderation). Yesterday, I was a bear as I hastily prepared dinner for my family. Gotta work on some late afternoon snack options that don’t involve oats or high sugar fruits.

The workouts have been great. Shorter and even more intense that the way I usually train. I did 2 rounds of Spartacus 1.0 on Tuesday, followed by 10 minutes of intervals on the ARC trainer for a total time of 43:45 and torched nearly 500 calories in the process.

Today, I’ll be doing a short, Tabata-style workout. I’ve picked five ‘bang for your buck’ exercises, each of which I’ll complete 8 twenty second sets of with 10 s rest between. That’s twenty minutes (5 exercises times 4 minutes each) or so of all out effort. I’ll be aiming to keep my heart rate above 75% of my maximum for the entire time.

I’d love for you to join me; you’ll find the details below!

Do you Tabata? What’s your favorite workout?

Workouts stopped working? Big changes lead to big results

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~~Albert Einstein

Sometime during the last six months, I stopped seeing results in the gym.

Nothing much has changed with my diet (aside from a little sugar indulgence over the holidays 🙂 ). Nothing has changed with my workout schedule either. I teach 4-5 aerobics and spin classes and weight train (primarily body part splits) 2-3 times each week.

Yet despite all this exercise (6-8 hours weekly) and a commitment to clean eating, my jeans are feeling a bit snug and my mid-section looks ‘mushy’. My first thought was that I’m just not working hard enough in the gym. My second thought was to blame age (I’ll be 45). But there are so many fabulously 40+ fit women out there it seemed like more of an excuse than a reason ;).

So I purchased a heart rate monitor (Timex Ironman Road Trainer, watch and chest strap combo; I’ve always loved their watches for ease of use and longevity of battery) to quantify my efforts and see whether I truly had become complacent in my workouts. After a few weeks of monitoring, I can safely say that I work pretty hard, both when teaching and when lifting weights. During a typical 60-min step and sculpt class, my heart rate is in my target zone (70-75% maximum HR) for 40-45 minutes and the monitor tells me I’m burning upwards of 550 calories. Same calorie burn for 30-40 min in the gym.

After talking to a couple of fitness instructor colleagues, I realize that my situation is not unique. Aerobics instructors and other endurance athletes often lose that sharp, lean look more typical of sprinters and other athletes whose sport requires short bursts of all out effort. That’s because our bodies get good at saving energy for the duration (i.e., the third class within 24 hours). In fact, my heart rate recovers very quickly even after intense bouts of exercise, which is great for cardiovascular fitness but less so for fat loss.

Although I do include intervals and plyometrics in my training, their effects are overshadowed by the long (relatively) slow distance work that my workouts are largely comprised of.

In an attempt to stop the insanity, I’m making some big changes.

I’m ditching the body part weight training I’ve been focusing on for the last two years (I’m pretty happy with the size and strength gains I’ve made) and switching entirely to rest based interval training. Combining upper and lower body moves together and alternatively with plyometrics (think burpees, squat jumps, box jumps, skipping) to create a metabolic circuit that will keep my heart rate elevated throughout the entire workout and create an ‘afterburn’ effect (heart rate should continue to rise while you rest between exercises, resulting in an elevated metabolic rate for up to 36 hours after the workout). I’ll be posting my workouts for you to try at home and to keep me from slipping back into my old training style!

Of course, diet is key too and no matter how well we think we’re eating, there’s always room for improvement.

I’ll be following the diet plan (note, it’s not really a diet; there’s no calorie counting or weighing or measuring of food) outlined in the book ‘The Metabolic Effect Diet‘. I’ve had this book on my bookshelf for well over a year, but only recently decided that I really need to give it a try. According to their definition, I’m a ‘mixed burner’, meaning that my body can easily shift between burning stored fat and dietary sugar depending on how I’m eating and training.

The main change for me will be a further reduction in my intake of starchy carbs, including a few of my favorite fruits (the very sweet ones). But, I get to eat more nuts and nut butter than I have been, which I see as a fair trade!

I’ve taken bathing suit photos (which I’ve decided not to share, just yet…) and will do so again every four weeks until I reach my visual goal. I’m not weighing myself, but would really like to fit back into my favorite pair of Miss Me skinny jeans!

Source: Miss Me

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Metabolic Effect, check out their Facebook page.

When your workouts stop working, do you give up or change it up?

Fitness Friday: time to change up that 15 minute workout!

Two weeks ago I posted a quick and dirty, 15-minute workout that I challenged you to find the time to do in your busy day. Every body’s got 15 minutes to spare, right?

If you’ve followed my suggestion and done the workout three times a week, your body should be ready for a bit of a change. Change is a good as a rest when it comes to fitness!

This week, I’m upping the ante by adding 5 minutes to program. No groaning. If you do the workout three times a week, all we’re talking about is 1 measly hour of 168 hours in your week. Your health and well-being is worth at least that much.

So here’s the plan. There are 9 exercises in the circuit. Set your timer for 9 cycles of 45 s of work and 15 s of rest. After a quick warmup (light calisthenics, walking up and down the stairs in your house, jogging in place), perform all 9 exercises in a row. Each exercise is performed for 45 s with 15 s rest between exercises.


When you finish the last exercise, take a 1 minute break. No more, no less. Time it to make sure. Re-start your timer (same cycle as before) and repeat. Got an extra 10 minutes to kill? Go again!

Yesterday’s post is being featured in today’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest. Please follow this link to read some wonderful essays about beauty!

Disclaimer: These workouts may or may not be for you, depending on your age, weight and fitness level. Always consult your doctor before you begin a new exercise program.

Tabata training: quick and to the point

Tired of squinting at my wristwatch during classes and training sessions (I blame too much reading rather than middle age ;)), yesterday, I ordered a GymBoss interval timer. It can keep track of intervals, it fits in a pocket and it’s pink; what more can a girl ask for?

While playing around on their website (which has lots of great workouts, including high intensity intervals, kettle bells and Cross Fit, to name a few), I followed a link called ‘Tabata’.

Tabata training is a very specific form of interval training in which an exercise is performed for 20 s, followed by 10 s (no more!) of rest for a total of 8 cycles. That’s four minutes per exercise.

Any exercise can be used, although multiple-joint exercises (e.g. pushups, lunges, squats) are better than single-joint ones (e.g. bicep curls, leg extension), because they will elevate your heart rate quicker and you won’t need to perform as many different exercises in your training session to get a full-body workout.

The training format is metabolic and very intense. It’s great for increasing functional and core strength, improving cardiovascular fitness and burning calories. It’s also very efficient; perfect for those days when an hour in the gym isn’t going to happen. You can even do a Tabata interval workout at home with minimal equipment.

Here’s what I did today;

Pushups; 5 cycles on toes, cycles 6-8 from knees (this was a really tough set!)
Squat to press; 8 cycles with a 30 lb sandbell
Reverse lunge; 8 cycles with foot dragging an 8 lb sandbell
V-sit with core rotation; 8 cycles with a 12 lb sand bell

Sixteen minutes, plus a bit of transition time between exercises.

Totally. Kicked. My. Butt.

You can bet that I’ll be doing it again (I love a good butt kicking!) and that Tabata training will be creeping into my group fitness classes and personal training sessions. Bet you can’t wait!