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Tweleve Exercises of Christmas: Day One

13 Dec

Three Keys to Great Abs!

15 Nov

Workout Video Reviews

27 Oct

Here’s to you Jane Fonda, the all-time workout video queen!
Thanks for getting me started when I was 8 years old doing arm circles and leg kicks beside my dad, yes dad!

I’m both proud and slightly embarrassed to admit I was a loyal follower up until third year university, just ask my roommate who would come home in hysterics watching me squeeze my bum while pulsing up and down.

Jane must be doing something right though! Gosh if I look like that at 73 I’ll consider myself a lucky lady!

Over the past few years I’ve taken a big shift in my fitness and Jane unfortunately no longer satisfies my workout requirements. Below you’ll find a list of my new favourites and not so favourites.

Workout Video Reviews

P90x

Overall, a decent series. My boyfriend Matt did the 90 day challenge and was in great shape after it. I like the program, I believe the key here is the consistency, that’s what really helps you get in shape. I’ve personally only done a few of the workout volumes so here’s what I thought of them:

Plyometrics - in the beginning this KILLED me. I’m talking days, even weeks of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) – BRUTAL. Now it’s a total breeze… I find myself doing extra burpees during the rests. It’s a great intro to plyometrics aka “jump training”!

Yoga - awful, poor form and way too long. Also not challenging or relaxing, I found it an awkward inbetween and had to turn it off.

Cardio X - alright, got me sweating but I feel more after a 30 minute jog than completing the video.

Kenpo X - ridiculous … and that’s me saying that who will pretty much try anything in the name of a workout. Failing your arms around for 45 minutes will pretty much tire anyone out. Felt like it was doing nothing for me except nearly dislocating my shoulders.

P90x + Intervals - also a great workout. I like how the instructor offers 3 levels to the interval, a great way to gradually build up strength. Once you’ve done this one you can always skip right to the advanced variation which makes it more challenging.

P90x certainly helped me spice up my routine. I would recommend the series as a moderately challenging workout.

Insanity

This one lives up to it’s name… absolutely INSANE! I still turn to the instructor, ex-track star, Sean T from time to time when I’m sick of listening to my own voice telling me what to do.

My favourite volume (and therefore the hardest) is the max interval plyo workout. Don’t attempt this unless you’re in great shape, have a crash cart nearby and a gallon of water to go through during the workout!

At first I found it hard not to get discouraged watching this workout. If you’re working out with these for the first time expect to be really bad and you won’t be disheartened … as a general rule for myself if a workout video is easy the first time then it won’t do anything for me long term.

“Get Fit or Get Out” – Sean T

Physique 57

Well I thought, if these worked for Kelly Ripa, it will work for me.

Overall it’s a good workout, not great but good. I recommend this series to older female clients who want a relatively tough workout that combines resistance training and cardio.

I like that the instructors move through the workout quickly. Most of the exercises are very creative. I’ve taken elements from these DVDs and worked them into my program.

If you’re just starting a workout program this is a good place to begin.

Tracy Anderson

When I was starting to get more serious about my workout regime Tracy Anderson appeared on the market. Despite my initial hesitations I purchased two DVDs: Dance Aerobics and Mat Workout. I learned that I should trust my instincts.
In the intro Tracy states that we would all benefit from and hour of dance and an hour of mat work each day. If you work out for 2 hours 6 days a week doing anything you’ll see changes. I think there are way more effective ways to achieve your goals!

Dance Aerobics: First Tracy is not a natural video instructor, she looks insecure when she does talk, which is rare and the production feels very amateur. The dances were tough to master to say the least. The choreography was way too challenging for me, a once total devotee to aerobics, to keep up with. After 5-6 separate attempts I was not able to complete the entire workout (1 hour and 10 minutes). If you’re a dancer you might love it. For me and other mere mortals I had to park this one on the shelf.

Mat: If I start a workout and I’m not sweating within the first 4 minutes something is up. If I don’t sweat after 50 minutes it’s not working. This video just didn’t cut it for me. Like the dance aerobics it was poorly instructed, almost zero motivational encouragement. In terms of results, besides my shoulders after what felt like Jane Fonda on steroid arm circle series I felt nothing the next day.

Overall would not recommend this workout series.

Do you have any favourites? Please let me know so I can try them!

My Favourite Online Workout Resources

26 Oct

So a lot of my best ideas for designing workouts come when I’m browsing online. Here’s a list of some of my favourites!

Map My Run – an excellent route planner to scout out new running routes. I love using this when I’m visiting new places to make sure I am on the right track!
www.mapmyrun.com

Running Room – has some routes already to go for you! Just click on your closest store location (where all the routes start) and the routes are organized by their different distance options.
http://www.runningroom.com/hm/inside.php?id=2997

Interval Timer – perfect for doing interval workouts! Set your interval, rest and number of rounds you plan to complete and you’re good to go! I love my interval timer but this is a great option just in case.
www.speedbagforum.com/timer.html

Music Playlist – this is the perfect accompaniment to the interval timer. Grooveshark has popular songs organized at the top of their item list but you can get pretty much any type of music. When I’m doing interval workouts near my computer it’s great to have your playlist ready and it’s much easier than downloading music on your Ipod.
http://grooveshark.com/#/popular

Zuzana – LOVE her! Excuse the cleavage and loud panting though… once you get past that this website is packed with awesome exercise ideas. Great to add some intensity to your workouts and keep things interesting!
www.bodyrock.tv

Traditional Weight Training Does Add Bulk

26 Sep

Ok… I’m aware that this is a VERY hot topic in the health and fitness world. Here’s my two cents for what it’s worth.

I believe exercise should be individualized.  When I read women should do the exact same program as men I can’t help but cringe. Bottom line: we generally don’t have the same goal so why do the same thing?

I’m just going to come right out and say for my body type I don’t believe in traditional weight training programs.
BUT I don’t believe women should wail their arms around in circles with 3lbs weights for 50 minutes and call it a day.

There is a happy medium.

I do love resistance training. My personal program incorporates plyometric workouts, medicine balls, kettlebells, interval running, pilates, body weight training (push-ups, chin-ups, dips, etc.), and tons and tons of burpees. I don’t lift weights in the traditional sense.

In the past I’ve been a lifter, at my peak I could bicep curl 30lbs easily for 8 reps. At 17.
I was the hulkette: 5’3, 157 lbs; built, in my doctor’s words “like an ox”.

I’ve never been in better all around shape than I am right now, I’m much leaner than I was when I was on a traditional strength training regimen. I know the second I start back on a heavy progressive load schedule I puff up like crazy. So stop trying to tell me otherwise!

I’m not saying spend all day on the elliptical, kill me now, 15 minutes on that thing is torture. But I am saying it’s important to listen to your own body. Just because someone in the fitness industry says it’s the best approach, that usually means it’s been the best for them, might not work for you. Find what works for you and stick with it.

Beware of the one-size fits all trainer who tries to tell you otherwise.

1000 Rep Interval Workout

20 Jul

Wow! This was a marathon, not a sprint interval session.

Take your time, form is WAY more important than speed on this one!

My final time was 32:16.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

Vietnam Interval Workout

18 Jul

Welcome to Vietnam!!

One of my favourite workouts!! Interval Running

At home you can do this on a treadmill

For beginners here’s what I suggest

Warm-up for 5 minutes at a 5.5

Then try your two minute intervals at a 7.0 and

1 minute off at a 5.0 – Repeat 5x

Cool-down for 5 minutes at a 5.5.

For advanced runners:

Warm-up at a 6.0-6.5

Intervals 8.5-9.5 for 2 minutes and your 1 minute offs at a 6.0-6.5

Cool-down for 5 minutes at a 6.0-6.5

TRX Suspension Trainer Review and Sample Workout

13 Jul

One caveat before you watch the video: I say “excellent and way to go!” a lot! I didn’t notice this before. I’m used to cheering people on in their training so it’s hard for me to stop that I guess, even when I’m training myself!!

The TRX was originally developed by a Navy SEAL to keep him and his team in shape when they couldn’t get to a gym. So I figured if it’s tough enough for them it will work for me!

Overall it’s a great piece of supplementary equipment, it’s way more challenging than it looks! I’ve loved working out with it, it’s elevated my workouts (literally!)

PROS

  • Challenging workout
  • Low impact, easy on your joints
  • Easy to switch from one exercise to the next
  • It can hold 300lbs+ (Depending on your supporting structure!)
  • Portable

CONS

  • Expensive, retails around $185
  • Difficult to know what angle you should be at and where the straps need to be
  • Tough workout to introduce to beginners
  • Really need to have a good understanding of the TRX, it takes at least 3 workouts to get used to it

SAMPLE WORKOUT

So here’s exactly what I did yesterday:

5 minutes jogging and dynamic warm-up

TRX WORKOUT
RIGHT LEG IN STRAPS
30 Lunges
15  Burpees
30 Squats
15 Single leg squat jumps
LEFT LEG IN STRAPS
30 Lunges
15  Burpees
30 Squats
15 Single leg squat jumps
DROP TRX
30 Seconds Knee ins
30 Seconds runners
-> Repeat 3x
10 V-ups
20 Oblique knee-tucks
–> Repeat 3x
RAISE TRX UP
30 Rows
30 Flys
–> Repeat 3x
30 Push-ups
30 Wood choppes
–> Repeat 3x

RUN 3 km with 5 repetitions of 2 minutes sprinting, 1 minute easy.

Stretches

DONE!!

This was a cardio sample workout on the TRX. I move really quickly though the exercises, my heart rate was elevated the entire time. The total workout including run and warm-up took me less than 45 minutes and I was spent after!

Dynamic Stretching: Run Warm-up

11 Jul

Sarah Tory demonstrates a dynamic warm-up for a running workout!

This is an excellent way to warm-up your muscles without using static stretches which can lead to injury if performed before properly warming up.

Thanks Sarah!!

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