Fit2B Inspired (Again)

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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.

 

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Fit2B 6 X 6: Week 4

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Goal: 6 Fit2B routines in 6 days for just 25+ minutes

 

We are officially into some longer workouts this week. It will definitely challenge your endurance. But it isn’t worth sacrificing your form and core engagement, so you can always break the workouts into small increments or even just stop early if you can’t keep going. As always, if you still have an abdominal separation, make sure to modify when Beth mentions it.

 

21 Tone Up

I’ve been a member at Fit2B for more than four years and this routine just joined my favorites list. While I like using different fitness equipment, I love that this workout doesn’t require any. It is a full upper and lower body workout. Plus, it takes up hardly any space. Nothing is more aggravating than going down to our family room first thing in the morning only to discover that the kids have left it so messy that I can’t even move. Then I end up wasting my workout time cleaning. But this workout takes up so little space that all I had to do was shift some toys out of the way with my feet. For those of us whose workout areas aren’t large, this workout is essential.

 

Thigh Workout II

While not up there with my favorites, this workout succeeds in providing just what its name suggests, a great thigh workout. There are ways to increase the upper body work if that’s what you want, but I decided to focus primarily on the lower body with this one. I’m finding that the”thigh thing” (that you’ll see featured in many of Beth’s workouts) is getting a bit easier for me. I don’t quite have the range I want yet, but I’m being especially cautious that my core is steady and my upper body isn’t shifting every which way.

 

Weighted Warriors

Since I’d already done the suggested Pilates & Yoga Loaded two weeks ago, I opted to substitute Weighted Warriors instead. This was an exercise in restraint for me. I began the workout with my heavier set of weights and quickly downgraded. I’m glad I did. I was able to focus on maintaining proper form and I was even a tad sore the next day, so clearly the larger weights would have done more harm than good. It can be so difficult to remain in a lower level when we want so badly to be pushing ourselves harder. I’m learning, slowly, that it’s better to be confident at a simpler level than to struggle at higher one. Learning when to push and when to hold back can be so hard to discern sometimes. Hopefully it will get easier as I continue to know my body better.

 

Plain Ol’ Pilates

For those of you who miss traditional Pilates workouts, this is a good one. It’s so much like what I used to do before I found Fit2B. That being said, I continue to find any extended portion of my workout down on my back depressing. It makes me acutely away of how far I still have to do with closing my DR. (I also take it as an opportunity to measure my abdominal separation if it’s been a while and I’m not due to start my cycle. In this case things had improved since I last measured, but still not where I’d like to be. Discouraging, but living in denial won’t help either).

The side leg series here were very challenging to my glutes especially, though I’d like more inner thigh work, since that seems to be an area that doesn’t get much attention. Overall a successful workout though; heart rate up, muscles engaged but not over taxed, not too much sweat.

 

Tabata Ball Workout

I finally invested in a weighted ball after doing this workout many times with just a dumbbell. (I purchased this 8 lb ball from Amazon. You can check out this link for the exercise equipment Beth Learn recommends or just find something from around the house). Wow, this workout got my heart rate going and the part that it worked the hardest, my fingers. If you have the time, I recommend doing Fingers and Toes after this workout. My hands actually ached a bit.

(I even I wasn’t aware of it at the time, this workout worked my hamstrings like crazy because I was sore for days.)

 

Love Handles Lost

This workout is usually not very difficult. But I did do it the day after Tabata ball. The entire side leg series was killer on my glutes and hamstrings. It was a good reminder why it is important to alternate the kind of workouts I do and which major muscle groups they work. As much as I want to do cardio everyday or weights everyday, for me, alternating seems to produce the best effect with minimal overtaxing or injury. Overall, I wouldn’t call this a difficult workout, but it’s nice to do the day after something pretty new and challenging.

 

There are definitely days when I still feel discouraged. But overall I do feel like I’m making progress. I’m trying to squeeze a workout in first thing after breakfast (at least after the kids eat, sometimes before I do). I never know if I’ll have the almost two year old sitting on me or the five year old running circles around me. On tired days I really struggle. Sometimes I have to take it easier than I’d like, using lighter weights or doing fewer reps. But I feel like I might finally be seeing some progress. (Now I just need to break the cookie habit to jump start my weight loss!) Week 5, here I come.

 

 

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Fit2B 6 X 6: Week 3

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Goal: 6 Fit2B routines in 6 days for just 20+ minutes

20 minutes doesn’t sound like very long. It some ways it isn’t long. But it can still be difficult to find 20 uninterrupted minutes to focus on exercise.

 

Bag a Better Back

This was a tough one for me this week. I probably should have used less weight and in fact I did lower the weight at one point, but I probably should have brought it further down. I did my best to engage my core, but I probably over taxed myself in places. I was irritated at myself and my lack of progress so I may have pushed myself a bit too much with this one. But the beauty of these “bag” workouts is that you really can adjust the weight to your abilities.

 

Basic Aerobics IV

Basic Aerobics IV is one of my favorites in no small part because of the addition of weights. It’s got the same fast paced but doable choreography as in Basic Aerobics II & III plus the nice extra difficulty added on.

 

Jump Change

I heavily modified this workout, since I know that my core was a bit weak right now. I did side planks instead of full planks and made sure I was fully engaging my core with each movement. That said, while it did get my heart pumping, it’s just not a favorites.

 

Insane II

I was pretty worried about trying this workout. It’s been years since I attempted it. But it wasn’t actually as awful as I remembered. It’s definitely challenging and I had to be continually aware of honoring my core’s current state, but I was still able to do the whole workout. There is no doubt this routine will push you but it is insane in name only.

 

Wood Floor Workout

This is an usual workout. It’s definitely not like anything else on Fit2B. It works my muscles in a way that is unlike anything except when I take a good ballet class. The natural resistance produced by the floor and yet the control needed to prevent too much slippage makes this harder than it looks (but in a good way).

I did not get all the way through the first time I attempted this workout because as soon as I lay down on my back, my 20 month old son thought it would be funny to jump on my core. But I was able to come back and finish up after I put him in the high chair.

 

Kickboxing

This workout kicked my butt (pun totally intended). It’s been a while and this is an old favorite. I was excited to do it, but once you hit that 20 minute mark the chances of repeated interruption by small children go up exponentially. But I did manage to get through it and I look forward to coming back to it. I find this to be an easy workout to maintain good core engagement while still picking up the pace and making it a more difficult cardio routine.

This was a week of feeling accomplished. While I didn’t love every workout this week, overall I was pleased with how I felt. I was able to engage, modify at times and overall workout strong and in good alignment. I know from here things are about to bump up in length and intensity. I’m going to try very hard to carry this confidence (and good sense of healthy limits) into Week 4 of 6 X 6.

Week 4

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Fit2B 6 X 6: Week 2

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Each workout is a little longer this week, but still not too bad. I’m still really struggling with getting 6 workouts in 6 days. (It tends to be six in seven or eight days).
Goal: 6 Fit2B routines in 6 days for just 16+ minutes

Pilates & Yoga Loaded
A long time favorite, I was able to use a heavier weight for this, for the majority of the workout. However I had to be especially cautious of keeping my core properly engaged and using modifications as recommended.

 

Kelly’s Core Cardio

It’s been a while and it felt great to be doing this workout again. Because of her background in ab rehab, I really appreciate the extra effort Kelly puts in to core engagement and the stretching portions of this workout. Plus, you definitely won’t find anything else on Fit2B that includes phantom hula hooping!

 

Hipster Chair Moves

I tend avoid this workout because it never feels like it is challenging enough.. One of those neither core, nor cardio nor weights and I don’t quite know what to do with it. But part of the point of 6 X 6 is the consistency, not necessarily the intensity. This provided important hamstring stretches that I’ve been neglecting. I especially like the way this workout reaches the inner hip ligaments (what we used to call the turnout muscles in ballet). Since we don’t have any chairs downstairs where I usually workout, I hauled my laptop to the living room and grabbed a kitchen chair. It worked wonderfully while my kids were downstairs for their regularly scheduled afternoon screen time. I may have to try it again soon.

 

Balanced

I was pleased that I was able to do at least a portion of this workout with my heavier 6 lb weights, though not all of it. Since I’ve hit a wall with my core, I’m trying to be cautious about increasing my difficulty but I don’t want to give up entirely. I like this workout because even though it is a full body, it still leans heavily (ha ha) on weights as the primary source of adding difficulty.

 

Body Sculpting
I love this workout. I like that it has a heavy weight component but also has a slight cardio feel as well. It definitely qualifies for my list of effective full body workouts without being too long or overly intense. I think it may also have made it to my list of returning favorites.

 

Hold It!

Whenever I see this workout come up in the rotation, I sigh a little bit. Because usually I don’t like this workout. But today when I was bumming about the state of my core and feeling a ton of stress in other areas of my life, I was able to really focus on the benefits of this workout. The slow sustained nature of the workouts allowed me to better concentrate on engaging my core, maintaining my alignment and breathing. Don’t underestimate the benefits of breathing and engaging your core when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Despite being interrupted multiple times by my son, I still felt more relaxed and in better alignment after this one.
Two weeks down, four to go. I’m definitely have consistency issues but I’m refusing to give up. Just because I can’t do it perfectly doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it at all. I miss when I used to workout consistently 30-60 minutes, five times a week. But if that’s not where I’m at right now, that’s Ok. I’m also feeling the strange urge to run again, but I don’t want to start doing that until my core is better healed and I’ve built up my upper body muscles a little bit more. So I’ll stick with working towards the consistency of the 6 X 6 for now.

Week 3

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Fit2B 6 X 6: Week 1

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This week starts slow, which is good because trying to do 6 days in a row isn’t going to be easy for me. But 10-15 minutes is very attainable.

Goal: 6 Fit2B routines in 6 days for just 10+ minutes

 

The Big {Little} Band Workout  

I’ve always loved this little workout because I’ve always preferred stretchy bands to weights. While I’ve learned the benefits of weights and I’m looking forward to exploring them further as I improve my witness level, this is still one of my favorites.

 

Wall Workout with Beth

It was a lot harder to do this workout this time around, because I barely had any wall to work with. (It’s temporary until we can get some more boxes unpacked and out of the way). I appreciate how Beth provides modifications for this workout. I’ve been having to scale back the level of challenge I give my core while recovering from a bad two week cough. I was especially glad for her cues and reminders for how to keep the movements simpler while my core recovers.

 

Insane Upper Body

I’m still using a combination of 3 and 6 lb weights for this workout. I’ve fallen off the exercise wagon and not been able to increase my strength as I’d hope. However, I’m not willing to give up yet. Short workouts like this are a great opportunity to increase the intensity, because naturally it’s easy to do that for shorter duration.

 

Ab Attack

I haven’t done with one in more than a year. It’s great if you miss traditional Pilates style ab workouts. It’s totally tummy safe but still employs versions of many of those movements. Also a good opportunity to get down on the floor, since many of my favorite workouts are done entirely standing up.

 

Body Sculpting II

This little workout packs a punch. This was day where I had been too busy to workout but I thought I’d just squeeze it in before my kids got home from their evening program. It got my heart rate up, but could still do it at the end of a long day without feeling like I was immediately so exhausted that I had to go to bed.

 

Bag a Better Booty

I really do enjoy this workout but I can’t seem to find the right size bag to use. I often end up struggling to maintain my alignment and still be able to get the bag off the floor and perform each exercise as suggested. But it is definitely effective.
I really appreciate that this week is made up of such short workouts. (In the interests of honesty, it took me longer than 6 days to do this because I couldn’t manage to fit in a workout every day.) It can be so hard to build a consistent exercise habit, so starting with these short, but still appropriately intense workout makes consistency easier to attain.

On to Week 2, hopefully a little stronger now.

 

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6 X 6 Pathway at Fit2B Studio

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6 X 6

What do I do when I’ve fallen off the exercise wagon? What I always do, find a new Fit2B Studio pathway to explore. This is one of the few pathways I haven’t tried yet on Fit2B, so I’m very excited to see how it works for me.

The goal of the 6 X 6 pathway is to do 6 videos in 6 days for 6 weeks. I’m usually a 4-5 workout a week kind of gal, so disciplining myself with prioritizing fitness 6 days out of the week will be a challenge for me.
However, if you feel like 6 workouts a week just too many, guess what? You can take longer, 10 days, two weeks, whatever works for you.

I had planned to provide an update on my fitness and weight loss journey. Except I haven’t made much progress. Ok, that isn’t fair. I have definitely increased my stamina and in general I feel better. But my diet has been awful. (To summarize; too many birthdays, too many holidays, too much cake). So I’m taking steps toward making healthy eating easier and generally trying to be more aware of my choices. (Meaning that when I eat cookies I am well aware that they are not the best choice for me and then I eat them anyway. Seriously though, I have significantly increased my leafy greens intake, so that’s something.)

I’ve also been disappointed with the nasty, coughing cold that left my middle squishy and my separation pulled open again. So I’m being extra careful to listen to Beth’s cues and modify as needed moving forward. While I haven’t done as well at this as I’d like, I need to begin prioritizing my sleep again. I just can’t seem to get to bed at a decent hour and thus hauling myself out of bed with the kids in the morning hasn’t been much fun. I need to find a new routine that I can stick with.

It’s healthy to continually reevaluate our health and fitness situations. Sometimes we need to set new goals, or return to old goals. One of reason I stay a member of Fit2B is the need for new challenges and I always find that with Beth Learn. I can always find a pathway I haven’t yet explored or a series of new routines I haven’t tried. When I get into a fitness rut, there is always something to peak my interest again.
So join me as I review the 6 X 6 pathway. It starts out slow, just 10-15 minutes a day. We can handle that right?

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

 

 

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But What If It Isn’t Normal?: The Case for Abdominal and Pelvic Floor Rehab

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photos courtesy of The Tummy Team

 

My social media feed is full of it. Moms lamenting peeing their pants and the belly that just hangs and won’t budge no matter how many crunches they do or how long they diet. With Mother’s Day coming up there are even cute little memes about “Call your mom, she wets herself because of you.”

Except a part of me doesn’t find it cute. I’m glad for awareness and openness for discussing this important aspect of women’s health. But I just can’t get behind making a serious medical issue into the punchline of a joke. Pelvic floor and core weakness are certainly common side affects for women who have been pregnant and/or given birth. But I would hesitate to call them normal and they certainly aren’t healthy.

 

When I got to hear Beth Learn from Fit2B Studio speak in person last year, she talked about how our bodies were made to birth babies, and also made to heal. But our lifestyles have changed, and most of our lives no longer contain the kinds of healthy movement to used to help women recover from pregnancy and child birth. While modern medicine has brought us many wonderful things in the area of OBGYN care, this has not been one of them. Talking about the ability to heal has nothing to do with shame at the symptoms, but rather to produce empowerment at the possibility for recovery.

 

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This is why I love The Tummy Team. Kelly Dean’s own story provides inspiration. She talks about how her training as a physical therapist didn’t prepare her for the side effects of multiple pregnancies and deliveries. Her broken body left her feeling discouraged. Other than surgery she could find any practical solutions. But she searched until she found someone who offered real hope.

 

While Kelly agrees that hands on help is best, there are a limited number of trained core and pelvic rehabilitation specialists in the United States, and indeed the world. To that end she created online rehab programs through her office, The Tummy Team.

 

I completed the Core Foundations with The Tummy Team three years ago, and then the Prenatal program two years ago when I was pregnant with my third child. I found both programs to be educational, and encouraging as I went through my healing process. I’ve also done a Skype session with Kelly and found it hugely helpful in making sure I was learning proper alignment and a chance to ask any questions. While today I wouldn’t call my core entirely healed (the result of a difficult third pregnancy and delivery), I gained so many important tools through the course that I find myself returning to when my abs need a little bit of extra attention and support.

 

In honor of Mother’s Day, the Tummy Team is offering 25% off all of their programs and services, May 8-22. (If you don’t want to start now, you can purchase a gift certificate at sale price, and start your rehab later).

 

This Mother’s Day, consider investing in yourself (or your mom) and consider healing through the wonderful ladies at The Tummy Team.

 

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