Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Firm Express - 30 Day Challenge Week 3

I'm over halfway through my month-long challenge! With this last seven days, I've now performed all of the 14 workouts in the Firm: Express kit.  These are great routines, and I've been amazed at how well my body has been responding to the work. And while the scale didn't move as much as I would have liked this week, I am getting stronger and leaner overall.  It was a challenging seven days for me as a mom, and I literally thank God for helping me stay on track as much as I did.  There were plenty of reasons to let this program go by the wayside.  Having this structured 30-day goal in front of me really helped me focus and persevere. Now that Week 3 is complete, here is my daily journal for the seven days:

Week 3, Day 1 – Wednesday, August 15
Workout: Kelsie’s 5-Minute Bonus from Pump Jump ‘n Jab
When I woke up this morning I was kind of tight from yesterday’s workouts, and in addition to that, I was feeling kind of “blah” and unmotivated.  I pulled up Kelsie’s 5-minute routine on Hulu.com and that helped me a bit. I didn’t do as well on the pushups today, but it was still a good starter.
Equipment:  6 lb weights

Workout: Cycle 4 Turbocharge Cardio + Sculpt
Partly as a procrastination tool, I watched this ahead of time earlier today so I’d be able to anticipate the moves.  This was a great workout, but it was tough.  It includes my nemesis, “Burpees”, plyo squats power lunges as well.  There was plenty of action that I enjoyed, though. I’ve always done curtsey dips well, and there were lots of those.  I felt like the 8-second burst periods were very doable, with some of the regular cardio moments being much more difficult.  The only exception to this is the burst period with the knee-tuck-jumps.  Mine are just pitiful.  There’s a brief abs section at the end that was tough, but I managed through it pretty well.  I feel good after this workout, but I’m going to opt out of doing any more add-ons today.

Equipment: 6 lb weights

Week 3, Day 2 – Thursday, August 16
Rest Day – Took today off, because I knew I’d want to work out on Friday and Saturday before my greatly-desired 2nd rest day of the week on Sunday.  This worked out really well for me, as there was a bit of drama in my parenting life, and working out today would have nearly been an impossibility anyway. Despite the stress at home, I managed to stay on track with my eating and kept it healthy.  That is what I call a NSV – “Non-Scale Victory”!!

Week 3, Day 3 – Friday, August 17
Workout: Cycle 1 Ignite Cardio
Wow!  What a difference two weeks makes!  Since I last did this workout 14 days ago, my strength and endurance have really improved.  I am really impressed.  Ignite Cardio was still a tough workout, but I performed so much better today.  I had to pause the video much less often, my range of motion was better, and my endurance kept me going strong.  My weakest point was still the hinge-kicks, but they were better than on August 3rd.  I really punched this one out, and I’m so proud!

Workout: Shortcut to Flat Abs
I definitely felt ready to do more after Ignite Cardio, and I hadn’t gone this one in a while.  It’s not as sweat-inducing as the cardio workout, but I still get a challenge from it. Probably the most difficult things for me to do are the planks and side planks.  I’m doing better on getting up on both feet with no knees down, but my execution and form still need work.  Still, progress has been made!

Equipment: Medium/Heavy Weight (8 lbs.)

Week 3, Day 4 – Saturday, August 18
Workout: Cycle 4 Overdrive Sculpt
While this workout isn’t as consistently intense as some of the others, it was still a really good one.  Kelsie gets us warmed up with some movement and just a bit of cardio, a burst segment, and then on into weight training with dead lifts and bicep curls.  The workout goes on to cover every area of the body, from quads and hamstrings, back, triceps and core.  I was able to keep up pretty well, and in some heavy weight spots, I was able to move up from 8 pounds to 10.  As usual, the most difficult thing for me to do is the planks, but I’m gradually improving and pushing myself on a regular basis. If you haven’t had much cardio lately, I would recommend adding on a separate cardio session, but this really is a good routine.  My arms are shaking as I type! Oh, and long-term “Firm Believers” might smile at the inclusion of some music previously heard in Firm workouts from years gone by.

Equipment:  Light weights (4 lb), medium weights (6 lb), heavy weights (I used 8 and 10), mat for floor work (I needed the mat for a kneeling-climb move to pad my joints)

Week 3, Day 5 – Sunday, August 19
Rest Day
I’m glad I had a rest day, but I feel like a couple of factors are going to set me back on my weight loss efforts for the week.  I began retaining water due to my monthly cycle, so that should prove to be interesting come weigh-in day.  Also, at dinner time I made some poor choices with my eating. Nothing incredibly high-fat (like the cookies and pizza I resisted yesterday!), but just too many calories and too many carbs.  I hope this doesn’t ruin my results for the week on the scale, although I know I’ll have other victories accomplished.

Week 3, Day 6 – Monday, August 20
Workout: Kelsie’s 5-Minute Bonus from Pump Jump ‘n Jab
Did well.  Determined to really push myself after last night’s indiscretions. Pushups getting better.

Equipment:  Medium weights (6 lbs)

Workout – Firm: Target Toning Zero-in-Ten: Lean Legs
I won this DVD in a contest from The Firm last year and enjoyed going through the tracks last summer.  Each one is only 10 minutes long, which is perfect for customizing to your schedule or using as an add-on, which I did today.  The first routine is really tough, really working the legs with pliés, squats and plenty of leaps.  I think the most difficult move came with a plié/jump where Rebekah clicks her heels together.  I was able to click my heels on several of the jumps, but getting my feet back into plié  position was nearly impossible.  Definitely something to work on.  This is a great addition to my routine today.

Equipment:  Heavy weights (8 lbs)

Workout: Cycle 1 Ignite Cardio + Sculpt
Just like last time (August 4th), this was a tough workout! I managed to push through, and my performance was much better today.  My burpees are still pretty pitiful, but they’re improving. Near the end we did some side planks, and today I did both sides with perfect form, knees off the carpet, with a lovely triangle shape.  I was most proud of that.  This routine doesn’t have much of a “fun factor” for me, but it’s effective and I’m enjoying my progress.

Equipment: Medium weights (6 lb) and Heavy weights (8 lbs – could probably go to 10 pounds next time, except for some deltoid raises)

Week 3, Day 7 – Tuesday, August 21
Workout: Kelsie’s 5-Minute Bonus from Pump Jump ‘n Jab
Better than ever—did a couple of really straight-backed pushups.  Getting stronger.

Equipment: 6 lb weights

Workout – Firm: Target Toning Zero-in-Ten:  Track 2 – Fearless Arms
This was a good 10 minutes. Rebekah does a little bit of cardio to keep your blood pumping, but most of the emphasis is on the arms, of course.  She does some pushups, but as many as I expected.  There are some creative moves that keep it interesting.  And for some reason, Rebakah speaks almost in a whisper, as if there’s a baby in the next room sleeping?  There were a few times when we were just standing still doing bicep curls/overhead presses, and I walked around the room to add in some more movement.

Equipment:  Lt/Medium weights (6lb) and Med/Heavy Weights (8 lbs)

Workout: Cycle 2 Accelerate Cardio
Today was a tough day.  I had a lot of trouble at home, and the day almost got away from me before I could work out.  I managed to do the first 2 mini-workouts after dinner, then I put my kids to bed, and then I did this track.  It was a hard day for me as a mom, so staying on track with my eating and fitting in this workout was a big challenge.  The DVD itself is a pretty tough one—there are a decent number of high-impact moves, and I sometimes had trouble keeping up.  Although I think I enjoyed doing this workout more the first time on  August 8th, I did improve my performance overall.  I was pausing the DVD less often, maybe because I was anxious to get it over with. But I’m proud of my fitness gains and the fact that I got it done.

End of Week Weigh In – Wednesday August 22 in the A.M.
This week’s weight loss was much more modest, unfortunately.  On Wednesday morning, I weighed in at 173.4, only .6 of a pound less from last week.  I did overindulge a bit on Sunday night, but I think the greatest contributing factor is my monthly water retention going on right now.   If I stay on track this upcoming week, I should shed that water with no problem.  Since August 1st I’ve lost 4.2 pounds, or an average of 1.4 pounds a week, which is very reasonable.  I still have plenty of things I can count as NSV’s (non-scale victories) this week, however.  I’m definitely becoming stronger, with my plank positions getting better all the time.  I’ll keep forging ahead, with more victories to come next week!

Check out the other weeks in my 30-Day Challenge!


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