I'm really excited to spice things up around here with a brand new blog series I'm starting today that I'm calling Bridal Fitness on Paper :) I really did try to come up with a more clever name than that, but it just didn't happen, sorry.
As a bride, it seems as though you have a million and one priorities on that long, ever-expanding "To Do" list. But if I had to guess, I would say that at least one of them has something to do with getting in shape for the big day; whether that be actually losing weight, toning up or just getting healthier. I know that when I was engaged, I wanted to lose weight for my wedding day. Not only was I worried about rocking my dream wedding dress, I was having a destination wedding, so the idea of being in a bikini every day down in sunny Mexico, with all of my friends and family around, stressed me out even more! I was determined to be able to look back on all of my wedding photos, and be proud of what I had accomplished physically. I wanted to look my best! Ultimately, I did end up reaching my weight and fitness goals. I lost about 25 pounds - which was enough for me to feel like I was "in shape," but not too much where I didn't still look and feel like me on the big day. Now, I'm all about maintaining - which is definitely tricky now that I don't have a particular event constantly motivating me! You'd be amazed how much having that wedding date can really motivate you!
Now, I am by no means a fitness expert. I'm not a size 2, and I, of course, have my own body issues just like everyone else. But I figure I've always been pretty phsyically active, I love trying new things and as a fellow bride who did meet her fitness goal by her wedding date, my experiences could be of interest :) A little more about me...I danced a ton in middle school and high school, but didn't really start counting calories or doing plain old "exercise" in a gym until I hit college and gained the infamous Freshman 15 (or 25, for me, technically). From then on though, I've been good about keeping up a regular exercise regimen, working out for at least 45 minutes, 4 times per week for the past several years.
I'm not gonna lie though - exercising isn't my favorite thing to do. I'm not one of those girls that actually enjoys going out and taking five mile runs. I'm rarely excited to do it, but for me, working out has been the source of many positive things in my life. When I hated my job, hitting the gym at the end of the day forced me to let go of all of my anger and frustration. When I felt like things were spiraling out of control with my family, working out was the one thing that I felt like I did have complete control over. The beauty of being phyiscally active - taking that time out for YOU - is that it can be whatever you need it to be at that particular moment. So now that I have been working out for so long, it's become as much of a part of my life as working, blogging and spending time with my family and friends. It's just something that I do, and if I blow it off, I feel...off.
Having said all of that, I definitely have to keep my exercise regimen interesting. Because I do work out so regularly, I can get sick of doing the same workout every day real quick. Not only that, but your body will grow accustomed to doing the same thing every day, and it becomes much less effective. Mixing things up keeps you from getting bored and keeps things challenging. For that reason, it has become sort of a hobby of mine to find new workouts, new routines, new classes, DVDs, activities to try, anything really, that will keep me on my toes physically.
With that being said, I know that there are also a lot of people out there that are more intimidated by the idea of walking into a spinning class, or are wondering if they should actually spend the money to buy that workout DVD from the infomercial (yes, I've even tried some of those ;) For that reason, I thought I would share my experiences with you guys right here every Monday - what has worked for me, what hasn't, what's easier, what's harder, what's worth the money, and what's not. I'll review a new workout each week, ranking each one with 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 diamond rings.
Insanity Extreme Workout DVD - Plyo Cardio Circut
|Overview:||An "extreme" cardio workout led by physical trainer Shaun T. that has you running, squatting, jumping, punching, doing pushups and more in the comfort of your own home for 30-45 minutes each day. There are ten workouts within this workout DVD program, one of which being Plyo Cardio Circut, which I'm reviewing today.|
|What you need:||Officially, you need your TV, DVD player, exercise mat, water, towel and heart monitor. However, I think you can get by without a heart monitor, and in this summer heat, I'd also have a fan blowing nearby. This workout can be done pretty much anywhere - living room, hotel room, backyard, etc.|
|Good things:||If you're looking for a challenging cardio workout, this is definitely it. Insanity is an intense aerobic workout - I think it's great for women because it's less about resistance training and building muscle, and more about burning calories and getting the heart pumping. It is, by far, the most difficult cardio workout program that I have ever come across. It's designed to push you forward athletically, build your endurance, and it's so challenging, that the entire workout program will leave you gasping for air, even after you've been doing it for months. For this reason, you'll definitely get your money's worth. If you can stick with it, that is. You start out with a series of moves, which make up the "warm up" portion of the program - jogging, squats, jumping jacks, etc. - a series that you repeat three times, going faster each repetition. Really, I think it's funny that they call it a "Warm up," because it certainly feels like the workout to me! After the warm up, you move into the stretching portion of the program, which allows you to slow down and catch up on your breathing. Then, the real workout begins (officially). You'll complete two different circuits, three times each, with a 30 second break in between each cycle. Each circuit consists of a different combination of moves, all designed to keep you moving, jumping and totally out of breath. The trainer pushes you to go faster and faster each time you complete a circuit. By the end of the workout, your arms and thighs will be burning from all of the squats and pushups, but more than anything else, you'll be sweating and out of breath from the hugely intense cardio challenge.|
|Things to keep in mind:||Now, I'm a firm believer that you aren't really working out unless you're sweaty and out of breath. My philosophy is that if you can talk on your cell phone while walking on the treadmill, you aren't really working out and making an effective use of your time. So when I say that this is probably the most challenging workout in my regimen, believe me when I say it is flat-out HARD. I only recommend it if you already work out, and are willing to commit to some super intense training. There's an entire daily workout program for you to follow for several weeks; however, I only pop Insanity into my DVD player about once a week. I don't enjoy doing it nearly enough to do any more than that because it's really, really challenging. However, I do it because it IS hard and keeps me on my toes. Early on, I accepted that I wasn't going to be able to keep up with the trainer, too. It moves at such an impossibly fast pace that I've never been able to keep up with, and the one time that I did try, I injured my foot. By the end of the workout, even the people in the video were pooped out and having to take breaks, so should you decide to take this one on, it's in your best interest to accept early on that it's out of your league. However, if you're smart about it, and you accept that you might move a little slower and take longer breaks than they do in the video, you CAN make it through the workout in it's entirety, and you will get a great workout.|
|Annoyances||The trainer, Shaun, yells. A lot. He has a sort of army/bootcamp thing going that can be annoying, but if you're doing this workout the way that you're supposed to, you won't really notice it after a while. There's cheesy 80's tunes playing in the background too, but again, you'll be too tired to notice!|
|Bridal Fitness on Paper Rating:||I'm giving Insanity's Plyo Cardio Circuit exercise a 3.5 out of 5 diamonds, because it's a really good workout, but I only recommend it for brides out there that are already phsyically active and know their limits. Otherwise, it's easy to injure yourself, and it's even easier to quit after your first try.|
If you're curious about a specific workout and you'd like for me to review it, please do leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at Sarah - at - apaperproposal - dot - com.