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Review: The January 2013 DailyHiit 30 Day Challenge

In the past few months I have made small changes to my overall diet and exercise routines.  I’m trying to eat more simply – less processed foods, more fresh stuff, and have been trying out HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts to see what kind of results I get.

dailyhiitI discovered the BodyRock/DailyHiit people, who have HUNDREDS of videos up on YouTube (their channel is here).  They began a 30 Day Challenge back in January, but I wasn’t able to start it at the time.  I was glad I waited, because someone created a 30 day calendar with all the names of the videos in order, so I printed it out and have been working from that (CLICK HERE for the calendar PDF) – I am happy to credit whomever made it, but when I tried to find where I got it, I just couldn’t locate it again.  While the DailyHiit website is chock full of information, the organization is still lacking in some areas (Facebook comments are ripe with “where do I start!?!” and “how do I find XYZ?!?”).


This is LisaMarie, not me. Not sure I will get to that level of fitness, but I certainly respect her hard work and dedication!

Not sure if HIIT is right for you?  I know I was a little nervous about something that was “high intensity”, but I found that there are a lot of modifications that can be done to stay at your level and you can work up to the harder stuff as you gain strength and muscle.  Besides, just look at LisaMarie, one of the hosts of the videos…  she’s lean and strong, and they love to post pictures from people who have transformed themselves.  Plenty of people that look like me have gotten a lot out of it, so why not try it out!

I figured if anyone wants the challenge in order, you can also come back here to go day by day.  Since this will be a very long post, I will break it up into pages so it doesn’t crit you with a wall of text.  Also, I noted what pieces of equipment they used each day.  The majority of exercises can be modified to not using equipment, although there are some that you will just need to substitute another exercise in.  By the end of the challenge, I already had or purchased a yoga mat, a sandbag, and a set of Equalizers.  They also use a set of these PowerBlock SportBlock hand weights, a weighted jump rope, and I noticed that they also use these grip pads.  You can read my review of the Equalizers from the link.  I did not purchase the same sandbag they use, and the only real difference is that the one I have does not have a center handle for doing evenly-weighted swinging.  Aside from that I love the sandbag, I think it’s my favorite piece of gear.  I love the design of the hand weights they use, but at $160 for the set, I am going to have to make do with something else for now.  I never got the jump rope, I simply do not have the space in the room I exercise in to use one without taking out light fixtures.  I will likely pick up a pair of the grip pads, however, I have found times when those would come in handy for sure.  Now on to the 30 day review…

Product Review: Lebert Equalizers

LebertEqualizer1I’ve been deeply entrenched in a 30 day fitness challenge put together by the DailyHiit folks, and they have several pieces of equipment that they use regularly in their videos.  One they use for a lot of their exercises is a set of the Lebert Equalizers, simply two metal stands that can be used in many configurations to help aid your workout.

They aren’t cheap, I did find mine through Power Systems and while deciding whether or not to take the plunge on actually purchasing them I saw advertisements encouraging me to return and complete my order with a free shipping code.  I did see that some people had been able to manufacture their own, but ultimately I wasn’t confident I could do that myself so I bought them.

lebertequalizer4First, the pros: the Equalizers are definitely helpful in doing exercises you may not otherwise be able to do.  There are plenty of items around the house you might be able to modify or use to do similar exercises, but I found there were a few I just could not do without them.  Many people use chairs or coffee tables to take the place of an Equalizer and get just as effective of a workout.  With my limited space, and household items, I just couldn’t do much substitution so that’s why I decided to go forward with them.  They have a smaller footprint and can be stored fairly easily without being too in the way.  They weigh about 8 pounds each so they can double as extra weights for some exercises.  They also feel very solid – I do not feel like there is a weakness to them, even at the places where the bases screw into the top frame.  They are cool looking enough that my daughter gravitated toward them and wanted to do all the exercises on their poster.  In addition to the poster of exercises, they also give you a DVD full of Beginner and Intermediate exercises you can do with them.

lebertequalizer3Now the cons: Upon opening the box they arrived in I was hit with an overpowering chemical smell.  I have smelled this before (particularly with sporting equipment, go figure), it’s a pungent odor that my nose equates with burnt rubber.  I hoped that being out of the box and bubble wrapping would allow it to “de-gas”, but my husband walked into the room I exercise in about 24 hours after I got them and immediately asked who was smoking cigarettes in there!  We are a smoke-free household, and when I entered I could still smell the original odor.  I currently have an Airwick plug in wide open to try and mask the smell.  There are two other complaints I have with the Equalizers, one is that the end-caps on the feet are plastic, NOT rubber as I would expect.  With hardwood floors, these can slide easily and I must try and position them on my yoga mat for safety.  Doing this sometimes forces me to modify exercises or take longer than normal to move from one exercise to another, which I find a but irritating and throws off my rhythm.  The last complaint I have is that Equalizers are a One Size Fits All product, when clearly, they need to make them adjustable or make other sizes for people of different heights.  I think this is perfect for someone around 5’7″.  I am 5’11” and when standing next to it, my fingernails JUST brush the hand grip.  I think for someone of my height, it needs to be at least 3″ taller.

I am not unhappy I purchased them, but nor can I give them a top score.  I am hoping the smell will eventually dissipate, and will just have to get used to crouching down further to adjust for the height.  Not sure what I will do about the caps, perhaps try and wrap them in something to help give them some stick, or only use them up against the wall so they don’t slide.

UPDATE:  Wanted to swing back in and let you know that the odor did indeed go away.  While they are not my main piece of exercise equipment, they are still in use today!

(Photos from Lebert Fitness)

Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie (that is light enough to have seconds without guilt!)

My continued absence from here is annoying even me, so pushing myself to share something.  This is my new favorite recipe that I have been busting out all week, and it’s a variation on the Bisquick Chicken Pot Pie recipe found on the box (I actually found it online since the box I have didn’t actually have it).  The hardest part is the chicken, the rest takes all of about 5 minutes to throw together.  First, here’s the recipe:

  • 1 Cup of Chicken
  • 2 Cups of Vegetables
  • 1 Can of Cream of Chicken
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • 1 Cup of Bisquick mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix the chicken, veggies, soup and spices in a casserole dish, flattening it out when done.  Mix the egg, milk and Bisquick and then pour over the top of the chicken and veggies, spread it out as evenly as possible.  Put it in the oven for 30 minutes (or until the top is browned), makes 6 servings.

I had leftover chicken from the weekend so I started with that, however, I wanted to make more and ended up springing for a rotisserie chicken from the store.  This provided me with at least 3 cups worth of chicken – I pulled one serving from the breast, and finished assembling the dish.  While it was baking, I pulled the rest of the chicken off, shredded it, and put the leftovers in the fridge for next time.  It’s also just as easy to bake a couple of chicken breasts and dice/shred them.

How to make this dish HEALTHIER…

Grab the lower-fat version of the Cream of Chicken (Heart Healthy line of Campbells was even better than the store version of low fat cream of chicken), use low-fat milk, and bulk up on the vegetables – last night I used a can of corn niblets as 1 cup of veggies, and frozen peas and carrots as the other cup, however the corn was a bit abundant, so I will likely go with frozen mixed vegetables next time.


When your brain refuses to work…

I’m so sorry that I have been absent for so long.  Apparently my creative juices just decided to come to a complete stop, an I lost momentum.  Several times I would see something, or read something and think “hey, I could post that on…nahhhh, nevermind.”  I absolutely hate when that happens, but until something jumpstarts my mojo again, I guess I just have to slog through it.

So a few weeks back I tried to slip on one of my favorite pair of jeans, and *surprise surprise* I felt like I was trying to stuff sausage back into the casing.  Like so many other people today, I have struggled with my weight for many years.  Sometimes I’m up high, sometimes I am mid-ranged, but I haven’t been a decent weight for my height and bone structure since high school.  Creeping depressingly up near my high point again, I decided enough was enough and I got the jumpstart I needed.

After researching, reading, and speaking to several people, I decided to not only re-join Weight Watchers but also include jogging into my regimen.  Weight Watchers has worked very well for me in the past, but something typically derails me, I get upset and depressed, and suddenly I’m off the program.  Workouts usually go through the same cycle, only much faster…  I get excited about exercising, I do it for about 2-3 weeks, then I throw my back out (my notorious weak spot).  And not just throw it out for a day or two, I am talking more than a week that ends when I finally get tired of crying in pain and go to the hospital for a shot and some percocets just to stop the pain cycle.  By the time I feel ok enough to start exercising again, I’ve lost the excitement and momentum, and that’s the end of that.

This time, however, has been wonderfully different.  After acquiring a good pair of running sneakers, I have been jogging at least every other day.  Well, to be perfectly honest, it’s more like a walk with a lot of jogging stuck in there.  I can’t do much distance, but I do go for longer stints each time I go.

At this point, I am considering introducing some workouts that are part of interval training – 50 seconds of workout, 10 seconds of rest, 3 or four different moves.  I’m a little nervous about it, considering my back issues, so I definitely need to take it slow.  Finger’s crossed though, I am looking forward to being healthier!

The unfortunate term “thinspo”

I was recently introduced to the term “Thinspo.” For those that have not yet heard about the Kate Upton controversy, thinspo is short for thin inspiration, where people who are aspiring to lose weight or maintain their current weight share photos or other reminders of why they want to be thin.

Thinspo has been connected to the pro-ana (promote anorexia) community, but what I found is that there appear to be factions even am0ng the thinspo community. Some fervently defend themselves as people who simply want to help themselves and others get to a healthier weight (and celebrate those who have achieved it), while others equate thinspo with pro-ana and are more than happy to claim membership to both.

There is nothing wrong with being naturally slim.  There is nothing wrong with working hard to lose extra, unnecessary weight.  There is nothing wrong with posting before and after pictures (or before and during pictures) to celebrate accomplishments.  Weight loss websites do it all the time in the hopes that someone will be inspired to join their program.

What I find unfortunate is that so many in the thinspo community are desperately claiming that they have nothing to do with the pro-ana community, when my admittedly brief research turned up nothing but sites that at best skated right inside the boundaries of pro-ana.  Some just accepted and embraced thinspo as part of the cycle that anyone with an eating disorder goes through.

One site’s mission statement blatantly pushed thinness “whatever it takes”.  Another posted photos of extremely slim models, entitling them “PERFECTION,” and failing to realize or acknowledge that the photos were so obviously photoshopped it wasn’t even funny.  Just a brief scroll through another turned up post after post of studying what a celebrity DRANK and how many calories it was likely going to add to her body.

The reason I find thinspo an unfortunate term is because it had the hints of being helpful, but instead it seems to be swirling deeper into hurtful.  Granted, it should more accurately have started as “healthy inspiration” in order to promote and inspire people to be healthier, but “healthspo” doesn’t really have the same ring to it.  As someone who has struggled with weight and health issues, I would have liked to have found a community that encourages better health (without asking for monthly membership fees), but I found that barely scratching the surface turned up way too much photoshop envy, obsessiveness, and clearly starving (as in their bodies are screaming for nourishment) people.

And for the record, Kate Upton is smoking hot.

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