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Posts Tagged ‘shock cardio’

Initial Impressions: Bob Harper’s Yoga for the Warrior

March 25, 2011 2 comments

Yes, its the last DVD review of the First Inside Out series — I say first because since staring this journey with Bob, he’s released Kettlebell workouts as well which I have tried and loved.  And of course, I’ll have a review of the whole series in another post, but this is the last individual DVD review.  Is there are a surprise I saved Yoga for last?  I know I need to work on my flexibility, but I am probably the most lazy when it comes to working on this aspect in my health than any other (next to sleeping more).   I am a picky yoga vidiot — despite being of Indian origin, my clearly-wound-up-too-tight personality has gotten in the way of be ever fully immersing myself into the yoga culture and thought.  Just too stressed, too type A, I suppose.  So finding an instructor that doesn’t bore me to death or push too many moves that are meant, I dunno, for a performance artist at Cirque Du Soleil, can be a bit of a challenge.  I’m happy to say that Bob really did impress me with his mix of instruction, modifications, and vinyasas.  I doubt this DVD will ever be out of of my collection.

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STS: Final thoughts

October 4, 2010 4 comments

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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STS: Week 14 and 15 complete!

September 16, 2010 Leave a comment

I am late to the updating party.  I had to almost combine both the last week of STS with my recovery week. Read more…

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STS: Week 13 complete!

September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, it happened a while ago, but between experiments and going to a wedding, I didn’t have time to really update.  For this week of the rotation, I only did 3 cardio workouts and 2 strength workouts.  Two of the cardio workouts were both step workouts: Athletic Step and Step Moves.  I love both of these workouts, and I timed them according to my energy.  Step Moves particularly helped me out of a lethargic funk.  I also did HiiT: 40/20… which still kicks my ass.  I also did STS Disc 33: Shoulders, Biceps, and Triceps.  I really have to remember to pull out Meso 3 more often — I really love the upper body disc.  I guess I can’t comment on chest and back, since I deleted those workouts this month, but the arm workout rocked!  I definitely see strength gains all over in my arms.  I’m particularly happy with my shoulders, but I do need to focus on strengthening my rotator cuff after the rotation is done. I also managed to do Disc 32: Plyo Legs.  It’s definitely not as hard as it used to be! It’s a pretty fun workout.  I think if STS did any single awesome thing for me, it would be making me less afraid of Cathe Leg workouts.  I no longer shy away from them.  I’ve found that I can jump higher without pain, too.  I am slightly concerned about my left knee, as I tweaked it a while ago, and it cries out every once in a while.  I really wish I hadn’t been so swamped this past month.  I think I would have enjoyed the rotation a lot more if I didn’t feel stuck in the wrong gear the whole time.  I had no way to do the strength workouts before I left for the wedding, so next time I get to it, it’ll have been more than a week since I last worked those muscles.  I hope I’ll still make strength gains despite deviating from the schedule.

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STS: Week 12 complete!

I know I’m late.   It’s been crazy here.  First off, I officially decided to nix all the best and back workouts this month.  My back, though tremendously better than it was two weeks ago, can still feel twinges of pain and I just don’t want to risk it.  So, if you don’t think I’m really doing Meso3, I’m sorry but I’m doing what I can without injury.  It also was difficult this week because my mother came to visit and I still was plagued with sleep problems.  Thus, a lot of switching around from Cathe’s original rotation.

The day before my mother came, I started off the week by doing a strength workout, Disc 30: Shoulders, Biceps, and Triceps.  First of all, love love love this combo.  It’s a great upper body workout.  You do four sets of three different exercises (shoulder, bicep, and then a tricep exercise) and you have three rounds of that.  I love the amount of time I have in between sets.  It’s perfect to update my notes and even to surf (and shop!)  online while Cathe talks.  Unlike cardio, I can do strength workouts without a problem in the evening so its a good thing to schedule in when I didn’t have time to workout in the morning.

I had every intention of working out the day my mother came but it was not in the cards.  I picked her up from the airport and ended up chatting with her the whole day so no workout.  The next morning I did the quickie (but hardie) Hiit 30/30.  I was huffing and puffing and needed breaks.  I imagine a good chunk of that was from a buildup of lack of sleep but I still find it uber fun.  I also thought in the middle of the workout if I could use a bosu instead of a step to do the entire workout.  I’m VERY curious of this option and must remember to try that the next time.

The next day I did Disc 29: Plyo Legs.  This workout was pretty weird because my mother decided to plop herself in the middle of the room and be my live audience.  I can’t tell you how odd it felt and how I had to suppress the urge to throw her out.  But she wasn’t doing anything wrong so I felt dumb to push her out of my private gym.  I haven’t been keeping track of my weights during Plyo Legs and I really wish I did.  I keep on going lighter because I’m worried about my back but I started to put heavier and heavier weight as the workout progressed.  I always get really afraid of Plyo Legs before I start but then I get really into it after the first two or three sets.  All the Plyo workouts from Meso 3 are keepers and I need to remember that when I’m making other rotations.

After taking a rest day for shopping, I then did Cardio Core Circuit.  Still a killer!  I am getting much better at those core exercises though.  I also wondered in this workout if there were places where I could use my bosu.  I continue to have issues with lateral hopping.  I never go as far as Cathe and at this point, I’m not trying during the workout itself to do it anymore.  I’ll get better with other exercises but CCC is so tough in itself that I really don’t need push myself any further than I do without passing out!   The last workout on tap was MMA: Kickboxing but I was completely dreading it.  My husband suggested I sub it for a kickboxing workout I loved so I put it 4DS: Kickbox Cardio only and then followed it with the MMA: Kickboxing Core Conditioning and Stretch.  It was freaking perfect.  First off, I had a dumb grin during the cardio kickboxing segment.  It is still by far my favorite kickboxing workout ever (well, until Cathe makes another one…or perhaps Turbofire?).

Considering my mother was here to make me fat, I think I did pretty well!  The coming week is going to have a lot of double workouts interspersed with “rest” days…shock the body?

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STS Week 10 and 11 barely complete…

These last two weeks have not been great for me at all.  I got massively sick two weekends ago and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since.  I got TWO workouts in my recovery week.  Just two!  And they were light step workouts — first I did 4DS: LIS cardio only when I felt like my congestion was loose enough to breathe again and the next day I did Step Moves.  What they lack in intensity, they make up for in a serious fun factor.  (If you do love step with semi-advanced choreography, I highly recommend getting these two workouts).  That was the entirety of my Active Recovery week or STS Week 10.

STS Week 11 wasn’t so great either.  In fact, its not even really complete at this point.  All during my sickie recovery week and last week I had severe back pain.  I didn’t want to touch STS: Chest and Back.  I just didn’t want to aggravate it at all.  So I ended up doing every workout except for that. Hiit: Double Wave Pyramid kicked my ARSE hard core.  I told myself that I was still recovering from being sick but I could barely do it and I needed some serious breaks.  Because I had such a bad run with the HiiT workout, I was super leery of doing Plyo Legs.   When I finally did get myself psyched to do it, I got into the groove pretty quickly.  It moves very fast.  You alternate between a plyometric move and some weighted leg exercise.  So, yes, your legs are like jello near the end of it but maybe more like that decadent chocolate mousse jello.

I was looking forward to doing Athletic Step as it has surpassed Step, Jump, and Pump for my all time favorite steady state cardio workout.  Clearly, I was still out of it.  I ended up doing the whole workout but with insane breaks and not well and just couldn’t get myself into it.  I still love it, and I still look forward to it but I just had a crappy workout.  The next day, almost with fear, I started the STS: Shoulders, Biceps, and Triceps.  That workout was a home run!!  Wow, just so much fun.  In fact, I have to re-evaluate the weights I used since they all felt a bit on the light side and that’s saying something given how week my shoulders usually are.  I felt much better about working out that point.  I finished out the week with MMA: Fusion, which is still very difficult for me despite not having a high cardio factor.  I’ve found the better form I have with that workout, the more fun the combos are.  The first combo drags for a while and then everything else picks up a ton of speed.

My mom is visiting me this week so I’m not sure how much exercise I’ll get in.  I hope more than less!

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STS: Week 9 complete!

I was completely true to the rotation this week.  So, a whole seven days without a rest day!  It was my favorite week of my favorite mesocycle. Read more…

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