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New May Challenge

Happy May Day! First day of a new month and the month is spring! In my part of the world, April ended in a blast of cold, wind, rain, and snow. Ick. Good riddance to April. It was such a nice month until the end. Winter gave one last swing to knock us flat. But it’s May now and that won’t happen anymore! Right? Right?? Fingers crossed.

New Month = New Blogilates Calendar

Normally I don’t announce this because Cassey Ho always comes out with a new calendar for each month, but this one is different.

Usually Cassey has us doing about 5 videos 6 days a week (not counting the Beginner’s 2.0 Calendar). You might balk at that number of videos but they’re pretty short – she aims for around 60 minutes total for the day. This month, however, she’s getting us prepped for PIIT28 and the workouts have been zapped down to 30 minutes (not including warm-up and cooldown).

Now, if you have no desire to do PIIT28, that’s not a problem. This is free, PIIT28 is not – totally understandable if you’d rather steer clear of it. You can stick with these videos or use the free PIIT videos that are on her Youtube channel – Blogilates.

If you’ve tried PIIT28 or the PIIT videos on Cassey’s Youtube channel, you already know how difficult those workouts are. For a lot of people, they’re not really doable because the cardio is filled with high impact moves that can seriously jar the joints. While I was able to complete PIIT28 1.0 when it first came out in March 2016, my knees have prevented me from doing so a second time without serious modifications. I was just doing the program in April as a matter of fact. No, I didn’t finish it because I got bored and it became a chore. When a workout becomes a chore for me and I no longer feel accomplished or productive doing it (when it’s accompanied by boredom or dread in fact), I don’t see any point in doing it any longer.

I finished the first half which was going through all 11 workouts. Already with just that and eating cleaner than I had been, I lost a few pounds (which I gained back, of course, when Easter hit and there was my favorite candy right at my fingertips), lost about 1/2″ off my waist and saw an increase of muscle in my arms and legs. Add to this the increases I felt rather than saw – butt strength, happiness, self-confidence, energy…I was perfectly content to stop at the halfway mark.

Every BodyPUMP class I marvel at how deep my squats are now. Changing PIIT’s high impact cardio to low impact gave me lots of squats and my butt has become so strong. The muscles around my knees must be getting stronger too because my lunges are so much better (usually with less pain too but that depends on the day really).

It was good that I ditched the last half of the program though. My butt had gotten used to everything and had ceased to be sore so gradually that I didn’t even realize it. I had also really wanted to start Cassey’s new 6-Week Bootcamp. The first video she released was a booty workout so I did that last Monday…and was SO SORE for the rest of the week!!! That’s when I realized my butt had stopped being sore from PIIT28 1.0. And this new video just KILLED my poor tush.

Cassey listened to everyone’s pleas (and complaints) and made the cardio for this new program low impact. Even if you live in a 2nd+ floor apartment, you can still do these moves without annoying your downstairs neighbors. Unless you have your music, you know, turned up really loud in which case that’s on you.

This low impact bootcamp is designed for everyone. It continues in the PIIT style with 45 seconds for a move followed by 15 seconds of rest on and on for 7 moves. That’s Round 1. You get an extra 10 seconds of rest between rounds and repeat for a total of 4 rounds. Her videos only show 1 round so if you want to follow along with her, you’ll have to start the video over each time. If you do the moves during Round 1 and you’d prefer not to listen to her anymore, you can continue on your own.

The bootcamp itself calls for 1 video done at least 1x the first week, 2 videos done at least 1x the 2nd week, 3 the 3rd week, etc for 6 weeks. By the end of 6 weeks, you should feel a lot stronger (unless you’re sitting on your butt watching the videos, anyone should feel stronger after doing any kind of exercise for 6 weeks) and maybe you’ll be ready for PIIT28 1.0 (unless you have injuries or medical difficulties in which case you can still modify the high impact moves in PIIT28).

The calendar is a bit different. Not all of the bootcamp videos are out so Cassey has filled in the extra days with similar workouts. So we’ve got the Fat Burning and the Booty videos from the bootcamp this week while the rest of the week has some of the free PIIT videos as well as the Snowbunny Blast and some stretching for the rest day. Next week will have 4 of the bootcamp videos along with 2 PIIT videos and some stretching. Etc for the rest of the month.

Despite the fact that I’ll be unable to really complete the last week of the calendar due to personal stuff, I’m still super psyched about doing this. This is probably the first Blogilates calendar in a long time that has piqued my interest enough to work it into my schedule.

One last thing! As you see on the calendar, there is a $15 off coupon code for the PIIT28 Transformation Pack. Here’s what’s included in that pack:

  • PIIT28 1.0, 2.0, 3.0
  • 28 Day Reset (meal plan – reg or vegan)

If you got each of those individually, it would cost $186. Yikes! If you get all of it in the Transformation Pack, you pay $99. This coupon code takes off $15 so you’d get it for $84. Best. Deal. EVER! True, it’s a lot of money but not nearly as much as $186. You’re saving $102! And the program works so well if you put in the work and effort.

Even my doing a low impact version of PIIT28 gave me results. OMG! And pair it with BodyPUMP and the muscle gains are AMAZING! Remember I stopped after only 2 weeks and was impressed with my muscle gain. I watch my arms in the mirror and marvel at how much better they look. My back as well. Yeah, I ogle myself and I admit it to people. I actually invited my friends in class one day to look at my butt.

Aaaaanyyyyywaaaaaaay!

If you’re interested in getting the PIIT28 Transformation Pack, click on the below picture. Don’t forget to use your coupon code at checkout to get $15 off!

$15 OFF CODE: “sweaty15”

PIIT28 Transformation Pack – $15 off code: “sweaty15” – expires May 31, 2017

Couch Potato Triathlon & Practice Makes…Better

It’s almost time! The Couch Potato Triathlon starts at my YMCA tomorroooooow! That’s Monday, 1/9/17, in case this post is read on any day other than Sunday, 1/8/17.

In the past I bought tankinis and bikinis for swimming because I wanted to show off all my hard work with my belly. It was much smaller then though I never got it flat. I also wanted to embrace my feminine side by showing off my boobs. Heck, I wanted to wear a bikini so I did! But then I was always so self conscious about wearing them around kids that I almost never did. Pools are crawling with children. I felt immodest showing off that much skin especially when it came to the boobs. Then I gained a lot of weight again and even my tankini didn’t fit so I felt doubly uncomfortable.

Why not wear a single piece swimsuit perhaps? Because they never fit properly. My torso seems to be a bit on the longish side so it was a bit difficult to find a suit that didn’t pull the boob part down. And then I have large boobs so I needed a lot of support. I was never comfortable with the amount of support given with those suits. So I moved to tankinis and the fit was always awesome…when my weight wasn’t fluctuating on a large scale.

Anyway, so the triathlon-type challenge is starting and I only had low-cut swim tops to wear. My fear that I would fall out was a real one I found when I tested out swimming half laps and noticed my boobs would start to ooze out a bit, so I got a high-necked swim top (with matching swim bottoms to hold in that lower belly pooch) to fix the problem.

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Bikini from Freya brand through Amazon

Yes, this is a bikini despite my weight gain. I deliberately got a bikini for 2 reasons. 1) I seriously loved that top. 2) One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to learn to love my body. That includes my Jelly Belly. While I feel super self conscious showing off my blobby belly, I don’t think I’ll feel as bad with my cleavage being hidden. I mean, I’ve posted pics of myself in a sports bra on IG. This is the same…right? Except I’ll be face-to-face with people instead of hidden behind a screen.

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Nobody ever said this was going to be easy.

Anyway, I’m super excited about starting the Couch Potato Triathlon tomorrow. It’s going to be so much fun!! Swimming is the only problem I foresee. I’ll also be walking instead of running. Walk a couple miles to warm up and then swim as far as I can tomorrow. It’ll be a great start!

My other bit of news is that I tried something new and succeeded! Eventually, for the most part anyway. The #FaerieYogiTales IG challenge called for a Fallen Angel pose on the very first day. emoji screaming face I’ve seen this move but never tried it myself because it looked super hard and I didn’t know how to get into it. Really, I had no desire to learn how to do it as it looked way beyond me. Here’s a beautiful version from @moonyogini, one of the hosts of the challenge:

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She’s an angel falling from the sky, her brains about to be splattered all over the ground in a 30 foot radius. It’s much less glamorous when put like that… But the pose is very pretty when caught before brain-splattering.

I resigned myself to attempting the modified side crow that I knew:

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It always hurt my wrist and thigh so much though having the legs pressing against my elbow so hard. It’s not my favorite pose and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Luckily I had the brilliant idea of looking up fallen angel how-to videos on Youtube to see exactly how it should be done. I clicked on SarahBethYoga‘s “How to Fallen Angel Pose | Arm Balance” video and that’s where my search ended. Awesome how-to video! Really really helpful. And it showed me how easy and painless Side Crow could be! I had no idea my thigh could survive bruise-free. My wrists argued about the painless part toward the end but those are my wrists for you.

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As you can see, I “successfully” completed the pose and am super excited about it. The way I define success is that I was able to be in side in crow, get my head down and my leg up. Even better was that I was able to do it more than once and on both sides and I was able to hold it for a few seconds. After awhile, my wrists got super tired and started hurting big time. That was my cue to stop practicing. It was so awesome though!! My fallen angel is awkward and not pretty but I did it and that’s the first step. I’m so happy! So happy in fact that I made a video of my practice. All my attempts cut up into a 1-minute video following as I went through getting Side Crow and then Fallen Angel.

I never thought I'd be able to do a #fallenangel . It looked way too hard for me to ever accomplish. But the #faerieyogitales called for it on day 1 and I was all 😱. I had been shown a variation of side crow before and it was so hard! And now I had to lift a leg as well?! So I looked up a video on YouTube for directions and found I was making side crow much harder than it had to be. After mastering #sidecrow I went for Fallen Angel…and I did it!! I'm not graceful or anything and there's a lot to work on still but I got my leg up and that was the first step. This video shows my first round of trying as I slowly progressed. My wrists were really hurting by the end but I didn't give up! I took breaks for my wrists but I kept on. 😁 Just because you think you can't do something, don't let that stop you from never trying. Try and try again if it's what you want to do. I always thought this pose was beautiful. Mine might not be beautiful but it's a start and I'm so glad I tried. Learn how to do something and then go do it! Don't give up if you don't succeed the first time because you probably won't succeed for awhile. Good luck! If you set your mind to it, you can do great things!! 💖✨ Wearing: POP Army tank and Pointe Leggings from @popflex_active Music: Who Says by Selena Gomez #practice #willpower #determination #perseverance #poparmy #popsters #poppilates #yoga #goodvibesonly #success #nevergiveup #keeptrying #popflex #strength #balance #careful #arms @blogilates @poppilatesofficial

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If you want something, never give up on it! You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it.

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way – No Gym Needed

I used to think that I wouldn’t be able to get fit and lose weight without a gym membership. That’s what I told myself to justify my actions (or lack thereof) when my self-image was low. “I need to go to a gym to exercise well and lose weight. Everybody who really wants to get fit goes to a gym.” But you know what?

That’s just not true.

Sure, a gym could make it easier because it has all this cool stuff you can use and there are classes that could do wonders to motivate you for whatever reason (Zumba? Hello! Seriously fun!). But getting fit doesn’t require going to the gym. It can make it easier for a lot of people, but it’s not necessary.

Just like new, cute fitness clothes aren’t necessary for exercising…though they can go a long way in making you want to exercise.

POPFlex

POPFlex activewear by Cassey Ho. http://www.popflexactive.com

I can’t afford a gym membership. I can’t buy those clothes. I’m going to save whatever money I get for however long it takes to save enough, but I’m not going to put my fitness journey on hold while I do it. I have exercise clothes that are perfectly good and before I had them, I had an over-sized t-shirt and a single pair of stretchy shorts. My non-super-sporty shoes came from either Payless or Walmart.

And, yet, with only a few over-sized t-shirts, a single pair of stretchy shorts, and a pair of cheap-as-dirt shoes, I was able to lose about 70 lbs. During that first bout of weight loss, it’s true that I was taking an aerobics class, but it was a credit-based college class. It was the hardest thing I had ever physically done at the time.

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I lived off-campus and had no car or bike so I walked everywhere. That includes the grocery store so I majorly cut back on how much I ate so I wouldn’t have to walk 2 miles round trip carrying groceries every week. On any given day I was walking at least 3 miles round trip.

tired-of-this-walk

So, previous weight loss attributed to:

  • college aerobics class
  • walking 3+ miles nearly every day to get to and from classes
  • necessity-enforced diet

None of that has anything to do with a gym. Everything I did was for college and my GPA.

Fast forward about 8 years or so. I’m married, have a car, have a job, and a baby…and 20 extra pounds. And, no, it wasn’t baby weight.

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I tried to walk and/or jog every day for myself and for the baby (let’s hear it for the stroller!) as well as do fitness DVDs. Eventually I found Sparkpeople and religiously followed the workout plans they gave me. The site also allowed me to control my diet by counting up all the calories, protein, carbs, etc in everything I ate.

hip hop partyAfter awhile we splurged on a treadmill though we couldn’t afford it. It was worth it. I logged many a mile on that sucker. Even my husband did a few. A friend of mine is a personal trainer over in California and she gave me a good starter plan for running. (Thanks, Kimi! I’ll never forget it!) I lost the 20lbs I had gained and had tons more muscle.

2nd bout of weight loss attributed to:

  • walking/running with a stroller
  • fitness DVDs
  • Sparkpeople.com
  • an at-home treadmill

Still no gym required.

We were able to get a gym membership after awhile and that lasted for several years, but we haven’t had one in over a year now. I’ve gained weight. Again. I had stopped exercising and my diet deteriorated.

cassey-hoBut for the past month I’ve been pushing myself like I used to, not as much with the diet (though that has changed as well) as with the exercise. I have a tiny space to exercise in but it’s enough. I’ve made it be enough. When the weather’s nice, I go out for walks and jogs again. I do Cassey Ho’s POP Pilates and her new PIIT program on the internet. There’s a recumbent bike I can use (and I do) and apps to make my workouts more interesting.

With so much free stuff on the internet, exercising at home has never been easier.

Here are some good places to turn to:

While I haven’t lost a lot of weight (diet’s far from perfect or even good at times), I am improving.

January 1-31 measurements:

  • Weight: 187.8 lbs -> 185.6 lbs (2.2 lbs lost)
  • Upper Arms: L 12″, R 12 3/4″ -> L 11 3/4″, R 12 3/4″ (1/4″ lost)
  • Chest: 32 3/4″ -> 32″ (3/4″ lost)
  • Waist: 35 1/2″ -> 35″ (1/2″ lost)
  • Lower Belly: 42 1/2″ -> 41 1/2″ (1″ lost)
  • Hips: 44 1/2″ -> 44 1/4″ (1/4″ lost)
  • Thighs: L 24 1/2″, R 25″ -> L 24 1/4″, R 24 1/2″ (3/4″ lost)

Total inches lost: 3 1/2″

Not a huge change but a change nevertheless. And one made without a gym.

Lionsgate BeFiT on Youtube

Wow. I wish I had found this a long time ago, but I would never have been able to take full advantage of it then (nor can I now as a matter of fact because I have no internet at home). Lionsgate BeFiT on Youtube has tons of videos from popular DVDs to help people with their fitness goals.

If you’re interested in trying something out, then check them out. You won’t get the whole program (if it’s a fitness program you’re interested in) but you’ll get a single workout from the program. Assuming, of course, that they have it. Naturally, BeFit won’t have every single program or DVD workout out there.

But they do have workouts from well-known trainers such as Jillian Michaels, Denise Austin, and Danielle Pascente along with BeFiT specific workouts like the BeFiT in 90. You can also choose from a wide array of exercises including yoga, dance, abs, cardio, etc.

Here’s a video on BeFit from the program I’m currently endeavoring to live through. Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred. This video is almost 30 minutes long and gives the entire Level 1 workout from the program.

I’m finishing Level 2 today (Day 20) but have resigned myself to follow Anita for the rest of the time instead of Natalie due to a leg injury. It was actually pretty refreshing yesterday to do the workout without pushing myself to my limits. For once I didn’t feel like I was dying. To compensate on the lighter leg work, I focused more on working my arms and core.