Friday, September 4, 2009

Beating the Boredom Back to School Workout

Every once in awhile I realize that I have neglected the "Strong" portion of the blog. Fear not, it is still happening!

Yes, this is me (okay, its not).

The start of school, and for me, work, means that my workout routine needs to drastically change. If I learned one thing from student teaching earlier this year, it is that, when I am stressed out, I don't work out. I know, working out should be a stress reliever, but if it is piled on too high, I lose motivation. So I have been working out in the morning. I don't know about you, but here, school starts pretty early, and honestly, I'm lucky that I can get up at 5 and have time to work out, shower, and be at school on time.

Additionally, I've been working out in our building's basement gym. I love it because there is rarely anyone there (regardless of the time of day), so I can walk around and sing to my iPod like an idiot. I don't like it, because I am dealing with limited resources. I pretty much have dumbbells, a bench, and a few machines.

Yes, this is from my building's website

Plus, I do really only have half an hour. If you are short on time, or just want a quick workout, this is the way to go.

Su: 1 hr cardio
M: leg workout
T: 30 min cardio
W: chest workout
Th: 30 min cardio
F: back workout
Sa: 1 hr cardio

Simple. And versatile. I pick 5 workouts that work a range of muscles in the targeted area for the day, and do it for 5 reps, circuit style, for 5 sets.

Confusing? It's not, I swear. Here's an example for today, which was the back workout:

5 reps of Dumbbell Rows
5 reps of Dumbbell Curls
5 reps of Rear Lat Raises
5 reps of Seated Cable Row
5 reps of Hyperextensions

Do all of these in a fairly quick succession, and repeat 4 more times.

You don't have to do these exercises. You just want to be sure that you are hitting all the muscles, which to me are the upper back, lower back, and rear shoulders. If you are unsure of what exercises correspond with which muscles, this is a really great website that I have been using for years.

For chest day this week I did:

5 reps of Dumbbell Chest Press
5 reps of Front Raises
5 reps of Dumbbell Kickbacks
5 reps of Pushups
5 reps of Dips
*I also did 20 situps between each circuit*

I like working out like this because it goes by VERY quickly, and you work up a sweat if you keep it moving. You'll also notice that instead of dedicating a day to arms and/or shoulders, I add triceps in with chest day, and biceps in with back day. I do shoulders every time I lift.

Leg days usually look something like this:
5 reps of Dumbbell Squats
5 reps of Straight Leg Deadlifts
5 reps of Calf Raises
5 reps of Leg Extensions
5 reps of Shoulder Presses

I never do the same workout twice, I am always changing up what I do, using variations on exercises from books, online, magazines, etc. Its important to change things up because it keeps your muscles guessing, and it beats gym boredom. I always joke that I have gym ADD, but I really am way more likely to work out if I know it isn't going to be plodding through the same old routine.

Another way to beat boredom? Plug in the iPod! Some of my favorites on my current "Gym" playlist:

Here in Your Bedroom - Goldfinger
Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
Redeeming a Monster - Broadway
Scattered - Green Day
I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor - Arctic Monkeys
Let's Dance to Joy Division - The Wombats*
The Magnificent Seven - The Clash

*I have suggested this song before. That is because it is REALLY good, and fun, and there is almost never an inappropriate time to listen to it.

After my cardio tomorrow, we will be heading to the beach with a bunch of friends and family.

Sadly, not this beach, this picture is from when we were in Hawaii. But we do have a busy weekend planned at a beach, and it is supposed to be a perfect weekend. Hopefully you all have the weekend off and will be able to get outside, feel healthy, and enjoy the beautiful weather!


  1. Thanks for this post - I found your suggestions really helpful and interesting. I don't have much time either and like the way you have broken everything up. :)

    Enjoy your beach weekend!

  2. I definitely have gym ADD and I'm bored. In fact, I'm so bored I haven't gone in a few weeks and I need to get back. I added that website to my favourites so I can easily create some new work outs! Thank you!

  3. I was so exicted to see your list of music! Admittedly, I do not love working out, but I do love Franz Ferdinand. (PS Try his song No You Girls, its my favorite)

  4. Great post! I love your music suggestions, a good set list is mandatory for an awesome workout. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This post comes at the perfect time for me! I started school last week and with my homework and work load i dont have time to work out at the gym for as long as i like, hitting all my muscles. I will be trying out some of your suggestions starting today :)

  6. is that maui? it seems oddly familiar... I wish I was there right now

  7. Great workout room! Good for you for working out to beat stress, that's the way to go, it's my favorite stress reliever. I like your Ipod play list!! I need to make a new one, I'm sick of mine.

  8. No, its actually on Oahu, at the turtle beach on the North Shore. I didn't take a lot of pictures in Maui because I was there with my family, I let them take the pictures.

  9. I find that i often end up taking a hiatus when the new school year starts, or at least i did when i was still riding the college train.
    Im actually taking this week to re-tweak my workout and get psyched for getting ack into the gym. Looking to get stronger on a vegan diet... any suggestions?
    Also, ave you heard 'Sweep the Leg' by No More Kings? Great workout song.

  10. I don't know how you do it but you my friend are one well disciplined woman!

    I was at the gym doing chest presses and yea could not complete the 10 reps:( LAME! hehehe

    I admire your persistence:)

  11. I use to live on North Shore!! Waialua to be exact! Awesome pic! I can hear the waves crashing now! :D

  12. Man, what an awesome routine... I wish I was half as motivated!

  13. Great post. It's so important to keep the workouts interesting.

  14. Excellent Post.
    Adding honey will help a lot.
    Dr Guptha

  15. Thats right. Its a good article. My suggestion is to balanced carbohydrates and proyen in the food.
    medical billing training

  16. I always love your workout posts Gina - this one was fairly easy for me to follow. Your workouts usually seem more complicated. I like the simplicity of this one - sounds quick and efficient.

    Hope you have fun at the beach last weekend.

    PS - Wow, Dr. Guptha reads your blog?!? ;)

  17. Thats right, add more protein and stick to veggies, its very healthy. Spinach is very useful.
    medical billing training

  18. My gym membership just expired and I haven't renewed it yet. Right now I'm just going running outside and doing yoga at home. Thanks for the gym logs! I'll check that website too. When I renew my membsership I'm gonna change my routine.

    Keep the good spirit! And waking up early is not so bad! I'm starting to love it when the morning is still peaceful, quiet and full of energising vibes!

  19. I see eye to eye with you about if anyone ism stressed out, it isn't a good idea to work out. Besides, working out should be a stress reliever, and it really does!