Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 4

35471009996_a1a036064c_b

Photo Credit: Pierce Martin Flickr via Compfight cc

 

I enjoyed the exercises this week but I also loved the way exercise integrated itself into my life recently.  We took a weekend trip to the mountains with friends which included some light canoeing. Mind you, I wasn’t responsible for steering, but I did paddle which added an usual motion that I don’t typically do. The best part, I wasn’t sore the next day! Plus sitting quietly out on the lake I was able to close my eyes, if only for a moment and soak things in. I was sad when it was over but I also wanted to use it to keep propelling myself forward. It would be great to be able to do that kind of thing again, and that means I need to keep getting stronger.

 

 

Basic Aerobics II / Kelly Dean’s Wall Workout

I like this combination of workouts because it gives me a quick punch of cardio and just a little bit of full body strength training. Since I know these workouts well, if I’m having a day where I’m just not able to focus well, I can almost do them on autopilot.

 

 

Defining Deltoids

Yay for heavier hand weights! This workout is done using exercise bands and dumbbells. Because the movements are slow and deliberate, I was able to bump up my intensity and still maintain good form.

 

 

Body Sculpting II5 Minute Arms & 5 Minute Booty Burn With A Band

Body Sculpting II is kind of a toning cardio hybrid but because it was so short I wanted to add a bit more. I decided to try the 5 Minute Arms and 5 Minute Booty with Band routines. Both provided a great workout in a short time. While I haven’t done the whole 5 minute series yet, I imagine if you combined them all together, you’d have a pretty great workout as well.

 

 

Body Sculpting

I decided to experiment again with heavier weights and managed very nicely again. I have to be hyper cautious about maintaining form and core engagement (and keep my lighter weights handy, just in case), but it feels great to be finally building my strength up further.

 

 

Gentle Blend

When I’ve had a stressful week, I’ll admit that I want something fast and difficult. (The ripping, tearing style workouts that I know aren’t good for me). But this was exactly what I needed. The even paced, sustained movement got my heart rate up enough for me to break a sweat but then Beth brought it down wonderfully and I left feeling more relaxed. While this isn’t necessarily one of my favorite workouts, it was definitely just what I needed together.

 

 

Kelly’s Total Body Stretching

I love these stretches, though the routine itself isn’t quiet as soothing as the Restorative Poses series. In a perfect world, I would make time to stretch like this every day. (Ok, in a perfect world I wouldn’t need to stretch but anyway . . .) Even if you learn these six movements from memory and just add them throughout your day, you will see such an improvement in alignment, core control with much less pain and discomfort.

 

 

I know I have two weeks of longer and harder workouts coming, so it was nice to have a week where I’m still working in my ideal workout time. This is probably the kind of week I’ll return to when my 6 week challenge is over. There is something wonderful about consistent lower difficulty workouts rather than fewer challenging ones. I like that my exercises make me feel energized rather than exhausted. I hope this will continue as I kick things up a notch next week.

 

You can use the coupon code laundryblog to get 30% off an annual membership with Fit2B Studio!
Join Fit2b.us

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 3

35471009996_a1a036064c_b

Photo Credit: Pierce Martin Flickr via Compfight cc

 

I went into this week feeling pretty confident. I’m starting to see some positive results from my consistent effort. (I won’t share the actual full results and my personal stats until the end of Fit2B Inspired (Again), though.) It’s nice to finally feel as though my work is paying off and I’m starting to see visible results as well as feeling better.

 

 

Kelly Core Cardio / Kelly’s Big Band Routine

Kelly’s Big Band was a new one for me and it was also deceptively easy looking. Since I don’t own Bodylastics yet, I settled for a resistance band hooked through my stair banister and it worked quite well.

Kelly’s Core Cardio is a perennial favorite and combining the two make it a great full body workout.

 

 

Insane Upper Body

I’ve been kind of beating myself up for not being able to comfortably use my 6 lb dumbbells yet. It’s been discouraging to feel like I’m not making the kind of progress I want. But I also want to make sure I’m using proper form and alignment so I elected to use my lighter weights for this workout. I was pretty happy with that choice. Contrary to the name, this really isn’t insane. It’s difficult, depending on how heavy your weights are, but it is very attainable one. Just make sure you are focusing on proper body position and not on trying to lift your arms higher by contorting your body.

 

 

Insane 2

I’m always worried going into this one, but it actually wasn’t too bad. I did the easier versions of various positions but it was still challenging in the best possible way. So don’t let the name fool you, if you are feeling strong and learning to consistently and properly engage your core, this one is worth trying out.

 

 

Weighted Warriors

I love focusing on form with this workout while still adding additional resistance. This is not a fast workout, but the sustained movement required provides a challenge my muscles.

 

 

Tabata

I’m always a fan of Tabata. There is something so wonderful about only having to learn a couple of motions and repeating them in intervals. The intervals themselves are always helpful if you have frequent interruptions during your workout. Plus if you are just starting to kick you activity up a notch, the build in rest periods can let you catch your breath.

 

 

Restorative Poses III

I have never done this one before, so I was excited to try it. It is definitely as relaxing as the others, but with a couple of slightly more challenging poses. (Don’t worry, Beth provides tons of explanation and suggestions for modifications). This one is slightly longer because of the additional setup and explanation that goes with some of the poses. While I still like Restorative Poses I better, I would definitely still come back to this one.

 

 

Apparently 20-30 minutes is my sweet spot. The workout isn’t too long that I want to give up, but short enough that I can still fit it in. I’m able to stay consistent and not feel like working out most days of the week is a burden. I love feeling stronger. I can’t say that I’m necessarily having more energy, but that’s mostly my own fault for not getting enough sleep. I’ve been mostly successful with my efforts to cut back on sugar, though I can’t say that I’m not still tempted. I still allow myself treats on weekends and that enables me to resist pretty well during the week, without feeling totally deprived. All of those things together means that for the first time in a while, I’m pretty happy with my progress towards being stronger, and healthier. No, the scale hasn’t moved too much, but that was never the goal. The point was to be strong enough for the life I want. I may not be there yet, but I’m on my way.

 

 

You can use the coupon code laundryblog to get 30% off an annual membership with Fit2B Studio!
Join Fit2b.us

Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 2

35471009996_a1a036064c_b

Photo Credit: Pierce Martin Flickr via Compfight cc

 

Week 2

This week things got a little bit more difficult and I was still fighting exhaustion and stress but I really wanted to feel the sense of accomplishment when the week was over. So I powered through, this time in a good way. Meaning I took it easier when I needed to, but I still kept going.

 

 

Basic Step II

Since this is much longer than Basic Step I, I opted to use the lower height on my step and that was a good choice. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite cardio routines. I enjoy the choreography and even though I still frequently mess it up and end up on the wrong foot at the wrong time, I still find it energizing.

 

 

Ultimate Upper Body & Big {little} Band Workout

This is an interesting combo because one workout uses dumb bells and the other resistance bands. Therefore I felt like it balanced things out pretty well. I wisely opted for my lighter weights but still felt pretty bad about it. However, at the end of it, I felt like I had a great workout without totally depleting my energy stores.

 

 

Kickboxing

I love this workout. This particular day I was exhausted and it was very hot and humid. I wasn’t sure I would get through it. But I decided to try to focus and stay hydrated. There are lots of places where Beth offered modifications if I wanted them. But mostly I did the workout as written. A solid, interesting, high impact cardio workout using the interval method. So you don’t have to go at full throttled the whole workout, just for shorter intervals with small slow downs in between. Very manageable while still being serious cardio.

 

 

Yoga and Pilates Loaded

I’ve finally accepted my limits and I used my light weights today. It was still a great workout. The addition to weights to certain Pilates movements and yoga poses definitely adds a level of difficulty while still allowing me to maintain control of my movements.

 

 

Kelly Dean’s Total Body

I forgot what a punch this packs. The upper body portion alone was killer. This one seriously never gets old. I love that I can get such an intense workout without any exercise equipment. I appreciate the way Kelly alternates between core, upper body and lower body so each area has a chance to rest in between exercise intervals. If I had to pick a handful of workouts that I routinely choose, this is one of them.

 

 

Restorative Poses II

While relaxing, I definitely prefer Restorative Poses I. Maybe it’s just which muscles are tight in my body. This one is a tad shorter, but also very relaxing. I didn’t get to this one solo, I snuck it in while dinner was cooking and the kids were wandering about. But they mostly left me alone for it. I would have loved to take another hot bath and head to bed afterwards.

 

 

Beth Learn talks about about honoring your body and its limits. We want to grow stronger and we work towards that, but we also need to accept where we are and not push too hard. I am realizing that for some reason I am not as strong as I thought, so I am having to use lighter weights than I feel like I should. But I’m seeing the benefit of being kind to myself and still leaving room for growth.

 

You can use the coupon code laundryblog to get 30% off an annual membership with Fit2B Studio!
Join Fit2b.us

 

Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 1

35471009996_a1a036064c_b

Photo Credit: Pierce Martin Flickr via Compfight cc

 

Week 1

After doing such long workouts in previous weeks, it was nice to opt for a few shorter ones. I was feeling pretty tired this particular week so it was easy to get discouraged. But probably the most empowering part was just getting through all the workouts in the same week and then not feeling completely wiped out.

 

 

Basic Step I

It turns out the step platform I use has feet to make it a little taller, so I did. Wow, talk about taking the workout up a notch. This is the shortest of the step aerobics workouts on Fit2B but adding the extra level of difficulty really helped me up my cardio. I will definitely be doing this again, perhaps regularly.

 

Kettle Bell I

I’ve decided that I don’t love Kettle Bell and that the one I have is too heavy, but I’m definitely not buying another one yet, so I’m doing the best I can. This definitely wasn’t as bad as doing Kettle Bell II like I did a few weeks ago. But there were still certain movements I couldn’t do properly because of the weight and my apparent lack of strength. I am hoping that as I get stronger I can come back and do this again.

 

Basic Aerobics IV

I love the Basic Aerobics series on Fir2B. But this one takes it up a notch by adding light weights. While I have been shooting for shorter workouts, I didn’t necessarily want them to be less intense, so I decided to kick this workout into high gear by adding heavier weights. I kept my lighter ones nearby, and I did have to downgrade a few times, occasionally do fewer reps or just take a quick extra breath. But overall, I was pleased with how intense a workout it was for only 20 minutes.

 

Balanced

I opted for my 3 lb weights instead of the 6 lb ones because I was so tired going into this workout. I didn’t want to miss a day of working out but I honestly would have preferred a nap to exercise. I kept telling myself that it was only 20 minutes. I got through it, I took it a little easier. While this workout does involve weights, it is also a rather slow moving, sustained workout with lots of stretching and balancing.

 

21 Tone Up

I was pretty tired this particular day and was again struck by what a great workout this is. It isn’t long, it isn’t complicated. But it also isn’t boring and it packs a wallop. It worked so many different muscles groups. When I’m exhausted, I can’t power through an hour, but I want be able to scrape up enough energy for 21 minutes.

 

Restorative Poses I

I did this workout as part of relaxing evening for myself. After the kids were in bed I did this workout and then took an Epsom salt bath. It was the most relaxed I have felt in weeks. This is a great way to wind down before bed or have a slow start to your day.

 

This week wasn’t easy, but it also felt very exciting. Just being consistent makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. When I’m overtired or very stressed out it’s easy to let exercise be the first thing I cut. But I don’t want it to be that way. Week 1 may not have been perfect, but it did help me feel more confident.

 

Up next: Week 2

 

You can use the coupon code laundryblog to get 30% off an annual membership with Fit2B Studio!
Join Fit2b.us

Fit2B Inspired (Again)

35471009996_a1a036064c_b

Photo Credit: Pierce Martin Flickr via Compfight cc

 

Things have been rather stressful around here lately, but exercise is one of my usual tools for self-care. I’ve been trying to make it non-negotiable, but it’s still been a struggle.

I don’t feel quite ready to move on to the Challenging pathway since my DR is not entirely healed but I still want to keep building strength and stamina. So that means, yet again, I’ll be creating my own workout routine. I always do better if I have a set plan than if I wing it. Fit2B is a great site and it has literally over hundred workouts. Without a plan, I’d spend too much time debating and not enough actually working out.

Honestly, I usually love exercise. But lately it has been hard. The kids always seem to be underfoot and I’m constantly interrupted. It has been very hot and even though we sometimes use our air conditioning, it still saps my energy. I’ve also been feeling generally icky and a bit under the weather. I know that exercise is supposed to help but sometimes I feel like I’m doing it in the sleep. So I had to ask myself what I was was looking for.

While I wouldn’t mind losing a bit of weight, my main goal is to focus on strength. My toddler is getting heavier and sometimes I still have to pick up or restrain my five year old. My body just isn’t up for it. I’ve been discouraged that my strength hasn’t increased the way I thought it would have by now. I always seem to hit this wall that I can’t seem to progress past.

 

My plan

 

Cardio (2 X a week)

This means favorite workouts like Basic Aerobics III and some longer ones like Tummysafe Kickboxing.

 

Strength Training (2 X a week)

This will often mean weights, but not always. Big (Little) Band workout works for this, but so does Weightlifting 101 and Weighted Warriors. I’m going to try mix and match a bit.

 

Full Body Workout

What you define as full body is relative. Honestly, most of these workouts are full body. My favorites in this category are 21 Tone Up and Kelly Dean’s Full Body Workout. But you could also do any of the pilates or yoga workouts as well.

 

Stretching

I have been neglecting my stretching and really noticing tightness in my hamstrings and hips along with pain in my SI joint. So I wanted to make sure it was a regular part of my week. I look forward to trying out Restorative Poses III, which I haven’t done before, as well as old favorites like Simply Stretching.

I’m shooting for 20-30 minute workouts, maybe longer once I get going. I really want to push myself with some of the harder ones but it is so difficult to find time for the longer workouts. I like the short and sweet ones and if you are short on time, check out my Fit2B Quick series.

I just know that I have to keep going. I don’t want to give up. It’s frustrating to have these limits I can’t yet overcome. But I’m hoping that if I’m consistent, I’ll be able to see progress.

 

Week 1

Week 2

 

You can use the coupon code laundryblog to get 30% off an annual membership with Fit2B Studio!
Join Fit2b.us

Fit2B 6 X 6 Pathway: Final Week 6

Join Fit2b.us

 

Goal: 6 LONG Fit2B routines in 6 days!

Final Week! This has been a tough few weeks for me, for so many reasons. But I wanted to push through it anyway. After this I’ll be stepping back to do some short routines with a focus on bumping up my intensity (heavy weights, etc) without necessarily working out longer. This week had a lot of long workouts, some of the longest on all of Fit2B. So the biggest struggle was literally finishing them.

 

 

Rockin’ Yoga & Pilates

I had some fun using my son’s toys for props in this workout. (He also added himself as a handy prop on several occasions. But a 27 lb, 21 month is makes it a little too difficult to do inclined planes in my opinion.) This workout is exactly what it sounds like, a combination of yoga and Pilates but done at a slightly faster pace using lightly weighted objects to bring up the difficulty.

 

 

Great Glutes

This workout is divided into five segments that can be done altogether or one at a time. This was much harder than I thought it would be. The hands a knees portion, while effective was probably not tummy safe enough for me since my DR is still open. The whole thing was a little much for me to devote all to one muscle area, but definitely effective.

 

 

Peaceful Blend

This workout is exactly as it sounds, peaceful, slow moving and yet appropriately physically demanding. Slow sustained work is often as hard, if not harder, than fast, intense work. Let me just say this about a 40 minute slow moving workout. It is almost impossible to do with small children around. With a faster moving routine (like Basic Step II for example), it’s easier to block out the whining, fighting and general chaos that ensues whenever I try to workout while my kids are awake and not in front of a screen. In this particular instance, I refused to pause and break up their fights, but the noise was definitely distracting from the gentle, relaxing tone of the workout. (My 21 month old was particularly interested in the kitty that made an appearance during the workout and after the cat walked off screen kept saying “bye bye, kitty” which was distracting but adorable).

If you can do this without distraction you will get so much more out of it. That being said, there is still a benefit even if you aren’t able to completely engage because of outside distractions.

 

 

Backside Burner II

This is one of the few workouts this week where I felt strong. I was able to do it, and it felt like work but it wasn’t totally unattainable. It’s nice to do something that feels possible, even if it is difficult. Despite it’s name, this workout actually works much more than just your backside. It even has a bit of upper body and there are plenty of opportunities to modify it to make it more challenging if needed. It starts standing but most if it is done on the floor. While this isn’t a favorite workout of mine, it was exactly what I needed this week.

 

 

Tabata Kick & Squat

While my stamina has improved a lot, this workout was still very difficult for me. The movements themselves actually aren’t too bad and the one of the best parts about any Tabata style workouts is the build in rests. However, I still found myself huffy and puffy by around halfway through. It is longer than I can usually manage all in one sitting, but it’s also a good one to break up into sections if needed because, again, Tabata lends itself to that. I’ll definitely be coming back to this one as I get stronger.

 

 

Fusion Mix 1

I had to break this up into two different sections because it is a pretty intense workout and it’s LONG! As in over 60 minutes. In my house, the chances of 60 minutes of uninterrupted workout time while the children are unconscious and not in front of a screen is virtually 0. But it is something fun to work towards as I get stronger and more flexible. I can see the appeal but as a general rule I think I’m more of a cardio & weights girls, which is totally OK.

 

This week was the toughest, but my biggest success was actually working out every day. So from that perspective, this pathway felt like a success. Now I have to decide how to move forward. I want to keep focusing on 6 days a week but I’m going to give myself at least one day a week to focus on just stretching. I’m also going to try cutting sugar in my diet to see how that affects my energy levels and cravings. I’ll be doing shorter workouts but still trying to keep my intensity up. The last few weeks have been harder than I thought they would be. I’ve discovered that I’m stronger than I thought in some areas and weaker in others.  But it still feels good to be able to check this pathway off and call it done.

 

 

Don’t Forget! You can use the coupon code laundryblog to get 30% off an annual membership with Fit2B Studio!

Fit2B Annual Membership

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

 

Fit2B 6 X 6 Pathway: Week 5

Join Fit2b.us

 

Goal: 6 Fit2B routines in 6 days for just 30+ minutes

My posting schedule runs about a week or so behind my actual life. (So when you read a blog post review, I probably started those workouts about two weeks ago). This gives me some important leeway so I can keep the reviews coming to you on time. This past week ate up my entire advance schedule because I only worked out one day! I had a nasty early summer cold that left my chest burning and me generally feeling like garbage. So annoying. But the good news is, this week’s workouts started in such a gentle way that it made things easier while recovering.

 

Gentle Blend

After having been pushing myself pretty hard and still nursing a painful cough, I had a new appreciation for this workout. No, it isn’t necessarily easy. But it is gentle, deliberate and makes it simpler to properly engage and use good alignment with each movement. It really looks deceptively easy because it is slow moving, but you will definitely still feel it. I didn’t get my final stretches at the end done as well as I would have liked because my almost two year old takes any opportunity to attack me if I lay on the floor. The inclined planes were also difficult when an almost 30 pound toddler trying to sit on my lap while I did them.

 

Defining Deltoids

Finally got some new resistance bands. (My old ones are 13 years old and my kids recently snapped one). It really helped take this workout up a notch. I was also able to use heavier weights for this because of the way Beth alternatives between dumb bells and bands so I didn’t over tax myself. This is a little long for me, as just an arm workout. Normally if I’m going to do something this long I prefer a full body workout, but it’s still worth putting on my schedule very now and then because it is very effective without being too intense.

 

Kettle Bell II

Finally, I own a Kettle Bell! I’ve been putting off this investment for a while but I’ve decided to purchase myself a new piece of fitness gear every month or two. The slow start where Beth reviews the various ways to handle the kettle bell as well as good form was very helpful. But oh dear goodness, this workout killed me. As in I didn’t do the last full repetition of all the movements. I did the ballerinas entirely without weights. Whenever Beth said, “do one or two more if you want to” I didn’t. It might be because it’s a 15 lb kettle bell. It’s also definitely larger and bulkier than the one Beth is using in the workout. This kettle bell has a smooth surface, so I had to keep a tight grip on it, especially as my hands got sweatier.

Some things I learned about me in this workout. Apparently I cannot lift 15 lbs over my head with one hand. (At least not yet). I wanted so much to finish this workout, to say I hit the 30 minute mark. But when I found myself asking if it was better to walk away before I hurt myself or keep going and risk bad form and injury, I walked away. I was still sweaty, and shaky. I think I may go back to the shorter Kettle Bell I now that I finally have one and train on that for a bit before I try this one again.

 

Tabata

This is a great workout if you have frequent interruptions which I always do. I was able to do half this workout before dinner and the other half after. I was able to pause to deal with kids crises, of which there are often many at my house. I love that there are so many levels for each movement. It doesn’t have to be a challenging workout, but it can be if you want to.

 

Basic Step Aerobics 2

I finally purchased a real step to use for this workout. It really did make a noticeable difference. This is a serious cardio workout, but the entirely upright nature of it makes it easy to keep the core strong and avoid any bulging. But as you get tired (as I usually do during the second half), it can be a challenge not to slouch. Basic Step workouts are a great way to supercharge your cardio without adding additional pressure to your core as it heals.

 

Functional Workout I

This workout is deceptively long. It does run around 31 minutes but almost all the heavy work is done in the first half. I was able to use my 6 lb weights, but I also did a little bit of modification to the hands and knees position that Beth used at one point. While this workout moves at a steady pace, it isn’t complete cardio, and the weights are incorporated mostly into the first half. It feels a little bit unbalanced as a workout. I think I would prefer a couple more minutes of higher impact work before slowing it down so much. But it still works well.

 

This was a tough week for me. I’m doing better prioritizing my workouts and actually getting in 6 workouts a week. But I’ve also been very tired and my eating habits haven’t been great. I’m toying with the idea of a sugar fast of sorts, but I have ruled out the idea of trying something too extreme. I haven’t had a good history with extreme diets and the long term staying power. But in the past, I’ve done well with healthy habits, so I’ve decided to try and build some more. Week 6 promises to be the most challenging one yet.

 

Don’t Forget! You can use the coupon code laundryblog to get 30% off an annual membership with Fit2B Studio!

Fit2B Annual Membership

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!