Saturday, May 4, 2013

Expanding my Horizons: Strength Training

Ahhh, it feels good to be blogging again! I thought it was time to catch everyone up on what I've been up to lately as I've intensified my preparations for the Miss Massachusetts Pageant (already 56 days away!), and boy oh boy am I excited! Wait until you hear about the new workouts I've tried...
Thank you Peter Rufo Photography!
In case you aren't familiar with my blog, I am so proud to be Miss Boston 2013 in the honorable Miss America Organization and to have the opportunity to share my platform Fit for Success (hence the title of my blog). My whole life revolves around health: I am a senior nursing major currently finishing up my Pediatric course where I was lucky enough to study at Children's Hospital Boston; I can't wait to complete my nursing degree with an internship at CHB this fall! Not only is 'health' my chosen career, but it also my passion. I find I'm most happy after completing a workout, trying new exercises, or completing a food journal filled with nutritious foods each day. However, the thing that brings me the most joy is inspiring others to work towards a healthy lifestyle! That is obviously what fuels me to share this blog, and I've had many opportunities as Miss Boston to motivate my community to do this! I've talked with children about healthy food choices, presented a nutrition presentation at a health fair, and now I'm about to motivate YOU to try something new (hopefully). 
My fitness sponsor for Miss Boston!
Being Miss Boston has presented me with incredible opportunities: I am so lucky to have so many sponsors supporting me as I prepare for Miss Massachusetts! Although, I do have a favorite (not to mention I'm a little biased with my fitness obsession)... RX Strength Training! My trainer Jeff Butterworth has opened my eyes to a whole new way of training. I love it SO much I needed to share it! As you may have read, my traditional exercise routine consists of cardio every day, mostly running, then alternating strength training of arms/legs/and abs every 3 days. I aimed for low weights and high repetitions, assuming this would be the best way to "tone up". BOY OH BOY has that all changed :)
200 lb. Dead Lift... Who said pageant girls weren't tough?
Now, all of my workouts are targetted to torch my whole body. No matter the day, Jeff incorporates some sort of routine that will work my arms, core, legs... everything. I went from lifting hardly any weight, to learning how to dead lift 135lbs. on Day #1! Now, this blog is not meant to brag about all of these crazy fitness goals I've accomplished, but it is to inspire you that 
I never thought I could weight lift. The common pageant-girl thought is "weight lifting will make me look bulky." .... not true! Total-body toning occurs when you challenge your muscles: work them out, rest them, and allow them to "re-grow" as a firmer, leaner muscle. Not to mention, PROTEIN is essential in rebuilding these muscles! That is what our muscles crave, and it will NOT bulk you up! RX Strength Training is focused on proper technique, switching up heavy lifts and lower weights with every workout, incorporating creative cardio, and keeping it FUN! Don't forget, being healthy isn't just about the workouts, it also needs to include a healthy diet every day (not just one meal a day). Leading up to Miss Boston over the past 3 years, I made several changes in my lifestyle, which will only continue as I train with Jeff at RX Strength Training (and for the rest of my life- health is always a work in progress)!
2009-2013. Can't wait to see the final result at Miss Mass in June!
So, what should you try? Here is the fun part of this post :) I'm here to give you ideas. Get creative! Don't feel limited to sitting at boring machines every day at the gym. Work your body in different ways to keep it interesting.. After all, that will fuel your desire to continue your workout regimen week after week! Check out some of the new things I've tried in the last month and try some out yourself! Don't forget how important FORM is! If you don't have a trainer or teacher, research these techniques. I've done my best to briefly explain each exercise below. You don't want to hurt yourself! (Check out Kettlebell (KB) swings and Dead Lifts... these killer exercises are sure to work your whole bod!)
Barbell squats! Wide stance, Bar rests below your shoulder blades (not on your shoulders), elbows pointed back, chin up, squat as low as you can! Work those glutes/hammys/quads!
Hanging leg raises (elbows in, legs straight or bent knees), plate raises (squeeze abs!), KB goblet squats (wide squat, how low can ya go?), box jumps, KB clean & press, and TIRE FLIPS!
Slam ball! (Take anger out) 10lb. ball, slam it to the ground squeezing your core while squatting!
Bulgarian split squat (holding 2 KBs), wheel roll-out, Romanian dead lift (hammys- slight bend in knees), barbell overhead press, barbell row, slamball, KB swing!
KB Swings.. Slam your hips forward while squeezing glutes & abs, keep your chest up, it is NOT an arm movement but a HIP movement (KB should come up to shoulder-level from your hip momentum)
Can't believe I accomplished this :) 225lb. TIRE FLIP: wide squat, pick up with straight arms and lean your chest into it to flip it.
Romanian Dead Lift. Similar to a dead lift but with mostly straight legs. Using your hamstrings, glutes, and abs, stand straight with the bar. Upon bringing it back down, keep it close to your shins. Grip just outside your legs.
Have you gathered some ideas? Here are some things to think about when planning your next workout:

-Make up a circuit with 3-4 exercises that you have to repeat 3-4 times. 
-Take 90 second breaks in between!
-Justa half hour-one hour workout is PLENTY to reach your goals!
-Exert all of your energy. Don't give up!
-Find a workout buddy! Motivate each other!
-Get a great playlist!  #beastmode
-Time yourself. Or push yourself to finish an exercise before a song is over
-Incorporate one arm and one leg workout into a circuit, plus a cardio boost
-Don't be afraid to move away from the machines! Get creative!
-EAT after your workout! Load up on protein within 30 minutes after your workout and enjoy tons of healthy foods for 2 hours after!
-Eat healthy every day. Make gradual changes every week! 
-(Read up on this in my older blog posts!)
-Most of all, ENJOY! All that matter is that you are working towards a healthier lifestyle. Don't be frustrated if you can't do something. Use it as motivation to push yourself harder :)

Creative Cardio:
-burpees (try adding a dumbbell in each hand too!)      -jump squats     
-mountain climbers      -box jumps      -sprints      -ropes      -jumprope
-jumping jacks      -butt kicks      -high knees

Still stuck? Check out a workout I made up and give it a try:
I just mix-and-matched workouts to target my whole body with each circuit!
And of course, don't forget to treat yourself after your workout with a HUGE PROTEIN SHAKE (literally the highlight of every day for me).... or with some "fluff therapy" like we do at RX Strength Training!
Love from Little Foot <3
Moral of the story, try something new. Weight lifting has been a BLAST and I honestly look forward to each and every workout, because I know it will be something different! No more boring treadmill and repetitive dumbbell exercises until I'm bored. If you can dream it, you can do it. I never thought I'd be strong enough to lift. But "Strong is Sexy" as RX Strength Training says, and you can do it! I'm already seeing results and I just started with Jeff one month ago.A healthy lifestyle is possible, so lets do it together!!!
*Stay tuned for some fun ways to mix up your typical chicken breast dinner :)

<3 Morgan


  1. I found your blog a while ago and tried the Crossfit workouts you posted and absolutely loved them, so I'm for sure going to try the one you posted at the end here!
    I wish you the best of luck at Miss Massachusetts, I'll be rooting for you from Chicago! :)

  2. Fantastic blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any suggestions? Many thanks!
    leg workout