Fit2B Advancing: Week 5

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WEEK 5 GOAL: Three Studio Workouts + One Daily Double + One Wellness Day

 

Studio Workout One: Functional Workout I

This workout is another good opportunity to incorporate weights, though this time I opted to use my lighter set. I had a bit too many reverse lunches for me though. While it definitely got my muscles working, it left me feeling strong enough to help my husband shovel our driveway for an hour later the same day.

 
Studio Workout Two: Warm-up for 5 minutes then Gentle Blend

Warm-up: Totally Transverse II

Gentle Blend

I feel like you can never go wrong with warming up with one of the Foundational Five. On the other hand, I know this is meant to be a gentle workout, but wow did I feel it the next day. Gentle Blend is always very challenging to my glutes and is a killer side leg series. But it is also a good way to start doing slightly longer workouts.

 
Studio Workout Three: Warm-up for 5 minutes then TummySafe Kickboxing

Warm-up: Mula Bandha

Tummysafe Kickboxing
It has been a while. Tummysafe Kickboxing used to be one of my favorite workouts. But this time it really kicked my butt. (Ok, it may still be a favorite but I don’t remember it making me sweat so much.) I chose something without heavy upper body work for today since I have a strained muscle in my neck and upper back. I was able to get the full cardio I needed without aggravating my sore muscles.
My one year old now recognizes the opening Fit2B music and immediately comes over to check out the workouts. He began squealing with delight when the dog and cat made their appearance. So this workout was a hit with both participants and bystanders.

 
Wellness Day: Simply Stretching before or after a 15-30 minute walk/jog. 

Simply Stretching

Walking Workout

I used the walking workout in lieu of an actual walk given the late snow that hit our region. I did it with my light (3 lb weights) and it definitely provided a nice cardio and some good weight work.

I’ll admit that I tend to skip stretching days. I always plan to include at least one each week, but that often ends up being the day I miss. (Realistically, 4-5 workouts a week is usually what I can manage, at least until I start consistently getting up at 6 again. Ugh.) But I was very glad for the reminder to stretch. While it is a bit longer than I usually prefer for a stretching only workout, I found it very helpful in working my typical tight spots.

 
Daily Double: Totally Transverse and Love Handles Lost

Totally Transverse is a great reminder of how I should be engaging my transverse and maintaining my alignment throughout the day. Love Handles Lost This is not a hard workout, perse, but I find it to be effective. I was able to properly engage, but I didn’t feel I was overtaxed. After feeling unexpectedly challenged by Gentle Blend, this felt very satisfying.

I had to really prioritize exercise this week, in addition to trying to get my healthy eating back on track. It’s amazing how easy it is to let things go and it can be so difficult to work my way back again. But it matters so much to be that I be strong and healthy enough to take care of my family and live the life I aspire to. Here comes Week 6, almost done and ready to move on and up to something more challenging, but only if I feel ready.

 

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Fit2B Advancing: Week 3

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This week I decided to slightly increase my weight levels. I didn’t always do this wisely. Sometimes I still battle the old tendency that if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not difficult enough. (I know this goes completely against Beth’s philosophy of gentle fitness, I’m still working on it).

WEEK 3 GOAL: Three Studio Workouts + 1 Daily Double

Studio Workout One: Warm-up for 5-10 minutes then do Balanced

Warm-up: Fingers and Toes

Balanced

I had originally planned to do this workout with 3 lb weights since it had been a while. Instead I decided to try the 6 lb. I was able to keep my core engaged, but my muscles were definitely fatigued afterwards, perhaps too much. I like that the focus is on balance as well as weight, not just straight weight lifting. Fingers and Toes was also a great way to warm up since my hands do actually get a little sore as I adjust to lifting heavier weights.

Studio Workout Two: Warm-up for 5-10 minutes then do Ultimate Upper Body

Warm-up: Basic Aerobics III

Ultimate Upper Body

I was feeling particularly tired this day, so it was hard to get through Ultimate Upper Body. I alternated 3 ad 6 lb weights. But I definitely was feeling it in my arms. Perhaps more than I should, because I felt a little weak and shaky afterwards. In the past I would have seen that as a sign of a good workout, but I’ve learned from Beth that we don’t need to destroy our bodies to make them stronger. So I want to feel the work without ended up in pain.

Studio Workout Three: Warm-up for 3-5 minutes then do Tabata Ball Workout

Warm-up: Mula Bandha

Tabata Ball Workout

I haven’t done Tabata Ball workout in at least a year or two. I used a 6 lb dumbbell rather than a weighted ball. (I’m still hoping to get a 8 lb one like this). Most of the workout went fine with that. But the squats were a little awkward. I couldn’t find a way to easily balance the dumbbell between my knees. Wow, did my calves hurt. You wouldn’t think that would be the worst part, but it was. Two days later and I was still feeling it.

Daily Double: Warm-up for at least 5 minutes then do Insane Upper Body & Totally Transverse II

Warm-up: Shoulder Stretches

Insane Upper Body

Totally Transverse

I used Shoulder Stretches as my warm up before Totally Transverse II and Insane Upper Body. As I’ve started to include 6 lb weights in part of Insane Upper Body the workout is beginning to earn it’s name for me. I’ve given myself permission to switch to 3 lb weights or complete fewer repetitions but between making sure my core is engaged, breathing properly and focusing on proper form, this is a doozy. I always feel a tad shaky afterwards. I won’t start advancing to a heavier weight until I can do the whole workout with the 6 lb weights without feeling my muscles get all twitchy.

BONUS: Try to accomplish some medium-intensity cardiovascular training for 30 minutes on two additional days.

Basic Aerobics IV & Basic Step

My 1 year old is adorable when I do step aerobics. He grabs the lid to his Duplo and stands on it like it’s a step. I like the basic concept of step aerobics because of the high cardio value as well as the need for coordination. I like challenging my brain and increasing the level of impact. Basic Aerobics IV was a nice add on because it increases intensity with the use of weights. Don’t go too heavy if this is your first time.  Light weights go a long way.

Kelly’s Total Body Workout

After using weights so much this week, it was nice to do a full body workout, including a killer arm routine, but without any necessary equipment. I am always continually mystified each time I do this workout that I am able to get such a great effect in my upper body without the use of weights. But of course the biggest selling point for me is the full body nature of this workout and in less than 30 minutes. (It’s also pretty easy to do in a small space).

This was a rough week with my kids being sick, but I still wanted to make exercise a priority. Sometimes I meant the kids literally being under my feet. But at least I’m setting a good example for them. It’s especially cute when they decide to join me. Occasionally, my five year old even asks for his own workouts to do. Even if you have an off week, don’t give up. If you have to repeat the week, or take two weeks to get through all the workouts, that’s OK too. Better to go at your own pace than to give up.

Week 4

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Fit2B Advancing: Week 2

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This week introduces warming up as a good way to extend the length of the workout. I also think that warm ups are very important before extended stretching as well as before high levels of exertion. Basically any gentle movement that gets your blood pumping and your body moving. You don’t have to get sweaty. Think of it like warming up your car’s engine on a cold day. It makes everything run smoother. Only four workouts this week. Which actually feels quite attainable to me.

WEEK 2 GOAL: Four Fit2B™ Studio Workouts
Studio Workout One: Warm-up for 5 minutes then do Yoga & Pilates Blend

Warm-Up: Core Wake Up

Yoga & Pilates Blend

This is a refilm of an older workout and I hadn’t yet tried the new one. The plank position was difficult but I was able to successfully modify it. I do enjoy both Yoga and Pilates so a workout combing the two was a nice way to start the week.

 

Studio Workout Two: Walk for 10-15 minutes then do Kelly’s Floor Core Workout

I substituted the Walking Workout and added weights. For some reason Kelly’s Floor Core always makes me feel kind of sad, because when I’m laying down, my stomach kind of folds in on itself. But at least I felt strong enough to properly engage my abdominals. While it isn’t one of my favorites, this contains many good modifications for traditional ab work.

 

Studio Workout Three: Warm-up for 5-10 minutes then do Weighted Warriors

Warm-Up: Vertical Core

I love these short core routines as warm ups. It’s a great way to make sure I’m properly connecting with my abdominal muscles and continuing to stabilize my diastasis as it heals.

Weighted Warriors

I love the unique combination of weights and slow sustained movement in this workout. I chose light weights this time because I wanted to make sure I could use proper form before adding heavier weights. The integrated nature of the weights makes it much more fun for me than just a typical weight routine.

 

Studio Workout Four: Warm-up for 10 minutes then do Insane Upper Body

Warm Up: Basic Aerobics II

Insane Upper Body

This isn’t so much a warm up before a workout, as a complete body workout combination. This felt fantastic. First of all, I always love doing Basic Aerobics, it gets my heart rate up quickly. Then following it up with Insane Upper Body got my muscles really working. I experimented this time with trying heavier weights (which for me is 6 lb dumbbells), at least for portions of the workout. I was pleased with what I was able to do. A great way to finish out the week.
But wait, you want to do more? Then do more.

You can always do more or less than is recommended in these weekly schedules.

I like to do something each weekday whenever possible, so grab an extra short cardio or something from the Pathway to Relaxation to finish out the week.

I hope you are finding, as I am, that you are making progress with your exercise goals and feeling stronger. The goal of exercise is not so you can do more exercise, but to make you strong enough for the life you want to live. So make sure you have enough energy left after your workout to actually function in your life.

Week 3

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Fit2B Advancing: Week 1

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I will say upfront that it has not been easy to prioritize exercise lately. Sometimes I miss a day. Sometimes I have to split a workout over multiple sessions on multiple days. I prefer to workout without my kids, but more often than not, I have them literally underfoot while trying to exercise. Because I can’t afford to wait for a better time. I’m not willing to delay until things get easier. I want to start working toward my healthier, stronger body now. So I do, even if it means it’s not ideal or convenient.

Week 1

Studio Workout One: Go for a 5-10 minute walk then do “Pilates in Pajamas”

Walking Workout
Since the weather wouldn’t cooperate, I substituted the walking workout for a walk outside. While this workout is longer than the prescribed 5-10 minutes, you don’t have to do all of it. Or, if life is crazy, you can do like I did, and do them on different days.

Pilates in Pajamas
This is an old favorite and really a joy to start with. It is gentle, and has a steady pace without being too easy. I found that I didn’t break a sweat, but definitely felt my muscles working.

Studio Workout Two: Do Peaceful Blend

I don’t usually get to do this workout, first because it’s so long and secondly because for a long time it didn’t run properly on the Roku which is where I do the majority of my exercising. It was borderline miraculous that I got through it at all with minimal interruption. It was the first real workout I’ve done in the new house in our family room where the TV has taken up residence. While I absolutely still hate the carpet in here, the very cushy carpet pad makes things quieter and more comfortable than the wood floors in our old house.

I know that I still have a separation and from what I can tell, I haven’t made tons of progress. But I felt strong. I was able to engage my core at the times I needed to and thing didn’t feel floppy. In general my middle feels much less squishy than it has for the past few months.

Daily Double: Do TS Transitions to warm up. Then do Wall Workout with guest instructor, Kelly Dean.

I love both these workouts, though I actually find that pairing them together produces too much redundancy for my taste. Wall Workout with Kelly is one of the most complete upper body, lower body and core workouts in under 10 minutes. Bam! No excuses about not having enough time. Transitions is a nice get yourself moving kind of routine without being too aerobic. I know there is nothing inherently special about it, yet I find myself coming back to it again and again.

BONUS: Accomplish some medium-intensity cardio training for 25 minutes on two additional days.

Half-Round Foam Roller routine
I really enjoyed this routine. It was challenging and interesting. The balance component was especially fun. It reminded me of some aspects of ballet class that I miss. I had to do some modifications since my half foam roller is a shorter one. (I grabbed my son’s My Pal Scout to support my head at the end and it actually worked quiet well).

Get Up and Down
This is similar to Align it Flat but feels much more like a workout while still containing those important alignment cues.

I’m excited to feel like I’m finally making progress in prioritizing my health and fitness. I’m realizing more and more that I need and want to be stronger. Not because I want to look a certain way (though that doesn’t hurt) but because I need that strength to be effective in my life. I so appreciate the Fit2B Studio member forum. I shared some of my discouragement about my unclosed abdominal separation and feeling stuck in my fitness. I got so many encouraging suggestions and Beth Learn herself even chimed in to say that maybe I needed to challenge my core a little bit more while still maintaining proper engagement and alignment rather than just wait until things were fully healed. This is one of the many things I love about the Fit2B online community. Beth and her business partners have built a wonderful support network to help us heal and grow, and I’m honored to be a part of it.

Week 2

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Fit2B Advancing: I Begin Again

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I have had a very hard time rebuilding my regular exercise habit since moving into our new house in early January. Why is this you ask? Firstly, because I’ve spent most of my time unpacking, painting and generally dealing with the chaos involved in moving. Secondly because for a while there was barely room enough to turn around, let alone get down on the floor for a workout. But things have settled down a bit more now that we’ve been in our house about a month and I’ve been trying very hard to make exercise a priority again.

For those of you who follow my Fit2B journey regularly, here are a few quick statistics. I started taking my measurements and recording my weight in January 2016, when I was 4 months postpartum with baby #3. It had been a difficult pregnancy and a rough delivery. Breastfeeding had been a challenge and I hadn’t had much time to focus on exercise. The baby weight was not easily leaving. In fact it held on harder than with any of my previous children.

A quick caveat here, I give you these numbers so you can see the progress that is possible using tummy safe fitness rather than ripping, shredding and breaking out bodies as many other fitness philosophies recommend. Fit2B works for me, but maybe you’ve found something else that works great for you. If so wonderful. If you haven’t, feel free to follow along with my journey. But remember, these are the numbers for my body, and yours will be different.

January 2016

Weight: 154 lbs
Diastasis measurements: 2-3-1 (for those who are new to this, that means approximately 2 finger widths above the navel, three at the navel and 1 below it.)
Stomach measurements: 36 inches

I was lucky enough to meet Beth Learn in person the following month and while she confirmed my measurements, she also told me my separation was very deep and the muscles very disconnected. That was discouraging news, but I pressed on anyway.

During the following months I worked my way through Fit2B Beginning and incorporated many of the exercises from my past abdominal rehab with The Tummy Team.

August 8, 2016

Weight 145

(Notice I got lazy and didn’t record any other measurements besides weight. This was a mistake on my part, because results are sometimes seen in different kinds of ways.)

Then life got crazy so I created my own workout schedule called Fit2B Quick.

November 13, 2016

Weight: 143 lbs
Diastasis Measurment: 1-2-1
Stomach measurement (at the navel) 36 inches
Hip measurement: 40 inches

Then preparing to move and the busyness of the holiday season took over and I again reverted to the philosophy that something is better than nothing and began my Fit2B Minimal series, which I didn’t even complete thanks to the move.

So where am I now?

February 2017
Weight 140
Stomach measurement (at the navel) 35 inches
Hip measurement: 39 inches
diastasis 1-3-1

I find it weird that things have gotten stronger, but not necessarily much narrower. My middle seems to shrink and expand based on so many factors including hormones. But I am able engaged when I need to, which is very encouraging progress.

Please remember that these are just the numbers for my body. Your journey will be different. Sometimes it takes me more than a day to get through even a single workout depending on how much time I have available and how many interruptions there are. I think it’s more important to build a consistent habit than to push for longer periods of time. I do longer workouts when I’m able, shorter workouts when I’m not.

I’m trying to get back in the habit of keeping better records of my stats. I probably should take pictures too. Because things get muddled in my head. I think I’ve made no progress and let my discouragement weigh me down, but if I look back at the stats (and pictures when I have them) I am sometimes able to see real progress that I’ve forgotten about.

So here I go, on to Fit2B Advancing. My major focus here is to build stronger muscles, continue to close my diastasis and increasing my stamina through healthy cardio. Basically, while I do want to be a healthy weight, I’m more interested in being fit and strong enough for the life I want. That means being able to hold my toddler for long periods of time with good alignment and carry my almost five year old when I need to. As Beth Learn and Kelly Dean (of the Tummy Team) like to say: we weren’t built for exercise, we were built to live life strong.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

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Fit2B Minimal: Week 2

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This past week, my Daily Minimum really helped me. Some days the there was no way I was going to get through all of my workouts. But doing this, even if it was right before bed, helped to relax me before bed.
Daily Core: Vertical Core

This is a nice short core workout. Similar to Core Wake Up. Easy to squeeze in anywhere.
Daily Stretch: Shoulder Stretches

I’m really loving this new routine. Since I carry so much of my stress in my neck and shoulders, this is perfect for me right now.
Kelly’s Core Cardio

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything like this. About 2/3 of the way through I was so pleased that I was barely breathing heavily, but by the end I definitely felt like I got a good workout. Plus it’s always a treat to rotate anything with Kelly Dean into the mix, just for variety.

 

Ultimate Upper Body

Ok, so last week I said I don’t mind weights. Apparently I lied. I actually find weight lifting by itself kind of tedious. (As opposed to more integrated workout like Balanced or Weighted Warriors). But this workout isn’t too long and can ever be done sitting, if that’s what you need in order to properly engage your core.
Walking Workout

I decided to add weights to parts of this for the first time. It definitely bumped it up a notch without making it too difficult. You could definitely get your heart rate up with this one. (Mind you, I didn’t as much because I stopped four times to deal with my children fighting will emptying the dishwasher and doing a “fun” Christmas craft. Just being real here. Mom exercise involves a lot of stopping to deal with little people and their big problems).
Insane Upper Body

Every time I do this workout after long absence I find myself worrying that it will be too hard. It actually wasn’t too bad. Yes, it was challenging and I had to give my arms a couple of quick rests, but overall it was encouraging to feel the muscles of my arms working.
Transitions

This is a nice short workout. It’s fairly full body without being high intensity. It’s called transitions for a reason, it provides a perfect bridge between the Foundational Five and more traditional workouts. It reminds me a little bit of a simpler Tabata of sorts.
Restorative Poses I

After a rough weekend, I finished my night with this workout and my Daily Minimum. It felt amazing, so relaxing and I’m convinced it helped me to sleep better.
Mula Bandha

I loved coming back to this workout again. I especially love the part done in tree pose. It’s nice to be able to integrate the core work and pelvic floor work and still keep the workout to around 11 minutes long. Another one I like to keep in the rotation and cycle back to regularly.
Having some to do every day has actually been almost relaxing. I still give myself a hard time when I miss a full workout. But knowing that I can accomplish something small, at any time of the day makes it easier. Seriously, I can squeeze my Daily Minimum in while the kids are eating breakfast, which dinner bakes in the over or before bed. If you are having a stressful time of year and you feel like exercise isn’t a possibly, try starting small and consistently. It will make a bigger difference than you realize.

 

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Fit2B Quick Week 1

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This first week felt great. I’ve really struggled in recent months to build a consistent exercise habit. It’s hard to fit it in and some days I’d rather not do it at all than fit it around a cranky baby and whining older kids. But I’m plunging forward anyway.
Basic Aerobics II

If you need, short cardio that gets your heart up, this is your first stop.

Big (little) Band Workout

This is amazingly short, but is great. Perfect for on the road because bands travel well. You could literally do this anywhere.

Basic Aerobics III

What can I say about this workout that I haven’t before. When you get sick of Basic Aerobics II, this is your next stop.

Ankles and Upper Body

This is a great example of a short but effective full body workout. Yes, upper and lower body just like it says. I keep coming back to this one again and again.

Warrior Workout

I don’t often do this workout but it’s short and sweet. I love that it has kind of a relaxing pace while still working some muscles. It’s gentle enough to do before bed, but it’s definitely not just a stretching routine.

Bonus:

Neck Routine

I have been putting off doing this workout for far too long. I carry a ton of tension in my neck and shoulders so this is very necessary for me. Never underestimate the power of a good stretching workout.

Basic Transverse and Mula Bandha

This is a deceptively simple workout. It’s perfect when you are sick, tired, recovering or just don’t have much time or energy to devote to exercise.  Because working on and maintaining your core is always worth it.

What I loved about this week’s schedule was how short the workouts were. Yes, there is a trade off in intensity (though not as much as you would think). It also felt good to be consistent. 7 straight days of regular activity feels pretty darn good, even if some days I only do a core workout or short stretching routine.

Sometimes it can be hard to set realistic goals. I tell myself I have to exercise for at least an hour everyday. But that just isn’t sustainable at this phase of my life. But only five days a week for 15-20 minutes, that is a real possibility. Setting goals is important, without them we can flounder and never make progress towards the things that matter to us. (Like being strong and healthy enough to live the life we want). But setting unrealistic goals is failing before we’ve even begun, because we know it’s unsustainable.

So start out slow, set some realistic goals and join me.

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If you need a little more help; rehab rather than just fitness, check out The Tummy Team.