Fit Chic NYC’s Blog

How to increase burpee speed

Reader Mark B. is working on his burpee challenge and asks:

I’m up to 22 in one minute. I’m going for 30. Anyone have advice to increase speed?

First off, 22 is great! So let’s talk about how to get over your speed roadblock. The science behind a minute of burpees – it’s considered anaerobic exercise, meaning it doesn’t use oxygen as its main source of energy.

To increase speed I suggest training in intervals, using the Tabata protocol. Tabata works by performing eight non-stop rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest totaling four minutes. So pump out as many burpees as you can in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds then go straight into 20 seconds of burpee action, rest for 10 seconds etc., completing the 20/10 cycle a total of eight times.

For the next week don’t perform a minute of burpees straight, train with the 20/10 intervals.

When you only have a minute of work, speed is king (assuming form is already correct) and by using Tabata’s repeated short intervals, you are conditioning your body to work without a full recovery.

Good luck!


Keep Your Heart Healthy Year-Round

In the 80s Chris de Burgh sang about The Lady in Red, but on February 11th, red got a high fashion makeover as celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Heidi Klum and Bethenny Frankel strutted down the runway in red frocks to promote heart health.

Why? Heart disease is the number one cause of death among women in the United States, and while February is American Heart Month it’s important to keep your heart healthy year-round.

Find out your risk of heart attack and reduce controllable factors by keeping a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise as well as limiting sodium intake and not smoking.

Train for your heart

Physical activity is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk, but to give your heart a good workout you have to train in the right zone. Calculate your training heart rate and see the benefits of the different zones here. And to ensure you’re reaching your target rate, exercise wearing a heart rate monitor.

So show yourself a little love and take care of your heart.

Hot Off the Bench Press – Bring Your Sexy Back With This Exercise, Use Kettlebells To Blast Calories, Get Jennifer Aniston’s Bikini Body and More!

Hot fitness news you don’t want to miss!

Slimmer Doesn’t Always Mean Fitter – – See how bodyweight affects sport performance.

How to Get Jennifer Aniston’s Bikini Bod
– – Marco Borges (who has whipped Beyonce Knowles and Gwen Stefani into shape) and trainer Joy Di Palma (creator of Core Conditioning Cross Fit) gives the step-by-step.

Motivations, Affirmations and Mantras – Oh My! –  Cranky Fitness –Keep up your New Year resolutions to stay in shape by developing these healthy habits.

Was Bethenny Frankel Wearing Spanx on the Runway? – The StyleList – Marissa Gold gets the skinny on whether the NYC Housewife had extra support during New York Fashion Week.

The Best Back Exercise You’ve Never Done – Men’s Health – Get your sexy back.

Back.the.EFF.up.dude – Fired ‘n’ Fabulous – See what happens when personal trainers creep at the gym.

Kettlebell Workouts Burn Calories Fast – WebMD – Study backs up claims that swinging kettlebells pays fitness dividends

Training Tips from Winter Olympic Athletes

SHAPE magazine spoke with a few of Vancouver’s most talked about competitors to get the skinny on how they train and stay motivated.

Jennifer Rodriguez (Speed Skater) – “For strong legs, I tie a resistance band around my ankles and take 10 big steps to the right leading with my right foot, then repeat it to the left, leading with my left foot.”

Gretchen Bleiler (Snowboarder) – “Have a specific goal every time you hit the gym, this way your workouts have built-in purpose.”
Follow Gretchen on Twitter

Lindsey Vonn (Alpine Ski Racer) – “I swear by this core move: sit on a stability ball with your feet on the floor and have a friend toss a weighted ball to you. Catch it as you lean back, then throw it to her as you crunch up.”
Follow Lindsey on Twitter

Angela Ruggiero (Ice Hockey Defenseman) – “Sprint intervals – going all out, then scaling back – help you push hard when you need to, and they strengthen your heart and lungs.” “Before a game I blast the Black Eyed Peas and Beyoncé and we all dance around and sing. It puts me in the zone to perform.”
Follow Angela on Twitter

Tanith Belbin (Ice Dancer) – “Don’t worry about beating someone else. Concentrate on your goals and you’ll succeed.”

For more tips from these athletes and more check out the February issue of SHAPE on newsstands now.

Twitter To Get Fitter

A round-up of a few of my favorite fitness Tweets from experts, celebrities and health fanatics!

@BodyForWife Fitness Fashion: How to Dress for Success –

@NerdFitness Who wins in the Fat Loss Royal Rumble? cardio vs. interval training vs. weight-lifting –

@WomensHealthMag Are your friends a fat influence? Having a buddy who packs on pounds makes you 57% more likely to do so yourself.

@FitSugar How and When to Fuel Your Workouts

@neversaydiet Is Whole Foods’ BMI For Bucks Program Discriminatory?: One day, when I make lots and lots of money and shed my tig…

@GalsGuide New on GG: “How can I get motivated to go to the gym… especially in this cold?”

@lululemon Curious to know which yoga is right for you? Here a guide to different styles of yoga: (via @MindBodyGreen)

@LaceyStoneFIT “Short Cut Story” and Motivation Lacey Stone Fitness Style!

@neversaydiet What’s your favorite workout? Find out what your workout says about your personality.

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @FitChicNYC

Hot Off the Bench Press – Can Weight Loss Help Your Bottom Line, Resistance Training Keeps Your Mind Sharp, The Sports Bra Breakdown and More!

Healthy headlines you don’t want to miss!

Resistance Training Can Save Your Brain – Rodale News – Feel great, look good and stay sharp! New research shows that weigh lifting can improve brain function.

Are Your Weight Loss Costs Tax-Deductible – Fit Tip Daily – It’s time to file taxes, see how staying healthy can save you money.

Actress Tanna Frederick To Run LA Marathon – FitCelebs – Get the skinny on Tanna’s marathon goals.

Find the Best Sports Bra For You – That’s Fit – It’s a sports bra breakdown.

Take it Outdoors – Vitamin G – It may be cold outside but Vitamin G breaks down the three top reasons why taking your workouts outside is a good idea.

Flying the Healthy Skies – Fit Bottomed Girls – Secrets for a healthy flight

Plus: This weekend is Equinox’s Cycle for Survival, an indoor team cycling fundraiser to benefit cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and you can still donate online.

When a Good Workout Goes Bad (The Importance of Rest)

Tuesday after work I went to the gym and did a quick 30 cardio circuit of the elliptical, Stairmaster and spinning before hitting the weight room where I jumped right into overhead barbell squats. Despite using pretty low weight, my quads were done after two sets of 12 reps. It hurt to climb the stairs to use the ab mat area, and walking to work the next morning was miserable.

After going to the gym for decently intense workouts for a week and half straight my body just gave up on me – it needed rest. (And two days later it could still use some extra recovery.) I admit that although I know rest days are an integral part of any exercise program, I’m horrible at taking them. I find great excuses not to. Plus, I feel guilty on days when I purposely miss a workout and I get cranky.

However I have to start practicing what I preach and take a rest day.

There’s a lot of theories floating around about what’s the best on/off schedule or workout periodization program, but it really comes down to what works best for your schedule. One of the best arguments I’ve seen for a recovery schedule is CrossFit’s 3 days on/1 day off cycle.

Pulled from the CrossFit Journal:

“We see a three-day-on, one-day-off pattern. We’ve found that this allows for a relatively higher volume of high-intensity work than the many others that we’ve experimented with. With this format the athlete can work at or near the highest intensities possible for three straight days, but by the forth day both neuromuscular function and anatomy are hammered to the point where continued work becomes noticeably less effective and impossible without reducing intensity… the three-on, one-off pattern was devised to increase both the intensity and recovery of the workouts.”

The science behind this theory is to prevent overtraining (hello aching quads of mine!) but it also establishes the concept of intensity – you can’t maintain a high level of intensity without recovery. My cardio circuit on Tuesday was no where near as intense (aka effective) as it was four days prior. Without intensity in your workout program you’re just going through the movements and you’re not receiving the benefit of working out. (Okay it’s better than nothing, but why not make the most of your time and effort?) Think about it, who would you guess is in better shape: the girl who barely breaks a sweat while hitting the elliptical for an hour at a moderate pace daily, or the girl who is giving it her all – full-out effort – on the treadmill/elliptical for 30 minutes every few days?

Yet the article goes on to mention that convenience, attitude, exercise selection and pacing ultimately serve as the prevailing factors in creating a workout schedule. For example if the gym is close to where you work (and not were you live) the 5 days on/2 days off cycle is more convenient, therefore a cycle you’re more likely to stick with.

Bottom line, rest days are important. Besides having your workouts suffer if you don’t take them (didn’t we learn quality over quantity back in middle school?) you also place yourself at a higher risk of injury. And while there is no magic formula the underlying factor is that each equation includes a rest day!