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.

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.

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?