Monday, February 28, 2011


Today I managed to squeeze in a little cardio, despite a hectic day.
In addition, we had a client at the gym, so I got a mini-workout in demonstrating technique to her.
All-in-all, it was a good day.

Skogg is on tap for tomorrow...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Work Week Took Over....

Man, last week was a total bust. My days and many a' late night were consumed with work (which is a good thing).  I struggled to balance my fitness duties...and failed miserably at fitting any of it in.  So, let's chalk it up as a rest week. 

Time to start fresh this week. I'll hit some circuits and cardio tomorrow.
I'm also changing my routine to an at least 4-day per week kettlebell focus, but still including my circuits and cardio. However, my frequency of the latter two will decrease.  I really miss my bells, and it's time to start swingin' them to get ready for summer!  I haven't used my kettlebells consistently for about a year now. I miss the benefits that they bring my heart, mind, and body. So, I'm going to work on 'rediscovering' them for the next 60-75 days. Since I'm still not working with personal training clients, training for a show, or teaching/coaching regularly, this is the first time that I'll actually be able to use them at the planned frequency without the worry or risk of overtraining. I want to couple it with a super clean diet to see what results I can bring about.

For those who don't know, this is what my motivation is, seel the clip below.  I haven't had (nor wanted) a new kettlebell DVD for a very long time...until this came along :-)   

Bring on SKOGG...

My new toy....

I've been wanting this for quite some time, and today, my boyfriend surprised me with a lovely gift! I'm so excited to use it when I'm training outside, walking, or on the treadmill. I love my MP3 player, but the wires really annoy me, particularly when I'm on the treadmill, jumping rope, or using my kettlebells. I'll let y'all know how this thing fares. It's currently charging on my desk getting ready for the initiation workout :-)

(not to mention, I think this is Mechad Brooks....'Eggs' from True Blood...yaaayyyy)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Starting off Strong Monday!

So far, today's workouts are going very well. I feel good, albeit a little sore.  I decided to do a HIIT workout today, immediately followed by legs.  It was a good session - a definite sweat fest! My morning workout consisted of the following:
  • TF: HIIT 20
  • S90D: Legs
  • Foam Rolling/Stretching (15 mins)
The HIIT workout was intense and short (as it should be). I gave my best for each work interval and sucked wind during the active rest periods :-).  I like the HIIT 20 workout. It seems just long and intense enough. I was fearful of doing the leg workout right afterward since it moves so quickly. However, I did much better with it today than on Saturday since I knew what to expect. It still moved fast (and my HR was up there), but I made it through. I did skip the warm-up since I was already warm. I used heavier weights today (15# and 30#). My form on the Bulgarian Split Squats improved. I used my BOSU today instead of the stability ball. I've always struggled with doing BSS correctly.  I have a really hard time because I can't flex the top of my foot onto the target surface (bench, stability ball, etc). I also forget how close or far away I should be from the elevated surface to perform the exercise correctly. I'll keep working on it.  I don't think I've ever been able to get it right, but practice will get me closer :-).  Next time I do this workout, I think that I'm going to use my TRX for the 'triple heater' (hip bridge & hamstring curl) instead of the stability ball. I am very happy that I perservered and made it through! 

I'll focus on clean eating throughout today and prepare mentally for my evening workout, after I'm done working. Tonight I have some cardio planned. I'll report back when I'm finished.....

Foam Rolling
I tried foam rolling last night for the first time, and it was fantastic!  Last night I tried to focus on my neck, lower back, and shoulders.  I even contemplated sleeping with my foam roller under my neck to continue stretching :-D. After this morning's workout, I did more of a full body session since my muscles were warm and loose, which was great. I noticed that my teres minor is very tight and sore on both sides.  I recall my massage therapist discovering how tight that area is/was about a year ago. I'll definitely be stretching and rolling that area delicately throughout the week.  I am very happy that I decided to take the plunge with the foam rolling. Self Myfofascial Release is an excellent daily treatment for muscular and joint health. I'm definitely a believer now!  It will also help keep things pliable in between massage appointments.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cathe: High Step Challenge

Man, no matter how many times I do it, this workout kicks my butt every single time. It's one of my all-time favorite circuits. I thought it would be perfect to kick off the start of my circuit series.  I was so tired that I couldn't even do my cardio afterwards.  I think being hungry also had something to do with my lack of energy. I'd planned to do 20-30 minutes of rowing, but after the 70 minute workout, I only got in 5 minutes.

I also noticed that my DOMS from the S90Day Chest & Back workout from a few days ago is still setting in. It didn't help that tonight's workout included chest flys :-o!  I did some stretching and myofascial release last night, and that really helped loosen up the persistent knot in my back and tension in my shoulders.  I'm going to try foam rolling before bed tonight to see if that will help.

Looking forward to tomorrow...Another day, another set of workouts!  Yeah :-)

P90X 6 Week Results + Program Change

I enjoy the P90X program quite a bit, and I think that it works very well for my body when I'm wanting to focus on increasing muscular strength.  It also has the ability to add muscular mass if that's what one is looking for, which is excellent for a home-based DVD series. 

My true focus for the first half of the year was (and still is) leaning out (i.e. reducing my level of body fat, maintaining muscle mass, improving overall health & fitness). However, I realized that I was also lacking a bit of strength. Before I could focus on leaning out, I wanted to regain some of the strength that I'd lost between Sept-Dec of 2010.  So, I chose the P90X program to help me focus on that.  I really wanted to build my strength back up and get into a more regular routine - which this rotation did all of that and more. So, in my opinion, I've accomlished my original goal 2 weeks early! I made it 6 weeks this time around, which I'm very happy with.  

P90X 6-Week Results
Overall, I'm VERY pleased with the results of the first 6 weeks of the program (but 7 calendar weeks; remember did week 5 twice). I've been so focused this week on being in a plateau that I hadn't even realized how much good progress I made. I'm proud of myself!  From a body composition point of view, here are my results: (Not bad!!)
  • Lost 13.8 pounds
  • Lost 5.5" overall
  • Lost approx 3.2% body fat (10.88 pounds of fat!!)
Since I'm now very comfortable with my current strength level and deemed my first goal met, I've decided to switch directions. I also noticed that my body hit a plateau this week, which is also a reason why I decided to change things up a bit. I tend to change workout protocols every 6-8 weeks anyway (periodization at its finest :-) ), unless I'm doing something specific like getting ready for a show. I recognize that I struggle to follow most rotations longer than 8 weeks. I tend to get bored and like to have variety in my workout regimen.

Anyway, I know what training types/styles work for my body when it's time to start leaning out and improving endurance (muscular and cardiovascular). For me, that means a high volume, high intensity protocol that consists of circuit strength training, HIIT, and cardio intervals.  More importantly, it also means following a high protein, low carbohydrate diet.  The latter is where I've been struggling over the past couple of years, for various reasons. The difference is that now I truly feel mentally strong enough to take on this challenge.  I know that transformation is largely 80% diet and 20% training. If the primary is lacking, the latter won't make up for it.  Keep it real and keep it focused.

Strategy for the next 6-8 Weeks
It's time to get more aggressive, without overtraining (which I have a tendancy to do). My planned protocol for the next 6-8 weeks is shown below. Due to my travel schedule, I plan to do 2 weeks of high volume, high frequency (similar to below), followed by 1 week of moderate volume & frequency. Then I will repeat that for a 6 week total cycle. If I'm still feeling good, I'll finish with 2 weeks of low volume/frequency training. Again, what I'm showing below (aside from the first one, which is pervasive) are objectives for the high frequency, high volume training weeks.
  • Nutrition & Hydration: CLEAN EATING spread over 5-6 meals per day with 1 Gallon water per day (minimum). Allow myself 1 off day per week (BFL style) with 1 splurge meal. Note this is not a pig out day, but a day to allow myself to eat more starchy carbohydrates; I'm also factoring in a splurge meal per week (eating out, relaxing with friends, etc.). I want to keep it reasonable with 90% compliance throughout the week. There is no need to go into pre-contest mode. Slow, steady progress with consistent eating is my focus.
  • Strength Training: 3-4 Strength Circuits per week (using Supreme 90 Day and some of my other bootcamp/strength circuit workouts). Depending on the chosen workout, the duration may last between 35-70 minutes.
  • Cardiovascular Training: 1-2 HIIT sessions per week, 1-2 kickboxing sessions per week, 2-3 steady state cardio sessions per week (i.e. done first thing in the moring or post-strength training. I find that 30-45 mins of incline walking works best for me here), 1-2 machine-based cardio intervals per week
  • Metabolic Conditioning Training: 1 full body kettlebell/TRX workout. Since it's getting warmer, I usually enjoy doing this on Saturdays outdoors.
  • Stretching: 1 long stretching session per week 
It looks like alot on paper, but it really is all about how you put it together. Yes, a few days there will be two-a-days, but some elements can be combined. For instance, HIIT followed by steady state cardio in the morning would be about an hour workout and a strength circuit or kickboxing later in the day.  It all works itself out. I'll be listening to my body, and if I feel like I'm overdoing it, then I'll move to a moderate or low volume/frequency week.  For me, it is imperative to eat properly and fuel my body, otherwise, this entire plan will be out the window. I won't have enough energy to get through it!
Time to keep on bringin' it! :-)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Supreme 90 Day: Legs & Turbo Fire 30

Today's workout was really great and necessary. I started the day off so slugglishly, but as soon as I started working out, my spirits lifted and all was good.  I did two back-to-back sessions, totaling a little over an hour.  I started with the Supreme 90 Day Legs workout. Man oh was really good!  The workout is short, full of lunges, and my legs got a really solid workout.  I'd like to squeeze this one in twice a week. We will see depending on how the other circuits go.  I did Turbo Fire 30 right afterwards.  It so hard because I was tired.  My legs were shaking and recovering from the weighted leg workout :-) I gave the best that I could, but there were times when my punches and kicks were less than stellar. I'm just proud of myself for working hard and getting it done!

After the workout, I treated myself to some much desired starchy carbohydrates.  I won't get many of those again until next Saturday.  I had a large salad with light dressing, spaghetti with crushed tomatoes, and 3oz of grilled chicken.

I'm starting to feel like an athlete again.....

Lovely Saturday - Get Moving!

Man, today I was really tired. I slept in, which is something that I haven't done in a very long time. I still haven't done any workouts yet (and it's 1:20 in the afternoon). I had a lot planned for today, but we'll see how it goes. I'm still feeling kind of tired, so I'll do as much as my body can handle. I want to get outside because it is just gorgeous! I'll report back later with what I was able to squeeze in.

Ciao for now...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Supreme 90 Day: Chest & Back

I found myself time constrained for the majority of this week. Today was no exception. I didn't train on Wed or Thursday. So, instead of skipping my workout today, I decided to use Supreme 90 Day for my Chest & Back workout since it's a shorter workout. I didn't feel like spending a full hour on P90X.  Anyway, S90D: Chest & Back packs a huge punch in about 30 minutes! When I was finished, I kept thinking "THAT'S how I like to perform strength circuits!" I was pleasantly surprised!

The workout consisted of a thorough warm-up, followed by 4 chest/back circuits. Each circuit consisted of a chest exercise immediately followed by a back exercise. Each exercise was performed for 12-15 reps. The objective was to complete 3 rounds of each circuit with minimal rest in between. The exercisers in the DVD were moving very quickly. I just focused on moving at my own pace. I didn't want to compromise my personal safety. The workout concluded with a relaxing stretch. The body of the workout was about 30 minutes for me (since I paused it a few times to finish my reps and sets), so I was finished with the whole thing in about 40 minutes.

I'd planned to do the Shoulders & Arms workout in the evening, but I decided against it. I was kind of tired. Tomorrow I will try the Legs workout. I still can't believe that I got that entire series for about $15 (from bed, bath & beyond with their 20% off coupon -- can we say bargin?!?). 

Edited on Sat, 2/19 to add:
I'm surprised that I have some DOMS from this workout. I am actually quite sore in my interior chest (from the dumbbell uppercuts) and my lats are also sore (all in a good way, of course).  That being said, some good stretching is definitely in order later today.

I really want to get a foam roller and try that out. I have this knot in my lower back that's been there for a few weeks. In addition, my neck/shoulders are always tight from sitting at the computer all day. So, I think that foam rolling might be a good way to work out some of the kinks (along with stretching, of course). When I meet my program mini-goal, I'll treat myself to a much needed, long overdue sports massage (maybe even 2 hours worth)!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Turbo Fire: HIIT + Kickboxing

Today I did a Turbo Fire HIIT workout (HIIT 20). Took a short break and then did the Fire 30 class. I enjoyed these workouts very much! They are high intensity, fun, yet safe. I was going to do a P90X workout, but simply ran out of time. I got busy doing other things and didn't get around to it. I have a feeling much of the week will be this way. I'm starting to get bored with the length of the P90X workouts. I'm also hitting a plateau, which is not motivating me very much either. So, I have to make it through the rest of this week and then decide what to do next. I want to continue with the program, but I don't want to dread each workout either. Also, I know that when I hit a plateau, it's a sign that something needs to change. I don't want to quit, but I don't want to keep going without getting the results that I want. I'll think on it and we shall see....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Week #6: Adding Turbo Fire

I've decided to start adding Turbo Fire workouts to my P90X rotation. I did my first one tonight - Fire 45 EZ, and I loved it!  It was SO MUCH FUN!!! My heart rate was high the entire time. I was so tired, but I didn't want to stop. I was a bit hesitant about the set at first because I thought it was going to be dancey.  I was pleasantly surprised! Yeah, it was a little dancey, but the fun factor more than made up for it :-). The workout was high energy, and I was so pumped when I was finished.  OH - and the music was GREAT!!!  It reminds me of an updated version of the original tae bo workouts.  This is alot of fun! I actually plan to do an Insanity rotation in May or June. Based upon my experience with the first TF workout, I feel like doing the turbo fire workouts consistently will really improve my conditioning and get me ready for Insanity.

The instructor, Chalene Johnson, has so much energy. She is a well seasoned, motivating instructor. Her form is outstanding.  She is so motivating and inspiring - both as an instructor and with her killer physique. The rest of the cast is also in AMAZING shape I might add. I got a little lost on some of the moves, but I'm sure they will come with time. I didn't try that 'new to class' option. I just wanted to see how much of it I could get as-is. I was amazed that I burned over 500 calories in 40 minutes (I started my HRM 5 minutes into the workout). The workout moved fast and time just flew by. 

After Turbo Fire, I grabbed a quick snack and finished my workout with 50 minutes of incline treadmill walking. I've been really trying to focus on finding the right speed that keeps my heart rate out of the anaerobic zone.  I am a high intensity junkie, but I've been trying to keep my cardio workouts balanced (i.e. some high intensity, some steady state).

Anyway, Week 6 is starting off great! Tomorrow, I'll do a TF HIIT workout and P90X: Chest & Back for strength.

Turbo Fire Infomercial
Here is the TurboFire infomercial for those unaware.
BTW - I have no affiliation with Beach Body, nor am I a Beach Body Coach. I simply own and like several of their home fitness programs, including P90X, P90X+, Insanity, and Turbo Fire. I plan to add Asylum (the follow-on to Insansity) and P90X: MC2 (the follow-on to P90X) when they are released later this year.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Repeat P90X Week 5: - Sun, 2/6-Sat, 2/12

As I mentioned, last week did not go as planned, so I've decided to repeat week #5 this week.  It's turning out much better than last week. I did have to take 2 days off due to work commitments, but I'll still finish the week out strong. Here's the recap so far:

Summary for "Week 5 Repeat"
Superbowl Sun, 2/6: P90X: Chest & Back - this was a great workout! I changed the routine quite a bit by doing weight bearing chest exercises (i.e. bench press, chest flys, etc) in place of the push-ups. I still feel sore 4 days later!
Mon, 2/7: Cathe HIIT 30/30, Treadmill (67 mins) - burned over 1000 calories from this workout. it was awesome! I was very proud of myself for finally doing the HIIT DVD. Even though I've put myself through many-a-HIIT workouts (and my clients), I was so nervous about doing this workout. It was hard as he**, but I expected it to be. I know Cathe, and she packs a major punch into her workouts. I struggled through it, and I am glad to have something to work up towards. I plan to start doing more HIIT workouts over the coming months, with more regularity.
Tues, 2/8: OFF
Wed, 2/9: OFF
Thurs, 2/10: P90X: Shoulders & Arms (this workout gets me every time! I lift as heavy as possible in the 12-15 rep range); Tracey Staehle: Cardio Kickbox Challenge; Treadmill: 100 mins Note: I broke up these workouts over the course of the entire day. My energy level was great, and I felt like I could keep going and going today!  So, I did :-). My eating today was also very good. I'm starting to pull it all together again. day by day...
Fri, 2/11: OFF
Sat, 2/12: P90X: Legs & Back (substituted KB swings and KB snatches for the pullups)

All-in-all, this was a good week! I had more days off than I'd planned for, but it all worked out anyway. As Tony Horton says, "Do your best and forget the rest"!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Week-in-Review: Sun, 1/30 - Sat, 2/5

Man, I've been slacking again with my updates :-)

This week (Phase 2, Week 1) was definitely interesting to say the least. We got hit with a snow and ice storm Tues-Friday and lost power for a full day. As a result, I wound up taking most of this week off.  I did manage to get in 3 workouts.

Anyway, here's the recap of last week (Sun, 1/30 - Sat, 2/5):
Sun, 1/30: OFF
Mon, 1/31: OFF
Tues, 2/1: P90X - Shoulders & Arms; Treadmill 50 mins (got hit with a big ice storm)
Wed, 2/2: OFF - we lost power due to the ice storm; trapped inside the house for the rest of the week!
Thurs, 2/3: P90X - Kenpo X
Fri, 2/4: OFF
Sat, 2/5: OFF - wasn't feeling well. slept most of the day

Due to the unexpected turn of events, I've decided that it would be best to repeat week 5 of the program next week. I'd actually factored in an 'off' week into my schedule, and this was it :-).