Currently, I am working through the following P90X videos:

01 Chest and Back
02 Plyometrics
03 Shoulders and ARms
05 Legs and Back

NEVER MIND! That's too hard on my joints right now.

As of July 18, 2010, I'm doing the Urban Rebounder, Intermediate Level.

Oh, never mind. As of Aug 8, 2010, I working through a beginner's running program.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

January Calendar - Birds Eye View

I've kept track of the days that I exercised with purple. The grey indicates a Sunday, which is the one day of the week I will not have any planned or structured workouts. This calendar gives me a good idea of how consistent I have been throughout the month, as I still see a lot of white. Most weeks I exercised three times a week, with the exception of one week. The three days a week would've been the Jari Love's Get Ripped.

I still have a lot of improvement. I need to exercise the alternate days, too. This coming up week will be a challenge as I need to be at work over an hour earlier than usual for two days in a row.

I used 15 out of 27 possible exercise days to meet my goal. That's only about 55%, just over half of the month.

If Weight Loss is Your Game, Here are a Few Tips

By Dian Thomas

(see original article here)

For you that have been regular readers of my column, you will know that I am on a journey to lose at least 100 lbs and, yes, I would be very happy with more.

My journey began four and one-half years ago. I had been just right when I was young, but when I stopped Physical Education and lived a more passive life, weight began to creep up on me. Then it got a real shot in the arm when I became a regular talent on the “NBC Today Show.” I was invited to parties and trips that had the best food in the world. I did not want to miss a bite, and most of the time I did not. My coach Jackie Keller said that I ate with reckless abandon. Yes, she is right.

One day I woke up and said, enough. I can not pack this around any longer. The biggest thing is that I have had to invest time and energy to make a life style change. No, it did not happen over night. Yes, many times I wanted to give up. The most important thing that happened when I wanted to stop was how fast I was able to get back on the track.

In the day that I was eating lots, it was one two-week binge after another, with many days of saying, this was the end and I was going to make that change. If that is you, doesn't despair just mark the journey? I will tell you, it has not been easy and still had it challenges. But what I find is if I keep working at it, I have success and do enjoy the benefits, yes, of getting off the floor by myself and walking a block without stopping several times to huff and puff.

Today in my column I would like to share some of the things that I am doing right now to keep on the journey. Yes, I know that it will be a journey for the rest of my life, but what I have found is that I pick up little tips that help me, and when I put them all together, the result is there. I can mow my front and back lawn in the same day, as well as going on a bike ride and working out at the gym. Here are some things that I am working on learning right now.

There are still activities that are very challenging to me. One is traveling. I went on a weekend trip the other day. When I got home, I was up a little in weight, but not bad for where I was at. When I called Jackie Keller, my coach, I told her I thought that I had done pretty well. I was only up a little. What she told me has had a profound effect on me. I have thought of it so much. She said, “If your goal is to lose weight, and you stayed the same or just went up a little, you did not do very well. Boy, did that stop me in my tracks. This week I have doubled my effort and know that I really must get serious about losing weight and change my belief system.

While on a trip this summer, I heard a saying about exercise. It went like this. There are only two times that you have to exercise to lose weight. You have to exercise when you want to and when you do not want to. This message brought home how important exercise is. As one of my friends who gets up and jogs at 4 AM in California said, “I do not like to do it, but I like what it does for me.”

One of the best things that has helped me, along with selecting the right foods, is portion control. I remember when I used to sit down to eat one tablespoon of reduced calorie peanut butter. Fifteen tablespoon later I would decide I should quit. I have two helpers in portion control. The first is a scale that I picked up so that I can weigh my portions. Often that is the easiest and fastest way to do it. The other are boxes of Ziploc sandwich bags that I buy on sale at Costco. They end up costing about 1 cent a peace. Here are some of the portions that I use.

Snack. 2 T. raisins and 10 almonds. I put this in the zip lock sandwich bags so I am ready when I need a snack. This is great on trips.

The basic meats that I eat are dark meat turkey hamburger, white chicken, pork loin, fish, and smoked salmon. The smoked salmon is portioned in 2oz. portions. The other are measured on the scale in 4 oz portions. I even form the hamburger and put it into the bags. In my freezer I have a box for each. I just take out the portioned meat and put it in the refrigerator two days before I plan to use it.

Most of the time I use the portions that are listed on the container.

I eat three meals a day and three snacks a day. That way I keep my metabolism with fuel all the time. My blood sugar is steady and stays up. I rarely ever get hungry.

When I am invited out and I know that I will be challenged with what will be offered, I take some of my own food in a cooler bag. Last week I was invited to attend a luau. I knew that I would have challenges. I had a cooler bag with good food. I went though the line and only took what was appropriate, and then I opened up my bag and served myself my food that I had in healthy portions. I must say that all my friends know that I am working on this project and are very supportive when I am invited to their homes to eat.

If I am going to a family birthday party, I know that ice cream and cake will be served. On the time when I do not take my own dessert, I have a very hard time and sometimes weaken. Often I will take a 100 calorie yogurt. When I am eating my food that I like and enjoy, I do not care about what others are eating. The problem I have is when I have to sit and watch them eat. That rarely works for me.

At the store, I do not like to buy processed food. What I find is that there is usually too much sodium and often too many calories for me. I know that I checked on a chicken noodle soup can, and if I ate the whole thing, one can would be my entire daily allotment.

Find an activity that you can have for a hobby. The more that you move, the better it is. As one friend said, “motion is lotion.” Young ones will not know about this, but if you are over 50, you will know what I am talking about.

Always be on the look out for good food that you like. Today I stopped at a fruit stand to check on what they had. They had three bottles of healthy salsas. I bought all three to try and see if I could find something that I liked. I have been bottling tomatoes for the winter. The garden chili sauce was not great, nor was the corn salsa, but the black bean salsa was great. Tomorrow I will make it and freeze it for the winter.

Stopping for Ice cream was a pastime of mine. I would drive by my favorite store and it seemed to say, “Dian I have a wonderful shake waiting for you.” Now, that is totally off limit, but what I have done is found a replacement, and now I often enjoy it as one of my snacks. I freeze a cut-up banana and put it in one of my sandwich bags in the right portion. I put 1 ½ cups of milk in the blender and the cut up banana with a little vanilla and blend. What a wonderful treat that is at the end of the day.

Well, there you have a few of my tips that have helped keep me on track. I believe you have to find foods that you like as much as the food that you used to eat. When you do that and keep the portion right, you WIN.

If you have a tip that you would like to share with me please email it to I will look for some great tips from you.

During the past 25 years, Dian Thomas has delivered more than 5000 media appearances. She is the author of 18 books, including the New York Times Best Seller Roughing it Easy, which has sold more than a million copies. She was a network reporter — for eight years — on NBC’s Today Show. Tom Brokaw, NBC’s news anchor, said, “Dian made her network television debut on NBC’s Today Show and quickly became one of our most popular featured performers. Dian has some of the most spectacular ideas you can possibly imagine.”

She appeared on the NBC’s Tonight Show as well as several times on ABC’s Good Morning America and then went on the make weekly appearances for six years on ABC’s Home Show.

January 31, 2009

Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did 4 sets. Here they are:

1: Alternating side squats off the step and lunge back off step. 0#
2: Stiff leg dead lift 10# with reverse fly 5#
3. Pulse squats and pulse lunges off step 5#
4. Clean and press 10#, squat and press 5#, clean and press 8#

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 30, 2009

Today I did the introduction to Zumba. The only thing I could say thus far is that I wish they gave me some indication of how many total moves there were and where we were in the count. I didn't finish the intro because I ran out of time, but if I had known that I only had 2 more then I could've stuck it out. If there were more than that, then I didn't have anymore time. I'll finish next week, maybe this Saturday, and I may learn that I only had one more, who knows.

So far I really like it. The moves really work the mid-section. Let's see how it feels after my body has become accustomed to it.

The benefit of Jari Love's workouts is that there are always ways to increase the intensity, whether it be by going deeper or by adding heavier weights. With cardio, there seems to be a ceiling of intensity.

So far so good, but I haven't done a real workout, yet. (Despite that, the next morning I'm feeling very sore in my back muscles)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did almost 4 sets. Forget worrying about the breaks I take. It's better that I do the workout, than worry about how long or if I have to break in between. During the second set I used 8# weights, then for the second part of the exercise I used 5# weights. I used 5# weights during the third sets 64 pulse squats and lunges (off the step). Today I added part of the 5th set (I'll skip the 4th 'cause it's pushups.) I used 8# weights for that and then took it to 5# weights during the second part of that set.... then, quit before doing the third part of that set. I feel good that I made it that far. I will continue doing up to that point until I can feel my body ready for adding a bit more, just like I added this extra part, and if you noticed, I increased the weights, too. Phew! This has been hard!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I woke on time to workout.... did the warm up and fast forwarded to where I ended yesterday and didn't do any of the exercises. They all combined with wide squats and narrow squats.... lower body work, and I didn't want to compete from yesterdays workout by overworking those muscles and not giving them their 24 hour break. So, I will do everything tomorrow. I've said that before, I'll just have to really give it my all to continue on anyway.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Portion Control, Key To Loosing Pounds

Local Family Wins Contest.... Collectively, the five-member team lost just over 130 pounds.

Recently, I was told that I should NOT portion control, but eat 6 meals a day and stay away from carbs. They tried to argue that is the only way to loose weight. I'm of the mind that it is portion control. Today I came across this article that showed it my way. I don't believe that there is any magic formula, in any extreme, or any sole method by which one can loose weight. I believe in moderation in all things.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did 3+ sets. I took a very short break after the first set! During the second set I used 3# weights, then for the second part of the exercise I used 8# weights and took it back to 5# weights when I could no longer do the 8#'s. I used 3# weights during the third sets 64 pulse squats and lunges (off the step). Today I added part of the 5th set (I'll skip the 4th 'cause it's pushups.) I was so tired, but I fought through it. The pharmacist let me know that the appetite suppressant makes it difficult to sleep. So, I took an over-the-counter sleeping aid before bed. Still went to bed late, but I did sleep. I feel I didn't help myself any by not exercising for about a week. I know that I had planned to do Zumba on the alternate days, but since I didn't finish today's workout more to my satisfaction, I will continue from where I left off today. I'll probably need to do that for a couple of weeks, then start using Zumba on the alternate days.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

I couldn't get up to workout. I'm so disappointed. I was really looking forward to kicking but this morning and I couldn't hardly sleep at all last night. I went to bed when I was tired and layed there for 1 1/2 hours. So, I got up and got some things done on the computer. Went back to bed about another 1 1/2 hours later because I was exhausted. Still layed there and didn't sleep. It is stress, I think. I have something on my mind. So, I didn't get up early enough to workout. I will start tomorrow - no more days off.... as long as I can sleep. I just can't get up and work myself to the bone and drag all day, which I will anyway, but that would've made it worse. I do have to make a living.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beginning a New Week

This week I'm starting a new. I tried to get to bed on time tonight, but I couldn't go to sleep. So, I'll add a post here. I thought I had worked out more last week than I had, which is one time. Somehow the rest of the week slipped away without my realizing it. It's much easier to work out every day than every other day. I forgot which day was which and before I knew it the week was gone.

Tomorrow morning I plan to wake and do ALL of Jari Love's DVD (without the push ups, of course - we know how I feel about those!) Then, the alternate days I will go ahead and do zumba. I finally got that in the mail. I had planned to cancel it, but didn't get around to it. So, I'll go ahead and give it a try this week. Let's see how it goes.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What's Wrong With 120?

Today, while the doctor and I were discussing my weight goal I had mentioned 120. She said that my BMI would be more like 131. Right now I would be happy to be either, but let's take a moment to discuss this.

Last week I had someone else, online who doesn't even know me, ask why 120? Why not, I would like to know?

Here's the thing. At 18 I weighed 104. Then, I weighed 132 at 9 months pregnant with my second child. I lost all that weight and was at 109 three weeks after having that baby number 2. I slowly gained weight to 115 and stayed there. That is what I weighed on my wedding day. That was my simple weight without much effort while I lived out an ordinary life.

Then, after the wedding I went to school, ate junk out of the vending machines when I was hungry, and gained 15 pounds. I was mortified to be weighing then what I had weighed while I was in a full-term pregnancy. Looking back, I now know what they had meant when they said I was all baby! Anyway, I lost most of the extra weight, all except 5 pounds. I was at 120. I was good with that. I worked out, stayed strong and in shape. Not the best shape of my life, but good enough. I stayed a simple 120 without much effort while I lived out an ordinary life.

Then, I gained during the stressful changes in our lives of owning businesses and dealing with the joys of self-employment. Now I'm trying to loose my weight and I'm aiming for my 120 again. I'm not aiming for my pre-baby 104, nor my after baby-wedding weight of 115. I'm aiming for a reasonable 120. It seemed reasonable enough while I was looking at it from behind looking up at that 120; now, for some reason when people look down at if from way up here where I am today, people want to gripe about my 120 goal as if it's some anorexic evil.

My 120 weight wasn't stick thin.... it was a perfect and reasonable weight for me. Why must I now settle for 131 because in the interim I've gained weight and now want to return. Must I forever give up the 11 pounds between 120 and 131 because I failed to keep myself there? Had I not gained the weight I wouldn't have been advised to gain 11 more pounds... but, right now I'm supposed to stop at 131. Did I pass some point of no return when I gained the weight? The message seems to say, "So sorry... you may have been fine at one time to be 120, but now that you've left it behind you're no longer allowed to return. That bridge has been burned."

I hear people use babies or age as an excuse for gaining weight. I just don't see that as an excuse. Maybe a temporary one, but not a permanent one. Now, if we are happy being where we are, then there's not a problem with it, as long as it's healthy. I think people get so used to the bigger them that when they finally do loose, they suddenly feel it's just too skinny - it's just not them. Well, it hasn't been them because they've been big for so long.... but, I bet there was a time that size was just fine being them.... speaking of adult years, not the teenage years. It was fine then, so why not now? Because they're just not used to it, is all.

There's no reason my 120 goal should be a gripe. I could see with all the muscle that I will be building during these torturous routines I'm fighting through I may weigh more than my 120, while still having the same build and figure I did at that 120 - just a bit stronger. That would be fine. I just want the comfy me back.... and, most recently, that was 120.

Doctor's Visit

It's been a tough week, but when are they not when it comes to keeping goals and changing habits. Anyway, I went to the doctor today and discussed with her my arm. It has been hurting for the past two months, ever since I was given a vaccine, and it has only gotten worse. I can't even lift my covers at night while I roll from one side to the other, without wincing - or even crying outward in pain; not to mention that I cannot even sleep on that particular side because of that pain. So, I talked to the doctor today and she made sure everything was okay. Sure enough, it is. I was afraid to do any arm or upper body work simply because I didn't want to hurt what was already hurting. She said that I can do whatever I can and I will not hurt myself. Therefore, this week I plan to do the lower body one day and the other half of the same DVD, which is mostly upper body the next day. That way I am working out everyday and working my whole body. Eventually, I will build my strength and endurance to the point of being able to complete the entire DVD in one workout. Then, the alternate days I will stretch and soak in the hot tub. My body feels like it could use good amount of both of those right now. :)

Another thing that happened at the doctor's office really irritated me. Last week I had visited another kind of doctor and was weighed, as always they do. I saw the scale and was, of course, disappointed at being at the exact same weight, even though I KNOW I see progress through physical changes. This was disappointing. So, today I looked away from the scale; didn't even feel a glimpse of curiosity to see it's reading. The nurse, however, read it out loud!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe it! And, it was one pound more from last week! How encouraging is THAT!? Yes, I know. I have had a terrible week with regards to my workout routine, but give me a break.... I can't believe she said it out loud. I've never had a nurse do that before!

So, I see this doctor again in a few weeks, as well as my other one. Hopefully, I will see better results because I'm having another change this week, too. Today's doctor prescribed me an appetite suppressant. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did 3 sets. I did NOT take my break after the first set, YEAH! I used 3# weights during the third sets 64 pulse squats and lunges (off the step). I'm wondering if I may be able to step up the weights on that set soon. I have decided to wait until I can add weights to the first set before I do that.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2008

Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did 3 sets. I did take my break after the first set, despite my effort against it. I used 3# weights during the third sets 64 pulse squats and lunges (off the step). The next day I am really sore, so I must've really worked even harder than usual.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did 3 sets. I'm proud of my progress. I'm seeing results in my hips despite having visited the Dr. Monday and seeing my weight being the same. The nurse assured me not to take their scale seriously as there are many variables in reaching it's reading.... and we were in the middle of the day. Anyway, today I didn't take a break between the first and second set, except to take my pulse, and I used 3# weights during the third sets 64 pulse squats and lunges (off the step). I noticed Monday that I could finally add weights for that set and so I did today. PROGRESS! YEAH!

I would also like to note that she does a terrific job a cuing. Without her cuing I would be tripping over myself and not giving the routines proper focus.

My pulse was 270.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did 3 sets. Over the weekend I have been convinced that I need to step up my workout to include the types of routines I'm doing in this DVD. They insist that I use bigger weights and frown on the use of "pink" dumbbells. Well, mine are purple 5 pounders, so I'm safe.... :) Anyway, I will do that, but right now I can barely make it through this routine without any weights during the two lower body routines. So, I will step up the weights, hopefully hubby gets them for my birthday tomorrow, for the arm routines. For the next week, maybe even two, I will continue without weights for the lower body because it's killing me right now as it is. I need to build up to that ability and right my ability stops right where I am right now. I want to make progress, but I don't want to hurt myself, either.

I climbed 337 Stairs.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Feeling Discouraged

This is the week I'm feeling discouraged. I look at myself and I don't like what I see and wonder if it will ever go away. I had a horrible eating pattern yesterday. I feel I've made no progress. I think of my consistency over the past few months and it doesn't spell out success, yet it is still discouraging to have been trying for all that time and making absolutely zero progress. Although, I slept in during my workout time today and will not be working out, I WILL continue to exercise. I must continue working on developing good, healthful habits. I'm sure eventually it will work itself out. Let's hope.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Week of January 5, 2009

Monday: I'm starting the week out right. Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did 3.5 sets. Over the weekend I counted the number of sets and there are 8.5... at least 8.5 that I will do because I won't get onto the floor for ab routines. The 3.5 that I did today takes me 20 minutes.... and that's not counting the 3-4 minutes it takes for me to catch my breath after the first set. That first set I reach a good 9.5 in the Borg scale, (see right column). I climbed 317 stairs today.
Tuesday: Billy's Bootcamp Ab BootCamp. I only did the first two exercises. I went to bed too late last night and that didn't make it favorable this morning. It only made me not like the DVD even more. I'm already getting sick of it, but I will continue anyway. I climbed 175 stairs.
Wednesday: Three for Three. Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did 3 sets. I really need to get to bed on time, I didn't last night. This pattern of going to bed too late, even by 1/2 hour, really makes it hard on me in the morning. I did workout, none the less, and I feel I'm improving.... even if it is by just a itty, bitty bit. I climbed 181 stairs.
Thursday: No morning workout. I climbed 58 Stairs.
Friday: Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did 3 sets. I took my heart rate and now realize I messed up. I had counted for 15 seconds and got to 40. I couldn't remember, off hand, how long to count. Anyway, I was an RPE of 9.5! I really worked hard. I climbed 144 stairs.
Saturday: I took a sleeping pill, one that really knocks me out, last night. I didn't bother working out this morning. I'm still feeling very discouraged today. But, I've made some plans to improve that I think will help me with the parts I feel are preventing me from meeting my goals.

Tomorrow is my dd birthday. It is the day we set aside for junk. Although, I already broke my rule this week for many reasons, I'm still going to treat myself and start anew again on Monday. With my few ideas up my sleeve I hope to turn things around.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Home Delivered Food

I was reading in a magazine this week about the girl who plays in "Without a Trace." She lost the sixty pounds that she gained having her baby. She said that the way she did this was through P90X and restricting her diet to so many calories with the help of a service that delivers the food to her home. Well, wouldn't that be nice?! I looked up the place and they only deliver to two places in California. This isn't the first time I've come across information in a magazine describing a program with very limited service areas. It's frustrating. What about the rest of us over here?!

One time I signed up for Nutrisystem. I was so disappointed. Despite the expensive and disgusting food in itty, bitty containers that were often fake, I still had to purchase food on top of that to complete the meals. (I only consider real chocolate to be chocolate, chicken better not be fatty as if I just went to a fast food resteraunt, and I don't like powdered milk - YUK - in my soups.) The idea was for them to do the thinking and the preparing and the agonizing for me while providing delicious foods. I lost one pound, did not renew and instead, gave away what was left of the final week's worth of food. You know, that FREE week I was given I gave away.

I guess it doesn't matter, it would be expensive and eventually I would have to actually cook for myself and what proper, healthy and good habits will I have created? None. So, it may be tempting to look for easy and already prepared, but I might as well allow myself the courtesy and experience of taking proper care of myself. Guidance would be nice, but not total abandonment from my part.

P90X is on my wish list. Before I can get it I must build my strength and fully utilize the DVD's that I have right now. I've recently ordered Zumba, too. Between all of these new ones that I haven't yet mastered, I have plenty to keep myself busy while building my strength, endurance, and discipline.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Week of December 29, 2008

I am not titling my posts by week number anymore.... then, when I have a bad week I feel like I failed and I would rather keep those feelings for when I actually do fail. So, I will title them by the actual dated week.

For Christmas I received a new DVD, Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I'm loving this DVD. I watched it this last Saturday to see what I was in for and she alternates cardio with weight training. I didn't count how many sets (which I consider one cardio and one weight routine a set). I will alternate Get Ripped 1000 with the Billy's Banks Ab BootCamp. I will admit that yesterday I fell to temptation and purchased Zumba. I thought that it would be a good cardio to alternate with Jari's workouts. I also remember when I danced the Lambada dance in Brazil that my midsection was always sore the next day. So, I know those kind of moves really work. I was convinced by their moves allegedly working all of the body. We'll see. It will 4-6 weeks before it gets here so I have time to build strength with these new workouts and I should be ready for a change by the time it gets here.

Monday: Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did 2.5 sets. Wow, this is hard and I was taking it easy. I also climbed 203 stairs at work. (I've just added #14 to my instructions on How To Make an Exercise Video that was inspired by this workout. When we are starting the cardio I can't see what her feet are doing because the camera-person is zoomed in on her and they stay there during the first few steps of the cardio. So, I can't see what she is doing until they are fully in the screen. I will have to memorize her order of cardio in order to start with her.)
Tuesday: I climbed 216 Stairs at work.
Wednesday: The holiday really messed with my sleeping schedule and I couldn't get up on time with any amount of energy worthy to exercise.
THE NEW YEAR - Thursday: Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did 3 sets. This time I used less weights and worked harder than I did the first time. I had to sit and catch my breath after the first set before moving onto the next or I would've quit right there. One set I didn't use weights at all so that I could focus on proper form, work hard and make it through the routine. Next time I'll add another set. The workout is really targeted and my strength will need to be build up through time. I look forward to being able to kick butt through this DVD and feel up to par with my old self. I climbed only 16 stairs today.
Friday: Billy's Bootcamp Ab BootCamp. I made it through an extra routine today. I'm adding each time to each of my DVD's as I get stronger. There is only one more routine to add before they get onto the floor, so as far as I'm concerned I only have one more routine before I'm finished. I don't do floor work, for many reasons, namely physical limitations. Sometime, when I'm feeling that I have reached my max potential for the DVD, I will add to this workout a few sets from my Body By Jake's ab machine.
Saturday: Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did 3.5 sets. I only used weights for the arm routines. I worked really hard. Next week I will focus on building my strength for these 3.5 sets. During my other Get Ripped DVD one of the very last routines I found the hardest and challenged my cardio, was the side squats off the step with lateral raise. I was always grateful it was toward the back end of my workout. This Get Ripped 1000 starts out with that routine with a different twist. We side squat off the step and then do a lunge off the the step and then alternate those. It kills me. This is why I need to rest after the first set. I then get back to it and am grateful that after the quick cardio we go to an arm routine. But, then after another quick cardio we are back to another version of squats and lunges off the step. She's killing me! That's good, though, because my pear shaped figure needs those routines. So, the difficulty of these routines is why I've chosen not to use weights during the lower body segments. In the end, I made it through another half of a set, but I stopped when I saw that the second part of that set are the push ups. I don't do push ups. I will be skipping those when I am ready to move on. I'm very happy with my results this week. I am eager to continue building my strength.