Maybe P90X Won’t Kill Me Now?

March 7, 2010

Thanks for the reminder about the healthy snacks, LilSis. I think it's really smart to keep good things on hand in case of a snack attack, which is going to happen, sooner or later!

Remember me talking about P90X last weekend? I was all psyched up to start it. I did the fitness test, and was able to pass it, but the darn thing kicked my butt and made me realize how puny and weak my upper body is right now. Even though I wanted to jump in 100%, a voice of reason in my head told me I'd probably end up getting hurt, or getting so sore that I'd quit, or getting discouraged because I couldn't do the whole workout. Those would all be bad outcomes that I don't want.

So, for once, I decided that I should be smart and ease into the new workout.  In addition to my gym workouts five times a week, here's what I'm doing.  If you're chompin at the bit to whip yourself into swimsuit shape, but need to ease into a heinie-kickin' workout like me, give these workouts a try!

  • Inhale Yoga with Steve Ross – it comes on live here on the Oxygen cable channel at 5 am and 6 am.  I record it on DVR now, so I can do them whenever I want.  This is my favorite yoga.

Amazon has the set of all three Jillian Michaels DVDs for $22.99.

After doing  a month of rotating these workouts, I think I'll be ready to start P90X.  Yoga is great for building strength – both upper and lower body – and Jillian's videos all incorporate excellent upper body exercises.  I'm hoping that doing a month of prep before embarking on P90X will decrease the probability that it will kill me!  What do you think?


Bikini time…it’s here!

May 29, 2009

Yikes!  Swimsuit season has snuck up on us again?  Wasn't it just Christmas??  I know I keep saying that, but seriously, didn't 2009 just begin, like 5 minutes ago?

Flickr photo by Glorius

Flickr photo by Glorius

Whether I'm ready for it or not, swimsuit season is here.  And when it comes to my health and fitness level, I'm having some of the same challenges as you, LilSis.   I've got stress in my world and we know that triggers the nasty little hormone called cortisol, which does it's darndest to make you fat.  I also have the “getting older” factor which means hormonal stuff and slowing metabolism, on top of my thyroid issues.  Plus I love spicy and salty foods, so I'm always trying to dodge a mexican food or pizza or chip ‘n' dip disaster!

In spite of all that, I'm determined to be as healthy as possible, and to not use any of these real challenges as excuses for slacking off.  I'm up to 8 or 10 hard workouts a week, and I'm trying to be extra-careful about my eating.  I still feel as though I'm barely maintaining though, and that my body is really wanting to pack on some extra pounds.  It's frustrating that I used to get by with 3 or 4 workouts a week and ate much more, but was in better physical condition.  I guess that's the reality that we women all have to face, right?  We may as well accept it and try to find some solutions that work for us.  Here are some things that help me.  None of them are magic bullets (wish they were) but after decades of trying to be healthy, I know these are the tips that work for me.

  • Eat intentionally, thinking of food as fuel for the things I have to do physically and mentally.  I have enough calories to spend on fuel, and none to waste on junk.
  • Drink lots of water.  So important!
  • Fruit only til noon on some days to give my system a rest.  Never skip breakfast!
  • No sugar or other white stuff…white pasta, white rice, crackers, white bread, potatoes.
  • Small meals keep the metabolism going and the fuel burning.
  • Since I've been vegetarian for almost 15 years, I make sure to include protein at lunch and dinner, if not at breakfast. I also have a boiled egg, low fat string cheese or a small protein bar as a snack in the afternoon.
  • Make dinner the smallest meal of the day, and ideally with no starches at all.
  • No soft drinks and no caffeine.
  • Limit alcohol.  Talk about empty calories!
  • Watch the salt, especially at night.
  • Take the supplements that your body and lifestyle demand.
  • Cardio, cardio, cardio!
  • Strength training.  Great for your bones, your posture, and your physique.
  • Don't forget facial sunscreen every day, whether you're planning to be in the sun or not.  I like Neutrogena Dry Touch and Skinceuticals.  Neither breaks me out, which is saying a lot.  If you like color on your body but avoid the sun, Loreal Sublime Bronze self-tanner is awesome!

So those are the rules I set for myself, and try to follow (sometimes more successfully than others!).  Having said all that, I do allow myself a treat from time to time!

Oh, and before I go, how about an update on Jillian Michaels' attempt to kill me via her “30 Day Shred” DVD?  I did Level 1 eight times and then moved up to Level 2, which I've done three times so far.  Can I tell you this is hard stuff?  So hard but so great!  I love it.  So far my heart rate on the treadmill is already down.  I'm feeling stronger, with better posture and a tighter core.  As long as I skip a day in-between Shredding, my knees can tolerate it.  I also bought two other of Jillian's videos: “Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism” and “No More Trouble Zones”.  I haven't done them yet, but can't wait to give them a try!

Now let's get out there, ladies, and enjoy our summer whether we're in the shape we want to be in yet or not!  Today is all we have, so let's celebrate it!


Get Shredded!

May 13, 2009

When LilSis mentioned Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred video, I was immediately intrigued.  I've seen The Biggest Loser a couple of times, so I knew that Jillian was a hard-core trainer.  Who wants Jillian to get them shredded?  Me!  Who wants to see results in 30 days (or 30 workouts)?  Me!  Who wants to see a change in their body as summer approaches?   Me me me!


I have an “all or nothing” personality, so when I decide I want to start a new eating plan, workout or whatever, I want to do it NOW!  So I marched myself up to SuperTarget and got the video on sale for $13.  If you're more patient than me, Amazon has 30 Day Shred for $8.99.  This video is the #2 biggest seller out of all their Movies and TV category!  There are 3 workouts on the DVD, all at around 25 minutes each.  Level 1 is the easiest so you start there, and then move up to Level 2 and then Level 3 as your fitness level improves.

I started the DVD right away, and I just finished my fifth workout at Level 1.  When I did the workout the first time, I thought it was kind of short and wanted a little longer workout.  The next day though, I realized the 25 minutes was plenty long enough.  My entire body was sore…I mean: arms, back, pecs, legs, butt, abs…the whole kitten caboodle (however you spell that).   I was surprised to be that sore since I do cardio and weights at the gym 5 times a week, and walk outdoors whenever the weather allows.  Obviously, this workout hit my muscles in a new way which is a great thing!

This is not a fluffy little dancy DVD!  Oh no no no!  It's push-ups, crunches, jumping jacks, tae bo punches, jumping rope, lunges, squats…you get the idea.  It's stuff that a trainer would have you doing in a gym if you paid him or her $180 an hour.  All you need is a mat and a set of hand weights.  I love the way Jillian combines small muscle movements, like bicep curls, with large muscle movements, like lunges.  Jillian is encouraging and motivational, and gives clear instructions about the correct form.

So the million dollar question is, do I see results?  Heck, yeah!  Woo hoo!  After my third or fourth workout, I caught a view of my arm in the mirror and was surprised to see some new definition there!  I'm not kidding.  My lower “quadrant” feels tighter, thanks to the squats and lunges, and my core feel stronger.  I'm going to stay with this workout, and see where it'll take me.  If I can, I'd like to do 5 more workouts at Level 1, and then move up to Level 2 for 10 workouts, and end with 10 workout at Level 3.  That'll be the 30 workout barometer, and I'll report back about my progress…if Jillian hasn't killed me!

If I have one note of caution to add, it's to be very careful if you're like me and have bad knees (too many years of step aerobics!).  Be sure to strictly use the proper form in every exercise.  The side lunges were hurting my knees, so I've backed off that exercise a little and substituted a move with less knee stress.

Overall?  On a sister scale of 1 to 10, I give this video an 8.5 so far!  Oh, and LilSis, thanks for the suggestion of this video.  And I apologize for this post…I hope you don't feel like I'm rubbing your nose in the fact that you're still in that darn boot and can't exercise for a while!  You'll be back to your old working-out self soon, don't worry!

Update: This video is now #1 on Amazon as of May 14th!  And Jillian has two other videos in the top 10!  I'm tempted to order these two but I'm going to wait until I finish this first 30-workout challenge.