Challenged

First the good news

I ordered an Equalizer/Challenger. I am very excited. I really think it is going to push my workouts to the next level. It is supposed to arrive today but I have horrible luck with the mail so I am really anxious =(. I am also working a lot with my flexibility at the moment. My ankles have always been very stiff and I am not sure if that has to do with muscular tension in my calves but I am working on them from all angles. I am also working on strengthening my abductors. I have definitely increased my strength but they are still very weak in comparison to my adductors. My adductors could well be my strongest muscle and my abductors one of my weakest so I am seriously unbalanced. I am also trying to increase the mobility in my hips which is a bit weird. In some ways my hips are very flexible but in others my mobility is seriously limited think Frog Pose.

Random

The other day hubbie and I were talking. He doesn’t feel he can be himself around some people which isn’t all that unusual, I feel that way too sometimes. I have never really detected anything remotely fake about him but he says that he sometimes avoids or side steps traps in conversation that might lead to confrontations. I don’t fully understand this concept. I asked him if I also do this and he said no. Apparently I set off all the traps and then I have no idea I have done it and just carry on more or less normally. While this obliviousness can diffuse some people/situations, it can also infuriate and exacerbate others. I had this problem with my bullies in school they wanted so bad to upset me but sometimes I just didn’t understand the situation well enough to be upset. My husband has Asperger’s Syndrome and yet sometimes he has to explain emotions and social situations to me. Of course there are times I get it and he doesn’t. We help each other out but even so we are considered “eccentric”. So far Isadora does not seem to have this same eccentricity she seems more or less on top of her social game.

The reason I mentioned the above was because I am not good at dealing with emotions. I have trouble understanding how I feel and most of my emotions are just some variant of grumpy. So the situation with my stepdad is very difficult for me to comprehend. My mom called last night. The cancer is worse than we thought it has spread more or less through his entire body. He is Stage 4. He probably has 1-3 months left. Right now he is in intensive care having his lungs drained but he wants to go home as soon as possible. Death is very hard for me to process. That is why I am not filming workouts right now, I feeling too emotional and vulnerable. I am working out because I need the stress relief.

Workout 3

Here is my workout video for the day. I am still struggling with lunges. I almost wish I had a harness pulling me back so I wouldn’t keep drifting forward with that front knee. My arms were tired today and this didn’t exactly help with all those pushups. I am so slow with pushups but I have pinched nerves in both shoulders so I have to be very careful with my alignment. I am sure you have noticed I mostly do yoga-style pushups and that is because they don’t pinch. I had a few other issues. I am weirdly skittish about Get Ups. Squat Jumps are quite hard for me as well. I am not good with soft landings haha Exercise doesn’t always look pretty!

Workout 2

Where do I even begin? I have another full length workout for you. I slept poorly last night (traumatic nightmares) and I was, as you will see, a little out of it. My workout is actually on that piece of paper I am straining to see, I just used the workout video in the background as a timer. I messed up a couple of times. I left out some skips which I had to add back later. I feel like you can see pretty well from this angle (not perfectly because I am still headless when standing). If I ever teach workouts I will have to move to a larger room so I can get a full shot. I am not exactly sure how my webcam is going to do with voice recording if I ever talk, I have a feeling the voice quality is going to be an issue.

Why am I doing this?

As I mentioned before I had a traumatic childhood. As a result of that trauma I developed PTSD, Body Dysmorphia, and Dissociative Disorder. I hate being watched. Being watched is paralyzing. In school I had a very difficult time in performance subjects like music and gym. I am that adult who stops breathing or hyperventilates when people so much as glance in my general direction. I am that adult whose work slows to a crawl when her boss is in the same room. I am that adult who can’t pour drinks or cut cakes at parties because of her extreme clumsiness. I don’t just change my behavior when being observed I become hopelessly, irrationally incompetent. So the camera thing is in part to help me connect mind and body and in part to help me desensitize myself to observation.

Now I know this is going to sound crazy because it is crazy but I believe that photographs are partially sentient. I don’t believe this intellectually but somewhere in my mind the concept exists because I can’t have photos anywhere near me or else I start conversing with them. I also don’t like when the camera is pointed at me even if no one is behind it. I know when I make these films that I don’t have to post them. I also know that unless I tell you about them you have no idea that I have even made them. That gives me some sense of control. I do think this desensitization process is working because the other day when I did chair pose I was actually breathing. I also care less about fat rolls because honestly a week ago I wouldn’t have posted this in light of my flabbiness. I have some loose skin in the lower abs from pregnancy and because of the scarring it doesn’t fully tighten. I want to get to a place of self-acceptance. I want to be able to go swimming. I love swimming but I never go because I don’t want to be seen in a swimsuit. When I was an overweight preteen a classmate took some video footage of a headless me in a swimsuit (we were at the pool for a class trip). As the image was headless my identity was hidden but for years they would play that video back and make fun of the hideous, headless fat girl. I was that hideous, headless fat girl. The girl who took the footage was not trying to be mean, she was just filming the class trip (I actually think she edited out my face). I doubt it even occurred to her the negative impact that video was going to have on my self-esteem. At that age a lot of the girls had 6 packs and flat abs so I felt like a whale. I still feel like that same girl though, like I have not changed at all.

Lastly I want others like me. Clumsy types. Shy types. Mid-weight body-types. To feel good about themselves. Right now we are flooded with extremes. The media likes ultra slim girls with chiseled abs. The media likes vivacious, curvaceous plus-sized models. That is fine of course but us regular girls seem to have no place anymore. As a regular girl people criticize me for being too fat and being too thin! Sometimes in the same day! Society seems to have forgotten what us people in the middle look like. There is no good enough for society. There is no just right as far as society is concerned. Societies idea of healthy is not only unattainable but dangerous.

I also did this little ab workout because my other workout was a little shorter than expected. I look terrible in this yikes. The first exercise I did was new to me so I got a little confused.

Chair Pose

I think I can get slightly more of the yoga mat in a frame if I sit the laptop outside of the room. The consequence is glaring sunlight “sigh”. This is chair pose which I typically hold for 30 seconds. I used to be unable to get my arms up by ears (I held them strait ahead) which shows that the posture work has helped. I still have lower than average shoulder mobility but this for me is a big achievement. I was quite down on myself today though, not feeling my yoga at all this morning. It happens sometimes but I did get through it.

Workout Video

Today I decided to film my workout. I wanted to do it for myself to check in on my form and speed. It was very informative and I recommend it to anyone looking to improve their workouts. I learned that I am not keeping my knees 90/90 when I lunge (yikes I need to work on that one). I learned that sometimes I am leaning too far forward in squats. I learned that my butt is higher up in that plank then I thought it was haha. I also learned that I make some really bizarre faces when I exercise! I was completely perplexed by those squat jumps, sometimes I get them, sometimes I don’t. I have a hard time with high impact jumping, those tuck jumps what?! In the beginning I do a long jump I am jumping from one end of the yoga mat to the other. I can’t jump further or I would hit the wall.

If you wonder why I use the sandbag it’s because it prevents me from hyper-extending my wrists, also I have short arms and some things are quite awkward with short arms and a long torso. If you wonder why I am not using a jump rope its not because I don’t own one, I do own one that I love, it is just my ceilings are too low to use it indoors.

I am trying to find a good place for the webcam so I can get a full view but the room is small and I am not sure I can get the whole yoga mat into the frame. You can’t see me doing some moves, like tricep extensions. My small purple weights are not heavy enough it’s just that I don’t have time to change the weight on the bar and the larger black hand held weights are just so awkwardly big that they don’t allow me to bicep curl! Also I am still am having issues holding my breath with the camera being on so my breathing was pretty weird.

Side Angle Pose

Today I went with Side Angle Pose, this is a yoga pose for those of you who aren’t familiar. Typically I hold this pose for 1 minute (30 seconds to 1 minute is good). I prefer the basic version because it allows me to keep my chest open. As you know I have Kyphosis and postural issues and the full pose doesn’t allow me to achieve the same degree of expansion. In the video I move my bottom arm to show you that I am not slouching in the pose. There really shouldn’t be weight in that bottom arm.

Today I thought I would do a simple review of a handful of fitness personalities (which got obscenely long). Most of these guys have a channel on Youtube so if you are in need of a little inspiration for your workouts I will include links! Before I begin I would like to say that I do not have personal contact with any of these people and I am not interested in gossip or drama. I may expand this list later.

Fitness Blender

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiP6wD_tYlYLYh3agzbByWQ

Pros

Large selection of free workouts (different lengths, different types)

Sound nutritional advice

Their workouts often include a warm up and a cool down. They provide links for workouts that do not include warm ups/cool downs.

Easy to follow instruction/demonstrations included

Good pace

Professionally polished workouts, very well-organized and executed

Daniel and Kelli both seem like genuine people and they make an adorable couple!

Supportive/positive/no body shaming

The 1000 calorie workouts are awesome!

Modifications for beginners and tips for advancement

Cons

I really don’t have any cons. They seem to favor a Tabata-style workout (20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest and repeat) and for me that can get a little too repetitive. I prefer a 30-40 second interval and a huge variety of exercise.

Dulcinea Hellings

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQN9dx-tAAGQkN-MCnl5SUg

It has been many years now since I worked out with Dulcinea. But Dulcinea was the first youtuber I ever worked out with so I felt it important to include her. Her channel doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of traffic these days but she still updates it.

Pros

What appealed to me about Dulcinea when I first started training with her was that she has a feminine physique. Seeing someone who looked like me working out was very motivating/inspiring.

She has a variety of workouts available on her channel for free.

Most of her workouts are b/w 40-50 minutes which is the perfect length for me.

She includes a warm up/cool down in all of her workouts (at least all the ones I have seen)

She seems to be having a ridiculously good time (at least in her early workouts). Working out with her was like playing and it taught me to laugh at myself when I messed up. She also taught me that exercise can and should be fun.

Modifications are offered for beginners.

Cons

Some people might find it a con that she gets winded, slows down, or needs to take breaks. I just take it as her being a real person.

P90X

Pros

Tony Horton is in ridiculously good shape for a man in his 50s (for a man in general). This shit works.

Upbeat and positive vibe. Tony is very animated.

Tips for modifying and advancing exercises (exercises can be quite hard)

Warm ups and cool downs included in every workout

Variety of workouts and innovative exercises

Well-organized and professional

Comes with a nutritional guide (very detailed, sensible, includes recipes, and good calorie recommendations)

Comes with a fitness guide

Comes with worksheets to record your progress and a workout calender if you need help planning. If you are looking for the full package this is definitely the way to go.

He really emphasizes the importance of stretching.

He incorporates a lot of different styles of exercise

Cons

Both P90X and P90X2 have very long workouts sometimes as much as 80 minutes. So if you are pushed for time this could be an issue. P90X3 offers 30 minute workouts for those with time constraints.

A lot of equipment is required. You are going to need to buy weights, bands, or improvise with weighted household objects. I only have 1 medicine ball but at times they use 3! Tony uses the pull up bar a lot. In some workouts he uses the pull up bar so much I feel that I have more or less modified the entire workout! Even if I owned a pull up bar I could not do so many pull ups.

Other equipment includes (Pilates Ball, Foam Roller, Step, Yoga Blocks, Power Stands)

Expense (an excellent all inclusive plan but it will cost you)

Bodyrock/Lisa Marie

(I do most of my Bodyrock Workouts with Lisa Marie so this review focuses on her)

Bodyrock’s Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuY1W4AwhhgkB6rsJBtltUA

Lisa Marie’s Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClDNX3BO-8Dtf7b1B-2KI3Q

Pros

I love the way she organizes her workouts. You are never left standing around like a moron trying to figure out what comes next.

Intervals are b/w 30-50 seconds (50 seconds is challenging!)

Long and short HIIT workouts are available

The workouts are fun and innovative

Her workouts are rarely repetitive, I love the variety

I find her to be very motivating

She offers 30 day challenges and the workouts get progressively harder as you go along

Tips for modifying and advancing

Lots of free workouts to be found on Youtube both on Bodyrock’s main channel and her personal channel

Cons

Requires quite a bit equipment: weights, kettlebells, weighted balls, sandbags, challenger, weighted vest, step, Bosu, jump rope (though she frequently offers alternatives for those who do not have equipment). I don’t own a challenger at present. I get around it using a step stool or modifying the exercise with a floor exercise. I also don’t own a weighted vest. I asked for a sandbag for my birthday several years ago and I have to say it is one of my favorite pieces of equipment. It is so much easier on the shoulders than a weighted bar and I don’t have to worry about dropping it on the floor. It is very versatile and has vastly improved my workouts.

Their website is incomprehensible to me. I almost never look at it for that reason.

They do offer nutritional advice but I haven’t looked into it thoroughly. Some of the recipes I have seen do look pretty tasty! I surmise that they follow a Paleo diet and I personally don’t like low carb diets but that is something for you to decide. Generally when I look at these types of diets they seem to be a little low on calories so be careful about that. Make sure you calculate your caloric needs first and keep it sensible people.

Does not offer warm ups or cool downs those are separate. Burnouts are also sometimes separate. They are probably located on that mysterious website somewhere.

Bodyrock Sean Light

I have sampled some of the other Bodyrock instructors workouts and Sean’s routines were the only ones I really just did not like. I do not mean any offense in writing this, this is just my opinion.

Pros

The high level of repetition increases the possibility of failure so if you are looking to burn out on a move this method might just suit you.

Cons

Appears unorganized as if the workouts are spur of the moment. It is absolutely necessary to print off the workouts ahead of time because he does not demo them in advance. Since I can’t navigate their website I am unable to print off the workouts. Perhaps you need to be a member?

Workouts are very repetitive. He typically does 3 rounds of very similar exercises. Push ups seem to be his go to move. I get bored easily so this style of training doesn’t work for me.

He seems disinterested and distracted during the workouts.

Some exercises have too many parts to them making them slow going and cumbersome. When you have a 30 second interval and a complicated move it just doesn’t work.

He does a lot of wide push ups so watch out for that because these are bad for your shoulders.

Blogilates

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIJwWYOfsCfz6PjxbONYXSg

Pros

Mostly Pilates which could also be a con if you don’t like Pilates but if you are specifically looking for a Pilate’s workout then it is a pro.

Very innovative exercises. I am constantly astounded by Cassey’s creativity. I never knew there was so many ways to work well anything haha

Cassey is very cheerful, positive, and cute (but she could still probably kick your ass). Our personalities are very different and so sometimes I find that her innocence and positivity lifts my spirits and sometimes if I am feeling particularly aggressive I get annoyed.

She gives sincerely good advice and promotes self-acceptance.

Workouts tend to be very short so if you don’t have a lot of time it works out. If like me, you like a longer workout, however, you are probably going to have to do several workouts in a row.

You will feel the burn!!!

She also offers recipes and some of them are pretty damn tasty. Bonus they are easy to make.

She gets those hard to reach and unknown muscles.

Requires very little equipment and when equipment is involved it is often common household items. She really makes a point that you can workout without owning a home gym.

Her workouts often include music which I know is a big plus for some people. I don’t listen to pop music myself though so I pretty much tune out the music.

No one gets my abs burning like Cassey.

Cons

She does the same exercise for a very long time, like the length of an entire song. This can get to be too much at times. She never seems to be hurting but man I am on FIRE. I probably cuss at the screen more during her workouts than any other.

While her meals are very healthy and balanced they are also very low in calories so if you want to eat like Cassey make sure you are getting enough calories.

The workouts are shorter than you think. She talks quite a bit. I don’t mind her talking while we workout because it distracts a little from the pain but the intro talks are long enough that they warrant a separate video. Don’t get me wrong she does have some meaningful heart to heart talks with her viewers but when I click on a workout video I prefer to get started right away.

Insanity and Insanity Asylum

Pros

You will burn calories!

The workouts are challenging, hell even the warmups are challenging.

Workouts run b/w 30-60 minutes

Emphasizes the importance of the warm up and cool down and provides them in every workout

Like P90X it is a complete package so it comes with a fitness and nutrition guide. A workout guide and worksheets. It can also very effectively be combined with P90X.

Shaun T comes off as very sincere to me and I like his personality.

Offers lots sensible advice and encouragement.

It’s fun and packed with good exercises! Lots of people borrow from Insanity because it is that good.

Cons

It’s not free but again if you are looking for a good package this really is a good package.

It requires some equipment. Weights/bands/jump rope/Agility Ladder. I can’t believe how expensive an Agility Ladder is it boogles my mind so I doubt I will ever own this particular piece of equipment.

It is high impact so be prepared with low impact alternatives if you have bad joints.

If you are new to exercise or out of shape I recommend you start with something else because this is very intense. If you are in good shape this could be exactly what you are looking for.

Zuzuka Light

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrd4Hfglr4EczsLXKdGvCLA

Pros

Workouts are available for all levels

She is very good about offering modifications for beginners as well as including tips for advancement.

She is insanely fit. I mean what?!

I like her personality she is gentle and soft-spoken but for some reason I still feel compelled to do what she says.

She encourages you to challenge yourself. Many of her workouts are time challenges. Basically you get 15 minutes and 5 exercises and you have to go through those exercises as many times as you can. The first round she demos the exercises carefully. The first round is performed more slowly which allows you time to get the move, subsequent rounds are faster. Even though I am supposed to be competing with myself I still want to do as many rounds as she does so I sometimes have to pause the workout. I am the world’s slowest person at push ups but other exercises I can keep pace with her.

I am always surprised by how much I sweat when I do these time challenges because it seems pretty strait-forward at a glance.

If you are looking for a quick and intense workout this is a good choice.

Cons

If you are looking for a longer workout you are going to have to do more than one workout

The workouts can be repetitive but the exercises themselves are pretty damn clever.

She doesn’t really offer warm ups and cool downs in the workout itself though I believe she provides links.

Again her diet seems to Paleo and I am little unsure about the calorie content so take care. Some of the recipes do look tasty.

Here is my video for the day as well. I find doing a plank on a med ball or using a sturdy kettlebell gets the stabilizers more involved. Do not substitute with a basketball. Whatever you use it must be solid enough to support your weight. Do this for 30 seconds to 1 minute. My hair looks god awful. It is so dry it has just broken to bits. I am using heavy coconut oil but it just seems to vanish after application. Also I have Kyphosis so sorry my back isn’t perfect.

 

 

Leg Raises

I have been thinking about doing this for a while but I am hideously uncomfortable with my own body. I am working with this issue in therapy but every time I film or photograph myself the results are so depressing. I always look at these things and think damn I need to lose 40 lbs (if I actually did that though I’d be a skeleton). I have to get used to being viewed if I am ever going to apply as a fitness instructor. In this case the camera is below me which is supposedly bad but I have no idea how I would get my lap top above me. The hat rack maybe? The lighting is bad but this is my only set of stairs and I don’t own camera lighting. Anyway I would like to film an exercise a day but knowing me that isn’t going to happen!

I don’t own a pull up bar so I had to use the stairs. This exercise is easier when you have a pull up bar because it is easier to get a solid grip. The stairs are slick and I am basically holding a lot of my weight in my fingertips. I haven’t shown you my fingers but they are kind of bendy/floppy so maybe this will help my grip haha My legs can only come up as far as the stairs, basically 90 degrees. You don’t have to do this with your legs strait, you can draw up your bent knees as well. I just got off of work (I changed) in this and it was a long tough day. I missed last week because of illness and it was absolutely filthy. For those of you who don’t know I clean an auto shop and there is a surprising amount of heavy-lifting involved so I am knackered. Also breathe when you do this, I was too nervous to breathe.

Isometrics

I did this workout today and I just wanted to share it. It’s an isomentic workout which means a lot of static holds. Challenging and different. I do yoga so holding poses is not exactly new to me but going from a lunge hold to a lunge gives you a good burn. Speaking of lunges those were the worst!!! While I have no problem holding the various warrior poses I find it very hard to drop the back leg and hold it a few inches from the floor for an extended period of time (50 secs as in the case of the video). I have weak muscles around the knee. I call those muscles bike muscles. My husband rode a bike all through childhood and adolescence and he has thighs like a cyclist. I never rode a bike and because of knee injuries and knee problems the muscles surrounding my knee joint are weak (I had a serious knee injury plus a nasty infection in my left knee when I was very young and it still gives me problems). I have to be very careful the way I place my legs when I lunge otherwise my knee cap can slip. The other holds I found a lot more manageable. The plie hold was the easiest one for me. If you try this workout let me know which one was the easiest and which one was the hardest.