Garage Workout + Some Kettlebell Moves

Last week Dar and I hit her garage gym on a particularly awesome (first day above 80) afternoon.  As you will soon start to figure out, we have very different preferences when it comes to designing our own workouts, but what that means for our purposes here is that you get two full circuits today instead of one.

My circuits are typically time based rather than chipper style, but I changed things up today to just give myself a little consistency.  I’m not a fan of counting on timed workouts, or timing counted ones (which is just one of many reason’s I don’t love CrossFit), but rather want to focus on consistency, length, and form.  Here’s what I settled on:

val workout

I’m really loving kettlebells right now so there are a few movements in this workout, balanced out with some really effective bodyweight movements that can be incredibly effective.  Step ups are always a good option for anyone, and any fitness level.  When I’m feeling good I’ll crank up the step ups to box jumps, but as I’m still recovering I happily rocked the step up.

The other bodyweight movement in here was an ad-hoc, chalk drawn agility drill that I called the ‘dot drill’ but drew with x’s on the driveway.  This seems like one of the most fun sections, but I assure you, it will fire up your quads before you know it.  Here are the basics:

Start in the center.

dot drill center

Jump feet forward onto front 2 x’s

dot drill front

Back to center:

dot drill center jump

Jump back:

dot drill back

Jump back to center, and that counts as one.

Staying in a low stance with bent knees and an engaged core help to make the movement most efficient, but as you can imagine, it cranks up the burn a bit.  It’s a good burn, so jump right into it!

If you want to scale the workout down I recommend taking the reps down to 20, and/or take it down to 4 rounds.

As I worked my way through the reps, Dar went with a little more aggressive circuit for herself, less reps and higher weight, all for time.



Since Dar is pretty abbreviated with her descriptions, and skilled with her movements, here is some clarification:

  •  DU’s are double unders (when you jump rope and it makes two full revolutions around before your feet hit the ground again).  They can be challenging and definitely take a little practice, so if you’re not advanced with that skill, just triple the number and do single jumps.
  • Kettlebell snatches: these are a little more complicated, so Dar let me take pictures of her doing a couple so you can get the basics.  If you’re not experienced in kettlebells, you can (should) substitute in a dumbell snatch.

At any rate, here is what it looks like in action:

Dar KB swing

Dar Snatch

Dar KB snatch

Dar KB snatch


Dar KB snatch end

Again, the KB snatch is very difficult to learn and do correctly, so don’t try to do it without having a solid background of instructional training with kettlebells.

Both of our workouts were great, and left us happily sweating (and puffing) afterwards.  Since then we’ve done several more workouts we will share with you, including a simple barbell workout and the first bootcamp workout from yesterday that kicked off with 20+ campers.

Until then, I leave you with your moment of zen (aka one of Dar’s mobility stretches):


Dars moment of zen



Dar Went Rogue

It happened, people.  Spring.  It toyed with our emotions for a little bit through February and March, but it has finally arrived, and it is majestic.

That being said, with the warmer weather comes the return of Coach Dar’s outdoor bootcamp and the season of outdoor workouts.  The 7am class filled pretty quickly so we added a 6:15am and an additional 10:30am small group training class.    There are only a handful of spots left and it begins monday, so register here if you want to reserve a spot!

Dar Bootcamp

In preparation for spring bootcamp Dar took to her ‘garage gym’ to prepare the ‘inclement weather’ location, as well as the small group training facility.

spydargymWhile the practical motivation for this was prepping for bootcamp and Dar’s own at-home training, I think the real deadline was the result of a contest put on by Rogue for best ‘garage’ gym.

rogue garage gym

Since Dar lives on their website, and is genuinely obsessed with their products you can imagine how excited she was to totally go Rogue not just with equipment, but also with her color scheme and the generally expected look of garages in Charlottesville.  Today a significant portion of a business lunch we had in Richmond was centered around the link to the big a** fan that our buddy Brandon sent her way for dual gawking.  Check it out if you want to indulge yourself, I assure you, it’s not just any wimpy gym fan.

At any rate, fan or no fan, spring is here, Dar’s bootcamp is back, and the season of at-home workouts has returned! We’ve got a bunch of great at home circuits we’re going to share with you that require only basic equipment or none at all.      I did one of them yesterday in Dar’s garage gym, and I can tell you that it’s no joke, so get excited (Dar sure is)!

dar coffee

sidebar: Dar completed the 28 to Life #realfoodfreedom challenge this past weekend, and has taken back her coffee creamer love with  the SO delicious french vanilla coconut milk creamer.  The moral of this story is two-fold: 1) challenge complete (with updates to follow) and 2. she’s caffeinated on top of already being a morning person.  Bootcampers be warned.  It’s on.

Intervals + Sweat Must Haves.

We’ve been pretty heavy on the fuel, and light on the sweats on here for a while, so here are a few workouts you can do at home or at the gym.

fuel sweat grow kettle bells

Dar Bootcamp

You’re working for 5 minutes, resting for 90 seconds, and then repeating the circuit another 4 times for 5 rounds total, adding up to 25 minutes of active work time.

Dar’s bootcamper’s did this first workout last week and all sent her messages following class about how much they loved it, followed by choice words of ‘appreciation’ from their bodies.  The key with this type of interval style circuit is to keep a competitive pace, but be consistent.  There’s no race against time, or rep competition, so find weights and speeds that are appropriate for you to challenge yourself but maintain your form.

If you’re doing the workout in a group, just split across the different stations, but maintain the order regardless of where you start – the program is set up and designed specifically to avoid the overuse and over fatigue of the same muscle groups.

I’m a junkie for this type of workout and love anything that keeps me moving with strength components, but a strong cardio base.  My three basic rules for a great sweat session are: 1) no barbells.  that’s a strength workout, and just another injury waiting to happen.  2) 20 minute working minimum of consistent work, but a full heart beating range of 20-55 minutes.  3) music.  LOUD music, absolutely no techno.

We’re running through another circuit today with a more functional focus with more intense cardio intervals.  Full sweat update to follow with the chosen playlist to keep us moving.



An Anywhere Workout: AMRAP Style

Hey all, it’s Dar.

Last Sunday I kicked off my week by heading to Solidarity CrossFit for the “open gym” WOD (workout of the day).  I had missed the Saturday WOD, which was the kick off of the Whole Life Challenge that Solidarity was starting, so I took the opportunity to make it up with the Sunday group.

The WOD was an AMRAP (which breaks down to mean As Many Rounds as Possible).  It consisted of 5 Burpees, 10 Ab Mat Sit Ups and 15 Air Squats, for 12 minutes.    This is a great ‘anywhere’ workout that you can do it at home or if you are traveling and don’t have access to a gym.  I made it through in just under 12 rounds, which I was pretty happy with.

WLC wod

Around 2pm when I started to feel the air squats in my quads, I decided to give my bootcampers a chance at it on Monday.  Just to keep things interesting, I threw in a 500 meter, Erg (Rowing) test with only a few minutes of rest before starting the WOD.

Here’s what this WOD looks like – I challenge you to give it a go, and see how many rounds you can accomplish.  But first, here are a few suggestions:

  • Make sure you have someone or something to track your rounds – It’s too easy to lose count
  • If you don’t have an ab mat…just make sure you secure your feet and have your hands touch the ground behind your head and come up through your legs and touch your feet