Workout Review: Shift Shop

Shift Shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a new trainer in the Beachbody house and he goes by the name of Chris Downing coming in with an explosive 3 week program called the Shift Shop.

How the program works

Simple three-week program (round 1).  Each week are two new cardio and strength training workouts each progressing in difficulty and time.  First week strength and cardio workouts are alternated 6 days a week/25 minutes a day. Second week ramps up same progressions of cardio and strength except slightly more difficult and 35 minutes a piece.  Last week ramps up again with sessions lasting 45 minutes. Throughout the three weeks you will also occasionally add in an ab focused workout and stretching.

The Workouts

Cardio 25, 35, 45 – high intensity intervals at 60 secs a pop

Strength 25, 35, 45 – multi-functional weight training recruiting both legs and arms simultaneously for an added burn

Abs – work your transverse abdominals, rectus abdominals, obliques and back

Stretch – much needed relaxation and stretching of muscle fibers to get you ready for the next challenge

Results

Debatable…  so I tried it.  I had not done an intense cardio based program in a while.  I had spent time focusing on muscles and lower intensity cardio workouts so initially these workouts were a challenge but definitely strengthened my muscular endurance.

While I enjoyed the program where I have issues is in the results.  Now I didn’t take it the whole nine yards and do the meal plan nor am I specifically talking about my results.  I wasn’t in it to try and change anything significantly or lose weight etc.  I just wanted to try out the new trainer.  I like Chris, he’s funny, keeps you going and makes the time fly.  I also love that his workouts include your whole body in training for agility and balance. By all means you are definitely in a pool of sweat by the end of pretty much all of the workouts in the program.

Where I go sideways is with results I am seeing posted online.  I’ve browsed tons of before and after pics for the program and honestly, I’m not impressed.  I mean I get that this is meant to charge you up and set up a pattern to keep you motivated to workout.  However where I have a problem is the sheer volume of intensity these workouts pack with little to no difference in visible results when you are done.  Why beat yourself up six days a week for little compensation?  You know?

That said, I do think this workout program would be a great fit post holiday season after overindulging or as a way to increase cardiovascular efficiency.  In fact I plan on saving the next round for those types of scenarios.  However if you are looking for a program to kick your ass AND get fast results I just don’t think this is it.  It really all depends on your goal.

To summarize, Shift Shop was fun.  I made it through all three weeks and was a sweaty mess.  Personally, I just feel there are quite a few better Beachbody programs for seeing results in the same time period.  I will go into some of my favorite programs in future reviews so stay tuned!

Did you try Shift Shop?  What did you think, did it work for you?  Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  Remember, we are all in this together, one crunch at a time.

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The Magic Equation for Success

I often get questions from people on what are the most important things they can do to see change whether that is weight loss, toning up or addressing health issues.  The equation for success is a simple 3 step process:  Set a goal, be realistic about what you can/cannot do and whatever your plan is be consistent.  That’s it!  The magic formula that stands between you and crushing it.

 

Fitness success formula

So why then is it so hard?  Why do people often fail?  Did you know that approximately 70% of people who start an exercise program quit?! Talk about the odds stacked against you. But the question still remains why did your plan fail?  Starting is step #1 and a great accomplishment but without the proper amount of forethought before beginning your plan motivation quickly slides into a slippery downhill slope.

Now the story can go two ways…. there are those of you who are like “yeah that’s totally me, I just can’t stick with a plan no matter how hard I try”.  On the flip side, there are others who say “I did have a plan and a goal but I saw no results so I just quit”.  Do you think Simone Biles got to the olympics by throwing the towel in?  Hell no, she tried it again and again and again until she perfected her craft.

So then what sets these two groups apart?  Why did one plan fall through and the other plan play out like an airplane stuck on a runway? Lets take a look into what happened in both scenarios:

Scenario #1: “I just can’t stick with a plan no matter how hard I try”

For the majority of you, chances are you fall into a version of the above (based on the previous stat at the beginning of the article). It’s ok the great thing is that it is NEVER too late to start again.  In the words of Janis Joplin, “Tryyyy just a little bit harder”.  So how can you try a little harder?  Let’s be frank, you need to set a goal.  That’s usually the biggest missing piece it’s lack of clarity from what you want and are expecting to achieve.  If you don’t know what you want, no one else will either. So my advice to you is come up with a solid plan… think it through.  What do you want?  What are your expectations?  Are they too high?  By all means it is good to challenge yourself but if you set some super high expectation of yourself that’s almost just as bad as not setting one at all.  Start small…. crush it…. set a new goal again and again and again.

So what are some types of goals you can try out if you need some ideas?

  1. Upcoming event  – for some of you maybe you have a vacation or wedding or event coming up in a few weeks, months etc that you want to look your damn best for.  What’s great about this goal is there is a clear date and a clear timeline to follow.  You know exactly how much time you have and are committing to.  The trick though is once you nail your goal don’t stop and say “ok I’m good i’m going to go back to being lazy now”.  NO! Set another goal…..  see below for some more ideas.
  2. Health related – Maybe you went to the doctor recently and uncovered that you are overweight or have high cholesterol, or worse are pre-diabetic or maybe you just want to be able to have enough energy to keep up with your kids. Whatever it is don’t just sit there wishing you could do something different just do it!  Use that goal as your driver to get healthy and benchmark your change.  By 6 months from now I want to be 20 lbs down or by my annual health exam next year I want to lower my cholesterol.
  3. Vanity goal – Maybe honestly you just want to look good.  You want to wear those size 4 or 6 pants you buried in your closet for the last 10 years or you want to see definition in your abs or firm up your butt. That’s ok too.  In this case find and clip pictures of what you aspire to be, how you want to look and use those pictures along the way as motivation toward your goal.  Just keep in mind realistic expectations… unless you are willing to supplement time, nutrition and hardcore years of training/clean eating most people will never look like the airbrushed models in a magazine (sorry!).  But that’s ok, be your best version of you.

The great thing is that once you start a plan that you thought out and succeed, that success will continue to motivate you to smash your goals again and again!  In the words of Sagi Kalev in Beachbody’s program Master Hammer & Chisel, “Are you a hammer or are you a nail?”.  Be the hammer….

Crush it!

Scenario #2: “I did have a plan but saw no results so I quit”

It’s ok, I’m not going to yell and say you didn’t try hard enough, I don’t know your situation.  But I do have a question for you.  What didn’t work?  Did you set a realistic goal?  Did you focus on exercise AND diet?  After all it takes two to tango.  You can kill it day in and out at the gym but if your diet is filled with crap choices your going to be stuck in the same spot like a hamster running on a wheel. To really succeed you need to be realistic too… maybe you were too extreme with exercise and diet and burned out before seeing any changes?  Think back on why you quit and then try again a different way or with a more defined goal in mind.  See how that works.

Look, no matter which scenario resonates with your current situation it is never too late to figure out what works but you have to be willing to try and no one can motivate you more than you can yourself.  Check out some of the other articles on this site to help inspire your new workout plan and diet and apply the 80/20 rule to all that you do.

Lastly, in this super long post, I do want to take a moment to congratulate those of you reading this that have figured out what works for you.  I know there are at least a few of you out there killing it and seeing really great results.  You, my friends are what can help the rest.  Share your success and what works for you.  Remember, we are all in this together…. we only have one life to live so let’s make the most of it.

By Kim Hale, founder of HoneyCrunched Fitness

 

DVD Review: Angie Gorr

About twice a year, my workout dvd collection starts to bore me and I am ready to invest in a new program to throw in the mix.

After exhaustive research on Amazon, bodybuilding.com, and random forums rating exercise dvds I finally settled on a new one… “Custom Fit” by Angie Gorr.

custom fit by Angie Gorr
Girls this video kicks ass! Actually I liked it so much a few weeks after I bought a second video of hers, “Sweat and Tone”. They are currently thrown in rotation once a week and are one of my dvd favorites already.

I think the greatest thing about both of these videos is the amount of customizing you can do. Only have 20 min? 30? 60? Not a problem! She even let’s you mix up your session between cardio, upper body, lower body and abs depending on your goal.

The quality of the video production is not as dynamic as Bob Harper’s or a Beachbody dvd but the workouts offered definitely make it worth your time. So if you are in the market for a new dvd to “get your beach on” this summer try Angie’s out. She won’t disappoint.

Do you have a favorite workout dvd? What is it and what makes it one of your favorites?
Written by Kimberly Hale

Exercising Mistakes to Avoid

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jblmmwr/

We all know by now how essential exercise of some sort is to our lifestyles.  In fact I came across a recent stat that mentioned those classified as “obese” were putting in less than an hour of exercise a year! There are more reasons pointing to the benefits of exercise than those against it.  So if (I really mean when) you are going to carve out the time to fit in a workout why not make the most of it?

 

Below are 5 exercises pitfalls to avoid to make sure you are maximizing your effort and don’t end up injuring yourself:

 

1)      Putting in the time, but not the effort – folks get into a gym habit, and when something becomes easier they don’t increase the intensity, leading to a plateau in weight loss and no improvement. Too many of us believe 30 minutes a day on the elliptical will solve our body issues, when the reality is, “If you want serious results, you need to do serious exercise.” Make yourself sweat! (http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sampleworkouts/a/WorkoutMistakes.htm)

2)      Never changing your workout – this issue is in line with the gym habit we just mentioned. Not only do you have to sweat it out, but mixing up your routine is a surefire way to get impressive results. Simple changes like small weight increases or taking a different group class each week will cause quick and noticeable changes in the way your body fits you.

3)      FORM – if you’re not sure about your position, ASK a trainer or someone whom you know is educated enough to help and not hurt you. If you are certain you are doing something correctly, ASK this same person to double-check your form. I’ve said before that small changes add up to big results – just make sure the results are positive!

4)      Be wary of those machines! – “Weight machines… usually focus on one muscle group at a time, and they don’t replicate the way we move in the course of our daily lives,” according to a Huffington Post article. It continues, “For maximum efficiency, try total-body exercises that involve squatting, bending, lunging and reaching.”

5)      …and one for the ladies: Yoga in general is fine during “that time,” but try to avoid headstands. Doing inverted yoga poses not only adds to your flow, but can make cramps much worse! (http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/exercise-during-period#.)

 

Have you heard of any additional exercise no no’s to be avoided?  Let us know!

 

– Kate Milde, Contributing Writer

DVD Review: Bob Harper’s Yoga for the Warrior

Sometimes everybody needs a little zen in their life. You know that kind of feeling where you are calm and mellow but ready to take on the world? Yoga for the Warrior is that kind of feeling. I love a good yoga class where I can work up a sweat but also leave feeling like I can take on whatever the day throws at me. The fact that Bob’s video brings that kind of feeling in the own comfort of my home is amazing.

I have tried various home yoga DVDs and have found a lot of them to be boring, monotonous, or just plain confusing. All completely opposite of that cool, relaxed feeling I’m supposed to have. When I first picked up this DVD I was skeptical given the bad rap so many other DVDs out there tote. Simply put I don’t like videos wasting my time.

Typically cardio and interval training videos are my forte since I’m light on time and want to get the max benefit out my workout. But yoga has such awesome benefits for your body like flexibility, strength, a “centered” feeling….that I had to find a way to incorporate it into the weekly mix. Let’s just say I got my money’s worth purchasing Bob’s video.

Yoga for the Warrior runs 60 minutes and comes equips with a second workout for yoga abs. Bob takes you through a full array of common poses ( sun salutations, the warrior series, tree, triangle etc.) and also more challenging poses (awkward airplane, bird of paradise, wheel). He also takes the workout to a whole new level with heart rate raising bursts like chaturanga push-ups and downward dog shoulder presses.

All in all I highly recommend you give this video a try. Its a tough workout but leaves you feeling amazing when it’s over. Do half of this video and you’ll still finish feeling flexible and calm.

Yoga for the Warrior is great as a stand alone workout and also fits nicely as a second workout. What I find works great is 30 minutes cardio or strength followed with 30 minutes of this yoga video.

Tried this video or have another great yoga DVD you recommend? Let’s hear about it!

3 Easy Ways to Exercise Everday

Window shopping at Simpsons department store. ...

Fitting in a solid exercise routine is not easy. For the greater majority of us the thought of waking up and going to the gym or class or going for a run seem less and less appealing as the week goes on.  Believe it or not there’s a reason for that too.  Most people start their week off physically and mentally strong but as the weight of the world, lack of sleep, and busy daily schedules add up day after day after day you soon see exercise is not the problem but everything else is!

American Heart Association, lists a minimum requirement for daily exercise as 150 minutes a week or roughly 30 minutes a day 5 days a week.  Other recommendations will tell you to aim for about 10,000 steps daily or just under 5 miles.

How much of that requirement do you meet on a daily basis?  No matter if you’ve got the insane drive it takes to stay on your daily program rain or shine or if you happen to fall off the weekly wagon, shit happens sometimes.  Simply put, that darn thing called life gets in the way leading to even the best intentions falling to the wayside.  We’ve all been there and may currently be there while reading this post thinking, “shit I knew I should have set my alarm earlier this morning.”  Which is why we have to account for that and we have to get creative in the way we approach being active so make the most of our time.

Here are 3 ways you can reap the benefits of the exercise when the practicality of a busy life takes over:

1. Do your chores: Have laundry to do?  How about vacuuming or sweeping the floor?  If you’ve let those chores slip what a great easy way to knock two birds off with one stone!  Gardening is another one of those tedious but necessary things to maintain.  Weed away to torch calories and work on your arm muscles! Through doing these easy weekly tasks you are exercising your body which counts.  (Extra Tip: Feeling extra ambitious?  Wash the floors that will get you feeling refreshed (or sweaty) and your house looking in tip-top shape.)

2. Go shopping: Holiday shopping can never start too soon. Go to your local mall and walk, even if it is just to browse. Bonus points if its nice out and the mall is outdoors! All those window shopping steps add up.

3. Park and walk: this one applies no matter where you are. If you are capable of walking make it a point wherever you go during the day to not park right up front. Park down the block or at the end of the parking lot and walk. Even better if its close enough ditch the car altogether! Less wasted gas + less pollution + health benefits from exercise = 1 pretty sweet deal. (That means cabs and public transit too… get out a block earlier or if feasible a stop early)

Hopefully these ideas will help you see there are lots of things you can do that can fall under the “exercise umbrella”.  Just keep in mind that a true exercise schedule is still king.  A solid exercise routine can be difficult with the amount of dedication, focus and determination that it requires to keep on a schedule no matter rain or shine. These ideas will help you patch the rough spots/days of the week where you just can’t get the motivation, energy or time to stick to your routine.

Ultimately, exercising makes you feel better.  It lifts your spirits, is great for your health and makes you say, “damn this shirt looks good on me.”  So do yourself a favor and carve away some time even if it’s through the three ways mentioned above.

How do you incorporate exercise when a busy life gets in the way?  Share your method with us so we can all learn and walk away with a pointer or two!

Written by Kimberly Hale

Weight Training for Wedding Day

English: Winterhalter does a one-armed pushup ...

As I may have mentioned a few weeks ago I am getting married this year!  Wedding day is officially under 5 months from now and it’s at this point where I get my game face on and dedicate these last few months to fine-tuning my exercises and eating right so that strapless mid back dress looks stunning on wedding day.  (Insert cheesy smile)   Afterall we can’t have the dreaded case of “back fat” popping through in pictures!

People have begun asking me questions like are you nervous?  How are plans coming?  Have you been super busy with wedding planning?  How about planning timelines or wedding collage books? My response to their questions is pretty much always the same: Uh… nervous?  No.  Freaking out? No…  Overwhelmed with wedding plans?  No!  What the hell should I be?  Now, it’s not that I don’t care because its my wedding of course I’m thrilled it’s just that my mister and I have been dating for 7 years,  we have a child that’s almost four and we live together so that nervousness of what to expect or what have you is just not there.  I’ve had the last 9 months to research, interview, and select vendors compile guest lists and centerpieces and pick out my dress and cake.  I’m sure a few details will accidentally get forgotten until last minute but I know regardless of my freaking out  when that happens it will all end up fine.

So that said this leaves me with time to make sure i look great in my pictures for the wedding!  I’ve already had a final dress fitting so my size is exactly as it is today.  My gown is floor length so although legs are an important powerhouse, it’s my arms and back that take center stage. But as the fact remains true you won’t make much progress on anything if that heart rate doesn’t fire up (aka use your legs too).

I’ve highlighted below a few exercises I’ve been doing a few times a week (trying for every other day) to whittle those arms in shape.

Kim’s Bridal Boot camp Recommended Upper body Weight Training Exercises (each exercise consists of 3 sets 12-16 reps each set – weights 5-10lbs)

  • Pushups  – regular pushups, chataranga pushups, downward dog  yoga pushups (great for back muscles)
  • Planks (side plank, front plank, one leg plank, elbow plank…  any and all planks!)
  • Pendulum lunges with bicep curls (50 each leg)
  • dead lift with flies
  • Squats with shoulder press
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Windmill arms with weights
  • Tricep dips (oldie but goodie)

 

Written by Kimberly Evans