Category Archives: Fitness
With school officially going, I’m finding my rhythm again. My body hasn’t completely accepted the 10 hour work days yet, so working out is currently exhausting. I know that in another couple of weeks my energy levels will even out again, but until then I have to be exceptionally demanding with myself to get off the couch. It always pays off though, and by the end of the workout I feel great and energized, and by bedtime I crash. 🙂
MONDAY – Upper… hmm…
I did some sort of upper body workout, but I have zero recollection of what it might have been. Then I ate nachos and had a margarita to celebrate surviving the first day of school (while also negating all calorie burn 🙂 ).
TUESDAY – Buns
Ooh wee! Bun is a good one! This was a hardcore squat and lunge workout that had my legs burning in the most wonderful ways. 🙂 In fact, it was so leg heavy that half way through (during a water break) I texted John that buns was kicking my buns, although I didn’t feel it in my butt. I definitely spoke to soon. No soon had I typed that, the workout changed and morphed into a glute burning incinerator. My quads and butt hurt for several days. 🙂
WEDNESDAY – Left late, had a date, no workout.
THURSDAY – Open House #2, Core
After getting home at almost 9:00pm, I decided to go ahead and workout. Having done Core before, I knew what to expect and figured I would at least survive. 🙂 Survive was the right word; I was tired, and while I did all the moves, I ended exhausted… and then slept hard! Core is incredibly hard on my wrists, even with my WAGS, and I end up modifying a large percentage of the moves. I don’t actually “pansy” on anything, but I utilize my power stands for virtually all planks and down dogs. It’s truly the only way I can get through the upper body intensive moves while allowing my wrists and forearms to heal from whatever stress or strain I’m currently experiencing.
FRIDAY – P90X3 Yoga
This was supposed to be Sweat, but I was super tired. My workout and work schedule has kept me flying by the seat of my pants, so I chose to have a yoga day instead. I haven’t done X3 yoga in FOREVER! That being said, it was interesting what poses I have improved upon and which have gotten worse in its absence. Crow is not an option. 😦 I LOVE crow… But my wrists/right forearm just won’t have it. Some of the standing poses, however, are MUCH improved. Twisted half moon was darn near impossible back in March when X3 arrived on my door one Sunday morning, but my balance and strength now allow me to at least pretend I’m in an incredibly mediocre version of what was once simply pitiful. 🙂
As a side note, it super sucks that my wrists – my right wrist and forearm in particular – are so messed up currently. I’m not totally sure when this happened. I’ve had a level of discomfort that then leads to numbness and general inflammation for as long as I can remember… at least a decade and then some. But this is something different. I am getting a sharp BURN in the base of my right hand that instantly jumps about an inch up my wrist. To be honest, I’ve only iced my wrist twice, so despite my frustration I’m not irritated enough to actually do anything about it. It’s just a bummer because I LOVE upper body, body weight floor moves of almost any kind.
SATURDAY – Sweat
I. Love. Sweat. It’s a great cardio! That’s all.
SUNDAY – Strength Intervals
This was my first go at Strength Intervals, and I have to admit it was far easier than I anticipated. Easy and short. I ended up finishing Intervals and then adding in a round of X3 Isometrics. Man! That’s a great workout… I was never sure why it was employed so infrequently in P90X3, but it’s a great one and leaves your back and glute medius (upper outer butt) S O R E. For this I will probably substitute a full body strength workout like Triometrics for this, as it was really too easy, or something like the bonus HIIT 20 that came with Piyo.
Another round of #TransformationTuesday made me curious to go back and compare some of my own pictures. The photo on the left is from the summer of 2012 when I ventured down to Hawaii. I really like this picture of me! That is one of my favorite shirts, and I was having a great hair day! 🙂 The picture on the right is from the summer of 2014, and I love this picture, too!
The difference between the two?
I started lifting weights and completely overhauled my diet. I quit buying pre-packaged frozen lunches. I went mostly vegetarian, and I discovered that protein powder after you workout actually does work in building muscle. The difference in the 2 pictures is a whole 5lbs, but the definition is TREMENDOUSLY DIFFERENT! I have always been skinny, but I’ve never been strong.
skinnystrong looks and feels much different than skinny.
Last week was a hot, busy mess as we teachers got ready for Monday’s start back to school. Strangely enough, now that it has started, it’s somehow almost calmer with the kids here, probably because I know and understand that routine. The week was filled with meetings, open house, and genuine manual labor, all of which left me uninterested in the exercise grind on more than one day.
MONDAY – SWEAT
I do really enjoy Sweat. This was my 3rd time to do it, and I was able to complete it without all of the pauses I’ve employed previously. That by no means translates to it was easier or I dripped less; it simply means I didn’t feel like dying. 🙂
TUESDAY – DECELERATOR
As I mentioned in Piyo Week 1, I am not sold on either of the Define workouts. I decided to replace them with equivalent routines from P90X3, and I think I’m on the right path in doing so. Decelerator isn’t specifically a lower body workout, which was what I should have been covering in Define Lower, but it was a good full body routine that left me feeling good (aside from my right ankle that pops all the frickin time…).
WEDNESDAY – Open house… no workout.
THURSDAY – I chose to go to the mall and then drink a margarita instead of working out. 🙂
FRIDAY – CORE
I ❤ Core. 🙂 What a superb workout! I’ll admit, not even Ab Ripper X gets me sore anymore. Core hit areas of my core than haven’t been attacked since I can remember. I did modify down to my forearms on many of the plank-centric moves, but by the end of the routine my abs and back were tired, and by Saturday afternoon they were sore. As I’ve said on any number of occasions, I do enjoy being sore as it reminds me I a) did something worthwhile and b) possess muscles.
Let me pause for a moment to talk about core muscles, because I am superbly disappointed in my lack of lower abs. Having worked my butt off for as long as I have, I’m frustrated that my lower abs are generally unseen. Yes, I have read all the articles and studies that say you typically have to have single-digit body fat percentages to see your lower abs, but I’ve also been experimenting with something. This works best in the shower… Get your mind out of the gutter! This is a fitness blog!
When I flex my abs my upper and middle abs instantly compress, and I can see obvious muscle definition. What I don’t see is much movement in my lower abs. Instead, when I flex my slightly rounded lower abdomen for the most part stays put. This is true even before I have food in my system. So I’ve been experiment with what I have to do (i.e. what I have to think about, squeeze, focus on) to engage the muscles between my hip bones, and I have to say that it takes a lot of effort on my part. Being a band director that teaches kids how to use strange muscles, what that tells me is that I’m not utilizing them enough to know how to use or isolate them on command. I have figured out how to flatten them, but it takes thought to access those muscles.
On the chance that I will come off deranged, self-absorbed, and perhaps giving too much information, I’ve made a point to work on flexing those muscles 30 times every time I take a shower assuming that eventually controlling my lower abs will become easier and hopefully translate to more a more effective ab workout when I’m actually capable to engaging the correct muscles.
SATURDAY – INCINERATOR
Incinerator was wonderful! 🙂 🙂 🙂 A burnout routine, it systematically wears out each of your upper body muscle groups one by one. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am 100% positive it was more effective that Define Upper. I commented to my dude how I’ve realized how much I love lifting weights and doing body-weight exercises. It almost pains me to admit that I might truly like it far more than yoga.
SUNDAY – NOTHING
3 days off… That’s okay. Sometimes your life requires something else, and as long as I’m being consistent the rest of the time, an off week isn’t the end of the world! 🙂 I did sit in a pool and sip sangria though! That’s got to count for something, if for nothing else but my sanity!
Last week I received my new toy: Chalene Johnson’s new workout series PiYo! Piyo is as it sounds, a hybrid between Pilates and Yoga. After spending 90 days of hardcore lifting and sweating with Tony in P90X3 and 2 months of a random mixture of workouts, I was ready to get back to my original love of yoga. Piyo has all ready received all sorts of acclaim so this was an obvious purchase for me.
PiYo touts that with no weights or equipment, your body will gain strength, flexibility, and lean muscle. The 8 week program takes you through a combination of 8 workouts: Define Lower Body, Define Upper Body, Sweat, Core, Buns, Strength Intervals, Drench, and Sculpt. Because I ordered the program through teambeachbody.com (versus beachbody.com) I was able to get a bonus disk called Hardcore on the Floor, which is an optional swap for Core on some of the days. There is also an extra HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) thrown in there.
Much like the other Beachbody programs, PiYo comes with a nutrition guide/eating plan to help you reach your goals. I’m trying to follow the eating plan better this go round… I may have indulged a bit on my Canadian vacation, and I’m still getting rid of the some of that week of semi-gluttony. 🙂
MONDAY – DEFINE LOWER (25 minutes)
I was soooo very excited to come home to my yoga mat Monday afternoon! The first day of PiYo you are actually scheduled to follow a video called Align: The Fundamentals. However, I was too pumped about receiving the DVDS the previous Friday and completed that video right then. 🙂 Align is an interesting video and one I wish some of the other BB programs would incorporate into their routines. Align basically teaches you the moves before you are expected to do them, also addressing form and which muscle groups upon which you should be focusing. Even having done yoga for years, I actually learned a couple of things, or rather found new ways of approaching certain poses. You only do Align once, so come Monday I jumped straight into Define Lower.
Hmm… well, I knew going into PiYo that I’m in pretty darn good shape. I’m more flexible than most, and perhaps these two points were working against this particular workout. Admittedly, I was bummed when it was done. While using lots of Warrior poses, tons of squatting, and lunges galore, I ended unsatisfied. IT WAS A GREAT WORKOUT, especially if you are just getting back into shape, but having the best leg muscles and flexibility of my life, Define Lower wasn’t close to enough intensity… at least when being compared to P90X3.
Chalene does a great job of teaching you the routine in an add-a-move format. You do one move for a while and then add a move to create a sequence. It’s all very fluid, using yoga (and yoga-ish) poses while keeping the pulsing momentum of pilates. I can see folks potentially being frustrated by not quite knowing what’s going on if they don’t have a background in yoga, but for those people I would simply suggest watching the workout first.
TUESDAY – DEFINE UPPER (35 minutes)
This is when I got bummed… According to the workout guide, Define Upper is supposed to be a 35 minute workout.
Not. Even. Close.
Define Upper literally starts where Define Lower left off. It was obviously filmed in one big session, and in editing they divided it into 2 workouts. There is no warm up, nothing preparing you for an arm workout. It just… starts. Super strange and very amateur feeling. That being said, the workout is closer to 18 or 20 minutes. The only way it would be 35 minutes is if you did Define Lower AND Upper in combination, which according to the Facebook PiYo for Women group is what a lot of people do.
Upper has some cool moves including PiYo push ups and crunch push ups, which I enjoy tremendously, but it just doesn’t push you like I’m used to after the past 5 months. Honestly, I ended the workout concerned that I was going to lose the muscle I worked so hard to build in my arms with such a pansy workout (comparatively). I can totally see lots of people being sore after this workout who are just starting out, but for anyone who already has a healthy muscle build they just aren’t going to feel the muscle fatigue needed to keep that up. It also seemed like about half of the minuscule amount of time was actually a core workout versus upper body.
All of that said, I was humbled by Define Lower. I have spoken to my incredibly bad wrists before, but PiYo (and yoga in general) is killing them. I have battled extreme tendonitis in both wrists for over a decade – the result of playing flute and typing – but the pressure on my hands is truly reaching a new level of pain. Tuesday evening I ordered a pair of WAGS Gloves, which I will blog about separately as I see how they work out.
WEDNESDAY – SWEAT
And OOOOOH did I sweat!
7 minutes into Sweat, the first drip fell from my nose. I was soaked, something that isn’t a regular occurrence for me. This redeemed PiYo in my eyes. After two consecutive days of “eh”, Sweat kicked my butt, and that was welcome.
This is flow cardio; you add to each sequence one move at a time until you have built a 4-5 move routine that doesn’t slow down, doesn’t give much time for breath, and left my wrists ACHING. I had to adjust many of the moves to, including the MANY tricep (AKA military) push ups, use my fists instead of the palms of my hands. An overabundance of low lunge moves left my hip flexors mighty sore the next day, and I am all about sore. 🙂
Immediately realizing how wonderful Sweat was, I made a decision: the two Define workouts simply won’t fly. Week one is supposed to have 2 rounds of Defines, and the wondrous agony of Sweat confirmed for me I needed something more hardcore for at least one of those rounds. Therefore, instead of a second round of Define Lower and Upper, I would replace them with Eccentric Lower and an upper body workout from P90X3. And so my PiYo/X3 Hybrid was born.
The heavens opened, the angels sang, and my shirt stank.
THURSDAY – NADA
Because I did Align the Friday before, I actually was ahead a workout for the week. An energy zapping day at work called for sushi instead.
FRIDAY – NADA
I say I did nothing. I bounced around at a band party like an idiot the first half of the day and then was attacked by a nap Friday afternoon. I’m sure I burned plenty of calories. Having completed 2 weeks of summer band and a successful week of clean eating, a Chuy’s Grandma’s Rockin’ Rita was a necessity.
The PiYo schedule had me resting on Friday, so I figured this was an acceptable swap.
SATURDAY – ECCENTRIC LOWER
A return to P90X3 was welcome. 🙂 I love that silly program! I love the dumb jokes! I love that I know what I’m doing. 🙂 You can see my write-up of Eccentric Lower here. I woke up today with sore hamstrings, sore quads, and a butt that requires a ton of pigeon today.
SUNDAY – DEFINE UPPER + 1/4 of THE CHALLENGE
Today I got to try out my new fancy gloves that arrived yesterday! My next write up will be on the gloves. I added extra reps to the PiYo arm moves, especially the crunch push ups. Even with the gloves, my wrists are sill inflamed enough that I need the power stands for my push ups. I kept them close to my yoga mat the whole time for quick use. The added reps made Define Upper closer to what I have come to expect from workout.
Still having some energy in there, I did 2 sets of regular pull ups and regular push ups followed by 2 sets of chin ups and military push ups. An added bonus of some dolphin pose and I was done.
KNOWING ALL OF THAT…
I was impressed with the cardio element but disappointed with the toning as it didn’t leave me with a tried and true burn or fatigue. I did, however, really like how much it focused on my hip flexors which are ridiculously tight. I’m excited to see what Week 2 brings as it mixes in 2 days of Core in place of the 2nd round of Define. Hopefully the gloves will help me some regained freedom on my hands again, but more time is needed before we see those results.
On to Week 2!
3 months ago I “pushed play”, as the Beachbody community would say, and now 90 days later I have reached the finish line! I’m really proud of myself and happy with the results that come with working your ass off… figuratively and literally… except that technically I have worked my ass UP. 🙂
So – visual results (Day 1, 30, 60, & 90 respectively):
And a bit of silliness…
P90X3 is a good workout. I’m a member of (prepare to barf a little) a P90X3 for Women group on FB, and these women lament constantly about how 30 minutes just doesn’t push them. I have to repeatedly bite my virtual tongue, because if these chicks aren’t totally worn out after these particular 30 minute workouts, they are not pushing themselves with any sort of real intensity. I can (and have) lolly-gagged through a couple of days for one reason or another and ended without having broken a bit of sweat, even having done all the moves. Other days, I pushed to the max and was dripping. While only half an hour, the workouts are intense and some of the moves difficult but by no means impossible. There are a couple I still can’t do, but it will happen… eventually. 🙂
Tony Horton is silly and a huge dork. This obviously appeals to me. 🙂 I love that no one takes themself too seriously on the screen. The cast seems to genuinely enjoy their workout, and they should – it’s fun!
Admittedly, my body was torn down far more with some of the old school P90X regular workouts, but two things:
- I don’t have time or energy to spend an hour working out after a day at school.
- The pictures prove that the program is indeed effective.
Do I recommend P90x3 to those of you interested? YES.
I’m pretty pleased. 🙂 I don’t have my 4-pack yet, but it’s coming. I have made big gains in pure strength as evident by my pull up (I can now do 4 in a row!) and chin up success, and I had gains in muscle mass everywhere but especially in my legs and butt. 🙂 It’s been a great 90 days, but as my original picture suggests, this finish line is the start of the next part of the process.
Tomorrow I start the Elite Block (or my version of it) – a slightly more hardcore month:
- PAP Upper & Ab RipperX
- PAP Lower
- PAP Upper & Ab RipperX
- PAP Lower
Sweat. Eat your veggies. Sleep. Yay!
☐Run at least 3 times a week (heat permitting)
☐Splits on both legs
☐Pigeon Pose every day
☐Single shoulder stretches every day
☐2 consecutive pull ups
☐4-pack abs 🙂
☐Handstands without the wall
☐Cut out added sugar entirely
It is officially summer! 🙂
As a teacher, this is the time that allows me to regain sanity for another school year come August.
As a band director, this is the time of the year that I actually get weekends off. No working Saturdays!!!
Now that I have this said time off, I plan on utilizing it to its full potential. Monday, I had to go to school and do the check out process for the summer. My band hall is being used for summer professional development, so I spent a good bit of time emptying what is usually MY space to be used by an indefinite number of strangers for the next 2 months. It rained… Almost all day. 🙂 Super duper pleasant! I had thought as I drove to school that the temperature was so nice, this might be a great day for a run. But then it rained. So I did my Decelerator instead, cleaned my kitchen, and proceeded to watch 5, yes 5, hours of Orange is the New Black in one sitting. 🙂
Tuesday morning it was 66 degrees when I woke up!!! By 8:30 my running shoes were tied, and I hit the pavement in my neighborhood for an easy mile. I haven’t run in probably 5 months, so I’ll take a 9:28 minute mile! My dude and I took the doglets to the vet and then came back to a joint MMX workout. It never fails to impress me just how much I can sweat during this particular workout.
Today, Wednesday, we utilized this no school(!) day again with a doubles pairing of Pilates in the morning and Eccentric Upper in the afternoon. It was the first time John had done either of these workouts, and he thought they were great! Although he’s been supportive of the results I’m getting with this program, I think he was a little impressed with the design of Pilates and E.U. coming from his far more hardcore background.
In the process of Eccentric Upper I discovered something exciting…
I CAN DO A PULL UP!
Seriously! Like, by myself! No chair! No assistance bands! A full fledged pull up! Just one… But ONE PULL UP!
Okay, so I don’t do P90X3 dressed like this… 🙂 I went back and created proof of my progress well after I showered. And THEN…. I discovered something else!
I can do THREE chin ups!!! I gotta say, I’m impressed. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Super, super impressed! There are probably a plethora of more intelligent sounding intensifiers that I could use to describe just how impressed I am with my little chicken arms, but I’m going to go with my standby “super”. 🙂
Progress. It sneaks up on you!
Oh my… This week has been a dietary nightmare. This was our last week of school (heavens open, angels sing) and with that comes a plethora of baked treats and excuses to eat out. The idea of packing a lunch for the 176-180th time had zero interest for me, and my rebellion led to some tasty, very much non-vegetarian outings this week. While most of the cookies/brownies/etc found their way into the hands of others or the I-Can’t-Eat-Another-Cookie receptacle, I am reaping the consequences in this sluggish state in which I find myself. I was super good this week and did every workout on the specified day! What a novel idea! 🙂
Wednesday I rocked the Challenge. Last time I did it, my numbers were completely unrealistic choices. This week I was far more conservative, and it paid off as I was able to do do every push up and every pull using correct form, unlike last time in which I ended up on my knees. 😦 After the Challenge, I went out with my dude on one of our “ironic” dates… Those are a whole other story. 🙂
Thursday, I came home and went all out on my X3 Yoga. I pushed every move to the limit, and the result is a sore butt. 🙂 Woohoo! After feeling like a badass, I went out for a friend’s birthday dinner and had the most delicious martini.
Today was Triometrics. Perhaps not my best performance. I got home late last night, plus the last day of school is always an energy drain. I took a quick power nap and then made my way through the workout with a few more pauses than usual. I will, however, give myself props for doing a couple of the moves plyo for the first time! Yes, I’m on Day 75, and there are still moves in which I having “firsts” in terms of success of completion. I was going to double up and do a second workout today to balance out some of the calorie excess of the week, but as I drank my protein shake outside, it was just so darn pleasant! I instead opted to mow to avoid wasting my first weekend of the summer on yard maintenance. 🙂
All of that being said, it IS the last day of school, and that in and of itself warranted a tasty beverage, this time a Lime Cactus Michelob Ultra – only 90 calories of awesomeness. 😀
GOAL FOR TOMORROW: Stop eating like a moron.
I am getting wildly close to concluding my 90 day journey… That sounds completely cheesy, but I’m going to stay with that tone. 🙂 Today was Agility X which is definitely not my favorite activity. In addition to it simply being an exhausting workout, it’s pretty hard on my already bad ankles. When I switched to the “right shoes” back in the first block, I felt a real change in how my left ankle in particular reacted to the workouts. However, shoes can only protect you so much from landing unsteadily or the sheer pressure put on those joints after a high knee tuck jump. I also don’t think I tied my shoes well, allowing my feet to swim a bit, and I feel the early sting of a blister… 😦
After my P90X3 “half hour” (I put this in quotes since I rarely spend only 30 minutes… pauses bring that number closer to 35 I’m sure), I did X3 Ab Ripper from the book since I don’t have the elite block DVD.
Let me pause to rant that it costs an arm and a leg for one extra DVD… I didn’t order the P90X3 Deluxe Kit because it seemed ridiculous to pay $125 extra for one DVD. No part of me was interested in the pre-workout drink mix, and I knew I could get resistance bands for a heck of a lot cheaper and Ye Olde Academy. So ultimately, this Deluxe kit was really an extra $125 for one singular DVD… And honestly, I really just wanted the Ab Ripper workout. It’s crap Beach Body… CRAP! Off my rant…
Dolphin Push Ups! These are fun and far more than just an ab workout. You can see how much upper body is engaged. Cool move.
After abs, I spent about half an hour stretching and watching bad TV. Opening my hips and lengthening my hamstrings are an endless pursuit. I spent a good bit of time in pigeon, and that logically also moved into some work on my splits. I’ve posted some pictures of my recent success with my right leg splits. Great! How about the reality of my UNsuccessful left leg splits! 🙂 I look like an awkward moron trying to get out of them! 🙂
Finally, I took a bit of time to work on hopping from crane to plank like a REAL yogi! 😉 By the time I taped it, my wrists were DEAD, and so my crane looks terrible. The whole point is that my upper body and core strength has improved to the point that I can do this move on a somewhat successful level. It’s super neat to see this kind of progress and makes me proud, even if it’s not the prettiest version ever!
For dinner: Morning Star corn dog 🙂 and 1.2 billion sauted green beans!
It has been exceptionally hard these last two weeks to find the time to sit down with my laptop for anything not work related. School lets out for the summer this Friday, so I’ll have time for ME again! 🙂
I’ve been good about keeping up with my workouts despite my inability to blog about them. Block 3 seems completely random. I know it’s all about muscle confusion, but I do enjoy the regular schedule of the previous 2 blocks.
- MONDAY – DECELERATOR – I really like this one. I enjoy that it’s a total body workout, plus I want every opportunity to try the crane cracker push ups again. 🙂 BTW… I couldn’t do them this week either! Monday was Memorial Day, and I spent the bulk of my time with John. I didn’t even start this workout until almost 9:00pm which was dumb. I could only truly give about 75% effort.
- TUESDAY – MMX – I did NOT enjoy this workout this week. Perhaps it was the humidity, perhaps it’s the end of school year pressure pushing down on me (sing that last part like Queen), but every sprawl move was torture. I did them all, but I didn’t like it.
- WEDNESDAY – Spring Concert – My band gave their final concert of the year, and there was no exercise save the ridiculous waving of my baton. 🙂
- THURSDAY – I doubled up in a strange way. Thursday should have been Triometrics, but I didn’t want to miss Eccentric Upper so I combine that with Pilates. EU+P=sore biceps&hip flexors
- FRIDAY – MY BIRTHDAY!!! – Friday I turned 32, and my dude did a spectacular job of making me feel very loved. We went out for dinner that night, and I didn’t even consider P90X3.
- SATURDAY – ECCENTRIC LOWER – One of my goals in this program is butt transformation. 🙂 This week I used 15lb dumbbells for the weighted squats and lunges, and boy do I feel it today!
- SUNDAY – I probably should have gone back and down Triometrics today so that in the end I can say I have only skipped yoga that once, but instead I spent 3 hours mowing, weed-eating, mulching, digging, sweating… I feel like I probably burned just as many calories in that 3 hours as I would have doing Triometrics, plus my yard looks livable again!
I have 3 weeks left!!! EXCITING! My weight is actually up a couple of pounds, but I’m going to assume that some of that is muscle mass. I’m proud of the hard work I’ve done, and while my before and after pictures are not going to be crazy huge changes since I wasn’t super out of shape, I can feel the difference in strength, endurance, and confidence in how I look. Heck, I mowed in a bikini top today! 😉