Sunday, March 10, 2013

The deets on TurboFire. // Jen J.

Long time no post!  I've been meaning to give you guys the skinny on TurboFire for some time now, but life has been mad crazy lately and I just haven't had the time.  As of today, I am on day two of week seven; which means I am over halfway complete!  That puts me in a good position to articulate what the program is all about.

What:  TurboFire is a 90-day cardio conditioning program - part kickboxing, part dance - and includes 12 workouts on 5 DVDs.  The program is comprised of four different types of sweat sessions.

1) Fire Classes - These classes are really the core of the program as this is where you really get into the kickboxing and dancing.  They are very cardio centric and you punch, kick, and in my case white-girl fumble your way to a good calorie burn.  The choreography was difficult for me at first but for most of these classes there is a "new to class" option on the DVD where Chalene Johnson will walk you through the routines.  There is also an option to "fire up" or not "fire up" the music.  Firing up the music drowns out the verbal cues so you can get lost in the moment.  I, however, still need the cues, so I do not "fire up" my workouts. 

In addition to the routines, some of the Fire classes have what are called fire drills.  An alarm will sound and for one minute, Chalene has you go balls to the wall, with a plyometric jaunt.

Fire classes range from 30 to 55 minutes and the length of the workout is included in the class title.  For example, Fire 45 is 45 minutes long.  This titling logic is used for all of the classes.

2) HIIT Classes -These classes are shorter than the Fire classes and range from 15 to 25 minutes.  They are like the fire drills you see in the Fire classes and focus on short intervals.  The purpose is to  maximize the heart rate - triggering what they call the "after-burn" effect.  Beachbody claims that you continue to burn calories at a higher rate for up to 24 hours after your workout.  I honestly don't know if I believe this or not.  

3) Strength Classes -There are three classes that I classify as strength.  They focus on toning and sculpting the body by utilizing a resistance tube and sculpting band.  Examples of exercises include bicep curls and bicycle crunches using the resistance tube.  The classes range from 20 to 30 minutes in length and the class schedule pairs these with one of the shorter Fire classes.  

4) Stretch Classes- The program includes two stretch classes.  There is a quick 10 minute one that is  a compliment to many of the workouts as a cool down.  There is also a 40 minute stretch class that is a principle class.  I tried the 10 minute class once and I was bored out of my gourd, so I haven't done it again.  I heard the 40 minute class is just as boring so I haven't tried it.  Instead, I've do hot vinyasa flow yoga on those days.  I love yoga and I feel practicing it for an hour has to be more advantageous. 

Who:  The workouts are led by the spunky, upbeat, and gorgeous Chalene Johnson.  It is so fun to watch her shimmy and shake, the girls got moves like Jagger.  I also have an affinity for her because she is a fellow Michigan gal. 

Cost: I paid $79.90 for the program plus tax and another $6.59 for shipping.

Equipment:  Sculpting band (included and resembles a giant rubber band), resistance tube (not included), and mat (not included).  I googled what weight resistance tube was used in the program and everything I read said 30 pounds.  So I purchased this one for $24.99.  Turns out it was too heavy for me and I was not getting a good range of motion so I also purchased a 20 pound resistance tube for $17.99.  The lighter tube seems just about right.  I use my yoga mat for the floor exercises, which is minimal. 

Other helpful information:
  • The music is fabulous.  The best I've come across on any fitness DVDs.  Chalene includes high-energy mixes of songs you actually know such as: Boom I got your Boyfriend and Tina Turner's, Rolling on a River.  
  • I highly recommend doing this workout on a floor that is conducive to a good foot pivot.  I think carpet would provide too much friction, especially with sneakers on.  I have a wood laminate flooring in my basement which works well.  
  • As mentioned above, pivoting is a large component to this program.  It is so important to move your feet in the direction of the punches, otherwise you torque your knees.  I learned this lesson the hard way.
  • It took me about five weeks until I was like gosh-by-golly I am actually getting the moves.  Until then I flopped around like a fish out of water trying to do what I could and making sure Tower (my boyfriend) wasn't watching.  I am below average when it comes to coordination, so I would expect that most people would get the knack of it much sooner.
  • I've been chronicling my progress and calorie burns by logging my workouts in my Hello Kitty planner and placing a sticker on my TurboFire class schedule each day.  I'm juvenile, what can I say.  There is just something about visualizing my progress with a dang sticker that motivates me.  I just loved Lisa Frank stickers growing up!! 
  • The classes are conducted in a group setting.  Typically Chalene is on a stage with two other people, one of them is a chick named Alee who modifies the movements to a low impact version.  Honestly, though there wasn't much I needed to modify which is good because they really don't show her that much.  From the stage Chalene leads a group of high energy good looking people.
  • The class schedule has you working out six days a week, with one rest day.  The longest day is 60 minutes.  I do not take my rest day as scheduled.  I use it whenever I have a super hectic day and working out just seems impossible.  But, I never take more than one rest day per week.  The flexibility of the rest day just seems more realistic to me.
  • As much as I think this is a good and engaging program, I am officially sick of it.  I feel like I picked the perfect time to do it - during the winter.  If it were the summer there is no way I'd make it through.  I always prefer neighborhood jogs, softball, and cruises on the bike over any indoor activity.
  • There's this super motivating girl named Erica P. (from Fit Camp) that hosts a TurboFire Facebook group that I am part of.  It's been instrumental in keeping me on track and for addressing any questions I have.
That about concludes this post.  I'll be back though.  First with some details about the calorie burns I've experienced from some of the classes, a comparison of Jillian Michaels v. Chalene, and then after I graduate I will detail my progress or lack there of.  Additionally, leave any specific questions you may have in the comments and I will address them in one of my future posts.

TurboFire is a Beachbody product. I am not a Beachbody coach nor do I want to be.  I actually hate selling things.  I purchased this product after hearing about it in Fit Camp because I've always enjoyed kickboxing.  I also recently finished my basement and cancelled my $100 a month gym membership.  I figured this program would be a great kick start to getting fit at home.  Oh and if you are interested in purchasing it, email me ( and I can put you in touch with a coach.  I purchased mine through a coach because I felt that if I was going to purchase it, I might as well support someone's business.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

S-t-r-u-g-g-l-e. // Brenna C.

When I told the wonderful women behind “Fitness Unscripted” that I wanted to do another guest post for this blog, I was lying.

Kind of.

Only a little bit.

I did want to do another post. That was the truth. What I did not tell them was the purpose of this post was going to be completely self-serving. This post isn’t just for you – it’s for me. I might as well be upfront about that.

Now…you are probably wondering what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks I am talking about, aren’t you? Well, here it is:

I need help.

I am struggling, and I don’t know why. And I need help.

To be more specific: It’s not that I’m gaining weight or getting lazy. Month to month, I’m still losing, albeit more slowly. I’ve only had the odd week where I’ve gained anything. And that’s to be expected. But I AM struggling with my eating. We’re talking sugar cravings that just don’t stop. And even worse? I’m struggling with my mindset. It’s rough, I tell you.

Some days, I just don’t want to do “this” anymore (so much for my “lifestyle change” blitherings!). Other days, I really want to keep going (my ultimate goal is to be in the range of 148-153, and right now I’m sitting at 155 or so. Frankly, I’d be happy to see that 148 just ONCE, even if I don’t stay there – because then I can say that I lost 50 pounds. Ha.) Then dome days, I want to dive head first into a box of pizza and a bag of donuts (but I don’t). Other days, I just feel SO READY for maintenance – to be able to eat those few extra hundred calories a day, and worry less about whether or not every bite I take is going to muck up my next weigh-in. And yes, of course I still have days where I feel like a rockstar and think it’s absolutely awesome to eat oatmeal and kale and spinach all the time. But, those days are getting fewer and farther between. As I said…struggling.

The biggest concern for me is how I obsess about food. I can’t say that strongly enough. I OBSESS about it. Some days, it’s all I can think about. To the point where if I DO indulge on a little extra something delicious, I can’t even enjoy it. Instead, I beat myself up (figuratively speaking, | promise). And I do it whether I eat 500 extra calories or only 50. It’s ridiculous.

(Of course, it doesn’t help that I have an anxiety disorder. I tend to obsess about things far less important things on a daily basis. I swear, sometimes my brain is torturing me. Thank goodness for medication!)

The point is, it’s all making me miserable. Will I ever get to the point where food won’t be at the front and centre of my mind ALL.THE.TIME.????

So how can you help? Tell me if you’ve experienced this. Support helps. Have you found something that helped you to distract yourself, or stop obsessing? Should I be making monthly goals, or taking it one week at a time? Is daily planning making it worse? Leave a comment (either here or on my own personal blog:Baby Steps ) and let me know if you’ve got answers. If you’ve got anything to say, at all, to help a girl out – let me know!!!!
For those of you who didn’t know me before this post….My name is Brenna. I’ve birthed two babies. I wanted to set a good example for them. I started this journey at 198 and now weigh 155. I’ve gone from being lazy, to being a cardio junkie, to hitting a good balance of strength, cardio, and rest. From eating fast food several times a week to only a couple of times per month. I should be delighted with my progress, and of the positive changes that I’ve made. I shouldn’t feel like a failure just because I ate a few too many chips one night or because I can’t fit into a size 6...right?

And yet, I struggle…
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