Strength Training Makes A Comeback

Hello friends!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. If you’re just catching up, be sure to check out my recap posts from the Dole Food and Wellness Blogger Summit I attended last week in Los Angeles:

  • The Dole Summit: Part 1includes a healthy breakfast demo, Q&A with Dole, and an insider’s look into Dole’s healthy staff cafeteria!
  • The Dole Summit: Part 2includes new product tastings, an awesome recipe, and a blogger iron chef cooking challenge!


Also, be sure to check out my post from yesterday as you plan your Thanksgiving menus:


Anyway! Remember when I was partnering with LA Boxing over the summer and showed you guys pictures of myself getting my butt kicked in hour long workouts with a trainer once a week? (Check out my strength & ab exercises page for links to all of those workouts — lots of great moves for you to try yourself!) I’ve heard from some of you that you miss those posts — well, this post is for you :)


On Thursday at the Dole Summit, I was lucky enough to be set up with a 1 hour “fitness consultation” with Michael Brazeal, the Director of Fitness at the California Health and Longevity Institute’s fitness center, which is located inside the Four Seasons.


The session started by chatting about my current fitness routine (a combination of cardio (running, hiking, walking, elliptical), yoga, swimming, strength training, etc. — some sort of movement at least 6 days a week), my current height/weight and whether I was happy with it (yes), and what I was looking to get out of the session today. I told Michael: “I’m just looking to get an awesome workout. You better not go easy on me!” Michael grinned and said, “You may be sorry you said that.”


We started with a short 5 minute warm up on the elliptical to get the blood flowing. Always best to warm up first!


I told Michael about my recent LA Boxing partnership; he was excited and suggested we start our workout with a little boxing :)


We did three 2-minute all-out boxing rounds. Michael held the ball and I worked on pummeling it via punches, kicks, body slams, you name it. It was HARD work! Two minutes per round doesn’t sound like long but I was breathing heavily and sweating in no time.


It was so fun to have gloves on again :) We both worked up a sweat and were smiling throughout the session.


Here I am getting a lesson on form — must remember to throw my whole body into the punch, not just my arm!


Speaking of my arm — it was moving at the speed of light, obvi. 




Next — it was on to some core strengthening moves! These were SO hard and I’m really excited to keep doing them in my little apartment gym.


First — balancing my forearms on a ball while in a plank position and alternating lifting one foot off the ground and holding it. Holy crap was this a good core workout. A plank is hard enough as is — but add in trying to keep your self stable and your lower back/butt from dipping down too low and you’ve got something seriously hard.


Next up — the reverse! Another plank, but this time balancing my forearms on the ground and my feet on the ball.


Michael had me move my feet so only my toes were on the ball — gah! SO hard to balance, definitely fell off a couple times ;)


Next up — balancing on two foam rollers! Another insane core workout. I started with my knees and hands on the rollers, then slowly lifted my left leg and my right arm at the same time, held it, and then lifted the opposite arm/leg. It was REALLY hard to balance — again, fell off a few times!


After the balance moves, we moved on to a bunch of strength/stability moves using these fitness ropes/bands.


Michael had me do all sorts of different arm movements with the bands. These are great because you’re using your own body weight and working to stabilize yourself, so it’s more of a full body workout than just using weight machines.


Working my lats:



109 110




(Wearing my “Will Run for Bacon” shirt, obviously — the gym staff were amused.)


Shoulders (by lifting the band straight up):


Combined with squats:




And then — the grand finale. This was SO HARD because my arms and abs were already so exhausted by this point!

With my feet in the bands, I got into a plank position (with my feet lifted in the bands), then pulled my knees toward me into a crunch:


Then, when back in the plank position, I did a push-up.


Whew! Michael had me repeat that same move by moving my legs forward/sideways towards one arm, then the other — working the obliques! At that point I pretty much collapsed :) Thanks for a great workout, Michael! Glad I could make your day by not only asking to get a butt-kicking workout, but being able to back it up, too :)

This workout was so awesome because I’ve been in a total rut in my little apartment gym and really needed some new strength training ideas! I’ve been great about running, yoga, swimming, walking, and hiking workouts, but I’ve totally been slacking on strength training, just using the one machine in my little gym half-heartedly. I’m really excited to have some new moves that I can do in a small amount of space! I hope you guys will give them a try, too :)

~  ~  ~

Speaking of fitness — I put two of my favorite fANNEtastic workout videos up on Well, Then! If you haven’t seen them already (I made them in the spring — you can find them on my strength/ab exercises page!) — check them out:

Have a great day! I have my fun Food Science lab tonight so stay tuned tomorrow for another recap :)


  1. 1

    I wish I would of picked the fitness session now! Looks like you got a great workout in. Thanks for sharing the tips. I will incorporate a few into my routine.

  2. 2

    What a great workout! Thanks for the tips :)

  3. 3

    Our gym just got some of those TRX bands and I can’t wait to try them out. It will probably be another 6 months at least though. First I have to have this baby and then rebuild some strength. They do look like a GREAT workout though!

    • 4

      Ah, TRX bands! I couldn’t remember what they were called for the life of me :) Thanks! I wish I had a gym that had those – they were great. Good luck with the baby!

    • 5

      Tina, you can modify the difficulty of most TRX exercises by changing your body position. In my work gym, we have people of various fitness levels doing the exercises, and everyone seems to be able to modify them to suit their current strength level.

  4. 6

    Looks like a killer workout! Thanks for showing pics of the different exercises – really helps me nail down what they are.

    I think I need that shirt, by the way :)

  5. 7

    You are a badass.

  6. 8

    I’ve been doing that last exercise (the plank-to-push-ups with feet in the TRX) lately too, and it’s KILLER! However, I think it may result in an 8-pack.

    I can’t believe you were doing it at the end of your workout. Well done!

  7. 9

    Awesome workout! I got some really great ideas for new stuff to incorporate into my own fitness!

  8. 10

    Love your strength training posts. I think it’s really important and incorporate it into my workouts, but a lot of people still don’t! And those movements definitely look like you can replicate in an apartment gym. I love TRX bands. You can do the same movement on rings if you see them at a park or if your gym has them. The other movements were so much core! I would be mush. The foam roller thing is neat. Haven’t seen that.

  9. 11

    I am very impressed. I wish I could do all of that, but I know my limitations. I do Zumba twice a week and K-Bells twice a week and walk five times a week for an hour at a fast pace. Love your workout posts.

  10. 12

    Wow I love all the moves you showed us with those fitness bands! And I loved the balance ones… loved it all! Can’t wait to try some new moves!

  11. 13

    Thanks for some of those moves. I need to change it up at home and I will be writing some of these down ASAP.

  12. 14

    This is so awesome on so many levels – I love the photos where you can see the staff taking the picture in the mirror. You totally dominated that gym and I bet they were all impressed! And this makes me want to go out today to buy a ball and foam rollers….

  13. 15

    Wow, what an awesome workout! Look forward to trying some of those moves. Well done and, as always, thanks for sharing the latest!

  14. 16

    Look at you go! That workout looks like fun, but super intense.

  15. 17

    Now that I run Cross Country and Track I have a hard time fitting in strength training. Lately I haven’t been doing nearly as much as I’d like to, but hey, I could have worse problems! [Like not exercising at all!]
    Love the “Will Run For Bacon” shirt, by the way. :-D

  16. 18

    Thanks for the new tips! I have been in a gym rut as well! It is nice to see new strength training ideas!

    Question: When you lived in Arlington, did you belong to a gym? I currently go to Gold’s Gym, but I am curious where you went.


    • 19

      I went to Gold’s, too! The Ballston one. I really liked it – I miss having a real gym vs. just an apartment gym! And of course when I had my LA Boxing partnership, I went there too – the one in Clarendon!

  17. 20

    HA! Glad I skipped my appointment now! :) u r super woman!! ~k

  18. 21

    Those ball/roller planks are some of my favorite core exercises! :D I’m jealous of the TRX workout – I want a TRX SO bad!

  19. 22

    Looks like a solid workout and is motivating me to sign up for a boxing class, which i keep meaning to do. Thanks.

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