Tag Archives: Jillian Michaels

Reasons to Exercise

24 Jul

The past few days have been a little rough.  Last week I decided I was going to just totally unplug and take a break from working out.  I finished up Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 and I was planning my next program.  I was feeling kind of un-motivated to work out, so I just went with it.  For several glorious days I pushed my alarm back and basked in the glory of several guiltless workout free mornings.  It was fantastic.  This past weekend I relaxed a bit and enjoyed some delightful culinary wonders like girl scout cookies and Indian food.  Again, fantastic.

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Oh yum… yeah a few too many of these.

Doesn’t really sound so rough huh?  Well yesterday I feel like I finally hit a wall from all my wild and fancy-free living.  And then it hit me: my body truly has been trained!   After months of P90X and focusing on better eating, my body craves healthy food.  My body wants to be active.  Saturday and Sunday I had a dull headache and just felt sort of blah.  My lack of healthy-living may not be entirely to blame, but it certainly played a part.  Call me crazy, but this is pretty awesome!

It’s common sense: eat a bunch of candy and you’ll get a tummy ache.  But now I feel like I’m at a new level – my body truly has gotten used to a regular diet of fruit, veggies, and working up a sweat.  When I deprive my body of these things, I feel it.  It took 3-4 days to really feel it, but this is such a change.  It used to take a few weeks of living unhealthy to really notice it (Christmas break in college ehem).  What a cool revelation.  When I changed my life style back in October I was really hoping that this would happen!  (Doing a little happy dance).

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Now I crave these things! Okay not all of these things and not all the time… but I’m making progress!

Last week I was really feeling some pressure that I was entirely putting on myself.  I found out I got the part and Adam and I were in the heat of several big wedding decisions.  Definitely exciting things, but I sort of felt my edges cracking from my own pressure (I think all other type a-ers can relate to this!).  So while the good news is my body craves healthy-living, and I will naturally want to get back on the healthy train…the bad news is that I sort of turned to food to deal with my stress.  Feeling stressed about needing to be an athletic dancer to play the part in the show?  Yes, eat more peanut butter and cookies…brilliant strategy to achieve your fitness goals.  Yeah…not such a great habit.  My eventual goal would be push my stress away by making a delicious yummy healthy or doing some yoga.  Now those are coping mechanisms I can get on board with!  Patience Kelly, one thing at a time.

The past week has been a great discovery of how far I’ve come fitness-wise, but also seeing that I still have room for growth.  As I left Adam’s apartment yesterday I made the comment, “You know I think the number 1 reason I work out is for balance and attitude.”  All of these thoughts got me really thinking about why I work out.  Why is it such a part of my life, and why do I want it to continue to be a priority.  In usual fashion, I present to you a list!

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Hooray exercise!

Reasons to Exercise and Stay Active

  • Attitude.  Working out keeps me mentally sane and balanced.  I just have a better attitude when I’m active.
  • Health.  From preventing heart disease to avoiding diabetes to controlling my asthma, health-related reasons to be active abound.  I want to be around a long time and I want to be healthy while I’m around.
  • Outlook. (And not the microsoft kind). Holy positive.  I am a much much more positive person when I take the time to invest in myself.  Suddenly the birds are chirping and I’m thrilled about the rest of my day.  Yes it may sound cliché, but come on… there are definitely endorphin side effects to exercise (and happy people just don’t kill people!  What movie?? :))
  • Confidence.  When I’m active, I feel like I can take on the world.  Whether it comes to pushing myself out of my comfort zone socially, pushing myself physically, or pushing myself to go stinking shopping even though I don’t like it – I’m more confident!!  And believe me, confidence just makes life easier.
  • Keeping up!  When I’m in great shape I’m much more of a “yes” girl.  Want me to join a dodgeball league?  Yes.  Want to run a 5K with a day’s notice in green tights?  Yes.  Want to go hiking?  Heck yes.  I just don’t have the excuses to say no.  “I can’t keep up” or  “I’m not in good shape” aren’t in my vocabulary!
  • Taking care of myself for others.  My friends and family receive major benefits when I work out.  I’m kinder, more balanced, and more passionate about life.  In addition, I’m healthier and more durable for whatever life throws my way.  If I can’t get myself to work out for me, often thinking about them will be the extra push to get me out the door.
  • Nutrition.  Fact: when I’m active, I make better food choices.  There is such a symbiotic relationship between food and activity  – I love reaping the benefits from both!
  • Looking good.  Let’s face it, one of the side effects of fitness is looking your personal best.  It’s nice to look good and feel comfortable in your skin.  It helps with confidence and being a “yes” person!
  • It’s relaxing and therapeutic.  Or at least it can be…eventually. :)  It took me a long time to view running as a ‘relaxing’ activity – but it’s awesome to just take time away and focus on yourself.  Be one with the run (or zumba or crossfit or whatever)!
  • The challenge.  I love setting goals and reaching them.  Fitness is an awesome place to compete against yourself for yourself.  It can be very motivating and satisfying to see yourself reach them.  The first time I did a pull-up I just about cried!
  • To enjoy treats.  Okay I had to add this one… regular working out makes the occasional crack-filled cookies from my mom totally doable (Note: not filled with actual crack).  Everything in moderation is one of my favorite phrases, and working out regularly allows me to really live this phrase out!  Because I just can’t say no to cupcakes every time.

So if you’ve been in a rut like me, there are a few reasons to push play or get out the door!  If you’re looking for more reasons or motivation head over to Catherine @ A Two Storey Home.  Ironically she had the exact same thoughts today, and beat me to the punch (which is good, because she’s been thinking about working on her defense skills)!  She lists a lot of great reasons to focus on strength over skinny – I love it!

In other news, ChaLean Extreme officially shipped yesterday, woot!  I’m so excited to share the process and my next phase of pushing myself!  Until then, I’ve climbed jumped back on the healthy train with a quick stop at the grocery store for some fresh produce and some invigorating yoga this morning (thanks Lucy for the motivation to get back at yoga!).  Man does it ever feel good to be back on the train.  Next stop: ChaLean Extreme!

-Kelly

HAPPY WEDNESDAY!

What are your reasons to work out?  Why do you maintain your fitness?

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Ripped in 30: Midway Thoughts

9 Jul
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At just 30 minutes, you’ll still get a great workout!

 

Now that I’m a bit over the half-way point of my Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD, I wanted to share some thoughts and give a midway review.  So far I’m really enjoying the DVD, and it has been a great change from P90X and can’t really run :( (womp, womp).  Because the workouts are shorter and more efficient (more exercises squeezed into less time), it’s just what I was looking for following the intensity of P90X (1 hour+, 6 days a week).  Mentally I was ready for a bit of a break, without totally falling off the bandwagon.  Here’s how I’ve been doing with the program:

  •  Minimum of 4 days a week – my average has been about 5 times a week.  Jillian suggests 5-6 times a week for maximum results.  I was hoping for 6, but life happens!
  • I have not been following the diet plan Jillian provides online (for free!).  If you are looking to fully complete the program, I’d suggest following it.  I have been tracking (loosely) using My Fitness Pal (except for 4th of July…I couldn’t resist my mom’s chocolate chip cookies that I’m convinced are filled with crack they are so addicting).
  • I have not been following it as a “30-day program” – though it’s designed for that and would be excellent.  This is more a ‘filler’ for me in between programs – something to keep me active on a regular basis.  So I did not take before/after pictures or measurements, though part of me is wishing I had!
  • The DVD contains 4 separate workouts with the idea that you graduate to a new workout each week.  For week one you do the first workout 5-6 times and then the following week move onto workout 2 and so on.  I have been following this pattern.
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I’m gonna make you sweat!

So in usual fashion, let’s get a little pros/cons list going, shall we?

Pros:

  • Length.  These workouts are short.  I’m talking you-can’t-really-find-an-excuse-not-to-do-them short.  Including the warm-up and cool-down they run somewhere around 30-35 minutes.  It’s easy to squeeze 30 minutes into the day!
  • Intensity.  At just 30 minutes it is amazing how intense these guys are!  By the end of the workout I am definitely sweating.  Even though the workout is on the shorter side, I feel Jillian really gets you moving and makes the time you do spend working out very worthwhile.
  • Convenience.  These workouts are done at home , no need to drive to a gym!   If you’re always on the go and need the ability to quickly get a workout in, this is a great option.
  • Limited Equipment.  Not a lot of equipment for this one: just hand weights.  Additionally the weights needed are pretty light – we got away with using water bottles as our weights while on vacation, and still felt the burn!  Jillian does use a mat in the video, and if you are on hard wood floors you would likely want a mat for some of the ab exercises.
  • Inexpensive.  I got my DVD on amazon for around 12 dollars!  Not bad for something I’ll be able to use again and again.  12 bucks for 4 workouts seems like a deal to me!
  • Low Impact.  I purchased this DVD on the advice from my Physical Therapist – and it was good advice!  This is relatively low impact – most exercises I can complete without causing issues to my knees.  There are a couple higher impact exercises, but I have been modifying them with little issue.  Even though it’s low impact, I’m still managing to sweat!
  • Full-body.  Jillian targets everything!  The workouts are divided into a warm-up, 3 circuits of cardio, strength, and abs, and a cool-down.  The circuits really target everything which provides a nice well-rounded workout.

Cons:

  • Monotonous.  Though there are 4 different workouts on the DVD, I have found the repetition on a daily basis a bit blah.  Once I finish the workouts, I think I will plan to shake it up and do a different workout each day, rather than each week.  The workouts themselves aren’t monotonous, I’m just used to the variety of P90X – doing something really different everyday.
  • Personality. This could be a pro or con, but Jillian definitely has a strong personality.  If you don’t respond well to the whole “Macho-man” thing, this might not work for you. I have found her to be entertaining and it doesn’t really bother me.  However, I did the workouts at my parent’s house and she does swear in workout 3, which didn’t impress my mother very much…
  • It’s Hard. So another pro/con…but these workouts are hard!  It can be discouraging to not being able to complete something fully – and I just finished P90X!  Jillian doesn’t use the whole “Do your best and forget the rest” so at times I feel a bit meh when I can’t do things all the way (partly due to my knees too).
  • Targets Women. If you like to do your workouts with a male (or are a male), this might not be the best DVD.  Not because guys won’t get a great workout, but because it seems like a workout targeted for females.  I tried to get my brother to workout with me last week and got the comment “That’s for girls!” (We don’t need to touch on the maturity of this statement).  This DVD focuses on toning, not building, so it might not strongly appeal to guys.  If you get over the whole “this is targeted for women” thing, I think the actual moves would still get a guy in good shape!
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Grrr!!! Come on Shelly!! Push it!! Arrghhh!!

Overall I have enjoyed the DVD and would recommend it to someone looking for a quick full-body workout.  If you’re serious about pursuing this DVD, here are a couple other tips.

General Tips

  • Take before/after pictures.  I always find these to be incredibly motivating as you mentally feel you are “following a program.”  It makes you more accountable.
  • Follow the nutrition guide, or some nutrition guide.  Diet is 85% of fitness – make sure you aren’t sabotaging your workouts!
  • If you have always wanted to become a “morning work-out person” this could be your gateway drug.  At just 35 minutes, it’s something you could tag onto your morning routine without totally rocking the boat.  I have done these in the morning and really enjoyed it.
  • Take the DVD with you if you travel.  This is a great one for summer, as I seem to be gone every weekend.  I have been substituting water bottles or soup cans and managed to still get my workouts in (though slightly less intense).  I may use this in the future as my “travel workout” because of the minimal equipment needed and length.

I have been impressed with this DVD and I would definitely consider another Jillian Michaels DVD in the future.  Personally I tend to prefer the whole-program-in-one-box style of the Beachbody programs (as I’m quite lazy and also like variety), but the JM DVDs are a nice inexpensive alternative to home fitness.  For now I’ll keep working out with Jillian for another few weeks until my next adventure, or my knees heal up… let’s see what happens first!

-Kelly

Have you used a Jillian Michaels DVD before?  Do you like her workouts?

Getting Back Your Fitness Groove…Post-Vacation.

26 Jun

Well folks, after a lovely week in Hilton Head, South Carolina, it’s back to reality for me!  And I must say, it’s been a bit of a strugglebus.  Not so much in terms of getting back to my job and routine, but just getting back to focusing – I feel like I’m in a daze!  It’s amazing what a little bit of extreme R&R can do.

The week was filled with a little bit of this:

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Ahhh the sweet ocean.

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I swear we aren’t naked.

A little bit more of this…

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Oh lounging by the pool, you are amazing.

And maybe a little too much of this…

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Frosty Frog’s famous daiquiris!

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These are not the same cups as the above photo. Oops.

Yeah…

All in all, it was a fabulous trip full of family (19 of us!), food (some heavenly stuff), and relaxation (by the pool or ocean, um amazing).  Hilton Head is a long standing family tradition; Adam’s family has done it for over 30 years, so it’s something everyone really looks forward to.  During the trip I managed to get in a couple runs and even started group Jillian Michaels morning exercise.

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Group exercise in the living room!

We did the tape 4 times!  Yeah, I’m impressed too.  Unfortunately as you all know, fitness is not the cornerstone of healthy living…it’s more about the food.  All our activity didn’t quite make up for our indulgences, but hey – isn’t that what vacation is for?  I will say, I was sort of excited to return to the somewhat straight and narrow – my body truly has become accustomed to a healthier diet!  Not only accustomed, but dare I say craves it?  Win, I say.

As I’ve rudely and abruptly gotten back into the swing of things, I’ve been mentally keeping track of what has helped most.

Tips for returning to a healthy lifestyle (post-vacation sloth):

  1. Visualize it.  Often if I think about what my workout will be Monday morning, picture it in my head, plan on it, think about it, plan, plan, and just get it so stuck in my head that it’s happening.  And you know what?  I will be okay with it!  Usually if I let myself not plan on it, it’s much harder to talk myself into it when the alarm is going off.
  2. Unpack/Settle in.  Nothing is a better excuse (for me) to not work out than “my house is a mess, I have no clothes, and I haven’t even unpacked my bag!” – Nevermind that I’ve been back 3 days and the bag is still just sitting there.  I will somehow find a way to make that a valid excuse (trust me, it has worked marvelously in the past).  Remove the barrier to working out and just unpack already.  After this trip I unpacked as soon as I could and it was an amazing call.  Trust me, you’ll feel so much better.  I did!
  3. Plan food. Take extra care over the first few days to just get back to eating healthy.  The main reason?  Brain training. I want my brain to associate delicious treats and frozen drinks as a treat.  I mean, that’s what they are, right?  I’m a huge fan of everything in moderation (thanks Mom – the phrase has stuck with me!) and vacation is a perfect time to indulge in some not-so-usual treats.  But… I want to be upfront with myself that I’m no longer on vacation and it’s back to the usual.  I don’t want to let my vacation eating habits linger on for days or weeks or months.  Honestly I feel better when I eat well, and being a bit strict for the first couple days has allowed me to quickly regain those benefits!
  4. Don’t beat yourself up.  Yes, it’s important to get back at the routine and start filling your body with healthy yummy things.  But… it won’t help anyone to beat yourself up about it.  I’ve been focusing a lot on the reasons I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the first place.  That often is helpful in getting me back to better habits without making me feel like dirt.
  5. Just do it.  Visualization and planning will only get you so far when it comes to working out and eating well, at some point you just have to do it.  Get up and keep on keeping on.  The past few days I haven’t focused on quality workouts (yeah I’ll admit it!), more just getting up and getting in my exercise.  I’ve definitely noticed labored, slower runs, and less than stellar JM video performances, but again just glad I’m getting out there!

So far the transition back to reality has worked out well and I even managed to pack myself a stellar lunch/snack bag for work this morning.  Yeah I was so proud I took a picture to send Adam.  I’m doing it, I’m really packing my own healthy stuff and doing it!  Cue groans from those of you that have no sympathy for me losing my little chef :)

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I’m not typically a “show-your-fooder” – but I mean come on. This lunch is perfection! Fruit, veggies, yogurt, protein bar, chicken, oatmeal, and Shakeology. Amazing. Feel free to pat me on the back.

Though I have to admit I’ve had a couple flashes of returning to my old extremely lazy food prep days.

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Dang he caught me! And that non-English jargon is just Kelly-speak for excitement.

The ramen story: I love ramen (well cup noodle to be exact) because it’s fast, easy, and delicious.  Yeah and with a million grams of sodium my body loves it too (not).  Adam is always annoyed when I eat ramen because sometimes I won’t even cook it – yikes, I know.  I got rid of all my ramen during a food drive conveniently during P90X, but as a joke Adam’s parents got me more for my birthday (much to Adam’s dismay). I’ve been holding onto that ramen for a special occasion (when Adam won’t know I’m eating it).  Last night we had a dinner skype date and I opted for whole wheat spaghetti instead – yeah I’m making strides.  :)

Here’s to hoping my post-vacation tips will encourage me to continue to have a successful week!  It’s good to be back!

-Kelly

How do you cope with reality life after vacation?  What tips can you share on not being lazy and eating real meals?