“My body is an instrument, not an ornament”. YUP.

Work smarter, not longer — These 4 words are the keys to cranking your fitness to the next level. There are so many people out there slogging mile after mile on the elliptical, wondering why they’re not seeing any improvements. DON’T BE THAT PERSON!!! Whether you’re a workout newbie or you’ve been pumping iron for years, I’m listing three things that will help kick up your workouts to get you stronger, faster, leaner, and just generally more badass all around. LEGGO!!

*Disclaimer: Check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. If you have cardiovascular problems or other health concerns, these exercises may not be for you*

Exercise # 1: Tabata Intervals. Chances are, you’ve heard about the excellence of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). The basic premise is you work out at 85-90% of your max heart rate (i.e. HARD) for a period of time, with certain windows of recovery time (60-75% of max HR). A standard example of this type of workout is to do repeats of 30 seconds max effort (sprinting, jumping, whatever), and then 60 seconds of recovery (normal jog, etc). It’s extremely efficient for not only burning fat, but also increasing your speed and athletic endurance.  Tabata is a variation of HIIT. This type of training requires 20 seconds of max effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, then repeat. These workouts get pretty tough once you realize how fast 10 seconds of rest goes by. The benefit? You’re done in 15-20 minutes, and you’ll KEEP burning fat and calories once you stop exercising. Pretty rad, right? Do some type of HIIT training 3 times a week, and you’ll see improvements pretty quickly. *Note: If you have an iPhone, you can download “Seconds Free”– it’s a free interval timer app that rules* For your convenience, here is an example of a 16 minute Tabata Interval session:

  • 20 seconds of sprinting, 10 seconds of rest  (Do this 8 times for a total of 4 minutes)
  • 20 seconds squats, 10 seconds rest            (Do this 8 times for a total of 4 minutes)
  • 20 seconds burpees, 10 seconds rest          (Do this 8 times for a total of 4 minutes)
  • 20 seconds pushups, 10 seconds rest         (Do this 8 times for a total of 4 minutes)
Remember: for this to be effective, you have to push HARD! Sweat should be pouring so much that you look like you just jumped in a pool with your clothes on. Dig deep, and do these exercises as fast as you can while keeping proper form.
Exercise # 2: Weight Lifting Circuit TrainingIf you’re not already lifting weights, start now. Increased strength = less chance of cardio injury (No joke, strong glutes reduce risk of running-related problems), better ability to perform tasks in your daily life, and you’ll burn more calories at rest. The trick is to maximize your effort and turn your strength training session into a cardio party at the same time. When you weight train, you want to choose compound exercises. Essentially, they are exercises that work several parts of the body at once. For example, when you perform a squat, you’re working quads, glutes, core, hips, and hamstrings all at the same time. Honestly, if you do compound lifts, you won’t ever need to bother with sit-ups or crunches again, because these exercises work your core stabilizer muscles.
To lift weights circuit-style, you’ll want to choose two or three exercises that work different parts of your body. You can start by performing 10 reps of one exercise, then immediately perform 10 reps of the next exercise. Repeat that two more times for a total of 3 rounds, without resting. The weight will be challenging, plus you’ll get your heart rate up, so you end up getting a cardio kick without any need for a treadmill. I typically do a 5 minute warm up and then move on to 8 different lifting circuits. Total workout time? 60 minutes. BOOM.
. Sample Circuit with links to videos of each exercise:
10-12 reps of

Repeat x 2

Exercise # 3: BRICKS (or any other type of additional weight).

I’d like to preface this one by explaining that I’m currently training for a GORUCK challenge. (Official site: www.goruckchallenge.com) Among many, many, many other things, this event requires participants to wear backpacks filled with bricks for 12-ish hours. Since I started this training, I’ve gained a surprising amount of strength and speed in a short time, not to mention it makes unweighted workouts feel feather-light. You could also purchase a weight-vest if you’d prefer weight to be more evenly distributed. The point is, if you add weight to your regular workouts, it significantly increases the difficulty level. Translation: Burn more calories, increase strength and endurance, win at life. If you choose to go the bricks route, wrap them together in duct tape or bubble wrap, or something so they lie flat like a book against your back. Here’s an idea of an outdoor workout you could do with your additional weight:

  • Hike uphill 10 minutes
  • Do 20 pushups
  • Jog 10 minutes
  • Do 30 incline lunges
  • Hike uphill 10 minutes
  • 20 Squat jumps
  • Jog 10 minutes
  • 10 Burpees

Use your imagination. Create circuits for yourself. The possibilities are endless. Do Work!!

I’ll end this here by saying that you get out what you put in. Give 110% to your workouts. Work your tail off, dig deep, and you will get where you need to go. Got questions, opinions, or want some ideas for things to add to your routine? Post a comment or email me!

P.s. in case you were wondering: This is what training for GORUCK, Tough Mudder, and a half marathon at the same time looks like:


And as always: Remember to Breathe.



  1. Nichole

    Thanks so much for sharing all this! I am doing a GoRuck Light next month and it’s great to read a blog from another female who has been through this. With as many flutter kicks as you did, would you suggest working those in part of the training knowing what you know now? Loved you recap of the challenge as well.

    • Hey Nichole! Although every event is different, most challenges involve flutter kicks, so it’s not a bad idea to add them to your training. You definitely won’t have to do as many during a Light as you would in a regular challenge, but extra PT is always helpful. Practice weighted pushups, bear crawls, lunges, and crab walks too just to get used to doing functional movements with your ruck. Have fun and thanks for reading! 🙂

  2. Hello! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Carry on the outstanding work!

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