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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Yoga Booty Ballet Pure and Simple

After trying and reviewing Yoga Booty Ballet and liking it for what it was(a workout program, not necessarily a Yoga routine) I thought I would try the Pure and Simple Yoga to see if it more fit what I am looking for which is a short, to the point straight forward Yoga routine.

I hate to say it, but I am highly disappointed in this one for several reasons. First, for someone like me who loves the poses and stretches of Yoga but tends to shy away from the New Age type stuff that can creep up in Yoga, this one had just a bit too much of that in it. The first several minutes were focusing on our intention, speaking our intention, then all through the workout I kept hearing about our intention, energy, blah, blah ,blah... Not only the content of what the instructor was saying, but HOW MUCH she was saying. Just far too much chattiness for a Yoga class.

Secondly, I believe Yoga is most beneficial when the poses are held for a period of time, at least three long breaths. This moved far too quickly, moving from one pose to the next before good form could even be attained in the first.

The flow was also choppy. It felt like a series of poses quickly, and sloppily thrown together, rather than a nice flow, gracefully moving from one sequence to the next like you get in Rodney Yee's and others programs.

I LOVE Beachbody products, and for the most part have only had positive things to say about each program I've tried. I feel sorry that I can't say much if anything positive about this one, it just falls short all around.

Turbo Jam

This is one of the Beachbody products I was most looking foward to trying. It is a kickboxing style workout with some dance type moves as well. It is very similar to Tae Bo, but a bit more upbeat with way more dance type stuff.

I personally prefer Tae Bo over this. They are both very similar, but for someone like me who is a bit uncoordinated and suffers from lack of any natural beat or rhythm Tae Bo is just a better fit.

I will say this is FUN!! It is also a complete program, not just a DVD. You get DVD's, meal plans and more. Also, this program has some of the best instruction I've ever seen. The Learn and Burn DVD takes a good 15 minutes or so going over each of the basic moves, then gives you plenty of time to practice each, with some of the best queuing I've ever seen. I have never bought a complete Tae Bo program, just individual DVD's, so I don't know if I just missed that in Tae Bo or not, but that is one thing I feel was lacking in those videos.

The music and over all feel of these is a lot more fun than most of the Tae Bo's as well. I think most women would prefer this one over Tae Bo. If you want to learn more about Turbo Jam or other Beachbody products, you can visit my BEACHBODY page.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Yoga Booty Ballet

After almost two complete rounds of P90X(close to six months) I recently became a Beachbody Coach because I feel so strongly about the products. I thought I should try all of the programs so I could be familiar with them all so I can best help people in the programs they are using.

Of course, being a Yoga fanatic myself, I was most anxious to try Yoga Booty Ballet. Let me start by saying this isn't really a Yoga DVD at all. It is a great total body workout incorporating Yoga, Ballet and dance as well as some toning exercises. So that is how I am going to review this, as a total body workout, not a Yoga workout.

The complete program comes with three DVD's; The first one includes; Beginner Quick Start, Total Toning Basics and Advanced Abs & Booty. Also included is Cardio Cabaret and Hip Hop Abs. You also get the Goddess Guide booklet and 7-Day Rapid Results program

I tried the Beginner Quick Start and Total Toning Basics. I have to admit after completing P90X, this program wasn't very intense for me, but even so it is still a very complete workout with a very interesting variety of moves and techniques in it. It was broken up into several short segments, each focusing on a different aspect of the program. There was a nice stretch and warm up with some interesting dance moves, a ballet type segment, a toning segment using light weights, a short yoga segment followed by a nice ab workout using a squishy ball and then a cool down.

This had enough variety to keep even me interested and engaged and wondering what was coming next. I think this would be a great workout for a new exerciser or even someone with more experience that isn't looking for an extreme program like P90X. This is definitely more girl friendly than guy, although there were males in the video.

Like all Beachbody products, this is a complete program meaning you're not only getting a set of DVD's, but a guide book and eating plan. Also, like all Beachbody products I've tried so far, everything about it is top quality from the production, to the set, and everything in between.

The instructors are good, giving good instruction and queuing. I found one of them a little annoying at times with the whole "goddess" thing and borderline new agey type comments. Even so, those were far and few in between and easy enough to overlook or ignore that this would still be a good program for those that normally steer away from yoga due to such content.

While I give this high marks as a workout program, I am still a P90X fan at heart, and my first love will always be just pure Yoga which is why I ordered Pure and Simple Yoga by the same instructors, hoping for just that. I will let you know how it goes once it arrives.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mr. Mom

I have shared these past couple of days about dogs and puppies past and present, so I only feel it would be fair to share about the one who so far has been left out; Dakota who would probably be better dubbed " Mr. Mom."

Dakota is our 10 1/2 year old Australian Shepherd(we're quite fond of Aussies!) and even though he is a male, he has the strongest mothering instinct I've ever seen. Until recently, any new puppy that would come into the household was mothered by Dakota. He would lay with them, wash them, and nurture them just as well if not better than their own mothers would.

Dakota may not be brave like Sequoia was, he certainly doesn't make the best watch dog as he doesn't have an aggressive bone anywhere in his body. He is just 67lbs of heart! He is the dog I can leave alone in the room with my toddler and not have to worry about my toddlers safety beyond maybe being licked to the point of annoyance. All Dakota wants is to give love and receive lots in return.

For some reason, whether due to age, or just the personality of this new puppy, Dakota hasn't taken this puppy under his paw like he has the others. Even though he isn't playing mommy to the pup, he is displaying an incredible amount of patience and tolerance with the overly active pup's never ending antics.

After losing Sequoia so suddenly and unexpectedly I wanted to take the time to pause and appreciate those who have been here faithfully the longest and appreciate them now while they are still here to receive that appreciation. You never know when they will suddenly be taken from you, so love those close to you whether furry or human now, while they are still here to receive that appreciation and let them know just what they mean to you. I can't think of a better time to do that than the Holiday Season. There's never a bad time to say "I love you" other than after that special someone is no longer here and it's too late.

The Puppy That Almost Didn't Have a Name

After the shock of losing Sequoia, we did something we've never done upon losing a pet....we went and got a puppy! I have to admit, while it seemed kind of soon, it has changed the whole atmosphere of the house from sad and gloomy to full of laughs and smiles.

Yes, it still hurts when we pause and think of our loss, but with the puppy those pauses seem less frequent than what they were those first couple of days. We only had one problem...what to name him! Everyone had their own thoughts and ideas ranging from Einstein to Jackson, King and several in between.

Austin kept calling him "baby" but if this pup grows to be as big as Sequoia(86lbs!) Baby just doesn't seem a suitable name either. Finally it just came to us "Bailey." It's perfect, as it fits his sweet personality, and is close enough to "Baby" in sound that it wont be quite so confusing to the pup or Austin.

I don't know if this puppy will grow up to be as loyal or protective as Sequoia, those are some pretty big paws to walk in. I do know that he has already found a special place in our hearts, and has helped us move on through the grieving process with a lot less pain than it would be otherwise. I am sure he will soon be an important member of our family with his own special place in our hearts. I also know that thanks to him Christmas will be a lot merrier!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Friend Like No Other

My usual response to losing a pet or animal I care deeply for is to never get another, and sometimes I have gone as far as getting rid of all the others of that species that I have. I have done that with my horses after I lost a rescue I had brought back from the brink of death, only to have to put her down anyway due to other health concerns. I did the same when I put down my best milking goat. The pain is just too much to bear, and I swear I will never go through that again.

Something was different after losing Sequoia. Yes, I had the usual thought of "never again," but less than 24 hours later I was searching the Internet for Australian Shepherd breeders and rescues. We did find another puppy to help ease the pain of losing such a loyal and brave friend, but I will share about that later.

Let me tell you about Sequoia. We all love our dogs. They quickly become as significant as any of our human family members. Sequoia was no exception, but he was even more special than most.

I have never had a dog so loyal to me personally as Sequoia. That dog would rarely leave my side, given a choice. Not only that but he was unusually protective of me. This is a good thing, but at times it was more of a nuisance, as he wouldn't allow hardly ANYTHING within three feet of me! Animals or humans. Including my other family pets.

One night in particular, he proved just how far he was willing to go to protect me. Thanks to a wayward family member who returned home with an escaped fugitive convict boyfriend, we had the SWAT team arrive at our house unannounced one evening about 9:00PM.(another story for another time perhaps!)

So, as we all exit the house, with our hands up, Sequoia sees an officer coming towards me with a gun pointed. Well, not on Sequoia's watch! He lunged at the officer before I had a chance to call him off. Another officer shot him with a pepper ball gun and down he went. I didn't know it was pepper balls and freaked out seeing my beloved dog fall to the ground and went to him. Well, that only brought the first officer closer to me with the gun now right on me! Sequoia, most likely blinded to some degree got up and went at her again! I was able to call him off, and while the night had more interesting events, that is Sequoia's story of the drama of the evening.

This dog was willing to take a bullet for me, and did! He didn't know it was pepper balls, all he knew is I appeared to be in danger, and he was willing to lay down his life for mine! I was already in love with the animal, but that night he gained my full respect and earned a spot in my bed on those nights my husband was out of town on business.

While that was his most heroic act, he always behaved like a hero. I felt totally safe with him here, and never was concerned about my safety as long as I knew Sequoia was nearby.

He was a friend, a companion, and my greatest protector. Sequoia could never be replaced in my heart or otherwise. But, I must move on, and where we live a few good dogs is a must! So, while I did purchase another dog, and have dried most of my tears, Sequoia will always live in my heart, and never be forgotten.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

For the first time I get the meaning of that phrase. We have lived in the rural country for 13 or so years and while we have always had fences, I have to admit, they are in desperate need of some repair.

Our dogs pretty much have always stayed in our own yard regardless, although every single dog in the neighborhood like to come to our yard to visit/play. We've never had a problem with that as our dogs are pretty friendly as long as not threatened, and they enjoy the company...usually....

Recently quite a few of the domestic dogs have started running in a pack of wild dogs. These normally sweet family pets can become quite unfriendly when in a pack. Their behaviour can be very different while in a pack then what it is at home with family. The same dogs who play well with your grand kids and other pets can turn vicious in a blink of an eye when in a pack, then come home that evening and sit by the fire with you like nothing ever happened.

We witnessed this first hand last week and the results were devastating. My dear, beloved Sequoia was mauled to death by two such dogs. Dogs who have lived next door to me for years. Dogs who my children have played with, and who had played just fine with my little Beagle.

I was showering and heard incessant barking, but didn't think too much of it as it sounded like the annoying barking these dogs have been known to do while running along the fence line playing with/teasing my dogs. All of a sudden my son called me out and said three dogs were killing mine.

I went out to see my two neighbor dogs on top of mine with him on the ground already looking half dead. A third dog, a stray from the pack earlier mentioned was standing over the scene barking and barking.

I yelled at the dogs to get off at no avail. Then I threw sticks at them only to have them pause and look at me for a moment, before returning to attempt to kill my dog. Finally I threw pieces of metal and pipe at them and they ran off. I quickly got my dog to the vet. The next day I picked him up and he looked like Frankenstein the way he was all stitched up. He had probably about 60 stitches, in no less than 12 wounds, and several more uncountable wounds not stitched.

I will spare you the details of the care he needed and the mess and stench, even the photos I was going to share, but are just too painful. Just a little less than 24 hours after bringing him home, 48 hours after the attack, by sweet Sequoia layed down his head and died..............

Words can't even express the anger, hurt, rage and sadness we feel. This was a strong, brave and majestic dog. This was a large dog at 86 lbs, and these dogs took him down like he was nothing.

This post is to share my pain and loss, but more importantly, to warn you, that if you have pets, a strong, sturdy reliable fence is a MUST!!! That should come even before you think about bringing a pet home. I would have never guessed in a million years something like this could happen. The horror of helplessly watching your beloved pet being malled to death is unspeakable, the pain of watching your protector, defender and best friend die a slow, and very painful death is pain beyond pain. Please don't let this happen to your pet. The effect on the children of the house is pretty brutal too. It is a hard thing to explain. IT is hard to teach them not to hate their neighbor because of what their pet did is a hard lesson. It is a hard lesson for mom and dad to learn as well. Don't even put yourself in a situation where this could possibly happen.

The neighbor did voluntarily accept financial responsibility(the vet bills alone were close to 400 dollars) but the money doesn't replace my dog. My dog is unreplacable. He is keeping his dogs locked up behind hotwire, but I still live in fear of my one remaining dogs life, not to mention my children's. We have gotten a puppy to ease the pain a little, but I fear letting him freely run my five acres and am keeping him on a leash like we lived in an apartment. I live in fear for my younger children. IF these dogs did this to a strong nearly 90 lb dog, what can they do to my 60 lbs 10 year old or my 35 lbs 3 year old?

Here is a photo of my beloved Sequoia, and soon I will share just what kind of dog he was...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Next Stop: Boot Camp!!

After nearly six months of a gnarly rollercoaster ride waiting for this day, it finally came yesterday and we couldn't be more happy or proud. My son took his initial oath to swear into the U.S. Navy.

He will be leaving in the beginning of March for boot camp, followed by his A school, then most likely off to yet another boot camp with the U.S. Marines as he got his job of choice as an HM(hospital medic/corpsman) and has stated that right now his thought is to volunteer to work as a combat medic with the Marines. As a mother I couldn't be more proud, yet extremely worried over his choice.

It seemed like this day would never come, but now that it is here, words can't even begin to describe the different emotions I have over the whole thing, but mostly just proud.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Few, The Proud, The Reckless??

I am so thankful to all those young men and women who serve our country. It seems this last six months or so, there is a HUGE amount of men and women anxious to serve. I think the economy and unemployment rates have something to do with that to be honest. Actually I know this to be true as I frequent quite a few military related message boards and daily I see posts of young men(and some not so young!) asking questions about enlistment as they are out of work and have families to support. Meanwhile they are all concerned with enlistment bonuses(which are far and few in between right now thanks to over enlistment)

The next big question is how to avoid going to Iraq or Afghanistan. As a mother of a son getting ready for basic training, I understand this concern and have asked the same question(not necessarily out loud). I understand not wanting to go I really do, and I don't fault those who would rather avoid it. But this isn't about what your country can do for YOU(steady employment, income, meals, not to mention the training and education) it's about what YOU can do for your country. The military is designed to keep our country and it's citizens safe, not to be a social service organization where you take but don't give. My son has chosen ratings(jobs) within the military that he knows have a very high likely hood that he will be serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. He isn't concerned about whether or not he will receive any bonuses, he just wants the privilege of serving his country.

This mentality of joining just because of the economy has created a couple of problems in my opinion. The military has become so overmanned that there is a HUGE waiting list just to obtain a rating and enter the DEP program(delayed entry) once that happens, there is a wait of 6-12 months before even leaving for boot camp. Persons with very high ASVAB scores who are highly desirable candidates are being turned away without jobs due to being so overmanned.

Of those getting in, several are being discharged for some of the most minor reasons, like rashes, headaches and other ailments that normally wouldn't be an issue, but due to the budget and those still waiting to get in, they are being discharged. Imagine waiting nearly a year to get in, only to get half way through boot camp and be released because you are allergic to the laundry soap!

Of those choosing to enlist due to the economy I am seeing a whole other problem, one that leaves me VERY upset. Several of these people are joining strictly for the paycheck, and when they get in they aren't representing their country very proudly. I have heard of several people involved in activity that has caused them to be discharged that certainly deserved to be. Underage drinking, drinking while driving, and other criminal activity. I personally know three such persons. One had a accident while driving drunk, nearly killing the innocent victims, another who just up and decided to go AWOL after boot camp and during "A" School, and yet a third who actually stole an item from a room mate.

First, I feel very strongly that when you wear our country's uniform, you are representing all Americans and should do it proudly and with dignity. You are a role model. You are to have an outstanding code of conduct. More is and should be expected of you than the norm. If you want to abuse alcohol or be a thief, join a gang, not the military!

Secondly, there are plenty of very well qualified young men and women who actually want to serve their country out of a patriotic love for our country and they are being turned away or put on insanely long wait lists and it is VERY unfair to them to have them waiting while these hoodlums fill the slots that could be theirs.

Thirdly our government spends a large amount of money for the training of these individuals and it is wasted when these people take it and basically throw it away.

Don't sign up if you are doing it for any other reason than love of your country and desire to serve.

Also, don't sign up if you have no intention of carrying through, or are not 100% sure you want to. There have been so many in the DEP program, taking that spot for themselves, only to keep it to themselves for nearly a year, then change their mind at the last minute, giving the military days to a week to find another candidate. There are plenty willing, but most would like to have a month or so to prepare, visit family, etc... and by taking this slot making it unavailable you are taking that away from someone who will fill that slot.

My son will be going to MEPS once again this week and hopefully returning home with a rating and a ship date for boot camp. He has been waiting since June 26th of this year. Meanwhile we have seen three close personal friends enter and leave because of their own reckless behaviour, and have heard countless stories of others. I hope and pray, and do believe my son will do his country and us proud. I also hope all those considering enlisting will really search their hearts and motives before signing on the dotted line and taking a slot that there are literally hundreds if not thousands waiting to fill.

Rainy Day Fun With Origami

This weekend someone in our homeschool group had arranged an Origami Workshop at our local library. We had just got done reading a book; Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes which involved Origami so we thought it sounded like fun.

I foolishly thought our master pieces would look like the stunning Origami I had found searching the web:

You can imagine my disappointment when my first attempts looked more like this:

Needless to say I came home a bit disappointed and thinking the whole idea was not a good one! Well, we had a whole long, wet , cold weekend and as boredom sat in, the boys and I began to fold paper again. While still not quite the caliber of the pieces of art I envisioned in my mind, I think they are improving:

There are some(almost) recognizable items, a stocking, candy cane, cup(yellow) box(blue), hat(purple), and almost a boat(other purple)

Turned out we all had fun, and everyone from the oldest to the youngest got in on the fun. I think my husband was the only one who didn't join in.

With colder weather upon us and Christmas Vacation right around the corner, you too, might want to consider some Origami fun. Your library should have books available, and I found a couple of neat websites that have printable diagrams as well as animation showing the folds, so even those with butterfingers like me can at least do some simple projects.

Warning! It is addictive!

HERE's the fun website, and HERE is where I order my paper from. Order lots as I thought 200 sheets would last weeks, and it lasted the weekend! Even better, just cut some squares from ordinary paper to practice with and save the Origami paper for when your projects actually start to look like something. Although it just seems more fun with the special colored paper, but the choice is yours.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Eat This!

I have seen and been interested in the Eat This Not That books for some time now, but just never got around to checking them out or ordering them. I recently got four in the series. I have mixed feelings about them, but over all think they are quite good for the average person, especially those who eat a lot of package foods or those who eat out even occasionally.

I was very surprised at the calories, sugar and fat in a lot of the foods, and shocked that two of my favorite restaurants rate among the worst!

For those who already eat a low processed diet of mostly who grains and natural foods, this book may not be for you. But for the average person, I think it is VERY eye opening and educational! I am tempted to order some copies as Christmas gifts for those who I know who enjoy eating out frequently!

Surprising was that even some of the "healthy" and "natural" items are neither!

Disappointing was that this was mostly about packaged and processed foods, which I don't eat much of, so the information wasn't extremely helpful to me, although I still did learn some things that I think I will benefit from.

Also disappointing was that I ordered four of these as part of a "deal" from a publishing company, and the information is repeated in all four books. There is a little new or different information in each, but not enough to justify having all four in my opinion.

For those who don't eat out often, I recommend the Supermarket Survival Guide. For those who eat out alot I'd recommend the Restaurant Survival Guide, for those who are still eating alot of processed and packaged food I'd start with the original guide.

Each contains interesting information on labels, what food manufactures don't want you to know, lots of information on a favorite subject of mine; CORN SYRUP!! If nothing else, these are fun just to go through and look at the recommended swaps and compare to what you're eating now. While I prefer food with alot less packaging than the swaps given, this is a lot more realistic for the average person, then just telling them to give up their Snickers Bar and eat raisins instead. These books give you the better choice while not always truly the most healthful. Kind of the lesser of two evils, but I do feel while not ideal, this is what will work for the average person trying to eat better but not quite ready to go the whole grain, natural, organic way just yet.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kung Fu Kickboxing

In my search for something to take the place of Kenpo in my P90X routine I ordered The Kung Fu Kickboxing Workout
from Netflix to try out before deciding to commit to buying it sight unseen. As mentioned in another post, I like the Kenpo X as far as the drills go, but I feel it isn't enough cardio, and the Kenpo Cardio Plus, has enough cardio, but the drills are lacking, that combined with the fact that I quickly become bored and like to mix things up a bit, leaves me on the search of some good martial artsy type workouts.

This one is pretty good over all. It is a brother and sister team, both who are kickboxing champions. The sister gives most of the instruction with the brother demonstrating the moves. I have to say the instruction on this workout is by far the best I've seen in any workout. She gives clear instructions, and lots of reminders throughout. She is no-nonsense and straight to the point, yet encouraging. She constantly encourages you to keep trying.

She has a few good lines in here too that I still find myself giggling over. During one exercise she notes that you may feel yourself jiggling, but that's okay, but then is quick to add "The more you jiggle, the more you need this workout!" Another good one is "The burn is your friend" Not sure the most beginner exercisers may agree, but it IS true!!

This tape has three workouts included, each lasting 20 minutes. The first one is called The Basic and is just that, basic. Even so, by the last few moves I was sweating! This would be a fine beginner workout for just about anybody. It is short, quick, and covers most all body parts with a variety of floor work, punches, kicks and more. Again, the instruction is superb, making this truly great for even the most beginners of beginners, although the work might be a little of a challenge, but it's not too much so.

The next workout is The Kicker and is a little more advanced, and alot more fun! This really does cover it all, you have balancing exercises, strength building moves(such as push ups) and lots of cardio with your kicks and punches. This one moved a little faster, but with the superb instruction, it was fairly easy to quickly catch on, and the reminders were very helpful.

The last workout was The Killer and like the other two, also twenty minutes long. This one was more like plyometrics or intense cardio intervals. It was a lot of fun, but I have to be honest here and say that I really struggled with the combos in this one. They moved on a little faster than in the other two, and I had a hard time keeping up and catching on to the moves. I think with practice, I will be fine and really enjoy this one, but this morning I just ended up frustrated and feeling a bit clumsy!

Each workout is complete in itself, making it a good, quick routine for those days you are short on time or while you work on advancing to the next level. As far as doing this on a regular basis, I think to get the full cardio benefit and really feel worked out, I would recommend doing at least two if not all three of these each time based on your current level of fitness. A true beginner of course would want to stay with just the first one until ready to move on, but someone already in decent shape would do well to do workout one and two, and someone in even better shape could do all three or workouts two and three.

I hope this pair is planning on doing more tapes in the future as I will be anxious to see more by them. As I said, I REALLY like the female in this one. She's not all chatty and cutesy like many try to be(that's just annoying!) and she doesn't put on a fake tough girl act either(that is equally annoying after a while) she just is what she is, and it works!

Everything about this worked, the music was appropriate for the workout, the set was clean(a small boxing ring) the instructors were dressed in kickboxing attire causing no distraction(you know, no guys in speedos or gals with their chest falling out!) While this still isn't exactly what I am looking for in regards to replacing the Kenpo, I think I will be adding this to my collection for those times I am needing more cardio, and do look forward to anything else this pair may do in the future!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Even Better Than New!!

For some time now we've been wanting to replace the fabric on our dining room chairs. Between having a toddler joining us at the table for meals, and just where we live out in the dirt, combined with a household of all boys or men other than myself, our chairs have taken a beating!

Having checked on prices in the past of having furniture professionally reupholstered, I figured it would be a while before we got it done. Luckily my husband is of the mindset if it is a job we can pay someone else to do, there is no reason he can't do it himself.

With the holidays approaching and a houseful of guests expected, we decided it was time to give it a try. A quick trip to the fabric store, some glue and staples and my husband got busy!


Now they match my red plaid curtains and solid red table cloth, and makes that part of the house much brighter!

It sure is nice to have a handy husband!

Upper Plus

I have finally had a chance to do all of the P90X PLUS DVDs, the last one being the Upper Plus. This workout is fun! It is also quite a challenge and had a lot of new moves! One of my favorites was called "Double Dips" and you take two chairs about two feet apart and do first a push up with one arm on each chair, then swing through and do a triceps dip. You repeat this for the time given(I think it was about two minutes)

As common in the P90X workouts, there were plenty of push ups and pull ups, but they all had a new twist making things interesting and very challenging.

When I first started P90X I hated the days we did push-ups, probably because I could only do five on my toes. Now I can do four times that amount and love them! I love the variety, I never had any idea there were so many ways to do push-ups. I really have come to believe that push-ups have to be one of the very best all around exercises, working several body parts at a time with so many different ways to do them, hitting body parts at different angles.

I have to say that overall I am really impressed with this series and think they make a nice addition to the P90X series. Again, these are for P90X graduates, not recommended for those who haven't yet completed P90X.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Kenpo Cardio Plus

So far this is my least favorite of the P90X PLUS series. It is still an effective cardio workout, a much better one than the Kenpo X from the original series for that matter, but something seemed lacking, though I can't quite put my finger on it.

The original Kenpo X more closely resembled martial arts drills like you would see in a martial arts class. My complaint with that DVD is that it was supposed to be a cardio workout and it hardly got my heart rate increased even slightly. My complaint here is the opposite, the cardio aspect was on key, it got my heart rate up, but the drills were rushed and sloppy with little rhyme or reason.

On the plus, this workout is much quicker than the original at only 40 minutes rather than 60. As mentioned prior, the cardio IS much more effective. It's a good workout for what it is and as part of the P90X series it is a nice part of it to give you something different after your weight training days. If you are looking for a kick boxing workout or martial arts training, look elsewhere, but as part of the P90X series, it works for what it is.

Last Chance Workout

I just love Netflix as not only is it an easy and affordable way to rent your favorite movies, but for an exercise junkie such as myself, it is an affordable way to get to "try before I buy" workouts that look interesting that I am just not sure I want to dish out money for yet.

In my opinion, this is one of the better of the Biggest Loser series of workouts. So far the only other one I actually thought was worth the money or even doing for that matter was the Boot Camp one with Bob.

This still is nowhere near as good as Jillian's 30 Day Shred, Banish Fat, or No More Trouble Zones, but it is a good solid workout none the less.
The workout itself was fast paced and was a full body workout. There are three separate workouts that can be done together or separately or combined in any way you like. I chose to do all three. The first workout is a cardio interval circuit involving some weights. Typical of Jillian's style you are constantly working more than one body part at a time, meaning if you are doing weighted bicep curls, you are squatting or lunging as well. I really like this kind of workout. This part also included lots of push-ups, jumping jacks and other basic but fast paced and effective moves.

The next two workouts are toning workouts, both using weights, one for legs, one for upper body. These are short at only ten minutes each but effective and a nice add-on to the cardio intervals.

The workout itself is pretty solid and can be used effectively by both beginners and intermediates both making modifications as needed. Jillian has a few exercisers showing the beginner modifications. Based on the workout itself I would give this fairly high ratings, but I do have a few complaints which lowers that rating.

There are SEVERAL former Biggest Loser contestants on the set exercising. I know many people will enjoy this part because there are males and females, heaver and thinner shaped peoples, some who are fit and can do all the moves and some who are struggling. Everyone should be able to find someone they can identify with, and that in itself is a good thing, but presents a few problems. One, for me who is a very visual person, I found it made the set look very cluttered and distracting.

Second, while some may find it encouraging to have such a variety of people, many were doing the moves wrong. One person was doing regular bicep curls when Jillian had called for hammer curls. If you were watching that person, you'd be doing the wrong move!

Thirdly, just about EVERYONE was doing most moves VERY sloppily. Kick boxing style punches even with out kicking, just standing punches can be a VERY effective exercise, if done properly with intention. These people were just flinging their fists around waving their arms around sloppily. If you were to follow their example, again, you wouldn't be doing it correctly.

To me, these faults are very big deals. Those familiar with these moves from other programs should have no problem seeing the errors and doing them correctly, but for a true beginner, I think this could be a big problem!

Still, I would recommend this video over most other Biggest Loser workouts keeping these things in mind. For those looking for a very good workout and like Jillian, I would recommend her videos over this though. They are a little tougher and there are no Biggest Loser Contestants, but they are cleaner, done correctly and will deliver results!

Total Body Plus

I tried the Total Body Plus DVD earlier this week and was quite impressed! This really is a total body workout! Like Core Synergetics from the original P90X series, this is a workout that can be used as a stand alone workout as it really does work all body parts in one workout. No need for extra ab work with this one as you can feel your whole core working through this workout.

Lots of pull-ups and push-ups as well as an interesting variety of moves working several body parts at once, some using weights, some just using your own body as resistance.

I really did enjoy this workout and highly recommend it. For those who have completed the original P90X or are about to I HIGHLY recommend this series, it will take you to the next level!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Attention Husbands!

Last year this cute video made it's rounds on Face Book and other social networks, but I think the message is so important it bears repeating:

Myself, I don't care for jewelry, and my husband can probably get away with giving me exercise equipment or a gym membership, but really husbands, most women WILL put you in the dog house at the very least. Housekeeping equipment also is up there on the do NOT list. Also, if you opt to buy clothes and don't know her size, do NOT go bigger to be safe, you will be lucky if you get sent to the dog house rather than murdered on site!

While you silly men may like tools and such for gifts, we wives don't!

Of course, if you have a wife like me that begs for more exercise videos/equipment I do know where to hook you up.

Jewelry is good, a months worth(or better a year!) of maid service, gift certificates for the spa are all great ideas. But please, no vacuums, blenders, or thigh masters. No matter how well intentioned, it will not be well received!

Happy Shopping Men!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Interval X Plus

This morning I got to try my first workout in the P90X + series. This DVD had two workouts on it; Interval X Plus and Abs/Core Plus.

It started with the interval workout and it was an awesome workout! I think this will quickly become a favorite of mine(it already is after just 1 go at it)

Interval training is a little different than regular cardio or aerobics. It is a series of moves that get your heart rate elevated(quite high at times) then slows down and then up again. I have quickly become a fan of interval training as it is the exercise that most closely resembles for me the way I feel when taking martial arts classes. The ONLY time I've never had to worry about watching my weight(other than keeping enough on!) was while taking martial arts classes. At about an hour each, they kind of resemble intervals in the sense that when drilling your heart rate goes up extremely high, then slows down while you wait your turn again, and same sort of thing when sparring. I think that is what sped up my metabolism so high I actually had to intentionally eat lots extra just to keep from losing too much weight.

That up and down of the heart rate is really what I feel was the secret to all of the incredible physical results I had while training. I have searched high and low trying something to mimic that first starting with Tae Bo and other kick boxing style workouts, but those while the movements were similar, were a constant movement with no change in heart rate. The closet I found was the Jillian Michaels "Banish Fat Boost Metabolism" DVD. Well, this is that taken up about three notches!!!

I was sweating heavy and breathing like I ran several miles at full speed within the first few moves! Lots of new moves I haven't seen in P90X or Tony Hortons One on One series. I was also please to see push ups included in the rotation to help maintain and improve upper body strength. There were also some familiar moves like skaters and some kicks.

I see why this is P90X PLUS and only recommended for P90X grads as I think this one would have killed me pre-P90X. I felt great and energized for hours afterwards!

On the same DVD is the Abs/Core Plus. This is all new ab moves! I really like the variety in this one. Abs were worked from my favorite ab position; plank

as well as hanging, standing and more.

I am not sure this is as intense as Ab Ripper from the original P90X, it certainly didn't feel as hard, although it was a lot more fun and interesting. We'll have to see how my abs feel in the morning! This ab workout is also a bit longer than Ab Ripper, I think just over 20 minutes. But both workouts were done in just about an hour making it alot more reasonable time wise than the original P90X workouts.

Overall so far, I am quite pleased with the workouts and look forward to the next one tomorrow. My only complaint was the music. I normally don't even notice with the exception of some yoga workouts the music on most workouts, but this was almost like elevator music and it was a rather intense workout(Intervals, didn't notice on the abs) So for those of you who do normally notice such things, this may drive you up the wall! Other than that though I give at least this particular DVD high ratings.

P90X +

After waiting for what seems like forever I finally bit the bullet and bought P90X +. It is made to be the follow up to P90X. It can either help you maintain your results from P90X or add variety into your P90X routine and help you achieve even greater results.

There are five brand new workouts and a little booklet that gives you several different options on how to incorporate P90X + into your routine.

The five new workouts are:

Interval X Plus
Kenpo Cardio Plus
Upper Plus
Total Body Plus
Abs/Core Plus

I will be trying each one this week and will review here. My elbow is still very sore, so I will have to modify moves that will aggravate it, but I think I should be able to do most of the workouts with little or no problems.

This morning I tried Interval X Plus and Ab/Core Plus and will review in a new post. I will say from what I've done so far I am impressed and these clearly are for P90X graduates only. Unless you are in incredible shape I would not attempt these prior to completing P90X. I was in fairly good shape prior to P90X and got through the program fairly easy while still feeling a bit of a challenge, but I honestly feel the workout I did today would have KILLED me pre-P90X. Check back for detailed reviews of each DVD!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

REAL Women Age...Gracefully and Naturally!!

I have to admit since turning 40 this year I have been having a hard time accepting the fact that I AM getting older, I AM getting gray hair, and even a few wrinkles. I probably over do it a bit on the exercise trying to stay in great shape. But can one really blame me? As I watch movies and TV shows with some of my favorite actresses, many of whom I know are much older than me, they never seem to age! Many look not only as good at 50 as they did at 20, but some look even better!

Why is it that as they age, they don't seem to be prone to the wrinkles and gray hairs that I do? How is it with their busy schedules they manage to stay in better shape than most 20 year olds? It is very hard to feel good about one's self when I seem to steadily be showing the signs of age, while these actresses seem to be aging in reverse!

Then, the other night I was doing something I rarely do; watching a LIFETIME TV movie. One of my favorite actresses was in it! This woman has been my own personal ideal of what I aspire to be physically; strong, muscular, yet feminine in her own way. And of course she played in one of my all time favorite movie series; Terminator.

Yes, Linda Hamilton...who couldn't help but be impressed with her physique in Terminator 2?

So I am waiting for this LIFETIME movie to start and was SHOCKED at first when Linda appeared. She is just a tad over 50 now and unlike other stars of the day, she looks every year of it! At first I was upset; How could she let herself go like this?

Then I started thinking...wait, she actually looks like a woman her age! What a relief! She is older than me, and looks it! She doesn't look at 50 like many women stars do, young enough to date my teen son! I actually find it quite refreshing and somewhat reassuring. I must admit it is weird these days to turn on the TV and see these stars never aging.

I remember watching the great stars of the past like Catherine Hepburn actually age. Old enough to be my grandmother, as she aged she looked like, well, my grandmother! There was something comforting in that. Now these days, these stars just never age and it is somewhat strange on one hand and frustrating on the other. Without plastic surgery there is no way I can keep up trying to age along with my favorites, as I am surpassing them in the aging process even though I am years younger than many! How weird for my kids to see their mother aging faster at 40 than Madonna who has got to be over 50 by now!

I find it refreshing when stars like Linda Hamilton allow themselves to age naturally. I think it is much healthier not only for themselves, but those watching them. It reminds us that aging is just part of the natural process of life. We can do all we can naturally such as exercising, eating well and maybe a box of Clairol Nice n Easy, but that eventually we do all age, and there is nothing wrong with it at all.

Before and After(90 day photos)

Finally, those 90 day photos! I do see an improvement all the way around, although I would still like to lose a bit more belly fat and develop some more muscle in my arms and abs.

Due to an elbow injury, I will be having to take a break from P90X for a few weeks while it heals, but I wont be resting! I recently ordered P90X+, so I will be doing the carido routine and Kenpo Cardio + from that as well as some of my One on One Cardio's by Tony Horton as well. I am also anxiously waiting to order my Coach Showcase Package which includes several Beach Body Products including two I am particularly looking forward to; Yoga Booty Ballet and Turbo Jam. AS soon as they arrive and I have a chance to try them out I will post about them here.

To learn more about P90X or any Beach Body product please visit my WEBSITE.


DAY 90

DAY 90

DAY 1(above)
Day 90 (below))

Sunday, November 29, 2009

How Do You Say Thank You?

Words just don't seem enough to thank the family that has been caring for my granddaughter for most of her first year of life. They have also extended kindness to Autumn's mother, my daughter. At times maybe even more than she deserved.

They have kept us feeling involved by emailing pictures and updates often. They have gone as far as sending Austin birthday gifts "from Autumn." They have gone above and beyond what should be expected from any foster family, then as if that wasn't enough they out did themselves by bringing her here to spend a holiday with us giving me five of the best days I can remember in a long, long time.

I don't know if I ever can express my deepest thanks for all they have done, a simple "Thank You" hardly seems enough.

Getting to Know Autumn

I am SO grateful for these five days of getting to know Autumn. We had five days to make up for a year of missing her! We all wanted time with her, and when it was time for her to leave none of us wanted her to go. She is such a happy baby full of smiles and the BIGGEST dimples I've ever seen.

Brother and Sister

I am SO grateful for this week that Autumn and Austin got to spend together. The last time they were together Autumn was only two weeks old. As far fetched as it may seem, there really did seem to be some sort of recognition, like they KNEW they were brother and sister. The first thing Austin said to Autumn, after touching her cheek was "Hi Beautiful!" Priceless!

Austin is Three!

Austin also celebrated a birthday this week. He was being a bit camera shy the night of the party with our guests, then last night when we had cake and gifts with just us, I for some inexcusable reason, forgot to take pictures! Here are a few taken one of the days Autumn was here. You can see what a handsome young guys he's turning out to be!

He got the red curls buzzed off a week or so ago, because I got tired of washing out the jelly and yogurt he keeps insisting on rubbing in his hair. He's still a cutie though, although now he looks more like a little boy than a baby.

This is such a fun age, I wish we could just keep him like this forever! So full of life and love, with lots of daily hugs and kisses! He's a very good boy, I couldn't imagine life without him.