Q n A Oct 11, 2013

challenge workouts

Question: How do you recommend finding a way to deep breath when you’re try to keep your stomach tight?  I’ve always found that difficult.  Let’s say you’re doing renegade rows and keeping your form tight (abs tight) – then how do you keep deep breathing at the same time?  I often find I struggle with this.

Answer: With resistance training, try to exhale on exertion. It does take practice but when you’re doing the lifting phase in the renegade row (or the concentric phase of any exercise) then blow out. This also helps to prevent you from holding your breath.


Question: I know you LOVE burpees (I hate them!) but do them because I acknowledge how good they are!  Anyways, I always get a pain near my hamstring attachments below the glutes whenever I do the thrusting kick up – not out (to the plank position) but up (towards the squat position before standing).  This has always been the case, and on most days it is what limits the number of burpees I can do, and rather quickly.  I’ve tried all kinds of stretching, but to no avail.  And it only happens on my right side!  Any suggestions?
Answer: I suggest getting a roller and doing some self massage, roll out your hamstring/glute tie in. It hurts like the devil, but I have this issue too and it helps. The other thing you should do while it’s bothering you is do a burpee walk out, walk in or do a wide stance hop in so there’s less stretch to the ham. It sounds like you need to get some advice from a physical therapist as well.
I often get knots in my back and I do self massage with a roller. This works for the back or hams or what ever muscle is sore. The key generally is if it hurts like HE*L, you’re probably hitting the spot. Here’s a video explanation of the back massage I do:

Question: Recently, I’ve managed to re-injure my right achilles tendon (and not from running!)…a very long-term injury.  Because of it, I’m having trouble walking, and anything that requires pushing off the toes (rope jumping,sprinting, jumping jacks, or seemingly most things on the feet) are out for awhile.  What can you suggest for me to replace these exercises to keep up HIIT and other density and other training that keeps the heart rate up?
Answer: Burpees may be out completely since you’re on the toes even for the walk out burpee. You can do full body extensions, quickly! You may be able to do a skater if you keep the feet flat (don’t do the hop, just take a big step side to side, stay low and swing the arms). The KB swing is a great HIIT movement too. You’ll definitely be limited until this is rectified, but don’t push it. Get physical therapy, the last thing you want is a ruptured achilles. Take care and keep me posted.
Sev wanted to say hi…he’s enjoying the fall leaves and chasing squirrels. sev fall 2013 225x300 sev fall 2013

Comment: I can’t tell you how motivating it is to see a woman of our age with upper body strength, who doesn’t look like a “man.”  I’m 43 and the only woman I know who can, admittedly, only do a couple of pull-ups, and many, many push-ups.  Long story short, I have an upper body with shapely little muscles.

Granted I’m NOT a fanatic and get turned off by people who think they can only eat a leaf of lettuce or manufactured protein shakes as food.  I just want to be a healthy role model for my 15 year-old soccer player daughter.

I endured a painful shoulder for years, and finally underwent surgery for an encapsulation and a subacromial decompression.  I’m gaining back my strength and look forward to your “Challenges” that my husband found for us yesterday.

Just wanted to say thank you for the motivation! Regards, Kris

Answer: You’ve made my day. Thank you so much for the email. Too often people will make an effort to complain but not to compliment. I’ll definitely pay it forward.

I’m really proud of you for setting a positive example for your daughter. I feel the same way. I want to show my kids (Hannah 19, Samuel 16) that being fit is a lifestyle and it goes hand in hand with a healthy diet full of good food (even tho I don’t cook it as deliciously as I’d like, I’m all about eating!)

Good luck with your shoulder rehab, let me know what I can do to support you. Take care and stay in touch.

Question: I just purchased the Challenge Burpee program. I can only work out during weekends due to hectic work schedule. Any suggestions for back-to-back workouts that would be challenging but not burn me out? Thank you.


Answer: Is there any way you can find 15 min to workout on any of the week days? That’s all the burpee workouts take and you’d benefit so much more than doing more time on the weekends.

My suggestion is to take any of the burpee workouts, set a timer for 10-15 min and go HARD at least 2-3 week days and then workout for a longer time and include more stretching on the weekends. I’d still keep your workouts to 30 minutes of INTENSE work and then add a warm up and cool down on top of that.

You can pair up any of the burpee workouts to create a 30 min workout and you can pair down any workout to make it 10 minutes.

Consistency over time is key, not the amount of time you train.

Grab Challenge Burpee here.


Syliva and me

Pilates Chick, Sylvia Favela and I hit my son’s football game last night in the pouring rain. She’s a good sport to sit in the soaking wet downpour to cheer on the son of a friend. She’s up for Canadian Thanksgiving, a second year tradition. The ploy of the day was to get her good and hungry so when we got home whatever I cooked her would ‘taste’ delicious. I made her baked salmon, I’ll spare you the recipe since it was a near epic fail, but it had a generous helping of hunger sauce so she thought it was fantastic. I’ll have to recreate a similar scenario for Thanksgiving dinner, possibly starve her for a few days prior so she’ll be ready to eat pretty much anything – always the best way to enjoy my cooking.)

I clearly should have grabbed a recipe from here.

This one here would have been easy to make and it looks delish:

tuna and sweet potato patties


Grab more user friendly recipes that even a bad cook like me can handle.