Archive for April, 2013

Staying Active Away From Home – GUEST POST – Mike Manning

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration on April 26, 2013 by mistransformation

Today I have a great guest post from a gentleman who contacted me through my blog.  He wanted to share an article with my readers.

I feel that this article is especially of relevance now as we all begin our vacation/travel season for the summer.  I always try to stay active when I go on vacation.  When I travel I pack my strength band and plan on bodyweight workouts.  You may remember last summer I even got to practice yoga on the beach.  I also rent a bike if that is offered anywhere and pack some really good sneakers for long walks.

Staying Active Away From Home – Mike Manning

Staying active while traveling can be difficult, but the benefits of exercise while traveling are numerous.  Exercise can lower anxiety and stress that are brought on by travel, it helps you sleep better, and last but certainly not least it will enable you to go back home without worrying about your clothes fitting too tightly! With a little bit of effort before leaving on your trip, you’ll be reaping the benefits of exercise while bypassing the frustrations of working out in an unfamiliar place.

When booking a hotel, it is easy to glance at list of amenities offered, note that a gym is present and plan to use this for fitness.  However, many times upon arrival the gym turns out to be nothing more than a treadmill and stationary bicycle thrown into a room with a television to accompany you while you sweat.  This is why some due diligence is extremely important for the fitness aficionado going on a trip. On a recent trip to San Francisco I was able to book a great hotel for my fitness and personal needs because I used a travel reviews site beforehand. I was given a list of the best hotels in San Francisco and was able to parse through that list by seeing what amenities were offered and reviews on those amenities. This truly made my experience so much better. Due to increased demand, many hotels are willing and able to assist in finding suitable workout options for their guests should the hotel not provide any. A phone call to the front desk before booking a hotel room should help you determine all of your fitness options while away from home.

Another great option for staying fit while traveling is preplanning workouts that can be done anywhere.  Crossfit, a current fitness phenomenon, has gyms all over the US and if you’re already a member of a Crossfit gym it’s possible to find one ahead of time where you’ll be traveling so that you can stay up to day with the Workout of the Day (WOD).  Find a Crossfit gym here and call ahead of time to ask about drop ins.

In order to make sure that you’ve got all your bases covered, don’t forget your workout equipment. Yoga mat, headphones, iPod or music device, tennis shoes, jump rope, resistance bands, exercise friendly clothing, a plan of action and whatever else you might need to keep the fitness going.  Knowing what you plan to do before you get to your hotel makes it less likely that you’ll make excuses to not exercise while you are away from home.

Michael Manning is a Fitness and healthy living enthusiast who tries to see the best in all situations. He loves to hike, run, weight lift, travel, camp, cook, and be outside. Traveling the world and seeing nature’s beauty is his hobby and staying healthy through that is essential to him.

Mike has his own blog, Manning’s Musings:  Read his blog here:

SWEAT: More with Jen Edwards Workout DVD Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration, Review of Product, Workout DVDs, Workout review on April 13, 2013 by mistransformation


SWEAT: More with Jen Edwards is an aero/tone interval workout that utilizes high intensity cardio movements and compound strength movements to give you a killer workout.  This workout has 5 segments and within each segment are 3 movements. The first is the cardio high intensity move which is usually a higher impact movement.  The other two are the compound strength movements that utilize a dumbbell.  There are three circuits.  The first round is 60 seconds, the second round is 45 seconds and the third “speed” round is 30 seconds (Jen usually bumps up the intensity in this round).  You will need at least one dumbbell for this workout.  I used a variety of weights depending on what I could handle.  I used 15#, 10#, 8# and 5# (for the tricep move – hey that burned).  Jen uses a 5 pound weight throughout while the background people used 3 pounds.  If you are advanced level five or three pounds will be too easy for you and you are really going to have to bump up the weight (like me).  There is a modifier for someone who cannot do higher impact moves.

After a nice thorough warm up:

First Segment Moves:  Hook Jack – Side Lunge – Back Row with Glute Squeeze

Second Segment Moves:  Basketball Drill – Quick Feet – Lunge and Twist

Third Segment Moves: Jack and Punch – Squat & Swing – Overhead Tricep Extension

Fourth Segment Moves:  Swimming Speed Skaters – Around the Clock Squat – Diagonal Knee Shoulder Press

Fifth Segment Moves:  Jump Rope – Side Shuffle with Weight (more dynamic – the shuffle is sort of a hop) -Diagonal Squat Press (bumped up with a kick)

This workout ends with a core cool down consisting of some rotations with the weight and side bends with weight. There is a short stretch that is sufficient but nothing like a Cathe stretch.

This workout is roughly 60 mins.  The set for this workout was nice and clean and pleasant to look at.  This was my first workout with Jen Edwards.  I liked her.  She was motivating enough but wasn’t a bully at all.  She was knowledgeable and offered tips throughout.  This workout is a high-intermediate level and is great for someone at that level wanting to advance their workout. It may be too challenging for a beginner but if they wanted to step out of their comfort zone they could try doing all the modified moves.  An advanced level wouldn’t be bored if they really pushed the cardio portions and used heavy weights for the strength segments.  If an advanced level used 5 pounds throughout I don’t think they would feel challenged at all and would think this workout was too easy.

Jen Edwards also has a SWEAT: Total Body Burn workout available but I have not tried that because it is labeled as an intermediate level only not intermediate/advanced like this one is.

I would give this workout video 3 1/2 stars. I would like to see Jen Edwards release something even MORE challenging than this!  I think she would be really great at it.


ACE HIIT Series with Chris Fretag (Disc 1) Workout DVD Review

Posted in Health/Fitness, Motivation/Inspiration, Review of Product, Workout DVDs, Workout review on April 6, 2013 by mistransformation


Chris Freytag recently released a series of HIIT workouts.  HIIT workouts seem to be all the rage at the moment because if you workout at a higher intensity and give it your all you can get a good workout in in a shorter amount of time than if you were doing steady state cardio for a longer length workout.

I have reviewed Chris Freytag workouts before on my blog back in 2011 when she released the Slimdown Xtreme series.  I was a fan of those and I am a fan of these HIIT workouts.  On Disc 1 there are 4 separate workouts all containing their own warmup and cooldown.  Each 30 minute workout focuses in on a particular part of the body:  Upper, Lower, Core and Total Body.  Chris’ intervals are Tabata-style intervals of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.  There are 4 moves mostly rotating from a strength movement to a dynamic/plyometric movement (Chris gives low impact options and strength modifiers as well).  You complete this series twice for one total Tabata and rest for 45 seconds then repeat those same four moves again twice for a second total Tabata.  After repeating those 4 moves you get a set of 4 new movements and complete them in the same fashion (repeat moves twice for one total Tabata and rest for 45 seconds then repeat those same four moves again twice for a second total Tabata).  Now to really finish yourself off Chris gives you 4 more new moves that you repeat twice for one total Tabata and then you are ready for the cooldown (you do not rest and do this Tabata again).  In all 4 workouts there are a total of 5 Tabatas.   You will need varying sizes of dumbbells for the movements and Chris encourages you to go as heavy as you can to really challenge yourself and get your heart rate up. You may also need a mat and a bottle of water.

HIIT workouts are not supposed to be easy.  You are supposed to be going all out in the working time periods and relishing the short rests when they come.  As Chris explains Tabatas build on intensity and you will feel more fatigued as the workout goes on.

I think this workout is about a high intermediate level with enough to keep advanced level people happy.  It’s not quite as high intensity as a Cathe HIIT workout or the Inferno Intervals but I feel that it’s because some of the strength moves sort of slow you down.  Some of you may like this aspect. If you are a beginner and have never tried a HIIT workout, while these workouts are not easy I think Chris gives enough modifications to get you through the workout. This may be a great introduction to HIIT.  I really think that Chris’ gentle and encouraging nature isn’t going to make you feel bullied into doing something you cannot do.  As Chris always says:  YES YOU CAN!   Before you know it the workout is over and you have enjoyed yourself.

The second disc of this workout contains 2 10 minute toning portions and a 20 minute yoga segment.  I did not do the second disc yet and my review is of the HIIT workouts on Disc 1 only.   For the money, I think Disc 1 is worth it so having a second disc thrown in only an added bonus!!!

Overall I would give this an A-.  Only adding the minus sign for the drop in intensity that I crave.