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The 9-9-9 Workout

December 13, 2011 in Exercise

The 9-9-9 WorkoutWhen we’re short on time but feel like we need to move our butts, we typically opt for short and intense workouts with minimal to zero rest breaks. In November, we experimented with the 9-9-9 workout which we discovered on the Men’s Health website.

The first 9 refers to the number of repetitions performed of each exercise; the second 9 is the number of rounds of the circuit; and the third 9 is the maximum number of minutes to finish the entire workout. Essentially, the task is to complete the entire workout as fast as possible (hopefully, in under 9 minutes).

We made a slight modification to the workout due to the fact that we don’t have the set-up at home to safely perform inverted rows, opting for bent- over rows instead. We also chose to do plyometric squats instead of body weight (air) squats to increase the intensity of the workout.

Here’s our version of the circuit:

1. Plyometric (jumping) squats: 9 reps
2. Push-ups: 9 reps
3. Bent-over rows: 9 reps
4. Jumping Jacks: 9 reps

That’s one round. We managed to complete the 9 rounds of the circuit with zero rest between rounds. Here are our results:

Nov 4:       Jerrick-8:51; Dawn-8:12

Nov 13:     Jerrick-7:25; Dawn-6:55

Nov 26:    Jerrick- 7:42; Dawn: 7:34

For the bent-over rows, I used two 25 lbs. dumbbells and Jerrick used a 65 lbs. barbell. During our workout on Nov 26, I struggled with the push-ups at the end and had to modify them for a few reps in the final round of the workout. I was definitely challenged by the race against time.

9-9-9 Push-ups

Push-ups

9-9-9 Bentover Rows

Bent-over rows

9-9-9 Plyometric Squats

Plyometric Squats

I like the flexibility of this workout, in that it can be modified in so many ways. Whether you want to increase the intensity or if you don’t have the equipment, here are some modifications that can be experimented with:

  • Burpees or mountain climbers instead of  jumping jacks
  • Bodyweight (air) squats or dumbbell squats instead of plyometric squats
  • Renegade rows with dumbbells/kettlebells or seated rows with resistance bands can replace the bent-over rows
  • Bench press, swiss ball push-ups or spiderman pushups instead of regular push-ups
  • Plastic milk jugs filled with water or sand can substitute for dumbbells
  • ….the possibilities are endless.

Here’s a link to the Men’s Health 9-9-9 Workout.

Give it a try and let us know how it goes. We’d love to hear from you.

D.

 

 

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Getting Back Into It

October 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

As Dawn mentioned in a previous post, we gave up our gym memberships because we were basically throwing money down the drain by keeping them and rarely ever going.

There are certain aspects of the gym that I miss and then there are parts that I don’t. I don’t miss the fees, waiting for machines/equipment, and depending on who was working out next to me, the smell.

One of the things I do miss is having access to all the equipment that a big gym would have. Second to the squat rack, the equipment I miss most is the pull-up/chin-up bar; simple yet effective for a good upper body workout. The chin up bars at the gym were usually part of some bigger contraption like a squat rack, pull-down or cable row machine, or dip bar/pull up bar combo. Whatever the case, these are machines we do not have the money or room for in our house.

Well, I think I have managed to fill part of this void as I stumbled upon the Iron Gym home fitness system by ProFit. I found it for twenty bucks at WINNERS and at that price, I figured I’d give it a shot.

The Iron Gym is a pull up bar (and then some) that mounts freely on any standard doorway without any permanent fixtures.

I’ve used the Iron Gym more as a coat-hanger since I got it but I have been using it regularly over the past couple of weeks and it actually does the job. It’s design also allows for it to be easily removed from the door frame and serve as a push-up bar on the ground, as well as a sit-up and dip bar. As a result, you can get a full upper body workout out of it.

*Back
*Biceps
*Chest
*Triceps
*Shoulders
*Abs

I managed to assemble it without much trouble and all the parts and tools needed were included. It also came with a manual which contains assembly instructions, a workout plan, nutrition plan and some tips for success. One of the tips for success that was kind of funny was to place a photo of an “in-shape” celebrity by the door frame for motivation. Um ya, not for me but I will take up some of the other tips:

*Chart your progress and place the chart where you can see it often.

*Set a schedule and stick to it.

*Gradually increase reps over time for more vigorous workouts and don’t try to overexert yourself on the first go.

I was a bit worried at first that it might damage the door frame but the only damage so far has been on the equipment itself as the two foam end pieces that rest against the two side door frame moldings have started to rip. I used some good ol’ duct tape to cover it up and hopefully it will help prevent any further ripping. I’ve also noticed some minor scuffs caused by the black foam and plastic parts. Nothing a magic eraser can’t handle.

Overall, it’s been so far so good with the Iron Gym. It’s been a convenient and inexpensive home workout solution that has helped to fill the void of not having a gym membership, sans the smells.

Rip it up!

J.

Iron Gym Push-ups

 

Iron Gym Pull-ups and Dips


 

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To Gym Membership, or not To Gym Membership? That is the question.

August 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

How many of you parents (or non-parents for that matter) have a gym membership? For those of you who do, how frequently do you hit the gym? Prior to having kids, Jerrick and I were regular gym goers, averaging 4 to 5 times per week. We also managed to fit in some outdoor activity (eg. running, hiking, biking, ultimate frisbee) on some of our non-gym days. Working out was easy as 1-2-3 and we loved it. That seemed to change quickly, after Malaya, our eldest, was born 3 years ago.

Our hiatus from the gym after Malaya’s birth was not a result of injury or any other physical barriers.  Rather, it was due to the mental barriers that we faced as we made countless excuses not to workout there. We weren’t as motivated to spend any of our spare time at the gym. The whole process of driving to the gym, parking, dealing with crowds at the gym, and then driving home wasn’t appealing to either of us.  Although laziness played a critical role in our non-attendance at the gym, our changing priorities and interest to workout there were also significant factors.

So how did we stay active without going to the gym? We threw on our runners and started running. Although we typically had little energy left at the end of the day to exert at the gym, we often had some energy to run and enjoy some fresh  air in our neighbourhood. Jerrick and I would take turns watching Malaya, while the other went for a quick 20 to 30 minute run. We did this about 1 to 2 times a week, in addition to playing ultimate frisbee once weekly during the summer months. We also occasionally did 10 to 20 minute blasts of high intensity calisthenics (eg. lunges, push-ups, etc) and plyometrics outdoors or in our living room.  Although we weren’t as active as we used to be, we always felt great whenever we were active outdoors. I even continued to do some light running during my 2nd pregnancy and I felt great.

There were days when Jerrick or I would spontaneously make it out  to the gym for a quick workout, but that occurred infrequently. Nonetheless, it gave us enough of an excuse to continue to hang on to our monthly memberships. What were we thinking?

Jerrick finally gave up his gym membership over a year ago and I finally relinquished mine about half a year ago, not long after Mahal was born. In hindsight, both Jerrick and I should have given up our memberships long before we actually did. Why did we (especially I) hang on to our gym memberships for so long? Well, I kept on telling myself:

  • “I ate too much. Better go to the gym tomorrow.”
  • “The monthly membership doesn’t cost that much anyway, I might as well keep it, because I don’t want to pay the registration/activation fee again when I start working out again.”
  • “I won’t be able to go running outdoors once the rainy/snowy winter months come around, so I better keep my gym membership”.

I’m sure there were other reasons, but once I accepted that hundreds of dollars were being wasted yearly towards a gym membership that was rarely used and was not going to be used regularly anytime soon, I was able to let go.  Furthermore, a close friend of ours lent us some of his gym equipment that he had in storage, which provided us with further incentive to discontinue our gym memberships. Jerrick and I set up a mini home gym in our garage and are in the midst of scheduling ourselves in for quick workouts 2 to 3 times weekly. We’ll get you up to speed on how that is going in future posts 🙂

Kudos to the parents who continue to work out regularly at the gym, and for those of you who no longer do and/or are looking for ways to get more active, perhaps try one or more of the following:

  • Set-up a home gym
  • Invest in a good pair of runners and hit the streets/trails in your area. Kintec offers complimentary consultations with Fitting Experts to ensure you have the right shoe for your feet and activity.
  • Join a running club through the Running Room, Forerunners, or Peninsula Runners to prepare for a local race.
  • Join a recreational sports team/league through Urban Rec or if you’re into ultimate frisbee, check out the Vancouver Ultimate League.
  • Take drop-in dance classes.  iDance has 3 locations and offer drop-in one hour classes of various dance genres. Childminding is available too.
  • Turn on the TV and pop in a workout DVD such as P90X or Insanity.
  • Buy a punch pass to a local community centre and go for a workout in the fitness facility or swimming pool at your convenience, or take a group fitness class, such as Yoga, Zumba, kickboxing or spinning.
  • Hike a local trail.
  • Play tag with your kids.

Jerrick and I are planning to run the Granville Island Turkey Trot on October 10, 2011. Hopefully, that will give us some incentive to keep running up until then. We’ll keep you posted. Till next time, “Keep fit and have fun“!