Archive for March, 2011

Strong Is the New Skinny – What It Means To Me

Posted in Health/Fitness on March 28, 2011 by mistransformation

First I need to say that I found the group Strong Is the New Skinny on Facebook.  Adam and Marsha run the page.  They are both very strong people.  Their mission is to promote the image of STRONG women in the media and everywhere else…

The original blog post that started the revolution can be read here: (cut and paste if you must)

http://practicalpaleolithic.com/paleolithic-diet-blog/is-strong-the-new-skinny

I liked what the message stood for because it meant no longer picking women’s bodies apart if they didn’t fit into the standard of photo-shopped models in the magazines with little body fat and no muscle tone.  In my mind it was a middle finger in the air to all of the collective industries that strive to shove that message down our throats.  Hell, I’d even give it two middle fingers.  It means that we can start a revolution and be forerunners and trailblazers for groups of young girls and boys out there today that won’t have to suffer with an eating disorder to fit into a mold that they were never meant to fit into anyway.  It means being healthy.

You see, I suffered from an eating disorder from the age of 18 through the age of 24.  I was bulimic and I was very good at hiding it.  I wasn’t the “After School Special” hide the cupcakes under the bed and stuff them down your throat then puke kind of bulimic – I puked after every time I ate.  I did the laxatives and I also was up to about 4 diet pills a day – the kind of diet pills that are now off the market today. First it was as a way to lose weight (in addition to constant working out) and then it was as a way to maintain weight.  Dieting had ruined my metabolism and I had my body to where it gained weight with just about anything I ate.  I carried extra pounds on my body so no one was really concerned if I was bulimic or not and since our society is only concerned about people who are emaciated they probably wouldn’t have cared if I was or not anyway but I was very, very unhealthy.  I won’t go into the gory details of bulimia – and it IS gory but what I will say is if I had known back then that being strong and lifting heavy weight was going to increase my metabolism I probably could have saved myself a lot of trouble back then.  However, long slow cardio sessions and lifting light weight with high reps is what was pushed into our minds back then not to mention the low fat diets that were also counter-intuitive.  I didn’t know I had a problem until one day I was puking up marshmallows I had eaten probably because I was so hungry that I wanted the sugar from them but then I felt guilty and felt the need to get rid of them.  How did I stop? One day I just did.  Today I live with the bad teeth and the problems swallowing as ramifications of what I did to my body over 10 years ago.

If we can promote a strong/healthy image and teach young girls and boys to take care of their bodies in a healthy way with proper exercise and nutrition, I believe the Strong Is The New Skinny mission will have been successful.

Me in my Strong Is The New Skinny T-shirt

Strong Is The New Skinny blog challenge:  (cut and paste please):

http://practicalpaleolithic.com/paleolithic-diet-blog/blogs-sins-body-transformation-challenge

Bob Harper’s Ultimate Cardio Body Workout

Posted in Health/Fitness on March 23, 2011 by mistransformation

There are two workouts on this DVD.  One long and one short  – both different but the bonus glute challenge is an offshoot of a series of “ass burners” Bob does in the long workout but he adds other elements as well.

The first and main workout on this DVD is 63 minutes total.

If you do all of the advanced moves in this workout (Bob does offer some modifications) and you push yourself all out for the hour you will be a sweaty mess by the end. My sweatband was soaked in sweat at the end. Your body will feel heated up as if it is cooking on a bar-b-que grill. You will need a set of hand weights that are light because this is a cardio workout and not strength. Bob does some lunges, some jump switch lunges, squats and squat jumps. Bob will do some recovery moves with weights for the upper body. There is a series of high knees and then you take it up a notch to double-time. The workout itself is reminiscent of the Body Rev Cardio Conditioning and some of the moves will be familiar. The set is brighter and I guess some people were turned off by the set last time. My only gripe is the stretch at the end isn’t that long but I’ve been working out long enough to know how to do enough of my own stretches. Another fine job for Bob. && Bob what IS up with those socks!!!!!

The second bonus workout is a focus on the glutes.  It is 14 minutes in length.

Bob does a series of lunges – front, side, back – he repeats this series until you are almost at your wits end and then goes into ass burners and some single legged lunges and kick backs – he does one side at a time.  You will feel it in your butt.  If you need a short workout that focuses on your butt – this would be a good one.

Stay tuned for my review of Jillian’s latest:  Ripped in 30 – there are 4 workouts on this one and I have only done 2 so I don’t want to review it yet – even though I thought the workouts were decent.

Supreme 90 Day – Shoulders, Chest and Triceps

Posted in Health/Fitness on March 22, 2011 by mistransformation

I will start off by saying I didn’t get to finish this workout today.  I do these before work and am pressed for time.  I did 30 minutes of it.  You will need a couple of sets of dumbbells – heavy and lighter.  You will also need a stability ball but if you don’t have one you can just lie on the floor.  It starts with the prefab warm up and then it goes into the core warmup circuit (which I skipped again for time reasons).  When the meat of the workout starts you will be shown 3 moves to do – one for the chest, one for the shoulders and one for the triceps.  You are told to do 8 to 12 reps and use a heavy enough weight that is challenging.  You do three sets of each circuit.  The moves are familiar and a couple have an added element for more of a challenge, i.e., while in a plank position you work the anterior delt and while lying on the stability ball in sort of a bridge position you do a chest press.  The workout leader offers variations and things are pretty much like the rest of the strength workouts – people work at their own pace, etc.  As I said I didn’t make it all the way through but this workout does have the prefab cooldown.

Zumba!!!

Posted in Health/Fitness on March 16, 2011 by mistransformation

Today I am going to write about my “fun” workout.  I think we all need a little bit of this when we push our bodies so hard.  We need to find something we enjoy to reinvigorate us for our other workouts.

I had started dance workout DVDs the previous winter because I couldn’t do my other “fun” workout during the cold months – biking.  I needed something to fill that void.  Dancing provided that outlet and I found out quickly that although my delivery of the dance moves may not be spot on, I am able to pick up dance moves rather quickly.  It also gives me a break from the real world problems for a moment as your brain concentrates on the dance moves and you get lost in the moment.  I might add that dancing also gives you killer legs and a great core.

I started Zumba about a year ago.  I had seen the infomercial on TV a few times but never really thought of trying it.  A friend at work mentioned that her friend thought it was really fun.  I was already doing dance DVDs so I thought I might like this as well.  First I tried the DVDs and did those for about a month before I braved my first Zumba Party at the local YMCA and in front of other people.  While I liked the DVDs and convenience of doing them in my own home, I was really hooked on doing it with other people.  I guess it’s the vibe that everyone gives off and the element of fun.

Zumba sort of takes me back to my childhood.  I was a biddy league cheerleader from the time I was 4 years old until I was 12.  We had to do about 3 dance routines a year.  These were always simple moves and Zumba is sort of like that because you repeat the moves throughout the song.  I also found that I am able to lose my self-conciousness when I am dancing and I have some major problems with self-conciousness.

After a few Zumba Parties and benefits I found that I really favored one dance studio’s instruction over the others so I immediately started going on a regular basis to one of our local dance studios for Zumba class.  It’s nice to take a class because you will learn new dance routines, master them for a few weeks and then move on to new material.

In the winter the dance studio had a Christmas recital and us Zumbettes were invited to be in the recital and do a routine to Feliz Navidad.  I decided to participate.  This was a big step for me.  When I was heavy I would never have had the nerve to get in front of hundreds of people and dance.  I will admit that on the day of the recital I was nervous but I did it and it was fun.

At the end of the summer I even got to do an Aqua Zumba party.  This is Zumba in a swimming pool.  The instructor stands outside of the pool and does the moves while you do them under water.  It is a different feeling on your body because when doing the dancing you are on hard ground pounding out the steps.  In Aqua Zumba you do the moves while gushing through the water.  It gives your body more resistance.  It makes me feel relaxed when I do it in the water.  Since your body is under water it is also harder for others to see when you are messing up the moves – so you can in essence fake it.  I don’t do the Aqua Zumba on a regular basis but I do enjoy going to the parties when they are available.  The fact that I go out in public in a bathing suit is evidence of just how far I have come since my weight loss.

I like to promote Zumba to others. I like the feel good nature of it.  I continue to go to class and parties and just enjoy the all around comradere that I have experienced with Zumba.

Before and After

Posted in Health/Fitness on March 13, 2011 by mistransformation

If you have been reading my blog and aren’t familiar with me personally you wouldn’t have a clue as to how far I have come along in the past couple of years.  I am posting a before and after pic so you can see what I have accomplished.

BEFORE:

Summer of 2007

I am not proud of this before picture.  It was taken at a party in the summer of 2007.  I must have been really drunk when it was taken because I did not let my picture get taken back then.  I’m shaking my booty probably to something like a great KC and the Sunshine Band tune.  I may be smiling but I was miserable.

AFTER:

After

After - Current Shot 2011

After a lot of hard work and dedication.  I have come a long way.  I’m still a work in progress but I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish.

Supreme 90 Day – Cardio Challenge

Posted in Health/Fitness on March 13, 2011 by mistransformation

This workout is a 30 minute (not counting warm up or cool down) interval workout of 30 seconds work/30 seconds rest.  You will need two sets of dumbbells (light and moderate) and a mat if your floors are uncomfortable for you to get down on.  Don’t let the fact that you use dumbbells fool you.  This isn’t a strength workout.  You use the weights to up the intensity and use lighter weights for speed work rather than strength.  Wear supportive sneakers as this workout has some plyometric moves.

After finishing the prefab warm up it’s straight into the workout where he typically switches from a plyo-type move to a move using the weights and then throws in what he calls a recovery move that uses no weights and isn’t plyometric in nature. He also mentions that he is moving from upper body to lower body, i.e., variations of squats for lower body and punching with weights for upper body.   A few of the moves were the same as the tabata inferno workout but there were a few new moves like the bear walk which is great for agility.  The cool down is the typical prefab cool down/stretch.

I didn’t feel that this was over the top challenging but I did feel like I got a good workout after I was finished.  It doesn’t compare to anything like Insanity however.  I wouldn’t even say it compared to Plyo X – of course this was different in nature because it used weights and wasn’t completely plyo.  I will do this workout again probably as a supplement to another shorter workout.

Supreme 90 Day – Chest & Back

Posted in Health/Fitness on March 10, 2011 by mistransformation

This workout started out with the prefab warm up and then started off with the usual core segment which I again skipped for a couple of reasons – 1. I worked my core yesterday and will again tomorrow and 2. Because I am doing these workouts before work in the morning and need to be as efficient as possible.  The lifting segments themselves were pretty much what seems to be this system’s set up for the weight segments – a circuit of two moves that you do 3 sets of and then on to a new circuit.  You do 8 to 12 reps and everyone works at their own pace  while you listen to the instructor talk or just tune him out like me.  These were push/pull moves for the chest and back.  A couple of variations of the pushup and back rows.  There was also a chest fly that I remember and a back extension both done on the balance ball – but you could fidget your way without it if your ball sucks like mine (even the new one).  The last move of all of the circuits is a 2 for 1 in that you do a pushup to a back row all in one and then repeat it.

I wasn’t blown away by this chest/back workout but it was a part of the package.

Supreme 90 Day – Tabata Inferno

Posted in Health/Fitness, Uncategorized on March 9, 2011 by mistransformation

Finally I got to try this.  The tabata workout is what drew me to buy this P90x ripoff system because P90x doesn’t have a tabata workout and its cardio workouts are pretty wimpy.

First, it was manageable in length – including warmup and cooldown about 40 minutes give or take a minute or two.  The warm up in this video was shot right with this workout it wasn’t the prefab warmup that the other few I have tried had.  It did have primarily the same moves but there were a few extra and it was a little longer.  It was just nice to see something fresh for the warmup.

You will need a dumbbell for a few of the moves on this workout but you really could get by without it.  Keep some water nearby so you can pick it up during the minute breaks.  You may need a towel as well for the plank press ups – especially if not on carpeting.  This move can be hard on the elbows on something like hardwood floors.

The tabata – If you are already familiar with tabata you will know that it is 20 seconds of hard work with 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times to equal four total minutes of work.  He did circuits of either 2 or 4 moves.  On the 2 move tabatas you did one move for 20 then the 10 sec rest and then the other move for 20 and the 10 second rest then you repeated this 3 more times or 4 times total for 8 minutes of work.  There is a one minute break between each tabata and trust me you look forward to this break if you are working hard enough.  The goal with tabatas is to push yourself to your max during the 20 seconds of work.

On the 4 move tabatas you went through each move with the 20/10 concept and repeated it a second time for 8 minutes of total work.  The instructor repeats again and again that the 20 seconds seems to be getting longer and boy he isn’t kidding, but it isn’t getting longer because he has the stopwatch.   During one of the tabata rounds a background exerciser even says she felt dizzy.

I am not sure how many total tabatas there are but I would guess at least 5 but perhaps 6.

The cooldown is the prefab one.

After this workout I felt as if I had come off of a Bar-B-Que grill so Tabata Inferno lives up to its name!

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Side note after blog written:  There are 7 total tabatas and I do this on an ab day mostly because there are so many absentric movements.  Since it’s great fat burning, I feel that it makes for a great ab day workout.

Supreme 90 Day – Shoulders and Arms

Posted in Health/Fitness on March 8, 2011 by mistransformation

Another decent circuit style workout that targets your shoulders, biceps and triceps.  It starts out with a quick core circuit of a couple core/ab exercises.  I skip this because I have a regular abs/core day (yesterday and tomorrow) and am not following the 90 day schedule. 

The arm/shoulder circuit is set up this way:  a move targeting the shoulders, one for biceps and one for triceps.  You are told to do 8 to 12 reps at your own pace and do this for 3 sets.  Once again the background people will be working at their own pace and may not be doing what you are doing.  The instructor gives good advice on form and how to push yourself (“use heavy enough weights” “no half reps” etc.).  The one triceps move was killer though in that you did 10 reps of 3 variations of the tricep kickback (this move was done in P90x too).   On the third circuit the shoulder move stands out to me in that this was a new variation for me.  You curled up the dumbbells to a shoulder lift and punched out the dumbbells.  Punching out was challenging and you should take care of how heavy of weight you use so that you don’t hurt your shoulders.  On some of the moves a stability ball is used as well – like for the incline biceps curl.

There were four circuits to this workout and afterwards my arms felt liked I had worked them good.

I did my own stretch at the end.  I didn’t feel like my legs needed stretched due to lack of use but I know a lot of good upper body stretches that are effective.

Supreme 90 Day – Total Body Workout DVD

Posted in Health/Fitness on March 6, 2011 by mistransformation

I did the workout on Friday morning (March 4th) before work.   Afterward I felt very energized and euphoric like.  I bet because of the total body aspect of this workout rather than focusing on one muscle group.

This workout was once again a circuit workout that mixed in about 3 strength moves and finished with one plyometric (jumping) move then you went on to the next circuit.  Some of the moves were spot specific, i.e., chest, back and legs and some of the moves were compound, i.e., squat to clean and squat clean to press.  After the strength moves you completed a plyometric move and then went on to the next circuit.

He asked exercisers to do 8 to 12 reps and move to the next move – so you had the background exercises doing their own thing and it kind of seemed like complete chaos.  I didn’t care for that aspect of this DVD but the workout is so good that I will definitely keep doing it.  I also suspect that once you do it a couple of times you will just be able to be on your own with the workout and will not even notice the others in the background.

On another note:  I think my knees are getting a bit better.  I’m still not going to do the tabata and other cardio moves yet.  I’m just slowly introducing plyometrics back into my routine and when I am sure that things are good I will do those and review them.  I will still be doing other DVDs though so I can review these when I complete them.