Mobility Warm Up – My New Favorite | The Reluctant Exerciser

Sonjia and Her Tricky Smile - I dare you to not get tricked into any new workout!

Our workouts are constantly evolving. Sonjia is always introducing new moves to keep us interested and challenged. Our “old” warm ups consisted of 3 – 5 rounds of old school moves – body weight squats, easy assisted pull ups, pushups, and sit ups. But I gotta say, our new mobility warm up  feels SOOOOO good on my legs, hips, chest, shoulders, and back. The tempo in these videos is much faster than what I do (this is a WARM UP for crying out loud), but you can get the idea of the move.

Mobility Warm Up

After the mobility warm up, we typically do a few more active warm up moves to raise the heart rate and continue to warm up the muscles (ex.  jumping jacks, frankenstein walks, lateral lunges + shuffle, walking lunges).

All together, the mobility and active warm up takes around 15 minutes – which is fine by me. I’m a SLOW warmer-upper and like to ease into the more intense crossfit workouts.

How do you warm up? What are your favorite techniques?

Disclaimer: I’m not a trainer. I have a degree in irrigation. I don’t have any injuries or limitations for any of these moves, and I always listen to my body. I bring a year of having been personally trained into any workout, so I guess I have a bit of knowledge about me, my body, and the basics of good form. Talk to a pro for personal guidance.

Lumberjack 20 Crossfit WOD | The Reluctant Exerciser

The Lumberjack 20 Workout

I was VERY excited to get back to my CrossFit class after my time off (due to health, family stuff, and overall sluggishness).

Until I saw the board.

Say WHAT? This is NOT what I had in mind for my easing back into my groove!

I’ve heard of the Lumberjack 20 Memorial WOD – it’s pretty famous actually with a touching story. But I would never knowingly volunteer for this workout!

Oh well… I was hydrated, fed, and THERE (my biggest barrier to working out), so I might as well try, right? For me, the name of the game was modify as necessary and finish. I would NOT be rushing through this one – slow and steady wins the race.


  • We do a mix of dynamic, mobility moves, along with some body weight moves. I actually like these different mobility drills we do – I’ll do a post on those some other time.

Ab Set

  • 30 Hollow Rocks (forward to a minute to see – these are HARD)
  • 30 Flutter Kicks

The Tire Flip - My Sis is Flipping the BIG One - I'm Flipping the Old-Lady-One - Which Is PLENTY Hard to Do!

Lumberjack 20 Workout

  • 20 Tire Flips (yep, I was flipping the not-the-biggest tire in the parking lot! if you don’t have a  tire handy – you can sub in some other full body move)
  • 400m Run (or Row)
  • 20 Kettlebell Swings
  • 400m Run (or Row)
  • 20 Overhead Squats (do the squats holding a weight over your head ala top of a shoulder press position)
  • 400m Run (or Row)
  • 20 Burpees (yep, the ones with the jump and pushup)
  • 400m Run (or Row)
  • 20 Pull Ups (I’m still using the green band for assistance)
  • 400m Run (or Row)
  • 20 Box Jumps
  • 400m Run (or Row)
  • 20 Squat + Clean (this is a power move – I’m not even going to try and explain it)
  • 400m Run (or Row)


  • Plenty of stretching and foam rolling here friends.

Lumberjack ala Kris Style

I did lots of substitutions. I opted for the row instead of the run (and in a few rounds did not do the entire 400m). In fact, the row became my recovery from those full body BIG moves. I also had to rest during the burpees and box jumps – I broke those to 2 sets of ten to give my self an intensity break. Plyo moves always kick my butt! Plus I didn’t do the squat + clean. I didn’t feel confident in my form, so I did squat + curls instead with a kettlebell.

What I Loved?

What I LOVED about this workout is that it was only 20 reps per move. Mentally – that is VERY doable for me, yet it’s physically VERY hard for these big moves. But I kept thinking, “Once I’m done with this set, I’m done with this move! I don’t have to ‘save’ any juice for later. I. CAN. DO. THIS!” <Confession: that thinking came AFTER I tweeted, “Don’t let me quit!”>

I actually think I’d like to try this workout again soon – I’m getting stronger and I think I could get through it easier without the substitutions. When I’m consistent with my exercise, I get stronger without even knowing it <aka trickery>.

What do you think? Care to join me for the Lumberjack 20?

Happy Birthday Lucille Ball

Stunning Photo of Lucille Ball

I’ve always been quite proud of sharing a birthday with Lucille Ball. Of course I grew up with I Love Lucy, and enjoyed the show like today’s kids are hooked on video games. But as I got older, I learned to appreciate the Lucy Ricardo character along with Lucille Ball the woman. Today is Lucille Ball’s 100th Birthday – Happy Birthday Lucy! <<and happy 44 to moi>>

What is not to love about her spirit, humor, and determination? I just finished her autobiography, “Love, Lucy” and could not put it down! It was so interesting to learn about her upbringing, early career, relationships, family, later career, and quest for love and balance. I was really struck by what a tenacious, brilliant, ahead-of-her-time powerful woman she was, all while remaining very humble and human.

She’s full of generosity, kindness, vision, and tenacity. And while Lucy Ricardo was often misguided by a deep need for love, acceptance and attention, she always followed her heart. This is not unlike Lucille Ball herself.

I related as a kid, and I relate now.

Great Lucille Ball Quotes

  • I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.
  • I’m not funny. What I am is brave.
  • If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.
  • It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.
  • Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.
  • One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.
  • The more things you do, the more you can do.
  • The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.

My Birthday Plans

I want to workout! I think I’m going to trick the BF+ in joining me in the 44-workout. Yep, 44 burpees, 44 inverted rows, 44 squats – you get the idea. It just seems like the right thing to do ;) And yes, I may even swim for 44 minutes (practicing my new technique and drills from my first swim lesson this week). Or maybe I’ll wog or bike for 44 minutes – so many choices! Let me know if you’d like to join me in any of these workouts.

Also, I’ve decided that EVERYONE who wanted a visit from Fit Stanley will be getting one. I couldn’t choose between the 100 mile rider, warrior dash, toddlers, embarrassed spawn, or weight camp – those were all fabulous propositions!

Don’t Forget Rick’s Birthday

This is also the birthday of someone you may know – Rick Bakas (@rickbakas) of Bakas Media. We’ve crossed paths in social media circles through our wine work – and of course we are deeply bonded from our shared birthday **winks**. He’s a super cool guy, with a deep love for bacon, community, family, branding, lovely food, and wine. I’m sure that he and Mrs. B are having a lovely time for his R&R Birthday Weekend. Happy Birthday Rick!

More Lucy Stuff released new photos of Lucille Ball this week in honor of her 100th birthday.
These shots are LOVELY!  Make sure to check them out.
Lucy Fest Happening Now at the Lucy-Desi Center in Jamestown, NY
Finding Lucy – PBS American Masters

What are your plans to celebrate Lucy’s birthday? Chocolate? Dancing? Vitameatavegamin? Any favorite Lucy moments? Which is your favorite quote?

Meeting @WorkoutNirvana For Real!

Suzanne and Me - Together at Last at the Gym! Notice the black shorts and pink tops? Totally unplanned!

Suzanne (Workout Nirvana) was one of my FIRST twitter friends, and we connected immediately. I love Suzanne for so many reasons, but here’s just a few:

  • she’s VERY smart
  • she exudes confidence
  • her blog is packed with well-researched and outstanding fitness information
  • she CELEBRATES feeling and being strong through weightlifting
  • she’s mostly sweet, with a little snark (just like me)

We hit it off so well, that we even did a few Workout Swaps. We created a workout typical for ourselves and have the other person do it. For both of us fairly fit and well trained fitness enthusiasts, it was eye opening to do routines outside of our normal comfort zone. And, it was a total blast! (I’m not sure if she knows this, but our workout swaps helped get me off the couch on days that I would have rather not exercised….)

So when it looked like I was going to Boulder for the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference and LOHAS Forum, she reminded me that she was in Denver and oh-s0-close. I was GIDDY! You see, I secretly hoped she would put that together and tweet it out loud. Yep – it looks like Suzanne and I would meet in the flesh!

Aside from a slight detour (aka I got really lost), our visit was PERFECT! When we first saw eachother, we both shrieked, “You look exactly like you!”

We chatted about our families, exercise paths, hair, clothes, work, and nutrition. Within 20 minutes, we were both on the carpet showing eachother different stuff – we were giddy girls – connecting just like “old friends” would.

And she is even more SMART, STRONG, FUN, and BEAUTIFUL in person. She generously welcomed me into her home with her beautiful family, made me french toast (I don’t remember the last time anyone made me french toast), had all my favorite foods stocked (on accident of course), and developed a kick-ass workout for us that she even printed out!

At the gym, she indulged me in a full body weight workout (she normally does split routines), and we worked out for 2 hours. Granted we chatted a lot, but we KILLED IT! <I’m happy to report that I felt no bad effects of the altitude – YAY! I didn’t have to pull the I’m-a-sea-level-girl-sissy-handicap card.>

View Full Body Weight Workout by Suzanne

Our visit came to an end too quickly because I had to attend to my professional obligations in Boulder, but the fun will continue at #FYBC11 on Friday – we are sooo excited!

A common thread of our little visit was our gratitude for our tribe and the amazing love and support that we’ve both received from the online fitness community.

How has the online fitness community helped you? Have you met folks in real life?

I Loved This Crossfit Workout | Surprise to the Reluctant Exerciser

Blurry Phone Pic of Sonjia and Me - Isn't She Adorable? And if you're lovin' those guns, you should see her arse :D

Despite my best intentions NOT to go, I put on my shoes 20 minutes before the class, drank a shake and some water, and headed to the gym to try one of Sonjia’s crossfit workouts. Deep down, I’m a couch potato, faint fearing, sissy. That said, this reluctant exerciser is giddy to really enjoy a workout!  And I’m even more stoked to do really well! You know… the ones where you keep going because you’re feeling like an animal? Well, that’s how this crossfit workout went for me. I did all the moves with little adjustment. I rested very little. And I was very proud of my endurance, strength, and intensity!

Why I Loved This Crossfit Workout

  • I can do anything for 5 reps
  • I can do almost anything for 4 minutes
  • The reps and time match my attention span
  • It tricked me into doing a lot of reps without really knowing it
  • It worked my whole body – strength wise and endurance wise
  • It was challenging but doable
  • I sweated for 30 minutes after the cool down

Crossfit Workout

Note: We rested if we wanted to in between each set.

  • Dynamic Warm Up: OK I soooo don’t know how to describe this, but it included both standing and mat work. I LOVE this new type of warmup! <Post to come>
  • Alternating regular and side planks for 20 seconds w 10 second rest in between (Repeat for 4 minutes)
  • 5 Pull Ups + 5 Box Jumps (Repeat for 4 minutes)
  • 5 Rear Delt Rows (rings) + 5 Squat/Shoulder Press (Repeat for 4 minutes)
  • 5 Dead Lifts + 5 Pushups (Repeat for 4 minutes)
  • Sled Push (this weird metal thing that I pushed across the room) + 5 V- Ups (YUCK!)  (repeat for 4 minutes)
  • 5 Walking Lunges (with overhead weight) + 5 Burpees (Repeat for 4 minutes)
  • Tabata Closer. Mountain climbers (20 seconds), rest (10 seconds), speed skaters (20 seconds), rest (10 seconds) – repeat for 4 minutes
  • Cooooooooool down and foam roller ;)

What I Love About Sonjia’s Class

  • EVERYTHING is scalable – we have all ages and fitness levels involved with these classes. (I did a couple of modified burpees in that set cuz my heart rate was UP and I wanted to recover but keep moving.)
  • There is total freedom to rest and go at your own pace. No one stares at you or yells at you if you’re not going as heavy or fast or crazy as anyone else.
  • We get to workout with buddies, but we’re not competing against anyone else.
  • I workout WAY harder than I would on my own (remember, I’m a sissy).
  • I ALWAYS drink a lot of water without really trying :D

More Great Workout Posts From My Buddies

When was the last time you surprised yourself at a workout?

20 Minute Playground Workout | My Modified Cindy

Playground Exercise Tools

Back in the day – before adjusting to my new empty nest and my low back injury – I was becoming pretty darn strong! I was working out with Sonjia regularly and doing a variety of full body, compound, high rep workouts.  I LOVED getting stronger! I LOVED being able to work out longer at higher heart rates! She tricked me one time and had me do Cindy’s (5 assisted pull ups, 10 pushups, 15 bodyweight squats for 20 minutes). I remember the first time it was HARD! I had to take several breaks and my muscles were tired! Little did I know that it was a benchmark routine – one that let’s us gauge our progress over time. And yes, within a month my Cindy improved! I can’t do pull ups at home (sigh), but I finally figured out how to do a Cindy at our local playground and it was a great 20 minute workout!Continue Reading

It Wasn’t Pretty, But It Counts: My Modified CrossFit Class

It’s been a slow recovery with my  low back injury. But after some great progress, I decided it was time to make it back to Sonjia’s CrossFit class (after nearly 4 months).  I almost didn’t want to write about this because what I actually did was VERY different than her prescribed workout (enter my pride).  But since I LOVE this kind of full body, compound workout, I thought I would share it. The other really great lesson about today is the reminder that ALL exercise is scalable and can be modified for every individual. I loved being able to go through the class, modify the CrossFit routine for my situation,  and feel proud about my progress. Continue Reading

Recovering From a Low Back Injury – Patience and Perseverance

Medicine BallWell it’s been a few months since I’ve had my groove on. Hurting my low back in January definitely put a damper on my exercise routine – and that’s an understatement! Let me put it this way, it was one month before I could get out of bed without helping myself with my arms. Unloading the dishwasher was painful. Getting in and out of the car hurt. I could not bend over at the waist unsupported. My core was SHOT! I will NEVER take my low back for granted again! Recovering from this low back injury was a slow process requiring a lot of patience and perseverance, and I still am not 100%.

This was all SHOCKING to me because I considered myself functionally fit:  2 minute plank, 18 cindy’s in 20 minutes (that’s 180 pushups). My fitness program focused on overall strength/body/core conditioning using compound moves. So to hurt myself so badly that I couldn’t get out of bed unassisted was really strange. I didn’t even “know” that I hurt myself until one evening (after doing yard work and decluttering my empty nest), a strange sensation came over me, and I thought “uh oh.”

My Low Back Recovery Program

So here’s what my low back recovery program looked like – I’m not a pro – but this is how my path looked. Each little section sort of built on the previous.

Weeks 1 – 2: Ice and advil, a  little walking, and VERY little gentle, supported stretches

Weeks 3 – 4: More of the above with some more supported, static stretches; 15 second plank (cheater style)

Weeks 5 – 6: Gentle elliptical, limited unsupported stretches, static power poses (chair pose, static wall squats, warrior), 15 second plank (good form)

Weeks 7 – 8: Moderate elliptical, 30 second plank (really good form) , a few modified body weight exercises (modified push up, modified tricep dips, air squats focused on core)

Weeks 9 – 10: Harder elliptical, 30 second plank, super man,  super assisted pull ups, regular push ups, body weight lateral lunges (focus on core), lateral lunge/cross body wood chop with limited range of motion (no weight)

Weeks 11 – 12: Decent elliptical, 45 second plank, low rep/low weight moves (stairs + curls, squat + shoulder press, modified inverted rows, lessen assistance on pull ups, kept on with the push ups).  During this time I worked out with Sonjia (but I was done at 40 minutes) and I even succeeded in a little wog (jog + walk).

During this whole period, I was VERY cautious. My body was my guide, I stopped before I felt fatigue, and I NEVER did anything that caused any discomfort (there are lots of moves that I’m still not doing). I’m so grateful that I had body awareness to listen. I’m also grateful that I had plenty of  “tools” in my fitness tool chest to gently move, and gradually incorporate modified strength and core moves through the process. I did not “lose” everything after essentially abandoning my fitness routine for 12 weeks!

Where am I now? I got on the bike for a little while (it felt great), and I succeeded in a great 60 minute workout with Sonjia this week (low weights, low reps, but kept moving the whole time).

Set 1 – 3 x 10 Reps

  • Assisted pull ups (yay!)
  • Wall ball (yay!)
  • Dumbell chest press on swiss ball (yay!)
  • Shoulder roll outs on swiss ball (yay!)
  • Lateral lunge with cross body chop with medicine ball (yay!)

Set 2 – 3 x 10 reps

  • Rear delt rows on rings
  • Lateral lunges (speed skater style without the bounce) with medicine ball
  • Hamstring curls with swiss ball
  • No weight dead lifts (ha! but the motion felt so good!)
  • Jumping jacks (25)

Set 3

  • Tabata Closer on the Bike (20 second sprint, 10 second rest, repeat for 4 minutes)

I was SO stoked to be able to do this routine – I can’t tell you how excited I am! I still have to “easy does it”, but I think I’m back!

Have you been injured? How did you manage mentally and physically?

Join Us for the First Workout Swap of 2011

When was the last time you REALLY mixed up your workouts?  That’s the concept behind what has become a monthly workout swap with Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana. By mixing it up, we can break through plateaus and challenge our cardiovascular and muscular health in new ways.

According to Livestrong, “Repeating the same routine week after week will cause your weight loss and results to stagger and your workouts may become flatlined. Instead of sticking to a few basic exercises in your routine consider adding a variety of exercises that work your muscles from different angles and in different sequences. ” Continue Reading

Lifting Weights – My Workout Swap Recap

Workout buddies hold us accountable and add some fun & motivation on days that I’d rather nap on the couch. I don’t really have any exercise partners at home (waaaaaaaah), but I’ve found oodles of friends through my social media tribe which I am VERY thankful for and are a source of ongoing encouragement.

Even though we’re a thousand miles apart, Suzanne from Workout Nirvana (@workoutnirvana) tops my list of workout partners through our Workout Swaps. Here’s how it works: We each design routines based on our “normal” (I do high rep functional routines & she lifts weights), and the other person does the other’s routine. We enjoy both celebrating & commiserating over each others workouts & it is UBER FUN!  Continue Reading