Archive for June, 2011

Burn & Build w/ Paul Katami (Kettlebell Workout)

Posted in Health/Fitness on June 25, 2011 by mistransformation


I have been waiting for this workout for what seems like a little over a month.  I loved Paul’s Kettlebell Drills workout dvd and Burn & Build far exceeded my expectations.  It is a toughie!

This DVD is chaptered into 3 segments:  ClinicThe Burn & Build Workout – and Core (setup just like the Drills dvd).

If you don’t have a kettlebell, Paul has a background exerciser that uses a hand weight throughout.

What sets this workout apart from other kettlebell workouts is that a high step is utilized throughout!  A high step looks like this:

High Step

I show you this so you don’t think it is a step used for step aerobics.  I tried to use mine in the clinic and it didn’t really workout because I couldn’t adjust it high enough for proper execution of the movements.  I don’t have a high step so I used my Rubbermaid step stool.  I am sure this isn’t recommended but until I can get a high step for workouts I will use my step stool and it did serve its purpose for me in this workout.  If you have a handy husband or boyfriend maybe he can build you some kind of block out of wood.

This DVD is set up like his Drills DVD in that it has the Kettlebell Clinic which gives a look into the things to come.  That way you won’t be caught off guard when Paul throws a few new moves your way.  This Clinic is 25 minutes long and you will need to do your own warmup and stretch in this segment.  Paul does timed drills for each move or drill that he demonstrates so all in all this isn’t a bad little workout for someone just starting out with a kettlebell who is an intermediate level or for someone advanced that wants a lighter day.

At the heart of this workout is Burn and Build.  This is a 70 minute workout but it flew by really fast because I was working out so hard and my mind could only concentrate on the task at hand (although I think Paul is a real cutie).  There is an 11 minute warmup.  It prepares you for what is to come and it is not wimpy by any means.  Paul starts right off and even mentions during the warmup that “this is work.”  After the warm up you start your burn and build segments.  Paul uses 60 second timed drills throughout.

The first block is Cardio Burn.  The first drill is a basic double hook swing for 60 seconds.  The next drill of this block is a skater lunge four times with a bent over row on the fourth skater lunge for 60 seconds.  The next swing drill is a side step out with a swing for 60 seconds.  Then the skater drill is repeated on the other side and the final swing drill of this block is an alternating hand swing for 60 seconds.

The second block is Drill and Build with timed segments using the step for deadlifts and lunges and also uses some grinds for muscle work (you work your bicep). The high pulls off of the step in this segment are killer cardio!

The third block is Kombo Build starting with a step up step down clean to rack drill.  The next drill in this segment is back lunge clean to rack + overhead press to standing recover after 30 seconds you have the option to add a pivot with the lunge.  You repeat on the other side and then these two drills are then added together for a Kombo segment of the movements.

In block four Plank and Row you utilize the step to do just that.  Paul builds on the techniques with the timed drills.  The first drill is a single arm burpee using the step.  He will give you some modifiers if the regular movement is too intense for you. Next you do a plank with a row that builds to a rotate and then after switching sides you put them altogether for a 60 second kombo.  You will get some core work in this segment.

The fifth block is back to some cardio for the Cardio Drill and Burn with squat catches that move into a rotation after 30 seconds.   Next is some tricep work with dips off of your step.  Paul offers a modifer in case you cannot do the dips for 60 seconds.   The last minute of this block is hops with a kettlebell swing into step backs.  This really gets the heart rate up.

Block six is the Windmill Kombo which utilizes drills that Paul builds into kombos with all of the movements.  The snatch to windmill drill is first.  After that it is a windmill to side plank with crunch drill.  The kombo is a snatch to windmill to the side plank (no crunches) for 60 seconds.  These are completed on both sides.

The seventh and final block is the Burn and Build Power Segment.  Paul does a couple of kombos that he just goes into without building up from segmented drills.  The first is a lateral grind step up overhead press lateral lunge.  After 30 seconds he adds a knee up for extra work if you choose (you don’t have to do it). You may have to view the first time but you will catch on quick.  The second kombo is lateral lunge two times to front lunge two times with arm options being a rack with the lateral lunge and some chops added to the front lunge.  The last push of this block is a front lunge off of the high step with a thread through your legs and after 30 seconds you switch to a power hop lunge while pushing up the kettlebell.  I am not going to lie.  At this point I had to bring my foot off of the step because I have bad balance and didn’t want to hurt my knees so I did the movement of the lunge push on the floor and it still got my heart rate up.  You repeat these on the other side of the step and you are then finished and go into a nice stretch.

As I said before, because you are working so hard, time really does fly by and you will feel like you definitely got your workout in for the day!  Paul’s demeanor is really motivating and his  instruction is spot on.  A cute quote I remember is after you just worked out really hard in a drill Paul says,  “No time for rest!”  He says it in a way that is sweet and charming and makes you want to push through.  The workout is fast paced but I did have enough time between blocks that I could grab a quick drink or towel off throughout but there are no set timed breaks.

The final chapter of this DVD includes a Core Bonus workout.  Paul’s core work is really phenomenal.  This segment is 21 minutes long.  The warmup of this workout is a basic seated crunch on the step holding the bell.  Paul offers a modification and I will say that this is a challenging move.  The next exercise is a seated rotation + overhead press.   Paul adds some more seated crunches with an option to lift the bell over your head.  Rotations are then done on other side.  The next Kombo I thought was kind of fun it is the frog hop crawl to pushup to rotating planks.  This kombo is 120 seconds long but with all of that movement you need all of that time.  I liked that Paul didn’t stay on the floor for this core workout as he did in his Drills dvd.  Next is a real strength challenge with the pike to plank (done w/ feet on step hands on floor) with knee cross rotations.  Whew what a stabilization challenge that is.   A drill of crunches w/ a bridge while holding the kettlebell up and keeping your feet on the step really takes thing to the next level.  Then another fun drill of horn grip rolling crunch torches makes you feel like a kid at play.  Two more drills of a crunch with alternating halo and steering wheel crunches prepare you for the final Kombo.  The final two segments are 90 second Kombos done on each side of crunch raising the arm for 30 seconds to adding a leg chop and isolating the crunch for 30 seconds and crunching them both together for 30 seconds.  Paul does a short stretch at the end.

I’m Still Me

Posted in Health/Fitness on June 21, 2011 by mistransformation

Yep that’s me.  By now you’re probably getting tired of looking at before and after pictures of me but I was just looking at the picture of me now and I thought, “I’m still me.”  I’m still the same person I was in the before picture.  I’m still sweet, quiet, funny, empathetic and caring.

I'm still me

I definitely get a lot more attention from men now that I lost weight and sometimes I think they expect me to act a certain way but nope, I’m still me.  I do have more confidence now but because I was so unattractive before I am not interested in someone liking me for my looks.  I get, “you’re so hot” and “you’re gorgeous,” “you’re beautiful,” and “I find you very attractive,” etc., but all this means very little to me because I want to be valued more for who I am as a person than for how I look on the outside.

When I wasn’t very attractive I wasn’t valued for who I was as a person which was a very kind, sweet, caring woman.  Some people didn’t care to get to know me because of how I looked.

Now, if someone appreciates that I workout as hard as I do and finds it cool and admirable, I’m all about that!  I workout more for me than I do for someone else.  Sometimes it feels just as bad to be liked for how you look and not be valued for who you are as it does to not be liked because of how you look and not be valued for who you are.  Either way, nobody is really interested in who you really are.

I'm still me


Yoga to the rescue!

Posted in Health/Fitness on June 19, 2011 by mistransformation

When I was over 60 pounds heavier to say I had a lot of problems with my lower back would be an understatement.  One year right around Christmastime 2005 my back “went out” so bad that all I could do is lie in bed all day.  I couldn’t spend any time with my family that Christmas because even sitting hurt and when I did sit I couldn’t pull myself back up, I had to have the help of my family to get me on my feet.  Thankfully it never went out so bad that I couldn’t crawl to the bathroom but I was only one step away from that.

Slide on in to 2011 and since I started strength training, lost a bit of weight off of my chest, strengthened my core, etc., I don’t have back problems as frequently and they haven’t been as severe as 2005.  I had just been thinking to myself last week about how I haven’t had an issue in awhile.  That is until yesterday….

Yesterday was a beautiful day, warm with blue skies and finally no rain!  I decided that it was now time to venture onto the Rails to Trails bike path for a nice long bike ride.  (Side note:  The Rails to Trails is an old railroad line ripped out and now made into a bike/walk/hiking path in the woods – it’s really beautiful and if you finish this whole post I have a surprise!)

I got my bike around, supplies gathered, made the 20 minute drive to the beginning of the trail and had myself a 25 mile bike ride round trip.  It truly was a beautiful day and very enjoyable.  The ride went without a hitch, that is until I got back to the parking area and decided to use the “facilities” before making the drive home.  When I stepped off my bike I realized I had a kink in my back and I had to do the lower back shuffle to the restroom area.  (If you’ve ever had lower back problems you know EXACTLY what the lower back shuffle is!)

It wasn’t that bad.  It just felt like my hamstrings may have been a little tight and causing my back to have a spasm.  So, I made the trip home and after I got myself in order upon arrival I decided I should do some yoga to try to relax it.

I started doing yoga about 2 years ago but I didn’t have the love for it like I do now.  I had done a few exercise DVDs of it like P90x Yoga, Iron Yoga and a few others.  Although I did enjoy the Iron yoga, I wasn’t too keen on any others.  It wasn’t until about a year ago that I really started to like it.  I found that I enjoy being able to hold my own bodyweight.  I couldn’t do that when I was heavier.  Heck, I could barely get myself off of the floor when I was overweight.  I also love yoga because after beating myself up at the gym and in my living room 7 days a week, the stretching component is a welcome relief to my muscles.

So, I found a nice yoga routine on Exercise TV with Chris Freytag who is a great instructor at all she does and after completing it my back, hamstrings and glutes felt stretched.  I didn’t, however, feel completely “put back together.”  So I decided to do some extra stretching of my own and placed a leg up on a sturdy chair for some forward folds and then it happened.  I heard a loud “CRACK.”  Now, you’re probably gasping – OMG – but no this wasn’t a painful crack or crunching noise – this was my hip going back into socket and it was the most glorious feeling ever.  I credit the yoga to stretching me out and relaxing me enough for this to happen.  Otherwise a trip to the chiropractor may have been in order.

If you’ve taken the time to read this post I commend you!  You certainly deserve some pictures of the Rails to Trails for your viewing pleasure.  This to me is one step closer to heaven.  I love it there!

Pine Creek

Railroad bridge

Bridge of 220

Railroad car

Current Picture

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


Representing in my Strong Is The New Skinny – T-shirt.  I’m still a work in progress but I’ve come a long way!

In case you forget what I used to look like, here you go:




Picked Apart

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

Today’s post isn’t a DVD review or a workout developed by me.  It’s just 100% raw emotion of what is on my mind at the moment.

One thing about being over 60 pounds heavier was that I was pretty much ignored.  Sometimes this was a bad thing, but sometimes it was a good thing too.  I feel that now the people around me are watching what I eat in judgment like “Oh, wow, should she really be eating THAT?”   I’ve actually had people make many comments about what I’m eating – both very contradictory.  “Oh, you’re not eating any cake?” or “Is that ALL you’re eating?” to “Wow, did you bring the whole fridge in?” (this was to my numerous containers I had for my build-a-salad at lunchtime).  I even had someone rip a rice crispy treat right out of my hand one day while I was taking a bite.  While I know this wasn’t the best choice for me to make, I don’t make a habit of it and it was a rough day at work and if I had had something healthier on hand I would’ve had that but the rice crispy treat was it for the day.  It wasn’t like I didn’t workout 3 times that day – Yes, 3 times – most days I workout 3 times a day.  I have to workout when I get up in the morning so I am not a grouch at work.  I workout after work at the gym and I do another workout in the late evening so I’m not sitting on my butt at home since I live alone – if it is nice out I do try to get outside instead for some bike riding or other activity but that isn’t always possible.

I get looks from people looking me up and down.  I never know whether it is a look of approval or disapproval and I just wish people would leave their comments to themselves.  Yes, I still do carry an extra layer of fat on my body but that doesn’t mean I don’t work my ass off every day or eat the best that I can – note:  best that I can – not perfect.  I’m human.  I get cravings just like other people – so I don’t need you (people in general) to tell me about this or that because chances are I already know about it.  I’ve been teaching myself about fitness and healthy eating for the past 3 1/2 years now and I do a lot of reading on the subject.  I probably know more than you (again, people in general).

I say this because I just wish people would think before they speak.  Nobody has rights to me just because I embarked on a fitness and weight loss journey.  Keep your comments to yourself.

Descending Ladder Workouts Nos. 1 and 2 (my own design)

Posted in Health/Fitness on June 7, 2011 by mistransformation

First off to anyone unfamiliar – ladder workouts do not have anything to do with the kind of ladder you climb.  Rather, it is descending or ascending a certain amount of reps like this:  10 reps first round, 9 reps second round, 8 reps third round and so on “down the ladder.”  Or you could go the other way 1 rep first round, 2 reps second round, 3 reps third round and so on.  It doesn’t have to be 10 reps.  You can set  your own amount.  I just found that 10 reps worked for these workouts and they take approximately 20 mins each.  I do dynamic movements and add some plyo to keep my heart rate up.

Descending Ladder Workout No. 1 (Abs Day) 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Jumping Jacks w/ DBs

Side to Side Twists w/ DBs

Jump Squats w/ DBs

Sledgehammers w/ DB

Mountain Climbers


Russian Twists w/ DBs

Down and Outs with DBs.

Descending Ladder Workout No. 2 (Abs Day) With Ball 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Ball Slams

Woodchops Left

Woodchops Right


Halo – Right

Halo – Left

V-Ups w/Ball

Oblique Twist Sit-ups w/ Ball

Kelly Coffey – 30 Minutes to Fitness – Circuit Burn

Posted in Health/Fitness on June 4, 2011 by mistransformation

I like this workout DVD.  I like the way Kelly has it segmented and premixed.  She has a workout one (30 mins) and workout two (30 minutes).  There are several premixes including a total hour workout.  When I did these workouts I did them as intended – as 30 minute workouts.  I never did do it as a total hour workout but did view it that way and will describe how she has that mixed.  You will need 2 sets of dumbbells for the workout.

The first time I tried this DVD I did the Cardio and Boxing premix (31 mins).  I felt that this was a really great workout when pressed for time but you really wanted to get some good cardio in.  First you warm up then you go into a drill that is a dynamic/plyometric movement.  You continue the same movement for a minute then you switch to a boxing segment and continue that for a minute.  You repeat the cardio/boxing cycle with different movements for about 12 or 13 minutes and then you start all over again with the same drills which Kelly calls round 2.  You can tell these were taped separately though and you aren’t just following a repeat.  Just the movements are the repeats what Kelly says in round 2 is different. There is a thorough cool down and stretch.

The second time I did this workout I did the cardio and sculpting premix (32 mins).  You will need light and heavy dumbbells. After the warm up you go into the same cardio drills as before and in between each separate drill is an upper body sculpting segment.  Kelly uses a few techniques that I wasn’t familiar with but will definitely start using a the gym.  As before you repeat the different drills for about 13 minutes and that start over for round 2 of the same moves.

The third time I did this workout I did the Boxing & Legs premix (32 mins).  You will need heavy dumbbells. After the warm up you go into a leg sculpting movement (squat to curtsey) with heavy weights.  This is followed by a boxing drill and the whole format is the same as before with the alternating of the legs to the boxing and then starting over again at round 2.  Again, Kelly used some different techniques in the leg sculpting movements that I will take to the gym – like the deadlift to the squat out – it’s not new but I never thought of putting the two together before and that has to be killer for your legs/butt.

The other premixes are:  Sculpting & Legs (33 mins); Sculpting & Boxing (32 mins); Cardio & Legs (33 mins); Cardio, Boxing & Sculpting (44 mins); and Sculpting Legs & Boxing (45 mins).

The hour long workout starts w/ cardio goes into a sculpting set then to boxing and then to legs and then immediately does the round 2 of the same movement from there.  These cardio/sculpting/boxing/legs sets alternate for the whole hour workout.

This DVD has an abs workout.  It is very short and is a little over 5 mins in length.  The moves are very challenging and effective however and in that short amount of time my abs were burning.  Kelly starts with some crunches then moves to knee crunches.  The next set of moves are straight leg raises while sitting up on your elbows.  She then circles the legs and reverses direction.  You will then need a medium weight dumbbell to do a Turkish situp (not the getup). The next to last move is a windshield wiper while holding the dumbbell between your knees.  Kelly finishes off the abs circuit with bicycles.

I like Kelly’s no BS way of doing the workouts.  She is tough but NEVER demanding.

I would definitely give this workout at least 4 stars.

My Own Workouts – for the gym – Offset Training Routine

Posted in Health/Fitness on June 3, 2011 by mistransformation

I design my own workouts for my gym time.  I roughly workout at the gym M-Th after work.  I actually find that now that I’m advanced I workout harder at home but I still enjoy seeing the people at the gym and just the different environment.  I usually use free weights and the gym carries heavier than what I have at home and also the barbell and cable machine.  I will also use a single weight plate as is mentioned in this workout for the push press.  If I do stop going to the gym I would have to invest in heavier weights at home.

Anyway, I am going to post some of the workouts I have designed for at the gym.

You may not be familiar with the titles of all of my moves.

This first one is an offset training workout which is using 2 different sized weights for each move – i.e., bicep curl w/ 20 lb in right hand and 10 lb in left.  On the next set your switch weights.  It makes your brain work harder.

Offset Training  – 20/10/5
– Get Weight Plate #25 and Do Push Press, etc.

Bicep Curls

Clean to Press

Rope Single Triceps

Jumping Jacks w/ weight

Dumbbell Chest Fly

Mountain Climber

Arnold Presses

Speed Squats

Straight Arm Raises for Lats

Side Plank w/  Knee Raise

Sumo Squats

Side Kick w/ hop in

Calf Raises