Friday, April 27, 2012

New Toy!

OH BOY!  I got a new toy!

In my review of Burlesque by Jazzercise, I mentioned that I thought maybe I wasn't working quite as hard as I thought I was.  That got me thinking - what if I'm not working as hard as I think I am, like, ever?  Really, how does one tell exactly how hard one is working?  I mean, sure,  I'm sweating like a hoss.  My heart is pounding.  I'm tired when I finish.  But, Skillz... how hard ARE you working?

I went online and did a little research on heart rate monitors and decided on the Polar FT40.  I didn't want to spend a fortune, but I wanted a little more than basics.  I found a great price through Amazon, placed my order, and within a few days, my new toy arrived.

I have to say, it's pretty cool and easy to use.  Some of it's perks:

  • It's personalized.  You tell it your sex, height, age (HA), weight (HAHAHA), and it determines your target heart rate zone.
  • Based on your info, it also tells you how many calories you've burned.
  • It keeps track of your data.  How long have you spent working out this week?  How many calories have you burned this week?  How many of those calories were from fat? What was your average heart rate?  All at the touch of a button.
  • Using it is pretty intuitive.  It ain't rocket surgery, y'all.
  • The chest strap.  Looks big and cumbersome, but it sits right below your sports bra band.  Once you're moving, you can't tell the difference.
  • A very easy to read display lets you know if you are in the fat burning zone, fitness zone, or anaerobic zone, and you can turn on an alarm to let you know when you've gone out of your target zone. 
It's anti-perks:
  • Although it is easy to use, the user manual kind of sucks.  That said, I did just find a complete manual on their website.  I'll be printing that puppy out.
  • READ the manual before you push a button.  I didn't..... and ended up being asked to input my stats in German.  
  • No easy way to reset your personal info, like the fact it thinks you speak German.  I had to take the back off and pop the battery out (which was a real pain in the ass) to get it back to square one.
Bottom line, I'm diggin' it!  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Workout Review - Burlesque by Jazzercise

I have been sitting on this workout review for awhile.  Big reason?  I LOOOOOVE THIS WORKOUT ( <------ that is me shouting from the hilltops), and I didn't want to blow my wad too soon.

Let's get one thing clear from the start.  This ain't yer mama's Jazzercise.

As I've said before, I'm a pretty big Jazzercise fan.  I own several of their dvds (including Ballet Body, which I reviewed here), and this one by far takes the proverbial cake. Don't get me wrong - the first few times I put this one in, I had to tell the boy not to come upstairs.  I was not feeling sexy when I first started!  But I learned the moves, got more comfortable with the flow, and started feeling a little sexier a little bit at a time.  So, Burlesque by Jazzercise, how do I love thee?  Let me tell you all the ways!

Shanna.  Shanna Missett Nelson is the daughter of Judi Sheppard Missett, who founded Jazzercise waaaay back in the day (want a hilarious way to pass some spare time?  Youtube old Jazzercise clips).  While I have the utmost respect for Judi (she looks real good for her age, y'all),  I don't enjoy her style of leading a class.  Shanna brings new blood.  She's cute, she's upbeat, she keeps you moving, and she is fantastic with cues!  Her cuing ability may go unnoticed by some, but for those of you who have ever taken a class with an instructor who doesn't tell you what's next, you know how frustrating it can be to not get good cues.  Again, total respect for Judi, but I love having Shanna kicking my cardio into high gear.

Music.  With most workouts, music seems to be an afterthought.  Just there to fill the void.  But this dvd?  The music takes center stage.  J Lo, Britney Spears, Pussycat Dolls, and lots of stuff I've never heard of.  I have actually downloaded most of the music to make my own "Shake Yer Ass" playlist on my ipod.  I dare you not to dance.  If you ain't shakin' it, may I suggest checking your pulse?

Customization.  I've noticed a lot of dvds are jumping on this bandwagon.  Much like the choose your own adventure books of our youth, this is choose your own workout.  There is the option for the full 40 minute workout, a quick 20 minute cardio workout, or you can jump straight to abs and legs portion, which is 10 minutes.  I like having the option of shorter workouts when I'm tight on time, but I rarely do anything but the full 40 minutes.

Dancing.  Fun, fast, booty shaking dancing.  Need I say more?

The downside?  Hmmmmm, the downside.....  let me think on that.   Sometimes I worry I'm not working quite as hard as I think I am, heart rate wise (but I've got a new toy on the way that'll help me figure that out).  You know what though?  I may not be at the top of the exertion chart, but a) I'm moving; b) I'm sweating; c) I'm gaining strength and stamina; and d) I'm having a ball!

Want a peak?  Here's a little sumpin' sumpin' from Jazzercise's YouTube channel.

Buy it.  Do it.  Learn it.  Love it!
Thursday, April 5, 2012


Yeah, I've been MIA....A.  That would be Missing In Action.... Again.  I've been under the weather.  And by under the weather, I mean I've had an earache that would make a grown man cry.  I haven't been worried about working out, I haven't been worried about eating healthy.  I've only been worried about where the hell is the Motrin??!

After deciding I'd had enough ibuprofen to eat a hole through my liver, I finally made an appointment with my family doc.  God love him - he got me in that day for an appointment.  The ear needed some prescription assistance, but will be fine (thanks for asking).  As he was brushing up on my current meds, he asked about my asthma, how I was doing on the inhaler, how often I was using it.   I was a little leary to tell him exactly how much I'm using it these days (2-3 puffs pre-workout, every workout), in fear of the push for a daily controlling med.  So, I fluffed it up and put a good spin on it.

I informed him that while, yes, I had increased my usage, it was for good reason.  I'd recently developed an "exercise habit," and needed the puffer.  He asked what kind of exercise and how often.  I told him cardio and strength training for 45 minutes, 4 to 5 days a week.  He said good on me!

When my doc asked how long I'd been at this, I replied that it was a little over four months.  You know what he said?  He said "good, you're over the hump.  Most people don't start to feel the benefits until after 10 weeks."

TEN WEEKS?  Good thing I didn't know that four months ago.  Oy!  Not sure I'd have had the perseverance to stick that out, to tell the truth.  I mean, really..... ten weeks?

Then I commented that being sick really bums me out.  In addition to just sucking, I haven't exercised in over a week, and that makes me feel crummy too.  My back feels tight, my muscles feel stiff, I feel tired and lazy. The realization dawned on me right as my doc said it aloud.  It seems as though I've made myself a new habit.  I always thought it was kind of bogus that people said working out gave them more energy.  Let's be real, you guys.... I'm tired when I get home from work.  Workouts or no workouts.  I. Am. Beat.  And some days, it is a struggle to get upstairs, change into my gear and get myself moving.  But I do it.  And I always feel better for it afterward.

I'm on day 3 of ear rescue, and I've only been able to work out once.  I was pleasantly surprised that I made it through the full workout without wanting to die.  I'm very much looking forward to getting all the little ear-stabbing monsters gone so I can get that spring back in my step.

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