21 Day Fix, Uncategorized

21 Day Fix – Lower Fix Review

Phew, this is a tiring one. Partly because it’s leg day, which always tends to combine shaking muscles and pounding heartrates. Partly because it comes hot on the heels of two previous days of fairly intense workouts, so there’s a good chance your muscles are already a bit sore. And partly because Autumn’s just pretty relentless. I really got the feeling here that she genuinely wants to get you in shape fast.

There’s nothing too complex here. At it’s heart, this is a good solid weights-based leg and bum workout. Lots of lunges, squats, and variations thereof, plus some floorwork at the end. I’m happy with a straightforward approach to lower body workouts. Too complex or compound and I sometimes find I can’t go heavy enough to get the burn I need. I stuck with 10ilb weights throughout, which I thought might be a bit light, but was about right considering the number of reps you have to do. It really hit my legs heart, and I also worked up a fairly serious sweat. If you’re a beginner, you might want to go a bit lighter.

For several moves, you were meant to hold the weights above your shoulders, not resting on them, for some added shoulder and arm work. I did this on some of the moves I was more comfortable with, but I have to admit, I kept them down by my side on some others, on the basis my upper body is nowhere near as strong as my lower body, and I’d have had to reduce my weight otherwise.

The pattern is the usual warm-up, then 4 rounds, each of which involve 60 seconds of one move, a 20 second break, 60 seconds of another move, then repeat. Though this was the same as day one’s Total Body Cardio, it felt more relentless somehow. The first three rounds are really quite physical and intense, focusing on working big muscles with big moves and working up a sweat. The ten second holds at the end of some moves are particularly mean. There are some calf raises in round 2, however, which while still murder on the calf muscles, allowed me to catch my breath a little. For round 4, there’s a change of pace, with some floorwork. And like most floorwork, it’s much less sweaty, but the little, focused movements are particularly painful on the leg muscles. Oh, and then there’s a bonus round, involving fire hydrants, that made me want to cry…

All in all, a good, intense leg workout.

MOVES

Round 1

  • side lunge to back lunge
  • squat with knee lift

Round 2

  • curtsy lunges
  • calf raises

Round 3

  • split squats (ie. static lunges basically)
  • sumo squats

Round 4

  • Leg lift with turned out foot
  • Leg lift/moving leg to the side

Bonus Round

  • fire hydrants
Advertisements
21 Day Fix, Uncategorized

21 Day Fix – Total Body Cardio Review

I like to mix and match my workouts. Try something new. But when I randomly decide to go on holiday in two weeks; time, there’s really only one answer: 21 Day Fix. Well, technically, it’s going to need to be 14 Day Fix this time around, that’s how disorganised I am!

I’ve done it a good few times in the past, and there’s something comforting about returning to a familiar old favourite. Some programmes might be a bit better on strength, others a bit better on cardio, but if you want a solid all-rounder, you don’t have hours a day to work out, and you want results fast, it’s pretty hard to beat. Apart from with 21 Day Fix Extreme of course, if you’re a bit fitter/more experienced with your home workouts. I might upgrade to that one next week…

The format is pretty straightforward. There are seven workouts (traditionally, anyway – Beachbody on Demand now has some substitutions), each of which lasts 30 minutes and which has a different theme. You do one a day every day for three weeks.

Anyway, today, Day One, was Total Body Cardio. I used to not be a big fan of this one, because, as regular readers of this blog might know, I’ve sometimes tended to struggle with the cardio side of things. But after plenty of cardio in 80 Day Obsession then a solid blast of  the really intense variety on T25, while I don’t think it’ll ever by my absolute favourite type of exercise, I’m both better at it and more positive about it than I used to be. And as a result, today, I loved this.

The thing to remember with this workout is that the “Total Body” bit is as relevant as the “Cardio” bit. It’s not just the sort of jumping around you might expect from cardio – weights are heavily involved. As a result, I really felt like I was shaping my body while burning calories, which is always nice, particularly when you only have 30 minutes to play with.

After a brief warm-up, there are 4 round. Each involves one move, a twenty second break, a second move, another twenty second break, then repeat. The first three rounds were quite similar: a mixture of strength exercises that get the heartrate up, and more traditional cardio moves, like butt kicks or cross country skiers, but with weights that you have to thrust up over your head or out from your chest while you move. The fourth round has the same pattern, but focuses on core moves on the mat – which I’m torn between regarding as a relief or a bit of a cop out. Though the first time I did this workout, a few years ago, it was definitely relief – I didn’t think I could make it through another energetic round! Today, though I was out of breath by the end of the rather challenging round 3, I’d quite have liked to push through for another five minutes.

It should do a good job of getting most people’s heartrates up. Even if you’re fairly comfortable with cardio, the weights add an interesting extra dimension and make fairly standard exercises have a little bit more oomph. That said, the regular 20 second breaks make it a bit more doable than some videos – but you could always up the weights if you find it too easy. I used 5ilbs throughout, which was about right, thought I could have gone a little higher if I was really pushing myself.

Highly recommend this one both as a great opener to a great programme and as one to throw into the mix on a semi-regular basis.

MOVE LIST

Round 1:

  • Surrenders (weights on shoulders, kneel down then stand up. again and again. harder than it sounds if you’ve never tried it before)
  • Side to side shuffle with squat

Round 2:

  • weighted wood chop (holding one weight, squat down and lower weight towards foots, twist sideways and raise weight up in the air at a diagonal angle – the good news is you only do one side per set)
  • weighted skiers (jump legs forward and back, passing each other, while simultaneously raising a weight up and down. ouch!)

Round 3:

  • weighted butt kicks (kick legs up behind you while thrusting the weights in and out at chest level)
  • weighted knee pulls (lunge back with weight over your head, lift knee, pull weight down to meet it)

Round 4:

  • frog crunches (crunches with legs in the air at a turned out angle – knees come in as you go up)
  • oblique crunches
Focus T25, Uncategorized

Focus T25: Speed 1.0 Review

On to Focus T25 Day Two – Speed 1.0. All things considered, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this workout. It’s a bit of an odd mix of the sort of heavy cardio/light plyo we experienced in yesterday’s Cardio, some boxing moves, some dance-type moves, and stretching at regular intervals.

The cardio was solid. Much like yesterday, it got my heartrate up without making me feel like I was going to die! Where the moves started to feel a bit more dancey or just more complex in their sequencing, I struggled a bit, because I’m just not that coordinated, though there was nothing too complicated here. I hate that feeling when you’re so busy trying to understand a cardio move and do it right that you slow down and your heartrate drops, and that didn’t happen at least.

Probably my least favourite aspect was the boxing. Whenever a fitness video inflicts martial arts type moves on me, I tend to flail my arms around wildly, make my husband laugh his head off, and don’t really getting much benefit. This wasn’t as bad as some experiences I’ve had (Les Mills Body Combat anyone?) partly because it made up a relatively small part of the workout, partly because the moves were relatively straightforward, but I still spent most of those segments wishing they were over.

The oddest bit of the workout was the stretching. Now, I love a good stretch. I do a lot of yoga, I always do the restorative rest day videos during any exercise programme, and I moan when cooldowns are too short. But I still found it a little odd to be pausing every three minutes or so in a fairly short workout to take 30-60 seconds to stretch. My body and the lazy part of my mind appreciated it, but it felt like a bit of a cop out, and it meant that until close to the end, I never got to the point where my heart was pounding and I was dripping with sweat. Which let’s face it, is what you want from a short, cardio-focused video, and what yesterday’s workout delivered in spades. Most of the individual exercises were a bit more intense than yesterday’s, so I can see the logic in some breaks, but the ratio didn’t feel quite right.

Somewhere after the ten minute mark though, you go into a burnout round that lasts until very near the end, and at that point, the stretching fell away and the intensity ramped right up. Be careful what you wish for, I guess!

There was then a quick, simple cooldown that was more or less identical to yesterday’s.

Overall, I felt like I’d had a good workout, but I think I’d have had a better one with a bit less boxing and a lot more stretching.

Focus T25, Uncategorized

Focus T25 – Cardio 1.0 Review

So, as promised, with 80 Day Obsession out of the way, it’s time for Focus T25 Day One. Unlike 80DO, workouts are repeated several times, so I’m not going to attempt a day by day diary, just a review of each workout the first time it appears in the schedule. Also, despite their short length, the rapid pace means these workouts all contain an absolute ton of moves, so I’m going to aim to give a flavour, rather than a full moves list.

Anyway, on to today’s workout: Cardio 1.0 (Cardio 2.0 comes in the second month). Now, this programme is pretty cardio-focused across the board, but this workout is dedicated to it.

There’s no official warm-up, but it starts relatively slow, with some knee raises that progress into high knees. From then on, the intensity ramps up, and there are absolutely no breaks, and very few gentler moves. It’s exhausting, but it goes by very fast, particularly if you’re used to longer workouts and/or ones with more pauses for breath.

Most of the moves are fairly straightforward, which suits me, as I’m not wildly coordinated or rhythmic. There isn’t too much wild, throwing yourself in the air type jumping (though there are a couple of moves of that kind), but there are lots of smaller jumps and tons of squats and lunges, often combined with the gentler jumps. It all combines to really get your heart rate up while also working your leg and glute muscles like crazy. I’ve said a million times on this blog that cardio is traditionally neither my favourite nor my strong point. I suspect I’d have really struggled with this a few months ago, but post 80DO, it felt challenging but manageable, particularly once the short duration is factored in.

Definitely a good choice for some rapid, no nonsense cardio and a bit of body-weight strength training for the legs.

80 Day Obsession, Uncategorized

80 Day Obsession Diary – Day 66 – Total Body Core (including Phase 3 Total Body Core Review/move list)

Okay, having now battled my way through it twice, I can categorically say that in a tough field, Phase 3 Total Body Core is the toughest of all the 80 Day Obsession workouts. And I say that as someone who is definitely better at strength workouts than cardio ones and who loves a good total body workout.

Throughout Phase 2 – and even more so in Phase 3 – Autumn has been really quite cunning in the way she’s created both full-blown compound moves and little add-ons to isolation exercises to really work you all over. As well as in the way all the strength workouts are structured to both keep your heart rate up and burn out your muscles. All of these things are taken to extreme here, and they meet their absolute high point in the glorious horror of, wait for it, Half Turkish Get-Ups to Push-Ups, either half of which would be enough to challenge me. Just that one move, repeated a few times, feels like it would give you a fairly solid full body workout. And then there are things like Triceps Push-Ups with Knee Tucks on Sliders or Surrenders to Shoulder Press. That’s before you get onto the core moves, which were also very challenging, particularly on top of the core getting hit quite hard in moves predominantly focused on another body part.

Honestly, on my first run-through, I was struggling to keep up with the choreography, never mind the physical challenge, and I got a bit frustrated. This time, I’d got the hang of it a bit more, so though I was still screaming at the screen at times, I could at least appreciate its cleverness. And it’s one of those workouts where, once you get through, you feel very pleased with yourself and like every inch of your body has been worked and you’ve burnt a million calories, so that’s nice!

Other than the ever more complex and compound moves, the structure is the same as in previous phases: 5 rounds, focused on the shoulders, back, chest, biceps, and triceps respectively. Each round involves two moves focused on the specified body part, then one core move. As with all the strength workouts, the rep pattern changes week to week: today involved 10 reps of each move, with each series completed 3 times back to back before moving onto the next.

MOVES LIST

Series 1: Shoulders

  • Surrender to Shoulder Press
  • Quad Ped Crawl
  • Burpee Sliders (actually a lot more fun than they sound!)

Series 2: Back

  • Bent Over Row Tap Back
  • Squat Tabletop Row (ie. holding a squat and with a band on the wrists, pulling the arms back to the chest)
  • Saw on Sliders (sliding back and forth on the sliders. Never did such a small movement cause so much core work!)

Series 3: Chest

  • Half Turkish Row to Push Up (I would attempt to explain this but I’m trying to block out the memory!)
  • Side Reach Push-Up
  • V crunch to Scissor Crunch

Series 4: Biceps

  • Runners Lunge Curl (using a band for the curl)
  • Static Sumo Hammer Curl
  • Slider Crawl Outs

Series 5: Triceps

  • Triceps Push-Up, Knee Tuck
  • Squat Hold Kick Backs
  • Weighted Windmills (one weight in each hand, one arm in the air, one by your side, bend to the side)

***

If you don’t currently have access to BOD, you can get a year’s subscription, a month’s supply of Shakeology, and all the accessories you need for 80 Day Obsession for just £180  here

If you’re already a Beachbody on Demand customer, you can get everything you need for 80 Day Obsession (workout calendar, resistance bands, strength sliders, portion fix containers) with Shakeology here, with performance supplements here, or with both here. 

There are a variety of different combinations of BOD access, 80 Day Obsession accessories, Shakeology and performance supplements available. Do drop me a line if you’re not sure which is right for you or if you’d like more information about this programme or anything else.

80 Day Obsession, Uncategorized

80 Day Obsession Diary – Day 65 – Legs (including Phase 3 Legs Review/Moves List)

In Phase 1, Legs was a pretty straightforward (though physically challenging) weights-based workout. In Phase 2, it bought in more complex and compound movements. Phase 3 feels really quite different again, with lots of band and slider work, and most notably, enough weighted plyo to make it almost feel like a cardio workout at times.

The first time I did this, I was a little stunned, as both some of the more complicated moves and all the jumping caught me slightly off guard. Doing it for the third time today, I’ve got more used to it, and I increasingly love it.

The pattern is four sets, each of which involve a slider based move, a jumping/plyo based move, and a weight based move – though there’s a bit of overlap between these nominal categories, as they are all fairly complex moves. With the possible exception of the goblet squats, there are no simple strength moves here.

By the end, my legs were trembling and I was dripping with sweat, but I felt really good.

MOVES LIST

Set 1

  • Side to side squat (ie. on sliders, squat down, step to the right, close, step to the left, all without standing up at any point)
  • Weighted Squat Jump
  • Figure 4 Squat (ie. squatting with one leg bent across the other thigh, a bit like a tree pose in yoga)

Set 2

  • slider side lunge
  • half skater lung jump
  • low rocking side lunge (ie. lunge to one side, then lunge to the other, without rising inbetween)

Set 3

  • slide front diagonal lunge (so confusing!)
  • split squat lunge
  • Buddha squat (ah, our old friend from phase 1 is back, and never gets any easier!)

Set 4

  • sumo double slide in
  • sumo cross jump
  • goblet sumo squat

***

If you don’t currently have access to BOD, you can get a year’s subscription, a month’s supply of Shakeology, and all the accessories you need for 80 Day Obsession for just £160  here

If you’re already a Beachbody on Demand customer, you can get everything you need for 80 Day Obsession (workout calendar, resistance bands, strength sliders, portion fix containers) with Shakeology here, with performance supplements here, or with both here. 

There are a variety of different combinations of BOD access, 80 Day Obsession accessories, Shakeology and performance supplements available. Do drop me a line if you’re not sure which is right for you or if you’d like more information about this programme or anything else.

80 Day Obsession, Uncategorized

80 Day Obsession Diary – Day 64 – Cardio Flow (including Cardio Flow Phase 3 review/moves list)

Slightly to my shame, today was the first day I dared to do a Phase 3 Cardio Flow. I continued with Phase 1 into Phase 2, and Phase 2 into Phase 3 – I’ve just always found it a challenge and genuinely felt that earlier version were challenging me enough. But today, my always-supportive husband threatened to email Autumn and tell her I was cheating! Not sure that would have been wildly viable, but it was enough to make me grit my teeth and give Phase 3 a whirl.

At first, the workout lulled me into a false sense of security. Based on something Autumn said back in Phase 1 Week 1, I thought the pattern was 4 rep in Phase 1, 6 reps in Phase 2, and 8 reps in Phase 3. So I was somewhere between relieved and disappointed when we seemed to be back to 4 reps per move. And then the stinger: once we’d built up to the full set of moves, we had to REPEAT THE WHOLE THING EIGHT TIMES. ARGH!

I honestly wasn’t sure I would be capable of making it through that. But somehow, something interesting happened. The combination of the intense physical challenge with the relatively simple and repetitive moves sent me almost into a trance, and I made it through all the rounds almost without realising it. It was actually slightly magical, like you always want yoga to be.

For the avoidance of doubt, the moves are the same as they have been every week: inchworms, spider push-ups, diamond jumps, flamingos, ducks, gorillas, kick-throughs, bears, crabs, mules/frogs. After lots of change, and some really complicated workouts, it’s nice to know exactly what you’re doing. But my goodness, this version, with this many reps in total, really puts you through your paces.

***

If you don’t currently have access to BOD, you can get a year’s subscription, a month’s supply of Shakeology, and all the accessories you need for 80 Day Obsession for just £180  here

If you’re already a Beachbody on Demand customer, you can get everything you need for 80 Day Obsession (workout calendar, resistance bands, strength sliders, portion fix containers) with Shakeology here, with performance supplements here, or with both here. 

There are a variety of different combinations of BOD access, 80 Day Obsession accessories, Shakeology and performance supplements available. Do drop me a line if you’re not sure which is right for you or if you’d like more information about this programme or anything else.