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PiYo- the 1st of an 8 Week Adventure!

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.

Lame.

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!

Block 3, Week 2 DONE!

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! 😉

End of Week 7

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I always find that I’m somehow shocked by just how busy the end of the school year is. My afternoons and evenings seem crowded with and endless array of small things but things that eat away at my precious “free time”. These last two weeks I’ve found it impossible to blog… or want to… about my quest for a 4 pack 🙂 even thought I’ve done a good job of staying committed.

Monday – I managed to blog about my evening of Eccentric Upper.

Tuesday – Heck, I even managed to blog about Triometrics and my attempts at following the nutrition guide.

…and then the rest of the week kicked in…

Wednesday – I cranked out my yoga and then went on a lovely (needed) date with my dude. Yoga went really well actually… not that it usually doesn’t. I decided before I even started though that I was going to go hardcore. I held each posture as deeply as possible, and my little legs were exhausted by the end of my half hour.

Thursday – Eccentric lower followed by a birthday dinner for one of our band director friends. I have some dumbbells with removable weights that I bought about a billion years ago, and I finally decided to use them. John has used them, but I’ve focused on my 5s and 8s up until now. I made them 15lbs each and used those for the squats and lunges. It definitely made a difference as my butt and hamstrings were nice and sore the next day. I also got my new glasses. Yay for good vision or something, but hooray for new fancy frames!!!

Friday – I really enjoy Incinerator. Since getting better at push ups (read do them the right way), I like the challenge of having a set timeframe to do as many as possible. That being said, I need to either do more reps or suck it up and get the heavier weights because I feel like any workout called “the incinerator” should leave my arms incapable of virtually anything afterward. It’s still great!

Saturday – My only workout was mowing. I did have some delicious tequila based wonderment at Tacos and Tequila for an early Mother’s Day with my parents and dude.

Sunday – John did a round of MMX with me Sunday afternoon. It never fails to amaze me just how much I can sweat during MMX, especially since I’m not a big sweater. Despite hating the sprawls and renaming all of the sprawl moves to “Sprawls Suck #1”, “I hate F’ing Sprawls #2”, and “Sprawls are a g** d*** piece of s*** #3”, I did ALL of the sprawls this go round. 🙂 🙂 🙂

On a completely different note, following the nutrition guide is not easy or convenient. While I know I do a good job of eating well and eating balanced 95% of the time, following a nutrition guide that really expects you to eat WHOLE foods is difficult for the busy bee I am. Admittedly… I didn’t even make it a week before deciding that as long as I watch what I put into my body I don’t need the nutrition guide. It’s probably WILDLY helpful for folks that aren’t sure how to regulate their intake but is far more micromanaging that I feel I need to commit.

Tonight for dinner

  • roasted sweet potato spears, no oil, just cinnamon
  • roasted okra, 1 drizzle of oil for 20 pieces, salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 1 Quorn “unit” as my dude would say, AKA a Quorn chick’n patty with Stubbs BBQ sauce

End of Week 6!

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This past week has been exceptionally busy. I’m greatly looking forward to the calm that come with the end of today.

MONDAY – ECCENTRIC UPPER

I’m at a point that I really probably need heavier weights. I really need 10lb weights for all the bicep moves, but I’m also a cheapskate. I have these bands that I bought to help with pull ups and chin ups, so I decided to use them this week in place of my 8lb dumbbells. It’s just not the same. You lose the tension at the bottom of all the curls. I may have to break down and get the heavier weights despite my attempt to not spend any more money.

I wasn’t as sore this week from Eccentric Upper. This could be a good thing, but I’m also the kind of person that wants the soreness to know I’ve done something.

TUESDAY – TRIOMETRICS

I had a band director’s meeting after school and didn’t get home until nearly 7:30. Despite wanting nothing to do with a workout, I did Triometrics and was wildly uninterested in it almost the whole time. I thought that as I got into it, I might become a little more motivated, but it’s hard to want to sweat after a 12 hour day. I got through it, and that’s all I can say about Tuesday.

WEDNESDAY – NOTHING…

Between an eye appointment and dinner with our new 3rd band director, I didn’t get home until after 10pm. Working out was not an option.

THURSDAY – ECCENTRIC LOWER

This is another workout that I really need the heavier weights. I’m thinking I’m not pushing hard enough through this particular routine as it doesn’t leave me sore or nearly as tired as some of the others. Again, some of the moves in this are weighted, and I’m past the point of my 8lb weights providing enough resistance. Last summer I was going to the gym and doing weighted squats and lunges with a minimum of 40lbs. I need a better option so that I can achieve similar results.

Thursday night I had CPW rehearsal. After working out, I had sushi with John and then spent the rest of the evening rehearsing.

FRIDAY – INCINERATOR & PILATES

I was feeling a strange wave of energy Friday afternoon, and Incinerator went great. I NEED HEAVIER WEIGHTS… Some of the moves like the Rocket Launcher Rows literally felt like I was doing nothing because my 8lb weights are providing virtually no resistance. That’s a cool realization to have, but that’s $20 more I need to spend… I commented later that I didn’t feel totally exhausted, which unfortunately is the whole point of Incinerator, so I either need to change my speed of reps to get more in, or I’ve got to get more resistance to make that happen.

After Incinerator, I did the Pilates workout… So fun! 🙂

John and I went to a saxophone concert Friday night.

SATURDAY – MMX

Saturday was solo and ensemble contest day. I was at work by 7:30am and didn’t get home til almost 3.

I joked with John that I need to call this “I hate f’ing sprawls”. I hate them. MMX makes me sweat more than any other workout in the set, but the sprawls are mentally tiresome. It is a lot of fun, though I like that the P90X Kenpo has more kicking. My left hip was CRAZY sore from some move in Pilates…

Saturday night John took me out to Gloria’s where we had our second date as a sort of anniversary celebration. ❤

SUNDAY – MUCH NEEDED REST

My body is tired… Between about the super busy week, not sleeping wonderfully, and still committing to P90X3, I’m worn down. My left hip is super duper sore today. My underbutt is a touch sore from MMX. And I noticed this morning I have a little catch in my right hip… some kick I did yesterday must have irritated a spot that has given me trouble on and off for a few years now. 😦

I say much needed rest… I had a CPW concert this afternoon, and this evening we spent a few hours at friend’s house for a birthday/Spurs celebration. The weekend was gone before it started. I’m ridiculously in need of down time. Hopefully, this much calmer week can give me some time to sit!

I’m proud of myself as I have approached the half way mark! Tomorrow starts week 7 of 12. Week 6 was rough… Honestly, it would have been incredibly easy to let my work schedule dictate no workouts this week, and it was definitely a hard to get mentally ready to burn my last ounce of energy at the end of each day. Heck, this one blog has my whole week… I WILL PERSEVERE!

I will…

…and sweat in the process.

P90X3 – The Incinerator!

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I always seem to forget how busy this time of year is with my job. Luckily, in another week the chaos will slow  W A Y down. Thank goodness.

The last workout I blogged was my failed attempt at an Eccentric Lower + Pilates double day. Despite the fact that I am ridiculously behind on the blogging turf, I haven’t missed a workout. Instead of compiling all the days into one log blog, I’d like to address the 2 brand new workouts separately.

DAY 33 – Incinerator

My Friday was absolutely bonkers with interviews, a percussion concert, and then dinner with my dude. A workout was just not in my cards. I had to rearrange my days this week but that was okay. I actually NEEDED that day off earlier in the week; I woke up with a very strained tendon in my upper hamstring Friday morning… not pulled but definitely not normal. One of the moves from Eccentric Lower really aggravated the tendon in my underbutt 🙂 but the day of rest that I shifted to Friday allowed it to relax – that and sitting with a tennis ball under that exact spot!

Incinerator is a burn out exercise. Each muscle group is approached from a weighted or body weight move and a max reps move. By the end of the duo, that muscle should be exhausted.

  • Renegade Row – Hold plank with a dumbbell under each hand. Alternate which dumbbell you pull up into your arm pit.
  • Pull Ups
  • Floor Flys – Lying on your back, hold two dumbbells up to the ceiling. Keeping the elbows slightly bent, open your arms until triceps hit the ground
  • Push Ups
  • Rocket Launcher Row – In a deep lunge with chest over the thigh, pull weights up into arm pits.
  • Chin Ups
  • “A” Press – Lying on your back, hold two dumbbells together up to ceiling. Bend the elbows until they touch the ground at your side then push them up and back together.
  • Military Push Ups
  • Monkey Pump – Holding two light weights, elbows bent 90 even with shoulders, bring the weights together in front of you, open them back up, press up to ceiling, return to 90 degrees, then rotate the arms so that the elbows stay in the same place but the weights are now toward the ground. Return to upward position. That is one rep. THIS WAS EXHAUSTING ALL BY ITSELF!!!
  • Pike Press – With hands on power stands, get into a tight downward dog and then lower head toward the ground in an almost vertical push up. These are a challenge, and so I love them.
  • Pterodactyl Flys – In a deep lunge with chest over thigh, lift straight arms out the side.
  • Flipper – AKA Dolphin Push Ups – In a forearm plank, push up into dolphin pose then lower back to forearm plank. I’ve recently discovered that I have really terrible flexibility in the back of my shoulders which makes dolphin a very difficult pose for me to do well. I’ve added some stretches that address the muscles of my shoulder blades to my everyday routine.
  • Popeye Hammer Curls  – Just plain ole hammer curls
  • Kneeler Curls – In a knee down lunge, lean over thigh and curl weights up to shoulders.
  • Hail to the Chief – Lying on your back, hold weights straight up to the ceiling with palms facing in. Lower one weight straight down toward ground (and face). Switch arms.
  • Skyfers – Sitting on the floor, push up into table then bend elbows while keeping  your hips high. Like a reverse push up almost.
  • Arm and Hammer – Curl up then hammer down.
  • Rocket Launcher Kickbacks – In a deep lunge with torso leaving over thigh, pull elbows up behind you and then straight them back keeping elbows high. This completely wore my triceps out to the point of cramping. 🙂 

Incinerator was quite good. Obviously, it’s an arm heavy workout, but I enjoy those. I was still a bit sore from Eccentric Upper from 4 days prior(!), but this was thoroughly enjoyable and did incinerate any energy that was left in my little arms! 🙂

 

 

 

My Attempt at a Doubles Day & Eccentric Lower

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This has been a crazy week. Crazy is the wrong word; stressful is far more accurate. Despite the stress, or maybe because of it, I’ve enjoyed my 30 minutes with cheese-ball Tony. Tuesday morning I noticed that my right middle finger was aching a bit. I’ve mentioned my terrible joints, but this is a new development. Long story short, I think that in my efforts of catching myself in some moment of poor balance, I must have hyperextended my poor double jointed finger, and I’m now ending the third day of 3 brand new jacked up joints… It basically hurts my finger to breathe. 🙂

YOGA

Last week I mentioned how much I loved Pilates and Isometrics and vowed to make my yoga day a doubles day from now on. Well… Monday completely shredded my upper abs in a combination of pull/chin ups (which works my core like crazy!) and Ab Ripper X. They hurt like a bruise to touch. Once I finished my yoga, I flipped it to Pilates, and 3 moves in I realized this was a bad idea. My abs needed rest and recovery, so my doubles day will have to wait until next week. 😦

On a high note though, I had marked improvement on a few of the yoga moves! My airplane with your head aimed at the ground was MUCH better, as was my half moon on both sides. Twisted half moon was even decent on my right leg. 🙂 I still prefer my normal hour long Ashtanga routine, but it’s not bad for an abbreviated yoga workout.

ECCENTRIC LOWER

Today was my first round of eccentric lower. I was actually hoping it would be a little more hardcore that it was, but then again my left underbutt 🙂 has continued to cramp off and on all night, so maybe it will end up being rougher than I thought in the moment.

Just like eccentric upper, all of the moves focus on extended time in the tension half of the move followed by a burst out of tension.

  • Squats – Slow down, fast up, with weights
  • Lunge – Same as above, with feet remaining stationary
  • Sumo Squats – Wide leg squats
  • Weighted Pistol – One leg squats with opposite leg held out straight and high in front
  • Side Kick – Using a chair for balance, hold the outer leg parallel to the ground. Slowly pull knee into chest, keeping leg parallel, then quickly kick it back out. This is the move that is making my underbutt cramp.
  • Front Kick – Standing on one leg, hold the opposite out straight and high in front. Rest a dumbbell on the top of the extended thigh for resistance. Slowly pull foot toward butt and then quickly kick it back out.
  • Albanian Squat – One leg lunge with back foot resting on a chair.
  • Adductor Lunge – Step out into a wide leg lunge, bending knee slowly. As you return to standing kick stepping leg out straight to the side.
  • Cross Reach – Stand on one leg with the opposite knee held high. Holding a weight in the opposite hand, quickly punch it across your body while moving basically into Warrior 3. Return back up slowly.
  • TT Plus – Same as Tony’s T from pilates but with slow then fast movements.
  • Bridge Kicks – On your back, quickly push up into a one leg bridge, then slowly return to ground.
  • Hip Flexor Splits – THIS ONE WAS NOT DOABLE FOR ME CURRENTLY. I am discovering that my hip flexibility is comparatively poor. My hip flexors give me problems in lots of yoga poses. You are supposed to basically sit/balance on your power bars and then hold your body weight up into a split leg V. You then pull your legs in together and then quickly kick the legs back apart. I have the abs for it. I have the balance for it. My hip flexors said NO. I stopped the DVD, did some deep hip flexor stretches and then did my version of this move one leg at a time. :/
  • Calf Dog – While in down dog, stack one foot on top of the other. Quickly push up high onto toes, and then slowly lower heel back down.

This workout presents some moves I’ll need to improve for sure. Here’s hoping I hurt tomorrow!!! Maybe this will be the block that gives me some serious glutes! 😉