Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My new workout for 2011: Rev Abs!

So much more to post, but thought I'd start with this since it will be fairly easy; I decided to try a new Beachbody program I have been coveting: Rev Abs with Brett Hoebel!

I wanted to get this last year but decided to finish off the year with the program I post in my last blog entry. However, after watching upcoming clips from The Biggest Loser: Season 11, I was even more motivated to try the new program as I suspect one of the "unknown trainers" is Brett Hoebel. I don't think you can mistake his voice or Capoeira moves!  But even if it is just some "almost twin" of Hoebel's, I still wanted to find a program that would target my abs so I can finally get the sought after six-pack!

Luckily, when I ordered the program, I knew this was going to be easier than my past programs, like TurboFire, P90x, and especially Insanity, otherwise, I would have been sorely disappointed. But with "mouse/tennis" elbow (I'll explain at a later post, lol), a recovering foot pain (ah yes, another post!), and just a general need to take it easy after a hard TurboFire/P90x/Insanity hybrid program at the end of last year, I think it is just what I need.

 So what is in the workouts? Here is a quick summary:

Phase 1 DVDs:

Abcentrics: (35 min) A tutorial on how to fire up your abs as well as his RevAnthem; also includes a bonus How to Capoeira workout. Capoeira is a Brazillain marital art, fyi.

Fire Up Your Abs: (40 min) Includes some floor moves as well as some cardio at the end of each round. 

Power Intervals: (30 min) Cardio moves with lower body strengthing/toning moves.

Total Strength: (45 min) Upper & lower body resistance exercises that also target the core; you'll get a light cardio effect if done intensely.

Mercy Abs: (15 min) Floor work ab exercises. 

Phase 2 DVDs:  

Fat Burning Abs: (40 min) Ab and cardio moves done in intervals. 

Power Intervals 2: (30 min) Similar to Power Intervals but more challenging. 

Strength & Endurance:  (40 min)  More all over body resistance moves that also target your core. 

Merciless Abs:  (15 min) More intense floor work ab exercises. 

Rev It Up Cardio:  (30 min)  Cardio intervals with Capoeira & kickboxing moves.

Deluxe DVDs (*Only available with the Deluxe package) 

Full Throttle Abs:  (45 min) Intense ab moves. 

Full Throttle Intervals: (45 min) Intense cardio intervals. Definitely his hardest cardio workout but still not quite as difficult as TurboFire, P90x, or Insanity.

As with TurboFire when I first got it, I am not following the exact plan as laid out in the workout calendar. I was going to follow it, but after doing the Phase 1 DVDs and realizing they were fairly easy and not getting my heart rate high enough (thanks Shaun T & Chalean!) I thought I would skip ahead and jump right into Phase 2 DVDs & add the Deluxe Full Throttle workouts when the Phase 2 workouts repeat since I really don't like to do the same workout more than once a week as I get quite bored.

I am also supplementing Rev Abs here and there with mostly TurboFire HiIT workouts so I can boost my metabolism; I haven't yet, but will try to do at least a few Insanity workouts to maintain my level of cardio fitness as well as some P90x strength if my elbow ever gets any better.

At the same time, I am also incorporating a vegetarian diet (about 90-95% raw vegetables & fruits) not so much to lose more weight but to simplify my diet as I am becoming more and more convicted on eating a minimally processed diet for overall health and endurance. Even with the significant decrease in intensity of the workouts and eating basically what I want on a super healthy diet, I am seeing the most gains (or should I say losses, lol?) with this round and it has only been a little less than two weeks! Hopefully, my arm will continue to be on the mend and I can post pretty soon (with pictures) on some of my raw vegetarian meals!

But back to the topic of RevAbs, I would definitely recommend this if you are a beginner if you are up for a challenge; I personally don't think it is so hard you would just give up and get frustrated like if you were to try P90x or Insanity for the first time. The moves he incorporates into Rev Abs definitely will give you a strong core, but don't expect to see the results in the testimonials unless you get serious about your diet/nutrition. You may have super strong muscles underneath once you complete Rev Abs, but your abs will not show a six-pack if hid under a layer of fat. As with all Beachbody program, this will include a Nutrition Guide book that will be a great resource on how to do the diet wisely if you don't already have a plan.

As with everything, if you all have any other questions, feel free to email me at adorned_with_grace@yahoo.com. If you'd like to order Rev Abs go to my website at Graceful Coach and click on the "Shop" button to find it and the other great workouts mentioned in this post. Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 15, 2010

My P90x, Insanity, & TurboFire Hybrid Workout Schedule

If you've been keeping up with me here at Graceful Coach, you may have picked up that the last three months, I have been doing a ChaLEAN Extreme and TurboFire Hybrid Workout. Because I do get bored easily, and I can tell I am ready to hit the weights even harder, I am back to the super intensity strength training of P90x & the crazy cardio work of Insanity...with a little bit of TurboFire splashed in there for fun!

So how would you go about making an effecting hybrid of these workouts? Well, here is my tentative schedule for the next ten weeks should you want to do something similar:

Weeks 1-3:   Sunday OR Monday: P90x Chest & Back
                     Tuesday: Insanity Max Intervals*
                     Wednesday: P90x Shoulders & Arms
                     Thursday: Insanity Max Interval Plyo*
                     Friday: P90x Legs & Back  & Insanity Pure Cardio
*May interchange these with Insanity Max Interval Sports Training for variety.
**Will also throw in the longer TurboFire Workouts (Fire 45, Fire 55 EZ, Fire 45 EZ, & Fire 60) the days I don't do Chest & Back and/or as an evening workout and some other DVDs as needed (Jillian, Tae Bo, Pilates, etc.) Am also hoping to keep my running in at least 2x a week for all ten weeks as I get used to my VFFs.

Beginning of Week 4: Not set in stone, but will likely do about 3-4 days worth of the recovery DVDs such as P90x Core Synergistics & Insanity Core Cardio & Balance & Max Recovery.

End of Week 4 to Sunday of Week Week 7:  
       Wednesday: P90x Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps & TurboFire HiIT ?
       Thursday: Insanity Max Cardio
       Friday: P90x Back & Biceps & Insanity Plyometric Circuit
       Sunday: P90x Legs & Back & TurboFire HiIT ?
       Monday: Insanity Power & Resistance
       Tuesday:  TurboFire ?

Monday-Wednesday of Week 7: Similar to Recovery time at the beginning of Week 4. May add Tony Horton's One-on-One Plyo Legs as that is actually relatively easy with lots of breaks and no weights needed.

End of Week 7, 9 
       Wednesday: Insanity Max Intervals
       Thursday: TurboFire ?
       Friday: P90x Chest & Back & Insanity Pure Cardio
       Sunday: P90x Shoulders & Arms
       Monday: Insanity Max Interval Plyo
       Tuesday:  P90x Legs & Back

End of Week 8, 10 
       Wednesday: Insanity Max Intervals
       Thursday: TurboFire ?
       Friday: P90x Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps & Insanity Pure Cardio
       Sunday: P90x Back & Biceps
       Monday: Insanity Max Interval Plyo
       Tuesday:  P90x Legs & Back

I would have preferred to do this over thirteen weeks (the last week is actually more recovery so really twelve weeks of hard work) but since Christmas comes sooner than that, I wanted to go ahead and get done with the program so I had no breaks. It is rather intense as I shortened the recovery weeks for after the first and second phases but I think it will be okay (I've done it before with no issues, fyi.)

Although I do like a set schedule, I am pretty flexible so this might change up as I get into it to suit how I feel that day but at least I have the "bones" of the workout and have a pretty good plan in place. I would not recommend this if you have never done P90x and/or Insanity *unless* you are in terrific shape since it is rather intense. Also, make sure to eat the calories you need or you will run out of steam really quick--and make sure they are quality calories--no "nasty food" as Tony Horton says.

So wish me luck and hope I can stick as close to this schedule as possible! :)

**If you have any other questions, just find me contact me on my website, Graceful Coach @ Beachbody and click on the "Contact Me' button at the top left hand of the page. If you are interested buying any of these workouts, click on the "Shop" buttons and search for them in the store.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Workouts while traveling...

If you follow my blog, you may have noticed about a week and a half long silence here and at my Twitter account. Unfortunately, my wireless service was not great AT ALL and was unable to post anything--not that I had time anyway during my action-packed time away, lol! :)

But despite the rather hectic schedule, you all know that I can be a bit OCD when it comes to my workouts. Luckily, I just finished my 12 weeks Hybrid program of Chalene Johnson's TurboFire & ChaLEAN Extreme so I was actually in a recovery week where I was actually supposed to take it easy with no strenuous lifting or cardio. Sure I could have just let my workouts go since I worked super hard these last three months but exercise is my addiction so I had to do a little something everyday! So to show you that getting your workouts in while traveling is NOT impossible, here is a list of what I did:

Saturday, Oct. 2: REST
Sunday, Oct. 3: 3.5 mile jog on a gravel road & then a 3.5 mile leisurely walk on the same road later that day
Monday, Oct. 4: About an hour's worth of Supersets for Upper/Lower Body using my Pink resistance bands
Tuesday, Oct. 5: Used a Free iPod/iPhone app called THI Personal Trainer Lite and did the Bodyweight Circuit. I recommend getting this app since you don't need the wireless connection and you can even make your own Custom workouts. It also has great videos to demonstrate the exercises as well as graphics of what muscles you are workout out.
Wednesday, Oct. 6: Did a similar round of Supersets that I did on Monday.
Thursday, Oct. 7: Did a Customized Workout using the THI Personal Trainer Lite noted in Tuesday's workout
Friday, Oct. 8: Did a shorter round of Supersets with my resistance bands since we had very limited time that morning and had a later night than usual.
Saturday, Oct. 9: Easy jog of about 2.5 miles
Sunday, Oct. 10: Ran a 5K (3.25 miles) at a nearby track (Fyi, it wasn't an official race although I was going more for improved speed!)
Monday, Oct. 11: Was back home by evening and found the energy to do P90x's Chest & Back
Tuesday, Oct. 12: Still recuperating and catching up with my awG business, housework, unpacking, etc. but threw in Insanity's Max Interval Circuit, my highest calorie burning DVD workout, at some point during the day to help with some of the damage done while out of town, lol!

I admit, you do have to psyche yourself up to get up a little earlier to fit these in, but I simply had to stay determined to do at least *something,* and I can say I always felt tons better after completing a workout, even the easier ones as I knew I did something positive for my health. I did also do a lot of walking at the Conference and during our leisure time so I probably worked my legs and burned a few more calories there. The hardest part is keeping the diet in check, but we'll go there another time...

So my advice to anyone who is hoping to get a workout in while traveling but will likely be short on time and possibly no access to a DVD player or equipment, I would recommend these workouts:

*Jogging/running: Assuming you have a safe area to go to, this is pretty easy to do and it burns tons of calories and is GREAT cardio.
*Stair Climbing: If you are in a hotel with a couple flights of stairs, this makes a great workout that builds both endurance and strength. I did this during one of my trips this past summer and managed to burn as many calories as Insanity's Max Intervals.
*Bodyweight exercises: Do several sets of push-ups, crunches, squats, lunges, mountain climbers, tricep chair dips, & jumping jacks. Start out with 10 repetitions of each/1 set and add more sets as you get stronger. Work up to about 15-30 repetitions once three sets get easy.
*Resistance Band exercises: I love my resistance bands! Very light and compact, you can easily throw these in a suitcase and get a pretty good workout. I have pretty much memorized exercises for these since I do many of these with my patients as an Occupational Therapist but if you need some ideas on how to use them you are welcome to email me at adorned_with_grace@yahoo.com or click here for videos on how to use them: Resistance Band Exercises  *You can buy a set from my Beachbody Website; just click on the "Shop" tab and then go to "Equipment & Gear" then the "Bands & Balls" to find them. For the average female, I would recommend the Standard Kit. For the beginner male or advanced female, I'd go with the Super Kit; however, if you are already lifting over 40 pounds, definitely go with the Extreme kit!

The key to doing this effectively is determination and then to workout hard enough that you do break into a decent sweat. I prefer a harder workout that may last only 20 minutes vs. a long, leisurely one for 60 minutes as the afterburn is much better and seems to have a better cardio training effect as well. You have to get in the mindset that exercise isn't something you do just so you can eat more (although it is one of the reasons I do) but a way of life; let it be a habit that you don't even have to think twice about doing on a daily basis--your body will thank you for it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Initial Reaction to my Vibrams Five Fingers

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed me talk about my VFFs. So what exactly are they? See pic below (and I'll forgive you if you laugh, lol!):

Well, they are a pair of shoes I first heard about via my friends on Facebook. I saw pictures of these funny shoes that looked more like novelty toe socks than a running shoe. Then I started reading an awesome book called "Born To Run" by Christopher McDougall where these were mentioned along with other very interesting info about running, foot health, diet, etc. that I hope to talk about in a future post and got really interested in wearing the shoes that make you feel as if you are barefoot.

I went to a local store to see if I could try them on and figure out my size as they don't follow the conventional sizing but due to their overwelming popularity and the fact my feet are a less common, smaller size (51/2 -6 depending on the shoe), they did not have any for me although I did try on a pair that were a size too large, but even then I fell in love with them.

So my next option was to go to the Vibram Five Fingers website; there they show you how to figure out your sizing and I chose the two sizes I thought would fit, ordered them, and sent back the pair that did not fit. (I ended up wearing a 36 in the KSO's, fyi.) Even there, it was hard to find colors in stock that I wanted and especially in the styles as I really wanted the KSO Treks which are more durable for rugged terrain.

 I wore them all day yesterday for about 10-11 hours straight while out and about for errands and social engagements. The main issue I had was my little toe; from many years of wearing feminine, narrow shoes, I have developed a hammertoe that kind of prevents the toe from fitting into the snug pocket as straight as it should. Other than that, they are very easy to get used to. I think the strangest part is getting over the feeling that I feel kind of naked, as if I am really going barefoot because it does give me a better kinesthetic feel of the ground. I can feel the stones in my driveway, although it does not hurt like when I go completely barefoot.

You also have to get used to the funny stares and long looks from people who likely have never heard of them before and then giving an explanation of what these crazy shoes are doing on my feet. But as one of my friends said, it is a great way to raise awareness about foot health/benefits of minimalist shoes (especially for running) as it is one of those things I think people that are used to having some kind of leg pain may benefit from.

I did my morning workout of Insanity's Max Interval Plyo (the hardest and longest DVD in the series) and Jillian Michael's Cardio Kickbox and did really well wearing them. No blisters, funny movments--I had very good proprioception. I especially liked the extra grip and stability I got when doing plank moves and quick glides. It is amazing how freeing my toes helps give back a little bit of coordination to my step!

The only thing I would caution about wearing these is you really have to strengthen  up your foot, ankles, and calves before attempting workouts like I am doing. I have worn Nike Frees for the last six years and this last 4-6 weeks, I've done most of my workouts with totally bare feet. I won't go into it here as I will have another post about barefoot/minimalist footwear another day, but you can hurt yourself if you do too much too soon. Regular shoes, especially highly padded ones with lots of support, almost work like a cast and atrophy those structures, so break them in gently with walking and light activity. Though I am up to four miles non-stop when I go for my run a couple times a week, I may only try 1-2 miles TOPS initially (maybe even only half if I get to feeling funny) just to make sure I can handle it.

I hope to update more in the upcoming weeks and let you know if I am truly sold on my Vibrams! Just hope I don't go a little too crazy and try to much with them though--but I am hoping they will solve a lot of my knee and hips issues I have had in the past with running. :)

**To buy the Beachbody DVD "Insanity" listed here go to our site at Graceful Coach/Beachbody and click the Shop sign and find Insanity and other effective workouts! Sign up under "Graceful Coach" for free coaching and advice from me!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

FAQ: Do I Use Protein Shakes?

Anytime I get to talking fitness with anyone, the subject of protein shakes always comes up. Especially as a vegetarian, you are always told you don't get enough protein anyway (untrue), but in my own study the last few years, I decided to include one protein shake after my workouts and I also started doing a supplemental shake in the evening, Shakeology, for added nutrition.

Most protein powders out there taste pretty nasty to be quite honest. The first one my husband and I bought was one they sold at Walmart and it tasted like medicine. Then we switched the the one they sold at our local Sam's club (EAS 100% Whey Protein Powder) which actually tasted pretty good and used that for a while.

However, I've recently gotten convicted that I really don't like the use of so much artificial sweeteners and most brands that are easily accessible have sucralose (otherwise known as Splenda) as well as countless preservatives and additives that make me just a little wary.

One day, I was Googling "clean whey protein powder" and ended up on the Sparkpeople.com forums where some ladies were talking about the best tasting protein powder they had ever had, specifically mentioning one of the the flavors, Birthday Cake, tasted just like Cold Stone Creamery's Birthday Cake (or is it Cake Batter?) which I had just had a week or so before, lol.

So I went to their website at http://www.tryabouttime.com and found where you can try two samples for $2.99 (Shipping and handling included!) and found out those ladies were NOT lying about the flavor! It a very basic protein powder with less than four ingredients, it is made with Stevia and only a little over 100 calories and 25 grams of protein per serving!

After experimenting with some of the flavors however, I decided my favorite is the Mocha Mint as it reminded me of a Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip shake...yum!!!! So if I can recommend two flavors to try for your $2.99 sampler, it would be Mocha Mint & Birthday Cake. It's all I'm going order from now on! However, if you are parital to Cinnabon, you might also want to try the Cinnamon Swirl...

As far as the Shakeology, you may think I only drink this because I am a Beachbody Coach. Well, partly true. I would not have tried it had I not gotten curious about it after all the other Beachbody Coaches were talking about how awesome it was for getting nutrients and improving energy levels, etc.

Honestly, at the hefty price tag of about $4 a serving ($3 if you sign up as a Beachbody Coach---see me at adorned_with_grace@yahoo.com if you are interested!), I was EXTREMELY hesitant as I really did not think anything could be all that great. But as I did a little research on Shakeology and its ingredients and even read about the "Three Day Shakeology Cleanse" I thought I would like to try it to see if I felt any different.

I did! It took care of some of my cravings--of basically ANY food--and I suspected my body was just needing nutrients in general. I was very, very impressed with the flavor, a rich dark chocolate (that you can "lighten up" with the About Time Birthday Cake if you prefer a more milk chocolate), and its thickness so that you indeed felt full after one serving. Now I do have to supplement during the day with fresh fruit and super-clean salads as my body seems to need that extra bulk, but it was kind of cool to be on a this kind of a cleanse where I actually felt like I was indulging myself! So this has become a staple, and I'll drink at least one or half a serving everyday...

Other reasons why I decided to stick with Shakeology and do the Monthly Autoship?

1. Energy levels are improved! Usually I have certain times of the month my energy lags, but this seems to make up for those times about 70-80%! I imagine all the nourishing ingredients helps feed my body better and my system, in turn, is working more efficiently!
2. Takes care of my chocolate cravings. Normally, I was getting my fix with a serving of 80% dark chocolate that had tons of fat but this seems to take care of it better *without* the fat, and I am much fuller!
3. Despite its cost ($3 as a coach for one serving, $4 for a regular customer), I think that if you were to try and find another alternative or even making your own version of this by buying your own ingredients to mix, it would cost you at least $10 a day. I looked and there is NO "dupe" I could find that was anywhere close. Seriously, read the ingredients list and it's like the "Who's Who" of Superfoods. I look at this as an investment in my health; we can all agree that healthcare costs now are ridiculous and I'd rather spend the money on preventative measures than future illness that I may or may not recover from.
4. Low calories! This has just a few more calories than my old EAS protein powder but mixes up much thicker and tastes as good as an regular chocolate milkshake--better really, since it is not so sugary sweet and I know its good for me. I can even have one a couple hours before bed and not feel guilty.
5. When I do the 3-Day Cleanse, it is like doing a fast *but* still getting the nutrients my body needs. I am able to drop around a pound but I mostly like the extra energy, detoxing, and healthy feeling I get afterward.

So that's my own personal take on protein/health shakes! Everyone is different and I can't say this would be your "magic bullet" formula but I would just encourage you to try one or both of the products especially if you are searching for a nutritious health shake and test if it's what your body is needing!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Even When I Don't Feel Like It...

Due to some Internet issues last week and the fact that I've been putting together some items for one of my other hobbies (www.adornedwithgrace.com), I have been away from my Graceful Coach blog. Does that mean in my busy-ness, I've laxed on my workouts?

No way, lol!!! :)

Let me use this post as an open diary to share that when things get really busy like that, I *do* get tired from the late nights and long hours doing "busy work" and having to get up early to get orders ready to ship, and have those days I'd rather just stay in bed and vegetate.

So what do I personally do in those moments?

I think Chalene Johnson, the trainer of TurboJam, ChaLEAN Extreme, & TurboFire, has said it best (and I am paraphrasing): Even those days you don't feel like it, remember how good you feel afterward. Think about how great you feel knowing you burned off those calories and did something positive for yourself.

I'll admit, one of the reasons I am motivated is to be fit and trim, but I think that just the accomplishment of knowing I did something that seemed especially difficult adds a greater sense of self esteem for me that day. Like this morning, in leui of my usual ChaLEAN Extreme & TurboFire workouts, I did P90x's Back & Biceps & Insanity's Cardio Plyo Circuit because I like to do something with just a little more punch since I use Saturday as a complete rest day. I have not done those videos in a while, much less together, and I had to give myself an extra pep talk; I knew I would not do quite as well as I had done last time, at least with the strength part/P90x, but for that reason knew it would be one tough but great workout!

Sure enough, the pull-ups (or should I say modified via negative-style pull-ups) kicked my butt but was glad to find that the Insanity workout actually seemed easier thanks to Chalene's TurboFire Fire 55 & 60 workouts. I even accompanied the hubby and the dog afterward for a mile and a half jog.

I really did not think I would be able to do all that and I know it is so much easier said that done but knowing that I did something healthy for myself and getting that endorphin high afterward made it all so very worth it!

Now you may still be a beginner and are just working up to a half mile walk or a thirty minute workout video and find that is still quite a mountain to climb! But as mentioned before think about those health benefits and definitely find something that motivates you. If you are going for a walk, make a date with an old friend you haven't talked to in a while and catch up--you may find yourself walking more than a mile you are so engaged in your visit! Or do a DVD with some good music.

Not meaning to advertise, but with TurboFire, depsite the fact that I do have trouble with some of the choreography and find that I prefer Shaun T's "boot-camp" style of moves, the music she uses in it is so fun, it truly makes the time go faster and I'm not even a dance music lover (I'm more of an alterna-folksy rocker chick, lol).

My favorite way to exercise sometimes is while watching "The Biggest Loser" on NBC; I'll pull out my mini-trampoline or get on my elliptical or simply do some calisthenics as I watch. I think if they can do it, I know I can! (Does it blow anyone else away when they have the final set of contestants run a full marathon???) When Jillian or Bob is yelling at one of the people, I imagine they are yelling at me and find my steps getting more intense as I watch them haul it on the treadmills or racing during a challenge.

So, yes, there are ways around those lazy days and like with everything else in life, it is just about the choices we make. Hopefully, we will all strive to do the best we can each and every day! :)

**To buy the Beachbody DVDs listed here (P90x, Insanity, ChaLEAN Extreme, TurboFire) go to our site at Graceful Coach/Beachbody. Sign up under "Graceful Coach" for free coaching and advice from me!