Category Archives: Workout Wednesdays

10K Training Update: Running Is Hard

Remember about 4 weeks ago when I was like, “Hey, I’m gonna train for a 10K“?  Well, believe it or not, we’re approaching the halfway point already.  My boyfriend (who hates long distance running) and I have almost exactly one month until we participate in our turkey trot on Thanksgiving.  I wouldn’t say training is going badly, but I have to be real with you.  I’m not really killing it.

I told you I’d keep you posted on my progress, and I’m a woman of my word.  Here’s exactly what I have and have not done up to this point.  The little red X’s indicate a completed workout, and the last red X on the chart is what I did today.

10 Novice

Notice all the blank boxes?  Yeah.  In my defense, my brother got married that week 300 miles away from where I currently live.  I was having a dress crisis.  Most of my afternoons during week 2 were spent combing Chicago for appropriate wedding attire.  Yes, I could have made time to run, but I didn’t.  That’s just me being honest.

The good news is that the unscheduled off days don’t seem to be holding me back.  My BF and I completed a 4 mile “long run” together last weekend with relative ease.  We didn’t break any records, but we finished.  And he hasn’t run that much at once since high school, so it was really incredible seeing him do something he didn’t think he was capable of.  He even went out the night before and bought special running tights to wear under his shorts.  So official.  And adorable.

During the weekdays, I have a different running partner.  He’s the kind of athlete who burns out early, but he’s working on his stamina.

DEXTER RUNNING 10K TRAININGTaken mid-stride during week 2

As previously mentioned, the turkey trot happens in ONE MONTH.  Until then, I’ll be channeling my inner Prefontaine and referencing my 10 Tricks to Getting Motivated, because it’s starting to get really, really chilly outside.  Holla at me if you have any running/workout tips you’d like to share, or if you need advice.  The address is thehungrytortoise at gmail dot com.  I always read and respond to every single e-mail I get.

I look forward to chatting.  Toodles!


Workout Wednesday: Cash Money Motivation

Need help finding motivation to hit the gym?  Follow these simple steps:

  1. Find a jar.
  2. Set a goal.
  3. Put a predetermined increment of money into the jar each time you reach your goal.

My goal last week was to simply burn 300 calories every single day by doing some type of exercise.  I set the reward amount for weekdays at $1.  On weekends, I doubled it.  And look!  I already have $7 to spend on whatever I want!


Use this little trick for ANY goal, health-related or otherwise.  It’ll give you a reason to spoil yourself every now and then without feeling guilty, because hey… you earned it, right?

Workout Wednesday: Is Less More When It Comes To Exercise?

Do you always feel guilty skipping a workout?  An interesting article in the New York Times suggest that maybe you shouldn’t.  In fact, it might be better for your overall health and fitness to take a couple of days off each week.  Can this really be true?!  IS THIS REAL LIFE?!

The article cites a study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  It included older, sedentary test subjects, all women, between the ages of 60 and 74.  They were each randomly assigned to one of three exercise groups.  Group #1 exercised twice a week.  Group #2 exercised four times a week.  Group #3 exercised six times a week.  And guess what.  At the end of the four-month-long experiment, the ladies in the middle won the prize!  Take a look:

“The women exercising four times per week were now expending far more energy, over all, than the women in either of the other two groups. They were burning about 225 additional calories each day, beyond what they expended while exercising, compared to their calorie burning at the start of the experiment.”

The idea is that four workouts a week were enough to help the women feel more energized and willing to be active outside their time at the gym.  They were walking more for pleasure.  They were taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  Maybe they were breakdancing, too.  Isn’t that a lovely idea.

The women who worked out only twice a week saw benefits, too… but the women in the six-workout-a-week group, surprisingly, had the most trouble.  They were burning far fewer calories during non-exercise hours than the other two groups.  They felt burned out, tired, and pressed for time, so they’d make choices out of convenience, like driving instead of walking.

I, for one, can totally relate.  I go on streaks where I’ll workout 6 times a week for a couple of weeks.  Then, during the third week, I can’t get off my ass.  Then I feel guilty.  Then I get depressed.  It’s stupid really.  It helps to remember that fitness is a life-long journey.  We have to make healthy changes we’re able to maintain for the long-term.

So, what do you think?  Is four days a week the magic number?  How often do you exercise?  VOTE NOW and like The Hungry Tortoise on Facebook!

Workout Wednesday: 5 Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Get the most out of your workout and stop sabotaging yourself!  Here are the 5 mistakes you may be making at the gym… without even knowing it.

  1. Doing any kinda of cardio at the same pace for your entire workout:  Ample research shows that HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is where it’s at.  It means varying the pace and intensity of your workout, and it doesn’t have to be anything super structured or formal.  Instead of walking at 4 miles per hour for 30 minutes, try walking at 4 miles per hour for 3 minutes, then jogging at 5.5 miles per hour for 2 minutes, then recovering for 1 minute before increasing the intensity again.  You’ll burn more calories and fat this way, because you’re constantly challenging your body and increasing your heart rate.  For ideas, check out the Hungry Tortoise’s Minka Kelly Circuit and the 30 Minute Treadmill Circuit with Hills!
  2. Lifting the same weights every day:  If you’re lifting weights on a regular basis, you’re likely getting stronger, which means those weights you started out with are no longer challenging.  IF IT DOESN’T CHALLENGE YOU, IT DOESN’T CHANGE YOU.  As soon as you feel like you’re able, increase your load, even if it’s just by a pound or two.  Every little bit helps you get fitter and stronger.  And ladies, please stop curling 2 pound weights.  Have some respect for yourself.  You can do more, and you should do more.  Don’t ever be afraid of gaining too much muscle.  Unless you’re mainlining testosterone, there’s just no way you’ll ever bulk up like a man.  It’s science.
  3. Leaning on the cardio machine:  It’s okay to hold the rails, say, on an elliptical or a stair-stepper.  It helps you keep your balance.  But there’s a fine line between holding and leaning.  Leaning = cheating.  You might as well go home.  You look stupid, and you’re wasting your time.  This bitch below, for example, be trippin’:LEANING STAIRS
  4. Stretching before cardio:  Stretching cold muscles can lead to injury.  Warm up the right way by doing something light, like walking, for about 5 minutes.  Stretch AFTER the short warm-up, and make sure to stretch again right before you go home.  That way, you’ll avoid soreness the next day and maintain your flexibility.
  5. Guzzling Gatorade:  Unless you’re a serious athlete in training, or getting over a nasty case of the diarrhea, there’s a good chance you’ll never really need to refuel with a commercial sports drink.  They’re full of artificial ingredients… and get this!  A 20 oz. bottle of regular Gatorade has 125 calories.  That’s equal to about a mile on the treadmill.  Is it really worth it?  Lots of good, clean water works just fine.  And if you feel like you really need some extra electrolytes, I’d argue that coconut water is a better option than a sports drink.  My favorite brand is Vita Coco because it has fruit-flavored varieties that are all-natural with no added sugars.  Coconut water is also great for a hangover.  Just sayin’. VITA COCOWhat mistakes have you made at the gym?  What no-nos did I miss?  Let me know!  Comment in the section below or e-mail me at

Workout Wednesday: Three-A-Day Abs

Each mini-workout only takes about 5 minutes!  Start by going through each set just once a day.  As you get stronger, double or triple up on the sets.  Remember, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!  Listen to your body, and make it hurt!


Workout Wednesday: 10 Ways To Burn 100 Calories

Most of you probably already know this, but you need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat.  Every little bit counts!  Scorch 100 calories without even trying by picking your favorite activities from this list.  All estimates are based on a 150 lb. person.  If you weigh more, you’ll burn more!


  1. Run or walk one mile
  2. Go bowling for 30 minutes
  3. Mow the grass for 20 minutes
  4. Shop for 38 minutes
  5. Take a casual bike ride for 23 minutes
  6. Swim at a moderate intensity for 15 minutes
  7. Play frisbee for 30 minutes
  8. Do the dishes by hand for 40 minutes
  9. Take a 2 hour nap
  10. Give the dog a bath for 27 minutes


(look at baby Dexter after his first bath!)

What’s your favorite way to burn a few calories?  Let me know in the comments below, or e-mail me at

Workout Wednesday: 30 Songs That’ll Make You Sweat

Working out without music just plain sucks, and there’s scientific proof that listening to the right music can help you get a better workout.  It’s fun to keep time with the beat… sort of like dancing for those of us who lack rhythm.   And, did you know… walking or running along to a song can also help you estimate how fast you’re going, if you’ve taken your sweat session outside.  It’s all about beats per minute, or BPM.  If you’re a power walker and want to keep a 4-4.5 MPH pace, choose songs with 130-140 BPM.  If you’re a runner, and you’re looking to go a little faster, say 5.5-6.5 MPH, you’ll want to stay in the 150-170 BPM range.  It’s personal, and exact numbers depend on your height and your stride.

By now you should be asking, “How the heck am I supposed to calculate beats per minute?”  Like most things in life now, there’s an app for that.  It’s called simply “BPM” and it’s FREE!!

BMP APPThat picture is all this app is.  One screen and a button that says “TAP”.  To calculate a song’s BPM, all you have to do is hit the “TAP” button along to the music for 10 seconds or so.  It will do all the work for you.

Given all this exciting information, I’ve created a playlist of 30 songs that keep me running at an average pace of 6.0 mph.  Sometimes a little slower, sometimes a little faster.  All of the following songs are between 150-170 beats per minutes.  And yes… I already had all of these songs in my library before I decided to make this post.  Don’t hate!

30 Songs That’ll Make You Sweat!

150-170 BPM

  1. B.O.B (Bombs Over Baghdad) – Outkast
  2. All I Do Is Win – DJ Khaled ft. T-Pain, Ludacris, Rick Ross & Snoop Dogg
  3. Dirt Off Your Shoulder – Jay-Z
  4. Dog Days Are Over – Florence & The Machine
  5. Got Money – Lil’ Wayne ft. T-Pain
  6. Sabotage – Beastie Boys
  7. Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
  8. Clique – Kanye West ft. Big Sean & Jay-Z
  9. Beez in the Trap – Nicki Minaj feat. 2 Chainz
  10. Lonely Boy – The Black Keys
  11. Runaway Baby – Bruno Mars
  12. Alright – John Legend
  13. Good Vibrations – Beach Boys
  14. Bloodshot – Jack’s Mannequin
  15. Break Ya Neck – Busta Rhymes
  16. Birthday Cake – Rihanna
  17. Gucci Gucci – Kreayshawn
  18. Jump – Rihanna
  19. I Stand Alone – Theophilus London
  20. Countdown – Beyonce
  21. Power – Kanye West
  22. Black & Yellow – Wiz Khalifa
  23. Pump It – Black Eyed Peas
  24. Dance (A$$) – Big Sean
  25. Best Love Song – T-Pain ft. Chris Brown
  26. I’ll Be Waiting – Adele
  27. What These Bitches Want – DMX ft. Sisqo
  28. Ima Boss – Meek Mill feat. Rick Ross
  29. I’m On One – Rick Ross, Lil’ Wayne, & Drake
  30. Watch My Feet – Dude N Nem

We all have our favorite workout songs.  Tell me about yours!   Simply comment in the section below or email me at



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