Category Archives: Workout

My Next Challenge – Focus T25

Before I talk about my next fitness challenge, I just want to say THANK YOU for all the congratulatory messages over the past week.  Everyone, including my family, friends, and blends (blogger friends), has been so excited about my Tough Mudder experience.  I just can’t thank y’all enough for all the support and love!

With that being said, I am really excited about my next personal challenge – Focus T25.  I haven’t been able to work out since the Tough Mudder because of the soreness and pain from the cuts and bruises.  And I’m not going to engage in intentional exercise until Monday because I want to be fresh for T25!  This program is no joke.

What is Focus T25

It is a Beachbody program created by Shaun T who is known for the Insanity program.  From what I’ve read, T25 is kind of like Insanity but shorter and not as difficult.  Each workout is only 25 minutes (~28 if you include the stretching).  And this program is broken down into two five week phases.  So you start with five weeks of Alpha and then move on to five weeks of Beta.  There are calendars that tell you when to do each workout.  And there is something to do every day, except on Sunday (rest day). 

The workouts themselves are high-intensity and go go go the entire time (i.e. no built in rest breaks).  I’ve actually done a few of the Alpha workouts here and there, and I can attest to the fact that they are challenging.  Not impossible, just challenging.  The first time I did the Cardio workout I had to take a break after the warm up.  Haha.  I was dripping sweat and pushing my limits the entire time. 

Why I am doing this

I love structure when it comes to my workouts.  Best Body Bootcamp was perfect for me because everything was spelled out and ready to go.  But now that Tina is no longer continuing with BBB, that structure is missing for me.  Enter T25!  As I mentioned, there is a calendar that tells you when to do what…just what I need/want!  Also, these are workouts that require zero to very minimal equipment AND can be done in the comfort of your own home or hotel if you are traveling.

Another reason I am doing this is because I want to challenge my body in a different way.  I’m going to continue with a few short runs every week, but other than that, I am going to let T25 take center stage in my life for 10 weeks!

This isn’t about weight loss for me.  I would be happy with the scale staying exactly where it is.  What I do hope to gain is some more muscle definition and an overall toned look.  Regardless of whether that happens or not, I know that I am doing something good for my body and that is benefit enough. 

(No) Dietary changes

The program comes with a suggested dietary plan, but I’m not going to follow it.  Personally, I think my diet is pretty balanced and supports my lifestyle so there is no need to overhaul it at all.  So that’s that!

Accountability

I consider myself to be a self-motivated and goal oriented person.  If I say I’m going to do something, it will eventually happen.  Basically, I don’t need anyone else to push me.  However, to ensure that I go through with all 10 weeks of T25, I have enlisted a partner in crime…my coworker Erin! 

When Erin was in Miami a few weeks ago, I talked about T25 being my next challenge.  Erin, who travels about 60% of the time for her role, wanted to try something new that she could fit into her crazy schedule.  Of course, as soon as she sounded remotely interested, I got really excited and talked about how we could be each other’s accountability partners, how fun it would be, blah, blah, blah.  Erin was hooked!  And now we both have someone to talk to about the program, progress, challenges, etc.  Woo hoo!

Updates and progress

I did a horrible job blogging about my Tough Mudder training.  Horrible meaning it was nonexistent.  I want this to be different, but I am making no promises.  I will definitely blog about my experience with T25…just not sure how frequently.  With that being said, I have an open email policy so feel free to contact me at any time!

I also haven’t quite decided about how I’m going to measure my progress.  I’ll fill y’all in when I get it together!  The one thing I do know is that I’m not using the scale.

Well, that’s about it.  I hope T25 kicks my (and Erin’s) butt…in a good way of course!  Here’s to a successful 10 weeks.

Have you tried Focus T25 or any other Beachbody workout program?

Tough Mudder Recap + What’s Next

10.2 miles, 20 obstacles, 4 hours, lots of mud, and numerous cuts and bruises later I AM A TOUGH MUDDER!!!

There are really no words to explain how awesome my first Tough Mudder (TM) experience was. But I’ll try!

Tough Mudder Florida 2014 4

I was really nervous the entire week leading up the event. I kept psyching myself out with stupid thoughts. Finally, when I saw Robin on Saturday, we decided that from that point forward we would only say positive things about the TM. I did my best to adhere to our rule.

I ate a bowl of pasta for dinner on Saturday night and went to bed around 11 pm. I woke up at 6:15, shot out of bed, took a shower, made a protein shake, and headed down to Robin and Andy’s at 7:15. We ended up leaving the apartment around 7:45 and made it to our destination around 9:45.

And by destination, I mean the Everglades. Yes, our TM event was smack dab in the middle of swamp country.

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After checking in, we met up with the rest of our team.  I actually didn’t know anyone else besides Robin and Andy, as they were all friends of Andy’s from PA school.  But can I just say that our team was so kickass.  Not only did every single one of us finish the race and all of the obstacles, we were each other’s support system.  I could not have done this without my seven teammates.  We made each other laugh, we cheered each other on, and we were there to say “you can do it” when things got tough.  Amazing amazing people!

Tough Mudder Florida 2014

We started with the 10:30 wave.  As we lined up, we were instructed to jump around and loosen up by an announcer guy (who was so hilarious).  He cracked jokes, told us were were crazy, and even made us sing.  We took a TM pledge and sang the National Anthem before starting.

THE RUNNING/COURSE

I was mentally prepared to run, but when the first mile was pretty much all sand running, I found myself panicking a little bit.  But I was relieved to learn that the terrain would just vary throughout (we were in the middle of the Everglades after all).  Sometimes we were running through mud, sometimes through a forest (or what felt like a forest), and sometimes more even road.  I would say 95% of the course was uneven in nature, and I can’t tell you how many times I almost tripped and fell because of that.

And as far as the course setup was concerned, I felt that water and food (bananas, protein bars, and electrolyte gummies) appeared at the perfect time!  And the obstacles were spread out nicely as well.  While nothing about the TM was easy, I think organizers created the best course possible.  Kudos to them!

THE WEATHER

Florida weather is as unpredictable as it comes.  One minute you’re soaking up the sunshine and the next minute your scrambling to find shelter from hurricane type rain (that lasts about 10 minutes max).

And that is exactly what we experienced this weekend.  It was fairly cloudy most of the morning, and then out of no where the rain started falling…and falling hard.  We were trudging through mud in sideways rain.  I am so thankful my contacts didn’t fall out!

Other than that one “I can’t see two feet in front of me” moment, we were ok for the most part.  It rained on and off, but towards the end, the sun was peaking out.  In all honestly, we could not have asked for better weather.  I can’t imagine having to run 10.2 miles and doing 20 obstacles in Florida heat.  The rain actually did us a huge favor!

THE OBSTACLES

Oh boy!  I am not going to go through all of the obstacles here but do want to highlight some of the more memorable ones.

Tough Mudder Florida 2014 2

Funky monkey – This obstacle was essentially money bars that inclined up and then down with water down below.  I made it about three bars before falling straight into the water.  Haha.  The event photographer got two great shots of me as I was falling!  Needless to say, my upper body strength could use some work!

Arctic enema – Imagine a ~9×7 foot box that’s four feet deep and filled with ice cubes.  Now imagine jumping in, making your way to the middle, ducking under a wooden plank, and finding your way out again.  It was pure torture!  This was my least favorite obstacle.  I got to the middle, looked at Andy, and said, “I can’t breathe!!”  He coached me through it and told me I would be fine.  Somehow I made it out ok!

Balls to the wall – With this obstacle, you basically have a long rope with knots in it and a huge (~10-15 foot wall).  The goal is to climb the wall using the rope and then climb down on the other side.  I went into this obstacle thinking it would be hard but doable.

I asked Robin to do this one with me, and about five seconds into it, I looked at her and said, “I’m going to get down and skip this one.”  She tried to convince me to keep going but I was done (or so I thought).  As I was walking around to the other side, Andy found me, told me I was going to do this obstacle, and then proceeded to do it with me.  Robin spotted on one side while the rest of the team cheered me on from the other side.  These people are the BEST!

Everest – I think this obstacle is a permanent fixture in all TM events.  Basically it’s a giant half pipe ramp that participants sprint up with the hopes that their team members up top will grab them and pull them over.

So the first time I sprinted up, I failed.  And instead of being caught by the team, I slid back down and hit my right hip pretty hard on the pipe.  I almost gave up, but Robin’s encouragement to try one more time kept me going.  I went for it again and…success!  Phew!  I don’t know if I could I have tried again!

Electroshock therapy – This was the final obstacle of the event, and it was a b****.  Basically, you had to run through dangling live wires that may or may not shock you as you make your way through.  I was SO nervous about this one.  Our team wanted to run through it together, so we lined up and made a mad dash for the finish line…kind of.  I got shocked and fell to the ground face first, cutting up knees and elbows in the process.  And instead of getting back up and risking all of that again, I crawled out…alas, I was a Tough Mudder!

THE AFTERMATH

Needless to say, my body hates me right now.  Not only am I super sore, but I have bruises and cuts all over my legs and parts of my arms.  I’m guessing it will take quite a few days to recover fully.  Mentally, I’m still so excited and shocked about actually going through with the TM AND completing all of the obstacles.

MY OVERALL THOUGHTS

All of the above was 100% worth the Tough Mudder experience.  I overcame so much self-doubt and fear in the span of four hours.  With that being said, I think this will be my last TM event.  One is enough for me!

Overall, we came to conclusion that the TM is 60% endurance, 30% mental strength, and 10% muscular strength.  I really do believe that anyone can complete this event successfully – there were so many people of all different fitness levels rocking the course!  Truly inspirational!  You just have to know what you’re getting into!

WHAT’S NEXT!

With the Tough Mudder behind me now, I plan to begin Shaun T’s FocusT25 program next Monday!  :)  I’ll share more about what this entails in Friday’s post.

Week 1 TM Training + Polar FT4

Before I delve into the things that relate to the title of this post, I just want to say that my birthday weekend was pretty much awesome.  I had a “me day” on Friday where I did a lot of leisurely things (i.e. lots of reading!).  On Friday night, we went to a wine tasting with Robin and Andy where I learned about Cabernet Sauvignon (more on that in a later post).  Saturday morning was spent tidying up, the afternoon was spent at the mall, and the evening was spent at a music festival.  Sunday was pretty standard with a grocery store trip, food prep, and the Bachelor wedding (not a huge fan of the show itself but wanted to watch this…don’t ask!).  All in all, a great way to ring in 30!

Ok, so on to week 1 of Tough Mudder training. 

SUNDAY: REST – CHECK
MONDAY: Upper body + core; 20 minutes light cardio (elliptical) – CHECK
TUESDAY: 3.5 mile run – CHECK
WEDNESDAY: Lower body + core; 20 minutes light cardio (elliptical) – CHECK
THURSDAY: REST – CHECK
FRIDAY: Full body circuit; 2 mile run – CHECK and the run was probably a little over 2 miles
SATURDAY: 4.5 mile run – CHECK but this turned into a 4 mile treadmill run due to poor planning on my part

Thoughts: I am loving the BBB strength workouts.  I love the focus of this first phase and the emphasis on the core.  My runs were good, but at this point, it’s hard to imagine having to do more mileage.  And finally, I need to step it up with my stretching…BIG TIME.  I experienced a lot of soreness that I know could’ve been eased with some solid post-workout stretches.  Oops!

This week’s workouts look similar to the above.  The only difference will be that I add a few extra reps to the strength stuff. 

And now on to the second part of this post – a review of the Polar FT4

polarft4_2 
As I previously mentioned, this was a birthday present from my parents.  Originally, I thought I wanted a Fitbit Force but changed my mind after reading a few reviews and thinking about what I really wanted – a heart rate monitor and nothing more.  I may look into the Force a little later after all the kinks have been worked out.  I’m not much of an early adopter anyways!

Once I nailed down what technology I wanted, I did a little bit of research and narrowed down the list to the Polar FT4 and the Polar FT7.  After consulting with Vishnu, I decided to go with the FT4.  It basically came down whether or not I wanted to know if I was working out in the fat burning zone.  Since I didn’t know what I would do with the information, I decided I didn’t need that feature.  Simple as that!

When my watch came in, I scanned the instructions on how to program it and got to work.  After entering all the necessary information (weight, height, date, time, etc.), I was good to go.  Easy peasy!  And let’s be honest, if I can do it, you can do it. 

In the case of any good HRM, you want to pick one that comes with a chest strap (or so I read).  Not something I was super excited about but decided to deal with it.  Turns out you don’t really have to deal with it because you can’t feel it and it’s actually comfortable.  The only thing I would say is that for people who are really small, the strap may be a bit to big since there’s only so much adjusting you can do.  I have mine set to the very edge of the sensor area and it fits perfectly.  If you’re super narrow around that part of your body, you may have issues.

The strap and the watch itself are the two major components.  There is also a little clip on heart rate sensor that attaches to the strap. But again, you can’t even tell it’s there.

polarft4_1 
As far as my personal experience using this device is concerned, I absolutely love it.  In fact, I wore it for all the workouts mentioned above, including the strength training.  I love how at any given time I know my heart rate and whether or not I should push myself a little bit more.  And at the end of my workout, I know how many calories I’ve burned along with the duration of my workout. 

The only con for me is that the watch, while very comfortable, is a kind of ugly.  Haha!  But then again, I wasn’t really going for a fashion statement. 

I should also say that if you the type of person that gets obsessed with numbers, especially calorie burn, this may not be for you.  The geek in me likes to think about the effort I put into a workout and what the outcome is, but that’s about it at this point in my life.  It’s also kind of fun to guess the number and see how far off I am. 

If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email.

What workouts do you have planned for the week?
Do you own a HRM?  Thoughts?