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Entries in Tabata (4)

Sunday
Jun102012

Fitness Spotlight - Dana Sorensen

Recently I traveled out to San Diego for business, and had the chance to catch up with a grad school friend -  Dana Sorensen. 

Dana always was a workout fanatic (I can call her this because it's something we have in-common) and it was great to see what she's been up to.  We hadn't caught up in-person in six years, but I caught some recent photos of her on Facebook and was blown away.

Dana was always an extremely fit person - but she has recently put her workouts in overdrive and looks fantastic.  For the rest of us who have miles to go to improve our bodies, I asked Dana to take a minute and help spell out some of the tactics that have helped her get into such amazing shape.

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What’s your athletic background?

   I am a former softball player. I pitched at the Division I level for Stanford University.

I was lucky enough to have a successful college career which enabled me to compete for the women's national team. Following college I spent the next 6 years playing professional softball.

 
 

What is your coaching background?

I spent 5 years coaching Division I softball at UC-Davis and Oregon State. I was a volunteer for UNC while attending grad school there. Now I currently coach younger kids as a personal fastpitch pitching coach.

 

What does a typical day look like for you?

I start my weekdays with my morning workout, which goes from about 9 - 11:30. we do a variety of exercises from TRX, kettlebells, pull ups, push ups, box jumps, battling ropes, prowler and much more. after my workout I usually have a couple hours off before I go to work. I teach kids from about 4 -8   every afternoon / evening. Sometimes if I am feeling up to it I will hit up the gym again before work for a quick bike or treadmill sprint workout. I have about 50 clients so my work schedule keeps me busy and on my feet a lot! 

 Credit: Talitha Noel Photography
 

What is your diet like most days?

I wake up and take my multi vitamin pills, followed by a protein shake with almond milk and usually a rice cake with almond butter. After breakfast I take my amino acid pills, with my Spark energy drink from Advocare. Post workout I have another protein shake. Lunch is usually eggs, cottage cheese, fruit and some almonds and sesame seeds. During work I take down a 3rd protein shake, or protein snack bar. Dinner is typically fish, veggies or a broth based soup of some sort, and of course after dinner is my chocolate treat of dark chocolate!

 

Credit: Talitha Noel PhotographyWhat are the significant changes you made in your diet that have given you such great results?

I think its the combination of less carbs later in the day, lots and lots of water, increase in protein, and supplements that have all combined to help me lose about 7% body fat over 2 months. 

 

Any workout or health supplements that have been a great benefit as well?


I use Advocare products and I think they have really helped me shed those last stubborn pounds and helped me put on a significant amount of muscle.  I have also become really addicted to HIIT training, especially anything involving Burpees or a Tabata of any kind. I love the TRX suspension straps for my ab work, never thought I would have defined abs.

 

 

Do you ever count your calories or monitor carbs?


I don't count my calories, but I do avoid high calorie items. my diet is protein heavy and nutrient heavy so I don't worry to much about calories. I have been a fairly healthy eater for years, now I just do a better job of limiting my cards and keeping my protein intake up to the level that my lean body mass needs. I am a Pescovatarian so red meat and poultry are off the table for me. that helps keep my calorie consumption lower.

 


What’s the one cheat/reward food you can’t live without?Credit: Talitha Noel Photography

 Sweets! Chocolate hands down! Me and my whole family are "chocoholics", and I refuse to let go of  enjoying that, ha ha.


 

Any role models or heroes in the fitness industry?

Jillian Michaels has been a big one for me, her intensity and commitment to being healthy and strong has really inspired me.  Other than her I guess I am lucky enough to have some friends that I look up to and aspire to be as disciplined as.

 

What’s your favorite exercise/activity?  What’s your least favorite?

I love but also equally hate Burpees, I think they are the single greatest exercise you can do. I have become obsessed with push ups and pull ups, I think moving your body weight is so crucial in training.  I don' t think I could live without my TRX or kettlebells. They both give you so many different training options.

 

Credit: Talitha Noel PhotographyWhat's your favorite workout apparel brand?

Hands down I am a Nike girl! I have played for and coached teams sponsored by Nike so I have plenty of Nike clothes and really like their dri-FIT line.

I wear Lunar Glides for training, but do use New Balance Minimus for kettlebell work.

 
 

 

 

 

If you could send a message to women out there about eating right, being afraid of weight training, taking more classes etc. what would it be?

My advice is to let go of the insecurities and get in there with the boys and throw some weight around. resistance training combined with HIIT is the way to go, the less attached you are to the machine the more fun you will have working out.

I think the class setting is a great way to get in good workout, I love to socialize like most women so its the best of both worlds.

As for eating healthy, I can say I spent too many years counting calories and it was way to stressful. learn about the nutrients in food and how it fuels you and let go of the numbers. 

Saturday
May072011

Plyometric Bodyweight Drills

Often I get asked questions like "I don't want to join a gym, but what else can I do besides running?" or "How can I spice up my workouts without having access to equipment?"

I'm a big fan of plyometric bodyweight drills due to my time running track in high school and college. (note - I was not very good and probably lost 99% of my heats)  I use bodyweight plyos as warm-up drills for most of my fitness classes, and also as a form of Tabatas to get everyone's heart rate elevated and make them earn their trip to the water fountain.

Plyo drills are a great way to not only challenge your cardiovascular system, but build your explosive lower body power and fast-twitch muscle fibers.  These drills can be difficult to explain and are best demonstrated - so I've decided to use a pretty accomplished source as an example, IFBB Figure Pro Erin Stern.

Erin Stern is the 2010 Ms. Figure Olympia, and competed in the high jump and heptathlon at the University of Florida.  I'm always biased towards track & field athletes, and Erin Stern justifies my feelings with how well she hits each of these drills shown in the below videos.

Erin Stern is one example of why it takes a lot more than just "going for a jog" or reading a magazine on the StairMaster to achieve the sort of physique you can be proud of.

 

 

 

Sunday
Feb212010

Tabata Complex: Cable Bands

For those who are unfamiliar with a Tabata workout, it's essentially a series of full-intensity bursts (:20-30 usually) with VERY brief rest periods (roughly :10 at most).  There can be between 4 and 5 different exercises, and one rotation through completes one Tabata circuit.

Tabatas are a great way to get an intense workout in when crunched for time.  People exercising on their lunchbreak who need to get their heart rate up and break a good sweat without time to spend pounding away on the treadmill can see real benefits.

Here's a description of a typical Tabata workout structure:

  • 5 minutes of warm-up
  • 8 intervals of 20 seconds all-out intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest
  • 2 minutes cool-down

Tabata-style workouts are also beneficial when traveling or on vacation, since if there is no real gym access, you may only have room in your travel bags for one singular peice of equipment.  These can obviously be done in a body weight format with drills like burpees, mountain climbers, and plyo jumps for example, but here is an excellent video of Baltimore-area trainer Nick Tumminello demonstrating an upper body Tabata circuit with cable resistence bands.

Here's another with one of his clients, Alli McKee doing similar exercises:

Saturday
Feb132010

Fitness Spotlight: Alli McKee

Over the past two weeks I've been helping a friend develop her workout and nutrition program with an eye towards developing lean muscle tone and shedding body fat.  Those goals aren't necessarily unique, in-fact they're fairly common.  The unfortunate part is that even though so many of us have the same group of goals, we rarely find someone whose nutrition or training patterns set them on a direct course towards the physique they want.

Fitness competitor Alli McKee is one of those people. 

I stumbled onto her blog and series of YouTube videos after reading articles by her trainer and boyfriend Nick Tumminello.  Alli McKee's training is a huge departure from so many of the ladies I see each day slaving away on the treadmill or elipticals, or doing dozens of arm curls with 3-pound dumbells. 

Alli McKee trains the way I do, and I've actually borrowed a few drills from her videos to use in my fitness classes very soon.  My favorite class attendees are the ones who love a challenge and don't back down from something that starts out as very difficult.  Particularly the women who ignore classic stereotypes of being intimidated by "heavy" weights or "intense" drills.  That's one reason why I think Alli McKee is worth highlighting.

You can check out her frequently updated blog here and below is just one sample of her many training videos available on YouTube.  I'll also be using her videos as upcoming samples on my Training & Workouts page.