Monday, July 8, 2013

Today's Workout - More Cardio Interval Burn

Some readers my recall my participation in the Peak Fit Challenge in 2011.  Since that time, instructor Michelle Dozois of Breakthru Fitness has produced additional videos to supplement this fabulous program.  And while I simply adore the original set of DVDs, the latest videos have brought some great new material and have been a breath of fresh air to my routine.  First up, my review of More Cardio Interval Burn:

Just like the original Cardio Interval Burn, Michelle takes us through a warm-up, five training blocks and a cool-down.  On screen graphics and motivating bells keep you aware of how much time is left. There is no equipment required, but you should definitely strap on supportive shoes and have a towel and water nearby.  In my home, I also push some furniture back two feet.  You'll want to have plenty of room to move during this 60 minute routine!

Warm Up - We take 4 minutes to get the body limbered up and our major muscle groups stretched out. It's a very reasonable section, and a great way to start the routine.

Training Block 1

Each training block is 10 minutes, broken up into two segments, five minutes each. It begins with the Ascent portion (2 1/2 minutes), which is moderate in intensity. Highlight moment: A jump-to-the-floor, side burpee move.  That sounds harder than it is-- I find it to be innovative and interesting choreography.  Challenge moment:  Wrapping my brain around a knee up-switch move, which I can handle physically, but is going to take some practice for my mind/body connections!

Next comes the Climb portion of the segment. The tempo increases, and so does the effort, heart rate and sweat production for about two minutes. This part of the workout is fairly challenging and sometimes uncomfortable, but over time my ability to do them has improved. Highlight moment: A 180° hop turn, in between jumping jacks and a speed bag move.  I've learned to keep my knees up and my elbows in as much as possible on this, enabling me to spin faster.

Block 1 Air Jacks
The final portion of the segment is the signature Peak.  For this training block, we perform air jacks, which are similar to jumping jacks, but with an added leap.  If you're not able to perform the air jacks very well, just watch cast member Diane on the right side of the screen, who offers lower-intensity options throughout the workout.  The Peak section is only about 25 seconds, but that half minute will really push you to the limit.  I frequently will pause the video after each Peak section, to catch my breath, mop my dripping brow and get a sip of water.

Following each Peak is Basecamp, which begins the next segment.  During this period, Michelle keeps you moving, but it's low intensity, designed to allow your body to recover for only about 30 seconds.  Then she repeats the Ascent portion that was performed at the top of the workout, going through the cycle again.

Training Block 2

This block repeats the pattern, with new choreography.  Ascent Highlight: A front knee-up, back leg kick move with arm movements. I just love how my body moves through this, and it's just so different from material I've done before. Climb Highlight: A three-hop, turn move that reminds me of hopscotch when we were kids.  This move is so carefree, and it just makes me happy every time! Peak Challenge: Step side jump shot. This one isn't too bad; the challenge is seeing how many I can crank out!

Training Block 3

Block 3 brings out my almost nonexistent hip-hop side. I crank up the music and really move! I honestly can't pick a highlight moment in the Ascent portion.  The whole thing is great! Climb Highlight: The tempo really increases, so prepare to keep up! I love the hook-twist section-- I almost have to be careful not to do it too hard. Peak Challenge: Tuck jumps to a burpee. This one is really tough for me, and I'm constantly improving. Just do your best and do as many as you can!

Block 4 Side Kick
Training Block 4

Once again, fun and motivating music begins this segment. Ascent Highlight: A knee up, crescent, side kick move. Great way to get in some standing abdominal work. Climb Challenge: A touch down, squat and lunge back. These were really difficult for me at first, but I've come to love them, because they bring out my fierce side. Besides, there are only four at a time, and I can do four of anything. Peak Challenge: 180° lunge jump. If you're running out of gas, these can sneak up on you.

Training Block 5

Ascent Challenge: The body twist, knee up move challenges my brain more than my body here. I frequently lose count and feel like Chevy Chase saying, "It was my understanding that there would be no math..." But after a few attempts at this, I'm beginning to do just fine. Climb Highlight: Three-step, arms pull, knee up. Makes me feel strong, like I'm breaking a board with my knee.  Peak Challenge: Quarter eagle to knee-slapper. Again, an area that I'm still perfecting. Tip: Watch Yalda behind Michelle, on the left side with the braid. She doesn't turn all of her upper body as much when her lower half twists, keeping her hands forward.  Doing this has helped me a bit.

Cool Down

This 5-minute section is so important. Always be sure to cool down and stretch. Michelle has chosen poses that mirror the warm up and address the specific muscles that were tightened during our routine. You'll feel great afterward and reduce the chance of injury.

More Cardio Interval Burn is a great addition to Michelle's Peak videos. It's challenging and fun, with something for everyone.  Pair this with More Cardio Strength later in your week.  You'll feel great and see remarkable results!

Coming Soon: More reviews of Breakthru Fitness videos!


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