27 Jan

Fit Chicks Fierce in 8 Giveaway!

Fierce in 8

I recently reviewed the Canadian based fitness company FIT CHICKS’ new 8 workout DVD set.
The workouts are all high intensity interval training, under 30 minutes, and inspired by a different form of exercise so there’s something for everyone. The boxset also comes with a meal plan and healthy recipes, providing a complete workout and nutrition plan.

Interested in trying the FIT CHICKS high intensity interval home workouts for yourself? You’re in luck! I’m offering a chance to win your own copy.

Enter to win by doing one or more of the following:

1. Comment on this post about how you work out at home.

2. Tweet “I want to win @FitChicks Fierce in 8 from @SamanthaYoga http://bit.ly/1uVoiy4” from your twitter account.

3. Like this facebook post.


You can get up to three entries, one for each.

Contest Expires February 1st at Midnight EDT.

CONTEST CLOSED – Winner: Laura Ryan (Facebook)

30 Jan

Medicine Ball Circuit

Last night Matt and I actually worked out together!

I love having a workout partner. Love. But if Matt and I are ever at the gym together we usually do different things. He starts with cardio then does lots of supersets of isolation exercises whereas I do big lifts, take lots of breaks, and rarely do cardio on my lifting days.

Plus I’m stubborn and like to stick to my programme like glue. As does he.

I recently structured a whole weightlifting programme for my brother-in-law Sean that I based on ideas from stronglifts and crossfit football. It starts with strength exercises (low reps and heavy weight of cleans, deadlifts, bench press, and squats) and ends with cardio complexes or circuits (little rest and lots of repetition).

Click to see the whole workout
Workout for Sean

Anyway, Matt’s been doing this programme too which is really exciting. He says it’s exhausting which is great for him because I know how much he likes a really tiring workout.

Last night while Matt was doing his Power Cleans and Inverted Rows I got my tread on. It was my cardio day.

30 minutes on the treadmill:

10 min jogging
12 min of intervals: 1 min at 6.0mph, 2min at 8.5mph
8 min cool down – jogging & walking

Afterward I met up with him to do a circuit from the programme:

Medicine Ball Circuit

16 rounds of
– 5 wall balls
– 4 alternating medicine ball push-ups
– 5 ball slams
Rest after every 4 rounds.

One of the trainers came over and told us not to do wall balls because it could damage the drywall (I really need to start workout out in a place with concrete walls) so we ended up just tossing the ball straight up in the air and catching it.

The workout was tiring but fun because I had a partner to do it with. I originally prescribed 30 rounds but we only did 16.

18 Jan

Master Swim Class

This weekend I went to Illinois to visit Vicki for the weekend, leaving my husband behind to do all the chores (sorry Matt!) and watch as much playoff football as possible.

My brother-in-law offered to use his air miles so I could have the luxury of flying instead of the nearly 6 hour drive. Which made me feel like a high roller.

My sister picked me up Friday night from the airport and after swinging by Portillo’s for a chop salad we made it to her apartment and tried to decide what workout to do the next day. When we get together exercise is always on the agenda.

Vic is a member at a really swanky fitness centre. The kind with clean showers and free towels and all the workout equipment that is trendy these days (but maybe not enough squat racks for my liking). They also have a 25m lap pool.

Vicki really got into swimming this year to train for the 2 sprint triathalons that she participated in. I, myself, had a brief (and pathetic) stint on the high school swim team in grade 9, and more recently have been taking to the pool for interval training. In spite of that, neither of us is particularly good at swimming.

I’m slow and sloppy and have poor form and my breaststroke is just as efficient as my freestyle (which means I’m either prodigious at breaststroke or pathetic at freestyle).

So when we decided to try out the 7am Master’s Swim Class (a class for actual good swimmers) to say we were both a bit nervous is an understatement. I crawled out of bed with little enthusiasm at 6:20 and we got dressed and headed over to the gym.

There were more people there than we would have liked, which meant we were sharing a lane with a regular to the class, but luckily his pace was similar to ours so I didn’t feel as inadequate as I expected I would.

The entire hour and a half class was freestyle swimming (lord help me). We did some drills using buoys, paddles, and flutter boards but it was mostly swimming laps at whatever pace the instructor recommended. I’m trying hard to remember but I think this is what we did:

200m warm up

200m pulls with the buoy between our legs

200m pulls with paddles on our hands

200m flutter kicks

4 x 100m negative splits

4 x 100m easy to practice our form

4 x 100m negative splits

3 x 75m pulls with the buoy and paddles

I appreciated that the instructor watched Vicki and I and gave us some tips to correct our form. Apparently my kicking sucks (no surprise there) and I swim with my head up too much (a symptom of my breaststroke preference, perhaps?) so I tried to take her tips and apply them to my stroke.

After an hour and a half and at least 2 kilometres of swimming, I was tired for pretty much the rest of the day.

We did make it into the city to check out The Field Museum–What an awesome place! I’d love to go back and see what we missed.– but by 7pm I was exhausted and ready to crash.

Swimming always takes it out of me.

Me at the Field Museum

Vicki at the Field Museum

03 Aug

Olympic Weightlifting Routine

I don’t like watching sports so I get in about 90% of my sports viewing every 2 years during the Olympics. I’m a huge Winter Olympics fan (along with most other Canadians, I think), but the Summer Olympics still keep my attention. I particularly like watching rowing, swimming, track, and kayaking (which doesn’t get nearly enough coverage as far as I’m concerned).

I also like watching weightlifting, naturally. Especially this year when for the first time ever a Canadian woman actually medalled in weightlifting. 63kg (138lb) Christine Girard got a bronze medal after lifting more than twice her body weight, 133kg (293lb), in the clean and jerk.

THIS is Fitspo.

How amazing is this?

I don’t include a lot of olympic style lifting in my normal weightlifting routines. I should though. These kinds of lifts incorporate full body strength and tonnes of power. They also require a lot of technique; it’s not the type of thing that you can easily pick up on either.

I do have some practice with olympic lifts and I think I have pretty decent form– which I got from practicing with light weights, doing lots of squats, and having a strong lumbar– though I do end my cleans and snatches in a “power position” (1/4 squat) instead of a deep squat the way the olympians do.

So for fun I’ve been working on Olympic lifts at the gym all week. I made an Olympic weightlifting routine for 4 weeks (though I’m not sure I’ll do it for all 4) based on these programmes from the Queensland Weightlifting Association website. It’s composed of lots of snatches and cleans and breaks them down into components. There are also conditioning exercises for chest and back.

Here’s a PDF of the workout:

Click for a PDF of the Workout

It’s been super fun so far this week. This kind of workout is one that I can really only pull off during the summer when the gym is quiet and I can spend 45 minutes hogging one of only three squat racks without impeding on someone else’s workout.

Oh, and in other Olympic awesomeness, check out this super cool Olympic Body Type Matcher from the BBC. Just put in your height and weight and the widget will show you the Olympic athlete whose height and weight are the same. Obviously it doesn’t account for muscle mass, but it’s still kind cool.

I was matched up with a javeliner from Finland to which Matt replied: “Makes sense. You look like a javelin thrower.”

I’ll take his word for it, since he does coach javelin and all.


22 May

Conditioning Drills: Gut Busters

I’m feeling much better after my bout of food poisoning from Friday night. I feel terrible for Matt’s friend who was over at our house when I got sick and was probably trying not to look disgusted as he chatted with Matt in the living room (which, for the record, is not nearly far enough away from the retching sounds that were coming from the bathroom).

At least it wasn’t enough to ruin my whole Victoria Day weekend though it did kinda ruin most of it, not gonna lie.

I managed to wrestle together enough energy yesterday to go to the gym for a weightlifting session. I’m just about done the 6 week full body programme that I’ve been working on. I’m liking the mix-up between the lifting and the circuit. It still goes by relatively fast (about 40 minutes) but I’m able to get in some heavier lifts in addition to the circuit conditioning which I like.

Also, on my cardio days I’ve been trying to do more conditioning that just straight-up running. Today might be the only cool day this week, so I am going to get out and try this conditioning drill again. I did these Gut Busters last week and it was pretty intense, not as exhausting as the Terrible Twenties, but still pretty good.

Hill Gut Busters

You can also do these on flat land. Just sprint for about 50m between the exercises.

Warm up: half mile walk

Sprint up the hill

10 push-ups

Sprint down the hill
Sprint up the hill

10 squat jumps

Sprint down the hill
Sprint up the hill

10 sit-ups

Sprint down the hill
Sprint up the hill

10 burpees

Sprint down the hill
Sprint up the hill

10 mountain climbers

Sprint down the hill
Sprint up the hill

10 butt kicks

Sprint down the hill
Sprint up the hill

10 jumping jacks

Sprint down the hill
Sprint up the hill

10 push-ups

Sprint down the hill

Cool down with a 2 mile jog.

02 May

Conditioning Drills: Terrible Twenties

In keeping with the theme of crazy conditioning drills last night I decided to bust out Terrible 20s.

Terrible Twenties – a sprinting drill sandwiched between a shit tonne of push-ups and sit-ups.

You need a space of at least 50 metres to do this drill, so I jogged over to a portion of the trail near my house that’s a bit quieter so people wouldn’t see the crazy girl running back & forth a million times.
I guesstimated and marked off a distance of 50m which, due to my poor distance perception, I later discovered was actually 150 metres. Blast! I worked harder than I had to (no wonder the sprints were so tough!).

Here’s how the drill goes:

It took me about 50 minutes or so to finish the whole thing for a total of:

2000m of sprints (6000m in my case)
210* push-ups
210* sit-ups


*Math Nerd Alert: It is exciting that my knowledge of the ‘sum of consecutive integers’ formula finally could be put to use in the real world.

24 Apr

Sled Push Substitutes

Friday was a cardio day for me but I wasn’t in the mood for a run or a spinning class or a forgettable elliptical experience, so I tried busting out some crazy conditioning moves instead.

In addition to jumps and hops and swings and some other heart-pumping moves that have escaped my memory I did these two amazing exercises: Plate Pushes and Treadmill Sled Push which are both good sled push substitutes if you don’t have a sled or prowler.

They were both exhausting and they brutalized my quadriceps. So, naturally I can’t wait to do them again.



Treadmill Sled Push

I did this exercise in Tabata intervals— 20 sec work + 10 sec recovery –for 16 intervals and resting for a full minute after 8 intervals (so a total of 9 minutes: 4 minutes Tabata, 1 minute rest, 4 minutes Tabata)

I was exhausted and thought my quads were going to fall off. If you drive more with your heels you can work you hamstrings, but I found this to be really awkward.

How to do it:

– With the treadmill OFF, hold the dashboard or front handles and keep your spine neutral

– Use your legs to drive the belt of the treadmill and work up the speed as fast as you can manage.

– Push for 20 seconds then rest 10 seconds. Repeat 7-15 times.



Plate Pushes

I got a lot of “‘the fuck she doing?” looks for being on all fours and pushing a weight across the gym floor.

I used a 45lber and pushed about 20metres. On every set I was forcing myself not to fall to my knees in exhaustion for the last few metres.

How to do ’em:

– Lay a towel or frictionless mat on the ground and place a weight plate flat on top. Use anything from 25lb to 45lbs. (I tried stacking a couple of plates, but I found that they moved around too much when I pushed so I just used one.)

– Position yourself behind the plate in a low sprinter’s start position

– Place your hands on the plate and push, driving the motion with your legs and trying to keep your butt from sticking up in the air. You want to keep it as parallel to the ground as you can.

– Push as fast as you can for about 20-30 metres then rest 15-30 seconds and repeat 4 or 5 times.


17 Jan

New 4 Day Workout Split

It’s been a little over a week since my marathon and my ass is killing me. Not from the run though, that pain subsided a couple days after, but from weightlifting.

I had been doing a couple of full body weightlifting sessions while I was training, but now I’m trying to get back into it more seriously now that I don’t have to spend 6 hours a week running.

I’m doing a 4 day upper/lower body split workout (my favourite kind) with lots of really good compound exercises like Turkish get-ups and dumbbell snatches. I also included tibia raises in there which I don’t normally do, to try to improve my range of motion for my squats.

Click the image below for a pdf version of the workout.


So I’ll be working on this new training plan for the next 4 weeks or so.

I wore my new lululemon pants that I bought from an outlet store in Orlando when I finished the marathon.

lululemon pantslululemon pants<- saggy crotch

The closest I have ever come to anything lulu is making fun of the pretentious yogis that wear it, but I caved this time because the pants were super cheap, a good material, and looked pretty decent. I realized today that the crotch is a bit saggy in a way that could only be rectified by having a set of testicles.

Betty White

Luckily I have a vagina, but that just means I’ll have to live with my saggy-crotched pretentious yoga pants.

Tonight for dinner I made some delicious cilantro lime fish tacos from this recipe on Closet Cooking that I pinned on Monday.

Cilantro and Lime Fish Tacos

I’ve never had fish tacos before and I thought they tasted really good (I especially liked the cilantro lime sour cream it’s topped with) but to be honest I prefer beef tacos.

I would definitely make them again though and would recommend this recipe. Instead of grilling I pan fried the fish, but I would love to try it with the fish on the barbecue.


24 Oct

High Rep Routine Recap

I just finished 4 weeks of the High Repetition/Low Weight routine that I set out for myself in September.

My plan was to switch up more normal heavy lifting/low weight routines with something a bit different. I liked the routine because even though I lowered my weights to I could hit 10 to 12 reps I was still pushing myself hard. Plus, doing 3 sets instead of 4 and doing some supersets makes the workout go by so much faster.

I made sure to track my progress for the last 4 weeks (I was a little lax about doing this in the summer) and found that I improved on most things. Sadly though my squats stayed pretty much the same.

High Rep Weight Training Routine

Click the image for full size:

High Rep Workout Results

You can get a printable pdf version of this workout here


Medicine Ball Launch

In today’s kickboxing class, after being exhausted from ten 3 minute rounds on the punching bag we grabbed a partner and did this awesome exercise.

Grab a 15lb medicine ball and stand about 8 feet from your partner.

Stand with your left foot slightly forward and you right foot back.

Hold the ball to shoulder height with your left hand

Using the palm of your right hand, thrust the ball the forward at your partner twisting your right hip forward as you do so, as if you were throwing a punch. Try to keep the ball travelling in a straight horizontal line as much as possible, not a parabolic trajectory.

You partner will catch the ball and thrust it back to you.

Repeat for 2 minutes before swtiching to the left hand.

21 Oct

Photography Challenge Day 21

Day 21: Faceless Self Portrait


Photo Taken October 21, 2011.

I suspect this was the result of a very good midsection roundhouse from my kickboxing class on Wednesday, although I don’t quite remember which blow caused the bruise.

In In spite of the bruises and the repeated punches to the head and the exhausted intervals of all out effort, I come home from kickboxing classes happier than ever.

It’s a satisfying feeling of learning a new skill, getting a killer workout, and releasing all my anger.

I don’t think you can get that from any other form of exercise.