I’m a big fan of working out, and I prefer to do my workouts in my home instead of going to a gym. I have a pretty large collection of workout DVD’s and plenty of small equipment to help me save money on a gym membership – resistance bands, dumbbells, a kettlebell. A few months back I bought Zumba Fitness 2 for the Wii. I have some friends who took Zumba classes and raved over how fun it was and how they love to dance and move and how it doesn’t even feel like a workout. I also love to dance, so I thought this would be a great fit for me.
Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out. My first problem was with the belt it came along with. You have to put the belt around your wait then put the Wii controller in the little pouch, and that is what tracks your movement. Well, the belt didn’t even come close to fitting me. I was constantly having to stop and make it tighter or adjust it, so I kept getting behind. After a few tries I thought, why not just hold the controller? Doing it that way didn’t help my score but I wasn’t doing this for a game, I was trying to work out. If I didn’t hold the controller at all the game would pause and freeze, so I had to at least be holding it to keep the music going. The next problem I had is that I don’t think it was advanced enough for me. I never broke a sweat or felt challenged while completing the dances, and most of them I found pretty boring. As I write this review, I have actually already given about the DVD. It was worth a shot, but I think I might be better off buying more advanced DVD’s that don’t require me to hold onto a controller! If you are looking for a fun game to play and not really a good workout this could be possibility, but if you are looking for a decent workout, I wouldn’t go for this one.
I’m a big fan of cereal – like, I start my day with a bowl of cereal and typically have another for my before-bedtime snack. Yes, I am 26. Don’t judge. But the cereal I prefer – Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops, etc – are all the very sugary types, and I know I’m not helping myself any by eating two bowls a day. So I decided to go out on a limb a few months back and try something… healthy. I grabbed a box of Special K cereal. I have tried (and reviewed) both the cereal bars and the chips from Special K’s line and thought both were great – and better for me. So I decided to try the cereal, to see if I could cut back on the sugary brands I loved so much.
I decided on the fruit and yogurt cereal, and am happy to report that I actually love it. I was a tad intimated at first because I’m not a big fan of oats (that why I prefer frosted flakes!) but with the yogurt clusters and bits of fruit in every bite I didn’t find any issues with taste. Now I always keep a box of this cereal stocked in my cabinet, and I love having a healthier option to turn to!
There was an article on my local news website today that sparked my interest. Carbonated beverages have been seeing a decline since 2005, and last year it fell to the lowest it’s been since 1996. The article states without energy drinks such as Monster and Red Bull, the decline would have been even steeper. I think this is great! My last soda was in mid-January, and I challenged myself not to drink one while doing Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred Challenge in February. Then came Lent, and my fiancé and I decided to give up soda together, so I just continued on not drinking it. I know Lent ends this weekend, but I’m happy to report that I really am no longer craving the caffeine, nor have I experienced any crazy headaches like I have in the past when I’ve tried cutting out soda. Will I continue to not drink it? I know that I will definitely be cutting way back, but I’m not sure I will totally cut it out. I believe everything is okay in moderation, but I was not applying that rule to soda before January. I know now that I can stay away from pop for months at a time and be just fine, and I want to try to continue on with that healthy choice. Has anyone else recently gave up soda, or done another healthy lifestyle change? I would love to hear about it!
As someone who freely admits I have an addiction to ice cream, I understand eating it 3+ times a week does not bode well for fitting into my wedding dress. I have tried to quit cold turkey…and that was a terrible idea. So instead of trying to ban myself from my favorite treat, I decided to try to give “healthy” ice cream a try. I’m not a huge fan of frozen yogurt, but one company was catching my eye –The Skinny Cow. First – hilarious name, fabulous packaging. Best part – the yum factor! I picked up a box of Cookies N Cream truffle bars, and I find these delicious. Sometimes with healthy foods I feel like I am being cheated in quantity, but I was satisfied after I ate these. It wasn’t short on taste either – I loved the chocolate ribbons especially. I plan on buying the chocolate ice cream sandwiches next, and definitely recommend The Skinny Cow for a “healthier choice” option!
A few months back, I started to switch up my workout schedule. Instead of hitting the gym after work, around 6:00 or so, I started waking up a bit earlier so I could get it out of the way first thing in the morning. I was doing this for a few different reasons. One was to simply get it out of the way. Sometimes my afternoons and nights can get a bit hectic, and even though I would have full intentions of making it to the gym, it just wouldn’t happen. It’s nice to have that done first thing in the morning so I don’t have to be thinking about when I can squeeze time in throughout the day. Another reason was because I was told by our health specialist at work that working on in the morning can boost your metabolism so you burn more calories throughout the day. I’ve also found that AM workouts leave me feeling more energized right off the bat. And the last reason – vanity. I don’t mean losing weight or being toned, I’m talking about my skin. My face was beginning to break out regularly, and my usual facial products weren’t seeming to help the problem. I started asking around, and my friend who works esthetics mentioned working out and washing my face after being at the gym. I did some research of my own, and found that working out with makeup on is bad for your skin, and that you should wash your face after you sweat it up. Both of those things now seem pretty obvious to me, but I still wanted to share! I know that not everyone can work out in the morning, not even I can every morning, but I highly recommend removing your makeup for a PM workout and still washing your face once done. Now, I work out in the mornings with a bare face (sometimes I might scare other gym-goers but they just have to deal with it) and be sure to wash my face right away once I get home. It’s pretty amazing how fast my skin cleared up with that small change!
After 30 days of listening to Jillian Michael’s tell me not to quit, I have successfully completed the 30 Day Shred Challenge! Whew – that was a hard month! I’m proud of myself that I didn’t miss a day – even with 4 days out of town over Thanksgiving break. My fiancé’s family might think I’m loony because I lugged home hand weights and a DVD, but that’s okay! So, how did I fare? Pretty good I think. I did Level 1 for 10 days and the Level 2 the rest of the way. On day 30 I just had to see what Level 3 was about – and it was HARD! My plan is to complete this workout again in February (in time for my wedding dress fitting) June (hello summer/bachelorette party) and August (prepping for my wedding). I didn’t change my diet or do anything like that this time around, and in February I am going to try to cut out soda for the 30 days. I will say that doing the workout helped me eat better. Who wants to eat a big greasy burger and fries after all that hard work? My final measurements: I lost 2 1/2 inches off both my waist and hips, and 1 inch on each thigh. I did gain 3 pounds, but I believe that is muscle, and I was more concerned about the inches than weight! I really recommend this DVD for those looking for a challenge and a great workout. I am so happy with my results and – dare I say – actually looking forward to this again!
I am just about finished with Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred Challenge! Friday will mark Day 30, as I have yet to miss a day since November 1. As I write this, I am sitting at my fiancé’s parent’s house, where we have been staying the past three days for the Thanksgiving holiday. I was worried that I would have to miss a day (or two or three) because of our schedule, but I lugged home the DVD and weights with me and have completed the workout in the mornings. It makes me proud to say that I am so dedicated to something, and my body really is seeing changes. I have lost another half inch on my hips, and my abs have some serious definition. I have also noticed stronger-looking arms and shoulders. I don’t think I will make it to Level 3 in this 30 days, but hopefully the second time I give this challenge a go I will be able to. I’m looking forward to seeing my measurements at Day 30, and can definitely appreciate the sculpted body that has come from all the hard work. I am so super happy I purchased this DVD!
I am just over the halfway point in the Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred Challenge. I moved up to Level 2 on Day 11, and my thought plan was to move to Level 3 after another 10 days. I do not think that will happen. Level 2 is hard. And I mean hard. It makes Level 1 look like I was napping during the workout. I’m afraid of Level 3. I was trying to explain to my fiancé why I thought it was so much harder, and I believe I figured it out. With Level 1, cardio was cardio – jumping jacks, jump rope, etc. Abs were abs – crunches. With Level 2, cardio is a mixture of cardio and abs or cardio and strength. Abs are also a mixture of the two. There are also a lot of plank moves, which are killers! There are plenty of exercises where I need to follow the beginner moves. When I would finish Level 1, I felt good and worked out, but when I finish Level 2 I feel like death. I don’t want to move on until I am able to complete the more challenging moves, and be able to finish the level strong. Looks like probably in this 30 days I will stay with Level 2, but hopefully when I try this again (I’m thinking maybe February) I can move up!
I am a big fan of smoothies, but sometimes I am not a fan of how long it takes (or how loud the blender is in the morning!) to make them. I decided to try Dole Smoothie Shakers, as it is basically a ready-set-drink smoothie. I did double check to make sure I wasn’t going backwards in the health department, as can be the case with some pre-made items. Dole’s website said “each 11 oz serving (prepared with 7oz of Juice) is under 200 calories, low in fat and trans fat-free.” Sounded good to me! I tried the Strawberry Banana first and mixed it with orange juice. I did like the smoothie, except the only thing I found was it was hard to get everything mixed properly. There were still some frozen fruit parts at the bottom that didn’t get mixed in when I was shaking it up. The smoothie was a bit chunky for me, but again I think that comes from the mixing part. I also wished I had a straw handy with me when I drank mine, but that might just be a personal preference. Overall I do like these smoothies and I know that it does save me time and hassle (washing blenders – ugh) but I haven’t seemed to master yet how to mix everything up, so sometimes I feel wasteful when I get to the end.
I have been practicing Yoga for many years, and about two years ago my fiancé bought me my own pink Yoga mat. It was going great – until I was in downward facing dog and got a whiff of my mat – holy feet stench! I had never thought about cleaning my mat – duh! Not only does the mat smell after a while, but it’s not sanitary either for all that bacteria to sit on the mat. I researched around for a while on the best way to get rid of the stinky feet smell on Yoga mats, and this is what I have been using: dish soap and water. Pretty darn simple! I use about a tablespoon of whatever dish soap I have in the house, and mix that in with full spray bottle of tap water. I spray the mat and then wipe it down with a sponge and it’s as good as new! Does anyone else have a different remedy for their Yoga mat?