DailyBurn Live to Fail Phase Two with Ben Booker


If you go back to my post from November 3rd you can read my review of Phase One from this program.  I am now going in to my third week of Phase Two of the Live to Fail program.

If you read my last review of Phase One you know that a few weeks into the program the Lower Body/ Upper Body MetCon workouts get longer.  The same is true in Phase Two.  Today I found that out and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I wasn’t expecting to go from MetCon 14 to MetCon 21 so soon.  I thought for sure I had one more week to go until the switch.  I must say that once you move in to the 14 and 21 MetCons you really feel like you got a workout.  The 7 MetCons just weren’t enough.  In addition to longer time the workload in the rounds gets longer too.   For instance when you get to round 2 of (LB/UB) MetCon 14 the workload is 40 seconds on and 20 seconds off.  You do a particular movement 2x.  When you get to (LB/UB) MetCon 21 the round 3 workloads are 60 seconds on with 10 seconds rest.  You do not repeat a particular movement however.  Each movement is done only 1x.  The kicker when you get to MetCon 21 is the challenge round is done for a full 90 seconds.

The strength portion of the workouts in Phase Two are supersets.  The lineups are the same, i.e., Back/Chest; Armforge 2 (bis/tris); Shoulders & Shield 2; and Pillars of Strength.  The supersets are typically a movement each for the opposing muscle groups done back to back with no rest.  There is a 30 second rest however after you complete each superset and a 60 second rest when you complete a round.  There are 4 rounds total and a final challenge round of one movement done for 60 seconds.  In this challenge round you count and track your reps.

The workouts in the Phase Two supersets are longer ranging from 45 minutes to about 55 minutes and the rep count is higher 12 to 15 as opposed to 10 to 12 in Phase One.

I like this program and I think it is solid.  I like Ben.  I have seen definite growth in my muscle.  The only thing I’m not really thrilled with is that I haven’t leaned out at all.  That is really what I’m looking for.  So I’m going to do this program maybe for another week or so and then move on to the brand new program offered by DailyBurn Black Fire with none other than Bob Harper of the Biggest Loser and someone I have reviewed on my blog before.  The Black Fire program looks more metabolic and I am thinking that is something that I need to try to help lean me out some.

Stay tuned in the New Year for my review of Black Fire from DailyBurn.


DailyBurn Live To Fail Workout Plan with Ben Booker Phase One – Strength


On October 13th I started the latest DailyBurn training program Live to Fail.  I had let my membership lapse after doing the Inferno HR and classic Inferno programs. The day I saw this new program I rejoined.  I have just started my 4th week of Live to Fail.  For anyone interested, DailyBurn Memberships start at $10 a month and new members get their first 30 days free.

The program is set up in two phases.  I am only going to brief you on Phase One for this blog entry since I haven’t entered Phase Two yet.  I will do an additional review after I am into Phase Two for a couple of weeks.

Phase One is the strength phase (what I am currently in) and Phase two is the superset phase.  This program is a lifting program.  Think P90x but with more rounds per movement and shorter workout times.  LTF is a 90 day program.

Phase One has 8 different workouts but for the first four weeks you only do 6 of those and then two replacement workouts are added in in week 5.

The Phase One workouts are:  Chest and Back; Armforge 1; LB (lower body) Metcon 7 (fat burn); Shoulders and Shield (abs); Pillars of Strength (legs); and UB (upper body) Metcon 7 (fat burn).  During week 5 LB Metcon 14 and UB Metcon 14 are replacements for the other Metcon workouts.  The length of the Metcon workouts grows after week 4.

Each strength based workout is structured with 4/5 movements per workout and 4 working rounds per movement.  Ben classifies each round as 1. The Wakeup Round; 2. The Pace Round; 3. The Battle Round and 4. The Killer Round.  10 to 12 reps per movement and if you are doing it right by the time you get to the 4th round you may not be able to do 10 to 12 reps.   If that wasn’t enough each strength workout also includes a challenge round where a movement is performed for 60 seconds total.  You keep track of your completed reps.

For these workouts at least 2 sets of weights are needed.  You will need a heavy set of dumbbells and a lighter set.  There is a strength test video to show you how to determine what weight you need.  While Ben stresses that you only need 2 sets, I prefer to use a variety of weight increments customized to my particular needs.  I feel that I get a better workout this way.  You will also need a box for box jumps.

At the start of week 4 I know that I have gotten stronger because I have been able to increase my weight with some of the movements.  I am definitely seeing some muscle growth.

What may be hard for people to adapt to is that there is very little cardio offered.  The Metcon workouts and the leg workout really gets my heartrate up but for cardio bunnies I think that this would definitely be a step outside of their box not to have a lot of cardio offered in a program.

The Metcon workouts are structured with 3 moves.  30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest with each movement repeated one time.  Like the challenge round the Metcon workouts also include a finisher which is a movement performed for 60 seconds and you keep track of your reps.   In the first 4 weeks the Metcon workouts are only 18 minutes long.

So far I am enjoying the program.  The workouts are basic but not easy.  Four rounds of a movement really taxes your muscles and for the most part I feel sore the day following my workouts.

Ben is a great trainer.  He is a big goofball and not intimidating at all.  He jokes around with the crew.  He’s inspiring but never overbearing.  He is also not bad to look at at all.

I am looking forward to Phase Two of Live to Fail.  Stay tuned.


21 Day Fix with Autumn Calabrese Workouts (only) Review

21 Day Fix with Autumn Calabrese Workouts (only) Review

I’m sure you’ve seen the infomercial on TV with Autumn and Montel Williams advertising the 21 Day Fix Beachbody program. When I wake up in the middle of the night I can usually find it on one of my gazillion cable channels.  When I first saw the infomercial I really thought that the program was geared toward the eating and nutrition element with the cute little plastic containers you use to keep your portion control in check.  It seemed as though maybe the workouts were a part of the program for people who may not already have a workout regimen or their own workout DVDs at home.  In other words, I thought this was Beachbody’s first totally nutrition-based program.  Boy was I wrong. (Disclosure: I have not even seen the eating plan/nutrition plan so this post is not about that.)

The first 21 Day Fix workout I got to try through my Kineticflix rental (which is like Netflix but for workout DVDs) was the Plyo Fix.  It wasn’t my first choice.  I was trying to get a Chalene Johnson PiYo DVD (I had several in my queue) but this was the first available on my list.  I wasn’t very thrilled to try it at all. I didn’t want to like Autumn.  I thought she was fluff.  I thought her main focus was on the eating.  I thought she wasn’t going to know a lot about working out.  I thought it was going to be amateurish.  I thought wrong. (Did I even get a look at the girl’s abdominal cage?  Hello!)  I have to say that it really didn’t take long to warm up to Autumn.

I’m not going to review every workout individually I’m just going to list which workouts from the program I have done, which I have not done (yet) and how I feel about them.

The workouts I have done:

Plyo Fix

Cardio Fix, Dirty 30, Yoga Fix

Total Body Cardio Fix, Upper Fix, Lower Fix, Pilates Fix

10 Min Fix for Abs

Workouts I have not done:

Flat Abs Fix & Barre Legs (I have it in my queue though and if I get it I will do an Afterward for this post)

Each 30 min workout is made up of 1 minute drills with 20 seconds of rest. There are 2 movements in each circuit and each circuit is repeated to make up a round.  There are 4 rounds.  The workouts go quickly.  The workouts are not easy.  Some of the workouts are cardio based and some of the workouts use dumbbells/bodyweight.  As you can see from what is listed above there is something for everyone.  The workouts are intermediate to high-intermediate with modifications for the beginner.  You can watch Kat for those.  I think the workouts can even keep an advanced person happy on a lighter workout day but things can always be done to advance on certain workouts like lifting heavier weights.

The 10 minute Fix for Abs is structured a lot like the 30 min workouts but the time you do a movement is shorter.  I believe it is 30 seconds.

I have to tell you that I did the Lower Fix and the Pilates Fix on the same day and I could barely walk the next day.  I’m even someone who lifts heavy weight and these 1 minute drills had my legs screaming.

Autumn’s coaching delivery in the workouts is very motivational.  She is very easy-going but at the same time pushes you to give your best to the workout.  She offers form technique and directs you to look at Kat for the modifications.

The yoga workout is really only yoga inspired workout so a true yogi will probably only want to do this one once and then incorporate their own yoga into the program.  It’s more of an athletic stretch type of yoga program without the body/mind/breathing/movement connection that we yogis crave.

I liked these workouts a lot and I have to tell you that I was excited by the recent news that there is going to be a 21 Day Fix Extreme released early next year!  I really cannot wait to see how Autumn takes it up a level.  Stay tuned!


Originally posted on Buttoni's Low Carb Recipes:


For those who miss dumplings and noodles, here ya go!  Only took me 4 years to develop these! This one’s for you Dano!  :)

When you can’t have flour, it’s really really hard to make dumplings that will hold together during cooking. I’ve used almond flour, coconut flour, flax meal and a variety of alternate flours.  You name it and I’ve probably tried that alternate flour to make a dumpling.  This is no easy low-carb feat.  I wanted a similar taste and similar mouth feel as the dumplings I made before my low-carbing days.  All attempts thus far have been mediocre, at best.

Somewhere on the net a year or so ago, on some forum (probably Low Carb Friends, but not sure), someone mentioned they made dumplings with glucomannan powder.  Not being at all familiar with this product, I ordered some from Netrition.com and began to experiment.  Its gel-like, fibrous…

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Summer 2014 – What did I do this summer?

Summer where did you go????  As you know I have been pretty dormant during the summer as far as this blog goes.  After the looooong cold winter we had last year I decided I was going to live it up all summer and squeeze every last drop out of it that I could (and can – it’s not over yet right!).

I will give you a basic montage of what I did this summer.  Summer 2014 was truly amazing!

1st I did the Women in the Wilds with my mother and sister.  Unfortunately I do not have a picture of that but it was an event with workshops throughout the day designed to get women out in the woods/outdoors.  I did 2 yoga classes on the beach.  I really don’t have to learn how to be in the woods, I was born and raised in the woods.

Second – one of the greatest things this summer and pretty high up there on lifetime events as well was seeing Ringo Starr and his All Star Band in concert with my parents.  My parents are huge Beatles fans and to take them to see one of the Beatles was a great experience.




Fourth of July weekend I went to visit my folks and got to enjoy a state park that I grew up around.  Alvin R. Bush Dam.  See the beauty I grew up around?


Next up that weekend was enjoying the hang gliders at Hyner View State Park.  Another place I grew up around.  I used to get to see these hang gliders all the time people!  I think I took them for granted.



Below is the view where they jump off of.


Mid-July I visited a state park about 40 minutes away from where I am living (not my hometown). World’s End State Park.  There I did a nice hike on a very steep trail.


Steep trail I did a hike on.  You could use the tree roots as steps.


At the end of July I took a trip to a phenomenal attraction:  Ricketts Glen State Park!  This park boasts 22 waterfalls and 2 gorgeous lakes!  This state park isn’t even an hour from where I am currently living and I cannot believe I waited all my life to visit this place.  You can visit for free, see the falls and it’s really a major attraction.  There were tour buses there the day I went.

My favorite falls at Ricketts Glen:  Oneida Falls.  Not the largest but the most serene and peaceful.  A beautiful meditation spot.


Enjoy some more of these falls.  I do not have the names of all sorry.


falls2 falls3 falls4 falls5 falls6

Early August I got to see none other than the Queen of Rock n Roll/Godmother of Punk herself:  Joan Jett and her Blackhearts!  This chick still knows how to rock!  (second photo was taken by my friends Glen and Stef)

joan jett joanjett2

Last but not least was my trip to Ithaca, New York, for the Finger Lakes Yoga Festival.   I am in this picture participating in the Let Your Yoga Dance class.  I did not take this picture.  You can see the festival’s photographer took it and her watermark is on it.  I am giving her credit.


A shot where I am also a participant in a breathing workshop.  7 Ways Not to Breathe.   Again this picture was taken by Bonnie the festival photographer.


This yoga festival is always a good time because it isn’t a commercialized event and focuses totally on yoga and the yoga community.

While my trip did focus on yoga I did get to enjoy a few other things in Ithaca.

One being the Cayuga Nature Center.  This place has a Butterfly Garden, an animal display, hiking trails, a 6 story tree house and a waterfall of its own!  It only cost $5.00 to get into this little gem!

Cayuganature Cayuganature2 Cayuganature3 Cayuganature4 cayuganature5 cayuganature6 cayuganature7 Cayuganature8 Cayuganature9

The pièce de résistance.of my trip was getting to see one of the highest waterfalls (besides Niagara of course) east of the Rocky Mountains.  Taughannock Falls at Taughannock State Park, Ithaca, NY.


This is a far away shot to get the full effect.  After about a mile hike you come to this wonder of nature:


Hey summer isn’t over yet so I’m going to keep squeezing out every last drop I can.  At the end of September I get to see ZZ Top in concert again.  I saw them the first time a few years ago.  Those boys still know how to rock.

UNFORTUNATELY ZZ Top cancelled because Dusty is injured but I hope to make it to NYC instead. 

Oh, and a few days ago (September 7th) I turned 40!

What did YOU do this summer?

Patrick Goudeau Presents: Release with Erin Kirk – Yoga DVD Review


Release is a yoga practice video that is lead by Erin Kirk and presented by Mr. Choreography himself, Patrick Goudeau.

I appreciated this yoga practice because it had something other than your typical sun salutations over and over like many other DVDs out on the market (Disclosure:  Sun Salutations are not my favorite vinyasa flow).

This practice starts out with a dancey type rhythmic warmup.  This was a bit different and sort of had me afraid that I would not care for the rest of the practice but then we went into the Starfish Sun Salute vinyasa flow and my mind changed. This vinyasa was a non-warrior flow and featured triangles and starfish poses.

In this practice you will do lots of fun things like lizard pose, eagle balance, work your core with boat pose and open your hips with pigeon pose.

In the end we get the sweet little dessert known as savasana and enjoy a bit of chanting and singing by Erin.

This practice does allow for someone that is advanced to go to their level of a pose while a less experienced yogi could stay back with the level that is comfortable for them.  Always remember:  Yoga is a personal practice and you should do what is good for your body and not push to what hurts your body.

That being said, I was surprised at how well Patrick did throughout the video.  While he couldn’t exactly do everything the teacher did, he did exhibit that he definitely has been practicing yoga for awhile.

I would give this yoga practice DVD 4 out of  5 stars.  I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.


DailyBurn Inferno HR Workout Program Review

Inferno HR


DailyBurn’s Inferno HR is one of their latest program offerings. I reviewed DailyBurn previously on my blog (see here:  http://mistransformation.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/review-of-dailyburn-personalized-fitness-websiteservice/ ) and mentioned the classic Inferno program and how much I liked it.  I like that the women in the workouts aren’t merely there for T&A.  Women are the leaders and the trainers.  It’s nice to watch the boys struggle with this one.

In this latest program, Inferno HR turns up the heat and then some.  Once I completed the first HR workout the endorphins kicked in big time.  It was a rush I had been missing.  Boy am I glad to be back at DailyBurn!

Inferno HR is led by Anja Garcia.  Who else but Anja could bring us something this intense?  Inferno HR is designed to be used with a HeartRate monitor that you can purchase through DB and link it to an app that monitors you while working out. You use your computer/roku, etc. to do your workout and then you are monitored on another device such as your tablet or smart phone.  It looks like a really cool feature and the market isn’t exactly flooded with programs such as this.  I did not use the HeartRate monitor feature myself, but sort of judged how I felt on my own and even took my heart rate manually when possible.  I know this wasn’t as accurate but I wanted to see how I liked the program before I invested in it.  If I do another round, I may buy the monitor.

In Inferno HR there are 4 separate workouts and they are all structured differently.  That is why I liked this program so much.  You were getting something different with each workout.  It wasn’t the same mundane thing all the time.

The zones described below are where your heart rate is.  Zones 0/1 being the lowest and zones 4/5 being the highest.  Zone 5 is the max.

Body Blast  – Two exercises 30 seconds of work/30 seconds of rest each maintaining zone 4 – then combining the moves for 1 minute doing 4 reps each move working to zone 5.   (41:45 total time

  Metcon Challenge Three blocks of exercises maintaining zone 4 then 1 minute of Core work in zone 3 and a 1 minute zone 5 cardio challenge.  (52:32 total time)

Tabata POC – Tabata round is one exercise 8 times through with 20 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest working to zone 5 – –  5 exercises 50 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest times through maintaining zone 4– repeating protocol with new exercises.   (51:21 total time)

Build & Burn – Four blocks of  3 rounds of exercises maintaining zone 4 the whole time. (54:06 total time)

You get three active rest days per week total including mobility, yoga and foam rolling.

Anja is a great trainer and likens the workouts to being like your own video game when you can view your heart rate while you are working out to stay in your zone.

After completing the first round of HR I was able to fit back into a pair of my jeans after gaining a bit of winter weight.  I am following this with a round of Classic Inferno and am continuing to get a bit leaner and feeling strong.  I cannot wait to get back to another round of HR.    If these Inferno workouts do not sound like your cup of tea, DailyBurn offers many more programs from True Beginner to Kettlebells, to Tactical Training, Dance and Yoga.  At $10 a month, DailyBurn is a bargain.