Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday

Shrink for Good with the Sisterhood!
So, today I weighed in down another 0.9lbs from last week, which now makes me exactly 1 pound below my goal weight. Woohoo!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday - Goal achieved!!!

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans


Today I was down exactly another pound which makes me officially 0.1lbs below my goal weight (which was to get back to my pre-Jacob weight)! Maybe I'll post some pics and numbers soon, but right now, I just wanted to get on here and get this post up - woohoo!!!

Through the week my weight has fluctuated another .5lbs less than this, and .5lbs more than this - so I knew my goal was met, but I admit I'm a stickler for the rules sometimes and so I was very glad when I stepped on the scale this morning and could go with the official weigh in Wednesday.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I would have 5 more pounds to lose to get to my pre-Emma weight. That is not a goal of mine, but because my "program" has been getting me results, and I'm finding it easy to stick to, I'm just going to continue with the program and see what happens. If I lose more weight great, and if not, that's great too! If I stop losing, then I'm going to stop fasting though and see if I'm able to maintain that way. Quite frankly, it just shows how easy I've found it to fast, if I'm willing to continue after my goal - I NEVER would've said that about the South Beach diet that's for sure!! I just find this so much easier to work into a regular lifestyle, and not really feel deprived or feel that certain foods are off limits. I'd highly recommend it to anyone. Fasting has certainly not slowed down my metabolism in any weigh, shape or form! (pun intended!!) It was, in fact, the only thing that has worked for me consistently during the last 1 1/2 + years since Jacob's birth. Obviously what works for one doesn't work for everyone, but don't knock till you try it - it sure worked for me!

It is worth it to keep on keeping on. I had been getting so discouraged and frustrated with trying to lose these last 7 pounds. And, perhaps, since it was such a small number, some of you may feel like I had no business being frustrated by that. But those last few pounds are often the hardest to lose and I was determined to do it! But as the months wore on and the scale didn't budge despite shredding like a maniac going for one hundred pushups and other determined efforts - I admit to almost giving up. In fact, the fasting thing was my last resort. If that hadn't worked I was ready to admit that my body was too happy where it was and I was going to have to settle for the way things were. So I added fasting to my shredding regimen, with no cheating, and finally got the results I was looking for.

So, whatever your method, whatever you've found works for you - rock it! Stick to it! You can do it! And if you feel like you've plateaued, shake things up a bit, try something new.

Shred on! Fast on! Turbo Jam on! Weight watchers on!

Just do it!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fasting - spiritual or physical?

Something I've been thinking about (and have been asked about) in regards to fasting for weight loss is how that practice would influence fasting for spiritual reasons. I'm not necessarily sure I have all the answers, but I'm going to think out loud here for a bit.

My biggest thought is that it comes down to the motivation behind the fast.

I am rather embarrassed to admit that, along with never having read the Bible all the way through before this year, I have also never fasted for spiritual reasons. I haven't heard much teaching on fasting before, and have never researched it myself and honestly haven't thought much about it at all, until now.

According to Brad Pilon's Eat Stop Eat, there are numerous physical benefits to fasting, including decreased body fat & body weight, decreased blood glucose levels, dereased insulin levels & increased insulin sensitivity, increased lipolysis & fat oxidation, increased growth hormone levels, decreased food related stress and more.

And, of course, there are spiritual "benefits" to fasting as well. The goal of fasting for spiritual reasons is to focus on God, to draw closer to Him, to gain wisdom or guidance before making a decision, to fellowship with God at a deeper level. Fasting does not change God, it changes us.

Here are a few articles I found about fasting.....
Christian Fasting
What does the Bible say?

So, this is why I think it comes down to motivation.....

You can fast without growing closer to God. Fasting for purely physical reasons (to lose weight) is simply not eating. You are not praying instead of eating, you are not focusing on God, you are not growing closer to Him - you are simply. not. eating. That's it. That is what I have been doing these past few weeks - all of my fasts have been purely from a weight loss motivation.

Now, here's the trickier part - can you fast for both physical and spiritual reasons at the same time?

My answer is ..... it depends.

Way to straddle the fence, eh? Stick with me here and I'll explain...

If you are trying to lose weight and gluttony has been an issue in your life, or you have been turning to food instead of to God for any reason, I think it is possible to fast for both spiritual and physical reasons. By doing this you are addressing the root of your weight problem and are drawing closer to God - losing weight (though still intentional) is a result/benefit of your spiritual fasting. I am not familiar with the exact teachings of the Lord's Table bible study and weight loss program - but I would think that this is an excellent example of benefiting from fasting both spiritually and physically.

However, if your desire to lose weight (even if it's a lot of weight) has nothing to do with your desire to grow closer to God, if you have not acknowledged the spiritual roots of your weight issues, then you are fasting for purely physical reasons and will not experience the spiritual benefits of fasting as there is no spiritual motivation/intention behind the fast.

Also - if your relationship with God has no correlation to your desire to lose weight (such as my goal of losing those last few pounds of babyweight), if your motivation for losing those last few pounds is purely physical, then you are also fasting with a physical motivation and not a spiritual motivation and will therefore not experience the spiritual benefits of fasting.

So the hard question is - knowing the physical benefits (weight loss in particular) of fasting, can you/I fast for spiritual reasons only, without having a hidden agenda of losing weight at the same time?

The answer to this question of course, is very personal. Only you (and God, of course!) know your heart and the true motivation behind your decision to fast. But yes, I believe it is possible. If I feel that God is wanting me to fast, or I feel that I need to fast in order to gain insight or to grow closer to God - I can absolutely make a conscious decision to fast for spiritual reasons. If I do so though, my day will look different than if I was fasting for physical reasons. If during this spiritual fast I'm not praying more than I normally would, or reading my Bible more than usual - then my motivation was not spiritual and I will not receive any spiritual benefit from the fast. But if my actions jive with my motivation then I am fasting for truly spiritual reasons and I will receive the spiritual blessings that come with it.

Another questions is - if you fast regularly for physical reasons (like I have been), will it make fasting for spiritual reasons too "easy", or too routine, so that you'll miss the point/benefits for fasting?

This could be a potential problem if the focus of a spiritual fast was on food and not eating it.

Not eating food is the focus of physical fasting.

Growing closer to God is the focus of spiritual fasting.

The truth is, spiritual fasting does not have to involve food at all! In fact, for some people and their health situation, that could be a very unwise decision. You can fast from many things - food, only certain types of food (such as meat), tv, Pepsi, computers, etc. The point of fasting is to give up something physical with the goal of growing closer to God. So, if routine physical fasting has made giving up food too easy - then simply choose another item to give up when you want to fast for spiritual reasons.

In other words, you can't use that as an excuse not to fast for physical reasons. :)

Should Christians be fasting? Yes, absolutely they should be and this is something I have not done, and need to start doing. Consider the following scripture passage (emphasis mine)...

Matthew 6:16-18 When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

The scripture says when, not if. It is not commanded, however it certainly appears to be expected. And with the benefit of growing closer to God, having our will line up with His instead of ours, receiving wisdom and guidance - why we would not?

So, those are some of my thoughts. Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

I'm happy to report that I'm down another 0.6lbs which means I officially have less than 1 lb left to reach my goal - 0.9lbs to be exact! I actually was down another 0.5lbs earlier in the week, but I gotta go with the official weigh-in Wednesday report. Either way, it won't be long now - I hope!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday Milestone

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

After a couple weeks of no changes - guess what?! I am down another 1.1 pounds which means I finally get to proudly display this....

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Woohoo!! I'm so pumped!

Only 1.5 pounds left to reach my goal - the end is in sight!

I haven't been posting much lately - nothing much new to report. Basically shredding 3 times a week and fasting 1 or 2 times a week (usually 2). If it ain't broke don't fix it, right?!


Monday, September 7, 2009

Level 1

I fasted since yesterday's lunch buffet at a local Mennonite restaurant. Yummy!

I find fasting to be much more effective if I skip supper and breakfast, instead of breakfast and lunch. Obviously because I eat more at supper than I do at lunch! But, it also rarely works for me to fast over supper. Supper is almost always a true family sit down affair. Lunch and breakfast I can get away with not eating without the kids noticing, just by being busy. But I think supper they would notice. Plus, supper usually includes tasty aromas filling the air - who wants to fast when they can smell delicious food?! Not me!

But anyway, yesterday it worked out well. We just made sandwiches for the kids for supper after that big lunch, and they ate upstairs while Nathan and I were downstairs watching football - so it was easy to skip that meal. It was much harder to turn down the ice cream sundaes at Nathan's parents when we went there for coffee in the evening! They even had cut up Aero and Kit Kat bars to sprinkle over top! They're used to me skipping dessert, but I have to admit, it was pretty tough this time.

Today I did Level 1 of the Shred. I also love to exercise during a fast - I think it makes it even more effective!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Level 2

Today I did Level 2 and tomorrow I will be fasting again.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Level 1

Yesterday I fasted and mowed the lawn.

Today I did Level 1 of the Shred. It's amazing how these workouts are still so tough after I've been doing them for so long. There's so many ways to push yourself just a little harder so that you're just exhausted when you're done!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Body Rock

Today I did the Body Rock routine again - it's a nice change, and definitely a burn on the legs!

Jody gave me a great tip for doing the sliding lunges on carpet - use a large tupperware container lid turned upside down. Worked great - thanks Jody! Sliding lunges are definitely harder than regular ones.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Level 2

Today I did Level 2 of The Shred.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

I'm using yesterday's weigh in because it was pretty accurate with what I've been for most of the week.

Lost .9lbs!!

I am SOOOO close to that 5 lb button it's not even funny. Unfortunately I know I'll have to wait at least 2 weeks to get it, you know how that goes. But maybe in 2 weeks!!

I'm going to do Level 1 of the Shred today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Today I fasted and mowed the lawn.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Body Rock - switched it up

Today I decided to switch things up a bit, just to keep it interesting. (Though I have to admit that I haven't gotten too bored with the 30 Day Shred workouts - I think it helps that there's 3 of them and that I alternate them all the time).

My friend Jody facebooked about this new website she found called BodyRockTV and a Tabata style workout on there that she tried that was really good. It's called the Best 20 Minute Cardio Workout - since I'm all about short intense workouts this looked like a good one - so, I decided to try it. I'm not so sure I agree with the title of the workout though - it's actually all strength conditioning moves - but you do get an excellent cardio workout at the same time, so I guess it still works.

The idea of Tabata is to do 4 minute rounds of 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. In this workout you do a different 4 minute round five times to get 20 minutes of exercise.

The 1st round is the hardest IMO - it's a lunge variation where you keep one leg tucked up by your chest and then lunge back with the other leg over and over as fast as you can for 20 seconds, then rest 10 seconds, then go for 20 seconds, etc. You do this 4 times (2 min) on one leg and then 4 times (2 min) on the other leg.

The 2nd round is baby pushups for 8 rounds (4 mins). You can try full pushups if you like, but if you can keep that up the whole time - well, my hat's off to you!

The 3rd round is slide lunges with a lateral raise - alternating legs after 4 rounds. Since I'm working on carpet and don't have sliders I just did a backwards lunge.

The 4th round is bike crunches. She does them different than the traditional bike crunch move - I tried doing the traditional version on round 8 and found that to be even harder than the one she does. So, I'll probably do that next time.

The 5th and final round is side slide lunges with bicep curls. I didn't slide - I just kept in a stationary wide leg stance and sank down on one side for 4 rounds, then the other side for 4 rounds.

I have to say - this was very effective and a nice change. There's tons of these type of workouts online and you could really design your own simply using the same idea.

One note of warning - this woman uses very low cut tops for her workouts, so you will be getting an eyeful if you watch the videos.

Edited to add: Jody gave me a great tip for doing sliding lunges on carpet - use a large tupperware lid flipped upside down.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Level 2

Today I did Level 2 again and tomorrow I'm fasting.

There ya have it - short and sweet!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday and Level 3

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

My weight has definitely been fluctuating this week - a difference of over 2 lbs all together - not sure what's up with that. But for the official weigh in today I'm very happy to report a loss of exactly 1 lb!! I'm so excited!! Since starting this intermittent fasting thing I'm finally seeing steady progress towards my goal - and I even mean "see it" literally, in the mirror!

That brings me to 3.5lbs lost in total - I'm gradually getting close to that 5lb button!!

And this has happened with me going back to only shredding 3 workouts per week, instead of 6! Woohoo! Why torture myself unnecessarily right?!

Off to do Level 3 now. I couldn't workout Monday - well, I could've if I wanted to get up early, which I didn't :). So, I worked out yesterday instead. It doesn't work out ideally to do the every other day thing this week, so I'm just doing 2 days in a row, to make sure I get my 3 days in this week. I haven't done Level 3 in almost 2 weeks, so wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Level 1

Today I did Level 1 and today is a fasting day.

I bought a digital scale which is great (now I don't have to weigh myself on the Wii Fit which takes forever). My weight has been fluctuating a lot this week. At one point I was down over 1.5 lbs from last Wednesday, but now I'm up again. So, I don't know what's going on. We'll see what tomorrow's official weigh in reveals.

I'm also heading out to do some weeding. I had seeded flowers in our flower beds in an attempt to save some $$. I was really hoping that some of those things that came up were flowers, but it's time to admit that they're all weeds!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Level 2

Today I did Level 2 and tomorrow is another fasting day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Weigh-in Wednesday and Level 1

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Pretty much stayed even today - technically lost 0.1lbs for an even 2.5lbs lost over all. I'm pretty happy with that actually, considering all the restaurant food I've eaten this past long weekend. I'm fasting today and doing Level 1 of the Shred today - hoping for more weight loss next week!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Level 3

Level 3 complete for another day.

FYI - I'm not planning on fasting while we're away on our little holiday ;)

See ya after the weekend!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Level 2

Done Level 2.

I know tomorrow's supposed to be a rest day, but I don't really have time on Friday since we'll be leaving for our weekend away immediately from swimming lessons, and I'll have to get up early to pack nevermind exercise. So, I'm going to exercise tomorrow again instead.

Weigh-In Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

So, I'm not sure how accurate today's Weigh-In is. I weighed myself before eating today, so it should be a little less than accurate, however it's also that time so I'm thinking the 2 balance each other out.

Either way - today's weigh in shows a loss of 0.6lbs!!

That means I'm virtually half way to the 5lb mark - I'm so excited! I can't wait to get that 5lb button.

We're going away this weekend which translates to a lot of restaurant food, so I'm not so sure how next week will go, but for now, I'm happy! :) Off to Shred before swimming lessons.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Level 1

Just finished Level 1 and now I'm off to mow the lawn. Due to all the rain we've been having lately I haven't mowed in almost 2 weeks, so I'm expecting a pretty good workout cause that grass is long!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Level 3

I almost forgot to post this today. I got up early and did Level 3 of the Shred before swimming lessons this morning.

I plan to fast from after supper tonight to suppertime tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Weight loss of 1.1 lbs!!

Due to time restrictions I weighed myself immediately after eating, so I think that's even on the "heavy" side. Either way - it's a full one pound loss and I'm pretty excited about that!

Level 2

I just finished Level 2.
I can't believe how hard this workout still is after all this time!

Normally on Weigh-In day I get up, eat breakfast with the kids and then I weigh myself before I exercise.

Due to swimming lessons, I'm having to get up and exercise before breakfast. So, I just finished exercising, then I'm off to shower and eat breakfast, to give the most accurate weigh-in.

See you soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Resting and Fasting Day

I fasted today for the second time, and it was quite easy. I am anxious to see what Weigh-In Wednesday reveals!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Level 1

Just finished Level 1 and now I'm off to shower quickly before getting everybody ready for swimming lessons. Have a great day!

BTW - I think things are already looking good for results for the fasting. Can't wait till Weigh-In Wednesday!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Intermittent .....Fasting!

I admit it..... I just said the F word. Fasting.

I came across an interesting sounding article online and I ended up purchasing it. It's called Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon. There is a pretty good review of it here - in fact, if you read that, you likely don't need to purchase the ebook - unless you want all the details of the studies and the benefits of fasting.

The basic premise is that in order to lose weight you have to have a calorie deficit. And often that's really hard to do with all the fad diets. Really low carb, for example, is for me at least, a really tough diet to follow for any length of time. I love me my bread! Then some diets are so complicated and difficult to follow.

There is one way that's fairly simple though - intermittent fasting.

The idea is to fast for a 24 hour period either 1 or 2 times per week. Now that sounds a lot worse than it actually is. You never actually go a day without eating.

For example - you could eat supper and then fast 24 hrs which means you could eat again at suppertime. So really you're only skipping breakfast and lunch (ok, and nightsnack).

Now, this guy studied nutrition at the graduate level, so he does know what he's talking about.

And another thing to keep in mind is that most studies on nutrition are funded by food or supplement companies who certainly are not going to benefit from studies that recommend not buying their products (food). It would be a pretty huge financial disaster for them if everybody in America would decide to not eat for one day a week.

Consider the following quote....
Throughout the last 5 decades, the diets of bodybuilders have changed dramatically. Depending on the bodybuilder and the era, they may have ate six meals a day, or they may have ate more than a dozen. Some bodybuilders ate red meat while others did not. Some did hours of cardio, some did not do any at all. Yet, they all were able to lose fat and get into ‘contest shape’.

The reason these bodybuilders could all get lean on so many different styles of diets is because for short periods of time, every diet will work if it recommends some form of caloric restriction. And if you follow a calorie-restricted diet you will lose weight, guaranteed.
Very true right?

He also addresses a few myths about fasting....

Fasting (for 24 hrs) does not decrease your metabolism.

Unless you are running marathons and triatholons - fasting does not negatively affect exercise.

Fasting does not result in loss of muscle mass, as long as you continue to workout (strength train) regularly (2 or 3 times a week).

Fasting gets easier as your body gets used to it.

Here's another quote...
On average, the population of Crete were healthier than North Americans, with less incidence of cardiovascular or heart disease. Researchers attributed this improved health to a high daily intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and olive oil.

This theory made good sense, as these are all accepted ‘healthy’ foods. However, recent reviews by a group of researchers at the University of Crete, School of Medicine suggest that one very important factor was left out of this research. In the Greek Orthodox Christian Church there are some very lengthy fasting recommendations.
Some of the health benefits of fasting (as little as 24 hrs) are decreased body fat & body weight, decreased blood glucose levels, dereased insulin levels & increased insulin sensitivity, increased lipolysis & fat oxidation, increased growth hormone levels, decreased food related stress and more!
Fasting for 24 hours, once or twice a week may be the easiest way to decrease your calorie intake by 10% to 20%, without having to sacrifice and restrict what you eat. It’s like getting the benefits of an entire week of strict dieting, while only sacrificing for one or two days.
Keep in mind, that at the end of fasting you need to continue to eat as you normally would - with no food rewards.

Water, diet cola, black coffee and tea are all allowed during fasting.

Staying busy makes it easier. (Ever notice how often we eat when we're bored?)

Though he strongly encourages strength training, he's not too keen on cardio for weight loss (obviously it's still great for cardiovascular health!)....
To be blunt, I have found from both personal experience and from reviewing clinical research that the work to reward benefit of cardio is very poor – meaning you have to do a disproportionately large amount of work in the gym to receive little in the way of results.
Check out this study....
Take for instance the research conducted by Donnelly et al. that was published in 1991. Sixtynine obese women were put on an extreme 520 Calorie per day diet (this is much lower than I would EVER recommend). The women were then divided into 4 groups:
Group 1 did not exercise
Group 2 did endurance exercise for 60 minutes four days per week.
Group 3 did strength training four days per week
Group 4 did strength training AND endurance exercises four days per week

At the end of the 90 days research trial all four groups lost a very large amount of bodyweight, averaging over 40 pounds of weight loss! The interesting finding was that there were no differences between the four groups in terms of the amount of weight or body fat that was lost. This is despite the massive amounts of exercising that the women in Group 4 were doing every single week!

This conclusion has been found over and over again in published research. Donnelly et al. did a second trial that was published in 1993 showing that weight training could increase muscle size while women followed an 800-calorie per day diet, but it could not increase weight or fat loss. Similar results have been found by research conducted by Kraemer in 1997, Bryner in 1999, Janssen in 2002 and Wang in 2008 just to name few examples.
Why 24 hours?
First: According to the research, the 24-hour point is right in the middle
of the maximum adaptation for fat burning. Second: Through trial and error, I as well as many of the initial test subjects on the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle, found that 24 hours was the least intrusive to their daily lifestyle. A 24 hour period made the most sense from a practical and scientific stand point.
Note: fasting is only recommended for healthy adults, and women that are not pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

Other programs, such as The Lord's Table, also recommend fasting.

So - I decided to try it. In fact, I already did it.... today! And it was actually way easier than I expected it to be. And it's supposed to get easier after you've done it a couple of times. I found it WAY easier to fast 24 hrs than to do 3 days of Phase 1 of the South Beach diet.

We'll see if this can help get rid of those last stubborn pounds - I'll keep you posted!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Levels 3 & 2

So, I thought I'd try switching up the order I do the workouts in. I figured that maybe doing Level 3 last would be harder because it's saving the hardest for last in a long workout.

But it was the opposite! Level 3 was a tad easier to do, but I could barely get through Level 2 afterwards. Especially doing the stationary squats at the beginning of Level 2 after just finishing the jumping squats at the end of Level 3.

I think I'll stick with my "normal" way from now on.

The next two weeks is swimming lessons, so I think I'm going to allow myself to only do one workout each workout day since I'm going to have to be getting up early in order to get it done.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Levels 1 & 3

Completed Levels 1 and 3 today. I feel so exhausted. I'm sure partly because mentally I was a little defeated by the weigh-in today. I just feel like this is all for nothing. I know, I know - do I want any cheese with that whine?

Looking forward to my rest day tomorrow though.

Weigh-in Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Back up 0.2lbs. Apparently I'm simply maintaining - which is what I was doing before I started torturing myself with the Shred. Can we say frustrated?!

Next week I'm going to add in a new element - fasting. I'll tell you more about it next week. Off for more torture now.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Levels 2 & 3

Today was Levels 2 & 3 again. Oh the agony!

I waited till Jacob was down for his nap before exercising (because the older 2 girls are gone at day camp, so they're not around to help entertain him). Which means I had less pauses to my workout, which means it was even harder. :) Also means I got nothing else done during morning nap so I'm going to have to be very productive during his afternoon nap. Yes, he's almost 18 months and still napping twice a day - very fortunate am I!

Tomorrow is my rest lawnmowing day.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Levels 1 & 3

So, I did Friday's workout today instead of Friday (because Nathan and I went for a quick one-night getaway for our 13th anniversary Thursday night).

Man, this. is. tough.

It's really hard to keep doing this when I'm just not seeing the results I'm hoping for. But I will keep at it for at least the rest of the month and then re-evaluate.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Levels 2 & 3

Yup, today I did Levels 2 & 3 and boy am I exhausted.

Doing Levels 2 & 3 together is obviously a little more difficult even than doing Levels 1 & 3 together because Level 2 is harder than Level 1.

Anyway, now that I've managed to pick myself up off the floor, I seriously need a shower. You wouldn't believe how much I'm sweating right now. Niagara Falls has got nothing on me.

Weigh-In Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Have to say that I'm not overly impressed that I only lost 0.2lb this week. I was really hoping for better.

That brings my total weight loss to only 0.9lbs - not even one full measly pound after all that work on the 30 Day Shred Challenge. I have to admit to being discouraged.

That being said, I can see on my body that things are changing. If I can figure out how to password protect just one post, I'll put up some "mid" (forgot to take before pics) and after pictures later.

Off to my grueling workout now....

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day 30 - Level 1 and Level 3

Today is the last day of my 30 Day Shred Challenge! Woohoo - I did it!!!

And did I ever end it off with a bang.

Today I did Level 1 AND Level 3!!

Today is also the first day of my new exercise plan. Unfortunately it still involves shredding. ;)

I will be exercising Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays only and having the other days as rest days.

I will do two full workouts from the Shred each day I exercise - always doing Level 3, and alternating Levels 1 and 2.

So, today I did 1 & 3. Wednesday will be 2 & 3, Friday will be 1 & 3, Monday will be 2 & 3, etc. If I'm ever too busy to do both complete workouts, I will allow myself to do only one of them - but only once per week.

Either next week or the week after I will also start adding in a nutritional element to my plan. But I don't want to start it now because it's finally strawberry season!!! And I'm planning on having strawberries for virtually every meal from now till they're done - about 2 weeks. Love me some strawberries!! Strawberries in Cheerios, strawberries over ice cream, strawberry pie, strawberries by themselves, strawberry salad - hmmmmmm strawberries!!

And even though tomorrow is a "rest" day - I'm still going to mow the lawn - cause I don't want to do that AFTER 2 shredding workouts!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 29 - Level 3 plus

Today I did the first circuit of Level 3 twice, followed by the rest of Level 3. Whew!

Tomorrow is another rest day - yay!

Monday - Day 30 is going to be brutal.

One more day left!!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 28 - Level 2 plus

Today I did Level 2 and the first two circuits of Level 3, and I felt like I was going to die - just like she says! Yeah, she really says that - she's so encouraging. During one part of level 2 she says "I want you to feel like you're going to die!". And you really do.

So thankful tomorrow is a rest day!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 27 - Level 3

Today I "only" did Level 3.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a rest day, but it works better for me if Friday is a rest day so I'm going to switch them up.

I only have 3 more days of shredding left in this challenge - I am 90% done!! Course, with my new plan, things are going to seem even harder when this challenge is over so I'm not sure that's any consolation :)

Weigh-in Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Today I was up 0.2lb which I'm actually not too upset about due to the time of the month it is. Hoping for a loss next week!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 26 - Level 1 plus

What did I get myself into?! I'm exhausted!

Today I did Level 1 and the first two circuits in Level 3. Wow.

I may need to wring out the carpet from all the sweat that dripped off me during this workout. Insane.

The thought of adding that final circuit..... shudder!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 25 - Level 3

I very much enjoyed my rest day yesterday!

But it was back at it with Level 3 today. And now I am off to mow the lawn!

I need it after the eating that happened on the weekend - Olive Garden on Saturday evening, and then we went for lunch Sunday afternoon to a local Mennonite buffet restaurant - hmmm, cottage cheese perogies!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day 24 - Level 2 plus

Today I did Level 2 plus circuit#2 of Level 3 (circuit 2 was dumbbell cleans, jumping lunges, arm punches and butt kicks and jumping jacks with weights, and full situps).

I am exhausted.

And very thankful that tomorrow is a rest day!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 23 - Level 3

I did Level 3 today.

Level 3 is pretty killer, so I decided that since I've just started my "gradually ramping it up schedule", I would only do Level 3 today.

Here's the plan....

Tomorrow (Day 24) will be Level 2 and one circuit from Level 3 (probably circuit#2).

Sunday will be a rest day.

Monday (Day 25) will be Level 3. (And I'll probably mow the lawn)

Tuesday (Day 26) will be Level 1 and two circuits from Level 3.

Wednesday (Day 27) will be Level 3 - and I may do one of the circuits in Level 3 twice.

Thursday will be a rest day (I reserve the right to change Wednesday & Thursday around if it works better).

Friday (Day 28) will be Level 2 and two circuits from Level 3.

Saturday (Day 29) will be Level 3 - I will probably do one of the circuits in Level 3 twice.

Sunday will probably be a rest day, though I may be tempted to just do Day 30 and be done, we'll see. It works out better in the plan if it's a rest day though so I'm sure I'll stick with that.

Monday will be Day 30 and I will try to do all of Level 1 and Level 3 together, and that will work out very nicely to be the first day of my new plan.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 22 - Level 1 plus

(See edited parts below)

A refresher for those just joining me. There are 3 workouts on the 30 Day Shred DVD. The first workout is called Level 1 and you can see my full review of this workout here. The 2nd workout is called Level 2 because it is harder than than the first workout (Level 1). You can get the scoop on this workout here. And finally there's the torturous Level 3 which is (as I'm sure you've guessed by now) harder than either of the first two workouts. You can get the cold hard facts of Level 3 here.

I first did them in order two times through (1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3) and then I switched things up again and did Level 3 the most as it's the hardest, alternating the others levels (1,3,2,3,1,3,2,3)

Now I'm switching it up again.

Today I did Level 1 and the 1st circuit of Level 3 (that's the circuit with walking planks, supermans, mountain climbers, plie jumps, pike crunches and scissor crunches).

I want to eventually work up to doing two full workouts in one day, but I didn't want to kill myself by doing it all at once. :)

I still haven't decided for sure what I'll do tomorrow - either all of Level 2 with the 2nd circuit of Level 3, or all of Level 3 and doing part of Level 3 twice.

Eventually I'd like to do all of Level 1 & 3 once day, and all of Level 2 & 3 the next day.

Any thoughts on how to gradually get there?

Edited to add: Part of my next plan of attack (after this Shred Challenge is over) will be do to Level 1 & 3 on one day, then have a rest day, then do Level 2 & 3 on the next day, then rest, etc. My theory - this should give me the best bang for my buck...

I'll still be doing the same amount of exercising as I was doing the Shred daily.

In fact, I'll probably be expending more calories during this way of exercising, cause I'll be working even harder due to the longer timeframe.

I'll be giving my muscles the 48 hr rest period needed for repairing and strengthening.

The rest of my plan (ie nutrition) will be revealed after the Shred Challenge is over - stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day 21 - Level 3

Finished another round of Level 3.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I switch it up again.

Weigh-in Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Well, I'm down 0.7lb today. Not sure if that's actual loss or just fluctuation, but I'll take it for now! In total, that means I've lost 0.9lbs since starting this challenge. I know that when you're so close to your goal the pounds get harder and harder to get rid of, but I was really hoping for better results. Hopefully next week will be another loss instead of an upward fluctuation.

Once this challenge is over I have one more plan of attack ready. If that doesn't produce results I may have to accept that my body has decided this is the weight it wants to be at.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 20 - Level 2

Just finished Level 2. And Day 20 - that means I'm 2/3 done the challenge!!

Another thing that is improving is my flexibility. On the stretches at the end I can now touch my forehead to my knees - just barely, but I can!

So, I had emailed the Jillian Michaels website to ask about consecutive day muscle training in the Shred and this is the response I got today...
With the 30-day Shred, I do believe that you should have 2 resting days, not right in a row. But, I do know that it is suggested to workout for 5 days out of a week. I hope that answers your question.
This still isn't every other day, but it does kinda make sense. It would also work out to doing 2 weeks (5 days per week) on Level 1, 2 weeks on Level 2 and 2 weeks on Level 3 for a total of 6 weeks (30 days). You know, if I was following the actual program, which I'm not.

So, now I'm not sure what I should do - if I should add a couple rest days to my workout schedule. It would sure make it easier! I just don't want it to seem like a cop out or that I'm giving up or not able to do it.

In some ways, I'm thinking I really should though. Today I was absolutely exhausted doing this workout. I had to do just legs and drop the arms on a couple of the reps for biceps and the front arm raises. My guess is this is likely because my muscles are not getting the proper 48 hr rest and recovery period that they need.

What do you think?

I'm leaning towards making tomorrow my first rest day in 3 weeks.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 19 - Level 3

Another day of Level 3 complete.

Man, this is a tough workout. Seriously. Dude.

You should try it!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 18 - Level 1

Today was Level 1 again.

I can definitely tell I'm getting stronger. I can now do both sets of the front arm raises fairly comfortably with my 5lb weights which means I should really increase them, at least for the first set, next time. Going to 8lbs is going to be a killer though - I'm gonna be wishing for 6's or 7's that's for sure!

I made the chest flies harder by only lifting my 8lbers just over half way up - this makes a huge difference!

I'm going to finish off this rotation (1,3,2,3) one more time and then switch things up again. I hope I'm not going to bite off more than I can chew. I'll leave you in suspense for the time being - stay tuned!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 17 - Level 3

Managed (gasp) to finish (panting) Level 3 (drip, drip) one more time!

My legs are feeling the burn.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 16 - Level 2

Today was Level 2 again. For some reason I was sweating virtually as much as I do for Level 3. It was really tough. Biceps I had to drop from 8lbs down to 5 lbs for the 2nd set. I really need some weights in between those two. Plus heavier ones for the chest flies and some of the back rows.

There is one thing that I don't quite get about these workouts. All I've ever heard and read (including Jillian Michaels' book Making the Cut) says to perform muscle conditioning workouts every other day, allowing time for your muscles to recover and rebuild, getting bigger and stronger. And if you want to weight train every day you need to use train different muscle groups on different days. But in this workout DVD you're supposed to train every single day, and you're definitely using the same muscle groups every day. So what's the deal? Anybody have any ideas?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Measure-in Wednesday

I decided to take Brooke's suggestion and measure myself.

I had purchased Jillian Michael's book Making the Cut awhile back and had done the measuring as per her instructions. So, my original measurements were taken Feb 20th, but I think that would still be pretty accurate numbers to use for how I likely was at the beginning of this challenge.

Hallelujah there's a difference!!

Bust - down 0.5"
Chest - down 2"!!
Waist (just above belly button) - down 1.5"!!
Hips - same
Right Thigh - same
Left Thigh - down 0.25"

Total inches lost - 4.25"!!!!

The thigh measurements I'm not 100% sure are accurate as it's a little more subjective measuring and I don't remember exactly where I took them.

I also measured my belly this time. The waist measurement isn't overly helpful anyway, it's not like we're buying pants that fit around the waist. They fit around the belly - you know, so it can push your post-pregnancy belly up and over into the muffin top look. Unfortunately my belly measurement is 3" bigger than my waist measurement.

I'm a bit disappointed that I haven't shrunk in the hip/thigh department - both important jean fit measurements. Hopefully by the end of the Shred there will be some improvement there.

Anyway, I am very encouraged by those numbers and I look forward to measuring again at the end of this torture shredding.

Day 15 - Level 3

I am half done!!! Woohoo!!

Today was Level 3 again - nothing much new to report.

The last circuit is by far the hardest one. I've noticed that I've been cheating on the strength training portion of this one.

Travelling pushups and then row and leg lift from a plank position. As you get tired you'll notice your butt sticking further and further up into the air - making it much easier on your core. I noticed that I've been doing that especially on the row and leg lift exercise. So, today I focused on keeping my butt straight, totally engaging the core muscles - very difficult! I was not able to do it perfectly the whole time.

Weigh-in Wednesday

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Well, apparently last week's 1 pound weight loss was normal weight fluctuation as I'm virtually right back where I started, bringing my total weight loss to .2lb which is, in reality, nothing.

However, I know that my body is getting stronger, and I know that muscle weighs more than fat, and I know that all this work isn't for nothing.... but it still feels like it.

It's a lot harder to keep torturing myself with The Shred when I'm not seeing the results I want to be seeing. But I will keep at it. And hope for better next week.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 14 - Level 1

Today was Level 1 of the 30 Day Shred workout.

A refresher for those just joining me. There are 3 workouts on the 30 Day Shred DVD. The first workout is called Level 1 and you can see my full review of this workout here. The 2nd workout is called Level 2 because it is harder than than the first workout (Level 1). You can get the scoop on this workout here. And finally there's the torturous Level 3 which is (as I'm sure you've guessed by now) harder than either of the first two workouts. You can get the cold hard facts of Level 3 here.

After progressing from Level 1 all the way through to Level 3, you may think Level 1 would be easy. But no, it's not. All the workouts are different and use different muscles. So, even if your body is used to doing Level 3, when you switch back to Level 1 your muscles have forgotten what you did back then, so it's going to be tough. That's why I've decide to switch up my exercise routine every day. Instead of doing 10 days in a row of each level (how the Shred is "supposed" to done), I'm changing them every day. I first did them in order two times through (1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3) and now I'm switching things up again and doing Level 3 the most as it's the hardest. So, my new pattern is 1,3,2,3,1,3,2,3.

Note: the only reason I'm able to do this is because I've already progressed through all the workouts. If you're just starting the Shred for the first time, please don't try this - you may kill yourself :) Stick with Level 1 for the full 10 days, or until you can do the entire workout with Natalie whichever comes first, then move on to Level 2 for 10 days or until you can do the whole thing (with good form!) with Natalie, and then proceed to Level 3. If this is your second run at the 30 Day shred then have at it!

I can definitely tell that Level 1 is easier than Level 3. Don't get me wrong - this is one tough workout still. In fact, I admit to resting for 2 reps on the bicep curl portion of the last set of circuit 2 (still kept doing the lunges). But even though the sweat is running, it's not as reminiscent of the Niagara Falls that Level 3 produces. It's tough, but I don't have to mentally tough it out as much as I have to in Level 3. Mind over matter and all that.

One thing I find a little funny in this workout. During Circuit 3 Jillian compliments Natalie and Anita on not cheating when she's up in front and can't see them. The reason that's funny is that Natalie did cheat during the previous circuit, Jillian just didn't catch her! Ha!

I'm planning to mow the lawn this afternoon yet. I would be going out to do it right now, but we had to get it fixed and Nathan's only bringing it back around lunch time - and then I have to wait for Jacob's next nap. The lawn is so long already, it's going to be like my own Level 3 workout! :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 13 - Level 3

Well, I've managed to complete Level 3 once again. Seriously, I didn't even know I could sweat as much as I do in this workout. It's literally running off me. And dripping onto the floor as I'm exercising, especially during the last circuit of this workout - so brutal.

2 more days till the next weigh in. I'm being cautiously optimistic, but we'll see. According to my normal scale (it's not digital) I think I've lost another pound, but I have to wait for my official digital weigh in using my Wii Fit.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 12 - Level 2

Why does this just not get any easier?!

Managed to finish Level 2 again. For some reason the middle circuit was really hard for me today (static lunge with row and pendulum lunges with hammer curls).

Off to have breakfast with the family! See you tomorrow.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Day 11 - Level 3

Well, I've managed to peel myself up off the floor after completing Level 3 again.

The only part that seems even a little bit easier is the cardio with weights section. I can actually perform the moves properly and at the same speed as her using my 5lb weights. At first I had to go way slower with my punches, but now I can do it!

Everything else seems just as hard though, but if I'm improving in one area, I'm likely also improving in another and just not noticing it.

Go me!

Tomorrow is Sunday so another tough day. There's no Sunday School so that's good, but it is Father's Day, so it would be good if I could be done exercising and showered in time to make breakfast instead of Nathan making it like he usually does on the weekends. I have a fabulous husband!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 10 - Level 1

Whew! Day 10 is complete - that means I'm 1/3 done this 30 day challenge!

Today was Level 1 again. I found the first circuit of strength training to be really hard again, but I managed to push through it (pushups and squats with arm presses using 5lb weights).

I managed to do the lunges with bicep curls using 8lb weights for both sets for the second circuit of strength training.

And for circuit 3 of strength - I'm actually finding that those anterior raises (raise arms straight up in front of you to eye level) are finally starting to get easier. Well, not so much easier as less torturous. LOL

Tomorrow is going to be Level 3 again. See ya then.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 9 - Level 3

Level 3 done. So now I've completed 3 rotations of Levels 1 - 3 and I'm going to switch it up again.

Now I'm going to alternative Levels 1 and 2 with Level 3. Tomorrow will be Level 1, then the next day Level 3, then Level 2, then 3, 1,3,2,3. As Level 3 is the hardest, this should kick it up another notch.

I'm a bit discouraged though. OK, that's probably an understatement. I weighed myself again today and I was back up 1.3lbs. How did that happen in 1 day?! I'm frustrated.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 8 - Level 2

Just finished Level 2.

Dripping wet and gasping for breath - pretty standard.

The only move I made harder is the same as always - the pushups. Instead of just doing walking pushups, I do 5 in a row before walking back up.

Got a little break near the end when I had to deal with a discipline issue - guess which one that was? :) LOL

See you tomorrow! Over and out.

Weigh-in Wednesday!

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

This is my first weigh-in Wednesday and I am thrilled to report a loss of 1.1 pounds! Hopefully that's a for real weight loss (and not just a monthly shift in weight, if you get my drift). Guess we'll find out next week. But for now - I'm pumped! I also think that my tummy appears flatter than it did before. I really should've taken before and after pictures.

Of course, it doesn't matter how flat my tummy gets - my skin is forever changed by my pregnancies. We're talking the 80 yr old wrinkle look. Basically the result of my first pregnancy. I gained about 40 lbs with each pregnancy, but with Emma especially it was mostly amniotic fluid. We're talking Niagara Falls when my water broke in bed. I weighed myself and I had instantly lost 5lbs and it kept coming steady for about 24 hrs. Two weeks after she was born I had lost 35 of the 40 lbs I had gained. Skin just does not re-elasticize that fast, as least not mine. And so I now have a very wrinkly stomach - not stretch marks (well I have a few of those, but those are minor), and not just that lean-over-saggy-stomach that every woman that's ever been pregnant gets - I mean actual wrinkles. It's very flattering. :) Honestly, if it wasn't so expensive and if it didn't requite such a long recovery, I'd seriously look into getting that fixed. But it's worth it for my four sweet babes!

Anyway, that was a tangent.

Back to the point - I've lost 1.1 lbs after one week of shredding consistently. Hopefully next week will yield similar results! Here's to hoping anyway. Off to do level 2 now.

I Shred with the Sisterhood!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 7 - Level 1

As you may have noticed, I've decided to rotate through levels 1 - 3. I'm going to do this 3 times and then I will change things up again. Today was Level 1, the first day of Round 3!

For some reason the shoulder presses in Circuit 1 (following the full pushups) were really difficult for me today. I barely managed to make it through them - and I definitely could not keep my arms at 90 degrees the whole time. I did, however, manager to force myself to use 8lb weights for both sets of bicep curls in Circuit 2, instead of going down to 5 lbers on the 2nd set.

I decided to up the ante on the ab moves - I find them so easy in Level 1. So, I simply did the moves on my Bender ball. Yup, that did it. Killer. I highly recommend this ball. The workouts themselves are boring. The set is boring, the leader is boring - it's quite brutal. But the moves themselves are very effective. That ball makes a crunch at least 10 times more difficult than just doing it on the floor. Trust me - it works!

Also - I need to get some heavier weights for some of the moves - the arm rows and chest flies in particular. However, until then, there are ways to make the moves more difficult.

For arm rows concentrate on keeping your shoulder blades pulled together throughout the whole move. Don't release the contraction when you lower your arms out of the row. This will increase the difficulty level substantially!

For the chest flies simply do not bring your arms all the way up to the top. The move gets easier as you bring the weights up, so by stopping the movement before you reach the top, you keep the contraction going, therefore making it harder.

Do not try any of these suggestions and do not increase your weights, until you can do the moves with good form comfortably.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 6 - Level 3

Whew - another day done. I was interrupted in between the jumping lunges circuit for about 5 minutes by Nathan for a business related phone call. And a couple times by my littlest - so I "punished" myself by doing all but 2 of the rock star jumps. Gasp!

6 out of 30, that's 20% done! :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 5 - Level 2

I did it!

It took me a few minutes to drag myself out of bed this morning (especially since I stayed up too late last night blogging!) and I know for a fact I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't told y'all I would. So, thanks for being here for me!

To use a Jillian Michael's expression, I admit to "phoning it in" just slightly on the last cardio circuit - though I'm not sure if it's considered phoning it in if you're still exhausted and still moving, but I digress. To make the oblique twists slightly easier, you land on your feet not exactly at the same time, but with your weight more on one foot than the other. To make it harder, you land on both feet at exactly the same time. And I only single jump roped, instead of double.

But, hey, you're still getting dripped on by my sweat so I think it's all good.

Yeah me!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day 4 - Level 1

Just completed Level 1. Why does this never feel any easier?

My legs felt like rubber today - from yesterday's torture I assume. Quite frankly, I'm surprised I was able to complete the workout following Natalie.

Day 1 of the weekend accomplished. Tomorrow will be the biggie...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 3 - Level 3

Can you hear me gasping for breath right now? Yeah, sorry for dripping sweat on you while you're sitting there reading this - I know that's not what you signed up for when you agreed to help keep me accountable during these 30 days of torture shredding.

Excuse me while I make a mental note....

Mental note: Do not mow the lawn immediately after shredding. Especially if you also have to move a wheelbarrow full of weeds that happens to have a completely flat wheel a far distance over grass that is way too long. Basically don't let grass get so long that it's a workout trying to move the trampoline to the mowed section. End mental note.

On to today's workout....

Circuit 1
Strength: 30 seconds of a walking plank move (going from a plank on your forearms to a plank with straight arms, one arm at a time - walking) followed by 1 minute of Supermans (stretch out on the floor in a Superman pose, lift arms and legs simultaneously as high as you can - you can cheat on this move pretty easily, so don't!). Repeat.
Cardio: 30 seconds each mountain climbers (in plank position bring legs in to the chest one at a time, quickly) and sumo squat jumps (squat jumps but with feet really wide and toes pointed out in a plie position)
Abs: 30 seconds of pike crunches (lie on your back with legs and arms fully extended, use your abs to simultaneously lift your legs and arms up and touch your toes, ok maybe your shins) followed by 30 seconds of torture scissor-kick abs. With hands tucked under your low back/butt, raise extended legs 3" off the floor (good luck with that - more like 2') and scissor kick your legs - move them wide apart and then together crossing right leg under left leg, then back out, then crossing right leg over left leg, repeat.

The ab moves are supposed to be 30 seconds each, but I'm always dying on this scissor-kick move so I decided to time that one - and it ended up being 45 seconds! That's 50% longer than promised. She's evil I tell you.

Circuit 2
Strength: 30 seconds dumbbell cleans using 8lb weight in right hand (come into deep squat position while bringing dumbbell down to the floor, quickly push up with hamstrings while quickly lifting dumbbell and punching it up to the ceiling). I don't find this move particularly difficult (guess I need to get some 10lb weights) but that's a good thing because next we have 1 minute of alternating jumping lunges (pretty self explanatory I think). These are torturous. Repeat with dumbbell in left hand for dumbbell cleans, and starting on opposite leg for jumping lunges.
Cardio: 30 seconds each of punches, butt kicks, punches again, and jumping jacks. Here's the killer - you're using weights! I used 5 lbers. Anyone who thought the punches in Level 1 was the easiest cardio move, will change their mind on this one!
Abs: 1 minute of full-blown Rocky style situps

Circuit 3
Strength: 30 seconds of walking pushups (in pushup position, keep left hand at the centre, walk right hand out to the side and perform pushup, walk both hands over to the left and repeat) followed by 1 minute of plank rows and leg raises (come into a full plank position on your weights - I used 8lbers, mainly because they're hexagon instead of round, so I'm less likely to fall on my face - bring your right hand up into a row and back down, then lift fully extended right leg up, switch to the left side and repeat). Repeat
Cardio: 30 seconds each of jumping squats and rock star jumps and repeat. Rock star jumps are brutal. It's like a butt kick only you kick your butt with both feet at the same time! I admit to only being able to do 8 rock stars the first round and 3 on the second round - Anita's looking more attractive at this point.
Abs: 30 seconds of side plank lifts on the right side, then 30 seconds on the left side. The kicker is that she surprises you at the end with a "hold for 5 seconds" on the last rep! Yeah, not nice Jillian. Due to this extra goodie, I try to remember to switch the side I start these on, so I'm not always working one side more than the other.

I took at least 2 one-minute water breaks. I had to after the strength moves on Circuit 3 otherwise I would've simply collapsed on the floor in utter exhaustion, never to get up again. I even made by 4 yr old (yes, she just turned 4!) go refill my water bottle for me cause I didn't think I'd made it up the stairs the way my legs were burning - you know, from the scissor-kick abs, jumping sumo squats and jumping lunges. Not sure how I survived doing the jumping squats on jelly legs.

3 down, 27 more to go. And here we are at the weekend. I'm determined to do it though! At least I think I am. No, really - I am. Guess you'll soon find out, huh?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 2 - Level 2

Today I did Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred. My armpits were totally feeling it from yesterday's workout. I find that Level 3 is overall easier on the upper body than Level 1 or 2, so that's why I'm feeling it more today. Confirms my decisions to switch up the levels every day.

I followed Natalie for the workout unless otherwise noted.

Level 2
Circuit 1
Strength: 30 seconds of walking pushups. I find this actually easier than constant pushups, so I modified it to make it harder (yes, I am officially insane). I walked out to the pushup position and then did 5 full pushups before walking back up, and repeat for 30 seconds. 1 minute of a static squat with front row using 5 lb weights. Repeat.
Cardio: 30 seconds of high knees followed by 30 seconds of squat thrusts (brutal!) and repeat.
Abs: crunch with one leg raise for 30 seconds, then switch legs for another 30 seconds

Circuit 2
Strength: 30 seconds of static lunge with medium grip row followed by 1 minute of pendulum lunges with hammer curls using 8 lb weights. Repeat using opposite leg and went down to 5lb weights on the hammer curls.
Cardio: 30 seconds each of oblique twists and then skaters and repeat.
Abs: with 5lb dumbells raised straight over head, extend legs fully and then lift them up and over to the side for 30 seconds. Then 30 seconds of double crunches (regular crunch and reverse crunch combined)

Circuit 3
Strength: 30 seconds of military press with leg extensions followed by 1 minute of chair squats with v-raise using 5 lb weights. Repeat. I admit to only being able to follow Anita on the v-raises, I just cannot raise my arms to eye level on this one.
Cardio: 30 seconds each of plank jacks and double jump rope. Repeat. I admit to only being able to do Anita's single jump rope on this today.
Abs: plank twists for 1 minute

Also - one benefit to trying to workout with small children around - I got a 1 minute break having to deal with "issues". LOL

Now that I have just barely stopped sweating, I'm going outside to mow the lawn!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 1 of the 30 Day Shred Challenge - Level 1

So, today I did Level 1 of my personalized version of the 30 Day Shred Challenge. Unless otherwise noted, I follow Natalie.

Circuit 1
Weight training: 30 seconds of pushups followed by 1 minute of squats combined with dumbbell presses using 5 lb weights, repeat - I am quite proud to say that I can do full pushups the entire time. This is of course, from my work on the One Hundred Pushups Challenge awhile back.
Cardio: 30 seconds of jumping jacks alternating with 30 seconds of skipping rope and repeat. I admit to going so hard core on the jumping jacks (after all - I've done Level 3 so this will be easy - not) that I overdid it and actually had to march in place for 5 seconds of the cardio section to recover.
Abs: 30 seconds of crunches and then 30 seconds of reverse crunches

Circuit 2
Weight training: 30 seconds of dumbbell rows using 8 lb weights followed by one minute of lunges with bicep curls (used 8 lbs on set 1 and 5 lbs on set 2 for biceps) and repeat
Cardio: 30 seconds of butt kicks followed by 30 seconds of punches and repeat
Abs: 1 minute of side crunches

Circuit 3
Weight training: 30 seconds of chest flies using 8 lb weights (I could use heavier ones for this but don't have any) followed by 1 minutes of side lunges with front raises using 5 lb weights (this one's a killer!) and repeat
Cardio: 30 seconds each of jumping jacks, punches, butt kicks and jump rope
Abs: 1 minute of bicycle crunches

Tammy's 30 Day Shred Challenge

Although I have been amazed at the 30 Day Shred workouts, I've been less than impressed with the movement on my scale - or rather the lack thereof. In fact, zero. Nada. Zilch. Yep, I've been putting myself through almost pure torture for nothing apparently. My brain knows that's not true. I know I am stronger, and therefore have likely lost pounds in fat, and gained pounds in muscle.

But I'd like to see a little more results.

My resolve to limit chips has been working - but again, no results that I can tell. Course, going to The Keg once and The Olive Garden twice during same time frame probably didn't help. Ya think?

So, I've made a decision.

I'm going to do the 30 Day Shred Challenge ..... for real.

How can I make it more real than I've been doing it?

Well, the challenge is to do the workout 30 days. in. a. row.

I've been doing it probably 4 times a week. Considering I should be doing it 7 times a week means that I'm doing it almost half as much as I should be. Which also means, that if I up the ante, kick myself in the butt, and really giver for 30 days straight - almost doubling the amount of killer exercise workouts that I'm doing - I should also see better results.

Sounds good in theory anyway.

It better prove good in reality or I'm not going to be overly impressed. :)

Weekdays will not be hard to commit to. It's the weekends that are gonna be tough - especially Sundays! However, there's only 1 more week of Sunday School left before summer, which means that soon I won't have to get up quite as early for church - which will make getting up early to exercise a realistic possibility. Just gotta make it through one Sunday!!!

Since I've already done all 3 levels of the Shred, I'm not going to do the Challenge in the conventional way. The conventional way would be (I assume anyway!) to do Level 1 for 10 days, Level 2 for 10 days and then Level 3 for 10 days.

What I'm going to do is do a different Level every day to switch things up. My theory is that it won't give my body time to adapt to any one workout, which should also get me better results. Here's to hoping anyway. So, I'm either going to simply rotate through Levels 1 - 3, or I'm going to go one step farther and alternate Levels 1 or 2 with Level 3 - in other words, every other day I'll be torturing myself with Level 3 - and the other days will alternate between 1 and 2.

Clear as mud? I thought so.

So, I'm going to be tracking my progress on this here blog - basically to keep me accountable. Please comment along the way - so I know people are actually reading this - helpful for the accountability factor and all that.

Feel free to join me in shredding!! Here goes nothin'.

Original Review of The 30 Day Shred - Level 3!

Originally posted on my "real" blog on May 25th. Reposted for your benefit here...

Awhile back I reviewed Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred, Levels 1 & 2. I've progressed to Level 3 now so I thought I'd post a review.

I just finished the workout and I'm sitting here still sweating away! No point in showering till you're done sweating right?

This. Is. One. Tough. Workout!

The toughest thing about this workout is that so many of the moves qualify as both muscle conditioning AND cardio. Sometimes abs are also kicked in for a triple killer.

For example - one cardio circuit included doing butt kicks, jumping jacks and punches - WITH weights. Wow, talk about an arm workout while getting that heart pumping. Another cardio circuit had mountain climbers (tough move totally involving abs) and sumo squats (which obviously work the thighs - inner thighs specifically).

Other tough moves in this workout include travelling pushups, jumping lunges, jumping squats and rock stars. I'm exhausted just typing that out.

I found that Level 1 had quite easy ab moves. Level 2 was slightly harder, and Level 3 does kick it up a notch in this area as well. Pike situps, full situps, double leg raise with scissor kicks (add a LOT of inner thigh on that one!) and side lifts are a few of the delicacies you will experience in Level 3.

Edited to add: My reviews seem to be scaring people away from this workout - and that is not my intention! This workout is awesome!! It is customizable to varying fitness levels. One of the girls always demonstrates an easier version of all the moves, so you can definitely follow her. You can also simply use lighter weights - or even no weights at all if necessary. You can customize it to your fitness level. Just do it!

The actually purpose of this workout is to workout 30 days in a row without fail. I have not done that, and I'm sure if you did you would see more impressive results. I have definitely noticed an increase in strength. I have not noticed any movement on the scale - however, I'm trying to keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat and I've definitely been gaining muscle and losing fat, so that's a good thing.

If I could be more disciplined with my eating (or should I say snacking!) that would probably help a lot. My plan with that is to avoid chips. I've recently developed this awful habit of having some chips with my sandwhich virtually every day for lunch during the week. Even though I am keeping the portion size under control, having it every day is definitely adding to my calorie intake! So, no chips at home. Chips and desserts are only allowed when we go to someone's house, or have people over, and even then I'm going to pick and choose. For ex - yesterday we had my family over for Mother's Day/Father's Day and I was able to pass on the ice cream sandwiches fairly easily. Though I like ice cream sandwiches, it's not a weakness and if I'm going to say no, that's an easier one for me. On Saturday we had Pam's family over for supper, and then we had ice cream sundaes - which I was able to at least limit to ice cream and strawberries (I CAN'T pass up ice cream and strawberries!). So, hopefully these decisions will help. Making a fairly specific plan like this helps me to make better food choices, much better than just generically saying I'm planning to eat better. What does that mean exactly anyway?

Why are those last 7 pounds so hard to lose?! Grrr.

Original Review of The 30 Day Shred

Originally posted at my "real" blog on February 19th. Reposted for your benefit here..

I've been getting frustrated at my lack of progress with the Push Up Challenge (still can't move past week 4), so I've decided to shake things up a bit. I had heard good things about The 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels (Biggest Loser fitness guru) so I decided to give it a whirl.

People - I have exercised at least 4 days a week for the past 10 years - and I found this TOUGH! You can tone it down a bit (there are 2 girls showing beginner and advance versions of the exercises) - you're just not allowed to stop! Well, maybe if you pass out you can stop for a few seconds. This is a very short workout - not counting warmup and cool down it is 18 mins of pure torture! She does 3 minutes of strength, then 2 minutes of cardio and then 1 minute of abs - and then does that same circuit over again three times in total, changing up the moves each time. There are 3 different workouts on the dvd (3 different levels). I have tried both level 1 and 2 so far.

I will keep you updated on how things are going, but I have a feeling this is going to get some results. This has got to be one of the most time effective, tough workouts I have ever done.

She is tough, no nonsense and brutally honest. Here are a few of her phrases.....
"I want you to feel like you're gargalling your heart"
"I want you to feel like you are going to die"

And, yes..... you do!

Edited to add: Just thought I should add on a little more info about the types of exercises performed during the workouts.

Strength moves: these usually incorporate lower and upper body moves simultaneously - such as bicep curls while doing lunges, or shoulder presses and squats, or front lateral raise with side squat, etc - and pushups of course!

Cardio: not for those with knee problems as there's a lot of jumping going on. Jumping jacks, butt kicks, high knee runs, "fake" jumping rope, etc - yep, brutal I tell ya.

Abs: pretty traditional moves - crunches, reverse crunches, both together, bicycles, ab moves from the plank position, etc.

There ya have it!

Taking it up a notch!

I've decided to take things up a notch in regards to The 30 Day Shred. So, I have started this new blog to track my reviews and, more importantly, to log my shredding days!

Please - help me out by commenting on my posts - thereby keeping me accountable!