Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Firm Express - 30 Day Challenge Week 1

Time for another fitness challenge!  The past year has been a bit of a roller-coaster for me, and I'm working to get back on track.  Last summer my wellness regimen began to slip, and I used the following excuses (some less valid than others) to allow myself to get really soft and heavy. Maybe you can relate to some of these:

  • Moving from Florida to Georgia, all the packing and effort that requires-- workouts consisted of packing boxes (and on some days, this really was a workout, but not always).
  • Losing the support I had in my First Place 4 Health group at church in Florida
  • Engaging in a personal pity party as I've struggled to adjust to my new life in Georgia
  • 2011 Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years -- 'Nuff said.
  • Becoming pregnant in January (I was working out, but I decreased the intensity, and weight loss wasn't exactly a priority)
  • Miscarriage in March, followed by physical/emotional recovery
So as you can see, most of those excuses don't hold alot of water, except maybe the last one.  By mid-April my weight had climbed up to 194.4 pounds.  Yikes!  I've always gained weight weight easily, and I knew I could quickly cross back over into the 200+ pound range if I didn't snap out of my doldrums. So I said a prayer, asking the Lord to help me once again put first things first and take care of the body He's given me.

I began tracking my food on Sparkpeople.com, a great resource for health and fitness.  They even have an iPhone app, so you can track your intake wherever you go!  And as my body recovered from the miscarriage, I began to increase my workout routine, in hopes of getting my fitness up and my weight down so that I could attempt a 30-day Firm Express rotation.

When the Firm announced on their Facebook page that they were running a contest for 30-day participants to enter to win a trip to New York for their next infomercial, I decided to seize the moment.  I've lost some weight over the last few months, and I think I'm ready to give this a try.  I may not win the trip to New York, but I can certainly be awarded with a higher fitness level by the end of the month.  By the way, if you've already had success with the Firm Express, the deadline to enter this contest is at the end of the August!

So as I've done in the past, I'll post a weekly wrap-up of my progress, and some mini-reviews of each of the 14 videos available in the Firm Express.  I'm happy to say that Week 1 went very well, and I'm excited about the days to come.  Here's the first installment of the month, with my daily journal entries:

WEEK 1 - Firm Express Get Thin in 30

Day 1 – Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Weight – 177.6

Cycle 1 - Ignite: Sculpt – I’ve done this one exactly one other time, last year in a failed attempt to start this series after we moved.  Did much better this time around.  Still, it’s a very fast-paced workout, with the moves coming in really quick, with little prep.  I’d recommend watching this before viewing, just so you don’t get behind.  I was able to do every move, although I did stay on my knees for the pushups.   Got a great sweat going. Great start to the series! 

Equipment used:  Medium Weights (6 lbs) and Heavy Weights (8 lbs)

If you'd like to try this workout yourself, it's on Hulu.com below:

Workout: Pump It Up – I felt pretty good after that first workout, so I thought I’d add in this quick 10-minute routine.  It was my first time doing this one. Wow!  This one packs a punch! I was dripping sweat and pushed to the limit in no time.  The fact that I was already warmed up from Ignite: Sculpt probably had a lot to do with that, but still!  This is a quality workout in a small package.  I’ll probably still add it on to other workouts in the future, but only if I feel up to it!

Equipment used: Medium Weights (6 lbs)

Day 2 – Rest Day
Even though today was a rest day according to the calendar included in the Firm Express kit, I was behind a computer most of the day and wanted to get in just a little bit of body movement.  I did BSS1: Ab Sculpt, which is short and helps me feel great after sitting for hours.

Day 3 – 

Workout:  Ignite: Cardio
Great workout!  I did much better than when I tried this routine last year.  Still, it was challenging and sweat was dripping off my nose at one point!  I was able to keep up with Emily really well, although I had to modify the hinge-kicks.  Still feel really heavy.  But overall, this session was a lot of fun, and I feel great! My endurance is better than it has been in a while, and I’m getting stronger.

No Equipment Required

Workout: Shortcut to Flat Abs 
After a short breather/water break, I felt good enough to do 10 more minutes with Jennifer.  Since I’d had mostly cardio already, I went for the abs routine.  I enjoyed this one as well.  Jennifer hits all the spots—upper abs, lower abs, obliques, back.  Some raised-arm side bends were a little tricky for me to understand as far as body position, but I think I did them correctly.  The only move I had to modify was the side plank--- had to take that to one knee down.  This was a nice add-on routine for today. Feeling great!

Equipment:  Floor mat, Med/Heavy weight (I used 8 lb.)

Want to try this abdominal workout?  View the whole routine here!

Post-workout Snack – Half of the berry ricotta cheesecake recipe on page 23 of the Firm Express Fitness Guide. SO amazingly good!

Day 4 – Rest Day
 -- Sunday the 5th
Switched my rest day so I could get in a workout on Saturday and rest on Sunday

Day 5 –
Saturday, August 4

Workout: Ignite Cardio + Sculpt
Whoo!  That was a tough one.  Lots of high impact.  I probably would have done better if I’d had more time to warm up and get this 41 year-old body ready for all the plyos and jumping.  But I hung in there.  I had to modify the pushups and burpees a little, but overall I kept up with Emily.  Sweat came fast.  Switched the workout to today because the house was empty and I like Sundays to be my rest day if possible.

Equipment:  Heavy weights (8 lbs) and medium weights (6 lbs)

Workout: Pump It Up
Had to stop for a breather about halfway through b/c of power lunges.  The side-to-side moutainclimber-like jumps are super-killer, too.  Dripping with sweat when done, and glad I made the extra effort for those 10 minutes!

Equipment: Medium weights (6 lbs)

Day 6

Today was a rest day, so I did a lightweight Pilates routine, just to limber up after being fairly sedentary behind the computer all day.

Day 7 – Tuesday August 7th

After conferring with Firm representative Cathy Sovde, I feel that I’m needing a little “bump up” in my routine, so over the next few days I’m going to merge into the Beginner Level 2 rotation for Firm Express. So instead of taking a rest day today, I’m going to catch up on Week 1 of Level 2 and do Cycle 2: Cardio + Sculpt.

Workout: Cycle 2: Accelerate Cardio + Sculpt
I really enjoyed this workout with Rebekah! It’s a great mix of weight training and cardio.  I really had to push myself on some of the power V-step/Jumping  Jack moves, but overall I kept up pretty well.  As I’m writing this, sweat is dripping down my back, and I feel great!

Equipment:  Medium weights and Light-to-Medium Weights (I used 6 lb in both cases)

Workout: Shortcut to Flat Abs
Since I felt like I got a decent amount of cardio and I’ve already done Pump It Up a couple of times, I went with the Abs add-on today.  I think I did better this time, but I still have to take a knee on the side planks.  Feel really strong when we do the full situps from lying flat.

Equipment: Mat, 8 lb weight

End of Week Results
At the start of Week 2, Wednesday morning, I weighed in at 175.8, so almost 2 pounds lost!  Losing 1-2 pounds a week is a healthy amount, so I'm happy with this.  I've also had lots of "Non-Scale Victories" (NSV's), like making healthier food choices and forcing myself to drink lots of water each day.  So far I'm really happy with how things are going, and I look forward to further progress.  Thanks for following along with me!


  1. Laura,
    I'm so sorry about your loss this spring! :( (((Hugs)))

    I admire your strength to pull yourself up again and wish you the best of luck with your weight loss! It's great that you've already lost almost 2 pounds, big congrats!!!

    I look forward having you as my FE check-in buddy on FB! (Even though we're on different days of the schedule! ;) )

    1. Thanks, Val! It's been great having you as a check-in buddy on Facebook! I'm glad you're a day or two ahead of me on the schedule. You're blazing the trail for me!

      Have a great day!




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