Saturday, November 30, 2013

"10 min Exercise Ball Ab Workout: Sarah Fit" Review

Today I am reviewing "10 min Exercise Ball Ab Workout: Sarah Fit" by Sarah Fit. I actually had to get my fitness ball out and inflate it for this workout. I have liked working out with an exercise ball, but deflated mine when I wasn't using it as much (more during my only-running phase). I saw this and thought I might want to try it out.

Don't forget to get the right size exercise ball for you! I worked out with one too small for me for a while, and it was SO much better when I got the right size. Here is an article on buying the right size for you. Most fitness balls will have a chart on the back to guide you, though, according to your height. I bought my fitness ball at Target, but here is one on Amazon (affiliate link) with good reviews.

So, I tried this one. Oh my goodness. This one should come with a disclaimer that it is not for beginners or the faint of heart. The moves were so difficult that I couldn't really even count this on my calorie tracker as exercise, because I just couldn't do several of the moves, or even modify them. You would already have to have a very strong core and a great sense of balance.

Would I do this one again? To be honest, probably not. I might be able to do it one day when I am super-duper fit. However, if you are already in tip-top shape, you could give it a try.

I followed it up with a lower body workout from the 10 Minute Solution: Fitness Ball Workouts (affiliate link) DVD, and it went much better. I will be back tomorrow to review this workout for you!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Review of "10-Minute No-Equipment Home Workout, Full Body Exercise, Class FitSugar" by POPSUGAR Fitness

Can you tell that I am a fan of the 10 minute workout? I usually do more than 10 minutes, but I string a bunch of them together to add different levels of difficulty and to have lots of variety in my exercise routine. Today I am reviewing POPSUGAR Fitness' "10-Minute No-Equipment Home Workout, Full Body Exercise, Class FitSugar".

Oh, this one was tough! I broke a sweat, definitely. The first few minutes had a lot of planks, though. I thought, is this going to be 10 minutes of planks? But it wasn't. There were also burpees and lots of other challenging exercises. It's a workout that doesn't require any equipment, and can be done in a fairly small (but not tiny) space. It felt more like core work that cardio exercise.

There is one small gripe I have that is common among a lot of videos. If you are doing an exercise where you can't see the television, I really like it when they tell you what you should be doing since you can't see the moves. It's also helpful if they are counting the reps so you know how fast you should be doing the moves. This had at least one section where I was thinking, "I can't see you! Tell me what I should be doing!" But this happens from time to time. If it's a video I've done a lot, I've memorized it, but it's super confusing for someone new to that particular video.

Would I do this again? Sure. It's not an absolute favorite, but it's a good one to throw in for variety.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review of "POP Pilates: Stretching for Flexibility! (Full 10 min) Pilates Video"

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! So, today is my race day! No more waiting! I am so excited. I am hoping that my friend will have a great day and be encouraged.

I plan on doing some stretching today, and "POP Pilates: Stretching for Flexibility! (Full 10 min) Pilates Video" is a video I've tried before. You don't need any equipment unless you want a yoga mat (this yoga towel (affiliate link) looks fun, especially if you were using it on carpet. I don't have it, but I want it!) I have to admit, it can be a little discouraging if you are not super flexible. But so what? What if you aren't as flexible as Cassey of Blogilates? No one is going to kick you out of being able to do this video in the privacy of your own living room. So don't worry about it. Just enjoy the stretch. I also do this on rest days sometimes, especially if I am feeling sore from workout(s) from previous days. I can't do a full bridge (yet?), and I can't stretch nearly as close to the ground as Cassey. I just do my best and move on.

Would I do this video again? You betcha! I would like to be more flexible, and I like the idea of being able to follow a stretching video instead of thinking about which stretches I want to do on my own.

Tomorrow, I plan on doing some walking to recover from what I hope will be today's really fun morning of running and walking.

Disclosure: Affiliate links may have been included in this post; however, it does not affect my opinion of the product.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Rest Day

Tomorrow, I will be running/walking a Turkey Trot with a friend. This is my friend's first 5K. I am very proud of her for trying this!

I want to go into this with fresh legs, so I am going to take a real rest day. I generally do this every week, but I wanted to remind everyone (and myself, too!) that a rest day is important. Here's an article from Shape on the importance of a rest day.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My favorite running accessories (and Christmas gift ideas for your favorite runner!)

Walking, then running, got me back into wanting to exercise. It's the main way I worked out for a while. I tried a few different accessories and apps to help me out and make my runs interesting, so I'm here to share them with you. Some of these would make excellent Christmas gifts for runners!

Nike+ Running - This was a lot of fun for me, getting feedback while I ran about how fast I was going, and how far I had gone. Some people observe that it overestimates how far you ran. I think it does, but not by too much, especially after you have calibrated it. You can visit the Nike+ Running page here.

New Balance Shoes, purchased from Joe's New Balance Outlet. When I started out running again, I tried Nike, but New Balance is a better fit for me. I think I like the wider toe box. I wore a pair like these  but recently ordered these when Joe's was having a sale on eBay. I'll let you know how I like them soon.

 The SPI Belt(affiliate link) This is my favorite running accessory. It looks a little bit like a fanny pack, but I feel like with the right shirt and not a ton of stuff in it, it is an invisible fanny pack. I generally put my phone in there and run with a bluetooth headset, but I lost my bluetooth and haven't replaced it yet. It does not bounce on me, even when I was carrying around a bit more weight.

The Phubby(affiliate link) This is what I use when the SPI Belt isn't enough. I generally would put a key and/or my gym card in here. I haven't tried it with my phone. The pockets can be a little confusing if you're not used to it, so make sure it actually went in the pocket and not just under the Phubby. I chose the tie-dye design, and a size medium. I feel like I have average wrists that are neither skinny nor big, so medium fits me just fine.

Monday, November 25, 2013

"10 Minute Solution: Knockout Body" kickboxing inspired DVD review

I am going on a run this morning, and I am so sore from working out with heavy (for me) weights yesterday, so I decided to try something a little easier today. Well, it was easier than yesterday's workout, but I'm not sure it was "newbie" easy - just "beginner" sort-of-easy. I picked out a DVD from my exercise basket - I try to have all my exercise DVDs in one place. I chose the kickboxing inspired DVD, 10 Minute Solution: Knockout Body (affiliate link). When I went to look it up on Amazon, it tells me I bought it almost 2 years ago.

Here is the commercial for it on YouTube.

And hey! It's Jessica Smith! I don't usually look at names of people that I don't already know on these exercise DVDs, but I happened to notice that I've done a few of her workouts on YouTube. I'm pretty sure that's her.

I know I've done all 5 workouts, but I don't remember them all well enough to review. I'll just review the ones I did today, "Knockout Body Blast", and "Kickbox Cross Train". The DVD does not come with weighted gloves. They are not required, but I picked up a pair at Wal-mart like this. I use them for this DVD, and also the Leslie Sansone: Walk It Off in 30 Days (affiliate link) DVD instead of her handheld soft weights.

"Knockout Body Blast" is a fairly easy workout if you have been working out some. I would say it would be a bit of a challenge if this is your first workout, but if you've checked with your doctor that it's OK to workout, then you could give it a try. It was easy enough that I decided to add another 10 minute workout, "Kickbox Cross Train".

"Kickbox Cross Train" was a little more challenging. I don't exactly have 2 left feet, but I don't get the choreography of these routines right the first time around. In fact, that reminded me of something I read once, which said something like many injuries come from correcting ourselves. I have learned that if I know I am going to do a move wrong, but that it won't result in me falling down or hurting myself, that I will do the move wrong and try to get it the next time. Trying to correct mid-move has often ended up in a twisted something that sidelines me for a few days or longer. There was more jumping in this 10 minute workout, and there were also aspects that needed a good sense of balance. I enjoyed this section, but I didn't get every step of the workout right. I rarely do, anyway!

The Ten Minute Solution Series (affiliate link) has always been one of my favorite series. I have tried a few different ones over the years, especially before they removed them from Netflix. I think they are very encouraging to someone who is trying to work fitness into a busy schedule, and is building up his or her fitness strength.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Review of "10-Minute Fat Burning Workout | Class FitSugar"

Yesterday I exercised with 2 PopSugar Fitness videos. I reviewed one yesterday, and I'm reviewing the second one today. The second one is called "10-Minute Fat Burning Workout | Class FitSugar" and uses hand weights.

PopSugar workouts can be challenging, and this one was no exception. I used the heaviest weights I had - well, OK, I have to admit something. I have the coated weights that many people have from Wal-mart. My husband has those metal dumbbell hand weights. I am sure that I could use his weights, but I don't. I have put 5 pounds weights on my wish list, so maybe someday I'll go to heavier weights. But not yet!

I did modify the pushups to go to the knees, but I was able to do most moves as shown. I was grateful for the stretch at the end, too. It was short, but most of the 10 minutes videos don't include any stretches at all.

I would definitely do this video again. It seems like a lot of fun and a quick way to get some weights in with cardio.

Here is a link to the video:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Review of "Pilates Workout, Boost Your Metabolism, Class FitSugar" 10 minute workout

A "Pilates 10 Minute Weights" search on YouTube landed me on this workout.

This is my first review of PopSugar Fitness. I like what I am seeing so far. I haven't explored the whole channel, but the two 10 minutes workouts I did today (I'll review the other one tomorrow), were very challenging and kept my interest. However, I do want to say that just because I like one video from a content provider doesn't mean that I love the whole channel. Browse the channels at your own risk.

This workout uses a resistance band, 5 pound weights (I used 3 pound weights, because that's what I have on hand), and ankle weights. The ankle weights were mentioned at the beginning of the video, and not referred to again. I don't have ankle weights, so I skipped them. I'm sure it would have added some difficulty to the workout, but this was challenging enough for me.

I found the first couple of minutes to be somewhat non-Pilates-like. This was the part where you work with the resistance band. However, the rest of the workout was very Pilates-like. I have never done hundreds with hand weights. That was fierce! They do offer some modification, and suggest that you can use a chair instead of a resistance band.

Would I do this again? I might. It is a great way to get going in the morning.

The link to the video can be found here:

Friday, November 22, 2013

3 part workout - third review, "Denise Austin: Total Body Pilates Challenge"

Yesterday's workout consisted of cardio + toning, walk + toning, and Pilates, in 3 different videos. I reviewed the cardio + toning two days ago, and walk + toning yesterday, so today, I will review the Pilates.

I am a little surprised that many of the videos I have reviewed on this new blog are by Denise Austin. When I used to buy videocassettes (back in the day!) and DVDs, I didn't really have many by her! But I do see a lot of her on the BeFit YouTube channel, so I think that's why I have featured so many. And I do own this one on Amazon Instant Video, before I realized it was posted on YouTube by the content owner.

This is a Pilates routine that I would think would be a beginner's routine, if you have been introduced at all to Pilates. I did enjoy doing this one again. I did this workout several times this summer, and my knee still hurt. My knee is stronger now, though, and it is nice to be able to reach this level. It's so encouraging to make progress!

This was part of a 3 part workout I did two days ago. I also did:
as well as the one I just reviewed above:
Thanks for reading this series on my 3 part workout!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

3 part workout - second review, "10 Minute Toning Walk II (at home cardio workout)" by JessicaSmithtv

Yesterday's workout consisted of cardio + toning, walk + toning, and Pilates, in 3 different videos. I reviewed the cardio + toning yesterday, so today, I will review the walk + toning.

I came across Jessica Smith's workout videos when I searched "10 Minute Walk" on YouTube, because that was all the time I had that day. I have done 2 or 3 of her videos, and I like them. She seems to have videos for various fitness levels, she cues her moves well, and the talking she does during the videos is pleasant. Anyone who has done video/online workouts for any amount of time can appreciate the annoyance factor that can come into play when you listen to the same conversation day after day, so I just wanted to make a point of saying that she isn't annoying at all. :)

This workout uses a resistance band, like this one (affiliate link).

 I made the mistake of grabbing something like this (affiliate link) from my workout gear instead.

In addition, I must have grabbed one of the more difficult, less stretchy bands, because it was so difficult. My arms sure got a workout! The first workout had tired my arms a bit already, so this must have been an arm workout day for me. :)

Even though it is called a 10 minute workout, I am going to label it a 15 minute workout as it is much closer to 15, clocking in at 14:07.

This was part of a 3 part workout I did yesterday. I also did:
as well as the one I just reviewed above:
I will review the third one tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

3 part workout - first review, "Low Impact Cardio and Toning Workout for Beginners by Fitness Blender"

I wanted to add some variety to today's exercise, so I did cardio + toning, walk + toning, and Pilates.

First up, "Low Impact Cardio and Toning Workout for Beginners by Fitness Blender".

I haven't done a workout by Fitness Blender, but I've got to say, I really enjoyed this one. It was challenging, but it was only about 8 minutes long. No matter how hard something was, that type of exercise only lasted a minute. I especially liked the wall push ups, although you could modify those to be harder and do conventional floor push ups. I would definitely do this workout again.

I also did:

Reviews for the other two workouts will be posted tomorrow and the next day.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pick Your Level Pilates Workout Review

This workout was my first experience with Pilates. And I loved it! At the time, I was following a race training plan that called for non-running exercise on alternate days. I looked at what Netflix offered at the time, and this was one of the selections. Unfortunately, Netflix does not offer this anymore, so I bought it from Amazon.

(affiliate link)
I love the "pick your level" concept. Sometimes, it's too difficult to start with the hardest level. So I did level 1 for a while, then I went to level 2 for some of the moves. I mix in a level 3 when I can.

I have heard that Ellen Barrett is well respected in the exercise community, and I would agree that she is an excellent instructor on this DVD. I found that consistent use of this DVD, in addition to running, really helped me get stronger and more toned. I don't use this as much anymore, but I do like to mix in this workout once in a while.

It is slightly longer than 30 minutes - maybe 32 or 33? - but I am labeling it a 30 minute workout for simplicity's sake. :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Standing Power Pilates Workout: Denise Austin on YouTube

I was browsing through the BeFit channel and this workout caught my eye. I decided to give it a try, even though it would be hard to hear over my husband using the treadmill. (We have a fairly LOUD treadmill).

Besides not being able to hear Denise's cueing very well, the workout went OK. I had hoped to tag this a "small space" workout, but there are some planks included (which I had to modify for my fitness level). So it's a "sort of small place" workout. And technically, it's not standing pilates if you are doing planks! 

I think it is an OK workout, and it would be good to throw in for variety, but there are other workouts that are better. I plan to highlight one tomorrow that you can buy from Amazon. It is a longer workout, but it is effective and personally, it helped to tone my muscles and make me stronger.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"Leslie Sansone's Walk Away the Pounds 1 Mile Express" review

It's funny how a video that seemed fine to you a few years ago now looks ridiculously dated, right? I know it doesn't make the workout less effective, and sometimes it provides a good giggle. All this is said to prepare you for Leslie Sansone's Walk Away the Pounds 1 Mile Express.

Walk Away the Pounds 1 Mile Express from Walk Productions, Inc. on Vimeo.

This is a quick-ish mile with Leslie. The moves don't get too complicated. I don't feel like there's a lot of stretching at the end, but that is always something that you can add on yourself later. I think Leslie has longer stretching time in her more recent workouts.

From what I can tell, this may have been release in 2008. It doesn't make it super old, but I think the outfits date it a little bit. Of course, I still have some of Leslie's DVDs where they are walking on a set with Grecian columns and a diagonal grid on the floor - anyone remember that?

For other Leslie workouts, check out my other Leslie Sansone posts.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"10-Minute Cardio Quickie Workout With Jessica Smith" Review

My morning workouts often consist of a one mile walk with Leslie Sansone, and then something else. Today, the something else was the 10 Minute Cardio Quickie Workout with Jessica Smith.

I am sort of in shape. I can't run a 5K right now, but I don't get winded when I have to walk a few miles. This workout reminded me that while I have achieved some sort of fitness level, I still have a while until I am able to do this ten minute workout and call it "easy". My opinion is that this is more of an intermediate level workout. I did enjoy it and hope to return to it sometime. It was a good challenge.

I'll be back tomorrow with another review!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Leslie Sansone's "Walk it Off in 30 Days" DVD Review

Over the summer, I had become fairly inconsistent with exercise. The warmer weather, a knee that seemed to hurt whenever I looked at it funny, the laidback schedule...I just didn't exercise very much. When we finally entered autumn, I decided to stop making excuses, make a change, and start exercising a lot more often. To jumpstart my workouts, I bought this - Leslie Sansone: Walk It Off in 30 Days.

(affiliate link)

I love this DVD! It is a great way to start the day. One day is a high powered walk, with some jogging mixed in. The other day is walking plus some work with weights. I admit that the weight days challenge me.

About 3 weeks in, I cut the bottom of my foot and had to stop exercising like this for several days. It was disappointing, but I was able to find some chair workouts on YouTube that I could do in the meantime. I hope to blog about that someday. So, I didn't get through the 30 days, but it was a great way to get back into exercise, and I'm glad I got it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Get Running - Couch to 5K app Review

I was a runner in high school, participating in both cross country and track. But after high school, I really didn't care much for running. I thought I might run again, but mostly, I didn't run again for quite a few years. When I decided to get in better shape, I started with walking, and dared myself to run. I wanted to see if I could do it again after almost 20 years of not running!

Enter in: the Get Running (Couch to 5K) app (for iPhone) (for Android)

This app takes the guesswork out of easing into running. It is really easy to overdo when you are starting out. This app really helps you to ease into a running routine.

The description states:
"Get fit and feel fantastic. Get Running with a great “Couch to 5K” beginner's running app!
With three enjoyable workouts a week, in nine weeks you’ll be jogging continuously for half an hour, even if getting off the couch is a struggle today.
Get Running breaks through the “beginning barrier” with the popular “C25K” beginner’s running plan. With each new week, Get Running’s human coach, Claire, gradually builds up your pace until you’re running for a whole half-hour."

Now quite honestly, when I started running again about 3 years ago, I can't remember which couch to 5K app I used. I have a feeling it was this one, because when I went to purchase this, I found out I had already paid for it to use with my iPod touch. I have been running less - my knee kept hurting, and I wanted to expand my fitness repertoire. I also wanted to get running with my children. We have started this, and are currently on week 3. It is a great way to start running or get back into running.

The app tells you when to run and when to walk, and it's even in a British accent. :) I haven't tried this lately, but you can use it while you're listening to music. You can also have it post to Facebook and/or Twitter after you are done.

What would I change? I might give more options for voices, and I would definitely add an actual distance tracker (either with GPS or an accelerometer). But both are features I can live without.

If you want to give running a try, give this a look!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Leslie Sansone's "June Mile" on Vimeo

I like to walk a mile as often as I can! I'm not a fan of walking in the dark, though, so I often fit in a workout with Leslie Sansone. She is one of my favorite walking instructors. I know that her workouts might not be challenging for the super fit, but she has quite a few workouts, mostly on DVD, that are challenging for the beginner to intermediate group.

The workout I'm highlighting today is an easier one. Leslie Sansone has quite a few workouts on Vimeo. They are mostly one mile workouts. This is her June Mile, and it uses a stretchy band (which I happened to have on hand).

June Mile from Walk Productions, Inc. on Vimeo.

The stretchy band I had on hand was from the EA Sports Active for the Nintendo Wii (affiliate link), which I will review at a later date. But of course, you don't need to buy the kit for the stretchy band (or resistance band, I guess, is the more technical term!). These bands (affiliate link) seems to get good reviews, although I haven't tried them myself.

I'll be back tomorrow with a review of the Couch to 5K app I have been trying out. It's a really great way to ease into running.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A great YouTube channel for exercise - Lionsgate BeFit

The channel for Lionsgate BeFit is one of my favorite exercise channels on YouTube. This is one of the first channels I started using on YouTube for exercise. There is a wealth of exercise resources on there, but today, I'll highlight one of my favorite walking videos.

This is an easy walking workout for a beginner. It is a great way to get in a mile when you can't leave the house. It takes a little bit of space, but you can modify how far you walk forward and back for the amount of space that you have available. And I have to admit that the end of the workout is a little annoying after a few times ("Shake it out! And walk it back!"), but I think that can happen with any video you've done more than once, and you start to memorize. :)

Give it a try!


One of my favorite things to do is to work out. I never thought I would be someone to say those words! I'm not particularly strong, I don't run very fast, and I wouldn't win any athletic contests! But I am fortunate enough to still be able to enjoy getting exercise, and maybe, get a little stronger every day!

The reason I am starting this blog is to share some of my favorite workouts, online and offline, with you. It can be difficult to find workouts that fit your skill level and interests. I'm not a fitness expert or a doctor, by any means, but I've taken the time to seek out these workouts and post links to them. Hopefully, you will enjoy them. Please check with your doctor before you start any fitness program.

If you have a favorite workout, please let me know! I love trying new ways to exercise!