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, February 28, 2009

10 Reasons Your Workouts Aren't Working

Here's another great article that explains some things I remember from that "missing" article I had found a year ago. I think I'm following things correctly, too. Here's the original article

Common exercise errors and ultra-effective solutions for a better workout and a much better body.

Your time is valuable, and for each precious moment you put into your workouts, you want to ensure you get the best possible return on your investment. So, are you getting the results you want? If your body isn't as lean or toned as you'd like, it may be that you're committing some key training mistakes, which can sabotage the efforts of even veteran exercisers.

Of course, you probably know the more obvious mistakes to avoid. For instance, skipping your warm-up may cause you to fatigue early, preventing you from realizing your potential.

Furthermore, leaning on the stair climber or elliptical trainer may allow you to stay on longer, but it drastically reduces the challenge to your lower body as well as the number of calories you burn. But what about the less obvious errors you may be making? Here, we'll discuss some of the more subtle -- yet no less serious -- faux pas of fitness and the strength-training exercises most frequently flubbed, and show you how they can be fixed with nearly effortless corrections.

People make small but costly mistakes when exercising every day, and one tiny change can have a huge impact on their results, says Los Angeles–based trainer Ken Alan, a spokesman for the American Council on Exercise. Thanks to Alan and the panel of training experts who weighed in on these faux pas and fixes, you'll error-proof your exercise and see tremendous payoffs, and the time you invest in your workouts will be smart and well-spent. We begin with five errors often made in your approach to exercise, then we'll take a look at five moves frequently flubbed.


1. The faux pas Getting married to your strength routine.

The facts If you do the same routine over and over, your muscles will simply adapt; you're likely to hit a plateau because each exercise stimulates only a limited number of muscle fibers. However, if you challenge your muscles from a variety of angles by adding or alternating moves periodically, you'll get significantly more fibers into the act and develop more tone and strength.

The fix For each muscles group, learn an additional 2 or 3 exercises, trying new angles and equipment. (If you can't get instruction from a trainer, there are plenty of books and videos organized by routine for each body part.) For instance, if you usually do the dumbbell chest press on a flat bench, try it at an incline. If you normally use the chest-press machine, try the dumbbell chest press or the bench press with a barbell. Expand your repertoire enough so that you can change your entire routine every 6–8 weeks.

2. The faux pas Performing your reps too quickly

The facts If you zoom through your repetitions when strength training, you'll be using momentum instead of muscle power. You won't get the same stimulus for muscle building, and you won't burn as many calories. You'll also be more susceptible to training injuries such as torn muscles or connective tissue.

The fix Take 6 seconds to perform each repetition: 2 seconds to lift the weight and 4 seconds to lower it. (Since you have gravity to help you lower the weight, you need to slow down even more on this phase in order to give your muscles a sufficient challenge.) Our experts agree that slowing down is the single most significant change you can make to get better results from strength training.

3. The faux pas Exercising too hard, too often

The facts If you don't rest enough between hard cardio or strength workouts, you'll stop making progress and may even lose some of the fitness you've gained. You're also likely to burn out on exercise.

The fix To keep your muscles fresh and your motivation high, alternate shorter, tougher cardio workouts (for instance, 20 minutes) with longer, easier days (40–60 minutes). Don't go all-out more than twice a week. Keep in mind that the more intensely you train, the more time your body needs to recover. It's a good idea to do a couple of tough workouts and take 1 day completely off each week. On the strength-training front, take at least 1 day off between sessions that work the same muscle group.

4. The faux pas Coasting on your cardio

The facts Sticking with the same aerobic workout can sabotage your results as much as pushing too hard. To truly boost your fitness (which enables you to burn more calories with less effort), you need to venture outside your comfort zone a couple of times a week, to the point where you're somewhat winded and can feel your heart pounding.

The fix Instead of zoning out or doing moderate-intensity cardio all the time, mix in some high-intensity intervals twice a week. For instance, after warming up for 10 minutes on the treadmill, increase the speed or incline for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then recover with 1–3 minutes of easy-to-moderate exercise. Keep alternating for 10–20 minutes, then cool down. You also may want to do longer high-intensity intervals -- say, 5 minutes -- where you don't push quite as hard as you do on the shorter ones.

5. The faux pas Lifting the wrong amount of weight

The facts If you lift weights that are too light, you won't see improvements in strength, tone or bone density. If you lift weights that are too heavy, you'll compromise proper form, increasing your injury risk. You'll also be forced to recruit additional muscles, for instance, using your entire body to complete a biceps curl, thus cheating the targeted muscles of a good workout.

The fix For the most significant strength building, perform 4–6 repetitions per set; for more moderate strength building, perform 8–12 repetitions per set, choosing weights heavy enough that you struggle through your final few reps, but not so heavy that your form falls apart. If you get to your final rep and feel that you could perform another one, increase the weight by 5–10 percent. You may find that when you've considerably increased the amount of weight you're using, you'll drop to fewer reps, which is fine, as long as your targeted muscles are fatigued by the final rep. Don't worry: Lifting to fatigue will not leave you with monstrous muscles.


6. Squat

The faux pas Letting your knees shoot ahead of your toes, lifting your heels, dropping your knees inward

The facts These mistakes place excess pressure on the tendons and ligaments of the knee.

The fix Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your feet hip-width apart, legs straight but not locked, chest lifted, abs contracted. Keep body weight toward heels and bend knees to sit back and down, lowering thighs to as parallel a position to ground as possible, torso erect and knees aligned with ankles (shown). Straighten legs to stand back up. Strengthens buttocks, quadriceps and hamstrings

7. Bent-over lat row

The faux pas Rounding your spine and not flexing from your hips, pulling the weights up too far behind you

The facts These mistakes place stress on your spine and reduce the demand on your back muscles, making the move less effective.

The fix Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms by sides. Bend knees and flex forward from hips at about 90 degrees. Let arms hang in line with shoulders, palms facing in. Contract abs to support back. Draw shoulder blades down and together; maintaining body position, bend elbows up and in toward waist until upper arms are in line with torso and forearms are perpendicular to ground, knuckles pointing down (shown). Slowly straighten arms to starting position without changing torso position. Strengthens middle back, rear shoulders and biceps

8. Triceps kickback

The faux pas Swinging your upper arm, dropping your opposite shoulder, trying to lift your arm and the weight too high behind you

The facts When you make any of these mistakes, your triceps aren't sufficiently challenged, and you also may place stress on your shoulder and elbow joints.

The fix Hold a dumbbell in your right hand and stand to the right of the long side of a bench, feet hip-width apart or in a staggered stance. (You also can kneel on the bench with your left knee.) Flex forward at hips at about 90 degrees, and place left hand on bench for support. Keeping torso stationary, bend right elbow so upper arm is parallel to ground and forearm is perpendicular to ground, palm facing in. Position elbow close to waist and contract abs. Keeping upper arm still, use triceps to straighten arm behind you until end of dumbbell points down (shown). Slowly bend elbow to return to perpendicular position. Strengthens triceps

9. Crunch

The faux pas Jerking your neck, not lifting shoulders, failing to engage abs

The facts These mistakes will result in a sore neck, and your abs won't get any firmer.

The fix Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on mat, hip-width apart. Place hands behind head, thumbs behind ears, fingers unclasped. Hold elbows out to the sides. Contracting abs, draw hips and lower ribs together, keeping buttocks relaxed. Without pulling on neck or drawing elbows in, curl up and forward, keeping head and neck relaxed as shoulder blades lift off mat (shown). Hold, then slowly lower back down. Strengthens abdominals

10. Dumbbell bench fly

The faux pas Lowering your arms too far

The facts This mistake places major stress on your shoulders and rotator cuff, the delicate muscles that sit underneath the shoulders. Plus, it becomes difficult to press arms up and use the chest muscles effectively.

The fix Lie faceup on bench, knees bent and feet on edge. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended above midchest, in a slight arc, palms in. Contract abs and keep chin level. Maintaining elbow arc, lower elbows down and out to the side until they are even with or slightly below shoulders (shown). Press dumbbells up and in to starting position, without letting dumbbells touch or allowing shoulder blades to rise off the bench. Strengthens chest and front shoulders

Mistake-proof your mind
Your attitude may be the one final adjustment you need to maximize your results. Avoid these three mental missteps:

Focusing on the numbers
Instead of worrying over how many calories you burn or steps you climb, focus on the energy and the strength you feel and how wonderfully you're treating your body. While monitoring your intensity and applying the numbers to ensure you're mixing things up enough is critical for optimum progress, you should simply be aware, not fixating.

Obsessing over one body part
Focusing too much on your "problem area" can backfire, causing you to neglect other muscle groups that are as important for your appearance as they are for your fitness. For instance, if your midsection is your main concern, doing hundreds of crunches isn't the answer; sure, do ab exercises for tone, but don't forget that developing your chest, back and shoulders can take the focus off your middle. Always strive for a balanced workout.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Well, I ONLY started and ended the week out right. Life sometimes just gets way in the way. Our family stayed up late one night talking.... way, way past my bedtime. Went to bed one night with a huge, huge headache and decided to sleep in a little longer to make sure it didn't come back. Another morning I had to be at work early, early.... which I knew was going to interfere, and finally I was lazy one other morning. So, I worked hard today. Let's hope I get everything into gear for next week!

Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000.

I did 5 routines! Without cardio. Here they are:
1: Alternating side squats off the step and lunge back off step. I added anterior raise during the side squats and lateral raises during the lunge back off step. I did this 8 times only, each side. 5#
2: Stiff leg dead lift 8# with reverse fly 5#
3.Pulse squats and pulse lunges off step 8#.
4. Clean and press 8#, Squat and Press 5#, second set of Clean and Press 8#.
5. Wide Squats with bicep curl 5#. I did only 2/3's of the routine.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

Starting the week out right. I already know I will miss one day this week.... other than that I plan to have three days of the weight routines and two days of cardio with Zumba. I've been reassured that 4 pounds in one month is a really good achievement. I hope to loose more in this next month.... although I have no dr appts coming up to spill the beans for me this time. :)

Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000.

I did 5 routines! Without cardio. Here they are:
1: Alternating side squats off the step and lunge back off step. 5#.
2: Stiff leg dead lift 8# with reverse fly 5#3.
Pulse squats and pulse lunges off step 8#.
4. Clean and press 8#, Squat and Press 5#, second set of Clean and Press 8#.
5. Wide Squats with bicep curl 5#. I did only 2/3's of the routine.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tues, Feb 17 - Sat, Feb 21, 2009

I'm so frustrated! I've been sick to my stomach all week. I didn't work out at all except for Monday.

On the bright side, I went to the doctor yesterday and I've lost 4 pounds. I had asked the nurse NOT to tell me what I weighed because I wasn't going to look. So, she didn't. But, when we were in the room she told me I had lost 4 pounds. Well, since I know where I had started that means now I know what I weigh. Then, when the doctor came in we were discussing my weight loss and he asked about my BMI and I told him how I felt about that. He laughed and looked it up anyway on his handy, dandy digital toy. When he found what he was looking for he decided not to go with the info because it said my ideal weight is 115. He felt that was toooo skinny and is happy with my goals. Yeah!

Now, this week I must start a new, except I already know I will miss one day because of one last day of needing to be there 1 1/2 hours earlier than usual. Other than that, I will plan to work out 5 FULL days in a row!

In spite of my not working out throughout this whole week I was good with my eating. I didn't eat any junk. I also took one week off from taking my appetite suppressant.... which I had decided and started last Saturday.... before I wasn't feeling well. So, all is good there!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

Despite my complete exhaustion, I got up anyway.

Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000.

I did 5 routines! Without cardio. Here they are:
1: Alternating side squats off the step and lunge back off step. 5#.
2: Stiff leg dead lift 8# with reverse fly 5#
3. Pulse squats and pulse lunges off step 5#. I left my notes upstairs and couldn't remember which weight to use.
4. Clean and press 8#, Squat and Press 5#, second set of Clean and Press 8#.
5. Wide Squats with bicep curl 5#. I did only 2/3's of the routine.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

No Pink Dumbells

Last year I had come across an article in a magazine about the mistakes people make when they exercise. I had been spending a lot of time doing aerobic activity but I didn't do anything with weights. I didn't' do the routines that I did when I was younger, lunges and squats, etc. I was trying to do it this time solely through aerobic activity and I wasn't getting anywhere. I would watch friends loose weight through treadmills and walking, while I wasn't making any progress using the same methods. This article reminded me I was going about it all wrong. It was a very nice article that was diplomatic in it's delivery and to the point. I know I tore it out, but I can't find it. Recently, I came across this online article by Tony Gentilcore called 4 Things Your Girlfriend Should Know. Tony is not as diplomatic or to the point and his language can be quite offensive. He is making the same point of the article I had previously read. Here are some key points that stand out to me.

When it comes to general fitness and body compositional goals, most females want and/or need the following:
1. Decreased body fat
2. Increased strength
3. Improved daily/athletic function
4. Increased bone density
5. Increased flexibility

Tony explains the best way to decrease body fat is not through yoga or aerobics. He argues that these methods do not provide resistance sufficient enough to increase or preserve lean body mass (LBM), which is directly correlated with metabolism and thus the rate at which you burn calories. He agrees that beginners might see transient increases in LBM in the beginning, but that's mainly because most women who go from doing nothing to participating in yoga classes are so de-conditioned that their body weight elicits enough of a stimulus to cause a slight change.

Rather than yoga or aerobics, Tony recommends resistance training. Numerous studies have shown that resistance training elevates EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) for upwards of 24 to 48 hours after you're done training.

As Vladimir Zatsiorsky states in his book, Science and Practice of Strength Training, muscular strength is defined as "the ability to overcome or counteract external resistance by muscular effort; also, the ability to generate maximum external force." (1) In order to generate maximum force (get stronger), a trainee needs to incorporate one of three methods:

1. Maximum Effort Method: Lifting a maximum load (exercising against maximum resistance).

2. Repeated Effort Method: Lifting non-maximal load to failure (albeit still taking into consideration the rule of progressive overload. Relying on one's body weight will only take you so far).

3. Dynamic Effort Method: Lifting a non-maximal load with the highest attainable speed.

Regardless of one's training history or lifestyle, it's clear that the activities chosen to increase bone density need to be progressive and weight bearing in nature.

There are two types of muscle tone: myogenic and neurogenic. The former refers to your muscle tone at rest; the latter refers to muscle tone that's expressed when muscular contractions occur.

Low(er) rep training increases the sensitivity of various motor units resulting in increased neurogenic tone. On the other hand, myogenic tone is correlated with the overall density of your muscles (specifically the contractile proteins myosin and actin) and is vastly improved by lifting heavier weights.

If you train light, you'll keep enough muscle to be able to continue to train light. But given this doesn't take a lot, from a relative and individual standpoint (i.e. it takes more muscle to lift a weight that limits you to 8 reps than it does to lift a weight that limits you to 20) you'll keep what you need to accomplish these generally 'easier' tasks. The key to a lean, hard body is a nice balance between nutrition, cardio, and low rep, heavy weight training. What builds muscle is what keeps muscle."

Tony warns that you will not get "big and bulky" just because you're doing squats and deadlifts. That statement is akin to me saying, "Eh, I don't want to do any sprints today because I don't want to win the 100m gold medal next week." Getting big and bulky isn't easy, just like winning the 100m gold medal isn't easy.

Steady state cardio/aerobics isn't the most efficient way to burn body fat.

1)Steady state cardio doesn't elevate EPOC all that much, which again is one of the main factors in fat loss. Sure, one hour of steady state cardio will probably burn more calories than one hour of resistance training, but it's the calories you burn in the other 23 hours outside of the gym that really matter.

Essentially, once you're done doing steady state cardio, you're done burning calories. However, with resistance training and/or with high intensity interval training (HIIT), your body's metabolism will be elevated for upwards of 24 to 48 hours. Thus, you'll burn a ton more calories.

2)Speaking of metabolism, yours is in direct correlation with how much LBM (lean body mass) you have. The more LBM you have, the higher your metabolism. Given that long duration, steady state cardio actually eats away muscle; you're shooting yourself in the foot in that regard.

3)The "fat burning zone" doesn't exist. It's true that your body will burn a greater percentage of fat at lower intensities; however, the total calories being burned is so small that it doesn't even really matter. Again, it all comes down to EPOC.

4)As Alwyn Cosgrove has pointed out on numerous occasions, your body adapts very well to cardiovascular exercise (in this case, steady state cardio). This is a bad thing. As you get more efficient at running a certain distance, the work required to complete that distance will become less and less as you get fitter.

To improve, you have to go further in order to burn the same amount of calories. What once took you 30 minutes to burn "X" amount of calories, now takes you 45 minutes. Doesn't sound too efficient in my book.

5)A great analogy I like to use is comparing a marathon runner to a sprinter. Marathon runners do a ton of long distance, steady state work, and yet still average anywhere from 11 to 14% body fat (still somewhat lean, but not very muscular at all. Many of them still have the "skinny-fat" look).

On the other hand, sprinters do anywhere from 10 to 120 seconds of "work" and yet average 6 to 8% body fat. Just goes to show that short, intense bursts of energy (anaerobic work) is generally far superior to longer, less intense bursts of energy (aerobic) when taking body composition into consideration.

6)The majority of your fat loss should come via diet, not copious amounts of steady state cardio/aerobics. From a time efficiency standpoint, which makes more sense? Not eating that bowl of cereal at night (300-500 calories) or spending 60 minutes on a treadmill to burn that same 300-500 calories every single day?

7)Steady state cardio/aerobics does little to change how your body looks. Sure, you may lose 20 pounds, but you'll still be the same "shape." You won't look leaner, only smaller (not to mention weaker).

8)Lets be honest, do you really enjoy spending 45-60 minutes on one piece of equipment?

Ladies are four times more likely to have an ACL tear compared to men. Get off the leg extension and leg curl machines and train your posterior chain more! Perform various deadlifts, box squats, Anderson squats, pull-throughs, glute-ham raises, one-legged back extensions, and lots of single leg work.

Tony Gentilcore is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) and personal trainer (CPT) through the NSCA.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Jari Love Get Ripped 1000.

I did 5 routines! Without cardio. Here they are:
1: Alternating side squats off the step and lunge back off step. 5#. Last time I added the weights, this time I added a little bit more weight.
2: Stiff leg dead lift 8# with reverse fly 5#
3. Pulse squats and pulse lunges off step 8#. Here again I added more weights.
4. Clean and press 8#, Squat and Press 5#, second set of Clean and Press 8#.
5. Wide Squats with bicep curl 5#. I added more weights and still did only 2/3's of the routine.

I worked harder today for two reasons. Since it is Saturday I have a little bit more energy since I had a little bit more sleep and rest. In fact, I rested after three routines for a couple minutes each, then relaxed in the hot tub after I was finished, then went and took a nap after all that. It's so much easier to wear myself out when I know I don't have to keep momentum going to get ready and then go to work and try to stay energized all day for that, too.

The second reason is that I was reminded yesterday how much I still need to loose. My wonderful, loving and thoughtful husband took me shopping for a new outfit for work... he bought me two! as my valentines gift. I thought that was a PERFECT gift. Well, the process of it was still excruciating since it's hard for me to find bottoms to fit me right. So, while trying on clothes I was reminded just how little progress I've made, although I've made progress, I still have quite a journey ahead of me. So, I feel extra motivated. I could see that I wasn't AS BAD as before, so I've accomplished something, I'm just not off the hook, yet!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I finished the intro to Zumba. I began where I left off on Tuesday with the 3rd girl. There were about 6-8 more moves to learn. Saturday I will be ready for the actual workout.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jari Love Get Ripped 1000. I did 5 routines! Without cardio. Here they are:
1: Alternating side squats off the step and lunge back off step. 3# (I added the weights and just didn't go as low, which before was as low as I could go)
2: Stiff leg dead lift 8# with reverse fly 5#
3. Pulse squats and pulse lunges off step 5#
4. Clean and Press 8#, Squat and Press 5#, Clean and Press 8#
5. Wide Squats with bicep curl 3# (I didn't finish the entire routine, I did about 2/3 of it)


Tuesday, February 10, 2008

I did the intro to Zumba. I reviewed the moves I already learned, about 8, then finished another 8. There are three girls. The first girl taught the first 10, then the second girl taught the next 6. When the 3rd girl started teaching I went ahead and stopped. Not knowing if she was going to teach 6 or 10 or what I didn't have time to finish. So, Thursday I will finish and by Saturday I will be ready for the actual workout. I am looking forward to it as it seems to be fun.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday, February 9, 2009

Starting the week out right.
Jari Love Get Ripped 1000. I did 3 routines, without cardio. Here they are:
1: Alternating side squats off the step and lunge back off step. 0#
2: Stiff leg dead lift 8# with reverse fly 5#
3. Pulse squats and pulse lunges off step 5#

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000.

Instead of even doing any of the cardio in between the weight routines I used the menu to skip them. I did this for two reasons. One, I plan to do cardio on the alternate days, so I might as well save my energy on these days for the weight exercises. Second, I have a hard enough time making it through these exercises without the added cardio. I would love to add weights to #1 as I feel I could as far as my muscles are concerned. But, my cardio strength cannot even make it through without having to take almost a 5 min break afterwards. I'm wondering if it will ever catch up. I'm seeing progress, but it is such a slow progress that it can be frustrating.

I did 3 routines. 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#

Since I worked harder without the added strain of cardio I found myself that much more tired after #3. Of course, I only worked out one other time this week and that may have added to my lower level of endurance. I did go deeper during my exercises, so I do know that had a contribution.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

Jari Love's Get Ripped 1000. I did almost 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#