Sunday, March 22, 2009

Back on the Phit Wagon, Day 1

As you may have gathered from a previous post, I work out at home with DVDs. I love the privacy, the fact I can do it whenever it's convenient for me, plus it's like having my own personal trainer with me every day. If you think you can't get a good workout at home, I'm here to tell you, you have not met Cathe Friedrich. Oh, I SO want that woman's abs. Buns too.

I have an aerobic step bench, a fitness ball, resistance bands, a collection of dumbbells and a barbell. I generally do 6 workouts per week. Depending on which rotation I'm doing, I'll do total body strength training 2 or 3 times a week, or I'll do a 4 day split alternating parts of the upper and lower body.

I also have a delightfully torturous DVD that will beat. you. down: Cathe Friedrich's Butts and Guts, which I try also to work in every week, as well as her Legs and Glutes, which is not as tough, but has more floor work. Oh, how I hate floor work. And barbell lunges. And you know what they say: the ones you hate the most are the ones you need the most!

For cardio conditioning, I alternate between aerobic step, high-low aerobics, and kickbox. I used to run about 30 miles per week, and I really miss it. Unfortunately, there's nothing but hillwork here in Central NC, and I quickly blew out both achilles tendons soon after I moved here, abruptly ending my training for the Chicago marathon. I am toying with the idea of maybe getting back into running. I have some really good running shoes designed to minimize stress on the achilles by raising the heel cup. But let me just get back to where I can finish my indoor workouts first, LOL!

Of course, being not only fluffy but also disgustingly out of shape, I'm nowhere near ready to tackle the above. The sheer effort of moving my current bulk will probably effectively double the intensity of any workout right now, LOL! My plan for this week is to concentrate on cardio and getting back into my routine. I figure the DOMS just from moving again will probably be plenty to endure this week. I'm shooting for 5 30-minute cardio workouts and maybe a few extended walks with the dog.

Today I did Lower Intensity Step from Cathe's 4 Day Split series (you can preview by clicking on the link; all Cathe's DVDs include streaming video samples). Not all at once, with many pauses to gasp and drink, but I did get all the way through it, including the intensity blasts. I admit my outer-thigh around the world and jump shot series were not my best efforts, but hey, I was moving! I put in 35 minutes of respectable cardio work. I felt pretty ghastly through most of it, but I know from past experience that cardio conditioning improves amazingly rapidly. In about 3 weeks I'll probably be able to get through most of my cardio workouts without taking any breaks.

Tomorrow I will either do Christi Taylor (high-low) or some kickbox, depending on how sore I am. 4 Day Split also has a bootcamp segement for one of the cardio workouts, which I will not be ready to attempt for several weeks. Drop and give you 20? Would you settle for 1, maybe? My current state of feebleness is discouraging in the extreme, but it can only get better from here! I am determined that this is the year I will SURPASS DS in doing pushups. He does 80 a day. I read about an 80-year-old female athlete that can do 100 a day, it HAS to be possible!

Next week I'll start working strength training back in, which is the foundation of my whole program. I know that muscle burns 3 times more calories at rest than other tissue, that you get the afterburn effect for 36 hrs. after a good strength workout, and that the only way to noodge my stubborn metabolism into overdrive is to increase my muscle mass. Weirdly, most of my excess avoir-dupois seems to have settled around my hips, my upper body hasn't changed as much. I say weirdly because I've always been shaped like an inverted triangle, and I have, until now, had a classic case of "Indian Butt": meaning, I don't have one! Strength training is pretty much the only way to get gut fat to budge, and please, dear God, do something about these saddlebags I've never had before!

I also know I need to start eating for performance, which means 6 small, high-quality meals and snacks throughout the day to keep my metabolism churning. That part is going to be a challenge, especially now that my blender is broken and I can't make protein shakes. However, it is a worthwhile investment in my overall health and well-being, so I should bite the bullet and get a new blender. (Are you listening, self??)

Last year I pre-ordered Cathe's then-in-production magnum opus, the 40 DVD set, STS (Shock Training System). The name alone is enough to strike terror into my heart! Well, it just arrived a few weeks ago. I haven't yet opened it, but this week will start previewing MesoCycle 1. I haven't checked in with the forums since it's been released, but STS is supposed to be the mother of all strength training systems. I can't remember how many mesocycles it includes, but each is designed to improve a specific target, such as overall strength (one of them will increase your current level by 5%), muscle endurance, and power.

It even includes software to help you determine your 1 rep max for each and every exercise, so that you are working to the best of your ability every time, without too little or too much weight. Also, no exercise can be "too advanced" now that I can determine the exact right weight for me. I think the software also helps with nutritional planning. I look forward to trying STS with eagerness as well as apprehension. I have a feeling I'm going to need several new dumbbell sets pretty quickly here.

I'll post about STS as I preview each mesocycle.

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