October 25, 2009

Work it Out: The Physique 57 Challenge

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GASP! Could it be that I am switching gears to write about fitness for once? Indeed, contrary to the impression I may give off on the blog, I do work out quite regularly. No less than five times a week, in fact.

Because it has been so long since I talked about my own approach to working out, I will briefly share my current routine for the benefit of any newcomers out there. In a nutshell, I have come to rely on workout DVDs, being neither a runner nor the receiving end of sufficient funds to join a gym. And this is quite fine with me—I find that DVDs suit both my schedule and my personality. My workout time (first thing in the morning) is at its most efficient, being that there is no transportation involved, and the repetition of the recordings doesn’t especially bother me (not to mention the fact that my collection is fairly large).

My favorite workout DVDs are those by Jillian Michaels (circuit training) and The FIRM (aerobics, step and strength training). I have enough discs of each to create a four-week rotation before I repeat a workout, so my muscles never really adapt to one workout style or another. I’ve never in my life felt as strong or been as toned as I am right now, so I have to figure my little homegrown method works, at least for the average desk-sitting worker bee like me.

That said, I’m only human and am certainly not immune to boredom! I do feel the need to add to my workout collection every so often, if only to stimulate my motivation. I was recently fortunate enough to sample a couple complimentary classes at Physique 57 (see “57 Ways to Feel Pain”), and the same thought occurred to me both times: If I could do this workout all the time, I would be RIPPED! So imagine my delight when I learned that Physique 57 had released a series of DVDs—I was more than happy to pony up the $50-odd bucks it cost for the three discs.

physique57-about-us

I tried each workout over the course of last week (the original 57-minute workout, the express 30-minute workout and the arm & ab booster). They didn’t hold anything back, I can say that for sure! All three workouts were just as difficult (if not more so) than the live classes, to the point where I experienced both almost-tears and uncontrollable giggling, though believe me: there was nothing funny about it. This only confirms that I’ve made a good investment, however. If I’ve learned anything from my years of trying dozens of workout DVDs, it’s that the routines and choreography are often conservative, if anything. I haven’t tried P90x yet (despite the boyf’s best efforts), but barring what I know of that, I have found Jillian Michaels to be the toughest recorded trainer available on DVD. This is about to change.

I’m not much for blog challenges. Kind of like I don’t want to officially call myself vegetarian or vegan or whatever, the idea of eating a certain way for 30 days, for example,  has never appealed to me. It’s probably because I’m not interested in “falling off the wagon”. I’d simply rather the “wagon” be something I can deal with in a lifelong kind of way in the first place, you dig?

physique57-class-description-kick

Fitness feels like a whole different animal where challenges are concerned, though, and with my own voice echoing in my head (“If I could do this workout all the time, I’d be ripped!”), I’ve decided to embark on a wee challenge after all.

For four weeks I will be working out per the Physique 57 recommended schedule, which means each week I will perform the full 57-minute workout twice, the 30-minute express workout once and the arm & ab booster once. On off days I will either rest or perform some light, active recovery such as walking or yoga (and I will need it, if this past week’s soreness is any indicator!). I’m even going to record before-and-after measurements to see whether or not I lose any inches.

No, I’m not trying to lose weight. Like I said earlier, I’m fitter than I’ve ever been in my adult life right now and am happy with my weight. This is not to say I look like Jillian Michaels just because I do her workouts! It’s just a relative statement based on my own fitness experience. The Physique 57 challenge is exclusively for my own amusement (and torture). Just thought I’d bring you along for the ride to keep me accountable and congratulate me on what I hope will be favorable results. ;)

And so, in theory, I shall be toight like a toiger by Thanksgiving! (There’s an irony in there somewhere…) The challenge ends just before the holiday and my trip to Tokyo, and I will report back with the verdict at that time. There will be updates along the way as well, because…well, misery loves company.

Here goes nothin’!

What do you think of “temporary” challenges, blog-based or otherwise? Worthwhile for broadening horizons or a set-up for a fall?

20 comments:

happyherbivore.com said...

I think i might join you on some month-long fitness challenge of my own... speaking of DVD's, my hubby and I did P90X -- he lost weight, I gained weight (not in a good way) wtf? but I still like to do step aerbics videos from the 80s sometimes. Yeah I know what that says about me. I think I'll make myself swim for 30 days. oh wait, its cold outside. walking home with wet hair is no fun. Maybe I'll do situps everyday? okay that works. xxoo

Diana said...

That's the spirit! Just like I always tell myself during tough workouts, I can do any move, no matter how hard, for 30 seconds, just get through it, I figure I can do any fitness routine, no matter how hard, for 30 days!

Gena said...

Depends entirely on the challenge.

I remember breaking quite a sweat in my two Physique 57 class experiences! I'm sure the DVDs are pretty stellar.

Jenn (eating bender) said...

Love your new challenge! Like Happy Herbivore, I did the P90x challenge and now Bobby is doing it. I have also done Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred and consider things such as training for a 10k a whole other type of challenge :o) I think it's fun to always strive to set goals for yourself, whether you express them on the blog or not. Good luck!

Jenny said...

I am a video vixen when it comes to work out DVDs (did I just say that?) they keep me motivated and pumped up! plus I have never been one to enjoy going to the gym... who doesn't like being able to work out in the comforts of their own home :) great review, thanks D! xo

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

Was wondering where you were? ahhhh...you were working out! I think it's great you're giving this a whirl. I have so many goals, mini goals, basically there is never any grass growing in my mental space about "what challenge do I want to take next". I dont consciously try to live this way, it's just the way I am. Good or bad, it's just the way I am wired, to always be challenging myself. Here's to you having fun with your month!

Dori said...

You are my hero. I wish I could commit to something like this. I did it for the 30 day shred, but, well, that was 20 min a day. Although my body certainly tightened from it.

I envy the way you can do DVD workouts. I have some but I have little motivaton when I am home to work out. Also, I still haven't figured out how to connect my DVD to the TV/Cable, so really it needs to be OnDemand for me to do it. But I do plan to get a P57 DVD and try it out.

I did the Core Fusion DVD once (have you tried) and by once I mean I did some sections of it once. It was hard and good and the guy in it (the owner) lives in my building, haha.

Can't wait to hear how this challenge goes! I think challenges are a nice way to motivate yourself (I never would have done 30 day Shred otherwise). My challenges are the races I keep signing up for!

I'm excited to follow your progress!

katherine said...

I would to follow your progress throughout the next 4 weeks! Now that I'm not going to be running quite so much (YAY!!!), I'll need to find a way to turn my current running machine body into the long and lithe body I've been dying for! Good luck!

Mama Pea said...

I'm excited to hear your thoughts on this. I agree, Jillian is as tough as it gets on DVD...so much that I quit my personal trainer. It looks like this is a pretty well rounded program. Can't wait to hear more!

elise said...

jillian kicks my ass every time i give her routine a go...

i like some of the blog challenge things, but similar to you, im more interested in setting myself up for lifelong success. still, sometimes other bloggers' trials motivate me to try different things that i normally wouldnt. and anything that pushes me to open my eyes (errr, mouth) and taste outside my comfort zone is a good thing. unless i hate it. kidding. at least then i know i hate it, right?

Jessica said...

I think challenges are great. We always have something to improve on and striving for a higher level of fitness is a great motivator.

melissa.davison said...

good luck! i need to get those dvds!

The Voracious Vegan said...

This sounds like a great challenge, good luck and have fun!

I think announcing your self challenge on your blog is a great idea! We all learn from each other and inspire each other so hearing about your experiences will be greatly appreciated.

foodfitnessfreshair said...

DVD's can be quite challenging! I think the temp. challenge is great...spices things up a bit, and gives you something to work towards. Good luck!

Shannon said...

ooh, fun fun, can't wait to see how it goes!

ps-- i have some good news for YOU, check out today's post!

Heather said...

You are badass! I prefer workout videos lately because I can fit them into my schedule no matter what time of the day and don't have to worry about whether it's dark out or if the gym is closed. I really like The Firm a lot but don't use it enough, so I'll have to get back into that.

I think blog challenges are kind of fun because it's just one more way to be accountable for what you do (or don't) do. Except I never follow through with my challenges because I suck at blogging AND accountability. Oops.

K from ksgoodeats said...

Good luck!! I'm always looking for a promising work out DVD so these sound great!

cglich0630 said...

I think this is a great challenge.

I have a few fitness dvds that I would really like to start doing regularly to change things up instead of always doing the same thing at the gym.

Missy said...

I can't wait to hear how this goes! I am very tempted to get the P-57 DVDs but at the same time, I have Core Fusion and only did them twice! I get very distracted when working out in my apartment. I tried to do the Shred on Friday and Daisy wouldn't let me do a push up! She kept jumping on my head. Okay anyway...good luck and this might be my motivator to try the dvds!

Erica said...

I think its fabulous that you have found a fitness routine via videos that really works for you- way to rock it ;). I have not tried any of Jillian's videos but have heard so many amazing things. I think fitness challenges (via blogs or otherwise) are awesome- its always good to mix things up and make working out fun and new again