Motivation Monday: Biggest Loser Recap

Well, it’s that time again…..time for millions of viewers to slide into our couches and watch a show about weight loss :) Seems a bit odd, right?

Last night marked the beginning of a brand new season for the long running show. Jillian Michaels made a triumphant comeback and was in rare form. Bob Harper is still holding tight to his long-playing role as the top trainer and Dolvett Quince came back to resume his role as well. The BL also added a twist to the show in that they are bringing in 3 kids to be ambassadors for fitness. This means they won’t be at the ranch full-time and they cannot be eliminated. Good move on their part for bringing awareness to the childhood obesity epidemic. Oh, and Alison Sweeney is hosting again and might I say she looked FABULOUS last night!

As I move on through the recap, I need to remind you that the Biggest Loser is first and foremost a REALITY TV SHOW. They cater to ratings. I’m not judging, but I feel that some people watch the show and get caught up in the alternate reality of it all. Take it with a grain of salt people…… First night was exciting for sure. I loved the way each of the trainers handled the kids. Children should be trained differently from adults. Both in training progressions as well as motivation. The adults were a bit of a different story. The first workout was par for the course and each trainer stuck to their respective roles. I have to say, Jillian makes excellent points about the way we treat and speak to ourselves. I love the line she said about “That is abuse. All of this in here is not.” I agree whole heartedly. Now, I may not kick people out of my gym when they get dizzy (I usually offer a G2 and tell them to rest as it’s usually due to poor fueling), but I agree with her tough approach. you have to want it badly enough to challenge what has become your normal.

Aside from people dropping like flies and feeling poorly about the state of their own health (or lack thereof), everything went fairly smooth for the opening evening. As I sat and watched (with the rest of America!) I was bombarded with a lot of thoughts about this entire approach to weight loss. I mean, ALL of the contestants chosen made comments about the fact that they were doing this for their health and/or to live for a certain loved one. So, here’s the thought that keeps banging away at my heart and mind…..Why on Earth do you have to wait to be on a reality show to do it?

Whoa! I know what you’re thinking, “Come on now, at least they’re trying”. I say, no, they haven’t even begun to really try. Here’s the place I’m coming from. I have lost 104 pounds. No trainer, no huge gym, no pre-planned meals, no TV show, no cameras. Some might rebut by saying I already knew how. You would be wrong. I started right where many of these contestants start. There is NO lack of knowledge available, there is a lack of discipline to go get it.

Real fitness is just that, a DISCIPLINE. It’s not about motivation, inspiration or TV ratings. It is developing a discipline within your life to commit to your health and the health of your family. The young man who goes by Bingo (isn’t he precious???) is the same age as my son. It has taken me taking responsibility and telling him “Just a small serving” or “Get up and go do something”. Goodness, most of the time I get up and do things with him! And I’m busy too people, so don’t even try….. Develop a discipline in life and you will succeed. Success is derived from discipline.

So, I promise I’m not hating on the show! I realize that it does get some people inspired and that is worth the watch itself. Here’s the rub though: years ago when I first started teaching aerobics I had a lady who came religiously to my classes, and she was losing weight steadily. Then, one day she stopped coming. A few weeks later, she met me up at the gym. She explained that the Biggest Loser was coming to Houston to hold auditions and since you have to be a certain amount overweight to participate, she stopped working out and was gorging to gain her weight back. Houston, we have a serious problem….

Why do we think that only a TV show can save us? We are enamored with the celebrity of it all. Ask any professional actor and they will tell you the celebrity part is the worst part of the whole thing. Yet, we pine for it. It’s as though we honestly believe that living in an alternate reality is the only way we can succeed. To that I say this: if you believe you can only succeed in an alternate reality, you have already given yourself to failure. There was a man chosen who stated he had waited 3 years for his chance to be on the show. THREE YEARS!!!!! Do you have any idea what he could have accomplished in 3 years?!? And yes, I get the fact that when you do it on your own there are no cash rewards, no accolades, no interviews……but honey, it is so worth it!

The dedicated discipline you earn from putting in your own work far exceeds anything a reality show can offer! You want to see a change in this world? Start a fire in you first! Be the one that begins to develop a change in your own family. Take personal responsibility for your health and fitness. Stop making excuses and playing the victim! You and I are no different from each other. We both hurt, we bleed, we struggle, and if you’re like me, we have a raging sweet tooth! But you know what? Fitness doesn’t care who you are, how much money you make a year, where you start, or how long it may take. Fitness is available to EVERYBODY. You don’t need a membership, you don’t need a certain color shirt and you sure don’t need to be picked from a crowd. Did you realize that as of right now over 66% of the United States is struggling with obesity? That’s the MAJORITY! You are no longer going to sit idle amongst the majority, waiting hopefully for your name to be called. You will stand from this day on. You will walk tall and know that YOU CAN DO THIS.

So, what’s it going to be? Are you in or are you out? Are you tired of waiting for your “chance”? Be the first to step out and make a real change…..no script required :)

LIVE OUT LOUD!

Michelle

NEW DVD REVIEW! Biggest Loser Power XTrain

Hi guys!

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve reviewed a new workout DVD, so I thought I’d hop into the new year with The Biggest Loser DVD series.

For those wondering, although Jillian is back on the show (which airs this Sunday evening) she’s not in the video.

This DVD follows the same circuit style fashion as the others. Why? Well, circuits are the BEST form of exercise when you’re trying to lose weight. It’s effective because it keeps the heart rate up and provides cardio as well as strength training. We ALL know that is essential to keep the skin pulling back to the muscle. Now, as a disclaimer we all know that we cannot expect Biggest Loser style results unless we’re already on the show…..and have a couple hundred pounds to lose :) These DVDs do appeal to those just jumping back into working out or trying it out for the first time.

The big question: Do they work? Yes they do, in my opinion. The problem with any DVD is that it is up to the individual to push play though. They can only film it for you, not do it for you :)

Power X Train takes your workouts to a different level. This DVD is more like actual training in that there isn’t a lot of pre-choreographed movements and everybody is on their own pace. All trainers featured do give awesome form tips, but ya’ll know Bob is the favorite! He states at one point “I focus on your FORM first, then reps” and I couldn’t agree more. Bob is in true form throughout his part, making sure even the home viewers know exactly what to look for in their form. This is of great importance as form is key to not only preventing injury but also expediting your results.

You need your own body weight and some handheld weights for this DVD and you will also need some space. They take you through your paces, but you are always encouraged to stay at the level that works best for you. As always, modifiers are front and center and you can choose the former Biggest Loser contestant you want to follow. As with anything else, consistency is key. If you’re in love with the Biggest Loser DVD series, this is a great one to add to your rotation.

Until I see you again, remember….LIVE OUT LOUD!

Michelle

P.S. Who’s planning on watching this season?

New DVD Releases and My Personal Home Workout Favorites

Good Monday Morning!

You know I love good, home based workouts and a lot of times it is really nice to just zone out and let somebody else tell us what to do right?

Enter fitness DVD’s. At home DVD’s are a great way to get your workouts in and get your sweat on, provided you have the motivation to push play (hey, we can’t do everything for you!).

Some of the drawbacks of in home DVD’s are the boredom factor (same joke every time!) and queuing and safety issues. It is my belief that the benefits far outweight the drawbacks and as long as you know your body and stay within your capacity then you can bypass injury. Also, mix it up! One fun thing is to put together a Fitness DVD swap with your friends, and you get bonus points if everybody brings a healthy recipe to swap as well. :)

Here are some newer Fitness DVD’s on the market:

Billy Blanks Tae Bo Express

I just love me some Billy! The entire Tae Bo community is really awesome and worth getting to know. This DVD is perfect for those wanting the benefits of Tae Bo without the hour-long workouts. This DVD 8 different and focused workouts lasting 11-12 minutes a piece. So you can feel free to put together your own workout based on the time you have available and what you are wanting to accomplish. There is bootcamp and even toning as well as abs all on one awesome DVD. the energy is truly un-matchable and as always, Billy is dead on with queuing and choreography.

Amy Dixon Gimme 10: Core Cuts

If you do not know Amy Dixon, please go check her out. I may be partial as I have been a fan ever since I saw her first kickboxing stint on excersizetv, plus I love her hair. Still, find her and see what she’s all about. Amy is not only cute as a button, but her queuing is above and beyond which makes working out at home safer and more effective. Core Cuts offers 6 different workouts for your abs, including the stability ball! I love the ball! So, these are workouts that can fit easily into any schedule and provide a total core workout, instead of just the 6 pack. By the way, I must say I enjoy core cuts even better than Bob Harper’s Totally Ripped Core. Simma down! Amy gives clear instruction with an underlying tenderness that enables you to try a little harder, instead of feeling a little beat down.

Jillian Michaels Body Revolution

Take note, this system is not available YET, but you can get on a waiting list. OK, so I have to say, Jillian is still surprising me with new things. I mean, I really think that sometimes she’s done, but this system has proven me wrong. This is an entire body transformation system with 15 workouts, spanning all workout genres, from kickboxing to core to aerobics to toning to yoga, it has it all! These DVD’s have a lot more pretty people to look at :) and in true Jillian form the instructions are clear and modifications are given and encouraged. Spot on!

Bob Harper’s Beginners Weight Loss Transformation

Ready for a slightly softer approach? Just slightly :) Bob Harper has taken into account the fact that some are either new to exercise or are carrying a lot of extra weight (hey, I totally know it is NO fun to do a push up with 100 extra pounds on your frame!) and has adapted to help those who want to get in shape have a solid platform. This DVD is true to Bob’s form and point of view, so don’t expect a ton of sugar-coating. It is a great place to start and one you can come back to again and again. Slightly less harsh and a whole lotta sweat!

 

Those are the newbies, here are a few I keep in rotation:

Tae Bo Amped

Exhale Core Fusion Power Sculpt

Tracy Anderson Method

Sadie Nardini Yoga

Amy Dixon Breathless Body

I like to mix up my workouts as often as possible since I tend to get bored. My own personal routines have yoga every day, with longer sessions 3-4 times per week.

That’s what works for me, find out what works for you and stay fit and healthy!

Michelle

Athleta Houston Trip, Cute Workout Clothes, Athleta Training Review, AND the Latest on Bob Harper’s Website

Wow! A lot to pack in to the post today, but you’ll enjoy every second :)

Athleta Shopping Haul.

Aside from the fabulous modeling above (hahahahaha!), Athleta is a company worth looking into. So, when they asked me to look into things, I did just that. It was my extreme pleasure. First off, I visited the newest Athleta Store in Houston, located at 600 West Sam Houston Parkway North, and I was very pleased with the experience. The employees were helpful without being overbearing. There was a wait for the fitting rooms (which are spacious!), but it was a pleasant wait. They even had Luna bars placed in baskets and seats for your co-shoppers (for me, my husband and kids). I ended up with a nice haul from the store, complete with an everyday dress and what are now my absolute favorite pants ever.

Athleta Training Guides.

Aside from making very high quality athletic and lounge wear, Athleta is fully committed to female athletes. Just take a look at the swim wear line. The tops and bottoms stay put, no matter the sport :) . Athleta also has a comprehensive training guide available for athletes as well as those of us who just wish we were athletes! This guide is available for download on their Chi site HERE. This training guide is one of the best I have seen and is compact enough to put in your bag and read at work (you know you do!). This guide has training for 5K, 10K, Half Marathons, Sprint and Intermediate Distance Triathlons. As an added bonus, you get nutrition guidelines to prepare you for your race and to take you all the way through race day and recovery. Athleta doesn’t stop there. They also give you packing lists for both running and triathlons. It’s a small packet full of information to get you to your health and fitness goals. I encourage you to check it out and get started! Yeah, you can get it now. Like I said before, Athleta is committed to female athletes.

Athleta MVP’s

To wrap a beautiful bow on all that Athleta is offering, they have selected some of their most valuable performers for both form and function within your fitness wardrobe. These consist of six pieces of athletic wear that can withstand the most rigorous of activities and still look great while keeping you intact. These styles can be found in Athleta’s 2012 Summer Look Book on Athleta.com. I tried on the running shorts yesterday and decided on the spot that those are a must have for my next trip. They easily beat out Nike and Under Armour for fit, feel and function. Big words, I know, but they do deliver!

Mytrainerbob.com

We all know that Bob Harper has become one of the most loved “tough love” trainers out there. AND, if you read my DVD reviews, then you know his videos are among my most favorites (even for yoga, which is a hard category!). Now, he has gone above and beyond the call of duty with the newest section to his site HERE. Bobharper.com is the newest addition to Bob’s fight against fat and it offers challenging classes to help you reach your hotness goals. Not only do you get classes lead by Bob, but you also get personal training from Bob’s trainer as you follow Bob through a workout. These are not for the faint of heart. Beginners beware, some of these courses are a bit more advanced, but modifications are just about always offered. In conjunction with the classes, you also get food and nutrition advice from the Quaker Oatmeal Advocate himself. All of this is $9.95 per month and worth at least looking into.

 

The world of health and fitness is constantly changing. I try to keep you as up to date as I am and will continue to do so :) If you are not already signed up for the newsletter, head over to the side and get your name on my list! No selling, just information to get you to your healthiest self.

Until next time, keep living the Fit Life!

Michelle

POWER TO THE SHE

 

**Please note: though the word “swag” was used to describe the above items, all were purchased and not gifted.

 

 

DVD Review: Ellen Barrett Grace and Gusto

Hey guys!

Excited to get back up in the DVD reviews and man do I have a lot for you!

Today’s DVD is: Ellen Barrett Grace and Gusto

If you do not know who Ellen Barrett is, check out her site at www.ellenbarrett.com. I’ve been following her for the whole of my fitness career and maybe even longer :)

I absolutely adore her! She is cute as a button with lots of energy, but not the annoying kind. Her fitness philosophy stems from the mind/body method, but is truly unique. I have searched for other DVD’s that are close to hers, but have yet to find any. The sequencing, pace, energy, and flow are all unique to her own style.

Grace and Gusto is the latest release from her LIVE DVD series and it has already become my favorite. The moves are challenging enough to get a good sweat going (ok, I know graceful ladies call it a “glow”, but I sweat like a pig!) yet the focus is on big, grand movements which helps to create length in the muscles.

I love the pace of all of her DVD’s, but this one does seem just a tad more intense. Her workouts are effective and a great workout for beginners to advanced. There are always modifications given and you truly do not think that the move is as hard as it actually is! Grace and Gusto has earned a permanent place in my rotations and I will be attending this class at least once per week :)

All of her DVD’s are about 45 minutes per workout, which makes it great for us busy moms. Trust me, you get what you need in 45 minutes! Since Ellen always focuses on the long, lean lines of the body (think dancers physique) you are guaranteed to integrate your core at all times.

This is an awesome DVD to have in your queue, especially for cross training with higher impact sports. I give it a bazillion stars (you know, my rating system may need tweaking…)

Visit her site above for more info and even more DVD’s!

I’ll be back later with reviews for some new Jillian Michaels, Bob Harper, Tracy Anderson, and Tae Bo so stay tuned in!

Here’s to the FIT life!

Michelle

DVD REVIEW: Bob Harper’s Kettlebell Sculpted Body

It’s that time!

A little review for Bob is due right people? Today’s review is BOB HARPER’S KETTLEBELL SCULPTED BODY

This is obviously the strength component of kettlebells and Bob, as usually, delivers a kick butt workout. Like many of his workouts, this one is an hour, with a shorter variation for the time crunched. Keep in mind that these are not beginner workouts. The JM version of kettlebell training can actually help to get you started, especially if you’re nervous!

The workout itself rocks out as expected and you will be swimming in sweat even if you’re not a “sweater”. The strength component comes mostly from the KB but there are also pushups and floor work in there as well to keep your body guessing :) You will need just a small amount of space so this workout is great for in home fitness. Don’t own a KB? No problem. You can do most KB exercises with a weight, but make it heavy. If you find yourself in the market for a KB, Bob has his own line of them (convenient!) and it come with the DVD, so BANG!

Now, honest engine, as much as I love Bob and the way he runs the classes I prefer this here; and I WILL have a review for you next week!

Come back tomorrow for FUN FRIDAY: The Fitness Truths Edition :)

To the Fit Life!

Michelle

DVD Review: Jillian Michaels SHRED-IT with weights

Good morning all you fit life lovers! Quick review for you today: Jillian Michaels SHRED-IT with weights.

So, there are several things that I do like about all of JM’s vids to be sure…

  • They are all within a doable time frame. Not everybody has over an hour to work out, sadly. I like to TRY to use 2 shorter workouts in a day for maximum results.
  • There are options! She always has somebody doing the beginner/low impact version and somebody doing the higher impact/advanced version. You always have a visual.
  • I’m not gonna lie here, I like the fact that the people on the video are in amazing shape. It motivates me to push harder.
  • THERE ARE NO EXCUSES. JM keeps it pretty real and although there are modifications, no excuses are allowed.

These like are pretty much across the board for all of her vids. SHRED-IT in particular will more than most likely end up in my regular rotations. I love kettlebells and this is well structured, highly efficient kettlebell training. No worries if you don’t have a kettlebell! You have a modifier using a hand weight and very good instruction on how to make it happen. The workout itself is about 28 minutes long with an easy warm up and cool down. I was sweating my booty off and I was pretty sore the next day (note: I am ALWAYS sore, so please don’t base the effectiveness of your workouts on soreness alone). My core in particular felt as though it was getting a draw in the whole workout, just to maintain control. Don’t be scared if you have never done a kettlebell workout, this DVD is for all levels. It includes 2 progressive workouts, so you can alternate them (for the more advanced fitness enthusiast), or move on to workout 2 once you feel less challenged in the first one. I LOVE OPTIONS!

So, this is a definite YES in my opinion and I think Jillian and her team offer up a solid, time friendly, efficient workout that you’ll find yourself using again and again.

I will most certainly be reviewing Bob Harper’s Kettle Bell workouts in the following weeks as well, so stay tuned!

Keep on the FIT path!

Michelle

 

DVD Review: Biggest Loser Calorie Knockout

Hey guys!

Even though it’s a holiday, you’re still getting a DVD review! For your consideration:

The Biggest Loser Calorie Knockout

OK…..

If you are a fan of the Biggest Loser, then chances are you’ve owned or still own a workout from this franchise. Let’s go through the pluses of the DVD first shall we? As always, the contestants are providing the visual class with modifications. I like this! Some videos have what appear to be unattainable figures (though it’s now my belief you can achieve the body you have the time/effort/resources/drive to achieve). These are totally real people, sweating and struggling through it. There are plenty of modifications and fitness levels covered so this becomes an effective workout that is totally doable. Bob Harper is once again on the charge and is one of the good things as I believe he gives the clearest instruction and best form advice. There are several workouts to choose from based on time, so you can mix it up a bit.

Now, the bad. I must be totally honest that I don’t watch the show itself as I once did (even though Bob rocks!). I was disappointed at the change in trainers. Well, let me re-phrase. I think a change in trainers is good, but a non trainer being a trainer is not. Perhaps that’s just me. I’ve put in the hours and money and sweat and tears into my education and I value it even when people really don’t care to know what all the letters after my name mean. So, a sports personality training just didn’t sit well with me and it doesn’t in this video either. There are 2 other trainers here offering other workouts. One gives cues on form, but their form itself is awful. No rounding the back should mean no rounding the back, period. The pace was a little off and the instruction was not as well laid out as a veteran (this is either a gift you have or spend a lot of time perfecting).

The bad outweighs the good for me on this one and I think you would be better off with one of Bob Harper’s or Jillian Michael’s older DVD’s. Speaking of JM, I’ll be reviewing her new DVD Extreme Shed and Shred next week, so make sure you stop by. :)

Have a healthy day!

Michelle

DVD Review: BOB HARPER TOTALLY RIPPED CORE

OK, as promised I did the Totally Ripped Core from Bob Harper this morning. And, drum roll please………………………….. I LOVE IT! I have yet to find a Bob Harper workout that I do not adore, but I particularly enjoyed this killer workout (note: killer plank series!). Bob’s instruction is precise and clear while being motivating without babying. In all honesty, when a DVD tells me I can put my knees down in a plank, I do so. Bob doesn’t give that option and he counts down so you know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Totally Ripped Core is an extremely challenging full body workout that emphasizes core stability, strength, and functionality. Think about it: what movements do you do that do NOT involve your core? DUH, you need to work it. Professionally speaking, this DVD is not really for beginners. When comparing the 2, Jillian Michael’s 6 Pack Abs DVD is way more beginner friendly. I am of the mindset that everybody should try at least 1 of Bob’s DVD’s as they are geared more towards results and less towards making you feel better about your current fitness level. If you’re just starting out, there is a 10 minute segment (still plenty hard) that I would recommend doing twice per week as you build your strength and stamina.

Overall, Bob Harper DVD’s are quickly becoming favorites in my rotations as they NEVER fail to challenge me and improve upon my fitness level. The team demonstrating is in great shape, but doesn’t come across as fitness models. They sweat and get ugly and that is what changes your level. The music inspires movement without overtaking the whole workout.

Check out more at www.mytrainerbob.com

Get up and get moving! Do something awesome this weekend,

Michelle

Dance Central 2

OK, so I am severely excited about my Christmas purchase for the fam (read:FOR ME!) of the Dance Central 2 for Kinect. I did a review on the first one a while back http://www.michellecfitness.com/blog/2011/02/20/kinect-for-xbox-360-review/ and you’ll remember I’m not a gamer. So, this is a huge deal for me to totally get into a game of any sort. I tend to get a little too competitive for board games! Shocking, but I digress…

So, Dance Central 2 has been steadily blowing me away. We even fired it up for a bit during our new years eve party. The moves make you feel a little more like a dancer, even when you don’t look like one :) . My entire family danced for a couple of hours Christmas morning, which was great since we eat cinnamon rolls (I had egg whites cause I’m weird like that). The dancing itself is pretty low impact, but the more intensity you bring to the moves, the better the Kinect reads your movements. That means you totally win! But we aren’t talking about competition here…

Both of the kids love Dance Central 2 and mostly we do dance battles. Do it with friends and family and you get the added benefit of great big belly laughs. DC2 also has a fitness component that I can really say is excellent. The workouts range from 10-45 minutes and offer EVERYTHING. My kids did them with me and we all got sweaty and seriously out of breath (on the easy setting!). Best of all, you can pick your level so you feel good about your workout.

Dancing is a serious workout and a great way to bust out of you workout rut or simply  supplement your existing routine. I’m heading into the living room to bust a few moves when I’m done here :) . Don’t have a Kinect and can’t invest right now? Turn on some tunes and dance like no one’s watching!

OH, and I have a new Bob Harper workout that I’ll be doing and reviewing tomorrow so stay tuned. Get up and get something done!

Michelle