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Interval training with the GYMBOSS (giveaway)

19 Oct

Interval training is one of my favorite forms of exercise.  It gets your heart rate up up up, and your workout time decreases.  It’s a really effective form of exercise.

When I’ve done timed interval training outside with a stop watch, it has always been a hassle to look at my watch multiple times to see when I start my all out sprint, or when I can do my recovery jog (okay I totally pay more attention to the second one).

I was lucky enough to have a nifty little tool sent to me that has been keeping me on track.

Meet the GYMBOSS.

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This genius exercise tool will either count down whatever time you choose, or can be set for 2 different interval rounds.  I’ve used it both ways and I really like that it comes with 2 alarms that you can hear and one that vibrates. 

The beeps are a bit too loud when I’m workout out early while Jacob is still asleep.  But when I’m outside I probably wouldn’t notice the vibrations as much so the beeps are perfect.

The picture below shows a day I decided to do 15 intervals with a 40 seconds recovery/jog interval then a 20 second work/sprint interval.  The whole workout was 15 minutes long (with a warm up and cool down added in), but felt so much shorter.

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Intervals make time go by so quickly and like I said, they are one of my favorite types of exercise.  There is much more than just sprints that you can do with an interval timer, but more on that later another day with a new workout.

As you can see I was given 2 interval times.  One for me, one for a lucky reader!  Will that be you?

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To enter all you have to do is leave a comment telling me about your favorite workout.  If you have a link to it please share, I love checking out new workouts.

If you want more than one entry then link this giveaway back on your blog, facebook, twitter, etc.  Leave a comment letting me know you did these for additional entries.  The more entries the more chance to win!

I’ll randomly choose a winner in 1 week, so October 26th.

If you’d like to purchase your own check out my Amazon store.  There are 4 different colors to choose from.  The pink GYMBOSS is super cute.

Final P90X recap (week 12)

5 Oct

Week 12 concluded P90X for me.  To read previous weekly reviews, click below.  The DVD reviewed is in parentheses. 

Week 1 (chest and back)
Week 2 (plyometrics)
Week 3 (ab ripper x)
Week 4 (stretch)
Week 5 (kenpo cardio)
Week 6 (legs and back)
Week 7 (chest, shoulders and triceps)
Week 8
Week 9 (yoga)
Week 10 (back and biceps)
Week 11 (shoulders and arms)

I ended up spreading my final week a bit longer… guess I didn’t want it to end ;)  Here’s how it went…

Friday: Chest, shoulders and triceps plus abs
Saturday:Plyometrics
Sunday: non-P90X workout: run + zumba dvd
Monday: Back and biceps plus abs
Tuesday: Yoga
Wednesday: Legs and back
Thursday: Abs
Friday: Kenpo cardio
Saturday: Final rest day

Core synergistics

This workout always kind of confused me.  With the strength workouts, plyometrics, kenpo and yoga there was a pattern to the workout.  With core synergistics I just could never figure out the pattern.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it though because I did! 

The core synergistics DVD is done during recovery weeks.  It covers your entire core/trunk area.  This is perfect because a strong core is super important!

The workout is filled with a variety of abdominal, chest, back, glute, quad and hamstring exercises.  It works your entire trunk area and you don’t repeat any of the exercises.  This I always like.

I’ll definitely continue to do this DVD when I want to work on my core area, not just abs.

My final thoughts on P90X

Throughout most of the program I enjoyed it.  I had some motivation getting though the entire yoga DVD, especially the second half which is slower and less challenging. 

I liked that the program was split into 3 different phases, with a bit of a change in the strength training DVDs during the phases.  It didn’t change enough for me though.  Only 2 workouts were actually different during the  phases, which just isn’t enough for me.  I would have liked at least 4 workouts switched up. 

During the last 4 weeks I could definitely tell a difference in how my body reacted to the weekly switch (weeks 9 & 11 followed phase 1 and weeks 10 & 12 followed phase 2).  I could really feel my muscles working hard, and being challenged because there was a bit more switching up.

I didn’t take pictures or measurements before starting the program, so I don’t have any major results to report.  I didn’t do P90X to lose weight, I did it because I wanted to start a challenging program that I kind of thought I wouldn’t finish, but then actually finish it.  I did that and am so proud to say that I did. 

That said, I can most definitely tell a difference in my upper body strength.  I started only being able to do about 1 pull up.  By the end I could do about 7 or 8 pull ups and 10(!) chin ups in a row!  My biceps, triceps and chest also became much stronger and more defined.

My legs and core were already strong from running, so they didn’t change very much.  I actually think that my core became a bit weaker because I wasn’t running as much as usual.  Running really works your entire core.

It was a battle to motivate myself to do the workouts, especially if I put it off until after work.  I know that I am a morning exerciser and don’t really have to talk myself into doing it in the AM.  It’s become a habit and makes me feel great. 

Moving forward I’m going to be doing shorter, but still intense workouts.  Each day the P90X workout lasted anywhere from 55-90 minutes.  That took away from my productive morning time, so I’m looking forward to having some of that back.  Not all though because I’ll still be working out in the morning, just not as long.

I hope to post more of my workout routines on my new and updated fitness page.  So far there is an exercise information, individual exercises and a workouts page created.

Let me know if there is any specific exercise info or workouts you’d like created.  I’m always up for a challenge!

P90X week 11 recap

22 Sep

Week 11 is done and out of my life… week 12 will follow soon!  The week followed the same schedule as week 9 (and weeks 1-3 as well).  It switched up a couple strength training workouts from the previous week.  My body definitely likes a lot of change and I always feel the workouts more when I switch up my routine more often.

Here’s how the 2nd to last week went down:

Tuesday: Chest and back plus abs
Wednesday: Plyometrics
Thursday: Shoulder and arms plus abs
Friday:  Insanity plyo cardio circuit plus Insanity cardio abs
Saturday: rest
Sunday: Insanity max cardio conditioning
Monday: Yoga (half of it)
Tuesday: Legs and back plus abs
Wednesday: Kenpo cardio
Thursday: Stretch

My “week” stretched out an extra 3 days because we were at the beach for the weekend.  The place we stayed at had a workout room so I could have brought my yoga mat and resistance bands if I wanted to for yoga and legs/back, but instead I chose to only bring my laptop and Insanity DVDs because they require no equipment at all and a change is always fun for me. 

The Insanity cardio abs is also a nice variation from the P90X abs.  Both work SUPER well though!  For other core strengthening exercises check these out.

Shoulders and arms

This workout is the kind that gets to the point in my opinion.  It’s pretty basic and goes from shoulders to biceps to triceps.  There are 5 rounds (including the last ‘bonus’ round), and each round has the 3 exercises in it.  Once you complete the 3 exercises you repeat them again before moving onto the next round.  Between each round there is a 30 second water break.

Time always flies for me during this one.  It’s 58 minutes long and that includes the warm up, stretch and cool down, but it never really seems that long to me.  It’s very challenging, and using the worksheet allows you to see areas where you can increase your weights as you improve your strength.

If there was one P90X strength training DVD that I had to pick to do each week it would be that one.  I’m sure after a whole month or 2 of doing it I’d get sick of it, but for now I always look forward to it.

Processed foods I buy

18 Sep

The majority of the foods I eat I make from scratch.  It’s an easy task when I’m prepared with fruits and vegetables in the fridge, meats in the freezer and grains and beans in the cupboard.  Even though I make a lot, I don’t make everything I eat.  There just isn’t enough time in the day. 

Here’s my list of some of the processed foods I regularly eat or use for convenience and taste.  Side note: Most foods are processed (flour doesn’t begin as a powder – it has to be ground) and while these products are not as processed as say a frozen chicken nuggets they are a bit processed… someone had to do something to it to make it the end product I eat.

Breads/Tortillas

Sometimes I do make bread, buns and rolls from scratch.  It isn’t a regular thing though.  Baking is time consuming for sure, that’s why I rely on these handy purchases.

Dave’s Killer Bread -  I’ve talked about Dave’s bread many times before.  It’s my go to bread, plus it’s a local company and I always like supporting local foods.  The bread is just so good!

Sprouted grain hamburger buns and hot dog buns – I like both Ezekiel and Alvarado Street Bakery buns.

La Tortilla Factor hand-made style while corn tortillas – The while corn tortillas are pretty flexible and super tasty when crisped up a bit.

Crackers/Chips

I am not very good at making crackers.  Maybe if I used a dehydrator I wouldn’t burn them but for now I buy most of my crackers and chips. 

Food Should Taste Good chips – Perfect for dipping in hummus, especially the spinach and artichoke hummus I made yesterday (recipe to come soon).

Crunch Master baked  toasted sesame rice crackers

Ak-Mak crackers

Soymilk

I’m not sure if you can make soymilk at home.  I doubt it would be as easy as making almond milk so I always purchase it. 

West Soy or Soy Dream plain soymilk – I switch between these 2 because they taste pretty similar to me and don’t have a ton of sugar in them.  Whichever one is on sale goes in my cart.

Sausage/Fish

Chicken sausage is super handy to keep in the freezer for quick meals.  We recently tried a couple of the sausages from our local butcher, Butcher Boys.  We purchase about 90% of our meat from there so we’re glad to add this to our Butcher Boys list.  The meat they use is local and high quality with minimal ingredients added to it.

Al fresco - If I want a pre-cook sausage I like this brand.

Trident frozen wild Alaska salmon burgers – A friend of mine introduced me to these a while back and they have become a staple in our house.  The patties cook up in 10 minutes.  I eat them as a burger patty, or break them up to add to pasta dishes or salads.

Yogurt

I really try to limit my dairy intake because it bugs my stomach.  However, I choose to eat it sometimes in the form of yogurt, cheese or ice cream.  When I buy yogurt I like get plain yogurt so that I can add to it.  I find that most flavored yogurt has a pretty long list of ingredients.  When I flavor it I only add 1 or 2 ingredients.

I’m not too picky on the brand, but I do search for ones that are higher in protein than carbs (like thick greek yogurt), or if the carbs are higher then they should be almost equal.  Plain yogurt is my substitute for sour cream and mayo a lot of the time, and makes perfect tzatziki sauce.

Canned Foods

These canned foods are used because they are so convenient. 

Garbanzo beans - They take forever to cook and I use them a lot so buying canned garbanzo beans just makes sense to me (especially in bulk at Costco).  I go through at least 1 or 2 cans a week just in making hummus or adding the rinsed beans to salads and casseroles.

Pumpkin – Pumpkin season is just around the corner so I hope to make my own puréed pumpking to freeze.  Throughout the year I rely on canned pumpkin for baked goods, pancakes oatmeal or homemade pumpkin and mozzarella  ravioli.  I just make sure the only ingredient is pumpkin.

Tomatoes - Cut up and ready to be added to casseroles or stews.

Chicken broth – When I get the chance I try to save the chicken broth made from boiling chickens, but most of the time I bake or grill my chicken.  Canned low sodium chicken broth is a simple trick I use to make rice and grains taste extra flavorful. 

Tuna – I buy the tuna in water.  It doesn’t come out of the can super oily and is simple for quick lunches.

That’s my list of time-saving foods I buy.  I know there are a ton more I didn’t list.  Many of these don’t seem too processed, but like I noted earlier something had to be done to them to get them in their current state.

What foods to you rely on?

P90X week 10 recap

13 Sep

Phew only 2 more weeks to go and P90X is through!  I am super excited, can ya tell?  It’s not that I don’t like it, I’m just really looking forward to adding more variety to my workouts.

On Monday, my usual day 1, I really felt running so that’s what I did instead of starting week 10.   Beginning on Tuesday then, here’s what I did:

Tuesday: chest, shoulders and triceps plus abs
Wednesday: plyometrics
Thursday: back and biceps plus abs
Friday: yoga
Saturday: legs and back plus abs
Sunday: stretch
Monday: kenpo cardio

I did all the workouts for the week and only switched up 1 day at the end.  Even though I was gone for the weekend from Thursday through Sunday I still managed to do my workouts.  My mom did yoga and the stretch DVD with me.  It’s so much more fun to workout with someone else!

Since I was away I didn’t want to bring my pull up bar with me, so instead I took my exercise bands.  This worked out real well and it challenged my back in a whole new different way than with the pull up bar.  I could really focus on my form which was nice.  Check out my examiner article to see how I did my pull ups with them.

Back and Biceps

This workout is nice because you don’t repeat any of the exercises.  There are a total of 24 exercises that you do in this routine.  Half focus on your back and half on your biceps. 

After the standard warmup you get right into 2 back exercises, the first being a type of pull up and the second exercise uses weights.  After 2 back exercises you have 2 bicep exercises.  Then you repeat the 2 back-2 bicep sections 5 more times.  Since you go through 12 types of curls your biceps get a huge burn and pump! 

I love this workout because it is simple to follow and really targets both muscle groups.  The most challening exercise for me is the reverse grip chin ups because by then you’ve already done 8 bicep exercises and the chin ups use your biceps so much.  Usually I’m the strongest when I do chin ups but when I get to those my biceps are already toast.

Any questions about P90X or the workouts?  I’m here to answer your questions!

P90X week 9 recap

5 Sep

Week 9 of 12 is officially over.  I can see the finish line now… just 3 weeks to go and I’ll have actually completed the entire 12 week program.  I am pretty proud of myself right now, especially since my workout partner dropped off :(.  It’s been tough getting through the workouts by myself but I’m still doing them!

Week 9 went like so:

Monday: chest and back plus abs
Tuesday: plyometrics
Wednesday: shoulders and arms plus abs
Thursday: stretch
Friday: legs and back plus abs
Saturday: kenpo cardio
Sunday: yoga

I stuck with the program much better than I did last week.  Week 9 and 11 actually follow the same schedule as weeks 1-3 of phase 1 did.  Week 10 and 12 will follow the same schedule as weeks 5-7 of phase 2 did.

I knew that I wouldn’t have enough time on Thursday to get through the entire yoga DVD, so I planned according and switched my Sunday (I have a lot of time to myself that day) and Thursday workout.  Boy was I glad I did.  On Sunday I woke up early and went through the entire 90 minute yoga DVD.  I felt GREAT the entire day.  So worth it.

My body was glad to start strength training again after my rest week.  Rest weeks have become tough for me, but I know good for me in the long run.

Yoga

The yoga DVD is 90 minutes long and is done every week during P90X, with an additional time during the recovery weeks.

The workout is split into 2 sections.  The first half of the workout is the “power” or flow yoga section.  This part really gets you warm, moving, stretching and strengthening.  The workout follows the same vinyasa flow, ending with a different pose to finish each flow (warriors, right angle, crescent pose, etc.).  During each vinyasa you have the option to do a push up when you transition from plank to downward dog.  If you do the push up each time you can get 25 push ups in during the workout.

After the challenging flow half, you move into balance postures, stretches and an ab section.  This half allows you to cool down a bit, but still work your muscles, especially your core muscles.  The ab section is actually pretty challenging and quick.  It’s a little longer than 5 minutes, but during that time you hold the boats, heels and hands to the sky, scissors and a few more for quite some time.  It really gets your muscles shaking and working.

The last few minutes of the yoga DVD end with corpse pose (my favorite), fetus pose and a some ‘oms’.  I usually don’t do the oms at the end, but I sit there with my eyes closed, relaxed and feeling great.  After 90 minutes closing my eyes and laying on the ground feels like relief. 

I figured out for myself the way to get thought the lengthy DVD (the only real downside to it) is to do it when I don’t have other things to do.  When I woke up early and got it out of the way I enjoyed every minute of it because I didn’t have cleaning or making dinner on my mind.  I could just focus on what I was doing in the moment and challenged myself with the DVD.

Yoga is good for the body :)

My $40 CSN giveaway is open until Thursday – enter here!

My magic bullet, pancakes and a giveaway

2 Sep

Back when I held the battle of the blenders, I kind of had a blender in mind and the response about the blenders confirmed my first choice.

I went ahead with the Magic Bullet and let me tell you - it has been amazing.

CSN allowed me to pick a product to try out so that is where my Magic Bullet came from.  They sell kitchen tables, kitchen gadgets, outdoor items and really anything you can think of.  I was excited to pick an item to review and super happy to see it in their personal blender selection.

The Magic Bullet came with 6 different cups (1 large, 1 small and 4 large travel cups), 2 blades, a shaker top, 2 sealable tops and base that plugs in.

My favorite part about the Magic Bullet is that it takes up so little space and is easy to clean.  My regular blender is pretty big and works great, but it always seemed like such a hassle to get it out of the cupboard, use it then clean it.  With the Magic Bullet I can actually use it every day if I want to because the blades are quick to hand wash and the cups I just throw in the dish washer.  If the one I used isn’t clean, I just choose from another one of the six I have.

Of course I have been making a ton of smoothies with it, but I have used it for other things too.  Pancakes have become even quicker in the morning now.

One Cup Power Pancakes

Ingredients

2 eggs
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
3 tbsp hemp protein (or protein powder of choice)
1/3 cup oats
1/4 cup flaxmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
optional: sweetener if desired

Combine all ingredients in a large magic bullet cup (or your blender or food processor).  Pulse until all ingredients are combined.

Heat your skillet to medium heat and coat with olive oil spray.  After letting the mixture sit and thicken for 5 minutes, pour the batter into pancakes (about 1/4 – 1/3 cup) 3 or 4 at a time.  Let it cook on one side for a few minutes until you see bubbles forming on the top.  Flip and cook on the other side for a few minutes then repeat with remaining mixture.  You should end with 8 pancakes.

Top with maple syrup if you want, or apple sauce and almond butter like I did!

GIVEAWAY

CSN wants to give away a $40 shopping spree to one lucky reader!

Please share your favorite pancake recipe (links are great) to enter.  For additional entries link this giveaway back on your site.

I will randmonly pick a winner one week from now on Thursday, September 9th.

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