Take a Break!

What’s new about that? Everybody knows that your mind & body needs rest otherwise you’ll burn out. However, as we go through our daily rituals, taking the time to relax can take a back seat as real life obligations pile up.

So what do you do, wait for retirement? While that certainly is an option, I wouldn’t recommend it.

What if you pre-planned one vacation EVERY month? I know, it sounds crazy. How could you possibly fit that into your already over capacity life? And even if you could, how could you afford such a luxury?

First of all, I’m not suggesting you jet off to another continent on a monthly basis. I am suggesting that you leave your city even if it’s just for the weekend. Regardless of where you live, I’m sure there are plenty of options. And it doesn’t have to be extravagant. Maybe you find a destination that’s an hour or two out of town where you stay in a motel and endure some long hikes.

Furthermore, if you pre-plan these excursions they can be cost-effective. Groupon offers many travel deals. Also, flights can be inexpensive as well if you’re able to be flexible with your dates.

Additionally, it’s no secret that we all have our bad days. Those days where you temporarily hate everything (including your job). When you have something to look forward to (like a vacation), it really helps to get through those tough times.

So why do this? It’s simple really. We all need to make time to take a mental (and physical) break from everyday life and the only way to do that is to escape real life. Don’t believe me? Think about the last time you had a work conversation with a co-worker at a location outside of work (maybe at a restaurant). I’m guessing the conversation was more open, honest, and productive simply because you weren’t in the office. There’s something psychological about stepping away from the environment.

The bottom line is this, if you don’t make time for yourself nobody will so you may as well make it a priority. Start planning your next vacation!

 

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Core De Force

So I decided to try yet another Beachbody workout.

This workout involved a lot of shadow boxing and kicking and it doesn’t require any equipment so it’s easy to get started.

In the first month I followed the recommended plan. The longest workout (MMA Plyo + Core Kinetics) took just over an hour. In the second month I stepped it up a bit and added Core Kinetics + 5 Min. Core on the Floor to each workout. In month 6, I decided to only focus on the 2 hardest/longest workouts (MMA Power/MMA Plyo) while still combining it with Core Kinetics + 5 Min. Core on the Floor.

So, does it deliver as promised? Well, you’re definitely going to build up your core and the workouts are fun. But keep in mind, you won’t see any of those toned abs unless you reduce your visceral fat. This workout really doesn’t provide that.

I ended up going back to Insanity: Max 30.

The combination of the Max 30 and Core De Force worked really well.  Core De Force strengthened the abs, while Max 30 helped to reduce weight/fat.

If I had to do it all over again I think I would continuously rotate between the two. For example, month 1 –> Core De Force and month 2 –> Max 30.

*Note, introducing a punching bag might into Core De Force may produce better results and make it more fun.

21 Day Fit Extreme

I tried this workout for about 6 months and it’s definitely challenging.

What I liked best is that it’s quite different from the others. It doesn’t have the craziness of Shaun T. but it pushes you in other ways. It is very controlled and it incorporates weights.  Those are 2 things I was looking for.

Autumn really focuses on legs. Your legs are going to get toned, fast.

I also like the fact that it is a half hour workout. But after the first 2 months I decided to incorporate a 10 minute ab workout. I rotated between Max 30’s Ab Attack and Fit Extreme’s 10 Min Hardcore. I also added weekend workouts from Insanity Asylum Volume II. That’s where I really started to see results.

In the last month I switched from 2 ten pound dumbbells to 2 fifteen pound dumbbells. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot of weight but try doing presses in middle of a jumping jack. Unfortunately I discovered that my ankles can’t take that kind of punishment. I could have returned to the ten pounders but instead I chose to return to Insanity: Max 30. That is until I choose the next workout video.

The fact that I only did this workout for 6 months (instead of a year) is not due to the workout. I was finding that 1 year is simply too long. Not only do I get bored but the results start to diminish. So from here on in you’ll probably see me continuing this 6 month trend.

So, if you’re looking for something that is very different than the norm I would recommend this video. Just be careful on your weight selection.

Insanity Max : 30

I’ve been doing Max : 30 for about a year and the results are fantastic.

But I do have to admit I was a little reluctant at first.  It didn’t make sense that just 30 minutes a day could produce fast results.  With that said, keep in mind each workout is quite challenging.

This workout is ideal for those that are finding it harder and harder to make time for exercise.  I was finding it difficult to fit in a daily one hour workout.  After doing some research I came across Max : 30 which had excellent reviews.

I do feel that Insanity Asylum 1 & 2 produce better results but keep in mind those routines require almost double the time.  So in my opinion Max : 30 gives you the best results for the amount of time and effort required.

After a year, I feel it’s time to move on to something else.  I’ve decided to try a non Shaun T. workout.  So 21 Day Fix Extreme is next on my list.  The workouts are also 30 minutes but Autumn Calabrese incorporates free weights.  The goal is to focus more on toning and abs.

 

Spartan Race

So I finally got around to running my first Spartan Race.  It was a lot of fun and I definitely look forward to doing it again.  Hopefully these lessons learned help others that are about to begin their Spartan journey.

Lessons Learned:

  • Don’t go too light on your pre-race meal.  You’re gonna need the energy.
  • Footwear is very important.  The all terrain running shoes are pretty popular but I think soccer cleats might be more effective for traction but may cause issues on balancing type obstacles.
  • I was concerned about wearing contact lenses but they worked just fine.
  • Wear elbow pads & knee pads but at the same time wear as least amount of clothing as possible.  Whatever you do wear make sure it’s tight fitting.
  • It might be worth investing in a pair of weight lifting/training gloves.  Otherwise you may no chance against a mud slick rope climb.
  • Some obstacles require you to pay a penalty of 30 burpees if you fail the obstacle on your one and only attempt.  If you’re not sure what to do just wait for other racers to catch up and watch what they do.  Especially the ones that are successful.  It’s a lot easier to take the time to do it right as opposed to paying the penalty when you’re dead tired.
  • Look ahead to the next obstacle.  If you’re approaching a balancing type obstacle and you’re just getting out of a man-made lake, it might make sense to take the time to clean off your shoes.
  • Wrist bands work well right up until the point they’re completely soaked in mud.  You can just discard them at point, which leads to the next bullet…
  • Assume you’re going to throw away everything you wore for the race.  By the time you finish the race, you’ll probably we wearing an extra 10 pounds of mud.
  • Insect repellent might help for little while.
  • Trim the finger nails so it doesn’t get caught on anything.
  • Ice your wounds as soon as you can.
  • You’re going to be really sore the next day.  A light swim helps.
  • Do your homework.  Read other blog sites to see what others are saying.

 

Insanity Asylum Volume 2

I promised to provide a review on this from my earlier blog Insanity Asylum Volume 1, so here it is…

I ended up doing Volume 2 for most of 2015.  However, I have to be honest.  I was not quite a diligent compared to Volume 1, mostly because of a hamstring injury which hindered me for most of the year.

Overall, Volume 2 is harder than Volume 1.  It focuses more on strength/toning and less on cardio compared to Volume 1.  Also, the workouts are longer.

I liked the format a lot better.  A repeated 7-day regime makes more sense than a 30-day routine to me.

Towards the end of 2015 I focused more on my diet.  Once I did that, the results came quickly.

Would I recommend Volume 2?  ABSOLUTELY.

Would I recommend Volume 2 over Volume 1?  ABSOLUTELY.  The workouts aren’t that much longer, and if you’re already willing to put in the time why not go the extra mile.  With that said, I have to admit that the hardest workout so far comes from Volume 1 (GameDay & Overtime).  If you can incorporate that into a rest day or stretch day, you’re doing really well.

Be warned, just like Volume 1, Volume 2 is hard on the body.  After 4 weeks you might want to switch to a less demanding workout for about a week and then get back to Volume 2 if you desire.

What’s next?  I can’t resist.  I’ve heard so much about Insanity Max:30.

Ab Workout

Finding an ab workout that actually works is quite painful.
Don’t get me wrong, in just about every Men’s Health there are various exercises that target the abs.  But for the average person, trying to tie together random exercises just ends with a clumsy inefficient workout.

After scouring YouTube I finally came across an ab workout that could easily be added to my existing workout.
It’s a 15 minute ab killer.
Even though it’s pilates inspired, believe me it works.  You’ll work everything, upper/lower/obliques.

It’s called Extreme Abs and the trainer is Cassey Ho.  She also came out with Extreme Abs 2, but I haven’t tried that one yet.
We’ve all wasted hours if not years on crunches.  She shows you how to do it the right way.
If you combine this workout with a good diet, you’ll see results in no time.  The diet is key because you need to lose the fat covering your abs before you see any results.

And just because it’s a 15 minute video doesn’t mean you need to stop there.  I threw in some other ab exercises like planks.

Here’s the link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGWrjmoukpI

Have fun!