Make Up Workout

This is a great workout if you’ve been MIA from the gym – or just want a great weight training workout.¬†This circuit targets the entire body, so you can make up for lost time ūüėČ This can also be done at home.

Complete 3 sets of each exercise – break them into groups if needed. I usually do 3 sets of the first 3 moves, and then 3 sets of the remaining moves…whatever works for you!

Pogo Squat to Overhead Press (12 reps/leg) РHold a dumbbell in each hand and place all of your weight on one foot. Squat down and lower the weights to the ground near your feet (keeping your back straight and eyes forward). Come up to standing on the one leg and bring the weights to your shoulders and then press them overhead. As you lower the weights, lower back down toward the ground and repeat, trying to remain on the one leg throughout. Complete all reps and then switch legs. You can also do these without weights, and do a one-legged hop while reaching arms over head. If you opt for this modification, try to keep a steady pace.

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Elevated Wide Leg Deadlifts (20 reps)¬†–¬†Standing on a block or step using a wide stance, hold a kettlebell or heavy dumbbell between your legs.¬†Slowly lower, bending your knees as you bring the weight¬†toward the ground as far as you can without bending your knees past your toes. Keep your back straight and chest out throughout the movement.

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Forward Lean Lunge with Double Row (12 reps/leg) РStand with dumbbell in each hand and arms at your sides. Lunge forward, keeping the back leg straight, and hinging forward so that your chest hovers over your thigh and your arms hang in front of you (palms facing each other). In this forward lunge, row both arms back bringing the weights up and your elbows straight back. Lower your arms and return to start. Complete all reps, then switch legs.

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Bench Plank Rear Lateral Raise¬†(10 reps/arm) –¬†Place your hands on the edge of a bench with your feet extended behind you so that you are in a plank position. Balance your weight on one of your hands and pick up a dumbbell with the free hand. With a slight bend in the elbow, lift the dumbbell up and out to the side to about shoulder level. Slowly lower the weight. Complete all reps then repeat¬†with the other arm.

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Kettle Bell Twists (30 reps) –¬†Stand upright, with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Hold a¬†kettlebell in front of your chest with both hands¬†with elbows lifted out to the sides at shoulder height, with your palms pronated (towards your torso). Pull the handles of the kettlebell as if¬†you were trying to pull the¬†handles apart. Keep your hips pointed forward. Take a breath, then begin to exhale as you rotate your torso, shoulders and head to the left as far as you can (do not twist your neck, but keep your chin over the sternum and make sure that the twist is from your waist). Keep the elbows and upper arms at shoulder height throughout the twist. After twisting as far as you can in one direction,¬† inhale as you twist back to the center. Continue and now exhale as you twist to the right as far as possible. Continue the sequence of twisting to one side, then the other. *A little trick from yoga – as you exhale tighten your abs and use this combination to rotate your torso.

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Weighted Stability Ball Crunch (15 reps) –¬†Extend arms above your head holding a dumbbell, medicine ball or weight plate. As you crunch your abs, tuck hips to engage your lower abs and press the weight directly upward toward ceiling. Slowly lower upper body back down to the starting position feeling constant tension in the abdominal muscles. If this is too difficult, hold the weight at your chest.

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Stability Ball Push-Up + Knee Tuck (10 reps) – Get into push-up position with your shins rested on top of a stability ball and hands on the ground. Keeping a straight back, lower into a push-up. Come back up and tuck your knees toward your chest, rolling the ball forward. Straighten legs back and repeat sequence.

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Barbell Complex Workouts

Barbell complex workouts are a great way to burn calories and fat, and to build strength. They are a great alternative to cardio – they get your heart rate up by consecutive movement with a heavy amount of weight.

The idea here is to do 5 barbell exercises back to back without putting the bar down. You want to use a weight that you can lift for 5 reps for each exercises. You will get a total body workout, focusing on multiple muscle groups.

Complete 3-6 sets (start with 3 and work your way up to 6).¬†After completing the set of 5 exercises take a 2 minute break. It’s very important that you rest between sets to give your muscles a break from the heavy weight – otherwise you may cause too much strain on them. If you aren’t familiar with the exercises I listed a description of each below. Choose from one of the workouts below, or create your own combination of 5 exercises.

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WORKOUT 1 (3-6 sets)

Romanian Deadlift – 5 reps

Bent Over Row  Р5 reps

Hang Clean Р5 reps

Front Squat Р5 reps

Push Press – 5 reps

WORKOUT2 (3-6 sets)

Power Clean – 5 reps

Front Squat – 5 reps

Push Press – 5 reps

Back Squat – 5 reps

Push Press – 5 reps

WORKOUT 3  (3-6 sets)

Hang Clean – 5 reps

Front Squat – 5 reps

Push Press – 5 reps

Back Squat Р5 reps

Romanian Deadlift Р5 reps

Exercise Descriptions: For all exercises stand with feet about shoulder-width apart

Romanian Deadlift – Hold barbell in front of you. Bend knees slightly as you hinge forward at your hips and lower the bar toward the ground. Lift up to standing forcefully, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement. (*Sandbag used in photos, used only to show proper form)

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Bent Over Row – Hinge forward at the hips slightly with a slight bend in the knees, bar hanging straight down (overhand grip). Pull the bar to your chest in a row forcefully, bending the elbows straight back behind you. Your arms should be close to your ribs. Lower slowly and repeat, keeping a hinged position.

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Hang Clean – Hinge forward at the hips slightly, with a slight bend in the knee with the barbell hanging in front of your knees (overhand grip). In a forceful motion, lift the bar up to in front of your shoulders as you flip your wrists and straighten your legs, so that your palms are now facing up. Reverse motion back to start. (due to the heavy weight, shrugging your shoulders will help pull the weight up)

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Power Clean – This will be the same motion as the hang clean, but you will start squatted down with the barbell touching the ground in front of you. From here you will forcefully pull the weight up to your shoulders and flip your wrists up. Reverse back to start.

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Push Press – Start with the bar in front of your shoulders, wrists turned up and elbows bent. Forcefully push the bar straight up overhead, pause, and return to start. Bend the knees slightly to help press the weight up.

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Front Squat –¬†Start with the bar in front of your shoulders, wrists turned up and elbows bent. Keeping the bar steady lower into a squat until knees are bent 90 degrees and forcefully lift back up to start.

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Back Squat – Place the barbell on your shoulders behind you neck and lower into a squat, until knees are bent 90 degrees. Forcefully lift back up to start.

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WHO is Badunkafit? The Story Behind My Passion and Motivation

In honor of surpassing my 100th post on my blog, I decided to give a little insight into who I am, and how I became the person I am today. It’s basically a classic tale of triumph over tragedy – turning a terrible situation into a good one and bettering myself and others.

Few people truly understand how fragile life is, and how fast it can all be changed or taken away. I am one of those people. When I was 17-years old, I experienced a life-altering, life-changing, and almost life-ending trauma that would put me on the path I am on today. I’m fortunate that I had the strength and determination to overcome ¬†and persevere, instead of wallowing in sorrow and self pity.

Below are x-rays of my femurs – after they were crushed between 2 cars. Now, to help you understand the severity of such an injury (the orthopedic injuries alone) I will tell you that the femur is the longest, strongest, and hardest bone to break in the body. The healing process of such a break is long, painful and takes a huge toll on the body.

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Left femur fracture (left) and right femur fracture (right)

On top of my obvious broken bones, I also had vascular injury to the femoral artery in my right leg, as well as compartment syndrome and nerve damage. The injury to my right leg was so severe, and I had lost so much blood, that I nearly had to lose my right leg in order to save my life.  I had a definite angel on my shoulder, because the doctors were able to save my leg at the last moment. That was only the beginning of what would be a long and tremendously painful recovery.  I was in the hospital for 3.5 weeks and underwent 5 surgeries before I was able to go home Рbut even then I was mostly confined to a hospital bed and wheelchair for months.

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ICU – 1.5 weeks post accident
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First time in wheel chair and post closure of fasciotomies. 2.5 weeks post accident.

I had a rod placed in my left femur, and had to have an external fixator device on my right leg since there was so much other damage. The right leg was crushed and this fixator was the only option the surgeons had – and it made life and recovery VERY difficult. It was heavy, uncomfortable, and painful (as you can see from the photos above). I had 4 pins that were drilled into my leg, with this apparatus just chillin’ on the outside of my leg. Not fun and not pretty! I had to deal with that thing for over 6 months.

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Left femur with internal rod placement.
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Right femur with external fixation and obvious fracture.
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Fixator from right femur after surgical removal.

The picture below is of the scars I have today from that contraption…my niece and nephew call them my holes, haha! And these are just some of the many scars, on my right leg alone.

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Now keep in mind – I was an athlete, a team captain, and a very active teenager. Being confined to a wheelchair and spending my spare time in pain and trying to recover, was more than just a physical obstacle. ¬†I had physical therapy 3+ times a week, and had a completely different lifestyle than any other high school senior I knew. Through it all, I missed very little school and managed to still support my sports teams, even though I had to do so from the sidelines.¬†Miraculously, I didn’t fall into depression and self pity – I was just grateful to be alive and still have my legs. Although uncertain whether I would walk normal again, if at all, I didn’t care. I celebrated the little victories and used the second chance I’d been given to make the most of the life I had – and this ultimately is one of the reasons I made such an incredible recovery. My athletic ability and competitive nature probably helped tremendously – but the support of my amazing family and a physical therapist that made me cry pretty much everyday played a huge role in my success. ¬†I could never thank them or be grateful enough! I met my ultimate goal – which was to walk across the stage at my high school graduation. Not only did I do that, but I graduated 6th in my senior class.

I still get choked up today, and as I write this, seeing where I was and where I am now. I was at my lowest point – helpless, hopeless, uncertain of my future – and now I’m happy healthy and standing confidently on my own 2 feet (literally!) I still suffer emotionally though, I’m not going to lie. Post traumatic stress disorder is very real, and I have it, despite my positive outlook. I relive that day and the months that followed quite often, and it can definitely overcome your mentally especially when you’re going through another difficult time. Unfortunately I remember everything – but had I passed out or lost consciousness, I wouldn’t be here today.

Physically, I can’t complain. Although I have a lot of arthritis and scar tissue (especially in my right leg) and have undergone 10 surgeries (if I’m counting correctly), I have nearly full function. I have a lot of issues with the right leg, due to the fact that it didn’t heal completely normal because of the extent of injury and limited options for fracture repair, as well as a vascular bypass graft that I will have forever. I had injury to my hamstring unknown at the time as well, which also causes me a lot of pain and swelling at times. But, my leg is STRONG and I am able to keep it strong. I work with my setbacks, instead of letting them stop me. My recovery process and experience with physical therapy is what has given me a passion for physical fitness, especially weight training. My focus and determination has carried me through and beyond my recovery and into a lifestyle. I want to help and inspire people, and use that to keep myself motivated. When times get tough, I just look back at these x-rays and tell myself that if I can get through that, then I can get through anything!

Life is a gift, and I want to use the time I have to help others. My experience has taught me the value of life, family and support. Today I am not only a fitness blogger, I am also a healthcare professional, volunteer in animal rescue and a blood donor. I found a passion for helping shelter animals find homes – and give them love and hope. My compassion for life has given me a gift to bond with animals in their hopeless and helpless times, and it gives me overwhelming joy. I donate blood regularly because I know now that I wouldn’t be alive today, had it not been for 10 people who decided to go donate. Especially being in the clinical laboratory field and having worked in a blood bank, I know the dire need for blood donors and the shortage of blood products. Not just for trauma victims, but for cancer patients, patients with blood disorders and many others.

I don’t share my story often, and most people who know me today have no idea the struggles I’ve been through. I walk normal, and I’m as laid back as they come. People actually wonder why I’m so easy going – this experience is a big reason why. I don’t sweat the small stuff, and I value the important things in life – not petty drama :). I’ve learned the value of forgiving as well. The person responsible for my accident is a dear friend, and the whole experience just made us closer.

If I touch just one person with this blog, then I’m happy. I tell my story not for praise or validation, but for inspiration and hope. No matter your struggles, being inspired by just one story or one life can make a difference. Use the hard times to overcome and make a positive situation out of a negative one. While I wouldn’t wish my situation on anyone, I hope that my story alone will help illustrate the fragility of life. And although it took nearly dying to see and understand this, I’m blessed to have that understanding and I hope that message gets across. We’re only given one life, so we might as well make the best of it!

Knee-Friendly Workout

So this crazy weather we’ve been having has been making my knees ache so bad! (Those with arthritis and healed injuries can probably relate!). It bothers me to even stand at times, so I wanted to put a workout together that I could still do without bothering my poor legs!

So of course it’s mostly upper body and core. Complete¬†2-3 sets of each superset before moving onto the next. Try to do the exercises within a superset back to back, resting after you complete a set.

SUPERSET 1

Triceps/Narrow Grip Press¬†(10+ reps) –¬†Lie on flat bench holding a barbell above your chest. Place hands about 4-5 inches apart. (I like to bend my knees and place them on the bench, do whatever is most comfortable)¬†Lower the bar toward your chest, bending at the elbows and keeping your elbows as close to your body as possible. Push up in a punching motion back to starting position.

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Skull Crushers (10 reps) – I can usually use a much heavier weight for the press than the skull crushers, so adjust weight appropriately. If you don’t want to mess with loading and unloading plates or switching out barbells, then up your reps to 20 with the Tricep Press. Start in the same position as the previous exercise.¬†Bend at the elbows only and slowly lower the bar toward your forehead. Push the bar back to starting position, squeezing the triceps. Try not to lower your upper arms, and keep your elbows facing forward. (and try not to hit yourself in the head…lol) If you don’t have a barbell, you can use dumbbells for both of these moves. Be sure to make the same movement with your arms so that the focus remains on the triceps.

skullcrush

SUPERSET 2

Arnold Press (12 reps) РDo these sitting or standing (just keep your back straight). Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your shoulders with your palms facing your body. As your press the weights straight up, rotate so that your palms face forward. Lower, rotating back to start.

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Incline Bench Reverse Fly (10 reps) –¬†Straddle an incline bench holding a dumbbell in each hand, arms hanging straight down with your palms facing in. Keeping your chest against the bench,¬†lift the dumbbells out to the side until the weights are in line with your shoulders. Slowly lower the weights and repeat.

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SUPERSET 3

Pelvic Twist Cross Crunch¬†(15 reps/side) –¬†Begin laying on your back and rotating your legs together to one side, hands behind your head. Keep your lower back on the floor for the entire exercise.¬†¬†Lift and rotate the legs until they are vertical while simultaneously performing a cross crunch (bringing the opposite elbow to the legs). Lower back to start with your legs rotated to the side. Complete all reps and then repeat with legs rotated to the other side.

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Dead Bug (20 reps) – Lay on your back, knees bent and feet lifted. Place a stability ball or ugi ball against your knees, holding it with your arms extended straight. Simultaneously straighten and lower your left leg, while stretching your right arm straight behind you. (Neither should touch the floor). Repeat with the right leg and left arm. (1 rep). Try to keep the ball in the same place throughout. If you don’t have a ball to use, you can do the same movement without. (see pic 2).

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Straight Leg Crunch (20 reps) –¬†Lie faceup on the floor with your legs extended above your hips, and your arms also extended up. Contract your abs to lift your shoulders off the floor as you reach with your hands toward your feet. Lower, but don’t return all the way to the floor, stop just short and repeat reaching for your feet again. Your shoulders should be elevated throughout – these are short crunch movements. This will really work those upper abs by keeping them engaged.