Surprisingly Tough Workouts

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Whoa. Last night’s WOD was surprisingly tough. At first look, it didn’t seem too difficult, but as things progressed, holy hell”¦ I was counting down the seconds until it was over.

EMOM 10: 13 Unbroken Kettlebell swings (Any style)

Rx: (70, 53)
L2: (53, 35)
L1: (35, 25)
Beg: (30, 20)

Ok, here’s how the WOD worked. For every minute on the minute (EMOM), the goal was to do 13 Kettlebell swings in a row without stopping (aka unbroken). Once you finished your swings, you could put down the Kettlebell and rest, but only until the clock sounded for the next interval. Basically, you had 60 seconds to do 13 Kettlebell swings and rest before doing it all over again. If you couldn’t do the Kettlebell swings in the allotted amount of time, there was a Burpee penalty, which was 10 reps for every interval you missed.

[image source: CrossFit 781]

This WOD was definitely one those workouts that was surprisingly tough. When I first saw it, I didn’t think it would be that bad. I even blew through the first few rounds of Kettlebell swings with ease, but I definitely changed my tune by the time we reached minutes 4:00 and 5:00””that’s when things got tough. My forearms burned and my grip loosened more and more every interval.

By the 7th round, I was really starting to lose steam, so I played a numbers game in my head to get me through the rest of the workout. I picked 5 and 9 as the rep counts to aim for during each interval. Basically, I broke the Kettlebell swings into thirds to help motivate me and make the 13 more manageable.

The final three minutes of this WOD were brutal. I felt like I was going to drop the Kettlebell so many times, but I didn’t let myself. I tightened my grip and powered through. I used a 35-pound Kettlebell and did all 10 rounds (130 Kettlebell swings) unbroken. It felt awesome to complete this workout without stopping, especially since it was so challenging at the end. I still can’t believe how tough this workout was!!

In addition to last night’s Kettlebell WOD, other surprisingly difficult workouts that I’ve done in the past include:

1 mile Farmer’s Walk. It was a single movement, so I didn’t expect it to be that hard, but I was sore for 3 days after.

[image source: CrossFit 781]

Barre classes like Secret Physique and Core Fusion. All of those little movements really add up, and I get my butt kicked every time I take a class.



When I got home from CrossFit last night, I threw together a quick Tuna & White Bean Salad for dinner. I wasn’t in the mood to cook, so I was happy an easy, no-cook meal was on the agenda.

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Mal and I rearranged/moved our small appliances to give us some more counter space in our kitchen. Check out our new prep area””love it!

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I mostly followed the recipe for the Tuna & White Bean Salad, but I used chickpeas instead of cannellini beans and added chopped red and yellow bell pepper (yay, reduced produce). Additionally, I added a huge squirt of Dijon mustard to the mix. I just felt like it needed it.

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After dinner, I satisfied my sweet tooth with a bunch of strawberries.

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And then a few spoonfuls of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter straight from the jar. (For a cold, chocolaty treat, I highly recommend storing this nut butter in the refrigerator. Mmm! So good!)

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I ended up staying up until midnight watching the Olympics, so around 11:00 PM, I sliced up a banana and added a scoop of almond butter to it, but I never snapped a pic. Sorry!


This morning, I spread sunflower butter on a Joseph’s Flax, Oat Bran and Whole Wheat Flour Tortilla and added banana slices for breakfast. I also drank a glass of iced coffee with coconut-almond milk.


Question of the Day

What surprisingly tough workout have you done? What made it so tough? Would you do it again?



  1. Awesome job with that tough workout! I love your strategy of breaking it into thirds. We used to have some super tough field hockey practices in college…to help me through, I’d think about the bigger picture and how this particular workout was going to make us a better team, benefit us in the long run, etc. Those thoughts would always help me through!

  2. I feel like its the ones that look easy that are the toughest! I did a WOD last night of 15AMRAP: 10pull ups, 10 burpees, 10 push press. I thought it wouldnt be that bad. I ended up huffing and puffing SO MUCH! Someone even called me out on how loudly I was breathing! Nice job finishing! Sometimes all it takes is a mind game or two 🙂

    1. I know, right?! I picked up the 53 just to see if I could maybe do it… ummm, no. Super heavy! And the 35 ended up being really tough!

  3. 3 rounds for time of: 800 meter run, 30 dumbbell squat cleans (20#dumbbells), and then 30 burpees. I wanted to die the entire time during this WOD, it was brutal!

  4. I love kettlebell workouts, but they seriously tire me out! Recently I did a interval workout on the elliptical, and I was dripping in sweat by the time I was done. Usually I’ll jump on the elliptical when I want a light workout, but this was killer.

  5. Is there a reason why you use extra light olive oil vs. extra virgin olive oil? Wondering if it was for taste or just what you had on hand.

  6. My saturdays WOD was awful, when I saw it posted online I knew it would be tough, but I didn’t realize HOW tough it would be…
    1000m row
    50 burpees
    50 box jumps 24/20
    800m run

    … but enough though that sucked, I want to try it again… it took me just over an hour to do it… I want to do it in less than an hour next time… Most of the guys at my box were doing it in like 45 min so it shows that it is real time consuming and rough.

    (p.s… I tried your banana bread smoothie last night after CF, holy cow its amazing. My vanilla protein is actually a vanilla cupcake flavor which made the smoothie A-MA-ZING!)

  7. I had a surprisingly tough boot camp workout. I can’t even tell you what made it tough but I was dying. In all honesty – I think my body is just trying to tell me to let it rest.
    Wedding stress and running around crazy are making me less energized during my workouts, I suppose. This sucks – but it is what it is!

  8. It is funny that you posted this today, we did the hardest workout of my life last night. 6 rounds of 8 hanging squat cleans (65lbs) and 10 Burpees….this was after a back squat strength workout that included 4 sets of 10 at 60% of 1RM and 10 box jumps in between sets…

  9. For some reason when we did “Helen” (3 rounds of: 400 meter run, 21 kb swings, and 12 pullups) it was one of the hardest workouts ever for me! It was also about 100 degrees that afternoon… But the kb swings were hard for me as well as the pullups! I basically just laid down afterwards hah and wondered what hit me. Btw you inspired me to try crossfit!! I am now hooked!

  10. That kettlebell one sounds killer!!!! I want to try it. Lol. I have kettlebells at my gym. I can do it.

    Box jumps always get me the next day. Totally shred up my legs!!

  11. We did a workout last week called “Tabata Ouch”: Push Press, Sumo Deadlift High Pull, Abmat Sit-ups, Burpees over Bar. 4 back to back Tabatas without a break during the 16 minute workout…I looked like a fish flopping onto the ground by the time we got to Burpees over Bar. It was brutal.

  12. I did my first “official” WOD this morning and it was surprisingly tough: 3 rounds for time, run 400m + 25 KGB swings (I used 35#). It was especially tough after 6×4 deadlifts (did 135 & 145).

    I’ve also taken a barre class once and was shocked at how hard it was – my legs were burning!

  13. that sounds awesome! i’m definitely trying it this weekend. 🙂 my favorite “sounds easy but it’s not”:
    10 pushups
    15 kb swings
    20 air squats
    first few minutes, i’m flying. at the end – dying!

    ps – how hard is the 50 lb kb?! i had to do 50 straight kb swings with it recently and it killed me but i was afraid to stop and lose momentum so i kept pushing.

  14. ahhh congrats on powering through the workout. that sounds like a truly challenging one… I can manage about 1/2 that many kettlebell swings but in a row… I’m not so sure!
    and yummy looking pb + banana meal you’ve got going there!!

  15. Hey Tina,
    What were the rest intervals between each 60 second round. Just curious. Wanna try this one myself! Thanks!

    1. There technically aren’t any rest intervals, only the time remaining after you finish the KB swings. The clock doesn’t stop for 10 minutes. So, for example, if it takes you 40 seconds to do 13 KB swings, you have 20 seconds to rest before you need to do another 13 KB swings in the next interval.

  16. I can’t wait to try that workout at the gym! Question though about the form for the swings – I have been taught to do a kettlebell swing starting from inbetween my legs and going up to my arms being parallel to the floor – my arms should not go above shoulder height or so. In the picture you posted almost everyone has their kettlebell above their heads – is your swing all the way up to above your head?

  17. Hello from Europe! I have to stay tuned with your blog even overseas 😉
    That salad looks delicious! So often while traveling I start to crave NORMAL foods (ie homemade salads and smoothies) and reading your posts makes me so homesick! In a good way I guess!
    Can’t wait to see the ‘after’ photos of the home improvement project! 😀

      1. @Tina: We’re traveling around for business and pleasure: Sweden, Finland, down to hungary and then to czech republic! I’ve lived all around europe for a while now so if you ever need a virtual european tourguide I’m here! 🙂
        I tune in to your blog because I’ve lived in Boston as well and I love the frequent references to the various places you visit! (makes me miss it too :)) Often times I want to recreate something I read on your blog , say a peanut butter smoothie, but I curse when I remember peanut butter is NOT big over here!! You reallyhave to search under a rock to find it. Oh well, there’s other good food over here that can compensate 🙂

  18. I think I was very surprised when I did plyometrics for the first time in a while this morning. My thought process? “I just squatted 100 pounds last week, 15 jump squats is no problem.”

    Umm, no. My legs were on fire. Lesson definitely learned.

  19. Those are the WORST.

    We had a WOD a few weeks ago that was 50 clean and jerks, with 5 burpees EMOM. Freaking awful, but it looked like it would be a piece of cake! WRONG.

  20. That does sound like a really tough workout! I used to take a kettlebell class and it always kicked my butt. I just did a rowing class for the first time this morning, and it was awesome (and surprisingly more challenging than I thought)! Keep up the good work!

  21. Last night’s WOD was rough on everyone:
    Low Bar Back Squat: 1X5 @ 80% of 1RM, 1X3 @ 90%, 1X2 @ 95%, 1X2 @ 100% – rest 2:00-3:00 between sets. Then”¦
    3 rounds for time of:
    – 20 BB OH Reverse Walking Lunges 115/75# (20 total lunges)
    – 15 Lateral Burpees
    – 100 m run

    I think what made it so hard was the 98 degree heat at 8PM and no air conditioning. My quads were burning from back squats, reverse OH lunges, burpees, and sprints. I didn’t think it was going to be that hard of a workout going in to it.

    P.S. I just got back from Cayman and went to work out at CrossFit 7 Mile a couple of times. Donna remembered you and said how sweet and wonderful you were on your visit. Just thought I would pass that along.

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  23. Every exercise is hard for me at the moment! I haven’t worked out since high school apart from walks with my dog. Although I’ve stayed the same size since high school now at 24 years old I’m getting more concerned about exercise for better cardiovascular health, strength and flexibility. I’m in awe of your cross fit workouts and people who can smash out a double digits run!

  24. Tonight I did a surprisingly tough one… EMOM (love/hate them) for 9 minutes. 3 power cleans using 80,85, then 90% of 1 RM, increasing every 3 rounds. I left feeling so accomplished!

  25. Still loving the CrossFit posts.

    Question: If you were working full time, would you still be able to balance CrossFit workouts, or would you cut back on CrossFit and spend more time in the gym?

    Also, Justin (aka the devil) has an exclusive almond butter only sold at Whole Foods. Vanilla! Soooo delicious.

    1. Definitely! I still work full-time, but my schedule is more flexible. I used to waste so much time at the gym, but CrossFit is only an hour. It’s a more effective workout, so I canceled my gym membership.

  26. I love doing swing snatches with my kb’s, exactly as you explained. Not that I came across it via Crossfit, as I’ve never done any crossfit and have never felt compelled to, even back all those years ago when I first heard of it.

    Each to their own, I guess.

    I have to admit that it’s been a long time since I felt surprised by how hard anything was in the exercise field. Probably the biggest shock was about 15 years ago when I tried greco roman wrestling for the first time. The feeling of barely being able to breath and get enough o2 in whilst trying to stop someone flipping me over still fills me with a smile, even all these years later!

    Keep up the good work

  27. I’ve done a couple of tough workouts at the gym on my college campus over the past couple of years, and they really made me realize how much fitness and exercise is a mental game. You may feel like your body is about to give out, but it won’t unless your mind lets it! Completing a tough workout like a spinning class I tried once, and a “hardcore abs” class feels like torture during it, but if you push through, theres no better feeling. Good for you 130 unbroken kettle bell swings! Woah!

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