Exercise habits to avoid

Mark dziuban, workout habits

No matter how long you have been actively pursuing a better fitness routine, it is possible that you have one or more bad exercise habits that are deterring your efforts. In order to fully reap the benefits of your time in the gym, be sure to avoid the following exercise habits:

Skipping gym days. It is no secret that exercising is sometimes a greater test of your mental willpower than your physical abilities. After all, it is rare to find a person who genuinely desires to go to the gym and work out — especially in front of others who may or may not be in better shape than they are. However, it is better to find a way to will yourself to get up, lace up your sneakers, and go to the gym anyway. Such persistence will benefit you in the long run.

 

Taking long rests between exercises. Although it may be tempting to sit down and take a long water break after an especially difficult set of weightlifting or a sprint, it is much better for you to take shorter breaks — anywhere between one and three minutes — as they give you the opportunity to catch your breath without losing momentum or drastically lowering your heart rate.

 

Eating and/or drinking too much. Indulging in full meals or drinking too much water before a work out can lead to nausea, cramps, and other painful side effects. It is better to eat a small, healthy snack — such as Greek yogurt, fruit, or granola — and drink no more than two glasses of water prior to your next trip to the gym, as this will give you the energy you need to follow through with your exercise plan without any additional pain.

If you do choose to eat a full meal before heading to the gym, be sure to do so about two to four hours beforehand.

 

Working out aimlessly. If you go into the gym without at least an outline of your regimen for the day, it is unlikely that you will gain much from your efforts, as you will be more prone to getting distracted or giving up mid-exercise because you are not totally sure of what you are doing.

 

Make it a point to write down your exercise plan, whether on a piece of paper or in a note on your phone. This will not only give you direction at the gym, but help you to familiarize yourself with your gym’s range of equipment as well.

Let’s lose some fat

You’ve heard the advertisements on TV and have read the ads in your favorite magazines, “Use our product and turn your unwanted body fat into muscle.” Sounds easy and simple doesn’t it? Here’s a fact, it can’t be done-it’s just that simple. Fat can never be converted into muscle. In order to achieve the “turn fat into muscle look” you must lose the fat and build your muscle. So, let’s lose some fat.

Glucose, or sugars, are our bodies only source of energy. We can not change that, our bodies need sugar to expend energy. What is in our control however is where our bodies pull that energy from. Carbohydrates are sugars. If we eat too much food in the form of carbohydrates, our body naturally converts excess carbohydrates into triglycerides which get stored in our adipose fat tissues for future requirements. So, if you continue to eat, and not expend enough energy to meet your food intake, into the “ole storage bin” those excess triglycerides go. If you’re like me, that’s right to your midsection.

Our bodies hold a supply of glucose, ready for immediate use in our bloodstream and in our liver. When we exercise and elevate our heart rate above 50% of our maximum heart rate, (MHR), our bodies burn the glucose that is the easiest to get to, the glucose in our bloodstream and liver. Slow your heart rate down and your body will go to your adipose fat tissue and convert your stored triglycerides back into usable glucose. If you exercise at a heart rate below 50% of your MHR, you will “burn fat”-it’s that simple. SLOW DOWN and “burn fat”.

So, let’s find where the ideal heart rate range is so you can monitor your heart rate while performing low level, or steady state aerobics.. We’ll need to calculate your maximum heart rate, (MHR), and your resting heart rate, (RHR). Calculating your MHR is quite simple using this formula:

208-(0.7 x age) = MHR. So a 42 year old would simply calculate as follows:

208-(0.7 x 42) = MHR, 208-29.4 = 178.6, let’s round up to 179 beats per minute, (BPM).

Now that we know your MHR let’sget your RHR. The best time of the day to check your RHR is before you get out of bed in the morning. Simply find your pulse, count for 15 seconds and multiply by 4. Let’s say you came up with 60 BPM. Now we have all the information we need to calculate 50% of your MHR.

((MHR-RHR)/2) + RHR = 50% of MHR
((179-60)/2) + 60 = 50% of MHR
(119/2) + 60 = 50% of MHR
60 + 60 = 120.

Now, per this example, if you were to exercise while keeping your heart rate below 120 BPM, you will convert “fat”, (in the form of triglycerides), back into usable energy or blood glucose.

Be patient, once your body realizes your heart rate has increased it will immediately begin to use your blood glucose but after 15-20 minutes of maintaining an exercise heart rate below 120, your body will begin to convert stored triglycerides back into a usable energy source.

So, go exercise and keep your heart rate down! You’ll finally lose that unwanted fat easier and faster than if you exercised harder!!!

Remember, “If you want it, you’ve got to go get it!”

Total Caloric Expenditure: Part 3-Activity Expenditure

From my previous posts, we have learned the calculation for daily total caloric expenditure. Let’s review:

Total Caloric Expenditure = Resting Metabolic Rate, (RMR), + Thermal Effect of Food + Activity Expenditure.

We learned how to correctly calculate our Resting Metabolic Rate for our current body weight. We could have taken that formula a step further by first calculating our Lean Body Mass, or our body’s lean weight which is comprised of the combined weight of our bones, muscles, organs, and water mass, but we can save that for a future post as it is not entirely necessary to get you started.

We have also learned that our bodies use energy to digest and process the food we eat. Energy, in the form of calories, and how to calculate that.

So now let’s move on and discuss the third and final value of our equation, Activity Expenditure. According to the National Federation of Professional Trainers, (NFPT), the average adult burns approximately 500 calories per day performing normal daily activities. If you consider yourself a little more or less active than most you may consider adding or subtracting 100 calories from the 500 calories per day average.

Going back again to our example 34-year-old female from previous posts, we have determined her Resting Metabolic Rate to be 1,380 calories, her Thermal Effect of Food to be 230 calories, and her average daily Activity Expenditure to be 500 calories.

1,380-Resting Metabolic Rate + 230 Thermal Effect of Food + 500 Activity Expenditure = 2,110 total required caloric intake to maintain her current 142 pounds.

Note per this example, to maintain her current weight of 142 pounds she should be taking in 2,110 calories per day but we see she is actually consuming 2,300 calories per day or an excess of 190 calories per day. Knowing that one pound of fat “weighs” 3,500 calories we can determine with a great degree of certainty, our 34 year old female will gain one pound in just under three weeks! How do we know that? Well let’s do the math”

Current daily caloric intake (2,300) – current daily caloric expenditure (2,100)=daily caloric surplus (190)

3,500 calories per pound divided by her daily caloric surplus of 190 calories per day equals 18.42 days! In theory every 18.42 days our 34 year old female will gain one pound of unwanted weight!

What does she need to do to stop this weight gain? Diet….right? Well, not necessarily. Why give up something she may enjoy. The thought of dieting, or restricting caloric intake, carries a negative connotation. So, rather than restrict 500 calories per day let’s burn 500 calories per day! Go for a walk! Your kids and dog will love you! If our example 34-year-old female walked 1 hour each day at a brisk pace, she will burn approximately 450 calories she currently does not burn. So instead of having a surplus of 190 calories, she will now have a calorie deficit of approximately 260 calories per day! (450 calories burned walking less 190 daily caloric surplus equals 260). Knowing a pound of fat weighs 3,500 calories, she will lose one pound of fat every two weeks! (3,500/260=13.46).

You say you don’t have time to walk, how far do you walk to your local coffee barista? 1 mile each way and you are half way done. There is no better time to appreciate the benefits of light exercise as immediately following meal time. After every meal, our bodies either store or use the most recent calories consumed so no better time to put those calories to good use as just after taking them in! Remember to walk slightly faster than your comfortable pace to achieve good results. On those rainy days, pull out and dust off that old exercise equipment you bought a few years ago and rarely used.

Now that you understand your Caloric Expenditure you are finally armed with the basic knowledge to start becoming a healthier you!

And remember, “I you want it, you’ve gotta go get it!”

Total Caloric Expenditure: Part 2-The Thermal Effect of Food

Mark Dziuban - Thermal

In part one of this series, we learned how to calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate, or RMR, which is how many calories your body burns to provide for all it’s necessary bodily functions. You now know how many calories your body requires before you do anything more than lay in bed all day.

Now that we understand and have calculated your resting metabolic rate, we have a little more work to do. Before we do that, let’s look at the equation for Total Caloric Expenditure.

Total Caloric Expenditure = RMR + Thermal Effect of Food + Activity Expenditure

The Thermal Effect of Food is the total number of calories required to digest your food. Yes, your body burns calories when processing, or digesting the food you eat. Your body burns calories absorbing and distributing those nutrients throughout your body. No, you cannot eat more food to burn more calories and lose weight. While that would be a fun way to lose weight, the fact is our bodies burn far fewer calories digesting the food we eat than the total number of calories contained in that food. We are going to use a very simple method to determine your Thermal Effect of Food. Remember that this figure varies depending on the types of food ingested. Simply calculate 10% of your daily caloric intake. The answer is the approximate number of calories required to digest and process our food. So, using our example 34-year-old female from our previous post, let’s say she consumes 2,300 calories per day. So, multiplying 2,300 calories by 10% or, 2,300 x .10 we determine her Thermal Effect of Food to be 230 calories. Her RMR we previously calculated to be 1,378.13 or let’s around up to 1,380 for easier math. Her Thermal Effect of Food is 230 so we know she currently burns 1,610 calories per day, 1,380 + 230 = 1,610.

We are well on our way to having a good idea how many calories we burn in a single day.

Before we move on any further, let’s talk about the three categories of metabolism. There are the Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and the Endomorph. Do you have a friend or family member who seemingly can eat anything at any time and never gain a single pound of weight? That lucky person is an Ectomorph, or is better identified as having a very high metabolism. A Mesomorph is one who has a normal metabolism and an Endomorph has a difficult time losing weight. You’ll need to determine which category you fit in to you will need to be honest with yourself. So, when calculating your Total Caloric Expenditure, or TCE, add 500 calories if you are an Ectomorph. If you are a Mesomorph, do nothing and for an Endomorph you will need to deduct 200 calories once you determine your daily caloric intake.

For sake of our example, let’s assume our 34-year-old female is a mesomorph and requires no change once we determine our new daily caloric intake requirements.

In part three of this series, we will talk a little bit about lean body mass, (LBM), and try to help you determine your activity expenditure.

As a side note: For those of you who are considering weight loss supplements: There are many weight loss supplements available in the store or online which have key ingredients that are not scientifically studied. Check on the internet to find if your “miracle product” references any scientific studies on humans-you may be surprised.

Until next time, always remember, “If you want it, you’ve got to go get it.”

Excess Carbs, not Fat, Make you Fat

Mark Dziuban - Fat and Carbs

One of the most common misconceptions among Americans is that eating dietary fat will result in bodily fat gain. Fat is nothing more than a fuel source for our bodies, along with carbohydrates (sugar), and protein, although protein is not a primary fuel source.

The main culprit in fat gain has almost nothing to do with fat and almost everything to do with sugar. Any carbohydrate you eat will inevitably break down into glucose (sugar) and get absorbed into your bloodstream. When blood glucose levels rise, insulin is released from the pancreas to bind with the glucose and deliver it to the cells as fuel. This glucose is either used immediately as fuel, or it is converted to glycogen and stored in our muscles and liver to be used as fuel later. That glycogen storage system is the basis behind endurance athletes carb loading before races or long training sessions. Fat accumulation starts occurring when the body takes in more sugar than it can store, and it begins converting it to fatty acids for storage.

The human body has a finite amount of fat cells, and those cells will grow and shrink depending on the amount of fatty acids in the cell. Once inside a fat cell, three of those fatty acids will bind to an alcohol called glycol to form one triglyceride. While fatty acids flow freely in and out of fat cells, triglycerides are bound to the fat cell where they were formed until they are broken down. The accumulation of these triglycerides in fat cells is what translates into excess stored body fat.

Lipolysis is the breakdown of fats that involves the hydrolysis of triglycerides back into glycerol and three fatty acids. Lipolysis is induced in the body by a number of hormones including glucagon, epinephrine, norepinephrine, ghrelin, testosterone, growth hormone, and cortisol. When the body is fasted, there is an increase in lipolysis-inducing hormones, most notably norepinephrine, that jumpstarts lipolysis. The most common time for triglycerides to break down is actually while we sleep, which is one of the reasons so many different diets require you to not eat so many hours before bed. Another way to increase these hormones is through exercise. By exercising, you increase testosterone and cortisol levels therefore stimulating lipolysis and “burning fat” as most people will call it.

Education is the first line of defense to combat obesity.  The cycle of carbohydrate consumption leading to fat storage is something that millions of Americans struggle with. Understanding how that cycle works and taking the steps to correct your diet will have your burning fat in no time.

Total Caloric Expenditure: Part 1-Know your Number

Mark Dziuban - Calories 1

January 1st has come and gone and once again your New Year’s resolution is not off to a great start.  In fact, you have not seen any weight loss results and the hope of becoming a slimmer, healthier you might have to wait once again until next year.

This is a story to which we can all relate.  While our desire to exercise, and lose weight are born of good intent, our knowledge of how to do so may be somewhat lacking.  To succeed, you are going not have to arm yourself with general knowledge and facts so you can become the healthier, leaner you that you have always dreamt of becoming.

To sustain itself, our bodies are constantly working.  Even while we are doing nothing our bodies are busy repairing and rebuilding.  Our hearts are pumping blood, blood is flowing.  We are breathing, twitching, digesting and thinking.  In other words, if you were to lie around all day and do nothing physical, your resting metabolic rate, or RMR, in calories, would provide for all of your necessary body functions.

If you were going to cut calories from your diet, we first need to determine how many calories your body requires to sustain itself.  Once you have solved your RMR value, you can plug that number into the equation for Total Caloric Expenditure.  But before we can determine that value, we need to determine your RMR.  

So, let’s do a little work.  The most common method for calculating your RMR is by using the “Mifflin Formula”.  There are many online websites available to calculate this for you but let’s run through the formula manually to provide a thorough knowledge of how to determine your RMR.

For Men:  RMR = (10 X weight in kilograms) + (6.25 x height in centimeters) – (5 X age) + 5

For Women:  RMR = (10 X weight in kilograms) + (6.25 x height in centimeters) – (5 X age) – 161

For our example let’s use a 34-year-old female, 5’7” tall and weighs 155 pounds.  Now before we begin you can see we will need to convert pounds into kilograms and inches into centimeters.

To convert pounds into kilograms, simply divide your weight by 2.2. Using our example: 155/2.2=70.45.

To convert height into centimeters, we know a person 5’7” tall in 67 inches.  Take 67 divided by 0.3937.  67/.3937 = 170.18.

Ok now we have values for height and weight which we can easily work with in the following formula for women:  (10 x 70.45) + (6.25 X 170.18) – (5 x 34) -161 or 704.5+ 1063.63 = 1768.13 – 170 = 1598.13 – 161 = 1437.13

So for our example, our 34-year old female requires 1,437 calories before she does a single thing other than lie in one place all day.

Now we are beginning to arm ourselves with information, which when used alongside calculating our total calorie expenditure, will provide us with the necessary information to make an educated decision regarding our weight loss plan.

Watch for my next blog when I discuss how to calculate your total caloric expenditure and always remember, “If you want it, you’ve got to go get it.”  

Make a Lifestyle Change, Not a Resolution

Mark Dziuban Make a Lifestyle Change Header

If you have been to a commercial gym in the past week (Gold’s Gym, Planet Fitness, YMCA) then you probably noticed that it is pretty full. January is by far the busiest month at most gyms and health clubs. We’ve all heard it from someone before, “My New Year’s resolution is to get in shape and lose weight.” The time between Thanksgiving and the winter holidays is when most people are visiting with family, eating until they are about to explode, and drinking more than they normally would. So on January 2nd when you walk into the gym it almost feels like walking through a college frat party. The biggest problem with resolutions is that they end when the calendar year does. So instead of making a resolution this year, I encourage everyone make a lifestyle change that will continue and evolve with you.

Nutrition

The most important part to hitting any fitness goal is eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. The problem is that most fad diets have an end date. I’ve witnessed many people complete Whole 30 with astonishing results, but as soon as the 30 days are up they are right back to their old diet. As soon as you “go on a diet” you imply that your diet will eventually end. Instead, just change what you eat. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains (no, carbs are not the devil), and healthy fats are the basis of any great nutrition plan. My general rule of thumb is if something comes shrinkwrapped or prepackaged then it shouldn’t go in your mouth. While preparing all of your own food is more time consuming, it also teaches you how to be creative in the kitchen.

Exercise

While dialing in your nutrition takes a lot of effort, it is not the only piece of the puzzle. Incorporating some type of exercise into your daily routine will drastically improve your physical and mental well being. Exercise does not need to mean going to a gym and running on a treadmill. Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of exercise, which means there is something out there for anyone. Yoga, kickboxing, spin classes, mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, and swimming are just a few of the ways you could exercise without ever stepping on a treadmill.

Enjoyment

In the beginning, nobody wants to wake up on a Saturday morning to go on a run, or spend their Sunday afternoon preparing their meals for the week. The quicker you can find enjoyment in your routine, the easier it will become in the long run. Try out a few different approaches to exercise to see what you enjoy and what you can’t wait to be done doing. My wife and I love being outdoors, so we gravitated towards cycling and mountain biking. When I get on a bike, I never have the feeling of not wanting to ride. The most important part is holding yourself accountable once you do find what you enjoy so you can continue improving.

Getting in shape and losing weight isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would do it. You need to be strong willed and be able to motivate yourself under the worst circumstances. However, once you start seeing the results of your hard work, you will wonder why you didn’t start earlier.

Why Cycling? Reasons Why Cycling Should Become Your Next Addiction

There are countless hobbies and activities in the world that people take up every day, but few are as valuable as cycling. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider adopting this healthy habit.

Lose Weight and Increase Health

Not only can cycling promote weight loss, but this form of exercise can also improve your body’s overall well-being. This activity is an extremely effective way to burn calories depending on the intensity of the ride, and size of the rider, using several muscle groups throughout. According to National Healthcare Provider Solutions, cycling can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by up to 50% as well.

Photo of a bike and cyclist

Be Happier

With exercise comes a rush of endorphins. Cycling is one of the best cardiovascular exercises you can perform, and in turn, can reduce stress. If you’re feeling down or having a bad day, just a 30-minute bike ride is all it takes to release a surge of endorphins powerful enough to counter any negativity that you’re harboring. Introducing cycling into your weekly routine can create long lasting benefits to your mental health.

Become Environmentally Friendly

Perhaps one of the more obvious upsides to cycling is the eco-friendly aspect. Unlike driving a car, bicycles use no fuel, require no batteries or motor oil, and take little energy to make, all of which can greatly reduce your carbon footprint. In addition to helping out our planet, cycling also decreases traffic congestion, making that daily commute just a little bit easier for everyone on the road.

Kick Unhealthy Habits

Developing a positive addiction to cycling can take the place of any harmful dependencies you may struggle with, whether those are smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or overeating. Devoting time to this new hobby will reduce time available to give in to these unhealthy habits, and can create a routine that will eventually phase them out entirely.

Photo of a bike and cyclist

Bond with Friends and Family

Cycling is arguably one of the most social physical activities you can be a part of. Chances are there is a cycling club in or around your local area, in which you can build new friendships and connections within the community. This is also a hobby that the whole family can enjoy. The youngest of family members can join the ride in a bike seat and enjoy the scenery, while the oldest can ride alongside themselves, enjoying the fact that cycling is easy on the joints. With how impressionable children are, this also a great way to develop healthy habits early on, as they will see how cycling is a standard part of your day and want to mimic your actions.

So, if you’re seeking a new hobby, a different form of exercise or just an activity to remove the mundane from your life, cycling is one of your best options. Research what bicycles may work best for you, strap on a helmet, and begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Photo of a bike and cyclist

Staying Safe in the Summer Heat

 

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The summer months bring longer days, plenty of sunshine, and lots of opportunities to explore the greater world. The summer also brings higher temperatures that can be dangerous to athletes and exercise enthusiasts who aren’t acclimated to the warmer climate.

 

Dehydration, heat stress, sunburn–these are all significant health concerns that athletes should consider during the warmer months.

 

Here are a few tips to help keep you safe when exercising this summer.

 

Time Your Exercise

 

Exercising during the heat of the day is never recommended. If possible, strive to workout in the early morning hours when the sun’s intensity is weaker and the temperature remains cooler. While you may not be accustomed to early-morning workouts, the morning hours can be a fantastic time to exercise. Not only will you have added energy throughout your day, you’ll feel a great sense of productivity.

 

Drink Enough Water

 

No matter what time you choose to work out, you must make hydration your number one priority. If you’re a long distance runner or biker, it will be imperative to travel with a water bottle. Take frequent sips and make sure you’re hydrating before and after your sessions.

 

Concoct your Own Sports Drink

 

To increase the power of the water, and to prevent hyponatremia, a serious condition that happens when an athlete’s sodium levels are too low, consider making your own Gatorade. Not only will you save money, you’ll reduce the amount of sugar in the drink. Check out this round-up of homemade sports drinks. By adding ingredients like ginger, you can help reduce muscle cramps. Cranberries? They’ll aid in replenishing your electrolytes.

 

Enlist a Friend

 

Enlisting the company of a friend, relative, partner, or neighbor is always a great idea to make exercise a more enjoyable and sustainable activity. This rings true for the summer months. Having a friend along for the session can be a great way to keep both of you safe. If somebody is feeling tired or overheated, you’ll have a reliable backup to support you.

 

Switch Sports Gears

 

If you’re an avid runner but hate the heat, why not try a different sport during the hottest days of the month. Swimming can be an excellent alternative that will still provide intense cardio workout. Take advantage of the summer months and be creative with your workout options. Why not rent a canoe for the afternoon to build up arm strength? Love hiking? Find a park and spend the morning traveling the trails. Want to become more flexible? Take a weekly yoga class!


The summer can be a great way to explore new options. Keep safe, stay hydrated, and continue on your fitness journey!

Reasons Why You Should Make CrossFit Part of your Summer Routine

 

Crossfit: Many Benefits

Summer is great way to get back into shape or to discover a new workout routine. For years, I’ve explored various fitness approaches in the quest to achieve an optimal level of health. Over the past year or so, I’ve developed a love for Crossfit. This high intensity routine has surged in popularity over the last decade and owes its success to the effectiveness and collaborative nature of its design. Interested in learning more about CrossFit? Why not try this extremely fun and effective fitness program out this summer!

 

You’ll get into Amazing Shape

Check out any photo of a crossfit gym and my point will be illustrated perfectly. Crossfit is a phenomenal way to get into amazing shape, super fast. You’ll learn to push your body and fight through the pain. You’ll continue through it because you’ll be surrounded by fellow success stories.

 

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It’s All About Community

One of the best things about the Crossfit craze is the strong community that accompanies the workout. You’ll never be in the gym lifting weights alone. You’ll be scarce to find a fellow crossfitter who won’t jump in and model a new move. This can be extremely beneficial to new crossfitters as they learn and adapt to the movements.

 

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You’re Life Will Improve

Yes, you’ll be in better shape. Yes, you’re heart and your joints will be healthier. But you’ll also notice improvements in other areas of your life. To start, you’ll notice a huge mood in your mood. Constant exercise performed alongside your active community will do wonders for your mental health. You’ll laugh more. You’ll sweat more. You’ll release a ton of endorphins. Who wouldn’t want to achieve a lifestyle that gets you in shape and manages your mental health as well?

 

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It’s Fun

There’s something electric about the sport that motivates and excites even the most timid fitness enthusiast. Why is the sport so fun? Many of the movements hark back to your childhood days; playing on the playground. It’s a wild form of freedom. And an outlet that many adults don’t get to explore nearly enough. Exercise should be fun. The most successful athletes can manage their health and keep up with their routines because of this aspect. The secret to crossfit is the varied workout movements. You’ll never get stuck cycling for an hour or repeating the same three circuits. Crossfit is all about varying the movements to target different parts of your body in fast and intense interval cycles.

 

Crossfit continues to make its way into every town and city in America. It continues to cultivate new communities of crossfitters; individuals who notice a tremendous improvement in their physical and mental health. What about you? Will crossfit change your life this summer?

 

Not sure you’re ready to try it out a gym or Crossfit studio? Check out my previous post, where I outline one of my favorite workouts. A few of these movements are crossfit standards!

 

Crossfit woman