Thursday, December 26, 2013

Twelve Days of Fitness Blog Challenge: Day Two



Yesterday marked day one of the Fit Armadillo Twelve Days of Fitness Blog Challenge.  If you are looking for some work out inspiration, check out some of the workouts shared by members of the challenge.  Nadya completed Qigong, LaShandra tied on her running shoes despite below freezing temps, and Christy kicked her hubby's butt in a plank-off at the gym during day one. 

Feeling a little jealous of their motivation? Don't be. If you want to join in on the challenge, there’s still time! Join the Challenge through this link >>  All you have to do is write a blog post every day from now through January 5th to share your workout of the day.  You know you want to get a head start on the Joneses and everyone else who will try to steal your treadmill on January 1!

Wondering what my workout was today? Wonder no more. Here it is:

Catherine's Day Two Workout: Body Works Plus Abs Class and a Swim

Yesterday, the fam and I went to Anytime Fitness.  Today, I decided to try out another gym, LA Fitness.  As a fitness instructor, I rarely get to take other people's fitness classes. However, since I'm on vacation I HAD to try one out. The only class at the LA Fitness near me that worked for the family schedule was Body Works Plus Abs.  Sadly, I don't have any silly pics from this trip, but I do have a read out of my heart rate stats from my Polar Loop to share: 


The class lasted one hour and was a toning class.  I put my heart rate monitor on at home so the first 15 mins of the graph above are from just sitting in the car.  However, I burned about 300 calories while wearing it.  Way better than the 50 or so calories I would have burned just bumming around on the couch while my hubby worked from his home-away-from home!

Like I said, I hadn't been to a toning class like this in a LONG time.  I've taught my own and taken other classes, but this class was pretty old school.  I didn't know what to expect so I went to grab a heavy and light set of weights upon entering. Unfortunately, there were only three options for weights: 2.5 pounds, 5 pounds, and 7.5 pounds.  I'm not a fan of 2.5 pound weights (not sure why? READ THIS>>), so I grabbed the two heavier options and got to work.  

The Body Works Plus Abs workout consisted of a 10 minute light cardio and stretching warm-up, 40 minutes of strength training, and 10 minutes of abdominal work and stretching to cool down at the end of class.  While I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow from this class, the toning segment did not offer a full body workout.  We didn't complete any exercises for the back or calves.  Although, I guess the fact that we only had access to up to 7.5 pound weights doesn't make the lack of back exercises surprising.  

The toning segment of the workout consisted of about 12 exercises and involved us changing up the tempo for each one. For example, our first exercise was a squat. We got into squat position with our free weights on our shoulders, squatted down for one count, came up for one count and repeated this eight times. Then, we changed the temp to two counts down, two counts up.  Various other tempo changes were completed before the next exercise.  At least 100 repetitions were done for each exercise. For smaller muscles like triceps and shoulders, this gets really hard!  But is it really an effective or efficient workout? Not so much.

I started with my 7.5 pound weight and then switched to 5 pounds during these difficult times.  However, as I suspected, the exercises were too easy after the 5 pound swap.  While I definitely recommend tempo training as a way to change things up, I stand by my belief that you don't need to perform soooo many reps. Trying a heavier weight to start is a much better option.  Yes, you'll complete fewer reps, but that's more than fine! You can rest in between sets or perform an exercise that targets another muscle group before completing a second set of repetitions with a different tempo.  Unless you have a sports-specific endurance goal, you don't need to complete a workout that requires 100+ reps on your own! Unfortunately, to keep the ladies coming to class, many instructors still use lighter weights and an abundance of reps. Don't be fooled! Save time and be more effective by toning on your own by using a heavier weight even during tempo training. Keep to 10-15 reps and around 3 sets two-three times a week.  You'll get awesome arms and legs without feeling ashamed of that fact that you can't keep curling for the millionth time like your instructor!

For the abs segment of class, we did many different types of crunches.  I hadn't been to or taught a class in years that ONLY used crunches.  Crunches are OK and a bicycle crunch is one of the most effective abs exercises, but planks are where it's at for really activiating the core (abs+back).

So I had an OK class. It's always fun to check out other classes for a change!  After class I was able to do a 30 minute swim to give my little baby ankle a break from running even though I thought about running the entire time...

What was your workout today? Share with a comment below:


Nadya (who's quite the fitness recruiter!) shares her Day Two workout HERE >>
Diatta gets in her first day of the challenge despite a busy week. Read up + cheer her on HERE>>
Christy gets EVIL on the treadmill! Find out how HERE >>

Ready to join the 12 Days of Fitness Blog Challenge? I'd love to have you! Sign up by clicking HERE>>