Fitnasty Blog
Yummy salad for a hearty appetite
January 17th, 2014 | Permanent Link | No Comments »

My sister-in-law and I share a shameless compulsion to devour gossip magazines as though they were feeding some socially depraved part of our brains, and she always gives me her hand-me-downs: old US Weekly and People, at least three or four whenever I see her. And to my surprise, when I was totally bingeing on a stupidly huge stack of them the other day, I actually came across a really great recipe for a hearty salad! And, like, hellooo-ooo, it’s not just any salad. It’s a salad for the stars, of course.

But in all seriousness, this salad (that is supposedly prepared for Beyonce and Jay-Z) looks DELICIOUS. And after being in the fitness industry for seven years and seeing my fair share of salads, whoah boy is that an understatement, it is very rare that I come across a salad that tickles my pickle, and this one tickles the shit out of it. I really like that it has an element of heartiness; the quinoa makes it a great winter salad for active people like myself.

Red Quinoa, Almond and Arugula Salad
(Serves 2)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
4 cups arugula, packed
1.5 cups cooked red quinoa, cooled
1.5 cups cantaloupe chunks
1/4 cup slivered almonds (I like replacing this with cashews or crumbled walnuts–slivered almonds just don’t really do it for me.)


  1. For dressing: Whisk together the oil, vinegar and syrup. Add sea salt and pepper, as desired.
  2. Split the arugula, quinoa and cantaloupe onto two serving plates. Sprinkle with the almonds and drizzle with the dressing.
  3. Step back and marvel at how totally easy that was! Freaking yum! Eat up, and feel wonderful about your healthy choice to make this awesome salad.

This delectable mixture was created by vegan guru and self-proclaimed exercise physiologist Marco Borges. (Disclaimer: I definitely don’t love veganism, but this salad totally rocks nonetheless!) Borges is the creator of “22Days”, which is, um…I haven’t actually figured out what it is actually…

It appears that 22Days (website here) is the name of his brand of vegan, organic and gluten-free bars and…um, other stuff. The name “22Days” is based on the concept that it is said to take 21 days to break a habit. And Borges wants you to be healthier! And break those nasty habits! This is where I do see eye-to-eye with this super green vegan. On his website, he has a list of beliefs that make up his “manifesto,” and many items on the list I identify with deeply, and you should try to also! Check out a couple of my favorites from the 22Days website (there were several more):

  • We believe a list of ingredients shouldn’t need a table of contents. Or a medical dictionary.
  • We believe in a healthy diet, not fad dieting.
  • We believe that a great workout is its own reward.
  • We believe that good fats can help you stay lean, and that “low-fats” can actually do the opposite. **THIS! So very much this.**
  • We believe that success is a byproduct of effort and consistency.
  • We believe in ourselves.

CREDIT: This recipe and its directions were taken from an US Weekly magazine. All other writing was done by Madelyn Fairbanks.

Workout Quickie #2: “The Productive Hat Workout”
April 10th, 2013 | Permanent Link | No Comments »

My life is a bit on the chaotic side. I have a full-time job as a reporter, plus I have a few personal training clients and keep up with teaching classes for MadAbs Fitness, Bungie and the Seattle Athletic Club, and, of course, I keep up with getting super fitnasty myself on as regular a basis as I can. And when I’m a good girl and get it all done, I get to go play with my friends! :)

So in order to get it all in so I can go play, I have a little timer system. I’ll set my timer for 20 or 30-minute increments and work on a different category of my life during each one. Keep in mind this may not work well for everyone or all the time for those who do like it, but I love it. This keeps fresh eyes for every task or project, which is especially helpful as a writer. Also, I really like the fact that it keeps me moving right along because I know that time’s a-tickin’!

During the first 20-minute increment, I put on my writing hat and get to work on my day-job stuff. If I don’t get the whole task done in the 20 minutes but come close, then I’ll keep working past the bell and finish it up. If I’m about half-way through completing the task at hand, then I’ll find a stopping point where I can come back later, reset my timer and move on. Then I’ll set a timer for work on client folders or blog posts, or I’ll pay bills or catch up on emails and calls to family members or whatever.

After completing two or three 20-minute increments of being productive as all get-out, it’s time to find a mindless job around the house that needs doing–like folding laundry or washing dishes–and I’ll intersperse this with a quickie workout. Aaaand here’s where I reveal my neurosis regarding time management: I’ll keep my 20 minute timer going (I happen to use my iPhone timer for this), then I’ll set an additional timer on my watch for 3-minute intervals. For three minutes at a time I’ll work on my mindless task, then a little mini-workout that takes just about 3 minutes. I don’t run the 3-minute timer while I’m doing the mini-workout, though. I just get it done as fast as I can, then once it’s complete, I’ll start the 3-minute timer again and get back to laundry. It goes off, I do my little fitness fiesta as fast as I can, reset the timer…you get the idea. Here’s one I did the other night!

Workout Quickie #2 (The Mini!): focus on bicep/tricep

  1. Arnold 21′s, 10-lb. dumbbells (This is a tri-set of hammer curls, each done IMMEDIATELY after the other: set #1 is seven reps of the bottom half of a hammer curl, set #2 is seven reps of the top half of a hammer curl, and set #3 is seven reps of the full range-of-motion hammer curl. This was, of course, created by and graciously given to us by former Governator Schwarzenegger!)
  2. 10 squats w/ a concentration curl followed by 5 standing concentration curls, 10-lb. dumbbells (concentration curls are biceps curls with your palms facing away from you)
  3. 10 overhead triceps extensions, I used both 10-lb. dumbbell together to save time, but you could totes use one 20-lb. dumbbell. Alternatively, you could use lighter weight and do more reps.
  4. 10 triceps kickbacks, 10-lb. dumbbells. Again, you could use lighter weight and do more reps.
  5. 20 Abmat sit-ups (If you don’t have an Abmat, replicate the movement in the linked video, but add this in: with arms fully extended, reach back and touch the floor behind you before you sit up, using the momentum of swinging your arms to do so. This allows you to go quickly, plus it uses your lats, a.k.a. large back muscles!)

Woot woot! Have fun guys. Be productive: work hard and play hard!

Madelyn :)

Workout Quickie #1
March 22nd, 2013 | Permanent Link | No Comments »


Guess what. You need to get another workout in during the week. And I know that because (for the most part), we could all stand a nudge to be a little more physically active in general, and most of us could always use a little more core work. Granted there are some of you who are like exercise-freaks-of-nature who don’t necessarily need another workout, but in the cases of exercise-freaks-of-nature, I’d be willing to bet that despite not needing another workout, you are probably crazy enough to actually want to do another workout during the week. So I’ll post one a week for a few weeks, at least until boot camps start anyway. If you guys like ‘em, and need them to be a more permanent part of your life, I’ll keep dishing ‘em out!

Workout Quickie #1: pushing group
Your “pushing group” muscles are, obviously, the  muscles that work together to make pushing movements. Like a push-up for instance. These are mainly your shoulders, chest, triceps in your upper body and your quads in your lower body. 

  1. 15 clean to split-jerks, light to moderate weight (Watch this video [26 seconds] for a demo. In this video, the clean to split-jerk is the SECOND exercise demonstrated. If you’re not familiar with any part of this exercise, be sure to do light weight, and dumbbells are easier to work with when you’re still learning.) 
  2. 20-30 thrusters with light to moderate weight (If you’re advanced and/or would like this workout to be more cardio-intensive, do 30.) (Also, this is a good demo video. They use a barbell, but dumbbells can be used as well.)
  3. 20 overhead triceps extensions, light weight, performed as quickly as possible while still maintaining good form
  4. 20 triceps dips (do this immediately following the overhead extensions. if you let yourself recover for more than 15 seconds, you’re losing precious overlap)
  5. 10-15 push-ups (if you’re advanced, do dive-bomb push-ups or half-crow push-ups)
  6. Do as many rounds of all five exercises as you can in 20 minutes. And as most of you who work with me know, halfsies don’t count! So if you’re approaching the 20 minute mark and you’re only half-way through a round of all five exercises, freaking finish the damn round. :)

Want a little  bonus core action? Give me 50 sit-ups, soldier!

Have fun, hooray!

Madelyn :)


FREE Spring Boot Camp Kick-off!
March 19th, 2013 | Permanent Link | 15 Comments »

Oh. Em. Gee. It’s TIME you guys! It’s time to get our behinds out in the fresh air and sunshine in Volunteer Park and work it on out. It’s time for Fitness Fiesta 2013. It’s time to kick off outdoor boot camps!

Mark your calendars: this year’s free Outdoor Boot Camp Kick-off will be at 10:00 am on Saturday, April 27. Bring your friends, bring your mom, bring your boyfriend! Bring that guy you always thought was really cute at the gym so you can show him what a bad-ass you are at push-ups!

And, of course, what naturally follows every year’s Outdoor Boot Camp Kick-off? Why, more Boot Camp, of course! I’m only going to do one weekly class to start, but if you guys bring enough noise to class maybe I can add another. :) So, following the Kick-off, you can look forward to getting funky with me in the park every Saturday from 10:00-11:00 am. Oh yayer!

You must R.S.V.P. y’all. Send me an email to or make a comment on the MadAbs Facebook page or email me through the Facebook machine. And for class, be sure to bring water (staying hydrated is sexy!) and an old yoga mat or towel if you want it for core work in the grass. (I don’t usually use one, but whatever tickles your pickle) And if you bring a yoga mat, be sure to bring one you don’t mind getting dirty. Oh, and if somebody could arrange for it not to rain, that’d be fantastic as well. But! In the off-chance that is does indeed rain (but it won’t, of course, right?), we will freaking TOTALLY still work out. Why? Because we’re bad-asses of course! Aaaaaaand there’s always the water tower, which you all just love with all your hearts.

Yay! I can’t wait! See you oh-so-very soon.

Madelyn xo

Round it out, yo!
March 6th, 2013 | Permanent Link | 1 Comment »

Hey guys!

I’m BACK baby! I’m so excited to start writing on the Fitnasty Blog again, and will start with at least one weekly blog post for you guys. My first was prompted by one of my OG, original gangsta boot campers, Camille. She thought it would be nice to have a way to be motivated on a weekly basis to challenge herself and her workouts, and also maybe to be reminded about exercises she might be neglecting. Girl, I’ve got just the thing for you. And you and you and all of you too!

How to even out the muscles of the temple that is your body
Part of what makes the difference between a fit person and a seriously strong fit person is well-roundedness. And unless you’re getting pushed and challenged in ways that you don’t necessarily want to be pushed or challenged by a trainer or through regular fitness classes like CrossFit or boot camps, it’s pretty likely that you’ll tend to avoid exercises that you don’t like. (Trust me, I do the same thing.) And chances are, the reason you don’t enjoy them will be at least partially because whatever muscle group or muscle type you’re working isn’t as strong as it should be.

When I first started getting my ass kicked by working with a trainer (at Gold’s Gym like, a MILLION years ago when I was a pack-a-day smoker who drank like a fish and was 20 pounds overweight, too!), I remember that I absolutely hated doing anything that involved a row-like motion. I’ll never forget the light bulb that went off over my head when my trainer told me the reason: my back muscles probably weren’t very strong. Oh, yeah! That makes sense, huh?

So I started doing a crap-ton of rowing movements and a lot of work on increasing my upper back strength. Lo and behold, in the subsequent months, not only did I begin to enjoy the feeling of strength coursing through my body on days when I lifted back, but I also started collecting compliments on my toned upper back! Awwww, yeah baby. Both felt awesome.

So what’s the moral of the story, Madelyn?
If you hate an exercise, DO MORE OF IT! Actually, do a shit-load of it! Do it all the freaking time! But if you don’t want to quit your day job just to perform your most hated exercise 24 hours a day (which I suppose I can understand… :) ), here’s an excellent solution!

  1. Make a list of the exercises you really hate or just don’t feel like you’re very good at/strong in. Burpees are always a good place to start! For me, it would be jumping (plyometric) lunges or high knees. Or think of an instance where you felt like I did when I was doing rows in the gym with my trainer: how about push-ups? Turkish get-ups are an exercise that almost always elicits grumbles from my clients, too.
  2. Pick a day of the week to work on them. On this day, you’ll bust out 100 of whatever exercise it is, all in a row (you can split it up into sets if you need to of course, but we’re not talking about doing 5 in the morning, 10 an hour later, 15 at lunch, etc.). If it’s an exercise that isolates a smaller muscle such as triceps or biceps, make sure to listen to your body and don’t work through pain to the point of injury. It might be better in that case to do 4 sets of 25 or whatever. If you’re feeling like a rockstar, do more! Do 150 or even 200! Or if you’re more of a beginner in the world of fitnastiness, it’s totally cool to cut it back and start at 50 or even 25. Do this for a month or two and I guarantee you, that exercise will not be nearly as dreaded as it once was, and your body will be much more well-rounded because you probably strengthened an area that was underdeveloped. **Important: this time is NOT meant to be a substitute for one of your regular workouts, it is ADDITIONAL. If you’re subbing out a full workout, it kind of defeats the purpose, yo.**
  3. Keep track of your stats. For example, time yourself for the full hundred and see how much faster you get each week. Also, if you start out working in 10 or 15 rep chunks, make a note of that and see if you can’t improve on that as well. Maybe by the end of a couple months you’ll be doing 50 or even all 100 in a row!
  4. Amp it up, yo! For the advanced athlete, simple double the fun: pick two exercises and two days a week!

Have fun getting fit as a fiddle my friends! And if you think about it, post a comment about what you’re working on, or shoot me an email at to fill me in. Nothing makes my heart go pitter-patter like hearing about you guys enjoying some good old fashioned hard work.


Madelyn :)

Mad’s Fitnasty Journey: interval training
February 14th, 2012 | Permanent Link | 2 Comments »

Colin and I have been cleaning up our diets, avoiding alcohol, and getting crazy shredded in anticipation of our vacation to Mexico this spring. We’re gonna be a couple of hot and sexy kids just like we were for our first trip to Mexico together, just before we started officially dating—cute!

One of the most important ingredients to the recipe for the fitnastiest me is cardio. Cardio, cardio, CARDIO. And not just any cardio, but tough stuff. I’m talking about interval training.

Interval training is a style of exercise that involves periods of high intensity work followed by periods of lower intensity work. Traditionally, the high intensity parts are shorter bursts at all-out physical exertion and the lower intensity phases are lower than your average capacity and may even involve a complete rest.

But fitnasty interval training takes this and flips it on its head: if you’re interested in getting crazy fit like me at the moment, your periods of high intensity are long and grueling, and your lower intensity periods are short and sweet. But it all evens out time-wise, and interval training packs a serious punch in a short amount of time no matter which way you do it. What does that mean? It means that to do a sesh of cardio intervals doesn’t take much time, so there are NO EXCUSES not to do them. :)

Because doing intervals is so intense, you not only burn a ton of calories while you’re exercising, but you go on to burn much more after your workout is over. Whaaat?! That’s awesome! This is called the “afterburn effect,” and it is your B to the F to the F when you’re trying to lose body fat.

How I got my fitnastiness on today:
I warmed up by jogging from my house on the southern edge of Capitol Hill to the Convention Center downtown to say hello to my lovely sisters at The Juicy Cafe, then did an about-face and began my ascent back up the hill by nearly sprinting up Pine Street. I ran all-out as fast as my little leggies would take me for one block at a time, and then either walked or lightly jogged to cross each street. The effect: crazily delicious burning in my quads and the feeling that my heart was going to pound its way out of my chest at any moment. Ohhhhh yeeeeeaaaaahh.

Rev it with a new MadAbs playlist!
February 9th, 2012 | Permanent Link | 2 Comments »

Pump up the volume, baby! There’s nothing quite like something new to spice up your workout to make sure it’s a killer calorie-scorcher. Although I would love to buy a new pair of Lululemon Athletica pants every time I wanted something new or different, a rockin’ playlist can be just as motivating…and muuuuch cheaper.

Here are the tunes I used in last week’s Boot Camp for you to download and enjoy. I included the remix names as well as the track times so you can make sure you’re getting the same version of the song—dig in and get fitnasty!

  1. Born This Way (Bimbo Jones Club Remix) – Lady Gaga, 6:46
  2. We Found Love (Chuckie Extended Mix) – Rihanna, featuring Calvin Harris, 5:57
  3. Set Fire to the Rain (Workout Mix) – Anya Tru, 4:36
  4. Save the Last Trance for Me – Paul Oakenfold, 7:50
  5. Call Your Girlfriend (Sultan & Ned Dub Remix) – Robyn, 5:37
  6. Night By Night – Chromeo, 3:45  [**new FAVorite!!**]
  7. Mr. Saxobeat – Alexandra Stan, 3:15
  8. Drop It Low – Kat de Luna, 3:46
  9. Burn It to the Ground – Nickelback, 3:29
  10. Judas (DJ White Shadow Remix) – Lady Gaga, 4:07
  11. I Can Change – LCD Soundsystem, 5:56
  12. Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I Can Say) – Lady Gaga, 2:55
Ready to lose weight with me? Let’s get to SLEEP!
February 7th, 2012 | Permanent Link | No Comments »

As a CRAZY busy person, this is one of the most difficult of my own suggestions to follow. But it does make a big difference in the way your body functions, and while you’re on track for weight loss, you want to make sure all your body’s functions are running as smoothly as possible.

Keep in mind that thousands of years of evolution have trained our bodies to put survival at the tops of their priorities lists, and what’s one of the most important things your body has to stock up on if it’s to survive? Fat! So if you’re running your body ragged, it will tweak and change several things going on in your body to protect you from what it feels is looming danger–though that looming danger maaaay just be an overdue deadline.

Here are a couple things that happen when you’re not getting enough sleep:

  1. Increased fat storage: sleep loss interferes with your how your body metabolizes carbohydrates, which increases your blood sugar levels. This causes your insulin production to go on overdrive, causing storage of your body fat.
  2. Fake hunger pangs: sleep loss affects your cortisol levels–the hormone that regulates your apetite. Sleep-deprived, you may think you’re hungry when you’ve had plenty to eat. (Check out this Livestrong article about sleep and weight loss!)

Rhythm Nation
Another thing that Madelyn’s World of Sleep dreads is the sound of my alarm clock. That greedy little bastard is always stealing precious sleep from me. But it’s odd: on the weekends, I’ll usually wake up pretty close to the same time, but as long as I wake up on my own, I feel much more refreshed.

Do you ever feel like your morning alarm clock is digging you out of the deepest possible sleep? That’s because, like my weekly alarm clock usually does, you’re being waken up in the middle of a sleep cycle–your alarm is a jarring gong interrupting your body’s natural rhythm.

Enter the most AWESOME website I’ve found this year:, the “Bedtime Calculator”! Simply enter one of two pieces of information: 1) what time you have to wake up, and it will calculate (based on human sleeping rhythms/cycles) what time you should hit the sack, or 2) if you’re going to bed right now, it will calculate what time you should set your alarm clock so as not to interrupt a deep sleep.

Who knew one of my steps to getting crazy-shredded would be so pleasant?? Time for a nap!

Mad’s Journey to a Mazatlan-ready Bod
February 6th, 2012 | Permanent Link | No Comments »


It’s been quite a while since I was posting regularly. And so the longer I went without making a post, the more (imaginary) pressure I felt to have the comeback post be something spectacular, and there hasn’t been anything particularly spectacular happening in my fitnasty world. Until!…

Colin and I attended a charity auction for FSH research, had too many glasses of complimentary champagne, and participated in a bidding war on a 7-day trip to Mazatlan, Mexico.

Time to stop drinking champagne and start getting SHREDDED! Oh yay-yer!

And since I will be taking all the necessary fitnasty steps to get to my most shredded bod, I thought: what a perfect time to share my journey with you! Pre-vacation shreds are also the best to share because I’ll be using a realistic time frame: 2 months.

So if you still have a little bit of sugar cookie remnants hanging around in your fat deposits, now is a perfect time to start shedding your winter layers in time with the coming of spring. Because there’s nothing quite like feeling your best as the Seattle sun comes out from hibernation.

Check back with the Fitnasty Blog for a different step or tip every day to help you along your journey–I’ll aim to fill up a whole month with nutrition tips, workouts and other ways to get crazy shredded.

Although I began my Mazatlan Shred a couple of weeks ago, I’ll start this blog series with the first steps I took. And the best part of me getting a head start on you? Those first few steps have already made a significant and noticeable difference in my physique! Yay:)

As you’re following along, keep in mind that every body is different, and some of the steps and tricks I use and find to yield the best results may not wow you as much as they wowed me. But everything I share with you will be based on several years of experience, experiments and lots of industry-based knowledge, so as long as you stay focused, positive and consistent, you WILL come out of this journey feeling and looking better and hotter than when you started. It all depends on your level of commitment and your resolve to sticking to it!

…sooooo you’re probably not going to like the first step. But this is not only the most important step, but it’s also the one that (for most people) will yield guaranteed results in a relatively short amount of time. So keep that in mind and tell yourself to suck it up:

  • STEP ONE: Quit drinking. You don’t have to like, quit drinking forever, but the longer you can go without ingesting alcohol (yes, that includes wine with dinner), the more time you’ll be giving your body to put fat-burning at the top of its priority list. If you’ve just got to go out and have a cocktail, get a vodka- or gin-and-soda with several limes. These have virtually no sugar apart from the alcohol, and will be strong enough-tasting that you probably aren’t in danger of sucking it down. And then, you can order soda water with lime for the rest of the evening to keep people from giving you shit about not drinking! All in all, try to keep adult beverage intake to once a week, max.

Wait! One more thing, and this is important. Check out this blog post I wrote last year about weight loss and alcohol. It breaks down what exactly happens in your body when you drink and is highly likely to give you an “aha!” moment of motivational zen. Just do it!!

See you tomorrow!


Should being overweight be illegal?
November 28th, 2011 | Permanent Link | 4 Comments »

Our healthcare system is f**ked up. I’m pretty sure that’s a non-debatable fact that most of us can agree on. But the big question of “How the heck do we fix it?” is not nearly as easy to agree upon.

I’ve always thought that with large-scale society-based problems like this, the best solution is to start from the very bottom up and change the way we think about the whole system first. That, of course is pretty close to impossible unless you have absolutely everyone on board. For example reducing carbon emissions would require that everyone completely rethinks how they get places, how often they buy groceries, etc. And changing healthcare would be best fixed from the root of the problem–our health.

But how do you get an entire country to change the way they take care of themselves? We need to be a healthier people so that we don’t let problems go so long that we need such massive healthcare. Of course cancer is a bit of a different story, but eating whole, natural and unprocessed foods without a bunch of man-made chemicals buzzing in them will undoubtedly increase our risk of being cancer-free.

Japan is doing something radical. It’s something that many of us think about, talk about in private circles of friends guaranteed not to be offended, and is an obvious solution to our problem. But it’s pretty damn unconstitutional.

My question to you guys is: is this gray area of unconstitutionality worth the massive gain in forcing a change from the bottom up what would radically change the health of our country for the better?

Check it out and tell me what you think: