Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Missing Piece - 30 Day Yoga Sculpt Program

Last week I detailed my current training program, but did anybody happen to notice what was sorely missing from it? I have been keeping myself very busy cross training between weight lifting and cardio, but I have suspiciously been avoiding yoga. There's a reason for that. It's because yoga is truly the hardest on my body. I find it easier to do a 7 mile trail run on very challenging terrain than a power yoga session. Because of my chronic neck and shoulder problems I have just been afraid to add yoga back into my routine and that just plain makes me sad. My upper body strength is not coming back as quickly as my lower body strength is and it's time that I step it up a bit. When I discovered that Acacia will be releasing a new yoga DVD training program it was the perfect opportunity to jump back into yoga with both feet. On April 3rd, Acacia will release a 30-day workout plan from its best-selling fitness series with Exhale: Core Fusion 30 Day Sculpt. This DVD will feature 30 twenty-minute workouts from the top husband and wife team in fitness, Fred DeVito and Elisabeth Halfpapp (who just happen to be among my favorites.)

The kind folks at Acacia sent me a review copy of the DVD and I so far I've done two day's worth of workouts. Already I'm in love with it. It's set up similar to my familiar Beach Body workouts in that every day is something different. When you pop the DVD in you are presented with "Work-out Options." These options are categorized by weeks: Week 1, Week 2, etc. for each week of the 30 day challenge. Once you pick the week, you're presented with more choices and you pick the day of the week. Out of the 7 days, one of these days is scheduled as a rest day (just like P90X and all the other Beach Body programs). There is no doubt that there is a formula for success in good training programs and this program is following that formula.

Yesterday I tried my first routine. I should mention that each workout is only 20 minutes long, which I love! And you're probably thinking, "How much of a workout can you get in 20 minutes?" And the answer to that is "a lot." Fred and Elisabeth waste no time with idle chit chat. They get right down to business and they don't fool around. It's not easy. The first routine started with a nice refreshing warm up, followed by 15 minutes of very challenging upper body intensive yoga moves. You'll be happy it's only 15 minutes. Be prepared for some pushups!

Today's session was much more focused on the lower body. I thought I would sail through it since I've been concentrating much more on my legs this season. After all, I'm doing 7 mile trail runs with ease. How hard can this be? Well, I nearly cried! I'm not sure I want to admit that I couldn't even really do all the moves, to the T, as they did. I thought my legs would explode. Wow. All I got to say is, "I'm impressed." And super excited to give this entire 30 days a go.

I will continue to post some reviews as I follow this program. Please remember that this DVD won't be available for sale until April 3rd, but after that you can find it on the Acacia website here:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Lesson From My Dog

I think there's a wonderful lesson to be learned from my dog. And it's funny too that I can suggest that I can learn something from a notoriously "not-so-smart" dog. But today, the lesson was so clear to me that I had to stop and marvel at it. You see, one of our dogs is getting up in age. She's a 11.5 year old greyhound and as far as greyhounds go, that's pretty old. I'm just now starting to worry about her level of activity and I'm doing this despite her showing any real signs of slowing down. I can't help but to worry that maybe we shouldn't be taking her for 7 mile hikes/runs anymore. I mean there has got to come a time when she just shouldn't be doing it anymore. I always think there will come a day when she's smart enough to know (by what we are wearing) what is in store for her should she choose to get up and show signs of excitement to come along. I expect this day to come because our first greyhound did exactly that. We would take him for a big hike one day and then the next day he would just look at us and say, "Yah right, I'm not falling for that again. You humans go and knock yourselves out while I lay here on my comfy bed. See ya." But then again, he was always our 'smart' dog.

Given the fact that this dog is not as smart and will continue to want to come no matter what torture we put her through, it will be up to me to make the decision that she is no longer fit to play. But that decision will be a tough one. I already think that she shouldn't be able to do what she does. It's amazing to watch her bouncing happily along some seriously rugged terrain, tail wagging the entire time. Today is when the lesson hit me. You see, nothing has ever been introduced into my little dog's belief system that suggested to her that she shouldn't be able to handle this long trail run. She doesn't know that she's getting too old for it. There is no reason in the world that she would, or should, think that she can't do it . . . and therefore she happily trucks on. I'm sure she looks at our other, younger dog and thinks, "If he can do it I can do it." It's all about your intention and your belief. You can do anything if you truly believe you can do it. The moment doubt enters your mind you are compromising your ability, so perhaps we need to train our brains as hard as we train our bodies.

Friday, February 24, 2012

It's Like Brushing My Teeth

Today a friend asked me what I had planned for this weekend. Off the top of my head I couldn't think of a thing. I knew I would be busy with a lot of little things, but I didn't have any big 'real' plans. When I reported this fact to him his reaction was, "You mean you're not planning on taking a big hike or going for a run?" And that's when it hit me. I don't consider big hikes, runs, or long bike rides to be 'real' plans. Those things are just part of my every (weekend) day routine. Actually, they are also part of my every weekday routine. I just don't consider them "plans." That sort of exercise is part of my daily routine - kind of like bathing or brushing my teeth. It's just something I have to do, period. If you can get to this point in your training then you know you're gonna make it. It gets to the point where you're no longer making the decision to workout. You only real decision is which workout are you going to do on any given day. Strive for it!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Training Status

I'm struggling to decide if I should report that I'm experiencing some tough road blocks or smashing success. I guess it's a little bit of both. I've been extremely diligent (as I always am) about my workout schedule this Winter. Although I'm not following any one specific and rigid program, I am mixing it up and doing some great cross training. I find that this flexibility in my schedule and the freedom to make my own choices about what I will do each day really helps with the boredom and monotony associated with sticking to just one strict program. I have decided to commit to posing for photos on my birthday in July for no other reason but to compare them to the photos I had taken after my first completion of P90X. That will be four years ago so it will be tough to compare. Not only was I four years younger then, but that was the year that I followed P90X the most strictly. I guess I'm lightening up in my old age!

Some of my road blocks have included me overdoing it and getting hurt. It never fails. I can't seem to accept the fact that
  1. I'm no spring chicken anymore, and 
  2. I'm still somewhat injured with a neck problem. 
I may have gotten just a little too bit excited with just the fact that I was back in a gym and as a result I've hurt myself no less than 3 times. Two times I re-hurt my neck and once I hurt my notoriously bad knee. As if getting back into shape isn't challenging enough without having to deal with injuries. It may have slowed me down a bit, but it hasn't stopped me. I am continually getting stronger and having the doctor tell me that I have the "efficient heart of an athlete" just makes my day.

My normal weekly routine has been consisting of a minimum of 3 Brazilian Butt lift videos. Bum Bum, High & Tight, and Sculpt are absolute neccessities. I also try to squeeze in one session of the Ab routine. The Cardio Axe has already gotten a little boring and unchallenging so I've been substituting with my new favorite indoor work-out – Wii Zumba 2. What a hoot that is and I love that you can just "take a class" which automatically plays the songs continuously so you don't have to fiddle with the control after every dance. I'm also lifting 3 times a week (upper body only) and I'm doing a combination of hiking and/or running 2 - 3 times a week. During the week I keep the runs to 30 minutes and the hikes to 1 hour and on the weekends I extend the runs to one hour and the hikes to 2+ hours. I have to say, the hiking is making the running seem too easy so now I'm starting to do some trail running. I think that will be the best possible training for my dream of doing a half marathon this year. If I can just keep myself from getting injured over and over I think I'll be well on my way. Less than 5 months till my birthday photos . . . and counting.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Are You Living in Insanity?

This is a great little video to remind us about the importance of living in the moment. Most of our fears relate to something that might happen tomorrow or something that happened in the past, not real problems that we have right this minute. Stop and ask yourself this question right now . . . what are you suffering from right this minute? Is there something really wrong at this present moment in time? Always keep this question in mind as you go about your day you will learn that there is no fear in the present now. The video is short (under 1.5 minutes). Just watch it!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Free February Desktop Calendar

I just love this one! It features my yogi buddy Sandy Foster, of yoga bliss photo posing at Big Bend National Park in Texas. This is to remind us that we will be getting just a little more sunshine per day as we make our way through the long winter. If you want to make this image your desktop background just click either on the image above or click on this link. A new window will appear with a much larger graphic. Once the bigger graphic appears, just right-click on it and "save as desktop."