Friday, October 30, 2009

Taking things easy

For a few days, my hip has been bothering me, so I've had to take it a little easier than usual. It's kind of an odd very dull ache that actually is worse when I'm sitting. Not sure exactly what that is, but I'm thinking that high impact workouts aren't a good idea. Yesterday I just used a long walk to school as my workout, which was thankfully 343 calories, so I didn't feel too lazy! Today I made up my own workout using my favorite moves from P90X, Slim in 6, and countless other sources I've used in the past.

I really like interval-type workout, so I warmed up for 5 minutes using classic low impact moves like marching in place, low kicks, hammy curls, etc. After that I moved into some resistance band work (totally inspired by Debbie Siebers). I did 25-30 reps of each exercise, and I alternated biceps, triceps, chest, back, shoulders, and abs with some cardio mixed in. All in all it was 30 minutes and 300 calories. I finished with some much-needed sun salutations and a bit more stretching.

Hopefully the rest will help my hip feel better!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Changing things up

I've decided I want to change up my blog a little bit, but I'm at a loss for inspiration. One of my favorite bloggers ( has a cool little rotation she follows, like Weigh-In Wednesdays, Motivational Mondays, etc. I definitely don't want to copy her format, but I want to do something a bit different... any ideas? Anything you want to try to do but don't have time to do it? I can be your guinea pig!

My only thought so far is my quest to learn about foods the reduce inflammation. There are so many out there, and nobody knows what to do with some of them. I could always highlight some of those foods here and there and how to incorporate them into your diets. Hmm....

Not sure about that one, so I'll continue searching for the idea I need to spice up the blog... until then, I shall continue working out and writing about my journey!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Variety is the spice of life!

So is flexibility! I've decided that tonight I'm going to do some Kenpo X instead of my normally scheduled INSANITY workout. Two reasons:

  1. I am sore from INSANITY! To the point where my calf really needs a day off of all the jumping, hence the Kenpo X.
  2. I need some variety! And I miss P90X...
The best part about Kenpo X for me is that I can do the workout in front of the TV while I watch my favorite shows. I have no clue what I'll watch, but for some odd reason, I am quite excited about my evening plans of watching TV while I do Kenpo X. I'm glad the simple things in life keep me going!

I think the best part about my decision for tonight is the flexibility. I used to be the kind of person who was very rigid and if I couldn't do what I planned, I didn't do anything at all. That person would've said, "I can't do INSANITY tonight so I'm going to do nothing but sit around my house." Instead, I decided to change things up. I know this may seem like a small feat to some, but I find that I used to let inflexibility derail my efforts. So making these little decisions makes me realize how much better I am at a healthy life than I used to be. Good stuff!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Max Cardio Conditioning

Aaaaahhhh, just finished up Max Cardio Conditioning! It's a great workout! I think this one is most similar to Pure Cardio because you don't actually get breaks during the moves. Technically, you get an active break where you do some slow front kicks... but is it really that much of a break to kick your leg as high as you can??? Not really, but it is more relaxing since you aren't jumping around too much! I burned 721 calories on this one! Woo hoo!

It's been quite a busy week for me... my landlord decided to sell my apartment, and she just sprung that on me and told me my lease ends Nov 30. Ugh! Luckily I found another place, but now I have to move. I graduate in a little over 6 months too, so I'll be moving into a place for only 6 months. Kind of annoying! The good thing about the place (besides that it is overall much nicer) is that I'm on the ground floor so I can jump around like a maniac and no one will care! YAY!

The only other thing going on is that I'm seriously thinking I'd like to be a fitness instructor some time. I've thought about it forever, and I really think it's about time. I know I won't be able to swing it while I'm in graduate school but once I move this coming spring/summer, I'm going to figure out what it takes to do that. Why not make a hobby a little bit of a career? Right?? :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Max is awesome!

Max workouts in INSANITY that is... I just finished up Max Interval Plyo and it was so fun! There are lots of new moves that are pretty challenging, but it's quite obvious everyone thinks they are because people are taking breaks when they need them in the video. I just paced myself and kept to it! Here are some of my favorites:

Squat Pushups - start in a squat and basically fall forward and catch yourself on your hands, then do a push up (keeping legs bent for the most part). Push yourself back up to squat when you're done... nice!
Side Pushups - really??? really, Shaun T??? These will take some serious work but, man, did I feel that in my obliques!
Pogo Jumps - balance on one leg with knee up, touch the floor, and then jump up. FUN!

I'm quite excited I did this workout today! I had been feeling really lazy for no reason at all, and I pulled myself out of bed and just did it. Phew! I'll have to keep myself on track from now on!

Dig deeper, right??? Off to WOWY to log my workout!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Month 2 begins tomorrow!

I've made it through the recovery work of INSANITY, so that means the real business begins tomorrow. I've heard these workouts are tough, and they are an hour instead of being around 40 minutes. I'm really excited to try them! The recovery week workout was so nice and relaxed! And by relaxed I mean that you took a break between exercises, but you were still doing high jumps. :)

I've noticed that Shaun T is big on pulling in your core, so I've been trying to concentrate on that. Like even when I'm walking to and from school... I figure it never hurts to pull in your core and flex those muscles! Today is my final rest day but I walked about 3.5 miles with my laptop/backpack (that's my round trip for school), so I probably burned a few hundred calories. Now I'm going to relax and make sure I get a good night of rest so I'm ready to burn it tomorrow!

On the food side of things, I've been reading much more about anti-inflammatory foods and how you can improve your health with your food choices. My first food FOE that I'm going to take on is sugar. I'm not a big sugar person, to be honest, but I do use SPLENDA, which is bad, bad, bad! I'm going to try to switch over completely to agave nectar and stevia. Agave nectar has less of an impact on your blood sugar because of its chemical makeup, so it then has less chance to cause inflammation in the body. I could go into boring chemical details (I'm a chemistry nerd-type), but that's not necessary. Another benefit should be better skin as well. I've read that people who reduce sugar and refined carb intake actually improve their skin... it's all inflammation! Boo inflammation! That's the ENEMY! I'm planning to make my own berry jam with frozen fruit and agave nectar so I have a better alternative to the sugar-laden varieties they sell in the store. If I make something yummy, I'll be sure to post it on here!

Off for now but I will report how day 1 of month 2 goes... I'm pretty nervous!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Some Weekend Variety

I made my way out to Philadelphia this weekend to visit my best friend, so I did a little bit of a different workout. The good news is that she is really into working out and I was able to get a free two week membership to her gym (SWEAT). We went over there on Saturday morning and did some upper body lifting. It was great! I hadn't been in a gym in so long, so I haven't been able to use heavier weights. We even did some dips and pullups on the gravitron machine. I was able to do much more of my own weight than ever before! We also put in 30 min of cardio, which I did on the elliptical. Very nice variety for me! This was the overall workout, done in pairs:

Bicep Curls, Tricep Kickbacks
Pullups, Dips
Overhead Press, Side Raises
Rows, Rotator Cuffs
Lat Pulldowns, Chest Press

Hmmm.... think that was it. I was lucky enough to get to watch Tool Academy during my cardio too. Have you seen that show? What a mess!

On Sunday, the weather was beautiful so we went for a jog along the Schuylkill River. I think we were out for about 35 minutes total. The odd thing about both of these workouts is that I burned about 660 calories in each. For some reason, I burn that amount of calories a lot in my workouts. No matter how long they are even! I wonder why that is...

Today I'll get back to the Core Cardio and Balance. I did that on Friday and loved it! I start up the second half of my workouts this Thursday!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

We're not tap dancing here...

That's a line (or something like it) in one of the INSANITY workouts. I don't know why, but I have to put INSANITY in all caps. Just have to! Anyway, Shaun T says something in one of his workouts to make people pick it up a little... something about not tap dancing. WELL, I was tap dancing tonight, and let me just tell you, it is not a light workout! In 50 minutes I burned 774 calories! Sooooo, tap dancing ain't so easy. Just sayin' people.

Tomorrow is a new workout for me... looking forward to it! I'll let you know how it goes. Happy workouts!

4 Weeks Down

I have finally finished my first four weeks! Woo hoo! I have lost 6 pounds in the process, which I'm loving. I can see my abs and I'm feeling the difference. This has definitely gotten me well on my way back to the weight I should be. Yay!

The food is going well too. Last night I had whole wheat pasta with tomato/basil pasta sauce and sautéed mushrooms. Mushrooms are also a super immunity boosting food, so I'm trying to eat them more often too. I was surprised by how low calorie that meal was! I definitely had to add in some calories later on. I've bought myself some dried fruit from Whole Foods that is literally just fruit, and it makes a nice addition to some cottage cheese. Oh the excitement!

I have a week of 'recovery' and then the real workouts begin. Thanks for the support!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tough Workout + Healthy Dinner = Happy Alissa

Today's workout was Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs. With my hiatus, I hadn't done this one in a while. It was tough! That is an awesome, killer workout though! Suffice it to say I was dripping! In the abs workout, there are a couple crazies that I just have to explain. Most of your exercises take place from a C-sit which is basically sitting on the ground with your knees bent but your feet out sort of far and leaning back slightly so your abs are engaged. The KILLER move on this is when you lift both your legs in the air and then down, then bend your knees into your chest and back out straight. The most impressive thing is that the people in the video have completely still backs! You can't use your hands at all and they're balancing! That is some serious strength! I can do 3 at a time and then I start to wobble so I rest. The other CRAZINESS is when you change from plank on your hands to plank on your elbows, back and forth. Gets pretty freakin' tiring after a little while! Of course, being the crazy that I am, I love it and feel awesome when I'm done. So YAY!

On the nutrition side of things, I cooked myself a well-balanced meal tonight, and I even tried to use some antioxidant rich foods! :) I have a nice salad with tomatoes (rich in lycopene) and carrots (full of beta carotene). I made a piece of orange roughy, and I used an old Weight Watchers recipe for that. It's 1/4 cup of grated parmesan, 2 T of breadcrumbs, and a little paprika, which you dredge the fish in, then bake. It's really yummy! I actually substituted Turmeric for paprika because I read it was really good for you. It actually tasted good! I didn't use too much but it added some color to the fish.

All in all, a yummy meal! With that crazy workout, I still need a few hundred calories before bed, so I'll probably have some Greek yogurt and some dried fruit.

Nice to be back on the wagon!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sore Muscles and Smiles

I'm back in the saddle as I mentioned in my last post. It feels oh so good and oh so bad! I was definitely a bit sore today from my latest INSANITY workout, but it was a good sore. I was pleasantly surprised then to see that today was a recovery workout. Again, I forgot how much BURNING goes on in your muscles during that, but I did very much appreciate the abundance of hamstring stretching that was going on. Love it, love it, love it!

I'm almost to my recovery week in INSANITY. I'm excited to try a new workout! Then the SERIOUS business gets going with all the Max workouts. Anything called Max in this series is frightening. Like seriously frightening. The good news is I'm seeing my abs define themselves, and I'm getting stronger with my pushups. I'm not going to lie though... I can't wait to start P90X again. I miss the lifting! As soon as INSANITY is done, I'm going to be on 3 days of running with 3 days of P90X (the lifting portions). I can't wait! I hope it's not 7 degrees everyday in Pittsburgh again this winter. That just sucks!!!

In other health-related news, I'm trying to alter my diet even more to be uber-healthy and immunity boosting. I am going to start experimenting with pumpkin in savory recipes (like soups and chili), and I bought turmeric. Now I have to figure out what to do with it! I'm reading this book about changing your lifestyle to keep you healthy, and it has a lot on diet change and most importantly for me STRESS RELIEF. Sometimes I think I'm batty because I let myself get so stressed! I'm in job search mode right now and not sure how that's going to end up, so I let it get to me sometimes. I think I might start meditating! I'll let you know how that goes...

For now, it's back to studying and searching for jobs. Oh yippee! Thank God for INSANITY, cause at least that gave me a little break from responsibility today!