Monthly Archives: May 2015

21 Day Fix EXTREME – Day 6

Today brings a new level of intensity to Dirty 30. It was a good workout and definitely a challenge. But it was also one where I found I could just zone out and get into the moves. My mind turned off and the focus was on the move I was doing at the time. I could ignore any soreness and just focus on the weights in my hands and keeping my form.

The moves today only used weights, no resistance bands. Which was definitely a nice little relief. 🙂 I am still using my 5 lb weights and 8 lb weights. And yes they are still challenging me, so I may stick with them again next week. There was one move where I did need to drop down to 3 lb weights though. My elbows were not liking the 5 lb weights and my form was slipping, so I lowered the weights. You know what? I’m okay with that. Proper form in the movements is more important than heavier weights. Heavier and bad form is a recipe for injury. Lighter and good form keeps my body safe and injury free. I prefer the latter to the former any day.

I had the thought this morning that I am enjoying the new challenges, but I also know that if I hadn’t done the original 21 Day Fix first, I’d likely be struggling even more with EXTREME. So I am happy I chose to do the progression. Now I need to buckle down and dial in my nutrition even more. Because it has definitely NOT been perfect and on point this week. I’m about 75% to 80% this week if I’m completely honest with myself. If I want to see the results I want I need to get it closer to 90% to 95%, if not 100%.

It’s a work in progress. I’m a work in progress. And I’m enjoying the journey. That is what life is, after all. A journey and an adventure and I learn more every day. More about myself and my goals and how to achieve them.

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21 Day Fix EXTREME – Days 4 & 5

Oh boy, I can’t believe I forgot to come by and share my workout pain yesterday. I apologize. Life just got in the way. I shall remedy that problem forthwith!

Yesterday was Lower Fix EXTREME. That means Leg day. OUCH!!! Lots of lunges and jumping with weights and the resistance bands again. Those bands really, really work different muscles and different ways. I worked my legs and my booty and it hurt a bit, and I’m definitely feeling it today. ‘Twas a good workout. I know that because I’m a good sore.

Today was Cardio Fix EXTREME. Rounds to work the entire body, still with weights mixed in. It also added in a few short cardio intervals between each round. A good bit of work in a short time. This really was an extreme workout, cardio on steroids! My glutes protested with each squat until I finally warmed up. And of course it seemed that as soon as I was warmed up the routine was done.

I’m being pushed and moved in ways I’m not sure I knew I could do when I started. Pushing past the mental “I can’t do XYZ.” Today in the workout Autumn (thee trainer) mentioned that now is when you remove “I can’t” from your vocabulary and replace it with “I can!”

I’m working to replace it with “I can.” I really am. It’s not always easy, but then again, nothing worth really having is!

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21 Day Fix EXTREME – Day 3

Today is Pilates Fix EXTREME. When they said it was Extreme they sure weren’t joking. I’m talking adding resistance bands to the Pilates moves. Some carried over from the original 21 Day Fix, others are all new. And the bands make it oh so very challenging.

Today was definitely a day of modifications. Modifying poses, pausing to catch my breath, and wondering if I could do even half of what I was supposed to be doing. I wanted to scream, I wanted to cry, I wanted to quit. Instead I modified and did what I could, pausing if I had to so I didn’t lose form. This one is going to definitely take work and practice. And maybe some lighter resistance bands.

It was well and truly a butt kicker. So far all of the EXTREME workouts have been. It’s a challenge, and a nice one. But I have to admit, it has me wondering if I was ready to step up to this challenge. Just my own personal self doubts creeping in. I won’t let them win and I won’t give up or give in! I will complete this round and I will succeed!

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21 Day Fix EXTREME – Day 2

Day 2 and Upper Fix EXTREME was on tap. This one focused on the biceps, triceps, chest and abs, with a tiny bit of work on the legs. I stuck with my 5 lb and 8 lb weights, and a light resistance band. I admit I originally tried with a heavier resistance band and had to go lighter, it was just kicking my butt and I wasn’t using good form so switched it up!

I managed a few push-ups on my toes but quickly went to my knees. I still struggle with more than 3-5 on my toes, but those have ALWAYS been a weakness, so that is a vast improvement for me. I also went to the knees for them to keep form and ensure I could complete them correctly.

The lifting and other exercises were done with little to no modifications by me, so that was a nice bit. 🙂 I enjoyed this Upper workout. It was definitely a challenge, and something to definitely work me.

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21 Day Fix EXTREME – Day 1

Today starts the next chapter in my fitness journey. I figure like I did with the original 21 Day Fix I will share my take on the workouts and how I grow and change over the next 3 weeks.

Day 1 is Plyo Fix Extreme. Let me preface this by saying I have 2 iffy knees from injuries in my teens. They just don’t like jumping. And that is what Plyo is. A good bit of jumping. It’s a great way to tone and shape he calves, thighs, hamstrings, and booty, but my knees don’t always cooperate. So there was a good bit of modifying on my part. Even more so than the modifier in the video was doing. Just because I didn’t want to risk hurting myself. The point of me working out is to get stronger and see change and injury would be counter-productive here.

The warm-ups were different from the original, as were the cool downs, and yes Autumn threw in her Bonus workout at the end, because she loves her bonus round. 🙂 It really wasn’t a bad workout, I need to work harder to remove the “I hate Plyo” mentality before I start. See, even I have problems now and then with the negative voice coloring my workout. But I work to overcome it. After the warm-up and a couple minutes in I stopped worrying about how much I hate jumping and risking injury to my knees again and just let my body do what it could.

Was it easy? No. Was it worth it? Yes! By the end I was drenched in sweat and I’m pretty sure my booty and legs will be telling me all about the workout later today and tomorrow.

Oh, and for my own accountability, my light and medium/heavy weights today I lowered from what I’d been using in the original to 5 lbs and 8 lbs. I really could have probably stuck with the 7 lbs and 10 lbs but I wanted to make sure I worked through the routines once before I really started to push. Next week I’ll up the weights. For now, Week 1 is getting acquainted and ready to push harder!

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Rest Days

Rest days can be a bit confusing. While they can be days on your calendar where nothing is scheduled, it doesn’t mean this is a day to do nothing. instead it means this should be an active recovery day, where you do something gentle and kind to your body, but still stay active. It’s not necessarily a scheduled workout, but it is still a day to do something and keep up the change you’ve started. Many do Pilates or Yoga on these days.

Pilates and yoga are great ways to stretch out those sore muscles while still getting in a good workout. It helps to improve flexibility and strength. Then again, it could also be going out and swimming or doing something else that keeps you active but isn’t strenuous. The key is to gently work yourself and your body, not rush around and speed up your heart rate too much.

It is a day to help balance out all the sweat and activity. Balance. Something I’ve mentioned several times, but oh so very important. We need to find that balance in our lives to be truly happy and healthy. Imbalance is no good for any of us. Not in fitness, not in health, and definitely not in life in general. Find that balance and you find your happy.

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Stretching – Yes, you have to!

Yes you really need to warm up before you start your workout and cool down after you are finished. I know, boo hiss boo. You are all fired up and just want to jump into it. But if you don’t warm up your muscles properly, you really can injure yourself. Then all the hard work you’ve been doing will be for naught. You’ll be injured and either have to modify or think “I’ll just wait to workout until I’m healed.” Neither is really a fun prospect.

Warming up helps to increase blood flow to your muscles and makes them more able to support you and stretch as you work. It also helps to serve as a little mental nudge saying “Hey, we’re about to do work. Wake up!” Think of it as that morning cup of coffee that gets you up and moving (if you drink coffee, personally I think the stuff is vile and have never been one to drink it. LOL) It’s just that little extra oomph to help take your workouts up a notch and gets the body ready for what you’re about to do.

Cooling down and stretching after you’ve done your workout is also vital. It helps to slow your heart rate, redistribute the blood flow to where it should be, and helps prevent cramps later on in the day. All that blood that your vigorous exercise has gotten pumping and flooding those muscles needs to go back to the rest of the body, or it pools in your muscles and can cause cramps later. That is why any good workout video has the cooldown period at the end. It’s so you don’t cramp and continue to stretch out those muscles. You’ve worked hard, let the muscles get a gentle release to relax!

You’re working hard. You’re learning what works for you. You’re changing your life style. You’re changing your mind set. It will take time, but you’re getting there! I’m proud of you, and happy for the successes you’re seeing. *high fives* Keep up the great work!

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Keep it fun, and remember to do nothing!

I know that title seems deceptive doesn’t it? I’m telling you to get up and get active, and then I tell you to remember to do nothing??? Am I joking? No, I’m really not. I don’t mean sit on your booty all day long and do nothing. I mean take at least 15-30 minutes to do nothing and de-stress. Just relax. Unplug from the TV, computer and phone. Put them away. Meditate, pray, just breathe. Be mindful of the moment and allow your body to relax and center. Live has to be about balance, and you can’t find that balance if you are constantly on the go. We have to stop and smell the roses so to speak. That’s what I mean by do nothing. If it’s sunny out, grab a good book and just veg outside for a little while. This one actually serves a dual purpose. Not only are you allowing your brain to unwind and settle down, you are also soaking up sun which helps your body to better process and synthesize Vitamin D! Two birds, one stone. Or win-win.

Now, when you do get back to your workout, find ways to keep it fun! Turn on some peppy and energizing music! Wear bright clothes. Have motivational posters and pictures up on your wall. And keep your new, healthier happier self firmly fixed in your mind. Also remember to take short breaks between each individual. No more than 20-30 second breaks, just to allow you to catch your breath. But it also serves to confuse your muscles. Our muscles create memory based on what they’ve done. If we take that 30 second break, when we start back up again the muscles have rested and are ready to do new things and get back to work.

Lifestyle changes are all about finding the balance that works for YOU. Find the ways that make it fun for you. Find what recharges your batteries. And above all else, get out there and live your life! Find your happy. 🙂

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“It doesn’t get easier, you get stronger”

This is a quote I’ve heard often in the last 6 weeks. It seems to be one of Autumn Calabrese’s favorite phrases. At first I thought that was complete hooey. In a way it is, but it isn’t all at the same time. I think more more correct statement would be “It get’s easier BECAUSE you get stronger!”

As we work out, as we eat healthier, as we create those positive life changes they become easier through repetition and through pushing ourselves to do more and do better. So the things we do repetitively get easier because we know how to do them. But to keep them challenging, we increase our intensity, we modify and add to them.

Because honestly, we want to continue to grow and change and see progress. So we don’t stagnate. We find our wall so to speak, and we find ways to scale and push past it. And do you know why? Because the stronger you get, the more you want to do.

Working out and being bit IS your lifestyle. It feeds you energy, it lets you do more of what you enjoy. And you want to keep pushing to do even more. You’ve pushed past that fear, that worry, past what once held you back. And by doing that you keep finding new limits and pushing past them. Because though things are getting easier, you’re also getting stronger.

That new strength feeds you and pushes you. It fuels you. Mind, body AND soul. It helps you to find your balance. And that my dears, is a wonderful thing. Enjoy it. Embrace it. And keep going! You’ve got this!

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From Skeptic to Advocate – 21 Day Fix

I started my journey with 21 Day Fix 6 weeks ago. When I started, I had originally picked it up because my Hubby was interested. I’d heard about it but didn’t think it would be something I’d enjoy. We set a date to start it and I thought he’d be joining me in our home gym to get the workouts done. He didn’t join me. Not for a single one. He did join in for the meal plan, but not the workouts. *sad face* That first week, I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure I liked the workout routines and figured I’d just push through the 21 days then go back to something else. But as the week went on, I really started to enjoy the workouts. They grew on me. After that first 3 weeks, that first round, following the healthy eating plan and the workouts, I lost a total of 3 inches all over my body and for the first time in forever I saw the start of ABS! That’s amazing for me considering I’ve carried and delivered 4 children. My goal was to lose the last of the stubborn baby weight from my youngest, who turned 2 a few months ago. I decided to do a 2nd round to see how much more of a change I could see…

21 Day Fix is exactly what the name suggests… 21 days of exercise and clean eating. The workouts are set to confuse your muscles to help prevent the dreaded workout plateau. There is a good mix of cardio, upper body, lower body, Pilates, yoga and total body workouts.

With a different workout every day your muscles don’t create muscle memory and just get used to the workouts. They are challenged each and every day in different ways. With weights, without weights, and 30-60 second reps for each exercise you can definitely customize your intensity.

When I started 6 weeks ago I was using 5 lb weights for my light weight (if anything at all) and 7 lb weights for my heavy weights. I have moved up to the 7 lb weight being my light, and for some exercises I could probably bump that up to 8 lbs. My Heavy is staying steady at 10 lbs, but a few I could definitely move that up to 12 lbs and will later this week when I get to them.

Day 1 is Total Body Cardio Fix. Think cardio with weights to really challenge you. I tend to use an 8 lb medicine ball for most of these instead of a dumbbell just because the weight is distributed a bit better for me and challenges me in an entirely different way.

Day 2 is Upper Body Fix. Working out the arms and abs, with the light and heavy weights. There are curls, lifts and raises to challenge and sculpt the triceps, biceps, lats, abs and deltoids. The entire upper body is given a workout here.

Day 3 is Lower Body Fix. The ever dreaded leg day! Still using a set of light and a set of heavy weights the focus shifts to the metabolism power house – the legs and booty! Who doesn’t love a round booty? Or those sexy legs in a nice pair of shorts or skirt? Yea, this is the day to help with that!

Day 4 is an active recovery day with Pilates. Think stretching and strength training using only your body. The reps are set up different than other days, not focusing solely on 2-4 rounds of 2-5 exercises, instead this is more a fluid day of exercises that last for 30-60 seconds each, but aren’t necessarily repeated. Instead they are structured to keep you moving the entire time and stretching and strengthening those muscles you’ve been working on.

Day 5 returns to cardio with Cardio Fix, but there are no weights this day. Instead you are using your body and MOVING. You’ll be drenched in sweat and make the fat cry with this routine.

Day 6 is Dirty 30. We’re back to the weights and intervals. Another sweaty day, but in oh such a good way. This one helps focus on the entire body and gives a great workout.

Day 7 is another active recovery day with Yoga. This one is similar to Pilates in that the moves aren’t necessarily repeated like the other days, and is constant move and flow, but at a gentler pace. It is about restoring balance and renewing yourself to start all over again with Day 1.

So, 7 days of a routine of workouts. There is also a 10 Minute Fix for Abs that is 2 rounds of 5 minutes and definitely works your abs – upper, lower, obliques and even the back. There are 2 other workouts that you can do along with it – Barre Legs and Flat Abs Fix but I don’t have those so have not tried them to comment on them. Perhaps something I will get picked up in the future to try out. 🙂

I think the largest contributor to my success with the program has been following the eating plan. It is designed around portion control and eating healthy, clean, and natural foods, cutting out processed foods as often as you can. Lean proteins, minimal carbs, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, not a lot of dairy. There are a few exceptions, but that is the gist of it. Things your body can more easily process and use to fuel itself on its journey to change, sculpt, tone and trim down. And it works!

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