Should You Focus on BIG Muscle Groups in a Workout?

I’ve been a personal trainer since 2004. Wow, has it been 10 years already? I guess so. So much has come and gone with fitness trends since then. And I’ll be the first to admit, I have probably tried all of them, just for kicks. Heck, I’ve even been put through a body building program before, and I liked it!

But times have changed (for me at least) and I no longer have time to spend hours in the gym trying new workouts, teaching 5 million types of classes, etc. Nope. I have one hour, maybe less. And you know what? It’s done my body good. Less is more.

Which leads me to next point.

CHEST, BACK, CORE, LEGS —> Why I Focus more on BIG Muscle Groups in a Workout or Class.

Push up rotation

This is just my preference because I’m not training for a body building/fitness competition or even for an endurance sport. Don’t get me wrong, I think those all are great sports and fitness endeavors. But me? Well.. I’m just trying to get in a full body workout and maintain strength/balance.

Okay, so let me explain my WHY reasons. Ready?

why focus on big muscle groups

1. Big Muscle groups work a lot of small muscle groups without even knowing it  –> for instance. Squats, they take a lot of core work too. And if you hold a med ball out in front, you’ll target those biceps!

low squat with med ball

2. Big Muscle groups get your HR up, which can combine strength and cardio! Hello, have you ever done a GI Janes or Burpee with a squat hop? Chest, core, legs, and plyometric cardio all in one!

3. And last but not least, Big Muscle Groups are time savers! You can work thos muscles fast to fatigue, then BAM you’re done. You’ve gotten in a full body workout in less than an hour. That’s what I’m all about, efficiency.

Big muscle GROUP WOD

I know many love back and bi days, or chest and tri days, but when I’m in a Cotter Crunch (see what i did there? Punny), my BIG muscle groups are my go to!

What do you think? Are you a big muscle group lover or do you like to break it up?

Cheers,

Crazy Cotter

p.s.

Fitness will always be part of Cotter Crunch, but not the focus. I hope to continue a fitness tip or workout at least once or twice a month. My real vision for this blog going forward is on gluten free recipes and good nutrition/fuel, with a side of Healthy Bites of course.

 

Join me for Strength and Sweat! A Plyometric Workout You can Do Anywhere

Let’s workout together today, shall we? In honor of WORKOUT WEDNESDAY, I thought I’d walk you through one of my outdoor strength and sweat classes with me. This week we are focusing on plyometric exercises that you can do ANYWHERE, no gym required.

Okay, ready to begin?

First, everyone gather promptly at 9am outside the gym. Grab a water (if needed) and a strength band for for part of our warm up routine.

climachill tank (adidas)

Now, let’s do our warm up run. An easy mile to the park down the road.

Once there, we go through a series of dynamic stretches and warm up routine. I like to use part of the routine the Kiwi showed you here. I also use the strength band and make everyone do duck walks. Duck walks with bands  look like this. –> click here

 

The warm up run plus the dynamic stretches takes about 20-25 minutes. Now it’s time for the main set. The plyometric workout set. Grab a spot on by a curb and get ready.

plyometrics anywhere!

This part of workout should take 12-15 minutes depending on the amount of time you recover after each round. Please note—> LESS is MORE here. The shorter the time, the more amount of power or speed you should put into each exercise.

Burpees or thrusters off curb look like this.

 

Push press to birdie look like this. And yes, your need the top of your head to almost hit the floor on the press!!

 

Long Jumps look like this –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P8qmLl4rZQ

If you do it right, you’ll be feeling it after those 12-15 minutes and will not need to repeat!

Once we’re done with that, we all take an easy run back to the gym. By then we only have about 10-15 minutes left of our class to complete the hour. We grab a mat and finish with CORE and stretching. Just do the CORE part of this workout 3x, not the cardio please.

core and more

Phew! That was a good SWEAT FEST!

gym

Okay, your turn. Try it and let me know how it goes. Or just come visit and join my outdoor class, sound good?

Cheers to Workout Wednesday!

LC

Making Workouts Purposeful

A month ago I wrote a post about my Spring Fitness routine and why I focus on a “vision’’ versus a specific goal. Well, a month has passed and that vision is still going strong!

My dad is still running (trails) and I’m happy to be his sherpa sidekick. We’ve got a long way to go, but slow and steady is best to keep him (us) injury free.

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My other vision had to do with teaching my strength and outdoor fitness classes. Now don’t get me wrong, I love playing drill sergeant and motivating my class to push harder (when needed), but that really isn’t my purpose or my “vision.”

As a fitness instructor, I want my class to LEARN! As a fitness instructor, I want to do more than just instruct, I want to continue to learn myself so that I can TEACH what is valuable and beneficial!

strength and sweat

I want to teach them how to create their own workouts for strength, cardio, or for when they travel.

Cross training

I want to teach them to embrace rest days and how to work balance into their strength training.

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I want to teach them to LOVE burpees for it’s FULL BODY benefit. Yes, burpees are seriously the best move for you –> cardio and strength and core!

I want to teach them why we do funny looking exercises, like the ones that make you squat like a frog. And then everyone wonders…… what the heck does this work?

Side note: Froggy squat with extension is a GREAT move for hamstrings and inner thigh work. See video for full move!

Starting Froggy position is like this –> see video for full move

I want to teach them that you can work your core more when you engage it with each exercise and that crunches are not needed.

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And lastly, I want them to learn to LOVE putting on workout clothes and having a game plan, a purpose.

climachill cross tank

Nowadays the workout clothes and gear are fashionable, comfortable, flattering, supportive, and darn right motivating!
And thanks to Adidas, I feel like I can do my job better. Because let’s face it, the clothes really do make the girl (or my case, teacher). Am I right?
Here my top three picks you’ll see me regularly sporting at gym!

adidas spring line- women

1.ULTIMATE TWIST SPORT TANK TOPLove this top! It has full support built in, is made with climalite® fabric that keeps sweat away from your skin, and the straps come around the neck and them form one T strap in back. That’s probably my favorite feature. It feels so light and easy to move in.

2. ENERGY BOOSTS RUNNING SHOES- I talked about these shoes in my last post, but this time I’ve had more time to demo them. Still love them! I wore them on the trails (see above) and while teaching. I love the “spring in your step” that you get with these shoes. And I was impressed how well the held up on the trails.

3. CHEVRON SHORTS- Wow, these are incredibly light weight and perfect for outdoor training. They are made with climalite fabric to keep sweat off and even have a hidden zipper on the side seam, which I didn’t even notice until I examined them up close. The inner brief is very light material and doesn’t bind when you move, which is a huge plus! Winking smile

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Adidas Women designs innovative performance products to help women commit to their best self and conquer their fitness goals. We inspire women to look and feel their best, so kick-start your workout today with new styles from @adidasWomen. It’s time to #committomore www.adidas.com/women

Do you make your workout purposeful? What’s your favorite piece of workout gear this month?

Cheers!

Corny Cotter (LC)

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by adidas via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of adidas.

Fitness Friday: Taking your Workout Outdoors

Okay, I think Spring is here to stay. We hit 80F twice this week, which means we’ve been training outdoors almost everyday. That’s a good feeling (minus the allergies).

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Don’t be jealous, come June it will be 100F in Texas and I’ll be cursing the humidity and hibernating indoors after 10am. Ha ha. The poor kiwi has to train all day in it, so I guess I can’t complain.

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But let’s stay positive here and talk about fitness, outdoor fitness, FRESH AIR fitness. You see, I teach two strength classes a week. My Friday class is now predominately outdoors. We use minimal equipment and focus on body strength exercises. These workouts are my favorite. It goes by fast and there’s always a change in scenery.

Crazy Cotter Jane Fonda moves.

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Any body can do these workouts, gym or no gym! All you need is place to run and a curb. Make sure the curb is on a street or parking lot with little to know traffic. Bonus if you can bring weights and set them up at a park. But that’s optional. Don’t have weights? Carry two water bottles with you.

Okay, you ready? Try this out one or two times through!

Outdoor workout

NOTE: For those who want to use weights, add a press to your jump jacks, like I did below.

See, fun in the sun! Okay fun once it’s complete. Winking smile

If you’re looking for an online boot camp, I’d check out my friend Paige’s 8 week online bootcamp. Paige is a high end personal trainer who always creates fun and functional workouts! I’ll be joining in on some of these workouts myself!

paiges bootcamp

What workout will you take outdoors this weekend?

Cheers!

LC

p.s.

I’ll be posting April’s Healthy Bites Flavor of month recipe and giveaway on Monday, so stay tuned!

3 Strength Moves to Improve Your Run Form

It’s been a little over a year now since we’ve had to deal with injuries.  This past brought good health, healing, and being injury free for me and the kiwi. That means something. It means we’re doing something right. It may have took us a long time to find that right (rest and injury prevention), but hey, we were humbled, we learned, and  will continue to focus on it

That being said, I have a bit of GOOD info to share from the Kiwi. Tips and techniques to help improve your run form.

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Proper run form is a KEY component of injury prevention. Think about it, the body needs to run upright, core engaged, knees and feet biomechanically correct, glutes activated. Whoa, that’s a lot to remember! And I will be the first to admit that I forget about my form about 10 minutes into a run.

This is where strength can help. Here are 3 strength moves that mimic proper run form and therefore can IMPROVE your run form, naturally.

run form moves

The first move is called HOT SALSA (I have no idea why). Haha. All you need is a med ball and some space to walk and lunge forward. The kiwi explains in the video.

The second is forward lunge on the BOSU with straight arm med ball twist. This help activate the core, works on knee stability as well as activate the glute muscles.

 

albonfit pants

The third is reverse lunge with bar overheard. You really want to emphasize the lunge motion coming up towards the body. Almost like a snatch or explode movement. Another great move that mimics running (knee to foot to ground).

 

We did about 10-12 reps of each. 3-4x through. Just depends on your current strength. It should be a slow workout because you are really working on form.

Let me know if you try it! And have a Marvelous Monday!

thehealthydiva

Do you have any favorite strength moves to help with injury prevention?

Cheers!

Crazy Cotters

p.s. Last day to enter the Healthy Bites giveaway. And 4 more days left of the Albionfit giveaway. Wow, i’ve been a giveaway guru this month, ha!

Try it out Tuesday: x2 Performance, Inch Worms, Mochi, and More

It’s Try it out Tuesday! I haven’t done one in a while. Okay maybe a long time. But I have a few things I (we) are trying out and a few things I think you should try out.

Please ignore the confused “why am i trying this?” face in the picture. Ha!

Try-it-out-Tuesday

Let’s discuss. Shall we?

First- > add this move to your warm up routine. Inch worm with push up. 10 down, 10 back. Repeat 2x. Good for the core and hamstrings. Trust me, it will get you WARM!

 

Second-> Sprouted Brown Rice Mochi with Nut butter and honey. Yes, this is a MUST TRY. Why sprouted? So much better for digestion. And Mochi is easy to bake up and then stuff in the middle with some kind of gooey goodness. I’ve also stuffed Mochi with coconut butter and eggs.

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Third-> Breeze Bars. Have you tried? Well, I just love their start up story and can relate to their passion. Love the gluten free/dairy free and peanut free bars. I gave a few to my niece as well. Hearty texture! Another great bike fuel bar the kiwi.

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Fourth-> The kiwi and I both are trying out a new supplement by x2 performance. What it is? You can see below, but to sum it up for you –> helps generate ATP production and therefore increase energy and stamina, as well as recovery.

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2x perfermance statement

“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.”

It’s NSF approved so the kiwi can legally take this when racing. That’s a HUGE PLUS for us. We are so careful about supplements for that reason. I think I’m more excited for him to try it out than me! 2xperformance has elite/professional athletes and a triathlete team who race with it, so we’ll see how it goes with kiwi professional! Fingers crossed.  I know a few other bloggers will be trying out x2 performance as well. It will be interesting to see how it plays a part in their fitness!

I’ll also report back about how I use it. Mainly before runs and teaching classes. Cool?

Yes, they are compensating us, but the good thing is there is no pressure with this product. It’s basically to TRY IT OUT to see if it fits into our training properly, ya know? Winking smile Ingredients are approved, now we just need to give it a whirl!

Fifth –> Pop Chips and balsamic glaze in homemade (organic) Meatloaf. Dang, I can’t wait to share this recipe. OH MY GOODNESS it’s good. This is what happens when you run out of gluten free bread crumbs. You improvise. Worked out well.

popchip meatloaf

 What have you tried out lately?

I wonder if i should make this a link up next time? hmmm….

Cheers,
LC

Wednesday Warm-Up: 4 New Running Drills

Wednesday warm-up. Now there’s a literal title for you. Anybody else freezing there behind off yet? What am I thinking, of course you are.
I’ve been doing most of my running outdoors on the trails, and I think my body is finally acclimated to the cold weather.

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I actually enjoyed a nice brisk trail run yesterday in 22°F. That’s gotta to be record for me and definitely a crazy Cotter moment. Although that’s probably nothing compared to you northerners where it’s -15F.

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Okay okay enough about the cold. I know you’re tired of it. Let’s talk about warming up. A few weeks ago I posted a picture on Instagram of the kiwi performing a few exercise moves/drills before his run.

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I like to watch him warm up before we run because I always learn something new. He has his “routine” you might say.

And why this routine? Good question.

warm up

Like any competitive runner or elite athlete, taking time to prep your body for a specific run is key. Warming up can help with injury prevention and it often it helps prepare you mentally for a grueling run set. Kinda like telling the body to GET READY!

But I have a confession, I rarely warm up. Not for a run. Well that needs to change. Remember, I’m open to new things this year! And today I’m ready learn his “moves.” Hope you will too.

4 bonus Warm Up drills to Start Incorporating into your Run Program

  1. Walking Knee Grab to Quad stretch

  2. Walking pigeon pose with ankle grab

  3. Walking lunge with rotation and arms in T

  4. Walking toes out/in with touch

You can see all the examples in the video, so be sure to check it out when you can.

Ever tried any of these moves? Do you take time to warm up?

Oh, and stay warm!

Cheers,

LC

p.s.

I have a Healthy Bites Update for you and maybe even a recipe come Friday, so stay tuned! thank you  for always supporting. xxoo

Why Every Athlete Needs to EMBRACE an Off Season.

off season

As I sit here typing this post, but Husband is enjoying a coffee date with a friend. A rarity he gets to enjoy during the season.  Usually (during training/race season) this time of day is spent on his bike outside followed up by a PM run, etc.

But since he’s enjoying his off-season, he can take advantage of mid afternoon coffee dates. And I can take advantage of his extra time as well. He is my new errand boy, ha ha. Just kidding. Actually I do take advantage of his time off because it means we get to go on more walks and just relax, have fun.

fun

Speaking of relaxing, I don’t believe a lot of people know how to do it. I’ve struggled with this for a while as well. But when you I married to a professional athlete, you see the real reason behind his training and his non-training days. So embracing the off-season is huge for an athlete Who wants to stay healthy and keep competing.

2010 Rev 3 Quassy

many people have asked me as well as my husband, what it looks like to take a off-season and why it is important. So I thought I’d do a little interview with Mr. Cotter himself. I’ll leave our main points below. Oh and enjoy the Movember stash and fro! Winking smile

Side note from the Kiwi CotterWhat I mean by my no carb comment is to reduce (not eliminate) the amount of carbs you are consuming later in the day, especially since you are less active. During off season, my last meal of the day is usually more fat/protein/fiber based.

tuna cakes (2)

Well, that is until a friend from down under sends me a care package full goodies from home (New Zealand). Ha! –> BALANCE, right?

candy

MAIN Take Away Notes :

  • Off Season length varies on difficulty/length of season. Off season can be 3-6 weeks long
  • Small amounts of exercise advised. Walks, coffee shop rides, light swims.
  • You want to get away from whatever sport you’ve been training for. A mental break. Don’t search running/triathlon sites, just disconnect.
  • Enjoy your treats but focus on nourishing your body first. Good Fats, Protein, and fiber rich meals.
  • Your goal is to recharge your batteries for the coming season
  • A well executed off season puts you in a better position to perform in the new season
  • A poorly planned/executed off season leads to not being as fresh, or your battery not fully recharged.
  • DO not, I REPEAT, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. If you have trained hard and long for more than 6 months, you NEED this. Your body WILL THANK YOU!

So… whatcha think?

Do you need to EMBRACE the off season and …. SLOW DOWN?

Cheers,

LC and Kiwi Cotter

Dream Big Encouragement–> Read Here.

“If there isn’t room in your dream for other people, then it’s not nearly big enough.”

Running and Adjusting – TX HEAT #wavesayonara

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno. All opinions are OF COURSE my own.

Well, first things first. Google Reader is GONE! What will we do? We’ll adjust. Go with it. It’s probably a good thing. I’m digging Bloglovin, a simple switch. You can click to follow all your favorite bloggers right here.

And speaking of adjusting, the past 10 days have been an adjustment..FOR SURE! Texas summer HEAT, it’s here and it’s brutal. Over 100F most days and humidity high in the morning. I’m trying to adjust running in it, slowly but surely.

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The second adjustment came with new running shoes. Yup! BRAND SPANKIN NEW Mizuno Wave Sayonaras!

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In fact, this is the first pair of Mizunos I’ve ever owned, which made me more eager to put them on and run! But wait, that heat. Oh boy! I had to pace myself. I decided to switch up my runs in order to adjust to the heat and the new shoes. Run shorter but more often. Run on different terrain. Run in the shade. Run early. Keep it simple. Here’s what my week looked like (all in my new Mizunos)

zico run

  • Sunday- Easy Trail Run (shaded)
  • Monday- A few Hill Repeats (a little over a mile total on road) plus strength work
  • Tuesday- Easy Trail Run (shaded)
  • Wednesday- 5k Tempo run on Road plus a few sets of sprints with my conditioning class.

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  • Thursday-Off
  • Friday- 40 minute Easy trail run plus core
  • Saturday- 65-70 minutes road running (easy)

Today I feel good! I feel like I adjusted to both the heat and the shoes. But I think the new shoes helped me conquer the heat. There’s something about running in new shoes that makes it more fun, yes?

Anyway, I was truly impressed with these shoes. They left a great FIRST impression and I have no doubt they will continue to impress me.

 

I go into full detail with the Video above but in case you can’t watch it, here’s a quick summary.

  • light weight
  • Nice tight heel grip (I have small heels and they did not slip out—YAY!)
  • low to the ground bottom which made me run more fore foot. A bonus for stride and efficiency. Gave me a little “spring” in my step.
  • Flexible toe box
  • breathable
  • True to size if you like thin socks. If you prefer thicker socks, I recommend buying a half size bigger.

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The Mizuno Wave Sayonara will be released July 5th, so be sure to look for them! Retailed around $119, a good price for a high quality shoe!

mizuno info shot

This week we actually a cool front coming in. Yes, that means high of 93F and low of 68F. You know what that means? GOOD RUNNING! I’ll be tackling this workout this week. Join me and then report back. Wave sayonara TEXAS HEAT! Winking smile I’m adjusted and ready to sweat!

run workout Mizuno

And lastly, I wanted to share with you The Meaning of Mezamashii Running — Told by the Project Members http://youtu.be/OylzJNss4E. You just might recognize one of the runners in this video. Fellow Fitfluential ambassador (and a woman I admire dearly) Michele Gonzalez shares her Mizuno Mezamashii Running story.

What are you adjusting to this summer? Are you a Mizuno runner/walker/etc? 

Cheers to Adjusting.. right?

LC

p.s.

Huge congratulations to Katie for delivering a healthy baby boy Rocco! Rest up friend. xxoo

It’s in the Bag

This week, it’s in the bag! Taught my last spin class for the week, totally winged it but worked out quite well.

spin

And now I am in need of a serious getaway. Like one where you travel to a beautiful destination, hang out with fabulous women, drink wine, workout or not, eat good food, and laugh.

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BLEND! I’m so there! And I’ve packed lots of  good things in my BAG!

blend 2013

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First of all, since I have the pleasure of representing ATTUNE FOODS at the retreat, I’ve stuffed my bag with all these free coupons. Lots of ATTUNE FOODS GOODIES to share.

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I’ve already bagged my Healthy Bites, but they will be there too! YAY!

bites for may june july

Now about this bag. It’s the new Accel Bag from Livewell360. Can you tell I am in love with it? It’s perfect for travel and came just in time for Blend!

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Take a look for yourself. The video goes into detail about all the cool features.

Note: I mention my other accel bag, but I meant to say my other larger CORE bag. Sheesh, I am bad with names. WORKING ON IT!

 Now what else did I fill it with? My go to carry on bag necessities. We all have our preferences, yes?

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  • ALT Larabars (with protein)
  • Sunbutter bars
  • True Lemon flavor packs
  • Protein powder (I back Vega to add to yogurt and then Designer whey to-go packs to add to water/milk)
  • hummus and carrot packs
  • Instant Coffee
  • Greens to go (chocolate flavor)
  • Not pictured MUST HAVE IN BAG- wet wipes, floss, eye drops, make up bag, empty water bottle to fill at airport, phone charger, laptop, chapstick, extra cash, toothbrush (yes I brush my teeth at the airport if needed).

Am I missing anything else? What do you fill your carry on with?

Let me know whatcha think ACCEL bag! And feel free to use the discount code COTTER10 at checkout.

Alright, this post is in the BAG! I’ll be back Monday ready to Sherpa the husband for his next race then back in the kitchen to fill those Healthy Bite orders. And to recap BLEND of course!

Cheers!

LC