Ruminations on CF Challenge: Day 1

Today marks the first day in the 30-day Core Fusion Challenge my sis and I are doing together.

A couple of ruminations that struck me during today’s workout. But first – before I forget. I wanted to share my planned workout schedule for this week:

Sunday: Kick <—check!

Monday: Core Fusion Body Sculpt <—check!

Tuesday: Core Fusion Pilates Abs

Wednesday: Ride; Core Fusion Lean & Toned

Thursday: Core Fusion Pilates Abs OR rest

Friday: Core Fusion Pilates Abs OR rest

Saturday: Something runner-ish. More than likely, a speed workout on the dreadmill (given the snow forecast for mid-week, we may never dig out…)

So here’s a question that just dawned on me – I really wanted to get Core Fusion in 5x/week vs. 4x/week but where to fit it in unless I squeese it in on Saturday? Hmmm…sooo tempted *not* to take a rest day this week but I know, that’s bad. Must resist urge. I will mull this over.

But back to the point of my post – some initial ruminations on the first day of the challenge.

  1. I noticed I felt more “centered” both during and right after completing this morning’s workout. I felt more settled and ready to conquer the day. Maybe because I didn’t let my mind wander like I normally do during a run or a spin class or whatever. But I *really* focused on locking that core in, keeping those glutes tight, etc. I guess I sort of do that during a typical weight workout but for some reason this just felt different, somehow.  
  2. I really took the “strength within stillness” mantra to heart. Any time I wanted to step out of a thigh or glute strengthening move or was dying to get out of that ab curl, I thought about that statement that Fred and Elisabeth mention often during the workout.  And I held onto it, even if it was just a second longer, a second is still a second, right?
  3. My whole body felt “worked.” This one is hard to describe…but it almost felt like energy was coursing through  my body, my legs felt almost wobbly at the end and my abs were a-hurtin. And yet, I didn’t sweat nearly as much as during Kick, Ride, running, you name it. That still surprises me somehow – but I think this feeling goes back to that “mind-body connection” that Core Fusion is based on. At least that’s how it felt…again, hard to describe.

Anyway, just some random first impressions/ruminations as I dive into this challenge with my sis.  I’m intrigued, to say the least.

Gearing up…

…for the Core Fusion 30-day challenge.

On the eve of the challenge itself (since February is a short month, I’m calling tomorrow CF kick-off day), I thought I’d jot down a few notes to self:

  • Be patient. This is going to be a frustrating (and uncomfortable) month at times.
  • Think differently. Core Fusion *is* very much a “workout” even if the sweat-factor is less so than what you’re accustomed to.
  • Trust your body. It’s going to change this month. Let it.
  • Have fun. This is gonna affect you in ways you probably can’t even anticipate yet. Enjoy this bonding time with your sis, you don’t get as much time with her anymore with this new job and all.
  • Own it. You’re gonna come out of this a strong core, but even more importantly, you’re gonna come out of this with a brand new mind/body connection. Embrace that, most of all.

So that’s it. My notes to self…a quasi pep talk, too – now that I’m reading this back to myself.

Core Fusion challenge time…it’s on! 😉


Motivation: it can come from the most unsuspecting places

Guess what?

I had zero motivation to workout this morning.


Yup. It was one of those mornings where I could have stayed in bed for WAY longer but it had to be done.

Scott and I reluctantly rolled out of bed and made our way upstairs to our home gym.

I know, cry me a river. My gym is upstairs and I still didn’t want to workout.


Workout motivation source #1 right? Home gym = zero excuses not to get the workout done.

But my real motivation today?

My husband.

Who knew I was NOT in the mood to get that treadmill set done but had a plan in mind, apparently.

Just as I was about to give up about ten minutes sooner than I had planned out, he said that I had “no choice” but to keep running until the show we were watching On Demand was over (Hawaii Five-O, really good show, FYI)


I ‘spose that’s a good way to get me to bust out that last ten minutes in style, right?

Rather than argue it, I got it done. Easy as that.

Unsuspecting and random source for motivation today, but hell, whatever works. That’s the moral of this “story” – motivation can come from a million different sources and will be different for everyone and can be as random as my motivation source was today. Thanks babe, you pushed me through. I’ll give you credit…this time. 😉

For those of you wondering, here’s how my treadmill workout looked:

warm-up: 5 mins @ 3.5 mph

Series of mini-intervals for 35 mins: every 2 mins I changed the speed from 6.3, 6.5, 6.7, 7.0, 7.2 and so on. My fastest 2 mins (which I repeated twice during this cycle) was 8 mph.

cool-down: 5 mins @ 3.5 mph

It wasn’t my BEST treadmill workout but it was good enough, and that’s just fine by me for today. Off to enjoy my day, no looking back 🙂


TRX – uh yeah, that was pretty awesome

Sooo one of the workouts I’ve been dying to try but never had the time in my workout routine?


For those of you who aren’t familiar, it’s suspension training which basically forces you to rely heavily on your core to keep you stable and uses your own body weight combined with the TRX straps to give what turned out to a ridic workout.

Ridic as in pretty awesome.

My husband and I went to our favorite instructor’s class tonight. She’s been dying to get us there – everytime we see her at Ride, she’s always prodding us to try TRX. I guess she knew we’d love it, huh? Because we sooo did.

I’m sitting here typing this and I swear I’m already feeling some major DOMS action. Across my entire body.Whoa. Tomorrow’s gonna sting a little. 😉

So the workout – here’s how it went down. Well first…lemme back up: here’s a pic to give you a visual…in case you have no idea what I mean by suspension training!!

<basically it’s two straps attached to the ceiling that you use for all sorts of funky workouts, really cool>

Started with a basic warm-up to get the blood flowing.

Quickly moved on to some serious squat action that took me by such surprise. I had no idea how painful squats could be with no weight other than your own body weight and the resistance from pulling those straps taught from the ceiling. Seriously – there were so many low-ends I thought my legs my give out. My husband was not happy…he hates working his legs so he was in a serious world of hurt already.

From there, we did some upper body work including back, triceps and biceps which was really neat. Probably my favorite part.  Again, totally surprised that you could work up SUCH a burn with two wimpy lookin’ straps hanging from a ceiling, who knew?!

After this we went back to lower body which included LOTS of lunges followed by a series of floor work that burned those glutes like WHOA. From there we did mountain climbers mixed with push-ups…this is where i thought I might not make it. Those push-ups were SO HARD to do with my legs in those straps. Whoa.

As if that wasn’t enough, we went back to upper body for a reallllly intense series of shoulder moves that worked every part of the shoulder…our instructor confessed she loves to work shoulders so she added a few extra goodies in there for us. Um, thanks?

We finished up with PLANKS which were deadly. No joke.

Through all of this, there was a continual focus on the core since you had to keep that core taught throughout. Your body was often in a “surfboard” position when doing the upper body work which meant some serious core conditioning action was underway throughout the workout. Awesome. Um yes, but not awesome? That I went into this class with a sore core to begin with thanks to Core Fusion! Man, glutton for punishment over here. 😉

So yeah – you could say I LOVED TRX!! I give it an A++! Have any of you tried it?? If so, were you as surprised as I was at how intense it was for so little equipment??

Happy, happy

I’m happy.

I had a great day at work…finally getting to the point where I’ve carved out my corner of that world as my own. And that my friends, was such an epiphany moment for me today. You know I’ve been struggling to find my place, to figure out what I can do to prove my value but also to settle into a place I can call “home” there. If that makes sense. And I’m finding it. Yes – I still have those uncomfortable moments. But you know what? I welcome that. It means I’m growing and stretching beyond my comfort zone. Reaching for something new and different and great. As Jillian Michaels said on the Biggest Loser the other night, “when was the last time you really reached for something?” Well, I’m reaching, and reaching, and it’s right there.

That makes me happy.

I loved every single comment left on my blog post last night. I am overwhelmed by the bloggy friends out there who are all so supportive and downright excited for me. It made me smile everytime I saw a new comment notification pop up in my email. And I’m even MORE psyched to get the Core Fusion challenge started next week!

That makes me happy.

I’m digging around as I type this to find a fun and challenging interval workout to tackle on the treadmill tomorrow. Yes, the treadmill has become my friend, out of necessity than anything else this winter. With more snow in the forecast for tomorrow, I have no choice but to make peace with it. So might as well have some fun challenging myself with some new interval workouts, right?

That makes me happy.

I’m settled into my yoga pants, making dinner with Scott (on the grill..yes, in the snow!) before a date with our DVR tonight. And that was after telling him all about my day where he sat there with the biggest smile on his face, so proud of me for it, for finally believing in myself for once.

And that makes me happiest of all.

So cheers friends (it *is* winesday afterall) – and be happy.

It’s (challenge) time


I’m done with my 3 1/2 month STS rotation.

I’m not (yet) signed up for another half marathon (but trust me, I’m definitely doing at least one if not more races this spring).

It’s time.

Challenge time.

I alluded to it my STS wrap-up post that my sis and I had concocted a new challenge to take on.

And we’ve found it.

It’s called the Core Fusion 30-day challenge, which is *totally* inspired by Dori‘s incredible experience with the “original” 30-day challenge that Exhale Spa created.

My sis and I have decided that it’s HIGH time that we build a strong core. While we’re athletes and all (*wink*), we have NEVER had a strong core. We both have a hard time committing the time needed to strengthen it and invariably always end up frustrated and we give up (yes, you read that right – we give UP!).

So it’s about time we got over that. And thankfully, we’ve finally found a core/pilates/yoga inspired core workout that we both love to death (and are challenged, like whoa, by it).

Here’s how it’s gonna go down:

  • Starting next week, for the month of February we’ll do some form of Core Fusion 4-5 days per week
  • That could mean taking a live class at Exhale Spa in Boston (maybe next time founder Fred DeVito stops by to teach again  *hint! hint!*)
  • Or, it could mean popping in one of these bad boys. We now both own a handful of the Core Fusion DVDs including: Boot Camp (this one is the most cardio based of them all…no joke either, nearly killed me last night!); Body Sculpt; Pilates Abs, Glutes & Thighs; and Long & Lean.
  • In tandem, we’ll do *some* cardio via running (via intervals on the treadmill, or outside if weather permits) or spinning, primarily (maybe 1-2 days per week).
  • But no other strength training whatsoever, aside from what the body weight-based strength work and light hand weights that some of the Core Fusion DVDs include.
  • We’ll take one rest day entirely, as usual.
  • And – we’ll document our progress here on the blog with some guest appearances by my sis (yippee!).

And at the end of this month, what do we hope to accomplish?

It’s not what you think.

Yes, we want a strong core but we’re not aspiring to some crazy 6-pack or something. Quite the opposite. We’re both simply in this to build an overall stronger core that will carry us through whatever other crazy challenges we take on next. Because your core is INTEGRAL to so many aspects of life that to have a weak one is just wrong.

So that’s it. Simple as that. A stronger core. Anything on top of that is gravy. Really and truly.

I don’t know about you sis, but I say BRING IT ON. I am so ready for this Core Fusion Challenge, like whoa-ly. 😉


<Fitblogger confession alert>

The one thing that will take some adjusting to? Not doing an intense (i.e. heavy) weight training workout. And shifting my mindset as it relates to yoga/pilates inspired workouts. I fall into the “if I didn’t sweat buckets, I didn’t workout hard enough” camp. And that’s got to change. Core Fusion is an intense workout but in a very different way than say, a speedy run or an hour of a heavy weight training routine. But it’s different in exactly the way I need it to be and I need to accept that a Core Fusion workout indeed “counts” as a workout! So that’s my one fitblogger “confession” as part of all of this as crazy as that might sound. This sure falls into the “getting uncomfortable” portion of my 2011 resolutions, indeed.

Compliments of…

Randomly, a blog post popped into mind last night while on a self-imposed “DVR date” with the hubs to wind down a busy but uber fun weekend.

The topic?

Well, it’s more of a question:

“What’s the best compliment you ever received?”

It only took me a second to answer that one for myself.

“You are so athletic.”

Who? Me? Athletic?


That’s reserved for baseball players, tennis pros, track and field superstars.

Me? I just like to workout.

And of course, I fell into the total-denial-can’t-possibly-take-a-compliment response versus gracefully accepting the compliment like I should have.

I honestly don’t even remember who gave me the compliment – oh wait, yes I do. It was my aunt who moved away about a year or two ago and was visiting this past spring. At the time, as I said, I totally brushed it off. But later…I reveled in it, secretly of course.

Why, though?

Why did I 1) not accept the compliment gracefully and 2) did I feel so surprised that someone would describe me that way?

I think it all boils down to self-perception, something I’ve found myself really digging into a lot more lately. And trying to own who I am vs. half-owning it or not owning it at all.

At the ripe old age of 31, you’d think I’d be able to fully OWN it nowadays. I can’t say that I do…at least not all the time, but I’m learning.

In fact, I just gave a certain blog bestie that very same advice: OWN it.

Guess that means it must be worth taking that same advice too then, huh? 😉

So anyway, I of course would love your thoughts on this whole self-perception thang and what the best compliment YOU ever received was…and how it affected you (and bonus points if you reveal whether or not you took that compliment gracefully!!).

Intervals, love to hate ’em

Yes, I just admitted that I’m a new-found Interval lovin’ fool. (yes, Heather – you get some credit for this!)

But here’s why I’ve grown to love interval-style workouts.

  • They go by fastduh.
  • They leave me huffing and puffing and damn proud of myself when I’m done.
  • They make other interval-ish workouts *slightly* less challenging (though after today’s SUPER intense Ride class, I’m not sure this is true all the time, haha)
  • They force me to get out of my comfort zone. No more plodding along at 6.5 mph on the treadmill. Funny enough, since starting these speed workouts on the treadmill, that “normal” 6.5 mph is starting to feel a little slow! How funny, right??
  • They are fun. Yep, fun. The dreadmill is fun?! Huh?? (forget about steady state on the dreadmill, those are still ridic, firmly landing in the “not fun” category).

So – I dare you this week to give an interval workout (running on the treadmill, running outside, or doing a spinning workout which I’d qualify as interval style given the variations in intensity, especially if it’s a Ride class…).

If you’re looking for ideas…borrow some from me (that I borrowed – with credit – from these fab ladies, Becky and Melissa!). Check ’em out here and here. Oh – and also check out one I tried yesterday, courtesy of Naomi, with a few modifications here:

0-3 min: Warm-up (I walk at 3.5)
3-10 min: Jog at 5.5 <—I made this 6.0 mph
10-11 min: Sprint at 7.0-8.0
11-13 min: Recover at 3.5-4.0 <—-these recovery rounds I upped to 6.0, I was feeling speedy on Saturday, oddly enough!
13-14 min: Sprint at 7.0-8.0
14-16 min: Recover at 3.5-4.0
16-17 min: Sprint at 7.0-8.0
17-19 min: Recover at 3.5-4.0
19-20 min: Sprint at 7.0-8.0
20-22 min: Recover at 3.0-4.0 (so basically its 5 sprints and 5 recovers)
22-30 min: The workout says to jog at 5.5, but during this time, I’ll run at 7.0 for 1 min, then slow down by .5 each minute until I’m back at 5.0.
5 min cool down: Walk at 3.5
I added a couple of extra intervals/recovery rounds at the end to make this a 45 minute workout. This is an awesome workout to be able to modify how you see fit…yet another reason to love intervals! Make ’em yours!


STS – that’s a wrap!

Today marks the end of my STS rotation.

I cannot believe it was just over three months ago that I decided to start this rotation – how the heck did that fly by so fast?!?

Of course, while I made my way through my last STS workout today, I started to assess how this rotation went vs. previous ones. <—-and ahem, note to self? Don’t try to do a killer STS heavy weight training workout *after* repeating yesterday’s interval workout on the treadmill. It.Nearly.Killed.Me.

So, my assessment?

Aside from feeling rather She-Ra like, other observations…

  • Paying closer attention to how close “to failure” I was on each set paid off. I felt like I worked my hardest everytime I did an STS workout. I can’t say that I necessarily felt that way after every STS workout last time around.
  • While I did not take measurements or before/after pics, I feel and see improvements. Note I didn’t say “changes” but “improvements”…I don’t view STS as a workout I went to to change my body but to improve upon what’s already there…it’s a mindset thing, learning to love who I am, what I am, right where I am, if that makes sense.
  • Stronger legs, stronger arms, means other workouts are stronger. I definitely saw much improvement in my kicking ability during Kick workouts than before. I can keep more forcefully and more effectively now. I credit stronger glutes, thighs and calves for that (oh how I love to hate leg workouts in STS – they get me good every single time).
  • I fell back in love with weight training this time. While I’ve always done weight training as part of my workouts, I never really LOVED it. I was always a cardio queen. But this time? I LOVED STS days, looked forward to them…hell I even had an anti-cardio week which is huge for this self-professed cardio addict! I call that progress. Now I love both, equally.

So that’s that. My self-assessment: STS style. My sister just finished her rotation, too which means we’re now collaborating on our big “what’s next” plan, which I plan to share with ya’ll next week. So you’ll have to be patient for now. 😉


In the meantime? I’m borrowing a fun theme for Friday, courtesy of Erin at The Healthy Apron who asked her readers to identify their “Favorite Feature Friday.” In other words – what feature about your body are you loving most right now? As Erin did, I’m urging you all to find one feature that you love and to celebrate it today. We work hard, might as well celebrate it, right??

For me? My shoulders are my favorite – not just because they are strong (and stronger thanks to STS), but like I told Erin, they are a shoulder that my friends and family can lean on whenever they need it. And I love to know that my loved ones trust me enough to come to me for whatever it is that’s bugging them. So that’s it – my shoulders!

Your turn. 🙂

…and not all workouts go according to plan.

Just like I said not all workouts are created equally?

Well, not all workouts go according to plan, either.

Last night’s planned ‘Speed Wednesday” treadmill run turned into my rest day.

But only because traffic was not cooperating and little ‘ol me didn’t get home until 7pm and with a rumbling tummy, I knew if I tried to workout with the tank on empty, I’d pay sorely for it. It would’ve fallen into the Not every workout is going to blow your mind (though I wish they would!) category.

The good news, though? This morning’s early AM workout rewind did the trick. The interval workout I found over at Carrots ‘n Cake was just what I was looking for – a speedy interval workout, v2!

Here’s how it looked:

45 minutes total

Warm up: 3 minutes easy walk or jog (4 mph) 

1st Set

3 minute tempo run (6.5 )
3 minute sprint interval (sprint 1 minute , jog 1 minute, sprint 1 minute) (7.5, 6, 7.5)
3 minute tempo run (6.7)

Recovery: 3 minute walk or jog (4)

2nd Set

5 minute tempo run (6.7)
5 minute sprint interval (sprint 1 min., jog 1 min, sprint 1 min., jog 1 min., sprint 1 min.)
(7.5, 6, 7.5, 6, 7.5)
5 minute tempo run (7)

Recovery: 3 minute walk or jog (4)

3rd Set

3 minute tempo run (7)
3 minute sprint interval (sprint 1 minute, jog 1 minute, sprint 1 minute) (8, 6, 8)
3 minute tempo run (7)

Cool down:

3 minute walk or jog (4)

God, I love bloggy land!! You all have such awesome ideas – or have found some awesome ideas from other bloggers that I then borrow and learn to love just as much as they did. As you’ll see, I found the section of Tina‘s blog on treadmill workouts and that lead me to Melissa‘s blog – and both are now firmly planted in my google reader as well. Thank you, ladies!

But what can I say about the workout?

Hands down – it fits into this category very nicely:

Other workouts are going to leave you breathless and damn proud of yourself for making it through.

High five! And off to work I go, just had to blog this while it was hot off the presses, so to speak 😉