Q and A Dec 21st, 2012

challenge workouts

Christmas is only a few days away. How are your workouts going? Not going? Oh dear…


I know how busy you can get and if you’re traveling, it’s even more difficult to find time or know what to do.


If you’re stuck, I have a solution for you.

challenge workout travel edition

20 ‘Done for You’ workouts to print and go and an exercise library to help you ensure your form is correct. Here are a few questions that I’ve received about it:

Question: Where did the idea of a travel workout come from?

Answer: I travel a great deal and I always do workouts on the road. Several of my fitness boot camp clients have asked for workouts that they can do while they’re on holidays from my fitness boot camp so I thought that it would be helpful if I put together a bunch of workouts that I’ve done for them.

Question: What is your favorite travel workout exercise to do?

Answer: My favorite travel workout is one that’s timed. I’ll create the sets before I get to the gym. Often times I’ll be kicking myself half way through the workout because I’ll have made the workout ridiculously hard, but because I said I’d do it, I never turn back. I’ll string several movements together, alternating strength and HIIT. I can get an incredibly intense full body workout (or leg workout, back workout, what ever I choose to do that day) in a short time and I’ll have addressed both strength and cardio in record time.

Question: When I travel, what equipment should I bring with me?

Answer: I always travel with my jump rope and gym boss timer. Often I’ll do a bodyweight workout so just bring yourself 😉

If you have access to a hotel gym, there’s usually a bench and a few dumb bells that you can use to spice up a bodyweight workout. If you want to get super fancy, bring along a TRX and door hanger and you’ll literally have a gym in a shoe bag. (I have a friend that will have an awesome TRX program coming out very soon if you need help with using this great piece of equipment.)

Question: I really liked the hotel workout you had on the blog, but how many reps per exercise?  I would also like to jump rope, but how could you do it if the ceiling is too low?  I would like to start doing things like that instead of the treadmill all the time. Thanks for any advice!

Answer: The workout that you were referring to (here) includes burpees, renegade rows, mountain climbers, reverse lunges, squats, decline push ups and jump rope. It can be done in AMRAP style which means ‘as many rounds as possible’ in a given time. You can give yourself 12-20 minutes, depending on how much time you have. Do 10 reps per exercise and go through all the exercises, then repeat. If the ceiling is too low to jump rope, you can do a ‘phantom skip’ which is a high knee skip without a rope, sort of like pretending. (The bonus to this is that you never ‘miss’ and you never have to stop to untangle yourself from the rope with a phantom skip.)

Question: I really liked this post.  I particularly liked the alternatives for persons with problem knees.  I generally don’t have too many issues performing lunges and squats, the mountain climbers give me the most grief.  Do you have an alternative for them?

Answer: If you find an exercise that aggravates a joint, there’s no need to continue with it unless you can modify to avoid pain. You can always find an alternative. The purpose of the mountain climbers in this workout is to elevate your heart rate, so you can do anything that will do that. You can try burpees, skaters, skip hops, squat jumps or full body extensions. Any exercise that gets you hot, sweaty and out of breath can be used.

My Challenge Workouts: Travel Edition is only $7 until midnight tonight.

At 35 cent a workout, you really can’t go wrong with it.

Click HERE to grab it.


I featured my friend, Forest Vance this week on the blog, you can check out his posts here and here.

I got a few questions regarding kettlebells, so I’ll let Forest take over with them:

Question: ‘I can’t get the form down’
Answer: Learning good kettlebell technique is like learning any other skill – it requires regular practice. When I started practicing the basic movements on a daily basis is when I really started seeing measurable progress with my KB program. If you’re serious about getting everything you can from your kettlebell training and realizing its true benefits, you have to focus on good technique.
So what do I mean by practice? Just start every workout by practicing the basic drills you’re working on. For example, do 10 or 12 Swings at a time, focusing on one point for each set – staying tight, keeping the lats engaged, proper breathing, etc. Don’t come anywhere close to failure.
Again, the key to making real progress with your kettlebell training is proper form.

Question: ‘My lower back hurts during the Swing’
Answer: The Kettlebell Swing is one of the best exercises in the world for whole-body conditioning. However, it’s also very technical – there are a whole lot more moving parts to the Swing than, say, a Bicep Curl.
One of the most common problems folks get when learning the Swing (especially those that are self-instructed) is lower back pain. And this is very bad – because the Kettlebell Swing isn’t an exercise for your lower back! In fact, if you’re doing it right, you shouldn’t feel it in your back at all. But I know it happens – and I know not all of you are going to run out and start training with a local RKC. So if you’re experiencing lower back pain during the Swing, here are two reasons why it might be happening – and two drills to help correct your form:
1. Rounding the back/ not creasing at the hip
There should be a totally, completely straight line from your hip to your shoulder during the Swing.
Don’t be afraid to let your body come forward; just don’t confuse a straight back with a flat back. In my experience, when people think ’straight’, they think their body has to be straight up and down.
The fix:
Stand in front of a heavy bag. Do a Sumo Deadlift and ‘punch’ the bag with your butt as you descend into the movement and the kettlebell gets closer to the floor. You should feel the hamstrings load up during the movement and should feel nothing in the lower back. Once you’ve ‘grooved’ this movement, do a few Swings – and try to get the same feeling and patterning in the lower body.
2. Swinging the ‘bell too low to the ground
Another common mistake during the Swing is when you ‘hike pass’ the weight back, you end up with the weight too close to the ground. This is a sure-fire way to cause lower back pain with the Kettlebell Swing.
The fix:
The kettlebell should be close and tight to the body as you do your Swings – imagine you’re hike passing a football. Another visual that helps is to try and get the bottom of the ‘bell’ to face the wall behind you.

Forest has his kettlebell program discounted for us this week. You can check it out HERE, as a kettlebell virgin myself, I thought it was well laid out and easy to follow.