April – 2/3 – The Shrinking Jeans of April


August 3, 2009 By april

I just completed my first week of Chalean Extreme with two work outs.  “Burn It Off”  and “Recharge”

Burn It Off – Folks, it’s been a long time since a work out has made me want to puke.  And not like a “I hated it” kind of puke.  I’m mean literally as if I were out of shape puke.  Which is insane for me because I’m in shape!!  It seriously was like the first day of basketball practice all over again, and Coach said hit the track in 90 degree weather.  After 27 continuous minutes of jumping, jumping, jumping-wait 26 minutes, you get a 1 minute break in the middle – I felt awesome!!  Yeah, I know I said I wanted to puke and I did, but to me that’s awesome!  Meant I challenged myself to the max!

Now if, you are thinking NO WAY am I going to try a work out that’s going to make me feel like that!  Don’t.  There are ways to modify the exercises.  I just decided to go all out and push myself!  I can’t wait to do it again!!

Recharge – Okay, I KNOW that working on your flexibility is important.  And I will from time to try yoga type work outs (Chalene, you can call it Recharging, but I’m onto you. It’s yoga. ;o),  and here’s my problem with yoga.  While I’m suppose to be concentrating on relaxing and focusing on my breath while my head is between knees, all I can think is, wow, I really should have shaved my legs this morning. That’s just how my mind works.  But I admit the stretches did feel good, and Chalene did keep it to only 20 minutes, so as long as I make sure I shave my legs before I do this work out, maybe I can try to focus more on my breathing and relaxing nex time.

Week 1 overall assesssment.  AWESOME!  I’m looking forward to Week 2 and seeing if the work outs get any easier or harder!  I’m going to get some 12 lb weights this week, so that should challenge me more!

August 2, 2009 By april

Day 5 – I actually switched this to a rest day.  I like having Saturdays to rest, so you may see me do this from time to time.  Also, I was SO sore yesterday that I’m not sure I could have lifted heavy weights anyway.  Sometimes you just have to listen to your body.

Day 6 – Today was Burn Circuit 3.  The work out itself concentrated on the shoulders and the legs.  I love working shoulders, so it was a good work out, but I don’t want to concentrate on this in my post.  One of the reasons that I wanted to document this program was so that you could follow along.  You’re going to see highs and lows during this with me.  And today was a low.

Without going into great detail, today was stressful for me.  I felt like every time I turned around there was something that was either going to annoy me or frustrate me.  After a few hours of this, enter bad mood.

I didn’t want to work out.  I would have rather crawled into bed.  But because I made a promise to myself (and you) to complete and document this, and because I took yesterday of, I knew the work out had to be done.

So, I dragged my feet back to my room, dragged my work out clothes on, dragged my feet back to the TV, and put in the DVD.

And I worked out.

They are so right when they say exercise will improve your mood.  It really does.  Chalene addressed this herself in the cool down of the work out.  It was like she knew I had a crap day and was talking ot just me.  She was right, though.  I don’t feel as stressed now.  Before I felt like 1000 pounds was weighing me down, now it’s not so bad.  I feel lighter.  And that feels good.

Now, I see that tomorrow is the Recharge DVD and I’ve heard from a friend that has already tried this program out that Chalene was a little sneaky and has put some yoga into this program.  I’m not a big fan of yoga, but I’ll try it.  )

July 31, 2009 By april

Normally, Fridays are not work out days.  It’s summer and there is lots of things to do in the summer.  I thought about blowing off my work out more than once today to find someone to go to a Happy Hour with me.  But I didn’t.  I dragged my tired ass home and worked out.

Today, I experienced the hell most awesome work out that is Burn Intervals.  I thought that this was going to be a straight cardio work out.  Much like, um, Cardio Party from Turbo Jam.  Yeah.  Not so much.

If you’ve ever done any of the Turbo Jam work outs, you know that right in the middle there is this thing called Turbo.  It’s around 90 seconds of  pure hell extreme cardio enjoyment where you get your heart rate at maximum.  So, imagine that times 500 with sets of 2 minute weight trainings in between each interval.  Oh, and all of this is for 45 mins.  It’s kind of like Cardio Party meets Jari Love.  (Jari concentrates on light weights high reps.)

And while I sweated and I cussed and I sweated and I cussed, I loved every minute of it.  It kind of worked out the soreness I was feeling from Burn Circuit 2 and after it was all done, I felt like I had climbed a mountain.  It gave me a great sense of accomplishment!

Oh, but we weren’t done.  On the schedule was Ab Burner.  Now, I admit that when first seeing the title “Ab Burner”, I had to smirk a little bit.  I mean, after all, I’ve done Ab Ripper X from P90X, so how hard could Ab Burner be right?  Pretty hard.  My abs are my weakness.  I hate to work them and prefer to do total core work outs as opposed to just working on Abs, but it’s on the schedule, so I did it.  It was a kick butt Ab work out!  I know my abs are going to hate me tomorrow but love me in the end.  I still have to admit, this was my least favorite work out so far.  I’m sure I’ll hate Ab Extreme even more.

So, that’s Day 4.  Any questions?

July 30, 2009 By april

OMG, I have found my new favorite work out!!!  Sorry TJ Cardio Party 1.  (You may hear this a couple of times throughout this program.  I always have new favorite work outs, but Cardio Party held strong for months.) What you can read right now is my excitement, what you can’t see?  My arms are SHAKING!!  Shaking is GOOD, BTW.

Let me say, I love working biceps and triceps! And I knew from the very first exercise that this was going to be a great work out!

I mean, a sumo squat with a bicep curl?  Come on!  What’s not to love about that?! I loved this move so much, I was cheesing it up big time.

Move after move, I was loving.  Lunge to tricep extension? LOVE!  Sumo squat to overhead tricep extension?  LOVE!

And then we get to the bowler’s lunge to a single arm row.  SUCK.  Let me explain this.

You’re to get into a position as if you just threw a bowling ball with all of your weight on your front foot.  You’re just to use your back foot for balance.  So, you squat down and while you’re down, you do a single arm row, then you come back up.  (I think that’s basically how the move goes!)  Okay, folks, we know that my balance sucks ass, so I’m sure this was a sight to behold.  But I did it.

Next, bicep curl while you’re balancing on one foot sort of thingy.  (You have to see it to get it.)  But again, with the balance.

With me, it takes every single bit of concentration to hold my balance, and I know I fall out of it quite a bit, but instead of getting frustrated, I stick my tongue out, and I get right back to it.  That’s the only way my balance will ever improve. So, if you have a move that isn’t so great for you, just keep working at it!  You will get better!  I promise!

The very last exercise was push-ups.  Oh, and not just any old push-ups.  No way.  Chalene got creative here.  One tricep push-up, one regular push-up, and one push-up with feet wide…and I did ALL TWELVE on my toes!  Then Chalene said to do three more tricep push-ups.  Suck.  Those I had to do on my knees.  I tried to do them on my toes, and I fell.

So, final notes for Day 3…I definitely need 12 lbs weights.  I totally need to keep my focus on form, especially with the balance exercises.  And I hate tricep push-ups.  (Even though they’re really good for you!)

July 29, 2009 By april

When I saw on the Chalean Extreme schedule that today was a rest day, I was a bit confused.  No program I have ever done has the second day as a rest day.  Usually the rest days are in the middle of the week and the end of the week.

So, I direct messaged Chalene Johnson on Twitter and asked.  One thing that really impresses me about Chalene is that if you ask her a question on Twitter, she answers you back.  Fairly quickly, I might add.  So, if you’re not following her, do it, k? ;o)

Her response to my questions was that having Day 2 as a rest day is just a suggestion and that based on your individual schedule is how you should determine which day is your rest days.  (And she said that all in 140, people.)

Typically, I would not rest on Day 2, but after catching up on some much needed sleep this morning and my afternoon became a little busy, I decided that for this week, I would make Day 2 my rest day.  And since Chalene suggested it, it’s okay. Right?

So, next, soreness factor from yesterday.  I am a little sore in my shoulders and chest, but not at all in my legs.  I wish I were more sore, but I know that I’m not using heavy enough weights.  I used all 8′s and 10′s yesterday and judging by how sore I’m not, I know I need to buy 12′s.

I wish I could afford the mondo weights that they use in the program.  Seriously, go here, scroll down a bit and check those puppies out, but until I can, buying 12′s should do the trick.

I guess that’s it for Day 2.  I’m actually excited for Day 3 to get here!!

July 28, 2009 By april

Okay folks, after not working out for over two weeks, it’s time to get back to it before I get lazy again.  I’m not down on myself for not working out.  I had an insane schedule that really didn’t allow for me to work out.  And honestly?  My body NEEDED the break.

Now, if you know me at all, you know that I love work out DVDs.  I’ve lost most of my weight by doing it at home.  I’ve tried everything from the Biggest Loser work outs to Turbo Jam to P90X.

P90X was by far the hardest program, but for me, I found it difficult to maintain focus.  I think the reason for this was that I was working out 6 days a week for almost an hour every.single.day.for.90.days.  And just personally, I felt like it was geared more towards men.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it just wasn’t for me.

Enter ChaLEAN Extreme.  The trainer on this program is Chalene Johnson from Turbo Jam.  And I just love, love, love her!  Also, my friend that I did P90X with (and had the same opinion of the program) had already tried this program and LOVED it.

I’m not going to talk about the details of the program.  If you want to read about it, go here.  I want to try to post every day about each work out.  It is a rather long program (3 phases long), so I’m sure some posts are going to be shorter than others.

Today was Burn Phase, Day 1 :  When I was told that the work out was only about 35 minutes long, I had mixed feelings.  By no means did I want an hour long work out, 6 days a week, but 35 minutes?  Really?


This work out concentrated mostly on working shoulders, back, legs, and chest.  Chalene likes compound exercises, much like Jillian does in the Shred.  (The reason is compound exercises burn more calories!) And she wants you to use heavier weights with lower reps.  If you’re worried that you’ll bulk up by doing this, don’t.  You won’t.  It’s very hard for women to get bulky because we don’t have the testosterone that men do.  Plus, like Chalene says, “muscle burns fat”.

Anyway, so can I say leg exercises are my least favorite??  For real.  I have knee problems, so I wear knee braces.  But I also I have balance issues.  So when Chalene says it’s time for the Lunge with a Core Rotation move, I thought this could not be good.

But I found if I concentrated really hard I could do it!

One move that I loved?  The push-ups with leg lifts.  Can I just brag a bit?  Every exercise is 12 reps and I did 8 push-ups ON MY TOES before I had to drop to my knees!!  I was pumped by that point!

All in all this was a great work out!  By the time I was done, my whole body was shaking!  This is a good thing, folks.  Means that even though the work out was “only” 35 mins, it worked!  Sweat factor on this work out is low, but I don’t sweat much during strength training, so I’m fine with it.

I don’t expect to be sore until maybe tomorrow evening.  I have delayed onset muscle soreness, but I really hope I’m sore!  I love being sore after a work out!  (I know I’m weird!)  Makes me feel like it worked!

So, until tomorrow….

July 6, 2009 By april

Man, oh man, if there ever was a day I needed a True Confessions Monday, it was today!!  I usually am really good with my food, but on Saturday?  Not so much.  Every so often I get caught up in the spirit of things and go crazy.  So let’s see on Saturday:

1. I had a cheeseburger AND a hot dog.  I never eat both.  Saturday, I did.

2. I had crock pot mac and cheese, and OMG, it was some of the BEST I’ve ever had.  For real.

3. And if that wasn’t enough, I also had macaroni salad AND potato salad.

4. I skipped the baked beans. That’s something, right?

5.  Okay, you got me. Instead of baked beans I had another helping of macaroni salad.  *Hangs head in shame*

6. I’m convinced that the only reason my friends brought eclair cake was to torture me.  I tried and tried, but the eclair cake won.  Dammit.

7. Did I mention the beer?  No?  Well, I had beer too. A lot.

8. AND homemade Bailey’s Irish Creme (or is it Cream?).  A friend forced it into my hand.  It would have been rude not to drink it right?  Please say yes. ;o)

9.  I did; however, exercise both Saturday and Sunday.

10.  Vacation #1 of 2 vacations this month is this weekend.  I’m going to try to be good.  At least food-wise.  Drink wise, well, I’ll need to confess next Monday, I’m sure.

11.  Here’s a bonus random one for you:  When I was in high school, I was hanging new curtains for my mom while she and my dad was at work.  I didn’t realize that the curtains she chose were too heavy for the brackets (because of years of wear and tear), so when I hung the curtains, the screws bracket and all fell out of the wall. Determined to have the curtains hung by the time my parents got home I found a solution.  Super glue.  I filled the holes with super glue and the bracket held nicely.  Years later when my dad decided to paint and change things out, he ripped a hole out of the wall trying to get that bracket out.  When asked how the hell did that happen, I shrugged and went to my room.  But boy does super glue work.

That is all. )

June 17, 2009 By april

So, I blogged here about eating lots of carrot cake and gaining a pound this week.  I could feel bad about it, but I don’t.

Honestly, though, I thought that I had done enough to at least maintain this week.  Seriously, folks, I ADDED work outs and cut calories the other days, so the gain was a tad bit of a shock to me.

We have to learn how to listen to our bodies and gaining a pound is my body telling me that it has now adapted to my work out schedule.  I have been doing Turbo Jam’s Cardio Party and once a week, either the Shred or another strength training DVD.  My body has said, I’m onto you, April.

So, starting tomorrow, I’m changing it up.  I’m not thrilled about this because I LOVE Turbo Jam, but I think for a while at least, it needs to be done.  So, I’m going back to the P90X work outs.  And while I’m not going to do the entire program, I’m hoping that a few weeks of this new schedule will be enough of a shock to my system.

So, for all of you that are curious, here is the schedule I’m going to be adopting for the next few weeks:

Day 1-Chest and Back (strength training)

Day 2-Plyometrics

Day 3-Shoulders and Arms, Ab Ripper (strength training)

Day4-Rest or Cardio X (we’ll see how I’m feeling at this point)

Day 5-Legs and Back, Ab Ripper (strength training)

Day 6-Kenpo

Day 7-Rest

I’ve done this program before and it’s awesome but the schedule SUCKS.  But I really think that this is what my body needs to get back into gear!!  So, wish me luck!!!

June 12, 2009 By april

Picture it:  One day for lunch, I ran to Wendy’s with a co-worker with the intent of getting a Frosty and having just the Frosty for lunch. (This is pre-healthy April, folks.)  The building that I work in is downtown.  I park in a parking garage about a block and a half away from the building.  We were headed back to the building.  It was raining, so in one hand I have my umbrella, in the other, I have my Frosty.  I step on a tiny little dip in the crosswalk.  Normal people wouldn’t have even noticed this little dip.  However, I hit the pavement much like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality. (Although, I’m pretty sure I didn’t have heels on.)  Umbrella rolled, Frosty was safe.  Priorities, people.

My balance sucks.  It always has, but here in the past couple of years, it’s gotten worse.  No worries, please.  My doctor is aware, and we’ve done tests.  All is clear, and we’re keeping an eye on it.  I have good days and bad days, but for the most part, I find my lack of balance hilarious.

SO.  Today, I’m set to jump rope. I didn’t get a chance to jump rope the past two days.  (I know. I suck.)  But the first day I did great!  Jumped the whole ten minutes with only a few trip-ups and am ready to go 12!  Music queued is Thriller.  I am ready to jump!  My balance was not.

I knew five jumps in that this was not going to go well.  Jump, jump, jump, jump, trip.  Tuesday I went much longer before my first trip.  I continued this way for a while with no improvement.  So, I decide to try to slow down a bit.  That has to help, right?  Nope.  So, this is the way it’s going to be.  Boo.

Now I had two choices here.  I could get frustrated and quit OR I could continue on as best as I could and just finish the 10 minutes.

As dorky and clumsy and silly as I’m sure I looked in my front yard, I continued on.  I didn’t go 12 minutes, but I did finish the 10 minutes.  And I may or may not have fallen once while doing my Turbo Jam DVD.  Okay, I did.  But I did it.

So, my point is that you may feel dorky and clumsy and silly while jumping rope or even doing other exercises.  But who cares?  The point is that you’re getting out there and doing it!  You’re working on getting healthy.  And whether you look silly or not doesn’t matter.  Getting healthy does.

Tomorrow, I will shoot for 12 minutes.  How about you?

June 7, 2009 By april

Today I needed to escape for a bit.  For a good hour or so, I needed to not think.  Sometimes I do this by painting.  Sometimes I write.  Often times, I work out.  That’s what I wanted today.  I wanted to escape for a bit by working out.

I knew that the Shred wasn’t going to be enough for me and if I tried to force myself to do it, then I probably wouldn’t work out at all.  I needed to work out!  I wanted to, but it needed to be a work out that I wanted to do.

So, in addition to my 40 minute cardio work out, I did the Biggest Loser’s Power Sculpt.  While in the middle of sculpting, I realized that some of you shredders may be wondering about what work outs to try next, since we’re so close to the end.  (How are you doing by the way?!)  So, even though I’ve had this DVD forever now, I thought I’d give you my thoughts on it.

One thing that I absolutely love about this work out is that it’s made with REAL PEOPLE.  Not those model-types that you get on most work out DVDs.  Yes, the Shred is fabulous, but honestly, I’d like nothing more than to punch Natalie and Anita in their faces, which is completely wrong of me, since they probably are really nice people!  But Power Sculpt is made using the contestants from the show, which I think is great!

The work out is broken into 3 levels. Level 1 is Jillian’s section and is 20 mins long.  Level 2 is done by that trainer that I think Biggest Loser would like to forget about (a.k.a. Kim) and is 10 mins long.  Level 3 is Bob’s section and is also 10 mins long.  There is also a 5 min warm-up and cool down.

Level 1:  You’ll notice that Jillian is a bit more goofy in this video than in the Shred.  But I found her very informational.  She tells you which muscle groups each move is working and shows you proper form.  Level 1 isn’t very hard, but you will work up a sweat!  I think it’s a great work out for strength training beginners!

Level 2:  Kim irks me so much that I find myself telling her to shut up a lot.  So, this is my least favorite level on the work out, but it does step it up a notch.  I usually start this level with 8 and 10 lb weights, but am forced to use 5 lbs weights at the end of the 10 mins.  I admit, though, that the ab work is pretty awesome!

Level 3:  This by far is the hardest level, but it’s also my favorite!  Bob incorporates cardio in with sculpting.  And even though it’s as tough as nails, the 10 minutes flies by.  This level features the insanely fabulous push-up to T-stand move.  If you think the modified push-ups in the Shred are hard, you just wait until you give this a try!  Out of all of the modified push-ups I’ve done in all of the work outs I’ve tried, this is by far my favorite!  I love it!

The downside to this DVD really is the music.  It’s the music they use on the show, and it’s boring.  Okay, fine, it really sucks, but I can live with it.  Mostly.

I know weight training can seem not fun or maybe even scary.  I used to have no interest at all in weight training.  I thought cardio was the key and all I needed.  Once, I gave it a try, and it really boosted my weight loss, I was hooked!  So, if you liked the strength training in the Shred and want more, but are still kind of new to it, then give Power Sculpt a try!