Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 6

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This was a great week. The longer workouts did make it more difficult to fit everything in, but I was definitely feeling up to the challenge strength wise. I’m excited to finally see concrete progress and I look forward to seeing where I can go from here.

 

Step & Pivot Around the World

I continually find that the step aerobic routines are some of the best cardio I can get on Fit2B and this workout is no exception. It adding fun new elements to step aerobics and is definitely more complicated than Basic Step. I found myself on the wrong leg more often than not, but I kept going anyway and got a great workout.

 

 

Kettle Bell II

This is the first time I’ve been able to complete this workout almost as written using my actual 15 lb Kettle bell. I did have to substitute my heavier hand weights for the shoulder stars. (This is a combination of the fact that 15 lbs is a little bit too heavy and that my kettle bells is especially large and awkward, even for its weight.) But other than that, it definitely had me sweating but I was able to finish it without injuring myself.

 

 

Tabata Kick and Squat

This workout is quite long but not unreasonably difficult. This workout incorporates wonderful aspects of kickboxing within the framework of Tabata. The beauty of Tabata is the built in rests. This allows for a longer and more difficult workout without constant motion. This may be one of the longer workouts on the entire site, but is still quite doable.

 

 

Basic Step with Weights

I was wise enough to do this with my lighter weights, because this was quite a workout. I really enjoy step aerobics (at least Beth’s version of it) and the addition of the weights gives this workout exactly what I need to get my heart pumping but still give my muscles enough resistance. I can’t wait to come back to this with heavier weights.

 

 

Peaceful Blend

This workouts is long but also slow and sustained. This means that it feels even longer than it actually is. That may sound like a bad thing, but I would argue that depends on what you are looking for. This workout is slow moving but yet still taxing on the body. If you are willing to invest the forty minutes I think you will find that this will provide a good opportunity to strengthen your whole body but while still leaving you feeling calm rather than amped up afterward.

 

 

Simply Stretching

I am really enjoying devoting one day a week just to stretching. This has been a hard thing for me to prioritize. When I have time to exercise, I want to make sure I’m burning serious calories and seeing a real benefit. But I’m noticing a positive benefit to regular stretching too. While I overall feel more energetic when I do cardio or weights, when I strength I feel more relaxed and controlled in my thoughts and emotions. It helps me decompress at the end of a long stressful day. Simply Stretching is longer than I would typically devote to stretching but the benefit was definitely worthwhile.

 

 

It’s the end of Week 6 and it’s safe to say that I feel inspired. I’m starting to see a slight change in my separation, my strength is increasing and I’ve even seen a small drop on the scale. (I’m sure that is partly influenced by my recent prioritization of healthy eating habits as well). Instead of dreading exercise, I am mostly looking forward to it. I’m still not succeeding at getting up early, but I am managing to fit it in most days. I’m excited to keep getting stronger to keep up with my family and be able to do the things I need to do in life. That’s pretty much what Fit2B is about for me. Yes, I want to be healthy, of course I’d like to look good. But mostly I need to be strong enough to live the life I want and right now, I feel like I’m on the right track.

 

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Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 5

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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?

Next up: Week 6

 

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Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 4

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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.

Up next: Week 5

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Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 3

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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.

Up next: Week 4

 

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Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 2

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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.

 

Up next: Week 3

 

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Fit2B Inspired (Again): Week 1

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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

 

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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.

 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

 

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