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- Choosing a Workout
Best At Home Workout
Why should you listen to me?
Because, I am probably more like you than all the other fitness bloggers out there. I am not a doctor and I am not a personal trainer. I don't even have a gym membership. Mainly because I can't afford it, but if I could, gyms overwhelm and confuse me. I need somebody to tell me what to do every step of the way. And if I can't afford a gym membership, I definitely can't swing a trainer.
Also, I am a stay at home mom of 2 boys and I work part time, so ain't nobody got time for the gym. Sound familiar? I sure hope so, because then that means I'm not alone.
We've all heard of yo-yo dieters? Well, I am a recovering yo-yo exerciser (yes, it's a thing, Google it). I'm a seasonal runner. I live in the Norheast and I hate cold, so no, I am not one of those crazy people running in below 0 degree weather (yes, those people exist, they run past my house, I've seen them). Like I said, I have 2 little boys, so the only time I do get to run outside is after bedtime so that means only when the sun is still up (I live in a rural community with no sidewalks and no street lights and coyotes, no I'm not running after dark). So, as you can see my running season is short.
I am also good at talking myself out of working out. "There's too much laundry to do" "I have errands to run" "I need a nap" (my personal favorite)
Notice up there, I said "recovering", how did I get there? How did I find the motivation to keep up with REGULAR exercise?
What has worked for me? I will give you 3 options that have worked for me: 30 Day Shred, Ripped in 30 and Focus T25. Why those three? Because, that's all I have recent experience with ;)
It all started with....
Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred and Facebook.
We've all heard that having a workout buddy is great for keeping you accountable. I live in the boonies, with no friends in town, all my friends live too far away to get together every single day to workout with, or in different states, plus everybody's schedules are different so how can you find a time that works for both of you?
Enter, Facebook. It started as a little group of myself, my sister and a couple friends. We all live in different areas with different schedules, but all with the same goal. So, we created a Facebook group where we would post every single day when we worked out. And if we didn't, we had to explain why. There was some great motivation and competitiveness there! On the days when I put it off all day, then checked the group and saw everybody else had completed that day, it gave me the push to get it done. So, if you can wrangle some friends to join you, I highly recommend it!
But, from my experience, it works best when you are all doing the same thing at the same time. When we finished 30 Day Shred and Ripped in 30 and started drifting off to our own things, it fell apart.
What are your goals?
Before picking a workout program to start with. You need to decide what your primary goal is. Lose weight? Build endurance? Tone up?
If your main goal right now is to lose weight (meaning you have over 20 pounds to lose) I highly recommend Focus T-25 (if you can afford it). Anything Beachbody releases is awesome, but not cheap. I was lucky enough to have a friend that let me borrow it. T-25 is a 10 week program (15 if you count the newest release of the Gamma segment) with 2 levels. Alpha for 5 weeks and Beta for 5 weeks. I only have experience with Alpha, I have not tried out Beta yet. I will update as soon as I do!
T-25 is jam packed with cardio to get your heart rate up and burn fat. And if you are new to working out or it's been a long time and you and your couch have a close relationship, T-25 offers a really great modifier to get you started. There is a lot of jumping throughout the T-25 workouts, but it's doable. I have old lady rickety knees and they were not bothered at all by the jumping. But, again the modifier is great and takes out the jumping if you can't handle it. Another reason T-25 is great to start with is the variety. There are 5 separate workouts and you do a different one each day. I think that was the key for me being able to stick with it every day, the variety. Another thing I really liked about T-25 is the timer in the corner, it counts down your workout, so you know that when he says 25 minutes, he means it. There is also a little bar that counts down each new move, that really motivated me to push through. When I felt like I just couldn't do another rep, if I looked at the bar and saw it was almost done, I could make myself power through. Now, the caveat to T-25....they promote is as only 25 minutes per day! And they are right, HOWEVER, what they don't tell you up front is that Friday is a double day, meaning you are supposed to do 2 workouts on Friday equaling 50 minutes. If you can't carve out that 50 minutes in your day all at once, you can split them up or even do one on Friday and one on Saturday (rest day).
If losing weight is a main goal for you but you can't swing the $120 and don't have a generous friend, then 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michael's is the way to go. It's very different from T-25 Alpha. Where Alpha focuses on cardio and squats and lunges, Jillian focuses on the whole body. She uses her 3-2-1 system. 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute abs and she does this for 3 circuits with a warm up and cool down. She says it's only 20 minutes of working out, but honestly it's closer to 30. If you are new to strength training (I was a total newbie when I started this) don't be ashamed to use 3lb weights, I totally did and felt really accomplished when I was able to up it to 5lbs ;) Jillian also offers a modifier if you need it. Now, if variety is the spice of life to you, that's where Jillian may get stale for you and it will be hard for you to continue. There are 3 levels and you are supposed to do Level 1 for 10 days, Level 2 for 10 days then Level 3 for 10 days. I didn't stick with this schedule. Level 1 got "easy" after just a few days so we (remember my Facebook group?) moved on to Level 2. I can't remember how long we stayed on that level before progressing to level 3. But after a while, we just started doing whichever level we felt like that day. We all felt the need to mix it up. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Each level has it's own challenges. And we all saw and felt results at the end.
If toning your muscles is what you are after (or you already completed T-25 or 30 Day Shred). Ripped in 30 is a great way to go. Jillian sticks with her 3-2-1 method, but she makes it more tolerable. There are 4 levels instead of only 3, so you do one level for only a week. And she recommends one or two rest days where with 30 Day Shred you didn't really get any. I really do recommend you start with 30 Day Shred before starting Ripped in 30. I refer to Ripped as 30 Day Shred on steroids.
So, I started with 30 Day Shred then moved on to Ripped in 30. I saw and felt some amazing results with these and that's without really changing my diet much. My main problem areas are my tummy and bedonkadonk. After completing the Jillian workouts, I had muscles!!! I could feel them! And since I'm a total carbaholic and have accepted this as my reality, they were still buried until a smidge of pudge, but they were there!! I could totally feel them in my rear end. That thing was like a rock!!
Now, I tried to continue with Ripped in 30 since I didn't really give it 100%, but soon got bored with it, that's when I turned to Focus T-25. I have learned that I love cardio and I love variety. I think that's why it was so easy for me to really stick with T-25 and do it every single day that I was supposed to. That being said, I miss working my upper body. I can feel the muscles I had disappearing because it gets harder and harder to do those stinking pushups. And my rear end is getting softer (which is weird because T-25 has about 5 billion squats and lunges). So, I am taking the fitness reigns and creating my own schedule. Just for kicks and giggles, I did Ripped in 30 Level 2 yesterday and Level 3 today and was really impressed by my ability to make it through all the cardio without wanting to pass out and was shocked that my upper body strength wasn't as pitiful as I was thinking it was. Now that I have all these workouts under my belt, I can mix them all up together. I'm thinking 3 days of Jillian and 2 or 3 of T-25 and probably throw Beta in the mix as well, I want to see what that's like.The sky is the limit!
So, make your pick and get started! And if you can convince a friend or 2 to join you that can make all the difference!
Little tip, you will feel sore. There will be places on your body that ache that you had no idea existed. PUSH THROUGH!!! Day 2 and 3 will be hard. You will feel like you can barely walk forget working out again. Just start. I promise once you start moving, your muscles will warm up and you can do it. For Jillian, Day 3 is always the hardest, but once you get past that hump you will feel how much stronger you already are!
Good luck and get moving!