Tag Archives: 30 day shred

Injuries and a 30 Day Shred Update: Day 24, 25, 26, 27 & 28

Last week my biggest exercising fear came true: I hurt myself. I’m not sure what happened exactly, but my husband says I probably pinched a nerve or strained a muscle while exercising. There is a dull achy pain in the middle of my back that I can ignore for the most part with the help of Motrin (or, you know, wine) but I definitely notice it when I start to slouch or turn my upper body. I’ve contemplated going to the doctor, but the frequency and intensity of the pain is starting to lessen dramatically so I think I’ll stick it out a few more days. As I write this I’m going on day 8 of no exercise, but since I have no intentions of quitting the 30 Day Shred I’m going to start easing back into it. Maybe I’ll do Level 1 for a day or two to ease into things and then pick up where I left off. I have to laugh, because a month ago I wouldn’t have considered Level 1 to be any sort of mechanism for “easing into” anything, but now that I’ve seen the darker side of the workout, I’d gladly welcome Level 1 back into my life with open arms.

How do you handle exercise-related injuries? What influences your decision to stop and rest or just keep going? Share with us in the comments section below!

Day 24: Moving on to the next level of the 30 Day Shred is always welcome after 10 days of monotony. I was all excited for change, and glad to leave those pesky plank twists and pendulum lunges behind me. After making my way through the new-to-me 25 minute session, here’s what I’ve taken away from my first day of Level 3 of the 30 Day Shred:
-Sumo/plie hops make me fear that my uterus might fall out of my body, or that I might pee myself, or all of the above. And holy wow, they make for some serious thigh burn.
-Jump squats and rockstar jumps have highlighted the fact that I have zero coordination. Also, I never knew you needed coordination just to jump in the air. Also, ouch.
Honestly, everything else was okay. I had to do the easier, modified versions of some of the moves, but overall it wasn’t horrible. I wish there were modified versions of the jumping moves, because I have serious doubts that I can tackle them for 9 more days.

Day 25: I really don’t like the jumping exercises. They’re starting to hurt my knees and today I had to stop halfway through each set of moves from the pain. I can do every other move without stopping, but damn those jumps.

Day 26: I decided to not do the jump squats and rockstar jumps anymore, instead replacing them with jumping jacks, jump ropes, high knees and/or butt kicks. I know I’m supposed to push myself past my comfort zone to see results, but the idea of potential injuries just isn’t worth it. We’ll see how it goes with my substitutions. I refuse to give up! As for the sumo/plie squats, they’re an insanely easy (albeit uncomfortable) move and the more I do them the more tolerable they become. I’m not subbing those out for anything, just crossing my fingers that they don’t destroy me. I’m still doing well with all the other moves. Some are really easy for me and some are a little challenging, but I don’t feel like I’m killing myself like with Level 2.

Day 27: It was a good day for exercise today. I mentioned in my last Shred update post that I was going to work out earlier in the day, but the 7am wake-up time took a few days of getting used to (aka I slept in a lot, oops). I managed to be up bright and early today and tackled my workout before 9, and the payoff was worth it. I didn’t drag at all throughout the workout and I had a huge excess of energy for the rest of the day. It was like I drank 10 cups of coffee, minus all the caffeine or midday crash. I’m starting to appreciate why people wake up redonkulously early to fit in a morning workout.

Day 28: Everything was going fine today, I managed to make it all the way through to the middle of circuit 3 without even pausing to catch my breath. The cardio portion of circuit 3 started and I was doing my jump ropes (in place of the rockstar jumps) when all of a sudden… OUCH. I landed from a jump and a serious pain shot right through the middle of my back. I thought maybe I landed funny so I tried to start again, but nope. It definitely was not a one time thing. I stopped right there and skipped the end of the level.

*Day 28 was on February 16. As of today’s post, I haven’t worked out since :(

If you missed the previous updates you can click on the links below to check them out:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

Workout Snacks and 30 Day Shred Update: Days 5,6 and 7

30 Day Shred Update: Days 8 & 9

30 Day Shred Update: Days 10, 11 & 12

30 Day Shred Update: Days 13 & 14

30 Day Shred Update: Day 15, 16, 17, 18 & 19

Morning Exercise and a 30 Day Shred Update: Day 20, 21, 22 & 23

I’ve never considered myself a morning person. I need copious amounts of caffeine to jumpstart my battery. I’m generally non-productive until about 11am. If you try to have a conversation with me, all you will receive in return are caveman-era grunts and grumbles.

When my husband and I began the 30 Day Shred we were planning our workout for around 11am, when the daily motivation to function was just beginning to trickle through our veins. But that was in a post-holiday season world when daily schedules have long run askew. It’s now mid February and the regular demands of our everyday life have caused me to reevaluate my daily agenda. Unfortunately for me, this includes becoming a morning person.

I’ve devised a schedule wherein I will be waking up by 7am (?!?) each day and eating breakfast early so I can squeeze in a workout and shower before the tender hour of 9am. I know, this doesn’t sound crazy to those of you who wake up at the ungodly hour of 6am… 5am… 4am to run off to the gym before work. However, I am a stay at home mom who has, up until now, gratuitously taken advantage of my rare variety of young child: the late sleepers.

We’re usually up at 8:30 at the earliest, eating breakfast sometime between 9 and 10, and never out the door a tick before noon on any given day. Working out at 11am has pushed back our entire day, which was already making me feel like a lazy fool. Now I’m not even in the shower until noon! Wuuuuuuut. Not to mention that being awake for so long in between gives me plenty of time to build up a sense of anticipation and dread for the daily discomfort that huffing through the Shred causes. So after serious consideration, I’m handing in my lazy pass so that I might be able to cross “exercise” off my daily to-do list early on.

What time of the day do you prefer to exercise and why? Share with us in the comments section below!

Day 20: You can call me Weezy. What’s that you say? That name has already been taken and I’m not gangsta enough anyways? Oops, my bad. What I meant to say was “You can call me Wheezy“. As in, I can’t stop wheezing. The viral fog in our apartment is lifting and our various ailments are coming to an end. But I’ve inherited this dry throat from my formerly sick children that has become the bane of my existence. As soon as I start the Shred, I’m huffing and puffing and struggling to breathe like a normal human being. It is SO uncomfortable that I have to pause frequently to ensure that I don’t die. Well, maybe I won’t die per se, but you get my point. My throat hurts so much from breathing heavily through the workout that it’s even distracting me from the burning sensation in my muscles. It’s not easy being wheezy. Fo’ sheezy.

Day 21: Technically this was supposed to be my first day of Level 3, but I’m sticking around for a few more days since I got a late start on Level 2. We were extremely lazy in the morning so Mike and I didn’t work out until late afternoon. Worst. Idea. Ever. You know how I stated earlier that I’m not a morning person? Even more than that, I’m not an afternoon exercise person. Let it be known that on the 9th day of February 2012 I officially declared that I will never again work out after 12pm. It was like I used up the last of my daily energy supply to put on my sneakers or something. I totally dragged. This was the longest 25 minute workout I’ve ever done, and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sleep. How some people come home from a full day of work and head straight to the gym in the evening is beyond me. You people are a combination of crazy, crazy and crazy. No offense. Crazy.

Day 22: I had to stop like 9 thousand times during the workout. Apparently my butt was starving, because it kept trying to eat up my underwear. I’m sure this made for a good show for my husband, who works out behind me, and therefore got an eyeful of wedgie picking action for 25 minutes. It made for a difficult workout for me because it’s really hard to stay in form on one leg for military presses with leg extensions when there’s a handful of Hanes creepin’ into no-man’s-land. After we completed the Shred, I went to the bedroom to check out what was going on. A quick glance in our new full length mirror had me praising Jillian Michaels and the wedgie gods. Of course my “won’t ride up, guaranteed” underthings are beginning to relocate. My butt is shrinking. 

Day 23: Today was my last day of Level 2. I feel like I need to write it a breakup letter, where I highlight all the reasons why we weren’t compatible. It would go something like this:

Dear 30 Day Shred Level 2,
It wasn’t you, it was me.
Well, it was sort of you. I mean c’mon. Pendulum lunges, iron crosses, plank twists? You just don’t do that to someone you love. It’s hurtful.
Maybe someday we’ll run into each other again and reunite amicably, but for now I think it’s best that we part ways.
Best of luck to you and your future victims, er, colleagues.

I can’t wait for tomorrow. If the past is an accurate predictor of things to come, it won’t be a pleasant experience. But it’ll be nice to change it up. It’ll also be great motivation to know that I’m in the final stretch.

If you missed the previous updates you can click on the links below to check them out:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

Workout Snacks and 30 Day Shred Update: Days 5,6 and 7

30 Day Shred Update: Days 8 & 9

30 Day Shred Update: Days 10, 11 & 12

30 Day Shred Update: Days 13 & 14

30 Day Shred Update: Day 15, 16, 17, 18 & 19

30 Day Shred Update: Day 15, 16, 17, 18 & 19

Haven’t heard from me regarding exercise in awhile, huh. Were you beginning to think I’d quit shredding? If you were, think again.

It’s been a crazy week at our house. Emma, my almost-4 year old came down with croup on Wednesday and has been in a constant state of crazy for the past few days. Chris has had an on-the-fly case of the sniffles, and since maladies work on the rule of 3 in our home it was only a matter of time before I caught something (not the croup, but equally unpleasant and undoubtedly spurred on by (men divert your eyes for a moment) just having started my period. Gah).

By Saturday morning I had the inevitable “hit by a truck” feeling that no amount of hand sanitizer and luck could have prevented. I tried to power my way through a workout in the morning but I caved in the middle of warm up jumping jacks. I was too achy to go on so I hit stop on the DVD player and called it a day. I was up and running again on Sunday, but then on Monday I felt like someone hit me in the face with a brick and took another day to rest up.

I was curious about what the verdict is on exercising while sick, and found a key piece of knowledge while garnering advice from good ol’ Dr. Google. Have you ever heard of the “neck rule”? Here’s a snippet from an article on CNN.com, but I saw it mentioned in multiple other articles as well:

“Experts like to cite a rule of thumb known as the “neck rule.” If your symptoms are all located above your neck (stuffy nose, scratchy throat, headache), you almost certainly have a head cold and can hit the road or treadmill safely. If, on the other hand, you have a fever, congestion in your chest and lungs, or feel achy, it is probably a sign of flu, bronchitis, or another more serious ailment, and you should rest up. (Exercising with a fever will make you more vulnerable to dehydration, among other ill effects.)”

What’s your take on exercising while sick? Do you take a day to rest up and get well, or do you power through and stick to your routine? Let us know in the comments section below!

Day 15: The second day of the Level 2 workout was just as hard. I previously considered going back to Level 1 but decided against it at the last minute, realizing that I couldn’t avoid it forever if I wanted to progress in the program. So I sucked it up and succumbed to another day of torture. I won’t lie, it was equally as awful as the day before, but I had a serious sense of accomplishment for sticking with it and not giving up. And some quick napkin math gave me another sense of accomplishment as I’ve now made it halfway through the 30 Day Shred. Woot!

Day 16: This is day 3 of Level 2. I usually work out in leggings, but they were all dirty so I threw on a pair of running shorts. In the middle of plank jacks, I heard clapping. Was that Emma cheering me on to the finish line? No. It was my inner thighs slapping together each time I brought in the plank jack. Even in the solitude of my living room with nobody around to witness, I was embarrassed (although apparently not embarrassed enough to talk about it to millions of strangers via the interwebs) and contemplated stopping. But then something happened. See, I have this weird quirk that causes my inner monologue to relate even the most mundane of life events to movie scenes. And as my inner thighs were noising away, all I could think of was this:

and all of a sudden I was much less mortified and much more motivated. If my inner thighs want to cheer me on all the way to the finish line, then that’s AWESOME.
By the way, I haven’t worked out in my running shorts since then.

Day 17: Things are beginning to look up for me. Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred no longer makes me dread getting out of bed in the morning. There are a few things I’d like to point out, especially to those of you who are (or will be) facing this workout with trepidation.
First of all, Level 2 is very hard. You’ll be panting more, sweating more and wanting to die more. There is a lot more pressure on the joints, and my knees became constantly sore after the first day of Level 2. Even after triple checking my form against the girls on the TV screen, I’m convinced that I was doing something wrong. This brings me to my second point.
After the constant discomfort of trying to follow Jillian and Natalie, I caved and started following Anita (for those of you who aren’t familiar with the 30 Day Shred, Anita does “easier” modified versions of the moves). At first I was saving Anita’s moves for the moments when I actually thought I was going to collapse, and lovingly referred to her as “Anita Break” (get it? I need a break! Ha! Okay, maybe it wasn’t that funny. Whatever. Moving on). But with all the aches and pains, I realized that she’s not there for the lazies and incompetents (an ignorant misconception that I inherited through my pride). She’s there because not everybody can start with a bang, and the smart thing to do is know your limits and ease yourself into things so that you don’t injure yourself. Pushing my pride aside, I’ve started following Anita for a majority of the moves and have found them to still be challenging, but minus the knee pains. Moral of the blabbery? If you’re in actual pain, not just whiny I-hate-exercising pain, you’re either doing it wrong or your body is trying to tell you to chill the frak out (Battlestar Gallactica reference. 10 nerd points if you caught that).
In short, do what you can and if you have to, personalize your workout to cater to your abilities. If you’re not a great swimmer and you jump in on the deep end, you might just drown. Start at the shallow end and practice, and soon enough you’ll be doing laps like a champ.

Day 18: Saturday had us all down in the dumps, so I had to lay low for a day. As I explained to my dad, when I’m sick enough that the act of putting on my sports bra is an exercise in itself, it’s probably a good idea to not work out that day. Super Bowl Sunday arrived with the anticipation of excessive food consumption and I promised myself that I wouldn’t skip the pre-game workout for anything. Despite feeling awful the day before, I worked out like a rock star and felt great for the rest of the day. I skipped the plank jacks and replaced them with regular jumping jacks for the sake of my knees, but I otherwise killed it.

Day 19: Unfortunately, what I thought was an upswing of my health was just a lull and Monday arrived with a sickly vengance. I felt like crud and took another day to rest. I started to beat myself up over taking multiple break days again, but then realized that if I didn’t allow my body to recuperate I’d be missing much more than a day here and there. This morning I jumped out of bed with determination and didn’t let a measly case of possible laryngitis get in my way. It was hard to breathe toward the end with my sore throat but I made it through. I’m still sick but I feel great – does that make sense?

Tomorrow is my 20th workout day and should technically be my last day of Level 2. But since I didn’t start Level 2 until day 14, I’m going to work at it a few more times. Maybe I should be calling this the 39 Day Shred?

If you missed the previous updates you can click on the links below to check them out:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

Workout Snacks and 30 Day Shred Update: Days 5,6 and 7

30 Day Shred Update: Days 8 & 9

30 Day Shred Update: Days 10, 11 & 12

30 Day Shred Update: Days 13 & 14

30 Day Shred Update: Days 13 & 14

This is what I imagine Jillian Michaels was saying in the uncut version of the 30 Day Shred.

Do you know about SparkPeople? It’s a super cool website full of support and resources for people who are trying to lose weight, eat better, get fit, or all of the above.

I joined 5 years ago when I was trying to shake the baby weight from pregnancy. Before I could blink I was pregnant again and had to hold off, but once Emma was born I dusted off my workout clothes and got back to it. I managed to take off 55 pounds total with the help of SparkPeople (without which I wouldn’t have known a thing about tracking my nutrition or how much I needed to exercise or any of that health jargon) but then once I was happy with the way my jeans fit I stopped logging on.

Fast forward 3 years and I’m back on SparkPeople, filling in my nutrition and fitness trackers daily, checking out the forums for tips and support (they have a support group for the 30 Day Shred!), and holding myself accountable. I’m a visual person, I need to see the strides I’m making to stay motivated to accomplish a goal, so being able to track my progress and see my statistics is key to my success.

I know I probably sound like an annoying spokesperson by now, but I promise you I’m just totally crazy about the site and want to spread the love :) If you think you might need the motivation or tools that SparkPeople has to offer, click  on the button below and check it out (and don’t worry, it’s totally free, as in I’m-a-cheapskate-and-I-don’t-join-any-of-these-types-of-things-unless-they’re-no-gimmicks-100%-free free):

Join me at: SparkPeople.com

Do you use online resources for fitness/diet support? Share with us in the comments section below!

Day 13: Still on Level 1, taking my time to move up after all of those break days that I took. Despite my setback, the workout was surprisingly easy. I pushed through it with only two 5 second breaks to catch my breath. I jumped on the scale beforehand and saw that I’ve gained 5 pounds and I’m excited (Whaaaaa? You so crazy, girlfriend. Actually a quick Google search led me to the find that I’m gaining muscle which weighs more than fat. Woot!). That weight should be going down a little soon hopefully since more muscle = more fat burning. As long as I start seeing more sexy bicep action going forward, I’ll be a happy camper.

Day 14: The night before, Mike came home and had the asinine idea that he’d do the Level 2 workout. It was awful to watch. He said he wanted to absolutely die. I rolled my eyes. On the morning of day 14, I had the asinine idea that if day 13 was getting easy then maybe I was ready for a new challenge. That was the worst idea in the history of the universe. It was awful, and I wanted to absolutely die. I don’t think I completed a full set of anything because I was too focused on trying not to die.

Geez, I am such a drama queen.

Level 2 begins with a rather low key warm up. As I was doing my high kicks I was all like “this isn’t as bad as I thought”. Even the first circuit was alright. I enjoyed (I use that term loosely) the walking push ups and found them to actually be easier than my regular modified (on the knees) push ups. But then BAM! Circuit 2 starts and it’s a disaster of biblical proportions. Pendulum lunges with hammer curls! Jumping oblique twists! Military presses with leg extensions! Plank jacks! Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria! (You see what I did there? Seamless Ghostbusters reference. I couldn’t help myself.)

I replaced many moves with jumping jacks because I just couldn’t bring myself to complete a full set. I didn’t want to give up completely so I kept myself moving. But some of the moves were just too hard. Actually, I take that back. It wasn’t the moves that were hard, it was the act of breathing and doing the moves simultaneously that was too hard. It felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest and I was dry drowning.

I haven’t decided whether I want to put myself through that again in the upcoming days or take a step back to Level 1 for a little while. Am I not in as good shape as I thought? Or is it really that hard of a routine that I’m not the only one to struggle like that? I know I beeetched about Level 1 after the first day, but in retrospect it was a walk in the park. I’m at a stand still. I really want to move forward, make progress and not be such a weenie. But I also am very afraid that my lungs are going to shoot through my mouth and land on the floor at my feet. Today is day 15, so I guess I’ll have to make my decision before the day is over.

If you missed the previous updates, you can click on the links below to check them out:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

Workout Snacks and 30 Day Shred Update: Days 5,6 and 7

30 Day Shred Update: Days 8 & 9

30 Day Shred Update: Days 10, 11 & 12

30 Day Shred Update: Days 10, 11 & 12

Emma, rockin' the 30 Day Shred

I have yet another terrible confession to make. Since writing my last post in which I committed myself to an uninterrupted daily workout regimen, I’ve managed to skip two more of the past five days. Thursday morning had us out of bed with a running start, there simply was not a spare 25 minutes to commit to our exercise. And Saturday, well, you don’t want to know the details. Let’s just say I probably would’ve vomited or pooped my pants if I attempted a jumping jack, and we’ll leave it at that. And that leaves the three days that I worked out.

Day 10: I found the secret to my true motivation for exercising on day 10: my daughter Emma. As soon as she saw us pop in the 30 Day Shred DVD that morning, she was all about doing the workout with Mike and I. We grabbed her a set of weights (aka the two smallest soup cans we could find), she put on some shoes, and jumped in with the  enthusiasm of, well, a 3 year old. And it was HILARIOUS. I don’t know how I managed to laugh through the breathlessness of an intense workout, but I did. It made my workout so easy with Emma as my happy distraction that I never noticed whether or not I was experiencing discomfort. She did everything we did with such strong conviction it put us grown ups to shame. Squats, lunges, arm presses, jumping jacks, push ups (!?!)… she did it all. And she never quit. She made me realize that if a 3 year old can do it, I certainly can too. Emma proved that all we have to do is make it fun, and exercise doesn’t have to be a big scary monster. If you’re struggling to make it through the 30 Day Shred, I implore you to, please, get a lively young child involved. If you don’t have one of your own, I’m sure you can rent one from a relative or something.

Day 11: This is the day that I was supposed to advance to Level 2 of the Shred, but I’ve postponed. Taking days off has lowered my stamina, and I want to be back where I was physically on day 7 before I put more strain on my body than I can handle. Maybe after I’ve hit four consecutive days of exercise I’ll be brave enough. I’m also a little weenie about it, especially after Connie, an old friend of mine, informed me that I will probably want to die after I move on to Level 2. Waaaaaaaah (<–that’s me, being a weenie).

So the day before my 11th workout day Mike took me into the New York City to see Wicked on Broadway. It was awesome. But it was raining so I wore rubber rain boots (obviously), and walking through the city did a number on my heels and toes. Working out the next morning was double crappy because Mike convinced me to work out with my pained feet before I ate breakfast. NEVER AGAIN. I’m a daily breakfast eater and need to have at least one cup of tea to function at the most basic level, so I was running on a dead battery. I was a sorry excuse that morning, and complained more than moved. My reps were in the single digits, I didn’t even attempt a handful of the moves, and I cussed like a sailor the entire time (don’t worry, the kids were at my dad’s for a sleepover). All in all, it was a pathetic day for me. Note to self: never, ever work out before eating breakfast ever again.

Day 12: I took another day off (for my aforementioned Saturday woes) and Sunday morning we jumped back on the bandwagon. Emma joined us again but was disinterested after the first two circuits. I made sure I ate breakfast first this time, and I made it through the entire workout with only two brief pauses to catch my breath (and no cussing today, hehe). Mike is pressuring me to move on to Level 2 but I’m still not ready yet.  My biggest victory today was right before I hopped in the shower post workout, and curled my arm to make a muscle. Do you know what I saw in the mirror? A bicep! I have an actual, carved out, don’t-have-to-squint-to-see-it bicep! Wuddup. I’m awesome.

I’ll leave you all with a few more photos of Emma working out with us. They aren’t the best pictures, but points to Mike for attempting to document the hilarity.

Emma doing knee circles with Jillian

Perfect form.

Laughing at Emma while trying to do my modified push ups = NOT recommended.

Watching Emma try to do butt kicks was hilarious. She couldn't figure out how to kick something that was behind her. PS- note her pants are gone. She changed into shorts. She also changed her outfit 3 other times during our workout.

Static lunges, she gave up on her "weights". I don't blame her.

If you missed the previous updates, you can click on the links below to check them out:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

Workout Snacks and 30 Day Shred Update: Days 5,6 and 7

30 Day Shred Update: Days 8 & 9

30 Day Shred Update: Days 8 & 9

Me post workout on day 9. Oddly reminiscent of me post workout on day 1?

I have a terrible confession to make. I have been extremely lazy with exercising over the past week. I could go through my list of excuses, but I realize that there really is no valid excuse for why I haven’t sucked it up and done the workout.

Not to say that I haven’t exercised at all in the past week, but I’ve done the Shred exactly TWO times in the past seven days. If I want to make myself feel better, I can count three hours of shoveling our driveway after last Saturday’s snowstorm as exercise. But it was kind of an unavoidable task.

Why, do I think, did I take so many days off from my planned exercise routine? I’ll tell you – I took ONE day off. Just one day was enough to break the habit for me, and once I realized I could take a day off my brain gave me the guilt-free OK to take off more “just one day”s.  To combat this, I’ll have to go back to making exercise a daily thing. If I can change my underwear everyday, or eat breakfast everyday, I can certainly commit to exercising everyday. It’s when I take a “break day” that I fall off the wagon.

Day 8: After taking my first break the day before, I started off a little rough. I could tell that I hit the pause button to recuperate, because I had to stop more frequently throughout my workout to catch my breath (or wallow in the pain of a push-up). The jump rope move has become my enemy, and I dread the 30 second bursts of bouncing uncomfortably. My muscles were a little sore, my stomach was in knots, and I felt more like I did on day 3 than I should by day 8. I pushed through it, but not without some major effort on my part.

Day 9: I took another break day after day 8, and day 9 was my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad workout. It was day 2 all over again. There was not a single set of exercises that I made it through smoothly. My muscles were on fire, I wanted to vomit, my lungs crapped out after just one set of jumping jacks. I held back tears just long enough to finish my 20 minutes. I couldn’t even finish the post-workout stretches, I just laid there, a sad blob on the floor dying on our beige rental carpet. My friend Angela warned me that taking days off in between would make the workout harder to endure, but I ignored her advice and now paid dearly for my disregard.

On a side note, the following day my husband and I shoveled our driveway (which is really big, no joke). I was a total snow-shoveling powerhouse, and I attribute my three hour streak of endurance to working out. I may not notice a difference yet in the way my clothing fits, but I do feel stronger. I feel better.

If you missed the previous updates, you can click on the links below to check them out:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

Workout Snacks and 30 Day Shred Update: Days 5,6 and 7

Workout Snacks and 30 Day Shred Update: Days 5,6 and 7

So let’s talk food and exercise. I don’t mean calorie counting and all that jazz. I’m talking pre/post-exercise snacks. For those of you who exercise, what do you munch on before you work out that gives you enough energy to power through, but doesn’t leave your stomach in knots? How far in advance of working out do you eat so that you aren’t doubling over with cramps or indigestion? And what’s your favorite snack afterwards that curbs the desire to consume everything edible within a ten-mile radius? I’ve been chowing down on things like hard boiled eggs, oatmeal and bananas, but sometimes they just don’t hit the spot. A little bit of googling has planted the idea of protein shakes and energy bars in my brain, but those are a little on the expensive side (although I wonder if there are good homemade alternatives?). So now I’m on the hunt for satisfying and frugal workout friendly snack ideas. If you have any ideas, please share them in the comments section below!

30 Day Shred Update:

Day 5: I made the terrible mistake of gorging on a ginormous bowl of oatmeal right before the workout. In my defense, my husband was sleeping late after working late and I didn’t think he’d be motivated to hop out of bed & exercise immediately. But I was wrong. He woke up and dragged me into the routine about 20 minutes after I took my final bite of breakfast, and I spent the next 20 minutes worrying I was going to throw up. The upside: I was so busy being nauseous that I didn’t notice how sore my thighs were. The other upside: I learned to never again eat right before exercising.

Day 6: My husband wasn’t home in the morning so it was my first time working out by myself. It takes a lot of determination for me to get up and willingly exercise on my own. I decided I like having a workout partner better than going solo, as the outside influence pushes me to do my best. Nonetheless, I trudged through the entire 20 minutes and only stopped to catch my breath a handful of times. I realize that the only way I’m going to get results is by pushing myself beyond my comfort zone and giving 110% effort.

Day 7: Hallelujah! Finally, I’m no longer dying after the squats and lunges. I can  push through the sets without breaking down or even wincing. My legs aren’t the least bit sore before, during or afterwards. I didn’t think she could do it, but Jillian Michaels is actually turning me into an exercising machine (let’s just not talk about the jump ropes and push ups, mmmkay?). I’m guessing though that the 30 Day Shred doesn’t let you forget how strenuous a good workout should be, since in 3 more days I move on to Level 2. And from what I hear, Level 2 is a big scary monster compared to the fluffy bunny that is the Level 1 workout.

**Today I’m taking a day off from the Shred, because my body needs to recuperate for a quick minute (also, I’m currently carrying a Subway-for-lunch foodbaby in my belly, and I don’t think it’s wise to exercise like that while expecting). Tomorrow morning it’s back to the daily grind with day 8 of the 30 Day Shred.

If you missed the previous updates, you can click on the links below to check them out:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4

30 Day Shred Update: Day 3 and 4


I use soup cans for hand weights. It's what it is.

Hopefully you all don’t think this is becoming solely an exercise blog (after my whopping 2nd post, haha) but I know that if I keep writing about my experience it’ll help in holding myself accountable. And besides, I know you all just melt over talk of my wobbly knees and hatred of working out. But if you’re in search of more food posts, then patience, young grasshopper. I promise I will be back to posting yummy, artery-clogging recipes in no time.

Day 3: I woke up redonkulously sore with a major case of the grumbleface. The beginning warm up was promising, and then when the actual exercising came I decided I’d rather die than do another jumping jack. I made it through the first set, but then my lungs chose to collapse halfway through the second set. I also fell apart and had to pause after just 5 push ups (on my knees mind you). I made it through the first 15 minutes, and then…

“MOMMY, I NEED HELP WIPING!” – That was Emma. She doesn’t wipe herself after, you know… number two. I really don’t know why. It’s just a thing with her.

“DO (huff huff) IT (pant pant pant) YOURSELF!” – That was me. I wasn’t stopping for anything.


“GODDAMNITWIPEYOURSELF!” – Me, again. Jillian Michaels brings out the mega hellbeast in me.

“WIPE (huff huff) YOURSELF (pant pant)” – That was my husband Mike, putting in his two cents. He may have said more, but by that point I was borderline blacking out.

…”okay”… (flush) – Emma. Finally. Yay.

So, yeah. All I asked for was twenty minutes, but instead I had to deal with an impeccably timed bowel movement and fervently dependent child. But when it comes to teaching independence so that I might have my twenty minutes of deathly hell peace, there’s no time like the present.

I managed to stop 4 (or 10, but who’s counting) more times to catch my breath, & grumbled my way painfully through day 3 of the 30 day shred. That means I’m 10% done.

Day 4: Woke up, still redonkulously sore. My friend Ani came over to check out the Shred. I was a little worried that I would be too distracted to take the workout seriously (we have a tendency to ham it up when we’re together), but my worries were laid to rest once the DVD started. By now my husband and I can beat Jillian Michaels to her lame lines (“your neck is NOT invited to this party”) so we cheesed it up and had fun mocking her. But we had our game face on under the cheese and managed to rock the routine. I was pleasantly surprised by my stamina, pausing only twice today during the entire twenty minutes to catch my breath. I also only expressed my hatred for Jillian 3 or 4 times total (compared to 3 or 4 times a minute the previous days). I still HATE lunges and squats but they came more easily to me, and my legs were much less sore afterwards. The arm lifts (with my awesome soup cans-for-weights) got me a little bit achy for the first time, but not enough to complain. When the DVD ended Ani asked “That’s it for stretches?!”. I’m glad she mentioned it because I was thinking that also, but (the exercise novice that I am) I thought maybe it was normal to have a very brief post-exercise stretch. She showed me a couple of killer stretches that I think I’m going to use from now on after the DVD ends, because I felt a million times better afterward. We’ll see how I feel in the morning, but for now I feel more awesome and less run-over-by-a-truck.

If you missed it, you can click the link to check out previous update:

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update (Days 1 & 2)

What’s your favorite form of exercise? Share with us in the comments section below! (but don’t let this question mislead you… I personally have no favorite form of exercise just yet, unless you count lunges for the ice cream in the freezer, or jumping to reach for the cookies on the upper shelf of our kitchen cabinets)

A Few Thoughts on Exercise, and a 30 Day Shred Update

Me, post workout.

Yesterday I took the plunge and started exercising. If you read my previous post about goals for the new year, you’ll know that one of my goals is to complete the 30 Day Shred.

I’ve decided to document my progress here, partially to hold myself accountable, partially to give anyone who’s curious some insight into what the 30 Day Shred entails, but mostly to have a place where I can complain about how much of a weenie I am when it comes to exercise.

Thankfully my wonderful husband Mike was schmucky enough to agree to do the Shred with me, so I have a workout buddy (on the mornings when he’s not working) to keep me motivated. And after two days of subjecting myself to the worst 20 minutes of my life, I am uber grateful to have him for motivation.

The 30 Day Shred works like this: Jillian Michaels puts you through a 20 minute series of workouts based on her 3-2-1 Interval method: 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, 1 minute abs. You progress through 3 levels of intensity over the course of 30 days, and you are transformed into a lean, mean muscle machine by the end of the session. She claims that you can “lose 20 pounds in 30 days”, but I won’t hold my expectations high on that one.

Ultimately I’m just looking to get in better shape and hopefully get rid of that baby belly pooch that just won’t go away. I love the motivation that exercising gives me to make better food choices, as well as the energy boost that I eventually gain from a regular exercise routine. But after two days of serious thigh pains and burning abs & booty muscles, I’m remembering how much I hate the actual act of exercising.

I know, I know. You can give me the whole “No pain no gain” lecture, but I just don’t know how to juggle the aftermath of a workout with the daily demands of motherhood. I want to collapse on the floor in a puddle of goo, but my kids won’t let me. They’re all like “Oh hey, Mommy is in the 3rd worst pain of her life, lets make it impossible for her to sit down and recuperate for more than 30 seconds!”. It’s like that. Enough of me whining. Let’s get down to the facts:

Day 1: Frankly, my experience with day 1 was a little misleading. I panted and sweated my way through the workout, but I felt good. My least favorite part was the lunges & squats which gave me major jello legs afterwards (remember the episode of How I Met Your Mother when Barney runs the NY Marathon, and then he can’t get off the subway because his legs don’t work? I was a not-quite-as-awesome female version of that). My husband complained the most about the arm moves with weights (those didn’t bother me at all though, and THIS is probably why). After the workout ended I couldn’t stop thinking that it really wasn’t as painful as people had claimed. In hindsight, the most painful part of the first day was hearing the sound of Jillian Michaels’ voice for twenty minutes straight. Overall I felt a little bit awesome and totally accomplished, and I went to bed with a certifiable Can-Do attitude.

Day 2: I woke up this morning with a serious case of the ohmygoshIwanttodie’s. My legs were on fire and my can-do’s turned into will-nots overnight. Breakfast this morning consisted of two advils with a big ole glass of whine. I lamented over the fact that I hated Jillian Michaels, and that I married a crazy man who actually wanted to do the workout again. We got started and I couldn’t make it through a second set of jumping jacks without my lungs collapsing. I did the modified push ups (on my knees) and wanted to cry and/or vomit. The lunges and squats actually didn’t hurt as much as I thought they would. But it’s been 5 hours since I worked out and now bending my legs to sit or stand makes me wince. My thighs hurt. Hopefully it’s the kind of hurt that indicates that good changes are happening, and not the kind that indicates that my legs will have to be amputated in the near future. I’ll keep you updated on that.

Despite my negative tone, I’m getting myself pumped to continue for the next 28 days. After all, it’s ultimately about accomplishing a goal, feeling good, and getting fit & healthy. Those are all things I can get on board with no matter how much pain I have to endure.

If you exercise, what are your secrets for staying motivated? Share with us in the comments section below!