Fitness Challenge: T25 Gamma

14 weeks.  That is how long you pledge to work out if you want to go through all of the T25 workouts that are available.  14 weeks.  The challenge set of T25 is only 10 weeks long, but at that point- why not go the whole way?  At least that was my philosophy when I signed up for 4 more weeks of fitness.

I’m not going to say that all of this was easy- there were definitely several days when the temptation to not press play in the morning weighed heavily on my mind.  There were days when sleeping for the extra 25 minutes would have been greatly appreciated.  Although the temptation was there- the drive to actually make this change and keep it was stronger.  I know that I am not the only person out there that has made the yearly new years resolution to lose weight, get in shape and eat better.  I also know that I am not the only one that has failed miserably at it year after year- so what made this year different?

I got out of the military.  It’s a sad but true statement- walking way from the military and having time to focus on myself was one of the best things that I could do. That and being happy with my job has made it much easier to deal with the fitness setbacks and other things that have come along the way.  The real proof though is in the pictures.  Let’s face it- I can talk about change all I want, but isn’t there some saying about a picture being worth 1000 words?

 

Day Zero: T25 Challenge- BEFORE

Day Zero: T25 Challenge- BEFORE

Beginning of T25 Alpha Series Measurements: 

Chest: 41

Waist: 34

Hips: 42

Thigh: 23

Upper Arm: 13.5

Pounds Left to Lose: 39

Pounds lost: 6

 

End of Gamma

End of Gamma

End of T25 Gamma Series Measurements: 

Chest: 36.75

Waist: 30.5

Hips: 38.75

Thigh: 20.25

Upper Arm: 11.75

Pounds Left to Lose: 30

Pounds lost: 15

Total Inches lost: 15.5

I feel like I need to emphasize something here- yes I lost 15.5 inches overall and although I only lost 9 pounds throughout the 14 weeks, the shifting around of muscle is why and I’m not really going to complain about that.

Unintended Consequences

So, throughout writing about this journey- this has become my favorite section to write.  It’s the way that this journey has shown up in other areas of my life that I didn’t really expect it to.  Firstly- my self-confidence is tons better, I’ve never had the highest but towards the end of my military time it was hitting a low.  So it’s good to feel good in my skin again.  Secondly- I’m happy with where I am in life.  There are so many things I want to do in my life, but many of them are things I can’t really control.  I can’t control when I’ll find a good man to marry, can’t control how people act towards me- but this fitness thing- it is something I can control and I like that.

Well- that’s all I have for Gamma.  Look out for a post next week where I talk about finishing up my 30 day eat clean challenge.  Also- if any of you want more information about T25 or just some fitness inspiration in general feel free to hit my coach, Angie, up here.

Fitness Challenge: T25 Beta

Over the last ten weeks a lot of things have changed. First, I’d like to go with the ones that are actually completely attributed to T25 and then there are the others that come along as unintended consequences of this journey.  The direct feedback for Beta is that it was great, but there were also some issues that I had with Beta along the way.

The last week of Alpha, I was able to take off my ankle brace and do the workouts without a problem.  I thought that I would be able to continue the same thing with Beta, but I was wrong about that.  After the first few days I went back to the brace and had to take a couple weeks building my ankle back up again.  At this point, I’m fairly sure that I’ll be in the ankle brace for this sort of stuff for a lot longer with anything that is remotely high impact.

The second thing that I learned during Beta, was that there is absolutely no shame in doing the modifications.  I thought at the beginning ‘oh yeah, I made it through Alpha- I’ll have no problem doing the full version’.  Ugh, no.  Not even close to the case, the modifications were needed, but as with Alpha, I found myself doing them less and less as the weeks went on.

Let’s look at the before and after photos.  As well as the results.

Day Zero: T25 Challenge- BEFORE

Day Zero: T25 Challenge- BEFORE

Beginning of T25 Challenge

Chest: 41

Waist: 34

Hips: 42

Thigh: 23

Upper Arm: 13.5

Pounds Left to Lose: 39

Pounds lost: 6

End of Week 10 Day 5

End of Week 10 Day 5

End of Challenge Results: 

Chest: 3

Waist: 2.5

Hips: 2

Thigh: 2

Upper Arm: 1.5

Total Inches Lost: 11

Pounds Left to Lose: 32

Pounds lost: 13

I definitely did not have as drastic of results with Beta as I did with Alpha, but I also had a couple of horrible nutrition weeks in there, what with Memorial Day, a birthday, a retirement and a couple other things thrown in the mix.  I will not blame it all on that, since most of it was actually my choice, but that also helps me point out the fact that me and my nutrition need to have a real heart to heart.  That is something that will be worked on in the next month as I try to deal with an eating clean plan for 30 days that my fitness coach, Angie, brought me into.

Unintended Consequences

There are not as many gushing unintended consequences as last time, but they are still there.  Most of the people who knew me from before all of this are still very encouraging and say nice things, but now that they know I’m sticking with it- it isn’t as much as before.  (Which is honestly fine as that gets awkward sometimes, depending on the person.) Many of them come from my own self-confidence getting better throughout all this.  Other parts of it are just the fact that my clothes fit better or that I have gone back down into some of the clothes that I had lying around but hadn’t been able to put on in awhile.  Also- it just feels good to do something for me.  It’s a lot of work, but it is something I need to do and a few months ago- I probably couldn’t have said that.

What’s Next? 

As I wrote a few paragraphs up, I’ll be starting a clean eating challenge come Monday- we’ll see how this goes and if I can really stick with it.  I also just started the Gamma program of T25- so there’ll definitely be one more T25 post in the future.

Fitness Challenge: T25 Alpha

Before we get into how I felt through out the last five weeks- I feel that it is important to show where I was at the beginning of this challenge.  Why is this important?  If we are not reminded where we were, where we have come does not really seem as important (don’t worry- I’ll get to my real feelings in a moment).  Below is my reminder:

Day Zero: T25 Challenge- BEFORE

Day Zero: T25 Challenge- BEFORE

Beginning of T25 Alpha Series Measurements: 

Chest: 41

Waist: 34

Hips: 42

Thigh: 23

Upper Arm: 13.5

Pounds Left to Lose: 39

Pounds lost: 6

Week 1 Thoughts

Although the program suggests that you start on a Monday, I choose not to- mainly because I know my lovely schedule and I also know that I would really like for Friday to be an easy day since it is the end of my week and I generally slack on Friday anyway.  In the first couple of days the main things that I noticed was a bit of soreness in my calves.  I’m not saying the rest of my body did not work- I just think my calves took the brunt of it, which lead me to investing in some new shoes.  If you have one take away from this review- you WILL need good shoes for your feet.  I had good shoes, but they were old and I know that is what caused some of the initial ouch-ness that I felt.

There are a lot of other things that come with the program when it is ordered with Beachbody- namely Shakeology shakes and a couple of information guides about healthy eating through the program.  Although my blender decided it wanted to overflow out the bottom (underflow?) for no good reason- I have been able to try the Shakeology shakes and I will say that what you hear about their taste is true- they do taste good.  At this point, I just need to get used to the texture and a bit of the aftertaste.  Right now I’ve decided to continue the shakes through the program. After that, if they really are helping- I may continue them further. I just don’t know at this point.

Besides my soreness- I generally thought that week 1 went okay.  This is an intense program (if you don’t believe it- try it) and there were definitely times when I had to follow the modifier because my legs or arms were not coordinated enough to do what they were showing on the tv screen.  I will say that I was very glad there was a modifier, while I was able to do most of the stuff at the level of the unmodified people- it was good to see what the other option was if my body started yelling at me to slow down.  I expect that some of these coordination problems will go away as I do the program more and certain bits and pieces come together in my mind.

By the end of the week I looked forward to the workouts, not necessarily the pain that would come through the next day but the good feeling that came afterwards.  There is definitely a feeling of accomplishment and that is something that we all look forward to when it comes to working out.  We’ll see if that continues on into week two.

End of Week 1 Stats- Chest:40.25; Waist:32.75; Hips:42.25; Thigh:22.5; Upper Arm:13.25; Pounds Left to Lose:38; Pounds Lost:7

Week 2

Oh dear goodness- week two was a bit of a challenge.  While the workouts got a bit easier and I was able to follow more of the unmodified version, I had a bit of a nutrition breakdown over the weekend.  That’s really the nicest way to put it, but I was able to get back on the wagon come Monday and that made things a bit better.  It also gave me a real reality check that I am going to have to watch my nutrition a bit more- not really a crazy amount more, but I can’t just give in to most of my cravings.  With that idea firmly in mind the rest of the week went rather well.

In week two I also discovered that a great deal of the soreness that I felt in week one was not repeated on the next week of workouts.  That being said, I did find some soreness in different areas or had to remind myself that stretching out my hip flexors is a necessity, especially with sitting all day in my job.

End of Week 2 Stats- Chest: 39; Waist: 32.5; Hips: 42; Thigh: 22.5; Upper Arm:13.25; Pounds left to lose: 37; Pounds lost:8

As a note on my stats- yeah, I’m losing the most inches from my chest, which has been the general pattern that I have seen when I lose weight.  Eventually the weight goes out of most other areas, but it is really noticeable in that area first.  My hips and thighs tend to cling to whatever inches they have and take the most work- hopefully they’ll start getting with the program in the next couple weeks.

Week 3

End of Week 1 Stats- Chest:38; Waist:32.5; Hips:41.75; Thigh:22.25; Upper Arm:13.25; Pounds Left to Lose:35; Pounds Lost:10

Week 4

End of Week 1 Stats- Chest:38.25; Waist:32; Hips:41.25; Thigh:21.5; Upper Arm:13; Pounds Left to Lose:35; Pounds Lost:10

Week 5

End of Week 1 Stats- Chest:38; Waist:31.75; Hips:41; Thigh:21.5; Upper Arm:12.75; Pounds Left to Lose:35; Pounds Lost:10

Week3-5

So- I don’t have a ton of comments for the last three weeks of Alpha stage.  Although I did find that to stay more motivated, I needed to turn around and not actually watch the workouts.  At first it was great to see how much time I had left, but on some of the more grueling exercises I found that I didn’t want to know anymore.  Overall- I enjoyed all of it a great deal.

End of Alpha Stage

End of Alpha Stage

End of T25 Alpha Series Inches Lost: 

Chest: 3

Waist: 2.25

Hips: 1

Thigh: 1.5

Upper Arm: .75

Total Inches Lost: 8.5

Pounds Left to Lose: 35

Pounds lost: 10

Unintended Consequences

Now that we’ve talked about all of the ‘important’ stuff and I’ve given you lovely pictures to look at- let me talk about some of the unintended consequences that have come along with the journey of T25.  Many people talk about how things change when their fitness level goes up, when they lose a bit of weight and inches come off- that’s kind of the reason most people start a fitness journey.  The thing is- most people don’t really talk about the unintended consequences- the way that people act differently around them and the sudden compliments that come out of no where.  I have been told several times in the last few weeks that I look like a completely different person- part of that is because I am happy and a big part of it is because I am actually doing good things for myself- not for the good of the military anymore.

All of that is very nice, but it puts into focus something that I have always struggled with- self-confidence and self worth.  I’ve always been a nice person, a good person- but there were years when kids were cruel and that did a number on my self-confidence and self worth.  It is something that I have struggled with for years and thanks to a new job and this workout plan I feel that I am finally finding those pieces and putting them together.  Like I said- it is an unintended consequence, but a happy one and I’m kind of good where I am now.

Have you done this challenge?  Do you have any thoughts about what I’ve said above?  Feel free to let me know in the comments!

Want to know more about Beachbody and T25 in general?  Feel free to contact my fitness coach- Angie Craine- here.

Book 6A: Fifth Business by Roberston Davies

FifthBusiness

Fifth Business by Robertson Davies is part of The Deptford Trilogy and is part of the first series that I am reading for this project.  I contemplated waiting until I read all three books, but I do not trust that I will remember the first book as clearly as do now, after just finishing it.

The title of the book is something that only makes sense once one has read through the majority of the book and the idea of ‘fifth business’ is introduced.  It is essentially described as the fifth person in an opera, who is not necessarily good or evil but helps drive the story line along.  I found this an interesting way to describe such an essential character in the story, but I also find that it is a way that many narrators could be described in any story.

Without giving too much away- the story centers around several characters that come from a small town in Canada called Deptford (which may or may not be completely fictional).  It shows their evolution through life and the people they become because of certain occurrences that happen when the narrator, Dunstan Ramsey, is a boy.  Everything hinges around one snowball that was thrown, one mistake that a boy made while trying to be cruel to a ‘friend’ and a woman who took the hit mean for Dunstan. While there are moments of the story that are odd- it is entertaining.

As for the style of the story, I am not sure that I am a huge fan of how Robertson Davies writes.  I can usually devour a book in a few days if I like the writing style or the plot.  It took me the better part of three weeks to work my way through this book.  I do wish to withhold my opinion on Davies’ writing style until after I have finished the series.

Overall Rating: 3 of 5.  Not exactly a page turner, but not necessarily the worst book I have read either.

April Exercise of the Month: Pilates

This might seem like a bit out of order to go from yoga to barre to pilates- but I rather like the order of this so far.  I feel that trying barre first has given me a bit of appreciation for how hard pilates can actually be.  That and the fact that the first exercise thoroughly whipped my butt.  Like last month- I am going to share my thoughts for each week and then at the end give me overall take of this kind of exercise.  Without further ado- here are my thoughts.

Week1 Thoughts

I am taking a bit of a different approach to pilates than I did with Barre.  I feel that part of the success with yoga was making it a daily part of my life for the better part of a month- so I have decided that Pilates will be daily and that I will do it as my morning workout.  I am realistic that if I do not do these workouts in the morning, that I am not likely to get around to them.  Partially this is because of my schedule and partially this is because I feel that I get the most out of these workouts when I do them first thing in the morning.

As for how I feel about the workouts so far- it depends on the workout.  Some of the beginner workouts have been really informative and have helped me get a good base.  Others workouts have left me wondering if I should have even tried them in the first place.  This is also one of the first types of workouts that I have run across where I have seen videos with a good amount of equipment.  I wanted to attempt one workout earlier this week, but was unable to because I do not have the equipment needed.  I may buy the equipment in the future, but unless I see it as more of a permanent investment, I do not see that happening.

Week1 Workouts

  • POP Pilates for Beginners- Total Body Workout by blogilates- Do not let the title fool you, this may be a beginner workout, but the muscle strength needed is intense.  I did like starting with this workout as I feel that it gave me a good base on what to expect from pilates.
  • POP Pilates: Muffin Top Meltdown by blogilates- Fairly certain this exercise would not have been as bad if I had not done the beginner workout the day before.  I felt the burn!  I also felt some pain on the sides of my hips from having to lay on my side for most of the exercises.  I tried to add extra cushioning (in the form of some folded clothes)- but that did not really help.  It might just be me- but if you have hip sensitivity when you lay on it for a long time, this may not be for you.
  • Total Body Toning for Beginners- Pilates Bootcamp with Cassey Ho by LivestrongWoman- If you have taken a look at any of the POP Pilates workouts- you will recognize the instructor Cassey Ho.  Besides her own blogilates channel- she also has workouts on LivestrongWoman and BeFit.  Again this is another great beginner workout that I found from her.  I feel that it is a bit less intense than the other beginners workout, but I also feel that I am going to be sore from this one as opposed to the other.  I would classify this workout as a true beginner and really enjoyed it for that aspect.
  • Bikini Body Pilates- 27 Minutes Abs, Butt and Thighs Pilates Workouts by FitnessBlender- This is the first workout I tried that was not instructed by Cassey Ho (AKA blogilates) and I enjoyed it as well.  It was definitely different from the way that Cassey does pilates, but I enjoyed a different perspective on how pilates should be done. I definitely felt the focus on each area of my body and I liked that I was reminded to continually pull in my abs and keep my back flat (I need those reminders).  Overall- I’d say this is a good beginner workout, with the option to make it more difficult for the more advanced students.
  • Pilates Essential, FULL 30 Minutes exercise video by eFit30- This is the first workout that I ended going ‘hmmmm’.  Not sure if it was the constant flip flopping and moving around that made me feel that way or the overall workout.  I felt that I got a good bit of work in, but I also did not feel the isolated intensity in each muscle group that I felt in the other workouts.  Again, it may be personal preference, but this has not been my favorite so far.
  • BeFit Bikini Body Pilates: Lean Legs Workout- Cassey Ho by BeFit- Owwww!!! It is definitely a good kind of hurt, but this is definitely killer for the legs.  Not going to say I loved it (because I’m still hurting), but I will say that the video definitely focuses on the areas that it claims and you will feel it.

Week 2 Thoughts

I don’t know if it is just the fact that it is week two- but some of the workouts are getting easier.  Then every once in awhile- one come out of left field and leaves me wondering why in the world I’d do this to myself.  One thing that I have noticed about most pilates workouts is that they focus on one area of the body and do not actually do whole body workouts.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it something worth noticing.  If you are looking for whole body workouts, it might be a little more difficult to find, but I have seen a few out there.

As for results- well, I am certainly feeling it during the workouts, but so far I have not had a next day regret for most of the workouts.  To some- that may sound like no work is being done, to me- it feels like work is being done, but it is also getting worked out throughout the day and I do not wind up feeling like I need days off to recover.

Week 2 Workouts

  • Thigh Slimming, Inner Thigh, Pilates: Full Length Leg Slimming Routine No Squats or Lunges by jessicasmithtv- for as long as the title of that workout video is- it is actually quite simple.  I felt it, but I was still able to walk, which is definitely something I want when it comes to these types of workouts.  No walking afterwards = no bueno and little motivation for me to continue.
  • Denise Austin: Power Pilates Workout by BeFit- Comparatively speaking, Cassey Ho is so much less annoying than Denise Austin.  If you love her, that’s fine- but the kind of encouragement I got from this video just made me want to finish faster and make snarky comments at the television.  She did not really do a good job of adding in modifications and that is something that I feel like should be offered for each of the exercises.  Really was not a huge fan of this particular workout.
  • POP Pilates: Butt Blaster (25 Minutes) by blogilates- Owwww!  It’s another one that has left me with a tinge of soreness at the end of the workout.  Results to come tomorrow if the promised ‘not being able to sit down’ actually happens or not (really- I’m hoping that I’ll be fine)- however, I can believe that it would be uncomfortable for a day or two after this workout.  I did like this workout, so I do plan to go back to it. Update: you’ll definitely be sore the next day, but it is worth it.
  • Bikini Body Pilates: Lean Arms Workout- Cassey Ho by BeFit- Short twelve minute workout, but it really does focus on your arms.  Doing this workout the day after the killer butt workout was probably not advised, but I still got a good bit out of it.  It all depends on your fitness level, but many of these workouts will go as far as you are willing to push yourself (like just about anything when it comes to working out).  So I may have traded buns of steel for toned arms this week, but that can be taken care of next week.
  • Pilates Abs and Obliques- 26 Minutes Fitness Blender Online Pilates Class by FitnessBlender- Another awesome FitnessBlender workout.  I really enjoy their approach to workouts and the way that they format them.  I also like the fact that I am almost certainly going to feel my abs in the morning- you know, the good kind of sore.  Again, they are one of my favorite workout sites that I have found and I have really enjoyed them.
Last Day of Pilates

Last Day of Pilates

Overall Thoughts

For anyone who might be flipping out- yes, I only did two weeks of pilates, but I have my reasons.  I plan on starting a T25 challenge tomorrow (Saturday) and felt that it was better to give this feedback than to give no feedback on what I did for the first two weeks. I have a few challenges lined up and will be doing those over the next few months.

As for pilates- I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I feel like there are results to be taken from this kind of workout, far more than barre.  I think, more importantly, that these workouts fit into my lifestyle better than barre- which does need an increased amount of time for results and I just do not have a ton of free time lying around waiting to be used.  The longest pilates workout I did was 30 minutes, but it was worth every minute.  If I learned anything here, it is that finding something that fits into my time frame makes it exponentially more likely that I will come back to it day after day.  So- for the half month of pilates, those are my thoughts.  Don’t be surprised if I come back to it again after my challenge series to finish up with two more weeks (or maybe a full month) of pilates workouts.

As I’ve alluded to- I’ll be doing something different for the Exercise of the Month series over the next few months, but that is no reason to not give your feedback about what you think I should do after the challenges are over.  If you’ve got a suggestion- feel free to post below.  Until next month- have a good one!

Fitness Challenge: The T25 Challenge

A few weeks ago, I was approached by a friend of mine, Angie Craine to see if I would be interested in doing a fitness challenge.  I have been working on my fitness journey off and on for years and I feel like this invitation came at the right time. While I was  working my way through free fitness via youtube- I liked the idea of doing a challenge.  After some consulting and figuring out what would fit into my life- I decided to try the T25 Challenge.

Why I am Doing This

Why in the world would I decide to try this?  Well- there are quite a few reasons why I think now is a good time and I will elaborate on that in a moment.  The reason that I choose this program mainly has to do with one thing- time.  Some people can devote a good bit of time each day (week, month, etc) to fitness, but I know myself well enough to know that right now, if it takes more than 30 minutes I may not do it every day.  Hence- a 25 minute program is really ideal for me.  Sure there is one day a week when I will need to double up, but that is perfectly fine.

Now, to the ‘why’ that many people do not think about and do not really want to talk about.  Most people are not satisfied with their weight or their current physical condition, call it culture or whatever you wish- it is just a fact of life.  I’m not any different than most people and I wish that I had been able to stick with some programs in the past, but that did not happen.  When asked ‘why do I want to do this’ there were two points that I really felt were important to me.

The first point that I have is that I want to enjoy exercise again.  While I cannot speak for everyone in the military, I can say that for me the military ruined any sort of fitness routine that I had before the military.  What I did before I entered the military WORKED.  The type of fitness that the military requires a person to do is not always conducive to what each person needs and in order to meet standards I did things that made me loathe any type of exercise.  In the last few months- I have made great strides at putting this sort of exercise hatred behind me and moving on with doing things that I want to do.  Things that I feel make sense for my fitness, as opposed to things that must be done to check off a box on a test.

The second point is just as frankly really- I need to get in better shape- for me and for my life.  I have a list as long as my arm of problems that come along with my family history and many of them are weight related.  This is the time of my life where I have time to get things right, before I have kids and before anything else gets added to my daily schedule.  I was already working on some of these things before the challenge found me and I definitely think that this is the right way for me to go about it.  I have been working my way to the deep end of this particular part of my health journey and it is just time to jump right in and deal with it.

What to Expect from My Posts

At this point, I plan to do monthly posts on my progress, although I may change my mind and switch to weekly if I feel that will help me more.  What I plan to do with these posts is be honest about how I feel and how it is working.  If parts of it suck- I’m going to say that.  I am also going to say if those suck-y parts actually give me the results I am looking for.  I am not looking for a miracle ten weeks to lose reach my goal weight- I am looking for a chance to help myself get into better shape.

I attempted to do something like this last year, but it just did not pan out as well as I wished and I feel that realizing what my body is up to will help this time.  I am not one of those fortunate people that can drop a couple of pounds a week- frankly, I am lucky to drop a couple of pounds a month.  That may change with this program, but if it doesn’t that is alright.  I am looking for a steady downward trend, not a dive off a cliff.  So- expect a lot of that type of zen ‘it takes a long time to move this mountain’ type of posts and comments over this challenge.

Also, these posts are going to include some very specific measurements (listed below) and photos.  There will be comparison photos, as well as inches lost/pounds lost for the other areas.  The one note that I will make is that I am not revealing my actual weight.  I am not really comfortable with that at the moment, but I do have a nice little tracking system- POUNDS LEFT TO LOSE.  This will let all of you see my progress and allow me a bit of sanity when it comes to being very public about a part of my life that is rather rough to deal with at times.

Without further ado- the photo and the measurements:

Day Zero: T25 Challenge

Day Zero: T25 Challenge

Current Measurements

Chest: 41

Waist: 34

Hips: 42

Thigh: 23

Upper Arm: 13.5

Pounds Left to Lose: 39

Pounds lost: 6

So, day one starts tomorrow and I hope that this will all pan out well.  I expect a lot of hard work from myself and so long as I put that in- I know I will get things out of it.  Until the next post- keep on working on you!

Want to know more about T25 and my fitness coach?  Check out her page here.

March Exercise of the Month: Barre Workouts

Barre?  What is a Barre Workout?  Well- as best as I can gather, it is a workout that is inspired by ballet- that also combines a bit of yoga and pilates into the mix.  Sometimes the workouts require a bit of equipment (i.e.- a chair and weights) and at other times the workouts require nothing more than a bit of room.  It is a toning/strengthening workout that is not your typical ‘grab some weights and give me 20 repetitions’ type of workout- which I happen to enjoy.

I chose this exercise for March, partially because I felt that it would build on some of the things that I did in yoga last month and partially because I wanted to try something that I have heard about but never tried.  Instead of doing a huge synopsis of how I felt- this month I decided to do weekly ‘updates’ about how I felt about the exercises as a whole and include which workouts I did.  This method makes me focus a bit more on what I feel at each stage as opposed to how I feel at the end of the month.  If you aren’t interested in that, scroll on down to the bottom for overall feedback.

Week 1 Thoughts

I have certain hopes for adding in this type of exercise every other day at this point.  I hope that it will help tone my lower body and will also help me get better balance.  I have struggled with some balance issues since bruising the bone/ partially tearing ligaments in my left ankle last year.  So far- I feel that this sort of exercise will help to strengthen some of those weakened tissues without feeling as if I am putting a huge amount of strain on them. At the same time- I feel that the toning for this type of workout is more appreciably felt than the toning that comes from yoga.  I cannot say that I see a huge difference in my body, but I do feel a slight difference in some parts of it. I am hoping that I will continue to feel some of these minor changes and minor soreness throughout the month.

Week1 Workouts:

FitnessBlender: Free 39 Minute Barre Workout, Butt and Thigh Barre Workout- full length, intense strength

POPSUGARFitness: The Look Good Naked Barre Workout- very good for 11 minutes!

Fitness Blender: Butt and Thigh Barre Workout- not as good or as intense as the full 39 minute version of this and not as good as the comparable 11 min POPSUGAR workout

jessicasmithtv: Barre, Exercise, Ballet, Free Full Length Online Barre Workout: Ballet Body- first barre workout done without a chair.  Still felt the burn in the legs though.

Week 2 Thoughts

This week I started back to work, which was wonderful, but kinda of threw my workouts for a loop.  I switched up barre workouts with yoga each morning and found that I do like this kind of tempo.  Switching more difficult toning with stretching days.  That being said- on Thursday I started coming down with the crud- thanks to mother nature not being able to decide if it is winter or spring.  By Friday night- I was laying on the couch with my cold meds and hoping it would get better.  What I thought was a mild cold- knocked me out for the weekend and part of the next week, so sadly I do not have a long list of new workouts to display below.

Week 2 Workouts:

POPSUGARFitness: The Look Good Naked Barre Workout- Yep, it’s a repeat and I did it twice.  But I definitely think this is the best workout that you can get for 11 minutes.

Week 3 Thoughts

The sickness that waylaid me in Week 2 continued into this week and I hate to admit it, but I did not do nearly as many barre workouts as I did yoga workouts.  Frankly- my body was not up for it and even the yoga was a bit too intense for me some days.  Towards the end of the week though, I felt a lot better and managed to get in one barre workout.

Week 3 Workouts:

Karena Thek: Short Pilates Barre Unlimited- This workout is only 8 minutes- but there is a good reason for that.  I did not realize when I started it that morning that it was only a PARTIAL workout.  The part that was in this video was good, but it was not good enough to tempt me to the website to see the full version.

Week 4 Thoughts

In my last week- I did three barre workouts, but I will say that they were three of the better workouts that I have found.  Looking back on the weeks and how this workout program worked for me- I do think that it is something I will turn to again for toning.  However, I did not fall in love with barre workouts the way that I did with yoga, so I think I will be searching for a ‘go to’ toning workout still.  I will definitely continue to do barre some, but I feel that it will most likely be when I want to torture my legs and inner thighs (in a good way).

Week 4 Workouts:

Pilates Union: Barre Concept- Ultimate 20 minute barre exercise- This is a good workout, it is, but it is also one of the few where you really need a stationary ballet barre as opposed to a chair. The entire ab portion was not really possible because of this equipment issue.  If you happen to have a ballet barre just lying around your house- I say go for it.  Otherwise, I would not necessarily suggest this exercise again.

BarreBody: Barre Body- Get a Dancer’s Body for body+soul- Another 11 minute workout and it is absolutely worth it.  Definitely gets the most out of your time, which I find exceedingly important when I am working out at 4:30.

jessicasmithtv: Ballet Body Sculpt- Full 30 Minute Workout (barre workout, fat burning, total body sculpting)- Pretty sure this workout is going to leave me with sore legs, but it is a good kind of sore.  I really enjoy the workouts found at jessicasmithtv and even if I don’t continue barre as a whole, I do think I will continue to do many of her workouts.

Random Notes

Besides regular workout channels that youtube has that feature one or two bar workouts this channel: jessicasmithtv features a great number of barre workouts of different intensities.  It was definitely one of my better finds when it came to searching for barre workouts online.  As I said above- I will be going back to this channel for more workouts in the future.

Also, I’ve gathered all of the videos mentioned above into one, convenient playlist which you can find here.  All of the workouts above are listed there, along with several other workouts that I planned to try and have not gotten around to yet.

Overall Takeaway

My overall takeaways from this experience was that it was good to try something different.  Even though I am not sure that barre workouts are for me- I would have never found some of the great workouts that I did without giving this a try.  Stay tuned for next months Exercise of the Month, which is yet to be decided. If you have any suggestions- feel free to comment below!

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