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?


Crazy Cotter


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.


Fitness in 5 Minutes

Well, Texas is starting to semi feel like that FALL. Which means cooler mornings. Which means I take my boot camp class outdoors for more than half the time. Oh they love me! Haha. Really though, this time of year I not only focus on FUNCTIONAL fitness class formats, but ones that switch your mindset from “I must workout for this long” to “oh wow, this is challenging but fun!”

Get the picture?

Let’s break down fitness into DO-ABLE segments. Let’s create a FUN environment. Let’s just get outside and play!! Hey, I’m Corny Cotter, I’m allowed to over exaggerate my excitement!

walking gear from adidas - Fall

Fitness in 5 minutes. That’s where we begin. We progress from there. If you can do it all, great! If you can do only half, that’s fine. The point is to start and move and use YOUR surroundings.

adidas techfit tights and energy boosts

Ready, set, go!

Fitness in 5 Minutes Workout  @adidaswomen #committomore #fitfluential #WOD

Remember to focus on form and function –> 5 minutes at a time.

Squat in supernova tights

Remember to get creative with your “traveling” WOD. Start somewhere where you can keep your weights, then use the trail or park to travel to your next spot.

Adizero Climaproof Jacket  @adidaswomenUS

And of course, dress appropriately for the weather!

Adizero Climaproof Jacket  @adidaswomenUS and run tights capris from @adidaswomen

1. Adizero Climaproof Jacket - oh I love this light weight jacket. It’s slim-fit and made with climaproof® material. Perfect for outdoor training, rain and a wind-resistant front panel. plus, it has pockets in the back that zips!

2. Techfit Capri Tights – You can wear these alone or layered under shorts. Specifically designed with compression fit that supports muscles through all kinds of cross trianing and cardio. Super comfy too of course. I got xs for more compression.

Thank you for Adidas for allowing me to be a fashionista this month!

Adidas-Logo (2)

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.

Do you break down workouts to make it more do-able? If not, you should! It works great.


Crazy Cotter

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 –>

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!


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!


Power Row Workout and Power O’ Giveaway

Ahh Happy Friday! Way to POWER through the work week! Today, I’m talking Power. Like my clever intro? Anyway, yes, power! Two kinds.

First… my gym is loving the rowing machine these days. We’ve had lots of fun workouts incorporating rowing into the mix as well as several different challenges. I wanted to CHALLENGE you to try out rowing yourself, if you haven’t already. Go ahead, give one this workout a try!

power row wod

photo 2

Second POWER –>  I wanted to share with you all today was the new POWER O’s cereal from Love Grown Foods.


A few weeks ago, Love Grown Foods sent the Love Bloggers samples to try out before the big launch date. I was SUPER excited! Actually, I think the kiwi was even more excited.

photo 1

But what I was most impressed about with the new Power O’s was the ingredients! Here, I’ll share the info from the LOVE GROWN Crew themselves.

“Love Grown Foods® Power O’s™ will revolutionize your breakfast. Made with navy beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, and brown rice, Power O’s™ are a powerfully nutritious cereal and a great way to power up your day!”

photo 2

You read that right, BEANS FOR BREAKFAST! Four Flavors: Strawberry, Chocolate, Honey, and Original. Don’t worry, they don’t taste like beans. They taste delicious and nourishing! No dyes, no oil, GMO Free, and gluten free.

photo 3photo 4

I would tell you my favorite but it’s too hard to pick. That’s why I combine them all. Winking smile

Love Grown Foods would like to giveaway one FULL BOX of Power O’s and Four minis! Here’s how to win! Open to US and Canada. But if any of my international friends win, I am happy to ship these to them if the shipping is under $20. Deal?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Okay, if you made it this far you’re probably ready to power through this Friday and get to the weekend, yes?



Why Barre Workouts WORK

Happy Friday! Glad we made it. Today I have convinced my lovely blend Jolene to write a second guest post on the Benefits of Barre workouts.


Well after that post, I had the chance to stay with Jolene and take one of her classes. I adored it (and her teaching)! And I felt worked, but in a good way. I was intrigued by all the different classes they offered and how BARRE workouts really can WORK your whole body at once. Hence this guest post. So enjoy, and uh.. GO TAKE BARRE!


The benefits of the barre: round two!

When Lindsay asked me to guest blog for her again about the benefits of barre workouts, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. Thank you Lindsay, once again, for allowing me to share my viewpoint on why barre workouts are so amazing and above all? Why it is so important to find something that works for you – specifically you, and nobody else.

Because when you do? It is an absolute joy to work out, and something to look forward to, not look forward to…getting it over with. Some may be shaking their heads at that premise, but it’s the truth!

But why do they work? Here’s why…


Variety, variety, variety.

What I so adore about the classes at barre n9ne, and not just about barre workouts, period, is the variety that keeps-you-guessing and doesn’t ever get boring, doesn’t ever become monotonous and doesn’t ever become easier. It’s always a challenge. It’s always difficult (yet achievable!) and it always delivers results.

Targets the trouble spots women target most!

Let’s face it – inner thighs (and thighs generally), glutes, abs, and arms (triceps, specifically!) are those areas women most want to slim down when looking for a workout regime. And what I love about barre n9ne workouts is that they target these areas and truly torch them. For example, we believe in plies, plies, plies, not lunges and squats, that lean out the tops and sides of our thighs, rather than building up the ‘swoop’ that can happen when you tend to over-build up the fronts and sides of your thighs, as squats and lunges tend to focus on (great for men, notsogreat for women!). I used to adore squats and lunges, yet I abhorred (okay, maybe that’s a strong word! it was a trouble spot!) my thighs and inner thighs and never understood why they were never quite improving. With more focus on leaning the legs with isometric movements, lighter weights and high repetition, the results are obvious in all of our clients. Seeing before and after pictures come in, the first thing I always notice, thighs, abs, arms. Bingo.

Muscle failure, burn, baby, burn.

(see, even men can benefit)

barre 9

We always tell our clients, especially those just starting out, to ‘embrace the shake’ of their muscles, don’t shy away from it. That shake is muscle failure and working it to the max, which leads to muscle toning, like whoa. Lean, mean, machine! I said in my last post for Lindsay, that you just feel worked from head to toe after a class, and it’s just so true. Every single time. Every single class. That shake, that burn, that shut-your-eyes-and-breathe-through-it…it just works.

It complements cardio, big time.

Add in a cardio element – running, walking, biking, whatever you like, and you have a very well rounded workout regime. It’s all about smarter, not harder, too, which I adore. Toss in a few 30-45 min cardio bursts interspersed with your barre classes (2-4 times a week) and you truly get an amazing workout, in a short amount of time. The tiny movements, zillion reps, and burn, shake, and burn some more of the barre, combined with getting your sweat on, and your body just responds. It is truly the first and only approach that has ever worked for me, and not only worked, but is a sustainable, fun, and effective workout that works for any age, any shape, any size, any activity level, from beginners to advanced, in a fun, social and supportive community.

Now what’s better than that?!

It goes back to what I said in the beginning…it’s all about finding an approach that works best for YOU and only YOU. And when you do? It is pure joy, day in and day out. And for me, I feel blessed to not only live this lifestyle, I have the honor of teaching it every single day (give or take!).

Now, who’s ready for barre workout? GO FOR IT! I’m sure there are plenty of barre studios in your area.

Thank you Jo (aka Jolene) for the guest post. You (and Jess) are AMAZING!




3 Cross Training Workouts & Allowing Mental Breaks

If there’s two things that really gets on people’s nerves, it’s bad weather and not being in control. So I can only assume a lot of us have been feeling a little annoyed the past few weeks. Yes?
We might be stuck inside, training schedules and family routine go out the window, and we’ve had to ” adjust.”



And if you’re like me, you’ve also been a little more connected to social media due to being cooped up. Let me tell you, that was not my wisest decision. I’ve come to realize that the more we complain (via internet or anywhere), the more we feed the WORRY addiction and stop living life. –> GUILTY (me).


Maybe the cold freezes our brain cells. Actually wait, I take that back. Maybe cold air puts our brain cells into overdrive, causing us to OVER think and OVER exaggerate…. okay that’s just a woman for ya. Ha!

So instead of feeling cooped up in my own thoughts, I just decided to take a mental break.

I took the week off from running. Was I supposed to? Yes. In fact, the relay training started this week. But so did the ice, the cold weather, and more things added to my plate. Usually running is a great way to relieve stress, but personally, I didn’t want to abuse it. I also knew my mind and body needed the break from feeling like I “had to” run a certain amount each week.


I focused on cross training. It felt good. I even joined a few training sessions with my co-workers. More burpees anyone?

photo 2


Cross training

 My other Mental breaks came in the form of—–>

A family night. Gosh, I didn’t realize how badly I just needed to laugh at these kids.

photo 3

A little more kitchen time. Baking and multiple Taco nights cures all? Speaking of tacos and Mexican food, check out Heather’s MMAZ this week for some great queso recipes. I will be trying some those for sure.

chia bread


And finally, I spent more time here. Enough said. Amen!


Mental break + Media break = Mental Clarity and a Marvelous Monday.



Do you allow yourself Mental breaks? Hope so!



Burpees or Bust Challenge and Roundup #FFBurpee

Well, if you thought last week’s crazy Cotter workouts  round up were CRAZY,  this weeks workout roundup might be even crazier. I think I will blame this on the freezing temperatures. Makes me want bust out a Burpee to stay warm.

burpee time

But actually, the point of this post is to share a few Burpee challenges is going on. We have one at my gym reach 1000 GI Janes or Burpees in 90 days. Along with a lot exercises and cardio goals (like so many meters of rowing machine, running miles, spin, kb swings, etc). It’s full on crazy and I love it!

There is also the 1000 Burpee challenge through Fitfluential. #FFBurpee

burpee or bust

If you haven’t checked it out, you must do so now. 1000 burpees by February 28 and with awesome prizes by Under Armor!!

So yes, the point of this post……Burpees our BUST.

Today I am leading a class at my gym with a 300 workout Burpee challenge. Here’s what we going to do below.

  • 50 Regular Burpees
  • 50 Half Burpees
  • 50 Burpess with bounding lunges
  • 50 Burpees with spider man push ups
  • 50 Burpees with lateral Jump
  • 50 Burpees with squat curl

That’s almost halfway there in one day. Talk about a major sweat fest. But I’m a rare bread, I really love Burpee’s. Plus I promised my class if they made it through the whole class, I would make them all Healthy Bites!

NOW —> it’s your turn!  I’ve linked several Burpee workouts below. All are awesome, creative, and created by fellow fitness gurus. Pick one to do every other day, every day, once a week, etc. With all these great Burpee workout resources, you’re bound to hit that 1000 challenge in no time.

My NEW Years Burpee Workout

burpee count UP

Kristin’s Wave Sayonara Stair Burpee Challenge

Wave Sayonara Burpee Challenge

30 Different Burpee Variations by Taylor

30 burpees

Brad’s Tabata Burpee Workout Video

Return of the Burpee Tabata Routine

Janetha’s Burpee Surprise via GPP Fitness


A Burpee Game By Running Hutch (Tiffany)

pump up the puma

Burpees Everywhere by Bonnie

Burpees everywhere

Kat’s Burpee Kickstart


Burrrrrpee Workout by Annette

20 min AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) with Burpees by Angela

20 minute AMRAP -

Cardio Circuit with Burpees by Kaila


Danielle’s New Year Burpee WOD

new year new you

Phew, I’m tired just reading these. Wish me luck, I’m off to teach the 300 Burpee class now!


So what do you say, Burpees or bust?


Crazy Cotter

p.s. I posted THIS Chase Infinite SHIRT on instagram the other day. LOVE it! In case you want to order use  code – fitness – to save you 20 percent at

Move it Monday: Core and More

Reminisce for a minute with me here. When was the first time you heard the word “core?” To be honest, I think it’s still a relatively new term, I could be wrong. I first heard the word CORE back in 2004 when I received my ACE Personal Training Certification. Before that (in college) I was all about the abs of steel videos. Okay and maybe some buns of steel too. The kiwi was keen on Richard Simmons Videos. Ha! I kid.. kinda.


But let’s get serious, CORE moves are important, SUPER important! And CORE workouts are more than just crunches and ab work. The core is basically the trunk of the body yet it provides balance and functional strength for the whole body. You can work your core by doing push ups, pull ups, squats, burpees, planks, yoga, etc.

plankpush up

And did you know that you can work your core while running, swimming, and cycling too?  (Hello runner’s abs!) But in order to do so, you have to make sure you are focusing on engaging those muscles and keeping everything else in proper form.


When we get tired, our form slacks and our core is no longer engaged. When our form is correct, it’s easier to engage the core muscles to build strength. Does that make sense?

Now, let’s talk about my trick. When I teach spin, I often involve CORE with it. At first I have a few people (mainly men, haha) complain, but once they start to see/feel a strength increase in their core muscles, they are more determined to CONTINUE to WORK those muscles.


So in order to keep those core muscles engaged during spin, I break up the class into 3-4 parts. First, we check our posture on the bike.

  • Upper Body relaxed
  • Abs tight
  • elbows soft
  • No hunching
  • Seat at hip height
  • No knees rotating over toes
  • Look forward not down.
  • Enough tension on the bike, no bouncing in saddle.

Next we get out sweat on.

core and more

And if they want more CORE at then end, we often incorporate this move. 3 sets of 15.

READ THIS for more info on SPIN. Oh and I know THIS GIRL has great SPIN tips as well.

Well, there you have it. A pretty MARVELOUS Move it Monday.


Do you engage your core during cardio sessions?

If not, try to focus on it the next time you step out to sweat. Then report back. Winking smile


COR(E)NY Cotter


2 more days to enter the HEALTHY BITES giveaway.

New Year, New Word, New Workout

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year. A whole year since I wrote this post. You know the one word post, the no resolution post, the forward focus on in 2013 post. Oh yes, that post.


My word for 2013 was nurture. I have to say, I think I did that quite well. Thanks to the slowdown challenge, I was able to nurture a lot. And it was needed. I’m hoping to continue that in 2014 as well –> IN ALL AREAS.


corepower steamer


But let’s talk about 2014 for a second. I guess I need a new word. And I’ve been thinking about it. I’m thinking my word for 2014 will be actually two words.

Open and ready.


In 2014 I want to be open to whatever God’s plans are for us. And want to be ready (and willing) to follow them.

I want to be ready for change or no change, I want to be ready for my husband’s career to thrive or to take a different path. I want to be open to whatever path that leads us too. Heck, I just want to be ready to see where this year leads us.

Still dreaming big….

But I think this is the year we’re ready to find out where those dreams are going to take us. Less waiting, more DOING.

I am not really sure, and I don’t think the Kiwi knows either. But like I said, we’re ready and open to whatever it may be. We’re just going to go for it. One last hurrah! Training, triathlon, racing, Healthy Bites, Crazy Cotter stories, traveling, GF recipes, Hard Yards Coaching, resting, and more!


I know, it sounds so vague, but that is our life. One step in many directions. I’m ready!

mizuno 17

sherpa kiss

Speaking of being ready, are you ready for a new workout? Did you reset and re-power? I hope so, because you’ll need it for this workout.

 burpee count UP

Cheers to a marvelous last Monday of 2013!


What will your word being in 2014?

Crazy Cotter


click here to see who won the Corepower and fit kit giveaway

Holiday Hills & Mizuno Wave Rider 17 Miles

There are 2 things that really KEEP me motivated during the Holiday/Winter months.

mizuno walk

One is a PURPOSEFUL challenge. I mean an honest to goodness body/mind/heart challenge. Luckily, my friend Heather just started one this week! It’s called the MOVE HAPPY challenge. Basically it’s finding out what gets you moving and makes you smile in the process. It also is a chance to give thanks for your body’s ability to do so as well. You must check it out! She will have some pretty amazing prizes to go along with it, including Healthy Bites!


The Second thing that keeps me motivated is new gear! More specifically, run gear! I know I know, I should wait till Christmas but I always ask for my run gear presents early so that I can enjoy them ALL month long. There’s nothing like putting on a new pair of running shoes and going for a run. That feeling is just plain AWESOME! Yes, I am a run dork!

And speaking of new run gear, I was lucky enough to receive a complimentary pair of the new Wave Rider 17 Mizuno shoes to try out for myself.

mizuno wave rider  17

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

I’ve been wearing the Mizuno Wave Sayonara since early summer so when I had the chance to try out another new and improved neutral Mizuno running shoe, I had to jump at it! Although both are Neutral running shoes, the Wave Rider 17 has a totally different fit.

Here’s whatcha need to know about the Wave Rider 17:

  • New U4iC midsole that is 30% lighter than standard foam, still great absorption though! I have high arches and small heels so fit is crucial for me and so shock absorption/responsiveness
  • The New Wave Rider 17 has a new blown rubber (versus the previous carbon)outsole that helps reduce the overall weight of the shoe (8.8oz). I think it’s almost a whole ounce lighter than the 16’s. That’s light! Also note that the new outsole offers just as much traction as the Wave Rider 16.

Wave Rider 17_WOMENS_Outsole

  • Mizuno also made an upgrade to the upper. Now more sleek and seamless, again to reduce the weight. To me, it’s similar to that of the Wave Sayonara, very comfortable upper. Not bulky.
  • Super flexible.

photo (8)

Okay, so now that you know the details, how about the run?

I ran part trails and part road/hills in the Wave Rider 17 this week, about 5-8 miles each time. Very springy and light. My foot easily adjusted to the new fit. I especially liked their feel while doing hill repeats. The lightness of the shoe sure did help my turn over while powering up hill. Well, at least I like to think that! That’s some serious motivation right there. Winking smile

hills- short

The Wave Rider 17 will be released December 5th and retails at $114.95 MSRP. Perfect Christmas/Holiday gift to keep you MOTIVATED during the winter!

photo (7)

While I received the Mizunos on behalf of my partnership with Fitfluential LLC, my review/opinion is of course my own! Cotter Style.

What keeps you motivated during the winter? Are you motivated by new gear like me?

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!