Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Working out

Early morning is my “me time”. My husband gets up at about 6am and I get up with him. When he’s gone at 06.30 I then get about an hour to an hour and a half before little girl gets up of time just to myself. This is where I fit in a good workout. At the moment my workout of choice is EA Sports Active 2 on the Playstation, I love it! Here is the (rather long) review I put on Amazon:
Fitness reviews are difficult to gauge because the ability of the writers vary. I'm about a stone overweight, a Mum of a one year old, and since becoming pregnant haven't committed to any regular exercise. Until now. I love Active 2! I've just completed the 3 week cardio kick start programme and started the 9 week programme. I do it 4 times a week first thing in the morning before my daughter wakes up, and what I love is that every workout is different so it's nothing like doing a DVD which is the same every time. I also love the fact that exercises such as side lunges are adapted into games such as goalkeeping. The coach is very encouraging and not at all annoying. I love the fact that once you've set your workout schedule, it tells you how many workouts you've missed, so in sheer bloody-mindedness I haven't missed a single one! You can adjust the intensity, so if you're feeling under the weather you have no excuse to workout as you can set it to easy. If you're feeling energetic you can set it to hard without worrying about over-committing yourself for the entire programme. There's an online community where you can join groups to contribute to and feel a sociable aspect to the game. Some of the workouts are short, but in addition to the programme it sets for you, you have the option to do an additional workout if you fancy doing some more as there are a handful of preset workouts. You can also customise your own workout once you are familiar with some of the exercises on offer and have developed some favourites so it's really interactive. I think it's absolutely fantastic and an absolute bargain too. Cheaper than the gym and better than the gym too. At the gym it's not so easy to do interval workouts, which are advocated by the experts to be the most effective way of burning fat. With Active 2 you'll so spurts of cardio followed by resistance work, including some combination moves. It's an absolute winner for me.
Since I wrote that review, I exceeded the half-way mark on the 9 week programme and although the game is still great, I now feel the need to step it up a gear.

I liked the fact that it tracked my progress so I prefered to use it instead of other DVDs on my rest days, and I even custom-built an active rest day workout on it. Because of the running and cycling I do (and the fact that I’ve programmed rest days so that they occur after a run), it involved fully resting the lower body and strength training the upper body with abdominal workouts in between sets of reps to give my arms a brief rest. This enabled me to use the game every morning and stack up my stats for that sense of accomplishment. Another reason why I did this was because of a tip from one of my heroes – Chalene Johnson. She says that if you aim to be active for 30 mins every day (even walking), then on those days where life or injury gets in the way and you can’t workout, you will not feel discouraged or guilty for it.

To step things up a bit I have started Tony Hortons P90 series. You follow a set pattern for 90 days consisting of three workouts for the beginning half, moving on to a second set of three workouts for the latter half. Although Tony is very lovely I'm worried that I might grow tired of the three workouts before I am ready for the second set of workouts, so I'm tempted to do P90X instead as there are more workouts to do, but could I handle it? I'm going to see how I get on with P90 first, maybe I'll be okay... watch this space...

The P90 series follows a set pattern whereby you workout for 6 days of the week and rest for one, which is fine by me, however there are times when I can’t workout first thing in the morning, and then later in the day when little girl is having a nap I am faced with the usual work vs health conscience battle, but I have overcome this. Whilst following her Push Jump Start programme, I learned one of Chalene Johnsons’ tricks to get more out of your day. She bought a lap desk off of Amazon to slot on to her exercise bike so that she can check emails etc whilst having a light workout, so I’ve done the same. My set-up is nowhere near as sleek as hers but it does the job. I have to admit though that I am now on the eBay market for a used recumbent bike to make the whole thing a lot more comfortable!   

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