Written by Lisa Turner, editorial intern
Now that The Hunger Games is out of theaters, do you find yourself wishing you could be empowered by another tough, take-no-prisoners heroine? Pixar decided to fill that void with their latest animated flick, Brave, in theaters today. Since there was a Games-inspired workout, we hoped there would be another opportunity to put our own arrow-slinging skills to the test. So when we heard that New York Sports Clubs teamed up with the movie’s creators to drum up a challenging new workout inspired by the film’s main character, Merida, it was only a matter of time before we ran over, bow in hand.
Called the “BRAVE—Change Your Fate Workout,” creator Amira Lamb raises heart rates and whips participants into fighting shape using fun equipment like a fitness bow and a wooden sword. She pushed us to the limit with each move, combining high knees with archery moves and squats with swipes of the wooden sword. After enduring the 45-minute workout, our arms were shaking and buns were sore. A rest day is definitely in order!
We chatted with Lamb after the class to find out what she likes most about the workout and how she maximizes time at the gym.
What do you like most about the workout?
It’s very different. It’s nice to not work with dumbbells and body bars all the time, and after our Hunger Games-inspired workout, we wanted to keep going with cool themes. In this class we use different types of equipment to get a unique effect on the body.
It was definitely an intense workout, especially for such a short amount of time! How do you maximize every minute?
If people need a break, they can take one, but I don’t encourage them to do so. We only have 45 minutes, so I want to make the greatest impact on your body possible. You don’t want to rest too much because you want to keep your heart rate up. If there are too many breaks, it’s a relaxed workout and the benefits are minimized.
Do you have any tips for women who are super-busy and want to get a total body workout?
Try full-bodied movements, or exercises that encompass both the lower and upper body at the same time. Some examples: kettlebell swings, squats to a shoulder press, or lunges with upright rows. Basically, you want to use as much of your body as possible within one move. By combining strength and cardio at the same time, there’s an added metabolism boost that helps you burn calories during and after the workout.
Is the Brave workout not offered in your community? Keep reading for moves you can do at home!
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- Grab a pal for a fun workout date! Here are five ideas to get you started. — Fit Sugar
- Dinner is served! With the weather becoming more summer-like by the day, a simple, veggie-packed meal, like these buffalo chicken BLAT wraps, is just the ticket. — Iowa Girl Eats
- One woman’s quest to stay forever fit starts with making smart choices one meal at a time. — Losing Weight in the City
- We couldn’t resist sharing one last Hunger Games-related story. These cupcakes are (almost) too pretty to eat! Savor one for a weekend treat. — Fictional Food
- You may have thought this dangerous habit was becoming less common, but it actually still causes one death every six seconds. — MSNBC
If you’ve read the books, you know foraging for natural food is a big element to survival in The Hunger Games. Even though the Games don’t actually exist (phew!), eating food in their natural state can be delicious and satisfying. So when Daily Burn sent us some recipes from their meal plan inspired by the series, we couldn’t resist! See below for a few of our favorites, along with some tips for eating a more hunter-gatherer diet.
Hunger Games Porridge
- 1/3 cup quick oats
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 2 tbsp coconut flakes
- Dash of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- Optional: berries for topping
- In a small bowl, combine oats, coconut flakes, ground flaxseed and cinnamon.
- Add boiling water and stir. Add almond butter and stir once again.
- Top with berries if desired.
Tasty Tip: Get creative! Try new fruits and veggies, and don’t be afraid of different flavor combinations, like tossing strawberries on top of your usual grilled chicken salad. You’ll be surprised how delicious natural foods can be when mixed in multiple ways.
For two more all-natural recipes, click below.
If you couldn’t tell, we are just a wee bit excited for the Hunger Games this weekend. We’ve done themed workouts, devised playlists and some of us are even brave enough to endure the screaming mobs of teens for the midnight showing this week.
But don’t lie, you are just as excited as we are! That’s why we wanted to know for this week’s #140Wednesdays, if you were in the Hunger Games, what would your skill be? Read below to check out the competition.
@FITNESSmarianne: Hmm, I’d say stealth. (Editor’s note: We’ve seen Marianne around the office, she is very stealthy! You’d want to watch out for her if she was a tribute.)
@ekokernak: Skill? I’m the first one to go down!
Now tell us: What would your skill be in the Hunger Games?
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
With only three days left until the release of the The Hunger Games, things are getting a bit feisty here in the office. To help channel our inner Katniss, we incorporated the movie into our workouts. Daily Burn, a customizable online fitness program, developed this workout to help the odds be ever in your favor. All you need is a resistance band and a set of dumbbells to turn you into the tribute coming out on top.
Single Arm Row with Rotation
- Targets: Arms, Back
- What you’ll need: Resistance band
- Why: Simulate the upper body action Katniss uses every day while shooting with her bow and arrow. Get ready to hunt down your prey, no matter what the arena.
Hook band around a stable pole or door jam and hold both handles with your right hand; arm by side. Step back enough until tubing has tension. Lift right foot, balancing on left; pull band behind you toward right hip. Twist torso to right, then return to center and repeat. Do 10 to 12 reps, then switch sides.
- Targets: Abs
- What you’ll need: Nothing
- Why: Earn a rock-hard core so you’ll be ready to explode to the Cornucopia and grab the best survival tools.
Get into plank position, bend knees and push hips over heels, keeping knees off the floor. With a powerful push from your legs, extend back out to plank and hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
Curtsy Squat Side Lunge
- Targets: Legs
- What you’ll need: A pair of 5- to 10-pound dumbbells
- Why: Powerful legs are needed to withstand all of the trekking through the unfamiliar terrain of the arena.
Holding a dumbbell in each hand, begin with feet together, knees slightly bent. Step right leg out to the right, bending knee slightly; keeping left leg in place. Hinge forward but keep chest lifted. Push off right foot, stepping right foot back behind the left leg, bending both knees into a curtsy lunge. Do 10 to 12 reps, then switch sides.
- Targets: Agility
- What you’ll need: Nothing
- Why: Learn to be light on your feet, like Rue, to move quickly through the trees and escape threatening tribute attacks.
Begin with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Bring arms up to chest, palms facing forward. Start moving feet as fast as you can (similar to small high knees), continuously running in place, keeping feet close to the ground (just like what football players famously do in their warm-ups). Keep shoulders and torso stable. In 10-second intervals, rotate entire body toward the right 90 degrees, then quickly return to center. Repeat to the left. Continue for 1 minute. Repeat 3 times.
More from FITNESS: Hunger Games Playlist