Winter Shape Up 2012

Baby, it’s cold outside….


and the perfect time to start cranking out those fitness goals and feel amazing, just in time for the spring sun to come out. Winter Shape Up always begins in mid or late January, because it’s the ideal amount of time to see serious results without burning out from lofty New Year’s resolutions.


Here’s how the Winter Shape Up works:

-Every week for the next 4 weeks, I’ll be posting a complete cardio and weight training workout, along with meal ideas, grocery lists, a table to keep track of progress, and other fun stuff. You can repeat the 4-program 1-2 more times to increase the duration and track your improvement over time.

-You can participate as much or as little as you’d like to. The focus in on increasing energy, burning fat, building lean muscle and feeling amazing, not weight loss.

-As always, honor your body, your injuries and limitations, and adjust anything you need to. Check with a doc before making any nutrition or fitness changes.

clean eats

-Eats: the emphasis is on whole, clean foods, and aim to eat at least 5 times each day. As a general guideline, try to follow the 3-2-1 rule: 3 parts carbs, 2 parts protein, and 1 part healthy fat for each meal. Please keep in mind that I’m not a registered dietician, so if you have specific nutrition needs or questions, please seek out the advice of an RD in your area.


Smart carbs:
-100% whole grain bread/pita/pasta (Hodgson’s Mill and Ezekiel products are great)
    -sweet potatoes and other starchy veggies like peas, corn, squash
    -whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, millet, barley, wheat berries, oats
    – beans and legumes
    -fruit (raw, canned in its own juice, dried with NO added sugar)
    -all veggies

Lean proteins:
    -organic deli meat (look at for lower sodium choices), tofu or temeh
    -low fat or nonfat milk or dairy products (almond and hemp milk are great, too)
    -boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
    -extra lean ground beef/ground turkey
    -fish: salmon, tilapia, halibut, mahi mahi, tuna, shrimp, crab
    -beans and legumes
    -eggs and eggs whites  
    -nut butter (max 2 tbs per day with no added sugar- ingredients should be nuts and (optional) salt. That’s it)
    -dark green leafy veggies (romaine, collards, spinach, kale)
    -protein powder (whey, soy, brown rice, hemp)
    -nuts and seeds (unsalted)
Healthy fats:
Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil
    -eggs (use the yolk)
    -Fish: salmon, tuna, halibut, mahi mahi
    -lowfat dairy
    -Nuts and seeds: aim for raw, unsalted
    -avocados (1/4 avocado is one serving)
-Coffee (with Stevia and fatfree/nonfat milk or vegan milk), unsweetened tea, WATER (8 glasses per day), red wine (5 oz per day) instead of a second snack
Annie’s ketchup
-balsamic vinegar/rice wine vinegar/red wine vinegar
-Salad dressing (make sure to measure and choose ones without weird ingredients– better yet, make your own with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper or balsamic vinegar with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper)
-salsa and hot sauce

*Remember, nutrition has a HUGE impact on physical results

*To cook, pan-sear, bake, roast or grill with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, organic butter, nonstick spray, coconut oil or canola oil

Meal ideas:



Breakfast Cookie or cookie dough cereal

Parfait with yogurt of choice, berries and fruit, 1 serving of granola, 1 egg

Savory oats with cheese of choice, hot sauce, vegan/turkey sausage and an egg

Perfect protein pancakes with nut butter

My favorite smoothie, serving of nuts

Tortilla with nut butter, honey and banana




Salmon Caesar salad

Panino with protein of choice, 2 pieces of bread, lots of veggies, hummus/condiments, fresh fruit

Quinoa black bean burgers with salad

Grilled protein, sweet potato and veggies

Veggie quinoa with chickpeas and goat cheese

Veggie and hummus wrap with fruit

Salad beast with everything under the sun






Green juice

Protein fluff or protein muffin

Hummus and veggies

Homemade trail mix

Fresh fruit and cheese of choice

Pizza toast (kind of weird but I love it: toast with cheese, marinara and red chili flakes)

Small smoothie (milk of choice, 1/2 banana, protein powder, frozen fruit, hemp seeds and/or nut butter)

Banana with almond butter, chocolate chips on top


As far as treats go, you may like to have small treats throughout the week, prefer to have a treat day to enjoy foods that are good for the soul, but not necessarily for jeans size, or do whatever works for you, the health of your body and sanity.


This week’s workout:

This week’s workout is a combination of Tabata-style intervals with traditional and compound weight exercises. Please keep in mind that all of the WSU workouts were designed for the average gym-going Jane, who is already familiar with proper form. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask a trainer at your gym to help you out! Remember, it’s much better to modify or change an exercise than risk injury.

The entire workout should take about an hour, and should be performed on non-consecutive days:



1. Warm up Cardio of choice (moderate) 5-7 minutes
2. Walking lunge, bicep curl and knee up combo Lunge walking forward holding dumbbells, bring the back knee up to touch your standing knee as you bicep curl. After doing 10 walking forward, hold your right knee up and bicep curl 12-15 times (to challenge the core) and left knee up, bicep curl 12-15 times. Challenging weight (8-15 lbs each)
3. Reverse walking lunge, bicep curl and knee up combo Repeat #2, moving backwards Challenging weight (8-15 lbs each)
4. Plie squat, upright row Plie squat to right, bring feet together and upright row, repeat to the left. Go for 3 sets of 10-12 on each side. Challenging weight (8-15 lbs each)
5. Tabata sprints 8 rounds of 20 seconds as fast as your legs will move, 10 seconds of rest- 4 minutes total Treadmill or track
6. Bent-over fly and push-ups 3 sets of 12-15 for each exercise; alternate between flyes and push-ups Challenging weight (5-12 lbs each) – keep in mind that shoulders fatigue quickly; bodyweight for push-up (add a Bosu balance trainer for an extra challenge)
7. Tabata in and out jumps 8 rounds of 20 seconds active (in and out jumps) and 10 seconds rest- 4 minutes total Bodyweight
8. Bench tricep dips and bench V-ups 3 sets of 12-15 for each exercise; alternate between tricep dips (challenge: straight legs or 1 leg) and V-ups Bodyweight
9. Tabata jump rope or tuck jumps 8 rounds of 20 seconds active (jump rope or tuck jump), 10 seconds rest- 4 minutes total Bodyweight
Cool down and stretch    



Keeping track: Feel free to print this out (or make your own version) to keep track of your progress throughout the week!





So who’s joining in the fun?

When you complete a workout, please leave a comment on this post so we can cheer each other on!

Let me know what you think, too- I’m always looking for ways to make the workouts and Shape Ups on this page even better 🙂

Happy training!



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  1. Leah on January 17, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I’ve been trying to add more interval-type workouts to my schedule, so this is great! I was definitely stuck in a cardio rut. Since these are done on non-consecutive days, do you have a recommendation of what to do on the other days? I’ve been struggling to find the right balance. Goal is to lose some weight (15 pounds or so) and tone up in the process. I have a pretty intense spin class that I do once a week and try to fit in one yoga class per week. Also, can I do these intervals 3x a week (assuming my body feels okay)? Or is that overkill?

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      it might be a little much, depending on your current activity level. i’d do spin instead of the third day of wsu, or nix the spin and just do 3 wsu and yoga

  2. Katie @ Plates and Paste on January 17, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Gina…this about killed me. Those in and out jumps? Ya, those are the devil. By the time I got to the tuck jumps I had to stop for a little cause I thought I would puke. Great workout though!! Can’t wait for the next one 😉

  3. Lena on January 17, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Let me tell you- I did this workout last night, and I had a serious case of bambi legs going down the stairs this morning. 🙂 I also had my first experience with savory oats for bfast! Subbed out the chicken and egg with tempeh, and it was still delicious!

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm


  4. Elizabeth C on January 17, 2012 at 10:51 am

    OK – well I did it – sort of! It was my first time leaving the baby at the gym’s daycare so I was kind of anxious and didn’t get all the way through – but I did everything but the last 2 sets. Great workout! My muscles are def feeling it today.

    I hope things are going well with your sweet baby girl.

  5. Kelli on January 17, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for putting these workouts together. Normally I would be all over this, I love doing tabata intervals mixed in to a normal workout- it takes it from tough to over the top! However, I’m in my first trimester & really struggling with what I should be doing in my workouts. I’ve had to take it easy & have just had a goal of 3-4 days working out a week until the nausea subsides a bit….:)
    Anyway, I was wondering if you did any posts about good workout routines during pregnancy? It seems that there is a lot of conflicting information out there as to what is ok or not! For example, one OB I interviewed advised me to keep my HR under 120 at all times. The midwife I interviewed said to just go by how I feel. I want to be safe but am really confused! 🙂 Thanks in advance for any insight!

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      ehhh that’s such a toughie. i would go with what your doctor or midwife says. mine told me the 140 rule was old school and just to go with how i was feeling, and not to do anything new. a major thing is that you want to avoid overheating.
      here’s a post i did on my first trimester workouts:

      • Kelli on January 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm

        Thanks, Gina! I think that I’m leaning more towards working w/the midwife, just b/c of her take on exercise as well as diet & many, many other things. I had heard the 140 rule & also heard it was pretty old, so i was shocked when she said 120! Anyway, I’ve marked the link & am reading through it. I want to stay really active & you are absolutely a great role model in that & many regards!
        Thanks again.

  6. Jen on January 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

    This was super intense. Great workout. Thank you!!!

    A quick question: are there any modifications that would work well for the in and out jumps? I couldn’t get through them all, and I’m not sure if it would be better to do less or to modify and get through them all. Any suggestions would be great!

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      if they weren’t hurting you, i would just try to do as many as you can during the time period. you’ll get stronger and will be rocking out the 20 seconds in no time

  7. Sara on January 17, 2012 at 11:38 am

    wooo! Here we go! I did the first workout yesterday and loved it!
    I am assuming steady state cardio is anything we want and for like 45mins?

    Thanks for setting this up, it’s so motivating to have a plan in place already.

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      yep! or flexibility, like a yoga or pilates class

  8. Carly on January 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for about 6 months now and I’m so excited about this workout, thank you!! I just started it today and it totally kicked my butt in a great way – those in-and-out jumps are a doozy! Can’t wait to see what you post next, and I love the new ideas for clean eating. Thanks Gina, and have fun with the little one!

  9. Stephanie B. on January 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks for putting together such a great workout, Gina! I did the workout today and it was definitely a schweaty workout for me 🙂 The timing couldn’t be better because today was the first day of my spring semester and I’m glad I was able to start it out on the right foot. During my winter break I was staying with my parents and going to the gym near their house which has excellent group exercise classes, and I was worried about coming back to my apartment and missing the classes while I was stuck on the cardio machines at the rec center where I belong. I’m definitely guilty of sticking with the safe choices at the gym, so today was a new experience for me – it felt good to take control of my workout and use the weights on my own.

    Thanks again for all of the work you put into this – I’m really excited to do the whole program, maybe more than once!

  10. Michelle on January 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Love the workout. My physical therapist doesn’t want me doing any heavy pounding/running for a few weeks byt says I can do anything else…Im having a upper back/neck issue. Any suggestions on other tabata intervals to replace these?

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      What about the spin bike or elliptical?

  11. Maya on January 17, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Hi Gina! I discovered your blog a few months ago and love it! It’s so inspiring as I work towards getting healthier. This is the first of your shape-ups that I’ve read in real time (I skimmed through your older ones) and I tried this workout today and it was hard in a great way! Definitely had a tough time with those in and outs, but I can’t wait to see how much better I get at the end of WSU.

    Congratulations on Livi 🙂

    • Fitnessista on January 18, 2012 at 12:55 am

      🙂 !

  12. Beth on January 18, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Just did this for the first time today and it kicked my butt! Seriously, those tabata intervals are no joke. But I also felt so hardcore that I’m looking forward to doing it again on Friday!

  13. Jayme on January 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Will this excersise help lose weight?

    • Fitnessista on January 18, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      it could! depends on what your body fat percent is and if you do indeed need to lose weight. i’d look at it more for fat-burning potential

      • Jayme on January 18, 2012 at 8:23 pm

        Could you point out one of your workouts designed to lose weight?

        • Fitnessista on January 18, 2012 at 8:55 pm

          most of my workouts are designed for fat loss, since that’s a better indication of fitness than weight loss. you can lose weight, and lose muscle which means that you’ll be “smushier” in appearance. you could gain muscle, burn fat, weigh the same (or even a little more) and have your jeans falling off 🙂

  14. Chloe on January 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Such a great plan, can’t wait to try this! Thanks for putting it all together!

  15. s on January 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    i scored a groupon to a local gym, so i think i will be following the nutrition part of the WSU while taking fitness classes. coming off of the sugar high that was the holidays the WSU guidelines are really helping me get back on track with my normal eats. thanks!!

  16. Kim M. on January 19, 2012 at 1:39 am

    I did this on Monday, and my quads are still sore! I’ll be doing it again on Friday. Thanks! I always love the WSU.

  17. Alex on January 19, 2012 at 2:20 am

    I recently lost a lot of weight, and now I’m trying to tone up. I have stretch marks on my stomach unfortunately. Do you know if I can still tighten that area of skin, or is it just going to be loose? I still want to tone up, but I just want to know if it’s a lost cause. Your blog is so awesome! I love it 🙂

  18. Brittany on January 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I’m doing this years shape up three months after having my first baby 🙂 I am really hoping to see big changes after following the four weeks one time and then even better changes after the second round. Weight loss has pretty much stalled the last few weeks so I’m really wishing to see a change in body fat overall. I did workout one last night during naptime and it made my legs feel sore but strong ! Can’t wait to continue the scheduled workouts this week

  19. Lauren on January 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to put together such an effective and well-planned program! I completed my first WSU workout last night and today I am sore all over. Love feeling changes happen right away! 🙂

  20. Stephanie B. on January 19, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I did my second WSU workout today – I’m definitely feeling those plie squats! Thanks again for all of the effort you put into this. And I love reading/ seeing all about your new life as a mom 🙂

  21. Erin on January 20, 2012 at 6:38 am

    So this is my second wsu of the week. And I did it 2 different ways. The first time I did it straight thru once then did the entire round 2 more times but the tabata stuff I did for 2 mins each. Then this morning I did it as stated doing the 3 sets in a row. The tabata in and out kills me! But I think it was harder doing 3 full rounds and that took me an hour or so. While just doing it – 40 mins.

  22. Mandy on January 21, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Just finished week 1! Thanks for pushing me Gina.
    Can’t wait to see what you’ve got for us Monday morning. (and can I say that I love that you have it up early so I can get my workouts done in the morning)

    • Fitnessista on January 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm


  23. Sana on January 21, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Gina. I workout at home and since it’s so cold outside, what would you recommend replacing the tabata intervals with? Can i jump rope or do jumping jacks?

    • Fitnessista on January 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      either one would be perfect

  24. Kim on January 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I know that it totally varies per person but on average what would you estimate the calorie burn to be from this workout? Just curious! Thanks

    • Fitnessista on January 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      i have no idea. depending on body comp stats and how hard you push yourself, i’d say 300-450?

  25. Stephanie B. on January 22, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I did my third WSU workout this morning – it was such a good plan! And I was pretty surprised and excited that I could actually get through all of the push-ups without having to do any on my knees. I really liked alternating them with the bent-over flies. Can’t wait for this coming week’s plan!

    I love the picture you posted today of you and Olivia – so cute. And I really like your hair like that! Twisty bangs are adorable, even if they’re a default due to lack of time 🙂

    • Fitnessista on January 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      or lack of showering, haha 😉
      glad you enjoyed the workout!

  26. sarah on February 12, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Hey! I was just checking out your site and wondered if you’d be able to email me so I can get some advice on health etc

  27. Have a Plan and Stick With It | on November 6, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    […] to my new workout schedule and get into a solid gym routine, I decided I’m going to complete Gina’s 2012 Winter Shape Up Plan. I know it’s not exactly winter but that’s not the point. The point is to always have a […]

  28. Rachel on December 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I know it’s a year later, but I’m totally doing this! I’m so happy I found this website. You’re amazing…

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