Tag Archives: Rev Abs

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!

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.

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me the News

Over the past 18 months or so I have lost 36 pounds, dropped five inches off my waist, and gotten my total cholesterol under 200 through a combination of better nutrition, modified eating habits, and between an hour to an hour and a half of exercise six days per week. This has worked wonders for me!  I feel better, I have more energy, and I’m far less embarrassed by my body.

before Beachbody and after Beachbody

My Before and After shots.

But, there is a reason you see all these disclaimers advising you to consult a physician before beginning any exercise program-other than contingency fee attorneys!  Simply, so many Americans are so sedentary that suddenly putting the cardio-vascular system into high gear, without a gradual ramp up, is just asking for trouble.

Imagine a car that hasn’t been driven for more than 20 miles a week, any faster than 35 mph, for several years.  Stomp the gas pedal to the floor and run it flat out, and chances are pretty good something will break.  Well, the same thing can happen to the human body.  Talk to your “mechanic” before you start anything strenuous if that’s a new course of action for you. Go see your doctor first if you are starting out!

It’s Not Complicated

There is a  lot to be said in favor of simplicity.  You don’t need some hyper-dollar exercise machine-slash-cappuccino maker.  When it comes to personal fitness you really don’t need a lot more than your own body and a few simple accessories.  You can even get by with none of the accessories and little more than a decent pair of sneakers and comfortable clothes.

For example, spend a few minutes doing a few basic stretches  and running in place to warm up your muscles.  Then do one minute each of jumping jacks, standard push-ups, squats, ab crunches, vee-ups (a sit-up where you also raise your legs to form a “V” shape with your torso and legs) and forward lunges with a 30 second rest between them.  Then run in place for one minute and repeat the sequence.  Do this at least three times, and then cool down with some more stretching.  Assuming you already own sneakers and a tee shirt, the cost is negligible.

If you want to take your exercise up a notch, invest in some hand held weights or resistance bands, a door top chin-up bar, and an exercise mat (your feet will thank you for that if you have hard floors), and a copy of Slim in 6, InsanityRev Abs or P90X.  All of these workout DVD sets are geared toward getting you the results you want with a minimum of equipment.  That’s not to say it’s without challenge.  Believe me, if you approach any of these programs seriously, you will work hard!

But my point is that the process isn’t complicated.  In fact, the majority of the Beachbody workout programs require little in the way of specialized equipment.  Those which do, provide it as part of the package.  Getting fit and healthy simply requires you to get moving on a regular basis.  That’s the process in a nutshell.  If you aren’t already, what are you waiting for?