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Workout Review: Physique 57

As I mentioned in my Figure 4 post, I have a new found love for barre exercises and after some encouragement from Jess decided to invest in Physique 57’s ultimate workout set.

I’ve been doing the DVDs as recommended, which means two full body (I do Vol 1 & 2), one 30 minute full body and a booster for almost a month now. The first thing I’ve noticed is that THIS STUFF IS HARD. Despite mostly standing in one place I am breathless after the first 20 minutes (10 minutes for the express stuff). Personally the arm exercises are a little easy, but my thighs are always burning each and every time I do these routines, same with my abs.

For me the hardest disc has been the Vol 2 Advanced Express 30 Min Full Body. The plie variations and standing glute work really kill me.

Sometimes I think I am doing some of the hip and glute exercises wrong, especially the thigh dancing, based on what the instructor is saying. Makes me think I could benefit from a class or two the next time I am in NYC.

I would highly recommend these for anyone looking for a body weight exercise to do at home.

Reintroducing Meat

As many of you know, I stopped eating meat when I was 16. It wasn’t because I was trying a new fad but simply because it made me feel sick–sharp stabbing pains to be exact. I lived off fish, tofu, legumes and anything Morning Star, LiteLife and the rest could throw at me.

When I started getting a little plumper in my hip/thigh area despite my constant working out I turned to trusted nutrition sources who said that the estrogen found in soy products could be the issue. I decided it was time to reintroduce chicken.

It started innocently when I was home with my parents and nothing happened. I actually ate less because it filled me up quicker and I was satisfied. When that worked, I went ahead and ate turkey. Completely revolutionized my lunch.

And now I can’t get enough of it. I actually feel better, like I have more energy and stay full longer. I feel like my meals are more balanced for some reason too.

I don’t think I will ever go back to eating red meat, but for now I am completely satisfied.

Exercise ADD

The other day while I was working out with my trainer, I mentioned my newest addiction to Physique 57. After a few minutes of hearing me gush about it, she said “you have exercise ADD.” I laughed saying “I just like to have options.”

Later I realized she was absolutely 100% correct. If you open my DVD drawer you will find evidence of this sickness…everything from Carmen Electra’s Fit to Strip series to the Firm. I even did the whole Billy Blanks Bootcamp movement for a time.

Evidence of my sickness

That doesn’t even count the hours I’ve spent spinning, running, cardio kickboxing, practicing yoga. I think swimming and Zumba are the only things I have never tried.

I went through a kettlebell phase, a TRX phase, an interval workout based on Katherine McPhee phase, and more.

And then when these things either don’t fit into the schedule a few weeks in a row or they get too expensive i.e.; paying extra to go to the fancy spin studios, I move on to the next thing.

I know that variety is good, but I wonder am I giving myself too many options?

The Two-a-Days Debate

There’s been a lot of chatter about the type-A exerciser who is packing in multiple workouts and spending butt loads to do it.

There was a point in my high school athletic career where two-a-days were the norm. I had morning weight training sessions, followed by team practice in the afternoon. In college I just logged two-hour gym sessions with cardio and weights together. And then the real world happened and now I am lucky if I get to work out at all.

When the weight creep started coming on full force I instituted a stricter schedule. Since I was in NYC and I was able to join a gym with multiple locations, I used to select different classes that I could easily commute to. Sometimes it was a kickboxing class other times urban rebounding (the one with the trampolines) and that would include some sort of workout at home through my trusty DVDs. Truth, I couldn’t keep it up. It just wasn’t possible. I was EXHAUSTED.

I do not own this shirt, but I want this shirt

My two-a-days were regulated to weekends. I would hit a spin class and then go to a yoga class at the same place right after. Since I started that, my two-a-days have always included yoga. I do a hard workout and then have the second be my recovery. Especially on race days.

Recently though, I read an article by my new favorite local health reporter Melissa Romero about the RIGHT way to do two-a-days. She interviewed Allyn Blind, a personal trainer, who said the healthiest way to do them is splitting up cardio and weight training, NOT marathon gym days.

So what is your take on two-a-days? Are they in your arsenal?



Guest Post: How to Keep a Positive Attitude Through Cancer

This is a guest post from David Haas. David writes and conducts research for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. You can find his writing at http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/david/

I’ve had family members diagnosed with cancer and seen first hand how exercise can help them and their caregivers. 

It seems that nearly every family is affected by the terrifying diagnosis of cancer. The word suggests uncertainty and fear. Many people when first diagnosed with some type of cancer are afraid of early death or a long, painful process from which death is a welcome release. These kinds of thoughts weigh on the mind even when all is being done to perform a cure.

There are different treatments available for those suffering with cancer ranging from the alternative vitamin C therapies to the more conventional chemotherapy and radiation. One overlooked but valuable treatment option is physical fitness. Many are overwhelmed with a new diagnosis or have lost stamina after fighting the disease for a longer period so they do not consider exercise a priority. In fact, doctors have long advised cancer patients to get plenty of rest and cease physical activity. Modern medicine is suggesting a different treatment plan, however.

First of all, quality of life can be greatly improved by an exercise regimen. A fit body will maintain a healthy weight and keep organs, bones and muscles strong. Regular exercise can improve circulation, balance and appetite all of which may be compromised in a cancer patient. All of these benefits will give a person more motivation to fight the disease. Lynda Johnson, a nutrition specialist at University of Missouri suggests that the side effects of cancer can be lessened through exercise.

Cancer is a very complex disease and types of cancer vary greatly making it difficult if not impossible to suggest a proven protocol for cure. However, the emotional state of a person diagnosed with cancer can be greatly improved with fitness even if there are no physical benefits.

Exercising with a friend can give a great emotional boost. Spending time with loved ones takes a priority position in the lives of those with uncertain futures. A fitness buddy is also there for support if the cancer patient feels weak or sick.

Many newly diagnosed or recovering cancer patients can benefit from a personal trainer. Certain types of cancer call for specific fitness therapies. One example is mesothelioma, cancer of the lining of the lungs and other major organs caused by smoking or asbestos exposure. While a person going through treatment for mesothelioma will have periods where he is bedridden, exercise with a trainer that is educated in how to help a body fighting cancer is highly beneficial for those days when he is able to be up and around.

The link between a positive mood and the ability to fight disease is not well understood. However, those that take advantage of the euphoric state of mind that exercise produces seem to live longer and better lives even with cancer. This state of mind greatly affects the success of defeating the disease entirely.

Review: Timed Exercise

I don’t know if you have figured this out yet, but I love being pushed to the point of nausea in my workouts. I know that is strange. I am absolutely in the minority when I say I am jealous of the first workout you see on Biggest Loser.  To me it is a sign of me working my body really hard, and the fact that I need to do more.

Anyway, when I was in Jacksonville last month my mom and I went to her exercise class together, Timed Exercise. This is a 30 minute class that combines cardio and strength training, using a high-intensity workout that combines body and free weight movements.

Each time you go there is a different group exercises that need to be completed in six rounds of reps. The day I went our WOD was lateral jumps, dips, push ups, pike push ups, wipers (which are done in ab straps),  and we had to do 30, 28, 26, 24, 22, 20.  About halfway through the 30 reps round, I already wanted to die.

Somehow by the grace of whatever strength I had deep down, I made it through all six rounds. My arms and chest were aching the worst and I had a hard time washing my hair the next day.

The cool down/stretch afterwards wasn’t the greatest, but I would recommend anyone looking for a HIIT workout in Jacksonville to check it out.

UPDATE: I wanted to let you know how awesome my mother did at this workout. She rocked it and when I thought I was going to puke she was still going.

Exhaustion Set In

A few weeks ago, I wrote about seeing my exhaustion warning signs. I don’t think I realized how exhausted I was until the GW Parkway 10 miler.  My body just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t from lack of training, but more from lack of resting. I was in essence “spent.”

A lot of traveling, a lot of work and not enough time to actually slow down and relax or even take care of myself. My body and brain were just tired, I think they still are.

I’ve decided for the month of May to switch up how I exercise. Less running, more yoga/barre exercises and a regimented sleep schedule. I’m hoping that will help my body rejuvenate itself.

Next step, changing my diet a bit and maybe a monthly massage….



Figure 4 at Pure Yoga

I was never that good at ballet. My body didn’t turn and twist the way it was supposed to, and I swear my short stature had everything to do with it. So I stayed pretty far away from barre classes, aside from the occasional barre ride at Revolve.

Then a few weeks ago while in NYC for work, I went to Pure Yoga with my bestie and took Figure 4. I was skeptical, but a willing newbie. Most barre classes follow the same basic format: upper body, thighs, glutes and abs. Figure 4, however, goes straight to thighs. The place that no matter how many squats, runs, or lunges I do can never be lean.

Rather than isolate one muscle at a time, Figure 4 incorporates leg exercises with arms to keep the body in a fat-burning zone. I really loved how the instructor didn’t let me slack off because it was my first time. She was there to correct my form and push me when she thought I was going too easy.

I was dripping in sweat before the hour was over, and was feeling it in my legs days later. It turned me into a believer of barre workouts, so much so that I invested in Physique 57 DVD set (review to come).