As promised, here's some more detail about my workouts! I know a big part of the reason I didn't blog for awhile is that I felt like I didn't have anything interesting to talk about when it came to what I do for fitness, but then it occurred to me that I really had never gone into detail on what the workouts are like or what I do! I'll give a little schpeal and link to some of their videos below (there's no auto play, so it's safe to open at work), which BTW, are free!! Their site is great and you could build your own workout calendar with just the free videos, I just chose to purchase a few of the organized programs they offer because I literally need my hand held when it comes to strength training. I tend to focus hardcore on my lower body because it's what I'm good at, but really need help and assistance with my upper body.
I am trying to remember specifically how I found the Fitness Blender videos, I think I was looking for a barre workout and happened to stumble on this one from them. I loved it so much that I started poking around to see what else they offered and saw that they had HIIT videos. I've always wanted to try HIIT but have been scared shitless of it because it looks so intense, but decided to try their beginner video of it. While it was incredibly tough I was able to get through it, so I just gradually started doing more and more of the Fitness Blender stuff. I only had a couple pairs of weights, but when I started doing their lifting style routines I got hooked! I started realizing that unlike running, I wasn't fighting myself on working out and wasn't bitching or making excuses. I just came home, did my workout, felt good and life went on. Something just clicked, and that's when I was able to let go of running without guilt and focus strictly on lifting and HIIT.
I alternate the workouts between combo of HIIT/lifting, or just lifting. I prefer the just lifting workouts and tend to gravitate towards them especially on days where my motivation is lagging, but the ones that are a combination of HIIT with lifting sets mixed in are the workouts that I find to be the most effective. The cardio stuff is stuff like squats, lunges, high knees, jumping jacks, etc and the lifting portions are things like deadlifts or squats/lunges with weights. For upper body workouts it's stuff like burpees, planks, tricep dips and push-ups while the lifting exercises are the types of things you traditionally think of with lifting. Bicep curls, chest flys, presses, etc. My favorite workouts for either upper or lower body are lifting superset workout, which is basically doing two exercises right in a row without stopping. (For instance, 10 weighted squats followed immediately by 10 deadlifts, then repeated again.) My heart is pounding out of my chest during these workouts, yet it's low impact. I think maybe I'll start posting a favorite workout of the week just so you can really see full examples of what I'm doing. Typically they are all 30 minutes or less, though if my energy is higher, I try to squeeze in closer to 45 minutes.
If I'm feeling low energy or very sore after an intense session of HIIT from the prior day, I do an easy cardio routine like this or this. Those were the types of videos I did in the beginning when my stamina was low, and they were an excellent way to ramp up to the more difficult workouts. They also have a lot of great stretching videos, so if I'm really feeling achy I'll do a stretching routine like this. It really all comes down to achieving a good balance on all fronts. I try to make sure I'm not overworking one muscle group or the other, getting a good balance of cardio and strength, while also listening to my body and respecting the days it needs me to back off a little and do recovery cardio or stretching.
Anyway, that's about it in a nutshell. I know I sound like a paid lacky for Fitness Blender, but I swear I'm not, I just truly love the videos that much. Besides the fact that it's free, it's just so convenient to do it at the house and not have to go to a gym or get dressed and go through the rigmarole of going for a run. Most importantly, the changes in my body have been pretty amazing. They have videos ranging from 5 minutes to over an hour, with every fitness level in mind. There's just no excuse to not do the workouts beyond injury or plain laziness. Daniel and Kelli both seem like genuine, cool people and I LOVE that they don't have a bunch of music and cheery screeching in their videos. They are right there doing the workout and huffing and puffing with you. The fact that they offer the videos for free tells me everything I need to know, and they are truly in this because they care about people's health and fitness. They are very body positive and encouraging as well! It's really worked well for me, so I just thought I'd share a little more.
The most important thing at the end of the day really is finding an activity that works for you and makes you happy. You have to find your "thing", and whatever that thing is, do it consistently!