CrossFit War: Hate the Player or the Game?

June 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

Don’t hate CrossFit, hate the CrossFitter– or something like that. I know I’m late to the volcanic eruption Erin Simmons initiated. If you didn’t read her opinion article about why CrossFit isn’t for her HERE it is. Erin Simmons is a former track athlete, fitness enthusiast, and aspiring fitness model with a bangin’ bod. She doesn’t need CrossFit, whatever she is doing is working just fine for her.

At first glance, her article complemented my beliefs about CrossFit culture: unsafe workouts, rushed training program, and cultish. A Physical Therapist friend of mine lead me to Erin’s article, and like many that came before hers, I agreed. unnamedAs a Pilates instructor, I see people drag their feet into classes because their PT told them Reformer Pilates was the next step to recovery. The next step to getting them back to putting their balls to the walls doing the very thing that injured them in the first place. Going along with the article, I lamented: people getting injured in CrossFit will keep me and my PT friend in good work for a long time coming. This was a gross generalization on my part. Like an adorable Pitbull you cannot ignore, the rebuttal came from the CrossFit side.

Same FB thread, same circle of HS friends, an Army guy based in Europe for the past few years defended his favored fitness regimen. The community he gained through CrossFit in a foreign land should not be condemned. Always the athletic type, CrossFit had allowed him to push past barriers in his own fitness. He took accountability off the coaches, trainers, and organizations and put it back on the user. Pretty much, you can get injured doing ANYTHING. And that’s the truth, Ruth.

Yes, there are bad coaches in the “box” or bad eggs in the basket or whatever bad apple analogy you want to go with. Consider, when you “take up” running on a whim, you don’t have a certified someone coaching your every step. Or you’re doing the squat challenge you got off Pintrest, you don’t have a butt official. If you listen to your body, if you have good body awareness, and are knowledgeable of proper form, you will be just fine with little to no guidance from peers or the internet. Unfortunately, some people are just not born with body awareness. Believe me, if you have not been blessed with natural control, balance, and rhythm all is not lost, but seeking help isn’t a bad thing. CrossFit might not be something you should rush into, unless you find attentive coaches. In this case, avoid all bad apples.

In my limited experience at a “box” there was little to no classic instruction of any kind. The workout is written on the board and everyone does it. It’s like a high school gym class if the students actually gave a shit. The exercises are reminiscent of Olympic training. It’s like an Olympic Phys Ed class. Now, call me crazy, should someone with poor body awareness be lifting anything besides their baby without proper instruction or supervision? Should someone who has never worked out in their lives be working out like an Olympian? Probably not, which is why most “boxes” won’t let you lift in your first session. That doesn’t stop them from throwing you a 25lb weight and telling you to relay sprint across and eroded concrete lot. Even the most athletic body can trip up with the adrenaline of friendly competition and attempting a new feat.

I thought I was going to break my neck. I can do a triple pirouette and balance on five toes with my leg in the air, but navigating potholes in a sprint with 25lb extra junk… feel free to call me a pussy. With every exercise, I kept looking around the room, searching for some instruction. Was I doing this wrong? Was I lifting with my back by mistake? Will I be able to walk the next day? Is there a trick I’m not getting that will take it out of my hip flexors/shoulders/low back?

Okay, CrossFitters, de-ruffle your feathers, please. Admittedly, I have felt the same way in a Pilates class, proving further that it’s not all on CrossFit.  The instructor was pushing the class so hard and so fast that I was muscling through my reps instead of going at my own speed to maintain form. After an hour of being yelled at, I was almost in tears walking out the door. The next day I felt soreness in all the wrong places. These are two examples of the dangers of No Coaching and Bad Coaching.

Some companies will throw just about anyone in the ring to teach/coach/instruct. I landed my first fitness job when I was 20. I was originally hired to teach a Hip Hop Cardio Class. As a white girl and classical dancer, the class didn’t go so well, so they asked me to try kickboxing instead. So I rented a Tae Bo video and copied the workout. Ballerina gone bad ass. Literally, that was my instructor training. I have the former Blockbuster Video to thank for that. Oh and I also had teaching 3 year olds on my resume too. With the kickboxing class going well, my employers asked me to do an Ab Lab, which was perfect because I really loved to work on my own. When the Ab Lab gained popularity, I was asked to incorporate light weights. I’m not proud to say that I did it because I wanted to keep my job, but they shouldn’t have allowed me to teach and lifting. I wasn’t qualified. You can go though a 4 hour training cert online and be accredited, so I’d technically say I had more experience teaching, but it still made me feel uneasy.

Now, after years of teaching and proper Pilates Certifications and others, I’m confinement in my ability to properly train even the most feeble bodied. If I don’t know how to train or modify for an injury, I will always do my homework to get it right. I encourage my clients to listen to their bodies, and pay attention to which muscles are working. I cannot tell you how many times a day I say, “relax your shoulders,” even to the most athletically blessed people. It really needs to be a bumper sticker.TRX-690x645

Clearly, you can get a hard body, or kickstart your regimen after a “hiatus” without coaching, but it never hurts to have someone in your ear telling you to pull your abs in and track your knees. To be honest, if you love CrossFit, I don’t want to see you in my Pilates class. You are not going to be happy there. I want you to stay doing what you love well into your 90s. Can you gain body awareness and athleticism from cross training with Pilates? Yes, it can benefit performance in any sport, but I’m not here on a Pilates agenda.

You owe it to your body’s future be accountable for your needs. Me, I enjoy the constant meticulous instruction of yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, HIIT and other group classes, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t incorporate heavier weights (for future bone density) and more cardio (for heart health). If you enjoy the CrossFit atmosphere, do your thing. P90x, barre classes, marathon running, power lifting can all illicit injuries unless you are honest with yourself, your trainers, and your peers. No one will ever push you beyond your threshold into injury. No one wants to see injuries. If you aren’t sure, you should always ask. If you think you are doing it wrong, ask. If there is no one to ask, find a different exercise to do in the meantime and then go ask someone.

Don’t be shy with your health. The CrossFitters aren’t shy about their health, Erin Simmons isn’t shy about her health, and I’m not shy about mine. Do what works for you, but do it right, do it safe, and don’t be shy if you don’t think it’s right for you. It’s a big wide world of fitness and activity, go out there and get some good endorphins, look good naked, and have a blast every time you do it.

****On a side note, I was a little turned off by the heated, malice laced replies that popped up from the CrossFit community like THIS ONE and THIS OTHER ONE. It’s fantastic people are passionate about fitness in our food obsessed culture, however, I didn’t think Erin’s letter was as particularly bashing as her headline. She had a bad experience at CrossFit and it wasn’t for her. I also had a bad experience at CrossFit and it’s not for me either, but I would have liked to see CrossFitters exercise more grace under fire. We get it, injury can happen anywhere doing anything. Bottom line: Whatever you are doing, do it properly and encourage the same of the others around you. I wished that would have hit that harder instead of heated defense.

****Always welcome to take Pilates at HIP Studio in Hermosa Beach, CA. Every trainer will give you an intense workout, with impeccable instruction. I’ve searched far and wide to find a good home. If the CrossFitters are going to promote their “boxes” I’ve got no shame in promoting the studio I love.

The Naked Lady Spa

May 7, 2013 § 1 Comment

Previously Posted on Oct 6th 2011

If you’ve read Tuesday’s post you know I’ve been a little tense lately. I have what they call a Hollywood Hangover. After being honorarily discharged from work on a difficult show you question your very existence on this Earth, convinced everyone else is an alien or a carney. Sort of like after a week long bender of hard drugs in Vegas, it’s what Hunter S. Thompson must of felt like most of the time. This is bat country.

So when a friend of mine suggested I head down to the Asian Day Spa, I promptly made an appointment. It wasn’t until I was in the parking lot that I realized this place was so authentic it was actually in Koreatown and English wasn’t the first language of the establishment. I don’t even think it was the second language. In fact, the sign out front was in symbols so I just trusted my GPS had taken me to the right address.

I was so frazzled with my tinsel town migraine I didn’t question much. I approached the front desk behind a robust butch woman who inquired my attendance. Not really wanting to explain myself to another patron, I vaguely paraphrased: reality TV, producer, long hours, extremely tense, etc. She then launched into a self-pitch. She wanted me to get her on Sons Of Anarchy in all her bad dye job glory. If I knew someone on a hit scripted FX show, I wouldn’t be handing out supporting roles to women I meet in line at the naked lady spa. Please, I’d be whoring myself out for a position. I was so irritated, I quickly grabbed my key from the receptionist and averted eye contact before I could get a further explanation of all my appointment entailed. My mistake.

Like any Asian household, you take off your shoes, put them in a locker with the corresponding number of your key. Easy enough. Then you undress and put your clothes in another numbered locker. Then you enter the spa area where your robe and towel gets put into… you guessed it, a locker with your number. I was beginning to realize what I was reduced to. Just like in concentration camps, Broadway cattle call auditions, Big Ten Universities, or in line at the deli. #51.

For the next half hour while I waited for my number to be called, I “enjoyed” several dips of my choice, a sauna and steam room. In hindsight, opting for this adventure solo was a blessing. I could hide my modesty in autonomy. This is not a place of privacy. Lead by example, I let it all hang out with the rest of them. A shower is required before and after slipping even a toe into each tub. I didn’t notice any bathing police, but I turned a blind eye to my neighbor’s hygiene and tried not to look too closely at anyone’s crotch.

From the tea dip, to the hot dip, to the cold dip, to the sauna, back again with 8 showers in between, finally a wee little roly-poly Korean lady in a black bathing suit stood in the center of the tiled experience and shouted at the top of her lungs in her very best English, “fi-ty ooooooonnnnn.” She even had it written on a cue card, in case I couldn’t understand her, like a chauffeur at the airport. My ride had arrived.

She escorted me behind a short partition to a row of about six vinyl beds all of which had naked female figures limply eeking out the most pleasure  possible of a public massage.

First she washed me, scrubbed all my 2000 parts. I got the same feeling I get during a pedicure or a Brazilian waxing: what a world do we live in where I can pay a foreign stranger to do something so intimate for me? And why do they do a much better job than I can myself? I mean, I’ve had this body for 27 years, you’d think I’d be an expert at grooming it by now. Seriously, there was no messing around during this exfoliation, my body riding back and forth on loose skin. She really put some muscle behind it, it was like a football drill. After dousing me with buckets of water, she ordered me to take a shower and come back.

Standing up made me dizzy, and I had already took 36 showers while I was there, and she just cleaned me better than my own mother ever did, so I half-assed this rinse off. Whoops. She sent me back for another, like my dad would after a breath check when I only brushed with water, never trust a 4 year old. I took the second shower more seriously and was cleared to resume my posture on the table. Once more, a beached whale. Every once in a while I’d open an eye to stare across the rows of fleshy lumps and humps of my neighbors on the assembly line. My technician twisted and turned my limbs like a rag doll, barking at me to flip every few minutes. Not the best massage and facial I’ve ever had, but I’m not really one to be complaining about spa treatments when there are people out there without clean drinking water.

Wrapped in a clean warm robe, I spent the next 45 min lying on a heated jade floor. You need this type of meditation after the naked cold wet trauma of the bathing factory. Don’t get me wrong, my skin couldn’t have been smoother and I felt like a great heap of pudding. Perhaps the distress of the whole experience washed away my career bitterness for a bit, leaving me to solidly contemplate my own bathing rituals. Or maybe it’s just proof that you need to pay top dollar for someone to wash your ass crack in private. I guess I’m just not in that income bracket.

Life Long Primping

April 8, 2013 § 1 Comment

Posted April 2011

There is no denying it, a lot of work goes into being a girl. And we hate on each other for god given elements of beauty. Some ladies would be jealous of my “naturally straight” hair, just like I curse the girl with the effortless curls. I am 100% jealous of the morning person because she always looks better than me for the simple fact that she doesn’t have to put her make-up on in the car. Just like I can’t stand Ms. Hyper-metabolism, yet persist in indulging in chicken fingers and Ben and Jerry’s on a bi-weekly basis (okay, more often than that, if I was being honest, but I’m not). And I wonder why I can be bikini ready year round.

The grass is always greener, eh? I suppose I am envied as well, I got a great rack. I don’t need to stress about getting a miracle into my bra, or misleading my public. The meat is there, and set up on the top shelf too. I suppose we should all be thankful for what we’ve got, but still, I would trade both of these sprightly jugs to be able to wear something strapless or backless without feeling like the two tubs of pudding clutched to my ribcage weren’t going to spill out of my armpit. It’s like at any moment: nipple. People just watch, waiting for it. It’s not only guys and lesbians, but straight ladies are just as mesmerized by large uncaged wild bosoms. I’ve tried everything to control these things to wear the fashion of the day, strapped in, pushed up, sticky boobed, peddled, all 27 ways to wear the multi-strap, every over the shoulder bolder holder imaginable. Oh the aching, the chafing, the sagging, the hiking up every 20 seconds, a strapless bra shouldn’t really be considered a bra at all. It does little to contain and support.

Oh the Madonna that walks out of her house braless, air dried hair, perfectly wavy and naturally highlighted, wearing nothing but a sun kissed complexion, some ol’ frock she found near the dumpster that just so happened to be practically made for her and somehow she’s completely hairless. I guarantee this woman doesn’t exist. Let’s be honest, some put more time in than others, but as a women living in the western world, select attributes are expected to look a certain way.

Shaved, waxed, bleached, lasered, plucked, plumped, trimmed, tanned, tucked, toned, tinted, shadowed, sprayed, cut, colored, curled, crimped, under eye concealed, powered, rouged, whitened, bronzed, moosed, greased, brushed, full bodied, styled, straightened, highlighted, lowlighted, hair-extended, flat ironed, non-frizzy, frosted, layered, heeled, skirted, belted, accessorized, moisturized, blown out, augmented, cleavage enhanced, pushed up, sucked in, smoothed out, invisible panty lines, lip glossed, blemish free, blackhead fighting, cellulite reducing, anti-aging, color coordinating, eye liner, lip liner, panty liner, facial masked, coco buttered, manicured, pedicured, Brazilian waxed, Brazilian blow-out-ed, yoga-ed, Pilated, worked-out, fitness goaled, lifted, chin up, shoulders back, legs crossed, low-carb, low-fat, fat-free, sugar-free, south-beached, detoxed, modest but sexy, conservative but suggestive, unique but trendy, simultaneously concealed and revealed, nonchalantly perfectly put together, purse preparedness, health conscious, environmentally conscious, holistic, realistic, poised, polite, witty, smart, charming and instinctually maternal. All day, every day while appearing as though it takes no effort at all. So let’s be allies instead of enemies, because everyone of us has gotten shit for leg stubble on the fourth day of a busy week.

Get Abs Like An Olympian

August 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Or something like that. Is it just me or are the Olympics pretty steamy this year? Lots of hot bodies sweating and seething… the mugs aren’t that bad either. For something that’s practically a survival of the fittest for all races and cultures, they’re a pretty good looking group too. Surely that’s Darwinism at work.

Getting that sexy six-pack or toning the tummy doesn’t require traditional crunches or sit-ups by the hundreds. Let’s take a page world class athletes and concentrate on core stability and a regimented lifestyle. Great abs are just a side effect.

The Olympic body is chiseled for power, sculpted for endurance and monitored by it’s technician among various trainers. You don’t need a team of experts to chip away at your own gut, but you will need dedication to a clean diet and fervor for form in every exercise.

First, monitor the nourishment that passes your lips. Ask: Is this the best fuel for your body? A clean diet of non-processed foods is essential for toning the tummy. Putting whole foods inside will make it look good outside.

Next, think beyond your abs to your core (abs, obliques, back, hips and glutes). All essential muscles working together to stabilize the spine and pelvis, insuring balance and posture. Everything is connected. If you stay true to proper technique the streamlined torso will come.

Athletes get their killer abs from strength training, that targets all their core muscles in addition to hours of practice for technical perfection in their event. You won’t find a long jumper doing hours of crunches, you’ll find her jumping. Just like a swimmer swims and runner runs. When you work out, work it all. The next step is honing your technique in each exercise to insure you’re working the proper muscles in addition to the stabilizers in your core.

Give it your all, listen to corrections, eat well and be well. Olympic athletes work hard for their excellence, and you can too. Washboard abs are the constellation prize of hard work.

Now to get a face like an Olympian? You’ll need a Nike sponsorship for that. And that great wave, earn a medal.

Fit For All Ages

June 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

You’ve might have heard me say this before, fitness is a life long thing like a marriage for which there is no divorce. There are times your relationship with fitness might suffer, you’re bored with your fitness, or you just don’t give your fitness enough attention. Your fitness might get put on the back burner after a surgery, or a pregnancy, or if work demands pile up. Sometimes the romance is gone, but if you’re dedicated to making the relationship work, fitness will have your back ‘til the end.

“Youth is wasted on the young,” you’ll hear a mother say as she bends down to grab a rushing toddler. “If I had one ounce of his energy…” Yup, I think we’d all agree. Besides the broken record of benefits (improves mood, fights weight gain, combats disease, boosts energy, increases sex drive), exercising consistently on a long enough timeline can improve your quality of life and help you age gracefully.

I wanted to share some discoveries with you about maintaining an active lifestyle through out the decades of your life. Working out isn’t just to keep your ass from drooping, or your arms from jiggling… this is about your health!

0-10: Once you loose the baby fat and gain some muscle, your dexterity will improve. Nothing can stop you, not even your parents. Well maybe, but only because they’re twice your size.

10-20: Growing though spurts to your adult body can be scary at times and slow you down. The key here is to use the new hormones to get into an active routine. Sports, dance, cheer, even laser tag can help you form the lifelong habit of fitness. Show me a video game that can do that.

20-30: Hello metabolism, nice to meet you. If you escaped the freshmen 15, you might get introduced to them now. Still your body is full of resilience, if you get into a destructive routine, you can easily pop out of it. However, forget the fads. Strong and healthy will never go out of style. While you’re in your 20s, see what your body can do. Explore strength training from weights to Pilates, and all kinds of cardio to boot. Try every workout you can, collect them all, but beware of over-training and injuries. You only get one body. Make sure you’re recovering and stretching. While you’re out there trying things, try some yoga for recuperation.

30-40: If you haven’t been living an active lifestyle, you could see the biggest weight gain during these years. Time speeds up, life starts flying, and your workout could fly right out the window. Maximize your time by doing interval or circuit training. You’ll burn more calories in shorter duration. Not to mention, switching up your routine fights flab and boredom. Make sure to add weight training; your future bone density depends on it. Increased strength has other benefits too. The more muscle, the more efficient the metabolism. Don’t let it get lazy on you. Pilates is one of the best workouts for this age range, pulling everything back together after a pregnancy, a workout hiatus, or even if you’ve never lifted a dumbbell in your life. In addition, start incorporating invisible workouts: take the stairs, stand while on the phone, park in the rear of the parking lot, walk an extra block with the dog. This doesn’t replace workouts, but it forms great habits for decades down the road.

40-50: Just because you’re “over the hill” doesn’t mean you can coast down the other side. Being active now is more important than ever. As estrogen levels decline, fat settles in the abdomen. Aside from the obvious esthetic downfall, it also puts fat circulating close to your heart, a leading cause of heart disease. Pilates can help with your midsection as well as getting the heart in working order. Increasing strength training will help fight the gravitational pull and changes in body composition, but make sure you are lifting properly. Technique is king, a ruler above all injuries for years to come.

50-60: Gravity and metabolism are frienemies now. Women gain an average of 12lbs post menopause and everything else droops. Posture is key, it can certainly age you one way or another. If you haven’t started strength training by now, get right on it. Keep a set of dumbbells around if you can’t get to a class, conscious of proper technique. Activity will require more recovery time. Stretch after every workout no matter what. Pilates and yoga will help you recover and stretch while maintaining strength and increasing flexibility. Strength and flexibility become synonymous with health.

60s-70s: Joint health becomes a focus, so don’t give up on fitness. I’m not saying run a marathon, but don’t let aches and pains hinder working out. Adapt your workout, low impact rules. Enjoy long walks. Resistance training is still important, but using lighter weight will relieve joint pain while lifting. This isn’t the time to max-out on your bench press. Stretching and practicing balance postures are also essential. If you don’t stretch now, the flexibly in your joints when you’re 80 will be completely lost. Pilates can aid in flexibility as well as balance, both of which will carry you through the golden years with grace.

Truth is, “age ain’t nothing but a number.” If you want to act your shoe size if you’re ever older than your IQ, now is the time to start working on your fitness. And never is the time to quit.

P90X2 Halfway Thru

April 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve completed week 1 of the third phase. We are doing some creative scheduling, 3 weeks – phase 1, 3 weeks – phase 2, 3 weeks – phase 3, then one week of each until I can’t anymore. I’m feeling fairly good about things, and my co-producer is pretty impressed with fact that I’m actually doing it. So impressed that he brings it up to everyone all the time, but I am kind of amazing so I’ll take it. I wanted to give you the review of phase 2 before I moved too far into the third one and started skillfully murdering Tony in my dreams.

It’s the strength phase and it was a lot of pull ups and push ups. For me, I have tendonitis in my shoulder. Too much of that and I wouldn’t be able to go on. But alas the motto: do your best and forget the rest. Three weeks was a good amount of time before things really started acting up. I narrowly averted disaster while steadily strengthening for the next phase.

The thing I enjoy about P90X2 is the variations. There is always one person in the video who’s killing it without all the fancy equipment. Tony gets quite redundant about there being no excuses for skipping days, even when you’re traveling. I opted for travel mode and used resistance bands instead of my chin-ups. Let’s face it, I really want to do a chin up, but it will probably only happen in my dreams.

It’s 3 solid hour routines of lifting upper body, then you do the ab ripper 3 days/week, with yoga and plyometrics mixed in.  Oh how I love yoga day. Things got busy as work picked up and I’ve been taking the two foam rolling days to sleep in then foam roll in front of the TV instead of adding in a bike ride. I’m really missing my bike ride.

It’s by no means impossible, and I actually found the lifting days to be easier than the plyo day, but still really working up a sweat. I think all women should supplement their exercise with strength training. We need to be lean and strong. Strong is the new skinny. At least that’s what I’m seeing on Pinterest.

I can definitely see more definition in my arms, which I’m thankful for now that sleeveless summer is upon us. I took my halfway measurements with Mister Red the other day and unfortunately I was gravely disappointed. I lost an inch everywhere but my waist. No, there I gained an inch. The exact place I wanted to lose the most, I gained! I’ll make only one excuse so I feel better, my aunt flow was visiting. Perhaps I was bloated. On top of it, a day later… after all the ab ripping, I ripped my pants. Devastated.

However, I think phase 3 is really going to do the trick. But I’ll save my review of this when I actually complete it completely. Let me just say that I was hurting as I climbed the stairs after my first day.

P90X2: Phase One, Core

March 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Bikini season is approaching. Gasp! 2011 had not been kind to my waistline, I needed to take action. My local gym shut their doors, my bank account is on lock down (no beloved dance classes), not to mention the chocolate monster I now live with. This quest to get my body back has been going on for months now. Everyone knows it’s easier to gain than to loose. Spare tires, that is. Money, it’s the opposite.

You’ve heard of the at-home fitness programs transforming living room warriors from couch potatoes to hot potatoes. Mister Red is a huge advocate of P90X, so I’ve dabbled passively to see what it was all about. I didn’t go through the whole 90 days, but I did get about 40 of my fair share.

What I don’t like about P90X wasn’t rooted in annoyance of the nerdy fitness guru, Tony Horton (the man who doesn’t age). What stained my dress was my buns and thighs only got real attention once a week. My shoulders were burnt out by pulls ups (or in my case, half ups) and push ups that I started cheating at them instead of getting stronger. However, I loved the yoga, makes you feel so good and tall, but sometimes I didn’t have an hour and a half to dedicate to it.

Next I tried Insanity with Shaun T, who can’t pronounce “with” correctly (wiff) and really likes his own abs. I went though 60 days of high interval cardio training. I was pleased to drop the LBs I had gained working in Alabama (when in the south, eat butter). Still I wasn’t in the best shape I have ever been in, and once the program was over, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I practically undid almost everything I had done while going Insane because I didn’t have a replacement regimen. Lesson learned. After a rigorous program, you need to replace it with a something else immediately.

Now it’s on to P90X2. In this one Tony is more goofy than ever but I like it. However, I’ve only been through phase one. Obviously this might change over the next two months, but for now, we’re friends. The P90 crew really listened to people’s reviews of P90X. In 2, each exercise has someone who is modifying the movement for people who are traveling, don’t have access to equipment or just starting out. “Tip of the day,” no excuses. The yoga portion is just as tough, but it’s condensed to just a little over an hour. All the exercises are given about 20 more minutes, but there are 2 recovery days per week instead of one. Coming from a dance background, dancing three hours a day, I never understood how someone could feel completely worked out in 20 mins, personally I need at least an hour. They’ve also added some equipment: a stability ball, medicine balls (you can use soccer or basketballs), and the golden foam roller.

The foam roller is literally changing my life. Tony promises it will give you the mobility of a teenager. That might be a stretch, but it’s certainly helped me become looser and worked on some knots that I could never get to. I love the foam roller so much, I do it in front of the TV at night and have noticed I’ve been sleeping much better. It’s something that I will surely continue after the program and would recommend to anyone anywhere at anytime.

The first phase, I just completed, is all about core. There is a lot of work with the stability ball. The first week I was flopping all over. I could not stay on the ball, but by the third week, that ball was my bitch. Needless to say, I’m seeing improvement. On one of the recovery days, I’ve chosen to do a long distance bike ride, foam rolling after. I love riding my bike, so it doesn’t feel like working out.

This week I am entering the strength phase. I’m a gal who really likes lifting and toning. Because there was so much core already in phase one, the abs routine was only required once a week. This phase I’m psyched to get it two times a week. I need it and I love it. There is nothing better than feeling centered.

In addition, I’m eating more consciously, specifically portion control. I hate the word ‘diet’ because it should be a lifestyle of eating habits and in truth, I eat really healthy. The trick is: eating to nourish your body and not eating to nourish your emotions. A good rule of thumb is to eat slower, keep your hand out of the Wheat-Thin box and give yourself a portion in a bowl. Oh yeah, and I’m trading my beloved Cheez-its for Wheat-Thins and vowing not to have them for dinner. More veggies and fruits all around and cutting out chocolate.

I’ll give you an update after 60 days and then again after 90. I’m too embarrassed to share my before picture with you at this flabby moment, but now that I’m officially accountable I’ll happily donate my shame after 90 days of kicking ass.

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