Tag Archives: Body Gospel

Stuck in a Rut?

I recently finished my fourth round of Beachbody’s P90X. Now, I am looking forward to doing something different. It isn’t that I don’t like P90X-far from it. You don’t do something so challenging four times unless you really like it. And I do like the challenge, the potential for always doing one more pull up, one more push up, or moving up one weight from what I did the last time. The thing is, even with its inherent muscle confusion basis, doing the same workout program all the time can get a bit boring.

In the past I have done Body Gospel, Rev Abs, Shakeology 30 & 50, P90X Plus, and P90X2, all from Beachbody. Clearly, there is something about this company’s programs which I like. I think at the heart of it, all of these program share one underlying trait: support. The trainers lift you up, they don’t talk you down. If you can’t do something perfectly, they encourage you to do what you are able to. Or, as trainer Tony Horton says, “Do your best and forget the rest!”

I’m ready for a new trainer: Shaun T. and his Insanity-The Asylum program. Last night I did the first workout, “Speed and Agility”.  I thought because I’ve been working out for six days a week for a couple years, I’d be able to breeze right through this. Well, it didn’t exactly end up that way. Do you remember the Biblical saying “Pride goeth before a fall”?

The warmup alone was an eye opener for what is to come! It wasn’t that I’m not in good shape. Rather, it was a tough workout because I was doing agility and other moves with which I was not familiar. There’s going to be a steep learning curve. You know what? I look forward to it!

There is perhaps a life lesson here too. I assumed that past experience with one thing would enable me to do another somewhat related thing with no effort. This was untrue. While experience can inform and guide us, it is not a substitute for effort and learning.

Welcome to the Asylum!

Welcome to the Asylum!

The Ripple Effect

I got serious about my health and fitness on June 7, 2010, just a few days after my 50th birthday. It is difficult for me to recall what it felt like before I began exercising. I suppose that’s a good thing, since I was overweight, unhealthy, and unmotivated.

The odd thing about that lack of motivation is that it extended beyond just being a couch potato. I didn’t get excited about too many things on a day to day basis. I was just sort of drifting along in a state of chronic ennui.

When I began exercising with Beachbody’s Body Gospel, I was really stepping out past my comfort zone. I wasn’t precisely happy with my condition, but I had become used to it and change was intimidating. I still remember that first workout-I figured that being “aerobics” it wouldn’t be all that tough. As it turned out I had to stop for breath three times during that 30 minute workout!

As the weeks went by, the weight began to drop and to my surprise, my attitude improved. I say to my surprise because I wasn’t even aware how low my enthusiasm was until it began to improve. As my weight dropped, the pain in my arthritic knees had diminished greatly. As my appearance had changed, my self confidence had increased. As I  became accustomed to working out six days a week, my attention became much more focused on the positive aspects of my life.

The motivation I lacked, not so long ago, had returned with a vengeance. The thing that I find most interesting is that my workouts have affected much more of my life and my thoughts than simply my weight. When your body is in balance with your mind, is there any thing at all that can hold you back?

Jim Jacobsen before losing weight and after.

That's me at day zero an the left, and about a year later on the right.

A Killer 30 Minute Workout

Last winter I led an exercise class at my church for 12 weeks.  In that class we made extensive use of Beachbody’s workout DVDs.  We used the Shakeology 30, several Body Gospel and Rev Abs workouts, and a couple from P90X.  We all had a lot of fun, and I hope I was able to inspire others to pursue a fit lifestyle.  The rewards of a fit lifestyle encompass not only improved health, but an increased sense of well being, too.

However, one thing I heard in the classes and which I occasionally hear in other settings, is that it’s too expensive to buy all these DVD sets; and it’s too time consuming to do a workout every day.  To the first, I would reply that many Beachbody DVD sets are available for under $30, and some individual workouts like Body Gospel Live cost less than $20, much less than the cost of any blood pressure or cholesterol prescription.  Second, if you have time to watch a game show or sitcom rerun in the evening, you have time to exercise.  If you’re going to watch TV, you might as well put the time to good use!

But for those who adamantly resist making even a minimal investment in their health, here’s my last argument breaker: an effective 30 minute workout that requires no more than you, comfy clothes, and commitment.  (It’s actually 27 minutes, but who’s counting?)  Warm up with a series of stretches like overhead arm reaches, standing quadriceps, forward leaning hamstrings, and huggers.  Take at least five minutes to warm up.  Then do two sets of these basic body weight exercises for one minute each, with a 30 second break between: jumping jacks, push-ups, standing squats (it is IMPORTANT to keep your back straight to avoid injury in standing squats), running in place while lifting your knees as high as you can, ab crunches or sit-ups, and planks (the “up” part of a push-up).  Cool Down:  repeat the warm up stretches.  No more excuses!

Back in the Saddle

“I’m back!  I’m back in the saddle again!” sang Steven Tyler.   Well, here I am, back in the saddle again myself.  As I have written previously, I was on vacation and then got  laid up for a few weeks with a severe respiratory illness.  During my vacation, I didn’t get much in the way of heavy exercise.  Certainly, I got none while I was sick and recuperating.

The upshot of all this is that I put back on nine pounds in three and a half weeks.  I could actually see the beginnings of a belly again!  Once my health stabilized, I began doing some light cardio workouts with Body Gospel.  Slowly, I built up my strength and lung capacity.

Last night, I started doing a more ambitious exercise regime with Rev Abs.  Rev Abs is a bit more strenuous than Body Gospel, so I approached it with a little trepidation, given that I’m not back to full lung capacity yet.  One of my friends correctly advised me to take it easy, listen to my body, and take breaks if needed.  She also told me to avoid thinking along the lines of “well, I used to be able to do such and such”, and to concentrate instead on the here an now.

So I used lighter weights, stuck to the lower impact versions of the individual exercises, and I took a short break at the midpoint.  I managed to get in two out of the three rounds in this “Total Strength” workout.  I feel a little like a newbie, but it’s great to be moving again! This morning I weighed in at 180 pounds, for a loss of two pounds.  I suppose the take away from this is that it doesn’t take much to upset your status quo, and it doesn’t take a lot to get back on track, either.

Second Start

I discovered this morning that I have put back on nine pounds over the past couple of weeks, as I recovered from pneumonia.  That kind of stinks!  I’m back to 181 pounds, and I can see the beginnings of a gut coming back.  I understand intellectually that there’s not really much I could have done which I didn’t, while I’ve been recuperating.  Emotionally, well, that’s an entirely different matter.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but I worked darned hard to drop that weight, and I admit to being a bit discouraged by this setback.

On the other hand, it is just a setback.  It’s not the end of the world.  It’s certainly not the end of my fitness journey either.  Last night I started working out again, with Body Gospel Live, a 30 minute light cardio workout.  I took it easy, paid attention to my body, and even took a break for a few minutes about halfway through.  It wasn’t the hardest effort I’ve ever put in, but I’ll tell you the simple truth: it felt GREAT to be moving again!

There is a school of thought which maintains that how we deal with adversity is at least as important as how we deal with the good things in our lives.  I think that there is merit in this perspective.  It’s easy to be happy and optimistic when everything is working to our advantage.  It is much more challenging to maintain a positive attitude when obstacles and setbacks lie in our paths, to see the good in the adversity.  The big challenge in such cases is to channel the negative emotions we feel into something better, to use them as fuel for change or even just perseverance.  I choose to view my situation as a challenge to be overcome, not as a reason to throw in the towel.  Stay tuned!