Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 5

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Photo Credit: Pierce Martin Flickr via Compfight cc

 

How is it already Week 5? It’s amazing to realize that I have been consistently exercising 5-6 days a week for more than a month.  I’ve made quite a lot of progress but I’m still not where I want to be. I can now use my 6 lb dumb bells more comfortably and my core is definitely feeling stronger. I’m resisting the urge to check my DR until I’m completely finished with my six week schedule to give myself the most accurate read.  This week had a few longer workouts, so I had to be very intentional about making exercise a part of my day.

 

 

Ankles and Upper Body / Basic Aerobics III

This is such a solid combination. Ankles and Upper body is short but effective and Basic Aerobics III is great way to fit some solid cardio into a such a short time. I like how easy it is to squeeze these two into my day.

 

 

Tabata Ball

This workout really got me sweating, huffing and puffing today. It doesn’t look difficult but if you are really using a weighted ball (rather than some of the lighter alternatives that Beth suggests) you will definitely be feeling it.

 

 

Walking Workouts / Squat Challenge 

This was quite a combo. I did the Walking Workout first and added some light weights for a bit more difficulty. The Squat Challenge was definitely better second but I was pretty tired and had trouble getting all the way through it. We’ve started pushing up against my maximum length workout. I’m just not the kind of girl who works out for an hour (or even 45 minutes) every day. I do better with short consistency. So while this was a good workout, I did come up against diminishing returns by the end.

 

 

Weight Lifting 101

This was my first time ever trying this, it was a longer workout but I enjoyed the more formal weight lifting nature of the workout. It definitely had me sweating. I thought I was going to attempt Weight lifting 201 next week, but I’ve concluded that I need to focus on this workout for a while longer to let myself build more strength.

 

 

Rockin Yoga and Pilates

While I love that this workout uses toys instead of traditional fitness equipment, this time I decided to use a couple of dumb bells to make this a heavier duty workout. It is exactly as it sounds, a higher intensity and faster moving Pilates and yoga blend.

 

 

PMS Routine

Not just for when you have PMS, this is a great stretching routine to do any time. The gentle poses and movements are perfect for whenever you need to help relieve excess tension. I did this at the end of an especially stressful weekend and it was exactly what I needed. It was relaxing but I also felt energized afterwards.

 

Only one more week to go! I know the next one is going to be a doozy but I’m still excited. I’m finally feeling stronger. I still have a long way to go to where I want to be. Honestly, this is usually where I plateau. The real question I keep asking myself is can I really keep this momentum going and finally take things to the next level?

 

 

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Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 4

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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.

 

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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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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 4

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I feel like I’ve been falling off the wagon lately. March is birthday month in our family so I’ve been eating A LOT of cake and other sweets. I also spent a week caring for two sick kids and a sick husband with the stomach flu. I had a couple of rough weeks. Taking care of two children and a husband with the stomach bug has meant I haven’t gotten much sleep. My diet has also suffered. It feels like my process after months of work has gotten eaten up in two weeks of poor diet and a week of lack of exercise. Hopefully as I get consistent again, I will see a quick return of my progress.

 

WEEK 4 GOAL: Three Studio Workouts + One Wellness Day

Studio Workout One: Warm-up for 5-10 minutes then do Pilates & Yoga Loaded I

Classic Flow A

Pilates & Yoga Loaded

I used Classic Flow A as my warm up and I really enjoyed it in that capacity. It fits right in with Beth’s gentle style of fitness. You could use this as a gentle warm up in the morning or and easy transition before bed. I opted for my lighter set of 3 lb weights for Pilates and Yoga Loaded since I hadn’t done it in a while. It was enough. It required so much concentration to keep my core really engaged, but I was able to do it.

 

Studio Workout Two: Do Chair Pilates as a warm-up then do Backside Burner II

It has been a long time since I did either of these workouts. While both were effective and I enjoyed the gentle movement of them, I can’t say that either was a stand out. But then again, variety is always good, and I’m very grateful for the wide variety provided by Fit2B.

 

Studio Workout Three: Warm-up for 5-10 minutes then do Rockin’ Yoga & Pilates

Warrior Workout

Rockin’ Yoga & Pilates

Warrior Workout made a great warm up and eased me into Rockin Yoga and Pilates. I always forget how intense this is. I had to really concentrate on engaging my core, but I felt strong. The side leg series always kicks my butt (both literally and figuratively). I am still adjusting to longer workouts. Sometimes it seems to take forever to get through. Hopefully I’ll adjust and be able to focus more without being distracted by all the other things I “should” be doing.

 

Wellness Day: Checkout Defining Deltoids & Do 20-30 minutes of cardio! 

Defining Deltoids

Basic Step II

It’s been a while since I did this workout. About halfway through I was thinking how well I was doing with the choreography and then the second half I kept getting lost. Even if it feels too complicated, just keep moving. It’s okay if you are stepping at the wrong time on the wrong foot. If you just keep your heart rate up, it will be an excellent cardio workout for you.

I was worried about Defining Deltoids, since I’ve only done it once before. This is a great workout. It only uses dumbbells for maybe half of it and Beth doesn’t do tons of reps, so I was able to manage to use my heavier 6 lb weights with proper form for the whole workout, which really surprised me. I love the important stretching of the upper back and shoulders at the beginning. I’ve done many of them before in the shoulder workout, but something about Beth’s cuing caused me to get a different stretch this time, which was great. I definitely have some tension in my upper back since I started listing heavier weights, so I was grateful for an opportunity to work on that area specifically.

Combined with Basic Step II, which is primarily a leg workout, this was a perfect combination. Yes, it was nearly an hour. I rarely have an hour to spare anymore. But I remember now why an hour is a great length for me.

 

BONUS: Do your best to do at least one (maybe two) 30-minute medium-intensity cardio sessions.

 

Weight Lifting 101

I have been looking forward to trying this new workout. I’ll be honest, I find weight lifting tedious. Give me some intense cardio in a fun routine like Kickboxing or Aerobics; or a Couch to 5K program. But I also wanted the benefits that come from lifting weights. So I’ve been making sure to incorporate routines with weights several times a week. I like that Beth uses several different levels of weights. I also appreciates the use of dumbbells in deadlifts instead of barbells. This makes it much more accessible to those of us who won’t be purchasing new equipment any time soon. (That being said, I really wanted to run out and get some heavier dumbbells after realizing what I could do).

 

Tabata

I love the concept of Tabata, especially the way Beth does it. I like that she tries to keep the exercises from being too tedious. This particular one isn’t as intense as Tabata Kick and Squat, but it is a good solid workout that hits several major muscle groups while still being light to medium cardio.

 

The workouts are definitely getting harder and after the week I just had, it’s tempting to give up. But I know it’s better to just get back on the horse. So I’m throwing myself into Week 5. Let’s see how it goes.

 

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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 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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