Cathe Friedrich’s (holy) High Reps

Holy high reps.

‘Nuff said.

I finally got around to trying the third of Cathe Friedrich’s brand spankin’ new workouts and chose to pop the High Reps workout in on Saturday morning.

I just finished the STS mesocycle 2 four week cycle and am about to go into “active recovery week” before diving into the final cycle in the rotation. Given that, I figured I’d tack on one more weight workout to my regime last week before taking a break from the weights this week.

And boy, was I not prepared for what High Reps had planned for me! It was nonstop, like whoa. But SO SO SO awesome, I can’t even begin to describe it. But I’ll try – this is a “review” style blog post afterall, right?? 😉

So the focus of this particular workout from Cathe is a total body, endurance-style workout. Which meant high, high, high rep counts and light weights. It felt a LOT like the BTS Group Power program at my gym, but on speed or something! The workout is broken down by body part, that is, after a brief warm-up that left me sweaty and warm – you know it’s gonna be a goodie when the WARM-UP is intense. LOL.

Each set of exercises breaks down into a series of weight work – usually a combination of barbells, dumbells and resistance band work and includes 3-4 exercises down in close succession for each body part. This is very different than Group Power in that each body part is only worked for one exercise with high reps, not three to FOUR done with high reps. PHEW. Cathe sure does know how to take it up a notch…or ten. 😉

Cathe does a really nice job in this workout in terms of mixing up both the style of weight lifting (balancing free weights with barbell work) but also the succession of moves. You might do an upper body series (like shoulders) and then switch to some leg work before going back to another upper body set (say, back) and so on. It was nice to break up the workout that way versus doing ALL legs and then ALL upper body.

By the end of this workout, I was wobbly and my entire body felt nice and fried…in the best possible way, of course. Waking up this morning, I totally felt it especially in my upper body and back.

Holy high reps is all I gotta say (again).

LOVED this workout (shocker, I know).


In other news, I promised my buddy Heather I’d post some pics from our first “ladies day out” with my niece Isabel this weekend. We hit the outlets near my sister’s house for a little shopping where I proceeded to buy every cute outfit I could get my hands on for Isabel. I just couldn’t help myself – she HAS to look stylish afterall, doesn’t she??

Just look at that face!!



What a difference…

…a day makes.

(thank you for your words of encouragement, as usual!)

But also, what a difference…in the spinning class I took this morning versus the one I took while Road Trippin’ it in New Jersey two weeks ago.

I mean – I always found the Group Ride class at my gym to be a challenge, particularly given how great the instructors are at our gym. They are motivating, they push you, they make it fun. But – I never had a point of comparison, so I thought this was just how ALL spinning class experiences were like.

Never assume.

The two spinning classes I took in New Jersey simply did NOT compare in any way to the Group Ride experience.

The instructors were not motivating. In fact, they hardly talked at all.  My sister and I both commented after that teaching that class would be SO easy, especially in comparison to what we’ve seen in Group Ride, and from personal experience teaching Group Kick!

The moves were monotonous and did not simulate the actual cycling experience. The positions were first, second and third position. In Ride – it’s ride, race, and climb. And when you’re riding – you feel like you’re, um, actually riding on outside terrain. When you’re climbing, damn are you CLIMBING that mountain. And when you’re racing, you are in full out sprint, going head-to-head with whomever is sitting on the bike next to you (in my case today, it was Scott to my left, Jo right behind me).  It’s no wonder so many of my friends don’t love spinning – based on their non-Group Ride experience – it’s no wonder so many of my friends haven’t stuck with it. Even Heather commented that her husband didn’t like spinning much since it didn’t really feel like actual cycling moves.

The class left me sweaty but in no way was I spent. In Ride, you work as hard as you can (at least I do!) and you literally have nothing left to give by the end of the last track (climb). It’s an incredible rush.

So, um, I gotta say it: Hello Group Ride! You are an amazing workout!

Seriously – after this experience, I have that much more appreciation for all of the BTS programs out there. From Group Power, to Group Ride and obviously, Group Kick (and a slew of others I have yet to try) – they ALL kick your butt in a way that no other class has ever kicked my butt. It’s a total bummer that more gyms don’t license the classes, at least around here, because they are worth every penny.

So now I gotta ask – how has your group fitness experience been? Am I the only one out there that thinks some group fitness classes leave much to be desired? Or is this the workout-a-holic in me coming out, full-force?

And no (insert caveat here!) – I did not intend to write this as an advertisement for BTS, seriously. I am just in awe, literally, after having a chance to compare one of the BTS classes to a non-BTS class and was totally struck by the very obvious differences. At least to me.

Strength training and cardio, and/or?

As I’ve mentioned and blogged about before, I get a lot of questions (mostly from my IRL friends but from bloggy friends too) about workout motivation and the types of workouts I tend to gravitate towards. And I’m happy to say that I’ve seen some of you either kick-start your workouts or start fresh with a workout regime and I LOVE to hear that. I’m such a huge proponent of working out as not just something to do to lose weight or stay fit, but as a lifestyle commitment.  So obviously, anytime I hear about a success story – trying a new workout and loving it or even just getting into a workout routine at all – makes me so happy!

One thing I’ve noticed, especially with newbies or “born-again’s” (ha), is that they not only aren’t sure WHERE to start but WHAT to start with. Cardio? Weight training? Conditioning? Obviously there’s a “walk before you run” approach that should be taken when engaging in any sort of new workout regime (as in, not jumping in and doing too much too fast) – but it seems like a common misconception that most newbies think that cardio – and that’s it – will whip them into shape. And – not that it won’t, or that it’s “wrong” to stick to all cardio – but there are sooo many great benefits to strength training and conditioning work that you’d miss out on (I say all this after having quite the “empowering” Group Power class experience this morning – whoa nelly, did it kick my butt today!).

It got me thinking – maybe most beginners just don’t know how to create a workout regime that includes both cardio and strength training, or simply aren’t aware of where or how to start.  So – I figured I’d put together a couple of recommendations on where to start, rules of thumb, etc. from my own personal experience over the years. I’m obviously not a professional by any stretch – so don’t take these as infinite truths but just ideas or guidelines, if you will. 🙂

  • Mix it up – By that I mean, try to find a balance between cardio work and weight training.  For example, if you hit the elliptical at your gym twice that week, add 1-2 weight training circuits to the mix. I’ve found that lots of fitness magazines are great for beginners looking for routines they can rip out and bring to the gym with them. That’s a great way to start.
  • Test-run a group weight training class – Another great way to get into weight training – especially if it intimidates you at first – is to try a group fitness class that focuses on weight training. You know I’m a huge proponent of BTS’ Group Power class. There are other classes that are similar to that, that many gyms carry, like Les Mills’ Body Pump, for example.  Or – other gyms that simply create their own weight training classes designed to be done in a group setting. Your instructor will be super helpful in showing you proper form and technique along the way. Once you get it down, you can either continue to take the class if you like that setting, or take what you’ve learned to the weight room at your gym.
  • Take your weight training to your living room – There are SO many women out there that don’t even bother trying to figure out how to weight train properly because the sheer thought of setting foot in the weight room at their gym is unfathomable (hello meat-heads!). Why not keep your cardio work to the outdoors or the gym where you have lots of options (classes, machines, etc.) and keep your weight training to the privacy of your own home. Again – huge fan of Cathe Friedrich’s at-home workout programs, ESPECIALLY STS which is just an incredible way to weight train over the course of 12 weeks. She does, however, have lots of other weight training DVDs that are older but still just as good. For beginners, Jillian Michaels’ is another great option. What I tend to like about DVDs at home is that they provide structure, you know exactly what you’re getting into and how and usually the music is pretty motivating.

Now – these are just a couple of initial ideas off the top of my head. I could DEFINITELY keep going but your eyes might glaze over. 😉 I’d LOVE your ideas and suggestions on what’s worked for you – or, if you’re newer to all this, what has held you back or why have you not considered weight training before?

7+ (mi.) before 7 (a.m.)

Well – it’s on folks, we’re just passed the two-month mark before the Wicked Half on September 25, and the running bug has bit me, “wicked haaaahd” as we say here in New England!

After last week’s vacation where there was plenty of running but little-to-no weight training, I made up for it over the weekend with some weight work, plus an awesome Group Power class yesterday before work.  So – this morning, I was itching for a really, really good run. As luck would have it -the weather was GORGEOUS this morning, practically screaming at me to get out there and run. Nice and cool at 5:30am when I hit the road with Scott, sun was just up, you could still see the full moon in the distance, seriously — what could be better?

Well – nothing, except for the fact that today was one of those “I could run forever” days. I felt good the entire time up until the last mile and a half of our route. We opted to add an extra loop at the end of our long running route near our house which to me, felt closer to 7.5 or 8 miles but I won’t know for sure until I clock it tonight. Based on the time it took (1:24 according to my HR monitor!) and the calories burned (856 baby!), it had to be closer to 8. That’s just a guessistimate though – and honestly, it doesn’t really matter the distance, the fact that I felt so good, and let my mind go this time, no overthinking here – I even took in the scenery – saw two bunnies along the way – until the very end made me SO HAPPY.

Talk about Runner’s High!

7+ miles before 7am – no better way to start my day. 🙂


In other news – have I mentioned how excited I am that the Cathe Road Trip is just FOUR DAYS away?? Well three for me since I’m flying in on Thursday night (officially the RT doesn’t start until Friday afternoon). I cannot wait to get there – and especially can’t wait to meet Heather which I know I’ve said a zillion times.  But seriously girl, we were definitely sisters in a past life – if our Facebook “convo” between my sis, your sis and the two of us last night is any indication. 😉