Living healthy as a busy Mom with two little boys

Biggest Loser Calorie Knockout September 5, 2012

Filed under: Biggest Loser DVD — fitformyprinces @ 4:47 pm

Biggest Loser puts out a couple of workout DVDs a year or so.  At least that is how it seems.  I personally own at least a half-dozen of the DVDs they’ve put out but hadn’t done this workout at all yet.  So, I decided to give it a try.   The DVD features contestants from Season 12 of the Biggest Loser.  That was the season where they split the contestants up by age and had Bob Harper, Dolvett Quince, and Anna Kournikova as trainers.  This contestants featured are Vinnie, Ramon, Rebecca, Sunny, John, and Antone.  This DVD has a warm up and cool down, plus three circuits that you can do individually, all together, or in any combination you choose.  I personally split this up into two separate days since the first day I was looking for a very quick workout as I had already done a morning workout that day.  Then this afternoon I did the other two circuits back to back.

Circuit 1 – Anna Kournikova is the trainer and she alternates between one minute of strength and one minute of cardio.  I thought the moves themselves were ok, and it got my heart rate up to the fat burning zone, but the whole circuit just seemed a little awkward.  It seemed as though her audio was dubbed over the top of the workout and just didn’t seem to flow well.  Additionally, while the back of the DVD says all three of the circuits are 15 minutes each, the counter on my player said this was only 11 minutes long.  However, for someone starting out, this will definitely get your blood pumping and you’ll burn calories doing it.  For me, just finishing up level 3 of 30 day shred, I just didn’t find it to be as challenging as my body wanted.

Circuit 2 – This is Bob’s circuit and he throws everything at you.  Strength moves, plyometrics, isometric stretching, and some yoga.  My body was S.O.R.E after his 15 minutes.  This circuit is no joke and was definitely a great workout.

Circuit 3 – Dolvett runs this circuit and he does so tabata style.  What is tabata?  Basically it’s intervals of high intensity followed by active rest.  It is somewhat similar to the Firm Express system that I completed in July but slightly different.  Dolvett shows you three options for a move that you do high intensity for 20 seconds and follow that with a 10 minute rest.  I spent the rest time kicking out my legs loosely so that I was still moving around.  You repeat this 8 times per move for a total of 4 minutes each move.   I really liked that there were three different modification options for each move as it left a little something for everyone.

I would definitely do this DVD again, but I’ll probably skip Circuit 1.  Anna was just too annoying for me and I didn’t feel based on my own fitness level that it was an efficient enough use of my workout time.  Circuit 2 and 3 were great though and I think they’d work best in tandem.  Circuit 3 I felt gave me a better cardio workout whereas my muscles were definitely fatigued doing circuit 2.  Combined with the warmup and cooldown those two circuits would take a total of 40 minutes, which I can definitely fit in most days.


30 Day Shred August 29, 2012

Filed under: Jillian Michaels — fitformyprinces @ 4:05 pm

I bought the 30 Day Shred workout DVD way back in the summer of 2010.  And it sat on my shelf.  It sat through me being sidelined with a broken foot from August through October 2010.  Then it sat for 9 months until June 2011 while I was pregnant with my youngest child.  It sat again while I completed the 60 Day Slimdown last summer and while I started Firm Express and then ultimately stopped all exercising and eating right.

When I finished up Firm Express last month I knew I wanted to do this program since I had heard such good things out of it.  I knew it was hard, because people who I know to be in good shape told me it was killer.  Plus I’ve done some of Jillian’s other workouts before and they are b.r.u.t.a.l.  In fact, that broken foot I spoke of….. yep, happened during a Jillian workout.

But broken bones aside, I knew I wanted to do it.

So what is it?  A simple google search told me that the program lasts for 30 days (well duh) and you do each level on the DVD for 10 days.  So Level 1 on days 1 through 10, level 2 on days 11-20, and level 3 on days 21-30.  Each level has 3 circuits.  Each circuit starts with 3 minutes of strength (2 separate moves), 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs.  On the program you do need a mat if you are working out on hard floors and you will need a set of handweights.  I used 3 pound weights for almost all days of the program, but a few times I did bump up to 5 pound weights.

And as you couldn’t tell already, since you do each level for 10 days and the program is 30 days long it means that for 30 days you will exercise every single day.  That was surprising to me, since I had always heard that you need to let your muscles rest 48 hours between strength training.  But, I decided for one month I’d set aside conventional wisdom, listen to my body, and modify if I felt I needed to.

Now it did end up taking me 32 days to complete the 30 Day Shred.  Since I live with my in-laws I am limited as to when I can exercise in the living room.  Unless my mother-in-law has an afternoon appointment, I have to wait until after she goes to bed in the evenings.  But I can’t wait too long or my father-in-law will need to have the living room for his own resting purposes.  So basically I have a window between 8pm and 10pm from which to get both kids to bed and workout.  Usually this works fine.  I get the boys asleep by 9 or so and then workout.  But on the evening that should have been Day 23, my youngest son just would not go to sleep.  Well, let me rephrase, he’d go to sleep, but the moment I went to actually place him in bed, he’d wake up and start screaming.  So, Mommy duty prevailed and I ended up delaying Day 23 for 24 hours.  I also ended up delaying Day 28 for 24 hours since my husband was in town for the first time in 2 weeks so I decided a day to spend 100% with family was in order.

So enough talk, here are my stats.

Measurement                Start          End            Change
Weight                           201.2         186.3          -14.9 pounds
Arm                               14″              13.5″           -1/2 inch
Chest                             35.5″         34″              -1 1/2 inches
Waist                             44.5″         42″              -2 1/2 inches
1″ below belly button    50″           46 1/2         -3 1/2 inches
Thigh                             25.75″       26″             +1/4 inch (more muscle?)
Calf                                17.5″          16.75″          -3/4 inch

So I lost nearly 15 pounds and 8 inches total.  And I’ll just say that I earned each and every one.  30 Day Shred is literally a butt kicker.  Every time I started a new level I was physically spent at the end of it.  But it was also nice to see the fitness gains I made during each level, because by the time the 10 days were up, I knew I was still working out hard, but I wasn’t to the point where I was necessarily going to collapse.

These workouts are definitely challenging and I would caution anyone who is a beginner to exercise in any way to wait until they have a little higher level of fitness before undertaking this challenge.  Especially Level 3 which incorporates a lot of plyometrics.  If you have joint issues at all I’d either modify modify modify, or wait to do this workout until you have some better joint health.  I personally, wouldn’t want anyone injured, and if you have concerns at all about this workout, definitely discuss it with your physician first.

The biggest positives I see to this workout DVD is the fact that the workouts are short.  They say each one is only 20 minutes, but my DVD timer was more like 25 or so once the warm-up and cool down are added.  They will definitely get you a great workout and allow you to get back to your busy lives.  I also like how she structures the circuits.  The 3-2-1 system gives your body time to rest the muscles from working hard during strength while you do cardio, and when you’re breathing hard after pushing yourself while doing the cardio, you get a minute of ab work (most of the time involving some sort of floor work).

I didn’t personally see a lot of negatives.  I suppose if you’re a stickler for doing all the exercises at the same speed as the people on the screen and not modifying them at all then you could easily get injured using these DVDs.  In fact a lot of the one star reviews on were from people who got badly injured.  I personally noticed some knee pain after the first day of doing Level 2, but I kept at it (just lowered the intensity and modified on key moves) and it went away.  I finished sans injury.

The only other things that bugged me were the intro the DVD.  It was 2 minutes of Jillian introducing the system, which is great on day 1.  But after that I really didn’t need to spend 2 minutes watching the.same.darn.thing.  And the last negative that I see was just the boredom factor.  By the time I got to day 7,8,9, and 10 I’d been doing the same workout every day for a week or more.  I knew what was coming next and wanted something new.  But overall I’d say that is a very minor complaint because if you follow this system, after 10 days you move on anyway.

Overall, I am extremely happy with the results and would recommend this DVD to someone wanting to kick it up a notch.

Thanks Jillian for a hard fought 15 pounds.

Next up ….. honestly, I’m not sure.  I know that Lindsay Brin has a new series coming out this Fall called Pretty Fierce.  I definitely want to do that since I loved her 60 day slimdown.  I’ll probably just keep a good mix of workout DVDs mixed in with Couch to 5K while I wait for that to come out and then start that program.


Firm Express Plan July 29, 2012

Filed under: The Firm — fitformyprinces @ 10:12 pm

Finally, I have finished The Firm Express plan.  Sheesh … I had started it back in October 2011 right as I was returning to work from my maternity leave.  Then one thing turned into another and I took a too extended blog absence and gained back all the weight I had lost while on maternity leave, plus another 15 pounds.

Anyway, as I said in my previous post, I’m back.  I started back on the diet and exercise bandwagon on July 1st with this program.  Now, according to the Firm Express you can see results by only doing three 20-minute sessions per week.  Let’s just say I did not follow that.  I ended up working out almost every day.  Every single day except 2 or 3, I walked my dog while pushing the boys in the double jogging stroller for between 35-70 minutes.  Then I did the Firm Express video on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.  On three of the remaining days each week I’d do another exercise DVD that I have (it rotated) for 20-45 minutes.  So I definitely worked out more than this program says to.

So what is it?  Basically they break the 30 days down into 4 cycles.  Each cycle has 3 workouts.  One to be done each of 3 days that week …. a cardio, sculpt, and cardio/sculpt dvd.  Each DVD contains a 20 minute workout that includes a brief warm-up and various exercises (depending on type of workout) with four “bursts” intermingled throughout the workout.  What is a burst?  Well in a nutshell it’s interval training.  So you go all out for 8 seconds on whatever move it is that they’re having you do, then you tap it out for 12 seconds.  Repeat this 4 times and you have one burst.  This is based on some university study that found that high intensity activity for 8 seconds followed by a 12 second recovery is optimal for fat loss.

Pros – I like that the workouts are only 20 minutes.  Let’s face it …. most everyone is extremely busy and sometimes you can only find 20 minutes to get in your workouts.  That is possible with this system.  I also liked the bursts.  I was a believer in interval training before these workouts and I do believe they work well for fat loss.  I also like that you don’t repeat a workout at all the whole time you’re doing the program.  This is good for me since I tend to get bored quickly with workout DVDs.

Cons – I found the instruction a little hard to follow at times.  I’m pretty coordinated and found myself falling behind quite a few times.  Also, I’m not sure where they got their success stories from on their website, but I did not find my results coming really close to that at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the weight I lost in just 4 weeks, but I did not see the inches gone at all close to these people, plus I was doing much more activity at the same time.  I know that advertising success stories are not typical, but these just seem so out of whack for me.  It’s possible they lost this while on the program…. I just don’t see it happening one time through the system.  It does say int he book that if you’re not to your goal by the end of 30 days to just start over and keep repeating the 4 weeks until you get to goal.

The results:

Measurement                Start     End     Difference
Arm                                 15           14         -1
Chest                              36.5       35.5     -1
Waist                             45           44.5     -0.5
1″ below belly button  51.5        50        -1.5
Hips                                47          46         -1
Thigh                              29         25.75    -3.25
Calf                                 17.75     17.5      -0.25
Weight                           213.0    201.2    -11.8

So in total I lost 11.8 pounds and 8 1/2 inches.  I’m definitely happy with that progress.  I mean, other than someone competing on The Biggest Loser, who wouldn’t like losing almost 12 pounds in a month?

Would I do this program again?  Probably not, at least not in its entirety.  I’ve lent the DVDs out to the home health care worker who comes at night to help my mother-in-law get ready for bed.  She saw me do most of these workouts and said it looked right up her speed so hopefully she sees great results from it.  When I get them back I”ll probably pop in one of these DVDs every now and then just to mix it up and keep things interesting, but I just don’t see this program being the end all and be all for me.

Next up …. Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred.


60 Day Slimdown – Results September 7, 2011

Filed under: 60-day slimdown,Exercise,Lindsay Brin — fitformyprinces @ 9:43 am

The 60 days are done!  Wow.  This program really is great.  I can’t say enough good things about it.  Not only did I lose a bunch of weight and inches, but my fitness improved as well.  You can see the results below.

Below are my measurements:

  • Dominant Arm:  11.75 ( -1/4 inch since Day 50-1.25 inches since Day 1)
  • Chest: 39.5  (-1/2 inch since Day 50, -2.5 inches since Day 1)
  • Neck: 13 1/2 (-0 inches since Day 50, -1 inch since Day 1)
  • Natural Waistline: 34  (-3/4 inch since Day 50, -8.5 inches since Day 1)
  • Navel: 44 1/2  (-1 inch since Day 50, -4 1/2 inches since Day 1)
  • Hips: 41  (-1/2 inch since Day 50, -3 1/4 inches since Day 1)
  • Leg: 24 1/2  ( -1 inch since Day 50, -2.5 inches since Day 1)
  • Calf: 16 1/2  (-1/4 inches since Day 50,  -1 inch since Day 1)
  • Weight: 181.4 (-2.6 pounds since Day 50, -15.6 pounds since Day 1).

I also did a Fitness Test on Day 2 and repeated  it this morning to show my improvement in fitness level.   Below are the results:

  • Wall Sit (hold a 90 degree squat with your back against a wall and time yourself):  Day 2 = 23.8 seconds.  Day 60 = 1 minute 5.5 seconds
  • 1 Minute Push-ups (perform as many “real” push-ups as you can, then as many “girl” in 1 minute:  Day 2 = 0 real, 23 girl.  Day 60 = 5 real, 29 girl.
  • 1 Minute Sit-ups (perform as many sit-ups as you can with arms across your chest in 1 minute).  Day 2 = 0 real, Day 60 = 20
  • 1 Minute Crunches (this isn’t part of her test but since I couldn’t do any sit-ups on day 2 I did a minute of crunches.  I repeated today for comparison purposes):  Day 2 = 42, Day 60 = 58
  • 1 Minute Squat Thrust to Jump (basically it’s a burpee that you jump out of at the end):  Day 2 = 11, Day 60 = 16
  • 1 Minute High Knees (your knees should hit your hands at hip height) Day 2 = 90, Day 60 = 127.

I seriously can’t say enough good things about this program.  Not only did I lost a lot of weight and inches, but my fitness levels have improved across the board.   And for the first time in my life I can do a real pushup!  Below is a photo showing me wearing the same bathing suit on Day 1 and today (Day 60).  Even though my clothes had been fitting better I couldn’t “see” the change until I put these together.









THANK YOU Lindsay Brin for creating such a great program!


Day 50 of 60 Day Slimdown August 28, 2011

Filed under: 60-day slimdown,Exercise,Lindsay Brin — fitformyprinces @ 5:30 pm

50 of the 60 days are done.  This has been a rough 10 days.  First of all, my eating has not been quite spectacular.  We went to a party and brought cookies.  We ended up bringing them home with us and yours truly ate all of them over a few days.  And then two days ago I caught a cold and started to feel completely run down and congested.  I ended up taking 2 days off working out (they were actual rest days in the program).  I’m still feeling chest congestion today, but I’m not as tired and so I did manage to workout today.  I just listened to my body and did a lower intensity move when I needed to. 

Below are my latest measurements (done every 10 days):

  • Dominant Arm:  12  ( -1/4 inch since Day 40-1 inch since Day 1)
  • Chest: 40  (-1/4 inch since Day 40, -2 inches since Day 1)
  • Neck: 13 1/2 (-0 inches since Day 40, -1 inch since Day 1)
  • Natural Waistline: 34 3/4  (-3/4 inch since Day 40, -7.75 inches since Day 1)
  • Navel: 45 1/2  (0 inches since Day 40, -3 1/2 inches since Day 1)
  • Hips: 41 1/2  (-1 inch since Day 40, -2 1/2 inches since Day 1)
  • Leg: 25 1/2  ( 0 inches since Day 40, -2 inches since Day 1)
  • Calf: 16 3/4  (0 inches since Day 40,  -3/4 inch since Day 1)
  • Weight: 184.0 (-1.4pounds since Day 40, -13 pounds since Day 1).

I’m in the homestretch of this program now.  And I’m so excited to finish strong.  I’ll wrap this program AND Couch to 5K up the same week. 

I also bought a new “toy” this week and used it for the first time today.  I purchased a heart rate monitor.  I decided I wanted a better knowledge of my caloric burn while exercising.  It also holds me accountable for my workout intensity. 

Also, I have tentatively decided the next “program” I will do is Firm Express.  Theoretically you are only to do three 20-minute workouts a week with this program so I will do that 3 days a week and throw in some yoga/pilates/zumba after to build my workout time up, and run on 3 other days that week as I still want to complete a 10K on Thanksgiving.


Day 40 of 60 Day Slimdown August 18, 2011

Filed under: 60-day slimdown,Exercise,Lindsay Brin — fitformyprinces @ 9:21 am

40 Days in and I’m feeling fantastic.  There have been MANY non-scale victories in the past 10 days.  I packed away all my maternity clothes and pulled out size 14 pants (I haven’t worn those since before I got pregnant with my now 2 1/2 year old).  Also, I’ve progressed far enough with couch to 5K that I did a 20 minute non-stop run.  Tomorrow I go out for 25 minutes straight.  I’m also so close to being able to do a real (non-girl) pushup. 

Below are my measurements (done every 10 days):

  • Dominant Arm:  12 1/4  (0 inches since Day 30-3/4 inch since Day 1)
  • Chest: 40 1/4 (-1/4 inch since Day 30, –1 3/4 inches since Day 1)
  • Neck: 13 1/2 (-1/4 inch since Day 30, -1 inch since Day 1)
  • Natural Waistline: 35 1/2 (0 inches since Day 30, -7 inches since Day 1)
  • Navel: 45 1/2  (-1 1/2 inches since Day 30, -3 1/2 inches since Day 1)
  • Hips: 42 1/2  (-1/2 inch since Day 30, -1 1/2 inches since Day 1)
  • Leg: 25 1/2  ( -1/2 inch since Day 30, -2 inches since Day 1)
  • Calf: 16 3/4  ( 0 inches since Day 30,  -3/4 inch since Day 1)
  • Weight: 185.4 (-1.6 pounds since Day 10, -11.6 pounds since Day 1).

I’m glad with my loss, but I did go a bit out of control the past weekend eating animal crackers and trail mix.  Lots of it.  In fact, I’ve told my husband that if he catches me eating animal crackers anymore that he can give me a spanking.  LOL.  I have found that I really cannot stick with one serving so I need to just steer clear.  It’ll be interesting to see what next measurements hold.  I’m hoping to be beter with eating these next 10 days. 

20 days left with this system.  I’m still trying to figure out which program to do next.


Day 30 of 60 Day Slimdown August 8, 2011

Filed under: 60-day slimdown,Exercise,Lindsay Brin — fitformyprinces @ 10:03 am

I’ve reached the halfway point for the 60 Day Slimdown Program.  To say I’m thrilled my results would be an understatement. 

Below are my measurements (done every 10 days):

  • Dominant Arm:  12 1/4  (-1/4 inch since Day 203/4 inch since Day 1)
  • Chest: 40 1/2 (-1 inch since Day 20, 1 1/2 inches since Day 1)
  • Neck: 13 3/4 (-3/4 inch since Day 20 and Day 1)
  • Natural Waistline: 35 1/2 (-1 inch since Day 20, -7 inches since Da0y 1)
  • Navel: 47  (-1/2 inch since Day 20, -2 inches since Day 1)
  • Hips: 43  (no change  since Day 20, -1/2 inch since Day 1)
  • Leg: 25 1/2  (no change  since Day 20, -1 1/2 inches since Day 1)
  • Calf: 16 3/4  (-1/4 inch since Day 20,  -3/4 inch since Day 1)
  • Weight: 187.0 (-3.4 pounds since Day 10, -10 pounds since Day 1).

I’m now just 4 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight from my oldest child.  Plus I’m getting jeans to fit that never did before.  I’m not deluding myself.  I still have a long way to go (60 pounds from goal), but I’m making progress and that’s the most important part.