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STS: Final thoughts

I’ve had this post in my head for a while.  After completing the second round of STS, I can safely say I feel it’s the best strength training program on DVD.  I haven’t done P90x, but I’ve looked at it, and it just doesn’t offer the variety and fantastic order that STS does.  The second time around through STS, I was amazed how much I loved the workout once I got into it.  Let’s face it, I am a cardio queen: I don’t get psyched up for weights the way I do for cardio.  I would start a workout simply because my rotation told me that I was supposed to do it, but then I found myself really getting into it, usually about 10-15 minutes into the workout.  Thus, though I can’t say it has an initial fun factor, it definitely has a sustaining fun factor.

My least favorite mesocycle was Meso 1: Muscle Endurance.  Actually, the whole month was great, but you have to start things out very organized or you’re going to find yourself pausing and rewinding the DVDs a lot.  It’s also the best month to incorporate harder cardio.  My favorite mesocycle would probably be Meso 2: Hypertrophy, though Meso 3: Strength is up there as well.  Meso 2 made me appreciate and look forward to Cathe leg workouts.  And who doesn’t love to watch their biceps grow and pop!?  I did manage to hurt my back near the end of Meso 2, which forced me to skip all the chest and back workouts in Meso 3, and so I’ve already lost the strength gains I’d made there, but it’s better to not aggravate an injury, especially for the back.

The best and worst thing about STS has been the equipment, and this time around was no different.  I love how Cathe does so many different types of exercises and hits the muscles in all those different ways, truly “shocking” the body, but I gotta say that my workout room is a bit of a disaster zone at the end of the workouts: dumbbells strewn about, a barbell rolling down the incline of my not-very-level floor, and a balance ball literally bouncing in the corner.  The workouts are not short, exactly, so the war room has to stay like that until I come home from work.  But!  I do get to use ALL my gym toys, and that is always fun.

In addition to getting through a second round of STS, this was the first time that I incorporated the Shock Cardio workouts (for the most part), as per Cathe’s rotation.  When I first did Shock Cardio just as a cardio series, I have to admit that, like many others, I was surprised in the lack of intensity of the whole system.  I’m the first person to understand that some days you can’t pull out an Imax — you just don’t have the energy.  I wasn’t in love with the MMAs in the series (though MMA: Boxing has grown on me) and, given that it’s over 1/3 of the series, that isn’t exactly the highest praise.  But I did come to appreciate all the workouts in conjunction with the STS Strength workouts.  There’s just no way when you’re pushing yourself on this 5% shock system that Cathe puts you on that you can pull out Imax 3 on a daily basis.  Your muscles do need to recover at some point!  Anyway, to those people who were disappointed in the Shock Cardio series, I urge you to try the aerobic workouts with a STS Mesocycle, and I think you’ll warm up to it a lot more.

Lastly, I did not lose any weight after 3.5 months, but I blame my diet completely for this particular failure.  It just goes to show that you can do all the exercise in the world, but if you don’t control what you eat, you won’t lose a damn pound.  My muscles did get pretty buff in Meso 2,and I noticed considerable strength gains in Meso 3, but I didn’t really see much of anything during and after Meso 1.  I would love to point to some serious tangible goals, but getting through the entire rotation is a reward enough in itself for me.  These rotations provide me a sense a discipline; there was a part of my day that had some order in my very chaotic life.  I look forward to doing another round of STS after the Xmas season this year.  In the meantime, I’ll be doing a TurboFire and Bar Method rotation and, after that, a circuit rotation, which I will post about soon.

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  1. Deb
    October 17, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Love your posts about STS — I just discovered Cathe and bought the whole dang set – after getting her Abs Circuit DVD. I’m sure I’m not as advanced as you but find you an encouragement – and fun to read! I’m joining you “on a NEVER ENDING QUEST TO BE FIT AND HOT! :)”

    • hottiescientist
      October 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm

      Thanks, Deb! STS is an awesome system and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Will you be doing Shock Cardio with STS? I’m glad that I can help support you in your never ending quest in anyway I can. 🙂 When are you starting the rotations? Have you done your 1RMs?

      • Deb
        October 23, 2010 at 5:03 pm

        I was hoping to start Meso #1 today. My Schock Cardio are arriving Monday. I have been a bit bad on the 1RMS, I’ve done a few for my arms with the dumbbells. I guess I should bite the bullet and do all first? FedEx dropped off my barbell and weights yesterday since I didn’t have those pieces. I’m weak-willed in the cardio area. My inclination is to go for weight training DVDs, altho’ I recognize I’m about to be shocked! Cathe is definitely not the FIRM workouts I’ve been doing. But reading your posts has been great and encouraged me to get the STS cardio. Looking forward to having a blast and that endorphin high!

        • hottiescientist
          October 23, 2010 at 6:35 pm

          I think the 1RMs are really helpful in order to make the whole system go smoothly. Since you have the shortest recovery time in Meso 1, it may feel a little rushed trying to get to every weight. When I did Meso I, I actually pulled out all the weights in order I would be using it in so that I could sly through the workout faster. Get ready to feel the burn is all I can say! Good luck and let me know if you have any other thoughts or questions!

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