Martial arts fitness workout in the garage!

This is something of a New Year’s resolution update post. I said I’d work on strength-training this year. I haven’t started lifting weights yet, but my garage workouts have involved body-weight strength-training – so does Body Combat, for that matter – and that counts!

I’m going to post training updates regularly to share with any of you who might be interested, and also as a way of holding myself accountable for my resolution. I found this worked well last year when I made my resolution to go cruelty-free with my cosmetic and personal care products.

On that note, as I did with my Tae Kwan Do post a couple of weeks ago, I filmed parts of my last garage workout so I could clip some pics! My workout on Sunday morning consisted of the sort of general fitness workout I enjoy the most, which is conditioning geared toward martial arts. The strength-training aspect is significant in these kinds of workouts, though I just realized that the pics I chose don’t reflect that part as much. Go figure.

Before I get started, I have a few cautionary notes in case you want to use this post for workout inspiration:

[**DISCLAIMER** I’m not a certified trainer or a nutritionist, and I don’t claim to be either one. If anyone finds inspiration here, that’s great, and it’s for that reason that I’ll explain some of what I do in these workout posts. If you have health concerns and you’re thinking about starting any kind of fitness program, get medical clearance from your doctor first, just to be safe!]

1). I got started later than I’d wanted on Sunday morning, so I didn’t have breakfast. I had a Larabar and called it good. The simple fruit and nut combination did the job, but I would normally fuel up on something more substantial, and something containing whole grains. Eat substantially several hours beforehand, or eat something light 30-60 minutes before starting. I feel most energized when I have some combination of protein and complex carbohydrates (i.e. peanut butter on a slice of whole-grain bread) about an hour before working out.

2). Stretching was one of the things I did that I didn’t film. It’s important to stretch! Stretch at the beginning of your workout, but don’t stretch without warming up your muscles first. At least jog in place for 5-10 minutes before stretching.

3). You don’t see me drinking water in these pics, either, but I drink water periodically during my training sessions, usually between rounds/exercises. Hydrate regularly throughout your workout, but don’t overdo it. Just a swallow or two of water at a time will suffice.

4). I incorporated some punching into my abs workout, and, as per usual for me, I didn’t wrap my hands or wear gloves of any kind. This is NOT advisable. Wear gloves or at least hand-wraps when punching things. For several reasons, I usually go bare-knuckled when training in the garage. Do not follow my lead here. Protect your hands with wraps and/or gloves (either boxing or MMA) if your knuckles are going to be making contact with solid objects.

5). Also unlike me during this workout, Wear pants that don’t fall down. (Another thing you won’t see in this post: my underwear.)

Now let’s jump in!

 

Cardio. I don’t know what these are called… you hold onto the top of the bag and take quick, continuous, alternating hops, tapping the base of the bag with the ball of your foot each time. It’s like doing the leg part of mountain-climbers, but standing.

 

100 alternating foot hop-ups (or whatever you call them) on the standing bag.

100 alternating foot hop-ups (or whatever you call them) on the standing bag.

 

I like to start a workout with a few rounds of jump rope.

 

Jump rope intervals

Jump rope intervals

 

You can’t see the jump rope as I’m jumping, but it’s there. Jump ropes in motion are the ghosts of workout equipment. They can’t be photographed.

 

Jumping rope

Jumping rope

 

(These pants are weird, by the way. I don’t think I’ll be wearing them again.)

 

Cross-overs with high jumps to mix things up.

Cross-overs with high jumps to mix things up.

 

A jump rope is a fantastic piece of training equipment. Jumping rope conditions the entire body, and you can bring a jump rope anywhere and jump anywhere. Just make sure to wear pants that don’t fall down.

 

I stopped to pull up my pants (I hadn't worn these in a while and forgot that they don't stay up!)

I stopped to pull up my pants (I hadn’t worn these in a while and forgot that they don’t stay up!)

 

I practice front and back rolls because they’re fun and they help you to learn how to fall in martial arts situations. Always roll on a padded floor!

 

Coming out of a front roll

Coming out of a front roll

 

Front rolls in all directions

Front rolls in all directions

 

Here I’m doing what I’d said wouldn’t suffice for my strength-training goals – shadow-boxing with weights. It’s actually great if I do it regularly as a component of a complete workout. These are five-pound dumbbells.

 

Shadow-boxing with weights.

Shadow-boxing with weights.

 

“Keep your hands up and your chin down.” ~Golden rule of boxing~

 

Uppercuts with dumbbells

Uppercuts with dumbbells

 

Hooks with dumbbells (great shoulder work!)

Hooks with dumbbells (great shoulder work!)

 

Keep moving!

Keep moving!

 

Abs! I usually do these toward the end of my workout.

 

Stabilizing the MMA dummy for crunches

Stabilizing the MMA dummy for crunches

 

This is great core work. Hold the bag in place with your ankles, crunch up, and punch the bag diagonally to the opposite side. Lower yourself down, crunch up again, and punch with the other arm to the other side. You can do these without a bag, too. The important part is the twisting to punch diagonally across your body at the top of the crunch, as that works your obliques. Using your ankles to stabilize something like this bag works your lower abdominal muscles.

You can make this exercise harder by ditching the bag (have someone hold your feet, or hook your feet under something stable) and holding a medicine ball or a dumbbell as you crunch up. Thrust the medicine ball or dumbbell diagonally across your body at the top of the crunch. Alternate sides and do as many as you can.

To make it even harder, do it without someone holding your feet. In any case, your abs and obliques will hate you the next day, which is what you want.

 

Crunches and punches!

Crunches and punches!

 

Crunches and punches on both sides

Crunches and punches on both sides

 

Don’t forget to keep your non-punching hand up!

 

Stabilizing the bag with your legs is half the work

Stabilizing the bag with your legs is half the work

 

Bonus exercise when you’re done with your abs: Plant your foot on the MMA dummy, forcefully kick it down, and immediately jump on it to get in some ground-and-pound!

(Kidding. Unless you have frustrations to work out. Then do it.)

(But make sure your hands are wrapped or you’re wearing MMA gloves. Or both.)

 

La Fin.

 

Typical Food.

Several friends have been asking me what I typically eat, and I find it difficult to answer on the spot, because, I guess, I don’t put all that much thought into food… so the last time I was asked, I decided to do a food journal over the next two days, which happened to be Sunday and Monday (yesterday). The timing was great for the experiment because my documentation captured a weekend day and a weekday that also happened to be a gym day. It covers a pretty good idea of the average food picture in my life. I’m sharing the results here this morning, for anyone who may be curious.

Since this was a spontaneous decision, I didn’t premeditate it or go shopping for it or anything. That’s my excuse for not exhibiting dishes prepared from scratch. Some weekends, I cook food to feed us for a few days, if not for the week, and some weekends, I don’t… and this last weekend, I didn’t.

Here are a few generalities:

1). Water is key to starting my day right. First thing in the morning, I drink three big glasses of chilled water, and I continue drinking water all day long. I have a little idiosyncrasy about water: I prefer very cold water, except I like to drink room-temperature water when I’m eating.

Water is the only thing I drink besides coffee and the occasional cup of tea or iced tea. (I stopped drinking grapefruit juice last year… I used to have it with breakfast.) I’ll sometimes squeeze fresh lemon juice into my water when I’m at home. I’m hyper-vigilant about keeping myself hydrated – I also drink a big glass of water right before going to sleep. I’m just really into water. Fun fact!

2). You’ll notice a lot of carbs on both days, since that’s my favorite food group. I prefer complex carbs and actually avoid simple carbs (white bread, white pasta, white rice, white potatoes, refined sugar, and alcohol… I think my last glass of wine was back in either October or November). (Oh wait, did I have champagne with my in-laws when they were here visiting from France for New Year’s? Yes, I believe did! December 31 was the last time I drank alcohol, then.)

3). I’m in the habit of waiting until 9:00am to eat breakfast, even though my alarm goes off at 5:00-5:30am in the morning five days a week. I get up and drink the three glasses of water with my thyroid medication, and then I wait 30 minutes before consuming anything else, because that’s how thyroid medication works. (I have Hashimoto’s disease – hypothyroidism. In my case, it’s autoimmune thyroiditis.) When the 30 minutes has passed, I take my other morning meds, and I have my first of two mugs of coffee.

4). I take supplements twice a day (different ones with my morning and evening meals).

5). I tend to cycle through certain foods. For instance, for a few weeks recently, I was having a Trader Joe’s blueberry-bran muffin for breakfast every weekday. Then I moved on to waffles and berries. I change it up every two to three weeks.

6). While there’s almost always some overlap in the things we eat (like salads, guacamole, fruit, etc.), Callaghan and I eat different meals about half of the time, I’d say. He’ll incorporate non-vegan elements into his.

7). Have I mentioned that as of about a month and a half ago, I’m back to 100% vegan, 100% of the time? It feels good. I’m my old self again.

So all that said, let’s jump in! Here’s what I ate over the last two days:

Sunday

Breakfast: Bear Naked Honey Almond Granola (10g protein!) with plain, unsweetened almond milk, blueberries and raspberries; coffee with stevia and the same almond milk; whole wheat toast with Earth Balance buttery spread.

 

Granola with a generous topping of fresh berries and almond milk, and whole wheat toast - and Sumatra coffee, of course (my favorite)!

Granola with a generous topping of fresh berries and almond milk, and whole wheat toast – and Sumatra coffee, of course (my favorite)!

 

Lunch: Sandwich with vegan lunch slices in turkey and ham flavor with fresh spinach, Roma tomato, Dijon mustard (that Callaghan brought back from France!) and grapeseed-oil Veganaise on whole wheat bread; a nectarine.

 

I usually default to sandwiches for lunch, which is fine, because I love them. I usually have fruit, too.

I usually default to sandwiches for lunch, which is fine, because I love them. I usually have fruit, too.

 

Snack: Kind Healthy Grains Maple Quinoa Clusters with Chia Seeds (1/3 cup), dry.

 

A handful of dry granola for a crunchy, sweet afternoon snack - one of my favorites! This is Kind Healthy Grains Maple Quinoa Clusters with Chia Seeds. YUM.

A handful of dry granola for a crunchy, sweet afternoon snack – one of my favorites! This is Kind Healthy Grains Maple Quinoa Clusters with Chia Seeds. YUM.

 

Dinner: Black beans and brown rice with HOT salsa; sliced avocado; a side salad of mixed baby spring greens and tomato with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper and oregano.

 

This was a quick and easy dinner of brown rice, black beans, salsa, and avocado, with a salad on the side.

This was a quick and easy dinner of brown rice, black beans, salsa, and avocado, with a salad on the side.

 

Dessert: Justin’s organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups.

 

Justin's organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups are my favorite vegan treat!

Justin’s organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups are my favorite vegan treat!

 

Monday

(The standard two mugs of coffee with stevia and plain, unsweetened almond milk)

Breakfast: Two of Van’s Multigrain 8 Whole Grains waffles with Earth Balance buttery spread; blueberries and raspberries.

 

I toast and "butter" (it's Earth Balance) the waffles at home and bring them to work loosely wrapped in foil. Van’s Multigrain 8 Whole Grains waffles, blueberries and raspberries.

I toast and “butter” (it’s Earth Balance) the waffles at home and bring them to work loosely wrapped in foil. Van’s Multigrain 8 Whole Grains waffles, blueberries and raspberries.

 

Lunch: Sandwich with Trader Joe’s Mediterranean hummus, fresh spinach and Roma tomato on whole wheat bread; a nectarine.

(On gym days, I’ll usually have peanut butter and jelly for lunch, but lately I’ve been alternating with hummus for the savory goodness of it. It’s still a great high protein/healthy fat sandwich spread.)

 

I ate lunch at my desk yesterday: Sandwich with Trader Joe’s Mediterranean hummus, fresh spinach and Roma tomato on whole wheat bread... and a heavenly nectarine for dessert!

I ate lunch at my desk yesterday: Sandwich with Trader Joe’s Mediterranean hummus, fresh spinach and Roma tomato on whole wheat bread… and a heavenly nectarine for dessert!

 

Snack: Small handful of roasted, unsalted almonds; a mini chocolate chip Clif bar.

(Workout fuel! I like a combination of protein, healthy fats, carbs, and a little unrefined sugar an hour or two before going to Body Combat.)

 

A small handful of roasted, unsalted almonds and a mini chocolate chip Clif bar fueled my workout after work. That mini Clif bar is so tiny! It's exactly the right size.

A small handful of roasted, unsalted almonds and a mini chocolate chip Clif bar fueled my workout after work. That mini Clif bar is so tiny! It’s exactly the right size.

 

Dinner: Homemade guacamole and an Amy’s Sonoma veggie burger (organic vegetables, quinoa and walnuts) on whole wheat toast; side salad of spinach, mixed baby spring greens and tomato with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper and oregano.

(Post-workout delicious combination of complex carbs, plant-based protein and healthy fats.)

 

Callaghan made his guacamole to go with our dinner, and it was fabulous, as usual! Homemade guacamole and an Amy’s Sonoma veggie burger on whole wheat toast, plus a side salad.

Callaghan made his guacamole to go with our dinner, and it was fabulous, as usual! Homemade guacamole and an Amy’s Sonoma veggie burger on whole wheat toast, plus a side salad.

 

Dessert: Fresh strawberries.

 

Fresh strawberries for dessert.

Fresh strawberries for dessert.

 

The strawberries look kind of weird in the picture, somehow, but they were wonderful.

Not pictured: I had a cup of Celestial Seasoning’s Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea last night before bed. It’s my favorite nighttime tea.

Et voilà! Two typical days.

My favorite thing to eat besides carbs is seasonal produce. The nectarines are fantastic right now. You know they’re a June favorite!